Western Navies See Strategic, Tactical Lessons from Ukraine Invasion

The lessons emerging from the war in Ukraine for Western countries and their navies, and for maritime matters more broadly, ranging from the strategic to the tactical levels, the chiefs of the French, U.K. and U.S. navies told the recent inaugural Paris Naval Conference. “One thing we should all take away is the importance of […]

RTS Moskva (121) following an April 13, 2022 strike from Ukrainian missiles. Russian MoD

The lessons emerging from the war in Ukraine for Western countries and their navies, and for maritime matters more broadly, ranging from the strategic to the tactical levels, the chiefs of the French, U.K. and U.S. navies told the recent inaugural Paris Naval Conference.

“One thing we should all take away is the importance of the will to fight,” U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said during a press briefing with the three chiefs following the conference.

Gilday underscored the depth of the Ukrainians’ desire to “fight for their freedom … down to every single person in their society.”

Adm. Pierre Vandier, the French navy’s chief of staff, noted that while the war in Ukraine seems based around a land campaign, it has a significant maritime dimension, while speaking at the Jan. 18 conference along with Gilday and U.K. Royal Navy First Sea Lord Adm. Ben Key. Amongst a range of strategic-level maritime challenges in the Black Sea region, Adm. Vandier pointed to the importance of keeping open the port of Odesa in southwestern Ukraine.

“It was very important to have this [as a] free port,” he said.

Key, who also serves as the British chief of the naval staff, said that despite the heavy land emphasis, the ability to keep Odesa has strong maritime implications.

“The loss of Odesa would have strangled the Ukrainian economy because of the inability to export grain,” Key said. “That would then have created huge food shortages in countries many thousands of miles away from Ukraine […] Even in something that is being contained to a small region, the maritime implications of not having secure sea lines of communication are considerable and will impact the international community.”

Adm. Mike Gilday, Adm. Pierre Vandier and Adm. Ben Key on Jan. 18, 2023.

At the operational level, there are a number of maritime activities underway, including maritime patrol, amphibious forces operations, mining and countermining, blockades and unmanned vessel use, Vandier said.

The war in Ukraine saw the use of USVs in an offensive role, with USVs contributing to strikes. In addition, technologies like cruise missiles have been used in strikes both from sea to shore and shore to sea. Several warships have also been lost.

“[This is] nothing new, but the range of what has been done shows the dimension of the maritime aspect of this war,” Vandier said.

During the conference, Gilday discussed how the Ukrainians are learning lessons themselves, and how their fighting spirit is even filtering down to the tactical level.

“The Ukrainians are learning war while they’re fighting the war, and they’re doing so in a way that is so agile, and so flexible, and so nimble,” Gilday said. “They’re leveraging technology down at the tactical level. This goes down to the soldier on the battlefield.”

“For all our navies and our sailors, that’s the kind of spirit we want,” he continued. “That brings an asymmetric advantage to our navies that perhaps puts you in a position of advantage in a fight.”

A version of this post originally appeared on Naval News. It’s been republished here with permission.

UPS to sharpen focus on ‘smart’ technology in ‘bumpy’ 2023

Technology that connects and automates packages, trucks, and sorting facilities will come to the fore at UPS this year as the largest US logistics provider positions itself for an economic rebound.

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Ocean Network Express’ quarterly profit plunges

ONE’s profit dropped by 50% quarter over quarter to $2.76 billion.

The post Ocean Network Express’ quarterly profit plunges appeared first on FreightWaves.

Ocean Network Express said it saw a “significant deterioration” in profit — a 50% drop quarter over quarter.

ONE reported that its fiscal year 2022 third-quarter profit was $2.76 billion, a $2.75 billion plunge from the $5.52 billion reported in the second quarter and a $2.12 billion drop from $4.88 billion in the year-ago period. 

In an eight-page PDF posted Tuesday, ONE, established in 2017 through the integration of three Japanese shipping companies, said the profit dive resulted from “a rapid reduction in the short-term freight market.”

It cited a cargo demand decrease in east-west trades because of elevated inventory levels in North America and rising inflation in Europe. In particular, cargo volume from Asia to North America was down 19% year over year in October and November, ONE said.   

“The short-term freight rate market deteriorated sharply from 2Q due to a further softening of the supply-demand balance resulting in a sharp fall in profitability compared with both 3Q FY2021 and 2Q FY2022,” the report said.

ONE said Q3 revenue totaled $6.25 billion, down 33% from $9.36 billion in Q2 and down 25% from $8.33 billion in the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled $3.06 billion, down 48% from $5.84 billion in the second quarter and down 42% from $5.28 billion in the year-ago period.

ONE further blamed the Q3 results on landside logistics disruptions, including COVID lockdowns in China and congestion at European container yards and on North American railways.

The number of blank sailings is expected to increase in the fourth quarter “due to the longer slack season around Chinese New Year and the time it takes for the cargo volume to recover after the holidays,” ONE said, adding that “profitability is expected to deteriorate in 4Q due to the softening of supply and demand.” 

ONE said its investments to expand service include 10 vessels each with a capacity to carry 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. The first, the ONE Freedom, was delivered in October. The remaining nine are expected to be delivered in 2023. 

At ONE, we continue to press ahead in our network developments and sustainability measures, enhancing our digital services and improving our operation excellence with our acquisition” of three container terminals in Los Angeles and Oakland, California. 

Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

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Australia Seeks to Boost Hydrogen Exports to EU as Part of Green Push

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Norfolk Southern adds to Southeast intermodal capacity with new cranes

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Norfolk Southern’s plan to bring more capacity to its international intermodal business this year has kicked off with new cranes enabling the stacking of marine containers at its Austell ramp in Georgia.

UK Royal Navy Welcomes New Mine-Hunting ‘Mother Ship’

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The UK Royal Navy is welcoming the arrival in Plymouth of a new mine-hunting ‘mother ship’ that will soon be used to launch drones and protect UK waters from mines....

Russia Boosted LNG Exports to Europe by 20% in 2022 -Refinitiv Data

MOSCOW, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Russia supplied Europe with some 17 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) last year, up about 20% from 2021 volumes, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Tuesday,…

MOSCOW, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Russia supplied Europe with some 17 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) last year, up about 20% from 2021 volumes, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Tuesday,...

Maritime Historian Explains Why Russia Can’t (Or Shouldn’t) Target This American Ship Carrying Tanks to Ukraine

gCaptain’s favorite maritime historian and the volunteer fire captain behind the popular Youtube channel “What’s Going on With Shipping“ Sal Mercogliano explains some of the issues behind a recent photo…

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Asia-Europe spot rates soften to pre-pandemic levels

Carriers have entered 2023 with too much supply and not enough demand on the Asia-Europe trade, with rates continuing their downward spiral through January.

Carriers have entered 2023 with too much supply and not enough demand on the Asia-Europe trade, with rates continuing their downward spiral through January.

Hapag-Lloyd reports ‘extraordinarily strong result’

German ocean shipping company Hapag-Lloyd said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization jumped by $7.6 billion year over year.

The post Hapag-Lloyd reports ‘extraordinarily strong result’ appeared first on FreightWaves.

The headline on the news release says it all: Hapag-Lloyd achieves extraordinarily strong result in its anniversary year 2022.

According to the preliminary and unaudited figures released Tuesday, Hapag-Lloyd, which marked its 175th anniversary last year, had 2022 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $20.5 billion — $7.6 billion more than the $12.8 billion EBITDA of 2021

The gain in earnings before interest and taxes was equally as impressive. EBIT in 2022 totaled $18.5 billion, up $7.4 billion from $11.5 billion the prior year. The German ocean shipping company said the big increase could “primarily be attributed to higher freight rates” and noted the average freight rate increased by 43% year over year to $2,863 per twenty-foot equivalent unit from $2,003. Full-year transport volume was down slightly, from 11.9 million TEUs in 2021 to 11.8 million TEUs in ’22. 

Those higher freight rates led to year-over-year revenue growth of $10 billion. Hapag-Lloyd said 2022 revenue totaled $36.4 billion, compared to $26.4 billion in ’21.  

“However, already by the end of the year, the freight rate had significantly come back down as congestion eased and demand declined,” it noted. 

That decline was reflected in fourth-quarter revenue, which was down from $8.4 billion in 2021 to $8 billion in Q4 ’22. Fourth-quarter EBITDA and EBIT were also down year over year, from $4.7 billion to $3.8 billion and $4.2 billion to $3.3 billion, respectively. 


Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth-largest ocean carrier, is slated to publish its 2022 annual report with audited financial figures and an outlook for ’23 on March 2. 

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

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