globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: shipping

In 2012 alone, piracy in Somalia cost shipping companies $6 billion.  Teresa Stevens and her husband have come up with a product that aims to make it a lot more difficult for pirates to board ships.  The product is called the Guardian Anti-Piracy Barrier.  It is a simply-designed plastic barrier which fits over the rails of a ship and makes it nearly impossible for pirates to board ships using ladders or grappling hooks.  This invention has the potential to lead to huge cost savings for global shipping companies and have a positive impact on neighboring African countries’ economies. 

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In 2006, the people of Panama overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to expand and enlarge the Panama Canal. This $5.25 Billion project, currently 6 months behind schedule, is due to be finished around June 2015. The project will double the capacity of the canal by adding 4 new locks, which will be able to handle much larger ships, known as New Panamax. The question becomes how the expansion will impact global trade and shipping routes.

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File under: Travel, China, Russia, Trade, Shipping

The Arctic Ocean has traditionally been covered in ice and very difficult to travel through with a ship. Currently the ocean is travelable for four months a year as polar ice caps melt due to global warming. One country taking advantage of the newly opened route is China. A Chinese shipping company, COSCO, sent a ship from the port of Dalian to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, a 3,380 mile route that would take just over 30 days.

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It is well known that areas in Asia, specifically Hong Kong and Beijing, are reputable for their dangerous air pollution and constant smog. In response, Hong Kong has begun to implement restrictions for the transportation industry regarding fuel and emissions, while even offering up to 50% savings on port fees for those vessels switching to fuel that doesn’t contain sulfur. However, these incentives aren’t enough to make the switch for some large container-shipping vessels, because it is simply too expensive to switch from the dirtier oil. When transportation companies refuse to use clean fuel, it gives them a competitive advantage that energy-conscious companies won’t tolerate any longer.

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The way in which shipping is conducted can have huge implications for consumers and businesses around the world.   As talks of sustainability and green energy continue to dominate the energy sector, businesses are looking for ways to make shipping less harmful to the environment.  Hence, some companies have begun to ship their goods via sailing ships that use the wind as the source of energy. The organic and eco-friendly sector has jumped on this idea because the maritime industry is said to currently produce 3-5% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

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Over the years, clean energy sources have become extremely popular as countries and governments around the world try to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions. One of these clean energy sources is solar power which converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power has been used as a major energy source for many applications such as providing electricity for residential homes and industrial equipment. Recently, solar power has been applied to many new projects. One of which is shipping and if successful, solar powered shipping can have large impacts on the environment as well as international trade.

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File under: Shipping

Most people view pirates as bandits dressed in funny outfits who sail around the world stealing treasure and stashing it on small, hidden islands. This may be a fun way to imagine the world, but modern day pirates are a real concern for shipping companies. Instead of stealing golden treasure, pirates commandeer ships with precious cargo and demand large ransoms from its owners.

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File under: Trade, Shipping

What was once an ancient risk now has a modern face, and is a growing concern for shipping companies. Following the release of the Maersk Alabama, the media has paid much less attention to the infamous Somali pirates. These pirates are still very much active. The number of piracy incidents has risen drastically since 2008. Back then, most of the acitivity conducted by pirates consisted of simply plundering the ship and fleeing. Now, the pirates are not only plundering the ships, but are also taking the ships and crews hostage for ransom.  What changes could the piracy resurgence bring to the shipping industry?

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File under: Trade, Shipping

Need to know how to complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin or comply with customs regulations for outbound shipments? How about finding your Harmonized Code or Schedule B number? Head on over to the U.S. Census Bureau site and watch short, entertaining videos which provide step-by-step instructions. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by learning how to get your goods to the buyer.

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A while back I wrote a post on the recent upsurge in piracy. At the time, a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil had just been commandeered, and the global shipping industry was unwillingly thrust into news headlines worldwide. In the end, the tanker was released for an undisclosed ransom, but the incident served as a catalyst for discussions on how to deal with the threat of piracy.

Navies from around the world have responded by sending ships to the coast of Africa to stave off attacks and hunt down the buccaneers. Even Japan sent forces to the region in a rare, post-WWII military action. The pirates are operating in an area larger than 1 million square miles however, making it nearly impossible for these forces to ensure the safety of shipping vessels. Shipping companies, consequently, must address the question of how they will manage the risk of piracy.

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The latest event in a recent upsurge in pirate activity off Africa’s coast was also the biggest attack yet. A Saudi Arabian supertanker carrying $100 million worth of oil was commandeered by pirates 450 nautical miles away from the Kenyan coastline. This attack was unprecedented in both the size of the target and its distance away from shore, and as such represents a higher level of boldness on the part of the pirates.

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