Monday, 30 November 2009

Notice of Ballot



A ballot vote (concerning the above) will be held at the Trinity union office next to Centenary House on Trinity terminal on the following days/times.

THURSDAY 03-12-09

SATURDAY 05-12-09

MONDAY 07-12-09

WEDNESDAY 09-12-09


London Gateway in calls for government aid

Sorry but I missed the full story from Lloyds list and nobody has offered to pay for me to have the full site so this is all I can bring you on this story for now. If anyone would either like to pay for access for me or has the full story please email me Come on Mr Gledhill pay for the site!

A BRITISH local authority has asked government permission to borrow heavily to prop up DP World’s planned £2.3bn ($3.8bn) London Gateway container terminal development, which it openly states “will not be viable without suitable government intervention”.

Business as usual, say Dubai World affiliates

ALL three major maritime industries affiliates of Dubai World are fully confident that they will not get caught up in the flak surrounding their parent concern’s shock debt moratorium request yesterday, in a development that will reassure customers that include many of the world’s top shipowners.

Port in a storm: DP World’s London Gateway struggles for funds
Posted by Miles Johnson on Nov 30 18:25.
The flagship UK development of DP World, the port arm of the troubled Dubai World, looks to be sinking as it struggles to raise financing for the project, based on the Thames at Thurrock in Essex.
The London Gateway project, Dubai’s most significant investment in the UK, “will not be viable without suitable government funding”, according to a local UK government funding application from July seen by FT Alphaville.
While DP World placed the ₤1.5bn container port project “under review” in March amid a painful downturn in global trade, the conclusions of the application will raise further questions over the company’s ability to complete the port scheme.
London Gateway has struggled to secure bank lending to pay for ₤400m of upfront infrastructure costs, according to the application for pilot funding under the government’s “tax incremental financing structure” scheme, first reported by Regeneration & Renewal.
Initial approaches to key UK banks by DP World were “disappointing”, the application letter says, citing conversations with the Dubai company.
Though London Gateway is viewed by the UK government as a valuable development project, any government funding seen to be bailing out DP World may well prove highly controversial.
The letter, sent from Thurrock council to the UK Department for Communities and Local Government, states: “Bank interest in London Gateway is either very limited, or on terms (pricing and tenor) which will severely impact DP World’s equity returns, making the project even more unattractive. ”
When contacted DP World said:
London Gateway remains under review including the financing options. We are exploring a variety of different funding options, one of which was to explore the possibility of London Gateway Park taking part in the UK Government’s open call for pilot Tax Incremental Funding projects, announced in summer 2009. Thurrock Council submitted an application in July to the Department of Communities and Local Government and we await the outcome of that process.
A Thurrock Council spokesman said the council had looked into the possibility of creating an accelerated development zone (ADZ), which was no longer feasible.
The council also cited a DCLG spokesman as saying the ADZ proposal “was always a feasibility study”.
Further evidence of financing problems for one of DP World’s flagship developments coincides with mounting concern over the ability of Dubai-owned businesses to service their debts. Last week the developer Nakheel, owned by DP World’s parent group Dubai World, stunned global markets by asking to delay payments on its debts.
DP World, viewed as one of Dubai’s crown jewels and one of the largest listed companies on the Dubai stock exchange, inherited London Gateway from P&O when it bought the British group for £3.9 billion in 2006.
The company, which owns port assets in locations ranging from Antwerp to Djibouti, has previously told the Financial Times it has no debt maturities due until 2012. Net debt stands at just under $5bn, but DP World holds $3bn in cash.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

US box traffic looking up for 2010

The start of next year could see the first year-on-year increase in US container import volumes for 31 months, according to the Port Tracker report published by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.
The report forecasts imports at the major US ports will reach 1.09m teu in November, down 11% year-on-year, 1.06m teu in December, the same as last year, and 1.03m teu in January, down 3%.
However, it said it expected February’s volumes to reach 973,800teu, which would represent a year-on-year increase of 16%.
“This could be the turnaround we’ve been waiting to see for a long time,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “There’s not enough data yet to establish a clear trend, but we’re hopeful that this is a sign of recovery.”
Volumes in the second half of this year have marginally improved.
“The second half of 2009 has continued to see declines from 2008’s levels, but not as large as we saw during the first half of this year,” IHS Global Insight economist Paul Bingham said. "These ‘less bad’ numbers are evidence that the industry is seeing early signs of recovery."
In September, the most recent month actual numbers are available, the US ports surveyed handled 1.14m teu, down 3% compared to August and 16% from September 2008.
Volumes for the traditional peak, October, are expected to have hit 1.17m teu, down 15% on last year.
The US ports covered by Port Tracker are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the west coast; New York/New Jersey, Virginia, Charleston and Savannah on the east coast; and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

The law on industrial action.

I have posted this before, I'm reposting because of the ammount of questions I've been getting about "What exactly is industrial action?"
Hope this makes it clear for you.

The Law on Industrial Action


The law relating to industrial action is to be found in:

· Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
· Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993;
· Employment Relations Act 1999.

There is also an advisory code of practice on picketing.

The law covers:

· the definition of industrial action;
· strikes;
· ballots on industrial action.

Industrial Action Defined

In legal terms, 'industrial action' means:

· strikes;
· lockouts;
· overtime bans (including voluntary bans);
· go slows;
· working to rule;
· refusing to cross a picket line;
· refusing to work with non-members.

Strikes and the Law

British employment law has no tradition of a positive right to strike, and industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. The tradition, instead, is that of 'immunities'; that is, immunity from legal action so long as certain conditions are met. Since 1979, these conditions have become more rigid and complex.

The law gives trade unions immunity for actions "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". A 'trade dispute' is a dispute between workers and an employer in the UK, which is "wholly or mainly" about:

· terms and conditions of employment;
· recruitment, suspension or dismissal;
· work allocation;
· discipline;
· facilities for union officials;
· the negotiating machinery.

There is no immunity for disputes which:

· are 'political';
· have not yet started;
· are over union membership;
· are protests over dismissal following unofficial action;
· constitute 'secondary action'.

To be lawful, therefore, industrial action must be a trade dispute. It must also be 'official', and it must comply with the requirements relating to ballots (see below).

Official and Unofficial Industrial Action

To maintain immunity, industrial action must be 'official'. This means that:

· the employee(s) taking action must belong to a trade union, and;
· the union (usually the executive committee) must authorise or endorse the action.

Action which does not meet these requirements is unofficial and, therefore, unlawful. Workers can be lawfully dismissed for taking part in unofficial action.

Unions are legally responsible for all industrial action, unless they have 'repudiated' it.

If there is unofficial action and the union wishes to make it official, the action must be repudiated before a ballot is held.
Industrial Action Ballots

In any case where industrial action may be necessary, a ballot must be held. In addition, the ballot must comply with a series of requirements.

First, the employer must be given notice of:

· the intention to hold a ballot;
· the date of the ballot;
· basic details of those to be balloted (i.e. the workplace or job title – not the names);
· a sample copy of the ballot paper.

Following the ballot, the employer must be given:

· notice of the outcome of the ballot;
· seven days’ notice of any action, along with details of those involved (but not their names), and when the action will start.

All industrial action ballots must be secret, postal ballots. Only those workers who are involved in the dispute may be balloted. They must be given at least seven days to return the ballot paper, and this must be numbered and must comply with the prescribed wording, which includes a statutory warning to the effect that industrial action is a breach of the employment contract. An independent scrutineer must oversee the ballot.

To proceed to industrial action following a ballot, there must be a simple majority in favour of action. The union must inform the members and the employer of the result, and give notice of the commencement of any action (see above).

The result of an industrial action ballot only lasts for four weeks; that is, any action must start within four weeks to be lawful. However, if the employer and the union agree to this, the result may be suspended to enable negotiations to re-start.


If workers are acting "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute", it is lawful for them to picket "at or near" their own place of work. However, this right is qualified by a number of requirements.
Picketing must only be for the purpose of:

· peacefully getting or communicating information, and/or
· peacefully persuading others not to work.

There is no immunity for pickets who trespass, or who commit criminal offences such as obstruction, or breach of the peace.

There is no legal limit on the number of pickets. However, the Department of Trade and Industry Code of Practice on Picketing, which has advisory status only, suggests a maximum of six.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ireland's volume decline slows

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has claimed the rate of decline in Irish freight volumes slowed in the third quarter of the year, but warned operators should expect a challenging winter.
IMDO statistics show third quarter lo-lo traffic slipped 20% year-on-year to 268,000teu and ro-ro volumes fell 8% 385,000 units.
However, the IMDO pointed out this was an improvement on half-year figures, when lo-lo volumes were 24% down year-on-year and ro-ro traffic was 13% down.
It said: “While all market segments have not returned to the previous 30 month volume lows that were recorded earlier this year, the severe volume deterioration that has occurred over this period is likely to result in traffic volumes returning to pre 2003 levels by the end of this year."
It added: “Depressed freight rates, lower volume demand coupled with increases in fuel and bunker costs will provide a challenging environment for shipping operators over the winter months.
“Underlying weaker domestic consumer demand is likely to continue to suppress import volumes while the strength of the euro against the dollar and sterling will continue to put pressure on export volumes to our key markets.”
The IMDO said container volumes have slumped over the past 18 months because of an “abrupt correction in consumer demand and slowdown in the domestic construction sector”.
It added Christmas demand had resulted in a slight rise in imports, by 5% in September compared to August, and exports were up 22% between September and August.
IMDO said these seasonal factors were absent in 2008 when volumes continued to fall at an accelerated rate of decline from the middle of the year.
Overall it forecast a total decline of 23% in lo-lo volumes to the year-end.
Meanwhile, volumes on direct continental ro-ro routes increased year-on-year by 64% to 8,044 units in the third quarter of 2009, because of an increase in the number of direct services on offer.
Overall in the ro-ro sector, 35,000 less freight units were carried on all routes when compared to same quarter in 2008.
The IMDO also estimated that total available capacity reduced by 13% in the third quarter, which has been implemented by a reduction of frequency on certain routes and reduction in vessel sizes, while the price of bunker fuel has doubled since the beginning of 2009.

Asia unions launch strike action

Trade unions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore have embarked on a week of action to highlight the exploitation of seafarers.
Lasting from 23-27 November, the seafarers’ and dockers’ unions will target vessels and companies without International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) approved manning agreements during port inspections in south-east Asia.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Winds blow down container stacks at port

STRONG winds battering the Suffolk coast today knocked down stacks of containers at Britain's biggest port.A large number of boxes were blown over in quayside storage parks at Felixstowe.Port officials said rail and yard operations had been affected and for the safety of all port users access was being restricted to operational areas. “Vehicles are being marshalled on site and will be processed through to operational areas as soon as it is safe to do so,” said a port spokesman.The situation was being monitored, and hauliers were advised there would be delays and they may wish to consider re-scheduling their arrivals.Operation Stack was not in place at present - traffic levels are not as high at weekends as on weekdays.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Stowaway cat Pharaoh survives two-week voyage to Britain from Egypt

Pharoah the cat has survived after stowing away in a container on a merchant ship that arrived at the British port of Felixstowe after a 3,000 mile journey from Egypt.

The hungry animal was found in a container after two weeks on board the MV Maersk Batam which travelled from the Port Said in Egypt to the Suffolk port.
John Biscoe, of GMA Freight, said: "We opened this container that had just arrived from Egypt to ensure that it was all in order and I was with the forklift operator and became aware there was something in there.
"It was a container with wire coils and I said there was a cat in there.
"The other chap wondered if it was a lion or something but then this little thing jumped out and started rubbing around my legs."
Two RSPCA officers collected Pharaoh and he is now being looked after a quarantine cattery near Colchester, Essex.
"He was very scrawny and we gave him a bowl of water and one of my colleagues gave him his sandwich ~ he ate the meat very quickly," said Mr Biscoe.
"He must have been someone's pet in Egypt – he was very happy to see us."
Pharaoh will be kept at the cattery for five and a half months because of rabies quarantine regulations.
A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said it had been "touch and go" for the cat when it was found two weeks ago.
She said: "He was not in a very good state and at first it was thought he might not survive.
"He has been taken to a quarantine centre at Colchester, checked for rabies and other problems, fed and been looked after and now looks much better.
"Pharaoh will have to stay in quarantine and then it will be re-homed here."

Friday, 20 November 2009

Antwerp prepared to freeze port dues to secure jobs


The port of Antwerp is to readjust next year’s port dues to help secure jobs, but added unions and employers must strive to be more efficient.
The port will freeze most rates at 2008 and 2009 levels and reduce dues for the transhipment of conventional/breakbulk cargo, such as steel, fruit paper and wood, by 10%.
However, the port authority linked the reduction in rates to the condition that labour unions and employers must make a serious contribution towards greater efficiency in loading and unloading “labour-intensive items”, without compromising safety.
The port authority said it hoped freezing fees would combat further losses in freight volumes and employment and help shipping companies deal with the recession.
Port alderman Marc Van Peel said: "Nobody can deny that the port of Antwerp has lost some trade in the past years due to the overly rigid work organisation in freight handling."
Port authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx added: "We expect to see clear signals from both sides of industry before 1 January, about their willingness to make significant improvements in the efficient use of dock labour."

APM Terminals investigates driver beating

APM Terminals has vowed to investigate allegations that a subcontractor ordered the beating of port drivers at JNPT.
Last week, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) demanded that APM Terminals dump sub-contractor SC Thakur because of allegations it was behind attacks on three members of the Transport and Dock Workers’ Union on 23 October.
In response, APM Terminals said: “We’re investigating this incident, which appears to have taken place outside the port with a subcontractor, Thakur.
“We have strict standards on the safety and the security of our employees, including those who are classified as contracted workers, working for vendors.”
APM Terminals investigates driver beating
The ITF said the victims had all made court depositions regarding the company’s failure to pay their provident fund contributions.
Reports about the attacks had been filed with the police, Thakur and Maersk subsidiary Gateway Terminals India.
The ITF added the workers had been attacked in the past.
“The situation first erupted in April 2007 when four drivers employed by contractor SC Thakur were abducted and severely beaten.
“When other union members went on strike in support of the hospitalised colleagues they were sacked. Following dialogue between Maersk and the ITF the workers were reinstated.”
It added: “The ITF has made it clear that it believes there can be no excuse after two years, for a multinational of Maersk’s size and reach not to have assured its workers, including subcontracted workers, basic rights and protection from violence.”


Company has made their final offer of 1%. Mass meeting to be held soon as possible.

The story of Great Yarmouth redevelopment and the loss of dock workers jobs.

Outer Harbour - the inside story.

Eddie Freeman, chief executive of Eastport UK is one of the speakers in today's Shaping Norfolk's Future conference. But as the Yarmouth outer harbour finally gets ready for business, has it delivered what was promised? Public affairs correspondent Shaun Lowthorpe reports.

Eddie Freeman admits that the pressure is on at the moment as contractors put the finishing touches to the Yarmouth outer harbour.

An engineer by trade, he has spent more than 30 years in the ports industry, including a stint in South Africa. The chief executive of Eastport UK is, he says, like a salesman. And he comes across as somewhat of a fixer - brought in by International Port Holdings, the parent company of Eastport, to get the harbour up and running and make it a success.

The 61-year-pld admits that with the global economic downturn adding to the pressure, he has a job on his hands selling the outer harbour to prospective businesses. But also, you sense, he has a battle to convince the people of Great Yarmouth themselves of its merits, some of whom are less than enamoured with what has finally emerged.

Work is almost complete on the new harbour, with hopes high that the first container ships will be set to dock within a few weeks.

And that's the issue in many people's minds - what has been built is primarily at this stage a container port.

Think back a decade and talk was of a harbour bringing jobs and visitors to Norfolk with a roll-on, roll-off ferry service at its heart.

Detailed studies were produced showing that there would be 120,000 visitors coming to the town each year - a boon to the Yarmouth tourist industry. In 2000 a partnership was forged with the Dutch port town of Ijmuiden, and a provisional agreement was signed with Greek firm Superfast Ferries with a view to operating services.

But the business as it is now taking shape looks markedly different.

Critics fear that the harbour will not be able to deliver on promises to create 1000 jobs because the forecasts were largely based on securing a ferry operator to run services from the port, which has since receded from view.

Pinning down exactly how many jobs the port in its current form will create is actually quite difficult as the public bodies who pump-primed the project have not produced any updated studies.

Getting hold of the business case is also tricky, since because it comes under the auspices of the Great Yarmouth Port Authority, which is not subject to the freedom of information act, any request for a copy will be automatically refused, while officials also cite commercial confidentiality as another reason for withholding it.

There is also simmering anger in some quarters that the privately run port will not yield the spin offs for the town that backers of the original project, which was kick-started with around £18m of public cash, once promised.

Relations were also soured earlier this year when the port sacked 11 dock workers as part of a switch to casual labour - fuelling concerns that instead of creating a port for the community to rally around, there was a risk of creating a town within a town.

And while borough council land worth £1.5m has been provided to help set it up, other issues such as creating a viewing platform and doing up Gorleston Pier remain unresolved.

But Mr Freeman, insists the port would bring benefits to the town.

“To get this level of investment going on with this level of ambition at this time in the recession has got to be good news,” Mr Freeman said.“There seems to be no recognition of the fact that we are in a recession and that has its effects.

“The outer harbour isn't the great white hope. Great Yarmouth has been very active in doing all kinds of projects dealing with regeneration. We are just one of these.

“There was a lot of prejudice to overcome in the ports industry and to some extent locally about what we were doing. But it was not based on any fact. I think it's unfair given the fact that we are not open yet. How people can talk about it being a white elephant when it's not open, is an absolute contradiction in terms. There have been complaints about the investment and when people are going to see it - there has been £60m already going in.

“We can't stop people having their views, and we don't want to, we live in a democracy,” he said. “There will always be issues people don't agree with for whatever reason, but we just have to get the right message across.”

Now the focus is centring on the container port operation, where goods arriving at major destinations such as Antwerp can then be quickly transferred to ships and brought in to the UK at Yarmouth. This year saw two £7m cranes installed as part of the development, which will be operated by Port of Singapore, one of the largest operators in the world.

And Mr Freeman said that while not something for the immediate future, Eastport UK still had an open mind on whether a ferry operation could be part of the new facility.

He said there were five strands to the business - containers, offshore and renewable, agricultural, general aggregates, and Roll-on, roll- off ferries (Ro-Ro).

“There's quite a range of industries we are interested in,” he explained. “The renewables market is changing all the time, that's driven as much by technology as politics. With offshore we have got a large market off our coast that needs to be serviced. We are very well positioned to exploit that.

“The range we have been able to consider has been growing during our development period. Our ambitions are quite wide-reaching.

“All ports have got to be flexible,” he added. “We are in a recession. Nobody saw it coming particularly and I don't think anybody is very clear when it is going to end. Certainly the global container market is down. The Ro-Ro market is significantly down. That's tending to suppress other commodities as well.

“There's no doubt about it, everybody is feeling the pinch.

“We are not thinking about next week, we are thinking long-term. As far as the Ro-Ro market is concerned we are keeping a watching brief. Ro-pax is an option within Ro-Ro that we are more than happy to exploit if we are able to. We do not rule anything out. But at this moment in time while the market is still contracting, the decision to launch a Ro-Ro service may not be seen as particularly attractive.

“I don't think it's going to be now, but it's certainly within our strategic planning.

“I am not going to get into a debate about Ro-Ro, I didn't make the promises. There was never a promise. We have said ourselves quite clearly that if we can get somebody that wants to start a Roll-on, Roll-off out of Great Yarmouth and came knocking on our door, we can deliver.

“There's never been a firm promise about this issue. The company they were talking to no longer operates out of the UK but that doesn't mean to say there won't be others.”

Now he said the task in hand was to focus on what has been achieved and build on that.

“It's been a fantastic effort. We have got a new management team here and we are intent on getting this project finished and are all determined to make it really successful.

“The cranes are in,” he said. “At the moment we are just completing some of the paved works. Hopefully by the end of this month, middle of next month, we should be seeing this as a port that's available to do some business.

“We want to create a one-stop shop and make the customer feel really good about doing business here in Great Yarmouth. We want to listen to the client and be as flexible as we can.

“Obviously we are concentrating heavily on containers at the moment and renewables are very close to our heart, the agricultural market is also crucial to us. At the moment we are comfortable and happy with what we have got.

“It's about getting the processes in place and make sure what we are promising, we can deliver. It's about bringing the trade along with us with regards to what we are doing, and listening to the industries.

“I think we have got a brand new culture. It was very much about making the trust port work in the private sector model, it's still a work in progress, but we are very nearly there now. We are a 24/7 port. Traffic will come and go round the clock.

“The port facility is quite crucial to the region. It's the only one that Norfolk has outside of King's Lynn of any size. By building the outer harbour, we have stopped the decline of the port. "

The port is bigger in capacity terms than King's Lynn, Ipswich and Lowestoft. If you look down the East coast, you have got the Humber, ourselves, Felixstowe, then you are down into Tilbury.

“We are very much hoping that we will be able to promote and develop jobs as our infrastructure expands. Just being able to show people around makes a huge difference in marketing terms.

We know what we are about, we are about trying to maximise this port as best we can for the benefit of our community.

“One of the reasons we wanted to be involved in Shaping Norfolk's Future is that we think the port has a very significant role to play in the development of the country and how the county sees itself.”

Like the port of Felixstowe which has helped create jobs behind the town itself and along the A14 corridor, supporters of the outer harbour believe it will create jobs across the region working along the A47 up to the Norwich and even along the A47 corridor.

George Bennett, head of development at Eeda, and a member of the First East board, said the port would help create vital skilled blue collar jobs in the town, while also freeing up land along the river for redevelopment as industries start to cluster around the new outer harbour.

“The easiest way to think of it is like building a road,” Mr Bennett said. “We have paid for the breakwater, we haven't paid for an entire harbour. That's up to market conditions.“We have got a facility that's not quite finished yet,” he said. “The paint isn't even dry, but there is a bit of a British psyche to knock something before it has started. We are looking at a 10-15 year period before the port is anywhere near its full capacity. It needs to build up to that. The private sector investment that's gone into the outer harbour is looking at a 50 year return.

“We are absolutely delighted that the port has been finished and largely achieved on time.”

Mr Bennett said developments, such as the recently announced Saul's Wharf would help regenerate the town with developments similar in scale and ambition to Norwich's Riverside the Ipswich wharf front.

“We have got an opportunity to relocate a number of port businesses in South Denes,” Mr Bennett added. “We have got 8km or river frontage. There's quite a number of opportunities there to really reshape the town with a mixture of commercial and residential development.

“A ferry service is quite important and we would say that the door hasn't closed on that,” Mr Bennett said. “It's still an ambition held by ourselves to see a ferry service. The current climate has affected that. The outer harbour was designed with a ferry service in place, and that requires substantial investment. It's not yet right for that objective but it's still in there. But it's not going to be delivered on day one. It's a 50-year vision. What we have done is safeguard the future of the current port.”

Peter Hardy, executive director for environment and economy at Great Yarmouth borough council, said the port's owners had spotted commercial opportunities previously not thought of and people should not get too hung up on the ferry issue, though he admits it was the aspect of the business which most captured the public imagination.

“When International Port Holdings came in and said they reckoned they could get into the container business, that was a bonus,” Mr Hardy said. “That was certainly an option that nobody had thought of. There are as many jobs coming out of that as there may have been from a ferry service.“In 2003 there was a ferry company saying if we could build the outer harbour, they would like to run a ferry service, which in business terms would have been nearly all freight, but would also carry passengers.

“The ferry market in the southern North Sea continued to show growth in freight until the recession,” Mr Hardy added. “The passenger market was very different. It was slammed very hard by the mushrooming of low cost flights. Harwich had a fast ferry service and they couldn't keep it going. In 2004/05 the other that came in was oil doubling in price.

“All of these external factors prior to the recession meant we were unlucky. The world has moved on.”

But he said the crucial thing was that after more than 20 years of hopes and dreams the outer harbour had been built in the first place.

“The fact it was built has put Great Yarmouth back in the port business for the next century and has put East Anglia back on the trade route,” he said. “It may be that you won't find that many jobs on the quayside, but it's certainly creating opportunities for the agricultural industry all over Norfolk.

“I am not alone in being absolutely delighted that it did come off.”

Mr Freeman, who hails from Middlesborough, and still has traces of a North-East accent, admits that delivering the outer harbour probably represents the last great challenge of his career. And it is one he is determined to achieve before stepping back from the business and pursuing other interests including sailing and hanging out at his favourite pubs, such as the Fat Cat in Norwich, where he now lives.

“At this late stage in my career it represented a challenge to me personally,” he said. I think we have got enough positives in here to see us through what's probably the deepest recession that we could have seen in our lifetime.

“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing this project up and running and successful. And it will be, nobody has come here to fail.”

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cost control will pull CMA CGM out of the red

Deepsea carrier CMA CGM is expecting to return to breakeven point by December, thanks to its cost-cutting efforts and a rebound in rates and volumes.
The Marseille-based shipping line said: “The savings plan applied throughout all segments of the group, combined with increasingly firm volumes and rates, is already producing its initial effects.”
The cost saving measures include; closing of secondary lines to concentrate volumes on the main lines; an increase in strategic shipping partnerships; redelivery of chartered ships; reduced logistics expenses and port expenditures; optimised capacity in line with transport demand.
It added a rebound in cargo rates had been observed on Asia–north Europe, Asia–Mediterranean and Asia–South America services.
The carrier said its Asia-north Europe services, which account for almost quarter of its volumes, returned to profitability in October and its other lines are expected to reach breakeven point by the end of this year.
CMA CGM also announced it would extend its super-eco speed program across all ships on ocean-going services to reduce fuel consumption and costs.
CMA CGM’s latest vessel, which it took delivery of last week, is capable of sailing at speeds of around 14-15 knots.
Earlier this week the CKYH alliance of shipping lines, which includes Cosco, K-Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin, announced they would also fully implement super-slow steaming.
Maersk Line has also implemented a super-slow steaming program.

CMA CGM forecasts 2010 profit

FRENCH line CMA CGM expects to return to breakeven next month, sooner than it had predicted earlier, and be in the black next year.
In a statement today, CMA CGM said the savings plan applied throughout the group, combined with improvement in both cargo volumes and freight rates, was already improving the bottom line.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Booking bother at Felixstowe

Hauliers are finding it increasingly difficult to access Felixstowe’s Trinity Terminal during peak hours, due to the sheer weight of demand for slots on its vehicle booking system (VBS).
One haulage firm told IFW that it had lost all confidence in the system and warned that people could be laid off as a result.
He said: "I spent half an hour begging and pleading just to get four bookings.
The port of Felixstowe handles over a million containers, and I’m trying to get four bookings.
"If we can’t get in to service the lines, how can it continue?" he asked.
"I don’t think the haulage industry has got any confidence in such a system, in whatever shape or form it comes and whether it is at Southampton, Tilbury or Felixstowe."
A spokesman for Hutchison Ports UK, said that while the booking system was "technically working fine", the port was aware of the frustration felt by hauliers who were not always able to book the slots they needed.
"At peak times there may not always be slots available," he said.
The VBS caps the number of vehicles that can enter the port in any one hour at 210.
It also allows firms to book seven days in advance, but stops anyone from block-booking.
Peak periods operate between 6-8am and 2-6pm each day.
The spokesman said: "When it [the VBS] gets fully booked, it’s between those periods generally.
"The reason that a VBS was needed in the first place was that in peak periods, more hauliers were arriving than we could physically handle, which obviously led to delays.
"If more than 210 vehicles want to book in any one hour, then they are not all going to be successful."
He argued that the system "gave more certainty" to hauliers over when they would get serviced, but said he appreciated the frustration felt by others.
"Clearly they need to do what they can to deliver the containers where and when their customers want them and I fully understand that.
"It [the VBS] has, overall, reduced the average waiting time.
"We’re trying to smooth out the peaks as best we can, to make it more of a 24-hour system.
"We’re in the peak period of the year as well, with the run up to Christmas.
"There are more hours that are maxing out at the moment - more than there were earlier in the year."

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Maersk suffers increased losses

AP Moller Maersk’s container shipping division made a loss of US$539m in the third quarter, bringing its total loss for the year to $1.5bn.
The Danish shipping group, which owns Maersk Line and Safmarine, blamed the loss on low freight rates, which were 32% less in the third quarter of this year than they were a year earlier.
However, it said rates had improved in the third quarter compared to the second quarter.
It said: “Falling demand and additions of new tonnage led to substantially lower rates in the first nine months of the year than in the same period of 2008.
“Due to the current market conditions, approximately 10% of the global fleet has been taken out of service.
“In the third quarter of 2009, volumes showed an upward trend compared to the second quarter, primarily reflecting the traditional peak season. However, volumes were lower than in the third quarter of 2008.
“Combined with temporary capacity reductions, the rising volumes led to a general increase in freight rates in the third quarter.
“Nevertheless, rates were considerably lower than in the same period of 2008, and further increases are required for the container market to become profitable again.”
In the third quarter of last year, Maersk’s container sector made a profit of $99m.

Monday, 9 November 2009

New logistics park plan for Felixstowe

The chronic shortage of land available for warehousing around the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, may be alleviated, after Cambridge University’s Trinity College delivered new development proposals to local and regional authorities.
Trinity, which owns large tracts of land both in the port and in the surrounding hinterland, has submitted outline proposals for a massive extension of Trinity Distribution Park, which would see a 132ha rail-connected logistics park developed within a few miles of the port.
Tim Collins, partner at agent Bidwells, which advises Trinity College, told IFW it was not a planning application.
"This is preparatory work, which is aimed at a strategic level to the local, regional and sub-regional authorities."
"It is not a planning application - the college is going through a stage one engineering assessment to investigate whether the project is achievable, in terms of getting services to the site and the construction of road and rail links.
"Ultimately, Trinity College hopes this will lead to an allocation within regional planning policy that says: 'this land should be developed for port-related employment’.
"There is an ongoing debate about the supply of port-related land, and we have an identifiable shortfall of land to service the port - you can’t separate port growth from the proposals we are talking about here. Trinity College needs to respond to that growth trajectory."
The proposals concern two separate sites. The first is the 18ha Christmasyard Wood area, which is immediately adjacent to the port and expected to be used for container storage.
"Because Christmasyard Wood is the closer site, and the smaller one, it’s the short-to-medium option - the one that would likely go to planning application first," Collins said.
The second, much larger development, involves a 113ha site at Innocence Farm, which Collins described as a medium- to long-term project.
He said: "If trading conditions now were what they were two years ago, you would likely see a planning application go in for Christmasyard Wood now.
"For Innocence Farm, my guess is that is is well outside the five-year time frame."
A port of Felixstowe executive declined to comment on the specific proposals but said: "It is important that there’s enough land to support the port."

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Tilbury suffers decline despite stronger ro-ro

The port of Tilbury saw year-on-year volumes drop 3% over the first nine months of the year.
Despite the “robust” performance overall, the Forth Ports owned port’s container volumes dropped 18% year-on-year.
The overall volumes were positively impacted by “continued increases” in ro-ro volumes on the Tilbury-Zeebrugge route and grain volumes.
Container volumes at Grangemouth, another of Forth’s ports, were 11% down.