According to reports in the trade media, in its recent Sunday Spotlight newsletter, Sea-Intelligence has shown that more services are on average arriving late and those that were later are considerably worse than last year.
The reports add that more ships are arriving late compared to last year, and the reliability is better than 2018, however, of the vessels that do arrive late they are tardier than 2019 and 2018, according to Sea-Intelligence statistics.
Although, schedule reliability was up month-on-month with the May average up 5% on the April record to 74.9%. The figures for reliability remain challenging.
The reports indicate that Sea-Intelligence argued that the improving service could be due to greater buffers implemented by the lines to maintain schedule integrity, although the increase in schedule reliability could then simply be a case of fewer vessels being easier to manage per service string. In which case, a demand resurgence could see schedule reliability drop.
Late vessels have been arriving over five days late since February, with the exception of March when the service level improved marginally to 4.75 days late.
The reports add that according to Sea-Intelligence the lateness index has “been consistently high throughout 2020”.
Higher air freight volumes in June compared with May are a sign of the air freight sector taking “its first steps to a structural recovery”, according to air cargo market analysis by CLIVE Data Services, highlighting that the 6% month-on-month improvement came despite falling demand for emergency medical equipment – which had distorted the market and inflated demand and pricing in some previous months.
In its latest monthly “first-to-market” update on air freight market trends, CLIVE highlighted that “as PPE volumes faded, global air cargo volumes in June provided the first real indicators of structural recovery”, adding: “The industry seems to be ‘slowly getting back up on its feet’ as volumes in the first four weeks climbed 6% versus the full four weeks of May.”
The latest air cargo market analyses by CLIVE Data Services also showed volumes in the last week of June were 12% higher than in the final week of May. And it said the year-on-year performance gap further also closed in June, with global volumes at -25% versus June 2019, compared to the -31% annual disparity for May.
Available capacity in this reporting period remained flat, but the last two weeks of June saw capacity creeping up slowly, week over week, by around 1.5% per week, the analyst noted.
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Since the first such train was launched in 2011, numerous departure points have been added to the options and the operation gained renewed momentum when China’s President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, with rail transport encouraged as an alternative to shipping.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has brought aviation to a standstill, shippers are seeing freight trains as a faster alternative to shipping. Particularly, as liner operators have blanked sailings to reduce capacity and maintain utilisation levels, shippers are presented both with cost and time constraints.
Numerous BIFA members now offer rail freight services from China to the UK and anecdotal evidence suggests that they are going from strength to strength.
Following a robust first quarter, the total take-up for the first half of 2020 stands at 19.04m sq ft. This is 44.1% higher than the first half of 2019 and 4.8% higher than the previous record in the first half of 2018.
A total of 36 deals completed during te second quarter of 2020, a 33% increase compared to quarter two of 2019 which saw 27 deals close. The average unit size was larger at 355,133 sq ft, compared to 278,658 sq ft in quarter two, 2019.
Over 90% of take-up in the quarter was shared equally between three UK regions. The East Midlands’ share of 31.8% was marginally above the South East at 31.5%. This showed a stronger performance from the South East following a quiet first quarter. Yorkshire & the North East’s share was also healthy at 29.1%.
At a sector level, online retail continues to account for the largest proportion of take-up at 43.8%. A number of national occupiers are currently reshaping the nature of their warehouse representation and supply chain operations as a result of a shift in shopping habits brought about by the lockdown restrictions from Covid-19. Representation from the other sectors was shared evenly with third-party logistics accounting for 15.3%, general retail at 13.9%, food retail and the food industry at 13.2% and post & parcels at 9.2%.
Short term ‘Covid’ related deals for 12-month lease terms (or less) accounted for 22.2% by number of deals and 15.5% by floor space. Despite speculation that take-up would be heavily weighted towards the short-term Covid deals, this has not come to fruition.
Paul Farrow, executive director and head of UK industrial and logistics at CBRE, said: “The logistics sector has gone from strength to strength through some testing times for the wider market and has just experienced the highest quarterly take-up figures on record. A large increase in online retail spending has been a key driver in the demand spike, and whilst warehouse availability is low and continuing to reduce heading into the third quarter, we expect the appetite for logistics space to continue to grow.”
But, IATA says there was insufficient capacity to meet demand as a result of the loss of belly cargo operations on passenger aircraft that have been parked.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs), fell by 20.3 percent in May compared to the previous year (-21.5 percent for international markets). Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 34.7 percent in May compared to the previous year (-32.2 percent for international markets), a slight deceleration from the 41.6 percent year-on-year drop in April. Belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 66.4 percent in May compared to the previous year due to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the COVID-19 crisis (up slightly from the 75.1 percent year-on-year decline in April). This was partially offset by a 25.2 percent increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft.
The cargo load factor (CLF) rose 10.4 percentage points in May. This was a slight decrease from the 12.8 percentage point rise in April. However, the extent of the increase suggests that there is still pent-up demand for air cargo which cannot be met due to the continued grounding of many passenger flights.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO said: “Air cargo demand is down by over 20 percent compared to 2019. And with most of the passenger fleet grounded, capacity was down 34.7 percent. The gap between demand and capacity shows the challenge in finding the space on the aircraft still flying to get goods to market. For that the prospects for air cargo remain stronger than for the passenger business but the future is very uncertain. Economic activity is picking up from April lows as some economies unlock. But predicting the length and depth of the recession remains difficult.”
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Asia-Europe ocean freight spot prices climbed again last week, taking average global prices to a five-year high, analysis by Drewry reveals, as ongoing capacity reductions propelled spot rates higher and higher.
As demand in Europe continued to recover in a container shipping market with still constrained capacity, rates on the Shanghai to Rotterdam and Shanghai to Genoa trades gained 11% and 9%, respectively, week on week, according to the World Container Index assessed by Drewry. Following the gains, Shanghai to Rotterdam spot rates are now 26% higher than a year ago while and Shanghai to Genoa spot rates are up 25%, year on year.
On the transpacific trade, after several weeks of gains, Shanghai to Los Angeles spot rates fell 9% last week to $2,467 per feu, although they remain 68% higher than a year ago. And after strong gains last week, Shanghai to New York average spot rates were flat last week at $3,196/feu, 30% higher than a year ago.
Freight rates on Rotterdam to Shanghai nudged up by 1% to $1,229 per feu. However, rates on transatlantic routes declined last week, with prices from Rotterdam to New York dwindling 5% – a decline of $134 to $2,443 for a 40ft box. Similarly, New York to Rotterdam average prices dropped 2% to $509 per 40ft container.
Reflecting these overall gains, Drewry noted that its composite World Container Index, of eight major East-West trades combined, reached a five-year high of $1,885 per 40ft container, up 1% from the previous week and 39.3% up compared with same period of 2019, “as ongoing capacity reductions propelled spot rates higher and higher”.
The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry for year-to-date, is $1,628 per 40ft container, which is $236 higher than the five-year average of $1,392 per 40ft container.
Drewry expects rates to remain stable in the coming week.
Source: Lloyds Loading List
Set to take place online on Wednesday July 8th, the training will be focused around Customs Procedures Codes and will be available exclusively to members of the YFN.
Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s training development manager says: “The development of BIFA’s YFN continues to be of great importance, and as always with YFN events, using the video conferencing online tool will enable participants to build-up their professional network and learn more about the industry.
“We intend to make this training session fun, interactive and all participants will receive a BIFA certificate to count towards their Continuing Professional Development.”
BIFA Director General, Robert Keen says: “Our YFN is important to young people, so it is great that the network committee members are continuing to work together remotely to develop a plan to keep the network going during this unforeseen time.
“We have plans for a series of various online events for the YFN. Our recent virtual port tour, and an online quiz were both a great success and we have guest interviews, Q&A sessions and so forth all still to come.”
BIFA launched the YFN in March 2019 to create several regional networking groups, operated by young forwarders and intended to help early talent and young BIFA members develop their knowledge and professional skills, but in a more social environment.
Prior to the lockdown the success of the YFN had not gone unnoticed, with six regional groups established and over 20 networking events held, attended by hundreds of young individuals.
- UK to hold first international summit to address impact of COVID-19 on crew changes
- government will call on the international community to come together to ensure swift repatriation
- estimated 200,000 seafarers due to change over, with concerns around the impact on wellbeing
Marking the International Day of the Seafarer, the UK government has today (25 June 2020) announced it will host the first international summit on the impact of COVID-19 on crew changes next month, bringing together UN, political and business leaders from across the globe.
Led by UK Maritime Minister Kelly Tolhurst, the event will take place virtually and will be an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the pandemic on the global shipping industry, and what governments and industry must do to protect the welfare of crew workers around the world.
In a special address, Kitack Lim, the UN Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is expected to highlight the humanitarian need to safeguard workers across the seas and states’ duties to repatriate workers swiftly.
Day of the seafarers
Due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on countries around the globe, with many shutting down borders, it is now estimated there are more than 1.2 million seafarers at sea at any one time and currently 200,000 seafarers due to change over, including up to 2,000 from the UK.
Maritime Minister Kelly Tolhurst said:
“Seafarers have worked tirelessly during this pandemic to ensure people across the globe can access the essential food, medicine and supplies we all need, but thousands have been left with no way of coming ashore when faced with border restrictions.
“This government has helped more than 7,000 crew get home back to their loved ones across the world, regardless of nationality or circumstance.
“I hope that this meeting will be a reminder of the international collaboration required by all states to bring people home.”
Many crews have had their contracts extended but this is not a long-term solution, with many seafarers on board a ship for months despite having had no contact with coronavirus and posing no risk.
To ensure their swift repatriation, and to safeguard workers’ mental health, the Maritime Minister wrote to the IMO, the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation at the start of the outbreak on 23 March pressing that all states follow the UK’s work in repatriating workers regardless of their nationality or employment.
The UK has remained open for seafarers to come and either stay on vessels, go ashore, take shore leave or be repatriated, abiding by Public Health England requirements and social distancing.
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said:
“We welcome the announcement to hold a virtual summit on this critical crew change issue. The fragile supply chain and global trade is now at threat of logjam due to government inaction and bureaucracy. Government leaders must cut through the bureaucracy, lift the continuing imposition of travel restrictions on these key workers and focus on this issue now.
“The solutions do not need money; they do not even need complicated negotiations, this is simple. The leadership provided by the UK to cut through this red tape is just the sort of initiative that is needed to free the thousands of seafarers who are trapped onboard ships across the world.”
This meeting, set up by the UK Maritime Minister, is a unique collaboration between the UK government, UN through the IMO, ICS and key international trade association to help all countries pull together to ensure that crew workers – regardless of nationality – are repatriated as swiftly as possible.
In the UK, more than 7,000 cruise ship workers have been repatriated since the pandemic began.