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Asia-Europe rate falls 6pc to US$858/TEU, off 3.7pc to Med ports

SPOT rates for shipping containers from Asia to northern Europe fell six per cent to US$858 per TEU in the week ending Friday, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI). Asia-Mediterranean trade dropped 3.7 per cent to $844 per TEU, American Shipper reported. Asia to the US west coast slipped 9.8 per cent week-over-week to $1,771 per FEU while those to the east coast off seven per cent to $3,214 per FEU.

Cosco Shipping Ports' January throughput rises 7pc to 8.38m TEU

CHINA-BASED global terminal operator, Cosco Shipping Ports (CSP) reported a 7 per cent container throughput in January to 8.38 million TEU from 7.83 million TEU in the previous corresponding period. CSP's overseas terminals once again took the lead segment with volumes soaring 38 per cent to 1.41 million TEU, compared to 1.02 million TEU in the same month last year. The key Bohai Rim and Yangtze River Delta regions also performed well with volume gains of 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively. Throughput rose to 2.76 million TEU from 2.68 million TEU at the Bohai Rim region in January, while at the Yangtze River Delta, volumes rose to 1.62 million TEU from 1.58 million TEU in January 2016, Seatrade Maritime News reported. The Pearl River Delta region, which includes the group's Hong Kong terminals, which had been struggling all through last year managed to turn in positive growth in throughput, with volumes rising 3 per cent to 2.16 million TEU from 2.10 million TEU. COSCO-HIT terminal in particular turned in a stellar 21 per cent rise in throughput for January. The slowly growing ports on the Southeast coast grew 4 per cent to 349,100 TEU from 336,700 TEU previously. And the single port on the Southwest coast started the year slowly, being the only port to see negative growth, with throughput falling 9 per cent to 93,100 TEU from 102,700 TEU previously.

Korea Shipping to buy 10 HMM box ships as part of US$633.7m prop up

STATE-BACKED ship financing company Korea Shipping plans to pump KRW720 billion (US$633.7 million) into Hyundai Merchant Marine this month or next month to shore up its capital base, with part of the funds to be spent on ten containerships operated by HMM, Yonhap reported, quoting a standing member Sohn Byung-doo of the Financial Services Commission. Funds will be transferred to HMM through the purchase of stocks and debts. About KRW150 billion will be set aside to buy HMM stock, with the remaining funds used to buy debts and convert these into stocks. Korea Shipping Co. was established this month with an initial capital of KRW1 trillion to help local shipping lines buy new vessels in a bid to support local shipping firms, as well as shipbuilders, struggling with falling new orders and mounting losses. Separately, HMM will place orders for five container vessels and two or three oil tankers later this year with the state-backed financing programme, reported Marine Link.

Yang Ming to boost capacity of Taiwan-Philippines Express service

YANG MING Marine Transport Corp is to add a 2,800-TEU containership to its Taiwan-Philippines Express (TPE) service, starting from tomorrow (February 21). Two containerships of 1,793 TEU and 1,702 TEU currently ply the TPE route with the smaller vessels Teng Yun He operated by Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL). The network covers Kaohsiung, Manila North Port and Manila South Port with a round voyage of seven days, Seatrade Maritime News reported. "At the same time, Yang Ming will provide a new direct service from South China to the Philippines (PH2 service) through slot exchange cooperation with OOCL," said Yang Ming. The seven-day port rotation of PH2 service is Shekou, Hong Kong, Manila North Port, Manila South Port, returning to Shekou.

Expansion of Virginia box terminal begins to raise annual capacity to 1.2m TEU

A US$320 million expansion project at Portsmouth's Virginia International Gateway (VIG) container terminal has begun. The works will nearly double the terminal's annual cargo handling capability and enable it to handle larger containerships. The project is the first of two large-scale expansion projects that, together with a project at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), will increase the port's overall annual container handling capacity by 40 per cent, or one million container lifts by 2020, reported American Shipper. The overall project includes expanding VIG's container stacking yard, doubling the on-dock rail operation and expanding the truck gate. The cost of the work will be shared by Alinda Capital Partners and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the owners of VIG. VPA CEO John Reinhart was cited as saying: "We are adding capacity now so we can handle the cargo that will be coming to us in the very near future. The big ships are here - more are on the way - and they are carrying significant amounts of containers and Virginia wll be ready to accommodate that volume." The project involves lengthening the wharf to make way for four new Suez-class container cranes. The wharf project begins March 15 and is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2018. Once complete, VIG will have the capacity to handle 1.2 million containers annually, up from 650,000 containers per year at present.