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PostHeaderIcon New alliance networks - Ocean Alliance has most services

With the new alliance networks set to enter the stage on April 1, Drewry carried out a study to compare their respective port coverage, frequency and speed.

The alliances compared are the 2M alliance, comprised of Danish Maersk and Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Ocean Alliance, made up of French CMA CGM, China's COSCO, Taiwanese Evergreen and Hong Kong's Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), and THE Alliance, comprised of German Hapag-Lloyd, Taiwanese Yang Ming and three Japanese companies Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) and K Line.

Ocean Alliance's status is primarily due to it having seven Asia-Middle East/Red Sea services, whereas THE Alliance has only one and 2M none. 2M also loses ground in the Asia-West Coast North America with only five services, compared to Ocean Alliance's 13 services and THE Alliance's 11, Drewry said.

The Ocean Alliance wins out with the most services in three of the seven trades and joint-most in two others along with 2M. THE Alliance has the most services in just the one trade - Transatlantic - and shares top billing in Med-North America with 2M.

With ship deployment details currently unknown, it does not necessarily follow that having the most services will equal the biggest market share on the trade. 2M's lack of numerical advantage in services will in many cases be compensated by operating larger ships, the consultancy further said.

Central China will have the most weekly departures from the Far East with 131, followed by 118 from the Hong Kong/Taiwan/South China region, 98 from North Asia and 70 from Southeast Asia, Drewry's data shows.

North Asia is where the biggest evidence of nationality-bias can be seen as the main customers for Japanese ports will be THE Alliance and its trio of Japanese members.

In the transshipment-heavy Southeast Asia region, Singapore is the clear winner with 35 outbound weekly calls.

In Europe, Rotterdam will be the busiest port in North Europe with a total of 21 inbound calls each week, followed by Antwerp (19). In France, Le Havre is the main port of call with 13 inbound voyages per week, while the Ocean Alliance is the only group to venture away with a single call at Dunkirk. Germany's calls will be split equally between Bremerhaven and Hamburg (13 each).

2M has the clear edge in Scandinavia/Baltic with calls at three ports, versus only one from Ocean and none by THE Alliance.

In the United Kingdom, Southampton leads the way with 10 inbound calls, closely followed by Felixstowe with 9. London Gateway gets its first deep-sea connections with the decision by THE Alliance to use it for two Asia-North Europe services and two Transatlantic loops.

2M has significantly more port calls in the West Mediterranean with 25 inbound calls, versus 19 from Ocean and 16 from THE Alliance. There will be a total of 42 inbound calls each week in the East Med/Adriatic, spread across 19 ports. Only a handful of ports will get more than two calls each week, with Piraeus being the busiest one with seven calls, according to Drewry.

The South Atlantic of the US will turn around the most alliance services with a total of 72 inbound and 70 outbound calls each week, more than double that of any other region in North America.

New York-New Jersey will be the main port for services into the North Atlantic, where 2M is conspicuously weaker than its rivals. Instead, 2M's focus appears to be in the US Gulf region with a total of 12 inbound calls, spread fairly even between the six regional ports. In contrast, the Ocean Alliance has nine weekly US Gulf calls while THE Alliance only has six.

2M also lags behind the other two alliances in the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Its 5 PSW calls at Los Angeles-Long Beach and Oakland are well down on the 15 inbound PSW calls from Ocean and 17 from THE Alliance.

Similarly, 2M's four weekly PNW port calls are dwarfed by eight from THE Alliance and 11 from Ocean, Drewry said.


PostHeaderIcon Maersk Line introduces new Asia-Europe and Transpacific services

The new services will enable Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Maersk Line to accommodate the incoming volumes from the recently announced slot purchase agreements with Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and Hamburg Sud. The two carriers will move cargo, but not operate vessels in the 2M network, according to a Maersk Line statement.

"With these exciting product improvements we confirm our commitment to provide extensive direct coverage and best in class transit times to our customers in the Asia-Europe and Transpacific trades," says Silvia Ding, head of trade in Maersk Line.

"Our new slot agreements require that we increase our capacity. With these service improvements we are adding the necessary capacity to match the increase in volumes. Our aim is and continues to be to manage our capacity efficiently and maintain the stability and continuity of our network."

The AE7 will significantly improve Maersk Line's product from East China into Rotterdam in The Netherlands and Hamburg in Germany. For example, the transit time from Shanghai to Rotterdam and Hamburg will improve by three days respectively.

In the Transpacific, the TP16 will provide new opportunities in the Asia - US South Atlantic trade. The transit time from South China to the US South Atlantic will improve by eight days, which will be the fastest in the market.

In addition, Maersk Line will merge the TP8 and TP3 services between Asia and the US West Coast into one service, the TP8.


PostHeaderIcon South Korea takes steps to restructure shipping and shipbuilding

Mr Yoo added the government would improve the regulation of relationships between ship and cargo owners by October and boost incentives to attract more transshipment cargo.
Regarding the shipping industry, which saw the collapse of Hanjin Shipping last year, South Korea sees market conditions improving after two to three years of corrections, although demand will not be favourable for the time being, the statement said.
To beat these headwinds, the shipbuilders will continue with plans to sell off non-core assets. For example, Daewoo Shipbuilding will sell all assets not related to ship production to shore up liquidity, as well as scale back plans for offshore projects. Hyundai Heavy and Samsung Heavy would do the same with assets that were not key to their shipbuilding business, the statement said.
The statement said shipbuilders would continue to struggle in 2017 because of their reliance on offshore orders, which have been slowing down owing to a broad cooldown in the global economy.
A joint statement regarding the plans said it was uncertain whether the country's three biggest shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries would meet their earnings goals for this year.
If last year we put together the rules and framework for corporate restructuring despite hardships, this year we will engage in restructuring in earnest and make sure the efforts are carried out smoothly," said Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho.


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.

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