What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 51

Fury at another new surcharge: carriers 'cashing in' on a self-created crisis

Freight forwarders are “exasperated” by the latest surcharge added to their already sky-high bill by shipping lines.

It’s an “Emergency Space Surcharge”, levied by CMA CGM, of $200 per teu from 15 December from south eastern Indian ports to major destinations in Europe and Central and South America.

CMA CGM imposed a similar surcharge on 1 March for some routes out of north Europe.

Source: The Loadstar


CMA CGM ramps up its capacity between Asia and Europe in response to unprecedented demand

The CMA CGM Group has accelerated the redeployment of its capacity, demonstrating once again its agile approach and the commitment of its employees. CMA CGM has boosted the capacity assigned to lines between Asia and Europe by 6% for the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period of 2019. It will make further additions in the first quarter of 2021, when capacity will be 10% higher than in the current quarter. Practically speaking, this ramp-up will be provided by:

A new class of nine 9 23,000-TEU LNG-powered vessels assigned to Asia-Europe trade, three of which are already in service.

Two extra loaders operating on routes between Asia and Europe, providing over 9,000 TEU in total capacity, with special departures from China to France and the Netherlands in late December 2020.

No blank sailing departures on the FAL 1 and FAL 3 lines since the recovery began in Asia in mid-May.

Source: AJOT


U.K. Businesses Plead for Time to Avoid Brexit Cliff Edge

British business groups pleaded with the government to extend the time they have to prepare for the nation’s departure from the European Union after leaders from both sides agreed to continue talks.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday gave negotiators another shot at reaching a deal on the terms of trade before the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31.

Lobby groups responded with relief at the prospect that the sides may yet avoid a no-deal divorce, which would mean the application of costly tariffs and quotas. The raft of changes that Brexit nevertheless entails - from licensing standards to paperwork requirements - mean U.K. companies still have a lot of work ahead to adjust to their new relationship with the nation’s biggest trading partner.

Source: Supply Chain Brain, Bloomberg


Flow of US imports continues to surge - now at twice the rate of exports

With no let-up in consumer demand, container imports into the 10 largest US ports soared by 25% last month, compared with the previous year.

And with the forward booking visibility of transpacific carriers indicating that the US import boom is set to continue to at least the Chinese New Year in February, import throughput is likely to stay high.

However, the intense focus on repositioning empty equipment back to Asia, to meet export demand and benefit from the exceptional high market rates, has skewed the trade imbalance further.

Source: The Loadstar


Liner capacity control and the future of container shipping

The world’s container liner business is now so consolidated that it can deftly match vessel capacity to cargo demand. This change - courtesy of mergers and alliances - is structural, not cyclical. If there’s a single thesis for container shipping in 2020, that is it.

Assuming it’s true, there could be major future implications for the cargo shippers, yards, box-equipment owners and ship lessors who do business with liners.

If liners can indefinitely calibrate capacity to cargo demand, the future newbuilding orderbook should be far less of a threat to liner profits and far less of a savior for shippers.

Source: Freight Waves, American Shipper


Rising demand drives European road freight capacity up, while rates dip

Trucking capacity on Europe’s roads rose sharply last month as hauliers saw significantly more demand, according to new research from Transporeon and Tim Consult.

However, the extra capacity also brought a slight decline in road freight rates.

“We saw more road transport capacity available on the spot market in November. This trend has stabilised,” said Oliver Kahrs, managing director of Tim Consult, a Transporeon subsidiary.

Source: The Loadstar


HSBC sees vaccine supporting Asia-Pacific air freight rates in 2021

HSBC expects vaccine distribution to support cargo rates at Asia-Pacific carriers in 2021, with Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Korean Air, and China’s ‘big three’ to be the main beneficiaries.

In a research note, HSBC estimates that coronavirus vaccine distribution will add just 2% to global air cargo demand, but that this will have a “meaningful impact” on airfreight rates given that bellyhold capacity on passenger jets isn’t likely to recover until the second half of 2021 or even 2022.

Source: Air Cargo News


US east coast ports expand to handle traffic bypassing congestion in the west

While the US east coast ports are in expansion mode, anticipating growth, the nation’s prime maritime gateway on the west coast remains choked with traffic.

The congestion that has plagued the port complex of Los Angeles and Long Beach in recent months has got worse lately, with dwell times for vessels of almost a week, while on the docks containers pile up, slowing movement of boxes off the facilities.

There has been rapid growth in container volumes at the port complex, which temporarily reversed the loss of market share to east and Gulf coast ports, but the delays are reinforcing forwarders’ plans to shift imports from Asia away from California.

Source: The Loadstar


Shippers prepare for bruising Asia/Europe contract season

European shippers are preparing for the upcoming contract season with a warning to shipping lines that should they seek to maintain the massive hikes in rates seen over this extraordinary year they will take further action.

Reports of Asia to Europe rates as high as US$10,000/FEU are said to include the various surcharges applicable to freight currently moving on the trades, but James Hookham, Secretary General of the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), told Container News, that the European Union (EU) renewed the lines’ Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) just before the Covid-19 virus hit trade. “That hasn’t been forgotten, it’s unfinished business,” he said.

Source: Container News


EU's Plan to Halve Emissions by 2030 May Hit Bunkering Costs

The European Union's leaders have reached a deal to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, nearly matching a European Parliament goal of a 60 percent reduction over the same timeframe. The ambitious target is likely to raise the price of carbon credits on the EU Emissions Trading System marketplace from about $30-37 per tonne today to nearly $110 per tonne in 2030, according to new estimates published by Refinitv.

Source: The Maritime Executive


China’s exports soar, but demand slowdown predicted in 2021

China’s exports continued to surge in November putting even more pressure on freight markets. However, analysts expect demand to start slowing next year as consumption habits revert to more normal patterns.

China reported 21.1% export growth in US dollar terms last month, the fastest recorded this year and up from 11.4% in October. Exports to the EU and the US drove the expansion, rising 25.9% and 45.5%, year on year, respectively.

China’s exports have gathered speed every month since June, with the country’s exporters benefitting from being the first economy to move out of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and the massive financial relief provided in Europe and the US to maintain consumption levels.

Source: Lloyd´s Loading List


New container trade review highlights rising costs and declining service

Container shipping lines are making better margins than ever, according to new research, which suggests that while customers face escalating freight rates, carrier operating costs have been declining.

The Container Shipping Market Quarterly Review, published by UK consultant MDS Transmodal in conjunction with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), is a new container market monitor which assesses the state of the market by eight indicators: trade volumes; shipping capacity; capacity utilisation; carrier costs and revenues; market competitiveness; port connectivity; service performance; and CO2 emissions.

Source: The Loadstar


More than half of Busan’s empty boxes are dirty or damaged

Trailer drivers in Busan have complained that shipping lines are neglecting to inspect, clean and repair containers, instead they have passed on the responsibility to them.

Around 52% of empty containers lying in Busan Port are in poor condition, according to Busan Port Authority’s (BPA) examination of a sample of empty containers across the nine terminals in South Korea’s busiest container port.

Source: Container News


Exceptionally strong air freight demand set to continue until Chinese New Year

Global air freight demand is exceptionally strong currently and is likely to remain so until Chinese New Year next February, according to a leading air charter broker, with peak traffic levels heightened further by modal shift from ocean to air due to problems in sea freight markets.

“We are in a very, very busy period at the present time,” Air Partner’s director for freight and VP for Asia Pacific, Mike Hill, told Lloyd’s Loading List in an interview. “Capacity was already stretched before the ‘double whammy’ of the traditional peak season during Q4 (the fourth quarter) – particularly strong this year, driven by the B2C e-commerce boom and given further impetus by the lockdowns triggered by the pandemic.”

Source: Lloyd´s Loading List