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Old December 5th, 2008, 07:01 PM   #181
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Port firm to develop facilities in Shenzhen

2008-12-5


HUTCHISON Port Holdings Ltd, the world's largest container-terminal operator, plans to help develop new port facilities in Shenzhen, south China, because of the country's rising exports.

Shenzhen Yantian Port Group and Hutchison Port have agreed to develop a terminal as part of the Shenzhen Yantian East Port Phase I, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd's terminal unit said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The new facility will have four berths, Hutchison Port said, without providing a time frame for the plan.

Hutchison has expanded in China's mainland as the country's rising exports of toys, furniture and other goods fuel sea cargo. Still, traffic has slowed this year in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, because of the global recession, crimping margins for port operators in the city, according to Bloomberg News.

The new terminal will have two berths for ships able to carry up to 6,600 containers and two more for 9,500-box ships. Hutchison's venture with Shenzhen Yantian Port operates 14 berths in the port. Worldwide, Hong Kong-based Hutchison has stakes in 292 berths spread across 47 ports, according to its Website.

The global recession is damping the growth of China's sea-cargo, particularly in the Pearl River Delta. Shenzhen's container traffic fell in September and October, Citigroup Inc has said.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article...&type=Business
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Old December 9th, 2008, 03:45 PM   #182
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China Merchants sees slowing growth, expansion

HONG KONG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - China Merchants Holdings , the country largest operator of ports, plans to curtail its pace of expansion because of expectations that sputtering global shipping will retard the pace of growth in its key southern Chinese market in 2009.

Analysts expect shares in Chinese port operators such as COSCO Pacific to come under pressure in coming months after a sharp deceleration in the country's exports underscored the potential for once-stellar growth to tank, though many remained bullish on the sector's longer-term potential.

Port operators focused on southern China, where trade growth has slowed more sharply because of the prevalence of lower value-added goods manufacturing in the region, are likely to be harder hit.

Chairman Fu Yuning told reporters on Tuesday his firm, which derives 70 percent of its revenue from ports in the country's south, planned to curb expansion plans amid expectations of slowing throughput growth at key terminals in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

But Fu would not identify areas in which to trim expansion.

Shares in China Merchants, riding a general upswell in shipping stocks after a global benchmark shipping rates index gained for the first time in weeks on Monday, ended the day up more than 5 percent.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #183
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Taiwan, China to launch direct shipping links
13 December 2008

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - China and Taiwan will start a new era of direct air and shipping services Monday when planes and ships travel directly across the Taiwan Strait, formally ending a nearly six-decade ban on regular links.

Relations have improved between the once-bitter rivals since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May and moved to reverse the pro-independence policy of his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian.

China has reacted warmly and although the mainland still claims sovereignty over the self-governed island, both have agreed to set aside thorny political disputes to focus on trade and economics.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949.

Prominent politicians will attend inauguration ceremonies held in Taiwan and China on Monday for a move widely expected to boost trade and economic integration of the two longtime rivals.

The first Taiwanese ships, from Evergreen and Yang Ming Marine, are scheduled to leave from the island's Kaohsiung and Keelung harbors for Chinese ports about noon Monday. Ships with mainland companies, China Shipping and China Ocean Shipping, are to sail vessels to Taiwan from Shanghai and Tianjin, respectively.

Also Monday up to 60 cargo flights per month will start to fly between Taiwan and the mainland, according to agreements signed on Nov. 4.

Daily passenger flights will also start, with 16 scheduled Monday, in an expansion of weekend charter services inaugurated in July.

The direct services will result in cost savings and generate new businesses as both Taiwan and China feel the pinch of the global economic slowdown, said Chiang Pin-kung, head of Taiwan's semiofficial Straits Exchange Foundation.

"This will contribute greatly to our economic development," said Chiang, who signed the air and shipping pacts with his Chinese counterpart, Chen Yunlin.

With annual bilateral trade built up to about US$100 billion, Taiwanese businesses have pushed for years to end the ban on direct links across the 100-mile (160-kilometer) wide Taiwan Strait.

In the past, planes had to fly into Hong Kong airspace while traveling between the two sides. Cargo ships had to stop at the Japanese island of Okinawa northeast of Taiwan.

In Beijing, Xu Lirong, executive vice president of the China Ocean Shipping Group Company, said the direct shipping links will cut the cost of the company's related freight business by 30 percent.

"Direct shipping will undoubtedly bring new vigor to economic and trade ties between the mainland and Taiwan," China's official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xu as saying.

Under the pact signed last month, the mainland will open 48 sea ports and Taiwan will open 11 harbors for direct shipping.

Taiwan imposed the ban on regular links six decades ago. When former President Chen attempted to end it, China refused because of its deep distrust of him.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #184
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Shipbuilding stimulus plan under discussion

2008-12-29

A stimulus program to revive China's shipbuilding industry is currently under discussion and will be submitted to the State Council, China's Cabinet, for approval at the beginning of 2009, a senior industry official said.

The program - drafted mainly by the country's top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) - will cover a raft of supportive policies to boost the shipbuilding sector such as fiscal policy, tax reform and research and development assistance, China Business News reported, citing Zhang Guangqin, chairman of China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry.

"The program provides detailed instructions to Chinese shipbuilders that will help them cope with the financial crisis in the next 2 to 3 years," Zhang said.

The stimulus package will emphasize shipping of energy resources and strategic materials such as crude oil by State-owned fleets.

"For example, many goods in China are now transported by foreign ships and thus Chinese shipping enterprises have great potential to explore domestic demand," Zhang said.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), which measures the demand for shipping capacity against the supply of dry-bulk carriers, dropped by 93.7 percent from a peak of 11,793 on May 20 to 744 on Dec 24. Moreover, Chinese shipbuilders reported a 44-percent drop in new orders during the first 11 months of 2008.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchin...nt_7350818.htm
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:04 PM   #185
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China's Tianjin Port container throughput up almost 20% in 2008

2008-12-31

TIANJIN, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Tianjin Port, the largest in north China, handled 354 million tons of cargo by Tuesday evening, said an official of Tianjin Port Group.

The port handled 8.5 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units of containers in the past year, up 19.7 percent year-on-year.

When Tianjin Port opened in 1952, it was a small, shallow-water harbor capable of handling less than 700,000 tons of cargo a year. It has since become a deep-water port with many specialized berths.

In 2007, it handled 300 million tons of cargo and 7.1 million TEUs of container cargo, which put it in the sixth and 20th places in the world, respectively.

There are more than 400 ship movements at the port each month to all points of the globe.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/20...t_10583340.htm
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Old January 12th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #186
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Major shipping, aviation funds to boost reforms

2009-01-12

Tianjin will strengthen financial reform and innovation this year and launch two major development funds for the shipping and aviation sectors, in line with it being one of the test beds for national reform, the municipality's mayor said Sunday.

"We will deepen our comprehensive reform in an all-around manner, facilitating reform and innovation within the financial sector. We plan to set up shipping and aviation funds," Mayor Huang Xingguo said in his address to the second session of the 15th municipal people's congress.

To that effect, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, has approved Tianjin's application to raise a 20-billion-yuan ($2.93 billion) shipping industrial fund.

The fund is now being prepared for launch, Li Weibin, head of the China Development Bank's Tianjin branch, told China Daily.

The planned aviation fund is still waiting for approval from the NDRC, Li said.

But the aviation fund might not be approved by the NDRC by this year, given the current economic challenges, a Tianjin government official told China Daily on condition of anonymity.

"There are also difficulties facing the shipping fund because of the current sluggish demand in shipping. But it can start low for example, at 2 billion yuan," the official said.

The shipping fund is expected to fuel financing for the country's shipbuilding industry and facilitate the formation of international shipping and logistic centers such as Tianjin, analysts have said.

Financial innovation holds the key to fueling the development of major projects of Tianjin, China Development Bank's Li said.

In developed countries, due to the relatively mature fund and capital markets, the proportion of direct financing is said to be able to reach 50 percent or even higher. But the figure is only 10 percent in China, analysts said.

Many consider the problems arising from the lack of direct financing to affect the healthy development of the economy, when businesses having financial difficulties cannot obtain capital effectively.

"We will spare no effort to increase the ratio of direct financing, develop private equity funds and introduce all categories of financial institutions," Huang said.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchin...nt_7386416.htm
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Old January 24th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #187
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China Shipping Container Lines: 2008 Net Profit Dn Over 50%
21 January 2009

SHANGHAI (Dow Jones)--China Shipping Container Lines Co. (2866.HK), the country's largest container shipper by capacity, estimates a drop of more than 50% in net profit in 2008, as exports from China fell amid the global financial crisis.

The company reported net profit of CNY3.32 billion ($485 million) in 2007, it said in a statement late Wednesday.

It didn't specify its 2008 earnings results, which will be released March 26.

"In 2008, the volume of container-loaded cargoes exported from China decreased significantly, and the traditional peak season for cargo volume didn't appear," CSCL said.

In addition, crude oil prices kept soaring in the first half of last year, resulting in a sharp increase in the company's operation costs, it added.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 09:11 PM   #188
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China's shipbuilders see profits up 50 percent in 2008

2009-02-02

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Profits of China's shipbuilders rose 50 percent in 2008 from the same period a year ago, despite rising material costs and the appreciation of Renminbi, according to data released Monday by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Profits jumped 50.5 percent to 28.34 billion yuan (4.05 billion U.S. dollars). The industry value totaled 118.3 billion yuan, up 61.2 percent year on year.

The nation's shipbuilders completed a production capacity of 28.81 million deadweight tons (DWT), or 29.5 percent of the world's total, up from 22.9 percent in 2007, according to MIIT figures.

New orders comprised 37.7 percent of the world's total, with a production capacity of 58.18 DWT. Current orders accounted for 35.5 percent of the total, with a capacity of 204.6 million DWT.

An official with the MIIT said China's shipbuilders had remarkably strengthened their capabilities in innovation and had improved their techniques notably in making bulk cargo ship, oil carrier and container ships.

They also had the world's leading techniques in making ships that could meet the standards of the international classification society, according to the MIIT official.

He warned, however, that as the global financial crisis begins to take a toll on the shipbuilding sector, the industry could face severe challenges in the coming two-to-three years.

He said it has become more difficult for shipbuilders to raise fund as there has been a sharp decrease in new orders and defaults on new orders are on the rise.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/20...t_10752955.htm
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 03:23 AM   #189
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Beijing to unveil revitalization plan for shipbuilding sector soon

Monday, Feb 02, 2009

It is reported that China's shipbuilding industry's revitalization plan has been drafted following the release of support plan for auto industry and is to submit to the State Council for approval.

One principal in Zhejiang Development and Reform Commission said that it will strictly control the approval of new ship units and expanding projects in light of the current market downturn.

Mr Zhang Guangqin chairman of China Shipbuilding Association said that the revitalization plan for the sector covers a series of policies arranging from interior demand expanding, finance, tax and scientific research and mapped out a detailed development trend for China's ship industry in the coming 3 years.

China will establish development fund and financing & chartering company for the sector to ensure key shipbuilders orders completion and delivery. More Science and technology investments would be earmarked to help key enterprises' industrial upgrading and encourage mergers & acquisitions.

As the third largest shipbuilding country in the world, China is suffering the huge orders losses, leaving the ship producers into the hardest time in the history. Shipyards in Zhoushan, renowned as the City of Shipbuilding in China, are quiet with many ships unfinished at the moment, the traditional hot time for the sector.

An official said that domestic shipbuilding mills can hardly secure new orders after 2011 due to the contract suspension of European shipping industry impacted by the world financial crisis. So far, most Chinese shipbuilders have seen their delivery time extending to 2010. That means the international competition will be fiercer in days to come and the strong one will survive from the competition, while those inefficient ship-makers are set to be washed out.

According to the statistics from Singapore Pacific Basin Shipping Limited in early 2009, there are 382 new ship orders have been cancelled worldwide and China takes up half of the contract default, or 20 million DWT. Zhoushan COSCO, the subsidiary of Singapore COSCO Corporation has received cancellation for four ships and delaying requests for delivery for 12 vessels within one month.

A senior insider said that China's shipbuilding industry has expanded blindly before 2008 and the market downturn has helped squeezing out the bubbles in the sector. Only in Zhejiang province, there are nearly 2,000 private shipbuilding mills and the repeated construction can be seen everywhere with shrinking profits.

Compared with Japan and Korea, China owns cheap but high quality labors and rich land resources. Besides, the industry also enjoys the 17% export tax rebates, which help ensure the profit margin in the sector. As per the relevant surveyed statistics, the market shares of Chinese ship completion, new contracting tonnage and new building order books account for 19%, 42% and 28% of the world's total volume respectively in the first half of 2008, ranking the second all over the world.

http://www.yourshipbuildingnews.com/...oon_22740.html
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Old February 9th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #190
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Chinese shipyards see sharp drop in orders in 09-paper

SHANGHAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - China State Shipbuilding Co and other Chinese shipyards are expected to see a significant drop in new ship orders in 2009 for the second straight year as the global financial crisis takes a toll on the once booming sector, the Shanghai Securities News said on Monday.

The downturn will likely spur the government to introduce measures to help shipyards counter the impact of slackening demand amid slowing economic growth, analysts say. The newspaper did not say when stimulus steps may be introduced.

China has implemented wide ranging tax cuts and subsidies so far to help its auto, steel and petrochemical industries.

Ship orders this year are estimated at between 20 million to 30 million deadweight tonnes (DWT), against 58.18 million DWT in 2008, when orders slumped 40.9 percent from a year earlier, the newspaper said, citing official industry data.

China's shipping industry, which is gradually taking market share from its Asian neighbours, is facing a difficult time this year as shrinking orders exacebate overcapacity problems, the newspaper said.

Chinese yards hold 37.7 percent of the world's total new orders, with a production capacity of 58.18 DWT, the official Xinhua news agency said last week, citing data provided by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

It has also become more difficult for shipbuilders to raise funds due to a sharp decrease in new orders, as well as rising numbers of defaults on previous orders, Xinhua said, citing an unnamed government official.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #191
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China says to help shipbuilding industry

BEIJING, Feb 11 (Reuters) - China's cabinet on Wednesday approved a plan for supporting the domestic shipbuilding industry, telling banks to step up trade finance for exports of ships, state media said.

China's shipping industry, which is gradually taking market share from its Asian neighbours, is facing a difficult time this year as shrinking orders exacerbate overcapacity problems, state media have said.

The State Council will encourage financial institutions to expand their credit for purchasers of exported ships, and will extend fiscal and financial support for domestic buyers of long-range ships until 2012, the Xinhua news agency said.

"We need to take active measures to keep shipbuilders' order books steady, guard against operational risks and maintain stability in the industry," state television cited the cabinet as saying.

It will also limit construction of new capacity in the industry, force outdated ships to be replaced, encourage production of more advanced ships and promote mergers and acquisitions in the industry, the broadcaster said.

It did not provide further details on the moves.

China has implemented wide-ranging tax cuts and subsidies to help its auto, steel and textile industries since the beginning of this year, hurt by a slowing economy and fallout from the global financial crisis.

Domestic media reported on Wednesday that light industry would soon receive support, including tax cuts. The high-tech and petrochemical sectors are among those that are also expected to receive more government help.

New ship orders will drop to between 20 million deadweight tonnes (DWT) to 30 million DWT in 2009, compared with 58.18 million DWT in 2008, Xinhua said earlier this week, citing the China Association of National Shipbuilding Industry.

As the world's third-largest ship building country, China built 28.81 million DWT of ships in 2008, according to the association.

China State Shipbuilding Co and other Chinese shipyards are expected to see a significant drop in new ship orders in 2009 for the second straight year, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #192
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Tianjin Port dives on capex concern after merger news

HONG KONG, March 17 (Reuters) - Tianjin Port Development Holdings Ltd's shares plunged 13 percent on Tuesday on concerns its $1.4 billion merger deal with Tianjin Port Co Ltd would require significant capital expenditure.

Analysts said the merger was a significant and positive move that could see earnings being enhanced for the two firms, both major operators in China's third-largest port of Tianjin.

But the stock, which surged 38 percent in two weeks until last Friday, is pricey with valuation at 24 times 2008 earnings against around 11 times that of its bigger domestic rivals, such as COSCO Pacific and China Merchants Holdings , said Jim Wong, an analyst at Nomura.

Tianjin Port, a unit of Tianjin Development Holdings Ltd , said late on Monday it would pay a total of HK$10.96 billion ($1.41 billion) to Tianjin Port (Group) for 56.81 percent of the Shanghai-listed port operator.

It would issue new shares to the seller and possibly to other investors to finance the deal. [ID:nHKG255513]

Tianjin Port (Group), which will become the parent of Tianjin Port Development after the merger, said earlier this month it would invest 12.8 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) this year to build new berths and upgrade facilities in the northern port of China.

The group also intended to inject its 300,000 tonne crude oil terminal into Tianjin Port Co but there was no timetable yet.

"With substantial capex in the wings, we would not advise short-term investors to chase the stock," Wong said.

Shares in Hong Kong-listed Tianjin Port Development hit a low of HK$1.95, down 13.3 percent in late morning trade, and its Hong Kong-listed parent fell 4.9 percent. Both stock underperformed a 0.7 percent fall in the blue chip Hang Seng Index <.HSI>.

Shanghai-listed Tianjin Port Co also eased 1.3 percent to 11.8 yuan.

But Credit Suisse upgraded Tianjin Port Development to neutral from underperform on the company's improved growth outlook from the acquisition.

The consolidation should also help the company gain exposure to China's energy and resource-related terminal business, such as coal, iron ore and oil products, for which demand is driven mainly by China's domestic economic growth, it said in a research note on Tuesday.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #193
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China Shipping's profits up 16.9% in 2008

2009-03-18

China Shipping Development Co (CSDC), the nation's largest oil carrier, said its 2008 profit rose 16.9 percent, boosted by strong demand for energy-related bulk shipping services.

Net income climbed to 5.37 billion yuan ($839 million), on sales of 17.5 billion yuan, 38 percent more than a year earlier, the Shanghai-based company said in its 2008 earnings report.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a measure of rates for carrying coal, iron ore and other commodities, fell 93 percent by the end of the year as transportation demand dropped drastically in the second half of 2008.

The China Coastal Bulk Freight Index (CCBFI), a barometer of the shipping market, fell 55 percent by the end of the last year due to weak demand from power plants and steel mills in the second half of the year.

The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index, a measure of chartering rates, rose 34.4 percent in 2008, helped by rising demand for gasoline and other fuels in China, the world's second- largest energy user.

The combined transportation turnover of CSDC in 2008 reached 229.34 billion ton nautical miles, up 6 percent year-on-year, and its core business revenue climbed 38.4 percent to 17.5 billion yuan.

The company plans to expand by 19 ships with total loads of 2.72 million tons, including 14 oil tankers of 2.26 million tons and five bulk ships of 460,000 tons.

CSDC, a unit of State-owned China Shipping (Group) Co, operates a fleet of oil tankers and dry-bulk vessels mainly for carrying coal. The company has boosted cooperation with its largest customers, such as Baosteel Group Corp and PetroChina Co, through ventures and long-term contracts.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchin...nt_7592488.htm
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Old May 7th, 2009, 09:42 AM   #194
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China container cargo down 13.4 pct in April: state media
6 May 2009
Agence France Presse

Cargo container volume at Chinese ports was down 13.4 percent in April from a year ago, state media said Wednesday, as the financial crisis continues to hit the export-dependent economy.

The main ports in the world's third-largest economy processed an estimated 9.2 million containers in April, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing transportation ministry figures.

Overall cargo traffic last month was down 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 500 million tonnes, Xinhua said.

China's exports fell 17.1 percent in March, their fifth straight monthly decline, according to the latest government figures.

However, recent data indicates that manufacturing activity expanded in April after months of contraction.

China's economy grew 6.1 percent in the first quarter, the lowest level in at least a decade.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #195
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Lower port throughput dampens hopes
9 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Dashing hopes of an early recovery in exports, key mainland ports in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Zhejiang reported worsening throughput performances last month.

Shenzhen's container throughput fell 25.1 per cent year on year to 1.3 million 20-foot equivalent units (teu) last month, according to official figures.

This was worse than the 21.6 per cent year-on-year drop in March. Last month's throughput was 3 per cent lower than March.

The container throughput of ports in Zhejiang, including China's fourth-largest port Ningbo, fell 15 per cent year on year to 782,000 teu last month, according to the container port portal www.portcontainer.cn. By comparison, Ningbo's throughput fell 3.7 per cent year on year to 836,000 teu in March.

Throughput at Shanghai, the world's second-busiest port, fell 20 per cent year on year to 2 million teu, Citi analyst Ally Ma estimated.

This was more than double Shanghai's 9 per cent year-on-year drop in container throughput in March. Shanghai's throughput last month was 8.3 per cent lower than March.

"April numbers show the recovery is still fragile," Ms Ma said.

Sunny Ho Lap-kee, the executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council, said Shenzhen's performance last month was below expectations.

"I was surprised to see Shenzhen's laden container throughput drop in April from March. I expected an increase," Mr Ho said.

Shenzhen handled 930,000 laden containers last month, less than the 960,000 moved in March.

Normally, there is an increase in shipments just before the May 1 holiday from Shenzhen, but this did not happen this year, Mr Ho said.

"This can only be explained by very weak demand. The Hong Kong Shippers' Council has not seen any improvement in orders by overseas buyers. Manufacturers [in Hong Kong and Guangdong province] have not seen improvement in April in orders. Europe also has horrible demand," he said.

In the first four months of this year, orders from Europe to Hong Kong and Guangdong manufacturers have dropped by 40 per cent, said Mr Ho.

United States rail cargo traffic, an indicator of US demand, has seen no improvement in recent weeks.

For the week ended May 2, total rail volume in the US was 27 billion tonne-miles, less than the total volume of 27.7 billion tonne-miles the previous week.

One other reason for last month's poor performance was a rush of shipments in March to avoid freight rate increases in April, Ms Ma said.

Shipping lines including OOCL and China Shipping Container Lines raised freight rates last month in a bid to stem losses and avoid bankruptcy.

Modern Terminals and Hutchison Port Holdings are the main port operators of Shenzhen and Hong Kong ports.

Modern Terminals has not cut staff or salaries in Hong Kong and Shenzhen in recent months, said a Modern Terminals spokesman.

HPH did not comment on whether it has cut staff, but a spokesman said it expected this year to be a challenging one.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #196
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Shanghai unveils shipping hub master plan today
11 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Shanghai plans to announce details today of policy measures in a bid to develop the city into a larger regional shipping hub, sources said.

The measures include tax incentives, an infrastructure upgrade and inauguration of the country's first arbitration court to decide international disputes. The measures will be in line with the Shanghai government's stated ambition to attract more shipping agencies from around the world to use the city's suburban Yangshan port as a transshipment site for Asia-wide trade.

The tax adjustments could help attract more shipping firms and other companies that move cargo by land transport to use Shanghai's ports, while the arbitration court would be a required feature for a shipping hub, analysts said. But the city's attempt to become an international shipping centre could put its ambitions of becoming an international financial hub on a policy backburner, some observers said.

"At this stage we will devote most of our efforts to seeking breakthroughs in the shipping sector while remaining cautious about rolling out major financial market innovations," said a government official with direct knowledge of the policy blueprint. "A lot of sensitive issues need to be settled at the central government level before any meaningful progress can be made on the financial front."

In March, the central government endorsed Shanghai's ambition to transform itself into an international hub for both the financial and shipping sectors by 2020 by promising to authorise groundbreaking policy initiatives in the city's jurisdiction.

"Obviously, shipping, at least for now, takes the front seat from the more-hyped financial liberalisation in Shanghai's drive to enhance its global economic status," said an executive at a state-owned bank in the city who has seen the first batch of policy initiatives on the shipping front, expected to be released today.

The People's Daily reported in March that Shanghai cargo throughput rose 3.6 per cent last year to 582 million tonnes, making it the world's busiest port for the fourth consecutive year. It ranks second for container throughput to Singapore.

The removal of sales tax on shipping agencies registered in Shanghai is on the cards along with faster delivery of export tax rebates for all domestic shipments using Shanghai's Yangshan port as a transit site.

A range of enticements and infrastructure-building plans are also expected to lure Yangtze Delta cargo owners - currently contributing the majority of tonnage to the Yangshan port's turnover - to use more waterways instead of expensive, congestion-causing road transportation.

"To move domestic shipments to the Yangshan port before transferring them onto international liners, cargo owners have to pay a lot of extra bucks in loading and unloading costs incurred on trucks and barges required," Liu Wei, a professor at Shanghai Maritime University, said. "The new measures would help reduce these fees by providing more convenient and cheaper inner waterway thoroughfares to Yangshan."
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Old May 30th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #197
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ANALYSIS-Dry bulk shippers hope China will lead revival

CHICAGO, May 22 (Reuters) - WOW, what a ride!

Just a year ago, on May 20, 2008, the Baltic Exchange's dry sea freight index <.BADI> -- which tracks prices to ship commodities such as iron ore, coal, grains and cement -- hit an all-time high of 11,793 points, driven by a seemingly insatiable hunger for raw materials among developing nations, especially China.

Halcyon days for the dry bulk companies that haul these raw materials by ship.

But by Dec. 5, that same index had fallen 94 percent to 663 points, with much of that decline coming after the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc collapse. In the credit vacuum that ensued, trade finance froze up, leaving goods unable to move.

The dry freight index has rebounded quite some way, quadrupling to 2,707 points driven -- once again -- by strong demand from China and a loosening of the credit market.

"It has been quite a roller coaster ride," said John Wobensmith. Chief Financial Officer of dry bulk shipper Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd .

But the resurgence of the Baltic index raises a number of questions for dry bulk shippers: Have we hit the bottom? Is China's renewed appetite for raw materials -- primarily coal and iron ore -- sustainable or is it a flash in the pan? And what about all the ships that were ordered amid the euphoria of the boom before the bust came?

Dry bulk industry executives say there are signs the pace of the decline has slowed and the worst may be over, both for bulk shippers and the global economy.

"Overall, when it comes to demand we're bumping along the bottom," said Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp Chief Executive Dale Ploughman. "The underlying fundamentals in developing countries haven't changed much and we're starting to see a little normality coming back thanks in part to government stimulus packages.

"A lot of Western countries have used up their inventories and are tentatively replacing them. We should see factories start to come slowly, slowly back online."

CHINA THE DRIVER

Ploughman and other dry bulk executives point to China as a key factor in the stabilization of the market. Thanks to the Chinese government's infrastructure-heavy $586 billion stimulus package, China has regained an appetite for raw materials after a brief hiatus at the end of the fourth quarter.

"China had a bit if a hiccup there," Genco's Wobensmith said. "But it's coming back and leading the world right now."

Iron ore imports -- needed to produce steel roads, railways, bridges and buildings -- have hit record levels for the past three consecutive months and coal imports hit a record in April. Industry executives say the full effect of Chinese government spending has yet to be felt.

"I think there's somewhat of a time lag when it comes to the stimulus package," Wobensmith said. "I think we'll see more of an impact from the stimulus in the third and fourth quarter."

Joseph Royce, CEO of bulk shipper TBS International Ltd , agreed: "The Chinese recovery is here to stay."

But analysts are more divided.

In a note for clients, Credit Suisse analyst H Bin Toh wrote: "Our chief economist has warned that China's economic recovery appears to have slowed ... With China iron ore inventory increasing, any steel demand weakening could mean less imports ahead," which would hit the Baltic index.

Chinese iron ore inventories stand at 70 million tonnes.

But Omar Nokta, an analyst at Dahlman Rose, did not think Chinese iron ore inventory levels were too high.

"We are growing more positive on the outlook for the dry bulk shipping market," Nokta wrote in a recent note.

In the same note, he upgraded a number of dry bulk shippers to "buy," including Genco, DryShips Inc , Paragon Shipping Inc and Safe Bulkers Inc .

ARMADA OF NEW SHIPS

The other issue is what impact a impending glut of new ships will have. If that glut ever materializes, that is.

At the heady top of the boom, daily charter rates for Capesize vessels -- the largest dry bulk ships -- reached $230,000. All of a sudden, everyone wanted a piece of the action and lined up to order new ships. That pushed the price tag for a new Capesize to $150 million and shipyard order books had a three-year backlog.

In the crash that ensued, Capesize prices plunged to $50 million and the daily charter rate dropped to a measly $3,000. Charter rates have since recovered to around $35,000.

Some 300 or more ship orders have been canceled -- hard numbers are difficult to come because many deals were agreed between privately-held companies -- but many ships are still officially due for delivery over the next two years, leaving some shippers worried about a glut.

"We don't know how many ships are going to hit the water," Seanergy's Ploughman said. "But I am concerned about the impact this is going to have on the supply side."

But Felipe Menendez, CEO of shipper Ultrapetrol Bahamas Ltd welcomes the possibility of a surfeit of ships.

"We expect that dry bulk ships will be substantially underpriced in the next couple of years," he said. "The opportunities for us from this are going to be tremendous."

But TBS' CEO Royce believes a lot of shippers have arranged to delay delivery of new ships, meaning that, if global demand really does comes make a comeback next year, a lack of available ships would push charter rates up.

"That could play in our favor in 2010," he added.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 05:14 PM   #198
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China says to encourage shipbuilders to list shares

SHANGHAI, June 5 (Reuters) - China will support plans by qualified shipbuilders to list their shares and issue bonds, as part of an aid plan for the shipbuilding industry, the China Association of National Shipbuilding Industry said on its website (www.cansi.org.cn).

Earlier this year, China's cabinet encouraged banks to step up trade finance for exports of ships. Beijing also encouraged domestic shippers to purchase vessels ordered by overseas buyers who later cancelled their orders, the association cited the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as saying.

China's shipbuilding industry has taken a heavy blow from the global economic downturn due to shrinking orders.

In the first four months of the year, key shipbuilders were forced to cancel orders of 28 vessels with 1.15 million dead weight tonnes, up 12 vessels and 250,000 dead weight tonnes in the first three months, the association said.

China plans to expand its share in the global shipbuilding industry to at least 35 percent in 2011, and to occupy a 10 percent share in the marine equipment market, it also said.

China's largest shipbuilders include Guangzhou Shipyard and China State Shipbuilding Co .
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Old June 26th, 2009, 04:47 AM   #199
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China shipyards' Jan-May new orders fall sharply

SHANGHAI, June 23 (Reuters) - New orders received by China's shipyards in the first five months of the year fell 96 percent from a year earlier to 1.18 million dead weight tonnes (DWT), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Tuesday.

New orders in May stood at 190,000 DWT, bringing the total orders held at shipyards as of end-May to 192.28 million DWT, down 6 percent this year, the paper said.

But the shipyards' output in the first five months of the year rose 61 percent from the year-ago period to 12.16 million DWT.

Beijing has announced plans to encourage qualified shipbuilders to list their shares and issue bonds, and has asked banks to step up trade finance for exports of ships, to aid the industry, which has taken a heavy blow from the global economic downturn.

China's largest shipbuilders include Guangzhou Shipyard and China State Shipbuilding Co .
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Old June 28th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #200
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China's ships idled but Shanghai port charges ahead
27 June 2009
Agence France Presse

The scene where Shanghai's river meets the sea is a snapshot of China's battle against the financial crisis -- as well as the site of the port the country hopes can set the stage for the next boom.

Empty container ships -- victims of China's export collapse -- line the river banks in Shanghai's port.

Meanwhile, bulk carriers laden with raw materials -- a bet on demand rebounding -- wait at sea because ports cannot unload them fast enough.

"Just look at the Huangpu River," a shipping company dispatcher said, referring to the waterway that cuts through Shanghai. "There used to be a few ships anchored on the river but now you can see anchored ships everywhere."

"Charter rates are so low now we would rather anchor the ships and save the cost of crew and fuel," the dispatcher for state-run Shanghai Puhai Shipping Co. said on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to reporters.

World shipping prices in the past week were down about 68 percent from a historic peak in May last year, according to the Baltic Exchange Dry Index, which gauges international dry bulk good shipping prices.

Low shipping rates combined with weak commodity prices sparked a Chinese buying spree of iron ore and other commodities that has led to jams of bulk carrier traffic at Chinese ports.

But that has not offset volume lost due to seven straight months of plummeting exports, which were down 26.4 percent year-on-year in May.

The volume handled at Shanghai's port was down 15 percent in the first five months of 2009 after nearly a decade of 20 percent annual growth, Shanghai International Port Group Vice President Huang Xin said this past week.

"This is the first time Shanghai's shipping container business declined since it went into full-scale operation (20 years ago), it shows how deeply the financial crisis has affected the real economy," Huang told a maritime conference in Shanghai.

Chinese shipbuilders fared even worse, with orders plunging 96 percent to 1.18 million deadweight tons in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to government figures.

"This will be the worst year ever for the container port industry in terms of volume decline," Truong Bui, a consultant at Drewery Maritime Services said. "China's container traffic will not recover until 2011."

Despite the plunge in shipping demand, Shanghai -- already the world's busiest port by total cargo volume -- is charging ahead with plans initiated during boom times to more than double its capacity.

China's cabinet set ambitions for Shanghai even higher in April, declaring it would move up the value chain and become a full-service world-class shipping centre by 2020.

But building the infrastructure will be easier than developing the service side of that equation, Xu Jianqun, Shanghai's Construction and Transport Commission Secretary General, warned.

"We lack the related 'software' in terms of ship financing, reinsurance for ships and arbitration," Xu told the same conference. "This leaves Shanghai lagging behind other developed port cities in the world."

The centrepiece of its expansion will be the Yangshan Deepwater Port, which connects to the mainland via a 32.5-kilometre (20-mile) bridge.

Shanghai also plans to build the world's biggest shipbuilding yard on its northern Changxing island and put in place rail lines to better link the port to industrial powerhouse regions, Xu said.

On the services side, the Bank of Communications, part-owned by HSBC and China's fifth-largest bank, announced last month plans to create a ship financing division.

Some argue the need for the extra capacity is debatable but Torben Skaanild, chief executive of the Baltic and International Maritime Council, said Shanghai's moves come as the shipping industry faces a historic shift.

"The timing is probably absolutely perfect. There has been a shift in ship-owning towards the East and Asia," Skaanild said. "But there will be stiff competition because Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Korea are not going to let Shanghai stand alone."
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