IFPTA News and Events

Port of Gothenburg to Roll-out Customized Digital Platform in Second Half of 2021

Oct. 12, 2020 - With the aid of AI and digital linking, the Port of Gothenburg will become quicker, more cost-effective, and climate smart. A customised digital platform is due to be rolled out during the second half of 2021. It will enhance freight flow transparency and have a direct impact on productivity, lead times, and delivery capacity throughout the entire transport chain.

The greatest challenge will be to bring together the hundreds of organisations that cooperate and compete for transport at the Port of Gothenburg. Shipping companies, terminal operators, rail operators, forwarding companies, freight owners, and inland terminals each represent an individual thread, and together they will intertwine to form a complex freight transport network.

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Do You Know Where Your Chassis Are?

GPS proves a promising technology to track container chassis in real time

Container chassisOct. 9, 2020 - Container chassis may be simple assets, but there is nothing simple about tracking their location throughout the U.S. supply chain.

Chassis providers and technology developers in recent years have chipped away at the challenge to electronically track usage of these assets with shippers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs), carriers, marine terminals and rail ramps.

“The problem is that there are many parties and systems involved when using chassis to dray containers,” Glenn Jones, global vice president of products and marketing for Blume Global, told American Shipper.

Blume’s solution tracks chassis by estimating per-diem and detention charges, then audits and reconciles invoices to validate charges, Jones said.

Read the full article at Amercian Shipper

Port Of Trois-Rivières Receives $33.4 Million from Transport Canada for Construction of Terminal 21

Oct. 9, 2020 - The Port of Trois-Rivières announced that it has received confirmation of significant financial assistance of $33.4 million from Transport Canada for the construction of Terminal 21. The new terminal will be used for the transhipment of dry bulk, liquid bulk and general cargo. The project includes the construction of a wharf and road and rail access roads, as well as storage space.

The total investment of Terminal 21 is nearly $130 million.

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Russian Pulp May be Increasingly Important to China's Paper Industry

Oct. 8, 2020 - China's Belt and Road Initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government that aims to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations. The initiative is poised to boost international trade, and it has the potential to accelerate economic growth across Asia, Central and Eastern Europe.

As part of the initiative, the China-Russia and China-Europe railways are already improving delivery capacities in the region. Per a recent article in Xinhua, "Foreign trade volume by railway through Manzhouli, the largest land port on the China-Russia border, exceeded 10 million tonnes in the first half of this year, up 6.4 percent year on year, according to official figures."

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More Zero-Emissions Equipment Moving Cargo at Port of Long Beach

Oct. 8, 2020 - A container shipping terminal at the Port of Long Beach is now using new, zero-emissions cargo-handling tractors to test the readiness of the equipment to handle the workload at a busy seaport.

The terminal located at the Port’s Pier G is operated by International Transportation Service. ITS will demonstrate seven BYD battery-electric yard tractors for one year. Seven traditionally powered yard tractors annually emit 11 pounds of diesel particulate matter, 1,331 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 311 metric tons of greenhouse gases. International Longshore and Warehouse Union members are operating the vehicles.

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Alexander Global Logistics Expands Bremerhaven Hub

Oct. 6, 2020 - Alexander Global Logistics (AGL) announced that it has expanded its warehouse capacity significantly in Bremerhaven for new business, especially in the pulp and paper sector.

With this expansion, AGL has increased its storage capacity from 6,000 to 21,000 m², in a total of three warehouses.

The location boosts the following advantages:

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Brexit: Deal or No Deal, Customs Formalities are a Fact

Oct. 1, 2020 - The current negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on their new relationship are difficult. Clarity about the outcome is expected in the immediate future. Irrespective of whether this results in a deal or a no-deal: as of the 1st of January 2021, customs formalities will always be in effect for cargo traffic with the United Kingdom. Participation in the Dutch chain solution is mandatory at all ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals. Act now and complete the 5 steps to be Ready for Brexit before the 1st of January 2021.

Whether you are driver, transport company, forwarder, importer or exporter: everyone has a role to play. You will not have access to the terminal without digitally pre-notified customs documents.

Act now and complete the 5 Steps to be Ready for Brexit before the 1st of January 2021.

London’s Port of Tilbury Launches 'UK Paper Hub' for Paper and Forest Products

Sept. 15, 2020 - London’s Port of Tilbury today launched its new all-in-one paper and forest product handling Hub, the UK Paper Hub -- the first facility in the UK created to actively reduce all forms of waste in the supply chain.

UK Paper Hub is the collective brand covering Tilbury’s handling, storage and distribution services for paper and related forest products (including graphical papers and newsprint, packaging paper and board, tissue and hygiene products, and pulp). The brand brings together the expertise and facilities of the paper handling terminals, previously known as Enterprise Distribution Centre (EDC) and London Paper Terminal (LPT), which the port owns and operates.

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An EU Emissions Trading System for Shipping Would Undermine a Global GHG Solution

Sept. 11, 2020 - On Sept. 10, the World Shipping Council published a paper highlighting serious concerns for maritime trade and global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if the EU expands its Emissions Trading System (ETS) to include international shipping. The WSC paper focuses on a critical threshold issue for application of the EU ETS to shipping: geographic scope.

The most-discussed geographic application of the EU ETS to shipping is to mirror the scope of existing EU legislation on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of carbon emissions. The EU ETS has been described as a “regional” system, but bringing international shipping into that system using the MRV scope would regulate the operation of ships on several of the world’s seas and oceans, including on the high seas and in waters adjacent to non-EU nations.

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Russian Railways, Belarusian Railway and FESCO Arranged the First Fully Digitalized Transit Transportation between Asia and Europe

Sept. 10, 2020 - A pilot intermodal container transportation was carried out on September 3 from the Port of Ningbo in China through the Port of Vladivostok in Russia to the Kolyadichi station in Belarus as part of the INTERTRAN project.

This transportation became the first completely digitalized transit container shipment between Asia and Europe arranged by Russian Railways, Belarusian Railway and FESCO Transportation Group.

INTERTRAN technology has already been replicated throughout the Russian Railways network, and over 6,000 containers have been transported with this service.

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Growing Frustration Amongst European Forwarders at Times of Crisis

Sept. 9, 2020 (CLECAT) - Recently, various shipping consultants reported in glorious terms about the multi-billion-dollar profits made by carriers at times of the global pandemic. Capacity discipline brought a silver lining to carrier circles: Maersk’s Q2 net profit increased year-on-year from $154m to $443m, despite volumes plunging 16%; Hapag-Lloyd’s net profit increased from $56m to $287m, alongside an 11% drop in volumes; and HMM’s net profit was $23m, compared to a $54m loss in Q2 19, even though its liftings fell 22%. Sea-Intelliigence noted that the combination of stronger rates and lower operating costs had helped those carriers increase their profits by 160%.

Drewry has concluded that ‘shippers should get used to a much more concentrated marketplace in which shipping lines have more power’, while warning that the container shipping costs and service levels are ‘at risk of spiralling out of control.’  The massive withdrawal of capacity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – 468 blanked departures on east-west trades – coincided with extremely low schedule reliability of the remaining sailings. Consequently, blanked sailings and poor schedule reliability resulted in widespread rollovers of containers. Whereas some carriers now offer no-roll or guaranteed services, they do so at premium rates, which basically is just a normal service offering at increased price.

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Transpacific Rates Hit New Heights – Now Three Times Higher Than Asia-Europe

Sept. 9, 2020 (The Loadstar) - Transpacific container shippers are paying more than three times as much as their Asia-North Europe counterparts, as freight rates on the headhaul leg from Asia to the west coast North America hit unprecedented highs.

According to new analysis from Alphaliner, after the Shanghai-Los Angeles SCFI spot rate reached a record $3,758 per feu on Friday, North American shippers and forwarders are now paying carriers $0.64 per nautical mile.

In contrast, North European importers are paying $0.19 per nautical mile for a shipment from Shanghai to Antwerp, the lowest of the nine routes covered by the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index.

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CN Joining The Commtrex Transload Marketplace

Sept. 8, 2020 - CN (Canadian National Railway) announced that it has joined The Commtrex Transload Marketplace, offering customers one-stop access to CN’s unique tri-coastal rail network and its extensive range of transloading distribution services across Canada and the U.S.

Commtrex makes it quick and easy to find and request transloading services by efficiently connecting shippers with transloading providers who can handle the movement of bulk, liquids, packaged goods, oversized cargo, and more. Commtrex matches shippers with the most relevant transload facilities, then allows shippers to compare detailed information about each location before connecting directly through the platform to discuss terms.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Makes Historic Announcement on America’s Freight System

Sept. 7, 2020 - U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao [on Sept. 3] announced the release of the first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP). It is the latest effort by the Department and the Trump Administration to strengthen America’s economic competitiveness. The NFSP lays out a vision for long-term investments in infrastructure, the workforce, and other essential parts of the freight system.

“The Department is unveiling the first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan so that the U.S. can maintain our competitive edge across major industries like agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and E-commerce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

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Port of Antwerp Utilizing Unique New Log Handling Concept

Sept. 4, 2020 - PSA Antwerp and PSA Breakbulk are launching a new and ambitious ‘log handling concept’ together. At the Churchill Terminal at quay 410, PSA has fitted out a custom location for the large-scale handling of logs.

What's new? At a single location, they can load logs into containers and ship them as breakbulk cargo. The site has been specially fitted out for large shipments. This is unique at the port of Antwerp and will save a great deal of time.

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DP World and CDPQ Expand Global Investment Platform to US$8.2 Billion

Sept. 3, 2020 (Press Release) - DP World, a global infrastructure-led supply chain solutions provider, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global institutional investor, announce the expansion of their ports and terminals investment platform through a new commitment of US$4.5 billion (CA$6 billion), which increases the total size of the platform to US$8.2 billion (CA$ 10.6 billion). DP World holds 55% share of the platform, and CDPQ the remaining 45%.

Since its launch in December 2016, the platform has invested in 10 port terminals globally and across various stages of the asset life cycle. The enhanced platform will continue to target assets globally, but with an increased scope to broaden its footprint in new and existing geographies, such as Europe and Asia Pacific.

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Impact of COVID-19 on America's Forest Supply Chain

Sept. 2, 2020 - The global forest products industry has been making headlines since the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020. First, the pulp & paper sector was the talk of the town during the widespread run on toilet paper that took place from March - June, and the lumber sector has been front-page news in recent weeks as prices for finished lumber have set new records by huge margins.

But the myriad impacts related to the COVID-induced shutdown of the American economy continue to unfold, as they will for months to come. While the attention is beneficial in helping to educate the public and illustrate the complexities of the forest supply chain, those of us close to the industry have wondered about the degree to which COVID-19 "lockdowns" have impacted forest industry production and economic activity.

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Germany Exported Logs at Record Pace in Early 2020, with Almost 50% Destined for China

Aug. 30, 2020 - The log market in Germany has been extremely volatile in the first half of 2020, with high demand from the export market and a tight supply of fresh green logs. When the Coronavirus Epidemic forced sawmills to close in March, domestic demand for sawlogs fell and the price increases seen earlier in the quarter reversed – resulting in both domestic and export prices falling.

Softwood log exports from Germany have increased dramatically over the past five years, from 2.1 million m3 in 2014 to 7.4 million m3 in 2019. The oversupply of logs resulted in record high exports in the 3Q/19 followed by two quarters of q-o-q declines.

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UPM Restructuring Plans Include Closing Kaipola Paper Mill in Finland, Selling Shotton Paper Mill in Wales

Aug. 27, 2020 - To ensure future competitiveness of UPM Communication Papers, UPM announces plans for permanent closing of UPM Kaipola paper mill in Finland, sale of UPM Shotton paper mill in Wales (UK) and streamlining Communication Papers business function teams.

In addition, UPM Biorefining and UPM Specialty Papers announce plans for reorganising and streamlining activities in Finnish pulp mills, UPM Forest and UPM Tervasaari mill in Finland.

The planned closure of UPM Kaipola's three paper machines would impact approximately 450 positions and lead to a permanent reduction of 720,000 tonnes of graphic paper capacity.

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SCA to Invest in Pulp Production, to Discontinue Production of Publication Paper at Ortviken Mill

Aug. 26, 2020 - SCA intends to invest SEK 1,45bn in the production of chemically pre-treated thermo-mechanical pulp (CTMP) at the Ortviken paper mill in Sundsvall (Sweden). In parallel, SCA is initiating consultations with trade unions and employee representatives to discontinue the production of publication paper at the mill.

SCA intends to invest to achieve an annual production volume of 300,000 tonnes of CTMP pulp at Ortviken, using the existing infrastructure. The investment is expected to give a positive EBITDA-effect of approximately SEK 0.3bn per annum. Expected start of production in the new mill is the beginning of 2023. SCA today has a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes of CTMP pulp at the Östrand pulp mill. This production will be phased out when the new line starts up, which will allow a future increase in the production of kraft pulp at Östrand Pulp mill.

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Savannah Top Port for U.S. Exports June-May 2020

Aug. 24, 2020- The Port of Savannah exported more loaded containers than any other port in the country from January through May, achieving a 12.2 percent market share. Garden City Terminal handled a total of 593,195 twenty-foot equivalent container units of loaded exports during the first five months of the calendar year.

Among Savannah's top export commodities, the biggest gainers for the period were raw cotton, which grew by 61.0 percent (16,377 TEUs) for a total of 43,234 TEUs, woodpulp, up by 15.8 percent (11,539 TEUs) for a total of 84,595 TEUs, and kaolin clay, up 23.7 percent (7,964 TEUs) for a total of 41,527 TEUs.

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Canadian Pacific Launches First Train of International Containers from Port of Saint John

Aug. 19, 2020 - Canadian Pacific on Aug. 11 officially launched its international intermodal service through the Port of Saint John, N.B. The inaugural train carries containers from the Hapag-Lloyd vessel Detroit Express bound for intermodal terminals on the CP network in Canada and the U.S.

"The new Port of Saint John service offers shippers a compelling value: a congestion-free port with a world-class operator, matched with CP's precision scheduled railroading model," said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. "CP has been without access to a deep-water Atlantic Ocean port for a quarter-century, and today I'm pleased to deliver a simple message: We're back."

CP gained access to the Port of Saint John through connections with EMRY and NBSR with CP's purchase of the Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQ), completed in June.

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Port of Long Beach Says July was Biggest Month Ever

Aug. 19, 2020 - July marked the busiest month in the 109-year history of the Port of Long Beach as terminal operators and dockworkers moved 753,081 cargo container units, topping a record set two years ago.

Trade increased 21.1% in July compared to the same month in 2019. The previous single-month record of 752,188 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs), set in June 2018, was surpassed by nearly 900 TEUs.

“Supply chain workers at the Port of Long Beach expertly handled a welcome surge in cargo that was brought on due to pent-up demand by consumers,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “It was a good month, a bright spot, in the midst of the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the economy.”

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MSC’S New Santana Service Connects Asia and North America

MSC TeresaAug. 19, 2020 (Press Release) - In anticipation of continuous strong Transpacific market demand, MSC is pleased to announce its new Santana service for the North American west coast. The service will commence at the end of August in Yantian and will remain in place until further notice.

The Santana service’s full rotation will be:

  • Yantian – Shanghai – LA/LGB – Vancouver – Busan – Yantian

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Intermodal Association of North America Honors Vincent Marino with Silver Kingpin Award

Aug. 19, 2020 – The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) announced that Vincent J. Marino, President and CEO of the Marino Group, will be honored with the 2020 Silver Kingpin Award in an online presentation to be held Monday, September 14th.

The Silver Kingpin, the industry’s most prestigious award, recognizes an individual’s long-term contributions to intermodalism. The award was initiated in 1977 by the National Piggyback Association.

Marino has spent his entire 46-year career in the intermodal industry. Under his leadership, the Marino Group, established in 1971 and headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, has grown into a network of maintenance & repair and over-the-road repair companies. Other business areas include equipment modification/sales and depot services in the East Coast, Gulf & Midwest markets.

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CMA CGM has Launched New Container Service to the Port of Gothenburg

Aug. 18, 2020 - On 31 July, the shipping company CMA CGM launched a new container service, adding a new link between Gothenburg and Hamburg. The new service includes calls at Gothenburg every Friday, initially using a vessel with a capacity of over 1,000 TEUs.

“CMA CGM is a leading worldwide shipping group, and this is yet another step in our ongoing strategy for the Swedish market. The launch of this new service will enhance the potential for Sweden to link into our extensive global service network,” said Linus Ljungmark, General Manager at CMA CGM Scandinavia.

The service will be operated under the name Scandinavian Shuttle Service, departing from Gothenburg every Friday, and arriving in Hamburg the following Sunday/Monday. Initially, the vessel Aries J, with a capacity of over 1,000 TEUs, will be used.

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Halifax Port Sees Jump in Cargo Traffic Due to Strike at Port of Montreal

By David Burke for CBC News

Aug. 17, 2020 - Workers at Halifax's port are putting in extra hours and cargo containers are filling up every available space as the port tries to accommodate a flood of extra cargo traffic.

Thousands of extra cargo containers are being moved through the port, according to Bill Organ, director of freight forwarding with the Warehouse Transport Group. The company warehouses containers and helps transport them via truck or train to their ultimate destination.

Warehouse Transport Group moves hundreds of containers through the port. Organ said a strike by longshore workers at the Port of Montreal has diverted the cargo to Halifax — one of the few ports on Canada's East Coast that has the equipment, crews, and access to rail lines to handle the extra cargo, said Organ.

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Mining and Forestry Groups Call on Government to Take Action to End Strike at Port of Montreal

Aug. 14, 2020 - Today, resource industry groups have united to demand the federal government intervene in the ongoing Port of Montreal strike. After a protracted rail strike in November, rail blockades in February, and the ongoing and significant supply chain disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Montreal strike is exacerbating an already stressful situation by bringing the shipping of essential items like minerals, metals, forest products and fuel to a standstill in the region.

"The Port of Montreal is absolutely critical infrastructure to Canada's forest products sector. We export hundreds of products globally and receive shipments from abroad every single day," confirmed Derek Nighbor, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). "We estimate that this disruption has already imposed nearly $1 million US dollars in additional costs and lost sales for our sector in Ontario and Quebec.

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APM Terminals First to Launch Fully Digital Export Management System in Russia

Aug. 4, 2020 - Following successful testing at the Turukhtanny customs post in June this year, First Container Terminal (FCT), will become the first Russian terminal to transfer to a fully paperless export management system for containers.

The proprietary technology enables the digital exchange of legally binding documents with the customs authority and is based on Global Ports’ customer portal and Sea Port’s Portal software functionality.

Global Ports is a joint venture that combines the global expertise of APM Terminals (30.75%) with the local knowledge of Delo (30.75%), one of the largest private transportation and logistics holding companies in Russia.

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Pennsylvania Governor Wolf Extends Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program for Ocean Carriers

Aug. 3, 2020 - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on July 21 that Pennsylvania’s Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program (PICGIP), which aims to increase cargo activity by incentivizing shippers to move cargo through Pennsylvania ports, will be extended through 2022. The program was previously slated to end in June 2020.

Originally established in 2015 through PennDOT’s Multimodal Fund, the PICGIP makes up to $1 million available annually to participating ocean carriers that move cargo through Pennsylvania’s ports. The fund helps secure fulltime employment at the terminals and increase economic activity through indirect and induced jobs.

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Georgia Ports Authority Sets Tonnage Record for FY2020

July 27, 2020 – The Port of Savannah handled 4.44 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in Fiscal Year 2020, down less than 1 percent compared to the previous year. Despite COVID-19 disruptions, total tons crossing all GPA docks reached a record 37.77 million, up 0.6 percent, or 223,000 tons, compared to FY2019. Container tons grew 2 percent (560,440 tons) to reach 33.5 million tons for the year, another record.

“Cargo volume reductions related to COVID-19 were offset by the strength of our export markets and record volumes earlier in the year,” said Griff Lynch, GPA’s executive director.  “This year’s better than expected performance is the result of excellent teamwork starting at the top with Governor Kemp and our board of directors who have been champions of our ports, to our GPA team members along with the International Longshoremen’s Association, the shipping lines, stevedores, trucking and rail — you have never given in or given up throughout the crisis. Thank you for your commitment and perseverance.”

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Rail Traffic Down 8.5% for the Week Ending July 18

July 22, 2020 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending July 18, 2020 (week 29).

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 481,597 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.5 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending July 18 were 214,685 carloads, down 15.7 percent compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,912 containers and trailers, down 1.7 percent compared to 2019.

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Port of Gothenburg Announces New Transshipment Terminal Soon To Become Operational

Port of Gothenburg Svea TerminalJuly 22, 2020 - A new transshipment terminal, located between the Port of Gothenburg container and ro-ro terminals, is gradually emerging. The terminal will receive incoming forest products by rail from Swedish mills and then transfer the products to containers for onward transport to various parts of the world. Volumes equivalent to 60,000-100,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units will be handled at the terminal each year.

The terminal, named the Svea Terminal, will offer 45,000 square metres of storage space. Around half the area, 21,600 square metres, is covered by the world’s largest storage tent, which was recently erected.

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KaiCell Fibers’ Paltamo Pulp and Bioproduct Mill Gets Environmental Greenlight by Finnish Authorities

KaiCell FibersJuly 22, 2020 - KaiCell Fibers said that the Regional State Administrative Agency for Northern Finland (AVI) has approved an environmental and water usage permit application for the company’s proposed pulp and bioproducts mill to be built in Paltamo in northeastern Finland.

The mill’s projected annual capacity is 600,000 ADMT (air dried metric tonnes) of which about 85% will be NBSK (Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft) pulp, and about 15% will be chemical pulp from hardwood (birch), also known as BHKP (Bleached Hardwood Kraft Pulp).

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Port of Montreal Using Artificial Intelligence to Optimize Its Logistics Operations

July 22, 2020 - Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the Port of Montreal will be able to benefit from a new predictive tool that optimizes port logistics, letting the Port improve its operational planning and positively impact the transit times for containerized cargo in the supply chain, especially for rail freight.

Daniel Dagenais, Vice-President, Operations at the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), stated: "This project is another critical milestone towards the ‘Smart Port’ vision we are implementing. It will benefit all stakeholders involved in the chain by reducing cargo delays and transit time while maximizing throughput to our major logistics hub.”

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Economic Trends in the U.S. Northeast Forest Industry

July 21, 2020 - Biomass, pulpwood and sawlogs make up almost all of the wood harvested in the Northeast. Each is important to the sustainability of the region's forest industry, but due to the current state of the economy are facing a handful of economic challenges as well as a few opportunities.

Timber and Lumber

Housing starts, a reliable indicator of market health, enjoyed a sustainable climb after the housing-led recession. The US housing starts surge of the last five years was met with a dramatic collapse when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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Global Shipping Companies End Recovered Paper Exports to China

July 20, 2020 - Recovered paper shipments to China could cease before the end of 2020, with global shipping companies now rejecting shipments for delivery after the end of September. The second and fifth largest global shipping conglomerates (Mediterranean Shipping Company [MSC] and Hapag Lloyd) have announced separately that they will cease shipping recovered paper to China before the end of 2020.

The move by the shipping lines is in response to Chinese laws that were introduced in late April that move China much closer to its stated aim of ending recovered paper imports entirely by the end of 2020.

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Port of Antwerp Limits Damage During Corona Crisis

July 8, 2020 - The total throughput of the Port of Antwerp fell by 4.9% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019.  After a strong first quarter, the port experienced a decline in the transhipment of all flows of goods, with the exception of the container sector.  Despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis on global production and logistics chains and a pandemic-driven drop in demand, the port remained 100% operational.

Container traffic status quo

Container traffic increased in the first quarter of the year, but felt the effects of cancelled sailings from April onwards. Nevertheless, for the period January-June 2020, container traffic recorded a slight increase of +0.4% in TEUs compared to the same period last year (with April and May 2019 as absolute record months).

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COSCO SHIPPING Lines Promotes Contactless Pickup of Imported Goods with Blockchain Technology

COSCO containerJuly 1, 2020 (Press Release) - Recently, in cooperation with Qingdao Port under Shandong Port Group, COSCO SHIPPING Lines launched a program of digital, contactless pickup of imported goods based on blockchain technology, bringing a new level of convenience to customers. So far, through paperless release of imported goods, the company has completed the release of 500 containers at Qingdao Port. On average, each container has saved nearly 24 hours of pick-up time for customers.

For this purpose, COSCO SHIPPING Lines and Qingdao Port have made adequate preparations. Previously, according to the requirements of carriers and ports, customers were required to prepare paper documents for picking up goods and complete pickup procedures at their respective service windows. 

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Annual Australian Woodchip Exports Down 21.3% Year-Ended April

June 30, 2020 - Australia’s combined annual exports of hardwood and softwood woodchips for the twelve-months-ended April 2020 were recorded at 5.728 million bone dried metric tons (bdmt). Monthly export volumes began dropping around the middle of 2019 and have not been above the 500,000 bdmt mark since October 2019.

Hardwood chips make up the majority of Australian exports. Their annual volume fell 23.5% across the year to total 5.165 million bdmt, well below the 6 million bdmt per annum mark, and the lowest annual total since October 2015.

Always variable, total exports of softwood increased, albeit off a smaller base, up 7.8% compared to the prior 12 months, to total 562,335 bdmt for the year-ended April 2020.

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California Air Resources Board Adopts Rule Requiring Truck Manufacturers to Transition from Diesel to Electric Zero-Emission Trucks and Vans

June 29, 2020 - [On June 25], the California Air Resources Board adopted a first-in-the-world rule requiring truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. By 2045, every new truck sold in California will be zero-emission.

This bold and timely move sets a clean-truck standard for the nation and the world, and marks the Newsom administration’s most important air pollution regulation to date. It zeroes in on air pollution in the state’s most disadvantaged and polluted communities. 

"California is an innovation juggernaut that is going electric. We are showing the world that we can move goods, grow our economy and finally dump dirty diesel," said Jared Blumenfeld, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection.

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CN Investing Nearly $1 Billion in 2020 to Support Capacity Growth, Maintenance and Safety in Canada

June 29, 2020 - CN announced that, as part of its strategic investments to support growing demand and enable supply chains, it plans to invest approximately $985 million (CAD) across Canada in 2020 on safety and capacity to strengthen rail network, help reduce emissions, and support economic growth.

British Columbia

CN said that it plans to invest approximately $445 million (CAD) across British Columbia in 2020. The investments will include expansion projects that will add track in yards to handle growing traffic, new sidings as well as continued investments in multi-year initiatives to increase capacity at the Port of Vancouver and at the Port of Prince Rupert in collaboration with the Government of Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and the Prince Rupert Port Authority. 

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Port of Antwerp Expands Use of Rail Shuttles to Surrounding Areas

June 24, 2020 - The Port of Antwerp announced railway operators are offering extra train connections between Antwerp and the hinterland due to low water levels on the Rhine, which continue to cause problems for inland waterway transporters.

According to the Port, this year the low water levels will again impact the capacity of inland waterway transport between the Port of Antwerp and the hinterland. The roadworks on the Oosterweel connection will also create issues for road transport. It is more vital than ever to use the various transport alternatives.

Various railway operators are expanding capacity in relation to their connections or introducing new shuttles.

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Kuehne + Nagel Extends 2030 Net-Zero Carbon Goal to Include All Transport by Suppliers

June 24, 2020 - The Kuehne+Nagel Group has published its Sustainability Report 2019. The company sets out its performance in the areas of environment, social and governance (ESG). The report follows the structure of the Global Reporting Initiative as well as the 17 goals for sustainable development of the United Nations.

Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne+Nagel International AG, says: "Sustainability is a social responsibility and is the duty of every individual. Following the successful completion of our environmental goals set ten years ago, we are now starting the next phase of our sustainability strategy.

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Dutch Seaports Win International Award for Sustainability

June 24, 2020 (Joint Press Release) - The Dutch seaports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Terneuzen/Vlissingen, Moerdijk, and Groningen have jointly won the ‘World Ports Sustainability Award’. They received the award for a joint project aimed at the application of OECD guidelines for seaports. These government guidelines concern corporate social responsibility in international business. The seaports examined how they could contribute to making occasionally risky cargo flows more sustainable.

The Seaports Trade Organisation (Brancheorganisatie Zeehavens, BOZ) has examined how seaports can influence — from their position in the supply chain — the process of making cargo flows sustainable. 

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Segezha Group Starts Construction of New Container Terminal in Lesosibirsk, Russia

June 24, 2020 - Segezha Group, a producer of sack paper, lumber and wood pellets for fuel, announced that construction of a new container terminal at the Lesosibirsky LDK No.1 JSC (Segezha Group, part of Sistema PJSFC) has started. The aim of this project is to provide on-time transportation for the increasing volumes of pellet fuels that are produced by KsyloTech-Syberia LLC.

The construction will be completed by September 2020. The total investment in this project is around 9.8 million.

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Newly Established Stockholm Norvik Port Handles Its First Export of Forest Products

June 22, 2020 - Sweden’s newest freight port handled its first export of forestry products in mid-June. Stockholm Norvik Port, which opened in May, has the capacity and service capabilities to efficiently meet the goods transport needs of the Swedish export industry.

Together with the freight forwarding and logistics company Holship Sverige AB, Stockholm Norvik Port handled export of the first container-load of forestry products, bound for Lat Krabang in Thailand.

“Shipping forestry products via Stockholm Norvik Port is a great solution for the Swedish export industry.

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A.P. Moller - Maersk Updates Expectations to Volumes and EBITDA for Q2 2020

Copenhagen, 17 June 2020 - Based on the market development, combined with cost measures across the organisation and significant blanked sailings in Ocean, A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S (APMM) expects an EBITDA before restructuring and integration costs for Q2 2020 slightly above the level for Q1 2020 (USD 1.5bn).

With the current trading, the market demand in the second quarter of 2020 is developing more favourable than orginally expected with volumes downfall for APMM now anticipated to be in the range of -15% to -18% for Q2 2020, compared to the intial guidance of -20% to -25%.

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BG Freight Line Introduces Tri-weekly Dublin-Liverpool Service to Meet Growing Demand in the Irish Sea

BG FreightJune 17, 2020 - BG Freight Line has taken a positive step by adding an additional weekly service call to meet the growing demands of container traffic between Liverpool and the Irish Sea hub.

The newly announced service will call between Liverpool and Dublin on a tri-weekly basis, ensuring a regular facility to the meet the dynamic needs of each customer in the fast-paced environment of short-sea shipping.

BG Freight Line, part of the Peel Ports Group, provides a comprehensive range of logistics services to and from Ireland, the UK and continental Europe. These services include door-to-door shipping, feedering and quay-to-quay shipping for all types of containerised cargo.

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Turvo’s Logistics Platform Enables Entire Supply Chain to Work Together

TurvoJune 17, 2020 (FreightWaves) - Now five years into its journey, logistics startup Turvo is gaining traction, has landed a high-profile client for its product in Ryder System, and is focused on transforming what visibility means for a freight industry traditionally focused on silos.

Turvo is a “collaborative logistics platform” that is designed to bring order to chaos. It launched its logistics platform in 2017. The platform allows shippers, brokers and carriers to work together in real-time, providing shipment visibility, artificial intelligence (Al)-powered productivity tools, and secure collaboration, the company said.

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G2 Ocean to Take Part in USD 20 Million Automation Project

G2 OceanJune 15, 2020 - G2 Ocean is partnering up with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and 22 maritime industry partners to study safe methods and technology for enabling ship automation.

On June 12, 2020, The Research Council of Norway announced that is awarding more than USD 20 million to Norwegian research project Safe Autonomous Ships (SFI Autoship). The strategic research project studies methods and technology for enabling safe and secure autonomous operations of maritime vessels.

The aim of the project is to ensure that Norwegian players take a leading role in the development of ship automation, especially within the areas of technology, business models and security.

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Former FMC Commissioner Bill Doyle Named Executive Director of Maryland Port Administration

June 16, 2020 - Maryland Port Administration (MPA) announced that William P. Doyle, a former United States Federal Maritime Commissioner, will lead the Port of Baltimore as the new Executive Director of the Maryland Port Administration, effective July 22.

Doyle is a respected maritime professional with nearly three decades of experience in the transportation and energy sectors. As a former U.S. Maritime Commissioner from 2013-2018, Doyle represented the United States in numerous global negotiations and facilitated positive outcomes to disputes among maritime industry and labor groups. In his role, he aided U.S. Labor and Commerce Secretaries in major labor negotiations and co-chaired maritime trade discussions with the People's Republic of China, European Union Trade Commission, Panama and Greece. Doyle most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America.

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Drones to Help Develop 5G for Ports; Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Involved in Trials

Airbus droneJune 15, 2020 - The Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”), M1 Limited (“M1”) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (“MPA”) have partnered with Airbus and to conduct coastal 5G standalone (“SA”) network trials at the Singapore Maritime Drone Estate. This continues Singapore’s efforts to build an open and inclusive 5G innovative ecosystem around the use cases of port operations, and incident management and response.

“M1 has been a front runner in supporting the maritime industry to drive adoption and application of smart 5G technologies, and we are very pleased to be working with IMDA and MPA to innovate more 5G use cases in a live environment,” said Mr. Manjot Singh Mann, Chief Executive Officer, M1.

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Over 100 Import-Export Companies Support the Development of Port of Québec's Laurentia Container Terminal

Port of Quebec Laurentia June 12, 2020 – More than one hundred companies have given their support to the development of Laurentia, the Port of Québec's deep-water container terminal project, which will create a new economical supply chain for Quebec and Eastern Canadian importers and exporters, enabling them to gain efficient access to international markets in Asia and Europe.

The Quebec Container Terminal, operated by Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) and Canadian National (CN), will open in early 2024 and will provide shippers with improved access to traditional markets in Europe and the Mediterranean as well expanding markets in Southeast Asia.

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International Paper Second Largest Waterborne U.S. Exporter by TEU Volume

Georgia PortsJune 12, 2020 - International Paper is listed as the second-largest waterborne exporter by volume of ocean containers by The Journal of Commerce. IP exported 229,760 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of its paper and packaging products by ocean container in 2019.

WestRock is listed at Number 8, exporting 81,726 TEUs of paper-based packaging grades of paper and products.

On the import side . . .

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G2 Ocean Strengthens Fleet with a New Bulk Carrier

Star NikeJune 8, 2020 - G2 Ocean announced that Star Nike, a new-building of 63,000 deadweight tonnage capacity, joined G2 Ocean’s bulk pool on June 5.

Star Nike is a conventional bulk carrier constructed and equipped at a first-class shipbuilding dockyard at Imabari, Japan. She was named and delivered to Grieg Star on June 5, 2020, and is on a Long Term Time Charter contract.

Vice President Bulk Petter Mowinckel at G2 Ocean is honoured to be trusted with another Ultramax from Grieg Star.

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International Forest Products Promotes Dan Stebbins to Director of Export Containerboard Sales

Dan StebbinsJune 8, 2020 - International Forest Products LLC (IFP) announced the promotion of Dan Stebbins to Director of Export Containerboard Sales.

Stebbins joined IFP in 2016 as a member of the Transportation & Logistics department where he was responsible for negotiating rates and managing relationships with all freight and logistics providers for several of IFP’s product lines. In 2019, he successfully transitioned to IFP’s export containerboard sales team with an initial focus on the Latin American market.

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Metsä Fibre's RFID Tracking System for Pulp Units Improves Traceability

Metsä Fibre's RFID TrackingJune 4, 2020 (Metsä Fibre) - An RFID tag is like a small price tag that contains a lot of information on the pulp unit. The tag makes it possible to monitor the data of a pulp batch in real time.

The RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking system is based on a small sticker that contains an electronic tag. A unique RFID tag is attached to every Metsä Fibre pulp unit.

"We were the first operator in the pulp industry to introduce the RFID tracking system in 2012. In many other sectors, the technology has been in use for a longer time," says Thomas Fant, Technical Customer Service Manager, Metsä Fibre.

The RFID tag contains a microchip that stores the pulp batch number and to which the batch data is assigned. The tracking tag can store more information than a barcode. With the RFID tracking method, the quantity, technical properties and latest location of a pulp delivery can be verified in real time.

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Coalition Issues Joint Call For World Governments to Introduce ‘Key Worker’ Designations for Transport Workers

Global freightJune 3, 2020 (Breakbulk Magazine) - A coalition of industry organizations has issued a joint call for world governments to introduce ‘key worker’ designations for skilled personnel in essential global breakbulk operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The joint statement – issued by the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the International Labour Organization – calls for ‘key worker’ designations for a wide range of transport workers.

“Our three Organizations seek to ensure that seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, offshore energy sector personnel, aviation personnel, air cargo supply chain personnel, service provider personnel at airports and ports are designated as ‘key workers’, regardless of nationality.

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Alfaport-Voka, Antwerp Port Authority and Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever Agree to Extend Payment Period for Concessions

Antwerp Port Authority June 3, 2020 - In order to support the Port of Antwerp concession-holders in the present exceptional circumstances, Antwerp Port Authority and Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever (MLSO) have agreed to grant an extension of the payment period for domain concession fees.

In response to the Covid-19 crisis the members of the Antwerp port community asked the Port Authority and MLSO for support measures. After consultation with Alfaport, the Port Authority and MLSO have decided to extend the deadline for payment of concession fees until 30 July 2020, for invoices relating to Q3 2020. In practical terms, for the quarterly invoices this means:

Invoices dated 15 June 2020 – payment deadline: 30 July 2020

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G2 Ocean Expands Use of e-Bills

G2 OceanJune 3, 2020 - G2 Ocean, the Norway-based project cargo and breakbulk operator, is expanding its use of electronic bills of lading (e-bills) amid growing interest from tech-savvy customers, even as rivals are taking a more guarded approach.

The global COVID-19 pandemic is spurring a transition to digitized documents. Work-at-home regimes mean people have limited access to printers, couriers, and customs offices, making it challenging to produce and distribute shipping documents, especially negotiable bills of lading, Jonathan Harcourt, G2 Ocean’s director of innovation, told JOC.com. “These issues are all contributing to the shift to digitization,” he said.

In countries such as India, blanket lockdowns have disrupted courier services and delayed deliveries of crucial documents. Many countries would like to fast-track the use and acceptance of e-bills and letters of credit to circumvent these problems, according to specialized blockchain platform provider CargoX, G2 Ocean’s blockchain partner.

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JAXPORT Welcomes Acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf

JAXPORT Welcomes Acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad WolfJune 3, 2020 - Leadership from JAXPORT, U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Area Port of Jacksonville, and U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville joined U.S. Congressman John Rutherford in welcoming Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf to JAXPORT [last week].

The visit included an update on JAXPORT’s major growth projects, including the Harbor Deepening Project which remains two years ahead of its original schedule due in large part to support from the federal government, and a briefing on how the port has continued to safely operate and remain open for business during COVID-19.

“Getting the economy opened back up safely is a top priority for Homeland Security and JAXPORT really personifies that,” said Secretary Wolf. “Jacksonville’s port has remained open throughout the pandemic and plays an important role in our country’s economic recovery and national security.”

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Forest Products See Increase via Port of Savannah; Wood Pulp, Paper, Paperboard Lead Commodity Group

ContainerboardJune 3, 2020 (Georgia Ports Authority) - While many cargo categories have seen struggles related to COVID-19, certain forest products are seeing strong demand at the start of 2020.

Among the Port of Savannah's top five forest product exports - wood pulp, paper and paperboard, logs and lumber, veneers and plywood, and boards - the Port of Savannah handled 118,783 twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 2.6 percent or 3,000 TEUs, in the first three months of the year (the latest period for which containerized commodity data is available).

Wood pulp, paper and paperboard drove most of the growth, with wood pulp volumes increasing by 16.3 percent (7,714 TEUs) January through March compared to 2019, for a total of 55,083 TEUs. Similarly, paper and paperboard grew from 42,809 to 49,732 TEUs during the first three months of the year, an increase of 16.2 percent, or 6,923 TEUs.

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Verbrugge Terminals Starts New Scheduled Service between Sweden and North Sea Port

Verbrugge Terminals May 29, 2020 - North Sea Port recently announced that a new weekly service between Sweden and Terneuzen will dock at Verbrugge Terminals in Terneuzen every Saturday. The ro-ro ships transport paper, trailers, containers and project cargo.

The cargo consists of rolls of paper for magazines, newspapers and other printed matter. These rolls are unloaded at Terneuzen every Saturday and delivered to the various printers, with Verbrugge's transport company Verbrugge Internationale Wegtransporten playing an important role.

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Port of Antwerp to Implement ‘Certified Pick up’ in November for Release of Containers

Port of AntwerpMay 29, 2020 - Container handling in the port of Antwerp is a complex process involving many players. Releasing containers is a vulnerable and time-consuming process which carries the risk of misuse and mistakes. In order to guarantee security and improve the operational efficiency and transparency, Port of Antwerp has introduced a new procedure — Certified Pick up. All players involved in container handling will have to join this procedure.

The container release process has been made more secure and streamlined by sharing real-time information on a unique central data platform. The system will regulate the release of containers based on coded identification and authorisation information. This development will contribute towards a more secure, effective and resilient supply chain.

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Georgia Ports Authority Commissions First Nine Mason Mega Rail Tracks

Port of Savannah rail projectMay 28, 2020 - Georgia Ports Authority's Mason Mega Rail project, in the works for more than four years and designed to expand service to the Southeast and Midwestern U.S., has passed a major milestone. GPA has put into operation the first nine of 18 new working tracks, with its first two rail-mounted gantry cranes to be commissioned in June.

"At the Port of Savannah, we are working to improve the efficiency of the American supply chain and move goods to market even faster," said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. "These efforts are strengthening our logistics network at a time when the nation needs it most."

Lynch said the project would not have been possible without a generous grant from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

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Swire Bulk takes Delivery of New, Log-fitted Bulk Carrier, MV Singan

May 28, 2020 - Swire Bulk, the bulk division of The China Navigation Company, has taken delivery of its new, log-fitted bulk carrier into service. MV Singan is traded worldwide with a strong focus on the logs trade in the Pacific and South Atlantic.

According to Rob Aarvold, General Manager at Swire Bulk, the vessel is designed for optimal speed and consumption at 12.5 knots in the laden condition. The eco-efficiency additions of the Rudder Bulb, Wake fin and Pre-swirl will improve vessel hull efficiency.

Log carriage requires a high level of structural stability, which MV Singan offers. The vessel is also installed with the latest solid state radar equipment which is integrated with ECDIS. This ensures compliance with the latest and future requirements and for system updates to be managed easily.

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Port of Savannah Handled Six Percent More Containers of Forest Products in First Two Months 2020

Port of Savannah May 20, 2020 (Press Release) - While many cargo categories have seen struggles related to COVID-19, strong demand for forest products at the start of 2020 has meant increased trade in these commodities. The Port of Savannah handled 78,486 twenty-foot equivalent container units of forest products, an increase of 6 percent or 4,470 TEU, in the first two months of the year (the latest period for which containerized commodity data is available).

Wood pulp, paper and paperboard drove most of the growth, with wood pulp volumes increasing by 25.3 percent (7,225 TEUs) during January and February compared to 2019, for a total of 35,751 TEUs. Similarly, paper and paperboard grew from 26,107 to 31,777 TEUs during the first two months of the year, an increase of 21.7 percent, or 5,670 TEUs.

“The paperboard and containerboard are used for packaging of products you see on your store shelves and for making much needed boxes that are in high demand due to the growth of e-commerce, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Plastic Express President and CEO Ray Hufnagel.

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U.S. Rail Traffic Down 22 Percent for the Week Ending May 16

Union Pacific - rail freightMay 20, 2020 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 16, 2020.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 416,115 carloads and intermodal units, down 22 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending May 16 were 184,415 carloads, down 30.2 percent compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 231,700 containers and trailers, down 14 percent compared to 2019.

None of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2019 included . . .

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Alabama State Port Authority Names John C. Driscoll as Director and CEO

John C. Driscoll May 18, 2020 - The Alabama State Port Authority recently named John C. Driscoll as Director and Chief Executive Officer for the Port Authority, effective June 1, 2020.

“Over the last several months, the Board and Jimmy Lyons worked through a nationwide search to identify a slate of qualified candidates,” said Bestor Ward, Chairman of the Alabama State Port Authority. “It was John’s qualifications that made him the natural choice. Our board looks forward to John joining the Port Authority team in June.”

Driscoll most recently served as Maritime Director at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California.

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Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Begins Shipping Project Out of Port of Corner Brook

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper containersMay 15, 2020 - Corner Brook Pulp and Paper in Newfoundland, Canada, will now be able to access markets pretty much anywhere around the globe as a partner in an international shipping project operating out of the Port of Corner Brook.

The $11-million project is a result of a partnership between the Corner Brook Port Corporation, Logistec Stevedoring Inc., and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, which is the base business in the effort, with support from the federal government.

“You have to have an initial customer to ensure that the business piece works,” said Darren Pelley, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s general manager, of the role of the mill.

The arrival of a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) vessel at the port on Tuesday, May 12 with 350 empty shipping containers signaled the official start of the project.

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CMA CGM Group Secures EUR 1.05 Billion Loan Backed by French Government

CMA CGM GroupMay 13, 2020 - The CMA CGM Group [on May 12] announced that it has secured a EUR 1.05 billion syndicated loan from a consortium of three banks: BNP Paribas, HSBC and Société Générale. This loan is part of France's State-guaranteed loan scheme established at the end of March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State guarantees 70% of the loan, which has an initial one-year maturity and an extension option for up to five additional years. This new funding further strengthens CMA CGM’s cash position in order to confront uncertainties in the global economy resulting from the health crisis and lockdown measures in a large number of countries.

At this stage, the Group anticipates a limited slowdown in its activity over the near term, with an estimated decrease in market volumes of 10% in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019.

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British Ports Welcome Extended Furloughing Scheme as UK Economy Reawakens

British Ports AssociationMay 13, 2020 - The British Ports Association (BPA) has welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor on May 12 that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for an additional four months in the UK, until the end of October. This will help ports recover as the UK economy starts to reawaken.

The UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was launched in March. It allows employers to stand down workers but then claim a cash grant of up to 80% of their wages, capped at £2,500 a month. The money is claimed by the company and distributed to staff, so individuals don’t have to do anything themselves. Some employers decide to make up the 20% difference, some do not.

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Södra Ends Furlough Schemes at Sawmills in Orrefors and Mönsterås, Sweden

Södra construction timberMay 12, 2020 - Södra announced that it has ended furlough schemes that began in April at its sawmills in Orrefors and Mönsterås, Sweden.

Södra ended the furlough scheme at Orrefors at the end of April and now at Mönsterås.

At the beginning of April, Södra announced furlough schemes at its sawmills in Orrefors, Mönsterås and Hamina (Finland) in light of reduced demand related to the ongoing pandemic.

"We decided to introduce a furlough scheme because the UK was closed," said Jörgen Lindquist, President of the Södra Wood business area. "The UK market is gradually re-opening and we have also identified new business opportunities, which is why we will be resuming normal production rates at Mönsterås by 18 May.

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Short-line Railroads Offer Appealing Investment Opportunity Even Amid Pandemic

Genesee & Wyoming short-line railMay 12, 2020 (FREIGHTWAVES) - Private equity funds and other investors are scouring 35,000 miles of North American short-line rail track for deals even as the industry sees one of the biggest volume drops since 2008.

The hunt for acquisitions among the roughly 500 companies in the space comes as investors see first-mile access to shippers as the next smart way to deploy large pools of capital and the demand for railcar storage increases.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and GIC’s $8.4 billion acquisition of Genesee & Wyoming, the largest short-line operator with some 120 short-lines operating on 16,000 miles of track globally, stands out. Below that mega-deal, there are a host of smaller ones.

Since June 2018, there have been 19 acquisitions of short-line railroads or other closely held rail assets, such as transloading facilities.

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Alexander Maritime Services Charters Two Breakbulk Vessels to the Middle East

Alexander Maritime Services May 11, 2020 - Alexander Maritime Services (AMS), a sister company of Alexander Global Logistics (AGL), has successfully performed two breakbulk charters from the Port of Flushing in the Netherlands, to the ports of Aqaba and Bahrain in the Middle East.

AMS is certainly not shy when it comes to chartering. On a regular monthly basis, they charter 8-10 coaster loaded with wood pulp and other bulk cargos within the European waters. This time, these two charters came on top due to the lack of container space and equipment on this route caused by the COVID-19 situation. The cargo originated from South America, and was available in Flushing for immediate shipment . . .

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COSCO Shipping Ports Completes Smart Port Trial

COSCO Shipping Ports May 11, 2020 (Port Technology International) - COSCO Shipping Ports (CSP), the biggest terminal operator in the world, has announced the successful completion of a 5G-enabled, automated vehicle trial at the Port of Xiamen, describing it as a “constructive result” in the development of smart ports.

In a statement, CSP said it worked with China Mobile and Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Co. to complete the trial, which took place on the 11 May 2020.

An automated guided truck delivered containers to the COSCO Shipping Rose, collected others that were being unloaded and drove them to the yard.

In doing so, it automatically avoided several obstacles on the road and completed a series of operations, including positioning itself accurately for the cranes and smoothly completing all processes.

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Port Canaveral Receives Shipment of 2,000 Metric Tons of Pulp from Sweden

Flora Schulte bulk carrierMay 6, 2020 - Space Coast Daily (Brevard County, Florida) reported that the Flora Schulte arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida on May 1 with 2,000 metric tons of wood pulp (used for paper production) along with 5,700 metric tons of lumber.

The relatively new bulk carrier (May 2019), which is owned by Schulte Group, was originally scheduled to Port Canaveral about a month ago but was delayed loading the product in Sweden because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trey Finch, Operations Manager with Norton Lilly International said Port Canaveral rarely gets this type of shipment but it is probably due to the need for increased production of paper products.

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Port of Oakland Gets New Service to Asia, Includes Saudi Arabia

Port of Oakland May 6, 2020 (Press Release) - A sprawling vessel service begins this week with 18 megaships linking the Port of Oakland to Asia, including Saudi Arabia.  A highlight of the new service: the first-ever direct link between Oakland and the Middle East.

The Port said that Japan’s ONE line would operate the new weekly service called the Far East-Pacific 2.  The first ship in the service, the ONE Aquila, should arrive at Oakland International Container Terminal May 7.

Each of the ships in the service has capacity to carry 14,000 20-foot containers.

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Rotterdam World Gateway Takes Delivery of Two New Deep Sea Quay Cranes

May 5, 2020 - The Port of Rotterdam reported that on 23 April two new deep sea quay cranes arrived at Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG). The cranes will be commissioned in the coming months and are expected to be operational in the second half of 2020.

The new cranes, the largest of their kind, were built by ZPMC in China. They have a lifting height of 56 meters and are capable of handling container vessels up to 26 rows wide.

Together with the two quay cranes, RWG has invested in 25 new Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). Offloading the cranes will take around ten days and they will be commissioned on the quay over the next months.

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JAXPORT Director of Cargo Sales Frank Camp to Serve on Board of Directors for Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association

Frank CampMay 5, 2020 - JAXPORT Director of Cargo Sales Frank Camp has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders (FCBF) Association. The Doral, Florida-based trade association is the most influential and active representative body of industry professionals serving the state’s import and export community.

In addition to freight forwarders and Customs brokers, FCBF members represent industry leaders from throughout the supply chain, including cargo shippers and ocean carriers. FCBF members play an important role in port selection for the cargo community.

“Northeast Florida is a growing player in international trade and we are thrilled to welcome Frank to our team,” said FCBF Board President Gabriel Rodriguez. “His knowledge and experience throughout the supply chain will be a valuable resource for our members as we work to elevate this dynamic industry and grow global trade opportunities throughout the state.”

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Surface Transportation Board Issues Three Decisions Related to Demurrage Rules and Charges

Surface Transportation BoardMay 5, 2020 - The Surface Transportation Board today announced that it is issuing a series of decisions on demurrage and accessorial rules and charges, continuing its efforts to promote transparency, timeliness, and mutual accountability by rail carriers and the shippers and receivers they serve.  Informed by the significant number of comments received during the notice-and-comment process, the Board issued three related decisions today.

In Policy Statement on Demurrage & Accessorial Rules & Charges, Docket No. EP 757, the Board issued a final policy statement that provides the public with information on principles the Board would consider in evaluating the reasonableness of demurrage and accessorial rules and charges.  With the policy statement, the Board intends to facilitate more effective private negotiations and problem solving between rail carriers and shippers and receivers, to help prevent disputes from arising, and to help resolve disputes more efficiently and cost-effectively.

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Stevedoring Services Join Forces in Charleston, South Carolina

Three former competitors’ collaboration had drawn criticism from the World Shipping Council and International Longshoremen’s Association

Port of CharlestonMay 5, 2020 (American Shipper) - Competitors officially became collaborators [May 4] as the Charleston Stevedoring Co. (CSC) launched to optimize terminal, vessel and gate operations at the South Carolina port.

CSC is a joint venture of Marine Terminals Corp.–East (Ports America), Ceres Marine Terminals and SSA Atlantic to provide container terminal and stevedoring services at the Port of Charleston.

“The new entity will provide significant benefits to the Port of Charleston, including improved container terminal services through the consolidated operations at all berths as well as more efficient vessel turn times and improved equipment utilization,” CSC President Dan Hall said.

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Port of Antwerp Says Shortsea Transport is the Future

May 4, 2020 - Shortsea transport is the future, offering countless advantages for shippers and forwarders, according to the Port of Antwerp.

Port of Antwerp offers British and European shippers and forwarders a competitive, sustainable, reliable and rapid transport alternative to road haulage, so that each day cargo reaches its final destination “just-in-time”.

Port of Antwerp currently offers 53 container services per week with destinations ranging from the Mediterranean region and the Iberian peninsula at one end to Russia at the other.

"Our ambition is to offer frequent, regular shortsea services to a number of important destinations," says Dries Van Gheluwe, Key Account Manager Shortsea Shipping at Port of Antwerp. 

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SCA Charters Two Large Container Vessels

May 4, 2020 (Press Release) - On April 22, 2020, SCA takes two bigger container vessels on charter. The vessels have considerably larger cargo capacity than their predecessors. They are today named m/v Baltic Shearwater and m/v Baltic Petrel.

“We at SCA Logistics have a strategy to develop large-scale solutions that make us even more cost-effective in the long term. With the new vessels, the goal is to load 40 percent more container cargo. By large-scale, the vessels also contribute to a lower climate impact while at the same time strengthening our customers' competitiveness,” says Nils Johan Haraldsson, Vice President Marketing and Business Development at SCA Logistics.

To enlarge the container traffic is also part of the ongoing efforts of expansion and development of the ports in Sundsvall and Umeå.

“In both cities, the port developments will bring increased opportunities for container traffic. The trend with bigger container volumes is also evident, not least in our own ports where container volumes are steadily increasing and have been doing so for many years,” continues Nils Johan.

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Metsä Fibre and Ahlstrom-Munksjö Collaborating on Responsible Sourcing of Wood

Metsa Fibre wood sourcingApril 30, 2020 - Metsä Fibre and Ahlstrom-Munksjö continue the collaboration by focusing on responsible wood sourcing. Ahlstrom-Munksjö, as a significant wood pulp consumer, and Metsä Fibre, as the world’s leading producer of bleached softwood pulp, have a particular responsibility to advance environmental performance and sustainability throughout their operations and supply chains.

“We are committed to contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by reducing negative impact across the value chain. The collaboration with both the suppliers and customers is very important in developing and implementing our sustainability strategy, and thereby achieving these goals,” says Heli Nykänen, Manager, Group Sustainability and Capital Investments.

The project that started in 2019 has mainly focused on responsible wood sourcing in the value chain from the forest to the end-products. As part of the partnership,

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Federal Maritime Commission Issues New Guidance on Detention & Demurrage

April 29, 2020 - The Federal Maritime Commission has issued new guidance about how it will assess the reasonableness of detention and demurrage regulations and practices of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) under 46 U.S.C. 41102(c).

The final rule, “Docket No. 19-05, Interpretive Rule on Demurrage and Detention under the Shipping Act”, will become effective upon its publication in the Federal Register.

Under the new interpretive rule, the Commission will consider the extent to which detention and demurrage charges and policies serve their primary purpose of incentivizing the movement of cargo and promoting freight fluidity.  The rule also provides guidance on how the Commission may apply that principle in the context of cargo availability (and notice thereof) and empty container return.

The Commission may also consider 

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Don't Worry: TP Is Made in the USA

Georgia producers meeting toilet paper demand

April 28, 2020 - As Americans adhere to social distancing guidelines amid COVID-19 concerns and stock up for extended periods at home, shoppers are repeatedly having difficulty stocking up on an essential item - toilet paper.

Images and videos shared across social media show long retail lines, panicked consumers and depleted stocks of bathroom tissue. However, many may not realize this everyday necessity is largely manufactured in the U.S., with Georgia featuring more acreage devoted to timberland than any other state.

Although recent demand has been higher than normal, household paper manufacturers, many of which have major operations in Georgia, have been adjusting production schedules to ensure a steady flow of products reaches store shelves.

For example, the Atlanta-based manufacturer Georgia-Pacific . . .

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Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Brazil’s Forest Sector

By Marcelo Schmid, Manager of Forest2Market's operations in Brazil

April 27, 2020 - Some players in the Brazilian forest-based industry are doing well in the face of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. But while the country’s pulp sector has largely been unaffected, the packaging sector has been hit hard.

Pulp Sector Reduces Inventories

Brazil is the largest global producer of market pulp and this segment is undoubtedly the most important for the Brazilian forest supply chain. While the pulp segment experienced a drop in foreign demand and exports in 2019, this created an increase in inventories among the major Brazilian producers.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the global consumption of toilet paper to increase worldwide, which has helped to reduce large inventories and normalize production. Although this increase in consumption has been driven by a temporary sense of “panic,” the general feeling is that a market shift has occurred and the consumption of toilet and tissue paper will increase in the future as overall health and hygiene habits have changed.

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Maersk Launches New Intermodal Container Service in Russia

April 22, 2020 - Maersk’s offer of intermodal solutions for the Russian market is expanding, with the new container service launched in April, connecting the port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea with the dry port Vorsino near Moscow (Kaluga region). The new service is offered by Maersk jointly with Russian partners Ruscon group and Transcontainer JSC and offers a reliable solution for containers arriving to Novorossiysk on Maersk’s ocean services and destined for customers in Moscow and neighbouring regions. At destination, customers can then choose between an end-to-end solution, where containers are delivered by Maersk directly to their premises, and self-pickup from Vorsino inland container terminal.

“With this solution, we want to meet the needs of our customers located in the Russian capital area with a product that brings their cargo closer to their warehouses, production facilities or shops. We offer them the flexibility of picking up their cargo on their own, or using a door-to-door option, based on their preference”, comments Zsolt Katona, Managing Director of Maersk in Eastern Europe.

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Special Freight Railcars Could Travel at High Speeds, Federal Researchers Show

April 21, 2020 - For at least the past decade, America’s railroads have been toying with the notion of freight trains moving at speeds approaching some passenger bullet trains.

Now, a new Federal Railroad Administration demonstration study has concluded that specially designed “higher speed freight truck” railcars could be designed for travel on some existing tracks carrying 70 tons per car at speeds of up to 106.5 miles per hour — or even 125 mph using more powerful locomotives.

That would be quite a feat. Trains carrying freight are currently allowed to travel at speeds of up to 70 mph or 80 mph, but unloaded many trains generally only travel from 40-50 mph, according to FRA researchers.

FRA said it could not yet say exactly when such speed freight trains might become reality, but officials . . .

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Port of Rotterdam Predicts 10-20 Percent Drop in Throughput for 2020

Port of RotterdamApril 21, 2020 - In a quarterly figures report released April 16, the Port of Rotterdam said that total throughput tonnage fell by nine percent year-over-year in the first three months of 2020. The outlook for the remainder of the year appears to be similar, the port's leadership cautioned.

Falling throughput tonnage was seen mainly in coal (-40 percent), crude oil (-8 percent) and oil products (-33 percent). High wind energy production and low natural gas prices meant that coal-fired power plants had lower demand for imported coal this season. On the liquid bulk side, shifts in Russian fuel oil exports meant that Rotterdam handled less bunker fuel transshipment activity, leading to reduced oil product volumes.

However, the port also noted positive developments.

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Struggling US importers Granted 90-day Duty Deferment

April 20, 2020 - Under authority of the White House, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will allow U.S. importers of certain goods to defer their payments of duties, taxes and fees for the next 90 days, starting April 20.

The temporary duty deferment was included in an executive order signed by President Trump on Friday, April 17, to help American businesses cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This payment flexibility will be available only for importers with a significant financial hardship and will apply to payments for goods imported in March and April,” CBP said in a press release on Sunday, April 19.

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Kuehne + Nagel’s SeaExplorer Keeps Supply Chains Running

April 20, 2020 (Press Release) - Kuehne + Nagel has launched an enhanced version of its SeaExplorer online platform. Especially in the current volatile market environment, transparency is crucial for companies requiring sea freight services. Industry sources predict a high rate of cancelled sailings in various trades in the coming weeks. Schedule reliability is currently at 65%, the lowest level in the past ten years.

The new SeaExplorer features come just in time to mitigate these disruptions. In one single digital platform, it is now possible to . . . Read more

Shipping Alliance Calls for Solution to Crew Change Shutdown

ships bridgeApril 15, 2020 - An alliance of leading maritime companies is calling on governments around the world to make interim arrangements for crew changes, which have been effectively halted in many localities due to the COVID-19 lockdown. At present, over 100,000 seafarers are effectively stuck at sea because the global patchwork of coronavirus policies prevent them from entering countries, transiting through non-destination countries or finding flights on which to return home. This has implications for seafarer wellbeing, safety and the operational integrity of the supply chain, the alliance warns. 

The alliance represents 1,500 vessels and 70,000 seafarers, and it includes leading names like D/S Norden, Grieg Star, Reederei Nord, Dynacom, V.Group, Wilhelmsen Ships Service, Pacific Carriers Limited (PCL), Magsaysay, Augustea, Columbia Ship Management, Inchcape Shipping Services and Synergy Group. The group's proposals have support from the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

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Maersk Starts Eastbound Train Service from St. Petersburg to Asia

Maersk trainApril 15, 2020 - The first Eastbound train on Maersk’s AE19 service was dispatched from St. Petersburg port in the eastward direction on March 28, carrying goods from Europe to Asia. The overall transit time of the new intercontinental service from ports in North Europe to ports in Korea and Japan will be between 23 and 32 days, which is a reduction by half compared to 52-57 days via the traditional ocean route.

The train loaded with plywood and chemical products from North Europe left the FCT port terminal in St. Petersburg to the terminal VSC in the port of Vostochniy in the Russian Far East (both terminals are part of Global Ports group). Upon arrival to Vostochniy, containers will be loaded on Maersk’s short-sea vessels for delivery to Korea and Japan.

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Imported Forest Products to China Dropped by $750 Million in January and February

April 9, 2020 - The coronavirus epidemic in China has resulted in sharply reduced importation of forest products in early 2020. During January and February, the import value of logs, lumber, pulp and wood chips totaled 4.6 billion dollars. This was down 26% and 14%, from the same periods in 2018 and 2019 respectively, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ).

From 2019 to 2020, the biggest percentage declines were seen in softwood lumber (-26% y-o-y) and softwood logs (-20% y-o-y). The import value for wood pulp fell the most (just over 300 million dollars y-o-y) followed by softwood lumber, which was down 190 million dollars.

Softwood Lumber

Softwood lumber imports to China were estimated to be 1.2 million m3 in February 2020, the lowest monthly volume in four years. The two largest lumber suppliers, Russia and Canada, continued to be the major sources for lumber.

While Russian volumes were down 16% the first two months of 2020 as compared to the previous year, this decrease . . .

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BIR Contacts Governments and Shipping Lines to Alleviate Impact of Port Shut-Downs

Indian portApril 9, 2020 - The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has officially contacted governments, shipping lines and their international organizations, as well as port authorities, so that they support the recycling industries' request to waive costs and fees on containers stuck in ports due to government shutdowns, as well as ground charge for stuck containers. BIR is also promoting the implementation of 'green lanes' in order to expedite trade in goods, including in recyclables.

Various governments, in order to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus, have restricted the movements of their citizens, and sometimes goods. This has an impact on the movement of recyclables from facilities in exporting countries to facilities in importing countries.

Even if a number of governments have classified recycling as essential activities (see BIR’s appeal to Governments), hence easing the operations of our members, BIR expresses concerns of the consequences for our members where seaports are locked down.

The recycling industries have a long relationship with shipping lines and ports and cooperation into the future will remain as the volumes of recyclables are predicted to increase for the coming decades.

Founded in 1948, BIR was the first federation to support the interests of the recycling industry on an international scale. Today, BIR represents over 760 member companies from the private sector and 37 national associations, in more than 70 countries.


China-Europe Freight Train Service Resumed in Wuhan

April 8, 2020 - China-Europe freight train service from Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, resumed regular operations on Saturday, March 28, allowing more goods such as medical supplies and daily necessities to flow more efficiently between the two regions, according to the Wuhan branch of the China State Railway Group.

On Saturday morning, the X8015/6 rail carrying 50 cargo containers left the Wuhan station en route to central Europe. It is the first freight train of its kind to leave Wuhan after the COVID-19 outbreak began, and it is estimated to reach Duisburg, Germany in 15 days.

Nearly 90 percent of all goods aboard were produced locally in Wuhan, including 166.4 metric tons of medical supplies such as medical fabrics. There were also auto parts, electronics and telecommunication cables on the train, and all these goods would aid in pandemic control and construction projects in European countries such as Germany, France, Hungry, the Czech Republic and Poland.

The company said the normalization of railroad operations marked the city’s logistics and production are gradually recovering from the epidemic, and will serve as a strong support for commerce and trade.

The train’s schedule and operations have been optimized to be more efficient, with some fees on international goods and relevant paperwork waived to save time during this global health crisis. More freight trains ferrying goods between the two regions will likely be in place in the future.

From March 23 to 26, the China-Europe freight train service connecting Hefei, Anhui province, and Europe had resumed operation. It traveled to Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, carrying goods including cars, refrigerators, washing machines, auto parts, electronics and many medical supplies.

SOURCE: China Daily

CLECAT Calls for Fair and Equal Demurrage and Detention Charging During the COVID-19 Crisis

April 2, 2020 - CLECAT (European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services) on April 1 issued a paper, which provides recommendations for a more transparent process with regards to the determination of detention and demurrage practices in container shipping. The paper sets out a number of issues freight forwarders have encountered recently with detention and demurrage charges, including references to the recent European court cases.

Commenting on the paper, Ms Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT, noted: ‘Over the last couple of months, we have collected the experiences and concerns of our members with regards to detention and demurrage charges. Today, with the present global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these concerns become even more pressing. Whereas our priority remains to ensure that freight keeps moving and containers reach their destination, we believe that all parties in the global maritime supply chain have a common interest to support the overall functioning of the chain.'

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Commissioner Dye Leading FMC Initiative to Address Urgent COVID-19 Supply Chain Impacts

Rebecca DyeMarch 31, 2020 - The Federal Maritime Commission today issued an order authorizing Commissioner Rebecca Dye to identify operational solutions to cargo delivery system challenges related to Coronavirus-19.

The Order notes that “Recent global events have only highlighted the economic urgency of responsive port and terminal operations to the effectiveness of the United States international freight delivery system.  Given the Commission’s mandate to ensure an efficient and economic transportation system for ocean commerce, the Commission has a clear and compelling responsibility to actively respond to current challenges impacting the global supply chain and the American economy.  Accordingly, the Commission has determined there is a compelling need to convene new Supply Chain Innovation Teams to address these challenges.”

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Container Costs at Indian Ports Crippling Importers

March 31, 2020 - Indian recyclers are appealing for relief from detention and demurrage charges until May, saying they are a ‘massive burden’ on an industry crippled by the country’s lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fees, normally a routine part of the business between shipping lines and importers, are building up as cargoes are stuck at ports following the national lockdown introduced on 25 March and due to end on 15 April.

The call for relief comes from the Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) which has more than 1200 members, including most regional trade associations. It claims to speak for more than 20 000 small, medium and large enterprises employing 2.5 million people.

Containers building up

MRAI points out that containers are continuing to arrive at various ports and inland container depots (ICDs) across India but, due to the lockdown, its members cannot take deliveries and make payments. It says ‘The entire supply chain and supporting infrastructure (truck drivers, factory workers) is not available. This is now leading to piling up of containers at these ports and ICDs which will soon start incurring heavy detention and demurrage.’

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Supply Chain Data: A Critical Business Component for Navigating Uncertainty

By Pete Coutu, Vice President of Sales at Forest2Market

March 31, 2020 - The sense of uncertainty that has gripped the entire globe over the last few months is unprecedented in modern history. But in the fight to contain the COVID-19 virus, drastic times call for drastic measures.

As a result, large American cities (and in some cases entire states) are on “lockdown” as people remain in their homes to avoid contact with others. The sense of panic has also led to a near shutdown of the most vibrant economy in history, and even the experts seem unsure about how to revive it when the dust settles.

While many businesses have been forced to close during the crisis, many others are considered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce” in the nation’s response to solving the crisis. The wood products industry is one of these essential workforces, which means wood products manufacturers must navigate these uncertain times by paying very close attention to rapidly changing market signals.

With a watchful eye on market demand, inventories and fluctuating capacities, wood products manufacturers must sharpen their focus on supply chain management to maintain profitability during this time. In particular, there are three facts about wood supply chain management that are especially applicable right now:

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What does a lockdown mean for ports?

March 30, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic is causing the world to lock down, with several advanced nations either substantially or entirely limiting the movement of people and goods – but how does a national lockdown affect ports and terminals?

At the time of writing, one third of the global population is under some degree of lockdown or quarantine as governments and international bodies try to stop of the spread of the disease.

India launches world’s biggest lockdown

On the 24 March 2020, India became the latest to announce a lockdown, forcing its entire 1.3 billion-strong population to stop travelling and stay at home.

Included in the lockdown are ports, and the Indian Ministry of Shipping announced that it would allow companies to apply for ‘force majeure’, a legal certificate that waives contractual agreements in exceptional circumstances.

Read more at: Port Technology International

Pulp and Paper Products Council Cancels International Pulp Week 2020

March 25, 2020 - Given the uncertainty facing a large number of events around the world due to the progression of COVID-19, International Pulp Week 2020, that was scheduled to take place in Vancouver from June 14 – 16, has unfortunately been cancelled.

We have been closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 and its global impacts, which has resulted in travel restrictions, hotel shuts and the prohibition of larger gatherings worldwide. The Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver is currently shut for an 8 week period and they could offer no guarantee that the hotel would be operational come June 14. We have come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of everybody involved to cancel the conference for 2020.

We are very disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to connecting with our industry colleagues and partners this year and would like to thank all our speakers, sponsors, attendees, and event partners who have supported the event so far, we really appreciate it.

The Fairmont Hotel has agreed to cancel all rooms under our room block for the event. If you have booked accomodation elsewhere, you will need to cancel your rooms separately.

More information on the next steps regarding cancellations and refunds will go out in the next days to our registered attendees, sponsors and partners.

We look forward to reconnecting at International Pulp Week 2021!


Timothy Brown, Vice President, Pulp and Paper Products Council

AAR Reports Total Carloads and Intermodal Units Down 7.6 Percent in Week 11

March 23, 2020 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) on March 18 reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 14, 2020 (Week 11).

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 463,017 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.6 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending March 14 were 226,039 carloads, down 5.9 percent compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 236,978 containers and trailers, down 9.1 percent compared to 2019.

“Intermodal, rather than other rail sectors, is likely to see the earliest impacts from the coronavirus because large amounts of intermodal traffic go to or come from ports – roughly half of U.S. intermodal is exports or imports,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.

“Unfortunately, extensive flooding and harsh winter weather last year at this time complicate comparisons between this year and last year.  That said, the fact that overall intermodal originations last week were the lowest for the same week since 2013 is strong evidence that the coronavirus is impacting intermodal volumes. This is emphasized by the fact four of the five carriers of intermodal traffic from west coast ports, the principal gateways serving the Chinese trade, saw declines in their intermodal business handled. Similar declines in the East also suggest that the problem has begun to spread to other regions of the supply chain”

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Tokenised Finance Proposition for Dry Bulk Carriers

Magma Maritime, a new London-based shipping financier, is set to provide alternative finance through tokenisation to enable fractional ownership of cargo ships.

March 7, 2020 - Magma Maritime said these asset-backed tokens will be tradeable on a fully regulated exchange, resulting in a secondary market for token holdings.

The group said it is in advanced negotiations with potential investors to raise an initial US$200M to purchase modern dry bulk cargo vessels, which will have a tokenised ownership structure.

The new offering is aimed at shipowners who would like more manageable shipping holdings and for institutional investors seeking direct exposure to the shipping market, but who may lack the technical knowledge.

The offering is also of interest to traditional financial institutions looking to refinance their existing debt exposure to this asset class.

Secondhand vessels purchased would ideally be no older than five years old and upgraded to achieve the highest sustainability rating in accordance with the Poseidon Principles.

Magma Maritime’s executive team also counts representatives of John C Hadjipateras & Sons, a London-based ship agent with dry bulk expertise. Magma Maritime cofounder John M Hadjipateras said the focus on sustainability will mean greater use of newer and more efficient vessels.

Adding “our new proposition would allow this to happen in a cost effective and efficient way. It also makes it easier for institutional investors to gain exposure to the maritime sector, diversifying their portfolios further with asset-backed tokens.”

Magma Maritime chairman Andrew Graham said the time is right to launch a tokenised finance proposition for the maritime industry as the concept is now “much better understood, and access to finance in the maritime sector has become much harder to secure.”

“In recent years the sector has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of banks offering ship finance, prompting a real need for a new financing approach. We believe a sustainable focus is now an imperative for the sector to thrive and Magma Maritime can help deliver this with token financed fleets.”

Oregon Port of Coos Bay Opens Lost Creek Rock Products Coastal Reload Yard on North Spit

March 5, 2020 - The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay (Port) is pleased to announce the opening of the Lost Creek Rock Products Coastal Reload Yard on the North Spit in Coos County, Oregon. This multi-modal, multi-commodity rail to truck and truck to rail terminal will serve the entire Southern Oregon Coastal Region with a vital link to deliver competitive access to domestic and global markets.

“This new transportation facility is another important tool for shippers and businesses in Coos, Douglas and Curry Counties to be better connected to the global economy. The Port is keenly focused on diversifying and enhancing the economic vitality of the region,” said John Burns, CEO of the Port and the Coos Bay Rail Line, Inc. (CBRL) “Being able to leverage the public investment in infrastructure from our local, State and Federal partners to produce new and protect existing living wage jobs as a direct result is huge win-win”.

The Coastal Reload Yard on the North Spit is being operated by Lost Creek Rock Products of Creswell, Oregon who has been operating the Greenhill Reload Yard in West Eugene, Oregon at the northern terminus of the CBRL since 2016.

“With the opening of the Coastal Reload Yard we will be able to offer customers multi-modal and multi-commodity seamless end to end logistics solutions,” stated Lost Creek Rock Products Principal, Greg Demers. “We have been partnering with the Port and the CBRL for many years in West Eugene and have invested over $10 million in privately owned rail terminal facilities and infrastructure. Moving forward at the Coastal Reload Yard is a logical next step”.

The Coastal Reload Yard will open for business March 1, 2020 handling high quality aggregates and forest products. Lost Creek and the Port will be jointly marketing the facility to support job growth, enhance economic vitality and reduce truck traffic on the Coastal Highways. One ton of freight can move more than 450 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel by rail. Supporting this modal shift of freight, the project will deliver definite safety and environmental benefit.

The 134-mile Coos Bay Rail Line is a short line Railroad serving the Union Pacific Railroad. The rail line connects to the national rail network and offers shippers connectivity to Canada, Mexico, the Gulf Coast and East Coast markets. CBRL moves approximately 5,000 loaded rail cars per year, equal to approximately 16,500 truckloads.

SOURCE: The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay

Artificial Intelligence is reshaping transportation. Railroads can get on board or miss out

Will policy challenges derail freight rail's progress toward a sustainable future?

The following is an opinion piece written by Ian Jefferies, President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads and published in Supply Chain Drives. Opinions are the author's own.

Feb. 7, 2020 - The White House recently issued draft principles for governing the use of artificial intelligence across sectors, including transportation. While a recent report noted the guidance may be too vague to produce substantive benefits, the larger point is clear. Various forms of AI are here to stay and will only become more ubiquitous.

That is unless public policymakers go to great lengths to inhibit progress. The industry I represent, one of America's oldest industries – privately owned freight railroads – stands in the crosshairs of this very discussion.

At issue rests a fundamental question that Silicon Valley innovators likely never contemplate: can established industries, such as freight rail, reimagine themselves through technology in an era of massive disruption?

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