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Monday, March 8, 2021

America News

(Photo: MDOT MPA)

Comment Period Open for Baltimore Tunnel Project

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) announced release of the federally approved Environmental Assessment for the project to reconstruct the CSX-owned, 126-year-old Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore to allow for double-stacked intermodal container trains to and from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. Double stacking allows two shipping containers stacked on top of each other, and this project will increase container capacity…

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Importers Battle Surging Cargo, Commodity Costs

As Home Depot heads into its busy spring project season—when shoppers build backyard decks and buy patio furniture—it is tangling with surging costs for goods and transportation, on top of tariffs that cost it and other U.S. importers billions of dollars.Across the United States, major retailers and makers of everything from Peloton spin bikes and La-Z-Boy recliners to Kia Sorrento SUVs are battling the same profit-squeezing pressures. They pass those costs along to home-bound consumers…

One of a total of more than 1.6 million Hapag-Lloyd containers (TEU). Image courtesy Hapag-Lloyd

Container Shipping Looks Strong in 2021 - BIMCO

In the full year of 2020, global container shipping volumes fell by 1.2% compared with 2019, much less than feared even before the pandemic was first declared, and much recovered compared with the 6.8% drop recorded in the first six months of the year. Volumes in the second half of the year were up 4.2% from 2019. Much of this growth was concentrated on just a few trade lanes, with congestion and imbalances on these spilling out and causing disruption on other trades.BIMCO expects that 2021 will be even better for container shipping than 2020…

Photo Source: Port Everglades

Inside Cruise Shipping's Fight for Survival

In early 2021, the somber news from the cruise sector continued. For some cruise brands, their own version of “lockdowns” will have spanned an entire year. By late January, 2021, Carnival and others were hesitantly pegging their restarts for April/May 2021, and for some markets, late summer, under a Conditional Sail Order promulgated late last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).What else to do but look ahead?In preliminary earnings guidance, Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL)…

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Brazil's Slow Soybean Harvest Widens US Export Window

Harvesting delays in Brazil, the world’s top soybean producer, are prompting buyers led by China to rely on rival exporter the United States for longer than usual in 2021, according to government data and traders.Sustained demand for U.S. soybeans is accelerating an historic drawdown of U.S. supplies of the oilseed and could further drive up soybean prices at a time of rising food inflation as countries hoard staples during the pandemic.Concerns over tight global soybean supplies after China dramatically increased purchases in recent months ignited a 4.5% U.S.

Maersk Edinburgh at Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal, Ports America, Chesapeake, February 9, 2021.  Photo courtesy of Maryland Port Administration.

Port of Baltimore Bests Its Container Moves Record

The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore reports it has again topped its record for most container moves from a single ship.The 6,000 container moves conducted by longshore workers from the Maersk Edinburgh at the Seagirt Marine Terminal this week are the most ever in the port's the 315-year history. Maersk Edinburgh arrived at the port on Monday, February 8, and left early Thursday, February 11. The final container move was completed at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday.The new high mark—which counts the number of times an imported container is unloaded from a ship…

Poul Hestbaek (Photo: Hamburg Süd)

Hestbaek Takes the Helm at Hamburg Süd

Long-serving Hamburg Süd executive Poul Hestbaek will take the CEO reins from Dr. Arnt Vespermann, who will step down after more than 20 years at the German container shipping company.Hestbaek has been with Hamburg Süd since 2004 and is currently the company's CCO. The 59-year-old shipping-industry veteran has previously been responsible for the liner shipping company’s commercial business on several continents, including Latin America, Europe and Asia/Pacific.Vespermann joined…

(Photo: The Maryland Port Administration)

Maryland Dredging Project Benefits the Environment and Economy

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are marking a milestone of environmental stewardship this month on the landmark restoration of Poplar Island near Talbot County. Simultaneously, the agencies are advancing plans for their next partnership using dredged materials to preserve and protect Maryland’s waterways: the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration.Since 1998, Poplar Island has…

Phil Bourque (Photo: Sea Machines)

Sea Machines Promotes Bourque

Sea Machines Robotics, a developer of autonomous command and remote-helm control systems, has promoted Phil Bourque to the role of business development and sales director, U.S. Government, effective immediately.In his new position, Bourque will primarily focus on advancing the company’s government contracts and related special projects. Bourque has relocated to the Norfolk, Va. area for the role, a move that enables Sea Machines to establish a new company foothold closer to key…

(Photo: Colonial Group)

Colonial Group Announces Leadership Changes

Savannah-based Colonial Group Inc. has announced a new era of leadership as it prepares to mark a major milestone in the company’s history in 2021.Christian B. Demere (Demere) has been named chief executive officer, succeeding his father, Robert H. Demere, Jr. (Demere Jr.), who had been in the position since 1986. Colonial Group has continued to operate as a privately held business since 1921 through the chairmanships of its founder, Raymond Demere; his son, Robert H. Demere Sr.; and Robert’s son, Demere Jr.“The time has come to pass the torch to the fourth generation,” said Demere Jr.

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Far East Container Spot Rates to Brazil Rise 230.5% -BIMCO

What started as a red-hot container market for Far East to U.S. trades has now spread to other routes, with rates from the Far East to Brazil seeing particularly high spot rates, BIMCO says. On January 24, 2021, the base freight rate for a forty-foot container from the Far East to the Port of Santos reached $9,299. Average rates for January are now 230.5% higher than they were in January 2020.Santos is the largest container port in South America, handling 4.2 million TEU in 2019 alone.The red-hot spot market is a result of the imbalance of trade over the past year…

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BIMCO: Tanker Market Hangover Continues

Tanker shipping was in many ways the odd one out of the shipping sectors in 2020; at the start of the pandemic, the market was strong, only to finish off the year in the doldrums, while the other sectors stayed profitable. Even a demand boost in December only managed to lift earnings slightly, raising the question, what will it take for tankers to return to profitability?In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic being declared, tanker shipping appeared immune, but it too has suffered from lockdowns and travel restrictions.

(Photo: Port of Los Angeles)

Swift COVID-19 Vaccines Urged for Largest US Ports Amid Cargo Backlogs

Members of Congress have joined state and local leaders in urging California officials to hasten COVID-19 vaccinations for workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest, hit hard by pandemic workforce disruptions and surging imports.As of Wednesday, 27 arriving container ships stood anchored off the twin ports complex waiting for berths to clear at terminals piled high with cargo from previous shipments, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern…

Photo courtesy Valenciaport

Asian Market, Fuel Prices Drive Freight Rates in Valenciaport

The Valencia Containerized Freight Index (VCFI) of December experienced a growth of 4.19% with respect to the previous month, confirming the trend of the last five months of the year of increased freight rates. The high demand for traffic with China and the rise in fuel prices have played a major role in this increase. Thus, the VCFI as a thermometer of the evolution of maritime transport prices is demonstrating the recovery of economic activity. Thus, freight rates end 2020 with a new all-time high of 1…

(File photo: Panama Canal Authority)

LNG Carrier Bottleneck at Panama Canal Could Last Until March

Congestion delaying LNG shipments via the Panama Canal is expected to last through the peak demand winter months, traders close to the situation said, although the canal's regulator said it had made changes to speed up transit.The price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and shipping rates have hit record highs because of the bottleneck, supply constraints and heavy demand from Asia, where freezing weather has placed the energy supply system under strain.Ships carrying LNG from the United States to meet the Asian demand waited for up to two weeks in December to navigate the canal.

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Equinor Selected for US' Largest Offshore Wind Award

Norwegian energy company Equinor said it has been selected to provide New York State with offshore wind power in one of the United States' largest renewable energy procurements to date.Under the award, Equinor and partner BP will provide 1,260 megawatts (MW) of renewable offshore wind power from Empire Wind 2, and another 1,230 MW of power from Beacon Wind 1, each calling for more than 90 turbines off the coast of Long Island—adding to the existing commitment to provide New York…

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Gambia Seizes Huge Cocaine Haul from Shipping Container

Gambian authorities seized nearly three tonnes of cocaine from a shipment of industrial salt originating in Ecuador, a spokesman said on Friday, in one of the largest ever busts in West Africa.The 118 bags of cocaine were discovered on Thursday during a search of a container shipped from the port of Guayaquil in Ecuador and through Algeciras in Spain, said Ousman Saidybah, a spokesman for Gambia’s drug enforcement agency.It was not clear where the cocaine was ultimately headed.

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Port Everglades Receives 'Marine Highway' Designation

Port Everglades received approval from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for “Marine Highway” designation for a new route connecting Port Everglades with Port Houston, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). National Shipping of America (NSA) will be the first company to offer service on this new route. Port Everglades is the first port to receive this designation in South Florida and is among only 45 others nationwide.“We are honored to be part of MARAD’s Marine Highway program,” said Jonathan Daniels, Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director.

Keith Munn (Photo: HII)

Munn Named VP and CFO of Ingalls Shipbuilding

America's largest military shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries announced Friday that Keith Munn has been promoted to vice president, business management, and chief financial officer for its Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss.Effective February 15, Munn will be responsible for all financial management, contract management and business management functions at Ingalls, reporting to Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. Munn replaces Tom Stiehle, who has…

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BIMCO: Global Container Volumes Projected to be Down 1.5% for 2020

Despite the alarming headlines in the spring of last year, container shipping proved remarkably resilient in 2020 in terms of  volumes as well as freight rates. After a 5.0 million TEU (7.3%) drop in volumes in the first five months of the year, volumes were  down by only 1.7% -  a loss of 2.6 million TEU – by the end of November.Of the three largest trades, Far East to North America has been the best performing, up by 1.1m TEU (6.4%) in the first 11 months of the year. The last few months have been the strongest for this trade…

Giant container cranes are en route to Port of Oakland. Photo courtesy Port of Oakland

Mammoth Cranes enroute to Port of Oakland

A set of three towering new cranes are coming to the Port of Oakland to handle the ever larger ships calling the seaport, an investment by Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) for its marine terminal at Oakland (Oakland International Container Terminal - OICT). SSA ordered the cranes from Shanghai-based ZPMC, and they are expected to arrive at the end of this month.According to SSA, its new cranes would have a lift height of 174 feet above the dock, able to reach 225 feet across a ship’s deck. When the crane booms are in the raised position, they will rise more than 400 feet above the wharf.

The giant container cranes are en route to Port of Oakland (Photo: Port of Oakland)

Port of Oakland Set to Receive New Cranes

Towering new container gantry cranes currently en route to the Port of Oakland will be the tallest ever at the California seaport, and rank among the largest in the U.S.Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) is investing in the three giant cranes for its marine terminal at Oakland (Oakland International Container Terminal - OICT).“These cranes will keep the Port of Oakland competitive so that we can continue to attract the largest vessels calling North America,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan.

Pete Buttigieg (Credit: Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0)

Biden Introduces Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden touted the diversity of his incoming administration as he introduced former rival Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday as his choice for U.S. transportation secretary.Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary confirmed by the Senate if he is approved.Appearing with Buttigieg in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said the 38-year-old would confront the task of upgrading America’s aging infrastructure and restoring what he called “our crumbling roads…

Ships lined up at Port of Oakland docks (photo courtesy of Port of Oakland)

Port of Oakland: Imports Rise, Exports Fall in November

Full import containers at the Port of Oakland were up just under 1% in November 2020 compared to November of last year. Loaded export boxes at the Oakland seaport dipped 2.6% in November 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.Full import containers in November 2020 totaled 78,045 TEUs (one TEU is the equivalent of a 20-foot container). This figure was 0.9 percent higher than November 2019 loaded imports which totaled 77,367 TEUs.Although strong import demand continues in the U.S., November import cargo volume was not as high as anticipated at Oakland.

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Top Maritime Trends of 2020: Captain Andrew Kinsey, Allianz, Examines Logistics Challenges

Captain Andrew Kinsey, Senior Marine Risk Consultant, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, recently discussed some of the trends that will shape 2021 for the maritime, ports and logistics world.MR TV: As we come to the end of 2020, talk now turns not simply to COVID-19 and a potential vaccine, but to the supply chain logistics and challenges that come with distributing those vaccines. How does the picture look from where you sit?Andrew Kinsey:  The picture looks complicated. It's a global demand. It's a global logistics problem.

Illustration. Credit:MAGNIFIER/AdobeStock

China's Exports Pinched by Global Shortage of Shipping Containers

China's world-beating economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic is being blunted by a global shortage of shipping containers, sending cargo costs to record highs and hampering manufacturers in filling fast-recovering global goods orders.Exports from China surged 21% in November from a year ago as the country's mammoth industrial engine cranked out mountains of appliances, toys, clothes, personal protective equipment, and other items currently in high demand around the world.But…