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
On April 10, 2012 in "Odesa Commercial Sea Port" a ceremony concerning the construction of a new grain elevator at the port of Odessa on the Androsovsky Mole with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine - Minister of Infrastructure Borys Kolesnikov will take place. Boris Kolesnikov will visit the container terminal in the Quarantine Mole and familiarize with the current state of the construction project. In addition, during his visit to the port of Odessa, Vice Prime Minister will participate in the celebration of the 68th anniversary of the liberation of port of Odessa from Nazi invaders. Boris Kolesnikov will congratulate veterans on the holiday and lay a wreath at the memorial near the Eternal Flame monument to the victims of port. Note The new grain elevator on the Androsovsky Mole is a unique, modern, high-tech handling terminal, which has no analogs in the port of Odessa - both at a rate of one-time storage, and on the planned annual turnover. Co-investors of the project - Odessa Sea Commercial Port and the company "Brooklyn-Kiev."

Source Odessa Commercial Sea Port

AFRICANS are buying Chinese high tech electronic consumer devices as well sophisticated production machinery in large volumes without causing any disruption in the domestic producers market.

Low prices help drive the import growth, reports London's Financial Times, but product improvement, better local co-operation and high levels of Chinese African investment, totally US$13 billion in Africa since 2000, are factors too.

The classic complaint of third world products, that cheap imports obliterate domestic markets, is no longer the case for China, whose products though cheap, come from higher up the value chain and beyond local production capacity, the FT said.

"The African market is Chinese. They help us because it is the only one we can afford," shop assistant Eunice told the FT.

Chinese exports have more than tripled their market share in Africa since 2002, which supplied 16.8 per cent of the continent's total imports last year, according to a Standard Bank report.

Over the last four years, Chinese companies recorded their biggest gains in selling machinery, vehicles and electronics at the expense of European and Japanese rivals. African imports from Spain, Germany, Britain and Japan were all lower last year than in 2008 while imports from China surged 38 per cent in 2011 year on year.

Zhenjiang Shenglong Machinery Manufacturing (ZSMM), a middling farm machinery maker in Jiangsu province, started its business in Africa by contributing to aid missions.

Said ZSMM chairman Lou Min: "We were doing well in the Chinese market, but we realised that our products would die out domestically. We had to break into other underdeveloped countries, said Mr Luo, adding that this company made $3 million in Africa last year.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

The Chongqing-Europe rail route and Chongqing-Shenzhen will be part of the Ministry of Railway's high-speed rail development plan in June.

The Chongqing-Xinjiang Europe railway takes 16 days, and Chongqing-Shenzhen run lasts 50 hours. Once high-speed rail is introduced, the Chongqing-Xinjiang Europe service frequency will be increased to two to three a week from the weekly service now offered and the transit cut to 14 days.

Last year, the Chongqing-Xinjiang Europe railway launched 17 runs, carrying 699 TEU of 970,000 laptops and 200,000 monitors manufactured in Chongqing.

Meanwhile, the frequency of the Chongqing-Shenzhen railway, which connects to Shenzhen's Yantian terminal, will be increased to twice daily at peak hours from two departures a week.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SHENZHEN International Holdings Limited has announced that profit attributable to shareholders in 2011 rose by 36 per cent compared to the previous year to HK$1,745 million (US$224.74 million).

The significant growth of the logistics business was mainly attributed to the successive openings and improved operational performance of new logistics centres as well as economies of scale benefiting from the expanded operating scale. In addition, enhanced operating efficiency and control of operating expenses were said to have enhanced the competitive edge of the group's logistics business.

Revenue for the 12-month period ending December 31 (excluding construction service revenue from toll roads) increased by 18 per cent year on year to HK$4.9 billion.

Profit before finance costs and tax from its core business amounted to HK$3,100 million, representing a growth of 35 per cent over 2010.

Within this total profit from its core business grew by 62 per cent over 2010 to a record HK$1,482 million, the group said in a statement posted by PRNewswire-Asia.

The increase in toll revenue was attributed to the "stable growth of the Chinese economy, the increase in the ownership of small-displacement vehicles, together with the completion of conversion works on existing roads and opening of extension section," the statement said.

With the group holding a 25 per cent stake in Shenzhen Airlines since April 2010, the carrier last year contributed a profit of HK$424 million to the group, up from HK$143 million in 2010. The group increased its equity interest in the airline to 49 per cent in January this year with the completion of the acquisition of an extra 24 per cent stake.

Of the future, Shenzhen International chairman Guo Yuan said: "The group will continue to increase its investment and explore in logistics sector and strive to turn the logistics business to become the main driver of the group's future growth. As the toll road business has become mature, the group will focus on developing the newly-completed projects so as to bring in relatively stable investment returns and adequate cash flow."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ANGOLA's second port of Lobit has been spending US$1.2 billion in state funds to increase its handling capacity to 11 million tonnes, it was announced by the port company Empresa Portuaria Do Lobito.

The funds have been used to build a dry dock for the handling of Lobito's containerships . Last year, the port 500 kilometres south of the capital Luanda, handled 88,000 TEU and 2.7 million tonnes of cargo.

The Government of Angola has invested the sum in the modernisation and expansion of the Commercial Port of Lobito, according to company chairman Anapaz de Jesus Neto.

Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the company's 84th anniversary, Mr Neto said that the funds have been used to build a new import and export terminal in Lobito Bay for mining products, which is now nearing completion, reports the UK's Port Technology International.

The investment also covers the extension of the quay to enable the docking of 12 vessels simultaneously. Currently, Lobito can only handle eight ships at a time.

Angola's three main ports accessible by rail are Luanda, Lobito and Namibe

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CARGOTEC has received a large order to supply 22 Kalmar straddle carriers to Australia's largest container handling operator Patrick container terminals for an undisclosed amount.

Twelve straddle carriers will be delivered to Patrick's East Swanson Dock in Melbourne between July and December 2012 and a further 10 to Patrick's Port Botany Terminal in Sydney between May and September 2012.

Cargotec said in a statement posted on its website that its Australian team will provide maintenance support to the equipment with spare parts supplied direct from its regional parts warehouse in Melbourne.

This latest order of 50-tonne capacity ESC 350W straddle carrier models continues a longstanding partnership between the two companies. The equipment provider said its team in Australia has provided over 120 Kalmar straddle carriers to Patrick container terminals over a period of 28 years. In total there are currently 108 units in operation across Patrick's sites in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, which combined, handle 3.5 million TEU per year.

Systems based on Kalmar straddle carriers such as the ESC 350W are suitable for medium-size terminals handling between 100,000 and 4,000,000 TEU. Kalmar straddle carrier's 7+ generation models combine high performance and productivity with low maintenance and operating costs.

Designed with operators in mind, they deliver environmental benefits, which can be further enhanced with hybrid operation and can provide users with automation options.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

VIETNAMESE mainline rail, running between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi was to be transformed into a high-speed link by 2013, but now official focus has been turned to providing container trains to and from the Hai Phong marine terminal.

The aim, reports the UK's Handy Shipping Guide, is to reduce truck volume to and from Hai Phong by increasing rail freight and it is hoped that railcars will carry 230 TEU a day by the end of the year.

But foreign investment is needed to bring this about, said the report. Discouraging this is Vietnam's differing rail gauges.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report said there was great potential for a rapid increase in rail freight, but since 1993, Vietnam as a major recipient ADB financing, has mostly used infrastructure funding on road building rather than rail, said the report.

But as the country becomes more prosperous, the need for better transport to power the economy will become more urgent and more widely appreciated, said the report.

While 60 per cent of Vietnam's container rail freight moves on the north-south line, 90 per cent of all freight is trucked, clogging highways, which are also subject to seasonal flooding.

Vietnamese shippers complain about rising container costs that have risen in recent weeks with a succession of rate hikes from most major carriers, said the report.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DACHSER, a family-run German logistics company, is banking that China-US trade will provide sustained growth for the company in coming years.

"We have seen some sluggishness during the last six months, but the US economy is showing positive signs of recovery and China is forecasting 7.5 per cent growth in its GDP in 2012," said Dachser Far East chief Edoardo Podest.

"China's imports have grown significantly during the last five years, driven by consumer demand and there has been a corresponding increase in imported goods from the US. A smaller portion of China's imports are of goods which will be processed for export, and a higher portion will go into domestic consumption," he said.

The global logistics provider has invested in building its network of offices in the US and China and offered value-added services - like logistics consulting, export and import compliance consulting or letter of credit services.

Imports to the US from China rose two per cent to 709,410 TEU in January when compared to the same month in 2011.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

TNT Express has announced the opening of a new service point on Kemal Ataturk Avenue in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The outlet is located in Banani, a commercial and university district in the northern part of the city.

The new service point offers local businesses and residents "cost-effective solutions for sending documents and parcels to more than 200 countries. A specially-priced Student Pack is available to students who wish to apply to universities abroad," a company statement said.

The company said it owns 17 service points in Bangladesh, where it started operations in 1983.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ATLANTA based Delta Airlines maintenance unit has signed a multi-year exclusive agreement with Atlas Air to provide maintenance and support services for three of the company's Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

"The men and women of Delta TechOps have a reputation for delivering the highest quality work and the most comprehensive support in the industry, which led to this new agreement," said Delta TechOps president Tony Charaf.

The new agreement includes 331 APU and CF6 engine time and materials maintenance support, and 767-300ER power-by-the-hour component support.

Said Atlas Air vice president Larry Gibbons: "Delta TechOps' operational experience with the 767 aircraft, extensive service offering, and status as a military airlift partner made them the obvious choice for this contract."

Mr Gibbons, head of procurement at Atlas Air, a subsidiary of parent company Atlas Air Worldwide, said: "We look forward to a strong working relationship with a one-stop service provider as we continue to enhance our innovative 767 freighter and passenger service solutions and complement our market-leading Boeing 747 freighter and passenger operations," he added.

Delta TechOps is the largest airline maintenance, repair and overhaul provider in North America, generating US$650 million in revenue in 2011.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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