Friday, 31 October 2014
Thursday, 30 October 2014
UK – US – Stories about ports from the two countries this week illustrate two completely different sides of the world of shipping. Whilst Teeside’s recent investments in ferry and container terminals have made a record week for freight throughput possible, Californian ports are still apparently in chaos, not from a lack of business but simply the inability to manage the volume of cargo they are witnessing.
Teesport, owned by PD Ports, expanded its two box handling facilities and ferry terminal in 2011/12 at a cost of £16.7 million, and this week had an exceptional week handling a record amount of unitised cargo, exceeding its previous record by handling over 12,000 TEU in a single week. The port’s total capacity is now 650,000 TEU making it the second largest container port in the North of England. Frans Calje, PD Ports Managing Director – Unitised and Portcentric Logistics, commented on the record week:
“This year we have seen a significant increase in container volumes being handled at Teesport following the introduction of two new shipping lines and the growing support of the existing and new portcentric customers that use the port on an ongoing basis. Last week we handled the highest amount of containers at the Port which was supported by additional sailings and peak season volumes. Our team at Teesport has performed exceptionally well with the uplift in volume and this week has shown what the Port is capable of.”
Meanwhile the situation described in our last article regarding congestion at the ports of Los Angelesand Long Beach looks set not to be resolved in time for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. Despite a plan to introduce thousands more chassis to convey the huge stockpiles of containers post clearance it seems the wheels are, quite literally, moving too slowly.
Importers report two to three week delays for transport after cargo has been passed by Customs and road haulage outfits are blaming the ports, rather than a lack of equipment, for the extreme delays. Hauliers say that the time taken to load the trailers and the amount of congestion are the main causes of the problems and that it is unlikely that many goods will now arrive and be released in time for the holidays.
Whilst the hauliers turn business away because of the backlog, describing the situation as ‘the worst ever seen’ some importers have been forced to air freight in emergency supplies whilst their goods languish somewhere in the docks, often in off-site car parks being used as makeshift storage, with added extra delays associated for longer recovery.
By Mike Wackett
Chronic congestion at container terminals in Asia, the US and Europe has provided some overdue good news for boxship owners, with many smaller ships that would otherwise have been consigned to lay-up now finding employment.
According to the latest Alphaliner idle tonnage report, there were just 114 containerships laid-up as at 20 October – a four-year low, and especially surprising given the start of the winter slack season.
Port congestion aside, Alphaliner notes that ocean carriers are “adamant about keeping services open for the winter season”, and the suspension of one G6 Asia-US West Coast service and one Asia-US East Coast service from early next month remain the only formal announcements.
It said: “No other main carrier alliance will make ‘official’ service cuts, as shipping lines prefer to rely on skipped sailings to manage the next two months’ low-demand scenario.”
The analyst added that after the withdrawal of 12 Asia-Europe sailings in October, the alliances were planning “at least” 12 more blanked voyages in November/December, with all lines likely to cancel some sailings during this period.
However, managing capacity by blanking sailings has so far failed to address the decline of spot freight rates on Asia-Europe, which have plunged to below $700 per teu from $1,400 at the beginning of August, making the 1 November general rate increases critical.
Alphaliner said that the alliances’ capacity management efforts had not been helped by the Asia-North Europe inducement sailings operated by Zim Lines’ 10,062 teu Zim Tianjin, which, following the formal withdrawal of the Israeli carrier’s liner service on the trade, now offers approximate monthly ad-hoc sailings.
Unfortunately for containership owners, the strong demand for capacity has not been reflected in any significant hike in daily hire rates, and the charter market also has concerns about what is over the horizon.
A sustained period of significantly lower bunker prices could tempt operators to speed up ships – a threat to containership owners if that means fewer ships are required.
However, arguably a bigger threat comes from mega-alliances and carrier mergers. For example, 2M partners Maersk Line and MSC currently charter-in 44% and 58% respectively of their fleets, and given the size of their fleets are the most active players in the charter market.
Under the 2M alliance, both Maersk and MSC will look to off-hire as much surplus capacity as possible once the east-west services are fully integrated – Maersk’s previous strategy was to fix ships on a relatively short-term basis with options to extend.
Elsewhere, Hapag-Lloyd is making the final preparations for its takeover of CSAV’s container services.
The Latin-American specialist currently charters 62% of its fleet and Hapag-Lloyd will be looking to off-hire as much tonnage as possible in order to achieve the targeted $300m a year in cost savings.
Hamburg remains the nerve centre for containership chartering: next week’s annual Eisbeinessen festival negotiations will be a big challenge for owners.
Holiday shipments come to a halt at Long Beach
27 Oct 2014
The Port of Long Beach (POLB) has been battling congestion for the past few weeks, and things don’t seem to be improving with container ships waiting at anchor for a berth.
The cargo congestion comes at a busy time of year, with the holiday season just around the corner – something which has not helped matters, a spokesperson for the port told Port Strategy.
“We are in the midst of the peak shipping season, with imports heading across the country for the end-of-the-year holidays. Volumes are much higher than expected – very near the highest monthly totals ever.”
Last week saw seven container ships waiting at anchor because there were no open berths for them, the spokesperson explained. “Ordinarily it’s rare for container ships to wait an entire day at anchor. But some of these ships are waiting several days.”
However, it’s not the worst cargo pile-up the port’s ever seen. In 2004, “a dozen or more ships were backed up and at anchor many miles down the coast”, the spokesperson told PS.
A chassis shortage has been identified as one of the problems, so the port is working with chassis leasing companies to bring chassis to the region. But, it seems train and trucker shortages are also adding to the problem.
“There is greater demand throughout the economy and goods movement companies are racing to keep up. It seems almost inevitable now that some shipments may arrive in stores too late for this holiday season,” the spokesperson added.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
DKT and Allseas Tie Up and Secure New Business
UK – INDIA - DKT Allseas Shipping has been appointed as the UK liner agent and representative for the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Taking over the agency with effect from November 1, DKT Allseas Shipping will be based in Tilbury, Essex. DKT, otherwise known as the De Keyser Thornton Group, was founded in Antwerp in 1853, and has many years of experience in ship agency and freight forwarding activities and earlier this month seemingly tied up in the UK with the Nottingham based Allseas Group, with Allseas Global Logistics Managing Director Darren Wright also heading up the new company.
The new agency agreement is based on a longstanding relationship, DKT having been SCI's agent in Belgium since 2008. The UK venture will add an in-depth knowledge of the UK market to the services it currently offers. SCI, India's largest shipping company, operates two services a week into the UK, both calling at the Port of Felixstowe in a vessel-sharing agreement. Last year, SCI's services carried a total of 41,000 TEU in imports and exports into and out of the UK, and 25,000 TEU into and out of Antwerp. Philip Van Tilburg, CEO of DKT, commented:
"We hope that this collaboration opens the door for other ship agency opportunities in the near future."
Sixteen of the World's Largest Carriers Now Bound Up in Vessel Sharing Deals
US – WORLDWIDE – The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has cleared the recently announcedOcean Three alliance between freight carriers CMA CGM, UASC andChina Shipping without the 45-day review period that both the 2M and the failed P3 networks had imposed on them. The reason given is that as the three container shipping lines would have a combined market share of under 30%, the new arrangement became legally eligible for exemption of the review period. The fast-tracking of Ocean Three has angered FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky, who, having been the lone dissenter by voting against 2M and P3, is now calling for an internal investigation into the handling of this Vessel Sharing Agreement.
Lindinsky’s main objection to the fast-track is the lack of communication between the FMC staff that finalised the decision and the FMC Commissioners, but Chairman Cordero has said he was satisfied that the staff did their jobs strictly in accordance with the applicable regulations. The FMC Chairman pointed out to Mr Lidinsky that sixty four similar alliances or amendments to existing alliance agreements had been similarly passed in the previous twelve months.
The FMC acceptance of the new arrangement authorises the parties to cooperate on routes between Asia and the US East, West, and Gulf Coasts through a combination of vessel sharing and slot exchange/charter arrangements. This means the arrangement can proceed whilst waiting to see how the outcome of any possible internal investigation would affect the network.
In other alliance news, the members of the CKYHE Alliance; COSCO, K Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping, and Evergreen Line, have informed the FMC, the Chinese Ministry of Transport, and the European Commission, of plans to expand their cooperation to US trades.
On the US trades, CKYHE will follow the same pattern of cooperation that the alliance members have used in the Asia/Europe, Mediterranean trades during the past year, which they hope will provide the carriers with greater operational flexibility and will permit each of them to better serve its customers, offering wider port coverage, increased frequency of sailings and stable transit times.
If granted regulatory approval, the parties will discuss and agree their cooperation with a target implementation date of the spring 2015. The new worldwide alliances will see sixteen of the world’s largest container shipping lines tied up in the four vessel sharing deals, Ocean Three, 2M, G6 and CKYHE, assuming those waiting for Chinese and European approval (Ocean Three and 2M) are found to be acceptable by the relevant authorities.
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
UK – PORTUGAL – Last week WEC Lines announced today enhancement to its current Portugal - UK scheduled services with a second call at Leixões in Portugal, before calling at the Port of Tilbury as part of their ‘SPM2’ rotation. This schedule change to the ‘SPM2’ service began on Monday 27 October and will reduce the current eight day transit time by half, calling at the Ports of Tilbury, Antwerp, Vigo, Leixões, Sines and Lisbon, followed by a second loading call at Leixões, and further strengthening the carrier’s presence in the Portuguese markets.
WEC is a short sea specialist operator headquartered in the Netherlands, and commenting on this service extension, Robert Volker, Line Management, from WEC Lines, said:
“We are delighted to have this faster connection into Tilbury. We have added a second call at Leixões which is a load call only. It will reduce the transit time from eight to four days and in turn gives us a stronger position in the market. Tilbury is the best location for our cargo in the South East as its location, reach, and excellent supply chain ensures that the product reaches inland destinations quickly and efficiently.”
WEC utilises the London Container Terminal (LCT), which handles over half a million containers per year for both deep and short sea customers and Perry Glading, Chief Operating Officer of Forth Ports (owners of London Container Terminal) commented:
“We are very pleased that WEC Lines have chosen to grow their services from Portugal into Tilbury. As London’s major port, we have a sophisticated supply chain infrastructure and fast, reliable connections that WEC Lines require, as well as the right knowledge and experience to assist their growth through a first rate service.”
It's way over due, I know. I have been thinking (and talking) of making the blog international. But with a full time job and two kids under the age of three (and living with a docker), I've been stuck at "Where the xxxx do I start?" and "How can I explain the situation as short as possible?" It seems like an impossible task and I have decided to introduce myself first, and give a brief explanation of what I do with my blog. I will continue blogging in Norwegian as the battle is ongoing, but I will post an English translation every now and then as well as summaries of the conflict(s) in order to keep you updated. There is a "google translate"-button in my blog - I know it sucks - but you'll get the essence of the content. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.
I started blogging back in November '13 after port owners and employers started a smear campaign of the Norwegian dockers through the media. It started in April '13. The public of Norway where served with lies and condescending accusations. There are about 300 dockers in Norway and I felt that they never were heard or got the chance to defend their honour and rights. If they were lucky; the union got a couple of lines in the end of an article.
Direct translation of my blog name is "A docker's wife". I'm not really a wife (no pressure, Roar), a partner for now.
My intention with the blog was (and is) to refute claims and tell the truth as it is. The dockers are claimed to be inefficient and lazy. Overpaid; they don't work for their money. The smear campaign is leaded by the Port Authority of Oslo which is a municipal enterprise. They are the owner of the largest port in Norway. This is where "my" docker works.
All in all it is pretty easy to see through the claims that their main goal is to use cheaper (underpaid) labour. I'll get back to this is later posts. Some of the accusations are so ridiculous I'll even guarantee you a good laugh.
On the behalf of Norwegian dockers I take the liberty to thank all of you supporters out there!
Follow my blog on Facebook: Bryggesjauerfrue
Follow Solidarity with the dockers on Facebook: Solidaritet med havnearbeiderne
Damn proud to be a docker's wife
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE DOCKWORKERS?
By guest blogger Guri Waalen Borch
In the globalized reality that we live in, where the goods we buy often travel around the world before reaching us, it is a paradox that many of those who handle them at the ports are not valued even with fair and stable working conditions. Not only do they find themselves in conflict in many countries, they are also smeared. If they decide to do something about their insecure, unfair and/or unstable conditions, they will easily be called "lazy" by common men and women.
I had not thought much about dockworkers until I spoke at the Welfare Conference here in Norway in October this year. The well known blogger Silje Kjosbakken (known as "BryggesjauerFrue- a docker's wife") was also one of the speakers there, she talked about the ongoing dockworker conflict. It goes on between Norwegian dockers and Holship, Nor Line and other employers who want to use workers without collective bargaining agreements.
Employers want to use their own workers, who stand without those rights, meaning that, on a continuum between labor rights and social dumping, we could be getting closer and closer to the latter. Who earns from this?
Employers, terminal companies.
Which brings me to a conflict in Costa Rica that I came across by accident the other day. Out of curiosity, I started looking into it. In 2012, former president Laura Chinchilla gave harbor concession to the terminal company APM, affiliated with the (Danish) Maersk Group. I have read claims that the future billion dollar container terminal project is a risk to APM; that it is really doing Costa Rica a favor.
Is that true? The dockworkers in Limón, Costa Rica, do not think so. The 33 year concession has granted APM exclusive rights to handling container traffic.
I must mention, Limón has quite an interesting history. The United Fruit Co. opened for business there in 1899. Most of us know that this multinational company used brutal tactics, bought protection and suppressed union organization. Sounds familiar? United Fruit controlled the docks, the loading, shipping and marketing of the fruits, as described by Costa Rican resident Sarah Corbett Morgan here. The port was finally nationalized in 1966, after being operated by an oppressive multinational corporation.
It is also worth mentioning that in the port of Caldera, Costa Rica, which was privatized in 2006, at least two thirds of the workers lost their jobs, and the ones who kept them, lost two thirds of their salaries. According to the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Robert McEllrath, the precarious working conditions resulting from this privatization have caused 46 deaths at the docks.
The dockworkers' union, SINTRAJAP, went through severe abuses from former Costa Rican government when, in 2010, the government had the union's executive board replaced. This happened after the following statements in 2009: "The Government is declaring war to the trade unions of Limón and invites the private entrepreneurs to close ranks in order to allow the concession of the new Caribbean dock to a private company. In two or three weeks the Government will be putting a new dock in Limón out to tender." In the words of the Minister of Transport, "this will be the first shot in a battle that is going to last all year and one of whose aims is to get rid of the dockworkers' union in the Caribbean". According to the allegations in a complaint to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Minister met with representatives of the chamber of employers and told them in the harshest terms that it was a war in which no quarter would be shown.
Later, the Costa Rican Supreme Court ordered the previous executive board to be reinstated. ILO also wrote: "The statements reported seem to have gone beyond the mere exercise of freedom of speech by explicitly urging members to resign from the union and by advocating a new trade union system."
ILO also uttered the following:
ILO also uttered the following:
"although the Government states that there is no anti-union campaign and that the steps it took had no such anti-union objective as putting aside the trade union, it does not deny the statements cited in the allegations which, in so far as they are liable to encourage workers to leave the union or have the effect of destroying the union, are contrary to the right of workers to join the union of their own choosing, in accordance with Article 2 of Convention No. 87. The Committee emphasizes the importance that the authorities' statements to the media should not seek to influence the right of workers to join organizations of their own choosing."
At the moment, dockworkers in Limón are receiving support from other trade unions, but many men and women in the street, as according to statements in social media, still think that these workers' problem is that they are lazy and that the executive board of SINTRAJAP is virtually eating money. It is a sort of rhetoric that is seen in Norway, Costa Rica and world wide, as dockworkers are concerned.
In my head, I can see a hard working docker standing next to the Maersk Group, a huge transnational company, looking to see if he will keep his job and if so, how much of his salary he will keep.
How Costa Rican politicians over the years have made this little man into a problem while finding it perfectly fine that, for 33 years, Maersk be in control of an important harbor area, involving as well possible environmental damage, tells me: People with power also have the power over how people see reality. Governments and powerful companies can transform realities in people's heads. That is why blogs like BryggesjauerFrue's, showing a different reality, are so important.
Guri Waalen Borch is 35 years old, she has a Masters degree in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the University of Tromsø, Norway and has a big social commitment.