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Global shipping stricken by coronavirus outbreak

Global shipping stricken by coronavirus outbreak, © Anthony Kwan, Getty Images

© Anthony Kwan, Getty Images

 

The coronavirus outbreak has taken a heavy toll on China’s shipping industry as a result of the lower output and trade. A report published by Danish maritime research group Sea-Intelligence highlighted the greatly reduced cargo flows between China and the rest of the world, with 50 sailings cancelled since January and 30 last week alone across the Pacific and to Europe. The Wall Street Journal reports that five European and Asian container ship operators are preparing profit warnings for the first half or the full year. This news comes as a great disappointment, especially as it had been hoped that the improved trading relationship between the US and China would result in an upsurge in business. The WSJ reports that at least one container ship with a capacity to carry over 20,000 containers left Shanghai for Northern Europe with only 2,000 full containers. “It will pick up more at ports on its way, but loading data show it will reach Europe around 35% full,” this broker said. “That’s unprecedented, and a lot of money is being lost because it doesn’t even cover the fuel cost.”

According to the report published by Sea-Intelligence, over 350,000 containers have been removed from global trade since the Chinese New Year. These woes are estimated to be costing the shipping sector around US$350 million a week.

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Produce speeds to Europe via sea-air transshipment in Miami

Crowley vice president Nelly Yunta is reported as saying the new service will be able to move perishable shipments to Europe in 4-5 days, allowing consumers to enjoy the fruit and vegetables at optimal freshness. There are hopes to later expand to more commodities and countries.

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Central America will reach Europe and Asia faster under a pioneer programme using Florida as an ocean-to-air transhipment hub.

The new alternative to sea-air transshipment through Dubai is being launched by Crowley Maritime Corp.and its customs brokerage subsidiary Customized Brokers.

According to American Shipper, the intermodal program – said to be the first known sea-air transshipment service in the US – aims to save shippers time and money and got a US government green light last month.

The pilot programme will see Customized Brokers coordinate the ocean shipment of fruit and vegetables from Guatemala and Honduras on Crowley vessels to Port Everglades, from where it will be trucked to Miami International Airport (MIA) for loading on KLM or Centurion Cargo freighters to Europe.

Crowley vice president Nelly Yunta is reported as saying the new service will be able to move perishable shipments to Europe in 4-5 days, allowing consumers to enjoy the fruit and vegetables at optimal freshness. There are hopes to later expand to more commodities and countries.

American Shipper reports Yunta said it took Florida-based Customized Brokers, in partnership with MIA officials, two years to get US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) approval because of concerns about potential pest infestation during the highway leg.

Measures introduced to address those concerns include packing pallets with insect-proof mesh and monitoring shipments from the farm until take-off in Miami, it said.

The process is said to be similar to one Customized Brokers uses for its air-land intermodal service for shipping asparagus from Peru through Miami and onto Canada by truck.


Peruvian asparagus service image above: www.crowley.com
Image of ship at top: facebook.com/Crowley/photos