Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lines calling at Tokyo ports after radiation fears subside

The majority of the world’s biggest shipping companies are continuing to call at ports in the Tokyo Bay area after fears of radiation levels have been eased.
But a number of shipping lines are  redirecting cargo from the ports of Tokyo and Yokohama following the collapse of Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant 220km  to the north of Tokyo.

The US Navy has told reporters that any radiation on vessels which has leaked from the power plant can be washed off with soap and water.

Five of the six biggest container shipping lines, including NYK Line and K Line, are maintaining normal services to Japan.

However, Germany-based line Hapag-Lloyd continues to omit Tokyo, Yokohama and Nagoya from its sailings but is retaining calls to Kobe.

Evergreen Marine said it is serving the ports in the Tokyo Bay area as normal, while Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM are continuing to call at Japanese ports as scheduled.

Maersk said: “We are communicating with all owned and chartered vessels on a daily basis and vessels have been given the option of requesting a surveyor to perform radioactive measurements while in port.”

OOCL’s services to the ports of Tokyo, Yokohama and Nagoya are operating as usual. The company said it is closely monitoring the situation.

“We will act upon government advice and recommendations from relevant authorities in reviewing needs to make changes to our operations, including our sailing schedules to and from Japan,” it said.

The line has implemented “precautionary measures” onboard its vessels to ensure safety of its crew and cargo, and said it is also aware of concerns about potential radioactive contamination of goods loaded inside some containers.

“We continue to work with relevant authorities in Japan and various destination countries to meet any screening requirements. So far, there has been no case of radiation contamination detected on any container onboard OOCL vessels.”

Law firm Ince & Co has warned of legal implications to avoiding Japanese ports: “It is not at present clear how wide this [radiation] risk is in physical terms. A ship-owner may be reluctant to sail near the plant and especially within the exclusion zone for radiation, arguing that the risk of radiation makes the port unsafe.

“However, if the radiation risks prove to be exaggerated and unjustified, an owner may find himself in breach of charter for refusing orders to go the relevant Japanese port, particularly if it is out of the "immediate" risk zone.”

It advised that shipowners should therefore not refuse to call at any Japanese port without careful consideration as many ports outside the earthquake and tsunami area are operating as normal.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has implemented a 30km exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear power station and has advised captains to stay away.

The UK P&I Club has warned shipowners that they are not insured if their ship or crew are affected by radiation when in Japan, both in the insurance markets generally as well as under P&I Club Rules.

Source:   IFW

Monday, March 21, 2011

Korean orders two more freighters

Korean Air has ordered two new Boeing 747-8 freighters, worth US$639 million.
The order will bring the number of B747-Fs on order for the carrier to seven. Korean currently operates 27 Boeing freighters.

The B747-8 freighter offers a range of 8,130km and a maximum structural payload capacity of 140 tonnes, according to Boeing. It also offers an additional 120cu metres and 16% more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400F.

“The 747-8 freighter will provide tremendous economics and reliability to Korean Air’s global operations,” said Marlin Dailey, VP, Sales & Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Source:   IFW

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan's southern ports take the strain

Operations at most of Japan’s ports south of Tokyo have returned to business as usual, following the devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that triggered a tsunami on Friday.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Naota Kan, said that the country was facing its worst crisis since the Second World War.

The north-east coastal ports of Hachinohe, Sendai, Ishinomaki and Onahama are said to have suffered so much damage that they are not expected to return to operation for months, possibly years.

The ports of Kashima and Hitachinaka were only partially damaged and could be back on line in a few weeks.

However, Tokyo and all ports south of the capital are operating normally, but due to a backlog of vessels, delays in cargo handling are expected.

Container carrier OOCL has told customers: “Our thoughts and well wishes go out to everyone impacted by this natural disaster.”

The line said it was waiting for more information, but all bookings to Sendai had been suspended.

It added: “All Sendai imports will be discharged at Tokyo.”

Maersk Line confirmed that it has resumed operations to Japan.

A spokesman said: “There are virtually no delays at this point. APM Terminals runs the terminals in Kobe and Yokohama and they are functioning.”

He said Maersk services to the ports of Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo were operating as normal.

Hanjin Shipping said: “Most of our terminals in Japan, including Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka, resumed normal operations quickly after the reopening of the ports.

“However, due to the backlog of the vessels waiting for berth, some delay is expected.”

The carrier advised its customers to contact local offices for the detailed status of particular shipments.

Mitsui Osk Lines (MOL) said it was still gathering information concerning its vessels that may have been in the Tohoku area, near the epicentre of the Pacific earthquake.

The MOL-chartered CS Victory was carried toward a breakwater by the tsunami and now rests on the bottom of the shallow harbour at Ishinomaki.

“All the crew members left the vessel and none were injured. None of the cargo or fuel oil has spilled from the vessel,” said the line.

Sendai Airport which was badly damaged by the tsunami will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has resumed flights to Narita and Haneda airports in Tokyo 

Source:   IFW

Monday, March 7, 2011

Services resume at Lyttelton Port of Christchurch

Twelve days after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that caused significant damage to the infrastructure and facilities at Lyttelton Port of Christchurch in New Zealand, more and more of the Port's core services are up and running.

As the gateway to the South Island, the Port's priority was to remain operational to enable essential food, fuel and other supplies to get through.
The wharves held up well enough to enable limited operations within a few days, and two vessels delivered emergency vehicles, fresh water, medical and food supplies on Saturday February 26th.

The Oil berth was back in business by Sunday February 27th, and operations resumed at the CityDepot on Monday 28th. The Port's Inner Harbour Jetty 2, 3 and 7 are operational, Engineers, electrical and civil maintenance continue to assess structural damage on a regular basis, whilst the Port assesses infrastructure, power supply and other services following each aftershock.

Source:  Eyefortransport

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Governments must step-up war on piracy, demand shippers

Shippers have urged governments to step-up efforts to end piracy after seafarer and shipping associations threatened to boycott dangerous areas.
The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) has warned that a boycott of areas affected by piracy would have serious consequences on the supply chain.

The ESC said it had considerable sympathy for ship operators and their crews who are facing this added peril at sea, and fully understands that many must feel they have to take avoiding action in order to protect themselves.

The Baltic and International Maritime Council (Bimco) recently indicated that it was considering an industry-backed boycott in the region of the Indian Ocean and re-routing vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, while the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is threatening to ask its members to boycott vessels plying in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

ESC Secretary General Nicolette van der Jagt said: “The protection of shipping from piracy – regardless of flag, or nationality of the crew – is a clear and legitimate responsibility for governments under the UN convention on the law of the sea.

“The ESC urges governments around the world to uphold their responsibilities in the enforcement of the convention and protection of their flags, and to assist fully in protecting all merchant shipping in their territorial waters.

“The impacts of piracy are not just on the seafarers; they are not just local; they are global, affecting us all – and so everyone must act.”

The Chairman of the ESC’s Maritime Transport Council, Jean Louis-Cambon, said a boycott would have serious economic consequences for businesses already affected by slow-steaming, rising fuel prices, unstable and uncertain market demand and austerity measures.

“Companies are focused on cost reduction within their supply chains, efficiency enhancements, productivity increases, greater flexibility and agility in their supply chains.

“The proposal to divert all shipping away from the affected areas, via the Cape of Good Hope, would add further strains on business, and not least, greater costs.”

Re-routing on a liner trade often means adding another ship to the service to maintain the schedule.

On a Europe-Far East service, re-routing around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope would increase the cost by US$89 million a year – $74.4 million in fuel and $14.6 million in charter expenses.

Source: IFW