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The Importance of Freight Broker Bonds for your Business

freight broker tai group

The Importance of Freight Broker Bonds for your Business

Opening a freight brokerage can be a great way to accelerate your earnings. Freight brokers play an important role within the transportation industry by connecting shippers with transportation companies for trucks required to deliver their goods. While some shippers have contracts with specific trucking carriers, others rely on freight brokers for added flexibility, greater speed of delivery, and lower costs.

Freight brokers are required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations for licensing. There are a few different types of operating authority licenses that freight brokers need to operate within the US, depending on the type of cargo they broker. All of the different types of freight broker operating authority require brokers to meet certain requirements, including being bonded with a freight broker surety bond. Here is some information about freight broker bonds so that you can get started with your business and ensure that it successfully operates.

What Is a Freight Broker Surety Bond?

Also known as a BMC-84 bond, a freight broker surety bond is a type of guarantee issued by a surety company that the principal holder will perform the work as promised. It is not insurance since the principal broker is not protected from liability by the bond. Instead, a BMC-84 bond is required by the government before a broker can become licensed. It is meant to protect the companies that rely on the broker and contract with it for services and to ensure that the broker will comply with the applicable regulations and laws while operating.

If a freight broker fails to fulfill its contractual obligations, a claim can be filed against the bond. However, the surety company is not responsible for paying the claim. Instead, the freight broker must pay claims filed against its bond. The surety company only steps in when the freight broker fails to pay its claim. If a freight broker has unpaid claims, it could lose its surety and its ability to continue operating.

A broker that fails to pay a carrier what the carrier is owed might have a claim filed against its bond. The carrier’s claim will be in the amount the broker owes for the services the carrier provided for the shipper the broker connected the carrier to for the transportation of freight. An unpaid claim against the surety could result in the surety terminating the bond and the loss of the broker’s license. It can also make it more difficult for the broker to secure a new freight broker bond, forcing the broker out of business.

Why Are Freight Broker Bonds Necessary?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires brokers to secure operating authority licenses and to renew them annually to continue operating within the US. One of the requirements for securing and renewing an operating authority license is to secure and maintain a surety bond for freight brokers.

The governmental requirement for brokers to be bonded is meant to protect the companies that depend on them. This is why surety bonds for freight brokers protect the parties with which the brokers contract instead of the brokers themselves. If you do not secure and maintain a BMC-84 freight broker bond, you will not be able to operate your freight brokerage since you will not be able to secure or renew your operating authority.

Which Parties Are Involved in a Freight Broker Surety Bond?

The three parties that are involved in a freight broker bond include the following:

• Principal – The freight broker seeking the bond to secure or maintain its operating authority license

• Obligee – The governmental agency requiring the bond, which is the FMCSA

• Surety – The surety company issuing the surety bond

How a Freight Broker Bond Works

A freight broker must find a surety company to issue a bond so that the broker can secure an operating authority license from the FMCSA. The surety company will go through an underwriting process before agreeing to issue the bond. It will review the broker’s credit and financial history, ensure that the broker has sufficient working capital to cover the maximum bond amount and check its history for past problems.

The bond functions similarly to a person’s credit score. If a broker has a history of multiple claims or past unpaid claims, the surety company might deny the application for the BMC-84 bond. If it does agree to move forward with issuing the bond, the freight broker bond cost will be much higher than if the company had instead established a good operating record.

The principal must pay a percentage of the maximum bond amount upfront to secure the bond. This cost might range from 1% of the total bonded amount for freight brokers with good credit and reputations to 15% for those with poor credit or with marks on their records.

Freight broker bonds expire, but they can be renewed. Since a freight broker must also renew its operating authority annually with the FMCSA, it must maintain its surety bond and renew it if it is getting ready to expire. A surety company can also terminate a bond when the principal has unpaid claims and refuse to renew it.

While freight broker bonds are not insurance and do not protect your business, they are a necessary part of operating a freight brokerage in the US. You cannot secure or renew your operating authority to broker freight between shippers and carriers within the US without having a valid freight broker surety bond.

Since your history with your bond could potentially harm your business reputation and your ability to continue operating, it is critical for your company to establish a good record and to meet its obligations if any claims are filed against your surety. Establishing a good history by complying with the law and meeting your contractual obligations can help your business to be more successful.


Chapman Freeborn Transports Six McDermott Aviation Bell 214B Helicopters from Greece to Australia on Volga-Dnepr’s AN124 Aircraft

Chapman Freeborn and Volga-Dnepr Airlines have successfully collaborated with McDermott Aviation to demobilize helicopters from Greece. This most recent operation involved the repatriation of 6 McDermott Aviation Bell 214B helicopters to Australia on an AN124 aircraft.

The helicopters, totaling 35 tonnes, were flown individually into Athens Airport (ATH) by a single pilot who landed them on the tarmac prior to them being dismantled airside and exported as IATA-compliant air cargo. Usually, exports would take place within a cargo terminal, however, the Bell 214Bs’ exceptional versatility enables a level of mobility that is invaluable when dealing with complex load planning, airport coordination and constraints pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loading onto the AN124 was executed with the help of Volga-Dnepr’s internal cranes, external equipment and the highly-specialized expertise of Volga-Dnepr and McDermott Aviation crew.

It is a rare occurrence and colossal achievement for 6 helicopters to be transported in one aircraft simultaneously, and the success of this charter required all parties involved to embrace this challenging and dynamic situation. The Chapman Freeborn team worked closely with experts including McDermott’s helicopter engineers, Volga-Dnepr’s loadmaster and other crew from both organizations comprising of 24 people in total, to seamlessly coordinate the operation.

The team also navigated complexities presented by COVID-19 to ensure PCR tests, vaccinations and COVID-safe procedures were all prioritized.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, this important and rare charter meant that the 6 helicopters arrived punctually at Perth Airport (PER).

Michael Amson, Cargo & Passenger Charter Manager at Chapman Freeborn, said, “Without the support and cooperation of all parties involved in this extraordinary charter, it would not have been the success that it was. We would like to thank Volga-Dnepr Airlines, McDermott Aviation, DNATA, Cargo Connect, and Signature Flight Support for their combined efforts, which ultimately enabled the client to continue their vital work in the emergency services sector without interruption.”

Ekaterina Andreeva, Commercial Director, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, highlights: “Some people might say – it is impossible to transport six helicopters aboard one plane, but here is what distinguishes air cargo specialists – we make impossible possible by bringing together the right people at the right time armed with competences, experience and equipment. We would like to thank everyone involved in this mega-project which will go down into the history of our life-saving logistics operations”.


Chapman Freeborn Group

Chapman Freeborn combines over 45 years of experience with unrivaled global coverage to meet the air charter requirements of customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The company’s diverse client base includes major corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and relief agencies, as well as high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and prominent figures from the entertainment world.

Chapman Freeborn’s depth of aviation expertise includes managing passenger and cargo charter operations, aircraft leasing, humanitarian airlifts, and much more.

The group’s subsidiary companies include Chapman Freeborn OBC, Chapman Freeborn Flight Support, Intradco Global, Magma Aviation, and Arcus Air Logistics.

Part of the Avia Solutions Group

Chapman Freeborn is a family member of Avia Solutions Group, a leading global aerospace services group with almost 100 offices and production stations providing aviation services and solutions worldwide.

Avia Solutions Group unites a team of more than 7,000 professionals, providing state-of-the-art solutions to the aviation industry and beyond.

For more information about Avia Solutions Group, please visit

LCL package

LCL: A Shipping Solution for Today’s Global Logistics Market

Less-than-container load (LCL) shipping has become part of the solution design to many supply chain challenges. LCL shipping provides shippers with cost and time savings as they face longer wait times at ports along with more last-minute-change needs, based on disruption and delays.

In a recent global survey conducted by our team, shippers reported congestion and capacity as their main pain points in today’s ocean environment. While we have seen a continuous increase in shippers turning to LCL shipping to battle those challenges, almost a quarter of the participants in the survey noted they were not regularly shipping LCL today.

In the following, I’ll share where we’ve seen shippers find success through LCL and why you should consider it if it’s not already a part of your shipping strategy.

Combating today’s tight air and ocean market

Consumer demand continues to be at an all-time high, and we expect that demand to increase through the holiday season and into next year. Some of the larger air terminals in the United States are seeing delays of up to 5-7 days to claim cargo, and ocean vessels continue to be delayed at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, waiting on average 10-15 days to berth.

While delays may seem inevitable, there are creative solutions for shippers to lessen the impact. One way is diversifying freight through different modes like LCL. In fact, we helped hundreds of customers shift some of their freight from full-container-load (FCL) to LCL to keep their products moving.

For instance, CoolDrive Auto Parts—Australia’s largest family-owned importer and wholesaler of aftermarket automotive parts—worked with our global team of experts to introduce more flexibility into their supply chain with LCL.

“LCL not only gives us incredible flexibility, but also provides that same flexibility to the businesses we supply…We can see how new products perform without overcommitting to them. It has helped us grow our catalog, create relationships with new suppliers, and allowed us to be even more flexible and responsive to specific customer needs.”

The reality is—space for LCL shipments is typically more readily available since you’re only looking for some container space versus an entire empty container, which can be scarce in today’s market with ongoing container shortages. Working with a provider, like C.H. Robinson, who has the global suite of service offerings and scale to run our own consolidation loads, helps you not only plan and load out cargo more frequently—but also better handle unplanned freight during peak times.

Expedited LCL options

While moving freight via traditional ocean shipments for the holidays has passed, retailers can turn to expedited LCL as an option to avoid solely depending on air. Of course, this would depend on the origin and destination of those goods. The quicker ocean service has also grown in popularity amongst e-commerce shippers, where air was once seen as the only viable option.

While expedited LCL shipping is not as fast as air, it is an alternative to consider for some of your freight. One of our customers went this route earlier this year when we helped convert some of their air freight to expedited LCL shipments. While the transit time was longer, with the right planning, they were able to build the appropriate amount of inventory before making the adjustments—and in return reaped some cost savings.

Cost savings

LCL shipping is the go-to product in terms of cost savings on conversions from air to ocean. In fact, expedited LCL services are still seeing upwards of 60-75% savings versus today’s airfreight environment. And because you only pay for the space you use, LCL service can even show reduction over under-utilized FCL shipments.

It can also aid in saving on storage fees. It’s no secret warehouse space in the United States and around the globe continues to be tight. By using shipments in transit as inventory in transit, LCL shipping can even help lower warehousing and inventory costs, which can help reduce your tariff spend per shipment.

Keep in mind, LCL is only one part of a supply chain, but it’s an opportunity many shippers aren’t taking advantage of. If you’re interested in learning more about LCL and how it could benefit you—talk to your dedicated C.H. Robinson representative or reach out to one of our logistics experts.

Greg Scott is the director of LCL ocean services at C.H. Robinson



For the marine industry, “onward and upward” may be a fitting idiom. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic a constant, port congestion a problem, a scarcity of ship capacity and a shortage of terminal workers and truck drivers, just to mention a few issues, cargo keeps moving and ports and terminals keep doing their best to meet the daily challenges and plan for the future.

Hans Bean, chief commercial officer for North Carolina Ports, touched on the impact of supply chain issues in the breakbulk sector.

“Much has been written about the major supply chain disruption caused by the container carriers,” he notes. “This has driven shippers, where possible, to shift more of their supply chain to breakbulk. North Carolina Ports has seen import and export shippers increase the share of their ocean freight to breakbulk over the last six months.”

Bean says this global switch to more breakbulk “has driven up breakbulk ocean rates as well as warehouse utilization. The challenges on the U.S. East Coast lie primarily with warehouse capacity.”

He explained that, “In recent months, many U.S. East Coast ports have reached warehouse capacity limits and either had to turn vessels away or force extremely long wait times.” 

Though warehouse capacity is approaching 100% utilization, North Carolina Ports “has not overstepped its capacity limits due to its flexibility with its two-port solution,” Bean says in references to the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City. “Moreover, North Carolina Ports has land to grow and is looking to invest alone and with partners so to add capacity.”

North Carolina Ports’ two deep-water terminals at Wilmington and Morehead City have a long tradition of handling bulk and breakbulk cargoes. Over the past six years, Bean’s port authority has spent more than $200 million upgrading its container and non-container facilities at both locations.

“In the past two years, new dimension lumber breakbulk services have taken advantage of these improvements in both ports with Ultrabulk, G2 Ocean, Saga Welco and Spliethoff all activating new breakbulk services,” Bean said.

“At the Port of Wilmington, the diverse and multi-purpose terminal allows shippers that utilize both container and breakbulk modes of transportation to pivot between containers and breakbulk,” said Bean. “The ability to provide cross-over solutions has become a major advantage as pulp and paper products, grain, steel and even cold chain shippers seek additional capacity and re-evaluate their supply chains.” 

He also noted that on one terminal, Scoular, a major exporter of grain, feed and food ingredients, is completing a new grain transload facility that is scheduled to be operational by mid-November.

The Port of Morehead City, dedicated to bulk and breakbulk, recently received a new Liebherr LPS 420 crane, including new buckets/hopper equipment. 

Southern exposure

After a drop in cargo volume in fiscal year 2020/21, things are looking up at the Port of Beaumont, with an eye on growing volumes and moving forward on infrastructure projects at the Texas facility.

“2021 has been the year of focusing on infrastructure improvements to increase capacity at the Port of Beaumont,” said Sade Chick, the port’s director of Corporate Affairs. “As of Q3 of 2021, industrial projects have started to pick back up, which has had a positive impact on breakbulk volumes.”

Sade said the port recently issued more than $400 million in revenue bonds to Jefferson Energy Companies, the port’s private partner and operator of the Orange County Liquid Bulk Terminal, which will go toward infrastructure improvements, including construction of a third dock at the facility. An uptick in liquid bulk cargo volumes is anticipated in 2022. 

As well, the port commissioners approved a $217 million capital improvement program, comprised of 20 projects for 2021-2022. 

“The port is especially excited about this program because three of our largest projects will be out to bid by early 2022,” Chick said in reference to the Main Street Terminal 1 dock reconstruction project ($85.2 million), Grain Dock rehabilitation project ($25 million) and construction of a new rail interchange track ($12.3 million).

Also, of the 20 projects, 10 will directly impact breakbulk handling. The hard-surfacing of lots 5 and 13, the Lot 14 paving project, South End Infrastructure improvements and the Harbor Island Drive resurfacing project will result in an additional 30 acres of hard-surfaced laydown area for breakbulk cargoes.

Harbor Island Drive is the main road used to move cargo in and out of the port. The road will be resurfaced to expedite the process of moving large project components, like wind blades. 

Chick said that, “Upon completion of Main Street Terminal 1, the port will have an additional 1,150-foot-long dock used for general cargo handling. This will provide the port with an additional berth that will primarily be used for military equipment, wind turbine components and forest products.”

With a glimpse to the future, Chick said, “We anticipate growth in project cargo, specifically wind turbine components and refinery components. The driver for growth in wind energy is the Biden administration’s approved plans for the construction of the first, large-scale U.S. offshore wind farm.” 

The petrochemical industry is cyclical and historically, a downturn is followed by fairly rapid recovery, which comes in the form of projects starting back up, increasing the amount of project cargo moving through the Port of Beaumont. 

Milwaukee brewing

Although breakbulk has been down about 8% so far this year at Port Milwaukee located on Lake Michigan, Port Director Adam Tindall-Schlicht is optimistic some major projects will increase volumes.

Port Milwaukee handles a wide variety of breakbulk and non-containerized cargo, including steel (coils, plate, and long products), wind turbine components (towers, nacelles, blades, generators), brewery tanks, mining equipment, yachts, forest products, transformers, farm and construction machinery, manufacturing equipment, bagged materials and other project cargoes.

But one project, in particular, that holds great promise for the port is the construction of new headquarters and manufacturing plant by Komatsu Mining Corp, which produces heavy equipment. The project, in the Milwaukee Harbor District, has a price tag of $285 million. 

“The Komatsu project is directly related to opportunities for breakbulk,” said Tindall-Schlicht. “Komatsu has historically leveraged the Milwaukee port when it is exporting its mining equipment and large breakbulk pieces. Now that their new headquarters and manufacturing facilities are directly adjacent to us in the Harbor District, we really anticipate increased activity with Komatsu.”

Port Milwaukee has also been getting activity from the Ascent project under construction downtown. The 25-story apartment tower is the world’s largest timber structure “and we are within their supply chain so those pieces (timber) are being imported into North America from Austria, and the port is providing just-in-time delivery services,” Tindall-Schlicht said.

The port has put an emphasis on capital improvement this year and is in the process of developing the DeLong Terminal, which is an $85-million agriculture export terminal. It is expected to be operational in April 2023.

As has been the situation globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Milwaukee’s trade patterns.

Although 2020 was the port’s best year in seven years with an overall commercial volume increase of 5%, Tindall-Schlicht pointed out that, “The supply chain and worldwide logistics issues that we have seen this year as a result of COVID are starting to impact the port. Our breakbulk trade is down about 8% so far this season.” 

It just goes to show that challenging issues in the marine industry are not confined to containerized cargo.

“We are seeing changes and impacts in dry bulk and breakbulk markets and really in all commodity areas that Port Milwaukee serves,” Tindall-Schlicht said.

While some of the decline can relate to supply chain and logistics issues, he said another “piece of this is many of the Trump era tariffs are still very much in play and causing some hardship here after years of being out there. We are still looking for some relaxation on some of those Trump era tariffs, and we hope the global trade community can come together and figure out a new paradigm as we go forward.”

Merrily, merrily Maryland

At the Port of Baltimore, “Big Red” is not just the name of a soda pop or chewing gum. It’s also the handle for a 167-foot long Manitowoc M250T crane at the port’s Dundalk Marine Terminal that can lift a staggering 200 metric tons. You’ll also find a Manitowoc GROVE GMK 7550 crane named ‘Yellow’ that can hoist 182 metric tons, as well as a heavy lift floating crane that can directly load heavy cargo from vessels to a barge, truck or railcar bed.

The terminal has direct rail access via CSX and is adjacent to the I-95 corridor and I-695 beltway. Indeed, the port boasts of having “the most cost-effective and efficient routing for the Mid-Atlantic region, the Midwest and beyond,” which explains why Baltimore ranks first among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, ro-ro heavy farm and construction machinery and imported gypsum.

In the movement of vehicles, Baltimore has handled more autos and light trucks than any other U.S. port for 10 consecutive years, and the rebound from pandemic lows indicates continued strength in that category. In April, 34,672 autos and light trucks came across the port’s public docks, a tremendous 97% increase compared to the category’s pandemic low point in May 2020. In addition to new vehicles, the port also handles previously owned vehicles. In April, that category was also up 27% compared to the same month last year.

Public terminals at the port handled 85,405 tons of heavy machinery, up 73% compared to the category’s low point in June 2020 and a 30% increase compared to April of last year. Overall general cargo, with 937,439 tons, was up 28% compared to the category’s June 2020 low and up 7% year-over-year. 

K-Line, Nordana Line, NYK Bulkship, Höegh Autoliners, Grimaldi Lines, Westfal Larsen, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Atlantic Container Lines, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Canada States Africa Line, and Atlantic Ro/Ro Carriers Bahri (the national shipping company of Saudi Arabia) are among the roll-on/roll-off breakbulk carriers that call on the port.

“Our cargo figures are bouncing back strong,” William Doyle, Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration’s (MDOT MPA) executive director, says in a release. “Farming and construction are picking up once again, worldwide, and American-made equipment is being exported to global markets through the Port of Baltimore. We are also moving forward with rail and terminal infrastructure projects that will help generate thousands of jobs and grow our business for many years to come.”

Georgia peachy

Located about 18 miles inland on the Savannah River, the Port of Savannah has 16 private terminals that handle a variety of products, ranging from woodchips and liquid natural gas to paper goods and petroleum.

But the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) also owns and operates Savannah’s Garden City Terminal and Ocean Terminal, with the latter primarily being a breakbulk facility with about 5,800 feet of contiguous dock space. Vehicles, heavy duty non-road equipment and other types of breakbulk cargo pass through Ocean Terminal.

In 2015, GPA implemented a new tracking system to more quickly process breakbulk cargo and provide real-time freight tracking for shippers moving cargo through the Port of Savannah. Then GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz, who has since retired and been succeeded by Griff Lynch, said at the time, “The new system means faster service and better communication with our breakbulk customers.”

The Port of Brunswick is also a ro-ro, bulk and breakbulk facility that handled more than 685,000 units of vehicles and heavy machinery is fiscal year 2021 and contributed to the GPA seeing an 18% rise in total ro-ro volume compared to the previous year.

Port officials said the facilities saw a fast recovery from the global economic downturn of 2020.

To keep up with this unprecedented growth, GPA has accelerated its hiring efforts, bringing on nearly 150 new employees since January 2021. Many of these employees are being trained in jockey trucks, yard cranes and other equipment to handle growth at GPA’s facilities.

heavy-duty truck

Heavy-Duty Trucks Market: Top Key Trends Fostering the Industry Outlook through 2026

The heavy-duty trucks market size is poised to expand at substantial CAGR during the forecast period. With the incorporation of advanced technologies including IoT, AI, smart navigation systems, and accident prevention technologies, the heavy-duty trucks industry worldwide is sure to undergo expansion. Focus on emission reduction, environmental sustainability, and efficient engines is expected to drive the demand for these trucks over the forthcoming years.

The following ten major factors have been observed across the heavy-duty trucks industry outlook:

Government investments in infrastructural activities in the Asia Pacific

With the thriving construction and real estate sector of countries such as India, South Korea, and China, heavy-duty trucks are expected to see a greater deployment rate in the next few years. By 2026, the Asia Pacific market share should have gained substantially from the numerous government investments and initiatives toward the promotion of construction activities in the region.

This includes the allotment of a massive government expenditure toward digitalization, integration of artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G networks, and intercity transportation networks.

Scrappage policy to boost India’s expansion

As part of the focus on economic recovery, the Indian government has been intending to incentivize heavy-duty truck owners to purchase new heavy-duty trucks and other commercial vehicles, discouraging usage of old, polluting ones via its new scrappage policy in Budget 2021.

The move will not only ensure lower pollution rates but also encourage the advancement of the heavy-trucks segment of the commercial vehicle market, which has been witnessing a decline in the past two years across the nation. The Indian market is likely to gain considerable revenue, thanks to the proposal of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to provide new heavy-duty trucks with a discount of road tax as well as a waiver of the registration fee.

Growing demand for diesel heavy-duty trucks

The diesel engine segment of the APAC heavy-duty trucks market is expected to witness a significant expansion through the projected timeline, by credit to the lower fuel consumption alongside the higher efficiency of these engines when compared with gasoline trucks. Integration with compression-ignition of these trucks ensures their fuel efficiency. The lower costs and easy availability of diesel are likely to boost the demand for diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks in the upcoming years across APAC.

Focus on product launches across the Asia Pacific

Several industry leaders in the APAC heavy-duty trucks industry have been seeking to expand their presence through product launches. For instance, in June 2020, Mahindra introduced its Blazo X, a commercial truck with optimized fuel efficiency, across India. Similarly, in January 2021, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) launched its new heavy-duty specialized refrigerated truck for safely and efficiently transporting COVID-19 vaccines throughout India.

U.S. auto sector to flesh out higher gains

The heavy-duty trucks market in the U.S. has been exhibiting growth due to higher demand for transportation of cargo and goods, generating more revenue. The American Trucking Association (ATA) findings reveal that over 71% of the freight tonnage across the U.S. is transported using trucks. The thriving cross-border trade between the U.S. and neighboring countries is expected to boost the North American heavy-duty trucks market size.

Integration with ADAS technologies in North America

With technologically advanced heavy-duty trucks being developed by the leading manufacturers across the region, the market in North America is sure to soar. The focus on driver assistance and automation technologies has been a major trend defining the market’s progress. Recently, heavy-duty truck manufacturers have been prioritizing accident prevention and blind-spot monitoring through the adoption of ADAS systems in their product offerings.

Expanding demand for 4×2 axle heavy-duty trucks in Europe

Big trucks with multiple axles offer a better driving experience than single axle trucks. The demand for these vehicles has been spiraling across Europe’s heavy-duty trucks market. There is a growing utilization of 4×2 axle heavy-duty trucks, primarily triggered by the stringent regulatory policies of the European Commission. The EU has enforced permissible weight carriage as per the axle count of heavy-duty trucks.

300-400 horsepower trucks to gain traction across Europe

Owing to the advantages of 300-400 horsepower trucks, the demand for these vehicles has been witnessing an uptick. These trucks feature superior fuel efficiency alongside a lower engine weight. The segment is expected to surge at a high CAGR through the forecast years, due to their comparatively lower costs and enhanced abilities to haul heavy loads.

Hefty penalties for non-compliance with EU standards

Numerous heavy-duty truck manufacturers in Europe have been investing in the integration of innovative technologies aiming at achieving the zero-emission target from 2025 onward, in order to avoid payment of hefty penalties for non-compliance with EU standards. Recently, the EU has announced the adoption of carbon-neutrality targets and standards for heavy-duty trucks.

These include a 15% reduction from 2025, which will augment to 30% by 2030, attaining zero emissions by 2050. The implementation of such regulatory frameworks is certain to flesh out more demand for electrified trucks across the European region.


A Tough Year on the Water Hasn’t Dampened Innovation for these Ocean Carriers

To say that 2019 has been challenging for ocean carriers would be an understatement. The year began with the National Retail Federation forecasting a decline in year-over-year growth, echoing World Bank chatter of a slowing global economy.

And don’t forget the tariff wars between the U.S. and China (heck, the U.S. and just about anyone). Managing capacity on ships has also been an issue, and then there is the potential biggest bogeyman of all: the International Maritime Organization’s low-sulfur fuel mandate taking effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Sure, we could dwell on the gloom and doom, but that would not be very Global Trade magazine of us, now would it? We here in our silky ivory tower like to spotlight the positive, which we reveal with these ocean shippers we love.


Mediterranean Shipping Co. this year watched the world’s largest container ship, the MSC Gülsün, complete its maiden voyage from northern China to Europe. With a width of 197 feet and a length of 1,312 feet (!), the Gülsün was built by Samsung Heavy Industries at the Geoje shipyard in South Korea. It can carry up to 23,756 TEUs shipping containers on one haul. That capacity can include 2,000 refrigerated containers for shipping food, beverages, pharmaceuticals or any other chilled and frozen cargoes. That’s a lot of snow cones!


Mitsui O.S.K. Lines sees MSC Gülsün and raises you the MOL Triumph, which achieved a new world load record this year. Departing Singapore for Northern Europe on THE Alliance’s FE2 service with a cargo of 19,190 TEU. That surpassed the previous load record achieved in August 2018, when Mumbai Maersk sailed from Tanjung Pelepas to Rotterdam with 19,038 TEU onboard. Yes, you are correct, that’s a pretty slim margin of victory, and analysts suspect the MOL Triumph record won’t last long given the 23,000 TEU ships being introduced.


Speaking of THE Alliance, current members Hapag-Lloyd, ONE and Yang Ming will be joined in April 2020 by Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). The South Korean carrier recently signed an agreement to join THE Alliance and then passed the pen to the founding members, who extended the duration of their collaboration until 2030. “HMM is a great fit for THE Alliance as it will provide a number of new and modern vessels, which will help us to deliver better quality and be more efficient,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, Hapag-Lloyd’s chief executive. 


Oh, speaking of the fifth-largest container shipping company in the world, Hapag-Lloyd is piloting an online insurance product as part of a digital offering to try to overcome the widespread practice of shippers relying on the limited cover provided under the terms of carriers’ bills of lading. While Hapag-Lloyd says it takes the utmost care in transporting cargo, company officials acknowledge things can and have gone wrong. Thus, the introduction of Quick Cargo Insurance, which is underwritten by industrial insurer Chubb in Germany and is limited to containerized exports from that country, France and the Netherlands. However, the carrier says it plans to expand the offer.  


To navigate new environmental regulations, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is considering going old school. We mean really old school by using a modern version of the old-fashioned sail to help power its ships. Currently being tested on one of Maersk’s giant tankers, the sails look less like the flapping silk you know from Johnny Depp movies and Jerry Seinfeld’s puffy shirt and more like huge marble columns. But they are nothing to laugh at as two 10-story-tall cylinders can harness enough wind to replace 20 percent of the ship’s fossil fuels, according to their maker, Norsepower Oy Ltd. 


While we’re getting all green up in here, it’s worth also pointing out that Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. This year joined three other Japanese companies— Asahi Tanker Co., Exeno Yamamizu Corp., and Mitsubishi Corp.—in teaming up to build the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021. Their joint venture e5 Lab Inc. will power the vessel with large-capacity batteries and operate in Tokyo Bay, according to a statement the foursome released on Aug. 6. Thanks to the onslaught of legislation to improve environmental performance, other companies are also looking to battery power. Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen is developing an electric container vessel, and Rolls-Royce Holdings last year that started offering battery-powered ship engines.


No, this is not a leftover strand from a different story in this magazine about moving packages on the ground. “Quietly and below the radar,” USA Today recently reported, “Amazon has been ramping up its ocean shipping service, sending close to 4.7 million cartons of consumers goods from China to the United States over the past year, records show.” While other ocean carrier leaders prepare for the bald head of Jeff Bezos, his move really should be no surprise given Amazon’s attempt to control as much of its transportation network as possible. (See my September-October issue story “Air War: Fast, Free Shipping has UPS, FedEx and Amazon Scrambling in the Air”). Of Amazon now floating into the sea, Steve Ferreira, CEO of Ocean Audit, a company that utilizes data and machine learning to find ocean freight refunds for the Fortune 500, told USA Today: “This makes them the only e-commerce company that is able to do the whole transaction from end-to-end. Amazon now has a closed ecosystem.” 


For proof that Elon Musk is an innovator when it comes to logistic transportation—as opposed to, in this exercise, space travel, electric cars, solar power, hyperloops, artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, tunnel boring and flame throwers—we turn not to his associated company (Tesla) but a competitor (Volvo).

“Tesla shook up the whole industry and made it go a little bit faster,” conceded Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve late last year of the race to get electric big rigs on the road.

He is referring to Musk’s January 2018 announcement from a stage displaying a Tesla Semi that shortly thereafter delivered battery packs from his Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada, to Tesla Factory in Fremont, California,

After that maiden 239-mile cargo trip, Tesla Semi prototypes were spotted sporadically last year, although it was unknown whether there was anything inside the trailers they were hauling. The suspense ended this past January, when Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s president of Automotive and vice president of Truck programs, shared on LinkedIn a photo of a Model X sedan being loaded on a car carrier trailer attached to a Tesla Semi.

The Tesla Semi is promised to deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport. Without a trailer, it is said to achieve 0-60 mph in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-60 mph in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, a task that takes a diesel truck about a minute. Most notably for truck drivers and other travelers on the road, it climbs 5 percent grades at a steady 65 mph, whereas a diesel truck maxes out at 45 mph on a 5 percent grade.

Semis require no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98 percent of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life. Overall, the Tesla Semi promises more responsiveness, covering more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, while more safely integrates with passenger car traffic.

Reservations of $20,000 per Tesla Semi are being taken, with production slated to begin this year. But other car makers are not taking those prospects lying down. Volvo Trucks on Dec. 12 announced it will introduce all-electric Volvo VNR regional-haul demonstrators in California later this year, operating in distribution, regional-haul and drayage operations, with sales of the VNR Electric in North America scheduled to begin in 2020.

“The Volvo VNR Electric leverages the versatility of the new Volvo VNR series with a proven fully-electric powertrain, and represents a strategic stride toward a comprehensive electrified transport ecosystem,” Voorhoeve said at the time. “Cities prioritizing sustainable urban development can leverage electrified transport solutions to help improve air quality and reduce traffic noise. Cleaner, quieter, fully-electric commercial transport also creates opportunities for expanded morning and late-night operations, helping cut traffic congestion during peak hours.”

Mack Trucks, Peterbilt, Freightliner and Navistar are also in various stages of testing with electric trucks, and Ryder recently ordered 1,000 battery-electric Chanje panel vans to be put in service in the next two years. UPS and Thor Trucks as well as Canadian food retailer Loblaw and Build Your Dreams (BYD) are teaming up on electrics. Phoenix, Arizona, hybrid designer Nikola has pre-orders for hydrogen-electric trucks, and Kenworth and Toyota are developing a Zero Emissions Cargo Transport fuel cell truck prototype.

If Elon Musk’s bold EV semi moves represent the stick, California Air Resources Board grants are the carrot. Most manufacturers are focusing their efforts in and around the Golden State, leveraging the grants that fold into the Port of Los Angeles’ goal to ban anything but emission-free trucks by 2035.