Maersk results signal a liner recovery as the tide turns for carriers

By Mike Wackett

The interim results from Maersk Line are a bellwether, indicating a welcome recovery for container lines, but challenging times for shippers.Maersk Line’s average freight rate for the 5.4 million TEUs carried on its vessels in the second quarter of the year was up 22 per cent on the same period of 2016, but for east-west trades, there was a spike of 36 per cent.

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Elbe solutions now urgent as the cost mounts for Port of Hamburg

By Alexander Whiteman

The port of Hamburg may have prevented further declines in the first half of 2017, but the delays surrounding the expansion of the Elbe Fairway continue to cost the German gateway. Container volumes for the period were flat on last year’s at 4.45 million TEUs, and while some saw this as a welcome respite after two years of decline, the port continued to lose ground.

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Cruise industry of crucial importance to Halifax

As owner of Ambassatours Gray Line, Murphy’s Restaurant, Harbour Hopper and other charter vessels, Dennis Campbell knows the significance of the cruise industry to businesses in the port, the city and the province. For the past 30 years Campbell has watched the port’s cruise business grow “from something that was a second thought in the city” economically “to something today that is without a doubt a major economic generator.”

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Temperature-controlled cargo of key importance to Port of Halifax

Looking out at a modern containerized cargo terminal, an image that jumps out immediately is the wide range of colours. The boxes come in a wide range of colours – bright red, navy blue, several shades of orange – but it’s the white boxes that signify a very specific type of cargo and that is high-value products and goods that need to be held at a certain temperature.

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Spectre of overcapacity returns to haunt liner shipping as newbuilds queue up

By Mike Wackett

The spectre of overcapacity is clouding recent analyst optimism that ocean carriers could be heading for a period of sustained profitability. During the first six months of this year, 26 newbuild ships of 14,000 TEU-plus have been delivered – many of which will have been deployed between Asia and Europe, and according to Alphaliner, at least one new ultra-large vessel a week is set be delivered before the market slips into the traditional slack season in October.

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Revenue soars for Japanese lines in Q1 as they eye new alliance

By Mike Wackett

Ahead of their integration into the Ocean Network Express (ONE), the container liner businesses of Japan’s NYK, MOL and K Line all produced improved results in the three months to 30 June – their financial first quarter. NYK, the biggest of the trio, and with a 38 per cent stake in the ONE alliance, saw its liner trade revenue leap 21.3 per cent on the same period of 2016 to ¥171.5 billion ($1.54 billion) resulting in a 14.5 per cent swing back into the black of ¥5.7 billion ($5.1 million).

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Insurers grow twitchy as containerships get bigger and cargo more valuable

By Mike Wackett

With CMA CGM reportedly ready to sign a letter-of-intent for nine ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) of 22,000 TEUs, insurers are becoming increasingly concerned that their exposure may be too concentrated. At a conference in Seoul, South Korea, in early August, shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) revealed it was in competition with a Chinese yard for the order from the French carrier. So far, CMA CGM has declined to comment, but has not denied the reports, something it has been quick to do in the past when linked spuriously to big ship orders.

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CMA CGM ULCV order could send ripples across tradelanes as rates strengthen

By Mike Wackett

CMA CGM’s potential order of up to nine 22,000 TEU ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) is sending a message to the liner industry that the freight rate war that led to the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping is far from over. Based on early reactions to the order news, shippers expect container lines to return to their old ways and lose their current pricing discipline, resulting in freight rates sliding post-peak season.

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Impressive transatlantic growth for U.S. imports, but outlook not so bullish

By Mike Wackett

Container exports from North Europe to North America increased 5.7 per cent, year-on-year, in the first five months of the year, but Drewry is “skeptical” that this growth can be maintained for the full year. Data from PIERS and Container Trade Statistics (CTS) shows U.S. imports from Europe up 4.9 per cent in the period to 890,000 TEUs, while Canadian imports flatlined at some 260,000 TEUs, with volumes to Mexico surging by 20 per cent to about 180,000 TEUs

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Some box terminals are facing ‘catastrophic economic failure’, warns analyst

By Gavin van Marle in Amsterdam

Major container ports could be facing an investment crisis that will dwarf the problems seen in liner shipping over the last few years. At the TOC Europe Container Supply Chain event in Amsterdam on June 27, Lars Jensen, partner and Chief Executive of liner analyst SeaIntelligence Consulting, warned that with the large number of 18,000-21,000 TEU ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) entering the global shipping fleet, the only way operators at hub ports would be able to compete would be to embark on major investment projects – but with little guarantee of a return on investment.

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