Outlook for freight rates
Transpacific container shipping markets continue their downward spiral, with spot rates now largely falling below $4,000 per feu on routes to the US west coast. The levels are said to be approaching the breakeven point even for the larger carriers.
After a two-year frenzy, the container shipping market shows signs of normalization. The question now is how it will avoid past mistakes during a period of slowdown.
Measures against port congestion
Opening a road-rail corridor will streamline truck haulage in Prince Rupert without increasing traffic in the local community. It is another step to attract more export and import transloading operations that the western Canadian port hopes will significantly boost its cargo volumes.
The port operating arm of Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Hutchison Ports will jointly develop and operate a new automated container terminal in the port of Rotterdam. Its handling capacity is expected to be six to seven million TEU annually. The project will significantly expand container handling in Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest box port.
Container lines continue to invest in equipment to build up buffers despite the expected ease of congestion reducing container availability, and an anticipated slowdown in demand.
Disruption of the supply chain in China
Container export volumes have fallen by up to 8 percent along the Yangtze River due to disruption to barge services and manufacturing output amid the severe drought and power outages in China’s central and western parts.
Lockdown measures in Shenzhen have started to hit its logistics sector, raising concerns that more disruptions could emerge as the latest coronavirus flare-up remains untamed.
Container lines’ schedule reliability improved
Service reliability remains way below pre-pandemic levels, but delays to containership schedules are coming down. In particular, Evergreen improved its schedule reliability significantly and became the second best performing liner operator in July, according to the latest Global Liner Performance report compiled by Sea-Intelligence.
Read more: Lloyd’s List
FMC receives a shippers association complaint against Maersk
U Shippers Group, a New York-based shippers’ association, has complained to the Federal Maritime Commission regarding a contract agreed with Maersk in June 2020. According to U Shippers Group, damages for the association and its members are more than $180m, resulting from lost fees and higher shipping costs from alternative carriers. An initial decision will be issued by August next year, with a final decision by March 2024.
Read more: Lloyd’s List
Topics on decarbonization
CMA CGM has allocated $1.5 billion to a new company fund to accelerate its transition to green energy. The highly profitable Marseilles-based carrier aggressively ramps up investment in decarbonization and its business expansion, although CEO warned that the downturn in the container shipping market has begun.
Port and terminals are in a unique position to drive climate change but will need to invest and find ways of passing those costs along to their customers.
A lobby group for the world’s container lines says it is unclear whether low-emission fuels would be viable under the plan submitted by developing countries to IMO. It also says it is too complicated, and changes are needed on how it measures emissions to work.
While all carriers invest heavily in new ships to use various fossil-free or near-zero fuels, the industry is still waiting for a regulatory framework to encourage infrastructure investment and an industry-financed research and development (R&D) fund to identify and produce alternative fuels.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has postponed the rollout of its new clean truck program until next spring to give truckers more time to comply. The port’s Rolling Truck Age Program aims to phase out trucks serving the port 12 years and older to introduce lower-emission vehicles to improve air quality throughout the region. Kickoff is now scheduled for April 3, 2023, following the port’s talks with Transport Canada earlier in September, amid growing pushback from truckers who have complained about the lack of financial support to update their fleet and threatened to turn off their engines for a day.
Venders: Existing solutions could be elixirs to ‘emergency’ data-sharing
US shippers and their service providers often struggle with conflicting information, with carriers providing one date on an arrival notice and visibility systems providing a different date. But software providers have said that solutions exist that address some of the goals the FMC is seeking to accomplish with its review of whether to declare an emergency situation. For instance, London-based forwarding technology provider Vector.ai launched a new arrival notice product for its customers designed to help them convey more accurate estimated times of arrivals (ETAs) for containers and help forwarders understand what to do if containers are delayed.
Read more: JOC