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The Biggest Container Ship Ever - CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin
It's bigger than the Empire State Building, wider than an N.F.L football field, and has a maximum load capacity equal to the volume of 235 Olympic pools. The Benjamin Franklin container ship is owned by CMA CGM, and is able to transport around 18,000 containers at one go.


Dense Fog in Central China Impacting Vessel Schedules from Ningbo and Shanghai
Central China has experienced an extended period of dense fog over the last week.  There have been several periods of port closures, including 5 consecutive days in Ningbo.  This situation is impacting all carriers and the subsequent congestion in both Ningbo and Shanghai is having a major impact on vessel schedules.


Cold Train expects to boost rail freight volumes 300pc in 2011
 VOLUMES of refrigerated rail freight transported via the Pacific north-west to Chicago on the Cold Train intermodal service are expected to increase 300 per cent in 2011 compared to last year, according to Chris Mnichowski, owner and president of CTI Freight Systems that manages the non-stop, express service launched in April 2010.

The forecast comes as eastbound Cold Train shipments of produce such as apples and potatoes doubled, and westbound shipments of cargo from Chicago to Washington state rose by several hundred per cent since the beginning of the year, reports Progressive Railroading from Wisconsin.

The service that uses 53-foot refrigerated containers operates between the Port of Quincy in Washington and Chicago five days a week to transport fresh or frozen produce to the US Midwest pulled by double-stacked BNSF trains, it said. Transit time is four days.

Cold Train's operators plan to commence service from Quincy and Chicago into south-eastern parts of the US later this year.

"As the Cold Train service continues to grow, we plan on providing service to areas such as Atlanta and Florida, and then pivoting to north-east markets in the future, and eventually to the California market," Mr Mnichowski was quoted as saying. 


Asian box ports urged to increase capacity to meet growing demand
 FREIGHT forwarders have raised concerns about the ability of some ports to handle larger vessels deployed on intra-Asia routes as capacity grows to up to 4,000-TEU from a maximum of 1,000-2,000 TEU a few years ago.

The deployment of medium-sized ships on the transpacific will increase the need for investment to boost post capacity in Asia, according to Paul Slater, the chairman of First International Corp.

"With manufacturing being outsourced from China to Vietnam and Indonesia, these countries look a good bet for port investment to take the medium-sized ships," he said, reported London's International Freighting Weekly. "Local government participation will be needed as the investment markets are still very skittish, and the trade will need some sort of support from the lines if the new sizes and facilities are to be provided."

There are also calls for new investment in container terminals to ease mounting congestion sparked by the rapid growth in box volumes given it the fastest growing region worldwide, with further expansion forecast for this year.

Damco Asia-Pacific CEO Tony Hotine said that the intra-Asia box trade was facing congestion. "We've seen new terminals open in Vietnam, but there's still room for improvement there. Indonesia is also a challenge - not just Jakarta but also for feeders trying to meet main line services. This is a country where growth is good and potential strong, but more investment in ports is needed."

The IFW report also noted that India's main container port of Nhava Sheva was struggling to cope with "severe backlogs as exports surge."

Chittagong in neighbouring Bangladesh "has been beset by labour, management and volume issues for almost a year." It said the lack of fenders at some berths was allegedly damaging vessels and sparking warnings from some intra-Asia shipping lines that they would dessert the port. However, the remedial work was also adding to the delays. 


China Hunan's freight volume up 12.4 pc in first two months
 CENTRAL China's Hunan province posted a 12.4 per cent increase in cargo transport volume in the first two months reaching 220.4 million tonnes, reports Xinhua.

Rail transport volume grew 6.5 per cent to 3.7 million tonnes, while the trucking increased freight 16.9 per cent to 94 million tonnes, accounting for 86.5 per cent of the total.

Cargo transport by water increased 28 per cent to 10.4 million tonnes while air freight volume fell 6.7 per cent to 2,800 tonnes.

The province moved 108.6 million tonnes of cargo by all means in February, growing 17.6 per cent, and 163 million passengers with a 9.3 per cent increase. 


Ningbo's imports soar 50pc in January and February
 IN the first two months of the year, Ningbo customs posted a trade value of US$27.7 billion with imports growing 49.7 per cent to US$11.3 billion in value, Xinhua reports.

The customs' trade value has overtaken Tianjin to become the sixth largest in China, rising from the seventh in 2010. Its import value ranked the seventh in China while export value, which is $16.4 billion, ranked the fifth.

Companies from outside the city contributed $16.8 billion's trade value to the customs during this period, taking up 60.6 per cent of the total. In such companies, those from inside the Zhejiang province contributed $9.1 billion and those from outside the province accounted for $7.7 billion.


Proposed HMF Increase
A new House Bill (H.R. 2355) known as the “Movement Act” was introduced in the House of Representatives last month. The proposed act would increase the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) from 0.125% to 0.4375% and impose a 0.3125% value tax on commercial cargo entering the U.S. from foreign ports. Goods originating from Canada and Mexico will not be affected by the tax.

The proposed bill was intended to be an attractive option to increase tax revenues. Lobbying efforts are already underway to stop the bill.



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