SWISSPORT International, a provider of ground services for the aviation sector, has announced that it will take over the cargo handling of Korean Air Lines at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from May 1.

Swissport said in a statement that the airline operates three weekly Boeing 747 freighter services to and from Schiphol, in addition to three weekly passenger services that also handle cargo through Schiphol Airport.

John Batten, executive vice president for Global Cargo at Swissport International said: "We are very pleased to begin working with Korean Air Cargo at Schiphol, and this agreement will provide a significant boost to our volumes."

The ground handler said that the airline is the largest in a string of new cargo customers at Amsterdam this year that includes MNG Airlines, FlyBe, South American Airways, Germania, Sky Airlines, Gabon Airlines, Finnair, Stabo Air, Middle East Airlines, Imperial Cargo Airlines and a trucking partnership with Egypt Air Cargo.

It said that another one of its key customers, Jade Cargo International, is also set to return to Amsterdam shortly. The Shenzhen-based B747 freighter operator suspended flights at the end of last year in order to restructure its financial arrangements. According to Swissport, a restructuring agreement has now been reached with fellow Chinese logistics and transport company UniTop Group.

Wouter Brand, managing director of Cargo Services in The Netherlands, added: "It has been a difficult start of the year for Swissport Cargo Services in The Netherlands, and I am therefore very encouraged by the level of new contract wins. It is also very pleasing to see Jade Cargo International returning to Schiphol, and we look forward to resuming our successful handling partnership."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

Fleet management software joins extensive portfolio of marine technology solutions

Kongsberg Maritime, a leading marine technology developer has today (29th March 2012) acquired 100% of the shares in fleet management software specialist Jotron Consultas. A new product group consisting of all previous Jotron Consultas employees and based at Kongsberg Maritime’s premises in Horten, Norway, will be formed as a result of the acquisition.

“Jotron Consultas’ C-Loading software and Fleet Management Software in particular, are both a strategic match for Kongsberg Maritime,” says Morten Hasås, Executive Vice President - Merchant Marine. “These established products expand our ability to provide Full Picture deliveries, where Kongsberg Maritime is capable of developing and installing ship-wide integrated networks covering all major technical systems.”

Jotron Consultas has developed a reputation as one of the leading specialist software providers for the sector. Its products are well-established and are used by many of the world’s leading shipping lines and maritime companies, helping and supporting them to provide and improve overall safety, operational efficiency and transparency in ship management systems.

The Jotron Consultas C-Loading software application fits with Kongsberg Maritime’s K-Gauge cargo control and tank management systems. Kongsberg Maritime will integrate C-Loading into its K-Chief Integrated Automation System and the K-Gauge operating platform resulting in a sophisticated cargo control and monitoring system with a fully integrated load calculator.

The Jotron Consultas Fleet Management software application will add important content to the new Kongsberg Maritime ship@web concept. Ship@web is a creative solution that enables a vessel’s administrative network, or the owner/operator’s on-shore network to display data from an automation system over the internet via a highly customisable web browser application.

The system, which is unique in the market as it requires only minimal hardware and infrastructure to deploy, is designed to enable enhancements in vessel and fuel efficiency, so the integration of Fleet Management software from Jotron Consultas will significantly enhance the value proposition of this sophisticated new remote monitoring system.

“We are pleased that Jotron Consultas has found a new home, which can ensure the correct focus on its excellent products and systems. The Jotron Group will after this divestment be able to concentrate activities on our core business; communication products and systems for sea, land and air,” says Merete Berdal, Chairman of Jotron AS.

Source Kongsberg Maritime

Skytrax, the international airline survey company, has renewed Finnair’s four-star rating on the grounds of the audit report conducted as part of the World Airline Star Rating programme. The rating is based on an impartial and thorough assessment of all the services the airline offers.

“We are delighted about this rating,” says Anssi Komulainen, Senior Vice President, Customer Service. “This is a recognition of all our joint efforts. We have determinedly renewed our customer service and the whole chain of service works better than before. Thanks for this great achievement belongs to our whole personnel.”

Finnair is the only Nordic airline with a four-star Skytrax rating. In 2010 and 2011, airline passengers also voted Finnair the best airline in Northern Europe in the Skytrax World Airline Awards. World Airline Awards™ are the global benchmark of airline excellence.

Source Finnair Plc

Kiel, March 29, 2012: The Port of Kiel opens its 2012 cruise shipping season on Saturday, March 31st. With a firework display to see her off, this year’s first guest, “AIDAcara” will leave the port’s Ostseekai Terminal around 1700 for the Norwegian fiords. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG), said: “we are well prepared and looking forward to the new season, which will, once again, be longer than last year. It won’t be long before cruise ships are sailing in northern Europe the whole year round.” This year’s season will last until mid December and, during it, 26 different cruise ships are registered to call a total of 137 times.  The most frequent guests will be the vessels of shipping companies AIDA, Costa, MSC and TUI Cruises, which, like the ships of many well-known classic German travel companies, regularly call at Kiel to exchange passengers. For the first time three ships in the MSC Crociere fleet – “MSC Magnifica”, “MSC Poesia” and “MSC Lirica” will call at Kiel. During the Kieler Woche between June 16th and 24th eleven cruise ships will visit Kiel fourteen times, along with the “Star Flyer” under full sail. This year no fewer than eight cruise ships will call at Kiel for the first time, among them Cunard’s “Queen Elizabeth” which is expected at the Ostseekai Terminal on July 24th.

Regular maintenance and overhaul work on gangways and operational areas was all completed punctually at the Ostseekai Terminal in time for the start of the new season. One new feature is that the terminal facility is now eco-powered – meaning that its electricity is 100% generated by water. In addition the waste disposal system has been adapted so that ships can now offload paper, plastic and residual waste separately. “This is a step in the right direction”, said Dirk Claus. “We are also working with our partners to provide the ships of the future with shore-based electric power.” As far as service is concerned Kiel has for many years set great store by the best handling quality available for ships and passengers. Efforts like these, made by all the companies involved in ship handling in the Port of Kiel, have just been acknowledged at the world’s biggest trade fair of its kind, Cruise Shipping Miami, with no fewer than three awards from the trade publication “Cruise-Inside”. The magazine voted Kiel the best in the categories “Most efficient Terminal Operation”, “Best customer-oriented Port” and “Most efficient Port Services”. Dirk Claus said “our efforts are winning national as well as international recognition. Kiel’s job now is to expand its capacities by creating a third terminal berth for big cruise ships”.

Berth No. 1 in Kiel’s Ostuferhafen will be extended to do just that, so that next year it will be ready to handle cruise ships of the 300 m category. The terminal facility has 395 m of quayside and has all the amenities required to process cruise ships including a handling building big enough to process passengers and luggage. Still primarily a start and end port for cruises, Kiel is also gaining importance as a port of call for day excursions. “The number of ships calling at Kiel with international passengers on board, will rise steeply this year”, said Dirk Claus. “Our efforts to market tourist destinations in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein are beginning to bear fruit. Among the ships calling at Kiel this year as part of ongoing cruises are, for example, Holland-America Line’s “Eurodam” and “Rotterdam” as well as “Saga Ruby”. New to Kiel is the “Thomson Spirit” while Fred Olsen’s “Black Watch”, although a regular visitor to the port, will call this year for the first time during an Advent cruise. This year’s cruise shipping season in Kiel ends later than in previous years – on December 15th to be exact - when the Phoenix Seereisen cruise ship “Amadea” leaves the Norwegenkai Terminal.

Source Port of Kiel

time:matters, the international expert for highly urgent and complex logistics challenges, strengthens its cooperation with Lufthansa Cargo AG.

As an exclusive partner, time:matters has developed specific processes for Courier.Solutions to provide key service components – such as around-the-clock customized shipment monitoring and proactive shipment-related communication. In addition, a high level of service quality equating to more than 99%, as well as the shortest delivery and processing times, characterize Courier.Solutions.

Franz-Joseph Miller, CEO of time:matters GmbH, is convinced of the cooperation: “We are very proud that the leading company for international air freight has incorporated our services into its range of products. Lufthansa Cargo’s decision to closely cooperate with time:matters demonstrates a high level of confidence in the attractiveness and reliability of our services and reconfirms to us, that we can offer customers with time-critical shipments throughout the world a unique added value – thanks to our highly flexible special solutions.”

Source time:matters GmbH

South Florida residents, international airport and area visitors can recognize and reward sustainable fisheries while enjoying sushi

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced today that South Florida restaurant and catering chain, Sushi Maki, has become MSC Chain of Custody certified and may now advertise that selected menu items meet the MSC global standard for sustainability. Sushi Maki, the first East Coast sushi chain of restaurants in the U.S. to obtain Chain of Custody, plans to immediately serve certified sustainable sea bass and kanikama krab (surimi) in its 16 locations throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties.  

In addition to six full service restaurants, Sushi Maki operates branded “sushi stations” at Whole Foods Markets, Milam’s Markets, The University of Miami, Florida International University, American Airlines Arena, Miami International Airport, and Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.  They also serve several area hotels and food distributors.  Today’s announcement coincides with Sushi Maki opening a 7th location, in the Whole Foods Market, Pembroke Pines.  

Abe Ng, CEO and CSO (Chief Sushi Officer) said, “As restaurateurs, we have a role and responsibility to educate customers about global seafood supplies and enable them to support sustainable fisheries by choosing MSC certified sustainable seafood.  This is the beginning of a journey and reflects our vision, passion and commitment to sustainable sushi for generations to come.”

Kerry Coughlin, MSC Regional Director, Americas, said: “We welcome Sushi Maki into the MSC program. Their participation will enable consumers throughout South Florida to enjoy fresh sushi and contribute to the health of the world’s oceans at the same time.”  

Source MSC

Reserved taxi service for business travellers

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has today launched the Schiphol Business Taxi service, including a green, electric version, the Electric Business Taxi. Schiphol Business Taxi is a luxury taxi service especially designed to help business travellers start or end their journey in business class style. The taxi is a new version of the popular Schiphol Travel Taxi, which has already been in use for many years. Both of these transport products are offered by the joint venture between Schiphol Group and Connexxion.

Passengers can reserve a Schiphol Business Taxi up to four hours ahead of departure and can be transported from anywhere in the Netherlands, apart from the West Frisian Islands. Extra services are offered, such as an escort to and from the gate and check-in assistance to help business travellers book flights and check-in.

Schiphol Electric Business Taxi
The launch of the first Electric Business Taxi means that there now is a green option available to the business market too. The Schiphol Electric Business Taxi is 100% electric and can cover a radius of around 100km. This makes it ideally suited to short distances, such as journeys between Schiphol and central Amsterdam or the Amsterdam Zuidas business district. The 'green' version also offers Wi-Fi connectivity inside as an additional facility. Eventually, Wi-Fi will be rolled out to all Schiphol Business Taxis.

Pieter Verboom, Schiphol Group's Chief Financial Officer, said: "We are extremely proud that our collaboration with Connexxion has enabled us to bring quality and expertise together to create two new taxi products. These products not only meet the needs of our customers but also contribute to our goal of increasing sustainable transport."

"Schiphol Business Taxi is a perfect fit with our objective of providing business travellers the highest levels of comfort and personal service - our core values," said Bram Drexhage, Chief Financial Officer van Connexxion. "Schiphol Electric Business Taxi reflects our corporate social responsibility strategy, which includes minimising the environmental impact of transportation. We are proud that Schiphol Electric Business Taxi has enabled us to do so", commented Bram Drexhage.

Source Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Maersk Line, the world’s largest liner shipping company, has added the Port of Hamburg to the port rotation of its Maersk AE-6 Service. The MATHILDE MAERSK berthed at Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg (CTH) as the first vessel on this liner service to call in Hamburg on 24 March 2012.

Built in 2009, the MATHILDE MAERSK with her length of 367 metres and breadth of 43 metres, and slot capacity of around 9,700 TEU (20-ft standard containers) belongs to the generation of VLCS (Very Large Container Ships). Fully loaded, the vessel’s draught reaches 15 metres. The AE-6 Asia-Europe Service is operated in combination with the TP-6 Transpacific Service, with a total of 14 vessels with slot capacities of between 9,500 and 9,700 TEU.

From Hamburg the route for the voyage is initially towards Asia, then onwards to the US West Coast. In the rotation from Hamburg, calls are made at the following ports: Felixstowe, Le Havre, Suez Canal, Salalah, Tanjung Pelepas, Vung Tau, Nansha, Yantian, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Algeciras, Bremerhaven, and back to Hamburg.

Last year the Port of Hamburg’s total container throughput on the two trade routes East Asia and North America was able to achieve disproportionately strong growth. The services between Hamburg and the United States of America reported the steepest increase with 81.6 percent to 297,000 TEU assuring the USA of an advance from twelfth into sixth place among the Port of Hamburg’s leading foreign trade partners. Asia, with total transport volume of 5.2 million TEU (up by 8.8 percent), once again retained top position among trade routes served by the Port of Hamburg in 2011.

Source Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V.

Harri Sailas, Chairman of the Board of Finnair and Mika Vehviläinen, CEO,  discussed the future of the company in the Annual General Meeting held today. Sailas described the powerful transformation in the aviation industry and briefly discussed the stir caused by the special remunerations granted to key personnel in 2009.

Sailas emphasised how crucial it is that the actual battle for Finnair's existence and future does not get buried under media debate. “The year 2011 showed that aviation industry has irrevocably changed and that Finnair has to solve its profitability issues without any delay if it wants to come out as a winner in this turmoil,” he said. “We started out behinds, and the shift in the industry has been dramatic.”

According to Sailas, Finnair’s financial position must be strong enough to allow the company to invest and participate in the development of the industry where necessary. “Finnair can’t afford to sit on the sidelines while the industry rapidly evolves. We need to change our cost structures,” he continued. “The positive thing in this industry is that air travel is continuing to grow, especially between Europe and Asia, which helps us in this transformation and gives us hope. We intend capitalize on this growth by doubling our Asian traffic and by improving the cost-efficiency of our European traffic.”

Sailas also commented on the company’s recent culture and management development projects. “The recent news coverage can easily bury the positive change going on in Finnair and its culture,” he said.

Sailas also noted that the Board supports management’s determined efforts to drive the change and the renewal of culture that was started two years ago, and aims at even more open communications and transparent co-operation with personnel. “Making Finnair successful requires taking bold steps forward. Our goal is to build a Finnair everybody can be proud of.”

“We intend to come out as winners”

According to Mika Vehviläinen, the recent discussion shows how deeply Finns care for Finnair: “The amount of attention and interest in us has shown how important Finnair and its blue and white wings are to Finns. We are extremely grateful for this emotional bond and the trust our customers have placed in us and we intend to keep working hard to maintain this relationship of trust.”

Vehviläinen also outlined the path to Finnair’s future: “We are clearly on the right path and our plan is progressing well, but we still face difficult decisions. Nevertheless, our objective is clear: We must restore Finnair’s profitability and vitality to allow it to continue to serve our customers, shareholders and personnel well into the future.”

“We have a set of clear objectives that we are striving towards,” Vehviläinen said. “We will be the most desired airline for flights between Europe and Asia, and the number one airline in the Nordic countries. We have an ambitious goal of making Helsinki the most important hub in Northern Europe, through which a significant proportion of traffic is routed. Feeder traffic for Asian routes provides opportunities for effective European connections for Finns.”

Vehviläinen said that in 2011 Finnair has been investing strongly in the development of customer service with excellent results. He thanked the staff for their continuous work for customer satisfaction: “We have been able to continuously improve our customer satisfaction in relation to our competitors and again fared well in the international Skytrax customer satisfaction survey. Our skilled, experienced and committed employees give us a durable advantage.”

Vehviläinen stated that Finnair will continue its determined work to achieve profitable growth. “We have decided to offer our customers the best connections to Europe and Asia, and we have decided to fly through the eye of the storm and come out as winners.”

Source Finnair Plc

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments and other stakeholders in Latin America to unite to give aviation the freedom to succeed by improving aviation safety, making badly needed investments in infrastructure and reducing the heavy tax burden on the industry. “The freedom to succeed depends on having the right conditions in place. Many of those conditions are beyond the control of the airlines—or at least require industry and government to work together with a common vision and purpose,” said IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler.

Tyler urged governments to use aviation as a catalyst for economic growth and development in the region. Aviation supports more than 4.6 million jobs and $107 billion in GDP in the Latin America/Caribbean region. But this could be much more. Americans travel an average of 1.8 times a year. Chile has the region’s highest propensity to travel. But it is still at 0.7 trips per year. “There is great potential to be achieved if we work closely with governments to secure our future,” said Tyler.

Tyler noted that IATA is strongly aligned with the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) to enable aviation to achieve its economic potential. “ALTA is a partner of IATA in this region and we are working in harmony to move aviation forward.”

Tyler identified three areas that are vital to enabling aviation to fulfill its economic potential in the region.

Safety: “The freedom to succeed begins with safety because without it success is not sustainable. Earlier this month, we announced our analysis of the industry’s 2011 safety performance. It was a stellar year—the best in history: 2.8 billion people flew safely on 38 million flights.” However, Tyler noted that the picture in the Latin America/Caribbean region was not as bright. “Although Latin American airlines achieved a 32% improvement in the Western-built jet hull loss rate compared to 2010, the 2011 performance was still 3.5 times worse than the global rate. LATAM traffic is 6% of the global total but it accounted for 27% of jet hull losses. If this does not improve, then the current rate of traffic growth means that in six years, carriers here will experience a major accident every eight weeks. Clearly that is not sustainable.”

“If Latin American aviation is to continue to deliver on its immense promise, safety must be addressed as a community working in partnership with government. And global standards must be at the heart of our joint efforts.” Tyler cited the success of the IATA Operational Safety Audit, which is a condition for membership in both IATA and ALTA, as a means of improving safety. “The accident rate for non-IOSA carriers in LatAm is five times worse than for those airlines that have met the standards. Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama recognize this and have incorporated IOSA into their safety oversight. Peru is expected to follow in 2014. I cannot understand why all Latin American governments don’t do the same. It can only help.”

Following on from IOSA is the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO). It is improving safety and helping reduce the $4 billion annual cost of ground damage. Eleven airports and four safety regulators in the region have given their formal support. Four airlines are part of the audit pool with others expected to join shortly.

Tyler noted the importance of information sharing to identify emerging safety trends and take actions to mitigate risks. “On this, IATA and ALTA are working hand-in-hand, with a landmark agreement enabling all ALTA members to contribute to and benefit from IATA’s Global Safety Information Center (GSIC).”

Security: “A decade after the tragic events of 9.11, we are much more secure but perhaps not equally wiser in the way that we accomplish passenger security. Does the security experience of long lines—which is a particular issue at several large hub airports in Latin America—plus unpacking, disrobing and often intrusive checks, need to be that way?” Tyler cited IATA’s Checkpoint of the Future that will differentiate screening using passenger information that is already being collected for immigration purposes. This will be combined with technology that allows passengers to walk through checkpoints without stopping, disrobing or unpacking.

Tyler cited the need to harmonize passenger data exchange within the region. “As with safety, security needs global standards. Many of the LATAM programs for passenger and cargo data require non-standardized data exchange methods that cannot be supported by airlines. And even if they could, the systems would be inefficient and not in harmony with the rest of the world. IATA is working to educate authorities on the need for change and providing alternatives.”

Infrastructure: Tyler said that aviation’s sustainability is also highly dependent on adequate airport and air traffic management infrastructure. “To be candid, I have big concerns about this region. Infrastructure clearly is deficient in many countries but I do not see a level of urgency among governments to fix it with holistic solutions. Bottlenecks created from neglect and underinvestment could choke future growth.”   

Tyler noted the recent airport privatizations in Brazil are intended to help that country fast track much needed investment in airport infrastructure ahead of the FIFA World Cup and Olympics events. However, the high prices paid by the new airport investors for the concessions are a matter of concern. “The investment must be recouped through efficiency improvements that enable traffic growth, not in higher charges to airlines,” said Tyler.

Tyler also cited the need to open more airspace that is currently restricted to military use and to reduce the heavy fees and user charges imposed on travel and tourism across the region. “At least $4 billion is collected from airlines and their customers. There is very little transparency on what happens to that money. But a best guess is that less than a third stays within the sector.”

“The future is bright for Latin American aviation. Now, governments in the region need to do their part by working with all stakeholders in the areas of safety, security, infrastructure and charges to ensure that the freedom to succeed is not an empty phrase. IATA is a willing and able partner in this effort,” Tyler said.

Source IATA

HONG KONG listed Cosco Pacific, the Cosco group's terminal operating, container making and leasing company, posted a year-on-year 7.6 per cent net profit increase to US$3.88 million in 2011 drawn on a 34.2 revenue increase to $599.15 million.

Profit from the terminal handling business increased 54 per cent to $184.89 million while container leasing brought in 20.9 per cent more profit year on year to $116.5 million, the company announced in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Profit from container manufacturing was up 30.4 per cent to $91.8 million in the same period.

In 2011, throughput at company terminals increased 15.1 per cent year on year reaching 50,695,897 TEU, the company said, adding that the group's acquisition of 10 per cent more equity interest in the Shenzhen Yantian Terminal the year before also increased profit growth.

"In addition, Piraeus Terminal in Greece and Guangzhou South China Oceangate Terminal, which returned to profitability in September 2010 and the first half of 2011 respectively, showed strong performance during the year, boosting the overall profit from the terminal business," said the company.

In container leasing, management and sale businesses, profits of US$116.5 million were recorded in 2011, a 20.9 per cent year-on-year increase. The container fleet stood at 1,777,792 TEU at the end of the year, an 8.9 per cent increase over 2010.

For its unit, China International Marine Containers (CIMC), after the rapid growth of sales in dry cargo containers and persistently high container prices in the first half of 2011, demand for containers slowed in the second half.

Cosco Pacific's profit attributable from CIMC was US$119.7 million, an increase of 30.4 per cent year on year.

"Revenue was primarily derived from the terminal business and container leasing, management and sale businesses. In 2011, total revenue from the terminal business rose 65.3 per cent, which was mainly attributable to the reclassification of Guangzhou South China Oceangate Terminal, resulting in an increase in total terminal revenue in 2011. Throughput of Guangzhou South China Oceangate Terminal was 3,914,348 TEU, recording revenues of $94,889,000 for the year. In addition, throughput of the Piraeus Terminal in Greece rose to 1,188,148 TEU (2010: 684,881 TEU) in 2011, contributing revenues of $101,420,000 (2010: US$83,303,000) to the group during the year," said the company statement.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MITSUI OSK Lines (MOL) is expanding its network coverage on the Asia-South Africa trade lane by joining a service operated by two other carriers on the route, and by adding a new port of call to one of its own services.

The Japanese shipping line said it will participate in the existing Asia and South Africa Service (ASA) operated by "K" Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha) and PIL (Pacific International Lines), starting from April 8.

The ASA service links central and south China, Taiwan, south east Asia and South Africa on a 56-day rotation.

MOL said in a statement that by joining the ASA it will be able to offer a weekly service. It will provide one of the eight ships, the MOL Delight, deployed on the service.

The port rotation for the ASA is Shanghai, Ningbo, Keelung, Hong Kong, Shenzhen-Shekou, Singapore, Port Kelang, Durban, Cape Town, Port Kelang, Singapore, Hong Kong and back to Shanghai.

In a related development, MOL said it will expand the network coverage of its Mozambique Express service (MZX) by adding a fortnightly port of call in Nacala during May and June. Nacala is one of the largest ports in the north of Mozambique.

The revised port rotation for the MZX service is Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Port Louis, Durban, Maputo, Tamatave/Nacala (on an alternative weekly basis), returning to Tanjung Pelepas for a total rotation of 35 days.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

GENEVA-based Mediterranean Shipping Company has received the final in a series of five ships ordered in October 2007 from Korean's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to be deployed on its Asia-Europe Silk Service (FAL 6) along with the MSC Aurora delivered a few weeks ago.

The 13,050-TEU MSC Vandya charter is backed by Hamburg-based shipowner Reederei Claus Peter Offen and is to replace 8,400- to 9,200-TEU ships on this service.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

STRIKE-BOUND Ports of Auckland (PoA) remains determined to lock out the 300 unionised dockers it thought it had fired, but faced with a court ruling that the men had not been legally terminated, the municipal port authority will now pay them until the scheduled April 6 lockout begins.

The Employment Court judge also ordered the PoA not to "encourage or entice" redundant dockers to seek employment with outside contractors, who have already hired more than 50 men to replace the "sacked" union workers.

PoA lawyers announced in the Employment Court that all dockers, who would have worked "guaranteed shifts" under the old contract, would be paid until the lockout of unionised workers begins.

PoA and Maritime Union of New Zealand return to court on Friday to determine the legality of the lockout.

Cracks have appeared in importers' supply chains with one major store announcing shortages. The Warehouse placed ads in local papers, apologising for running out of Lego Friends toys, but the shortage was attributed to "exceptional" sales of the item, and in most cases importers were meeting demand.

Yet the Importers Institute said more shortages would be inevitable if the disruption continued. The New Zealand Retailers Association said most of its members were unaffected by the strike, but distribution centres were running low.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

APM TERMINALS has announced it is bullish on high-growth East African markets and is planning investments in new terminal and inland services for the region, with its sights mainly set on Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

To emphasise that East Africa is a new direction for expansion of the company's global port, terminal and inland services, APM Terminals, a unit of Denmark's AP Moller group, held its annual Africa-Middle East Region's leadership meeting in Mombasa.

"There are great business and growth opportunities in East Africa and this is not new territory for APM Terminals," said Peder Sondergaard, CEO for the Africa-Middle East region, who noted that Logistics Container Centre Mombasa (LCCM), part of APM Terminals' inland services, has been in operation since 1997.

Mr Sondergaard and other senior officials including CEO Kim Fejfer recently visited Kenya and met with Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga and Trade Minister Amos Kimunya for talks, as well as meetings with local business and industry leaders in Mombasa and Nairobi Kenya's capital.

"We are very interested in participating in and contributing to the high-growth potential of the Ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, and are eager for the opportunity to expand our global port and terminal network into East Africa," said Mr Sondergaard.

The company operates nine ports in eight West African countries, and has operations in both Morocco's Tanger-Med port and Egypt's Suez Canal container terminal, as well as an extensive inland network across the continent. However, it does not have any port operations on the continent's east coast.

The terminal operator said talks are underway with the Tanzanian Ministry of Transport and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to operate at the Port of Dar es Salaam, which handled 475,000 TEU in 2011.

"We believe it would only benefit the port and the country to introduce a leading global port operator at Dar es Salaam, which would introduce healthy competition to the benefit of all port users," said APM Terminals' Africa-Middle East regional vice president for business development, Hans-Ole Madsen.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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