NEW ZEALAND's Ports of Auckland's [PoA] sacking its 300 dockers and contracting private stevedores to replace them has sparked protests from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) which sits on United Nations councils as the global voice of transport labour.

The London-based ITF is a global transport union federation representing labour at the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

"There's huge international support," said Ray Familathe, visiting Los Angeles delegate and vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, reports London's Containerisation International.

"But this has gone beyond reason. Management seems to be on a destructive path here, which just seems to have no common sense about achieving some balance in the collective agreement between management and labour," said Mr Familathe.

Other unions in the New Zealand capital Wellington have refused to handle cargo from a Maersk Line ship that unloaded containers in Auckland last week with replacement non-union dockers.

Many expect a court injunction to force the Maritime Union of New Zealand's [MUNZ] members to work the ship as the strike moves into its fourth week.

Meanwhile, the Ports of Auckland has called in the police to protect staff and visitors to the port from alleged harassment by striking dockers on picket lines.

Ports of Auckland recently signed a deal with two independent stevedoring companies to replace the striking dockers. "These are partnerships that will contribute to innovation and the development of Ports of Auckland as a customer focussed, aspirational port, which delivers for Auckland," said port CEO Tony Gibson, according to New Zealand's Voxy News.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE 3,036-TEU Rena, now a wreck aground on the Astrolabe reef off New Zealand's Port of Tauranga had been taking a shortcut to make the harbour on time, an investigation shows.

New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) released an interim report and said the vessel was equipped with a navigation system with the use of its autopilot, GPS positions and charts, which was sailing "on a direct track for Astrolabe Reef" at 1:50am October 5.

The report said the captain and navigating officer had not followed the designated route several times so as to reach the port before the 3am deadline. It found the Rena's actual course was about two degrees south of the heading on the vessel's gyrocompass.

"At about 0205 (2:05am) the master noticed an intermittent echo on the radar. The echo was about 2.6 nautical miles (4.8 kilometres) dead ahead of the Rena. The master showed the echo on the radar to the watch-keeping able-bodied seaman and they used binoculars to look through the windows of the bridge for the cause of the echo. They could not see anything, so they moved to the bridge wing to look from there. When again nothing could be seen, the master said he decided to plot the Rena's position on the chart, so began to walk through the wheelhouse to the chartroom," the report said.

"At the time of 0214 (2:14am) as the master made his way to the chartroom the Rena struck Astrolabe Reef while travelling at a speed of 17 knots (31.5 kilometres per hour)."

The interim report concludes by saying that the TAIC "is continuing to collate and verify information directly related to the grounding and is also pursuing several lines of inquiry of a wider systemic nature".

The interim report does not contain analysis of why events happened as they did or say what could change to help prevent a recurrence. These matters will be covered in the TAIC's final inquiry report, said a agency's statement.

Last month, both the Filipino captain and navigating officer admitted 10 of the 11 charges relating to mishandling the vessel and altering ship documents after the incident. Sentencing of both men is set on May 25.

Owned by Greece-based Costamare, Liberian-flagged Rena was chartered by Geneva-based MSC.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SEAINTEL Maritime Analysis says the cost of the recent carrier price war from mid-2010 to 2012 was US$11.4 billion, enough to fund 18 space missions.

"Given this cost, it is certainly evident why carriers are now seeking rate increases," said SeaIntel founder Lars Jensen.

"Rate increases on Asia-Europe in March and April will [only] bring rates back to the level before the price war started, however the total increases announced by the TSA on the transpacific trade would raise rates beyond the downturn caused by the price war," he said.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CMA CGM is imposing a general rate increase (GRI) on westbound cargo moving on its Epic service from India to North Europe and the Mediterranean, the French carrier's second GRI in a month and the third this year.

The new increases on dry and reefer shipments, which come into effect on April 2, will be US$150 per TEU and $300 per FEU.

The shipping line said the move is based on its decision to restore freight rates from India to North Europe, the Mediterranean, Baltic, Black Sea and North Africa to a "sustainable" level.

The French shipping group earlier boosted rates on the Epic with a $200 per TEU and a $400 per FEU GRI that took effect on February 1 followed by another hike of the same amount one month later.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

FROM January to February, Shandong province handled a total of 476 million tonnes in road and waterway cargo traffic of 476 million tonnes, an increase of six per cent year on year, Xinhua reports.

Road cargo traffic grew seven per cent to 456 million tonnes, while passenger volume grew five per cent to 435 million persons. Waterway cargo traffic dropped 10 per cent to 20.29 million tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

US IMPORT cargo volume through major ports is expected to increase 10 per cent in March year on year and trend that should continue, according to the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation NRF), which say American retail sales will grow 3.4 per cent to $2.53 trillion this year.

"There are enough signs of improvement that stores are stocking up," said federation vice president Jonathan Gold. "Retailers only import more if they expect to sell more, so optimism is growing."

US ports surveyed handled 1.22 million TEU in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, said Hackett Associates, which prepares the monthly report. That was up 4.4 per cent from December and 1.3 per cent from January 2011.

February, the slowest month of the year, was estimated at 1.05 million TEU, down 4.2 per cent from a year ago, and March is forecast at 1.2 million TEU, up 10 per cent from last year. April is forecast at 1.26 million TEU, up 3.6 per cent; May at 1.28 million TEU, the same as last year; June at 1.3 million TEU, up 4.2 per cent; and July at 1.36 million TEU, up 2.8 per cent.

The total for 2011 was 14.8 million TEU, up 0.4 per cent from 2010's 14.75 million TEU. The first half of 2012 should total 7.32 million TEU, up 2.4 per cent from the same period last year.

"Despite the increases, shipowners have more vessels in service than cargo to fill them and are experimenting with "rate restoration" strategies that could impact retailers and other shippers," said Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett.

"The maritime industry is in a quandary," Mr Hackett said. "As long as this imbalance exists, there will be volatility in the freight rates."

Global Port Tracker covers the US ports of Long Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York, New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah and Houston.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Ministry of Transport has approved a plan to start major repair work at the southern locks of the Three Gorges Dam and No 1 lock at the old Gezhouba Dam, reports Xinhua.

The repair work is scheduled to be completed by 26 March at the Three Gorges and April 30 at Gezhouba. It is estimated that 2,400 vessels will be held up and 5.1 million tonnes of cargo delayed during the period.

While the work is being done, the northern locks of the Three Gorges Dam, which usually allow vessels to pass upstream, will swap directions at intervals to allow two-way traffic. At Gezhouba, the No 2 and No 3 locks will continue operation normally. Priority will be given to vessels carrying livestock, emergency relief materials, containers on shuttle services, ro-ro cargo and long-haul passengers.

This is the first routine repair activity since the old dam was put into operation more than 30 years ago. The repair work will be carried out once every six years from now on according to the plan.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MAERSK'S Asia-Europe shipping lane AE9 has started calling at south eastern China's Fuzhou International Container Terminal (FICT), Xinhua reports.

The AE9 deploys nine ships ranging from 6,250 to 7,250 TEU, offering a weekly capacity of 7,050 TEU, representing about 10 per cent of the total capacity of Maersk's Asia-Europe capacity. The lane calls at FICT every Thursday with a rotation of Ningbo, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Suez Canal, Rotterdam, Bremen, Felixstowe, Zeebrugge, Algeciras, Tangier, Suez Canal and back to Xiamen.

Maersk started calling at FICT in 2008. Last year, it contributed 132,000 TEU to Fuzhou's throughput, up 14 per cent year on year, growing faster than Fuzhou's foreign trade throughput growth of 10.4 per cent. The carrier has become the largest contributor to Fuzhou's box throughput.

Fuzhou port's Jiangyin port area, where FICT is located, handled 754,000 TEU last year, 16.6 per cent more than in 2010.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

A 300-METRE section of the Hanyi High-Speed Railway between Wuhan and Yichang near the Three Gorges Dam, collapsed in heavy rain, reports the Wall Street Journal, adding that this comes after the July train crash near Wenzhou that killed 40 people.

A collapsed section is expected to open in May. Hundreds of construction workers are working to repair the affected section, according state media. The extent of the collapse wasn't immediately clear and there were no reports on any injuries.

Hou Xinyue, a local railway official in Qianjiang, argued that the incident affected 4.3 miles of the rail line, a larger stretch of track than reported by state media. The local rail bureau is said to be still investigating the accident.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

INTRA-ASIA container line MCC Transport, a Maersk unit, has introduced a new mobile website and a smart phone application to enable customers to better track shipments and sailing schedules.

MCC Transport, which operates more than 60 vessels in the 600 to 3,000 TEU range, said the mobile service is available for all major mobile phone systems, while the application can be used on iPhone, iPad and iPod devices and is available for download at Apple's iTunes store.

"We want to offer customers the convenience of accessing up-to-date shipping information like schedules and search and track their shipments anytime, anywhere," said Rupesh Jain, chief commercial officer. "They will find it easier and more efficient to use our e-solutions and get the information they need on the go."

"We offer the convenience of accessing up-to-date shipping information like schedules and search and track their shipments any time, any where. They will find it easier and more efficient to use our e-solutions and get the information they need on the go," said MCC chief commercial officer Rupesh Jain.

"Our aim is to provide positive customer experience and greater ease of business. We are one of the few shipping lines to provide such an innovative technology and believe such e-solutions will better meet the needs of our IT-savvy customers, who frequently need to access such shipping information in a speedy manner, while on the move," Mr Jain added.

MCC Transport is an intra-Asia carrier handling all Maersk container cargo in the region. With market experience of more than 20 years, MCC Transport provides customers with wide-range direct port coverage and a large corridor portfolio in Asia.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DP World is continuing to make strategic investments in its terminalin Jebel Ali that handles cargo destined for the Middle East, India and Africa, said one of its top executives.

Speaking at DP World's sponsored 8th Annual Marine Money Gulf Ship Finance Conference, in Dubai, the company senior vice president and managing director Mohammed Al Muallem, said: "We saw a 12 per cent increase in volume in UAE region last year with a record throughput of 13 million TEU. Because of this growth and because shipping lines are purchasing ever larger vessels, we are adding one million TEU to Terminal 2 and developing a new terminal with capacity of four million TEU. Together they take Jebel Ali's total capacity to 19 million TEU by 2014."

The event attended by scores of top industry leaders, including ship owners and maritime analysts, focused on some of the key areas shaping the container shipping industry in the Gulf, including the offshore support sector, available financial structures, leasing and marine piracy, according to Dubai's Khaleej Times.

Said Mr Al Muallem: "Today we must again quickly take stock of things and adopt business growth strategies in line with the emerging situation. The UAE and Dubai are a springboard for businesses and investors from around the world."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

LOGWIN, Luxembourg's global logistics provider, has posted a 10 per cent drop in operating profit to EUR21.6 million (US$28.4 million) in 2011 drawn on revenues of EUR1.33 billion, which also declined 10 per cent

Its air and ocean sector declined by seven per cent year on year to EUR618.4 million in sales due to sea freight rates creating a challenging second half, despite volumes rising year on year for both sea and air freight.

General cargo volumes grew in both its retail network and the automotive sector with sales of EUR717.0 million.

Although profit has not met expectations Logwin chairman and CEO Berndt-Michael Winter is confident of "moderate growth" in business volumes for the growth markets it has targeted in its air and ocean sector.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

HONG KONG's Orient Overseas Container Line has opened its OOCL Maritime Academy and the International Seaman Training Centre in Zhoushan in Zhejiang province to promote maritime education and to support the role that Chinese seafarers play in the world's maritime transportation and logistics industry.

Jointly established by OOCL and the Zhejiang International Maritime College, both the Academy and Training Centre, located at the college in Zhoushan, aims to greatly contribute to the development of maritime technology, safety, security, and environmental protection as well as open up professional career opportunities for Chinese seafarers to serve in international merchant fleets, the company said.

The training facility uses equipment and installations that simulate situations on board a real container vessel. This helps students to better understand and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare them for the challenging work on board a vessel.

OOCL chief operations officer Andy Tung and Zhejiang International Maritime College president Wang Jie welcomed guests at the opening ceremony, including Han Jie, deputy commissioner of the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang province and Zhu Shi Qiang, vice mayor of Zhoushan.

Said Mr Tung: "The relations of OOCL with Zhoushan and the Zhejiang International Maritime College can be traced back to 1998, when OOCL first helped set up what was then called the Zhoushan Maritime Simulator Centre at the campus, providing professional training for OOCL seafarers as well as for shipping companies from Beijing, Norway and Taiwan.

"We hope that with the establishment of the Academy and the Training Centre, more Chinese maritime professionals will be better equipped to contribute to the industry; as well as to help in the rapid development of the Zhoushan Archipelago New Area, as designated by the China State Council last June, to develop into a leading oceanic economic development area," he added.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

PRIVATE smaller ports in India have been notching up double-digit volume growth whereas the 12 major ports are nowhere near the picture as they struggled to churn out a dismal 0.38 per cent increase, according to the Daily News & Analysis of India.

The divergence in growth rates between private and major public ports continues to be accentuated with every passing quarter and the assessment of the Indian Ports Association (IPA) with public port even suffering negative growth.

According to data available for the past two financial years, four minor ports - Essar Ports, Mundra, Gujarat Pipavav and Karaikal - are way ahead in performance compared with their public sector peers.

The volume at Adani-controlled Mundra Port in Gujarat grew 33 per cent to 16.6 million tonnes in the December quarter from 12.5 million tonnes in April-June 2010.

APM Terminal-controlled Gujarat Pipavav is cruising, too. In the last two years, container volumes have climbed a massive 90 per cent. The total container volumes handled in 2011 was 610,243 TEU, up from 321,400 TEU in 2009.

Volumes for the Tamil-Nadu based Karaikal port have almost doubled. The specifics are not available in the public domain, but insiders revealed that the increase has been a staggering 197 per cent.

The corresponding figures for Essar port are not available, but by all accounts, the private venture looks poised for a solid growth this fiscal. The total volume handled was 39.55 million tonnes last financial year and for April-December 2011, the number came in at around 30.87 million tonnes, the report said.

The major ports pale in comparison. Last fiscal, the growth rate in total volumes at all 12 major ports stood at a measly 1.57 per cent year on year. IPA data showed that the volume growth for April-February 2012 has been negative at -0.74 per cent.

To make things worse, individual performance of two main ports in the country is far from satisfactory. Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the busiest container port in the country, grew 5.82 per cent year on year in volumes last fiscal. For April-February 2012, the rate is much lower at three per cent. Similarly, Kandla port, the country's largest port in terms of volumes handled, has slowed. While for the last financial year, the port reported a three per cent year-on-year growth in volumes.

The bottom line is the momentum seems to lie with the private ports as these have been aggressively ramping up their capacity and improving cargo clearance measures. In contrast, major ports have given a poor account of themselves by failing to step up. Despite the Shipping Ministry drawing up ambitious measures under the 11th Five Year Plan, nothing much has seen the light of day. The ministry had set a target of awarding 23 projects this fiscal, in reality it has managed to award only two, which are the dry bulk terminal project at Kandla and JNPT's fourth container terminal.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

INDIA's low-cost carrier Spicejet is to launch cargo services from Surat in the second week of April, with further approval pending on freight operations to Delhi and Mumbai.

The introduction of cargo operations from Surat, the diamond city, to Dubai has keen support from the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SGCCI) and diamond representatives which met with the airline team on a visit to the city.

"We are planning special passenger-cum-cargo services for textile and diamond industry of the city. Once we finish discussing the modalities with different agencies, they will be started," said Spicejet cargo chief V Raghuraman, reported India's Economic Times.

Said SGCCI president Rohit Mehtav: "Federation of Surat Textiles Traders Association (FOSTTA) officials made their presentation for the cargo services to the cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. Representatives of diamond industry demanded cargo services to Dubai and Antwerp."

FOSTTA, he said, asked for connectivity to 11 different cities of the country from Surat to Kolkata, Patna, Ranchi, Cuttack, Guwahati, Varanasi, Lucknow, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Jammu, Raipur, Bhopal, Indore, Goa, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore and Trivandrum.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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