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Four more Neo-Panamax cranes arrive at the Port of Savannah
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 02:36

Savannah, Ga. - Four additional Neo-Panamax cranes sailed into the Port of Savannah last week, with a 50- by 100-foot American flag across the side.

"To see these massive new cranes arrive flying the stars and stripes makes us proud to be part of an operation that provides jobs and opportunity for so many," said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch.

Once commissioned, the new cranes will bring Savannah's fleet to 30. Six additional cranes will arrive in 2020. When all are commissioned, the upgrade will allow the nation's largest single container facility to move nearly 1,300 containers per hour.

"As the year draws to a close and we reflect on all the success we've enjoyed, we also look forward to the new era of prosperity these cranes will help usher in," said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "Our considerable investments today ensure Georgia's ports reputation for excellence."

Chief Operating Officer Ed McCarthy said the advantage of these new cranes will be multiplied by several other ongoing infrastructure improvements, including the Mason Mega Rail Terminal. That project will double the Port of Savannah's annual rail lift capacity to 1 million container lifts, and expand the port's reach into the Midwest.

"These new cranes will prepare us for the next wave of growth for Georgia and the nation," McCarthy said. "Today's 15 percent increase in our crane fleet will help GPA stay ahead of the growth curve. Nearly two-thirds of the ships serving the Port of Savannah are Neo-Panamax vessels, and we expect the shipping lines to continue their shift toward larger vessels."

The Neo-Panamax cranes are tall enough to lift containers 152 feet above the dock. The booms reach out 192 feet from the dock face. Lift capacity for each crane is 72 tons. With the booms up, the cranes are 412 feet tall. The crane fleet operates over nearly 10,000 contiguous feet of dock and nine berth spaces.

Upon arrival, technicians must lift and secure the boom for each crane, and complete electrical attachments, mechanical alignments and testing before the cranes are put into use. The first of the new cranes will go into service in February. Two more will be commissioned in March, with the final crane going into service in April.

"This investment, totaling $47 million, will help bring in more business and support more jobs, not only for Georgia but for the entire Southeast United States," Lynch said.

APL is 'back in black' a year after becoming part of CMA CGM
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 03:46

IT has been just over a year since French shipping giant CMA CGM took full control of Singapore-headquartered container shipping line APL in September last year.

In the twelve months there's been a dramatic turnaround with APL notching up an interim profit this year, a first since 2010 and remain on track for a profitable full year.

Nicolas Sartini, a 25-year veteran with CMA CGM, has been overseeing the integration of APL as the line's CEO. He is the perfect man for the job having also been at the helm of other CMA CGM acquisitions in Asia Pacific in recent years, including ANL and Cheng Lie Navigation.

"The results stem in part from a market uptick, but more importantly from a combination of cost management - leveraging scale synergies with the group - and APL's revenue focus," Mr Sartini said.

As part of a larger group, APL now has access to an enlarged fleet of 445 vessels with a combined capacity of 2.2 million TEU.

While the APL brand remains - it has had a slight tweak to reflect its CMA CGM linkage - the Singapore company is able to cut costs by leveraging economies of scale from its parent.

"To lock in cost synergies, CMA CGM Group has combined its operations, office footprints and support functions, and leveraged on the scale of the group to lower vendor cost through joint procurement," Mr Sartini explained, before adding: "However, on the front-line, nothing has changed as APL still operates as a standalone brand under the group. We have our own dedicated front office, sales force and customer services as well as APL independent suite of products and services."

It is noteworthy that since the integration with the Marseille container shipping giant, APL has seen 100 per cent customer retention, Singapore's Splash24/7 reported.

CMA CGM's capture of APL has been just one chapter in a dramatic couple of years of consolidation for the container sector, a phase Mr Sartini believes is yet to close.

"Container shipping is headed into a period of renewed focus on profitability as we have seen a healthy growth in volume and more discipline in the market," he said.

"The ongoing consolidation will ultimately lead to healthier survivors, but the process has not finished yet and we are not out of the woods as an industry, with many of the 12 carrier groups still not back in the black."

Zim's record peak season volume lifts result in major turnaround in profit
Monday, 04 December 2017 02:24

ISRAEL's Zim Integrated Shipping Services recorded an adjusted profit of US$36.2 million in the third quarter, taking the carrier to a $51.3 million nine-month profit, a significant turnaround from the $151 million loss in the same period of last year.

Total revenue in the third quarter soared by almost 30 per cent to $817 million as the carrier transported 688,000 TEU from July through September, a record quarterly volume that was up 10.6 per cent year over year. Adjusted EBITDA was $89.2 million in Q3 compared to $10.5 million in the same quarter last year, according to IHS Media.

ZIM president and CEO, Eli Glickman, said ZIM's third quarter results were a cause for optimism, and he hoped the momentum could be maintained through the next few quarters.

"However, we still face many challenges, including the uncertainty of market conditions, freight rates and bunker prices," he said. "I believe we are on the right track as we continue to outperform the industry."

In its third quarter earnings report, ZIM said the industry was beginning to stabilise after the alliances were reshaped in April and the M&A activities that took place over the last few years and it was benefiting from a positive trend being seen in container shipping over the last four quarters.

The carrier's significant growth in revenue during the three quarters mirrored that of the other container lines, with more boxes being transported at higher rates. The average freight rate per TEU was $1,008, up 12.2 per cent compared to $898 in the comparable period of 2016.

ZIM carried 1.9 million TEU in the first nine months, an increase of 7.1 per cent year over year. The carrier's net profit for the January-September period was $21.1 million compared to a net loss of $168 million in 2016.

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