BDP Trendwatch: Fewer blank sailings over CNY, Shippers and Forwarders claim carriers breach contracts, Brexit Customs checks make a quiet debut

Fewer blanked sailings over Chinese New Year 2021 than ever before

Container carriers are expected to provide more deepsea capacity out of Asia over the Chinese New Year holiday, beginning 12 February, than in any other year.

Announced blank sailings for what is normally shipping’s slack season are far fewer this year than previously, according to data from liner database eeSea’s Blank Sailings Tracker.

It shows that, across the transpacific, Asia-Europe and transatlantic trades, just 1.7% and 0.6% of head haul sailings have so far been cancelled in February and March respectively, compared with the 19.9% and 9.4% sailings cancelled in the same months last year.

Source: The Loadstar


Shippers and forwarders claim carriers breach contracts to demand higher rates

As Asia-Europe container spot rates continue to skyrocket, shippers and freight forwarders are accusing carriers of breaching short- and long-term contracts to “charge whatever they want”.

In a joint letter to the Competition Directorate of the European Commission (EC), the European Freight Forwarders Association (CLECAT) and European Shippers’ Council (ESC) have protested about the “damage” the carriers’ behaviour is “causing to trade growth at a time of economic recession”.

According to the letter, the complaints relate to “violation of existing contracts, the establishment of unreasonable conditions concerning the acceptance of bookings and unilaterally setting rates far in excess of those agreed in contracts”.

Source: The Loadstar


Brexit Customs checks make a quiet debut at U.K. ports

At the ports and terminals on Britain’s southeastern coast, a new era began on Friday morning without much fuss. Ferries and trains that carry goods to France from Dover and Folkestone were running on time, and drivers snaked their trucks into the port unencumbered by congestion.

To all appearances, little may have changed on Jan. 1, the country’s first day outside the European Union’s single market and customs union. It was, after all, a public holiday and not much business was taking place.

But for the first time in over 25 years, goods traveling between Britain and the European Union will no longer move freely and customs checks will be enforced for goods entering the bloc.

Source: The New York Times


‘Slidings’, port omissions and short-notice network changes replace blanking

Scheduling ‘slidings’, ad-hoc port omissions and short-notice network structural changes are replacing blankings as the new challenges for shippers in 2021.

The latest advisory on “service adjustments” comes from 2M partners Maersk and MSC, relating to the trans-Pacific tradelane.

MSC said it had decided to make some “additional structural changes” on its transpacific network until further notice.

And Maersk said: “Due to market demand volatility and operational challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including congestions across global supply chains, it is necessary to implement immediate changes to our network.”

Source: The Loadstar


What the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement means for U.S. and foreign companies

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement is a mega free trade agreement signed on November 15, 2020 by 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. The 15 countries represent nearly 30 percent of the world’s GDP and 2.2 billion people. Meanwhile, RCEP brings together China, Japan, and South Korea for the first time under a single free trade agreement. The Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates that by 2030, the RCEP could add $186 billion to global national income annually. India originally planned to join RCEP but later pulled out in November 2019.

Source: Global Trade Magazine


Covid-19 shipping problems squeeze China’s exporters

A logjam in the global shipping industry is testing the resilience of China’s exporters, who have driven the country’s economic recovery by churning out goods to meet surging global demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That demand in recent months has outpaced the capacity of a global shipping industry that has been slowed by pandemic safety measures. Chinese exporters have been paying sharply higher rates and struggling to find containers for their goods.

Chen Yang, who runs a textile trading unit at a state-owned enterprise in the southern city of Hefei, said the business, which mostly exports to the U.S., has weathered the pandemic and the China-U.S. trade war, but he expected to lose money in 2020 in part because of a sharp rise in shipping costs.

A 40-foot container arriving at the port of Charleston, S.C., in December cost Mr. Yang around $7,500, up from $2,700 in April, he said. He also has to book space on the vessel at least 20 days in advance, more than double the usual time.

Source: The Wall Street Journal