burning_ship

Sri Lanka Ship Causes Environmental Disaster

A burning ship off the coast off Sri Lanka has leaked hazardous chemicals into the eco system, causing an environmental disaster. The ship in question, the X-Press Pearl, has been branded ‘the toxic ship’ by the BBC due to the devastating impact that the incident has caused.

 

Why is the Sri Lanka ship disaster so harmful?

This environmental disaster has been regarded one of the worst in Sri Lankan history, and now most of the ship has settled at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. This makes matters worse, as the ship’s cargo contained 25 tonnes of many harmful chemicals, such as methanol, nitric acid and sodium methoxide. The ship was also carrying 28 containers of raw materials that can be used to make plastic bags. These chemicals and other materials can be incredibly harmful to both humans and wildlife, and many fish and other marine animals have been found lifeless on the beaches of Sri Lanka.

The impact on marine life

The impact that this event has had on marine wildlife has been catastrophic. Fish, birds and turtles have been found on the beaches with microplastics in their systems. The plastic pellets that are used to make plastic bags are reportedly the most harmful to the marine life, as they can be fatal.

A coordinator at the Pearl Protectors, which is an organisation dedicated to protecting marine life in Sri Lanka, Muditha Katuwawala, has said that what happened here was very close to a “nuclear disaster”, thus illustrating just how devastating this disaster is. It has been reported that the country may not recover from this for years, or even decades to come.

Loss of livelihood

Fisherman have also been banned from going any closer than a 50-mile radius of the incident. This has negatively impacted their lives as their livelihood and income have disappeared almost overnight.

Fishing has been banned despite the huge clean-up operation that is underway, as well as the many law enforcement officers and firemen that have been tackling Sri Lanka’s biggest environmental disaster.

Could it have been avoided?

It is said that the fire was caused by a leak of nitric acid, a substance that the ship was carrying. This has been argued to have been caused by the nitric acid not being stored correctly, or not handled correctly. This leak was discovered at Qatar’s Hamad Port, and the ship in question, X-Press Pearl, had requested to discharge the dangerous container, but Hamad Port denied this request, claiming that it didn’t have the manpower, which is hard to believe as this port is state-of-the-art and well-resourced.

The X-Press Pearl later also requested to discharge of the leaking container at Hazira Port in Gujarat. This request was also denied due to the same reasons.

Had either one of these ports allowed the X-Press Pearl permission to unload, then this environmental disaster may never had happened.

 

Shipping Freight in Port

Yantian Port Congestion

The recent Covid-19 outbreak in Guangdong Providence in Southern China has meant that the region’s main port, Yantian is acutely congested, and this blockage could be worse than the Suez Canal blockage in March earlier this year.

Shipments have been delayed, and the fallout could take months to recover from, which means that there may be delays for Christmas. Another setback this soon after the Suez Canal blockage means that the shipping industry is in for a tough year. These affects are not just limited to the UK, the effects of the port congestion in China could have rippling effects around the world for months to come.

Yantian Port Congestion

Due the Covid-19 situation in China, many ports, including the Yantian International Container Terminal in the Shenzhen region, have been operating at a fraction of their overall capacity. Dozens of ships have already been waiting outside the terminal waiting for a berth to become available due to congestion. According to Ditlev Blicher from Maersk, the port is currently only running on a 40% capacity and that “We’re expecting that to continue for the next month with significant delays for vessels to be able to berth.”

The Yantian Port has an importance on a global scale, as the port handles 13.5m teu a year or about 36,400 teu a day. This means that any blockages in this port can have detrimental impacts on the shipping industry. The Suez Canal blockage only lasted for six days, while the delays at Yantian International Container Terminal have already lasted for several weeks, with no end in sight in the near future, meaning that this situation is significantly worse than the Suez Canal blockage.

Changing Destination Ports

Shipping line ONE (Ocean Network Express) has said that it is beginning to encourage customers to use a different destination port. “This may result in extended period of storage of inbound reefers at transhipment port or the discharge of reefer containers at an alternative port without prior notice,”

Delays

The delays in Yantian International Container Terminal can be 16 days or more now, compared to 15 days or more a day earlier. 121 sailings have omitted calls to the port or diverted to a different destination port. Project44 has said that over 32% of vessels that have been approaching Yantian have been delayed, with the situation expected to worsen over the coming weeks.

Disruption

The delays in Yantian mean that there will be an unprecedented amount of disruption to many industries, including many materials, and countries will struggle to top up on much-needed PPE. Part of the Yantian port has reopened by the Yantian port authority, but it is now only running at 45%, which is far from sufficient. Scheduling for calls to the port is going to suffer majorly for at least the next 16 days and counting. European and US ports are facing a huge challenge when the ports finally do fully reopen, as the wave of cargo hitting them, will challenge their already stretched landside operations.

Mr Hersham from The Loadstar has said that “Congestion will rise significantly, meaning that ports, and especially those already suffering such as Felixstowe, will be heavily impacted,” he said. “The scale of the issue in South China is already bigger than Suez.
“Two accurate metrics to measure disruption by are days of delay and teu; in both cases, Yantian far surpasses what happened with the Ever Given.”

If you have any questions about how these delays could affect your shipments, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Supreme Freight for a discussion.

online buying

Pick and Ship: Dropshipping

Online shopping sales have increased dramatically in the last year. The January sales in 2021 on the internet alone made up over a third of retail sales in the UK. This was an increase of 81% from the year before. With the eCommerce industry at peak demand how can pick and ship and drop shipping businesses keep up with the pace?

Director of the Cigar Club, Paul Futcher, saw a 32% increase in his revenue between 2019 and 2020. Here he provides his guidance on how others can withstand growing customer demand and the higher standards that are now expected of pick and ship businesses.

The market growth in online sales in the last 12 months has risen significantly. The Increased demand has lead to Supreme Freight seeing a growing number of customers looking to import goods for resale, many of which are new to the eCommerce world.

We have seen a lot of new customers with enquiries around handling the import from drop ship and pick and ship warehouses from across the globe. Many new customers are either using services like alibababa.com or alternative drop ship and pick and ship warehouse. Initially this looks like a straightforward business model but it can be a minefield when you first enter into the import and export industry especially since leaving the EU. Supreme Freight is on hand to make sure that your air, sea & road freight are handled quickly professionally and effectively.

Below we have outlined a few pointers to look out for when you start selling products from pick and ship warehouses and drop shippers alike.

Refine your Delivery Process

With many advances in technology across the delivery process and so many eCommerce businesses needing to stay competitive, customers are coming to expect a top-notch retail experience. They expect to be kept updated from the moment they make their purchase to the product arriving on their doorstep. The quicker the company can make this process the better.

The Cigar Club considered each stage of a customer’s experience to improve how they could organise their orders and refine their pack and ship process.

Paul says: “It is important to us that our customers receive the product exactly as it is described on our website, in perfect condition and in protective packaging. We’ve tested out a variety of boxes over the years and have come to a size and shape that keeps shipping costs as low as possible without sacrificing quality or protection. We keep the line of communication between us and our customers strong, by being quick to respond to queries, and using delivery technology that updates the customers on the status of their package as well as exact delivery times.

Show Off Customer Feedback

Customer reviews are extremely important! According to Podium, 93% of consumer purchases were influenced by online reviews. There is a lot of choice when it comes to online shopping and people are looking for reassurance that they’re making the right decision before committing to the purchase.

The Cigar Club collected over 730 company reviews and 166 product reviews through using the platform ‘REVIEWS.io.’ Their efforts to ensure efficient delivery and the quality of products are up to a high standard have led to an impressive overall review rating with some of the most common phrases including ‘excellent service’, ‘efficient service’ and ‘prompt delivery.’
Once these positive reviews were collected, The Cigar Club created a widget displaying the reviews on their homepage of their website building trust with customers browsing their site. Actions like this really drive home the quality of service that customers can come to expect from your company.

Paul says: “These customer reviews have really helped us grow as a business, as with so many options for products to choose online, our positive reviews help communicate to new customers that we really do care about providing a high-quality product with efficient service. Also, by putting these reviews on our homepage we have been able to create a personal feel for those browsing our products. We’ve also tried to keep this personal touch there in all our transactions, as this is what makes our cigars unique. Particularly when online shopping is a wholly solo task, adding in real-life perspectives on our products really makes a difference.

Final Points

Implementing changes and refinements to business operations can be an intimidating task; however, by paying close attention to logistics processes and boosting online visibility, businesses can place themselves into a better position to stay competitive and successful.