MOL Triumph, world’s largest containership, delivered

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) announced that it took delivery of the world’s largest containership, MOL Triumph, from Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. on March 27, 2017.

MOL’s newest vessel, the first of a fleet of six 20,000 TEU-class containerships for the company, was named MOL Triumph in a ceremony at Samsung in South Korea on March 15, 2017. At 400 metres in length and 58.8 metres in width, MOL Triumph is currently the world’s largest containership. With a capacity of 20,170 TEU, the vessel is the first 20,000 TEU-class containership deployed in THE Alliance’s Asia to Europe trade via the FE2 service.

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G3 constructs first new grain terminal since the 1960’s at Port of Vancouver

By R. Bruce Striegler

Responding to a question as to why G3 Global Holdings is proceeding with a new Vancouver grain terminal, Brett Malkoske, G3’s Vice-President, Business Development and Communications says, “Straight-up need, Canadian farmers are some of the best in the world at what they do, which is grow grain.” He points out that production in Western Canada in particular has been growing at a fairly constant pace for some time. “Due to our smaller population, domestic consumption of these goods is relatively stagnant, so a substantial amount of what we’re growing has to be exported, and that growth is coming from Asia.”

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THE Alliance draws up trust fund to protect group from member bankruptcy

By Mike Wackett

THE Alliance is to set up an independently managed trust fund to safeguard cargo operations should one of its liner shipping group members go bankrupt. Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming, K Line, MOL and NYK said they had finalized their network details ahead of THE Alliance launch, and within the vessel sharing agreement (VSA) was a “unique contingency plan”.

“It is envisioned that the fund will be used to continue operations in the event of insolvency of one or more of the member lines. An independent trust fund shall safeguard that customers’ cargo on board the affected member’s ships will be carried to the port of destination,” said an Alliance announcement.

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Yang Ming losses continue to mount after 2016 revenue slump

By Mike Wackett

Taiwanese ocean carrier Yang Ming has added a 2016 US$492 million loss to the net deficit of $258 million the previous year. Revenue plunged to TWD115.4 billion, from TWD127.6 billion in 2015. Lars Jensen, Chief Executive and partner at SeaIntelligence Consulting, described Yang Ming’s financial performance as “very negative”.

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Yang Ming sends out ‘don’t panic’ message to quell shipper fears

By Mike Wackett

Yang Ming issued an update on its financial status to mitigate shipper and service provider concerns after the suspension of its shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The carrier, part of THE Alliance, said it understood that its customers “have access to opinions and news from a variety of third-party sources”, but wanted to “make clear certain developments in our recapitalization plan”.

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New alliances bring bigger ships and more capacity to box trades

By Mike Wackett

The launch of the new vessel-sharing alliances has increased capacity on the Asia-Europe, transpacific and transatlantic trades by 5 per cent, compared with pre-1 April, according to new research from Alphaliner.

A total of 8.37 million TEUs across 913 vessels is now available on east-west alliance deepsea strings, said the analyst. This compares with 7.94 million TEUs on 879 ships operated by the four old groupings.

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U.S. east coast ports winning the battle to bring in Asian exports

By Mike Wackett

The intense battle between U.S. west and east coast ports for Asian imports is being won on the Atlantic seaboard, despite ocean freight rates, according to Drewry. The shift in momentum from the second half of 2016, following the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal, has continued apace, said the consultant.

Drewry said that according to Piers data, which only records U.S. traffic, January and February volumes from Asia to the U.S. east coast were up by 4 per cent, year-on-year, to 760,000 TEUs, with Gulf port throughput leaping by 32 per cent to 82,000 TEUs during the period. This compares with a 9 per cent throughput drop in the two months, to 1.5 million TEUs, for U.S. west coast ports.

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Check the terminal choices before you pick your carrier, shippers advised

By Gavin van Marle

As the new alliance route networks finally begin to take shape, a major U.S. shipper urged his peers to check carriers’ terminal selection as an important criteria when choosing liner services for the next year.

Chris Corrado, Vice-President of Supply Chain at medical supplies manufacturer Ansell, said the firm had just completed its annual tender process and had been scoring carriers on their terminal selection. “We have just finished our annual bid process. A lot of our cargo comes from Asia and we ended up awarding some contracts to carriers which avoided certain relay ports, because in some cases transshipment at these took two days and meant we missed the next sailing, delaying the containers by a further two weeks.

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More positive Hapag-Lloyd chief shrugs off 2016 $100-million loss

By Mike Wackett

Hapag-Lloyd recorded a profit of $46 million in the final three months of 2016– a recovery too little too late to prevent the carrier suffering a full-year net loss of $103 million.

At an analyst and investor conference call, Chief Executive Rolf Habben Jansen said 2017 had “got off to a good start”, but a sustained recovery was “not going to be a quick fix”. He said: “We expect some market improvement in 2017, but our success will largely depend on our ability to achieve more sustainable freight rates.” There was a more optimistic outlook due to “supply and demand starting to come closer together”, he suggested.

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Maersk retreats as Brazil’s imports drift away, leaving no containers for exports

By Alexander Whiteman

Weak import volumes have left Brazil without the necessary empty containers to fulfil export potential, trapping it in a Catch-22 situation that will hinder long-term economic growth. This is the view of Antonio Dominguez, MD of Maersk Line’s east coast South America cluster, who said carriers could no longer be expected to carry the burden of such inefficiencies.

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