JAPAN's biggest carrier, MOL, has posted a fiscal 2011 annual net loss of JPY26 billion (US$316 million), drawn on revenues of JPY1.4 trillion, down seven per cent year on year.

For container shipping, the net loss from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 was JPY29.9 billion, drawn on the revenues of JPY544.1 billion.

"A considerable loss was recorded for the containership business, compounded by a strong yen and the high bunker prices," said the company statement accompanying the results.

The carrier also said throughput was weaker than expected and freight rates were low, which reflected not only the "slowdown in cargo volume but also an easing in the supply and demand environment caused by increased capacity from new vessel deliveries".

For individual trade lanes, the volume on dominant east-west run was weak due to European debt crisis. Although intra-Asia remained stable, the north-south trade was weak.

In response, MOL expanded lifting by making effective use of space on all its main services worldwide. The carrier said it improved service quality on the east-west trade. And on the Asia-North America trade, MOL upgraded the Panama/Amazon service (CX1) to independent operations to offer more space and enhance the operation quality.

On the Asia-Europe trade, MOL joined APL, Happing-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, NYK and OOCL to form the G6 alliance. And on the north-south route's Asia-South America east coast service (CSW), the carrier applied super-slow steaming to introduce additional vessels.

On the intra-Asia route, it opened a HS3 service linking Japan, Hong Kong Jakarta and Straits, and a NCX service connecting India's west coast with China.

"In addition, we established a service linking Singapore with Yangon (SYX) to secure our independent network in Myanmar, where economic growth is expected to occur."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

TRANSPORT Ministry spokesman He Jonahing predicts a sector growth slowdown to happen in the first half of the year, Xinhua reports.

Transport Ministry statistics show China's first quarter road cargo movement increased 13.6 per cent to 7.05 billion tonnes, 0.9 per cent slower year on year. Volume increased 14.9 per cent to 1,261 billion tonnes per kilometre - much the same as last year.

Waterway cargo traffic grew 8.5 per cent to 1.01 billion tonnes. The increase is 5.7 per cent slower. Again volume increased 11.3 per cent to 1.8 billion tonnes per kilometre, but 2.8 per cent slower growth than last year.

Chinese lifted 2.24 billion tonnes of cargo, up 6.5 per cent, but showing 8.9 per cent slower growth than last year's first quarter. Foreign trade cargo throughput climbed 12.6 per cent to 730 million tonnes. Container throughput grew 8.4 per cent to 39.58 million TEU.

Mr He expects an increase of three per cent in the world's dry bulk cargo demand this year, but capacity will outgrow demand with an increase of 12 per cent. Carriers will continue to experience reduced demand, rising costs, falling rates, widening losses, fiercer competition and heavier pressure.

In the first three months, China's road and waterway traffic fixed assets investment dropped 7.7 per cent to CNY185.4 billion (US$29.4 billion).

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HONG KONG's imports declined 4.7 per cent while exports fell 6.8 per cent in March year on year, according to the Census & Statistics Department.

The value of total goods exported in March, comprising re-exports and domestic exports, dropped 6.8 per cent over a year earlier to HK$262.4 billion (US$33.81 billion), after a year on year increase of 14 per cent in February. Within this total, the value of re-exports fell 6.4 per cent to HK$257.5 billion in March, while the value of domestic exports slumped 23 per cent to HK$4.9 billion.

The value of goods imported in March fell 4.7 per cent over a year earlier to HK$306.3 billion, after a year on year increase of 20.8 per cent in February. A visible trade deficit of HK$43.9 billion, equivalent to 14.3 per cent of the value of goods imported was recorded, according to Hong Kong Government Information Services.

In the first quarter, the value of goods exported dipped 1.5 per cent over year on year. Within this total, the value of re-exports' declined one per cent, while the value of domestic exports tumbled 24.1 per cent.

As the value of goods imported nudged up 0.7 per cent, a visible trade deficit of $98.5 billion, equivalent to 11.2 per cent of the value of goods imported, was recorded in the first quarter.

Comparing the first quarter with the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total goods exported rose 3.3 per cent. Within this total, the value of re-exports rose 3.4 per cent, while the value of domestic exports slipped 1.3 per cent. The value of goods imported rose 1.1 per cent.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

PORT of Antwerp, Europe's second biggest port, has posted a first quarter 0.7 per cent increase in container volume to a record 2.2 million TEU year on year compared to a four per cent decline at the rival Port of Rotterdam.

Further expectations of container growth at Antwerp in the second quarter were buoyed by the launch of two additional Far East container services.

But overall cargo tonnage declined 2.2 per cent to 46.3 million tonnes, outpaced by Rotterdam's three per cent growth at 110 million tonnes and 2.78 million TEU, a fact that kept the Dutch port No 1 in Europe. The number of vessel calls at Antwerp was down three per cent to 3,629.FAXTEXT = The spike in container volume was stark contrast to the fall in breakbulk which was down 13.6 per cent to 2.53 million tonnes. Steel product shipments were down 20.3 per cent to 1.55 million tonnes and liquid bulk declined 13.5 per cent to 10.3 million tonnes.FAXTEXT = But coal shipments were up to 1.73 million tonnes, a 34.5 per cent increase and grain as up by 18.7 per cent.

Roll-on/roll-off shipments totalled 1.3 million tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) experienced another year of strong growth in 2011 up 20 per cent in gross tons (GT) reaching 78 million tons.

Japanese shipowners represent the RMI's fifth largest shipowning group with the Japanese-owned fleet increasing by 20 per cent (+1.3 million tons) against total registration of Asian offices at 6.4 million tons for 2011.

The opening of an office in Imabari, Japan, a year ago has supported Japanese owners with 15 ships registered since it opened a year ago, said president of International Registries, Bill Gallagher, one of its fastest growing shipowning groups.

"IRI's decentralised office structure allows owners to interact with the Registry around-the-clock and routinely work with maritime professionals in their own regions who speak the local language. The registry built its foundation on providing industry-leading service, efficiency, and quality," said representative Masaharu Okamoto of International Registries (Far East) Limited Japan Branch.

"A recent challenge for the registry includes the voluntary implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 [MLC 2006], which is anticipated to come into force sometime in 2013. The RMI has also established a period of voluntary compliance for the inspection and certification provisions of the MLC 2006," said the statement.

"The registry has issued 235 Declarations of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC), Part I and 63 Statements of Compliance," said Bill Gallagher. "The RMI Maritime Administrator encourages all shipowners/operators of RMI flagged vessels to utilise this period of voluntary compliance to establish measures to meet the MLC, 2006 inspection and certification requirements."

The RMI registry is ranked as the third largest in the world at 2,634 vessels and nearly 81 million gross tons in the first quarter 2012. The RMI is the only major open registry to be included on the White Lists of both the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and to hold Qualship 21 status with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for seven consecutive years, said the registry statement.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

NORTHERN Hebei provincial ports posted a 6.3 per cent year-on-year increase in throughput to 185 million tonnes in the first quarter, reports Xinhua.

The Port of Qinhuangdao port handled 69.3 million tonnes, the same level as last year while Tangshan port moved 85.36 million tonnes, up 12.4 per cent and Huanghua port's throughput grew 8.6 per cent to 30.63 million tonnes.

Provincial freight volume by water increased 4.6 per cent to 6.25 million tonnes in the first quarter.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

EASTERN Shandong province's Zibo Bonded Logistics Centre posted an import and export value over US$100 million since it operated in November last year, reports Xinhua.

The centre is the only inland facility without adjacency to seaports, airport and river port in China. It processed 284 import and export business transactions with a value of US$1.4 million from 154,300 tonnes of cargo.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Norfolk Southern (NS) railway, covering the eastern United States, reported record first quarter profits, up 26 per cent to US$410 million year on year, drawn on a six per cent revenue increase to $2.8 billion.

This was attributed to more aggressive pricing, common to other US railways, and a 13 per cent general merchandise business as well as an intermodal revenue increase of nine per cent. This more than offset a fall in revenue from coal shipments, which slipped six per cent.

Revenue per carload and intermodal unit increased 5.2 per cent on a 1.1 per cent volume increase. Revenue per intermodal unit increased 3.3 per cent and intermodal volume was up 5.1 per cent year on year. Operating costs increased one per cent to $2 billion on higher fuel prices and other expenses.

"The benefits of our focus on service and operating efficiency are reflected in our results, and we continue to position our franchise for sustained growth through strategic investments in infrastructure," said CEO Wick Moorman.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

AN additional US$46.7 million from the Georgia state budget has been allocated to the Port of Savannah to pay for harbour dredging.

The new money, passed by the state assembly as part of the governor's FY2013 budget request, brings the total of dedicated state dollars to $181.1 million, said the release.

Governor Nathan Deal recently visited the Port of Savannah to mark the passage of the state budget and said: "The strong support that business and elected leaders across Georgia have shown for this project is justified, based on federal findings. A corps of engineers study has shown that investing in our harbour expansion will yield a 5.5:1 benefit to cost ratio - among the best for any corps navigation project."

The governor's visit came after the release of the US Army Corps of Engineers' final environmental impact statement and general re-evaluation report on the Savannah Harbour Expansion Project, which will deepen the shipping channel to 47 feet. The documents are the culmination of 15 years of economic and environmental study, and the final step necessary before federal regulatory agencies can decide on project approval.

"The Corps of Engineers study has shown the project will reduce shipping costs by at least $174 million a year," Mr Deal said. "That's a price advantage that could make US goods more affordable in foreign markets, and a cost savings that will be felt nationwide."

Said Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) chairman Alec Poitevint: "We are honoured that the governor chose to commemorate the passage of this important funding legislation here at the Port of Savannah," adding that the harbour deepening is a vital part of continuing the state's export-dominant status. In fiscal year 2011, export throughput comprised 53 per cent of the GPA's total containerised cargo.

"The larger ships accommodated by the greater channel depth will reduce shipping costs per container, making it more affordable for domestic producers to reach international markets," Mr Poitevint said.

The harbour project is necessary to prepare for a new class of larger containerships that are nearly three times the capacity of those currently able to transit the Panama Canal today. In 2014, the Panama Canal expansion will be completed and increase the maximum draft of vessels travelling to and from the US east coast from 39.5 feet to as much as 50 feet. While the Port of Savannah regularly handles vessels that are too large to transit the Panama Canal today, these vessels cannot load to their capacity," said Mr Poitevint.

Said GPA executive director Curtis Foltz: "Deepening the Port of Savannah is a key part of Governor Deal's broader strategy to improve the movement of goods across and within Georgia, and to expand the state's role as a global gateway for commerce. As we move toward the construction phase of this project, the state's $181 million financial commitment sends a powerful message to the world that we are determined to meet the new demands of international trade."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THAILAND is moving on with developing its ports and supply chain as it positions itself as the hub of Upper ASEAN economies, a senior Thai official told the UK's Port Strategy journal.

The plan is to create a major Thai port on the Andaman coast at Pak Bara instead of waiting for Burma's decision to go ahead with the apparently moribund US$50 million Dawei port project, once billed as the "new global gateway of Indo-China" that would transform 250 square kilometres of scrubland in southern Burma into southeast Asia's largest industrial complex.

Said Thai Deputy Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt: "We can give the concession now. We will go ahead."

The Thai plan calls for creating a combined annual terminal capacity of 70,000 dead weight tons as well as 825,000 TEU, increasing to 2.4 million TEU in 20 years.

The plan also calls for Pak Bara to be connected by rail from the outset just as the Thailand's major Port of Laem Chabang on its eastern coast is with its railways now being double tracked.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DYNAMIC business growth in south Asia has been driving tremendous growth in east-west container trades in the past few years, reports the UK's Port Strategy.

It highlighted that cargo volumes handled by the major ports of India, according to data from the Indian Ports Association. Cargo volumes rose to 569.9 million tonnes in 2011 while container throughput grew 9.37 per cent to 7.5 million TEU year on year.

India's major ports handle 67 per cent of the nation's total cargo throughput, with the nation's largest container terminal on the west coast, JNPT is emerging as the star performer after registering double-digit growth for several years.

Indian Shipping Minister GK Vasan has announced plans for port growth, to raise India's capacity to 3.2 billion tonnes by 2020, up from today's one billion tonnes through the 12 main ports of Mumbai's JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust), Kolkata, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Cochin, Paradip, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Ennore, Tuticorin, Kandla and Port Blair.

The report said that Shri Vasan has written to coastal state governments of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala asking them to identify and provide land for setting up a new major port or shipbuilding yard. The response will determine the number of ports to be developed, timelines and costs.

It said that there is also the emerging belief that new transhipment hub ports are needed, possibly one each on the east and west coasts.

According to a study by the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, it is important to focus on developing a few ports on both the east and west coasts with deepwater to handle larger vessels and strategic locations that would have the potential to reduce total transport costs using hub-and-spoke arrangements.

At present, much of the country's container traffic goes through Colombo, Singapore, Dubai or Salalah, which entails the double handling of cargo that ought to be handled in India.

It is estimated that by 2015-16, India's container traffic will amount to 21 million TEU and about nine million TEU will be hubbed, almost all of it overseas.

The report also noted problems, such as the position of Mumbai, the country's biggest container port today. But because Mumbai's JN port lacks adequate draft there is a question whether it can remain the obvious choice as a hub port in years to come, said the report.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HELSINKI's Wartsilla Hamworthy, a provider of power and integrated systems for the marine markets, has signed an agreement with Norway's ro-ro carrier Wilh Wilhelmsen to retrofit its ship Tamesis with a Krystallon Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS).

The multi-stream scrubber system will remove sulphur and particulates from the exhaust gasses of the vessel's main and auxiliary engines and will be the world's largest in order to manage the exhaust gasses produced by the 38,486 dead weight tons Mark IV RoRo's combined engine power of 28,000kW.

Its installation will prepare the Tamesis for coming sulphur emissions regulations that take effect in January 2015, obliging ships to burn low sulphur fuel when operating within Emissions Control Areas (ECAs).

The scrubber installation will be carried out during the vessel's scheduled docking in the first quarter of 2013. Following the commissioning a comprehensive third party measurement and verification programme will be carried out over two and a half years, partly funded by the Research Council of Norway.

By using a scrubber to reduce sulphur and particulate matter emissions from main engines and auxiliaries, Tamesis will be able to operate in ECAs from 2015 on a business-as-usual basis, avoiding the US$300 to $400 price premium that standard vessels must pay for the distillate fuels they will need to burn to remain compliant.

"Installing Hamworthy Krystallon scrubber unit is a major step in preparing our fleet for the regulatory compliance," says Wilh Wilhelmsen project manager Thamba Rajeevan.

"When new, stricter emissions regulations come into force in 2015, our experience with this technology will be a valuable tool for taking the right decisions for the rest of our fleet. In the end, we want to see both a significant savings in emissions and a strong return on investment for the scrubber installation," he said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

NEW YORK-listed United Continental Holdings (UAL) posted a year-on-year first quarter net loss of US$286 million - excluding one-off special charges - drawn on revenues of $8.6 billion, an increase of 4.9 per cent.

The loss excluded $162 million in one-off costs, mostly related the United-Continental merger process. Including that figure, first-quarter net loss stood at $448 million.

"This was a difficult quarter, but we made significant progress with our integration and we're now able to serve customers as a single airline. We can look forward to delivering more benefits from the merger in the remainder of the year," said UAL president and CEO Jeff Smisek.

First quarter consolidated passenger revenue rose 5.5 per cent to $7.5 billion year on year and consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 5.2 per cent year on year.

During the first three months, consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and consolidated capacity (available seat miles) both increased 0.3 per cent year on year, resulting in a first-quarter consolidated load factor of 78.1 per cent.

Air cargo and other revenue in the first quarter of 2012 was up 0.8 per cent or $9 million year on year.

But mainline RPMs dropped 0.2 per cent on a mainline capacity increase of 0.2 per cent year on year, resulting in a first-quarter mainline load factor of 78.5 per cent. Mainline yield for the first quarter rose 4.5 per cent year on year and the mainline PRASM grew 4.1 per cent year on year.

UAL's first-quarter consolidated fuel expense increased 20.8 per cent or $557 million year on year.

"Our revenue results were impacted by the integration of our revenue management and booking systems, which included reducing our booking levels so we could better serve our customers during the reservations conversion," said UAL vice president and revenue officer Jim Compton.

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,605 flights a day to 374 airports on six continents from Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

NIGERIAN Aviation Minister Stella Oduah has won moral support for her idea of re-establishing a state-financed national flag air carrier from Air Gold Aviation managing director Ifeanyi Okocha, reported Nigeria's This Day.

But other than This Day's newspaper article, little appears on the web about Air Gold Aviation or Mr Okacha, other than sparse Facebook and Linkedin entries, the latter listing him as a "civil engineer at Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria".

Mr Okocha urged the federal government to establish a national carrier, noting that this would provide employment to 19,500 Nigerians, adding that a NGN985 billion (US$6.27 billion) loan would be enough to start the airline.

Mr Okocha said that he and his team of aviation professionals had carried out a feasibility study which would soon be submitted to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

"If Nigeria Airways Limited was managed professionally, the national carrier would still be operating today. But it was run on a civil service structure," he said.

Mr Okocha claimed that as at the time NAL was liquidated, the national carrier had four large maintenance departments, which should have been converted to maintenance, overhaul and repair facilities.

"Instead, NAL was closed down, thereby denying the government the opportunity of generating revenue. If NAL had been in existence, other domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria would have been carrying out their maintenance checks from NAL hangars, thereby generating revenue," he said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

VISAKHAPATNAM, a major port city on the south east coast of India, is to launch air cargo services to allow exporters to get products to Europe, Africa and the US, reports the Deccan Chronicle.

At least two to three freight operations will be launched from the city commonly referred to as Vizag by US and Dubai-based NAKI Air from June with frequency to go up should cargo loads increase, the cargo operator told the Air Travellers Association (India) (ATA).

NAKI Air has been invited to visit the city to meet exporting companies including IT companies and other industrialists of the products its exports of pharmaceutical products, sea food, fresh vegetables and fruits, automobile products and other exports.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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