Strong chances for shipping bank to survive

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German shipping lender HSH Nordbank has been hit hard by the shipping crisis, and must be sold by February 2018, or liquidated.
In the years before 2009 the bank had allocated so many ship loans that it was temporarily the largest financier in the world. Since then, a part of the shipping industry has been in a constant crisis, and many ship owners couldn’t repay the loans. Result: HSH had to live with constant high losses.
CEO Stefan Ermisch is however pretty sure liquidation is unnecessary, as several private equity groups are considering to buy the bank. In the media he expressed his hopes for convincing offers by the end of October.
The financial injection from the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein has now been used up. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as 75% of the full-year target has already been reached.

Sources: Tradewinds, Wirtschafts Woche – Photo © Mike Louagie

More freight capacity on Helsingborg-Helsingör route as from December 1

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Scandlines HH-Ferries Helsingborg-Helsingör expands capacity when HAMLET’s sailing schedule is expanded by five hours daily. The expansion is driven by increasing demand from the route’s freight customers and implemented following a long period of significant growth in freight traffic.
Last year 410,000 trucks used the ferry service. The new schedule increases the capacity with 40,000 units per year.

Photo © Mike Louagie

Challenges and opportunities in post-Brexit era

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British Ports Association’s CEO, Richard Ballantyne, urged the UK Government and the EU to find a creative and sensible Brexit solution to the challenges facing ferry ports and operators in the logistics sector.
Mr Ballantyne was speaking at the British Ports Association’s Annual Conference in Poole (October 17-20) where Brexit would be a key topic on the agenda.
He said that, “Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is vital that freight and passengers continue to pass smoothly through our ports.”
Mr Ballantyne also looks at the positive side of a post Brexit era: “A number of UK ports are looking at opportunities such as new trade, and initiatives like free trade zones.”

Photo © Mike Louagie

CMAL sees a growth in ferry demand

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Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) has published the annual report for the year ending on 31 March 2017. CMAL owns the ferries, ports, and infrastructure necessary for vital ferry services serving the West Coast of Scotland and the Clyde Estuary, and is fully owned by the Scottish Government.
In his foreword, Chairman Erik Østergaard sums up the following highlights

  •  £29 million was spent in the construction of new vessels, including the completion of CATRIONA
  • £97 million was spent for the building of two new LNG ferries.
  • There is special project to explore the potential for a hydrogen-fuelled ferry.
  •  As the harbour authority for 26 locations across the west coast of Scotland, CMAL invested £24 million in planned upgrade works at selected harbours, including the flagship project at Brodick Ferry Terminal.
  • In 2016/17, CMAL generated revenue of £35,913,000, compared to £33,549,000 in 2015/16. The increase is mainly due to increased harbour dues and revenue grants.
  •  Pre-tax profits increased from £813,000 to £5,524,000 with increased harbour dues and revenue grants as noted, along with a decrease in administration costs.
  • A tax charge in 2016/17 against a significant tax credit in 2015/16 has resulted in post-tax profit of £3,063,000 compared to £7,869,000 in 2015/16.
  • Demand for ferry services continues to grow, driven in part by the road equivalent tariff (RET), as well as the growing popularity of Scotland’s islands as visitor destinations.
  • A new 90m ro-pax ferry will be ordered in late 2018, for delivery in 2021.

Photo © Mike Louagie

A ferry connection between Turku and St. Petersburg?

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The Finnish management of Port of Turku paid a visit to St Petersburg at the beginning of October. This happened within the framework of cooperation between PP SPb MF (Passenger Port St Petersburg Marine Façade) and Port of Turku. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed in July. The aim is, amongst others, to improve the attractiveness of cruise and ferry tourism, and to create the most comfortable environment for passengers of cruise and ferry vessels, representatives of cruise and ferry lines and tour operators.
Moreover, the companies said they intend to develop a joint initiative on attracting operators of cruise lines and ferry lines in order to organize regular international ferry connection between the two ports.
The Finnish group included Sales Director Nirhamo Jaakko, Vice-Chairman of the Board Raaska Petja and Business Development Manager Anstead Paula.

Photo © Mike Louagie

RMT want the Northern Isles lifeline ferry service under public ownership

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Trade union RMT has launched a campaign to give the ferry services to Orkney and Shetland, currently run by Serco NorthLink, the same status as CalMac on the Scottish West Coast. RMT aims at, “more frequent, affordable and reliable ferries to the Northern Isles, on properly staffed vessels which are all covered by the collective bargaining agreement with the RMT union. All this can be achieved under public ownership and operation.”
The contract with Serco NorthLink has been extended into 2019. The responsible Minister is looking at the possibilities of awarding the ferry service to an in-house operator, without the need for a EU tendering process. This could be achieved by a so-called Teckal Exemption.
Serco NorthLink Ferries runs the subsidised lifeline ferry contract since 2012. Before, the service was operated by NorthLink Orkney and Shetland Ferries, a joint venture between Caledonian MacBrayne and the RBS Group.

Source: ShetNews, RMT – Photo © RMT

Highest Q3 number of freight volumes on P&O Larne – Cairnryan route in six years

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P&O Ferries saw the highest number of lorries and trailers between Larne and Cairnryan in the third quarter of the year (compared with any Q3 since 2011).
P&O carried 53,305 lorries and trailers on its ships in the months of July, August and September. (=+3.3%)
Neal Mernock, P&O Ferries Sector Director on the Irish Sea, said: “Our port at Larne is fast becoming the gateway of choice for anyone exporting to or from Ireland. It has outstanding connections via rail and road, especially after the upgrading of the A8 dual carriageway, and is nine miles closer to Scotland than the port at Belfast.”
P&O Ferries operates seven sailings a day between Larne and Cairnryan using two ro-pax sister vessels, EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER.

Photo © P&O Ferries

Port of Marseille is becoming one of the local prides

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For many years Port of Marseille suffered from a bad image. The services were unreliable, there were strikes, etc..
Recently port company GPMM asked locals in a poll about their perception. Previous poll was in 2011.
87% (+27) think the port is thriving.
84% (+19) say the port is evolving in a good way to be ready for the future.
86% (+23) are confident about the future of the port.
77% (+18) acknowledge the progress in economic development and the creation of jobs.
71% (+38) say Marseille is very competitive in comparison with other European ports.

Source: La Provence – Photo © Mike Louagie

ESPO presents its sustainable agenda at the 2017 Greenport Conference Amsterdam

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Europe’s environmental port experts have gathered in Amsterdam for the 12thth edition of the GreenPort Conference. Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General ESPO = European Sea Ports Organisation), took the opportunity to present the sustainable agenda for the coming months. The following five priorities were identified

  • European ports call for an efficient but responsible ship waste management policy. Ports do not want to be responsible for unreasonable amounts of garbage.
  •  European ports ask for a VAT exemption for onshore power supply (OPS) used by ships at berth.
  • ESPO asks for a strong Connecting Europe Facility for the period 2020-2027 to allow European ports to make the investments needed towards sustainability.
  • European ports encourage IMO to build on the progress made at the last MEPC and deliver an initial CO2 reduction target accompanied by short-term measures in 2018. An urgently needed global agreement on a target and measures to reduce CO2 from shipping must be achieved by 2023.
  • ESPO would like to start the reflection on a review of the first Code of Practice on the societal integration of European ports, which was published in 2010. What is it about? Many cities are increasingly over-stretched and in need of more housing. They have their eye on the port area. At the same time, many ports are seeking to expand.