In an average week, the United States imports about 180 thousand shipments by vessel, that equates to over 400 thousand TEUs, or twenty-foot containers, being unloaded each week. While the large majority of these containers make it safely to their destinations, on rare occasions these vessels hit road blocks, or in this case, reefs.
Last October, cargo ship Rena struck a reef off the coast of New Zealand, causing one of the worst environmental disasters to hit the region. As the vessel split in two, oil and containers were let loose into the pristine area, polluting the surrounding waters and coast. Earlier this month, the ship finally sank, and it looks like the clean-up crew will be in it for the long haul.
Taking a look at Zepol’s TradeIQ™
, we find that Rena’s import activity to the U.S. was heavy in April and May of 2011. The vessel carried goods mostly from China and Hong Kong to the U.S. during the two months, importing 870 TEUs in April and over 1,400 TEUs in May. Interestingly enough, none of these shipments were unloaded on the west coast of the U.S.; the majority entered the Ports of New York and Newark.
More recently, the Costa Concordia cruise ship veered into a costly mistake by running aground off the coast of Italy. Although rare, these unfortunate events will likely create tighter restrictions within the industry in order to prevent similar tragedies in the future.