UAE CARRIER Etihad Airways' cargo unit has posted 12.2 per cent increase in first quarter revenue to US$159 million, with the total revenue - passengers included - rising by 28.5 per cent to $989 million.

Passenger numbers for the quarter grew by 50,000, and revenues jumped 25.4 per cent.

Etihad Crystal Cargo is looking to "significant expansion" in the next 18 months through new routes expansion using belly-hold capacity to Shanghai, Chengdu.

"Combined investments in Air Seychelles and Europe's sixth largest airline, airberlin, is game changing for us," said its CEO James Hogan, reported London's Air News Times.

Mr Hogan said the carrier is looking to make better use of bellyhold capacity in its new routes to Shanghai, Chengdu and elsewhere. These new services, combined with investments in Air Seychelles and airberlin, should help Etihad achieve success during an industry-wide slowdown in air freight, he said.

"The airberlin deal will be our most important catalyst for growth in 2012. It has given us instant access to Europe's largest travel market, and will have a major impact on revenues in 2012, with an expected contribution of up to $50 million," he said.

It is also to launch new services to Vietnam and to South America in 2013 with further frequency likely to both Asia and Australia. It has two freighters on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

"Despite the tough economic times, we believe our business model of organic network growth combined with codeshare partnerships and strategic equity investments will enable us to continue to prosper and ensure sustainable profitability," Mr Hogan said.

Following the carrier's net profit of $14 million it is bullish that 2012 will be the "most profitable in the airline's history."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

Three Danish mussel-harvesting vessels have successfully completed the assessment process for MSC certification. Processing company Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH financed the MSC certification process and can now use the blue MSC ecolabel on the mussels harvested by these three vessels.  The ecolabel tells consumers that fish has been caught using sustainable methods and that the product can be traced back to a sustainable fishery that has been certified to the MSC standard.

The MSC audit assessed the following aspects: the status of the blue mussel population, the impacts of the three vessels’ activities on the marine ecosystem, and the fishery’s management system.

Royal Frysk says

“We are delighted that the sustainable methods used by the mussel fishers have been independently confirmed and we can immediately start supplying our customers with mussels bearing the MSC ecolabel from this fishery as well. The long-term conservation of mussel stocks is very important to us as a processing company. It’s the only way we can secure our commercial basis and our future,” explains Stephan Tack, Managing Director of Royal Frysk Muscheln.

Where and how are the mussels caught?

The three vessels harvest mussels off the east coast of Jutland in Denmark, where they use dredges at depths of at least four metres. Before the dredges are lowered into the water, the fishermen locate the mussel beds using sonar and video technology. This prevents them harvesting mussels that are too small. Each dredging pass lasts no more than ten minutes.

Harvest volumes

Last year the three vessels landed 6,600 tons of mussels, which was 88 per cent of the entire mussel landings on the east coast of Jutland. The catch quotas are set and allocated annually by the Danish Directorate of Fisheries. In 2011, each vessel was allowed 270 tons of mussels per week. The mussel fishers voluntarily agreed to lower this quota to 150 tons per week in order to support responsible management and make a contribution to the long-term preservation of the mussel stocks. The harvest season is concentrated on the months of March to May and September to mid-December.

The management system

The mussel fishery’s management system is under the supervision of the Danish Commission of Commercial Fisheries. It is based on regular evaluation of biological data and on an analysis of the distribution and development of mussel stocks, which is conducted with the help of geographical information systems. The information obtained in this way enables the fishery to target the most productive mussel beds.

The MSC says

Marnie Bammert, Manager of the MSC office for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, is delighted: “The certification of the three Danish mussel vessels is an example of successful teamwork between suppliers and buyers to support sustainable fishing practices. We are very pleased with the active role that Royal Frysk played in this MSC assessment and hope that Royal Frysk mussels with the MSC ecolabel will soon be available in German supermarkets and specialist shops. Half of German consumers are already familiar with our blue ecolabel and they are bound to appreciate this certified sustainable product.”

Further information about Royal Frysk Muscheln Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH

Royal Frysk Muscheln GmbH is a modern, medium-sized mussel-processing company. It is based in Emmelsbüll-Horsbüll in Schleswig Holstein, Germany’s northernmost state. Its suppliers include the three independent Danish mussel vessels that have just received MSC certification. Royal Frysk supplies mussels – cooked, frozen or packaged and ready to cook – to customers throughout Europe. Within Germany, Royal Frysk has a large number of customers in the Rhineland region, where there is even a regional mussel dish: “Muscheltopf rheinischer Art”.

Source MSC

Finnair is publishing today its annual corporate responsibility report. The publication, released digitally, is prepared according to guidelines established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), details and assesses the financial, environmental and social sustainability of the Finnair Group’s activities in 2011. Topics addressed include aviation’s role in society and business, the airline’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how restructuring impacts on staff.

“Sustainability and corporate responsibility play into every aspect of Finnair’s business,” says Kati Ihamäki, Vice President of Sustainable Development. “This report shows how everyone at Finnair, from top management to customer-facing staff, plays an important role in building the company’s sustainable future.”

Finnair has reported on environmental sustainability since 1997, and in 2008 became one of the first airlines to report according to GRI guidelines. The GRI, formed with the support of the United Nations Environment Program, is the most widely recognised international authority on sustainability reporting.

Source Finnair Plc

New branding captures passion for connecting peoples hopes, dreams and aspirations

DUBAI, UAE – 2 April 2012 – Emirates today launched a new global brand platform and direction, themed "Hello Tomorrow,” which positions the global airline as the enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences. Emirates is embarking on an integrated marketing communications campaign with a new brand promise as the company continues its evolution from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand.

Designed for the age of consumer engagement and empowerment, “Hello Tomorrow” is about inspiring people to greet tomorrow’s unlimited potential, now. “Hello” is a greeting, an invitation to a person, a place or an experience. “Tomorrow” is a time, a place, a state of mind – the unlimited possibility of the future.  Emirates is extending an invitation to try the unfamiliar, create new ideas, and form new visions. The theme encapsulates life’s potential and embracing the future with all the possibilities it holds.

"Our new corporate image and global marketing campaign both underline the confidence we have in our existing products and services, and the vision we have for the future growth of the airline," said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman of Emirates Airline and Group. “Emirates is not just offering a way to connect people from point A to point B but is the catalyst to connect people’s hopes, dreams and aspirations.”  “Emirates is connecting people and cultures creating relevant and meaningful experiences that are shaping the world,” he added.  

Emirates airline has grown from its early days in 1985, when it launched with just two aircraft, to its current status as one of the world’s fastest growing airlines with 171 wide-body aircraft including the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777s and A380s.  A brand synonymous with luxury and innovation, Emirates was the first to offer inflight telephony across all classes, individual TV screens on every seat, First Class suites and an onboard Shower Spa on its A380 aircraft.  From its home base in Dubai, Emirates is geographically located within an eight hour direct flight of 75 per cent of the world’s population – more distant routes like the Americas are connected to the Dubai hub with long range aircraft that fly the distance direct.  

As the world becomes more interconnected, borders are being blurred and people are more mobile and globally focused than ever before; they are connecting, creating and sharing ideas that are propelling the world forward.  Emirates, slated to become the world’s largest airline by 2015[1],  represents these global individuals who we call ‘globalistas’ – they are our customers and also our multi-cultural work force which is made up of more than 45,000 people from over 165 different nations.

Globalistas represent individuals who are looking and living for new experiences. They are well travelled, or have aspirations to join the ranks of the well-travelled. The ‘globalista’ is not defined by typical demographic statistics but by the places they have visited and the experiences they have shared. They embrace the unlimited possibility of the future and are open to an invitation to try the unfamiliar - Emirates is the brand that is enabling this global lifestyle.

The campaign was created with Emirates lead communications partner Strawberry Frog, the world's first Cultural Movement agency. “We’re building on decades of innovation in Emirates marketing to launch this new and innovative movement for the world’s most thoughtful and incredible brand,” said Scott Goodson, Chairman of Strawberry Frog. “This bold next step for the brand will offer people who love the brand or want to experience the brand, inspiration to participate in this brave new world and spark new connections and experiences achieved through travel.”  

“The “Hello Tomorrow” campaign is at the vanguard of the trend for global brands to spark movements not simply do advertising, connecting people, communities and encouraging them to join together to make a positive impact on society,” added Goodson.

The campaign launch, which begins today, features print, TV, digital advertising including some iconic billboards in New York’s Times Square and Milan’s central train station. A series of vibrant messages that represent the spirit of Tomorrow – Tomorrow Brings Us Closer to; New People, New Experiences, New Styles, New Friends, will bring Emirates’ new vision to the marketplace. Emirates website has also been refreshed to reflect the “Hello Tomorrow” messaging.

Beyond a look, the spirit of the brand and its evolution is being embedded internally as well focused on driving increased consumer engagement in what is new, fresh and innovative in the world - empowering people to explore, engage and live.

Source Aviareps

During the first three months of this year the number of passengers at Vilnius International Airport (VIA) on the average grew by 64.3 percent. This March the VIA serviced 142 thousand passengers – 17.5 percent more than in February and as much as 56.5 percent more than in March 2011.

2277 flights were performed last month, which makes up for 8.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year. London, Frankfurt, Riga and Copenhagen were amongst the most popular destinations.

“The results of the first quarter set a good start for the aviation summer season which commenced 25 March. So far we can see that Vilnius International Airport growth plans are being successfully implemented. During the summer season as much as 5 new airlines will be operating on 11 new routes,” – Minister of Transport and Communications Eligijus Masiulis commented on the VIA performance.

Good performance is the result of successful operation of traditional airlines and growing demand in low-cost carriers’ services. One of the companies which serviced the largest number of passengers in March is Lufthansa. The airline celebrated its 20th anniversary at VIA and by offering two daily flights to Frankfurt serviced almost 13 thousand passengers per month. Scandinavian Airlines also demonstrated excellent results for March with 10.5 thousand passengers and helped to keep Copenhagen amongst the top destinations of Vilnius International Airport. Excellent results were demonstrated by the airline airBaltic which offered flights to Riga and serviced 12.5 thousand passengers.

Direct connection with Milan and London introduced last year proved to be highly successful – these destinations were chosen by 8 thousand and 16.5 thousand passengers, respectively. The popularity of these destinations contributed to the successful performance of low-cost carriers – in March WizzAir serviced 25.5 thousand passengers and Ryanair – almost 30 thousand passengers.

During the summer season Vilnius International Airport will offer flights to 31 cities and 36 airports. 40 direct regular flights shall be operated from Vilnius. 21 airlines shall be offering regular flights during the summer season.

Source VIA

Chopin Airport handled nearly 696,000 travellers in March 2012, a 4.8% increase year-on-year.

In terms of passengers handled, the third month of 2012 was the second best March in the airport's history, falling slightly short of its all time high of 714,500 recorded in 2008.

The number of passenger aircraft movements fell to 9,600, a 1.9% fall on the same month last year.

Since the beginning of 2012, Chopin Airport has served 1.88m passengers, 5.5% more than in the first three months of 2011. Domestic and international traffic grew to 267,000 (+15.8%) and 1.62 million (+4%) respectively.

Source polish-airports

On the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness, the UN Mine Action Service and the International Road Transport Union celebrate the successful completion of their 10-month innovative Public-Private Partnership in Afghanistan.

In the framework of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety launched in 2011, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) - true to its commitment to achieve sustainable development, notably by furthering the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through facilitated, safe and secure road transport - teamed up with UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to support demining activities in Afghanistan.

The aim of this 10-month innovative Public-Private Partnership launched in April 2011 was to increase security and intensify socio-economic development of Afghanistan to facilitate its integration in the global trade and economy systems and develop cooperation in road transport safety and security. This would be achieved by effectively improving road security in war-torn Afghanistan through the clearance of roads and road adjacent minefields and battle areas posing a significant threat to the movement of people and goods along the routes linking Kabul to its Central Asian neighbours.

In a letter addressed to the IRU, UN Secretary General, BAN Ki-moon, stressed: “The IRU contribution greatly facilitated our work to support the civilian population of Afghanistan in their efforts to rebuild lives and livelihoods following the devastation of decades of conflict and instability…The area now supports the safe passage along the routes linking Afghanistan with its Central Asian neighbours…The assistance of IRU has contributed to a safer and more prosperous Afghanistan.”

The project has helped reinvigorate socio-economic opportunities between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and beyond, and has helped move the country from aid to trade by international road transport, thus contributing to the reconstruction, development and stabilisation of Afghanistan.

The project directly benefitted 42 communities of over 3,000 Afghan families living in the vicinity of the 86 hazardous zones covered. In the long term, this project will benefit the estimated 7 million people living in the six provinces through which the ring road runs, as it will allow people to use roads safely for access to education, healthcare or economic opportunities, reduce the cost of food and non food items, and return 4,000,000 sq m of land to its original agricultural purposes.

Once secured, Afghanistan’s roads, which are strategically located along the Silk Road, will also play an essential role in Euro-Asian trade by road transport that can bring prosperity to the entire landmass through the revitalisation of the ancient Silk Road.

IRU Secretary General Martin Marmy concluded: “Improving road security, safety and facilitating trade and international road transport have always been at the core of the IRU’s actions for over 60 years. After World War II, the IRU helped expedite Europe’s reconstruction by developing the TIR transit System, which dramatically improved the integration of Europe’s trade and economy. Today, the road transport industry is proud to contribute tangibly once again to the economic recovery and prosperity of yet another war-torn region.”

This UNMAS-IRU Public-Private Partnership is a very concrete step in the right direction to driving progress and ultimately peace to ensure the sustainable mobility of people and goods in the region. It is IRU’s hope that this project will serve as an inspiration for others to join and put into practice the IRU motto: “Working together for a better future.”

Source International Road Transport Union (IRU)

six business partners lauded at annual Schiphol Aviation Awards

This afternoon Ad Rutten, Executive Vice President & COO of Schiphol Group, announced the six winners of the 2011 Schiphol Aviation Awards. Each year, Schiphol presents it aviation awards to clients and business partners who have distinguished themselves from other companies at the airport in terms of their innovative business management or positive performance.

Airline of the Year Award Europe
Vueling achieved an impressive growth of 38 percent over the past year, while significantly improving its punctuality. The airline also conducted intensive marketing campaigns in order to raise its profile amongst potential Dutch and Spanish travellers. In recognition of its successful efforts, Vueling was presented with the 'Airline of the Year Award Europe '.

Airline of the Year Award North & South America
The winner in this category was able to launch new routes thanks to a highly intensive and effective marketing campaign: KLM. Amongst other new destinations, the airline began operating flights to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Havana.

Airline of the Year Award Asia
China Southern Airlines introduced direct flights to Guangzhou, increased the frequency of its flights to China and received the 'Airline of the Year Award Asia' in recognition of its efforts. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol also lauded Schiphol China Southern Airlines for its deployment of the latest Airbus 330-200 and its intensive promotional campaigns in the Netherlands.

Airline of the Year Award Africa & Middle East
Corendon Dutch Airlines is a new Dutch airline that operated its first flight to Dalaman on 30 April 2011. Operating as part of the Corendon Group, Corendon Dutch Airlines transported passengers to various destinations around the Mediterranean Sea. In recognition of its remarkable achievement, the airline was presented with the 'Airline of the Year Award Africa & Middle East'.

Passenger Ground Handling Award

This year's 'Passenger Ground Handling Award' was presented to Servisair, which was awarded the distinction thanks to its excellent performance in the area of operational handling, its customer-friendly attitude and effective cooperation in day-to-day operations.

Cargo Award
AirBridgeCargo Airlines showed solid growth over the past year, and made considerable investments in fleet renewal. This policy was continued over recent months, with the introduction of the Boeing 747-8. The past year also saw AirBridge launch new routes to Russia and the United States. AirBridgeCargo received the Cargo Award in recognition of its exceptional performance.

The Schiphol Aviation Awards are awarded in various categories based on geographical segmentation, with an emphasis on the quality and diversity of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol's global network of airlines and destinations. Category winners are selected based on the following criteria: punctuality, growth, innovation and marketing effort.

Source Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

The cabinet decision taken in Lower Saxony on Tuesday, 3 April 2012, means that the required assent from the three states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony for the adjustment of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe has now been received.  Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Minister of Economics, Transport and Innovation, commented: “It was only right to take time to arrive at a fair reconciliation of the different interests. The decision by the cabinet in Lower Saxony demonstrates not only that adjustment of the navigational channel involves a whole series of advantages for Lower Saxony, but also that an excellent compromise has been found with regard to the feared disadvantages. This satisfactory outcome means that the official approval procedure can now be completed.” Those responsible for granting planning approval at the Waterways and Shipping Directorate (WSD) North and in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg will now be incorporating the results of the negotiations into the planning approval that currently exists only in draft form, and will then produce the final planning approval document. The procedure also provides for the planning approval along with the supporting documents to be displayed for scrutiny in the communities affected along the Elbe at the end of May, following an appropriate public announcement.

Claudia Roller, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, is delighted by the assent to the adjustment of the navigation channel now received from the neighbouring state of Lower Saxony: “For the Port of Hamburg, the whole economic region and our worldwide customers and partners in shipping, trade, industry and logistics, this assent from Lower Saxony to the adjustment of the navigation channel is a very satisfactory decision.  We are now looking to the speedy realization of this infrastructural measure and hoping that the first stages in construction can be commenced before the end of this year.  That will only be feasible, however, provided that any possible objections do not lead to any further delay to the deepening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe.”  Given the significance of the deepening of the navigation channel, the German Administrative Court in Leipzig will in the first and final instances be responsible for hearing any possible objections. The period for lodging these runs for four weeks from the date of display of draft final approval, i.e. most probably until the end of June.  

Against the background of the 894 ultra-large vessels (AGF) handled in Hamburg during 2011 the adjustment of the shipping channels in the Lower and Outer Elbe is one of the most important development projects for the Port of Hamburg in 2012. This will ensure that the largest containerships and bulk carriers continue to reach Hamburg in the future. After completion, ships with a draft up to 13.80 meters will be able to leave the Port of Hamburg independent of the tides and up to 14.80 meters dependent on the tides.

To limit the effects of the channel adjustment on the flora and fauna and the surrounding environment as much as possible, an engineering concept has been developed enabling the hydrological and therefore the ecological consequences to be considerably minimized. Numerous measures will be adopted to completely compensate for any remaining ecological effects.

Source PORT OF HAMBURG Marketing

EnSolve Biosystems was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant ($445,000) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a prototype treatment device for the removal of hydrocarbons from sulfur oxide (SOx) scrubber treatment systems. Current scrubber systems focus on the removal of SOx and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from ship engines, rather than hydrocarbons that typically end up in the scrubber effluent. Such effluent would likely violate International Maritime Organization (IMO) clean-water standards due to excess hydrocarbon levels. EnSolve’s technology (trade named EnScrub™) addresses the hydrocarbon portion of this wastestream.  

“The developed product will be an add-on device to SOx scrubber systems,” stated Jason Caplan, EnSolve’s CEO. “As such, EnScrub will complement, rather than compete with, scrubber companies. The Phase I work, completed in 2011, showed hydrocarbon reductions of greater than 99% from simulated scrubber effluent, so we are confident that we can scale the technology in a timely manner. ”  

Similar to EnSolve’s Seatrade Award-winning PetroLiminator® Oil Water Separator (OWS), the EnScrub technology uses a combination of physical and biological methods to treat hydrocarbons from scrubber effluent. The commercial-ready EnScrub product is anticipated to yield lower wastes and, consequently, lower operating costs than conventional technologies due to the “green” nature of the technology.  

Source Marine NewsWire

The Bridge Shipping Group thrives on challenges and has built a solid foundation in Southern Africa, offering a full logistics package for the movement of cargo throughout the territory and abroad. The company draws on its 31 years in the industry to tailor appropriate supply chain solutions for its clients.

“We have made it an integral part of our business to become involved in the businesses of our clients,” says Christine Pater, General Manager of Bridge Intermodal, a division of Bridge Shipping. “By finding out more about our client’s products and their business philosophies, we are able to ascertain which elements of the supply chain are most critical to them. We can then customise a service offering to meet their specific needs.”

With two fully functional rail sidings at its Johannesburg depot and a further three sidings at its Durban facility, the Bridge Shipping Group is able to offer a fast turnaround to its clients.

“With regard to rail transport, through years of partnering with Transnet Freight Rail we have managed to forge a solid relationship with a major freight rail service provider and therefore rail has become an integral part of the Bridge Shipping Group’s service offering. Through this, we continue to pull out all the stops to ensure that client deliveries are made as quickly as possible,” Pater says.

Pater points out that having its own rail sidings is advantageous to the company and its clients. “This means that we can move large volumes from depot to depot or depot to port thereby contributing to the decongestion of the roads’,” Pater adds.

“A great deal of time and effort has been invested by the rail industry and authorities in this country to maintain rolling stock and equipment, in order to provide a higher-end service. The Bridge Shipping Group has formed a good relationship with the industry, and we have seen major positive developments in this arena. This has in turn benefited the local and trans-African logistics industry and our clients,” Pater points out.

“Road transport has its advantages in that it has the ability to handle last-minute cargo packing since containers are moved in accordance with Durban vessel stack dates. While rail is the preferred method of transport for export heavy containers there will always be a place for road transport, especially with respect to urgent bookings. Bridge Shipping analyses each situation individually and ensures that the optimal mode is utilised to ensure client satisfaction,” Pater concludes.

Kendal Hunt Communications PR and Media Liaison Agency

THE global idle containership fleet has fallen from 913,000 TEU in mid-March to 838,000 TEU by March 26, accounting for 5.3 per cent of the total containership fleet, down from 5.8 per cent a fortnight earlier, according to Alphaliner.

This was because the decline in the idle fleet size - the first in seven months - of the introduction of new services for the summer peak season that has lead to the redeployment of idle vessels.

Most idle ships redeployed over this period were carrier-controlled vessels, bringing the total capacity of such ships that are idle down to 440,000 TEU from 515,000 TEU.

The report said the total capacity of idle vessels that carry "non-operating owner" (NOO) status remains at 397,000 TEU.

The fortnightly period under review also noted the number of idle containerships over 7,500 TEU fall to 18 from 12 ships.

"The trend is to continue and the fleet of VLCS is expected to be fully employed by early May. This coincides with the delivery of 11 new containerships of 13,000-14,000 TEU in March alone. All these ships join long-haul strings which are launched or relaunched for the summer season," Alphaliner said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HANJIN Shipping has taken delivery of the 13,100-TEU Hanjin Sooho, which is the first in a series of eight same-sized vessels built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.

A report by Alphaliner said the containerships were originally contracted by Muenchmeyer Petersen & Co (MPC) in February 2008, with the backing of the shipping line as a long-term charterer.

But MPC dropped out because it was unable to arrange the necessary financing in the wake of the Lehmann Bros collapse in September 2008.

As a result, Hanjin Shipping took over five of the contracts and four other vessels of this size were transferred to third-party investors through Gansey Bay Ltd, an Isle of Man-registered company. The deliveries of the nine ships were also postponed by up to one year, the report said.

The Hanjin Sooho is to be deployed in the CKYH 'NE 6' service, which is currently being upgraded from 10 vessels ranging in size from 8,200 to 9,950 TEU to 11 ships of 10,000 to 13,100 TEU.

The delivery of the Hanjin Sooho brings to 11 the number of containerships ranging in size from 13,000 to 14,000 TEU that were delivered in March, said Alphaliner.

"This sets a new record for the highest number of deliveries of containerships of above 10,000 TEU in a single month," it added.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHINA's National Bureau of Statistics has reported that profits from Chinese industrial companies plummeted to the lowest level in January and February since 2009, this was because of slowing exports and government restrictions on property, reports Bloomberg.

Net income for Chinese chemical producers, automakers and other major industrial companies fell 5.2 per cent to US$96 billion from the year earlier, in sharp contrast to its 34.3 per cent year-on-year increase for the same two-month period in 2011.

Companies in the category of oil refining, coking and nuclear fuel processing switched from profits to losses, while two other industries saw losses widen, the bureau said.

Chang Jian, an economist at Barclays Capital said the decline is "alarming" and predicted that "more policy easing should be on the way, though at a measured pace." But she noted the government is unlikely to loosen property curbs. Dariusz Kowalczyk, a strategist from Credit Agricole CIB, estimated the report may also lead to cutting interest rates and required reserves.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

A HAIPHONG court has jailed the former chairman of the state-owned Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) for 20 years over a scandal which shook investor confidence in the nation, reports Singapore's AsiaOne News.

State-owned groups, many badly managed, control two-thirds of the nation's capital. Before its near-failure, Vinashin was seen as a model of state-owned enterprise that would lead Vietnamese efforts to compete on the global stage.

In 2008, the company had US$6 billion of orders on its books, 60,000 employees, 28 shipyards and projected growth of 35 per cent a year, according to a briefing note by consulting firm Oxford Analytica.

Pham Thanh Binh, 58, was convicted of violating state regulations while heading Vinashin, which almost collapsed with billions of dollars of debt. He received the maximum punishment.

Eight other former executives at the company were sentenced between three and 19 years. "This case caused serious economic consequences," court president Tran Van Nghiem said in the ruling in the northern city of Haiphong.

"The behaviour of Binh and the other defendants was very dangerous, damaging public opinion, reducing public trust and the prestige of the country in the eyes of foreign investors and resulting in stagnant business and production that forced the government to appoint a new management," he said. "Therefore, the defendants should be seriously punished."

The former Vinashin executives were accused of losing more than US$43 million mostly from the procurement of an Italian-made high-speed passenger boat as well as two electricity plants.

In December 2010, the company defaulted on the first US$60 million installment of a US$600 million loan arranged by Credit Suisse in 2007, but no further information on the loan settlement since then is available.

Binh admitted during his four-day trial that he had made mistakes but insisted that he had not acted for his own personal gain. "With my devotion for the shipbuilding industry, sometimes I made mistakes that were against regulations and the government's guidance," he told the court.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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