Sea freight news – Post date: October 13th, 2020.


The situation of the different European ports remains unchanged, as noted earlier the only change is that the number of blank sailings is augmented, so the frequencies coming from Africa are reduced. At the moment all European ports remain 100% operational. For individual European port situations see: Antwerp, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Hamburg, Marseille and Algeciras.

Large investments are going on to improve quality and services in the port of Abidjan, which is likely to be the preferred port for neighbouring landlocked countries. Also, new infrastructure in ports of Cameroon and Nigeria will allow a better flow of cargo, especially in Nigeria, which was struggling with a deep crisis of port congestion. For this and other news see below.


It is of paramount importance to check the transit time when selecting the best way to transport horticultural products by sea. In order to check specific routes please check with Maersk, CMA CGM and MSC for vessel availability. Maersk also publishes Ocean Service Adjustments which includes a list of cancelled sailings around the world, ordered by continent.


Advisories from Maersk concerning Africa:
Tanzania Import Demurrage & Detention for CFS mode shipments effective from 5th November 2020
Mawingu change in rotation and revised cutoffs


Bolloré Ports, APM Terminals and the Côte d’Ivoire government are launching construction work on the Côte d’Ivoire Terminal, the second container terminal at the Port of Abidjan (Logistics Update Africa, 7 October). Representing an investment of 262 billion CFA francs, the terminal construction work will last 18 months and consist in surfacing and developing the reclaimed land and connecting the Abidjan railway network. This will be followed by the construction of the buildings and the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment. With a surface area of 37.5 hectares, the new container terminal will be able to process over 1.5 million TEU containers a year and welcome ships with a draught of 16 metres on 1,100 metres of wharves. The new terminal will generate 450 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs and contribute to upskilling with a view to training young Ivorians on the port professions and the handling of latest-generation equipment.


Covid-19 has had a new and unprecedented impact on the global supply chain, particularly on the port and shipping industry, as discussed in “Ports and Shipping in the Covid-19 Pandemic” published by PortEconomics (Fresh Plaza, 28 September). Given this new scenario, shipping lines seem to have adjusted their strategies to cope with the recent and significant drop in volumes. Freight rates did not fall in the first half of 2020 due to capacity management and pricing. Despite the crisis, the shipping lines and their allies tried to protect the integrity of the network and resorted to blank sailing to address the imbalances between supply and demand. In the longer term, the expected slow economic recovery and the ongoing gradual reorganization of the global economic production system (offshoring and reorientation) could push shipping companies to rationalise services on the main east-west shipping routes, reinforcing the intra-regional maritime transport networks at the same time.


Indian company Allcargo Logistics is leveraging its global expertise to undertake transcountry movement of big project cargo in Africa (Logistics Update Africa, 24 September). Allcargo worked on key infrastructure projects across six African countries during the lockdown. In Tanzania, Allcargo handled follow-ups with Government Procurement Services Agency (GPSA) for payment of shipping line charges, exemption regularisation, TAN road permits for oversized project cargo, customs clearance, loading permits, pickup and delivery of shipments for the regional Rusumo Falls hydropower project. In Burundi, Allcargo took care of follow-ups with OBR (Burundais des recettes) for exemption regularisation, clearance through single customs territory and payment of shipping line charges. The company also arranged border clearance and empty return for transmission line construction. In Zambia, the team worked on processing exemption with the health ministry and regularising customs, among others. The work in the Central African Republic included filing for exemptions, arranging waiver from the consulate in Douala, exemption regularisation, payment of statutory charges, customs clearance, transportation, and final clearance in Bangui for supplying equipment for a power project. In Cameroon, the completion of clearance through direct release, arranging road permits for abnormal project cargo, payment of statutory charges, and delivery up to the final site were carried for a power project. In Mali, Allcargo took care of availing exemptions, border clearance, arranging import licence and arranging local insurance for a power project.


The CMA CGM Jacques Saade has joined the group’s fleet, becoming the largest LNG-powered container ship in the world (Logistics Update Africa, 26 September). The joining of the Jacques Saade was marked by a first-of-its-kind digital naming ceremony. Jacques Saade’s maiden voyage was on 23 September on the French Asia Line. Its rotation will lead it to the ports of Pusan in South Korea; Tianjin, Ningbo, Shanghai and Yantian, China; Singapore; Southampton, Dunkirk, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Algeciras in Europe; and Port Kelang in Malaysia. This line provides a weekly service comprising 13 calls over the course of 84 days.


The Port of Antwerp is taking the next step in the development of a “digitally secure port”, it has announced, with the launch of “Certified Pick up” (CPu), a digital, secure and integrated solution for the release of containers, on 1 January 2021 (Eurofruit, 22 September). The new solution is set to replace the current system of PIN codes and is designed to guarantee “a secure, transparent and optimised release process for incoming containers”, which will then leave the port by rail, barge or truck.


Benin Terminal, the operator of the Port de Cotonou container terminal, took delivery of two new gantries on 20 September (Logistics Update Africa, 26 September). The new equipment will serve to improve the productivity of Benin Terminal, boost the country’s competitiveness and bolster trade in West Africa. With a lifting capacity of 40 tonnes each, the ultra-modern gantries will improve container storage capacity at the terminal, increase the pace of deliveries and reduce handling times for goods at Benin Terminal. The container terminal has become a regional logistics hub for growth for Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The investments have made Cotonou a more efficient, modern and attractive port that contributes to the economic development of Benin.


Operations start at Kribi Multipurpose Terminal

A subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has started commercial operations at a newly built deep-water port in Cameroon, Central Africa (Port Strategy, 7 October). Kribi Multipurpose Terminal (KMT) has started operating at the Port of Kribi’s multipurpose terminal. The concession contract has a duration of 25 years until 2045. Under the concession contract, KMT will develop, operate and maintain the multipurpose facility at the port, located 170km south of Douala. Phase 1 consists of 265m of berth and 10 hectares of yard. Phase 2 consist of an additional 350m of berth and 23 hectares of yard. The whole facility has 16m of water depth and KMT is capable of accommodating the largest vessels.

West Africa Express

West Africa Express

As of October 2020, CMA CGM’s West Africa Express (WAX) service operating on the trade lane Asia to West Africa has added Kribi, Cameroon direct weekly and fixed-day port call in the port coverage (Logistics Update Africa, 26 September). The competitive transit time to Kribi from Shanghai will now be 33 days, Ningbo (32 days), and Nansha (28 days). Additionally, multimodal solutions will be offered to Douala door/ramp, North Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic. The rotation is as follows: Shanghai – Ningbo – Shekou – Nansha – Tanjung Pelepas – Singapore – Kribi – Cotonou – Abidjan – Tin Can Lagos – Lome – Colombo – Singapore – Shanghai.


As part of the “Green Terminal” environmental certification programme initiated by Bolloré Ports, Abidjan Terminal, the operator of the container terminal at the Port of Abidjan, has taken delivery of two new all-electric towing vehicles (Logistics Update Africa, 26 September). With the delivery, Abidjan Terminal now has handling machines with zero carbon dioxide emissions and sound pollution.


SIFAX Group has opened a new container terminal in Lagos as a response to the difficulties experienced by stakeholders in accessing the Lagos ports (Hellenic Shipping News, 8 October). Speaking at the formal commissioning of the facility situated along the Ebute Metta Creek, Ijora, Lagos, Dr Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, said the company decided to invest in the facility to make the process of cargo clearing a wonderful experience as opposed to what is obtainable currently. On the unique advantages of the terminal, Afolabi said consignments would be transferred primarily through barges from both Apapa and Tin Can Island ports, adding that the good road network in the area also offers clients faster and efficient cargo clearing.


Maersk is set to launch its second dedicated warehouse in South Africa, trading under the name Precool Cold Storage (Eurofruit, 5 October). The new coldstore is a part of its existing warehousing and distribution site in Hammarsdale, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is expected to be operational in early January 2021. The move increases the capacity of Maersk’s existing coldstore operations, which can handle temperatures from ambient to -25 degrees, and has dedicated sections for frozen and chilled cargo to serve fresh fruit, vegetable, concentrate and protein customers across South Africa.

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