The Cargo Letter
THE CARGO LETTER 
Air & Ocean Freight Forwarder - Customs Broker News
28 December 1999
Good Tuesday Morning & HAPPY NEW YEAR from our Observation Deck......
overlooking the officially designated "Cargo City" area and.......
Runway 25-Right, at Los Angeles International Airport, voted "Best Cargo
Airport in North America''. Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Happy New
Millennium! Now we will all hold our collective breath as the stroke of midnight
approaches Australia on 31 Dec. 1999, and then sweeps by the hour over our Int'l
transport structures. One thing for sure, we'll be back next month to review the
Our 2000 Goal: More stories from you, about your business & our industry.
Contribute your knowledge, stories & company information ........ by
e-mail to The Cargo Letter. We strive to
bring you useful information which is timely & topical. Be sure to visit our
Michael S. McDaniel, Editor & Publisher, Countryman & McDaniel,
forwarder/broker attorneys at LAX.
INDEX to The Cargo Letter:
OUR Top Story
1. The Search For M/V Kobe Queen 1 Ends
* US$100,000 Reward Said To Be Paid
* Dramatic Sea Chase Ends
2. Watching For The Millennium
* Cargo Law Web Traffic Booms
OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News
3. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs
4. The Cargo Letter Financial Page
OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News
5. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs
OUR "C" Section: FF World Ocean News
6. FF World Ocean Briefs
7. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches
* Back By Popular Demand
OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace
8. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"
OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World
9. Use Technology To Keep Cargo Secure
10. Compatible China Customs Computer Systems
Agreed As Millennium Dawns
11. Mutant Marsupials Attack Australian Air Force
- US$100,000 Reward Said To Be Paid
- Dramatic Sea Chase Ends
--by Michael S. McDaniel for The Cargo Letter
LAX - 26 Dec. 1999 -- There is a dramatic end to the story reported to you in
The Cargo Letter [345 & 346],
as the world wide search for the renegade freighter M/V Kobe Queen I came to a
conclusion last week. Elements of the Indian Coast Guard captured this criminal
ship following a running gun battle on the high seas.
M/V KOBE QUEEN 1 was scheduled for Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, in early
Aug. 1999, but failed to arrive with her 15,000 metric ton cargo of finished
steel worth over US$5M.
The 1976-built 18,500 dwt vessel had sailed from Istanbul, Turkey in July,
departing Dakar after a short call on Aug. 3. Then contacted & said diverted
by Odessa-based owner Babush Marine, both Babush & the ship's master Capt.
Yuri Levkovsky refused to give details of the location or destination of the
Kobe Queen I. The vessel was ultimately declared a criminal and sought by world
governments, including Her Majesty's Customs & Excise. A global sea chase
had begun with a US$100,000 reward posted for information leading to arrest of
the Panamanian registered bulk carrier.
Kobe Queen I is known to have bunkered at St. Vincent, Cape Verde, at the end
of Aug. and again at Lagos over Oct. 18-19. The ship, which dodged a close
attempt at arrest while in Lagos, left port with supplies & fuel for about 6
weeks. After standing out of Nigeria, the vessel went incommunicado.
Communications from Babush Marine in Odessa resumed, but were sporadic &
very unclear, and then ceased again. Every effort was made to spread the word on
this matter, through Lloyd's agents, The Cargo Letter, port authorities, law
enforcement, steel brokers & breakerage agents. This type of criminal
activity threatens every charterer, cargo broker, underwriter, forwarder &
On 24 Dec. 1999 (23 Dec. in the West), the chase ended as the Indian Coast
Guard patrol vessel Vikram with 2 escorting naval aircraft closed in on Kobe
Queen 1 off Pondicherry, India ... and prepared for gun action!
Watchful eyes at Wilson & Co Ltd, the Madras Lloyd's Agents, spotted the
criminal ship, now renamed M/V Gloria Kopp. Following a report to local
authorities, plans for an immediate interception in Indian waters went forward.
Despite being out of stores, watch standers had evidently remained vigilant
as the Vikram was spotted some 6.5 miles within Indian waters. The now renegade
pirate crew weighed anchor, making for open sea under cover of a storm and the
hoped for protection & immunity of Int'l waters 13.5 miles off shore. Gun
fire was exchanged with the pirates as the Vikram also battled strong winds
& high waves to finally over take and board Kobe Queen I.
The hot pursuit ended only after an on deck scuffle forced the 25 Ukrainian
crew to surrender. Capt. Levkovsky was not found among the assembled prisoners.
Under guard, the Chief officer of Kobe Queen I was sent to the Captains
cabin. The missing master would be summoned to Int'l justice.
Only when the cabin door was broken down did a final tragedy for M/V Kobe
Queen I become known. Capt. Yuri Levkovsky was found hanging from a nylon rope,
an apparent suicide. Other reports to The Cargo Letter attribute death to a
Her pirate days over, Kobe Queen I has been towed to port. Both vessel &
crew remain under arrest & facing action by Indian authorities. While
details of an initial court hearing last week are pending, it will be a bleak
Year 2000 (and perhaps many others) for the Ukrainian crew turned pirates.
Although Wilson & Co Ltd. reports all cargo to have been recovered
intact, the Times of India News Service suggests 2,000 of 15,000 ton cargo may
have been sold by the pirates in Senegal.
Permission now granted, it can be reported here that the global search for
M/V Kobe Queen I was led by Mr. Alan Spear, Director of the special unit
"Operation Intercept" at Intercargo Insurance Company, the leader in
marine cargo insurance. The successful recovery was a joint effort of cargo
underwriters Intercargo, Fireman's Fund & Alliance Insurance who had insured
the cargo for over US$5M. The lost cargo claims are understood to have been paid
to the cargo interests, but these grateful underwriters are now said prepared to
congratulate the sharp eyes of the Lloyd's Agents, Wilson & Co Ltd. at
Madris with payment of the US$100,000 reward.
The courageous actions of all who took part in this historic effort are
expected to send a warning signal to the "Pirate Mafia" that vessel
hijacking will end with death & detention, not financial rewards. The tide
has begun to turn as our industry unites to take action against the common
threat. Though hanging was the traditional punishment for pirate captains, few
are recorded for a master having betrayed the trust of his own command.
The Cargo Letter wishes to thank our many readers who have contributed global
sighting information to us over the past 90 days. To read about another stunning
capture at sea by the Indian Navy this month, read our story concerning M/V
ALONDRA RAINBOW in "World Ocean News," delivered in Part 2.
- Cargo Law Web Traffic Booms
LAX - 27 Dec. 1999 -- While some are watching the world views chosen for them
by TV directors, many of our readers have decided to watch the dawn of
"Year 2000" their own way, from our Cargo Law web site. The 20th
Century is going out with a bang as web site guests watch live airport, sea port
& river celebrations and activities from their desk computers. In the 4 day
period starting with Christmas Eve to 27 Dec. over 22,000 visitors to our
"TRANS CAMS " web feature have watched the 217 live cameras around the
world, including New York Harbor, Sydney Harbour, the Eiffel Tower from River
Seine, London from the Thames River, bonfires on the Mississippi River, ships
passing the Panama Canal in streaming video and many, many more exciting sights.
Visit our front page & select "TRANS CAMS." Happy New Year! http://www.cargolaw.com
- It's Now Or Never! .......... as China has spent US$60M to ensure
that all of the country's aircraft & ground systems will be able to
operate smoothly as the millennium dawns. A spokesman for the Civil Aviation
Administration of China (CAAC) said: "The final computer check in
November convinced us that the Y2K computer bug has been eradicated from our
systems. We are fully confident about the renovated computer systems."
The list also includes new claims, just made by the following companies
- John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000
Conversion, gave a thumbs-up for U.S. preparedness last week. In the
U.S. alone, the Commerce Department estimates that the total bill for
Y2K efforts among business & government will exceed US$100B.
- P&O Nedlloyd just now claims itself "millennium proof."
- Many Soviet-designed nuclear power plants are unprepared for the Year
2000 but no systems with immediate impact on safety are in danger of
failing because of the Y2K computer glitch, a United Nations-backed
international clearinghouse for Y2K data said on Dec. 16.
- Ivory Coast's main Int'l airport in the commercial capital, Abidjan,
expects no problems from Y2K, but realizes that its security is
- Hawaiian Air says its efforts to preempt potential Y2K effects on its
operating systems & aircraft are 100% complete.
- Turkey's Y2K committee has closed the Bosporus Strait to large ships
on New Year's Eve to guard against possible accidents due to the
- Lot, the national carrier of Poland has grounded all flights during
the roll over period.
- U.S. Customs has reprogrammed its Automated Commercial System which
handles data submissions and says it's 100% ready.
- Airports & air traffic control systems worldwide have reported
that their Y2K programs are complete & they are ready for the
millennium rollover, the International Air Transport Association (IATA)
said on Dec. 7. IATA, which has been tracking airports & air traffic
service providers for year 2000 compliance on behalf of its 265 member
airlines, said data received showed "a high level of Y2K readiness
in all regions." This said, U.S. lines have canceled 20% of 31 Dec.
- Two of Hong Kong's container terminal operators (Hong Kong Int'l
Terminals & Modern Terminals Ltd.) will be shutting down their
terminal operations for brief periods during the millennium changeover.
- Over 100,000 of India's port workers will go on indefinite strike on
Jan. 1 in protest against the lack of progress in wage revision talks.
- National carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) has canceled 32
Int'l flights around the new year, but stressed that this is because of
low demand and is not due to possible problems over the Y2K bug. The
airline and its systems are Y2K-ready, MAS said earlier in Dec. Several
of the country's ports & one of the capital's light-rail transit
lines said they are going to shut down operations during the critical
hours just before & after midnight on Dec. 31.
- Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore successfully carried out a
Y2K exercise on December 21, the last of 4 planned for 1999. All is said
- On 22 Dec. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said the U.S., which is on
heightened alert against possible terrorist strikes, was right to expect
hostile actions against it because of its own "terrorist policy in
- Fires broke out almost simultaneously on 3 trains that service Tokyo's
airport late 26 Dec. in what police suspect was an extremist attack.
Nobody was injured in the fires that erupted at stations near the Tokyo
- Ports & terminals worldwide have set oil loading & vessel
movement bans of between 4 and 24 hours to cover the millennium turnover
- Y2K Rush Continues ........... as South African shipping
authorities on 14 Dec. began diverting vessels to other harbors following a
surge in cargo volumes at the Indian Ocean port of Durban. Durban, Africa's
busiest port, has been hit by delays in vessel & container handling
spurred by an increase in cargo volumes ahead of Y2K. Portnet has attributed
the Durban snarl-up to fears by exporters and importers that Y2K problems
could hit their business supply and delivery networks. Those fears have
prompted an increase in cargo movement before the year end.
- Will UK Go Euro? ............. as three quarters of British
business leaders support their government's decision not to join the
European single currency for the time being, a survey by UPS said this
month. But the same survey found that 78% of continental European business
leaders think staying out of the Euro was bad for British business.
- So Long Macau ............ as Portugal will hand back this tiny
gambling haven to communist China this month, ending almost 450 years of
colonial rule & leaving only Taiwan still outside of Beijing's plans to
reunite the country. More than 5,000 guests & journalists turned up for
lavish parties, fireworks displays & 7 airshows which straddled the
handover ceremonies at midnight on Dec. 19. Sadness was mixed with
satisfaction among onlookers as Portugal lowered the flag at its Macau
headquarters, the Praia Grande Government Palace, hours before returning the
enclave it has ruled for 442 years to China. Some 2,000 residents &
foreign guests packed the courtyard of the rose-colored building to watch
the ceremony. Four officers of the Macau Security Forces folded the flag
& presented it to Governor Vasco Rocha Vieira. A 41-man band played
Portugal's national anthem, 'A Portuguesa.' President Jorge Sampaio &
Chinese President Jiang Zemin oversaw the official handover at midnight,
when Portugal handed back the trading outpost it founded in 1557.
- Anger In The Amazon? ............ as the Brazilian Federal Reserve
is risking the anger of foreign companies by introducing a 15% tax on nearly
all ocean bound exports. Apart from certain nationalities that have signed a
double-tax avoidance agreement, all foreign companies will have to start
paying the new rate for ocean cargo starting Jan. 1. Given the high nature
of the tax & the lack of warning before implementation, the decision is
being fought by the larger companies & organizations. Countries exempt
from the tax include India, South Africa, Russia, Chile & Colombia.
- It's Price, They Say ........... as the New York investment bank,
Lazard Freres, says U.S. shippers are most concerned about price when
dealing with 3rd-party logistics (3PL) suppliers. The annual survey
represented all key U.S. domestic industries and illustrated the fact that
over 80% of the companies in question used shipping on a daily basis.
Shipping is becoming more popular due to E-Commerce but, although many
customers are using the services more often, they are dealing in smaller
quantities. 64% of shippers said that they expected to be using the services
more in the future and they are expecting LTL cargo to bear the brunt of
rising costs over the next few years. The rise in frequency can be
attributed to the growth of the supply chain industry which is steadily
- 4PL? .............. as European companies are moving towards
partnerships with "fourth-party logistics" providers, according to
a report researched by KPMG. The report, "Transition to 4th Party
Relationships in Europe," said that the new fourth-party logistics
partnerships typically cover a much wider range of activities and larger
geographical area than more traditional third-party arrangements. A 4PL
partnership, says the KPMG Transportation & Distribution report,
typically has the following characteristics:
- It is a separate organization and is often established as a joint
venture or through a long-term contract between a shipper and a 4PL
- It acts as a single interface between the shipper and multiple
transport & logistics companies.
- The 4PL provider manages the operational, tactical & strategic
activities of the shipper's supply chain.
- Good Bye Willy .......... as after 3 years as Publisher of The
Journal of Commerce & Joint Exec. V. P. of the Journal of Commerce
Group, Willy Morgan is to leave the company at the end of this month to take
up a new position as Sr. V.P., Hearst Magazines Int'l, it was announced on
Dec. 2 by The Economist Group, owners of The Journal of Commerce Group.
Willy moves on after taking our beloved Journal of Commerce into the
electronic age with sweeping reforms. As a personal friend of ours, we ask,
will the Journal of Commerce seminars ever be the same? Will New Orleans?
Carry on Sheldon! (McD) NOTE: Wm. L. Ralph will become President of the
Journal of Commerce Group & Publisher of The Journal of Commerce
newspaper, effective Jan. 1, 2000. Mr. Ralph has led the highly successful
Port Import/Export Reporting Service (PIERS), the leading electronic
database service from the Journal of Commerce Group, since 1995.
- The BIG Merger ........ as Air Express Int'l (AEI), the U.S. based
Int'l freight forwarder, & Deutsche Post, the European parcels &
logistics company, have signed a definitive merger agreement. Under the
terms of the agreement, Deutsche Post will acquire AEI for US$33 per share
in cash or approximately US$1.14B. AEI's board of directors and Deutsche
Post's supervisory board approved the agreement. Deutsche Post plans to
integrate all activities into the Danzas Intercontinental Business Unit. As
a result, Deutsche Post will gain a major stronghold in the USA, and Danzas
will become the leading airfreight forwarder worldwide. Deutsche Post group
expects to achieve total sales of about US$29B in year 2000 with some
270,000 employees. In the year of its IPO, therefore, Deutsche Post will be
number one in Europe in its mail, parcel-express, and logistics activities.
- FedEx Buys A New Compass ........... as FDX, parent of Federal
Express made an equity investment in & licensing agreement with Trade
Compass, while FedEx announced an outsourcing agreement with Inacom. Inacom
Corp., a global Fortune 500 technology company, announced a 5-year
outsourcing contract with Federal Express to build, configure, and deliver
FedEx Customer Automated Device (CAD) systems to selected FedEx accounts.
Under the terms of the agreement, Inacom will acquire & configure all
FedEx CAD components -- hardware, software, modems, scales, and various
instruments -- that comprise the FedEx Powership system. Potentially, Inacom
may deliver approximately 5,000 CADs per month. Trade Compass is a leading
Int'l trade process solutions & global business web site. In addition to
the FDX investment in Trade Compass, Inc., FDX has also licensed Trade
Compass' online tools & services for use by FDX employees via the FDX
corporate intranet. http://www.tradecompass.com/
- End To China Graft? ............ as China's entry into the World
Trade Organization last month will deal a heavy blow to a corruption-driven
"gray economy'' & deliver fresh impetus for economic reform, the
country's top WTO negotiator Long Yongtu was quoted as saying.
- No Flu In Shanghai ......... as it's Customs saw goods worth more
than US$60B exported & imported in the first 10 months of the year. This
is an increase of 21% over the first 10 months of 1998. Export figures show
a total of US$35.4B, a rise of nearly 20%, which can be largely accredited
to the partial recovery of the East Asian economy. Exports to North America
were up 27% to US$8.3B, Asian exports were up 20% to US$16.7B & goods
sold to Europe were up 14% to US$7.2B. Of all the exports, state owned
enterprises spoke for 52% with the value up nearly 9% to over US$18B.
Foreign run businesses were responsible for 44% of the total exports,
US$16.7B. Imports showed an even steeper rise of 22% overall, up to
US$24.6B; 55% of total imports comprised electronics & machinery. The
crackdown on smuggling & cheaper overseas goods were both large
contributors to the rise in imports.
- China Trade Generator ........... as Guangdong province in southern
China generated 39% of the country's trade volume for the 1st 10 months of
1999. Over US$112B accounted for the nearly 6% rise over last year's foreign
trade count. Compared with 1998, the total amount of exports stayed roughly
the same at around US$62B. Guangdong reported slow trade for the 1st half of
the year but then started to gather steam in July as the economic climate
- The Judge In Your Fax Machine! ........... as for the 1st time we
have seen an Italian Court authorize formal/official service of a law suit
by fax. While most nations are very careful to demand actual, personal
delivery of a lawsuit in order to provide actual notice of legal
proceedings, Italy appears to have taken a different course. The current
situation is made more risky by the fact that this lawsuit was sent by fax
from Italy to China. Because the "strange document" was not
understood by the Chinese client, it was sent to the law firm of Countryman
& McDaniel at LAX for customary review. We were stunned for reasons
which include the fact that the Hague Convention requires that we in the
U.S. translate such complaints/writs into the native language of the
defendant's country before routing the document through diplomatic channels
to all defendants in a lawsuit. The concept is designed to insure proper
notice & fairness. Still, the procedure has now been confirmed to have
been authorized by the courts of Italy under a section of the Civil Code. So
please, watch your fax machines with care. There may be a judge in there!
- China Down In The Dumps ........... as it has gone on the defensive
after being highlighted as the leading nation attracting anti-dumping
lawsuits. Europe heads the pack with the greatest number of complaints,
followed by the U.S. Exact figures have not been given due to legal
constraints. Speaking at the 3rd Int'l Anti-dumping Seminar run by the China
Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers &
Exporters, a spokesman declared: "China has unfortunately become the
world's biggest victim of anti-dumping," and he referred to the
countries minerals, metals & chemical products as being "a major
target of the anti-dumping weapon."
- The Argentine "Disaster" ............ as new
Infrastructure Minister Nicolas Gallo on Dec. 17 called for a "Marshall
Plan" to overhaul transport routes in South America's 2nd largest
economy and design a network to expedite traffic & cargo. "We lack
a Marshall Plan, roads like the one from (industrial center) Rosario to
(port city) Bahia Blanca are a disaster with trucks crashing into each other
all the time, and this is just one example," Gallo told Reuters. Gallo
was sworn in Infrastructure Minister on Dec. 17 along with the rest of
President Fernando de la Rua's center-left Alliance cabinet after 10 years
of Peronist rule. In his comments, Gallo referred to the massive U.S.
"Marshall Plan" reconstruction program for Western Europe
following World War II. Proposed in 1947 by George C. Marshall, the war-time
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later Secty. of State, it put
war-ravaged economies back on their feet.
- American Mega-Rail? ......... as Canadian National Railway Co.
& Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. plan to join forces in a US$19B
business creating North America's largest railroad, the companies said on 20
Dec. The new company, to be called North American Railways Inc., will be
based in Montreal and will boast almost 50,000 miles (80,465-km) of track
stretching from Halifax on the Atlantic coast to Vancouver on the Pacific
and southward to New Orleans & Los Angeles.
- Custom Thinking At DHL .......... as it has plans to introduce a
service that will enable shippers to determine, in advance of shipping
internationally, additive charges imposed by foreign customs authorities.
The "landed cost engine" can tally 23 different government-imposed
costs, which vary widely from country-to-country. "In some cases, these
government-imposed costs can drive up the price of a US$27 order of compact
discs an extra US$168," DHL said. Initially, DHL will offer the service
from the U.S. to Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong,
Japan, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan & the UK. http://www.dhl-usa.com
- The Matrix ............. as Goelogistics Corp has announced the
return of the Matrix brand name to its Int'l executive relocation division.
Starting last month the Int'l relocation division of GeoLogistics Services
Inc. will once again be known as Matrix Int'l Logistics Inc. Matrix Int'l,
founded in 1986, manages over 15,000 shipments annually. It plans to
continue providing service to an array of prestigious clients.
- Putting On The RISS .......... as WorldPoint Logistics has acquired
RISS Intermodal Corp, an intermodal transportation service provider based in
- DHL In-The-Box .......... as Mail Boxes Etc., the world's largest
franchisor of postal service centers, has signed an exclusive agreement with
DHL Airways Inc., the U.S. arm of DHL.
- Ocean Group Plc Aims High .......... as the British logistics
company, has struck an agreement with key Swedish air & sea freight
forwarder Aerocar Spedition. Ocean's intent is to rank as one of the 5
largest airforwarders within the world's top 20 countries. By buying Aerocar
& merging it with the Swedish MSAS Global Logistics, Ocean may just
achieve this goal. However, approval of Swedish authorities is still pending
& the contents of the contract have yet to be agreed on. Aerocar has 85
employees & its expected turnover for this year is US$50M.
- Circle Int'l New Asia Nerve Center ........... as a ground-breaking
ceremony was held late last month to develop Singapore as the regional
`vendor hub' command & control center for Asia. Circle's business
strategy is to use Singapore as a launch pad & operational HQ for all
Asian "vendor hub'' business in the new millennium. In its 2nd quarter
of the current fiscal year, Circle's Asia-Pacific net revenues grew by 35%,
leading to a substantial investment in the island state with Circle
acquiring local logistics provider Concord Express. The new 140,600 square
meter facility is to be located at Changi, adjacent to the company's
existing facility, and will house about 350 professional staff.
- The Phoenix Soars Over Denver, Paris & Kuala Lumpur..........
as the company celebrated a Grand Opening of the Phoenix Int'l Denver office
last month. Phoenix Int'l is now the largest, privately owned international
freight forwarder in the USA with customhouse brokerage & warehousing
& distribution services through its network of 34 worldwide offices.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Int'l has a new alliance in France. "The time has
come to breathe new life into one of our longest-running trade lanes,"
explained Ex. V.P. Stephane Rambaud. Like Phoenix, Logfret SA, is a
privately owned, full-service Int'l forwarder, NVOCC & Customs broker.
Last, this month the forwarder opened a branch office in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia. It was a busy month! http://www.phoenixintl.com
- C.H. Robinson Worldwide Goes Back .......... as it has finalized
its acquisition of all of the ongoing operations & certain assets of
American Backhaulers, Inc. for US$100M in cash and 1,120,715 shares of newly
issued C.H. Robinson stock.
- New Danzas Star ........... as logistics provider Danzas has
established a new in-house carrier system, with its first subsidiary,
StarBroker (HKG) Ltd., being launched in Hong Kong. The new unit will enable
Danzas to expand its activities on the transpacific bridge - Asia to North,
Central & So. America. StarBroker will primarily manage air & ocean
freight for the Danzas Int'l Business Unit. By buying space & charter
capacity for each tradeline, StarBroker will improve services for clients.
StarBroker will operate as a separate legal entity but will work closely
with existing Danzas units. This status will allow the new subsidiary to
offer its services not only to Danzas but also to 3rd parties such as
co-loaders & multinational companies. Danzas has also acquired Vindo
Logistik from Philips Electronics. Vindo Logistik für Handel und Industrie
GesmbH, a subsidiary of Philips Austria is domiciled in Laxenburg near
- Jim Takes A Bite Out of Frank ............ as Swiss based Frank
Ltd. has formed an alliance with John James. Frank Ltd., the Int'l
transportation firm, has offices in Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Bangkok,
Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, Berne, Zurich &
Basel. Savannah-based forwarder, John James, has invested in a significant
financial slice of Frank Ltd. in the hope of a smooth expansion into the
Asian & European markets.
- Belgian Buy ........ as the European logistics group Frans Maas has
taken over the forwarding company Ghemar NV in Belgium.
- Decheng Int'l Forwarding To HKG .......... as it has opened new
offices in Hong Kong. The establishment of this office was set to enable
Decheng to expand in its representative activities for the Streamline
Shippers Assn. which is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Streamline
Shippers Assn. (SSA) represents nearly 3,000 small-to-medium sized shippers
around the world who leverage their aggregate shipping volumes to negotiate
and secure Int'l & domestic freight services. Streamline was formed in
- Happy 75 Yellow Freight Systems! ........... as Yellow, one of the
oldest freight transportation services companies in North America, was
incorporated as Yellow Cab Transit Company on Dec. 31, 1924. On New Year's
Eve 1999, Yellow will celebrate its 75th anniversary while the world gets
ready to ring in the year 2000. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Yellow
Freight employs approximately 24,000 people with a focus on LTL motor
- Panalpina's WAP Tracking By Phone ........... as it is the 1st
logistics specialist to offer its customers a WAP application. WAP (Wireless
Application Protocol) enables customers to dial into the Internet by
telephone and, at the same time, to access Panalpina's consignment tracking
system, "PanTrace." This means that all customers are able at any
time to establish the current status of their consignments anywhere in the
world. The only prerequisite is that they use a WAP compliant mobile phone.
- Productivity: Job One ............ as Truckload Carriers Assn. says
that until bigger trucks are authorized by law, the No. 1 issue is improving
productivity at the shipping-receiving docks. The 3 solutions seen for more
efficiency at the docks are: 1.] No-touch freight, 2.] more accurate
measurements of driver time at the dock, & 3.] more drop-and-hook
- Swiss Insured ........... as SwissGlobalCargo, the air freight
joint venture formed in April by Swiss forwarder Panalpina & airline
concern SAirLogistics, has signed an agreement for insurance coverage with
the Through Transport Mutual, or TT Club. Under the agreement, the TT Club
will provide protection against liabilities for loss or damage to cargo;
errors & omissions liabilities, including those for delay and
unauthorized delivery; 3rd-party liabilities; customs liabilities;
investigation, defense & mitigation costs; and unrecoverable extra
carriage costs in the event of a subcontractor bankruptcy.
- FedEx Invests Again ......... as it has become a shareholder in
National Transportation Exchange, an electronic marketplace for shippers
& carriers. http://www.nte.net/
- Interesting Bulges Or Happy To See Customs? ......... as when
Barbados pet store owner Rodney Carrington tried to enter the U.S. this
month, he told customs officers at Miami Int'l Airport he had nothing to
declare. But his pants said otherwise. Carrington was arrested after
officers said they found 55 red-footed tortoises stuffed in his pants. They
became suspicious after they noticing that Carrington's pants were wriggling
and had "some ominous bulges..."in unusual places.'' A search
found that Carrington was wearing 2 pairs of pants & that he had stuffed
the 4-inch-long endangered reptiles between the inner pair & outer pair.
Carrington then confessed saying he had planned to try to sell the
tortoises. They fetch about $5 in Barbados, but go for $75 in the U.S. He
was charged with smuggling and violating a treaty prohibiting the
transportation of endangered species. The tortoises were given to the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service.
- Your Honor, Your Busted ......... as Greek police confiscated the
car of Albania's Public Order Minister while he was on a visit to discuss
cross-border crime, after they discovered the vehicle had been stolen. The
minister, Spartak Poci, was on the Greek side of the Christalopigi frontier
point for a 2 day visit when the car was seized on Dec. 20. Serial numbers
on the confiscated car matched those of a vehicle reported stolen in Italy
earlier this year, police said.
- Sir, Would You Be More Comfortable In The Cargo Hold? .............
as a smelly passenger held up the takeoff of a Scandinavian Airlines System
flight from London for 6 hours as technicians scoured the plane for a
phantom fault, SAS said on 25 Nov. 1999. SAS evacuated all the passengers
from the Oslo bound flight after cabin crew noticed a pungent oily odor
which they feared was a fuel leak or fire. But technicians found nothing
amiss. Airline staff eventually discovered that the source of the smell was
a passenger with a new oilskin coat. Oilskin is a cloth made waterproof with
an oil treatment. New garments often smell, but come on! "You can never
take security too seriously," a passenger said when asked if SAS had
overreacted in holding up the plane for 6 hours at London's Heathrow
- Air France. UP as despite rising fuel prices, the first 6 months of
the year saw profits rise by US$313M, a leap of 52%, & there was an 85%
rise in operating profit.
- China Eastern Airlines. UP as it did not have a good year in 1998
due to the Asian crisis, but this year is set to enjoy a predicted profit of
no less than US$12M. For the first 6 months of the year, the airline posted
a US$6M. gain & it is expecting to make at least that much again for the
2nd 6 months.
- FDX Corp. (parent company of FedEx & RPS) DOWN as net earnings
in its 2nd quarter fell 6.6% from last year, mainly due to higher fuel costs
& slower domestic package growth at FedEx. FDX earned US$171M in the
quarter ended Nov. 30, on an 8.6% increase in revenue to US$4.6B.
Year-to-date earnings were flat at US$330M, while revenue rose 7.2% to
- GeoLogistics. DOWN with a reported a 3rd quarter operating deficit
- Interpool, Inc. (NYSE: IPX) UP with announcement that it will pay a
cash dividend of 3.75 cents per share for the 4th quarter of 1999. Interpool
is the world leader in container leasing and corporate sponsor of The Cargo
Letter library pages.
- Quality Handling. UP as revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30,
1999 totaled US$149.3M compared to US$106.8M for the same period in 1998.
- NYK Line. UP with recorded profits of US$93m in the 6 months to
September 30 this year, up from US$20m for the same period in 1998.
Operating income rose 60%, which the company says is largely due to the
company's liner division, which accounted for almost 40% of its revenue.
Other sectors have been worse hit by the poor market conditions and are
still lagging behind the relatively booming box market.
- We Mourn ......... as 4 crewmembers were killed in a Korean Air
Lines freighter crash near London on Dec. 22. The KAL B-747-200F burst into
flames shortly after take-off from Stansted Airport. There was no mayday. No
one on the ground was injured. The manifest showed 4 consignments listed as
dangerous goods. These include 2 of "flammable materials" weighing
94 kg and 2 of "corrosive materials" weighing 16 kg. In response,
the Korean government has extended by 6 months a one-year ban on KAL from
adding any new international routes. Korea imposed the one-year ban last
month after U.S. investigators cited pilot error in a KAL B-747 crash that
killed 228 people in Guam in 1997. New sanctions extend the ban until May
2001. The line will now also replace 15 aging planes, all of which are 20
years or older, after which time Korean Air will have 109 planes, all of
which are 8.1 years old on average. KAL, the world's 2nd largest Int'l air
cargo carrier behind Lufthansa Cargo, has had 2 fatal crashes involving
cargo planes this year. In April, a KAL MD-11 freighter crashed into a
construction site just after take-off from an airport in Shanghai, killing 9
- Open Skies & Antitrust ........... as Alitalia, KLM, &
Northwest have been given the go-ahead by the US Dept. of Transport to
strengthen their alliance. KLM & Northwest already have a close knit
relationship & they are eager to include Alitalia for mutual benefits.
Following agreement between the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Rodney Slater
& the Italian Transport Minister, Tiziano Treu, the open skies policy
between the two countries has been finalized. KLM & Northwest 1st gained
antitrust immunity in 1993 & now the U.S. government has granted the
same to Alitalia, the 3 carriers can amend their services for compatibility.
- U.S. - Australia Open Skies ............ as aviation officials have
reached an agreement to lift all restrictions on all-cargo services between
the countries. The so-called "open skies" agreement frees
Australian & U.S. freighter operators to fly with no restrictions on
frequency, type of aircraft or rates. The cargo deal is seen as a precursor
to a passenger deal next year.
- Call For One Sky ............. as the European Commission's calls
for a major political move by the EU Member States, in order to create a
single European sky & to tackle the severe delays that have built up in
recent years. With more than 1 flight in 3 being delayed by over 15 minutes
in 1999, the situation gives cause for serious concern, the Commission
stated. And even if some of the delays are due to airports operating at the
limits of their capacity or to the airlines themselves, more than half are a
direct result of Europe's airspace reaching saturation point. The economic
cost is reckoned to be over US$5.3B, while the impact on passengers, though
hard to gauge, is probably of the same order. In view of the catastrophic
situation the Council, at its meeting on 17 June 1999, asked the Commission
to present a communication on recent and ongoing measures to reduce air
traffic delays & congestion in Europe. The Commission's study, carried
out in cooperation with those concerned, highlights the main causes of
To avoid a fresh crisis next summer, the study stresses the urgent need for
appropriate technical & operational measures. But above all it
recommends more radical action on the underlying cause of the delays by
establishing collective management of Europe's airspace, arguing that
"Europe cannot keep the frontiers in the sky that it has managed to
eliminate on the ground." The Commission has undertaken to report back
on progress within 6 months.
- The steps taken have not been sufficient to cope with the exponential
growth in air traffic.
- Air traffic management methods are reaching the limits of their
- The organizational structures for air traffic management are proving
ineffective and insufficiently transparent.
- The problem is aggravated by the fact that Europe's airspace is
divided between fifteen sovereign States who, for various reasons above
all military reject any closer cooperation.
- Cargo 2000 Regroups ........... as the interest group of 36 leading
cargo airlines & forwarders, has decided to scrap its plan for
developing a standard information technology network to link the air cargo
industry. Cargo 2000 members had expected to pick at a meeting next month an
IT vendor - either Unisys or Britain's Syntegra - to develop a "common
data management platform." But the group's technical subcommittee has
recommended that Cargo 2000 "should not dictate an information
technology solution to members, rather it should encourage them to focus on
opportunities to take cost out of the system by implementing the common
standards set out in it's master operating plan and by using the Internet as
the communications platform." Cargo 2000 says it now wants to act as
"a standards certification agency for the air freight industry."
The group plans to set membership criteria, to monitor implementation and to
certify carriers and forwarders that comply with the group's service
standards. Formed under the auspices of the International Air Transport
Assn. (IATA), Cargo 2000 has been working for 3 years to help airlines &
forwarders share shipping data and speed the flow of air freight.
- Air Cargo Up For 1st Half............. as statistics provided by
554 of Airports Council Int'l (ACI)'s members confirm that passengers, cargo
& aircraft movements increased by an average of 4% during the 1st 6
months of 1999 compared with the same period last year. Undisputed cargo hub
Memphis, U.S. (thanks only to FedEx) handled 1.173 million tons of cargo, up
1.0% from the 1st half of 1998. Los Angeles & Hong Kong with 910,753 and
875,632 tons handled came in 2nd & 3rd. Yes, other than FedEx packages,
LAX is the world leader! Highly impressive growth rates were registered in
Indianapolis (52.2%) & Shanghai (38.0%). Cargo handled by all regions
amounted to 4,864,784 tons in June, an increase of 7.8% over June 1998.
North America handled nearly half of this (2,387,112 tons, up 6.1%). Next
was Asia Pacific (1,268,411 tons, up a massive 14%; Europe (962,983 tons, up
6.3%); Middle East (167,991 tons, up 3.6%); Africa (54,333 tons, down 4.9%)
& Latin America/Carribean (23,954 tons, up 2%). Where Int'l commercial
cargo is concerned Los Angeles Int'l Airport is now on top. However, when
FedEx opens its Latin American hub complex in Miami in 2001 the facility may
take over from Memphis as the No. 1 cargo airport. Forecasts for cargo
throughput say Miami will be handling 1.9 million tons per day and with
operations at full stretch already, things are going to get very tight.
Despite having federal approval for a short 4th runway due for completion in
2001, it will be used only for landings, meaning the 1,700 aircraft
movements per day will continue to tax the facility. By comparison, LAX has
well over 2,000 movements per day presently.
- UPS Holiday Stats ......... as daily air express volume peaked at
about 4.3 million on Wednesday, Dec. 22 -- more than double its average
daily delivery volume of 1.8 million. Last year, UPS delivered more than 52
million air express packages globally during its Peak Season -- the 4 weeks
between U.S. Thanksgiving & Christmas. Air express packages (UPS Next
Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS 3 Day Select, plus the Int'l family of UPS
Worldwide Express & UPS Worldwide Expedited services) are the
fastest-growing segment of UPS's business. To deliver the blizzard of air
express packages, UPS supplemented its fleet -- the world's 10th largest
airline -- with more than 24 additional jets. The additions included 747s,
DC-8s, DC-10s and MD-11s. Nearly 1,000 flights took off each day during UPS
Peak Week (Dec 16 -- 22) from UPS air hubs in Louisville, Ky.; Ontario,
Calif.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Columbia, S.C.; Dallas, Texas; Rockford, Ill.
& Hartford, Conn. and from additional jet gateways added for UPS Peak
Season only in Bangor, Maine & Springdale, Ark.
- Seoul Explosion ........... as air cargo forwarders are
experiencing an Indian summer with shipping figures booming at a time of
year when trade normally drops to a yearly low. Warehouse space is at a
premium and some analysts believe business has increased by 20-30% over last
December. Small & medium shippers are having to wait at least 3-4 days
for shipments of air cargo while freight forwarders are finding it difficult
to meet both demand & schedules. The waiting period was over a week when
the air cargo backlog reached its peak in Oct., with North America-bound
goods particularly affected. Export & import air cargo volume reached
580,000 tons between Jan. & Oct. and Korean Air's air cargo division,
which accounts for 40% of the market share, expects a gross turnover and
profit of US$1.1B & US$100M respectively. Volume has shown a 19%
increase over last year's figure. While garment & apparel shipments have
dropped, electronic & telecom products have become the major air cargo
commodities and demand is not expected to drop at the year end due to the
- New So. Cal. Cargo Port Not Favored ........... as the 1st ever
scientific survey of Orange County business leaders finds 59% of the chief
executives opposed to a commercial airport at the now closed U.S. Marine
Corps Air Station El Toro, with only 35% in support of the airport.
Two-thirds of the business leaders surveyed support turning the base into a
- Cuba Flights Resume, Sort of ............. as the 1st direct New
York-Cuba flight in nearly 40 years landed in Havana on Dec. 3. Only
Cuban-Americans, journalists & others approved under strict U.S.
regulations can make the weekly flights with charter carrier Marazul because
of the U.S. economic embargo.
- Russian Test Goes Wrong .......... as an experimental cargo plane
crashed & burned after taking off from a Moscow airport on Dec. 5,
killing 5 crew members. The aircraft, an experimental Il-114 turboprop, had
taken off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport en route to Tashkent, the capital
of Uzbekistan, when it crashed & burst into flames 400 yards from the
end of the Moscow runway. The pilot & chief engineer, were hospitalized
with severe injuries. According to preliminary data, the crash was caused by
a sudden gust of side wind & one of plane's 2 engines caught fire just
as the aircraft was taking off.
- Swissair Gets Sabina ............. as it has asked for a majority
share in Belgian flag carrier, Sabena. Analysts believe the takeover will go
through. The Belgian government currently has a 50.5% interest in Sabena but
is considering selling part of it. Swissair has already been offered the
chance to boost its share to 67.5% next year, but it is believed that the
government wants a partial floating of the airline. Even if Swissair does
not land all the shares, it will still hold the majority. Swissair already
controls the management of the airline.
- American Airlines Gets Probation ............ as it has agreed to
pay an US$8M fine to federal & city authorities in Miami for storing a
drum of flammable chemicals in its cargo facility at Miami Int'l Airport.
American will pay US$6M to the federal government & US$2M to the Miami
fire department. Authorities also have placed American on 3 years probation
& have ordered the carrier to improve its hazmat inspection operations.
- Ancient Feud Drags On .......... as on Dec. 3, a judge reversed a
US$3.6M jury verdict against Federal Express Corp. in a work contract
dispute with its pilots. Chancery Court Judge Walter Evans ruled that FedEx
did not breach its contract with its pilots after its 1989 acquisition of
the Flying Tigers airline. FedEx spokesman Jess Bunn said the judge noted
that pilots actually had increased their compensation "because the
merger afforded greater opportunities for increased flying and increased
pay.'' A Chancery Court jury had sided with the pilots Oct. 14 and awarded
the money. FedEx's US$880M acquisition of Flying Tigers added 940 pilots to
the 1,100 already working for FedEx.
- Good Bye AeroPeru ............ as in spite of attempts from Delta
& Continental to save the struggling carrier, creditors have been forced
push the airline into liquidation. The airline has been grounded for about
- Aer Lingus Is Now one .......... as it has been accepted into the
British Airways & American run alliance oneworld, joining Qantas
Airways, Finnair, Cathay Pacific & Canadian Airlines.
- Citipost Becomes Royalty .......... as U.S. the courier company,
created in 1991, will be purchased by the Royal Mail of the UK which has so
far invested roughly US$40M. Citipost has offices in San Francisco, Boston,
Los Angeles, New York & Chicago serving 155 cities nationwide in
addition to its Int'l service. The company has 2 lucky shareholders.
- DHL IPO ............ as it has announced that it plans to sell up
to 23% of the company through its own IPO within 3 years. The opportunity
arose after Japan Airlines announced Dec. 10 that it had sold a 20% stake in
DHL for US$100M, retaining just 6% of the company. The previously owned JAL
shares have been placed into 2 trust accounts managed by WestDeutsche
Landesbank, with an additional 3% of stocks while the management
investigates the possible sale options. These shares are covered with a 3
year option, allowing current shareholders to buy the stock. JAL is to keep
its 6% stake in the non-U.S. arm of DHL Int'l, which is based in Brussels.
- Postal Service Has A TIC .......... as TIC Enterprises, Inc., an
affiliate of NUI Corporation, has been chosen by the U.S. Postal Service
(USPS) to nationally market its expedited delivery services, which include
Priority Mail, Express Mail, Global Priority Mail & Express Mail Int'l
Service. USPS divides the country into 4 regional area. The USPS awarded TIC
the opportunity to market its services in all 4 regions of the country.
Based upon the initial rollout, which does not include secondary cities, the
USPS projects that this contract could generate approximately US$700M in
incremental revenue to the USPS over 3 years. TIC's total annual revenues
could well exceed US$200M within 3 years. The U.S. Postal Service will
handle over 20 billion pieces of mail for the holidays.
- Too Many Carriers .......... as China is set to slash the number of
it's independent airlines. At present, China boasts 34 airlines but a senior
spokesman for the government said that this was "too many." The
spokesman warned that contraction must take place. "We plan to form
larger groups or consortiums and this will be determined by market
forces," he said. Around 25% of China's airlines will be in the debt
this year, although the government expects all to be in the black by the end
of the next financial year through measures still to be announced. Official
figures put industry losses at US$289M in 1998.
- AIR Canada Takeover ......... as it is planning to take over
Canadian Air & withdraw it from the oneworld alliance in favor of the
Star Alliance. Air Canada intends to invest US$746M in the takeover by
buying at least 50% of the Canadian Air shares at C$2 a share. The stock is
currently valued at C$1.85 per share.
- American & EVA ............ have received approval from the
U.S. Dept. of Transportation for a marketing alliance to begin codesharing
on EVA's routes between the U.S. & Taiwan, effective Nov. 21. Under the
marketing arrangement, American will place its "AA" designator
code on EVA's flights between Taipei & Honolulu, LAX, SFO, & SEA. In
the 2nd & 3rd phases of implementation, scheduled for mid-2000, EVA will
place its "BR" designator code on selected connecting flights
operated by American between EVA's U.S. gateways & Austin, Boston, ORD,
DFW, MIA, JFK & Washington DC.
- Eagle Flies To Chile ............ as after acquisition of Fastair
Cargo Systems Ltd. & Commercial Transport Int'l (Canada) Ltd. in Canada
this month, Texas-based Eagle USA Airfreight said it has completed the
acquisition of an airforwarder, Compass Cargo Limitada, in Chile. Terms were
not disclosed. Compass Cargo, which has annual sales of about US$1.5M,
operates forwarding station in Santiago, Iquique & Antofagasta.
- Delta's First Proud Bird #41 .......... as nearly 60 years of pride
are reflected in the gleaming aluminum skin of Delta Air Lines' newly
restored DC-3 -- the 1st DC-3 to carry Delta customers in 1940. The vintage
aircraft was rescued from cargo service at a Puerto Rican airfield in 1992
and has been painstakingly restored to better than new condition by hundreds
of volunteers & Delta mechanics over the past 4 years. Today it welcomed
its 1st Delta passengers since 1958, when it last served in the Delta fleet.
Inaugural passengers included government officials and other guests,
comfortably seated in the leather and fabric of the perfectly restored
interior, for a ceremonial flight around Atlanta. Leo Mullin, Delta's
chairman, dedicated the aircraft, dubbed "Ship 41" because of the
last digits of its registration number, and welcomed it back into service.
The twin-engine, 21-passenger plane will be used for special events as part
of the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum collection. The DC-3 was rebuilt
to original specifications, with the addition of modern avionics &
safety equipment. The plane was completely renovated from nose to tail,
frequently requiring the craftsmanship of fabricated parts when replacements
did not exist. Finished in early October 1999, Ship 41 received its
airworthiness certificate from the FAA on Oct. 26, 1999. Atlanta resident
Birdie Bomar, a retired Delta flight attendant, was a special guest for the
dedication because she was the stewardess on Ship 41's 1st flight in 1940,
and on its last Delta flight in 1958.
- First A3XX Will Be Cargo .......... as European aircraft
manufacturing consortium Airbus Industrie should launch its proposed new
A3XX superjumbo jet as a freighter even before it rolls out the passenger
version, Michael Chowdry, head of freight aircraft leasing & charter
firm Atlas Air told Reuters this month. The strongest interest in the
aircraft is coming from the cargo community, which sees it as the most
cost-effective, cargo-friendly design of any large freighter in service or
on the drawing board, said Chowdry, Atlas's chairman.
- Good Bye Rhein-Main AFB........... as senior representatives of the
U.S. Government, the Federal Republic of Germany, the States of Hesse &
Rhineland-Palatinate, the City of Frankfurt am Main, & the Frankfurt
Airport company have inked a document signifying the closure of the
155-hectare U.S. Rhein-Main Air Base at Frankfurt Airport & its return
to civilian aviation use by the end of 2005. The Frankfurt Airport company
is paying the largest portion -- DM254 million -- of the total DM730 million
cost for relocating the air base facility. The eventual closure of
Rhein-Main Air Base will mark the end of a long era of close & friendly
cooperation between Frankfurt Airport and the U.S. Air Force, including the
historic Berlin Air Lift that lasted from 1947 to 1948. Throughout the
postwar era, the Rhein-Main Air Base has served as the "Gateway to
Europe" for thousands of American GIs and as the main transport hub for
equipment & supplies.
Written from wire stories, the Associated Press,
Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources.
- Stars & Stripes Lowered At The "Big Ditch"
............. as Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter symbolically placed the
Panama Canal into Panamanian hands on Dec. 14 with the simple words,
"it's yours,'' granting the tiny Central American nation sovereignty
over all its territory for the first time since its birth in 1903.
"Today we are gathered in the spirit of mutual respect, acknowledging
without question the full sovereignty of Panama," Carter told hundreds
of Panamanian & foreign dignitaries gathered under a light rain at the
Miraflores Locks at the Canal's Pacific entrance. The ceremonies began on a
mournful note as Carter laid a wreath at an American military cemetery on
the banks of the Canal, honoring 5,000 Americans who gave their lives
building and defending the 50-mile waterway. Under the 1977 Panama Canal
Treaties brokered by Carter, the U.S. officially relinquishes control of the
famous waterway at noon on Dec. 31. Once again, Panama representatives of
container yard operator Hutchison Whampoa denied the possibility that the
Chinese could gain control.
- UN Finds Falling Rates ........... as United Nations Conference on
Trade & Development has announced that although freight costs continue
to differ around the world, they are also continuing to fall as a group.
Oceania suffers the highest costs paying 12.36% of the total value of its
imports. Africa follows fairly closely by paying a total of 11.53%. For the
developed market economy in 1997 the freight factor was 4.17%, down from
4.4% in 1990. Developing countries also saw a decline in freight factors for
the same period; a fall from 8.6% to 8.04%. Sea trade has seen relatively
low growth over the past few years although in 1998 it did marginally break
the five million ton barrier for the 1st time. The trend has been continuing
for several years now; global freight factors fell from 6.64% in 1980 to
5.24% in 1997.
- Pirates Get Death .......... as in its biggest high-seas piracy
case in years, China has sentenced 38 pirates to death for crimes including
the slaying of 23 seamen who were bludgeoned to death & dumped
overboard. Prosecutors alleged that the 38 defendants, who went on trial 10
Dec., were members of a gang that posed as anti-smuggling police to hijack 3
ships in 1998. One of those hijacked was the M/V Chang Sheng, a freighter
carrying coal cinders. Prosecutors say the pirates handcuffed, tied up &
gagged the ship's 23 crew members. The gang allegedly then bludgeoned the
crew members to death & tied heavy weights to their bodies before
dumping them into the sea, the state-run Beijing Morning Post said. Members
of the gang were charged with crimes including murder, robbery, and
possessing weapons, drugs & explosives. This is seen as China's biggest
case of high-seas robbery & murder in 50 years of Communist Party rule.
The trial opened in the Shanwei City Intermediate People's Court in the
southern coastal province of Guangdong, lasted 6 days and ended on 22 Dec.
The pirates were all Chinese, except for an Indonesian identified in Chinese
newspapers as Suoni Wei, and have 10 days to appeal.
- Pirates Take A Hit ............... as the hijacked cargo ship M/V
Alondra Rainbow has been recovered after being boarded by the Indian Coast
Guard 200 miles off the coast of Goa. The vessel's occupants initially
claimed that the ship was the Belize-flagged M/V Mega Rama, bound from
Manila. However, when it became clear that there was no such ship the coast
guard was ordered to detain the vessel. Despite repeated orders to stop
accompanied by warning shots, the pirates only did so after being fired upon
directly by an Indian navy missile ship. An attempt to dispose of the
evidence by setting fire to the vessel & its documents before opening
the seawater intake valves to scuttle the ship was thwarted by the coast
guard boarding party. The handling of the operation by the Indian
authorities was praised by Capt. Mukundan of the Int'l Maritime Bureau.
"This was a perfect example of cooperation between the shipping
industry and law enforcement"; he said. Noel Choong, the IMB's regional
director in Kuala Lumpur, echoed these sentiments, saying: "The Indian
coast guard did a very good job. It is the 1st time a large operation of
this kind took place to combat piracy." All 15 pirates, who claim to be
Indonesian, are currently being held in Bombay for questioning. 4,087 tons
of the original cargo of 7,000 tons of aluminum ingots were still aboard at
the time of the ship's seizure.
- Pirates Attack ........... as the 30,000 dwt Liberian tanker M/T
Louise was forced to make a run for the open waters of the Atlantic early
this month after it was fired upon by pirates 18 miles off the coast of
Guinea, West Africa. The 1988-built ship suffered extensive damage to its
accommodation block & bridge when 15 men wearing brown uniforms raked it
with fire from fixed-mount machine guns as well as rockets. An attempt to
board the tanker from their small gray military-style vessel failed when
they were spotted, although there were initial fears among the crew that one
of the attackers might have climbed aboard before the tanker escaped.
Fortunately, none of the tanker's crew were injured in the attack, which saw
bullets pierce steel bulkheads & cabins and badly damage the bridge
& radio room. The tanker lost contact with the pirate boat as it headed
due west at full speed following half an hour of continuous gunfire,
according to the Baltic Int'l Maritime Council, Bimco.
- Another Search For Missing Ship - Pirates?......... as the Int'l
Maritime Bureau has issued an alert for the long-overdue Thai-flagged ro-ro
ferry M/V 9 Sea Star 4. The 461 gt, 1965-built ship left Hong Kong with 8
crewmen on board on Oct. 14 bound for Thailand and has not been seen since.
Anyone sighting the missing vessel should report it the IMB piracy reporting
center through The Cargo Letter. However, the length of time since the ship
was last sighted makes it unlikely that it will be seen again, unless
reports of its arrival or loss have 'slipped through the net' and this is
merely a case of mis-reporting.
- New FMC Bosses .......... as the U.S. Senate has approved President
Clinton's nominations of former Maine Governor & Congressman Joseph E.
Brennan, and Charleston maritime attorney Antony Merck as Federal Maritime
Commissioners. Brennan will fill a seat vacant since former agency chairman
William Hathaway retired in Feb. 1996. Merck will replace Ming Hsu, who is
expected to step down after nearly 10 years with the agency. The
appointments will bring the FMC to a full slate of 5 commissioners for the
1st time in several years.
- MSC: Carrier of The Year .......... as the trade journal
Containerization Int'l (CI) has chosen Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
as '1999 Company of the Year.' MSC has quietly but steadily grown into the
4th biggest container shipping company in the world, according to CI, and a
global player. In the CI awards Maersk has become runner-up & CP Ships
occupies 3rd place. Both belonged to the candidates because of, among other
things, their takeovers in the past year. Especially through the
introduction of its trans-Pacific service MSC is able to cover a much bigger
operations area. In number of ships MSC is 3rd, with 124 vessels. Its TEU
capacity is 4th, with nearly 226,000 TEU. We are happy for MSC, but think
it's cargo claims handling procedures & policies need review.
- A New Sailor On The Seas ............ as Abu Dhabi Investment
Company (ADIC) announced the formation of Abu Dhabi Container Lines Ltd.
(ADCL) with Norasia Shipping Limited, Switzerland. ADCL will operate a fleet
of 10 fast containership vessels servicing Asian ports & the Pacific
Northwest of the U.S. & Canada. ADCL will acquire 10
"state-of-the-art" 25 Knot fast container vessels. Seven of the
vessels have been delivered while the remaining 3 will be delivered between
Jan. & July 2000. Commercial & technical operations of the fleet are
contracted with subsidiaries of Norasia. These vessels have proven their
capabilities by establishing record transit times on the North Atlantic
between Montreal & Europe and recently on the Pacific between Asian
Ports & Vancouver. With the delivery of the 8 vessels, ADCL will provide
weekly services from Asian Ports to the Pacific Northwest (Seattle,
Vancouver) & the Pacific South West (Oakland, Long Beach). The total
fixed assets and working capital of ADCL are in excess of US$400M. Al Suffun
Holding s, a wholly owned subsidiary of ADIC will hold 51% of ADCL. ADIC
anticipates to privately place ADCL shares held by Al Suffun to UAE
institutions & strategic investors.
- Maersk - Sea Land Deal Closes .......... as the closing of the sale
of its Sea-Land Service Int'l liner business to Maersk Line was announced on
10 Dec. Under the terms of the transaction, announced on July 22, 1999, the
business was sold for approximately US$800M in cash, subject to adjustments.
Thus the U.S. company which invented container shipping, and revolutionized
the world, is now Danish. This said, Maritime Administrator Clyde Hart said:
"Maersk has strongly committed its entire global intramural network to
the U.S. for use in times of national emergency." The U.S. Maritime
Administration has given the go ahead for U.S. Ship Management Co. to take
control of 15 of Sea-Land Service's containerships. U.S. Ship Management has
full US crews and sails under the U.S. flag but was established entirely by
Maersk. The company presently has four ships which are U.S. flag ships. The
15 vessels will be chartered to Maersk while the U.S. Ship Management will
operate other ships currently run by Sea-Land Service. Only about 3,000 of
the total 6,000 employees of the liner business of Sea-Land Service Inc.
will find a place within the Maersk.
- What's Left of Sea-Land ......... as the container shipping line of
parent company CSX Corp, has changed its name to CSX Lines. Based in
Charlotte, North Carolina, the subsidiary company is to unite the mainland
U.S. with Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico & Alaska keeping the operation
domestic. All Int'l business formerly dealt with by Sea-Land Service will be
handed over to the AP Moller-Maersk Line Group next July. CSX Lines can
carry up to 27,000 containers on its fleet of 16 ships.
- Flying Dockers ? ........... as the Int'l Transport Workers
Federation is currently investigating the role of upcoming 'flying dockers':
small groups of port workers who are supposed to travel to ports where
Maersk ships are to be loaded or unloaded. 'Use of this kind of mobile
workers would be against all kind of rules in nearly every port of the
world. It's not according general working conditions nor according to safety
requirements', said Kees Marges, Dockers Section secretary of the ITF in
- 1,188 Korean Ocean Forwarders Swim Red Ink ........... as profits
are deteriorating due to the fall in ocean freight rates, funding costs
& collection problems. Funding costs are paid in advance by the
forwarders & are only collected from the shippers between 30 & 90
days later. Figures released by the Korean Int'l Freight Forwarders' Assn.
(KIFFA) show that profit margins are being eroded by the way business is
conducted in Korea and the length of time needed to settle an account &
the number of freight forwarders trying to break into the market. The influx
of new forwarders has been attributed to the change from the need to become
a licensed forwarder to merely a registered one. Figures show since Sept.
1999 there are 1,188 forwarders in the country, 783 of which are members of
KIFFA. Rates are dropping across the board and to all destinations, for
example in 1995 the CBM to Hong Kong was US$20 and now it is between US$10
& US$13. At the same time FCL ocean freight has slipped somewhere
between 30% & 50%.
- EU Intermodal Down ...........as Intercontainer-Interfrigo, the
large pan-European intermodal operator, expects to report a 17% fall in
container traffic for 1999, to 1.04 million TEUs, from 1.24 million TEUs in
1998. Intercontainer-Interfrigo said that it lost traffic volumes between
Spain & Germany, as poor service quality and higher prices drove
shippers of car industry tires to use trucks instead of intermodal.
- Up Down Under .......... as the Australian & New
Zealand/Eastern Shipping Conference (ANZESC) is to introduce a rate
restoration program to increase basic freight rates in the Hong Kong to
Australia trade & the southern China (Shenzhen & ports in Guangdong
province) to Australia trade from Jan. 1, 2000. The increase has been levied
at US$250 per TEU and $500 per FEU. The 40-foot high-cube container increase
will be an additional 12.5% over the FEU increase. Members of ANZESC include
Australian National Line Pty Ltd., K Line, Mitsui OSK, NYK, OOCL, P & O,
Yang Ming & Zim Israel.
- Evergreen Up ......... as the line will raise its rates as of Jan.
1. The increases are the same as those levied by TACA, US$169 per 20-foot
container & $200 per 40-foot container. These rate increases apply to
current tariff rates but will not affect the current service contracts which
will expire after Jan. 1, 2000.
- U.S. No. 1 Gets Stronger ............ as Port of Long Beach is
continuing to record year on year rises in both imported & exported
container volume. The port set container throughput volume records in Aug.,
while Oct. was its 3rd busiest month, with 396,420 TEU of containers
handled. August's rise in volume was attributed to school terms beginning
& October's can generally be explained by the upcoming holiday season.
84,349 TEU were exported & 202,242 TEU were imported in Oct. These were
rises of 9.3% & 13% respectively. With its record number of empties
handled up 20.4% with 107,827 TEU, the Port of Long Beach saw a total rise
in year-on-year volume for Oct. of 14.1%. Meanwhile, Hanjin's Long Beach
Terminal has reached the "magic number" of a million containers
for 1999. On Dec. 21 at 11 AM, the 4,000 TEU-class Hanjin Malta unloaded the
one-millionth container at the company's terminal.
- Saigon (We're Glad To Have The Name Back) Is Up ............ as it
has seen a surge of cargo as the economic downturn begins to ease in Asia.
The port handled 1,550 vessels during the 1st 10 months of 1999, an increase
of 10.4% on the same period last year, with a total tonnage of 6.9 million
tons. Oct. alone saw the port handle 714,000 tons of cargo, thought to be
the highest for any port in the country, although accurate figures for
Vietnam's 30 other ports are not available. The Vietnamese government is to
institute a plan to upgrade the country's ports in a bid to lift overall
operating capacity & volume from the present 50-60%.
- Sydney's Y2K Crush ............. as the port recorded its busiest
throughput ever in Oct. this year. The boom in cargo has been mostly
attributed to people stocking up in case of Y2K problems and because the
city has been ordering more than usual due to the coming summer Olympics.
Also attributed was the natural growth trend. If this pattern continues,
Sydney/Port Botany is set to break the one million TEU mark for the
1999-2000 year. With strong input from New Zealand and China, imports for
the 1st quarter of this financial year are up 20% while exports are up 17%.
In Oct., the port handled 53,010 TEU of imports & 42,381 of exports, a
total of 95,391 TEU handled, an increase of 23% over Oct. last year.
- Unlicensed Forwarder Hit ........... as the FMC has fined a freight
forwarder & NVOCC US$100,000 for Shipping Act violations. The FMC fined
Sam Bustani, who operates two firms, Atlas World Line & World Line
Shipping, based in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. Atlas World Lines was cited for
operating as an NVO without having a tariff or bond on file with the FMC.
World Line Shipping was fined for operating as an ocean freight forwarder
without obtaining a license or surety bond.
- Maersk's Asia Partner ........... as Maersk Line in Denmark &
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in Switzerland will combine their
capacity on the Australia-East Asian service.
- Bollore Goes African ........ as the parent company of transport
operator SAGA, the shipping line Delmas & a selection of trading and
forwarding companies, has finalized a deal to acquire the OT Africa Line.
The new line, in combination with Delmas, is rivaled in the West Africa
sector only by the Maersk-Safmarine Container Lines group.
- Belgium NVO Joins The Fleet ........... as ECU Line has acquired
Fleet Shipping Lines. Fleet Shipping has offices in New Jersey, Baltimore,
Atlanta, Miami, Chicago & San Francisco. The NVOs operations merged into
ECU Line starting Dec. 1.
- Cho Yang Says "Enough"......... as it is to terminate its
U.S. east coast-east coast of South America service due to heavy
competition, an imbalance in trade between north and south & high
repositioning costs. Cho Yang has been part of a 6 ship service along with
Zim Israel Navigation, DSR-Senator, Hanjin Shipping & Pan American
Independent Line. Although the Korean shipping line is to pull out, the
other shippers will continue the route. Cho Yang will remain in America with
DSR-Senator, UASC & Hanjin as part of the United Alliance but it will
only provide an east to west service.
- Rodriguez Hot On Cosco's Case ......... as Cargo One Inc., a New
York based NVOCC, has charged China Ocean Container Lines Co. Ltd. (COSCO)
with several violations of the 1984 Shipping Act for allegedly not living up
to the terms of a service contract signed by the parties in Jan. In a
complaint filed with the Federal Maritime Commission, Cargo One's attorney,
and our dear friend Carlos Rodriguez Esq., said the Chinese carrier failed
to live up to a service contract by refusing to carry shipments at contract
rates from Feb. 4 to April 30. Rodriguez said the service contract called
for the NVO to tender a minimum of 250 FEUs, but Cargo One was successful in
having only 6.5 FEUs moved by COSCO at service contract rates. Cargo One
said COSCO's shipping agents in Jakarta, Hong Kong, Manila, Cebu, Surabaya,
Indonesia and in India "consistently rejected" Cargo One's agents'
efforts to book the cargo. The NVO told the FMC that one reason COSCO gave
for not accepting the cargo was that space was not available because it had
been allocated to larger shippers. Rodriguez said that, because Cargo One
was prevented from shipping its 250-TEU minimum, the service contract gave
the NVO the options of either having the contract reduced by the number of
containers not accommodated or to be paid for every shipment not
accommodated. Cargo One is seeking US$121,750 from the carrier. The deadline
for a final FMC decision is March 20, 2001. Good luck, Carlos! (McD)
- New Cosco Agency ........... as it has opened a new container
shipping agency in Shanghai. The subsidiary company will oversee areas such
as stevedoring, declarations, pilots, material supply, inspections &
crew service for entry and departure of the Shanghai port. The new Cosco
Shanghai Container Shipping Agency Co. Ltd was established by Cosco
Container Shipping Agency Co. Ltd. & Cosco Container Lines, Kaoshiung,
Keelung, Le Havre, London, Malta, Melbourne, Milan, Rotterdam, Oslo,
Singapore, Sydney & Tokyo. A direct consolidation service has also been
added from New York to Basle, which is expected to improve service
reliability by bypassing the traditional transshipment process at Rotterdam.
Transit agreements between Holland and Switzerland allow for FCL cargo to
move in-bond to Switzerland before clearing customs. In related Cosco news,
to repay current bank loans, Cosco subsidiary Cosco Investment Ltd. has
issued prior-preferred stock at the value of US$0.90 per share. To date the
company has amassed US$29M on the 33.4 5 million shares which are
redeemable, convertible and accumulative; they can be exchanged for ordinary
shares after the period of one year on a share to share basis.
- Cosco's Cool Grows .......... as its "Green Express"
reefer container service started in May 1999 this year and since then demand
for containers has grown steadily. Reefer cargo from Shanghai to Japan has
jumped an impressive 300% from October last year. The total amount of
containerized cargo Cosco transported to Japan in October this year was
2,772 TEU, an increase of 137% from the same period last year.
- Cool Quitter ........... as Swedish Orient Lines is quitting the
reefer market after a series of heavy losses arising from the very poor
market, which the company's board does not expect to recover next year. The
company's 6 reefer vessels are being sold to Del Monte Fresh Produce for
over US$21m and the transfer of the ships will be made by the end of the
- Twins For OOCL ......... as on Nov. 27, 1999, Orient Overseas
Container Line (OOCL) celebrated the christening of M/V OOCL Shanghai &
M/V OOCL New York, two post Panamax container vessels ordered by the company
under a long term time charter agreement with the Germany-based company,
Nordcapital. A double christening ceremony was held at the Koje Shipyard of
Samsung Heavy Industries in Pusan, Korea. The two 5,500-TEU container
vessels are designed for a service speed of 25 knots & are classified
with Germanischer Lloyd.
- Freedom For Honduras .......... as the job of building the massive
US$8.5B M/V Freedom Ship 'floating city' is almost certain to be given to
Honduras. Similar in concept to the ResidenSea project, the ship will be a
quite huge 1500 m long, 250 m wide & 130 m deep, with all the amenities
of a city center as well as residential apartments & a small airport on
its roof. Freedom Ship is negotiating with the port of Trujillo to build the
vessel. Honduras has emerged as a favorite over Australia due to its much
lower wage levels.
- Busted Backhaul ......... as Constantza Port Authority in Romania
is undergoing a dilemma in the face of the recent Kosovo conflict. The
Authority is unsure of what to do with some 1,200 containers which the
owners have abandoned as uneconomical write-offs.
- Ariane Carrier Launched .......... as 2nd ocean-going cargo vessel
was launched today for the transport of Ariane 4 & Ariane 5 launcher
elements between Europe and the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The
new "Ro-Ro" (roll-on roll-off) ship, named the M/V MN Colibri,
will join its sister vessel MN Toucan to provide the necessary transport
capacity & trip frequency in support of Arianespace's increasing mission
rate. The MN Colibri was launched at the Merwede shipyard (IHC Group) near
Rotterdam, Netherlands. Owned by the Compagnie Nationale de Navigation, the
vessel will be operated by a subsidiary, la Morbihannaise et Nantaise de
Navigation (MN). MN Colibri is 115.60 meters long, 20 meters wide, &
operates at 15.5 knots. It is very similar to the MN Toucan, but with
slightly more engine power. Like its older sister, safety was designed into
the vessel from the beginning. The MN Colibri features twin powerplants,
propeller shafts and rudders, a complete double-hull and watertight
compartments along the bottom under the main deck. The maiden voyage of the
MN Colibri is scheduled for this month on a trip that will take it from
Bremen to Le Havre, Rotterdam & Kourou.
- U.S. Navy All At Sea .......... as it has plans to build a floating
offshore airport in Okinawa, with one aim being to try and reduce noise
pollution from night landings. The structure will consist of floating boxes
which will serve as the landing strip. A US$71M steel project will be built
off Yokohama as a trial prototype.
- Pay Up! .......... as a recent court ruling in South Africa could
mean that shipowners are liable for the debts incurred by other ships which
have the same person acting as nominee shareholder, often the lawyer who
arranged the purchase of the ships, even if the other ships belong to an
entirely different company. The South African Supreme Court of Appeal has
upheld a decision that a ship had been lawfully arrested due to claims
arising from the sale of another because they were "associated
ships," according to mutual P & I insurer the London Club's latest
issue of its Stoploss Bulletin. The ruling paves the way for similar cases
&owners should be aware they could be liable for debts relating to
another firm's ships under South African law.
- I'll Have My Claim With Lemon ......... as ships heading to Tianjin
Port may be damaging scallop farms in the area around the island of Miao Dao
at the entrance to the Bohai Strait, according to mutual P & I insurer
the London Club. Three shipping channels pass through the strait near the
island, one of which is limited to ships of under 200 gt. However, extensive
scallop farms in the other two are not shown on Admiralty charts of the
area, although they are mentioned in the pilot book. There have been a
number of claims for damages against ships passing through the farms, which
can be avoided so long as the pilot book is checked.
- Caddo Found ......... as a sunken steamboat from the 1840s, which
may be the oldest such find in the American Southwest, has been discovered
in Oklahoma's Red River, state historians said last month. The remains
appear to be those of the S. S. Caddo, a New Orleans paddle wheel steamboat
that transported dry goods, cotton & slaves to plantations in the
Choctaw Indian Nation of Indian Territory. It is now southeastern Oklahoma.
- This Month In U.S. Naval History ......... as Dec. 16, 1909, 16
battleships set sail from Hampton Roads, Va., by order of President Theodore
Roosevelt on a voyage around the world. These ships would later be known as
the "Great White Fleet."
- Pirate Parrot Hoists His True Colors ......... as a foul-mouthed
parrot called Percy has been sacked from the cast of a British children's
show for forgetting his lines & swearing on stage. Percy initially
behaved himself as he perched on Long John Silver's shoulder in rehearsals
for "Pirates on Treasure Island." But the 17-month-old Amazon
parrot stunned the cast at an arts center in Blandford Forum, in western
England, when he forgot his lines & let fly a string of expletives.
Instead of shrieking "Pieces of eight," he blurted out "Piss
off mate" and "Bugger off." The Jakes Ladder Theater Company
decided not to risk a repeat in front of an audience of children &
kicked Percy off the cast. Mark Hyde, 45, who plays Long John Silver, said:
"I could not believe what I was hearing. One minute the rehearsal was
going perfectly and then Percy comes out with this. We all stood there in
stunned silence before we burst out laughing." The hunt is on for a
replacement parrot with no prior maritime experience.
The casualties below are only a portion of ocean disasters for Nov./Dec.
1999. It was a very bad month out there. McD
The U.K. tanker M/V BLACKFRIARS (992 gross), in ballast, grounded in heavy
seas off the Welsh coast Dec 24. Refloated & towed to Pembroke Dock. (Tues.
Dec. 28 1999)
A 5 month-old baby was among 6 people airlifted from a stricken Dutch ship
off the Northeast coast of England on Saturday, British coastguards said. The
2,000 gt coaster M/V Confidence, carrying a cargo of fertilizer, issued a mayday
signal when it was battered by gales and rough seas as it sailed towards the
English port of Berwick-on-Tweed. An air force helicopter was sent to evacuate
the captain, his wife, their baby and three crew. "As ever, but
particularly on Christmas morning, our 1st priority is safety. No injuries have
been reported," said coastguard spokesman Stuart McGill. "We have been
in touch with the Dutch owners who are presently seeking tugs in order to bring
the crew-less vessel under tow but this may take some time given the prevailing
weather conditions." (Christmas Day, 1999)
A crewman died on Christmas Eve from injuries sustained when raging seas
swamped the 38,000-ton container ship gt M/V OOCL Belgium off the Southwest
coast of England as heavy rains and gales continued to sweep through the
country. His body remains on board and is continuing its passage to Canada.
Three other crew from the vessel were airlifted to hospital with various broken
bones -- fractured shoulders, spine and head injuries -- they received when a
massive wave hit their vessel. Their injuries were severe but that the 3 men
were in stable condition. (Fri. Dec. 24 1999)
The Chinese cargo vessel M/V Xin Zhujiang sank in the Taiwan Strait all its
28 crew were rescued but the captain is missing, Xinmin Evening News said. The
35,000 gt ship owned by the Guangzhou Haidian Shipping Co, developed mechanical
problems & sank in poor weather near the Pescadores Islands off Taiwan. She
was carrying iron ore on the way to China's eastern city of Nanjing from
Australia. The accident followed one of the nation's worst maritime disasters in
recent years last month, when 280 people died after the ferry M/V Dashun caught
fire & capsized off the coast of Shandong province. (Fri. Dec. 24 1999)
The Philippine motor ferry M/V ASIA SOUTH KOREA (2,436 gt) sank early today
off Bantayan Island. 602 people have been rescued, 9 were dead and 58 were still
missing. Philippine maritime history includes the world's worst peacetime sea
disaster -- the death of more than 4,000 people in Dec. 1987 when the ferry M/V
Dona Paz & an oil tanker collided near Manila. Then too, most of the
passengers were people going home for Christmas. Despite frequent sea disasters,
ferries remain the most popular means of long-haul transport in this largely
impoverished archipelago of more than 7,000 islands because fares are cheaper
than air travel. The government has launched a program to upgrade the industry
but over-age vessels still ply Philippine waters. (Fri. Dec. 24 1999)
The Maltese motor tanker M/T APNOIA (29,404 gt), laden with 319,000 gallons
fuel oil and 48,000 gallons diesel, grounded at 0020, Dec 20 due loss of power
and steering while entering Cape Fear River. Two tugs on scene. (Tues. Dec. 21
Dutch tanker M/T BERNICE (1,252 gt, built 1978), Belfast for Liverpool, was
deliberately grounded at Cultra, Belfast Lough, after taking water through a
hole in her hull. Vessel's engine-room is flooded & vessel has complete
power failure. Temporary repairs are to be effected before refloating operations
begin. (Mon. Dec. 20 1999)
The Panama M/V VIOLET OCEAN (3,009 gross), cargo logs, sank in heavy seas 40
nautical miles southeast of Shantou, in lat 22 49N, long 117 18E, Dec 15. All
crew rescued safely. (Sat Dec.18 1999)
The Maltese M/V DONAL PARAIC (1,486 gross), from Figueira da Foz with salt in
bulk, sank 45 miles northwest of Corunna Dec 16. 3 crew rescued safely. 2 dead,
1 missing. (Fri Dec. 17 1999)
The Chinese F/V CHCHANG 07005 (120 gross) sank in lat 30 28N, long 127 21.6E,
off Atsumioshima following a collision with the Panama m asphalt tanker M/T TKC
101 (1,411 gross) on Dec 15. TKC 101 was undamaged and proceeded on passage.
(Thurs Dec. 16 1999)
The Bahamas M/V ROUSTEL (892 gross), Fraserburgh for Tees in ballast,
grounded off Montrose, in lat 56 37N, long 02 29W, Dec 14. Refloated with
assistance of Montrose Lifeboat. No apparent damage. Subsequently anchored in
Tay Estuary for hull inspection. (Wed Dec. 15 1999)
The St. Vincent & Grenadines chemical tanker M/V SILVER RIVER (8,041
gross), Ulsan for Kunsan in ballast, and the South Korean M/V YU LIM NO.1 (1,984
gross), Yeonpyungdo Island for Pohang, were in collision off Ulsan Dec 12.
Silver River sustained damage to a fuel oil tank with some spillage. Yu Lim No.
1 sustained heavy bow damage. (Tues. Dec. 14 1999)
The Maltese m tanker M/T ERIKA (19,666 gross), Dunkirk for Leghorn with fuel
oil, broke in two & sinking in bad weather in lat 47 12N, long 04 34W, Dec
12. All crew safely rescued. The 25-year-old tanker Erika, carrying 25,000 tons
of fuel oil, broke into two in heavy seas. The bow & stern both sank on Dec.
12 and experts estimate that between 8,000 and 15,000 tons of oil have escaped
from the ship's various holds. (Mon Dec. 13 1999)
The 30,000 dwt Liberian tanker M/T Louise was forced to make a run for the
open waters of the Atlantic after it was fired upon by pirates 18 miles off the
coast of Guinea, West Africa. The 1988-built ship suffered extensive damage to
its accommodation block & bridge when 15 men wearing brown uniforms raked it
with fire from fixed-mount machine guns as well as rockets. An attempt to board
the tanker from their small gray military-style vessel failed when they were
spotted, although there were initial fears amongst the crew that one of the
attackers might have climbed aboard before the tanker escaped. Fortunately, none
of the tanker's crew were injured in the attack, which saw bullets pierce steel
bulkheads & cabins and badly damage the bridge & radio room. The tanker
lost contact with the pirate boat as it headed due west at full speed following
half an hour of continuous gunfire, according to the Baltic Int'l Maritime
Council, Bimco. (Sun. Dec. 12 1999)
The Japanese trawler F/V ANYO MARU NO.1 (379 gross) sank in bad weather in
the Bering Sea Dec 10. 24 crew rescued safely. 12 crew still missing. Search
under way. (Sat Dec. 11 1999)
The Bolivian M/V NYFJELL (1,896 gross), Ventspils for Great Yarmouth with
bulk mono ammonium phosphate, diverted to Ystad on Dec 7 with hole on main deck
& water ingress into No. 1 hatch. Cargo damaged by water. Surveyed by Class
Society. (Fri Dec. 10 1999)
The Maltese-flagged freighter M/V Winter, carrying over 17,000 tons of cement
clinker, ran aground near Bangladesh's southwestern Mongla port. The ship ran
aground in shallow waters, 62 miles south of Mongla port at 9 am (0300 gmt) on 9
Dec. The port was sending a tug to help refloat the ship during full tide. There
is no report of damage to the 29,129 dwt ship. The consignment & all the 23
crew were safe on board The 171.81 meter long ship was carrying the cement from
a Thai port to Mongla. (Thurs. Dec. 9 1999)
M/V YALIKOY II (499 gt, built 1966) sank about 120 miles northeast of Eregli,
in the Black Sea overnight, Dec 8. The 10 man crew was picked up by an Italian
flagged vessel, after spending more than 4 hours in lifeboats. (Thurs Dec. 9
M/V APOLLO FALCON (4,255 gt, built 1972) reported engine problems in lat 48
49.5N, long 04 44.3W, on Dec 5. She was taken in tow early next day, bound for
Brest. (Wed Dec. 8 1999)
A ferry carrying 18 people & 51 tons of diesel oil ran aground off the
Scottish west coast after it was caught in rough seas. A tug was sent to rescue
the stricken P&O-run M/V European Highlander, which was stranded on a sand
bar near Ardrossan harbor. (Wed. 8 Dec. 1999)
The Maltese chemical tanker M/T ATHOS (17,862 gt) had an explosion on board
at Kalamata, off Greece, killing 2 seamen. One person missing. (Tues Dec. 7
A Maltese-flagged tanker carrying crude oil from Russia to Italy ran aground
in the Marmara Sea off Istanbul. The M/T Histria Seatide was grounded as it
entered the Marmara Sea from the narrow Bosphorus Strait. It was carrying crude
oil from Russia's Novorossiisk port to Augusta in Italy. There were no immediate
indications of any oil leakage on the vessel, which the crew were trying to free
through their own efforts. (Mon Dec. 6 1999)
The German container vessel M/V MAERSK BATAVIA (16,236 gross), Singapore for
Port Klang, grounded while departing Laem Chabang Nov 28. Reported to be taking
water. Refloated and sailed Dec 1 bound Singapore for repairs. (Sat. Dec. 4
The Lebanese M/V PERLA (885 gross), Piraeus for Italy, grounded in the River
Evinos delta, in lat 38 18N, long 21 29E, Dec 1. No damage reported. Initial
refloating attempt failed. Further attempt with 2 tugs to be made Dec 2. (Fri
Dec. 3 1999)
The Antigua & Barbuda M/V PALATIN (5,753 gross), Venezuela for Rotterdam
with aluminum rods, had cargo shift & developed a 30 degree list off Vigo in
lat 42 32N, long 11 41 W, Dec 1. Crew rescued by helicopter. Tugs proceeding.
Holds appear flooded & some cargo containers lost. (Thurs Dec. 2 1999)
The Liberian container vessel M/V MONAGAS II (10,225 gross), Bremen for
Vitoria with containers, was immobilized with engine problems 200 nautical miles
north of La Corunna Nov 29. LOF signed. (Tues Nov. 30 1999)
Norwegian catamaran/passenger ferry M/V SLEIPNER (500 gt, built 1999),
Stavanger for Bergen with 89 people on board, struck a rock near Ryvarden
lighthouse, off Haugesund, evening of Nov 26 & sank 40 minutes later.
Seventy people were rescued from life rafts, however 13 people were killed and 5
are still missing, presumed dead. (Mon. Nov. 29 1999)
A freak wave which struck the Hapag-Lloyd-owned M/V Europa during a
transatlantic voyage injured 30 passengers after cabin fittings & furniture
were torn from their mountings. The incident, which occurred west of the Azores
in severe weather, was only reported when the ship reached Bermuda several days
later, and only appeared in the German media once the ship docked in New York.
The injured passengers suffered broken bones as well as cuts and bruises and
were all successfully treated on board both by the ship's doctor and another
doctor who was traveling on the vessel. (Mon. Nov. 29 1999)
The Marshall Islands M/V ELIZA (5,938 gt) reported fire & explosion in
lat 10 21.9N, long 84 13E, at 2220, UTC, Nov 25. At 2329, UTC, vessel reported
fire decreased but flooding and listing 10 degrees to starboard. Requires
assistance. Reported at 1110, UTC, Nov 26, that vessel abandoned and two tugs
proceeding, ETA evening of Nov 27. Ship was carrying 261 TEU containers for
Bangladesh. The 126-metre-(378-foot)-long freighter was sailing some 200 miles
(320 kms) off the Indian port of Madras. All 22 crew including the Egyptian
captain abandoned the ship in a lifeboat, he said without giving further
details. There were containers of industrial chemicals, raw cotton, onion &
other commodities aboard. (Sat Nov. 27 1999)
At least 140 people died & 172 were missing after passenger vessel M/V
DASHUN caught fire, foundered & broke up in stormy waters off the east coast
of China on Nov 24., near the port of Yantai. The ro-pax ferry Dashun with 312
passengers & crew on board, caught fire as it sailed from Yantai in Shandong
Province to the port of Dalian in the teeth of heavy seas and gale force winds.
Distress signals were sent out at 4:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon &
passengers took to the lifeboats. No rescuers appeared until the following
morning, by which time many of them had frozen to death in the boats. At least
120 bodies have been recovered while 22 survivors have been taken to hospital.
The fire on board the ferry was eventually put out on the Wednesday evening and
the ship drifted to within one & a half nautical miles of the shore, where
it capsized & sank just after midnight. This is the 2nd of operator Yanda
Ferry Shipping's ferries to sink in recent weeks, with the loss of the Shenlu 30
miles off Dalian last month. China's last big maritime accident was in 1994 when
133 people died after a collision between a ferry & a freighter on the
Yangtze River. With up to 170 people still unaccounted for, the loss of the
Dashun could be the country's worst ever maritime disaster. (Fri Nov. 26 1999)
Maltese M/V REDA (1,949 gt, built 1976), with cargo of diammonium phosphate,
broke from her moorings at Gunness Wharf, River Trent, Nov 24 and drifted
aground on west bank of the river. The vessel, which sustained hole in port bow
ballast tank, was towed to Gunness Wharf to discharge cargo & then to Hull
for dry-docking. (Thurs Nov. 25 1999)
Understood salvage services rendered to St. Vincent & Grenadines M/V
SEMELI (3,875 gt), Bordeaux for Greek ports, cargo grain/maize, which
immobilized due rudder damage 30 miles off Cape Finisterre. Vessel, which
arrived Ferrol Nov 23 in tow, to be dry-docked for repairs. (Wed. Nov. 24 1999)
Bermudan container vessel M/V CANMAR TRIUMPH (16,680 gt, built 1978) had
engine failure & grounded in St. Lawrence River on Nov 21, blocking the
channel. Vessel was towed to Montreal and cleared to proceed on voyage for Italy
following inspection. (Tues. Nov. 23 1999)
The Russian bulk carrier M/V SERGO ZAKARIADZE (16,502 gross). Farsund for San
Juan, Puerto Rico, with cement, had steering failure and grounded in the San
Juan Ship Channel Nov 18. Several ballast tanks damaged. Tugs on scene, however,
bad weather hampering salvage. (Sat. Nov. 20 1999)
The Azerbaijan M/V GEZENFER MUSABEYOV (3,048 gross) Constantza for Malaga
with cornflower, grounded at Cape Mounda, in lat 38 03.6N, long 20 46.5E, Nov
17. Still aground Nov 18. Salvage negotiations under way. (Fri. Nov. 19 1999)
The German m container vessel M/V COMET (3,999 gross), outbound from Aarhus,
and the German M/V ANNEGRET (3,998 gross), inbound for Aarhus, were in collision
in lat 56 09.4N, long 10 15.7E, Nov 16. Comet sustained damage to stern &
proceeded. Annegret sustained severe damage to starboard bulb & bow,
requiring repairs prior to resuming trading. (Thurs. Nov.18 1999)
The Turkish M/V KARAER III (1,595 gross) contacted the quay at La Nouvelle
during stormy weather Nov 15. Sustained severe damage. (Wed. Nov. 17 1999)
The hijacked M/V ALONDRA RAINBOW loaded from Indonesia was chased &
arrested 430 km off Goa by the Indian Navy on the Arabian Sea, 16 Nov. 1999.
After shots were fired, 15 Indonesian pirates were captured. The 7,000 gt vessel
will be escorted to Mumbai for investigation. The masked pirates with automatic
weapons & long knives had taken the vessel on 22 Oct. and renamed her M/V
MEGA RAMA. (Tues 17 Nov. 1999).
The master of the 10,400 dwt reefer ship M/V Dole America which nearly sunk
after striking a lighthouse off the south coast of the UK has been fined US$5000
for endangering ships, structures & persons by failing to navigate his ship
safely. The vessel hit the 90 foot high Nab Tower lighthouse in excellent
weather in the early hours of Nov. 7, badly damaging the ship, which began to
list heavily as it took on water. Salvage tugs had to beach the ship to avoid
having it sink. Norwegian master Alf Aas had intended to steer east of the
lighthouse but changed course when he saw the red lights of fishing vessels
ahead. He accepted that it was an error of judgment to fail to spot the tower,
which is equipped with a lighthouse beacon flashing every 10 seconds and visible
from 16 miles, "a massive structure easily detectable on radar." The
UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency, prosecuting, said that they had appreciated
the full cooperation of the captain, who "had shouldered his
UPDATE: An uncharted rock probably caused the capsize of heavylift vessel M/V
Mighty Servant 2, and the loss of 5 lives, last month. The ship's owner, Belgian
company Dockwise, says a new, specially commissioned hydrographic survey of the
area near the Indonesian island of Singkep has discovered a "single
isolated pinnacle of granite directly on the ship's course." The rock is
not on existing charts.
U.S. Coast Guard: Port Operations
For Safety & Efficiency ......... all U.S. Ports covered. Officials
at the U.S. Seaport Commission want to hear what the industry has to say about
safety & security in the nation's seaports. The 1st industry meeting is
scheduled for Feb. 2 at Hampton Roads, Va.
Logistics Quiz - try these yourself!
The Final Report for The Navy
Mantech Funded Shipbuilding Supply Chain Integration Project
............. describes 22 best practices in supply chain management that apply
to shipbuilding. Detailed Int'l case studies of 10 shipbuilders & 9
suppliers are included. The report can be downloaded from the Center for
Electronic Commerce website.
Specifications From United
Shipbuilding Conference......... as the area is HTML based. It is not a
"live" forum, users can come in at any time and post a note.
I-Trek!, Internet Tracing &
We've Got Freight
........ a unique new load matching service.
Cargo 4 Less? ........ as a
new "name your own price," auction type web service launches soon. The
company is based in N.Y.
Bid Freight ............ a
business-to-business Internet service for the North American transportation
industry uses proprietary technologies, including a dynamic online auction
platform, to directly negotiate transactions between shippers, carriers &
1999 U.S. Federal
Register ......... with complete text, tables and graphics will be
available on a single CD-ROM in Jan.
The Office of Naval
Research Int'l Field Office-Asia ........ publishes a regular newsletter
entitled "Shipbuilding in Asia and Australia." Written by Jack Garvey,
the newsletter is designed to provide the US shipbuilding industry with
information on & opportunities to collaborate with, the Asian &
Australian shipbuilding communities. Issue #10, November 1999, is now available
in electronic format.
The World Bank
or Interrogate?.......... as what is the difference between an interview
and an interrogation? This article will outline some interviewing tips and
techniques for investigators.
MIT Marine Safety
Financial Times .......... has joined
the growing list of QuickTime TV channels via a streaming webcast from the
Financial Times' newsroom. Tune in to find out about emerging markets, key
economic numbers, the strength of the yen, & other business & financial
news from around the globe:
of The World ......... by individual countries.
Animated Snowman Card ............. send the free e-card from Blue
Mountain Arts. This goofy virtual snowman comes with a wild assortment of faces,
fashions, and backgrounds to choose from. Just enter the E-mail of a friend, and
send the Snowman on his merry way. He'll arrive shortly in your friend's inbox,
ready to play.
Film Festival ............ you can see trailers and short movies.
--by Erik Hoffer for The Cargo Letter
Thinking outside convention creates such a high degree of personal risk and
stress that many of us resist the notion of change. The risk of being wrong (no
matter how remote), causes stress and makes us reticent to change. This notion
is true in dealing with the issues that surround cargo theft. Most security
professionals are quick to recognize the need for change, but are slow to decide
on a path to action. By continuing to use and rely on the security products and
procedural elements compiled from their immediate past, they avoid the risk of
trying up-to-date and different technology that can better address cargo
Cargo theft occurs at all points in the supply chain. No single segment of
the supply chain is immune and no area can ever be considered as totally secure.
Since shippers cannot travel with their cargo, they must look to technology to
offer theft protection. Making the required background checks of handlers and
drivers; tightening up on shipping protocol, carrier, and shipping lane choices;
and other more intangible elements of logistics can help create a more secure
environment for your goods. Unfortunately not every one has control over these
security elements. Assets that move out of your physical control do so with
total vulnerability to shortages, surreptitious theft, and all types of damage.
By applying security technologies to shipped goods the security process for
shippers and carriers alike can be enhanced.
Products that create risk to the thief enhance the protection of the cargo
from that threat and make them far less vulnerable to attack. If thieves know
that a deterrent device is in use, they tend to go elsewhere simply because the
attack of unprotected goods is easier. A common view is that overt
countermeasures to theft tend to call attention to valuable cargo and increase
the chances of it being attacked. That theory assumes that cargo thieves are
stupid opportunists, which they are not. That logic is far from the truth, but
yet it serves as a convenient excuse to take no proactive action in cargo
protection. Cargo thieves know what they are after and they know that there are
limited remedies for the crime. With the rewards being immediate, the risk quite
low, and with the chances of jail time remote many new thieves are born out of
complacency and lack of action. The worst thing that can happen to a crook is to
get caught by his employer. This disrupts his supply line and the revenue stream
that he has created for himself. Given that risk of getting caught, overt and
easily recognizable security products encourage thieves to seek out easier
targets that are unprotected. When the warehouse or trailer is full of
opportunities, those products that have protection, more often than not, avoid
being victimized. Without a risk factor to create a deterrent, theft gets
Security products are available for use at almost every spot in the supply
chain, but only those that work from packaging to receipt are truly effective in
reducing the risk of mysterious theft. Only those systems used along with
sufficient training for inspectors at origin, en-route, and at destination
produce results. Finally only products or systems with an easily recognized
tamper evident feature or physical barrier protection will deter criminals.
Products, which require more than a few minutes of time to circumvent, will more
likely succeed than those that offer no deterrent value. Effective theft
deterrents are applied to the package or pallet by the shipper or at minimum by
the carrier, and should deter opportunists & professional thieves.
Technology is by far the only viable solution to theft control. With the
widespread availability of effective theft deterrents in the marketplace, it is
well worth the risk to change conventional thinking and actively deter theft
with new technology that is easy to use and fairly inexpensive. If shippers and
carriers risk changing the way they secure cargo, thieves will forego the risk
of getting caught.
Erik Hoffer is president of CGM Security Solutions based in Somerset, New
Jersey. CGM Security Solutions manufactures a broad range of tamper indicating
products and shipment theft prevention & security devices to deter and
detect tampering and pilferage of cargo prior to delivery. Erik Hoffer has 30
years of personal experience with developing new technologies for the cargo
security industry. For further information, he may be reached at (800) 899-2246.
To cover all your cargo security bases, be sure to visit our The Cargo Letter
web features ..........
Law Loss Prevention Guide - a "how to".
The Cargo Law
Loss Prevention Resource Center
The Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department has specified the manner and
format in which it will accept electronic information.
For languages, electronic records in English have to be encoded in American
Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). Electronic records in Chinese
have to encoded in Big-5 or ISO10646 standards.
When electronic records are encoded in Big-5 standard, the set of characters
are restricted to those coded in the Big-5 standard or in the Hong Kong
Supplementary Character Set published by the government.
When electronic records are encoded in ISO10646 standard, the set of
characters is restricted to those CJK Unified Ideographs characters coded in
Electronic records can be sent through electronic mail conforming to Simple
Mail Transfer Protocol/ Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension
(SMTP/SMIME); or on physical media conforming to the following standards:
Either a 720kb or 1.44mb diskette in MS-DOS format and not exceeding one d
iskette's storage capacity. ZIP format is to be used for compression.
For CD-ROM, files must be in ISO9660 format with files not exceeding one
diskette's storage capacity. Electronic records must follow either plain text
(TXT), Microsoft rich text format (RTF version 1.3 or 1.5), Hypertext Mark Up
Language Format (HTML version 3.2 or 4) or Adobe Portable Document Format
(Acrobat version 3 or 4)
Only digital signatures supported by a recognized certificate issued by a
certification authority recognized by the Director of Information Technology
Services under the Electronic Transactions Bill will be accepted.
The manner & format in which digital signatures are to be attached to
electronic mails & files shall be Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail
Extension (S/MIME) and Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS) standards.
Graphic file formats will be accepted in: Encapsulated PostScript Files
(EPSF), Tag Image File Format (TIFF), Windows BitMaps (BMP), Graphic Interchange
File Format (GIFF), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG); and Autodest
Drawing Exchange Format (DXF).
--Contributed by our reader Robert J. Schott
The reuse of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for
Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in
helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase
the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and - in the case
of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix - herds of kangaroos (since
disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position).
The head of the Defense Science & Technology Organization's Land
Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the
local marsupials' movements & reactions to helicopters. Being efficient
programers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model
infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon
from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement.
Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots,
the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight
during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting
Americans nodded appreciatively... but then did a double-take as the kangaroos
reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the
hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programers had forgotten to remove that
"Stinger missle" part of the infantry coding!)
Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new object defined in
terms of an old one inherits all the attributes. The embarrassed programers had
learned to be careful when reusing an object-oriented code, and the Yanks left
with a newfound respect for Australian wildlife.
Simulator supervisors report that pilots from that point onward have strictly
avoided kangaroos, just as they were meant to.
-- From 1999 Defense Science & Technology Organization Lecture Series,
Written from wire stories, the Associated Press,
Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources.
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