THE Westbound Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement (WTSA) has recommended a new round of dry cargo rate increases by US$50 or $100 per FEU for US-Asia routes.

For shipments of dry cargo, the increase will be US$50 per FEU from Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland to Asia. And for all other cargo, the increase will be $100 per FEU for moving via all-water or intermodal service from Pacific northwest ports, from inland US points and from the US east and the Gulf Coast, according to the WTSA statement.

WTSA carriers have also reaffirmed they will fully apply higher bunker fuel surcharges set to take effect on April 1 on top of the adjusted base rates.

Regarding fuel surcharges, WTSA executive director Brian Conrad said its member carriers understand many exporters of raw commodities and semi-finished goods have low margins. But he said carriers must seek a way to reverse losses estimated at more than $5 billion worldwide last year due to slowdown in demand, decline in rates and rise in operating costs, especially the drastic increase of fuel costs.

"Since the beginning of 2012 lines have seen their fuel costs rise steadily, and recently break through the previous record levels set in mid-2008," he said.

"With bunker fuel prices now exceeding $750 per metric ton and bunker accounting for 60 per cent of operating expense on a typical sailing, absorbing any portion of that cost on a sustained basis is not an option."

He added that other challenges confront the carriers include the cargo imbalance favouring eastbound imports from Asia two-to-one, high operating costs in getting empty containers to remote inland loading points, and capacity constraints due to the mix of heavier westbound cargo and empty equipment on a typical sailing.

"All of these factors add to cost and load planning complexity and must be adequately addressed in the rate structure," he said.

But he expressed optimistic views for the outlook: "This is a moment of significant opportunity for US exporters to Asia, and carriers want to ensure that service levels - in terms of schedule reliability, space and equipment availability, accurate and timely documentation, or other requirements - are in place to maximise that opportunity."

WTSA members include APL, Cosco, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), "K" Line, NYK, OOCL and Yang Ming.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CENTRAL China's Sichuan province has invested CNY266.8 billion (US$42.3 billion) of investment in shipping and road transport construction in the past four years, hitting a record high, reports Xinhua.

The province's total expressway mileage has increased to 6,537 kilometres in the last four years, up 250 per cent compared to 2007's rate on construction. The province's first expressway to the north, the Guangyuan to Shaanxi expressway was completed and put into service in May last year, making Chengdu connected to Xian and Beijing and cracking the transport bottleneck to the north.

Currently, eight new outbound expressways were completed and 12 are under construction including these linking Shaanxi, Guizhou, Gansu and Yunnan. The province commenced 42 projects with a increase mileage of 3,887 kilometres in the four years.

The province's Yibin port has started a trial operation, serving 1,000-tonne vessels running in the Yangtze River channel below Yibin. The port handled 8,055 TEU, 370,000 tonnes of bulk cargo and 3,800 tonnes of heavy goods in 2011. It is aiming to reach a container throughput of 30,000 TEU this year.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


LAST year, Hainan province's container throughput and throughput tonnage both exceeded the benchmark level of one million TEU and one million tonnes last year, marking a step closer to the province's aim to become regional shipping centre and logistics hub, Xinhua reports.

Hainan's container throughput took over 20 years to grow from less than 10,000 TEU to 585,200 TEU in 2009, but took only two years to jump to 1.22 million TEU last year. This was stimulated by China's policy of developing the south China island into an international tourism spot issued in 2009.

The province's container shipping services have also increased to a new high of 37. Last year, port of Haikou launched feeder lines to southwest China's Fangcheng, Beihai, northern China's Qingdao and Tianjin. Port of Yangpu launches services to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, South East Asia, Australia, US west coast and Middle East.

By 2015, Hainan plans to merge its two major ports, Haikou and Yangpu, into one port cluster. Each of the two is estimated to have a throughput of over 100 million tonnes. The aggregate throughput of all ports in Hainan will double to 227 million tonnes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


West China's Xinjiang recorded an 11.9 per cent drop year on year in cross-border overland transport volume to 113,400 tonnes in January, reports Xinhua.

The passenger transport volume also fell 77 per cent to 16,200 person trips in the same month.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MORE than 150 containers belonging to Ugandans will be lost as the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) moves to decongest Mombasa Port.

Kampala City Traders Association spokesman Issa Ssekitto said more than 150 containers at the port belong to Ugandans who stand to lose billions of shillings (UGX1 = US$0.0004) when they are auctioned by the port authority to ease congestion, reports the Kampala Daily Monitor.

"Unfortunately, we [the association] cannot do anything right now. We have done everything possible to have these containers saved. We have written letters to all property owners reminding them about the special waiver that was put in place, some responded while others didn't," he added.

Last December the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) announced a waiver on all containers that had stayed at the port for more than six months. The Ports Authority had then sought to decongest the port.

A special waiver on storage some charges on all overstaying containers that expired March 1 was put in place. However, more than 200 containers are still in Mombasa. The KPA have placed bids for auctioneers to dispose of the boxes in the port and at the inland container depots.

According to KPA, overstayed containers are those that have been left at Mombasa port or in the inland container depots for more than 100 days.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Israeli authorities have announced that a new container security procedure will be implemented on boxes booked for Haifa and Ashdod, but unloaded from the vessel at the other port.

According to Israel's Port2Port news site, in the first stage of the new security rule, imported containers considered to be risky by a customs profiling system and unloaded at the port of Haifa, under an Ashdod bill of lading, will be X-ray screened before departing to Ashdod. But imported containers considered to be risky will be moved without screening.

In the final stage, this new procedure will be implemented on containers booked for the ports of Haifa or Ashdod, but in fact unloaded from the vessel at the other port, and moved at the expense of the ocean carrier by rail or truck, prior to customs clearance.

The ocean carrier and/or the customs broker or forwarding agent, has no direct or indirect control over these container security inspections, which will lead to delays and extra expenses, the report said.

The extra costs are due to port fees, loading and unloading truck at the port, transfer costs to X-ray screening area, return the container to the port, warehousing (if applicable) and waiting time at the X-ray screening area (if applicable), which will be charged to the importer upon release of the delivery order.

The ocean carriers intend to roll these higher operating costs onto the importers, as per the tariff table that will be distributed at later stage. These new expenses are expected to impact containers being moved under DDU/ DAP /DDP terms.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Netherlands will supply two top quality container scanners to boost Israeli security and enhance Palestinian trade by ending cumbersome unloading and reloading of open palletised cargo for individual pallet scanning that increased costs and transit times.

The Dutch government said the scanners at the Allenby Bridge could increase the amount of trade flowing through the crossing by up to 33 per cent, something that will "help the Palestinian economy grow", Reuters reports.

Dutch Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Dutch Major General Eitan Dangot, said the scanners would also safeguard Israel's security.

As it stands West Bank exports must be loaded into boxes on pallets, then placed on trucks. The trucks then go to the Allenby Bridge Crossing where each pallet is scanned by a pallet scanner, and then re-loaded onto Jordanian trucks waiting on the other side of the border.

These trucks then drive to the Jordanian Port of Aqaba where the pallets are unloaded again, the boxes of pitchers taken out and then re-packed into containers for export, greatly adding to costs and transit times.

New container scanners will allow product to be loaded in containers at factories, and without further inspection move to the ship, reducing damage, theft and exposure to weather.

Former British prime minister, and a Quartet envoy, Tony Blair, was instrumental in brokering the deal. He said the scanners at the Allenby Bridge could increase Palestinian trade by US$35.5 million a year, which would yield $10.4 million a year to the Palestinian Authority in taxes.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


TAIWAN's Evergreen Line is to resume services to North America to South America in a joint service with NYK, HMM and Hanjin on their USEC-ECSA 'ANS' service following its suspension of services three years ago.

The Atlantic North South Service (ANS) service will deploy six 2,500-2,700-TEU vessels boosting existing capacity by over half with one each provided by Evergreen (unknown capacity), Hanjin (2,553 TEU) and HMM (2,754 TEU). Three of these will be larger units of 2,664 TEU from NYK. Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming will co-load on this service.

ANS operates a port rotation of 42 days as follows: Norfolk; New York; Savannah; Miami; Caucedo, Dominican Republic; Santos, Brazil; Navegantes, Brazil; Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Vitoria, Brazil; Caucedo, Dominican Republic; Norfolk.

Evergreen first entered the North America to South American trade over a decade ago in its stand alone Evergreen Inter America service deploying seven vessels of 1,100 TEU. A year later it ended the service to slot-share with Lykes/Crowley USA-ECSA until January 2009, according to Paris-based Alphaliner.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


SOUTH CAROLINA governor Nikki Haley vetoed a bill that lawmakers had passed to suspend the authority of a South Carolina state agency after it granted a permit last year to dredge the Savannah River.

The permit was approved by the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) board in November, even though the agency's staff had originally rejected the application, the American Shipper reported.

The permit is opposed by environmentalists, and is also controversial because it benefits the terminals in Savannah operated by the Georgia Ports Authority which is in strong competition with the South Carolina State Ports Authority's facilities in Charleston.

Governor Haley said in her veto message that the joint resolution, which was unanimously approved by both South Carolina's House and Senate, "amounts to unconstitutional legislative overreaching into an agency's ruling" and "reflects a fundamental misunderstanding about the administrative process."

At issue is a water quality permit that DHEC approved last year, which is also being challenged in court. In December, the Environmental Law Centre claimed the 38-mile deepening project would deplete the Savannah River's dissolved oxygen needed by shortnose sturgeon and devastate hundreds of acres of swamp.

Meanwhile, it's been reported that the governor has asked President Barack Obama to find more money to deepen Charleston and other Atlantic ports so the state can accommodate larger ships expected in greater numbers after the Panama Canal is widened in 2014.

"If we don't get our ports actually deep enough to be able to accept those big ships, we are going to have a wasted opportunity and watch the Caribbean be the ones to benefit," she said.

Governor Haley also called for faster approval of deepening projects by the Army Corps of Engineers and for use of money from the Harbour Maintenance Trust Fund for deepening projects.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE Guangxi Civil Aviation Development Co, a unit of Guangxi Airport Management Group, operating freight forwarding and ground services business at all airports in Guangxi, handled 10,500 million tonnes of air cargo during the Chinese New Year traffic peak period from early January to mid February, an increase of 11 per cent year on year.

The company recorded an aircraft movement of 20,200 flights during this period, up 10.7 per cent. It also handled over 9,000 tonnes of luggage, up 12 per cent, Xinhua reports.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

THE federal US government is proposing new legislation that would require pilots to clock up six times more flight training hours to qualify as a co-pilot on a commercial airline or cargo freighter.

Subject to approval, the Federal Aviation Administration regulation would force pilots to receive 1,500 hours of flying time compared to the current rule of 250 hours to become a first officer. Furthermore, the authorities are also demanding new training programmes for specific aircraft.

"Our pilots need to have the right training and the right qualifications so they can be prepared to handle any situation they encounter in the cockpit," FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta was quoted as saying in a Reuter's report.

The tabling of the new bill follows in the wake of a 2009 crash of a commuter plane in Buffalo that killed 50 people, in which investigators determined that the crews failure to address a problem when preparing to land was to blame for the tragedy.

The report said the new regulation is targeted at mainly pilots who fly commuter or smaller feeder planes.

The FAA proposal is subject to a 60-day comment period.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

MIDAMERICA St Louis Airport has been granted approval from the St Clair County Board to issue US$550 million in "conduit" revenue bonds, to realise the goal of developing the airport into a hub for regular air cargo flights to mainland China.

The bond was issue on behalf Strategic Air Cargo Inc, a report by Belleville, News-Democrat said.

It said the $550 million bond issue for MidAmerica will pay for a new air cargo fleet, without providing further details.

Terry Beach, the county economic development director, was quoted as saying that the vote to authorise the sale of the initial $60 million in bonds "is just the initial step to try to move the project forwards."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


FEDEX Express is setting its sights on expanding in India's pharmaceuticals sector, according to Richard Smith, managing director of the company's Life Sciences and Specialty Services division.

To facilitate the company's goal of supporting India's export trade, Mr Smith says, "The government has got to make it easier to do business from a regulatory and tax standpoint."

According to Mr Smith, "India is an extremely important market for FedEx, and we believe it is the place to be in," he was quoted as saying in a report by India's Business Today.

"We are bullish on India not just as an export market but also as a consumption market. India is already a huge export market and we are hoping to see the import and intra-India business starting to grow soon. We believe that there are opportunities in several key sectors such as e-commerce, pharmaceuticals and health care as well as gems and jewellery, which we think can propel the growth of the express logistics industry in India," he said.

"Right now there is a trade imbalance with India and China. We would like our purple-tail flights to go back and forth very, very full."

He added: "We can connect manufacturing hubs, which have shifted to emerging markets like India and Eastern Europe, to any part of the world in one or two business days. This is a huge advantage for pharma because pharma is perishable, high value, and is often shipped in large quantities."

"We continue to add more points in India and around the world, especially as we take possession of our new Boeing 777s, which can fly farther, with bigger payloads. Last year, we acquired AFL, adding significant logistics and warehousing capabilities. We will gear that towards healthcare and high-tech, both high-value industries that are a good fit for express transportation. We are also offering targeted services that health care customers need. This includes prevention of theft, which is possible if we have custodial control. It also allows us to do things like protect temperature, useful in climates like India's."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News


At today’s meeting, the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel International AG has appointed Stefan Paul as new member of the Management Board. The exact starting date will be announced in due time.

Stefan Paul (43) will be responsible for the business unit Road Logistics. He successfully worked for Kuehne + Nagel in various management positions from 1990 to 1997. Stefan Paul can draw on profound expertise and management know-how in the road logistics sector. Currently, he is responsible for a competitor’s German overland business.

Karl Gernandt, Chairman of Kuehne + Nagel International: “I am very pleased to welcome Mr. Paul back to Kuehne + Nagel as a new member of our Management Board. The overland business is of high importance for the further strategic development of our company. Mr. Paul is a very experienced and successful manager, we count on his valuable contributions.”

Until the start of Stefan Paul, CEO Reinhard Lange will head the business unit Road Logistics.


Source Kuehne + Nagel

Discussions at the 2nd IRU/EU Road Transport Conference today brought about a common approach and concrete solutions to further greening road transport. Participants also agreed that road transport can and must contribute to driving economic growth in the EU. To this end, it was agreed to set up a High Level Group to determine the appropriate actions to effectively double collective passenger transport by bus and coach.

The 2nd IRU/EU Road Transport Conference on “Efficient solutions for making road transport greener” held today in Brussels, brought together some 400 political, transport and trade leaders from all 27 EU Member States. The conference, jointly organised by the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the International Road Transport Union, focused on the main challenges facing the road transport industry, and in particular how to effectively reduce even further, through coordinated action at political and industry level, the environmental footprint of road transport activities, while allowing road transport to drive the EU growth agenda.

Keynote speakers included the Danish Transport Minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen, the Head of Cabinet, Henrik Hololei as representative of the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for transport, Siim Kallas, the IRU President, Janusz Lacny and DG MOVE Director General, Matthias Ruete, among others.

Conference participants agreed that cooperation will have to be strengthened in order to achieve rapid and sustainable growth in the EU, as well as ensure an even more efficient and greener road transport sector, notably through the increased use of all trade facilitation instruments, measures and technical innovations that can support the objectives outlined during the conference.  

The first steps towards achieving the EU growth agenda and further greening road transport were taken within the framework of this conference, as the conference organisers, speakers and panellists agreed to:

-       focus on amending weights and dimensions rules to allow aerodynamic and road safety improvements for vehicle and equipment, and to promote connections between modes;

-       to establish a strategic Public-Private Partnership, involving all relevant European Institutions and road passenger transport industry’s representatives, with the aim to set an action plan within the next 12 months that should lead to doubling the use of collective passenger transport by bus and coach in the next decade.

The Vice President of the European Commission Mr. Kallas highlighted: "Today's event clearly demonstrated that greening road transport and contributing to economic growth are not two incompatible objectives. Quite the contrary: during our discussions, we identified a number of options to make the sector more efficient and to support growth. These include further integration of the internal market, reducing congestion, support to innovation and provision of quality infrastructure, four fields where the Commission has been and will remain very active. The renewed emphasis on road passenger transport will also facilitate economic exchanges. Finally, this event has shown that the Commission and other policy-makers can rely on a constructive cooperation with the industry to reach these objectives, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with the IRU in the future."

Welcoming the reinforced public-private partnership between the road transport industry represented by the IRU and the European Union, both at the level of Member States and the EU institutions, IRU President, Janusz Lacny,  noted: “It should be remembered that commercial road transport is the only transport mode which provides door-to-door service and complements all other modes. I thus call upon all decision makers and relevant industries to cooperate to support the EU growth agenda by applying, without delay, all the available trade and road transport facilitation instruments in the EU, as well as implementing the decisions agreed upon during this conference. In fact, it is the IRU’s firm belief – and I am sure this is a shared belief – that any EU growth objective cannot be successful without including the facilitation of an efficient transport system, where commercial road transport today is and will remain a key driver of economic development.”

Source International Road Transport Union (IRU)
 

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