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PSA volume up 5.6pc in 2021 to 91.5 million TEU, 18 January 2022

SINGAPORE's global terminal operator PSA International (PSA) posted a year-on-year 5.6 per cent portfolio-wide throughout increase to 91.5 million TEU in 2021, reports the American Journal of Transportation. Its flagship, PSA Singapore's annual throughput increased 1.6 per cent year on year to a record 37.2 million TEU. "Looking ahead in 2022, supply chain issues are expected to remain, but there are also opportunities in the crisis," said PSA chief executive Tan Chong Meng. "PSA will continue to seek win-win partnerships and innovate beyond port operations to provide more efficient and resilient cargo solutions that benefit the greater supply chain ecosystem and catalyse the shift towards sustainable trade," he said.

Covid testing causes renewed congestion in Ningbo-Shanghai, 18 January 2022

SHIPS were making the switch to Shanghai from Ningbo to avoid Covid delays which has thwarted trucking services, according to forwarders, reports Bloomberg. Those diversions are adding to the new wave of congestion facing China's ports as an increasing number of cities deal with the Covid scare. Strict testing of dockers and truckers ahead of Chinese New Year at the end of this month is further stressing already strained supply chains as the Covid scare heads into its third year. In the country's technology hub of Shenzhen in the south, testing of residents and truckers to contain an outbreak means a queue of ships has formed at the port. That's caused the Shekou terminal to start restricting the acceptance of goods, meaning that full containers can only be trucked in three days before vessels are due to arrive, the terminal operator said. Meanwhile, the northern Chinese city of Tianjin ordered workers to take a half-day break for Covid testing as officials try to contain the spread of the omicron variant. Trucking capacity is estimated to be half normal levels, and drivers are required to be tested daily before entering the port, said Alex Hersham, CEO of digital freight-forwarder Zencargo.

LA defers empties fee, seeks new options to clear docks, 18 January 2022

THE Port of Los Angeles has again deferred plans to charge ocean carriers that fail to clear empty containers off the docks and is consulting with the logistics industry on alternatives, reports Bloomberg. The proposed US$100 daily penalty, which would have levied February 1, may have "unintended consequences," because some of the empties sitting the longest are buried under others, costing time "that our marine terminals simply don't have to waste right now," said port executive director Gene Seroka. US supply chains have strained under unprecedented demand, worker and chassis shortages and a shift to buying more material goods as Americans avoided travel and social outings over the course of the pandemic. The terminals at Los Angeles received record amounts of imports in 2021 and despite efforts by the port and the Biden administration, long delays continue there and at neighbouring Long Beach, which combine to handle 40 per cent of the US's inbound containers. Mr Seroka said the fee proposal was intended to get the industry talking and it had been successful in doing so. Truckers, represented by the Harbour Trucking Association (HTA), have for months complained about restrictions on empty-container returns, saying these are among the top problems that need fixing to ease US supply chain bottlenecks. Said HTA chief executive Matt Schrap: "Empty containers need to be moved out, while not negatively impacting American exports and assisting the truck driving community so they could bring those empties back with a chassis and get the next round of imports. The HTA cited restrictions on empty container returns as contributing to the backlogs. Mr Schrap said trucks need a chassis to collect import-laden containers, but unless they bring an empty container to free up the chassis, they're unable to move the import. While the number of empty containers on Los Angeles docks had fallen to about 72,000 from about 90,000 before the holiday break, getting under 70,000 had proved to be "a very strong point of resistance," Mr Seroka said.

Maersk says 2021 profit will top forecasts by US$1-$2 billion, 18 January 2022

MAERSK group has reported preliminary unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter of 2021 are ahead of expectations. Already on track for record profits, the largest ever for any Danish company, it increased its profit forecast by nearly five per cent and free cash flow from operations by more than 13 per cent. The company said fourth quarter results were driven by an 80 per cent improvement for its average freight rates during the quarter versus the year ago. The strong freight rates more than offset a four per cent decrease in ocean volumes during the fourth quarter. Total revenues in the fourth quarter reached $18.5 billion which exceeds the $16.6 billion in revenues for the third quarter, which was the company's 13th quarter in a row with year-on-year profit increases. As a result, Maersk said it will report earnings of $8 million (EBITDA) or an underlying EBIT of $6.8 billion for the fourth quarter. "The strong result in the quarter reflects the continuation of the exceptional market situation within ocean caused by the global disruptions to the supply chains, which have led to further increase in container freight rates," Maersk writes in its trading update. "Consequently, given the strong performance in Q4 2021 the preliminary full-year figures for 2021 will exceed our previous guidance."

Jaxport beats box shortage by moving chicken breakbulk, 18 January 2022

JAXPORT terminal operator Enstructure has moved 4,500 tons of frozen poultry through Jacksonville in a single breakbulk shipment, reports the American Journal of Transportation. The move was first poultry shipment through the port via breakbulk since 2015. The cargo, which was previously shipped via container through other US ports, shifted to Jacksonville. The lack of container availability prompted frozen poultry to move through Jaxport's Talleyrand Marine Terminal. "With the high cost and low availability of containers, the exporters needed to have another means of moving the poultry," said Brian Hubert, president of Ambassador Services International & Southeast Cold Storage at Enstructure. "Going to the different container terminals was taking them roughly two to four weeks to get their cargo to the discharge ports. When we load, it's there in two days. We can do it more efficiently than containers with larger volumes, making it more cost-effective for our customers." Dockers at Enstructure, at Talleyrand Marine Terminal, loaded the palletized chicken onto the 7,726-dwt reefer ship Green Guatemala en route to the Caribbean. "Jaxport was an integral partner in making sure that cargo move was a success," Mr Hubert said. "Businesses are looking for ways to get around the congestion at other US ports and move their freight as quickly as possible," said the port's cargo sales chief Alberto Cabrera.