KOREA's Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), ranked 18th biggest among the world's container lines, says it will levy a US$400 per TEU general rate increase from April on cargo moving from China to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Earlier this month HMM levied another general rate increase on its China to India service, achieving a satisfactory vessel utilisation level, the company said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


GERMANY's Hapag-Lloyd has announced it will levy a US$200 per TEU fuel surcharge from April 16 on cargo moving from north Europe and the Mediterranean to ports in the Far East, including Japan.

The carrier said the surcharge, called a "interim fuel participation" surcharge, would apply to both dry and refrigerated cargo. The shipping line said the increase was necessitated by rising bunker costs, and added that the surcharge would be revised "on a monthly basis in line with the Hapag-Lloyd bunker charge".

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

GENEVA's Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world's second largest container shipping line after Maersk, has issued a notice to trade that it will levy US$100 per container, regardless of size, to cope with a current equipment imbalance.

"To face the extraordinary demand for equipment for cargo destined to Asia" MSC said it was levying the surcharge on all export cargo, including waste, from North Europe, the UK, Scandinavia/Baltic and Russia to the Far East from April 2.

The announcement comes after Maersk issued a statement a week earlier saying that it has stopped taking eastbound cargo bookings from North Europe to Asia on account of insufficient vessel capacity. The shortage was attributed to "a large number of consecutive (westbound) vessel cancellations (from Asia) during the Chinese New Year".

A report, from London's Containerisation International, described these two developments as being "extraordinary", as it points out that at present eastbound vessels are typically less than half full.

It said that according to Container Trades Statistics, eastbound cargo from North Europe to Asia increased by eight per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to the preceding quarter, to 1,140,392 TEU. More significantly it highlighted cargo volume in January amounted to 377,574 TEU, which it said was less than the monthly average recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"The implication is that, having sorted out westbound freight rate levels, ocean carriers have now turned their hungry eyes to the eastbound trade lane. Others can be expected to follow, therefore, including the Mediterranean, where the dynamics are similar," the report said.

It cited the World Container Index as showing the average all-in rate quoted for spot cargo from Rotterdam to Shanghai was US$541 per FEU, including terminal handling charges at both end, in the week beginning March 19. This, according to the report, "barely covers loading and discharge costs alone". During the same period a year earlier the freight rate was around US$1,050 per FEU, including BAF.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

TAIWAN's Wan Hai Lines has announced it will increase rates in services from the Far East to India from April 1.

Freight rate increases of US$150 per TEU and $300 per FEU on dry, reefer and specialised cargo from Far East Asia including Japan, Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and south east Asian countries to East Indian ports.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Ports of Auckland (PoA) has stopped sacking its dockers, and will re-start labour talks with its union, but will still lock out its 300 unionised dockers from April 6 after an Employment Court ruling resolved little.

The court ruled that the sacking of the dockers was a separate issue from the lock out after a week of recruiting 57 staff to replace the sacked regular dockers. The contract workers will remain in place during the lockout.

Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) president Garry Parsloe said his members were entitled to an immediate return to work "with all collective employment agreement obligations being met", reported the New Zealand Herald.

London-based International Transport Federation, which represents transport labour at the United Nations, condemned the lockout as "unbelievable, unlawful and practically suicidal" which prevents the regular dockers entering the port area.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said of the collective bargaining: "This really is a victory for common sense, and a ringing endorsement of MUNZs decision to resist the port company's plans and challenge them in law."

"If the company can genuinely match that willingness - and prove that they are committed to a negotiated solution - then an end to this dispute and the damage it has done to the port's reputation could be within reach," Mr Crumlin said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

JAPANESE carrier Kambara Kisen Co Ltd (KKC) has inaugurated a near sea shipping links connecting Tianjin's Orient Container Terminal to ports on the Sea of Japan, Xinhua reports.

This is Tianjin's first shipping line to minor ports in Japan. It uses five ships, calling at Tianjin, Maizuru, Niigata, Toyama, Kanazawa and Otaru.

Tianjin is now operating 16 shipping services to Japan, which cover the three major economic circles centering Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, as well as the four regional centres of Kyushu, Shikoku, Sea of Japan and Seto Inland Sea.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

APM TERMINALS Moin Container Terminal is (TCM) 33-year concession agreement with the Government of Costa Rica has received final endorsement from the state Comptroller General.

APM Terminals, a unit of Denmark's AP Moller group, will be able to start the 18-month implementation phase performing all the required studies and final design work which, once completed, will be submitted to the Costa Rican government for approval.

The next stage will then be dredging the access channel and the turning basin and the start of reclaiming the island terminal site on the Caribbean side of the Central American country.

"APM Terminals is very pleased with the pace and dedication with which the Costa Rican government has focused on advancing this project. The administration has demonstrated this is a top priority and we intend to follow through on inaugurating the first phase of this project on schedule in 2016," said APM T Moin managing director Paul Gallie.

The concession requires US$992 million from the company for the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of the world-class container terminal in the Caribbean port of Moin, Limon province, representing the largest single infrastructure project in the country.

Currently the Caribbean port handles up to 80 per cent of the country's international commerce.

"We are a global specialist in terminal development and operations who have built similar projects on schedule, so we're very confident we can exceed Costa Rican expectations with this concession. Modern container terminals play a pivotal role in improving the efficiency of the logistics chain which results in a lower door-to-door cost. This will have a key positive impact, especially for the fruit export trade," assured Mr Gallie.

The overall goal of the project is to develop and provide world-class marine terminal container handling services, increasing the competitiveness of Costa Rica's international commerce.

Designed as a gateway terminal to handle Costa Rica's increasing containerised exports and imports, the terminal's is only 10 hours by sea from the Panama Canal.

Larger, modern vessels offer economies of scale, environmental efficiencies and additional reefer stowage, said the company statement.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Port of Montreal is to receive C$15.6 million (US$15.7 million) in federal funding to raise container capacity to 1.8 million TEU when the project is completed in March 2014, announced Canadian Transport Minister Denis Lebel.

The project will increase the port's container capacity by 12.5 per cent to 1.8 million TEU, reported the Montreal Gazette. Upon completion, the expansion of the port will provide the region with 150 jobs, said the report.

Port CEO Sylvie Vachon said the Maisonneuve Terminal was near its 470,000 TEU annual capacity limit and the expansion would bring it up to 520,000 TEU with the east end Viau Terminal converting its space from bulk to boxes.

Another C$1 million project will be spent on software, 50 per cent of which will also be funded by the federal government and the rest by the Port of Montreal.

The Port of Montreal set an all-time record for cargo volumes in 2011 totalling 28 million tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DENMARK's AP Moller-Maersk CEO chief executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen, 53, faces more heart surgery and six to eight more weeks of sick leave after been laid up for three months, reports Reuters.

Mr Andersen's first cardiac operation sought to repair a leaking heart valve in December, shortly after the CEO of his major unit, Maersk Line, Evinid Kolding, resigned to run Danske Bank while the man who ran the group's tanker division, Soren Skou, took over from Mr Kolding to run the container operation

In Mr Andersen's absence AP Moller-Maersk is being run by its executive board, the members of which report directly to the chairman of the board, Michael Pram Rasmussen, the company said.

"The management team has passed the test and has shown itself to be robust and will also be able to handle the extension of Nils Andersen's sick leave without any loss of momentum," said Mr Rasmussen.

At first, Mr Andersen was supposed to be away a month, but that was extended to two months at the end of January. He was then expected to be back at work this week, but doctors said he needed more surgery, and an operation was scheduled for today (March 28), after which medical leave will be extended up to two months.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Spanish government has announced plans to divest itself of 80 state-owned enterprises, including transport and logistics companies in a national austerity programme linked to its role in the European sovereign debt crises.

Centros Logisticos Aeroportuarios, an air cargo promotions unit of the airports state-owned AENA owner, is being axed as are freight transport subsidiaries of state railway Renfe, including Irion Mercancias (iron and steel), Multi-Mercancias (bulk products) and Logistica y Transporte Ferroviario (vehicles), among the 80 firms on the list, some of which are to be shut down.

Spain's Treasury and Public Administration Services ministry has also announced that a number of minority stakes held by the state in private companies in the freight transport sector will also be sold.

They include a 20 per cent shareholding in rail freight operator Transfesa, which manages a fleet of over 2,000 car-carrier wagons; and stakes in Combiberia (combined transport), Construrail (bulk rail freight) and in three companies specialising in rail freight services for automobile logistics, Semat, Autometro and Cargometro.

State assets in the Terminal Intermodal Del Monzon and in Sociedad Iberica de Transporte Intermodal and Alfil Logistics are also to be relinquished, reported London's International Freighting Weekly.

No details have been disclosed on how much capital the state is looking to raise from these shareholdings nor the terms and conditions or the timetable for the sale process.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) board has approved a US$42.7 million contract that involves placing fill material on portions of the land side of the new Navy Base Terminal and along the already completed 5,000-foot-long containment wall structure, which was constructed towards the shipping channel.

The facility represents the only permitted new container terminal currently under construction on the US east and Gulf coasts.

"The completion of the Navy Base Terminal, along with the Charleston harbour deepening project, demonstrates that South Carolina understands what the industry's future demands are, and we will be ready to meet them," said SCPA chairman Bill Stern. "The new terminal and a deepened harbour are both essential to fulfil our mission of economic development and serve our customers' needs for the foreseeable future."

The board selected for the project Massachusetts-based Jay Cashman, which was the lead contractor on the demolition of the former Cooper River bridges, as well as one of the partners on the $44 million containment wall project for the Navy Base Terminal, a statement from port authorities said.

Starting in April, crews will relocate 1.75 million cubic yards of dredged material from Daniel Island to the terminal site by water, placing the fill behind the containment structure and on portions of the upland area. The crews also will consolidate the upland area of the site by installing 5.7 million linear feet of vertical wick drains and surcharging the area to stabilise the site and prepare it for construction.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of January 2014, and will overlap with the next major fill contract, which is scheduled to begin late next year. At build out, the new 280-acre container terminal will boost the Port of Charleston's container capacity by 50 per cent.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Canadian National Railway has announced plans to acquire 65 new locomotives as well as 96 second-hand train engines that will be upgraded.

This major locomotive acquisition programme is intended to accommodate anticipated traffic growth and to improve operational efficiency, a company statement said.

A number of the new engines will have high adhesion - train-pulling ability - at low speeds for heavy-haul coal service in north western Canada, where steep grades and sharp rail curves make heavy demands on locomotives.

"CN's locomotive acquisition programme represents a balanced, capital-effective approach to handle expected volume growth over the next two to five years and to meet the locomotive requirements resulting from customer focused service plans," said CN vice president and COO Keith Creel.

"The new and used motive power will enhance operational efficiency and reduce fuel consumption by permitting the retirement of older, high-maintenance locomotives and the cascading of less fuel-efficient main-line units into less-demanding yard and local switching operations, while providing additional locomotives to accommodate increased traffic."

The railway operator said it will purchase this year 42 second-hand GE Transportation (GE) Dash 8-40C locomotives, 11 leased GE Dash 8-40C locomotives, and 43 second-hand Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) SD60 locomotives. The Dash 8 units have 4,000 and the SD60s 3,800 horsepower.

It expects to take delivery between 2013 and 2014 of 35 new ES44AC locomotives from GE, and 30 new SD70ACe locomotives from EMD. The GE units have 4,400 and the SD70ACe units 4,300 horsepower.

The new locomotives on order are equipped with distributed power technology (DP), a GE product, which is designed to improve train handling and fuel efficiency. The company expects that 50 per cent of its high-horsepower locomotive fleet will have DP by the end of 2013.

DP technology permits remote control of a locomotive throughout a train from the lead control unit. The advantages of such technology are faster, smoother train starts, improved braking and lower pulling forces at the head-end and within a train for improved safety, as well as lower fuel consumption and lower emissions.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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