Brisbane hosts longest containership to visit Queensland

The Port of Brisbane played host to the longest container ship to ever visit Queensland on Saturday, 21 October 2017.
Ahead of the visit, Main Roads Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Baily said the arrival of the 347-metre Susan Maersk was a clear demonstration of the port’s capabilities in handling an increasing number of large vessels operating in the region.
“The visit of the Susan Maersk is only made possible thanks to extensive studies that have taken place over the last two years, to optimise the port’s channels to accommodate this class of vessel,” Bailey said.
He noted that everyone involved at the Port of Brisbane had had prior experience in operations of that scale thanks to the first visit of a mega-container ship to Brisbane, less than 12 months ago.
“These larger ships are taking a leading role in servicing key trade routes and the state is well positioned to take advantage of the efficiencies these vessels offer,” Bailey added
Joan Pease, Member for Lytton, said the Port of Brisbane marked a milestone event in November last year with the arrival of the containership Lloyd Don Carlos.
“At 334 metres in length it was slightly shorter than our latest visitor which will now takes the title of longest container vessel,” she said.
“More importantly there will be further visits from vessels on this scale which can only enhance the Port of Brisbane’s international reputation and place it in a highly competitive position in the global trade market.
The Port handled a record number of containers in 2016–17, moving 1.22 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) through across its wharves, which was an increase of almost seven per cent on the previous year’s result.
Port of Brisbane CEO Roy Cummins said the Port of Brisbane was determined to ensure its capacity for catering for larger vessels continues to grow.
“Congratulations to the captain, pilot, harbour master and tug operators, as well as our own operational team at the Port of Brisbane for successfully overseeing the Susan Maersk’s visit,” Cummins said.

Japanese shipping lines merge to form a sizeable carrier

Drewry Maritime
Japanese carriers NYK, MOL and K Line have announced the new name of their merged containership entity – Ocean Network Express (ONE). As well as confirming that the new joint-venture is on track to start operations on 1 April 2018 (pending anti-trust reviews), details were given of the locations with a holding company to be set up in Tokyo, the global headquarters in Singapore and regional offices in Hong Kong, London, Richmond, Va., and Sao Paulo.
When ONE becomes operational it will be the world’s sixth largest carrier when measured by containership fleet with close to 1.4 million TEU, giving it a market share of approximately 7% based on today’s fleet. Assuming no changes to the orderbook (in terms of new orders or delivery delays) by 2021 it will leapfrog Hapag-Lloyd to become the fifth largest carrier (see Table 1).
Under the terms of the joint-venture agreement – covering only the three companies’ containership activities and non-Japanese terminals – NYK will be the largest shareholder with 38%, while MOL and K Line will both have 31%. The distribution reflects NYK’s greater number of owned ships (active and on order) and terminals (10) that it is putting into the JV. Based on the same criteria MOL might have expected to have gained a bigger share than K Line with a similar number of owned ships, but contributing more terminals (seven versus three).
On the same token, MOL has the largest container-related revenues of the three over the past five years, generating calendar-year sales of $33.5 billion since 2012 (see Figure 2). Over the same period NYK and K Line each had container sales of approximately $29bn. Between them, the ONE carriers have seen annual container sales diminish by around 20% since the 2014 peak of $20bn to $15.7bn in calendar-year 2016. Moreover, since 1Q15 through 1Q17 the three lines have suffered some $1bn in collective operating losses from container operations. It is these heavy losses that spurred the ONE lines to finally come together after years of speculation and seek the cost savings to reverse their fortunes.

The creation of ONE is in keeping with the rising trend of consolidation in the container industry, following on from recent M&A deals involving CMA CGM and APL, Cosco and CSCL, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd, and Hapag-Lloyd with UASC. When treating all of these newly merged carriers as single entities (even though in some cases the acquired company has retained its separate brand) we can see just how concentrated the power is becoming at the top of the ladder.
As things stand in terms of active and ordered ships, by 2021 when all newbuilds in the system are due to have been delivered the top five carriers will control a little under 60% of the world’s containership fleet. Back in 2005 the same bracket of carriers held around 37%. Come 2021 the top 10 lines will control 80% (55% in 2005) while the three leading carriers in Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM will take about 42% (26% in 2005).
Inevitably, as the gap between the leading seven carriers and everyone else beneath gets wider speculation will mount about whether the smaller players can keep up and remain cost-competitive. Of the carriers beneath the line, OOCL has recently been linked to a takeover by Cosco, while financially troubled Yang Ming has thus far resisted all suggestions of a merger with its Taiwanese compatriot Evergreen. It seems that there is still room for even more consolidation, which would very likely give even more control to the elite group at the top.
The obvious consequence of all of this is that shippers have fewer options to choose from. It is the unfortunate price that has to be paid for years of non-compensatory freight rates that have driven carriers to seek safety in numbers, either through bigger alliances and/or M&A. Again, when treating all takeover carriers as single entities (including the ONE carriers) Drewry research shows that the number of vessel operators on the two biggest deep-sea trades, Transpacific and Asia-North Europe has reduced significantly over the past two years. As of June 2017 there are only nine different carriers deploying ships in Asia-North Europe, compared to 16 in January 2015. In the Transpacific the number has reduced from 21 to 16 over the same period. Shippers can also call upon non-operating slot charterers on a service-by-service basis but there is no question that the pool is getting much shallower, handing greater pricing-power over to carriers.

Samsung sets containership record

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has set a new world record for world’s biggest containership with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ (MOL) Triumph.
The 400m-long vessel is 58.8 metres wide, and has a depth of 32.8 metres. The Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS) can transport 20,150 containers.
Three other 20,150 TEU containerships are due to join Triumph at MOL, Port Technology reports.
Final preparations are now being made for Triumph’s maiden voyage, set to take place after the ship’s delivery on 27 March 2017.
A naming ceremony took place for the ship in Geoje shipyard, South Korea, on March 15 2017. The event was attended by representatives from SHI and MOL, including the CEOs of both companies.
Triumph boasts eco-friendly features including energy-saving equipment such as propeller, rudder valve and stator.
SHI expects to deliver 10 more 20,000 TEU containerships in 2017.

Port of Melbourne profit increase despite decrease in volume

Port of Melbourne Corporation recorded an overall profit $65.9 million for 2012-13 despite a small drop in trade of 1.6 per cent on the previous year.

Port of Melbourne Corporation’s (PoMC’s) 2012-13 Annual Report, tabled in the Victorian Parliament this week, showed that while container volumes declined slightly from last year’s record peaks, new motor vehicles, dry bulk and liquid trades all recorded growth.

The port handled a total of 2.51 million TEUs in the year to June 30, 2013, signalling a decrease of 2.6 per cent.

Container import volumes also fell due to soft retail conditions, however full overseas export containers recorded a modest increase of 0.6 per cent.

The Port of Melbourne handled over 370,000 new motor vehicles in 2012-13, up 3.6 per cent on the previous year.

Victoria’s Minister for Ports David Hodgett told parliament the port was in a strong position.

“PoMC has backed up a strong financial position and trade result with capital expenditure totalling $56.8 million including work on the Port Capacity Project, extensive wharf rehabilitation at Appleton Dock, together with a major redevelopment of the Port Operations Control Centre,” he said.

Trade summary:

  • Total trade of 85.6 million revenue tonnes (down 1.6 per cent).
  • Total container throughput of 2.51 million TEU (down 2.6 per cent).
  • 370,527 new motor vehicles handled (up 3.6 per cent).
  • Total dry bulk trade of 4.4 million revenue tonnes (up 4.4 per cent).
  • Total liquid bulk trade of 6.5 million revenue tonnes (up 2.6 per cent).

Trade grows through Sydney ports

The global financial crisis has yet to have an impact on trade through Sydney ports, with 7.3 million mass tonnes of total trade moving through the trade for the first quarter of 2008/09, an increase of 0.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Total container throughput for year to date (YTD) September 2008/09 was 0.49 million TEU – up 13.2 per cent on the same period last year.
September 2008 container trade reached another record high of more than 165,000 TEU, which was 12.8 per cent higher compared to September 2007. This performance was driven by higher container movements through New Zealand, the US and China.
Total full container imports for YTD September 2008/09 reached 247,300 TEU – up 11.3 per cent on the corresponding period last year. The leading import regions were dominated by East Asia (45 per cent), Europe (16 per cent) and South East Asia (15 per cent), which combined account for 76 per cent of total full container imports through the ports of Sydney.
Total full exports also increased by 20.5 per cent, recording 109,700 TEU. The higher exports of timber, machinery and transport equipment, cereals and chemical products have been the primary drivers of this growth.
The leading containerised exports in TEU through the ports of Sydney for YTD September 2008/09 were chemical products, machinery and transport equipment and paper products. These increases were partially offset by the decline in agricultural products such as cotton (59.0 per cent) compared to previous YTD. The change was primarily a result of the drought.
Empty container exports increased by 10.8 per cent to 127,800 TEU compared to the same period last year. Non-containerised imports for YTD September 2008/09 decreased by 8.5 per cent to 3.3 million mass tonnes as a result of a decrease in crude oil imports.

Maersk Line lays up eight vessels

Maersk Line has announced the laying up of eight 6,500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) vessels. the decision follows the recently-announced changes in its Asia – Europe, Asia – Central America, and Transpacific service networks, which resulted in surplus vessel tonnage that the company will not redeploy in our service network.
"In view of the market conditions, we have reached the point where laying up the eight vessels makes better economical sense than redeploying them. Freight rates remain under severe pressure, and in several corridors the rates do not fully cover our variable costs. Rate improvements are imperative for the industry to create a sustainable environment," said Michel Deleuran, head of network and product at Maersk Line.
Maersk Line will continue to adjust capacity in light of market developments by optimising schedules, consolidating services, vessel-sharing agreements (VSA), enhancing port productivity, economical sailing (reducing speed), and – unless current market conditions improve – additional laying up of vessels.
"We make these changes to reduce capacity and save costs, while we at the same time seek to maintain or expand our service level and coverage. For example, our recently announced Asia – Europe and Transpacific service changes includes more direct services," Michel Deleuran said.
"We belong to a financially strong group and we will continue offering our customers reliable services in line with their requirements, also in these challenging times."
The eight vessels that Maersk Line will lay up are of the CV 65 class. They will be laid up them from December 2008 to May/June 2009, predominantly in Asia.
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