March 13 – March 20, 2014

FastFreight is a weekly review summarizing the ten major events or stories of the past week in logistics and the supply chain. We know you’re busy so each post is under 500 words. Enjoy! Want to get this to your inbox? Be sure to sign up from the right sidebar!

1. P3 Fate in US to be decided on Friday

The US Federal Maritime Commission should decide on Friday whether the P3 alliance between Maersk, CMA CGM and MSC should sink or swim. If it is approved, they will still need a Chinese go-ahead to get started.

[Update – this has since been approved by the FMC – 23/3/2014]

2. Canal deadlock on lock construction resolved

Construction at the Panama Canal expansion project, initially projected to end in October, 2014, is finally continuing after the Panama Canal Authority and the GUPC reached an agreement on payment terms. New completion date? December 2015.

3. TSA approves early rate rise on east-west routes

The TSA has approved a $300 increase in rates for FEUs in April 15, half a month earlier than the planned May 1 raise, claming that low rates don’t accurately represent real traffic.

4. IATA hedges profit rise

Ocean carriers may be looking forward to the increase but airliners aren’t as happy. IATA recently announced that they were downsizing anticipated 2014 profits from $19.7 billion down to $18.7 billion. IATA blamed rising fuel prices for the change.

5. Alternative fuel ship starts testing

The world’s first LNG carrier is testing the waters off of eastern China. If deemed fit, the eco-friendly ship will help reduce the carbon footprint of Nor Lines.

6. Claustrophobic? 

China has completed a 22.24km tunnel from Xinjiag to encourage commerce between China and Pakistan, reducing the distance for the Nanjiang Railway from 456km to 334km. China has also earmarked $30 billion dollars for a 100+ km tunnel from Dalian to Yantai.

7. Over 90% of US rail traffic is handled by four companies. And that may change.

The US Surface Transportation Board will be holding public hearings next week assessing whether to reform freight rail policies and enable to shippers get competing bids on nearby routes using “competitive switches”.

8. Huge hiring spree, spending ahead of BNSF Railway

Following rail delays from growing oil volumes, grain harvest and inclement, BNSF has announced it will invest $5 billion in capital and hire 5,000 employees in 2014.

9. Would you like ice with that?

After an 108 day deployment of cutting ice in the Antarctic, the US Coastal Guard Polar Star is slated to return to Seattle tomorrow. The Polar Star has a long list of accomplishments over the past 3 months, including cutting a 12 mile path through ice in the McMurdo Sound, and two attempted rescues for Chinese and Russian ships.

10. Ever wonder what it takes to move an 18,000 TEU ship?

Check out this huge 10.3 meter wide propeller, created in Germany for an unnamed 18,000 TEU container ship currently being built in South Korea. Once added to the ship, it will be drive by an 85,000 hp engine. In the image, a floating crane is loading the 113 tonne propeller onto the Hyundai Together.


Loading a 10 meter propeller onto a boat at Port Hamburg

Click on the image to see this in HD!

For more awesome facts and figures about shipping, check out this Buzzfeed article. And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out what happened when we asked the fifteen largest freight vendors in the world for spot quotes.  See you next week!

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