Skip to Content


Trade war still denting confidence on transpacific trade | Brazil Modal

A slowdown in volumes on the key Asia-US trade lane has seen carriers slash capacity to raise load factors. But freight rates remain at just half of where they were last year.

Container trades between Asia and the west coast of North America are still struggling to ward off the impact of the trade war between China and the US, according to Drewry.

Despite providing a welcome boost for carriers last year, as front-loading ahead of the imposition of tariffs lifted volumes, the artificial stimulation of shipments has since regressed, the analyst said.

“After eight months, loaded traffic from Asia to the west coast of North America, covering the US, Canada and Mexico, had shrunk by nearly 3%,” it said. “The slack was at least picked up by the smaller Asia to North America east coast route, which increased by almost 6% to produce a flat total net result for the year-to-date period.”

Recent US-only data confirmed the trend, Drewry noted, with west coast volumes falling 5.8% compared with 6.9% growth at east and Gulf coast ports.

But the “extraordinary environment” in which carriers on the transpacific were operating made it difficult to evaluate actual trading performance this year, it said, adding that it expected growth to return in the “not too distant future”.

“The transpacific has thus far managed to avoid significant contraction thanks to a combination of factors, including a weakening of the Chinese currency, willingness from some Chinese exporters and American importers to absorb some of the additional costs arising from the new tariffs and some trade substitution within Asia,” said Drewry.

But ultimately, it was the strength of the US economy that would serve to drive growth again.

“The underlying strength of the US economy that hasn’t been derailed by the Washington and Beijing shenanigans and has continued to create jobs and raise incomes throughout,” the analyst said.

Nevertheless, this year’s peak season had failed to deliver for carriers, with data indicating a 1% decline in volumes from Asia to the US west coast in the third quarter.

Carrier efforts to ameliorate the slowdown by blanking sailings and withdrawing tonnage helped keep load factors up, but these “artificial supply manoeuvres” were not enough to raise spot freight rates, which have been stuck at around $1,500 per feu, according to Drewry.

Last week’s Shanghai to Los Angeles World Container Index was down by 47% on the same week last year, it added.

“The immediate outlook for the transpacific is heavily tied to the trade war, which is currently in one of its more peaceful settings but is still liable to sour at any moment,” Drewry said. “Assuming carriers refrain from returning too much capacity, there is a reasonable hope for higher freight rates as we approach Black Friday and Christmas sales.”


Source: Lloyd’s


0 0 Continue Reading →

Germany’s Chinese Growth Engine Stalls

BERLIN — For three decades, China’s burgeoning demand for German cars, machines and engineering tools has been a steady engine of growth for Europe’s largest economy, gratefully championed by successive governments in Berlin.

But the engine is starting to splutter. China’s economy is slowing, Donald Trump’s “America First” policies are hurting global trade and China’s factories are becoming rivals to the German giants that once supplied them.

The slowdown is not helping at a challenging time for Germany. Its economy contracted 0.1% in the second quarter and some analysts expect third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data due on Nov. 14 to show a similar decline – which would leave the economy in recession for the first time since 2013.

While German trade with China is only a small part of the country’s 3.4 trillion euro (2.9 trillion pounds) economy, it has been one of the few components of GDP that Berlin could count on to grow year after year.

Now, with growth in Chinese demand for goods “Made In Germany” ebbing, and by some measures falling, the once lucrative export market is proving less supportive as the economy stagnates.

“China is our most important trading partner but the future trend is hard to predict,” said Axel Mattern, a senior manager at the Port of Hamburg, where there are signs China’s slowdown and Sino-U.S. rifts are putting a brake on trade.

While it is too early to call the demise of the Sino-German trading relationship, the cooling of its red-hot growth has rekindled doubts about whether years of ever-closer economic ties have helped Germany.

Some industrialists say politicians who looked past human rights abuses in China in the hope trade would turn the Asian country into a Western-style state with an open economy and equal market access were deluded.

“That turned out to be wishful thinking,” said the Federation of German Industry’s (BDI) Stefan Mair, a leading advocate for a more pragmatic German policy towards China.


When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Sino-German trade was tiny. As Beijing embraced globalisation, China’s share of German exports soared from 0.6% in 1990 to 7.1% last year. In 2016, China overtook the United States to become Germany’s biggest trading partner, and it still is.

Over the years, the relationship helped Germany shake off its 1990s reputation as “the sick man of Europe” and recover from the global financial crisis much faster than others.

Carmakers BMW and Volkswagen, industrial giants such as Siemens and Germany’s “Mittelstand”, the smaller companies that form the backbone of the economy, have all benefited.

Following the approach of her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder in the early 2000s, Chancellor Angela Merkel has set aside concerns over China’s record on human rights and intellectual property to court its leadership for business. In September, she completed her 13th trip to China in 14 years.

Since the 2008-09 financial crisis, German exports to China have grown every year except 2015 – and last fell prior to that in 1997 – hitting a record 93 billion euros in 2018. But even before Trump’s dispute with China, growth had started to recede, from 13.3% in 2017 to 8% in 2018 to 2.7% in the first nine months of 2019, according to official German data.

Home in on the recent months and the trend appears starker.

Chinese customs data shows imports from Germany fell 3.6% in August from the same month last year and 9.2% in September. Cumulatively, the Chinese data shows imports from Germany fell 2% during the first nine months of 2019.

Made in Germany: Chinese demand ebbs:

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its growth forecast for Germany’s economy last month to 0.5% in 2019 and 1.2% in 2020, saying in its World Economic Outlook that weaker Chinese demand was one factor behind a broader slowdown in industrial output, along with the fallout from trade tensions.

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) also cited the Sino-U.S. dispute and the broader cooling of China’s economy as factors behind its prediction that overall German exports would fall next year for the first time since the financial crisis.


The impact is already being felt. Brose Group, a family-owned auto parts supplier in Bavaria, said slowing Chinese demand was a factor behind its decision last month to cut 2,000 jobs from its 26,000-strong workforce.

Some argue the current difficulties should be kept in perspective. In Hamburg, a gateway for goods to and from China, Mattern pointed to a 3% rise in Chinese business in the first half of 2019.

“The biggest problem is the protectionist trend and the biggest representative of that is in Washington. If I look at the world from that perspective, the Port of Hamburg is pretty comfortable with China being its biggest partner,” he said.

But others say the decades spent cultivating China as a destination for German exports has been to the detriment of local industry, and now they want a more hard-nosed approach.

German officials have described the Chinese takeover in 2016 of Bavarian robotics firm Kuka as a wake-up call that underlined the need to shield strategic parts of the economy from foreign buyers.

Berlin tightened foreign investment rules last year so it can investigate and, if needed, block purchases of stakes in German firms by non-European entities – a move widely seen as targeting Chinese state-backed investors.

Asked to comment on German policy towards China, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said there was evidence Beijing was starting to open up its financial sectors but he acknowledged that getting level playing field remained “work in progress”.

The shift in policy has not gone unnoticed.

Shi Mingde, who worked as Beijing’s ambassador in Berlin from 2012 until March, told Chinese media in September that Germany’s latest policy shifts were aimed at China.

“Germany seems to be opposed to trade protectionism on the surface but at the same time Germany itself is engaged in another set of trade protectionism,” he said.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Additional reporting by Mark John in London, Yawen Chen in Beijing, Christian Kraemer, Andreas Rinke and Rene Wager in Berlin; Editing by David Clarke)


0 0 Continue Reading →

WFS switches to ‘sustainable’ plastics | Brazil Modal

Worldwide Flight Services becomes first major air cargo handler to convert to BioNatur line of products in its operations, saving equivalent of 27 million plastic water bottles a year from landfill.

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has become the first major air cargo industry company to begin converting the majority of plastic products used in its cargo handling operations over to the ‘BioNatur Plastics’ line of sustainable products, manufactured by M&G Packaging.

BioNaturPlastic is a growing line of biodegradable plastic products manufactured with proprietary formulations that make them the most sustainable plastic options available, WFS said, explaining that investing in the new products was part of WFS’ global sustainability programme.

“Worldwide Flight Services is excited to be the first major customer of these environmentally-friendly products in the air cargo industry,” said Mike Simpson, WFS’ executive vice president for the Americas. “WFS uses the equivalent of more than 27 million plastic water bottles a year in protective plastic sheeting and wrap; so, with this commitment we can make a significant contribution to the environment. We are thrilled to finally have a product that ensures this plastic will not languish in a landfill for decades.”

BioNatur Plastic is manufactured with a blend of resins including traditional LDPE (low-density polyethylene) and a propriety, natural, plant-based biopolymer. The resulting blends are biodegradable in a landfill environment and significantly reduce fossil fuel-based plastic usage and greenhouse gas generation, WFS said.

“Performance testing demonstrated the BioNatur product to have a long shelf life with higher strength and puncture-resistance than polyethylene plastic alone,” the company explained. “This proprietary blend also uses significantly less oil-based resin than current plastic products, using less material overall while maintaining or improving performance.

WFS is the world’s largest air cargo handler and one of the world’s leading providers of ground handling and technical services, serving more than 270 airlines at 180 major airports in 22 countries on five continents.

M&G Packaging is a leader in sustainable packaging that is “expanding its product lines with the latest biodegradable and eco-friendly products” It has been serving the air freight community for over 60 years with packaging, shipping and TSA screening supplies.


Source: Lloyd’s


0 0 Continue Reading →

China, Gandhi or RSS? The real reason India snubbed RCEP trade pact

Until this week, few people would have used the word “intrigue” in the same sentence as the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership”.


0 0 Continue Reading →

India’s 12 state-run ports handle less boxes | Brazil Modal

India’s 12 state-run ports handled a total of 5.14 million TEUs of containers in the first half of fiscal 2019 (April-September), up 5.6% from a year earlier, according to the Indian Ports Association (IPA).

Looking at container throughput individually by port, 2.573 million TEUs were moved to and from Jawaharlal Nehru Port, up 2.1%; 435,000 TEUs to and from Kolkata, up 1.6%; 425,000 TEUs to and from V.O. Chidambaranar, up 14.6%; 312,000 TEUs to and from Cochin, up 11.8%; 261,000 TEUs to and from Visakhapatnam, up 15%; 214,000 TEUs to and from Deendayal (formerly Kandla), up 107.8%; 78,000 TEUs to and from New Mangalore, up 14.7%; 70,000 TEUs to and from Kamarajar (formerly Ennore), which did not process containerized shipments a year earlier; and 15,000 TEUs to and from Mumbai, up 7.1%. In contrast, container throughput declined year on year at Chennai, which went down 11.8% to 736,000 TEUs; at Mormugao, down 11.1% to 16,000 TEUs and at Paradip, down 16.7% to 5,000 TEUs.

Source: JIFFA


0 0 Continue Reading →

eswatini signs mou with bureau of foreign trade, taiwan

By Bahle Gama | 2019-11-07. The Kingdom of Eswatini and the Bureau of Foreign Trade in the Republic of China, (Taiwan) has signed a …


0 0 Continue Reading →

New sugar terminal opened at Port of Gdansk | Brazil Modal

On 10 October, Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. opened its Sugar Terminal in the Port of Gdansk. The facility is located at the quay, in direct vicinity of the Martwa Wisla river, which ensures passage and loading of high-tonnage vessels.

The entire project covers a handling and shipping terminal, comprising:

  • a 50,000 ton silo
  • a sugar packing hall
  • a finished product warehouse, approx. 8k tons in capacity and clear height of 12 metres
  • office rooms
  • Wislane Quay infrastructure providing for undisrupted road and rail access.

The opening of the Sugar Terminal reasserts the Port’s readiness to respond to customer needs. We are happy to cooperate with Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa, the largest sugar market player. KSC’s decision to choose the Port of Gdansk as the site of its project proves right our Port development strategy based on establishing strategic alliances with leaders from the respective industries, and validates the claim that the Port of Gdansk is a safe and promising location to develop business operations – says Lukasz Greinke – President of the Management Board of the Port of Gdansk Authority SA.

The entire project enables sugar unloading from rail cars and silo trucks. Modern handling and shipping facilities provide for sugar shipping in polypropylene bags, stacked both in containers and cargo decks of conventional ships. Circulation yards, car parks for trucks and passenger cars are being developed at the Terminal, to be followed by railway track rehabilitation.

The Sugar Terminal enables us to export by sea at least 300,000 tonnes of sugar per year. Our own Terminal eliminates the requirement to hire storage space at third-party warehouses, which will cut down our costs significantly – says Krzysztof Kowa, President of the Management Board of Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A.

Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. seeks not only to maintain its current domestic and global customer base, but also to acquire new customers, previously difficult to reach due to sea shipping constraints.

In the years to come, Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. plans to manufacture one million tonne of sugar per year, approximately 30% of which will be exports outside the European Union. The Sugar Terminal is a major step in the development of KSC S.A. Sugar consumption has remained stable in Europe for many years. To be competitive on the market where sugar consumption is growing, notably in Asia and Africa, we need our own handling terminal – notes Krzysztof Kowa, President of the Management Board of Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa.

The agreement on the property lease for the development of the handling and shipping terminal, including access infrastructure to support sugar transport, was signed by Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. and the Port of Gdansk Authority SA in November 2017. The development work started in April 2018 and was carried out by T I Construction Sp. z o.o., supervised by KSC S.A. staff. The Terminal development cost will exceed PLN 100 mio. KSC S.A. will employ a few dozen new staff members for the Terminal, such as warehouse and forklift truck operators and logistics staff.

Sugar Terminal in figures:

  • Over PLN 100 mio. in investment costs.
  • 3 hectares of land are occupied by the Terminal.
  • 56 metres high is the sugar storage silo.
  • The silo will be able to hold 50 000 tonnes of sugar.
  • The warehouse will be able to hold roughly 8 000 tonnes of sugar.
  • Up to 3 000 tonnes of sugar is the Terminal’s daily receipt capacity.
  • Up to 3 000 tonnes of sugar is the Terminal’s daily dispatch capacity.
  • Over 300 000 tonnes of sugar is the Terminal’s annual handling capacity.

Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. – overview
Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. was established in August 2002 and is currently Poland’s largest and one of Europe’s major beet sugar manufacturers. The majority stake in KSC S.A. is held by the State Treasury, and an over 20% stake by sugar beet farmers and employees. The group comprises 7 sugar processing facilities (Dobrzelin, Kluczewo, Krasnystaw, Kruszwica, Malbork, Naklo, Werbkowice) and a fruit and vegetables processing facility Zaklad Przetworstwa Owocowo-Warzywnego “Polskie Przetwory” of Wloclawek. The sugar processing facilities located in five provinces annually process some 6 mio. tonnes of sugar beet farmed over 100,000 hectares, and supplied by some 15,000 farmers. The Company manufactured in total over 910,000 tonnes of sugar in the 2018/2019 campaign. This performance is second to none in the company’s history. Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa S.A. is primarily involved in the production and sale of sugar, trading in sugar processing products and fruit and vegetables processing.

Customers for the Company’s products under the brand name “Polski Cukier” are both Polish businesses and renown international groups. The Krajowa Spolka Cukrowa Group, developed for years, today operates in five agricultural and food processing market sectors. The primary sector of the Group remains sugar processing. Four other include the confectionery industry, fruit and vegetables processing, grain and milling and potato industry. Next to KSC S.A. the KSC S.A. Group owns four manufacturing subsidiaries:

  • Przedsiebiorstwo Zbozowo-Mlynarskie “PZZ” w Stoislawiu S.A.
  • Fabryka Cukierkow “Pszczolka” Sp. z o.o.
  • Przedsiebiorstwo Przemyslu Ziemniaczanego Trzemeszno Sp. z o.o.
  • I.C.S.”Moldova Zahar” SRL in the Republic of Moldova.

Source: Port of Gdansk


0 0 Continue Reading →

US ramps up pressure on Chinese tech giants like Huawei, ByteDance

The Logo of social media app TikTok (also known as Douyin) is displayed on a smartphone on December 14, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

Thomas Trutschel | Photothek | Getty Images

The U.S. is ratcheting up pressure on Chinese technology firms and that may be a long-term strategy that continues — even if a trade deal is reached, one expert told CNBC.

Popular Chinese app TikTok is the latest company in Washington’s crosshairs.

A U.S. regulatory committee — the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — contacted the app’s parent company Bytedance over concerns that its 2017 acquisition of social media app, could be a national security risk, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC.

The Trump administration’s focus on Chinese tech giants is due to national security concern and worries about the competitive threat to American firms, experts told CNBC. They said it could potentially be used as a leverage in trade negotiations — but even if a trade deal is reached, Chinese technology firms will not be in the clear.

Earlier this year, telecommunications equipment maker Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist which restricts the Chinese company’s access to U.S. technology. Washington holds the view that Huawei presents a national security risk because its networking gear could be used by Beijing for espionage.

The Trump administration has sought to persuade other governments to ban Huawei from the next-generation mobile networks, known as 5G. Huawei has repeatedly denied the U.S.’s allegations.

Washington has also been pushing the government of Taiwan to restrict Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) from selling chips to Huawei, according to a Financial Times report on Monday.

A TSMC spokesperson told CNBC the company has not received any requests from the U.S. or Taiwan government to stop shipping chips to Huawei.

Last month, Washington expanded its blacklist to include a number of Chinese surveillance firms including Hikvision, one of the world’s biggest companies for such technology.

Trade war leverage?

The U.S. and China’s trade war continues to wage on and technology has become a key part of that. Issues such as intellectual property rights are being discussed in ongoing negotiations. But experts also see Trump’s willingness to go after market leaders like Huawei as a way to slow down the progress of Chinese technology globally.

Some have also suggested that Huawei could be used as a bargaining chip to secure a favorable trade deal. The latest pressure on U.S. technology could be an extension of that.

“It has announced these moves in the backdrop of a trade war, in which President Trump has shown a willingness to use unconventional measures as leverage against the Chinese,” Dan Wang, technology analyst at macroeconomic research firm Gavekal, told CNBC.

China and the U.S. are moving toward signing a “phase one” trade deal. But moves against Chinese technology could be part of a longer term game, even if the trade war does finally end.

“Concerns about Chinese technology — from a national security, human rights, and tech competition perspective — will continue if and when a trade deal is done,” Adam Segal, Ira A. Lipman chair in emerging technologies and national security at the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNBC. “The escalation seems like part of a long term ratcheting up of pressure on China on technology.”

China competitive threat

Experts told CNBC that the competitive threat from Chinese companies to U.S. corporations could also be a reason behind Washington’s recent increased pressure.

“The US government writ large is concerned at the possibility of being overtaken by China in key areas of technology and the Huawei/5G issue can be seen in this context as a latter-day Sputnik moment — the day the US realizes it had dropped the ball,” Nigel Inkster, a senior advisor at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told CNBC.

“Sputnik moment” refers to when the Soviet Union beat the U.S. in launching the first artificial earth-orbiting satellite into space. Where 5G technology is concerned, there is no American competitor to Huawei.

Meanwhile, social media app TikTok has faced criticism including allegations that it censors content deemed sensitive by Beijing, as well as concerns about how it processes user data.

But Washington’s probe of the company could also be about looking to shield some social media firms in the U.S., such as Facebook and Snap, from the competition TikTok poses, analysts say.

“Some may argue that perhaps it is because China has a digital company that is now growing significantly in the West and the U.S.,” Neil Campling, head of technology, media and telecoms research at Mirabaud Securities, told CNBC when asked why CFIUS could be looking into the app now.

Campling also highlighted how Huawei is the number one telecom equipment vendor in the world, while Hikvision is the top surveillance technology company. Meanwhile, TikTok has had “record breaking app downloads.”

“The first two have been subject to U.S. trade restrictions — and now ByteDance is the subject of a CFIUS review. Coincidence?” Campling said.


0 0 Continue Reading →

Spot rates for ex-China containers rise on many routes | Brazil Modal

On the route to Europe, tonnage supply decreased due to service suspensions by some carriers. Spot rates for exports from Shanghai grew 2.4% to $594 per TEU. On the trade to the Mediterranean, meanwhile, many operators endeavored to maintain their fright rate standards, while freight rates themselves declined mildly, going down 0.7% to $710 per TEU.

On the North America trade, alliances reduced hauling capacities, but maintained their rates standards. Freight rates to the west coast fell 0.5% to $1,361 per FEU, while those to the east coast went down 1.6% to $2,411 per FEU.

On the route to the Middle East Gulf, shipping lines hiked freight rates in early October, bringing about briskness to the market. As a result, freight rates surged 22.4% to $786 per TEU. Freight rates were lifted by some carriers on the trade to Australia and New Zealand, too, going up 3.8% to $1,164 per TEU.

On the South America route, container movement was stable, while some operator increased rates earlier in the month. They rose 9.3% to $1,965 per TEU.

Freight movement was steady on the route to Japan as well, but freight rates to Kansai sank 4.7% to $223 per TEU, and to Kanto, 0.4% to $235 per TEU.

 Source: JIFFA


0 0 Continue Reading →

Fincantieri Refutes Rumors Linked to Chantiers Deal | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: Fincantieri

“Fincantieri strongly disapproves such rumors, which have also negatively affected its share price today,” the shipbuilder said in a statement on October 29, 2019.

Following a preliminary examination of the transaction by the European Commission, the competition authority decided to continue with a full-scale antitrust investigation. The regulator is concerned that the deal would significantly affect competition within the European Union by reducing the number of competitors from three to two, Reuters reported.

“Fincantieri expresses its firm disapproval of such decision, if confirmed, particularly in case it was based on the alleged reduction of the European players from three to two,” the Italian company added.

“Following the transaction, there would still be three cruise shipbuilders in Europe, as opposed to the current four,” Fincantieri pointed out.

In February 2018, Fincantieri signed the acquisition deal for Chantiers de l’Atlantique, former STX France. Under the agreement, Fincantieri will assume 50 percent ownership of Chantiers de l’Atlantique, with an additional 1 percent to be borrowed from the French state. The French state will assume 33.34 percent, Naval Group 10 percent, company employees up to 2.40 percent and local companies up to 3.26 pct.


0 0 Continue Reading →