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US SEA FREIGHT CONTAINER IMPORTS SET TO GROW

May 18 2016
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US container imports are set to grow rapidly in the coming months, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report produced by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, the report said import cargo volumes at the US’s major retail container ports would reach almost record levels this summer. Ports covered by Global Port Tracker saw a 14.2% month-on-month decline in March partly because of a carryover from Chinese New Year factory closings. “It was also down a dramatic 23.7% from the all-time record high set in March 2015 after a new contract with dockworkers ended a near-shutdown at West Coast ports and brought a flood of backlogged cargo through the ports,” said the report. Although March through June monthly volumes are expected to see year-on-year declines, box imports to the US in the first half of 2016 are still expected to total 9 million TEU, up 1.4% from the same period in 2015, mostly due to the huge year-on-year gains recorded in the first tw ...

3D PRINTING OPENS SECURITY CONCERNS FOR FREIGHT

May 17 2016
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Security firm G4S says criminals are using 3D-printing technology to create fake cargo security seals and other security devices to disguise cargo thefts, according to the security information service SecuringIndustry.com. It said the technology allowed thieves to make counterfeit copies of devices such as ISO 17712 high-security cargo seals and locks or padlocks in as little as 10 minutes, allowing them to hide signs of tampering and make it difficult to identify the location or time of the theft. For a few hundred dollars, a person can purchase a 3D scanner that creates the CAD technical specifications needed to produce a near-perfect replica. Recent examples of the activity include the theft last year of a pharma shipment from a Swiss freight forwarding and logistics company’s container, and the posting online of CAD master files allowing anyone with a 3D printer to create keys and open any Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, SecuringIndustry.com repor ...

UK AIR FREIGHT AND AIRPORT EXPANSION

May 11 2016
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Heathrow Airport says it will meet and, in most cases, exceed conditions set out by the government’s Airports Commission recommendations for expanding the hub when building a third runway. In July 2015, the government appointed Airports Commission released its report, recommending Heathrow should receive approval for a third runway. In its report, the Airports Commission set out a number of conditions including banning night flights, predictable respite for locals, compensations for those losing their homes, expanding within air quality limits and ruling out a fourth runway. The government has yet to formally respond to the report. Heathrow Airport’s chief executive officer (CEO), John Holland-Kaye, has written a letter to the UK prime minister, David Cameron, saying he understands the conditions and stressing the need for another runway to strengthen the country’s economy. In his letter, Holland-Kaye says: “For seventy years, Heathrow has been our global gatewa ...

US CAR MARKET FUELS CONTAINER GROWTH

May 10 2016
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Ocean freight spot rates in the North Europe-North America trade have stabilised in the opening months of 2016, and with booming westbound automotive component shipments improving supply and demand fundamentals, they may be about to improve, according to the latest market report from analyst Drewry. Container shipments on both legs of the transatlantic trade have started 2016 in a positive fashion, with the latest available figures from Drewry’s Container Trades Statistics (CTS) and PIERS, covering the first two months of the year, revealing that westbound traffic from North Europe to North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) grew by 7.5%, year on year, faster than the full-year 2015 rate of 6.3%. PIERS data for US imports shows that growth accelerated in March, with westbound traffic up by 8.1%, Drewry said. Much of the growth in the US inbound market in the first quarter of the year came from the US West Coast, which soared by 31.5% against 1Q15 when shippers were wary of using th ...

PORTS PROVIDE VGM SOLUTIONS

May 06 2016
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Southampton and London Gateway ports have issued full procedures for the weighing of full load containers, and the production of and transmission of VGM certificates to the relevant shipping lines and offering a service to shippers to ensure these procedures are met. Shippers simply need to advise that the terminal is to produce the VGM for the FCL shipment at the time of booking, and subject to a small fee, the VGM procedure will be carried out in full. Felixstowe Port will also be offering a similar solution along with other ports around the UK. For shippers wishing to provide their own VGM’s, the procedure for applying to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for authorisation has been made public. Guidance can be found by following the link below: 

CONTAINER RATE RISE BEGINS IN MAY

May 04 2016
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Container lines implementation of May general rate increases (GRI) on the Asia-Europe routes have proved largely successful, with average Asia-northern Europe rates increasing by 170% last week, representing the largest weekly increase on the trade in percentage terms since October, and the biggest jump in price since the last successful GRI in the final week of 2015. With indications that sailing cancellations had raised average utilisations in the Asia-European market to a healthy level of late at above 90%, the latest Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) also shows that prices per laden 20 ft container on the Asia-Mediterranean trade also jumped 137.8%, the biggest weekly increase since the end of last year.

CONTAINER OVER-SUPPLY DRIVES DOWN RATES

Apr 28 2016
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Container lines are no longer pricing cargo according to commodity (which has been a traditional practice); now the key focus is to simply fill their vessels at all costs, according to data from Xeneta, an Oslo-based benchmarking and market intelligence platform for containerised ocean freight. It states that oversupply, better supply chain management, and lower fuel costs have made the market so competitive over the last 18 months that ‘what’s in the box’ no longer plays a part in negotiations. Data gathered by the firm illustrates that the market average price for transporting a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Rotterdam, on a short-term contract, has slumped dramatically since mid-2014. Important to note that contracts can make a difference. In the current market, short-term contracts, or those hunting good spot rates, are getting better deals than those with long-term contracts. This wasn’t the case 18 months ago. The cause for this shift is simply oversup ...

FIRST RESERVATIONS FOR PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION

Apr 26 2016
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The G6 Alliance has confirmed that its new service linking central and northern Asia to the US east coast will employ post-panamax vessels to take advantage of the canal’s new locks. The G6, which comprises APL, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, MOL, NYK, and OOCL, will launch its new NYX service later this year, although it has not given a date for the launch. It will have to be after June 26 when the Panama Canal’s expanded locks are officially opened. The Panama Canal Authority advised that it was taking reservations for transits from July 27, with the first granted to Nippon Yusen Kaisha’s 78,874 cu m liquefied petroleum gas carrier Linden Pride.

ROBOTS AND AIR FREIGHT

Apr 18 2016
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One of the world’s biggest air cargo handlers, PACTL, is to begin testing the first use of robots to build general cargo pallets from this summer; a plan that could transform the sector through automation and deliver improvements in productivity, quality, security and transparency. Shanghai air cargo handler PACTL has been working with logistics facilities developer Airis since last year to examine the feasibility of robot technology within air cargo pallet-building in a context of shipments of irregular size, shape, and mass. Using analysis of two years of data from PACTL and from airlines, Airis has concluded that 85-90% of general air cargo shipments handled by PACTL could be processed by robots. Airis has been exploring the use of robots in air cargo handling after being approached by Finnish innovation firm Ahkera, which was exploring the development of robots within passenger baggage handling. The two have been working together since then on designs and feasibility studies ...

SELF-DRIVE TRUCKS ARRIVE

Apr 15 2016
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Six convoys of semi-automated hi-tech trucks arrived in Rotterdam’s harbour after an experiment its organisers say will revolutionise future road transport on Europe’s highways, UK newspaper The Guardian reports. More than a dozen self-driving trucks made by six of Europe’s largest manufacturers arrived in the port in so-called “truck platoons”  said Eric Jonnaert, president of the umbrella body representing DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Scania and Volvo. “Truck platooning” involves two or three trucks that autonomously drive in convoy and are connected via wireless, with the leading truck determining route and speed. The arrival  of the “smart” HGVs concluded the first-ever cross-border experiment of its kind, with self-driving trucks leaving factories from as far away as Sweden and southern Germany.  It is claimed that truck platooning will ensure cleaner and more efficient transport and contribute to road safety becaus ...

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