Trade imbalance causes container shortage; freight rates hit the roof

Container shortage in India due to the uneven import-export scenario is taking costs through the roof for both, shipping lines as well as the importers and exporters.

“Freights have jumped on all routes in the range of 20-100 percent depending on the sector. Exporters are operating on losses at times as customer is not ready to absorb the hike,” Mark S. Fernandes, director, IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Business Standard.

Imports to India plummeted 22-24 percent in the April-November period, while exports have risen to 29 percent in the same period creating equipment (container) imbalance in the domestic market, informed industry officials.

“China was a strong importing partner for India. After Chinese imports came under scanner and bans were placed on Chinese goods, the imports to the country have gone for a toss, resulting in this equipment imbalance for India,” said Umesh Grover, secretary general at Container Freight Station Association of India (CFSAI).

Increased freight cost has impacted the margins of exporters across the sectors. “We are in a helpless situation. Customer is not ready to pick up goods at increased prices, while shipping lines

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Red-hot iron ore dents huge budget deficit

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is expected to hand down a modestly improved budget position when his mid-year review is released later this week.
It may be only a couple of months since he delivered his delayed 2020/21 budget, but a lot has happened in the interim.

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Covid-19: Google now eyeing flexible work week; delays office return

With the pandemic still in full swing and the first doses of a vaccine just starting to ship in the United States, has pushed back the planned return to the office by a few months, to September 2021.

But even as it extends the remote work period for most of its staff, is laying out a series of proposed changes that may substantially alter how its employees and people at other technology will work.

In an email to the staff on Sunday night, Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said the company was testing the idea of a “flexible workweek” once it is safe to return to the office. Under the pilot plan, employees would be expected to work at least three days a week in the office for “collaboration days” while working from home the other days.

“We are testing a hypothesis that a flexible work model will lead to greater productivity, collaboration, and well-being,” Pichai wrote in an email obtained by The New York Times. “No company at our scale has ever created a fully hybrid work force model — though

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EU Sees ‘Narrow Path’ To Brexit Deal After Deadline Ditched

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday signalled there was a “narrow path” to a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, as key sticking points remain after both sides abandoned a supposed make-or-break deadline.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chief Ursula van der Leyen pledged on Sunday to “go the extra mile” as they side-stepped the self-imposed cut-off point to end talks if there was no progress towards a pact.

Britain left the EU on January 31 after five decades of integration, but a transition period during which it remains bound by the bloc’s rules ends on December 31.

Without a post-Brexit deal, Britain’s trade with its biggest market would in future operate on pared-down World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, including tariffs and quotas.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a pre-pandemic meeting in London in January. At the time the EU’s top official correctly predicted ‘tough talks’ over their future relations
 AFP / Tolga AKMEN

Johnson has insisted it remains “most likely” that Britain will crash out of the globe’s largest single market by year’s end as the two sides spar over regulating future standards and on fishing rights.


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