Felixstowe Dockers

Felixstowe Dockers

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Is Tilbury Tragedy Sign of New Human Trafficking Trend?

Is Tilbury Tragedy Sign of New Human Trafficking Trend?
Tilbury Port Container Terminal

The discovery of 35 Afghani Sikhs in a shipping container in the UK port of Tilbury in the early morning hours of Saturday, August 16, has sent shockwaves through the British media, as the realisation of how fortunate the 34 survivors of the ordeal were to be alive dawns upon the general public, Dryad Maritime reports.

 Tragedy had struck in the last leg of the illegal migrants’ route that terminated with a passage from Zeebrugge to Tilbury in the airless steel container that threatened to become a cold and dark coffin for all of its occupants.
With ages ranging from 1 to 72, the families brought their ordeal to an end by drawing the attention of dock workers to their plight with a frenzied banging and screaming from within, sadly not before one of their number, 40 year-old Meet Singh Kapoor, had died in his family’s arms.
“A shipping container is no place for human cargo; almost airtight, subject to extremes of heat and cold and impossible to escape from when locked from the outside without help, it is little wonder that this incident ended in tragedy and surprising that it wasn’t an even more tragic end.
The really worrying aspect of this latest incident is the potential for this to be the start of a new trend, as organised criminals seek to exploit destination ports less used to the daily ‘cat and mouse’ games played out at the Channel ports,” Ian Millen, Chief Operating Officer at Dryad said.

According to Dryad, targeting new destinations and using new modes of transport, such as shipping containers, could be the criminals’ latest attempt to seize the initiative and combat increasingly efficient border controls and alert truck drivers who are well aware of the significant fines imposed if they unwittingly transport migrants across national borders.
“The sheer number of container movements and the known criminal methods of circumventing security measures that can make seals and contents lists meaningless, means that we are likely to see other similar and equally dangerous attempts to transport desperate people for criminal profit,” Millen added.
“Just like the dangerously overcrowded boats that we see leaving the shores of North Africa for a better life in Europe, there is no shortage of desperate people either fleeing war and persecution or hoping for a better life for their families.
Equally, there is no shortage of organised criminal groups who care nothing for their welfare and are purely motivated by greed. If their fee-paying clients perish in the act of fleeing, then there will always be plenty more where they came from.
Only by tracking them down and bringing them to justice is there any hope of reducing the number of such tragic events.”
Sadly, with armed conflicts in Libya, Syria, Iraq and other nations and economic inequality across the globe, will inevitably mean that desperate people will continue to risk life and limb to win the prize of a better life, with or without the assistance of organised criminals.
The challenge for the maritime industry, ports and border officials is to reduce the probability of these potential tragedies by engaging in increasingly innovative technologies, intelligence-led operations and cooperation.

Police Service of Northern Ireland has reported that PSNI detectives assisting Essex Police and other agencies in the investigation into the Port of Tilbury container tragedy arrested a 34 year old man in Northern Ireland yesterday morning. The suspect was arrested after police stopped a vehicle on the A1 near Banbridge.
The arrest, on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to facilitate unlawful immigration into the UK, was made by detectives from PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch. Searches at a number of properties were also carried out.
The suspect has been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station before being transferred to Essex for questioning. A number of Essex Police officers have travelled to Northern Ireland as part of the investigation.
Press Release, August 20, 2014; Image: London Container Terminal

Maersk says 2M will not require approval in China or Europe

MAERSK Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co will not have to obtain antitrust approval in either Europe or China for their planned 2M alliance, AP Moller-Maersk chief executive Nils Andersen said when announcing the group’s second quarter results. 
Only in the US will the pair need clearance from the Federal Maritime Commission before starting their vessel-sharing agreement covering the east-west trades. The US body conducts a 45-day review of any notified agreement, although can stop the clock while seeking further information. 

While the former P3 Network was scrapped after Chinese authorities declared it unlawful, the 2M alliance is a much simpler arrangement that will therefore be treated differently, said Mr Andersen during a conference call. 

In Europe, companies are required to self-assess to ensure there is no abuse of a dominant position, with Brussels basically in favour of shipping consortia that reduce operating costs. Although there has been some negative press in China about 2M, the country’s legal process covering such co-operative agreements appears to be similar to Europe’s. Brussels said it would not intervene in the case of P3, before China’s Ministry of Commerce issued an outright ban. 

However, even if 2M is treated differently, that does not preclude any subsequent investigation, should there be a complaint or suspicion of anti-competitive behaviour. 

Mr Andersen said that Chinese legislation did not appear to give scope for a veto, although he acknowledged there was no absolute guarantee that China would treat 2M favourably. 

Whereas Chinese regulators regarded P3 as a merger because of the intention of the three members to operate a joint fleet managed by an arm’s length central network centre, 2M will have a standard VSA structure. Maersk and MSC will keep their fleets separate. The alliance is expected to start early next year. 

Mr Andersen disclosed that 2M was not thought to be subject to approval in China when announcing better than expected second quarter results for Maersk Line, which again bucked the industry trend by producing bumper profits at a time when most global carriers are still struggling to break even. Hapag-Lloyd, for example, lost money in the second quarter. 

Surprisingly strong Asia-Europe volumes that were up 9% underpinned the results, said Mr Andersen. This is thought to reflect re-stocking in Europe, despite still weak economic conditions, with volume growth expected to slow in the months ahead once inventories have been replenished. Maersk has also seen a decline in backhaul cargo such as wastepaper and scrap shipments to Asia. 

Imports to the US were a little weaker than expected, said Mr Andersen, but are forecast to improve in the second half. 

Overall, global container demand was up by some 4% to 5% in the second quarter, with full year growth expected to be around the same level. Fleet capacity has expanded by 5% since the second quarter of 2013 and now stands at 17.9m teu, Maersk said. 

Volume increase 
The world’s largest containership operator posted a net operating profit of $547m in the April-June period, equivalent to a return on invested capital of 10.8%, and up from $439m or 8.5% a year earlier. That brought first half profits to $1bn against $643m in the opening six months of 2013. 

The ROIC was above the medium-term target of 8.5%. 

The line has now achieved seven consecutive quarters of earnings before interest and tax margins of five percentage points above the industry average. 

Revenue increased 3.8% to $6.9bn in the second quarter, lifting the six month turnover to $13.4bn. 

The strong performance reflected a volume increase of 6.6% to 4.8m teu and was achieved despite a 2.7% drop in revenue per 40 ft unit to $2,880 as freight rates remained under pressure. 

Unit costs were down by 4.4% to $2,585 per feu, with average bunker consumption per 40 ft box cut by 7.2% compared with the second quarter of 2013. 

Total bunker costs were down by 2.8% to $1.3bn in the second quarter as fuel consumption was reduced, despite Maersk Line and the other container brands in the group carrying more cargo. 

Scrapping of the P3 Network should have “no material impact” on the carrier’s anticipated 2014 results, the company said. 

Savings gains through 2M would mainly be achieved through lower bunker costs as larger ships are deployed. With more vessels in the network, individual voyages will be shorter because of the ability to operate more direct routes, so also reducing fuel consumption. 

Total savings will be a little smaller than P3 without the synergies of a joint fleet that was planned for the former alliance, but 2M will also be simpler to operate, Mr Andersen said. 

While 2M partner MSC appears to be embarking on a new fleet expansion programme, Maersk has ordered nothing since its 18,270 teu Triple-Es. Of that 20-strong order, 11 are still to be delivered this year and next. Maersk’s fleet at the end of June stood at 2.7m teu. 

Mr Andersen said Maersk Line had no immediate plans to resume ordering until all the Triple-E ships are delivered but kept a close watch on capacity needs. 

“We are constantly looking at our capacity needs,” he said. 

Although there is no urgent need to order, he indicated that market growth of 4% to 5% could signal a fresh round of newbuilding activity once all 20 Triple-E ships are in service.

The world’s largest container shipper, part of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, and Swiss firm Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) reached an agreement on ship-sharing in July, a month after China’s Ministry of Commerce blocked a larger plan by the two firms and France’s CMA CGM due to competition concerns.
The global industry has been battling overcapacity since the financial crisis because new vessels ordered before the downturn have flooded the market. With freight rates still in the doldrums, the companies hope their new effort at pooling ships will help them reduce operating costs.
The container shipper gave notice of the new, so-called 2M vessel sharing agreement (VSA) to China’s Ministry of Transport in July, Maersk China’s Managing Director Jens Eskelund told reporters in a briefing in Shanghai on Wednesday.
Eskelund said that unlike the earlier plan, known as P3, the 2M service did not need approval from the commerce ministry. The two partners were only required to file details of the deal with the transport ministry.
The Ministry of Commerce had said earlier that they rejected the P3 alliance because the three firms would have had more than 40 percent of Asia-Europe and trans-Atlantic trade, crucial paths in the global trade of goods.
Director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s anti-monopoly bureau, Shang Ming, said in an interview with China’s state broadcaster last month that he was still worried the 2M alliance could erode the bargaining power of China’s import-export firms against big shipping companies.
Eskelund, though, said the market share to be held by Maersk Line and MSC on the Asia-Europe route would be similar to what other shipping alliances held. “Other alliances have been able to operate similar market shares to the ones that we will have on Asia-Europe,” Eskelund said.
Analysts said 2M would give the shippers less than 30 percent capacity share on the Asia-Europe shipping route.
Other alliances operating on the Asia-Europe route include G6 – made up of six shippers including Neptune Orient Lines Ltd and Nippon Yusen KK.
The CKYHE alliance – made up of shipping companies from China, Taiwan and South Korea – also operates on the route.

Maersk, MSC to Start 2M Alliance in January

Maersk Line, part of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, and Swiss firm Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) are planning to launch their new vessel sharing service  as early as January 2015, with their customers being notified of the network and transit times by September, Reuters reports.

The world’s largest container shipper signed a 10 year Vessel Sharing Agreement with MSC (VSA) on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades in July.
The VSA will be referred to as 2M, and it will replace all existing VSAs and slot purchase agreements that Maersk Line has in these trades.
The VSA will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEU, deployed on 21 strings.
The agreement was reached one month after China’s Ministry of Commerce refused to approve the P3 alliance which included the two firms and France’s CMA CGM.Maersk, MSC to Start 2M Alliance in January1
Competition concerns were stated as the reason for the blockade, saying that the three firms would cover more than 40 percent of Asia-Europe and trans-Atlantic trade.
The 2M VSA differs from the earlier proposed P3 alliance in two important aspects: the combined market share is much smaller, and this cooperation is a pure VSA. There will be no jointly owned independent entity with executional powers. It is projected that 2M would give the two companies less than 30 percent on the Asia-Europe route.
The financial crisis has left the global shipping industry battling overcapacity with vessels ordered prior to the financial dip overcrowding the market.
This pooling of resources is seen as a way of cutting down the costs.
World Maritime News Staff; August 21, 2014; Image: shipspotting

Video: Eleonora Maersk Vessel Tour

Eleonora Maersk (IMO number 9321500 and MMSI 220477000) is a container vessel from the E-class series of A.P. Moller-Maersk group. She is a sister ship of Emma Maersk.
The vessel was built in yard 205 of Odense Steel Shipyard and was completed on Jan 12, 2007. Her maiden voyage was the Suez Canal.
Elenora Maersk has a 15,500-TEU capacity in her 23 holds. The length of the vessel is 397 m, the beam is 56 m and her height – 19.4 m. The propulsion of the vessel includes a Wärtsilä-Sulzer 14RT FLEX96-C diesel engine built by the Doosan Engine Company (Changwan). It produces 80,905 kW or 109,998 hp. Eleonora Maersk was specifically designed to serve through theAsian trade route.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Mega-ships: just too mega?

In an already claustrophobic climate, container terminals in gateway ports around the globe may not be able to keep up with the ever-expanding vessel sizes due to limits on crane technology and shrinking yard space.

The Journal of Commerce reported that ports in northern Europe and the US have been struggling throughout the summer with congestion wrought by the docking of mega-ship carriers.
Some major ports outside the US have taken to erecting super-size cranes that top around 132m; these can load containers up to 25 rows across on mega-ships of up to 18,000 TEUs that are deployed on the Asia-Europe trade routes.

Ports in the US do not handle ships that size. However, they are implementing cranes that can reach across 22 rows of containers, yet even with these cranes, terminals will still have to confront issues of  space needed to accommodate the large ships.
Jeff de Best, chief operating officer of APM Terminals, said in an interview with the Journal of Commerce: “When cranes get high enough to reach 10 rows or higher, you get more swing and sway when you have to work the lower levels of the stacks.”

He added: “The big ships are putting pressure on the civil infrastructure and the yard sizes. If you can’t get the boxes out of your yard quickly, you run out of space and it becomes a matter of where you put them.”
Another potential reason for increasing congestion and ship sizes is the knock-on effect of vessel-sharing alliances between industry leaders.

Terrible accident in Panama !

Respect for the dockers' dangerous workplace, R.I.P.

My thoughts are with our brothers in Panama

The bad maneuvers pressure q live there in my former employment are responsible for accidents like hese q takes the lives of companion leaving his family in the deepest pain and q the loss of a kerido be nothing can compare neither gold nor silver peace to his soul spermos q Sitrebalcri Panama aga union has q q what Asher (6 photos)

Crane Driver / Stevedore / Port Op / Tug Driver / Crane Co-ordinator / Mooring Gang / Supervisor please take note of this !!!! We are always at risk within the port industry, one lapse of concentration and the consequences are not good.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Container Shipping Terminal Will Work Sunday’s to Enable Freight Importers to Maintain Supply Chain

Christmas Rush Demands Extended Hours of Opening 

Shipping News Feature

UK – It may be Summer, but for those enmeshed in the supply chain Christmas looms larger on the horizon day by day. Recognising thisDP World Southampton will open its container terminal facilities all day on Sundays in the run up to the annual sales fest to give shipping agents and cargo owners an extra day to collect their freight and ensure they can make deliveries on time.
The bank holiday has an impact on the industry as hauliers try to fit five days of deliveries into a four day working week, while container terminal operators, like DP World Southampton, still need to deliver the high level of service that its customers have come to expect, so the handling group will now start opening its gates all day on Sundays in preparation for the August bank holiday to help British businesses play catch up. The terminal already opens as normal on bank holidays but now the terminal is also going to open from 07.00 on Sunday to give its customers a head start. Steve McCrindle, Head of Operations, DP World Southampton observed:
“By opening up for the full 7 days for our customers, we believe we are providing more flexibility and opportunity to collect cargo which will assist the supply chain with their import deliveries. Traditionally there has not been the demand for weekend opening, but with the August bank holiday and the peak session upon us we will see an increase in volume and by extending our opening hours we can reduce the pressure on everyone in the supply chain.
“Often the container terminal feels the pressure of the bank holiday for a few weeks afterwards but it doesn’t have to be this way. We are a 24 hour operation, we service the ships 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so there is no reason why we can’t service our landside customers too.”
From Saturday 23 August the terminal’s new opening times will be:
Monday to Friday - 24 hours, Saturday – 00:00 – 18:00, Sunday – Open from 07:00

Scorpio to build world’s biggest container ships for MSC

MSC's new ships will have capacity of 19,200 teu

Scorpio to build world’s biggest container ships for MSC

Bulk and tanker ship owner, Scorpio Group, is to enter the container ship market, building the largest ever container ships, with an almost 20,000 teu capacity at US$153m each, for Mediterranean Shipping Company.
Industry sources told freight and commodity derivatives broker, Freight Investor Services, that Scorpio Group has booked shipyard slots to build three 19,200 teu ships with Samsung Heavy Industries.
MSC has agreed to take the ships on charter for up to 15 years although FIS noted that the agreement is not yet effective and the exact size and number of vessels may be increased.
FIS said: “The orders so far have not been announced to the Korean Stock Exchange — a sign that they have not yet taken effect — and that may be a few days away yet.
“The three-vessel commitment will come to an investment of at least $460 million, but Scorpio will have been attracted by prices equivalent to less than $8,000 per teu.”
FIS speculated that Scorpio’s contracts imply the Monaco-based company has no imminent plans to establish a complete container ship operating unit.
The ships that Scorpio build will surpass the 19,000 teu vessels on order for China Shipping Container Lines and United Arab Shipping Co. in terms of capacity to become the largest in the world.
Meanwhile, MSC will receive six 18,400 teu ships from 2015 in a deal with Minsheng Financial Leasing, which is constructing the vessels at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

Scorpio Group has probably lined up a bareboat rate of about $50,000 daily for the long-term charter of about 15 years’ duration of three, 19,200 TEU box ships that market reports suggest the shipowner has just ordered, according to Arctic Securities.
The Oslo-based investment bank said the charter rate hasn’t been disclosed and its estimates were based on a ‘back-of-envelope’ assessment of financing costs with a return on investment at 10%.
The orders of the boxships, which are rumoured to be costing $150 million each, appear to be the biggest ever, surpassing contracts for five 19,000 TEU units placed by China Shipping Group back in May, 2013, according to data from London-based Clarkson Research Services.
Clarkson also has orders for two 19,000 TEU ships placed on Aug. 12 for China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing at Daweoo Shipbuilding, with three previous newbuilding orders by BoCom Leasing (for 18,400 TEU vessels) placed a year ago said to be going on long-term charter to MSC.
Reports suggest that the Scorpio Group is also going to be leasing out the vessels to MSC, Arctic said.
Scorpio, with listed companies Scorpio Tankers and Scorpio Bulkers, has the biggest newbuilding orderbook, with 140 ships including bulk carriers and product tankers, contracted at shipyards in Asia, with this marking its first foray into the container ship market.
“The vessels are due for delivery in 2016 at which point we estimate net fleet growth in the Post-Panamax segment (8,000+ TEU in our model) of 8.3% versus a demand growth of 7.7%,” Arctic said in the report.
“As such, the market should be relatively balanced at that point. However, we see Scorpio’s move into long-term bareboat deals in containers as less market related and more as a way of creating a solid contracted cash flow for future MLP (Master Limited Partnership) drop-downs.
“Scorpio has been talking about the potential of an MLP and while tankers/bulkers are likely to see a somewhat soft yield (due to short-term nature of these market), the long-term business of container tonnage would act as a counterweight”