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Friday 2 October 2020

Shipping Industry Cyber Attacks

The Big Four shipping lines and high profile logistics companies have been hit hard, left, right and centre by the "cyber pirates" and now the IMO has been added to the hit list. 

The Maritime, Supply Chain, and Logistics Industry is proven to be no more or less vulnerable than other industries. Where do we go from here? 

In the space of 3 days the Maritime Industry was shaken up by the news of various cyber attacks. CMA CGM has been hit by a ransomware attack, which forced the French shipping giant to concede data was breached and compromised due to the ongoing IT fallout. And just this morning, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a branch of the United Nations, admitted it had also suffered a cyber-attack when its website went down yesterday. 

Ironically, IMO was in the middle of preparing their new cybersecurity guidelines "IMO Cybersecurity 2021" which requires shipping lines and ship owners to develop comprehensive cyber risk management programs focusing on five major areas or concern: identifying risk, detecting risk, protecting assets, responding to risk and recovering from attacks.

Was it a random attack or a targeted message directed to the maritime industry?

All of the Big Four maritime shipping companies now have suffered cyber attacks one after the other, starting from APM-Maersk was hit by the NotPetya ransomware in 2017, COSCO was taken down in July 2018, MSC was stung by malware at the start of this year, and now CMA CGM. We are also still hearing continuous ongoing analysis and evaluations of the impact of the ransomware-attack that hit Toll Group earlier this year. 

CMA CGM is not the only carrier to have suffered data breaches. These are quite disturbing as these ships carry all manner of goods and some controlled goods requiring high security. The shipping lines must adopt the highest possible security urgently.

Locally in Australia shippers have not been able to take delivery of containers as the clearance process requires freight forwarders and customs brokers to transact via some shipping lines websites. ANL is part of CMA CGM so they have been impacted and storage charges on the waterfront are adding up.

While all these incidents unrelated, the target is clear: the maritime shipping and supply chain industry.

According to the World Shipping Council, liner shipping terminals trade more than $4 trillion worth of goods destined to the U.S. alone and terminals are increasingly dependent of digital systems. Even a small cyber-attack can disastrously damage the world's economy.

It clearly shows that most businesses are concerned about cyberattacks, yet fewer than half have plans in place to prevent or respond to an attack. Crisis management plan to respond to the risk and strategies to recover from attacks are still being overlooked and even dismissed. 

This is not the first attack, nor the last. It is only going to get a lot worse.

In Australia alone, a cyber crime is reported, on average, every ten minutes. While ship-based attacks make the major headlines, it is the Industry's shore-based system that must now be the main focus and priority.

The cyber pirates are now targeting the shore-based systems that sit in the offices, business offices, and data centres. Cyber-based organised pirates that are targeting ship manifests and routes, container ID details and data that can lead to serious implications such as ship-based attacks that involve boarding and taking over the ships to steal high valuable cargo stored in the containers.

Internet-accessible systems need to be vigilantly and routinely maintained by keeping them updated and locked down as much as functionally possible to help reduce the threat surface and risks. 

While hiring IT professionals with maritime expertise and experience protecting ships manifests and IPs is imperative, but the maritime industry should develop their "Plan B's", corporate crisis management protocol to respond and counter the attack and strategies to recover from the attack. Let us face it, preventions may not be an effective strategy, but automated detection and response is the key.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Friday 26 June 2020

A major myCargo upgrade + DepthRoRo.com + DepthDefenceLogistics.com

After many months of hard work and dedication a major upgrade to myCargo to make it a world leading fifth generation logistics platform. This upgrade goes hand in hand with the launch of two new industry specific websites DepthRoRo.com and DepthDefenceLogistics.com 

Depth Logistics clients are mainly in the defence industry or heavy industry so these sites allow you to go straight to the site that is most relevant to you.

Depth's mission is to deliver outstanding capabilities and informative content while making the new websites faster, easier to navigate and more user-friendly for their clients. A more visually interactive experience is available through some significant updates, great video content and exciting features, including:

Comprehensive LIVE tracking tools via the widget on both sites allows users to get real-time updates and tracking details on vessels, air cargo, containers, major couriers, and other 3rd party carriers simply using reference numbers or vessel names.

myCargo users can now search for shipment tracking updates directly from the homepage without having to login as long as their reference number matches the data held in the myCargo system. Users who login can do so directly from the widget and land in an enhanced myCargo dashboard with all of their shipments and other historical information and shipping documents at their fingertips.

Online customs clearance capabilities have been simplified so it is quicker and easier to use than ever before. You can initiate clearance on all imports and exports online via the widget on the homepage or the dedicated customs pages.

Cyber security is extremely important so data security has been enhanced to keep clients data safer than ever before.

On DepthRoRo.com you will find a comprehensive list of content and information on shipping of all manner of cargo. Detailed RoRo cargo preparation guides for every conceivable piece of equipment that can be physically loaded on a RoRo ship. The website also features informative videos demonstrating Roll On Roll Off shipping capabilities.

On DepthDefenceLogistics.com unique capabilities and credentials that have made Depth Logistics the leading Australian international freight forwarder serving defence supply chains are available.

These new websites and the myCargo upgrade are another quantum leap forward ahead of all others in the freight forwarding industry and even more capabilities are soon to be released.
All for now,
Brad Skelton

Sunday 31 May 2020

RoRo Vessels Get Green Revhullutionary Treatment

As the search for sustainable solutions to fuel-saving optimisation and emissions reduction continues, Jotun, introduced Hull Skating Solutions technology. It is a 'revhullutionary' innovation for keeping the hulls of large vessels free from fouling.

Aquatic robot crawls hulls to brush off barnacles

The Norwegian based marine coating company, Jotun, has teamed up with one of the worlds largest RoRo carriers to put the hull skater to the test. 

While achieving 'zero-emissions' vessels is still a big challenge, but with this robotic solution for proactive cleaning, emissions from a typical ship can be reduced by 22,000 tonnes of CO2, or 12.5%, over a five year period. This is equivalent to an overall cost saving of USD 4 million. In addition, it reduces the spread of aquatic invasive organisms between different ports. 

Hull Skating Solutions | Jotun

Jotun Hull Skating Solutions is a remotely operated vehicle that inspects the hull underwater and keeps the hull free from fouling. The vehicle is specially developed for the inspection and preventive cleaning of vessels in challenging conditions. It is always on board the vessel, ready to do its job whenever the ship is idle. Once underwater, the unit is remotely controlled. The cleaning and inspection process can take between 2-8 hours, depending the size of the vessel. 

The HSS consists of five solution components; A high performance anti-fouling coating SeaQuantum Skate, proactive condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning with advanced underwater robotic Jotun HullSkater, high-end technical service and performance and service level guarantees that fit the most challenging operations.

This robotic technology provides shipping companies with increased operational efficiency as well as reducing fuel consumption and their environmental footprint.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Tuesday 26 May 2020

CEO Sleepout 2020 - I have signed up again

On June 18th, I will once again participate in Vinnies' CEO Sleepout to raise money for the St Vincent de Paul Society to support homeless Australians. This will be my fifth year doing the CEO Sleepout and during this time I have raised $6574.00 for the homeless.

Due to the current pandemic situation and social distancing restrictions, this year’s event will be held differently as it will be transformed into one national, interactive and live-streamed event. I will be sleeping in my apartment balcony as part of an eye-opening experience to raise awareness and bring home the realities of homelessness. One night is not a lot, but it can make a whole lot of difference. 

There are more than 116,000 people in Australia currently experiencing homelessness and over 51,000 people live in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings. With social distancing measures calling for people to be at least 1.5 metres apart, overcrowded accommodation can be seen as a high risk factor in spreading COVID-19.

Almost $60 million has been raised since the first Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Sydney, 15 years ago. The funds raised through the event will be turned into crisis accommodation, food, healthcare, counselling, education, employment and support to find a permanent home for thousands of homeless people across the country.

Every bit of donations will help break the devastating cycle of homelessness. Just $50 can provide a whole family with a warm, nutritious meal this winter.

Please join me to make a huge difference to people who need it most, donate here. We thank you for your generous support, it is truly appreciated.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Friday 8 May 2020

Drone Delivery of Ships Stores and Supplies in Singapore

GAC has teamed up with a Singapore-based startup company, F-Drones, to develop large scale drones for delivery of supplies to vessels in the vicinity.

These ships have been receiving helicopter deliveries so the cost differential to a drone is stark.

Testing is currently ongoing on F-Drones' third prototype that is capable of delivery items and supplies of up to 5kg over 50km. The full scale unmanned aerial vehicles are expected to deliver up 100kg payload at a distance of 100 km offshore.


F-drones has received Singapore’s first Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) drone delivery permit and is now scaling up commercial delivery with an off-the-shelf drone.

This is another practical breakthrough technology to meet the demands of the shipping industry and I am certain will eventually be embraced in all major ports around the world.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Thursday 7 May 2020

Australia's Loyal Wingman BATS

Boeing Defence Australia have unveiled the first unmanned military aircraft to be built in Australia in more than 50 years, the Loyal Wingman. This is a collaboration between Boeing the Royal Australian Air Force these aircraft will be built in Australia.

The Loyal Wingman will have a range of more than 3700km.

The Loyal Wingman will be the first of three Boeing Airpower Teaming System (BATS) unmanned aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms. The Australian Government through RAAF has invested up to $40 million in the Boeing Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program, alongside Boeing’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.  

The BATS prototype will have a range of more than 3700km, enabling Defence to better understand how these types of aircraft can be used as a force-multiplier, helping to project power forward while keeping manned capabilities out of harm’s way. The 11.5 metre long world-leading prototype will now move onto ground testing, followed by test flights later this year.

Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJpeWAxk2So&feature=youtu.be

The groundbreaking project is a boost to Australian economy, and has so far helped support around 100 high-tech jobs in Australia. More than 35 members of Australian industry are supporting prototype work across four states, from the ADF's prime partners like BAE Systems through to SMEs like RUAG and Ferra Manufacturing. 

Depth Logistics proudly acts for some companies that are in this supply chain and the Australian Defence Force. The team and I are truly excited about this project and what it means for Australia.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Thursday 30 April 2020

The Boeing Dreamlifter Deployed for COVID19 Cargo Transport

Boeing has deployed aircraft to assist with COVID19 relief flights. This includes their "Dreamlifter" 747 Freighter that is normally in service delivering 787 aircraft fuselages from Europe to Seattle.

The Dreamlifter was used to transport 1.5 million medical-grade face masks and PPE from Hong Kong bound for healthcare professionals at Prisma Health in South California. Boeing donated the cost of the mission.
Boeing Dreamlifter transports 1.5m face masks for COVID-19 response

Boeing Dreamlifter transports 1.5m face masks for COVID-19 response

Boeing Dreamlifter oversized cargo plane flew its first COVID-19 ...
Boeing have also flown their Boeing Business Jet demonstrator to deliver over 500,000 masks from China to New Hampshire, USA.

It is great to see Boeing boosting air cargo capacity with their own aircraft at this time.

If you need help solving air cargo challenges please contact my team HERE.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Tuesday 28 April 2020

ConRo Ships are Still Being Built

US flag carrier, Matson, Inc., added the largest combination ConRo(Container RoRo) vessel ever built in the US to its fleet.

It is great to see ships as versatile as this still being built although there are not many on the high seas. I remember when PAD Lines(Pacific Australia Direct Lines) operated ships like this early in my career before they were sold CGM Lines and after that to the US Military where I think they are still in service today.

Lurline, the first vessel of the 2 "Kanaloa" class vessels, boasts state-of-the-art green technology with dual-fuel capabilities (Diesel and LNG) and built on 3,500 TEU vessel platform. The $278 million vessel was built by General Dynamics NASSCO and debuted its first maiden voyage to Hawaii in January this year.

Lurline Photo Gallery - MATSON

At 870 feet long, 114 feet wide (beam), with a deep draft of 38 feet and weighing in at over 50,000 metric tons, Lurline is now Matson's largest ship and the largest conro vessel ever constructed in the US. It is also one of Matson's fastest vessels, with a top speed of 23 knot.

Being the biggest conro vessel, it has an enclosed garage space for 500 vehicles, plus ample space for rolling stock and breakbulk cargo, green technology features including a fuel efficient hull design, environmentally safe double-hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and dual-fuel engines. 

The garage has four decks for cars, two decks for trailers and a stern quartering ramp. Decks can accommodate up to 800 cars. It is the first Matson ship built specially for RoRo work and the first to have their own vehicle ramps, which allows it to go to ports that do not have ramps.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Monday 20 April 2020

COVID19 Crisis International Logistics Response Team Delivering 24 Hours

My team at Depth Logistics is well known for working in ultra-demanding defence logistics supply chains so we have been called upon to solve logistics problems in getting urgent Coronavirus relief cargo all over the world in recent weeks.

As our good track record has grown so has the number of enquiries from people urgently trying to move COVID19 relief cargo. To cater for this need we have just deployed members of our Defence Logistics Team into a special COVID19 Crisis Response Team who are operating 24/7 from our Brisbane, Australia HQ.

Depth Logistics COVID19 Team will focus strictly on commercial and government shipments of urgent medical supplies, medical equipment and PPE to and from anywhere in the world. The team's mission is simply to do what it takes to get this medical cargo efficiently to the destination required and overcome any and all impediments there may be.

Our clients are drawing on the tremendous experience and unconventional supply chain channels this team has in solving logistical problems with speed and agility globally. We are treating every consignment like a mission in itself and our aim is "Absolute Reliability". This is the same team that most recently responded to delivering fire retardant for the Australian Bush fires relief efforts earlier this year.

Depth Logistics COVID19 24/7 Logistics Hotline is +61(0)730544670. When you call you are connected directly to the operations people who will respond to your needs in a personal manner. Not a call center where precious time can be wasted.

Currently Chinese suppliers are probably the largest producer of Coronavirus PPE and Ventilators so we have people on the ground there who are coordinating local deliveries and export customs clearance.

Similarly our own network of offices and agents are on hand in most countries to expedite customs clearance and local delivery of the medical cargo.

Airfreight of Urgent Medical Supplies

Currently most international commercial airline fleets are grounded so by leveraging our excellent working relationships with cargo aircraft owners around the world we have an excellent track record finding innovative solutions to get urgent medical cargo uplifted. This includes utilising Antonov aircraft which recently delivered a full payload of sanitiser into Sydney.

Most air courier type operators currently have backlogs of cargo so are not a reliable option for shippers.

Space demands on these aircraft is at a record high so most carriers are quoting daily spot air freight rates with 24 hours validity and demand prepayment at the time of booking. One reason for this is that they want to be sure that all booked cargo is delivered for uplift as any space not utilised on each and every flight could have been allocated to other urgent medical cargo.

We are also at the forefront of Passenger to Cargo(PTC) flights where we are working with carriers to load cargo on passenger aircraft literally in the passenger seats if possible. Our team has also assisted with sea/air and road/air solutions to overcome lack of carriers or coronavirus restrictions.

Sea Freight of Medical Supplies

Currently international ocean freight supply chains are functioning quite well and transit times with some carriers are reasonably fast so in some circumstances this may be an option. There is no need to prepay freight charges and the costs are radically lower than current air freight rates.

If you have any urgent medical relief cargo to move or can introduce people who are in need please feel free to direct them to me personally or the Depth Logistics COVID19 Logistics Response Team. Contact them now on the
 COVID19 24/7 Logistics Hotline which is +61(0)730544670 or a quote can be requested HERE.

Stay safe and well,

Brad Skelton

Thursday 26 March 2020

Innovative Airfreight Solution during COVID-19

The demand for airline passengers may have plummeted during this challenging time, but the demand for global supply chains and logistics are higher than ever before and require the cargo capacity those grounded passenger aircraft represent.

Showing innovative and ingenious solutions to airfreight challenges, a Lufthansa Airbus 330 and 2 of Austrian Airlines' Boeing 777s have been converted into cargo freighters. These passenger aircraft conversions were used for their special humanitarian mission to deliver medical goods from China to Germany and Austria. 

Austrian Airlines B777 Credit Schleinzer, Vienna AirportImage

In addition to the cargo compartments, the cabin - including the passenger seats and overhead stowage, was used to optimise storage space and ensure the aircraft payload was maximised. 

Special seat covers were attached and freight was securely stowed on the seats and in the overhead bins.

On board the Lufthansa A330 were various urgent medical supplies including masks, sensitive pharmaceuticals, and other protective equipment.

Meanwhile, Austrian Airlines has completed two cargo flights transporting 130 tons of medical equipment from China (Xiamen) to Austria (Vienna) both with Boeing 777s.

This shows that despite the difficult time, airfreight is still possible. Our team at Depth Logistics, through our network of freighter operators, can help you find solutions to your aircargo enquiries. If you have any requirements, the key is to contact us as early as possible.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

$252 billion loss of revenue for the Airline Industry due to COVID19.

I thought I would share a statement from Alexandre de Juniac who is the CEO of the International Air Transport Association(IATA) on the impact of COVID19 so far on the industry. It is a very bleak picture indeed.

"Airlines are united with the global effort to stop a virus that is overwhelming our healthcare systems and threatening many lives. This is having a major impact on airlines and the value chain.

On March 5th we thought that the pessimistic scenario was a revenue loss of $113 billion. That was based on a wide spreading of COVID-19, but not as severe as the current blanket of travel restrictions. If this lasts for a three-month period, we see a 38% fall in global demand and a $252 billion loss of passenger revenue—44% down on 2019.

The figures speak for themselves. The air transport industry is in its deepest crisis ever.

Where international passenger traffic is allowed, we are mostly repatriating people to their home countries as governments permit. And we are also delivering vital goods—medicines and equipment to fight the virus or the most time-sensitive products feeding global supply chains. And I will come back with more detail on cargo later in this discussion.

IATA has been asking governments to provide a lifeline of financial support. A liquidity crisis is coming at full speed. Revenues have fallen off a cliff. And no amount of cost cutting can save the day if no cash is coming in the door. Without financial relief airlines will go bust. And that could happen en masse.

Some commentators say, "so what?" I ask them to think of the consequences. Letting this industry fail will have an impact far beyond the livelihoods of the 2.7 million people airlines employ. And it will go beyond the 65 million other jobs in the value chain. If we don't have a viable aviation industry when we come out of this crisis—whenever that may be—re-starting the global economy will be severely constrained in almost all sectors. And everybody will suffer much longer than necessary.

Fortunately, many governments understand the critical role of aviation. Among countries committing to financial relief are Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Qatar, Colombia, Sweden and Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Several other governments are in the consideration stage—including a $58 billion package in the US and significant support measures from the European Central Bank.
My message to governments that have taken up this cause is to say thank you for leading. And keep watching the situation as it develops because we may need you to do more.
My message to governments that are considering doing something is to hurry-up. Every day matters.
For all the others, the potential for a $252 billion fall in revenues is an alarm bell. This is apocalypse now and you must act fast.

There are several levers that only governments have the capacity to pull:

  • Direct financial support;
  • Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market by the Government or Central Banks, and
  • Tax relief.
Speed is of the essence.


The one part of the business that is operating is cargo. And it is doing everything it can to meet demand. And that is a big challenge because of the severe reduction in the cargo capacity that was carried on passenger flights. Airlines are reintroducing freighters and doing their best to even adapt passenger aircraft into their cargo operations.

That's because global supply chains are still running. And air cargo is essential to keeping it that way. Last week we highlighted the need for governments to ensure that air cargo can continue to play a critical role. I wish that I could say that all has been smooth. That is not the case.

A few examples to illustrate real challenges that airlines are facing.
One airline ran a repatriation flight for its nationals to a country in Asia. On the return operation the airline wants to make a stop in a third country to pick-up relief supplies. But valuable time is being wasted waiting for approval of traffic rights.

Cargo crew are being caught up in quarantine measures aimed at commercial passengers. In some cases, they are not being allowed to position on commercial flights. And there are destinations were normal accommodation for crew rest is unavailable and no alternative arrangements have been made.

And our staff intervened in Somalia and Djibouti where cargo flights fell under the same temporary flight ban as passenger aircraft.

Cargo operations are vital and time sensitive. I again call on governments to do all that is in their power so that we can get the cargo where it needs to be, fast. That means:

  • Exempting crew from quarantine restrictions
  • Expediting paperwork to mount special operations
  • And doing everything possible to reduce or eliminate costs and charges.
These measures will go a long way to keeping essential supply chains working.

To summarize, my two messages for today are:
1. This crisis has deepened. Revenue losses could reach $252 billion this year. And governments need to act fast with financial relief to avoid a liquidity crisis.
2. Cargo operations are vital. Governments need to do all they can to facilitate an industry that is scrambling to meet demand.

Airlines are desperately trying to survive in the most difficult times imaginable. We have the people and the experience to see this through. But, to be perfectly frank, we don't have the money. And we need governments to bridge us to the point where we can start to recover."

If you need support with air cargo please contact my team at Depth Logistics who are doing brilliant work with Freighter operators for our clients. I am very proud of them for the solutions they are find to current challenges and how hard they are working literally around the clock to MAKE things happen.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Wednesday 18 March 2020

185,000 Flights Cancelled Globally due to COVID19 - Supply Chain Update 18 March, 2020

My team at Depth Logistics and I are currently fielding many questions from clients about their supply chains and what is happening in key markets with shipping and transport due to COVID19 impacts.

In response to this I offer this blog post with information we have to hand from various industry sources in Australia, the Philippines and other countries.

Firstly Depth Logistics operations are unaffected. We are here 24/7 for our clients come what may during this period and our myCargo technology gives them a definitive advantage at this challenging time. Here are our contact details.

We have moved as many team members as possible to working from home arrangements and all travel has been suspended. All non-essential in person meetings have been changed to conference phone calls and video conference.

Customs and Quarantine clearance of cargo in Australia is functioning normally and most likely will be unaffected as the system here is electronic and rarely requires manual intervention. This means that even if Government offices were to close then the clearance of cargo should keep functioning.

Airfreight capacity is serious impacted but is essential to fight against COVID19.
“Over 185,000 passenger flights have been cancelled since the end of January in response to government travel restrictions. With this, vital cargo capacity has disappeared when it is most urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19. The world’s fleet of freighter aircraft has been mobilized to make up this capacity shortfall. Governments must take urgent measures to ensure that vital supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Qantas is currently cutting 90% of international services and Virgin Airlines have announced today that by 30 March all international services will cease to and from Australia.

Freighter services are operating but under huge demand. Please see our client email advice on freighter options as at 16 March. HERE

Shipping lines have most staff operating from home. Efficiency is suffering somewhat but the key is be proactive earlier than usual in making all cargo handling arrangements.

Cargo terminals for both sea and airfreight are functioning as normal at this stage.

With airfreight so badly affected the advice below pertains to road, rail and sea freight supply chains.

North America
Barely any sea freight disruptions currently known and indeed usual road freight regulations have been somewhat relaxed to improve efficiency.

The Philippines and Malaysia
Logistics supply chains are function fairly normally despite these countries now being under lockdown. Malaysia for two weeks and the Philippines until 12 April, 2020.

-New local cases have dropped to less than ten per day.
-16/03/2020 China Ports & Harbours Association confirmed, the ports in China are in normal operation now. The storage issue is much better now. The ports are aiming for 80% stacked containers shipped out in next 4-8 weeks. Hapag-Lloyd also confirmed this information.
-15/03/2020 CCTV news stated as at last week, Major ports are back to normal operation level. However, reefer storage capability still full in some of the key ports such as Ningbo, Tianjin and Shanghai. Nanjing port is full for the dangerous goods. These should be reduced significantly around beginning of April.
-Vessel sailing schedules are back to normal - Some of the shipping lines yes, such as CMA CGM confirmed since middle of March. Others such as OOCL and COSCO will expect to be back to normal from 20/03/2020, however, there is no official announcement as yet.
-Truck operation is stable, especially local truck transport in South China and East China (Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu Province etc). However, the interstate trucks are still not back to normal as there are still some travel restrictions, most of the shipping lines and our agents are using trains to avoid this issue. There is no indication when the restriction will be totally removed at this stage.
-China’s manufacturing sector continues to normalise and as an average across the board is back to about 80% of pre-Chinese New Year capacity

As the virus continues to spread across Europe, we are starting start to see first impacts supply chains. Even though many European sites and offices continue to operate delays are being experienced due to increased health safety measures at different borders, in particular at the borders between Italy and its neighboring countries and at the borders to Croatia. Ocean Freight is currently not affected
FRANCE - We are advised some shipping lines now have their staff working from home in line with French Government directives.
ITALY – In regard to the recent DECREE ‘DPCM 9 MARZO 2020 ‘issued by the Italian Government, please note it does NOT imply any transport restrictions on goods or containers in any Italian Region via Sea, Air or Road. Therefore, if your Italian suppliers are still open & regularly manufacturing shipments they should be unaffected.

Please contact me personally for any urgent attention or advice you might need.

All for now...and wash those hands!

Brad Skelton

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Neptune Pacific Line's South Pacific Island Shipping Dominance Grows

Neptune Pacific Line (Neptune) announced it has acquired Pacific Direct Line (PDL) from PDL’s parent holding company, Pacific International Lines (PIL) four days ago. This is further consolidation of the shipping market that I have long been saying in this blog is necessary for rate restoration and therefore financially healthy shipping services.
PDL's "Melanesian Pride"
The combined resources of Neptune and PDL will enable transport, warehousing, depots and customs services to be linked and will be another step closer toward integration of shipper's supply chains across 18 South Pacific markets.

The acquisition of PDL will strengthen Neptune’s Melanesian and Polynesian network, provide a link to Micronesia and the French territories. Global market connectivity will also be enhanced as they intend to hub cargo through ports in Fiji and New Zealand.
For PIL this divestment enables them to focus more on their key liner shipping markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

PDL currently operates throughout the South Pacific region and specialises in providing liner shipping services from New Zealand and Australia to the South Pacific Islands. My company, Depth Logistics , has enjoyed a close working relationship with PDL, particularly with break bulk cargo, which we believe will continue under Neptune's ownership.

Please contact me if you would like any further information or to discuss your South Pacific shipping needs.
All for now,
Brad Skelton

Thursday 12 March 2020

Green and Sustainable RoRo Shipping

With the urgent scrutiny for the shipping industry to reshape the maritime transportation into a greener and more sustainable business, shipping providers are making every effort to explore all alternative options for zero emission powered vessels.

Making their way as a world leader in emissions-free solutions at sea, Norway, through their leading short sea RoRo operator, United European Car Carriers (UECC), and sustainable marine biofuel pioneer GoodFuel have launched a joint trial of GoodFuels Bio-Fuel Oil(BFO) on UECC’s roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessel M/V Autosky.

The trial will take 3 months and will test 3,000 metric tons of sustainable biofuel on the 140-meter, 2,080-vehicle carrier. This is a significant move in advancing marine biofuel for the RoRo shipment. The bio-bunkering will take place in the Port of Rotterdam, it will be the first in a series of bunkering operations between March and May 2020. The BFO will be tested on M/V Autosky's normal route between Zeebrugge, Belgium and Santander, Spain.

UECC expects a reduction of more than 6,500 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions on a well-to-wake basis.

With scalability, sustainable marine biofuel effectively allows shipowners and operators to comply with both the 2020 0.50% sulphur cap, as well as future regulations on carbon reduction by 2030 and 2050. GoodFuels’ BFO is the first residual-fuel-equivalent biofuel, requiring no changes to marine engines.

This is an immense lead towards decarbonisation and green shipping. It is a great example for other shipping providers to continue marine biofuel uptake within the industry.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Piracy at Sea is Still a Reality

Piracy at sea is still a commercial reality for shipping and the pirates are going further offshore than ever. They are also more frequently kidnapping crew members to try and collect ransom.

In the past week Tianjin Xinhai International Ship Management has lost contact with it's general cargo vessel "Huanghai Glory" (pictured) after the vessel sent a piracy alert using its Ship Security Alert System (SSAS). 

An unknown number of pirates are believed to have boarded the vessel, which is currently drifting off the coast of Nigeria. The vessel’s manager has not been able to get in touch with the vessel and its 23 Chinese crew members since the initial incident alert, reports maritime security consultant Dryad Global. The Nigeria Navy has been informed and has dispatched a vessel to investigate.

The attack is the third incident off the Nigerian coast in 24 hours, with all incidents happening in close proximity of each other. Five hours earlier a tanker was boarded 45 nautical miles south of Cotonou and this incident itself followed another approach of a vessel 50 nautical miles south of Lomé.

In the first incident, the vessel reported being approached by a skiff containing 9-10 people. In the second incident, the vessel was believed to have been boarded by 5-6 people. It is highly likely that the perpetrators of all three incidents are the same group of pirates and probably originated from within Nigeria.

Piracy off the coasts of Nigeria, Benin and Togo have increased sharply in recent years with more incidents being reported further out at sea.
It is imperative that the shippers always take out marine insurance on each and every shipment to protect themselves from piracy risks.
All for now
Brad Skelton

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Coronavirus Update - China Returns to Work Slowly & Shipping Services Normalising

China is making slow but steady progress to return to work and fight back with their economy. Shipping services should start normalising soon as a consequence.

Industrial and manufacturing activities seem to be picking up with the eastern provinces mainly back to work. As some internal restrictions are still in force, most of the manufacturers are still not operating normally at this stage due to staff shortages. Despite this it is still good news for China's and the world's economy they are gradually ramping up again.

Here are some of the latest updates on the progress of what is actually happening in China, according to logistics sources I have there.
  • Most of the eastern provinces such as Zhejiang, JiangSu, Fujian, Guangdong, Shanghai, Shangdong are back to work. Henan province has announced 16 March as the return to work date
  • Most state owned manufacturers are at 80% productivity and logistics companies back to running around 95%
  • Zhejiang 99% of companies and manufacturers are back to work. However, the productivity is around 50% and forecast to pick up to about 80% by late March
  • Guangdong 99% companies and manufacturers are back to work. Productivity for many companies is around 50% and expected in increase to about 80% by late March. However the top 300 companies there are running at 91% productivity. The province is using high speed trains and charter flights to get workers back from inner Chinese provinces where there are still some restrictions.
  • The furniture industry in Guangdong province is now back to 80% productivity and the car parts industry in Shangdong province has been fully operational since mid February.
  • The textile industry in Zhejiang province is now back to 80% productivity since 29/02/2020. 
  • In Jiangsu province 78.7% companies and factories are back to work, worker numbers are at approx. 6.25 million which is 76% of the normal number.
  • The Chinese government is encouraging the use of trains to carry containers rather than rely on trucks between cities and provinces.
  • Most provinces have reduced their control restriction from level one to level two, this means other provinces’ workers, if fit and well, are able to travel into most of the provinces. 

Hong Kong, China, City, Urban, Skyline, Buildings

Please don't hesitate to contact my team at Depth Logistics or I if you need advice about your own shipping situation.
All for now,
Brad Skelton

Thursday 27 February 2020

List of the Top 10 Container Ports in the World

Being the world's second largest economy, and its rapid growth in manufacturing and infrastructure developments, China, has dominated the world's shipping markets. It is no surprise that 6 of the world's largest container ports in the world are located in China.

Forbes have listed the top 10 container ports in the world, according to the data from the World Shipping Council.
  1. Port of Shanghai, China.
    It handled 33.62 million TEUs of cargo in 2013, up from 32.53 million in 2012 and the 31.74 million TEUs reported in 2011.

  2. Singapore.
    It is no longer No. 1, but container traffic remains strong.  Last year, the port recorded 32.63 million TEUs compared with the 31.65 million in 2012 and 29.94 million TEUs in 2011.
    Cargo Ship Near Port

  3. Shenzhen, China.
    Shenzhen is now the second largest Chinese port. Last year it handled 23.28 million TEUs, up from 22.94 million in 2012 and 22.57 million TEUs in 2011, according to the World Shipping Council.
    Assorted-color Trailer Boxes

  4. Hong Kong.
    The port of Hong Kong used to be the biggest of all Chinese ports, but not anymore.  Last year, Hong Kong continued to handle a dwindling number of containers as more and more ships head north to the mainland instead.  The Hong Kong container port terminal handled 22.35 million TEUs in 2013, down from 23.12 million in 2012 and 24.38 million TEUs in 2011.
    Port, Hong Kong, Skyline, China

  5. Busan Port, South Korea.
    Continued growth in shipping at Busan. Last year saw 17.69 million TEUs go through the port, up from the 17.04 million in 2012 and 16.18 million in 2011.
    Seaport during Golden Hour

  6. Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, China.
    The Ningbo-Zhoushan Port handled 17.33 million TEUs in 2013, up from the 16.83 million in 2012 and the 14.72 million TEUs in 2011.
    Intermodal Container Stacked on Port

  7. Qingdao, China.
    Qingdao handled 15.52 million TEUs last year, up again from the 14.5 million in 2012 and the 13.02 million TEUs recorded in 2011. Not bad for a country supposedly going through a hard landing.
    Photo of Ships on Port

  8. Guangzhou Harbor, China.
    Despite a slowdown in exports out of China, the Guangzhou port continues to handle more cargo.  In 2013 it handled 15.31 million TEUs of cargo, up from 14.74 million in 2012 and 14.42 million in 2011.
    port with cranes

  9. Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, U.A.E.
    This Dubai port handled 13.64 million TEUs last year, up from 13.3 million in 2012 and 13 million TEUs in 2011, according to the World Shipping Council.  The U.A.E. has successfully positioned itself as the hub between East and West shipping lanes, with more capacity currently being built out at the Khalifa Port outside of Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. capital.
    Golden Hour

  10. Tianjin, China.
    The Tianjin port in China recorded 13.01 million TEUs in 2013, up from 12.3 million in 2012 and 11.59 million in 2011. TEU stands for "twenty-foot equivalent units". A standard cargo carrier equals two TEUs.
    Haikou, China, City, Bay, Harbor, Water, Ships, Boats
All for now,

Brad Skelton

Thursday 20 February 2020

World's Greatest Shave 2020

Today, blood cancer is an immensely big problem in Australia. It is one of the leading causes of death by cancer in Australia. Every day another 35 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer. That's one Aussie every 41 minutes. Although research is improving survival, sadly an Australian loses their life to blood cancer every two hours.

There are 110,000 Australians living with blood cancer or related diseases, and unfortunately, my brother in law is one of them and sadly not the first person I know who has been affected by this awful disease. He has been fighting leukaemia for about six months now and with the support of a wonderful medical team and the Leukaemia Foundation he has it on the run. He and my sister are setting wonderful examples of resilience and determination. I am very proud of them and love them both and am confident this health challenge will soon be overcome completely.

In support of my Brother in law, this year, I have joined the 2020 World’s Greatest Shave campaign to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation on 13th March 2020. Please join us in the fundraiser, no amount is too small to give, every cent helps. Your donation will help the Leukaemia Foundation care for families like mine facing blood cancer and research in advancements in diagnosis, treatments, and ultimately a cure. Please donate here: http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/bradskelton

Being the only national organisation that represents the needs of all people living with any blood cancer in Australia, the Leukaemia Foundation have set a bold new goal to create real change for people living with blood cancer: Zero Lives Lost to Blood Cancer by 2035. This is an incredibly powerful and bold goal that all of us should get behind.

Thank you for your generosity and for joining us in this great cause, together we can beat cancer.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Coronavirus Impacts on Shipping

The coronavirus outbreak in China is now playing havoc with global supply chains and is worsening. Many carriers ex China are cancelling sailings and the handful that did depart have left about ten percent full.

As the number of deaths is now in excess of 1,300 and confirmed cases rising over 63,000, some provinces and cities in China have extended movement restrictions until 1 March. This means that most supply chains in China are grinding to a halt.

This week one vessel that is capable of carrying 23,000 TEU departed from China to North Europe with less than 2,000 TEU so the freight contribution is too small to make the voyage profitable. Carriers simply cannot carry on much longer like this and some have begun anchoring their biggest vessels and deploying smaller ships with lower operating costs.

Cargo that is able to be delivered to the port is often not able to be uplifted reliably as shipping line schedules are in increasing turmoil.
Initially there was some discounting of rates but the reality is there is virtually no cargo there so in effect for cargo to travel shippers should really be forced to pay a premium in freight to prevent huge losses on the voyages by the carriers.
Rate levels have become fairly immaterial to most shippers as they just desperately need their cargo shipped to sustain their businesses. Many of them are giving up on China for the time being and trying to source their goods from other countries that are not currently badly affected by the virus.
I predict that as the Coronavirus crisis passes that there will be an unprecedented spike in demand so my team at Depth Logistics and I are proactively trying to lock in rate agreements with carriers for clients now. There will certainly be "peak season" like surcharges carriers will be charging.
All for now,
Brad Skelton

Tuesday 21 January 2020

What documents are required for customs clearance?

Customs clearance of cargo is required for imports and exports.

To facilitate cargo customs clearance here are the primary documents that you require to prepare an import declaration or an export declaration.

For exported cargo:

  • The vessel name, voyage number for sea freight cargo and the flight number and departure date for air freight cargo
  • The Export Invoice for the goods
For imported cargo:
  • Bill of Lading for sea freight cargo or an Airwaybill for air freight cargo. These are issued by the carrier document showing details of the cargo and the ship or aircraft that is transporting it.
  • Suppliers Commercial Invoice to evidence the price paid for the goods and there value for import duty and GST calculation
  • If your cargo is being imported from a country where a free trade agreement exists then a Certificate of Origin needs to be provided by your supplier so that duty free concessions can be claimed. If this document is not available or your goods originate from a country where no free trade agreement exists then import duty might be payable
  • Marine Insurance Certificate if your cargo is insured
  • Packing List
  • For Quarantine Clearance of goods that might be used or of plant or animal origin to avoid treatment and inspections on arrival various treatment certificates and declarations. These include a Packing Declaration, Fumigation Certificate, Heat Treatment certificate or Biosecurity Import Permit
  • If you are a commercial importer then we need your Business Number/Registration or if this shipment is a personal importation then photographic identification would be required
This is a generalised, non-exhaustive shipping documents guide and you should contact my team at Depth Logistics or I for more specific advice about the goods you are importing or exporting to be sure you have everything you need for smooth customs clearance and delivery.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Monday 13 January 2020

Marine Insurance & Freight Rates Rise with Middle East Tensions

While tensions between the US and Iran have lessened in recent days the events in the Middle East have made their mark in the insurance industry in particular.

Ships are navigating longer routes to avoid dangerous areas, Ships’ crew wages will rise owing to the heightened risks of attacks to Vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, adding costs to end consumers for commodities transported globally, hampering trade.

The recent tensions are leading to insurers and reinsurers imposing new conditions in policies, significantly increasing the costs of insurance. Industry experts forecast significant increases of about 10% over the coming months.

Similarly as ships need to steam further the owners will need to recover their operating costs in this region of the world.

The attacks on two Saudi Arabian tankers, a Norwegian and a UAE flagged vessel have led to the Joint War Committee, made up of representatives from the Lloyd’s and company markets, adding the Gulf to its list of high-risk waters.

Navy vessels of various nations are now escorting merchant ships through high risk waters to reduce the risks to shipping as part of Combined Military Force. Australia has deployed HMAS Toowoomba, a frigate, to region as part of this effort.

Other participating nations include Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States

If you would like any advice on your situation on shipping through this region please contact me.

All for now,

Brad Skelton