World Maritime News (74)

Managing transshipment hubs key to success of Gemini alliance: Drewry

The success of the Gemini Cooperation alliance between Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will hinge on their ability to manage huge container exchanges at hub ports and a dedicated fleet of large shuttle vessels running transshipment services, according to Drewry. The cornerstone of the new partnership will be the “hub-and-spoke” network the carriers believe will enable them to achieve schedule reliability above 90%, a level that has not been achieved in years and would differentiate Gemini from other alliances. While Tim Power, Drewry’s managing director, said Gemini was in a strong position with enough loops and frequencies in most trade lanes, the hub-and-spoke model would depend heavily on the reliability of the shuttle and transshipment operations to and from mainline terminals.

The new partnership will consolidate calls at just five main hubs in Asia — Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Singapore, and Tanjung Pelepas in southern Malaysia and downgrade some of the carriers’ current key cargo gateways in Asia to feeder ports under the “hub-and-spoke” network linking Asia with Europe, the Mediterranean, and North America.


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Ocean Alliance extends membership through to 2032

The container lines that comprise the Ocean Alliance have agreed to extend the vessel-sharing agreement to 2032. Meeting in Shanghai, the chief executives of CMA CGM, Evergreen, Cosco, and its subsidiary OOCL signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the agreement push beyond its original 10-year commitment, which was due to expire in 2027. Hapag-Lloyd’s departure from The Alliance to join Maersk will leave The Alliance in a far weaker position, and there was speculation that its members could seek to tie up with Ocean Alliance members on a broader shake-up of the boundaries.

The Ocean Alliance and Gemini Cooperation have secured their futures. This could see the remaining The Alliance lines forced to consider ‘pragmatic cooperation’ with MSC on the Asia-Europe trade.


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EU to support shore power and e-fuel projects in ports with $1bn fund

The European Commission launched a €1bn ($1.08bn) funding facility for alternative fuel projects in the transport sector, including those that aim to build port infrastructure for shore power and ammonia and methanol bunkering. The new funding will help EU countries with objectives set in the FuelEU Maritime regulations. Funding will not be limited to maritime projects but will support road transport and aviation projects.


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US to invest $3bn in clean port infrastructure

The US Environmental Protection Agency will make $3bn in funding opportunities available, $2.8bn of which will be directed to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure. The American Association of Port Authorities said the industry is ‘beyond thrilled’ with the program. But it warned that stringent enforcement of equipment procurement rules could hamper progress as the US supply chains for electric port equipment are ‘just not mature.’


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Shippers call for transparency over Red Sea surcharges

Shippers are increasingly concerned over the surcharges applied to Red Sea cargoes and seek additional transparency from carriers. “A big concern for transport users is the increased costs,” European Shippers’ Council secretary-general Godfried Smit said in a webinar. An ESC study, however, showed that the actual costs incurred by carriers were as little as €200 ($216) per teu. “But price increases in the form of surcharges peak at around €1,000 per teu,” Smit said. “Already we see in some sectors that ship low-value goods freight, rates, and surcharges are becoming prohibitive to conduct international trade,” Smit said. He also called on the EU to follow the footsteps of the US Federal Maritime Commission in keeping a closer regulatory eye on freight costs.


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FMC publishes final ruling on detention and demurrage

The US Federal Maritime Commission has finally produced its long-awaited final rule on detention and demurrage billing practices after the issue emerged as a significant point of contention between carriers, terminals, and shippers during the pandemic. Commissioner Carl Bentzel said, “The final rule takes necessary steps to protect shippers from being unfairly assessed detention and demurrage penalties while protecting truckers that are not consignees or in privity of contract from being assessed detention and demurrage penalties.”


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IMO to adopt practical mid-term measures to put decarbonization back on track

According to the UN body’s new secretary-general, Arsenio Dominguez, the International Maritime Organization aims to adopt “practical and achievable” mid-term economic and technical measures as work gets underway to prepare for their implementation. IMO member states will finalize proposals for a global fuel standard and a greenhouse gas pricing mechanism in 2024 during two Marine Environment Protection Committee sessions for adoption in 2025 in line with the revised GHG strategy.


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GSBN draws new ports to its shared digital infrastructure concept

The Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has added three terminal operators in Asia and Europe to the list of members using its network to digitize various container shipping and trade processes. Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), Malaysia-based Westports, and Rotterdam-based Portbase join existing shareholder members, including Cosco Shipping, Cosco Ports, PSA International, Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), Hutchison Ports and Hapag-Lloyd. GSBN, founded in 2018, is a neutral, non-profit consortium aiming to enable paperless global trade by developing data infrastructure that members and partners can use to build applications. Existing products using the GSBN infrastructure include cargo release and trade finance tools offered by GSBN. But the broader goal is to enable ports, carriers, banks, and third-party software vendors to build atop shared infrastructure.


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