BDP Trendwatch: Qantas furloughs 2,500 staff as prolonged Sydney lockdown looms; Derailed train means European intermodal cargo hits the buffers again; COVID threatens Chinese exports as US struggles to restock inventories

Qantas furloughs 2,500 staff as prolonged Sydney lockdown looms

Qantas Airways Ltd. is furloughing an additional 2,500 workers as state border controls inside Australia to stem Covid-19 outbreaks destroys air travel.

The airline said Tuesday it expects flights in and out of Sydney in New South Wales state - which is fighting its biggest virus flareup - to be closed for at least another two months. That’s weeks after the scheduled Aug. 28 end to the city’s lockdown.

“We’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said in the statement. “It will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume.”

AJOT, Bloomberg


Derailed train means European intermodal cargo hits the buffers again

Cargo owners are still facing transport headaches in mainland Europe after a potential bypass for intermodal services, hit by mid-July’s flash floods, was severed following a train derailment.

Connecting the ports of Antwerp, Ghent and Zeebrugge through the French Ardennes, the route was closed when a train carrying containers of phosphoric acid came off the tracks, causing extensive damage.

The Loadstar


COVID threatens Chinese exports as US struggles to restock inventories

U.S. import demand is stronger than ever as inventory-to-sales ratios remain painfully low. Yet there’s rising risk to shipping volumes on the supply side of the equation: Most American containerized imports come from China and elsewhere in Asia, where the delta variant is spreading.

There were two big plunges in trans-Pacific volume last year: one supply-side driven, when China locked down in the first quarter; another demand-side driven, when the U.S. locked down in the second quarter.

There appears to be virtually no chance of another major U.S. lockdown that would impair shipping demand. Not so in China, where lockdowns are rigorously enforced even when reported cases are very low.

FreightWaves, American Shipper


Profits in the wake of faster containerships trump green concerns

Japanese carrier ONE has said its ships have raised their speed, increasing fuel consumption and pollution, to take advantage of higher demand.

THE Alliance carrier and its partner Hapag-Lloyd have both reported stellar profits for the second quarter.

ONE posted net profits of $2.6bn for its fiscal Q1, while Hapag-Lloyd reported an estimated ebit of $2.2bn, in preliminary results.

The Loadstar


Auckland Port congestion, the big challenge ahead for New Zealand

Maersk in its monthly market update for July sighted Auckland Port congestion as a major hurdle for smooth functioning of the supply chain in New Zealand. It read "Export demand from Australia and New Zealand remains strong, impacting space and causing coastal bottlenecks."

The congestion has caused unprecedented operational disruptions. According to the Maritime Union of New Zealand, shipping reliability was at a healthy average of over 70% in August last year across the ports of the nation but with pandemic playing in, it plummeted consistently to an all-time low of 6%.

Container News


Asian carriers schedule more ‘preighter’ flights to meet peak season demand

With no let-up in travel restrictions, Asian carriers are planning more passenger-freighter flights to cope with peak season demand.

The ‘preighter’ phenomenon seems to be winding down in the US and Europe, as economies open up and authorities weigh safety considerations of carrying cargo in cabins, as well as the extra handling time required.

The Loadstar


Schiphol turns in strong first half-year for cargo

Half-year cargo figures for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol show increased throughput year-on-year, with inbound freight tonnage up an average of 29.5% and outbound up 25.7% compared to the first six months of 2020.

Schiphol processed 837,671 tonnes of cargo from January to June 2021, up 27.7% on the same period last year, with 572,111 tonnes on freighter flights, up 23.4% on the first half of last year and 265,560 tonnes in bellyhold, up 38.1 % on the same period last year, the Airport Authority said in a statement.

Lloyd´s Loading List


Maritime industry warned over potential seafarer shortages

BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have warned that the shipping industry must significantly increase training and recruitment levels if it is to avoid a serious shortage in the total supply of officers by 2026.

A new report by the pair predicts that there will be a need for an additional 89,510 officers by 2026 to operate the world merchant fleet.

The report estimates that 1.89m seafarers currently serve the world merchant fleet, operating over 74,000 vessels around the globe.

Container Management


Maersk ratchets up profit guidance after freight rates soar

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container line, raised its guidance for profit this year after freight rates soared as lockdowns prompted more people to spend money on having goods shipped.

The Copenhagen-based company added almost $5 billion to the midpoint of its operating profit forecast, according to a statement on Monday. Full-year Ebitda will be $18 billion to $19.5 billion, up from a previous forecast of $13 billion to $15 billion. Underlying Ebit will be in a range of $14 billion to $15.5 billion compared with $9 billion to $11 billion seen previously.

AJOT, Bloomberg


Shipper files US complaint alleging ‘misconduct’ by box lines

A major US home furnishings shipper has reportedly filed a complaint with the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) accusing two of the world’s largest ocean carriers of violating the US Shipping Act in order to inflate container shipping profits.

In a complaint filed on Wednesday with the Federal Maritime Commission, Easton, Pennsylvania-based MCS Industries accused the two major lines of reneging on its container service contracts for imports from Asia so that the carriers can instead charge other shippers exorbitant rates on the spot market for the capacity, according to

Lloyd´s Loading List