Thursday, February 17, 2011

Irish hauliers threaten fuel surcharge

Road hauliers in Ireland say they can no longer guarantee reliable services without introducing a surcharge to offset rising fuel costs.
The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), which represents more than 1,000 Irish haulage companies, has written to the Irish Exporters Association, Irish International Freight Association, Irish Business and Employers Confederation and Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association calling on their members to support their transport providers on the question of introducing a fuel surcharge.

IRHA President Vincent Caulfield said: “Our members are finding it increasingly difficult to offset the high cost of fuel and cannot afford to wait for consignors to come round to accepting the seriousness of this issue. They need action now.

“We believe the haulage industry alone cannot be expected to bear this ever-increasing cost, and it presents the basis for negotiations aimed at maintaining price competitiveness and protecting Ireland’s export business.”

The IRHA claimed the majority of its members were struggling to survive with fuel now accounting for up to 50% of their annual operating costs.

“The two-cent per litre budget increase in the price of diesel has increased the annual cost of keeping just one truck on the road by as much as €3,000 (US$4,062),” said Caulfield.

“When you factor-in the carbon tax, the price of diesel rose by 18 cents a litre, or the equivalent of 17%, during 2010.”

Source: IFW

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thirteen sailors die as ships are torn apart

There are fears that 13 sailors may have perished over the past week when two cargo ships were ripped apart in separate incidents. On 9 February, a 1,400grt Russian cargo vessel was split in two when it was hit by a South Korean containership off the coast of South Korea.

Reports suggest the newly built 80,000-tonne South Korean ship was undergoing sea trails when it struck the Alexandra off the coast of Ulsan.

To date, reports indicate that only one sailor from the crew of 11 Russians aboard the Alexandra was saved, after he managed to clamber onto a raft.

Four sailors have been found dead and another six are unaccounted for.

The South Korean Master of the newbuild vessel has been detained by officials for questioning.

The Alexandra was sailing from Japan to China when disaster struck.

Then, on 13 February, a Turkish cargo ship, caught in a powerful storm while anchored off the coast of Sochi on the Black Sea, was torn in two.

Rescuers attached ropes to the ship and 10 sailors managed to get ashore. But two other crewmembers were seen to be in the water after the vessel had broken in two.

According to reports, attempts to find the two missing sailors were called off later on Sunday due to the bad weather.

The Tanzania-flagged ship was carrying basalt to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Source: IFW

Monday, February 14, 2011

Exports drive revival in Dublin throughput

The port of Dublin saw its cargo volumes jump by 6.1% in 2010, driven by a double-digit increase in exports.
The Irish port handled 28.1 million tonnes in 2010, with imports increasing 2.4% to 16.9 million tonnes, while exports up 12.2% to reach 11.1 million tonnes.

But volumes were 10% down on the port’s best ever performance, recorded in 2007.

Growth was concentrated in the unitised cargo, which was offset by declines in bulk liquid and bulk solid cargoes due to the sluggish performance of the economy.

Ro-ro freight units increased by 12.8% to 725,665 – less than 1% down from the port’s highest ever throughput, while lo-lo container volumes jumped 1.1% to 554,259teu.

Growth in the year was driven in part by the new CLdN ro-ro services to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.

The port is expecting further growth in ro-ro volumes in 2011, after Seatruck Ferries announced a new freight-only service linking Dublin with Heysham.

Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company Eamonn O’Reilly said: “2010 was an exceptional year for Dublin Port. Notwithstanding the poor performance of the economy, port volumes grew by 6.1% as importers and exporters sought to minimise the cost of moving goods to market.

“For 2011, we are projecting continued growth, albeit at a reduced level compared to 2010.”

Source:   IFW

Friday, February 11, 2011

A positive step towards a multimodal Europe

Member state transport ministers, EC Vice-President for transport Siim Kallas and the Chairman of the Transport Committee of the European Parliament, Brian Simpson, met in Hungary on Tuesday to discuss issues related to network planning methodology and financing.

The TEN-T project aims to establish a single, multimodal network that integrates land, sea and air transport networks throughout the EC.

A broad consensus was reached that a lack of financial resources, due to the current economic crisis, does not mean that the long-term aim to extend the network to the outer regions of the EU should be reduced.

Ministers welcomed an EC commitment to continue to make funding available to build the extended network.

Kallas said: “This policy review comes at a crucial time for Europe. This [network] will be vital if European businesses are to remain competitive and we are to make transport more sustainable.

“We will need to effectively link the eastern and western parts of the EU so that all member states enjoy full access to the internal market.”

Minister of State for Infrastructure Pál Völner added: “Social and economic cohesion cannot be achieved without the construction of all the missing elements of the complete TEN-T network and improving the existing infrastructure elements that are in a poor condition.

“Insufficient accessibility may slow economic development across the entire European Union.”

The EC is expected to publish its legislative proposal on the review of the TEN-T policy this summer.

Source: IFW

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More than 40 pirates arrested in one week

The Indian Navy and Coastguard captured a group of 28 pirates after a failed hijacking last Thursday, just days after another band of 15 pirates, who had been terrorising shipping for months, had been arrested.

Officers said the 28 pirates had surrendered 185km off Kavaratti, in Lakshadweep, in the early hours of 6 February after warning shots were fired at the group.
The pirates had attempted to hijack the Greek-flagged cargoship Chios. A Southern Naval Command Dornier aircraft spotted the skiffs used in the attack along with a mothervessel on Friday.

The Indian naval vessel Tir was sent to the area and continued tracking the skiffs and mothervessel until dawn, when a coastguard vessel, the Samar, joined the operation.
The Indian Navy said: “On the order ‘stop and prepare to be boarded’, the pirates in the skiffs opened fire.

“After identifying the mothervessel as Prantalay 11, a Thai fishing boat, the [navy and coastguard] ships ordered it to stop.  "However, the pirates fired yet again, upon which the Navy and Coastguard ship opend fire for effect.

“The pirates immediately signalled their intention to surrender by hoisting a white flag.”
The 28 pirates were then put onboard the Samar which is making its way to Mumbai, along with 24 Thai fishermen, taken hostage when the pirates hijacked their vessel.
The incident comes just days after the Indian Navy intercepted another Thai fishing vessel, the Prantalay, which was also being used by pirates as a mothership to launch attacks.

The navy said the vessel had been a risk to international shipping for many months and had carried out several attacks.
The Prantalay, along with 15 pirates and 20 fishermen hostages, were seized after a failed attack

Source: IFW

Thursday, February 3, 2011

World outrage as pirates execute sailor

Anti-piracy groups have expressed their fury at the cold-blooded execution of a seafarer by Somali pirates last week.

The Baltic and International Maritime Council, International Chamber of Shipping, International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners, International Association of Independent Tanker Owner and the International Transport Workers’ Federation have spoken of their dismay at the murder on the cargoship Beluga Nomination.

The vessel was attacked and hijacked by armed pirates on 22 January in the Indian Ocean, around 700km north of the Seychelles. Three seafarers were reportedly taken aside for “punishment”, after an attempt by the Seychelles Coastguard to free the crew resulted in the death of a pirate.

One of the Beluga Nomination crew died while being “punished”.

In a statement to IFW, the anti-piracy grouping said: “We express our deepest sympathy to the seafarers involved and to their anxious families.

“The international shipping industry is truly disturbed at reports that pirates have been torturing seafarers physically and mentally – often in the most barbaric ways, including hanging them over the ship’s side by ropes around their ankles with their heads under water, and even subjecting them to the horrendous practice of keelhauling”.

Keelhauling involves a sailor being tied to a rope, thrown overboard and dragged under the ship from one side to the other.

“This latest, particularly atrocious, action appears to represent a fundamental shift in the behaviour of Somali pirates. The cold-blooded murder of an innocent seafarer means that shipowners and their crews will be re-evaluating their current determination to ensure that this vital trade route remains open.”

The statement added: “We once again strongly urge governments to empower their naval forces to take fast and robust action against pirates and the vessels under their control, before passing ships are boarded and hijacked.

According to recent figures from the report, The Economic Cost of Piracy, acts of piracy are estimated to cost the global economy between US$7-12 billion a year.

Source:  IFW

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Turmoil in Egypt with ports and logistics at a standstill

Port and logistics operations across Egypt remained at a standstill this morning as the country braced itself for a million-strong demonstration in Cairo against President Hosni Mubarak.
Under government orders, internet and mobile phone connections have been shut down or severely disrupted across the country, and Cairo Airport is open primarily to evacuate tourists, although some cargo is still being uplifted. The Suez Canal remains open this morning, despite violence in the city of Suez, but all major container ports in Egypt are closed.

FedEx said express shipments were suffering service delays across the country. Pick-ups and deliveries were suspended on Saturday, but customers were still able drop off packages at selected facilities as of this morning. “FedEx is closely monitoring the situation and has put operational contingency plans in place to minimise any service delays,” said a statement.

“The internet is still down, but telephone connections seemed to be improving,” said a spokesman.
“There is no loading and unloading of containers; there are no trucks. There are still flights, but they are subject to delays and cancellations. It’s a very difficult situation.”

DP World said it had temporarily suspended operations at its terminal at Sokhna and was closely monitoring the situation in Egypt. “The security of our people remains paramount and we are doing whatever necessary to ensure their safety,” said a spokesperson.

AP Møller Maersk, which employs some 7,000 people in Egypt and runs the Suez Canal Container Terminal at Port Said via its APM Terminals division, said yesterday that all staff were accounted for, but its ports, logistics and forwarding operations were suffering serious disruption.

”There are no terminal operations in Egypt. Maersk Line, Safmarine and Damco offices are closed,” said a spokesman.

Source: IFW