News Archives

Fracht Australia News - January / February 2024


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" I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
- Thomas Jefferson


  • FRACHT FRANCE OPENS NEW OFFICE. We are thrilled to announce that Fracht France has opened a new office in Dunkerque. We are looking forward to servicing our customers who may have any shipments to or from this very dynamic region of France, also known as the future “Silicon Valley of the Batteries”. Contact Details are as follows: Fracht France – Dunkerque Office, 39 Route de Bierne, 59380 SOCX, Tel +33 3 62 81 02 90, E-mail
  • NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ON A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT. The Australian Government is committed to securing a trade agreement (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with the UAE in the new year, in order to drive exports, economic growth and create more well-paying jobs across the country. The UAE is a gateway to the region and beyond, with two-way goods and services trade valued at $9.26 billion in 2022.
  • CHINA MOVES TO SHORE UP SUPPLY CHAINS as concerns grow over western withdrawals, even as volumes surge on some of its new rail routes. Addressing the Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing, China’s leadership said it would move to strengthen supply chain resilience to stave off further losses to international shippers amid increased competition from India and Mexico.
  • MSC BID FOR HAMBURG TERMINAL OPERATOR HHLA ON THE VERGE OF SUCCESS. MSC’S quest to purchase a 49.9% stake in Hamburg terminal operator HHLA has entered its final stage, after it was revealed that the carrier and the Hamburg municipality together now control over 90% of its shares. The transaction is now expected to close in the second quarter of 2024, although it remains subject to certain regulatory approvals, as well as the approval by the Parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
  • CHINA HAS LIFTED SUSPENSIONS on three Australian meat export establishments, which had their exports suspended between 2020 and early 2022. Eight meat export establishments remain suspended. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it is working to resolve the remaining “technical impediments” to trade. 



  • FLEET HEAVY OCEAN CARRIERS ALSO STUCK WITH TOO MANY CONTAINERS. In its latest Container Equipment Forecaster report, Drewry says it expects the global pool of shipping containers to contract, both this year and next. Some 55 million TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) of equipment services the fully cellular global fleet of some 6,000 ships, a total capacity of 28m TEU, but thousands of surplus boxes lie stacked in empty-container depots, incurring storage charges on top of a daily lease-hire rate.
  • CARRIERS FORCE THROUGH RATE HIKES AND PREVENT NEW ‘RACE TO THE BOTTOM’, as they mostly hold the line on the huge mid-December and 1 January Asia-North Europe GRIs (general rate increases). They appear to have finally turned the corner with their rate restoration drive. In most cases, the carriers have so far been prepared to discount rates further, in order to hold market share, which in turn has led to a classic ‘race to the bottom’, similar to that which, in 2016, led to the demise of Hanjin Shipping.
  • INDUSTRY TALKS NET ZERO STRATEGY AT COP28 and set a course to deliver on the International Maritime Organisation’s net zero strategy. More than 60 organisations and 300 leaders met at the Shaping the Future of Shipping summit to discuss ways to meet net zero targets by or around 2050.
  • EMISSIONS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY as shipping lines avoid the Suez Canal and their vessels take the long route around southern Africa. The route will add some 3,000 nautical miles and five days to each voyage, with additional fuel consumption that could be more than 1,000 tons for some vessels – a situation which is not favorable for ship emissions, with 3.15 tons of CO2 emitted for each ton of fuel burned.
  • WALLENIUS WILHELMSEN HAS JOINED THE GROWING LIST OF SHIPPING FIRMS diverting vessels from the Red Sea. On 9 January, the ro-ro carrier announced it would prioritise the safety of its people and its ships would instead sail around the Cape of Good Hope, avoiding the Red Sea situation but adding up to two weeks of additional sailing time.
  • YANG MING DIVERTS ASIA-USEC SERVICE FROM CONGESTED PANAMA CANAL as it joins its liner peers to the Cape of Good Hope route as transit restrictions increase. The Taiwanese mainline operators said on Monday the diversion would up the voyage time for its Asia-US east coast service to 91 days from the usual 84.
  • MAERSK IS DEPLOYING A “LAND BRIDGE” IN PANAMA to mitigate issues with the drought-affected canal. Based on current and projected water levels, the Panama Canal Authority has made reductions to the amount and weight of vessels that can pass through the canal. Maersk said in a message to customers that vessels on its OC1 service – which connects Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand with Central America and the US East Coast – would use a “land bridge”, using rail to transport cargo 80 kilometers across Panama.
  • ORIENT OVERSEAS CONTAINER LINE (OOCL) saw total revenues decrease for the quarter ended 31 December 2023. Total revenues for the fourth quarter came to US$1.62 billion, which was a 49% decrease compared with the same period in 2022.
  • SHIPPERS MUST PAY A HEAVY PRICE FOR CAPACITY, as ‘ships are filling up’. The capacity crunch following carrier decisions to veto Red Sea routes will leave shippers with little choice but to pay premium rates, despite having long-term contracts with several reports saying that the Red Sea shipping crisis would get worse before it got better, and shippers needed to “get their act together quickly” to secure capacity in the run-up to Chinese New Year next month.
  • MARKETS SPIKE AS RED SEA SHIPPING DISRUPTIONS SURGE. Analysts have reported a 20% spike in spot rates in the ocean-freight shipping market in less than a week, after major shipping lines announced they would steer clear of the Red Sea. The threat escalated after Yemen’s Houthi militia announced it would no longer limit its attacks to ships affiliated with Israel. ONE announced on 19 December it would start to reroute its vessels via the Cape of Good Hope as a safety measure for the seafarers on board. Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd have made similar announcements in recent days.  Roughly 100 vessels had been rerouted by 18 December, according to a briefing paper issued by the International Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Australia and MPC International.
  • UN SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS HOUTHIS END RED SEA ATTACKS. The UN Security Council has passed a resolution demanding Yemen’s Houthis immediately stop attacking ships in the Red Sea. The draft resolution also demanded the group release the ro-ro vessel Galaxy Leader and its crew, hijacked on 19 November. The announcement follows news last week that the US and UK forces on Tuesday shot down 21 drones and missiles the Houthi militia fired in the southern Red Sea. Eleven member nations voted in favor of the resolution, with four countries (China, Russia, Algeria and Mozambique) abstaining from the vote. None voted against the resolution. 


  • SCHEDULED AIRFREIGHT OPERATIONS CONTINUE TO BE BUFFETED BY ECONOMIC HEADWINDS, however the going has been smoother for the charter segment this year – and it is currently experiencing very strong rates. There has been demand for charters worldwide from a host of sectors, reported Dan Morgan-Evans, group cargo director of Air Charter Service (ACS).
  • QUEENSLAND AND CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES HAVE LOCKED IN direct seasonal flights from Shanghai to Cairns to boost air cargo and export opportunities for the state’s far north. Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed the deal with the airline during a “trade mission” to China. Ten flights are scheduled  to operate between 1 February and 18 February, four times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The seasonal flights align with the 2024 Chinese New Year period, when Chinese visitors are expected to travel to Queensland.
  • E-COMMERCE MAY HAVE PULLED AIR CARGO OUT OF A HOLE in the second half of 2023, but its main driver – industrial activity – remains weak. Air cargo traffic, capacity and revenues continued to recover in late 2023, with world air cargo traffic expanding 8.3% year on year, as measured in cargo tonne-km (CTK), in November, the best month for industry traffic growth since December 2021. After 17 months of consecutive decline, traffic began slowly growing again in August and has grown every month since, in no small part due to the easy comparison with very weak numbers in Q3 and Q4 2022. However, the case for cautious optimism for 2024 remains, as the driving force for the current air cargo recovery appears to be mostly cross-border e-commerce shipments exported via air from China. The air cargo traffic recovery began mid-year 2023, driven by air exports of e-commerce shipments to, primarily, Europe, followed by North America. 



  • DISRUPTION AT DP WORLD’S AUSTRALIAN CONTAINER TERMINALS increased last week as the company commenced its policy of not tolerating partial work bans in its ongoing dispute with the Maritime Union of Australia. From last week, DP World employees engaging in work bans will not receive wages until they return to their normal duties – this is in line with the company’s new stance announced on 8 January in what it said is a bid to stop the MUA from accelerating and prolonging industrial action.  A DP World spokesperson told DCN that workers at Port Botany had refused to work. Also, he said the company’s Melbourne operations would not open for road operations on 12 January until 1400 due to industrial action. Additionally, the company said there would be no receival and delivery operations on 12 January at Fremantle. Operations were due to resume on 13 January at 0600.
  • CYBER-ATTACK HAS LEFT EMPLOYEES VULNERABLE, ADMITS DP WORLD AUSTRALIA. Personal employee data was compromised during a recent cyber-attack, which could leave staff vulnerable to fraud. On 10 November, DP World Australia was the victim of a cyber-attack at its operations in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle ports, which led to a large backlog of container delays. It has since been revealed that employees’ personal data had been stolen, which could leave staff vulnerable to fraud.
  • PLANS FOR CONTAINER PORT AT KWINANA REVEALED, which is set to replace the current container operations at Port of Fremantle. Planning for the new container terminal at Kwinana has been ongoing for several years, as the current Port of Fremantle is forecast to hit capacity in the next two decades.
  • ACCC FLAGS COMPETITION CONCERNS AS STEVEDORE PROFITS MARGINS INCREASED to 24.9% in 2023, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Container Stevedoring Monitoring Report 2022-23. This latest increase continues a trend of rising profit margins since a low of 5.8% in 2018-19. “While we have not formed a conclusive view on the stevedores’ profit margins, we are concerned by emerging evidence that the two new entrants of the last decade, Hutchison and VICT, are not constraining the incumbent multi-port stevedores as effectively as we had hoped,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.
  • BRISBANE SEES SLIGHT OCTOBER CONTAINER DOWNTURN as it handled a total of 138,476 TEU during October, a decrease of 5.7% on the same month in 2022. This decrease was echoed in the rolling 12 months container throughput numbers. In the 12 months to October 2023, the port handled 1.53 million TEU, down 3.7% on the 12 months to October 2022.
  • THROUGHPUT AT PORT BOTANY DECREASED IN NOVEMBER compared with the same month in 2022 according to the latest available statistics from NSW Ports. In November 2023, the port handled a total of 201,065 TEU, which was a decrease of 19.6% from November 2022, when throughput reached 250,112 TEU.
  • MELBOURNE CONTAINER TRADE DIPS IN NOVEMBER as the port handled a total of 243,213 TEU in November, which was a 7.7% decrease on TEU handled in November 2022. 


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