Maritime Shipping: It’s all smooth sailing despite historic fuel switch
Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to implement a major maritime fuel change aimed at reducing emissions. The new regulation, which began on January 1st, restricts the amount of sulfur allowed in fuels used by the shipping industry. However, despite initial concerns that the switch could cause problems, shipping executives are reporting that proceedings are running smoothly.
Initial fears that there wouldn’t be enough low-sulfur fuel available or that the fuel wouldn’t work well with maritime engines seem to so far have been unfounded, with executives saying that the new fuel blends are available in most ports and operators reporting only few problems with adapting to the new fuel. However, with a ton of low-sulfur fuel costing on average 64% more than the heavy oil, which was used before, the long-term effects of the change still remain to be seen.
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Supply Chain uncertainty despite Brexit progress
Despite the UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill being passed by the House of Commons last week, many supply chains continue to face uncertainty about the UK and EU future trading relationship. If the current agreement becomes law, the UK will remain part of the EU’s customs union until the end of the year. However, with a trade agreement not yet agreed, many businesses and industry sectors still remain anxious.
A no-deal scenario comes with the expectations of port slowdowns, customs barriers and prolonged intermodal transfers. This concerns many industry sectors including food, healthcare and manufacturing, who are worried that stockpiling resources won’t be enough to overcome these problems. There is also uncertainty within the auto manufacturing industry with manufacturers from BMW to Toyota considering shifting their UK supply chains into the EU.
With Brexit uncertainty costing the UK economy approximately £130 billion ($170 billion) since 2016 and an expected further £70 billion ($91 billion) in 2020 according to the Bloomberg Economics report, all industry sectors will be keeping a close eye on negotiations.
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Amazon lifts FedEx ground delivery ban for sellers
In December, Amazon announced that it was banning its third-party sellers from using FedEx ground delivery service for Amazon prime orders. At the time the company cited FedEx ground delivery’s poor performance as the reason for the ban. However, on Tuesday, Amazon sent out an email to merchants stating the ban had been lifted and that the company would resume using FedEx’s Ground and Home services straight away.
The turn of events comes after an improved FedEx performance over the holiday season according to a spokesperson for FedEx, who stated that over this period the company had “an average transit time of 2.4 days and 18% of Ground packages were delivered early”. The news was also confirmed by an Amazon spokesperson who stated that the FedEx service has been consistently meeting Amazon’s on-time delivery requirements.
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Have a lovely weekend!