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Imports to see double-digit annual declines even as stores begin to reopen

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Imports to see double-digit annual declines even as stores begin to reopen. Image: Pixabay
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Imports at major U.S. retail container ports are expected to see double-digit year-over-year declines this spring and summer as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue, according to the Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Factories in China are largely back online and stores that closed here in the U.S.. are starting to reopen, but volume is far lower than what we would see in a ‘normal’ year,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Shoppers will come back and there is still a need for essential items, but the economic recovery will be gradual and retailers will adjust the amount of merchandise they import to meet demand.”

“Much will depend on consumers’ willingness to return to spending,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Our view is that second-quarter economic growth will be significantly worse than the previous quarter, but we continue to expect recovery to come in the second half of the year, especially the fourth quarter and into 2021. This is based on the big and somewhat tenuous assumption that there is no second wave of the virus.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.37 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in March, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was the lowest volume since 1.34 million TEU in March 2016, down 9.1 percent from this February and down 14.8 percent year-over-year. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

April was estimated at 1.51 million TEU, down 13.4 percent year-over-year. May is forecast at 1.47 million TEU, down 20.4 percent from last year; June at 1.46 million TEU, down 18.6 percent; July at 1.58 million TEU, down 19.3 percent; August at 1.73 million TEU, down 12 percent, and September at 1.7 million TEU, down 9.3 percent.

Before the coronavirus began to have an effect on imports, February through May had been forecast at a total of 6.9 million TEU but is now expected to total 5.87 million TEU, a drop of 14.9 percent.

The first half of 2020 is forecast to total 9.15 million TEU, down 13 percent from the same period last year. Before the extent of the pandemic was known, the first half of the year was forecast at 10.47 million TEU.

Imports during 2019 totaled 21.6 million TEU, a 0.8 percent decrease from 2018 amid the trade war with China but still the second-highest year on record.

Air Freight

LogiPoint reinforcing Jeddah as the Regional Logistics Hub of choice

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LogiPoint reinforcing Jeddah as the Regional Logistics Hub of choice. Image: LogiPoint
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LogiPoint at Jeddah Islamic Port established the first bonded corridor connecting the Bonded and Re-Export Zone at Jeddah Islamic Port and King Abdulaziz International Airport to facilitate the multimodal movement of cargo. 

The trial conducted on a shipment that arrived by sea freight to LogiPoint Bonded and Re-Export Zone at Jeddah Islamic Port then shipped onward to its final destination in the Netherlands by airfreight through King Abdulaziz International airport. 

With the support of the Saudi Customs and Jeddah Islamic Port and in line with vision 2030 and the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NDLIP), the success of this shipment increases the competitiveness of the region. It creates an efficient and cost-effective sea-air and air-sea link to establish Jeddah as a preferred multimodal transshipment hub.

LogiPoint CEO Farooq Shaikh said, “The bonded corridor facilitates trade for customers by providing a multimodal bonded access to regional target markets combining sea, land and air freight. It also gives Jeddah a significant advantage to compete in the transshipment cargo segment”

LogiPoint is always making dynamic efforts to introduce international concepts and solutions towards enhancing logistics efficiency to attract foreign investors. Its strategic location and the world-class facilities have which strengthen the position of Jeddah Islamic Port a major logistics hub.

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5000 tons of wheat donated by India arrives through Chabahar Port

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5000 tons of wheat donated by India arrives through Chabahar Port. Image: MRUD Ports and Maritime Organization
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Negar Ship carrying 203 20-foot Containers as the first part of the 75000 tons shipment of humanitarian aids and the tenth shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan arrived at the Port of Shahid Beheshti in Chabahar.

This freight is 5000 tons of wheat which has been donated to Afghanistan by India. The unloading process is running quickly in order to be transited to Afghanistan through Milak Border.

Abdolghafour Lival, Afghanistan Ambassador in Iran, visited Shahid Beheshti Port simultaneous with his attendance to observe the unloading process and stated that this is the first 5000-tons freight of wheat as part of 75000 tons wheat shipment which is to be transited to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port.

Abdolghafour Lival appreciated cooperation of two friendly nations in transiting wheat in current critical situations which the region and the world are suffering from the outbreak of Covid-19. He expressed hope over fast transit of this freight to Afghanistan.

He also appreciated Iran’s officials especially Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) as well as Chabahar Port’s authorities who are speeding up the loading and unloading process.

Behrooz Aghaie, the head of Sistan and Baluchistan’s PMO pointed to the high capacity of Chabahar Port that operates with the most modern and up-to-date loading and unloading equipments and plays a significant role in the transport and unloading of freight.

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ABB and Metsä Fibre sign agreement to supply electrification and drive technology for new Finnish bioproduct mill

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ABB and Metsä Fibre sign agreement to supply electrification and drive technology for new Finnish bioproduct mill. Image: ABB
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ABB and Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, have signed a preliminary, binding agreement according to which ABB Finland will deliver electrification and drive technology solutions for Metsä Fibre’s planned bioproduct mill in Kemi, northern Finland.

The agreement is subject to Metsä Group’s final investment decision, which will be made earliest in autumn 2020. The order is worth approximately EUR 40 million. Production at the new mill could start in 2023. The production capacity is 1.5 million tonnes of pulp per year, as well as many other bioproducts.

“We are extremely pleased that our expertise and products will be part of this planned investment, which if realized will be the largest ever investment in the forest industry in Finland. Our deliveries for the project would contribute to ensuring the high availability of the mill as well as reliable and efficient production and efficient use of energy. ABB Finland has more than 30 years of experience in demanding pulp and paper industry electrification and overall delivery projects, both in Finland and globally,” said ABB Finland’s Managing Director Pekka Tiitinen.

“ABB represents the values we require from our partners: a commitment to safety, on time delivery and quality delivery. A high degree of domestic content is also essential. We are moving towards the common goal of building a fossil-free bioproduct mill in Kemi, which is the most efficient wood processing plant in its field. We have all the prerequisites to implement a successful major project together with a competent partner,” said Ismo Nousiainen, CEO of Metsä Fibre.

According to the preliminary agreement, over 1,000 electric motors for the planned Kemi bioproduct mill will be manufactured in Finland at ABB’s factories in Vaasa and Helsinki. The mill’s protective relays and safety switches would be supplied by ABB’s factories in Vaasa, and over 600 drives would be supplied by the world’s largest drive factory in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. Furthermore, ABB Power Grids Finland is responsible for the transformer deliveries for the Kemi project. The main transformers for the mill would be manufactured at the ABB Power Grids transformer factory in Vaasa.

The planned mill would make comprehensive use of ABB’s newest and extremely reliable energy-efficient electrification and operations technology. The electric motors for the mill would be controlled by ABB’s latest intelligent motor control system. To save energy, ABB’s new range of drives would control half of the mill’s electric motor power. The mill is planned to use ABB’s latest generation of high-efficiency motors as standard. The mill’s electrical system and drive technology would be integrated into ABB’s Ability™ condition monitoring and remote support system.

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