Major freight forwarder Panalpina has warned its ocean customers of potential disruption to supply chains ahead of the IMO 2020 sulphur cap.

An escalating number of typhoons and adverse weather events is playing havoc with carrier schedules, leaving a “major challenge” for the industry to recover from the record-low levels in schedule reliability experienced in 2018.

Another analyst has warned of impending financial doom for container lines if they fail to recoup the additional costs of meeting the IMO 2020 0.5% sulphur cap.

Fresh from announcing a first half loss, ZIM has announced an upgrade for the India-Med Express Line (IMX), which it runs independently, with a new rotation that will give a significantly faster transit time, and make it the fastest on the trade.

More scrubber deals are continuing to be signed, with Wärtsilä announcing a 170m euro ($198m) deal with a major European container shipping line for hybrid exhaust gas cleaning equipment and retrofit services for its container vessels.

As expected, Hong Kong's Competition Commission on Tuesday issued a block exemption order (BEO) for vessel sharing agreements (VSAs) between liner shipping companies.

Container lines will be hit by the cutting of diplomatic ties between Qatar and a number of other countries in the Middle East.

While there was a slight rise in rates at the end of last year after the Hanjin Shipping collapse, this was not sustained and lines will have to make hard financial decisions this year to ensure their survival.

Orient Overseas International Ltd (OOIL), parent of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) would make the perfect bride for another M&A deal in boxshipping according to Drewry but a hefty premium could put off buyers.

The changes caused by the new alliances and their impact on the fleet situation could have a dramatic effect on the container line business in a few years' time.

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