What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 46

Rail comes into sharp focus with the rise in the cost of seafreight

The reallocation of freight flows between modes of transport in the first three quarters of 2020 led to an increase in the importance of rail transport amid the decline in air and sea freight. Alexey Grom is CEO and Chairman of the Board of the United Transport and Logistics Company - Eurasian Rail Alliance (UTLC ERA) he explores the changing role of rail in today’s supply chain.

Rail services are now a stable element of international supply chains, equally efficient in comparison to sea transport, which traditionally offer lower transit costs, as stated in the regular report prepared by Drewry, a large international independent research company specialising in the shipping industry.

Source: Container News


EU gives green light to trigger $4 billion tariff strike on US

The European Union will impose tariffs on $4 billion of U.S. goods starting Tuesday in a tit-for-tat escalation of a transatlantic fight over illegal aid to aircraft manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus SE.

EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis on Monday expressed a preference to negotiate a settlement, saying the bloc would drop its duties if the U.S. removes levies it imposed in 2019 on $7.5 billion of EU products. Both sets of import taxes are part of a dispute that began 16 years ago.

Source: AJOT, Bloomberg


Imports set new ‘peak season’ record as retailers prepare for holidays

Imports likely saw their busiest “peak season” on record this summer and fall as retailers replenished inventories and stocked up for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Peak season is the Superbowl of the supply chain world each year as retailers make sure they have enough merchandise on hand to satisfy demand during the holidays, and this is the busiest we’ve ever seen,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Part of this surge was fueled by restocking after retail sales rebounded this summer and part could be making sure there aren’t shortages if we see panic buying again. The economic challenges of the pandemic aren’t over yet, but this clearly shows how an industry that has been under stress is fighting back in a positive way. Retailers don’t import merchandise they don’t think they can sell, so this is a good sign for the holiday season.”

Source: AJOT


New UK customs declaration system doesn't work – 'let's stick with CHIEF'

Industry experts have expressed “grave concerns” at the UK government’s “unnecessary insistence” on implementation of the new Customs Declaration System (CDS).

Chair of the Association of Freight Software Suppliers Steve Bartlett and director general of the UK Association for International Trade Des Hiscock told the EU goods sub-committee CDS was “not ready” and efforts should turn to a fall-back option.

Source: The Loadstar


Airfreight rates climb as peak nears

The demand for air cargo is expected to improve even more at the tail end of 2020. The level of the new export orders in the Global Manufacturing PMI rose above 50 in September for the first time since the middle of 2018, a sign of strong demand for freight to move those exports. Meanwhile, holidays are approaching along with highly anticipated electronics releases like the iPhone and PlayStation 5 that traditionally travel via air cargo, according to IATA.

And as demand improves, companies in the airfreight business continue to see booming business, thanks to the lack of belly capacity. Atlas Air saw its revenue jump nearly 25% YoY, according to its Q3 earnings release.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


UK importers scramble to find container haulage as carriers skip congested ports

UK shippers have been hit by a further series of container shipping ad hoc capacity contractions as a number of vessels recently skipped UK port calls or reduced their time at berth.

It’s all due to continuing congestion at the country’s major container gateways.

Last week, the port of Southampton welcomed the first call of the LNG-fuelled CMA CGM Jacques Saade, the new flagship ultra large container vessel (ULCV) in the French carrier’s fleet.

However, amid the fanfare, it appears the vessel departed the port without unloading all its import containers, according to a customer advisory from its Ocean Alliance partner, Cosco.

Source: The Loadstar


Shifting equipment acts as limit to capacity in European trades

Blanked sailings and the shift of equipment to more lucrative trades has combined with increased volumes to raise rates in the Asia to Europe trades according to leading analysts today.

Shipping lines have been moving containers from the Asia to Europe trades to the more lucrative Pacific as the shipping lines are purportedly continuing to address the difficulties caused by the pandemic, according to the latest monthly report from the Freightos Baltic Global Container Index (FBX).

Source: Container News


Port of NY/NJ strives to keep cargo flowing

Port of New York and New Jersey officials announced Monday they are “taking extra measures to keep the supply chain fluid.”

The port set a monthly container record in August with 688,365 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). It then broke that record in September by handling 720,969 TEUs, a 15.4% year-over-year increase.

Last week, the port attributed September’s volume record to U.S. retailers stocking up for the holiday season as well as “growing concerns of future supply chain disruptions.” The port did not identify the source of those possible disruptions, but the United States is again setting daily records for new COVID-19 cases.

Source: Freight Waves, American Shipper


Stats show need for regional fleet renewal

London-based shipbroker Braemar believes that 2021 could see a spate of ordering for vessels of around 3,500TEU as nearly 30% of these vessels in the global fleet will be over 20-years old.

According to Jonathan Roach of Braemar ACM's research division, by January of next year the number of vessels in the regional vessel size, around the old panama sized vessels, up to 4,000TEU, totals 3,100 ships, with up to 900 reaching an age where operating companies will need to consider replacing the ships.

Source: Container News


CMA CGM Group Begins LNG Fueling in Rotterdam for Containerships

CMA CGM Group completed its first LNG bunkering operation in Rotterdam as the shipping giant prepared to introduce its fleet of LNG-powered container ships. By 2022, the CMA CGM Group will have 26 LNG-powered vessels with total capacity of 380,000 TEUs.

The line’s first LNG bunkering was for the CMA CGM Tenere, the first of six 15,000-TEU containerships chartered by the CMA CGM Group and powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The new containership was delivered on September 15 built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries for Eastern Pacific Shipping. The other five vessels of the class will be delivered by the end of 2022.

Source: The Maritime Executive


Panama Canal issues amendment to tender for new water management system

The Panama Canal amended the prequalification document for a tender for the engineering, design, and construction of an optimized water management system. The decision comes after receiving more than 250 potential bidder inquiries following the opening of the prequalification period on September 7.

This tender is the first component of a program that, as a whole, will still maintain the objective of managing water resources in an integrated manner to provide an adequate water supply for both Canal operations and local consumption for the next 50 years. With these modifications, competition will be encouraged without altering the project schedule.

Source: AJOT


Port of Durban Takes Measures to Reduce Congestion

One of the greatest challenges facing Africa’s seaport cities is port-induced traffic congestion. This has been an especially serious issue in eThekwini municipality, home to Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest container port, the Port of Durban. Due to Durban’s transshipment business and its capacity to handle large container vessels, trucks drawn from the whole of the Southern African region pick up and drop off containers at its terminals, creating massive gridlock along the central Bayhead port area’s main access road.

Source: The Maritime Executive