IFPTA News and Events

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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