Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pilots criticize "undue interference" of EU

The port regulation by Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas proposes, is "an unnecessary interference" of EU in the operation of ports and will "negative effects" on safety and the environment.

This enables the pilot European association EMPA, who claims to speak on behalf of more than 5,000 pilots in 25 European countries (not all belong to the European Union). 

EMPA says "with surprise and concern" to establish that "this third attempt to enter the European Union in a binding port policy" also pilotage services listed in the list to liberalize services. 

The European pilot association reiterates its view that pilotage is not a commercial venture, but a service that safety and environmental aims and who can be with market forces and free competition. Unreconciled Because, in such a context, it is particularly difficult for pilots to maintain their independence. 

"Competition in pilotage will inevitably lead to accidents, as happened in countries that have experimented with liberalization of pilotage", underlined EMPA. 

The association also notes that traffic growth and scale in shipping and port sector has so far been perfect. Managed The port communities in general and the pilot organizations in particular, the challenges of the future, says EMPA yet. 

"Any legislation that would regulate pilotage, ports and waterways access to safety and environmental protection as their primary objective. Such rules can be better implemented at local and national level, within the framework of the international IMO resolutions, and with respect for the principle of subsidiarity. " 

EMPA returns "recommendation" to leave. Deleting the proposed regulation or pilotage from the planned legislation.

The humble hero

Containers have been more important for globalisation than freer trade

THE humble shipping container is a powerful antidote to economic pessimism and fears of slowing innovation. Although only a simple metal box, it has transformed global trade. In fact, new research suggests that the container has been more of a driver of globalisation than all trade agreements in the past 50 years taken together.
Containerisation is a testament to the power of process innovation. In the 1950s the world’s ports still did business much as they had for centuries. When ships moored, hordes of longshoremen unloaded “break bulk” cargo crammed into the hold. They then squeezed outbound cargo in as efficiently as possible in a game of maritime Tetris. The process was expensive and slow; most ships spent much more time tied up than plying the seas. And theft was rampant: a dock worker was said to earn “$20 a day and all the Scotch you could carry home.”
Containerisation changed everything. It was the brainchild of Malcom McLean, an American trucking magnate. He reckoned that big savings could be had by packing goods in uniform containers that could easily be moved between lorry and ship. When he tallied the costs from the inaugural journey of his first prototype container ship in 1956, he found that they came in at just $0.16 per tonne to load—compared with $5.83 per tonne for loose cargo on a standard ship. Containerisation quickly conquered the world: between 1966 and 1983 the share of countries with container ports rose from about 1% to nearly 90%, coinciding with a take-off in global trade (see chart).
The container’s transformative power seems obvious, but it is “impossible to quantify”, in the words of Marc Levinson, author of a history of “the box” (and a former journalist at The Economist). Indeed, containerisation could merely have been a response to tumbling tariffs. It coincided with radical reductions in global trade barriers, the result of European integration and the work of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the predecessor of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Yet a new paper aims to separate one effect from the other. Zouheir El-Sahli, of Lund University, and Daniel Bernhofen and Richard Kneller, of the University of Nottingham, looked at 157 countries from 1962 to 1990. They created a set of variables which “switch on” when a country or pair of trading partners starts using containers via ship or rail (landlocked economies, such as Austria, often joined the container age by moving containers via rail to ports in neighbouring countries, such as Hamburg in Germany). The researchers then estimated the effect of these variables on trade.
The results are striking. In a set of 22 industrialised countries containerisation explains a 320% rise in bilateral trade over the first five years after adoption and 790% over 20 years. By comparison, a bilateral free-trade agreement raises trade by 45% over 20 years and GATT membership adds 285%.
To tackle the sticky question of what is causing what, the authors check whether their variables can predict trade flows in years before container shipping is actually adopted. (If the fact that a country eventually adopts containers predicts growth in its trade in years before that adoption actually occurred, that would be evidence that the “container” jump in trade was actually down to some other pre-existing trend.) But they do not, the authors say, providing strong evidence that containerisation caused the estimated surge in trade.
What explains the outsize effect of containers? Reduced costs alone cannot. Though containers brought some early savings, shipping rates did not drop very much after their introduction. In a 2007 paper David Hummels, an economist at Purdue University, found that ocean-shipping charges varied little from 1952 to 1970—and then rose with the cost of oil.
Put them in a container
More important than costs are knock-on effects on efficiency. In 1965 dock labour could move only 1.7 tonnes per hour onto a cargo ship; five years later a container crew could load 30 tonnes per hour (see table). This allowed freight lines to use bigger ships and still slash the time spent in port. The journey time from door to door fell by half and became more consistent. The container also upended a rigid labour force. Falling labour demand reduced dockworkers’ bargaining power and cut the number of strikes. And because containers could be packed and sealed at the factory, losses to theft (and insurance rates) plummeted.
Over time all this reshaped global trade. Ports became bigger and their number smaller. More types of goods could be traded economically. Speed and reliability of shipping enabled just-in-time production, which in turn allowed firms to grow leaner and more responsive to markets as even distant suppliers could now provide wares quickly and on schedule. International supply chains also grew more intricate and inclusive. This helped accelerate industrialisation in emerging economies such as China, according to Richard Baldwin, an economist at the Graduate Institute of Geneva. Trade links enabled developing economies simply to join existing supply chains rather than build an entire industry from the ground up. But for those connections, the Chinese miracle might have been much less miraculous.
Not only has the container been more important than past trade negotiations—its lessons ought also to focus minds at future talks. When governments meet at the WTO’s December conference in Bali they should make a special effort in what is called “trade facilitation”—efforts to boost efficiency at customs through regulatory harmonisation and better infrastructure. By some estimates, a 50% improvement in these areas could mean benefits as big as the elimination of all remaining tariffs. This would not be a glamorous outcome, but the big ones seldom are.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


After six weeks of waiting at Constanza/Romania, MSC FLAMINIA put into the port of Constanza at 6.00pm on May 17, 2013. There, fire fighting experts of the cargo owners, of the charterer and of REEDEREI NSB will board the vessel to continue the investigation into the cause of the damage.
Before MSC FLAMINIA can proceed to the Daewoo shipyards in Mangalia, the ship will be lightened. MSC FLAMINA’s draft amounts to 8.80m, the shipyard’s draft limit is 6.40m. To lighten the vessel, cargo holds 4,5 and 6 will be cleared of remaining containers and cargo residues.
This stage will approximately last one month. Afterwards, MSC FLAMINIA will be repaired in the shipyard in Mangalia.

After more than six weeks of waiting at an anchorage off the coast of Constanza, Romania, the burned out MSC Flaminia has entered port for lightering operations and repairs, the ship’s operator said Wednesday.
A statement by Germany’s Reederei NSB said that the MSC Flaminia entered the Port of Constanza on May 17 where fire fighting experts will board the vessel to continue the investigation into the cause of the incident. The MSC Flaminia will have to be lightened prior to undergoing repairs at Daewoo-Mangalia Heavy Industries, a process that Reederei NSB says is expected to take about a month.
The 6,750 teu MSC Flaminia suffered a series of explosions in one of its cargo holds in July 2012 while underway from Charleston, South Carolina, to Antwerp and then Felixstowe, killing 2 and forcing the remaining crew to abandon ship about 1,000 miles from land in the Atlantic Ocean. After extensive firefighting efforts, the stricken containership was eventually towed to Europe and arrived at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, in September 2012. A third crewmember later died from his wounds while at a hospital in Portugal.
The ship left the Jade-Weser Port in March and sailed to Romania, where it will undergo an overhaul at the Daewoo shipyard in Mangalia. Repairs include exchanging out the damaged center sections of the vessel.
The overhaul is expected to be completed by the end of September 2013, Reerderei has said previously.
MSC Flaminia's cargo hold.

Slow-Steaming to Escalate, Drewry Says

Shippers face the likelihood of more slow-steaming on the major east-west trade routes from Asia to the U.S. and Europe as ocean carriers take delivery of more big ships, Drewry said on Monday.
The London-based consultant said it believes carriers are losing money due to the freight rate war taking place in these trades, and they are still confronted with surplus capacity.
It expects carriers to take steps soon to cut vessel capacity between Asia and Europe and between Asia and the U.S, which will result in longer transit times. But it said schedule reliability should improve due to the greater opportunity for making up lost time.
“Although slow-steaming continues to be a contentious issue with shippers, more is on the way as fuel prices remain stubbornly high and ocean carriers can no longer absorb the bill due to the parlous nature of their finances,” Drewry said in its weekly container market analysis.
Bunker fuel prices have declined from last year’s highs, but they still averaged more than $600 per ton during the first four months of the year.
At the end of April, 31 ships over 10,000 20-foot-equivalent units remained on the schedule for delivery this year, and carriers are running out of trade lanes to cascade 8,000-TEU ships out of the Asia-Europe trade lane. The only option is more slow-steaming, Drewry said.
“But with east-west freight rates now plummeting to sub-economic levels again, ocean carriers can return to the view that ‘shippers get the service they pay for’ by further releasing pressure on their vessels’ accelerators,” it said.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Felixstowe: New Landguard visitor centre to give big boost to tourist trade

Tourism chiefs are hoping the opening of a new visitor centre and restaurant at Suffolk’s southern-most point will lead to a big increase in people enjoying the The centre at Landguard at Felixstowe is set to open on Wednesday, and was handed over to operator Tim Yeo, who also runs the town’s Bencotto, Fludyer Arms and The Alex restaurants, at a special ceremony of the keys.
The Port of Felixstowe has paid for the centre, which includes an interpretation area using the latest computer technology to tell people about Landguard Fort, Felixstowe Museum, the nature reserve, bird observatory, and the port viewing area on the peninsula, and other attractions around the resort.
It also has a screen showing the latest shipping movements, long-awaited toilets for the peninsula, and a 58-seat restaurant – including an outside terrace – with a panoramic view of Harwich Harbour.
Clemence Cheng, chief executive officer of port owners Hutchison Ports UK, said the viewing centre was a temporary measure and when the port’s next development takes place a new viewing area will be built with a permanent visitor centre.

Reducing ‘time out’ a shared goal

Working together can undoubtedly oil the wheels of port commerce. In the UK, Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority has worked closely with the Port of Felixstowe to reduce ‘time out’ for containers called in for inspection.
“We have a fantastic working relationship and inspection facilities due to the port’s acceptance and understanding of the Port Health function,” says Port Health manager James Lumley. “This is due to collaborative teamwork and due diligence in responding to the constantly evolving legislative requirements as they arise.
“We are together innovative in our approach, utilising bespoke systems to ensure the physical process [of calling in and inspecting boxes] is as lean as possible – to manage everybody’s needs and expectations whilst ensuring the core hygiene requirements are upheld.”
Both Port Health and the port are equally keen to keep the levels of delay as low as possible, says Mr Lumley. “The port examination team calling time for box inspection is currently an average of 1.2 days. This time last year it was 1.6 days – but outside, some people still think it is ten days. Within Port Health, we are down to a mean average, excluding waiting for sample results, of just over three days from the importer or agent submitting clean paperwork to us releasing the consignment; however, this isn’t an exact science as vessel arrivals and consignment concerns can result in this being longer.”
Steps taken at the port in recent years have led to better communication between the various statutory authorities. Where a box might previously have been pulled out for inspection by Port Health, unpacked, repacked and returned to the yard, only to be called by Customs the next day, inspections are coordinated wherever possible.
However, shippers and forwarders also have an important role to play in keeping boxes moving, says James Lumley.
“The one thing that constrains us is the amount of paperwork that comes in late and incorrect. Certainly we have a very good understanding of the pressures on importers and agents; however, 25% of documents are presented late, after the vessel has arrived. This isn’t directly the agent’s fault in a lot of cases; it is often to do with external factors impacting their own efficiencies, but ultimately this presents a bottleneck all round.
“More worryingly, one in three documents presented have errors on them and once communicated back for correction it can be another day added on to the release process. The knock-on is that the one-in-three presented wrong means the two-in-three presented clean and correct can be inadvertently compromised and constrained because of the time it takes to process those documents now amended. This is then compounded when added to those submitted late pending inspection, which creates frustration and overburden all round – something we are keen to avoid.”

Port of call for Chinese ambassador

Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in the UK, last week visited the port of Felixstowe.

The ambassador met port senior management and took a tour of the facilities at the UK’s largest container port, along with Caroline Wilson, British Consul General to Hong Kong.
Felixstowe is the UK port of call for China’s two main container shipping lines, Cosco Container Lines and China Shipping Container Line (CSCL).
Clemence Cheng, CEO of Hutchison Ports (UK), owner of the port of Felixstowe, said: “China is the major source of container traffic moving through Felixstowe and accounts for over 40% of all container movements. 

"We were delighted to have the opportunity to show them the latest investments we are making, including our third rail terminal and the new Berths 8&9, the only berths in the UK able to accommodate the next generation of giant containerships.”
Ambassador Liu said: “China-UK bilateral trade totalled US$63.1 billion in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 7.5%. Our bilateral trade has kicked off with a good start this year, according to the figures in the first three months. 

"I hope the port of Felixstowe will play an even bigger role in China-UK trade and more and more Chinese companies like Cosco Container Lines will designate it as UK port of call.”

Monday, 27 May 2013

Shipspotters Sunday Special 29: Hanoi Bridge, 1st call

Filmed on Friday, 17th May 2013 - The brand new Hanoi Bridge sails in on her first UK call, followed by Sirena Seaways,  running the Harwich - Esbjerg route

Landguard NSQ 72 Park - Berths 8 & 9 FSR Port Of Felixstowe

 The first picture shows the new Berths 8 & 9 at The Port Of Felixstowe, you can see the 7 brand new ZPMC cranes all in a line. Take a look to the left and you will see a tiny ship to shore crane boomed up........this is the last crane standing from the old Landguard Terminal. We should all recall that in 1967 this is where the container boom started in the UK.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Mega-boxship MSC Renee breached 10-15 meters after allision in Antwerp

Mega-boxship MSC Renee allided with Berendrechtsluis lock constructions in Antwerp on May 22 13, details unknown. Judging from AIS, vessel was leaving Antwerp for Dunkirk, last European port on schedule, and then head for Asia. Vessel suffered a huge breach some 10-15 meters length 5 meters above the waterline. Vessel docked at Deurganckdok, where it will be repaired is yet unknown.
Boxship MSC Renee, IMO 9465306, dwt 140958, capacity 13092 TEU, built 2012, flag Liberia, manager ER SCHIFFAHRT GMT

Due to arrive at Felixstowe on 30 / 5 / 13 at 10.00am

Saturday, 25 May 2013

New EU Port Regulation Will Not Affect Cargo Handlers but Unions Have Freight Supply Chain Concerns

ETF Has Worries Over Status of 'Technical - Nautical' Staff Such as Pilots and Tug Workers 

EUROPE – A ruling by the European Commission when it adopted a recent regulation has been met with a degree of concern by transport workers representatives concerned with further liberalisation within European ports. Whilst the ‘Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework on market access to port services and financial transparency of ports –COM(2013) 296 final – 2013/0157 (COD)’ does not impinge on port labour organisation, and cargo handling is excluded from market access rules, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) says it is ‘extremely concerned’ as to how the proposals might affect others in the freight supply chain.
For its part the EU says that service quality varies enormously across the EU’s 1,200 commercial seaports which in 2011 handled around 3.7 billion tonnes of freight and points out three areas of concern. Many of the port services are subject to little competitive pressure due to market access restrictions, monopolistic or oligopolistic control, although justified in a number of situations, may lead to market abuses and in some ports users are faced with too much administration due to a lack of coordination within ports.
The ETF Dockers and Maritime Transport Sections have already started a joint debate on the future EU ports policy and are ready to join forces to make their voice and priorities heard by policy-makers and their principal concerns are for the regulations governing technical-nautical services, notably in pilotage, towage and mooring. A position paper on the Commission’s proposals will be issued in the near future after an in-depth analysis of the draft Communication and Regulation. Philippe Alfonso, ETF Political Secretary for Maritime Transport stated:
“Some ETF maritime affiliates represent workers in technical-nautical services. Our point of view is that any attempt to deregulate technical-nautical services should be strictly defined and controlled to avoid marine casualties that would pose a threat to the marine environment and put human lives at risk. Indeed, we should avoid a situation where safety at sea would be sacrificed to competition and profit with a view to serve specific interests rather than the broader public interest.”  
Once again the question of dock labour is the most thorny of issues with the unions as evidenced by the comments from the ETF Dockers’ Section Chair Terje Samuelsen who commented:
“Even if dock labour is not included in the new regulation it is clear that liberalisation of port labour is still on the Commission’s agenda. The strategy seems to have changed, as we have passed from comprehensive one-size-fits-all proposals to targeted interventions at national level. Furthermore, in its Communication the Commission clearly indicates its intention to come back on the issue of port labour in 2016. European dockers remain vigilant and are ready to fight back any attempt to deregulate their professions.”  
As usual the EU is trying to impose a level playing field for all competition which, although a noble intent, rarely works as well as its proponents would like. The intent however of discovering where public funding is subsidising ports to the detriment of others is something which is to be welcomed.
Meanwhile such talk from the unions is a little puzzling to many in the modern cargo handling environment, particularly in the UK after the major reorganisation of freight handling in Britain’s ports following the abolition of the Dock Labour Scheme, as was covered in detail in our article looking at terms of employment within the country’s latest port, London Gateway.