BDP Trendwatch: A year after Suez Canal fiasco, bad luck strikes again for Evergreen; China changes Covid-19 playbook amid concerns of widening lockdowns; Hundreds of seafarers caught in Ukraine crossfire

A year after Suez Canal fiasco, bad luck strikes again for Evergreen 

A year after a giant container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week and disrupted global trade for months, another Evergreen Marine Corp. vessel has run aground, this time near the U.S. capital. 

The Hong Kong-flagged Ever Forward got stranded after departing the Port of Baltimore Seagirt Terminal on Sunday night, according to mapping data compiled by Bloomberg. The 334-meter (1,096-foot) vessel was en route to Norfolk, Virginia, when it got stuck in the Chesapeake Bay. 

“The ship’s grounding is not preventing other ships from transiting to the Port of Baltimore,” Maryland Port Administration Executive Director William P. Doyle said in a statement. “Efforts have been underway since last night to try and free the ship and will continue today. The Coast Guard is monitoring the situation.” 


China changes Covid-19 playbook amid concerns of widening lockdowns 

China is modifying its Covid-19 playbook amid a surge in cases as it seeks to avoid strains on its healthcare system. 

Health authorities said patients with no symptoms or only mild ones should go to centralized isolation facilities so that hospitals can focus on more serious cases. 

The change in the mandatory hospitalization rules that have seen China through most of the pandemic is an acknowledgment that its current approach risks overwhelming hospitals amid a rapid increase in cases. 

China recorded more than 15,000 symptomatic locally transmitted infections in 28 provinces so far in March, largely due to the spread of the more infectious Omicron variant, Mi Feng, spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, told a news conference Tuesday. 

Wall Street Journal 

Hundreds of seafarers caught in Ukraine crossfire 

Human Rights at Sea has closely monitored events in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov unfold with increasing concern. The war between Russia and Ukraine has critical implications for seafarers.  

A statement supported by Human Rights at Sea and InterManager expresses “a number of concerns that we call upon the IMO to address in their forthcoming Extraordinary Session.”  

“Ways must be found urgently to ensure the safe evacuation of seafarers and vessels from the Black Sea and Sea of Azov who find themselves in a war zone,” the statement said.”The Ukrainian Maritime Authority reports that there are around 100 foreign flagged vessels in Ukrainian ports unable to leave. This places those vessels and their crew in serious danger.   

Maritime Magazine 

Port of Duisburg ceases all business activity in Belarus 

Port of Duisburg has announced the cessation of all business activity in Belarus with immediate effect due to the support of the Ukraine war by Belarus. 

“We unreservedly close this chapter,” commented duisport's CEO, Markus Bangen, on a decision that is based on close coordination between the executive board, the supervisory board and shareholders. 

Germany's inland port, duisport will divest both its minority stake (0.59%) in the international development company of the industrial and logistics park Great Stone as well as its stake in Eurasian Rail Gateway CJCS (38.9%) that planned the building and operation of a bimodal terminal. 

Container News 

Siberian ‘detour’ forces airlines to retrace Cold War era routes 

Global airlines are going to great lengths to avoid Russian airspace but few to the extent of Finnair Oyj, the flag carrier of Finland. It’s flying thousands of miles around its northern neighbor, retracing routes abandoned decades ago at the end of the Cold War. 

The economic burden of those end-runs is measured in additional jet fuel burn, extended duty times, and the potential for more crews being required on some longer flights. Airlines may face additional maintenance costs for heavier use of their long-haul jets and some new overflight fees from countries they may not have traversed previously. And, of course, there’s the extra time customers will spend in transit. 

The diversions also are blowing a big hole in airlines’ commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 


Southern California’s ports are catching their breath during import lull 

A stream of heavy-duty trucks rumbled by Alan McCorkle one recent afternoon as the head of one of the main cargo handlers at the Port of Los Angeles drove past rows of stacked shipping containers. 

“This is optimism right here in front of us,” said Mr. McCorkle, the chief executive of Yusen Terminals LLC. “Trucks to our right, trucks to our left.” 

With about 1,000 trucks due to pick up cargo before the terminal closed for the weekend, it was the busiest that Mr. McCorkle had seen the container yard on a Friday in more than a year. The hum of activity was one sign that the gridlock that has made Southern California’s ports the center for U.S. supply-chain congestion may finally be easing, at least for now. 

Wall Street Journal 

Tanker carrying Russian cargo bound for U.S. sails to North African coast 

Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Elli, which made a Russian port call and had been bound for the United States, is now sailing toward the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco’s northern coast, ship tracking data showed on Monday. 

U.S. President Joe Biden last week imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. restrictions have created uncertainty about Russian shipments already underway.  

Greece-based Halkidon Shipping Corp, which manages the Elli, said on Friday the vessel “was instructed by her charterers to remain and await orders off Gibraltar, while en-route from Novorossiisk, Russia to the U.S. Gulf Coast.”