Tag Archives: Shipping

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Hamburg deepens Elbe channel

The project will cost $700 million, and it went through a long series of legal battles, mostly about environmental issues.  But now the project is ready to begin. The Port of Hamburg let the contract to DEME engineering, as World Maritime News reported.  Dredging Today reported that the contract has a value of EUR 238 million (including VAT). The article below contains many facts about the project’s scale, but does not offer a completion target date.

It is interesting to point out, as  did in his Loadstar article, that Hamburg, by virtue of its inland location, is also able to link with rail service via the One Belt One Road initiative of China, as well as multiple barge routes.

The Maritime Executive reported that the project was approved finally in August of 2018.  But such a large investment takes time to get ramped up.

There is still some resistance to the project and there are a few appeal opportunities left. But it seems very unlikely that opponents will take them up.

The port has recently experienced an upsurge in container traffic.  According to Port of Hamburg, almost one-third of the container traffic is related to China.  Seaborne cargo throughput reached 34.6 million tons, up 6%.  Container handling reached 2.3 million TEUs.  Some of this was due to four new transatlantic services run by THE alliance.

And hinterland traffic grew 8.0 percent.  Hamburg is famous for offering many feeder links, including around 2100 block train (unit train in US lingo) connections.

Part of the upswing is due to volatility induced by the tariff games going on in the world right now.  Firms are stocking up before the tariffs go into effect.  Whether the upward trend will continue is unclear, but certainly deepening the Elbe waterway will offer ocean carriers greater flexibility in route selection.

I have a special fondness for the Port of Hamburg after visiting it for the IAME conference in 2016.

screenshot-Dredging today 2019-05-21  via DEME Bags Elbe Deepening Contract – Dredging Today

logo  via Elbe upgrade signals opportunity for port of Hamburg to regain former glory – The Loadstar

screenshot-Maritime Executive 2019-05-21  via Hamburg Receives Approval to Dredge the Elbe

screenshot-World Maritime News 2019-05-21   via Elbe Deepening Contract Goes to DEME | World Maritime News

screenshot-Port of Hamburg 2019-05-21  via Port of Hamburg | Port of Hamburg – strong first-quarter growth powers upswing

 

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Drought forces Panama Canal draught restrictions and pushes up rates

 has a good interview in The Loadstar with Jon Slangerup of AGL (American Global Logistics, a forwarder), who is the former head of the Port of Long Beach.  the recent drought has forced the Panama Canal to raise rates, and spot rates to the US East Coast have increased 14% or more.  This may put a dent in the so-called East Coast routing of containers from the Far East.

But Mr. Slangerup made another comment very interesting to a long time observer of the debate about whether the improvements to the Panama Canal would actually win traffic from the West Coast ports such as Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland (let alone Seattle).

He noted that one could view the recent increases of Panama canal traffic as simply a recovery to normal after a long time in which the canal was operating in a reduced fashion because of the construction.  (The canal opened the expansion on 26 June 2016.)  He doesn’t think that the improvements have significantly altered proportions of traffic in the long run.

He also pointed out that many if not most freight buyers are concerned primarily about price.  Unless the Panama Canal can couple reduced tariffs with expanded capacity, shippers may not choose those routes in preference to the West Coast passage, which is also improving even for transit to Europe.  There has been a lot of progress in eliminating delays on the West Coast routes as well.  Slangerup noted that dock-to-rail loadings at the West Coast ports has increased from 23% to 30% and is being driven upward toward a goal of 50%. And there have been gains at the Chicago transfer points due to implementations by several railroads of PSR (precision scheduled railroading). For example, see this article by Julie Shneider in Progressive Railroading.

logo2  via Drought forces Panama Canal draught restrictions and pushes up rates – The Loadstar

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The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem

This Boston Consulting Group report by  Massimo PortincasoArnaud de la Tour, and Philippe Soussan,  discusses seven categories of so-called deep-tech areas of research that are likely to yield new disruptions for businesses of all types.   They believe that deep-tech industries are no longer dominated by larger companies doing incremental research, but ratherby small, nimble enterpreneurial firms finding and developing solutions for novel use cases.

They claim we are moving into a phase in which truly new types of infrastructure for business uses is emerging.  And the development of these new uses requires a whole ecosystem–  a band of cooperating players, including technicians, investors large and small, and firms who have use cases–  rather than simply a firm, some financing, and a product.   This differs from the ‘maker’ approach to innovation, which believes we can just set people working with some simple tools, and they will come up with the products the world needs.

I support this ecosystem approach, not the more limited one. As an example I call your attention to NYMIC, the New York Maritime Innovation Center, started by my colleague Dr Chris Clott of SUNY Maritime.  It fits exactly into the role of helping create a good ecosystem for innovation in the maritime field, one which greatly needs stimulants to produce service improvements.  Its motto is “Convene, Connect, Catalyze”, which exactly expresses what BCG’s discussion here is saying.

BCG has a full report entitled The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem.  Much can be learned by studying how it is evolving in the different deep tech areas they believe are a part of it. Link to PDF.

screenshot-BCG-2019-05-10

via The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem