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International shipping is of great importance in any economy. Safe passage for Cargo and other factors contribute to the overall success of most shipping operations. In a global economy with more countries sending and receiving products from overseas, you can appreciate that a higher potential for maritime shipping disasters.

Ships and their insurers are being forced to make tough decisions regarding the best practices to off-set financial disasters caused by environmental factors and human error. The risks associated with open-ocean transportation have placed some insurers at odds with shipping companies.

shipping ocean containers, Cargo Insurance

There are risks iwhen large, super-sized ships transfer products through areas that are considered to be dangerous. An increase in shipping problems may be the start for cargo control & implementationof greater guidelines. One example to prevent a ship from becoming overloaded at port. When a large ship becomes top-heavy in rough seas, large container boxes become dislodged. These containers often float just underneath the surface of the water, which makes them nearly impossible for other shipping vessels to see. Once night falls, this task is made even more difficult.

A study between2009 and 2013 shows that shipping casualties have increased to 45 per year. One previous study, from 2002 to 2007, indicated that there were only 7 shipping casualties during the same number of years. One insurer, named Allianz, has expressed concern over the increased use of large cargo ships. Some of these ships are as long as four football fields. This means that the potential for huge insurance claims is greater than it ever has been in the past. While more companies are using super-sized container ships, insurers are worried that heavy cargo loads can lead to catastrophic results.

Another hazard which has plagued the international shipping community is piracy. Piracy has made headlines in recent years, particularly off of the coast of Somalia. Large container ships are inviting targets for pirates who use outdated sonar to track them down. However, Allianz Insurance has stated that incidents of piracy actually decreased in 2013. There were 264 reported incidents worldwide, which was a decrease of 11% from the previous year. While overall piracy has shown a decline, there is an increase in activity off of the coast of Indonesia, with a staggering 700% increase of incidents reported since 2009.

Global warming has actually caused more worry for international shipping companies as well. Previously closed routes within Arctic waters are now open for travel. These routes provide a direct path for ships, but they are not without their hazards. A large iceberg can destroy a ship in a matter of minutes, causing loss of life and financial ruin. This appears to be a risk that many shipping companies are willing to take, because fuel costs become much smaller, and lower shipping times leads to more deliveries annually. More companies are working together to ensure safe deliveries through untested waters.


Port of Long Beach wanting to regain a greater market share

Content sourced by JOC 

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has given preliminary approval to two incentives that aim to bring additional cargo to the port, following a slip in its container traffic
and market share.

The incentives, which also encourage the use of air pollution-reducing power and on-dock rail, are designed to help the Port of Long Beach compete with other West Coast ports that have already cut fees to increase business.

“We see a lot of competition from ports where the costs are less and we want to minimize our prices and also use an environmental component to get our businesses to green their operations,” Long Beach spokesman Art Wong told the JOC.

One incentive would waive dockage charges for cargo ships that slow down within 40 nautical miles of the port and plug into shore power or use another certified pollution-cutting technology at berth. This “free parking” incentive, called the Vessel Dockage Waiver Program,
builds on other port and state programs that require and encourage slow-steaming and shore power.

The other incentive is a $5-per-container-unit payoff for shipping lines for new cargo that is
rail-hauled into or out of the port. The Incremental On-Dock Intermodal Incentive Program would eliminate truck trips on local roads.

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is scheduled to consider the incentives for final approval at its meeting June 23.

“We are really in competition with Vancouver, with Prince Rupert, with Lazaro Cardenas, where costs are much lower than San Pedro Bay,” said Board of Harbor Commissioners President Doug Drummond, referencing seaports in Canada and Mexico. “These incentives are
important because they have to do with increasing cargo for our port and are hitting at a time when cargo across the board is increasing.”

“We want to maintain and increase our market share,” Wong said. “Since 2007, the Canadian ports have increased TEUs by about 500,000 and the Mexican ports have added about 1 million TEUs. Long Beach in that same time frame has lost about 1 million TEUs.”

The Port of Long Beach’s market share of major North American west coast ports traffic fell from 28 percent in the first quarter of 2013 to 27.5 percent in the first quarter of 2014, and its volume dropped 2.0 percent year-over-year to 1.52 million TEUs, from 1.55 million TEUs. In comparison, volume at Los Angeles rose 7.5 percent in the first quarter, and its market share increased 2.4 percentage points to 33.9 percent, the largest increase among all North American west coast ports.

The major west coast Canadian ports, Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, saw their combined market share slip to 13.8 percent in the first quarter from 14.0 percent the year before, and throughput volume dropped 1.5 percent. Mexico’s Lazaro Cardenas had a 3.9
percent share of the North American Pacific Coast market in the first quarter, a drop of 0.8 percentage point from the same quarter the year before, and throughput tumbled 16.9 percent, the largest throughput decline of all North American west coast ports.


You read those articles & see that a constant battle goes on to keep our fragile equilibrium. An incessant task really & a natural function of our society to progress. Stagnation for too long turns into regression, and so on,.. Pressure is on, keep on freighting.

Shippers call on ETC International freight System 1-800-383-3157


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