Friday, 28 September 2012

European Ports Policy Review Conference (Day 1): The PortEconomics diary

Opening (14h00): The high-level two days-Conference European Ports Policy Review: "Unlocking the Growth Potential" begins in Brussels (25-26 September 2012).
More than 400 people are attending the event, representing the different stakeholders in the port sector. The aim of the conference, which is organised by the European Commission, is to analyse the current EU policy framework for ports, which is laid down in a communication of the Commission that was published in 2007. The outcome of the review is not decided yet, with options ranging between doing nothing, guidance on application of Treaty rules and full-blown legislation. A central part of the conference is also the role of ports as key nodes of the pan-European corridors 2030: A major innovation on the new Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) guidelines is the introduction of 10 implementing pan-European corridors. 
The program is available at the official website of the event: Conference on European Ports Policy Review: "Unlocking the Growth Potential".

Siim Kallas (Vice-President of the European Commission): "The European Ports Policy Review initiative of the European Commission is neither about micro-management, nor about interruption of what works in European ports". This is not an "one size fits all" policy but a policy "about what works in European ports" and the expansion of such practices.The  
EPP-KallasCommissioner emphasised the presence of restrictions in the case of many services, the fact that several services are provided by few operators needs to be addressed. Explicit reference was made first to the different concepts of concessions in different member states and the 'tricky' issues of relationships between the port authorities and the operators. The results of 512 responses to the European Commission survey from port stakeholders across Europe showed that concession contracts were not always being made using non-discriminatory and transparent procedures. He warned that ports needed a fair competitive environment and legal certainty to attract business. Restrictive practices at European ports concerning concession awards, access to port services and the closed shops of labour cargo-handling set-ups is hampering growth at European ports. 
Based on all these, there is a need to clarify rules. A second issue mentioned where port charges, as ports need to charge for services they provide. Finally, there was an explicit mentioning on the need for financial transparency. Simon Kallas concluded that the EPP "is not aiming to suggest models but to removing barriers and increase transparency".
Patrick Verhoeven (PortEconomics member) tweets"Port authorities acting also as commercial operators may lead to conflicts of interest" - Siim Kallas opens EU Ports Policy Conference.
Siim Kallas tweets: "to attract more business, ports need a fair competitive environment and legal certainty".
Full speech by Commissioner is now availableA vital resource: Europe's ports face wind of change
Brian Simpson (MEP, Chair of TRAN Committee, European Parliament): There are complaints about cheap labour and the negative consequences on port labour regimes. Expressed his concerns about existing thoughts to privatize pilots. Overall, he stated, the EP would not be happy to hear that there are headquarters undermining the importance of skilled labour. A positive view about the efforts of the Commission to increase the competitiveness of European ports by promoting TEN, supporting Commission proposals on funding. The, experienced on port policy issues, MEP pointed that this should go hand-in-hand with the defence of a social chapter. The request was for a policy that represents ‘climb to the top’ rather than ‘race to the bottom’. On that base, he talked about a third package that includes performance quality and employment. That said, he reminded that in the EP inter-port competition, especially between ports in different countries.
Patrick Verhoeven (PortEconomics member) tweets: "MEP Brian Simpson, 'veteran' of the ports packages reminds Commission that Parliament rejected port services proposals twice"
A. Kokinos (represneting the Cyprus Presidency of the EU) quotes the ESPO Manifesto: "EU potentially a positive force in establishing renaissance of port management policy". He also focus on three vital issues for the future of the European Ports Policy: (a) open markets; (b) technology; (c) Trans-European Networks.
Prof Hercules Haralmbides (Erasmus University Rotterdam): "port authorities need to depart from their civil servant mentality". Focusing or efficiency and reliability, and the fact that logistics are more profitable than shipping, or port-to-port services, Prof. Haralambides noted that several port authorities are landlord on paper as they continue their intense ivolvment in several strategic decisions. His recommendations about the themes that future port policies need to address included (a) Presence of port authorities that are highly enterpreneurial and market oriented; (b) 'real' landlord port authorities (with autonomy in their financing, pricing, real estate management, and labour operations); (c) emphasis on green efficiency; (d) Port labour: advance training of young professionals, according to ILO standards, employed in an open port labour market; (e) state aid guidelines and clear definition of 'public vs. private invesment" in the port sectr; and (f) free - albeit well regulated - access to provide services needed to be ensured. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers/NEA report on the consultation servey: Based on 512 replies (Shipping Companies 18%; Port Authorities 22%, Port Users 5%, Terminal operators 13%, workers 8%; services providers 33%):
  • Future of trade: 41% feel that the future will be positive; only 9% feel that a decline lies ahead, 50% did not see the current trend to change; Most positive about the future of seaborne trade are port customers (55%), port authorities 54% and shipping companies (47%).
  • Congestion in ports; Shipping lines: 48% never; 31% seldom; 21% feel its presence; Ports feel quite differently: 77% never; 16% seldom, 7% feel its presence; for ports there is hardly any congestion,
  • Port Choice Criteria (scale 1-5): Physical attributes: 4.7; presence of passenger services 4.42; cargo services 4.39; Port organisation 4.32; labour 4.23; towage 3.97; pilotage 3.92; environmental services 3.74;
  • 70-80% of respondents to EC ports survey do not see particular challenges for port services; yet the rest 20-30% disagree.
Patrick Verhoeven  tweets: "North-south differences in awarding terminal contracts confirmed through results EC ports survey by PWC/NEA report".

Victor Schoenmakers (ESPO Chairman) We firmly believe that the European Union has the potential to be a positive force in establishing a renaissance of port management and policy. This can be done by, on the one hand, ensuring a level playing field and legal certainty, and, on the other hand, fostering growth and development of ports.  Raising the specific challenges of port authorities, Mr Schoenmakers highlighted access to port land as a principal point of attention. "The most important asset that port authorities have is land. The way port authorities give access to that land to operators is therefore essential. Whether PAs do this through public domain concessions or private land lease contracts is irrelevant. What matters is the ability to balance transparency and flexibility when using these instruments. Having clear, but also proportional guidance on the application of relevant Treaty rules is for port authorities an essential element of a common ports policy, next to guidance on state-aid and guidance on the freedom to provide services.
Juan Riva (ECSA Chairman): Ports and hinterland connections are important for shipowners. As is concession prices and the TEN network proposals. This is because both make port services more efficient. As regards concessions, fair transparent, and relevant conditions that provide 'standards for the market' are important. It is also important that port users are charged for only the services they actually use. Port services need to be modernised, and provided according to market principles, in line with the clients need and the EU rules. Another important issue for shipowners is 'red tape'. According to Juan Riva, "'soft law' approach of 2007 did not deliver expected results", but also "ECSA welcomes the approach by S. Kalas on EPP".
Denis Choumert (Chairman, ESC): Shippers are the '2nd line'; they are aksed to head to one way by ship owners and they follow. Thus they need visibility of the field, and short-term, medium, long-term, horizon. KPIs are important for them, as is connectivity, because they need to address the risk. Liberalisation of services is welcomed as it would increase the options available to shippers.
Roland Homer (President, EFIP): Inland ports are not facilitators of external trade. The nature of competition is different, as being close to other inland ports is considered a plus. Road transport is the competititor. For inland ports the development of  the waterfront is important. The three main challenges for inland ports are (a) infrastructure (b) historical function as entry points (and the lack of land and space to develop; (c) the need to take economic measures and develop. For the latter, inland ports need data, indicators that will support the measures taken.
Full statement by ESPO President realeased: ESPO statement
Gunther Bonz, (President, FEPORT): We offer 500.000 jobs and spent 5 billion Euros in a decade in infrastructure improvements. This is an industry, not a public service. An industry investing highly. Terminal operators are a higly competitive industry that faces intra-port and inter-port competion, while it competes with non-EU countries as well. There is no lack of capacity. FEPORT looks for investment security, means for the prolongation of concessions. Hinterland access is also a major issue, especially when the investments by the terminal operators are not matched by respective investments. Finally, for port operators there is a challenge due to environmental rules that request continuous adjustments. In total, €100 m of planned investment in new capacity from Europe’s private operators over the next five years would be at risk if any future EU port legislation interferes with the prolongation of existing concessions some of which will expire by 2015. Returns on major new investments would take longer than two or three years to achieve.

Debate on Port Labour

Erick van Hoydock (Portius): Conducted a survey about three aspects of port labour:  (a) organisation of labour market (b) training and (c) health and safety in 22 member states. The aim is a toolbox for policy makers and a database allowing: Collection of figures ands sources of law, the description of current situation, Inventory of legal and policy issues, and an outline of possible actions at EU level. Labour is a delicate issue, as it is a contentious and taboo-ridder subject and the rejection of PP2 and PP3 is fresh in the memories.  A key question is whether there are special characteristics of port labour due to (ir)regularity of demand, the transformation from unskilled work to multi-skilling, and the different occupational risk levels. In general, a number of restrictions were identified, either on employment or working practices. So while restrictions can be justified if certain conditions are met, they are in general incompatible with EU Law, and in some cases even inter-wined with restrictions on access to the port services market The list of restrictions include (a) Compulsory membership of labour pool; (b) exclusive right of labour pool to supply workers; (c) Mandatory registration of port workers; (d) compulsory membership of trade union (closed shop), (e) Compulsory appointment or nomination of pool members employes, etc.  Self-handling is not a major issue, as there is no general demand by ship-owners to introduce it Based on the high diversity of organisational patterns training and health and safety regime across the EU, the policy options range from ‘do nothing’ to imposing conditions, or anything in between, with the  EU principles of subsidiarity, proportionality, effectiveness, and acceptance imposing the need to act.
Patrick Verhoeven  tweets: "Are port workers different from other workers? Key question for port labour debate".
Livia Spera (ETF): A major question fie ETF members was whether it would be useful to participate at the discussions for the reform of the EPP. Several members of ETF are convinced that industrial action is the only way ahead. So they did not want to participate at the debate. Port workers in Portugal strike, the same day of the conference, for a second week in a row. The reason is the proposal for reforming the port law in Portugal. There is a general fear that what is happening in Portugal is ongoing to happen all over Europe. The dialogue has not really started yet. We want social dialogue and we are engaged since 1995 in attempt, we know the strengths and the shorthcomings. We are here to engage in the dialogue if it is meaningful.
David Whitehead - (ESPO): There is hardly a surprise in the findings of the port labour report. It is unstastainable to employ 5 instead of 8 or 8 instead of the 5 needed. As the non-training is also unsastainable. The situation is different than what happens in other industries, so we need to de-mystify port labour.
Diego Teurelincx (Secretary General, FEPORT): The labour issue is closely related to state-aid/concession policy. FEPORT is asking for social dialogue, as labour is a production factor that should not be undermined. The target to be set in the context of this dialogue, and other EU activities, should be ‘proportional’; avoiding to address ‘what is not broken’. As 80% of the ports are efficient, we need to see what is the 20% that does not work. The DG –Employment is expected to give a green light to start a social dialogue. The later is a process and we need to conclude with a product. Europe needs to think of a sustainable social dialogue, and this needs time. 
Anthony Tetard (IDCE):  Concessions should come with clauses on conditions about workers and working conditions. We did not want to answer the labour questionnaire. We denounce the ‘scope’ of the study. This part of the attempts to reinforce antisosialist capitalism. The International Dockers Union will go for high level industrial action if the European Commission forces deregulation of port labour.

Haven Ports - The Advantages

  • Located in South East quadrant - where deep-sea ships want to call
    Near deep-sea shipping lanes – minimum deviation
    Main approach channel already 14.5m - deepest of UK container ports
    Connected to national strategic road/rail networks
    Well located for major distribution networks and port-centric distribution
    • More rail connections to more destinations than any other UK port
    • Volume throughput ensures best value-for-money infrastructure
    Critical mass necessary to support coastal shipping
    HPUK has strong relationships with government at all levels and proven willingness to invest
    • Proven environmental credentials
    • Strong Local Support 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

European Port Use and Container Rates Declining, JP Morgan Says

Port usage in northern Europe is falling as the shipment of manufactured goods declines, amid an oversupply of vessels that’s keeping container lines’ earnings below break-even levels on the Asia-to-Europe route, JPMorgan said.
The following are comments from Christopher Combe, head of transport, equity research at the Capital Link 5th Annual International Shipping and Marine Services Forum in London today.
“Given the massive overcapacity in the shipping sector, rates have now gone below cash break-even for the operators and they are pushing in a very big way for rate increases. Time will tell how successful they’ll be. We suspect it’s going to be very tough.”
On utilization rates for northern Europe ports:
“We’re at the point where we are near bottom. How long we’ll stay there is not very certain. The key is that average utilization across the northern European ports is about 85 percent. It’s very difficult to get any pricing power. It’s currently, at best, close to 80 perhaps or just below. There are no real signs of confidence that we’re anywhere near the point where pricing power emerges.”

DFDS connects vessels to Gothenburg’s OPS

Swedish shipping company, DFDS Seaways, is set to get connected to onshore power supply (OPS) at three European ports, in a bid for a better working environment, both on board and ashore, and significant environmental gains.
DFDS will introduce OPS in the ports of Immingham, UK, Gothenburg, Sweden and Ghent in Belgium. The company will be trialling OPS initially, using six vessels that are in regular service to the UK and Belgium – Primula SeawaysPetunia Seawys,Magnolia SeawaysFreesia SeawaysFicaria Seaways and Begonia Seaways.
Gurt Jakobsen, vice president, DFDS Seaways, toldPort Strategy"The change to shore-based power supply requires investment in facilities in the ports as well as quite heavy investments in the ships.We have chosen the six ships that are best suited for it because they are sister ships that need the same refitting, and because they operate in these three ports and are intended to stay on the routes for at least the next five years."
He added: "It is important for us to participate in the development of new environmental techniques and equipments. We have previously invested in testing a so-called scrubber that can wash sulphur out of the exhaust gases. With the shore-based power project we want to test the efficiency of this equipment with regards to getting cleaner air and less noise in port areas and want to gain some experience and learn about OPS."
By connecting to OPS – shutting down engines while at berth and using quayside power supplies to operate functions onboard – 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be saved each year.
DFDS Seaways will invest around SEK 50m (US$7.5m) to prepare the vessels and will receive SEK 10m (US$1.5m) in grants from the EU as part of the Motorways of the Sea funding. The project is also being financially supported by Volvo Group Belgium, the Port of Ghent and the Port of Gothenburg.

Amid Spain’s pain a new box hub blooms

While Spain plunges deeper into economic crisis, with 4% of its stock market value wiped yesterday, record government lending rates and one of the worst unemployment levels in Europe, a new container terminal in the port of Barcelona will be officially opened this evening by King Juan Carlos of Spain.
However, project managers and Hutchison executives said that the terminal would aim to win transhipment traffic back from neighbouring ports and add new cargo options for French shippers regularly afflicted by labour unrest in Marseilles and other French ports.
The Barcelona Europe Southern Terminal, owned by Hutchison Port Holding’s Spanish subsidiary Tercat, will this evening welcome the MSC Kalina, a 14,000teu vessel that operates the carrier’s Asia-Europe Dragon Express service – one of a number of strings that is being transferred from the existing Tercat facility close to Barcelona’s city centre, along with the line’s African services.
While the launch of a new terminal in Spain’s third largest container port will inevitably stoke fears of overcapacity, Hutchison’s managing director for central Europe Clemence Cheng told The Loadstar in Barcelona that the net effect of the new capacity would be mitigated by the fact that the existing terminal would be returned to the port authority and converted into a general cargo and finished vehicle facility.
“The old Tercat terminal handled about 1.1 to 1.2 million teu last year, while the first phase of this terminal is around 1.5 million teu, so that is not actually a large increase.
“At the moment the majority of Tercat’s traffic is gateway cargo, but we will have the potential to expand transhipment traffic to around 30% of the total,” he said.
Mr Cheng added that during 2010 Tercat had lost transhipment traffic to competitor ports “not because of the competition itself, but because we couldn’t handle the larger vessel sizes”.
The new terminal, built on reclaimed land by Barcelona Port Authority outside the city, can handle the largest vessels currently sailing, and has a depth alongside of 16 metres. New cranes delivered can reach across 23 rows of containers on a vessel.
As well as MSC, Tercat’s other carrier customers – the CKYH Alliance, Evergreen, UASC, WEC Lines, Hamburg Sud, CSAV and Zim Lines – will transfer while construction of Phase 1 continues. It is expected to be completed at the end of March 2013.
Mr Cheng also said that the terminal would offer new options for French cargo flows. Barcelona remains the only Spanish port that is rail connected to the European rail system, and the terminal would target shippers in Perpignan, Toulouse and Bordeaux, amongst other regions.
Already Barcelona attracts some French traffic by truck when strike action hits French ports, and Hutchison management also believe that a large portion of French shippers currently served by Le Havre and Antwerp will be inclined to route their cargo through Med gateways if offered sufficient service levels.
Mr Cheng also shrugged off Spain’s current economic woes as a threat to the hundreds of millions of Euros invested in the project. “The container handling business is a long-term business and hopefully we are in the economic trough now and the recovery is on its way.
“Imports into Spain are understandably lower, but exports are doing well – the old Tercat terminal is 13-14% up year-to-date in terms of exports, and when you look at the industrial base of Catalonia; it is very strong.”
How early the world’s largest container terminal operator makes a return on its substantial investment is anyone’s guess, however, as Spain’s macroeconomic data remains critically weak while the government’s fiscal position appears to worsen by the day.

Southampton launches £150m port investment

The port of Southampton yesterday saw the official launch of a £150m investment project aimed at keeping its facilities competitive.

Port owner Associated British Ports (ABP) is also a joint-venture partner in DP World Southampton, the container terminal operator.

The ceremonial lifting of the first paving slab signalled the beginning of the reconstruction of berths 201 and 202 at the container terminal into a fourth berth for the next generation of ultra-large container carriers (ULCCs).

Capable of handling the next generation of 16,000teu+ vessels, which are 400 metres long, the quay will be 500 metres in length, with five ship-to-shore super post-panamax cranes and 16 metres of depth alongside. 

The works are due for completion by December 2013 with the berth being operational in January 2014, allowing the terminal to service four of the largest containerships simultaneously.

ULCCs, utilised for their economies of scale, are predicted to account for more than half of the capacity of the world’s container fleet by 2015. 

Peter Jones, Chief Executive of Associated British Ports, said: ““The £150m investment in the new berth and supporting infrastructure represents a huge vote of confidence in Southampton’s ability to meet the exacting demands of our customers in a new era where ULCCs are set to become quayside regulars.

“It will also play a key role in maintaining an estimated 10,000 jobs connected to the operation of the port in the Southampton region.”

Dredging works, to widen and deepen parts of the main approach channel between the Isle of Wight and the port, are awaiting approval by the Marine Management Organisation.

A contract for the works was awarded to VolkerStevin, a specialist in quality construction and project management services, by ABP in July following a competitive tendering 


ABB to enable remote control of STS cranes at Maasvlakte II

  • Maasvlakte II STS cranes will be the first in Europe to operate without a driver on board

ABB has been awarded contracts by APM Terminals and Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) to provide automation systems for their new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes at their respective Maasvlakte II terminals in the Port of Rotterdam.
The two new terminals will be the first in Europe to use remote control ofSTS cranes, and the terminal of APM Terminals will be the first in the world where STS cranes have no driver’s cabin installed.
“These projects underscore the need for fast and cost-effective container handling, and how the latest automation technologies can be applied to dramatically increase efficiency as a response to higher productivity requirements,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division.
ABB’s system for remote control of STS cranes has the crane operators working in a control room located in the terminal building helping to reduce the stress on the operator’s back and neck, whilst improving working ergonomics.
Operators supervise the crane motion via onboard cameras. With a crane operator on board, crane acceleration and deceleration rates are limited. With no operator on board, the crane can run faster and ramp times can be shorter, enabling significantly shorter cycle times to unload an entire ship’s worth of cargo.
The Port of Rotterdam's Maasvlakte II is scheduled to open for commercial operations in 2014.

Ipswich: Anger over move to step up live sheep exports from port

CONCERNS were today raised that dozens more shipments of live sheep will arrive at the port of Ipswich in the coming weeks.

Farmers’ Union says trade legal

FARMERS’ organisation the NFU maintains that the export of live animals remains a legal trade – but has insisted that the highest possible welfare standards should be maintained.
NFU chief livestock adviser Peter Garbutt said: “We have been made aware that Ipswich port will be used temporarily for shipping live animals, and understand this will be done under close supervision from the relevant competent authorities.
“Safeguarding the welfare of their animals during transport is a top priority for hauliers and the NFU has long called for the current controls to be rigorously enforced across the EU.
“Journeys over eight hours or between EU member states make up a very small but important minority of all movements and these take place using specially designed vehicles.
“Moving live animals throughout Europe is a legitimate and lawful activity and subject to comprehensive legislative controls.
“Vehicles used for such journeys must be approved by the authorities, drivers must pass tests to transport animals on longer journeys, all animals travelling out of Great Britain must be approved by a vet before travel and appropriate contingencies are in place to deal with any unforeseen
The controversial live exports began in the town last week – much to the fury of animal rights groups who dispatched members to protest against the trade.
Campaigners believe there could be two or three shipments a week coming through the port over the next two to three months.
The situation is being monitored by groups including the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, and Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE).
A meeting has been organised at Ipswich Town Hall on Friday evening at 6.30pm where representatives of animal charities will be joined by local politicians to plan a series of protests.
RSPCA communications director David Bowles said his organisation had been told there would be more shipments through Ipswich during the autumn after the port of Ramsgate banned live exports following the deaths of 45 sheep the previous week.
He claimed the vessel took 15 hours to travel from Ipswich to Calais – which is in excess of the legal journey time if found to be the case.
Mr Bowles said: “The rules say livestock can be transported for 14 hours maximum and must then have a one-hour rest, which is basically to be fed and watered, and then can travel another 14 hours.
“But that one hour rest must be still so they can have food and water – you cannot include time on the boat.”
He said there were two reasons for live exports rather than exporting them as meat.
Some of the animals would go for ritual slaughter which would be carried out under the watchful eyes of a local Imam. Although this could take place in this country and the meat could be exported as ritually-slaughtered, local communities preferred to have their own Imam carry out the inspection.
The second reason for exporting the animals was that if they were taken to France for slaughter, they could be sold in that country as “French lamb” which commands a better price than British lamb.
Mr Bowles said: “We want to get a change to the labelling rules so any meat that is labelled as ‘French lamb’ must have spent a considerable time in the country – not just brought across to a slaughterhouse near Calais when it has actually lived all its life in the UK.”
The cost of policing the demonstrations is met from normal police budgets – there was a heavy police presence last Friday although there were no arrests and traffic was not seriously disrupted.
There is always a cat and mouse game with protesters about when the livestock lorries arrive – but usually their arrival is timed during the later evening so they arrive under the cloak of darkness.
The protests in Ramsgate attracted hundreds of people – including actress Joanna Lumley.
FRIDAY’S meeting is at the Council Chamber at the Town Hall at 6.30pm and will bring together residents, local politicians and activists to discuss potential action against live exports from Ipswich.
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant will be speaking along with Compassion’s director of public affairs Dil Peeling.
Also taking part will be campaign groups Kent Action against Live Exports (KAALE) and Thanet Against Live Exports (TALE) who fought live exports at Ramsgate before they were suspended and will share their experiences of monitoring and opposing the trade from their local ports.
Emma Slawinski, senior campaigns manager at Compassion, said: “We would urge everyone to come along to the meeting to listen to the arguments against live exports and to find out what they can do to help stop it.
“Public opposition and campaigning has greatly reduced the number of animals subjected to this cruel treatment over the last 20 years and we can end the trade completely if local communities like Ipswich continue to fight against it happening through ports in their towns.”
emphasised that the trade in live animals is legal and it would not be possible to ban it without falling foul of EU laws and World Trade Organisation regulations.
He said: “On a personal level I am not entirely comfortable with the trade, but it is legal and needs to be regulated.
“I am aware that they are looking at using Ipswich for these exports for a limited time – but I do have concerns about that, especially about the length of time the journeys take from the port.
“I have spoken to ministers at the Department of Transport and to (Environment Secretary) Owen Patterson to try to ensure that the strict welfare rules are obeyed to the letter.”
Mr Gummer said if it was proved that animals were being kept too long in their vehicles on the journey, the Government could take exporters to the European Court of Justice.
Ipswich Port is owned and operated by Associated British Ports. As the lorries prepared to arrive last week the company issued a statement saying: “As the Statutory Harbour Authority for the Port of Ipswich, Associated British Ports (ABP) is legally bound to handle all legitimate traffic.
“The shipment of livestock is a legal trade in the United Kingdom, monitored and regulated by government agencies such as DEFRA.”
The company did not want to make any further comment today.
THE vessel used to carry live animals has caused considerable concern.
The MV Joline is a former Soviet transporter designed to carry tanks across wide rivers – not as a sea-going ferry.
Now registered in Latvia, protesters claimed it travels at about seven knots which is much slower than normal ferries.
The RSPCA’s David Bowles said it was “like a tea tray bobbing about on the sea”.
The trip from Ramsgate to Calais can take up to five hours – but from Ipswich the journey took about 15 hours, according to the RSPCA.
Ramsgate port is owned by Thanet Council which banned the export of live animals after an horrendous incident earlier this month.
Inspectors found that some of the sheep on a consignment to France were lame and offloaded them on to the quayside to inspect them.
Six of the sheep fell into water and two drowned.
Another load of sheep was unloaded over fears they were injured. Two were put down by vets because they had serious injuries, one had a broken leg.
And another 41 had to be put down subsequently because they were found to be lame.

Felixstowe: New record for port as unloading ships gets faster and faster

PORTWORKERS at Britain’s top container terminal have today set a new record for the speed of loading and unloading a ship – with a container handled almost every minute.

Customers at the Port of Felixstowe are benefitting from the fast vessel turnarounds on the quayside as a result of a programme of continuous improvements.
The new record for the number of container moves in a 12-hour shift was set with the recent call of the Maersk Sarnia.
A total of 3,431 boxes were taken on and off the vessel, including 602 moves by an individual ship-to-shore crane, the equivalent of more than 50 moves per hour, with an overall speed of 182 moves per hour across the whole vessel.
Clemence Cheng, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK), which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said: “We have been working hard with all our stakeholders, including our customers, to raise the service level at Felixstowe and I am very pleased to see this continuous improvement.
I would like to thank the excellent workforces responsible for making this phenomenal achievement possible.
“It is a reflection of the close collaboration between the port and its customers and a great deal of team work from everyone to make this happen.
“It is our commitment to our customers to continue to offer the best services available in the UK and to maintain our leadership position as the port of choice.”
In the past 12 months the port has achieved an overall improvement of 24pc in operational moves per hour on deep sea vessels.

Dockers' unions sound 'port package three' warning

26 September 2012
Leaders of dockers’ unions affiliated to the ETF (European Transport’ Workers’ Federation and the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) met today at the ITF Maritime Roundtable in Casablanca to explore the future of dock work in Europe. Their meeting followed an action and information day on 25th September 2012 that was intended to send a strong signal to the European Commission (EC) on the day it held a European ports policy review conference in Brussels.

On the same day, members of the Oficiaismar union in Portugal took part in a second national strike in protest at government proposals to relax employment regulations in the ports there.

Dockers’ union leaders at the Maritime Roundtable warned that the attack on Portuguese dock work is “the shape of things to come” and signals a concerted attempt by the European Commission to liberalise the port industry in Europe. This, they claimed, will result in an increase in casualisation, the erosion of trade union rights and a lowering of health and safety standards and conditions that dockers and their unions have fought to secure for over 100 years.

Similar Europe-wide legislation, in the form of port packages one and two, were successfully defeated in 2003 and 2006 thanks to the defiance and solidarity of dockers around the world. According to the ETF and ITF it now seems that this same legislation is being forced through on a national basis, but with the same potential wide-ranging effects on dockers.

Chair of the ETF dockers’ section, Terje Samuelsen, said that: “Portugal can be considered as a laboratory for the European ports policy. Several measures put forward by the Portuguese government correspond perfectly to the proposals that can be expected across Europe. We have seen this before in port packages one and two. We defeated it then and we will defeat it now”.

Marc Loridan, dockers’ leader of the BTB union, warned the Belgian and Portuguese governments and the European Commission that dockers around the world “are ready to discuss this but watch out - if you want a war with the European dockers’ unions, we are ready to fight”.

ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin said that this type of deregulation of standards and employment protection would not be countenanced by the world dockers’ movement. “In a global industry maintenance of standards and trade union rights is a global issue, not just a national or regional one,” he stated.


For those who don't know what Port Package 3 is please read, this is really important to ALL dockworkers around the UK.

The European Parliament alleges that every port and terminal operates a monopoly, because every ship wanting to unload cargo has to use the services of that port or terminal, it’s labour force, its cargo handling facilities and equipment. It argues that EU rules on the free movement of goods and services are being broken because other service providers cannot go into a port and unload ships.
So the EU proposes new laws which basically requires all ports and terminals to compete with other companies, like agency companies, can compete for the work which comes into our ports and terminals. The new laws will undermine every collective bargaining agreement as other employers could take our work. The competition for work would come down to the lowest price, meaning the company which offerred the lowest wage, terms and conditions wins, and we would lose.
Ports themselves would be forced to allow the use cargo handling equipment (for which they could charge a fee) and facilities.
The unions and the employers all opposed this last time and we worked together to defeat it, and narrowly won.
This time the employers are keeping quiet which may mean that deals are being done behind the scenes, and that means we’re going to get screwed. 
PP3 could mean the end of any type of good, secure employment, which is unionised and has good terms and conditions. It would mean the return of casual labour across the UK and Europe. We’d all be going back 100 years, this is the most important issue that faces us all.
We fight this or we all lose

MSC FLAMINIA , September 27 2012

Yesterday, the contracts between Reederei NSB and Jade-Weser-Port, the Terminal Eurogate and the disposal company regarding the further proceedings with MSC FLAMINIA and her cargo have been closed in Wilhelmshaven. Nehlsen GmbH & Co. KG has been appointed as the disposer. Consequently the unloading of containers can commence on Friday.
The cleanup work inside of the superstructure continues at the moment. After this stage a new crew, which is already on standby in Wilhelmshaven, will go onboard.
The investigations by experts appointed by Reederei NSB into the cause of the fire onboard MSC FLAMINIA are still ongoing. Currently no statement regarding the cause can be made. The analysis of the facts collected onboard will require a longer period of time.