Thursday, 21 January 2010

Industry snapshots

Yemen navy provides escort services to ships at a price. British based Gulf of Aden Group Transits (GAGT), along with Yemeni company Lotus projects are providing ships with Yemeni naval vessel escorts. Nick Davis from GAGT says that they have an exclusive contract with the Yemeni navy; one ship a week, on an average, is already using this service that provides protection from pirates in the Gulf of Aden at a cost of up to $55,000 per ship. For that price, you get a dedicated warship with armed guards to travel alongside your vessel in transit. Other military support is also available, at varying prices (see table). “It is the only dedicated, military supported full escort protection available in the Gulf of Aden at the moment. There's nothing better. We'd all like it to be free but that's not possible," Davis told an Australian newspaper.

Armed Vessel Escort  $55000
Armed Embarked Team $35,000
Unarmed Embarked Team $7,500
Ship Support Service FREE

Mercator and SCI plan to buy second hand vessels. Mercator, the second largest private shipping firm in India, is tight lipped about its acquisition plans, says the Hindu’s Business Line, with Mr H. K.Mittal, Executive Chairman of Mercator Lines, declining to comment. However, other company officials say that up to six second hand tankers may be purchased by Mercator soon; the budget for this shopping list is anything from Rs 400 crore and Rs 600 crore. The vessels will be a maximum of five years old; Mercator is simultaneously planning to scrap three single hull tankers. Meanwhile, State owned Shipping Corporation of India is contemplating something similar: sources say that SCI may pick up two tankers, two bulk carriers and two offshore vessels from the resale market. Both Mercator and SCI obviously want to take advantage of the prices in the second hand market that have tanked after the global meltdown. Besides cost, these plans make sense for another reason: almost half of the Indian fleet (by capacity) is more than 20 years old and needs to be replaced soon. “The timing is just right for acquiring ships because you can buy ships today at 10 year average low prices,” says an analyst.

Rs 3,686-cr Chennai port container terminal cleared. When completed, the port’s capacity will increase by 4 million TEUs annually; the present capacity is a little over2 million TEUs. “We hope to issue the project contract by March,” Capt. Subash Kumar, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) says. ChPT will call for a ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFC) shortly; amongst others, DP World, L & T Transco and IL &FS Maritime Infra Co Ltd have shown interest. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 3686 crores and will be India’s first mega container terminal to be built on a BOT (build, operate and transfer) basis. With a straight line quay length of 2 km and a new breakwater, it will have about 90 hectares of land, some reclaimed, as backup and storage area.


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