Front Cover Feb - WorldCargo News Online

Front Cover Feb - WorldCargo News Online




How clean is clean?

Higher HGV tolls could be on the

cards in Europe following research

by official environmental agencies

in Germany, Austria, Switzerland

and the Netherlands, which undermines

the whole basis of Euro

2 engine norms and test procedures.

The federal Swiss government

has threatened early action and

Austria may quickly follow suit.

Only two months ago the Austrians

reluctantly agreed, under

heavy EU pressure, to exempt

“clean” trucks from the

Ökopunkte (eco-points) transit

regime set up in 1995.

Alleging deliberate manipulation

by the engine manufacturers

using sophisticated electronic tuning

systems, the federal German

Environment Ministry has stated

that the Euro 2 standard is being

met only at 13 pre-defined test

points but not in the rest of the

performance range, with the result

that trucks are emitting up to

30 per cent more NOx in normal

Fierce rivals Patrick and P&O are

to establish a new joint venture

company called 1-STOP Connections

Pty Ltd to develop an

integrated information exchange

system for Australia’s major container


The new portal will involve a

common front end although the

companies’ own back end systems

will continue to be proprietary

developments and “highly competitive”,

the companies say.

Patrick Corp managing director

Chris Corrigan said there had

been growing demand to build

electronic improvements into the

container handling chain for

some time. The new system

would become the hub for all the

The Austrians and Swiss will be under strong domestic pressure to shift more

transit truck traffic to combi-mode as the dispute over “clean” trucks grows

operation than the norm allows

(7 g/kWh).

The Austrians and Swiss are

“hopping mad” because NOx levels

have been found to be increasing

again in the Alps. They have

been forced to give in to more and

heavier truck traffic trundling

through en route to and from

Italy/south east Europe without,

it seems, the promised environmental


Euro 2 trucks became mandatory

for all newbuild truck engines

in January 1996 and currently account

for more than 60 per cent

of HGVs in Europe and have attracted

widespread subsidies in the

form of lower VEDs, motorway

tolls, transit tolls, etc. It seems that

the politicans have been fooled or,

worse, have been happy to go

along with the industry fooling

the public.

The Euro 3 norms, which

came into effect in October 2000,

go some way to addressing the

problem. Not only are allowable

NOx emissions cut back again (to

5 g/kWh), but the test points are

more realistic and, in addition,

emission levels at up to three more

test points chosen at random cannot

be more than 10 per cent

higher than at the pre-set points.

This may imply a mistrust of

the Euro 2 norms, but the real

irony is that well-documented

problems in the past seem to have

been “forgotten.” In 1998, for example,

it was widely reported that

US-EPA’s transient cycle test

grossly understated NOx emissions

because the test criteria

were focused on urban cycling

and ignored normal highway

speed conditions; not only that

but EPA was allegedly fully aware

of the problems.

Oz terminals in EDI link up

various electronic messages going

to and from the stevedores

and will create efficiencies by reducing

duplication and simplifying

processes associated with the

movement of cargo.

“For example we will be able

to make the Export Receival Advice

electronic, and as a result terminal

gate transactions will become

completely paperless, resulting

in faster truck turnarounds,”

Corrigan said.

Tim Blood, managing director

of P&O Ports ANZ, said 1-

STOP would provide a joint solution

for the ongoing development

of new and improved e-

commerce systems and processes.

“A key area of anticipated efficiency

will be in 1-STOP’s ability

to comply with the new

messaging requirements of Australian

Customs under Cargo

Management Re-engineering.

Additional benefits will be in the

area of border security and in

meeting the new stringent US

Customs cargo reporting requirements.”

The operators said 1-STOP

will also provide the opportunity

to pursue a single, Internet-based

vehicle booking system in response

to the many such requests

from the transport community to

try and improve backloading.

From early April, 1-STOP

will provide port users with a single

view of vessel schedules, cargo

receival, cut-off and delivery

times as well as visibility of container

availability and tracking.

Several other applications, including

paperless Import Delivery

Orders and electronic payments,

will be added during the course

of the year.

Blood said that while in the past

he had been keen to maintain competition

in the e-commerce sector,

efficiencies were now more important

and competition was not sustainable

in any case. “It would be

irresponsible now not to have

commonality, which is in the best

interests of the ports and ourselves.

P&O TransAustralia for example

takes a lot of boxes out of Patrick

terminals and vice versa,” he said.

RTG milestones

ZPMC has broken into the Korean

port crane market with an

order for six (plus three) RTGs for

the Incheon terminal in which

PSA is a shareholder. The 6+1, 1

over 5 machines are slated for delivery

at the end of this year.

In another first, Impsa has its

first order for RTGs (not counting

the Kalmar design for

Paranaguá) from the Port of

Bintulu in Malaysia - traditionally

Impsa’s biggest market for container

cranes. The RTGs, again

P&O Ports, which has been barred

from bidding for a container terminal

at Jawaharlal Nehru Port in

India, has lost a crucial legal battle

in the Mumbai High Court.

The court dismissed a petition

filed by P&O Ports which charged

the port authority with discriminating

against it in barring it from

bidding for the terminal. The company

is now considering an appeal

to the Supreme Court, the highest

court in India, to remain in contention

as a potential bidder.

As previously reported in

WorldCargo News, when Jawaharlal

Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) called

for requests for qualification from

potential bidders for the proposed

new facility, it explicitly barred

P&O from bidding because it already

operates the Nhava Sheva

International Container Terminal

(NSICT)at the port. JNPT argued

that P&O would have become a

virtual monopoly operator of

container terminals if it won the

bid. It also said the general practice

around the world was not to

have the same operator run two

terminals at a port.

“This is a great achievement

for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust

and the entire port industry,” said

Asif Lampwala, a lawyer who

helped fight the case for JNPT.

JNPT is offering the container

terminal, which involves the conversion

of an unused bulk terminal

at the port, on a build, operate

and transfer basis for a period of 30

years. Requests for qualification

have been received from international

operators APM Terminals,

CSX World Terminals, PSA Corporation,

West Port of Malaysia,

Stevedoring Services of America,

NYK Line (Ceres), Marubeni Corporation

and Hutchison Port

RTGs will spearhead ZPMC’s

breakthrough in the Korean market

stacking 6+1 and 1 over 5, will

incorporate Impsa’s own integrated

drive control package.

● Surabaya: A crane driver was

killed in early February when an

Impsa quay crane was blown along

the quay into another crane and

collapsed, also damaging the ship.

No details are available as nobody

will comment pending the insurance

investigation that is underway.

Legal setback

for P&O Ports

Holdings. Indian companies in the

fray are Sea King Infrastructure,

Larsen & Toubro, United Liner

Agencies and Terminal Link.

JNPT will now shortlist the

bidders and ask them to submit

their formal proposals.



LXE/Portek tie up 2

Clark in the Hat 3

HHLA for Karachi 4

Shanghai splits 6

Bitutainer put to the test 14


French ports open up 18

Moscow under attack 24

High stakes in Rhine Delta 25


Austrians opt for IUT 26


Spreaders - big changes 28

Reach stackers CAN do 31


Happier days for lessors 33


Entrenched in specials 36


Under closer surveillance 39


IT on the right track 42




Siemens Cranes (Siemens Netherlands) has received an order from ZPMC

to supply all the electrical drives and controls for the three ship-to-shore

cranes and six RTGs which the Chinese company is building for the Beirut

Port Authority (CGEP Beyrouth), for delivery later this year. These systems

will be engineered and built in Holland and the order is worth €4 mill.

Siemens Netherlands, the Siemens business unit with global responsibility

for harbour handling systems, is responsible not just for engineering and

delivery of the drives but also for commissioning all the cranes and RTGs.

ZPMC ’s existing co-operation with Siemens Netherlands includes cranes

and RTGs for Felixstowe (shown above)

LXE/Portek in new

marketing alliance

LXE has entered into a new marketing

alliance with Portek International,

whereby Portek will resell

LXE solutions to complement

its existing range of IT and communication

systems for container

and bulk handling terminals.

“LXE continues to deliver innovative

wireless solutions to container

ports and terminals with enhanced

solution from Portek,” said

Ong Chee Siong Gabriel, manager

for LXE Asia. “The combination

of LXE’s extensive wireless

product portfolio and Portek’s

rich experience in port solutions

will significantly enhance productivity,

control, and integration of

data throughout the enterprise.”

“We are excited about this alliance

and we hope this would

help spearhead growth of wireless

applications in the most demanding

environment like ports and

energy plants”,added Larry Lam,

chairman and CEO of Portek.

Our strength in being able to integrate

different convergent technologies

such as wireless LAN,

digital video surveillance, data

communication and OCR systems

would put us in good stead

when proposing a totally integrated

automation solution to

ports and container terminals.”

LXE has introduced two new,

IP65-rated radio data terminals for

port spread spectrum (IEEE

802.11b 2.4GHz) applications,

MX4 and MX5. Both units support

numerous radios and terminal

emulation standards, so they

easily integrate with most warehouse

management system applications.

They are Java power, supporting

the latest and most sophisticated

Java applications.

It is also introducing the new

MX3-CE series of rugged, mobile

computers suitable for port

operations. The MX3-CE offers

a Windows CE operating system,

unique form factor, enhanced

power management features, colour

display, communications versatility

and configuration flexibility

for a broad range of mobile

computing applications.

Features include phosphorescent

material keypads, which

eliminate the need for power

consuming backlighting, versatile

modular design, and a rugged

IP66 industrial rating. It offers an

MS Explorer browser for a broad

array of wireless WAN, LAN, and

mobile computing applications,

including a variety of popular

2.4GHz (IEEE 802.11b direct sequence

and Open-Air frequency

hopping) radio technologies.

First for Kalmar

This month should see the delivery

to First Container Terminal

(PKT) in St Petersburg of two

Kalmar 40 tonne SWL, 6+1, 1

over 5 RTGs. fitted with Kalmar’s

Smartrail auto steering and container

position verification systems.

The Port of St Petersburg is

aiming for a capacity of 1.2 mill

TEU/year by 2007, compared to

traffic of 438,000 TEU last year.

The operator already has 14

Kalmar straddle carriers as well as

Kalmar terminal tractors, reach

stackers and FLTs. Evgeni Yuzhilin,

general director of PKT, explains

that Smartrail as well as the port’s

ABB has developed and patented

a new concept for determining

the speed of slip-ring motors that,

it claims, overcomes the shortcomings

of previous methods.

Drive systems based on slip-ring

AC motors and ASTAT speed control

from ABB are widely used in

industrial cranes and, in most applications,

the voltage of the stator

winding is controlled with

thyristors. To ensure stable control

of the load, the control system requires

information about the motor

speed. Until now, tachometers

or encoders have been used to

measure the motor speed. However,

tachometers with their associated

equipment tend to be mechanically

sensitive and are often difficult to

install, due to space constraints.

The new control concept uses

the frequency of the rotor to determine

the speed. A measuring

device measures the voltage in the

rotor winding over a period of time.

A calculation unit uses the voltage

input signal to determine the frequency

of the rotor voltage. It is

longstanding relations with Kalmar

(and Valmet and Sisu before it)

strongly influenced its decision.

According to Yuzhilin, in the

past three years “we have experienced

very fast growth in container

handling volumes - on average

40 per cent per year. This is

evidence that the economy of

Russia is in steady growth. Our

aim is to be in the frontline of this


Other recent investments by

PKT include two 50 tonne

Panamax container cranes from

Konecranes International, due to

arrive from Hanko this October.

First Container Terminal in St Petersburg is growing rapidly

ABB slip fielder

then possible to calculate the slip

and, from this, the rotor speed.

The concept includes a signal

processor to suppress noise in the

measured voltage signal prior to

the calculations. It also transforms

and filters the analogue signal output.

In addition, the signal processor

includes an A/D converter

to give a digital signal output. A

mathematical algorithm is used in

the calculation unit to determine

the voltage frequency, slip and rotor

speed. A microprocessor provides

the calculation and other

functions, which gives a very robust

design with no additional

movable parts.

The new measurement concept

has variants, offering different

refinements. In one, the rotor

with its resistance and contactors

is monitored to detect any faults.

This variant is able to monitor the

individual drives of a crane travel

four corner drive. Another variant

includes a method to estimate

the electromagnetic and shaft

torque of a slip-ring motor.

Dear Sir,

I would like to comment on

your article on the Container

Sled in the December 2002 issue

of WorldCargo News (pp36-

7). You are correct to assume that

empties are loaded back to the

ship immediately. This maintains

the basic thought that each ship

always has the same dedicated

containers on board and inside

each container a container sled,

no matter whether the container

is carrying cargo or not. This

prevents costly repositioning

moves. The direct stevedoring

cost of back-loading empties is

taken into account when computing

the bottom line savings.

You are also correct that

there must be more sleds than

containers. All these costs have

been taken into consideration.

Since the ships will always have

their equipment (container and

sled) with them they become independent

from the shore “umbilical

cord” and regain the flexibility

of the breakbulk ship that

has been lost under the present

container system. This will lead

to higher utilisation of the ship.

Admittedly we have not said

much about rail freight, but this

does not mean that we have neglected

it. Rail freight can still be

handled by TOFC or COFC, but

in the latter case the railroad companies

can no longer use the containers

supplied by the ocean carriers.

They must supply their own

containers and each container

must have a container sled inside.

There will be a shuttle truck service

between the AS/RS warehouse

and the railhead as is employed

today between the container

yard and the railhead. We

can cater for boxcars, too, by installing

a sunken rail spur alongside

the street loading platform

of the Westfalia Technologies’ AS/

RS warehouse.

As to sea-to-sea transhipment,

our thinking is again consistent.

Every ship will have its own dedicated

number of containers on

board with one container sled inside.

We will not need ground

handling equipment such as straddle

carriers in end ports or in

transhipment ports. These containers

are taken into account

when computing the savings.

The cost ratio between water,

rail and truck transportation

is roughly 1:6:9. The trick, therefore,

is to minimise land miles

even if that means more sea

miles. We can travel nine sea

miles for every one truck mile

and still break even.

The so called gateway or hub

port is an invention of the air in-


Container Sled

debate continues

The second edition of Jan

Verschoof’s Cranes: Design, Practice

and Maintenance is now available

from Professional Engineering

Publishing Ltd*.

Ing Verschoof, acknowledged

as one of the container crane industry’s

foremost experts, was for

many years technical director of

Dutch crane maker Nelcon and

remains involved with the company

(now part of Kalmar) as an

advisor to the Board.

The first edition of Cranes was

published in 1999 and its success

is evidenced by the appearance of

the second edition little more than

three years later. The update contains

a number of new sections,

covering hatchless container

vesels, Svendborg brakes,

dustry. Perhaps it works for airlines

but I do not believe it to be

a success for seafeight.To use hub

ports and distribute by land mode

raises the total cost. The ocean

carriers have been getting away

with this for two reasons:

● They were united in conferences

legally permitted under

anti-trust laws that favoured this

and placed them in the driver’s

seat. This is coming to an end.

● Ships up to now were able to

use existing drafts in port channels.

Now with “mega” ships

the ports must dredge. This is

very expensive and is made even

more so because of ever stricter

environmental concerns and


As an example, mega container-ships

are projected to save

the operator about US$25/TEU.

The cost to dredge New York

channels alone is estimated to cost

US$2.8 bill. Interest at seven per

cent (without touching principal)

comes to US$196 mill year. As

New York has a throughput of

loaded containers of some 2 mill

TEU/year, the interest cost is

US$98/TEU, which has to be

borne by the US taxpayer. We see

here corporate welfare at its worst.

We hand US$25/TEU to the

carrier at the cost of a minimum

of US$98 to the taxpayer.

The only market where we

cannot see an answer within our

system is tank containers. They

will have to be carried in similar

fashion as they are being carried

today. But we cannot stop

progress for this exception.

Yours faithfully

Bill Hagenzieker

President, Coastwise, Inc

Rockport, Maine, USA

Editor’s note: A new company,

Port Systems, Inc (PSI), based in

York (Pa), has now been formed

by Hagenzieker and the president

of Westfalia Technologies,

Daniel Labell. PSI has patents

pending for the Container-

Cargo Automated Transfer System

(C-CATS) that will utilise

Hagenzieker’s container sled and

Westfalia’s automated storage

and retrieval system (AS/RS).

Hagenzieker is chairman and

president of PSI and Labell is director

and executive vice president.

The other PSI Board members

are Matthew Reilly (Celtic

Shipping and Projects, Severna

Park, Md), Joseph Luciano

(Letort International Consulting,

Carlisle (Pa) and retired US

Army General Joseph Franklin

(Frequency Electronics, Mitchel

Field (NY).

Cranes - 2nd edition

Bromma’s “Tandem” spreader,

spreader positioning systems, the

Stewart reeving platform, container

ID with laser scanners, digital

camera monitoring systems

and the Promo-Teus conveyor belt


The book retains the “reader

friendliness” of the first edition

with its clear, concise format,

equations and formulae and its

emphasis on explanatory drawings,

illustrations and photographs. It

can be read with satisfaction both

by Verschoof ’s engineering peers

and interested “amateurs” - no

mean achievement.

* Telephone: (+ 44) (0) 1284 763277.


(quote ISBN 1 86058 373 3)

February 2003


Clark passes round the Hat

Korea-based Young An Hat Company Ltd

(YAHC), reputedly the world’s largest hat

manufacturer, is to acquire the assets of

Clark Material Handling Company and

around US$10 mill in debt, for US$7.5

mill. YAHC was the successful bidder in

the asset auction.

Its diversified holdings already include

hotels, farm equipment, a supermarket

chain and multiple bus manufacturing

businesses. Clark filed for bankruptcy under

Chapter XI of the US Bankruptcy

Code in April 2000, listing US$349 mill

in assets and US$374 mill in debts.

Five companies submitted bids and

deposits by the 22 January deadline, but

three dropped out before the auction in

Wilmington (De) a few days later. Clark’s

CEO Kevin Reardon intimated that the

other bid, from a New York equity bank,

was tantamount to an asset strippping


YAHC plans to base Clark’s manufacturing

operation in Korea and the sales

office and headquarters in Lexington,

Kentucky. Existing badge-engineering

deals such as those with Italy-based ZV

announced last year remain valid.

Reardon will reportedly stay on as

Clark’s CEO under the new ownership.

Reardon encouraged YAHC to bid. He

first became acquainted with its chairman,

CEO and founder Sung Hak Baik

through a Korean financial group that

had worked to restructure Clark’s debt

in Korea during the company’s bankruptcy.

Reardon was formerly president

of Clark’s Korean operations for more

than four years.

When a buyout deal with Sun Capital

Partners, Inc collapsed just before

Christmas, a call to YAHC sparked interest.

“We got on a ’plane on 27 December

and spent a week with them,”

said Reardon. YAHC’s bid provides US$5

mill to pay debtor-in-possession financing,

US$1.5 mill for professional and legal

services and US$1 million for administrative

claims. At the end of the bankruptcy,

Clark had total debts of around

US$252 mill, including US$150 mill

owed to bond holders, US$50 mill to

trade creditors and the remainder in

other claims. It is unclear what will happen

to these debts under the new ownership.

According to Reardon, Clark booked

sales of US$220 mill last year and has projected

a 20 per cent increase this year, with

the parts business returning to normal.



Crane brake support

Bubenzer Bremsen has entered into a

new venture with Malaysia-based My

Port to provide brake support services

to crane manufacturers and users

throughout the Asia Pacific region. The

new company, known as Bubenzer-My

Port Sdn Bhd, is located in Johor Bahru.

Bubenzer owns 51 per cent and My Port

49 per cent.

The general manager is Suzanna E

Jamain, who is managing director of My

Port, the harbour systems integrator set

up in 1999 to offer a range of software

engineering, consulting, trading, training

and R&D services. The brake support

services will include everything

from initial commissioning to laser

alignment, thruster and brake repair and


● UK-based Bridon Ropes has extended

its worldwide distribution network

with the appointment of Thai

Mui Trading to distribute its crane rope

products throughout Thailand. The

company is based in Sattahip and its

sales director is Veerakait Leelprachakul.

The Sattahip branch will

serve mainly the local offshore industry

and complements Thai Mui’s main

operation in Bangkok.



The management of Morris Port Automation

recently completed a buy-out

from France-based Savoye Logistics Ltd.

The new company is known as International

Terminal Solutions Limited (ITS)

and is headed up by Richard Lambert.

Projects on which ITS is currently

working include:

● A Position Determination System with

driver work instruction touch panels for

container moves at a new intermodal yard

in British Columbia. The system, to service

Canadian and US rail traffic, includes

container tracking and verification.

● An RDT system expansion for shipload/discharge

and yard moves in South

East Asia.

● A straddle carrier positioning system

with a twin lift feature for a UK port.

● A Spiral container search facility for an

RTG operation on the US East Coast.

This facility automatically updates and

presents to the operator the order of the

closest moves to him. The system, claims

ITS, has dramatically reduced the keying

required and has optimised the selection

and implementation of the yard


SRC wins

new trestle


SRC Scandinavian Ro-Ro Consultants

AB, based in Gothenburg, has secured a

major order for its patented trailer lashing

system from DFDS Tor Line AB. The

deal includes 400 units of SRC’s latest

LOT trestle for two existing vessels.

The LOT does not require any alteration

to deck layout or configuration

but still considerably reduces or even

eliminates the need for manual lashings

and significantly reduces turnaround

time. DFDS Tor Line is already using

LOT on its Immingham-Esbjerg route.

The new contract includes SAT autolocking

trestles for DFDS Tor Line’s

newbuilding at Flensburg which is due

for delivery in September. As previously

reported in Worldcargo News, the SAT

model has been successfully utilised on

the (then Tor Line’s) Gothenburg-

Immingham service since 1998. The new

order is worth around €1.4 mill and represents

a telling confirmation of SRC’s

auto-trestle concept.

February 2003 3



Coming out of its Shell

P&O Ports says it is ready to commit

up to £650 mill over 15 years

to turn its “London Gateway”

project (ex-Shellhaven) into a 3.5

mill TEU/year container terminal

by 2020. With a depth alongside

the berths of 16m and with

14.5m in the channel and turning

basin, the company reckons

the facility would be able to accommodate

≥380m LOA, 14,000

TEU ships at any state of the tide.

On final build-out, up to 27

superpost-Panamax cranes capable

of working a 24-wide deck

stow, with a 30m rail span and 20m

backreach, would be stationed on

the 50m apron along 2300m of

linear quay. In principle, P&O

Ports has opted for 1 over 5 RTG

stacks aligned parallel to the quay

in the 415 acre terminal, made up

185 acres of existing port land and

230 acres to be reclaimed.

The project requires 35 mill m 3

of dredging of which 20 mill m 3



VOLUME 10 NUMBER 2 • ISSN 1355-0551
























Telephone: +33 55 53 33 716




Telephone: +39 010 583 684 Fax: +39 010 566 578


P&O Ports could invest up to £650 mill in the London Gateway project

would be used for landfill. The net

hydraulic impact of the project is

negligible, states P&O Ports’ chief

ports engineer, Anthony Burdall.

As previously reported (see

WorldCargo News January 2003,

p24), public inquiries start this

month into the three planning

applications by P&O Ports for the

container and ro-ro terminal and

by Shell and P&O Ports jointly

for the adjacent 773 acre logistics

and commercial centre and to upgrade

the existing rail access. The

inquiries should be finished by the

end of August and it could take

up to one year after that for the

Inspector to draw up his report

and make his recommendations to

the government.

This massive site is mostly

brownfield and it has major job

creation potential in the heart of

the government’s own Thames

Gateway development area. On the

other hand, even after planned road

access improvements, local road

traffic impacts will be significant.

Moreover, the target of 30 per cent

inland distribution by rail is reliant

on the SRA actually carrying

through promised improvements to

the North London line. Without

this, rail’s share could be as low as

10 per cent of inland moves.

The target for water-to-water

transhipment is in the order of 10-

20 per cent of throughput. In addition,

the commercial/logistics

centre should also be a substantial

generator of import/export container

traffic that would never have

to go near a public road. Apart

from the port’s rail link, all the

warehousing/distribution modules

in the commercial centre will

have facilities for rail access, but

market confidence in rail has

weakened in recent months.

If either of the two schemes is

turned down, the successful one

will apparently still go ahead, albeit

perhaps on a reduced scale. Assuming

the port project is approved,

P&O Ports hopes to have the first

phase - comprising two container

berths, the 2-berth ro-ro terminal,

a new jetty for Shell (for its bitumen

plant and aviation fuel depot)

and the new road and rail access -

ready within two years of starting

work and by 2007 at the latest.

The timing of subsequent

phases depends on supply and demand

factors. The supply side will

be strongly influenced by whether

and when other schemes get the

go-ahead - Felixstowe southern

port remodelling, Bathside Bay

and Dibden Bay, in particular.

● P&O Ports has reached “heads

of agreement” with Cobelfret to

build and operate the London

Gateway ro-ro terminal. Cobelfret’s

managing director Christian

Cigrang said the facility would

complement its operations at

Purfleet. Previously P&O announced

a provisional deal for the

ro-ro development with Dart Line

but in the event nothing concrete

was ever signed.

India bends the rules

The Indian government has decided

to make major changes in

investments norms for major ports

and relax conditions set in the past,

so that investors can decide what

is best for them and the port in

which they are investing.

In future, Port Trusts will not

lay down conditions on how much

a private operator should invest and

the time-frame within which it

should do so, Michael Pinto, secretary

in the Ministry of Shipping

told Business Line newspaper.

The Ministry has also asked

Port Trusts to waive the minimum

guaranteed throughput (MGT)

requirement, which was laid down

in the past as a condition of any

licence given to the terminal operator.

MGT was part of the condition

when ports demanded an

up front fee from the operator.

The ports have now been asked

to recover only a minimum amount

as an up front fee and to change to

a revenue sharing format. The up

front fee will be levied only to recover

the amount spent by the Port

Trust on developing the facilities

before handing it over to the private


“There will be very few nonnegotiable

conditions while developing

a cargo handling facility at a

major port with private participation,”

Pinto said, adding that once

the government selects an operator,

it should be left to the operator

to decide how much to invest.


HK terminals

set box record

Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung container

port handled a record 11.9

mill TEU last year, up 5.4 per cent

over the 2001 figure, on the back

of robust exports from China’s

Pearl River Delta factories and

increased intra-Asia trade.

Throughput at Cosco-HIT,

which has two berths, rose about

16 per cent to 1.54 mill TEU.

Hongkong International Terminals

(HIT), the largest operator

with 10 berths, handled 5.67 mill

TEU, up 5.6 per cent.

Volume at Modern Terminals

(MTL), the second largest with

five berths, rose 3.6 per cent to

3.61 mill TEU. MTL managing

director Erik Christensen attributed

the slow growth to a high

base in 2001, when Maersk

Sealand used the terminal while

switching its Asian transhipment

hub from Singapore to the

Karachi’s newly-launched and second

private container terminal

project, Premier International

Container Terminal (PICT), at the

east wharf, has appointed leading

Hamburg operator HHLA and

the UK’s Aeolina Investment Co

as foreign partners. Scheduled for

commissioning in early 2004, the

US$65 mill PICT project is slated

to have an initial capacity of 1.5

mill TEU/year and be a major

competitor to Hutchison’s KICT

at the west wharf.

PICT has been set up by local

stevedoring company Premier

Mercantile Services (PMS) following

a 30 years BOT concession

award. Currently the area is

operated by PMS but current capacity

is no more than 100,000

TEU/year, mainly for MISC.

Karachi handled 715,000 TEU

last year but there is a widespread

belief that it will become a major

transit gateway for Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, KICT has requested

two more berths from the Karachi

Port Trust.

● HHLA’s consulting division

HPC is understood to have won

Malaysian Port of Tanjung Pelepas.

He expects growth of 5-6 per cent

at MTL this year, with handling

capacity expanding 10-20 per cent

in the middle of the year.

CSX World Terminals, which

has one berth, was the only one

to record a decline, down 2.3 per

cent to 1.07 mill TEU. “Our

throughput was affected by the

problems at US west coast ports,”

explained CSX managing director

Alan Lee. Maersk Sealand, the

terminal’s largest user, temporarily

suspended US services in the

wake of the 10-day lock-out of

west coast ports in October.

Though the final figures for

2002 are not yet in, overall

throughput in Hong Kong, which

includes river trade and midstream

operations, is expected to have

topped19 mill TEU, up by 6.6 per

cent over the 2001 figure.


a contract to design a new terminal

at Kaveh on the Iranian island

of Qeshm. Total cost of the project

is estimated at US$250 mill.

An early


Dear Sir,

In the January 2003 issue of

WorldCargo News (p24) you

said that Felixstowe South redevelopment

will allow

Hutchison to put Bathside Bay

on the “back burner.”

For the record, our intentions

to develop Bathside Bay

and the time scales involved are

unaffected by the announcement

of the redevelopment of

part of Felixstowe.


Paul Davey

Corporate Affairs Manager

Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd




Telephone: +81 3 3479 6131 Fax: +81 3 3479 6130




Telephone: +82 2 739 7840 Fax: +82 2 732 3662




Telephone: +34 942 52 86 62 Fax: +34 942 52 86 77



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England. Telephone: +44 1372 375511 Fax: +44 1372 370111


Subscriptions are available from the address above

or via our website:

WorldCargo News/ISSN 1355-0551 is published monthly for US$155 per year by

WCN Publishing. Periodicals postage paid at Rahway, NJ. Postmaster: Send

address changes to WCN Publishing c/o Mercury Airfreight International Ltd, 365

Blair Road, Avenel, NJ 07001


February 2003


New plan

for Saudi

The Saudi government has unveiled plans

to privatise more services at the country’s

ports as part of a major sell-off of

state interests in 20 sectors in an attempt

to pay off the country’s US$168 bill public


Riyadh has stopped short of privatising

the ports themselves and the Saudi

Ports Authority (SPA) will retain its status

as landlord. Concessions will be leased

to private operators on either a BOO or

BOT basis. The cabinet decision is the

latest of a series of reforms shepherded

by transport minister Dr Abdulaziz ibn

Ibrahim al-Mana.

Since 1996, the conservative kingdom

has transferred non-oil terminal operations

to the private sector, with container

terminals at Jeddah and Dammam leased

to Dubai Ports International, Gulf

Stevedoring and Hutchison. Jeddah has

gained a reputation for good productivity

at both the South Terminal, operated

by Siyanco DPA and the North Container

Ter minal (NCT) managed by Gulf

Stevedoring. Last August SPA slashed its

container tariffs by 50 per cent and this

has generated new business for both

Siyanco DPA and NCT

“The port has made a concerted effort

since privatisation to change the perception

of the market about Jeddah and

there have been improvements on many

issues. Productivity has improved across

the port and both terminals now perform

as well as any Middle East port, and better

than most,” claimed Ken Bedward of

Siyanco DPA. Average productivity is now

said to be 65 moves/berth hour (gross).

Siyanco DPA indicates that it achieved

106 moves per berth hour when working

MSC’s BARBARA, which exchanged a

record 4000 TEU during a single visit.

“With strong investment, as at NCT,

and a more positive attitude to the requirements

of shipping lines and their

customers, Jeddah is well set to increase

its share of the region’s container traffic,”

said John Obee, terminal manager at

Gulf’s North Container Terminal (NCT).

“There has been a noticeable increase in

the number of containers carrying cargo

out of Saudi Arabia. If the export trade

continues to grow, then lines may well

look at Jeddah a little differently.”

Changes at


Subject to an EGM called for 25 February,

the much-heralded departure of P&O

Ports and GIP from CICT Cagliari should

be sanctioned at the end of this month

and the new president and Board nominated

from Contship Italia (see

WorldCargo News, January 2003, p14).

CASIC is expected to keep its 28.9

per cent holding but it is not clear if the

local dockworkers’ will want to get back

in by reclaiming their previous minority

interest, or whether Contship Italia will

take over the whole of the 71.1 per cent

being given up by P&O Ports/GIP.

CICT has proved to be a costly

embarassment for P&O Ports. According

to some local observers, it rushed into the

deal in the belief that it could pull P&ON

from Malta. The operator has a new foothold

in the Mediterranean, in Marseilles,

through Egis Ports.

Meanwhile, a 35 per cent share in

TICT Trieste International Container

Terminal, the operator of the port’s Molo

VI/VII container terminal, has changed

hands, with Franco Parisi SpA exiting and

being replaced by Midolini SpA. As part

of the deal, TICT’s capital base is being

increased to cover losses, although the

shares of the other stakeholders remain

unchanged - Luka Koper with 49 per

cent, Adriafer, the Port of Trieste Authority

(APT)’s intermodal affiliate, with 10

per cent and IPT, the dockworkers’ company,

with six per cent.

Göteborg adopts major

investment package

US$45 mill is to be invested in the Port

of Göteborg’s Skandia Container Terminal

to allow it to handle even larger container

vessels than today.

Approved by the Port of Göteborg

board at its latest meeting, this is the largest

investment decision ever made by the

port. The Skandia Container Terminal is

already capable of accommodating the

largest container vessels in service, but the

port wants to be prepared for even larger

vessels or new demands on water depths

at quayside due to liner loop changes.

In a joint fairway enhancement programme,

the Swedish Shipping Administration

and the Port of Göteborg will

straighten, widen and deepen the approaches

to the port. The programme will

increase the water depth at the deepsea

container berths from 12m to 14.2m.

The increased depth will make

strengthening of the quay necessary, since

the construction of the quay more than

thirty years ago did not take into account

the depths now anticipated. Heavy landfill

material will be replaced by lighter material

to avoid excessive pressure on the

quay construction.

In addition, a third crane rail will be

installed, allowing container cranes with

a 30m gauge to be used in addition to

the 20m-gauge cranes of today.

According to a port spokesman, with

575,000 TEU handled in 2002 and an 8

per cent annual increase maintained,

Skandia Container Terminal’s capacity of

750,000 TEU per annum is likely to be

reached in two or three years. Additional

capacity will be created through terminal

layout adjustments, new machinery

and improved working patterns.

The 6,600 TEU SOFIE MAERSK at berth at

the Skandia Container Terminal. The new

investment package will allow even larger vessels

to be accommodated



February 2003 5



Subic’s painful piles

A row has blown up over the Subic quay structure specifications

A row over who can supply steel

piles may further delay construction

of the new Subic Bay container

terminal in the Philippines.

The bid documents specify either

seamless pipes or pipes with only

one longitudinal weld seam on

any section, neither of which are

manufactured locally. In all, the

port facility will require some

18,800 tons of piles, worth

Pesos150-160 mill.

The stipulation, based on recommendations

made by the Japanese

project consultants, Tokyobased

Pacific Consultants International

Ltd (PCI), has led to allegations

that the contract is being

steered towards Japanese companies

and has refueled debate over

Tokyo’s “tied” ODA loans. The Yen

16.45-bill loan granted by the Japan

Bank for International Cooperation

(JBIC) for the project

requires that at least 50 per cent

of the goods and services be

sourced from Japan. But the Japanese

are said already to account

for 51 per cent (the primary contractor

should be Japanese) and

could well get more.

The Philippine Large Diameter

Pressure Pipe Manufacturers’

Association has petitioned the

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority

(SBMA) to allow the use of

spirally welded pipes with a corresponding

increase in diameter

from 1.2m to 1.3m and a decrease

in steel plate thickness from 22mm

to 19mm to preserve structural

strength. This type is already being

provided for the Batangas

Phase II and the Mindanao container

terminal projects, both

funded by the JBIC.

Association member firms

ought to have the edge, it is reasoned,

in any international competitive

bidding for the Subic pipe

contact because of cheaper labour

costs, even if the materials come

(almost certainly) from Japan. The

deadline for submission of bids

falls next month, but it is hoped

the JBIC and PCI will agree to

the rule change before the contract

is awarded in June or July.

Much will also depend on the

winner’s consent. Sources close to

the bidding say Penta Ocean Construction

Co Ltd has the inside

track amongst the four Japanese

groups vying for the project.

● Container throughput at the

Subic freeport surged by 56 per

cent to 69,579 TEU during the first

11 months of 2002. Nearly 29 per

cent of the volume, however, consisted

of empties. SBMA admits that

many exporters in central and

northern Luzon still ship out their

products through Manila because

of the “arbitrary charges” imposed

by APL and Maersk Sealand and

the less-than-ideal condition of the

Olongapo-Gapan Highway to

Subic. SBMA officials hope to address

these problems with the construction

of the new Subic container

terminal and the first leg of

the 89.3 km Subic-Clark-Tarlac

toll highway. The road project will

link the freeport with the Clark

special economic zone in

Pampanga province and the Luisita

Industrial Park in Tarlac province.


Mergers in BA?

The Argentine government is

considering changes to the existing

port privatisation laws which

would allow any terminal operator

at Puerto Nuevo, Buenos Aires,

to be taken over by or merged

with another. The laws were written

up to prevent the former public

monopoly being replaced by a

private one and, up to now, only

an “outsider” could buy up an

operator (as Maersk bought T4

operator Gabriel in 2000). Two

years ago, a government decree

which would have allowed a

merger of TRP (P&O Ports) with

TPA was successfully blocked in

the courts by Murchison (see

WorldCargo News, March 2001,

p27). However, a merger now

looks to be on the cards again.

Murchison, the operator of

Terminal Zaraté (TZ) north of

Buenos Aires, has now dropped its

case. Company manager Antonio

Zuidwijk explained that market

conditions have changed. Last

September TZ obtained its first

“deepsea” customer, the VSA4

service to North Europe. “The

results are very promising,” said

Zuidwijk. “The clients are very

pleased with their decision and we

have been able to prove the benefits

of the stategic location of Terminal

Zaraté...and are very confident

that we will attract more


Zuidwijk also states that the

new government decree is expected

to be different in several

important respects to the earlier

one Murchison objected to, since

Terminal Zaraté boasts a high share of inland rail moves

that would have allowed all five

terminal concessions in Buenos

Aires eventually to end up in the

hands of only one of the big international

operators. Even more

importantly, it would have

allowed all kinds of cooperation

deals between the terminals,

against the original rules. These

rules will be maintained under the

new decree and Murchison will

apparently be reimbursed for all

the legal costs it incurred.

Murchison originally feared

that a TRP/TPA merger would

make it possible for TRP to fill in

one or more basins and create a

very big terminal. But with the

way things are going at TZ, it feels

more confident and believes that

it will be difficult for TRP to make

such an enormous investment and

remain competitive, considering

that TZ has plenty of inexpensive

space available, with many other

advantages such as excellent road

and rail access. The near dock rail

terminal in particular is proving

its worth.

Many Argentine export cargoes

have to travel between 700

and 1600 km to the port of Buenos

Aires, where rail access is restricted.

Freight trains have to play

second fiddle to suburban passenger

services, their length and

weight are restricted and they are

allocated only very short timewindows.

As a result only 5-6 per

cent of the containers at the port

of Buenos Aires arrive or leave by

rail. At TZ, in contrast, 45 per cent

of all export traffic arrives by rail.


Shanghai splits

The Shanghai Port Authority has

been split into two, with the formation

of the Shanghai Port Administration

Bureau as the regulator

for the port and Shanghai International

Port Group (SIPG),

which will operate it.

Xu Piexing, former deputy

director of the Shanghai Construction

and Administration

Commission, heads the new

watchdog, while Lu Haihu,

former director of the authority,

is at the helm of SIPG. Xu said

the bureau, which is solely responsible

for planning, coordinating

and executing laws and regulations,

will follow international

conventions to serve port-related


“The reform is critically important

to the city’s process of

building itself into a shipping centre

in North East Asia,” said Vice-

Mayor Han Zheng at the launch

of the two companies. “By learning

from the experience of large

ports in other parts of the world,

Shanghai has to further its port

reforms, set up a highly efficient

management mechanism and create

an international operational


Shanghai handled 8.61 mill

TEU last year and the figure is expected

to top 10 mill TEU this year

- two years ahead of the projected

opening of the city’s deepsea port

at Yangshan Islands in 2005.

SIPG will operate like a holding

company. It has a 50 per cent

stake in Shanghai Container Terminals

(SCT), in which Hong

Kong’s Hutchison Port Holdings

holds 37 per cent. It also directly

controls the first and the fourth

phases of Waigaoqiao Container

Terminals and is the largest shareholder

in the listed Shanghai Port

Container Co, which controls the

second and third phases of


SIPG plans to set up a joint

venture that will control the first

phase of Waigaoqiao, in which it

will have a 40 per cent stake,

Hutchison 30 per cent, Shanghai

Industrial Investment Holdings 20

per cent and Hong Kong-listed

Cosco Pacific 10 per cent. The

plan has been delayed, however,

because of some disagreements

among the parties over container

handling charges.

SIPG is also in talks with Danish

shipping giant AP Moller for

further cooperation in the fourth

phase of the Waigaoqiao terminal.

The two sides set up a joint

venture earlier this year to manage

the fourth phase after it is

completed this month.

SIPG also has a 40 per cent

stake in Tongshen, the company

which is building the new deepwater

container port for Shanghai

at Yangshan Islands, some 30

km offshore.

February 2003



Mountains of empty containers at

major Australian seaports are causing

major headaches for carriers,

facing the dual problems of a continuing

import boom just as export

volumes are hit hard by the

nation’s prolonged drought.

Llew Russell, chief executive

of peak carrier body Shipping

Australia Ltd (SAL) predicts importers

will need to brace for even

more freight rate increases if the

viability of existing shipping services

is to be maintained. “The

speed of introduction of these increases,

however, will need to take

into account the capacity of the

market to absorb them,” he said.

The drought has drastically

reduced container exports of agricultural

products such as grain,

rice, cotton, meat, dairy products,

fruit, and vegetables. Import containers

are continuing to pour in

and empties are piling up on the

wharves because there are insufficient

exports to take up the slack.

“The imbalance is growing daily,”

Russell said.

Sydney witnessed a near 50 per

cent increase in empty containers


Empty boxes flood Oz

Hapag-Lloyd chartered the 1,733 TEU LINCOLN for a repositioning voyage

in the second half of last year and

this is being replicated in other

major Australian ports. Imports

have been on a steady rise since

July 2002 with the usual post-peak

pre-Christmas taper failing to occur

and carrier projections indicating

volumes from East Asia in

particular will remain strong

throughout 2003.

The glut of empties has been

partly eased by use of a procession

of redundant P&O Nedlloyd

tonnage, displaced from various

services by the two new ANZ Alliance

contra-rotating RTW services,

heading to Chinese breakers

via Singapore, Laem Chabang,

Hong Kong and Shanghai. Nevertheless,

Hapag-Lloyd chartered

in the 1,733 TEU LINCOLN for a

special repositioning voyage with

a full load of empties from Sydney

and Melbourne to Kaohsiung.

SAL said that at a cost of

A$300-A$650 per container to

reposition empties (the higher rate

would apply if vessels were chartered

for this purpose), the cost

impact of shifting some 200,000

containers over the next twelve

months could reach A$70 mill.

Havana on hold

The Cuban government has frozen

all planned investments in the

Port of Havana, including those

already underway such as the

US$8 mill project to add another

150m of berth at Terminal de

Contenedores de Habaña (TCH),

even though finance had already

been obtained from Spanish banks

and the work had already been

assigned. The long-term plan remains,

however, to turn TCH into

a 55 hectare terminal with nine

gantry cranes along 1000m of

berth, capable of handling 1.8 mill


TCH has been affected by a

drop in imports because of the impact

on tourism of 911. Formed in

1998 as Cuba’s only private terminal

operator, THC originally budgeted

for a traffic of 180,000 TEU/

year being reached by the end of

its 15-year concession (with a 5-

year option) in 2013, but throughput

reached 262,000 TEU in 2001,

only to fall back last year.

Despite this setback THC,

which has attained breakeven

every year since it took over in

1998, is budgeting for a small

profit this year, explains its director

general Juan José Suarez from

Spain-based Peréz y Cía, the TCB

affiliate which has a 50 per cent

stake in TCH (the other two 25

per cent shareholders being Cuba’s

Acemex and Unión Marítima

Portuaria). To date TCH has invested

US$35 mill and last month

it took delivery of its third Impsa

gantry crane. Productivity in 2002

rose to 24 containers/berth hour

and the dock workers have incentive

packages which can increase

TCH’s long-term plans are said to be still on course

US$20 bill needed

for Chinese ports

China is set to become the world’s

largest market for containerised

cargo within eight years and will

have to invest more than US$20

bill in port-related infrastructure

to serve the industry, according to

a United Nations report.

The report - Regional Shipping

and Port Development Strategies Under

a Changing Environment - by the

Economic and Social Commission

for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP),

says Asia will produce the majority

of the world’s containerised exports

by 2011 - 51 per cent compared

with 46 per cent in 1999. At the

same time, the region’s share of containerised

imports will increase 4

per cent to 44 per cent.

China will lead the regional

growth drive. “By 2011, China

will clearly be the world’s largest

container market, outstripping

[the United States] in both imports

and exports,” the report says.

By that time, China’s exports

(including Hong Kong) are expected

to exceed 28 mill TEU/

year, while imports will approach

20 mill TEU. Those volumes will

spur the construction of almost 40

per cent of the world’s new container

berths in China, Hong

Kong and Taiwan. The berths

alone will cost over US$10 bill,

according to the terminal pricing

strategies set out in the report.

“To handle the anticipated

port container traffic in 2011, over

430 new container berths will be

required in the region,” the report

says. “To construct and equip these

berths will require an investment

of around US$27 bill. The largest

number [will be] accounted for by

China, including Hong Kong and

Taiwan, which will require more

than 160 new berths by 2011.”

The report estimates that

throughput at China’s ports will

grow 12 per cent a year to 2011,

and tips the country to become

Asia’s largest generator of containerised

cargo within three years.

their average US$15 monthly

wage four or five times.

Havana is well-placed geographically

to take up a regional

transhipment and relay role but is

compromised by long-standing

US hostility and by its channel

depth of 9.75m, which limits it to

vessels of no more than 3,500

TEU, although there is a longterm

dredging plan.

The terminal is served by a

daily block train to Villaclara and

Santiago de Cuba but this is insufficient

to cope with potential

demand. A strictly-enforced law

prohibits container trucking trips

of more than 200 km (each way).



Philippines President Gloria Arroyo

has quashed plans to expand Manila

International Container Terminal

(MICT), the flagship of terminal

operator International Container

Terminal Services Inc

(ICTSI) and the country’s busiest

container terminal with an annual

capacity of 1.5 mill TEU.

The Philippine Ports Authority

(PPA) said the decision was

taken after recommendations made

by a team headed by Trade and Industry

Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Arroyo has told PPA general manager

Al Cusi to concentrate on improving

existing facilities.

Informed sources said Arroyo

concurred with the recommendations

of her economic team that

MICT has reached saturation

point and ports outside Metro

Manila were capable of handling

the surplus cargo. The President

has vowed to complete port

projects in Batangas and Subic Bay.


February 2003


GPA on spending spree

Slower in

The Georgia Ports Authority

(GPA) Board of Directors has authorised

the purchase of new yard

Without new berths being


cranes and a series of terminal

brought into service, the growth

upgrades designed to enhance operations

at the Port of Savannah

which is running at full capacity,

of Shenzhen port in south China,

to cope with unprecedented

will slow down this year after recording

a year-on-year 50 per cent


A US$2.9 mill construction

increase in throughput in 2002.

contract has been awarded for the

However, the port can still

ongoing conversion of the Garden

City Terminal from a chassis

this year by improving working

handle at least an additional 1 mill

to a stacking operation. When

efficiency, industry insiders said.

complete, the conversion will

Shenzhen handled 7.61 mill TEU

more than triple the container

last year. “It is expected that

handling capacity at the terminal.

Shenzhen could handle 9 mill

Six new RTGs will be acquired Container handling capacity at Savannah is being tripled

TEU this year,” said a senior port

at a cost of up to US$7.2 mill.

official. That would represent an

In addition, three new 65 LT Expenditures of up to reduce and eliminate delays experienced

at the gates,” said Doug J throughput compared with 2002.”

18.2 per cent rise in container

spreaders will be ordered to accommodate

an increased volume proved for the construction of 172 Marchand, GPA’s executive direc-

“This goal could be reached

US$250,000 have also been ap-

of container moves and larger vessels.

The new spreaders will en-

reefer plugs to accommodate curperienced

a 60 per cent increase ated from the manufacturing

additional 480-volt permanent tor. “In December last year, we ex-

given the abundant goods generhance

the effectiveness of two new rent volumes and future growth. in container volume over the same powerhouse in the Pearl River

KCI Konecranes superpost- “The new cranes and terminal

upgrades will greatly improve the history of GPA have we had strained by its limited handling

time the previous year. Never in Delta region, but the port is con-

Panamax cranes due to arrive at

the Port of Savannah next month. terminal operations and further such tremendous growth.” capacity,” said Wang Guowen, an

analyst with China Development

Institute, a government think tank.

“The only way is to improve efficiency

as there are no new berths

PSA jobs

at hand.”

However, industry observers

cut back Dubai plans big

Almost 500 jobs are to be axed by

PSA Corporation in Singapore as

it faces up to the need to cut tariffs

even more to face up to regional


Another 800 posts are being

scrapped through retirement and

transfer as the embattled organisation

is offloading non-core airport

handling, cruise terminal, exhibitions

and cable car business interests

to Hazeltree Holdings, part

of Temasek Holdings. Already in

2000, PSA transferred its non-port

property interests to Temasek.

The latest to join the list of high

profile management departures at

PSA is Goon Kok Loon, deputy

group president (international) and

president (international business division).

Goon, who took up these

posts in 1995-1996, spearheaded

PSA’s participation in 14 overseas

port projects, but PSA has confirmed

that his duties will be covered

by newly-appointed executive

deputy chairman, Eddie Teh,

fuellinglocal speculation that Goon

is the latest victim of Teh’s appointment

as he reshapes PSA to make

it more customer-focused.

Dubai Ports Authority (DPA) has

unveiled a plan to increase capacity

at Jebel Ali to 22 mill TEU/

year by 2020. The four-phase programme

is costed at US$1.1 bill.

Phase 1 (2002-5) is already

underway and is estimated at

US$237 mill. It involves widening

the channel by 90m to 325m,

dredging the existing berths to -

17m alongside, construction of

three more deepwater berths and

acquisition of up to 14 superpost-

Panamax cranes.

Phases 2 and 3, timed for 2005-

7 and 2007-10 and costed at

US$174 mill and US$196 mill respectively,

include acquisition of up

to 21 more quayside cranes for additional

deepwater berths. Capacity

on completion of Phase 3 in

2010 is put at 9.7 mill TEU/year.

Phase 4 (2010-2020) is contingent

on traffic levels at that time.

If the US$659 mill Phase 4

does go ahead, it will create three

completely new terminals with

annual capacities of 2.7 mill TEU

(Terminal 2), 4.7 mill TEU (Terminal

3) and another 4.7 mill TEU

(Terminal 4). Phase 4 requires reclamation

of additional land beyond

the existing breakwater.

● Oman’s Ports Services Corporation

(PSC) is drawing up a new

masterplan for the long-term development

of Mina Qaboos. PSC

wants to build a new 650m berth

with a depth of 15m alongside by

converting the breakwater at

Shutaify Bay. It has invited international

consultants to bid on a

contract covering technical design

and long-term traffic forecasts.

● It is understood that the Bahrain

government has made an approach

to PTP Tanjung Pelepas

operator Seaport Terminals to take

over management and operations

at Mina Sulman. As previously reported,

Seaport is divesting 50 per

cent of its stake in PTP to Malaysia


● Dubai Ports, Customs and Free

Zone Corp has signed a US$1.4

bill agreement to develop port and

free zone infrastructure in the

Dominican Republic. The agreement,

signed on behalf of Jebel Ali

Free Zone International and

Dubai Ports International, provides

for the management and development

near the city of Monte

Cristo of a free zone, a port complex

and separate freight and passenger


say that some containers would

have to be diverted to Hong Kong

if volumes in Shenzhen exceeded

8.5 mill TEU.

Construction of the fourberth

third phase of Yantian International

Container Terminals

(YICT) in east Shenzhen began

late last year, while the two-berth

second phase of Shekou Container

Terminals (SCT) in west

Shenzhen is also under construction.

But the first berths of the

two projects will not be finished

until the end of this year and will

not become operational until

early next year.

The Shenzhen government

has a more ambitious long-term

target to increase annual container

handling capacity to 11 mill TEU

by 2005 and 18 mill TEU by 2010.

To this end, the government has

decided to develop Dachan Bay

Container Terminals, located in

west Shenzhen, during the 11th

Five-Year Plan (2006-2010).

Dachan was being kept in reserve

for development after 2010.

The completion of Dachan

terminals, with a total of 15 berths,

will increase annual capacity by 7

mill TEU.

In response to growing demand

from bulk aggregate shippers, the

Port of Fujairah has commissioned

a 2000 t/h travelling shiploader and

associated conveying systems from

ThyssenKrupp. Last year aggregates

shipments increased by 42 per cent

and topped 6 mt, putting heavy

pressure on the previous conventional

grab crane operation.

The conveyors run a total of

3,500m from the quarry to the

shiploading jetty where vessels up

to 80,000 dwt can be handled by

the shiploader. Previously trucks

came from the quarry and discharged

material to a buffer storage

zone. Trucks were then reloaded

by wheel loader and drayed

to the quay when the ship called.

The port has refocused quickly

given the sharp fall in container



Fujairah bulks up

The new ThyssenKrupp shiploader

and conveying plant for aggregrates

traffic last year, following APL’s decision

to call direct at Mumbai instead

of transhipping at Fujairah.

Container traffic fell to 300,000

TEU from 400,000 TEU in 2001.

The port’s main quay has been

extended by 600m to 1400m and

the harbour entrance and basin

deepened to -15m. Port authority

general manager Capt Mousa

Murad said the port would continue

its search for extra container

volumes as well as build on its reputation

as a multi-purpose port.

There is now paved storage

space for 25,000 TEU following

reorganisation and the freeing up

of land previously used for aggregates


Tangier moves on

Tender documents for the construction

of the docks and terminals

for the planned new port

at Tangier are being prepared by

the project manager, Tangier-

Mediterranean Special Agency

(ASTM), for issuance in May, on

a BOT basis. The successful

bidder(s) will be responsible for

developing trades in the industrial

free zones to be set up adjacent

to the port, as well as financing

and operating the port.

The free zones are aimed at

stimulating local imp/ex traffic,

taking advantage of cheap and

abundant labour, although the

US$1 bill project is still focused

on transhipment potential as was

the earlier, aborted Tanger-

Atlantique scheme.

Six of the seven prequalifiers

for the dredging and construction

works submitted bids to

ASTM by the 27 January deadline.

They include France-based

Bouygues Travaux Publics,

which was involved in the earlier

scheme, this time bidding

together with Saipem from Italy

and Morococan firm Bymaro.

The winner(s) will be

known shortly as construction

is due to start in March this year

and is slated for completion in

June 2006. The contract supervision

has been entrusted to the

UK’s Halcrow group, which

won the deal ahead of competing

bids from six other firms -

Tecsult (Canada), COWI (Denmark),

Han-Padron associates

(USA), Sogreah (France),

Cullen Grummitt & Roe (Australia)

and Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick


February 2003 9



Flinders’ big year Poti going private

Flinders Ports, owner of seven

former Ports Corp of South Australia

ports, has announced a 12.5

per cent increase in cargo tonnage

for the 2001/02 financial year, setting

a new annual record throughput

of 16.7 mill tonnes in its first

full year.

Container trade was up 8.7 per

cent, setting a new record; grain

exports, totalling 6.5 mill tonnes,

were 30 per cent up on the previous

record; and limestone and cement

volumes were also the highest

on record.

The 8.7 per cent increase in

containerised trade translated into

a total of 108,858 TEU. Grain exports,

which cannot be anything

but substantially down in 2003

due to the ongoing drought in

Australia, totalled 6,504,724

tonnes, surpassing the previous financial

year’s record of just over 5

mill tonnes. Wheat exports totalled

4,043,992 tonnes and barley exports

1,821,413 tonnes Exports of

oilseeds, peas and beans also increased

from the previous year.

“Results from the past financial

year indicate a strengthening


of South Australia’s trading performance,”

CEO Vincent

Tremaine said. “The challenge for

Flinders Ports is to ensure that our

service capacity and infrastructure

are maintained and developed in

line with this continuing growth.

To this end, the release of the

Outer Harbor Concept Plan (see

WorldCargo News October 2002,

pp22-23), timed to coincide with

the State Government announcement

of support for the development

of a deep-sea grain berth at

Outer Harbor, will serve to guide

future development at the Port of


“Of paramount importance is

the deepening of the Outer

Harbor channel to meet the needs

of the larger container vessels now

operating on the Australian coast

and to provide for the trend toward

larger vessels in bulk trades

including grain

“In addition, we have a committed

upgrade programme in the

key grain ports of Port Giles and

Wallaroo and continue to look for

opportunities in our other regional

ports,” he said.

The Port of Poti, Georgia, has

announced an international tender

for three of its 14 terminals.

Terminals 3/4, 5 and 8 will be

leased in three lots for 10 years,

each with a possible extension

for an additional five years.

Interested parties are to submit

their bids by 9 April against

a bank guarantee of US$100,000

for each lot and a contract bond

equal to 125 per cent of the fixed

annual leasing fee for each lot.

The winner(s) will be expected

to invest in the terminal(s)

within 24 months of the award

being confirmed.

The port’s director general

Jemal Inaishvili says that the tender

is aimed at securing restructuring

and modernisation of

port facilities. There are eight

The Poti tender has already been subject to a delay

Israel’s Ashdod Jubilee Port is now

due to open in 2005, at least 12

months behind schedule (given

that the first vessels were due to

commence calling in January next

year). The delay has been the result

of exceptional weather conditions

in the 2001 winter period,

a shortage of foreign workers and

the closure of some territories.

However, the Dragados/

Ashtrom International construction

consortium tasked with

building the port is still to be

fined US$6 mill in penalties. The

consortium is attempting to speed

up work by drafting in specialists

and additional equipment.

Commenting on the delay,

major berths at Poti, including

the ferry terminal for Bulgaria

and Ukraine, to be leased under

the port’s development programme.

Minor quays, approach

ways and communications will

remain under the port’s control.

The port will also collect port

and cargo dues, as well as monitoring

stakeholders’ activities.

The tender should have been

completed last year, but was delayed

by a dispute on how future

revenues would be split between

the port and city authorities

and the national Property

Management Ministry. The port

is a legal entity under public law

and in 1997 the government refused

to lease the whole port for

50 years for a sum of US$13


Ashdod Jubilee

port delayed

Amos Ron, the director general

of Israel Ports & Railways Authority

noted: “The gap is

unbridgeable. We do not plan to

change the payments or penalties.

The partnership may receive the

money back in the future, provided

that it manages to finish the

work sooner. [IPRA] is deducting

the penalties from the payments.”

Ashdod Jubilee Port will

eventually cost NIS2.6 bill

(US$537 mill) to build, with

NIS700 mill (US$145 mill) being

sunk into the current phase,

which includes the extension of

the breakwater and construction

of new piers.


Freo rail jumps

Rail movement of containers between

Fremantle’s Inner Harbour

and the suburban Kewdale rail terminal

has increased substantially

since new management arrangements

were announced, according

to Western Australian Planning

and Infrastructure Minister

Alannah MacTiernan.

MacTiernan said that if the

volumes achieved in January were

maintained for the next 11

months, the rail share for the year

would be 50 per cent above last

year’s figure. “A more flexible rail

schedule now in operation as part

of the management and operation

of the North Quay rail terminal

is helping by increasing rail efficiency,”

she said. “Recent changes

in shipping services have also assisted

in achieving a greater rail

share by contracting higher volumes

to rail.

The need to increase the use

of rail for the transport of containers

to and from Fremantle was

a high priority strategy in the

Government’s Metropolitan

Freight Network Review. The target

is to increase the number of

containers moved by rail from last

year’s level of three per cent to 15

HHLA changes

Klaus-Dieter Peters (49) has been

nominated as the new chairman

of HHLA, Hamburg. If, as expected,

the HHLA advisory board

accepts this nomination from the

city’s senator for the port Gunnar

Uldall, Peters will take over in

April, when Peter Dietrich is due

to retire at the age of 65. Most of

Peters’ career has been with

Schenkers and early last year he

became deputy chairman of

Birkart Logistics AG in


Helmut Werner is stepping

down as Chairman of the Board

of Rhenus Midgard to join the

management Board of the Jade

Fremantle is aiming to boost rail

movement of containers to 30 per cent

within the next 10 years

per cent within four years and 30

per cent within 10 years.

MacTiernan said that an increased

volume of containers on rail

was part of the agreement Fremantle

Ports was currently finalising

with Toll SPD/Patrick as preferred

proponents to manage the North

Quay rail terminal (see WorldCargo

News January 2003, p17). As part

of the arrangements, Toll/Patrick

would also have an operating agreement

with P&O Ports for joint

operation of the terminal.

The Minister said construction

of a new rail loop into North

Quay and a new rail terminal to

more efficiently link with the container

terminals on North Quay

were other important components

of the Government’s strategy. The

new rail terminal will accommodate

longer container trains and

improve the efficiency of the rail

service, and both the rail terminal

and the loop will accommodate

dual gauge, enabling trains from

regional areas to directly access the

Inner Harbour.

Weser port development company

(Realisierungsgesellschaft). Another

member of the Rhenus Midgard

Board, Gerd Meyer-Schwickerath,

is also leaving the company.

Dr Andreas Schmidt and

Heinrich Ahlers will be appointed

as joint managing directors of

Rhenus Midgard. Schmidt is in

charge of seaports and developing

the logistics business although

Ahlers will carry on as managing

director of CuxPort GmbH, the

joint venture with HHLA. Also

joining Cuxport is Walter Collet,

formerly with Exolgán, the Dock

Sud, Buenos Aires, joint venture of

HHLA and Román group.

PD wins the Hunt

The newly-named logistics business

PD Ports, Logistics and Shipping

has won a new logistics contract

from Huntsman Tioxide. A

leading manufacturer of titanium

dioxide, Huntsman has been importing

raw materials through PD

Teesport’s Hartlepool Docks for

more than 30 years. PD Teesport

will now join sister company PD

Logistics to provide a total supply

chain solution from ship through

to Huntsman’s Greatham plant

near Hartlepool.

Previously the supply chain

involved a number of intermediate

steps including third party storage

prior to delivery to the

Greatham plant. The new integrated

package will eliminate the

need for this by using temporary

“on dock” storage facilities and

onward road delivery as required.

“Various parts of the PD

Group have long provided [us]

with first class bulk materials

management services,” said

Huntsman’s purchasing manager

Mike Brown. “It is only now, with

the full integration of the PD

business teams, that we have been

able to bring together all our requirements

under a single agreement.”

PD Teesport discharges the

vessels at Hartlepool and material

is placed into temporary transit

storage facilities near the berth,

from where PD Logistics manages

the onward process in accordance

with the production schedules at

Greatham. PD Logistics already

handles deliveries of finished

packed titanium dioxide to around

80 Huntsman customers throughout

the UK.

February 2003


Ukraine-Baltic combi moves

A new Klaipeda-Ilyichevsk combined

transport service is scheduled to be

launched in March. According to reports

from Kiev, fast transit between the two

sea ports will be provided for supercube

trailers and/or complete vehicles on articulated

(low shock load), low floor railway

platforms, for onward carriage as required

to Turkish Black Sea ports. Transit

time, it is claimed, will be just 1-2 days

compared to 10-15 days today.

As Ukraine’s Transport Minister,

Georgy Kyrpa, points out, piggyback and

RoLa wagons have already been in use

in the Ukraine for five years. Onward carriage

by sea across the Black Sea will be

provided by Ukrferry.

Last November Ukraine, Belarus and

Lithuania launched the Vikingas railway

corridor with the aim of providing fast

container transit between Odessa and

Scandinavia via Kiev, Minsk and Klaipeda.

The service is currently weekly and is

expected to reach 100-120 TEU/month

in the near future.

In December the Ukrainian and Russian

Transport Ministries established

RosUkrTrans to operate a proposed

weekly container train service between

Ilyichevsk and St Petersburg. With three

container terminals available in Ilyichivsk,

port managers there expect to increase

traffic by 10-15 per cent/year.

A German company, Etrans Spedition

AG, has expressed interest in these initiatives,

designed as the core of Ukraine’s

alternative to the EU-backed north-south

corridor which runs to its west.

Ukraine has initiated a new customs

code and introduced requirements for

cargo transits to be carried out within a

given number of day, subject to penalties.

Thus maximum 10-day, 28-day, 5-day and

15-day transit periods have been established

for road, railway, air, and water

modes respectively.

Could Ilyichevsk benefit from new landbridge

services to/from Klaipeda?




ro-ro fillip

New policy guidelines issued by President

Gloria Arroyo under Executive Order

No170 have provided the biggest

boost yet to Philippine plans to set up a

national ro-ro system and reduce shipping

and logistics costs.

EO170 calls for the integration of the

proposed road ro-ro terminal system

(RRTS) with the national highway system

and simplified document requirements

for ro-ro operations. In lieu of the

usual cargo handling charges, owners of

motor vehicles passing through the

RRTS are to pay passage fees based on

the lane metre. Ro-ro vessel operators,

however, will still need to comply with

the reporting rules under the Anti-

Carnapping Act of 1972.

The directive is seen as a slap for the

Philippine Ports Authority and the Maritime

Industry Authority. Both agencies

had sought to delay the ro-ro project and

other urgent maritime reforms, prompting

an impatient Mrs Arroyo to warn

them to “take my words literally.”

EO170 has invigorated the Pesos30

bill sustainable logistics development program

(SLDP) of the Development Bank

of the Philippines (DBP), which calls for

the establishment of a grains highway, a

road/ro-ro ferry network and a cold storage

chain linking the main island of Luzon

with the Visayas region and Mindanao.

Thus far, the DBP has released Pesos180

mill in loans for three SLDP

projects in the southern Philippines: South

Sea Fishing Venture Cold Storage in General

Santos City; the Ozamiz-Kolambugan

ro-ro ferry venture; and the ro-ro terminal

in Bato, Leyte province. At least three

other loans applications worth some Pesos250

mill are under evaluation.

The DBP has identified a total of 48

ro-ro routes as part of the SLDP. Under

EO170, existing state-owned ro-ro terminals

will be privatised although some

degree of PPA and “Marina” supervision

over the entire system is expected.



Dear Sir,

I refer to your story on Bargetrain in

the December 2002 issue of

WorldCargo News (p8). This contain a

number of inaccuracies.

Bargetrain GmbH is based in

Deggendorf in Germany and not in

Nürnberg. US-based Global Intermodal

Systems has nothing to do

with Bargetrain. The joint venture

partner of Bonaserv in Cologne is

Global Intermodal BV based at

Spijkenisse, the Netherlands.

Furthermore, Bargetrain will not

use the CSX Container Terminal in



Lucien Stötefalk, director

Bargetrain GmbH


February 2003 11




UP deal

CSX Corporation subsidiary

Transflo Terminal Services Inc

plans to open a network of bulk

chemical transloading terminals in

conjunction with Union Pacific

(UP) to extend service to nonrail

served customers.

The programme began last

month with the conversion of four

current UP locations at Portland,

Oregon, Santa Fe Springs, California,

Henderson, Nevada, and

Rifle, Colorado, to Transflo-operated

terminals. It is planned to

expand the transload service

throughout the UP rail network.

“This arrangement represents

a working relationship between

two pre-eminent companies in

US rail-centric logistics,” said

Dean Piacente, managing director

of Transflo. “Customers already

familiar with our current network

will find the same service experience

and consistency in the new

UP-based facilities.”

“The terminals will further enhance

our network by combining

Transflo’s superior safety and quality

in transloading and logistics with

the attractive economics and safety

of UP’s rail service,” added Ed Sims,

vice president and general manager

of chemicals for UP.

Transflo currently operates an

81-terminal chemicals and bulk

products network in the east with

complete inventory visibility

through its web product application

Transcend. The company

handled more than 30,000

chemical loads along with other

bulk products throughout its network

in 2002.

The Burlington Northern and

Santa Fe Railway Company

(BNSF) and Ferrocarril Mexicano

(Ferromex) have improved their

transborder intermodal service by

significantly reducing transit times

between major US/Canadian

markets and Mexico.

This service provides a seamless

North American transportation

network initially targeted at

freight moving between

Guadalajara or Mexico City, in

Mexico, and major North Ameri-


Industrial weighing specialist Precia-Molen has installed a 15m VS300CS

weighbridge at Felixstowe Tank Developments’ storage plant in Suffolk,

UK, as part of a loading/blending system for the discharge of molasses,

chemicals and oils into road tankers and tank containers. The loading process

is monitored by Precia-Molen’s I 200S weight indicator, provided with an

“open link” communications module, which enables communication between

the weighing system and the company’s PLC using Profibus protocols. To

ensure the correct target weights and blends are achieved, the I 200S indicator

monitors the weight value and signals when pre-determined target weights

have been reached. The signals are transmitted to Felixstowe Tank’s PLC

system via the open link module, following which hydraulic cut-offs are

triggered to stop the filling of the product, or to allow other ingredients to be

added to the blend

Trimodal Aken

A new trimodal container terminal

has been inaugurated at Aken

on the river Elbe in Saxony-

Anhalt, after one year of construction

work, to cater for growth in

traffic. The terminal has a 100m

quay and a paved open storage area

of 900 m 2 , sufficient for 1500 TEU.

Main handling equipment is a 45

tons SWL multi-purpose crane

while the storage area is worked

by a reach stacker.

Total investment amounted to

€4.2 mill, financed through the

German federal government’s

intermodal subsidy programme.

Aken was the first inland container

port on the Elbe in the mid

1990s and today every fifth container

on the upper Elbe is moved

via the port, which handled 4,852

TEU in 2001. Throughput is expected

to rise to 20,000 TEU/year

by 2010. Elbe Container Linie

currently provides three sailings/

week from Aken to Hamburg.

BNSF/Ferromex upgrade

can markets - including Southern

California, Northern California,

Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia,

New York City and major Canadian

markets - through BNSF’s El

Paso, Texas, gateway.

“This new truck-competitive

service with Ferromex will benefit

shippers looking for a competitive,

cost-effective alternative

to over-the-road shipping,” said

Richard Miller, assistant vice president,

BNSF Mexico Business.

“For example, the new service

offers seven- or eight-day transit

time between Los Angeles or Chicago

to and from Mexico City and

Guadalajara. This matches transit

times offered by over-the-road

service providers today.”

Ferromex Intermodal Service

with BNSF started last year as a

response to export and import

customer requirements, moving

time-sensitive automotive parts

into and out of Mexico, with

Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, as a

natural cross border point.


at TML

Roy Jones, Fred Bras and Richard

Goldstein, the directors of

UK-based tank lessor Taylor

Minster Leasing (TML), have

concluded the purchase of both

TML, the tank management

company, and the 650 tanks

owned by the family of TML

founder Sidney Rich, who died

last year.

In addition, Jones and

Goldstein, as owners of Goldfleet

Management Ltd, will be adding

Goldfleet’s 400 tanks to the operation,

thus boosting the company’s

owned fleet to over 1000

units. TML also has a further 2000

tanks under management.

Commenting on the move,

Goldstein said that the significant

asset base would enable TML to

look confidently to a future of

continuing strength as “one of the

few truly independent lessors.”

TML will continue its regular

programme of building both

standard and special equipment,

thereby ensuring the supply of

the quality and variety of equipment

and services that its customers

have come to expect, he said.

Maersk in

CFS deal

Container Corporation of India

(Concor) and Maersk India Pvt

Ltd are to set up a container freight

station (CFS) at Dadri in the

northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Maersk will hold a 51 per

centstake in a new joint venture

company, Star Track Terminals Pvt

Ltd, with Concor holding the remainder.

Initial capacity at the new facility

will be 40,000 TEU/year but

this will rise to 70,000 TEU when

the site is fully developed. Operations

are scheduled to start by the

end of this year.

“With our business skills in

running ICDs in other countries

and Concor’s extensive knowledge

in India, we will be able to

provide world class facilities at the

CFS in Dadri,” said Hans Ole

Madsen, managing director of

Maersk India.


NRTCA presses for

quality recognition

The UK National Road Tank

Cleaning Association (NRTCA)

is currently engaged in a number

of initiatives aimed at improving

the implementation of tank

cleaning quality, safety and environmental

protection standards

across Europe.

“The European tank haulage

industry as a whole has

made good progress in developing

a common set of tank

cleaning standards in recent

years,” explained Tony Fry,

NRTCA chairman and managing

director of Fleetclean.

“However, a lack of uniformity

in implementing these standards

means that those companies that

have made a commitment to

quality are not receiving adequate

reward for their efforts,

while substandard operations

continue to win business on the

basis of cost alone.”

When the Safety and Quality

Assessment System for Tank

Cleaning (SQAS Tank Cleaning)

was adopted by the European

Chemical Industry Council

(CEFIC) in 1998, NRTCA welcomed

the scheme as a means

of auditing all Europe’s tank

cleaning stations to a common

standard. The Association made

completion of an SQAS audit a

condition for new members,

while existing members were

given an adequate amount of

time to achieve SQAS certification.

“Because the various SQAS

schemes developed by CEFIC,

in association with the transport

industry, do not award a pass or

fail or percentage rating, essentially

all logistics service providers

can achieve a SQAS certification,”

continued Fry. “It is

therefore important that the users

of the audited services check

each assessment carefully to determine

whether the company

in question has made the necessary

commitment to safety

and quality.”

NRTCA is now actively

lobbying for Europe’s chemical

producers to recommend that

their hauliers use only SQAScertified

cleaning facilities and,

having done that, examine each

audit document to determine

whether the cleaning facility

Responsible tank cleaners would like

to see shippers pay more attention to

the content of SQAS depot

assessments and to reward a

commitment to quality

under consideration has

achieved an acceptable result

before deciding to purchase

their services.

In a related development,

NRTCA is in the process of producing

a template for what constitutes

acceptable results from a

SQAS Tank Cleaning audit in

order to provide a benchmark

against which association members

can assess the effectiveness

of their own individual safety

and quality systems. NRTCA

expects to have the template

complete by mid-year.

This exercise has been made

possible by the fact that

NRTCA holds copies of all its

members’ SQAS Tank Cleaning

audits. This not only provides the

association with a valuable database

but also ensures that, as a

minimum requirement, the

mandatory sections of the audits

have been adequately addressed

by each member.

NRTCA is itself a member

of the European Federation of

Tanker Cleaning Organisations

(EFTCO) and is currently participating

in an EFTCO initiative

to introduce a Europe-wide

Uniform Cleaning Document.

The aim is to develop a harmonised

document with which all

European hauliers will be familiar

and to provide the basis for

a fully traceable tank cleaning


AWB goes logistic

Australian wheat exporter AWB

Limited has established a new

grain logistics company AWB

GrainFlow Pty Ltd, which as a

wholly owned subsidiary will operate

AWB’s growing supply

chain and logistical business

“Over the past few years,

AWB has developed a number of

infrastructure initiatives within

the grain supply chain which have

introduced competition and instigated

reduced costs for growers,”

said AWB managing director

Andrew Lindberg.

“Those initiatives will now

continue under the identity of

GrainFlow, as a separate business

entity. Its role will be to maintain

and introduce improved industry

practices, increase competition,

and deliver a commercial return

on investment. Establishing this

new company will also mean a

greater level of independence in

the supply chain management

functions AWB undertakes on

behalf of the AWB National

Pool,” Lindberg said.

GrainFlow will encompass a

number of business ventures, including

AWB Grain Centres (and

the coordination of services such

as on-farm pick-up), company

owned rail stock, the AWB investment

in the ABA terminal in the

port of Melbourne and any future

supply chain investments.

AWB storage and handling manager

Grant McDougall has been

appointed general manager of


Elsewhere, AWB is seeking

development approval to build a

new grain receival centre at

Talwood, about 100 km west of

Goondiwindi on the Queensland-New

South Wales border.

This is the wheat exporter’s first

move into storage and handling

in Queensland and is part of a national

expansion strategy. The

company wants to build a

130,000 tonne capacity facility at

Talwood capable of handling up

to 8,000 tonnes a day. Talwood is

connected by rail to the port of


AWB already has facilities in

NSW, Victoria and South Australia,

and has flagged expansion

in Western Australia.

February 2003


Savi goes

onto the



California- based Savi Technology has

been awarded a new three-year procurement

contract by the US Department of

Defense (DoD), valued at up to US$90

mill, for radio frequency identification

(RFID) hardware, and related logistics

software and services.

The award will enable US military

personnel to procure directly through

Savi a wide range of proven automatic

identification and data collection technologies

(AIDC) and related software,

which are used to track, monitor, locate,

secure, process and deploy military supplies


This is Savi’s third multi-year RFID

procurement contract with the DoD

since 1994. During this time, the company

has helped to build and operate the

DoD’s Total Asset Visibility (TAV) network,

already the world’s largest active

RFID logistics tracking system, which

monitors and manages 270,000 containers

transporting military supplies

throughout 400 locations in more than

40 countries.

The TAV network involves RFID

tags, along with a wide variety of AIDC

technologies from bar codes to satellite

systems, being affixed to cargo containers

and other conveyances operated by

the US military. The real-time data that

these systems automatically capture is integrated

into a global software network

in order to provide immediate information

on the whereabouts and status of

the containers and their contents.

The latest procurement contract calls

for five different types of RFID technologies:

Passive, Active, Beaconing, Portal-based,

and Real Time Locating Systems

(RTLS). The contract calls for three

years of equipment purchases as well as

two years of training and maintenance


According to SAVI CEO Vickram

Verma, the DoD’s selection of Savi will

help to drive common global standards

for RFID technologies, which will help,

in turn, to open up this market for a

wider array of applications and greater

marketplace adoption.

Technology that Savi has developed

for the DoD is already driving a number

of commercial projects, Verma said. Most

importantly, both the infrastructure and

sixth-generation technology developed

for the TAV network are currently being

leveraged for the industry-driven

Smart and Secure Tradelanes (SST) initiative.

Announced in July last year, SST is

deploying RFID technologies and interlinked

software provided by Savi and its

partners to improve the security and

management of ocean cargo containers

shipped into US seaports. Partners in SST

include three of the world’s largest port

operators - Hutchison Port Holdings

(HPH), P&O Port Holdings, and PSA


● Security seal manufacturers OneSeal A/

S of Denmark and EJ Brooks of the US

and shipping portal GT Nexus have become

the latest companies to join the rapidly

growing SST consortium, which now

comprises more than 40 partners, encompassing

the world’s leading port operators,

major shippers and ocean cargo services

and solution providers.

To date, SST has implemented its global

information network infrastructure at

major seaports worldwide, including Singapore,

Hong Kong, Seattle-Tacoma, Los

Angeles-Long Beach, New York-New

Jersey, Rotterdam, Antwerp and

Felixstowe. Hundreds of “smart and secure”

containers have been equipped with

electronic seals that automatically transmit

information on their location and

security status to a global security network

created by the partners in SST.

Hoyer revamps gas

The Hoyer Group has consolidated all its

gas logistics activities in a new company,

Hoyer Gaslog GmbH, headquartered in

Hamburg. By running the operation as

an independent limited liability company,

Hoyer intends to strengthen its network

of gas logistics services and to capitalise

on the growing potential in this market.

The new company, which was officially

established on January 1, 2003, is

integrating the existing Hoyer gas logistics

control centre in Hamburg with the

activities of Luga GmbH in Hohenweide

and those of Hoyer branch offices in

Oberhausen, Cologne, Hürth and


Hoyer has used the Gaslog brand name

for several years to identify its gas logistics

activities. The array of services encompasses

everything from one-to-one

consulting to planning and implementation

of logistics processes, with shipments

monitored by satellite tracking systems.

Thanks to access to a large variety of

special equipment, Hoyer has been able

to offer a flexible service in catering for

individual customer needs. The Gaslog

transport fleet includes tank trailers of up

to 33 m 3 for cryogenic gases; tank trailers

for LPG and aerosols; tank trailers for hydrogen;

light jumbo trailers for industrial

or air gases; tank containers for cryogenic

Hoyer Gaslog is committed to building up its already extensive gas tank fleet

gases in the 18-31 m 3 size range; and tank

containers for pressurised gases in the 22-

42 m 3 size range.

Jürgen Schlötelburg and Franz Georg

Cremer have been appointed general



managers of Hoyer Gaslog GmbH.

Schlötelburg has worked in logistics for

21 years now, most recently as technical

director for the Hoyer Group. Cremer has

been with Hoyer for more than 40 years.

February 2003 13



Bitutainer put to the test

UK-based container engineering

consultancy TEC (International)

Ltd has successfully tested its latest

innovation in bitumen transport

- the T-coded (IMO 2)

Bitutainer - at the SNCF testing

station in Tergnier, France.

According to TEC, the unit

surpassed its computerised design

expectations and withstood a massive

8.3g impact test. The ADR

requirement is 4g and the Canadian

Rail requirement is 5g. Furthermore,

the patented design of

connection between the frame

and the tank resulted in a permanent

deflection at the top of the

frame of just 1mm, reportedly one

of the lowest permanent sets recorded

in tests at Tergnier.

TEC is already well known for

its “Shipper” Bitutainer design,

which features a box-shaped inner

tank contained within a fullywelded

20ft Corten steel container

exterior. Around 800 units have

been put into service with companies

such as BP, Shell, Caltex and

Mobil. The Shipper design, which


TEC’s T-coded Bitutainer seen undergoing dynamic testing at Tergnier

conforms to Type 70 ISO 1496

Part 3 tank container classification,

is a non-hazardous unit, however,

and is limited to carrying bitumen

at below 100degC.

The new T-coded design features

a cylindrical tank with the

original quick heat-up system installed,

which is similarly housed

in a 20ft sealed outer skin/frame

arrangement. It meets all ADR/

RID and IMDG requirements for

the transport of bitumen at

International Asset Systems (IAS),

which provides asset management

solutions to the container shipping

industry, is to expand its IAS Hub

to allow end-to-end management

of container interchange and vessel

slot matching activities on a

global basis. The Hub-based network

will be leveraged for IAS’

InterBox container interchange

and slotXchange services.

“Beyond the initial optimisation

of ocean carrier imbalances,

the critical component required to

realise the theoretical savings of interchange

is the successful tracking,

billing and return of the asset to its

owner,” said Phil Behenna, IAS senior

vice president of business development.

“This has been a complex

issue because of the lack of

interoperability between industry

trading partners.”

IAS has addressed this issue

through the IAS Hub, a common

operating platform that processes

over 10,000 gate moves, repair estimates,

equipment bookings and

work orders daily for more than

500 depots, terminals, intermodal

temperatures up to 200degC.

Advantages of the new design,

says TEC, include improved insulation,

no chance of vessel underbelly

corrosion and up to 24

tonnes payload capability, some 4

tonnes more than existing bitumen

tank designs.

TEC has now used this technology

in the development of a

new 20ft tank container design

for the carriage of diesel with a

true carrying capacity of 26,000

InterBox going global

operators and trading partners, including

14 of the top 20 ocean

carriers and six major box lessors.

“InterBox is well established in

the North American domestic

market, handling 60,000 interchanges

per year, but now we are

in a position to provide an end-toend

interchange service on a global

basis, thanks to the IAS Hub

providing connectivity, business

rule execution and the information

needed to manage the entire interchange

process,” said Behenna.

To serve customers seeking glo-

litres (including the required 3 per

cent ullage space). The company

is looking to adapt the technology

in other specialist designs to

complement its Tectainer range of

containers for special applications.

● TEC has expanded its Tectainer

website ( to include

information on a wide range

of special container designs created

over the past six months by

its UK and Shanghai-based design

teams. In addition to its “as built”

Bitutainer, Lubetainer, multi-side

door container, light and heavy

duty open top and hazardous and

standard bulker designs, the site

now includes details on its new

26,000 litre diesel and fuel carrying

tank container, pressurised

cement tanks, insulated and noninsulated

curtain-sided containers,

ISO platform and steel coil carriers,

multi-purpose ISO bases and

platforms and slimwall and

palletwide dry freight containers.

TEC claims that its unique design

abilities and close alliances with a

number of factories in Eastern Europe

and Asia allow it to design

and produce any type of special

to meet customers’ specific

logistical needs.

bal interchange and vessel capacity

matching services, IAS has taken on

Robbie Pilkington, Georgina

Christodoulou and Alison Harrison

in London, while Jan Smith joins

the IAS team in Chicago. All have

come to IAS from rival container

interchange service provider

SynchroNet Marine.

In a separate move, Stephen

Fletcher has been appointed vice

president, operations, for IAS, with

responsibility for deployment of

IAS services, customer support,

data integration engineering and

IT infrastructure planning. He

joins the company from Transamerica

Leasing’s Greybox Logistics



moves on

CorTainer Inc, the Houston,

Texas-based flexitank producer, is

departing its current Knight Road

facility for new 10,000 m 2

premises across town. The move

will allow the company to expand

the scope of its manufacturing operations.

The new premises are owned

by, and shared with, the Insta-Bulk

Division of ITW, a Fortune 500

company with which CorTainer

entered into a private label agreement

last November (see World-

Cargo News December 2002, p69).

Insta-Bulk is a leading manufacturer

of polyethylene and polypropylene

container liners for the

carriage of dry bulk cargoes.

Established four years ago,

CorTainer produces a family of

bulk containers for the shipment

and storage of liquid products

worldwide, including flexitanks,

collapsible and reusable intermediate

bulk containers (IBCs) in the

200-1,000 litre size range and

temporary storage tanks in sizes

up to 60,000 litres. CorTainer

equipment is now marketed and

sold under the trademark

“CorTainer/ITW Products.”

CorTainer’s accounting and

administrative offices are making

the move to the Insta-Bulk site

with immediate effect, while its

sales and marketing staff will relocate

later in the year as the company

continues to expand its customer


To augment its liquids handling

equipment, CorTainer is

developing a low-cost technology

for shipping and discharging bulk

flowable solids.


Singamas adds

Fuzhou depot

Singamas Container Holdings has

entered into an agreement with

Xiamen Superchain Logistics Development

Co Ltd to set up a new

container depot in Fuzhou, China.

Xiamen Superchain, a container

logistics company in which

Singamas owns 6.83 per cent

shareholding, holds a 60 per cent

equity interest in the new venture

- Fuzhou Singamas Warehousing

and Trading Co Ltd - with the

remaining 40 per cent held by

Singamas Terminals (China) Ltd,

a wholly-owned Singamas subsidiary.

Total investment is put at


“The extension of our container

depot network along the

PRC’s coastline has strengthened

our competitiveness by forming a

‘chain store’ that enables the group

to provide better integrated and

quality services to customers,” said

Singamas chairman Chang Yun

Chung. “We are well positioned

to capture the business opportunities

arising from the economic

growth in the PRC.”

Located within the Fuzhou

Bonded Zone, which is just 0.3

km from Fuzhou Mawei Port,

Fuzhou Singamas will operate on

an area of 16,500 m 2 with a storage

capacity of 2,700 TEU and a

repair capacity of 30 containers

per day. A full range of services will

be offered, including container

storage, collection and delivery,

repair and refurbishment, CFS,

truck haulage and other container

related services.

TheFuzhou facility will be

Singamas’ seventh container depot

in China. Existing facilities are in

Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai,

Ningbo and Xiamen. The company

also operates two depots in Hong

Kong and one in Bangkok.

In a separate move, Singamas

has increased its equity stake in

container manufacturer Shanghai

Baoshan Pacific Container Co -

formerly Shanghai Hyundai Container

Manufacturing Co - from

39 per cent to 74 per cent by acquiring

the 35 per cent interest

held in the company by Pacific

International Lines (PIL) for a

consideration of US$1.522 mill.

Singamas effectively took control

of Shanghai Baoshan last year

when its 60 per cent owned subsidiary,

Shanghai Pacific International

Container Co, bought a 65

per cent interest in the company

from Hyundai Mobis and PIL, the

majority shareholder in Singamas,

took the remainder. With the latest

share transfer, Shanghai

Baoshan will become a jointly

controlled entity of Singamas.

Meanwhile, Singamas has also

upped its stake in river container

terminal operator Shunde Leliu

Wharf & Container Co (SLWC)

through the acquisition, via

Singamas Terminals (China) Ltd,

of an additional 19 per cent equity

interest from Shunde Leliu Li

Hang Ji Ye Trading Co for US$3.8

mill. The move means that

Singamas’ effective interest in

SLWC increases from 40 per cent

to 59 per cent, with Li Hang continuing

to hold the remaining 41

per cent.

“Our recent investment

projects in Shunde, Fuzhou and

Shanghai have enhanced our ability

to offer value-added and a

wider scope of container manufacturing

and logistics services to

our customers,” Chang said.

“Looking to the future, we will

continue to seek profitable investment

opportunities to further expand

our core businesses.”

INTTRA growth

boost from CSI

Shipping portal INTTRA reports

that the new US Customs

Container Security Initiative

(CSI) regulations, which require

that shipping instructions be

submitted to US Customs at

least 24 hours prior to a vessel

leaving for a US port, have created

a dramatic increase in demand

for its documentation

processing services.

In order to help importers

and exporters comply with these

new regulations, INTTRA has

further enhanced its recently

announced workflow tools.

These form part of INTTRA’s

product suite, which includes

INTTRA-ACT, its web-based

solution, and INTTRA-LINK,

an integrated enterprise-level

solution, and support both CSI

and shipping instruction requirements.

Since the new workflow

tools were announced in November

2002, the number of

bookings and containers processed

by INTTRA each week

has grown to over 45,000 and

100,000 respectively. In terms of

overall usage, INTTRA currently

has 15,000 registered users

in 3,000 companies in 120



commented, “CSI has raised the

demand for earlier presentation

of shipping instructions to ocean

carriers. We are helping our customers

and carriers meet these

new requirements by introducing

new functionality that improves

the speed with which

exporters can submit shipping

instructions and comply with

CSI regulations, and the way in

which carriers can control possible

changes made to shipping


Any shipper, forwarder, or

exporter can register with the

INTTRA portal directly

through the web at no charge.

Shipping Instructions can be

created via INTTRA-LINK

and INTTRA-ACT on a

standalone basis or from existing

bookings, whether those

bookings were made through

INTTRA directly or through

INTTRA carriers. Furthermore,

registered users can manage the

documentation requirements for

US-bound shipments and avoid

missing the 24-hour cut-off by

requesting weekly CSI Management

Reports or CSI Notification

e-mails from INTTRA.

Because INTTRA is already

connected to participating carriers’

back-end systems, Bloom

added, documentation is transmitted

reliably and without

manual intervention or delay.

Participating carriers representing

approximately 46 per cent

of the global market are currently

integrated with


February 2003




French ports open their “portes”

Internationalisation is the name of the

game in France’s top container ports, with

P & O Ports acquiring a 40 per cent stake

in Egis Ports, which has terminal operating

interests in Le Havre and Marseilles.

The deal includes a stake in Le Havre’s

Port 2000 project, as P & O Ports’ 50:50

partner in the Egis Ports deal, CMA-

CGM, had previously formed a consortium

with GMP which had successfully

bid for two of the Port 2000 berths. GMP

is owned by MNTD which is in turn a

50:50 venture of Egis Ports and Féron de

Clebsattel (SNCF group).

CMA-CGM was already lined up for

the Port of Marseilles’ expansion project

at Fos (2XL), while Egis Ports controls

51 per cent of port operator MGM - the

balance is owned by Socoma (Charles-

Emile Loo) and Léon Vincent - and has a

stake in Eurofos.

The Egis Ports’ deal provides P & O

Ports access to more than 1 mill TEU/

year of container traffic in French ports

(in 2002) - a market from which it was

previously absent - and thus virtually doubles

ts European throughput. It will be

responsible for operational management

so as to ensure, says CMA-CGM’s president

Jacques Saade, neutrality.

Dunkirk: The Falcon distribution centre in the

foreground is now the staging post for all Nestlé

group’s French bottled water shipments to

southern Britain, via Dart Line (WorldCargo

News, December 2002, p20). Meanwhile, if

Maersk Sealand takes over IFB’s interest in

NFTI (background), it could “synergise” the

operation with its existing ro-ro (Norfolk Line)

and logistics (toys, general cargo) operations in

the port. Crucially, NFTI would appear to be

currently the only French container terminal

conforming to the ideal “Smagghe model.” It

also offers major deepsea potential


Normandy landing

Last December the Port of Le Havre Authority

(PAH) confirmed that another

two berths at Port 2000 are headed towards

the joint venture of Maersk Sealand

(through Maersk France) and Perrigault.

The latter has exercised control of Terminaux

de Normandie (TN) since 1997,

when the other co-owner, Saga Terminaux

Portuaires (Groupe Bolloré and

CMB/Safmarine,) pulled out. TN accounts

for around 40 per cent of Le Havre’s

container traffic and is also involved

in Logiseine, the Le Havre-Paris container

barge service operator.

Maersk has indicated that it plans to

be moving 600,000 TEU/year over its

new terminal within two years of its

opening. The carrier is said to want to

focus on North American services but,

in addition, Port 2000 offers scope for

feedering regional (western) British ports,

as an alternative to congested land routes

over Southampton or Felixstowe.

Dunkirk move

In the latest move, Maersk France has indicated

that APM Terminals is negotiating

to take over the 60 per cent stake held

by IFB in Dunkirk’s NFTI container terminal

operation. The port authority

(PAD), which holds the other 40 per cent

of NFTI, had already indicated that, to

maintain the momentum at NFTI, it

would welcome a new partner for IFB,

the SNCB daughter which has been facing

mounting losses (WorldCargo News,

December 2002, p8). It seems that under

SNCB’s restructuring plan, IFB is to retrench

and concentrate on its Belgian port

and intermodal assets.

PAD has already felt the effect of IFB’s

financial problems at Acimar, which has

been handling around 1 mta of steel products,

mainly for Arcelor Sollac Atlantique

and GTS Industries. Acimar took over

these contracts from Féron de Clebsattel

in early 2001 and, according to local

sources, has been trying to live with Antwerp

prices, even though the Belgian port

handles 7-10 mt/year of iron and steel

products. PAD is reportedly one of

Acimar’s biggest creditors.

Flanders field

Dunkirk’s container traffic grew seven per

cent last year to 160,000 TEU and NFTI

offers tremendous growth potential. With

the completion of the 600m extension

of the Quai des Flandres due at the end

of this year, NFTI will offer 1070m of

berth and, with depth of up to 15.5m

available, will be able to accommodate

two ≥ 6000 TEU ships simultaneously.

Already some 40,000 TEU are moved

inland by rail over the on-dock IY (Dry

Table 1: Port traffic 2002 (’000 tonnes)

Port Total % Change

MaFos 92,443 +0.1

Le Havre 67,600 -1.9

Dunkirk 47,500 +6.8

Calais 34,400 +5.0

Na./St Naz. 31,700 +4.5

Rouen 19,500 -5.5

Bordeaux/LV 8615 -3.9

La Rochelle/LP 7315 + 5.7

Cherbourg 4321 +17.5*

Bayonne 4175 +0.5

Sète 3900 -4.8

Brest 2442 +3.0

Source: Direction du Transport Maritime,

des Ports et du Littoral

*Figures from CCI Cherbourg

February 2003




Table 2: Total traffic at French seaports

Cargo type 2000 2001 2002 % Change

Liquid bulks 169.9 168.3 163.7 -2.7

Solid bulks 87.7 79.8 83.2 +4.3

General cargo 88.9 93.5 98.5 +5.3

Total 346.5 341.6 345.4 +1.1

Source: ibid

Port Dunkerque) which is linked to IFB’s

NEN network. There are also opportunities

for more intermodal barge services.

NFTI is counting on reaching

600,000 TEU/year by 2006 to shore up

profitability but it may need the commitment

of a big player such as Maersk

Sealand to give it the extra “shove” in the

right direction. The carrier has synergistic

opportunities in Dunkirk (cf Maersk Logistics,

Norfolk Line) but there is a suspicion

that it is playing an “Antwerp card”

(it wants a concession at the Deurganckdok

- see p24). On the other hand,

Maersk’s interest in Dunkirk may indicate

that it has given up on Dibden Bay

(where it is a prospective partner of ABP).

Ou la la!

Furthermore, NFTI is a pioneer in a

French container port context in that it

is an organisme unifié (ou). As well as owning

its cranes it employs its own crane

drivers and maintenance and technical

staff and thus has full control over its operation.

It is still not clear if Le Havre’s

Port 2000 model will go this far. Each of

the signatories (MSC/TN, CMA-CGM

and Maersk/TN) has or will set up an

investment company to buy the cranes

and other handling equipment (see, for

example, WorldCargo News, October 2002,

p4) and a terminal operating company.

However, subject to any changes

brought about by negotiation, it seems as

if the cranes will be maintained by PAH

employees and at least some of the drivers

may also come from PAH. Obviously

this touches on a very raw nerve;. In Marseilles

changes to the status quo would

be even more sensitive and tricky.

Smagghe in the teeth

However, in a report for the government

issued last June, Jean Smagghe, a former

PAH director, warned that things simply

have to change if French ports are to increase

their market share. Although traffic

has gone up, the rate of growth has

lagged behind other countries and

Smagghe estimates that 10 mta of containerised

traffic (or 1 mill TEU/year) is

being lost to neighbouring country ports.

Smagghe singles out the fact that gantry

cranes are usually owned, operated and

maintained by the port authorities. He

calls for a complete separation of a port’s

regulatory functions from commercial

operations and the establishment of terminal

operating companies (TOCs) with

full responsibility for managing and operating

their equipment. This is the only

way, he says, to increase productivity.

Container handling charges in French

ports are competitive, he concedes, but

only because the port authorities are not

passing on to the operators the full cost

of operating and maintaining the cranes.

Quitting this role would inject financial

discipline, increase productivity, cut out

duplication and make the whole operation

more “transparent.” The TOCs can

be either purely private businesses or joint

ventures of the private sector and the port

authority (as in the NFTI ou case).

Ironically, in Le Havre, the PAH has

been awarded ISO 9001 certification by

the French Quality Assurance Associatition

“for the quality management system for

the driving and maintenance of port equipment

dedicated to container trade.”

Tour d’horizon

The following is a summary of activity in

most of the main French ports:

Le Havre: France’s leading general cargo/

container port recorded an all-time record

of 20.1 mt of general cargo, about 11 per

cent up on 2001, with containerised traffic

increasing by 15.1 per cent to 16.8

mt, or 1.72 mill TEU. Dry bulk throughput

increased 28.9 per cent to 5.6 mt, with

coal up 7.5 per cent at 2.5 mt.

The port’s new €15 mill ro-ro centre

received its first vessel call last December,

with GLORIOUS ACE discharging Nissan

cars from South Africa and reloading

French cars for Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Dunkirk: Traffic rose by 6.8 per cent last

year to an all-time record of 47.5 mt, with

general cargo throughput increasing 16

per cent to 9.5 mt, thanks mainly to a 29

per cent increase in ro-ro traffic to 6.1

mt. Norfolk Line now offers 10 sailings/

day between Dunkirk and Dover, while

Dart Line has increased frequency of its

Dartford service. Lo-lo container traffic

increased 7 per cent to 160,000 TEU.

Coal tonnage rose by 14 per cent to

8.07 mt (the best result since 1981) while

ore traffic came to 13.04 mt (+ 10 per

cent). In all there were 5725 ship calls,

compared to 5350 in 2001. The port authority

is forecasting a further 5 per cent

increase in overall throughput this year,

to around the 50 mt mark.

Rouen: At 19.56 mt, tonnage was 5.5

per cent off last year compared to 2001,

with general cargo being down 8.4 per

cent at 3 mt. Container traffic was steady

at 1.17 mt but conventional shipments

fell by 12.6 per cent to 1.83 mt. Cereals

were down 14 per cent to 4.8 mt while

coal traffic rose 44 per cent to 0.65 mt.

Pol-Levant Line has started calling

Rouen every 15-20 days as part of its new

European Shortsea Circle service linking

the Baltic with the Eastern Mediterranean.

Last month the port also set a new

record for a container ship call when

MSC’s 44,154 gt (2280 TEU) NURIA

called. The ship measuring 248.7m LOA

by 32.26m beam is deployed in the line’s

Europe-Australia/NZ service.

Cherbourg: Tonnage rose 17.4 per cent

last year to almost 4.33 mt with cross-

Channel ro-ro/ferry services accounting

for 3.98 mt (+ 8 per cent). The number

of ro-ro freight units increased 8.5 per

cent to 138,700, while passenger/touring

car numbers increased 3.8 per cent

to 420,000. Passenger numbers increased

3 per cent to 1.6 mill.

The increase reflects the opening of

P&OEF (Irish Sea)’s new route to Dublin

(which did not impact negatively on

the existing links with Rosslare) and stepping

up of Brittany Ferries’ Poole service.

This year a cold store capable of storing

2000 pallets at down to -18 deg C

will be built. The port authority (CCI

Cherbourg) wants to extend the Quai des

Flamands by 120m to 480m. CCI still has

land resources tied up for the elusive

Fastship project - a millstone?

La Rochelle/La Pallice: Tonnage grew

7.2 mt last year compared to 6.9 mt in

2001, with increases in fertiliser imports

and grain exports offsetting lower oil

products and pulp paper imports. Total

forest products imports last year came to

0.98 mt. The port has invested €38 mill

in its forest products terminal at Chef des

Baies 2 in the past five years. The forest

products quay has been extended by

140m to 540m so two 100,000 dwt ships

can berth at the same time and the port

plans to invest in several new 6000 m 2

rail-connected distribution warehouses.

About 45 per cent of the forest tonnage

is distributed inland by rail, with consignments

shipped to Italy, Austria, Germany

and England as well as throughout France.

There is now a weekly call from

CMA-CGM’s Atlantic feeder service (600

TEU GASCOIGNE) which up to now has

been calling Bordeaux, Nantes-St Nazaire,

Le Havre and Antwerp. This is a welcome

return of feeder traffic, following the demise

of European Feeder Lines.

Nantes-St Nazaire: With a 4.5 per cent

increase in tonnage to 31.7 mt, the port

surpassed its previous (2000) record of

31.86 mt, due mainly to imports of natural

gas and coal, with imports of the latter

for EDF’s Cordemais power plant increasing

56 per cent to more than 2 mt.

In the past two years the container

terminal has been enlarged by 8.6-ha to

24-ha, with facilities for washing and repairing

containers, an empty depot and

more plugs for integral reefers. The container

terminal is now completely enclosed

with a 2-2.5m high fence and a

new truck gate is under construction.

Stevedoring co-operative ASM

Atlantiques Services Maritimes, set up in

1993 by dockworkers and local

stevedoring companies to comply with

the Drian law’s abolition of casual employment,

is to be wound up, because of

high social costs and to comply with new

European law. The dockers will become

direct employees of individual stevedores.

Marseilles-Fos: France’s biggest port

handled 92.4 mt last year, virtually unchanged

from 2001, although container

traffic rose 9.5 per cent to a new record

high of 813,000 TEU, with containerised

tonnage growing 7.3 per cent to 7.7 mt.

Other general cargo traffic increased 4.2

per cent to 14.5 mt.

Demand at the north/south trafficsoriented

Mourepiane terminal in Marseilles

grew by 12 per cent last year to

300,000 TEU and the port authority has

responded by investing in improved facilities

there. Another post-Panamax container

crane, with 42m outreach and 30m

lift height under spreader, was delivered

in December and is due to be commissioned

in March, representing an investment

of around €5 mill. A fourth such

crane is due for delivery this summer.

At Fos, meanwhile, a 25-ha parcel at

the industrial zone (ZIF) has been conceded

to leading French firm Suez Industrial

Solutions (SIS), which is planning

to invest €440 mill in a new gas production

and distribution complex. An 8 MW

wind farm has already been set up at ZIF.

Last June a new 200m quay to cater

for Corsica and North Africa ro-pax services

opened at berth 93, replacing three

older berths. Work on Berth 93, which

replaces three older, outmoded berths.

The €12 mill project, which includes

a 2.6-ha vehicle yard, provides the first

new quay in the eastern harbour for some

20 years and is part of a major redevelopment

of ferry facilities. These will feature

a 6,000 m 2 passenger terminal on which

work is slated to start this year. ❏

Toulon-Livorno merroutage

Support for a ro-ro service between

Toulon and Livorno is growing, despite

the failure of an earlier attempt (in 2000).

The project, neatly dubbed merroutage by

CCI du Var, the port authority, aims at

capturing 40,000 HGVs/year with a daily

departure each way (two vessels), although

initially there would be a three times/

week service with one vessel. It is hoped

to start a service next year and expressions

of interest are being invited from

potential operators. Based on a one way

price of €400, breakeven would occur

between 70 and 80 per cent utilisation.

For years there has been talk of decongesting

the corniche but the problems

have got steadily worse and some 400,000

HGVs now cross the border at Ventimiglia

every year. More than 30 per cent of these

are engaged in Italo-Spanish trade in transit

through France. Grimaldi’s successful

Valencia-Italian ports and Barcelona-

Genoa shuttle services have contributed

to relieving the roads but CCI du Var reasons

that a Toulon-Livorno service would

stimulate interest in a Toulon-Barcelona

(or Tarragona) service by reason of

Toulon’s location. It would be a node catering

not only for Franco-Italian and

Franco-Spanish trades but also Italo-Spanish

“trans-ro” operations.

The port has plenty of space for a roro

terminal but a better road connection

is needed between the motorway and the

proposed terminal site at Brégaillon. Another

key problem is market organisation.

With an 11-hour crossing saving 300-400

kms of truck miles, the service lends itself

to unnaccompanied trailers but the

“mentality” of the prevailing owner/operator

is very much geared to accompanied

services. On the plus side, unlike

nearby Marseilles the port has good industrial

relations. A ro-ro operator would

be bringing new business and is likely to

be granted “self-handling.” ❏

February 2003 19



VNF and the voie ahead

Freight traffic on French inland

waterways reached 7 bill t/kms

(+ 3.3 per cent) last year, although

tonnage rose more modestly

by 1.1 per cent to 56.8 mt.

Last year internal traffic (including

movements to/from

French seaports) rose by 8.6 per

cent but traffic with an international

o/d point fell by 2.7 per

cent. The biggest growth area

was coal (+ 43 per cent), but

François Bordry, president of

Voies Navigables de France

(VNF) states that traffic of

finsished and semi-finished

goods increased by 19.7 per cent

(eg ro-ro car barges on the

Rhine and Seine, container

barges on the Seine and Rhône-

Saône). Sand and building materials’

traffic rose 5 per cent

while cereals traffic fell by 4 per

cent and iron and steel products

traffic fell by 9 per cent.

Bordry draws attention to

the contrat du progrès agreed by

VNF and the Port of Marseilles,

which has improved the barge/

ship interface and led to increasing

activity on the Rhône-

Saône including a new river terminal

at Pagny, due to enter

service this year. Similar agreements

are expected with Dunkirk,

Rouen and Le Havre.

Nord Container Service

(NCS) links its feeder service

over Dunkirk (for Rotterdam,

Le Havre and Felixstowe) with

barges to Lille, Valenciennes and

Béthune. Bridge height is to be

raised on the Dunkerque-

Valenciennes canal, while the

planned re-opening of the

Condé-Pommeroeul canal will

avoid the Nimy-Blaton-

Péronne canal detour..

As previously reported

(WorldCargo News, December

2002, p9), the new boat lift at

Strépy-Thieu and canal bridge

at Houdeng provide 1350 dwt

barge access between Dunkirk

and the Belgian market (Mons,

Charleroi, Liège, etc). Dunkirk’s

biggest inland boost will come

when the Seine-Nord link is

completed, for push barges up

to 3000 tonnes. ❏


River ports raise investment levels

The Port of Paris Authority

(PAP)’s 2002-2006 plan is worth

€174 mill and includes €24 mill

for property in the port area of

Ile-de-France, €19.8 mill to complete

its sprinkler programme in

its warehouses and €58.33 mill for

new warehouses and distribution

centres near rail and river nodes.

The new container barge terminal

at Bonneuil-sur-Marne will

be operated by PAP affiliate Paris

Terminal SA which has operated

the Gennevilliers terminal since

1995. As previously reported,

Bonneuil will be served by

Logiseine as an extension of its Le

Havre-Gennevilliers service.

Logiseine is forecasting traffic

of 5000 TEU for Bonneuil in the

first year rising eventually up to

20,000 TEU/year. Sailing time

from Le Havre is 36 hours, but the

river mode offers advantages in

terms of customs procedures and

lower storage and transport costs.

Bonneuil is well-located for the

CNC and Novatrans yards at

Valenton and is the base for the

T3M (TAB/Connex) rail intermodal

service to Milan (Lungavilla).

Gennevilliers is also being reconnected

to rail (see below).

Rhine steady

On the Rhine, traffic through the

Gambsheim locks came to 25 mt

last year, almost unchanged on

2001 despite two week’s less navigation

due to flood water levels

last November. The Port of Strasbourg

handled 9.3 mt (- 3 per

cent), Mulhouse 5.7 mt ( + 5 per

cent) and Colmar 0.7 mt.

Strasbourg handled 130,000

TEU (+ 10 per cent) of which

container barge traffic accounted

for 55,000 TEU, underlying the

importance of the second container

terminal now under construction.

Mulhouse’s container

barge traffic reached 70,000 TEU,

mainly automotive parts for the

Peugeot plants at Sochaux. Last

year 350 TEU barges started calling

the ports for the first time,

along with 135m long, 3500 dwt

motor barges for other traffics.

Niche player

Despite its proximity to Marseilles,

the Port of Arles on the lower

Rhône has carved out a rôle for

river, river/sea, rail and road distribution

and has more than 40-

ha still available for industrial/logistic


Agrofino uses Arles to import

peat from Poland while Cimalit

imports and conditions bulk cement

for re-export in palletised

sacks. Other customers include

Kiabi (clothes) and Tibbett &

Britten (Perrier water). ❏

CNC sips a new Burgundy

CNC Transports has opened a

new intermodal terminal in the

outskirts of Dijon. Bourgogne

Container Terminal (BCT) is

much larger than the cramped terminal

which CNC was using in

Dijon city centre and has a direct

link to the motorway. Rail access

is also better. There is no interference

from passenger services and

the terminal is next to the Grevey

sorting centre, which serves the

Paris-Lyon-Marseille line.

BCT has four loading tracks -

three covered by an RMG and the

fourth worked by a reach stacker.

Capacity is put at 35,000

intermodal wagons/year - four

times that of the old terminal -

and there is storage space for 600

TEU (swap bodies as well as containers),

with ample space for staging

and handling road chassis.

CNC is offering washing,

maintenance and repair services

for swap bodies and containers and

ancillary services such as pallet

management. Burgundy is important

for exports of food products,

wine, photographic equipment,

etc and CNC is providing a daily

serive between BCT and Le Havre

and Marseille-Fos as well as

linking it into its continental service

network (swap bodies). In accordance

with latest policy, BCT

will be managed by a mixed company

including regional organs.

After three years of acess improvement

work, CNC has reconnected

the Port of Paris’

Gennevilliers terminal to its network,

with a reglar shuttle service

to its Paris hub at Villeneuve-St

Georges. This creates interesting

possibilities for shipping lines, because

of the Logiseine container

barge service between Gennevilliers

and Le Havre.

Last August CNC started a

new service, ECX, dedicated to

moving empty containers for

shipping lines, mainly on the Marseilles-Le

Havre, Gennevilliers-

Antwerp and Fos-Lyon axes. In

October, Med Shuttle, the CNC/

Marseilles operator, introduced a

new service to Strasbourg.


CNC is being given a €20 mill

cash injection by its majority

owner (76 per cent) SNCF

Participations, including a sale and

lease back of part of its rolling

stock. CNC’s turnover rose 3.6 per

cent last year to €230 mill, but

losses also mounted, due to the

parlous situation of IFB in which

it has a stake and the problems of

Channel tunnel rail services. These

account for a quarter of CNC’s

international swap body traffic and

tonnage fell by half last year. ❏

● French network manager

Réseau Ferré de France says that

five foreign organisations have applied

to use French tracks after 15

March, when the next phase of

European rail liberaliation is due

for implementation in France.

Among them is tanktainer operator

Rail4chem (BASF, Bertschi,

Hoyer and VTG Lehnkering). ❏

Airbus on the water

Airbus Industrie has settled on

combined sea, inland waterway

and road mode for delivery to

Toulouse from Coventry, Cádiz,

Hamburg and St Nazaire of subassemblies

for the new A380,

which is touted as the world’s biggest

commercial airplane.

Ships will convey pieces to

Bordeaux’s riverside quays at

Pauillac, where they will be reloaded

to barges sailing up the

River Garonne to Langon. Here

the outsize loads will be reloaded

to special trailers licensed to travel

on the motorway to the assembly

plant at Blaignac (Toulouse).

The Port of Bordeaux is investing

up to €50 mill to cater for

this logistic flow, estimated at

50,000 tonnes/year, including a

new 150m long by 35m wide

semi-submersible, floating pontoon,

a new ro-ro berth at Pauillac

and upgrading the old “stone

bridge” in Bordeaux. In addition,

new elevator systems are being

installed at Langon to ensure that

the cargo can be unloaded irrespective

of water levels. The works

are slated for completion in 2004,

ready for the planned production

start-up of the A380.

Airbus has signed a preliminary

agreement for the river transport

leg with both CNFR Cie

Française de Navigation Rhénane

and Socatra, the Bordeaux-based

tanker operator. Special barges will

be built, with a forward wheelhouse

for clear visibility in fornt

of the outsize pieces. ❏

● A new floating pontoon and roro

ramp was recently installed at

Nantes’Cheviré facility on the

River Loire, to cater for shipments

of sub-assemblies previously

trucked in special convoys to Airbus’

Montoir (St Nazaire) plant

from its plant at Bouguenais, some

60 kms upstream, near Nantes.

The new nvestment at Cheviré

totals €3.2 mill. The transport has

been contracted to Cussoneau,

which has chartered ro-ro barge/

pusher tug JULES VERNE from Cie

Ligérienne de Transport to transport

the special trailers. ❏


February 2003


Russia’s container market still growing

Obtaining reliable data on container

volumes moving in and

out of Russian ports can be

difficult, but the traffic is bigger than most

analysts have believed, according to a new

survey by German management consultancy

TransCare. The new study follows

up earlier research conducted for the

National Container Company when scenarios

for port and hinterland traffic

growth were identified for two regions,

the Baltic and the Black Sea (World Cargo

News, December 2002, p18).

The new study combines data from

ports and shipping lines and quantifies

container export potential of seven different

Russian provinces. It also analyses

the development potential of individual

ports in the Baltic, the Black Sea and the

Far East and looks at different competitive

scenarios between these regions.

According to TransCare, the Russian

origin/destination market accounted for

1.4 mill TEU last year. In contrast, the

Russian Ministry of Transport had forecast

that the market would rise to a more

modest 702,000 TEU from 640,000 TEU

in 2001. However, says TransCare,

Petersburg alone handled 480,000 TEU

in 2001 and continued to grow last year.

TransCare calculates that Russian

ports together accounted for 857,000

TEU last year, including the Far East ports

of Vostochniy with 150,000 TEU and

Vladivostock with 70,000 TEU. It estimates

that about 44,000 TEU entered the

country via non-Russian Black Sea ports

(Ukrainian ports), while Novorossiysk

handled 30,000 TEU. Until recently

Odessa was the main gateway for Russia

in the south, but according to TransCare

only about 10 per cent of Odessa’s (and

just two per cent of Iliychevsk’s) container

traffic last year was Russian transit traffic.

Last year St Petersburg handled more

Russian container traffic than the Finnish

and Baltic Republic ports combined.

Vostochniy is continuing to attract container shipping services, largely due to the strength of the

block train system to Finland, which is catering almost completely for “false transit” (ie Russian

imports from Korea and China routed via Finnish entrepots)

St Petersburg handled 580,000 TEU (up

20 per cent on 2001) while the Finnish

and Baltic Republic ports respectively

accounted for 344,000 TEU and 185,000

TEU of Russian transit traffic.

In the past 10 years container traffic

through Petersburg has grown 20 per cent.

The chart has been erratic; when Russia

was plunged into economic crisis in 1998,

Petersburg’s container traffic plummeted

by 32 per cent. But it resumed its upward

trend, albeit slowly at first.

The Finnish ports are mainly used for

higher value imports. Last year Kotka handled

155,000 TEU of Russian transit traffic,

Helsinki 114,000 TEU and Hamina



75,000 TEU. As for the Baltic Republic

ports, Riga led the way with 70,000 TEU,

followed by Tallinn with 70,000 TEU and

Klaipeda with 45,000 TEU.

These ex-Soviet Baltic ports are the

most vulnerable to Russia’s current “national

ports for national cargoes” programme.

The Finnish ports are also exposed,

but they add value (stripping, secure

storage, reloading to trailers, which

hands control of receiving points to the

importers). On the other hand, the clumsy

Finnish-Russian TIR rows are hardly good

for business! “North Link” ports in the Gulf

of Bothnia, meanwhile, are targetting Russian

mineral bulk flows.

Peter the great

Russia wants to build up container handling

in Ust-Luga, but Petersburg will

Belarus outlet

Russia and land-locked Belarus are intensifying

co-operation in the Baltic region.

Last year, the volume of cargo

shipped from mainland Russia to its

Kaliningrad enclave across Belarus almost

doubled and Russian hauliers transiting

Belarus now receive most favoured nation

treatment. Bilateral trade is forecast

to double this year to US$200 mill.

The Belarus government has declared

an interest in investing in the Russian port

of Baltiysk, with a view to enhancing its

exports of fertiliser (potash). The US$180

mill project envisages the construction

over the next seven years of 12 deepwater

quays at Baltiysk, able to accommodate

ships up to 40,000 dwt.

In December a joint Russia-Belarus

fishing company was set up and plans to

build up a national merchant fleet will be

boosted by special tax credits. Transport

Ministry spokeswoman Ella Kurila said

that foreign owners were welcome to

switch to the Belarussian flag as this would

attract foreign investments.

Meanwhile, the Latvian government,

faced with a sharp fall in Russian transit

traffic over Riga and Ventspiols is trying

to negotiate a favourable transit deal with

Belarussian Railways. Belarus has signed

a US$1 mill agreement to purchase some

electric locos from Latvian Railways.

Another important north-south

project is the upgrading of the Volga-Baltic

Canal. Last December Nikolay

Smirnov, head of Rosrechflot, the Russian

Transport Ministry’s inland shipping

department, said that, after a gap of many

years, the canal would be dredged to meet

modern shipping requirements in time for

this summer’s navigation.

Russia has more than 100,000 kms of

inland waterways and Rosrechflot’s subdivisions,

organised according to river basins,

have been ordered to carry out

dredging in the main ones to ensure that

3.8-4m depths necessary for safe shipping

are maintained. The inland waterway network

has more than 700 hydraulic structures

including 110 shipping locks, hydroelectric

power plants and dams. ❏

February 2003 21




continue to grow. According to

TransCare, by 2012 it could be

handling between 1.4 and 1.8 mill

TEU/year. Both First Container

Terminal and Petrolesport have

announced expansion plans, with

German backing. Building up

Petersburg as an outport for transhipment

over Hamburg (or, in

future, Wilhelmshaven) would cut

the Finns out of the chain.

Russia has several means to

favour Russian ports - manipulating

customs rules and rail tariffs,

lower port fees, etc. TransCare

believes that by 2012 Russian traffic

via Finnish ports will not exceed

500-600,000 TEU/year and


via the Baltic Republics no more

than 200-300,000 TEU/year.

Ukrainian ports are expected to

lose out to Russian Black Sea ports,

mainly Novorossiysk. Five out of

18 Ukrainian ports currently handle

containers. In 2002 Odessa handled

100,000 TEU, Iliychevsk

100,000 TEU and Mariupol

15,000 TEU. Last year Russian traffic

fell by 88 per cent at Iliychevsk,

while Novorossiysk’s container

business rose 67 per cent.

The Ukrainian Transport Ministry

is fighting back with expansion

plans of its own. Under its

long-term (to 2010) seaports development

programme, a total of

A Russian government plan to

create a centralised port administration

has run into strong criticism

from local port administrators.

They fear that the new agency,

Rosmorport, will strip them of revenues

and pursue federal or commercially

influenced priorities in

conflict with their own aims.

54 terminals are due to be modernised

or built from scratch, including

a new multimodal terminal

in Iliychevsk and a container

terminal in Mariupol.

Perhaps there is room for all

The heads of port administrations

at Novorossiysk and Vysotsk

have gone over to the attack,

warning that ice-breaker funds

might be in jeopardy. This is very

sensitive as St Petersburg has been

severely ice-bound and there have

been insufficient numbers of icebreakers

to clear a path for incoming

and outgoing vessels. The federal

authorities ordered a diesel

icebreaker from Murmansk to St

Petersburg, but this incurred the

wrath of Arkhangel port officials.

Rosmorport is staffed by Ministry

of Transport officials in Moscow

and is supposed to be ready

to start up in June,. It will have

between five and seven geographical

divisions, responsible for basins

that include several ports, viz:

Baltic (Petersburg, Vysotsk, Ust-

Luga, and Kaliningrad); northern

(Murmansk, Arkhangelsk); far east

(Vostochny, Vladivostok, Nahodka);

southern (Novorossiysk,

Tuapse); Caspian (Astrakhan,

Makhachkala, Olya).


Federal officials say they expect

criticism of local port captains to

wither away. Transport Ministry

spokesman Alexander Filimonov

says that worries that Moscow will

take away their financial resources

are unfounded. “Rosmorport will

have a transparent structure and

all decisions will be discussed before

being adopted.

“All money will remain in the

hands of basin departments...and

ports within the same region or

basin will agree on distribution of

the money they earn for purposes

of financing construction of port

facilities, which are maintained

and owned by the state.”

Filimonov acknowledged that

this may involve transfers of funds

from larger, richer ports to the

small ones within the same basin.

For example, he said, money

might flow from Murmansk to

Kandalaksha in the northern region.

However, he denied that St

Petersburg’s funds would be diverted

to pay for Ust-Luga.

A key issue for Moscow is

the creation of port capacity for

dealing with Russia’s growing

output of grain and coal and

Black Sea ports. It is claimed that

container from Shanghai, for example,

could reach Moscow in

Ports lay into Moscow’s plans

certainly Rosmorport will try

to influence capital investment

projects in the crucial Far East

and Black Sea port regions.

Sell off

Last year Moscow supervised a

sell-off of majority stakes in many

Russian ports, which are being

bought up by the transport arms

of major exporters (eg Severstaltrans,

Evraz). The Transport

Ministry aims to use the port

charges and its stakes in the

stevedoring groups to weed out

the unprofitable ones and stimulate

port growth. Rosmorport is

intended to implement and oversee

this policy, in place of the

Transport Ministry, and to be selffunding

out of port charges.

One of the sources of revenue

that has also triggered criticism is

the government’s plan to revalue

port property and drive up lease

and rental rates for Russian

stevedoring companies.

TheTransport Ministry and

Ministry of State Property previously

used a variety of valuations

to set rental/lease charges for Russian

stevedores. Then, late last year,

the two ministries agreed on a

plan to introduce a market valuation

of the property, and fix annual

charges at 18 per cent.

Big hike

One government source has

stated, for example, that at

Murmansk port the charge will

rise from Rb13 mill (U$440,000)

to R64 mill (U$2 mill). At

Novorossiysk, Russia’s main Black

A tender for a new container terminal

at Russia’s Caspian Sea port

of Olya was recently awarded to

Quantum Petroleum (QP). The

facility, expected to open in the

third quarter of this year, is part of

the project to cut the cost and time

of moving containers between

India, Iran, Russia and north west

Europe via the Baltic.

As previously reported Olya is

open for navigation all year round

while Astrakhan, further upstream

on the Volga, is ice-bound in the

winter. QP will also provide vehicles

to dray containers on the

50 km road between the railway

junction at Yandyki and Olya.

QP is part of First Quantum,

a partner of Severstaltrans in recently-established

National Container

Company (WorldCargo

News, December 2002, p18). Negotiations

are underway with

Volga Shipping regarding a regular

feeder link between Bandar-

Anzali and Olya and Caspian

Shipping is being exhorted to step

up its ferry services.

Caspian landbridge

The Caspian landbridge has important

geo-strategic advantages

for Russia, India and Iran. In

themselves these are nothing new

but they have been given added

momentum by the broad, USbacked,


China “east-west” alliance and the

fact that relations between India

and Pakistan are at an all-time low.

(There is a blanket ban on Indian

o/d cargoes being transited

through Pakistan).

Bandar Abbas has been handling

more Indian o/d cargo for

some time and the “penny

dropped” last May when the transport

ministers of India, Iran and

26/27 days via the Black Sea compared

with 34/40 days via the

Baltic for about the same price. ❏

Sea port, the rental will jump from

Rb27 mill to Rb312 million

(US$10 mill). A total increase of

up to US$30 mill in revenues is

expected to flow into the state’s

port administration budget.

Chingiz Izmaylov, deputy

minister of transportation, says that

the fee change is not a prelude to

privatisation of the ports. “The

facilities which are currently managed

by the state maritime administrations

of ports will not be privatised,”

he said. “Only the state

shares in stevedoring companies

may be subject to sale.

“Stevedoring companies will

continue to rent the land and water

area of ports and port facilities,

such as moorings and hydrotechnical

facilities, from the maritime

administrations [the state].”

According to Filimonov again,

“earlier rental contracts were

signed in a situation when there

was no single mechanism for defining

the value of the port facilities

that were rented out to

stevedoring companies. As a result

of that, some companies got rates

which were extremely low, while

others got port facilities on different


“The difference in rent payments

by different stevedoring

firms for similar port facilities

could amount to several times and

there was no single tariff policy.”

Filimonov also confirmed that,

under the new scheme, port payments

by the stevedores will increase.

But he insisted that this is

not likely to drive any of the main

operators out of business. ❏

Olya’s Quantum leap

Russia ordered the acceleration of

plans to develop a multimodal logistics

route linking the three

countries, as first set out in a

memorandum in September 2000.

The corridor connects

Jawaharlal Nehru and Mumbai

with the Iranian ports of Bandar

Abbas and Chabahar. It then

reaches up through Iran to the

southern Caspian ports of Bandar

Anzali and Bandar Amirabad by

road or rail. From there, it heads

to Russia’s northern Caspian port

of Astrakhan/Olya and on by rail

to Petersburg.

Good cargo base

Some 2.1 mt of cargo worth

US$700 mill was shipped between

Russia and Iran in 2001. Russia’s

trade with India last year was valued

at US$1.07 bill while trade

between India and Iran was a respectable

US$390 mill. If the land

corridor works well it could prove

a serious threat to all-water via

Suez as transit times would be cut

from 35 days to just 12. However,

as yet freight rates remain high on

the overland/Caspian route and it

is not “seamless” or “transparent.”

The base is there, however.

Container traffic has been growing

steadily due to the increasing

presence of major container lines

such as P&O Nedlloyd and

Maersk Sealand, which use the

Iranian rail network to access

Central Asia. Meanwhile, Astrakhan

rail junction is currently

handling an average of 600 containers/month

in both directions,

with southward vessels going full

and returning from Iran 60 per

cent utilised. Russia has big plans

to increase capacity at its Caspian

ports, with Olya slated for 8 mta

compared to 0.5 mta today. ❏

February 2003




High politics in the Low Countries

A second Maasvlakte (Maasvlakte 2) may

have moved a step coser to reality now

that Rotterdam Municipal Port Management

(GHR) has abandoned the idea of

a separate harbour entrance. The GHR

has officially resigned itself to the less expensive

variant whereby all shipping will

use the existing harbour entrance.

Shipping for Maasvlakte 2 terminals

will have to sail an extra 9 n/m (minimum)

and make a 180 deg U-turn. It is

the option the GHR has always tried to

avoid, claiming it as the least safe and least

convenient for navigation. It will be used

by all shipping, including the multitude

of inland barges and feeders as well as

deepsea ships whatever their size when

Maasvlakte 2 is finally commissioned.

It is also the least expensive option,

requiring a total outlay calculated at €2.3

bill, reportedly €1.2 bill less than if the

project included a separate, west-facing

harbour entrance that would have ensured

direct accessibility from the North Sea.

Yangtze syndrome

From the Maasvlakte’s central entrance

(Beer canal), ships must manoeuvre between

the Maasvlakte Oil Terminal on

one side and ECT’s Delta peninsula on

the other to make it to the Yangtze dock.

This dead-end dock is to be cut to become

Maasvlakte 2’s access channel. GHR

and the shipping community described

it as the “Yangtze River” variant to conjure

the image of the Chinese waterway’s

busy shipping and fast current.

The GHR bowed to the inevitable

last month as the quid pro quo it had to

offer in exchange for the government

agreeing to pay the whole of the estimated

€600 mill cost of the new outer

seawall. The remaining €1.7 bill to reclaim

and lay out the 1000-ha area is to

be financed by a planned new 50:50 joint

venture between the government and the

GHR which would also manage

Maasvlakte 2.

The GHR argues that time is of the

essence and is pushing for construction

to start in 2005 so that the first occupants

could settle in by 2007-2008. This

timescale is justified, GHR alleges, by the

shortage of space at the existing Maasvlakte

and the westward shift of the port

as the city expands into areas such as the

Waalhaven and Eemhaven. But the desire

to “out speed” Wilhelmhaven’s Jade

Weser Port or Vlissingen’s WCT project

is not far below the surface.

Off the peg

It has come up with a ready-made clause

for the compromise Maasvlakte 2 formula

to be formally written into the new government’s

legislative programme. This

clause was drafted in collaboration with

the transport minister, Roelf de Boer, an

acknowledged shipping expert, who may

not, however, survive the new government’s

ministerial “reshuffle.”

Last year had started promisingly for

the GHR with an MoU under which the

(then) government would fund the €1.2

bill needed to construct the “skeleton”

(the outer seawall including a dedicated

seafront harbour entrance), while the estimated

€.1.8 bill for the interior would

be financed by a new limited liability

company in which the port authority

would have a stake. (The GHR, a Rotterdam

municipal organisation, should be

incorporated later this year).

Under the MOU, the government

was to become a shareholder in the new

entity in exchange for co-financing the

actual landfill works. The new entity was

also supposed to cough up the return on

investment the Hague wanted for its investment

in the skeleton. It was the finance

department’s answer to the earlier

total failure of a proposed public-private

partnership (PPP) for Maasvlakte 2 to

attract any interest from the private sector,

just as the PPP for the freight-only

Betuwe rail link also failed miserably.

With the economy dipping, Rotterdam

hopes that the new cabinet will stick

to the 50:50 joint venture scenario. Hopes

were briefly raised last year when De Boer

dropped the demand that a launching

customer had to commit first before any

A “Maasvlakte 2” compromise, a rejigging of Deurganckdok ...

there is certainly plenty going on in Rotterdam and Antwerp

Maasvlakte 2 works could start. But they

were dashed when the Finance Ministry

stated that De Boer was not expressing

an official government position!

Euromax question

With the Yangtze dock to be cut, the

north part of the existing Maasvlakte

where the proposed Euromax terminal

of P&O Nedlloyd (P&ONL) and ECT

is located becomes virtually an island.

Trucks and trains coming from the mainland

would be able to access the terminal

only via the westerly seawall of

Maasvlakte 2. Last year P&ONL stated

that the “when and how” of Euromax

depended on the harbour entrance issue

and, as there has still not been any land

lease commitment, there is speculation

that the project might be dropped in favour

of “sitting it out” until Maasvlakte

2 is developed. Money is tight with both

partners and in any case ECT still has

space to expand at Delta terminal.

Scrapping Euromax would not just be

“bad PR” for Rotterdam, it would leave

the GHR with 260-ha of unsold “world

class” land which could easily be dredged

to Malaccamax depth. The case for

Maasvlakte 2 to be built quickly would

be shot to pieces.

P&ONL Board member Rutger van

Slobbe has denied any notion that the

ECT and P&ONL are said to have GHR

exactly where they want it

“Yangtze variant” might kill Euromax.

“We have started discussing nautical conditions

required with the port authority,

but we intend to build,” he stressed.

Hutchinson Port Holding’s European

February 2003 23




president and ECT’s CEO Richard

Pearson backs his future partner:

“I am confident,” said

Pearson, “that whatever happens

there will always be an axis linking

Euromax to rail and road.”

He declined, however, to give

a firm opening date for Euromax,

which is already behind schedule.

Furthermore, a potential new

complication would arise if the

Uniport and Hanno operations

were to move from the Waalhaven

to the south side of the Yangtze

dock, as the companies’ owner

Hans Vervat has requested.

In theory there are 135-ha left

on the south side of the Yangtse

Dock but if the shipping channel,

currently 500m wide, were

widened to prevent conflict of

passing ships, that space would be

reduced accordingly. Asked

whether another container terminal

on the bank directly opposite

the Euromax site would affect the

latter project, Van Slobbe commented

cryptically: “I’m convinced

nothing will arise there.”

Vervat’s biggest obstacles are

P&ONL and ECT but, according

to one source “they have got

GHR where they want it,” since

it cannot tolerate the notion of

This drawing of Deurganckdok is a

useful guide although it does not show

the Waaslandkanal access at the south

end. Phases 1 and 2 west are in green,

phase 2 east in yellow, phase 3 east in

red and phase 3 west in blue

Euromax being cancelled, even if

it is in doubt. P&O group shareholders’

views on container shipping

are well-known. From Korea

it is reported that P&ON has

pulled out of a deal to take a 40

per cent share in a new berth at

Busan (Shinsundae). What’s next?

In the same boat

If the GHR has got problems, so

has the Antwerp port authority

(APA). It has been forced to rejig

the concessions at the tidal

Deurganckdok on the left bank

which remains, in any case, opposed

in some quarters.

Not only has Phase 3 west, a

53-ha site with 1100m of quay,

had to be postponed but APA is

consulting with Hessenoordnatie

(HNN) and P & O Ports on

phases 1 and 2 west (99-ha,

1650m quay), originally allocated

to the Hessenatie (now HNN)

joint venture with MSC, and

phases 2 and 3 east. Phase 2 east

(51-ha, 1370m quay) was originally

allocated to HNN for CP

Ships. Phase 3 east (58-ha, 1100m

quay) was subsequently allocated

to P & O Ports. The drawing

above is from 1999 and is somewhat

out of date as it does not

show the Waaslandkanal access

lock at the southern end, but it is

still useful for orientation.

It hardly bears repeating that

Deurganckdok has been delayed

by environmental and legal actions

(the first berths were orignally

slated to open last year), but the

“rethink” was necessitated by

MSC’s decision late last year to

pull out of its planned automated

terminal joint venture with HNN

and instead consolidate its operations

at the locked Delwaidedok,

with the option of using HNN’s

tidal right bank terminals (Europa,

Noordzee) as needed (WorldCargo

News, December 2002, p1).

Although P & O Ports, Maersk

Sealand and HNN all made solus

bids for phase 3 west, APA decided

to postpone the concession because

of the uncertainty about

volumes which would be handled

at Deurganckdok following

MSC’s decision not to go there.

It now seems likely that HNN

will keep phases 1 and 2 west, but

as MSC is not there to fill it, logically

CP Ships’ traffic should be

handled there. CP Ships has to

approve being moved from the

east to the west bank but it is hard

to see it objecting. In fact, it might

welcome the move because phase

2 east is somewhat limited by its

irregular shape which could complicate

terminal operations. Assuming

CP agrees to the move,

HNN would give up phase 2 east.

Over to P & O Ports

Under one scenario, the latter facility

would then be turned over

to P & O Ports and, when added

to its existing concession, would

provide it with a massive, 109-ha

facility with 2470m of linear quay.

Construction of phase 2 east is

now likely to be co-terminous

with phases 1 and 2 west, meaning

that P & O ports will get a

tidal terminal in Antwerp two

years sooner than if it had to wait

for phase 3 east. Under this deal,

P & O Ports would hand over to

HNN/MSC part of its (ex-Seaport

Terminals’) facility on the

right bank of the Delwaidedok.

But, even allowing for demand-led

phasing of investments,

can P & O Ports take on

the whole of Deurganckdok

east and London Gateway (see

news pages) at the same time?

Another moot point

There is also the question of the

(postponed) phase 3 west allocation.

From the point of view of

productivity it would surely be

best as a contiguous extension of

HNN’s phases 1 and 2 west concession.

Another operator would

be squeezed between HNN and

the lock at the south end of the

dock. But what about Maersk

Sealand which, as noted, has already

shown its interest in phase

3 west, even though its ships

would have to sail past the Scylla

of P & O Ports on one side and

As briefly noted in last month’s

WorldCargo News (p1), Hessenoordnatie

(HNN)’s dedicated

terminal for MSC in Antwerp’s

Delwaidedok will be a conventional

straddle carrier terminal and

not an automated one with overhead

cranes fed from the quay by

1 over 1 shuttle carriers as originally

selected for Deurganckdok.

Although somewhat reticent,

Maurizio Aponte, MSC’s director

for Belgium and Holland, said that

the partners aim to order equipment

by the end of March at the

latest and it is hoped to achieve

most of the changes during 2004.

“Tendering is not the right word;

we are collecting price quotations

right now,” said Aponte.

Most likely the new straddle

carriers will be 1 over 2s, as there

is plenty of space available at the

facility and it is the system bestsuited

to maintaining the flexibility

for which HNN is renowned

(eg very short “cut off” times).

The order could well be split

between Noell and Kalmar as both

companies have supporters in the

merged HNN organisation. The

order may not be a massive one

in any case as some of the existing

machines can carry on as now.

New crane sourcing

In 2000 (the then) Hessenatie informed

WorldCargo News that it

had signed a letter of intent with

Fantuzzi group for at least 10

superpost-Panamax cranes for the

automated terminal (specs in July

2000 edition, p23) but the LoI no

longer appears to be valid. HNN

states that “no binding arrangements

were made” with Fantuzzi

group; Aponte says that Fantuzzi

is “one of the contenders.”

There is speculation that

HNN has made enquiries about

(some of) the nine, so far unused

the Charybdis of PSA on the

other and also live with the lock


Can Antwerp afford not to accommodate

such a carrier, even if

its major interests lie elsewhere -

Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Le Havre

and perhaps Dunkirk (see p18).

Overwhelming MSC

Since Antwerp’s container traffic

is dominated by MSC, how is traffic

going to be brought on quickly

at Deurganckdok without another

shipping major in there?

In any event, it seems unlikely

that CP Ships, with its various

lines, could work with a “one size

fits all” automated terminal on the

lines finally turned down by MSC.

PSA would not want to take on

the investment risk on its own and

therefore a conventional straddle

carrier operation, in which HNN

is a world class expert, would seem

to be the solution. ❏

Conventional Delwaide

ZPMC cranes at Ceres terminal

in Amsterdam. Five of these are

fitted with rotating bogies which

would be very useful if, as seems

likely, HNN takes the right bank

at Delwaidedok from P&O Ports

(see above).

“Not for sale”

Early last December, Chris

Kritikos (who maintains a stake in

Ceres Paragon), stated categorically

that rumours that NYK

might sell some of the cranes were

“totally unfounded.” That was before

MSC made its shock decision

to pull out of the Deurganckdok

automated terminal project,

but for the time being at least it

seems clear that NYK wants to

operate Ceres as a multi-user container

terminal (and not convert

it to a car terminal - another rumour

flying around last year).

Some of the cranes at the terminal

are owned by NYK/Ceres

and some are on long-term lease

from the Amsterdam port authority

(GHA), which has confirmed

that the lease contract can be cancelled

only with the agreement of

both parties. As the GHA apparently

still sees a deepsea container

terminal as being in the port’s best

interest, it is unlikely to release

Ceres from its lease obligations.

Meanwhile, because of the

(long-term) need to dredge the

Scheldt for mega-containerships,

one assumption has been that the

Delwaide option might be seen by

MSC as a temporary or at least

flexible one in favour of future

deepwater terminals such as

HNN’s planned Westerschelde

Container Terminal in Vlissingen.

“I have no crystal ball. But

when you sell new (Delwaide)

equipment after, say, five years,

then you will lose money,” remarked

Aponte. ❏

This spectacular shot shows NYK’s APOLLO berthing at Ceres Paragon in

Amsterdam during trials. Both Ceres and GHA have dismissed speculation

that any of the Paragon cranes are for sale. The five cranes on the right can

negotiate a curve onto the linear berth and could be particularly handy for

HNN if, as seems likely, it takes over the right bank at Delwaidedok


February 2003


SBB spreads the Domino effect


s previously reported (WorldCargo

News, July 2002 p42), SBB is

pushing for more door-to-door

transport of swap bodies under its Cargo

Domino brand. The service is offered as a

full package, including equipment provision,

transfer and road delivery, but customers

can also “dine à la carte” and use

their own equipment or their own trucks.

Normally transfer and road delivery

would be carried out by a local trucking

company on behalf of SBB or the client.

A side issue

Traditionally, the Swiss domestic rail market

is handled through private sidings. Rail

service is reliable and prompt and volumes

are fairly steady. Daniel Nordmann,

head of SBB Cargo, points out that SBB

has a remarkably high share of 30 per cent

in the domestic market - even more remarkable

given Switzerland’s small size.

Within Switzerland, SBB has been

raising service standards. The basic overnight

service (day A - day B) has been

supplemented by Cargo Express (late departure,

early arrival) and now by daytime

services which can attract new

FMCG business such as milk and other

perishables - cargo commonly believed

to have been surrendered to road forever.

Typical customers include large retailers

such as Migros, Coop and Usego,

which are eager to use the Domino service

for shipments to points without rail

sidings, for example from their distribution

centres to the shops.

Usego previously opted for swap bodies

in the road-only context, because separating

box and chassis significantly improved

the flexibility and the performance

of its road fleet. It was then a small

step to shift part of the flows to rail, when

this became technically possible. Also, persistent

congestion problems on the

Gotthard road link and the distance-based

road tax for lorries help to make shippers

more interested in rail.

Wide choice

SBB offers Cargo Domino between 11

stations: Geneva, Renens, Sion, Berne,

Olten, Dietikon, Winterthur, Rotkreuz,

Gossau, Landquart and Lugano (two sites).

While the domestic market is the prime

target, it is also looking at connections

into northern Italy and southern Germany.

By last September, Domino had

10 customers shipping on average 65 swap

bodies/day. By mid-2003 this should increase

to 140 swap bodies/day. Currently,

demand is outstripping capacity and

Nicole Zeller-Sigrist, product manager

for Cargo Domino, is therefore looking

forward to the delivery of 273 new 7.45m

swap bodies later this year.

Hush cars

Last November SBB announced a FS16

mill order for 200 bogie flats from Ferriere

Cattaneo in Giubiasco (not 165 wagons

as initially planned). They will have low

noise characteristics due to composite

brake shoes and are suited for 120 km/h

operation. Delivery starts this September

at a rate of 15 wagons per month

The new Domino transfer equipment

developed by SBB and Thomas Becker

differs in various aspects from the original

Mobiler. One point is the ability to

pick up swap bodies from either side of

the truck. This is relevant when the swap

body on the wagon happens to be “facing

the wrong way,” (ie would risk being

placed on the lorry with the doors towards

the cabin).

The two-sided operation is possible

because the Domino beam is narrower

than the channel of the swap

body. This leaves room for the hydraulic

supply hoses and the control cable.

The Mobiler beam fills the channel



More for Hupac

Hupac Intermodal’s traffic increased 6.6

per cent last year to 402,906 shipments

(truckload equivalents), with non-accompanied

traffic rising 3.1 per cent to

332,54i1 shipments and driver-accompanied

RoLa traffic increasing by 26.1 per

cent to 70,365 HGVs.

The big increase in RoLa traffic is ascribed

to strong demand on the Freiburg-

Novara corridor, via the Lötschberg,

which allows for 4m trailer height at the

corners and is managed by Hupac on

behalf of Ralpin, its joint venture with

SBB Cargo, BLS and Trenitalia Cargo.

Traffic on this corridor rose by 137 per

cent to 44,508 HGVs.

This was offset somewhat, however, by

a 30 per cent fall on the Gotthard tunnel

route to 25,857 HGVs, due both to a

transfer of Freiburg-Milan traffic to

Freiburg-Novara and to temporary closure

(last February and March) of the

Luino line (Chiasso-Como) because of

rockslides at the Olimpino II tunnel.

Of course, this closure also affected

unaccompanied shipments but nevertheless

Hupac’s core transalpine transit traffic

was steady at 282,638 truckload

equivalents. Swiss import/export traffic

grew slighlty to 36,108 shipments, while

Hupac’s newest service offer, ISO container

traffic (La Spezia-Chiasso, Rotterdam-Basel,

Duisburg-Basel) more than

doubled to 13,795 shipments - ie almost

28,000 TEU. Hupac has called for the

Bellinzona-Luino line to be doubletracked

as a matter of top priority, along

with gauge enhancement on the

Domodossola-Gallarate route. ❏

February 2003 25



completely, so that the supply

lines must be trailed from one end.

Another difference is that

the Domino transfer movement

is continuous, not intermittent

as with Mobiler. This is achieved

by a dual walking mechanism

within each crawler beam.

While one set of feet moves

the load, the other set prepares

to take the relay. Other features

of the equipment include cameras

that show the driver his position

in relation to the swap

body on the wagon, thus making

it easy to line up correctly.

Currently the payload capacity

of the transfer equipment is

limited by the permitted gross

weight of the vehicle it is mounted

on, although the resulting 16 tons

are usually enough for the targeted

cargo. Future variants may be

mounted on trailers or on rigid

frames with more axles, thus allowing

for heavier loads.

The vertical stroke of the

crawler beams is sufficient to lift a

swap off the truck and park it on

its legs. Picking up a swap body

that is standing on its legs, however,

requires driver skill and patience,

since the truck has no guide

rail or rollers and the four spigots

have to be manoeuvred into position

under the swap body. ❏


ustrian Railways (ÖBB)

has just unveiled the Vienna

pilot of a new type

of terminal, Innovatives Umschlag-

Terminal (IUT), or innovative

transfer terminal. This development

dates from April 2000, as part

of the EU-backed IN.HO.TRA

R&D project which also includes

the novel Swiss NETHS transfer

system (WorldCargo News, November

2000, p27, March 2001, p24

and December 2002, p17).


ÖBB opts for innovation

The Austrian consortium

was led by ÖBB’s Rail Cargo

Austria freight division. The

other members are ABC Consulting,

another consultancy

Intermodal Corridor Network,

crane maker Hans Künz, the developer

of the Mobiler horizontal

transfer system for swap bodies

Palfinger, civil engineering

and contracting company Porr,

and IT specialist ARC

Seibersdorf Research.

Space and time

Whereas the Tuchschmid-

Neuweiler NETHS aims at lowcost

transfer, the Austrians want to

boost terminal performance - do

more in less time and space. At inland

terminals there is often just

one gantry crane to perform the

various tasks of transfer, sorting

and storing. Cycle times can be

long, and often space is cramped.

Their solution is to divide the

overall job into stages that can be

performed simultaneously by

dedicated equipment instead of

having one crane going through

all the stages in turn. In addtion, a

vertical rack with two or three

tiers (“shelves”) allows direct access

to every slot and replaces the

usual stacking area for intermediate

storage, thus saving on space

and time (no “shuffling”).

The racking system feeds/is fed by the

gantry crane which straddles the rail

track and feeds the delivery truck

The tasks of handling the load

units (UTI) are split between a

transfer crane and a special stacker.

Both machines are equipped with

combi-attachments and are capable

of handling containers and

swap bodies of all current sizes up

to 45 tonnes mgw.

The transfer crane is a small,

fast Künz gantry with cantilevers,

straddling one rail track and serving

a roadway on one side and an

elevated interchange lane on the

other side. It moves UTI between

road trucks and the interchange

(“pre-sorting”) lane.

Level with wagons

To save time, the interchange lane

is an elevated platform level with

the floor of the wagons. The

stacker serves the interchange lane

and the storage rack with two or

three tiers. This complex tool can

perform long travel as well as vertical

and sideways moves.

Half hour discharge

The target for a full-sized IUT

installation is to unload an

intermodal train of, say, 500m

length in around 30 minutes. The

implicit philosophy reflects a departure

from the usual operation

in rail terminals where several

rakes of wagons are stabled for

hours under the cranes, being

treated in parallel. Instead, the IUT

aims at serial processing of shuttles

or “liner trains” in fairly quick

succession. The developers claim

that IUT can reduce the required

terminal surface by 40 per cent,

which may make it easier to set

up new intermodal facilities.

The pilot installation currently

operating in the Vienna Northwest

freight yard is only a demonstrator

to test the different components

and how well they work

together. The storage rack is only

30m long and two tiers high.

The full installation would be

three-high and up to 700m long.

If space is not at a premium, it may

be simpler and cheaper to have flat

storage instead of a vertical rack

and the design concept allows for

this possibility. ❏

Making passes in the Alps

ÖBB, DB and Trenitalia (FS) have

forged a new agreement, Brenner

Rail Cargo Alliance (BRC), aimed

at improving services on the Brenner

Pass route. The Munich-Verona

corridor is vital for conventional

wagon and accompanied

and unaccompanied intermodal

services, but has a relatively poor

punctuality record, particularly for

northbound services. The railways

already face internal competition

from new entrant RTC.

The problems are generally ascribed

to problems on the Italian

side, but FS has made big investments

aimed at increasing the capacity

of the Brenner-Verona line

up to 270 freight trains/day.

The work includes a new, direct

link between the main line

and the key Quadrante Europa

interporto in Verona. Success if vital

for FS as international traffic

accounts for no less than 50 per

cent of its total freight business.

In tonne/km terms, the Brenner

is the most important of all

the rail routes into Italy, accounting

for 23 per cent or some

225,000 t/kms annually. Between

1960 and 2001, rail trafic rose from

4 mt to 15 mt but in the same

period truck traffic has risen from

practically zero to 25 mt. Meanwhile,

official Swiss government

figures show that the share of truck

traffic through all the Alpine passes

rose from 57.5 per cent in 1994

to 63 per cent in 2001.

A dedicated BRC team will

be based in Innsbruck, to coordinate

services and monitor

trains, and take prompt action

when problems arise. The object

is to achieve a steady 8 per

cent/year growth in rail traffic.

Swiss go it alone

Ironically, SBB Cargo is setting up

its own train operating company

in northern Italy to compete

against Trenitalia, its former partner

in the aborted CargoSI initiative.

The new company will

concentrate on services to/from

points north of Milan and in the

Intercontainer-Interfrigo (ICF)

is now using Niederglatt, located

in Zurich’s northern industrial

zone, as its gateway for traffic

with Switzerland. The terminal,

previously used as an empty

container depot and for national

traffic to/from the Basel river

terminals, is now the interchange

point for SBB’s overnight domestic

services and customs

services are available.

Brescia and Novara areas. Early last

year Trenitalia and SBB launched

the Transalp initiative aimed at

improving service quality but this

is now superceded by SBB’s move

to control its own destiny in this

key Italian territory.

Already more than 100 SBB

freight trains/day cross the Italian

border southbound and they account

for 35 per cent of SBB’s

freight tonnage. About half of

these trains begin or end their

journey in the areas to be covered

by the new daughter, in which

FS200 mill will be invested in the

next five years in new locos.

Last June SBB Cargo took delivery

of 10 new freight locos for

blocktrain service between Switzerland

and Germany. The new

engines from Bombardier are used

by Swiss Rail Cargo Cologne, the

strategic alliance of SBB Cargo

and HGK Köln which can access

Rotterdam through its link with

Shortlines BV.

At that time, it was stated that

SBB and Trenitalia would together

order 18 interoperable locos for

Swiss-Italian services early this

year, but this investment will now

be made by SBB as it “goes it

alone” in northern Italy.

ICF’s Niederglatt gate

Container Depot AG acts as

ICF’s local agent - the first private

company in Switzerland

ever to provide such a service

for ICF. Both Niederglatt and

Basel are linked into ICF’s recently-introduced network

which, it is claimed, has

slashed one day off Swiss destination

services from Hamburg

(Waltershof), via the hub at

Herne (near Duisburg). ❏


February 2003




Place your spread bets

Important changes are taking

place at both Bromma and

NatSteel, respectively the

world’s number one and

number two suppliers of shipto-shore

crane spreaders. How

and when they will affect customers

is as yet hard to say.

Last month a Singapore-based

consortium, 98 Holdings, headed

by hotelier Ong Beng Seng, finally

succeeded in securing a controlling

interest in the NatSteel group,

which had been on the market for

some time.

Last June NatSteel’s management

had made a bid for the company

but withdrew when 98

Holdings made a higher offer.

Then, Indonesian businessman

Oei Hong Leong purchased 30

per cent of NatSteel’s shares on

the open market but surprisingly

did not make a general offer for a

controlling interest. The sale process

then stalled for months until

98 Holdings finally acquired a

controlling interest.

Analysts have speculated that

98 Holdings will retain NatSteel’s

property and steel-making interests

and the rest will be sold off -

including NatSteel Engineering of

which Ram Spreaders is part.

It is not clear how profitable

the spreader business has been in

recent times as NatSteel Engineering’s

reported results include those

of Australia-based mining and

boiler equipment manufacturer

RCR Tomlinson Ltd and heavy

equipment dealer Soon Douglas

(Pte) Ltd as well as Ram Spreaders.

However, NatSteel Engineering

reported a loss of SG$4.1 mill

in 2001 and SG$1.6 million in the

six months ended 30 June 2002.

Supported 98

Despite the takeover, Ram

Spreaders’ general manager Richard

Sia is downplaying the level

of uncertainty over the future of

the business. While there have

been Board changes, NatSteel’s

management team supported 98

Holdings takeover bid and company

president Ang Kong Hua

remains at the helm.

From Sia’s point of view, the

sale has given NatSteel a “key

shareholder that will drive the

group” and provide direction that

has been lacking for some time.

There have also been rumours of

a management buyout of the

spreader business, but Sia dismisses

them as unfounded.

Also dismissed was a rumour

that Smits Spreaders, which has

been investigating the Asisa Pacific

spreader market for some time,

offered to buy the Singapore

spreader unit but not the one in

England run by Robert Mills.

Certainly Ram spreaders are a

common sight in Asian ports and

the company has been enjoying a

run of success in China recently.

In some markets, such as India, it

is probably ahead of Bromma and

it has been looking for new opportunities

in the Philippines,

Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia,

Middle East, South America and

Japan. The Japanese spreader market

is so dominated by domestic

crane OEMs that spreader manufacturers

have ignored it in the

past, but Sia says “things may have


He considers that increasing

commercial pressures mean that

Japanese terminal operators are

now prepared to consider what a

specialist supplier has to offer. The

PSA’s involvement in the new

Hibiki terminal at Kitakyushu is

also expected to bring opportunities

for foreign equipment suppliers

- if it goes ahead (for last

report see WorldCargo News, January

2003, p11).

New Bromma broom

While there is uncertainty over

the future ownership of Ram

Spreaders, the question as regards

Bromma is what effect its increasing

integration with Kalmar - as

the container handling equipment

arm of Kone Corporation

Stinis double twin design - 2 x 20ft/1 x 40ft or 4 x 20ft/2 x 40ft

(through Partek) - will have on

sales, production and customer

support. First Christer Granskog

was appointed non-executive

chairman of Bromma group and

now Olli Isotalo has taken over

from Terry Howell as president

(last month’s WorldCargo News, p4).

Isotalo’s background provides

a clue. Although he comes to

Bromma from Velsa Oy, which

makes Kalmar’s driver cabs, before

that he was repsonsible for restructuring

production of Kalmar and

Sisu after the two companies

merged. It has already been decided

that Bromma will take over

management responsibility for

Kalmar’s spreader production in

Tampere. The new separating centre

twin 20 for straddle carriers

(last month’s WorldCargo News,

p35) is a good example of the two

companies’ working together.

PSC logic

But will Kalmar’s “product supply

centre” strategy kick in at some

stage? Between them Kalmar and

Bromma are making spreaders in

four locations - Tampere, Stockholm

(Vällingby), Roxboro (NC,

USA) and Ipoh (Malaysia), with

components coming from Estonia

and Poland. Ipoh is currently

turning out about two thirds of

Bromma’s production and has a

relatively low cost administrative

and technical overhead.

There is already less production

at Roxboro than in former

days although, like Stockholm, it

is also important as a technical and

product support centre. Some

spreaders recently supplied to the

Port of Houston, for example,

were built in Ipoh but designed

and engineered in Roxboro and

electrical components were

shipped from the US for fitting to

the spreaders in Ipoh.

Although Bromma recently

introduced a standardisation programme

to simplify procurement

and make it easier to supply the

American market from Ipoh,

Roxboro also makes some products

exclusively for the US market,

such as a lightweight twin 20

weighing just 20,000 lbs, compared

to 11 tonnes for the standard

twin 20. It has a corrugated

weld frame rather than full box

section construction and is built

to 600,000 cycles fatigue “spec.”

Responsibility for Bromma

saales and marketing will be kept

separate from Kalmar and it will

remain a Swedish company with

its worldwide HQ in Stockholm,

with contunuing responsibility for

R & D, engineering, design, product

testing, and so on.

An important point, however,

is that in the US Terry Howell is

now responsible for sales and support

of all Kalmar as well as

Bromma products supplied to the

container and intermodal industries

(except tractors and trailers

which are run from Ottawa, the

US base for Kalmar Trailer Logistics).

Hence Dan House, Kalmar,

Inc’s vice president sales, based in

New Jersey, now reports to

Howell, as does Troy Thompson,

Bromma, Inc’s vice president, sales.

Plus and minus

The close ties with Kalmar create

opportunities for Bromma but also

carry risks. Despite the unrelentng

pressure on spreader prices in the

past 2-3 years, Bromma’s main focus

has remained the end customer.

This is the right approach

in the ship-to-shore crane sector

where the after-market is so important.

During the life of a crane

the spreader may have to be replaced

three or four times.

The crane user is concerned

about getting a reliable spreader

at a competitive price and with

the assurance of good back-up

from his supplier when something

goes wrong. This is where Kalmar’s

global presence comes into play,

since Bromma can use it to

strengthen its own field support.

In Australia, for example,

Bromma used to work through an

ZPMC spreads out

The Port of Auckland’s container

handling division, Axis

Intermodal, has ordered a separating

centre twin 20 spreader

from ZPMC for one of its older

Noell cranes at the Axis

Bledisloe Terminal.

Auckland has experience

with twinlift operations having

first purchased a Bromma unit

in 1997 that was later modified

by Bromma to give the

twistlocks more float. In 2000

Axis purchased a Stinis Long-

Twin for use with a 40 tonne

Noell crane and found that it

increased handling rates empty

and lightly-loaded containers.

Auckland’s two new 60

tonnes ZPMC cranes were delivered

last year with Stinis

Long-Twins (including one

spare), while regular Stinis

twinlifts have been specified for

four Noell diesel-electric straddle

carriers on order. But when

it decided to fit a twinlift

spreader to another 40 tonne

Noell crane at Bledisloe terminal,

Axis opted for a ZPMC

separating design.

General manager Sandy

Gibson explains that the performance

of its ZPMC cranes

to date gave Axis the confidence

to try a ZPMC spreader. Ironically,

different electrical configurations

mean the ZPMC

spreader cannot be used on the

ZPMC cranes at the Ferguson

terminal. Despite the Noell

crane only having a 40 tonne

SWL, Gibson says the application

is still a good opportunity

to test the spreader, as most problems

usually occur in the electrical

and control system.

Of course, the supply is yet

another example of patent infringements.

Pending the outcome

of Smits’ application to

have the original Stinis patents

(as now shared with Bromma

and NatSteel) overturned in

Europe, nobody knows for sure

how strong they are.

However, it seems lkely that

they will be enforcable in some

geographical areas, and not in

others. Existing suppliers (Smits,

Earl’s, ZPMC) and would-be

suppliers (Paceco Corp) should

not therefore be lulled into a

false sense of security. ❏


February 2003




Bromma group’s new president Olli Isotalo

has a strong production background

agent and it tried to support the customers

from Singapore, but this approach

never really worked out. Kalmar, on the

other hand, has a strong presence in Australia

and Bromma can lever on this.

OEM concern

The downside is that Bromma also has

some important OEM customers, such as

Konecranes and Liebherr, who are concerned

about its closeness to Kalmar, an

arch competitor. One could say the same

thing about OEMs like Fantuzzi

Reggiane and ZPMC, but they would be

just as determined to sell their own

spreaders, in order to maximise “internal

value,” even if Bromma were still unconnected

in any way with Kalmar.

It is a mystery why ship-to-shore crane

builders want to make their own spreaders.

The spreader accounts for a fraction

of the price of the crane but accounts for

nearly all the downtime, so why bother?

But with RTGs and RMGs, this is far

less clear-cut. The spreaders are simpler

and get far less abuse. The end user is less

concerned about its origin and as often

as not it comes as “part of the crane.” In

this sector, many more spreaders are sold

to the OEM who, naturally, is concerned

about Kalmar. Bromma is therefore clearly

now more exposed to competition from

the likes of Elme or Smits.

Most of Elme’s RTG spreaders, for

example, are supplied direct to OEMs.

Demand has been growing year by year

and the micro-motion control system is

proving popular. The company has also

been working on a new, automated sensor

system, for positioning the spreader

over the container.

Having said all this, Bromma has just

won two orders from a key end user customer,

Maersk Sealand, for RTG spreaders.

A total of 15, lightweight, twin 20 units

with 45ft capability will be supplied to

terminals in Port Elizabeth, NJ and Houston.

The spreaders weigh just over 10

tonnes. Bromma also reports that a 45ft

version of its all-electric yard crane

spreader will shortly be available.

Staying focused

While no discussion about Bromma at this

juncture can ignore the Kalmar dimension,

Bromma stresses that its traditional

focus on R & D and product development

is not going to change. As one fruit

of recent work, it says it is now ready to

produce a telescopic/double twinlift

verrsion version of its Tandem spreader

design, should the market want it.

Feedback from the testing ground of

Bromma has secured two big orders for RTG

twin 20 spreaders in the US recently

Niche designs

Although the main businerss of Cascade

Australia is FLT attachments the company

also manufactures a range of lift truck

spreaders and fixed frames for shipboard

cranes. Over the years Cascade has supplied

OEMs such as Omega (Clark),

Fantuzzi, Hyster, SMV and Linde with

spreaders for Australian orders, turning out

up to 60 unit/year.

In recent years operators have

tended to move from lower capacity,

general purpose FLTs to dedicated

container handlers fitted with gantrymounted

spreaders from the OEM or

Elme. But Cascade continues to supply

spreaders to Omega for some of its

new orders and it also manufactures

specialised, after market designs.

Cascade’s range includes a 1 on 1

spreader for ECH trucks. First built in 1995,

it features a two-hook grasping mechanism

that can secure a top container not laterally

aligned with the lower container, providing

the corner castings are aligned. Another

job called for a spreader with a 40

tonne SWL weighing no more than 4.5

tonnes for a mobile harbour crane, for

which Cascade adapted an FLT spreader.

Recently the company built five

special low height spreaders for Kalmar

ro-ro FLTs deployed by Wallenius

Wilhelmsen Line. The spreaders have

an SWL of 30 tonnes and a collapsed

height of 500mm, allowing them to

handle 9ft 6in high cubes stacked 2-

high between decks. Most top pick

spreaders require around 750mm clear

height above the upper container.

Cascade’s Graham Ede explains that

this spreader was originally designed in

1995 for a CVS ro-ro lift truck. Even

though Kalmar is the largest single producer

of spreaders, it is more economical

to subcontract to Cascade than design and

fabricate such a small number of specialist

units, believes Ede. ❏

February 2003 29




the dual 40ft fixed Tandem design, Maersk

Sealand in Algeciras, has been good. The

main challenge was not the centre of gravity

adjustment or driver familiarisation,

but making sure the design can be used

in Tandem mode below deck, without

getting stuck in the cell guides. This required

careful design of the gable ends.

Doubling up again

As previously reported (WorldCargo News,

June 2002, p4 and September 2002, p41),

Tests on KGW’s new, all-electric ship-to-shore

crane spreader at HHLA, Hamburg are due

to finish in June

Stinis is also pursuing a double, twinlift

design, essentially two twin lift spreaders

with a shared, four-sheave headblock. The

headblock is split along the centreline and

moved apart/together by hydraulicallyoperated

arms. It can thus act conventionally

as a headblock attached to one

spreader or, in the double mode, by separating

such that one half attaches to the

second spreader. In this configuration,

each spreader is supported by two sheaves.

To avoid instability during the movement

of the trolley, the actuating arms are

hinged in the centre and the hydraulic

cylinders mounted between the

headblock and the arms. Connection between

the split headblock and the spreader

is by two heavy duty twistlocks as each

must be rated at twice the capacity of the

conventional 4-point mounting.

Getting a pull

Motion control of the spreader is highly

complex, both for horizontal moves such

as parallel shifting and controlling slew

and vertical trim and alignment when

handling two different height containers.

This feature is particularly important and

is achieved by varying the height of the

waterside and landside pairs of sheaves.

Stinis is looking for a height difference

of up to 1000mm and this must be

achievable during fully loaded hoist and

lowering. It has to be undertaken by the

gantry hoist and discussions are underway

with crane OEMs over how best it could

be achieved. In any event, crane manufacturers

have to be aware of this type of

spreader being used due to the additional

load and boom stability requirements.

Main obstacle

Stinis believes the height adjustment to

be the biggest hurdle to overcome as it is

essentially outside its remit and requires a

more integrated approach between

spreader and crane supplier. If it can be

achieved, handling times could be cut by

at least 75 per cent and possibly more.

Stinis is also believed to be constructing

a fixed 40ft doublelift twin for a Rotterdam

terminal operator. To enable this

unit to handle 45ft containers, the end

flippers are mounted on telescopic beams,

so that the gather guides can locate the

corner posts of the longer container.

However, for simplicity the flippers are

retracted vertically and are not used for

45ft container spotting.

Hush hush work

In another development, the company has

completed field tests of an active noise

reduction system and the first spreader is

set to enter service in Bremerhaven. The

twistlock mounting is connected to a

hydraulic cylinder, with oil pressure maintained

by the spreader’s own systems.

When the spreader is lowered onto the

container, the impact forces the twistlock

upwards and increases the oil pressure inside

the cylinder, thus effectively cushioning

the closure and noise.

The key point is that this is an active

system; as soon as the twistlocks are engaged,

the pressure in the hydraulic cylinders

forces the spreader clear of the

container and takes up the slack between

the twistlock shank and the inside upper

face of the container corner casting. Thus,

pick-up noise is also reduced.

Initial results at Bremerhaven have

proved positive, following extensive testing

at Stinis’ own assembly hall where it

recently installed a full size 200 tonne test

rig for all spreader types for Germanischer

Lloyd approval and certification. Tests of

this rig showed that the shock absorption

system pulls the spreader clear in less

than one second and is capable of absorbing

and stopping the impact in almost free

fall conditions.

Electric reactions

Another new development is the all-electric,

ship-to-shore spreader design from

KGW Förder- und Servicetechnik

(KGW FS) in Germany (WorldCargo

News, September 2002, p2). Intensive tests

on the prototype at HHLA in Hamburg

are said to be going well although no data

will be available until June, when the test

programme finishes.

Electric drive flippers are believed to

be curretly unique in the ship-to-shore

crane spreader field (although they have

been tried in the past). The motor and

gearbox in each flipper are enclosed in a

confined space but can reportedly be

accessed within 10 minutes. The full-encapsulated

gearbox is greased for life.

As environmental constraints get

stricter, interest in electric actuation is

expected to grow but, on the other hand,

the ports industry is famous (infamous?)

for its conservatism. This creates a particular

problem in that, although KGW

FS’s managing director, Gerhard Geis, is

well-known and respected in the spreader

market, the company as such is a “newcomer.”

By coming up with a new product,

in a sense it is asking prospective customers

to take a “double risk.”

Consider, for example, how long it

took Elme to break into the crane

spreader market, even though it was the

world’s leading FLT spreader manufacturer.

Nevertheless KGW FS can take

encouragement from Elme’s experience

- if the product is good and you persist

with it, eventually you will succeed.

Certainly Geis is optimistic and states

that production is underway for 10 shipto-shore

crane for supply this year. Around

15 units for RTG/RMGs are also expected

to be ordered. Retrofitting to older

cranes is expected to be a good business

area, as the design is said to weigh around

two tonnes less than conventional spreaders,

which translates into extra SWL. The

weld properties of any special materials

used in the construction of the KGW FS

spreader have not been disclosed. ❏


February 2003


More big trucks catch the Bus

There may be nothing

spectacular happening

in the big lift truck/reach

stacker industry just now, but

in the prevailing “buyer’s market”

suppliers are certainly

feeling the squeeze, on initial

price and on service and backup

levels demanded.

It is also hard for suppliers

to recoup R & D costs associated

with new legislation because

by definition everybody

has to comply with it. Any edge

can come only from better cost

control and delivering machines

with even greater reliability levels

and lower life cycle costs.

CAN do

The new generation of power

train management systems are a

key factor in this respect since they

permit sophisticated engine management

and transmission control

to optimise fuel consumption and

meet emission regulations.

The electronic controls are set

up in such a way that CAN-bus

communications are needed, but

this may be a blessing since the

bus links should prove more reliable

and easier to troubleshoot

than the multi-cabling, relay and

contact points that they replace.

Databus technology is not new

to the industry. In some reach

stacker designs (eg from SMV), it

has been used to link the on-board

computer with the cab display.

However, the new drive lines have

provided a big opportunity for

suppliers to make a more generalised

“virtue of necessity.”

ZF introduced its new “soft”

transmission system a couple of

years ago and it has been widely

adopted on wheel loaders and certain

types of agricultural equipment

as well as some port equipment.

However, Clark is traditionally

much stronger in the heavy

lift truck industry than ZF and is

now setting the pace here.

From D to F

So far Kalmar appears to have

gone furthest, with its ‘F’ series

ContChamp reach stacker, unveiled

last September. Kalmar had

in any case come to CAN-bus

technology through its work with

the US Army on the rough terrain

reach stacker (RTCH).

On the ‘F’ ContChamp, the

system links four main control

units for different parts of the

machine, including the boom

head as well as the fuel management

and transmission control

units, the cab unit and the information

and and display units.

In the ‘D’ Cont-Champ, the

“lift” signal goes through eight

different connecting blocks in

three different cables before reaching

the cab. In the ‘F’ series, the

nearest node picks up the signal

at the command point and the signals

pass thrugh the bus.

The system, explains Kalmar,

is “redundant,” meaning that it

seeks out one computer (node)

after the other in a loop, feeding

from two directions. If there is a

fault or interruption the driver is

informed immediately and can

carry on driving. Some features of

the ‘F’ series have also come from

demands set by the US Army and

to some extent, in the commercial

field, represent “catch up.” This

is only to be expected since every

product has a life cycle.

The biggest reach stacker in

the ‘F’ range is a 7.5m wheelbae

machine with an SWL under

combi-attachment of 32

tonnes-6.315mm with jacks

down, as has just been supplied

to ABP Connect in Birmingham,

UK (last month’s World-

Cargo News, p4). ‘F’ machines for

handling swap bodies and trailers

have also been delivered to

Rail-Combi AB in Sweden.

‘3‘ from CVS

In Italy, CVS has been working

on Mark 3 Ferrari reach stackers

incorporating CAN-bus protocols

and data transfer via GSM. Prototype

machines have reportedly

been on test with Messina Lines

in Genoa and Vecon in Venice and,

through Taylor, with a customer

in the US. The new series also features

box-section rather than U-

form boom construction.

It is almost 10 years since CVS

entered the big truck market.

Output has grown year on year

and this underpins the confidence

about the introduction of the third

generation Ferrari reach stacker

even though the ‘2’ series machines

are still selling well.

According to CVS, four 379s

have already been ordered by a

Buss company in Germany,

through Mafo, along with two

model 377s, one with combi-attachment,

by CSXWT Germersheim.

Series production is slated

to start this April. No immediate

changes are planned to the Belotti

Ferari reach stackers, as the idea is

that they will provide

complementarity and give the

customer a choice.

Drawing a parallel

There is perhaps analogous to

Kalmar’s ContChamps and

ContMasters, both now made at

its product supply centre (PSC) for

reach stackers and heavy lift trucks

in Lidhult. Add in Lidhult’s production

of RTCHs and the overall

volume ensures cost-effective

production. Even so, Kalmar’s

pricing stratgegy is said to be so

aggressive just now that there has

been speculation that sooner or

later ContMaster will be phased

out to achieve even lower costs.

Take your pick

However, if this were the case it

would not have made sense to

upgrade the ContMaster. Besides

which, the ‘F’ ContChamp has

some special features, such as a

non-standard ArvinMertor drive

axle) which are not surrenderable.

If the customer does not want

these, he can be offered a lower

cost Contmaster instead. As things

stand, without the ContMaster

Kalmar would be giving business

away, as the design is popular in

its own right. Currently, it may

well account for as much as one

third of Lidhult’s reach stacker

production (not counting the

military spec RTCHs).

Recent orders for ContMaster

include one for four machines

with the Step 2 Cummins QSM

11 engines from the Port of Portland

(Or), through Kalmar dealer,

CB Toyota-Lift. The total price is

US$1.327 mill and the machines

were slated for delivery last month.

This is Portland’s second

ContMaster order as it took delivery

of four DRS 4531s, fitted

with Cumins M11 engines, in

March 2001, following an

evaulation of several marques and

visits to other ports (Vancouver,

BC, Tacoma, etc). These machines

are deployed at Portland’s T6 container

terminal, where previously

laden container handling was carried

out by mast trucks, although

there were already two ECH

ContChamps at the facility.

Bob Maracle, the port’s general

superintendent of marine

equipment, says that so far three

older mast trucks have been leased

to upriver ports on the Columbia

River. (This could help boost container

barge services).

Through Kalmar’s RT Center

in San Antonio, Texas. the Lidhult

plant has received a new order

worth US$50 mill from US-

TACOM for 93 more RTCHs.

Already 160 RTCHs have been

supplied to TACOM under the 5-

year (2001-5) agreement signed in

April 2000. Ten RTCHs have

been delivered to the UK’s MoD

(with an option for 10 more) and

two units went to the Australian

Army last year.

The Texas RT Center, headed

by Stan Simpson, is TACOM’s

main suppier of replacement parts

and all major repairs and upgrades,



SMV’s biggest “Spectra” mast truck to date is this 42-1200, seen here with

test load at the Markaryd plant prior to delivery to Göteborgs Hamn last year

under a contract which is valid for

15 years. It is also repsonsible for

sales and marketing in the Americas,

while sales in Europe are executed

through a specially-selected

dealer network. The RTCH

is also available in a commercial

spec, but as yet no orders have

been reported by Kalmar.

Contrasting style

Kalmar’s concentration on one

plant for heavy trucks contrasts

with the strategy of Fantuzzi,

which has started delivering to

Chinese customers reach stackers

Linde Perking up

Linde Heavy Truck Division Ltd

(Linde HTD) plans to phase in

Step 2 engines to its medium lift

trucks (10-16 tonnes), which include

its ECH model up to 6 x

8ft 6in high, during April and May.

The new EU and US EPA

regulations for off-road engines in

the 75-129 kW (100-173 hp) class

came into effect from the beginning

of this year but previous

model trucks could continue to

be supplied if the engines were

already in stock.

Linde is fitting the Perkins

1106 series engine as standard.

This is rated at 98 kW for the five

2.95m wheelbase models mostly

rated on 600mm load centre

(H100/600, H120/600, H120/

900, H136/600 and H150/600);

and at 112 kW or 129.5 kW for

the 3.67m wheelbase models:

H120/1200, H136/1200, H150/

1200, H160/600, H160/1200.

The first new trucks have been

in service with Italian and German

customers since January and

they also comply with new noise

regulations. On the heavy front,

recent orders for Linde HTD,

other than the reach stackers for

Scandinavian customers reported

in last month’s WorldCargo News

(p5), include one received last December

from Gulftainer in

Sharjah, UAE for two 4-high

C360 mast trucks and two C80/

6 ECHs. These are for operation

at the new Sharjah ICD due to

open this July. In addition, a C400/

4 mast truck will go to Sharjah

Container Terminal.

In the UK, a C400/4 was recently

ordered by long-standing

customer Bowmur Haulage, which

also took delivery of its third C80/

5 ECH last September. ❏

February 2002 31




and ECH mast trucks erected at its Noell

China plant near Shanghai. At the same

time the home plant at Lentigione, Italy

has also been expanded and modernised.

Elsewhere in China, Anhui Forklift

Truck Group (AFTG) and TCM of Japan

are understood to have built a new

Anhui TCM Forklift Truck Co Ltd (ATF)

factory in China’s Hefei economic district.

AFTG was originally established in

1992 and took over a 1-10 tonne FLT

license granted by TCM in 1985 to an

FLT factory operating under the Anhui

Heli Machinery Imp.& Exp. Co Ltd umbrella.

The joint venture with TCM was

set up in 1993. The new factory reportedly

has an annual output capacity of 3000

trucks, from 1 tonne electric trucks up to

42 tonne ic trucks. It can also produce

TCM loaders and piling machines.

Among the best customers for PPM Superstackers in Holland is Rotterdam Short Sea

terminals (RST). It currently has five TFC 45 R machines in operation on a 3-shift basis,

covered by a full service agreement with Terex Cranes’ Dutch dealer, Kuiken Cramat BV

which guarantees 100 per cent availability round-the-clock.Because of the high number of

working hours, the five machines delivered new in 1999 have recently been sold out and

replaced by new models equipped with the Step 2 Cummins QSM11 engine, which uses

less fuel and is quieter (in-cab and bystander noise levels). The machines have better wiring

arrangements and the counterweight has been modified to improve the driver’s rear view.

On the product side, Fantuzzi has

come up with a new quick coupling system

for different attachments (container

spreader, hook, forks, pallet clamps, coil

boom, etc ) to be fitted to a reach stacker

in a matter of minutes, thus providing the

machine with a multi-purpose vocation.


The versatility of the reach stacker has

been shown in the past by suppliers such

as Belotti and SMV, with attachments

ranging from heavy steel plate grippers

to vacuum clamps for large diameter pipes.

New orders for SMV dedicated container

handlers include one from Seaport

Terminals NV in Antwerp (Katoen Natie)

for five SC 4535 TA 5 reach stackers, all

slated for delivery by April. As previously

reported (WorldCargo News, January 2003,

p4), SMV has an order for a fourth long

wheelbase, jackable reach stacker with

negative lift capability for barge-to-shore

container handling. The model SC 4542

TAX is going to Container Terminal

Beverwijk BV in Beverwick, Holland.

Last year SMV supplied its biggest

Spectra mast truck to date, a 42-1200

general purpose FLT to Göteborgs

Hamn AB. It also received an order for

an outize FLT with conventional mast

configuration from Rautaruukki Oy in

Finland. This is capable of lifting 60

tons at 1500mm load centre, that is a

30 ton steel coil on each of the specially

designed fork tines.

The drive line comprises a Scania DI

12 50 A (294 kW) engine, a Clark 40,000

transmission and a Kessler WDB D 111

PL 351 drive axle. Features include automatic

gearshift, heating for brake, engine

and hydraulic oil, a separate hydraulic system

for the brakes, joystick hydraulic controls

and joystick steering. The cab is extra

large and has special sound insulation.

SMV has added to its list of “one

offs” with a special SC 4537 TAX 3 delivered

last October to BLG Automobile

Logistics GmbH in Bremerhaven. This

reach stacker can handle loads up to 80

tons as well as containers.The long wheelbase

machine has an elevable cabin.

New approach

Another key big truck supplier, Hyster,

fundamentally changed its approach to

the German market when it sold its

sales and service companies there to

Zeppelin in 2001. The new arrangements

in Germany and Austria have

proved a success and Zeppelin now also

covers Russia, Ukraine, Poland and the

Czech and Slovak Republics.

Hyster’s German daughters were an

anomaly since its general philosophy is

to work through independent dealers for

sales and support, so it can concentrate

on design, engineering, product development,

manufacturing and delivery. In today’s

market it is more important than ever

that dealers are strong financially.

In New Zealand, for example, Tranz

Rail (TR) recently sold its fleet of around

150 forklifts, including about 20 container

handlers and a reachstacker, to Gough,

Gough and Hamer (GGH), the Hyster

dealer. GGH will also purchase and service

all future machines and lease them

back. Last year it delivered two H48.00C

40 tonne laden container handlers (to

Auckland and Christchurch depots) and

a 6-high ECH (Auckland). TR has traditionally

used lighter FLTs and relied on

sidelifters for very heavy containers, but

GGH convinced it to switch to the H48.

Around 95 per cent of products sold

in Europe are made in Europe at Nacco

group plants in Scotland, N Ireland, Holland

and Italy, with the balance coming

from the US. The Scottish plant, at Irvine,

has been under pressure but Nacco has

said that production will continue there.

Between 1998 and last year Hyster

systematically transferred all big truck

R&D, engineering, design, proving and

manufacture from the US to Nijmegen,

with US£20 mill invested in the Dutch

plant. This includes US$3 mill in testing

facilities, US$5.6 mill in DFT (demand

flow technology) production, which has

been extended up to the biggest trucks,

and US$4.2 mill in a state-of-the art paint

line more than 100m long. A complete

reach stacker frame can be processed here,

transported on an overhead rail. ❏

Hyster invested US$20 mill in the Nijmegen

big truck plant between 1998 and last year


February 2002




Happy days are here again

To the surprise of many, 2002

turned out to be a very

good year indeed for the

container leasing industry. After a

disastrous 2001 and an equally bad

first quarter last year, demand for

leased equipment unexpectedly

took off in April and continued

right through the fourth quarter

and into 2003.

With “age discrimination,” the

card usually played by lessees in

times of surplus, going completely

out of the window in the high

demand situation, most major lessors

saw their utilisation rates leap

from the low 70s at the beginning

of 2002 to 85 per cent or better

by the end of the year.

To meet demand, lessors committed

to a record purchase of

885,000 TEU last year, compared

to just 470,000 TEU in 2001, and

for the first time in many years

outbought their customers, the

shipping lines. Such was the sustained

level of demand that even

in the traditionally quiet fourth

quarter, major box builders in

China did not take their now customary

extended break in the build

up to the Christmas-Chinese New

Year period, opting instead to keep

their lines running for all but the

official holiday period.

More of the same?

And all the signs are that a similar

boom market is in prospect this

year. With few making money and

other calls on their capital, shipping

lines have cut back significantly

on their own container acquisition

programmes and are

looking to lessors again to provide

a major part of their requirements.

For the first time in several years,

lessors are being tempted to buy

speculatively for stock ahead of

firm lease commitments.

According to some analysts,

container trade volumes could

grow by 8 per cent this year, while

slot additions are estimated at 5-6

per cent. “Discussions with our

major customers have been highly

positive. They are looking to lease

big numbers this year and have

indicated that now is the time to

buy,” said Ian Karan, chairman of

Hamburg-based Capital Lease.

As the accompanying table

shows, Capital was the fourth

largest buyer of leased equipment

last year, adding 90,000 TEU and

boosting its fleet to 318,000 TEU.

Only Triton Container International

with 135,000 TEU,

Interpool with 115,000 TEU and

Florens with 105,000 TEU

Carlisle record

Leading reefer lessor Carlisle

Leasing ended 2002 with a record

boost to its fleet size, according

the company’s latest data.

The US firm, owned by

Marubeni America Corp, added

12,000 TEU (over 6,000 units)

to its count on operating lease

in the six months to late January

2003, to give over 72,000

TEU (40,000 units) in total. This

compared with around 65,000

TEU operated in the final quarter

of 2002 and 60,000 TEU at

mid-year. It also maintains a

smaller, separate fleet of reefers

on finance lease.

Carlisle has yet to overtake

GE SeaCo to become the

world’s largest reefer lessor, but

has achieved the fastest growth

in recent years. It has also, as yet,

committed to a very small resale

of older equipment, partly

because of the relatively young

age profile of the fleet but also

because of its policy of

Notwithstanding one major storm cloud gathering on

the horizon, the outlook for the container leasing

industry this year would appear extremely bright

Current profile of operating fleets and recent purchases of leading lessors (rounded TEU)

Leasing company Total fleet Fleet - dry Fleet - other Total purchase

January 2003 Freight* type** in 2002

Transamerica Leasing 1,050.000 993,000 57,000 50,000

Triton Container Intl 1,022,000 978,000 44,000 135,000

Textainer Group*** 1,005,000 1,005,000 - 85,000

GE SeaCo 940,000 775,000 165,000 75,000

Interpool † 795,000 785,000 10,000 115,000

CAI 475,500 475,000 500 47,000

Florens - International 360,000 349,000 11,000 105,000

Florens - Cosco 325,000 300,000 25,000 15,000

Cronos Group 390,000 366,000 24,000 25,000

Capital Lease 318,000 317,500 500 90,000

Gateway Container †† 300,000 300,000 - 30,000

Gold Container Corp 200,000 200,000 - 20,000

Waterfront Leasing 85,000 84,500 500 20,000

Amficon 78,000 78,000 - 10,000

Carlisle Leasing 72,000 - 72,000 13,000

United Container Systems 44,500 40,000 4,500 -

Other 440,000 194,000 246,000 50,000

Total 7,900,000 7,240,000 660,000 885,000

Replacement - - - 335,000

Addition - - - 550,000

*Dry freight standard, high cube and special. **Reefer, tank, palletwide and domestic. ***Excludes

10,000 TEU of used equipment acquired in 2002 through sale/lease back deal. † Includes over 250,000

TEU on structured finance lease. †† Includes equipment ordered in 2000-2001 but delivered in 2002

remarketing containers coming

off primary long term or master

leases through its domestic

trailer rental subsidiary, PLM

Trailer Leasing Inc, which provides

reefers for domestic storage

within the US.

Carlisle has still to confirm

its purchasing plans for 2003, but

will likely commit to another

sizeable investment, possibly

again in excess of 5,000 units. A

spokesman suggested that with

prices remaining at a historically

low level, there were still opportunities

to further increase operating

economies of scale.

Average reefer box prices are,

however, forecast to rise slightly

from their present level (at around

US$8,000 per 40ft high cube),

although the cost of machinery

is remaining largely stable. Lease

rates, after falling precipitously in

recent years, are now expected to

move broadly in line with the cost

of investment. ❏

bought more than Capital Lease

in 2002.

Capital, for one, plans to repeat

the pattern this year. The

company has already placed orders

for 63,000 TEU in China and,

according to Karan, total acquisitions

in 2003 could top 100,000

TEU. Assuming the market remains

firm, Textainer and Triton

are also expecting to acquire over

100,000 TEU each this year, while

GE SeaCo, with a new president,

Angus Frew, at the helm and a

US$300 mill securitisation programme

just completed, looks unlikely

to buy less than the 75,800

TEU it acquired last year.

Florens and Interpool are similarly

likely to be major buyers

again this year, while Transamerica

Leasing (TAL), which has

been relatively quiet on the

newbuild front since its acquisition

by Aegon in 1999, is currently

ordering at the rate of 10,000

TEU/month (see page 34).

Meanwhile Cronos Containers,

which established a new joint

venture container purchasing programme

last September with Fortis

Bank to facilitate an increase

in its term leasing activities, plans

to invest up to US$70 mill in new

equipment for its seven separate

product lines this year, up from just

US$28 mill in 2002. Orders valued

at over US$20 mill for standard

dry freight, 45ft cellular

palletwide units, open tops, reefers

and tanks have already been

booked for first quarter delivery.

Not so secure

Less certain are the plans of Gateway

Container, which is highly

exposed to the vagaries of the

short term leasing market and suffered

badly during the downturn

of 2001. The pick up last year

could not have come soon enough

for the company, which has been

forced to put its ambitious growth

plans on hold pending a financial


As reported in the August

2002 issue of WorldCargo News

(p20), Gateway has engaged JP

Morgan Chase and Fortis Bank

to assist it to replace its revolving

debt facilities with term financing

through an asset-backed

securitisation. The latter has become

a popular financing strategy

amongst major lessors as it

can reduce financing costs significantly

over traditional bank financing

or revolving bank credit

lines. GE SeaCo, Triton, Textainer,

Gold, Interpool and Florens are

among those to have taken the

securitisation route.

UES entered the market in 1999 and has already built up a 70,000 TEU fleet..

JP Morgan is also assisting

Gateway to raise additional equity

to help the company achieve its

growth targets. The fleet currently

stands at 300,000 TEU and Gateway

president Raphael Che is

looking to grow that to 500,000

TEU which, he says, is the minimum

necessary for an IPO.

In order to obtain a favourable

bond rating in the securitisation

process, however, Gateway, which

does not have a long credit history

of its own, needs a back-up

manager to act as a form of credit

enhancement. As far as can be ascertained,

approaches to other established

leasing companies to

perform this role have not met

with support and little progress has

been made in this area.

It would appear that some

progress is being made on the equity

front though. Various rumours

have been circulating, the most extreme

of which suggests that Gateway

may, in fact, be on the point

of selling its fleet but continuing

to manage it.

For his part, Che confirmed

that Gateway had “reached some

understanding with a new investor”

but denied that a sale/management

deal was under consideration.

“The transaction is still at

the discussion stage and will take

a little time to close. I could only

state that this is a very positive

development and will make Gateway

a stronger company,” he said.

According to most observers,

an outright sale of the fleet would

be unlikely if only because Gateway,

like most lessors that bought

heavily prior to 1999 when box

prices tumbled to US$1400 or less

per 20ft unit, is saddled with a

rump of equipment whose book

value is still significantly higher

than current newbuild prices.

Indeed, but for the problem of

overvalued containers on leasing

company books, the round of

mergers and takeovers that characterised

the industry in the midlate

1990s may still have been going

on today.

It is no secret that Dutch insurer

Aegon tried hard to offload

TAL’s dry freight and reefer fleets,

but found no takers. United Container

Systems (UCS) similarly

gave up trying to sell its fleet and

is gradually winding it down.

New entrants

On the other hand, continuing

low newbuild prices and very low

interest rates have made the current

cost of entry into the container

leasing market relatively low

and have spawned a number of

new entrants. A case in point is

Hamburg-based Unit Equipment

Services (UES), which was formed

in 1999 after former UCS management

tried and failed to agree

on a price for the UCS fleet.

Backed by investors Pfeiffer and

Roth of Germany and Zug of

Switzerland, the UES fleet already

numbers 70,000 TEU, of which

50,000 TEU were added last year

alone. The mix comprises 20ft, 40ft

high cube and 45ft dry freight

equipment and a range of specials

including open tops, tanks and

palletwide Eurocontainers. Some

60 per cent of the fleet is on five

year operating term lease and the

remainder on finance lease.

Last year UES entered into negotiations

with Sweden-based

Consent Equipment to take over

the latter's primarily specials fleet,

but again the book value of older

equipment proved to be a stumbling

block. Chairman Klaus

Koencke said that although it has

not given up on the prospect of inorganic

growth, UES is now concentrating

on its newbuilding activities

and has already ordered

40,000 TEU of dry freight units this

year from Singamas and CIMC.

Another relative newcomer is

Grand View Development (HK)

Ltd (GVC), which was originally

formed in 1995, but only started

its leasing activities in 2000. An

affiliated company, Grand Shine

Development (HK) acts as agent

...GVC, another to have taken advantage of the low newbuild cost/low interest

rate scenario, plans to build 20,000-30,000 TEU per year

February 2003 33




in China for both UES and UCS.

Headed by Danny Wong,

former vice president, Asia Pacific,

with Cronos and until last year a

partner in finance lease specialist

Unitas, GVC added 30,000 TEU

to its fleet last year, taking it to

37,000 TEU of primarily standard

dry freight equipment. Like

UES, GVC has steered clear of

the volatile short term lease market

and offers only long term and

finance leases, with a customer

base largely amongst the major

Chinese shipping lines. The company

plans to build at least

20,000-30,000 TEU annually

over the next few years.

More to come?

Another new entrant into the

operating lease sector could also

be on the cards in the shape of

Blue Sky Intermodal (UK) Ltd,

which has been formed by another

two of the original founders

of Unitas, Nigel Stribley and

Geoff Mornard.

The new company has a service

agreement under which it will

represent Unitas on customer relations

for existing finance lease

contracts and try to conclude new

finance leases on Unitas’ behalf,

but also plans to “develop other

lines of business within the container


Though no official announcement

has been made on what

those other lines of business

might be, Stribley perhaps gave a

clue when he said, “In the highly

competitive container industry of

today, we felt it necessary to be

able to expand our activities beyond

pure finance leasing, which

has been the primary market for

Unitas, and this is best done outside

the structure of Unitas.”

Though such new entrants are

unlikely to upset the existing balance

of power in the container leasing

industry in the short term, there

is no doubt that they can ruffle a

few feathers. Though their individual

fleet sizes are currently a drop

in the ocean when compared to the

million TEU fleets of TAL, Triton

and Textainer, it is noteworthy that

the combined newbuildings of

UES and GVC last year were well

above those of TAL and on a par

with Textainer’s.

And whilst established lessors

may not be happy about extra competition

from companies that do

not have to carry the baggage of

overvalued containers, there is no

doubt that their shipping line customers,

which are not great fans of

consolidation anyway, welcome the

additional element of choice that

new players bring.

Price sensitive

Whether any more participants are

tempted to toss their hats into the

container leasing ring in the current

boom will depend on a variety

of factors, not least any further

upward movement in newbuild

prices, which have crept back up

to around US$1350 ex-works for

a 20ft standard unit in China from

a low point of US$1150 in the first

quarter of 2002. Per diem lease rates

have also seen an upward movement,

with some five year term

contracts being fixed recently at

close to 60¢, though deals at 53-

54¢ are still said to be available.

With at least 400,000 TEU of

new annual production capacity

scheduled to be brought on stream

in China this year, the likelihood

of any significant price rises would

appear remote and even a small

downturn could see them on the

slide again. The joker in the pack,

however, could be the price of

steel, which is rumoured to be on

the move. Several large Chinese

box builders are said to be holding

off on accepting forward orders

at prevailing prices as they are

concerned about a steel price rise.

Not that the leasing companies

themselves would be too concerned

about a rise in container

prices. It was the drastic fall in

prices in the 1997-2002 period

that prompted many shipping lines

to buy rather than lease and caused

lessors enormous problems in the

remarketing of equipment bought

at the earlier higher prices after

coming off their initial term lease.

Any additional rise in prices

would further dissuade shipping

lines from buying for their own

account and give an extra fillip to

the leasing option.

Storm clouds

As indicated earlier, most lessors

are confident about their prospects

for this year and on the face of it,

there would appear to be little to

suggest that their confidence is not

well placed.

Except that is for the small

matter of a likely US-led invasion

of Iraq. Perversely, as with any

conflict in the modern age, the

build-up to a possible invasion has

provided a boost for many box

lessors, with the US and UK military

forces on-hiring thousands of

boxes on lucrative short term contracts.

Depending on how long

any conflict lasts and the outcome,

those short term leases could turn

into long term ones, especially if

the US occupies Iraq.

But it is the possible impact on

financial markets and world trade,

not to mention oil prices and key

wealth generators such as tourism

and leisure, that is the real concern

Already, the Turkish government’s

refusal to allow US troops

into the country to launch an attack

on Iraq from the north and

TAL staying in

good shape

the prospect of billions of dollars

in aid offers being withdrawn has

sent financial markets into a tailspin

and prompted fears of an escalation

of the conflict to a confrontation

between Iraqi Kurds

and Turkish forces. Indeed, there

are fears that the conflict could escalate

throughout the Middle East

with a devastating effect on

entrepôts such as Dubai.

Should world trade be slowed

by any forthcoming conflict in Iraq,

lessors will clearly have to rethink

their strategies. In the meantime,

they are content to make hay while

the sun is still shining. ❏

Transamerica Leasing (TAL) has

been a major beneficiary of the

market recovery of the past year,

as the company has further pursued

its programme of fleet restructuring

and renewal.

TAL resumed investment

from early 2002, taking more

than 40,000 TEU of new standard

boxes during the second half

and upwards of 8,000 TEU in

November alone. This was accompanied

by a disposal of more

than 60,000 TEU ( 40,000 units)

during the year overall.

All new dry freight equipment

is being placed on term

lease, while there has been a continued

push to place (or re-fix)

older boxes, returned from initial

term rental, onto new long

term contracts. These are usually

of several years’ duration, and

their implementation has helped

shift idle units from the least attractive


This has contributed to the

company’s vastly improved utilisation

rate (now put at over 85

per cent) and further restricted

the numbers entering the short

term fleet. Equipment repositioning

remains a core activity

as well, and is being worked in

conjunction with TAL’s established

Grey Slot programme.

In keeping with the wider

industry, TAL has already greatly

reduced its exposure to the more

volatile master lease sector, with

below 40 per cent of its entire

standard fleet now operating

within this pool. This is down

considerably on the 50 per cent

of two-three years ago and has

helped to cut overhead and enhance

operating margins. Some

redelivered units have also been

transferred on to structured or

hybrid types of finance lease, although

they are being counted

as part of TAL’s main operating

fleet. This remains distinct from

TAL’s separate container financing


Brian Sondey, president of

the operating container division,

puts the current TAL operating

fleet at around 1.05 mill TEU,

which is still the largest amongst

top ranking lessors. However, it

has fallen significantly from its

peak of around 1.25 mill TEU

in the late 1990s and from 1.1

mill TEU 18 months ago. The

retirement of older containers

has thus continued to outpace

newbuild purchasing, while the

TAL fleet was further reduced

by the sale of it tank and US domestic

equipment in 2000.

The TAL fleet now comprises

only standard, dry freight

special (open top and flatrack)

and reefer boxes, and Sondey

conceded that it could soon be

surpassed in size by Triton and

Textainer. Moreover, a small

proportion of equipment, on

extended term, could eventually

be sold off to customers,

thereby further reducing the

overall count in years to come.

Nevertheless, Sondey indicated

that new purchases for the

operating fleet would likely be

stronger in 2003 than in recent

years, with over 10,000 TEU already

ordered during January

and similar monthly bookings

planned for the immediate future.

Fuelling this higher budgeted

procurement is the current

shortfall of equipment in Asia,

and China in particular, and the

fact that many shipping lines are

still holding back from making

any significant purchase of containers

for their owned fleets.

Operators leased in a record

amount of container equipment

in 2002, while committing to

one of their lowest levels of direct

investment/financing in

many years.

As in 2002, TAL will be buying

mainly high cube equipment

this year, but it has also noted a

rise in the requirement for 40ft x

8ft 6in containers. The demand

for 20ft units has also stayed relatively

buoyant, with this size still

generating the best resale price on

disposal. Its smaller size has long

been more attractive to secondary

users than 40ft containers, although

a growing number of the

latter are being “split” after resale

to create two 20ft modules. This

is creating a new source of business

for container manufacturers

and depots.

Sondey confirmed that TAL

is currently expecting to replace

at least 60,000 TEU in 2003,

with the operating fleet perhaps

achieving some net growth for

the first time in several years.

GE SeaCo, has also committed

to a record disposal of older

equipment, in order to continue

the planned downsizing and renewal

of its managed fleet. Upwards

of 100,000 TEU (mostly

dry freight) were retired during

2002, although this was balanced

by a sizeable purchase of over

75,000 TEU as standard, high

cube, reefer, palletwide and other

specialised containers. The company’s

two owners (Sea Containers

and GE Capital) invested

over US$150 mill between

them, at least a third of which

concerned standard equipment.

A broadly similar amount is

budgeted for 2003, when disposal

will again be maintained at a high

level. In 2001, GE SeaCo bought

considerably less, although it

cleared another 100,000 TEUplus

through secondary sale during

that year and similar number

by a one-off conversion to finance

lease. These actions reduced its

pure operating fleet from a

former size of 1.15 mill TEU to

nearer 950,000 TEU, and it presently

stands a little below the latter

figure. ❏


February 2003


Tex still heads dry freight rankings

After witnessing a strong recovery in the

leasing market in 2002, Textainer just

managed to retain its position as the

world’s largest lessor of standard dry

freight equipment. The company ended

the year with an operating fleet of just

over 1 mill TEU, virtually all of which

are standard boxes, putting it just ahead

of its main rivals, Triton and Transamerica

Leasing (TAL), although each of these has

a larger overall fleet due to a sizeable specials

and reefer component.

Triton controlled around 960,000

standard TEU at the end of 2002 (plus

almost 20,000 TEU of specials and over

40,000 TEU of reefers). TAL claimed over

905,000 TEU of standards, 85,000 TEU

of specials, and over 55,000 TEU of reefers.

The next largest contender, GE SeaCo,

has an altogether more mixed fleet, comprising

more than 710,000 TEU of standards,

60,000 TEU dry freight specials,

105,000 TEU of reefers and 60,000 TEU

as tank, palletwide and swap body types.

More high cubes

Textainer also controls one of the largest

counts of 40ft high cube containers

amongst lessors (over 160,000 units), having

continued its aggressive purchase of

this box type during the past year. The

balance of its fleet includes roughly

260,000 x 20ft units and 200,000 units

of 40ft x 8ft 6in height. An additional

10,000 TEU are of special (open top and

flatrack) construction.

The company acquired 85,400 TEU

in 2002 as newbuild standard boxes, plus

10,400 TEU of used equipment by way

of a sale and lease-back transaction with

a major customer. As with the leasing industry

in general, much of its purchasing

was concentrated in the second half of

2002, with deliveries continuing right up

to the year-end.

Textainer received at least 20,000 TEU,

from a total of eight factories, during November

and December. President John

Maccarone indicated that some container

plants stayed in production right through

into the New Year, without taking their

customary break. In complete contrast with

the preceding year, when many factories

closed for an extended period in January/

February, the opening quarter of 2003 has

seen little slowdown in new box output.

Maccarone said that Textainer is budgeting

for a significantly larger purchase of

new equipment during the coming year.

Upwards of 110,000 TEU could be acquired

in all, while the disposal of older

units would likely be reduced, thereby

lessening the replacement quota. In 2002,

Textainer disposed of over 50,000 TEU

through its thriving secondary sales division,

in addition to trading many thousands

of containers on behalf of shipping

line customers. This resulted in a net

growth of around 40,000 TEU in its overall

fleet size during 2002.

The present forecast suggests that only

30,000 TEU will be displaced from the

fleet in 2003, although this is subject to

the market staying at its present strong

level. Should the current plan be realised,

Textainer will end this year with a fleet

of almost 1.1 mill TEU. Once again, the

40ft high cube will dominate investment

in 2003, with this type likely to account

for over two thirds of all purchases.

Improved utilisation

Central to Textainer’s improved fortunes

has been a sustained recovery in its average

utilisation. Maccarone reported that

this had reached 88 per cent by January,

having broken the 85 per cent barrier during

the second half of 2002. The last time

the lessor’s utilisation exceeded 85 per

cent was briefly in mid-2000, prior the

major downturn that occurred later that

year and into 2001.

Moreover, the current headline figure

includes at least 1 per cent as new equipment,

not yet collected from factories but

destined for placement on long-term

lease. In addition to the stronger market,

Maccarone also attributed improved utilisation

to Textainer’s concerted drive to

clear all surpluses from traditionally low

demand areas in Europe and on the US

east and west coasts.

This has been achieved through a regular

fixing of small-to-medium sized charter

vessels, which have been shuttling empties

by the thousand back to demand hot

spots in Asia. The strategy is to be maintained

for another two years, with a further

US$13 mill budgeted for expenditure

on empty repositioning in 2003 and similar

amount in 2004. Over US$2 mill has

already been laid out this year on several

repositioning moves, including one recently

from Hamburg to Bangkok and another

between New York and Bangkok.

In addition to hiring its own tonnage,

the lessor is also working closely with its

lessee customers to utilise empty slots for

repositioning. “We are now striving to

clear the most stubborn 2-3 per cent of

our equipment, which remains off-hired

and in long-term storage at the least attractive

locations,” Maccarone said.

Military boost

Utilisation has also been assisted by some

extraneous factors, not least the prospect

of conflict in Iraq. This development has

resulted in much of the former 20ft stockpile

in the UK, and more recently in Europe,

being snapped up by the UK military

for their operations. At the same time,

there has been a significant recovery in

the demand for 40ft x 8ft 6in containers,

especially in the Far East where supplies

recently dried up almost completely.

Further underpinning Textainer’s efforts

to enhance utilisation, and prevent

any renewed stockpiling of containers at

unattractive locations, is the ongoing restructuring

of its existing lease portfolio.

The company is continuing to place all

new equipment on long-term lease, usually

for minimum five years, with over

half of its entire fleet now committed to

this type of business. A further eight per

cent is tied to its hybrid “special” lease,



which was launched in 2001 and, although

of short-term character, only permits

redelivery at certain locations in the

Far East.

The latter lease attracts a premium of

roughly 30 per cent on the standard longterm

rate and thus helps bridge the gap

between the long-term sector and the full

service master lease agreement, which offers

relatively unrestricted pick-up and

drop-off. The latter accounts for a steadily

declining share of Textainer’s business,

now equivalent to below 30 per cent in

fleet terms, and has become increasingly

confined to the intra-Asian market.

Textainer admits that it is increasingly difficult

to service the traditional master

lease, given continued low newbuild

prices and the high cost of redelivering

equipment to Asia. ❏

February 2003 35




Europe entrenched in specials corner

The events of the past 12

months have done little to

help Europe’s tank container

manufacturers. They have,

however, served to speed up the

inevitable. The loss of business

confidence and the economic

slowdown in the aftermath of

September 11 exposed still further

the persistent overcapacity in global

tank production.

Even with the exit of two

more major European names from

the ranks of tank builders, many

in the industry believe there is still

too much tank production capacity


And just as this shakeout

amongst tank manufacturers was

thought to be in its final throes,

two Chinese manufacturers with

global ambitions have emerged.

The fact that the new producers

are focused on turning out standard

tanks - both for the international

and local Asian markets -

underlines the fact that the future

for the remaining European

manufacturers lies in the production

of special tank containers for

specific applications and dedicated


Going for value

The high cost of labour in Europe

means that the construction

of standard tank containers is no

longer a viable option. Furthermore,

with the South African

manufacturers adding the ability

to build a basic array of specials

and swap tanks to their production

lines, European tank builders

are being forced to focus increasingly

on the high-tech, added

value end of the market.

Another challenge for the European

manufacturers is to reverse

the downward pressure on

tank newbuilding prices. The

oversupply of tanks in recent years

led to a disastrous collapse in prices

and the demise of a number of

tank builders.

“Production capacity is now

better matched to demand than it

has been for a considerable time,

and there has been some indication

of a return to more sane pricing

for newbuilds,” said one seasoned

observer of the tank market.

“But this stability will need

to continue for a while before reason

can be said finally to have prevailed.

A recovery in world trade

As volume production continues to migrate to lowcost

areas, surviving European tank manufacturers

are focusing more and more on adding value

flows as well as the expected

growth in China and the Pacific

Rim should help to stimulate this

development and maintain the

drive for more realistic newbuild


An end to cut-throat competition

amongst the purchasers of

tank containers is the other essential

ingredient of a return to better

times. The promise of stable,

and, if possible, strengthening tank

lease and freight rates is essential

if investors are to be persuaded that

the returns are sufficiently attractive

to justify major investment.

Tanks for the memory

As reported in last month’s issue

of WorldCargo News (p18), one of

the most venerable names in tank

container manufacturing, CPV of

Clones in Ireland, is to cease operations

at the end of next month.

In one sense, the company is a

victim of the country’s economic

success. Costs in Ireland are the

equal of any in Europe and, with

two of the South African tank

manufacturers recently moving

into the construction of swap

tanks and other specials of the type

built by CPV, the Irish company

has encountered direct competition

of a ferocity it has been impossible

to counter. At the same

time market demand has continued

to be depressed, with no letup

in sight.

CPV has been building tank

containers for 30 years and many

of the company’s designs have set

new standards for the industry. US

parent company Terex had been

trying to sell the operation for

some time as part of its efforts to

shed non-core activities, but with

no buyer forthcoming in the current

climate, the closure of the

Clones plant was inevitable. Over

100 employees are to lose their

jobs, following the 30 staff who

were laid off in autumn 2002.

At its peak, CPV was building

over 1,000 units per year, but over

the past few years, output has

dropped to around half that level.

Production in recent times was

concentrated on special tanks for

dedicated products and the swap

tanks for the European market.

MTK not viable

CPV is the second big casualty

amongst European tank manufacturers

in recent months. MTK

Containers of Sunderland in North

East England went into receivership

in June 2002 and, initially, there

were hopes that a buyer could be

found for the operation due to its

modern facilities, including the

The CPV plant in Clones, Ireland,

is to close next month after 30 years

of tank production

state-of-the-art production line.

Late last month, however, the

receivers, RSM Robson Rhodes,

announced that no buyer had

been found for the MTK business

and assets and that trading had

ceased. “We came very close to

finding a buyer for the business,

but ultimately a deal could not be

completed in time. Whilst we have

not ruled out a sale, it now looks

as though we may have to sell the

assets,” said RSM Robson Rhodes

partner Charles Escott.

MTK Containers’ freehold

property in Sunderland, comprising

some 10,000 m 2 , is to be put

on the market with offers invited

in the region of £2.5 mill. The

tank production line, which includes

sophisticated fabrication

and welding plant and X-ray, paint

and shotblast facilities, was installed

in 1998 at a cost of over £2 mill.

It is to be offered for sale by private

treaty and may be sold as a

complete unit, potentially abroad.

Too late to the party

With hindsight, the timing of

MTK Containers’ entry into the

market could not have been

worse. The decision to open the

plant had been based on a burgeoning

demand for tank containers

worldwide. The proximity

of Sunderland to the main

buyers of tank containers and the

availability of development grants

from the European Union supported

the decision to establish

the company.

As soon as the company

opened its gates in 1998, however,

the main Asian economies went

into meltdown and the tank container

industry was faced with a

huge surplus of tanks as a result of

overly ambitious newbuilding

programmes and dwindling demand.

No matter what marketing

tactics MTK could employ to sell

its standard tank containers, manufactured

under a licence agreement

with WEW, South African

manufacturers could undercut on

price due to the steadily depreciating


The decision by MTK to also

build specials only delayed the inevitable,

especially as the leading

South African tank manufacturers

had also added specials manufacturing


The demise of MTK has

meant the loss of an additional

source of revenue to WEW which,

under different circumstances,

could have been substantial. The

decision by European manufacturers

to licence out their designs

for standard tank containers as a

prelude to ceasing the production

of such units is now an inescapable

fact of life. Other examples

are the agreement with Trencor

for the production of tanks to the

BSLT design and the agreement

between UBHI and CIMC to

enable the Chinese company to

build the standard tanks to the

Universal beam and frame-type


Sophisticated WEW

If European tank manufacturers

are now known as builders of specials,

WEW of Weitefeld in Germany

is acknowledged as the supplier

of the most sophisticated

designs on an average cost per tank

basis. WEW designs and builds

tank containers to the order of the

chemical and related industries for

the carriage of dedicated products,

which require special care in handling.

This work has involved the

construction of tanks in special

alloys and other materials, tanks

with engineered thermoplastic

linings and tanks equipped with

sophisticated means of temperature


WEW’s tank output has remained

relatively stable in numerical

terms in recent years, with approximately

300 units built in each

of 2002 and 2001. Although the

company has been manufacturing

special tank containers for over 30

years, the German manufacturer’s

switchover to the construction of

only specials began in the mid-

1990s and this transition is now


This field of expertise has been

consolidated through WEW’s

membership of the Burg Group’s

Intermodal Division. Fellow

member LAG in Belgium concentrates

on the manufacture of

road tankers, chassis and silo tank

containers and aluminium box

containers for the carriage of bulk

powders, while Welfit Oddy in

South Africa is devoted to the

construction of standard tank containers,

swap tanks and other lesscomplex

specials. The three companies

share engineering expertise

as required. Burg holds a 52 per

cent share in WEW.

Varied output

“We currently have a very healthy

orderbook and WEW will be busy

over 2003 building a wide range

of specials,” said Jan Gerhard de

Vries, marketing director of WEW.

“The construction of such highvalue

tanks is good business for


“No doubt the recent demise

of tank container manufacturers

in the UK and Ireland will lead

to some improvement in market

prospects for tank builders in general,

but we believe that there is

still overcapacity in the tank construction

sector,” he added.

Recent WEW output includes

tanks for Chemetall to carry

lithium alkyls, which are used in

the automotive industry to activate

air bags. Lithium alkyl tanks, which

are utilised in worldwide trading,

are fitted with two cooling units to

ensure careful control of the carriage

temperature throughout what

can be long journeys.

Other tanks recently leaving the

Weitefeld factory are 40ft, rubberlined

units for the transport of hydrochloric

acid and smaller, non-

ISO tanks for customers in the offshore

and chemical industries.

Bucking the trend

As the production figures of other

European tank manufacturers have

shrunk in recent years, with output

focused on reduced numbers

of high-value specials, those of Van

Hool have been maintained at

robust levels. The Belgian manufacturer

built 1,250 tanks in 2002,

down only marginally from the

1,300 delivered in 2001. This, despite

the fact that Van Hool output

is also heavily weighted towards

specials, which comprise

about 90 per cent of the company’s


With such a large number of

specialised tanks being fabricated

at the Van Hool factory, it is no

surprise that the portfolio of designs

available is extensive, covering

tanks for liquids, powders and

gases in a wide range of sizes.

The latest new designs to be

added to the mix are a lightweight

frame-type swap tank, a pressurised

aluminium box container of 52.5

m 3 capacity and a new frame-type

unit for the carriage of products at

high temperatures. The latter design,

which features a full tube heating

system over the entire surface

of the tank, marks the entry of Van

Hool onto the list of manufacturers

able to transport specialist products

like resins at temperatures of

200degC and above.

UBHI on home front

“In 2002 UBHI continued to

make substantial progress in terms

of both turnover and profitability,

further consolidating the achievement

of restarting the company

under employee ownership just

over three years ago,” said Tom

Harding, UBHI sales and marketing


UBHI attracted a substantial

injection of fresh equity over the

past year from Baxi Partnership

Trust, a trust fund dedicated to

assisting the development of partnership

culture and employee

share ownership. The investment

provided not only a considerable

boost to the company’s balance

sheet but also a healthy platform

Illustrative of the special nature of its tank output, this 40ft rubber lined unit

was built by WEW for the carriage of hydrochloric acid


February 2003




for the continued development of UBHI

as a manufacturer of specialist tanks.

While considerable attention has been

given to the company’s new global alliance

with CIMC, under which the Chinese

manufacturer is building UBHI tanks

under licence (see page 38), tank construction

“at home in the UK” - in

Burscough, Lancashire - is the focus of

considerable effort in a competitive marketplace.

The company recorded improved

turnover and profit levels in 2002,

even though the output of tanks, at approximately

600 units, was below the 650

built the previous year.

“This performance was achieved by

placing even greater emphasis on the

manufacture of specials,” said Harding.

“Virtually the entire output of UBHI is

now comprised of specials of one type or

another, including swaps. This is in line

with the reborn company’s avowed aim

of leaving the standard tank arena which

had become a straight battleground dominated

by suicidal price cutting. The price

wars in this sector have proved the undoing

of more than one tank manufacturer

over recent years.”

One example of recent UBHI specialist

output is a series of just under 100

tanks of 26,000 litres capacity built to its

“cell-friendly” design for Suttons. These

high-capacity tanks are provided with full

stiffening rings, while a side rail ensures a

high degree of lateral protection. Even

though the outer cladding extends slightly

beyond the width of the ISO frame, the

tanks are able to fit within the cell guides

on container ships.

UBHI also built several series of reefer

tanks with both end and side-mounted

cooling units during the course of 2002,

as well as series of high temperature swap

and 20ft tanks, gas tanks and highly specialised

offshore units.

The UBHI orderbook for 2003 is

building strongly, with specialist swap

tanks and a series of beam tanks for Japanese

domestic service being notable early


M1 plays

it cool

The concentration of M1 Engineering

on cryogenic road tankers and tank

containers at its Bradford, UK, factory

continues apace. The latest intermodal

tank from M1 is the Maximo highpayload

20ft unit, which has been designed

for the global market. Within

the total gross weight operating envelope,

which has been increased to

34,000 kg for the Maximo, a range of

options are available, optimised for

different purposes.

The 10 bar unit has a tare weight

of less than 6,500 kg, providing a payload

of 27,500 kg. The 4 bar model

weighs 5,800 kg, allowing a 28,200

kg payload. Maximo has a full stainless

steel construction, including outer

jacket, framework, piping and valves,

while a modular instrumentation

package increases the range of configurations

available to customers.

“The range of models available includes

those adapted to the SQLO

standard for operation in China and

to US Department of Transportation

requirements to allow use in that

country,” said Jason Gill, technical sales

director at M1. ❏

Stronger Ebro orderbook

EbroTank and Equimodal of Zaragoza and

Talleres Castellet of Barcelona continue to

manufacture limited volumes of tank containers

in Spain, the latter building exclusively

for its own transport operations

Ebro Tank constructs a wide range of

20ft and swap body tank containers tailor-made

to meet specific customer applications

and enable the carriage of dedicated

products with special handling requirements.

Production has stabilised at

around the 150 units per annum mark in

recent years, and 2002 was no exception

to this pattern.

“Our current orderbook is stronger

than it has been for some time,” stated

Jon Echegaray, EbroTank managing director.

“This is in contrast to the first quarter

of 2002, when advance orders were at

a relatively low level. The depressed market

conditions that have taken such a

stranglehold on the tank container industry

over the last four years ensure that we

do not get too optimistic. However, there

are signs that the demand for new tank

containers may finally be picking up.”

One area of special focus for the Spanish

manufacturer is the construction of

tanks for products requiring close temperature

control and/or a high heat capability.

Current customers for such units

include Tilcon Freight and Taby. While

both companies require tanks capable of

maintaining carriage temperatures of

200degC, the Tilcon units are steamheated

and the Taby tanks are provided

with both steam and electric heating. To

ensure such temperatures continuously,

not only is the barrel area heated but also

the dished ends of the tank, and valves

are provided with heating jackets.

“Approximately 60 per cent of our

output last year was for European customers

outside Spain and 40 per cent for domestic

companies,” Echegaray said. “One

of the greatest challenges we are facing in

the years ahead is finding people with the

appropriate high skill levels to work on the

construction of the special tank containers

we build in our factory.

“We are also on the lookout for more

space and are considering a move to new

premises in Zaragoza about 20 km distant

from our present location” he added. ❏

One of a series of 26,000 litre “cell-friendly”

tanks built recently by UBHI for Suttons

February 2003 37




China emerging as tank building force

The emergence of China as a

major global industrial force is

continuing, with increasing emphasis

now being placed on manufacturing

sectors at the more specialised

end of the engineering

spectrum such as shipbuilding.

This development now encompasses

the production of

intermodal tank containers, with

two companies - China International

Marine Containers (CIMC)

and Zhongshan Zhonghua Tank

Containers (ZZTC) - having

embarked on the manufacture of

such units under licence.

Ironically, the licences cover

roughly the same design technology,

both being based on variations

of the original Sea Containers

lightweight beam tank container,

known popularly in the industry

as the “Spider” tank. Over

the years more than 12,000 units

have been built by various manufacturers

based on this technology.

China is well-placed to build

tanks for the domestic, regional and

world markets. With the European


With two companies now in production, China is

poised to bring the axis of tank manufacturing

eastwards for the first time

The new CIMC-built collar tank successfully passed mandated impact testing

at the French national testing station in Tergnier

and transatlantic tank container

trades now relatively mature, the

focus is on Asia as the tank market

with the greatest growth potential.

The prospects for intermodal

tanks within China are also good

due to the ability of the units to

use road, rail and waterway connections

in this vast country and

the growing transport requirements

of the rapidly expanding

Chinese chemical industry.

Chinese-built tanks are also

expected to be attractive in the international

marketplace due to the

ability of the manufacturers to

provide units engineered to the

necessary high safety and quality

standards at competitive prices.

First off the mark

CIMC, already the world’s largest

manufacturer of dry freight and

reefer containers, was the first

company to launch standard, volume

tank construction in China.

The venture has the form of a socalled

global alliance with partners

UBH International (UBHI) of

Burscough, Lancashire, in the UK.

Following the start of full-scale

production at CIMC’s new tank

container factory in Nantong in

March/April last year, output of

tank containers in 2002 totalled 300

ZZTC is building lightweight frame tanks under licence from YMCL

units. These tanks were built to the

Universal Beam Tank (UBT) design

under licence from UBHI.

The partnership has continued

to develop with the successful

completion last month of prototype

testing of the second tank design

to be produced under UBHI

licence. This latest unit, known as

the Universal Standard Tank

(UST) and based upon the UBHI

collar tank design, is a full-frame

tank. The unit provides customers

requiring more comprehensive

protection of the tank itself with

an alternative to the UBT.

Impact testing

The UST frame tank design was

originally developed by UBHI in

close cooperation with some of

Europe’s leading tank operators

and is well-suited to mass production

at CIMC’s new factory. The

prototype testing programme included

impact testing at the SNCF

test station at Tergnier in northern

France in January.

During the course of the crash

test, the UST demonstrated its

ability to withstand an impact at

well above 5g, just as the UBT had

done and more than enough to

satisfy even the most stringent

regulations, including those of Canadian


The new tank is now in production

in order to satisfy forward

orders already placed by the world’s

biggest leasing companies. Total

output of UBT and UST tanks at

Nantong this year is expected to

total 1,500 units. Steps are already

being taken to add a second production

line at the plant during

the latter half of 2003.

The UBHI-CIMC global alliance

is based on a licence agreement

with an initial term of 10

years covering the construction of

UBT and UST containers in the

17,500-25,000-litre size range.

ZZTC moves in

ZZTC, a joint venture between

Zhongshan Zhonghua Engineering

Ltd (ZZEL) and Hong Kongbased

steel supplier Chiling Steel,

comes to tank construction from

a different angle than CIMC.

ZZEL has long experience of

stainless steel pressure vessel construction,

including in the manufacture

of barrels for road tankers.

On the new production line

established at the company’s

Zhongshan City factory in

Guangdong Province, lightweight

frame tanks are being constructed

under licence from Yorkshire Marine

Containers Ltd (YMCL), a

subsidiary of Sea Containers UK.

Technical assistance has been provided

by Sea Containers and UKbased

Seagull Technology.

A prototype tank was successfully

tested at Tergnier last month.

ZZTC has chosen the frame tank

adaptation of the established “Spider”

tank in order to provide customers

with a robust unit able to

withstand the rigours of the Asian

transport market. However, the licence

agreement also covers the

construction of beam tanks and

this type of tank will be on offer

to customers in future.

It is estimated that 300-400

tanks will be delivered over the

coming first full year of production.

ZZTC output will be sold

for use in the international market

and for employment on Chinese

domestic transport routes.

Losing out?

The tank manufacturers with

most to lose from the emergence

of China as a producer of tank

containers are those in South Africa.

CIMC and ZZTC represent

the first serious challenge that the

three remaining South African

manufacturers have been up

against in over 10 years when it

comes to bidding for orders for

standard-type tank containers.

If this competition had taken

place in the 1990s, China may

have been better placed to eat into

South African market share more

quickly than is currently the case.

Today, the global playing field for

volume builders of standard tanks

is more level than at any other

time and China no longer enjoys

the outright advantages over its

competition that it once did.

For a start, wage rates for middle

management in China have

been creeping up in recent years.

In addition, China produces no

stainless steel. All such steel and all

the main fittings and fixtures, which

comprise the main capital cost

components in the construction of

a tank, have to be sourced from

overseas. With the benefits derived

from bulk purchasing in the open

market offset, to some extent, by

positioning charges, the traditional

cost advantages enjoyed by China

in the global marketplace are not

as applicable in the tank sector.

This is due to the fact that

South Africa now produces its

own stainless steel and, increasingly,

tank components are also

manufactured locally. In addition,

the three South African tank

manufacturers have established,

efficient production lines, proven

engineering expertise and products

that are familiar to a wide

range of customers.

Most importantly, a steadily

depreciating rand has brought several

European tank manufacturers

to their knees over the past

three years and made the construction

of standard tank containers

anywhere other than South

Africa uneconomical.

Thus, the scene is set for China.

Most industry watchers see the

shift of tank container production

eastwards, to Asia, as being as inexorable

as the other shifts in global

industrialisation that have already

taken place.

It is probably beyond question

that several Chinese companies will

be on the list of leading tank container

manufacturers worldwide in

five years’ time. But there is also no

doubt that South Africa will continue

to offer stern competition for

many years to come. ❏

February 2003


Coming under closer surveillance

More than a year on from

the devastating terrorist

attacks of September

2001 and the world’s port and

Customs authorities remains fearful

that a future target may be the

global container transport chain.

Freight containers have always

provided an ideal medium for

smuggling every type of terrorist

aid, from firearms and explosives

to chemical, biological or nuclear

agents or other bomb-making

components. However, there is

now increasing concern that they

might be used to conceal a primed

nuclear or other type of device.

The latter fear was highlighted

at the recent TOC Americas forum,

held in November 2002,

when Douglas Browning, Deputy

Commissioner to the US Customs,

warned of the dire consequence

that any such incident

would have for the international

transport sector. He stated simply

that “if terrorists were to use a

container to conceal a weapon of

mass destruction and detonate it

on arrival at a port, the impact on

global trade and the world

economy would be immediate

and devastating. All nations would

be affected, and no containerships

would be permitted to unload at,

or even enter, a US port… until a

security system was established.”

Browning reaffirmed the need

for all participants in container

shipping, and particularly Customs

and port officials, to jointly develop

sophisticated and efficient

security. This has been key to the

latest crop of government initiatives,

which call urgently for a

more thorough audit of the many

millions of containers moving

daily throughout the international

transport system. Predictably, the

US has taken the lead with its

Container Security Initiative

(CSI) and Customs-Trade Partnership

Against Terrorism (C-

TPAT) programme, although

many other nations are now reacting

as well.

The continued fear that terrorists may target the global transport chain

has increased demand for advanced container inspection systems, incorporating

X-ray or gamma ray imaging technology and, most recently,

nuclear detection capability

Foolproof method

Central to tackling any terrorist

activity is to implement a foolproof

method of surveillance at

ports and terminals. Recent directives

have proposed a global portbased

inspection system, as this

would capture virtually all container

traffic. Any such activity

would need to be overseen by

national Customs bodies, with the

checking procedure ideally carried

out at both the point of export

(from country of origin) and the

point where the unit is landed.

Such a system requires a scanning

process that is speedy, nonintrusive

and wholly reliable - but

also affordable. The relatively high

cost of high-tech inspection

equipment has, for many years,

mitigated against its widespread

use. Until 2000, only a handful of

ports had access to these facilities,

with virtually all investment made

either in permanent-site or mobile

X-ray imaging stations. The

fixed location offered the greatest

power, but - at US$10-15 mill per

installation - cost the most.

Basic X-ray imaging technology

was originally adapted for

container use from airport surveillance

systems in the late 1980s.

Not surprisingly, there has been

a very sharp increase in the

number of inquiries for such devices,

as well as contracts placed,

during the past two years.

This has, in turn, encouraged

new suppliers to enter the field,

while giving a boost to the development

of other advanced surveillance

systems, deploying gamma

rays or devices capable of detecting

radioactive materials. The latter

are, predictably, attracting considerable

interest, with much development

work now being focused

in this area.

Manual labour

The alternative to using non-intrusive

scanning technology is, of

course, to manually check containers

by opening them on a random

basis and this is the method

still used by the majority of ports.

At best, though, it permits only a

tiny percentage of all consignments

to be inspected. It is also

very time consuming and ties up

large numbers of port or Customs

operatives. In short, given today’s

climate of fear, the case is being

made ever more conclusively for

a global adoption of some form

of automated inspection using

technology already available.

Moreover, if the terrorist threat

is not sufficient incentive, the steady

rise in lower profile criminal activity

further strengthens the argument

for improved Customs’ surveillance

at seaports. The smuggling

of contraband, narcotics and counterfeit

goods is already widespread,

as is the incidence of general pilfering

from containers and incorrect

manifest declaration made to

conceal fraud or evade taxes and

duties. Indeed, these actions remain

arguably more serious, as international

transport-related theft and

fraud already costs the global

economy many hundreds of billions

of US dollars per year.

A further problem, now being

linked increasingly to the terrorist

issue, is the concealed carriage

of illegal immigrants in containers

and their successful evasion of

Customs checks at ports.

Wider options

Producers of surveillance equipment

have, for their part, been reducing

the average cost per installation,

while broadening the options

available. There has, for example,

been increased development

of smaller, mobile X-ray

scanners, which already account

for a growing share of all sales.

Such devices usually operate

with a lower energy source

(5MeV or below), and across only

the side-view plane, but are suited

for most routine container checking

applications. Crucially, costs

are much lower, with even the

largest mobile devices usually

priced at less than a third of a

fixed-site version. The latter may

be rated to up to 10MeV and can

often multi-view across the vertical

and horizontal planes.

One of the best known suppliers

of all types of X-ray container

inspection machine is

Smiths-Heimann, which offers

the HCV (Heimann Cargo Vision)

range of X-ray imaging

container scanners. This company,

formerly known as Heimann Systems,

was acquired last December

by Smiths Group of the UK

HM Customs & Excise has put eight

HCV-Mobile X-ray container

scanners into service at various ports

in the UK



from its former owner, Rheinmetall

of Germany, in a transaction,

worth €375 mill.

Smiths Group has long been

involved in the aerospace, engineering

and medical sectors and

the purchase of Heimann Systems

followed a number of earlier acquisitions

of security-related companies.

Heimann Systems had earlier

established its own UK subsidiary

in late 2001, following the

receipt of a sizeable multiple order

for mobile container scanners

from UK Customs.

Smiths-Heimann is to continue

its manufacturing and research/development

activities in

France and Germany, having already

been involved in the supply

of seaport surveillance equipment

for over 10 years. It has, to date,

supplied almost 20 of its larger stationary

HCV installations, together

with over 100 mobile or

smaller portable versions, and

claims a 45 per cent share of the

global market.

Sales to the container transport

sector were already growing

strongly by the late 1990s and have

since been maintained by the

heightened interest of very recent

years. In excess of 50 machines of

various types have been delivered,

or contracted, during the past 2-3

years, resulting in a 50 per cent

growth in annual turnover.

Recent contracts have included

fixed-site HCV units for Algiers

and Ashdod and three mobile scanners

for Dakar, Antwerp and a location

in the Middle East. Earlier

fixed tunnel installations were made

at Yokohama, Rotterdam, Jakarta,

Hamburg, Le Havre and Shenzhen,

as well as to Finland and to each

end of the Channel tunnel.

Larger mobile units have,

meanwhile, gone to Tema and Vera

February 2003 39



Smiths-Heimann’s HCV-Relocatable X-ray scanner bridges the gap between

mobile and fixed installations

Cruz, and to Felixstowe, Harwich

and Southampton in the UK.

Dual view

The Ashdod unit, which was actually

ordered prior to the events

of September 2001, was installed

in May 2002 and is due to enter

full operation later this year. It is

of typical HCV design, giving a

dual (horizontal and vertical) view

and featuring a standard stationary

radioscopic X-ray source,

which is capable of penetrating a

steel thickness of up to 400mm

and can scan a laden container in

just 15 minutes.

Traffic at Ashdod is currently

running at an equivalent to an annual

volume of 600,000-800,000

TEU. The HCV device will

check containers on a continuous

basis and forms part of a major

modernisation programme

being undertaken by the Israeli

national ports’ authority.

In addition to combating

crime and the risk of terrorism,

the HCV scanner is expected to

greatly speed up turnaround as its

operation will replace the traditional

random manual inspection,

which can take up to 15 hours per

container. Moreover, all Customs’

activities are to be concentrated

within the 25,000 m 2 HCV facility,

with the entire process being

fully computerised in due course.

An earlier delivery covered an

HCV Mobile unit to the Belgium

Customs Authority in Antwerp.

This, together with the stationary

unit destined for Algiers, was purchased

in the aftermath of September

2001. It was in operation

by early 2002, having been acquired

in response to the CSI action

plan drawn up by US Customs.

This is being applied to ports

outside the US (and particularly

in Europe).

A mobile scanner was selected

because it offers the best compromise,

giving a fast and high-grade

resolution as well as complete

portability. Operations in Antwerp

are being supported by Smiths-

Heimann, under the terms of a

five-year maintenance contract. All

training of Customs personnel has

been carried out in-house, in conjunction

with Smiths-Heimann,

with operatives typically practising

on controlled containerloads

that have been deliberately planted

with hidden contraband or other

illicit packages of varying size.

Plus points

The latest generation of mobile

scanners is, indeed, proving popular

with many end-users, as production

costs have fallen and the

contrast/quality of colour resolution

have been enhanced. Such

devices may operate a little differently

to the fixed-site version,

in that some designs of machine

are driven past the container, instead

of the container being drawn

through the imaging tunnel, as is

usual for a stationary application.

There is no doubt that mobility

is increasingly viewed to be a

plus by certain Customs authorities

and particularly those responsible

for terminals scattered over a

wide area or for ports at multiple

locations. The current Customs’

operations at Harwich are a typical

example, as the single HCV

mobile machine is currently

shared with nearby Ipswich.

Smiths-Heimann already offers

a larger mobile design of X-

ray scanner, as well as its smaller,

highly portable SilhouetteScan

module. The latter uses a much

lower-rated X-ray source and is

tailored specifically for checking

empty or less densely packed containers.

It has proved popular with

smaller terminals, where space is

limited, and been supplied in

number to customers in Central/

Eastern Europe and South


The company has more recently

introduced a new largerscale

relocatable system, to bridge

the gap between its mobile and

fixed designs. This is configured to

operate either with a 4MeV or

6MeV energy source and can be

installed (or re-installed) within

two weeks. The unit also requires

only a minimal space to operate

and no engine maintenance (as

with most small mobile versions),

while it provides the superior

high-imaging and penetrative

quality available from higher rated


Government deals

The manufacture of compact

mobile X-ray scanners is a specialisation

of AS&E (American

Science and Engineering) based

in Massachusetts (US), and this

company too reports a rapid

growth in sales of its MobileSearch

design for use at containerports

and terminals. It has also benefited

from sizeable contracts placed by

the US Government, covering the

installation of portable scanners

internally within the US and at

military bases and border-crossing

points to/from Mexico.

Two MobileSearch units were

supplied to the US Department of

Defense in mid-2002 at a cost of

US$4 mill, with this business forming

the start of a new three-year

“blanket” purchasing contract, covering

all types of machine and

worth up to US$500 mill.

The established X-ray system

deployed by AS&E produces a

unique patented “Z Backscatter”

profile, developed by the company.

This permits the use of a relatively

low energy source (0.45MeV),

which complies with US federal

legislation on admissible radiation

dosage and so suits it to most types

of detection.

Shape of the future

More recently, AS&E supplied one

of its newly developed “Shaped

Energy” detectors to Sokhna, in

Egypt, which is a new commercial

port run privately by Egyptian

Container Handling Co. The

order followed an earlier delivery

of a MobileSearch machine to

Nueibaa (also Egypt), where it was

used subsequently to effect a major

seizure of drugs.

The Shaped Energy technology,

also patented by AS&E, utilises

a higher energy X-ray beam

that is conformed to filter out

non-essential radiation. This is

claimed to maintain safety, while

increasing throughput, penetration,

focus and image quality. The

device is capable of penetrating a

depth of solid steel up to 25cm

and also provides the Z

Backscatter dual-side view to produce

photo-like imaging. A

former dispute between AS&E

and Heimann Systems, concerning

an alleged patent infringement

by the former, has now been fully


AS&E has, to date, sold almost

70 cargo inspection systems to 10

different countries, including 17

to the Middle East. At least 10 are

located at seaports, borders and

airports within Egypt. Around 50

of the total count are of the

MobileSearch type, suited for container

(or cargo-truck) inspection.

The Sokhna business represented

the first commercial sale of a

Shaped Energy container scanner,

although AS&E has since been

asked to supply a more customised

gantry system, using Shaped

Energy technology, to the US


This latter contract, valued at

US$7.1 mill, was placed in October

2002. The equipment is to be

delivered by early 2004 to the US

naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.

The detector is to be sited

on a rail-mounted gantry that can

be moved past stationary cargo,

US Customs has awarded a five-year rolling contract to ARACOR for an

“unlimited quantity” of Eagle mobile scanners

thereby doubling the present rate

of processing.

Nuclear deterrent

The perceived nuclear threat

posed by terrorists has also been

addressed by AS&E, as it has now

incorporated a radiation sensor

into its existing detector module.

The workings of the basic system

have been modified to detect

minute traces of fissile and nonfissile

materials, while simultaneously

generating the normal Z

Backscatter X-ray imaging.

This combined-purpose or

RTD (Radioactive Threat Detection)

scanner is viewed by AS&E

to be particularly suited for searching

out the feared “dirty” bomb,

which might be concealed and

detonated by terrorists in urban

areas. Such devices comprise a mix

of explosives and radioactive materials.

AS&E explains that, while

its X-ray imaging system is already

well tuned to identifying conventional

explosives, the addition of

a patented radiation sensor also

will warn of the presence of any

nuclear component.

The RTD capability has already

been retrofitted to existing

MobileSearch units operated at

Hong Kong’s container terminals

by the HK Customs and Excise

Department. This customer acquired

its first detectors from

AS&E in 2000 and they have since

been very effective in picking up

concealed contraband, including


drugs. In November 2002, for example,

over HK$25 mill worth of

herbal cannabis was seized, after

its discovery in a 40ft container.

Eagle on the wing

ARACOR, based in California, has

similarly focused its research on a

smaller detection module, and particularly

targeted its application at

ISO container inspection. The

company’s main design is its Eagle

system, a self-contained, movable

X-ray scanner device.

The Eagle unit is rubber tyred,

and features a road truck with inbuilt

sensor that is connected to

its linear accelerator X-ray generator

by way of a 3.5m wide

straddle bridge. The truck includes

a driver’s cab and observation

room to the rear, where read-outs

are initially collected and interpreted.

The laden container (or

truck) is passed over by the bridge,

permitting a speedy and thorough

scan of its contents.

The average throughput rate

is equivalent to 30 seconds per

20ft, with the X-ray beam capable

of penetrating the usual 30cm

steel thickness. The images received

can be distributed and

processed electronically within

minutes. The Eagle energy source

is usually rated to maximum

6MeV, which is deemed suitable

for most applications, and the unit

can come fitted with an optional

Supplemental Shielding Vehicle

(SSV) to minimise radiation ex-

Lining up the BIRs

Despite the increased development

of smaller mobile scanner

and sensor attachments, some

ports are still opting for larger

fixed site constructions. A further

three such machines are imminently

due to start operation

in Japan, with Bio-Imaging Research

Inc (BIR) of the US providing

much of the hardware

and technical know-how. The

main contractor is Japan’s IHI

(Ishikawa-jima-Harima Heavy


The new installations follow

the earlier delivery of two stationary

X-ray inspection systems

in Japan by the same two suppliers

to the ports of Osaka and

Kobe, where they have now

been operational for almost a


The latest contracts cover

similar X-ray machines for Tokyo,

Nagoya and Moji, with two

of the sites due to become operational

in March and the third

in April. All the sites will be run

by the Japanese Customs, leaving

only four major port Customs

centres in Japan (out of a

total of nine) without dedicated

inspection facilities.

The three latest units utilise

the standard “Varian” 9MeV X-

ray generator, which offers a dual

beam to scan the container

through its top and side. The

main difference between the

newest installations and those

made last year is in the detector

array provided by BIR, which

effectively doubles the available

pixel resolution. This allows operators

using the latest systems

to view cargo details down to

2mm size or lower.

BIR explained that the three

machines were ordered separately,

with the Japanese Customs

awarding the contracts on

the basis of past performance and

price. Their installation will give

the US firm an 80 per cent share

of all deliveries of container surveillance

equipment made so far

to ports in Japan. BIR says that

it is pursuing other potential

sales outside Japan and is also finalising

designs for a relocatable

system, using smaller 2.5MeV,

3MeV and 6MeV energy


Elsewhere, a third large-scale

X-ray inspection facility was ordered

by the Customs service in

Australia last year for installation

in Brisbane. It will add to existing

sites in Melbourne and Sydney.

Like the previous two facilities,

this latest THSCAN X-

ray imaging machinery is being

manufactured in China by

Nuctech Co Ltd, which was formerly

known as Tsinghua

Tongfang Nuclear Technology

and carries out its research at

Tsinghua University. The company

has already supplied several

THSCAN units to ports in


US-based SAIC (Science

Applications International

Corp) is similarly well known

for its fixed site VACIS II inspection

system, although this company

uses gamma rays (generated

from a cesium or cobalt-60

source) as its imaging medium.

The process works in a broadly

similar way to standard X-ray

devices and can typically penetrate

a steel thickness of up to

15.6 cm. One such machine was

supplied to the port of Vancouver

in early 2002 and SAIC’s

total sales reference now

amounts to over 200 systems,

with 100 already installed. Many

of these are used routinely for

container surveillance.

SAIC currently offers five

designs of VACIS, including

mobile, relocatable, railroad, portal

and pallet versions. The

relocatable type is best applied

to seaports, as it is a part-fixed

“track-and-trolley” based system.

The Mobile VACIS is truck

mounted and capable of scanning

a 40ft container in just 10

seconds, while the portal version

is suited for operation in confined

areas, such as port entrance

gates or access roadways. The

railroad design, as its name suggests,

is deployed at railheads and

can check railcars or containers

being hauled past at speeds of

up to 10 miles/hour. ❏


February 2003




posure. Most importantly, the unit can

be moved locally, within a port area, under

its own power, while its modular construction

allows the Eagle to be transported

intact by ship or disassembled

relatively easily for shipment by truck or


ARACOR has been working on the

Eagle’s development for several years and

has already carried out lengthy and successful

prototype tests, with US Customs,

at the port of Miami. However, the whole

venture gained considerable momentum

in 2002 and, after several months negotiation,

is now finally going live following

the US Customs’ decision to award a

five-year rolling contract to ARACOR,

for an “unlimited quantity” of Eagle machines.

The total potential value of this business

is put at more than US$40 mill, with

two units being purchased initially. These

are destined for seaport(s) in the US, although

future deliveries may be made to

locations overseas. Other Eagles will also

be deployed at inland borders and

railheads. In addition to countering the

threat of terrorism, the Eagles are expected

to effectively combat fraud, theft and duty


plete. As such, the SCIS device does not

impede the through movement of containers

at ports in any way and is capable

of achieving a potential 100 per cent rate

of inspection.

In contrast, GDS states that manual

methods of checking barely cover two per

cent of all landed boxes in the US, while

even the use of X-ray detection may not

capture every single unit passing through

a port area. Moreover, because the operation

of a separate imaging site requires

some re-routing of traffic, it may also necessitate

a reorganisation of a port’s whole

container processing system.

The main business activity of GDS is

the development of broadband networks

and wireless surveillance applications, and

this has assisted the introduction of SCIS

by giving the sensor a high degree of

communications intelligence. On identifying

any suspect material, the device can

immediately relay this information to the

Customs headquarters and so effect an

instant response, even before the container

is moved further into the port confines.

SecurePort sensor

BNI has similarly designed its SecurePort

container sensor to be attached to the

crane spreader to detect the presence of

nuclear materials (emitting neutrons or

gamma rays) within a transiting container.

The company has long been a leading

supplier of radiation monitoring

equipment to the US nuclear industry, but

was encouraged to adapt its basic design

for a more general transport application

late in 2001. The modified system has already

undergone several months’ trial

with US Customs on a single crane at

Virginia International Terminal (VIT), at

Hampton Roads, and is shortly to be installed

at a second test site at the Port of


The SecurePort container radiation

monitoring system also features an intelligent

component in that it transmits information

via wireless link directly to the

ports’ main server. All incoming data can

be made available locally or across the

entire Customs network, and is logged,

displayed, interpreted and analysed using

a customised software application. Each

sensor is sufficiently sensitive to collect

readings at a distance of only a few inches

from any part of the container exterior.

It completes the check within 30 seconds,

which is well within the average crane

lifting/discharge time.

One important aspect, highlighted by

BNI, is that all readings are automated

and, providing the preset admissible radiation

level is not exceeded, continue

without any need for manual intervention.

Thus there is no requirement for

personnel to constantly monitor readings

and the system can be configured to operate

with several cranes.

In the event of an abnormal reading,

the offending container is immediately

flagged. A digital photograph of the unit

is taken to help physical identification,

while a bar code or magnetic tag (identifying

the container) may similarly be read

into the system and associated with the

detector reading. Warnings can be given

visually, audibly or by electronic pager or

e-mail, and, in extreme instances, the

crane’s operation can be disabled. ❏

AIDE at hand

Further purchases are expected imminently,

once extra funds become available,

and the long-term contract also provides

for future development by ARACOR of

supporting technology to assist the US

Customs’ ever-expanding programme of

action. One area presently under evaluation

concerns the secondary use of X-

rays to identify and “label” key precursor

chemicals found in explosives/narcotics.

This project is being sponsored by the US

DoD, and has been named Inspection

AIDE (Analyser for Identification of

Drugs and Explosives).

Inspection AIDE uses neutrons (generated

by X-ray) to accurately define the

elemental composition of suspicious materials.

For example, explosives contain

nitrogen and/or phosphorus, both of

which are readily excited by exposure

to neutron bombardment and emit distinctive

gamma rays that can be easily

detected and analysed.

The approach will be to subject suspect

loads, already alerted during a routine

Eagle X-ray inspection, to further

bombardment to determine if they exactly

match the known profile of proscribed

items, and particularly certain

types of chemical weapon. Inspection

AIDE is designed to operate as a separate

stand-alone system and has already

been successfully demonstrated.

At the same time, ARACOR has been

working on its own version of nuclear

material detector, having signed an exclusive

agreement with the National

Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

branch of the US Department of Energy.

The aim is to develop a commercial inspection

method to identify radioactive

isotopes and precursors, such as highly enriched

uranium or plutonium, using

proven technology already created by US

Department of Environment laboratories

in Idaho and Los Alamos. The nuclear detection

process will be configured to operate

either simultaneously with the existing

Eagle X-ray scan or as a stand-alone


Entering the fray

Yet another approach to the problem of

rapidly and effectively inspecting containers

in volume has been adopted by two

relative newcomers, General Defense Systems

Inc (GDS) and Bartlett Nuclear Inc

(BNI). The two are US-based, and both

have been prompted to develop advanced

surveillance systems on the back of the

latest fear that terrorists may at some point

target the global transport chain.

Both companies have developed small

detectors designed to be mounted on the

spreader of a container crane. The detectors

“read” each unit as it is transferred

to/from from the vessel.

GDS launched its Shipping Container

Inspection System (SCIS) last year and it

claims to offer an advanced chemical, biological

and radioactive inspection system.

The multifunctional sensor is active when

the container is in close proximity, with

the entire checking process accomplished

before the crane transfer cycle is com-

February 2003 41




Getting IT onto the right track

The IT challenge, as always

in intermodal transport, is

the multiplicity of parties

between which data must be

shared. In intermodal rail, there are

at least four: the railway companies

(and the national infrastructure

managers, which may, or may

not, be the same thing); combined

transport operators; rail terminal

operators; and service users (these

include road carriers, forwarders

and direct shippers).

The need to knit these disparate

parties together was recognised

in 1997 when UIRR members

Cemat, Hupac and Kombiverkehr

decided to work together

on a common co-ordinated client

communication system. The

European Commission and the

Swiss government supported the

idea and funded a share of the development


The result was CESAR (the

Co-operative European System

for Advanced Information Redistribution),

which was formally

launched in November 2000 by

If the dream of a seamless intermodal network in

Europe is ever to become a reality, information technology

will have to play its part

Screen shot showing Cat Logic's train

planning module in action

Mrs Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President

of the European Commission

and Commissioner for Transport

and Energy.

Portal approach

The underlying concept of

CESAR is similar to that of current

shipping line portals: customers

use a single web site to book

and track consignments moving

with a variety of combined transport


Key events in the transport life

cycle are recorded, including booking,

cargo receipt at origin terminal,

departure from origin terminal,

destination ETA, cargo ready

for pick up and pick up. The system

also reports consignment arrivals

at intermediate hub points.

This event data is fed to CESAR’s

UNIX server that holds the database

and the application software.

As in the case of the liner portals,

the onus is on the combined

transport operator to ensure it can

provide the data necessary to support

the functionality of the site.

CESAR stresses to potential

members the importance of providing

accurate and timely information

updates and reinforces this

by data validation routines at the

central server. This rejects any incorrect

data, sending an error

message to the relevant operator.

The software company Cat

Logic provides tools to combined

transport companies to manage

complex intermodal operations.

Hans Ketterings, the company’s

managing director, explains its history:

“Cat Logic has developed in

three marketplaces: warehousing,

transportation and container logistics.

Our particular strength lies

in our ability to create systems

bridges between different parties.”

Ketterings now sees growing

activity in the intermodal IT market

place. “In the past, our business

was evenly spread among our

three business streams. Now more

than 50 per cent of our projects

relate to intermodal transport.”

Going further

To date, most of the systems deployed

in this area have focused

on simple intermodal moves that

might combine truck moves at

origin and destination with a

trunk move by rail or barge in

the middle.

With the growth of markets in

Eastern Europe, however, this is no

longer enough. As Ketterings points

out, a move from Rotterdam to

Constanza might consist of four or

five different legs, all of which need

to be planned and managed.

Cat Logic’s Container Management

System (CMS) first allows

the combined transport operator

to plan the intermodal

move by selecting the various legs

and transport modes. The system

then uses the administrative steps

that characterise each leg of the

actual move (eg the creation of a

rail waybill) to monitor the key

milestones. When these events are

recorded, the status of the consignment

is automatically updated.

Cat Logic also provides

web forms that allow operators

to record key events, including

final delivery to the consignee,

thereby increasing cargo visibility

in the process.

Cat Logic’s customers include

Rotterdam’s Rail Service Center

(RSC), which handles 250,000

containers per year at its terminal

next to ECT. RSC uses Cat

Logic’s yard and train planning

software. Guus de Bode, RSC’s

operations director explains, “The

stack location of all boxes in the

terminal are recorded by stacker

operators are and transmitted by

wireless LAN to the planning system.

The planner then uses a

graphical user interface to plan

the train by dragging and dropping

containers on the screen.

The completed plan is communicated

to the reach stacker operators

also by wireless LAN.”

More complex

RSC’s operation is very self-contained.

Those of two other Cat

Logic customers are not. One, the

European Rail Shuttle (ERS),

jointly owned by Maersk Sealand

and P&O Nedlloyd, now operates

225 rail departures per week

linking Rotterdam with terminals

in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and

Eastern Europe. Volume in 2002

was 365,000 containers. As its

name implies, ERS runs pointto-point

shuttle services with

dedicated trains.

Cat Logic’s Hans Ketterings sees

growth in intermodal IT, another Cat

Logic customer which runs out

of Hamburg, is more complex. It

runs a complete network rather

than point-to-point services and

uses IT to plan its marshalling operations.

Opening up the rail network

to new operators like ERS has

been a struggle. Both physical and

IT infrastructure have to date

been organised nationally and

often incompatibly, frustrating

operators who want to run crossborder


This is now being addressed

by the newly-formed RailNet

Europe, whose members include

rail infrastructure managers from

all over Europe. Its stated objective

is to eliminate the interface

problems faced by cross-border

traffic and to provide attractive

train paths to all customers, thus

supporting the growth of rail

freight throughout Europe.

Robust paths

Martin Robson, the UK representative

of RailNet Europe, says

that its first task will be to produce

more robust freight paths

suitable for different traffics. This

will require changes of the timetable

and route segregation.

Once these paths are created,

Robson sees IT playing a part in

the booking process. “A new

web-based path booking system,

Pathfinder, will become available

for the use of all member countries.

This will support both preplanned

and ad hoc paths, allowing

daily booking.” Robson expects

this to become operational

in the summer of this year.

Integration efforts are also

underway in signalling systems.

EC Directive 96/48/EC on High

Speed Rail Interoperability requires

Member States to operate

compatible signalling systems. As

a result, signalling suppliers from

across Europe have been working

together to produce ERTMS

- the European Rail Traffic Management

System, which combines

automatic train protection and

train control through ETCS (European

Train Control System)

with the possibility of enhanced

network capacity through more

efficient traffic management.

The system uses calculations

of train braking distances to allow

closer train spacing; this

means higher service frequency

and greater carrying capacity. A

comprehensive specification of

ERTMS/ETCS was finalised in

2002 and tests are now being carried

out throughout Europe. The

system will be an integral part of

the new Betuweroute, the 160

km railway linking Rotterdam to

its Continental hinterland.

This combination of the opening

up of the rail infrastructure,

systems that improve the ability of

operators to control complex

intermodal movements and

greater ease of customer booking

and tracking look promising. Perhaps

there is a chance for intermodal

rail freight after all. ❏


February 2003




Felixstowe deals its cards

Besides being the UK’s largest container

port, Felixstowe is also the

country’s second largest freight

roll-on/roll-off port. On average, the

Hutchison Ports (UK)-owned facility

processes 850 trailers per day, clearing

them for import or export and managing

their passage through the port.

Until recently, the entire process for

each trailer was based on a paper ticket

system, which identified drivers and loads

and was checked at various stages of the

freight’s progress. But according to Steve

Cole, IT operations support manager for

the port, “We reached a stage, where the

existing system was becoming untenable.

Tickets could only be used once, quickly

became worn, the print was sometimes

illegible and they were prone to jams.”

Plastic progress

After extensive systems evaluation,

Felixstowe decided to replace the paper

ticket system with a plastic smart cardbased

system developed by point-of-sale

solutions manufacturer Star Micronics and

implemented by systems integrator DED.

The low cost TCP2000 system is based

around thermal cards, the entire front side

of which acts as an instantly rewritable

display. The cards can be rewritten up to

500 times, providing an obvious potential

benefit to the port.

Despite some initial reservations -

“The cards are quite flimsy-looking and

we weren’t sure that they would be sufficiently

robust for the application,” Cole

said - the cards have proved their worth,

some having been reused more than 300

times within the first few months of the

system going live.

Typically, the haulier issues his driver

with instructions together with the

TCP2000 card displaying basic details of

the shipment. On entering the port, the

driver presents his card at the gate security

and it is read using the system. The

location of the specific collection is then

written to the card, in addition to unit

ID and vehicle number, destination, date

of shipment and weight. The card is returned

to the driver who then collects

his load.

Leaving the port, the vehicle and

trailer are photographed to check on the

condition of the vehicle and its freight,

and the details are matched to those retained

on the card. The driver returns the

card at the security gate, where it is again

read by the TCP2000 system before the

trailer is cleared for departure.

Keep it clean

One of the issues that Felixstowe had to

overcome was maintaining the cleanliness

of the reader/writer systems to ensure

their ongoing functionality. Working with

DED, a solution was quickly identified in

the regular replacement of cleaning pads

for each of the 11 TCP2000 systems located

throughout the port. “Dirt was always

going to be a problem, but we have

worked together to overcome it and the

IT award

Another of Hutchison’s port companies,

Hongkong International Terminals

(HIT), has received an award from

the IT publication Intelligent Enterprise

Asia for the development of its computer

simulation model for yard management

- Yard Model 3.

The award highlights HIT’s use of

computer modelling to test processes

and workflows in the container yard.

With limited terminal operating area,

HIT continues to succeed in developing

globally recognised systems and


Commenting on the award, HIT

managing director Eric Ip said, “We

are very pleased to have received this

award. Our project team works hard,

continuously striving to enhance and

optimise the service level at HIT.”

Organised by Intelligent Enterprise

Asia, the annual Intelligent 20 Awards

showcase outstanding IT implementations

with high business value. ❏

The UK Port of Felixstowe has successfully

implemented a plastic smart cardbased

system to process ro-ro freight

card-based system has now proved itself

to be an extremely viable means of retaining

secure and effective passage of

freight in what is an extremely fast moving

environment. Linked to our management

systems, it is also part of an effective

infrastructure to manage our business in

the most efficient and safe way possible.

“The cards are extremely reliable. They

are also cost effective given their ability

for reuse. The environment can be dirty

and drivers have been known to scribble

on the cards, but they continue to remain

dependable,” Cole said. ❏

The flow of ro-ro freight through Felixstowe

has been streamlined by the introduction of

the TCP2000 smart card system

February 2003 43

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