World Maritime News (41)

Topics on shipping lines and logistics

Many governments are looking for ways to fund emergency measures to shield their populations from the impact of the energy crisis. So it is reasonable to expect renewed attention on the lenient tax regime shipowners have long enjoyed. When an industry is raking in billions of dollars of profit each quarter and paying less than two percentage points of tax, expect politicians and the public to take notice. That is the situation facing container shipping, which is set to make more money in the 2021-23 period than it did between its inception in the 1950s and 2020.

In the meantime, container spot freight rates continue to slide, with the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index falling another 10% this week. The comprehensive index now sits at a level not seen since the end of 2020, having wiped out all the dramatic gains of 2021. The main reason for the drop in freight rates, according to Alphaliner, was “weak cargo demand.” “The phenomenal rise in energy costs and high inflation will further impact consumer spending,” it said.

Demand levels are falling, and more capacity is returning to the market. As a result, carriers will need to increase blankings to avoid a continued slide in freight rates. Capacity management is set to become the new concern for container lines as they seek to put a floor under the sharp decline in freight rates in recent weeks.

Rampant North American consumer goods demand and an acceleration in sourcing shifts away from China during the COVID-19 pandemic have boosted trade between the United States and India to record highs. “The India–US trade grew at an accelerated pace in the first five months of 2022 due to volume-driven orders placed by leading retail players and online marketplaces like Walmart, JCPenney, Target, Amazon, etc.,” a spokesperson for Allcargo Logistics explained.

In a major step toward chipping away at the Port of Colombo’s dominance in containerized trade in and out of the Indian subcontinent, India has approved handling Bangladesh transshipment cargo for export via the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) and Mundra in a “sea-rail multimodal” mode, according to India’s customs department. Under the transloading model, laden containers from Bangladesh will be carried by barge or short-sea container ships to Kolkata or Haldia on the east coast of India and then loaded onto trains and hauled to JNPT or Mundra on the west coast, the primary gateways for long-haul liner services in the region. The two governments have also renewed an “inland water transit and trade” treaty, India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said in a statement.


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Acquisition and development of container terminals

Hapag-Lloyd has agreed to buy a minority stake in Italian terminal operator and logistics company Spinelli Group to expand its Mediterranean terminal footprint. The stake acquisition is more likely to be about securing terminal capacity than a move into the vertical integration adopted by rivals such as Maersk and CMA CGM.

Cosco Shipping Ports’ acquisition of a 35 percent stake in HHLA’s Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) in Hamburg, agreed to by both parties in September last year, has yet to be approved by German authorities. The minority stake in CTT is intended to give Cosco Shipping a strategic transshipment hub in North Europe, but more than a year after signing the deal with HHLA, the transaction remains in limbo.

Shanghai, home to the world’s busiest container port, plans to build a new terminal to extend the existing Yangshan Deepwater Port to improve its service capacity and the river-to-sea intermodal shipping in the Yangtze River Delta region. The new container terminal for feeder and shortsea services will have a 5,500 m container quay line and an annual handling capacity of 11.6m teu.


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An issue on OSRA-22

Condensed timelines for the passage and implementation of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA-22) prevent the law from living up to its intended purpose when addressing longstanding problems with demurrage billing. The relatively short period between OSRA-22’s formation and its passage and the lack of a grace period for compliance mean that technical issues are preventing the industry from adhering to those new mandates. But the software providers, who are largely complimentary of the law’s attempts to reshape an out-of-whack demurrage billing process, say those technical gaps have created a situation in which the law’s impact is not yet living up to the spirit of its original intent.


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Suez Canal Authority to raise transit tolls by 15%

The Suez Canal Authority will increase transit fees for dry bulkers and cruise ships by 10% and other vessel types by 15% next year. The SCA said that the increases were “inevitable and a necessity” with more than 8% global inflation rates, which adds to increased operational costs, including navigational services provided in the canal. In April, shipowners criticized the canal authority for raising rates due to the war in Ukraine by 7%-20% without sufficient notice. That came on top of an increase of between 5% and 10% for most asset classes in February.


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Port strikes could have an impact beyond the UK

The two-week strike at the port of Liverpool, which started on 19 September night, is unlikely to have a significant effect on wider port congestion, but when combined with a new strike at Felixstowe in the next week, more cargo could go to northern European hubs that are only just starting to see congestion ease.


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Topics on shipping decarbonization

Decarbonization is expected to shift the balance of influence from shipowners to cargo owners, who decide which ship will carry a cargo based on the Scope III emission profile. DNV Maritime president Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen said, “maritime cannot resolve this issue alone. We will have to reach out to other industries, policymakers, and authorities in different geographies to get this going.”

The shipping industry is not on a trajectory to hit net zero by 2050. The only way it will find the pace and scale required to correct this dangerous path is to stop looking at this as a shipping problem.


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Visibility providers aim to create air-ocean link

Two freight visibility providers targeting different modes have created a commercial partnership to help shippers link tracking across air and ocean freight shipments. The partnership between Germany-based BlueBox Systems and California-based Vizion aims at aligning BlueBox’s airfreight visibility data with Vizion’s container shipping data. A Vizion spokesperson described the relationship as more than just a sales channel partnership, but rather two data-oriented companies with complementary products tapping into one another’s customer networks to broaden the scope of their respective offerings.


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