Tag Archives: Shipping

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Online port community system ‘game-changer’ for India’s shipping industry

, has written an interesting piece about a new port communication and collaboration system that is revolutionizing how Indian p[orts operate. It’s called PC51x, and it connects port users via secure messaging to exchange paperwork, financial info, and other messages.  In trials, it reduced cost and time for interaction drastically.

And it did NOT involve blockchain. In fact, it uses only technology developed years ago and tested severely by those years of practice.  It seems that for the user it operates like one of those doctor portals we have all become accustomed to in the US; annoying, but much faster and less annoying than waiting for her to call back (!@?^%$#!).  And capable of much faster integration if those communicating have a desire to make it better and faster.

They have announced a portal type interface.  This type of function is like what we used to call ‘middleware’, connecting systems with different data specifications and requirements, and letting them work out how to use the data.  It makes a lot of sense to me.

I think any port could copy this with a little hard nose bargaining with those it collaborates with.   Getting truckers on board might be more difficult without a good look at the systems they use every day.   But for many others it makes sense.

But should the port be the driver?  I think there is potential for 3PLs to usurp the role for their cargoes.  Then we’d have to link in their systems. Hard, but not impractical, and easier than forcing all their shippers to use the port’s message portal.  Everyone would benefit.  And more players such as banks and customs could participate as well.  Better that this should be driven by a lot of smaller players (if ports can be thought of as smaller) than by a national or global standards initiative, especially one from a single source.  Let it evolve, I say.

logo  via Online port community system a ‘game-changer’ for India’s shipping industry – The Loadstar

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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