What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 40

EU flag over British flag

EU Says It Won’t Halt Brexit Talks Despite Renewing Legal Threat

The European Union said it won’t abandon trade talks with the U.K. even if Boris Johnson’s government doesn’t withdraw its plan to break international law.

Yet at the same time, the bloc renewed its threat to take legal action in a sign of just how delicate negotiations are as the clock ticks on a compromise.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, who held talks with U.K. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove in Brussels on Monday, said the EU would never pull out of negotiations on a future relationship despite the U.K.’s attempt to rewrite parts of the Brexit divorce treaty signed last year.

Source: AJOT

 

Capacity-constrained air cargo may be hit hard by peak season modal shift

Air freight has lost market share to ocean, a pattern common during downturns, but rare at the start of an economic upturn, said IATA today.

It notes that cheaper, slower sea freight becomes more attractive to shippers at the bottom of the cycle, but that air cargo rebounds when businesses need to rapidly refill inventories - but this has not happened.

Source: The Loadstar

 

Europe Invites a Trade Battle in its Fight Against Shipping Pollution

The European Union’s drive to use financial pressure to cut greenhouse-gas emissions risks inflaming tensions over international trade.

The European Parliament voted this month to require that oceangoing ships pay for the pollution they cause when they carry cargo to and from Europe by bringing shipping under the EU Emissions Trading System.

The plan still has a long way to go before it potentially takes hold, but it’s drawing sharp criticism from the shipping industry and raises the prospect of a broader conflict on trade. Any charges will add to the cost of moving goods through European seaports, making the carbon fee an effective tariff.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 

Qatar Cargo sees volumes improve while revenues decline

Qatar Cargo saw its volumes increase during the last fiscal year despite being affected by the ongoing China-US trade war and the initial stages of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Doha-based cargo firm saw its air cargo volumes increase by 2.8% year on year to 1.5m tonnes to the year ending March 31 as it became the world’s largest international cargo carrier, according to IATA cargo tonne km stats.

The increase also bucks the trend experienced by other top cargo carriers with IATA stats for the calendar year 2019 showing a decrease of 2.1% in terms of tonnes carried amongst the top 25 cargo airlines.

Source: AirCargo News

 

'Perfect storm' creates 'supply chain misery' for unhappy port of Felixstowe

High winds over the weekend in the UK, added to slow-working at the port of Felixstowe and the cyber-attack on CMA CGM, will result in “supply chain misery for weeks”, according sources.

One UK NVOCC told The Loadstar the continuing problems with Felixstowe’s vehicle booking system had caused “chaos”, and it had led to carriers diverting ships at the last minute to London Gateway and Southampton, “I didn’t think it could get any worse, until I came in yesterday to find CMA CGM had been hit by a cyber-attack and they couldn’t release B/Ls or do much else,” he said.

Source: The Loadstar

 

Union accuses Patrick Terminals of “spreading fear” and dishonesty

In what appears to be an intensification of the Australian docker’s dispute the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has accused management at Patrick Terminals of “spreading community fear” and lying with the aim of attacking workplace rights.

Patrick Terminals has made an application to Australia’s Fair Work Commission to end the dockers dispute at Sydney’s Botany Bay port following two years of wrangling between terminal operators and the unions.

Source: Container News

 

Georgia Ports Predicts Another Record Month for Container Volumes

The Georgia Ports Authority reported Monday that the Port of Savannah is on track to achieve a monthly record for September, following closely after the all-time record set last month. Based on cargo bookings, GPA is projecting roughly five percent growth for September compared to the same month last year, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 era. 

"We frankly didn't anticipate growth for the months of August and September, but we are gratified by the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our employees," said Lynch. "Although there is still much work to be done, Savannah's status as the number-one export port means it will play a critical role in the nation's economic recovery."

Source: The Maritime Executive

 

China makes slow progress on US trade deal as purchases slide

China reduced the pace of its purchases of U.S. goods in August, making slow progress in meeting the goals of its trade deal with the world’s biggest economy.

The value of U.S. goods bought by China declined from the previous month, led by a slowdown in energy products, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Customs Administration data. By the end of August, China had purchased about 32.8% of the full-year target of more than $170 billion—meaning it must buy about $115 billion of goods in the remaining four months of the year to comply with the agreement signed in January.

Source: AJOT, Bloomberg News