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Aperture and Focus- Dec 7

Aperture & Focus: December 7, 2022

Global Aperture

 

It’s apparently a sign of the times when the world’s largest, newest containership fails to maximize cargo load on its maiden voyage. Manufacturing demand ex-China is falling—trade analysts worry that a sustained drop may provoke factories to shutter two weeks earlier than usual for the upcoming Lunar Holidays.

Pessimism offers the path of least resistance to any challenge: another container line pulls out of the market, sweeping a dozen Panamax ships away from US-Europe and Asia-Europe trade lanes.

But most businesses prefer a path to get through any challenge. The Russian oil price cap enforcement date is less than one week away and industry eyes are trailing toward Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to power maritime vessels. And global ocean carriers are finally going where no maritime vessels have gone before—albeit not with maritime vessels.

When it comes to air cargo policy, the Airforwarders Association (AfA) is now taking notes from current maritime pitfalls and loose ends. We think they’ll skip over kite-powered sailing.

Regional Focus

Americas

Trucks remain backed up outside the Port of Mobile due to computer system glitch; Dock renovations are greenlit at Savannah Port to expand handling capabilities; and Charleston is now the deepest harbor on the East Coast with completion of deepening project initiated in 2018. Ports in the Gulf Coast are catching the spotlight as New York-New Jersey “plan for the future” and West Coast labor talks continue in the background.

Mexico’s government reviews a proposal to modify trucking hours-of-service (HOS) rule. Colombia announces plans to implement Master Intermodal Plan to further address competitiveness and sustainability. These plans will also help fill implementation gap the country needs to resolve as a signatory of Marpol (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships).

 


 

Asia-Pacific

Intermodal imports are slowing their roll into China since the reintroduction of city lockdown measures; new air cargo connections spring from Shenzhen and Shanghai to Southeast Asia and Europe to compensate. Worker unions in South Korea also staged protests in support of the ongoing trucker strike.

India’s state-owned ports log a 3% year-over-year gain in cargo throughput. Japanese Customs officers receive new tech to increase operational efficiencies and Japanese manufacturers survey to move away from Chinese suppliers.

 


 

Europe, Middle East & Africa

Europe’s winter freeze fires up LNG markets but the region’s energy infrastructure can “avoid the lights going off” for the season, according to government officials. At least 20 oil tankers are stuck dead in Turkish waters after new insurance regulations were imposed on December 1. Global food prices stabilize on news of larger-than-expected harvest in Ukraine along with the newly-extended Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Lots of strike action in the UK may face military opposition—that is, the military may be deployed to fulfill emergency services. It’s uncertain if this will extend to Felixstowe Port, which is still under threat of strike action due to stalled contract negotiations.

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