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Fracht Australia Logistics News - May 2024


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"If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough."
- Albert Einstein


  • RELIEF AS FINNISH PORT STRIKES ARE SET TO CEASE IN BID TO START TALKS. Finland’s supply chains look set for a reprieve after the country’s trade unions issued a temporary pause to the weeks-long labor disruption. The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) confirmed that the wave of port strikes would cease on 8 April. Petri Laitinen, MD of the Finnish Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association, told The Loadstar: “No decision about the long-term has been taken, with the possibility of further action, but this is good news from the unions and we should know what the long-term holds when they meet on 18 April.”
  • LOOKS LIKE RAIN – PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITY EYES RETURN TO NORMAL SERVICE. The Panama Canal could be back at nearly full capacity in time for this year’s peak season, if current rainfall forecasts prove to be accurate. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) yesterday released a new schedule for the number of daily transits it expects to be able to handle over the coming months. The canal has a design capacity of 36 transits a day, although this is typically expressed as 34 to 38, but is currently allowing just 27. The ACP said that, from 16 May it expects to offer 31 transits a day, and from 1 June that will increase to 32, meaning that the canal will, effectively, be operating at around 90% capacity.
  • AIRFREIGHT SHIFTS AS TAIWAN EARTHQUAKE IMPACTS SEMI-CONDUCTOR PRODUCTION. The airfreight market could see a temporary shift, owing to changes in semi-conductor production, following early April’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan. The earthquake, Taiwan’s largest in 25 years, caused at least nine fatalities and injured an estimated 900 people, and hit the world’s largest production center for semi-conductors.
  • VEHICLE IMPORTS CLOGGING UP TERMINALS AT EUROPEAN AUTO PORTS. Significant numbers of imported new vehicles are reported to be clogging up terminals at European ports, amid changing dynamics in auto markets. Port, car industry and supply chain executives told the UK Financial Times a major factor in the congestion was that some Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers were not selling their cars in Europe as quickly as expected. One source claimed there were EVs imported from China that had been sitting at European ports for up to 18 months.
  • GOOD NEWS FOR OZ WINE PRODUCERS AS CHINA LIFTS IMPORT TARIFFS on Australian wine into China. This could help relieve a struggling industry down under – but a huge increase in consumption is needed to make up for lost time!! Recently the Chinese government abolished the heavy tariffs applied to Australian wine imports, introduced in 2021. Trade Data Service (TDS) reported the tariffs increased wine costs by around 175%. Previously, about 40% of Australian wine exports, by value, went to China, with Australia accounting for about 40% of the value of all Chinese wine imports.
  • IRAN MAY NOW POSE A THREAT TO MULTIMODAL SUPPLY CHAINS VIA DUBAI. Iran’s seizure of the 15,000 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) MSC Aries recently is a cause for grave concern for pretty much anyone involved in global supply chains. Footage of Houthi rebels storming a car-carrier in the Red Sea is one thing, it is quite another to witness Iranian national forces seizing an MSC-chartered vessel in the Straits of Hormuz on the basis of its links to Israel – the vessel’s owner is Zodiac Maritime, which although UK-based is controlled by Israel’s Ofer family. It means carriers of all types – container, tanker and bulker – will have to rethink their Arabian Gulf networks and which vessels they deploy to the region, and has resulted in sixteen industry associations and social partners to send a joint letter to the United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres calling for UN assistance.
  • THE MAIN US PORTS ENJOYED ANOTHER STELLAR MONTH in March, according to new figures from noted analyst John McCown. His figures show imports at the country’s ten largest gateways grew nearly 20% year on year. These ports handle 86% of US import traffic and, although the growth of 19.2% in inbound containers compared with March 2023 was less marked than February’s 26.5% year-on-year growth, it testifies to the continuing strength of the world’s largest economy.
  • BALTIMORE SUES DALI OWNERS AND MANAGERS. The Mayor of the City of Baltimore and the City Council have lodged legal action against Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, owners and managers respectively of containership Dali. The bridge’s collapse was caused by “negligence of the vessel’s crew and shoreside management,” the city claimed in court documents filed by attorneys, and the owners and managers should be held “wholly liable” for the collision that caused collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and closure of the port. 


  • WALLENIUS WILHELMSEN DECLARE OPTIONS FOR SHAPER CLASS VESSELS. Pure Car and Truck Carrier / Roll-on Roll-off operator Wallenius Wilhelmsen has added to its backlog of newbuildings, this week signing contracts for the recently declared options for four 9,300 CEU ‘Shaper’ class vessels at China Merchants Jinling Shipyard. The company, which last week declared record results, has taken options for four more of the class, which will be capable of operating on green methanol or ammonia.
  • RO/RO SERVICES THROUGH THE US EAST COAST ARE SET FOR MONTHS OF DELAYS, following the accident that claimed the lives of six people and destroyed a Baltimore bridge. Carriers, including Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk, have suspended bookings to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, while a K-Line chartered car-carrier and another belonging to Wallenius Wilhelmsen are marooned at the port while authorities work to clear the blockage.
  • DALI OWNERS DECLARE GENERAL AVERAGE. The owners of Baltimore bridge destroyer Dali have declared General Average, although charterers Maersk Line have yet to issue a public notification. Maersk Line advised that Richards Hogg Lindley (RHL), London has been appointed as their General Adjuster and notified their intention to keep all containers, including MSC’s containers, under their control until security arrangements have been made with the Average Adjusters, both for General Average and Salvage. MSC said the adjusters would contact cargo owners directly in due course and would provide relevant information on how to proceed and act.
  • YANG MING’S CONSERVATIVE CONTAINERSHIP FLEET EXPANSION has seen the Taiwanese operator slip down the liner ranks. In 2020, at the start of the Covid-fueled boom, Yang Ming was the eighth-largest box line. Now it is overshadowed by peers that embarked on aggressive programs of newbuilding orders and second-hand buys, and is ranked 10th. Yang Ming took its time to order new ships, while South Korean flagship carrier HMM and Israel’s Zim Line, both ranked below Yang Ming, began building up their fleets.
  • HONG KONG DROPS OUT OF WORLD’S TOP 10 BUSIEST CONTAINER PORTS. Hong Kong fell out of the world’s top 10 container ports last year, for the first time in the history of container shipping, according to new data from Alphaliner on the world’s busiest 30 box ports. HK saw traffic last year drop 14.1%, to 14.3m TEU, establishing the long-term decline of what was always a leading container port – 20 years ago it regularly vied with Singapore and Shanghai for the title of the world’s busiest – deposed from 2023’s tenth ranking by Dubai. 



  • SHIPPING DISRUPTION AND E-COMMERCE DEMAND DRIVING UP AIRFREIGHT RATES. The start of the airline Northern Hemisphere summer season this month is likely to hit air freight rates with an increasing amount of belly capacity on passenger routes. But right now, despite the major tradelanes not seeing significant changes, there remain pockets of high volumes, such as India. According to Xeneta, the dynamic load factor from India to Europe hit 87% in the week ending 24 March, its highest level since April 2022. While Indian rates are thought to be high owing to garment exports, combined with the Red Sea challenges, Hong Kong appears more reliant on the e-commerce market, which continues to prop up the air market in that region. 
  • BOTTLENECKS AND PRICE HIKES as airlines now avoid Iran airspace. Asia-to-Europe airfreight could face extreme bottlenecks and price hikes due to the rising tension in the Middle East, and sea-air transshipments from Dubai will also be affected. With Russian airspace also closed since 2022, due to its invasion of Ukraine, carriers rely on Iranian airspace as a vital crossing for the in-demand Asia to Europe trade, creating concern that the airspace closure would bottleneck Asia-Europe airfreight routes further.
  • CARGO FLOWS THROUGH DUBAI DELAYED BY FLOODING, with 300 flights cancelled. Cargo flows out of the Gulf have been upended after two years’ worth of rain fell inside a 24-hour window, leading to flooding at Dubai International Airport (DXB). With the airport temporarily closed, and while it has reopened, flag-carrier Emirates and its cargo division, Emirates SkyCargo, say they are facing “operational challenges, including flight cancellations and delays in cargo”.
  • GLOBAL AIRFREIGHT VOLUMES BLOOMING as flower shipments take off. Global air cargo tonnages have taken off again after three consecutive weeks of subdued volumes, but some countries in the Middle East are still experiencing a post-Ramadan downturn. WorldACD reported that worldwide tonnage rose 3% from 15 to 21 April with previous reports recording week-on-week (WoW) volume declines of 2%, 4% and 6% over the past three weeks, which it attributed to the effects of various holidays, such as Easter and Eid, resulting in “subdued cargo booking levels”. It found that the volume uptick recorded was largely thanks to a surge of flower exports from Central and South America ahead of Mother’s Day events on 12 May, with 63% of exports from CSA and Africa headed for North America. 


  • MELBOURNE CONTAINER TRADE UP 19% IN FEBRUARY. Port of Melbourne’s total container trade jumped 19.1% in February, compared with February 2023. The port handled a total of 262,250 TEU in February 2024. Full container import volumes (excluding Bass Strait) were up 26.4% in February this year compared with February 2023, with furniture, machinery, domestic appliances and paperboard all above the previous year’s volumes. Full container export volumes (excluding Bass Strait)also increased for the same period, by 13.8%, with hay, chaff and fodder, fresh fruit, barley and packaged beef above last February’s volumes.
  • NEW $50M PARCEL FACILITY FOR BRISBANE AIRPORT. Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has announced that construction has begun on a new state-of-the-art, $50 million parcel facility for Australia Post, the largest industrial facility undertaken by the airport to date. BAC is managing the design and delivery of the site, making it the postal service’s second largest in Queensland. The Brisbane North Parcel Facility will span 31,800m² of internal area. It will be equivalent to more than three rugby league fields with direct airside access from the 100ha Airport Industrial Park. 



In view of the Dali Owners declaring General Average, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight again that most parties along a supply chain (Airlines / Shipping Lines / Forwarders / Warehouse Operators / Terminal Operators and Road Carriers) only offer a very limited or no liability at all for the loss or damage of cargo. This limitation in liability is reflected accordingly in Freight Forwarder’s Terms & Conditions. It is absolutely essential to discuss transport insurance cover options with your insurance provider. 

Please find below an overview and link to some resources which may be helpful in explaining what General Average actually means:

General average is a global maritime industry loss mitigation convention whereby ship owners and cargo interests proportionately contribute to fully reimburse those in the venture who sustained loss or damage in preventing the total loss of a vessel, crew and its cargo. Undamaged interests must confirm their contribution by way of a financial guarantee before their cargo or interest is released while their final contribution is calculated, sometimes years later.

TT Club - Demystifying General Average 


If you would like further information about any of the above items, please contact one of our friendly Fracht Team members at

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