Sea freight news – Post date: September 21st, 2020.

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

Specific routes

To check specific routes please check with Maersk, CMA CGM and MSC for vessel availability.
Maersk also publishes Ocean Service Adjustments which include a list of cancelled sailings around the world, ordered by continent.

In Africa, the port of Lagos in Nigeria is reporting big delays, and some cargo lines have been forced to divert to other ports such as Point Noire. This situation is causing losses for Nigerian ports in the order of $55 million daily. The port of Conakry has also access problems as construction of the port extension is currently paralysed. This situation is causing big congestion problems on the roads to access the port, which can be an obstacle to shipping products. On the positive side, expansions to the port of Abidjan will increase its capacity.

South African blueberries: significant swing from air to sea freight

According to Justin Mudge, chairperson of Berries ZA, “the new genetics means that a lot more fruit is sea freightable, so there’s a real shift from air freight to sea freight this season. It’s part of the evolution of better berries, delivering them to the market in a more cost-effective manner” (Fresh Plaza, 2 September). The difference between an air voyage that gets the berries on a Northern hemisphere supermarket shelf within, at most, four days and a sea voyage of 21 days is vast, necessitating some big changes to blueberry packing this season.

South Africa: Transnet sets new record for fruit export

The Transnet Port Terminals in Durban and Ngqura recently handled a record export of over 900 refrigerated containers packed with South Africa’s citrus fruits destined for the Far East markets (Northglen News, 28 August). This is a 40.6% increase on the previous record of 535 volumes carried aboard shipping line Maersk. This citrus season has already seen a record of over 1700 reefers handled at the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal; another additional record is the movement of 600 reefers to the Middle East destinations in one week via the Durban Container Terminal, for the first time ever.

Nigeria: Collaboration key to West African port congestion

Solutions to the persistent congestion at Nigerian ports are multiple and must include a collaborative element, according to a Dutch consultancy report published last month (Container News, 31 August). A task force has been put together to pinpoint the causes of congestion and highlight remedies. Services have been diverted from Lagos terminals at Tin Can and Apapa to ports as far as 1,500 km south of Lagos, in Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, with transhipment back to Nigeria. Even carriers such as CMA CGM and Maersk Line, that have vessel calls in Lagos ports, have diverted cargo as the delays to ships were approaching 30 days on weekly services. The services diverted included CMA CGM’s joint services with Maesrk Line, the FEW2 and the Midas/Mesawa from the Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent. Both these services were diverted to Pointe Noire. See the full report here.

Next phase of development for new Côte d’Ivoire Terminal

Contracts were signed this month with the China Harbour Engineering Company for the construction of Abidjan’s second container terminal, Côte d’Ivoire Terminal, which is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2021 (Fresh Plaza, 26 August). Once completed, the terminal will employ more than 400 people at its go-live, with a similar number of people being employed for its construction. At the end of the 20-year concession to operate, the assets will be returned to the Ports Authority, Port Autonome d’Abidjan. Located adjacent to the existing Abidjan Terminal, the new terminal will enhance the competitiveness of the port and add an additional 1.2 million TEU in annual throughput capacity, in its first phase of development.

Maersk expands warehousing and distribution in Côte d’Ivoire

Maersk has launched its warehouse and distibution facility in Abidjan to address the needs of customers and significant trade growth within this market (press release, 18 August). Maersk’s new storage, deconsolidation, and distribution multipurpose facility in Abidjan is strategically located outside the city, around the industrial zone, with easy access to the port with options to bypass the city’s traffic congestion.

The Gambia: rate announcement PAE/PAI

Maersk is introducing Port Additionals/Port Dues Export (PAE) and Port Additionals/Port Dues Import (PAI) for all cargo from world to/from Gambia, GM effective 1 October 2020 for all corridors. Details of the new tariff amount, and levels and rate structure for some sample corridors to/from Gambia valid from today until further notice, can be found here.

First avocados from Ethiopia shipped to Europe by train and then sea

In a small revolution in the transport of fresh fruits and vegetables from Ethiopia to Europe, at the end of August, the first refrigerated container carrying avocados was loaded into the train from Ethiopia to Djibouti and then shipped by boat to Europe (Commodafrica, 31 August). Collected in the hinterland and loaded into refrigerated containers, the avocados were dropped off in the cold store built at the Modjo container terminal for shipment to Europe. This first step is the result of a collaboration that began a few years ago between the governments of Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Netherlands, led by the Flying Swans consortium. The consortium is made up of the Rotterdam Port Authority, Boskalis International, Mercator Novus and the partner organization GroentenFruit Huis. The program is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Dutch development bank FMO. For more on this see Fresh Plaza (24 August).

Koga Veg, one of COLEACP’s partner companies, exported its first container of avocados from Ethiopia to Djibouti through this new trainline. The avocados were produced by small-scale farmers from Ethiopia. Read more from Jan Michielsen, General Manager, Koga Veg, via LinkedIn.

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