DANISH shipping giant, Maersk Line, the world's largest container shipping company, has announced it will impose US$300 per TEU peak season surcharge on its Asia-Latin America loops with effect from May 20 due to a shortage of 20-foot dry containers.

The May peak season surcharge will be applied to services from Taiwan to Latin America (excluding Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina) and from the Far East to Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, according to a notice to trade.

Additionally, the carrier already levied the same surcharge on April 23 from the service sailing from the Far East (excluding Taiwan) to Latin America (excluding Colombia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

Maersk also said it would increase rates by $500 per TEU on services from Far East Asia to the east coast of South America from May 15.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

STATE-OWNED Fonds Strategique d'Investissement (FSI) is seeking a EUR150 million (US$198 million) stake in Marseilles-based shipping giant, CMA CGM, according to Le Journal du Dimanche.

The Paris Sunday newspaper said the deal could be concluded within two to three weeks, a move supported by banks that worry about the carrier failing to pay interest on its debt.

But when the two tried to make a deal two years ago, CMA CGM owners found FSI's demands for control too demanding and walked away.

When that fell through, CMA CGM borrowed US$500 million in bonds from Turkey's Yildirim Group, giving access to 20 per cent of CMA CGM's share capital on the paper's maturity, noted London's Containerisation International. Yildirim also gained three seats on CMA CGM's board.

CMA CGM, the world's third container ocean carrier, has improved operating performance, beating most other top 20 shipping lines, but its balance sheet is weak labouring under a heavy debt burden.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CONGESTION at New Zealand north island Port of Tauranga has eased as the Ports of Auckland returns to full operating capacity with the end of strikes and labour disruptions.

Tauranga has stopped docking ships that want to divert from Auckland, with MetroPort utilisation peaking at 220 per cent and the Tauranga Container Terminal handling a record 20,200 TEU a week compared to its normal 11,000-13,000 TEU.

Tauranga Container Terminal (TCT) and MetroPort Auckland operations have continued at more than 100 per cent capacity during the past fortnight, reports the UK's Port Strategy, but this is expected to ease shortly.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

JAPAN'S Mitsui OSK Lines president Koichi Muto has announced that MOL has established a wholly owned subsidiary, MOL (Peru) in Lima.

"The country was chosen because it shows more stable growth than other South American nations. With the new subsidiary, MOL will consolidate its business structure and further expand north-south containership routes to further improve customer services," said a company statement.

The new company, MOL (Peru), is in the capital Lima and will officially commence business on May 2, with a paid-in capital of US$470,000.

Its principal line of business is to act as a liner shipping agency for MOL in Peru and will be led by general manager Jean Pierre Thorin Brauer, who will head up a team of 19 employees.

For further information, please contact: Yutaka Hinooka, senior vice president, Liner Administration, MOL Liner Ltd (Hong Kong), tel: (+852) 2823 6804, fax: 853-2529-8834.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HONG KONG Financial Secretary John Tsang has called on Vietnam's business community to use Hong Kong to reach mainland China markets, according to a government release.

Mr Tsang met with Vietnamese Finance Minister Vuong Dinh Hue before the Conference on Global Financial Economic Challenges 2012 being held in Hanoi, and organised by Vietnam's Ministry of Finance, the Korea Asset Management Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.

Mr Tsang told conference delegates about Hong Kong's attraction as the preferred choice for enterprises seeking access to the Mainland. "Hong Kong's strong cross-boundary links, efficient infrastructure and decades of experience of doing business in the mainland offer Vietnam's firms an effective springboard to reach Mainland markets," he said.

Mr Tsang also called on companies from Vietnam to consider using Hong Kong as their partner in offshore renminbi business activities. The Financial Secretary also met Vietnam's Vice Minister of Industry & Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien, State Bank of Vietnam Deputy Governor Le Minh Hung, and Asian Development Bank Vice President Bindu Lohani.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DURING the first three months of the year, ports in southern China's island province of Hainan posted a cargo flow of 23.94 million tonnes, 24.2 per cent, or 4.67 million tonnes, more than in the same period a year ago.

Foreign trade cargo movement totalled to 3.93 million tonnes, took up 16.4 per cent of the total, increasing 11.7 per cent year on year. The growth is 4.7 percentage points faster, according to Xinhua. Domestic trade cargo movement amounted to 20.02 million tonnes, representing 83.6 per cent of the total, up 27 per cent year on year. The growth is 12.7 percentage points faster.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

PORTS in northeastern Liaoning province posted a 21.6 per cent first quarter year on year increase in container volume to 3.27 million TEU, Xinhua reports.

Port of Dalian lifted 1.65 million TEU, up 25.4 per cent, ranking seventh among all seaports in China.

Aggregate throughput at provincial ports increased 13.5 per cent to 215 million tonnes. Dalian's overall throughput grew 10 per cent to 92.74 million tonnes; Yinkou's increased 14 per cent to 75.32 million tonnes; Dandong's increased 33.5 per cent to 20.55 million tonnes and Jinzhou's increased 11.1 per cent to 17.94 million tonnes.

This year, ports in Liaoning province strengthened their businesses of moving bulk in containers and sea-rail intermodal and has successfully boosted their box throughput. By the end of this year, the province's container throughput is expected to hit 14 million TEU. Dalian's container volume is estimated to top eight million TEU this year and 10 million TEU next year.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE number of incidents of piracy at sea has increased in the first quarter in West African waters off Nigeria and Benin to equal all attacks in the region combined last year, reports the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Of the 102 incidents reported, 45 vessels were boarded, 32 attempted attacks and 14 vessels fired on by either Somali or Nigerian pirates, reports American Shipper. Eleven vessels were hijacked and 212 crew taken hostage with four killed in an area extending its range by 70 nautical miles from the coast suggesting the ploy of fishing vessels as motherships.

Although the number of incidents in Nigeria are fewer than off Somalia, and hostage time is measured in days, not months, violence levels are "dangerously high", said IMB Piracy Reporting Centre director Pottengal Mukundan.

Other areas of incidence include those in the Indonesian archipelago, which have more than tripled in the first quarter 2012 to 18 from five in the same period 2011.

But Somali piracy by volume remains the biggest problem even though down by half of 2011 levels at 43 attacks, in which nine vessels were hijacked and 144 crew taken hostage.

The overall reduction in Somali waters is credited to the efforts of international navies patrolling the area, which has disrupted pirate action groups, said the reporting centre.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE developers of a C$350 million (US$350.6 million) deepwater container terminal in the Nova Scotia's Strait of Canso say construction will start this year, reports the Cape Breton Post.

Richie Mann, vice-president of marketing for Melford International Terminal, said funding for the project has been secured. "We have a desire to get construction going as soon as possible. We will not do that until we have all of the elements in place, and that includes cargo commitment," he said.

Mr Mann said a freight customer base must be developed prior to terminal construction.

In July 2010, Maher Terminals announced it would be taking an unspecified stake in the terminal on the Canadian east coast, which will cover 315 acres and include an intermodal on-dock rail facility and a 1,500-acre logistics park on the mainland side of the strait.

Mr Mann said the terminal is expected to take up to 26 months to build, with operations to begin in 2014-15.

Melford developers must first build a public loop road around the terminal site that will connect Route 344 to each side of the terminal. Melford will take ownership of an existing section of road that will become redundant, while the deed to the new road will be given to Nova Scotia province.

The terminal is expected to employ up to 80 per shift not including customs and security guards, associated trucking and construction jobs, as well as jobs associated with the development of a proposed logistics park.

Mr Mann also expected the construction of the terminal would require an upgrade of the nearby railway facilities.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Omani government has awarded a contract worth OMR55 million (US$143 million) to an unnamed party to build a general cargo terminal, along with a liquid jetty in Salalah Port, Oman News Agency reports.

Other projects in the 30-year master plan include the expansion of the container terminal to increase capacity to 40 million TEU. There are also plans to boost the port's handling capacity to 40 million tons of dry bulk commodities and five million tons of liquid products annually.

Transport Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Futaisi pointed out that initial studies are currently underway for the number 7, 8 and 9 terminals in a bid to increase the capacity of the port from five million to more than seven million TEU.

Dr al-Futaisi also said that the project is important to bulk industries in the Free Zone in Salalah and for the import and export through the general cargo terminal in Salalah port.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CARGOTEC has confirmed a contract worth EUR10 million (US$13.1 million) from a Chinese shipyard to deliver twenty 120-tonne MacGregor GLH cargo handling cranes for 10 general cargo vessels during 2012 and 2013.

The company said the order is booked in the first quarter of 2012. "MacGregor cranes offer efficient and reliable cargo handling solutions to our customers," said Svante Lundberg, sales manager for cargo cranes at Cargotec.

Cargotec's daughter brands, Hiab, Kalmar and MacGregor are recognised leaders in cargo and load handling solutions around the world. The company's sales totalled EUR3.1 billion in 2011 and it employs 11,000 people worldwide.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

UST-Luga Container Terminal (ULCT) in north-west Russia and part of the National Container Company (NCC group), which is being built in three phases and due to be completed in 2025, has started operating its rail infrastructure this month to handle containers to and from Luzhskaya railway station.

With the inception of the rail facility, ULCT has the capability to dispatch up to 30 per cent of container traffic by railroad. In addition, customers can benefit from the rail access and competitive rates available at the facility.

ULCT's railway infrastructure includes four rail tracks of 525 metres each (25 railcars) under 2 RMG.

NCC Logistics, the rail operator of NCC group, now offers shuttle train services between ULCT, Luzhskaya station, and Moscow; and between ULCT, Luzhskaya station, and Logistika-Terminal, St Petersburg.

The first phase of ULCT was completed last month and has an annual capacity of 440,000 TEU. It will have a maximum capacity of 2.85 million TEU when the entire project is completed in 2025. NCC and Eurogate, Europe's leading container terminal and logistics group, manage ULCT.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SINGAPORE's Changi Airport handled 163,000 tonnes of cargo in March, a decrease of 1.8 per cent year on year, according to airport statistics.

Despite a slight dip in cargo movements to and from Europe and south Asia, cargo movements at Changi during the first three months of the year remained stable buoyed by an increase in movements to and from south west Pacific and south east Asia. About 443,900 tonnes of cargo passed through Changi during the period, an increase of 0.6 per cent.

Last month, Singapore's airport managed 4.28 million passenger movements, representing the highest number of passengers ever handled at Changi March. Passenger traffic for the month increased 15.3 per cent year on year, in tandem with the increase in aircraft movements, which grew 10.6 per cent to 27,000.

In the first three months of this year, Changi recorded 12.3 million passenger movements, an increase of 12.9 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2011. Traffic growth was underpinned by strong travel demand to and from Europe, Middle East, south Asia, north east Asia and south east Asia, regions that saw double-digit growth.

Changi Airport handled 79,500 aircraft movements from January to March this year, up 12.9 per cent year on year.

As of April 1, Changi Airport served 100 airlines operating 6,200 weekly flights connecting Singapore to 220 destinations in 60 countries.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

AUSTRALIA's Qantas Airways has inaugurated a new all-cargo service from Sydney to Chongqing, Shanghai-Pudong, Chicago, New York and back to Sydney.

This is Chongqing airport's first cargo service from Chongqing to US and Australia, its 14th scheduled international cargo service, according Xinhua.

The new service offers one flight per week on Saturday, using Boeing 747-400 freighter, arriving at Chongqing at 0015 hrs and leaving at 0220 hrs.

Launch of the service enables directing shipping of made-in-Chongqing laptops to the US and Australia. By the end of the year, Chongqing airport's international cargo throughput will top 100,000 tonnes.

Chongqing is operating 14 international cargo services to Luxembourg, Moscow, Amsterdam, Kolkata, Singapore, Frankfurt, New Delhi, Krasnoyarsk, Sydney, New York, Hong Kong and Taiwan. There are more than 30 cargo flight take-offs and landings at Chongqing airport.

In the future, a number carriers are still to launch cargo services at Chongqing, including Hong Kong Airlines' service via Hong Kong to south east Asia, Cargolux and Airbridge Cargo's services to Europe and Evergreen International Airlines' service to the US.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

TWO US Air Force fighters are taking part in the joint multi-disciplined Exercise Arctic Fencing Interagency (AFI) Arrow 12 near Alaska's Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Participating agencies include the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defence Region (ANR), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport police and fire departments, as well as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Anchorage Police and Alaska State Troopers. Northern Air Cargo (NAC) provides the cargo flight in the exercise.

The scenario-based exercise will include the live escort of a cargo aircraft by two fighter aircraft deployed to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) into TSAIA. Additionally, emergency response apparatus and personnel will be on scene at the NAC ramp.

The exercise is designed to hone Ant's intercept and identification operations and handoff procedures of a "track of interest" to state and federal law enforcement/emergency response personnel and their ability to conduct response procedures to an on-board threat.

As part of the exercise, the cargo aircraft will be identified as a track of interest. ANR will then scramble the fighters. After the track of interest is escorted to a landing at TSAIA, the scenario shifts to the terminal at the NAC side of the airport ramp, where law enforcement/emergency response personnel will respond to the situation and conduct the necessary procedures to resolve the threat.

This is the second Exercise AFI-Arrow. The first, in May 2010, involved an Air Force KC-135 as the track of interest and FBI and the Federal Air Marshal Service - who responded to the on-board threat while the aircraft was airborne - conducting response operations at JBER.

Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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