In this week’s newsletter, we're diving into a whirlwind of developments reshaping logistics. We've got you covered, from Israeli ocean freight adapting to intensified security threats to the Biden administration's ambitious plans for enhancing U.S. supply chain resilience. We'll also explore how severe weather is shaking up Mediterranean and Black Sea operations, the implications of CTPark Gdańsk Port's new lease with a Polish cargo giant, and the scoop on the dry bulk shipping sector's trends and future. Let's begin.
Heightened Security Concerns Impact Israeli Ocean Freight
In response to three attacks on Israel-linked vessels and escalating threats, Israeli carriers are taking drastic measures. This update focuses on two major developments: the rerouting of a key container ship and the intervention of the U.S. Navy in protecting maritime traffic.
Zim Europe Alters Course Due to Security Risks
The Zim Europe, a container ship carrying 5,618 twenty-foot equivalent units in Israeli carrier Zim's fleet, has taken an unexpected turn. Departing from Boston en route to Port Klang, Malaysia, the ship veered off its Mediterranean course near Oran, Algeria, and Cartagena, Spain. Now, it's navigating the waters around Africa at 16 knots, choosing the longer Cape of Good Hope route over the Suez Canal. This detour, which lengthens the trip by 56%, is a strategic move by Zim to ensure the safety of its crew and cargo despite the prospect of extended transit times.
U.S. Navy's Role in Ensuring Maritime Safety
The U.S. Navy recently played a big part in an international maritime incident involving the Central Park, a tanker managed by Zodiac Maritime and associated with Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer. Initially, Yemen's Houthi rebels directed the ship to the Port of Hodeida, but the USS Thomas Hudner intervened, advising the vessel to continue. The drama heightened when the USS Mason responded to the ship's distress call, culminating in a chase and the surrender of five armed individuals, later identified by a Pentagon spokesperson as Somali pirates, not Houthis. This revelation posed a pressing question: are the pirates and Houthis colluding?
Biden Administration's Strategy for Supply Chain Resilience
The Biden administration has launched a groundbreaking logistics initiative to revitalize the U.S. supply chain. This ambitious plan, featuring cross-government collaborations and innovative strategies, aims to tackle persistent challenges and transform the nation's logistics network.
Enhancing Domestic Production and Global Partnerships
A key focus of the plan is to diversify and strengthen the supply chain through domestic and international collaboration. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will partner with the Department of Commerce to improve critical drug supply chains, reducing foreign reliance. Additionally, President Biden will authorize $35 million under the Defense Production Act for HHS to boost domestic production of sterile injectable medicines. The Department of Defense is also contributing with a forthcoming supply chain resilience report aimed at minimizing reliance on high-risk foreign suppliers.
Streamlining Logistics with the FLOW Program
Launched in March 2022 with 18 participants, the Department of Transportation's Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) program is revolutionizing supply chain management. This digital platform, now including five major U.S. container ports and top carriers like Walmart and Home Depot, streamlines logistics by identifying bottlenecks and tracking shipments. Enhanced by the new Multimodal Freight Office and the Supply Chain Resilience Center (SCRC), FLOW aims to accelerate deliveries, reduce costs, and lower consumer prices while bolstering data sharing, port security, and intermodal transit.
Severe Storms Disrupt Maritime Operations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea
The Mediterranean and Black Sea regions already have enough geopolitical stress on their plate. But now, add weather to their list of problems. Recent severe storms have caused significant disruptions in maritime activities, highlighting the growing impact of extreme weather events, potentially exacerbated by climate change.
Mediterranean Turmoil: Ferry Incident and Salvage Efforts
Let’s start in the Mediterranean. A former Italian ferry, the Benjamini Carnevale, now renamed Lider Prestij, encountered trouble. After remaining idle in Naples since a fire in January 2022, it was en route to Turkey for potential scrapping. However, during a fierce storm on November 25, it snapped its tow line near Stromboli, drifted ashore near Milazzo on Sicily's northern coast, and forced The Italian Coast Guard to initiate salvage operations on November 26.
Black Sea Challenges: Cargo Ships in Distress
In the Black Sea region, stormy weather wreaked even more havoc with several maritime incidents. The 3,666 dwt Cameroon-based cargo ship Vamos ran aground near Inebolu, Turkey, leading to the rescue of its 11 crew members. Similarly, the FR Pearl, a 4,000 dwt ship from Palau, grounded near the Turkey-Georgia border, requiring a breeches buoy rescue for all 13 crew. The Belize-registered Blue Shark, carrying barley to Egypt, became stranded with 21 crew near Vityazevo, Russia. At the same time, the Kerch Strait and major ports in Ukraine, Crimea, and Romania were all forced to close, further disrupting grain and fuel exports.
CTPark Gdańsk Port Secures Major Lease with Polish Cargo Giant MAG
CTP, Europe's largest developer in industrial and logistics properties by gross lettable area (GLA), has significantly advanced in the logistics sector by forging a key partnership with Polish cargo giant Morska Agencja Gdynia (MAG).
MAG's Strategic Move to CTPark Gdańsk Port
MAG, a leader in Poland's maritime industry, has chosen CTPark Gdańsk Port as its new headquarters, signing a 10-year lease for approximately 21,000 sqm. This move, effective from March 2024, brings together over 20,700 sqm of warehouse and approximately 300 sqm of office space into one strategic hub. By relocating to CTPark Gdańsk Port, a developing sustainable logistics park, MAG aims to centralize and enhance its multimodal transport services, which range from food and industrial goods to photovoltaic systems.
CTPark Gdańsk Port: A Hub for Regional and Cross-Border Logistics
Strategically situated between the Baltic Hub and the A1 motorway, CTPark Gdańsk Port is an ideal hub for MAG’s diverse logistics operations. Close to the Baltic Sea’s largest transshipment port and the Gdańsk northern railway port, it's perfect for Scandinavian and Baltic cross-border business. The 21.3-hectare facility, featuring two buildings totaling 117,000 sqm with 47% already pre-leased, is gearing up for full operation by mid-2024. CTPark Gdańsk Port promises tenants like MAG advanced infrastructure, including robust floor strength and top-notch security systems, catering to modern logistics demands.
The Dry Bulk Shipping Sector's Growth and Outlook: Recent Data Points
As per insights from shipbroker Intermodal, the dry bulk shipping industry is experiencing gradual growth, evolving market dynamics, and a blend of modest expansion and sector-specific developments.
2023: A Year of Steady Growth
In 2023, the dry bulk fleet is poised for a 3% growth, surpassing 2022's 2.9% yet below the 3.5% and 3.9% growth in 2021 and 2020. The industry added 416 new carriers this year, increasing the deadweight tonnage (DWT) by 30.72 million and could reach 33.31 million DWT by year-end, including an expected 2.59 million DWT increase. On the other hand, it decommissioned 86 vessels (5.62 million DWT), exceeding 2022's 53 vessels but less than 2020's 143.
Segment-Specific Growth and Future Outlook
In the bulk shipping industry, growth rates differ by sector. Capesize is growing by 2.5% and should add one more vessel by year's end. The Supramax/Ultramax and Handysize segments are growing at 3.3%, planning to add 14 and 19 vessels, respectively. Kamsarmax leads with a 3.6% growth, anticipating 14 new vessels. The year 2024 is set for significant expansion with 495 new vessels (34.8 million DWT), while 2025 will see a more modest increase with 369 vessels (27.62 million DWT), the smallest since 2008, at about 1% growth.
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