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List Of Warehouse Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Used For Cargo

In warehouses, goods are handled either manually or by automated machines. Manual handling involves using various tools and equipment to lift heavy or sometimes out of gauge cargo.

Modern warehouses have a vast array of equipment, most of which are used in daily operations to receive, store, dispatch, and move goods within the warehouse.

Such equipment, known as warehouse Material Handling Equipment or simply MHE, help reduce manual effort while safely and efficiently executing various tasks.

Different types of material handling equipment are used to handle different kinds of cargo, such as bulk cargo or individual cartons. Bulk cargo could be solid, liquid, or gaseous.

Material handling includes the tasks that have to be carried out to move goods from one point to another – be it inside a warehouse or factory or between locations separated by a vast distance.

Material handling equipment is used throughout the entire chain of physical movement or storage of goods.

It is used in the movement of raw materials and during the process of production.

MHE is used to handle finished goods, during storage of these goods, and their transport and distribution. In short, MHE is required in all of the physical aspects of a supply chain.

Efficient handling of material using suitable material handling equipment throughout the supply chain is necessary to keep costs down and maintain a high quality of service.

The right MHE helps to prevent damage to goods while assuring the safety of the personnel handling them. They provide a continuous movement or flow of goods.

MHE eliminates unnecessary movements and minimises the required ones to the optimum, thereby helping execute the various functions on time.

Types Of MHE
Depending on the type of goods handled, some material handling equipment, such as certain types of conveyor belts or rollers, make use of friction or gravitational force to move the goods.

Typically, material handling equipment includes the following:

  • Manual pallet trolley
  • Battery-powered pallet trolley controlled by an operator
  • Forklift and Reach truck
  • Crane
  • Lift
  • Conveyor system
  • Robotics
  • Protective covers and safety equipment

Manual Pallet Trolley
Hand-operated pallet trolleys are wheeled, with a sturdy, strong fork in front. They are designed ergonomically to lift pallets from underneath, move, and lower them as required using a pumping action of the handle. Such pallet trucks are used to move pallets between short distances within a warehouse.

Battery-Powered Pallet Trolley
A battery-powered pallet trolley on the other hand uses electric power from batteries installed on the trolley to move, lift, and lower pallets. Some of them have a small platform for the operator to stand on while operating the MHE.

Both the hand-operated as well as the battery-powered trolleys typically carry up to 3000 kilograms load.

Forklift and Reach Truck
Forklifts or lift trucks are powered industrial trucks used to lift, move, and lower loads within a warehouse or over short distances. Forklifts can carry loads up to 50000 kilograms. The heavy-duty ones are used to move cargo containers, etc.

Similar to the forklift, a reach truck is much smaller and therefore more easily manoeuvrable. It can move quickly down narrow aisles to pick up or set down a load. Double-reach trucks that use a telescopic mechanism can go two pallets deep into a rack to pick up or set down a load.

The two most common types of cranes used in warehouses are the bridge crane and the jib crane.

Bridge Cranes
Bridge cranes are generally used to lift and move large, heavy objects in manufacturing and assemblies. It consists of a hoist on a bridge that carries on two rails that usually run the length of the warehouse. In addition, bridge cranes are used to access goods that are kept below the bridge.

Jib Cranes
Jib cranes are hoists that are mounted on a boom or a jib that is usually fixed to a wall or a sturdy, vertical post. Its access area is limited as the hoist moves only along the length of the boom.

Lifts are small platforms that can be operated manually or using a motor. These are used to move goods vertically from the floor to a higher level or vice versa, where it is received on a pallet trolley for further positioning.

Conveyor System
This is another type of equipment that is used to move goods along a metal or rubberised belt. Conveyor systems typically shift goods horizontally between fixed positions inside a warehouse or an assembly unit.

However, some systems use gravity or friction to move it at downward or upward angles. For example, belt conveyors and roller conveyors are commonly used in warehouses.

Robots or machines that perform some of the tasks performed by humans are common these days. They are most useful in doing repetitive tasks or work that have to be carried out under hazardous conditions.

Robots can be programmed to do a job precisely and safely. They are instrumental in the handling and warehousing of dangerous chemicals or bio-hazardous materials.

Protective Covers and Safety Equipment
Some goods require protection from natural elements such as rain or sunlight, especially during their transport. The easiest and the most common method to protect such items is to keep them covered. Heavy-duty sheets made of nylon, plastic, or tarpaulin are normally used for this purpose.

Personal Protective Equipment While Handling Goods
MHE should be operated only by well-trained staff. To protect the operator from injury or accidents, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used. PPE includes items such as helmets or hard hats, protective clothing, masks, goggles, gloves, etc. They provide protection from flying objects, heat, electricity, chemicals, or particulate matter.

Using the appropriate PPE and following the prescribed safety procedures is key to preventing accidents.

With the current trend of standardised packaging and packing, the equipment used to handle goods also needs to be standardised as far as possible. Storage equipment worldwide such as racks, shelves, and pallets, are usually of standard sizes.

The most common equipment used to store and transport goods as a unit is the pallet. Goods can be stacked or stored efficiently, neatly, and safely on pallets. As a result, it is easy for buyers and sellers in different parts of the world to handle incoming and outgoing cargo using standard MHE and storage equipment.

Source: Marine Insight


7 Major Ports of South Africa

The coasts of South Africa lie on the Southern end of the continent’s landmass. The country touches the Indian Ocean on its east and the South Atlantic on its West coast. This allows cargo and cruise vessels of all sizes to have 3-way access to the South African coasts. The major ports in South Africa line up along the 1,739 miles long coastline.

As of 2019, the country has over 8856 port calls that include ships of all sizes. Major credit to this goes to the mineral-rich diversity of the country. Moreover, South Africa’s developing economy also means that bunker and fuel oil resources are significantly cheaper. Hence, long route Ore Carriers, VLCCs, and other vessels often find South Africa as a suitable bunker port.

The deep mineral resources also see South Africa hosting 1.22% of dry bulk carrier port calls globally. Liquid bulk and container vessel calls reflect 0.3% and 0.45% of global traffic respectively.

The major ports contribute 92% of its 30,400 million dollar shipping trade. These ports export mainly to China, Germany, and the USA.

Let us review the 7 major ports in South Africa, their impact on the shipping landscape, location, operational information, and cargo attributes.

Port of Durban (Durban, South Africa)

The port of Durban has the highest vessel traffic in entire Africa. It also is the largest port facility in South Africa. This harborwas setup in 1824 under the British colonial identity. About 60% of the total shipping revenue of South Africa comes from the Durban Port Facility. The facility occupies Durban Bay, extending over 18.5 sq. km with 8.9 sq km of high-tide waterfront. Moreover, this port also handles 60% of the total container cargo shipping load of South Africa.

Cargo Handling

A collection of more than 58 berths handles container, dry bulk, and liquid cargo throughout the year. The facility operates vessels with DWT up to 2,30,000. Additionally, , their massive outer anchorage allows cargo lightening for vessels with heavier DWT. Ore carriers with a 300m+ length and a beam of 35m+ can easily ply alongside the facility. In 2019, the port recorded 3253 vessels (sea-going) calls with a cargo volume of 81.21 million MT. The volume is the largest amongst the major ports in South Africa by a significant margin.

Network and Layout

A large container inflow needs precise loading and handling facilities round the clock. The Durban port connects with more than 302 kilometres of railway network for transfers. The facility also holds two floating cranes with 23 MT and higher handling limits for off-shore handling. The network has 5 sections with the Durban car terminal, the container terminal, and the multipurpose terminal being the busiest. This facility operates with 1900 permanent employees and a total handling strength of 3000+.

Port of Richards Bay (The Richards Bay town, South Africa)

The establishment of Richards Bay in 1972 started with the Parliament’s approval for commercial harbour operations. The facility has 2.76 sq. kilometres of land area and 6 berths for sea-going vessels of all sizes. The port facilitates coal cargo operations and is one of the largest African ports to do so. In terms of gross volume, Richards Bay handles 55% of cargo amongst the major ports in South Africa. The facility easily welcomes large vessels with channel draught varying between 17.5 to 19.5 meters.

Cargo Handling

5 out of 6 berths specifically handle Coal as their primary cargo throughout the year. Moreover, vessels with 350+ meters length (VLOC) berth across the terminals for liquid and dry cargo. Richard Bay’s annual cargo handling reaches up to 80 million MT with coal occupying 2/3rd of the share. The commercial cargo operation for the year 2020 shows a high point of 92 million MT. Modern loading rates reflect a quantity of 50 to 65 thousand MT every day. The major sea-going vessels for these coal handling terminals fall in the 190,000 MT size range.

Network and Layout

The coal terminal connects with the railway loading facility expanding over 80 km. The cargo coming in the facility loads through four loaders (8500-11000MT/H) present across the terminals. Meanwhile, internal shifting and departure need pilot assistance with the varying tides.

Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha, South Africa)

The first mention of Port Elizabeth along the South African sea coast dates back to 1427. However, the British establishment in the 1830s is the beginning of its harbour status. The cargo operations of true commercial value date back to the year 1927. Transnet emerges as the major operator for container terminals in this port facility.

The quay length for the container terminal is approximately 1 km spread across 3 container berths. Moreover, 6 berths for breakbulk handling and 2 for ore bulk are present under Port Elizabeth authority.

Cargo Handling

The terminal allows bulk vessels with 12.1 m of draught to enter safely. Additionally, the cargo lightning operations for the bigger vessels (VLOC) take place at the outer anchorage. The channel allows over 310 meters of width for large ore carriers and tankers to enter. In addition to the bulk and container handling, Port Elizabeth has a berth for liquid cargo operations. An average of 1050 vessels over 36 months reflect in the port’s records. This amounts to 11.2 to 12.5 million MT of cargo volume operations yearly.

Network and Layout

The port utilizes railway and road transport for ore and breakbulk handling operations. Owing to its large size, the container handling capacity amounts to 375,000 containers. This comes with the port’s ability to handle standard containers over 5400 slots. Port Elizabeth also uses 2 ore berths and 1 liquid cargo berth for bunker operations. Manganese storage facilities, one of the few in the world, are present with a capacity of 350,000 MT.

Port of Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa)

The port of Cape Town has a land area of 2.53 sq. km and a waterfront of 9.5 sq. km. Its establishment dates back to 1652 with a big part of the contribution by the Dutch. However, the cargo port facilities date onward to the mid-1800s with the British colonial setup. The establishment has 34 berths, including the repair and smaller boat layovers. 6 container berths serve the large container vessels with sea-going draughts up to 15.9 meters. The harbour also has a waterfall attraction and sees thousands of fishing and pleasure boat calls annually.

Cargo Handling

The port has a maximum of 24 MT handling capacity for road haulers and 22MT for cargo trains. This results in annual handling of 9.84 to 11.25 million MT of containers. Up to 2015, the port holds a record for 2520 vessel calls on average. However, a steep fall in the number due to port congestion show only 510 container terminal arrivals in 2020.

Network and Layout

The port facility has grain centres for handling 28 thousand cubic meters of sensitive grain cargo. Meanwhile, repair and drydock yards with a length of 369 meters are available for the large vessels. Transnet also facilitates inter-port connections as the major stakeholder of this port facility. Over 1200 handling and operation staff work over 360 days a year for terminal operations.

Port of Saldanha (Saldanha Bay, South Africa)

The Port of Saldanha, commonly the “Saldanha Bay” is one of the fastest Iron Ore terminals alongside Portland. The terminal exists since 1976 with Iron Ore exports to Asia and the Middle East leading the operations. Its expanse is over an area of 19.3 sq. km with water depth up to 23.7 m far out. Like many other major ports in South Africa, Transnet is the major operator for Saldanha Bay too. The facility is a primary loading point for cape size bulk carriers and VLOC vessels. It operates with 2 Iron Ore and 1 Crude oil berths and 3 berths for MPT. The maximum berth length is 318.5 meters.

Cargo Handling

The port of Saldanha operates with a conveyor loading system of semi-automatic nature. The loading design features 3 hydraulic rams of 16” design and no crane operations. Annual cargo handling statistics of 60 million MT are common for the facility. Meanwhile, the port facility runs 365 days a year for iron ore handling. However, the capsize vessels are dealt with only during daylight hours.

Network and Layout

The port of Saldanha employs over 670 people for routine cargo and port operations. An additional workforce of over 500 engages in the transport of cargo through trucks and smaller vessels. Transnet has an additional facility to connect major ports through roadways. An overall circumference of 91 km has railway tracks for cargo handling too. The Sishen-Saldanha line transports the ore from mines over a length of 861 km long tracks. The network is the spinal link between the mines at the Northern Cape to the port of Saldanha at the South.

Port of Coega (Port Ngqura, South Africa)

The port of Coega is also commonly known by its new name- Port Ngqura. While the Coega facility exists since 1999, Ngqura (new container terminal) dates back to 2002. Ngqura is the newest and deepest terminal for container loading with the highest draft amongst South African ports.

The berth draft is 18 meters for container handling and 16.5 to 18 meters for general cargo. A total of 7 berths operates round the clock for yearly cargo operations. The facility is 20 km from the nearest neighbouring port of Port Elizabeth and compliments Richards Bay too.

Cargo Handling

The first commercial container offloading operation in the port records is from 2009. Vessels with 12,500 TEU capacity are common berthing visitors at the container terminal. This terminal has an 18-meter datum and rounds off around the basin with 600 meters width. A 2 million TEU prospective handling capacity is possible as per port estimations. This facility aims to be the largest container terminal (by volume) amongst the major ports in South Africa.

Network and Layout

The port network facilitates 1680 reefer points for temperature-sensitive cargo handling. This comes under the 60ha container handling facility with an expansion plan for a further 30ha. Including the general cargo and industrial phase, the facility is spread over a 120 sq. km area. Starting with 12, the Ngqura port facility has over 500 regular workers with expansion plans of 1500.

Port of East London (East Cape Province, South Africa)

The port of East London is the solo river port amongst the major ports in South Africa. The coastal length of East Cape Province holds this facility at the Buffalo River. Formerly the Buffalo Harbour, this port dates back to 1836 under the colonial British setup for its start. A total of 12 berths (10 operational) for river vessels have alongside drafts between 9.1 to 10.4 meters. It consists of 3 containers, 2 general cargo, 3 ro-ro, 1 liquid, and 1 bulk loading terminal. The largest container berth operates with 90,000 TEU capacity per year.

Cargo Handling

A major ro-ro traffic inflow comes with the Mercedes Benz factory set up nearby. This means the facility handles as many as 180 thousand vessels every year. East London port has the biggest conveyor handling facility in South Africa with a length of 388 meters It works for incoming and outgoing cargo. The handling facility plans to expand the vessel roll over to 360,000 with additional 7,000 bay numbers. Moreover, a diverse range of breakbulk, container and liquid cargo operations take place.

Network and Layout

The port facility has an exclusive 8300 sq. meters of area for unit storage facilities. This allows them to handle a turnover of 125 vehicle units per hour. With the 8000MT per hour capacity of the conveyor, the annual grain volume network is over 2 million MT. A facility for loading vehicles for truck and rail transport is also available at East London port. It also employs over 180 cameras for automatic network monitoring and security features.

South Africa’s Shipping Expanse

South Africa’s geographical location makes it the pivot of global shipping. The Cape of Good Hope and the coastal region marks the approximate centre of Cape size vessel routes. Pairing with its mineral-rich natural inheritance, the country of South Africa has a major shipping role worldwide. The major ports of South Africa have direct sea routes to South America, North America, and Asian ports. This makes South Africa the biggest shipping presence in the African region with almost 2/3rd cargo traffic.

Source: Marine Insight


Port of Oakland volumes dip in July

The port of Oakland has recorded a year-to-date volume increase in July but a decline in comparison to the same period of last year.

In particular, the US port has seen a growth of 9% in total volumes and 16% in imports since the start of 2021.

However, a slight downtrend in container traffic has been noticed, as the total volumes which include imports, exports and empty container repositioning, decreased by 3.5% compared to the previous year’s July.

In the meantime, containerised imports saw a year-on-year decline of 1.7%, while exports decreased by 4.7%.

The port attributed the declines to the high cargo volume during the first half of the year, as surging shipments stacked up on docks causing delivery delays.

Due to that fact, shipping lines omitted several sailings to the harbour, according to Port of Oakland Maritime Director, Bryan Brandes who stated that “Vessel berths and container yards were crowded with some shipping lines bypassing Oakland.”

Despite the current downtrend, the port estimates that cargo volume should increase again from August through October, as those months constitute the peak shipping season for retailers building holiday inventories.

Source: Container News


Hapag-Lloyd’s H1 profit increases almost tenfold

Hapag-Lloyd has achieved outstanding performance in financial terms during the first half of 2021, as it has benefitted from strong container demand and skyrocketing freight rates, according to the company’s CEO, Rolf Habben Jansen.

The German carrier has announced impressive increases in all key financial figures in the first six months of 2021, with its revenues climbing to US$10.6 billion (+37.6%), earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) tripling to US$4.2 billion, EBIT rising to US$3.5 billion, which is approximately 5.5 times higher than EBIT of 2020 H1 and the group profit growing to US$3.3 billion, which is more than 9.5 times increased compared with the company’s profit during the first half of 2020.

“Among other things, we were able to reduce our net debt by US$1.5 billion, although we paid out a significantly higher dividend compared to the prior year,” noted Rolf Habben Jansen.

The freight rate development is the main driver of the improved performances of the majority of the container shipping lines.

Hapag-Lloyd announced a 46% increase in the average freight rate of US$1,612/TEU during 2021 first half, compared with the same period last year.

“The freight rate development was the result of high demand combined with scarce transport capacities and severe infrastructural bottlenecks,” said the Hamburg-based liner operator.

The bottlenecks in the supply chains continue to cause enormous strains and inefficiencies for all market participants, according to Hapag-Lloyd’s CEO, who pointed out, “we do not believe that the situation will return to normal any time soon – despite all the efforts made and the additional container box capacity that is being injected. We currently expect the market situation only to ease in the first quarter of 2022 at the earliest.”

Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd’s transport volumes grew to 6 million TEU during the first half, which represents a 4% increase compared to the figure for the previous year. Container volumes were impacted by a slump in demand in the second quarter due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the company’s statement.

In addition, a roughly 6% lower average bunker consumption price, which amounted US$421 per tonne in the first half year of 2021 had a positive impact on earnings.

While demand remains high in the current congested market environment, it is leading to a shortage of available weekly transportation capacity, according to Hapag-Lloyd, which expects earnings to remain strong in the second half of the financial year.

EBITDA for the full year is expected to be in the range of US$9.2 to 11.2 billion and EBIT to be in the range of US$7.5 to 9.5 billion.

Source: Container News


Maersk announces congestion fees worldwide

The Danish liner operator Maersk has confirmed the implementation of congestion surcharges in several ports across the world.

In particular, Maersk has announced the following Congestion Fee Destination (CFD) and Congestion Fee Origin (CFO) in the ports of Rades and Tunis in Tunisia for dry and reefer containers.

Furthermore, the Copenhagen-based carrier will apply a congestion fee of US$150 per 20′ and US$200 per 40′, 45′ and high cube (HC) dry and reefer boxes in Paraguay.

Moreover, Maersk will introduce a congestion surcharge of US$175 per container to and from Memphis CY, due to the ongoing congestion in the area as a result of the I-40 Bridge closure at the city of Memphis in Tennesse.

The Inland Peak Season Surcharge – Export (IPE) and Import (IPI) will be applicable from 1 September and to all import and export Store Door (SD) service moving under Maersk provided trucking (MPT), “where Maersk is responsible for securing truck power from CY Memphis.”

Source: Container News


Threat to peak season extra loader services as desperate carriers hunt tonnage

Ocean carriers are said to be “scraping the barrel” to find enough container tonnage for their extra loaders from Asia.

A dearth of ships becoming available – owners having their heads turned by astronomically high offers for short-term fixtures – is putting the extra loader plans of carriers for the peak season in jeopardy.

Alphaliner’s inactive fleet update on 2 August recorded 164 ships, for 585,105 teu, as idle, eight more than in its previous assessment on 19 July.

However, the consultant noted, this increase was mostly attributable to ships dry-docking for regular maintenance; the number of ‘commercially idle’ ships actually fell by eight to just 43 vessels, for 119,300 teu.

But a broker source told The Loadstar he could not count a single idle containership that was actually available for charter.

“The idle list looks promising at first sight until you find they are either arrested, detained or unseaworthy,” he added.

“Carriers are really scraping the barrel now to fix ships for their new services, and I can’t see some of them able to find the tonnage they need. They have their procurement people pulling their hair out, under so much pressure to find vessels the commercial guys have promised the trade.”

For example, in June Maersk announced two new standalone loops between Asia and the US west and east coasts for August, “to coincide with the incoming peak surge” and “help normalise the network for our contracted customers”.

These extra loader transpacific loops require 17 ships – 10 for the US east coast TP20 service and seven for the TPX west coast string – to provide a weekly service.

And, according to Alphaliner data, so far Maersk has nominated 11 vessels. It said: “Due to the shortage of ships, it will take some time before the TPX fleet will be complete.”

Alphaliner said the first TPX west coast sailing was performed from Yantian by the 4,922 teu panamax Mexico  on 29 July.

Interestingly, Maersk’s charter of that 20-year-old vessel expires on 20 August, when the ship’s new owner, MSC, which purchased it in June for $50m, will no doubt deploy the panamax on its own network.

And, according to Vesselsvalue data, some of the other panamax ships Maersk intends to deploy on the TP20 and TPX peak season standalone services are coming towards the end of their charter periods.

“Maersk will have to make a big call here,” said the broker, “even if it is prepared to pay $50,000 a day for an extension of the panamax ships, there is a short-term market that could see the vessels achieve $150,000 a day or more. I really can’t see Maersk stumping up that sort of money for a 20-year-old gas-guzzling sweeper.”



US shippers back change in shipping law as transpac rates look set to breach $20k

Ocean carriers may hold sway with the supply and demand pendulum swung firmly in their favour, but their customers are looking ahead to prevent another series of events bringing unprecedented rate inflation.

Volatility in ocean shipping, the critical arteries for world trade, initially caused by the pandemic which exposed the frailties in US transport infrastructure, has led to accusations by shippers that carriers are exploiting the difficulties and profiteering.

This led to last week’s formal complaint by MCS Industries to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).

Action is expected by the US regulator to limit the astronomical costs being borne by shippers in detention and demurrage (D&D) charges, while Congress is seeking to amend the 1984 Ocean Shipping Act.

Congressmen John Garamendi (D-Northern California) and Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota) have gained support among importers and exporters with the members of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) backing a cross-party move to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act 2021 (OSRA21).

AgTC believes “OSRA21 is urgently needed” in order that the concerns of US shippers will be converted into “tangible change in ocean carrier practices”.

Alison Leavitt, MD of the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association, argues that her members are dependent on ocean shipping and are being “held hostage” by the lines which are charging thousands of dollars in D&D charges for delays to containers that are beyond the control of her members

“We are looking for reasonable behaviour and transparency, and support revisions in the Shipping Act outlined in OSRA21 that will pave the way for enforcement of reasonable practices,” she added.

AgTC member Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said: “Dairy exporters have faced unfair D&D charges, unreliable and unfair booking practices and cancellations and unwarranted challenges in trying to obtain containers and other equipment.”

Mr Mulhern believes the pandemic has played a role in the failure of supply chains, but added: “Carriers have abused the situation to their advantage. Our members need the US government to act, and we welcome this legislation as an important, positive step.”

In a letter of support for OSRA21, AgTC wrote that each month, the transport situation for agricultural goods was becoming “increasingly dire”.

Nearly 100 shipper signatories are backing the legislation, claiming: “Our survey suggests that, on average, 22% of US agriculture foreign sales cannot be completed due to ocean carrier rates, declining to carry export cargo, unreasonable demurrage and detention charges and other practices.”

A spokesman for Hapag-Lloyd, told The Loadstar it rejected the claim that carriers were profiteering, or that they were acting only in their own interests.

He said: “We should not forget that, over the past 30 years, the cost of container shipping has come down tremendously – and the various forms of operational co-operation between the lines have been instrumental in building the large and sophisticated networks we have today.

“The high rates today are a consequence of an imbalance between supply and demand, as we sometimes also see in other markets. We are doing our utmost to return to normality as soon as possible, as this is in everyone’s interest.”

Normality is apparently relative, however, with rates soaring to unprecedented levels – at least one shipper expects spot rates on the Pacific to crash through the $20,000/feu mark by the middle of the month.

Already shippers say they are having to adjust their budgets to accommodate the soaring costs of freight, including myriad surcharges shipping lines impose on top of basic rates.

Tim Boyle, chairman, president and CEO of Columbia Sportswear in the US, said: “Supply chain disruptions are impacting fall production and deliveries. Furthermore, in our revised outlook, we’re assuming approximately $40m of incremental ocean freight costs not contemplated in our prior outlook.”

Acknowledging the impact of surcharges on customers Hapag-Lloyd conceded: “Costs have gone up significantly – bunkers, storage, chartering, congestion. This somehow needs to be reflected in the rates, but, point taken, we should do our utmost to avoid surcharges when possible.”

Nevertheless, the spokesman argued that the industry had always seen rollercoaster peaks and troughs, and is at its most efficient now.

“Times have changed and the industry has seen lots of consolidation – and container shipping has become a lot more efficient over the last 30 years. The industry has always been very volatile. I have seen rates of $50 for a container from Singapore to Santos – and now I am seeing spot rates of more than $10.000 for a container from China to the UK. Both are not rational, and a consequence of an imbalance between supply and demand,” he added.



Shanghai Port opens dispatching centre to prioritise empty containers

Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) and several mainline operators have launched a centre to co-ordinate the transport of empty containers from Shanghai port.

Yesterday’s opening of Shanghai Port North-east Asia Empty Container Dispatching Centre (a literal translation) is an effort to relieve the equipment crunch by expediting the turnover of empty containers in the world’s busiest container port.

The slow return of empty containers is one of the factors driving runaway freight rates.

The centre is in the comprehensive bonded zone of Yangshan Port’s Lingang New Area and liner majors Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and Evergreen are involved. While part of Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, Yangshan was developed as a Shanghai sub-port to enable the latter to handle more cargo.

SIPG’s senior marketing manager, Chen Wei, said the container dispatching centre was part of a 450,000 sq metre empty container transfer yard.

He explained: “Freeing such a large physical space to store empty containers is conducive to overall planning and reducing logistics costs. The container dispatch centre is not only a concept of a yard, but also involves the development of many innovative businesses, including container matching, land-based and water transport.”

Yangshan is one of Shanghai’s most important sub-ports. In the first six months of this year, Yangshan processed 11.16m teu, nearly half Shanghai’s entire throughput, and many empty containers from transpacific and Asia-Europe services are also handled at Yangshan.

Mr Chen added: “The centre won’t only enable empty containers to be collected in Shanghai Port, but also provide supporting services, such as container repair, washing, and inspection. Shipping companies can be assured that empty containers will be given priority in Shanghai.”

Plans are in hand for a similar facility along the Yangtze river to cater for empty containers in the hinterland.

SIPG chairman Gu Jinshan said the company would work with mainline operators to improve port and shipping logistics to raise service standards and added: “We hope the dispatching centre will become a symbol of the Yangshan Special Comprehensive Bonded Zone, boosting development in Lingang New Area.”

Source: The Loadstar


Hapag-Lloyd pushes up prices in Latin America

Hapag-Lloyd has announced new rates from East Asia and Canada to destinations in Latin America.

Hapag-Lloyd pushes up prices in Latin AmericaThe German line has already implemented since 9 August a general rate increase (GRI) of US$500 per container from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan, East Russia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Brunei to the ports in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The GRI is applicable to all cargoes and all container types, according to the company’s announcement.

Furthermore, the Hamburg-based carrier will introduce a new GRI with effect as of 1 September (date of cargo receipt at origin) for all cargo between the Port of Vancouver in Canada to Latin America.

Hapag-Lloyd noted the GRI will be US$350 per 20′ container and US$450 per 40′ container.

Source: Container News


Hapag-Lloyd restructures Conosur service

Hapag-Lloyd has announced changes in its Conosur (CON) service, which links the East and West Coast of South America.

Hapag-Lloyd restructures Conosur service

Starting in mid-August 2021, the German carrier will withdraw Conosur main vessel operations from the ports in Puerto Madryn and Bahia Blanca, Argentina. Additionally, Hapag-Lloyd will deploy a feeder that will keep offering the service on a bi-weekly basis, performing transshipment operations in Montevideo (TPC and Montecon terminals), while connectivity to Asia, Europe and Latin America will not be affected.

Conosur is currently being deployed with seven vessels instead of the former eight vessels deployment, according to an announcement.

Hapag-Lloyd added the usual non-Argentinian operations will not be impacted, as vessels will keep the same berth windows and the Patagonia withdrawal will provide more flexibility in case of contingencies.

The last Conosur vessels calling Patagonia ports will be Bomar Beijing 134, calling Puerto Madryn and Bahia Blanca, on 16 and 21 August, respectively, while the first feeder vessels calling Patagonia ports will be Madrid Trader 134, calling Puerto Madryn, Bahia Blanca and Montevideo, on 27 August, 1 and 7 September, respectively.

Source: Container News



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