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Summary for December 31 - January 4, 2008:
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Port of Rotterdam sets record

 THE PORT of Rotterdam announced last week that its container traffic in 2007 increased by 12% from a year earlier, for a record 10.8mn TEUs.

 The port’s overall cargo volume rose 6.4% to a record 406mn metric tonnes from 377mn in 2006. The result was driven by gains in several sectors, including coal, ro/ro freight, and mineral oil products, which offset a 2% slide in crude oil imports.

 The port also announced that for the first time, more tonnes of container cargo — 105mn — were trans-shipped than crude oil.

 Bulk cargo rose 4.5% and general cargo by more than 10%, according to the port. Records were broken in six sectors: mineral oil products, coal, containers, ro/ro, other dry bulk, and other liquid bulk, said the port.

 Hans Smits, president of the port management, said Rotterdam’s container terminals are working at close to capacity and were only able to keep pace with the double-digit growth in traffic this year by raising productivity.

 A new dedicated barge terminal, opening in the spring, will free up around 800,000 TEUs of capacity at the deep-sea terminals, said the company.

 Web site:

 Port of Rotterdam

Oral history from Port of Los Angeles online

 AS PART of its Centennial year, which began Dec 9, the Port of Los Angeles has interviewed and recorded more than 100 people “showing their fondest and most poignant recollections about different eras” in the history of the port.

 Some of the taped recollections are now available to an online audience via the Port of Los Angeles Web site at

 Featured on the Web site in one-, two- and three-minute excerpts, the videotaped segments are a sampling of the interviews that took place during 2007.

This unique, never-before-seen footage includes historical narratives by a variety of people “who embody the face of the local community: immigrants, fishermen, longshoremen — both male and female — politicians, artists, and former port employees.”

 This living history underscores “the importance of the port and the significant impact of those who helped make the Port of Los Angeles a world-class port,” said the announcement.

 Watch and listen as Mary DiCarlo Thomas discusses her grandparents’ signature San Pedro DiCarlo bakery, Father Art Bartlett recalls his early involvement with the local seafarers church, and artist Violet Parkhurst recalls the grand opening of Ports O’ Call Village.

MOL upgrades Asia–S. Africa service

MITSUI O.S.K. Lines Ltd. Dec 27 announced the start of a new service that consolidates the Singapore-Durban, South Africa, shuttle service (ZAX) and the Shanghai-Singapore service (CS1), effective Jan 17, 2008.

 In addition to Durban (the ZAX original calling port in South Africa), calls at Maputo (Mozambique) will start with this upgrade. “Only MOL will offer direct service between Asia and Maputo,” said the company.

 “This service upgrade meets the needs of the active seaborne trade on those routes,” said the company.

 Seven 1,600-1,700-TEU containerships will be used in the new service.

 Ports of call will include Shanghai, Xiamen, Yantian, and Hong Kong, China; Singapore; Durban, South Africa; Maputo, Mozambique; and return via Singapore and Shanghai.

 Web site:

 Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bulgarian cargo ship sinks, 4 dead

A BULGARIAN cargo ship with 11 crewmembers Jan 3 sank in rough weather caused by a winter storm in the Sea of Azov, with at least four dead, rescue officials said.

The ship sank near the narrow Kerch Strait, between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, where a dozen vessels sank or were damaged in a storm last November, with 3,000 tonnes of oil spilled.

Efforts to rescue crew from the vessel, the Vanessa, were hampered by stormy conditions. Ukraine’s Emergencies Ministry said four bodies had been found.

 The crew consisted of 10 Bulgarians and a Ukrainian pilot, who reportedly was guiding the ship as it approached the Kerch Strait, which connects the Azov Sea to the Black Sea, said Sergei Petrov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry for southern Russia.

 The Ukrainian ministry said the vessel, carrying almost 3,000 tonnes of steel, issued an SOS call at midnight GMT as it was heading for the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas, said Nikolai Apostolov, head of Bulgaria’s coastguard administration.

Giant kite will tug ship across ocean

 THE 433-ft long containership Beluga SkySails will make its maiden voyage in January across the Atlantic to Venezuela, up to Boston, and back to Europe, pulled by a giant computer-guided $725,000 kite tethered to a 50-ft-high mast, according to a recent announcement by Bremen-based Beluga Shipping GmbH.

 The first freighter to be fitted with the high-tech sail was launched in the north German port of Hamburg in December by Eva Luise Koehler, wife of German President Horst Koehler.

“It is an important step for the future,” ship owner Niels Stolberg said, as the huge yellow-and-white rectangular strip of nylon fluttered above the Beluga SkySails. Stolberg said initial fuel savings would be 20%.

The paraglider-type sail is tethered to the bow of the vessel, said the announcement. A computer adjusts the height and the angle of the sail, which was developed over a period of four years by the Hamburg company SkySails.

“At last we can prove to the world that our system is reliable and will help reduce costs and emissions,” said Stefan Wrage, the man behind the project.
 Web site:

 Beluga SkySails

NYK invests in new Shanghai terminal

 NYK LINE Dec 27 announced it expects to be admitted as an investor in Phase 3B of Da Xiao Yang Shan Container Terminals, now being developed under the auspices of Shanghai International Port (Group) Co. Ltd.

 The project will reportedly create 52 new container berths with a 25mn-TEU handling capacity by 2020, so that the total container-handling capacity will rise to 35mn TEUs.

 Koji Miyahara, president of NYK, Dec 24 visited Han Zhen, mayor of Shanghai, where the mayor stressed that “Shanghai is aiming to become a key international shipping and logistics center and will aggressively develop its centralized shipping and air-cargo logistics facilities.”

 NYK first started weekly container vessel service in Shanghai in 1994, then launched its North American West Coast service operating as the Grand Alliance in 1996.

 The company presently has 22 weekly services connecting Shanghai with various destinations around the world. Its handling volume in Shanghai this year is estimated at more than 500,000 TEUs.

 NYK has also announced its investment in Phase 3 of Da Yao Wan Container Terminals in Dalian, which will begin operations in April 2008.

 Web site:

 NYK Line


Friday, January 4, 2008

2007 shipping: A reasonably good year

 LAST YEAR was a reasonably good year for the shipping industry overall, with cargo growth and rates good on most trades.

 This was the conclusion reached by The Business Times, Singapore, in an article published Jan 3.

 The sharp increase in bunker prices towards the second half of 2007, however, was an unexpected cost that container lines in particular struggled to recover from shippers, the paper said.

 “This year in general has been good. Cargo growth to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa have been satisfactory,” said S.S. Teo, Pacific International Lines managing director.

 “K”-Line Managing Director Kenichi Kuroya was quoted as being pleasantly surprised that the expected oversupply last year did not damage rates.

 “Cargo growth, mainly contributed by China exports, had supported a good market in containers both for Europe and the US, as well as the North/South trades. In general, this was a fairly good year after all,” he said.

 NOL’s David Goodwin, vice-president for corporate affairs, said that “Ongoing strength in the world economy, together with continuing outsourcing of global manufacturing production to Asia, drove double-digit growth in demand for international container shipping services in 2007.”

 The growing voice of Asia in shipping and Singapore’s central role in developing it was boosted by the setting up of a permanent office for the Asian Shipowners Forum there last year, the paper said. The body represents almost half the world’s cargo carrying fleet.

 Major concerns for 2008 include rising bunker costs, the slowing US economy, sub-prime woes, and impending anti-monopolies regulations in Europe. The implications of stricter environmental standards on the shipping industry are also a major worry, the paper said.

 Web site:

 The Business Times

Coos Bay gets LNG ship berth approval

 THE COOS County (OR) Board of Commissioners Jan 2 approved the Port of Coos Bay’s application for a ship berth that will accommodate LNG vessels. The vote was unanimous.

 Opponents of the project have 21 days to file notice with the state Land Use Board of Appeals in Salem.

 The application from Jordon Cove Energy to build an LNG terminal on the North Spit of Coos Bay was approved in early December.

“Since LNG is specifically a water-dependent resource, they need some place to bring ships in to offload the liquefied natural gas to their plant,” said Coos County Commissioner Kevin Stufflebean.

But Stufflebean said the ship berth will be for other economic ventures as well.

“We have it tied into economic development for the future,” said Stufflebean. “It really helps with the possibility of the container facility going into the North Spit too.”

 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will make a final decision whether to approve construction of the facility.

 Web site:

 Coos County Board of Commissioners

VPA in five-year deal with Wallenius

 THE VIRGINIA Port Authority Jan 2 announced that it has signed a five-year contract with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines, a ship line specializing in ro/ro cargo that has been calling at the Port of Virginia for more than two decades.

 “Signing our customers to long-term contracts is a part of the strategy to secure the future of this port,” said Jerry A. Bridges, the VPA’s executive director.

 “These kinds of agreements help build upon the reputation that Virginia is a growing, progressive port with its foundation in customer service and its focus on the future,” added Bridges.

 The contract will carry the VPA-WWL relationship through 2012, and at that point Wallenius will have the option to sign for five more years, according to the port.

 The contract value is estimated at a minimum of $20mn, said the port. The primary cargoes will be machine tools from Japan and natural rubber from Indonesia.

 Presently, WWL vessels in its Far East Service call at Norfolk International Terminals three times a month. In summer 2008, those vessels will be shifted to Newport News Marine Terminal.

 Web site:

 Virginia Port Authority

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