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 sales@zen-intl.co.uk


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.
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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 : https://forwardermagazine.com/atlantic-container-line-signs-15-year-agreement-with-peel-ports-group/


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 & BIFA.org

 


Brexit

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


Maritime shipping experts experience in Hamburg

Do Tariffs Cause Prices To Go Up? Not Necessarily.

President Trump recently raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports and threatened to impose import duties on all Chinese goods coming into the United States.

Will American prices rise substantially as a result? This is a loaded question, because contrary to popular belief, tariffs don’t always raise prices.

One alarming study from The Trade Partnership, a think tank, estimates that an average American family of four may have to pay an extra $767. And if all Chinese exports are taxed, the cost could rise to more than $2,000.

However, the effects of tariffs on prices are not as straightforward as they may appear at first glance. Indeed, until the pioneering contribution by the late Lloyd Metzler, a University of Chicago professor, the question was not even explored. It was taken for granted that tariffs automatically raise the prices of imported goods. But Metzler’s article, known in the literature on international economics as the Metzler Paradox, changed this view once and for all. Let us analyze the problem without hysteria.

Tariffs have two effects on prices: one tending to raise them, the other tending to lower them. The overall impact depends on which effect is stronger.

It all comes down to supply and demand for goods in China. The United States is a large importer of Chinese products, so tariffs will cause a huge decline in American demand for Chinese goods because of the initial rise in prices. But as demand falls substantially, prices of exportable goods inside China will also decline substantially.

Assuming that transportation costs are minimal, as they are nowadays, the American price of a Chinese product is determined as follows: American Price = Chinese Price(1 + t), where “t” is the rate of tariff. From this formula, it is clear that there are two countervailing effects on the U.S. price of a Chinese good. A rise in the tariff rate initially tends to raise it, whereas the resultant fall in the Chinese price tends to lower it. The final effect depends on whether the Chinese price declines more or less than the rate of tariff.

As a simple example, suppose Walmart imports a shirt from China for $20, and then faces a 25 percent tariff on that import. If China’s price is constant, then the same shirt will now cost $24. But the Chinese price cannot stay constant. Since the United States imports a vast number of Chinese shirts, the demand for Chinese shirts will fall sharply, and that will lower the Chinese price. Say this price declines to $18, then a 25 percent tariff will raise its U.S. cost by one fourth to $22.50, which is still higher than its free-trade cost of $20.

At a Chinese price of $16, the tariff-inclusive price will be the same as the free-trade price. But if the Chinese price were to fall below $16, the cost to Walmart will be less than $20. Thus, it all depends on the forces of supply and demand inside China.

The extent of the Chinese price decrease depends on the cost of producing a shirt. If this cost is low, then the price decrease can be large in the wake of declining demand, because a producer can still make some profit. Since Chinese wages are much lower than American wages, the Chinese cost of producing a shirt is likely to be very low, in which case the Chinese shirt price can fall substantially. If that happens, American prices of goods imported from China could actually decline.

Indeed, this may explain why thus far the U.S. tariffs that were imposed on Chinese exports in September 2018 have not been inflationary. In fact, even the Federal Reserve has been surprised by the recent cooling of core inflation and, as a result, pledged not to raise interest rates any further.

So the American consumer has nothing to worry about, especially when the consumer can easily switch to imports from other countries.

Large trade deficits with China have decimated American manufacturing and wages. U.S. industries need a revival, and tariffs are indispensable toward this purpose. In 1800, at the start of the American republic, barely 5 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in manufacturing; today, according to the Economic Report of the President, 2019, the share is about 8 percent — vastly below the 30 percent figure that prevailed in the 1960s.

We are very close to where we were in 1800, and clearly, the manufacturing sector still needs a lot of support.

Note that under Abraham Lincoln tariffs were as high as 60 percent. As a result, following the Civil War, American manufacturing became the envy of the world. By 1900 the United States was among the nations with the highest living standard. Even though tariffs were high, prices fell or remained stable for several years.

Such price behavior helped raise the overall standard of living. When a 60 percent tariff rate could not harm the American consumer, how can a mere 25 percent? Free trade has been the holy grail of international economics for decades, but historically, the fastest growth in the American living standard has occurred under the umbrella of tariffs.
Source-

Author : Ravi Batra

Website : https://maritime-executive.com/editorials/do-tariffs-cause-prices-to-go-up-not-necessarily


The role of the blockchain in shipping

The role of the blockchain in shipping

The role of the blockchain in shipping

The technology we use is becoming more and more connected every day, we can connect to our home security through our phones, control our heating from our computers and order pizza halfway across the world if we wished. Shipping is also evolving and moving with the times, granted sometimes at a pace which is much slower than other industries but it is getting there. The newest way that the shipping and logistical sectors are connecting to one another is through a blockchain approach.

The term “blockchain” is thrown around a lot these days, people familiar with cryptocurrency may already be au fait with it but within the shipping and logistic sectors it is fast becoming the new buzzword but is it the future, or is it a fad?

A blockchain is simply a decentralized database that strings together different pieces of information from varying sources. The reason why we believe this system isn’t just a fad is that it basically ties together all aspects of shipping; when you stop and realise just how many different companies, personnel and documents are involved in just a single shipment you can start to understand the need for organisation in such a chaotic chain of events.

If the lines, the ports, the hauliers, the forwarders and customs at destination can all get on the same system it can massively improve clarity and visibility throughout the shipping process, organisations can get real time updates on consignments but the main improvement of this chain is the fact that everything is digitized, this will cut down on massive amounts of paper waste and reduce delays.

A lot of these systems are already in place individually, for example you can submit shipping instructions online, you can most likely send bills of lading and collection / delivery notes directly through your own system etc but the key here is that none of it is connected. It’s this connection within the blockchain that is going to vastly improve the quality of life for everyone within the entire process.

It may be a while before this is all set in place as all points of contact within the process need to get involved but it must happen and it will happen, otherwise our sector will not grow and evolve.


Felixstowe still ‘playing catch-up’ after I.T chaos

Disruption to container traffic at the port of Felixstowe has eased considerably in the past week, but road haulage capacity shortages continue to weigh on its box handling performance, according to members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA).

Delays and backlogs at Felixstowe first appeared in June following the introduction of a new terminal operating system. They were then compounded by a truck driver shortage in the UK and heightened further still by peak season traffic volumes. This led to a number of shipping lines transferring services to other ports.

Terminal operator Hutchison declined to provide an update on the disruption at the UK’s largest box port, but BIFA has received written feedback from members, shared with Lloyd’s Loading List, that illustrates that while improvements in performance are apparent, backlogs are still being cleared.


US box imports show no sign of slowing

The new round of tariffs implemented by China and the US last month are not so far dimming US box imports, with importers apparently unable to quickly or easily change their sourcing patterns.

Earlier reports judged that importers had front-loaded during the peak season to avoid last month’s tariffs, but according to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report produced by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, imports at major US retail container ports are now expected to remain at near-record levels this month.


Rising fuel costs set to push up container freight rates

Shippers should expect a freight rate increase of between 13% and 20% next year if carriers are to make up for the increasing price of bunker fuel, according to analyst SeaIntel.

While the focus of bunker discussions has been on the introduction of the International Maritime Organization’s sulphur cap in 2020, SeaIntel points out that carriers have been paying increasingly steeper prices for fuel already and that increase has not been reflected in higher freight rates.

Fuel prices have increased from an average of $159 per tonne in February 2016 to $474 per tonne last month, SeaIntel said.


China congestion ‘likely to affect other Asian ports’

Port congestion at key hub terminals in China will ripple down to ports across Asia and further disrupt feeder operations in the coming weeks, according to forwarders.

As reported in Lloyd’s Loading List last week, the ports of Shanghai, Qingdao and Ningbo – all ranked in the world’s top ten box ports – have been struggling with congestion caused by changes to liner alliance networks and compounded by poor weather, strong demand, and the deployment of larger vessels by carriers. Forwarders say the delays have continued into this week, with vessels at some Shanghai terminals now forced to wait to load for up to four days.