Bocimar of Belgium has condemned two 12- year old container ships to be scrapped. The ships, the 54,519gt/2004 built and 4,800 TEU capacity Bear Hunter and Bull Hunter, had been purchased from Japanese interests in January 2015. The price of $300 per ldt was among the highest achieved for any ship sent for scrap at that time, during October 2016. Panamax containerships have been sent en masse to the scrap man this year as rates for this vessel size in particular have faltered.

CMA CGM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with French energy group ENGIE to promote the use of liquefied natural gas as a marine fuel. The agreement is centred around a technical and economic study on the use of LNG as a fuel for future container ships. The study will focus primarily on the development of engineering specifications for a bunkering vessel adapted specifically to LNG-powered container ships. The companies hope the study will help improve over time the logistics chain necessary to fuel LNG-powered containerships in order to help promote their deployment. At a time when financial woes are rife through the shipping industry, it is pleasing to see reports such as that in late October declaring that CMA CGM has already reimbursed half of a $1.6 billion bank loan taken out to fund its acquisition of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).

CMA CGM announced the acquisition of NOL last December in a $2.4 billion deal that handed it market leadership on trans-Pacific routes and reinforced its global scale to help weather a prolonged downturn in container shipping. The group, which has until August 2017 to pay back the loan, used a sale-andleaseback deal for containers worth $578 million and a $259 million securitisation programme covering customer debts to finance the partial reimbursement. The group, which completed the takeover of NOL in June, aims to generate $1 billion from asset sales after reviewing activities at the combined company. It also has a separate 18-month plan to reduce costs by $1 billion by the end of 2017. CMA CGM and CMB Financial Leasing are said to be finalising a sale-and-leaseback deal for eight large 9,200-10,700 TEU capacity containerships worth $500-$600 million, with bareboat charter agreements in place for seven years. The vessels are owned by APL (a CMA CGM subsidiary) and were built between 2011 and 2014 at South Korean yards. On 25th October CMA CGM announced that its services on the Asia-East Med trades would be placed under the Winter Programme with a temporary merging of the PHOEX and BEX lines into one operation. The new rotation is: Pusan- Shanghai-Ningbo-Chiwan-Port Kelang- Koper-Trieste-Izmit-Avcilar-Constanza- Odessa-Avcilar-Piraeus-Port Kelang-Pusan. The first vessel on the revised rotation was the 93,702gt/2016 built Cosco Shipping Panama from Pusan on 30th October. That same day the company announced a significant service improvement from Morocco to West Africa on the WAZZAN service, operated with 3 vessels of 1,200 TEU capacity. Starting 8th November 2016 with the 11,062gt/1994 built Delmas Swala at Casablanca, WAZZAN’s modified port rotation will save 6 days as Dakar can now be reached in 5 days from Casablanca on a weekly basis. The rotation is, Algeciras- Tangiers-Casablanca-Las Palmas-Dakar- Nouakchott-Nouadhibou-Algeciras.

In November, to coincide with the beginning of the export season in Morocco for citrus fruits and vegetables, CMA CGM and its subsidiary OPDR placed a unique offer on the market in the form of six maritime services to allow the linking of Morocco directly with the main areas of consumption (Russia, Europe, Middle East). Ten departures a week are offered with three direct weekly lines (DUNKRUSS, AGAX and CISS) to Northern Europe plus AGAPOV and NADOR MED EXPRESS to Southern Europe whilst a new NADOR MED EXPRESS service directly links Nador, located at the centre of a clementine producing region, to the French ports of Port Vendres and Marseille, with the best transit times on the market.

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