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Summary for November 19 - November 23, 2007:
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Monday, November 19, 2007

COSCO to raise Pacific freight rates

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), the largest ocean freight carrier in the country and a leading carrier in the world, Nov 19 said it will have to raise its freight rates on the Pacific routes under pressures.

 China Shipping Group, also a leading carrier of cargo in the country, says it will follow suit if main shipping companies increase freight rates on the same routes.

 Modern container shipping firms are now providing door-to-door logistics services, which consist of traditional port-to-port logistics and port-to-works or inland logistics. Railway carriers in North America have adjusted upward freight charges due to rising fuel costs and a shortage of carrying capacity.

 The result is great pressure on ocean shipping companies, which are forced to raise their freight rates.

 The international crude oil price has risen to $90/bbl from $50/bbl at the beginning of this year. The price of the Singapore 380 (centistoke) Fuel Oil has risen to $480/bbl from $250 at the beginning of this year.

 Web sites:


China Shipping Group

Study finds new ASEAN/Asia trends

DHL, a leading express and logistics company, Nov 16 released findings of a study on regional trade flows that it commissioned with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). 

 The report, entitled “Trading Up: A New Export Landscape for ASEAN and Asia,” examines the movement of goods across borders in Asia, with ASEAN as the starting point, said DHL.

 The export landscape in Asia reveals that ASEAN is at a crossroads “between pursuing deeper integration with fellow ASEAN member countries or falling away to develop individual bilateral trading relationships with China,” according to the study.

 The share of exports to China from all ASEAN countries in the study except Vietnam has risen sharply, said DHL, while intra-ASEAN trade has shown a declining growth trend.

 The study concentrated on the ASEAN bloc’s six largest economies — Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — and analyzed the trade of its closest regional competitors, China, Japan, and India.

 The report shows that “trading volumes have changed over the past seven years and the composition of trade has shifted,” said DHL.

 Web sites:


Economist Intelligence Unit

Global Ship Lease delays IPO

Global Ship Lease Inc., a subsidiary of the French container shipping company CMA CGM, Nov 16 said it has postponed its plans for an initial public offering because of unfavorable market conditions.

 The company also said it will continue to monitor the markets, and its registration remains on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

 According to an SEC filing, Global Ship Lease planned an IPO of 18.9mn common shares priced between $19 and $21 per share.

 Assuming an offering price of $20, the company expected to raise about $349.9mn from the IPO after fees and expenses.

 Global Ship Lease planned to use the net proceeds, along with borrowings and the issuance of about 3.3mn common shares to CMA CGM, to finance the company’s initial fleet.

 Global Ship Lease Inc. was incorporated in May 2007 to acquire a fleet of modern, diverse, and high-quality containerships. GSL has contracted to acquire the vessels in its initial and contracted fleet from CMA CGM S.A., the third largest containership company in the world, according to its Web site.

 Web site:

 Global Ship Lease Inc.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ports of Auckland tries booking system

A trial run of a new system for handling container trucks at the Ports of Auckland kicked off Nov 12.

 Many months in the planning, the Vehicle Booking System (VBS) will “further improve predictability and efficiencies in the Auckland container freight supply chain, specifically with regard to certainty with container pick-up and delivery times,” said the port authority.

 Road carriers will be able to book one-hour time slots at the port’s main container terminal, Axis Fergusson, during which they can drop off or collect a container, according to the port.

 The system will address the “unpredictable peaks and troughs of truck arrivals caused by the ‘mismatch’ between 24/7 port operations — a must to service international vessels — and the business hours of the freight community,” said Ports of Auckland Managing Director Jens Madsen.

 After the first month of the trial, VBS stakeholder meetings will be held to discuss progress and gather feedback from those involved in the trial and other parties in the container freight supply chain, according to the port authority.

 Web site:

 Ports of Auckland

AirBridgeCargo takes 747-400 delivery

Boeing Nov 16 delivered the first Boeing 747-400 Freighter to the fleet of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, a subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group, under lease from GE Commercial Aviation Services.

 The 747-400 Freighter is the largest commercial cargo transport in service, with the lowest tonne-km cost in the industry, according to the company Web site. The 747-400 Freighter can carry 113 tonnes of cargo up to 8,240 km (4,450 nautical miles).

 The new cargo plane, powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines, is the sixth 747 Freighter in the AirBridge fleet, joining five 747-200/-300 Freighters.

 It is also the first of two 747-400 Freighters that AirBridgeCargo will lease from GE Commercial Aviation Services, and the carrier will take an additional 747-400F on lease in the second quarter of 2008.

 The new airplane will be used on AirBridgeCargo’s routes worldwide.

 “The Boeing 747-400 Freighter is the world’s leading cargo airplane and will bring new efficiencies to AirBridgeCargo,” said Gennady Pivovarov, senior vice president of production, AirBridgeCargo.

 The 747 Freighter is a “key element in the development of air cargo into today’s $52bn industry,” said Boeing.

 Web sites:


 AirBridgeCargo Airlines

GM, Port of Hueneme have deal

General Motors Corp., the nation’s largest automaker and one of Detroit’s “Big Three,” has contracted to import and export 20,000 vehicles through the Port of Hueneme, including its new 2008 Saturn Astra, the port said recently.

 About 10,000 of the vehicles will be Saturns imported from Germany. The other 10,000 will be American-made vehicles, such as Cadillacs and Chevrolet Trailblazers, that will be exported to China and the Far East.

 The 2008 Saturn Astra, expected to be available in the US in January, replaces the Ion, which did not fare well after being introduced in 2003, said GM.

 About 254,000 vehicles from various auto manufacturers are transported through the port each year, said the port authority. Most are imports.

 The port earns about $20 per vehicle for offloading and storage, said the port, which means the “GM business represents about a $400,000 boost.”

 In addition, more jobs are expected to be created at the processing facility and in the community as the cars are sold, according to Oxnard Harbor District Executive Director Anthony Taormina.

 Web sites:

 General Motors Corp.

 Port of Hueneme


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UPS/Teamsters agreement ratified

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union representing the majority of UPS Inc.’s employees, Nov 20 said that members have approved a new five-year contract with UPS.

 The UPS National Master Agreement, which was first negotiated earlier this fall, was approved by rank-and-file members by a 65% vote, according to a preliminary count released in a statement from the Teamsters.

 The contract will raise wages annually and increase funds that provide pension, health, and welfare benefits to the covered employees, said the union.

 The Teamsters Union, founded in 1903, represents 238,000 of UPS’ 427,700 employees, according to the union. Those represented include all hourly full-time drivers and part-time sorters.

 Several riders to the agreement will need to be renegotiated, which is a typical practice, a Teamsters spokesman said.

 The union said it will be several days before the final results of the vote will be certified.

 “We are gratified to hear that our Teamster-represented employees have approved the new National Master Agreement,” said Mike Eskew, UPS’s chairman and CEO.

 UPS, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is the world’s largest package delivery company.

 Web sites:

 The International Brotherhood of Teamsters


Court orders Cosco Busan “arrested”

Audet & Partners LLP, attorneys who earlier filed a class action lawsuit representing the fisherman, boat operators, and other victims of the Nov 7 San Francisco Bay oil spill, have successfully obtained a court order to “arrest” the Cosco Busan and keep the vessel from leaving the San Francisco Bay.

 “Under well-established maritime law, in these circumstances, it is appropriate to make sure the vessel involved in the oil spill does not leave the jurisdiction of the United States,” said William M. Audet of Audet & Partners.

 The US District Court Nov 20 issued an order granting the plaintiffs attorneys’ request to “arrest” the Cosco Busan.

 “We have been contacted by literally hundreds of ship owners and others whose livelihood depend on clean ocean water and [who] have lost significant amounts of money directly due to the recent oil spill,” reported Audet.

 The complaint is entitled Chelsea LLC, on behalf of the Class v. Regal Stone Ltd., et al., Civil Action No. 07-5800 (Northern District of California).

 Web site:

 Audet & Partners LLP

SUEZ LNG first with US mariners

SUEZ LNG NA LLC Nov 20 announced that the liquefied natural gas ship SUEZ Matthew has become the first LNG vessel in recent history calling on US ports to begin utilizing US mariners onboard.

 This development represents the “early implementation of a groundbreaking agreement with the Maritime Administration to provide job opportunities for US mariners on all SUEZ LNG NA vessels within the next five years,” said the company.

 The international (privately owned) LNG shipping fleet is growing at a rate of 15%-20% per year, and all LNG ships worldwide today are flagged under non-US countries, according to the company.

 As a result, said the company, US-licensed mariners have not been working on LNG vessels, and the US shipping industry has not shared in this growing job market.

 “We appreciate SUEZ’s leadership and commitment to fostering opportunities for American mariners,” said Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton. “The rest of the industry is beginning to follow, and we hope it will represent an entirely new era of US involvement in the LNG shipping trade.”

 Web site:


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