Freight Shipping News



Another week, another rate drop

Spot rates for containers on the Asia-Europe trade dropped again last week suggesting carriers are struggling to implement higher prices even though more GRI's have been announced for July.

The fall in rates, which are measured as part of the weekly Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), was even bigger than the previous week's but came as no real surprise. The northern Europe component (EUR) dropped US$47 per teu.


Eurotunnel wins right to purchase SeaFrance ships

A Paris commercial court has selected Eurotunnel's bid to acquire the three ferries owned by SNCF's collapsed cross-Channel ferry operator SeaFrance paving the way for the launch of a new cross-Channel ferry service between Calais and Dover. DFDS and Stena had also submitted bids for the vessels.

The court's acceptance of Eurotunnel offer - €65 million for the Berlioz, Rodin and freighter Nord Pas de Calais, and other assets - had depended on SNCF foregoing part or all of the debts it is owed by SeaFrance, totalling around €180 million.

A powerful coalition of shipowners, port operators and labour unions is calling for all containers to be weighed before they are loaded onto a ship

Industry leaders want the weight of every export container to be verified in order to stamp out the practice of misdeclarations that poses a major safety threat to both seafarers and dockworkers.

Five leading industry associations have joined forces with several countries to submit a proposal to the International Maritime Organization requiring loaded containers to be weighed.


CMA CGM has joined the long list of container lines who ended Q1 deep in the red

Despite a year-on-year 13.4% increase in volume (to 2.6 million teu) and a revenue increase of 2.6% to US$3.6 billion, the French line lost $248 million in the first three months of 2012. Management say they have turned a corner, however, and expect to end the year in profit.

Describing the results as "one of the best financial and operating performances in the container shipping industry", managers blamed the overall loss on sector-wide overcapacity, low rates and increasing oil prices.

Maersk Line has announced that it is cutting 400 of the 2,200 staff who work in its global headquarters division, known as Centre. Around 250 of the job losses will be in Copenhagen

Chief Executive Søren Skou told Lloyd's Loading that staff, who are spread around the world, will be notified of the company's intention towards them on 12 June but said job losses in the UK would be 'minimal'.

He said that the move was geared towards improving Maersk Line's financial health and that customers would not notice any change.


Capacity on the Asia-Europe trade lanes could fluctuate by 20,000teu a week over the next three months, because operators are deploying different sizes of vessels on the same services

Analysts at SeaIntel Maritime say the variation in vessel capacity could be large enough to affect supply and demand, and might also make it difficult to assess the impact of the container lines' programme of General Rate Increases (GRIs).

Hapag-Lloyd is suspending its weekly Atlantic Express Shuttle service between New York, Antwerp and Hamburg until further notice due to the current market situation

"Whenever the market situation improves sufficiently, it is our intention of recommence this service," the German ocean carrier said. The last westbound sailing from Europe will leave Hamburg on July 16 and Antwerp on July 18.

The last eastbound service will sail from New York on July 27. The AES service was launched in September 2010 but was temporarily suspended in December of the same year because of low cargo volumes.