The World’s Largest Container Shipping Companies

Did you know that 80% of the global goods trade is transported over sea? Given the scale of human consumption, this requires an enormous number of shipping containers, as well as ships to carry them. 

At an industry level, container shipping is dominated by several very large firms. This includes Maersk, COSCO Shipping, and Evergreen. If you live along the coast, you’ve probably seen ships or containers with these names painted on them. 

Generally speaking, however, consumers know very little about these businesses. This graphic aims to change that by ranking the 10 largest container shipping companies in the world.

Read the Full Article here!

Maritime Traffic Around the World

Visual Capitalist.com

Each year, thousands of ships travel across the globe, transporting everything from passengers to consumer goods like wheat and oil. 

But just how busy are global maritime routes, and where are the world’s major shipping lanes? This map by Adam Syminton paints a macro picture of the world’s maritime traffic by highlighting marine traffic density around the world.

It uses data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in partnership with The World Bank, as part of IMF’s World Seaborne Trade Monitoring System. 

Data spans from Jan 2015 to Feb 2021 and includes five different types of ships: commercial ships, fishing ships, oil & gas, passenger ships, and leisure vessels.

Read the Full Article

Satellite Maps – Shanghai’s Supply Chain Standstill

China has mandated a strict “zero COVID” policy since the onset of the global pandemic, which has led to tight lockdowns across the country whenever cases have started to spike. 

Recently, lockdown restrictions have been enacted in major cities like Shenzhen and Shanghai, as China deals with one of its worst outbreaks since Wuhan in December 2019.

These cautionary measures have had far-reaching impacts on China’s economy, especially on its supply chain and logistics operations. Shanghai’s port system, which handles about one-fifth of China’s export containers, is currently experiencing significant delays as a result of the recent government lockdown.

Shipping volume has dipped drastically since early March this year, right after partial lockdowns began in Shanghai. By the end of March, as restrictions continued to tighten up, shipping activity dipped nearly 30% compared to pre-lockdown levels. And while activity has recently picked up, it’s still far below average shipment volumes prior to the recent lockdown.

While the port is still technically operating, shipping delays will likely cause hiccups in the global supply chain. That’s because the Shanghai port is a major hub for international trade, and one of the largest and busiest container ports in the world.

How Bad is the Back-Up?

Here’s a closer look at satellite imagery that was captured by the Sentinel-1 satellite, which shows the current congestion at Shanghai’s port as of April 14, 2022. In the image, a majority of the white dots are cargo ships, many of which have been stuck in limbo for days.

Traffic has been building up at the Shanghai terminal. As of April 19, 2022, over 470 ships are still waiting to deliver goods to China. If you’d like to check out the Shanghai ports most up-to-date traffic, this live map by MarineTraffice provides real-time updates.

Much of these delays are due to transport issues—an estimated 90% of trucks that support import and export activities are currently offline, which is causing dwell time for containers at Shanghai marine terminals to increase drastically. 

Wait times for at Shanghai marine terminals has increased nearly 75% since the lockdowns began. Delays at the Shanghai terminal have sent ships to neighboring ports in Ningbo and Yangshan, but those ports are beginning to get congested as well.

The global impacts of this current bottleneck are still pending, and depend greatly on the length of Shanghai’s lockdown. According to an article in Freight Waves, this could turn into the biggest supply chain issue since the start of the pandemic if China’s marine shipping congestion isn’t cleared up soon.

Read Full Article Here!

Source: Visual Capitalist, article by Carmen Ang and Graphics by Nick Routley, dated 21 April 2022

Cargo Ship Full of Porsches and VWs Is On Fire and Adrift in the Atlantic

The Portugese Navy has confirmed this morning that one of its patrol boats came to the aid of the Felicity Ace, a car carrier transiting the Atlantic Ocean, as reported by the Washington Post. The vessel transmitted a distress signal after fire broke out in one of the cargo decks, with the ship announced as “not under command” shortly afterwards. Thankfully, the 22 crew on board have been reported as successfully evacuated from the ship. 

The Felicity Ace had departed from the port in Emden, Germany on February 10, believed to be carrying vehicles from Porsche and other Volkswagen Auto Group brands, among others. The ship was originally expected to arrive at Davisville, Rhode Island on the morning of February 23.

After transmitting the distress signal on Wednesday morning, the Panama-flagged ship was quickly reached by the Portugese Navy patrol boat as well as four merchant ships in the area. According to Naftika Chronika, the crew of the Felicity Ace left the ship on a lifeboat and were picked up by Resilient Warrior, a tanker operated by Greek company Polembros Shipping Limited. Reportedly, 11 of the crew have so far have been picked up from the Resilient Warrior by a Portugese Navy helicopter. Efforts to bring the situation under control are ongoing according to reports from the scene.

The Felicity Ace was built in 2005, measuring 656 feet long and 104 feet wide, with a carrying capacity of 17,738 tons. Fully loaded, the ship could carry nearly 4,000 vehicles. No details are currently available as to the cause of the fire, other than that it broke out in the ship’s cargo hold. 

In a statement, Porsche stated that “Our immediate thoughts are of the 22 crew of the merchant ship ‘Felicity Ace,’ all of whom we understand are safe and well as a result of their rescue by the Portuguese Navy following reports of a fire on board.” The company advised concerned customers to liaise with their dealers, noting that “We believe a number of our cars are among the cargo on board the ship. No further details of the specific cars affected are available at this time – we are in close contact with the shipping company and will share more information in due course.”

Some Porsche customers may be particularly concerned if their limited-edition cars have been damaged and destroyed in the incident. The company has in the past made efforts to remanufacture limited-edition cars, such as the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, when a number were lost when a cargo ship sank back in 2019.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, stated that “We are aware of an incident today involving a cargo ship transporting Volkswagen Group vehicles across the Atlantic,” adding that “At this time, we are not aware of any injuries. We are working with local authorities and the shipping company to investigate the cause of the incident.”  

With the automotive industry already struggling with supply chain issues, this incident will come as a further blow. Similarly, when a ship’s name is all over the news, it’s rarely for a good reason, as we all learned when the Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal last year. However, the good thing to take away from this story is that nobody has been hurt, and the crew were rescued safely. Some cars may have been lost, which will cause much pain and frustration, but any cars damaged will hopefully be replaced in good time. 

Full Article: The Drive, Lewin Day, 16 February 2021

When will the AfCFTA be customs-ready?

Picture: Grayomm @ Unsplash.com

The negotiations to finalise the tariff schedules and rules of origin (RoO) of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are taking place during the last two weeks of January 2022. Senior Trade Officials (STOs) and the AfCFTA Council of Ministers (COM) will then meet to confirm the results or to decide the outstanding issues. Once the State Parties have agreed on the content of these important Annexes to the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods, they must be adopted. This is the responsibility of the African Union (AU) Assembly.[1]

Trade in goods under AfCFTA preferences can then begin among the State Parties presently trading with each other under most-favoured-nation (MFN) rates. (Non-State Parties will first have to accede to the AfCFTA Agreement in terms of Article 23 of the AfCFTA Agreement.)

Those State Parties that are members of Regional Economic Community (REC) Free Trade Areas (FTAs), Customs Unions (CUs) and other trade arrangements will continue to trade under existing preferential arrangements.

Article 19(2) AfCFTA Agreement provides that

“… State Parties that are members of other regional economic communities, regional trading arrangements and custom unions, which have attained among themselves higher levels of regional integration than under this Agreement, shall maintain such higher levels among themselves”.

Article 8(2) of the Protocol on Trade in Goods adds the following:

“… State Parties that are members of other RECs, which have attained among themselves higher levels of elimination of customs duties and trade barriers than those provided for in this Protocol, shall maintain, and where possible improve upon, those higher levels of trade liberalisation among themselves”. 

However, there is also the practical requirement that the AfCFTA regime must be “customs ready”. It means that the tariff books of individual State Parties and of CUs such as the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and presumably the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), need to be updated. AfCFTA columns will have to be added to these tariff books in order to ensure the new preferences will be enjoyed when customs officials and border control agencies clear goods under this new trade arrangement.

The updating of a tariff book normally happens through national legislative procedures such as the promulgation of a Government Gazette. Customs and other border officials can only act in terms of domestic legal instruments granting them the necessary powers. Trade agreements are not self-executing.[2]

The importation and exportation of goods entail detail procedures involving customs clearance. Customs clearance is the procedure of procuring permission, through its customs authority, to either take goods out of its territory (export) or have goods enter its territory (import). Failure to provide the correct paperwork will mean that goods cannot clear customs and enter the market of the country of destination.

The customs authority of a country is the administrative agency responsible for collecting tariffs and for controlling the flow of goods into and out of a country. Depending on local legislation and regulations, the import or export of some goods may be restricted or forbidden, and the customs agency enforces these rules. The customs authority is different from the immigration authority, which monitors persons who leave or enter the country, checking for appropriate documentation, apprehending people wanted by international arrest warrants, and impeding the entry of others deemed dangerous to the country. A customs duty is a tariff or tax on the importation or exportation of goods.

The approach taken by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) is to improve the security of borders, without unduly hindering legitimate international trade. The WCO initiative focusses on the entire international trade supply chain, rather than restricting customs’ interest to that aspect of the international trade transaction, when goods move across a border. The basic principle underpinning its work is to create an international mechanism for Customs Administrations to gain access to relevant information relating to international trade well in advance, for the purposes of risk management and risk assessment.[3]

The AfCFTA is a free trade agreement (FTA). This is an agreement between States that removes tariffs and other restrictions on goods which are traded between the State Parties, according to the applicable RoO. The main difference between a customs union and a free trade agreement is that even where zero (or reduced) tariffs are part of an FTA, extra bureaucracy is needed to take advantage of those tariffs. Exporting under an FTA means companies have to comply with a complex set of rules (known as preferential rules of origin) to prove that goods only come from countries who have signed up to the FTA and that such goods have been produced or manufactured in accordance with the applicable RoO. For a customs union, once the common external tariff has been paid for a product then it is in “free circulation”. Traders only have to prove the common external tariff has been paid on goods or parts they have used. This is easier to demonstrate than proving the origin of imported goods.

Source: Authored by Gerhard Erasmus, TRALAC, 24 Jan 2022


[1] Art 22 AfCFTA Agreement.

[2] Constitutional systems based on monism, may provide otherwise but will have other requirements to ensure that the executive branch of government respects the powers of the legislature.

[3] https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/a/6/24649.pdf

Nigeria – Lekki Seaport now 80% complete, to be commissioned 2022

The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has urged contractors of the Lekki Deep Seaport Project to speed up work to enable the government approve all the necessary processes before the next election.

Mr Amaechi made this known in a statement on Saturday while inspecting the ongoing construction of the Lekki Deep Seaport Project in Lagos.

He, however, commended the contractors for the progress of work done so far stating that in less than five months, a lot of civil work had been done.

“I want to congratulate you for the very huge progress. By the time we came here, there were no civil works; it was just pure sand. You have tried.

“I am suggesting that if you work day and night you will go far and complete the work before commissioning. If the President sees it, approval will be easier.

“You need to speed up the work so we can get approval from the government side before election, process of election will be completed in July.

“This is because by law, six months to election people start politics and if you wait till that time, you won’t meet anyone in the office,” he said.

Mr Amaechi, however, said that the port should be automated to avoid all forms of physical contact.

Speaking during the tour, the Chief Technical Officer, Lekki Port, Steven Heukelom, explained that construction work on the project was on course and as scheduled.

He noted that dredging and reclamation works had reached 89.93 per cent completion, Quay Wall 85.65 per cent completion, Breakwater 79.66 per cent completion, and the landside infrastructure development 67.82 per cent completion.

He added that this brings total works carried out on the project to approximately 80 per cent completion stage.

Mr Heukelom also informed the minister that work had commenced on the marine services jetty, which the NPA would use to carry out their marine services obligation.

He commended the Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, for the support and partnership in preparing the port to start operations.

Mr Bello-Koko reaffirmed the agency’s readiness to provide marine services for the port’s operations.

To this end, he disclosed that NPA was procuring tug boats and other necessary infrastructure for the smooth take-off of the Port.

In his remarks, the Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port, Laurence Smith, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to delivering the project by the fourth quarter of 2022.

He noted that the EPC Contractor, China Habour Engineering LFTZ Enterprise, was working day and night to make this commitment a reality.

Mr Smith expressed confidence that the Port, upon completion, would be a world-class port and would become a regional distribution and transhipment hub for the African region.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Lekki Port is being developed by Tolaram and China Harbour Engineering Company.

The Lagos State Government and NPA are also shareholders in the project company.

The port is scheduled to start port operations by the end of 2022.

Source: PremiumTimesng, 23 January 2022

Visualizing Congestion at America’s Busiest Port

The Busiest Port in America: Los Angeles

U.S. e-commerce grew by 32.4% in 2020—the highest annual growth rate in over two decades. Such rapid growth has resulted in many more goods being imported, leaving America’s western ports completely overwhelmed. 

To help you understand the scale of this issue, we’ve visualized the number of containers waiting at sea in relation to the Port of Los Angeles’ daily processing capacity. 

Stuck at Sea

As of November 2, 2021, the Port of Los Angeles reported that it had 93 vessels waiting in queue. Altogether, these ships have a maximum carrying capacity of roughly 540,000 containers (commonly measured in twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs). 

On the other side of the equation, the port processed 468,059 import containers in September (the most recent data at the time of writing). Because the port does not operate on Sundays, we can conclude that the port can load roughly 18,000 containers each day. 

That capacity seems unlikely to reduce the congestion. Over a two-week timeframe in September, 407,695 containers arrived at the Port of Los Angeles, which averages to around 29,000 containers arriving each day…

Read the full article

Source:VisualCapitalist.com

Chemical Fire on ‘X-Press Pearl’ Under Control Off Colombo, Sri Lanka

Photo: Sri Lanka Port Authority

The fire on board the X-Press Pearl is reported under control at an anchorage off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, but fire-fighting efforts are continuing, according to the vessel’s operator.

The Sri Lankan Navy continued its response to the incident over the weekend with three tugs from the Sri Lankan Ports Authority on site conducting cooling operations on containers near the fire. At times, the fire flared up with visible flames (see photo below) coming from containers above deck, the Navy said over the weekend.

The fire on board the X-Press Pearl was first reported Thursday as the ship was awaiting entry to Colombo harbor at an offshore anchorage.

The Navy said the ship is carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of Nitric Acid and other chemicals which it had loaded at the port of Hazira, India on May 15. Preliminary investigations indicate the fire started due to a chemical reaction of the hazardous cargo.

All 25 crew members are reported safe, the ship’s operator reported Monday. Meanwhile a salvage team from SMIT has boarded the vessel for an assessment. 

“Fire/smoke still remain on board the vessel but is currently under control. More firefighting tugs have been deployed and they will continue to fight the fire. The salvage team with fire experts and firefighters are already on board the vessel and are carrying out the risk assessment. They have already taken steps to stop the spreading of fire into other areas,” X-Press Feeders said in its update.

“We have been advised that special firefighting equipment will arrive tomorrow. We therefore remain hopeful that the fire will be put out by the salvage team at the soonest time possible,” it added.

Source: G Captain, 24 May 2021

MSC Introduces New Electronic Bill of Lading for Customers Worldwide Using WAVE BL’s Platform

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a global leader in container shipping and logistics, is officially introducing the electronic bill of lading (eBL) for its customers around the world, following a successful pilot phase, using a solution on an independent blockchain platform WAVE BL. The eBL enables shippers and other key supply chain stakeholders to receive and transmit the bill of lading document electronically, without any change or disruption to day-to-day business operations.

WAVE BL is a blockchain-based system that uses distributed ledger technology to ensure that all parties involved in a cargo shipment booking can issue, transfer, endorse and manage documents through a secure, decentralised network. Users can issue all originals, negotiable or non-negotiable, and exchange them via a direct, encrypted, peer-to-peer transmission. It’s also possible for users to amend documents. WAVE BL’s communication protocol is approved by the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs, and meets the highest industry standards for security and privacy.   

“MSC has chosen WAVE BL because it is the only solution that mirrors the traditional paper-based process that the shipping and cargo transportation industry is used to,” says André Simha, Global Chief Digital & Information Officer at MSC. “It provides a digital alternative to all the possibilities available with traditional print documents, just much faster and more secure.”

The WAVE BL platform can be used free of charge throughout 2021 for exporters, importers and traders. Users only pay for issuing the original documents, and they do not need to invest in any IT infrastructure or make operational changes in order to use the service. They can simply sign up via MSC’s website: www.msc.com/eBL.

Source: Mediterranean Shipping Company, 28 April 2021

TradeLens – Youredi to offer data connectivity services between supply chain entities

Building on the TradeLens network connectivity Youredi has provided since 2018, 3PLs, shippers and cargo owners can now use their software integration services to connect quickly and flexibly to the TradeLens platform. The Youredi Integration service, is an offering that integrates seamlessly and easily with a wide variety of TMS, ERPs and other supply chain and logistics applications, whether on premise or cloud-based.

Permissioned data sharing across the maritime industry, improving the speed of data connectivity between different stakeholders, plus the need to digitalize and automate workflow processes has been a pain point for the industry for decades.

Youredi will support BCOs, 3PLs, carriers, freight forwarders, ports and terminals, authorities, customs brokers, and any other stakeholders to connect with the TradeLens platform rapidly with a predictable cost, effort and time commitment. Connecting different stakeholders with the platform will create a more transparent container shipping industry in which all parties can collaborate and trust each other.

The Youredi solution takes care of the data translation, so you can always send and receive data in your preferred data standard or format. The solution can work both with structured (rich data) and unstructured (PDFs, scans, images) data. Whenever required, Youredi can also provide data validation and data enrichment logic.

More information about the service available at Youredi TradeLens Connectivity.

Source: TradeLens

HMM’s 24,000 TEU boxship fleet is complete

Picture: HMM

South Korean container shipping line HMM has has completed its fleet of mega-ships with the unveiling of the 24,000 TEU HMM St Petersburg

The announcement marks the end of a two-year journey for HMM to provide “efficient and stable services” by using larger containerships. In an online update the carrier said all 12 of the vessels will be deployed on the Asia-Europe service.

The HMM St Petersburg was built by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and delivered on September 11. Five of the vessels were built by SHI with the other seven by fellow Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). 

Additionally, it will receive eight 16,000 TEU containerships from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), due to be delivered in the second quarter of 2021. This will take its new fleet to 20. 

The 12 24,000 TEU vessels have been fitted with scrubbers and an optimised hull design that cuts emissions and increases fuel efficiency. 

The first vessel of the mega-ship fleet, the HMM Algeciras was unveiled in April 2020 and remains the largest in the world. 

South Korea’s maritime industry, in particular its shipbuilding sector, has suffered substantially since Hanjin Shipping went bankrupt in 2017.

Source: Port Technology, 15 September 2020

MSC to accelerate e-B/L roll-out in India after successful pilot

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced it will accelerate efforts to promote an electronic Bill of Lading (e-B/L) across the maritime industry in response to the crisis brought on by COVID-19. 

In a statement, the carrier said it has been running a pilot scheme alongside its third-party blockchain platform WAVE to introduce the e-BL in India since late-2019. 

MSC’s customers continued to ship goods by using what it called the “reliable and secure digital platform for the fast transfer of trade-related documents”, even through throughout the pandemic, the company said. 

The pandemic caused a drop in TEU volume across the world but as China has resumed exports, congestion has hurt port operations, particularly in India.

The problem has been exacerbated by lockdown measures forcing people to work remotely which has led to vital documents such as the Bill of Lading (BL) being incomplete. 

To mitigate this problem, MSC has said it will offer the WAVE e-BL solution to streamline affected operations and ensure continuity of service.

In the pre-COVID, paper-based process, it would take days for the BL to travel from origin to destination, physically changing hands several times along the way.

“We have had situations where couriers were unable to deliver documents between ports, trade offices and banks due to quarantine measures,” relates Capt. Deepak Tewari, Managing Director at MSC India.

“WAVE mirrors the paper-based process that the shipping and cargo transportation industry is used to, only without physical couriers. 

“Thus, it’s an ideal solution to implement at a time when our customers need to rapidly adjust their processes, as the learning curve is quite low.” he adds.

Captain Deepak Tewari, MSC, also commented: “We have been working with WAVE on introducing and piloting an e-BL solution since 2019. We ran successful pilot projects with some of our customers last year, where we saw first-hand the benefits which arise from digitalising this part of the process. 

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we decided to accelerate our roll-out and offer the e-B/L solution to our broader base of customers.” 

Gadi Ruschin, CEO at WAVE, comments: “Our mission since founding WAVE has been to transform the efficiency and security of international trade documentation through our robust digitisation protocol. 

“We now see ourselves as ‘mission critical’ to ensuring trade can continue as physical movement of people and the paper they carry has been shuttered across the world. It couldn’t come at a more critical time as countries rely on trade to fight COVID-19 and save their economies. 

“We launched this unique onboarding effort to help MSC swiftly onboard stakeholders and navigate the challenges while preparing the carrier to flourish once conditions normalise.”

MSC claimed its e-BL solution can cut BL transit time from days to minutes, without the need for physical contact. The e-B/L is sent using WAVE’s blockchain-based system, which uses distributed ledger technology to ensure that all parties can issue, transfer, endorse and manage trade-related documents through a secure, decentralised network.

Source: Porttechnology, 10 September 2020

New terminal at Walvis Bay becomes fully operational

The new container terminal at the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay is now fully operational, according to a report by the African Development Bank (ADB). 

In a statement, the ADB said the terminal was built on constructed on 40 hectares of land reclaimed from the ocean by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) as part of a project worth $300 million. 

It will, according the the bank, turn Walvis Bay into becoming a logistics hub for southern Africa to meet the growing regional demand for freight and provide maritime access for landlocked countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

The African Development Bank provided a ZAR 2,982 million ($178 million) loan representing over 70% of the project funding.

The works included the dredging over 3.9 million cubic metres of sand, used partly for the reclamation, construction of a 600-metre quay wall, the laying of 304,000 square metres of paved surface and the construction of a workshop and administrative buildings. 

It also entailed the installation of four ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, the construction of a one-kilometre road, the laying of 2.3 km of rail lines, and the installation of service networks. The facility’s electricity supply was also successfully upgraded, the report noted.

“Overall, the project has fully achieved its goals,” the report said, increasing the terminal’s capacity from 355,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit) to 750,000 TEUs yearly. It has also reduced vessel waiting time to less than 8 hours and cut container transit time from 14.5 days to 9.5 days. 

Expanded activities required the training of seven pilots and 26 ship-to-shore crane operators, including one woman.

The demand for services from the port of Walvis Bay has increased by about 8% following the commissioning of the new terminal, the report notes. Cargo volumes, revenues and income from other services (maritime, port, berth and light dues, and other storage and handling fees) are expected to increase by at least 8% in 2020 and 2021. After that, growth should reach 5% yearly the report projects.

The project completion reporting team was led by Richard Malinga, Bank Principal Transport Engineer and Task Manager for the project.

The Walvis Bay expansion aligns with the Bank’s High-5 strategic priorities, including promoting the integration of Africa.

Source: Porttechnology, 11 September 2020

HMM Algeciras, the largest container ship worldwide – 2020

At maximum capacity, the ship carries slightly more 20-foot containers than its predecessor MSC Gülsün: 23,964 TEU versus 23,756 TEU. During this maiden voyage, HMM Algeciras will have 19,621 TEU on board – itself a record number.

The Korean vessel was completed at Daewoo Shipping & Marine Engineering’s Okpo shipyard on 24 April. It is some 400 metres long and 61 metres wide. For further information about Algeciras, we refer you to the video at “Biggest Container Ship in the World 2020”.

HMM is the new name for the South Korean ship-owner Hyundai Merchant Marine, the ninth-largest container shipping line worldwide. The company has ordered another eleven 24,000-TEU vessels in this class.

Source: Port of Rotterdam, 3 June 2020

Uganda – Road Transport to adopt Relay System to accommodate COVID-19

The National COVID-19 Taskforce has agreed that all trucks entering Uganda will have only one person on board for the next four weeks in a move to control the movement and exposure of Ugandans to foreign truck drivers. 

The meeting which was convened yesterday decided that drivers will have to implement the relay system-where a designated driver drives to the Ugandan border and from there on, another from Uganda who has tested negative for COVID-19 continues with the rest of the journey.

For the last two weeks, truck drivers have undergone mandatory testing at the borders but have been allowed to continue with their journeys before the release of their results. In the process, the drivers who have tested positive have come into contact with several Ugandans. As of today, 18 drivers have tested positive and over 300 contacts are being monitored and traced.

With the new measures, new truck parks or stops have been designated. Drivers who have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for their results will stop under the surveillance of security officers to wait for their results.  Once results are released, drivers who test positive will be picked up by health ministry officials while those who test negative will be allowed to continue with their journey.

Different routes will have three stops. Route one will cover drivers from Kenya. These drivers will be able to stop at either Namboole, Lukaya, Ntungamo/Ishaka and the border. Route two also from Kenya will have drivers stop in Soroti or Kamdin corner. Trucks from Tanzania travelling to Kampala will cover route three and stop in Karuma and Packwatch.  Route four will cover trucks from DRC. The trucks will travel from Fortportal to Mubende and then Namboole. 

All other stop points that were previously used by the trucks such as; Tororo, Mbale, Lira, Kamdin, Mbikko, Naluwerere, Lyantonde, Namawojolo, Sanga, Ruti, Migyera, Luwero have been closed.  No truck is allowed to make stops there.

The new measures come following an outcry from Ugandans after several truck drivers carrying cargo from Kenya and Tanzania tested positive for COVID-19. Many had called for the closure of all border entry points.

Dr Monica Musenero, an epidemiologist and also a member of the task force says that the new measures are going to be implemented starting next week. She says that all the measures that have been set up are geared towards protecting Ugandans.

The task force also decided on reducing the number of fuel trucks that cross the border. According to Dr Musenero, railway services are going to be used to transport fuel.

“ We want to reduce the number of trucks entering the country. The railway freight services are going to be brought on board so that some things like fuel can be transported using the railway,” Dr Musenero adds.  

Other measures that were discussed and passed include; the mandatory use of personal protective equipment like masks by all drivers. Also, domestic trucks should have only two people. In addition to this, freight forwarders will have to pay for testing kits to be used to test drivers.

Source: The Independent, Uganda, 26 April 2020