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Yilport Enters African Continent with Takoradi Port Takeover

Yilport Enters African Continent with Takoradi Port Takeover

Yilport Enters African Continent with Takoradi Port Takeover

Global ports and container terminals operator Yilport Holding will manage operations at Takoradi Port in Ghana from April 2023.

Senior representatives from Yilport and Takoradi Port signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Istanbul on 11 January to officialise the takeover.

Under the terms of the MoU, Yilport and Ibis Tek – the port’s operating company – will establish a joint venture company, YILPORT Takoradi Port Management Company, with a 70-30 split respectively.

The project’s aim is to develop the existing container terminal in three phases to reach a capacity of 2.25 million TEU per year.

The port will be the 23rd marine terminal in Yilport’s portfolio, and its first terminal in Africa.

The company is expected to take over operations in the second quarter of 2023.

“Takoradi Port will be Yilport’s first step into the African continent, and it will be a gemstone in our vision to rank among the top 10 global container terminal operators by 2030,” said Robert Yuksel Yildirim, Chairman and CEO of Yilport Holding.

“Takoradi Port has a great potential to serve the African and Atlantic marine trade. We look forward to unlocking that strong potential and grow Takoradi and Ghana internationally.

“We will transfer Yilport’s experience and process excellence methodology to boost efficiency, productivity, while increasing Takoradi’s portfolio of customers.”

READ: Ghana begins construction of $200 million inland marine port

The joint venture company, under the vision and management of Yilport, will also develop multipurpose berths for liquid, bulk, and general cargo operations for about 20 million tons annual handling capacity.

In order to increase handling capacity and avoid traffic congestion, Yilport plans to build new access roads and gate facilities for the Takoradi Port.

The company is planning to invest over $700 million in three phases to build and operate a state-of-the-art port complex.

Yilport will expand the total length of the berths to 2.5 kilometres and deepen the draft between 14 and 16.5 metres.

This new deep-sea terminal will serve the West African corridor cargo in Ghana and Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Yilport’s container terminals handled 3.4 million TEU in the first half of 2022, a massive 36 per cent growth on 2021 figures.

The 3,412,604 TEU handled globally is as a result of new services such as those in Turkey, where Yilport Gebze and Gemlik terminals welcomed new calls from MEDKON Lines, CMA CGM and Maersk.


Dear Shippers, It’s Time for Creativity

To offset many of the problems we are encountering today ― inflationary pressures, port delays and labor shortages ― shippers must think and act differently to ensure resilience. To be successful, leaders must take a new, more creative approach to minimize today’s adversities to increase revenues. Here are some new ways companies are successfully mitigating the plethora of challenges facing global trade today:

1. Creativity Within Modes and Port Selection: Presently, more than 100 container ships await dock space at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports1, and the World Container Index price for 40 ft. containers stands at $9,669.472, 276% higher than a year ago. Shippers are not only struggling to secure capacity due to port inefficiencies but are paying premium prices even when they can secure containers. Once reserving container space, shippers then have to deal with long lead times. The door-to-door transit time for a container from China to Chicago is now 73 days versus 35 days in pre-pandemic times.

Minimizing the impact on your organization will require teams to think more creatively and collaboratively. For example, in the past, when Coca-Cola could not supply their production facilities due to limited vessel space, they refused to accept the current situation as their only option. Instead, their procurement and supply chain teams collaborated to leverage a nontraditional method of shipping. They decided to ship their manufacturing materials via bulk vessels typically used to ship dry cargo3. Coca-Cola safely shipped their products by securing the materials using plastic wrap and unloading at noncongested ports to avoid excessive demurrage fees being levied on shippers. Their priority was to keep the product lines running, and they accomplished it by actively seeking out alternatives.

Organizations need to think more broadly and explore the feasibility of using all available options, such as Coca-Cola did. Also, they must consider avoiding the West Coast ports whenever possible, as other ports, such as those on the East Coast, are currently less congested.

2. Seek Unconventional Partnerships: The boost in e-commerce sales and the growing driver shortage have negatively affected domestic trucking capacity. The result is like what we see in ocean shipping: premium prices and increased lead times. In pre-pandemic times, consumers took advantage of quick and reliable e-commerce delivery channels made popular by the likes of Amazon. Now, however, they are left hoping their products arrive within their expected delivery window, as shipping delays continue to become more common.

Understanding that customers have an insatiable appetite for fast and reliable delivery, Home Depot found a way to offer added convenience to its e-commerce business. Home Depot will become the first retail client in Walmart’s new delivery-as-a-service business called GoLocal. According to a Home Depot spokesperson, by leveraging Walmart’s existing delivery network, Home Depot will offer same-day and next-day delivery in select stores, with plans to expand by the end of the year.

In a market where capacity is hard to come by, Home Depot expanded its options by leveraging new partners who had capabilities that spanned beyond their own while offering convenience to the customer. As a result, they will reach more customers than before at lower costs to the consumer. Stephanie Smith, a senior vice president of supply chain for Home Depot, said, “This partnership brings us even closer to our goal of offering same-day or next-day deliveries to 90 percent of the U.S. population.”4 Seeking partnerships, even from those who may be competitors, is an excellent way to reduce the consumer’s expenses. Also, shippers should begin exploring alternatives in last-mile delivery to increase customer satisfaction, including added convenience and reduced shipping costs.

Difficulties in the supply chain are impacting shippers and consumers alike. On the one hand, consumers are experiencing inflation in certain products; on the other hand, shippers see their profits eroded. From either end, this situation is far from ideal. Labor shortages and capacity constraints are but two of several factors are contributing to higher costs. Organizations will have to wrestle with whether they will pass some of these costs on to consumers or allow them to affect margins. Either way, to overcome this dilemma, shippers must get creative to offset rising costs.


Alex Hayes and Derrick Lopes are Senior Associates at GEP, a leading provider of procurement and supply chain solutions to Fortune 500 companies.







Port of Nansha, which is part of the Guangzhou Port Group, is now the fifth-largest port globally and the fastest-growing port in South China. Encompassing the Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongshan, and Jiangmen regions, the Port of Nansha continues increasing its international presence through strategic infrastructure projects. 

The latest development, which was deemed the International Logistics Center, serves as a mega-warehouse complex accommodating dry and cold warehouses with new on-dock rail connections for incoming manufacturers and vendors.

As part of the overall goal driving the International Logistics Center, Shenzhen Warehousing is officially at max capacity, further reiterating the importance of port diversification to promote a balanced and agile supply chain. The cold chain warehouse will accommodate a total storage capacity of 460,000 tons upon completion–the largest cold chain facility in South China. 

“Port of Nansha Cold Logistics Warehouse, with rail access to/from the Hinterlands and Europe, will undoubtfully be a game-changer in our industry,” stated an International Logistics Center executive.

The port’s developing dry warehouse will support intermodal logistics and general-purpose warehousing services with 1.8 million square feet of total coverage. Nansha’s on-dock railway station will cover 1.05 million square feet of that area as well. Long-term goals for this development will support expansions in consumer goods, distribution, 3PL and e-commerce services.

“We were attracted to Nansha because of its strategic location and business-friendly approach to helping companies like ours to grow,” stated a 3PL anchor tenant. “The opening of this new dry warehouse will drastically save on warehousing cost, origin dray, and reduce lead times for our  e-commerce customers.”

Nansha’s $231 million railway project spans from the Guangzhou Nansha Port in the east, connecting the Beijing Guangzhou Railway via the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Railway to the north and the Guizhou-Guangzhou, Nanning-Guangzhou and Liuzhou-Zhao Qing railway to the west. This massive project is known as the only on-dock rail in South China and serves as a gateway into the Belt & Road Initiative.

Meeting unprecedented demand brought on by the pandemic inspired the latest addition of a fourth new terminal offering fully automated capabilities starting this year. The construction of the new terminal will support the addition of 5 million TEUs to Nansha’s container throughput capacity and increasing the total ship-to-shore crane count from 65 to 78.

Port of Nansha America CEO and Founder John L. Painter confirmed they will continue to capitalize on additional growth opportunities, particularly to and from the North American market, which is requesting more ocean services. In 2020, Nansha saw a 55.4 percent increase in TEU movement to/from North America compared to 2019 reports, bringing the total number of TEUs moved globally to more than 17.5 million of the 23.51 million TEUs Guangzhou Port Group moved globally in 2020.

demurrage D&D voyager


Demurrage and detention charges imposed on shippers by container lines have soared at unprecedented rates globally over the last year, according to the Demurrage & Detention Benchmark 2021 report published today by Container xChange, the world’s leading online platform for the leasing and trading of shipping containers,

However, the hikes are hugely inconsistent, with large differences apparent both by port and by carrier.

Across the world’s 20 largest container ports, the report found that average Demurrage and Detention (D&D) fees levied by container lines on customers two weeks after a box was discharged from the vessel more than doubled across ports and shipping lines between March 2020 and March 2021, climbing 104% or the equivalent of $666 per container across all container types.

None of the world’s top 20 ports by throughput saw a decrease in D&D fees over the period.

On average, D&D charges (see definitions below) in March this year were $720 per box across standard container types two weeks after the box discharge from the vessel.

“Demurrage and detention prices have always been an area of conflict between shippers and carriers and that tension has reached a new level this year as costs have spiraled,” said co-founder of Container xChange Christian Roeloffs.

“The key to minimizing D&D is to create transparency around the fees. With shippers informed about the costs associated with D&D, they’ll be able to make business decisions and enter negotiations informed of the accurate costs and per diems. We hope this report gives all parties increased transparency.”


To compile the report Container xChange collected more than 20,000 data points from publicly available sources. These were used to compare D&D rates imposed on customers by the world’s ten largest shipping lines across the world’s top-20 container ports. The data was then compared against data collected by Container xChange in March 2020.

The ten leading Chinese ports experienced a +126% increase in average D&D charges from March 2020 to March 2021. Qingdao saw the biggest rise in D&D rates, up 194% year-on-year, followed by Dalian where shippers suffered an average increase of +187%.

However, D&D charges in China remain far lower than in many other leading ports with seven of the top 10 cheapest ports located in the country. By contrast, average D&D fees two weeks after discharge at the Port of Long Beach in March were $2638, the most expensive in the world. In second place was neighboring Los Angeles at $2593.

“In the US, the Federal Maritime Commission is now looking into the practices of the container shipping industry and searching for ways to ensure that container users, many of whom feel they have been charged unfairly by carriers for D&D, can be refunded,” said Dr. Johannes Schlingmeier, CEO & Founder of the container leasing and trading platform. “Certainly, D&D rates have been accelerating, adding to the burden on shippers and industry on top of record container rates and global container shortages.”

Rotterdam had an average D&D rate in March of $756, Singapore was $615, and Antwerp was $709.

At the bottom of the spectrum was Busan (South Korea) with average D&D charges of only $132 in March this year. The next cheapest after the South Korean port were the Chinese ports of Dalian and Tianjin both with averages of $201.

Variations by carrier within ports

D&D charges do not just vary by port, they also vary by shipping line within each port. At the port of Los Angeles, which has been central to the chaos evident on the trans-Pacific container trade over the past year, average D&D charges increased by +142,7% from March 2020 to March 2021. CMA CGM’s D&D rates increased the most, up 167% over the period. Maersk was a close second, with its customers seeing a 161% increase in D&D charges.

By contrast, COSCO, unlike the other carriers in the Port of Los Angeles, lowered its average D&D fees by 15% over the period from $1417 in March last year to 2020 to $1213 in March 2021.

In Hamburg, meanwhile, the cheapest carrier in March this year was CMA CGM, which charged $258 in D&D after two weeks. Yang Ming was the most expensive line with rates of $1612.

Globally, the cheapest combination of carrier and port was COSCO and the Port of Busan in South Korea. The most expensive combination was CMA CGM at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.


Yantian Port Congestion: How Can Shippers Navigate Another Major Supply Chain Disruption?

While the global logistics industry has not been a stranger to disruption this past year, the congestion at the Port of Yantian in China is starting to impact the market at an exceptionally high level. At the current pace, it’s going to be even more disruptive than the Suez Canal blockage this spring and the ongoing congestion at the Port of Long Beach/LA over the past year. This is due to the magnitude of the trade lanes and exports the port touches. Unlike the Suez Canal incident or other recent port issues, which have impacted a more limited number of regions and trade lanes, the Port of Yantian is a major export hub for multiple large markets like Europe, North America, Latin America and Oceania.

This disruption also came on top of an already brittle logistics system which is currently grappling with several unprecedented challenges, including equipment shortages and decreased schedule reliability, to name a few. Right now, the reliability that the vessel carrying your goods or expected to pick up your goods will show up on time is roughly 5%. At this time last year, it was around 80%+. And, as ocean carriers introduce more blank sailings or skip ports to start improving the reliability percentage, that means the freight that was skipped is now added to the backlog of containers that will flow into the next vessel.

It’s likely we won’t see a large shift in congestion until the demand levels out.  And while this market does not lend itself to a silver-bullet solution, there are things shippers can do to keep their supply chain afloat:

1. Be open to hyper flexibility

While flexibility is important any time global logistics are involved, the phrase ‘now more than ever’ holds true here. Currently, delays at the Port of Yantian are ranging from 10-15 days, which is a large jump from the 2-7 day delays we experienced just few weeks back.

Switching between ports, modes, and trade lanes has been an active strategy to avoid these delays, but shippers can’t rely on only adjusting once or twice since other shippers are also making these shifts as they compete for limited space. A good example of how this plays out is in the case of congestion at the Port of Oakland. Over the last few months, as the delays at the LA port were mounting, carriers started diverting sailings to Oakland. The result? Oakland is now also severely congested and suffering from the same unpredictability.

Fact remains, ocean carriers are deploying the most capacity on the U.S. west coast (USWC) routing, and as complexities in the interior of the U.S. continue to be exacerbated (i.e. lack of chassis and rail congestions), carriers continue to limit options for containers moving inland. Shippers need to continue to be flexible in enabling containers terminating on the USWC and leveraging transloading and trucking inland options.

When considering flexibility across modes, keep in mind air may be the solution for a few shipments, but it’s not a feasible option to shift all your ocean freight to air. Instead, exploring a mix of modes, like LCL + air, may offer a more realistic opportunity for your company in a more cost-competitive way. Having the right partner with a global suite of service and technology offerings coupled with scale and a strong inland network, is going to make the difference for supply chains in the market.

2. Prepare for ultra-prioritization

Prepare to make tough decisions on what freight is most important to move. This can be especially difficult for companies importing seasonal items, like patio furniture or pools since their selling window is limited.

With today’s demand, most shippers would classify all their freight as a top priority but shipping it all at once may not be realistic. It’s important to sit down and have those conversations now so when the opportunity presents itself for portions of your freight to move, like in an LCL shipment, you’re ready to make the call.

3. Don’t dismiss historical data

I’ve been in the business 20 years and never seen anything like this in a global magnitude, impacting almost all core trades. However, a unique situation does not mean historical data no longer lends itself to helping us find solutions.

The market will improve, and things will get better. However, these issues tend to be cyclical as we look at the data. We need to build resiliency around supply chain and continue to have options to navigate. While some of these events are hard to predict and plan, there are things that you can do, such as diversifying distribution center locations, sourcing, etc.

Final Thoughts

Until the high demand subsides, the above points will be crucial moving forward. C.H. Robinson has always been focused on working alongside our customers to help them succeed – and that’s no less true during times of incomparable volatility. It’s important to keep an open line of communication and to be open to creative solutions. As we work through this together, I encourage you to keep tabs on our data-driven market insights page and reach out to your representative.



For European exporters looking to source shipping containers, existing shortages could deteriorate significantly in the coming weeks, according to the latest data from Container xChangethe world’s leading online platform for the leasing and trading of shipping containers.

Most pricing and availability indicators now suggest carriers are continuing to favor shipping empties back to Asia as fast as possible to maximize yields on front-haul services rather than wait for less lucrative backhaul loads.

The upshot for shippers is rapidly rising prices in Europe for containers even though CAx availability readings point to higher availability of boxes in European hubs – Container xChange figures do not track empty moves.

“The confluence of theoretical high availability and soaring prices for boxes strongly indicates that container lines are prioritizing empty containers over export cargo from Europe,” said Dr Johannes Schlingmeier.

“There were signs of this even before the Suez Canal closure in late March. The latest figures suggest the additional disruption this caused has exacerbated the situation and made it even harder for exporters to find empties.”

The latest container trading data reveals that between January and April average prices for used 20 ft. containers across Europe rose 57% from $1348 to $2119.

In April, price increases for 20 ft. containers were especially severe. In Antwerp, prices jumped by 30% compared to March. In Hamburg they rose by 16% over the same period while in Rotterdam they increased 12%.

Since the beginning of May, average prices for 20 ft. dry containers in Europe softened slightly to $2249 from $2110 in April. However, prices for 40 ft. dry containers have again increased this month, up 13% to $3112 from $2750 in April.

In Container xChange’s Container Availability Index (CAx) an index reading of below 0.5 means more containers leave a port compared to the number which enters. Above 0.5 means more containers are entering the port.

At the port of Genoa, the average CAx reading for a 20 ft. box in 2021 is 0.71, up from 0.26 through the first half of 2020. At Hamburg, in 2021 the average CAx reading has so far this year is 0.75, compared to 0.39 in 1H 2020, while at Rotterdam the reading is 0.71 so far this year, versus 0.46 a year earlier.

After a short dip in incoming containers to Europe due to the Suez Canal closure as measured by Container xChange’s Container Availability Index (CAx), inbound volumes are expected to increase again.

CAx readings for week 19 decreased by on average 4.5% to values of 0.85 across dry-container sizes in Hamburg, 0.79 in Rotterdam, and 83.5 in Antwerp, indicating an ongoing surplus of incoming boxes.

“According to Container xChange forecasts, an increase in incoming shipping containers by 4-5% over the next weeks is likely to not only increase CAx readings but also contribute to slowly decreasing container prices again,” said Dr Schlingmeier.

“These are good times for equipment owners across Europe as indications are that even if container prices dip slightly, scarcity will remain until carriers change tack and start looking for more backloads. As a result, container prices are likely to remain at elevated levels for some time, although we do think availability for exporters will improve in the coming months.”

port of beaumont


What does it take for a port to remain competitive and progressive, regardless of the market disruptions at hand? Port of Beaumont Director of Trade Development Ernest Bezdek shares the answer to that question and more secrets to the Texas facility’s success in an exclusive interview with Global Trade Magazine.

Known for leading cargo handling for the petrochemical industry, the Port of Beaumont reported robust numbers in 2019-2020 and continues to soar during a historical year of disruptions. According to the latest reports, the port’s liquid bulk terminal handled 4.2 million tons of crude and refined products, and the dry bulk terminal moved more than 2 million tons of aggregate in ’19-’20. 

“While aggregate isn’t directly tied to the petrochemical industry, the majority of the product coming through the Port of Beaumont is used for industrial expansions along the Sabine-Neches Waterway,” Bezdek explains. “The port’s Orange County Liquid Bulk facility, which began handling crude and refined products in 2012, has realized a 5,000 percent increase in cargo volume since the first year of operation.”

The Orange County Liquid Bulk facility is a public-private partnership between the Port of Beaumont and Jefferson Energy Companies, he adds. 

“The liquid bulk facility was responsible for the first shipment of refined products to Mexico upon deregulation in 2017 and continues to ship crude and refined products to international markets, playing a significant role in sustaining the Sabine-Neches Waterway’s spot as one of the top three crude refining complexes in the United States,” Bezdek says.

Another significant statistic the port boasts about is maintaining the position as the fourth largest in tonnage. This title, the port’s record success and forward-thinking approach to operations contribute to all levels of development growth, from local, state and federal initiatives. 

“Locally, the port approves tax abatements for companies looking to open or expand along the waterway,” Bezdek says. “On the state level, the port serves on the board for the Port Authority Advisory Committee and works with state legislators to ensure Texas ports are always top-of-mind. And federally, we work with congressional leaders and industry trade organizations to ensure legislation . . . supports the needs of the maritime industry well into the future.”

One example of such legislation he cites is the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020.

“Additionally, the port supports and encourages private investment,” Bezdek adds, “and it has leveraged public dollars five to one with the public-private-partnerships currently in place.”


Sustainability and infrastructure also top the port’s list for legislative initiatives. Outdated facilities and limited capacities have no place in the modern maritime arena if you want to remain competitive and continue record-setting trends. The Port of Beaumont takes sustainable resiliency seriously, eliminating chances of limiting future growth opportunities. Among the initiatives put in place to ensure the latest and greatest infrastructure is in place, Bezdek highlights the following:

Composite Fenders: “The port replaced deteriorating timber fenders with new eco-friendly composite fenders on our most heavily used dock. Products like Axion’s Struxure boards are estimated to have five times the service life of hardwood, which offers better performance while reducing our maintenance costs.”

Buford Rail Interchange Track: “We are in the process of constructing a second rail interchange track. The additional rail interchange track on our property will allow a higher percentage of outbound surface cargo to be loaded on rail cars as opposed to trucks. Currently, approximately 15 percent of forest cargo and 15 percent of project cargo leaves the Port of Beaumont by truck. It was determined that this percentage could be reduced, resulting in significant benefits in safety, highway maintenance costs, decongestion and environmental impacts if an additional rail line was constructed.”  

Main Street Terminal 1: “We will be constructing a general cargo dock to replace docks 2, 3 and 4, which are no longer in use. It is assumed that without the reconstruction of the wharves, 15 percent of the increased project tonnage would come to the Beaumont area by truck. Reconstruction of the wharves will result in reduced congestion on all major highways between Corpus Christi and Houston and Beaumont, but especially on the I-10 corridor between Houston and Beaumont. The new dock will be supported by concrete piles to provide a c foundation with prolonged design life and resiliency. The final concrete topping slab will use synthetic concrete reinforcing fibers as opposed to traditional welded steel wire mesh, which will also provide a corrosion-proof wearing surface with prolonged design life and resiliency.”


Unlike other logistics-focused industries impacted by the pandemic, the Port of Beaumont successfully navigated disruptions without much of a slowdown and without compromising the continued development of its employees. Bezdek explained that a developed, educated workforce, carefully executed social distancing measures and a strong mix of diversified cargo have ultimately paved the way to success throughout 2020. 

“The port focuses on diversification to minimize disruption and we took an early and aggressive stance on COVID-19 by maintaining strict protocols, social distancing and screening measures since early March [2020],” he says. “We have 45 employees with more than 500 years of combined experience working at the Port of Beaumont as well as thousands of contractors and partners working at port facilities regularly. The key to breaking records is exceptional teamwork and clearly communicating goals and expectations of the organization, while focusing on employee growth. The more we invest in our employees, the more records we see broken. Of our 45 employees, 40 have participated in some type of training or continuing education in the past 30 days.

“The port’s competitive advantage is much more closely tied to infrastructure and proximity to key assets, such as I-10, three Class I rail carriers and an extensive pipeline network. The newest technology used at the Port of Beaumont that has created the greatest benefit is ArcGIS, a mapping and analytics software that has many uses in a port setting, including asset management, space allocation, utility management, property and lease management, environmental management, emergency response and management, and it also has functions useful for marketing, among other things.

While the pandemic has caused economic decline in many areas industry-wide, the Port of Beaumont’s cargo volumes remained strong with a 7.6 percent increase, year-over-year, when Bezdek was interviewed.  

“The pandemic has not had a significant impact on the Port of Beaumont, but we understand this could result in a slow-down in the future,” he concludes. “We remain optimistic that project and breakbulk cargos will bounce back as economic recovery efforts continue.”


5 Port Applications You May Be Surprised Can Run on Propane

In order to keep pace with international shipping activity in ports across the globe, crews need efficient, reliable material handling equipment. While there are several energy sources available to power port equipment, many are finding that propane can be a go-to fuel for a wide variety of port applications.

Propane has been a trusted engine fuel in the transportation sector for both on- and off-road vehicles for several decades, backed by the most trusted engine and fuel system manufacturers — including Power Solutions International, Agility, Origin, and Cummins, to name a few. Manufacturers are producing propane solutions in a variety of horsepower and applications, granting the versatility to tackle both land- and sea-side tasks.

Beyond its versatility to provide a port-wide energy solution, propane offers key advantages over other energy sources, like diesel and electric, in terms of emissions, air quality, and cost savings.

Here are five popular port applications that can run on propane:

1. Forklifts

When it comes to forklifts, people may first think of electric for low-emissions indoor operation or diesel for outdoor heavy lifting — but propane can do it all. In fact, propane is an ideal fuel for material handling. Propane-powered forklifts keep crews more productive because they don’t lose power throughout the workday and a fast, easy cylinder change gets them back in business quickly. Employees don’t have to worry about downtime for recharging, like with electric equipment.

Plus, unlike diesel, propane equipment can be safely operated indoors and outdoors, because of its clean, low-emissions profile. Propane forklifts beat electric equipment, too, when you take upstream, site-to-source emissions into account. Site-to-source emissions include those produced at power plants where electricity is generated — many of which are still coal-fired — as well as the emissions during transportation to the facility.

2. Port and Terminal Tractors

TICO Manufacturing recently launched a new propane terminal tractor powered by PSI’s emissions-certified 8.8-liter engine. TICO Pro-Spotter terminal tractors are widely used in distribution centers, rail terminals, and ports to move semi-trailers and shipping containers.

Propane autogas engines provide uncompromised power, performance, fuel efficiency, and flexibility to any user. Plus, according to data from the Argonne National Laboratory, propane autogas terminal tractors produce 12 percent fewer lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered terminal tractors.

3. Light-Duty Vehicles

Propane autogas can power a variety of light-duty vehicles including shuttle vans, trucks, and security vehicles. Light-duty fleet vehicles are available from major manufacturers — as both OEM-dedicated vehicles and EPA/CARB-certified aftermarket conversions.

Businesses of all sizes are looking to propane autogas for its cost savings and reduced emissions and ports shouldn’t be an exception. Propane autogas provides the lowest total cost-of-ownership of any fuel, in part because of its reliable performance and low costs for fuel, infrastructure, and maintenance. Plus, they are typically less expensive to purchase than electric and natural gas vehicles and they can save up to 50 percent on fuel costs compared to gasoline and diesel.

Propane autogas vehicles reduce NOx emissions by up to 36 percent compared to diesel vehicles, greenhouse gas emissions by up to 22 percent compared to gasoline vehicles, and up to 45 percent less particulate matter than electric vehicles throughout the full fuel cycle. And beyond its lowest total-cost-of ownership and reduced emissions, propane autogas vehicles also help crews eliminate downtime linked to maintenance and diesel repairs.

4. Medium-Duty Vehicles

Propane autogas delivery trucks are gaining popularity in other industries in which larger loads are moving from point A to point B and reliability is key. Take the food and beverage industry, for instance. Well respected companies like Nestle Waters and Schwan’s Home Service rely on Roush CleanTech medium-duty propane autogas vehicles for product deliveries. New technology is even allowing for larger refrigeration trucks to be powered by propane autogas, too. For example, Roush CleanTech recently displayed its 2019 F-750 refrigerated van at the 2020 NTEA Work Truck Show.

5. Shore Power

Beyond powering on- and off-road vehicles, propane can provide stationary and mobile power generation for port facilities, too. Shore power, which is sometimes referred to as cold-ironing or alternative marine power, is an effective way of reducing air emissions and improving local air quality. One way to provide ports with shore power is with commercial propane generators. By incorporating propane as a power solution, ports alleviate the need, and reliance, on grid-based shore power options.

As propane technology continues to evolve, it can provide port operations with a number of key advantages compared to other energy sources including increased energy efficiency, energy security and resiliency, cost savings, and the versatility to tackle a wide variety of applications.

Plus, crews don’t want to be bothered with multiple fuel types and energy sources to complete different types of jobs. Fortunately, propane can handle various load sizes, operate indoors or outside, and even operate on- or off-road and land- or sea-side. Visit to learn more about the power and versatility of propane.


Jeremy Wishart is director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at



Global transportation in 2020 has been defined by supply chain disruptions. The year started off under the impact of the China trade wars and quickly devolved into full-scale disruption with the onset and reaction to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

As an international freight forwarder serving over 150 countries, Suddath has been on the front lines helping customers navigate these challenges to keep their supply chains moving. Since July, we have continued to see a positive shift in the volume numbers, with port activity beginning to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels. That leaves many wondering if our industry is nearing a post-pandemic era, and what that world will look like.

Supply Chain Disruptors

To understand where we are going, we start by looking back at the beginning of the year. The industry was still feeling the full impact of the increased complexity and protection policies over global trade. Most notably, the trade war between China and the U.S. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread through China, where the origins were traced to Wuhan, China’s economy and manufacturing plants went nearly silent for more than six weeks, with little goods produced or shipped to ports around the world. 

According to a China Economic Update Report by the Asia Perspective management consulting firm, China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 6.8 percent from January to March 2020, and its exports fell by 11.4 percent in the first quarter of 2020. According to the same report, during this time period, imports to China from around the world also fell by 0.7 percent. The country’s GDP had a slight recovery from April to June, with a 3.2 percent, however it was still well below pre-COVID-19 numbers. 

These declines in volume forced ocean carriers to reduce their capacity, often through the use of blank sailings or scheduled sailing that were canceled by an ocean carrier, so a vessel bypasses certain ports or even cancels full vessel rotations. Seatrade Marine News reported a total of 435 blank sailings by container lines through April 2020, as carriers continued to match capacity with decreased demand. In the U.S., we have witnessed similar results, such as the ports in South Carolina reporting 72 blank sailings between January and July with a corresponding overall decline in port volume for the year. 

Ocean carriers continue to utilize blank sailings as they try to match volume with capacity. Equipment shortages are plaguing the industry as empty containers dwell in places they are not needed and are in short supply where they are needed, such as China and the Far East. Container repositioning, or moving empty containers to new locations, is among the supply chain disruptions of blank sailings because the empties simply do not get repositioned as efficiently as they would during normal operating periods. 

Looking Up

While it is clear these supply chain disruptors still have a far-reaching impact, there are indications from the global economy that we may be headed in a better direction. Most U.S. ports had seen double-digit reductions in overall port activity from the onset of COVID-19 through June. However, things took a turn for the better in July. 

The Port of Los Angeles reported that September volumes were 13.3 percent up from the same month in 2019; in addition, the port reported the best quarter in its 114-year history. 

This recent surge in port volumes is making it more difficult for truckers to get appointments to move containers into and out of the port in the allotted time frame. South Carolina ports experienced a similar trend, with September year-over-year activity the strongest since the pandemic onset, and vehicle movements through the port show continued recovery. 

There are several factors that have contributed to this uptick in activity, including: 

-Most of the world’s manufacturers are back to business, leading to an increase in production around the globe

-The U.S. government lifted some travel restrictions for military families, with conditions, which has spurred movement around the globe

-A global decrease in blank sailing, particularly to and from Far East ports, which were bypassed earlier this year, but have become active again

The recent spike in activity bodes well for the global economy as we continue to move through the COVID-19 era. Per McKinsey & Company and Deloitte Insights, U.S. consumer demand seems high with optimism and retail sales recovering, which appears to be driving the surge in recent activity. 

The future is still very much in question as several ocean carriers are still forecasting some, albeit fewer, blank sailings in the coming months, but the seven-day Golden Week festival shut down factories across China in early October and caused blank sailings to surge temporarily. 

With the recent changes toward the better, the question becomes: Will the global economy remain strong as we continue into the next stage of the COVID-19 era, or will there be new spikes that cause another global economic slowdown, potentially worse than the last? 

It appears ocean carriers have adapted to the supply chain disruptions and are working to smooth the supply chain as numbers return to normal. While we have heard similar sentiments from other forwarding companies recently, this alone is not enough to declare us in the clear of challenges posed by COVID-19, but it is promising information.

The Future of Shipping

The future of the trade industry in the post-pandemic era is impossible to predict, however, we continue to see ports invest in development and technology to be poised to handle the growing demands of the future. 

Sustainability through technology has been a driving factor for the industry for years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Ports are incorporating alternative power as well as investing in practices that increase sustainability and decrease their footprint to be more attractive to partners. Organizations are looking for 3PLs, ports, and steamship lines that follow sustainability best practices, use clean energy such as solar and wind, and recycle ships properly. 

With the future of COVID-19 impacts unclear, the shipping industry has more incentive than ever to focus on and invest in smart technologies that continually strengthen supply chains. 


Bob Fruchterman is senior vice president, International Logistics, at Suddath, where he is responsible for all international transportation and logistics including import, export, ocean and air. He also specializes in managing commercial projects in the energy, mining and construction fields around the world.

Mr. Fruchterman has more than 35 years’ experience in the international transportation and logistics industry. He has managed everything from large U.S. government-financed projects in the former Soviet Union to shipping equipment and supplies to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in Economics.

risk management


The deadly spread of COVID-19, and the economic and trade disruption the pandemic has caused, is prompting port managers to examine new ways to improve risk management and digital processes.

Those are the conclusions in the latest biennial global ports survey conducted by Remy InfoSource, which was established in 2001 in the Netherlands to provide artificial intelligence diagnostic solutions to the high-tech and transportation industries. The lifecycle contract management specialist is now based on Australia.

The “2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey” was undertaken during the height of worldwide economic lockdowns in the second quarter of 2020 and on behalf of iSpec, the world’s leading web and mobile-based software procurement solution for buyers of capital intensive outsourced projects such as ports.

The survey revealed that 51 percent of port executive respondents now identify risk management as the key area they would like to improve on in the future, up from 32 percent in the previous iteration of the iSpec Ports Industry Survey in 2018. That year, the top two areas for improvements noted by ports and terminal executives were shorter lead times and more standardization.

“I think it’s no surprise that in such an uncertain world the importance of risk management has increased dramatically,” says Pieter Boshoff, CEO of Remy InfoSource. “Disruption to supply chains has increased across the globe causing operational and investment uncertainty and, with social distancing rules, also changing the way we all conduct our business.

“Managing that risk has become a major challenge at ports, particularly when it comes to managing outsourced equipment tender and procurement projects that are often complex in nature and frequently involve multiple vendors.”

Port operators represented 71 percent of the respondents to the 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey, up from 58 percent in 2018. More than two thirds of respondents are responsible for the procurement of quay cranes, reach stackers and trailers.

Asked how the COVID-19 lockdown had affected the way ports were conducting business, 41 percent of global respondents said the pandemic had required a shift to more digital collaboration, 49 percent said more projects were now on hold, and 62 percent said they were now working from home more often.

The 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey also found that “quality” has become the leading reason for customer/supplier disputes. In the 2018 survey, “delays” was cited most often as the cause of customer/supplier disputes.

“No matter what the business, the spread of coronavirus has forced executives to find new ways of conducting business and for the most part this means turning to digital solutions,” Boshoff explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is a trend that will accelerate in the future. It is becoming abundantly clear that for many businesses there are benefits and efficiencies in the new online and outsourced methods they have developed during the pandemic. I think many of the work processes adopted during lockdowns, particularly around communication, will outlast the coronavirus crisis and become part of our normal way of working.”