NEW YORK-based American Feeder Lines (AFL) has suspended its nine-month feeder service running between Boston, Halifax, and Portland, Maine and the carrier is now undertaking a restructuring process.

"Even one year into the service, we failed to generate sufficient cargo from the carriers and did not get the support of the trade," said CEO Tobias Koenig, reported American Shipper.

"The service has been suspended and we have been in talks with investors to continue. But unfortunately, these talks have died and AFL has therefore taken the decision to cease trading," said Mr Keonig, who started the service last July with a 700-TEU chartered vessel AFL New England.

"There is an iron curtain around the Jones Act industry and all participants are too scared of the outside world," he said.

"We have figured out how much money you need to spent to start a Jones Act pilot service, which we have tried to get approved, but I think that you can simply double or even triple the costs, after we have made our experience in the northeast. And I don't think that I will be there to spend that kind of money. My missionary efforts have come to an end," Mr Keonig said.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THIRTEEN of the world's 19 biggest shipping banks have stopped lending to the industry because too many ships are chasing too little cargo value, cutting cash flows and leading to vessel seizures, reports Bloomberg.

Investors who had been promised annual returns of 15 per cent have instead lost EUR37.5 million (US$49 million) when Germany's Container Flotten-Fonds went bellyup last year.

German tax exemptions for shipping funds, designed to provide cheaper financing than banks, are becoming meaningless, said Christian Nieswandt, head of domestic shipping clients at HSH Nordbank.

"The shipping fund market is more or less dead for years to come," he told Bloomberg. "There will be further insolvencies."

Like the US housing crisis, ships were bought at the price peak in 2007. After values slumped, the size of the loan in relation to the value of the ship used as collateral for the funding from banks rose.

The contract price for a 8,500-TEU ship dropped 31 per cent to EUR92.5 million in 2011, from a peak of EUR134 million in 2007, according to Morgan Stanley. Values will decline to EUR89.5 million this year, said the bank.

With even big players like AP Moeller-Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd showing losses last year as fuel costs rise, overcapacity persists and a price war threatening on the Asia-Europe route, many carriers cannot pay their debts, according to the VDR German shipowners' association.

Shipping funds financed purchases with borrowed money from banks, leaving them vulnerable when lenders raised interest rates, said Christian Luber, a Munich lawyer representing investors in failed German shipping funds.

"It is like when you buy a house: the less equity you put in, the more interest you pay," said Mr Luber, adding that banks financed 70 per cent of newbuildings with investors providing the rest.

Christian Murach, transport finance head at KfW IPEX-Bank, said some German shipping funds have been unable to service their debt "for years" and their ships may have to be sold. This prompted banks to write down the value of their portfolios, thus increasing expectations of further bank loan losses.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

The Port of Los Angeles will spend more than US$3 billion on terminals, on-dock rail and intermodal links in a fight to retain its No 1 ranking as America's biggest container port against threats from Canada and the Panama Canal.

"Protecting and retaining discretionary cargo market share in the face of changing economic conditions and intensifying competition is the key to the future of the port and the region," said the recently released Port of Los Angeles 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.

With containers accounting for 80 per cent of its revenue, and Canadian ports diverting more cargo to themselves and US east coast ports siphoning off boxes via Panama, Los Angeles is in a fight to keep its 21 per cent share of US box volume.

Fifty per cent of the container shipments to LA are discretionary, according to the plan, making the future threat of an expanded Panama Canal in 2015 a clear and present danger as the waterway doubles capacity from an old 4,500-TEU ship limit to accommodate 12,000-TEUers.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHINA's island province of Hainan province has posted a 11.3 per cent year on year first quarter freight volume increase to 19.05 million tonnes, Xinhua reports.

In the same period, the province recorded passenger number of 39.19 million people, up 12.9 per cent year on year.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHONGQING has posted a 14.1 per cent increase in first quarter container throughput year on year to 97,000 TEU, Xinhua reports.

The city's international shipment tonnage totalled to 1.92 million tonnes, up 16.5 per cent.

International air freight surged 160 per cent to 25,100 tonnes. Waterway foreign trade containers jumped 59.7 per cent to 72,000 TEU, tonnage increased 15.5 per cent to 1.88 million tonnes.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

BALTIC Container Terminal (BCT) in Gdynia Port in Poland handled 41,108 TEU in March, an increase of 38.9 per cent over the same month last year, the Baltic Transport Journal reported.

The throughput was the highest since October 2008 and also the highest after the first wave of the financial crisis. BCT is one of the biggest terminals in the Baltic region and the leading container facility in Poland.

During the first quarter of this year, BCT Gdynia handled 103,962 TEU, a surge of 23 per cent year on year.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

GLOBAL logistics provider, Agility, has won a contract to move 420 railcars from Spain to Kazakhstan for TALGO, a Madrid-based Spanish manufacturer of railway rolling stock.

The company's teams across Europe - from Spain, Finland and Kazakhstan - will handle this complex, heavy-lift project. The company had earlier succeeded in delivering the initial shipment of railcars against extremely challenging deadlines.

Under the contract, Agility will provide all logistics services starting with the collection of the railcars at factories in Spain through delivery to Talgo's works in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Alejandro Goicoechea and Jose Luis Oriol founded TALGO (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol, or Goicoechea-Oriol light articulated trains) in 1942.

Agility intends to apply its specialised expertise, global network and partnerships to manage the movement of the rolling stock from origin to final destination.

"Agility has a strong presence in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan," said Francesc Casamitjana, managing director of area south. "We understand fast moving economies and bring experience and know-how to industries such as engineering, energy, mining and heavy equipment supply."

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ROTTERDAM's Mundo International Logistics UK division has been appointed as Russia's Fesco Transportation Group's northwest Europe's agent to provide container services across Russia and the neighbouring Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union.

"We are delighted to have been appointed as a Fesco northwest Europe agent as it means we can offer access to one of Russia's most comprehensive transport providers," said Mundo International Logistics UK director Malcolm Stafford.

Fesco offers a weekly service from all main UK ports to St Petersburg, Vladivostok, Vostochny, Kholmsk, Korsakov, Magadan, Pertropavlovsk Kamch.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HONG KONG's air freight solutions provider ASR Holdings will more than double its mainland presence in logistic centres and sales offices from its current 14 to as many as 33 by 2014.

Air cargo space is sold wholesale market for airlines in bulk to mid-sized couriers on outbound air routes originating from the Pearl River Delta, predominantly Hong Kong to worldwide destinations.

Its aim is to focus on emerging markets such as Eastern Europe rather than more competitive areas of the world, said its chairman Sunny Yu Ho-yuen, of a company founded by Hong Kong-based airline veterans at the start of 2012.

ASR Holdings increased revenue by 23 per cent to HK$603 million (US$77.7 million) despite a global air cargo decline of 8.3 per cent.

The Hong Kong Standard also reported that executive director Niki Law Kai-lo said that "by doing business for less-crowded airlines, we can sometimes become the sole distributor of cargo space for air flights, so we can command much better margins."

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

AIR cargo flights between Afghanistan and Riga are launched to support the US armed forces for the delivery of non-military goods, primarily food products.

The daily flights are in addition to overland transport from Latvia by rail through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan which was opened up due to the deterioration of security in Pakistan.

The air cargo service will increase shortly between two to three flights a day of which 100 tons of freight will be carried on each plane.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ONE of the largest air freight carriers, the AN-124-100 Ruslan freighter aircraft, operated by the Volga-Dnepr Group/Ruslan International recently touched down at Grand Bahamas International Airport in a display of the island's potential as a logistic hub for air transportation, the Bahamas Tribune reported.

Grand Bahamas Shipyard officials contracted the company to transport two massive ship propellers to Europe. The aircraft is equipped with four jumbo jet engines and has a cargo capacity of 120 tonnes. The ship propellers each weigh 30 tonnes.

The operation was co-ordinated through the joint efforts of the Grand Bahamas Shipyard, Freeport Ship Services, Quality Services Ltd and the Grand Bahamas Airport Company.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

INDIA's budget airline SpiceJet has been approached by Gulf and Asian carriers for a stake buy-out, but Dubai's Emirates flatly denies its interest.

At a Barcelona-based Aircraft Finance & Commercial Aviation (AFCA) conference, Emirates president Tim Clark dismissed reports of its interest in the Indian aviation sector, and in particular the budget carrier, said Reuters.

In separate news from the Oman Tribune, the Indian government has approved 22 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth US$112.5 million rather than foreign institutional investor (FII) funds its considers risky or "hot money".

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

Kazakhstan's tourism industry expects fast movement in the region by announcing the development of one of the world’s longest ski reports in a country that currently ranks at 93 out of 139 in the World Tourism Ranking for 2011, reported.

Kazakhstan tourism announced new strategic plans targeting every coming year, with each year aiming for further success. The government is trying to convert Kazakhstan into the "Land of Tourism Resorts."

The government has approved plan for the creation of an international resort with total ski runs running 100 km in length, along with the construction of passenger cableways, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, and golf courses; and the establishment of infrastructure - roads, parking, electricity, gas, and water supply at Kok-Zhaylyao that is located on the territory of Ile-Alatau Park. This ski resort will be a new addition in the neighborhood of Almaty in the radius of 50 km, where there are ten existing ski resorts: Shimbulak, Ak-bulak, Tabagan, Almatau, Yelik-Say, Shybynsay, Enbek, Tau-Turan, Forest tail, Dinamo, a resort in Kaskelen gorge, and other lesser-known resorts.

The Agency of Tourism and Sports has already sent a request for allocation of funds from the national budget, and this project is called "strategic" and considered to pull the tourism economy of the country.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Development Plan of Kazakhstan will be finalized before the end of 2012. According to official sources, including the office of Minister of Industry and Innovative Technologies, it is hoped that by the end of the year, a tourism development program that carries through until 2020, would be approved. According to this plan, tourism will be seen as a strong and promising industry that will give a strong impetus to the economy.

Statistics show a steady growth of tourism industry of the country. The volume of services rendered by the tourism industry last year stood at 74 billion tenge.

Central Asian News Service,

Riga. BalticMiles, a multi-partner loyalty programme created by the Latvian national airline airBaltic, has been recognized as amongst the best loyalty programmes globally, winning two Freddie awards, which have the same status in the loyalty industry as Oscars for filmmakers.

Gabi Kool, Chief Executive Officer of BalticMiles: “Every year, major global carriers are the recipients of Freddie awards for their loyalty programmes. For the first time in history these prestigious Freddie awards go to a loyalty programme of an airline the size of airBaltic. Moreover, airBaltic was among only four airlines globally, whose loyalty programmes won multiplate awards. This is a global recognition for our hard work and innovation, and the first ever award that BalticMiles has received. I would like to thank all BalticMiles members and partners – this is our collective achievement!”

Last night in New York, BalticMiles received two Freddies for “Best Elite Programme” and “Best Redemption Ability”. BalticMiles was awarded in these categories in Europe/Africa region.For the “Best Elite Programme” there were four nominees – airBaltic BalticMiles, Lufthansa Miles & More,  British Airways Executive Club, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.

Only four airlines globally received multiple Freddie awards for their loyalty programmes – airBaltic, Lufthansa, American Airlines, and Etihad.
BalticMiles is the first multi-partner loyalty programme in the Baltic States. It was launched in October 2009. BalticMiles offer various ways of earning points in more than 11,000 places throughout the world – flights, trips, hotel stays, car rentals, restaurants, beauty parlours and spa treatments, health care, telecoms and finance as well as while shopping with more than 400 international brands in the online store of BalticMiles. Afterwards the points earned may be spent on free flight tickets, leisure time activities and adventure, on music downloads or on products chosen from the wide range of more than 3000 different products available on the website BalticMiles programme offers the opportunity to donate points for various charitable causes.
airBaltic serves 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia. From every one of these, airBaltic offers convenient connections via North Hub Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East.


Wind energy to power terminal

Aarhus, Denmark - Denmark’s largest port operator, APM Terminals Cargo Service has announced a partnership with DONG Energy, a leading energy provider, to reduce the port operator’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

An expected reduction in energy consumption through improved lighting and electricity usage will cut APM Terminals CO2 emissions by 10% annually.

Equally important, APM Terminals Cargo Service will purchase green energy produced from offshore wind farms to drive operations in Denmark’s busiest container port on the waterfront of the city of Aarhus.

Managing Director Johan Pedersson Uggla of APM Terminals Cargo Service describes the new partnership as a natural extension of their ongoing activities: ”As a leading port operator, APM Terminals Aarhus also has an ambition to improve our environmental performance. This partnership reflects our sustainability plan to reduce energy consumption and drive CO2 reductions.”  Other initiatives include fuel efficiency improvements in straddle carriers and reach stacker equipment.

DONG Energy’s Executive Vice President, Lars Clausen added ”Competition is very tough when it comes to being the preferred energy supplier for a large and renowned company such as APM Terminals. So we are proud that we succeeded in establishing a strategically important relationship by offering an attractive customer value proposition and strong competencies”.

APM Terminals, The Hague-based port operator, recently issued its global Sustainability Report for 2011, documenting a reduction in CO2 emissions per container (TEU) lifted of 16.5 pct. from 2009-2011. The global target is a 25% reduction of CO2 emissions per TEU by 2020 from a 2009 baseline.

Source APM Terminals

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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