Hactl wins new freighter contract from Moscow's Aviastar-Tu

MOSCOW heavylift carrier, Aviastar-Tu has appointed Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) to handle its new freighter services from eastern Russia to Hong Kong.

Aviastar-Tu has commenced operations from Tolmachevo to Hong Kong, deploying a Tupolev Tu-204C freighter with a 28,500-kilogramme payload and 14 pallet positions. It plans to increase services to four times weekly by the end of 2017, adding an extra frequency from Tolmachevo, and twice weekly flights from Vladivostok. All services are being operated for Russian Post.

Hactl is providing a full ramp and terminal handling service for Aviastar-Tu, along with all documentation. The new contract further contributes to Hactl's already strong performance in 2017: handled tonnage was up 16.6 per cent in the first half year.

Said Aviastar-Tu CEO Dmitri Kovalenko: "The contract for which we are operating these new flights is an important win for Aviastar-Tu. We are confident that Hactl's considerable experience in mail handling, and their dedicated express facilities, will enable us to provide our customer with the highest possible service standards."

Said Hactl CEO Mark Whitehead: "We are very pleased to welcome Aviastar-Tu to Hong Kong, and to the Hactl carrier community. This is an interesting new contract, as we believe it marks the Tu-204C's first appearance in Hong Kong."

Launched in 2000, Aviastar-Tu has operated the Tu-204C for a number of major express parcels companies and postal authorities, both in Europe and between Asia and Russia.

Qatar Airways buys 49pc of Meridiana while Alisarda keeps its 51pc

QATAR Airways has bought a 49 per cent share of AQA Holding, the parent of Meridiana, Italy's second largest carrier, but Alisarda retains its 51 per cent, reported London's Air Cargo News.

Qatar Airways said the move would strengthen its presence in Italy where it currently flies from Doha to Rome, Venice, Pisa and Milan 42 times per week.

Meridiana's fleet consists of Boeing 737s, 767s and MD-82s. It offers bellyhold capacity on its flights, hubbed on Milan Malpensa Airport with sales handled by World Cargo Solutions.

"This will help increase Meridiana's competitiveness in the European market," said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

"We look forward to working together to reinforce its position to provide even more connectivity to Italy and other European destinations, as well as those in the US and beyond," he said.

Former SITA chief executive Francesco Violante has been appointed chairman of Meridiana and a new chief executive will be appointed later.

Hapag-Lloyd receives 15,000-TEU box ship, last of 17 ordered by UASC

HAPAG-LLOYD has received the 15,000-TEU Al Emily from the Hyundai Samoa yard. The containership is the last in a series of 17 new builds, comprising 11 ships of 15,000 TEU and six of 19,900 TEU, ordered by UASC from the shipyard in 2013.

The vessel delivery follows the completion of the merger between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC in late May, creating the fifth largest shipping line in the world with a fleet of 219 containerships for a total capacity of 1.6 million TEU.

"Our fleet, one of the youngest and most modern in the industry with an average age of just 7.1 years, is now complete," Lloyd-Lloyd COO Anthony Firming was quoted as saying in a report by Colchester's Sea trade Maritime News.

"We have no plans to order any more new builds in the foreseeable future." said Mr Firming,

Like predecessor Affix delivered in July, Al Amelia will be deployed on THE Alliance's FE4 service that plies between Asia and northern Europe.

With its fleet expansion complete, Hapag-Lloyd will now carry out the capital increase agreed as part of the UASC merger. Some 11.7 million new shares with a subscription price of EUR30 (US$35) will be issued, underwritten by primary shareholders CSAV Germany Container Holding GmbH, Kuehne Maritime GmbH, Qatar Holding Germany GmbH and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

The expected capital of EUR352 million (US$414 million) raised will mainly be used to repay debt as well as for general corporate purposes.

"Following the successful merger with UASC, we will use the capital increase to strengthen our capital structure and to use the proceeds to reduce the leverage of the company,?said Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen.

UK's Air Partner first half profit up 12.2pc to US$10.8 million

AIR PARTNER, a British aviation services company posted a 12.2 per cent year-on-year increase in gross profit to GBP8.1 million (US$10.8 million) for the six months ending July 31, reported London's Air Cargo News.

Underlying profit before tax was GBP100,000, a year-on-year increase of 34.4 per cent while the underlying operating profit for its freight activity was up 88.6 per cent to GBP600,000.

Business activity included renewal of a German automotive contract for a further three years and a exclusive contract to market 15 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft for Saudia.

Gatwick Airport-based Air Partner announced the acquisition of SafeSkys, a provider of environmental and air traffic control services to UK and international airports.

Hong Kong's Port of Felixstowe named Port Operator of the Year

HONG KONG's Hutchison Ports' Port of Felixstowe has won the Port Operator of the Year at the Lloyd's List Global Awards presented last night at the National Maritime Museum in London.

Simon Mullet, secretary of Port of Felixstowe, received the Port Operator of the Year Award from BBC presenter Jeremy Vine and Janet Porter, Editor-in-Chief Lloyds List Containers.

The Port of Felixstowe won the award for its innovation, focus on reducing CO2, improved safety and emphasis on rail, helping to reduce road congestion. "This is a fantastic achievement for Hutchison Ports. The Port of Felixstowe is a key element in what was the first, and is still the leading, global port network," said Hutchison Group managing director Eric Imp,

Said Felixstowe port CEO Clemency Cheng: "This award is a testament to the skill and dedication of our people and shows that, 50 years on from being the Us first container terminal, we continue to lead the field."

Said Lloyd's List managing editor Richard Meade: "The past 20 years we in world shipping have achieved extraordinary feats of technological distinction, creating the efficient backbone of globalisation, and, I would argue, a better world in the process."