Tuesday, 3 May 2016


India Ratings maintains mixed oultook for shipping sector

Deccan Herald
India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has maintained a negative-to-stable outlook for the shipping sector for FY17 on the expectation of varied trends across sub-segments. The tanker segment, which accounts for the bulk of the fleet operated by Indian shipping companies (about 60%), is likely to continue performing better than other shipping segments due to its sound fundamentals. However, the dry-bulk, off-shore and container segments will remain under pressure in FY17, according to Ind-Ra. The agency expects the performance of the tanker segment to remain better than other segments in FY17 owing to healthy demand, manageable supply growth and continuation of the recent increase in long-haul shipments from West Africa to Asia.

Facilitating trade in Indian ports

The Hindu
The Indian port sector plays a vital role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce. It also has an important role in fulfilling India’s dream of achieving greater global engagement and integration with its trading partners. Much of India’s port-led development initiative is expected to revolve around growth in maritime trade, given its share in terms of both volume and value in the country’s overall trade statistics. Recognising the important role port-led development can play in India, the Central government has undertaken several initiatives such as development of new ports, modernisation and mechanisation of the existing ones, and reduction of logistics costs through the implementation of increased waterways transport. These are also in line with the vision of initiatives such as ‘Make in India’.
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Two decades on, Gujarat to revive port policy

Live Mint
After over two decades, Gujarat government, which was the first to lay down a port policy in the country in 1995, has decided to revive the policy that would nearly double the existing port (480 million tonnes) capacity to 1 billion tonnes by 2020 besides identifying new locations for greenfield ports. Gujarat Maritime Board, the regulator for all the non-major ports or ports that are not controlled by Central government in Gujarat, has got a nod from the state government last month to revive the policy with a target to maintain the present share of GMB traffic (32%) in the India’s maritime trade which is the maximum by any state in the country. With about half a dozen port locations out of the 10 identified by GMB in 1995 being stuck for viability or environmental issues and the new shipbuilding policy of the state laid down in 2010 yet to take off,

Plan of Multi-Model Transportation Hub at Surat discussed

Economic Times
The process for developing Surat railway station as a Multi-Model Transportation Hub (MMTH) has been set in motion with the stake-holders today discussing modalities of the Rs 600-crore project. Indian Railways Stations Development Corp (IRSDC) officials held discussions with the representatives of reputed developers and other real estate players for developing Surat in South Gujarat as MMTH. CEO of IRSDC Sanjeev Kumar Lohia presented the proposed plan and said the project was a golden opportunity of investment for developers and other real estate players. The project is to be built on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis through a joint venture of IRSDC, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), he said. IRSDC is a special purpose vehicle of the Centre to develop new stations and redevelop existing ones.
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Budgetary aid for 4 ports slides 76%

The Hindu
The Centre has announced a government budgetary support of Rs.29 crore for the development of infrastructure projects in four ports for the current year against Rs.120.58 crore for the year-ago period as major ports have not announced expansion plans due to excess cargo handling capacity. V.O.C. Port is the major beneficiary with an allocation of Rs. 15 crore, followed by Chennai and Mormugao ports with Rs. 5 crore each, and Cochin Port Trust Rs.4 crore. An official from the V.O.C. Port said the funds would be used for construction of coastal cargo berth.

Centre paves way to fund roads, ports

Financial Express
The government is setting up a dedicated funding agency in the state sector for highways and ports. The move, Nitin Gadkari told FE, is in view of the Rs 25-lakh-crore investments envisaged in these two infrastructure sectors in the medium term. The new institution, on the lines of Power Finance Corporation, which is committed to electricity generation and transmission projects, would be set up with an initial equity capital of R500 crore, the minister said. The new institution, he said, would ensure that road and port projects don’t get crowded out by companies from other sectors. While the initial capital base of Rs 500 crore would largely be contributed by the National Highways Authority of India, all 12 major state-owned ports and Shipping Corporation of India will also contribute, Gadkari said, adding that efforts would also be made to bring in foreign funds at cheaper rates.
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Exporters seek release of funds blocked with Bengal Govt : EEPC India

Web India
Exporters dealing in engineering goods today made a strong plea with the West Bengal government for release of "considerable amount of money" blocked with state exchequer due to VAT related issues. The issue was raised at a meeting of the engineering exporters' apex body, EEPC India, which was presided over by principal secretary, MSME, West Bengal government Rajiva Sinha in the city. Regional Chairman (ER) EEPC India Arun Kumar Garodia said, " Exporters have mentioned that considerable amount of money is blocked with the West Bengal Government which should be refunded on time. The main issue is pertaining to Pre and Post export assessment of VAT." Besides, he said, there exists 15 per cent government duty on gross amount of power bill which should be waived off for exporting companies.

Forwarders warned of implications in SOLAS box weighing amendment

Sea News
With implementation of the new SOLAS just two months away, the European Liaison Committee of Common Market Forwarders (CLECAT) has warned that the container weighing amendment has profound implications for freight forwarders. CLECAT senior policy advisor Aidan Flanagan said that while it looks it is a problem for carriers and shippers, closer examination shows it has as much to do with forwarders. The most the most important issue, Mr Flanagan said, is the question of shipper identity. This arises when a freight forwarder is named as shipper on the bill of lading, when acting as carrier towards the original shipper. This makes the forwarder responsible for providing the verified gross mass, according to Lloyd's Loading List. As the forwarder is not actually loading the container, they do not qualify to verify the weight under the calculation method.
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GST to help reorient states towards export promotion : Parl panel

Business Standard
The states considering exports as a drag on their exchequer due to VAT refunds need to be discouraged and implementation of the GST regime would help reorient them towards export promotion, a Parliamentary panel has suggested. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce in its report said that the Department of Commerce must further deepen its engagement with the states and spread awareness about the merits of having an optimal export infrastructure and export promotion in general. This is important in view of the fact that barring a few exceptions, states are generally not taking desired interest in export development, the report tabled in Parliament today said. "They take export as a drain on their exchequer since they have to refund VAT on the products exported. This attitude of the state governments needs to be discouraged," it said.

Trade facilitation panel soon

The Hindu
The government has started the process to set up a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) in the country to coordinate and implement the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) aimed at easing customs norms to expedite global trade flows, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. The NCTF, which is in line with the government’s “Ease of Doing Business” initiatives, is meant to institutionalise co-ordination on trade facilitation between the 35-plus central government departments, private players and state governments. India had ratified the TFA in April. For the TFA to be operational, two-thirds (or 108) of the 162 WTO members will have to ratify it. So far, 77 countries have ratified it. Addressing the Consultative Committee Meeting attached to her Ministry on ‘Implementation of TFA’, Sitharaman said, the TFA will help in the world’s best trade practices being shared among the WTO member countries ratifying the pact.
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Accusations fly as Atlas Air pilots' union requests mediation.

A dispute involving 1,300 pilots flying for DHL-contracted airlines Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo in the US looks set to go to mediation.  The Teamsters union said on 26 April that the National Mediation Board (NMB) which facilitates labour relations in aviation had agreed to the request despite the fact that the companies had “strongly objected”.

It added that the NMB had assigned a specialist airline labour mediator to assess the parties’ dispute and determine how best to proceed.   In response, Atlas Air said it believed the request for mediation was premature as negotiations had only just begun
"The NMB is currently investigating how to best move forward and will let the parties know what it concludes. While we continue to believe this request is early, we will cooperate fully with the process," Atlas said.  

Atlas pilot Captain Mike Griffith and union communications chairman said that his colleagues were “fed up with Atlas and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW)’s game playing and backroom corporate maneuvering to try to deny us basic workplace protections like the much-needed time to rest between international flights.”

AEI bags new freighter conversion orders.

Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) has signed a contract with Vallair to provide the company with four 11 pallet position Boeing 737-400SF freighter conversions.  All of the conversions will be modified by Commercial Jet’s Dothan, Alabama facility with the first one commencing in May 2016, followed by the remaining three modifications in June, July and September of this year.

"The AEI B737-400SF is the only passenger to freighter conversion product that offers operators ten full height 88” x 125” container positions," said AEI.  The additional container position increases AEI’s volumetric carrying capability by 10%.   The deal is the latest in a spate of conversion orders, primarily fuelled by demand from the express industry.
Last week, PACAVI confirmed the first orders for its Airbus A320-321passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion programme.  São Paulo based business charter company Colt Aviation/Colt Cargo, has ordered two converted A321 freighters with an option for one more and Norway’s Airline Management will acquire six A320 freighters.
Etihad adds new freighter connection into Muscat.

Etihad Cargo, the freight division of the UAE’s national flag-carrier, Etihad Airways, has introduced a new twice a week freighter service to Muscat, Oman, from its home hub of Abu Dhabi.  It has also added an additional frequency on its link to Kuwait City. Both routes are operated by Airbus A330 freighter.

David Kerr, vice president of Etihad Cargo, observed: “By strengthening our existing connectivity to Kuwait and introducing a new freighter service to Muscat, our frequency in the Middle East has now increased to 11 flights weekly.

“The Middle East market continues to perform strongly for us and is at the core of our operation. We will also be looking to expand elsewhere around the globe during the year ahead.”
That programme of expansion is being boosted by the addition of new freighters to the Etihad Cargo fleet (a B777F was delivered at the end of February and an A330F is expected later this year). Currently, Etihad’s freighter inventory consists of three B747 freighters, four B777Fs and four A330-200Fs

SF Airlines takes delivery of latest converted freighter.

PEMCO World Air Services has announced the redelivery of a Boeing 737-300 freighter aircraft to China-based SF Airlines, the air cargo division of SF Express.  The freighter, converted by PEMCO’s partner STAECO in Jinan Shandong, China, marks the fourteenth redelivery of a B737-300/400 to SF Airlines since 2013.  

SF Airlines plans to add five more PEMCO converted aircraft to its cargo fleet this year.  SF Airlines is a leading courier in China providing delivery service to over 15 countries, including the US.    PEMCO and STAECO have partnered on more than 50 Boeing 737-300 and -400 freighter modification projects since 2006.   

PEMCO’s latest 737-300 freighter conversion for SF Airlines provides nine pallet positions, up to 43,100 pounds of payload, and 4,600 cubic feet of total volume.

Slow start to the year for production freighter orders.

Orders for production freighter aircraft slowed in the first quarter of this year, but Boeing’s 747-8 programme did receive a boost through an order for four of the aircraft.
The latest updates from Boeing and Airbus show that during the first quarter of the year four orders were placed for B747-8 freighter aircraft from an unnamed customer, while FedEx placed an order for a single B767-300 freighter.

The total of five production freighters ordered during the quarter compares with 14 placed during the same period last year, when Korean Air ordered five B777Fs, Etihad took another two of the aircraft, Silk Way went in for three B747-8s, and Turkish Airlines opted for four Airbus 330-200Fs.

The order for the B747-8 aircraft provides a boost for the famous model, which has seen production levels cut of late based on a weak outlook for the cargo market


Impressive performance by Vallarpadam ICTT

Business Standard
DP World today said the International Container Transhipment Terminal at Vallarpadam here, operated by it, has started the Financial Year 2016-17 with a record-breaking container handling performance. The terminal in April 2016, handled more than 40,000 TEU, which is the highest volume handled in a single month in the history of ICTT, and a 29 per cent improvement on the volume handled in April last year, the company said in a release here. The terminal's impressive performance in April came on the heels of a 32 per cent growth in volumes in the first quarter of the current calendar year (January to March 2016). "ICTT has grown steadily so far in the current year, and we are happy that we are moving in the right direction at a very healthy pace," said Jibu Kurien Itty, Chief Executive Officer, DP World Cochin.

Government grants infrastructure status to shipyard industry

Times of India
The government has granted infrastructure status to the shipyard industry, a move that will help the sectoral players get long-term financing at cheaper rates. A gazette notification issued by department of economic affairs in the ministry of finance last month issued an updated "'Harmonized Master List' of Infrastructure". "The new list incorporates the following change to the notification dated October 13, 2014: Under the category of 'transport' a new sub-sector — shipyards is added," the notification said. The move will benefit private shipyards of L&T, Reliance Defence and Engineering Shipyard and ABG Shipyard. The transport sector now has seven sub-sectors — roads and bridges, ports, shipyards, inland waterways, airport, railway tracksand urban public transport.
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Large cargo of Chinese firecrackers seized at JNPT

Times of India
A huge import consignment of illegal Chinese firecrackers, worth crores, was seized recently by the customs central intelligence unit at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Nhava Sheva. The nine containers of the illegal cargo were being smuggled into India via the sea route. The shipment, weighing over 200 tonnes and labelled as 'glassware', was seized by the customs officials last week. This is one of the biggest hauls of imported firecrackers by the department. "When we opened the seized containers, the crackers were found smartly hidden inside, and bogus names and addresses were given. Further inquiry is on to find out who are behind it," said a JNPT official. The seized firecrackers have now been sent to an industrial waste management unit in Taloja, where they will be destroyed as hazardous waste products.

Iran and Oman mark first ever shipping exchange

Hellenic Shipping News
A consignment of pipes shipped from Oman’s Sohar Port and Freezone (Sohar) was discharged at the Iranian port of Bandar Lingheh for the first time this week, strengthening maritime trade ties between the two countries, Sohar Port & Freezone said in a release. At the same time, a shipment of gypsum bound for Sohar Port was loaded at the port in what is the first official commercial maritime exchange between the two countries. Mahmud Sabiree, director general of ports and shipping affairs at Bandar Lingheh, said that the exchange was the culmination of ongoing talks between Iran and Oman. Around 1,300 metric tonnes of pipes from Sohar Port were discharged during the maiden call with the vessel carrying around 20,000 metric tonnes of gypsum for discharge at Sohar Port on the return voyage.

Hyundai, Hanjin mull alliance options

Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine have confirmed they are in discussions with other container lines on forming alliances when their current alliance agreements expire in 2017, assuming they survive their current liquidity crises. “HMM has already started sharing relevant information with other members to discuss reorganization of the alliance. We are afraid, however, that no details can be made public as of this moment," a spokesperson for HMM said. “Nothing has been decided yet on how the alliance will be reorganized afterwards.” This sentiment was echoed by a Hanjin spokesperson who said, "Hanjin Shipping has been preparing for a new alliance and is in talks with some of the liners. However, we cannot disclose which liners we are talking to."

Asia-N.Europe container freight rates jump 170 pct
Hellenic Shipping News
Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe jumped 170 percent to $732 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday, data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index showed. Spot freight rates on the world’s busiest routes soared as a result of planned rate increases announced earlier in April by the majority of the largest shipping companies. The shipping industry has been battling over-capacity linked to a glut of new vessels ordered during a boom period before the global financial crisis of 2007-2009. In the week to Friday, container freight rates increased 138 percent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, 18 percent to ports on the U.S. West Coast and 6 percent to ports on the U.S. East Coast.
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