Bottlenecks in the containerised supply chain around the world have pushed container line schedule reliability to its lowest level yet, and there are few signs of any rapid improvement.
The latest figures from Sea-Intelligence’s global container line performance database show that just 34.3% of vessels arrived within one day of their scheduled arrival time in September. The average delay across the global fleet was more than a week.
“This means that September effectively saw the removal of 12% of all global vessel capacity from the market due to the delays,” said Sea-Intelligence chief executive Alan Murphy. “One way to look at it is to say that this is the same as the global fleet suddenly losing a carrier the size of CMA CGM or Cosco.
Shippers using Europe’s inland waterways are facing “phenomenal” surcharges and the prospect of cargo going undelivered, as barge operators contend with low water levels.
On Friday, Contargo announced €175 ($203) and €225 ($261) surcharges for 20ft and 40ft containers, respectively, if water levels dip below 80cm, as has been forecast, claiming its costs would increase as a result.
“Water level gauges on the Rhine are continuing to go down. In the next few days, a level below 80cm is forecast,” said Contargo. “From this, our barges – depending on type – can only transport around 27% of their capacity and our costs increase.
South Korea’s exports posted solid gains in October, but cooling momentum in its manufacturing sector highlighted challenges to the global trade recovery from supply chain disruptions and China’s energy shortage.
Exports advanced 24% from a year earlier, compared with economists’ estimate for a 28.5% gain, according to Trade Ministry data released Monday. The value of shipments—at $55.6 billion—was a record for October, a statement from the ministry showed.
Trade has underpinned the Korean economy through the pandemic, helping offset weakness in domestic consumption as the nation suffered multiple waves of Covid. The resilience in exports displayed in Monday’s data will solidify bets that the Bank of Korea will push ahead with another interest-rate increase at this month’s meeting.
With stock market-listed ocean carriers reporting even better-than-expected profits for the third quarter, their executive boards are being forced yet again to upgrade full-year earnings forecasts.
A third of the way through the final quarter, carrier profits are trending even stronger, as higher contract rates begin to filter through to voyage results and combine with the sky-high spot rates lines are enjoying across many trades.
Indeed, the massive industry-wide $150bn full-year estimate Drewry posited just a few weeks ago already appears a tad conservative.
Leaders from the U.S., European Union and 14 other nations on Sunday agreed at the G20 summit in Rome to work together, along with industry, unions and international organizations, to mitigate ongoing supply chain disruptions and make the entire system more resilient in the future.
President Joe Biden also took more steps Sunday to ease bottlenecks snarling the global supply chain.
“I want to make sure we have access to all the products we need, from shoes to furniture to electronics to automobiles,” Biden said during a press conference. “Ending the pandemic is the ultimate key to unlocking the disruptions we’re all contending with. But we have to take action now, together with our partners in the private sector, to reduce the backlogs that we’re facing. And then, we have to prevent this from happening again in the future.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) secretary general Kitack Lim believes a successful COP26 in Glasgow this week will help drive the maritime decarbonisation process.
Speaking to The Loadstar at COP26, Mr Lim said shipping had made great progress, but the transition to alternative fuels must happen more rapidly, and the national leaders meeting in Glasgow could be key to making that happen.
“We’re looking for a very positive outcome, because COP26 is very much related to what we are doing for maritime decarbonisation.”
With a near-record 75 container ships waiting outside the U.S.’s largest port complex in southern California, unionized dockworkers have strengthened their indispensable role in the supply chain.
Facing high import volumes, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are ramping up to 24/7 operations to help ease the congestion that experts say could continue well into next year. The San Pedro Bay ports are also levying a surcharge on ocean carriers whose containers languish too long.
But the expiration of about 15,000 West Coast dockworkers’ contracts next summer could throw a wrench in plans to clear the backlogs at the two ports that both rank in the bottom 25 of the World Bank and IHS Markit’s 351-member Container Port Performance Index.
Ilya Espino de Marotta has never shied from challenging convention. A Panamanian engineer who roams the locks of her country’s magnificent canal in a bright-pink hardhat (“a message that yes, I’m a girl and I can do this job”), she’s consistently rejected groupthink, helping propel her to executive vice president—second-in-command—of the Canal Authority.
Even she had no idea, when she started 35 years ago, how radical a change lay ahead. She expected ships to grow bigger and computers to get smaller. It never occurred to her, however, that Panama, one of the wettest countries on Earth, would stop getting the rainfall needed for the canal to thrive. That’s what’s happened. Today, Espino de Marotta has less time to lament the glass ceiling for women because she’s focused on an entirely unexpected obstacle: The Panama Canal is running out of water.
The Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) will invest US$277.6 million (240€ million) in the ports of Valencia and Sagunto to enhance their railway connections.
"We are approaching the railway closer to the companies so that containers travel by this means of transport," said the president of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), Aurelio Martínez, who also stated that this investment will allow the Port of Valencia to be the first in commercial relations via rail with Madrid, to have more transport volume and to consolidate its position "as the leading port in Spain."
Air freight is getting more expensive – but all flights aren’t full, signalling that demand is not yet as strong as expected.
According to the latest figures from Clive Data Services, capacity in October was 17% higher than a year earlier, while the dynamic load factor was 3 percentage points down, at 68%, although it rose 2 percentage points from September.
Rates, however, were 37% higher than a year earlier, but Clive noted that there were “significant market performance deviations”.