Air cargo market ‘going crazy’ as carriers prepare for a tight peak season

Forwarders are securing air cargo capacity for the fourth quarter, anticipating a tight peak season as rates start to rise again.

“This week could be the calm before the storm,” said David Wystrach, senior director of air freight EMEA for Flexport.

“The past weeks can be considered as typical for the summer months. We saw lower volumes, aircrafts in maintenance, and uncertainty about the weeks to come.

“Now, in mid-September, with Golden Week approaching in Asia, we may be at the doorstep of a quarter-four rush.”

Another European forwarder said there was “definitely a massive upswing in air freight demand, with retailers and businesses moving air freight – and that’s without the hi-tech launches filtering through.

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Source: The Load Star

US Class I railroads prepare for Hurricane Sally

Several U.S. Class I railroad operations are preparing to safeguard their networks ahead of Hurricane Sally’s anticipated landfall on Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center on Monday morning issued a hurricane warning for Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama/Florida border.

The hurricane warning also was in effect for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas in Louisiana, as well as metro New Orleans. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Weather forecasters previously categorized Sally as a tropical storm.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) said customers should anticipate delays as the result of closed floodgates into and out of New Orleans. The railroad also temporarily ceased operations at its Mobile, Alabama, yard because of anticipated heavy rains and high winds, according to a service update Monday.

APM Terminals Mobile’s gate operations also were closed to truck traffic Monday.

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Source: Freight Waves

China set to step in and hold down box line rates, with ocean freight ‘a global mess’

Chinese authorities are set to interfere in both pricing and capacity management on the transpacific, as rates soared to record highs again this week.

China’s ministry of communications today discussed refusing to allow carriers to increase the spot rate from China to the US, and that their suspended sailings must be reinstated from week 42.

The move was reported by Zest Shipping Media, but not confirmed by the government. Zest noted that Cosco had already abandoned its planned GRI for 15 September, and other carriers are expected to follow suit.

Sea Intelligence’s Lars Jensen noted: “This would have an unprecedented impact on the market and, more worryingly, potentially derail the carriers’ ability to manage capacity in the face of extreme demand volatility.

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Source: The Load Star

Freight Association Renews Calls for Carriers to End Surcharges

The world over, shippers and trade associations consistently complain about what they say are endless and unnecessary surcharges leveled by the carriers.

The trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, the British International Freight Association (BIFA), is one of the many groups that has long challenged the legitimacy of shipping line surcharges. In 2018, after the major carriers in response to IMO’s 2020 regulations nearly simultaneously announced the introduction of low sulfur fuel surcharges, BIFA was vocal in speaking out against the carriers. BIFA at the time accused the carriers of profiteering at the expense of the shippers under the guise of the IMO regulations.

This week, BIFA welcomed the news that some container shipping lines have decided to discontinue those low sulfur fuel surcharges. Speaking on behalf of its members of forwarding and logistics companies, the association applauded the move while repeating its calls for an end to the practice entirely.

“Forwarders do not like shipping line surcharges of whatever nature,” says Robert Keen, BIFA Director General, “and we are hoping that other lines will follow suit and also stop their low sulfur surcharges, as well as reconsider their policies in regards to applying surcharges for anything from equipment imbalance to port congestion. Over the last few years, the number of surcharges and fees has continued to grow, often with no real explanation or justification.”

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Source: The Maritime Executive

Imports Spike Continues as Retailers Stock Up for Holidays

Imports surged to unexpected high levels this summer and may have hit a new record as the U.S. economy continues to reopen and retailers stock up for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“It’s important to be careful how much to read into these numbers after all we’ve seen this year, but retailers are importing far more merchandise for the holidays than we expected even a month ago,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said.“Some of these imports are helping replenish inventories that started to run low after consumers unleashed pent-up demand when stores reopened. But this is the clearest sign yet that we could be in for a much happier holiday season than many had thought.”

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Source: Material Handling & Logistics