- A new free-to-use Trader Support Service backed by funding of up to £200 million will complete digital processes on behalf of businesses importing goods into Northern Ireland.
- £155m to fund the development of new technology to ensure the new processes can be fully digital and streamlined.
- £300 million confirmed funding for the PEACE Plus programme will help to support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.
On a visit to Northern Ireland today (Friday 7 August), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, will announce a major £650m package of investment to help traders in Northern Ireland, and support peace, prosperity and reconciliation projects on the island of Ireland.
At the centre of this package is a new, free-to-use Trader Support Service (TSS) - an end-to-end support service to deal with import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders.
The new service will be available to businesses bringing in goods from Great Britain or the rest of the world, providing guidance as well as dealing with their requirements for moving goods into Northern Ireland.
A procurement exercise for the service has now been launched. We have committed £50m of funding for the establishment and first phase of the service, with the full contract to be worth up to £200m. Businesses in Northern Ireland can sign up for further information about the scheme on GOV.UK from today, before it becomes operational in September.
The service is outlined as part of the publication of new guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol for businesses moving goods into and from Northern Ireland. The new online pages have been added to gov.uk/transition and will be updated as implementation work and UK-EU discussions proceed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This provides further clarity to businesses following the publication of the Government’s Command Paper in May, with additional details to be outlined as work proceeds in the coming months to support preparations for the end of the transition period.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State also confirmed £300m of funding to the PEACE Plus programme to support peace and reconciliation across the island of Ireland.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said:
“Today’s £650 million investment underlines our absolute commitment to the people and businesses of Northern Ireland as we move towards the end of the transition period.
“Our new free-to-use Trader Support Service will provide vital support and guidance to traders, while our £300 million investment in reconciliation projects will help to preserve the huge gains from the peace process and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
“As part of our ongoing engagement with Northern Ireland businesses and the Executive, we are also publishing further guidance for businesses on the operation of the Protocol.
“As we continue to engage with businesses and our discussions with the EU proceed, we will update these resources to ensure that traders are ready for the end of the transition period.”
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, said:
“Businesses have always been at the heart of our preparations for the end of the transition period. This new Trader Support Service backed by funding of up to £200m reinforces this approach – it is a unique service that will ensure that businesses of all sizes can have import processes dealt with on their behalf, at no cost.
“We recognise the importance of clarity and certainty for businesses which is why, as our discussions with the EU continue, the Business Engagement Forum will remain a vital forum to bring together the UK Government and the NI Executive with businesses across NI and their representatives to make sure they have the information they need to support their preparations.
“We also recognise that the Protocol is about more than maintaining the critical economic links that exist across our United Kingdom, so I am proud that we have committed to provide £300 million to the PEACE Plus programme, which does such important work across the island of Ireland to promote peace and reconciliation.”
Global air cargo volumes continued to show a ‘gradual but consistent’ month-on-month recovery in July, increasing by 8% over June, according to the latest air cargo market analysis by CLIVE Data Services.
The growth in chargeable weight last month - normalised for the fact that July has one more day than June - also helped to further narrow the year-on-year decline in international freight volumes.
July 2020’s performance was -20% versus the same month a year ago but still reflected an improving monthly trend in the level of air cargo traffic compared to the -26%, -31% and -37% year-on-year gaps in April, May and June 2020 respectively.
CLIVE’s regional year-on-year ‘dynamic loadfactor’ analyses, for example, for week 31 (27 July-Aug 2) shows a +21% points increase on the North America to Europe lane versus July 2019; a +19% points on the Europe-North America lane; a +10% points on the Asia-Europe & Middle East lane; and a closing of the gap on the Europe & Middle East-Asia lane, -5% points year-on-year but continually getting closer to the market level of 2019 after a seismic fall earlier in the year.
CLIVE’s ‘dynamic loadfactor’ of 70% in July - based on both the volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available -represented a minimal decline of 0.6% versus June 2020 but was still 8% higher year-on-year.
Managing director, Niall van de Wouw, commented: “Our market analyses for July, especially compared to what we were reporting a few months ago, shows the gradual but consistent climb up the slope to recovery for the air cargo market is continuing. This is obviously no ‘V’ shape recovery, but even as additional capacity comes into the market with the return of more passenger services, cargo volumes are showing some reassuring resilience.
“To put the 70% dynamic loadfactor into perspective, during the Christmas 2018 proper peak season it stood at 68%, and now we are in July, normally the doldrums summer period for the air cargo industry.
“Beneath this Global average are, however, regional differences. The load factors to and from Asia shows a different pattern than the ones across the Atlantic but this decline in load factor is mainly caused by increasing capacity. For example, Eastbound Atlantic capacity in the week of 27 July-2 August was 10% higher than in the last week of June, while the cargo volumes rose by ‘just’ 4% over that same timeframe.”
CLIVE said its air cargo industry intelligence consolidates data shared by a representative group of international airlines operating to all corners of the globe. Based on both the volume and weight perspectives of the cargo flown and capacity available, it uses weekly analyses “to give the air cargo industry the earliest possible barometer of market performance each month.”
Source: Lloyds Loading List
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- The Q2 2020 European Road Freight Rate Benchmark was €1,083, down 1.8% year-on-year
- The slump in demand led to high levels of available capacity in the market
- But carriers faced increased operational costs from factors such as border controls and investments in PPE
- Over three quarters of lanes showed greater volatility than the same quarter a year ago
The pandemic has rapidly changed the demand and supply dynamics in European road freight. Over the last quarter, volumes fell dramatically as countries entered into tight national lockdowns. With factories halting production and retailers closing stores, road freight activity plummeted. Data from Verizon Connect that studies readings from tachographs shows total driver operating hours fell by an average of 50% across Europe from Mid-February to early April.
However, the supply-side story was more complicated. Although there has clearly been a net increase in available capacity, complicating factors such as border controls, decisions to reduce driver operating hours and government support schemes (such as furloughing) have had a significant impact on the market. With country-level legislation and operations changing at different speeds, levels of available supply on individual lanes have fluctuated throughout the quarter.
This means that although the benchmark rate did fall to its lowest level since Q1 2018, the drop of 1.8% y-o-y or 0.3% q-o-q was not that great overall.
However, looking at individual lanes, there were some strong fluctuations. Duisburg-Madrid, which is explored in further detail in the report, saw the biggest price change with rates falling 9.6% year-on-year.
Volatility has been a prominent feature in the market over 2020. The report shows the majority of the 36 lanes investigated were more volatile, both compared against the previous quarter and Q2 2019.
The report also studies how diesel prices effect rates over time. Although there was a slump due to the sharp drop in oil prices, these savings do not appear to have been passed on to shippers.
Some of Europe’s largest trade lanes by volumes are also analysed. Germany-Poland rates pushed higher, with France-Spain relatively stable and France-Germany rates below Q1 levels.
Andy Ralls, Quantitative Analyst at Ti, commented,
“We have seen a fall in rates in general into Q2, with higher volatility across the majority of lanes. However, this quarter has shown that market forces are perhaps not as influential as the pricing power of the road freight operators. In normal times, a sharp fall in demand ought to lead to a sharp fall in rates, but operators have managed to control supply effectively and factor the additional operational complexities into the pricing of road freight on a Europe-wide level.”
Thomas Larrieu, Upply’s Chief Data Officer, commented:
“Q2 was mainly about controlling the down falling effects of the coronavirus crisis on transportation prices. Our forecasting tools anticipate an increase of the demand for road transportation in Q3 and Q4 leading to a stabilization or even an increase of market rates on our current watched trends here at Upply.”
Source: Transport Intelligence
We’ve less than six months until the end of the Brexit transition period and it’s estimated an extra 50,000 private-sector customs agents will be needed to meet additional demands.
Findings show three-quarters of businesses surveyed by the British International Freight Association (BIFA) want the Brexit transition period to be extended, with half saying they don’t have sufficient staff to handle additional requirements.
To ease the situation, businesses will now receive £2,000 for each new 16-24-year-old apprentice they recruit, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 and over. Training can also be funded through the apprenticeship levy or through government co-investment for SMEs.
Neil Bates, our Seetec Outsource Managing Director said:
“The businesses that thrive Post Brexit will be those who act now to build back better and start addressing the shortage of trained staff in a sector which is crucial to the UK economy. Young people are bearing the brunt of the economic hit caused by Covid-19, yet they represent the talent that can help businesses to adapt and embrace the changes and opportunities that Brexit will bring.”
“There is a wealth of young talent available, and the Government is offering significant incentives to businesses that recruit new apprentices between now and January 2021. There has never been a better time to recruit an International Freight Forwarding apprentice.”
Carl Hobbis, Training and Development Manager from BIFA added:
“With the need to add more customs experts to the sector, an apprenticeship in freight forwarding is one solution. Forwarders will continue to play a crucial role in the UK’s international trade in the future, therefore the industry will provide a long-term, exciting career for a young person.
“The government has promised significant investment in the GB-EU border, so now is the time for businesses to invest in new talent and plan their future talent strategy. Employers shouldn’t underestimate the amount of time needed to train someone to become competent in Customs procedures.”
Richard Hird, Group Training Manager from Woodland Group said:
“We love to incorporate apprentices into our team as often as possible. The benefit of hiring an apprentice is that they don’t come to us with preconceived ideas of the Freight Forwarding industry and are eager to learn the ‘Woodland Way’. During the Apprenticeship they learn about every different aspect of the role including Imports and Exports via road, sea and air, Customs and customer service skills. This means that by the time they reach the end of the Apprenticeship, we have a well-rounded and knowledgeable team member who can fit in to any area of the business.”
Source: Seetec Outsource
The number of secure truck parking places in the Transported Asset Protection Association's (TAPA) EMEA’s Parking Security Requirement (PSR) database broke through the 7,000 barrier in July as more sites joined its programme to support the resilience of trucking operations, improve driver safety and reduce cargo thefts across the region.
The programme’s most recent growth has been driven by SNAP Account, the cashless payment system working with over 220 HGV parking sites across the UK and Europe, which is actively encouraging parking operators to adopt the TAPA security standard. 19 of these sites are already participating in TAPA’s PSR, with the latest locations in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Slovakia.
Six more are in the pipeline, according to SNAP, which provides 10,500 parking spaces per day or 3.7 million a year for over 100,000 truck drivers.
This latest expansion of TAPA’s PSR means the Association is now giving its Manufacturer and Logistics Service Provider members access to a secure parking database of nearly 7,200 parking places at 68 secure sites in 11 countries; Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Criminal attacks on trucks accounted for 53.8% of the 8,548 cargo crimes reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in 2019. TAPA members effectively protect their supply chains by using the Association’s digital supply chain resilience tools. This includes identifying cargo crimes on specific transport routings across EMEA to support risk assessment and loss prevention, alongside a listing of the nearest TAPA-approved secure parking locations to ensure drivers, vehicles and high value, theft targeted loads remain safe during mandatory rest breaks.
SNAP, which recruits 2-3 new parking sites each week, is volunteering the support of its Access & Security team to bring more locations up to PSR Level 3 of the TAPA security standard.
Nick Long, SNAP’s European network manager, commented: “We always try our best to help a location bring its standards up to reach the TAPA PSR Level 3. When a new location starts working with SNAP, we explain the benefits of joining the PSR programme and ask if they would like to gain the accreditation.
“It is vital to increase security throughout the haulage sector and we illustrate the reasons why. Our Access & Security team are continuing to carry out security ‘health checks’ and offering specialised advice to any parking locations who would like to join the programme. SNAP will continue to volunteer and support TAPA to create safer parking areas across Europe because the market size for secure parking completely overshadows the availability.”
For his part, Thorsten Neumann, president & CEO of TAPA EMEA, noted: “We greatly appreciate the support we are receiving from SNAP Account. They clearly understand the importance and value of creating more secure truck parking places in our region, and are taking proactive action to support the growth of our parking database.
“Our PSR standard is gaining such wide support because it has been designed by the industry, for the industry, or to be more precise, by the companies that want to book secure parking places. We have already seen record growth in 2020 and I am confident this will continue.”
TAPA is also hoping to benefit from SNAP’s recently-formed partnership with ELVIS, the European Cargo Federation of International Freight Forwarders, to extend the number of secure parking areas in Germany.
The ELVIS network has more than 250 companies that could be suitable for SNAP’s Depot Parking scheme, with over 10 locations set to launch very soon.
Earlier this year, a SNAP survey of 350 people working in the Transport and Automotive sector in Germany on the causes, impact and solutions to rising cargo crime, found that 46.3% of those working in the industry have been affected by cargo crime or know someone affected.
Source: Lloyds Loading List
The carrier segment appears to be negotiating the coronavirus 'storm' with some success, at least in terms of safeguarding its vital long-term ocean freight rates, according to market analyst, Xeneta.
Its latest XSI Public Indices report, ,based on over 200 million data points crowd-sourced from leading shippers covering more than 160,000 port-to-port pairings, shows that after two months of slight rate declines - “although nowhere near as dramatic as industry observers had feared given the pandemic’s severity – the index crept up 0.1% in July. It is now just 0.1% down through 2020 and 0.8% down year-on-year.”
CEO of Oslo-based Xeneta, Patrik Berglund, attributed the relatively minor movements to the proactivity of owners, as they continue to perform a “delicate balancing act” with supply and demand.
“We’ve seen contracted rates holding comparatively steady while spot rates have actually been rising from April and through May and June,” he says, adding: “Given the short- and mid-term macro-economic situation that’s taken many by surprise. The key has been carriers conducting a delicate balancing act to remove tonnage and adjust routes in accordance with demand. However, it’s difficult to maintain that for the long-term and, let’s face it, the virus is not going anywhere fast - so what’s the next step?
“Our latest intelligence shows that spot rates have finally begun to slide on key Far East-North Europe and Far East-US West Coast trades, suggesting the recent re-instatement of routes and tonnage is driving down prices. That’s obviously a concern for carriers who face a difficult decision: keep reintroducing tonnage and try and gain market share, yet undermine rates, or withhold services and keep propping them up?
“So, don’t let the current minor fluctuations overshadow the major decisions that are being taken behind the scenes.”
The XSI Public Indices’ regional analysis of major trading routes painted a mixed picture for July. After four months of decline, imports on the European XSI increased by 0.2% (down 2% year-on-year), whereas the export benchmark registered its steepest fall since October with a decline of 2%. That said, it remains 3.4% up year-on-year. Developments in the Far East were negative, with a significant 4.5% fall in import rates and a 1% drop in the export figure. Year-on-year the benchmarks are up 1.6% and down 1.3% respectively.
US figures were varied for the month of July, with imports declining marginally by 0.1% (0.4% down against July 2019) while exports registered a healthy rise of 1.2%, reversing two months of decline. However, despite the increase, the index remains down 3.3% year-on-year and has now shed 2.2% of its value since the end of 2019.
Highly complex picture
Berglund concluded that carriers have been working flat out on strategy and that has maintained a relatively solid rates course “in this most trying of times.” However, he underlined that they (the carriers) can’t control external factors and key indicators are undoubtedly a cause for concern.
“For example, the virus continues to ravage the US and, given the scale of unemployment, demand will remain subdued, creating an impetus to withdraw capacity. Meanwhile, consumer spending has fallen by 1.8% in China (against forecasted growth of 0.5%) and that suggests any recovery may take time. However, it’s also important to note that China reported impressive second-quarter GDP growth of 3.2% year-on-year, beating market expectations and reversing the decline of 6.8% in Q1.
“So, it’s a highly complex picture, and that creates a real challenge for both carriers to effectively manage rates and shippers to know what they should be paying to gain real value for cargoes. With that in mind, the latest market intelligence is absolutely key. Stay informed to stay ahead - that’s the only sure way forward.”
Companies participating in Xeneta’s crowd-sourced ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and market analytics platform include names such as ABB, Electrolux, Continental, Unilever, Lenovo, Nestle, L’Oréal, and Thyssenkrupp, among others.
Source: Lloyds Loading List
The number of dogs certified by the DfT under the NASP and available for use is growing. We anticipate that this capability will continue to expand as more Regulated Agents realise the operational benefits of FREDDs, and more canine providers seek certification of their dogs to meet demand. With this in mind, the decision has been taken to transfer full regulatory responsibility for Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) operations, including certification and quality assurance (QA) from DfT to the CAA in line with wider aviation security regulatory and oversight processes.
Currently, FREDDs are only permitted to be used in the cargo sector. However, a DfT trial is expected to commence shortly to assess FREDDs for screening vehicles and accompanying personnel, based on a broader intention of expanding FREDDs use to wider areas of aviation security in the future.
On the cargo side, a CAA procurement exercise has been underway to appoint a third party commercial supplier to take on the role, under contract to the CAA, of accreditor responsible for the certification and QA of FREDDs, replacing Dstl who currently undertake this role. You may know that Dstl is the research arm of the MoD, and it is now the right time to transition the certification and QA aspects away from the research area. I am pleased to advise you that the procurement process is now complete and can confirm that the newly accredited supplier of FREDDs certification and QA in the UK is Redline Assured Security.
Following a successful handover from Dstl and an initial mobilisation phase, Redline will shortly assume full operational responsibility for FREDDs certification and QA. Due to the need to oversee practicalities around data handling and finalising the necessary security clearances, influenced adversely by the continuing restrictions in place due to the pandemic, it is envisaged that the official handover will take place in the autumn. We will notify you once Redline have an official start date to commence operational activities. Please note that responsibility for the regulation and oversight of EDD screening will pass from DfT to CAA at this time.
The wider policy framework around the use of EDD as an approved screening method will remain with DfT as the appropriate authority and custodians of the UK’s approved equipment list (on which certified EDDs and their handlers will be listed). If you currently use FREDDs to screen cargo as part of your current security processes, you should not notice any substantive changes at the point of transfer and you do not need to take any action.
Please note - any queries from suppliers of FREDDs, or EDD companies looking to submit canines for FREDDs certification, should contact Darren Saunders at Darren.email@example.com in the first instance.
Source: Civil Aviation Authority
Alphaliner’s July data shows the boxship orderbook-to-fleet ratio now stands at 9.4% or 2.21m teu, marking the first time this key indicator has ducked below the 10% mark this century. The boxship order book has been declining for the last four years. Back in July 2016 there was 3.55m teu of boxships on order.
“The fact that the decline already began four years ago means that the ongoing COVID-19 scare and its knock-on effects on the global economy and the liner trades are not solely to blame for the recent dry spell,”
Alphaliner noted in its latest weekly report.
Evergreen and CMA CGM are the two carriers with the largest orderbooks currently.
The current orderbook also shows the vessel pipeline has gaps in several size ranges. For instance, remarkably there are no ships on order in the size range from 4,000 to 9,999 teu except two 5,295 teu sisters that are still on the books of defunct Zhejiang Oahu, a shipyard that went bankrupt in 2018.
With so few newbuilds, the container shipping fleet is getting nearer to a better supply/demand equilibrium, especially with scrapping volumes picking up. With August just around the corner, container shipping demolition has already hit a 41-month high in July, reaching 52,800 teu and thereby surpassing the 50,500 teu demolished in June. In the first seven months of the year, a total of 152,800 teu have been demolished, a 26.3% rise from the same period last year, according to data published by BIMCO today.
Shipowners refraining from ordering new ships is not unique to the box trades. Splash reported earlier this month how new shipbuilding orders across all sectors in the first half declined 57% to the lowest levels seen this century, according to data from Clarkson Research Services. Just 269 ships – equivalent to 5.75m cgt – were contracted in the first six months around the world, putting many yards in jeopardy of running out of business in the coming year.
Commenting on the plight shipyards face today, Dag Kilen, head of research at Fearnleys, said owners were holding back from putting pen to paper for new tonnage over the uncertain green regulatory framework ahead.
“Covid is part of the explanation, but it was a weakening trend there already before Covid which stems from uncertainty on what to do about propulsion and coming stricter emission regulations,”
A report from Danish Ship Finance published in May suggested there will be more than 200 yard closures in the coming months and years.
Half of active yards have not seen any new orders since 2018 and orderbooks are now petering out for many shipbuilders.
Global yard capacity totals 56m cgt, divided between 281 yards. Since 2013, more than 240 yards with a combined capacity of 16m cgt have left the industry. However, much more capacity needs to close, the report suggests.