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admin | Category: Living Container | 21.05.2015
WORLDWIDE – This is probably not a good time to have all your investments in global shipping.
The two companies, which have a business relationship going back over 20 years, launched the new business earlier this month in Valparaiso and both will be equally represented on the board of the new venture.
The shipping line now however has confirmed that it will be running ships in the future to rival Maersk, CMA CGM and others. Everyone is currently raving about the plummeting Baltic Dry Index but, despite the fact it now sits at a record low, at 662 one point below the previous 25 year low achieved on the 5th December 2008, any analyst worth his salt knows that oversupply is the big problem for some vessel sizes tasked with moving bulk freight commodities. Moller – Maersk, was taken into hospital on the 30th December after suffering illness and has been successfully operated on. The situation which the world’s container shipping lines face however may be even more serious in the long term for one or more of the major players.
The switch reduces sulphur to the air by 80-95% in port and, as Maersk policy is to switch an entire country as opposed to a route by route policy, all of the nine ports will benefit immediately. The frost that affected agriculture in our country will have an impact on Chilean volumes and has once again focused attention on the need for appropriately sized vessels at the right time and in the quantity required. Whilst holidaying in Switzerland Mr Anderson was found to be suffering from a leaky heart valve believed to be the result of a weakness or possibly an infection and after his condition deteriorated he received surgery to replace the damaged cardiac valve.
Both bulk and box traffics are dependent on free market forces only giving a limited amount of control to any of the players in either field. Last September we reviewed a report from the Tyndall Centre and pointed out that unilateral action was becoming necessary due to the prevarication of regulatory bodies and governments worldwide.
Maersk say he is likely to be absent for about a month whilst recovering and that board chairman Michael Pram Rasmussen will liaise with the groups other directors until Mr Andersen’s return.
The preferred method of medium to long term charters softens the blow somewhat for many bulk carriers, as with any business spot prices tend to highlight the highs and lows of the indices and the simple fact is that during a slump older vessels will either be scrapped or sold off cheaply to be reflagged and run with minimal attention at rock bottom prices to bring the entire industry into disrepute.

When the Californian Air Resources Board decided they would ban vessels burning high emission fuel Maersk made a voluntary switch to low sulphur in 2006 and has since extended the programme to other regions, including ports in Texas, Hong Kong and the US Pacific Northwest.
By expanding services to include a range of producers of different sizes the new company presumably intends to maintain higher standards assisted by economies of scale.
All at Handy Shipping Guide wish Mr Andersen a speedy recovery and trust he will be back at his desk shortly. This gradual devaluation of the bulk industry tends to pass almost without notice in terms of trade headlines as it is a slow death for some as the traffic evens itself out. In a joint statement, Seatrade and Pacific Seaways executives said the new company reinforces the common goal of ensuring reliable logistics services to exporters in fast, direct transport of fruit for the future. Evergreen has already taken delivery of the first two ships from an order for ten 13,800 TEU charter vessels under construction at the yards of Hyundai Heavy Industries, with the balance of that order due in the second half of this year.
The principal pollutant from marine fuel is Suphur Dioxide (SO2) which is a precursor to particulates generally harmful to human health and the dioxide can also combine with other chemicals such as Nitrogen Dioxide to form what we know as acid rain. As global anti trust legislation does its best to restrain container carrying companies this past few months has seen grim news from all the major box lines who, despite slow steaming policies eking out their fleets by decreasing available capacity, still find that the battle for traffic is lowering unit rates to unacceptable levels. As with any multi million dollar outfits the day of reckoning can be a long time coming and all that can be done in the absence of firmly agreed tariffs, the only sure way to ensure survival let alone prosperity in hard times, is to hunker down and try to wait it out by optimising what reduced income there is. Many shippers will have little sympathy for the plight of any company which has over ordered capacity during good times when rates were flying high. Some of the figures just published will already be sending an icy shiver down the collective spines of those dependent on container freight for their living. Maersk’s bold move to introduce a daily service was almost inevitable as the largest container carrier in the world had already seen its huge new breed of Triple E box ships ordered and due to come off the blocks and with their 18,000 TEU capacity they can only be viable if they suction up the bulk of trade on some key routes despite their economy of scale. One worrying factor is that Hanjin apparently carried around 12% more boxes in 2011 than in 2010 but the fall in rates more than offset this.

In Japan Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has announced a downward tick against its combined container and bulk financial forecasts originally made at the end of October, estimating that revenue from all activities will fall about $260 million for the financial year ending 31st March 2012. This will result in a net income loss of approximately $380 million not the $52 million previously predicted. The group lost around $180 million in its Q3 to the end of 2011, a drop year on year of over $275 million.
It was a similar story at Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) where Q3 profits last year of almost $70 million were more than wiped out when the shipping group posted a loss for the period of over $170 million. Back in October Neptune Orient line (NOL Group) announced a net loss of US$91 million for the third quarter of 2011 compared to a profit of US$282 million in the same period last year. With figures like these and other heavy losses at huge container groups such as Maersk and CMA CGM the message is clearly that overcapacity is slowly destroying the ability to maintain services with so many companies competing for trade which has not increased, and in many sectors actually reduced. The next problem will be if one of the major carriers was to lose the confidence of its backers but it is hard to see that a major collapse will actually resolve the problem.
As with the recent SeaFrance situation there will always be those who know that one mans problems are another’s potential fortune and if ships are snapped up to trade, and not to scrap, the rates war we are watching develop so tortuously may only worsen. This project entails thirty L-type vessels, which will once again act as replacements for existing units Evergreen Marine posted a US$73 million loss for the first 9 months of 2013 but this could well be turned into a profit once the dust has cleared on the recent deal the company did selling assets, principally containers, from its Panama based subsidiary Greencompass Marine SA for a reported US$75 million.

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