GERMANY's Commerzbank are expected to suffer shipping loan losses of as much as EUR441 million (US$588 million) this year, reports Bloomberg.

Many German smaller and mid-sized shipping companies, which has the world's third largest shipping fleet, can no longer pay debts with some facing bankruptcy, says the German Shipowners' Association (VDR) shipping association.

"A lot of the charter owners can't pay principal to the banks because of low charter rates. Smaller tonnage is hit especially hard. Markets are really poor and we still have a certain backlog of ships," said the Hamburg-based VDR's managing director Max Johns.

Commerzbank's 2008 takeover of Dresdner Bank AG increased its stake in shipping lender Deutsche Schiffsbank to 92 per cent, doubling the size of its maritime loan portfolio, just before the industry went into a worldwide slump.

Commerzbank has the world's third-largest shipping portfolio at $28 billion, according to Athens-based vessel finance consultant Petrofin SA.

Today, Germany's second-largest bank, behind Deutsche Bank, is already working to fix its balance sheet and raise EUR5.3 billion by the end of June.

Shipping loan losses will likely rise to 2.1 per cent of such lending at Commerzbank this year, Morgan Stanley analysts Henrik Schmidt and Doug Hayes wrote in a note. That's more than the 1.8 per cent projection for the Royal Bank of Scotland and the 1.5 per cent forecast for Norway's DNB, Italy's UniCredit SpA (UCG) and France's BNP Paribas.

"Shipping is one of the reasons behind Commerzbank's underperformance in the past 12 months," Kepler Capital Markets analyst Dirk Becker told Bloomberg from Frankfurt. "It is a risky business, as risky as many parts of commercial real estate. There'll be a time of reckoning at some point."

Maersk Line, CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd recorded losses in 2011 because of high fuel costs and falling freight rates, attributed to an oversupply of tonnage.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE biggest vessel ever to dock at Sharjah's Gulftainer's Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT), the 14, 074-TEU CSCL Uranus, has arrived on its maiden voyage from the Far East, reported WAM, Emirates New Agency.

Fresh out of a Korean shipyard on the March 9, it is the largest ship to arrive at Khorfakkan Container Terminal and is the China Shipping Container Lines' (CSCL) largest ship.

"For KCT, this marks another success in our ever-expanding client range," said Gulftainer managing director Peter Richards. "The selection of CSCL Uranus to dock in KCT on its maiden call further proves KCT's abilities as one of the world's fastest-moving ports."

Gulftainer's KCT was named Shipping Port of the Year in 2011 at the Annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA 2011) in Dubai and is recognised as one of the most efficient ports in the world, said the report.

KCT has 1,900 metres of quay, a 16-metres alongside, 20 ship-to-shore gantry cranes, and is able to dock the biggest containerships.

It is located on Sharjah's Indian Ocean coast, conveniently outside the tense Strait of Hormuz and near main east-west shipping routes with its easy access to the UAE's Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

The port was recently expanded, increasing the total number of gantry cranes to 20 and the overall storage space to 450,000 square metres, said the report.

Gulftainer Company Limited has been operating since 1976 in the UAE and operates three main ports in the Emirates: Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) and Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT) on behalf of the Sharjah Port Authority, and terminal operations on behalf international plastics solutions company, Borouge, in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHENGLINGJI, a port in Hunan province's Yueyang city has started a new shipping service via Yangtze River and along the coast to Hong Kong and Macau, which is the first such service to the two special administrative regions, Xinhua reports.

According to Changsha Daily, in Hunan province, the inauguration ceremony was held at the Chenglingji International Container Terminal, the maiden ship carried 28 TEU of fireworks to Hong Kong.

The service is operated by Fujian Lianfa Shipping Company, the subsidiary of the largest carrier in Fujian in terms of capacity, Fujian Guanhai Shipping Company. It uses two ships and offers six round-trip sailings per month that sails along the Yangtze River to Shanghai then sails along the coast to Hong Kong and Macau. Each single journey lasts six to seven days. Using the new service, shippers can save up to CNY300 (US$47.64) per TEU.

Customs at Shanghai, Wuhan, Chongqing and Changsha have started to cooperate on trans-regional clearance for the new service. Cargo from Yichang, Chuanjiang and Chongqing that are previously transshipped at Wuhan's Yangluo port will now be transshipped via Chenglingji port, bringing 50,000 to 120,000 TEU to the port's throughput.

Experts said that the new line will bring opportunities for the development of Hunan's export-oriented economy and international logistics.

Being the largest port in Hunan province, Chenglingji port is located on the south bank in the middle reaches of the Yangtze.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE United States may soon allow China to import American technology with military applications, said US Ambassador to China Gary Locke in a recent speech in Shanghai, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Beijing has long complained that US limits on exports of such high-tech equipment such as aircraft engines, underwater cameras and propulsion systems and telecom gear are tantamount to protectionism.

Mr Locke said US officials will go to Shanghai in May with a group of American tech companies to discuss what equipment China would be allowed to purchase.

"We are in the midst of a major reform and simplification that will enable more high-tech goods to be exported to China," said Mr Locke, adding that liberalisation would boost US exports and reduce America's trade deficit.

The Wall Street Journal said such moves risk a backlash from some Republican politicians in an election year. Rightist Republicans have been attacking the leftist Obama administration over its engagement with China on intellectual property, currency and market-access concerns.

"China is an increasingly hostile and disruptive force in the world. The idea that we are cooperating with them, in any capacity, is alarming," California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher told a congressional committee.

But American Chamber of Commerce in China wants restrictions eased, fearing lost sales to European producers whose products are more accessible and where China is likely to fund research.

Xinhua reports the Ministry of Commerce welcomes all measures conducive to expanding high-technology trade, "But till now, China has not seen any substantial moves from the United States to relax control over its exports to China." said a ministry spokesman.

Controlled items include aircraft and aircraft engines, avionics and inertial-navigation systems, lasers, depleted uranium, underwater cameras and propulsion systems, certain composite materials, and some telecommunications equipment for space communications or air defence, according to the China section of the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security.

Mr Locke spoke of 141 items he said China wanted from the US. China reportedly provided the US with the list in preparation for Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House in January 2011.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ISRAEL's Zim Integrated Shipping Services recently received US$50 million from its major shareholder Israel Corporation as its second part of a $100 million aid package.

Funding will allow Zim to operate with adequate cash flow and comply with its financial covenants. The carrier has already received a total of $450 million fund injected by Israel Corp to avoid bankruptcy in 2009.

As the world's 16th largest carrier, Zim has not been doing well in recent years. According to maritime analyst Alphaliner's figures, it posted an operating loss of $276 million in 2011 and even much greater loss of $675 million in 2009.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MUMBAI Nehru Port's container volume increased 1.5 per cent to a record 4.32 million TEU in the fiscal 2012, the port authority said.

Gateway Terminals, Nehru's largest container facility operated by APM Terminals, moved 1.89 million TEU, up from 1.85 million TEU a year earlier. Traffic through DP World's Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal totalled 1.4 million TEU, down from 1.54 million TEU. Volume via the state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal increased to 1.03 million TEU from 880,000 TEU.

Traffic through port in fiscal 2011-12 hit 4.32 million TEU. The volume of containers through India's Port of Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva) hit an "all-time high" of 4.32 million TEU in fiscal 2011-12 ending March 31.

Officials said total cargo tonnage for 2011-12 was estimated at 65.75 million tons, with containerised tonnage amounting to 58.25 million tons.

"We are taking steps to develop additional capacity to cope with the projected growth in traffic volume," said port chairman L Radhakrishnan.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

LOGISTICS provider Agility has posted an eight per cent increase in net profit to KWD27 million (US$91.1 million) in 2011 despite a five per cent revenue decline to KWD1.3 billion due to a discontinued US defence logistics role.

Fourth quarter profit was up 114 per cent to KWD3.5 million from a net loss of KWD23.7 million in the same quarter 2010, drawn on revenues of KWD345 million, up four per cent year on year.

"We are a different company today than we were a year ago, and we consider 2011 a new financial baseline against which we will measure future performance," said Tarek Sultan, Agility's chairman and managing director.

"We sold the bulk of our vehicle fleet in the Middle East, freed up warehousing space for commercial customers, and converted working capital to cash. Having undergone some heavy lifting in terms of restructuring over the last two years, the company anticipates solid gains in 2012 and beyond," Mr Sultan added.

Agility performance in high-growth emerging markets was a major contributor to revenue, as reflected in the double-digit growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Its infrastructure companies contributed KWD111.3 million with revenue growing 18 per cent year on year supported by profitable niches in the market place, he said helped by the closing of two deals.

Said Mr Sultan: "We merged Agility Qatar operations with Gulf Warehousing Company (GWC) and realised gain of KWD8 million. We also formed a joint venture with France Telecom and converted our debt into equity in Korek. Today we have an indirect stake of 24 per cent in Korek and US$100 million debt yielding 12 per cent per annum".

Other growth areas included its National Aviation Services (NAS) with an aim to further enhance the potential of these airport ground handling services which have succeeded in developing countries.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CEVA LOGISTICS has signed a two-year contract extension with Renault in Brazil for the receipt, storage and consolidation of auto parts for export to France, Argentina, Mexico, Romania, Colombia and South America.

Operations will be conducted in a dedicated 4,000-square metre area of the logistics firm's site in Sao Jose dos Pinhais, a city in Parana, Brazil, with 17 employees shipping 240,000 cubic metres of parts a year.

The two companies have been working together since 2002 in Brazil, where the logistics operator provides a range of different supply chain solutions for the automotive giant, with key partnerships also in France, Spain, Italy and Argentina.

Mauricio Leonel, Business Development manager for CEVA's automotive sector in Brazil said: "Our ability to offer Renault a solution that has the potential to increase their productivity has helped reinforce CEVA's leadership in the automotive sector in Brazil."

CEVA said in a statement that it is the only Renault provider to receive the UET certification-Unity Station of Work. This document certifies that the logistics provider has implemented a management tool that standardises the operation of a particular activity in relation to the production of goods and services, and was granted by Renault after an extensive audit.

"The handling and storage of the products requires special care and expertise, and this is why we have entrusted CEVA to continue running our operations, as well as awarding the logistics operator the UET certification for excellence in quality service provision," said Renault Brazil operations manager Claudemir Bozza.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

FAILING shipping companies, struggling with an oversupply of tonnage and slack demand, are increasingly filing for bankruptcy in the United States because the US law protects them from liquidation, allowing them to continue operations, say lenders and lawyers, according to Reuters.

"Only in Chapter 11 can you get bankruptcy financing, can your management remain in place, and can you continue to operate the company," said DLA Piper bankruptcy lawyer Thomas Califano.

When Dutch-based Marco Polo Seatrade filed for bankruptcy in a US court in July, lenders fought to get the case thrown out as the company's links to the United States were limited to two small bank accounts.

Shipping companies are well placed to do what many other troubled firms would like to do - seeking Chapter 11 refuge - because their assets of ships are on the move, allowing them seek insolvency protection almost anywhere they go.

Creditors, most often European banks, as well as lawyers and judges raise questions about the rightful reach of US bankruptcy law and who should have access to US courts. So far, American judges have handled such cases. Lenders would prefer to push companies into insolvency so they can seize assets.

Chapter 11 offers broad protections to stave off creditors and give companies an exclusive period to file restructuring plans. It differs from Chapter 15, which allows foreign restructurings to be recognised in the United States, but does not give companies the same leeway in reorganising.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ACE Winches staff recently completed their largest manufacturing contract, worth GBP 4.2 million (US$6.73 million) for Houston's Superior Energy Services which was delivered on the world's largest plane, the Antonov 225.

Winches, a leading deck machinery specialist, has designed and manufactured an electrically driven eight-point mooring spread at its global headquarters in Scotland.

The complete winch package has been designed to be capable of operating in temperatures as low as -45 degrees C. The ABS certified winches are tailored to meet the mooring requirements of the barge, which will be working in extreme Arctic weather.

The ACE winch package began its voyage from Auchterless, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, the first shipment of winches weighing 125 tonnes was delivered on three trucks to Southampton; it was then shipped across the Atlantic on the vessel Integrity, reaching Baltimore, from where it was driven across America to its destination.

The second shipment was required by the client to be delivered ahead of planned schedule. The winch package also weighing 125 tonnes was exported by air freight from Glasgow on the world's largest plane, the Antonov 225.

This is the heaviest load ever to be exported by air from Scotland. Due to the combined weight of the load and aircraft of 550 tonnes in total, various stops had to be made to refuel including; Goose Bay, Labrador and Minneapolis-St Paul. The Antonov 225 made its final landing in Moses Lake Airport in Washington state before being trucked to reach its destination.

"I am delighted with the commitment and dedication shown by the ACE employees from initial stages of design through to manufacture, accomplishing the completion of this projecting just six months. Everyone at ACE Winches has been involved in this project in one way or another, the manufacturing team has been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving up some of their festive celebrations to complete this order on time," said ACE Winches CEO Alfie Cheyne.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

GERMANY's Lufthansa Cargo is now considering selling its entire fleet of 18 MD-11 freighters after a Leipzig court upheld the blanket night-flight ban covering six hours at Frankfurt Airport.

Since the German Federal court in Leipzig upheld the ban on October 3, Lufthansa created an emergency winter timetable which led to a loss of US$20 million in three months due to cancelled flights and loss of business.

But now the court has ruled again to uphold the ban, Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz said: "This a big blow for Germany as a place to do business and there is no doubt that one of Europe's biggest hubs will slip in international competitiveness."

Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Karl Ulrich Garnadt said the restricted takeoffs is just a stop gap, which costs money and does not pay, according to Germany's Focus Magazine.

Lufthansa has frozen investment of US$1.35 billion at Frankfurt hub until final ruling from a Leipzig court and forecasts annual revenue loss of $54 million into 2012. The carrier has five Boeing 777 freighters on order and its joint unit Aerologic operates eight leased 777 freighters.

Germany and the Rhine-Main region around the airport transport half the country's air freight and accounts for 80 per cent of Lufthansa's global cargo traffic.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

UAE CARRIER Etihad Airways' cargo unit has posted 12.2 per cent increase in first quarter revenue to US$159 million, with the total revenue - passengers included - rising by 28.5 per cent to $989 million.

Passenger numbers for the quarter grew by 50,000, and revenues jumped 25.4 per cent.

Etihad Crystal Cargo is looking to "significant expansion" in the next 18 months through new routes expansion using belly-hold capacity to Shanghai, Chengdu.

"Combined investments in Air Seychelles and Europe's sixth largest airline, airberlin, is game changing for us," said its CEO James Hogan, reported London's Air News Times.

Mr Hogan said the carrier is looking to make better use of bellyhold capacity in its new routes to Shanghai, Chengdu and elsewhere. These new services, combined with investments in Air Seychelles and airberlin, should help Etihad achieve success during an industry-wide slowdown in air freight, he said.

"The airberlin deal will be our most important catalyst for growth in 2012. It has given us instant access to Europe's largest travel market, and will have a major impact on revenues in 2012, with an expected contribution of up to $50 million," he said.

It is also to launch new services to Vietnam and to South America in 2013 with further frequency likely to both Asia and Australia. It has two freighters on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

"Despite the tough economic times, we believe our business model of organic network growth combined with codeshare partnerships and strategic equity investments will enable us to continue to prosper and ensure sustainable profitability," Mr Hogan said.

Following the carrier's net profit of $14 million it is bullish that 2012 will be the "most profitable in the airline's history."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


Three Danish mussel-harvesting vessels have successfully completed the assessment process for MSC certification. Processing company Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH financed the MSC certification process and can now use the blue MSC ecolabel on the mussels harvested by these three vessels.  The ecolabel tells consumers that fish has been caught using sustainable methods and that the product can be traced back to a sustainable fishery that has been certified to the MSC standard.

The MSC audit assessed the following aspects: the status of the blue mussel population, the impacts of the three vessels’ activities on the marine ecosystem, and the fishery’s management system.

Royal Frysk says

“We are delighted that the sustainable methods used by the mussel fishers have been independently confirmed and we can immediately start supplying our customers with mussels bearing the MSC ecolabel from this fishery as well. The long-term conservation of mussel stocks is very important to us as a processing company. It’s the only way we can secure our commercial basis and our future,” explains Stephan Tack, Managing Director of Royal Frysk Muscheln.

Where and how are the mussels caught?

The three vessels harvest mussels off the east coast of Jutland in Denmark, where they use dredges at depths of at least four metres. Before the dredges are lowered into the water, the fishermen locate the mussel beds using sonar and video technology. This prevents them harvesting mussels that are too small. Each dredging pass lasts no more than ten minutes.

Harvest volumes

Last year the three vessels landed 6,600 tons of mussels, which was 88 per cent of the entire mussel landings on the east coast of Jutland. The catch quotas are set and allocated annually by the Danish Directorate of Fisheries. In 2011, each vessel was allowed 270 tons of mussels per week. The mussel fishers voluntarily agreed to lower this quota to 150 tons per week in order to support responsible management and make a contribution to the long-term preservation of the mussel stocks. The harvest season is concentrated on the months of March to May and September to mid-December.

The management system

The mussel fishery’s management system is under the supervision of the Danish Commission of Commercial Fisheries. It is based on regular evaluation of biological data and on an analysis of the distribution and development of mussel stocks, which is conducted with the help of geographical information systems. The information obtained in this way enables the fishery to target the most productive mussel beds.

The MSC says

Marnie Bammert, Manager of the MSC office for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, is delighted: “The certification of the three Danish mussel vessels is an example of successful teamwork between suppliers and buyers to support sustainable fishing practices. We are very pleased with the active role that Royal Frysk played in this MSC assessment and hope that Royal Frysk mussels with the MSC ecolabel will soon be available in German supermarkets and specialist shops. Half of German consumers are already familiar with our blue ecolabel and they are bound to appreciate this certified sustainable product.”

Further information about Royal Frysk Muscheln Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH

Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH is a modern, medium-sized mussel-processing company. It is based in Emmelsbüll-Horsbüll in Schleswig Holstein, Germany’s northernmost state. Its suppliers include the three independent Danish mussel vessels that have just received MSC certification. Royal Frysk supplies mussels – cooked, frozen or packaged and ready to cook – to customers throughout Europe. Within Germany, Royal Frysk has a large number of customers in the Rhineland region, where there is even a regional mussel dish: “Muscheltopf rheinischer Art”.

Source MSC


Finnair is publishing today its annual corporate responsibility report. The publication, released digitally, is prepared according to guidelines established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), details and assesses the financial, environmental and social sustainability of the Finnair Group’s activities in 2011. Topics addressed include aviation’s role in society and business, the airline’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how restructuring impacts on staff.

“Sustainability and corporate responsibility play into every aspect of Finnair’s business,” says Kati Ihamäki, Vice President of Sustainable Development. “This report shows how everyone at Finnair, from top management to customer-facing staff, plays an important role in building the company’s sustainable future.”

Finnair has reported on environmental sustainability since 1997, and in 2008 became one of the first airlines to report according to GRI guidelines. The GRI, formed with the support of the United Nations Environment Program, is the most widely recognised international authority on sustainability reporting.

Source Finnair Plc

New branding captures passion for connecting peoples hopes, dreams and aspirations

DUBAI, UAE – 2 April 2012 – Emirates today launched a new global brand platform and direction, themed "Hello Tomorrow,” which positions the global airline as the enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences. Emirates is embarking on an integrated marketing communications campaign with a new brand promise as the company continues its evolution from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand.

Designed for the age of consumer engagement and empowerment, “Hello Tomorrow” is about inspiring people to greet tomorrow’s unlimited potential, now. “Hello” is a greeting, an invitation to a person, a place or an experience. “Tomorrow” is a time, a place, a state of mind – the unlimited possibility of the future.  Emirates is extending an invitation to try the unfamiliar, create new ideas, and form new visions. The theme encapsulates life’s potential and embracing the future with all the possibilities it holds.

"Our new corporate image and global marketing campaign both underline the confidence we have in our existing products and services, and the vision we have for the future growth of the airline," said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman of Emirates Airline and Group. “Emirates is not just offering a way to connect people from point A to point B but is the catalyst to connect people’s hopes, dreams and aspirations.”  “Emirates is connecting people and cultures creating relevant and meaningful experiences that are shaping the world,” he added.  

Emirates airline has grown from its early days in 1985, when it launched with just two aircraft, to its current status as one of the world’s fastest growing airlines with 171 wide-body aircraft including the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777s and A380s.  A brand synonymous with luxury and innovation, Emirates was the first to offer inflight telephony across all classes, individual TV screens on every seat, First Class suites and an onboard Shower Spa on its A380 aircraft.  From its home base in Dubai, Emirates is geographically located within an eight hour direct flight of 75 per cent of the world’s population – more distant routes like the Americas are connected to the Dubai hub with long range aircraft that fly the distance direct.  

As the world becomes more interconnected, borders are being blurred and people are more mobile and globally focused than ever before; they are connecting, creating and sharing ideas that are propelling the world forward.  Emirates, slated to become the world’s largest airline by 2015[1],  represents these global individuals who we call ‘globalistas’ – they are our customers and also our multi-cultural work force which is made up of more than 45,000 people from over 165 different nations.

Globalistas represent individuals who are looking and living for new experiences. They are well travelled, or have aspirations to join the ranks of the well-travelled. The ‘globalista’ is not defined by typical demographic statistics but by the places they have visited and the experiences they have shared. They embrace the unlimited possibility of the future and are open to an invitation to try the unfamiliar - Emirates is the brand that is enabling this global lifestyle.

The campaign was created with Emirates lead communications partner Strawberry Frog, the world's first Cultural Movement agency. “We’re building on decades of innovation in Emirates marketing to launch this new and innovative movement for the world’s most thoughtful and incredible brand,” said Scott Goodson, Chairman of Strawberry Frog. “This bold next step for the brand will offer people who love the brand or want to experience the brand, inspiration to participate in this brave new world and spark new connections and experiences achieved through travel.”  

“The “Hello Tomorrow” campaign is at the vanguard of the trend for global brands to spark movements not simply do advertising, connecting people, communities and encouraging them to join together to make a positive impact on society,” added Goodson.

The campaign launch, which begins today, features print, TV, digital advertising including some iconic billboards in New York’s Times Square and Milan’s central train station. A series of vibrant messages that represent the spirit of Tomorrow – Tomorrow Brings Us Closer to; New People, New Experiences, New Styles, New Friends, will bring Emirates’ new vision to the marketplace. Emirates website has also been refreshed to reflect the “Hello Tomorrow” messaging.

Beyond a look, the spirit of the brand and its evolution is being embedded internally as well focused on driving increased consumer engagement in what is new, fresh and innovative in the world - empowering people to explore, engage and live.

Source Aviareps
 

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