bradskelton.com theshippingbloke.com

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dark Ships

Ocean conservationists from watchdog group Oceana have started tracking illegal activity of commercial fishing vessels through satellite data.

This data comes from a public tracking system called the Automatic Identification System (AIS), which was originally designed as a safety mechanism for vessels to avoid collisions at sea. Over time, it can also be used to monitor and track vessel movements.
Image result for marine traffic

Using Global Fishing Watch, which provides a never-before-seen view of commercial fishing activity worldwide, the following events that occurred in illegal fishing hotspots where a ship’s AIS device was possibly turned off have been identified:

A Panamanian commercial fishing vessel went dark for 15 days on the west side of the Galápagos Marine Reserve before it began transmitting signals again on the east side.

An Australian commercial fishing vessel appeared to disable its AIS near the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve on 10 separate occasions over one year.

A Spanish commercial fishing vessel appeared to repeatedly go dark for at least 21 times when leaving the port of Dakar in Senegal and approaching the Gambia’s national waters over a one-and-a-half-year period.

Another Spanish commercial fishing vessel appeared to turn off its AIS signal consistently over a seven-month period while operating in the national waters of at least five African countries and on the high seas.

Though it’s hard to identify between intentional disabling of the AIS, equipment malfunction, or satellite coverage issues, this question is now being raised: Is going dark from public tracking systems illegal?

The quick answer to that question is NO. Oceana noted that going dark is not necessarily illegal, but this behaviour may indicate that the ships are doing something suspicious. To answer that question with another question: Why would a vessel hide its tracks if its operations are in good faith?

A ship’s crew may turn off its AIS broadcast for legitimate reasons such as evading detection by pirates, but this may also indicate that a vessel is hiding its illegal activities like fishing in no-take protected areas or entering another country’s waters without authorisation.

Oceana is now urging governments around the world to require all commercial fishing vessels to be equipped with and continually transmit tamper-resistant AIS technology. Increased transparency can help deter illegal fishing, prevent unauthorised fishing in a nation’s waters and improve monitoring of fishing around the world. It can also improve maritime safety, help combat illegal fishing and increase compliance of laws and regulations.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Monday, March 4, 2019

Smart Containers for Full Supply Chain Visibility

Further digitalization in the logistics industry is happening with "Smart Containers" being introduced that enable 24/7 end to end visibility and supply chain optimisation on land and at sea for more transparency, safety and cost-efficiency.

Smart containers make it possible to generate near real-time data and monitor the movement and condition of your cargo at any given point in time, anywhere through this permanent, electronic high-tech device.

There is no doubt that this cutting-edge connective technology will rapidly becoming the new shipping standard to improve shippers experiences. It's user-friendly hub allows efficient analytics, easy set-up of alerts and personalised notifications.

Its tracking capabilities include:

At this stage only a few carriers have these available and they are charging about USD90 to USD120 per container per trip.

This level of visibility has long been sought after by my clients, particularly for high value cargo, and will definitely be a game changer in the logistics industry and no doubt highlight where efficiencies can obtained.

Please contact me to learn more.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Monday, February 18, 2019

I am doing the CEO Sleepout® again this year

On Thursday 20 June, I will make a stand and join hundreds of business, community and government leaders who will be spending the longest and coldest night of the year sleeping on the concrete outside the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout® 2019 to raise funds and awareness to address homelessness in our community.

More than 116,000 Australians, including almost 22,000 Queenslanders, experience homelessness every night and 32 per cent are children. That’s not a reality I’m comfortable with.

Last year, a record 6.9 million dollars was raised to help break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in Australia, which made a huge impact. That's:
  • 1,949,673 support programs;
  • 689,819 beds; and
  • 1,590,554 meals.
Help me fight homelessness this year by donating at: https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/brad-skelton-depth-industries/brisbane

I am striving to raise $5,000 to help the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland (Vinnies) provide support to people in crisis. This money will go towards crisis accommodation and affordable housing solutions for families and individuals at risk of homelessness, food vouchers for people who would otherwise go without food, and personal care packages containing everyday essentials.

To reach my fundraising goal, I need your help. Donations are tax deductible and can be processed online.

Thank you for your support. I will keep you updated on my fundraising progress.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Good news for Depth Logistics clients in 2019.

I wanted to let you know about what we are rolling out at Depth Logistics this year to enhance our service offering and pass on some other good news for our clients in general.

We are excited to announce that we have begun investing in trucking assets to improve the service to our clients and ensure we are always delivering on our brand promise of “Absolute Reliability”. The fleet will start taking to the road in February and will include 100T low loaders, flat top and drop deck trailers and we have a side loader trailer also on order for container deliveries.



The truck fleet will be based at our new terminal, which will be established at the Port of Brisbane. The terminal will broaden the scope of services we can supply clients “in house” and will include the full suite of Biosecurity treatments including washing, a customs bond store, storage, container packing/unpacking and pre-delivery processing of RoRo cargo. The terminal will have ultra-high security for clients we act for in moving sensitive cargo.



Major Quarantine issues with brown marmorated stink bug are ongoing and it seems may be here to stay. So far we have succeeded in minimising the impacts of this on our clients through being hyper-vigilant on carrier selection and offshore treatment providers and to soon have fumigation ability in our own terminal in Brisbane will mean faster clearance of cargo we are handling.



The investments in our trucking fleet and new terminal for the company are underpinned by the good recovery we are seeing from our resources clients and growth in defence procurement supply chains we are working in.

We are recruiting more new senior team members and have already recently hired Chad Pennington as our new financial controller and Holli Delaforce as our executive assistant.

Our Clark, Philippines team have just moved to a brand new much larger branch office to give us more room to grow.



This year we will continue to invest in the digital delivery of more of our services as trends are that clients are preferring to use digital channels more and more to accomplish their shipping. An example of this is with our myCargo Insurance platform we launched late last year, which many of our clients now love using.



1 January 2019 also heralded the commencement of more Free Trade Agreements (FTA) for Australia with other countries. Many import duty rates have dropped as part of phased reductions in tariffs as of this date. More FTA’s are coming online with other countries this year. See this link from the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade to get a great overview of what FTA’s are in operation and coming.

I am sincerely excited with our 2019 strategic direction and expanding our own “in house” logistics capabilities and thank you for your ongoing support.

In the meantime if there is any help, advice or quotes you need, please contact me 24/7 toll free on 1DEPTH (133784) or +61730544670.

Yours with “Absolute Reliability”,

Brad Skelton

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Calling Former Skelton Trucking Drivers

I am hoping to get back in touch with some of my old truck drivers from Skelton Trucking that might still be in the Brisbane area.

If you were part of the team or know someone who was I'd appreciate it if you could get in contact with me on 0730544670 or email me please? Thank you!

To reminisce here is one of our more notable moves of the Clem 7 Tunnel Boring Machines from the Port of Brisbane to Bowen Hills that is still live on YouTube with over 11000 views!



All for now,

Brad Skelton

Monday, October 15, 2018

Green shipping but there is a significant price

Major shipping lines have commenced a cost recovery campaign to compensate for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) commitment to reduce sulphur emissions from shipping lines by 85% by 1 January 2020.



Two of the largest carriers, Maersk and MSC, have each calculated the costs for compliance to the regulations will add USD2bn in operating costs each per annum which they intend to recover from shippers by way of surcharges.


For CMA CGM the average cost based on current operating conditions will be $160 USD / TEU.

Despite the 2020 effective date of the regulation, Maersk, MSC and others, are introducing their new fuel surcharge mechanisms from 1 January 2019- a year before the regulation kicks in. They say they have a heavy capital expenditure over the next year to prepare vessels and other infrastructure for the different fuels.


RoRo carriers are introducing surcharges in the region of USD1.00 per revenue tonne.
Here are a few of the major shipping lines announcements:
Maersk Line- IMO Regulations 2020: New BAF to replace SBF

MSC- IMO Sulphur Cap Surcharges

CMA CGM- Low Sulphur Regulation 2020

Hapag Lloyd- Marine Fuel Recovery Mechanism

OOCL Fleet moves to meet IMO 2020 Regulation

I have been posting for a long time that container rates are too low and unsustainable and many carriers have been unprofitable and this has caused tremendous consolidation of the container carrier market in particular over the last five years or so.

With the climate of very low freight rates the only thing carriers can do is pass on the sulphur emission cost imposts to their clients. Shippers demand reliable shipping services and simple fact is that takes profitable carriers for services to be sustained.

I have been telling my clients to factor in 10-20% freight increases for sometime however these new surcharges have not been part of my consideration.

I hope that in time the tide will turn as from my perspective GREEN = MORE EXPENSIVE not just for the shipping industry.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tips for Shipping During Peak Season

Peak Season is again now upon container carriers with all experiencing a sharp increase in volumes while at the same time capacity on some trade lanes is actually smaller.

There are fewer carriers as consolidation of the global container shipping industry rolls on so they can fight their way back into profitability from unsustainably low freight rates and increasing operating costs. Most recently ONE Line has been formed with a huge merger between Japan’s three largest carriers namely, NYK, MOL and K Line. Furthermore Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Corporation have formed an alliance.

This means carriers are operating at full capacity and frequently over-booking their vessels and this situation will persist into January 2019.

Here are some tips to minimise impacts on your business:

  • Factor in 1-2 week delays into your delivery schedule just in case
  • Factor in rate increases of about 20-30%
  • Supply forecasts and bookings as early as possible
  • Prioritise your shipments so carriers know that in a tight situation which ones should be uplifted first
  • All shippers scramble to load the faster more direct services but often in peak season the slower carriers prove more reliable and your cargo will arrive sooner
  • If your supplier has even part of your order ready consider a split shipment by LCL on the first available vessel or even some air freight to keep your customers orders flowing
  • You stay in control of your freight rather than your supplier. Generally suppliers only care about getting a container delivered to the port and off their hands so they can get paid and do not consider carefully which carriers will be most reliable. To frequently clients get told by their supplier they can get it shipped only to find the container then gets short-shipped at a transshipment port and ultimately arrives later than the routing we originally recommended
  • Allow for Golden Week holiday season 1-10 October if you are sourcing from China
  • Get your documents to your Customs Broker urgently so pre-clearance through Customs prior to arrival can be obtained. Even Customs, Quarantine, wharves and local trucking companies struggle to cope during peak season
If you would like more detailed advice on specific trade lanes or have a shipment stuck somewhere please contact me or any member of my team at Depth Logistics for help.

All for now,

Brad Skelton