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Shpg Gazette 3/4/13 - China's January, February transport volume holds steady growth rate Print E-mail


China's January, February transport volume holds steady growth rate


MINISTRY of Transport spokesman He Jianzhong revealed that China's overall transport volume has maintained steady growth in the first two months of the year while slowing slightly year on year, reports Xinhua.


China's highway transport passenger volume increased 5.7 per cent year on year to 6.31 billion in this period. Waterway passenger volume increased 1.3 per cent to 36.57 million, six per cent lower than last year.


China road freight volume increased 10.9 per cent to 5.02 billion tonnes with the growth falling 2.3 per cent. The highway cargo turnover increased 12.4 per cent to 907.6 billion tonnes per kilometre with the growth falling two per cent.


Waterway cargo volume increased 9.8 per cent to 710 million tonnes. The turnover increased 6.2 per cent to 1,304.72 billion tonnes per kilometre. The growth was 10.9 per cent lower than that in the same period last year.


Ports in China posted an 11.2 per cent increase in cargo throughput to 1.61 billion tonnes. The growth was 4.1 per cent higher year on year. Foreign trade cargo throughput grew 10.5 per cent to 530 million tonnes, and the growth was 1.3 per cent lower than last year. Domestic trade cargo throughput grew 11.6 per cent to 1.08 billion tonnes. The growth was 6.6 percentage points more than last year.

Hellenic Shpg 3/4/13 - Supply/demand: Med-North America Print E-mail


Supply/demand: Med-North America


Ocean carriers failure to better match supply and demand between the Mediterranean and North America has cost them dearly, and there is little light at the end of the tunnel either.Westbound: As in the transatlantic tradelane between North Europe and North America, ocean carriers struggled to make
any money out of the smaller Mediterranean route between December and February. Trading conditions remained wretched at both ends. The proposal
in the middle of March to raid private bank accounts in Cyprus in exchange for a $13 billion EU-IMF bailout, and its subsequent rejection by the Cypriot Government, underlines the continuing financial difficulties faced by several countries in the Mediterranean.

The US Government also seems incapable of reaching agreement on how best to cut its chronic budget deficit but on a much grander scale. The US so called austerity sequester, which came into effect at the beginning of March, is hardly a long term solution in many peoples opinion, with the Republicans still fiercely opposed to raising more taxes to pay for such state benefits as free healthcare, preferring instead to impose more cuts
in Government spending.

In summary, no other tradelane has been hit with so much economic uncertainty, so it is hardly surprising that ocean carriers appear shell-shocked.

What is surprising is the little done by them to resolve the situation. Whilst westbound cargo between October and February is estimated by Drewry
to have fallen by 11%, down to 98,000 teu, and the drop to January was an even higher 19%, virtually no service changes were made. Octobers vessel capacity of 146,000 teu was actually increased slightly to 147,000 teu in
January, and then onto 150,000 teu at the beginning of February, despite three sailings being cancelled in December, followed by another six in
January and five in February. Perhaps the lines were deceived by much talk in the US of a housing market recovery, an important driver of cargo growth out of the Mediterranean.

Products likely to benefit from this rose by 10% in value last year, so it may be that more was expected. If so, everyone will have been disappointed
with the 4% fall between 3Q12 and 4Q12, down to $4.1 billion, as recorded by US Customs, even though some of it will have been seasonal.

The consequence is that the only service changes to have been made were Hanjins withdrawal from its joint MCA/MCI service with Hapag Lloyd in
November, leaving Hapag-Lloyd to run the schedule alone, and Zim Line adding Ashdod to its ZCA service, also in November, apparently in
retaliation to MSCs new call in Haifa with its Golden Gate service.


The tradelane is difficult to read, however, with many vessels also being used for transhipment of wayport cargo, so it may be that all the action
took place in this sector.

Maersks MECL2 loop and the MINA/IMU string operated by UASC, Hanjin, APL,Cosco and Yang Ming, also serve the Indian Subcontinent and Middle East, for example. And the Grand Alliances AEX service, like the NWAs SCX service, and MSCs Golden Gate string, just pass through the Mediterranean between Asia and the ECNA. How much of their space is allocated to cargo between the Mediterranean and ECNA is difficult to assess.

The average vessel utilisations shown here need to be treated with care, therefore. They are only estimates used to determine likely future freight
rate trends.

With average westbound vessel utilisation from the Mediterranean to North America ranging between only 78% in October and a very poor 70% at the
beginning of February, there is no apparent demand for more capacity, yet the GA and NWA intend joining forces between the Far East and ECNA in May, and plan to run three loops instead of two with bigger ships through Suez.

It will be interesting to see how much more space is allocated to Mediterranean cargo, therefore. Only two out of the three are scheduled to stop off in the Mediterranean, with the SVS loop being used to tranship cargo in Algeciras probably to/from Africa and the AZX loop being used to hub cargo in Cagliari and Damietta probably to/from the Western and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

Cargo from North America to the Mediterranean grew by an impressive 18% between Novembers low of only 71,000 teu and Decembers high of 84,000 teu, but then fell by 4% in January, down to 81,000 teu, and by another 1% in February, down to an estimated 79,000 teu.

These are small numbers, however, so just minor variations in the way a countrys traffic is routed could explain the difference. Much of Frances
cargo can be imported via Northern Europe or the Mediterranean, for example, and the same applies to Portugal and Northern Spain.

With Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus remaining heavily in recession, and Italy still on the verge of it, the lack of cargo growth was to be
expected. The worst of it is that there is little light yet at the end of the tunnel, even in Eastern Europe.

Eastbound North America-Mediterranean Container Traffic (000 teu)
In brief, there was nothing for ocean carriers to get excited about, making their apparent inactivity on schedule changes difficult to comprehend. The
consequence is that, unless far more space was allocated to wayport cargo than estimated, eastbound vessels sadly remained just over half full,ending up at just 58% in February.

Shpg Gazette 30/3/13 - Germanischer Lloyd: 4,500-TEUers deliver best savings per box mile Print E-mail


Germanischer Lloyd: 4,500-TEUers deliver best savings per box mile


CLASSIFICATION society Germanischer Lloyd has conducted research showing that new and efficient 4,500-TEU panamax vessels enjoy the most substantial difference fuel and cost savings.


Speaking to the Connecticut Maritime Association's CMA Shipping 2013, in Stamford, Germanischer Lloyd vice-president Albrecht Grell said costs decline 47 per cent decline for new panamax ships, against 27 per cent for 2,500-TEU ships and 35 per cent for 9,000 TEUers.


The classification society found that the cost per 1,000 container miles was almost the same for new, fully optimised 4,500-TEU ships as with 13,000-TEUers at around US$40. This fell to $29 for ultra-large new buildings, reported Lloyd's List.

Shpg Gazette 2/4/13 - Air cargo sector mulls derivatives market, but needs an index first Print E-mail


Air cargo sector mulls derivatives market, but needs an index first


WEAK investment, rate volatility and low transparency are leading some in the air cargo world to consider a derivatives trade as exists in shipping and in commodities trading, reports London's Loadstar.


NYSE Euronext sales chief Eric Hasham told the recent World Cargo Symposium in Dohargued that the air cargo sector could only benefit from creating a commodity index that allowed trades in forward contracts.


"Indices play an important role for companies seeking forward planning certainty around prices, by allowing, for example, industry players to sell spot and forward contracts based on present pricing," he said.


"Such selling can enable companies to more reliably project future revenue streams and earnings. Such pre-sold revenue streams can even be used, in some cases, to finance asset purchases."


Thus far, there are no such indices in the air cargo market which lend themselves to futures trading, because such an index requires daily trades and an input from a wide spectrum of industry participants.


Still, Ram Menen, head of Emirates SkyCargo, liked the idea. "It's a good thing, but the mindset has to change. It can help with the planning process and could decrease volatility. It would also allow both forwarders and shippers to hedge - it would open the field completely and create more transparency."  But first, he said the industry needs to create an index "when the marketplace is normal".



Shpg Gazette 2/4/13 - US crude output on track to overtake imports: US Energy Department Print E-mail


US crude output on track to overtake imports: US Energy Department


THE United States Department of Energy says monthly crude oil production in the nation is expected to exceed the amount of crude oil imports later this year for the first time since February 1995.


The gap between monthly crude oil production and imports is projected to be two million barrels per day by the end of next year, according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) March 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook.


EIA projects: Monthly crude oil production could surpass net crude oil imports later this year; monthly crude oil production is forecast to top eight million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2014, which would be the highest level since 1988, and net crude oil imports are expected to fall below seven million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2014.


This projected change is primarily due to rising domestic crude oil production, particularly, from shale and other tight rock formations in North Dakota and Texas.


But the EIA points that the timing of the crossover between US crude oil production and net crude oil imports could change, based largely on supply conditions. For example, supply would fall if a strong 2013 hurricane season disrupts US offshore oil production, or increase if there are higher-than-expected increases in tight oil production.

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