Posted on June 3, 2024
Global shipping news

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 23

Top Highlights

  • Singapore reopens old terminals 
  • Maersk’s new surcharge strategy 
  • Chinese shipyards growth in orders 
  • 300,000 extra TEU added to orderbook 
  • Panama Canal increases maximum draft 

Singapore Reopens Defunct Container Terminals to Tackle Vessel Bunching 

Authorities in Singapore have reopened older container terminals to address severe congestion at the port. The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced the reactivation of berths at Keppel Terminal, boosting the port’s handling capacity to 820,000 TEU per week. Despite an 8.8% increase in box volumes to 13.36 million TEU in the first four months of 2024, carriers’ schedule catchups have led to significant vessel bunching and longer wait times. This move aims to streamline operations and reduce the pressure on the world’s largest transshipment hub. 

Maersk’s New Surcharge Strategy Raises Eyebrows 

Maersk introduced a new Fossil Fuel Fee (FFF), consolidating its bunker adjustment factor (BAF) and low sulfur surcharge (LSS) into a single charge. Effective from July 1, 2024, the FFF aims to simplify fuel-related billing. However, shippers are sceptical about the lack of detailed calculation methodology, suspecting it may cover the high costs of methanol. Critics argue that transparency is crucial, especially when carriers are seen to be leveraging these charges for additional revenue amid rising fuel costs. 

Chinese Shipyards See 59% Growth in Newbuilding Orders for Q1 

Chinese shipyards experienced a 59% year-on-year increase in newbuilding orders in Q1 2024, according to the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry (CANSI). The country’s shipbuilding output also rose by 34.7% to 12.35 million DWT. Chinese shipyards now hold 56.7% of the global shipbuilding market share. This surge reflects China’s strategic positioning and capacity to meet the growing global demand for new, more efficient vessels. 

300,000 Extra TEU Added to Record Liner Orderbook 

Boxship orders in China are on the rise, with Seaspan, Capital Group, and other owners placing significant orders. This trend could add another 300,000 TEU to the global orderbook, pushing newbuild slots for large vessels into late 2028. Container spot rates have surged, driven by the Red Sea shipping crisis and strong demand from the US and Europe. Analysts note that the current surge mirrors the pandemic boom, highlighting the cyclical nature of maritime shipping demand. 

Panama Canal Increases Maximum Draft Ahead of Schedule 

The Panama Canal Authority has increased the maximum authorized draft for the Neopanamax locks to 45 feet, earlier than scheduled, anticipating the rainy season. This adjustment, along with the increase in daily transits to 32, marks a return to normal operations following severe drought-induced restrictions. The move is expected to significantly enhance the canal’s throughput capacity, crucial for global shipping routes, especially for larger vessels navigating between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. 

House of Shipping Insight 

Singapore’s proactive terminal reactivation, Maersk’s controversial fee restructuring, and the surge in Chinese shipbuilding orders all reflect the sector’s adaptive strategies in response to ongoing disruptions. The addition of new TEU capacity and the Panama Canal’s draft increase signal a push towards greater efficiency and capacity amidst fluctuating demands. Staying agile and informed is key to navigating these complex dynamics and capitalizing on emerging opportunities in the global supply chain. 

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 23

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