For the second time in a row, MAN has emerged the number one among European manufacturers of commercial vehicles in Russia. With sales of over 7,600 trucks and 220 buses, MAN reached pre-crisis order volumes in fiscal year 2011.

Its market share for trucks of more than 12 tons was 26 percent in 2011 in the European brand segment. “Efficient transportation solutions, reliable vehicles, and the satisfaction of our customers are the three pillars of our strategy,” said Lars Himmer, Head of the MAN CIS Sales Region and Director of MAN Truck & Bus RUS. “Last year we saw clear signs of recovery on the Russian market. Our range of products places us in the vanguard of the growing trend toward efficient and ecologically sound vehicle concepts and will enable us to continue strengthening our position there,” emphasized Himmer.

As recently as the end of 2011, MAN was able to conclude two major orders in Russia. 2,188 engines ordered by the company LIAZ have already been delivered. They will mainly be used to equip city buses in Moscow as well as in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. The order for 50 MAN city buses from the city of Vladivostok shows that MAN’s reputation in Russia is growing.

Russia is an important sales market in MAN’s international growth strategy. In order to consolidate itself further still on the Russian market as a successful manufacturer of efficient commercial vehicles, MAN is investing around €25 million in setting up its own production facility in St. Petersburg.

The middle of 2012 will see MAN start production of heavy TGS WW trucks with Euro 4 engines. In the medium term, the St. Petersburg site is set to reach a production capacity of around 6,000 vehicles a year.

Source MAN SE

MAN Diesel & Turbo has received an order from the US-based cruise liner company Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) for the maintenance of the engines on nine cruise liners. The order is worth US$ 30 million.

The service agreement runs for four years and is being handled by the MAN PrimeServ service office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Besides the maintenance work it also covers the supply of spare parts. During the term of the agreement, two further Norwegian cruise ships will be put into service which will then also be incorporated into the contract. The order is worth US$ 30 million.

“The order from Norwegian Cruise Line represents a milestone for MAN Diesel & Turbo and for our service brand MAN PrimeServ,” says Dr. Stephan Timmermann, the Executive Board Member of MAN Diesel & Turbo responsible for the Engines & Marine Systems and After-Sales Strategic Business Units. “It is one of the first service agreements of its kind with one of our major customers and constitutes a key After-Sales success in a very exciting cruise liner business.”

To date, 52 MAN engines with 542 cylinders from various series have been produced for Norwegian Cruise Line’s vessels, including the world’s first Common Rail large-bore diesel engine in 2007. The company’s next ship with MAN engines will be launched in April 2013.

Source  MAN SE

Chopin Airport meets over 90 per cent of IATA's recommendations for good practice in baggage handling, as shown by the analysis carried out as part of the Baggage Improvement Programme (BIP). The Warsaw airport is one of 200 airports around the world that have been invited to participate in the programme by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

BIP aims to reduce the average baggage mishandling rate of 18.86 per 1000 passengers by 50%, resulting in $1.9 billion worth of savings for the aviation industry.

"Our goal is to ensure that 100% of bags flying to/from Warsaw will reach their destination on time and intact. This is what our passengers expect from us," said Michał Hofman, head of Chopin Airport's Passenger Handling Service.   

Participation in BIP is voluntary, but requires an invitation from the association. Chopin Airport is the only airport in Poland, and one of five in East-Central Europe to have been invited to the programme.

Implementation of the BIP project involved the appointment of a team of experts, comprising  representatives of the airport, airlines, the two biggest ground handling agents and state services. Based on thorough analysis and observation, the team concluded that Chopin Airport baggage handling processes required only minor modifications. For example, baggage check-in agents should be careful to place bags flat on the conveyor belt and use baggage trays more often. It is also important to inform sorting agents and the airline if the bag is seized for additional security screening. The team is also considering installing scanners on the inbound conveyor belts in order to quickly check whether a given bag has been sent to the baggage reclaim hall, as well as educating passengers about baggage handling activities carried out at the airport and how to prepare their bags for the journey.

"Our suggestions and conclusions have been submitted and approved by PPL's Management Board. They will be implemented soon and we expect our rate of mishandled baggage to improve significantly this year," said Michał Hofman.

Source Warsaw Chopin Airport
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released global traffic results for February 2012 showing an 8.6% improvement in passenger demand and a 5.2% rise in cargo demand compared to the same month in the previous year.

Several factors inflated February 2012 results and distorted comparisons with the year-ago period. These included weaker traffic during the Arab Spring a year ago and the occurrence of Carnival in Brazil in February, a month earlier than in 2011. Cargo demand was also subject to positive distortion by the occurrence of Chinese New Year in January which pushed some deliveries into February. When comparing to January 2012 levels, the picture becomes much more moderate, with passenger demand growing by 0.4% and cargo demand declining by 1.2%.

Global passenger capacity expanded by 7.4% compared to previous-year levels, lagging behind the 8.6% increase in demand. This has had a positive impact on load factors, which airlines have maintained at 75.3%—better than the 74.4% recorded in February 2011.

Freight demand continued to be relatively stable. This trend started to develop in September 2011 and is consistent with improvements in business confidence.

“The outlook is fragile. Improvements in business confidence slowed in February. This will limit the potential for business class travel growth and it implies that an uptick for cargo is not imminent. At the same time, airlines trying to recoup rising fuel costs could risk reduced volumes on price sensitive market segments. Weak economic conditions and rising fuel costs are a double-whammy that an industry anticipating a 0.5% margin can ill-afford,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

International air travel stood 9.3% above February 2011 levels. Capacity expanded by 7.3% and load factors stood at 74.4%. It should be noted that except for Asia-Pacific, all regions saw demand expand ahead of capacity when compared to February 2011.

Asia-Pacific carriers saw a 5.9% increase in demand with a 6.2% increase in capacity. Load factors stood at 75.4%. Following a small spike in international travel over the Chinese New Year period in January (6.4% growth) February traffic declined.
European carriers saw a 7.6% increase in international demand, well ahead of the 5.0% increase in capacity. This growth occurred despite the continuing sovereign debt crisis and weakened consumer confidence. Load factors stood at 74.4%, up significantly from the 72.6% recorded for February 2011.
North American carriers showed the weakest growth in demand at 4.9%, which was still ahead of 4.3% growth in capacity over the previous year. The average load factor was the lowest among the major regions at 72.1%. While this performance was weak in comparison to other regions, it was significantly better than January, when international demand contracted by 0.3%. This improvement follows strengthened consumer confidence and economic conditions.
Middle East carriers posted 23.4% international growth which is distorted by the poor performance in February 2011 owing to the impact of the Arab Spring. Capacity growth stood at 16.1%. Average load factors for the region showed the most dramatic improvement to 76.9% in February 2012 compared to 72.4% in the previous year. Stripping out the distortions, we estimate that the region has now fully recovered.
African carriers also saw a positively distorted performance in February due to the Arab Spring with 24.7% growth in demand and 20.2% growth in capacity. The first impacts of the Arab Spring were felt in the Northern Africa region—primarily Egypt and Tunisia. Load factors for the region stood at 62.7%. Although this was the lowest among all the regions, it was significantly better than the 60.5% for February 2011. Our estimate is that African carriers have fully recovered from the traffic losses resulting from the Arab Spring.
Latin American airlines posted a 13.3% increase in demand against a 10.8% increase in capacity. Load factors stood at 78.3%, the highest among the regions and well ahead of the 76.6% achieved for February 2011. Carriers in the region benefitted most from the traffic spike on Brazil routes associated with Carnival.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Overall domestic demand expanded by 7.6%, only slightly ahead of the 7.5% increase in capacity. Average load factor was 76.7%, which was higher than the 74.4% achieved on international routes.

Brazil experienced the fastest growth in February compared to the previous year. Demand was up by 17.9%, but lagged behind the 20.9% increase in capacity. Load factors stood at 66.5%, the weakest with the exception of Japan.
India experienced the second strongest growth among the major domestic markets at 12.3%. This lagged behind the 16.3% increase in capacity over previous-year levels. Nonetheless, India’s carriers filled 75.4% of seats. The strong traffic growth masks financial weakness resulting from high operating costs and taxation.
China’s domestic market stood at 10.1% above previous-year levels. This is significantly down from the 17.3% growth in January owing to strong Chinese New Year traffic.  Load factors were the highest among domestic markets at 79.3%.
The US domestic market saw considerably improved performance in February with 5.2% demand growth. After keeping capacity flat for several months, demand improvements were met with a 4.4% increase in capacity. Load factors strengthened to 78.8%
Japanese domestic performance continues to suffer from the impact of last year’s earthquake and tsunami combined with a tightening of capacity due to industry restructuring. Demand was 8.8% below previous-year levels while capacity stood at -6.0%. Load factors were the weakest among the major domestic markets at 61.4%.

Air Freight (Domestic and International)

Air freight volumes increased in February from a year ago by 5.2%. This was largely as a result of cargo shipments that were postponed in January due to the Chinese New Year holiday and the comparison to the previous year which was impacted by weak demand associated with the Arab Spring. Air freight volumes showed a decline on January’s performance of 1.2%.
Cargo growth was led by Middle East carriers with an 18.2% increase in demand which was matched exactly with an 18.2% increase in capacity. The largest volume contributor to February’s growth, however, was the Asia-Pacific region which posted a 10.2% year-on-year gain.
European and North American carriers saw year-on-year declines in cargo traffic of 1.4% and 0.3% respectively. Latin American airlines saw the most significant decline with a 3.6% fall compared to previous-year levels.
African carriers posted growth of 3.2%% over the previous year demand levels but on very small volumes.

The Bottom Line

“We are ending the first quarter with a considerable amount of uncertainty. While the threat of a European financial meltdown seems more remote than it did only a few months ago, the political risks that aviation faces are growing. The rapid increase in the price of oil is already biting hard. The UK is increasing the onerous Air Passenger Duty. Europe is adding to the burden with the inclusion of international aviation in its emissions trading scheme—the extra-territorial aspects of which are creating the possibility of a trade war that nobody can afford. The exact conditions vary from country to country, but around the world we see ill-conceived policy initiatives that over-regulate, excessively tax or otherwise restrain the aviation industry. This prevents it from being the catalyst for economic growth that it can be,” said Tyler.

The latest study by Oxford Economics on the global benefits of aviation calculates that the industry supports 56.6 million jobs and enables $2.2 trillion of economic activity. With 35% of the value of goods traded internationally travelling by air, the connectivity provided by air transport is one of the key enablers of global business.

“Aviation has transformed the world into a global village. We did this even while making profit margins of less than 1% in a policy framework best described as ‘tax-and-restrict’ in many markets. Aviation could achieve much more with competitiveness-enabling policies that support sustainable growth,” said Tyler.

Source IATA

The certifiers for seven MSC certified mackerel fisheries in the North East Atlantic ocean have suspended the fisheries’ certificates.

The suspension notice follows two years of catches above the scientific advice as a result of a significant increase in the amount of mackerel caught by countries outside the certified fleets and the breakdown of international agreements and negotiations aimed at managing the stock. In July 2010, the certified fisheries were notified that – in order to maintain their certification and ecolabel – total catches in the North East Atlantic mackerel fishery would need to be brought back under an internationally agreed management regime. This included the catches from countries outside the certified fleets. The deadline for implementing that notification expired on 31st December 2011.

While the MSC certified fisheries have worked hard to reach an international agreement on mackerel management, it proved impossible to find a solution in time for the deadline. As a result, in January the fisheries were given 90 days’ notice that their certificates would be suspended at the end of March 2012. Any mackerel caught after 30th March is not eligible to be labelled as ‘MSC certified’.

The fisheries affected are:
-    Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation North East Atlantic mackerel (DK)
-    Irish Pelagic Sustainability Association western mackerel (IE)
-    Irish Pelagic Sustainability Group western mackerel pelagic trawl fishery (IE)
-    North East Atlantic mackerel pelagic trawl, purse seine and handline fishery (NO)
-    Pelagic Freezer Trawler Association North East Atlantic mackerel (NL)
-    Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group North East Atlantic mackerel (UK)
-    Swedish Pelagic Producers Organisation North East Atlantic mackerel (SW)

Nicolas Guichoux, Europe Director of the Marine Stewardship Council said: “While the suspension of these MSC certificates is disappointing for both the fisheries and the MSC, there is a risk that the stock would become depleted as a result of the current TAC overshoot. I know that the fisheries involved are making enormous efforts to ensure that this does not happen and the MSC will continue to support these mackerel fisheries throughout this difficult process. I look forward to the reinstatement of their certificates once an agreement has been reached.”

Suspension, not withdrawal

The suspension is not the same as a certificate withdrawal as suspended certificates can be re-instated on completion of a condition with no need for a new Full Assessment of the fishery.

Source MSC

Scania launches its 2011 online sustainability report, outlining a shift in focus that puts sustainable transport right at the heart of the company’s business strategy. This shows the increased ambition in Scania’s work with sustainability.

“Customer value goes hand in hand with sustainability,” says Leif Östling, Scania’s President and CEO. “There is no conflict of interest between making our customers’ businesses as profitable as possible and ensuring they are as safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable as possible.”

The 2011 report highlights how Scania’s biggest environmental impacts arise when vehicles and engines are in use. A key strategy is therefore to work closely with customers to support their sustainability efforts.

The 2011 report also underlines the need for sustainable transport systems − and what Scania is doing to make these a reality.

Transport is a sector with growing carbon dioxide emissions and high oil dependency. The key challenge for the industry is to decouple growth in road transport from emissions. With increasing urbanisation and road freight traffic, the shift to sustainable transport is a top priority for Scania and for society.

“I’m convinced Scania’s long-term competitiveness will be closely linked with our ability to meet key challenges and develop solutions that enable our industry to grow without increasing its carbon dioxide emissions and that also make mobility cleaner, safer and easier,” says Leif Östling.

Source Scania

KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA, LTD. (“K” Line) is pleased to announce an upgrade of its Intra-Asia Service (JABCO-1 and JABCO-2) with additional China call.

With this enhancement, “K” Line can offer efficient, high-quality services in its Intra-Asia service which adds calls at Ningbo and Da Chan Bay, providing direct connection coverage for China - Philippines/Thailand/Vietnam trade lanes.

A total of 8 vessels will be deployed by “K” Line, covering 28-day round voyage in two Intra-Asia Loops.

Details of the service are as follows:-

Vessel Deployment:

Four (4) x 2500 TEU type vessel for Loop 1 (JABCO-1)

Four (4) x 1700 TEU type vessel for Loop 2 (JABCO-2)

Port Rotation:

JABCO-1: Tokyo – Yokohama – Shimizu – Yokkaichi – Nagoya – Shanghai – Ningbo – Laem Chabang – Manila – Ningbo – Shanghai – Tokyo

JABCO-2: Tokyo – Nagoya – Osaka – Kobe – Moji – Shanghai – Da Chan Bay –   Ho Chi Minh – Laem Chabang – Ho Chi Minh - Tokyo

Service Frequency:


Commencement Date:

For JABCO-1  GUAYAQUIL BRIDGE  A031S/N (ETA Tokyo 23rd Apr 2012)

For JABCO 2  ANDERSON BRIDGE   B060S/N (ETA Tokyo 25th Apr 2012)

Source ISIS Communications

TAIWAN's big container lines' suffered losses last year amid the slowing global economy led by the eurozone debt crisis and weak rates due to oversupply, reported the Taipei Times.

But Taiwan's third-largest carrier, Wan Hai Lines, focused on intra-Asia trades, outperformed the rest, posting a net profit of NT$32.31 million (US$43.1 million) year on year.

Compared with long-haul routes, rates on intra-regional routes were relatively stable last year, as Asia's emerging economies performed better than in the US and Europe.

Domestic container lines are looking to get back into the black this year by focusing on the intra-Asia. Yang Ming announced last week that it was expanding its service between China, South Korea and Australia to Southeast Asia to provide more customers with a better service.

Wan Hai also announced a US$150 per TEU rate increase on its East India services effective this week.

Meanwhile, Evergreen Marine Corp, Taiwan's largest container shipping firm by fleet size, reported a net loss of NT$3.68 billion, compared with a net profit of NT$17.77 billion in 2010, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Taiwan's second-biggest container line, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp, is also expected to post a loss for last year. Its net losses totalled NT$5.21 billion in the first three quarters, from a net profit of NT$10.45 billion in 2010.

Evergreen Group vice chairman Bronson Hsieh said last month that several global container shippers have cut rates in recent years to pursue a greater market share, seriously eroding the industry's profitability.

Global economic uncertainty, led by Europe's debt crisis, were major factors bringing down container shippers' businesses last year, Mr Hsieh said.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SOMALI pirates who hijacked the 1,066-TEU Malaysian-flagged Albedo with its 22 crewmen, have agreed to release the crew for US$2.85 million spoken of a "expenses" incurred in keeping the hostages and the men to guard them rather than a ransom. Deadline for the payment is April 20.

"The agreement was reached after night-long negotiations. We are not paying any ransom, just expenses. That's why it took us nearly 18 months to reach a deal," chief negotiator Ahmed Chinoy, chairman of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee in Karachi told the Khaleej Times in Dubai after the deal was made.

"The pirates had reached a point of fatigue," he said. "They were looking for an exit and the payment of part expenses was the only way." He demanded $4 million but agreed to $2.85 million.

The negotiations were held via video link and satellite phone between Mr Chinoy and Dubai-based Somali businessmen the go-between to the pirates. The Malaysian owner had authorised Chinoy to represent him. The first session lasted for four hours and the talks resumed for another hour after a break.

"The pirates wanted us to pay $100 per day per person for the 100 people (22 hostages and some 75 Somalis looking after them and the ship) involved during the captivity period. But we finally made them agree on $50 per day per person. They wanted us to make the payment by March 31, but we finally agreed for the April 20 deadline," Mr Chinoy said.

The pirates will give the terms of the agreement in writing with the Somali tribal elders signing it as witnesses to ensure that it is implemented, he said. The pirates will also keep the ship ready to sail after the money is paid. The ship is located 60 nautical miles off Somali coast. Now we have to raise the funds in a short period.

The Malaysian owner is expected to pay one-third of the amount. Still, we need some $2 million," Mr Chinoy said. He appealed to the UAE government to consider financial support so that the crew can unite with their families.

The 10,859-ton Albedo's 22 crewmen include seven Pakistanis, seven Sri Lankans, five Bangladeshis, two Indians and one Iranian.

Nareman Jawaid, daughter of the ship's captain Jawaid Saleem Khan, is a consultant in Dubai. She met Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad, Pakistan's Minister of Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri and Mr Chinoy in Dubai on Tuesday. The governor assured her of full moral support.

"I really hope that people will support the cause of the crew and they will be released soon. I can't wait to see my father," Ms Jawaid told Khaleej Times after receiving the news. The vessel was hijacked 293 miles west of the Maldives on the Indian Ocean while heading to Mombasa port from Jebel Ali port in Dubai laden with containers. The vessel had 23 crew members at the time of the attack, but one Indian crewman died in captivity.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SOUTHERN California shipping executives say they are optimistic they will have an improved peak season at the Port of Long Beach this year.

Speaking at the Port of Long Beach's "Pulse of the Ports: Peak Season Forecast," its annual industry forecast event attended by 400 people at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, the executives were optimistic, reported the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Ninety-five per cent of Ocean & Cargo Management Services customers believe volumes in the west coast ports will either stay the same or increase, said company vice president Daniel Wall.

Better sales from consumers coming back to the job market and looser credit to open more stores as well as labour disputes on the east coast may combine to mean more cargo shipments to the west coast, said Mr Wall.

"We're looking at a traditional peak season this year, which is something we haven't seen in a long time," he said.

Said Long Beach Harbour Commission chief Susan Anderson Wise: "Piecing together projections from these different vantage points is what allows us to see the big picture."

Hong Kong's OOCL (USA) president Erxin Yao discussed his soundings among customers for the coming season.

Mr Yao whose company recently agreed to a 40-year lease with the Port of Long Beach in the future Middle Harbour, spoke of the "mega trend" of larger carriers.

About half of the ships are now able to carry 5,000 TEU and 10 per cent of the ships are more than 10,000 TEU, he said.

"But if you look at our order book, almost half of the ships being built will be 10,000 TEU or more," he said. "And that will be the trend of the future."

Long Beach port executive director Christopher Lytle recalled the talk of the 12,500-TEU MSC Fabiola docking at Long Beach a few weeks ago. "That was a significant event. The question of future competitiveness comes down to which ports could handle the biggest ships the most effective way. And with the Fabiola, we proved that Long Beach is ready," Mr Lytle said.

"We're well positioned to bring. more trade, more business, more jobs and more revenue to the port. With the help of many stakeholders, we're moving quickly to do just that," he said.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

INDIA's Kerala High Court has ruled that the owner of the Singapore-flagged vessel, which collided with a fishing boat off Kerala on March 1, has been ordered to pay INR2.5 million (US$49,138) to each family of the four of the five fishermen killed, reports the Press Trust of India.

The relatives of Jose, Justin, Cleatus and Santosh had informed the court that they had discussed compensation with Mumbai area's Tolani Shipping company, owners of the Singapore-flagged 29,986-ton geared multipurpose vessel, the Prabhu Daya.

The case had been sent for mediation by the court. The mediation report was filed before Justice Haroon-Ul Rasheed. The relatives of another fisherman, who was killed in the collision, has approached the Madras High court for compensation.

The relatives had earlier asked for INR10 million compensation.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SRI LANKA's maritime industry is about to build large-scale maritime infrastructure projects that will bring about vast national economic improvement, according to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority's (SLPA) managing director Nihal Keppetipola.

"A total 2,299,446 TEU was handled in 2011, the highest-ever throughput in the history of SLPA, shows an overall increase of 6.1 per cent when compared to 2,167,173 TEU handled in 2010," he said, reported the Sri Lanka Nation.

"Overall, SLPA stands at a 53.9 per cent market share of the total 4,262,887 TEU handled at Colombo in 2011 as against the 46.1 per cent market share of [privately owned] SAGT [South Asia Gateway Terminal]," Capt Keppetipola said.

Speaking at welcoming ceremony in Colombo to greet the 8,200-TEU NYK Virgo at the state-owned, SLPA-run Jaye Container Terminal (JCT), Capt Keppetipola said that the new era had come about with the end of the Tamil Tiger war.

"We have demonstrated our management efficiency and operational capabilities to our customers, and won their loyalty. This has been evidenced by the G6 Alliance with the lead line NYK coming back to the state-run JCT after 10 years," he said.

"Under the Colombo Port Expansion Project, the 18 metre deep East Terminal will be ready by mid 2013 and a part of the Colombo South Terminal will be ready for operations by end of 2013," he said.

Capt Keppetipola said that the SLPA had acquired six modern gantry cranes, 30 transfer cranes, 50 terminal tractors with 30 terminal trailers.

Capt Keppetipola said container had increased. "A 14.9 per cent growth had been recorded in domestic container volumes from 563,349 TEU in 2010 to 647,482 TEU in 2011. The volume of transshipment containers handled at the SLPA container terminals had shown a 3.2 per cent increase from 1,533,845 TEU in year 2010 to 1,583,195 TEU in 2011."

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

BIMCO, an international shipping organisation that represents the interests of shipowners controlling 65 per cent of the world's tonnage, has published the GUARDCON standard contract for the employment of security guards on vessels.

This new contract has been developed to provide shipowners and private maritime security companies (PMSC) with a clearly worded and comprehensive standard contract to govern the employment and use of security guards, with or without firearms, on board merchant vessels.

"While BIMCO would not like to see the use of armed security guards on ships becoming institutionalised, it recognises armed guards provide an effective deterrent to piracy attacks," it said in a statement.

The shipping association's chief officer of Legal and Contractual Affairs, Grant Hunter, explained BIMCO's move: "In response to shipowners' increasing demand for security services, an ever growing number of private maritime security companies have entered the market to meet that demand.

"In the absence of a standard contract for these services, shipowners and their P&I Clubs are currently faced with the difficult and time consuming task of assessing large numbers of contracts from these security companies, all with varying terms and conditions.

"GUARDCON's objective is to create a contractual benchmark for the employment of security services so that minimum levels of insurance cover for PMSCs are established and that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure that liabilities and responsibilities are properly addressed and that all necessary permits and licences are obtained."

According to BIMCO deputy secretary general, Soren Larsen, GUARDCON has been drafted by a small group of experts drawn from ship owners, insurance underwriters, P&I Clubs and lawyers with first-hand experience of working with contracts for security services. The drafting work also involved consultations with PMSCs.

Sample copies of the GUARDCON contract, with detailed Explanatory Notes, and the accompanying Guidance on the Rules of the Use of Force can be obtained through BIMCO's website (

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ITALIAN freight forwarding expert, Maimex Far East, and warehousing and quality control apparel specialist Beretti Group, celebrated their newly formed partnership with an official launch in Hong Kong recently.

The merger, which has been one year in the making, now offers fashion and apparel shippers an end-to-end supply chain solution with an added emphasis on attention to detail and quality service, said Maimex Far East CEO, Stefano Casella and Beretti Group CEO, Gianmaria Beretti.

"We provide the full list of services for the supply chain. From the moment the supplier has finished the production we can then go and pick up the goods, bring them to the warehouse, check the quality and prepare the order to go to different countries.

"We can handle order replenishment in case there is a fault or other problem. We also handle the customs clearance and oversee the whole process right to the point of delivery," Mr Casella said.

While the China-Italy trade is a major focal point of the Maimex-Beretti partnership, the two companies have also established themselves in the fast-growing Brazilian market with warehousing facilities now located in the country.

Southeast Asia is next on the radar as the supply chain partners look to expand their global network and offer the high level of service that both companies have come to be known for over the past 30 years to an even wider customer base.

"I think what is most important with this partnership is that we can take care of the customer right from the beginning, no matter what country we are in," Mr Beretti said.

"Right from the production side, whether it is in China, Southeast Asia, Brazil or Italy, we offer the full range of services to get the product to its final destination," he said.

Value-added services are central to the group's success, the two CEOs noted. But what really sets the Maimex-Beretti Group collaboration apart, in what is a very competitive niche market, is its people.

"The key of our company, the true added value, comes from the Italian mentality for fashion. Each station, each warehouse for the group has inside it; experts from Italy, coming from Italian factories, speaking the Italian language. But also we seek out people who also speak the language of the markets we are in. So of course they can speak Italian, but they can also speak and write in Chinese. And it is the same story in Brazil or wherever else we go," Mr Casella said.

Looking ahead the two CEOs acknowledged the challenges going forward, given the gloomy economic outlook, but they remain optimistic.

"There are so many companies that are still looking for good service. And the crisis is helping us in that respect because more people are caring about the quality of their products now," the Maimex CEO said.

Mr Beretti agreed, stating that the group's ongoing commitment to quality service would be a message that would continue to resonate with customers in its key markets going forward.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

WHILE Singapore Airlines and Taiwan's China Airlines are downplaying cargo services, the mainland's Air China Cargo's (ACC) freighter fleet is looking to add new routes.

The last two of four B747-400BCFs that Cathay Pacific is contributing to the joint venture with Air China are due to join the fleet this month, bringing the total to twelve 747 freighters.

ACC has eyes on India to fill some of its new main-deck capacity. It gained approval for the Shanghai-Chennai sector and aims to have thrice weekly flights. "We plan to combine it with Chongqing," said Air China Cargo's chief operations officer Titus Diu.

Chongqing will be served on the return leg from India to Shanghai. "We can carry cargo from India, plus we can feed traffic from Chongqing to our intercontinental departures out of Shanghai," Mr Diu said.

Air China Cargo is also looking at Dhaka, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, but management has not yet made a final decision on routes and frequencies.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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