What is a Flexitank?

In the shipping container business, people mainly focus on the type of merchandise which can be boxed and sorted on pallets. In fact, this is only a portion of what can be shipped in those magical boxes. Handling different type of products is an important segment of logistics, and we utilize different type of containers to achieve that. Moreover, a container itself is not the only thing that we can utilize to handle our unordinary cargoes. We can use various types of packaging techniques to turn a dry van container into a liquid tank, too. One of the most common...

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What is a Letter of Credit (L/C)?

Paying internationally might be complicated, because the importer is concerned they will lose their money, and the seller is concerned they will not get paid for the product they are shipping. Each party must agree to a payment method before the order is placed. A Letter of Credit is one of the most common ways to pay internationally. A Letter of Credit is a formal, binding legal agreement between an importer and foreign seller. A Letter of Credit is one of the most secure methods of payment between the seller and the buyer. It can balance the risk for both...

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The New Silk Road’s First Freight Train From U.K To China

This past Monday, April 10, 2017, marked a historic moment in logistics history, when the first-ever freight train departed the United Kingdom en route to China. A new direct route from the United Kingdom to China has been established under the collective initiative known as the new “Silk Road.” China has established a new trade route between the United Kingdom and China, with a train loaded with British goods. After approximately a three-month pause, the return leg of the new Silk Road has finally reached its final destination of Yiwu, in the eastern province of Eastern China. The 7,500...

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Global Warming and Its Effect on the Shipping Industry

According to the majority consensus within the scientific community, it is widely known the Earth is warming up faster than in previous years, having record temperatures year after year due its high greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. A record-level low of sea ice has been seen in the Arctic over the past few months. It worries scientists – and the general public should be worried, too, since arctic animals such as polar bears are estimated to decline by at least 30% by the year 2050. We can reduce human activities that lead to climate change, beginning with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Global...

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A Collaboration that will Elevate the Asia-Pacific Supply Chain

In recent news, Malaysia’s capital is the site for the Asia-Pacific region’s first cross-border e-commerce fulfillment agreement. Malaysia’s major postal company, POS Malaysia Berhad, has teamed up with Tigers Global Logistics Sdn Bhd, and finalized an agreement that could revolutionize, and provide business solutions, to the Asia-Pacific supply chain. Representatives of both companies were present during the signing. Tigers Ltd Group was represented by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Jillings. POS Malaysia Group was represented by Chief Executive Officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, who stated that “Under the collaboration, Tigers would be responsible for the continuous...

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Drone Aircrafts To Become The Next Mode Of Delivery

As technology continues to evolve, companies look for new ways to deliver consumer goods to their customers at record delivery times. Companies such as Amazon, Google and UPS have developed autonomous delivery drones to fulfill a customer’s online orders in minutes. It was not too long ago when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would be using octocopter drones to deliver items directly to the customer’s doorstep in thirty minutes or less, in a taping of CBS’ “60 Minutes.” Since then, the company has announced its Amazon “Prime Air” program, a delivery system which does just that. Many...

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An Operations Day on The Arabian Peninsula

It is the day of heat and sand in Oman. The air is painted in yellow by dust and sand, blown by mild winds. I check the temperature on my overheated smart phone, which keeps shutting down automatically because of the extreme heat. It shows 113 degrees Fahrenheit. I know this phone is not waterproof, and obviously not heat-proof either – are you going to do something about that Apple? I know that I am sweating, but my clothes are dry because of the heat. The sweat must be vaporizing before contacting the fabric. It just feels like I...

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Ice, Ice Baby – Safety of Shipping Vessels on the Icy Seas

Since the beginning of transatlantic voyages, icebergs have threatened the safety of the vessels. However, it was only after the disastrous and tragic sinking of RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912, that the United States Coast Guard established the International Ice Patrol. As of Monday, there were about 450 icebergs near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, up from about 37 a week earlier, which is 370 more than the season average, per the IIP in New London, Connecticut. A high density of icebergs in the North Atlantic shipping lanes forces vessels to take detours, adding up to 400 miles, and...

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It’s Almost Spring, but Eastbound Transpacific Rates Drop Further

Historically, we all know that going into Spring, cargo volumes start picking up and begin to build. Slack season imports are about 20 percent less than those peak season volumes. This year, it’s been almost eight weeks that spot rates in eastbound Pacific transit have been decreasing. See the chart below: When we analyze East Coast rates, here’s what we see. According to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange’s Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, from Shanghai to the U.S. East Coast, the spot rate for shipping a 40-foot equivalent unit was $2,625, about 59 percent higher than in Week 12 of 2016. For U.S. West...

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Yang Ming Lines Reports Losses Doubled in 2016

Yang Ming Lines, a Taiwanese-origin ocean carrier, almost doubled its losses between 2015 and 2016, reporting a $493.6 million loss last year on reduced revenue due to frailer pricing. The statement of deep losses comes as the Taiwanese government burdens the carrier to reform or face a significant disturbance. Yang Ming Lines is not the only ocean carrier facing losses in 2016, after Maersk Line, CMA-CGM, Hapag Lloyd, and OOCL reported a total loss of $1 billion. The company’s revenue fell 9.5 percent year-over-year in 2016 to $3.8 billion. Turnover was also insufficient in covering Yang Ming’s operating expenditures of...

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What to Expect as 2017 Progresses: Contract Negotiations, Disruptive Global Trade Trends, and More

We live in a world with unprecedented global ties, and seamless collaboration for us industry professionals to do tasks after tasks. There are many variables out there that affect our decision-making process. In this article, I would like to provide you some insights to keep in mind as we move ahead with the rest of 2017. Contract Negotiations The difference between the expectations of shippers and carriers on ocean freight rates this year may set the stage for difficult contract negotiations for the 2017-2018 shipping season. Shippers assume they can lock in contracts with little or no rate increases, compared...

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2017 MTS Logistics Bowling Tournament

On Friday, March 24th, the MTS Logistics team held an employee friends and family bowling tournament at Lucky Strike in New York City. It was so much fun, and a great learning experience for all. The Management team won the tournament with a stunning victory. The Import team lost the tournament, coming in 4th place. As a result, they playfully wore pink “Loser” shirts. See their team (and their great shirts) below: Regardless of the outcome of who won or lost our first Bowling Tournament, the entire MTS Logistics team had a great time and enjoyed each other’s company while practicing...

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Alliance Delays Causing Issues for Shippers

The shipping industry will see major changes take place when the two new alliances become effective in April 1st. That’s when the major container steamship lines will combine their strength and power into two “alliances” with vessel-sharing agreements to carry each other’s containers. Shippers will be facing particularly fewer direct port calls, and may encounter disruptions and delays at the ports on that kick-off date because of the delays in announcing the details on new alliance operations. According to JOC and other media sources, these new alliances will mean less direct port calls available to the shippers. Trans-Pacific trade...

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E-Commerce and Logistics: The War between the Titans

The fact that Amazon is implementing an Uber-like app for Trucking (“Uber for Trucking”) is not a surprise. But there’s more: the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, announced earlier this year that the Chinese giant will invest nearly 16 billion dollars in logistics over the next 5-8 years. Not long ago, Uber themselves also mentioned the possibility to launch a variation of its app, “Uber for Trucking.” This means only one thing: the high-tech companies that have focused on e-commerce are expanding along the entire supply chain, leveraging their large availability of capital to expand their business. Some of the reasons for...

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A Damage Control Opportunity for Imported Perishable Foods

Every day, creative people make a difference to solve daily life problems. In California, one particular startup is developing a new way to use the organic fruits and vegetables which would otherwise go to waste. It is known that each year, American consumers, businesses, and farmers spend around $218 billion for the growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of foods that are never eaten, per a ReFED report. ReFED, a collaboration of businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and government leaders, are committed to reducing food waste in the United States. According to food waste statistics, an estimated 25-40% of food grown, processed and transported...

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Rising LNG Ship Traffic in the Mediterranean

Rising demand for natural gas from suppliers among Mediterranean countries, where pipelines are not a possible means of transportation, has led to an increase in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) traffic in the region’s waterways. The Mediterranean Sea is among the world’s busiest waterways. From container ships to bulk carriers, many vessels sail through these waters, steadily increasing the transit activity over time. Within the ten-year period between 2006 and 2016, transit activity in the Mediterranean Sea grew by 23%. A relatively small share of this growth came from LNG. However, due to the rapidly increasing demand of natural gas among...

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The New Silk Road

China is ready to continue its global leadership role. While China is a country always driven by its own national interests, its global initiatives, such as One Belt One Road, has the potential to ignite global economic growth and create developmental dividends for all associated countries within this infrastructure. The One Belt One Road initiative, launched in 2013, is the centerpiece of China’s economic diplomacy, connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe along five different routes. The initiative incorporates 60 countries along a new Silk Road, and has started to gain traction as China’s most important strategic initiative. What China yearns to...

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Unmanned Vessels – Navigation Through Intelligence in Networks

Unmanned cargo ships are ships without a human captain and crew that are navigated remotely by a shore-based command and control center. This trend has existed for long time in aviation, and both bus and large, land-based transportation companies are in the development stages to implement unmanned vessels. In the future, we expect shipping companies will increasingly focus on business management and utilization of an unmanned fleet of cargo ships. In the near future, ship navigation and movement during sea-passages will be performed without a crew on-board, with automation and remote control monitoring to ensure all systems on board are...

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Manufacturing Jobs are Returning to the U.S. from a Surprise Country

China has been perceived as the main enemy of the U.S. when it comes to manufacturing, and this rhetoric has been widely-used especially during the last election. It is true that many low paying jobs for low-value items switched to China, especially after China joined the WTO back in the 2000’s, but both sides benefited heavily with this trade. American consumers were the main winners as they had access to low-prices due to low labor costs in China, and workers in China were the main winners as their income level increased annually. As China became richer and created its own upper...

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Cleaner Fuel For Shipping Vessels – Liquefied Natural Gases (LNG)

A century ago, the shipping industry transitioned from primarily “coal-fueled” to “oil-fueled” power sources. Fast forward another hundred years and in the present day, a new transition is taking place. This newer fuel source comes in the form of gas, and its impact is clearly evident. With stricter environmental and international standards, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is being looked at as the “fuel of the future.” Logistic companies continue to gain interest in LNG-fueled vessels as a way to reduce their environmental impact, and potentially reduce fuel cost. As global energy demands continue to rise, natural gas continues to play...

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Hyperloop Infrastructure: The Future of Transportation

What is the Hyperloop? According to Wikipedia, “Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed.” The ever-changing and rapidly-growing technologies in this innovative century, combined with bright and selfless ideas of individuals, such as SpaceX’s Elon Musk, are certainly very exciting and promising for daily transportation. Hyperloop Infrastructure is the future of transportation. Computerized capsule containers, also known as pod cars, are hybrids of spaceships and trains, which will travel in a nearly-vacuum tunnel at over 1000 kilometers per hour. Since laying ground, the...

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India Speeds Up Their Imports Through New Program

Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), located in Nhava Sheva, India, which loads more than 70% of the containers passing through the 12 major ports in India, is getting improvements in efforts to speed up its import and export functions. The port and government will be implementing a program that will impact container dwell times and port productivity. That being said, these improvements will fix congestion and reduce transit time for faster delivery, which will expand shipper interest in shipping in and out of India. JNPT and customs authorities have coordinated a delivery program called DPD – Direct Port Delivery services – to...

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Reefer Cargo – the Last Resort for Substantial Profit in Shipping

As all major carriers are trying to increase dry cargo rates, they find comfort in the fact that reefer cargo continues to be high-paying cargo, and even though the operational costs are high, reefer cargo remains very profitable. But what does one need to know in order to participate in this complex business? Here are some simple rules for all the maritime hopefuls out there, which can help you and your team better understand some aspects of the reefer world: Rule #1: Reefer containers are pre-tripped before being delivered to the customer for stuffing, meaning that they should have been...

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Ocean Alliance Dominates Transpacific Trade

I believe the shipping industry has all been waiting to see the impacts of these mega alliances forming within the industry. The Ocean Alliance will start its operations in about 5 weeks. We are aware of the information released out there for its arrival terminals, transit times, port rotation schedule, and even port of departures and arrivals. Below are the members of the Ocean Alliance: OOCL is one of the world’s largest integrated international container transportation, logistics, and terminal companies. They are one of Hong Kong’s most recognized global brands. Evergreen Line operates the fourth largest container fleet in the...

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Ship Breaking – Is it the Answer to the Shipping Industry’s Overcapacity Problem?

Undoubtedly, 2016 was one of the darkest years in shipping history. Financial distress was unbearable, especially for certain companies. Carriers formed alliances, smaller steamship lines got acquired by larger corporations, and creditors distributed more money to support their borrowers. Long story short, everyone did their best to survive in a collapsing industry. However, a lesser-known side of the industry had one of its most profitable years in decades – ship breaking. Ship breaking is a way of disposing unused ships by tearing them up, either for parts or raw material. Modern vessels are built to last for several decades, but after a...

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