Demand for space on vessels from China continues its seasonal decline, apprarently prompting carriers to consider cancelling further voyages without notice.
Shippers from China still have no real insight of expected surcharge levels, as low-sulphur fuel prices emerge from the limited bunkering available in some hub ports, suggesting a premium of more than 30% over heavy fuel oil.
Carriers have been announcing more blank sailings on the Asia-North Europe trade as slowing demand threatens to pull down rate levels.
With ramifications for shippers, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has ruled that from the 1st January 2020, the marine sector will have to reduce sulphur emissions by over 80%, by cleaning existing fuel systems (using scrubbers) or switching to more expensive lower sulphur fuels.
The forecast slowdown in trade demand in 2019 and more new container ships due on the Asian trade, has already seen increased use of slow steaming, ship idling, blank sailings, and exhaust scrubbers to absorb additional capacity, and it is now announced that APL, will exit the Asia-Europe trade altogether.
The World Economic Forum estimate that 90% of world trade moves by sea, and as global trade continue to increase, the busiest ports continue to grow, with 9 of the top 20 in China – and NGL freight centres at five!
The Lunar New Year 2019 or Spring Festival, is the biggest Chinese celebration of the year, taking place 3rd to 9th February, with its usual profound impact on supply chains.
The port of Shanghai has retained its status as the world’s business container port for the ninth consecutive year, must to the delight of our colleagues in China’s biggest city.
The ongoing disruption at Britain’s biggest container ports shows no signs of ending and is now exposing fundamental weaknesses in the container haulage industry, that look endemic, putting the future of the industry in doubt, without immediate change and reform.