BDP Trendwatch: The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge to join forces, Covid border restrictions putting the brakes on pan-European road freight, Red hot box rates show first signs of cooling

The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge to join forces

The City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges have reached an agreement to merge their respective ports. The two-city agreement marks the start of a unification process that is expected to take a year to finalise. Once completed, the ports will operate under the name ‘Port of Antwerp-Bruges’. As a result of the merger, the ports will be able to strengthen their position within the global supply chain and continue their course towards sustainable growth. Furthermore, the unified port will be more resilient to the challenges of the future and will take a lead in the transition towards a low-carbon economy. The ambition is for Port of Antwerp-Bruges to become the world's first port to reconcile economy, people and climate.

Source: Port of Antwerp


Covid border restrictions putting the brakes on pan-European road freight

New border restrictions being introduced across European states have the potential to bring road freight to a standstill.

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) this morning warned that new border measures recently imposed by Germany at its crossings with the Czech Republic and the Austrian province of Tyrol, to curtail the spread of Covid-19 mutations, could lead to congestion similar to that seen at Dover shortly before Christmas.

Source: The Loadstar


Red hot box rates show first signs of cooling

Sky-high spot rates have been sustained on container shipping’s trunk trades in 2021 so far, but there are finally signs of respite ahead of the post-Chinese New Year period.

The latest Shanghai Containerised Freight Index, forecasting rates for Chinese exports for the coming week, shows spot prices weakening slightly on both the transpacific and Asia-Europe trades.

Spot rates on the China-northern Europe route dropped back 5% to $4,109 per teu, while China-Mediterranean prices fell 1.2% to $4,109. Although rates to the US east coast from China held firm at $4,800 per 40 ft box, US west coast rates slipped 2.6% to $3,969 per feu.

Source: Lloyd´s Loading List


Port of Oakland welcomed CMA CGM’s first call Asia service

The Port of Oakland today announced that CMA CGM, a world leader in shipping and logistics, marked the beginning of its first direct vessel service linking China and Oakland,CA, with the arrival of the ship AFRICA FOUR.

“This opens up so many possibilities,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Our customers can significantly improve the transit time for getting their products to consumers with a first-call and also use Oakland to reach the U.S. interior through our rail connections.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf congratulated the Port of Oakland and CMA CGM on the new service and added, “This service signals the significance of the Port of Oakland in the global goods movement supply chain, and it means economic opportunity for Oakland and the entire region.”

Source: AJOT


China celebrates a new year, but sees return of old supply chain congestion

The Year of the Ox may have begun today, but more trouble lies ahead for container supply chains post-Chinese New Year.

In fact, a carbon-copy of the port congestion and landside disruption seen in China twelve months ago could be on the cards.

Most Chinese were at home celebrating the holiday when the Covid-19 virus first surfaced in Wuhan in January 2020, triggering the first lockdowns across the country.

Source: The Loadstar


Port Laredo No. 1 in exports for 2020

In 2020, Laredo, Texas, once again led the U.S. in exports, according to the latest Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.

Port Laredo finished on top of the rankings for exports for the second straight year, totaling $80 billion in outbound shipments during 2020.

Laredo’s top 10 exports were motor vehicle parts ($8.9 billion), engines ($3.4 billion), gasoline ($3.1 billion), engine parts ($1.2 billion), plastics ($1.1 billion), cell phones ($1.1 billion), taps and valves for pipes ($1 billion), chemical reaction initiators ($978 million) and computer chips ($944 million).

Source: Freight Waves


FMC to discuss 'big, huge step' related to detention, demurrage and container returns

The congestion challenges supply chains are facing has led to calls from industry and the California state government for the FMC to step in and provide some relief.

"I've become more and more concerned about compliance with our rules on demurrage, and detention, and so we're going to begin an enforcement process," Dye said.

A recent survey by the Harbor Trucking Association and TradeLanes found that the average charge per container for detention and demurrage fees is $200 or more for 80% of respondents. The FMC issued final guidelines for detention and demurrage last year, but there have been concerns that carriers have not been following them.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


'Trading with the EU becoming financially unviable for some firms', MPs told

The UK government “must ease the burden on businesses trading with the EU” amid reports that selling into the single market is becoming financially unviable for some companies.

Director of trade facilitation at the British Chambers of Commerce Liam Smyth said the extra time and cost of trade with Europe had resulted in an exodus of British business from the market, which he feared would increase as time goes on.

Source: The Loadstar


Southern California Port Employees Begin to Get Vaccinated

After repeated calls to add the dockworkers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine, California authorities agreed and released the first batch of vaccines for the frontline workers who are ensuring that cargo continues to flow through the ports. Despite the shortage of the vaccine that has forced some of California’s mass vaccination locations to suspend operations, Long Beach was able to allocate vaccines to people who work at the ports starting on February 12.

Source: The Maritime Executive


Congestion on both coasts of North America

Congestion at ports on both sides of North America remains a severe issue, though the ship queues do look to be easing this week.

According to a client update from German liner Hapag-Lloyd yesterday there are currently 35 ships at anchor waiting to berth at the US’s top two ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach due to the spike in import volumes and lack of dockside labour thanks to a Covid outbreak. This figure is down by two ships from January 29. Fortunately California has started an urgent vaccination programme for its hard-hit dockworkers.

Source: Splash247


IMO Urges Action to Combat Piracy in Gulf of Guinea

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will convene a maritime security working group in response to the growing number of pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea.

The working group is set to meet at the next session of the Maritime Safety Committee, MSC 103, scheduled to take place in May, to provide an opportunity for Member States and international organizations to discuss further collaboration and possible action to address the problem.

Source: gCaptain