A bumper year for China-Europe rail, but growing demand could derail services

By Sam Whelan, Asia correspondent

It’s been another bumper year, so far, for China-Europe rail freight, but surging volumes are putting pressure on infrastructure and denting transit times. According to China Railway Corporation, 2,497 freight trains ran during the first six months, up 69 per cent year on year, with growth on target to reach 5,000 trains by year-end.

DB Schenker’s Greater China Chief Executive, Christopher Pollard, said the 3PL operated services on all of the 15 regular lines running from China to Europe, the vast majority of which terminate in Germany, via Poland. On average, the trains take 12 days to reach Poland, but 17 days to Germany – “two days slower than the lead time could be at best, due to efficiency issues along the route,” he told The Loadstar. (more…)

Mansi Sheth winner of CIFFA’s 2018 scholarship

CIFFA is pleased to announce that its scholarship adjudication committee has selected this year’s winner of the CIFFA Scholarship Program: Mansi Sheth, daughter of Kuehne + Nagel employee Dipti Sheth. Mansi is currently enrolled in her 3rd year of a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological and Chemical Sciences. Mansi plans to enroll in the Master’s Degree Program in Biotechnology or Bioinformatics at the University of Toronto, and will upgrade her degree by pursuing Humber College’s Supply Chain Management graduate certificate. (more…)

The digital age is not quite the disruptor freight forwarders feared, says report

By Alexander Whiteman

Online platforms may be improving freight forwarding’s front end, but those predicting the demise of the traditional operator may have overestimated the impact of technology.

Transport Intelligence’s recently published Global Freight Forwarding 2018 report, which polled 20 major forwarders and several online platforms, believes the tech crowd are not the transformative power many feared. (more…)

Last panamax box ship to sail out of lay-up escapes the scrapping grim reaper

By Mike Wackett

A panamax container vessel idle for more than three years has finally left its berth in Brunei Bay, Malaysia – but not bound for a scrapyard. 2010-built 5,100 TEU Cornelia 1 is understood to be heading for drydocking and reactivation in Hong Kong, after securing time charter employment. It is the final non-operating owned panamax vessel to come out of mothballing and has been in cold lay-up for 38 months, according to Alphaliner data. The panamax sector experienced a torrid time after the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016 enabled vessels up to some 12,000 TEU to use the waterway. (more…)

Capacity cuts and trade war combine to increase container tonnage laying idle

By Mike Wackett

A perfect storm of radical capacity cuts by carriers and U.S. president Donald Trump’s threat to hike tariffs on Chinese goods could see many more containerships laid-up, according to Alphaliner. Shipping association BIMCO warned that over a quarter of container trade on the transpacific could be at risk from the escalating U.S.-China tit-for-tat trade war. The latest data from Alphaliner, based on a survey on 3 September, records 143 idled ships, for 408,283 TEUs representing 1.8 per cent of the total global cellular fleet. It said: “Idled numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks due to service cancellations for the winter slack season.” Alphaliner noted that that the service cuts announced so far were “significantly more severe” than those in 2017. (more…)