Thursday, 22 July 2010

Lock-out shuts box terminals at Montreal

No containers have been unloaded at the Candian port of Montreal after terminal managers ordered a lock-out of workers in response to a dispute over working hours and wages.

Port landlord the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), which claimed a neutral stance, said that since the lock-out, not a single container had been loaded or unloaded and called for a swift resolution to the dispute.

It said: “All the port’s marine activities stopped following the lock-out. Furthermore, rail operations and truck traffic were halted when picket lines went up. Consequently, no container has entered or left the port since Monday morning.”

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) called for an immediate return to negotiations by the employers’ association, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA).

The ITF said that on 27 June, the MEA changed the working conditions of 169 dockers with the least seniority.

In response, the longshoremen refused to work overtime from 9 July, prompting the lock-out.

Frank Leys, Dockers’ Section Secretary of the ITF, said: “A solution to the dispute at the port was within everyone’s reach. This lock-out risks kicking it over the horizon and out of sight.”

“We’d remind the employers’ association that overtime is voluntary and not providing it is not a reason to be shut out of your job.

“Renegotiation of an existing agreement – which is what this is all about – isn’t done by barring the doors on those affected.

“Negotiation is the only way forward. The union is willing. It’s up to the employers to rescind this pointless ban and resume talks.”

The MEA said: “Considering existing market conditions, the MEA can no longer accept such a large gap between the amount of hours worked and paid for by longshoremen and the amount of hours not worked but fully paid for.

“MEA’s management team believes that while this is not a desirable outcome, it had no other choice but to order a lock-out, given that pressure tactics had begun to impede port operations.”

The two parties have agreed to begin negotiations, with the help of a federal mediator, tomorrow.;jsessionid=AA2733369AC7213E75A3EF42DFFEB126.5d25bd3d240cca6cbbee6afc8c3b5655190f397f

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Containers still burning a week after fire on Maersk ship began

More than 100 containers are still burning on board the Charlotte Maersk seven days after the blaze began.

Maersk Line said the fire started last Wednesday at around 9pm local time close to Port Klang, Malaysia, and had been brought under control.

A spokesman for the Danish carrier said this morning that at the height of the blaze, 150 containers were burning at temperatures approaching 1,000 degrees Celcius.

He said 130 containers were still burning.

The line said: “The temperatures are very high and it is impossible for firefighters to approach before additional cooling has taken place.

“This is one of the reasons why the fire extinguishing takes time and why it is difficult to estimate when the fire will be extinguished.”

It added: “Maersk Line cannot speculate on when the fire will be extinguished. The priority remains the continued safety of the crew, vessel and cargo, and the company will take the time needed to ensure a successful resolution of the situation on board Charlotte Maersk.

“Once it will be safe to discharge containers, we will do so, ensuring a minimum of delay to customers’ cargo.”

There are no reported injuries to the 21 crew members from Denmark, India, the Philippines and Ukraine.

Uncofirmed reports suggest the fire started when one of the containers exploded. By Thursday morning, the fire had been restricted to the foredeck of the vessel.

Currently there are four firefighting tug boats and two Malaysian Coast Guard vessels at the scene.

The 8,200teu Charlotte Maersk had left Port Klang and was heading to Salalah, Oman, when the drama began.;jsessionid=53DB62AF206FDF8D54509CD449758F8E.065acf6a61c52eed94766d1ba7da5d95d4ecd58a

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Unifeeder expands to the UK

Shortsea operator Unifeeder has launched a network of services calling at ports on the UK east coast.

The line is using three containerships on three loops between Felixstow, Grangemouth, Immingham, Teesport and South Shields and its mainland European hubs at Hamburg and Rotterdam.

There will also be one vessel a week from Felixstowe to the port of Tyne, returning to Rotterdam.

Unifeeder CEO Jesper Kristensen said: “The expansion into the UK is a major and strategically important decision.

“The new service brings opportunities to link the UK with major continental hubs as well as with the company’s existing destinations in Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea”.;jsessionid=F7C7E99214027211262B34B96140AF60.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Container volumes heading for new heights

Container volumes will continue to surge during the peak season, following this year’s record volumes for the month of May.

Researcher Macquarie’s Global Container Index, which is based on the aggregation of volumes from almost 200 container ports in 58 countries, showed box volumes reached a record high in May, up 1% on the previous peak recorded in May 2008, and up 18% year-on-year.

If the trend continues through June, Macquarie’s estimated global throughput growth of 17% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2010, would be a record high for an individual quarter.

And it predicts volumes will continue to surge during the third quarter, growing 14-15% year-on-year.

It said: “Based on typical seasonal trends, in which third-quarter volumes typically exceed those seen in the previous quarter by around 4%, it is likely that Q3 2010 will prove a record by some distance.”

“Two key reasons suggest to us that volumes will remain strong during this period: our analysis of inventories in Europe and the US suggests the main benefit from re-stocking may be still to come; and in importing regions, such as the US, the ratio of containerised imports to end demand remains low for both consumer and industrial goods.”

Macquarie said it had argued against the popular perception held about the reasons behind volume booms reported earlier this year. These suggested that container volumes during the first quarter included significant one-off benefits from the re-stocking of empty shelves.

It said that, following the consistently strong volumes reported during April and May, its stance on the issue has become more widely accepted, and added that research suggested that major inventory re-stocking had yet to take place, and would boost volumes further.

“The observation that the main benefit from re-stocking for global freight volumes may have yet to come is an important one,” Macquarie said

“While our view that re-stocking has not driven volumes to unsustainable levels may have become accepted, we do not believe that the consensus view is considering the prospect of an increase in re-stocking benefits.

“If this view does prove correct, the potential for volumes to strengthen in the near-term should not be ruled out, particularly on the [westbound] Asia-Europe and [eastbound] transpacific routes, where volumes are driven, respectively, by European and North American imports.”;jsessionid=42ED8D5681990B2421D3ECD48F93395B.065acf6a61c52eed94766d1ba7da5d95d4ecd58a

Friday, 25 June 2010

This happens all the time and nobody seems interested.

Friday Focus -- Weighing containers: is it really that difficult?

In 2007, the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) published a report concerning an incident that occurred while the 868teu containership Annabella was in the Baltic Sea. The following year, it published another report, this time concerning the loss of the 4,419teu MSC Napoli, which had to be run aground on a UK beach to avoid it sinking in the Channel.

These two incidents led to the publication, by the International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council, of Safe Transport of Containers by Sea – Guidelines on Best Practices.

These two august bodies stated categorically that overloading a container is something which can never be condoned and that the party stuffing the container is responsible for ensuring that its gross mass is in accordance with the gross mass given on the shipping documents. Furthermore, the guidelines state that terminal operators should verify the weights of incoming containers before they are loaded.

Despite this, nothing seems to be happening to ensure that weighing takes place, and the container shipping industry continues to rely on shippers being accurate and honest when they declare the weight of their cargo to the carriers.

When in January 2010, the media reported the MAIB’s preliminary examination result into the loss of 18 containers over the side of the 910teu Husky Racer while berthed in Bremerhaven, the issue of weighing containers was again in the spotlight. It became very apparent that many people in the container industry were still unsure of how container weights could be verified with any reliability.

Interestingly, the question whether to weigh or not to weigh is also being asked in the ro-ro sector, and not just because many of these vessels carry containers as well as trailers. As the MAIB pointed out in its report into the stranding of the ro-ro vessel Riverdance on a beach at Blackpool, there is no requirement to weigh trailers before they are loaded onto ro-ro vessels – those permitted to carry 12 passengers or less.

There is plenty of evidence, mostly anecdotal, but some more authoritative, indicating that shippers cannot always be relied upon to make accurate weight declarations when booking cargo. Yet carriers still accept declared weights and rarely seek verification.

Over the past three years, container handling equipment manufacturers have been addressing this issue and it would appear that there are now practical and affordable solutions available. But there is, however, still no sign that the weighing of containers in ports will become routine. As a result, road hauliers continue to be prosecuted for running overweight, stevedore and seafarer lives are at risk and on-deck container stacks collapse.

Clearly, it is time for the industry to convene and discuss the various issues surrounding misdeclared container weights. As a first step,UK-based maritime PR company Dunelm has organised a one-day conference in London on 29 June, entitled Weighing containers: is it really that difficult?

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Record cargo volumes in Asia

Chinese ports and airports have reported record monthly throughputs in May, exceeding analysts’ forecasts and confirming a rebound in Asia’s cargo volumes.

China’s container ports handled a record 12.4 million teu last month, which was 21.9% higher than the volumes in May 2009 and 16.6% higher than the same month in 2008.

Paris-based analyst AXS Alphaliner said Ningbo, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Xiamen and Dalian all posted their highest-ever monthly liftings on record

Maersk to use laid-up ships to ferry boxes to China

Maersk Line is bringing in laid-up ships to ferry containers to Asia in an attempt to address the box shortage that is set to hamper the industry during the peak season.

The Danish carrier said it had re-activated laid-up vessels to assist in repositioning containers as quickly as possible.

It has also kickstarted production of new containers and leasing of containers.

Because of the extra costs associated with combating the container shortage, Maersk last week announced a record peak-season surcharge (PSS) of US$750 per 20ft, $1,000 per 40ft and $1,200 per 40ft high-cube container on westbound services to Northern Europe from 15 July.

On westbound services to the Mediterranean, the surcharge will be $600 per 20ft, $800 per 40ft and $1,000 per 40ft high-cube.

The line said: “The surcharge will assist Maersk Line in recovering the higher costs caused by the increased volumes and equipment shortage, for example, port costs, vessels deployed to reposition containers and leasing [more containers].”

Board member Lars Reno Jakobsen, Head of Network and Product, said: “The present market situation is unique. We are experiencing a demand surge in most trades, which is a development that is both unprecedented and unexpected by us and our customers.

“For example, the Asia-Europe trade is growing by 23%, compared with the market’s single-digit expectation just six months ago.

“Therefore, we already see a very tight equipment situation. And we expect an even more pronounced and serious shortage of containers in the coming months, as we enter the peak season.”

The Danish carrier said the shortage stemmed from a lack of orders for new containers during and following the recession.

Maersk said it would only apply one PSS during the peak season to make the situation more transparent for customers.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that two deepsea carriers are looking to introduce equipment re-positioning surcharges because of a shortage of containers.

Over recent weeks, forwarders and shipping lines have been warning that there could be an equipment shortage during the peak season.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Teesport containers up 70%

Teesport is reporting a 70% year-on-year increase in volumes at its two container terminals so far this year, and is targeting a throughput of 263,000 teu for the full-year 2010.

Operated by PD Ports, Teesport bucked the trend with a 20% increase in volumes through its container terminals last year, to 193,000 teu.

This included a 51% increase in volumes in the second half of the year, after the opening of the new Tesco import centre at Tees Dock.

“Quite frankly, we are blistering ahead of the rest at the moment,” said PD Ports CEO David Robinson.

“I don’t think anybody else would be looking to a 70% growth rate. We also had a record month on our container terminals in May.”

If boxes handled on ro-ro services into the port are added in, Teesport handled a total 414,000teu last year.

PD’s portcentric relationships - where retailer warehouses are based on, or near, port property - are at the centre of this dramatic growth, Robinson said.

As well as the Tesco facility, the Teesport is also home to an Asda import centre, with Asda George at nearby Darlington, a tea and coffee import facility for Taylors of Harrogate, and a new facility for chemicals giant Sabic just outside the dock estate.

“We are targeting a throughput of 263,000teu this year and we are on course for that,” said Robinson.

PD has drawn up plans to increase capacity on its container terminals from 250,000 to 450,000 teu a year, by upgrading yard, infrastructure, IT and purchasing rubber-tyred gantry cranes.

“We would expect, by 2013-1 to be a 600,000teu port, not 400,000,” said Mr Robinson.

“We will be one of the major UK container ports and our ability to put the Tees into the 1 million teu category of port is well within our reach in the next five to 10 years.”

PD’s plans for a new deepwater container terminal are still “in our sights”, he added.

PD is also looking to purchase more land in the near future to support expected growth in containers and portcentric operations.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Upgrade for Southampton berth

The UK’s second busiest container terminal, DP World Southampton, is upgrading its shipside capability by deepening container berths and adding ship-to-shore cranes.

The dredging will increase the depth of berths 205, 206 and 207 to 14 metres, 14.6 metres and 15 metres, respectively. And DP World Southampton has placed an order with Liebherr for two super-post-panamax cranes.

The new cranes, due to be delivered in the first quarter of 2011, will mean that 50% of the terminal’s 10-crane fleet are of super-post-panamax design, having an outreach across 22 containers.

Chris Lewis, DP World Southampton MD, said: “The terminal continues to meet the ongoing industry trend towards larger containerships.”;jsessionid=F43875723A883B7EB37A7B134828923C.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

Felixstowe port project "on target" - more than 3 million m3 of material dredged to date

The latest chapter in Costain's long-running relationship with the Port of Felixstowe is now less than a year away from its targeted completion, with the team behind the current Felixstowe South Reconfiguration project aiming to bring it in on time despite the past winter's abysmal weather.

The first phase - 440m of quay - has been completed and handed over for delivery of the new quay cranes. The second section, involving a 300m length, is now underway, together with paving work inland.

The freezing winter weather early in 2010 presented a number of challenges in the first phase due to the low temperatures affecting the laying of the concrete sub-base, says Deputy Project Director Nigel Desert.

Although the team was able to claw back some of the deficit, losing that amount of time close to the end of that section of the project had an inevitable effect on handover schedules.

Nevertheless, the aim is still to finish the second stretch of quayside by 12 September and the overall project on time in May 2011.

The new quay wall consists of 2.56m diameter piles capped with site-fabricated precast concrete units, the heaviest of which weighs 90 tonnes.

The project requires huge amounts of fill; to date, more than 3 million m³ of material has been dredged from the seabed just outside the port and from off Great Yarmouth.

As well as the quaysides themselves, which will offer deeper berths for the largest container vessels, there is also a huge expanse of container stacking areas to complete on the 35-hectare site, requiring more than 18 million paving blocks.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Lower emissions from Felixstowe

The Port of Felixstowe has announced an 8% cut in its carbon emissions in 2009. The amount of carbon dioxide was reduced from 19.8kg to 19kg in 2009 alone, and the port is confident of a further downward trend over the coming year.

The port said this was due to its constant investment in new equipment and upgrading to more carbon efficient machinery, for example, new low emission RTGs.

Felixstowe is also progressing various other projects to improve its environmental performance. These include working with the Carbon Trust to develop its carbon management programme, and reducing energy used in buildings as well as increasing the amount of waste sent for recycling.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

10/05/10 09:30 Zhen Hua 25

What a whopper! This incredible sight gave onlookers a lift off Sheppey yesterday.

The ship - the Zhen Hua 25 - was on its way to the Port of Felixstowe laden with four massive cranes.

But before reaching the UK's largest container terminal it stopped off to dock at Thamesport on the Isle of Grain.

One resident of the Leas, Minster, said it was "the weirdest thing I've ever seen".

She added: "It looked liked the wrought-iron framework of a pagoda and the boat was moving quite fast."

Former KM Group photographer, Barry Crayford - who snapped the ship - described it as "awesome".

The ship is owned by the Shanghai-based ZPMC company.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Crane crash caught on camera

Footage of an incident involving the Liberia-flagged containership CCNI Ant├írtico last Monday has been released, showing the dramatic moment the vessel demolished a gantry crane at International Container Terminal Services Inc’s (ICTSI) Contecon terminal at the port of Guayaquil in Ecuador, reports IFW sister publication Lloyd’s List.

The 2002-built, 4,100 teu boxship was on its maiden voyage on a service between Asia and the west coast of South America.

Footage posted on YouTube by a Contecon stevedore shows the dramatic moment the Antártico brushed another vessel at berth before ploughing into one of three gantry cranes at the Contecon facility. Remarkably, nobody was injured in the accident.

Investigators are looking into the extent of the damage caused by the incident, but Contecon general manager Luis Cao said that the crane would need to be replaced, a measure that will hit productivity for up to eight months.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Box business beats growth records

Global container throughput growth in February was the most rapid on record.

And volumes in the first quarter of this year are expected to reach close to pre-financial crisis levels, according to the latest figures from Macquarie Research.

Based on data from ports accounting for around two-thirds of global container throughput, the firm said volumes increased 25% year-on-year in February.

While year-on-year growth is expected to reduce to around 15% this month, Macquarie said: “The question mark now is whether this parity will hold, or whether the Q1 volumes were inflated by the end of the de-stocking cycle.”

Friday, 26 March 2010

UK rail chaos after Easter

Freight transport on the UK’s railways will be severely disrupted after the Easter break, following the breakdown of talks between transport workers’ unions and Network Rail yesterday.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) and infrastructure operator Network Rail met at conciliation service Acas, but negotiations over plans to cut 1,500 maintenance jobs were adjourned with no agreement in sight.

The strike will begin at 6am on 6 April and run until 11.59pm on 9 April.

The RMT announced that signal workers had voted 54% vote in favour of a strike, on a turnout of 71%.

They will walk out for four hours, twice a day over the strike period, to coincide with rush hours, while the maintenance staff will stay out for the full four days.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “RMT negotiators have worked flat out to try and reach an agreement that protects rail safety, job security and working agreements in the disputes involving signalling and maintenance staff on Britain’s railways.

“Despite hours of talks, we have received nothing concrete from Network Rail that addresses the key issues.”

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s director of operations and customer services, said: “This proposed strike is not about safety. Britain’s railway is safer than ever. The issue of safety is a smokescreen from a union leadership stuck in the steam age.

“Our contingency plans are well advanced and aim to keep as many trains running as possible. But a national rail strike will have a severe impact on services and on Britain.”

Monday, 15 March 2010

Taking industrial action - a legal guide

Knowledge of the law of industrial action is vital for trade unionists as the consequences of a failure to observe the provisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 when going out on strike are severe. This booklet is designed to present to union reps the relevant information about taking industrial action so that the process is clearly understood.

Introduction (514 words)

Evidence of state interference with workers’ attempts to join together and improve their pay and conditions dates back to the Statute of Labourers 1351 . The motivation has been both economic (to prevent workers negotiating terms which are more costly for employers) and political (to prevent workers forming ...

1. The law — basic principles and definitions (600 words)

The law is created in two ways: statutory law or legislation (statutes) is made by Parliament passing Acts of Parliament. Common law is made by judges in courts of law. The judge gives a decision in a particular case and his/her reason for that decision. Authoritative precedents (which in turn influence later cases). Statutes can override the common law. ...

2. Immunities (1714 words)

Tort law is a body of law that addresses and provides remedies for civil wrongs not arising out of contractual obligations and is not ...

3. Balloting (2679 words)

In 2005, the Department for Trade and Industry (now BIS — the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) produced an updated version of its Code of Practice on Industrial Action Ballots and Notice to Employers . A copy of the Code is available at . ...

4. Taking industrial action (847 words)

At least seven days before it starts, the union must take reasonable steps to give the employer proper official notice of the intention to Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ( TULRCA), the notice must include information that the union holds that will enable the employer to plan for the industrial action and to lawfully ...

5. Halting industrial action (828 words)

The four-week rule for commencing industrial action does not prevent a union from suspending action and then re-imposing it ( Monsanto v TGWU [1986] IRLR 406 ). However, the gap between the suspension and re-imposition of the action should not be too long, or indicate a change in tactics by Post Office v UCW [1990] IRLR 143 ). ...

6. Injunctions (375 words)

The injunction (interdict in Scotland) is the most popular legal remedy sought by employers. An injunction is a court order to do or to ...

7. Who can sue (542 words)

The law is intended to assist the employer (or a customer or supplier of the employer) to take legal action against trade unions, strike ...

8. Dismissal (820 words)

The law governing dismissals during industrial action is found in sections 237-238 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). The first key issue is whether the action was official (i.e. the union authorised or endorsed it) or unofficial. ...

9. Picketing (1093 words)

Picketing is where employees encourage others (in breach of their contracts) not to attend work during a trade dispute. Section 220 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ( TULRCA) gives statutory immunity to some individuals, but only where the picketing is in order to peacefully: ...

10. Effect on terms and conditions and benefits (975 words)

Going on strike will not result in a breach in an individual’s continuity of employment (section 216 Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA)). Neither will being locked out from work break continuity. However, the period on strike (and any period locked out) will not add to ...

Checklist (342 words)

The requirements for a trade dispute potentially covered by immunity from tort claims are that the dispute: ...

Further information (283 words)

Throughout the booklet references have been made to the relevant statutes. Copies of these can be obtained online from the Office for Public Sector . In Northern Ireland, legislation is available online from the Labour Relations Agency website at: . Legislation is also available at: . ...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

More laid-up ships back in service

The number of laid-up ships fell to its lowest since last July this week as carriers continue to return ships into service.

The latest figures from Paris-based analyst AXS Alphaliner reveal that the capacity of ships laid-up this week stands at 1.24m teu – 9.4% of the world’s containership fleet.

The figures also reveal that the tonnage of carrier-owned laid-up ships has fallen from 1.03m teu to 633,000teu.

Alphaliner predicted that the idle fleet could fall below 1m teu over the next couple of months as new services and additional demand, created by super-slow-steaming, absorb surplus ships and a few idle veterans of 2,500-4,000teu are scrapped.

Alphaliner said: “These moves could lead to the employment of about 40 additional ships of more than 3,500teu by the end of April, with more than 15 units drawn from the pool of idle ships.

“A number of carrier-controlled units of 4,000-7,000teu are still idle, but some of these could be re-activated at short notice, if justified by the demand growth.”

As a result of carrier optimism for the summer season, charter market ships of 4,000-5,500teu are now becoming harder to find, following a wave of charter deals over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Box volumes see strong recovery

LATEST figures from the European Liner Affairs Association, for January, show a strong recovery in container volumes to and from Europe on most trades compared with the same month in 2009, the lowest point in the downturn.
That caveat aside, two other reports showed encouraging volume growth involving disparate trades.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Three people injured in two separate incidents at Southampton docks

A DOCK worker was left injured and stranded when his container mover toppled over last night, in the second serious incident at Southampton’s docks within a matter of hours.

It happened on the same day an 80ft crane on a barge collapsed onto the ship, leaving two men injured.

The incidents come just eight months after crane operator Jay Squibb was left a crushed voicebox and windpipe after his driver’s cab plunged 100ft when the machine he was operating collapsed as he unloaded containers from a ship at the city’s port.

Two crewmen from the vessel needed medical treatment after the first of yesterday’s incidents, which happened shortly after 10am in an area near the city cruise terminal on Herbert Walker Avenue.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has launched an investigation, but port bosses insisted it was a very different type of incident to the one which injured Jay, a 33-year-old father-of-two from Woolston, because that involved a quayside crane.

But just hours later, at around 12.20am today, a 32-year-old man was left injured when his empty container handler overturned.

The worker was transporting two containers on the machine, similar to a large fork lift truck, but it toppled over under the weight of the boxes as he came to a halt in the DP World container port off Western Avenue.

The man suffered a knee injury in the incident, but was left suspended around 20 feet off the ground.

Fire crews from Redbridge and St Mary’s were called to help, using an aerial ladder to rescue the stricken worker, who was then taken by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital.

He has since been treated and allowed home.

Emergency services remained on the scene until 1.30am clearing diesel that had spilled from the carrier.

Crane topples over at Southampton docks

A crane has toppled over at Southampton docks but no-one has been seriously injured - the third collapse at the port in the past two years.

A worker said they heard a "humongous crash" when the crane, which was on a tug and thought to be about 200ft (60m) high, collapsed at about 1000 GMT.

Two men were assessed at the scene but no-one needed hospital treatment.

Two other cranes toppled over at the docks in 2008 and 2009. The Health and Safety Executive is investigating.

A person who was working near the latest incident, who did not want to be named, said: "A colleague of mine said they heard a humongous crash.

"We don't know if the crane was lifting anything at the time when it crashed."

Crane driver Jay Squibb was seriously injured when he was crushed by a crane which toppled over at the docks last July.

He legs were crushed and he was trapped for more than two hours but was eventually freed and airlifted to safety.

He has since returned home but admitted he cannot see himself ever returning to the job.

In January 2008, another crane collapsed but no-one was hurt.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Lines left reeling by bounceback in box volumes

A HUGE surge in container volumes over the past three months has caught container lines by complete surprise and left them uncertain whether to reactivate idle tonnage even though their customers are screaming for extra space straightaway.
Maersk Line chief executive Eivind Kolding admitted this week that the industry had not been ready for the sudden sharp increase in demand that began in early December and continued right through to the start of the Chinese New Year holidays.
“We had no time to prepare, we did not get any signals that this was coming,” he said.
Initial figures suggest that total worldwide volumes are up by about 15%-20% on corresponding figures a year ago when the market was in sharp decline and trade overall contracted by 10%. Even so, it was “far too early to say the crisis is over”, Mr Kolding warned. With AP Moller-Maersk due to release its 2009 results tomorrow, Mr Kolding was unable to comment on Maersk Line’s financial prospects.
But assessing the industry-wide picture, he told Lloyd’s List that container shipping was heading back towards break-even.
“We are not there yet,” he said, but if lines achieve the rate increases they are seeking in the 2010-2011 transpacific eastbound contracts that come up for renewal on May 1 then the industry could move out of the red by the end of the year. That compares with global losses that are thought to have reached around $20bn in 2009.
“Certainly, 2010 will be much better than last year, probably something the industry will be satisfied with, but not anything to brag about,” he said,
Neptune Orient Lines, which announced a 63% leap in volumes in its latest six-week period compared with year earlier levels, concurred that ocean carriers had been caught offguard by the size of the cargo recovery that has pushed some spot rates in the Asia-Europe trades back up 2007 levels when conditions were still very strong.
The Singapore line, which acted fast to remove capacity at the start of the meltdown, now only has a handful of ships idle compared with more than two dozen a year ago, and has reactivated some services in the intra-Asia and transpacific trades.
“Everyone has been surprised by this big bounce,” NOL president and chief executive Ron Widdows said. “Who the heck projected that?”
But lines’ reluctance to celebrate reflects the fact that the cargo revival appears to reflect concerted wordwide inventory replenishment by many different industries in North America and Europe, but without any corresponding recovery in consumer demand.
In the US, for example, inbound volumes have risen 13% in recent weeks, whereas retail spending is only 1% higher. A similar pattern is apparent in Europe.
That has left container lines wondering whether this apparent recovery is sustainable, or if it will fizzle out once re-stocking is over.
The situation “remains fragile”, Mr Kolding acknowledged in the keynote address to the Journal of Commerce’s 10th Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference, with the still large amount of tonnage in lay-up adding to the delicate supply/demand balance that could easily tip back the wrong way if too much capacity is reactivated too quickly.
Shippers are furious at carriers’ refusals to bring more ships back into service at a time when cargo is being left on the quayside in Asia time after time.
“I have never seen shippers so angry,” said Electrolux vice-president for global freight and logistics services Bjorn Vang Jensen. “We are pissed off.”
Another prominent shipper, Pat Moffett of Audiovox Electronics, said that on one recent occasion he had 13 40 ft containers bumped off a ship.
But Mr Kolding said it took time to adjust shipping networks, while box lines are being ultra-cautious about pulling ships out of lay-up until they are certain that the cargo recovery looks sustainable.
“We will see how volumes pick up after the Chinese New Year,” he said.
But Maersk is more likely to deploy extra loaders in existing transpacific services than introduce new loops, Mr Kolding predicted.
Lloyds list

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Hutchison to Invest In UK Assets

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hutchison Whampoa will raise its presence in the United Kingdom by investing roughly an additional one billion pounds ($1.54 billion) over the next two years, its spokesman said on Wednesday.

The spokesman confirmed the investment figure first reported by the Hong Kong Economic Journal, which said group Hutchison Managing Director Canning Fok disclosed the figure during in a panel meeting in the UK.

Hutchison will re-invest in businesses including retail, property and telecommunications, the newspaper said.

"We hold a positive tone for reinvesting in the UK as it has been generating good investment returns and has good regulations," another Hutchison spokeswoman had said earlier.

Shares of the ports-to-telecoms conglomerate eased 0.99 percent to HK$54.95 by 2:27 a.m. British time, against a 0.81 percent drop in the broader market

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Too busy to get on to the quay...

Please kindly note due to berth unavailability in Felixstowe the CSCL AMERICA V.0049W and the CSCL AFRICA V.0063W will both be diverted to call Southampton port

White hats tell us it's because of the threat of industrial action, China shipping tell us they can't even get on the quay!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

DP World to deepen Thames

DP World is to begin deepening the Thames estuary over the next few weeks to allow the world’s largest container ships to dock at its London Gateway terminal.

A Belgian dredger will spend six weeks from the beginning of March creating a navigation channel to the US$2.5bn project, which will add 3.5m teu to the UK’s port capacity

Simon Moore, CEO of London Gateway, said: “Dredging is an essential part of the project and will create a world-class shipping lane to a port that will become the primary sea trading route for British commerce.”

Dublin port dispute settled

Workers at Ireland’s busiest container terminal have voted to cancel the latest round of industrial action over redundancies and working conditions, following negotiations between unions and management.

Staff at Dublin’s Marine Terminals (MTL) had been due to strike on Monday, but yesterday a deal was brokered between MTL and unions Siptu and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Siptu told IFW today: “The dispute is over; the issues have been resolved through negotiation, and this has been voted for by the workers at a meeting in Liberty Hall last night.

The settlement between MTL and Siptu concerns the Irish Labour Court’s recommendation of 12 October, and an arbitrator’s findings issued on 5 January.

It sets out agreements on arbitration and problem solving, and commits both parties to building skills and co-operation for the future running of the port, and includes a comprehensive training programme for the workers to ensure they are multi-skilled in all the disciplines at MTL.

Siptu divisional organiser Christy McQuillan said: “Our members have been through a very difficult experience regarding their welfare and that of their families over a protracted period.

“The important thing is that hands-on jobs at Dublin Port have been protected and the company has an opportunity to grow and develop the business, which will, hopefully, lead to the creation of further jobs.

“The agreement also ensures that workers in the company will have union representation and will have access to all the industrial relations procedures of the state.”

An MTL spokesman said: “Today’s agreement marks a major step forward in ensuring our customers continue to receive the high level of service they are accustomed to.

“We are grateful to the ITF for its efforts and look forward to working in partnership with Siptu to deliver on both the spirit and letter of the agreement.”

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dublin dockers vote for new strike

Dockers at the Ireland’s busiest container terminal will go back on strike on 22 February after negotiations over redundancies and working conditions broke down.

The Dublin dock workers said they had served a strike notice on Marine Terminals (MTL), owned by Peel Ports, on Friday after the terminal operator indicated it "would not abide by the arbitrators’ ruling”.

Arbitrator Finbarr Flood had been tasked with resolving the differences between workers’ union Siptu and the MTL management.

It is understood that MTL rejected his recommendations and the workers were also unhappy with them.

Flood outlined three areas where the two parties disagreed and ruled that both sides should abide by court recommendations on severance packages, that the company needs 30 workers and that the “agreed” selection criteria for compulsory redundancies be implemented.

The previous strike, over the same issues, began last July, lasted 111 days and only ended after a resolution was brokered by the Irish Labour Court.

Peel Ports was unavailable for comment at the time of posting;jsessionid=1DD7E3B11A7CBA65B82EE97343D7D2DF.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

For more information on this dispute or to leave messages of support for our fellow dockers please have a look at this site.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Hutchison takes knife to ACT top brass

Hutchsion Port Holdings will dismiss the 11- strong management team of its subsidiary Amsterdam Container Terminal (formerly Ceres Paragon)
ACT's CEO Pieter Bas Bredius described the management clear-out - which includes himself - "as a logical step…we proposed it ourselves. With HPH as majority shareholders, a facility like this should be run lean and mean, and should not have its own fully-fledged local management.

"Rotterdam is just down the road and HPH’s regional HQ is well-staffed. ECT's president Jan Westerhoud is responsible for all HPH's European terminals and business development north of the Mediterranean, excluding the UK."

The ACT management team will leave towards the middle of this year, with some reports suggesting March, in what Bredius calls "complete harmony and in a very decent manner. Compulsory redundancies are unlikely, as everybody backs it.

"We are very proud to have gotten this terminal off the ground in the face of Rotterdam competition, and we’ll continue to seek new deepsea liner business to the end."

Bredius joined the then Chris Kritikos-owned Ceres Paragon facility terminal in December 2003 (it was sold to NYK in December 2006), Before that he was director, terminals and procurement, with PONL in Rotterdam.

Operations manager Chris Schaffers will be the only senior staffer to stay and head the 130 strong workforce, but their fate is also unclear. Westerhoud is said to be considering the option of transferring a number of the Amsterdam dockers to one of ECT’s four Rotterdam marine terminal complexes.

HPH has failed to lure the Wan Hai Lines/PIL service to Amsterdam, but is still eying a few options to keep the terminal alive on a stand-alone basis.

As previously reported, the Port of Rotterdam's CEO Hans Smits is of the opinion that ACT should concentrate on inland shipping and barge services. So far at least, HPH is resisting that outcome.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

London Gateway still subject to market demand

DREDGING work at London Gateway, the first deepsea port to be built in the UK in more than 20 years, will begin next month. But completion of the project is still dependent on an improvement in market conditions.;jsessionid=C0B8813A7EA151F0C237B4540E4C1C96.5fa4e8cc80be35e2653c9f87d8b8be45bf6ba69a

Monday, 8 February 2010

New Forest councillors expect more proposals to expand docks

A new attempt to build a massive dock development at Dibden Bay is “inevitable”, say council chiefs.

They issued the warning after criticising the Government’s new policy statement on the future of UK ports, saying it failed to protect the environmentally sensitive site.

The newly-formed Infrastructure Planning Commission will be guided by the statement if Associated British Ports (ABP) submits another proposal to develop Dibden Bay.

Critics say the document demands a market-led approach to port expansion instead of calling for new docks to be built in the least damaging places.

A report to New Forest District Council’s ruling Cabinet said: “The statement does not indicate the locations at which further port capacity could be provided.

“This is to be determined through competition ‘subject to developers satisfying decision-makers that the likely impacts of any proposed development have been addressed’.

“This provides an inadequate basis for the commission to properly determine proposals.

“The statement should be clearer about the appropriate locations for major port development, having regard to international designations, impacts on local communities and other relevant considerations.”

Councillors stressed the need for proper safeguards, saying it said it was “inevitable” that ABP would submit another application.

Chris Elliott, head of the council’s planning and development control unit, warned that the new policy statement failed to reflect the importance of the recently created New Forest National Park, which adjoins Dibden Bay.

David Harrison, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, was also scathing.

He said: “Here we see not only an attempt to move the goal posts but the possibility of replaying the match with the goal posts set wider apart.”

Cabinet members agreed that the council should lobby the Department for Transport in a bid to save Dibden Bay.

The authority will call for any new docks to be built in places where they will have a minimal impact on local communities.

ABP’s application to construct a £600m container terminal at Dibden Bay was rejected by the Government in 2004 following a 13-month public inquiry.

Ministers refused to allow the scheme because of its effect on nationally and internationally important wildlife sites.

But ABP’s Port of Southampton Masterplan, published last summer, predicts that the docks will see a surge in trade over the next 20 years.

The document claims that Dibden Bay is the only suitable site for much-needed port expansion.

Chris Lewis

Chris Lewis has officially begun his role as the new MD of DP World Southampton Container Terminal.

Lewis has been involved in the freight industry for more than 25 years and was previously CEO of Hutchison Ports, owner of Southampton rival and the UK’s busiest container port, Felixstowe.

Lewis said: “The container port industry in the UK has had a difficult two years, caused by the global economic downturn, but we must look ahead positively, so we are well placed to benefit from the upturn when it comes.”

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Felixstowe South redevelopement to become theme park.

Breaking news, Felixstowe South redevelopement to become theme park.

From what I've heard ( My shift haven't been given the bullshit briefing yet. I wonder if it is because our managers don't believe it?) the company are ready to turn business away. Managers are saying that the company don't care if Maersk take the AE1 service away and that they have contingency plans for MSC and the other shipping lines if we carry on with our industrial action. Also they are very sorry but there might be job loses.
From the feedback I've had the workforce are laughing at you, they don't believe a word you are saying anymore. This will become clear to you again Mr Gledhill after the ballot next week.

Just take a few minutes and look at some of the headlines on this blog and people will see that the economy is on the up. FDRC keep on telling us about record breaking volumes on rail and about how well we are doing on shipping with customer satisfaction at an all time high. All this was achieved when we all took cuts in our pay to help the company through a difficult economic climate. What thanks have we had? An offer of **************** (removed because company says it's delicate commercial info) when we've all lost far more than that while the company carried on making money.

Listen to what the company has to say and think about prievious briefings where they've told us how hard they had to fight to get these contracts, do you really think they are ready to give them away to Southampton? If you do then save me a space in the queue for the rollercoaster on FSR!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Laid-up ships begin the return voyage

Shipping lines are starting to return laid-up ships back into service, as super-slow steaming initiatives absorb more capacity than anticipated and demand grows, according to analyst AXS Alphaliner.

According to its latest figures, the idle containership fleet has declined by 142,000teu over the last month, from 581 ships at the start of January to 532 this week.

However, it still represents 10.4% of the total cellular fleet, and expected deliveries for this year could add to the vessel surplus.

The Paris-based analyst said: “The outlook for the liner market has improved considerably over the last 12 months as both volume and rate increases appear to be resilient.

“There has been increasing optimism among operators, with a stronger-than-expected surge in demand in the period to mid-February.

“Furthermore, extra slow-steaming is absorbing excess capacity quicker than anticipated, especially for the larger vessel sizes.”

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

2010 starts weak, but will improve

Freight forwarders are reporting a slow start to 2010, but expectations for the future continue to improve, according to Danske Bank.

In its January survey of more than150 freight forwarding companies, Danske Bank found that 2010 had started on a “weak note” because industrial companies had enjoyed a longer Christmas holiday than usual.

However the underlying recovery in the freight market was still in place, it added.

“We keep our view that the market is still in a recovery mode, but the recovery is slow and gradual.

“The uptick in sentiment is most significant within the sea freight sector. Industry sources tell us rates are rising extremely fast these days, as vessels are fully booked and carriers clearly have the upper hand.”

Adjusted for seasonality, 51% of companies surveyed expected higher volumes in February and 58% in March, compared with two months ago.

Meanwhile, 50% of companies saw volumes increase in January and 55% in December.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Dublin terminal set for new strike action

Workers unhappy with arbitrator's ruling

Dock workers at Ireland’s busiest container terminal are set to go back on strike, after an arbitrator failed to resolve their differences with management.

Ruling on the dispute, arbitrator Finbarr Flood said there were three areas of difference between Peel Ports-owned Marine Terminals (MTL) and workers at the Dublin terminal over planned redundancies.

Workers said: “This ruling can in no way be seen as a victory for dockers, and is in no way comprehensive in addressing the issues which led to strike action.”

The strike, which started last July, lasted 111 days, only ended after a resolution was brokered by the Irish Labour Court. This week,, a source close to the dispute said it looked likely that the strike would be back on.

Flood said the workers union Siptu had accepted a proposal by the Labour Court over the severance package, but MTL’s position was that the court recommendation made no mention of the calculation of service in respect of the ex-gratia element of the severance package.

MTL and the union also disagree over employee numbers.

The company argues it needs 27 workers, with two more positions recruited externally, meaning nine compulsory redundancies, The union claims there is no agreement to recruit externally.

It also claims the establishment figure and working hours have not been agreed.

The union is also unhappy with the company’s selection criteria for the redundancies.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

MTL Dublin. Strike back on.

Not sure if you're aware yet but Peel Ports have now refused to accept
the rulings made by the Labour Court and the arbitrator. Looks like
the strike is back on now. Appreciate if you could spread the word.
Please see the site for more info.

Unionised labour in Ireland was born on Dublin Docks 100 years ago.
It is now likely that unionised labour will die on Dublin Docks.

The strike lasted 111 days and since it ended over 14 weeks have passed without a single worker getting their job back.
The "negotiation process" was deliberately prolonged by the company allowing them to proceed with their Christmas trade unhindered by picketing and the arbitration procedure was unacceptably protracted.
This ruling can in no way be seen as a victory for the dockers and is in no way comprehensive in addressing the issues which led to strike action.
Even acknowledging the weakness of the ruling their is still no indication from company management whether they will accept the arbitrators ruling or when anybody will return to work.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

APL volumes up 40% at the end of last year

Over the final month and a half of last year, APL saw its volumes increase by over 40% year-on-year, although its revenues per container remained down on 2009.

In total the Singapore-based carrier handled 625,000teu between 14 November and 25 December, compared to 436,000teu a year earlier.

Its volumes over that time were also up on the previous four-week period, when it handled 416,000teu.

Meanwhile, APL’s average revenues per 40ft container declined by 25% year-on-year to US$2,189.
Revenues per container were also down on the previous four weeks when it made $2,239 per 40ft box.

The carrier put the lower average revenue per container down to lower core freight rates, lower bunker recovery and changes in trade mix.

For the full year, APL handled 4.4m teu, which was down 7% on 2009 and average revenues per 40ft container reached $2,286, 25% down on the previous year.

DP World volumes down 8% last year

DP World last year suffered an 8% drop in throughput at container terminals in which it holds a majority stake, according to figures released yesterday.

In 2009 it handled a total of 43.4m teu in the 50 terminals in which it has a presence, with 28 of those majority-owned.

The worst affected was its Americas and Australia region, which handled 3.5m teu, a 15% drop on the 4.1m teu handled in 2008.

The Asia Pacific and Indian Subcontinent region fell by 5%, from 5.8m teu in 2008 to 5.5m teu in 2009.

Its emea region saw volumes drop by 7%, from 17.8m teu in 2008 to 16.5m teu last year.
DP World CEO Mohammed Sharaf said: “As anticipated, all our regions handled more containers in the second half of 2009 than in the first half and the early signs of stability seen in the third quarter continued into the final quarter of the year.

“Customer confidence, whilst improving, remains fragile with limited visibility for the medium term.

“Our 8% decline in volumes will lead to a decline in full-year profit before tax against the same period last year; however management’s focus on cost cutting and maintaining revenues has mitigated the downside and we expect to report 2009 results in line with expectations.”

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

World’s Biggest Container Ships Return to Felixstowe

The Port of Felixstowe has been included for the first time on the schedule for Maersk Line’s AE7 Asia – Europe service. The first vessel of the service, the Gjertrude Maersk, called at 9.30pm local time on Wednesday 13th January 2010. The 7,929 TEU Gjertrude Maersk shares the AE7 service with the world’s largest container vessels, the Emma Maersk and Estelle Maersk, which have already made numerous calls to the Port of Felixstowe whilst serving on other routes over the past 3 years. David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports UK Ltd, which owns the Port of Felixstowe commented: “The inclusion of the Port of Felixstowe on the AE7 schedule is a great vote of confidence for the port, and strengthens our existing relationship with a very important customer. Felixstowe is unique as the only UK port that can accommodate the world’s largest container ships. We already have a capacity and capability that no other port in the UK, existing or planned, will be able to match.” The port is not resting on its laurels however, and is already investing in the next phase of capacity, as Mr Gledhill explained: “The Felixstowe South development is the only additional capacity fully committed and under construction in the UK capable of handling even larger vessels. Together with our other assets which include the UK’s busiest intermodal rail terminal, a range of coastal feeder services, a flexible workforce and a commitment to service delivery, Felixstowe can offer importers and exporters a choice of transport solutions that are unparalleled and will remain so in the future.” As well as Felixstowe, the AE7 service will call at: Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Algerciras, Salalah, Yantian, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Ningbo, and Shanghai.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

PLA announced London Gateway pre-dredging survey

The Port of London Authority (PLA) in the UK has issued a Notice to Mariners regarding a pre-dredging survey which is to be carried out prior to the dredging campaign for the London Gateway project.
In the Notice, Number L2 2010, the PLA said:
"The dredging of a deepwater navigational channel between Shellhaven and the Sunk, a manoeuvring area and berth pockets together with the reclamation for the new port located at the former Shellhaven Refinery site."
"On or about 18th January 2010 pre dredging survey work will commence between Shellhaven and the Oaze Deep. This work is expected to take about two weeks."
"During March 2010 the main construction works are planned to commence and are expected to take four years to complete. Initial dredging works which will take place between Shellhaven and Canvey Island will involve the deployment of a cutter dredger and a suction hopper dredger. During this period survey work along route will also be undertaken. As work progresses dredging and survey work will be extended to include the complete route Oaze deep, Knock John and Black deep channels to the Sunk."

Gateway gears up for initial dredging work

Sorry I missed the full story on this. As I've said before if anyone want to buy me access to the full Lloyds list site I'd appreciate it.

PRE-dredging survey work will begin next week on DP World’s stalled £1.5bn ($2.5bn) London Gateway project to construct a 3.5m teu final phase container terminal and logistics park 25 miles from the UK capital.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

DP World greenlights London Gateway construction

DP World has purchased the remaining land it needed to develop its London Gateway container terminal and logistics park.
In a Dubai stock exchange announcement, the Dubai World-owned terminal operator said it had purchased the 400ha of land and Shell’s remaining interests in the project for around US$220m, and said it would proceed with initial work on the site.
“The board of DP World Limited has reviewed a number of options for the London Gateway project in light of the current market downturn and is pleased to announce it has decided to proceed with construction of essential infrastructure that lays the foundation of the facility.
“DP World will continue to review the development of the port and park operations in line with market demand.”
The announcement coincided with a visit to site by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and secretary of state for business Peter Mandelson, where they were welcomed by DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
Gordon Brown said: "The London Gateway is a significant foreign investment into the UK. It is a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s economic recovery and in this region.
“I am delighted with the decision to locate this world-class project here in the UK. It will help bring the largest deepsea vessels here and improve the efficiency of the UK’s freight distribution, creating thousands of jobs, future growth and economic prosperity.”
Mandelson added: “London Gateway will mean the creation of 36,000 direct and indirect jobs. This project sends a message to companies worldwide that the UK is the number one place in Europe to invest. It is an excellent example of the long-term investment that the UK is looking for.
“Developing our infrastructure will underpin the steps the government is already taking to stimulate the economy, and will lay the foundations for further advances in the future."
Bin Sulayem further explained: “By starting the major elements of construction, we ensure maximum flexibility to develop the project efficiently in line with market demand.”
When complete, the £1.5bn ($2.4bn) container terminal will have a 3.5m teu capacity, while the distribution and logistics park will be Europe’s largest with a total footprint of 860ha

Monday, 4 January 2010

Rotterdam volumes down 8.5% last year

Provisional figures from the Port of Rotterdam Authority show that container volumes fell by 6% last year compared to 2008, while ro-ro traffic was down 11%.
The port’s overall volumes fell 8.5% year-on-year to 385m tonnes, but CEO Hans Smits said given the overall circumstances, he was not dissatisfied and hoped volumes would increase this year.
“After hitting rock bottom in the second quarter, throughput has been improving slightly every month and virtually all the investments are going ahead," he said.
“Moreover, Rotterdam is doing better than its main rivals. But I am not unconcerned. Many of our clients are having a difficult time and that will not be much different in 2010.
“The best medicine for this is growth, partly through an increase in our market shares. We therefore intend to continue with our active commercial policy.
“As a result of this, among other things, I hope that we will be able to break through the 400m tonne barrier again next year. That means growth in throughput considerably over 3%.”
The port’s container tonnage for the year remained just above 100m tonnes, but as fewer empty containers were handled, units declined by 10% to 9.8m teu.
The port said: “Container traffic within Europe, mainly to the major destinations such as England, Ireland and Spain, was hit quite hard. The services to North and South America are sharing in the malaise. The Baltic trade, mostly involving feeder traffic linked to the Asia services, is really flourishing.”
The port said its ro-ro volumes were primarily hit by the decline in the UK market.
It said: “The crisis, which hit [Britain] early and hard, has not led to an earlier onset of recovery. This is further hampered by the value of the pound in relation to the euro.
“England and the Rotterdam services are focused very much on imports. In addition to the imbalance, the North Sea is characterised by the fierce competition between ferry services and with the container services and the Channel Tunnel.
“In the slightly longer term, the investments related to the Olympic Games offer positive prospects, which will buttress the investments in the expansion of capacity for Stena and Cobelfret.”