World Maritime News
Panama Canal Authority seeks dialogue with cargo owners
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is considering by-passing shipping companies and instead establishing direct relationships with cargo interests as it tries to keep abreast of the rapidly changing marketplace and the new trade patterns that are emerging. Ricaurte Vázquez, the authority’s chief executive, cited the way ACP anticipated months ago that the US-China trade dispute would begin to drive changes across the industry – first with a reduction in flows, followed by a potential redistribution of the origin and destination of manufactured products as companies look to become closer to consumers and reduce the risk of prolonged tariffs. The changes are happening now at an accelerated pace due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis, said Dr. Vázquez. He continued that ACP expects to see a permanent shift in the overall supply and demand economics that drive the entire industry, which will redefine the way of business for years to come. He described coronavirus as “a game-changer” that would see long supply chains partly replaced by shorter ones as some production moves closer to consumer markets.
Read more: Lloyd’s List
US-China trade war accelerates market share losses for West Coast ports
The long-term diversion of cargo volumes away from ports on the West Coast of North America accelerated in 2019, as the United States-China trade war forced importers and exporters to consider alternative markets. The likes of Houston and Savannah increased their market share on the back of strong growth, while Los Angeles, Long Beach, and ports in the Pacific Northwest saw their market share erode. With Chinese-made goods subject to new and increased tariffs, US importers increased sourcing in locations such as Southeast Asia, where ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coast could more effectively compete for those volumes. At the same time, US exporters, faced with increased reciprocal duties in China, sought to increase sales in other countries
Read more: JOC
Shipping agrees road map to lift crew change barriers
Shipping has drawn up a 12-point plan to enable crew changes around the world as the coronavirus pandemic forces lockdowns and travel restrictions. The document sets out the responsibility of governments, ship-owners, transport providers and seafarers, and provides a framework for procedures that can be adopted world-wide to ensure that trade can keep flowing and seafarers can be relieved, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said in a statement. The International Maritime Organization’s secretary general Kitack Lim has endorsed the recommendations. ICS secretary general Guy Platten says that if we are unable to free our seafarers from lockdown, we could start to see disruption to trade and more importantly we increase the risk of accident and occurrences of mental health issues. Repatriation has been the biggest concern for the sector with calls by flag states, union, shipping associations, charities and non-governmental bodies for governments to deem seafarers key workers exempting them from travel restrictions.
New gate program designed to improve truck turn times at LA’s Pier 300
Fenix Marine Services has launched a new “auto in-gate” program at its Pier 300 facility in Los Angeles. The terminal operator says it could dramatically improve operational efficiency and truck turn times at the manually operated terminal. In a test of the program, the capacity of each gate lane was doubled, and trucker queue times improved by 84%. Fenix CEO Sean Pierce said he expects those metrics can be maintained as auto-gate moves into full implementation, especially when a new artificial intelligence (AI) is added this summer. The pre-filed information on the trucks and drivers will expedite truck processing at the gates, and the AI component will enhance the terminal’s rubber-tire gantry (RTG) operations in the container yard. Pierce said the “auto in-gate” is not an automation program but rather a digitization of gate process in which the data exchanged between truckers and terminal enables Fenix Marine to better process trucks at the gates and within the container yard. AI will further shorten truck turn times by enabling Fenix to electronically advise truck dispatchers as to the best times to schedule appointments for driver, according to a general manager of Fenix Marine.
Read more: JOC
Cosco lifts unit revenue even as volumes drop
Cosco Shipping was able to maintain pricing power in the first quarter even as container volumes began dropping due to the fallout from the COVID-19. As one of the first carriers to declare first quarter results, the Cosco report bodes well for the wider liner industry’s ability to weather COVID-19 by quickly adjusting supply to demand. Group revenue of U$ 5.1 billion was up almost 3% in the first quarter year over year, with revenue per TEU across all trades improving by U$ 43 to U$ 949 per TEU, Cosco Shipping Holdings said. The carrier grew its intra-Asia volume to 1.14 million TEU in the first quarter, up almost 2% year over year. But overall volume fell across the group’s container shipping business, with the 5.6 million TEU handled in the first quarter representing a decrease of 4.67% year over year.
Read more: JOC