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PostHeaderIcon Competition at US ports to heat up to attract mega alliance calls

Challenges to port efficiency are listed as Hanjin Shipping's sudden collapse, the pending merger of MOL, NYK and 'K' Line, and Maersk Group's acquisition of German carrier Hamburg Sud, raising fears of fewer port visits, while ports of choice will attract greater volumes at their rivals' expense.

The planned launch of The Ocean Alliance and The Alliance are expected to dominate the container shipping market and result in the unloading of more cargo at fewer ports that will rely heavily on trucks, railroads, or smaller ships taking shipments to their final destinations. Ports offering the greatest efficiency, cost, speed of service, and ease of access will emerge the winners.

'It's not enough to have the biggest equipment. It's not enough to have the most favourable geography,' Long Beach chief commercial officer Noel Hacegaba told the American Association of Port Authorities in December.

The June 2016 opening of the Panama Canal's third lock hailed as a boon to east coast ports, however, has seen less than one-third of the 12 daily slots through the canal being taken up in the wake of its expansion.

Trade through US east coast ports rose 0.7 per cent year on year in the first nine months of 2016, and that through west coast ports increased 3.2 per cent and volume through ports on the Gulf Coast edging up 0.3 per cent, PIERS figures show, reported IHS Media.

Much of the west coast's growth came from a 5.2 per cent increase in exports, compared with a decline of two per cent in exports on the east coast and one per cent on the Gulf coast. Imports rose by 2.5 per cent at east and west coasts ports and one per cent on the Gulf coast.

On the west coast, operators are to decide how to reshape southern California's PierPass system, which - after 11 years in operation ?is facing calls for reform from BCOs and truckers who claim the system at 13 port of Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals is inequitable. Reforms may include changes to the congestion pricing system to encourage evening pick-ups.

Elsewhere, the port of Houston is preparing to extend its terminal gate hours, probably in mid-2017. In Oakland, terminals began an extended gates programme in 2016, and the port's largest terminal, Oakland International Container Terminal, in September made it permanent.

 

PostHeaderIcon MSC, Maersk add Wilmington port call to Asia-USEC service (TP10)

This announcement follows the recent return of intermodal rail service to the North Carolina ports, and the completion of the turning basin project at Wilmington port, which included the removal of an existing bulk pier and dredging along the port's side of the Cape Fear River to expand the turning basin from 1,200 feet to 1,400 feet to accommodate vessels of up to 10,000 TEU.
"Our customers were clamouring for a stable Asia service in this location," said the port authority's chief commercial officer Greg Fennell. 
The TP10/Amberjack's rotation includes port calls in Qingdao, Xingang, Ningbo, Shanghai, and Busan in Asia. This transpacific service transits the Panama Canal on its way to US east coast ports. It has the fastest coverage from Asia to Wilmington and is the only service offering direct linkage to the US east coast into and out of Xingang.
"Our inclusion in this rotation not only improves our visibility in international trade but also ensures the businesses that rely on us will have that much needed connection to Asia." 
"North Carolina has a ripe market that continues to drive the decisions of the world's biggest container companies," executive director Paul Cozza of the North Carolina State Ports Authority was quoted as saying in a report by Global Trade Magazine. 
MEDITERRANEAN Shipping Company (MSC) and Maersk Line have added the port of Wilmington in North Carolina to their TP10/Amberjack all-water Asia-US east coast container shipping service that is operated by ten ships, ranging in size from 4,300 to 5,100 TEU.

 

PostHeaderIcon Hanjin to sell Asia-US network to pay creditors

HANJIN Shipping is selling major businesses, including its Asia to US route network, and will receive letters of intent by October 28, the company said recently.

The firm had total debt of KRW6.03 trillion (US$5.41 billion) as of the end of June, according to its bankruptcy court filing.

A list of 3,000 Hanjin creditors has been released with the top five creditors overall being Seaspan Corporation, Danos Corporation, Peter Doehle, World Fuel Services and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

Hanjin Shipping received court approval to seek buyers for assets in order to pay back creditors now in the process of making claims until October 25, reported the Maritime Executive of Fort Lauderdale.

A spokesman for the Seoul Central District Court overseeing Hanjin Shipping's receivership said assets currently set to be put up for sale include the entire operations of Hanjin Shipping's US to Asia routes such as manpower systems, five container ships, and 10 overseas businesses.

The port of Long Beach revealed that container volumes in September fell 16.6 per cent compared to the same month a year ago, as the effects of Hanjin's bankruptcy reached US west coast ports.

Hanjin Shipping accounted for approximately 12.3 per cent of the port's total containerised volume, it said.

 

PostHeaderIcon OOCL to raise Asia-Europe freight rates from November 1

HONG KONG's Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has announced a rate restoration programme that will affect its services operating the Asia-Europe trades.

With effect from November 1, freight rates for westbound shipments transported from the Far East (excluding Japan) to North Europe, the Mediterranean and Black Sea will be increased by US$400 per TEU, as rated by the "on-board date."

The company said in a statement that it is introducing the rate hike "in order to continue providing quality and sustainable services."

 

PostHeaderIcon Maersk-MSC cuts ports on Asia-Europe route by deploying mega ships

THE Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and Maersk Line will reduce the number of direct port calls across their Asia-North Europe network.

According to the 2M Alliance shipping lines, a key enabler for lowering the number of direct calls was the more efficient deployment of mega ships across their five Asia-North Europe services, reported IHS Media.

"We are utilising our scale to deliver a better product," said Maersk commercial chief Vincent Clerc, was quoted as saying. "With the largest network and the deployment of an increasingly uniform fleet of ultra-large container vessels, we maintain our extensive direct coverage while focusing each service towards best in class transit times to specific markets on the trade."

The carriers are focusing on bolstering their services into Germany and the Netherlands, with westbound transit times from Asia to Rotterdam and Bremerhaven taking five days less.

Eastbound transit time between Rotterdam and Shanghai would be five days faster.

Mr Clerc said Maersk Line THE Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and Maersk Line will reduce the number of direct port calls across their Asia-North Europe network.

According to the 2M Alliance shipping lines, a key enabler for lowering the number of direct calls was the more efficient deployment of mega ships across their five Asia-North Europe services, reported IHS Media.

"We are utilising our scale to deliver a better product," said Maersk commercial chief Vincent Clerc, was quoted as saying. "With the largest network and the deployment of an increasingly uniform fleet of ultra-large container vessels, we maintain our extensive direct coverage while focusing each service towards best in class transit times to specific markets on the trade."

The carriers are focusing on bolstering their services into Germany and the Netherlands, with westbound transit times from Asia to Rotterdam and Bremerhaven taking five days less.

Eastbound transit time between Rotterdam and Shanghai would be five days faster.

Mr Clerc said Maersk Line had drawn on experience from the first year of operations of the 2M alliance when adjusting the network.

"Our improved network is the result of a stable, maturing alliance seeking to address current customer-felt pain points. It strengthens our commercial offering and offers shippers a stable choice in times where other alliance networks await reshuffling," said Mr Clerc.

Alphaliner said Maersk's ability to grow volume at a faster pace than the 12 other carriers that reported first-quarter earnings while delivering better operating margins was a sign of how Maersk was pulling away from the rest of the container shipping industry.

"Maersk's decision to pursue market share contributed to the decline in freight rates," said Alphaliner, adding that in the first quarter "when most competitors were trying to curb capacity growth, Maersk deployed off-schedule extra loaders on both the Asia-Europe and transpacific routes."had drawn on experience from the first year of operations of the 2M alliance when adjusting the network.

"Our improved network is the result of a stable, maturing alliance seeking to address current customer-felt pain points. It strengthens our commercial offering and offers shippers a stable choice in times where other alliance networks await reshuffling," said Mr Clerc.

Alphaliner said Maersk's ability to grow volume at a faster pace than the 12 other carriers that reported first-quarter earnings while delivering better operating margins was a sign of how Maersk was pulling away from the rest of the container shipping industry.

"Maersk's decision to pursue market share contributed to the decline in freight rates," said Alphaliner, adding that in the first quarter "when most competitors were trying to curb capacity growth, Maersk deployed off-schedule extra loaders on both the Asia-Europe and transpacific routes."

 
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