OVERHANGING overcapacity in container shipping and weak European demand may well scupper recent rate increases and the sudden rise in the spot market, warns Drewry's latest quarterly Container Forecaster.

"Five new services are being launched in the transpacific before June and we believe that this will put continued pressure on the spot rates and the ability for carriers to push through increases they are seeking in May contract negotiations. This year will see another 59 ships of at least 10,000 TEU enter the global fleet," said the London maritime research consultancy.

"Given that Asia-US demand is still uncertain, this desire to re-introduce so much new capacity, rather than lay-up tonnage, could be a de-railer if there is a weak peak season. The cascading of larger vessels into the north-south trades is also becoming more noticeable and could also be a threat to their stability," said the report.

"We concur and forecast that east-west freight rates including fuel will rise by as much 13.7 per cent this year, but we should not be lulled into a false sense of security by the considerably higher spot rates in the weekly rate indices and think that all is now fixed," said the report.

"Ocean carriers have implemented GRIs [general rate increases] on both the headhaul Asia to Europe and Asia to US trades, but until very recently, even the largest 15,500-TEU vessels in the Asia-north Europe trade were not making money," the report said.

"Recent losses and the high fuel prices have forced the industry into a re-structuring which was started at the end of last year. Many carriers have now grouped together on the core Asia-Europe trade to pool their largest ships into fewer services and to share costs. This was unlikely to have happened several years ago, but has been forced out of necessity," it said.

"Nobody saw the huge $800 per TEU rate increases coming on the Asia-Europe trade and the timing of this bemused virtually everyone. Few believed it would be successful, but carriers have stood firm during a period when load factors have not necessarily been in the high 90s on the headhaul leg," said the report.

Said Drewry container research chief Neil Dekker: "Until the inherent structural capacity is truly tackled, we will continue to have periodic and violent bouts of overcapacity that will keep rates and operating margins yo-yoing up and down. Carriers do not see the severity of their situation since the number of ships in actual full term lay-up is fairly small."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE obscure defendants, technically owners of a stricken containership Rena, which was wrecked on a reef off a popular New Zealand holiday spot in October, have been charged with causing the country's worst environmental disaster in decades.

Daina Shipping, not be confused with Diana Shipping, and reportedly a unit of Greece's Costamare Inc, has been charged that it discharged harmful substances after its 3,360-TEU Liberian-flagged vessel struck a reef about 12 miles off Tauranga, north island New Zealand.

Daina Shipping Co, not associated with the disaster until now, is the registered owner of the vessel and has overall responsibility for the operation of the ship, reported the Associated Press of New Zealand. The Rena was chartered to Geneva's Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world's second largest container carrier after Maersk.

A Google search did not produce a reference for Daina Shipping. Nor did a scan of the Costamare website, which lists under "Corporate Details": Costamare Inc, Costamare Shipping Company, Ciel Shipmanagement, all Athens-based as well as Shanghai Costamare Ship Management of Shanghai, and C-Man Maritime of Manila.

The New Zealand charges carry a maximum fine of NZ$600,000 (US$488,000). The owners face an additional daily fine of NZ$10,000.

The ship's captain and second officer have already pleaded guilty to operating the ship in a dangerous manner, releasing toxic substances and to altering the ship's documents. They will be sentenced on May 25.

Marine officials said high winds and seas have battered the wreck, causing more containers to fall into the sea and spreading oil still leaking from the ship.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

FIREMEN have yet to determine the cause of a reefer container fire at the Port of Fremantle, south of Perth, Western Australia, which destroyed 11 boxes, most of them empties.

But one containers, which belongs to a hire and servicing company Container Refrigeration, contained oil, according to firemen.

Firemen also said limited access to the containers hampered efforts to control the blaze, which took several hours to extinguish, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"A fire investigation officer is on the scene - it's not being treated as suspicious - but the cause of the fire in unknown at this stage," said a fire department spokesman.

A Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) spokeswoman told the Perth Sunday Times that stack of containers in the Rous Head Harbour on North Mole Drive, North Fremantle, caught fire about 4pm.

The Department of Environment and Conservation conducted air quality tests in the area yesterday saying the fumes posed no threat.

At 7pm, the fire is contained but not controlled. FESA says 13 fire crews with about 40 fire fighters are on the scene applying water to the sea containers to stop the fire spreading and flare-ups.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

RECENT dredging of the Mombasa channel and the turning basin has enabled the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to dock 4,500-TEU ships when only 2,000-TEUers could get in before.

Recently, the biggest ever containership to call at the port, the 3,000-TEU MSC Jade, discharged and loaded 1,693 containers," said KPA spokesman Bernard Osero.

The Kilindini channel has been dredged to 15 metres in the inner channel, with a width of 300 metres at its narrowest. The turning basin has also been dredged to 15 metres and widened to 500 metres. Dredging by Dutch-based Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors is to be complete this month, four months ahead of schedule, reported the Nairobi Star.

Said local freight agent Peter Mwangi: "The challenge is now for the government to move fast and prepare the port to handle bigger vessels. A shallow entry has been a hitch, but now that has been addressed and work must be turned to ensuring that cargo handling facilities are sufficient."

Next to come is the 3,398-TEU MSC Roberta. Although dredging was to provide capacity for the second container terminal whose construction has began, great benefits will result for Mombasa's existing container terminal, said a KPA spokesman.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SINGAPORE-based container carrier APL said it's on course to reduce a key carbon exhaust measure from its global shipping operations by 30 per cent within three years.

The shipping line said an influx of new vessels, running at reduced speed, puts the target within reach.

APL said that by 2015, its fleet will produce 130 grammes of carbon exhaust for every TEU of cargo transported one nautical mile. That would be a 30 per cent reduction from emission levels in 2009, when outside auditors first calculated APL's carbon footprint.

"We're changing the profile of our fleet with larger, more efficient ships that will significantly curb exhaust emissions," said APL president Kenneth Glenn. "It's the most effective way we know to make global trade environmentally sustainable."

APL said it will deploy 32 new vessels in the next three years, which will be significantly more fuel efficient than its existing fleet, resulting in reduced emissions. What's more, the ships will run at less than full speed, further curbing exhaust.

The first two of the new vessels, each with 10,000 TEU capacity, arrived last December and two more are due this month.

APL said it is undertaking additional steps to curb carbon exhaust emissions including optimising vessel trim, speed and routing; improving maintenance on vessel hulls to reduce drag in the water; and upgrading cargo handling equipment at APL terminals.

Carbon emissions act as a shield that traps heat in the earth's atmosphere and it's believed that the resulting greenhouse gas effect contributes to global warming. According to industry figures, international shipping produces 2.7 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Container shipping is estimated to be responsible for about 25 per cent of that amount.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CONTAINERS continue to wait on trucks trying to get into the Port of Chennai as police work to clear bottlenecks on the roads outside, which have caused a cargo slowdown for a week, reports the Times of India.

Trucks have been parked in a long line outside the port. "At least 300 to 400 containers have been waiting for entry into Chennai port. Successive holidays also affected trade and slowing down clearance further," said a customs agent.

But a senior port official said the situation has improved inside the port and all vessels in outer anchorage had been given permission to berth and load or unload cargo. "The crisis should be resolved in three days," an customs official said. "We will deploy more customs officials at the port to help sort out the problem."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Chennai International Terminals has received four new ship-to-shore quay cranes and eight new rubber tyre gantry cranes (RTGs), reports the Hindu daily.

PSA India managing director V Sivarajan said that the terminal will now have seven quay cranes and 18 RTGs. This would more than double its existing terminal handling capacity.

The private container terminal inside the Chennai port is owned and managed by PSA International of Singapore.

The four post-Panamax quay cranes can lift two TEU per move. All the new cranes will first undergo commissioning tests and will be deployed for operations in May, says PSA.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE United Arab Shipping Company's (USAC) 13,500-TEU Al Ula, built by Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries, has been named during her Asia-Europe maiden voyage at a ceremony at the Red Sea Gate Terminal in Jeddah.

The Al Ula has joined the AEC8 service between Asia and north Europe which calls at Jeddah in both directions. The ship is named after the oasis of the Ancient Dedan city between Al Madinah and Tabuk in the middle of Saudi Arabia.

Said UASC director Abdulaziz Bin Abdulrahman Al-Ohaly: "This ceremony represents a special occasion for us as it is a reflection of UASC's steadfast commitment to grow the company and strengthen its services to enable it to compete as a leader in the container shipping industry."

Said fellow board member Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed El-Sehebani: "UASC's strategy towards growing its capacity and upgrading its network of services has always been customer centric, and we will continue to invest our efforts to deliver a best in class service."

Said USAC Mideast vice president Mohamed AL Mazeedi: "The delivery and deployment of our new fleet of 13,500-TEU ships marks a new era for UASC. These ultra large container vessels allow us to offer enhanced shipping services, ensuring wider geographical coverage and faster transit times."

The Al Ula is the fourth A13 delivered to UASC in a series of nine A13 vessels on order with the scheduled delivery of the remaining five within less than two months, reported the Shipbuilding Tribune. Capable of 25 knots, the new ship has 800 FEU reefer plugs and three holds for hazardous cargo. With the new nine A13s joining UASC's fleet, the company will own and operate 49 containerships.

The investment in the A13 class vessels is expected to yield important economies of scale for UASC, allowing the company to compete more effectively on a wider geographical spread, while ensuring a superior and faster service to customers with the most competitive transit times available in the market.

UASC has also stepped up its container purchasing, investing in new standard and reefer container units, while the company's new fully integrated liner management system called TRUST has recently become operational. This system will enhance UASC's e-commerce capabilities allowing customers to make transactions online more easily.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Port of Amsterdam, without divulging its container volume in TEU terms, conceded that 2011 box throughput fell 28 per cent to 600,000 tonnes while overall cargo traffic increased three per cent year on year.

The old Dutch port in total cargo increased to 74.8 million tonnes, keeping it in fourth place among major European ports after Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg.

Amsterdam fell away as a major player in containers in 2009 when it lost its last scheduled service. But in overall cargo growth last year, it overtook Rotterdam in percentage terms as Rotterdam only grew 0.8 per cent. But Amsterdam fell behind Rotterdam's six per cent year-on-year container growth which reached 11.9 million TEU last year.

Coal and oil did best for Amsterdam in 2011, each commodity up nine per cent to 15.5 million tonnes in the case of coal and 37.1 million tonness in the case of oil, offsetting a 12 per cent fall in agri-bulk to eight million tonnes. Ro-ro increased by nine per cent to 900,000 tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO), representing Arab commercial airlines, said the unilateral application of the European Union's carbon tax, also known as, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), violates the Chicago convention, which stipulates that the air transport relations between states need to be regulated by mutual consent and agreement.

The ETS will only attract conflicts and trade wars instead of helping the environment, says the AACO, reports the Khaleej Times.

Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said the ETS was one of the most controversial subjects facing the global aviation industry today.

The AACO executive committee urged the EU to listen to voices around the world, calling on it to work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on a global, rather than European-wide approach, said a Qatar Airways statement.

"There has to be a systematic approach to the implementation of any such scheme and, like many airlines around the world, we feel the European Union needs to take a step-by-step consultative approach before imposing programmes and penalising an aviation industry that plays a crucial role in driving economies," Mr Al Baker said.

The EU carbon tax will have far-reaching impact on the aviation industry in the Middle East. Passengers flying to Europe from the Gulf will have to pay more to offset the tax as Etihad Airways became the first in the region to introduce a surcharge last month.

The Abu Dhabi carrier increased fares by US$3 per passenger for flights into and out of Europe and $0.03 per kilogramme for cargo shipments, which came into effect from March 1.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ECS GROUP, the major Paris-based general sales agent, has purchased a controlling interest in Niger Air Cargo, an airline launched recently by a private investor, reports Roswell, Georgia's Air Cargo World.

Niger Air Cargo will start with weekly service between Liege and Niamey with either a DC-10 or MD-11, with each flight offering 85 tonnes of capacity, expected to carry mostly perishables such as food and healthcare products as well as communications equipment and apparel, says ECS.

"We are offering an innovative cargo solution into Niger to support its growing market. We will also offer unique logistics solutions in the region with our cargo aircraft which will be important with regard to intra-African business opportunities, especially with Nigeria and Mali, as well as the domestic market," said ECS chief executive Bretrand Schmoll.

"The registration of Niger Air Cargo will allow ECS to seal special pro-rate agreements with other carriers interested in this reliable link into Africa and intra-Africa," he said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE European Union's decision to ban Venezuela's state airline, Conviasa, from flying to European airports for safety reasons has been labelled unfair by the Venezuelan foreign ministry.

In response, the foreign ministry said Venezuela is considering "reciprocal measures", without providing details.

A report by the Associated Press reported the Foreign Ministry said the EU ban "contradicts assessments made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation regarding the safe operating conditions.

The European Commission said in a regular update of its blacklist that Conviasa, or Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aereos SA, is being included in the list due to "numerous safety concerns arising from accidents and the results of ramp checks at EU airports".

At present Conviasa only flies to Madrid in Spain within the EU.

The report said the EC has also raised concerns about the safety of two other Venezuelan airlines, Estellar Latinoamerica and Aerotuy. But they were not included in the blacklist for now, though EU authorities said they would "remain subject to increased monitoring".

The blacklisting comes after Conviasa halted domestic flights for two weeks in 2010 in the wake of a crash in Venezuela that claimed 17 lives.

The report added that two years before that fatal crash, a cargo aircraft operated by Conviasa crashed in Ecuador's central Andes shortly before landing, killing three crew members. The Boeing 737-200 lost contact with air traffic controllers five minutes before it was to land in the town of Latacunga, where it was due to undergo maintenance.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

AN airline executive says a pilot on a cargo flight found a snake loose in his aircraft and turned back to Darwin, reports The Associated Press.

In a scene reminiscent of the 2006 movie Snakes on a Plane, pilot Braden Blennerhassett saw the snake's head pop out from under the dashboard of his twin-engine Beechcraft Baron G58 shortly after takeoff from Darwin airport, said the report.

Air Frontier director Geoff Hunt said that the pilot was a "cool character" who told air traffic control: "I'm going to have to return to Darwin. I've got a snake on the plane."

The reptile quickly slithered away. A snake handler was later unable to find the snake, which might have escaped after the plane landed. The snake's species is not known, said the report.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

As it prepares for Sea Japan, Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has reported strong growth in the number of owners in Japan and North East Asia signing up for its’ Ships Agency Re-Defined (SARD) offer.Neal De Roche, Area Director WSS North East Asia said: “Since launching SARD globally at the end of 2010 we have seen high levels of uptake from the North East Asian shipping community, with growth levels of around 15% throughout 2011. Japanese vessel operators and owners are extremely positive about the fact that SARD provides a unique ‘one point of contact’ system. In fact, SARD can save up to three hours per port call for our Japanese customers. This is crucial to guarantee efficient operations and fast turnaround”.

Victoria Ship Management Inc., one of Japan’s leading ship managers, has been a SARD customer since December 2010.  Mr. Shinsuke Fujii, Managing Director commented; “We acknowledged the main benefits of SARD and we are satisfied with the SARD service provided by WSS”.

Launched in 2010, SARD allows customers to deal with all of their ships agency requirements from one central point, with improved communications between the agency and the operator, resulting in efficiency savings, predictable pricing and a single bank account for all payments, facilitating easy access to online job and tracking information.

General Manager WSS Japan, Junichi Saito, is confident that take-up of SARD will continue throughout 2012. “SARD is different to any other ships agency offer in the market right now, because it offers global, world-class services at a local level. Our team works in the same time zone and speaks the same language as our customers and Japanese owners can take advantage of the scheme globally, not just in the home islands”, he says. “We continue to invest heavily on resource and expertise in Japan and across North Asia to meet the increasing demands of this growing maritime hub. Currently, we cover 180 ports in Japan with four main service centres and offices located in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Moji.”.

Sea Japan will take place from 18-20 April at the Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Centre. WSS Japan will be exhibiting at the show, alongside Wilhelmsen Technical Services (WTS).

Source Wilhelmsen

Finnair Plc Stock Exhange Release 10 April 2012 at 09:00

In March, Finnair traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres rose by 11.6 per cent and the overall capacity grew by 3.6 per cent year-on-year. Passenger load factor improved by 5.6 percentage points and was 78.0 per cent.

The total traffic figures were impacted by the good development in both Asian and European traffic.  In March, Asian traffic capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres grew by 9.2 per cent year-on-year, mainly as a result of the Singapore route opened in May 2011. Asian traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres increased by 14.3 per cent year-on-year. The strongest growth was seen in European traffic, which increased by 26.3 per cent year-on-year measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres.

In January–March 2012 Finnair traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres increased by 9.1 per cent, whereas overall capacity rose by 3.9 per cent year-on-year. Passenger load factor improved by 3.6 percentage points and was 76.2 per cent. Asian traffic capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres grew by 8.3 per cent and traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres increased by 11.5 per cent.

Revenue per Available Seat Kilometre (RASK) increased by 7.8 per cent in January–March 2012 and totalled 5.27 cents.

“The positive development in passenger load factors continued in March in all scheduled traffic categories thanks to our successful capacity planning and pricing campaigns. In Domestic and European traffic passenger load factors improved by 13 percentage points in March. In general, our traffic developed well in the first quarter of the year. We are pleased to see our passenger load factor and unit revenue improving while increasing our overall capacity at the same time,” says Finnair CFO Erno Hildén.

The overcapacity in the package tour market in Finland continues to show in March Leisure traffic figures with passenger load factor dropping to 84.4 per cent.

In cargo, available tonne kilometres decreased slightly in March by 1.5 per cent, whereas revenue tonne kilometres increased by 5.5 per cent year-on-year.  The load factor in cargo improved by 4.7 percentage points and was 69.9 per cent. The amount of cargo and mail carried grew by 3.4 per cent year-on-year.

The arrival punctuality was at high level in March.  In scheduled traffic, 87.6 per cent (86.0 per cent in March 2011) of flights arrived on schedule and in all traffic 87.0 per cent (84.6 per cent) arrived on schedule.

Source Finnair Plc

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