World Maritime News
Supply chain disruption is expected to continue
The sheer level of the demand pushed the container supply chain to its limit. Carriers were unable to address an equipment shortage, ports became clogged and terminal inefficiencies were laid bare.
Coronavirus-related restrictions on staffing, meanwhile, did little to ease the logistical logjam that had unfurled globally. And the congestion chaos is still far from being resolved nearly 12 months on.
Container lines are struggling to inject a huge amount of capacity into main routes. But this capacity was absorbed by congestion of ports and schedule delays.
Carriers will seek higher contract rates to extend profitability
The surge in carrier profitability has been based on the high spot freight rates boom this year.
A key test will be whether they can lock in those gains for long-term contracts.Container lines are benefiting from the investments and cost reductions made during the past 10 years but 2022 will be the real test for profitability, particularly if rates ease back from their current highs.
According to Xeneta director, while the spot market has shot up over the summer, there are not that many new long-term contracts signed.
But the upcoming contract season for 2022 would be a time of critical decisions for shippers faced with locking in high rates or trying to play the spot market.
BIMCO chief shipping analyst said the key customers are looking for better control of their future logistics costs.
If they want to pay less than what is being offered by carriers now, they need to sign up for longer periods.
Opinions on US shipping regulation reform
Opposing sides of the debate concerning the proposed new regulation of container shipping in the US have been laying out their stalls, as Congress prepares to debate the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. Export organisations welcomed moves to bring carriers to heel.
But the lines warned of unintended consequences if the law is passed as proposed.World Shipping Council (WSC) said the suggestion that ocean carriers are solely responsible for the current supply chain congestion is simply untrue.
What is crystal clear is that regulating only ocean carriers, or any other single class of supply chain provider, is doomed to fail.
Maersk’s decarbonisation programme with renewable methanol
Maersk placed an order for eight 16,000 TEU dual-fuel ships that will be able to use renewable methanol, green e-methanol and bio-methanol, as their main fuel. The first vessel will be delivered in the first quarter of 2024.
Maersk said the vessels would provide the first fully carbon-neutral deep-sea services. Maersk’s order for methanol-powered ships raises the question of how other container lines will follow. Some carriers are betting on LNG to meet tightening emission restrictions and others are waiting to see how best to shift away from traditional bunker fuel.
Orders for LNG-fueled container ships and LNG as a transition fuel
Orders for liquefied natural gas-fueled container ships have matched a two-year high as owners and operators stake out the best path to reduce shipping’s carbon footprint.
Critics of LNG dismiss it as another fossil fuel. However, unlike ammonia or hydrogen, it is available, its qualities are proven, it has a good safety record, the infrastructure is in place and its risks are understood.According to V.Group new head of LNG, there is no alternative to liquefied natural gas as a transition fuel because it will take several years to put the technology and infrastructure in place for a shift to ammonia or hydrogen.
Singapore launches global centre for maritime decarbonisation
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore announced the formation of a Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation in Singapore. The MPA and six founding partners, BHP, BW Group, Eastern Pacific Shipping, Foundation Det Norske Veritas, Ocean Network Express, and Sembcorp Marine raised a $90m fund for the centre. It will spearhead the maritime industry’s energy transition journey and foster collaboration within the industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, implement identified decarbonisation pathways and create new business opportunities.
The MPA said more than 30 organisations, including shipping companies, classification societies, terminal and tank operators, and financial institutions, have expressed an interest in working with the centre.
Read more: Lloyd’s list
Logistics platform extends reach to Southeast Asia
Cargo Release, a product developed by Global Shipping Business Network that offers a paperless documentation exchange, is being rolled out to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Laem Chabang in Thailand by port operators Hutchison Ports and PSA International.
The two companies are among the existing shareholders of the platform, alongside Cosco Shipping, Shanghai International Port Group, Hapag-Lloyd, and Qingdao Port Group.
The move comes as Southeast Asian shipping is experiencing “tremendous growth” driven by a sprightly cross-border e-commerce market, and the digital application would help the sector meet this rising demand.
Read more: Lloyd’s list