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Dec 08, 2010

U.S. District Court Rules Against Closing Chicago Locks

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) applauds the announcement by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denying a motion for preliminary injunction filed by five Great Lakes states to close Chicago area locks as a way of preventing the migration of Asian carp into Lake Michigan.

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) applauds the announcement by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denying a motion for preliminary injunction filed by five Great Lakes states to close Chicago area locks as a way of preventing the migration of Asian carp into Lake Michigan.

Dec 01, 2010

Ports Strive to Enhance Operational Efficiency

Leading ports in India place enhancement of operational efficiency high on their agenda. Some major government owned ports operate beyond capacity and private port operators use this opportunity to draw more of the cargo to their own ports.

Leading ports in India place enhancement of operational efficiency high on their agenda. Some major government owned ports operate beyond capacity and private port operators use this opportunity to draw more of the cargo to their own ports.

Dec 15, 2009

E-Mail submission of mariner credential apps

The U.S. Coast Guard issues a notice stating that, beginning January 4, 2010, it will accept merchant mariner credential applications at the 17 Regional Examination Centers (RECs) via e-mail. (12/10/09).

The U.S. Coast Guard issues a notice stating that, beginning January 4, 2010, it will accept merchant mariner credential applications at the 17 Regional Examination Centers (RECs) via e-mail. (12/10/09).

Dec 11, 2009

Beijing approves the death of Hong Kong port

Hong Kong finds that an ego-boosting bridge to Macau is no match for a shorter, cheaper and quicker route to Shenzhen's container terminals just up the river. As workers yesterday dug out the first scoop of the multi-billion dollar bridge between Hong Kong and Macau that is supposed to boost container throughput, China’s central government was busy officially endorsing the death of Hong Kong’s port business.

Hong Kong finds that an ego-boosting bridge to Macau is no match for a shorter, cheaper and quicker route to Shenzhen's container terminals just up the river. As workers yesterday dug out the first scoop of the multi-billion dollar bridge between Hong Kong and Macau that is supposed to boost container throughput, China’s central government was busy officially endorsing the death of Hong Kong’s port business.

Sep 18, 2013

Mainland FTZs have Hong Kong in a Froth

Online Edition

It is difficult to pick up a newspaper here and not read about how the planned free trade zones of Shanghai and Qianhai near Shenzhen will rob Hong Kong of its competitiveness and steal away trade.

Free trade zone fever is sending everyone into a frenzy and the media is enthusiastically digging up official sources – named and unnamed - to comment on what it all means for Hong Kong place at the head of the table.

Latest is Asia’s richest man and Hong Kong’s once loved tycoon Li Ka-shing (no one likes the rapacious tycoons anymore). He says the city will lag behind if it doesn’t “accelerate the pace of its development”. As the property developing cartel’s leader-in-chief - and owner of the world’s biggest terminal operating company, Hutchison Port Holdings - of course he would say that. It also helps to stay on good terms with Beijing and utter all the right things.

But the bulk of the breathless reportage is being dedicated to the Shanghai free trade zone, a 29 square kilometer piece of ground that will soon house some pretty expensive real estate in the city. In fact, a prominent daily columnist in Hong Kong reckons the whole FTZ idea is merely a way of pushing up property prices as the market begins to weaken.

Whatever the reasons, the pilot FTZ project in Shanghai will be launched on September 29, less than a year after the plan was first announced by Beijing. This is all bad news for Hong Kong is the general consensus, even though no one has any idea of what the FTZ will actually do and when it will eventually do it.

Shenzhen Economic Zone was always export focused, but how will Shanghai be set up? Will imports and exports be duty free, what benefits are there to foreign shipping lines and forwarders, will foreign investment rules be relaxed?

Down in the roaring metropolis of Qianhai, 15 square kilometres of muddy wasteland has been set aside for the market leading, revolutionary, high level, high quality, high value-added, modern, innovative and economy-boosting FTZ.

The pilot project is aimed at growing Guangdong’s economic development, apparently without competing against Hong Kong and Macau. Once again, no one knows what this zone will do, so it is hard to see why Hong Kong should get its panties in a bunch.

Shenzhen was once a sleepy fishing village, so it wouldn’t be wise to completely dismiss the FTZ plans, but let’s face it, Hong Kong’s greatest competition does not come from outside its borders. Manufacturers in the factories of South China are closer to the ports in Shenzhen than they are to Hong Kong and it is cheaper to export containers via those terminals. As with most things, it all comes down to price.

Once upon a time the clueless bunch of bureaucrats running the Transport and Housing Bureau - and those who ran its predecessor, the Transport and Agriculture department, or whatever it was called – may have been able to slow the loss of market share in direct exports by equalizing the costs of shipping via Hong Kong vis-à-vis Shenzhen, but the port decline was always inevitable.

In the past few years, Hong Kong has become a transshipment port. So any strategy on how to combat the influence of the mainland’s FTZs should not involve the port. It’s falling relevance was predicted by a GHK study almost 10 years ago, and nothing the brains trust in charge of transport policy do will ever change that (motto: The Status Quo is the Way to Go!).

The government can consult stakeholders and role players, conduct studies and balance the interests of all parties as much as it wants, but there is no point. The terminal operators have moved half their eggs into new Shenzhen baskets next door and will straddle the fence until Hong Kong port is transformed into luxury waterfront property.

Online Edition

It is difficult to pick up a newspaper here and not read about how the planned free trade zones of Shanghai and Qianhai near Shenzhen will rob Hong Kong of its competitiveness and steal away trade.

Free trade zone fever is sending everyone into a frenzy and the media is enthusiastically digging up official sources – named and unnamed - to comment on what it all means for Hong Kong place at the head of the table.

Oct 28, 2010

Antonini: Overcapacity Remains the Biggest Problem

At a conference in Nan Tong,incl. 120 of the world’s leading shipbuilding execs.from Japan, Europe, China, Korea and USA (JECKU), CESA Honorary Chairman and Fincantieri, Corrado Antonini says:“Despite signs of recovery in global shipping, the situation of most shipyards in the world remains difficult as orderbooks still continue to decline while international experts estimate that at best only 50% of the newbuilding capacity could be utilized in the next 10 years."

At a conference in Nan Tong,incl. 120 of the world’s leading shipbuilding execs.from Japan, Europe, China, Korea and USA (JECKU), CESA Honorary Chairman and Fincantieri, Corrado Antonini says:“Despite signs of recovery in global shipping, the situation of most shipyards in the world remains difficult as orderbooks still continue to decline while international experts estimate that at best only 50% of the newbuilding capacity could be utilized in the next 10 years."

Jan 09, 2011

Slow Steaming and the FMC Might Pass by as Ships

The Federal Maritime Commission tackles the issue of slow steaming. “TSA [Transport Stabilization Agreements] member lines have indicated that they may also use their new authority [the FMC last year allowed them to discuss slow steaming] to work to increase use of alternative fuels, cold ironing, and other pollution-reducing technologies.

The Federal Maritime Commission tackles the issue of slow steaming. “TSA [Transport Stabilization Agreements] member lines have indicated that they may also use their new authority [the FMC last year allowed them to discuss slow steaming] to work to increase use of alternative fuels, cold ironing, and other pollution-reducing technologies.

Jan 26, 2011

A Delicate but Important Balancing Act

The issue of granting reasonable shore leave for visiting foreign mariners is balanced against a less-than-perfect federal system for screening personnel during port calls. There are no easy answers for an agency tasked with preventing potentially dangerous individuals from entering the country, especially when DHS procedures lack the sophistication and coordination to do that fairly.

The issue of granting reasonable shore leave for visiting foreign mariners is balanced against a less-than-perfect federal system for screening personnel during port calls. There are no easy answers for an agency tasked with preventing potentially dangerous individuals from entering the country, especially when DHS procedures lack the sophistication and coordination to do that fairly.

Aug 17, 2010

MERPAC Aground as STCW Flood Tide Crests

September’s regularly scheduled Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) meeting is cancelled. The U.S. Coast Guard cites failure to have a “signed” charter as the reason. With Committee members in the dark about MERPAC’s future, key STCW decisions could be made without important stakeholder input.

September’s regularly scheduled Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) meeting is cancelled. The U.S. Coast Guard cites failure to have a “signed” charter as the reason. With Committee members in the dark about MERPAC’s future, key STCW decisions could be made without important stakeholder input.

Oct 13, 2009

Advanced spectroscopic portal radiation detection monitors

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)and other agencies have used detection devices for years to detect and intercept illicit nuclear material being shipped across our national borders. Following September 11, 2001, radiation portal monitors were purchased in large numbers and deployed at seaports, airports, and land ports of entry. Everyone was aware that these devices had shortcomings and could not reliably detect shielded nuclear material, but they were the best then available. Companies that constructed such devices promised that they were close to perfecting the next generation of the device, which acquired the name: Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Radiation Detection Monitor or ASP.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)and other agencies have used detection devices for years to detect and intercept illicit nuclear material being shipped across our national borders. Following September 11, 2001, radiation portal monitors were purchased in large numbers and deployed at seaports, airports, and land ports of entry. Everyone was aware that these devices had shortcomings and could not reliably detect shielded nuclear material, but they were the best then available.