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PANAMA CANAL POSTPONES LATEST DRAUGHT REDUCTION
Friday, 07 June 2019 03:34

The Panama Canal has announced it is postponing its latest and sixth draught reduction to 12 June following rainfall in the past week.

However, while last week’s rainfall has resulted in the draught reduction being postponed more rains will be required if it is not take effect on 12 June.

Unless there is a substantial improvement in the water levels of the Canal’s Gatun Lake and Madden Lake which will be announced, the Maximum Authorised Draught will be for vessels transiting the neo-panamax locks, to 13.11metres (43 ft) effective 12 June down from 13.41 metres (44 ft) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW) which was effective 30 April.

Similarly, the Maximum Authorised Draught for vessels transiting the panamax locks will be 11.73 metres (38.5 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said in an Advisory to Shipping it would “continue to monitor the level of Gatun Lake (which supplies fresh water for the locks) and announce future draught adjustments in a timely manner.”

The low water levels in the Panama Canal have been the product of four or five months of almost zero precipitation. It really has been the driest dry season in the history of the canal, ACP vice president for Water and Environment Carlos Vargas said earlier this month.

Draught adjustments will be announced in 30.5cm decrements, generally with at least four weeks advanced notice.

 
RESOLVING LABOUR SHORTAGE VITAL TO BOLSTER LOGISTICS INDUSTRY
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 02:45

 

Despite its fast development, the Vietnamese logistics industry is held back by an acute shortage of human resources from reaching its full potential.

 

This was shared at a forum on human resources development for the logistics industry in Ho Chi Minh City. The forum discussed concrete actions to close the gap between skills supply and demand in Vietnam’s logistics industry. Its was been held by VLA – Aus4skills and VCCI Vietnam.

 

Le Duy Hiep, chairman of the Vietnam Logistics Association, said that the domestic logistics industry is undergoing fast-paced development with the annual compound growth rate exceeding 10 per cent. The logistics industry contributes 5 per cent to the country’s GDP. The government has approved an action plan which would grow the logistics sector to contribute 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, with annual growth of 15-20 per cent by 2025.

 

He further noted that the ongoing trade war between the US and China will prompt American consumers to buy more Vietnamese products, thereby contributing to rising export turnover and creating additional demand for logistics.

 

Despite the positive outlook, many logistics firms are facing HR shortages from senior management personnel to unskilled workers. In addition, vocational schools also have difficulties in providing training and improving the skills of students. Thus, fresh graduates often get low positions with modest salary at logistics companies and need retraining from their employers.

 

According to a survey by VLA, in 2017-2020, the logistics industry needs around 200,000 high-quality workers, with professional qualifications, skills, and English proficiency. By 2039, the figure is expected.

to surge to 2 million. Future workers need to be equipped with professional, ICT, and English skills to meet the field’s requirements in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that human workforce plays an important role in developing the logistics industry. To meet the demand, the training needs to be in line with international training standards.

 

He pointed out that the weaknesses of Vietnam's HR in logistics are discipline and teamwork. Besides providing knowledge and skills, he suggested training institutions need to pay more attention to improving discipline and professionalism for future employees.

 
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.

 
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