Monday, January 11, 2010

Big Freeze Continues For Road, Rail and Sea Freight Shipping Worldwide

Bad Weather Presents Danger from Liverpool to Liaodong
Shipping News Feature

WORLD WIDE – The extreme weather conditions continued to claim casualties, both corporal and commercial this week as hundreds of incidents ranging from another train stuck in the Channel Tunnel and closure of Felixstowe Port to desperate rescues in the China Sea and rail services across the US suspended by the big freeze, brought a halt or unwelcome delays to logistics across the world. Freight deliveries and collections have been affected drastically across the globe by bad weather affecting areas not normally touched by the cold.

In Florida lizards were to be seen dropping from the trees as temperatures fell to record levels for over a century whilst rivers froze halting barge traffic throughout large areas of the US. Soya and grain prices have seen a rise due to the suspension of waterborne and rail services particularly in Central and Northern regions. Some US freight truck drivers have been stuck for several days as roads throughout the region became impassable due to drifting snow.

Sea ice in China’s Bohai Gulf is the worst for over 30 years, halting ships approaching Tianjin, Beijing’s main port, with floating ice over 50 centimetres thick reported to be presenting a serious hazard to shipping in an area of around 250 square kilometres in the bays of Liaodong and Laizhou. Icebreakers have had to attend to almost 250 calls for assistance in the area to prevent casualties on stricken vessels.

Europe has suffered dramatically with accidents right across the continent due to the extreme cold. Ferry services across the Baltic have been suspended and electricity supplies cut in Poland due to power lines crashing down under the weight of ice and snow. Hundreds have been trapped in France and Germany at airports, in trains and on motorways. Meantime flooding is affecting areas like Croatia as the weather eases there, a problem likely to affect many more low lying areas when a change in the temperature finally comes. Needless to say air freight deliveries have been first line casualties in many areas of the world with the heavy snowfalls and icing on runways disrupting delivery schedules almost everywhere for varying periods.

If you can however, spare a thought for the poor inhabitants of Melbourne who were trying to function today in temperatures of 43 degrees C, whilst nearby Geelong achieved an astonishing 45.. Trains were exchanged for buses in the commuter belt as rail services were disrupted by the heat.