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UNDECLARED DANGEROUS CARGOES BELIEVED TO HAVE CAUSED FIRE, EXPLOSIONS ON KMTC CONTAINERSHIP
Tuesday, 04 June 2019 09:01

Mis-declared chemical cargoes of calcium hypochlorite and chlorinated paraffin wax are believed to have caused a blast and fire onboard a KMTC containership at port in Thailand that resulted in 130 people being taken to hospital. 

The KMTC Hong Kong was alongside at terminal A2 in Thung Sukhla on Saturday morning, Laem Chabang port when a fire erupted at around 6-45am. 

The blaze burned on the vessel until Saturday evening when Thai authorities were able to successfully extinguish the fire. More than 130 people were taken to hospital, some complaining of irritation in the eyes and throat, others of a burning sensation on the skin, although no serious injuries were reported. Nearby communities were also evacuated as ash rained down from the blast. 

Originally the fire was not believed to have been caused by dangerous cargoes, however, inspection of the 35 containers at the centre of the blaze showed more than half contained chemical cargoes, and it is believed these were the cause of the fire and explosions on the KMTC Hong Kong. 

Port Authority of Thailand director Kamolsak Phromprayoon revealed 18 of the boxes contained chemical cargoes local media reported. Investigators found that 13 containers had cargoes of calcium hypochlorite in 13 cargos and five had cargoes of chlorinated paraffin. The shippers had not declared the dangerous cargoes and on Saturday it was believed the cargoes were dolls. 

“Generally, every shipment of toxic chemicals, including transferring of shipment, has to be declared before they enter our ports. But as the ship’s company had not declared these toxic chemicals, it would be the duty of the shipping company to claim the damage from the shipment’s owners,” Kamolsak was quoted as saying by The Nation. 

The mis-declaration of dangerous cargoes, in particular calcium hypochlorite, have been in the spotlight given the number of container cargo fires in recent years that have led to major casualties, including the fatal Maersk Honam blaze last year and the Yantian Express this year.

Some container lines have taken to simply banning the carriage of such dangerous cargoes, however, this does not necessarily solve the problem with shippers simply continuing to mis-declare the dangerous cargoes.

 
MAERSK CEO SKOU SEES DIFFICULT MARKET CONDITIONS FOR CONTAINER SHIPPING
Thursday, 30 May 2019 04:49

FREE-SPENDING days at AP Moller-Maersk group, the world's biggest shipping company, are over as its CEO Soren Skou looks forward to a challenging markets ahead in world container shipping.

"We have as a company a long history of not being disciplined on our capex [capital expenditure], but now we are focusing on capex," said Mr Skou, reported New York's FreightWaves.

In recent months the company has maintained a tight rein on capital expenditure over the past year with no large terminal projects or costly new ships ordered and this policy will continue until at least 2020, said the company.

The group's chief holding, the container carrier Maersk Line with its four million TEU capacity, expects trade to grow one to three per cent this year.

"The moderation of container demand growth reflects a broad-based slowdown in all the main economies, following the recovery of 2016 and 2017, as well as negative effects from fast-forwarding of US imports in the fourth quarter 2018 when retailers prepared for a tariff hike," Maersk said in a statement.

Even though the company had a strong start to the year with revenue up 2.5 per cent and operating profit increasing a third, Mr Skou reaffirmed earlier caution stated about 2019 results.

"We are still facing considerable uncertainties from weaker macro numbers as well as the risk from trade tensions" and the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation's 2020 mandate for reducing sulphur emissions from ships, he said.

 
YANG MING CUTS LOSS 67PC AS REVENUES RISE 13PC TO US$1.14 BILLION
Monday, 27 May 2019 02:05

TAIWANESE carrier Yang Ming slashed first quarter year-on-year losses 67 per cent to US$22 million, a result drawn on quarterly revenues of $1.14 billion, which were up 13 per cent.

Yang Ming, part of THE Alliance along with Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express (ONE), said it carried 1.29 million TEU in the first quarter, up five per cent year on year.

The improvement came despite the traditional slack season in the first quarter and rising operating costs resulting from an 11 per cent increase in oil bunker prices, said the company.

Yang Ming cited a forecast from Paris research house Alphaliner that it said shows supply in the container shipping industry growing 3.1 per cent and being outstripped by 3.6 per cent growth in demand, said Alphaliner.

"This prediction signals an improving supply-demand market. With a brighter outlook, Yang Ming continues to adapt to market changes and adjust operating strategies in line with the direction of the market," it said.

As illustration, Yang Ming's fleet of new eco-friendly vessels is well prepared to meet with the upcoming IMO (International Maritime Organisation) 2020 low-sulphur regulations. The company's fleet optimisation plan is another example of Yang Ming's efforts to achieve its corporate social responsibility goals, while increase its cost-efficiency and competitiveness in the market."

In December, Yang Ming outlined its plan to renew its fleet with a mix of owned and chartered ships in a presentation to analysts.

In 2019, it will take delivery of four 14,000-TEU chartered ships. In 2020 and 2021, it plans to take delivery of 10 owned ships with 2,800-TEU capacity and 10 chartered ships of 11,000-TEU capacity.

It also said between 2018 and 2020 it will see 18 charters expire - twelve 4,250-TEU ships and six 8,000-TEU ships - resulting in savings of about $50 million.

Yang Ming also said it will form a new subsidiary with partners in Jakarta named PT Yang Ming Shipping Indonesia, noting that Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Benson Chou has been nominated as president director.

 
TAN CANG-HAIPHONG INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL (HICT). WELCOMING 12,000 TEU – 132,000 DWT VESSEL ROUTING THROUGH TRANS-PACIFIC TO THE WEST COAST OF USA
Friday, 17 May 2019 03:55

 

Haiphong is the main gateway to the sea of the Red River delta and the northern provinces with diversified and rich potentials for marine economic development; the growth pole of the Northern key economic region with a strategic locationfor the regional and international integration.

Determining the important geographical location of Hai Phong, the French built Haiphong Port in 1874, which was the first large-scale project with 6warehouses called “Ben Sau Kho” (today's Hoang Dieu port).

After Haiphong was completely liberated on May 13th1955, in order to satisfy the requirement of economic development in the new period, a series of new terminals have been built consecutively in the downstream of Cam River, closer to the open sea. Over 144 years, Haiphong’sterminal system has been constantly developing and growing. However, through the variability of time and sedimentation of Cam River and the expansion of the urban area, the initial terminals of Haiphong have not been suitable for the upsized trend of mother vessels. Especially, in order to export to America and Europe goods from industrial zones in Northern Vietnam must be always transshipped at an international transshipment hub in the region such as Hongkong, Kaohsiung, Singapore. This increases not only lead time, logistics costs but also risk of goods damage, risk of delivery failure in accordance with the contract when the shipment fails to connect the mother vessel at the transshipment hub, particularly during the peak season.

The birth of Tan Cang Haiphong International Container Terminal (HICT) marks an important milestone in the development of Northern seaport system in general and in Haiphong in particular. In order to form HICT, Saigon Newport Corporation (a Navy Force’s unit) established a joint venture with three partners: Mitsui O.S.K Lines (Japan), Wan Hai Lines (Taiwan) and Itochu Corp (Japan).

Thanks to the valuable facilitation and help of the Vietnamese government, Ministries and Central Departments; leaders and competent authorities of Haiphong city; partnership of the terminal investors; the strenuous efforts of HICT’s management and employees, the absolute trust and support of shipping lines and customers; shortly after its grand opening on May 13th2018, HICT continuously welcomes new services deployed by mother vessels with larger capacity and higher deadweight to accommodate at HICT:

On Apr 11th2019, HICT successfully welcomed the maiden call of mother vessel Northern Jaguar with a capacity of 8,814 TEU, deadweight of 108,731 DWT, LOA of 334m, routing on PN2 service. The PN2 service is operated by THE ALLIANCE between Hapag Lloyd, Ocean Network Express and Yang Ming Line on Trans-pacific route with regular call at HICT, which provides direct service from the North Vietnam to Tacoma (USA) and Vancouver (Canada). This service reduces the lead time from.

Haiphong to West coast of the USA and Canada from 25 days to 17 days compared with the previous route calling at overseas transshipment hubs.

On May 7th, 2019, HICT has successfully welcomed the call of mother vessel Wan Hai 805 with a capacity of 11,923 TEU, deadweight of 132,000 DWT, LOA of 330m operated by the consortium between Wan Hai Lines (Taiwan), Cosco Shipping Lines (China), Pacific International Lines (Singapore) on CP1/ SEA/ AC5 service with regular call at HICT, which provides direct service from the North of Vietnam to West coast of the USA. This service has HICT – Nansha – Hong Kong - Yantian – Long Beach – Oakland – Yantian rotation, cutting down the lead time from Haiphong to west coast of the USA from 25 days to 19 days in comparison to the previous route calling at overseas transshipment hubs.

This fact again affirms the capability of accommodating large mother vessels and HICT’s position in the field of container terminal operator in Haiphong. It sets a milestone for development of container transportation via Trans-Ocean direct service not only from HICT but also from North Vietnam to the US and European ports without transferring at transshipment hubs. The deployment of this new direct service makes a complete change to the picture of port operation and sea transportation in North Vietnam, which significantly contributes to remarkable logistics costs reduction, competitiveness enhancement of Vietnam and Vietnamese enterprises, as well as generating a driving force for investment attraction, especially FDI.

Currently, HICT is accommodating 6 regular services per week, including 2 Trans-Pacific direct services, 2 Indian services and and 2 Intra-Asia services. HICT always ensures high productivity and high qualityservice;well cooperates with functional authorities to clear goods quickly which is highly appreciated by shipping lines and customers.

In the coming time, HICT will continue enhancing the highquality service in order to accommodate more mother vessels on Trans-Ocean direct services and on Intra-Asia services to connect the North Vietnam with the other continents as well as to welcome domestic vessels on domestic serviceswhich links the North, Central, South regions together, hence turning HICT into a major deep-water terminal hub in Vietnam and in the world.

 
CONTAINER FREIGHT RATES SLUMP 4.2% IN APRIL
Monday, 13 May 2019 07:28

Container freight rates fell 4.2% in April to their lowest level since June last according XSI Public Indices published by Xeneta.

The indices based on crowd-sourced data covering 160,000 port-to-port pairings fell back sharply last month having reported container rate rises of 2.5% in February and 0.5% in March.

The indices stand at 104.45 points at the end of April, the lowest level since June last year.

The rate falls were across the board with European imports fell by 4.8%, while exports declined by 1.9%; for Asia the import benchmark dropped by 2.1% while exports slumped 3.6%; and for the US the export benchmark fell by 2%, while the import index dropped by 3.4%.

“The reasons for the decline are complex, but certainly overcapacity on the European trades (with Ocean Alliance increasing activity and new slots for a standalone HMM service) and continued fall out from the US-China trade war (where shippers initially front loaded cargoes to avoid additional cost) have added to longer term structural issues and political/economic uncertainty,” commented Xeneta ceo Patrik Berglund.

“In short, suppliers have benefited from a market in flux due to trade wars, IMO, socio-economical factors, like Brexit, and now the situation is turning. As always, uncertain waters may lie ahead for the contract market.”

Berglund said the outlook remains uncertain, “Geopolitics remain stubbornly unpredictable, with on-going uncertainty over US-China relations, while no one – not even the people at the very top – appear to have a clear view of what is happening regarding Brexit and its consequences.”

 
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