Truck parking areas

Truck parking reservation service TruckPark announced a partnership with ParkMyFleet to make more than 30 locations across the country available for truck drivers to park their tractor-trailers for an evening of rest. The partnership launches with immediate access to nearly 300 parking spaces at 10 locations, with expansion expectations later this year. The new agreement not only makes spots available, but also provides locations for truckers to have their rigs filled with fuel or for repair services to be conducted on premise.

The goal is to provide safe parking during required downtime; a secure location for drivers to rest, store and/or service their vehicles in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

TruckPark provides an app for drivers or their fleets to reserve parking space at select locations across the country for a fee. For more details go to:

Vessel Cyber Risk

The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has just updated the Vessel Cyber Risk Management Work Instruction.

The revised document now includes a compliance timeline for Non-Safety Management System vessels that are subject to the Marine Transportation Safety Act of 2002. These vessels are required to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities within their Vessel Security Assessment no later than Dec. 31, 2021.

The Vessel Cyber Risk Management Work Instruction and other work instructions are available at the Coast Guard Officer of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) Mission Management System (NMS) website-

The general USCG Mission Management System contains several useful forms (checklists) and inspection-centric work instructions across a wide array of subject matter. 

World economy future

According to IHS Markit, global economic growth will strengthen next quarter; as vaccinations accelerate and activity restrictions are eased, consumer spending will revive, lifting global output to a new peak by the third quarter of 2021. World real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to advance 5.1% in 2021 and 4.3% in 2022 before settling to a more sustainable 3.1% growth pace in 2023–25.

The United States and mainland China are leading the expansion. U.S. GDP is projected to increase 5.7% this year and 4.1% in 2022, as the lift from the new albeit with some buffeting by headwinds from rising long-term interest rates. Mainland China’s economy is expected to grow a robust 7.8% in 2021 as the recovery in consumer demand gains traction with effective virus containment. Growth will slow to 5.7% in 2022, resuming a downward trend in response to deleveraging and diminishing productivity gains.

As the global economy recovers, inflationary pressures are building. In several markets, strengthening demand is colliding with pandemic-constrained supply, driving up prices. The IHS Markit Materials Price Index has surged 44% since early November 2020, standing 75% above its year-earlier level during the week ended March 12th. Price increases have been broadly based, encompassing metals, lumber, energy, chemicals, fibers, and semiconductors.

Policy stimulus and the resilience of consumer demand as economies reopen will be primary forces affecting inflation however, monetary policies are expected to remain highly accommodative, resulting in ample credit availability.

Policy vigilance has kept global inflation in single digits during the past three decades and anchored inflation expectations around 2% in the advanced countries. Meanwhile, cost-of-living escalators that fueled wage-price spirals in the past are much less prevalent. International price competition facilitated by the rise of global trade has also restrained inflation.

Mostly good news with some blue skies on the near-term horizon. Of course, there is still the one huge caveat.

Ever Given event

Let’s step out of the world of macroeconomics and back into something more transportation focused. The suspension of ship traffic through the Suez Canal has given the many a good glimpse into the world of shipping and its importance within the global economy.

Vessels transport about 90% of global trade with one-eight transiting the Suez Canal, offering the shortest route between Europe and Asia. So, when a ship like the Ever Given runs aground and blocks two-way traffic, it lays bare the fragility of global supply chains.

In 2020, over 50 ships passed through the canal daily so every day passing with inactivity, the number of vessels delayed grows. How much damage exactly really depends on how long the suspension lasts (the ship was refloated Monday). Diverting around Cape Horn would add 3,000 nautical miles or about 10-12 days extra sailing time. Trying to make up time, even 5 knots per hour, will require an extra 1,000 tons of fuel.

The Suez Canal is just one of the several natural maritime chokeholds; narrow passages that see a lot of ship traffic. We would have bet something like this would occur in the Bosporus or Malacca Straits.

This all comes amid the backdrop of a global cargo boom with demand outstripping supply. Didn’t we just talk about good news around the corner?

Guinea Gulf security

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will convene a maritime security working group in response to the growing number of pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea. The meeting is set for May to provide an opportunity for Member States and international organizations to discuss further collaboration and possible action to address the problem.

There is growing concern about the escalation in the number and severity of attacks on ships and crew in this region, and a need for stakeholders to work together to restore security and reduce the threats to the safety and security of crews and vessels. The urgency resulted from a recent attack on the containership MV Mozart involving one fatality and the kidnapping of 15 seafarers, who have since been released.

In a circular letter (No. 4382, issued 10 February), Secretary-General said that IMO has been taking action to enhance the coordination of initiatives including facilitating meetings with representatives of the industry, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Interregional Coordination Centre for the Implementation of Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa (ICC).

He highlighted that ships need to implement the industry endorsed Best Management Practices (BMP) for West Africa (WA) to avoid, deter, delay and report attacks.

The number of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea surged to a record in 2020 with 130 crew kidnappings in 22 separate incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre. Also concerning is the fact that attacks are increasingly violent and occurring farther from shore, highlighting the increasing capabilities of armed pirate gangs in the region.

Another initiative, the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC), a regional code aimed at enhancing maritime security and addressing piracy, armed robbery against ships, illegal fishing and other illicit maritime activity is also being implemented.

The risk of maritime piracy here has also been prominently mentioned due to the “Ever Given” casualty; ships re-routed via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the expected weeks long delay there will find themselves in the target area.

Biggest ports

China’s centrality to global trade was further emphasized in 2020 when its leading container hubs continued to record volume growth despite Covid-19 supply chain disruptions.

According to the top 25 Container Ports ranking by Alphaliner, China occupies six of the top eight spots although some of the country’s second-tier ports did see volumes slide. Shanghai retained its position as the world’s largest box port ahead of Singapore while the ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan, Shenzhen, Qingdao and Tianjin saw year-on-year throughput increases. The top 25 container ports handled a combined 395.7 million TEU essentially flat over 2019 figures.

Apart from China, Malaysia (Port Kelang and Tanjung Pelepas) and the US (Los Angeles/Long Beach and New York/Newark) were the only countries with more than one port in the top 25. Rotterdam, Europe’s largest box facility retained the number 11 position. Antwerp added 170,000 TEU in volume during the year, a 1.4% increase in throughput, with the port retaining its 14th place ranking. Apart from being a hub of the growth-hungry Mediterranean Shipping Company, it also profited from overflow volumes redirected from Le Havre due to early year labor unrest.

Despite China’s larger ports consolidating their position, the country now has only nine ports in the Top 25 compared to eleven two years ago.

Blockchain news

How about some attention to a specific cargo? IBM and eProvenance just released VinAssure, a blockchain solution that tracks wines as they move from the vineyard to the end consumer. It marries IMB Blockchain Transparent Supply enabling organizations to create a permanent record of the history of their physical assets with eProvenance’s algorithm the determines if the wine is still fresh or if its quality has been compromised.

Aside from identifying errors during transit, VinAssure provides transparency, accountability, and data exchange throughout the supply chain. It will give a quality score from 1 to 100; consumers can also learn, using the QR Code, about the wine flavor profiles and whether its meets certification standards for organic practices.

A few growers and importers have already signed up representing millions of bottles annually. Get more information at:

Possible changes in the Rail players

Canadian Pacific Rail (CP) is trying to buy Kansas City Southern (KCS) for $29bn, in a stock and cash transaction. If approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), the deal between the two Class 1 railroads will create the first railway that connects Canada, the US and Mexico.

While CP’s network stretches across Canada and into the central US, KCI operates in the domestic and US-Mexico markets, focused largely on the north-south corridor connecting central US with industrial cities in Mexico. The pair interchange traffic at a shared facility in Kansas City. By creating a single network and alleviating the need for a time-consuming and costly interchange, the pair expect to reduce transit times and costs. There will also be new routings, such as from KCS points to western Canada bypassing Chicago.

The combination, proposed name of Canadian Pacific Kansas City, would represent an approximate 20,000- mile network but still smaller than the other 5 major North American railroads.

While there are real operational advantages, the ability to bypass Chicago may be the most significant. Rail transit still will remain the most rigorous due to the high acceleration forces in the longitudinal direction (front-rear) during coupling and the ever-present risk of pilferage, especially at major hubs during interchanging. 

Danger unsecured cargo

Unsecured cargo is not only dangerous but deadly for drivers on the road. In a study over three years, it was estimated that 200,000 accidents were caused by inadequately secured goods falling from trucks. It is so widespread that one agency performed a week-long securement check and found that 15.7% of trucks violated regulations.

Cargo securement regulations are set by the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMCSA); here are some basic rules of the road:

Tiedown—a combination of securing devices that form an assembly that: attaches cargo to or restrains cargo on a vehicle attached to anchor point(s). If that seems quite vague, that’s because it is. However, the official list of tiedowns includes:

  • Binders
  • Webbings
  • Chains
  • D-Rings
  • Ropes
  • Shackles
  • Webbing Ratchets

The working load limit (or WLL) is the weight that a securing device can be used without breaking. Each type of tiedown will have its own WLL specified in weight (kgs. or lbs.).

You need to sum up the WLL of all your tiedowns, but only if they are attached to an anchor point are attached to the vehicle by going over or through the cargo

The sum of all the tiedown WLL’s must be at least 50% of the total weight of the cargo being secured.

Every tiedown must be attached and secured so that it doesn’t unfasten, loosen, open, or release during transport. If a piece of cargo has rigid edges that can cut a tiedown, edge protection must be used. The edge protector must be resistant to abrasion, crushing, and cutting.

Cargo is considered secure if it cannot shift, tip, and is restrained against horizontal movement. Specifically, if only tiedowns are used, they must be strong enough to withstand:

  • 0.8 g of deceleration in the forward direction
  • 0.5 g of acceleration in the rearward direction
  • 0.5 g of acceleration in a lateral (sideways) direction

One of the better publications is “Practical Cargo Securement: Guidelines for Drivers, Carriers & Shippers” available from the American Trucking Association or Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration.

Some transportation terms

The following terms well known to shippers, transportation intermediaries and carriers are often used interchangeably but they each serve a different, distinct function.

RFI (Request for Information)- the purpose is to gather information about the qualifications, capabilities and services offered by carriers and transportation/logistics intermediaries. This is NOT a request for proposal and does NOT obligate you to any company that responds. This is best used to determine which companies you invite to the RFP stage.

RQF (Request for Quotation)- This can be a standalone template or part of the RFP. Most often utilized when you are requesting a service which is standardized or for basic commodities when you are mainly looking to select a vendor based on price

RFP (Request for Proposal)- This is a formal call to transportation companies to provide detailed proposals to meet specific shipping needs. The RFP document should be granular and specific. A wellthought out document engenders complete, innovative responses and provides an opportunity to compare information on equal footing across all submissions.

It can be broken down into 3 general sections: information you provide; information you request and supplemental information such as bid forms.

Here is a checklist for shippers developing an RFP:

  • Determine your business requirements
  • Gather essential internal data
  • Provide background information on your company
  • Define your business needs
  • Include a list of mandatory requirements
  • Include freight characteristics
  • Provide detailed lane information, freight volume and frequency
  • Include special requirements
  • Set key date timeline
  • Establish a single point-of-contact for questions and concerns
  • Provide clear instructions
  • Identify evaluation criteria
  • Specific what Key Performance Indicators you will use

The information for much of the content was taken from several public sources that to the best of the undersigned’s knowledge is accurate. The views expressed in this document should be regarded as the opinion of the undersigned and not ones made in his capacity as an employee of Chubb.

Anyone wanting additional information on any of the topics covered should contact the above signers.

The information for much of the content was taken from several public sources that to the best of the undersigned’s knowledge is accurate. The views expressed in this document should be regarded as the opinion of the undersigned and not ones made in his capacity as an employee of Chubb.

Anyone wanting additional information on any of the topics covered should contact the above signers.