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Transforming supply chains through Data Entry Automation – Product Review – Prompt

Data is the new gold, Data is the new oil, Data is the new currency

prompt data entry automation - shipping and freight resource - product review

Many such phrases are being thrown around in the recent past, and rightfully so, because data is important for all businesses to gain insights into their operations, streamline it, ensure its profitability, sustainability and formulate business strategies..

Data in various forms has been around since the time human beings started calculating and accounting for things from the days of sailboats to the current days of autonomous ships and has become a key ingredient in every aspect of global trade and supply chains.. Global trade is hugely dependent on the flow of data and information globally..

Data is present in many forms across numerous documents in global trade.. The information extracted from this data is exchanged between the various stakeholders in the global value chain..

Carriers, Freight Forwarders, Ports, Terminals, Truckers, BCOs, Customs, Chambers of Commerce, Banks, and Joe Public, all need data in one form or another for global trade to progress..

There are several trade documents involved in global trade based on the sector where it originates from and UNECE has classified them into documents based on their sectors..

  • Commercial transaction sector documents are documents exchanged between parties in global trade such as offers, quotations, purchase orders, invoices, despatch advice, and any other documents generally used for the conclusion of a contract..
  • Payment sector documents are documents that are exchanged between parties once the trade contract has been finalized and include but are not limited to documents relating to commercial transactions such as commercial invoices, payment advice, documentary credit such as Letters of Credit, bank guarantees, and such..
  • Transport sector documents are interface documents between customers and carriers and other stakeholders relating to the movement of the goods.. These documents include transport documents like bills of lading, cargo and freight manifest, freight invoices, arrival notifications, marine insurance documents, and such..
  • Official control documents are documents required by the various statutory authorities in the various countries who approve and authorize the movement of goods.. These documents could include but are not limited to export and import permits, licenses, customs declarations, Dangerous goods declarations, inspection certifications, trade control certificates, and such..

While each of the above documents has different functions and uses, they all have something in common.. Several of these documents are currently being transferred and shared manually between various parties and the information in several of these documents are captured manually into the systems of the various stakeholders involved..

This is where many companies are currently running into issues due to the manual data capture involved.. Manual data capturing leads to human error which leads to inaccurate information being passed down the chain..

It is also a time-consuming process and also an expensive one as you may need to hire several data capturers depending on your cargo volumes.. The errors could cause both direct and indirect costs in terms of losses and claims..

Imagine a commercial invoice which is a key trade document used by customs for the determination of duties based on the HS codes and other cargo information declared by the shipper.. For non-homogenous cargo, its descriptions and HS codes could run into hundreds of line items like the example below..

Imagine the manpower demand for the manual capture of this information into the customs processing system or to your ERP system and in addition to this, the errors that could happen due to incorrect capture of the information..

HS codes are very critical information required for the calculation of duty and any mistake in the capture could impact the customer heavily.. Incorrect declarations could result in increased customs duties or penalties due to misdeclaration..

For customers who are looking to automate their data entry operations, reduce manual labor, save costs and avoid errors, there is a cost-effective option in the form of OCR (optical character recognition) enabled software that can convert the data in the manual documents to information into any database or document repository system..

For many customers, deciding which software to use for their specific pain points is not a straightforward decision and is dependent on many factors such as technology, service provider, after-sales service, support, the platform used, accessibility, and many others..

Especially when you are trying to implement data entry automation in your business you will be looking forward to a nimble and versatile software that will help you address the pain points and provide efficiency and cost-effectiveness..

Prompt promises to provide just that.. Prompt is a technology firm providing data entry automation software solutions to solve some of the biggest challenges in the logistics industry including the big problem that is Data Entry, especially with shipping and freight-related documentation..

Here is a look at their proprietary software and how it performs..

Prompt currently provides solutions for data entry automation from below documents with more to come..

This process is highly beneficial to BCOs, Logistics Service Providers, customs brokers, and carriers for the processing of the above-mentioned documents which would usually be processed manually..

Several maritime disasters have been caused due to misdeclaration or incorrect declarations of information related to hazardous goods.. MSDS information for dangerous goods is usually shared by email on PDF, Word, or Excel documents or a printout from the manufacturer of the goods..

This information may be manually captured at various stages as it moves from the factory to the transporter, to the packing station, to the carrier, to the port, and eventually onboard the ship..

Any capturing error in any of these areas can alter the information supplied by the manufacturer of the cargo and could result in incorrect information passed onto the ship resulting in maritime disasters and loss of lives..

There have also been several reefer container claims due to misdeclaration or incorrect declaration of set temperatures to the carrier.. 25°C and -25°C are two different temperature settings and a missing minus symbol can result in thousands of dollars of cargo claims..

Prompt’s automated data software reads the critical information of the MSDS such as Hazardous Class, UN No., Packaging Group, Emergency contact details and transfers it correctly to the system..

While the above-mentioned could be standalone actions, for users who use the same template or format for their documents, considering the distinctive nature of the documents and bearing in mind the accurate and precise details required, Prompt incorporates a hybrid template and machine-learning based automated data capture system..

What this basically means is where specific document templates like a commercial invoice, packing list, tax invoice are used, users can map the information from the template to relevant fields in the system so that this information is transferred automatically to that field all the time..

Prompt’s system uses advanced learning methods to identify and earmark areas in the template which has the specific information and assigns the field name to the area and the information in this area is mapped to the right field in the customer’s system..

So, for example, when Prompt’s software sees the below information in the template,

it will identify it as an HTS code and automatically transfer the code 6111.20.6070 to the HTS code field in CargoWise or other customs software..

Similarly, all the standard information fields in the template can be mapped to the customer’s system saving a lot of time and repetitive effort for the client..

Templates play a very powerful role in automating data as they can be applied to many documents and can assist any size of the company as long as the fields and structure remain the same.. Once the template is saved, no more realigning of data areas and mapping of fields and no more rebuilding of templates.. It is all there for the user..

Prompt’s system uses Machine Learning which means the users do not need to define every parameter for the template.. If the details on a commercial invoice are repeated on subsequent pages, the system will recognise the initial pattern and repeat it in the system so that the user does not have to do it..

The usage of Prompt’s software was a breeze.. Upon sign up, you will be allocated login credentials to the web portal.. When you are ready,

  • just log in to the web portal;
  • fill in your login credentials;
  • upload the document; and
  • you are good to go

simple process of data entry automation using Prompt's software

Using intelligent automated data capture, Prompt’s proprietary web-based software reads the content from documents in PDF, Word, Excel, CSV files, and image formats and converts it information which you can upload into other systems, like SAP and CargoWise.. The data extracted from these documents can also be downloaded as an Excel, XML, CSV, or JSON file for further processing or verification..

The Prompt platform currently supports integration with

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
  • Warehouse Management system
  • Order Management system
  • E-Commerce platform
  • Customer databases
  • Government entities
  • Carrier platforms

If the information in the document is embedded in a QR code, no problem, the software can also read and decrypt QR codes and convert that into information..

What impressed me was the speed at which the conversion took place.. Within a matter of minutes, the data was read and converted from both typed and handwritten text.. What is also impressive is that currently, the software recognizes data in 60+ languages from around the world..

It also recognizes the fact that different countries and customers around the world use different variations of the same term, so for Prompt, Inv#, Invoice No. or Inv No. are all the same and all will be converted to the standard field that you have mapped.. What’s more, it also identifies this field across the document and allocates it to the right field in your system..

The strength of the software seems to lie in its data formatting in terms of accuracy and structure.. The right data goes into the right field in CargoWise with no extraneous data with key information like currency and date layouts in the correct format depending on the various countries and languages it covers..

data entry automation accuracy - Prompt - Shipping and Freight Resource

The user has full control of the mapping and multiple pieces of one item (like cargo description) can be mapped to multiple fields in CargoWise giving the user complete peace of mind..

Accounts Payable (AP) Validation

The invoice (whether vendor or commercial), is the most important document for logistics, customs clearance, accounting, taxation, and VAT-related activities.. It is very important for this document to have correct data and for that data to be validated using electronic methods making Accounts Payable (AP) validation a critical function of any business.

Accounts payable costs keep rising, despite the outsourcing of data entry to low-cost labor markets and the influence of Web-based invoicing and electronic data interchange technologies. Character recognition engines can save you money if your overall invoice-to-data process is well-tuned.


Currently, about 90% of freight invoices are processed manually, slowing cash flow, increasing risk of bottom-line errors and incurring unneeded expenses.

Invoice data capturing is a tedious, repetitive, time-consuming, and complex end-to-end process that requires multiple levels of validation to ensure quality.. The person capturing the invoice needs to have a full understanding of the particulars of the shipment and all the accessorial and peak season surcharges that were initially agreed upon..

Invoices that are transmitted globally could also have the added burden of having to deal with currency fluctuations.. Such inherent complexity of processing freight invoices by manual means results in mistakes and every extra step creates room for human error that directly affects the bottom line numbers..

AP (Accounts Payable) Validation by PromptOne of the highlights of Prompt’s system is its AP Rate Validation layer..

This additional layer in Prompt’s data entry automation software not only extracts AR (Accounts Receivable) or AP (Accounts Payable) data but also compares it to the data in CargoWise or other ERP systems..

This validation will tell you whether the charges on the invoice are correct or not..

Market research has shown that 25% of invoices have errors and this automatic process reduces reliance on manual verification or validation of invoice data and ensures that incorrect data is not pushed into your system without you knowing..

Prompt’s system provides a rich user experience for capturing and processing invoices using the same UI, eliminating the need to log into multiple systems for this function..

While the above sounds complicated, practically it is not.. The process is pretty simple :

  • You process a file as you would in Prompt’s web-based platform;
  • The software compares invoice number, parties, date, and services to find a match in CargoWise;
  • The software analyzes the data in CargoWise and compares it to the information processed from the AP Invoice;
  • It identifies differences and processes the invoice anyway (if they are within an acceptable tolerance that has been set by the user) or issues an exception with relevant information to the invoice sender

Simple enough, isn’t it..??

Prompt’s intelligent capture and coding boosts compliance with automatic invoice processing and the algorithms automatically match invoice data against shipments, consols, or based on a wide range of detailed information, including line items, line totals, or invoice headers..

Data from Prompt shows that using their data entry automation software certain customers reduced their commercial invoice processing time from 5 days to 20 minutes for a 200+ page invoice file with various line items..

Although Prompt’s software is easy to use and fully connected with CargoWise out of the box, it still comes with two different choices regarding data entry automation, with varying levels of engagement..

  • Manage it yourself end-to-end: In this option, Prompt’s staff will train your team on how to build, apply, and modify templates and push the resulting data into CargoWise
  • Managed Service: In this option, Prompt’s staff will do all the template building, application, modification, scanning, etc and the final data output will be uploaded to your software system based on service level agreements

As you are entrusting your confidential and sensitive documents to an electronic medium, there will naturally be a concern regarding security and how Prompt protects and safeguards your data, especially in this age of cyber breaches..

Prompt’s software protects your data through usage of leading Data Security Certifications such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, and GDPR..

As per IBM, “Data security involves deploying tools and technologies that enhance the organization’s visibility into where its critical data resides and how it is used. Ideally, these tools should be able to apply protections like encryption, data masking, and redaction of sensitive files, and should automate reporting to streamline audits and adhering to regulatory requirements.

Prompt has enhanced its data security measure by holding as little of your data as possible in their servers giving you complete control of your security and how much of your data you want to maintain outside of your secure borders..

In the event of any breaches, Prompt also has below insurance coverage for liability

  • Commercial General Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Errors & Omissions
  • Cyber Liability
  • Data Privacy Liability


Prompt’s OCR technology is an intelligent and accurate document processing solution that can benefit the users in many ways.. Being web-based, this solution can be deployed on any device individually or across companies.. Its flexible structure and accuracy in data recognition provide an automated data capture solution that removes the need for labor-intensive manual data entry which is prone to errors..

The logistics and supply chain industry is filled with various documents with repetitive information that require capturing and Prompt’s technology can be seen as a viable option than having data capture centers in various parts of the world and teams to watch over them and manually audit those processes..

Prompt combines technology and human intelligence to provide a scalable and affordable document management solution to manage all your documentary needs..

Supply chain companies can highly benefit from the unsurpassed quality of data extraction, accuracy, data classification, and data entry automation that Prompt provides to achieve cost reduction, eliminate costly errors and above all achieve improved customer satisfaction and adhere to compliance requirements..

2021 – The Year of the Carrier and Supply Disruptions.. Shipping and Freight Resource – Annual Review 2021

The view from the top - Shipping and Freight Resource - Annual Review 2021

If 2020 heralded the serious onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, then 2021 was the year that the after-effects and side-effects of the pandemic really hit home and boy did it hit hard, sparing no one globally, least of all global supply chains..

2021 saw widespread disruptions in the industry globally, characterized by

  • serious port congestion, caused by a combination of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, port inefficiencies, an increased trade demand and not to mention the brief but disruptive blockage of the Suez Canal;
  • extreme rate hikes on all trades;
  • high container dwell times inside ports both on exports and imports;
  • increased blank sailings;
  • record volumes of containers handled at various ports around the world;
  • shortage of ships and containers due to these two vital assets being held up elsewhere than required; and
  • a general confusion with no one having visibility of what was happening..


Global trade outlook

In spite of these disruptions, global trade reached record highs in 2021.. As per UNCTAD, global trade is expected to reach about US$ 28 trillion in 2021, which is an increase of 23% compared to 2020.. Global trade growth stabilized during the second half of 2021, increasing by 1% Q-o-Q with trade in goods reaching record levels in the 3rd Quarter of 2021 and trade in services growing at an increased pace, but remaining below pre-pandemic levels.. Trade growth has remained uneven across countries and sectors, but with a broader base in the 3rd Quarter of 2021 than in the 1st and 2nd Quarter of 2021..

UNCTAD statistics shows that global trade in goods set a new all-time record in the 3rd Quarter of 2021 with a value of about US$ 5.6 trillion growing 0.7% Q-o-Q, while the value of trade in services was about US$ 1.5 trillion growing 2.5%.. The trend of a slower growth for the trade in goods, as well as a more positive trend for services, is expected to continue in the 4th Quarter of 2021 with the value of trade in goods expected to remain constant at US$ 5.6 trillion while the trade in services is likely to continue to recover slowly..


While the positive trend for international trade in 2021 seems to have been largely as a result of strong recovery in demand on the back of subsidised pandemic restrictions, economic stimulus packages, and increases in commodity prices, the forecast for 2022 remains uncertain due to several factors such as :

  • Slowing economic recovery in the second half of 2021 mostly due to the slow economic growth of China in the 3rd Quarter of 2021 which was below expectations and lower than in previous quarters..
  • COVID-19 disruptions continue in many economies, including in the EU and this could negatively affect consumers’ demand and ultimately be reflected in trade statistics for the upcoming quarters..
  • Global semiconductor shortage due to unprecedented demand has disrupted many industries especially the automotive industry and if this persists, could continue to negatively affect production and trade in many manufacturing sectors..
  • Geopolitical factors such as regionalization of trade flows and implementation of regional trade agreements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership could influence global trade patterns due to an expected increase in regional trade cooperation within Africa and within the Asia-Pacific area..
  • Debt burdens such as additional borrowing by governments to sustain their economies during the COVID-19 crisis could pose continuous risks of financial instability in many countries and negatively affect investments and international trade flows, especially for developing countries whose fiscal policy space is limited..

Apart from the above major factors, the economic recovery from the pandemic in 2021 has been characterized by large and unpredictable swings in demand, which have resulted in increased stress on supply chains, brings us to a never before seen scenario of disruptions in logistic networks and unprecedented increases in shipping costs.. The backlogs created by this increased demand has had a major impact on global supply chain hubs negatively affecting trade and reshaping trade flows across the world..


Maritime performance in 2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged global trades, economies, and many industries, the maritime industry seems to have defied the COVID-19 disruption with a less than feared impact in 2020.. Volumes fell less dramatically than expected and had rebounded by the end of the year 2020, laying the foundation for a big transformation in global supply chains and new maritime trade patterns emerging in 2021..

Maritime trade contracted by 3.8% in the first half of 2020 with global volumes returning for both containerized trade and dry bulk commodities by the end of 2020 setting the stage of a solid year for 2021.. UNCTAD attributes the better than expected performance of the maritime trade to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in phases and at different speeds, with diverging paths across regions and markets..

However, while the maritime trade took a comparatively less beating, one of the KEY elements of the maritime trade took a severe beating and that element was the “Seafarers”.. While the maritime industry was able to mitigate the shock and disruption the seafarers faced a precarious situation as the pandemic triggered an unprecedented global crew-change crisis.. Due to the restrictions imposed on global travel, hundreds of thousands of seafarers could not sign off from ships to return home for their breaks while an equivalent number were unable to join their ships and to provide for their families..

Hundreds of thousands of seafarers were stuck onboard various ships across the world as various countries enforced crew sign-on/off restrictions at various stages, some for months on end, even without pay as their contract periods ended and without a replacement on board..

While the exact number of crew deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic is not known, there are at least 12 known fatalities including that of Capt. Angelo Capurro an Italian national, whose story highlights the plight that the seafarers face on a daily basis in trying to keep global trade alive..

Capt. Capurro was the Captain of containership MV Ital Libera and joined the ship in South Africa on March 28, 2021, to commandeer the ship on its South Africa/Far East service.. On the 2nd of April, he shows symptoms of COVID-19 despite having tested negative on the 26th of March before leaving Italy for South Africa to join the ship.. Without going into more detail, his condition onboard the ship deteriorated, eventually resulting in him passing away on the 13th of April 2021 at sea.. But there was no suitable place on board the Ital Libera to keep the corpse, meaning Capt. Capurro’s body remained in a storage room for six weeks..

In the interim period, it has been reported that his wife along with the ship operator Italia Maritima, the Italian Ministry of Foreign affairs, and multiple Italian embassies appealed to a number of countries to disembark Capt. Capurro’s body.. But, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, and South Africa had all implemented COVID-19 restrictions that banned the disembarkation and repatriation of his remains..

After the Ministry informed the company of the rejections, Italia Marittima declared a force majeure, cancelling the commercial voyage, and sent the vessel on a humanitarian mission from Indonesia to Italy to return Capt. Capurro’s body to his family.. His remains were eventually delivered to the family 2 months after he passed away on board the very ship that he commanded..

Capt. Capurro’s story is far from unique, with the bodies of at least 10 seafarers who died at sea, denied disembarkation to repatriate the remains, according to the ITF even though these seafarers did not die from COVID-19..

Many crew extended their contracts by several months to keep supplies of food, fuel and medicine flowing around the world, with some not seeing land in 18 months.. Extended periods at sea without a break has taken its toll on crews, with fatigue and mental illness a threat to safety.. An ITF seafarers poll in 2021 found that 67% of the 593 respondents reported seeing signs of mental health issues, depression, and suicidal ideation among crew members..

Globally there around 1.9 million seafarers working around the clock to keep global trade moving and ensuring that we are able to maintain our standard of living at the risk of their own lives.. As per BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report 2021 the global supply of seafarers stood at 1,892,720, up from 1,647,494 in 2015 of which 857,540 were officers, and 1,035,180 were ratings (the skilled seafarers who carry out support work)..

The five largest seafarer-supplying countries were the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, China, and India, representing 44% of the global seafarer workforce..

During the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers continued to demonstrate great professionalism and dedication, supporting the delivery of food, medical supplies, fuel, and other essential goods, and helping keep supply chains active and global commerce running..

Join me in saluting and thanking these brave souls working around the clock to keep global trade moving and ensuring that we are able to maintain our standard of living at the risk of their own lives.. #seafarersmatter #seafarersarekeyworkers 


Maritime Trade

In terms of International Maritime Trade itself, the impact was not as dramatic as initially feared and the maritime transport sector managed to navigate through the crisis.. UNCTAD statistics shows that in 2020, maritime trade increased as a proportion of global GDP, with an increase in the maritime trade-to-GDP ratio as the pandemic induced a shift in consumer demand from services to traded goods..

The global fleet increased by an overall 3.04% in 2021 compared to 2020 across all types except for General Cargo Ships and other ships..

World Fleet - Shipping and Freight Resource - Annual Review 2021
Source : UNCTAD


Shipping and Freight in 2021

In 2020, global container trade fell by 1.1% to 149 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) which was a better outcome compared to the 8.4% plunge in 2009 following the financial crisis.. The container volumes bounced back quickly as consumer demand increased, boosted by stimulus packages and measures to support incomes during COVID-19..

The bounce-back in 2021 brought along with it a shift in consumption patterns away from services and more towards goods, especially online purchases along with health products and pharmaceuticals to counter COVID-19 and home office equipment as work from home increased..

This surge in trade however resulted in several logistical bottlenecks globally and in 2021, the whole industry, including shipping, ports, shippers, and inland carriers struggled with shortages in containers, transport equipment like chassis and space on container ships..

This has added to severe port congestion across several port globally and reduced service levels and carrier reliability, while exponentially increasing freight rates and surcharges.. The USA ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has been experiencing severe congestion consistently since July 2020 with it showing no signs of abating..

As of 17th Dec 2021, there were 23 container ships waiting outside of the San Pedro Bay port complex (Long Beach and Los Angeles) within a radius of 40 Nautical Miles and a further 69 container ships loitering/drifting/slow steaming heading to these ports.. There was an average berthing delay of 19.9 days..

Ocean Freight Rates

The Freightos Baltic Index (FBX) shows the exponential increase in freight rates between 2020 and Dec 2021..

Freightos Index - Shipping and Freight Resource - Annual Review 2021 Freightos Index - Shipping and Freight Resource - Annual Review 2021 Freightos Index - Shipping and Freight Resource - Annual Review 2021

This increase is not just in contract rates but also in the spot freight rates as per data from digital freight forwarder Shifl especially on the China/US Trade..

spot freight rate China to USA - Shipping and Freight Resource

spot freight rate China to USA - Shipping and Freight Resource


Capacity and market share

In terms of cargo carrying capacity both in terms of ships and containers, the race for top positions in container shipping continued with the number of mega ships increasing with both its number and share increasing year on year while the number of vessels below 10,000 TEUs continues to shrink..



Container shipping line Alliances and profits

Global container shipping alliances are going strong with the 3 main alliances – 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance jointly controlling 84.60% of the container market leaving 15.40% to the other lines..

global container shipping alliance


These alliances include 9 out of the top 10 container shipping lines in the world with the exception of Wan Hai Lines with Zim being the only container line outside of the top 10 to be part of these alliances..

In terms of the Top container shipping lines in the world, Maersk still leads as number 1 but is 1 ship away from losing its position to MSC.. The difference between these two lines at the top is just 10,783 TEUs and MSC’s orderbook is sitting at 58 ships and 993,076 TEUs which will take it way past Maersk..

As of Dec 2021, the top 10 container shipping lines in the world account for 84.7% of the world’s container capacity..

top 10 container shipping lines - Shipping and Freight Resource - Annual Review 2021

The number of container ships and containers in circulation globally stood at below as of 18th December 2021..

ships and containers - shipping and freight resource - annual review 2021

The standout feature of 2021 for carriers however would be the profits that they have made and are making in 2021..

It has been reported that container shipping pre-tax profit for 2021 and 2022 could be as high as $300 billion as per Drewry (higher than the GDP of Finland, New Zealand, Portugal among others, to put it into perspective).. The profit forecast for the container shipping industry in 2021 is $150 billion compared to $25.4 billion in 2020 which is a whopping 491% increase.. Drewry is expecting the industry to make even more in 2022..

carrier profits - shipping and freight resource - annual review 2021

To seasoned observers of the container market, typing these numbers on a page is frankly surreal” Drewry wrote in its Container Insight Weekly analysis on the industry. “Stronger-than-expected spot rate movement in the third quarter and a longer supply chain recovery timeline are behind our reason to upgrade the outlook for average global freight rates — spot and contract — for 2021.

Maersk Line, currently the world’s largest container shipping line alone may account for about 11% of the above $150 billion profits as they are expected to make a $17 billion operating profit in 2021..

AP Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s biggest container shipping line, is now expected to make $17 billion in operating profits in 2021, up from predictions of $4.5 billion at the beginning of the year. That’s a 278% increase. The company announced this week that it would be giving each of its 80,000 employees a $1,000 bonus to celebrate.reported Fortune..

The public jury who had no idea of what shipping was, is and what it entails, is still out on whether the shipping liner industry is worthy of making such profits with many forgetting that for years if not decades, the liner shipping industry were scraping the bottom of the barrel with many lines losing heavily.. The outcry comes on the back of comparison of liner industry profits to the known profiteers in the market such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook etc..


Congestion, Dwell Times and Rollovers

Many were expecting that these unprecedented profits and improvement in carrier fortunes will bring about improvements in the supply chain disruptions and the operational situation at ports around the world, but it has not been the case, simply because carriers are not the cause of these problems..

Data from project44 shows that continued port congestion, increasing container dwell times in ports and regular container rollover at transhipment ports due to various reasons, has been impacting supply chain over 2021 causing severe disruptions at ports and countries around the world..

These disruptions, especially in the USA has attracted the attention of the Biden-Harris administration in Washington prompting administrative action in the form of “The Biden-Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways” aimed at easing port congestion causing supply chain disruptions that have created headwinds for business and industry in the US with major spillovers globally..

However, especially in the USA, there is a lot of finger pointing going on with

  • Ports threatening to penalize carriers with Container Dwell Fees if the full containers are not moved out of the ports;
  • While carriers are (rightfully so) saying it is the customers who are not ready to take delivery of containers in time with at CMA CGM going to the extent of incentivizing customers to move the containers out of the port in time; (ZIM had initially announced on the 9th Dec 2021 that they would also be incentivizing, but that notice seems to have been removed from their side currently)
  • Customers on the other hand are bemoaning the lack of availability of chassis to pick up the containers in time and pointing fingers at driver shortages as well while;
  • Trucking associations are saying chassis are not available because empty containers are still sitting on these chassis as carriers and ports are not allocating space to off load these empty containers..

talk about a vicious circle..

The Federal Maritime Commission has now gotten involved in this aspect of the industry and in December 2021, the Chairman of The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), Daniel B. Maffei appointed Commissioner Carl Bentzel to spearhead a Maritime Data Infrastructure Initiative to focus on identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo adding to supply chain inefficiencies in the USA..

As per the FMC, “This project will aim to establish data standards and best practices for data access and transmission essential for a reliable and stable ocean transportation system.”..

As part of this initiative, starting from the 7th of December 2021, through the first half of 2022, Commissioner Bentzel will convene a series of meetings with maritime and intermodal stakeholders with initial findings presented at a data summit to be hosted by the FMC in the spring of 2022..

Commissioner Bentzel recently took part in a video discussion with Shipping and Freight Resource about the Impact of Supply Chain Disruption and Mitigation along with Shabsie Levy of Shifl and Josh Brazil of project44..

looking ahead to 2022 - shipping and freight resource - annual review 2021

Looking ahead to 2022

While we can look ahead to 2022 we may not be able to see anything..!!

That seems to be the general consensus around what lies ahead for supply chain disruptions and how long it will continue..

  • COVID-19 is still with us and will continue to play a major role in how global trade and supply chain behaves in 2022 as the pandemic traverses across all the Greek alphabets.. If you are wondering WHO came up with these Greek names, it was exactly WHO (World Health Organisation).. Read here and why..
  • Continued COVID-19 outbreaks in China, with the recent one being 14th of December may continue to impact their manufacturing and production schedules consequently putting pressure on supply chains as key items like batteries, clothing, textile, dyes and plastics may become scarce.. China’s strict ZERO COVID-19 policy while restricting several outbreaks locally on the back of mass testing, lockdowns and quarantines has not yet been able to stop the spread of the virus and the world of supply chain remains vulnerable to any outbreaks in China..
  • BREXIT – seemingly sidelined for now, could hit a bit differently in Europe with some planned changes to the import of goods, including customs declarations and border checks from January 2022 many of which are still unclear to the shipping public in UK and EU..
  • The impact of The Ocean Shipping Reform Act recently passed by the House of Representatives in the USA and the benefits of The Biden-Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways – are yet to be known or quantified it is unknown how it will affect/assist the business in USA..
  • There are many opinions and perspectives as to why America’s shipping crisis will not end..

The other general consensus seems to be that the current situation will still continue more or less till at least the 2nd half of 2022 albeit not with such a major impact because

  • many companies have adjusted to the new normal of extended cargo lead times and may be changing their supply chain strategies to adjust to this;
  • many companies are taking steps to make their supply chains resilient and future proofed;
  • Industry studies are estimating that by the end of 2022, 50% of all manufacturing supply chains will see the benefits of supply chain resilience which is expected to result in a 10% reduction in the impact of supply chain disruption.. The study is also estimating that by the end of 2022, chronic worker shortages will prompt 75% of supply chain companies to prioritize investments in automation resulting in productivity improvements of 10%
  • 2022 will see an increased usage of data and information which will be used to predict developments and disruptions in the supply chain helping companies to make more data-driven decisions in the day to day running of their businesses

and of course

Credits & Acknowledgements : 

  • UNCTAD – for the trade information
  • Alphaliner – for the container liner information
  • project44 – for the congestion, dwell time and rollover information
  • Shifl – for the container spot rate information
  • FBX Freightos – for the rate charts, and last but not least,
  • CHARLIE PESTI – for just being the best darn publicist in the world for logistics


You can also download the Shipping and Freight Resource Annual Review 2021 as a pdf here..

18th May 2022 – The first International Day for Women in Maritime


Maritime Transportation has been and still remains the backbone of global trade since the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Indians, Chinese, and Europeans all started sailing and improvising the sailing methods from sailboats, dhows, long boats, dragon boats, steamships to the current ULCVs, VLOCs, VLCCs and more..

Maritime transportation is a derived demand whose main purpose is to support trade, business and commerce – whether global or domestic, whether cargo or people and covers anything related to the ocean, sea, ships, navigation of ships from point A to point B, seafarers, ship owning and other related activities..

The estimated 89.5% of global trade carried by sea, falls within the maritime sector.. The growth, numbers and volume involved, makes the maritime industry one of the most globalized industries in the world in terms of ownership and operations..

Below are the various vessel types carrying global trade and commerce and the percentage of its DWT vs Monetary value..

Vessel DWT vs Value

Not just in terms of ownership, the Maritime industry also provides employment for an estimated 1.65 million seafarers working in the global merchant fleet across the world..

However, women seafarers make up just 2% of the crewing workforce most of whom are found in the cruise sector, while in shipowning companies they made up 34% of the workforce.. Search and rescue teams in national maritime authorities account for significantly fewer women staff (just 10%) as compared to female diplomats (33%) and training staff (30%)..

These details are contained in an IMO-WISTA (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) Women in Maritime Survey Report, launched on the first IMO International Day for Women in Maritime – the 18th of May 2022..

The survey was conducted in 2021 through online assessments sent to IMO Member States and companies as part of the 2020 IMO-WISTA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on promoting greater diversity and inclusion through enhanced cooperation activities in the maritime sector..

The MoU aims to set a framework for both IMO and WISTA to promote gender diversity and inclusion as vital factors in providing a sustainable future for the shipping industry worldwide..

In a press release, WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou said, “The knowledge we have gathered about gender diversity in the maritime industry through this first Women in Maritime Survey 2021 is an important step in our ambition to create holistic gender diversity. As a first snapshot, this survey gives telling evidence of how much work still needs to be done. But it also shows us where there are a few bright spots. The maritime industry can see for itself which sectors are pushing ahead with diversity, and which are not.

The report highlights that women account for only 29% of the overall workforce in the general industry and 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities in Member States..

Commenting on the report, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “Benchmarking the current state of the sector is vital to measure where we are, and where we need to go. The Women in Maritime Survey 2021 shines a spotlight on areas in which IMO Member States and the wider maritime industry are performing well – and, more importantly, those where additional attention, resources and encouragement are needed. By actively empowering women with the requisite skills, maintaining a barrier free working environment, we create truly sustainable systems of gender equality.

To commemorate this special day, the IMO has created a nifty logo with a great concept “Symbol of Women in Maritime” merging the female gender symbol and iconic maritime anchor symbol..International Women in Maritime Day

International Women in Maritime Day


To all the women in maritime – THANK YOU for all your services and support to global trade and wishing you more success, more visibility, more acceptance, and more opportunities in the years to come..

I have featured a few women in shipping and maritime on my site, but there is still more to be covered.. So, feel free to suggest the names of women in our industry that you think should receive more recognition, please reach out to with some details including their contact details and I will do my best to make it happen.. 

Pls also feel free to share some images of women in maritime working on board ships which I can share on my site to get more visibility and recognition for the ladies..


Internet access and social connectivity become mandatory rights for seafarers – but could be costly

Currently sitting in the comfort of your home or office can you imagine a life without access to the internet or social connectivity, especially when you are far away from loved ones for months on end.

Well, this is what many seafarers have had to endure for many years even after the advent of technology that could make this happen for them.

Internet access and social connectivity for seafarers

Access to the internet and social connectivity while onboard ships have become a mandatory right for seafarers as per updates to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC). The Seafarers Group won the right to mandatory social connectivity for crews –including internet access, but while this is good news, it could prove costly for seafarers because shipowners and governments may seek to charge for it.

This was the result of the latest Special Tripartite Committee (STC) meeting that ended in Geneva on 13th May where the parties reached agreements on a number of changes including a commitment to better social connectivity for seafarers.

The MLC is an international treaty designed to protect seafarers’ rights and has been ratified by more than 100 countries, which represent over 90% of the world fleet.

In a press release announcing this win, Mark Dickinson, vice chair of the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s (ITF) Seafarers’ Section, STC vice-president and spokesperson for the Seafarers Group said “We’ve learned a lot during the Covid period and that has been driving us to improve the MLC,”.

Working for long periods at sea can be isolating and a lack of contact with the outside world can have profound implications for seafarers’ wellbeing — which we saw the worst effects of during Covid.

Being able to keep in touch with family and friends isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a basic human right. That’s why we fought so hard for seafarers to be given internet access and to have a mandatory provision in the MLC.” added Dickinson.

The Seafarers Group has lobbied that any charges levied on seafarers remain an exception, and if any charges are imposed that they are reasonable. Governments were also encouraged to increase internet access in ports and associated anchorages without cost to seafarers.

Seafarers repatriation rights remain archaic

The meeting however failed to reach an agreement on changes to the MLC’s terms on repatriation as demanded by the Seafarers Group. The Seafarers Group had demanded that the shipowner should cover the costs for a seafarer to disembark/land at his/her home location.

Currently, many seafarers are offloaded at areas which are far from their home which means that the seafarer has to cover his/her cost till home. As an example, ITF says “A Filipino, for example, who lives in Davao may find themselves dumped at Manila Airport 1,600 miles away from home. They then have a subsequent air journey of around 2.5 hours, costing them P2,500–3,000. In that final leg, the employer is no longer covering insurance, medical or other costs,“.

Many seafarers have been detrimentally impacted by quarantine measures introduced in many countries, which has exacerbated the risk of disruptions and costs to seafarers to get to their actual residence.” the release added.

Shipowners outright rejected the proposal despite attempts at providing a compromise,” said Dickinson. “As seafarers’ representatives, we’re disappointed. We’re buoyed by the support of some governments, but still, it is the first time in the history of the STC that one group has rejected an amendment outright.

ITF General Secretary said that the refusal of shipowners to negotiate on this issue is heart-breaking given what seafarers who were caught up in Covid restrictions endured.

It’s a shame that after all the collaboration during the Covid period, when we worked together across the industry to defend seafarers’ rights, that shipowners have failed to engage in dialogue at all, especially over such an important issue for their workforce. I’m sure that shipping executives’ costs are covered door to door, why shouldn’t a seafarer deserve the same right, especially given the cost-of-living crisis that many are facing.

A group of EU governments also sought an amendment to ensure a clearer commitment to the de facto maximum period of service of 11 months that seafarers can serve at sea before shipowners are obliged to get them home. Shipowners, and some governments, insisted on flexibility and requiring seafarers 12 months sea time to qualify, especially for trainees. The Seafarers Group refused to concede, citing fatigue and safety concerns.

It is hard to believe that in 2022 we have to argue that 12-months service is too long,” said Cotton. “And this doesn’t even account for the fact that crewing levels have halved, and the reality that shore leave is now more restricted than ever. Shipowners say it is a freedom of choice for seafarers, but they have all the power, so it actually amounts to forced labour.

Other changes 

The STC did agree a number of significant changes to the MLC, including:

  • Personal protective equipment must be made available in sizes that suit seafarers onboard, including for women.
  • Improved access to free drinking water, quality provisions and balanced diets were agreed as part of food and catering rules.
  • Clarification on responsibilities for governments to provide information to seafarers on mandatory systems of protection that must be put in place by recruitment and placement agencies.

The STC also adopted several resolutions that will guide the future work of the Committee. These included further work on the eradication of sexual harassment at sea, the sustainability of the financial security provisions provided by P&I Clubs and insurers, and the ability of seafarers to enforce seafarers’ employment agreements against shipowners.

In his closing remarks, Dickinson said he was disappointed that since the MLC entered into force, it appears that shipowners focus was on agreeing technical changes, rather than resolutions that support the continuous improvement of seafarers’ conditions.

They have lost sight of the original tripartite vision of the MLC to enhance the minimum standards for seafarers. Unless this changes path, it will have profound consequences on the future of the shipping industry.

ITF General Secretary Cotton called on the industry to continue to collectively tackle challenges that face the industry and seize on opportunities to make shipping a decent, safe and career for seafarers, especially for attracting women into the industry.

Through Covid, ITF and ICS worked so well together, and with other shipping partners such as IMEC, so it would be an incredible shame if we didn’t continue to work together in that spirit. Decent work for seafarers must be at the heart of this.


About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives, connecting trade unions and workers’ networks from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the almost-20 million women and men who move the world.

UK Government moves to accept electronic trade documents

Trade documents are documents used by various stakeholders in a trade transaction including buyers, sellers, banks, customs, chambers of commerce, and other bodies as a process of evidencing the performance of contractual obligations, processing payments, financing transactions, transfering of title of goods, and many other services..

Some of the trade documents used include, but not limted to,

1. Bills of exchange
2. Certificate of Origin
3. Bills of lading
4. Delivery orders
5. Warehouse receipts
6. Mate’s receipts
7. Marine insurance policies
8. Cargo insurance certificates

A vast majority of global trade transactions and shipping transaction follows English Law as a basis for contract law or handling trade documents..

The Law Commission was tasked by the UK Government to make recommendations to enable the legal recognition of certain trade documents in electronic form.. Subsequently, the Law Commission published its Electronic Trade Documents Report and draft Bill on 16 March 2022..

The Bill has now been placed on the legislative agenda for the year ahead as part of the UK Government’s plan to prioritise the growth and strength of the economy..

As per the Law Commission, “We have published a report with draft legislation which would implement its recommendations to allow for the legal recognition of trade documents such as bills of lading and bills of exchange in electronic form,“..

The documents covered by the recommended reforms relate only to those documents in relation to which possession is relevant for a person to claim the performance of an obligation..

The report defines “document” as below, in an electronic context

A document in electronic form may comprise multiple components. One component will always be the particular instance of a data string or data structure consisting of functional code, which is logically associated with (and specifically identifies) the human readable part of the document.”

The bill outlines 7 criteria termed “gateway criteria” that a document in electronic form must satisfy in order to constitute an “electronic trade document” for the purposes of the recommendations and the Bill..

  1. Information – to qualify as an electronic trade document, a document in electronic form must contain the same information as would be required to be contained in the paper equivalent.
  2. Reliability – any electronic system that is used for the trade documentation process must meet certain standards in the way that it operates and ensure that users are able to “trust” systems used, especially given the potential risk of cybercrime.
  3. Integrity – Integrity is important for establishing that a document is original or authentic and it must be protected against unauthorised interference or alteration
  4. Exclusive control – in order to qualify as an electronic trade document, a trade document in electronic form must be susceptible to exclusive control; that is, only one person (or persons acting jointly) must be able to exercise control of a document in electronic form at any one time.
  5. Divestibility – a trade document in electronic form must also be “divestible”, meaning that the transfer of an electronic trade document must involve the transfer of the document and the control, so that once the document is transferred, a person who was able to exercise control of the document before the transfer is no longer able to do so after the transfer
  6. Document identification – a trade document in electronic form should be identifiable so that it can be distinguished from any copies and to ensure that copies do not enable “double spending” or use of the copy as the original.
  7. Personnel identification – in order to qualify as an electronic trade document, the trade document in electronic form must be capable of being uniquely associated with the person or persons who are able to exercise control of it.

Have you got your smart container evaluation kit..??

Ever since Hapag-Lloyd’s announcement of equipping their entire container fleet with IoT sensors, shipping companies are more aware than ever of the opportunity to convert their existing container fleets to smart containers, unlocking countless digital possibilities.

In its continuing promise to help shipping companies towards Contopia, Loginno is introducing a no-strings-attached evaluation kit for smart containers. The kit, available to purchase now through the website, enables shipping companies to experience smart container functionality, opening a dialog about unlocking this new and exciting playground.

The evaluation kit will include a flexible number of AGAM container brains, and Loginno’s critically acclaimed shipper-ready On-Schedule Monitoring software, allowing shipping companies to bring on their shippers of choice to the evaluation process.

smart container evaluation kit

The 10-year lifetime AGAM container brain, designed with both liners and shippers in mind, is currently the most fully-featured smart container conversion device, with unique features like a container-vent retrofit, 6-sided intrusion detection, two-minute permanent installation, and compatibility with future technologies like Loginno’s SOLAS VGM on-container weighing.

Loginno founders Shachar Tal and Amit Aflalo: “We are excited at the opportunity to assist more shipping companies in embracing Contopia. Even though we have learned much so far, new ideas and business models are popping up every month in this truly digital economy. We are eager to share what we have learned with any shipping company that so desires. All it takes are a few clicks to start the process.

Is a bill of lading by any other name still a bill of lading..??

As we know, a Bill of Lading (B/L) is one of the most commonly used commercial documents in the history of global trade and shipping.. This document is issued in one form or the other for all shipments whether it is container, bulk, break bulk, RoRo or others..

A Bill of Lading has 3 basic functions or roles as below (in no particular order)..

image for evidence of contract of carriage1) Evidence of Contract of Carriage

The B/L is the EVIDENCE of the contract of carriage entered into between the “Carrier” and the “Customer” in order to carry out the transportation of the cargo (not to be confused with the sales contract between the buyer and the seller)..


image for receipt 2) Receipt of Goods

A B/L is issued by the carrier or their agent to the customer as proof of RECEIPT of the cargo..

The issuance of the B/L is proof that the carrier has received the goods from the customer in apparent good order and condition, as handed over by the customer..


Image for document of title3) Document of Title to the goods

This role of the bill of lading decides who is the owner of the TITLE TO THE GOODS based on which cargo is released..

While bills of ladings are issued by Carriers who enter into a contract of carriage with customers to move goods from A to B, there is confusion in many quarters about who is a Carrier.. The term Carrier has various interpretations even by the various International Carrier Regimes..

international carrier regimes definition of carrier

A Contract of Carriage may be defined as an agreement that is concluded between a carrier and a customer for the carriage of goods from Point A to Point B by the carrier against payment of freight by the customer..

I say customer and not shipper as mentioned above because in a lot of cases and especially in container trades, the entity that enters into a contract of carriage with the carrier is not necessarily the “shipper” shown in the bill of lading..

These conventions are archaic and refer to the days when the entity negotiating the carriage would be the actual shipper or owner of the goods.. Differences between shippers and exporters came up much later but the conventions have not changed..

Today a customer to a carrier could be an actual exporter, trader who may or may not own the goods yet, freight forwarder, exporter’s agent, clearing agent, freight broker or just about anyone who wants to get into the business of exporting, importing or trading..

On the same token, a carrier to the customer could be an actual shipowner, ship operator, charterer, NVOCC, shipping line or any other party holding out to be the carrier and the carrier may not even be the physical carrier..

So into this already confusing mix, in the case of container shipments, we can also throw in another confusion which is the “name” of the bill of lading..

Master Bill of Lading or House Bill of Lading

In his latest article, Jagannath, argues against an article that concludes that bills of lading issued by NVOCCs “an anathema and have caused severe commercial problems and should be statutorily controlled.”.

Bills of lading issued by NVOCCs are termed House Bill of Lading and a House Bill of Lading is recognised all over the world including by Customs authorities as performing the role(s) of a Bill of Lading (although there are exceptions depending on the type of bill of lading issued which I won’t go into detail here)..

In a previous article, I answered the question “Can anyone issue a House Bill of Lading“.. House Bills of Lading are issued by the issuing entities as “Carriers” and as long as the conditions of the contract of carriage are suitable and acceptable to all, there seems to be no restriction for anyone or any group/network to create and issue their own house bill of lading..

The terms of the contract of carriage in these house bills of lading may be similar or different to that of Master Bills of Lading, but one can only assume that those who issue their own house bills of lading take all necessary precautions, suitable insurance, fraud, and risk covers before doing this..

One can also only assume that the customers who use house bills of lading understand the requirements and take the necessary precautions to safeguard themselves suitably..

Another question commonly asked was how to identify whether the bill of lading issued is a House Bill of Lading or Master Bill of Lading as these “names” do not appear on the actual physical bill of lading..


Improperly issued Bills of Lading

The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) estimates from its work in verifying Bills of Lading that over 95% of all improperly issued Bills of Lading are issued by – yeah you guessed it – Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs)..

The IMB identified that there is a prevalence of issuance of incorrect NVOCC bills of lading by the NVOCC which are then presented to banks and other stakeholders in the trading and finance chain, with the aim of defrauding the trade finance system, possibly for the purposes of multiple financing, money laundering, etc..

In order to mitigate the effects of this problem, the IMB has established a register for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (the Register) who agree to abide by the IMB Code of Conduct for the proper issuance of NVOCC Bills of Lading..

nvocc register - shipping and freight resource

The purpose of the Register is to improve anti-fraud standards and provide a mechanism to recognise participating NVOCCs who adhere to a minimum standard of anti-fraud measures in their operations..

Banks who are members of the IMB can now check whether the NVOCC named on the bill of lading presented to them has signed up to the IMB Code of Conduct..

This provides some sort of assurance to the banks and customers that the NVOCC bills of lading issued by these NVOCCs meet acceptable standards.. There are of course consequences for NVOCCs who fail to comply..

Functional aspects of Master and House Bill of Lading

Although it is a House BL, by virtue of it being declared, signed, and issued as a Bill of Lading by a carrier, the HBL performs all 3 of the above roles of a Bill of Lading albeit to different people/entities..

For example, below is a matrix of the functionality of a bill of lading when issued by a carrier..

Bill of Lading

When an HBL & MBL are involved in the transaction, the matrix changes slightly as below..

House Bill of Lading and Master Bill of Lading

As you can see from the above, unless disallowed by a Letter of Credit, the HBL is also used/treated as a normal Bill of Lading.. When a House Bill of Lading is involved, the Master Bill of Lading takes a back seat as far as the “trade” is concerned and does not play any main role in the documentation between the buyer and seller..

However, there is one very important area where the master bill of lading has an advantage over the house bill of lading and that is at the time of the release of cargo..

For example, even if the customer has paid the NVOCC/Forwarder, surrendered the HBL (where applicable), and has done all the documentation relating to the HBL, unless the NVOCC/Forwarder has paid the ocean carrier, surrendered the MBL (where applicable – as shown above) and has done all documentation relating to the MBL, the consignee on the HBL CANNOT secure release of the cargo as the cargo is still under the custody of the ocean carrier..

So in conclusion, a bill of lading by any other name is still a bill of lading – subject to of course the type of bill of lading used, and how it is issued because “…..for a cargo interest, there is no difference as the document issued as a B/L issued by a VOCC or a NVOCC would fulfill all of their requirements.

Container spot rates to US tumble on the back of plummeting demand while transit times improve

The US GDP fell 1.4% in the first quarter of 2022, which has concerned economists and analysts alike. Ripples have been felt across the Trans-Pacific corridor as discussions of a freight recession and cooling ocean freight spot rates hit the headlines.

The US saw an extremely high volume of imports in Q1 ‘22, increasing 4.77% from an already record-high Q4 ‘21 on the back of previous orders and consumer demand. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese COVID-19 situation continues to worsen as movements within Shanghai remain restricted, shackling manufacturing output, trucking activity, and port throughput. With Beijing teetering at the brink of a similar situation, the Chinese mainland might have problems returning to the previous smooth flow of cargo movement.

This has been reflected in the cargo volumes from China sliding over May, and shippers believed the situation would remain murky for a while. 

Transit times reduced drastically 

Shifl container transit times

The current drop in demand and the lockdowns in China helped the US West Coast ports recover from the port congestion and resulted in a drop in total transit time to the West Coast ports in April 2022. 

From China to Los Angeles and Long Beach the transit time dropped by 85% from 50 days in Dec ‘21 to 27 days in Apr ‘22. Although it is a significant improvement, this is still above pre-pandemic levels.

At the peak of West Coast congestion, customers shifted deliveries of future orders to East Coast ports at the time when they were performing better. Those shipments are arriving now, and as a result, the congestion has shifted to the East Coast. Transit to the port of New York went up from 40 days to 50 days representing a 20% increase for the same period and an 85% increase from pre-pandemic levels. 

We however expect a relief in the East Coast congestion in the near future as the impact of blank sailings created by the decrease in demand and China lockdowns will be felt in New York, albeit little later than West Coast ports due to the naturally longer transit time,” said Shabsie Levy, Founder and CEO of Shifl.

Container Gate Out times improve across both coasts

While the congestion outside the ports has shifted to the East Coast, the container gate-out times have been improving on both coasts. Los Angeles/Long Beach gate-out times improved by 28% dropping from 5.74 days in Jan ‘22 to 4.5 days in Apr ‘22 while New York had a 47% drop in container gate from 4.25 days in Jan ‘22 to 3 days in Apr ‘22. 

container gate out times - shifl
Source :

Container spot rates are on their way down, down, and even more 

The restrictions on truck movement and workers lowered China’s industrial activity with exporters having a hard time delivering export containers to Shanghai port. This has resulted in lower volumes flowing in the China-to-US trade lanes.

Container spot rates fell sharply on the back of the combined impact of reduced demand in the US and Chinese exports affected by the pandemic-induced shutdowns in Shanghai.

container spot rates - shifl - shipping and freight resource

The core reason for the continued drop in spot freight rates as we predicted previously is the reduced demand in the US which we are seeing from our customers’ data as well. The price of a 40’ container continued to drop in April 2022 to $7-8,000 for the China-US West Coast and around $9-10,000 for the China-US East Coast,” said Levy.

Carriers have been trying to manage this drop in spot rates by implementing blank sailings while trying to lock shippers on longer-term contracts riding on the previous highs in hopes of extending their honeymoon period,” said Levy. 


  • Transit time = The time taken for containers from loading at Port of Load till discharge at Port of Discharge including waiting time at anchorage
  • Container Gate Out = The time taken for import full containers from discharge till it is moved out of port 
  • Spot Freight rate = The freight rate charged by the carriers from port to port on a spot basis, (non-contract basis). We are only tracking 40’ container spot rates.


Disclaimer: The insights in this report are based on Shifl’s own freight data drawn from the significant volume of shipments handled by Shifl. 

About Shifl: Shifl is bringing the supply chain into the future with technology and innovation that brings a huge array of real-life benefits to its customers. If you are an importer looking to bring your business into today’s digital age, be more in control, and pay less overall — Shifl is for you. Shifl is headquartered in New York and maintains a presence in China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Dominican Republic and The Philippines. To learn more, visit

Media contact: CHARLIE PESTI – The World’s best publicist of logistics and supply chain technologies – or visit 


Port of Long Beach boosts rail capacity

The Port of Long Beach has completed the construction of a new rail project that will increase the efficiency of goods movement and reduce congestion on local roadways by shifting more cargo to trains.

The Double Track Access from Pier G to Pier J Project adds a second rail line running approximately 8,000 feet long that enables four terminals in the Port’s south basin area to simultaneously handle arriving and departing trains.

The project is a vital piece of the Port’s ongoing rail infrastructure capital improvement program aimed at shifting more cargo to rail, one of the goals of the 2017 Update of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan.

This project is an important piece of the rail improvement program that will increase efficiency and lower emissions at our Port,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We’re continuing to invest in strengthening our supply chain, prioritizing environmental sustainability, and reducing impacts on the communities surrounding the Port.

This project will streamline operations and reduce truck trips at a time we are experiencing an unprecedented growth in cargo,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Our investments in on-dock rail will help the Port remain globally competitive and environmentally sustainable well into the future.

Alleviating truck traffic will enhance air quality and decrease the impact of Port operations on the surrounding community,” said Sharon L. Weissman, Vice President of the Long Beach Harbor Commission. “Moving goods more efficiently and sustainably remains one of our top priorities.

Construction started in February 2020 on the project, which increases rail efficiency at Piers G and J up to 25 percent. It will also minimize conflict with neighboring terminals’ on-dock rail operations and improve overall safety in the vicinity.

The $34.7 million project was partially funded with a $14 million grant from the state’s Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, which was established by Senate Bill 1 to pay for infrastructure improvements on federally designated freight networks across California using money from the state and the National Highway Freight Program. The Port contributed the remaining funds for the project, which was completed early and under budget.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade, and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. As the second-busiest container seaport in the United States, the Port handles trade valued at more than $200 billion annually and supports 2.6 million trade-related jobs across the nation, including 575,000 in Southern California.

Real-time visibility coming to entire fleet of Hapag Lloyd containers in 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for customers to know exactly where their containers are at all times. Whether it was consumers sitting in the comfort of their homes awaiting goods ordered online or hospitals awaiting essential supplies to manage patients or supermarkets awaiting consumer goods to cater to the COVID-19 induced demand, everyone is keen on knowing where their goods are.

Hapag Lloyd, the world’s 5th largest container shipping line has announced that they will be introducing real-time monitoring of its ENTIRE container fleet.

In 2019, we’ve already successfully introduced real-time monitoring for our reefer container fleet. Now with the IoT product Hapag-Lloyd LIVE, we’ll go one step further, and we’ll start to install newly developed devices to all standard containers of our entire three million TEU fleet.” said Hapag Lloyd on its LinkedIn page.

Once Hapag Lloyd’s LIVE becomes available in 2023, it will become the first major global container shipping line to offer this digital enhancement to customers.

Announcing their plan to digitalize container shipping further, Maximilian Rothkopf, COO of Hapag-Lloyd said

Going forward, we will be able to provide all our customers with real-time track and trace data, giving them full visibility of any container movement worldwide. We will be able to detect delays earlier, inform impacted customers automatically and initiate counteractions at an early stage. We firmly believe that our real-time tracking approach will not only be beneficial for our customers but be a game changer for the entire container shipping industry”.

IoT devices can transmit data on a real-time basis from anywhere there is a cellular coverage including location, temperature changes, and any sudden shocks such as collisions which could lead to cargo damage. This could also be especially useful in maritime disasters such as containers falling into the sea.

A press release by Hapag Lloyd stated “The shipping container monitoring device integrates the latest energy harvesting technology and low-power consumption techniques to ensure ultra-long lifetimes with high-frequency data sending. The container fleet will be equipped with devices both from established TradeTech partner Nexxiot AG starting this summer as well as with devices from ORBCOMM, a global leader in Internet-of-Things solutions, starting later this year.

It is our vision to build the world’s smartest container fleet and to provide valuable information to our customers at the frequency they need” stated Olaf Habert, Director Container Applications at Hapag-Lloyd. “Working with the most advanced companies for global-scale IoT applications will help us to equip our container fleet as fast as possible. This is what our customers now require and increasingly expect so they can manage their complex supply chains better.

This announcement presumably comes on the back of a hugely successful 2021 for Hapag Lloyd financially and in the face of a forecast for very strong earnings in the first half of 2022.

Hapag Lloyd announced an EBITDA of slightly more than USD 12.8 billion (approximately EUR 10.9 billion) in 2021 with a group net result of around USD 10.8 billion (EUR 9.1 billion).

We look back on an exceptionally successful year in which we invested massively in modern vessels and new containers. In addition, we have significantly strengthened our financial and asset position.” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG.

Looking forward, Hapag-Lloyd expects its earnings to be very strong in the first half of 2022 with EBITDA in the range of USD 12 to 14 billion (EUR 10.7 to 12.4 billion) and EBIT to be in the range of USD 10 to 12 billion (EUR 8.9 to 10.7 billion).

Webinar: Importance of real-time visibility in pharmaceutical logistics and headwinds facing the industry

As per UN statistics, medicinal and pharmaceutical products were among the top exported commodities in 2020 increasing by 13.2% in value to reach US$271.1 billion while imports increased by 12.7% to reach US$277 billion in value.

While this growth has done wonders for the industry, the increasing complexity and lack of transparency in global supply chains and specifically in the pharmaceutical sector have put a severe strain on the industry.

The modern-day supply chains are vulnerable to several disruptions such as natural disasters, maritime disasters, trade wars, cyber-attacks and not to mention pandemics. While these disruptions affect all industries, as per BSI (British Standards Institution), one of the impactful supply chain-related challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry is the outright theft of pharmaceuticals, typically while in transit.

As per a report by BSI/TT Club, the top countries for pharmaceutical theft were the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Italy, and India. Thieves overwhelmingly strike the trucks moving pharmaceutical products globally, with the trucking modality targeted in almost three-fourths of thefts recorded by BSI.

Tive Pharma Webinar - real-time visibility
Source : BSI

While the techniques involved in stealing pharmaceuticals vary from country to country, the most common tactic was stealing from trucks which accounted for nearly one-third of thefts, followed by hijacking and/or theft from a facility.

Pharmaceutical regulations alone will be insufficient to support the necessary tracking, tracing, and transparency through the end-to-end supply chain; intensified security strategies may need to be developed and implemented,” says BSI in its report.

In addition, unprecedented delays in the freight ecosystem have catapulted the need for visibility into end-to-end cargo movement to mainstream relevance. Ensuring shipments arrive On Time In Full and without damage is of paramount importance for pharmaceutical companies as it directly impacts human lives and well-being.

The pharma industry stands to gain a lot from real-time visibility, and the need for visibility in the pharma industry is compounded by concerns that arise amongst its stakeholders, who are wary of the efficacy of logistics processes that remain opaque, creating skepticism.

Experts from the pharmaceutical and pharma logistics industry will analyze these challenges and the need for real-time visibility in pharma supply chains in a webinar on the 5th of May 2022 at 15:00 hrs CET.

tive pharma webinar real-time visibility - shipping and freight resource

The webinar will throw light on the criticality of real-time visibility in pharma supply chains and what can be done to ensure required conditions are met across the end-to-end supply chain while transporting sensitive cargo.

Don’t miss out. Register here.

tive pharma webinar - real-time visibility - shipping and freight resource


Easter Sunday rising as Ever Forward is refloated

An outstanding Easter Sunday rising” is how William Doyle, Executive Director of the Port Baltimore has termed the refloating of the Ever Forward on Easter Sunday the 17th of April 2022..

The Ever Forward, a Hong Kong flagged ship operated by Evergreen, the 7th largest container shipping line in the world, was on its way from the port of Baltimore in Maryland US to Norfolk when it is said to have missed a southbound turn in the Chesapeake Bay and ran aground (resting at the bottom) around 00:15 hrs (UTC) on the 13th of March 2022 near Gibson Island in the Chesapeake Bay channel.

The authorities made several attempts to refloat the ship which involved pulling and pushing of the ship using tug boats and dredging around the ship to loosen the sand around the ship’s bow.

Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, channels, and other water bodies. It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbors.

After a few unsuccessful efforts to free the ship, salvage experts determined they can’t overcome the ground force of the Ever Forward in its current loaded condition and decided to start operations to remove containers from the ship to lighten the load.

Accordingly, operations commenced on the 9th of April to remove containers from Ever Forward and load on barges which took the containers to Port Baltimore Seagirt.

The combined actions of lighterage operations, dredging, and salvage operations by the Don Jon-Smit salvage team seem to have yielded results and the Ever Forward was refloated at 07:15 hrs on Easter Sunday the 17th of April 2022.

The Ever Forward will remain at the Annapolis anchorage site to undergo a survey/scanning of the vessel’s hull. The Annapolis anchorage site is visible from Bay Bridge and is the location where deep sea ships anchor while awaiting orders to proceed.” said Doyle in a tweet.

Evergreen had previously announced General Average for the Ever Forward on the back of increased costs arising from the continued attempts to refloat the vessel and had appointed Richards Hogg Lindley as the GA adjuster.


Your deep-fried favorites will burn a hole in your pocket

If you’re someone who likes cooking, you’re likely fuming at how expensive things have gotten in the last few months. While prices of fresh produce and FMCG are an inconvenience, nothing could have prepared us for the spike in vegetable oil prices – especially sunflower oil.

Global sunflower oil prices have gone up over 100% in the last month, with traders fearing the worst is yet to come. In general, inflation in vegetable oil prices can be tied back to several factors – often the case when a commodity is widely consumed and is sourced across different geographic markets.

But such an explainer works well when inflation percentages range in the single- or double-digits, not when there’s galloping inflation as is the case today. For instance, the price of Sunflower Oil 6 Ports Option moved up by $800 per metric tonne (mt) to $2,650 per mt on March 8, up from $1,850 the day before. That’s a 43% increase in a day. In commodity language, that’s nothing less than a short squeeze.

Why did this happen? Point all fingers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia control over 60% of the world’s production of sunflower seeds, with Ukraine alone contributing roughly 35% of the world’s sunflower oil production. In total, Ukraine and Russia contributed 77% of global exports in 2020-21. Today, Ukrainian oil is out of reach, with shrunken harvests and oil supplies unable to leave its boundaries.

sunflower oil producers

For Russia, the issue is with the embargoes. Several countries have banned Russian exports, and major shipping vessel operators and ports refuse to work with Russia. The European Union has announced a blanket ban on all Russian-operated vessels from its ports, with sanctions expected to be stepped up as the war continues to flare. So with Ukrainian oil out of reach and Russian oil being embargoed, it’s little surprise that sunflower oil prices have exploded over the last month.

sunflower oil prices
Source: S&P Global

While prices are an immediate concern, the issue in the longer term would be availability. With more than half of the world’s sunflower oil output siphoned off in a matter of weeks, it will be difficult – and nearly impossible – to find a replacement.

To understand the impact, it makes sense to check out supermarkets across the globe, which reflect the scarcity playing out in the absence of Ukrainian sunflower oil. For instance, Ukraine contributes to over 90% of the EU’s sunflower oil needs, aside from a meaty 40% of rapeseed and soybean oil – popular alternatives to sunflower oil in the continent.

Meanwhile, India – Ukraine’s largest importer of sunflower oil – is having a headache with its imports, as 360,000 metric tonnes of Ukrainian sunflower oil shipments that had to be delivered in March are stuck across its ports due to the conflict. Between November and February, India has imported 715,934 mt of sunflower oil from Ukraine and 121,323 mt from Russia, making this war a costly affair. While India looks to continue buying Russian sunflower oil, transporting the oil seems tricky considering the shipping embargoes.

With sunflower oil being in demand and supply virtually limited, it puts the spotlight on its alternatives. The demand for Ukrainian sunflower oil was forecasted to hit 6.6 million mt in the 2021-22 season, which would considerably fall short in the current circumstances.

Sunflower oil is one of the big four vegetable oils, with the other being palm, soybean, and rapeseed oils. The soybean oil market is also under stress, considering a major production region – South America – has been affected by drought, reducing supplies. Canada, the largest producer of rapeseed oil, also suffered lower yields in ‘21, thanks to a sweltering hot summer. Reading between the lines, it’s evident climate change is increasingly becoming a spoiler for ag production.

Palm oil is by far the most used vegetable oil, with production concentrated in Indonesia and Malaysia, which control 85% of the global palm oil supplies. Even here, the region saw a lower yield of palm oil this year – the culprit being extended pandemic lockdowns that shut the doors on migrant labor who move into the countries during the harvest season. While cheap and ubiquitously used in food products, detergents, cosmetics, and even biofuel, palm oil is stigmatized, as its production has led to extensive deforestation in Southeast Asia, destroying indigenous flora and fauna.

But with options being limited, it is evident that palm oil usage will see an uptick at the expense of sunflower oil. In a recent meeting, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) strengthened this view, calling this the single biggest factor in palm oil demand and price direction. True to this, palm oil prices went from $1,640 mt on February 25 to $1,990 mt on March 2 – a 21% week-over-week increase.

Another reason for a future increase in the price of vegetable oil has to do with fertilizers. While most farmers do stock fertilizers for a short period of time, they’d have to buy more eventually. Fertilizer prices have been on the surge – not surprising, considering Russia and Ukraine contribute to 48% of the world’s ammonium nitrate, 28% of nitrogen and phosphorus, and 11% of the world’s urea. Russia and Belarus contributed to roughly 40% of the world’s potash exports last year. With the costs of fertilizer per acreage increasing substantially, farmers around the world are looking to ration their reserves, which ultimately impacts yield.

Human consumption aside, all vegetable oils play a role in reducing fuel-related carbon emissions, by being a key feedstock in biodiesel production. Around 15% of global vegetable oil production goes into making biodiesel. But now, with pressure coming in from consumers, countries are diverting their reserves – especially of sunflower oil – into the food industry. Nonetheless, if there’s sustained pressure on supplies on account of the crisis in the Black Sea region, the world will have a hard time supplying edible oil to growing demand in the medium term.

About Vishnu : Vishnu is an independent journalist appearing on several news outlets within the logistics and transport niche. He predominantly covers maritime- and trucking-related stories, and writes commentaries on supply chain trends. This aside, he also profiles freight-tech startups and brings perspective from industry thought leaders.

All you need to know about port, trade and party sanctions against Russia


As everyone knows, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been with us since February 2022. Different countries have reacted differently to the conflict with some supporting Russia, some against Russia, and some remaining neutral.

There have been several sanctions against Russia on several fronts and below is a summary of key UK, EU, and US sanctions introduced as a response to the Ukraine conflict.

This summary, courtesy of North P&I, is not exhaustive but focuses on three key areas (1) port bans (2) trade restrictions (3) party-related sanctions.

Port bans

UK sanctions

Russian ships are prohibited from 1st March 2022 from entering ports in the United Kingdom.  Russian ships include:

  • a ship owned, controlled, chartered or operated by a designated person
  • a ship owned, controlled, chartered or operated by persons connected with Russia
  • a ship registered in Russia, or
  • a ship flying the flag of Russia

These sanctions do not apply to other ships originating from or destined for Russian ports; ships carrying cargo to or from Russia are not within scope of the transport sanctions unless they fall within the definition of a Russian ship or specified ship as above. Further, the sanctions do not apply to ships (that are not otherwise included in the Regulations) with Russian crews or Masters, unless they are a designated person.

EU sanctions

It is prohibited from 16th April 2022 to provide access to any EU port to any vessel registered under the flag of Russia.  This prohibition applies to vessels that have changed their Russian flag or their registration to the flag or register of any other state after 24 February 2022.  There are several exemptions as set out in Article 3ea of Regulation 833/2014.

For details of global port restrictions on Russian connected vessels please see our Industry News Item: Industry News: Port restrictions on Russian connected vessels (

Trade restrictions

US Sanctions

The following are prohibited:

  • the import of goods, services, technology from the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic Region of Ukraine (the “Covered Regions”) to the US;
  • the export of goods, services or technologies from the US or by a US person to the Covered Regions.
  • the import into the US of the following products of Russian Federation origin: crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products[1];
  • new investment in the energy sector in the Russian Federation by a United States person, wherever located; and

The US is also now empowered to sanction persons operating in the marine sector of Russia.

UK sanctions

The UK has imposed trade prohibitions relating to:

  • military goods and military technology (as specified in Schedule 2 to the Export Control Order 2008).
  • anything which falls within Chapter 93 of the Goods Classification Table, other than military goods.
  • provision of technical assistance, armed personnel, financial services or funds, or associated brokering services where such provision enables or facilitates the conduct of certain military activities.
  • dual-use goods and technology (as specified in Annex I to Council Regulation 428/2009 as retained by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (‘the Dual-Use Regulation’)).
  • critical-industry goods and technology (as specified in Schedule 2A to the Russia (Sanctions) EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (“the Regulations”)).
  • aviation and space goods and technology (as specified in Schedule 2C to the Regulations).
  • energy-related goods (as specified in Part 2 of Schedule 3 to the Regulations).
  • energy-related services.
  • goods originating in non-government controlled Ukrainian territory.
  • infrastructure-related goods (as specified in Part 3 of Schedule 3 to the Regulations).

More details of the UK sanctions can be found here: Russia sanctions: guidance – GOV.UK (

EU sanctions

The EU sanctions pursuant to Regulation 833/2014 (as amended) include prohibitions on:

– The sale, supply, transfer or export of:

  • Dual-use goods and technology (that is, goods which have both a potential civil and military application, a list of which can be found in Annex I to EU Regulation 2021/821).
  • Equipment or technology (whether or not originating in the EU) which is listed in Annex II to a person or entity in Russia or for use in Russia. Annex II includes certain goods and technology suited to certain categories of exploration and production projects.
  • Goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement, or development of the defence and security sector, as listed in Annex VII of the Regulation (noting in particular a specific category for marine-related goods in Category 8), with similar limited exemptions and authorisation procedures as above;
  • Goods and technology suited for use in oil refining as listed in Annex X of the Regulation, with an exemption until 27 May 2022 for the performance of contracts concluded before 26 February 2022;
  • Goods and technology suited for use the aviation and space industries as listed in Annex XI of the Regulation, with an exemption until 28 March 2022 for the performance of contracts concluded before 26 February 2022;
  • Luxury goods as listed in Annex XVIII from the EU to Russia.
  • Jet fuel and certain fuel additives (as listed in Annex XX); and goods and technology which could contribute in particular to the enhancement of Russian industrial capacities (as listed in Annex XXIII).

– The purchase, import of transfer of:

  • Coal and other solid fossil fuels into the EU if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, including in transit, with an exemption until 10 August 2022 (for contracts concluded before 9 April 2022). Further, derogations may be granted for transports that are deemed necessary for certain purposes (such as the purchase, import or transport of certain goods into the EU).
  • Goods which generate significant revenues for Russia into the EU, including (among other things) wood, cement, fertilisers and seafood (as listed in Annex XXI).
  • Import and transport of iron and steel products listed in Annex XVII into the EU if they originate in Russia or have been exported from Russia. There is an exemption until 17 June 2022 for the performance of contracts concluded before 16 March 2022.

The transport of Russian cargoes is also impacted by the party related sanctions (see below).  There is also a trade ban between Donetsk and Luhansk and the EU (see Regulation 2022/263).

Party related sanctions

The EU, US and UK have all sanctioned individuals and companies in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.   The sanctions introduced against entities range from full asset freezes, to bans on almost all transactions with the sanctioned entity, together with more limited restrictions.

Of particular note is the EU prohibition on transactions with certain state-owned Russian companies listed in Annex XIX (these companies include Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft).  There is an exemption until 15 May 2022 for performance of contracts concluded before 16 March 2022 and the ban does not apply to transactions which are strictly necessary for the purchase, import or transport of fossil fuels, in particular, coal, oil and natural gas, as well as titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, palladium and iron ore from or through Russia into the EU (the ban therefore applies when these cargoes are not being transported into the EU) ; or to  transactions related to energy projects outside Russia in which the companies listed in Annex XIX is a minority shareholder.

Source : North

Countless containers washed away as heavy rains and floods pulverizes Durban

Below were some of the scenes playing out in the port city of Durban which has been battered by heavy rains and floods in the last couple of days with more rains expected today..

It has been reported that the N2 highway that connects Johannesburg to the port of Durban has been closed to southbound traffic due to debris and shipping containers on the road caused by the floods..

Videos also show rail lines and trucks washed away in the deluge.. At least 20 people were also said to have lost their lives in the floods..

Videos received by Shipping and Freight Resource show containers being washed away in several areas whereas several more containers and especially reefer containers could be seen blown away and strewn all over the yard and highways.

The SA Weather services has issued an Orange level 8 warning: Rain: KZN: 11 – 12 April 2022 on their Twitter feed..


KwaZulu-Natal’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department said in a statement that “The inclement weather conditions are expected to continue today in areas around eThekwini municipality, which includes the city of Durban and this increases the risk of flooding getting worse in all these areas.”..

There has been no statement from Transnet Port Terminals or Authority on the situation in the port..

Disclaimer: Above videos have been embedded as received from various sources and original source unknown..

Supply Chain and Logistics visibility leader Tive raises $54M in Series B Funding

300%+ revenue growth, 200+ new global customers, and hired 100+ employees in 2021, six new investors in the B round, and thousands of shipments saved from delays, spoilage, damage, or loss.

Tive, the technology leader in the new era of supply chain and logistics visibility, today announced the closing of a $54M Series B funding led by AXA Venture Partners, with participation from Sorenson Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Fifth Wall, SJF Ventures, and Floating Point Ventures as well as the existing investors RRE Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, NextView Ventures, Hyperplane Ventures, Broom Ventures, and Supply Chain Ventures.

In 2021, Tive grew its revenue by over 300%, acquired more than 200 new customers, and expanded its global footprint. This latest investment will fuel Tive’s rapidly growing international presence, with the expansion of global sales and marketing initiatives. In addition, it will accelerate the development and introduction of next-generation solutions, and services and bring actionable supply chain intelligence and 24/7 monitoring to the market.

#1 in Supply Chain and Logistics Condition and Location Monitoring

Tive continues to outpace and out-innovate the competition with the most advanced multi-sensor trackers, a truly intuitive SaaS application, and a live 24/7 shipment monitoring service. As the leading provider of supply chain tracking technology, Tive has delivered real-time shipment visibility in more than 200 countries and helped save thousands of shipments from being delayed, damaged, spoiled, or rejected.

Addressing an Immediate Need for the Logistics Industry

Tive helps supply chain and logistics professionals bring their customers to the forefront and improve the experience of their deliveries. We empower every shipper and logistics service provider with the best visibility and monitoring tools in the market.  We are committed to developing products that create a seamless experience and don’t get in the way of our customer’s daily operations,” said Krenar Komoni, Founder & CEO of Tive. ​“With ongoing dedication from our investors, we continue to innovate and serve our customers while strengthening our position as a global provider of shipment insights that power the next generation of sustainable and efficient supply chains.

In 2019, Tive founded the Open Visibility Network (OVN) to ensure its vision of a world where everything and everyone is connected becomes a reality. The OVN makes shipment-level data and insights available to mutual customers and its open to all leading technology-enabled stakeholders to join. Current OVN members and partners include project44, FourKites, TransVoyant, FarEye, Marine Traffic, Everstream Analytics, and many more.

Tive has been scaling at an impressive rate, executing decisively on its vision where everything and everyone is connected. Supply chain visibility has become critical in solving large-scale problems in the world today, and Tive has emerged as the global market leader,” said Alex Scherbakovsky, General Partner at AXA Ventures Partners. ​“The breadth of data Tive offers and ease of access for shippers, logistics providers, and carriers are best in class. We believe that Tive’s next-gen solution and highly valuable network will continue to drive massive growth.

About Tive

Tive is a leading provider of real-time supply chain visibility insights that help logistics professionals actively manage their in-transit shipments’ location and condition. With Tive, shippers, carriers, and logistics service providers (LSPs) eliminate delays, damage, and shipment failures. Tive’s solution provides data generated by its industry-leading trackers allowing clients to actively optimize their shipments, improve their customers’ experience, and unlock supply chain insights in an actionable real-time manner. For more information, visit

About AXA Venture Partners

AXA Venture Partners (AVP) is a global venture capital firm with over $1.5B of assets under management. AVP invests across stages in rapidly growing tech companies in enterprise, fintech, consumer, and digital health sectors. With offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, and Singapore, AVP helps companies scale internationally. AVP also offers portfolio companies unique business development opportunities to further accelerate their growth. For more information, visit

Media Contact: CHARLIE


Answers to General Average questions

Here are the answers to the General Average questions that were posted on this site last week.. These questions and answers are courtesy of Barton Jennings – Professor Emeritus, Supply Chain Management and Transportation practitioner

1. What is the basic concept of the General Average practice?

The concept of General Average is that everything involved with a voyage should share in the benefits and risks. Basically, you are responsible for any “rescue” actions based upon the percentage of total value (ship plus cargo) that your cargo represents. General Average applies when three items happen.

These are:

    1. There is a danger to the entire vessel, crew, and shipments.
    2. There must be a direct action to jettison a part of the cargo or similar action that removes the peril from the entire sailing to a part of the sailing. This action has been expanded to include rescue from stranding, fire, and other perils where the shipowner experiences losses or costs to save the shipments.
    3. The action taken was successful and ended or prevented other losses.

2. Explain the difference between an overboard loss and a jettison loss. Which would likely be covered by the General Average practice, and why?

Overboard Losses – Waves and rocking can cause products to fall off a ship. Basically, it is an accidental loss. Jettison – Containers and other cargo may be jettisoned if they risk the safety of the vessel.

Typically, containers or vehicles that come loose in rough waters are pushed overboard. Additionally, containers that catch fire or pose an immediate threat to the crew and/or other cargo may be jettisoned. Basically, it is a loss done on purpose to save other shipments and the ship. This type of loss gets covered or included by General Average.

3. You have cargo worth $2.8 million in several containers. The entire cargo on the ship is valued at $140 million, and the ship is valued at $120 million. The ship has been stranded due to an unusual storm, and the shipowner has spent $22 million to rescue the ship and have it hauled to port. What is your potential General Average liability from this incident? Show all of your calculations.

    1. Total Value = $140 million + $120 million = $260 million
    2. Your Cargo Value = $2.8 million Total General Average Loss = $22 million
    3. Your General Average Share = ($2.8 million/$260 million) x $22 million = $236,922.40

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