Container lines “aggressively target” breakbulk and project cargo with ‘rock bottom’ rates

By Mike Wackett

The aggressive targeting by container lines of the MPV (multipurpose vessel) market with “rock bottom” rates is set to continue, according to Drewry. In its recently published Multipurpose Shipping Market Review and Forecast 2016, the shipping consultant says the past 12 months have been “dreadful” for the MPV market. It says weak demand, coupled with falling commodity prices and the oversupply of tonnage in competing sectors, has brought freight rates down to levels not seen since the global financial crisis.

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Drewry questions viability of ultra-large container vessels, as carriers focus on cost-cutting

By Mike Wackett

If losses continue and ocean carriers persist in focusing only on reducing costs rather than improving revenue per TEU, the container liner industry “could get very ugly” in the second half of the year, said Drewry on April 4. Most carriers operated in the red in the final quarter of 2015, despite achieving satisfactory vessel load factors, as average freight rates per container declined dramatically.

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Suez cuts transit fees for U.S.-Asia ships to combat cost-saving allure of Cape of Good Hope

By Mike Wackett

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has reacted to the increasing number of backhaul voyages being routed to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope by offering cheaper tariffs.

The reduction in transit fees follows reports that over 100 cargo vessels have chosen the longer route via the southern tip of Africa in the final quarter of last year, resulting in a substantial loss of revenue for the Egyptian government. The diversions were also a blow to the authorities and private investors who contributed approximately $8 billion in a 35km second channel that was expected to increase canal traffic.

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Rates hit rock bottom: ‘shippers will have to pay more or boxlines will go broke’

By Gavin van Marle

Contracted container shipping rates on the Asia-North Europe trade have probably reached rock bottom, according to forwarders operating on the trade and freight rate analyst Xeneta. Xeneta Managing Director Patrick Berglund presented a freight rate analysis of the first three months on the westbound Asia-North Europe and eastbound transpacific trades. Xeneta data shows a 78 per cent decline in freight rates from Asia to North Europe in the average market spot rate from the beginning of January this year to the end of March. The average rate at the beginning of the year was $2,062 per 40ft, pushed up by a series of general rate increases in anticipation of Chinese New Year.

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Thunder Bay celebrates resumption of shipping

Thunder Bay Port Authority hosted its annual Opening of Navigation Luncheon marking the opening of the shipping season in the port of Thunder Bay. The Luncheon featured a presentation from a leader in marine logistics solutions on the Great Lakes, Blair McKeil, Chairman and CEO of McKeil Marine Limited. Tim Heney, Chief Executive Officer of Thunder Bay Port Authority, also provided a brief update on the 2016 shipping season.

The Opening of Navigation Luncheon is a platform for the Port Authority to keep stakeholders informed about marine transportation in our port and throughout the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway System.