What We're Reading: Trendwatch Week 38

Trade and the impact on imports and exports in 2020 

Significant and sustained increases in the world trade index (an index measuring the number of times the word uncertainty or its variants are mentioned in Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reports at a country level) should be a worry for many as “the increase in trade uncertainty observed in the first quarter could be enough to reduce global growth by up to 0.75 percentage points in 2019." 

Source: Global Trade Magazine 


The US energy revolution and the Saudi attack 

Dr. Dean Foreman, the American Petroleum Institute's chief economist, says the U.S.' energy revolution has changed the impact of the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil processing facilities over the weekend.  

He says the U.S. energy revolution has effectively provided spare oil production capacity to the world, and it has shortened the time between initial drilling and delivery to market to days or weeks versus months or years, as in the past. 

Source: The Maritime Executive 


Examining autonomous ships' vulnerability to piracy 

Autonomous ships are a hot topic in the maritime sector; piracy and armed robbery too. Since the beginning of the year, according to the IMB, almost 100 attacks have been committed against ships all around the world. 2018 saw a marked increase in attacks compared to the past few years. 

Source: The Maritime Executive 


Next Trump tariffs may soon hit Europe’s luxury-goods exporters 

Some of Europe’s top luxury brands are targeted in President Donald Trump’s latest tariff salvo, which could affect billions of dollars in exports of American-bound whiskeys, wine, Champagne, handbags and men’s suits. 

A panel of three World Trade Organization arbiters, as expected, said Friday the U.S. can legally impose tariffs on an array of European exports in retaliation for Europe’s illegal government aid to Airbus SE. EU sources say they expect the WTO arbiters to publicly circulate a report by month’s end that will allow new U.S. duties on a range of goods worth $5 billion to $7 billion per year, while Trump has threatened tariffs on $11 billion. 

Source: American Journal of Transportation


Failure to recoup increased low sulphur fuel costs could see lines blanking more sailings  

With IMO 2020 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuel just over 100 days from becoming law a leading shipping analyst has warned shippers that it is vital that ocean carriers succeed in obtaining their interim BAF surcharges.   

Container market expert and chief executive of SeaIntelligence Consulting Lars Jensen said that a failure to obtain compensation for the extra costs relating to the preparation for IMO 2020 could result in a “significant” increase in blanked sailings. 

Source: The Loadstar


Port-rail connections needed to cope with freight volume growth 

Imagine a giant spine. Not made of bone, flesh and blood. But of steel, concrete and crushed stone. Imagine too that it’s 1,056 miles long. And that it costs US$7.5 billion (A$10.9 billion). 

Australia is building the Inland Rail, a giant railway that will act as the north-south logistics “spine” in the eastern part of the country. About 70 percent of Australia’s 25.49 million people live in this area of the continent. The region generates about 78 percent of the country’s employment and 75 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. 

Source: Freight Waves


Strong first half for Port Klang's Westports, but can it win back traffic from Singapore? 

Port Klang terminal operator Westports is expecting to break the 10m teu mark for the first time this year, as Malaysia continues its fightback against fierce competition from Singapore.   

Managing director Ruben Emir Gnanalingam told local media Westports was expecting double-digit growth in 2019, continuing a strong first-half performance when throughput jumped 17%, to 5.27m teu.   

Source: The Loadstar