What's happening in Europe



Illegalizing options so the deep state can enforce stakeholder over shareholder rights

If one believes that public debates should have a two-side minimum, you will find that the rule does not apply to global warming, a fear that may yet sink the shipping industry.

Strangely, the corporate world - certainly the transport sector's major players - goes along with notions of a "climate emergency", embracing a cause once the sole preserve of the radical left.

One also see corporate self-interest at play. By encouraging greater bureaucratic activism - more rules and regulations - bigger plays gains market share as lesser carriers can no longer meet rising compliance costs.

But it still leaves ocean carriers and airlines scrambling to find eco fuels that are at least bureaucratically sustainable, even if unsustainable in cost/benefit terms. The US Environmental Protection Agency is even whipping up a scare as a threat to health leaded gasoline that small piston engine aircraft must have to fly. If it's banned, such planes will be illegal.

Increasingly, shipping is less driven by market forces than by the force of rules and regulation. One notices its impact in one's own sector, but tends to forget this is a worldwide trend, controlling life in unrelated fields from Montreal to Melbourne.

To use a World War II analogy, it's like looking at the invasion of Norway and ignoring the rape of Nanking, the battle of the Atlantic, the surrenders of Hong Kong and Singapore and the conquest of the Philippines. One's focus, though of great concern to us, may be minor compared to any one of the other active fronts in which the same war is fought.

All of which has little to do with other contretemps with China and Russia and whatever nefarious activities they are up to. This is a disease of the Western world.

While larger issues may have little to do with the machinations of the Deep State, that does not mean there is no connection. These problems can be maneuvered to serve the regulatory world to the degree that can be made fit for purpose. Sometimes only a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes now, sometimes later.

In shipping, it is mostly related to global warming and CO2 emissions from ships. But there are rules about toxic bilge water, invasive species, fines for ships killing whales in ship collisions of fines for exceeding speed limits established to avoid such accidents.

In agriculture and forestry, today's threat is a bureaucratic land grab through US federal conservation measures which seeks to deny independent use of 30 per cent of land by 2030 - and by 2050, some 50 per cent of land will be so designated. No farming, no fishing, no mining, no housing - all in the service of "saving the planet".

Farms have been seized the Netherlands in compliance to EU rules against phosphate use, without which Dutch farms are useless. In communications, it is a campaign against misinformation which allows bureaucrats to ban free speech. And to keep a lid of such egregious developments, departures from the official version of issues and events will be labeled mis- or dis-information.

There are many qualified experts who debunk the carbon craze and its negative impact on human development. Yes, the earth may warm a degree or two in the next 100 years, but so what? So the Sahara gets a bit bigger while Russia, Canada and Argentina gain more arable land. Something's lost and something's gained in living every day, as Joni Mitchell says.

Meanwhile, Peter Tirschwell, an old hand at New York's Journal of Commerce, frets about failing to do the bureaucrat's bidding. He voices the widely expressed concern about industry's failing to meet impossible decarbonisation deadlines.

Mr Tirschwell writes: "At least 40 per cent of current new orders by carriers are for ships able to run on green fuels, according to Alphaliner. Forwarders are offering zero-carbon products to the growing number of customers demanding it, while a coalition of large beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) is pooling 600,000 TEU over three years, pledging to purchase only ocean freight services powered by scalable zero-carbon fuels by 2040."

He's right there. Everyone's running scared - carriers, truckers, railways, shippers and BCOs. Even their partisan lobbies like the World Shipping Council, the American Trucking Associations, and the International Air Transport Association - and scores more worldwide.

Mr Tirschwell suggests that we are given an exaggerated impression that there is real movement on the road to decarbonising shipping.

"And it’s hard to deny that there is, given that there has never been this level of activity on multiple fronts, driven by companies’ public decarbonisation pledges based on an underlying realisation that climate change and its impacts are real and, according to some scientists, accelerating." The word "some" being his mitigating thought.

But it is in his next sentence where he goes wrong - as so many do in this discussion. "But there remains the stubborn fact that despite everything, an unofficial law of container shipping, which dictates that shippers will always seek the lowest price or at the very least cost parity with peers, is exerting powerful resistance to the forces of climate progress.

"It is one thing for first movers to experiment with zero-carbon solutions, creating bona fide partnerships with carriers and forwarders to create measurable reductions in Scope 3 emissions. It’s another to accept a permanently higher cost base in comparison to peers in the interests of doing the right thing, when those costs can’t automatically be passed along to customers and could make the supply chain less efficient versus competitors," Mr Tirschwell writes.

What so many forget is that the traditional truisms of shipping since Noah's Arc will no longer apply as bureaucrats channel the industry like sheep to the slaughter into a higher cost environments, which they have engineered, and from where there is no escape. One might ask Mr Tirschwell and perhaps the overwhelming majority in the industry to see how such an outcome fits well into the eco-geek's vision of the world in which mankind consumes less and wokishly regards himself as a needless parasite to the needs of the planet.

One might ask the befuddled majority, which believes in no such thing, to remember that the views of "useful idiots", as Lenin called them, dove tail with bureaucratic ambitions of more and more social control. Soon we are roped into "15-minute cities" in a  world in which "we are happy owning nothing" as the World Economic Forum expects us to be. And for that, we shall enter a brave new world in which one's freedoms are sacrificed for a promise of peace and prosperity.

* - Indicate required field(s).
Do you agree with the world developing along the lines described above? Is it as bad as it is made out to be? Or could the planned utopia become a dystopia the author fears?

* Message :

* Email :  


Europe Trade Specialists

Nippon Express (HK) Co., Ltd.
Visible & Strategic Logistics