Monday, December 13, 2010

Two sailors killed as barge sinks after collision with containership

Chinese rescue workers are searching for six seafarers lost after a containership and a sand barge collided off the east coast of Hong Kong, leaving two men dead.
The barge, carrying 14 crew members, capsized after the collision near Tung Lung Island.

It has been reported that seven men were initially pulled from the sea and taken to hospital, where one of them was declared dead. Another body was found this morning.

Chung Siu-man, an Assistant Director at the city’s Marine Department, said rescue divers were trying to reach the sunken vessel, but the current was extremely strong and the ship was not completely grounded on the sea bed.

He said the nine crew members on board the container vessel were unharmed. The cause of the collision remains unknown, but the spokesman said there had been “poor visibility and big waves” at the time.

The collision is the latest in a spate of similar incidents across the world.

Last week five sailors went missing after their cargoship was involved in a collision with a Dutch chemical tanker in the Black Sea, 20km south-east of Cape Emine.

On 23 November, two containerships collided near the entrance to the Hooghly river in West Bengal, India. There was no loss of life and navigation channels were opened shortly after.

In January, a Hong Kong court convicted four seafarers over the deaths of 18 Ukrainian sailors following a collision of Ukrainian tugboat Neftegaz-67 and Chinese cargoship Yaohai in 2008.

Source IFW

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No heating, so cargo ship crew used kebab grill to keep warm

A cargo ship detained in the UK was found to be in such bad condition that crew members had to keep warm using a kebab grill and light bulbs.

International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Inspector Tommy Molloy found the makeshift heating devices while investigating the Panama-flagged cargo ship Most Sky, which was detained on 8 November by UK authorities in Birkenhead.

Molloy reported serious problems with the engines, no heating – one crew member with a security light had rigged it up in his cabin as a means of heat, while another used an old kebab grill – and air ducts were broken and blocked-up with paper to stop cold air coming through.

Molloy also found there was no fresh food on board and the crew were using their own money to buy bread from a local shop.

Seafarer union Nautilus said a maritime solicitor had been provided for the crew of the Most Sky and the vessel had been arrested on their behalf for owed wages and repatriation.

Molloy said conditions onboard many vessels in 2010 – named the Year of the Seafarer by the UN’s International Maritime Organisation – were no better than 100 years ago. Molloy said: “It is no more the year of the seafarer than it was in 1910.

“The obvious question is how this vessel was allowed to leave the previous port, and the port before that.”

Nautilus said last month, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained seven vessels in UK ports for issues “that have no place in the operation of a seagoing vessel in 2010”.

One was detained in Lowestoft because the main fire pump was not working, there were insufficient life rafts, the sanitary system was broken and there was no fresh running water to the galley, pantry or shower room.

The MCA also discovered the ships had insufficient provisions, medicines were out of date and that distress flares, line-throwing appliances, lifebuoys, life-jackets with lights, immersion suits, satellite emergency position indicating radio beacon, fire extinguishers and fire hose nozzle were missing.

Source: IFW  18th Nov 2010

Molloy said: “It is no more the year of the seafarer than it was in 1910.

“The obvious question is how this vessel was allowed to leave the previous port, and the port before that.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

U-Freight on the move in Ireland

As part of a revised business strategy, U-Freight’s associate in Ireland, EFL International Distribution and subsidiary, SkanTrans Ireland has moved its freight handling and distribution activities to a 7,000 sq m facility close to Dublin airport.

Despite the global downturn in general trading, the company’s existing warehouse facility adjacent to the company’s head office at Santry, Dublin was not large enough to support the volume of trailers and containers that require loading and unloading.

The new warehouse is located at ECS House, Willisborough Industrial Estate, Clonshaugh, Dublin 17 and will allow EFL to better serve its fellow associates within the U-Freight Group.

EFL International Distribution Ltd has been an agent associate of the U Freight Group for over 20 years in Ireland and together with its subsidiary, SkanTrans Ireland Ltd, provides full operational and administrative services covering Customs Clearance, EU trailer and short sea container, air freight plus FCL and LCL ocean freight operations on a global basis.

“We are delighted with our new warehouse location which offers excellent access to Dublin International airport and will allow us to continue to improve our service capabilities,” commented Chris Radley, Director of EFL International Distribution.

“The new warehouse is the hub of all activities in some form or another from cross docking, labelling, location, security, to full stock control and inventory reporting plus pick and pack operations.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

France hit by third general strike in just over a month

A one-day general strike in France today 12th Oct'10 – a protest against a pensions reform Bill – could trigger open-ended industrial action at state railway SNCF and at the country’s main container ports.

The Bill, which focuses on raising the minimum retirement age, is being rubber-stamped in the French Senate having already being passed by the Assembly. At SNCF, the strike began at 8pm yesterday and all its unions gave notice that they were ready to stage rolling strikes, renewable from day to day after the general strike ends, if there is no government climb-down on increasing the minimum retirement age.

Its rail freight division, Fret SNCF, has warned customers it expects “serious disruption” to services today, that that could extend into tomorrow. Each day of strike action costs the state operator an estimated €20 million in lost revenue. At the ports, the CGT Ports and Docks Federation has called on its members to intensify action and stage open-ended strikes to get the government to modify the Bill to take into account the physical nature of the work carried out by dockers and crane drivers.

It has already curtailed the length of shifts over the past few weeks and instigated stoppages over the last two weekends . At Marseilles, a separate strike by oil terminal workers has entered its third week, raising fears of fuel shortages in France. Cross-Channel ferry operator SeaFrance said its staff were not strike, but industrial action by port workers at Calais meant vessels were taking longer to dock than usual.

Unions representing SNCF and port workers will convene meetings this evening to vote on prolonging the strike. As for road freight, a senior official of the main union representing French truck drivers, the CFDT, told IFW that while its members had been urged to support today’s general strike, prolonged action was not yet on the agenda.

A spokesman said: “As the pension reform Bill stands, truck drivers who qualify for early retirement will be adversely affected, but we’ll wait and see what comes out of today’s protest before taking a decision next week on whether to engage in action specific to the road haulage sector.” With air traffic controllers also backing today’s strike, the French Civil Aviation Authority has requested that airlines reduce their flight programmes by 30% at Paris Roissy-CDG and by 50% at Paris Orly airports. Air France said it expected to operate all its long-haul flights, but has cancelled some domestic and European services. The French Post Office estimated that around 17% of its staff were on strike this morning.

Source: IFW

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NITL signs up for liner reform

The US National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), which represents more than 600 shipper and transport firms, has said it is in favour of the “underlying reforms and purposes” of the Shipping Act of 2010.

The Bill was introduced to the US House of Representatives on 22 September by Congressmen James Oberstar and Elijah Cummings.

If passed into law, the Bill, which has been welcomed by shipper organisations around the world, would eliminate anti-trust immunity for ocean carriers serving the US, bringing an end to shipping lines engaging in joint negotiations on freight rates or surcharges through conferences.

The NITL said the current US shipping regulatory system did not work in the best interests of US businesses that were required to compete in the global market. “The bill seeks to address recent problems faced by importers and exporters in enforcing service contract obligations in a timely and cost effective manner,” said the NITL. NITL President Bruce Carlton added: “The bill recognises that increased competition, reliability and market-driven efficiencies are necessary for services provided by the liner carriers in the US-international trades.”

Congressman Oberstar argues that the new legislation will prevent liner carriers discussing or agreeing upon rates and charges, including guidelines that form the basis of pricing services for their customers. “Eliminating the anti-trust immunity for these [liner] conference agreements will increase competition by requiring ocean carriers to compete in the marketplace with the best price and service to get shippers’ business,” he said last month.

Source: IWF 5th Oct 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

JNPT and Mumbai 'back to normal' after vessel collision

India’s two biggest ports are to resume operations today after the last containers blocking the approach channels to Jawaharlal Nehru (JNPT) and Mumbai were cleared, according to local reports.

The Indian Directorate General of Shipping has said the Navy will no longer escort vessels in and out of the ports. Over a fortnight ago, a collision between the containership MSC Chitra and cargo vessel Khalijia 3 off the Mumbai coast closed the ports completely. Around 250 of the containers that fell off the MSC Chitra and blocked the approaches would now have floated towards South Maharashtra, and have been declared “as good as lost”.

Joint Shipping Secretary Rakesh Srivastava said: “There is no congestion at the ports now. Around 93 vessels have left Mumbai and JNPT and 80 others have entered the ports to discharge or load cargo.” Meanwhile, experts have started an attempt to stabilise the MSC Chitra by adding ballast water into one of its tanks. The government and Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) have asked Mediterranean Shipping Company, the owner of the Chitra, to pay compensation for the spillage.

MPT Chairman Rahul Asthana told reporters: “Following the principle of strict liability, MSC will have to bear the cost of operations and the loss of business. This would also include the cost of cleaning up the environment once we have quantified it,” Many foreign ports will not handle vessels over 20 years old, fearing they are not very seaworthy and could slow operational efficiency. The MSC Chitra is 31 years old and the Khalijia 3 about 26. MSC said: “For reasons not known to us, the Khalijia 3 unexpectedly continued turning to port and came back to cross the fairway again, now heading in a generally northbound direction, and struck the MSC Chitra’s port side. “Therefore, it would appear that, under the rules of navigation, the Khalijia 3 was significantly in error. We, of course, await the results of the full inquiry.” The President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations has said that the closure of the ports could affect US$4 billion of trade.

Source: IFW

Friday, August 20, 2010

Russia plans revamp of over-bureaucratic customs service

Russia plans to reform its customs administration after President Dmitry Medvedev admitted that the current flawed system was putting off investors.

Lengthy delays, fluctuating costs and over-bureaucratic procedures were stifling trade, said Medvedev, according to Prime-Tass news agency. Customs officers physically inspect some 44% of shipments moved across Russia’s borders – a process that on average takes five days. This compares with just 3% of shipments physically inspected in the US and Germany, and less than 2% in the UK.

“Expenses related to crossing the border are sometimes unpredictable, and lead to refusal of placing new manufacturing in Russia,” Medvedev added. “These problems also concern domestic manufacturers, including potential exporters of hi-tech products. All this puts us into a very grave environment.” He called for the creation of a “green channel” to speed up the movement of hi-tech goods.

Russia is ranked 120 out of 183 countries in this year’s Ease of Doing Business survey by the World Bank. Its performance in the Trading Across Borders index was even worse, ranking a lowly 162nd. The World Bank found that import and export procedures in Russia for a standard shipment – including document preparation, customs clearance, port handling and inland transport – on average takes 36 days and costs $1,850.

Source: IFW

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lufthansa Cargo aircraft crashes at Riyadh

A Lufthansa cargo plane has crashed and “split in two” at Riyadh Airport in the Saudi capital, but the crew are reported to have survived.

Saudi state TV reported that the MD-11 cargo plane crashed this morning at King Khaled International Airport, with reports suggesting the plane split in half on impact and caught on fire. Another source, quoted on the news wires, described the plane as being “totally finished”. Lufthansa said the crew of two pilots were being treated in hospital, while the Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation said firefighters were battling to contain the blaze.

A Lufthansa spokesman said: “According to the latest reports, a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 freighter crashed this morning at 11.38am (local time) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “The aircraft, coded Flight LH 8460, was on a flight to Riyadh from Frankfurt, Germany. “On board Flight LH 8460 was 80 tonnes of freight. It is not yet known exactly what type of freight it was or which customers are affected. “The cause of the accident is still being investigated. At the moment, we have no further details.”

In 2009, IFW reported on two MD-11 crashes: in December, Avient Aviation’s first MD-11 freighter was involved in a fatal crash at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, just days after entering service for the Zimbabwean carrier. Three of the seven crew members died in the crash. And in March last year, a FedEx MD-11 freighter from Guangzhou crashed at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Strong gusts of wind were blamed for the accident.

Source of report: IFW Tue 27th July 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Distribution hub change of address

EFL International Distribution Ltd and their daughter company, SkanTrans Ireland Ltd., are making changes to enhance their European transport services.

Commencing Monday 19th July, the handling and distribution of all free circulation goods moved on the services of EFL and SkanTrans, will be processed at the following address; ECS House, Willsborough Industrial Estate, Clonshuagh, Dublin 17.

“The facility will provide the capability to reduce the overall transit time for deliveries throughout the Island of Ireland” comments Eddie Mullin, MD of EFL.

All contact details for both companies will remain unchanged.

EFL International Distribution Ltd., have been operating global freight transport services since 1983 with particular focus on Airfreight, Ocean Freight and EU container and trailer services.

Meanwhile, SkanTrans Ireland Ltd., commenced operations in 2001, covering all locations within the countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden for imports and exports. Today they are also the Irish agents for the Eurohub group.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

China scraps export rebates on 406 products

The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday that the scrapping of export tax rebates on some steel products does not signal any change in China's foreign trade policy and would not cause a sharp fall in China's exports.

Just this past Tuesday the Ministry of Finance said China would drop export tax rebates on 406 goods beginning July 15. The items included some steel products and non-ferrous metals, as well as some plastic, rubber and glass products.

The move aims to discourage exports of high-polluting and high-energy-consuming products and to reduce emissions. It is also part of the country's efforts to accelerate its economic restructuring, the MOC said.

The tax cut might weigh on the profitability of some companies in the short term, but it will not dent the strength of China's export recovery in the long run, as it affects just one percent of the country's total exports.

The removal of the rebate would also contribute to the healthy long-term growth of China's exports, the ministry said.

Source: Xinhuanet

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pirates and Captain killed in gun battles

The crew of a Libyan cargo ship hijacked by pirates in February yesterday regained control of the vessel after a bloody onboard battle. And in the Gulf of Aden, when Somalian forces stormed a hijacked Panamanian ship, pirates refused to surrender and killed its captain.

Reports suggest between five and nine pirates were killed as the crew of the Libyan-owned Rim fought the pirates. The European Naval Force, EU Navfor, said one crew member was seriously injured during the incident, which happened off Somalia’s coastline. The Navfor warship, SPS Victoria, tasked to give medical assistance, launched its helicopter, but as it approached the Rim, a second vessel controlled by pirates changed course to intercept.

EU Navfor said: “Confusing reports that the ship had been attacked again came prior to the helicopter reaching the scene. But it was quickly established that the crew were in control of the vessel."

It added: “There were, however, pirates in the vicinity who were attempting to impede the EU Navfor operation by utilising another hijacked merchant vessel, Daisy. “As SPS Victoria’s helicopter approached the Daisy, it changed course – no warning shots were fired.” The drama in the Gulf of Aden began In the early hours of yesterday when pirates hijacked the 15,000-tonne Panama-flagged general cargo ship QSM Dubai (pictured above), which has a multinational crew of 24.

A force of soldiers from Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region later stormed the vessel and captured seven pirates after a brief gun battle."Our troops stormed the Panama-flagged vessel and engaged the pirates. There was brief fighting before they defeated them," said Said Mohamed Raage, Puntland Minister of Ports and Marine Transport. "We arrested seven pirates after they killed the captain of the ship." And more pirates, armed with machine guns, failed to capture a containership off the coast of Somalia yesterday.

Report issued on IFW mailshot 3rd June 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trouble in South Africa

The strike organised by South African Transport & Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) turned violent on its first day, resulting in the arrest of thirteen protestors who now face charges of public violence, assault and intimidation. Sharon Gill reports ...

Transnet has instructed its lawyers to prepare disciplinary charges against those behind the violence and intimidation, and has called on the leadership of organised labour to instil discipline among members and to respect the rights of those employees who choose to work.

Police fired rubber bullets when striking SATAWU members attacked and assaulted subcontractors on the first day of protest action at Transnet facilities on Monday morning. Twelve people were injured, and six are in hospital.

According to Transnet spokesman John Dludlu, the company has collected video footage that will be used to pursue the intended criminal and disciplinary actions.
Meanwhile, SATAWU reportedly hailed the first day of the strike as an overwhelming success.

In other news, a train transporting fuel from the coast to the inland market derailed yesterday morning in KwaZulu Natal - one of several incidents that have occurred since the strike began. Transnet suspects that the incident was due to sabotage, since it would have required specialist knowledge of the infrastructure to damage the 100 metres of rail track that caused the derailment.

ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu said in a statement that the ANC has condemned the suspected act of sabotage, and urged the police to leave no stone unturned in tracking down, arresting and charging anyone behind the sabotage.

Transnet had approached the courts as acts of violence escalated during work stoppage-related activities organised by SATAWU, out of concern for the safety of its employees, assets and suppliers as well as the interests of its customers.

According to Transnet's recognition agreement, the unions are responsible for discipline and order during a strike. Picketing rules have been agreed between management and SATAWU in all regions. However, Transnet now says that the acts of violence, vandalism and intimidation are deeply concerning as it indicates that the unions' leadership either cannot control its members or is condoning such acts.

Transnet has revised its original offer from an 8% increase across the board to an 11% increase on pensionable earnings, backdated to April 1st, 2010. The unions are holding out for 15%.
The Democratic Alliance pointed out that even the 11% offer was almost double the current inflation rate, and claims that the two unions are trying to use the World Cup as leverage to achieve unreasonable wage increase expectations.

Having appealed to employees to seriously consider the 11% increase offered, Transnet is applying the "no work, no pay" rule.
About 85% of Transnet's 54,000 employees are unionised, the two recognised unions being the South African Transport & Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), which represents about 39% of Transnet employees, and the United Transport & Allied Trade Union (UTATU), which represents 45%.

Transnet said that while UTATU is consulting its members on the 11% offer, SATAWU has unilaterally rejected the offer without consulting members.
The unions have now asked the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA) to intervene in the wage dispute, and at the time of writing, the parties were due to attend a meeting in Johannesburg to try to resolve the strike, which is now in its fourth day.

Source: Eyefortransport

Friday, April 9, 2010


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Highly trained staff combined with ongoing investment in technology, keeps our developments at there highest level.

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Call your local office for more details or to place your booking.


Vat Logistics BV
Marco Polostraat 2-14,
3165 AL Rotterdam,
Contact: Mr. Paul Roeland
Phone: +31 102996301
Telefax:+31 104281192


EFL International Distribution Ltd
Unit 4b, Snatry Hall Industrial Estate
Santry, Dublin 9.
Contact: Mark or Peter
Phone: +353 1 8867700
Telefax: +353 1 8425450


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shorter charters, smaller ships dominate 2010 market

With the bulk of this year's charters dominated by smaller vessels, appetite for larger ships seems to have fallen, reports Alphaliner.

A total 88 per cent of the 1,820 fixtures for January to September have been taken up by ships with capacities of less than 2,000 TEUs, a far cry from the 10,000 TEU monsters that dominated two years ago.

Fixture periods meanwhile have also taken a dive, with charters for the first nine months now recording average leasing periods of just four-and-a-half months.

The lack of appeal for longer leases is largely being attributed to the volatility in rates caused by the large gap between capacity and trade volumes that have made carriers ever-more wary about sudden shifts in prices.

Furthermore, due to low levels of trade, many have been also pushing for lower charter fees, with spot rates for September down by 68 per cent year on year.

Ship operators argue that low rates and overcapacity put them at great risk. German lines, which own about 61.5 per cent of leased vessels, have been particularly concerned, giving rise to a recent equity deal with Chilean carrier CSAV.

Feeder operators like Singapore-based Sea Consortium meanwhile, which rely heavily on chartered loads, capitalized on the low rates by adjusting their fleets and expanding their networks.

Reference: Shipping Gazette

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shift in attitudes brings opportunities for forwarders

A shift in attitudes from shippers is seeing an increasing number contracting with freight forwarders for ocean and air transport procurement needs. This reverses the trend where major shippers took such activity in-house, cutting out the forwarder.

That is the theme of a new report, Using International Freight Forwarders - Costs, Contracts and Best Practices, published by industry consultants Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.

An increasing number of clients are also relying on freight forwarders to handle a wider and more complex range of services and requirements. This is having the result of requiring more complex business contracts and practices being created.
The new report has been researched and written from the perspective that logistics is not a core business for many manufacturers and distributors. Contracting out to freight forwarders and third-party logistics (3PL) and 4PL providers can mean cost advantages and the flexibility of a wider carrier base - "so long as you know what you are dealing with," says the company.

Drewry believes that managers new to logistics will find this report a valuable mentor. For "battle-hardened professionals", it is a source of the latest forwarding data and best practice benchmarking while for anyone connected with logistics it is a reference for how to get the best from the freight forwarding supplier whilst managing the inherent risks.

The report costs £1,195 in printed and PDF versions and £950 for an electronic version.
Source: Freight Fox

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Challenges for air cargo

The air freight sector must beware of complacency, facing new threats and with recent improvements in volumes and yields limited to certain markets, according the chief economist for IATA.

Brian Pearce told delegates at Iata’s World Cargo Symposium in Vancouver: “There has been a strong bounce-back in some markets, such as developing economies.

“But it’s a different story in developed economies, particularly in Europe, where economic activity is still very flat.”

Air freight rates have, in places, returned to the levels they were at 12 months ago, he said, and had seen higher growth than ocean rates, but it had taken around 160 freighters leaving the market to bring about the revival in load factors and rates.

“But poor asset utilisation and more capacity being delivered means we are not out of the woods in terms of cargo rates,” he said.

Pearce warned that the global economy was still facing major challenges that threatened the future profitability of air freight.

“The price of a massive rescue package in sluggish western economies was a massive budget deficit – and we will face higher taxes to pay for that, so growth in those economies will be slower,” he said.

“Fuel prices are also starting to rise, and environmental policies will also add to costs.”

He added that the sector also still faced structural challenges in terms of how to turn market growth into profitability.

David Hoppin, managing partner of Merge Global consultancy, added further gloom.

“Two-thirds of GDP in the US comes from consumers, and we think consumer psychology has changed,” he said. “We think there’s a strong possibility of a double-dip recession.”

However, Ram Menen, divisional senior VP of cargo for Emirates.disagreed.

“The strength of the economy is better than I thought it would be,” he said.

“We will see a shift into the consumer markets of China and India, which are strengthening with a new set of consumers who are young with a disposable income.”

But Des Vertannes, head of Etihad Cargo, took a more cautious stance.

“Air freight has benefited from limited ocean capacity, and inventory replenishment continues to be far more controlled,” he said.

“But the threat of unemployment prevails, and banks are still not lending – that’s a critical area.”
Source IFW

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

China Mainland shippers groups seek 'unreasonable' fees probe

Logistics and container industry groups in 10 mainland cities have filed a request to the Ministry of Transportation to investigate into international ocean carriers charges, according to a report of National Business Daily.

Groups from Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Dalian, Tianjin and Qingdao have joined to ask that "unreasonable" demands including: equipment management fees, container seal fees and document printing fees demands be probed.

Industry protesters claim ocean carriers collect fees during the operations of container transportation which amount to nearly CNY30 billion (US$4.4 billion) a year. In Shenzhen alone, the document printing fee totalled to CNY300 million in 2008 based on the port's annual throughput of 21 million TEU, said the report, also carried by Xinhua.

Shenzhen Container Trailer Association secretary general Xu Xiaoming said road carriers are the same as ocean carriers and it is unreasonable that they be charged fees for moving cargo to the terminal. Large ocean carriers like Maersk should not bully road carriers into paying such fees, they said.

A lawyer who has been examined related cases said Maersk is trying to transfer the risk of offering low rate in order to remain competitive by charging such fees to cover its loss.

The lawyer cited in the story noted that Maersk is not charging such fees at overseas ports. Commenting on this, Xu Xiaoming said this was because there are still loopholes in the related laws in China.

Maersk China spokesman Yan Ci said the charges do not break the law and will continue to be applied.

A recent statement posted on Maersk's official website said the company is trying to reduce operating costs and hopes to "go through the hard times with its customers".

The carriers said the rate in 2009 was too low to cover costs and it needs to be adjusted. It apologized for the problems caused during the process of tackling this situation and promised to solve them.

Reference: Shipping Gazette

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bangkok Security

Our U Freight colleagues have provided us the following update:

Once again we find ourselves facing unsettling times politically with the planned mass rally by the UDD in Bangkok this weekend. As you are probably aware the Government has implemented the Internal Security Act to be effective in Bangkok and several surrounding areas, including Samut Prakarn province where Suvarnabhumi Airport is located, between March 11th and 23rd. This allows for all security to be controlled by the Military through the Internal Security Organising Committee (ISOC), under the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister Mr.Suthep, instead of the Police.

The UDD’s stated intent is to cause a dissolution of the present Government through the means of mass, peaceful rally in strategic locations of Bangkok. Whilst it is not clear exactly how they plan to achieve this there are indications that they will attempt to disrupt traffic and generally inconvenience the normal daily routine of Bangkok and other provinces in close vicinity. They have indicated that they may blockade routes into and out of the City and it does not appear as though seizure of any of the airports is their primary intent at this time.

We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops. At this time there is very little confirmed information but we are preparing for possible disruption to traffic in and out of the City. We are meeting regularly to discuss contingency plans to deal with the situation as it develops. Initially the biggest challenge appears to be whether the traffic disruptions will cause problems for staff and cargo to access the airport/seaport and if so how severe the traffic disruptions could be.

Estimates of how many people will join the rally vary from 50,000 to 300,000 so it is very difficult to predict the extent of any disruption including if any roads will be partially or fully blocked. Whatever the degree of disruption it will affect equally staff and cargo trucks. Please expect some delay of the shipment due to the delay problem of transportation during this period which we will informed to you in case by case if any.

We have identified where our staff live and assessed the possible disruption based on the location of their homes and will use this information to plan for contingencies depending on the degree of disruption. Our prime concerns are to ensure the safety of our staff and their families whilst being able to continue to provide our usual level of service to our valued customers.

Should the situation deteriorate or a seizure of the airport appears more likely we will fallback on our alternate plans for UTP however, the situation of airport closure is not viewed as likely at this time.

We will keep you posted as our plans develop and hope that the situation remains calm and controllable as we approach the weekend.

*UDD = National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship

*UTP = Utapao Airport

Best regards,
Waraporn Ninwat
U-Freight (Thailand) Co.,Ltd

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shanghai bans dangerous cargo shipments during Expo

The Shanghai Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA) announced the imposition of restrictions on certain dangerous goods shipments during the World Exposition 2010 Shanghai.The world's fair will be held from May 1 to October 31 and is expected to draw a crowd of 70 million.SMSA announced that from April 15 to November 15 all port terminals located in the middle and upstream parts of the Huangpu River are prohibited from handling dangerous cargo. In addition, all port terminals, except for Yangshan terminals, will be prohibited from handling dangerous cargo From April 30 to October 31. Furthermore, the export of fireworks at Wai Gao Qiao (WGQ) terminals will require local authority's approval on a per voyage basis.It is recommended that customers to exercise caution when accepting prohibited dangerous cargo as there is no recourse when the vessel arrives between the prohibited periods.

Reference: Shipping Gazette

The Shanghai Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA) announced the imposition of restrictions on certain dangerous goods shipments during the World Exposition 2010 Shanghai.The world's fair will be held from May 1 to October 31 and is expected to draw a crowd of 70 million.SMSA announced that from April 15 to November 15 all port terminals located in the middle and upstream parts of the Huangpu River are prohibited from handling dangerous cargo. In addition, all port terminals, except for Yangshan terminals, will be prohibited from handling dangerous cargo From April 30 to October 31. Furthermore, the export of fireworks at Wai Gao Qiao (WGQ) terminals will require local authority's approval on a per voyage basis.It is recommended that customers to exercise caution when accepting prohibited dangerous cargo as there is no recourse when the vessel arrives between the prohibited periods.

Reference: Shipping Gazette