Newsletter – January 12, 2018
AIR FREIGHT UPDATES
Boeing’s Giant Drone Prototype Can Carry 500 Pounds of Cargo
source: The Verge
Boeing has unveiled a giant drone that’s capable of lifting a 500-pound payload. Calling it an “unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype,” the company said it could serve as a precursor for future autonomous flying aircraft. The company has successfully completed initial flight tests at its research lab.
The prototype is 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and 4 feet tall, and weighs 747 pounds. Read more here.
Air Canada Cargo Announces New Services for 2018
source: Air Canada
Air Canada Cargo’s network expansion continues in 2018 with direct wide-body service to three new cities, as well as new routes providing more flights and capacity. Read more here.
OCEAN FREIGHT UPDATES
Rising Oil Price Poses Another Profitability Problem for Containership Operators
source: The Loadstar
Escalating fuel prices are posing a renewed risk to carrier profitability, adding to the twin threats of new container capacity coming on stream as softer demand hits after Chinese New Year.
Brent crude is forecast to top $70 a barrel this week – its highest level since mid-2015 – having risen by 35% in the past six months, and the trend shows little sign of abating. Bunker costs for ships are rising virtually every day, with heavy fuel oil (HFO) now around $370 per tonne, compared with approximately $300 a year ago.
And with the new 0.5% global sulphur cap coming into force in 2020, carriers will also be casting an apprehensive eye at the rising cost of low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), currently around $600 per tonne, compared with $460 12 months ago. Ship operators must soon decide on the fuel strategy for their vessels: Do they go for LNG? Fit exhaust-gas cleaning systems, known as scrubbers? Or simply use LSFO? Some carriers have decided not to fit scrubbers, but if fuel prices continue to rise they may have to rethink. Read more here.
GROUND AND RAIL FREIGHT UPDATES
French Ports to Launch Shuttle to Switzerland
source: International Transport Journal
Marseille Fos and Haropa, two major French ports, together with Naviland Cargo, a French intermodal transport provider, are to launch a thrice weekly train service to Switzerland in mid-March. The shuttle will link the two ports to the Terco terminal in Cavornay, near Lausanne, Switzerland, via the Dijon-Gevrey terminal in Burgundy, France.
It is estimated that the new rail service will handle 350,000 to 400,000 TEU per year. At present, only a small percentage of those containers flow through the French ports. Read more here.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS – GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Chinese Commerce Minister Supports Free-Trade Ports
source: Port Strategy
China’s commerce minister Zhong Shan has shown his support for the construction of free-trade ports in the country. In a statement published by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Zhong pushed for greater freedom to be given to local governments in running free-trade zones (FTZs) in the country – areas that would eventually be developed into free-trade ports.
China’s mainland has 11 FTZs, including those in the Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian provinces. Speaking about Mr. Zhong’s comment, Frank Feng, chief executive of a visa service firm, said: “The commerce minister’s statement is at least a positive message to businesses around the world that China wants to attract and retain them.” Read more here.