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2021

  • January 14, 2021

    Pulling out all stops
    Ocean carriers are taking all available measures to improve the speed and efficiency of cargo movement including employing all available vessel tonnage. When demand dropped some 20-30% in Q2 2020, carriers curtailed services and idled vessels. However, as cargo volume rose, carriers redeployed those assets as quickly as possible. Alphaliner concluded at the end of 2020 that the inactive fleet was at just 2.5%, and more than half of that (62%) represents ships that are in shipyards for repair and other services. Mid-January normally marks the beginning of capacity reductions in anticipation of the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays when factories in Asia close, but that is not the case this year, indicating that carriers will make best possible use of this time to clear volumes out of Asia.

    Further, carriers are sharing capacity to maximize efficiency. Vessel sharing agreements are extremely important during times of high demand for vessel capacity. They ensure that all available slots are used even when an individual operator does not have sufficient demand from its customers for a particular sailing. With a vessel sharing agreement, that capacity can then be made available to other partner carriers to offer to their customers.   

    Contrary to some suggestions, carriers are not abandoning capacity investments for the future. Just recently, Alphaliner concluded that: “despite the fears of a market collapse at the time of the Covid-19 outbreak, 2020 concluded with a significant increase in ordering activity,” with the global order book for new container ships growing to 10% of global capacity. 

    Factors affecting service reliability
    The pandemic has severely impacted access to containers and equipment. As inland transportation, port and warehousing operations have been hit by lockdowns, labour shortages and volume overloads, the positioning, use and return of containers within the global supply chain has slowed. In addition to maximizing vessel capacity, carriers are working to improve access to container equipment. They are speeding the repositioning of excess empty containers and purchasing, leasing, repairing, and dispatching all available containers. Unfortunately, more containers are simply not immediately available, so all steps must be taken to improve the utilization of the existing container fleet.

    The delays occurring on land have a direct impact on carriers’ ability to dock and unload ships according to schedule and on carriers’ ability to provide empty container equipment when and where it is needed. It is important that all users of the equipment, including customers and inland transportation providers, promptly return empty containers in order to make that equipment available for the next customer.

    Rates fluctuate with demand
    Despite actions to increase available vessel capacity, the demand for capacity far exceeds supply.  As in any free market, this puts upward pressure on rates. Shippers and forwarders are understandably not pleased, but one must not forget that this is the same market fundamental that kept rates very low for several years. History shows that rates fluctuate over the years as supply and demand shift, moving from high levels fairly quickly as market conditions stabilize.  

    This pattern is quite evident when looking at Drewry’s average global rate index for the past decade. Rates rose in the second half of 2010 during the recovery after the recession years of 2008 and 2009.  As vessel capacity and cargo demand came more into balance after that the rates declined steadily until reaching a low in 2016.

     

    Source Drewry, for details see endnote.

     

    Time to collaborate

    In global supply chains, manufacturers and retailers normally operate with months and years of forward planning. Carriers invest billions of dollars in vessels and other assets based on expectations for the next 25-30 years. No part of the supply chain is geared to managing the extremes currently occurring, and calling for regulation in such an abnormal situation will not solve our current issues.  

    All parties are doing what they can to manage their way through this unprecedented pandemic. Unfortunately, they may unknowingly cause issues for other parties in the chain. Closer dialogue is necessary for us all to better understand how to support each other and collaborate for better outcomes. To remove bottlenecks, container velocity must increase, forecasting must be more accurate, and transparency must increase across the supply chain. Ocean carriers are doing their utmost to manage the supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 and invite all parties to engage constructively to do the same.  

     

    ## 

    Contact 
    Anna Larsson 
    Communications Director
    Tel: +47 484 06 919
    Email: alarsson@worldshipping.org  

     

    [i] Notes: Drewry's container freight rate benchmarks for multiple trade routes and port pairs are based on averages of representative rates paid by freight forwarders to ocean carriers. The rate benchmarks represent spot market rates for Full Container Loads (FCL) paid by freight forwarders to ocean carriers for a particular month or week. They are affected by seasonal and short-term supply-demand factors, notably by the peak season in the trades from Asia.  The monthly/bimonthly rate benchmarks are All In (i.e. all inclusive) and include the base ocean rate, the Terminal Handling Charge (THC) both at origin and at destination, the fuel surcharge (BAF) and all other surcharges levied by ocean carriers. They do not include documentation charges or inland transport costs (except for rates to US inland ramps). The rate benchmarks are for standard dry freight containers.

     


2020

  • December 10, 2020

    Assessing the COVID Cargo Crunch

    To say that current trade conditions are challenging would be an understatement, particularly in North America, which is experiencing an unprecedented surge in imports from Asia.  This COVID-19 related cargo surge was not expected, it is not clear how long it will last, and we must manage our way through it in the short term. Read full statement.

  • December 07, 2020

    Washington, December 7, 2020 - The World Shipping Council (WSC) is pleased to announce that effective 1 January 2021, Mr. Kenneth Chia will join WSC as its new Managing Director - Asia, based in Singapore. Mr. Chia has served most recently as Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Foundation after spending more than 25 years at Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) and APL in positions of increasing responsibility with primary emphasis in commercial and trade management, including a number of senior leadership roles.    

    “Kenneth comes to the World Shipping Council as a highly respected industry leader with  extensive industry experience, and we are very pleased to have him on board,“ said John Butler, World Shipping Council President & CEO.  “It is critical that the industry have someone with Kenneth’s background and stature to be the face of  WSC in Asia as we continue our work to build partnerships with local and regional shipping associations and establish relationships with governments and other interested parties.”

    “I look forward to partnering with the WSC team around the world, our members and the many governments, associations and others throughout Asia, to advance the work of the World Shipping Council in the region,” said Kenneth Chia.         

  • November 24, 2020

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    World Shipping Council Board elects new Chairmen and welcomes two new members

    Washington, November 24, 2020 – The World Shipping Council Board of Directors elected two Co-Chairs of the Board to succeed outgoing Board Chair Ron Widdows. The board also welcomed Matson Navigation and X-Press Feeders as new members to WSC.

    Effective immediately, the WSC Board will be co-chaired by Mr. Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG and Mr. Jeremy Nixon, CEO of ONE, serving for an initial two-year term.  Mr. Ron Widdows, who has served as the WSC Chairman for over a decade, previously announced his intention to step down once his successor was elected by the newly expanded Board of Directors.

    “The membership wants to acknowledge and thank Ron Widdows for his efforts as Chairman since 2008.  The organization is now well established as a trusted partner with governments and others interested in international transportation,” said Rolf Habben Jansen.

    “WSC today is the unified voice of liner shipping and covers a wide-range of industry topics, engaging with governments and organisations all over the world. We expect that to only expand as we head into the future, and WSC continues its work to shape the future growth of a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, safe and secure shipping industry,” said Jeremy Nixon.

    Carriers Matson Navigation and X-Press Feeders have joined the World Shipping Council as new members. US-based Matson Navigation is a leader in Pacific shipping since 1882, operating containerships and combination container and roll-on/roll-off ships. X-Press Feeders, based in Singapore, is an independent common carrier operating a fleet of more than 110 vessels covering many of the major global transhipment hubs. Both companies have elected to appoint their representatives to the board of directors.  Effective immediately, Mr. Matt Cox, Matson’s Chairman & CEO and Mr. Tim Hartnoll, Executive Chairman of X-Press Feeders will join the WSC Board.

    We are very pleased to welcome Matson and X-Press Feeders to WSC,” said WSC President & CEO John Butler. “Expanding our membership broadens our perspective when representing the liner sector and we look forward to participation from Matson and X-Press Feeders’ representatives.”

     

    Contact:

    Anna Larsson

    Communications Director

    Tel: +47 484 06 919

    Email: alarsson@worldshipping.org

    About World Shipping Council:

    The World Shipping Council is the united voice of liner shipping, working with policymakers and industry groups to shape the future growth of a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, safe, and secure shipping industry. We are a non-profit trade association with offices in Brussels, Singapore and Washington, D.C. Read more at www.worldshipping.org

  • November 20, 2020

    Copenhagen, Brussels, London and Washington; November 20, 2020 – The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) has given initial consideration to an innovative proposal from the global shipping industry to collectively provide USD 5 billion to accelerate R&D to support its decarbonisation.

    The world’s governments have agreed to give further consideration to the detail of the concept of an IMO-supervised, industry financed, USD 5 billion programme, to be conducted by a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), to accelerate the introduction of zero-emission technologies for maritime transport. Governments have also raised a number of legitimate issues which the IMO will need to carefully address.   

    Governments attending the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) contributed constructive input on the industry’s proposal to establish the IMRB. This included important questions about governance and IMO oversight, the need to take account of the economic impact on states of the proposed mandatory R&D contribution of USD 2 per tonne of marine fuel, and the need to address the interests of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

    The Industry is eager to work with governments to ensure that this initiative is implemented as soon as possible, aiming for the IMRB to be operational by 2023. Every advance in technological certainty increases investment certainty, reducing the future cost of the transition to zero-carbon fuels and technologies, and accelerating the pace at which that transition can occur. With USD 5 billion in core funding over a 10-year period, generated from industry contributions, the IMRB will create the technological and investment certainty to spur innovators, engineers, energy companies, shipyards, financial institutions, and engine manufacturers to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonise shipping.

    The IMO 2050 climate targets can only be achieved with the immediate acceleration of zero-carbon fuels and technologies. The IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to build a zero-carbon shipping industry, and the necessary funding can only be provided within the global regulatory framework of IMO.

    The industry recognises the unprecedented nature of its proposal and the associated complexities, and will work to address this so that governments can take forward its offer of USD 5 billion of funding to accelerate R&D, to ensure the technological innovation necessary to make the required zero-carbon transition within the IMO 2050 time line.

     

    ---- ENDS ---

    NOTES TO EDITOR: 
     

    Highlights of the International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) proposal:

    • The IMRB would be subject to IMO Oversight, with the sole duty to accelerate the research and development of low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, energy sources, propulsion systems and other new GHG reduction technologies, operating under a Charter approved by the IMO.
    • An International Maritime Research Fund (IMRF) would provide industry financing for the IMRB research and development programmes, collecting about USD 5 billion over a ten-year period via contributions of USD 2 per tonne of fuel consumed by every ship.
    • Other relevant stakeholders such as energy suppliers, technology companies, research and development institutions and foundations would be welcome to participate and contribute to the International Maritime Research Board and its work.
    • The IMRB is designed to work itself out of a job in 10-15 years by delivering research and development projects that will then allow commercial entities to provide the technologies and services that will move proven technologies into the global fleet by the 2030s, so that the IMO target for 2050 can be achieved. 
    • The shipping industry organisations behind the proposal emphasise that the USD 2 contribution is not to be seen as a market-based CO2 reduction measure as it would only exist for a defined technical purpose – the acceleration of R&D for zero-carbon propulsion systems.

    The international shipowner associations making this proposal, which collectively represent all sectors and trades and over 90% of the world merchant fleet, are: 

  • November 16, 2020

    As governments come together at the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) to consider important next steps to decarbonise maritime transport, the global shipping industry urgently calls on them to take forward its proposal for an industry-financed, USD 5 billion research and development programme, to catalyse the transformation of the industry from dependence on fossil fuels to operating with zero-carbon energy sources.

    Although total emissions from shipping are about 7% lower than in 2008, there is a limit to what can be achieved so long as ships remain dependent on fossil fuels and global demand for maritime services continues to grow. The carbon reductions required by the IMO target of reducing total emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, will only come from identifying and developing new zero-carbon technologies so that commercially viable zero-carbon ships can begin to operate in the 2030’s.

    There are several potential solutions, such as hydrogen or ammonia produced from renewable energy sources, but these do not yet exist in a scale or form that can be applied to large ocean-going ships.  A host of complex technical questions remain to be answered, including safety, storage, distribution, energy density considerations and lifecycle impacts. In short, we do not yet know what the fuels of the future will be.

    The shipping industry has therefore proposed a USD 5 billion R&D programme, to be overseen by IMO and financed through a required R&D contribution of USD 2 per tonne of marine fuel consumed. The R&D programme would be managed through a non-governmental research and development organisation – an International Maritime Research and Development Board or IMRB.  The co-sponsors emphasize that for the proposal to work, the R&D contributions need to be compulsory via an IMO regulation, to ensure that all shipping companies globally contribute, in a fair and equitable manner, and that the necessary funds will be generated to achieve the programme’s objectives.

    A number of governments are understood to be positive to the proposal, subject to addressing issues such as governance.

    The Industry is eager to work with governments to ensure that this initiative is implemented as soon as possible and calls on the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee to support the development of the IMRB concept at its critical meeting starting November 16th. The IMO 2050 climate targets can only be achieved with the immediate acceleration of zero-carbon fuels and technologies, and the IMRB is a crucial vehicle for driving the progress needed to build a zero-carbon shipping industry.

    “The only way we will decarbonise deep-sea shipping is through identifying and developing the fuels of the future. We have no time to waste, and the IMRB is a proposal that allows us to begin now,” says John Butler, CEO of World Shipping Council.

    Highlights of the International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) proposal:

    • The IMRB would be quasi-independent, subject to IMO Oversight, with the sole duty to accelerate the research and development of low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, energy sources, propulsion systems and other new GHG reduction technologies, operating under a Charter approved by the IMO.
    • An International Maritime Research Fund (IMRF) would provide industry financing for the IMRB research and development programmes, collecting about USD 5 billion over a ten-year period via contributions of USD 2 per tonne of fuel consumed by every ship.
    • Other relevant stakeholders such as energy suppliers, technology companies, research and development institutions and foundations would be welcome to participate and contribute to the International Maritime Research Board and its work.
    • The IMRB is designed to work itself out of a job in 10-15 years by delivering research and development projects that will then allow commercial entities to provide the technologies and services that will move proven technologies into the global fleet by the 2030s, so that the IMO target for 2050 can be achieved. 
    • The shipping industry organisations behind the proposal emphasise that the USD 2 contribution is not to be seen as a market-based CO2 reduction measure as it would only exist for a defined technical purpose – the acceleration of R&D for zero-carbon propulsion systems.
  • October 26, 2020

    Washington, October 26, 2020 – Amid the criticism of the results of the IMO intercessional GHG working group, the World Shipping Council urges member states to not lose sight of the ultimate goal of decarbonising shipping. A detailed proposal to get us there lies ready for MEPC 75.

    "Whilst it is easy to criticize the outcome of the intercessional, it is worth remembering that anything short of a global solution represents long-term failure on climate change. We need to stick with this hard work, but the task is urgent, and we must move further, faster. As long as our only fuel options are carbon based, GHG reductions will be limited. Efficiency is important, but it will not solve the problem," says John Butler, CEO of World Shipping Council (WSC).

    Radical GHG reductions will only come from identifying, developing, and deploying new fuels for shipping. There are several potential solutions at various stages of investigation, but there are a host of questions that remain to be answered, including safety, storage, energy density, and perhaps most importantly how to generate these fuels without creating massive amounts of greenhouse gas in the process.

    "We must keep our eye on our ultimate goal of decarbonisation and accelerate research, development, and deployment of new fuels and technologies. The industry needs R&D at scale to make progress in time. To halve shipping emissions by 2050, we need zero carbon ships on the water in the early 2030s. We should have started ten years ago, so there is even more reason to act decisively now," says John Butler.

    At MEPC 75, IMO Member States have the opportunity to take concrete action for our climate, by supporting and fast-tracking the establishment of the International Maritime Research and Development Board, or IMRB (MEPC 75/7/4)*. With USD 5 billion in core funding over a 10-year period, generated from industry contributions, the IMRB will create the technological and investment certainty to spur innovators, engineers, energy companies, shipyards, financial institutions, and engine manufacturers to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonise shipping.

    "The IMRB would put shipping in a position to attract the brain power, additional resources and political engagement needed to deploy commercially viable zero-carbon ships by the early 2030s. There is a detailed proposal on the table, ready to go. It’s not the only step that we have to take, but if we don’t take this step, we stand little chance of reaching our decarbonisation objectives," concludes John Butler.

    ---

    * MEPC 75/7/4 “Proposal to establish an International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB)”
    Submitted by ICS, BIMCO, CLIA, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, INTERTANKO, IPTA, and WSC to the IMO. Full proposal available here: https://bit.ly/37FTQzu

  • October 07, 2020

    The World Shipping Council (WSC) is pleased to announce that Ms. Anna Larsson has joined WSC as its new Communications Director, based in Europe.  Ms. Larsson served most recently as Head of Corporate Communications for Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA after serving in several senior communication and sustainability roles for the company over the past decade. “The World Shipping Council’s mission is to provide a coordinated voice for the liner shipping industry, and we have added a new senior staff position dedicated to development and implementation of communications plans and activities to help us do that,” said John Butler, World Shipping Council President & CEO. “We are very happy that Anna has decided to join the team. She has worked for over 25 years as a communications professional and that includes extensive experience with a member company, so she is familiar with the issues and the challenges facing the industry.” 

    “I am excited to join the World Shipping Council to support an ambitious agenda for liner shipping at this very critical time for the industry. Connecting and partnering with a wide range of stakeholders will be crucial for advancing sustainability and safety in shipping, and I look forward to working with our members on this path,” said Anna Larsson.

  • June 25, 2020

    On this Day of the Seafarer 2020, let us all be reminded that without seafarers, ships don’t sail, trade doesn’t flow, and the global economy stops.  We have had seafarers on ships for far too long without relief because of COVID-19 travel and border restrictions, and we must change crews for the well-being and safety of these men and women that move the world’s commerce. Read the full statement.

  • March 24, 2020

    Today, the European Commission published a final regulation extending the EU Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (BER) until 25 April 2024, without modification. This regulation provides a “safe harbour” under European competition law for vessel sharing arrangements that have a market share up to 30%. The World Shipping Council (WSC) commends the Commission for continuing to recognize the importance and the value of the Consortia BER after conducting a lengthy evaluation that included extensive consultation with stakeholders. Read the full statement. 


2019

  • November 20, 2019

    The World Shipping Council (WSC) commends the European Commission for continuing to recognize both the benefits of vessel sharing consortia and the importance of the consortia BER to the efficient operation of those operational arrangements. Read the full statement.

  • March 25, 2019

    The World Shipping Council submits additional comments to the European Commission in response to a report by Mr. Olaf Merk distributed by ITF. Read the full comments. 

  • March 19, 2019

    The World Shipping Council submits a new report to the European Commission that was completed by RBB Economics to inform the review of the consortia block exemption regulation (BER).  Read the full report.

  • January 09, 2019

    On Thursday (10 January) the European Parliament Transport Committee will vote on Deirdre Clune’s report on the draft regulation for a European Maritime Single Window Environment.  The World Shipping Council (WSC) and the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA), which represent shipowners and maritime carriers that are the principal parties affected by this legislation, strongly support the Commission proposal and the rapporteur’s recommendations. Read the full news article. 


2018

  • December 20, 2018

    The World Shipping Council joins with other industry organizations to urge the European Commission to extend the consortia block exemption regulation (BER). Read the full comments.

  • October 09, 2018

    The World Shipping Council (WSC) is pleased to announce that Tim Wickmann is joining WSC as its new Managing Director, Asia.  Mr. Wickmann served most recently as CEO of MCC Transport and has worked in various leadership positions in international liner shipping for the last three decades. Read the news release. 

  • June 25, 2018

    The World Shipping Council reminds everyone that rescuing persons at sea is a shared responsibility.  Read the statement.

  • April 13, 2018

    The World Shipping Council welcomes the IMO's agreement on a Green House Gas reduction strategy and calls for an IMO-led research and development program.  Read the release.