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Deadly crash: Ethiopian Airlines has grounded all its 737 Max 8 planes

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Ethiopian Airlines has ground all its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, following a tragic crash that left 157 people dead.

The airline on Monday morning (Mar. 11) announced it had decided to stop using all its B-737 Max 8 planes as of yesterday until further notice. The airline operates six such aircraft, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive officer Tewolde GebreMariam said in a presser on Sunday. Tewolde also said the carrier received the brand new plane on Nov. 15, 2018, and that it had not had any problems on its earlier flight from Johannesburg that morning.

The ET 302 flight was en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi when it crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board. Those who perished included citizens from at least 35 nations and comprised of academics, United Nations employees, and business executives along with a senior Kenyan football official.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution,” the state carrier said in a statement.

Ethiopian’s announcement follows in the footsteps of China, which ordered the country’s airlines to stop using their nearly 100 Boeing jet aircraft today. Cayman Airways also suspended the use of the Max 8, saying it was “putting the safety of our passengers and crew first.” The Ethiopian crash comes months after Indonesia’s Lion Air, which was using another Boeing 737 Max 8 plane, crashed minutes after departing the capital Jakarta.

Questions continue to mount about Sunday’s wreck, with aviation experts saying the crash constitutes “the most significant safety crisis to Boeing and its global operators” in years.

Quartz Africa

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Take a look at the 20 busiest ports on the planet

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An estimated 90% of world trade is facilitated by maritime shipping, and as trade volumes continue to increase, the world’s busiest ports continue to grow larger and more efficient to meet demand.

In fact, in just the last four years, the median annual volume of the top 50 ports jumped from 5.49 to 5.86 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Here are the world’s 20 largest ports, using the most recent data from the World Shipping Council:

Only five of the top 20 ports in the world are now located outside of East Asia. The Port of Los Angeles is the only U.S. entrant in the top 20, and only three European ports made the cut.

Today, trade is more likely than ever to flow through the South China Sea.

Ruling the High Seas

From dollar store knick-knacks to nuclear reactor components, China’s manufacturing output is a critical link in the global supply chain. Getting all those products to consumers and companies around the world is big business, and over the past decade, China has emerged as the heavyweight champion of world shipping.

While Danish company, Maersk, is still the largest shipping line, an ever increasing share of the world’s container traffic is moving through Chinese controlled ports. An estimated two-thirds of container traffic now passes through Chinese ports or ports that have received Chinese investment.

New kids on the block

While shipping volumes on a global basis continue to rise, not all of that growth has been spread around equally. This is particularly true for established titans of the South China Sea.

At the outset of this millennium, Hong Kong and Singapore were home to the busiest ports in the world. Today, both are facing increased competition from neighboring ports, as well as declining volumes:

In contrast, the massive Port of Shanghai saw a 71% increase over the last decade, and many other Chinese ports has seen significant growth in volume in recent years.

If China’s One Belt One Road initiatives and investments in global port facilities are any indication, the country’s domination of maritime shipping will only continue to strengthen in the near term.

Nick Routley (World Economic Forum)

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