SOUTH Africa's Competition Commission has fined South African Airways ZAR18.8 million (US$2.35 million) and Singapore Airlines ZAR25.1 million for price-fixing on routes between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

The fine settles another investigation into South African Airways, which was accused of collusion over domestic fares and international freight rates during the 2010 football World Cup, citing a statement from the anti-trust authorities, reported Agence France-Presse.

"SAA has offered its full cooperation to the commission in its ongoing investigations and prosecution of both the matters," the statement said.

"Similarly, Singapore Airlines undertook to do the same with regards to the Far East matter."

No separate ruling was made against South African Airways in the World Cup enquiry, however, the Competition Commission was cited as saying that the fine will settle the matter.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

QANTAS and the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) are to face compulsory arbitration before Fair Work Australia after failing to resolve pay and conditions for around 3,800 baggage handlers, ground staff, catering, freight and other transport employees.

Fair Work Australia will determine a workplace agreement by compulsory arbitration after months of strikes by TWU and other unions costing A$68 million (US$71.5 million) in grounding of Qantas' fleet at a weekly revenue loss of A$15 million.

"This is the first time since enterprise bargaining began almost 20 years ago that Qantas will have a pay dispute resolved by compulsory arbitration," said Qantas Group executive Lyell Strambi in a statement.

Qantas was subjected to rolling strikes, strikes over the school holidays and announcing strikes only to call them off at the last minute and only after disrupting the travel plans of thousands of passengers, Mr Strambi added.

"If Qantas had done nothing and allowed the 'slow-bake' from unions to continue there would have been no end to the industrial dispute, with union leaders including Tony Sheldon threatening to continue strike action for 12 months.

Qantas maintain that it is working to a fair deal for its employees by maintaining competitive salaries and working conditions - and a fair deal to the company to allow for flexibility needed to remain competitive in the global aviation industry.

Mr Strambi said the TWU proposal for pay increases of 10 per cent over two years is not viable - Qantas has offered pay increases of three per cent. TWU demand that Qantas covers employees of the subsidiary operation Qantas Ground Services (QGS) in its new pay deal rather than outsource but Mr Strambi says this would prevent sensible use of contractors and in turn a flexible workforce.

But this would allow Qantas to get "lowest rate of pay, the lowest conditions they can possibly get, which includes poorer training, poorer skills and it means less performance for the travelling public," said TWU federal secretary Tom Sheldon, reported ABC Melbourne radio.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SOUTHWESTERN China's emerging industrial city Chongqing has signed cooperation agreement with six international carriers on launching more cargo and passenger services from the city, Xinhua reports.

On the 2nd China International and Regional Air Routes and Services and Promotional Meeting, AirAsia and Asiana Airlines signed agreements with Chongqing Airport Group and Chongqing Port Administration Office, while Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Hong Kong Airlines and Evergreen International Airlines signed cooperation agreement with Chongqing Logistics Administration Office.

Forty-one air carriers from home and abroad and 33 domestic airport attended the promotional meeting, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, All Nippon Airways, Korean Air, UPS, TNT and FedEx.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

US AIR CARGO security agencies appear to be abandoning the 100 per cent air cargo screening mandated by congress with the introduction of their freight profiling Air Cargo Advance Screening programme, a Miami air freight conference was told.

"Eventually, our goal is across-the-board risk-based analysis of shippers and every shipment entering the United States by air," said US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole.

To do this, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are moving forward with their joint pilot programme, Mr Pistole told AirCargo 2012 delegates.

Mr Pistole said he believes the ability to provide shipment-level data prior to takeoff will help the air freight industry mitigate risk indicating a move towards a reliable-shipper policy rather than the 100 per cent screening approach.

Mr Pistole told delegates he sees a "paradigm shift" in how the US approaches air freight security, thanks to technological improvements and new insights into cargo screening, reported Roswell, Georgia's Air Cargo News.

A three-phased, voluntary initiative, this programme will allow parties to submit electronic data before shipment, thus identifying high-risk freight, according to a TSA statement.

"The more intelligence that we can have on the front end, the better informed judgments we can make as to distinguish between known shippers and shipments by those who are unknown," Mr Pistole told conference attendees. "If we can make decisions on the front end [about a particular parcel], then we can do a better job of working together."

Acting deputy customs commissioner Tom Winkowski described the pilot programme as a "game-changer", admitting customs had downplayed the role of freight forwarders in cargo screening in the past.

Said Mr Winkowski: "The old model's out, and the new model's in. We had better create a roadmap before someone creates it for us."

US Airforwarders Association executive director Brandon Fried said that "analysing shipment data before departure provides an opportunity to pinpoint those shipments that may be the most threatening".

Writing in Air Cargo World earlier, Mr Fried said it was important to keep programme data consistent with the World Customs Organisation's Data Model and urged the federal agencies to invite shippers into future discussions.

"The air forwarders association further urges CBP to recognise that many air freight forwarders deliver efficient and flexible shipping solutions through vast international agent networks," said Mr Fried. "While these agents provide excellent support through their local knowledge and expertise, they may not share the same electronic platforms of their US forwarder customers."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

BP announced today that it has agreed to sell its interests in its southern gas assets (SGA) in the UK North Sea to Perenco UK Ltd for $400 million in cash

As it continues the active management of its business portfolios around the world, focusing on core activities and future growth, BP expects to divest assets with a total value of $38 billion between 2010 and the end of 2013. Including the agreement to sell SGA, the company has now announced divestments with an expected value totalling approximately $23 billion.

Perenco has made an initial payment to BP of $100 million in cash and the remaining $300 million will be paid on completion, which is expected before the end of 2012. A further $10 million may be paid in the future contingent on the prevailing gas prices. Completion of the sale is subject to a number of third party and regulatory approvals. It is expected that impacted BP employees working for SGA will transfer with the asset to Perenco.

Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said: ''We are pleased to have reached this agreement. Perenco is committed to investing in and developing SGA beyond BP's plans, ultimately providing a longer-term future for the assets and the people who work there. The continued safe operation of SGA will continue to be our priority as we support employees through the transition process.''

The divestment of SGA is part of BP's strategy to develop a more focused North Sea business in the UK and Norway. BP has a multi-billion pound investment programme currently underway, with four major field development projects in the UK and a further two in Norway.

Mr Garlick said: ''Together with our partners BP is currently progressing projects in the UK offshore that will involve a total investment of Ā£10 billion over the next five years ā€“ representing the highest level of annual investment BP has ever made into the UK's offshore industry. Actively managing our portfolio allows us to concentrate our people, capabilities and investment on sustaining BP's business in the North Sea for the long term.''

Source BP

This year Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) will be showcasing Hamburg‘s potential  to around 45,000 trade visitors from industry, commerce and the logistics sector in South America by participating again in Intermodal South America in São Paulo. The fair is being held from 10th to 12th April 2012.

HHM will be represented on the German Ports joint stand at the logistics and transport fair together with Brunsbüttel Ports, Buss Port Logistics, Polzug Intermodal, Swan Container Line and TCI International Logistics.

In 2011 Brazil emerged as the Port of Hamburg’s fourth most important trading partner. A total of 302,000 TEU (20-ft standard containers) were transported with Brazil in 2011, representing an increase of 16.6 percent. The outward total to Brazil reached 231,000 TEU. This brought the country on the East coast of South America into the Top Ten among Hamburg’s trading partners in the container traffic that is so crucial for the port. Not surprisingly, therefore, last year also saw the inauguration of a new liner service between Brazil and Hamburg – a joint service run by shipping companies Hanjin from Korea, UASC (United Arab Shipping Company), COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) and CCNI (Compania Chilena de Navegacion Interoceanica).

Among the main goods exchanged as imports and exports between Hamburg and Brazil are machinery and machine tools as well as the corresponding spare parts. Hamburg continues to import vast quantities of meat and fish products from Brazil, along with fruit and vegetables among other cargoes. The main exports from Hamburg to Brazil are automotive parts and basic chemicals.

Apart from showcasing some 450 exhibitors, on two days Intermodal South America offers conferences on “Ports & Intermodal Infra 2012” and “Air Cargo 2012”, which will also feature workshops, presentations and panel discussions. Further details of the fair and the exhibitors will be found in English under .


Nordic Tankers has today entered into a conditional agreement to sell its chemical tanker activities including the organisation for USD 30 million to a company controlled by Triton, a Europeaan investment firm.

The sale is a result of discussions between Nordic Tankers and its banks driven by the high debt position in Nordic Tankers and continuing low freight rates.

Nordic Tankers will in the future be a tonnage provider with a fleet of six product tankers in the range 37,000-73,000 dwt.

A moratorium on deferred and ordinary instalments payable until 31 March 2013 has been agreed for the product tanker fleet subject to certain conditions.

The listed company will change its name from “Nordic Tankers A/S” to “Nordic Shipholding A/S”.

1. Introduction

Nordic Tankers or the “Company” has today entered an agreement on the divestment of its chemical tanker operations to a company controlled by Triton, a European investment firm.

The transaction is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled, amongst other approval at the annual general meeting on 20 April 2012, and applicable competition law approvals. The parties expect the transaction to be completed in May 2012.

The divestment comes as a result of discussions between Nordic Tankers and its banks – Nordea and Danish Ship Finance – and is viewed as the best available solution for Nordic Tankers and its stakeholders considering the high debt position and continuing low freight rates.

The period with very low and non-compensatory freight rates has regrettably lasted much longer than anticipated by most observers. Thus, the development has deviated significantly from expectations when Nordic Tankers was reconstructed January 2010 and capital was raised from existing and new shareholders to implement the Company's strategy: "The Nordic Ambition".

Over the last two years, however, significant improvements have been achieved in line with the strategy. The contract of affreightment portfolio has been expanded, new chemical tanker pools have been established, and time charters have been concluded. Technical and nautical level of operation has been upgraded to the extent that all major oil companies will contract Nordic Tankers. In parallel, the organisation has been fine-tuned to deliver strong performance.

But the financial and economic crisis and the prevailing freight market conditions have eroded the capital base required to further implement the strategy. During 2011, the board and management have therefore continuously worked on identifying sources of new equity to strengthen the capital base and see the Company through the prolonged period of nonsustainable rates. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to determine viable ways to attract equity. Nordic Tankers thus faced a difficult situation.

In this long-lasting process the board, however, identified Triton as a motivated potential buyer with the financial strength and strategic interest in buying the strong cohesive asset – the chemical tanker vessels and the organisation managing it as a whole. The divestment provides Nordic Tankers with time to continue the search for a long term solution based on its product tanker fleet. With the prevailing loss making freight rates a recapitalisation and refinancing is however necessary.

2. The contemplated transaction

The proposed divestiture of the chemical tanker activities will be structured as a sale of all nine owned chemical tanker vessels, the six in-chartered chemical tanker vessels, all contracts of affreightment and the organisation of Nordic Tankers, encompassing commercial and technical management, administration and corporate management – approximately 140 employees. The purchase price has been agreed at USD 30 million, of which two-thirds will be lent to the company to be established, which is to own the nine owned chemical tanker vessels, in order for the buyer to reduce the debt position and ensure cash-break-even in this entity over the coming period of time. The loan, which will be subordinated to the bank debt in the nine vessels, is repayable in 2017, will accumulate rolled-up interest of 7.5% annually, and is subject to certain conditions.

The sale and purchase agreement includes a 3 year non-compete clause restricting Nordic Tankers A/S to invest in and operate in chemical tanker business as well as a customary catalogue of seller’s warranties.

3. The future direction of the listed Company

Following a divestiture of the chemical tanker activities the listed Company will become a tonnage provider in the product tanker segment. The five 37,000 dwt handy-size vessels will remain in commercial management with Maersk, where they participate in the Handytankers Pool, while the technical management of these vessels will remain with TB Marine in Hamburg. The 73,000 dwt LR1 Nordic Anne will remain commercially managed by Hafnia in the Straits Tankers Pool, while its technical management will remain with the organisation of Nordic Tankers being divested.

The board of directors has agreed with the Company’s two banks – Nordea and DSF – that both deferred and ordinary instalments payable on the product tankers will be deferred until 31 March 2013. It has further been agreed that the USD 10 million of the USD 30 million purchase price will be applied towards reduction of debt in the product tankers.

Following a sale the listed entity will thus consist of six product tankers and related bank debt, obligations towards Clipper related to the acquisition of the chemical organisation back in 2010 and a loan received during Q4 2011, and the receivable related to the loan of USD 20 million made in connection with the transaction. The listed Company’s post-transaction equity ratio will be approximately 8.9% comparing to a 7.6% equity ratio at Q4 2011.

Over the coming year, the board and the Company’s banks will cooperate to establish a permanent financial solution including a recapitalisation and refinancing of the Company. The solution may encompass elements such as an equity injection from existing or new investors, a potential merger or a sale of one or more vessels, if doable at agreeable terms.

4. Future management and administration of the listed Company

In order to bring cost in line with its new reduced size the listed Company expects to enter into an agreement with Tankers Inc. regarding future management and administration. Tankers Inc. will take over all tasks related to accounting, stock exchange communication and investor relations, and will simultaneously monitor the external commercial and technical management partners while the overall strategy and responsibility for the commercial direction and bank relations remain with the board. As part of the product tanker industry, Tankers Inc. will be able to advise the board of directors on possibilities relating to chartering out or selling vessels. This setup represents a relatively low cost solution.

5. Name change from “Nordic Tankers” to “Nordic Shipholding”

The name and brand “Nordic Tankers” is included in the sale as the organisation transferred operates globally under this name.

As all commercial activity related to the product tankers remaining in the Company is outsourced to leading professional pool operators (the Maersk Handytankers Pool and the Hafnia/Straits Tankers Pool, respectively), the continuing listed Company does not commercially need the name. The board proposes to change the name of the listed Company “Nordic Tankers A/S” to “Nordic Shipholding A/S”.

Source Nordic Tankers

On March 26 the Italian cruise liner MSS MELODY (204,7 m, flag of Panama), launched the spring and summer navigation of passenger ships in 2012 in the port of Odessa. The vessel arrived from Yalta to Odessa and moored at berth #15 at 7.00. 1002 tourists came ashore - among them Italians, Germans, Englishmen, Frenchmen. Sightseeing tours on 12 buses is ordered by 600 persons, the other, in spite of the gale and very cold weather (+ 5 degrees) preferred to get acquainted with the sights of South Palmyra alone or within small groups on walking tours. At 12:30 the ship will head for Istanbul. Boat cruise company MSC, as well as other companies - clients world-famous tourist corporations Intercruises in Ukraine since 2009 serving the Black Sea Shipping Agency "Inflot".  "Inflot", the oldest in Ukraine (founded in 1934) includes eight branches in the largest Ukrainian ports. As a result  2011 "Inflot" served 480 ships (the agency takes second rate in the National Maritime Rating of Ukraine). During the meeting with CEO of M/V MELODY in the port of Odessa CEO CHGMA "Inflot" Olga Bronetskaya noted that the next call of the vessel to Odessa will be significant. This will be the April's visit of the megayacht PEACEBOAT (literally - "Boat of the world"), with 1000 passengers onboard. Tourists (mainly citizens of Japan) will take part in the famous Odessa "Humorina." They will walk through the city in a convoy of carnival, and even perform on stage. This project, admitted O.Bronetskaya "Inflot" was being prepared during 3 months. Press-Service "OCSP".

Source Odessa Commercial Sea Port

Defence and security company Saab has received an order from the Dutch authority Rijkswaterstaat regarding delivery of the AIS automatic identification system. The system will increase safety on the Dutch waterways.

The contract means that Saab will provide the complete technical system solution within the DIAMONIS project (Dutch Inland AIS Monitoring System). Saab has forged a partnership with the local company Tein Telecom, which will be responsible for implementing the project locally, providing 24/7 support and more. The delivery comprises approximately 40 AIS base stations, a network solution and a web-based presentation system.

The AIS system transmits regular information about a vessel's position, speed, course etc. to other vessels and operation centres. The vessels are equipped with a transponder, which automatically sends updated information via VHF radio at certain intervals. The system increases safety by enabling vessels to quickly discover how other vessels are behaving in order to detect potential collision risks.

"Saab is a market leader within the AIS domain and the system will increase safety significantly throughout the extensive Dutch inland waterways. Rijkswaterstaat is a highly competent authority that has produced a detailed specification for the project, meaning that our well-established system solution will be enhanced even further in terms of functionality and performance," says Lars Bergholtz, Managing Director for Saab TransponderTech AB.

The contract is valued at over SEK 20 million and includes a number of future options, such as a possibel expansion of the system. The implementation of DIAMONIS will take place over 18 months.

For more than 10 years, Saab TransponderTech has delivered AIS-based products and systems to the world market and also offers advanced multi-sensor system solutions within VTS and Coastal Surveillance based on the internally developed "CoastWatch" platform. Read more here:

Source Marine NewsWire

THE eastern Port of Suzhou rose to the No 7 spot on the world's top port for throughput tonnage list last year from year 2010's No 8, Xinhua reports.

Suzhou posted 380 million tonnes last year, 15.6 per cent more than in 2010, surpassing Qingdao's 370 million tonnes to the fifth largest port in China, following Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Tianjin and Guangzhou.

Xinhua says the world's top 10 ports last year in all cargo categories were Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Singapore, Tianjin, Rotterdam, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Qingdao, Dalian and Tangshan. Eight of them are Chinese.

In containers, Suzhou lifted 4.7 million TEU last year, ranking 10th among all Chinese seaports.

At the end of last year, Suzhou port had utilised 60 kilometres of the Yangtze shoreline and had 224 berths in operation with an annual capacity of 210 million tonnes. Its Taicang port area has an annual container handling capacity of 4.35 million tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SALVAGE crews working on the Singapore-flagged and owned 3,100-TEU Bareli, chartered to CMA CGM, say the ship that ran aground March 15 remains on the rocks off Fujian province across from northern Taiwan, but is in no danger of sinking.

There is no word from the Norwegian ship manager or from the charterer, Marseille-based CMA CGM, whether a General Average will be declared, but it seems the ship is a total loss.

The ship, built in 2004 is owned by Antarctica Shipping Pte Ltd of Singapore and managed by Oslo-based Klaveness Ship Management AS. It is manned by Romanians, Filipinos and South Africans and is insured by Gard, according to the ship manager's website.

Klaveness Ship Management says 220 tonnes of fuel has been removed, and another 224 tonnes was being taken from another tank, part of the 1,100 tonnes aboard. While this work continues, 40 containers being removed every day. The next priority is the recovery of dangerous goods containers among the 1,900 aboard.

"Some sheen, probably diesel oil, has been observed on the sea in the area of the accident. But it is not clear whether this is from Bareli or from the numerous ships working and trading in the area," said the Klaveness statement.

Heavy fuel oil continues to be pumped out of it tanks and by Thursday, one tank containing 220 tonnes of bunker is expected to be emptied. The emptying of a neighbouring tank, containing 224 tonnes, will commence after that, said the ship manager.

One tank, containing 205 tonnes of bunker has been damaged, with "probable water ingress", but no oil appears to be leaking and salvage crews expect to empty that tank as well, said the statement.

"Weather conditions in the area have now improved, with good forecasts for the next days. This is good news for the salvaging operation," said Klaveness CEO Lasse Kristoffersen.

Chinese maritime authorities, with active support from Norwegian management company and insurers Gard, are in full operation.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHINA's central government has approved Ningbo port's expansion plans with the opening of a new port area called Meishan and a new berth in Beilun port area to foreign vessels, Xinhua reports.

The Meishan port covers 27 kilometres of quay lines has five container berths and two multifunctional berths. It was put into trial operation in August 2010 with temporary restrictions in place. The Meishan Free Trade Zone located in the port area will further boost development in foreign trade and port logistics after the expansion.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

IN February, ports in northeastern China's Liaoning province lifted 1.05 million TEU, an increase of 39.5 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.

But this remained at the same level achieved in January, Xinhua reports.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

NORTH China's Huanghua port in Hebei province posted a container handling increase of 325 per cent in February year on year 5,001 TEU.

The port also handled 10.4 million tonnes of cargo, up one million tonnes or 10.6 per cent over the month before, reports Xinhua.

The volume of coal for power plants increased 14.2 per cent to 8.99 million tonnes against January while the ore volume hit 1.09 million tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHONGQING is to establish a new agricultural product logistics and processing area, which aims to have a trading volume of CNY100 billion (US$15.8 billion) by 2015, Xinhua reports.

The area is to cover 8.9 square kilometres and will offer distribution, trade and warehousing services for agricultural products in and around the city.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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