THE low volume of goods to China from Bangladesh has resulted in the country's exporters losing out on a direct shipping service to China with the suspension first such link five months after it started.

"The ships which were coming from China directly to Bangladesh were going back with almost empty containers," said Rafiqul Islam, Bangladesh country representative of Singapore-based Pacific International Lines (PIL).

Each 1,200- to 1,500-TEU ship carried 400 - 500 TEU from China, only move 100 TEU on the backhaul, he said, adding that even a reduction in container rent from US$1,000 to $600 failed to boost business.

The service loss is also a blow to the Bangladeshi government, keen to boost exports to rein in a trade deficit that widened more than 25 per cent in the five months to November compared with a year earlier.

The direct link meant goods took between 12 and 15 days, saving nearly a week compared with other routes, which stopover in Singapore, reports Hong Kong's Asia Times. The blow to Bangladeshi exporters comes at a time when shipping companies are raising rates as fuel prices rise after incurring losses last year as international global trade growth slowed just when a large number of new vessels were coming into service.

"This is happening due to the global economic situation," said an official of one Singapore-based shipping company. "The demand for goods in the US and in Europe has reduced a lot and this is leading to severe losses for shippers, who are coming up with effective solutions to cut losses."

"During March, we will continue to carry cargo between Bangladesh and China through transhipment via Singapore. Three ships will carry containers from China to Singapore and then they will be brought to Chittagong port through a feeder service. This will take maximum 15 days, compared with 12 days with the direct route," said Mr Islam.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has received approval from the Indian shipping ministry to spend for INR15 billion (US$305 million) to widen the Mumbai Harbour Channel and terminal channel to accommodate bigger ships.

The widening of channels and dredging to 14 metres from today's 10 metres will allow the port to handle 6,000-TEU ships. The work will be completed within 25 months and is hoped to kick-start employment on the west coast of the subcontinent.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

UNION Pacific Railroad chairman and and CEO James Young will take medical leave after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He remains chairman of the board.

John Koraleski, executive vice president for marketing and sales, will serve as acting president and CEO during Mr Young's absence, said a company statement.

Steven Rogel, the company's lead independent director, said: "The board has a great deal of confidence in Jack, Rob Knight our CFO, Lance Fritz our head of operations, and the entire management team."

Omaha-based Union Pacific operates rail routes from all major US west coast and Gulf coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ASIA Pacific Maritime (APM) 2012 will take place at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore as a three-day event to bring together world maritime leaders to discuss the outlook of the maritime industry globally and in Asia.

Industry hotspots such as offshore marine, bunkering, green shipping as well as a growing Asia will be the event's focus this year with the conference also covering ship finance, ballast water treatment and safety.

Maritime players will be able to gain insights on coping with what many forecast as an even tougher year ahead from people like Class NK chairman Noboru Ueda, also vice-chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies Ltd (IACS) Council.

International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) director Simon Bennett will co-host the APM keynote session themed Asian Shipping: Coping with Turbulent Waters.

Welcoming more than 1,300 leading international maritime companies from 53 countries and an expected 13,000 Asian visitors, APM 2012 will also showcase the latest innovation in marine engineering and port technology by leading maritime technology suppliers, equipment manufacturers and shipping company service providers offering technical and operational measures to cope with the current downturn.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

OWING to a printing error, the timing of the Asia-West Africa Trade Agreement (AWATA) notice for a General Rate Increase (GRI) was said to apply on an incorrect date. The correct date is April 1, 2012.

On that date, April 1, 2012, there will be a GRI of US$250 per TEU on all westbound cargo between the Far East and West Africa. We apologise for any inconvenience AWATA members and their customers may have had resulting from our error published on February 29.

AWATA members are China Shipping Container Line, CMA CGM, Delmas, Gold Star Line, Maersk Line, Mitsui OSK Line, MSC, NileDutch, Pacific International Lines and Safmarine.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

TAIWAN-based Evergreen Line plans to join a service between the US east coast and South America currently operated by NYK, Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine, starting from March.

The carrier is making a return to the service after pulling out of a space sharing agreement on the same trade lane with Hamburg Sud in 2008 during the sharp downturn in shipping.

The shipping company continued its service between Asia and the east coast of South America during the downturn, reported American Shipper, so its re-entry will allow Evergreen to serve shippers on that route that also need to move cargo between South America and the US, said vice president Dominic Obrigkeit.

Evergreen will contribute one ship to the Atlantic North South service, as will Hanjin and Hyundai and NYK will contribute three. The six ships have capacity of about 2,100 TEU each and operate in the following rotation: Norfolk, New York, Savannah, Miami and Caucedo in the Dominican Republic, and then four ports in Brazil, namely, Santos, Navegantes, Rio De Janeiro and Vitoria before returning north to Caucedo and Norfolk.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

CHINA Southern Airlines launched two ad-hoc cargo flights from Shanghai to Sydney in late February to try out the Shanghai-Australia cargo market, Xinhua reports.

In view of rapid growth of capacity on the Guangzhou-Australia line, China Southern has conducted an in-depth research on the Shanghai-Australia line potential before launching the two flights as preparation of breaking into the market.

At present, 90 per cent of the cargo bound for Sydney from Shanghai choose Sydney as their destination. Other destinations include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

ROYAL Jordanian Cargo is preparing to levy a surcharge from March 1 on customers to offset a carbon tax proposed by the European Union. However, the new EU fee is not expected to be introduced for another year.

According to India's Economic Times, there are concerns that the airline's plan may be adopted by the nation's air freight industry. Royal Jordanian currently operates in India mainly through Mumbai and Delhi.

However, such fears have been dismissed by Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, saying, "Royal Jordanian does not have a significant presence in India. These are some isolated cases. And the fight is no longer an airline-versus-EU fight. It is countries versus the EU."

The move also comes in the wake of protests from governments in India, the US, China and Brazil over Europe's "insistence on making airlines flying to most of the continent pay for the carbon they emit," the report said.

"We have sent a communication saying that EU tax applies only from next year and why you are jumping into it now. They have not replied yet," said Asad Cassim, secretary general of the Air Cargo Agents Association of India. "According to one of the scenarios, others might follow suit. This will add to our cargo charges in an already slowing operating environment."

According to the report, the airline is proposing to implement a carbon surcharge of INR2.40 per kg from March 1, which would be a first in India.

Under the EU plan, airlines would be offered allowances to cover 85 per cent of their emissions. The calculations of carbon emissions are to start from January 2012. But the actual tax is to be implemented in 2013. Airlines that do not comply could face fines of US$130 for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for which they haven't surrendered the allowances. Persistent offenders could also face bans, the report added.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

SINGAPORE'S Changi Airport Group (CAG) will close it's Budget Terminal for demolition on September 25, 2012 to make way for the construction of a larger passenger building, Terminal 4, to cater for continued growth at the airport.

To facilitate the construction of Terminal 4, airlines operating in the Budget Terminal will transfer to Terminal 2 from 6am September 25. Affected airlines are Berjaya Air, Cebu Pacific, Firefly, South East Asian Airlines and Tiger Airways.

The new terminal, to be known as Terminal 4, will have a capacity of 16 million passengers a year with a design to enhance quick turnaround of passengers from aircraft without the use of aerobridges. Construction of the terminal will begin in 2013 and to be operational by 2017.

CAG has had discussions with the airlines operating at the Budget Terminal since late last year regarding the terminal's closure. It will work with the respective airlines to ensure a smooth transition of their operations, and will endeavour to minimise inconvenience to passengers as far as possible.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

More than 250 delegates attend cargo airline’s fifth Security Conference

At its fifth Security Conference, Lufthansa Cargo called for swifter implementation of the certified shipper approval process in Germany. Addressing more than 250 delegates from the logistics industry in Frankfurt, Dr. Karl-Rudolf Rupprecht, Lufthansa Cargo Executive Board Member Operations, said, “The fact is that today, with only 13 months to go until EU Directive 185 goes into force, fewer than one per cent of shippers in Germany have been accredited. This shows that there is an enormous need for action. All the partners in the logistics sector must take steps to significantly speed up the approval process.” Lufthansa Cargo was nonetheless making thorough preparations for the time after April 2013, Dr. Rupprecht added, so as to be able to continue to offer its customers seamless security processes.

Speakers at the Lufthansa Cargo Security Conference – besides the airline’s representatives – included representatives of political parties, the logistics industry, the shipping industry and manufacturers of security technology. In addition to the former Minister of the Interior, Gerhart Baum, representatives of the German Aviation Office (LBA) and the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had accepted Lufthansa Cargo’s invitation to attend the conference.

One of the main topics under discussion was the as yet inadequate level of harmonisation of international security standards. Mutual recognition of EU directives and US regulations, particularly as regards transatlantic traffic, was long overdue, Lufthansa Cargo Board Member Dr. Rupprecht said. “It is neither comprehensible nor acceptable,” he added, “that the US authorities recognise security measures for air cargo from France or Switzerland, say, but do not recognise the virtually identical measures that apply in Germany. This results in additional checks on all departures from Germany to the USA.” Insufficient harmonisation was thus creating inefficiencies, lengthy processes and high costs, and did not result in any security gains, Dr. Rupprecht stressed. “In the past few years, Lufthansa Cargo’s security costs have increased more than tenfold. And that trend looks set to continue.”

However, the airline manager also pointed out that, in spite of the scope for improvement as regards processes and harmonisation, security levels in the industry were recognised as being high, and the measures in place ensured a high degree of security for airfreight traffic. “For Lufthansa Cargo the rule will continue to apply that security is not negotiable. For that reason, we will continue to work very closely with the authorities and all those involved in the air cargo industry in order to develop meaningful security measures,” he explained.

Harald Zielinski, Head of Security & Environmental Management at Lufthansa Cargo, stressed that the airline’s Security Conference had a key role to play in this process. “Dialogue between politicians, the authorities and the logistics companies is crucial if we want to further improve security regulations and at the same time ensure smooth implementation as well as competitive processes and costs. With our fifth Security Conference, we have once again brought together top representatives from all the areas involved.”

Source Lufthansa Cargo AG

MAN Truck & Bus the market leader again among European manufacturers in fiscal year 2011

For the second time in a row, MAN has emerged the number one among European manufacturers of commercial vehicles in Russia. With sales of over 7,600 trucks and 220 buses, MAN reached pre-crisis order volumes again in fiscal year 2011. Its market share for trucks of more than 12 tons was 26 percent in 2011 in the European brand segment.

"Efficient transportation solutions, reliable vehicles, and the satisfaction of our customers are the three pillars of our strategy," said Lars Himmer, Head of the MAN CIS Sales Region and Director of MAN Truck & Bus RUS. "Last year we saw clear signs of recovery on the Russian market. Our range of products places us in the vanguard of the growing trend toward efficient and ecologically sound vehicle concepts and will enable us to continue strengthening our position there," emphasized Himmer.

As recently as the end of 2011, MAN was able to conclude two major orders in Russia. 2,188 engines ordered by the company LIAZ have already been delivered. They will mainly be used to equip city buses in Moscow as well as in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. The order for 50 MAN city buses from the city of Vladivostok shows that MAN's reputation in Russia is growing.

Russia is an important sales market in MAN's international growth strategy. In order to consolidate itself further still on the Russian market as a successful manufacturer of efficient commercial vehicles, MAN is investing around €25 million in setting up its own production facility in St. Petersburg.

The middle of 2012 will see MAN start production of heavy TGS WW trucks with Euro 4 engines. In the medium term, the St. Petersburg site is set to reach a production capacity of around 6,000 vehicles a year.  

Source MAN Group

Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has appointed a new Regional Operations Manager for Asia Pacific. Brendon Hawley will be based in Jakarta, Indonesia and will be responsible for all operations throughout Indonesia reporting to General Manager Cato Nordskog.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Hawley said: “I am very much looking forward to becoming part of the Wilhelmsen Ships Service team within Asia Pacific and am excited about the challenges ahead. The region is one of growth and I am starting my role at a key time as we roll out new and improved work practices and expand our presence with the opening of additional branch offices in Indonesia”.

Born in Durban and educated in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa, Hawley began his seafaring career in 1971 with UK-based shipowner T & J Harrison Lines, before joining Safmarine Corp & Unicorn Lines during which period he obtained his Masters License, serving on a range of vessel types, before becoming a Master on General Cargo Vessels.

After coming ashore in 1986, he took up a position as P&I Surveyor in the Port of Richards Bay and went on to become a Director of P&I Associates (South Africa). In 1993, Hawley joined Gearbulk Shipping South Africa where he stayed for 18 years in various positions including a secondment to Quebec City, Jakarta & Port Sudan. Most recently, Hawley was Head of Operations Asia.

Cato Nordskog, GM WSS Indonesia said: “We are delighted to welcome Brendon to the team and look forward to seeing how he brings his vast experience of the owners and charterers segment to his role in Asia Pacific”.

Source Wilhelmsen Ships Service

Following a slight downturn in 2010, volumes in container handling between the Port of Hamburg and Poland recovered notably in 2011. Feedership container traffic with Poland, for instance, grew by 33.3 percent to 238,000 TEU (20-feet standard containers) and with Eastern Europe as a whole by 38.7 percent to 1,07 million TEU. So it comes as no surprise that feeder connections between Hamburg and the Polish ports were further expanded during 2011. Altogether five new feeder services commenced operation between Hamburg and Baltic ports in 2011.

The Polish ports of Gdańsk, Gdynia, Świnoujście and Szczecin are served from Hamburg by eleven feeder services with a total of 20 sailings per week. In addition, Hamburg with its well-developed rail connections and its dense autobahn network fulfills an essential hub function for traffic with its East Europe hinterland. For instance, provisional estimates by Port of Hamburg Marketing indicated that between Hamburg and Poland a comparable transport volume to 2010 of approximately 240,000 TEU was reached on truck and rail container traffic. A precise calculation of the 2011 figures is not yet available.

For the Port of Hamburg and its marketing organization Port of Hamburg Marketing, this very positive throughput trend is reason enough to participate in the Intermodal Conference being held as part of Transport Week in Gdańsk from 6 – 8 March. Claudia Roller, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, will be attending this conference and delivering a presentation on the topic “The European market seen from the North Sea hub port Hamburg”.

Transport Week is designed for experts from port, shipping and transport companies as well as institutions and trade associations. Approaches are also made to the financial sector and universities. The conference aims to broaden knowledge of the transport market for those present, and to bring together international experts from different sectors of the shipping and transport industry. With lectures, discussions and a gala dinner, the three days of the conference offer participants a very varied program. The keynote themes of Transport Week will be considered during the Port Strategy & Investment Conference, the Baltic Container Conference, and the Intermodal Conference. Additional details can be downloaded from

Source Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V.

Estimated $7.8B settlement expected to be paid from $20 billion Trust

BP has reached a settlement with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC), subject to final written agreement, to resolve the substantial majority of legitimate economic loss and medical claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill. The PSC acts on behalf of individual and business plaintiffs in the Multi-District Litigation proceedings pending in New Orleans (MDL 2179).

"From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years,” said Bob Dudley, BP Group CEO. "The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."

BP estimates that the cost of the proposed settlement, expected to be paid from the $20 billion Trust, would be approximately $7.8 billion. This includes a BP commitment of $2.3 billion to help resolve economic loss claims related to the Gulf seafood industry.

Prior to the proposed settlement, BP had spent more than $22 billion toward meeting its commitments in the Gulf. BP has paid out more than $8.1 billion to individuals, businesses and government entities. In addition, BP has spent approximately $14 billion on operational response.
This proposed settlement is not expected to result in any increase in the $37.2 billion charge (which included the $20 billion charge taken in respect of the Trust) previously recorded in BP’s financial statements. BP’s current expectation is that the provision for litigation and claims, which includes the claims covered by this proposed settlement, will increase by approximately $2.1 billion with no net impact to either the income or cash flow statements, because this is a settlement that is expected to be payable from the Trust. The amount that can be further provided with no net impact to the income statement therefore is expected to be reduced from approximately $5.5 billion to approximately $3.4 billion. While BP has sought to reliably estimate the cost of this proposed settlement, it is possible that the actual cost could be higher or lower than this estimate depending on the outcomes of the court-supervised claims processes. In accordance with its normal procedures, BP will re-evaluate the assumptions underlying this estimate on a quarterly basis as more information, including the outcomes of the court-supervised claims processes, becomes available.

The Trust was established to satisfy not only legitimate individual and business claims but also a number of other costs related to the accident and oil spill. Other costs to be paid from the Trust include state and local government claims, state and local response costs, natural resource damages and related claims, and final judgments and settlements. It is not possible at this time to determine whether the $20 billion Trust will be sufficient to satisfy all of these claims as well as those under the proposed settlement. Should the Trust not be sufficient, payments under the proposed settlement would be made by BP directly.
The proposed settlement does not include claims against BP made by the United States Department of Justice or other federal agencies (including under the Clean Water Act and for Natural Resource Damages under the Oil Pollution Act) or by the states and local governments. The proposed settlement also excludes certain other claims against BP, such as securities and shareholder claims pending in MDL 2185, and claims based solely on the deepwater drilling moratorium and/or the related permitting process.

The proposed settlement is comprised of two separate agreements, one to resolve economic loss claims and another to resolve medical claims. Each proposed agreement provides that class members would be compensated for their claims on a claims-made basis, according to agreed compensation protocols in separate court-supervised claims processes. The proposed agreement to resolve economic loss claims includes the financial commitment for the Gulf seafood industry and a fund to support continued advertising that promotes Gulf Coast tourism.

The proposed agreement to resolve medical claims involves payments based on a matrix for certain currently manifested physical conditions, as well as a 21-year medical consultation program for qualifying class members. It also provides that class members claiming later-manifested physical conditions may pursue their claims through a mediation/litigation process. Consistent with its commitment to the Gulf, BP would also provide $105 million to improve the availability, scope and quality of healthcare in Gulf communities. This healthcare outreach program would be available to all individuals in those communities, regardless of whether they are class members. It would include expanding capacity to address community health needs, including primary care, mental health services and access to environmental health specialists, as well as enhanced training and education related to Gulf Coast health issues.
Under the proposed settlement, class members would release and dismiss their claims against BP. The proposed settlement is not an admission of liability by BP.

The proposed settlement also provides that, to the extent permitted by law, BP will assign to the PSC certain of its claims, rights and recoveries against Transocean and Halliburton for damages not recoverable from BP.

The proposed settlement is subject to reaching definitive and fully-documented agreements within 45 days, and if those agreements are not reached, either party has the right to terminate the proposed settlement. Once there are definitive and fully-documented agreements, BP and the PSC would then seek the Court’s preliminary approval of the settlement. Under federal law, there is an established procedure for determining the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of class action settlements. Pursuant to this procedure, and subject to the Court granting preliminary approval of both agreements, there would be extensive outreach to the public, including through advertisements and direct mail, to explain the settlement agreements, class members’ rights, including the right to “opt out” of the classes, and the processes for making claims. The Court would then conduct fairness hearings at which class members and various other parties would have an opportunity to be heard and present evidence. The Court would then decide whether or not to approve each proposed settlement agreement.
The proposed economic loss settlement provides for a transition from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) administered by Kenneth Feinberg. "Ken Feinberg has overseen the GCCF since it began operating in August 2010, and we thank him and his team for their dedication and professionalism," said Mr. Dudley. "During Mr. Feinberg's tenure, BP has paid approximately $6.1 billion to resolve more than 220,000 claims from individuals and businesses through the GCCF."

A court-supervised transitional claims process for economic loss claims will be in operation while the infrastructure for the new settlement claims process is put in place. During this transitional period, the processing of claims that have been submitted to the GCCF will continue, and new claimants may submit their claims.

Payments in class action settlements typically are not made until after final approval of a settlement, but BP has agreed not to wait for final approval of the economic loss settlement before claims are paid. The economic loss claims process will continue under court supervision before final approval of the settlement, first under the transitional claims process, and then through the settlement claims process established by the proposed economic loss agreement.
"This settlement reflects our commitment not only to the Gulf region, but also to the United States as a whole," said Mr. Dudley. "BP has operated in America for more than 100 years, employs nearly 23,000 people in the U.S., and invests more in the U.S. than in any other country."

The parties will seek guidance from the Court as to the schedule for future proceedings in MDL 2179.

Source BP press office

EUROPEAN carbon emission taxes on commercial aircraft - and pressure from Beijing - have prompted Hong Kong Airlines to re-consider its order for 10 European-made Airbus A380s.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China recently told mainland carriers not to comply with the emissions trading scheme, saying the tax breaches international law, and Hong Kong Airlines said it was under pressure to call off its planned purchases.

"We cannot do something which is against our country's interest," said Hong Kong Airline president Yang Jianhong. Hong Kong Airlines is 45 per cent owned by the mainland Hainan Airlines.

Recently, state-owned China Daily amplified the complaints against Hong Kong Airlines from an American and a Hong Kong environmental group, questioning its probity in shipping live dolphins from Japan to theme park interests in Vietnam. Hong Kong Airlines said the shipment was handled in compliance with all known official standards and regulations.

An Airbus spokesman said HK Airlines' purchase had been included in the aircraft maker's end-of-year order book, reported Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

The EU tax is collected through an "emissions trading scheme" in which air carriers buy and sell carbon credits. It is opposed because most taxable emissions overwhelmingly occur beyond EU territory.

Tax proponents say such measures are justified security measures of one country's law requiring another to enforce it, such as the removal of shoes at European airports demand by the US. The European high court has backed the carbon tax after legal challenges from US airlines.

China has intimated that Airbus sales would become problematical. The US government has told airlines not to comply. India is also considering counter measures. Individual airlines have announced intentions of levying a surcharge.

Last week, 23 countries met in Moscow and declared they were ready to enter a trade war, said the SCMP, adding that they agreed to apply uniform retaliatory measures against European airlines Air France and British Airways.

Hong Kong Airlines has also announced plans to triple the size of its fleet to 60 by 2015. New routes to be launched this month include London, Taipei, Kaohsiung and Nanjing.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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