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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SOUTH Africa's Competition Commission has fined South African Airways ZAR18.8 million (US$2.35 million) and Singapore Airlines ZAR25.1 million for price-fixing on routes between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

The fine settles another investigation into South African Airways, which was accused of collusion over domestic fares and international freight rates during the 2010 football World Cup, citing a statement from the anti-trust authorities, reported Agence France-Presse.

"SAA has offered its full cooperation to the commission in its ongoing investigations and prosecution of both the matters," the statement said.

"Similarly, Singapore Airlines undertook to do the same with regards to the Far East matter."

No separate ruling was made against South African Airways in the World Cup enquiry, however, the Competition Commission was cited as saying that the fine will settle the matter.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

QANTAS and the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) are to face compulsory arbitration before Fair Work Australia after failing to resolve pay and conditions for around 3,800 baggage handlers, ground staff, catering, freight and other transport employees.

Fair Work Australia will determine a workplace agreement by compulsory arbitration after months of strikes by TWU and other unions costing A$68 million (US$71.5 million) in grounding of Qantas' fleet at a weekly revenue loss of A$15 million.

"This is the first time since enterprise bargaining began almost 20 years ago that Qantas will have a pay dispute resolved by compulsory arbitration," said Qantas Group executive Lyell Strambi in a statement.

Qantas was subjected to rolling strikes, strikes over the school holidays and announcing strikes only to call them off at the last minute and only after disrupting the travel plans of thousands of passengers, Mr Strambi added.

"If Qantas had done nothing and allowed the 'slow-bake' from unions to continue there would have been no end to the industrial dispute, with union leaders including Tony Sheldon threatening to continue strike action for 12 months.

Qantas maintain that it is working to a fair deal for its employees by maintaining competitive salaries and working conditions - and a fair deal to the company to allow for flexibility needed to remain competitive in the global aviation industry.

Mr Strambi said the TWU proposal for pay increases of 10 per cent over two years is not viable - Qantas has offered pay increases of three per cent. TWU demand that Qantas covers employees of the subsidiary operation Qantas Ground Services (QGS) in its new pay deal rather than outsource but Mr Strambi says this would prevent sensible use of contractors and in turn a flexible workforce.

But this would allow Qantas to get "lowest rate of pay, the lowest conditions they can possibly get, which includes poorer training, poorer skills and it means less performance for the travelling public," said TWU federal secretary Tom Sheldon, reported ABC Melbourne radio.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SOUTHWESTERN China's emerging industrial city Chongqing has signed cooperation agreement with six international carriers on launching more cargo and passenger services from the city, Xinhua reports.

On the 2nd China International and Regional Air Routes and Services and Promotional Meeting, AirAsia and Asiana Airlines signed agreements with Chongqing Airport Group and Chongqing Port Administration Office, while Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Hong Kong Airlines and Evergreen International Airlines signed cooperation agreement with Chongqing Logistics Administration Office.

Forty-one air carriers from home and abroad and 33 domestic airport attended the promotional meeting, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, All Nippon Airways, Korean Air, UPS, TNT and FedEx.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

US AIR CARGO security agencies appear to be abandoning the 100 per cent air cargo screening mandated by congress with the introduction of their freight profiling Air Cargo Advance Screening programme, a Miami air freight conference was told.

"Eventually, our goal is across-the-board risk-based analysis of shippers and every shipment entering the United States by air," said US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole.

To do this, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are moving forward with their joint pilot programme, Mr Pistole told AirCargo 2012 delegates.

Mr Pistole said he believes the ability to provide shipment-level data prior to takeoff will help the air freight industry mitigate risk indicating a move towards a reliable-shipper policy rather than the 100 per cent screening approach.

Mr Pistole told delegates he sees a "paradigm shift" in how the US approaches air freight security, thanks to technological improvements and new insights into cargo screening, reported Roswell, Georgia's Air Cargo News.

A three-phased, voluntary initiative, this programme will allow parties to submit electronic data before shipment, thus identifying high-risk freight, according to a TSA statement.

"The more intelligence that we can have on the front end, the better informed judgments we can make as to distinguish between known shippers and shipments by those who are unknown," Mr Pistole told conference attendees. "If we can make decisions on the front end [about a particular parcel], then we can do a better job of working together."

Acting deputy customs commissioner Tom Winkowski described the pilot programme as a "game-changer", admitting customs had downplayed the role of freight forwarders in cargo screening in the past.

Said Mr Winkowski: "The old model's out, and the new model's in. We had better create a roadmap before someone creates it for us."

US Airforwarders Association executive director Brandon Fried said that "analysing shipment data before departure provides an opportunity to pinpoint those shipments that may be the most threatening".

Writing in Air Cargo World earlier, Mr Fried said it was important to keep programme data consistent with the World Customs Organisation's Data Model and urged the federal agencies to invite shippers into future discussions.

"The air forwarders association further urges CBP to recognise that many air freight forwarders deliver efficient and flexible shipping solutions through vast international agent networks," said Mr Fried. "While these agents provide excellent support through their local knowledge and expertise, they may not share the same electronic platforms of their US forwarder customers."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

BP announced today that it has agreed to sell its interests in its southern gas assets (SGA) in the UK North Sea to Perenco UK Ltd for $400 million in cash

As it continues the active management of its business portfolios around the world, focusing on core activities and future growth, BP expects to divest assets with a total value of $38 billion between 2010 and the end of 2013. Including the agreement to sell SGA, the company has now announced divestments with an expected value totalling approximately $23 billion.

Perenco has made an initial payment to BP of $100 million in cash and the remaining $300 million will be paid on completion, which is expected before the end of 2012. A further $10 million may be paid in the future contingent on the prevailing gas prices. Completion of the sale is subject to a number of third party and regulatory approvals. It is expected that impacted BP employees working for SGA will transfer with the asset to Perenco.

Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said: ''We are pleased to have reached this agreement. Perenco is committed to investing in and developing SGA beyond BP's plans, ultimately providing a longer-term future for the assets and the people who work there. The continued safe operation of SGA will continue to be our priority as we support employees through the transition process.''

The divestment of SGA is part of BP's strategy to develop a more focused North Sea business in the UK and Norway. BP has a multi-billion pound investment programme currently underway, with four major field development projects in the UK and a further two in Norway.

Mr Garlick said: ''Together with our partners BP is currently progressing projects in the UK offshore that will involve a total investment of Ā£10 billion over the next five years ā€“ representing the highest level of annual investment BP has ever made into the UK's offshore industry. Actively managing our portfolio allows us to concentrate our people, capabilities and investment on sustaining BP's business in the North Sea for the long term.''

Source BP

This year Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) will be showcasing Hamburg‘s potential  to around 45,000 trade visitors from industry, commerce and the logistics sector in South America by participating again in Intermodal South America in São Paulo. The fair is being held from 10th to 12th April 2012.

HHM will be represented on the German Ports joint stand at the logistics and transport fair together with Brunsbüttel Ports, Buss Port Logistics, Polzug Intermodal, Swan Container Line and TCI International Logistics.

In 2011 Brazil emerged as the Port of Hamburg’s fourth most important trading partner. A total of 302,000 TEU (20-ft standard containers) were transported with Brazil in 2011, representing an increase of 16.6 percent. The outward total to Brazil reached 231,000 TEU. This brought the country on the East coast of South America into the Top Ten among Hamburg’s trading partners in the container traffic that is so crucial for the port. Not surprisingly, therefore, last year also saw the inauguration of a new liner service between Brazil and Hamburg – a joint service run by shipping companies Hanjin from Korea, UASC (United Arab Shipping Company), COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) and CCNI (Compania Chilena de Navegacion Interoceanica).

Among the main goods exchanged as imports and exports between Hamburg and Brazil are machinery and machine tools as well as the corresponding spare parts. Hamburg continues to import vast quantities of meat and fish products from Brazil, along with fruit and vegetables among other cargoes. The main exports from Hamburg to Brazil are automotive parts and basic chemicals.

Apart from showcasing some 450 exhibitors, on two days Intermodal South America offers conferences on “Ports & Intermodal Infra 2012” and “Air Cargo 2012”, which will also feature workshops, presentations and panel discussions. Further details of the fair and the exhibitors will be found in English under .


Nordic Tankers has today entered into a conditional agreement to sell its chemical tanker activities including the organisation for USD 30 million to a company controlled by Triton, a Europeaan investment firm.

The sale is a result of discussions between Nordic Tankers and its banks driven by the high debt position in Nordic Tankers and continuing low freight rates.

Nordic Tankers will in the future be a tonnage provider with a fleet of six product tankers in the range 37,000-73,000 dwt.

A moratorium on deferred and ordinary instalments payable until 31 March 2013 has been agreed for the product tanker fleet subject to certain conditions.

The listed company will change its name from “Nordic Tankers A/S” to “Nordic Shipholding A/S”.

1. Introduction

Nordic Tankers or the “Company” has today entered an agreement on the divestment of its chemical tanker operations to a company controlled by Triton, a European investment firm.

The transaction is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled, amongst other approval at the annual general meeting on 20 April 2012, and applicable competition law approvals. The parties expect the transaction to be completed in May 2012.

The divestment comes as a result of discussions between Nordic Tankers and its banks – Nordea and Danish Ship Finance – and is viewed as the best available solution for Nordic Tankers and its stakeholders considering the high debt position and continuing low freight rates.

The period with very low and non-compensatory freight rates has regrettably lasted much longer than anticipated by most observers. Thus, the development has deviated significantly from expectations when Nordic Tankers was reconstructed January 2010 and capital was raised from existing and new shareholders to implement the Company's strategy: "The Nordic Ambition".

Over the last two years, however, significant improvements have been achieved in line with the strategy. The contract of affreightment portfolio has been expanded, new chemical tanker pools have been established, and time charters have been concluded. Technical and nautical level of operation has been upgraded to the extent that all major oil companies will contract Nordic Tankers. In parallel, the organisation has been fine-tuned to deliver strong performance.

But the financial and economic crisis and the prevailing freight market conditions have eroded the capital base required to further implement the strategy. During 2011, the board and management have therefore continuously worked on identifying sources of new equity to strengthen the capital base and see the Company through the prolonged period of nonsustainable rates. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to determine viable ways to attract equity. Nordic Tankers thus faced a difficult situation.

In this long-lasting process the board, however, identified Triton as a motivated potential buyer with the financial strength and strategic interest in buying the strong cohesive asset – the chemical tanker vessels and the organisation managing it as a whole. The divestment provides Nordic Tankers with time to continue the search for a long term solution based on its product tanker fleet. With the prevailing loss making freight rates a recapitalisation and refinancing is however necessary.

2. The contemplated transaction

The proposed divestiture of the chemical tanker activities will be structured as a sale of all nine owned chemical tanker vessels, the six in-chartered chemical tanker vessels, all contracts of affreightment and the organisation of Nordic Tankers, encompassing commercial and technical management, administration and corporate management – approximately 140 employees. The purchase price has been agreed at USD 30 million, of which two-thirds will be lent to the company to be established, which is to own the nine owned chemical tanker vessels, in order for the buyer to reduce the debt position and ensure cash-break-even in this entity over the coming period of time. The loan, which will be subordinated to the bank debt in the nine vessels, is repayable in 2017, will accumulate rolled-up interest of 7.5% annually, and is subject to certain conditions.

The sale and purchase agreement includes a 3 year non-compete clause restricting Nordic Tankers A/S to invest in and operate in chemical tanker business as well as a customary catalogue of seller’s warranties.

3. The future direction of the listed Company

Following a divestiture of the chemical tanker activities the listed Company will become a tonnage provider in the product tanker segment. The five 37,000 dwt handy-size vessels will remain in commercial management with Maersk, where they participate in the Handytankers Pool, while the technical management of these vessels will remain with TB Marine in Hamburg. The 73,000 dwt LR1 Nordic Anne will remain commercially managed by Hafnia in the Straits Tankers Pool, while its technical management will remain with the organisation of Nordic Tankers being divested.

The board of directors has agreed with the Company’s two banks – Nordea and DSF – that both deferred and ordinary instalments payable on the product tankers will be deferred until 31 March 2013. It has further been agreed that the USD 10 million of the USD 30 million purchase price will be applied towards reduction of debt in the product tankers.

Following a sale the listed entity will thus consist of six product tankers and related bank debt, obligations towards Clipper related to the acquisition of the chemical organisation back in 2010 and a loan received during Q4 2011, and the receivable related to the loan of USD 20 million made in connection with the transaction. The listed Company’s post-transaction equity ratio will be approximately 8.9% comparing to a 7.6% equity ratio at Q4 2011.

Over the coming year, the board and the Company’s banks will cooperate to establish a permanent financial solution including a recapitalisation and refinancing of the Company. The solution may encompass elements such as an equity injection from existing or new investors, a potential merger or a sale of one or more vessels, if doable at agreeable terms.

4. Future management and administration of the listed Company

In order to bring cost in line with its new reduced size the listed Company expects to enter into an agreement with Tankers Inc. regarding future management and administration. Tankers Inc. will take over all tasks related to accounting, stock exchange communication and investor relations, and will simultaneously monitor the external commercial and technical management partners while the overall strategy and responsibility for the commercial direction and bank relations remain with the board. As part of the product tanker industry, Tankers Inc. will be able to advise the board of directors on possibilities relating to chartering out or selling vessels. This setup represents a relatively low cost solution.

5. Name change from “Nordic Tankers” to “Nordic Shipholding”

The name and brand “Nordic Tankers” is included in the sale as the organisation transferred operates globally under this name.

As all commercial activity related to the product tankers remaining in the Company is outsourced to leading professional pool operators (the Maersk Handytankers Pool and the Hafnia/Straits Tankers Pool, respectively), the continuing listed Company does not commercially need the name. The board proposes to change the name of the listed Company “Nordic Tankers A/S” to “Nordic Shipholding A/S”.

Source Nordic Tankers

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