Lekima, China’s ninth typhoon of 2019, has damaged more than 36,000 homes and 900,000 acres of crops. Total economic losses are estimated at $2.55 billion.

BEIJING — The death toll from typhoon Lekima in eastern China rose to 44 people on Monday morning, according to official data, as the storm continued up the coast, racking up billions of dollars in economic losses and widely disrupting travel.

Twelve more people were recorded dead from the storm, seven from Zhejiang province and five from Shandong, and 16 people were missing, according to data from provincial emergency bureaus and state media.

The state broadcaster CCTV had put the death toll at 32 on Sunday.

Typhoon Lekima made landfall early Saturday in Zhejiang province, with winds gusting up to 115 mph. The center of the storm has since traveled north through Shandong and off the coast.

Many of the earlier deaths occurred when a natural dam collapsed in Zhejiang after a deluge of 6¼ inches of rain within three hours.

The Shandong Emergency Management Bureau said more than 180,000 people were evacuated in the province, adding to an earlier evacuation of about 1 million people in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, as well as the financial hub of Shanghai.

The latest update from Shandong brings the total estimated economic toll of the storm to 18 billion yuan, or about $2.55 billion, in China, including damage to 900,000 acres of crops and more than 36,000 homes. Shandong alone estimated the total economic impact on agriculture at 939 million yuan, or about $133 million.

Lekima is China’s ninth typhoon this year. China’s state broadcaster said Sunday that more than 3,200 flights had been canceled but that some suspensions on high-speed railway lines had been lifted.

The typhoon was expected to weaken as it headed northwest off the coast of Shandong into the ocean east of Beijing

The world’s busiest cargo airport, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), has seen mass flight cancellations today due to anti-government protesters occupying parts of the airport, with all passenger flights cancelled until tomorrow morning, leading to disruptions of some cargo activities. However, freighter flights are understood to be still operating.

The airport confirmed that “Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all flights have been cancelled.”

Hong Kong-based airline Cathy Pacific said it had been informed by the Hong Kong International Airport Authority that all departing flights are cancelled today, Monday 12 August, effective immediately, with the cancellation period extending until the morning of Tuesday 13 August

With misdeclared hazardous cargoes sparking many dangerous fires on boxships around the world, Germany’s top liner has taken severe action – imposing a fine of $15,000 per wrong container.

Hapag-Lloyd suffered a high profile fire on of its ships, Yantian Express, earlier this year, that raged for weeks and caused millions of dollars of damage.

The new fines system comes into play from September 15.

“To ensure the safety of our crew, ships and other cargo onboard, Hapag-Lloyd holds the Shipper liable and responsible for all costs and consequences related to violations, fines, damages, incidents, claims and corrective measures resulting from cases of undeclared or misdeclared cargoes,” the German carrier stated in a note to clients.

Hong Kong’s Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), now a unit of China-based Cosco, also detailed plans yesterday to crack down on misdeclared dangerous and hazardous cargo.

OOCL said in a notice to customers that “we are aware that there had been an increasing number of marine incidents being reported in 2019, many of which were suspected of potentially carrying un-declared and/or misdeclared hazardous cargo”, adding that “to ensure safety compliance on shore and at sea is met, OOCL will strengthen its Dangerous Cargo acceptance and container inspection policy by imposing additional verification before loading through selective or random inspections on dangerous goods and potential dangerous goods cargo.”

OOCL said any inconsistencies between the declared cargo in the documents and what was physically inside the container would result in a Hazardous Cargo Misdeclaration Fee, without indicating how severe the fine would be.

Depending on the type of deficiencies found in such a shipment, the container could be put out of service and the cargo might be put on hold where penalties may be imposed, and charges associated with the misdeclaration would be on the shipper’s account.

According to the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS), nearly 25% of all serious incidents onboard containerships are attributable to misdeclared cargo.

While the exact breakdown of cargo contents varies by container, it’s well known that at any given time, between 5-10% of an average container ship’s cargo is declared as hazardous goods and approximately 12% of global container trade comprises dangerous goods. However, it’s nearly impossible to know how much dangerous cargo is undeclared, or misdeclared.

Commenting on the news from Hapag-Lloyd, a container shipping consultant based in Singapore, applauded the initiative and urged other liners to follow suit. “The booking party is not always the payer, so they will need to ensure that the penalties are imposed or else it can become a toothless tiger. $15,000 will not cover the cost of accidents, but it might cover the cost of inspections and enforcement. All shippers should embrace this, as 99.9% suffer today due to errant actions of the 0.1%. The other carriers will need – and should – follow suit, as those errant shippers who consciously fail to declare will direct this scourge elsewhere. The is no priority higher than crew, ship and cargo safety,”

Lead columnist Andrew Craig-Bennett has repeatedly urged for a different solution to solve the scourge of fires caused by dangerous goods. Craig-Bennett has called on all liners to stop charging higher prices to carry dangerous goods.

“The incentive for shippers to lie disappears as soon as this is done. Yes, the shippers of harmless cargo will be subsiding the shippers of dangerous goods. But their own cargo will be more likely to arrive,” Craig-Bennett wrote in an earlier opinion piece.

The market is now awaiting responses from a host of other lines to see if there will be collective stance from the world’s top carriers in issuing fines on misdeclared cargoes.

CMA CGM has advised its customers that it will void its North Europe to Asia FAL 1 loop, scheduled to depart from Dunkirk on 21 August, and its FAL 3 loop, sailing from Rotterdam on 11 September.

The French carrier blamed “fluctuations between supply and demand” on the North Europe to Asia trade as the reason for cancelling the sailings.

However, European shippers are increasingly concerned that they will see a repeat of the capacity crunch chaos of previous years on vessels for Asia in September and October.

Notwithstanding the latest announcement from CMA CGM, the alliance carriers have already announced that they are blanking a number of headhaul voyages in August and September equivalent to over 150,000 teu of capacity.

The action is in response to what so far appears to be a poor peak season, and to stabilise container spot rates which had been on the slide for several weeks.

Each cancelled headhaul sailing from Asia to Europe means a withdrawn backhaul vessel from North Europe and this has, in the past, thrown the supply chain into chaos.

Shippers will also be wary of the carriers trying to take the opportunity to hike backhaul rates by only agreeing to prioritise shipment of export containers after the agreement to a premium.

Discovery of hundreds of kilos under towels and bathrobes is one of Britain’s largest hauls

Hundreds of kilos of heroin worth up to £40m have been found hidden under towels and bathrobes in a shipping container.

It was one of the largest drug seizures in the UK and several suspects were arrested, police said.

Intelligence led to UK, Dutch and Belgian police tracking a container suspected of carrying a large drug shipment en route to Antwerp, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

A spokesman said the container was believed to have begun its sea voyage in Oman, stopping in various locations before the ship docked in Felixstowe, Suffolk, on 1 August.

The next day officers from Border Force and the NCA removed a container in which about 398kg (62st 7lbs) of heroin was concealed within a cover load of towels and bathrobes. The drug haul was removed and the container returned to the vessel, which carried on to Antwerp.

On arrival, the container was collected by lorry and taken to Rotterdam – all the time under police surveillance. On Monday, as suspects attempted to unload the contents, Dutch police made two arrests.

At the same time the NCA arrested a man from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, who being questioned.

The drugs would be worth at least £9m to organised criminals selling the consignment at wholesale, and at least £40m at street level in the UK and other European countries, the NCA said.

Colin Williams, an NCA regional operations manager, said: “The seizure of such a large quantity of heroin is the result of a targeted, intelligence-led investigation, carried out by the NCA with international and UK partners.

“It is almost certain that some of these drugs would have been sold in the UK, fuelling violence and exploitation including what we see in county lines offending nationwide.

“The heroin trade also feeds addictions that put users’ lives at risk, while giving rise to crimes such as theft which make people feel unsafe in their communities. The NCA works in the UK and with partners around the world to target the crime groups posing the greatest threat to the UK.”

Mark Kennedy, the Border Force deputy director, said: “Border Force officers operate on the frontline, working every day to keep dangerous class A drugs like this off the UK’s streets.

“Substantial seizures like this help to keep communities safe and hit the organised crime groups involved in the international drugs trade hard.”