Time to anticipate!!!
For those who wonder what the above map is about, it concerns the port of Shanghai, where hundreds of ships (in red dots tankers and green cargo ships) are waiting to load or unload cargo. The reason for this big “jam” is the closure, or very slow operations, in the Port of Shanghai due to a COVID-19 lockdown.
For European seaports terminals and EU supply and logistics chains, it is quite obvious that the cascading effects resulting from the situation prevailing in Shanghai will be tremendous. The risks of congestion and disruption once these ships massively head for and call at EU ports and terminals are very high.
“It is very urgent to anticipate and get organized. Stakeholders representing shipping lines, port authorities, seaport terminals, shippers, freight forwarders, pilots, tug operators, inland transport operators, rail operators, road transport operators, etc. should very soon gather under the patronage of the EU Commission to discuss how we can individually and collectively prepare to avoid a “nightmare” for EU logistics and supply chains, otherwise EU consumers and businesses will be penalized”, states FEPORT Secretary General, Ms. Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid.
FEPORT therefore calls for an urgent initiative from the EU Commission to gather all interested parties to discuss contingency plans.
“After COVID-19, the Ever-Given incident, the congestion in other regions of the world, the lasting low levels of schedule reliability and the consequences of the implementation of sanctions on Russia, EU seaports terminals (employers and employees) cannot be once again the “buffer” absorbing all the shocks and pressure that will result from the situation prevailing in Shanghai. We need commitments from all parties to act in order to adapt to the situation that will affect European ports in 8 to 12 weeks from now”, concludes FEPORT Secretary General.
FEPORT looks forward to continuing the good cooperation with EU institutional stakeholders and all sister organizations in the interest of EU consumers and businesses.
15.03.2022 – US Administration announces initiative to improve supply chain data flow
On the 15th of March, the Biden Administration announced the launch of Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an information sharing initiative to pilot key freight information exchange between parts of the freight supply chain, aiming at addressing supply chain vulnerabilities and congestion, working to speed up the movement of goods, and lower costs for families.
FLOW includes eighteen initial participants that represent diverse perspectives across the supply chain, including private businesses, warehousing, and logistics companies, ports, and more. These key stakeholders will work together with the Administration to develop a proof-of-concept information exchange to ease supply chain congestion, speed up the movement of goods, and ultimately cut costs for American consumers.
This initial phase aims to produce a proof-of-concept freight information exchange by the end of the summer.
Source: The White House
29.03.2022 – UK regulator denied the Cargotec and Konecranes merger application
On the 29th of March, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued its final report regarding the Konecranes- Cargotec merger. According to the report, the remedies – which would have removed all overlapping businesses of the two companies and were accepted by the European Commission – would not be effective in addressing the CMA’s concerns and thus the planned merger between Konecranes and Cargotec could not be completed.
On the 24th of February, the European Commission conditionally approved the planned merger between Cargotec and Konecranes based on the same remedy package rejected by the CMA, which comprised commitments to divest Konecranes Lift Truck business and Kalmar Automation Solutions.
In addition, the State Administration for Market Regulation – the competition authority in China – and nine other jurisdictions have approved the planned merger.
In response to feedback received from the CMA during the course of their investigations, the boards of directors of Konecranes and Cargotec considered amending the remedy package offered to the EC further, as well as offering alternative remedy packages to address the concerns raised by the CMA.
By the end of 2021, Konecranes had booked €56 million and Cargotec €57 million of merger related transaction and integration planning costs. The total transaction cost estimate of €125 million (excluding integration planning costs) remains valid. The final transaction and integration planning costs will be reported when available.
Source: Port Technology
31.03.2022 – OSRA Bill passed by U.S. Senate
On the 31st of March, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) bill, which aims at improving oversight of ocean shipping, a step supporters say will help ease export backlogs.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act, led by Senators John Thune and Amy Klobuchar, will strengthen the investigatory authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the U.S. agency that oversees ocean shipping, and boost transparency of industry practices.
The legislation would prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for U.S. exports that would be determined by the FMC, which would write new rules. It would also require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter “on total import/export tonnage” making port in the United States. It would allow FMC to begin investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures.
01.04.2022 – KFTC and CCC probe price-fixing allegations against shipping lines
The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) and the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) are investigating shipping lines for supposedly colluding to fix freight.
The KFTC is investigating 20 local and overseas liner operators for colluding to fix freight on services from South Korea to China and Japan. The probe comes just two months after it imposed an $81m collective fine on these operators for fixing South Korea-Southeast Asia freight rates. KFTC is understood to have sent review reports to the liner operators concerned, saying it is looking into allegations that they fixed freight rates on South Korea-China and South Korea-Japan lanes for 17 years. The shipping companies are said to have failed to report collusion and unilateral acts of raising freight rates to the minister of oceans and fisheries, as required by Korea’s Shipping Act.
In Africa, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) comprises 21 African Member States and the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) is now investigating Maersk, CMA CGM and German-controlled United Africa Feeder Line for allegedly coordinating in raising freight charges. The CCC said the three have been accused of price signaling with CCC’s CEO, saying his organization has observed that the liners issued price announcements which could be construed as a form of coordinated behavior.
Source: The Loadstar, Splash 247
05.04.2022 – Fifth package of EU sanctions against Russia
On the 5th of April, the President of the European Commission has announced and proposed to Member States a fifth round of sanctions against Russia. The package includes six pillars:
- An import ban on coal from Russia, worth EUR 4 billion per year.
- A full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, among them VTB, the second largest Russian bank. These four banks, which will now be totally cut off from the markets, represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector.
- A ban on Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from accessing EU ports. Certain exemptions will cover essentials, such as agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid as well as energy. Additionally, a ban on Russian and Belarusian road transport operators is envisaged.
- Further targeted export bans, worth EUR 10 billion, in areas in which Russia is vulnerable. This includes, for example, quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, but also sensitive machinery and transportation equipment.
- Specific new import bans, worth EUR 5.5 billion, to cut the money stream of Russia and its oligarchs, on products from wood to cement, from seafood to liquor.
- A general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurement in Member States, or an exclusion of all financial support, be it European or national, to Russian public bodies.
Further sanctions will be adopted in a near future.
08.04.2022 – Council approves fifth package of sanctions on Russia
On the 8th of April, the Council approved the fifth package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia proposed by the European Commission on Tuesday the 5th of April.
The agreed package includes a series of measures intended to reinforce pressure on the Russian government and economy, and to limit the Kremlin’s resources for the aggression.
The package comprises:
- A prohibition to purchase, import or transfer coal and other solid fossil fuelsinto the EU if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, as from August 2022. Imports of coal into the EU are currently worth EUR 8 billion per year.
- A prohibition to provide access to EU portsto vessels registered under the flag of Russia. Derogations are granted for agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid, and energy.
- A ban on any Russian and Belarusian road transport undertakings preventing them from transporting goods by road within the EU, including in transit. Derogations are nonetheless granted for a number of products, such as pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat, and for road transport for humanitarian purposes.
- Further export bans, targeting jet fuel and other goods such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment, and new import bans on products such as: wood, cement, fertilizers, seafood and liquor. The agreed export and import bans only account for EUR 10 billion and EUR 5.5 billion respectively.
- A series of targeted economic measures intended to strengthen existing measures and close loopholes, such as: a general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurementin member states, the exclusion of all financial support to Russian public bodies.
- An extended prohibition on deposits to crypto-wallets, and on the sale of banknotes and transferrable securitiesdenominated in any official currencies of the EU member states to Russia and Belarus, or to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia and Belarus.
Furthermore, the Council decided to sanction companies whose products or technology have played a role in the invasion, such as key oligarchs and businesspeople, high-ranking Kremlin officials, proponents of disinformation and information manipulation, systematically spreading the Kremlin’s narrative on Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, as well as family members of already sanctioned individuals, in order to make sure that EU sanctions are not circumvented.
Moreover, a full transaction ban is imposed on four key Russian banks representing 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. After being de-SWIFTed these banks will now be subject to an asset freeze, thereby being completely cut off from EU markets.
More sanctions are yet to come and an embargo on Russian oil could be part of the next EU sanctions package.
08.04.2022 – EU Transport Ministers coordinated response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
On behalf of the French Presidency of the European Union, the Minister for Transport, Mr Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, held a video conference with his European counterparts and the European Commission on the 8th of April, 2022. The purpose of the video conference was to exchange views on how the European Union could provide a coordinated response, in the sector of transport, to the impact of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.
Since 24 February, the consequences of the war have already begun to be felt in all sectors, particularly in the transport sector. This sector is a means of responding to Ukraine's need for solidarity and support from the European Union, both in terms of logistics and refugee mobility. To signal their and the EU's support for Ukraine and to address the impact of the conflict on the European transport system, the transport ministers committed to a coordinated response to the transport challenges, in particular following the adoption of the latest sanctions package this morning, which includes an important transport component.
At the invitation of the presidency, the Ukrainian Minister for Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, opened these discussions.
The ministers took stock of the measures that have already been put in place or are planned in each member state, and of how to organize the various initiatives at EU level. The aim is to enhance cooperation between national authorities, and with the Commission, in order to better coordinate initiatives. Three main areas of work have been identified:
- supporting Ukraine, in particular by coordinating means of transport to ensure the continuity and fluidity of transport capacities for people, simplifying the mobility of refugees and their economic integration and coordinating logistical flows to facilitate the delivery of material aid to Ukraine and imports of goods into the European Union.
- protecting transport workers, in particular through European coordination of aid solutions, to ensure their safety and to allow operations to continue, while responding to possible needs for international coordination and action (IMO, ICAO, ILO).
- strengthening the resilience of the European transport system to enable the sector to cope with the crisis.
11.04.2022 – EU Commission approves €47.5 million Spanish scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support digitalization of freight transport services
On the 11th of April, the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €47.5 million Spanish scheme to support the digitalization of freight transport services.
The scheme will be funded through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, following the Commission’s positive assessment of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan and its adoption by Council. The scheme will run until 31 December 2025.
The purpose of the measure is to promote:
- The digitalization and optimization of logistics processes at ports and railway terminals.
- The implementation of technologies for the identification and traceability of rolling stock and intermodal transport units.
- The overall optimization of freight transport through data technologies, data governance and artificial intelligence.
The scheme is open to all freight transport operators and terminal operators active in Spain and, under it, the support will take the form of direct grants. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules.
The Commission found that the scheme is necessary and proportionate to enhance transport coordination by ensuring a full-scale digital interoperability between the different freight transport networks, as well as among the individual entities involved in freight transport. Furthermore, the Commission found that the aid will have an ‘incentive effect’ as the beneficiaries would not carry out the investments without public support. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure would contribute to transport coordination, in line with the objectives of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan, of the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and of the European Green Deal, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
19.04.2022 – TRAN discusses AFIR Draft Report
On the 19th of April, the TRAN Committee discussed the amendments submitted to Rapporteur Ismail Ertug’s (S&D, DE) draft report on the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).
MEP Ertug noted that there was common ground in the 1175 submitted amendments. There was notably broad agreement on increasing the power output for light-duty vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles charging infrastructure, as well as on card payment provisions and price transparency. However, he noted that the inclusion of liquified natural gas (LNG) in the definition of alternative fuels needed to be further discussed, and there were some divisions of opinions on provisions for hydrogen refueling stations and shore-side electricity in maritime ports.
The adoption of the report in the TRAN Committee is scheduled for 11 July.
20.04.2022 – TRAN discusses Maritime FuelEU Draft Report
On the 20th of April, the TRAN Committee met to discuss the draft report on the FuelEU Maritime Initiative, prepared by Rapporteur Jörgen Warborn.
In his presentation, MEP Warborn stressed that the maritime sector is an essential component of Europe’s transport system and plays a critical role for the European economy. The MEP admitted that maritime transport accounts for 3-4 % of European emissions, but action will be difficult and costly, as alternative fuels are currently way more expensive than fossil fuels. He underlined the need to boost innovation, production and deployment of these green alternative fuels in order to push down costs.
In his draft report, MEP Warborn addressed the need to preserve the European shipping sector’s competitiveness, while stressing that added costs will ultimately hit consumers. In his opinion, the EU should not introduce rules that make prices unbearable for European families or businesses.
On the ship type scope, Mr Warborn said that he was convinced that the policymakers should focus on the largest actors that generate the vast majority of emissions: ships above 5,000 tones. Those big ships generate 90% of maritime carbon emissions. Given that the regulation is the first of its kind with a risk of unknown side effects, he urged to keep the threshold relatively high in order to prevent the compliance cost from hitting the smallest shipping companies. However, the issue needs to be closely monitored and policymakers should include a review clause to evaluate the rules in a few years to see if there are reasons to change the 5,000 tones scope.
On the geographical scope, Mr Warborn said all approaches come with pros and cons. The MEP agreed with the Commission’s proposal of 100% intra-EU and 50% extra EU scope. He argued that having a 50% extra EU scope will force vessels on international voyages to adapt to EU rules, which should spur a behavioral change in the sector and pave the way for progress globally whilst putting pressure on the IMO.
On the onshore power, he underlined the need for reasonable rules. Imposing an obligation on ships to connect to onshore power in all situations is not an efficient way of reducing emissions. That money could in many cases generate better effects if used for the development of new propulsion technology and fuel production capacity. Flexibility provisions must therefore be included in the regulations to make sure that onshore power is installed where it makes sense and not in a blanket manner at every port without regard to the traffic intensity. The requirement on ships to connect to charging at berth should be limited only to ships calling on ports targeted by the AFIR requirement, meaning the TEN-T ports. The MEP warned that imposing it on ships calling on other ports where the necessary infrastructure is not available would in practice stop all traffic to the smallest ports outside the TEN-T system, which would be devastating from an economic and cohesion perspective. FuelEU and AFIR must be completely aligned so that supply and demand match.
MEP Vera Tax (S&D, NL) said that she has consulted numerous stakeholders and that she is convinced that the EU needs ambitious targets to decarbonize this sector in line with the Union’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050. On the berth mandate, she noted that the rapporteur introduced multiple exemptions, thus watering down the scheme and making it worse than the European Commission proposal.
MEP Elsi Katainen (RE, FI) said that it will be crucial to have a clear legislation offering legal certainty and ensuring the continuation of the EU's competitiveness. She stressed that aligning the legislation with any future IMO legislation is also important for legal coherence and to avoid regulatory overlaps. She also said that the revenues from FuelEU penalties should flow back to the maritime sector to support the development of alternative fuels and infrastructure as well as the innovation of new technologies.
MEP Kosma Złotowski (ECR, PL), who spoke on behalf of the ECR shadow rapporteur Johan Van Overtveldt, welcomed the focus on competitiveness, the prevention of carbon leakage and the international coordination with the IMO. He also strongly supports the fact that onshore power supply should be used when it is available and the rapporteur’s recommendation for a permanent tax exemption for OPS in this file.
22.04.2022 – Biden bans Russian ships from entering US ports
According to President Joe Biden, Russian ships are no longer allowed to enter US ports. In other words, the United States is following in Europe’s footsteps, strengthening sanctions against Russia in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden made this statement following a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday.
As of April 28, the US, like the EU, has banned all Russian-operated, registered, and owned ships from calling at US ports.
Source: Shipping Watch
27.04.2022 – 5th meeting of the Subgroup on Sustainable Ports
On the 27th of April, FEPORT participated in the 5th meeting of the Sustainable Port Subgroup, which operates under the European Ports Forum, an EU Commission expert group.
First topic on the agenda was the Study on the Capacity for Greening of European Sea Ports, which aims to document the environmental effects of port-related activities, the legislation that pertains to them as well as the impediments seaports are facing in implementing their green objectives. The study, for example, looks at potential legal obstacles that stand in the way of a greener port ecosystem.
The rapporteur on the study on the best practices on the use of alternative fuels and clean energy for port operations Mr. Raúl Cascajo, presented the current state of play of the study which constitutes a basis that requires further work to provide a relevant snapshot on the existing offer of alternative fuels in EU ports.
A representative from the European Investment Bank (EIB) gave an overview of financing opportunities in the port sector. Additionally, the development of new terminals could be financed by the EIB, thereby allowing financing for both terminal infrastructure and the superstructure and equipment needed to operate. Furthermore, the role of LNG was touched upon, and it was explained that, at the moment, retrofits of LNG vessels can be financed while port infrastructure for LNG cannot be eligible for funding. FEPORT believes that this is probably a topic for discussion in the future.
Following the EIB’s presentation, the Autorità di Sistema Portuale del Mar Tirreno Settentrionale presented the Life4MedECA project, an EU-funded project supporting the Commission’s decision-making in designating an emissions control area (ECA) in the Mediterranean.
Finally, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) extensively discussed the topic of OPS implementation in Greece. It was explained, for example, to what extent the usage of OPS can save emissions as compared to the use of auxiliary engines, thereby also quantifying the health benefits for coastal populations. These health and emissions savings’ benefits were found to exceed by far the grid costs related to the deployment of OPS.
Members' News Corner
14.04.2022 – Record throughput at DCT Gdansk
In March 2022, DCT Gdansk, the largest container terminal in the Baltic Sea, handled a record container throughput of 206,645 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). This is an increase of over 9 percent compared to the terminal’s previous record in January 2020.
The achievement is important, especially in light of a difficult post-pandemic situation, continued challenges in the global logistics industry and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
When Baltic Hub 3 will be completed, DCT will increase its handling capacity by 1.7 million TEUs to over 4.5 million TEUs annually. The investment, which is valued at 500 million euros, will involve the construction of a quay (located east of the existing T1 quay) with a length of 717 meters, depth of 17 meters and a 36-hectare site.
Source: American Journal of Transportation
20.04.2022 – Hutchison BEST signs agreement with CRAM
Hutchison Ports BEST, which operates a terminal in the Port of Barcelona, has signed a collaboration agreement with CRAM, the Foundation for the Conservation and Recovery of Marine Animals. The signed agreement is in line with BEST’s Sustainability plan of which marine fauna conservation forms an integral part.
Through this partnership, BEST supports the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, by contributing to the goals regarding sustainable cities and life below water.
CRAM is a non-profit organization working on the conservation and recovery of the marine environment and endangered species.
For example, CRAM’s activities relate to the recovery and reintroduction of animals to their natural habitat.
Guillermo Belcastro, CEO of BEST, commented the following:
“We are very happy to collaborate with an institution like the CRAM, and to be able to contribute to the conservation and recovery of the fauna of our environment. From BEST we encourage all the actors in the logistics chain to join this initiative”.
The president of the CRAM, José Luis Pal, added:
“We are very grateful for BEST’ collaboration and involvement in marine conservation. Thanks to their contribution we can continue to develop clinical and rescue actions on protected marine fauna and carry out actions to raise public awareness in favor of our seas and oceans.”
In the context of this collaboration, BEST employees will actively participate in tasks to improve the marine environment in the area.
Aside from the collaboration with CRAM, BEST’s sustainability credentials also show from their ISO 14.001 certification as well as their compliance with the Port of Barcelona’s Good Environmental Practices, for example.
Source: Hutchison Ports BEST
Events supported by FEPORT
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03.05.2022 Environment, Safety and Security Committee – Brussels
18.05.2022 Customs and Logistics Committee – Brussels
19.05.2022 Port Policy Committee – Brussels
09-10.06.2022 FEPORT General Assembly – Hamburg
08.09.2022 Board of Directors – Brussels
06.10.2022 Environment, Safety and Security Committee – Brussels
18.10.2022 Social Affairs Committee – Brussels
20.10.2022 Customs and Logistics Committee – Brussels
10.11.2022 Board of Directors – Remote
24.11.2022 Port Policy Committee – Brussels
10.05.2022 FICS Committee Meeting – Brussels
11.05.2022 ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels
11-12.05.2022 ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels
16.05.2022 ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels
16-17.05.2022 TRAN Committee Meeting – Brussels
16-17.05.2022 ENVI Committee Meeting – Brussels
30.05.2022 ECON Committee Meeting – Brussels
03-04.05.2022 European Environmental Ports Conference – Rotterdam
11-12.05.2022 Smart Digital Ports of the Future – Rotterdam
18-20.05.2022 ITF Summit – Leipzig
24-27.05.2022 ETF Congress – Budapest
31.05.2022 14th Meda Ports & Shipping Summit – Barcelona
09.06.2022 Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Ports meeting – Brussels
14-16.06.2022 TOC Europe – Rotterdam
28-30.06.2022 EuroMaritime Salon – Marseille
23.11.2022 Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Ports meeting – Brussels