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…)

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…)

TT Club says still more needs to be done to ensure container safety

By Alexander Whiteman

As the IMO’s sub-committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers met in London during mid-September, TT Club is demanding urgent action on container safety. The major problem is mis-declared dangerous goods, it says, and suggests it leads to a major container fire every 60 days on average.

Risk management Director Peregrine Storrs-Fox said: “Achieving integrity across the web of the supply chain is a big ask and we’re in little doubt a comprehensive result will take time to achieve. “However, many industry bodies are making significant strides, particularly in the areas of dangerous goods identification, declaration and handling, as well as container weighing and packing. (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…)

Venta Maersk completes first Northern Sea Route passage

By Gavin van Marle

The first Maersk containership to complete the Polar sea passage from Asia to Europe via the North Pole – the so-called Northern Sea Route – arrived in St Petersburg on September 28. Venta Maersk, a 3,596 TEU ice-class vessel designed to operate the company’s Baltic feeder services, departed Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok on 22 August. It called at Russia’s other main Pacific box port of Vostochny and the South Korean hub of Busan before transiting the Bering Strait on 6 September. Its next call was Germany’s North Sea transhipment hub of Bremerhaven before its arrival in St Petersburg. (more…)

Tech aims to turn supply chain logistics from a cost driver into a value driver

By Sam Whelan, Asia correspondent

Door-to-door cargo marketplace FreightCrate Technologies is the latest Indian start-up offering price transparency and booking automation to logistics. The platform connects shippers with 25 “vetted” forwarders for quotes and centralized shipment management covering 50,000 global locations. “Our vision is to utilize cutting-edge technology to create a freight management system that can automate and optimize international trade operations for global businesses,” said FreightCrate co-founder and chief executive Samir Lambay. “We are trying to drive home the idea that supply chain and logistics is no longer just a cost driver but a value driver for businesses.” (more…)

Fears over future container terminal capacity as investors get cold feet

By Gavin van Marle

Declining returns on invested capital (ROIC) in the container port sector has led to fewer terminal projects and fears that capacity may become increasing limited. According to Neil Davidson, Director of Ports at analyst Drewry, while EBITDA levels and margins for terminal operators have remained relatively resilient over the past decade, “average ROIC has declined from 8.3 per cent in 2008 to 5.5 per cent last year”. “A direct consequence of this is the current low level of greenfield port projects and global projected capacity expansion at just 2 per cent, which means terminal utilization will increase,” he said. Mr. Davidson told The Loadstar that it is the higher capital costs of building ports today, due to the need for larger cranes, deeper water and more land for yard and terminal space to cater for the larger ships that was causing the most pain. (more…)

CMA CGM price cut shocks rival box carriers trying to push up rates

By Mike Wackett

CMA CGM has shocked the market by reducing Asia-North Europe FAK rates at a time when most carriers are trying to drive them up. The French carrier published new FAK rates of $1,000 for a 20ft container and $1,800 for a 40ft. Valid from 24 September – “until further notice but not beyond 14 October”– they are down from $1,100 and $2,000, respectively. For a 40ft high-cube and 40ft reefer, rates are reduced from $2,050 to $1,850. (more…)

CMA CGM sails back into the black in Q2, but treads red water for first half

By Mike Wackett

CMA CGM bucked the trend of its loss-making ocean carrier peers in the second quarter, producing a net profit of $23 million and an EBIT margin of 1.2 per cent. However, the French carrier remained in negative territory for the first half of the year, recording a cumulative loss of $54 million. Turnover in the second quarter was up 7.4 per cent on the same period of 2017, to $5.7 billion, from a 9.6 per cent growth in liftings to 5.2 million TEUs. EBIT was $67 million, a massive 86 per cent lower than the year before, and CMA CGM’s net income plunged by a similar percentage. (more…)

Rush for space on Asia-Europe as box carriers spark new capacity crunch

By Mike Wackett

North European shippers are scrambling to book space on October sailings to Asia, ahead of a new capacity crunch. The decision by ocean carriers to void eleven voyages from Asia to North Europe in October to halt the slide in container spot rates will result in a similar number of cancelled backhaul sailings in November and December. One UK forwarder told The Loadstar today he was encouraging his customers to bring forward as much cargo as possible due to the uncertainty of export ships. “We can’t get any sense out of the carriers as to what ships they will be running and when,” he said, “some have told us that there will be other options, but they have yet to give us any detail. “We are also being restricted on receiving windows at the container terminals, due to congestion on the quay, and some carriers are deciding not to load exports on the nominated calls. That is adding to the supply chain mess,” he said. (more…)