Peak Season for Asia-Europe Trade Falls Short

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

Q3, often the most profitable season for the Asia-Europe trade lane, has been decidedly lackluster thus far. Analysts largely attribute the decline to the recent Russian economic downturn.  Merchandise for the winter holiday season typically begins to ship now as retailers and carriers alike in Europe and the US prepare for their busiest time of the year.

In anticipation of the holiday uptick and subsequent overcapacity, Asia-Europe carriers often use intentionally cancelled sailings within a journey, also referred to as void or blank sailings, to increase freight rates and avoid exceeding capacity.  In other words, a carrier will cancel certain legs of a journey opting for the most direct route to its destination.  Such route reductions are being applied more permanently to compensate for the significant decrease in activity this holiday season.

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Qatar’s Ports Add Security Systems

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

Qatar is bolstering efforts to root out illicit goods at both its sea and land ports. The Committee of Security Agencies in Ports of Entry into Qatar has signed an agreement with the Chinese company Nyuktk to develop and install modern security systems to detect radiation.

The new systems will significantly increase the efficiency of border patrols; a welcome improvement for a country which is set to begin operating a massive new container port spanning 26.5 square kilometers early next year.

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Tianjin, China’s Port Embargo Lifted

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

Dangerous goods are once again allowed into port at Tianjin, China with proper documentation submitted to the carrier. Regulations on hazardous materials are more closely monitored, in light of the explosion that devastated the port last month, but all other terminal and customs brokerage operations resume as normal.

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Migrant Crisis Impacts International Shipping

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

The recent rise in unsafe transport of refugees from Syria and North Africa to Europe has begun to have a ripple effect in the international shipping industry. According to Philip Tinsley, maritime security manager at Baltic and International Maritime Council, there has been a sharp uptick in the number of accidents involving refugees at seas as well as subsequent rescue missions initiated by cargo ships.  Ship owners, operators, managers, brokers and agents, however, are bracing for additional delays in transit times and increased insurance premiums.

International conventions stipulate that any ship deemed able is required to provide assistance to a vessel in distress. Cargo ships are often the first to respond.

Vessels carrying refugees are frequently overcrowded and often require assistance along the way. Although the European Union has begun patrolling in the Mediterranean, Tinsley insists that it isn’t enough.

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Warehouse Explosion in Port of Tianjin Results in Shipping Disruptions


A warehouse containing hazardous chemicals in the Port of Tianjin, China exploded causing significant disruptions to onshore operations. Shipping traffic carrying hazardous products into the port has been halted and operations at two container terminals have been suspended. Port operations, however, are normal for Northern China’s largest port and main maritime gateway to Beijing.

We will provide updates in the event that further port disruptions unfold.