Covid-19 / Coronavirus

Dear Valued Customers,

Following on from the previous news post regarding March space and equipment issues the situation is much worse then previously anticipated. We now have multiple staff working from home and envision all staff to be working from home in the very near future.

Rest assured that we are still fully operational and should you have any quotations, bookings or queries then we are still functioning at full strength.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or any Zenith staff member should you need to discuss things further relating to your future import or export shipping.

March equipment and space issues

Dear Valued Customers,

I am sure you are well aware of the implications of the Coronavirus for cargo moving from China into Europe but we are now starting to see notifications from various shipping / air lines relating to UK exports.

These notification raise major concerns of impending equipment shortages throughout Europe, many vessels are also omitting round trip voyages from China to the EU, this will inevitably have a huge impact on equipment availability and vessel space for UK exports.

The shipping line OOCL have confirmed that in week 11 / 12 they will have only 10% of their usual capacity available in the UK & Maersk have stated that the space situation in the UK is critical, all vessels to the Far East + Middle East are closed for the duration of March.

There is also a strain on all import & export airfreight capacity due to many missing passenger flights to / from China, with only freighter aircraft available the space is limited & rates are increasing on a daily basis.

We strongly suggest that you give us as much notice as possible for future bookings and if the information is available, sight of future orders (suggestions are that these space issues to continue for at least two months).

We all hope that this medical emergency will improve quickly, but we are fully aware & prepared for the challenges our industry will face over the coming months.

Rest assured that Zenith International Freight and our partners around the World are working on contingency plans to minimize the disruption & we will keep you updated of any further industry notifications when received.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or any Zenith staff member should you need to discuss things further relating to your future import or export shipping.

freight shipping to Canada

Canada Rail Strikes

The rail network in Canada has been heavily hit due to rail strikes and blockades across the country, now entering the third week of unrest the present Mr Trudeau has called for the two sides to find a resolution.

Currently there is major congestion at all rail terminals and rail lines. This specifically hits typical movements on rail to destinations such as Vancouver and Toronto very hard.

Therefore please expect delays on any shipping to Canada at the moment as the congestion on the rail is also putting pressure on the truckers as people find alternative routings for their cargo.

For up to the date news or advice on dealing with the congestion please do not hesitate to contact us at

Thank you


The Chinese New Year has been extended until the 2nd of February to try and contain the spreading of the novel coronavirus.

Our partners offices are currently closed and so are most shipping and air lines. From the UK, airlines are starting to shut down their Chinese routings temporarily to help curb the spread of the virus, most notably British Airways yesterday announced their cancellation of all flights to China until March.

Please be patient and expect severe delays in any shipping to or from mainland China, for the latest situation please do not hesitate to contact us at


Thank you for your patience

Further Information on Brexit

Ratification of the EU withdrawal agreement was finally confirmed on the 23rd of January. The EU is now due to vote on this at the end of the month (30/01/20).  This will require a majority of the members of the EU parliament however this expected to only be a formality and the UK is therefore expected to begin the formal process of withdrawal the day after (31st).

The UK will then enter a transition period until the end of the year, during this period the UK will still be in the EU but it will lose its seat on the EU parliament and have no direct involvement in new laws or policies, however it must still comply with any new ones until the time of complete withdrawal. In its present form this period could potentially be extended by a year or two but this would have to be agreed by both parties, this is something that Boris Johnson has pledged not to do but only time will tell whether it is deemed necessary.

Cargo movements and Interstat declarations will continue to be processed as normal and all cargo can still move freely within the EU during this transition period.

We at Zenith firmly believe we are prepared for any Brexit eventuality, whether that’s the same model as we currently have with Switzerland with documentation both sides and customs clearance in the middle or the simpler version of just a single customs clearance entry on exit from the UK.

If you have any issues, comments or concerns about Brexit then please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at

Further Information on IMO2020

The main type of “bunker” oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions. Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans.

Limiting SOemissions from ships will improve air quality and protects the environment.

IMO regulations to reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships first came into force in 2005, under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the MARPOL Convention). Since then, the limits on sulphur oxides have been progressively tightened.

From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas is reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits for the world, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts.


Limiting sulphur oxides emissions from ships reduces air pollution and results in a cleaner environment. Reducing SOx also reduces particulate matter, tiny harmful particles which form when fuel is burnt.

study on the human health impacts of SOx emissions from ships, submitted to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in 2016 by Finland, estimated that by not reducing the SOx limit for ships from 2020, the air pollution from ships would contribute to more than 570,000 additional premature deaths worldwide between 2020-2025.

Shipping lines all across the board are increasing their rates and splitting out the fuel cost from the freight for the sake of clarity.

If you have any questions or concerns with regards to IMO 2020 and how it affects you then please do not hesitate to contact us, we are at your service. or 01274 727888.


Source :

How can we help?

Freight forwarding is the very core of what we do. It is the act of arranging the transport of goods from point A to point B via road, sea or air. This could be via a consolidation of freight, ie shipping your cargo with other peoples in a container to cut down on costs or this could be via a full container or trailer, although more expensive it is usually a much quicker and safer option.

Being an international freight forwarder, we have multiple consolidations of freight going to and from the UK on a weekly basis with countries such as Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Canada. We also deal with shipping lines and airlines directly meaning we can quote for any destination competitively.

A lot of international freight forwarders avoid awkward or out of gauge cargo, not us though. We rise to the challenge and the vast years of experience we have in our organisation means we are able to find ways of shipping your goods that others may not think of, it also enables us to ship your loads safely, securely and importantly on budget.
If you have any questions or queries, or simply want some comparison costs against what you’re already paying then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be able to help in any manner. Contact us on

Container Ship in Liverpool Port

Atlantic Container Line signs 15-Year agreement with Peel Ports Group

Atlantic Container Line (ACL), a Grimaldi Group Company, has agreed a new 15-year contract extension for container and roll-on/roll-off operations at the Port of Liverpool until 2035. ACL is already the largest ocean carrier operating at Liverpool’s Royal Seaforth Container Terminal (RSCT) and the port’s longest serving container carrier. This new agreement demonstrates ACL’s confidence in the growing volume of transatlantic trade between the UK and North America and ACL’s commitment to the Port of Liverpool and the strong relationship forged for more than 50 years.

Peel Ports Group is making a significant investment at RSCT to accommodate ACL’s new fleet of G4 vessels, which are registered in the UK and fly the Red Ensign. The passage entrance into the Seaforth Basin has been widened by 28 metres to allow safe access for the large G4 vessels into the terminal. In addition, Peel Ports is investing in two Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes with increased height and reach, adding capacity to the dedicated vehicle storage area to handle ACL’s growing cargo requirements. The overall project expected to be completed during 2021.
ACL ships over 125,000 units of containers, cars and RORO machinery per annum, and supports a substantial supply chain with a critical link between the UK’s export and import trades. ACL ships call at Liverpool twice each week, its fastest import and export transatlantic service. Liverpool connects ACL’s customers in the British industrial heartland, Scotland and Ireland with North America. The unique long-term relationship between ACL’s Terminal Operations and the Peel Ports operations team provides customers with cutting-edge technologies and improved cargo efficiency for all containers, roll-on/roll-off and breakbulk cargo.

Atlantic Container Line’s vessels have called at the Port of Liverpool since 1967. ACL holds a major place in British maritime history and was Europe’s first dedicated container line. Cunard Line of Liverpool was one of ACL’s original shareholders. In May 1982, ACL’s vessel Atlantic Conveyor was sunk after being struck by two Exocet missiles while operating with the Royal Navy during the Falklands War. Twelve crewmen, including Captain Ian North, tragically lost their lives. A permanent memorial commemorates these men at Liverpool Parish Church. In October 2016, ACL’s first new G4 vessel, the Atlantic Sea, was christened by HRH The Princess Royal. Only a few days later, ACL opened its new office on Duke Street, the first office built by a shipping company in the City since 1924.

Gianluca Grimaldi, President of the Grimaldi Group commented: “It gives me great pleasure to make this extended Agreement with the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. This agreement signifies the long-standing partnership with our daughter company, ACL. The Grimaldi Group applauds the major improvements to Royal Seaforth Terminal and recognises it as a renewed commitment of our strong relationship with the Port of Liverpool, Mersey Maritime, and the customers and suppliers who have been supportive of ACL’s operation for so many years.”

Mark Whitworth, Chief Executive of Peel Ports, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in us as a port and a company, and we’re delighted to be continuing our commercial partnership with ACL into the longer term. Liverpool’s strategic position makes it a prime gateway for transatlantic trade and will continue to be instrumental as confidence in North American trade grows. The investment we’ll be making in the new STS cranes will help other customers as well as ACL.”


Source :

Oil Rig

The IMO 2020 Fuel Surcharge is coming

Low-sulphur regulations may trigger more slow steaming and transhipment and be ruinous for some container lines if they fail to recover more from customers than in the past, says Drewry.

Next year will be a pivotal year for the container shipping market, with the imminent the IMO 2020 low-sulphur fuel deadline set to trigger more slow steaming and transhipment – and be potentially disastrous for some container lines if they fail to recover enough of their cost increases from customers, according to industry analyst Drewry.

In its Container Insight Weekly briefing today, Drewry noted that failure to recover more of the fuel cost from customers than in the past, when it was estimated to be around 50%, “could be ruinous for some lines, many of which are still operating with highly distressed balance sheets”.

Drewry Supply Chain Advisors’ February whitepaper ‘IMO 2020 Low-sulphur Regulations’ offered some pointers to shippers regarding the new fuel regulation to use in their contract discussions with carriers, and previously launched an ‘IMO 2020 Cost Impact Calculator’ to assess the ramifications, with Drewry noting: “From what we hear, there is a general acceptance among shippers that they will have to pay more towards the fuel cost burden, although there are still a number of sticking points regarding the mechanics of how it should be done.

“On the other side of the table, carriers will argue that a short-term win for shippers could quickly turn into a loss. It is something that shippers might want to consider during negotiations as any cost saving today might raise the likelihood of another carrier bankruptcy in the manner of Hanjin Shipping, causing unwanted chaos in the supply chain and further reducing the competition, thus increasing the risk of much higher rates at a later date.”

Drewry said the reality was that carriers’ fuel costs will start to differ to a considerable degree as the new fuels are pumped into their ships, with the variance to be largely driven by the type of fuel used. It highlighted a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that suggests marine gasoil (MGO) will be the preferred option for shipowners across all maritime sectors from next year when the new 0.5% sulphur limit becomes law. Use of very low-sulphur fuel (VLSFO), which is expected to be cheaper at the outset, will gradually become more popular as concerns over the availability of blending materials dissipate, Drewry indicated.

The IEA said some shipping companies may also be reluctant to adopt a new fuel immediately and would prefer to use MGO until they have confidence that VLSFO will be easily available in ports and stable and compatible with similar grades, Drewry noted.

“Operators with a higher quota of ships fitted with scrubbers that are able to continue to use the cheaper high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) stand to make significant operating expense savings, after the initial retrofitting investment,” Drewry said. Last year, the premium between HSFO/IFO 380 and MGO at the port of Rotterdam was approximately $210 per tonne, it noted.

“Depending on their success in raising the fuel recovery rate, carriers will inevitably seek to mitigate the anticipated higher operating expenses. One potential side-effect from the new regulations could be greater slow-steaming and use of transhipment – the logic being that as ships sailing speed is reduced and round voyages are extended carriers will drop ports from rotations to ensure that transit times to key points remain competitive.

“Fewer direct port calls will induce greater need for transhipment and feeder operations.” Drewry research shows that in the past there is a reasonably high correlation between incidences of transhipment globally, as a percentage of total port throughput, and bunker prices, the analyst pointed out. “The upside from this shift towards more transhipment from a ports and terminals perspective is that this will inflate the global port throughput sum as four container movements at the quayside will be required instead of two with direct port-to-port calls.”

Drewry said it will provide more in-depth analysis of this issue, along with the likely costs implications for shippers and carriers related to IMO 2020, in its forthcoming Container Forecaster report, to be published at the end of this month.

It concluded: “Shippers rightfully want more transparency regarding how the new fuel surcharge mechanisms will work, but they should be mindful of the potential risks to future service options, competition and rates if they don’t concede anything to carriers.”

Source : Lloyds Loading List &



Are you ready for Brexit?

The Government has said that the UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October.

Leaving the EU without a deal means there will be immediate changes to the way UK businesses trade with the EU that may impact your business.

HMRC have started writing to VAT registered businesses to let them know the next steps they need to take. If you trade with the EU you can find the letter on  no deal Brexit advice for businesses trading with the EU. If you also trade with the rest of the world you can find the letter on  no deal Brexit advice for businesses trading with the EU and/or the rest of the world.

Support from HMRC to get your business ready for Brexit

HMRC have published two ‘how to…’ documents on their  Brexit communications resources page, which are designed to help traders decide which procedures to use when either:

  • Importing goods from the EU into the UK through roll on roll off (RoRo) locations after Brexit
  • Exporting to the EU through roll on roll off (RoRo) locations after Brexit.

You can also sign up for their getting ready for Brexit webinar. This webinar provides an overview for UK businesses involved in the movement of goods between the EU and the UK. Find out what you need to know to keep importing and exporting.

Choose a date and time

Contact the Brexit imports and exports helpline

To get information about importing and exporting goods after Brexit, you can call the helpline to find out about:

  • Customs declarations and procedures
  • Duties and tariffs
  • Importing and exporting different goods
  • Transporting goods to and from the EU
  • Product safety regulations.

Telephone: 0300 3301 331

The helpline is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Source : HMRC 19/09/19