Newly expanded Panama Canal shaking up the shipping industry
Sunday, June 26 marked the first completed journey through the newly reopened and expanded Panama Canal. The expansion of the shipping lane was scheduled to be finished in 2014 on its 100th birthday, but the $5.25 billion project took a bit longer to complete than expected. The ship that made the first official journey through the canal is named Cosco and was carrying 9,472 containers. These types of mammoth cargo ships were part of the inspiration for the expansion. This new generation of ships, called neo-Panamax, were previously unable to use the canal, but with the expansion of the canal locks, this will no longer be the case. In fact, the canal has already received over 170 bookings from these larger cargo ships and the new locks are expected to at least double the amount of traffic travelling through the canal.
Several knock-on effects are expected as a result of the canal expansion. For example, it is predicted that up to 10% of shipments from East Asia to the United States may continue on to East Coast ports instead of stopping at West Coast Ports just to continue the journey by truck or rail. However, if this is the case, the East Coast Ports will also have some work to do. A $1.3 billion project has already been approved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that will see the Bayonne Bridge raised, which will allow these larger container ships to pass through.
Read more about the Panama Canal expansion here.
Logistics Industry caught off-guard by Brexit
As many of you have already heard, the people of Great Britain approved a referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Speculations as to what impact this decision will have for businesses within the EU and Britain are flooding the news wire. In a survey conducted by Logistics Manager in the two weeks leading up to the referendum vote, 52.2% of the 320 respondents believed that a UK exit would have an impact on their operations. However, 81.6% of those people responding admitted they had no action plan for if/when Great Britain did decide to leave the EU. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that many experts and business owners did not believe this referendum would be approved. Just last week, while I was sitting in a room full of 150 logistics and supply chain professionals from across Europe, a live poll was taken as to whether or not they believed Great Britain would leave the EU, and over 95% agreed that the vote would be to remain.
Now that the vote has gone in the other direction, it is time to start planning and negotiating. Europe represents a large proportion of both imports and exports for Great Britain so it is vital to quickly sort out the bureaucratic requirements for this flow of goods.
Read more on the potential impact of this decision on logistics operations here.
Electricity powering big rigs in Sweden?
We have all heard about the self-driving trucks that are just around the corner in terms of implementation, but have you heard about the electrified trucks that are hitting Swedish highways? The project is soon to be replicated in California and was started through a collaboration between truck manufacturer Scania and German company Siemens. It includes hybrid trucks that run on both diesel as well as under a catenary system similar to how trolleys and streetcars operate. The difference is that the truck can connect and disconnect from the system at will thanks to its intelligent pantograph, folding framework and hybrid engine. Swedish authorities are using this project as a springboard in its efforts to become fossil fuel independent by 2030.
Read more about these eHighways here.
Have a great weekend!