Shippers across the globe might have to battle the effects of supply chain congestion and record high ocean freight ratees for some time to come. The question remains – when will they get relief?
The wave of congestion that is sweeping through global supply chains delaying deliveries of seasonal goods and essential commodities, stranding many shippers between meeting impossible delivery deadlines while paying record shipping rates is not set to subside anytime soon.
“This is proving to be the ‘Peak Season like no other’, just as we predicted” says the Global Shippers Forum, the voice of cargo owners in international trade.
Politicians from Florida are talking-up the state’s ports as the solution to the worsening congestion threatening to snarl-up imports of seasonal merchandise beyond the selling window.
They are even flashing money to entice container carriers to change course for the Sunshine state.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis has issued stark warnings that children are in danger of going without Christmas presents, pointing to the rising number of ships sitting idle off the west coast – 82 as of this morning – waiting for berth space at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
It came down to the wire, but the highly controversial Los Angeles/Long Beach congestion fee backed by the Biden administration is not happening — at least, not yet.
The ports were scheduled to begin charging ocean carriers $100 per import container starting Monday for boxes moving by truck that dwelled for nine or more days, and for boxes dwelling for six or more days that move by rail. The charge was scheduled to escalate by $100 a day until the container left the property.
The ports announced Monday that they will “delay consideration” of the fee until Nov. 22, citing a 26% reduction in long-dwelling containers since the plan was announced on Oct. 25.
Freight rates may have peaked for now and be coming down from their all-time highs. But any resetting to prior levels could take another two years, according to analysis by Sea-Intelligence.
Although the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index added 0.4% in the past week, other indices show a downturn in the rates paid, including Freightos’ Baltic Index, which recorded an 11% decline on its global index and a sharp 21% fall on the transpacific, and Xeneta, which also recorded a smaller decline on the Asia-US west coast routing.
While each index uses its own methodology, the direction of travel indicates that some of the froth is coming out of the overheated spot market. One likely reason for this is that those shippers desperate to ship goods in time to meet the US holiday shopping season, and willing to pay any amount to do so, have now missed their window of opportunity.
The United States Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will focus on identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo and add to supply chain inefficiencies.
This effort, spearheaded by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel, will be important to pinpointing how data can contribute to the long-term reliability of the domestic cargo delivery system.
This initiative will propose recommendations for common data standards used by the international shipping supply chain, as well as access policies and protocols that would streamline information sharing across the ocean supply chain. This multi-phase effort is being launched at the direction of FMC Chairman Daniel B. Maffei with initial findings to be presented at a Maritime Data Summit in Spring 2022.
Severe congestion across major airports appears to be hampering air cargo volumes.
Dynamic week-on-week global load factors fell 1.5%, in the week to 10 November, according to the latest research from Clive Data Services.
The same week saw a 5.5% fall in global capacity, which should indicate higher load factors – but it seems demand fell.
While, anecdotally, forwarders are reporting strong demand for air freight as the peak season takes off, the data suggests congestion on the ground is curbing volumes.
President Joe Biden signed the $550 billion infrastructure law at a White House ceremony on Monday, after appointing a group of officials led by National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and the new White House infrastructure coordinator, Mitch Landrieu, to guide the law’s enactment.
“My message to the American people is: America is moving again. And your life is going to change for the better,” Biden said at the ceremony. “We made our democracy deliver for the people.”
The panel to oversee the law, established by an executive order Biden signed earlier Monday, will be directed to disperse the money in alignment with administration priorities, according to the White House. That means projects at the front of the line will need to use U.S. suppliers, offer union jobs and be designed to withstand the impacts of climate change.
Covid-19 is killing people living near ports, a new study has shown today, with stretched supply chains to blame.
The extreme congestion that has built up at major ports during the pandemic has seen shipping emissions soar at key gateways, research from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) shows.
Researchers from NTU have modelled pollutant emissions from the shipping sector at four major ports in three continents. The research team’s computations of pollutant emissions were from July 2020 to July 2021. The findings were compared to the whole of 2019, the year before the pandemic and also the year before the global sulphur cap kicked in.
Wan Hai Lines has purchased one of its chartered ships after setting aside $200m for second-hand vessel purchases.
In a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Friday, Wan Hai said it had bought the 1,700 teu Box Express for $40.5m, having chartered the ship since June.
The 2016-built Box Express and sister vessels Box Endeavour and Box Endurance were commissioned by Greek tonnage provider Allseas Marine at CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding. Wan Hai has had the sister vessels on charter since the start of the year.
The Ever Given, the VLCC that became known around the world after her grounding in the Suez Canal in March 2021, quietly returned to service over the weekend. After weeks of repairs, she loaded her first boxes to begin a return voyage to Europe as she resumes normal service.
China’s Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal Co. reported that the vessel berthed late last week and loaded approximately a quarter of her normal load before departing early on November 14. The vessel, which has a capacity of more than 20,000 TEU, was reportedly loaded with 5,147 TEU before her departure. She currently is waiting in the queue off Shanghai, China where she is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, November 16. Following her normal route, the Even Given is currently scheduled to transit the Suez Canal on December 7 or 8, and following the policy of the Suez Canal Authority will be assigned their most experienced pilots.
Throughout last year, the type of cargo routinely stolen swung away from electronics and luxury items, “more towards essential goods” such as food, drink and fuel.
However, this year, that trend appears to have reversed, to “a more ‘normal’ demand,” according to TT Club’s MD loss prevention, Mike Yarwood.
It’s a development arising from less widespread deprivation than in 2020, as thieves “serve a market and react to market forces”, he said.