ONE, Maersk and MSC continue suspension of China – Australia service
Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk and MSC are to continue the suspension of their China – Australia (CAE) service.
ONE said that the joint service suspended in April would now last until at least the end of September 2020.
“To assist customers during this exceptional time, alternative cover of the CAE ports is provided by inducing a Hong Kong call to the North East Asia Australia (AUN) Service, also jointly operated with the same consortia – Maersk and MSC,” the shipping lines said in a notice to customers.

ZIM targets e-commerce with new ‘speedy’ South China – LA service
ZIM Line is targeting the fast-growing e-commerce sector with a new, fast direct service connecting South China ports with Los Angeles.
In an exclusive interview with Seatrade Maritime News, Nissim Yochai, ZIM’s EVP for the Trans Pacific Trade, explains that the ‘Speedy, ZIM e-Commerce Xpress’ service was born out of a combination of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing demands of the e-commerce market as whole.
“We came up with the idea as part of our strategy after the coronavirus and trying to seek new opportunities,” Yochai says.
“So we identified a need which is a combination of existing requirements for the e-commerce market specifically between China and the US, and that need we saw as intensifying because of the shortage of air capacity and higher demand for air freight due to the lack of passenger flights, which reduced significantly the air freight capacity.”
The service, which marks a return of ZIM to the Pacific Southwest, will offer a 12-day transit between Yantian and Los Angeles, with a rotation of Da Chan Bay – Yantian – Los Angeles – Da Chan Bay, and will launch later this month.
Yochai says that the main target customers for the service were Chinese vendors selling on e-commerce platforms in the US. Departing early morning from Yantian on Wednesday vessels will arrive in Los Angeles 12 days later - on a Monday morning. The service will be received at a dedicated terminal with quick release of containers which will be mounted on chassis for customer collection.
From Los Angeles customers can connect to other major cities in the US either by rail or air freight. In the case the sea – rail option the transit from Yantian to New York would 20-days, or 18-days for Dallas and Chicago.
ZIM sees a need for the service extending beyond current lockdowns and “people ordering more goods [online] because they are bored and sitting at home”. Yochai notes that two similar services already existed before the virus outbreak connecting Shanghai and Ningbo into the US West Coast. The ZIM service is, however, the first to connect South China with the Pacific Southwest.
The profile of the service radically different to the ultra-large container vessel, hub and spoke approach that has dominated boxshipping in recent years.
ZIM will be deploying five 2,800 teu capacity vessels in the service, with a sailing speed of around 21 knots required for the 12-day transit.
As e-commerce continues to grow this could mark a shift in demand from shippers. “What we see is there is a trend to decrease inventory and if you decrease inventory you need a faster transit time there is a shift in the strategy of the retailers,” he says.
As such we could ZIM launching more “speedy” services in future. “We will study this product and if we identify a need for a similar product in other areas we will definitely consider that.”

Panama Canal transits see substantial drop due to Covid-19 pandemic

The Panama Canal is feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with a substantial drop in ships transit in April and May, Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez, said in a virtual forum organised by a local newspaper.
"We are beginning to feel the impact of the [pandemic] situation on traffic," Vásquez.
In April, 1,022 vessels transited the waterway, 169 less than expected and in May the number of ships passing through the Canal fell to 925. In January 2020, there were 1,283 transits; in February, 1,226 and in March, 1,210.
The market segments most affected was that of cruise passengers with 45 fewer cruises compared to 2019. Other affected segments were of vehicle carriers and also gas transportation due to the fall in prices and demand.
"I do not believe that the fundamental economic conditions that existed have changed, but that the pandemic has accelerated the adjustments that had to be made in the area of trade," said Vásquez.
He explained that it is important for the Panama Canal to try to meet the budget goal. "We have done exercises that can give up to $700m less but everything will depend on how the traffic behaves."
Panama, the entire country, the private sector and the government, have to face the new reality in order to reinvent themselves, said Vasquez, adding that the Canal will also have to reinvent itself in the way it serves customers and does business.
One of the ways to help the [Panamanian] economy is the development of a $2bn investment plan to find new water sources for local human consumption and Canal operations, which will become the second most important work during the Panamanian administration, after the $5bn Canal expansion, inaugurated in 2016.
He added that efforts are being made to accelerate the investment programme that has local content, because this will ensure that the workforce continues to generate added value for the Canal and the country.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Vásquez said that they are working with 6,400 people on the route, and other staff are teleworking. “Shifts have been changed and we have made rotations longer to reduce the risk to Canal personnel.”
A series of modifications will be made to place physical barriers and seek physical distance in the Canal areas. Additionally, in June, the waterway will begin to operate with a new protocol of the new normality and all contracts of workers and suppliers will be respected.

HAROPA Le Havre becomes IPCSA member

France’s Le Havre port has become a member of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), an international association of sea and airport community operators, authorities, and single window operators championing the electronic exchange of information across borders and throughout the supply chain.
Le Havre is a multipurpose port hub and at the centre of a major industrial cluster. It is part of HAROPA, which also includes the ports of Rouen and Paris and is one of Northern Europe’s top five port complexes.
The three ports have worked together since 2012 and are progressing towards a full merger, to become one company from January 2021.
“In the past, the three ports have been in competition – but we recognise we can work together because we are serving the same consumer market. More than ever we have very complementary activity,” said Jérôme Besancenot, information systems manager at HAROPA Port of Le Havre.
“The HAROPA partners handle 125m tonnes of cargo a year. Through HAROPA, we are working to deliver an integrated logistics solution for the Seine corridor.”
HAROPA is positioning itself as the first ‘smart corridor’, and the Port of Le Havre has secured investment for its innovative Smart Port City Project in partnership with ‘Le Havre Seine Metropole’ Urban Community to develop digital solutions for increased efficiency and environmental performance.
The Smart Port City Project has 80 public and private sector partners and aims to tackle the challenges of port, industry, and city being in close proximity.
“We want to create the port of the future and provide a ‘smarter’ territory through a new integrated industry and port model,” he explained.
“The project will include developing and innovating a data exchange platform to provide more added value from digital data, including developing KPIs.”
Le Havre port already has a close link with IPCSA through its shareholding in SOGET, which was a founding member of the association in 2011. 
SOGET operates the port’s cargo community system, enabling the paperless flow of information relating to goods, business and customs clearance.
The Port Authority of Le Havre operates a port community system which deals with ship calls, port operations, dangerous goods management, port dues and other matters. A few years ago, the Port Authority launched S-WiNG – Single Window Next Generation, which brings together the PCS with SOGET’s new solution.
Other initiatives include working with Waze to optimise traffic flow when locks or bridges are closed; setting up an intelligent information system to track the movement of dangerous goods; using big data to monitor air quality, water quality and even acoustic underwater pollution; and working in partnership with industrial companies on a 5G proof-of-concept. 
“We already have close links with IPCSA through SOGET and through our membership of PROTECT,” said Besancenot.
“We are convinced that the way forward is to have more services within the supply chain and more interaction between PCS and supply chain providers. We want to work with IPCSA on priorities such as standards, including Blockchain and intelligent containers. Of course, it is important to have our own strategy but it is also important to share and to exchange data, because a solution cannot be used separately.” 
He added: “The port is at the heart of the supply chain; we have to provide standard interfaces if we want to be connected tomorrow with other partners, and in order to interact via Maritime Single Windows between countries. Being a member of IPCSA will help us to stay aligned with the overall approach and to have a broader vision about international trade.  

  (Source: The Maritime Executive, American Shipper, Seatrade Maritime)