Project Cargo Weekly - Week 32
Dear Readers, It is Thursday the 12th of August, 2021 and we are back again here at Project Cargo Weekly.
I do hope that you have missed reading our weekly newsletter, and I shall do my utmost this week (and also in the future) to provide you with quality input which is worthwhile to read.
I spent the summer mainly in Stockholm, Sweden where I reside, but I did manage to visit both Malta and Dubai for both private and business reasons. More about this first ever overseas trip since March 2020 further below in my travel report.
Speaking of Sweden—where I have lived happily now since moving from China in 2012—something is about to happen in the country that seems to belittle the general reputation of a country that it is peaceful, safe, and tranquil. Yes, it is indeed still one of the best welfare states in the world. Everyone gets a chance. There are systems in place to take care of you if you’ve got a handicap. There is free healthcare, free schooling, and overall, a well-functioning civil service, rule of law and respect for the authorities.
However, that last item is increasingly lacking in parts of the country. With a population of 10 (soon close to 11) million people compared with Germany’s roughly 83 million population and in a country 26% bigger than Germany geographically, our crime statistics stand out and horrifyingly so. See this from Wikipedia. The fact that it is not even completely updated to date makes it even worse.
No one speaks about the elephant in the room, particularly not in Sweden where the mainstream media will call you a racist without hesitation (or worse) if you pinpoint some obvious problems in our society. Immigration without integration is always a recipe for disaster anywhere, and when I—being an immigrant myself (me from Denmark, wife from China) speak to other immigrants, even they also lament the development during the last few years in Sweden. In 2021 we are already up to 70 gun shooting episodes with about 25 shot dead and 41 wounded. These incidents are mostly gang-related in particular suburbs, but it is spilling over into other parts of the country. Just 3 weeks ago, two children out playing in the yard were hit by bullets fired during a conflict between what the Swedish media call “different groups”.
A country—whether democratic or dictatorship—has one major task: to guarantee safety for its citizens and to eradicate and lock up criminal elements that disrupt everyday lives. It seems the trend is here to stay, and the snowball running and growing can now no longer be reversed.
The signs are clear here and in other parts of Europe of an inability to take harder measures, protect the borders, integrate our new citizens properly and proactively, set demands, etc. Looking at the world, the EU is, as always, a toothless tiger run by rules and conventions dating back to the 1950’s when the world was different than it is now. That is also why a dictator in Belarus or Turkey can use the threat of opening their borders towards the EU because they know that the EU has no backbone whatsoever!
The COVID-19 situation is also here to stay it seems. What started out as a pandemic that originally was under control in parts of Asia has now shown itself to be “out of control again” with strains and apparent incompetence in several countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and even in the US—where pride in having vaccinated this or that many has given way to new waves of infections across many states.
The COVID-19 situation also has wreaked havoc on the supply chain, making some if not all shipowners very wealthy in no time due to lack of space and containers and pent up demand and other producers, factories, etc. in dire straits because freight rates have increased by as much as 1000% in less than a year. Planning is, in some ways, now impossible, since you simply don’t know from which direction the wind is blowing. All in all, this pandemic is a wake up call for the world, and perhaps also a reminder to us all to slow down, travel less, and be happy where we are.
Yet, how can we when so many countries depend on the world’s largest trade: tourism! It saddens this editor to see and hear first-hand accounts from people in Thailand, for example, who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own but simply because no tourists can now visit. For millions around the world, here is no “safety net” to fall back on whilst the tiny few enjoy 7 minutes of fame in space at the same time. Inequality has shown its ugly face now without makeup, and I believe there will be a reckoning at some point when governments no longer can keep their printing presses hot with freshly-made denominations.
Right: my observations for this week have come to an end. Time to return to business, and as they say in Hollywood, “The show must go on.”
Today, we start off with an interview with a Swedish trucking company using special trailers not only in Scandinavia but also in other parts of Europe. We then remind you of an interview we had with a company in South Africa (in support of this country in recent turmoil), and finally, I leave you with a small travel report from Malta and Dubai, richly illustrated by pictures. Hopefully, they can cheer up those of you who have been or are confined or stuck at home.
Naturally, we are getting into our stride again in the coming weeks, and we also today provide you with shipping news, trade intel, featured video and picture plus wise words.
Welcome back I say and until next week I remain,
Yours sincerely, Bo H. Drewsen