Due to the seriousness of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of taking every possible precaution to stop the spread of the virus, it will be mandatory for all haulage drivers to wear a face covering whenever they are out of their cabs and interacting with Port of Felixstowe employees from 01/02/2021.
This decision has been made to help to protect both haulage drivers and Port employees.
Strike action is scheduled for the following dates:
- 02:00 hours on 22 January 2021, concluding at 10:00 hours on 22 January 2021
- 10:00 hours on 23 January 2021, concluding at 18:00 hours on 23 January 2021
- 18:00 hours on 24 January 2021, concluding at 02:00 hours on 25 January 2021
- 02:00 hours on 29 January 2021, concluding at 10:00 hours on 29 January 2021
- 10:00 hours on 30 January 2021, concluding at 18:00 hours on 30 January 2021
- 18:00 hours on 31 January 2021, concluding at 02:00 hours on 1 February 2021
- 02:00 hours on 5 February 2021, concluding at 10:00 hours on 5 February 2021
- 10:00 hours on 6 February 2021, concluding at 18:00 hours on 6 February 2021
- 18:00 hours on 7 February 2021, concluding at 02:00 hours on 8 February 2021
Ocean Insights’ latest cargo delay statistics published today show how the container bull run is wreaking havoc on the market, with surging rollover rates across major ports during December and most major carriers seeing increases in delays.
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Coronavirus (COVID-19): jobs that qualify for travel exemptions
In particular we would draw Members attention the text surrounding drivers which clearly states:-
Drivers of goods vehicles
Drivers of goods vehicles and other employees of community licence holders for the international carriage of goods.
You will need to complete the Passenger Locator Form before you travel to the UK.
You do not need to present a negative COVID-19 result test prior to departure.
You’ll need to show that your travel is part of your job, for example a letter from your employer, a Consignment Note or your Operator’s Licence.
You will not need to self-isolate.
Shippers were spared the worst impacts of the introduction of new low-sulphur fuel regulations last year due to a collapse in the price of oil following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
But as economic recovery continues and demand for oil returns alongside cuts by major oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, bunker prices are on the rise again.
After a dramatic fall in March and April that brought down the price of both heavy fuel oil and very low sulphur fuel oil, and all but obliterated the spread between the two fuels, bunker prices increased and stabilised at a level of around $290 per tonne for IFO380 and around $340 per tonne for VLSFO.
“This level was quite stable for the period June to early November. However, since then, the fuel price has begun to increase significantly,” Sea-Intelligence said.
VLSFO increased 35% from November 1 to January 8.
Due to the varying way carriers implement bunker adjustment factors, either quarterly or monthly, there will be a delay before the impact of higher prices are felt by shippers.
“When the adjustment is made monthly, it is usually based on the monthly average fuel price, with a two-month time lag,” the analyst said. “Some carriers make quarterly adjustments, which in practice often means that, for example, second-quarter bunker adjustment factors that are applicable in April-June would be based on the average fuel price in December-February.”
The result was that although oil prices have begun to rise again already, bunker adjustment factors in place are based on earlier lower prices. The prices on which bafs are calculated for the second quarter, however, have increased significantly.
As well as an increased overall fuel cost, carriers also face a larger spread between high- and low-sulphur fuel again, swinging the balance back in favour of those who have invested in scrubbers.
“Following the initial spike driven by implementation bottlenecks for IMO2020, the premium [for VLSFO] fairly quickly stabilised around $50 per tonne for a period of nine months,” Sea-Intelligence said. “However, from mid-November we now see a significant continued increase, and the low-sulphur premium is now at $86 per tonne.”
This means that carriers will see an improvement in the relative value of the scrubber installations, allowing them to use cheaper high-sulphur fuel.
“But it also means that we might begin to see a rekindling of the discussion as to whether bunker adjustment factor formulas should take the scrubber-enabled vessels into account, especially on the Asia-Europe trade, where many vessels have had scrubbers installed.”
Source: Lloyds Loading List
The bulk of the information that we have to provide can be found on the Governments own website GOV.UK therefore, we would ask Members to keep a record of them and where possible check them to find out if the information is available online prior to contacting ourselves for clarification.
We would also encourage you to share this information with your own customers to assist them in understanding the complexities of the new trading arrangements with the EU.
The government has produced a significant amount of information on the general requirements of trading with the EU, in the form of webinars which can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-trades-with-the-eu#webinars-on-importing-and-exporting-goods. These cover a wide range of subjects including Short Straits Traffic, trade with Northern Ireland and fresh produce.
The Border Operating Model
The Border Operating Model gives an overview of the processes to be followed, at least temporarily, with the third edition issued on the 6th January which can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-border-operating-model This document gives information regarding HMRC’s Inland Border Facilities.
We are receiving a significant number of enquiries about Transit. This process is new to many and given by the nature and number of enquiries BIFA receive, it is not as well understood as it could be. The Transit Manual at 900 pages is too complex to serve a useful purpose for many, however the shorter guide at about 111 pages does provide much useful information. This guide can be downloaded at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945616/Transit_Manual_Supplement.pdf
A summary of the main problems identified to date relating to Transit can also be viewed at: /news/articles/2021/jan/hmrc-update-on-ncts-14-january-2021?l=y
The Department for Transport has produced the following guidance for road hauliers about the processes and documents required for operating in the EU: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carry-out-international-road-haulage?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=be8f0d32-9e3f-4023-9092-d1b61d50a0e3&utm_content=daily
Helpline Numbers & Online Forums
Here are the list of helplines, which government have provided to BIFA and it is hoped will be useful to Members:
- HMRC Customs & International Trade Helpline - 0300 322 9434
- HMRC Imports and Exports General Enquiries - 0300 200 3700
- DVLA Contact Centre - 0300 790 6802
- Vehicle operator licensing enquiries - 0300 123 9000
- International Road Haulage Permits - 0330 678 1117
- The Office for Product Safety and Standards - 0121 345 1201
- MHRA Customer Service Centre - 020 3080 6000
- National Supply Disruption Centre - 0800 915 9964
- Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Trader team - 0330 041 6500
- Animal, Plant and Health Agency (APHA) - 0300 1000 313
- Defra Rural Services - 0300 020 0301
- Environment Agency (England: 03708 506 506)
- Forestry Commission - 0300 067 4000
- Fish Exports Helpline - 0330 159 1989
- The Intellectual Property Office - 0300 300 2000
- BEIS public enquiries helpline - 020 7215 5000
- BEIS business support lines:
- England - 0800 998 1098
- Scotland - 0300 303 0660
- Wales - 0300 060 3000
- Northern Ireland - 0800 181 4422
- Citizen Advice (for consumer rights) - 0808 223 1133
- DfE helpline - 0370 000 2288
- HO - UK Visas & Immigration helpline - 0300 790 6268
- HO - EU Settlement Scheme application resolution centre - 0300 123 7379
- HMRC also operates a number of services, including:
- Import/export general enquiries can be made by calling 0300 200 3700.
Announced blank sailings for what is normally shipping's slack season are far fewer this year than previously. The data shows that, across the transpacific, Asia-Europe and transatlantic trades, just 1.7 per cent and 0.6 per cent of head haul sailings have so far been cancelled in February and March respectively, compared with the 19.9 per cent and 9.4 per cent sailings cancelled in the same months last year.
And very few sailings have so far been cancelled for the second quarter, whereas last year, cancellations amounted to 14.7 per cent of expected sailings, reports The Loadstar, UK.
According eeSea's Trade Capacity Index, this has translated into a year-on-year increase in TEU capacity of 7.6 per cent this month over January 2020, and the data also shows February and March are up by 34 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, partly due to fewer cancellations.
Simon Sundboell, chief executive of eeSea, said: "It's understandable that cargo owners and their related interests are frustrated by the tight ocean capacity situation these days.
"The impact on their businesses is huge. But there seems to be an impression that carriers are deliberately holding back capacity to push up freight rates. We don't see that. In fact, effective trade capacity is up.
"Just reading the news, we can see that carriers are snapping up any available charter tonnage. There is no idle capacity left, carriers are delaying scrapping, and the first new tonnage orders have even been placed," Mr Sundboell added.
New data published by Sea-Intelligence Consulting chimed with that analysis, showing that, as of the beginning of this year and with several weeks to go until Chinese New Year, carriers have only announced five blank sailings on the transpacific and seven on Asia-Europe during the holiday.
Sea-Intelligence said last year 73 sailings had been blanked due to Chinese New Year (although a further 15 were blanked as the pandemic began in earnest) and 67 in 2019.