Weekly Roundup – April 11, 2024

Welcome back to the weekly roundup, where we provide concise summaries of the most important supply chain stories of the week. Covering breaking news, emerging threats, and changing market dynamics, it is everything you need to maintain a competitive advantage.

Red Sea shipping diversions are boosting airfreight volumes and rates

Disruptions in the Red Sea caused by attacks on ships are pushing companies to use airfreight instead of ocean shipping. This is good news for airfreight companies who have seen a rise in demand and prices. While airfreight is more expensive, it’s much faster than ships that now have to take longer routes to avoid the Red Sea. This is especially helpful for companies that need parts quickly to avoid production slowdowns. The trend is expected to continue due to strong demand from e-commerce companies as well.

A universal carbon tax is coming, ABS CEO says

The shipping industry is expected to adopt a global carbon tax as a key step towards reducing emissions. This tax will work alongside regulations requiring a higher percentage of green fuels to be used on ships. This comes as new technologies for capturing carbon emissions from ships, known as “blue fuels”, are emerging as a viable option. While the specific types of green fuels are still being determined, a global approach is seen as essential for success.

India sourcing boom drives US import container growth

India is finally emerging as a serious contender in global manufacturing, attracting investment from retailers and manufacturers. While India’s port infrastructure still needs improvement, there are signs of progress with faster turnaround times and private companies taking a bigger role. The country’s growing economy is creating opportunities for shipping companies, but India will need to improve its domestic transportation network to fully compete with established players like China.

‘Ambitious’ plan to reopen channel under collapsed Baltimore bridge by May’s end announced

The US Army Corps of Engineers plans to partially reopen the Baltimore port by the end of April, with a fully functional channel back by the end of May. This “ambitious” timeline follows the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge two months ago. The initial opening will allow for limited one-way traffic, while the full channel will be half its usual width. The project aims to help Baltimore’s economy but may be impacted by weather or the complexity of removing bridge debris.

Maersk to resume Panama Canal transits on OC1 service as vessel restrictions ease

Maersk will resume using the Panama Canal in May for its OC1 service between the Americas and Oceania. This follows the Panama Canal Authority increasing the number of daily transits allowed due to improved water levels. Maersk had been using the Panama railroad to move cargo between the Atlantic and Pacific during the restrictions. The canal is also seeing restored traffic from Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express. Wait times for unscheduled transits are now less than a day, compared to several days earlier this year.

Ocean carriers curb trans-Pacific blank sailings while boosting capacity

Container ship traffic is recovering on the Asia-US route due to a decrease in blank sailings caused by the Red Sea crisis. The number of canceled sailings is significantly lower than the previous two years, and capacity is expected to reach a 17-month high in May. This comes despite some uncertainty due to carriers providing less notice for cancellations. While on-time performance has dipped slightly, strong import growth from Asia is driving the capacity increase. The National Retail Federation even expects this trend to continue through July.

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