More automotive shippers board expanding K+N Asia-Europe rail services

By Alexander Whiteman

Growing demand from automotive shippers has led Kuehne + Nagel to expand its Asia-Europe rail service into Japan and South Korea. The move comes six months after the launch of the Asia-Europe rail connection, which a spokesperson told The Loadstar was showing “reasonable upward growth” in volumes. “Our automotive customers in Japan and South Korea asked us to expand the service to them,” said the spokesperson.

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‘Active’ controlled atmosphere brings fresh technology to the reefer

By Sam Whelan, Asia correspondent

Daikin Reefer has invented new “active” controlled atmosphere (CA) technology it claims will revolutionize refrigerated shipping, allowing container lines to launch a fresh charge against air freight in the battle for perishable cargo.

According to Ah Huat Goh, General Manager, Global Marketing and Service, reefer container department at Daikin, the technology represents a significant advancement over the “passive” solutions on the market. “Active CA will open up more commodities to shipping lines because it’s more reliable and can reduce oxygen more precisely than passive technology,” he told The Coolstar.

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Hapag-Lloyd fleet ‘now complete’ as latest UASC newbuild ULCV is delivered

By Mike Wackett

Hapag-Lloyd has taken delivery of the last of 17 ULCVs ordered by UASC in 2013 as “some of the greenest and largest container vessels in the world”. The 15,000-TEU Al Jmeliyah was part of an order of six 19,900 TEU and eleven 15,000-TEU ULCVs from South Korean shipyard Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries. The $2 billion order was for the first “LNG-ready” ULCVs, built to mitigate the-then runaway cost of oil. However, oil prices subsequently collapsed and the conversion to LNG was no longer economically viable.

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No box trade supply-demand balance until end 2019, says Alphaliner

By Mike Wackett

Recent forecasts from ocean carriers that a supply-demand equilibrium will be reached next year are “optimistic”, says Alphaliner. It says newbuild deliveries with 1.6 million TEUs of cellular capacity will aggravate a supply overhang that is expected to be carried over from the fourth quarter of this year.

Alphaliner’s current idle containership survey records a two-year low of 147 vessels, with a capacity of 275,897 TEUs in lay-up, but it warned that the number would  soar in the final three months of the year, with idle fleet capacity rising to 800,000 TEUs. “The total global fleet will grow by over 300,000 TEUs over the next three months from new vessel deliveries, even after adjusting for projected vessel scrapping, and this will further add to the supply side pressure,” said Alphaliner.

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Relief for carriers as decline in east-west container rates finally bottoms out

By Gavin van Marle

Container freight rates on the main east-west trade routes rebounded the last week of October after nearly two months of continual decline. Carriers had announced new freight all kinds (FAK) prices and general rate increases (GRIs) to come into effect next week. According to Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) of October 27, the spot rate on the China-North Europe trade jumped 9.3 per cent, rising $63 to reach $744 per TEU.

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