VR Group put much effort last year into developing its services. Development projects and higher costs were visible aspects of this. The Group’s net result weakened from the previous year.

“We are building VR Group into a modern service company, and this can be seen in terms of several development projects and higher costs. We are using the Group’s funds above all to develop services and we are working to improve customer satisfaction. We have divested some of our international operations and aim now to concentrate on our main business in Finland,” states President and CEO Mikael Aro.

The Group’s net result was poor in 2011. The Group’s operating profit was M€ 20.9 (43.1) and the profit for the period was M€ 15.3 (30.0). Net turnover amounted to M€ 1,437.2, a 1.0 % increase on the previous year. The Group’s financial position remained strong.

“We have a very challenging year behind us, and the net result was just half the previous year’s figure. The instability in the overall economic climate affected the logistics business in particular, and demand fell off in the second half of the year,” says Mikael Aro.

“We expect 2012 to be a clearly better year than 2011. The renewal of passenger service tickets has started to have a visible effect, with an increase in the number of passengers and in ticket sales. Customer satisfaction is improving. Infrastructure Engineering has boosted its competitive standing. The outlook for logistics remains uncertain, however,” states Mikael Aro.

Source VR Group

The EU is funding research to learn more about how bacteria and other microorganisms can better survive toxic settings so that they can be used to clean hazardous waste sites. Breakthroughs could help communities clean up abandoned chemical plants, polluted military bases, leaky fuel tanks and other sources of soil and water pollution throughout Europe.

Scientists discovered in the 1970s that certain types of bacteria could be used to clean up toxic waste - literally by consuming and digesting it. However, many types of pollution-eating bacteria that did their jobs in laboratories did not work so well when they were introduced to contaminated sites. They simply starved and died before consuming any of the waste.

Researchers with the EU-funded "BACSIN" project are working to overcome this critical challenge: helping bacteria survive after they are released into highly toxic environments.

"The idea was simple: we could go to a catalogue, pick out a bacteria - A, B, C - apply it to the contaminated area, and then the contaminated area would be gone," said BACSIN coordinator Jan Roelof van der Meer of University of Lausanne in Switzerland. "But this hardly ever works in practice. You can't just spray bacteria on the pollution."

Marking significant progress, van der Meer's team has discovered that plants can be used to protect bacteria after they are placed in toxic settings by giving them a place to live on their roots and providing nutrients. Plant seeds and the roots of saplings are coated with or soaked in the bacteria, which then "grow with" the plants, van der Meer said. After the plants are placed in a toxic site, he said, the plants' roots provide nutrients and protection to the bacteria. Because healthy bacteria multiply spontaneously and on a massive scale, they can digest waste quickly once they begin to thrive.

This technique has been successfully transferred from the lab to the field, offering potential for cleaning up Europe's many remaining toxic sites. It also opens up a huge market for BACSIN's work, van der Meer said, including polluted military installations such as a former Soviet airbase in the Czech Republic, and chemical factories like those in Germany's Leipzig-Bitterfeld area. BACSIN is working through its partners toward performing future clean-up work at these sites.

The very notion of pollution-eating bacteria is a quirk of nature. Ironically, many toxins are ideal food for certain bacteria. The bacteria that are used to clean up oil spills, for instance, evolved this way because of natural oil seeps from the ocean bottom. A bacteria discovered in the Antarctic Ocean can break down diesel oil and PCBs. Other bacteria can remove chlorine from carcinogenic solvents and dry-cleaning chemicals.

Past discoveries such as these, combined with the progress already achieved by BACSIN, is cause for hope. "Our work has produced some very stimulating findings," van der Meer said, referring to the discovery that these bacteria's can live in toxic areas when supported by plants. "I'm very optimistic" states van der Meer.

MEDIA CONSULTA

Despite the difficult navigation conditions associated with lasting longer than usual ice campaign,handling of dry cargo berths at the port of Odessa in February, up 15% over the same period last year. Thus, according to the operative data of the main control room SE "OMTP", the volume of transshipment cargo ships in the past month amounted to 1358.5 thousand tons (compared to 1182.5 thousand tons in February, 2011). The growth is mainly achieved by increasing in the bulk handling of grain: 412.5 tons (230% by February 2011), and ferrous metals: 372.4 tons (106.9%). A summary of dry cargo in January-February 2012 amounted to 2695.5 thousand tons, which was 476.9 thousand tons more than the result of the same period last year (121.5%). At the same time due to lack of traffic Venezuelan and Azerbaijani oil, decreased the amount of liquid cargo. According to experts, because of the difficult ice conditions in a number of Northern Black Sea ports, the port of Odessa in February, the additional party of steel products are accepted, including transit. This created a certain reserve in March. Press-Service.

Source Odessa commercial sea port

GENEVA's Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is deploying very large containerships on the transpacific, with the deployment 12,560-TEU MSC Fabiola, now the biggest ship to ply the transpac trade, reports Alphaliner.

The Paris-based analysts note that the recently delivered 12,560-TEU MSC Fabiola has been deployed on in the trade in the Pearl River Express Service, jointly operated by CMA CGM between Fuqing, Xiamen, Shenzhen-Chiwan, Hong Kong, Shenzhen-Yantian, Long Beach, Oakland and back to Fuqing.

They will also be 11,300-TEU MSC Francesca, expected to join the transpacific fleet from the Asia-Europe run later this month, which will be replaced by an even bigger vessel between 13,000 and 14,000 TEU, said the report.

Containerisation International's Freight Rate Forecaster calculations, eastbound transpacific cautions that utilisation is expected to hit 69 per cent in the first quarter, creating excess capacity unless accompanied by layups. CI also said the average for this year's peak season is expected to rise to just 76 per cent, assuming cargo growth of four per cent.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MOL president Koichi Muto has announced the launch of a plan to regularly publish the results of key performance indicators in operational, environmental and safety areas for its containership service worldwide.

The Japanese shipping giant said it has established a set of goals for each of these indicators to offer industry-leading transparency to customers.

In addition, MOL is planning to start regional key performance indicator monitoring that will be more focused on the services required in each region.

It said in a statement that the company has already been very transparent with its on-time performance and now it is making a point to provide additional data results for customers. Results are accessible at www.CountOnMOL.com .

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

KUWAIT's UASC has taken delivery of the Unayzah third of a series of nine 13,470 TEU ships from Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries and expected to join Far East-Middle East service organised by CMA CGM, CSCL and UASC (AMA/CIMEX/AGX 1).

Ordered in June 2008, the vessel is in drydock in China to receive antifouling paint and is expected to join the fleet shortly to replace ships on two existing with a single loop of seven ships in the 13,000 - 14,000 TEU range.

The Unayzah follows the Ain Snan, delivered in January. UASC is in the process of receiving eight of its nine A13 class ships during the first half of the year, including the Ain Snan.

The delivery of these ships was postponed by a year because several of them were completed in 2011 and then mothballed. The first unit in the nine-ship series was delivered in April 2011 while the eight remaining units are being handed over to UASC in close succession in the first half.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE No 8 and No 9 berths at Zhaoyin port area of the Port of Xiamen will become operational by the end of this year, adding an extra 2.8 million tonnes to the port area's capacity, Xinhua reports.

The two berths have a depth of 17.5 metres and have the conditions to be developed to accommodate containerships of over 100,000 tonnes in the future.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

EGYPTIAN Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri has ordered the formation of a commission chaired by Osama Saleh, president of the General Authority for Investment (GAFI) to look into the conditions of the Kuwaiti company contracted to build the Damietta container terminal.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abul-Naga said the project aims to establish an international container terminal designed to have an annual capacity of four million TEU.

Ms Abul-Naga said Egypt lost investments worth nearly US$10 billion since last year's revolution because of market turmoil, according to an Egypt State Information Service communique..

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

VIETNAM's shipping firms are expected to face difficulties in the year due to global economic uncertainties and the oversupply of vessel tonnage.

A report by VietNamNet Bridge highlighted that shipping fees for importing and exporting goods are likely to increase significantly with some of the rate hikes for transporting goods to Europe and Africa due to commence this month.

Several shipping lines have indicated that rats would be doubled from the current rate to US$700 per TEU. The new fees for imports from some ports in Europe have been implemented since mid-February with rises of between $200 and $300 per TEU, according to the report.

But Vietnam Ship Owners' Association chairman Do Xuan Quynh said this year's shipping fees for transporting sea freight via domestic and international routes would not see big changes.

Mr Quynh said he was surprised by the news regarding a fee hike, adding that the downwards trend is still dominating the container shipping market. As global trade has been decreasing, the issue of idling containerships is becoming more serious, especially when it involves larger vessels.

It is estimated that the number of idle containerships waiting for deployment has reached 700, including many ships in the 3,000-TEU class.

Mr Quynh added that if shipping fees are raised, only foreign shipowners would stand to benefit, and not the Vietnamese shipping companies.

A report from the Vietnam Maritime Bureau showed that out of the 1,633 ships carrying the Vietnamese flag, 1,013 ships, totalling three million deadweight tons, serve domestic routes. Most are bulk carriers with tonnage of less than 5,000 tons. There are 38 containerships, but only two of can handle more than 1,000 TEU.

"We have excessive tonnage for the small ships, while we lack specialised and big tonnage ships," said Nguyen Ngoc Hue, former head of the Maritime Bureau.

Zhaoyin port area is formerly Zhangzhou port. The port merged with Xiamen in 2006.

Since the merger, the port area's throughput has been rising rapidly. It lifted six million tonnes in 2005 and 13 million tons in 2008. Last year, its throughput topped 19 million tons.

The port area started building the two new berth in May 2010. The whole project has now come to the final phase.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE shipping community is invited to join major cargo owners and retail brands, including Diageo and Li & Fung, and some of the biggest names in logistics, transport and ports this March to discuss the outlook for Asia container trade at the TOC Container Supply Chain: Asia 2012 conference and exhibition.

Held at the at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from March 13-15 under the theme "Intra-Asia: the road ahead," the three-day event provides a valuable chance to take stock of immediate and longer term prospects at a time of continued uncertainty in world markets.

Senior figures from leading companies including Accenture, Agility, CMA CGM, Cosco Pacific, DP World, Hapag-Lloyd, Modern Terminals, Panalpina, UASC and others will share views with cargo owners on evolving supply chain and trade dynamics and the impact for logistics and transport.

For more information, visit http://www.tocevents-asia.com/press .

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Port of Barcelona has removed a railway bottleneck that has long prevented it from winning Asian cargo bound for south western Europe - a solution that seemed so obvious from a look at the map.

The problem was the difference between the Spanish and French railway gauges which was solved last year by the laying of a new euro-gauge track to the French border linking to Lyons in central France and east coast Bordeaux.

"It was crazy seeing 85 per cent of Asian cargo for Europe go right past our port from Suez to cruise an extra five days to get to northern Europe only to have it moved south again by train or truck," said the port's delegate to China, Juan Dedeu, during a visit to the Shipping Gazette to announce the opening of Barcelona's Hutchison terminal today (March 6).

Mr Dedeu, also president of China Consultants, said a ship calling to Barcelona, 150 kilometres south of the French border on the Mediterranean, would save five days transit to circle the Iberian Peninsula and western France with 25 per cent of the cargo having to be railed or trucked south again.

Differing rail gauges necessitated costly intermodal transfers at the border, the expense of which killed any hopes of a high volume trade, much less dreams of becoming a major Asian gateway to Europe, he said.

Another factor is that European road and rail networks focus on northern capitals, making them better served by Channel and North Sea ports. Le Havre combined with rivals Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Bremerhaven form a mega magnet for high volume cargo, to which one can add the English ports across the channel.

Mr Dedeu said these disadvantages reduced infrastructure development and kept southern European ports tied to their immediate hinterlands. The French port of Marseilles and the Italian port of Genoa suffers in much the same way.

Mr Dedeu said Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings was instrumental in creating the rail link north by insisting something be done before it committed more to Barcelona. Less than a year ago, a third euro standard line was laid alongside the Spanish gauge to the border.

Hutchison's Barcelona TERCAT terminal, established in 1990, covers 47 hectares, has a 1.08-kilometre quay length with 14 metres depth alongside. The new terminal at Muelle Prat that opens today, adds another kilometre of quay, 60 hectares of yard space and has 16 metres alongside.

While Barcelona suffered a poor fourth quarter, volumes increased a record 13 per cent to 1.4 million TEU from January to August. At full buildout Barcelona will create a capacity of 12.8 million TEU.

"The cranes are there from China, though not put up. We have 30 people from Shanghai putting them up now. If business goes well, we will move more quickly, if it is slower then we will not build as fast," Mr Dedeu said.

The European Union has been helpful in addressing the concerns of a joint-lobby formed by otherwise rival ports of Genoa, Marseilles and Barcelona to put in additional north-south infrastrucuture and foster southern European logistics development.

"We are together on this issue," said Mr Dedeu, "but after that we compete. We are good friends, but we are also competitors."

To his mind, Genoa's location is not advantageous to fully exploit and expected diversion of Suez shipping from the UK-north continent port range and Marseilles is too strike-prone to be reliable.

"We sat down with our unions and said, we have a chance to become a major European port, but we cannot have strikes. They agreed," he said.

While it seems obvious looking at the map that southern ports should be the major intake points for cargo going through Suez, many shippers feel that the sophistication of northern European logistics trumps less sophisticated road and rail systems of the south.

"We are not after all the cargo - not even 50:50," said Mr Dedeu. "We are looking at 25 per cent rather than the 15 per cent we get today."

He also pointed to EU regulations that will tax carbon emissions from ships in the second half, saying that five days extra steaming will be more costly for shippers than discharging cargo in southern European ports like Barcelona.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

APM Terminals Inland Services (APMTS) and Kerala state-owned MIV Logistics have signed an agreement for a container freight station in Kochi at Vallarpadam covering 18 acres with an annual capacity of 100,000 TEU in 2013.

APMTS managing director Subhasis Ghosh signed the memorandum of understanding at Hotel Le Meridien in Kochi on the part of the Maersk-owned subsidiary and T Balakrishnan, managing director of INKEL and chairman MIV, in the presence of Cochin Port Trust officials.

Said Mr. Ghosh: "After the success of our fourth CFS in India in Chennai, which won the CFS of the Year award, we are delighted to be in Kochi to facilitate the growth of export import trade here."

Vallarpadam port in Kochi is said to be emerging as a gateway port for India's foreign trade. "Non availability of sufficient high quality inland container logistics infrastructure is seen as one of the deterrents to growth of exim trade in Kerala," said the APMTS statement.

Said Joseph Sandiav, APMTS container freight station chief: "Coming to Kochi, we are getting world-class container freight stations, providing customer services that will ensure easy access to efficient container logistics and compliance with international norms of safety, security and health at one go."

APMTS South Asia runs seven container freight stations with a total bonded yard area of 3.3 million square feet, empty depots in more than 10 locations, with dry and reefer repair workshops and a trucking fleet to manage shunts and primary transport. The company also caters to Pakistan and Sri Lanka shippers and has a dedicated team of over 280 staff.

Hague-based APM Terminals operates 63 maritime and 150 inland container handling facilities in 46 countries.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

NEW YORK's Global Institute of Logistics, in a tie-up with Chennai's Hauer Associates, is planning to introduce certification system for container terminals in India, in which performance would be audited and classified, reports India's Economic Times.

Global Institute CEO Kieran Ring said the move to certify terminals is part of the plan to improve logistics. Called the Container Terminal Quality System (CTQS), the method assesses container terminals across 80 indicators from crane productivity to staff training, granting full certification after auditing.

Said Hauer Associates chief executive SN Srikanth: "The mechanism will help Indian ports sell themselves. It won't be too long when we will have excess capacity."

The Port of Hamburg has been certified under the system, devised by the Global Institute of Logistics "combined with terminal operators such as PSA and Shenzhen-Yantian as also industry bodies such as IAPH and Global Shippers Forum", said the report.

According to a World Shipping Council list, in 2010, six of the top 10 busiest terminals in the world were in China, with Shanghai heading the list. India had one, Mumbai's Nhava Sheva, in 26th place.

"But when it comes to efficiency, comparisons are tougher," said the report, noting that the Ministry of Shipping said Indian ports lag behind Singapore in key terminal parameters with crane productivity of 20 moves per hour against Singapore's 30 while turnarounds are 1.77 days for India and 0.50 days for Singapore.

K Ravichandran, co-head of corporate ratings at Icra (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency, today associated with Moody's), said: "A standard format would definitely help. This will help business process re-engineering of ports in relation to the benchmark."

Michael Pinto, former government shipping secretary, pointed out how TEU isn't an adequate measure. "For example, a port might be more efficient, but gets lower TEUs because of its location. The terminals should be measured based on the number of containers handled per house, turnaround times, efficiency of crane handling and so on."

A senior unidentified Singapore-based logistics company official said: "Terminals account for 95 per cent of the cost of a logistics operation, and inefficiencies in terminals have an indirect impact on our profitability. As a director I should be focusing more on business development. But due to inefficiencies in major ports, most of my time is spent on terminals."

But Mumbai's JNPT operations chief SN Maharana disagreed. "We already have been given specific parameters on which we have to function and we monitor all the performance."

Agreeing, rival Mundra port director Rajiv Sinha said: "Every port in the country has various quality certifications. In terms of productivity, parameters tend to change frequently. So we are not sure whether this would help."

J Krishnan, chairman of Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (MCCI) logistics committee, said: "We wonder whether freight station operators would be open to audits. As competition increases such an rating will help in better marketing of products."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DANAOS Corporation, one of the largest containership charter owners, has added the 8,530-TEU CMA CGM Melisande built at Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry, to its fleet of 61 containerships aggregating 312,779 TEU.

The CMA CGM Melisande is 335 metres long, 42.8 metres wide and has a speed of 25.80 knots. The vessel will commence its 12-year time charter at a fixed charter rate. The annualised EBITDA run-rate contribution of the vessel is expected to be US$12.7 million.

"The delivery of CMA CGM Melisande marks the successful completion of a project for building five 8,530-TEU post-panamax vessels at Jiangnan Changxing shipyard that are the largest containerships ever built in China," said Danaos vice president and COO Iraklis Prokopakis.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SWISS based Kuehne + Nagel has opened a new office in Chiang Mai to meet the strong demand for integrated logistics services in Thailand for hi-tech and perishable products.

Located on the northern part of Thailand, Chiang Mai is the country's second city with a high concentration of consumer electronics manufacturing companies. Furthermore, the location is home to the country's leading flower exporters. A company statement said that many of its customers are operating here, due to the city's geographical advantages and the establishment of the Chiang Mai Free Trade Zone.

"The opening is an important step in the development of Kuehne + Nagel in Thailand. With the network stretching to Chiang Mai, we are able to further enhance our service levels for our customers through closer local contacts," said Thailand managing director Pascal Martin.

In Thailand, the logistics giant operates offices in Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Phuket and Chiang Mai, employing 400 staff.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News
 

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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