Happy Birthday To Container Shipping!

Happy Birthday To Container Shipping!

May 3rd, 2021

With MSC’s recent launch of a global electronic bill of lading, containers falling overboard everywhere you turn, EU’s approval of the post-Brexit trade treaty, container shipping turning 65, and the mess that is O’Hare airport, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in this week’s global freight updates.

But first, let us toot our own horn as Jaguar Freight is proud to be receiving the Global Supply Chain Award at the World Trade Week NYC. The World Trade Week NYC is an active network of more than 70 organizations in the New York metro region working together to underscore the importance of international trade, logistics and port operations to the region’s economy and to use their collective expertise to help the region’s businesses grow through international trade.

The new electronic bill of lading, or eBL, MSC introduced follows the success of the pilot programs the carrier has been running since 2019. The digitized solution is designed to allow shippers and other links in the supply chain to more easily receive and send out a bill of lading online. The ultimate goal is the elimination of untimely and costly disruptions, in addition to (hopefully) driving industry-wide standardization. 

Rates and congestion aside, ocean vessels seem to be seriously struggling with keeping containers on board because we’re currently experiencing the largest spike in accidents than we’ve seen in seven years. According to Claims Journal, “more than 3,000 boxes dropped into the sea last year, and more than 1,000 have fallen overboard so far in 2021,” and these lost boxes are creating some major bottlenecks for many retailers and manufacturers.

Also trending this week is the official end of the post-Brexit trade deal. Last Tuesday, European lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to continue free trade between the EU and UK without tariffs and quotas, marking the last step in a lengthy process to provide more stability within the strained relationship and ensure future cooperation. This breakthrough came shortly after the shipping container industry reached its 65th birthday.

From the first sailing of a converted WWII tanker that occurred on April 26, 1956, to the pandemic-driven environment we are in today, container ships have proven to be vital in facilitating global trade — accounting for transporting an estimated 45 percent of total global trade according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. And that number isn’t likely to grow any smaller given how tight air freight capacity has been since COVID-19 first emerged.

The Chicago O’Hare International Airport, for example, is so congested right now that agents are actually having to rent out warehouses to store cargo overflow. Some importers are so exasperated with the situation at this key U.S. hub that they’ve just decided to skip the overcrowded airport altogether in favor of neighboring facilities with significantly less freight traffic.

To learn more about this week’s leading issues, check out the following article highlights:

MSC launches global electronic bills of lading

After running pilot projects in select countries since 2019, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) has officially launched the electronic bill of lading (eBL) for all customers worldwide, paving the way for widespread eBL adoption.

Read More

Shipping Containers Fall Overboard at Fastest Rate in Seven Years

Containers piled high on giant vessels carrying everything from car tires to smartphones are toppling over at an alarming rate, sending millions of dollars of cargo sinking to the bottom of the ocean as pressure to speed deliveries raises the risk of safety errors.

Read More

EU lawmakers approve post-Brexit trade treaty

European Union leaders, their British counterparts and European businesses expressed hope Wednesday that the final ratification of the post-Brexit trade deal will open a new, positive era of cooperation despite the many divisive topics remaining between the former partners.

Read More

Container shipping turns 65 rattled yet more resilient (sub. required)

The 65th anniversary of the dawn of containerization on April 26, 1956, finds the industry struggling to handle a continuing surge of pandemic-driven trade, with delays endemic and costs and frustrations rising, but in an increasingly robust financial condition and no less essential as a key facilitator of global trade.

Read More

Fed up with cargo congestion, freight forwarders flee O’Hare airport

Cargo congestion has gone from bad to worse at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, forcing importers to wait several days to retrieve shipments and prompting two large logistics companies to migrate airfreight operations an hour west to an uncrowded facility in Rockford, Illinois.

Read More

About the Author

Jaguar Freight author

    Get In Touch