Jul 15, 2016     VGM rule introduced, brings no delay, or disruption to world waterfronts
WHILE "some issues were reported in Asian export hubs as new VGM rules kick in," said Lloyd's List in its worldwide survey of the UN's container weight verification rule's introduction, it did not report any examples. In fact, the article said there was little or no trouble caused by the introduction of the new controversial rule in Europe, the US or in Asia. Said one veteran observer: "It's like the Y2K crisis or global warming. Nothing happened." The introduction of the UN rule appeared to have no impact as cargo arrived with or without VGM numbers. There were no reports of carriers or terminals refusing to load containers. Asian export ports ?including the world's biggest, Shanghai ?reported containers arriving without a VGM figures, which did not appear to impede their progress in getting aboard ships. Reports from Hong Kong suggested many shippers had yet to get VGM registration numbers, but neither they nor the authorities appeared to have much use for them. Nor were problems reported in other ports of the Far East, not in Singapore, not in Vietnam's Cai Mep International Terminal, or in Malaysia's Port Klang, said Lloyd's List. Nor were there problems with cargo flow in Europe, where preparations were said to be better. In the United States, US Coast Guard's declaration of "equivalency" in regard to new UN rule meant that it was business as usual with little or no reference to the new rules.
Jul 15, 2016     China, Malaysia look to co-build extension to Port Klang capacity
CHINA and Malaysia are in talks to build a third terminal at the country's biggest harbour, Port Klang, says Malaysian Minister of Transport Low Tong Lai. Eighty per cent of ships sailing through the Malacca Strait are going to or coming from China, which is why Malaysia is interested in partnering with China to extend the port, reports Beijing's China Radio International. Malaysia's Ministry of Transport plans to expand the port to reach 16.3 million TEU capacity by 2020, reports Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News. The project has also been proposed in response to China's "Belt and Road" initiative, said the report.

Jul 15, 2016     South Asia 'shining star' of container world with 5.3pc growth
SOUTH Asia region has been identified by London's Drewry Maritime Research as the "shining light" in an otherwise bleak international container shipping market, reports London's Loadstar. South Asia/Indian subcontinent saw container throughput gain 5.3 per cent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period of 2015, said the Drewry report. This comes against a background of global year-on-year growth of 0.5 per cent in the first quarter coming off a one per cent annual increase in 2015. Thus, South Asia was up 10 times more with the highest score in world, without which, feeble gains in the global average would have been erased. All of the major South Asian nations contributed to the increased first quarter container throughput of 22 million TEU. Indian port box throughput was up year-on-year by 234,000 TEU in the quarter; Pakistan's volumes were 274,000 TEU ahead and Bangladesh grew by 324,000 TEU in the period. This includes empties. But it was transshipment volume increases which led to the throughput spike, said Drewry. "Lagging port infrastructure meant container lines preferred to base their hub and spoke networks in the Middle East and South-east Asia, but the development of Colombo as a viable hub following the end of the civil war in 2009 has boosted the South Asia TEU count, " said Drewry. Colombo's establishment as a genuine hub port coincided with the opening of the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) at the South Harbour facility in 2013, which offers a 20-metre access channel for the largest container vessels afloat. Colombo has now become a key east-west hub, handling 75 per cent of all transshipments to other countries in the region notes Drewry, and has especially benefited from the current export garment boom enjoyed by the region. Indeed, aided by some "very competitive transshipment tariffs" the facility attracted a further 144,000 TEU of traffic in the first quarter of this year, gaining 11.5 per cent on the same period of 2015, said Drewry.
Jul 15, 2016     Tanjung Pelepas to invest US$2 billion to double capacity
THE Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), Malaysia, is set to invest more than MYR8.6 billion (US$2.1 billion) to more than double its capacity by 2030, local media reported. The expansion project is expected to increase PTP�s handling capacity to 22.2 million TEU within the next 15 years, reports London's Container Management. PIT�s chairman Date Sri Chef Khaki Mohammad Noh reportedly said at the PTP-organised Tiara Ramadan programme that the first stages of the project would include replacement of its existing equipment to increase the annual capacity from the current 10.5 million TEU to 13.2 million TEU. According to Pip�s chairman, the third phase, which is expected to take place in 2018, would instead include construction of six new berths of three kilometres in length. The completion of the project's third stage, which will be divided into phases 3A and 3B, is expected to enable PTP to increase its handling capacity to 22.2 million TEU before 2030. According to local media, Mr Khaki said that the expansion project would ensure that PTP remained competitive in the market. Mr Khaki reportedly claimed that the project would ultimately allow PTP to emerge as the most preferred transshipment port in Asia. PTP is currently equipped with 14 berths with a quay length of five kilometres.