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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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  • Far East Maritime (375) (X)

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Rising labour costs see factories look at automation

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 13, 2012

Factories in China measure their workforce in hundreds of thousands. Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant employs anything up to 450,000 people, and we have heard talk of factories with as many as 800,000 workers. The accommodation hostels at these factories are miniature cities with their own supermarkets…

Costly ‘everything box related must go’ sale almost over for MISC

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 21, 2012

Malaysian carrier MISC exits the container shipping business next week, but the line will not be getting out cheaply. Buyers for 10 of its16 container ships have been found, with the vessels being let go at fire sale prices. The remaining six…

Missing PRD workers are gone for good

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 20, 2012

The greatest complaint among Pearl River Delta factories is not “where are the orders”, as might be expected considering the ongoing economic crisis in Europe and the slow growth of the China and US economies. Instead, the whine du jour is “where are the workers”.

Casual putter across oceans has shippers steaming

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 22, 2012

There is nothing wrong with focusing on profits - that's how business works. Revenue falls, squeeze the bottom line costs. That seems to be the perennial position of container lines. Barring the odd good year, the lines manage to lose money like a Chinese government official at a Macau casino.

Strong rates will take the pain out of low utilization

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 17, 2012

The burden of excess tonnage in the container shipping industry is not going to go away any time soon. Between now and 2014, 80 percent of all the ships that will be delivered will be VLCCs or ULCCs (ultra large container ships). In the first four months of this year…

Laissez faire or just plain blasé

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on April 20, 2012

Hong Kong and Singapore have developed into fierce rivals over the last two decades. During that time, both iconic cities have become transportation hubs, Hong Kong as a gateway to China and Singapore as the transshipment point between East and West.

Logistics inside China is still a free-for-all

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 29, 2012

The total value of logistics in China last year was an incredible US$24,000 billion, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. More than 90 percent of this is accounted for by the logistics services required by the manufacturing sector.

Slowing orders keep the brakes on China exports

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 27, 2012

China expects its economy to slow down to 7.5 percent this year. That would be a breakneck rate in any developed country but in China the experts say anything under six percent will result in a hard landing for the mainland. But the gloomy news continues.

Anti-China rhetoric an election-year distraction

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 14, 2012

So far this year, the US is running a trade imbalance of US$92 billion with China. In the first four months of the year the US imported $127 billion worth of goods and exported just $35 billion. Considering the trade imbalance last year was an incredible $295 billion…

Freight brokers are undercutting rates

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 9, 2012

“The peak season surcharge is dead,” the executive of one of China’s largest NVOCCs told me in Shanghai this week. We were chatting over a beer after a round of golf with a couple of other logistics guys when I raised the subject. The consensus…

‘Clean island’ falls into port expansion crosshairs

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on June 1, 2012

Hengsha Island is just off the coast of Shanghai at the mouth of the Yangtze River where it flows into the East China Sea. Considering the Yangtze is one of most heavily polluted waterways in China that oozes past many intense industrial manufacturing areas…

Fuel price leads carriers into the green business

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 30, 2012

Ever since container lines desperate to cut down on high fuel prices embraced slow steaming, shippers have been complaining about it. The days, and sometimes weeks, added to transit times disrupt their supply chains, increase the need for buffer stocks and simply cost them money.

Hong Kong ignoring the need to adapt or decline

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 24, 2012

Failing to adapt your business model to changing times can prove catastrophic, as Kodak found out when it ignored the digital camera age (“nah, that’ll never catch on”). Similarly, thinking you are too big to fail can precede an equally impressive collapse, like at Lehman Bros.

Maersk Line sails into negative territory

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 16, 2012

Maersk Line’s interim first quarter results issued today show the damage to a carrier when excess capacity meets poor freight rates. The Danish line’s volume increased by 18 percent while the freight rates dropped by nine percent. That saw the…

Soak it in super glue first - that’s the only way the PSS will stick on Asia-Europe

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 10, 2012

Twelve carriers have now announced plans to implement a peak season surcharge on all westbound cargo from Asia and India to North Europe and the Med of up to US$400 per TEU. That, incidentally, will come on top of a general rates increase, also from June 1.

Peak season prediction gets the surcharge machine moving

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 8, 2012

Consumers in the US have been spending steadily and once the National Retail Federation issued its Global Port Tracker report on Monday detailing how container imports at the country’s ports will increase through the summer, it took just 24…

Incheon launches into expansion mode

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 4, 2012

Nope is probably the answer, although it was a rhetorical question. In Asia, though, there’s nothing rhetorical about it, but the country doing the reclaiming to radically expand a port and economic zone area is not the one that you think. China…

What’s good for ports not always good for carriers

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on May 2, 2012

Productivity will be the battleground for ports in the future, an executive from APM Terminals said in a presentation recently. As the size of container ships increases, improving turnaround times will become crucial for vessels that cannot afford to spend days alongside.

Evergreen shrugs off conservative cloak

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on April 26, 2012

Working out supply and demand is a tricky business at the best of times, so trying to predict the container shipping market a year or two in advance is as good as sucking a thumb and writing down the first thing that comes to mind. Looking at an Alphaliner chart of current vs ordered ships…

Covering China not all plain sailing

Posted to Far East Maritime (by Greg Knowler) on April 25, 2012

At the launch of a cargo station in Chongqing a couple of weeks ago, four of us from the foreign media were preparing to approach a government official for comment. The official had just made a congratulatory speech to the gathering that comprised…