Global Freight Updates Delivered To You!

Global Freight Updates Delivered To You!

December 21st, 2020


EU carbon charges, UK port congestion, surging container freight rates, a whirlwind peak season, the South African Airways lockout, and the new U.S. Transportation Secretary, oh my! We’ve got a lot to unpack in this week’s global freight updates.


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Let’s dive in by starting with the European Commission’s plans to make big changes in the shipping carbon market.

As of right now, the Commission remains undecided on whether or not it will include international trips in its ambitious emissions trading scheme plans. Many in the sector, however, are protesting what they believe to be an overreach on the Commission’s part to regulate the industry as it works toward its goal to reduce net emissions by at least 55% over the next 9 years.

Next up, we’ve got the port chaos that’s currently wreaking havoc on UK supply chains for 45% of manufacturers. With the severe strain caused by the impact of leading issues like COVID-19 and Brexit, the nation’s factories are reporting steep rises in lead times and stockpiled goods. 

The UK certainly isn’t the only one struggling to overcome massive transportation complications though. Countries around the world are scrambling to manage the distribution of the new coronavirus vaccine alongside the huge spikes in e-commerce imports primarily from China. And the U.S.-China trade war is only making matters worse.

Some ocean shipping lines have even refused to transport U.S. exports in an effort to prioritize taking back empty containers to China. Not to mention the fact that spot rates are continuing to soar everywhere, especially for Asia-North Europe lanes receiving quotes up to $5,000 per TEU.

And airfreight doesn’t have it any easier either. For instance, after declaring bankruptcy and then being forced to ground many flights last year, South African Airways recently put a temporary lockout into effect against 383 pilots due to reluctance over the airline’s new employment terms.

Last, but not least, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has officially nominated Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to lead the country’s Transportation Department. To learn more, check out the following article highlights:

Ship ‘coffee breaks’ not enough to avoid EU carbon charges

The European Union is on course to extend its emission trading scheme to shipping but is yet to decide which voyages should actually be included.

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Port chaos leaves almost half UK factories waiting longer for goods

UK factories are “paying the price” for port chaos, with almost half of manufacturing firms reporting longer wait times for supplies.

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Container freight rates from Asia surge to new highs – 'it's gone mad'

Container freight rates from Asia continued to surge this week, reaching highs far in excess of long-term sustainable levels.

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Holiday puzzle: Vaccine, e-commerce boom, trade war

“There are a lot of ‘Karens’ out there pooh-poohing that all the Amazon packages they want for Christmas and Hanukkah are not going to arrive on time [because of vaccine delivery],” said CNBC senior editor Lori Ann LaRocco.

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South African Airways pilots given 48-hour 'lockout' notice, administrators say

Administrators at struggling South African Airways said on Wednesday they have issued a 48-hour notice to prevent nearly 400 pilots from accessing the company’s premises until they agree to new employment terms and conditions.

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Biden Selects Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has selected former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, his former Democratic primary rival, to lead the Transportation Department, Mr. Biden said Tuesday.

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