A new shipping route via the Arctic Circle broke new ground recently and we will discover whether sailing via the polar route is viable, environmentally safe and the genuine competition to the existing Asia-Europe routes.

Our rail freight feature highlights on increased demand in Asia, Europe and Latin America, carving a niche as an alternative and cheaper option than air and faster than ocean. We also look at how improved intra-terminal connectivity is the focus of a new internal road development at the Port of Rotterdam. The group continues to extend its reach to hinterland areas through its global network, leveraging water, rail and road options creating new opportunities beyond the port.

In other topics we look at how ocean shipping is attracting high value sectors a new business opportunity. RFID makes a comeback, as new technology and standards supports its wider use in shipping. The government backs Hong Kong to once again become a competitive maritime hub in the Chief Executive’s 2018 Policy Address.

Meanwhile Hutchison Ports continues to roll out its  environmental protection initiatives with Go Green and supporting the Global Maritime Forum held in Hong Kong.

DIVERSIFICATION DELIVERS STABLE RESULTS

Given Hutchison Ports’ diverse and balanced global portfolio, we have been able to achieve satisfactory results in 2018 despite volume fluctuations with individual business units due to a change in local competitive landscapes; notwithstanding with the recent geopolitical headwinds and trade negotiations between countries that are sending jitters through markets across the world. As part of our strategy to diversify into new sectors of shipping we have expanded our presence in the non-containerised and breakbulk sectors in Amsterdam extending our reach further into Northern Europe. You will read all about it in this edition of the magazine.

ARCTIC THAW OPENS UP NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR SHIPPING

In early October 2018, the United-Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report warning there are only a dozen years to limit global warming before climate change becomes catastrophic. It is a sobering report, and one that cites diminishing Arctic sea ice as a symptom of our warming world. This diminishing ice is a terrible symptom for our environment, but for governments and shipping lines, there’s a silver lining – the resource-rich Arctic has never been this accessible. Diminishing Arctic sea ice and increased seasonal accessibility offers an abundance of natural resource opportunities and a fast track shipping lane for summer seaborne freight.

GOVERNMENT BACKS HONG KONG’S RISE AS A MARITIME ARBITRATION HUB

Historically dominated by London and New York, maritime arbitration is an area of dispute resolution spreading its wings and exploring new corners of the globe. Blooming out of Asia’s emerging economies are new maritime arbitration hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore. Even further afield in the Middle East, maritime arbitration in Dubai is on the rise. Cases, which in previous years would have travelled to London or New York, are now being heard within the region.

RAILFREIGHT RENAISSANCE DELIVERING NEW OPPORTUNITIES

The fortunes of railways have been up and down pretty much since the advent of the combustion engine, leading to fierce competition from faster and more flexible road transport and marine transport no longer reliant on the wind. But that’s changing in a big way. Rail is making a comeback, thanks in great part to China and its ambitions for a new Silk Road between Eastern Mainland China and Western Europe.

CER TO BOOST CONNECTIVITY

It might seem like a no-brainer; if you are running one of the world’s biggest and busiest ports and you have a bunch of containers – full or empty – destined for the same place on the same transport, it makes sense for them to be bundled – parked together in one – instead of sitting in different parts of the port. A simple enough idea, but when you’re The Port of Rotterdam (PoR), handling millions of boxes a year, coming from or going to 1,000 ports worldwide, not to mention hundreds of places inland in Europe, and coming off or going onto containerships, barges, feeder ships, trucks or the railway system, it’s a tad tricky to organise. A port that can pull off the trick stands to save clients a considerable amount of time and money, which in turn should give the port a solid competitive edge over its rivals.

INNOVATION DRIVING RFID REBOUND

Like so many industries, container shipping is becoming increasingly competitive and new technologies that drive efficiency and reduce costs are of great interest to business leaders. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is one technology that’s been successfully considered in other logistics sectors, such as rail, to automate and reduce costs. Now the unit cost of tags has dropped and a universal standard called RAIN RFID has been established, leading to a renewed interest in the technology and a significant expansion in production and sales of the technology to shipping companies.

OCEAN TAKES BIG BITE INTO HIGH-VALUE CARGO

As the freight rates for dry containers continue to shrink, ocean shipping is looking to develop cargo streams with a higher value. Logistics operators, carriers and ports are building infrastructure inland, developing distribution networks to move cargo and products quickly to the market. Much of the high-value cargo business moves by air and road, but many shippers of temperature sensitive cargo, such as pharmaceuticals, flowers, confectionery are opting for the more cost-effective ocean container option.

BIG SHIPPING ISSUES DISCUSSED AT GLOBAL MARITIME FORUM

The inaugural Global Maritime Forum met in Hong Kong for the first time in early October 2018, bringing together leaders from the world of shipping and international government representatives. Hutchison Ports was a key sponsor of the event and Eric Ip, Group Managing Director was invited to welcome the eminent gathering of international guests to Hong Kong and to the Global Maritime Forum.

GO GREEN FOCUS ON RECYCLING WASTE PRODUCTS

Go Green is part of a global environmental initiative undertaken by members of the international ports and maritime community. Every year, employees of Hutchison Ports, DP World, PSA International, Port of Rotterdam Authority and Shanghai International Port Group jointly demonstrate their support for environmental protection through various activities. This year Hutchison Ports looked at the issue of waste management and recycling.