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…)

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…)

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…)

Review of 2018 Halifax Port Days

Review of 2018 Halifax Port Days

By Tom Peters

The developing technology to create a more efficient cargo supply chain, the status of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, and CN’s continued investment in safety and equipment to keep cargo moving fluidly, were among the main topics of discussion at the annual Halifax Port Days.

Digitization in the shipping industry grabbed the attention of delegates as a panel of business and technology experts focused on a new blockchain collaboration between Maersk and IBM, called TradeLens. The goal of the project is to develop a highly secure digital ledger system that promotes the sharing of information across the global shipping industry which can reduce costs, improve productivity, increase the speed of the delivery of goods and provide transparency. The Maersk-IBM blockchain will enable the needed safety and security for the digital platform. (more…)

Big spike in containership lay-ups mid-peak season a worry for owners

By Mike Wackett

Alphaliner’s bellwether containership idle tonnage data has recorded a big spike in vessels being consigned to lay-up, shifting the supply-demand balance back in favour of the charterer. The consultant said the capacity of the idle tonnage fleet had risen to 341,000 TEUs by the end of July, representing 1.6 per cent of the total global cellular fleet.

This is a worrying increase for shipowners, not least because this has happened in the middle of the peak season. Indeed, with the slack season not normally expected until October, Alphaliner said the amount of unemployed tonnage could reach 750,000 TEUs, or more, by the end of the year. (more…)

Yang Ming opts for greener containerships as it renews its charter fleet

By Mike Wackett

Taiwanese ocean carrier Yang Ming has signed long-term charter agreements for five 11,000 TEU and five 12,000 TEU newbuild ships for delivery between 2020 and 2021.

The carrier said the new eco-friendly ships were part of its “ongoing fleet renewal programme”, replacing older vessels with higher fuel consumption. It currently operates a fleet of 103 containerships, with a capacity of 632,000 TEUs. It charters 63 vessels and is ranked seventh in the carrier league table. (more…)