PostHeaderIcon Hanjin crisis spreads to inland warehouses struggling to secure their boxes

ALARMED US importers of Asian cargo hit by the Hanjin bankruptcy crisis are braced for trouble as they struggle to get their goods free of the insolvent ocean carrier.

"Customers are pushing for every Hanjin box to be transloaded as soon as possible, for fear that Hanjin will soon put holds on all of their freight," said Andrew Lynch, president of Zipline Logistics, of Columbus, Ohio.

"The largest impact will be at warehouses that now have to process a week's worth of orders in just a day or two," said Mr Lynch, whose company specialises in multimodal retail transport and supply chain management.

The problem affects boxes too. Said CH Robinson Worldwide ocean service chief Sri Laxmana: "The biggest problem is that once drivers deliver the container there's no one to take back the empty."

Those stranded empties, he said, may lead to a container shortage in Asia.

"The big, big problem is you have a ton of containers either on the water or stuck at ports and inland container yards, and that's going to create a massive lack of containers in Asia," he said.

Mr Lynch worried about timing of containers on Hanjin vessels that haven't arrived. "If an order scheduled for next week that involved Hanjin doesn't come through, do our customers have inventory in other locations that can economically fill orders?" he wondered.

"We don't want to risk late deliveries or exorbitant incurred fees," he said. "There could be a need in coming days for expedited services. Once containers are finally released from the ports, they may need rushed delivery to final locations. We haven't seen this yet, but we're ready."

Warehouse operators trying to schedule truckload and less-than-truckload shipments to inland distribution centres are likely to face surges in freight traffic that could challenge their ability to balance freight flow and capacity demand, leading to delays and the detention of drivers.

"There will certainly be a short-term inundation of freight at warehouses," Mr Lynch said.

He expects the focus to shift inland shortly. "The largest impact will be at warehouses that now have to process a week's worth of orders in just a day or two," he said.

But Mr Lynch cautioned about exaggerating the significance of the crisis. "Hanjin's bankruptcy won't have nearly as large an impact as the west coast labour disputes" in 2015, he said.

"We anticipate issue for truck transport to be resolved pretty quickly," he said.

Matt Williams, president of Pro Star Logistics, agreed. "I imagine this will be like when Consolidated Freightways shut down" over Labour Day Weekend in 2002."

Mr Williams recalled that breakdown left freight stranded across North America. "Some stuff will get delivered right away, some will be delayed. At least with CF it was all domestic."


PostHeaderIcon ANL, Coscon and OOCL under A3 alliance to launch Asia-Oz loops

OOCL has unveiled the joint services it will operate in conjunction with partners ANL and Coscon under the newly formed Asia Australia Consortium (A3) that will focus on the trade between North East Asia and Australia.

The A3 will launch three dedicated services, namely the Northern Express, Central Express and Southern Express, connecting 10 major North East Asia ports with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Subject to regulatory approval, the A3 plans to launch the new services starting from September or October.

The port rotation for the weekly Northern Express is Yokohama, Osaka, Busan, Qingdao, Shanghai, Kaohsiung, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and back to Yokohama.

The Central Express is also a weekly service, with the following port rotation: Shanghai, Ningbo, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and back to Shanghai.

The port rotation for the weekly Southern Express is Kaohsiung, Xiamen, Shenzhen-Shekou, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and back to Kaohsiung.


PostHeaderIcon G6 partners boost Asia-Mediterranean trade weekly capacity by 21pc

THE G6 partners have upgraded and increased weekly capacity on their Asia-Med EUM loop by 21 per cent, or about 2,200 TEU, by early September with the introduction of 13,000 TEU-class ships TEU-class ships on the service.

The G6 Alliance comprising APL, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, MOL, NYK and OOCL ?is in the process of replacing seven ships in the size range from 8,750 to 10,700 TEU by units of 13,100 to 13,200 TEU, running alongside three 10,700 TEU vessels.

Some of the ships leaving the service are MOL's 10,010 TEU vessels earmarked for the new Asia-US East Coast NYX service via Panama, reported Alphaliner Weekly.

The larger replacement tonnage for the EUM has become available, as the members of the G6 Alliance decided last month to suspend their Asia-North Europe Loop 6 until further notice.

HMM will contribute six of its ten 13,000 TEU ships to the EUM some of which has recently been idled. OOCL for its part, will shift the 13,208 TEU OOCL Brussels to the loop in early September.

Currently trading on the Asia - North Europe Loop 4 the vessel will be replaced by the 14,026 TEU newbuilding NYK Eagle, currently under fitting out at Japan Marine United Shipyard in Kure. APL will continue to provide three 10,700 TEU ships for the EUM in the foreseeable future, until more 13,000 TEU ships are displaced from other services.

The EUM service turns in ten weeks and calls at Port Said East, Genoa, Fos, Barcelona, Valencia, Port Said East, Jeddah, Singapore, Hong Kong, Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jeddah, Port Said East. All these ports already see calls from VLCS of the 13,000 TEU-class, and some also handle ULCS of 14,000 TEU and larger on a regular basis.

PostHeaderIcon SOLAS amendments and associated guidelines

Starting from 1st July 2016, a packed container will no longer be allowed to be loaded on board vessels unless its Verified Gross Mass (VGM) has been provided by the shipper named in the Bill of Lading, to the ocean carrier and/or the terminal representative.


SOLAS amendments and associated guidelines

The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), at its ninety-fourth session (17-21 November 2014), adopted, inter alia, amendments to SOLAS regulation VI/2 (see resolution MSC.380(94)), to require the mandatory verification of the gross mass of packed containers.

In addition to the amendments to SOLAS regulation VI/2 and with a view to establishing a common approach for the implementation and enforcement of the SOLAS requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers, the Maritime Safety Committee approved the Guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo (MSC.1/Circ.1475).

The aforementioned SOLAS amendments introduce two main new requirements:

  1. the shipper is responsible for providing the verified weight by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan; and
  2. the verified gross mass is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship.

The shipper is defined as a legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. "through" bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company (see paragraph 2.1.12 of the Guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo (MSC.1/Circ.1475)).

Availability to both the terminal representative and to the master or his representative of the verified gross mass of a packed container sufficiently in advance to be used in the ship stowage plan is a prerequisite for the container to be loaded onto a ship to which the SOLAS regulations apply.  However, it does not constitute an entitlement for loading.  Nothing in the SOLAS regulations limits the principle that the master retains ultimate discretion in deciding whether to accept a packed container for loading onto his ship.

The verification of the gross mass can be achieved by either of two methods:

  1. weighing the packed container; or
  2. weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.

The amendments to SOLAS regulation VI/2 were accepted on 1 January 2016 and will enter into force on 1 July 2016.

Contingencies for containers received without a verified gross mass

Notwithstanding that the shipper is responsible for obtaining and documenting the verified gross mass of a packed container, section 13 of the Guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo (MSC.1/Circ.1475) contains contingencies for containers received without a verified gross mass.

In order to allow the continued efficient onward movement of such containers, the master or his representative and the terminal representative may obtain the verified gross mass of the packed container on behalf of the shipper.  This may be done by weighing the packed container in the terminal or elsewhere, but whether and how to do this should be agreed between the commercial parties, including the apportionment of the costs involved.

National and industry guidance

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued MGN 534 (M+F): CARGO SAFETY - Guidance on the implementation of the SOLAS VI Regulation 2 amendment requiring the verification of the gross mass of packed containers, which can be downloaded at:

Industry guidelines developed by WSC and CEFIC/CLECAT/ESC/GSF, independently of each other, were submitted to the Sub-Committee for Carriage of Cargoes and Containers, at its second session, with a view to informing the Sub-Committee. The aforementioned industry guidelines can be downloaded from the following links:

In addition, a coalition of industry experts, jointly lead by the WSC, the TT Club, ICHCA and the GSF, has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and their answers.  The FAQs can be downloaded from any of the following links:


PostHeaderIcon New Ocean Alliance deal made with CMA CGM, Cosco, Evergreen and OOCL

CMA CGM, Cosco, Evergreen and Orient Overseas Container Line have signed an agreement to form the Ocean Alliance enabling them to blunt the power of the mega alliance of Maersk and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). the world's first and second biggest shipping companies.

The stated aim of the new Ocean Alliance is to provide comprehensive service networks covering the Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Red Sea, Asia-Middle East, Trans-Pacific, Asia-North America East Coast, and Trans-Atlantic trades, said the joint communique.

"This is a milestone agreement among four of the world's leading container shipping lines. Each line will offer best-in-class services to customers with fast transit times, competitive sailing frequencies, and the most extensive port coverage in the market," said the statement.

"Shippers will have an attractive selection of frequent departures and direct calls to meet their supply chain needs, including access to a vast network with the largest number of sailings and port rotations connecting markets in Asia, Europe and the United States," said the statement.

The Alliance will also bring service reliability and the most efficient integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of over 350 containerships.

Initially the deployment will cover more than 40 services globally mostly connected with Asia, including about 20 services each in the US and Europe related trades.

Subject to regulatory approvals of competent authorities, the new alliance plans to begin operations in April 2017. The initial period of the Alliance shall be five years.

This development comes in the wake of newly-merged China Shipping Cosco Group as other carriers in Asia and Europe prepare to lineup of five operators to share capacity

The world’s biggest operators have been meeting with the US Federal Maritime Commission, the American regulator, the European Commission and China’s Ministry of Transportation on an agreement expected to set a new landscape in container shipping following consolidation moves since the end of last year.

Chinese regulators have already approved the Cosco-China Shipping merger which resulted in a new Shanghai-based entity called China Shipping Cosco Group, reported the Wall Street Journal.

"An announcement is expected from Shanghai, likely tomorrow where China Shipping Cosco Group will announce its proposed partners," one of those people said. "Talks with the regulators are continuing and substantial changes in the composition of existing alliances may happen."

Two other people involved in the matter said the new grouping may comprise China Shipping, Cosco Group, France’s CMA CGM, Hong Kong-based Orient and Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines.

Such an alliance would control around 26 per cent of the trade between Asia and Europe, the world’s busiest container shipping lane.

Regulatory reviews can take three months or longer. In the past, alliances got the green light from regulators if their combined market share was below 35 per cent

"I expect three main alliances instead of four going forward, and anyone not making it into those groupings won’t be able to survive in five years time," said Lars Jensen, chief executive of Copenhagen-based SeaIntelligence Consulting.

"No matter how this pans out in the coming days, I expect more consolidation to come, which will again change the alliances landscape."

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