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”

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

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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It's been a busy year!

By Alan Bog, IFPTA President

As I write this we are approaching the end of what has been a very busy year for IFPTA. As usual we held two IFPTA on the Road events, the first in Vancouver, during International Pulp Week, and the second recently in London during London Pulp Week.

These events are a popular feature on the calendar of these major pulp meetings. Over seventy IFPTA members and friends attended the recent edition in London, where Adermo Costa, the Cenibra Global Commercial and Logistics Manager, gave a presentation on the fibre sources in Brazil, relaying the important message that the pulp producers do not source wood from the Amazon region. Thanks to Aderrno for an excellent presentation. These events also give members an excellent opportunity to network and enjoy a drink or two with friends and colleagues from the industry.

In June, IFPTA organized a transportation session during the RISI conference in Shanghai. This event was well attended and addressed some of the particular logistics concerns of pulp users and sellers in China. We are working with RISI on developing this type of session in other conferences.

Our main event of the year was of course the Transport Symposium in Tarragona. We tried some innovations this year such as the one to one interviews and the use of the Slido App. We see a lot of value in the Slido App, as it generated a lot of questions. We will adapt the timing of sessions in future symposiums to enable much better use of this tool.

We have announced the venue of the next Symposium which will be held in September 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. We will start working on the programme for this in the course of next year.