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23 February 2024 - Year XXVIII
Independent journal on economy and transport policy
19:13 GMT+1
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FORUM of Shipping
and Logistics


  The subject would deserve an analysis on its own as there has been such an intense activity throughout the year on movements of military material, either for interventionist reasons or simply for training purposes. The dramatic events of September 11th in the U.S. and the intervention of the international community in Afghanistan did not however produce the same repercussions as the Gulf War did ten years ago.

The different military organisations have become much better structured and did not panic when it came to transporting troops and material this time. The American Military Sealift Command drew from its experiences in the past and only resorted to the spot market occasionally to cover its needs, without causing any particular waves or price hikes. The U.S. and the U.K. are definitely the two countries with the best-integrated fleets and best-fitted to meet their transport needs. There are in practice the only two countries with an operating service mechanism capable of making arbitrages between ships on long-term charter, owned vessels and spot charters.

Of course other European countries have shown themselves to be interventionists as well, but have not yet taken the necessary steps to be able to enforce this policy in the long-term. This waiting attitude adopted by military organisations has some perverse effects on the market. First of all, a number of very old ships, which have been financially written-off for a long time, win a lot of these tenders without their owners being able to find steady employment for them over the year as a whole. It gives the military the benefit of covering their transport needs at competitive costs, but with little anticipation for the medium or long-term. This attitude may become difficult to manage sooner or later.

In practice there are still a lot of ships in service built in the middle and at the end of the 70's. Although it is possible to charter and buy these second-hand ships cheap today, the effect of a fairly massive scrapping would soon be felt in terms of transport supply and also immediately in prices. Owners of more modern ships, built in the 80's and early 90's could then hope for a second breath, as they are amongst those suffering most from the current very low freight rates and lack of employment. The running costs of meeting such low utilisation and the poor returns of period business have pushed some owners into laying-up, often unable to compete with older ships in the spot "military" market.

As frequently the case, it is impossible to generalise about this market and the specific character of each ship makes them almost individual special cases - with one or two additional knots, a car deck, a straight or quarter ramp, etc. - matters which differentiate one from the other and can make or break a deal. All these are items which potential buyers of second-hand vessels will have to take into consideration in their choice.
 

The predominant tendency over the last few years, which has led the majority of large operators to own their ships rather than charter-in has not reversed, on the contrary. The initiatives of owners, which have ordered newbuildings to "play the market" have proven to be highly dangerous.

Armada has reduced their assets over the last years to simply ensure a continuous employment of their ships, and it does not seem that they are in an expansionist mood.

Stena, who several years ago threw themselves into a phase of renewing their fleet in an inspired manner, have the big advantage of working with a "safety-net", capable of operating an arbitrage on their own lines if ordered vessels should find themselves without tramping employment. Nonetheless Stena still have to absorb three more ships of 3,000 lane metres in the year 2002.

The owner Visentini remains today an isolated case of really gambling on the future, building his ships in his own yard and with his own designs but with undeniable success. This unique example is worth citing for its visionary aspect, and in parallel with a policy of renewing the smallest and oldest ships, finding success with sales to Stena as well as the Turkish Ege Roro, for example.

Other owners like Ernst Russ are paying the cost of the very reduced activity on the spot market. Already owners of four ships of 1,650 lane metres backed with period charters, they have received at the beginning of the year a unit of 2,500 lane metres 22.5 knots, which saw its initial employment in the Atlantic prematurely terminated in the autumn, leaving this splendid ship on the shelf in a capricious market.

It will be interesting to see how the sector of the market of fast 2,500-3,000 lane metre ships will evolve in the course of 2002. There is a fragile balance and the market got tossed about during the second half of the year due to the introduction of three ships from Ege Roro (2,500 lane metres). One of them finally found a home with Cotunav. Certain niche services, which operate with ships of 1,800-2,000 lane metres, could benefit in 2002 from a possible swap of the bigger sizes of 2,400-3,000 lane metres to allow them to increase their transport capacity at reasonable costs. Maybe we will see a new class of routes coming into service and finally shedding in compensation to congested roads. Will the recent accidents that have hit the trans-Alpine road tunnels lead to new policies favouring short-sea shipping? We very much doubt it, as history tends to have a shorter and shorter memory, and we would rather bet on the well-conceived private initiatives, which should finish being crowned with success sooner or later.

Having found shelter in different business management structures or having been sold, a good number of ships built for Russian operators continue to liven up the market with varying fortune, but with a preponderance for the largest ships to find period employment on long-haul routes. Egon Oldendorff operating through a Norwegian commercial management structure (Atlantica Shipping) already got his way into the closed circle of tramp owners and seems set to enlarge his presence in this market, on condition to define and target precisely the type of ship to focus on, which while remaining risky could prove profitable.
 

Tomorrow' Given the age profile of the fleet, and the ever-approaching deadline of demolition of the oldest ships, we believe that this is a propitious time to invest in good quality ships of not more than 15 years at a reasonable price. Assuming that the life span of these is realistically about 25 years, it is possible that this choice over the medium term should be positive.

On long-haul routes, the charter market has been particularly quiet. The decline in the chartering activity is in this instance also linked to the number of new ships, which have gradually replaced tramp ships, despite the level of new deliveries in 2001 being below that of the preceding two years. Grimaldi has remained the most active player in the pure ro-ro sector (as opposed to the ships of PCC and PCTC). Elsewhere, Delmas, who is in partnership with Grimaldi on the Mediterranean / West African Coast trade, has undertaken an external growth transaction at the end of the year, taking control of their common partner Setramar. Earlier in the year we had the case of Grimaldi taking control of Atlantic Container Line, a good example if needed of the interaction between ro-ros and containers. We can also mention that at the end of the year DFDS, emblematic actor in the ro-ro market took majority control of Lys line, a Norwegian operator of containerships.

Facing a difficult horizon for numerous owners in the container transport market (at least until end 2002), it is not impossible that we will see several "forced mergers" between niche market operators in this sector with the biggest ro-ro operators.

Finally and unless there is an important volume of new orders in the next two years, the ratio of deliveries to demolitions should naturally get inverted, which could signal the beginning of a new tendency in the market.

To be continued'
 

The Ro-Ro market in 2001

The noose tightens'

 
 
The concept of a ro-ro ship is a commitment to a somewhat unconventional flexibility in the shipping world, as much by the autonomy it offers in ports with difficult access, as by the diversity of cargoes that can be handled in ports non or badly equipped with shore-cranes. While simple and dependable, it seems important to remember that the ro-ro is also irreplaceable on certain routes. Clearly the development of port infrastructures for containerships, handling methods or storage capacities have a direct effect on ro-ro traffic, but there is still a lot to be done before a massive substitution of one system over the other can be envisaged.

In terms of comparable units, the capital costs for transporting a 40-foot container by containership are a lot less than the same movement of a trailer on a ro-ro vessel. The transport cost argument of course weighs heavily for shippers in their logistical choices and economic pros and cons, but it is not the only item to be taken into consideration. Others factors count such as handling speed and above all the continuity in the transport chain by land in the shortest time.

If all these constraints prevail on a short or medium haul routes, then the ro-ro takes precedence over the container. Nonetheless it is a case of "David and Goliath". As we have frequently pointed out, although the container has got the lion's share of certain long-haul ro-ro routes, both means of transport can and should exist together in various parts of the world. We however do not imagine that the ro-ro fleet will double in the next ten years, as we have seen that has happened in the containership sector.

On the other hand, we have witnessed a rejuvenation of the fleet, which while not producing a sizeable increase in capacity, has had the merit of allowing operators a better quality of service. The analysis of the ro-ro fleet remains a complicated affair given the diversity of ship types, since the evolution of the ro-pax concept lends itself in practice to producing ships which have more affinity to ferries than pure ro-ros. Few new orders have been recorded in 2001, and deliveries have also been considerably reduced in 2001 compared to the past three years. Although the freight market has the same profile as last year's in terms of volume, time charter rates have been globally reduced.

roro fleet, by year of built

roro demolitions and deliveries

The ro-ro market and geo-politics
Profession: tramp owner'
Roro - CR Tanger CR Tanger 
9,332 dwt, 1,900 lane metres, blt 1978, sold by Delmas (France) to Pasifae Shipping Company (Greece)

 



Shipping and Shipbuilding Markets in 2001

I N D E X

›››File
FROM THE HOME PAGE
CMA CGM is back in loss after 15 consecutive quarters of earnings
CMA CGM is back in loss after 15 consecutive quarters of earnings
Marseille
In the fourth quarter of last year, revenues fell by -37.4%
Promulgated in the USA the new law on the invoicing of counterstallia costs
Washington
Most of the provisions will enter into force on May 26
Brussels investigation of the aid for the territorial continuity granted to Corsica Line and La Méridionale
First green light of the European Parliament to the reform of the EU Customs Code
Brussels
Appreciation of ECSA, ECASBA, ESC, ESPO, FEPORT and WSC, reminding the issues still to be addressed
The Marine & Offshore division of Bureau Veritas stores 2023 with record performance
Paris
In the business segment, revenues amounted to 455.7 million euros (+ 8.9%)
The port of Palermo has reached a new historical record of annual freight traffic
The port of Palermo has reached a new historical record of annual freight traffic
Palermo
Volumes of boatloads are also growing at Termini Imerese and Trapani. Drop in Porto Empedocle
The flattening of import-export growth of G20 nations in the latter part of 2023
Paris
Trade in services in mild increase
Biden signs a decree to increase the cyber security of ships, ports and coastal facilities in the US
Biden signs a decree to increase the cyber security of ships, ports and coastal facilities in the US
Washington
Funds worth more than 20 billion will be used to replace the cranes produced in China. Expected recovery, after 30 years, of crane production in the United States
Fincantieri agreement with EDGE to establish a production base of military vessels in the United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi / Rome
51% of the joint venture will be held by the Middle Eastern group, while the Italian company will have management management
Danish shipowners complain that removing the tax exemption for seafarers provided by the DIS register would be madness
Copenhagen
Italian tourist portuality suffers from the absence of specific standards
Rome
Today in Rome of the States Generals of the sector organized by ASSONAT in collaboration with Assonautica Italiana
In the fourth quarter of 2023 the traffic of goods in the port of Rotterdam decreased by -6.4%
In the fourth quarter of 2023 the traffic of goods in the port of Rotterdam decreased by -6.4%
Rotterdam
Annual decline of -6.1% with reduction in volumes of both miscellaneous goods and bulk
AIDA Cruises announces a program of modernization of the three class ships "Sphinx"
Miami
Work will be carried out in 2025 and 2026
A new viaduct improves road accessibility to the container platform of Going Ligure
Go Ligure
It features two opposing carried out and variable slopes to overcome the underlying railroad
The shipowner industry calls for the release of the crew of the Galaxy Leader seized by the Houthis
London
"These are innocent victims of the continued aggression against global shipping," the statement said.
The EU Council has given way to the mission to protect the ships transiting the Red Sea
Brussels
Operation Aspides will coordinate with EuNavFor Atlanta
European Commission authorizes CMA CGM to acquire Bolloré Logistics
Brussels
Sets up the sale of all the assets of the logistics company in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and French Guiana
Sharp decline in intermodal transport handled by Kombiverkehr
Sharp decline in intermodal transport handled by Kombiverkehr
Frankfurt am Main
The German firm is concerned that the current difficult market situation will persist for a long time. Concern also for the outcome of European policies for combined transport
Today in Rome, the 30-year-old celebratory convention of the law 84/94
Rome
Established the Port Authorities and the General Command of the Capitaneries of Puerto-Guard Coastal
Comparison between the Suez Canal Authority and the heads of the Genovese company Messina
Ismailia
Rabie : appreciation for the growing number of Italian carrier ships passing through the canal
In 2023 the traffic in goods in the ports of Montenegro dropped by -17.7%
Podgorica
In mild growth (+ 1.2%) the loads to and from Italy
SAILING LIST
Visual Sailing List
Departure ports
Arrival ports by:
- alphabetical order
- country
- geographical areas
The interports, with the privatization of managers and areas, at the center of the House discussion
Rome
Frijia (Fdi) : With this law we surpass a discipline that goes back more than 30 years. Ghio (Pd) : new sales of our heritage and fundamental structures for the country
On Friday, a conference on the relaunch of the Tuscan Simplified Logistics Zone was held in Livorno.
Livorno
It is organized by the Port Authority of the Tyrrhenian Sea North
On 26 and March 27 in Milan, the 8th edition of "Shipping, Forwarding & Logistics meet Industry" will be held in Milan.
Milan
Intermodal traffic at the Interport in Bologna in 2023
Bentiwant
Transitioned 1.7 million trucks (-10.6%) and 3,391 trains (-33.2%)
In 2023 the value of Russian exports of non-energy goods decreased by -23%
Moscow
Overall, exports were down -28.3% percent, while imports grew by 11.7% percent.
GNV strengthens the functionalities of its own fleet assistance center
Genoa
Implemented the Mass Notification Suite solution of Everbridge
Port of Gioia Tauro, altering controls to favour ' Ndrangheta in drug traffics
Reggio Calabria
Disjointed a criminal association made up of customs officials, the head of a shipping company, the harbour and the referents of the main coaches
In 2023 the revenues of the HHLA terminalist group decreased by -8.3%
Hamburg
Decline of -12.0% in the fourth quarter of the year
Turkon Line will activate a scheduled service between Turkey and the northern Red Sea
Istanbul
It will perform scans in Mersin, Iskenderun, Aqaba and Jeddah
Germany's BGL applauds Italy's decision to urge the start of an infringement procedure against Austria
Frankfurt am Main / Bolzano
Convention on novelty for import introduced with the European CBAM Regulation
Venice
Organized by Assosped Venice and Anasped, it will be held on February 28 in Marghera
PORTS
Italian Ports:
Ancona Genoa Ravenna
Augusta Gioia Tauro Salerno
Bari La Spezia Savona
Brindisi Leghorn Taranto
Cagliari Naples Trapani
Carrara Palermo Trieste
Civitavecchia Piombino Venice
Italian Interports: list World Ports: map
DATABASE
ShipownersShipbuilding and Shiprepairing Yards
ForwardersShip Suppliers
Shipping AgentsTruckers
MEETINGS
On 26 and March 27 in Milan, the 8th edition of "Shipping, Forwarding & Logistics meet Industry" will be held in Milan.
Milan
Theme of the event "The future possible of productive and logistical Italy"
On Friday, a conference on the relaunch of the Tuscan Simplified Logistics Zone was held in Livorno.
Livorno
It is organized by the Port Authority of the Tyrrhenian Sea North
››› Meetings File
PRESS REVIEW
Le transport maritime national navigue à vue
(Aujourd'hui Le Maroc)
“Israel is facing silent sanctions”
(Globes - Israel's Business Arena)
››› Press Review File
FORUM of Shipping
and Logistics
Relazione del presidente Mario Mattioli
Roma, 27 ottobre 2023
››› File
Fire in the night in the port of Ancona
Ancona
Flames in three caps
Last month container traffic in Hong Kong port grew by 19.1% percent.
Thanks to the rise of the noli, the monthly turnover of Evergreen and Yang Ming is growing.
Taipei / Keelung
In January the revenues of Wan Hai Lines decreased by -2.6%
Order to Vard for the design and construction of a Service Operation Vessel
Trieste
Fincantieri completes acquisition of Remazel Engineering
In January, container traffic at ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Singapore was growing.
Los Angeles / Long Beach / Singapore
For the first time, Singapore's naval registry exceeds 100 million tonnes of gross tonnage
In January, freight traffic in Russian ports decreased by -6.2%
St. Petersburg
Dry loads down -5.8% percent and liquid ones by -6.5% percent
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