golden week

ALERT: Golden week and the implications for shippers

As part of celebrations for golden week, also called National Day, a major holiday is coming up in China from Saturday 1st October for a week, officially ending on the 7th but with effects lasting until the 10th.

It has been celebrated in mainland China and Hong Kong since 2000. The holiday was implemented by the Government to encourage domestic tourism and allow families to make long distance trips. This means that businesses come to a standstill.

All businesses will be closed, cargo flights are cancelled and ports operate on basic crews. Shipping quotes will be hard to obtain as nothing moves in or out.  Vessels are usually under capacity at this time so don’t sail.

Our advice is plan ahead! Contact us as soon as possible for rates and availability to secure your shipment in time. Please also be advised that there will be a back log of orders and freight after golden week which will mean that space will be at a premium.  If a shipment is time critical it is important to be organised before next week.

You can submit an enquiry through our website, send us an email or call us on 02380 337778.

We look forward to hearing from you.

future of shipping

The future of UK Shipping

At the end of London International shipping week, the transport secretary Chris Grayling set out his thoughts on the future of UK shipping. 

His speech focused on the changes in transport, and how the maritime industry is not only contributing to that change, but are increasingly leading it.

His first point concerned new technology and the advances in maritime autonomy.  Today, 90% of accidents at sea are caused by human error, and so there could be a huge safety benefit to keeping away from the risky routes.  Drones that are being increasingly deployed in other areas could also be used over our seas, inspecting ships and further improving safety.

This increase in efficiency could make maritime even more competitive against road freight, which in turn offers big environmental benefits.  Grayling also points out that this would obviously lead to concern over the effect of automation on jobs, and that these concerns quite rightly should be taken seriously.  However, he continues by saying that there is also evidence that rather than destroying jobs, automation creates wealth, and that wealth creates opportunity, and opportunity means new jobs. So, the seafarer of today might be the unmanned vessel operator of tomorrow – supervising several ships from a control station on-shore. He or she might help design intelligent software, or contribute to new naval architecture.

These type of new roles require different skills, and that is why it makes sense to invest in training. This week maritime industries have been called on to double to amount of people taken on as apprentices, and this will improve the capability of the work force. The government has also written to heads of maritime businesses and training colleges asking what more can be done to increase the number of women working in the industry. In the UK, too, of our 14,000 certified officers, only 3% are women. Only 4% of our technical officers are women. Of our engine officers, only 1% are women. The industry is missing out on 50% of the talent, and the potential progress that could be made.

Brexit and the EU was also a pertinent point.  Grayling believes that both the EU and the UK will work better as friendly neighbours than as part of a strained union. For instance, in less than 2 years, for the first time in more than 4 decades, the UK will begin to enjoy an independent trade policy.  Our departure from the EU will allow us to build those closer trading ties with countries around the world.  Trading with our neighbours in the EU is important, but trading with other countries such as the USA, Australia, China, India, Mexico, South Korea, India and Brazil will enable us to expand our trade, receiving the worlds goods, and exporting our own. That is why the government announced that it wants to draw up plans for the maritime industry stretching up until 2050.

To read the full report please go here

hurricane irma

Cargo delay in Florida following hurricane Irma

Unsurprisingly, cargo in Florida, Georgia and the Caribbean is expected to suffer delays following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma at the weekend.  

Ports and airports have been closed, rail services are restricted and ships are rearranging port calls after many containerships fled.  Cargo ships have powered away from the storm and were seeking shelter on the west side of the islands of the Caribbean. Specialised forecasters were working with shippers to map out the best route.

Maersk sent an advisory to customers showing the location of its ships and changes to the services. More than 50 of its vessels appear to have been impacted. Changes to operations include missed port calls and delays as ships wait for ports to reopen.

Ports in eight port sectors in the Caribbean, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina are either closed or open with restrictions. Everglades, Palm Beach, Savannah, Panama City,  Jacksonville, Canaveral, Tampa, Port Manatee and all ports in Key West have all been closed and are reopening over the coming days.  The port of Miami reopened on Wednesday.  Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened on Tuesday morning after being closed for more than three days.

The port of Charleston has also reopened with no damage, and the CMA CGM shipping line has resumed its scheduled visit of the Theordore Rooselvelt container ship into Charleston.  The Roosevelt is the largest container ship to visit East Coast ports, capable of hauling up to 14,855 cargo boxes. Its Charleston visit has been delayed three times because of weather

One issue that has become more apparent is that Florida’s reliance on its ports to bring in 90 percent of its gasoline has created a shortage, potentially leaving people who evacuated for Hurricane Irma stranded as they drive back home.   Florida’s fuel resources will remain tight until the state’s five ports that accept fuel can be cleared to accept more tankers.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by the hurricane, and especially to those families who lost loved ones.  Many people are without homes and electricity, and it will take a long time for calm to be restored. The relief effort has already begun, and will continue for some time to come.

2016 port freight statistics are encouraging

According to the Department for Transports recently published 2016 final figures, total freight tonnage handled by UK ports declined by 3% in 2016. This decline is attributable to a large reduction in demand for coal imports. Despite this, steady growth has been experienced in unitised traffic, which saw its fourth consecutive year of growth in 2016.

* total tonnage decreased by 3% to 484.0 million tonnes
* coal handled showed the biggest decline of any cargo category more than halving to 12.0 million tonnes
* liquid bulk goods, which account for 40% of total tonnage, decreased by 2%
* crude oil handled has halved since 2000, to 87.1 million tonnes
* unitised traffic rose by 2% to 24.1 million units
* container units reached a record high of 5.9 million units
* overall roll-on roll-off traffic rose 1.4% to 18.2 million units
* the volume of import and export motor vehicles increased 1% to 4.5 million units
* 18.2 million Ro-Ro units passed through UK major ports via roll-on roll-off services, up 1.4% compared to 2015.
* 10.2 million TEUs of LoLo container traffic passed through UK major ports in 2016, up 4% from 2015. Felixstowe had a 0.3% increase to 24.8 tonnes.
* Maritime freight with the European Union grew 2% to 206.8 million tonnes in 2016, and accounted for 44% of all tonnage through UK major ports.

In 2016, major port tonnage fell whilst minor port tonnage increased . There are 51 major ports in the UK. UK major port tonnage fell by 3% in 2016 to 472.8 million tonnes. The major port share of UK port tonnage has remained stable at 98% since 2005. Minor port tonnage increased to 11.3 million tonnes, an increase of 3% on the previous year.

Overall domestic major port traffic – coastwise and one-port – fell to 98.6 million tonnes in 2016, a drop of 5% from 2015. However, one- port traffic, rose 13% to 20.0 million tonnes in 2016.

The proportion of domestic traffic c carried by UK registered ships increased 3% in 2016, to 23.5 million tonnes. This makes up 24% of all UK domestic traffic.

Imports made up 56% of all tonnage handled between the UK and EU countries. UK major ports received 116.6 million tonnes from countries in the EU in 2016, an increase of 4% compared to 2015. Among EU countries, the highest amount of imports was from the Netherlands, 31.5 million tonnes, 10% higher than 2015. Freight received from ports in the Netherlands now makes up over a quarter of all inward tonnage from the EU.

In contrast, exports from the UK to the EU fell 1.6% between 2015 and 2016, down to 90.1 million tonnes. This is due, in part, to a fall of 11% in exports to both France and Germany, primarily driven by falling liquid bulk imports. In contrast, exports to Italy nearly doubled to 1.8 million tonnes, with an increase in crude oil imports from 0.4 million tonnes in 2015 to 1.3 million tonnes in 2016.

Container traffic with the European Union rose 8% in 2016 to 2.0 million units. In terms of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), container traffic rose 9% to 3.6 million TEUs.

Container traffic between the UK and International deep sea destinations rose to 5.3 million TEUs, up 3% from 2015.
China is our largest partner for container traffic in 2016, resulting in 2.5 million TEUs, up 3% from 2015. This makes up 47% of all deep sea LoLo handled by UK ports. Second place is taken by the USA which contributes 0.4 million TEUs to our container traffic; this is 8% of all deep sea LoLo trade.

The full report can be found here