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@ShangySquizz Wales report page 22

UK ports ‘on terror attack standby’

Terrorists are planning to hijack an oil tanker and use it in a suicide attack on a major UK port, the Daily Star Sunday newspaper

reported on 22

June. A Home Office source was quoted as saying that it has received specific information of serious intent of a terrorist attack. The

paper says that 40

Special Boat Service personnel have been deployed at ports across the UK, working with specialists from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment to

* The European Council has approved the EU’s new draft maritime security strategy, drawn up in March. It emphasises more effective

monitor maritime movements. Special forces teams, dressed in civilian clothes were working alongside port workers and others to avoid bringing attention to themselves, with a second force of heavily-armed forces on standby, along with bomb disposal and Police anti- terrorist officers.

use of existing resources and enhanced cooperation to combat attacks on port facilities,

piracy, human

trafficking, illegal waste and accidental pollution. It does not envisage any

new structures, programmes or legislation but better use of existing resources such as civilian and military authorities, customs and border control. Cooperation with third countries should be stepped up to improve port and transport security.

Big ships set to push down rates

Average container shipping rates are set to fall again this year as leading carriers continue to reduce their unit costs through the deployment of larger capacity vessels. The same trend could also be

maintained in the longer term if, as anticipated, some lines decide within the next couple of years to order vessels of 24,000teu capacity, 33% larger than the current maximum size of around 18,000teu. Those were two of the points

to emerge from a Container Supply Chain Conference held as part of the recent TOC Europe 2014 show in London. Martin Dixon, director, head

of research products, for global maritime industry research and analysis provider Drewry, said his company’s suggested that

in Europe trade, for example, a “Over the last couple of

years, there has been a much stronger

correlation between

freight rates and (carriers’) unit costs,” stated Dixon. “Last year, as unit costs fell, we saw average freight rates across global trades drop by over 6% and we are forecasting they will fall again this year as unit costs decline.” Looking further ahead, Penfold


move up from 8,000teu vessels to 12,000teu ships produced a 15% round voyage slot cost saving at 85% utilisation. Deployment of 18,000teu vessels generated a further 17% saving. Those sort of cost reductions

research the Asia-

for carriers, he suggested, were becoming a key driver of freight rate development, increasingly overriding capacity supply and market demand influences.


project director for Ocean Shipping Consultants, a consultancy

specialising in

shipping economics and port development, suggested ships could soon get even bigger. “It is not really any technical jump to shift up to 24,000teu vessels and I think it is extremely likely the industry will see a further round of vessel ordering, maybe some time in 2015 or 2016, for a whole new set of larger ships.”

Outlook uncertain for forwarders Uncertainty is dogging the

freight forwarding market, says transport consultant Transport Intelligence (Ti) in the June edition of the Stifel Logistics Confidence Index, which slipped 2.7 points to 55.2.

While still above the

baseline 50-mark, too many questions remain unanswered,

including the fate of the sea freight market now that the P3 alliance has collapsed. There are also worries that economic growth might be slowing. Growth expectations

have been lowered in every measured trade lane across both modes. That said, the results “suggest that the current market is good but not great”,

said Ti. Growth expectations for 2014 had been stronger earlier in the year, but now the forecast is back to slow growth. Sea freight performed better than airfreight, but

its index

declined 3.4 points to 56.7 in June. This was a significant downward move, but the index is still in growth territory, 3.3 points above June 2013.

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