Monday, 4 April 2016

How many containers can ships carry?


The larger container ships can now carry up to 19000+ 20' containers!

The economies of scale and lower fuel costs are driving rates down. Please contact me if you want to check if what you are paying now is at current market levels.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Coal still has a future

The local economy in Queensland is currently hurting badly as coal miners falter with coal prices having fallen more than 60% over the last five years. Majors such as US owned Peabody Energy are going into administration or Chapter 11 which is threatening thousands of jobs in mines they operate here.



In November 2015 the OECD agreed to restrict coal fired power stations being financed by government while about two years earlier the World Bank also decided that they would only provide finance for coal in rare circumstances. These types positions are driven by the fact that environmentally coal is a dirty energy source compared to others such as gas, solar wind and nuclear. Nobody could logically argue against this.

Despite this there are some inescapable facts about coal that means it still will be a massive energy source for the world for many years to come. 

These are:
-It is still the cheapest source of fuel for base load electricity and currently accounts for about 40% of global electricity supply. Huge!
-In the third world coal demand is still growing as the need for electricity rapidly grows with urbanisation in countries such as India and China.
-While demand for coal in developed countries is decreasing the global demand overall is still growing.
-For the third world, coal is also a source of energy that is safely, easily and cheaply transported and stored. You can literally pile it up in heaps in a yard whereas gas for example needs extremely expensive infrastructure that these nations struggle to afford.



McKinsey & Co forecast that despite the boom in renewable energy fossil fuels like coal and gas will still be the dominant source of energy. Their forecast is that by 2040 renewable energy sources will only contribute about 17% to global energy needs and coal will still be meeting 31% of demand. 

Inevitably coal prices will recover and could do so quite spectacularly from where they are now in my view. Clearly demand will be strong for the next few decades while at the same time the supply side will reduce with action the World Bank, OECD and green groups are taking.

Therefore shares in low cost miners of thermal coal look like pretty good buying at the moment if you adopt a long term view.

All for now,
+Brad Skelton
Depth Commodities

Friday, 26 February 2016

Mandatory Shipping Container Weight Verification Begins July 1st

From July 1st 2016 a packed container will no longer be allowed to load on board a ship unless it’s Verified Gross Mass (VGM) has been provided by the shipper named in the bill of lading, to the shipping line and/or the terminal representative.

The International Maritime Organisation's(IMO) most recent amendment to SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) requires verification of container weights.

The latest amendments serve to make liability and responsibilities clear, as well as preventing accidental mis-declarations of container weights which have been the source of various marine casualties in the past. At its core, authorities globally are seeking to enforce processes that should already be apart of your export documentation.





Here’s what you need to know in the lead up to July 1st.

- The new container rules apply globally.
- Containers won’t be load onto ships without a VGM.
- The shipper - the entity named on the carrier’s bill of lading- is responsible for providing the VGM. This may be outsourced to third parties.
- Container weights can be verified in two ways:
1. Physical weighing: weighing the final sealed and packed container; or by
2. Calculation method: adding the combined weight of the contents.

Compliance with weight verification will depend on the type of cargo.

You need to start preparing now for this change by deciding how your company will verify the weights of cargo you are packing into containers. For example you may need to have your forklift equipped with scales.

If you have any questions or want more detail please contact me or any of my team at Depth Logistics.

I see this as initiative as overdue by the IMO. Too many times I have seen my clients containers arriving overloaded by their supplier. Some are too heavy to be legal for road transport off the wharf. Often the first anybody knows is when the container is on the back of the truck at the destination and a sharp truck driver raises concerns before he hits the roads from the terminal.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Trans-Arctic Shipping means big gains for shippers

China Ocean Shipping Company(COSCO) has entered into an agreement with the American Bureau of Shipping to develop more sustainable navigation of vessels on Trans-Arctic routes.


This route shortens a typical voyage by approximately 4000 nautical miles compared with traditional Suez Canal passage.

COSCO is increasing investment in ice classed vessels and Arctic technology to open up this route further.

The operational cost savings to COSCO will translate into lower freight rates and shorter transit times which will be a huge benefit for shippers.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Shipping container pools

I have seen some bizarre uses for shipping containers but didn't think of this one...
All for now,
+Brad Skelton 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle

If you are a leader of your business how self-aware are you of how you impact others and are performing?


I have seen many business leaders, myself included, quite by accident become out of touch with their clients and staff although they do not mean to be.


The fact is the larger your company becomes you end up dealing with different sets of issues and have department heads reporting to you. There simply is not enough time and bandwidth to get into the nitty gritty of most issues so you gradually end up less exposed and your historical reference points change. You don't even realise it is happening. Your own self-assessment becomes skewed and you are not leading the best way you can.


One way I have fund effective to minimise this happening to me is by using daily huddles. At Depth Industries we roll at 8.38am with the whole team for about 5 minutes every single day. For team members outside of the office when the huddle is on we use Google Hangouts so we can all be in. This way I am connecting with all team members even briefly and get a good barometer for the business and our teamwork.


We also do a client and sales focused huddle every morning at 9.05am so all team members can be aware of our service objectives or any issues arising we can hopefully swiftly deal with.


The other crucial thing is to create an atmosphere where you stay approachable and conflict amongst yourself and team is welcomed. Now I don't mean you go around picking fights and deliberately causing drama. What I mean is that everyone has no fear or hesitation to call each other out on their performance and where necessary, engage in "productive" conflict and robust debates on issues that gain a better outcome for the business. 


Keep it really real and the client and therefore the company will be the winner.


The bottleneck will always be at the top of the bottle but things will flow more easily.


All for now
+Brad Skelton 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Competing in a crowded market?

Competing in a crowded market isn't all bad. A crowded market shows that demand for your product or service exists and it is a viable market to be in.



So how do you not only compete but lead?

Differentiation is the key. What is greatest form of differentiation? Simple... BE THE BEST! Be so good the market can't ignore you.

Relentlessly generate fresh ideas and urgently pursue excellence in every aspect of your business. I tell my team "We get the clients we deserve". Like attracts like so if we want the best clients we have to be the best to compete.

How do you know when you are in the lead?

Having the biggest revenue, profit or market share doesn't always denote industry leadership. As companies get bigger they usually get worse.

One way you know you are leading is when competitors start copying you. I have had competitors blatantly duplicate our service offering, use unique titles we developed for roles of our team and rip off wording from our website and brochures. Our buy lines...slightly adapted... appear in their promotional material.

While on one level it frustrates my exec team and I, on another we smile as that is when we know we are leading. When competitors start reacting to us and less to their clients needs in an attempt to stay relevant and say to the market "Us too!" we know we are winning. 

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but imagine the competitive benefits to clients if they developed some original ideas and instead of playing catch up, actually took their business and industry to the next level.

In one instance, company "F", has even used my name personally, my company's name and our buy line in the meta tags and URL's of pages in their website in an effort to attract internet traffic away from us. I guess desperate people do desperate things and I was pleased our lawyers swiftly dealt with that one.

Companies exist to do one thing. Serve their clients. Be the best and your market will not seem that crowded at all.

All for now,
+Brad Skelton