K Line files lawsuit against APL Logistics

K Line has filed a lawsuit against Singapore-based APL Logistics (APLL), seeking compensation for damages arising from APLL employees’ “acts of disseminating false information relating to K Line.”
In a statement, the Japanese shipping line noted that a lawsuit had been filed in the Tokyo District Court in response to several emails sent by APLL personnel “strongly recommending” that clients terminate bookings on K Line and shift to other carriers because of a potential bankruptcy.
“K Line has decided to file a lawsuit, in order to restore its social confidence and clarify the social responsibility of a company such as APLL,” the statement added. “Based on its experience and achievements accumulated over many years since the commencement of service, K Line will continue to respond to customer demand and provide reliable and high-quality services.”
After the collapse of Hanjin in August, K Line was forced to address emails circulating damaging rumours about the company’s financial stability. The emails were found to have originated from APLL employees and the company admitted that its employees were found to be the source.
In a statement at that time, the company wrote, “APL Logistics Group states unreservedly that it is not our practice to comment on the financial position of other market participants; neither in a negative nor positive aspect.
“The APL Logistics Group therefore does not endorse the comments made by these employees.”
 

Blackwoods logistics facility finds new owners

According to a report in The Urban Developer, GARDA Diversified Property Fund (GDF) has acquired a new 13,843sqm state-of- the-art distribution facility in Mackay for $AUD29.5 million.
The property is leased to Wesfarmers subsidiary Blackwoods until 2029, with options to 2039.
The purpose built facility is strategically positioned on a 3.01ha site at 69-79 Diesel Drive, about eight kilometres from Mackay CBD, with proximity to the airport and the intermodal terminal.
 
 

AMWU welcomes blocking of Fremantle Port fire sale

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has welcomed the WA National Party’s decision to side with WA Labor in Parliament to block Liberal Premier Colin Barnett’s fire sale of Fremantle Port.
AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney said the decision would ensure the port was run to benefit all Western Australians, and not just for narrow private interests.
“The only way we can be sure that essential infrastructure like Fremantle Port is run in the public interest, is if it stays in public hands,” Mr McCartney said.
“This decision ends the likelihood of a private owner ramping up port fees to increase profits at the expense of Western Australian workers and local business.”

Glencore's Chemoil introduces further competition into Australian fuel market

Chemoil, a wholly owned subsidiary of Glencore, will commence physical bunker fuel supply operations from Port Kembla in New South Wales from 2 April 2016.

Subject to final approvals, Chemoil will also deploy a bunker barge, capable of supply both marine fuel oil and marine gas oil, to support its operations and offer bunkering via barge in Newcastle, Port Botany and Eden. 

Chemoil will partner with United Maritime Australia for its barging operations.

Established in 1981, Chemoil is one of the world's leading fuel suppliers (diesel and marine fuels) to industrial customers across the sea, air and land sectors.

Mr Brett Crawford, Manager of Glencore's Oil business in Australia, said: "While Glencore does not own refineries in Australia, our global network and marketing expertise allows us to efficiently and competitively source, ship, store, blend and deliver a broad range of fuels for our customers."

"The addition of Port Kembla will further strengthen Chemoi's supply network throughout Australasia and is an important strategic step for the company as it expands its offering to ship owners, cruise lines, brokers and agents," said Mr Crawford.

UPDATE: Ship detained at Newcastle Port for safety breach

A bulk carrier ship has been detained in Newcastle after crew members unlashed their cargo while waiting to enter the port.

The Hong Kong-based ship Orient Becrux was placed under port state control when Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) surveyors boarded the ship at noon on Tuesday 27 January.

International Transport Workers Federation coordinator Dean Summers said the Filipino crew members had been illegally made to unlash cargo of 300 rail cars, before the ship arrived in port.

Summers said the actions of the crew breached the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, however AMSA did not lay any charges against the Hong Kong-based ship’s operators, Pacific Basin.

It was alleged the crew were forced to unlash the cargo by charter company Pacific Basin, however this was incorrect according to a spokeperson for the operator who said neither the operator nor the owners of the ship had directed the crew to carry out such actions.

The spokesman said as a charter vessel the Orient Becrux had not been crewed by Pacific Basin, who were not directly in charge of the crew, and that an email sent from ITF to the ship's owners one wekk ago had explicitly stated the crew would not be permitted to unlash cargo.

"The crew took this into their own hands, and when we enquired why, we were told the master was keen to be efficient," the spokesman said.

"The master made a judgement call that it was safe to unlash the cargo while waiting to berth at the Port of Newcastle.

"This goes against everything we stand for: We take our social commitments and responsibilities to the crew very seriously."

In accordance with Australian Health and Safety law and section 94 of the Navigation Act, cargo may only be unlashed by qualified Australian stevedores once the ship is berthed in port, with a charge for those services and moving the cargo.

“If the shipowner chooses to unlash illegally then that work is not available, but that’s only peripheral work, the expensive part is getting the machinery to lift cargo on and off the ship, it really was nickel and dime stuff,” Summers said.

AMSA said an audit was conducted by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, the issuing authority for the Safety Management Certificate and the ship’s Classification Society, and corrective action regarding ship board procedures and cargo securing was required.

According to Summers the ship’s crew had to convince AMSA that they would review and audit all their safety management systems before being released from detention at 10.30pm on Tuesday night.

“The next time that ship comes back to an Australian port, whatever terms they came to, they’ll have to let AMSA know they’ve done that, and the penalty for being a repeat offender could be a ban on their ships coming to Australian ports.”

Summers said the crew was put in jeopardy by their actions.

“They were lucky there was no major incident,” Summers said.

“In a worst-case scenario, the shifting cargo could have caused the ship to sink by compromising its stability.”

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Tempo wins Rio Tinto Cape Lambert port expansion contract

Tempo has won an SMP contract for Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port expansion project.

The $13.4 million contract will see Tempo Australia, through its subsidiary Tempo Construction and Maintenance, provide structural, mechanical, and piping miscellaneous works as well as commissioning support for Rio Tinto's expansion works at the port.

Tempo general manager Daniel Hibbs said the company is "pleased to have been given the opportunity to execute the miscellaneous SMP and commissioning support works at Cape Lambert".

This win is Tempo's first major contract directly with Rio Tinto.

Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal cancelled

Poor conditions in the coal industry continue to hamper mining developments as North Queensland Bulk Ports cancels its Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal project.

Construction of the $12 billion coal port south of Mackay will no longer go ahead, with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBPC) announcing it had requested Queensland's coordinator general cancel the project.

The project would have created an 180 million tonne capacity port with two export terminals, six rail loops and associated rail facilities.

However after delaying the project in 2013 as a result of soft of coal prices, NQBP said an environmental impact statement due on the 21st of June was not submitted.

NQBP chief executive officer Brad Fish said the development of the port hinged on demand, with the current short-term coal market unsupportive of such a venture.

"Although this particular development proposal will be withdrawn, it does not necessarily indicate that expansion to the coal export facilities will not be required at the Port of Hay Point in the future," NQBP chief executive officer Brad Fish said.

The cancellation of the project is being hailed as a win by environmentalists who were opposed to its development.

"(It) would have doubled the amount of shipping in the region," Australian Marine Conservation Society spokeswoman Felicity Wishart said.

The bulk port was being developed in part by Adani Group which is planning on building the massive new Charmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The company will instead use existing capacity at Abbot Point.

The cancellation of the Dudgeon Point is the most recent in a spate of mothballed coal infrastructure ventures in Queensland.

Last year, GlencoreXstrata dumped plans to develop a coal export terminal on Balaclava Island, blaming the decision on poor market conditions.

While BHP withdrew from being the preferred developer of Terminal 2 at Abbot Point .

Poor current market conditions in the coal industry and excess port capacity are all driving factors in the cancellations as the coal market continues to lag.

Prices for premium hard-coking coal fell to $US120 a tonne in the June quarter from $US330 a tonne in 2011.

Thermal coal is sitting at $US72 a tonne on the spot market, a fall from $US125 in 2011.

Image: redbubble.com

Asciano to slash 500 jobs by the end of June

Rail and ports company Asciano will slash 500 jobs by the month’s end as it aims to save $90 million.

The cuts come as Asciano ramps up its “business improvement program”, which was originally forecast to save the company $150 million by 2016.

However this has now been doubled, with a total of $300 million in savings the new benchmark.

In February the company announced 100 job cuts would affect Pacific National workers after merging the business with its PN Rail division.

Asciano said strong volume growth in coal and container volumes combined with cost cutting measures had offset weaker volumes in export grain and bulk ports.

“The increase in the business improvement program and accelerated cost out should drive earnings growth in FY15 at a higher rate than FY14 despite current expectations for ongoing soft top line growth,” the company said.

Asciano said it was mulling small acquisitions in bulk ports and logistics but would hold off on large-scale purchases in line with its five year plan.

The company said it expects to report low single digit growth in its underlying net profit after tax in FY14.

It said material items for the year are expected to be in the range of $120 – $130 million, up from $15-$20 million.

It said rail integration costs in the form of employee redundancies would cost the company $25-30 million.

While non-cash costs of around $75 million are expected in the write down of assets associated with the redevelopment of Port Botany and in the value of rolling stock.

Padbury’s Oakajee plan ‘unrealistic’: WA Premier

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said there is “very little prospect” Padbury Mining’s $6 billion plan to develop the Oakajee rail and port project would gain his government’s backing.

In what comes as a blow to the seemingly shaky deal, Barnett told reporters “there is little substance behind Padbury.”

He said he had not meet with representatives of the junior mining company and did not intend to, The Australian reports.

The strongly worded comments come as Padbury is today preparing to announce to the market the funding arrangements for the deal.

Yesterday, Padbury revealed Sydney businessman Ronald Breyer was tied to the two companies involved the development, Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings.

Bleyer this week told the media he was ''chairman of the finance committee” for the companies.

Asked if he would support a ­realistic proposal put forward by Padbury, Barnett said:

“I don’t believe it’s realistic — simple as that.”

Padbury Mining first announced it had backing for the Oakajee project on April 11.

ABC reports the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is looking into Padbury's disclosure and share trading in relation to the deal.

Bleyer has been involved in a number of failed business ventures of late.

Last month the NSW Supreme Court ordered Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings repay money to aged care company Craigcare after a $500 million funding deal failed.

While last year, a $260 million deal with junior mining company Fairstar Resources also fell through.

Padbury is expected to announce the funding deal rests on the support of a Korean construction company fronting up 20 per cent of the project costs.

The company’s shares remain suspended.

$6 billion Oakajee port and rail deal funding partner revealed

Padbury Mining has again failed to reveal the identity of its $6 billion funding partner for the Oakajee port and rail project, but Sydney business man Roland Bleyer has claimed responsibility for the deal.

Following days of speculation as to who the mystery backer was, Bleyer reportedly revealed limited details to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper reports Bleyer said a number of private companies including Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings were working on a deal to fund the project.

Bleyer said he was a ''chairman of the finance committee'' for the companies.

The revelation comes as Padbury Mining, which first announced it had backing for the project on April 11, again failed to reveal details of the funding partners’ identity as ordered by the ASX.

Padbury first said it would update the market last Tuesday, but then extended the trading halt to Thursday stating it was seeking information from the backers of the deal “in respect of their capacity to meet their funding obligations.”

It also said it was seeking consent to disclose the agreement in its entirety with the announcement.

However the company had sought an extension again, this time promising to make an announcement tomorrow.

The delay has fuelled industry chatter that the deal won’t go ahead amid concerns over its viability.

Managing director Gary Stokes said the announcement was legitimate.

Stokes said the project would open up the Midwest region to the 21 companies operating in it.

The original announcement said funding for the project will come in three tranches with the first delivering $US470 million ($501.2 million) to complete design and construction plans.

Bleyer said further details would be made available shortly after lawyers for Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings had given the go ahead for Padbury to release a copy of the ''counter-signed shareholders agreement''.

Bleyer has been involved in a number of failed business ventures of late.

Last month the NSW Supreme Court ordered Superkite and Alliance Super Holdings repay money to aged care company Craigcare after a $500 million funding deal failed.

While last year, a $260 million deal with junior mining company Fairstar Resources also fell through.

An online blog claims Bleyer started his career in New Zealand as a hair and skin treatment specialist while also developing interests in fashion and manufacturing.

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