Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for May 16 through May 20, 2016:
Monday, May 16, 2016
New shipping alliance unites Hapag-Lloyd and 5 Asian carriers
Hapag-Lloyd AG, Germany's top container shipping line, will join five Asian carriers to create a new vessel-sharing alliance to help combat a chronic glut in capacity that has kept freight rates low.
Called simply "The Alliance," other partners will include Japan's Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen KK, South Korea's Hanjin Shipping and Taiwan's Yang Ming Marine, according to a Hapag-Lloyd statement. The new partnership will control 18 percent of the world's container shipping fleet with more than 620 vessels and a combined capacity of 3.5 million TEUs, the statement said.
Merger talks between Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping are in the works, and "it is anticipated" that UASC will become part of the new alliance, which would help increase the total capacity of The Alliance to more than 4 million TEUs. Hapag-Lloyd said it hopes to sign a deal by mid-June, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The Alliance agreed to a five-year term scheduled to start operations in April 2017 after regulatory approvals.
Nippon Yusen, Mitsui OSK and Hapag-Lloyd are all currently part of the G6 Alliance, which will cease to exist next year, while Hanjin Shipping, Kawasaki Kisen and Yang Ming belong to the CKHYE alliance that also includes Cosco Container Lines Co. and Evergreen Marine Corp Taiwan.
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., now part of the G6 Alliance, said in a separate statement Friday that once its business is normalized, it plans to complete the necessary processes to join The Alliance before September.
Global shipping lines are regrouping to compete more effectively against market leaders Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. which are allied under the 2M partnership, controlling 28 percent of the market, according to Alphaliner. They also have to contend with Chinese operators as the government consolidated operations of two major state-controlled groups, China Ocean Shipping Group and China Shipping Group.
France-based CMA CGM is taking over Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. and plans to bring the latter's container operations unit APL under the Ocean Alliance. That will mean the partnership could have 26 percent of the market, according to figures from Alphaliner.
Cosco Pacific to buy stake in Hutchison's Euromax terminal in Rotterdam
China's Cosco Pacific will pay $143 million for a stake in a container-terminal operator in Rotterdam amid an overseas expansion driven by Chinese companies.
Cosco Pacific will buy 35 percent of Euromax Terminal Rotterdam BV for $47 million and assume $95 million of debt equivalent to 35 percent of a loan, the Chinese company said in a statement last week. Euromax is indirectly owned by Hutchison Port Holdings, which in turn is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.
The move will help Cosco Pacific, the terminal operator of China's biggest shipping company, to expand its operations overseas, the company said. China has undertaken a so-called "One Belt, One Road" initiative, a $40 billion strategy that aims to strengthen economic and transport ties across Eurasia.
China Cosco Shipping Corp., the country's biggest shipping company, makes calls to Rotterdam, Europe's busiest container port. The Euromax terminal will see its handling capacity increased to 3.2 million TEUs when the second phase of expansion is completed from the current 2.55 million, according to the statement. About 2.28 million boxes were processed in 2015.
APM Terminals to provide container weighing service at 29 terminals
With just 50 days until SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) comes into force, APM Terminals has announced it will provide container weighing services at 29 of its global terminals. Under international law effective July, 1, 2016, shippers are required to provide a VGM for every container before it can be loaded.
In 2014, the International Maritime organization approved amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) that requires verification and documentation of loaded containers before they can be loaded onto vessels.
"Our first priority remains to ensure safe and efficient operations for the supply chain," stated APM Terminals Head of Global Operations, Jack Craig. "It is crucial that these regulations are met in a way which does not create congestion bottlenecks that ultimately impose additional risk and cost for all stakeholders."
APM Terminals say they are in talks with local regulatory authorities who are providing increasing clarity on national rules governing how to ensure compliance. The company is planning to provide VGM Data Management capabilities in most facilities through accepting EDI transmissions of VGM information into terminal operating systems from the shipping lines prior to vessel load planning.
Export containers received at APM Terminal facilities with a valid VGM will be accepted as per current local operational procedures, according to an APM statement. Those export containers that arrive at APM Terminal facilities without a valid VGM will be generally accepted, but as they are ineligible to load on a vessel, may be segregated and subject to additional re-handling and storage requirements.
Initially, APM Terminals will provide VGM Generation Services to supply chain partners at 29 locations globally, but that list could expand. The only North American port currently on the list is in Lazaro, Mexico.
The APM Terminals locations that will provide VGM services are in Aarhus, Denmark; Fos, France; Pecem, Brazil; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Gothenburg, Sweden; Petrolesport, Russia; Aqaba, Jordan; Mumbai, India; Pointe-Noire, Congo; Bahrain; Helsinki, Finland; Santos, Brazil; Bremerhaven, Germany; Itajai, Brazil; Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Izmir, Turkey; Ust-Luga, Russia; Callao, Peru; Moby Dick, Russia; Vado, Italy; Cotonou, Benin; Pipavav, India; Vostochny, Russia; First Container Terminal, Russia; Lazaro, Mexico; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; Rades, Tunisia; Port Said, Egypt; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Maasvlakte II, The Netherlands; Addicks & Kreye, Germany and Constanta, Romania.
Army Corps sides with NW tribes, blocks coal terminal near Bellingham, Wash.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sided with Northwest tribes last week in a decision to block the largest proposed bulk-shipping terminal in North America at Cherry Point, Wash., finding it detrimental to treaty-protected tribal fishing rights.
"This is a big win for Lummi and for treaty rights and for Indian Country," said Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council.
The tribe sought to block the project to protect its fishing rights as well as the burial grounds and village site of its ancestors at Cherry Point near Bellingham. The tribe's fight became a cause taken up not only by tribes around the Northwest on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border but also in communities from the Columbia River Gorge to Bellingham and beyond opposed to the project because of its long-term investment in mining, transport and burning of coal.
Bob Watters, president of Pacific International Terminals LLC, the developer of the terminal, called the decision "astonishing," in a news release.
"This is an inconceivable decision," Watters wrote.
"Looking at the set of facts in the administrative summary it's quite obvious this is a political decision and not fact-based," Watters said. "PIT is considering all action alternatives."
The German company who owns the cargo ship that was detained in Duluth last winter is facing criminal charges.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has charged MST Mineralien Schiffahrt with one count of violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. They claim the company's vessel – the M/V Cornelia — dumped oily waste into the Great Lakes on several occasions.
MST is also charged with eight counts of failing to keep accurate records of oil-contaminated waste disposal.
Court documents say the Cornelia was experiencing "significant leakages of oily waste water" between February and October of 2015. The ship's chief engineer and second engineer made crew members transfer oily bilge water to a tank meant to hold only clean water, which can be discharged overboard when needed.
Investigators say the discharge of oil-contaminated water occurred at least ten times, and each was deliberately not recorded by the chief engineer.
Last week, Ceres Terminals CEO Patrick Burgoyne and JaxPort CEO Brian Taylor signed the operator agreement for JaxPort's new on-dock rail facility—the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at Dames Point.
Ceres will manage the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the terminal, according to a port statement. Commercial container operations are scheduled to begin in August.
The ICTF serves the port's TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point and the Blount Island Marine Terminal. The direct transfer of containers between vessels and trains speeds up the shipment process and reduces the number of trucks on the road.
Rail that connects to CSX's main line allows for two unit trains each day (one inbound and one outbound) carrying up to 200 containers each. Two truck lanes allow vehicles to transport containers to and from the adjacent shipping terminals.
JaxPort was awarded a $10 million grant from the U.S. DOT toward the development of the facility, and the State of Florida Dept. of Transportation allocated $20 million to fund construction of the project, which the port said was delivered on time and under budget.
April cargo volume down at Port of Long Beach
Following a solid first quarter, Port of Long Beach container cargo volumes decreased 22 percent in April year-over-year, after lower-than-expected consumer spending in recent months. The decline also reflects shifts in evolving vessel alliances that have shifted ship deployments, according to a port statement.
Overall, port container cargo volume was down 22.1 percent last month, compared to April 2015. Amid a soft retail climate in the U.S. and economic woes overseas, the decline in imports was accompanied by exports that were down 18 percent due to the continued strength of the U.S. dollar.
"The additional berthing choices offered by vessel alliances are dispersing cargo across more terminals and ports," said port CEO Jon Slangerup. "These volume shifts will continue to occur as newly formed alliances take shape. Our long-term outlook remains strong as we continue to invest in our facilities and offer world-class customer service."
The port moved a total of 478,842 TEUs in April, including 247,316 TEUs in imports and exports totaling 112,805 TEUs. Empty containers were down 25.8 percent to 118,721 TEUs.
"Economic conditions today are very volatile, but we remain confident in our long-term prospects," said Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. "The Port of Long Beach is preparing for economic uncertainty by carefully reviewing our budget and looking for savings at every opportunity. While we still have significant modernization projects planned for the next 10 years, the pace of the projects will be determined by the health of the economy."
Konecranes to buy Terex port crane business, abandons merger
Finland's Konecranes has agreed to buy Terex Corp's port crane business for $1.3 billion, in a move that cancels a planned full merger and allows the U.S. company to pursue talks with a rival suitor.
Konecranes and Terex agreed to an all-share merger in August, hoping a deal would help them better cope with cooling Chinese and weak European demand.
But the deal was challenged in January when Terex received a non-binding cash bid from China's Zoomlion Heavy Industries Science & Technology Co, which later increased its offer to $3.4 billion.
"The agreement provides Terex with the ability to continue to pursue discussions with Zoomlion," Terex said in a statement on Monday.
Under the new Konecranes deal, Terex will become a 25 percent shareholder in the Finnish company and Konecranes will aim for annual synergies of about $158 million within three years of buying Terex's Material Handling and Port Solutions business.
Port of Virginia cargo numbers see modest increase
The Port of Virginia processed 215,254 TEUs in April, a 2.4 percent increase when compared with April 2015. The performance was supported, in part, by growth in volume at both Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and the Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT).
"Our volumes were modest and we see some softness in the market in the coming months," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "Still, the value of VIP and RMT is clear and as we begin our effort to add capacity. The importance of those facilities is going to continue to elevate. Our port-wide reinvestment strategy is well underway. In Richmond, we unveiled a new mobile harbor crane in February. Last week, we applied for a federal grant that would enhance our cargo handling capabilities at VIP.
"The Port of Virginia is entering an important growth phase – a million containers of capacity will be added — and as work begins, we will be utilizing all of our facilities to serve our customers and minimize the challenges that construction can present. Our goal is to maintain our service levels throughout the expansion."
The first large-scale capacity project will be to rebuild the upland operation at the South Berth of Norfolk International Terminals. Reinhart said the $350 million project will increase annual throughput capacity at NIT by 46 percent, or 400,000 boxes.
In April, VIP's volume was up 10 percent; RMT, up 12 percent; truck volume, up one percent; ship calls, up two percent; and vehicle units, up eight percent when compared with the same month last year. On a calendar-year basis, TEUs are up 4 percent; rail, 12 percent; and truck volume was slightly down at 0.4 percent.
"We continue to grow in what is a very competitive environment," Reinhart said. "We are meeting the needs and challenges of our customers and our market and are doing so while maintaining our service levels, controlling cost and continuing to refine the operation."
On a fiscal-year basis (July 1 – June 30) the port's TEU volumes are up 3.5 percent; rail containers are up 9.5 percent; ship calls, up 2 percent; and vehicle units processed at Newport News Marine Terminal are up 37.5 percent.
Panama Canal releases expansion update video
The Panama Canal Authority released a new video on May 13, highlighting the progress of the work on the expanded canal, to be opened late next month.
The largest infrastructure project since the waterway's original construction, the Panama Canal Expansion Program has created a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, increasing the waterway's capacity.
The new locks will have three chambers, water-saving basins, lateral filling and emptying system and rolling gates.
The order backlog of Korea's top three shipbuilders has dropped 18.6 percent over the past two years on a slump in the global shipbuilding sector, data showed Tuesday.
According to data compiled by the Hana Institute of Finance, the value of the combined order backlog by Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering stood at $96 billion as of the end of March, compared with $118 billion at the end of 2013.
Daewoo Shipbuilding held the largest order backlog worth $36.8 billion at the end of March, followed by Samsung Heavy with $30 billion and Hyundai Heavy with $29 billion, the data showed.
The problem is that local shipyards are unlikely to win massive new orders down the road.
Local shipyards' new orders plunged sharply, with 170,000 compensated gross tons (CGTs) worth of orders confirmed by them in the January-March period, down 94.1 percent year-over-year. In terms of value, their orders also dropped 94 percent year-over-year to $390 million over the cited period, according to separate data from the Korea Eximbank.
As of end of April, their order backlog totaled 27.59 million CGTs, down 16.2 percent from a year earlier and 11.1 percent from the end of last year, the policy lender said. "Given various conditions, the order backlog is estimated to keep them busy for less than 2 years," it said.
The shipbuilding industry, once regarded as the backbone of the country's economic growth, has been reeling from mounting losses caused by an industry-wide slump and increased costs.
Florida's Port Panama City to undergo $76M upgrade
Over the next five years, Port Panama City wants to make $76.3 million worth of capital improvements, including adding more capacity to handle containers, expanding the distribution warehouse and opening a second terminal at the paper mill.
The plans are outlined in the 2016 Seaport Mission Plan, an annual document released by the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council. The report outlines the plans for all 15 of Florida's ports. Altogether, $3.7 billion worth of projects are planned.
Port Panama City Director Wayne Stubbs said "in most cases" the plan is more of a wish list, dependent on funding come through. But, "you want it all in the plan" because that increases the likelihood of getting funding.
The Gulf port is focused on expanding its capacity, with a goal to double container trade with Mexico and Central America over the next five years.
According to the report, the port is looking to add 100,000 square feet to the intermodal distribution center, which will help expand freight options and attract port-related manufacturing. There are also plans to add container capacity by relocating a bulk storage facility, adding heavy paving, constructing racks to allow the stacking of refrigerated containers, and upgrading its interchange gate.
The other major project is the purchase of the WestRock property for $13.6 million. A number of upgrades are planned for the site, including reinforcing the existing bulkheads, deepening the channel and berth to 36 feet, replacing the existing warehouse and expanding the on-site railroad.
To do this, the port plans on seeking federal, state and private funding, all of which factor into the $76 million figure.
When it was time this year for the port clerks to launch their contract negotiations in April, many importers were holding their breath and hoping things would move along swiftly, unlike a few years ago when the port clerks took two years to parlay a new three-year contract.
But the 600 full-time port clerks and 300 temporary clerks at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach have made significant progress in this year's negotiations for a contract that will expire June 30.
Unlike the West Coast longshore workers, who bargain with one entity — the Pacific Maritime Authority — the port clerks must negotiate a new contract with each of the 20 shipping lines and port terminal operators that are members of the Harbor Employers Association and employ the port clerks.
So far, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 63, Office Clerical Unit, which represents the port clerks, has reportedly signed new contracts with 18 of the 20 companies. The two remaining contracts left to sign are with Zim and the Evergreen Shipping Agency.
John Fageaux Jr., president of Local 63 OCU, said he planned to start talks with Zim on Friday, May 13, and that the contract with Evergreen is close to being signed.
The other good news is that the contracts are for seven years instead of the previous three-year terms. "I think our industry needed a longer contract, both from the employer side and the union side," Fageaux said. "It provides the stability that the customers are looking for, and I think it is good for all parties involved."
During the last contract negotiations, one of the sticking points involved outsourcing of clerical work to nonunion workers in other states and countries.
Fageaux said that, in the past, employers were trying to get rid of language that for many years had required the shipping lines and terminal operators to fill jobs immediately when a vacancy occurred due to retirement, illness, vacation or a temporary leave. "We felt they tried to get rid of that language so they could move work away from Southern California and in some cases outside the United States," he said. "By us securing that language, there is less of a motivation for an employer to move that job away."
The new contracts call for a 3 percent annual wage increase and higher pensions.
Oil spill hits Hong Kong after collision of tanker and cargo ship
An oil spill was reported in Hong Kong waters after a collision between an oil tanker and a mainland-registered cargo vessel off Tsing Yi in the early hours Friday.
The slick measuring 50 by 10 meters was sighted off Tsing Yi following the collision at about 2.30am Friday, according to the Marine Department.
"Some diesel oil also spread towards Tsing Yi Ferry Pier and the Kwai Chung area," the department's spokeswoman said.
As of late Friday afternoon, four beaches in Tsuen Wan and Sham Tseng were closed as diesel oil spread towards those areas.
But at 1pm Friday, the marine authority said most of the oil spill had been cleaned up and that it was monitoring the situation. Its spokeswoman added that the hull of the 24-metre oil tanker was damaged and that diesel oil seeped into the sea following the tanker's collision with the 50-metre cargo vessel off Tsing Yi.
She said the oil tanker's owner had arranged to remove and offload the remaining diesel oil into other boats. The marine authority did not provide any further details about the parties involved and said it was looking into the cause of the collision.
For more of the South China Morning Post story: www.scmp.com
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Maersk investor shares up on consolidation, low oil
Since a February low, investors who held their A.P. Moeller-Maersk shares despite declining oil and freight rates are now about 24 percent richer, measured on total returns. As of Tuesday, only four of the 29 analysts covering Maersk recommended selling the stock. Seventeen are advising clients to buy while eight are telling investors to hold on to existing shares.
Brent crude's 75 percent jump from a Jan. 20 low is supporting Maersk's oil business. And though the container market is struggling, consolidation is set to bolster freight rates and support the industry, according to Frans Hoyer, an analyst at Jyske Bank.
"I believe container lines will start acting more responsibly and not compete so fiercely on rates after adapting to the new situation of low growth," Hoyer said by phone. "Looking at the rest of the year, I believe we're facing a gradual recovery in container line profitability, which could support the Maersk share. That's also one of the reasons we're positive on the stock." Jyske is among banks advising clients to buy.
Hoyer says industry consolidation is key. Global container lines are increasingly forming alliances to help cut costs and underpin freight rates. Last month, CMA CGM SA and three other major lines signed a preliminary agreement to form a new group called Ocean Alliance, which could become the second biggest after Maersk Line's partnership with Mediterranean Shipping Co.
The development "could also help the market and the likes of Maersk Line in particular," Hoyer said.
Hoyer also said Maersk has also surprised the market with the extent of the cost reductions in its oil division.
Hanjin and HMM face key meetings this week on restructuring deals
Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hanjin Shipping are facing crucial negotiations this week over their restructuring efforts.
Five ship owners which have leased ships to HMM will visit Korea to wrap up discussions over the charter fees the company is paying.
HMM's creditors, led by the Korea Development Bank (KDB), suggested a May 20 deadline for the talks. If the cash-poor shipping line does not get the 28.4 percent cut demanded by the creditors, it will probably be placed under court receivership.
HMM has paid $821 million in charter fees and is negotiating with 22 ship owners around the world. Last week, the company failed to join The Alliance, a new shippers group led by Germany's Hapag-Lloyd, but said that it expects to be able to apply for membership if it manages the leasing talks successfully.
KDB put forward a debt rescheduling plan Tuesday that included a 700 billion-won debt-for-equity swap on the precondition that HMM succeeded in charter fee negotiations. Other creditors will consider the plan for a week and will deliver a response by May 24.
"In the meeting, we expect to reach a verbal agreement with the ship owners," an official at HMM said. He added that creditors will also join in the negotiations. Market watchers expect the debt rescheduling plan will likely work in HMM's favor in the talks.
Hanjin Shipping will hold a meeting of its bond holders Thursday to ask them to reschedule its debt. Hanjin is a member of THE Alliance, as it passed one of three preconditions set by its creditors — the remaining two are charter fee cuts and debt-rescheduling.
April imports up 4.7 percent at Port of L.A., exports down 1 percent
Import cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles increased 4.7 percent in April year-over year, while imports were down 1 percent, according to a port statement. Overall cargo volume for the first four months of 2016 increased 8 percent compared to 2015.
"While the pace of global trade and U.S. retailer imports has eased recently, our work and progress on supply chain optimization has put the Port of Los Angeles on track to drive market opportunities," said Executive Director Gene Seroka.
Total April 2016 volumes registered at 656,177 TEUs, a decrease of 1 percent compared to the same period last year.
April loaded imports increased 4.7 percent to 343,574 TEUs. Loaded exports decreased 1 percent to 144,103 TEUs. Total loaded TEUs increased 2.9 percent to 487,677 TEUs.
When factoring in a decrease of 10.9 percent in the movement of empty containers, the port said overall April container volumes totaled 656,177 TEUs.
Major B.C. terminal project undergoing environmental review
The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is a proposed new three-berth container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta, B.C. that would provide 2.4 million TEUs of container capacity.
Port Metro Vancouver has filed an Environmental Impact Statement for the prospective terminal project with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office.
The project is undergoing a federal environmental assessment by an independent review panel, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. Concurrently, the terminal plan is also undergoing an assessment under the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Act and requires other permits and authorizations before it can proceed.
Subject to regulatory approvals, permits and a final investment decision, construction of the terminal would begin in 2018 and would be operational by the mid-2020s, when its capacity will be required.
The project would be funded by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and private funding and would not require tax dollars, according to a port statement.
1600-year-old Roman merchant ship and ancient cargo discovered in Israel
An underwater survey in the ancient port of Caesarea has uncovered thousands of coins and bronze statues dating to the 5th century AD.
Archaeologists in Israel have recovered bronze statues and thousands of coins from a merchant ship that sank off the Mediterranean coast some 1,600 years ago during the late Roman period.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said two divers had made the discovery several weeks ago in the eastern Mediterranean.
Successive dives recovered a bronze lamp depicting the image of sun god Sol, a figure of moon goddess Luna, fragments of life-size bronze cast statues as well as two lumps of thousands of coins.
The IAA said the remains of a ship were "left uncovered on the sea bottom" and included iron anchors and fragments of jars used for drinking water by the crew. The haul's location and distribution suggested the "large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated (for) recycling."
"A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past 30 years," Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the IAA's Marine Archaeology Unit said in a statement.
"Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity."
The IAA said the vessel had probably hit a storm as it entered the harbor and had drifted before hitting rocks and the seawall.