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APM Terminals has released drone footage of its Rotterdam Maasvlakte II terminal. The terminal set a loading record last month on the Madison Maersk with 17,152 TEU loaded, including ten high above deck stowage.

The facility launches the world’s first container terminal to utilize remotely-controlled ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes. The cranes move containers between vessels and the landside fleet of 62 battery-powered Lift-Automated Guided Vehicles (Lift-AGVs) which transport containers between the quay and the container yard, including barge and on-dock rail facilities.

The Lift-AGV’s also represent the world’s first series of AGV’s that can lift and stack a container. A fleet of 54 Automated Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes (ARMGs) then positions containers in the yard in a high-density stacking system. The terminal’s power requirements are provided by wind-generated electricity, enabling terminal operations, which produce no CO2, emissions or pollutants, and which are also considerably quieter than conventional diesel-powered facilities.

The facility, constructed on land entirely reclaimed from the North Sea, has been designed as a multi-modal hub to reduce truck traffic in favor of barge and rail connections to inland locations.

Construction began in May 2012, with the first commercial vessel call in February 2015.

2015 and 2016 are the years of ramping up operations and refining the terminal operating system. The 86 hectare (212 acre) deep-water terminal features 1,000 meters of quay, on-dock rail, and eight fully-automated electric-powered STS cranes, with an annual throughput capacity of 2.7 million TEU.

At planned full build-out, the terminal will cover 180 hectares (445 acres) and offer 2,800 meters of deep-sea quay (19.65 meters/64.5 feet depth), with an annual throughput capacity of six million TEUs. Source: Maritime Executive

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High quality 3D render shipping container during transportIn a bid to tackle overweight containers at its ports, Vietnam is seeking to address this issue with domestic legislation on container weighing practices. This is in contrast to the International Maritime Organisation, which had agreed on an amended rule that would see shipping containers being weighed before they are loaded onto ships – a rule which will come into effect in 2016.

Weighbridges have since been installed at Vietnamese ports, container yards and even highways to monitor weights of containers for both importing and exporting. A new law was endorsed in 2014 by the Vietnamese government that limited the total weight of 20 and 40ft containers to a maximum of 20 tonnes, including the weight of the container itself.

Containers found to violate the weight limits are likely to incur a fine. Source: Port Technology International

singapore-port

Port of Singapore

Projected throughput four years from now compares with 642m teu in 2013 and 674m teu projected for this year. The 2018 projection is double the 2004 throughput figure of 363m teu.

The combination of faster traffic growth and strong profit levels is attracting aggressive new players to enter the container terminal-operator business , according to the 11th Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Review and Forecast report published by shipping consultancy Drewry. It says Africa and Greater China are the regions that will see the most rapid growth.

Overall , growth rates are expected to average an annual 5.6% in the five years to 2018, compared with 3.4% in 2013. That will boost average terminal utilisation from 67% today to 75% in 2018, Drewry forecasts.

“The sector’s strong financial performance and accelerating growth is encouraging new market entrants and renewed merger and acquisition activity in the container ports sector,” said Neil Davidson, senior analyst in Drewry’s ports and terminals practice. “Financial investors are particularly active at present, attracted by typical ebitda margins of between 20% and 45%.”

Drewry has also added two companies to its league table of 24 terminal operators it considers to be global. Both China Merchants Holdings International and Bolloré Group have been growing aggressively. In the case of CMHI further acquisitions are particularly likely. Other operators, such as Gulftainer and Yilport are also expanding rapidly and are challenging for inclusion in Drewry’s league table.

The composition of the top five players, when measured on an equity teu throughput basis, has changed little from last year, except new entrant CMHI which is now in fifth place. PSA again heads the table, by virtue of its scale and 20% stake in Hutchison Port Holdings which comes second. APM Terminals is third, followed by DP World.

Drewry said that by 2018, it expects both HPH and APM Terminals to be vying closely for the top spot in terms of capacity deployed. Most portfolio expansion will be through greenfield or brownfield terminals in emerging markets, led by APM Terminals, International Container Terminal Services, HPH and DP World. “All port and terminal operators are experiencing a number of key industry trends, some of which have wide ramifications,” said Mr Davidson. “The most important trends are deployment of ever-larger containerships, expansion of shipping-line alliances, financial pressures on shipping lines, rapidly emerging international terminal operators and owners, financial investor churn, as well as the gathering pace of terminal automation.” Source: Lloydslist.com

cargo-container-shippingThe Ports Regulator of South Africa will soon announce anew port tariffs structure that will include a cut of about 40% in the tariff on exported containers. This step is part of the Transnet National Ports Authority‘s strategy to reduce South African port charges, which are seen as among the highest in the world, because it erodes the competitiveness of South Africa’s exports.

This announcement was made during a colloquium on the impact of administered prices on the manufacturing sector. The purpose of the colloquium was to get all the stakeholders together to try and find a solution to the challenges. It had become clear that the stakeholders did not have a regular opportunity to engage on the issue of administered prices.

In addition to the new tariffs, the authority is proposing a reworking of its tariff structure, which if accepted by the regulator, will see higher charges for bulk commodities, up to 68%. South African port tariffs were at least 8.7 times more than the global average for containers and 7.4 times the global average for automotive cargo.

Transnet’s CEO said the shift in the tariff burden was aligned with the government’s manufacturing growth strategy. The mining sector had been hugely subsidised by a tariff structure weighted in favour of raw exports, at the expense of the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Department of Trade and Industry has also welcomed the expected tariff reduction, saying it would be a major boost for exporters. 

One would therfore like to believe that these tariff reductions will be extended to agriculture and agro-processing. Hopefully ocean carriers will not see this as an opportunity to increase their tariffs!