JAPANESE "K" Line has announced it will add two China calls - Ningbo in Zhejiang province and Da Chan Bay in western Shenzhen - to its weekly intra-Asia Jabco-1 and Jabco-2 loops, offering direct trade linkage for Japan, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

"K" Line will deploy four 2,500-TEU ships for the Jabco-1 service and another four 1,700-TEU vessels for the Jabco-2 string.

Port rotation for Jabco-1 includes Tokyo, Yokohama, Shimizu, Yokkaichi, Nagoya, Shanghai, Ningbo, Laem Chabang, Manila, Ningbo, Shanghai, and back to Tokyo. The estimated time of arrival (ETA) at Tokyo for Jabco-1 is April 23.

Jabco-2 loop will call at Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Moji, Shanghai, Da Chan Bay-western Shenzhen, Ho Chi Minh, Laem Chabang and back to Ho Chi Minh and Tokyo. Its ETA at Tokyo is April 25. Both loops take 28 days for their individual voyage.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

INTERNATIONAL shipbroker Braemar Seascope has reported that 56 per cent of new containership capacity delivered over the past two years entered the Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trades.

It said that 2.6 million TEU of newbuilding capacity has been delivered over this period with 1.5 million TEU being absorbed by the Asia-Europe trades.

In 2011 alone, "59 post-Panamax containerships, with an average capacity of 11,500 TEU, entered Asia-Europe services, adding 680,000 TEU of fresh capacity", Braemar was cited as saying in a report by the American Shipper.

"Additionally, 15 containerships of an average 8,400 TEU were delivered and deployed on Asia-Mediterranean and a developing Asia-Middle East trade lane, adding more than 125,000 TEU of new capacity."

The Asia-east coast South America route also absorbed a significant amount of the new tonnage delivered over the past two years, with 40 newbuildings entering service, including high reefer capacity vessels of more than 7,000 TEU which were introduced by Maersk Line and Hamburg Sud.

"In 2011, this emerging Latin American container route accounted for more than 10 per cent of all new capacity commissioned," Braemar said. "Another developing container trade lane, Asia-West Africa, witnessed deployment of 11 newbuildings last year, including the first of a newbuilding series of twenty-two 4,500-TEU geared vessels designed for the West African-Asian trade."

Said Braemar analyst Jonathan Roach: "For the next three years we expect another four million TEU to hit the water, which includes 150 containerships with a capacity of 10,000 TEU or more."

London's Containerisation International noted that according to Clarkson Research Services' latest Container Intelligence Monthly, the global containership fleet capacity will increase 7.3 per cent this year, with an estimated 67 per cent of the capacity to be delivered being over 8,000 TEU.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Port of Hamburg handled nine million TEU last year, a rise of 14.2 per cent, or 1.12 million TEU, compared to 201O, achieving the fastest growth rate in container throughput in northern Europe and becoming Europe's second largest container port.

The port, which is the largest in Germany, also handled 132.2 million tonnes of cargo in 2011, an increase of 9.1 per cent compared with 2010.

Claudia Roller, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM), said: "We are delighted that in 2011 the Port of Hamburg proved able to achieve above-average growth both in total throughput and container traffic. With the strongest absolute growth in container throughput, Hamburg regained market share against competing ports."

She pointed out that for 2012 the port is estimating an increase in throughput figures, but not as high as in 2011.

"By year-end the port should achieve a moderate increase in seaborne cargo. With its existing capacities, well-developed infrastructure and highly efficient port service providers, some of whom have recently won international awards, Hamburg is very well equipped to handle growing cargo volumes with its customary reliability, speed and high quality."

Furthermore, the port's CEO noted that the forthcoming deepening of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe will further boost Hamburg's attractiveness as a European hub for ultra-large vessels.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

A new all-water service connecting Asia and Houston via the Panama Canal is being introduced by Cosco Container Lines Americas.

The sailing of the Gulf of Mexico Express service (GME) is scheduled to depart from Shanghai on April 29 and to arrive on May 28 in Houston, which is the service's only US port of call.

The first voyage will be undertaken by the Cosco Auckland, which will also be the ship's first deployment since joining the Cosco fleet.

The port rotation of the GME service is Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Shenzhen-Yantian, Colon and Houston.

A statement from the Port of Houston Authority said its representatives have been working for more than two years on soliciting and securing the service that links ports in China directly to Houston.

It expects the new service to bring "significant" new business to Houston as demand for direct services has grown significantly as a result of a strong regional economy and a fast-growing population.

"We chose the Port of Houston because of their progressive approach to cargo handling, ideal intermodal connections and geography that easily met shipper requirements. Quay and crane configurations allow us to turn a vessel in minimum time," said Tim Marsh, vice president, North American sales, Cosco Container Lines Americas.

The new GME service joins CMA CGM's existing PEX3 service, which has been operating as an all-water service between Asia and Houston for several years.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

APS Technology Group has announced that Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) is implementing its Automated Gate System optical character recognition (OCR) solution at two marine container terminals at the ports of Manzanillo and Veracruz in Mexico.

The solution provided by APS will automate the container identification process at the exit gates of the two terminals with the collection of high-resolution images, in a bid to increase throughput and enable remote equipment inspections.

This marks the first time that APS has entered the Mexican container terminal market. Its Gate OCR solution will be integrated with Hutchison's proprietary host system to enable automatic gate processing functions without human interaction, a joint company statement said.

"We regularly look for and evaluate the latest technologies for our terminal. We selected the APS Gate OCR system as the better solution to help increase our productivity as well as to increase overall safety and security during gate operations," said Alejandro Plascencia, CIO, HPH Americas and Caribbean.

HPH's Internacional de Contenedores Asociados de Veracruz (ICAVE) is located at the Port of Veracruz and handles 80 per cent of Veracruz's container throughput and 19 per cent of all containers handled in Mexico.

Terminal Internacional de Manzanillo (TIMSA) on the west coast of Mexico handles 18 per cent of containerised cargo in the port of Manzanillo.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HAMBURG's Rickmers-Linie, heavy lift and project liner services operator, is expanding into inland China, to be closer to industrial factories that supply nearby end-user building sites, said Rickmers-Linie chief China representative Wolfgang Harms.

"We have appointed additional liaison offices in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, Chongqing and Chengdu, the capital of Szechuan province. These three inland liaison offices will be managed for the time being out Shanghai by general manager Zhao Jin Hai. We are also strengthening our presence in the south Guangdong province with a liaison office in Shenzhen, which will be managed by Sylvia Mak in Hong Kong," he said.

Rickmers-Linie has already had for some years an inland representation in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, bordering on Kazakhstan. This office is managed from the Beijing office by Julie Zhu.

Rickmers-Linie is a specialist in global transport of breakbulk, heavy lift and project cargo by sea. The company belongs to Rickmer Groups, which offers diversified activities in the segments of maritime assets, services and logistics.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CEVA Logistics has signed a five-year contract with Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal, one of the biggest importers and distributors of major tyre brands.

CEVA will be responsible for the management of all Alserkal's outbound logistics and tyre distribution across the region, which will be managed from an 8,000-square-metre facility at CEVA's number four site located in the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

Ahmad Alserkal, managing director of Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal, Bridgestone tyres division, said: "Our strategic aim is to centralise all our logistics functions, so we benefit from streamlined activities, improved operational efficiency and can focus on our core business of tyre trading, as well as building strong relationships with our customers."

John Gould, CEVA's managing director, Middle East, said: "This partnership demonstrates our ability to provide comprehensive and integrated logistics services for the tyre industry," he said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CEVA has signed a three year contract with Italy's Hankook Tire, a global tyre manufacturer to manage, store and distribute from its hub in Somaglia, near Lodi, Italy,

Using its 6,000 square metre facility, CEVA will distribute car, light truck and truck tires across northern Italy and manage a shuttle service to Hankook Tire's main warehouse in Rome which serves the central and southern regions.

CEVA will handle 500,000 pieces across 400 product lines each year, using two incoming and several outgoing vehicles each day to reach dealers and retailers in the north of the country as well as Hankook's site in Rome, reports the UK's Transport Intelligence. CEVA will also manage reverse logistics for Hankook Tire, guaranteeing the highest efficiency and punctuality in the collection of returns.

Said CEVA's southern European chief Fabio Cecchettin: "We are well aware of the challenges that characterise this market and have developed cutting-edge solutions to manage storage, distribution and reverse logistics activities in an impeccable and fast way, which is essential in this sector."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

LUFTHANSA Cargo is adding new flights to its summer schedule, including the commencement of the service to Chongqing.

Starting March 25, Chongqing will be served with four weekly flights operated by the carrier's MD-11 freighters.

Due to the network expansion of Lufthansa's passenger services, the cargo carrier is also serving for the first time Shenyang in northeastern China and Qingdao in Shandong province.

In addition, the summer schedule increases the frequency of flights to Detroit to twice-weekly connections. Services to the US automotive capital commenced initially in January with a weekly flight.

For South America, the cargo carrier is offering twice-weekly MD-11 flights ex Frankfurt to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.

Back in the summer timetable is Kolkata (Calcutta), India, with once-weekly direct flights from Frankfurt. Flights were operated to the Indian metropolis last summer, but were discontinued in recent months, a statement from the carrier said.

"We have selectively extended our route network and brought new and attractive growth markets into the timetable," said Lufthansa board member product and sales Andreas Otto. "We are expanding our presence in China, the world's biggest air freight market, and now laying on freighter connections to a total of six Chinese destinations."

Lufthansa Cargo operates 9,000 flights a week in the summer flight schedules, to serve a total of 51 destinations, including 25 destinations in Asia and eight in North America.

All freighter flights out of Germany will be based in Frankfurt. The flights to North America and Asia, which were relocated to Cologne/Bonn temporarily in the winter timetable, will also depart from Frankfurt. The cargo carrier offers flights to a total of 303 destinations in 99 countries.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ALL Nippon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines (SIA) will increase passenger fuel surcharges in April, according to a statement from the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department.

The new fuel surcharges will be HK$248 (US$31.93) for short-haul flights and HK$1,132 for long-haul flights.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HANJIN Group's Navoi Project to develop Uzbekistan Navoi Airport into an international logistics hub in Central Asia has reached an important milestone with the opening of the residential HJ Navoi Complex.

Korean Air, a core subsidiary of Hanjin Group, held a ceremony to open the complex in an 18,188-square-metre site near Navoi International Airport, to support the development of the Navoi Free Industrial-Economic Zone (FIEZ). With the opening of the complex, the group expects it will be able to create a new logistics market as the logistics volume passing through FIEZ has been increasing. It will also assist the Uzbekistan government in attracting more foreign businesses.

Mr Chang Hoon Chi, president and COO of Korean Air said: "HJ Navoi Complex is the first chapter in Hanjin Group's efforts to develop an advanced logistics complex in the FIEZ area. This facility will not only provide a stable and pleasant residential environment for the regional workers in Navoi but will also contribute in attracting foreign businesses to the Navoi FIEZ area."

Navoi FIEZ is a 5-million-square-metre site created by local government legislation in 2008 and the Uzbekistan government is working to accelerate foreign investment in electricity, electronic, machinery, petro-chemistry and medicine. Companies from 17 countries, including South Korea, China, Oman, Singapore and India, are constructing facilities in the area.

Hanjin Group has been conducting a variety of projects to turn Navoi into a logistics hub for Central Asia since it first began operating cargo flights to Navoi in August 2008, a company statement said.

Since January 2009, the group has been managing Navoi International Airport in conjunction with the Uzbekistan government. In January 2010 Hanjin Transportation co-established the Eurasia Logistics Service with one of the local ground transport companies in Navoi and in August 2010. They built a new Navoi Cargo Terminal designed to handle 100,000 tonnes of cargo a year to strengthen the ground network of Central Asia.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE world's biggest container shipping company, Maersk Line, has stopped all cargo bookings from North Europe to Asia because it says it does not, and will not, have the eastbound slots needed until early May.

That's because, Maersk told shippers in its Weekly Highlight newsletter, of a "large number of consecutive vessel cancellations following Chinese New Year", leaving north European ports short of tonnage to move the cargo east. The Danish shipping giant then told customers to "make alternative arrangements for your cargo."

This has aroused suspicions of Ben Hackett of Hackett Associates, a shipping analyst who produces the Global Port Tracker, who said: "They are using it to bump the freight rates up. I think it is more an unwillingness to carry cargo at certain rates.

"Even if you take out five per cent or 10 per cent capacity, how do you end up with a lack of capacity?" said Mr Hackett, reported American Shipper. "Only about five per cent of capacity has been withdrawn. In theory they are running their Daily Maersk service, so it should not be a problem."

But Maersk said: "Very low westbound demand from Asia after the Chinese New Year prompted several carriers to cancel multiple westbound sailings and, in turn, eastbound sailings. Shippers are disappointed by the capacity shortage. This has reached an unprecedented level necessitating a booking stop to prevent escalation of the backlog."

Maersk also said a stronger eastbound demand has been noted in recent months and has continued to rise despite general rate increases for February, March and April.

Maersk also said terminal density at some north European ports had come close to yard capacity and if bookings were not stopped, congestion would build and cut productivity, further impeding clearance of the backlog.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

APM TERMINALS, the container port operator unit of Denmark's AP Moller group, is to open a container terminal at Port of Rotterdam's Maasvlakte II area and aims to double productivity when operational in November 2014, building begins in June 2012.

The first phase will be able to handle 2.7 million TEU annually through the use of quay cranes and place them on one of 36 lift-automated guided vehicles (Lift AGVs). The 15 metres long and three metres wide Lift AGVs are capable of carrying two containers per move at a speed of 22kph using onboard navigation system to then place them in one or two of the 128 storage racks.

The new lift AGVs built by German unit of Demag Crane, Gottwald Port Technology is powered by low-noise diesel-electric motors with feasibility studies in progress for full electric power.

The ability for AGVs to place in storage racks for the first time supports the terminal's productivity improvements of 25 to 50 per cent compared to conventional terminal designs, said the company's Maasvlakte II managing director Frank Tazelaar of equipment due for delivery first quarter 2013 for testing.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MANZHOULI customs checkpoint, in north China's Inner Mongolia, is expecting to see trade volume reach 28.11 million tonnes by the end of the year, and increase of 5.7 per cent year on year, Xinhua reports.

During the first two months of this year, the checkpoint handled 4.16 million tonnes of imports and exports, up 24.1 per cent year on year.

In 2011, Manzhouli checkpoint recorded a throughput of 26.6 million tonnes. Foreign trade value increased 9.4 per cent to US$3.5 billion. It was named one of the top 10 timber import checkpoints in China last year and resumed import of coal. Its import of mineral powder, timber and export of mineral products and construction material all recorded robust growth of over 20 per cent.

Manzhouli is the largest overland checkpoint in China. It handles 70 per cent of the Sino-Russian trade cargo.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

KNOWN as rival ports, Kenya's Mombasa and Tanzania's Dar es Salaam say they are now working together to improve efficiency and serve the region better, reports Xinhua.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Gichiri Ndua and Tanzania Ports Authority port manager Cassian N'gamilo said the two ports are not competing but complementing each other, sharing information, skills and strategic planning.

The officials are on a two-day on-spot assessment of the operations of the two ports, saying they share a lot of commonalities and interaction that there is no room for competition, said the report.

"The growth in cargo volumes and hence the demand for services at the port of Mombasa has grown progressively and there is need for capacity expansion," Mr Ndua told a team of ministers from EAC Partner States and EAC Secretary General Ambassador Richard Sezibera at Mombasa.

The ministers are appraising existing problems, solutions that have been introduced and ongoing reforms at the ports as well as assessing the real time in clearing goods at the ports.

Reforms have been introduced, including a single widow programme and 24-hour operations, as well as a grace period for shippers to clear cargo without demurrage.

Mr Ndua said Mombasa still faced adequate port capacity to meet increasing demand, inadequate equipment, lack of adequate investments in infrastructure, as well as infrastructure constraints extending beyond KPA to road and rail networks, systems as well as the slow introduction of new technology.

Cargo volumes through Mombasa had increased 25 per cent since 2007 and the port traffic had increased from 10.5 tonnes to 19.9 tonnes last year 2011.

Mr Ndua said Mombasa Container Terminal was developed in 1980s with a capacity of 250,000 TEU but container had increased to 770,804 TEU in 2011.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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