WTO Rules Against US Steel Tariffs: The World Trade Organization declared that U.S. tariffs on steel imports violate global trade rules, paving the way for European retaliation that threatens to reduce trans-Atlantic container shipments. The ruling by the WTO's appellate body upheld an earlier finding that U.S. tariffs imposed in March 2002 violate WTO rules. The verdict opens the door for the EU to impose up to $2.2 billion in punitive duties on U.S. exports of such items as citrus, textiles, glass products and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The U.S. tariffs range from 8 percent to 30 percent on selected steel products from the EU, Japan and six other countries, including China and South Korea. The Bush administration has already ruled out possible compromises, including expanding the number of products excluded from the tariffs, saying this would not protect domestic producers from competition. Separately, the EU could impose an additional $4 billion in sanctions on U.S. products early next year if Washington does not eliminate a tax break for exporters that the WTO has ruled illegal.
NOL Posts $205 Million Profit: Neptune Orient Lines, which operates APL Ltd., reported a third-quarter net profit of US$205.8 million, NOL's third straight quarter of rising profit after a $330 million loss in 2002. The group also announced a placement of 236 million shares aimed at raising about $300 million. APL's profit increased to $140 million from $7 million a year ago, while revenue rose 26 percent to $1.1 billion. APL's average freight rates increased 26 percent, to $2,710 from $2,153 a year earlier, with increases of 37 percent in the Asia-Europe trade and 20 percent in the trans-Pacific. Chairman Cheng Wai Keung said 2003 looks much better and that NOL expects a "very good set of results" for the full year. NOL lost $28.5 million in the third quarter of 2002 but posted profit of $20.3 million in this year's first quarter and $68.5 million in the second quarter. David Lim, NOL's chief executive, said the stock placement would reduce debt and provide the group with "the flexibility to be able to move quickly to make the most of opportunities that may arise in the future."
NYK Executive Sees East Coast Growth: Comparatively low shipping costs and the ongoing transformation of the U.S. from a manufacturing to a service economy will fuel further growth at East Coast ports, NYK's top U.S. executive said. Peter Keller, chief executive of NYK Line (North America) told the Georgia Foreign Trade Conference that volume will continue to grow at West Coast ports, but that increases probably will be a percentage point or two higher on the East Coast. Keller said NYK is likely to add East Coast services from Asia next year.
Alliance Suspends 'Extra' Service: Grand Alliance members in the trans-Pacific trade - Hapag-Lloyd, NYK Line, Orient Overseas Container Line and P&O Nedlloyd - have suspended an all-water "extra loader" service they began in June to handle increased volume during the summer-fall peak season. The service operated every two weeks with calls at Shanghai, Yantian and Hong Kong in Asia and the U.S. ports of Savannah, Norfolk and Charleston. Alliance members said the last sailing of the service was the Mare Caspium, which sailed from Hong Kong on Oct. 30. The lines said they will review vessel deployments to match capacity with customer demands.
Hanjin Profit Rises: Hanjin Shipping Co. said revenue from January through September increased nearly 23 percent to 4,084.7 billion won ($3.46 billion), triggered by an 11.7 percent increase in volume to 1.9 million TEUs and recovery in freight rates compared with the same period a year earlier. The South Korean ocean carrier said operating income also rose to about $234 million in the first nine months of the year. Net income grew nearly 170 percent to $175 million. Revenue from Hanjin's container division alone was $2.4 billion. Hanjin said strength in the China market and service enhancement through its slot-sharing agreement with China Ocean Shipping Co., "K" Line and Yang Ming spurred gains in container volumes, while a healthy balance between supply and demand helped strengthen freight rates.
Deutsche Post Profit Soars: Deutsche Post World Net said its net profit for the first nine months of the year more than doubled to 869 million euros ($999 million) from $451 million a year earlier, while revenue rose 0.3 percent to $33.2 billion. Chairman Klaus Zumwinkel reiterated his forecast that full-year operating profit would exceed $3.3 billion. The company attributed its gains this year to growth in its express delivery and logistics divisions, which more than compensated for lower mail prices and negative currency movements.
Raymond, MTMC Receive AOTOS Awards: Charles G. Raymond, recipient of this year's Admiral of the Ocean Sea award from the United Seamen's Service, urged industry leaders and government officials "to make sure others don't rob our children and grandchildren of the opportunity to be mariners and to understand what being a mariner is all about." Raymond, chairman, president and chief executive of Horizon Lines, received the AOTOS award Nov. 8 along with the U.S. Military Traffic Management Command, which was recognized for its role in supporting U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The AOTOS award is presented annually at an industry dinner benefiting the United Seamen's Service, a non-profit organization that provides community services for the U.S. Merchant Marine, the American Armed Forces and seafarers of the world.