In recent months, there has been increasing talk of Friend Shoring, a new approach to the global  market. 

Because of the market crisis caused by global events such as the Pandemic and the war in Ukraine,  countries have seen the need to diversify supply chains in order to make their economies less  vulnerable to external risks. The US has chosen the Friend Shoring approach: a tool aimed at  promoting economic resilience by relocating supply chains to “friend” countries. 

Friend Shoring: Meaning and Market Impact

In fact, it is a solution that the US decided to implement even before the conflict in Ukraine erupted. 

In essence, it is a matter of relocating some stages of production to countries that share the same  set of values or interests, as well as the reference country’s geopolitical alignment. 

Consider the following example: Because the Beijing government has committed human rights  violations against Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities, the Biden administration has  begun to limit imports of goods produced in the State of Xinjiang, including cotton and tomatoes. 

A sustainable approach that could have a significant impact on the international trade of those  countries that have always made trade agreements with everyone. 

Global market risks are pushing towards offshoring.

The need for a Friend Shoring approach stems from the need to defend global economic integration  by increasing the reliability of the supply of goods on which the various world economies rely. 

There are three major risks to trade relations that have been highlighted by pandemics and wars: 

  1. the excessive concentration of critical goods production in a single market, which makes  supply chains vulnerable and potentially dangerous;  
  2. geopolitical risks, such as Russia’s control over the transportation of natural gas and grain  deposits;  
  3. the presence of supply chains that violate fundamental human rights.

The Friend Shoring should be developed in response to these challenges, with the goal of making the  global market safer and more sustainable. 

Italy’s position

Our country appears to have already started down the path of friend shoring. Trade with European  countries, North American countries, and Mediterranean countries increased in 2022. According to  the most recent Censis data, 364.4 billion euros of Italian exports to the world were simply friend  shoring in the first seven months of 2022. 

Not everyone believes the Friend Shoring is truly sustainable. According to some economists, this  approach could widen the gap between developed and developing countries. However, the  transformation has already begun. The past year has highlighted the vulnerability of a global market  that has failed to account for environmental and human factors in manufacturing processes. The  same market that is threatened by climate change.

VGM weighing is a critical procedure in the sea transport of goods.  

The acronym VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass and refers to a container’s verified gross mass. In fact, the information is derived from the sum of the net weight of the goods and the tara of the container.  

This is a required piece of information to communicate in international sea freight transport. As a result, VGM weighing must be precise and cannot be approximate.  

The requirement to weigh dates back to July 1, 2016, when an amendment to Chapter VI of SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), an international convention of the IMO (International Maritime Organization), was enacted following the Titanic disaster. 
The amendment, in particular, concerns cargo transport and aims to improve sea safety, particularly the protection of human lives. This system, in fact, is nearing completion and will provide reliable data on ship cargo calculations. 

How is VMG weighing determined? 

The weighing system, according to VGM, can be operated in two modes.  
The first previews that the container is weighed after it has been loaded, closed, and sealed, on a private or public certified weigh. After that, the weight of the vehicle, trailer, and fuel in the tank is subtracted. 

The second method, on the other hand, allows you to calculate the VGM value by adding the weight of the goods loaded, the materials used for setting and packaging, and the tare of the container. 
Whatever method is used, the measurement system must meet the standards of the country in which the operation is performed. 

Why is it such an important operation? 

The container cannot be loaded onto the ship without VGM. As a result, the operation is critical for the safe and correct international shipping of goods by sea. 

To avoid potential delays caused by the performance of some of the procedures required by SOLAS, such as the weighing of goods, Marfreight assists its customers at every stage of the transport service by transmitting all information about the load to the shipping carrier on time. This will reduce transport times while avoiding accidents and difficulties. 

International shippings by sea, weekly and direct, that are able to go to the United States, from Salerno, in just 12 days. A new challenge that has started from the last 1st of October.

Just in that date, in fact, the full container ship Velika Express has left the port of Salerno, opening the new ultra fast connection line, going directly to New York, Norfolk and Savannah.

An opportunity able to make Campania a central junction for trade with US and that comes in a particular moment, which has seen a decrease of the traffic of the 15% in the port of Salerno, in the first six months of 2022.

The Cargo ship of the German Hapag Lloyd is, until today, the fastest line that is able to connect Italy with the new Continent. A fast route that opens to the new connection with UK and North Europe which will start around mid-month.

The fast transport by sea Salerno-New York is a great opportunity for the italian agro-industry, and in particular for the one in Campania, that has in the american market an important commercial interlocutor. The speed of the new connections, in fact, guarantees an element of great competitivity for the italian economy, towed by the agro-food industry itself.

In the last days, Giovanni De Angelis, Anicav general manager, the national association of italian canners, has pointed out how, for the transport by sea, the port of Salerno is strategic, representing the first stopping place for the canned sector. Tinned tomatoes, for example, that can be found on the american, english or north Europe tables depart from here. 

The costs of sea freight we have faced, the increase of energy costs and all the labour costs, have stressed the canning industry. Fastest ships, and more convenient, could improve the situation. As long as we work even in terms of actions and infrastructural investments to strengthen the integrated logistics.

Do you want to know more? Contact us, without any obligation, to have the best pricing for your international transport by sea.

Good news from freight rates. It still keeps going on the downward trend of the freight rates cost of container on the main routes of sea freight.

After a long period in which costs were increased even to 3-4 times, strongly penalizing, among others, the ports in Campania, at the beginning of this summer the prices of sea freight on container have started to decrease.

At the end of July, freight rates costs have inverted their trend, facing a drop that allowed to break the psychological threshold of 10k dollars, for boxes with 40 feet. In particular, the significant drop in prices has interested even freight transport from and to Cina, even routes that interested Italy.

In the route Shangai-Rotterdam, according to Drewry, the independent consulting firm for maritime research, the drop in prices was so heavy that made again convenient the transit of goods through Mediterrean, compared to the ports in North Europe.

A trend that fits within a generalized framework of a substantial stability, slightly verging on downward.

Freight rates costs: future prospects

According to Peter Berglund, Xeneta CEO, analyst firm specialized in marine shipment, the trend in the sector in the medium-long term could be influenced by some factors. For example, the persistence of problems in the supply chains, the ongoing union initiatives in the main ports in Germany, UK, US, lockdown for Covid in Cina and the low levels of water caused by climate change in the Rhine. All of these, according to the norwegian analyst firm, have to be observed to comprehend and anticipate the trend market and relative prices.

The right partner for convenience and safety

Marfreight always works side by side with its customers, giving them the best solution in terms of safety, convenience and professionality.

Our prices follow, naturally, the market trend: in these last weeks in fact we are offering our customers updated pricelists, but we are constantly striving to study ideal, most advantageous, safest solutions, even during difficult times for the sector.

For further informations, you can contact us here, without obligation.

The debate still goes on about the shipping ecological transition and the part done by the protagonists of the sector for the path towards enviromental sustainability.

During the annual “Assarmatori” meeting, the President, Stefano Messina, talked again about the shippers’ position, not hiding some perplexity: “We are demostrating our preparedness, as shippers, to adjust fleet, in order to achieve the objectives about reducing the emissions established by IMO and European Union. But we are facing a lack of technologic solutions and available and sustainable alternative fuels, and also the related distribution networks in ports”. 

Just as a reminder, shipper has underlined on more occasions the efforts made towards the decarbonisation of maritime transport, starting from the $ 5 billion fund intended to cover the technological innovation needed to reduce emissions.

The risk of a poorly studied ecological transition

The problem is that the sector is not technologically ready to embrace the change. Not yet. According to Messina, in fact, the impulse given by Bruxelles through IMO new rules and the pack “it for 55”could have the opposite effect on the sector, producing a lot of problems, such as the increased costs of maritime connections with the islands, the need to lower the speed of boats, with the consequent reduction of service offer and a loss of ports competitiveness.

A problem confirmed even in Achille Onorato’s words, Moby CEO, who, during the meeting, underlined the risk of going towards an “unsustainable sustainability”.  Despite the request of green investements for the sector, today, he affirms, there isn’t a technology that allows a complete sea-change on fuels used by marine vessels. A cold ironing without green fuels risks to make ships uncompetitive, slowing the decarbonisation path.

Minister Giovannini’s response

About that even the Minister for Infrastructure and sustainable Mobility, Enrico Giovannini, has spoken, repeating the need to define a clear and unambiguous path to not waste the funding for the ecological transition of maritime transport. The minister has in fact recognized that the State couldn’t fund every solution, so it will be appropriate to carry out precise and balanced analysis, in order to optimize time and funds.

While waiting to understand what will be the path that the shipping ecological transition will take, the minister has reaffirmed that, “we have to push on the refitting of actual means, so that they will pollute less. An aim that we want to follow thanks to the 500 millions of euro allocated in the PNRR supplementary fund and that will obtain other resources even in the future, in order to carry on this path even after 2027”. 

Intermodality as the main element in an environmental sustainability and economic strategy of transport. That’s the most taken path to give a tangible breakthrough to cut emissions in this sector. A path involving the italian system of connection port – inland port and that can give a major boost to the strategic growth of Italy in the international transport.

Intermodality as a leverage for the transport decarbonisation and so much more

The transport sector, in Italy, is directly responsible for the 25,2% of greenhouse gas emissions and the 30,7% of CO2 emissions.

A condition that has absolutely to be changed. Not because international politics and the enviroment ask changes oriented to sustainability, but also because the global productive balance is changing.
The rapprochement of productive activities, in fact, could soon determine an increasing in trade volume within Europe. Trade that will affect Italy too and cannot be sustained only with road transport. According to italian political leadership, the solution to this problem can be found in intermodality.

Marebonus and Ferrobonus to support intermodality

That’s what believes the Minister Giovannini, who says that: “Marine and railway intermodality is fundamental, representing not a choice anymore, but the real option if we want to combine social and economic sustainability with the enviroment”.

An integrated logistic solution, where highways of the sea and railways could shift transport to medium and long distance towards ships and trains.

A path that the Government is starting to take even through financing intervention. It’s Giovannini himself to explain it: “Thanks to marebonus, ferrobonus and the infrastructure investment we have the opportunity to make that famous modal shift we have talked for many years”. Government incentives that have just been refinanced by Government with other 38,5 millions of euro for the 2022.

Marine and railway intermodality: the central role of inland port

Inland ports are infrastructure dedicated to modal exchange and interconnection among networks. It’s about strucutres that have an important role within the supply-chain and that could represent the keystone in an enviromental sustainability strategy focused on intermodality.

Italy has an excellent inland ports network: 26 infrastructures located in strategic positions, in big international corridors that serve as a scenario for trading with other countries. Think about, for example, the Mediterranean-Balkan corridor, the Scandinavian-Mediterranean and the one that connects the Rhine to the Alps. Aiming to the development of these infrastructures will allow, to our country, to gain a great competitive advantage towards the most important european competitors.

The challenge for our country is to encourage our ports to connect to the productive areas, promoting rail traffic, in order to make the most of our own growth potential.

Marfreight commitment towards sustainability

Intermodality, and, especially, the possibility to take advantage of italian inland port strategic position is the privileged way not only to guarantee that emissions cut the sector needs but also to offer a fast and advantageous transport service.

In our supporting role for the companies during shipment planning, we, Marfreights, pay so much attention even to these details, proposing among our solutions even intermodal connections. We do so not only to offer a service that complies as far as possible to our customers’ expectations and needs, but also to give our contribution to the sustainability path that the sector has started to take.

For years, shipowners are working on achieving an ambitious goal, a zero-emission shipping. A goal that cannot be postponed.

In this regard, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the main international trade association of shipbuilding industry, has proposed to create a fund worth 5 billions of dollars, in order to finance the technologic innovation needed to reduce emissions.

The proposal of the creation of the fund has been presented for the first time in 2019. Last year, it has received the support of the main maritime countries, such as Denmark, Greece, Japan, Panama, Singapore and United Kingdom. But also developing countries such as Liberia, Niger and Palau.

Zero-emission shipping: shipowners’ commitment

In order to reach a real decarbonisation of the maritime sector, it is fundamental a decisive push to the creation and use of new technologies and sustainable fuels

Shipowners, for their part, are working hard to have greener ships. A work slowed down by a low availability of alternative fuels, lack of infrastructure for the supplies and the creation of conditions, regulatory and bureaucratic, aimed at receiving in a decisive way the green change.

What slowed down Ics members’ commitment is also Imo (International Maritime Organization) lack of decision about the 5 billions of dollars fund. A fund that shipowners would be willing to finance out of their own pocket, with a withdrawal fee of 2 dollars per tonne, to apply to marine bunkering.

Confitarma’s voice

Mario Mattioli, president of Confitarma (Italian Confederation Shipping), has pointed out many times that the shipowning industry has already put together a series of solutions and investments to promote emission reduction. An example is the use of LPG as an alternative fuel, the use of batteries during the pause of the ships at the port, the Cold ironing.

The government, clarified the president of Confitarma, has already made a move in this way, with the PNRR 500 millions of resourches, intended for making the italian fleet greener. The risk is that, from that amount, currently reserved only for coasting sector in the Mediterrean, could be excluded an important part of company ships rooted in Italy, the ones that are working for a long time to build their path towards sustainability.

Sustainability of maritime sector has always been a subject very dear to us, MarFreight.That’s why, in our supporting role for companies in the shipping planning, we try to choose partners that, besides being the best solution for our customers’ needs, are also actively committed to support environmental protection projects.

The marine transports, particularly in the south, are taking a heavy hit as a result of the high cost of hiring. The issue of price increases for container handling by sea has already begun to emerge in the second half of 2020. However, while the problem has affected some of the world’s maritime transport, it is the ports of Campania that have taken the brunt of the damage this spring 2022.
The warning comes from some of the most important southern entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector, who are bearing the brunt of the consequences of this situation more than anyone else.


Expensive hires: increases fno to +300%

When we examine our ability to manage exports from our country to countries with a mature economy, we see that transportation costs have increased by 3/4, with worsening changes in services that we used to receive.
A deterioration that puts the southern economy in serious jeopardy, as the Affda marine transports the distribution of pasta, tomatoes, and other agricultural and food fliera products.
The expensive hires, in fact, place a burden on the foreign buyer, who is forced to pay a higher price as Italian products become less competitive in their home markets. Despite a slight decrease in 2020, maritime transport remains the primary mode of international trade: 90 percent of goods transit at sea.
The businesses that have always loaded their own goods on ships departing from the piers of Naples and Salerno are now facing serious difficulties. The excellence of Made in Italy agribusiness products may necessitate a reduction in exports.
A situation caused in part by a lack of resources (some ships are not green-compliant) and in part by an increase in available space.


Marfreight’s proposed solution

Afdarsi to a competent partner in international maritime transport can be the right choice for those who do not want to make mistakes and want the best solution in terms of convenience and professionalism.
The hire quotations that we at Marfreight propose turn out to be highly competitive in a market that, as we have seen, is causing prices to skyrocket. We make every effort to offer our partners monthly contracts with instalments that attempt to eliminate the difficulties caused by the current historical situation. We work hard to provide the best solutions, even on the routes with the highest percentage of increases.
You can contact us for more information without obligation.


We’ve been through restrictions, lockdowns, and infections in the last few months. This situation has had an impact not only on everyone’s personal lives, but also on the global transportation sector. There have been numerous delivery delays, particularly for raw materials. We are well aware that logistics and transportation necessitate well-organized actions and procedures, the failure of which risks affecting the subsequent stages.
And, as a result, the entire supply chain is delayed. What happened exactly in the world of
sea transport

The interminable waits found in world-wide distribution ports are one of the main causes of delays. The processes of embarkation and disembarkation are noticeably slowed due to port lockdowns and increasingly stringent procedures to avoid contact.
The ships’ punctuality has dropped from 80 percent to 35 percent.
As a result, the ships are stuck in port waiting for their turn, causing a delay in the delivery of goods. It is possible, for example, that microchip assembly companies and electronic devices fail to meet deadlines for finished product delivery because they lack the primary raw materials with which to manufacture products.

The greater the scarcity of a product, the higher its market value and price. This is true for both products and transportation, both of which have increased significantly, which naturally affects the final consumer. Import/export costs have increased by up to 6-7 times.

Furthermore, the years 2020 and 2021 were marked by a much more practical shortage: containers. It was difficult (and thus expensive) to find 40′ containers available for departure near the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Fortunately, the problem appears to be resolved, but this demonstrates that the sea transport sector is influenced by a plethora of factors.

According to the Review of Maritime Transport 2021, a global official document that analyzes the changes and future perspectives of marine transport, it is clear that the factors that influence transport performance are numerous and diverse. In any case, the pandemic has played a larger role in the current crisis: infected and forced personnel at home, a lack of qualified personnel to replace it, entire cities and ports closed for lockdown, and a minor increase in demand due to the growth of e-commerce and purchases. All of these factors highlight the issues of a complex and challenging industry.

In international transportation, it is therefore critical to rely on an experienced consultant who knows how to plan your needs and adapt them to current dynamics in order to achieve the best possible result.

You can get in touch with us here without any obligation.