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Short Sea Container Survey: No Pain, No Gain

Collectively, the world's short sea container markets represent one of the largest and most dynamic elements of the global container shipping industry. They currently support deepsea trades by providing the opportunity to feeder over 15 million teu to and from hub ports, as well as independently moving substantial volumes of intraregional trade. According to Drewry Shipping Consultants' new survey short sea container shipping is set for a period of sustained growth, but competition will remain fierce and sometimes destructive.

Dynamic Market Growth Intra-regional links are becoming ever stronger, particularly due to the development of economic groupings such as ASEAN, EU, Nafta and Mercosur. Current intra-regional trades are estimated to total 16.5 million teu per annum, now representing more than one third of the world container trade.

In Asia in particular, the hierarchy of economies is giving rise to massive intra-regional trade as manufacturing activity seeks out low wage cost countries, underpinned by the rapid growth in Far East economies and the awakening of China.

At the same time, deepsea trades are set to expand further and this, combined with the ever increasing propensity for transshipment, will have a multiplying effect in terms of generating feeder traffic.

Following more than 15 years of double-digit average growth (see Table), current global transshipment activity is forecast to more than double by 2005, reaching a figure in excess of 70 million teu of port handling moves.

This development of global transshipment has implications for ports and shipping lines, as hubs become bigger and busier in an atmosphere of unprecedented development surrounding container port facilities worldwide. For example, the development of new hub ports such as Aden and Salalah in the Middle East will threaten the traditional hubs of the Arabian Gulf, while major companies such as P&O Ports and Hutchison Whampoa are investing in such diverse places as India, Thailand and the Caribbean.

The east coast of South America is another area where transshipment and feeder activity is set to mushroom, once the costs of cargo handling in Brazilian ports decline to international levels.

Taking the port analysis further, the survey also provides an insider's view of the short sea container port, detailing key points such as typical contract points, responsibilities and expectations, selling points and management issues. In Europe especially, the traditional trend of shipping lines investing in ports and terminals is being matched by a reverse trend of ports buying and operating short sea container lines, sometimes as a means of protecting throughputs.

Intense Competition Despite volume growth, almost every short sea market is characterized by intense competition and constant change. The European and Asian markets provide a marked contrast in terms of short sea shipping.

European short sea container operators experience a high degree of modal competition from ferry operators and forwarders, all against a background of a mature market showing modest growth. Asian operators, on the other hand, have only limited modal competition in a market demonstrating dramatic growth in line with the economies of the Far East. However, what is common to both markets is the ongoing downward pressure on freight rates.

Northern Europe has seen the advent of the Channel Tunnel and the ripple effect on freight rates this massive injection of new capacity has caused.

The fixed-link between Continental Europe and Scandinavia will undoubtedly affect shipping operations and freight rates in the Baltic when completed around the millennium. Meanwhile, the emergence of the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union offers a massive potential market, but one fraught with uncertainties and difficulties. Ship sharing and the formation of alliances is becoming increasingly common as a means of controlling costs and defending market shares in short sea container markets. However, even this has not been enough to protect leading operator Bell Lines from financial disaster in European door-to-door trade. Many feeder operators also face extreme pressure and the survey provides a detailed analysis of the cost structure of feeder operations in the key regional markets of the world.

For more information on the new survey Short Sea Container Markets: The Feeder and Regional Trade Dynamo, contact Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd., Drewry House, Meridian Gate - South Quay, 213 Marsh Wall, London E14 9FJ, tel: +44 (0) 171 538 0191.

Seakeeping Prediction System Introduced Consilium Marine AB recently introduced its new SAL SPS system. The purpose of the Seakeeping Prediction System (SPS) is to provide information regarding waveinduced dynamic effects on the ship.

The information is obtained by theoretical calculations in combination with measurements of the ship motions.

The SAL SPS allows basic configuration monitoring of bow slamming, green water on deck, hull vertical bending moment, acceleration levels and effective heel angles.

SAL SPS displays responses in a processed form in terms of the most probable maximum value encountered during a certain period of time.

The new system also features a more sophisticated forecast intended to serve as an operational guidance tool in critical situations.

This service allows the operator to test the outcome of different actions prior to executing them in reality and will also indicate the optimum corrective action.

For more information on Consilium Marine AB Circle 13 on Reader Service Card Yanmar Unveils Four-Stroke Six-Cylinder Diesel Engine For Pleasure Crafts Using the more economical diesel engine has traditionally meant sacrificing space and weight. Yanmar Diesel America Corp. has reportedly changed that by releasing the 6LP-DTE, a four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engine that is part of its new series of engines for pleasure craft. The overhead cam design develops maximum horsepower at higher rpms. This design accommodates smaller, smootherrunning propellers and, at 3,800 rpm, the turbo-charged diesel produces 250 hp — the same horsepower produced by V8, 454 cu. in. gas engines. Yet the 6LP-DTE weighs only 836 lbs. Its power-toweight ratio of 3.3 lbs. per hp is reportedly one of the lowest on the market.

The engine measures only 37.4 x 26.4 x 28.7 in. and features a 3.7 in. bore, a 3.9 in. stroke and a 254 cu. in. displacement.

For more information on Yanmar Deisel America Corp. Circle 15 on Reader Service Car

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