Wednesday, 31 July 2013

P3 élite Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM

Although Maersk and its allies could add new partners, P4 looks elusive for now

Could the P3 Network being set up by Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM ever become the P4 or P5 group?

Of course, it would be foolhardy to say no, since who knows how the container shipping industry will evolve over the next few years?

But neither is it easy to see which other line or lines may be suitable candidates to join this exclusive partnership.

To begin with, any future member would need to be of comparable size and to have a compatible fleet.

Yet fourth-ranked Evergreen clearly prefers smaller ships, giving rise to speculation that the Taiwan line hopes to revive its round-the-world service concept, once the new Panama Canal locks are open.

It may also be hard to bring lines with very different corporate cultures into the fold, in effect ruling out many of the Asian operators.

Neither have most other carriers so far gone for the ships of 16,000 teu or more that the P3 lines will be deploying in the Asia-Europe trades, with the exception of China Shipping and United Arab Shipping Co.

The latter will soon confirm an order for 18,000 teu units, then pair up with China Shipping on that route.

Given the background of the three P3 founders, another European line would be easiest to accept, if only for the practical purposes of communications.

The obvious candidate would be Hapag-Lloyd, now ranked number seven in the world but which would rise to fourth place should it ever merge with Hamburg Süd.

That, however, would almost certainly create antitrust concerns in Brussels, yet another reason why P3 may just stay as it is.

Age of 'zero hours' jobs: Sports Direct staff never know how long they'll work - or what they'll earn

  • A total of 20,000 staff don't get guaranteed hours or sick and holiday pay
  • If they turn down work, they fear they will not be asked again
  • The retailer recently announced large bonuses for full-time staff

More than 20,000 staff at Britain’s biggest sports retailer are employed on controversial ‘zero-hour’ contracts, it emerged yesterday.
Sports Direct hires every part-timer under a deal that denies them holiday or sick pay and cannot guarantee how many hours they will work each week.
Some 90 per cent of workers at 396 stores are now on zero-hour contracts with the company, which is controlled by billionaire founder Mike Ashley.
It comes just weeks after the group announced plans to pay its 2,000 full-time staff bonuses of up to £100,000.
Uncertainty: Some 90 per cent of workers at 396 stores are now on zero-hour contracts with the company
Uncertainty: Some 90 per cent of workers at 396 stores are now on zero-hour contracts with the company
Zero-hour contracts, so-called because they do not set a minimum number of hours that have to be worked, allow employers to draft in extra staff at short notice during busy periods.

    Those on the contracts often find themselves unsure if they will have work from one week to the next.
    Although they are able to turn down work, many fear that doing so means they will not be asked again in the future.
    Employment lawyers warn that the deal makes it difficult to manage family and childcare commitments, and presents problems when budgeting for household bills or trying to secure a mortgage.
    The retailer is controlled by billionaire founder Mike Ashley
    The retailer is controlled by billionaire founder Mike Ashley
    Yesterday Business Secretary Vince Cable announced an investigation into zero-hour contracts  following ‘anecdotal evidence of abuse’ by employers – including those in the public sector. ‘Whilst it’s important our workforce remains flexible, it is equally  important that it is treated fairly,’ he said.
    Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has called for the arrangements to be banned altogether.
    Sports Direct last night refused to say whether it allows part-time staff to seek other work to boost their income. Meanwhile, a profit-linked bonus programme for permanent staff will next month pay out company shares worth an average of £76,500.
    Union Unite has written to Mike Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United football club, calling for an urgent meeting to discuss the treatment of its part-time staff.
    The union’s Annmarie Kilcline said: ‘We are seriously concerned that a culture of low pay and poor treatment has embedded itself in at Sport Direct.’
    Official figures show that more than 200,000 workers in the UK were employed on zero-hours contracts last year – treble the amount since 2005.
    They are increasingly attractive to employers looking to manage flexible demand. But many of  Britain’s biggest retailers including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and John Lewis say they do not use the contracts.
    More than a quarter of UK firms say it saves them money because they do not have to provide extra arrangements for staff such as pensions.
    But a report by think tank the Resolution Foundation found that the benefits of zero-hour contracts for employers come at ‘too high a price’ for those hired on them.
    And on its website, the Citizens Advice Bureau says: ‘The problem with zero [hour] contracts is  that you are only paid for the time you work, so even if you have to wait on work premises or be at home waiting by the phone, you may not be paid for this waiting time.’
    Labour MP Alison McGovern said it was ‘bizarre and inappropriate’ for Sports Direct to treat permanent and part-time staff so differently and called for the firm to offer more fixed-term contracts.

    Suez Canal closure risk again in the spotlight

    Recent political unrest in Egypt has again raised the spectre of the Suez Canal closing. However, if it were to be suddenly closed tomorrow, it would not be a train smash for the container industry. Vessel schedules could be immediately adjusted to minimise delays.
    The low probability of the Suez Canal closing has increased due to the threat of terrorist activity from either the ousted Muslim Brotherhood party or one of its rivals for power.
    However, there are still more than enough container ships to cope with the extra distance of sailing between Asia and Europe around the Cape of Good Hope, with transit times remaining little longer due to their reserves of speed. As calculated in March, (see ‘What if the Suez Canal was shut?’, March 18), average container vessel speed only has to be increased to 22k in each direction to avoid the loss of time, still leaving a safety margin against a top speed of between 24/25k.
    The table below shows that vessels sailing from Asia to Northern Europe continued to be run at an average speed of only 19k in June, but on the way back the average decreased slightly from 14.9k to 14.8k, despite the price of fuel in Rotterdam dropping from around $650/tonne to $615/tonne, although it increased to $630/tonne at the beginning of July, and will increase again should the canal be closed.

    Estimated service speeds, Asia-North Europe trade* (kn)

    * Last Load Port to First Discharge Port transit time derived from carrier schedules as of June 2013
    ** May not include all services of any carrier/group. May include services not operated by all group lines
    Source: Drewry Maritime Research
    Partially offsetting this fuel saving, the Suez Canal raised its tolls by 2% in May. According to the latest information from the Suez Canal Authority, vessels continue to take between 12-16 hours to transit the artery using its convoy system that requires vessel speeds to be reduced to between 11-16k, depending on ship type and size.
    Moreover, the canal remains as popular as ever; in fact, more so now that additional vessels between Asia and the East Coast of North America are being routed via Suez instead of Panama (since May).  Although the total number of container vessels transiting the canal in the first three months of the year reduced by 6.7% compared to the same period last year, down to 1,479, their average size increased by 0.6%, up to 121,522 net tons. Northbound containerised cargo reduced by 0.5%, down to 48.5 million tons, whereas southbound cargo fell by a higher 2.4%, down to 47,381 tons, which was surprisingly well balanced bearing in mind Europe’s chronic trade imbalance with Asia (measured in teu).
    To help put this into perspective, two-way trade between Asia and Europe reached a massive 20.1 million teu last year, compared to 5.2 million teu to/from the Indian Subcontinent/Middle East, and 688,000 teu to/from Australasia/Oceania.
    As shown in the table below, it is still possible for a schedule deploying 13,100 teu vessels travelling at 22k in each direction between Asia and Northern Europe to deviate around the Cape in approximately the same time as via Suez at current speeds (averaging 19.1k westbound and 14.8k eastbound). However, after taking into account the saving made by avoiding Suez transits, shippers would have to pay an extra westbound and eastbound deviation surcharge of around $58/teu and $222/teu respectively (assuming IFO fuel price of $630/ton), although ocean carriers would probably want to distribute this more evenly.

    Comparison of Suez and Cape transits between Asia/N Europe for 13,100 teu vessels (approximate)

    Notes: No allowance made for slow steaming in port, Suez, or anti-piracy convoys
    Fuel consumption at 19.1k 163t/day; at 14.8k 95t/day; at 22k 218.5t/day
    Average vessel utilisation WB 85%, EB 55%. Cost of diesel excluded
    Source: Drewry Maritime Research
    In the case of a 10,000 teu vessel, the extra cost would be $66/teu and $248/teu respectively (see table below). Both very approximate calculations ignore the extra cost of diesel, and savings made by avoiding anti-piracy convoys through the Gulf of Oman.

    Comparison of Suez and Cape transits between Asia/N Europe for 10,000 teu vessels (approximate)

    Notes: No allowance made for slow steaming in port, Suez, or anti-piracy convoys
    Fuel consumption at 19.1k 141t/day; at 14.8k 83t/day; at 22k 189t/day
    Average vessel utilisation WB 85%, EB 55%. Cost of diesel excluded
    Source: Drewry Maritime Research
    Schedules operating from the Far East to Mediterranean would be more difficult to maintain due to having to enter the Mediterranean via the strait of Gibraltar instead of Suez. However, assuming port rotations were adjusted accordingly, and some transhipment, services could still be maintained via the Cape with the same number of vessels. As shown in the table below, 8,000 teu vessels would incur a westbound and eastbound deviation surcharge of approximately $137/teu and $339/teu respectively, but, here again, ocean carriers would probably want to distribute this more evenly.

    Comparison of Suez and Cape transits between Asia/Med for 8,000 teu vessels (approximate)

    Notes: No allowance made for slow steaming in port, Suez, or anti-piracy convoys
    Fuel consumption at 19.1k 140t/day; at 14.8k 82t/day; at 22k 188t/day
    Average vessel utilisation WB 85%, EB 55%. Cost of diesel excluded
    Service via Cape at 22k assumes some transhipment in the Med
    Source: Drewry Maritime Research
    The further complication of replacing the capacity provided by vessels stopping off in the Mediterranean en route from the Far East to Northern Europe remains, but direct services still currently have enough spare capacity for this.
    The maintenance of schedules between the Indian Subcontinent/Middle East and Europe would also still have to be dealt with as explained previously.

    Our View

    The Suez canal is a key component in Asia-Europe container trade, and is becoming more important for Asia-US East Coast trade, too.  If it were to be suddenly closed tomorrow, container vessel schedules between Asia and Europe could be immediately adjusted to minimise delays by simply increasing speed to 22k in each direction. Shippers would have to pay a hefty surcharge to cover the cost of deviating around the Cape of Good Hope, however.

    Tuesday, 30 July 2013

    Boris backs London Gateway as global trade hub

    • DP World’s giant UK development anticipated to generate 27,700 jobs and provide £2.4 billion to the UK economy

    The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has today given the thumbs up to DP World London Gateway in response to new figures that estimate that as many as 27,700 jobs will be generated in the capital and the wider region from the project.
    The figures, according to Oxford Economics’ forecasts, also claim that the new deepwater port and supporting facilities will contribute around £2.4 billion to the UK economy.
    Johnson, who attended the London Gateway site for his second time today, said that it would not only help London to “regain its position as one of the world’s greatest ports” but will also help the capital to “establish itself once again as a gateway to world trade.”
    “This gargantuan site will create tens of thousands of jobs in our capital and the South East, whilst helping to drive continued prosperity for the rest of the UK,” added Johnson, who also used today’s visit as an opportunity to climb one of the port’s newly erected cranes.
    Boris’s visit comes after the announcement last month that UK-based multinational retailer Marks & Spencer plans to build a £200 million distribution centre at DP World London Gateway’s giant logistics park.
    DP World London Gateway is scheduled to open in the final quarter of the year.
    I wonder if Boris was informed that London Gateway are refusing to recognise a Trade Union

    Unite4Gateway Campaign. Southampton Dockers march

    Unite Economics predicts ‪#‎LondonGateway‬ won't create any ADDITIONAL UK jobs & may destroy Docks standards like Tories in 89. Coincidence?

    Idle box ship fleet rising at 448,000 TEU for 187 ships in mid-July

    Idle box ship fleet rising at 448,000 TEU for 187 ships in mid-July 

    THE number of containerships idle worldwide stands at 187 units with a combined capacity of 448,000 TEU as of July 15, according to the latest data collected by Alphaliner.

    It attributed the increase in the number of idle vessels to the exit of STX Pan Ocean from the container shipping market in June; and the fallout of from the MOL Comfort, which split in two off the coast of Yemen and subsequently sank in the Indian ocean after a fire onboard. Furthermore, the number of idle vessels of 1,000 TEU or less has swelled.

    The report said that 12 containerships previously operated by STX Pan Ocean are idle, eight of which are owned vessels ranging in size from 700-2,700 TEU. The other four ships retained by the company are 4,400 TEU ships on 10-year charters originally started in 2007 from Dioryx Maritime Corp.

    Alphaliner said that one of STX Pan Ocean's containerships, the 1,815-TEU STX Hong Kong, was reportedly sold to buyers from the Far East for US$17.8 million. The ship, which was delivered this May, is one of two newbuildings ordered by the shipping line in June 2010 for $26 million each from the Guangzhou Wenchong shipyard. Its sister ship, the STX Ho Chi Minh, is slated for delivery later this year.

    There are seven ships of above 8,000 TEU that are idle, which include three 8,110-TEU vessels that are sister ships of the MOL Comfort. The trio have been immobilised for 35-45 days for safety inspections.

    In addition, 54 ships ranging in size from 500- to 1,000-TEU are idle, including 50 units owned by non-operating owners. The report said, "Containerships of this size are facing obsolescence as feeders or regional ships, as charterers continue to favour larger tonnage."

    Monday, 29 July 2013

    Docks / Ports is a very dangerous environment to work in !!!!

    We all believe that it will never happen to us...............this is dock work, it does and it will happen.

    Zim bondholder stand-off risks driving Israeli carrier into liquidation

    ZIM's bondholders have rejected proposals to postpone the deposit of a US$25 million guarantee by its parent company, Israel Corp until the end of 2014, despite an appeal by Zim's employees

    ZIM's bondholders have rejected proposals to postpone the deposit of a US$25 million guarantee by its parent company, Israel Corp until the end of 2014, despite an appeal by Zim's employees, reports Alphaliner. 

    Zim workers sent an appeal to bondholders: "We, the 1,000 Israeli employees of Zim, ask you not to sink Zim. We call you not to throw into the ranks of the unemployed. If you agree to postpone receipt of the guarantees, you will see us as loyal partners for the recovery of the company." 

    But bondholders rejected the proposal in a vote on July 7 and talks between Zim and its bondholders are continuing. Zim's total debt stood at about $3 billion, of which bondholders hold $390 million. If bondholders reject the company's request, they could demand immediate repayment, and potentially force Zim's liquidation. 

    Zim's other main creditors have agreed to postpone the company's debt payments after reaching agreement with Zim's management on employees' conditions and certain cost saving measures, which will save $14 million. Zim had submitted a five-year business plan at the end of April to its secured banks, which included a capital restructuring plan. 

    Separately, Alphaliner reports the two sons of the late Sammy Ofer are moving on with their plans to transfer of a part of their containership fleet from London-based Zodiac Maritime Agencies, controlled by Eyal Ofer, to Singapore-based Tanker Pacific, controlled by brother Idan Ofer. 

    Quantum Pacific, a company set up by Idan Ofer to oversee the activities of Tanker Pacific, will also supervise Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte Ltd (EP Shipping), so far a dormant Singapore-based shipmanagement company which has been resurrected to manage containerships, PCTC and dry bulk vessels transferred from Zodiac and which do not fit in the Tanker Pacific business profile. 

    Despite the split, Zodiac will remain one of the top 10 non operating owner of containerships, while Eastern Pacific will be the 17th largest owner, according to Alphaliner rankings.

    Sunday, 28 July 2013

    Thames Hub airport plan

    A proposal has been formally submitted to the UK government’s Airports Commission for a new four runway airport hub on the Isle of Grain in the UK’s Thames Estuary.
    The airport proposal sees it being sited strategically close to the South East’s major ports, including DP World’s Thames Gateway, which should enable the successful economic integration of rail, sea and air freight.
    Thames Hub’s location near to the ports is geared towards giving British industry a vital strategic advantage in terms of freight distribution.
    And it should help to make Britain better connected in terms of its infrastructure too. By connecting the airport to High Speed 1, 2 and Crossrail services, the aim is to open up freight routes all across the UK and then into Europe.
    The plan’s architect Foster + Partners says that under current legislation, the planning process is identical to the proposal for the third runway at Heathrow and that the Thames Hub Airport could open within 16 years.
    Port Strategy approached DP World for their views on the plan but the operator expressed that it has no comment to make on the subject at this time.
    There is still plenty of debate as to whether the Thames Estuary is the right site for the UK's new airport hub. The other side of the fence argues that Heathrow or Stansted are more viable options for business, passengers and jobs.

    While Mr Johnson has not completely ditched the idea of “Boris island”, he now believes the proposals drawn up by Lord Foster for a four-runway hub on the mainland have the “greatest potential”. Significantly, he has also suggested making Stansted a four-runway airport as an alternative.
    Mr Johnson will unveil his proposals to the Davies Commission on airport capacity later this week.
    His support for the Isle of Grain proposals has been triggered in part by the £1.5bn London Gateway Port project, due to open later this year.
    According to Daniel Moylan, the mayor’s transport spokesman, the port and the Foster plan could create a huge transport and passenger hub in one place.
    With London falling behind Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, there is mounting pressure on the Government to act to preserve the capital’s status as a European airport hub.
    Any of the three schemes, Mr Johnson and his advisers believe, would enable London to regain its primacy as an aviation destination.
    Any plans to shift Britain’s hub airport to the east of London would lead to the closure of Heathrow. Mr Moylan dismissed suggestions it would devastate the west London economy.

    Boris Johnson’s support for a Thames Estuary airport has cooled, with London’s mayor now throwing his weight behind plans to site it on the Isle of Grain, in north Kent. I wonder where he could find the land for that ??????