Chairman’s Message

“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage,” remarked Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. This adage gains more significance today than at any other time in history.

The pandemic has ruthlessly exposed the systemic vulnerability of the global supply chain over the past few years. Global indicators tell us that the supply chain scenario may worsen in the coming months. The war in Ukraine and the re-emergence of new Covid variants have further constrained cargo movement. The invasion of Ukraine has complicated the logistics world map. We see major shipping lines avoiding the Baltic and Black Seas, insurers hiking premiums, and major European ports flagging Russian vessels.

Further, Singapore’s world’s largest refueling port has seen a 66% increase in marine fuel price from last year. Port level inefficacy continues. We expect air and sea freight rates to remain high until the middle of the year. All these have a domino-like negative compounding effect across various markets.

Be Future-Ready!

While we wrap up the second quarter, let us look at what lies ahead for us in the next season. The disruption caused by Covid has been experienced in full force by the emerging markets. We can be optimistic that some of the factors contributing to this will unwind by the end of the year. Experts predict some uneven recovery for emerging logistics markets shortly.

At CSS, we must prepare for the very first sign of recovery. Taking a cue from Jack Welch’s statement, the ability to learn and unlearn quickly builds stronger organizations. The key to healing and growth in the next ten years would be technology adoption. And this will be particularly relevant for emerging markets like the UAE.

Transport Intelligence and Agility research reveal that the UAE tops the Digital Readiness ranking for adaptability and preparedness for the digitally-driven and sustainable post-pandemic global economy. Emerging markets rely heavily on technology, innovation, skills, and sustainability to unlock a country’s potential and integrate into global value chains.

Digitization – The Game Changer

Digitization and innovation will be the game-changer. Smaller and medium-scale companies lacking scale can attain competitive advantage with a digitally skilled workforce, a globally compatible and future-oriented mindset, and entrepreneurial risk culture.

This is an opportunity beckoning us. Today, CSS is a quarter of a century strong. Steady with our experience, resolute with our determination, and distinct in our value offering. We have consistently adapted to changing economic scenarios. While we brace ourselves to weather this rough season, let us make it a season of opportunity. An opportunity to look for new avenues, unlearn old ways, learn new skills, innovate, and think differently. Our agility is the reason why we stand tall today. It is best summed up in the quote by the futurist Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Once again, let’s come together, learn, and unlearn. And together, we will emerge all the stronger.

CSS TEAM PARTICIPATES IN BREAKBULK, EUROPE 2022 AT ROTTERDAM

After a break due to the pandemic, Team CSS participated as an exhibitor in the prestigious and the biggest project cargo Breakbulk event at Rotterdam. The team was helmed by Chairman T.S Kaladharan, Krishna, Chandrakala, Ramesh, Sunny, Robin and Renjith.

At this landmark event, a few freight forwarders represented the Middle East region, and CSS was one of them. “The customer interaction, meetings ( both scheduled and Adhoc), and connecting with the networks were encouraging and having our team of experts made it extra special.” Sunny commented.

Strategic Networking and Deep Learnings

The Breakbulk exhibition offered an opportunity for forging strategic alliances and networking with companies worldwide. The event also provided a platform for deep discussions on the latest developments and new trends in handling breakbulk and project cargo. At CSS, the project team has well-versed and experienced personnel with in-depth knowledge of the domain. Adeptly skilled at handling breakbulk and project cargo, we have been able to tap into several opportunities from across the Middle East region. The exhibition has further cemented the team’s prowess with several prospects in the pipeline. The team will also leverage the learnings and key takeaways from the Breakbulk event to forge new ideas and innovations in handling future projects.

Breakbulk Europe – 2022

The International Exhibition of Transport, Logistics, and Transport Innovations, Breakbulk Europe – 2022, was held at Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Held from May 17th to May 19th, thousands of companies from 118 countries took part in the exhibition. The top representation was from countries in Europe and also from the United States of America. Nearly 9000 attendees were present at this event in Rotterdam.

Exhibitors and sponsors included cargo owners, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, ports/terminals, heavy haulers, equipment companies, specialized freight forwarders, and other associated service providers. More than 500 exhibitors and 4000 companies took part in Breakbulk Europe-2022. The event fosters an atmosphere for building new business opportunities for all its participants and a marketplace for port companies, shipping companies, and logisticians who focus on transporting, handling, and storing breakbulk and project cargo.

The program was driven by the Breakbulk Europe Advisory Board, an exceptional group of leaders from across the supply chain spectrum. An event was birthed by several notable organizations like the Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam Partners, the Municipality of Rotterdam, Rotterdam Port Promotion Council, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Hosted in six large inter-connected halls, the international visitors were welcomed at the breathtakingly impressive entrance of the building. The focus feature was the touchscreen which could be used to navigate the respective ports using a remarkable 360° tour.

Key Areas of Discussions

The three-day event, held in Rotterdam, was the first of its kind, providing a platform for numerous visitors to exchange ideas. An important topic discussed at the event was “optimal marine fuel to power the current and future generation of cargo vessels.” Ship owners should consider next-generation, scaled-down nuclear-powered engines and wind asset technology as the future fuels.There were 66 keynote speakers across 26 sessions. Popular sessions included Managing Rates & Capacities, Breakbulk and Project Market Outlook, Global Economic Conditions and Breakbulk, Women in Breakbulk, and Digitising End to End.

Breakbulk Europe was the largest event for the project cargo and breakbulk industry, bringing the industry leaders to congregate in the port city of Rotterdam. It was an expo for the industry, offshore wind, oil and gas companies, carriers, ports, logistics companies, specialized freight forwarders, and other associated service providers. In keeping with this scale of the show, the event slogan was “Bigger Better Breakbulk.”

Now for Breakbulk 2023

According to Port Authority Breakbulk Director Danny Levenswaard, the Breakbulk Europe will be held in Rotterdam Ahoy next year between June 6th to 8th. In 2023, Breakbulk Middle East is slated to be held between 13th-14th February. The team at CSS has expressed our earnest interest in being part of this landmark event by offering our service and being the industry leaders in the logistics landscape of the region we operate in.

The 2022 Breakbulk event was an unparalleled opportunity to connect with colleagues, new business partners, and project cargo decision-makers. The event helped forge new ties and a much-needed impetus to expand our business horizons.

 

CSS CELEBRATES THE SPIRIT OF RAMADAN WITH IFTAR MEAL DISTRIBUTION

As part of our Ramadan initiatives of giving, this year, CSS took a step forward by distributing iftar meals to the needy, reflecting the true essence of the holy month. We conducted the iftar food distribution drive on 29 April 2022 distributing 101 iftar meals to blue collar workers who toil hard under the hot sun during Ramadan

The team that went on the streets to fulfill the initiative included Alan Ramesh (Marketing Assistant), Rajeesh Rajendraprasad (Operation Co-ordinator), Chuchu Viswanathan (Operation Executive – Forwarding), Amal George (Operation Co-ordinator), Aneesh Leela (Messenger) and Babu Krishna Pillai (Messenger). The iftar meals were distributed in the Karama and Burjuman areas of Dubai.

The iftar initiative reflects CSS’s continued commitment to the community we operate in. Speaking about the Ramadan initiative, T S Kaladharan, Chairman of CSS, explained, “It is essential to foster a culture of caring and giving to inspire the next generation to be community builders.”

The Ramadan initiative extends CSS’s strategic corporate social responsibility goals and fosters a spirit of volunteerism within the organization. Kaladharan emphasized, “We are inspired by the spirit of giving exemplified by the great leadership of his wonderful nation. We want to drive  home the message of charity and social responsibility that is embedded in its tenets of our country.”

Ramadan is the holy season where goodness abounds, and CSS would like to show that we are not just about business, we also mean business regarding community building.

Click here to watch the video of the CSS Ramadan initiative:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyfgSNyBz3U

 

CSS CHAIRMAN T S KALADHARAN FELICITATES QADRI TRANSPORT FOR THEIR 20 YEARS OF SERVICE

 

In recognition of their entrepreneurial success, Chairman Mr. T. S. Kaladharan felicitated Mr. Qamar Sultan Qadri, Managing Director, Qadri Transport, commemorating the company’s long and reputable service in the industry.

20 Years of Operations

Recently, Qadri Transport completed 20 years of commendable operations in the UAE. Beginning with the forklift rental and repair business, Qadri Transport expanded into various business verticals in 2002. The business specializes in heavy transport, forklift rental and repairs, packing and packaging, and trade. The company has been associated with CSS for a long time, being a valued stakeholder in CSS operations. Apart from CSS, the company provides its services for several multinational companies, including Aramex, DHL, UPS, Caterpillar, Continental Alloys, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, and Expo 2020.

Qadri’s Journey So Far

The young Qamar Sulthan Qadri has reached this enviable position after considerable hardship. Having lost his father at 16, Qadri had to step in to work to bring in income for his family. He started as a forklift operator and worked his way up to being an owner of forklifts. His success can be attributed to his rock-solid values of honesty, integrity, and hard work. He also has an impeccable track record and, therefore, enjoys amicable relationships with his clients and also his team. Today, Qadri has a strong footing in the UAE, especially in the Jebel Ali Freezone. He has also added a brand-new mobile crane to his fleet.

Kaladharan Congratulates Qadri for the UAE Golden Visa

This timely recognition from the Chairman comes when the UAE government has awarded Mr. Qadri the Golden Visa. In an interview with Emirati TV Channel and Khaleej Times, Mr. Qadri has been distinguished as the first Pakistani recipient of the Golden Visa. He is also the youngest business person in his field.

The Golden Visa is a long-term residence visa that enables foreign talents to live and work or study in the UAE while enjoying exclusive benefits. Investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes are eligible for the Golden Visa.

On this heartening occasion, CSS team joins the Chairman in wishing Mr. Qadri and his company more tremendous success.

CSS TAKES PART IN NEPTUNE CARGO NETWORK’S FOURTH ANNUAL PARTNERSHIP SUMMIT

2 DAYS OF INSPIRATION, NETWORKING, AND LEARNING!

CSS Group took part in the Neptune Cargo Network’s Fourth Annual Partnership meeting held on May 11-14th at the Grand Hyatt, Dubai. It was attended by approximately 210 consolidators , NVOCC, and LCL forwarders from 41 countries.

After a two-year hiatus, the in-person networking summit kicked off with a fun-filled and hi-octane welcome cocktail party which was sponsored by our UK consolidation agent Cardinal. Day Two of the event was all about opportunities to learn, get inspired, and connect. The opening session was ably headed by Nils Walle, Director, and Co-founder of Neptune Cargo Network. Mr. Walle presented network updates from Neptune. This was followed by the exhilarating “Newbie Open Mic segment,” where the new members introduced themselves and their companies.

A Stellar Key Note Address by Mark Millar

The inspiring and informative keynote address was delivered by Mark Millar, one of Asia’s foremost speaker on supply chain and logistics industry. With over 30 years of global business experience spanning four continents, Millar has worked for leading service providers, including DHL and UPS. Focused on the key shaping of the logistics industry, especially in the air and sea sectors, his approach made the attendees think laterally as he provided relevant information based on key industry insights.

Millar compelled the attendees to confront and analyze tomorrow’s most significant supply chain challenges. Attendees left the session empowered with the knowledge, confidence, and motivation to implement innovative solutions for their companies.

The Ice-Breaker Session

Several well-crafted video presentations by sponsors followed the thought-provoking keynote address. In one of the ensuing sessions, consolidators and LCL forwarders took the opportunity to express their immense pleasure and gratitude to other members. This was indeed the “ice-breaking” event of the conference. The customary Neptune group photograph for this year’s conference was taken as this was not possible in the past two years.

The delegates also went on a desert safari to experience the sandy dunes of the Dubai desert. It was another opportunity to forge ties and friendships within the industry.

Mashie Escando, Marketing Manager of Neptune Cargo Network, expressed the sentiment of every attendee, “It was our much-awaited event after the long 2-year hiatus of staying at home and attending virtual meetings, so it was a huge success and indeed a memorable and extraordinary experience.”

About Neptune Network

The Global NVOCC & Consolidators Network, Neptune Consol, addresses the massive gap between consolidators, forwarders, and sea freight professionals. Many sea freight consolidators face the challenge of finding the right partners worldwide. The Network allows consolidators to forge lasting partnerships and secures a reliable global platform for logistics companies to grow and flourish. The members are guided by a standard code of ethics and guidelines. In the first year of its launch, the Consol had just above 100 members, which grew to 200 participants in the following year.  The third meeting hosted in Manila, Philippines, had more than 230 Consolidators & LCL Forwarders were present.

CSS group has been an active member of the Consol and has enthusiastically participated in Neptune Network’s conferences in the past years. Being a part of the Network has helped Team to equip themselves with specific tools and solutions that aid us to excel in the industry.

 

EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH

MOHAMMED MARVAN – Team Leader, Operations Forwarding awarded by Ambili don, Manager, Forwarding Operation
PRAMOD KUMAR – Coordinator, FCL Transport awarded by Jayasankar Vasudevan, Manager, Transport
SHIVAKUMAR- Operation Assistant, Airfreight awarded by Baiju Sadanandan – Manager, Airfreight Operations
EDHU KRISHNAN – Coordinator, NVOCC, awarded by Fida Asghar, General Manager, NVOCC Sales

SHIPMENT OF TOYOTA SUPRA

CSS on “Fast and Furious” lanes!

CSS Group’s Automobile Logistics wing had yet another opportunity to undertake an across-the-ocean shipment of a luxury vehicle to Kerala, India. This time it was to transport the luxury sports car Toyota Supra 2022 from Dubai port to Kochi. The Toyota Supra is a car with a 335-horsepower inline six-cylinder turbocharged engine that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The orange 1993 Supra driven by the late Paul Walker in the original ‘Fast and Furious’ movie sparks a love for this Toyota model amongst the millennials.

CSS Automobile Logistics Does It Again… And Again

The CSS Group’s Automobile Logistics division specializes in handling shipments of high-end vehicles. In the past, it has undertaken many successful shipments. In 2020, CSS facilitated the shipment of the vlogger Shakir Subhan aka “Mallu Traveller’s bike which was stuck in Azerbaijan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, a Ford F150 Raptor was safely shipped from Dubai to Cochin. In the recent past, CSS handled the shipment of a Ford Mustang from Jebel Ali to Cochin on 19th January 2021. On 18th October 2021, there was an air shipment of a Lamborghini Huracán belonging to a Dubai-based businessman from the Malappuram district of Kerala. It was even returned to Dubai after the stipulated time of six months.

ATA Carnet – The Passport for Goods

For transporting vehicles across borders, the ATA Carnet is vital. ATA Carnet, referred to as the “Passport for goods,” is an international customs document that permits the tax-free and duty-free temporary export and import of non-perishable goods for up to one year. It has all the unified customs declaration forms that can be used at every border crossing point.

Smooth sail for Toyota Supra

Upon receiving this carnet, the “Toyota Supra” undertook its voyage from the Dubai port. The transit time across the Arabian Sea from Dubai to Kochi is around five days. On arriving at the Kochi port, the CSS office in Kochi sprang into action. They provided all the support and guidance needed to release the vehicle along with clearances required by the Customs department. The luxury sports car was delivered to the esteemed customer with minimum wait time and zero hassles. The customer also remarked that they were delighted with the whole process and were impressed by the smooth flow. The CSS Group’s Automobile Logistics division has once again proved its prowess in handling shipments of automobiles seamlessly.

Despite being a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, CSS possesses a unique combination of talent, resources, and partners across the globe. With facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Bahrain, and Oman, CSS has an exceptionally strong worldwide network. With large storage facilities, specialized racking of vehicles, and a technology team that fully manages the end-to-end operations, CSS has become a trusted name in Auto Logistics. CSS arranges for door-to-door delivery of the vehicles under carnet, including the return shipment to Dubai within carnet validity and destination clearance, thus assuring customers have a smooth sail and hassle-free loads all the way through.

CSS remains committed to delivering efficiency and seamless movements of high-end cars through its trusted network operations year after year.

 

CONFIDENCE IS NOT THAT THEY WILL LIKE ME. CONFIDENCE IS THAT YOU WILL BE FINE IF THEY DON’T!

By: Abhilash Nair

Global CEO of ISS Relocation

Self-confidence is the belief in one’s own skills, goals, and ability to succeed:

†      A confident person doesn’t think what others think of them and tries everything to full capacity.

†      Confident individuals set the bar high, aim high and try new things.

†      They can stand up for their beliefs and values.

†      They Believe in success. Confident people are 25% more likely to overcome challenges at work.

†      They perform better than their less-confident peer.

†      Living with low self-esteem and confidence can harm mental health, leading to problems like depression and anxiety.

†      The lack of confidence affects the ability to reach full potential.

If you feel low confidence, you may indulge in:

†      You socially withdraw yourself or hide away from social situations. Hesitant to meet any new person

†      You are unwilling to take on challenges, have fears of failure, fear the unknown

†      Don’t speak up in a group conversation. They are afraid of what others think

†      Need approval, validations for small things

†      Don’t trust their judgment.

†      Rely on your phone in social situations.

†      Always back down during disagreements.

†      Take constructive criticism personally.

†      Blame others.

†      Make excuses.

†      Use defensive body language. like crossing arms or giving a stern facial expression, sweating face

†      They are a pessimist. Afraid of the future

†      They are ashamed.

†      Apologize easily

†      Avoid eye contact.

†      They have anxiety and emotional turmoil.

†      They are unable to accept compliments.

†      They neglect themselves. Indulge in negative self-talk

†      If someone else looks directly in the eye, they feel uncomfortable.

†      They are looking around or down at their feet. You aren’t comfortable or confident in the situation.

†      They have self-deprecating humor.

Causes

†      Unhappy childhood where parents, teachers, and classmates were highly critical of poor academic performance, personality, nature, habits, etc. They don’t feel loved and appreciated.

†      Appearance, image issues.

†      Abuse

†      Career Issues

†      Lack of Confidence at Work

†      Peer pressure

†      Sibling rivalry or comparison

†      Not able to meet social standards of a successful person like- high qualification, high salary, a job in a reputed company, happily married life, etc.

How to Overcome Low Confidence

†      Confidence isn’t an accident. On the contrary, it has to be cultivated over a period of time.

†      You might not see results immediately, but the longer you practice, the more you gain confidence.

†      Confidence can be inculcated through small practices throughout life.

†      We can rewire our brains with focus and intention and genuine efforts.

†      And although our fears and limiting beliefs won’t completely disappear, over time, they lose their power over our daily thoughts and actions.

Here are a few ways through which you can boost your self-confidence

†      Practice Personal Grooming

†      Take the time every morning to properly groom yourself and look presentable for the day.

†      It is surprising how much of a difference it can make when you feel like you look your best.

†      You can also dress nicely, so your clothes look presentable and appropriate for whatever you do that day.

†      Appearing confident can help us get on better in our lives.

†      If required, do a personal grooming course online.

Change your thinking patterns:

†      Be Positive – It is also essential to think positively. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones by learning to become aware of your self-talk and your actions. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t do something, allow yourself to look forward to the challenges. Repeat some positive statements.” I am the best,” “I can do it,” I know this,” “I shall win, “…etc.. Each day create a small task to stretch beyond your comfort zone. Do something unexpected on purpose to let go of your inhibitions. Achieve small and easy-to-attain goals to help you feel successful. Don’t depend on external validation.

†      Be Grateful – Another way to stay positive is to take a few minutes each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Being grateful can reduce stress hormones in your body by 23%! Never envy. When you’re thankful for what you already have, you appreciate new accomplishments even more. Never compare yourself with others. Feel from the core of your heart that You are Unique. You have your destiny. Write five things daily you are grateful for and feel confident to have.

†      Fake confidence – A cool thing about confidence is that it can be faked. If your fake confidence, not only does your mind begin to believe that you’re confident, but other people also begin to see you as confident. This, in turn, makes you feel more confident, making other people see you as confident. Eventually, this will result in inner confidence. Confidence doesn’t compensate for lack of skill or hard work, but it helps amplify those qualities to take you further than you’d get without it.

†      Do Eye Contact – Do eye contact when speaking to others. Averting your gaze entirely sends a very different message. It can mean that you’re lying or even thinking you’re better than the person you are talking to. Initiating and keeping eye contact is a quick way to boost how confident you appear to others instantly.

†      Challenge Your Inner Critic – Often, the biggest hurdle to increasing our confidence is that little nagging voice in the back of our heads. “You’re going to fail this.” “The client won’t like your idea. “When your brain starts this to you, stop right there. Tell it you’ll do great, and the client will love your work. This is more likely if you’ve done your homework. Silencing your inner critic takes much practice. Make a good image of yourself—no harm in indulging self-appreciation at times.

†      Think Yourself as a Brand – Create your own set of values. Think of yourself as a brand. What do you believe in? How do you look at the world? What do you want people to think about you or feel when they see you? Regardless of how you answer those questions, ensure your actions align with them?

†      Pay Attention to Your Body Language – Your body language gives away a lot about your true level of confidence. If you’re trying to impress someone, like in an interview, how you carry yourself has a lot to do. Body language is up to 13 times more influential than spoken words! “Don’t slouch!” or, “Stand up straight! Science has discovered several postures that can boost your confidence.

†      Find Self-Care that Helps You Relax – When you’re stressed out, you will not feel confident. You should relax by dining out, watching a movie with friends, or doing anything you love to do.

†      Be True to Yourself – Doing what everyone else is doing won’t do anything for your confidence.

It would help if you were yourself to feel truly confident. Admit when you’re wrong, be genuinely interested in people you talk to, and be passionate about what you do.

CHINA’S COVID LOCKDOWNS AND THEIR RIPPLE EFFECT

Dozens of mainland Chinese cities, including the financial hub of Shanghai, have been locked down as authorities work towards their “Zero Covid” policy. The lockdown was enforced from the beginning of April and has dealt a heavy economic blow to China.

The impacts of the lockdown have been far-reaching, and they are:

†      After-effects in other ports: Wreaked havoc at Shanghai, the world’s biggest container port, which is now causing problems at other major ports worldwide.

†      Export slowdown: Chinese export growth slowed to its weakest pace since June 2020

†      Contracted imports: Chinese imports contracted, a sign of weak consumer spending as millions of residents were in lockdown.

†      Impact on Big tech: The supply chains of businesses from big tech to consumer goods have been impacted.

†      Effects on the global economy: As a “manufacturer to the world,” the disruptions in China weigh on the global economy.

Some Chinese cities, including Shanghai, have lifted Covid restrictions, but experts say that the damage has already been done, and global shipping will suffer well into the summer. The Chinese government is trying to get production back on track. Yet many foreign businesses say they’re still unable to resume operations. South Korean exports, a barometer of worldwide demand, grew by double digits in April. However, shipments to China dropped, suggesting China’s slowdown is a product of its Covid restrictions.

“Disruptions to production and deliveries may adversely impact shipments. The output and delivery components in April’s official PMI data deteriorated to the worst levels since the nationwide lockdown in early 2020.” by the Asia Economists Team.

This will exert even more pressure on global supply chains already reeling from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and keep inflation running hot.

Inflation across the globe

China’s lockdowns triggered inflation. Consumer price growth is forecast to accelerate. Factory gate inflation will likely remain elevated in April. Apart from this, a “complicated and grave” employment situation will persist. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang instructed all government departments and regions to prioritize measures aimed at helping businesses retain jobs and weather the current difficulties. The government of China is working on stimulus packages to meet an economic growth target of about 5.5% this year. Credit data for April due this week will show whether monetary and fiscal support has had the desired effect of stoking borrowing.

U.S. may see high inflation figures; however, it’s projected to have moderated on both a monthly and annual basis, partly reflecting a dip in gasoline prices that have since picked back up. U.S. measure of prices paid to producers in April is slated for release and is expected to show some moderation in the pace of wholesale inflation. Inflation peaked in March at 8.5%, the highest in four decades. Price pressures are expected to remain elevated. Therefore, Federal Reserve officials will steadily lift borrowing costs in the months ahead.

U.K. gross domestic product data for the first quarter might already hint at stalling growth. Economists forecast a 1% increase in U.K. GDP for the first quarter, which may cover a period with no growth in March. Bank of England says that the situation is turning “starkly sour,” with double-digit inflation likely to crush any growth toward the end of the year. The BOE delivered a fourth consecutive rate increase this month.

Asia

In Malaysian markets, inflation remains tame, but economic slowdown risks remain. Officials in Malaysia are taking steps to bolster economic growth in the region.  In India, the Reserve Bank of India hiked the repo rates. After scrutinizing the April inflation data, economists will reassess their policy forecasts.

Europe

Germany’s ZEW gauge of investor expectations was forecast by economists to have dropped further in April from a level that was already the worst since the pandemic erupted in 2020.

Euro-area industrial production for March contracted noticeably.

Inflation reports from the Czech Republic show a new high above 13% for April.

In Russia, economists anticipate inflation may have exceeded 18%. It’s a dramatic surge in the space of just two months, doubling since the invasion of Ukraine. The central bank predicts further price surges. Russia is also reporting bleak trade data pointing to the impact of sanctions on imports and exports.

Latin America

Mexico’s full-month and bi-weekly consumer price data reflects a two-decade high.

With inflation now more than twice the 3% target. It is expected that Banco will raise the key rate to around 8.5%

In Brazil, April’s annual consumer-price reading vaulted past 12%. After raising its key rate to 12.75% on May 4, the central bank signaled that a rate hike is likely for next month.

Argentina’s monthly consumer prices annual pace pushed past 56%. Many local economists see that hitting 60% by year-end.

Peru is battling the fastest inflation in two decades. The central bank is expected to extend a record tightening cycle and raise the key rate to 5%.

IMPROPER ASSESSMENT OF DETENTION FEES CARRIER WAN HAI PENALISED WITH A HEFTY FINE

The Carrier Wan Hai has come to the forefront for the wrong reasons. Wan Hai is paying for an investigation into the detention fees it had wrongly charged against 21 containers in Southern California in 2021. Wan Hai has been forced to cough up USD 850,000.00 as a civil penalty as per the agreement with the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Bureau of Enforcement (BOE)

When is A Detention Fee Imposed?

Detention fees surface in cases where the shippers fail to return an empty container within the time limit specified in the ocean freight contract. The carriers can charge the shipper in such a case. But in the case of the Wan Hai penalty, the shipper complained that the carrier was carrying improper assessment, as they knew that the containers could not be returned “knowing and willingly.”

This is the second major penalty two weeks after Hapag Lloyd was charged USD 822,220.00 in April for the same improper assessment. In the Wan Hai penalty, the FMC’s BOE assessed that 21 empty containers were wrongly charged with detention fees when their owners were offered no return locations or when the designated terminals were not accepting the container chassis or appointments were made unavailable for the containers.

The Findings of the Investigation

In an investigation led by the FMC in December, it was found that invoiced amounts for detention ranged from USD 125.00 to USD 1,550.00. It was noticed as a finding that the shipper had made an earnest attempt to return the containers but was refused to be acknowledged and slapped detention fees instantly as the carrier could not provide them terminal space or even schedule a reappointment. The investigation produced proof by the shipper showing screenshots where they asked the carrier to waive the amount as no promised service was provided, and they were refused.

The Wan Hai penalty follows immediately after the Hapag Lloyd case, which happened in mid-2021, where the drayage operator Golden State Logistics tried to return 11 empty containers but could not do so owing to uncontrollable factors. The judge in the Hapag Lloyd case stated, “it was looking into the ruling and will then decide further legal action.” This pushed forward the Wan Hai penalty as a settlement between BOE and the carrier Wan Hai. The carrier has agreed to pay the fine and no longer collect such detention fees from unnamed parties related to the 21 containers. The agreement said that it is not to be construed as an admission by the carrier on the violations in the December investigation and also stipulates that the BOE will take no further action against the carrier.

Ripple Effect of the Penalty

The CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, Matt Schrap commented about the decision as “another chink in the armor for carriers on this issue; the veil has been pulled back.” The volume of complaints has risen since March, as the penalties levied in these cases have helped the offended parties file cases involving what they deem improper assessment of detention and demurrage fees by carriers.

As a part of inviting such complaints, the FMC issued a Dec 28 notice as part of an ongoing investigation regarding excess fees with a shipper advisory group urging the commission to investigate further from carriers to terminal operators. Presently, California’s federal and state legislation is actively involved in tackling the issue.

THE NEW JUDICIAL FEE LAW OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA

 

Recently the Courts and Legal System of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia introduced a new Royal Decree No. M/16 on 30/1/1443H to amend the judicial cost systems and implement the court fee for the newly filed legal suits. The new Law came into effect on 13th March 2022, encouraging litigants to settle their disputes amicably.

Even though the filing charges are already in existence in most countries, this is the new implementation by the Courts in Saudi Arabia, where there have been no filing charges or court fees since the inception of the Civil Courts in the jurisdiction. Since there were no filing charges earlier, the courts in Saudi Arabia were struggling with voluminous cases, which resulted in lengthy court proceedings and delays in pronouncing decisions.

The new Law applies to all lawsuits, petitions, and requests submitted to the Courts except Criminal Cases, Disciplinary Cases, or Cases relating to the Provision of Bankruptcy Law. The Law also exempts specific categories from paying the court fee, including the claim brought by the employees about their employment contracts and claims commenced by ministries and government bodies.

The new Law, or “Judicial Fee Law,” stipulates the different fees applicable to claims and applications. When the Law sets a certain percentage of the claim amount as the court fee payable for various categories of Civil Suits, including but not limited to the legal suit to nullify the Arbitral Award, the maximum ceiling of court fee is set out is SAR 1,000,000 under all categories. However, the fee shall be reduced to 25% of the fee payable if the parties settle after the first hearing but before the court’s decision in the case, and the balance shall be refunded if paid. Further, the Law also states that if a request results in a change in the estimation of the value of the case, the judicial costs of the case will be calculated based on the estimation of the new value thereof.

The Law also has a provision for refunding the entire amount of Court Fee paid in the event of (1) If the decision or Judgment pronounced in favor of the Plaintiff or the Claimant; Appellant or Applicant; (2) If the Claimant withdraws the claim by the applicable rules before the first hearing; (3) If the Parties settles the dispute before the end of the first hearing; (4) If any Civil claim was raised alongside the Criminal Proceedings and the Civil Claims is settled between the Parties regardless of the stage of the case.

However, it is also to be noted that except in limited circumstances, failure to pay the court fees does not prevent the court from hearing and determining the claim and application.