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International Forwarding Association Blog » Sea freight in Europe

Sea freight in Europe

Maritime Shipping

Impact of the Ukraine Conflict on Maritime Shipping

The war in Ukraine has caused a serious supply chain disruption which is likely to exacerbate the crew crisis, port congestion, and supply chain disruption caused by the prolonged pandemic. International freight forwarding has been hard hit, with the burden of sanctions, the disruption of trade with Ukraine and Russia, and the loss of vessels and life in high-risk areas in the Black Sea. Carriers face multiple challenges such as cyber risk, availability and cost of fuel, and crews stranded in Ukraine waters.   Implications for Global Trade According to the International Monetary Fund, the ongoing conflict is likely to… Read more

Illicit shipping practices

Sanctions Evasion and Illicit Shipping and Compliance Practices

Illicit shipping practices are often used by countries that seek to evade economic sanctions. Such practices include flag hopping and false flags, voyage irregularities, altering vessel identification, manipulating or disabling vessel automatic system identification, and falsifying ship-to-ship transfers and vessel and cargo documents, among others.   Flag Hopping and False Flags A false flag operation is where a carrier pretends that a ship is sailing under a flag state without the knowledge, permission, or consent of that state. Flap hopping, on the other hand, involves changing the flag state of a ship with the goal of avoiding identification by the… Read more

Shipping Industry

How the Russia – Ukraine War Impacts the Shipping Industry

The liquid and dry bulk markets will be affected this year due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the supply chain disruptions that are expected to continue through 2022. Experts predict trade growth to be 1 – 2 percent based on type of cargo. While trade growth has lost momentum due to the war, there are mitigating factors such as route changes and cargo flows being redirected. To what extent carriers will be impacted depends on contracting and specific markets.   Types of Cargo Most Affected According to analysts, coal is the main dry bulk flow that is expected… Read more

Support Marine Crews

UN Urges States to Support Marine Crews

Four UN organizations recently released a joined statement urging carriers, governments, local and national authorities, and other stakeholders to ramp up efforts to deal with the crew change crisis that has affected over 400,000 mariners since the onset of the pandemic. The statement issued by WHO, UNSTAD, IMO, and ILO notes that more efforts are needed to protect crew safety and health and minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions. The four organizations also stress on the fact that due to increased vaccination rates among crews and the gradual easing of travel restrictions, the situation shows signs of improvement. Developments… Read more

Shipping Industry

6 Ways in Which the Health Crisis Affected the Shipping Industry

The ongoing health crisis has affected shipping in many ways, from the medical handling of suspect Covid-19 cases and crew repatriation to vessel attendance for statutory purposes and certification and delayed repairs and retrofits.   Handling of Suspect Cases Medical handling of suspect cases can be a challenge due to shortage of equipment and supplies such as hand gloves, face masks, chlorine, hand sanitizer, sodium lactate solution, and pain and fever medications. Transferring crew ashore has also proven a challenge, given that in many countries crew is not allowed to disembark for treatment. Crew Changes and Repatriation The global crisis… Read more

Types of Commercial Vessels

Types of Commercial Vessels by Type of Cargo and Dimensions

Commercial vessels can be generally divided into wet and dry cargo ships and vary in dimensions /width and length/. Draft or water depth is a limitation that determines the minimum water depth a boat or cargo ship can navigate. Beam or a vessel’s widest point determines the canal locks a commercial ship can fit. Based on size, dry cargo ships can be sub-divided into handymax, handy size, seawaymax, small handy size, etc. Example of wet cargo ships are ULCC, VLCC, and Q-Max. In addition, ships also fall in several major categories based on type of cargo, including reefer, multi-purpose, dry… Read more

Shipping Crisis

The Shipping Crisis Is Getting Worse, Upsetting Retailers and Shoppers

A year and a half into the pandemic, the global shipping crisis is getting worse, with shortages of goods and rising prices. This year consumers are likely to face fewer choices during the holiday season. Giants such as Hasbro, Crocs, and Adidas already warned of disruptions due to the fact that supply chains are not expected to ease before next year. The cost of shipping cargo from China to Europe and North America has been climbing over the last couple of months, the main reason being unmet demand. Why Port Congestions Cause Product Shortages? Terminal shutdowns due to coronavirus outbreaks… Read more

Shortage of Seafarers Onboard Merchant Vessels

Shortage of Seafarers Onboard Merchant Vessels by 2026

The 2021 Seafarer Workforce Report released by the International Chamber of Shipping and the Baltic and International Maritime Council on Wednesday warns about a possible shortage of sailors to staff commercial vessels over a five years period. Steps should be taken to increase numbers and ensure the smooth movement of cargo across the globe. The proposed measures are increased recruitment and training to boost the supply of maritime crew by 2026. The Crisis Is Looming At present, demand for maritime crew is estimated at about 1.45 million, including some 790,500 officers. There is a supply shortage of about 16,500 officers… Read more

Challenges That Shipping Businesses

Challenges That Shipping Businesses Face in 2021

2020 was a difficult year for most sectors, and the shipping industry is not an exception. A year and a half into a global health and economic crisis, freight forwarders face a number of challenges, from marine insurance claims and risk of cargo damage to machinery breakdown and delays of servicing of equipment and vessels. Servicing of Merchant Ships With physical distancing protocols and lockdown measures still in place, delays of servicing of emergency equipment and merchant ships could endanger crew and offshore staff safety. Ship yards and ports already face delays due to staff in quarantine and shortage of… Read more

Vaccinating Seafarers to Aid Global Economic Recovery

Global vaccinations of crews are not going fast enough to prevent outbreaks onboard vessels, resulting in trade and supply chain disruptions and endangering the life of seafarers. The fact that vaccinations are going too slowly is potentially slowing economic recovery for countries trying to pull out of a deep, pandemic-induced recession. Effect on Supply Chains Outbreaks onboard ships could have a significant negative impact on global supply chains now that Europe and the U.S. are heading for recovery and businesses are stocking up for the holiday season. Industry experts warn that supply chain disruptions are likely to occur as some… Read more

Slowdown in Container Circulation due to Reduced Labor Productivity

The slow circulation of containers, together with increased cargo volumes, has led to supply chain disruptions and reduced capacity, resulting in significant delays and rate increases. Box shipping rates have spiked due to strong demand and container shortages and are projected to continue going up. Reasons for Slowdown in Circulation The slow circulation of containers is due to multiple factors, including higher volumes, increased demand, and reduced labor productivity at marine terminals and warehouses. While some are blaming carriers for reducing capacity to match demand with supply, the main issues seem to be service reliability and labor productivity, combined with… Read more

Linear and Charter Ships, Types, Arrangements, and Routes

Merchant ships come in two varieties, charter or tramp vessels that transport cargo based on demand and linear vessels that have fixed schedules and operate on fixed routes. Trampers include bulk carriers and tankers operating in charter markets and shipping cargo from any port to any port. Linear vessels such as RoRo and container ships, on the other hand, have a fixed, regular routing and standard tariffs.Charter Service Charter vessels are typically hired to transport cargo over a certain route and for a specified period. The main charter types are time, voyage, and demise, with variations like contract of affreightment,… Read more

Types of Marine Vessels for Shipping Different Cargo Loads

Tankships, also known as tankers, carry a wide selection of gases and liquids as well as cargo such as wine, molasses, and vegetable oils. They are built to ship commodities in a way that minimizes risks, including fungal and bacterial growth, spoilage of foods, and volatile behavior. Other ships are used to transport livestock, including specialized vessels and modified bulk carriers that are designed to ship different types of animals. This means that the choice of vessel is important in ensuring safety during transit.    Food Foodstuff includes items such as partially processed, frozen, packaged, and fresh food, most of… Read more

Global Maritime Trade on the Path to Recovery

According to data by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the number of ships calling at ports to load and unload cargo has increased in Q3 2020. This hints to improved business activity and economic recovery from the global pandemic that struck in the beginning of 2020. Impact of Covid-19 on Maritime Trade Maritime shipping saw a dramatic 27 percent drop in the second quarter of 2020. This is mainly due to border and travel restrictions aiming to control the pandemic. UNCTAD reports an 8.5 percent drop in the number of container ships calling at ports in July… Read more

Fire Safety Measures Onboard Cargo Ships

It is important that freight forwarders get familiar with fire hazards and safety measures onboard cargo ships so that they are aware of the risks, types of fire, and extinguishing methods that shipping companies use. Classifying Fire Based on fuel  or material type, fire falls in 4 categories – class A, B, C, and D. Class A includes solids that are organic, for example, bedding, fabrics, cardboard, paper, and wood.Fire in class B is caused by liquefiable solids or liquids such as fats, cooking oils, lubricating oils, and diesel. Gas cargoes, acetylene, and other flammable gases fall under class C…. Read more

Types of Maritime and Rail Terminals for Cargo Handling

Distribution centers and rail and port terminals are used for storage, loading and unloading, and transloading activities. There are different types of terminals based on infrastructure, interface, equipment and vehicles used, location, and land access. Rail Terminals There are five types of facilities – satellite and transmodal terminals, load centres, and near-dock and on-dock. They are linked with port facilities and are a key component of the inland intermodal supply chain. Satellite terminals are usually built at peripheral sites with less traffic. They are used for operations that would take a lot of time or are expensive at port terminals…. Read more

Ship Crews Stranded Onboard to Keep Cargo Flowing

The global supply chain now faces another challenge as many countries begin to restart their economies in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Some 200,000 ship crews are stranded because of flight reduction and suspension and closure of ports around the world. Crew Changes Before the coronavirus pandemic, about 100,000 crew swaps took place on a monthly basis. Experts point to the fact that the number of changes has dwindled to just 20,000 – 30,000 a month. Not only are 200,000 crews stuck onboard and unable to disembark but another 200,000 are staying home and waiting to replace them.Overworked Seafarers… Read more

Half of Maritime Shipping Companies Expect Recovery

The EU shipping industry has been hardly hit, and maritime shippers are not an exception. At the same time, measures and policies to mitigate the impact of the pandemic have not been implemented in all Member States. This is a critical moment for forwarders throughout Europe, including ship owners, operators, charterers, and shipping companies, all having to make the difficult decision whether to continue operations. Impact on the Maritime Shipping Industry In April 2020, a survey was conducted among industry players to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the shipping sector as well as to evaluate the effectiveness… Read more

New Shipping Regulations to Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The maritime shipping industry has been a major polluter for decades and now faces new regulations that will soon come into effect. Maritime Transport and Environmental Pollution Reports by the UN International Maritime Organization show that over 90 percent of cargo is transported by sea. The main reason is that this is the most cost-effective way to ship raw materials and commodities all over the world. At the same time, shipping large volumes of goods is destructive for the environment as demonstrated by a 2014 IMO Greenhouse Gas Study. Ships release about 940 million tons of carbon dioxide a year… Read more

Autonomous Technologies to Transform Maritime Shipping

Autonomous technologies are increasingly used in the maritime shipping industry, and advanced systems are currently under development. Manufacturers are in the process of developing super yachts, battery-powered ships, situation awareness systems, drone-assisted systems, and unmanned ships to name a few. Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Ships Shipbuilding companies are in the process of developing fully autonomous ships that will operate and ship cargo without a crew. There are different levels of automation, and the first is to remotely operate and control ships from the shore. Fully automated ships, on the other hand, are equipped with advanced software that takes control over their… Read more