Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Chairman at the Gateway

Wed, 29 Feb 2012

DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem this week visited London Gateway, the site of the UK’s new deepwater container port and Europe’s largest logistics park, to inspect the progress on the new quay wall that is now exposed to the Thames Estuary.

London Gateway will open in Q4 2013, and when fully operational will be able to accommodate up to six of the world’s largest containerships.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem with Simon Moore. Click on image to enlarge
Simon Moore, CEO of London Gateway, said: “It’s great to be able to see the new quay wall nearing completion.

“Deepsea importers and exporters will soon be able to move closer to their UK markets, reducing costs, time and CO2 from global supply chains.”

Record 2011 results for APM Terminals

APM Terminals has announced it experienced record breaking annual results for 2011.

The company said revenue growth soared 10% year-on-year to $4.7 billion and that 2011 was their strongest year ever.

"This shows that APM Terminals is tracking well towards our long term goal of being the best and most profitable global port operator in the world," said Kim Fejfer, CEO of APM Terminals.

"If there were such a thing as 'market share' for expansion, we believe that APM Terminals would be the number one global port operator in 2011 in that category.

"We committed more than $3 billion to infrastructure development and facility expansion in 2011 and expect to do something similar in 2012."

Containers handled by APM Terminals increased 7% compared to the same period last year.

The company also added that its customer portfolio expanded to 46%.

"2011 was also the year where we developed and implemented a new corporate visual identity to enhance the APM Terminals brand as a result independent company," said Fejfer. "We will continue to diversify our client portfolio in the upcoming years."


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bromma take a holistic approach to spreaders

Global spreader specialists Bromma are upping the anti in spreader technology by focusing squarely on a greener, more holistic approach.

At a press briefing held in London yesterday, Bromma revealed that in 2011 over 85% of orders were for all electric yard spreaders – fuelled by the boom in automation and the need for maximum efficiency.

The 2,000th all electric crane spreader is being delivered to Ningbo Daxie in China this month.

Bromma has a green vision for the future: its spreaders to have as minimal carbon footprint as possible, but also integrated spreader technology – bringing together electric spreaders at automated terminals equipped with container load sensing, scanning and green productivity software to improve operation.

It is also looking at the whole spreader production process – from which raw materials are used in the production process and where they are sourced through to recycling issues at the end of a spreader's life.

Yesterday, Bromma questioned whether terminal operators were placing all emphasis on greener development and operation and neglecting greener approaches to supply and equipment at terminals.

Lars Meurling, Bromma VP marketing and product development said to GreenPort: “By looking at these issues we intend to drive the market to think about adressing the problem. At present, environmental work is classed as a separate issue to daily operation – it needs to be fully integrated.”

“The message is if you want to be a green terminal, you need to scrutinise your operations but also your production processes and equipment.”

Monday, 27 February 2012

Take a load off

27 Feb 2012

An enquiry into the MSC Napoli grounding found that the weight of a fifth of the boxes were underdeclared. Credit: French Ministry of Defence
A heavyweight container problem is attracting lightweight commitment, as HFW's Matthew Gore explains

To weigh or not to weigh? That is the question currently under discussion throughout the container shipping industry.

Prompted by a series of high-profile incidents directly caused or worsened by mis-declared cargo weights, the World Shipping Council together with the International Chamber of Shipping in 2008 circulated best practice guidelines aimed at shippers, to highlight the risks associated with inaccurate container weight declarations.

Four years on and the problem persists, with incidents ranging from the collapse of container stacks and the loss of containers overboard, to the freefall of a 28-tonne container which - having been declared as weighing only four tonnes - exceeded the crane's load limit, continuing to damage vessels, equipment and cargo while putting lives at risk.

"[The guidelines] have had little discernible effect on reducing the instances of shippers providing incorrect container weights,” lamented the WSC and ICS, with other stakeholders within the industry echoing their remarks. As it stands, shippers are required to declare the weight of each container in advance of arriving at the port of loading, but there is no requirement for these to be verified at any stage in the supply chain.

In response to the persistence of this problem and to address the lack of available information to indicate its scale and frequency, a group of leading ship operators including Maersk Line and MSC launched an online information exchange in September 2011, for the benefit of all those involved in the movement of containerised cargo.

CINSNET aims to gather, collate and exchange all information related to potentially dangerous containerised freight that poses a threat to lives or the environment. The project which has already won significant support from ship operators has also caught the interest of insurers and P&I Clubs. However positive a step this may be, it does not obviate the underlying problem that shippers continue to mis-declare the weight of their containers with no system in place to expose any serious discrepancies before it is too late.

Numerous industry experts have voiced their concern at the prospect of a fatal incident and the liabilities and reputational damage this could cause when it becomes clear that the risk was predicted by stakeholders and regulators throughout the industry, but who nonetheless failed to take any appropriate preventative action.

The question of what might constitute such preventative action emerges as the first of many heads of contention within this increasingly prevalent issue, beyond the obvious dispute over who should foot the bill. The fragmented nature and global scale of the container shipping industry not only perpetuates the problem itself, but also presents a significant challenge to finding a solution that will redress the issue across the board.

Ship operators are keen to stress that those guilty of mis-declaring container weights tend generally to be infrequent shippers whose limited understanding of the potential consequences leads them to 'guesstimate' container weights rather than accurately estimate or weigh them, introducing a side to the problem which further invites issues of how best to police shippers on a coherent worldwide basis.

Further, and in the absence of legislative intervention, commentators fear that an industry-led initiative encouraging ports to assume responsibility for verifying declared container weights could spell commercial suicide for port operators that choose to comply. Delays to the process of accepting cargo and loading it on to vessels and the inevitable transfer to shippers of the cost implications involved would surely divert business away to those that continue to turn a blind eye to the dangers of stowage plans compiled on the basis of unverified container weights.

Moreover, while large-scale ports may easily impose such requirements and absorb any of the upfront costs, smaller outfits may find it overly onerous.

Proposed solutions to this problem have been as forthcoming as they have been various; the one common denominator, however, is squarely in favour of port operators shouldering responsibility for verifying the container weights declared by shippers. The consensus ends there and the debate rages on, particularly in relation to two principle questions: (1) where in the supply chain should this take place and (2) what would happen to containers found to be over (or indeed under) their declared weight to an extent that would compromise the vessel's safety margins?

The feasibility of weighing the containers at the port of loading is divisive, with detractors arguing that the slowdown this would cause to the flow of commerce would be disproportionate to the seriousness of the problem, not to mention the financial imposition this could spell for port operators.

Moreover, many question how port operators would deal with containers that are found to significantly deviate from their declared weights; evidence from jurisdictions which already impose a requirement to weigh containers at the port of loading suggests that cargo will be loaded onto the vessel regardless, simply because it is too expensive and inefficient to send it back.

Proponents, however, counter that this line of argument does not constitute a sufficiently sound basis upon which to oppose a solution to a problem which the WSC and ICS cite as having plagued the shipping industry for years.

Some terminal managers have asserted that the start-up costs of implementing such a requirement would be minimal given that cranes and straddle carriers are already fitted with weighing equipment, and that verifying container weights in this way would not take any more time. All containers are weighed at ports in the US with no significant commercial impact due to slower processing time.

Alternative solutions which have generated some substantial support include the use of sensors within the containers themselves to gauge their own weight. This technology, argue its advocates, would not represent a significant leap from similar devices used to detect other internal container features (temperature, for example) and could be developed relatively cheaply (an initial start-up cost on the part of the ship operators notwithstanding).

A system that requires the presentation of a certificate issued by an independent weighbridge facility en-route to the port of loading which assures the weight of each container would also obviate the issue of overweight containers arriving at the port of loading. This would also carry the same advantage of ensuring that the cost of compliance would be absorbed by the shippers themselves.

The arguments against verifying declared weights of cargo containers on arrival at the port of loading have been widely discredited by the industry as having little to no basis in reality, and as presenting little disadvantage relative to the obvious imperative of ensuring that containers are stacked safely onto vessels with weights distributed correctly.

In spite of the debate over how best to implement such a requirement, there is little compelling support in favour of continuing with current practices. The consensus among stakeholders is overwhelmingly behind a move towards container weight verification, with numerous practical solutions proposed which could prevent losses in the millions to all those involved in the shipment of containerised cargo.

Profit bloodbath for Maersk Line

Danish conglomerate does not expect container line business to turn a profit in 2012, either

AP Møller Maersk announced today that its container line, the world’s biggest, made a loss of US$537 million last year and is unlikely to turn a profit in 2012 either.

The news follows recent announcements that the line will cut capacity and increase freight rates on the Asia-Europe trade. According to today’s results, a hike of $100 per feu could raise an additional profit of $900 million.

On Friday, the line announced it would increase its Asia to Europe prices by $400 per teu from 1 April.

The Danish conglomerate remained in the black overall, mainly thanks to its buoyant oil business, but its profit line of $3.38 billion was more than 40% down year-on-year.

Maersk executives said the negative container line result was primarily due to low rates on the Asia-Europe trades, pointing out that although they started the year at a “reasonable” level, they decreased throughout 2011 as large amounts of new tonnage was delivered.

“We deliver an acceptable result for 2011, considering how the shipping rates developed during the year,” said group Chief Financial Officer Trond Westlie.

“Markets are volatile, but our businesses are fundamentally strong and competitive. Our products and services are in high demand and most of our core businesses deliver good results.

“2012 will be another challenging year and we will continue to focus on profitability and allocate our growth investments to terminals and oil-related business.”

He added that overall freight rates were 8% lower than in 2010 and this, combined with 35% higher bunker prices, reduced margins considerably, despite an 11% increase in volume.

In contrast to Maersk’s box line business, the container handling division, APM Terminals, made a profit of $649 million. The profit, excluding sales gains and impairment losses, was 24% higher than in 2010.

Maersk Liner Business, however, expects the negative numbers to persist through 2012 as a consequence of excess capacity.

Global demand for seaborne containers is expected to increase by 4-6% in 2012, lower on the Asia-Europe trades but supported by higher growth in the north-south trades.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

HPH at a glance

Who owns HPH?: Hutchison Port Holdings is the ports section of a conglomerate based in Hong Kong. It’s called Hutchison Whampoa Ltd and controlled by a billionaire named Li Ka-Shing.

Where does HPH operate?: HPH operates in around 50 ports in 25 countries including China, Hong Kong, Holland, UK and parts of South America and the Caribbean.

For every 100 containers that are moved globally, 14 go through a HPH terminal.

Profit: HPH made an operating profit of USD$50,000 for every worker in 2010, or a total of $1.5 billion. That was 11% higher than 2009.

Headquarters location: Kwai Chung, Hong Kong

Expansion plans:

HPH is reportedly interested in acquiring ports in ‘prime locations’ where the ‘price is right’.

China: In January 2011 HPH increased it’s stake in the Yantian Port from 48% to 53.4% and in Hong Kong from 66.5% to 76.5%.
Sweden: The Swedish Court of Appeal has given the go ahead to the construction of a new container port 30 kilometres from Stockholm which is set to be managed by HPH.
East Africa: HPH is among bidders to operate an EU funded port owned by the governments of Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Other info: Since 2006 PSA has owned a 20% stake in HPH and it looks like the two companies try to avoid direct competition.

Maersk unit takes delivery of first WAFMAX, 4,500-TEU Safmarine Chilka

MAERSK's north-south shipping line, Safmarine, has taken delivery of the 4,500-TEU Safmarine Chilka, the first of three new WAFMAX containerships.

The vessel has been purpose-built for the trade with Africa, an emerging region the parent group is concentrating on. The ship is, henceforth, being deployed on the Far East-Africa trade, a company statement said.

The newbuildiing is described as being the first of a series of containerships from Hyundai Heavy Industries to be fitted with super-long-stroke main engines and a waste heat recovery system to reduce emissions and save fuel.

According to Safmarine CEO Grant Daly, 23 new vessels branded to the carrier have joined the group's fleet since 2004.

Using environmentally-friendly paints for its white ships is not only a characteristic of the smaller container line, "but it also benefits energy conservation as it lowers the ambient temperature in the holds where reefer boxes are carried, and this means less energy is needed for cooling and less electricity consumed," Mr Daly added.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

UK: 20 million smuggled cigarettes not child's play

The seven men were arrested after some of them were seen unloading over 10 million illicit cigarettes at a warehouse in Upminster after they had been smuggled into the UK from Dubai through the port of Felixstowe. The total duty evaded is estimated as £3.3 million.

Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: "If these criminals had not been stopped they would have flooded local markets with not only the 20 million illicit cigarettes we seized but would have gone on to smuggle in many more. HMRC is determined to eradicate this form of criminality and raise awareness of the devastating effect on our communities, including legitimate retailers having to compete with black market goods. Tobacco smuggling costs the country around £2 billion in lost revenue each year - money that could be funding vital public services."

He added: "We are urging the public to be vigilant. Cheap tobacco products can often seem like an attractive offer to people lured into purchasing them at what seem like bargain prices. However, the truth is these sales are unlicensed and unregulated. And those involved are not concerned if they are selling to children and underage young people."

HMRC and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) monitored two large freight containers shipped from Dubai, via Hong Kong which arrived at the Port of Felixstowe. The documents described the containers´ contents as 1,020 cartons of baby toys; but instead each container was crammed full with over 10 million cigarettes.

A SOCA spokesman commented: "Criminals are inventive and will use all manner of concealments to attempt to smuggle illegal cargo into the UK. This operation is an excellent example of how SOCA and HMRC working together can tackle such smuggling, irrespective of the commodity involved."

Paul O´Meara, Mark Sadgrove and Matthew Neale were arrested after a warehouse in Upminster was raided; they were in the process of unloading boxes of cigarettes from a container into the back of a vehicle. The container had been watched at Felixstowe earlier and had been kept under surveillance by HMRC officers. Wayne Stock who had left the premises earlier was arrested a short time later in Upminster.

Investigators unravelling the fraud found that O´Meara played a pivotal role in the organisation. Computer records found at his home revealed plans detailing the whole illegal operation including photographs of the container packed with cigarettes leaving Dubai. Forensic evidence found amongst the records linked Robert Doran and Patrick Gray to O´Meara and the fraud. O´Meara organised the ordering and shipping of the containers including creating the documents for moving the goods through Customs. He hijacked the details of legitimate businesses and set up a front company using an alias to handle the illegal importations into the UK.

When officers searched O´Meara´s van they found a smuggling kit, which included sample packets of cigarettes, a glossy promotion brochure and some newspaper articles about smuggled cigarettes.

Patrick Gray and Robert Doran supplied the finance and were also involved in the purchase, packaging and shipment of the cigarettes. On 12 April 2010, Doran was arrested as he entered the UK at Heathrow Airport. Gray was arrested on the 8 June 2010 at his home address in Enfield

Mark Sadgrove provided legitimate VAT numbers from reputable toy manufacturers and used these without their knowledge to clear the containers through Customs control at Felixstowe. Cleland was the contracts manager of Brightcast Scaffolding, a business owned by Gray. He was arrested at his office on 8 June 2010. When Cleland´s home address in Hornchurch was searched officers found £29,000 cash, in £1,000 bundles in a safe in his garage. Notes to editors

The men were all charged with conspiracy to evade excise duty chargeable on the importation of cigarettes contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. O´Meara, Doran and Gray pleaded guilty to the charge. The four remaining men were found guilty at the end of a six week trial earlier this month at Ipswich Crown Court. All seven men were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday 24 February 2012. Paul O´Meara, (25/08/1963), address Sackers Green House, Sackers Green, Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 0WS was jailed for 4½ years. He used the alias Paul Donnelly and a trade name of VLG Logistic Services to facilitate the fraud. Robert Doran, (24/12/1964), address Apt 3102, La Reve Building, Dubai Marina, UAE, was jailed for 4½ years. He was the CEO of Crayford International in Dubai and the owner of English company Crayford Creek Properties Limited used to provide funding to Paul O´Meara totalling £75,000. Patrick Gray, (19/07/1959), address 143b Bengeo Street, Hertford, SG14 3EY (formerly of Brayside Farm, Beggars Hollow, Enfield, Hertfordshire), was jailed for 4½ years. He ran Brightcast Scaffolding on the Brownes Commercial Estate, 15 Edison Road, Enfield EN3. Martin Cleland, (16/01/1967), address: 176 Osborne Road, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 1HL was jailed for 4½ years. Mark Sadgrove, (17/11/1973), recruitment consultant address 14 Maybury Close, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3PF was jailed for 2½ years. Wayne Stock, (16/05/1974), address 86 West Lawn, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8SL was jailed for two years. Matthew Neale, (05/12/1968), address 52 Wedgewood Drive, Harlow, Essex, CM17 9PY was jailed for two years. The warehouses addresses: 12 Addison Road on the Chilton Industrial Estate, Sudbury and The Old Nursery, 57 St Mary´s Lane, Upminster. Contacts NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept

Friday, 24 February 2012

MSC Set to Grab Asia-Europe Business From Maersk, Report Says

Bruce Barnard, Special Correspondent | Feb 21, 2012 2:17PM GMT
The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
Container Lines| Trade Lanes| Maritime | Europe| Western Europe| Asia| China
Geneva-based carrier's fleet of 43 vessels over 12,500 TEU "dwarfs" rival's
Mediterranean Shipping is set to significantly increase its share of Asia-Europe container traffic in 2012 at the expense of market leader Maersk Line, according to Alphaliner.

The Geneva-based carrier “holds the wildcard” on the world’s biggest trade lane because its fleet of 43 vessels over 12,500 20-foot equivalent units “dwarfs” Maersk’s current tally of 21 11,500 TEUs ships, the container analyst said.

MSC received its 43rd ship of above 11,500 TEUs last week, enabling the the world’s second largest ocean carrier to deploy a full fleet of 11,500-14,000 TEUs ships on each of its four Far East-Europe-Mediterranean strings for the first time.

Container Shipping News: Maersk Cuts Asia-Europe Capacity 9 Percent

By the end of March MSC will be operating 43 vessels above 12,500 TEUs, if deliveries proceed on schedule. This means its four Far East-Europe-Mediterranean services will deploy ships above 12,500 TEUs, as the remaining 11,500 TEUs vessels are displaced by the latest newbuildings.

The gap between MSC and Maersk will widen during the year as MSC is expected to receive further very large and ultra large container ships, boosting its 11,500-14,000 TEUs fleet to 56 by the end of 2012. Of these, 52 ships are larger than 12,500 TEUs.

Maersk, by contrast, will not receive any new ships of this size in 2012 as the first of the carrier’s giant 18,000 TEUs Triple-E vessels are not expected to enter the market until early 2013.

“This gives MSC an edge to increase its market share substantially this year, mainly at the expense of Maersk,” according to Alphaliner.

Maersk reaffirmed its determination to defend its Asia-Europe market share last week even as it announced it will cut capacity by 9 percent through a vessel sharing agreement with French carrier CMA CGM in a bid to restore profitability.

“We will defend our market share position at any cost, while focusing on growing with the market and restoring profitability,” the Danish carrier said.

Maersk Line has an estimated 18 percent share of the Asia-Europe market.

-- Contact Bruce Barnard at

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dock workers suspend Rotterdam Port strikes

Wildcat strikes ended after APM Terminals and unions reach agreement
Dock workers at the Port of Rotterdam have suspended their three-week campaign of rolling wildcat strikes at the APM Terminals container facility.

Industrial action was called off yesterday after the terminal operator and unions reached an agreement over a new 27-month wage contract for employees at the terminal.

The strikes caused serious disruptions at Europe’s largest container port, with a number of ships diverting to the neighboring Belgian Port of Antwerp.

The proposals put forward in the agreement will be subject to a vote by the 700 strong dock workers at the terminal next Tuesday, according to the JOC.

Under the agreement it is reported that APM Terminals has given in to union demands of compensating dock workers affected by the government’s pension reform. The Dutch government has recently extended the national retirement age from 65 to 67.

The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group subsidiary, has called upon workers to increase the productivity at the terminal.

The APM Terminals container facility at Rotterdam Port handles about 2.4 million TEU annually.


An interesting item appears in todays issue of the East Anglian Daily Times: In order to reduce costs, in the current economic climate, the port of Felixstowe is offering staff in certain departments, the opportunity to reduce their hours and/or take a sabbatical.
In 2009 workers saw their pay cut between 6 and 11 % and some were offered £10,000 to leave their jobs.
Some who took the £10,000 are now re-employed at the port as it was decided that their knowledge and experience were a valuable asset as new vacancies arose.

Harwich Haven Ships and Yachts Forum Index -> Haven Blog 2012

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Project to double container capacity at Teesport moves forward with completion of groundworks
PD Ports reached a major milestone in its efforts to increase the container handling capacity of Teesport last month, with the completion of the ground works.
The ground works included the complete reconstruction of more than five hectares of the container terminal area with heavy duty paving.
The paving has been designed to withstand increasing loads from Teesport’s four new rubber tyre gantry cranes (RTGs), the single largest equipment investment since the container terminal opened in 2003, and growing container stacks.
So far PD Ports has invested more than £16 million as part of an overall investment of £29 million, which will see the container terminal capacity at Teesport more than double.
The expansion will see Teesport become the second largest container port in the north of the UK, with capacity rising from 235,000 TEU to 450,000 TEU.
“We are very pleased with the progress so far,” said PD Ports Group Chief Executive, David Robinson“Operator training on the new RTGs was completed ahead of schedule and the cranes are already in full service at the terminal. We are also well advanced in testing and implementing a new terminal operating system, which remains on schedule to be operational this summer.”
PD Ports will also launch a fast gate service at Tessport in April, to help reduce waiting times and further improve its service to onsite customers including supermarket giants ASDA and Tesco.
To further support portcentric operations and to help drive increasing volumes in Teesport, PD Ports has also announced that the Clipper Logistics Group will open a purpose built distribution centre later this year.

Hanjin engine room explosion leads to 'general average' loss declaration

THE owner of the 4,024-TEU Hanjin Osaka has declared "general average" cargo loss following an explosion on January 8 in its main engine off Japan while bound for the US, reports American Shipper.
The engine crankcase oil mist alarm sounded, followed by an explosion. As repairs could not be made at sea, the ship was towed to Hakodate anchorage off the Japan's Hokkaidooff island where repairs were done and the ship resumed its voyage on February 4, said the report.
MS Pelapas GmbH & Co. KG is the vessel owner, according to the shipping information database Equasis. It lists F Laeisz as the ship manager, and a brochure on the F. Laeisz Website says the 1992-built Pelapas and its sister ships Perugia and Pereira are under long-term time charters to Hanjin.
The ship sailed from Busan on January 5 with 3,742 TEU, bound for the US, according to a Declaration of General Average dated February 7.
ComPair Data said the ship operates in Hanjin's AWE-1 service from Asia to the US east coast. The CKYH alliance service has Cosco, "K" Line, and Yang Ming as space-sharing partners and normally rotates through Shanghai, Busan, New York, Wilmington, Savannah, Busan and back to Ningbo.
The ship is now heading for Long Beach, said David Clancey of Clancey Vanguard, a London-based company that's acting as the general average adjusters.
A general average is a loss that arises from the reasonable sacrifice at a time of peril of any part of a ship or its cargo for the purpose of preserving the ship and the remainder of its cargo takes place. In such cases, all cargo owners, or their insurance companies, share the costs of the wider loss.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Maersk cuts Asia-Europe capacity by nine percent

Maersk responds to oversupply of vessels by reducing Asia-Europe capacity
Capacity reduction to be facilitated by vessel sharing agreement with CMA CGM
Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping line, has announced that it will reduce its capacity on the Asia-Europe trade lanes by 9 percent in an effort to restore profitability.

Oversupply of container vessels operating on the Asia–Europe trade lane has pushed Maersk Line’s container freight rates to unsustainably low levels.

“With this adjustment we are able to reduce our Asia–Europe capacity and improve vessel utilisation without giving up any market share we have gained over the past two years,” says Maersk Line CEO, Søren Skou.

“We will defend our market share position at any cost, while focusing on growing with the market and restoring profitability.”

The 9 percent capacity reduction will be facilitated by a vessel sharing agreement with the French shipper, CMA-CGM.

With the agreement, Maersk Line and CMA CGM will merge their respective AE11 and MEX services into one new AE11/MEX (operating 12500 TEU per week) to cover the trade from the Far East to and from Spain, France, Italy.

To cover the Mediterranean hubs, Maersk Line and CMA CGM will merge their announced AE20 and FAL9 services into a new AE20/MEX3 service, operating a weekly capacity of 9,500 TEU.

Maersk Line will also further complement the coverage of its volume requirements in the Mediterranean hubs with the reinstatement of two port calls in Algeciras, Spain on its North Europe Daily Maersk strings.

A January report from shipping analyst, Alphaliner, predicted Europe-Far East container traffic growth would slow to 1.5 percent in 2012 from an estimated 2.8 percent in 2011, due to a weakening economic outlook in Europe. The industry container vessel fleet, by contrast, is set to grow by 8.3% in 2012.

“The Asia–Europe trade remains the world’s busiest trade lane, however the supply of vessels currently operating on this trade simply outweighs the demand,” said Vincent Clerc, Chief Product and Yield Officer for Maersk Line.

“We are therefore rationalising our service by taking out vessel capacity and thereby reducing costs.”

Where commercially appropriate, Maersk Line will also consider additional opportunities to reduce capacity, including redelivery of time charter tonnage, the use of lay-ups and slow-steaming.

Additionally and in line with previous guidance, Maersk Line will not declare the option for the last ten Triple-E vessels.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The above picture is where Trinity Terminal now sits. The large warehouse in the bottom picture with the white roof & the smaller warehouse with the grey roof is where this fort used to be.

No recession at The Port Of Felixstowe !

18/02/12 07:49 Msc Ravenna Berths 8&9 DE 153115 366m Antwerp Gioia Tauro Msc Uk
18/02/12 10:09 Cap Harriett Trinity LR 41358 262m Salerno Antwerp Hamburg Sud Uk-----John Good
18/02/12 13:49 Zim Genova Trinity LR 39906 261m Ashdod Antwerp Zim Uk Ltd
18/02/12 18:40 Maersk Kalmar Trinity NL 80942 300m Algeciras Zeebrugge Maersk Line
18/02/12 20:13 Msc Tokyo Trinity LR 65483 275m Antwerp Port Said Msc Uk
18/02/12 21:59 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
19/02/12 00:15 Sea-Land Champion Trinity MH 49985 292m Rotterdam Bremerhaven Maersk Line
19/02/12 01:30 Msc Laurence Trinity PA 140096 366m Antwerp Hamburg Msc Uk
19/02/12 05:30 Opdr Las Palmas Trinity ES 7360 128m Cadiz Rotterdam John Good Shipping
19/02/12 08:00 Cosco Yantian Trinity GR 109149 351m Hamburg Rotterdam Coscon Uk Ltd
19/02/12 10:30 Maersk Surabaya Trinity DE 94322 332m Algeciras Bremerhaven Maersk Line
19/02/12 11:30 Msc Vega Berths 8&9 LR 141635 366m Singapore Hamburg Msc Uk
19/02/12 13:30 Mol Earnest Trinity PA 54098 294m Antwerp Bremerhaven Mitsui Via Seawing
19/02/12 17:00 Marstan Trinity AG 6368 132m Teesport / Teesside Rotterdam Unifeeder
19/02/12 18:00 Jennifer Rickmers Trinity LR 54214 294m Gemlik,Bursa Antwerp Msc Uk
19/02/12 19:00 Cosco Europe Trinity PA 114394 349m Rotterdam Hamburg Coscon Uk Ltd
19/02/12 21:00 Maersk Miami Trinity NL 56248 279m Salalah Zeebrugge Maersk Line
19/02/12 21:30 Britannia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
20/02/12 01:00 Cepheus J Trinity GB 6454 134m Belfast Rotterdam Bg Freight
20/02/12 12:00 Western Trader Trinity AG 4164 111m South Shields / Tyne Teesport / Teesside Feederlink
20/02/12 15:00 Opdr Tanger Trinity CY 7545 130m La Coruna Rotterdam John Good Shipping
20/02/12 16:00 Deva Trinity LR 40030 260m Rotterdam Bremerhaven Seago Line
20/02/12 18:00 Gertrud Trinity AG 4628 113m Seville / Sevilla Rotterdam John Good Shipping
20/02/12 19:00 Baltic Trader Trinity NL 4984 116m Grangemouth Teesport / Teesside Feederlink
20/02/12 19:00 Maersk Essex Trinity MH 141716 366m Antwerp Singapore Maersk Line
20/02/12 19:00 Msc Rapallo Berths 8&9 LR 143521 366m Antwerp Gioia Tauro Msc Uk
20/02/12 22:30 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
21/02/12 00:00 Margrethe Maersk Trinity DK 98268 367m Bremerhaven Le Havre Maersk Line
21/02/12 03:00 Pengalia Trinity CY 7545 130m Dublin Rotterdam Bg Freight
21/02/12 03:30 Suecia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
21/02/12 07:00 Clonlee Trinity DE 3999 101m Teesport / Teesside Teesport / Teesside Feederlink
21/02/12 07:00 Elite Trinity NL 11662 149m Leixoes Unknown Moe Wec Line
21/02/12 08:00 Mare Lycium Trinity AG 40306 261m Valencia Bremerhaven Seago Line
21/02/12 09:00 Msc Mozambique Trinity LR 76847 299m Suez Hamburg Msc Uk
21/02/12 15:30 Britannia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
21/02/12 18:00 Msc Eleni Trinity PA 54881 294m Bremerhaven Antwerp Msc Uk
21/02/12 19:00 Anna Maersk Trinity DK 93496 352m Tanjong Pelapas Rotterdam Maersk Line
21/02/12 21:00 Conti Chiwan Trinity LR 42323 242m Antwerp Le Havre Msc Uk
21/02/12 22:30 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
22/02/12 03:30 Suecia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
22/02/12 07:00 Cepheus J Trinity GB 6454 134m Rotterdam Belfast Bg Freight
22/02/12 07:00 Sea-Land Eagle Trinity US 49985 292m Rotterdam Bremerhaven Maersk Line
22/02/12 15:30 Britannia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
22/02/12 16:00 Msc Erminia Trinity PA 48220 277m La Spezia Antwerp Msc Uk
22/02/12 19:00 Mungo Trinity BS 664 60m Unknown Gok St Peter Port, Guernsey Grangeshipping Xgs
22/02/12 19:00 Maersk Norfolk Trinity DK 25888 212m Rotterdam Le Havre Maersk Line
22/02/12 19:00 Cscl Long Beach Berths 8&9 HK 108069 337m Yantian, Guangdong Hamburg China Shipping Uk Ltd.
22/02/12 22:30 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
23/02/12 00:01 Fenja Trinity NL 7519 138m Rotterdam South Shields / Tyne Unifeeder
23/02/12 03:30 Suecia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
23/02/12 06:00 Opdr Las Palmas Trinity ES 7360 128m Rotterdam Funchal, Madeira John Good Shipping
23/02/12 07:00 Msc Swaziland Trinity LR 76847 300m Rotterdam Hamburg Msc Uk
23/02/12 07:00 Msc Bremen Trinity LR 54500 294m Antwerp Bremerhaven Msc Uk
23/02/12 10:00 Msc Alabama Trinity GR 37518 243m Le Havre Hamburg Msc Uk
23/02/12 13:00 Hanjin Yantian Trinity DE 82794 300m Bremerhaven Zeebrugge Maersk Line
23/02/12 15:30 Britannia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
23/02/12 17:00 Msc Tanzania Trinity DE 53334 294m Gemlik,Bursa Antwerp Msc Uk
23/02/12 19:00 Hannover Bridge Trinity PA 98747 336m Hamburg Antwerp Kawasaki Kk K Line
23/02/12 19:00 Cap Gabriel Trinity LR 41835 264m Salerno Antwerp Hamburg Sud Uk-----John Good
23/02/12 22:30 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
24/02/12 02:00 Euro Snow Trinity GB 6191 133m Lisbon / Lisboa Teesport / Teesside Kawasaki Kk K Line
24/02/12 03:30 Suecia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
24/02/12 07:00 Msc Lisa Trinity PA 54304 294m Rotterdam Bremerhaven Msc Uk
24/02/12 10:00 Zim Moskva Trinity LR 40741 259m Ashdod Antwerp Zim Uk Ltd
24/02/12 19:00 Cosco Asia Trinity PA 114394 349m Rotterdam Singapore Coscon Uk Ltd
24/02/12 19:00 Maersk Salalah Trinity NL 91422 335m Antwerp Singapore Maersk Line
24/02/12 20:00 Baltic Trader Trinity NL 4984 116m Grangemouth Teesport / Teesside Feederlink
24/02/12 22:30 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
25/02/12 03:30 Suecia Seaways Roro 4 DK 24196 198m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways
25/02/12 07:00 Msc Loretta Trinity PA 73819 304m Antwerp Bremerhaven Msc Uk
25/02/12 07:00 Msc Rossella Trinity PA 37398 243m Rotterdam Hamburg Msc Uk
25/02/12 07:00 Msc Martina Trinity PA 37398 243m Antwerp Le Havre Msc Uk
25/02/12 19:00 Maersk Klaipeda Trinity NL 80654 299m Algeciras Zeebrugge Maersk Line
25/02/12 20:00 Opdr Tenerife Trinity CY 7360 128m Cadiz Funchal, Madeira John Good Shipping
25/02/12 22:00 Flandria Seaways Roro 4 DK 13073 143m Rotterdam Rotterdam Dfds Seaways

Friday, 17 February 2012

Container Park Operations - Port Of Felixstowe

Please be advised we have received a weather forecast which indicates high winds at or above our safe working limits covering the period

from: 18/02/2012 05:00
to : 18/02/2012 15:00

There is a high probability of some disruption to Rail and Yard Operations as a result of these adverse weather conditions.

Please be advised :
We have received a strong wind warning issued at 1604hrs today Friday 17th Feb and valid for the period above.
SW Winds will freshen during the morning of Saturday with possible gusts above limits ahead of a cold front.
Winds are then expected to veer and ease quickly during mid afternoon as the front moves through and will ease below limits by Saturday Evening.

MSC to reconsider Antwerp operations as strikes continue

Pilot strikes continue to hamper operations at Europe's third largest port
MSC already diverting vessels to Rotterdam
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has said it is reconsidering its operations at the Belgium Port of Antwerp as pilot strikes continue to paralyze Europe’s third largest port.

More than sixty ships, including over 20 MSC vessels, were still stuck in limbo on Wednesday both in port and at sea as pilots withheld their go-slow actions after a full strike ended on Tuesday.

The world’s second largest shipping line, accounting for over two thirds of Antwerp’s container business, has already begun to divert vessels to the neighboring Dutch Port of Rotterdam.

Belgian pilots went on strike to demand that their profession was made exempt from government plans of adding a further two years to the retirement age.

“The damage that the action of the pilots has caused us is making us rethink our position in Antwerp,” MSC said.

“MSC does not understand this action by the pilots ... and will reconsider its investment policy towards [the region of] Flanders.”

The action by the pilots is costing Antwerp Port more than €1 million an hour, according to the Port of Antwerp Authority.

The latest strike at Antwerp Port follows last month’s industrial action, which forced the port to cease operations completely. The strike on January 27th saw Belgian dockworkers participate in a 24-hour nationwide strike in protest of the government’s austerity program.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Largest shipping company differs from Antwerp to Rotterdam

10:41 On her third day, the pilot for the port strike a dramatic turn. Already Wednesday shows the biggest customer of the port, the MSC decides to have all its vessels to Rotterdam to distract. At the same time announce the independent pilots from Friday .. a sharpening of their actions.

Following consultations Tuesday with the federal government Wednesday with the Flemish government and the prospect that the wire again this afternoon would be recognized at the federal level, it was for the Italian-Swiss company apparently enough. "It's true. We have decided on Wednesday to stop all activities at our terminal," said Managing Director Marc Beerlandt of MSC in our country. "That means unemployment immediately for at least 800 dockers. The consequences are dramatic but this has everything to do with the attitude of the pilots. They now reap what they wanted to achieve."

The MSC is not only on her own account for about 60 to 70 percent of the total container throughput in the port. With its home terminal in the Delwaide dock - behind the locks so - it also represents a huge jobleverancier. Weekly walk at least about 70 MSC container ships at the port. About 25 to 40 ships of MSC are currently anchored off the Belgian coast, or were to Antwerp road.

Particularly painful is that MSC diverting to Rotterdam where it gets increasingly facilities.

Business hours
Meanwhile Thursday morning has started shipping a bit because traditional unions of pilots and the rest of the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (Speech Services, pilot coordinators, traffic centers, etc) undertook a relaxation. The pilots now formally cease at night and work during office hours from 8 am to 17h. In practice, however, the tide is against because it does not follow the office .... The highest water levels fall today after around 8 in the morning and 21h tonight. According to the Port of Antwerp , there are currently about 55 to 60 ships off the coast.

In a brief statement announced the Association of Pilots meanwhile her actions as of Friday it will sharpen. "The Flemish government refuses to admit anything," said President Sven Deridder. "We are the pillar to sent. Our question is addressed directly to the Flemish government. Tightening means that de facto there will only ship to sea, and not vice versa."

Deridder also recalls that while the Flemish government says nothing to the pension problems to be dealing, the Minister-President Kris Peeters was in 2007 that committed the same pension problem.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Felixstowe: New £40m port rail terminal good news for A14 congestion

WORK will start next month on a £40 million project to boost rail cargo at Britain’s biggest port – and take hundreds of thousands of juggernauts off the A14.
The project to build a new rail terminal at Felixstowe will create the first terminal in the UK designed to handle the new 30-wagon freight trains.

Port executives say that by 2030 when the terminal is working to capacity, it will take up to 750,000 lorries a year off the roads.

The scheme, which is receiving a £4.2m European grant from the Trans-European Transport Network Programme (TEN-T) programme, follows the successful opening of the first phase of the port’s latest expansion last autumn when two new deepwater berths, able to handle the world’s largest ships, became operational.

Head of corporate affairs for port owners Hutchison Ports UK, Paul Davey, said: “The new terminal will ultimately double the capacity of the port for rail.

“One of the advantages that Felixstowe has over its rivals is that we can offer shipping companies much greater choice of destination and frequency for freight services than they can get at other places.”

The rail head will be built on Trinity Terminal, the only place left on the port where there is enough land for the 750 metres of sidings needed to accommodate the longer trains.

The aim is to open it in the middle of next year with most of the civil works done this year. Three new cranes – being built in Ireland – will be delivered later this year to work on the terminal.

Using 30-wagon trains will instantly increase capacity at the port by 25 per cent, and by increasing services to six days a week could add a further 25pc.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

List of busiest ports in Europe

Busiest container portsRank in
Europe Rank in
World Port City State TEU's in
1 9 Port of Rotterdam Rotterdam Netherlands 10,783,825
2 11 Port of Hamburg Hamburg Germany 9,737,110
3 13 Port of Antwerp Antwerp Belgium 8,662,891
4 18 Bremen/Bremerhaven Bremen/Bremerhaven Germany 5,488,189
5 28 Port of Valencia Valencia Spain 3,602,112
6 30 Port of Gioia Tauro Gioia Tauro Italy 3,481,043
7 32 Port of Algeciras Algeciras Spain 3,324,310
8 33 Port of Felixstowe Felixstowe UK 3,251,077
9 41 Port of Barcelona Barcelona Spain 2,569,549
10 44 Port of Le Havre Le Havre France 2,488,654
11 46 Malta Freeport Marsaxlokk Malta 2,300,000
12 49 Port of Zeebrugge Zeebrugge Belgium 2,209,715
13 55 Port of Dublin Dublin Ireland 2,039,041
14 58 Port of London London UK 2,006,721
15 60 Port of Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia 1,983,110
16 63 Port of Southampton Southampton UK 1,850,132
17 69 Port of Genoa Genoa Italy 1,766,605
18 75 Port of Las Palmas Las Palmas*[2] Spain 1,428,944
19 77 Port of Constanța Constanța Romania 1,380,935
20 83 Port of La Spezia La Spezia Italy 1,246,139
21 105 Port of Gothenburg Gothenburg Sweden 862,595
22 112 Port of Marseille Marseille France 826,023
23 115 Port of Taranto Taranto Italy 786,655
24 116 Port of Leghorn Leghorn Italy 778,864

Monday, 13 February 2012

Rena's condition worsens, more boxes taken from wreck off New Zealand

SALVAGE operators working the stricken 3,036-TEU Rena off the New Zealand coast were removing containers and other cargo this week from the sunken stern section of the wreck which ran aground October 5 on the Astrolabe Reef.

The condition of the wreck continues to deteriorate with electronic sensors showing heave and roll on both the separated bow and stern sections, said the coast guard agency, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), which estimated that 250 containers were still below decks in the forward section of the wreck.

But because of the damage to the vessel and containers, MNZ says it is impossible to gain an accurate count of exactly how many remain onboard.

Svitzer salvage crews have cables to secure the Smit Borneo crane barge to the port quarter of the wreck, reports The Bay of Plenty SunLive. The barge is positioned to enable them to work the after holds and seafloor near the barge.

Salvage crews have removed eight containers from the sunken section using this method. There are still containers on the bow section of the wreck and efforts are continuing to cut and grind them, with assistance from helicopters to remove debris.

Container salvage contractor Braemar Howells has received 491 containers from the Rena, and recovered another 70 from the sea and beaches. A further 17 have been located, but not recovered. This brings the total either recovered or located to 578 out of the original 1,368 onboard when the ship ran aground.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

G6 Alliance to launch Asia-Europe service from March

Groundbreaking cooperation on Asia-Europe trade lanes to be deployed next month
G6 Alliance will operate more than 90 vessels on a total of nine services
The six members of the G6 Alliance have announced that they are to bring forward their groundbreaking cooperation on the Asia-Europe container trade lanes by a full month to the first week of March.

The G6 Alliance, announced in December, saw the coming together of members of both the Grand Alliance (NYK, Hapag-Lloyd and OOCL) and the New World Alliance (APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Mitsui OSK Lines) in the operation of more than 90 vessels on the key trade route.

“We are eager to roll out our competitive products to benefit customers by offering a comprehensive and increased coverage of 40 ports in the Asia-Europe market with more sailing frequency,” the members said in a statement.

“Customer response to the G6 Alliance is strong, the latest economic condition in the trade supports the timing of the launch, and we are ready to meet the market’s expectations.”

The G6 Alliance will begin with the launch of six services between Asia and North Europe come March. However, those serving Japanese ports will commence after completion of consultations with the Japan Harbor Transportation Association and labor unions.

A seventh service, providing direct coverage to the Bohai Bay ports in Dalian and Xingang, will follow when it can be supported by sustainable trade conditions.

The G6 Alliance will continue the existing Asia-Mediterranean Express Service (EUM) and will also launch a new Asia-Black Sea Express Service (ABX) in the first week of April.

The base-plan port rotation of the G6 Alliance loops is as follows, subject to the confirmation of berth availability:

Loop 1
Kobe, Nagoya, Shimizu, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Cai Mep., Singapore, Jeddah, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Southampton, Le Havre, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kobe.

Loop 2
To be finalized

Loop 3
Shanghai, Ningbo, South China, Singapore, Tangier, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Gdansk, Gothenburg, Rotterdam, Jeddah, Singapore, South China, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Loop 4
Ningbo, Shanghai, South China, Singapore, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Singapore, South China and Ningbo.

Loop 5
Kwangyang, Busan, Shanghai, South China, Singapore, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Thamesport, Singapore and Kwangyang.

Loop 6
Kaohsiung, Xiamen, South China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombo, Southampton, Antwerp, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Jebel Ali, Singapore, South China and Kaohsiung.

Loop 7
Qingdao, Shanghai, Hong Kong, South China, Singapore, Salalah, Le Havre, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Southampton, Tangier, Salalah, Singapore, South China and Qingdao.

ABX Service
Ningbo, Shanghai, South China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Said, Ashdod, Istanbul, Constanza, Odessa, Istanbul, Ashdod, Port Said, Singapore and Ningbo.

EUM Service
Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, South China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Klang, Jeddah, Damietta, Genoa, FOS Sur Mer, Barcelona, Valencia, Damietta, Jeddah, Singapore, Hong Kong and Busan.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Better located – and no M25 !

By David Ralph, chief executive, Haven Gateway

For a long time the proposed London Gateway container terminal on the River Thames seemed speculative. Announcements that construction was starting always seemed caveated – but now London Gateway is on the way. After some considerable delays, port owner and operator DP World has confirmed that the new deepwater container facility will open in the fourth quarter 2013. Suddenly a proposal that’s been beyond the distant horizon for longer than most can remember is going to become reality.

What does that mean for the Port of Felixstowe and the wider Haven Gateway’s shipping and logistics sector? Undoubtedly it means new competition – we would always support that. Clearly, it’s also a time when we must redouble our efforts and make sure the world knows what the Haven Gateway has to offer.

The Haven Gateway is indeed “unrivalled”! We should not undersell or underestimate our considerable advantages when serving the maritime and logistics sector.

As Felixstowe port’s owner, Hutchison Ports UK, recently pointed out: “We are better located, closer to the main shipping lanes than they [London Gateway] are, we have better rail connections than they will be able to offer, and we don’t need to navigate the M25 to get everywhere from here.”

Felixstowe is unrivalled as the UK’s largest container port by far – and one of the largest in Europe. HPUK has demonstrated its commitment by investing heavily in Berths 8&9, and further investment is on the way in a new rail terminal this year.

The Haven Gateway is committed to supporting and developing the subregion’s maritime and logistics sector, and that has included, in recent times, carrying out a major employment land study to identify suitable sites for employment and business, some with a specific focus on logistics.

If you must look for the downsides, there is one; we may not have to endure the M25, but we do have our own challenges in the form of the A14. This is a road that links the country’s busiest container port with the highly populated, industrial heartland of England. For years we and many others have lobbied the government regarding the upgrade of this vital corridor. And it does seem that our voices are at last being heard.

In its Autumn Statement, the government set out its intention to address problems with the A14; this was followed by the “A14 Challenge”, an engagement process seeking views on the way ahead, including whether the improvements should be funded by a toll road.

Now we must wait to hear the government’s proposals. John Dugmore, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said recently: “The A14 plays a fundamental part in the daily operation of the Suffolk economy. For far too long the need to address what are regular incidents of congestion has been ignored. We have to make it clear that the time is right and the time is now for improvements to be made.”

Industrial action at APMT Rotterdam

09 Feb 2012

APMT Rotterdam is suffering strike action over a stalemate with unions on compensation for the future higher state retirement age, Port Strategy has learnt.

According to APM Terminals, industrial action started on Monday with a six hour stoppage of operations and continued yesterday with 10 minutes stoppages by workers every hour. Yesterday afternoon there has been another 1.5 hour strike.

Tuesday night, one of the terminal’s biggest customers Maersk Line announced that it is temporarily diverting operations through Antwerp for the rest of this week and probably for next week too.

Cors Radings, spokesman at APMT Rotterdam, told PS: “This is of great concern to us. The action has not only cost us delays in handling containers this week, but it is now affecting our reputation and reliability as a terminal.”

The stalemate has been reached because the unions want all employers to plug the gap between the new OAP age of 67 (coming into effect from 2025), and the present retirement age of 63 or 65.

APMT said today that they are open to discussion and negotiation with the unions, but that it wants to discuss the issue away from the existing collective labour agreement – which the union is so far refusing to do.

Competition is already stiff for business in Rotterdam and APMT can ill afford any loss of business in the current climate.

All Port Users

All Port Users

Please be advised that Dock Gate 2 will be closed for essential maintenance work tomorrow, Saturday 11th February between 08:00 & 12:30.

Entry and exit to the Port throughout the duration of the closure will be via Dock Gate 1.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The London Gateway effect

There are almost two years to go before London Gateway opens, but already the marketing execs are out amongst potential customers talking up their respective ports.

For nigh on two decades Felixstowe has enjoyed its status as the UK’s premier container port unchallenged, and while there is no question of London Gateway taking that mantle overnight, its existence will provide a competitive challenge to Felixstowe the like of which it has not seen since the entrance of Thamesport in 1990.

It is worth recalling that its opening was accompanied by such a precipitous nose-dive in handling rates that “the Thamesport effect”, as it came to be known, was synonymous with introducing a large slab of capacity and the downward effect that had on container handling pricing.

There is no question that executives at Felixstowe owner Hutchison fear that might repeat itself at the end of 2013, when London Gateway is scheduled to open.

The problem is one specific to the port industry – while handling rates can be subject to rapid downwards shifts, the opposite is not true; it is incredibly hard for terminal operators to push rates upwards, even in times when capacity is scarce, which it certainly won’t be for the foreseeable future.

“It’s going to be a bloodbath,” one Felixstowe executive told me privately a couple of months ago.

Given the fact that both parent companies have deep pockets, there ought to be every reason to expect a prolonged battle for shipping line customers.

Except that the nature of supply chains has changed considerably in the intervening years since the initial Thamesport effect. The development of portcentric logistics; the greater interest in which cargo owners are taking in port activities; and the greater involvement of logistics companies and freight forwarders in operations adjacent to container terminals means that terminals’ client bases have expanded vertically.

It is one thing negotiating with a shipping line over handling fees, but quite another if the shipping line’s own customers are demanding it use a certain port against another – and if it doesn’t those shippers will simply switch to a carrier that will call at that port.

What prominent UK freight forwarders – who are already in advanced discussions with London Gateway – believe is that both London and Felixstowe should begin promoting the UK as an alternative distribution point for Europe as a whole, particularly in regards to imports from Asia.

This argument is based on three factors: the UK’s deepsea ports have traditionally been the first call on Asia-Northern Europe and the last call on Northern Europe-Asia strings; the change in value of Sterling against the Euro has given the UK significant operating cost advantages; and thirdly, the ongoing Eurozone crisis profoundly undermines any confidence cargo owners might have about investing in continental distribution hubs.

One freight forwarder recently told me: “London Gateway has the chance to change the distribution system across Europe, and there’s no reason why Felixstowe can’t do the same. Who on earth would invest in distribution centres in the Eurozone at the moment?”

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

World's idle container fleet grows 10-fold to 750,900 TEU over 6 months

THE global idle containership fleet increased to 286 ships with a total capacity of 750,900 TEU as of the end of January 2012, up 10-fold since June when it hit a low of 75,000 TEU, according to Paris-based Alphaliner.

This was attributed to excessive growth container shipping capacity combined with "sluggish' demand on all key trade lanes. By contrast the total active world fleet increased six per cent to 14.8 million TEU over the same period last year.

The data highlights that the Far East-Europe and Far East-North America trades, accounting for 40 per cent of total world fleet deployment, experienced the smallest capacity growth compared to all other routes last year.

It said total capacity deployed on the Far East-North America trade declined four per cent on the back of slowing North American imports in 2011, while the total Far East-Europe capacity grew by four per cent last year.

"Weak operating margins forced the withdrawal of a number of smaller-capacity loops on both of these two routes last year," said the report.

As for the total capacity deployed the on transatlantic, Far East-Middle East, Latin America and Oceania trade lanes rose more than 10 per cent during the period under review. It said that "weaker" demand is expected this year. However, it anticipates the addition of further capacity into these secondary trade lanes will be "limited".

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

War of words reignites between London Gateway and Felixstowe Port

London Gateway’s Commercial Manager makes case against using Felixstowe
The war of words between the developers of London Gateway and the Port of Felixstowe has been reignited once more following comments made by London Gateway’s Commercial Manager Peter Ward at a logistics networking event last week.

Speaking at the Logistics Leaders Network event at London Gateway, set to be the UK’s largest port when completed next year, Ward claimed that the DP World facility would prove to be a more attractive alternative to neighboring Felixstowe.

“Our promise is to provide 40 percent improvement in productivity compared with existing ports,” said Ward.

“This will be about increased schedule reliability leading to shorter transit times and compressed lead times compared with Felixstowe, especially in high wind situations when Felixstowe has to close.”

“Given our location, that will happen less often here,” he added.

Wards comments followed his claims that only Rotterdam and Antwerp were in direct competition with London Gateway, according to the IFW.

Earlier this month, Hutchison Ports, the owner of Felistowe Port, noted how when open London Gateway would be a “massive threat” to business.

The owners of London Gateway, DP World, are hoping that 3.5 million TEU will be handled annually by the facility located on the Thames Estuary.

Each year, the Ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam handle 10 million TEU and 15 million TEU respectively.

“The new 18,000 TEU vessels that London Gateway is designed for cost something like US$1 million per day to run, so we want to deliver the most efficient service possible and change some of the legacy practices in the industry,” said Ward.

“Without this extra capacity the UK risks turning into a feeder nation for Antwerp or Rotterdam, and the extra costs of transporting goods from those locations will ultimately mean higher costs for consumers in the UK.”

“We’re trying to persuade the industry to make London Gateway the bill of lading destination of choice and to avoid Rotterdam altogether,” added Ward.

The Logistics Leaders Network event also gave Ward the chance to announce that two ‘major household names’ were interested in the development of major warehouses at the logistics park adjacent to the London Gateway site.

London Gateway is scheduled to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Drewry: Carriers hit on-time high with Maersk, Hanjin and Cosco leading

CONTAINER service reliability reached a new high in the final quarter of 2011 with an on-time average of 69 per cent across all the trades covered by the latest Drewry's Schedule Reliability Insight report.

Maersk Line retained its position as the most reliable of the "Top 20" carriers across all the trades covered by Drewry, followed by CKHY Alliance members Hanjin Shipping and Cosco in second and third place respectively.

The fourth quarter showed six percentage points over the previous quarter revealing schedule reliability improvement over three consecutive quarters, a feat only equalled once before between fourth quarter 2008 and second quarter 2009 when it reached a record of 68 per cent, after which it declined significantly.

The latest statistics show that the best on-time results were set during period of low freight rates which reinforces the belief that reliability and price and not directly related to one another, said researcher Simon Heaney.

"However, there is evidence that continued periods of low, loss-inducing rates do eventually wear away at carriers' motivation to maintain reliability. Their commitment to reliability will be tested this year as we do not expect to see huge rate hikes."

For the first time, the report also measured reliability by vessel size and operator. The standard reliability rankings include all services that a carrier offers space on regardless of whether they participate as a vessel operator or via a slot charter agreement. The vessel operator-only rankings had Hanjin and Maersk on top again with on-time percentages of 91 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Lines form up in new battle for market share

The battle for market share on the Far East-North Europe service is set to heat up again after operators in the trade finalise routes and alliances.

Figures published by analyst Alphaliner show that the total weekly capacity deployed on the trade will increase to 284,000teu a week until the summer, up from 248,000teu currently.

“The Far East-North Europe partnership reshuffle of 2012 will see the most significant carrier realignment since 1996-1997, when the last major alliance restructuring took place,” said Alphaliner.

Last month, UASC confirmed that it would expand its co-operation with CSCL and CMA CGM on the trade from this month.

By the end of June, the new network configurations of the various carrier alliances should be fully implemented. Until then, weekly capacity on the trade is expected to rise by up to 14% above that available at the beginning of the year, and by up to 2.5%, year-on-year, said Alphaliner.

However, it believes carriers will try to avoid a potentially devastative rate war by removing some of the excess capacity by pulling out smaller loops and shifting some of the largest newbuildings of more than 10,000teu to secondary trades.

“This is illustrated by the planned assignment of several UASC 13,100teu newbuildings to a Far East-Middle East loop operated jointly with CSCL and CMA CGM. This would be the first time that ships of over 10,000teu were deployed on the loop,” said Alphaliner.

However, freight rates will remain under pressure, said the analyst, as demand growth is expected to weaken this year to only 1.5%.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Strong growth predicted for European ports in coming months

Global Port Tracker predicts rise in Europe's ocean container volumes
Container volumes for next 6 months expected to hit 2008 levels
Europe's ocean container volumes are expected to show considerable signs of growth for the second half of the year, according to the Global Port Tracker: North Europe Trade Outlook’s latest European trade forecast.

The forecast projects that containerised volumes at Europe's key ports are to reach levels last seen in the first quarter of 2008, according to the Journal of Commerce.

The projected figures state a slow amount of growth at first, but as the year continues the figures become more encouraging, according to the results released earlier this week by Hackett Associates and the Bremen Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics.

Ben Hackett, principal of Hackett Associates stated, “We are now back to the levels last seen in early 2008 and we expect the monthly flows to continue to outperform last year’s volumes".

However, Mr Hackett did warn that there may be a return to the laying up of ships as oil and food prices take their toll on consumer demands, according to the Journal of Commerce.

Despite predictions of strong growth within the ports of Northern Europe, they do show lower overall increases than the rest of the continent, Sonke Maatsch of ISL told the JOC.

The report highlights six of Europe's major northern ports, including the Port of Hamburg, that projects export volumes to remain relatively flat on a month-to-month basis, yet a solid year-over-year growth, according to the Port Tracker forecast.

MSC adds third of five 13,050-TEUers to Far East-north Europe Lion service

GENEVA's Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has received the third in a series of five ships ordered in October 2007 from the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) in Korea to be chartered on its Far East-north Europe Lion service along with MSC Trieste delivered December 2011.

The renamed 13,050-TEU MSC Ariane charter is backed by Hamburg-based shipowner Reederei Claus Peter Offen and is to be joined by two remaining vessels in the coming four months to replace 8,400-9,200 TEU on this service.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Felixstowe: Four arrested in alleged tobacco-smuggling plot

FELIXSTOWE: Four suspected smugglers are on bail today after large quantities of hand-rolling tobacco were seized at Felixstowe and Southampton ports.

They include a 40-year-old woman who was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of evading more than £1million in excise duty, following the discovery of hauls totalling 6.5 tonnes.

UK Border Agency officers uncovered the three separate cargo loads of tobacco, which were recorded on import documents as ‘Chinese Herbs’, last April.

Three tonnes were
seized at Felixstowe, while around three-and-a-half tonnes were found at Southampton.

Each illegal consignment was referred to criminal investigators of HM Revenue and Customs for investigation.

It is estimated the total haul could have made over 12 million cigarettes.

The woman was arrested in Croydon, Greater London.

Meanwhile three men, aged 25, 29, and 36, were also detained in North Kensington, London, in relation to 1.65 tonnes of tobacco seized at Southampton Container Port in December 2011.

All the suspects are Chinese nationals. At least one of the men is believed to be in the county illegally.

A home in Croydon, three in London, and a commercial address in North Kensington, London, have been searched by customs officers, as the investigation continues.

The inquiry has already spanned a nine-month period as the Felixstowe seizure was made in April last year.

The female suspect has been released on bail until April 24, while the men are on bail until April 19.

All four were arrested for being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty chargeable on tobacco.

HM Revenue & Customs spokesman Bob Gaiger said: “Smuggling cigarettes and tobacco into the UK can have a devastating impact on legitimate traders and deprives the nation of around £2billion a year in lost revenue which is needed for vital public services.

“We urge people to work more closely with us in the fight against crime and encourage anyone who is aware of illicit cigarettes or tobacco being smuggled into or sold in the UK to contact the Customs hotline 0800 59 5000 or e-mail”