Ocean Freight Rates from China to US Have Tripled Compared To Last Year
Due to current backlogs as a result of the pandemic, space on container ships from Asia to the US is extremely tight and rates have gone through the roof. Booking space is even more problematic and could easily take 4-6 weeks to get a booking. As a result of the high demand and tight space, eastbound transpacific ocean freight rates are now more than 3 times higher than the same period last year.
Airbus Aims To Be First To Market With Zero-Emissions Aircraft
European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has developed several concept designs for zero-emission commercial aircraft powered by hydrogen. The concept designs are codenamed ZEROe. According to IATA, commercial aircraft produce up to 3 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. The industry has set ambitious goals to reduce the impact of commercial aviation on climate change such as a 50% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050. The zero-emission aircraft are likely to revolutionize the air transport industry.
Read about these concept aircraft at:
Helicopter Survey of Sheep Spots a Strange Steel Monolith Embedded in Barely Accessible Rock in the Desert
Speculations abound about how the Sci-Fi invoking 12’ monolith was transported and installed in the forbidding terrain. As specialists in transporting equipment to challenging remote locations, we believe that the mysterious 3-sided monolith and the rock cutting equipment had to be transported by helicopter or a purpose-built all-terrain vehicle in order to access the inhospitable terrain.
According to Lt. Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, the authorities were confident that “it’s somebody’s art installation, or an attempt at that.” As to how it was transported to a remote spot in Red Rock Country, he said, “Somebody took the time to use some type of concrete-cutting tool or something to really dig down, almost in the exact shape of the object, and embed it really well. It’s odd…There are roads close by, but to haul the materials to cut into the rock, and haul the metal, which is taller than 12 feet in sections — to do all that in that remote spot is definitely interesting.”
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(Credit: Utah Department of Public Safety)
Alibaba And Amazon Battle For 3PL Supremacy
Alibaba and Amazon are battling to control the third party logistics market by providing supply chain logistics services to outside clients.
Cainiao, the logistics division of Alibaba, is now offering end-to-end logistics services to Japanese and South Korean importers and exporters and have started an air charter service between Asia and South America. While Amazon is well on its way to becoming a global player in providing logistics services to other companies as an extension of the logistics infrastructure they created to serve their own needs, Alibaba understands they must catch up with Amazon’s growing dominance in the field to remain viable.
Cainiao aims to cover international shipping by sea and air, customs clearance, trucking, warehousing and last mile delivery. By offering an in-house turnkey service, they will reduce transit times, take control of their supply chain and reduce costs that will benefit consumers through more competitive pricing and faster delivery times.
Alibaba plans to operate about 1,300 chartered flights by the end of 2020. Amazon is offering a full range of logistics services in Europe and recently opened an air hub in Germany to support its Prime delivery service . In the U.S., Amazon offers ocean freight services for its own imports as well as other customers.
Read more about this transformation at:
(Photo credit: Alibaba Group)
Aircraft Fuselages Are Shipped By Rail In An Unusual Combination Of Transport Modes
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A unique combination of transport modes was captured on video in a way you wouldn’t expect when Boeing 737 MAX aircraft fuselages were filmed during transport by rail through a narrow railroad tunnel. Although the video may seem to show something that can’t possibly be right, it is all too real.
The fuselages are manufactured by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas. Transporting such large pieces of equipment presents a challenge due to height and width limits for over-the-road transport. Due to their dimensions, they must be transported by rail without the wings attached, as the fuselages alone are too long to be transported over the road from the factory in Kansas to Boeing’s assembly facility in Washington State. The fuselages are meticulously prepped for shipment on railcars to ensure sufficient clearance through tunnels.
On June 4, 2020 Spirit AeroSystems was directed by Boeing to stop production on four 737 MAX shipsets and avoid starting production on sixteen more units for delivery in 2020 due to COVID-19’s impact on air travel in an effort to reduce unnecessary production costs. Spirit’s production was subsequently lowered from 125 units to 72 units for 2020. As of September 2020, CEO Tom Gentile said Spirit expects to be back to 10 aircraft per month on the 737 in January.
That is good news for Boeing, the passenger airline industry and the air cargo industry. Of course railroad executives will be very happy to resume shipments of this special cargo. The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 after two fatal crashes.
Read more about the ripple effect that the grounding of the 737 MAX created in combination with the challenges presented by the pandemic at:
Sky High Ocean Freight Rates From Asia Attract Government Scrutiny
Ocean carriers have been skipping sailings to shore up their bottom line during the virus-induced downturn in manufacturing and consumer demand. Tactical blank sailings combined with record breaking rate spikes in the trans-Pacific trade have increased carrier profitability now that manufacturing and demand are coming back online. Decreased capacity and increased rates are helping ocean carriers recover at the expense of the global economy while suppliers struggle to meet pent up consumer demand. Government regulators have begun to exert pressure on ocean carriers to restore capacity and restrict rate increases. It has been customary to blank sailings during the Chinese Golden Week holiday, however the threat of intervention will surely impact carrier cost manipulations and capacity decisions.
Read more about this trend at:
(Photo credit: OOCL)
Walmart And Amazon Drones Battle For Last-Mile Delivery Supremacy
Walmart and Amazon are engaged in a war of delivery drones. Although Amazon may be the largest e-commerce retailer, Walmart may have a structural edge enabling them to deliver groceries and household items by drone more quickly. Both players introduced short-range drones to transport small packages up to 5 pounds. According to Amazon, about 90% of products they sell weigh under 5 pounds.
Walmart claims they have a store within 10 miles of 90% of Americans. Amazon, by contrast, delivers from its fulfillment centers, usually located near major cities. That gives Walmart an edge until Amazon ramps up their rural presence.
Meanwhile, Amazon has patented a futuristic Jetson-style idea for distribution towers that look like beehives. The towers would function as fulfillment centers with landing pads for delivery drones, strategically located near high-density residential towers.
The current need for social distancing has accelerated a paradigm shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping with contact-free delivery.
Read more about the drone war between Walmart and Amazon at:
(Photo credit: Amazon, via FreightWaves, and Walmart, via FreightWaves)
The Largest Energy Project In Canadian History Requires Import Of 1 Million Tons Of Oversized Construction Equipment
Shipments of massive excavators for the $40 billion LNG Canada energy project are shipped on board roll on/roll off ships to the Port of Tacoma, Washington. The equipment is driven on and off the ships via an enormous ramp with under-deck access. After arrival in Tacoma, they are hauled to Kitimat, BC for construction of the LNG facility and a 420 mile pipeline. The removable goose-neck trailers are fitted with 7 to 9 axles because transport is restricted to 34,000 lbs per axle most of the year. In snow and freeze/thaw conditions, the trailers are upgraded to 10-12 axles to redistribute the weight of the heaviest equipment.
Read more about this project’s complex logistics at:
(Image: Spruce Hollow Heavy Haul moves an excavator from Port of Tacoma to Kitimat, BC, on a 9-axle rig. Photo credit: Spruce Hollow Heavy Haul.)
Airlines Retrofit Passenger Aircraft To Handle Cargo
Cathay Pacific supplements their cargo capacity and cuts some of their losses related to the pandemic by removing economy seats from Boeing 777 planes to transport more medical supplies, PPE and other critical shipments. They are required to keep the front and rear seat rows in place to protect the aircraft from cargo that could shift due to turbulence. Cargo is placed in fire-retardant bags because passenger cabins aren’t equipped with fire-suppression systems. The airline follows in the footsteps of Air Canada and Lufthansa who have reconfigured some passenger planes for cargo.
Read more about this trend at:
(Image Credit: Cathay Pacific)
Drone Delivery System Aims to Make Mid-Size Retail Chains Competitive With E-Commerce Giants
Deuce Drone announced a test of their last mile delivery system which is intended to make delivery directly from stores to consumers faster and more affordable. Rouses Market, which operates 64 grocery stores in the south, has partnered with Deuce Drone to test a same day delivery system by drones in order to make last mile delivery faster and less costly than vans, so they can compete with Amazon.
(Image courtesy of: Commercial Drone Professional of Deuce Drone)