Thursday, 28 June 2012

Update: Bomb squad called to the Port of Felixstowe

THE bomb squad have today been called to the Port of Felixstowe after workers discovered an armoured shell.

Suffolk police said they were contacted by the port’s police force at around 2.10pm.

The bomb squad are currently en route to the port and will be assessing the situation when they get there.

More to follow.

The shell, described as two inches in diameter, washed up on the beach earlier today.

Suffolk police were contacted by the port’s police force at around 2.10pm.

The bomb squad were called to the incident and upon examining the item they determined that the shell was not live.

MSC suspends eastbound bookings from north Europe, 'vessels fully booked'

THE Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has refused cargo bookings for three weeks on sailings from North Europe to the Far East from June 22, saying their vessels are fully booked, reports Alphaliner.

The company said that its vessels departing from North Europe were fully booked for weeks 25/26/27 of its four North Europe-Far East loops: Silk, Lion, Swan (slots on CMA CGM's FAL 3) and Condor (slots on CMA CGM's FAL 1).

Maersk Line did much the same in March, suspending eastbound Europe-Far East bookings for a month. Maersk attributed the booking cessation to the "large number of consecutive vessel cancellations following the Chinese New Year" in westbound sailings. The move resulted in void sailings from North Europe in March, which had led to a significant cargo build-up in North Europe.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

All change at the port viewpoint?

The Crows Nest - genuinely popular with viewpoint users

One of Felixstowe’s odd little corners is the Port viewpoint, down at the end of Langer Road, just past the Landguard Fort.

On a summer Sunday, it can be a crush at the viewpoint car park – but if you leave your car at the bigger Fort car park, and stroll the last hundred yards, its a good place to go. There’s a tea stand, the Crows Nest, where you can get a drink or a snack.

In the winter, it can be a very different scene. The wintery blast whistles in from the icy North Sea, and on a cold day, it can be the Viking’s version of hell – freezing and nasty. But the tea hut is still there, supplying cups of tea and coffee, cheesy chips, burgers and bacon rolls, although maybe not for so many hours in the day as in summer.

How the hut’s operator, Sam Dorling, makes a living during the winter is a good question – it’s usually closed for a week or three after Christmas, for a big annual clean-up and holidays, but that’s not long. Sam has been at the viewpoint now for over twelve years and she’s a bit of a fixture. She knows everyone – the shipspotters who turn up for new vessels and cruise liners, the TV reporters who turn up from time to time to film their pieces-to-camera, and the visitors who turn up once a year from somewhere miles inland, for their annual glimpse of the sea.

But all that will be up for change this year.

Landguard Common, the peninsula of land on which the Fort and the viewpoint sit, is now under effective new management – the Landguard Partnership, its called, and its a body formed from all the official organisations with an interest in the area.

They’ve got a “vision” for the future which they seem to have found backing for, and they seem to be pushing it forward regardless of what ordinary people like you and me think about their changes.

When the Port of Felixstowe announced its southern extension plans, one of the things it undertook to do was to move the viewpoint to a new location, and to provide a temporary new building, followed by a permanent new building as a visitor centre and cafe/restaurant.

The site, a piece of dock beside the present viewpoint area, has already been fenced from the dock, and some groundworks done. The building, a temporary structure, could be moved in at any time that suits the Dock Company, and informed opinion says that might happen this coming August or September.

Temporary visitor centre - concept

What the Landguard Partnership wants to do is to find a tenant for the new building, with a lease term of (possibly!) ten years. But that same tenant will also have to equip the large new building with all of the commercial kitchen and catering equipment, plus furnishings, at a probable capital cost to them of between £30,000 and £40,000, and of course to pay rent, taxes and upkeep and maintenance on the whole structure for the whole period.

But the best of this deal is yet to come. After around 3 years, the Dock reckons it might need to extend the quay in its second stage, which means that the temporary building would need to be moved to the new Landguard Fort car park, with no view, and no tourist interest, for anything up to three or four years.

Then, once the new second stage extension is complete, the new permanent building would be constructed, and the existing tenant, and any other interested parties, would be invited to tender again.

All of this sounds very airy-fairy, in business terms, to me. Especially as It is based upon a whole string of assumptions about what the Port of Felixstowe will do over the next ten or more years – and that is a subject which I doubt that even the Port owner’s top management, in their Hong Kong executive offices, have a completely clear idea.

Final version of the cafe/centre - after the next dock extension is completed

Hutchison Ports UK have already postponed their Bathside (Harwich) terminal plans, and as their Felixstowe business comes under increasing threat from new port developments on the Thames and elsewhere, some pundits are saying that they’ll add berths to their Thamesport terminal, at the mouth of the River Medway, before doing more at Felixstowe.

So, what’s going to happen next?

The deadline for potential tenants to submit their tenders is the 11th July, just a couple of weeks away. At that point, the Landguard Partnership will be able to decide who (if anyone) will be taking on this first tender, although very obviously the final permanent viewpoint facility, when it is eventually built, will be a different proposition.

“With all of the potential variables in the melting pot, would you take it on?” I asked a very well known local businessman. His response was less than enthusiastic.

While he thought a well-promoted cafe might do well enough during the summer on the existing site, he didn’t believe that anything more than the present very low profile, low overhead operation would survive the winter. “None of the site’s winter population, shipspotters and older people on tight budgets, will be buying barista coffees at £2 a pop – they’ll be taking their flasks.”

He was even more scathing about the plan to reposition the cafe on the Fort Car Park for a number of years. “No-one will have a reason to go there with the port and sea views cut off . . so I don’t imagine anyone will buying much. A view of the Landguard Fort in December isn’t going to be too inspiring.”

London Gateway beats Felixstowe for location, says logistics firm

UK logistics firm The Finishing Line ‘aspires’ to switch when DP World terminal opens next year

A UK-based logistics company is advising shipper clients to switch their containers from Felixstowe to London Gateway when the box terminal opens in 2013.

The £1.5bn ($2.3m) DP World-owned container port and logistics park 25 miles from London will open in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 1.6m teu of first-phase capacity, rising to 3.5m teu of capacity in its final phase.

Essex-based The Finishing Line, whose core business involves logistics for 70m magazines a year, says it can remove more than 500,000 truck miles from UK roads by using London Gateway.

Although the magazines are produced in the UK, they source promotional cover-page novelty gifts and toys primarily from the Far East. Many of the containers go through Felixstowe, the UK’s largest box hub that is owned by Hutchison Port Holdings.

Finishing Line chairman Andy Mead, whose warehousing is based in Basildon, some eight miles from London Gateway, said that it was still “undecided” whether the operator would move into the logistics park alongside the box terminal. “It is purely an aspiration at this point,” he said.

Mr Mead – who estimates that 70% of Finishing Line destined traffic goes through Felixstowe – added: “We are telling our customers, rather than taking your containers into Felixstowe, send them into London Gateway.”

Finishing Line handles the equivalent of 10,000 teu per annum.

“Today, you just can’t get the world’s largest ships this close to the key UK markets,” Mr Mead said. “Next year, that will all change.

“The value in London Gateway is huge for companies based in and around London and the southeast. It also offers significant savings for those in the Midlands and further afield.

“We are saying to our customers that it is a complete waste of time to send their containers up the M1 [motorway] and then back down again.

“The reason why we are advising our customers to switch from Felixstowe to London Gateway, when it comes on board, is purely to do with the logistics and the reduction in transport miles.”

Mr Mead estimates that some 30%-40% of the product ends up in London and the southeast.

“The product coming in through Felixstowe often goes up to the Midlands and back down again to us,” he said.

“It would make more sense for it to come straight to us from Felixstowe, but we can still cut out more hours and more cost out of the supply chain by using London Gateway, which is on our doorstep.”

London Gateway commercial director Charles Meaby said: “London Gateway provides a unique opportunity to save UK businesses hundreds of millions of pounds every year as we are closer to the key UK markets. It’s a simple proposition of less cost and more reliability delivered by a world class team.”

HPH declined to comment.

Felixstowe: Port workers showcase military service

MEMBERS of the Reserve Forces working at the Port of Felixstowe are today swapping their usual work clothes for military uniforms.

They are celebrating Wear Your Uniform to Work Day, which highlights the crucial role played by Reservists in Britain’s armed forces.

The 19 port Reservists and their commanding officers have been invited to a special event on the dock, organised by the port in conjunction with SaBRE (Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers), involving a port tour, private lunch and a flying visit from an army Apache attack helicopter.

David Gledhill, chief executive officer for Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, who is himself a Lieutenant Colonel in the Engineer and Logistics Staff Corps, said: “Uniform to Work Day provides a great opportunity to celebrate the role of the Reserves and to remind both the public and our employees the armed forces are made up of people from all sections of the community, from office workers to crane drivers.

“We are proud of the remarkable work that our Reservists undertake as volunteers and we hope they enjoy their day.”

Kristina Carrington, regional SaBRE campaign director, said: “The support, dedication and commitment the Port of Felixstowe gives to its employees who are members of the Reserve Forces is absolutely vital to the continuing participation of the Reserves in the UK’s defence capability.”

The UK has 38,000 Reservists, who have been deployed around 24,000 times since 2003 on operations around the globe, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus and in support of the NATO mission in Libya.


P D Ports Council have started up their own web page.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Felixstowe new berths 8 & 9 F.S.R

A view from the very top of one of the 7 brand new ZPMC ship to shore cranes on Berths 8 & 9 ( the old Landguard Terminal ).

Thanks to Fram Man - M C for the photos.


At the initiative of the Belgian Transport Workers Union (UBOT-FGTB), representatives of dockworkers’ unions from 11 European countries, including Belgium (UBOT-FGTB and CGSLB), France (CGT), the Netherlands (FNV), German (Ver.di), the UK (Unite), Spain (CC.OO and Coordinadora), Italy (CGIL), Portugal (SETC), Denmark (3F), Norway (NTF) and Sweden (SDU) met at Antwerp’s "Schipperswelzijn" training centre on 15 June 2012.
The conference noted that the European Commission is preparing to introduce, more discreetly on this occasion, a third initiative aimed at liberalising port services.

This also forms the context of the study conducted by Professor Van Hooydonck in 22 maritime member states, at the request of the European Commission.
While the conference in no way questioned the integrity of this study, it was extremely concerned as to how it could be used or abused by the Commission. Participants actually feared that it could represent the first step towards a third port package.
The conference felt that the European Commission is intentionally misrepresenting the ‘inefficiency’ of the ports, which are supposedly controlled by monopolies.
The plans for liberalisation have nothing to do with inefficiency, but are only intended to satisfy the demands of the powerful maritime lobby. The conference condemned the management’s stalling tactics in terms of launching social dialogue, which should have started three years ago.
The leaders of the trade union organisations affiliated to the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), the ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) and the IDC (international Dockworker’s Council) stated and confirmed their willingness to participate in social dialogue – the launch of which has been delayed for over three years, for reasons that remain unclear – with the European Commission and various stakeholders on important topics, such as safety and professional training. However, they will not hesitate to express their DISAPPROVAL, if this dialogue leads to the dismantling of the working conditions, which were hard won and currently exist at the various European ports.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Algeciras weighs up development potential

25 Jun 2012

Costs for shipping lines in Algeciras are 50% more expensive than at Tanger-Med. Credit: Laura Fernandez
Hanjin-owned Total Terminal International Algeciras handled 650,000 teu last year and could reach 1m teu in 2012. However, no decision has yet been reached as to whether to proceed with a Phase B development of the terminal.
Around 92% of current traffic is transhipment. Chief executive Alonso Luque points out that expanding the terminal is therefore a “must” to reach the critical mass needed to make this business profitable.
“Margins in transhipment are minimal. You need a lot of volume to make a reasonable return or at least to cover costs. After that, it's import-export traffic that makes the difference between profit and loss,” he says.
But why is Hanjin seemingly reluctant to commit more investment? Part of the answer is that costs for shipping lines in Algeciras are 50% more expensive than at Tanger-Med.
“We therefore have to make a major effort to offset this difference. We need to attract more shipping lines and the best way of doing that is by offering good prices, whilst also providing service and productivity. However, if we can't offer the prices lines are looking for, really, there's no point!” Mr Luque says.
The port authority has already done Mr Luque stressing that just 10 are needed in TTIA.
“Anything above that represents an additional cost for us,” he says.
Unless this downsizing can be achieved, the Phase B development would be dubiously profitable. a lot of work in getting rates down, but there is still a 10%-15% differential to be overcome. TTIA is therefore aiming to cut labour costs. At present, the work force consists of 1,200 permanent stevedores, with 420 more casual workers seeking to join this pool. But labour gangs, which consists of 14-15 members, are larger than at either Barcelona or Valencia, with
“To go ahead, we either need a guarantee that gang sizes will fall or, at the very least, a stable functioning baseline that is acceptable to our business – and that will only come through an agreement with the workers,” he says, adding that Algeciras' big plus is that, to date, it has had labour peace. Nevertheless, he emphasises that quite how much reliability will feature in any negotiations with potential new shipping line customers is hard to say.

HWL happy with its UK investments

(Hong Kong, 21 May 2012) In response to media inquiries on speculations that Hutchison Whampoa Limited may stop to invest in the UK or quit the UK telecom market, a spokesman for HWL said that:
1. The speculations that HWL may stop investment in the UK and /or quit the UK telecom market are totally untrue and groundless;
2. HWL is the largest Asian investor in the UK and is happy with its current investments in the country; and
3. HWL is actively looking at various different investment opportunities in the UK.

HWL is one of the world’s largest privately owned container terminal operators and a world leader in port services, holding interests in 52 ports comprising 315 berths in 26 countries.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Health & Safety

Another day in the life as a Stevedore.

UK: World’s First 100 Pct Fossil Fuel Free Sailing Cargo Ships Underway

Development is underway to design the modern world’s first 100 per cent fossil fuel free sailing cargo ships.
With rising fossil fuel prices and the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this project is set to change the shipping industry by providing efficient and affordable low-carbon shipping. The project combines proven technology, using the state of the art dyna-rig sail propulsion system with an off the shelf Rolls-Royce engine powered by waste derived liquid biomethane (liquid gas).
The ships are being developed by B9 Shipping, part of the B9 Energy group of companies, which has started work on a full-scale demonstration vessel validating the engineering and economic assumptions of the initial vessel design.
The fundamental testing programme is being conducted at the University of Southampton’s Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics (WUMTIA), which has provided innovative marine technology and industrial aerodynamics expertise for over 40 years to a world-wide customer base.
Diane Gilpin, Director of B9 Shipping, says: “The shipping sector is a highly complex, interconnected system and our task has been to develop relationships with key players across the industry. Having worked previously with WUMTIA, I believe this collaboration will enable a robust, commercially and technically viable solution to be ready for scale once the engineering is proven.”
Kevin Forshaw, Industry Liaison for the newly formed Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) at the University of Southampton, says: “Helping to develop viable means of propulsion for shipping in a post-carbon economy is a strategic objective for SMMI, and the B9 concept offers a viable alternative that we will be seeking to support at every opportunity.’’
The testing programme, which begins in June, will undertake tow tank and wind tunnel research to identify a basic hull design and how it interacts with the dyna-rig system. It will examine various options in the performance parameters of a B9 Ship in scale model, calibrating the thrust from the sailing rig with various hull shapes to secure optimum performance efficiencies in a wide range of meteorological and sea conditions, whilst delivering against the essential commercial (loading and discharge; port constraints) aspects.
Engineering data will be used to assess and model more accurately various economic performance scenarios: for example varying the proportion of propulsion delivered by the wind/dyna-rig relative to that provided from liquid biomethane derived from waste by B9 Shipping’s sister company, B9 Organic Energy.
This economic analysis will be undertaken later in the summer once towing tank and wind tunnel testing is complete and all data has been validated.
Diane says: “We are designing B9 Ships holistically as super-efficient new builds transferring technology from offshore yacht racing combined with the most advanced commercial naval architecture. We’re combining proven technologies in a novel way to develop ‘ready-to-go’ future-proof and 100 per cent fossil fuel free ships. This approach means financial investment and crucially, garnering support and furthering understanding with the shipping sector that there is a need for urgent change and through collaboration we can create viable commercially successful solutions.”

Thursday, 21 June 2012

European dockers’ unions join forces over new port legislation plans

Representatives of dockworkers’ unions from 11 countries have met in Antwerp, Belgium for a conference focusing on European Commission (EC) plans to introduce a third ports initiative which would go one step further in removing the professional status of dockworkers in Europe.ITF- and ETF- affiliated unions joined forces with those represented by the International Dockworkers Council (IDC), in a united front against the proposals to bring in a fresh package of legislation. It comes in the wake of ports packages 1 and 2, elements of which were fiercely opposed, and successfully thwarted, by dockers unions across Europe at the time of introduction.The new package of proposals, expected to be announced in 2013, has been branded by the unions as a further attempt at port liberalisation and an attack on organised labour in European docks, and not in fact an effort at improving efficiency and competitiveness as the EC has represented.The EC has committed to consulting with a wide range of stakeholders ahead of the new package announcement but the conference condemned what it called ‘management stalling tactics’ in terms of launching social dialogue with the unions.The conference, organised by Belgian Transport Workers Union (UBOT-FGTB), made this collective statement: “We confirm our willingness to participate in social dialogue, the launch of which has been delayed for over three years, for reasons that remain unclear. As far as participation in the consultation over the new ports policy is concerned, we will not hesitate to express our disapproval, if this consultation leads to the dismantling of the working conditions, which were hard won and currently exist at the various European ports.”Dockers section secretary Frank Leys added: “The industrial response from unions when the EC tried to take away the protection around dock work in ports packages 1 and 2 was strong. We ask now, is the EC trying to wage war on the waterfront again?”

Contact your Shop Steward for more infomation.

MSC takes delivery of MSC Valeria, its last in firm's 14,000-TEU programme

The ship above is the new type of ship for the MSC Valeria & the bottem picture is the old Valeria that used to be a regular visitor to Felixstowe.

THE Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has received the MSC Valeria, the last vessel in a series of 26 ultra-large containerships (ULCs) with capacities of between 13,798 TEU and 14,000 TEU, built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and Samsung.The 14,000-TEUers are 366 metres long, 51.2 metres wide with a 20-row breath, which are wider than the new Panama locks limit of 49 metres.The MSC Valeria is the 18th of the DSME vessels, which are of a similar design with the Samsung units of the same dimensions. She has joined last week MSC's Asia-Med 'Dragon' service. The MSC Valeria follows the MSC Deila in the DSME series, delivered in April, according to Alphaliner.In addition to these ULCs, MSC has also received 22 neopanamax VLCs ranging in size from 12,500-13,000 TEU and is expecting four further ships of this size before the end of 2012. It has also recently launched a newbuilding programme for six 16,000-TEU ships, to be chartered from Zodiac Maritime.

Commission Invites Stakeholders to Report on Efficiency and Transparency of Ports

The European Commission launched yesterday a business survey that seeks feedback on the quality of port services, the efficiency of the port system and transparency of port organisation. The survey is addressed to port authorities, port service providers, shipping companies, cargo interests and port workers. It covers both sea and inland ports and is a key element in the development of a possible new ‘ports package’, which may be issued next year.
“We welcome the Commission’s initiative to consult stakeholders”, said ESPO Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “Previous attempts to regulate European ports were criticised because they were not based on a fundamental analysis of the sector. Things are different now and we therefore actively encourage our members to contribute to this survey so that an accurate picture of the current situation will emerge.”
The development of a common European ports policy has known a bumpy ride so far. Following the initial steps taken at the end of the 1990s, the Commission tried twice to produce a law on market access to port services, in 2001 and 2004. Both attempts were marked by strong union protests and failed to find majority support in the European Parliament. In 2007, the Commission issued a communication on ports policy, which essentially provided guidance on the application of Treaty rules in the sector. ESPO believes that this communication still forms a good basis for further work. “In our recent manifesto on port management and policy, we emphasise the need to establish clear and proportional guidance“, said Patrick Verhoeven, “At the same time, we believe the Commission should carefully monitor implementation of this guidance and act where manifest breaches of Treaty rules occur.”
The business survey is carried out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and NEA and runs until 24 August. The results will be discussed at a stakeholder conference which the Commission intends to organise in Brussels on 25-26 September this year. In October, another survey will follow in which possible policy options will be presented. These could range from guidance and support measures to infringement procedures and full-blown legislation. Expected key topics include concessions, financing and transparency, public service monopolies and dock labour.

All unions should be following this issue BIG TIME.

Contact your Shop Steward for more infomation.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Always put your hard hat on.

One day it might just save your life.

Shippers reject calls for mandatory container weighing

The European Shippers Council has set out its opposition to the broad grouping of maritime interests that have called for the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) regulations to be amended to require all containers to be weighed before loading at the export port to ensure to that the actual weights match the declared weight on the shipping documents.
The proposal – put forward by the Danish and Dutch governments in conjunction with shipping bodies the World Shipping Council, BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping – follows from what its proponents claim is mounting evidence that mis-declared container weights are a major cause of accidents in the container supply chain: from the series of collapsed container stacks that have occurred on box vessels over recent years, to the capsizing of the MSC Napoli in the English Channel in 2007, as well as to a series of truck rollovers.
However, Marco Wiesehahn, member of the ESC’s maritime transport committee, argued that there is already a Solas requirement for shippers to correctly declare weights, and the new proposals that make it the legal responsibility of the shipper to verify the declared weights will not make container shipping any safer.
In the case of the MSC Napoli, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report found that although 20% of the boxes were heavier than their declared weights, it added that “the effect of the discrepancies alone would have been insufficient to cause hull failure”.
“It was bad maintenance of the vessel itself that was the cause of the accident,” said Mr Wiesehahn told The Loadstar. “Instead of just focusing on the container weights we have to get back to the core of the problem: firstly the lashing of the containers on the stack; secondly the maintenance procedures of the carriers; and thirdly the fact that it is common practice that around 10% of all containers loaded on a ship will end up on a stack different to that on the stowage plan.
“Even if a shipper correctly declares a weight, and verifies it, there is still a 10% chance that it will be put in the wrong stack and cause a collapse.”
He also argued that under the current regime carriers are already in position to refuse containers whose weight has been mis-declared.
“We already have the existing Solas regulations, but the execution of these isn’t being taken seriously. Carriers have the opportunity to say to shippers who they know regularly mis-declare weights that they will refuse their cargo, but they do not do that on commercial grounds.”
Further, he stated that the ESC has no opposition to containers being weighed at terminals, but said that terminal operators, most of whom have the ability to weigh boxes, oppose the notion that they be held legally responsible for verifying container weights
Although it advocates weighing containers within terminals as the most practical solution, the WSC-BIMCO-ICS proposal also outlines the possibility of weighing them outside ports, such as at shippers’ loading facilities, a prospect that Mr Weisehahn described as difficult to enforce: “In developed countries with well organised systems that may be feasible, but in other parts of the world you do wonder how that will be enforced.
“The IMO is also a maritime institution that has a right to define legislation for the sea, but container transport also takes place on land and inland waterways, where the IMO has no legal status, and what is needed for that regulation on land is expertise of land and inland waterway transport, and the IMO does not have that.”
He argued that it is actually the joint IMO-International Labour Organisation-UN Economic Commission for Europe working group into cargo transport units – which last met in April – that should take responsibility for setting new regulation because it represented a broader set of interests.
He admitted however that there was more shippers could do in terms of stowing and packing containers to make them safer to transport. “We are not running away from that. There is a need to increase the quality of container stowage, and we have a responsibility to do that.”
At last week’s TOC Container Supply Chain event, a seminar on the subject heard from BIMCO’s chief marine technical officer Aron Sorensen that it hopes that the proposal will be ratified IMO’s maritime safety committee and come into force in 2017.
As Maersk Line’s head of fleet management John Leach pointed out at the same session, it is absurd that “some 50 years into the container business we are still loading vessels where cargo weights are not really known”.
As a footnote, it is worth quoting recent TT Club research that shows that over the past six years, it has received a total of 357 accident claims costing $12.8m that were as a result of bad container stowage and handling. That equated to just over 10% of all supply chain claims made over that period, making it the largest single cause of accidents in the sector.

Felixstowe rail traffic hits all-time high

Management says results point to confidence in intermodal offering as London Gateway opening slowly approaches.

The UK port of Felixstowe has recorded 17,211 teu of rail movements in a single week - the hub’s busiest rail week ever.Felixstowe currently operates two open-access, common-user rail terminals while a third rail has been under construction since March 2012.The news will give some cheer to the port’s operators as they prepare for stiff competition from London Gateway, the DP World-funded port due to open in 2013 and described by Felixstowe’s management as a ’massive threat’.David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK), which owns Felixstowe, commented: “These record-breaking volumes have come at a fundamental time, as the government considers the upgrades to the rail network it will procure over the next five years. "Whilst a number of works on the Felixstowe to Nuneaton connection have already been completed, these record figures highlight the importance of a strong rail network nationwide, as rail freight becomes an ever more popular method of goods movement."Co-financed by the European Union from the Trans-European Network budget, the new North Rail Terminal is designed to handle 30-wagon long freight trains, each capable of carrying 90 teu.The port already moves 750,000 teu per year by rail and the new terminal will eventually more than double its capacity for intermodal traffic. “These volumes highlight customer confidence in the rail facilities at Felixstowe, consolidating our position as the port-of-choice for UK importers, and justifying beyond question both the investments we have been making, and those required in the future," added Glenhill. Rail freight services at Felixstowe are offered by Freightliner, GB Railfreight and DB Schenker. Daily connections are available to and from Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Cleveland, Birmingham, Doncaster, Tilbury, Selby, Hams Hall, Wakefield, Ditton (Widnes), Birch Coppice, Scunthorpe and Bristol

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

.Maritime industry demands mandatory weighing of containers

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has received a formal proposal co-sponsored by a broad array of industry organizations, labor, and governments to require loaded containers to be weighed to determine their actual weight.
The IMO’s Subcommittee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers will consider the proposal at its next meeting in September.
The proposal was submitted by Denmark, The Netherlands, the United States, BIMCO, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and the World Shipping Council (WSC).
“Misdeclared container weights are a recurring safety problem on shore, on ships, and on roadways. It is time to fix that problem,” said BIMCO Secretary General, Torben Skaanild.
“We are pleased that there is such a broad cross-section of industry and government agreement on a specific and effective remedy.”
Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) currently requires the shipper to provide an accurate container weight declaration, but this requirement is often not met, is not enforced by SOLAS parties, and there is no requirement to actually weigh a loaded container.
To rectify the problem, the cosponsors propose a legal requirement, not only that the shipper provides an accurate weight declaration, but that the port facility and the ship have a weight verification certificate obtained by weighing the container. This will ensure that the actual weight of all loaded containers is received prior to stowing the container onto a vessel for export.
“For years, the United States has required all its export containers to be weighed. This has not impaired supply chain efficiency, and it has improved safety,” commented Dr. Geraldine Knatz, president of IAPH and executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
“The technology exists to weigh containers accurately and efficiently, and it should be a universal, required practice.”

UK: Peel Ports Records Strong Barge Service Growth

Peel Ports has boosted capability on its Liverpool-Manchester barge service, and port infrastructure at its Irlam Container Terminal, through the introduction of a new coaster vessel and investments in a new harbour mobile crane.
The arrival of the 160 TEU vessel Monica and a 40 tonne Liebherr mobile crane follows strong growth in Peel Ports barge service operating from the Port of Liverpool to Manchester via the Manchester Ship Canal.
Sparked by demand from customers for greener and more cost-efficient solutions to help reach the heart of the UK, the service has grown from handling 3,000 containers in 2009 to an expected 15,000 this year – a five-fold increase.
The Monica will be deployed on the existing thrice weekly service between Liverpool and Irlam Container Terminal, on the outskirts of Manchester. Additionally, the vessel will enable the service to call more regularly at Ellesmere Port, which was added as a new destination to the service earlier this year.
The new Liebherr crane, complete with two spreader frames, arrived from Austria and was constructed at Irlam Container Terminal.
Stephen Carr, Head of Business Development for Peel Ports Mersey said: “The spectacular growth in demand for the barge service over the last two years has enabled us to invest in this next level of capability.
“Whilst the existing barge has served us well, the capability and flexibility offered by the new vessel and crane will enable us to better meet the growing demands of retailers, FMCG & industrial goods manufacturers and shipping lines alike.
“Over the last year, we have already invested in upgrading the terminal to ISPS security standards and the terminal operating system that is linked to Liverpool via the MCP Destin8 community system allowing containers to be routed directly to Manchester using the GBIRL code. This new investment delivers the next phase of improvements in the quality of this service.”
Currently 90% of deep sea containers arrive in the UK through ports in the South East whilst over 50% of demand is in the Northern half of the UK, resulting in additional strain on the UK’s road and rail network. Last year Peel Ports published its draft Mersey Ports Master Plan, which highlighted its intention to invest in infrastructure that will enable much of this cargo to divert through the Port of Liverpool and to develop distribution centres along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

PD Teesport Port Expanssion

Dock workers consider strike action over contract changes

PD Ports is being accused of introducing a “follow the ship” contract, which means that staff work when the ships are ready for unloading and not to set shift patterns.
“People are sitting at home waiting for he phone to ring just to find out if they can go out and earn a decent living – that’s what used to happen in the 1930s and they seem determined to bring about the casualisation of contracts.
However, one worker, who did not want to be named, claims the pressure of working under the new contracts is having a damaging effect on morale. He said: “They are trying to impose these ‘follow the ship’ contracts, but the workers are not going to have it. Many people are very angry about what is happening to them and we are trying to stop the move spreading across all ports

PD Ports did not respond to requests to comment.

Here was the promise at the start of this expansion !!!!!!!!!

TEESSIDE MPs have given a rapturous welcome to Government approval of PD Ports’ Northern Gateway scheme.
Redcar MP Vera Baird, said the go-ahead for the port project was excellent news, not only for Redcar and Teesside but also for the UK.
"I am delighted for the team at PD Ports. They have worked extremely hard to get this far and I have supported them in their efforts to bring this major development to the area.
"The importance of creating over 5,000 jobs as we continue raising employment in the region is crucial. Our skilled workforce has proven once again an attraction for investors."
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Ashok Kumar, who called a special House of Commons debate on the need to secure investment for the scheme, said it was great news that PD Ports could now get on with the task of implementing the terminal project.
"Receiving planning permission is a big hurdle that has been cleared. If all goes well, I look forward to seeing a scheme that could potentially create up to 5,500 jobs on Teesside and which would see the Tees become one of the biggest major North Sea cargo destinations for the UK and Western Europe."

Felixstowe: Port moves to cut lethal diesel fumes

ACTION is being taken to cut emissions from lorries and equipment at Britain’s biggest port – with health experts now warning that diesel fumes can be deadly.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says diesel engine exhaust fumes can cause cancer and are as potentially lethal as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas.
Suffolk Coastal has already been working to cut fumes from vehicles at the Port of Felixstowe after discovering high levels of nitrogen dioxide on the roads leading in and out of dock gate two, and nearby container parks and haulage yards.
The council’s air quality team has been monitoring the area of the Dooley Inn, Ferry Lane, and investigating – and working with the port – for two years on creating an action plan to deal with the problem.
Last week it completed a three-month public consultation on the plan and officers are now analysing the feedback to see if any alterations should be made to the proposals.
Thirteen measures were recommended for implementation, including use of automatic number plate recognition surveys to record information on movements and types of heavy goods vehicles near to the Dooley Inn; running an air quality awareness campaign targeting local businesses; and engaging with government and other UK ports to develop national policies to improve air quality at ports.
The port has already invested in new engine technology for its gantry cranes, which use 40 per cent less fuel, fitting retro-fuel saving controls to older cranes which will use 25 per cent less fuel and introducing a vehicle booking system to manage access to the port by container lorries.
Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of WHO, has reclassified diesel exhausts as substances that have definite links to cancer.
Researchers say there is “compelling scientific evidence” showing the dangers of diesel fumes, which have been found to cause lung cancer and are connected with increased risk of bladder cancer, and are calling for emissions to be cut worldwide.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Dock workers consider strike action over contract changes

The Blue Fin departs from Teesport on its way to Thailand with a cargo of steel slab, the first to be made by SSI since the reopening of the Redcar steel works
TEESPORT is facing the threat of industrial action from workers, despite winning a contract to handle steel produced at Teesside’s rejuvenated blast furnace, it was claimed last night.
PD Ports is being accused of introducing a “follow the ship” contract, which means that staff work when the ships are ready for unloading and not to set shift patterns.
The shipping centre could be brought to a standstill if staff follow the example of fellow dock workers in Tilbury, in Essex, who staged a 48-hour walkout last month in a similar dispute.

And, with the first load of steel from Redcar’s SSI plant due to arrive in Thailand today, the prospect of industrial action could take the shine off PD Port’s recent successes.
The company, which manages Teesport and the port of Hartlepool, recruited 80 staff to help manage the additional ten million tonnes of cargo that will now be transported up the Tees.
However, one worker, who did not want to be named, claims the pressure of working under the new contracts is having a damaging effect on morale. He said: “They are trying to impose these ‘follow the ship’ contracts, but the workers are not going to have it. Many people are very angry about what is happening to them and we are trying to stop the move spreading across all ports.”
He claimed that some workers at PD Ports are already working under the “follow the ship” contracts and other workers are concerned they will all be forced to change their contracts.
Staff recently refused a pay offer and are now expected to take legal action in their fight to block the contracts, he said.
“A lot of the people who work at these docks aren’t earning vast sums of money,”
he said. “People are sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring just to find out if they can go out and earn a decent living – that’s what used to happen in the 1930s and they seem determined to bring about the casualisation of contracts.
“If the company does not start to take our concerns seriously, we will be forced to seek legal advice and workers could be balloted on taking industrial action.”
In recent years, PD Ports has responded to the downturn in local heavy industry, such as the mothballing of Redcar steelworks and plant closures in the chemical process sector, by investing £17m to expand its container business. Distribution warehouses used by firms such as Asda, Tesco and luxury food firm Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate have transformed the dockside into a hub for the retail industry.
PD Ports did not respond to requests to comment.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Felixstowe: Chance to explore top port on a cycle at big bike day

A NEW cycle map for Felixstowe will be launched this weekend as part of a special event to encourage people to get out and about on their bikes.

Felixstowe Bike Day is taking place at the Port of Felixstowe on Sunday and is part of the port’s award-winning Green Travel Plan initiative to encourage employees and others that work on and around the port to use sustainable transport.
But the event – which will run from 11am to 3pm – is not just for port employees, but is open to all members of the public wanting to find out more about cycling.
It will include displays by a BMX stunt team, guided cycle tours of the port, the chance to try electric bikes, find out more about cycling around the county, and a enjoy a variety of stalls selling bike supplies, and refreshments.
Visitors to the show – which can be reached via the old port entrance at the end of Carr Road, next to Adastral Close – can also take their own cycles along for a health check by trained mechanics.
Mayor of Felixstowe Mike Deacon and county councillor Graham Newman will launch the new Suffolk County Council Felixstowe Cycle Map at 12.30pm.

The cycle map will be similar to the already popular Ipswich and Lowestoft cycle maps, and will feature a directory of local cycle retailers/specialists, information for visitors/tourists so they can get out on their bikes, and hopefully reduce congestion in the town.
David Gledhill, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said: “We take our environmental and community responsibilities very seriously at HPUK, and are justly proud of our Green Travel Plan.
“Our Bike Day is an excellent opportunity for our employees, their families, and the wider public, to see the port from a different perspective, and provides a unique chance to explore it by bicycle.
“We hope that by encouraging our members of staff to ‘get on their bikes’ both for the sake of the environment and the health benefits associated with cycling, we can make a tangible difference in terms of carbon reduction and employee wellbeing.”
Employee cycle use at the port has increased from 6.8 per cent to 11.5pc since 2005.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Carrier reliability ticks up to 81%

But with one in five container ships still late on major trades, some freight professionals say they would pay for punctuality
Schedule reliability among the major container shipping lines increased markedly in May, according to research just published which covers 9,400 arrivals world-wide.The SeaIntel analysts behind the research found that overall reliability, measured as a vessel making its destination within one day of schedule, jumped from 78% to 81% last month.The results still mean, however, that around one in five vessels is late – a proportion criticised as unacceptably high by many in the freight industry, including members of the Lloyd’s Loading LinkedIn group.Rogeria Correia told our LinkedIn group: “The extra time in the transportation pipeline is costing shippers large sums of money. Surely it is time the lines and their customers put their heads together and came up with rates-to-transit time packages that everyone can live with.”Consultant Steve Johnson agreed: “You pay for definite transit time with air so why not ocean?“It would attract customers that need or want lower costs than air but are willing to pay for the service. Failure to meet the transit would require a give back – something the lines don’t do now.”Maersk Line has, in fact, introduced a financial clawback with its Daily Maersk guarantee, but the wider industry has yet to follow suit.Commenting on the reliability report, SeaIntel Maritime Analysis CEO Lars Jensen said that recent improvements were primarily driven by increased reliability on the main east-west trades: Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-Europe. “This might indicate that the somewhat lower performance seen in the last couple of months might have been related to the carriers’ re-shuffling of networks as they were implementing their new alliances,” he added. “If that is the case, the new-found improvement in reliability will be good news to the shippers.”In terms of top performance, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd shared the honours in May. Maersk Line is the most reliable when “on time” is measured as the same day or one day before, while Hamburg Süd is the most reliable when “on time” is measured as within one day before or after schedule.APL maintains the number three position and is the first carrier to have consistently held this position for four consecutive months.Despite having the lowest reliability among the top 20 lines, MSC is the carrier that improved the fastest from February to May. In this period, MSC improved its reliability by as much as eight percentage points.

Indonesia returns 89 'contaminated' containers to Felixstowe

Wood and plastic were found in the containers which were meant to only hold scrap metal
Eighty nine freight containers have been sent back to Felixstowe port after officials in Indonesia became concerned about their content.
The Environment Agency said the load - labelled scrap metal for recycling - was returned after authorities saw "seepage" from a container.
Jeff Warburton, environmental crime officer, said forensic tests were being carried out.
Each container is 20ft (6m) long and holds about 25 tonnes of materials.
Mr Warburton said: "We've identified things like wood, plastic - there are one or two other substances which we're having subjected to forensic analysis to ensure they are not hazardous.
"The goods were declared as scrap metal for recycling and the law is quite clear on this, that it's illegal to export any form of waste for disposal from the UK."'Good news'

“Start Quote
We know that unfortunately an illegal trade has built up in this area as a result of less regulation overseas”End Quote Tim Burns Waste Watch
Mr Warburton said "one or two containers" were occasionally returned but that having 89 sent back was "an unusual event".
"It's a very large amount of waste that we need to sift through to see what they contain," he said.
"If it's a chemical it obviously has a detrimental effect to humans and the environment and we're very, very strong on enforcing legislation in respect of those offences."
Waste Watch, which is part of Keep Britain Tidy, said it was a positive sign the containers had been returned.
Tim Burns, head of the group, said: "In a funny kind of way it's good news.
"We know that unfortunately an illegal trade has built up in this area as a result of less regulation overseas."
"Often it's young people who don't earn much who are picking through the waste and potentially coming into contact with carcinogens."
A Port of Felixstowe spokesperson said: "The shipment of illegal consignments of hazardous waste places everyone in the transport chain at potential risk.
"The Port of Felixstowe provides examination facilities and works closely with all relevant government agencies to help detect and deter illegal shipments."