A look ahead to IMO 2020

The shipping industry must prepare for a future with lower transport emissions. IMO 2020 will ensure that ocean transportation remains the most environmentally friendly and carbon efficient mode of transportation.

WHAT IS IMO 2020?

From 1st January 2020 onwards, all seagoing vessels will have to reduce sulphur oxides by 85%. The new regulation is set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting public health and supporting the environment.

The regulation will apply globally and throughout the industry to fuels used in the open sea. Vessels must use marine fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% compared to the current limit of 3.5%.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF IMO 2020?

The prospect of IMO 2020 has resulted in a high level of uncertainty about availability of petroleum products and pricing. It will affect vessel operators, refineries, and global oil markets.

Vessel operators have the following choices to comply with the new IMO 2020 sulphur limits:

1. Use scrubbers (emission cleaning technology) to remove pollutants from the ship’s exhaust, whichallows them to continue using higher-sulphur fuels.

However, the process of installing scrubbers is limited and expensive due to space and capacity constraints and will increase operating costs. In addition, the price and availability of higher-sulphur fuels after 2020 remains uncertain. Amongst others, China and Singapore have already banned open- loop scrubbers in inland port waters and coastal shipping ECAs because the environmental benefits are questionable.

2. Switch to non-petroleum-based fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) for newer vessels with appropriate specifications However, the infrastructure to support the use of LNG is currently limited in scope and availability. Experts predict that by 2020 approximately 250-500 vessels, or a maximum of 10% of the global container fleet, will either be equipped with pollution cleaning technology or will be able to burn LNG.

3. Switch to a Very Low Sulphur Fuel (VLSF) that complies with the new rules (Most likely choice).

However, the cost, widespread availability and specifications of a new fuel for use in marine engines are still uncertain. The petroleum industry needs to adapt refineries and supply chains and is likely to pass these costs on to the market.

WHAT ARE IMPACTS AND RISKS?

It is currently not possible to indicate an amount for the future price levels for VLSF. At this stage all we can predict is that it will cost more than currently available fuels.

Today’s forecast assumes a short to mid-term increase in bunker prices* between US$ 180 and US$ 400 per TEU. Due to the significant increase in bunker prices, every company involved in sea freight will be confronted with rising transportation costs. When IMO 2020 comes into effect transportation services may be disrupted as a result of inadequate fuel quality, which may lead to engine failures or insufficient availability of compliant bunker fuels.

WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT ON FREIGHT RATES?

According to current calculations, the expected increase in costs* will have a significant impact on the overall prices of container transportation and on freight rates. Whilst the implementation date for IMO 2020 is 1st January 2020, it is anticipated freight rates to increase as early as the end of the third quarter of 2019.

Therefore, freight agreements for both full and part load containers will include a price adjustment method also known as Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF).

Through our strategic partnerships with ocean carriers from the main shipping alliances, as well as a network of independent overseas agents, FSEW always endeavours to negotiate mitigation of increases in freight, fuel and other surcharges. Our comprehensive carrier coverage provides our customers with multiple service options at market competitive rate levels.

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China-Europe rail services a real success story as exports rocket

China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) may have faced recent strong criticism from the EU, but that has not dented the growth in its exports to Europe.

Chinese officials have claimed a 106% increase in the value of cargo travelling by rail from China to Europe, equating to some $33bn.

Xiao Weiming, from the office of the leading group for promoting the BRI, told Xinhua that 14,691 trips have been made by China-Europe freight trains since 2011.

Operator United Transport And Logistics Company Eurasian Rail Alliance (UTLC ERA) recorded a 54% (62,622 TEU) upturn in volumes between China and Europe.

While the bulk is exports from China (35,536 TEU, up 69%), imports from Europe have been closing the gap, recording a 44% increase to more than 27,000 TEU in Q1.

The Russian-Kazakh-Belarussian-owned UTLC ERA has furthered its links between the two regions, having announced cooperation agreements with two European partners.

President of UTLC ERA Alexey Grom said: “I am perfectly confident the agreements signed with our partners will contribute to the active growth of the transit transportation market, enabling UTLC ERA to strengthen its leading positions in cargo shipments on Europe-China-Europe routes.”

During this month’s TransRussia exposition the operator entered an agreement with Slovakia’s public rail company, ZSSK Cargo, to facilitate IT collaboration on container shipments from China, to include route scheduling and an analysis of potential customer bases between Slovakia and China.

“This is the first time we have fixed in writing the intention to build a direct transit transportation technology process,” said Mr Grom. “We will be solely responsible for the 1520 gauge, whereas ZSSK Cargo will be in charge of the 1435 gauge.

“That is how we will be able to offer our customers the end product – a comprehensive shipping service solution.”

We are pleased to advise you that,  through our network of independent agents in China, and in addition to our ocean and air services,  FSEW is also offering a regular container service by rail from China to the UK. 

Current frequency is weekly and recent examples of transit times are achieving 25 to 28 days door/door.

If you would like to learn more about this service, please feel free to contact the undersigned or your appointed customer service representative.

Article courtesy of The Loadstar

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UK box port congestion could worsen during Q4 peak

Two-week delays already apparent ahead of the pre-Christmas peak import season as Southampton and Felixstowe struggle to clear backlogs

UK shippers and forwarders face a difficult fourth quarter if congestion at Felixstowe and Southampton container terminals continues, according a growing number of freight forwarders.

Although Southampton reported that congestion was easing last week, forwarders are telling, told Lloyd’s Loading List that backlogs were still significant at both ports and volumes would soon spike.

“Whilst we aren’t suffering the worst waiting times, we still are feeling the consequences and are needing to adjust our processes carefully,” said one.

“It’s very testing. We are already up to a two-week delay on bookings. We are likely to see an increase in container arrivals come the end of October through to mid-December for the pre-Christmas peak.

“Perhaps a slow period between Christmas and early January may be the answer to balancing demand again before Chinese New Year. But, if not, then I guess this could be a long road until the CNY closedown.”

Congestion stemmed from IT failure at Felixstowe earlier this year. This resulted in containers arriving at terminals in surges, or being diverted to alternative ports.

As volumes were switched to Southampton, congestion there also began to build.

“The IT problem affected hauliers getting in to port,” the forwarder said. “After what was thought to be a small blip, it continued for weeks and various importers made a drastic decision to switch the port of entry to Southampton. “Imagine even a 10% increase overnight and the strain on trucking that would be caused. The influx of extra containers has simply put booking times back to around 14 days.”

Asked why more boxes were not being diverted to London Gateway, the forwarder said its liner service roster was different to those of Felixstowe and Southampton. “Why would anyone opt for a slower service? Time is money,” he added.

Remember

In addition to FSEW being a leading independent international freight forwarder, with multiple carrier/service options, we also have at our disposal the resources of our container haulage division, with our own trucks, trailers and drivers under our direct control.  We also have a large block booking on the daily rail service from Southampton into the Freightliner deport at Cardiff, which is adjacent to our yard and office and from where we can arrange prompt onward delivery by road.  This provides our customers with more options, flexibility, reliability and overall better control of your container deliveries and associated costs, which significantly mitigates some of the issues adversely affecting the general marketplace.

A recent example of our capacity and capability was having the resources to run one of our own vehicles empty to London Gateway to collect a diverted container that was urgently required by one of our customers.

Result: our customer received urgent stock 14 days prior to shipping line’s earliest available delivery date and also avoided incurring significant demurrage costs.

If you would like to know more or discuss your business requirements in more detail, please feel free to contact me or speak directly to your designated account manager.

We value your business and assure you of our best attention and service at all times.

 

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