Maritime News

Nearly $300 million in subsidies were given to four Chinese ship lines today, as the Chinese government begins to roll out parts of a six-year plan to update its shipping industry.

Maersk Line has announced low-sulfur surcharges of up to $160 per 20-foot container on the North Atlantic and lesser amounts on other trade routes to offset the cost of complying with regulations requiring ships to switch to cleaner fuels in 2015.

Toyota will use the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal for exports of several thousand Highlander sport-utility vehicles annually from the automaker’s Princeton, Indiana, plant to Australia and New Zealand.

The idle container ship fleet has shrunk to a three-year low, driven by rising carrier demand for Panamax vessels of 3,000 TEUs to 5,100 TEUs capacity, according to Alphaliner.

Bunker fuel prices in Rotterdam, a global indicator, held steady this week though the charge per metric ton is historically lower than in previous years.

Iran and Oman plan to launch a shipping line to boost maritime trade between the two countries by the end of the year.

The number of container ships passing through the Suez Canal is on an upward trend, after nearly three years of declining transit numbers because of rapidly increasing ship sizes.

Maersk is facing aggressive competition on its most lucrative north-south routes, which are being targeted by rival carriers seeking to offset losses from the overtonnaged Asia-Europe trade lane.

Trans-Atlantic spot container rates have been relatively stable in recent months on both eastbound and westbound shipping routes between northern Europe and North America, according to Drewry Maritime Research.

A Hapag-Lloyd vessel dropped three containers into the Suez Canal on Monday morning after colliding with a Maersk Line vessel, interrupting a southbound convoy through the Egyptian waterway.