BDP Trendwatch: Shippers warned to brace for fuel surcharge rises; Missed port calls a headache for feeder operators as stranded containers pile up; China property and energy crises deliver blow to GDP growth

Shippers warned to brace for fuel surcharge rises

Shippers are being warned to prepare for higher bunker adjustment factors on top of already high freight rates as carriers seek to claw back rising fuel costs.

“Bunker fuel prices are impacted by the increasing energy costs globally and the recent escalations will also have an impact on rates in the coming months,” said Sea-Intelligence chief executive Alan Murphy.

Fuel prices dropped sharply at the beginning of the pandemic as global demand slowed. This coincided with the introduction of the International Maritime Organization's new sulphur rules in 2020 regulations and took the sting out of the tail as the mandate to use either scrubbers or low-sulphur fuel was introduced.

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Missed port calls a headache for feeder operators as stranded containers pile up

The decision by Maersk and other carriers to skip UK port calls due to berthing delays is proving a massive challenge for feeder operators tasked with relaying thousands of ‘overcarried’ containers.

Over-landed UK cargo is stacking up at the major hub ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp on already heavily congested terminals, and carriers are now looking at other ports, such as Zeebrugge and Wilhemshaven, to discharge frustrated UK imports.

Without any spare capacity available to relay the containers back to the UK, carriers are turning to feeder operators to “perform the impossible”, according to one feeder operator contact.

The Loadstar


China property and energy crises deliver blow to GDP growth

China’s housing slump and electricity shortages dragged down economic growth last quarter, with signs there will be more pain to come as the country heads into winter and property curbs remain.

Gross domestic product expanded 4.9% from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday, down from 7.9% in the previous quarter, and largely in line with economists’ projections.

Beijing has signaled it’s not rushing to stimulate the economy, suggesting growth may continue to slow in the coming months. That means the country’s usual voracious demand for construction-related commodities could weaken further.

AJOT, Bloomberg


New focus on cargo will be 'a permanent structural shift' for airlines

Air cargo’s moment in the spotlight will change the aviation industry for good, with fleet and network decisions likely to be shared rather than passenger arm choices.

“The focus on cargo will be a permanent shift,” said Wille Walsh, director general of IATA, at the World Cargo Symposium in Dublin last week.

“Cargo wasn’t an afterthought, but it was a less significant factor [for many airlines]. And decisions that have favoured passengers have often gone against what cargo businesses want - for example, orders for the A380, not a cargo-friendly aircraft.

The Loadstar


Legislators propose federal office to manage supply chain crises

With supply chain issues expected to stretch well into next year, lawmakers are looking to centralize Washington's response and encourage more companies to bring manufacturing processes closer to home to better insulate the U.S. from catastrophic disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Looking at these issues and preventing something from happening again in the future is key for U.S. security,” said Natalie M. Scala, associate professor and graduate program director of supply chain management at Towson University, “as well as just for the well-being of American citizens to be able to get the products when they need it.”



Massive surge in insurance costs: The next big worry for box lines

There is increasing fear among liners who expect a massive dent in their gains in the form of hiked insurance costs, despite record profits being earned through sky-high freight rates.

Two UK-based P&I Clubs have sent out strong signals pointing in the same direction. The London Club announced a supplementary call for additional capital of up to 25% over original budgets from clients being covered by the firm over the past three years.

In addition to this, the West of England P&I Club proposed a hike of 15% in insurance costs for next year. The firms cited various reasons to back their proposals which included additional costs being incurred in cases involving Covid-19, the unprecedented rise in the number of claims, and 'acute softness' in ratings in the P&I sector.

Container News


Schiphol takes a battering from critics, but stands firm on slots, prices and SAF

Schiphol seems to hit the headlines more often than rival airports, and not in a good way: the latest bombshell is that it is being sued by IATA over its new ‘policy rule’ for slot allocation.

Netherlands slot coordinator ACNL has decided on various new priorities for slot allocation for summer 2022, including a list of ‘priority destinations’.

However, IATA argues that it contravenes European legislation and was improperly implemented, resulting in “egregious impacts”.

The Loadstar


No need to cancel Christmas, say freight experts

Reports about the potential for widespread empty shelves this winter have been exaggerated, say freight representatives, with plenty of freight volumes moving to ensure a broadly adequate supply – so long as consumers don’t engage in widespread panic buying.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) stressed that freight forwarding companies “remain committed to delivering a suitably festive Yuletide, as we witness a seasonal whirlwind of worry and rumour that this year’s Christmas festivities in around ten weeks may just not happen as a result of the current supply chain challenges”.

BIFA said it “is time to maintain a sense of perspective, or the headlines may become a self-fulfilling prophecy”.

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FMC calls on ocean carriers to adopt best practices on detention and demurrage

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission is formally urging the world’s top ocean carriers to adopt a set of best practices related to when and how detention and demurrage fees are applied, as well as how to dispute the charges.

The request was made by letter from FMC Managing Director Lucille Marvin to 25 container shipping companies and the World Shipping Council, the trade association representing liner companies, following a Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (VOCC) audit into detention and demurrage practices among the world’s top shipping companies calling in the U.S.