Boeing delivers first 737-800BCF to GE Capital Aviation Services

BOEING has delivered its first 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) to GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the company announced.

The converted freighter will be operated by Sweden's West Atlantic Group's CEO Fredrik Groth said: "We're excited to be the first operator of the 737-800BCF.

"The additional capacity and Next-Generation efficiency offered by this new aircraft will deliver real benefit to our customers and we're delighted to be at the forefront of deliveries of this new technology," he said.

West Atlantic said it expected the 737-800 BCF to improve reliability, reduce costs and provide a better environmental footprint.

West Atlantic will receive four 737-800 aircraft within the next 11 months and, once delivered, the company will operate 23 Boeing 737 freighter aircraft.

Twelve pallet positions provide 4,993 cubic feet (141.4 cubic metres) of cargo space on the main deck of the 737-800BCF. This will be supplemented by two lower-lobe compartments, combined providing more than 1,540 cubic feet (43.7 cubic metres) of space for revenue-generating cargo.

For the 737-800BCF, Boeing has received 45 orders and commitments, from seven customers including: YTO Airlines, based in Hangzhou, China; China Postal Airlines, based in Beijing, China; GECAS, based in Ireland; Air Algerie, based in Algiers, Algeria; LAS Cargo, based in Bogota, Colombia; Cargo Air, based in Sophia, Bulgaria and an unannounced customer.

'Nordic seafood trade growth requires better air freight service'

SAUDIA Airlines Cargo is considering launching services to the Nordic area given the continued growth of seafood volumes from the region, reports Tokyo's Fish Information & Services.

Saudia has been holding meetings with potential customers regarding the possibility of the service, London's Air Cargo News reported.

Speaking at the Nordic Air Cargo Symposium in Stockholm, the airline's European director Rainer Muller said any service would likely begin in the Middle East, call in central Europe, then Oslo before heading to New York.

Mr Muller points out that the calls in central Europe and Saudi Arabia would help offset the fact that very little air cargo goes to Oslo.

"We understand that this [service] is something that cannot just be based on fish. We have to generate a certain revenue on the flight and this is why we will look at a shared operation coming from central Europe with a certain amount of cargo and then combining it with the fish from Oslo," Mr Muller said.

According to the Norwegian Seafood Council, salmon volumes increased by 2.8 per cent last year, but long-haul destinations, which require air freight, tended to record strong growth while exports to the European Union, which can be trucked, saw a decrease.

Last year, Oslo Airport saw volumes rise 35 per cent year on year to 185,000 tonnes, fuelled by seafood exports. To meet the demand, Oslo Airport is developing a new seafood centre and Langaas gave an update on the project.


HK Container Terminal Operators Association moves on digitisation

THE HONG KONG Container Terminal Operations Association (HKCTOA) has issued a statement stressing the importance of digitisation and the need of continuous support from Hong Kong Government in the future development of the Port of Hong Kong.

HKCTOA also stressed the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of the Port of Hong Kong among industry stakeholders at a luncheon officiated by Frank Chan Fan, Hong Kong Secretary for Transport and Housing.

A plan to fully implement Electronic Release Order (eRO) for import containers was launched in January as one of the key steps on HKCTOA's digitisation roadmap.

The eRO system enables consignee to prepare electronic Letter of Indemnity (eLOI), receive eRO and forward the eRO to the trucker via the same platform.

The trucker can then present the eRO QR code at the container terminals and collect the container.

HKCTOA also took the opportunity to show Mr Chan around different features of the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals (KTCT) after the luncheon.

Said HKCTOA chairwoman Jessie Chung: "Digitisation is the key to the future growth of the shipping and logistics industry, and HKCTOA spares no efforts in promoting this important aspect of the port industry.

"In addition, the industry has been facing a number of challenges in recent years. While container terminal operators have been working hard to maintain the competitiveness of the Hong Kong Port, we seek the continuous support from the HKSAR Government in taking the necessary steps to facilitate the future development of the port," she said

This is important to maintain Hong Kong's position as an international shipping centre and transshipment hub.

Said Mr Chan: "To survive the test of time, we have to constantly equip ourselves to move ahead and stay competitive. One of the key developments besetting the container shipping industry is the use of digitisation and automation, but also improved the working environment and occupational safety."

"Major ports in the world are now becoming automated and Hong Kong is no exception," he said.

Under the eRO project, members of HKCTOA plan to fully implement eRO for import containers before December 2019 and phase out the paper handling process by 2020, said Mr Chan.

More than 1,000 containers have been released by eRO securely from the trial since October 2016. The process can be shortened from three days to one day. As a result, the industry can get rid of the current paper-heavy process and achieve enhanced efficiency with proven security features, said the HKCTOA statement.

Members of HKCTOA have engaged OnePort to jointly collect industry views and requirements for eRO implementation.

To minimise the industry's efforts in developing individual eRO systems, OnePort has enhanced its platform to provide fast, convenient and secured online exchange of import documents and instructions for paperless release of laden containers at container terminals.

Members of HKCTOA include Asia Container Terminals Limited, Cosco-HIT Terminals (Hong Kong) Limited, Goodman DP World, Hongkong International Terminals Limited, and Modern Terminals Limited.

FedEx Express to launch a newly upgraded Guangzhou-Memphis route

FEDEX Express plans to tap into the rapidly increasing demand with a newly upgraded route connecting the FedEx APAC hub in Guangzhou and its Memphis home base.

The route is currently operated with MD-11 freighter, but it will be replaced with a B777 freighter in May to meet increasing shipping demand. The new route has five flights per week from Tuesday to Saturday.

In April, the flight departing from Guangzhou stops in Osaka, Japan and Anchorage. Beginning in May, the flight from Guangzhou will stop in Osaka before flying directly to Memphis.

From Tuesday to Friday, the flight returning from Memphis stops in Indianapolis and Anchorage before flying directly to Guangzhou, while the Saturday flight stops in Honolulu and Anchorage.

"As our business continues to develop across the Asia Pacific region, we constantly adjust our network and routings to better meet dynamic market needs," said Asia Pacific FedEx Express Karen Reddington.

"Adding volume and a faster, more direct connection to our Memphis hub will give Asia Pacific businesses a stronger competitive advantage in connecting to customers in North America and beyond," she said.

Global container throughput up 6pc to 740 million TEU in 2017

GLOBAL container throughout rose six per cent year on year to 740 million TEU in 2017, according to the Shanghai International Shipping Institute.

In its Global Port Development Report (2017), the institute said container traffic "constantly picked up under the impact of the recovering global economy and trade environment" in 2017.

Despite the threat of a trade war with the US it forecasts growth will continue in 2018, reported London's WorldCargo News.

"It is estimated that, boosted by the active international commodity trade and consumption market, the container throughput of global ports will maintain a strong growing momentum in 2018," the report said.

With adjustment in business modes such as cross-border e-commerce and cross-border online shopping, and with transformation in transport modes such as "bulk-to-containerised cargo", the container throughput growth at global ports will still be better than the cargo throughput.

The institute predicted transshipments are expected to decline. "More cargo will go through direct routes to ensure timeliness and efficiency of transportation, so the number of transshipped containers at ports will keep decreasing, and the proportion of empty containers will increase.

Chinese ports again showed the strongest growth, particularly its "ports above a designated scale", which saw throughput increase nine per cent.

Shanghai was up 8.2 per cent to just over 40 million TEU, while Ningbo-Zhoushan Port volume increased 14.2 per cent and Guangzhou grew 8.2 per cent.

Ports in South East Asia did not fare so well, registering a throughput increase of three per cent, with Singapore the notable exception with an 8.2 per cent increase.

European ports were up five per cent, while US ports grew 7.4 per cent and African ports 5.6 per cent.