RATINGS agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has downgraded the world's third largest carrier CMA CGM's debt to B- from B+ due to worries about deteriorating liquidity.

The ratings were also put on Credit/Watch Negative. Standard & Poor also reduced its issue ratings on CMA CGM's debt to CCC from B-.

"We believe CMA CGM's liquidity position will be increasingly constrained in the coming quarters if it cannot bolster its liquidity sources through asset disposals or amendments to its debt maturity profile," the rating agency said.

"CMA CGM reported significantly lower operating profits in 2011 than we had anticipated, owing to depressed freight rates and elevated operating costs," it said.

CMA CGM posted a net loss of US$30 million last year compared to a profit of $1.6 billion in 2010. To strengthen its liquidity, the Marseilles-based carrier has discussed with its bankers for the rearrangement of its 2012 and 2013 debts, which is expected to be settled by the end of June.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ASIA-EUROPE spot rates saw the biggest decline of all the major trades last week, slipping 1.7 per cent to US$1,388 per TEU, as rates remained essentially flat for the week.

On the Asia-Mediterranean trade rates were down 0.35 per cent, or $19, to $1,397 per TEU.

Rates from Asia to the United States also saw a marginal dip with east coast rates down just $2 per FEU to $2,914 and west coast rates were down $6 down to $1,753 per FEU.

All trades covered by the index the SCFI rose 0.6 per cent to 1,170.57 points.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DUBAI-based Emirates Shipping Line has announced it will impose a general rate increase (GRI) on Far East-Middle East trade by US$400 per TEU from April 1.

The carrier is registered in Dubai Maritime City of UAE and based in both Dubai and Hong Kong.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DANISH global container giant Maersk is to focus on its African services by improving coverage on its Middle East-Indian Ocean/East Africa services by replacing current services IOI and MESA.

It aims to begin the new Mawingu Express in early April by replacing existing service calls of IOI to Salalah, Port Victoria, Reunion, Port Louis, Toamasina, Salalah and MESA's Durban, Salalah, Jebel Ali, Jawarhalal Nehru Port (JNP), Durban.

Its new Mawingu Express will now offer weekly sailings to introducing Mumbai-JNP, Port Qasim, Salalah, Mombasa, Port Victoria and back to JNP instead.

Its new MISA service will create a loop creating its first direct call to Pakistan to connect the Middle East-Indian Ocean/South African services with an inaugural sailing by Maersk Izmir 3,460 TEU from Jebel Ali on April 7.

The service will deploy four vessels of average capacity 2,200 TEU to 2,500 TEU with the following port rotation: Durban, Port Elizabeth, Port Louis, Jebel Ali, Salalah, Reunion, Port Louis, Toamasina and back to Durban.

Maersk has already increased capacity on its African services following 2011 volume increase of 19 per cent in order to channel investments outside western Europe as it seeks to benefit from more "stable" container rates, said the carrier.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SEASPAN, the Marshall Islands-registered ship owner, with major bases in Hong Kong and Vancouver, has received its fifth of eight 13,100 TEU ship from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and its first delivery in 2012.

The Cosco Excellence is on charter to Cosco Container Lines under a 12-year, fixed-rate time charter, thus expanding the Seaspan operating fleet to 66 vessels. The ship is also the 15th of 18 vessels to be chartered by Seaspan to Cosco.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

JAPAN's largest carrier, MOL, has announced it will start a joint Singapore-Yangon loop with Thailand-based Regional Container Lines (RCL) starting March 17 by RCL's vessel Ora Bhum.

Running twice a week, the SYX string is operated with three vessels with MOL deploying one vessel MOL Acclaim. The rotation is Singapore, Yangon and back to Singapore.

"Yangon, a major market in Myanmar, is positioned for future growth. The SYX route will draw on MOL's own network to offer wide variety of both inbound and outbound service to meet rising demand in this region," said the company statement.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

A US law banning the export of recycled material, typically scrap and electronic waste, is in violation of treaties governing American external trade, according to the Congress Research Service (CRS) which provides Congress with legal and technical advice.

The CRS report said the US cannot unilaterally impose restrictions on electronic exports without risking repercussions in the WTO system, in particular, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

"This is an inconvenient truth for those who think an export ban curbs irresponsible recycling. It confirms what ISRI [Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries], Republican and Democratic trade experts and well as the USTR [US Trade Representative] have been saying," said ISRI president Robin Wiener.

The CRS said e-waste export restrictions, contained in the Responsible Recycling Act (RERA), are hard to reconcile with the WTO's general exceptions to protect human, animal or plant life.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

PANAMA Canal Authority (ACP) has received pre-qualification documentations from three parties, comprising two consortia and one company, bidding to build a 4.6 kilometre bridge on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal that would stand 75 metres above sea level.

The two consortia are Odebrecht and Hyundai Joint Venture (Brazil-Korea), and Acciona Infraestructuras and Tradeco (Spain-Mexico). The sole company bidding for the contract is Vinci Construction Grands Projets of France.

The bridge will be located three kilometres north of Gatun Locks and the new post-Panamax locks on the Atlantic side province of Colon. It will ease crossing the canal. The bridge design is inspired on similar infrastructure work in countries such as Spain, Korea, France, China and Japan. The double-plane, twin pylon, cable-stayed bridge will feature two lanes of traffic in each direction.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ASIA-based freight services organisation, the U-Freight Group (UFL), has strengthened its operations in Hong Kong with the opening of a fourth dedicated, full-service warehouse after an extensive re-fit and modernisation, the company said.

The 3,600 square-metre facility is located in Tsing Yi, leased by UFL, offers around 1,350 pallet positions and is targeted at serving the fast fashion apparel and accessories sectors. The refit, which took two months, has already attracted one new fast fashion customer to UFL, says CEO Simon Wong.

"There is already an excitement within the Hong Kong garment industry about our newly refurbished Tsing Yi. This has translated into a new customer that was attracted by our first-rate facilities and state-of-the-art processes," he said.

The warehouse offers cross-docking, storage and daily delivery to stores within the Special Administrative Region (SAR). Goods arriving in Hong Kong from the US and China via UFL air and ocean freight consolidation services will be handled at the facility.

The facility is available around the clock and offers 12 loading docks. The back office functions are handled in modern offices, while the warehouse has security procedures set in accordance with TAPA standards.

The primary function of the warehouse is to provide cross-docking logistics services and temperature-controlled storage and distribution facilities. With enough racking for the storage of 1,350 pallets, the facility can maintain ambient temperatures between 22 and 24 degrees C and relative humidity between 45 and 70 per cent.

"The outsourcing of logistics functions to specialist companies continues apace. By establishing a fourth dedicated logistics warehouse in Hong Kong, U-Freight is in an enviable position to meet the needs of shippers engaged in transporting goods to and from this important region," he said.

"For customers involved in the fashion sector, this new facility provides a cost effective system for managing the flow of products from receipt of goods, through storage, picking, packing and dispatch," Mr Wong said.

The group's network now extends to multiple warehouses across Hong Kong, each with its own specialised target market, located at Yuen Long, Kwai Chung and Tokwawan.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

LUFTHANSA CARGO has posted net losses of US$17 million in 2011, down from its record profit of $1.5 billion in 2010, due to cost burdens from the valuation and the sale of its UK-based British Midland Airways (BMI).

Despite revenue increase of $37.9 billion to $35 billion its operating profit plunged 18 per cent to $1.1 billion. It met a net profit of $380 million during its first nine months and as yet has not announced its fourth quarter or full-year earnings due on March 15.

The drawn-out sale by British Airways' parent International Airlines Group (IAG) for Lufthansa's BMI, the second-largest airline at London's Heathrow Airport, was agreed in December 2011 at a sale price of $272 million on the back of 56 valuable landing slots.

The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has declined to review deal under competition rules which means the decision will be made by the European Commission.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

AIR FRANCE-KLM posted 5.1 per cent year-on-year decline in February cargo despite a slight decrease in capacity of 0.8 per cent, and a load factor was down four percentage points to 63.7 per cent.

The carrier group experienced deepest losses in revenue-ton-kilometre (RTK) in routes to Americas at 12.5 per cent and a load factor decline of eight per cent year on year, partially offset by a minimal capacity reduction of 1.8 per cent.

Africa/Middle East regions declined by 8.7 per cent year on year on a capacity reduction of four per cent. Europe also dropped by three per cent in RTK against slight capacity increase. Caribbean volume showed an uptick of 4.2 per cent while Indian Ocean traffic increased three per cent.

Passenger growth was led by the Americas with African/Middle East and European networks improving. Traffic was up slightly at 1.1 per cent for the Caribbean/Indian Ocean.

Europe's third largest cargo carrier is relying on a freight boost in its relaunch of a freight service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after exiting the service three years ago.

It hopes the twice-weekly 747F flights route to Atlanta from Paris-Charles de Gaulle will generate volumes when it starts on March 17. It is estimated to impact metro Atlanta and the southeast's economy by US$8 million to $12 million annually, said a company statement.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

LEADING cross-border express services provider, DHL, has launched two direct flights from its Hong Kong hub to Ho Chi Minh City and Chengdu.

The company said its new Hong Kong-Chengdu route will ensure evening pick-up and next-day delivery for shipments to Chengdu and other economic centres in south western China, such as Chongqing, Kunming and Guiyang.

This route is operated in cooperation with Yangtze River Express Ltd, a Chinese all-cargo airline, operating a Boeing 737-300 freighter flying five times per week. High value and formal export shipments, dependent upon customs clearance, are expected to benefit from a previously unavailable same-day uplift service.

An additional direct flight was launched earlier this year, which connects Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City. The introduction of five Boeing 727F flights per week, each with a payload of 22 tonnes, is operated by its joint venture partner airline, Air Hong Kong.

The new direct flight, which replaces the existing flight transiting in Bangkok, shortens the transit time between Vietnam, the US and Europe by two hours. As a result, customers will now have extra time to package their goods before sending them abroad with latest courier pick-up at 2200 hrs for next day delivery.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

DESPITE industry concerns of the negative health effects of pilots being exposed to high levels of radiation over the North Pole owing to a thinning of the ozone layer, Russia's AirBridgeCargo Airlines has operated its first flight over the North Pole en route from Chicago to Krasnoyarsk.

The Boeing 747-400 freighter operating the flight was said to be carrying a very special load - 175 Angus-bred heifers, weighing a total of 104,000 kilogrammes. The animals landed safely at Krasnoyarsk's Emelyanovo Airport from where they were transported to a local breeding farm.

"This type of flight requires a high level of expertise from the crew because it differs from regular flight operations. Transpolar traffic is subject to zero wind conditions and can face satellite navigation system errors, radiation hazards and disrupted radio contact," a company statement said.

"Given these challenges, AirBridgeCargo chose one of its most experienced pilots for the operation, chief pilot Oleg Trotsenko, who has participated in cross-polar flight tests since 1997," said the company.

"For each pilot, opening and deployment of this new air path is a challenge. At AirBridgeCargo we have an experienced team of highly-skilled flight crew capable of undertaking such flights," Captain Trotsenko said.

According to the cargo airline, the commencement of transpolar flights from Russia will boost the "transit potential of our country. This route allows for savings in both time and fuel consumption and we do hope that it will be popular with our customers," said company president Tatyana Arslanova.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of environmental and fisheries science will be able to further their studies with the assistance of a new scholarship research program, launched today.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) will award one travel and study scholarship annually, up to the value of £4000. The scholarship program is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students worldwide.

To qualify for consideration, projects will have as their objective the study of some aspect of environmental improvement, performance or best practice in fisheries management, or fish product supply chain management. This may be direct study of one particular fishery or a comparative study of fisheries problems or management. Direct linkage to a fishery certified or wishing to become certified by the MSC is not a requirement, although this is an additional point of interest for the MSC.  The project must be completed within 12 months of the start date stated on the application form, and the final project report must be submitted within 15 months of the start date.

MSC standards director, David Agnew said: “The new MSC scholarship will complement our existing program of extensive scientific research. We already fund a number of research projects each year to inform our policy development, monitor our performance and measure the environmental impacts of MSC certified fisheries. This scholarship program will fund research of direct interest to the MSC and research that goes beyond the immediate requirements for policy development. We hope to encourage research on a wide range of fisheries topics in both developing and developed countries. Thus its aim is to not only provide recipients with an excellent career opportunity, but to contribute to the wider global research effort on fisheries. ”

The closing date for applications is Monday 23rd April 2012.

Further information, frequently asked questions and the application form can be found at http://www.msc.org/business-support/msc-scholarship-program

Source MSC

COMMERCE Minister Chen Daming has criticised a US bill that would place punitive duties on subsidised goods from China and Vietnam that nullifies a court ruling that forbid the US Commerce Department from imposing countervailing duties on subsidised goods.

Protested the minister: "The US Government has subsidised companies, like the three big automakers, but China did not criticise these moves or start massive countervailing actions," he said.

"We follow the rules of the WTO [World Trade Organisation], but we have no obligation to follow domestic laws or regulations in any country that go beyond international rules," Mr Chen told a news conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress meeting in Beijing, said Reuters.

Beijing will not adjust the yuan's value to help the US solve its trade deficit problem, he said, adding that keeping the yuan from a free market float was not the cause of the trade imbalance. The yuan, he said, is near its fair value.

Mr Chen said China's trade surplus was reduced to 2.1 per cent of GDP in 2011, while the US trade deficit remained at 4.8 per cent and that China's trade surplus was only $150 billion, but its trade surplus with the US was $200 billion.

US President Barack Obama has agreed to sign the bill into law to allow duties to be imposed on subsidised goods from China and Vietnam, which the White House says this will protect American jobs.

The consensus view of a Reuters poll is that China's annual export and import growth enjoyed a sharp rebound in February from a year earlier.

The White House recently announced setting up an Interagency Trade Enforcement Unit to investigate compliance with trade rules, targeting China and Vietnam.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News
 

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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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