BDP Trendwatch: Air cargo volumes back to normal, rates still go up, but drop 12% year-on-year, Return of blanked Asia-Europe sailings as carriers bid to get back on schedule, Ports on U.S. West Coast race to clear ship backlog by August

Air cargo volumes back to normal, rates still go up, but drop 12% year-on-year

April 2021 may be remembered by some as the month in which at least part of the air cargo figures returned to some kind of normality. Although worldwide volumes were up by 53% and wide-body capacity by a ‘matching’ 51% year-over-year (“YoY”), air cargo increased by a much more ‘normal’ 3% when compared to April 2019. Yet, it is not unjustified to speak of a business continuing to be turned upside down, as many other measures were not even near ‘normal’.

The average rate/kg went up from an already ‘unheard of’ level of USD 3.12 in March to USD 3.30, even though it came down by 12% from the crazy level of April 2020. Wide-body freighter capacity increased by 1% YoY, but what to think of the changing role of w/b passenger aircraft? They produced one-fifth of total cargo capacity in April 2020, when many passenger flights were cancelled. A year later, the figures are completely different: in April 2021, cargo capacity on w/b passenger aircraft almost tripled YoY, and comes very close to the total capacity produced on w/b freighters.

Source: AJOT


Return of blanked Asia-Europe sailings as carriers bid to get back on schedule

The spectre of blank sailings may be about to return to haunt shippers and forwarders on the Asia-Europe trades, as carrier begin to cancel departures in an effort to restore schedule reliability.

Japanese carrier ONE this morning told customers THE Alliance would cancel three sailings on the FE2 and FE3 service departing Asia at the end of May and beginning of June, “due to the unfortunate schedule delays”.

Source: The Loadstar


Ports on U.S. West Coast race to clear ship backlog by August

Ship congestion outside the busiest U.S. gateway for trade with Asia showed glimmers of easing as port officials race to clear a backlog of arriving cargo before peak season begins in about three months.

A total of 19 container ships were anchored waiting for entry into Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, as of Sunday, compared with 21 a week earlier, according to officials who monitor marine traffic in San Pedro Bay. The bottleneck has persisted since November, peaking around 40 vessels in early February.

Source: SupplyChainBrain, Bloomberg


India’s COVID crisis hits ports as risk to trade grows

India’s devastating Covid-19 crisis is threatening operations at some of its biggest ports, raising concern the action could trigger shipping delays that reverberate through global supply chains.

Karaikal Port in southern India invoked force majeure until May 24 after operations were “severely affected” from the pandemic, according to a notice on its website. The terminal, which claims to be India’s biggest non-state port, handles coal, sugar and petroleum among other commodities. Gopalpur port in Odisha has also declared force majeure, according to IHS Markit.

Source: gCaptain, Bloomberg


The Port of Valencia moves 479,171 containers in April and sets monthly and year-on-year records

Container traffic last April was 6% higher than in April 2019 - a year which was not affected by COVID-19 - and 10% higher than in April 2020. In this last April 2021, 7,245,859 tonnes of goods were handled, an increase of 4.1% compared to 2019 and 13% compared to 2020.

Data on goods movements and container traffic from Valenciaport for the month of April show that the port facilities managed by the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) have closed the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2021, the Valenciaport docks operated 479,171 containers, i.e. 26,687 TEUs (standard 20-foot container) more than in April 2019, the year without the pandemic. In relative figures, this represents a growth of 5.9%, while compared to April last year, the increase is 9.9%.

Source: AJOT


ITF forecasts worldwide transport activity to more than double by 2050

The OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF) has published its Transport Outlook 2021. The think tank’s report on transport policy was released prior to the virtual annual summit of transport ministers this week.

The ITF forecasts that global transport activity will more than double by 2050, and traffic emissions will rise by 16% compared to 2015 baseline levels – even if existing commitments to decarbonise transport are fully implemented.

Source: Splash 24/7


Suez Canal begins dredging wider southern section

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has started dredging work to extend a second lane that allows for two-way traffic in a southern section of the canal near to where a giant container ship got stuck for six days in March, it said on Saturday.

The SCA announced this week that it was planning to extend a second canal lane that opened in 2015 by 10 km to make it 82 km long, and would widen and deepen a single lane stretch at the southern end of the canal.

Source: gCaptain, Reuters


CMA CGM containership to set a series of North American records

The CMA CGM Group is breaking its own record this week for the largest vessel to ever visit the US East Coast and Canada. The CMA CGM Marco Polo set a new Canadian record with a stop at the Port of Halifax in Nova Scotia on Monday. It will break the US East Coast record when it calls at the Port of New York and New Jersey on Thursday, then the record at each of the other ports it visits as it travels down the East Coast: the Port of Virginia (May 23), Port of Savannah (May 26) and Port of Charleston (May 28).

Source: Splash 24/7


As Cathay Pacific recovers from April flights dip, it faces new screening rule

Last month, Cathay Pacific operated its fewest cargo flights since the Covid-crisis began, despite Hong Kong relaxing crew quarantine restrictions.

And now, with volumes expected to make a comeback, it has concerns over potential bottlenecks from the city’s new air cargo screening rule.

Source: The Loadstar