Container Lines set for significant capacity expansion just as sailings are blanked

As the world’s major container ports gradually return to fluidity following more than two years of congestion during the Covid induced consumer spending spree, the container lines are again blanking sailings and laying up ships in order to manage capacity and support spot rates. The Ningbo Containerized Freight Index (NCFI) has been steadily falling in recent weeks and the rates to ship a 40’ units out of China are now hovering around the $10,000 level while Transatlantic rates are holding at around the $6,000 level.

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Seafarer Criminalization Alive and Well

We have unfortunately become accustomed to the arrest of innocent seafarers when narcotics are found to have been planted on their vessels. The temptation to use shipping containers for illegal drug trafficking is obvious and while there are many successful interceptions, it’s impossible to quantify the ratio between success and failure.

In August this year, the level of deceptive ingenuity was taken to a new level when Australian border officers received a tip about a shipping container that had arrived in Port Botany (Sydney) from Canada. In the container was a 1960-era vintage Bentley with 162 kgs of methylamphetamine and 30 kgs of cocaine hidden behind the headlights. Police arrested three men and one woman, between the ages of 22 and 25, charging them with a total of 23 counts including drug offenses.

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Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors

At the COP26 Conference held in Glasgow held in 2021, agroup of 19 countries agreed to work together to create zero emission shipping corridors. The declaration was known as the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors. The Mission Statement reads as follows:

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Ukraine’s Grain Exports Face Several More Hurdles

The July agreement between Russia and Ukraine which was mediated by Turkey and the office of the U.N. Secretary General was intended to kick start a resumption of Ukrainian grain exports from the ports of Odesa, Chernomorsk and Pivdennyi which collectively accounted for about half of the country’s grain exports in the 2020-21 season. In this we must be hopeful for success, however there are several hurdles remaining.

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Courtesy APM Terminals Port of Los Angeles

U.S. Enacts Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Last month, President Biden signed into law the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 on the grounds of the need to reign in the international container shipping industry which is accused of contributing to U.S. inflation through increased freight rates. At the same time the sponsors are responding to lobbying by U.S. exporters who have been struggling to access container capacity at what they consider to be a reasonable price.

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Freedom of Navigation in Strait of Hormuz Again Under Challenge

On May 27, Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched helicopter raids in the Strait of Hormuz to detain two loaded Greek oil tankers, Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior. Greece accused the Iranian government of piracy and called for the immediate release of both vessels.

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