What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 41

Asian shippers hit by double-whammy of lack of boxes and capacity squeeze

Shippers in Asia face a double-whammy of equipment shortages and tight shipping capacity that is driving an unrelenting spike in short-term contract rates.

Vessels to North Europe and the US west coast are reportedly “fully booked for two to three weeks after Golden Week”, according to one Shanghai-based NVOCC source.

“Additionally, some of the carriers just do not have any 40ft high-cube containers at their depots, so even if we could get a booking, we can’t get hold of the boxes,” he said.

Source: The Loadstar


Air cargo’s COVID-19 arms race

More airlines and logistics firms are fortifying their pharmaceutical handling capabilities and credentials ahead of an expected COVID-19 vaccine release.

Several companies this week announced new product offerings, investments or logistics arrangements aimed at vaccine manufacturers. Industry officials have warned that there isn’t enough cold-chain infrastructure worldwide to support an immediate delivery schedule, and urged governments and companies to identify gaps in the delivery system and make any necessary investment.

Source: Freight Waves, American Shipper


Terminal operator and port authority clash over expansion for Vancouver

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) plans for a fourth container terminal have been halted by a government request for more information.

As he considers the project’s impact, Canadian minister of environment and climate change Jonathan Wilkinson has called for further consultation with groups whose land is adjacent to the site.

Source: The Loadstar


Brexit timeline: One month to get a deal or messy breakup

U.K. and European Union negotiators are heading into an intense two weeks of negotiations to try and secure a comprehensive trade agreement after seven months of talks ended in stalemate.

To reach a deal, both sides will need to find compromises on state aid and fishing—the two big areas of disagreement that have so far prevented a deal being struck.

Source: AJOT


COVID ‘lockdowns’ fail to stop €85 million of cargo thefts

Over €85 million of products were stolen from air, road, sea and rail freight supply chains in 46 countries in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region in the first half of 2020, even with national COVID-related lockdowns restricting people and vehicle movements, according to the latest data from the Transported Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) Incident Information Service (IIS).

While the activities of opportunist, ad hoc cargo thieves almost certainly reduced in the first six months of the year, TAPA says its 2020H1 intelligence indicates the strong presence of Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) across the EMEA region, and suggests many were ‘stealing to order’ given the number of losses of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other in-demand goods such as Food & Drink and Cosmetics & Hygiene products.

Source: AJOT


Port of Halifax Works to Clear Container Backlog

The Port of Halifax, Canada is working to clear a backlog of containers that have been accumulating at its terminals. In part due to the rebound in traffic after the coronavirus related slowdowns in the spring, and then a strike at the neighboring Port of Montreal, Halifax has found itself working to deal with thousands of additional containers passing through the port.

A port spokesperson admitted to the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) that it has been a bit of a logjam at the port. However, they are hopeful that they will finally be able to catch up in the next week.

Source: The Maritime Executive


United Airlines cargo planes to share space again with passengers

United Airlines’ (NYSE: UAL) decision to convert some cargo-only flights between Asia and San Francisco to passenger service and resume nonstop service between the West Coast city and Shanghai will provide some much-needed capacity and speed for businesses desperate to move goods by air.

United said Friday that its three weekly passenger-freighter flights between Taipei, Taiwan, and San Francisco will change to passenger flights and that mini-freighter flights between San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea, will also revert to passenger flights at an increased frequency of five times per week.

Source: Freight Waves, American Shipper


CMA CGM Still Recovering from Cyberattack, IMO is Back Online

A week after it was first hit by a cyberattack, shipping giant CMA CGM Group is still working to restore full operations to its systems. After initially believing that the attack had been limited in scope and that it had been able to prevent the spread of malware on its systems, the shipping line later reported that more details on the attack saying that there had also likely been a data breach.

As of today, CMA CGM continues to have an alert posted on its website saying, “We have decided to temporarily suspend all access to our eCommerce websites to protect our customers.” They are however assuring everyone that all communications to and from the CMA CGM Group are secure, including emails, transmitted files, and electronic data interchange.

Source: The Maritime Executive


Panama Canal closes 2020 fiscal year with 475 million tons

The Panama Canal closed its 2020 fiscal year with an annual tonnage of 475.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), thanks in part to the safe environment and uninterrupted service maintained for its clients and workforce, amid the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canal’s priority was to ensure the well-being of the nearly 10,000 men and women who make up our team and reaffirmed their commitment by adapting to the changes imposed by this pandemic in order to guarantee the continuous operation of the waterway,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morales.

The fiscal period that ran from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020, painted two different pictures for the Panama Canal, with a first semester that exceeded expectations, followed by another that saw a pandemic begin to disrupt lives and economies worldwide.

Source: AJOT