BDP Trendwatch: Shipping companies look at sailing away from choked Southern California gateways, Rates misery for ocean shippers set to continue after Chinese New Year, Retail imports expected to hit repeated monthly records after record year in 2020

Shipping companies look at sailing away from choked Southern California gateways

Some container lines and their importing customers are looking for alternate paths to get around bottlenecks at the main U.S. trade gateways in Southern California, where an armada of cargo vessels is anchored offshore at the congested seaports.

Shipping lines have started moving some operations to smaller ports and have canceled some sailings altogether to avoid the backups that have tied up dozens of ships and hundreds of thousands of containers stuffed with goods off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Rates misery for ocean shippers set to continue after Chinese New Year

Shippers face many more months of inflated freight rates, as ocean carriers show no sign of easing their strategy of keeping capacity tight and favouring high-paying spot cargo.

In a customer Q&A session this morning, Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said the carrier was still “flooded with bookings”.

He said: “It will be well into the second quarter before we get back to anywhere near normal,” And he added: “For the first time in 10 years we are earning back the cost of our capital.”

Source: The Loadstar


Retail imports expected to hit repeated monthly records after record year in 2020

Following a record year during 2020, imports at the nation’s largest retail container ports are expected to set new monthly records from now into the summer as the nation’s economy continues to recover from the pandemic, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“The import numbers we’re seeing reflect retailers’ expectations for consumer demand to the point that many factories in Asia that normally close for Chinese New Year this month are remaining open to keep up,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Regardless of whether it’s in-store or on retailers’ websites, the record holiday season and numbers for 2020 show consumers are buying again and have been for a while. This surge has been going on for months, and retailers are importing merchandise faster than ever.”

Source: AJOT


Liners' deep pockets mean they can outbid charterers for 'anything that floats'

Ocean carriers are using their skyrocketing profits to outbid non-operating shipowners (NOOs) for second-hand tonnage, and risk disrupting both the charter and feeder markets, it is claimed.

The liners have been on a buying spree for containerships in the past few months, initially to support their networks in the absence of open charter tonnage, but latterly seeing  an opportunity for gains from the continued surge in vessel values.

Source: The Loadstar


Global airfreight rates cool but remain well above historical peaks

Global airfreight rates cooled sequentially over the course of January - especially on North America-bound Transpacific routes - as a protracted and robust peak season wound to a close, according to the Baltic Air Freight Index (BAI) but on a multi-year stack, remain well above historical peaks.

Its latest monthly analysis showed that prices on the Shanghai to North America 'basket' have declined nearly 40% since the start of the year, although this is probably of little solace to shippers who paid more than double for the same capacity on that route in January 2021 compared to January 2020.

Source: Lloyd´s Loading List


U.S. Federal Maritime Commission urges freight ‘silos’ to unite in crisis

Companies that violate U.S. supply-chain rules around inundated American ports may be penalized, according to a key maritime regulator in Washington who is pushing the fragmented freight industry to work more closely to address the nation’s unprecedented bottlenecks.

Rebecca Dye, a member of the Federal Maritime Commission, is leading an investigation into the pandemic-rattled flow of imports and exports. She initially thought the shocks to global trade last year would be a replay of the 2010 snapback from the financial crisis, but in an interview, she said “we quickly realized that was not the case.”

Source: gCaptain, Bloomberg


As digitisation improves visibility, LCL is becoming more attractive to shippers

The shortage of containers in major tradelanes is driving demand for less-than-containerload (LCL) solutions.

With boxes only available at exorbitant rates, more shippers and forwarders are more open to less-straightforward alternatives to full container offerings.

“Demand is up,” confirmed Graham Cousins, chief strategy officer of Vanguard Logistics Services. “A lot is driven by shippers’ need for flexibility to find a solution to move their cargo.”

Source: The Loadstar


Exports from UK to EU down two-thirds since Brexit, say hauliers

Ministers face calls to intervene to overcome problems at the border after hauliers warned that exports from Britain to the European Union had dropped by more than two-thirds, The Times reports.

The newspaper said it emerged yesterday that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) had written to Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, urging an “urgent intervention to address the enormous challenges facing critical supply chains” as a result of Britain’s trade deal with the EU.

In the letter dated 1 February, which was initially reported by The Observer, Richard Burnett, the RHA's chief executive, told Gove that exports last month to the EU had fallen by as much as 68% compared with the same month a year earlier. At its worst, one in five lorries bound for the EU was being turned back because of incorrect paperwork or because the driver could not produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

Source: Lloyd´s Loading List


Global demand will be key to post-Covid recovery among emerging markets

The damage to emerging markets from Covid-19 has been laid bare in the latest Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index – but open trade policies and other factors will be key to recovery in the medium term.

The top 50 countries in the index, published by Agility in partnership with Transport Intelligence, were expected to see an average GDP decline of 6.5% in 2020 – significantly worse than the 2008/9 recession that led to average GDP expansion of 1.8% in 2009, followed by growth of 6.1% in 2010.

Source: The Loadstar


Dozens of UK ports apply for freeport status

Dozens of UK ports, port groups and ports and logistics consortia appear to have applied for freeport status by last Friday’s deadline set for England by the UK government as they seek to attract the associated benefits including investment funding, customs free zone flexibility, and other tax incentives.

The expectation is that as many as 40 ports, port clusters and even airports may have submitted proposals, including some of the biggest names in the UK ports sector, including Dover, Southampton, Felixstowe/Harwich, London Gateway/Tilbury, Hull, Port of Tyne, Teesport, Bristol, Milford Haven and Grangemouth.

Source: Lloyd´s Loading List