US launches container shipping investigation

Shipping containers

Department of Justice serves subpoenas on several international lines attending meeting of International Council of Containership Operators or ‘Box Club’. Several major international container shipping lines last week received subpoenas from the US Department of Justice as part of an investigation into the container shipping sector.

A spokesperson for Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) told Lloyd’s Loading List: “We confirm that several container shipping lines, including MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, received last week subpoenas from the US Department of Justice. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation we cannot comment further at this stage.”

And a spokesperson for Maersk Line told Lloyd’s Loading List: “We can confirm that Maersk Line on 15 March 2017 was served a subpoena (request for documents) by the US Department of Justice in the course of an investigation into the global ocean container shipping industry. The subpoena does not set out any specific allegations against Maersk Line.”

Maersk stressed that a subpoena does not mean that a company has engaged in illegal behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

“As always, Maersk will fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigations, and will respond as appropriate to the subpoena,” the world’s largest container shipping line said, emphasizing that Maersk Line “is a values-driven company with a strong culture of compliance”, and adding: “We are committed to comply with laws and regulations. We train and support our employees, we monitor our compliance, we work with authorities and engage in regulatory matters. In short, we work hard to comply, also with competition laws.”

But in terms of this specific investigation by the US, the line said: “As the investigation is ongoing, we have no further comments at this point.”

Lloyd’s List reported that the US Department of Justice served the subpoenas on lines at a meeting in San Francisco of the International Council of Containership Operators, commonly known as ‘The Box Club’, taking advantage of the presence of so many international lines within the US. Most of those attending the latest meeting represented non-US lines, Lloyd’s List said.

It is unclear at the time of writing whether the US Department of Justice believes the meeting of The Box Club itself represented a breach of US competition laws, or whether the subpoenas are part of a wider investigation into competition within the container shipping sector. Lloyd’s List reports that The Box Club has permission, filed with the US Federal Maritime Commission, for competitors to meet to discuss matters of mutual interest that are not of a commercial nature.

Source: http://www.lloydsloadinglist.com Author: Will Waters | Thursday, 23 March 2017

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Tasmania begins apple harvest after season of "ups and downs"


Since it is March, Millers Orchards at Hillwood is currently picking Royal Gala apples after harvesting Williams and Bosc pears in late February, marketing and operations manager Brendan Miller said.

“Next week we’ll start on Golden Delicious and Packham Pears,” Mr Miller said.

“The season has been up and down. We’re estimating we’ll pick about 4,000 bins this season. We average about 3,500 to 4,000 per year,” he said.

Millers Orchards will keep picking apples until the first week in May, with stock sold in Launceston at Young’s Vegie Shed, throughout Tasmania in Woolworths and IGA stores and interstate at Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane wholesale markets.

Other Millers Orchards fruit is destined for export to Asian markets, with Chinese consumers developing a taste for Tasmanian apples, he said.

Millers’ most popular apples are Royal Gala and Pink Lady, but the orchard is also growing new varieties that will hit the market in the next 3-5 years.

“Envy and Kanzi apples will become dominant varieties on shelves. Red Delicious and other varieties will slowly diminish as new varieties come into favour,” Mr Miller said.

source: examiner.com.au via www.freshplaza.com

Publication date: 3/17/2017

Image: Pixabay_Couleur


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LI KEQIANG - Chinese Premier: We want to work with you for progress and peace

Chinese Premier - Wikipedia

We live in a world with growing uncertainties and a sense of disorientation.
Given the less than desirable global economic recovery, the push-back against globalisation, rising protectionism, heightened geopolitical rivalry and local conflicts, the existing international order and system is being called into question.
Against such a backdrop, where are China and Australia headed respectively? What can China and Australia do together to cope with such a situation?
People are looking for answers to these questions. They are also topics for discussion during my upcoming visit to Australia.
I was told that for its national emblem, Australia picks a kangaroo and an emu, two native Australian species. Neither of the two likes moving backward but only forward, symbolising a dynamic country that always moves forward in progress.
As the Australian national anthem puts it, let every stage in history’s page advance Australia fair.
We in China truly admire the Australian people for your perseverance and the courage to forge ahead.
In the long course of history, we Chinese have seen the flames of war and the sunshine of peace; we had periods of great openness and yet also opted to cut ourselves off from the world. While isolation and complacency brought upon us untold sufferings in modern times, reform, opening up and the path of peaceful development have enabled China to benefit from and contribute to globalisation through win-win co-operation.
We have seen in practice how the trend of economic globalisation has become closely interconnected with, even inseparable from, peace, development and co-operation. Self-isolation will never lead one to the land of happiness. Cutting oneself off could neither ensure success of one’s own endeavour nor peace and development of the world at large. A trade war will not make trade fairer. Protectionism offers no genuine protection.
History cannot be turned back, just as the trend of the times cannot be reversed. We must overcome difficulties and solve problems in the course of moving forward and keep on advancing. In this spirit, China firmly commits to building a peaceful and stable environment regionally and globally, opening the door to the outside world and warmly stretching out our hands for co-operation. We stand ready to work with other countries to support economic globalisation and free trade, improve the global governance system and facilitate progress of mankind.
“Advance” is a key word in both the Chinese and Australian national anthems. I am fully confident that China and Australia will continue to move forward in our own way while working with each other, and jointly help to counter global instability with the stability that is created through our steady development and co-operation.
Over the past 45 years of our diplomatic ties, rising above differences in national conditions and systems, China and Australia have gradually built up trust and properly managed disagreements in the spirit of equality and mutual respect. Bilateral relations and co-operation, as a result, have made substantial and steady progress. Defined by strong complementarity, our practical co-operation has delivered fruitful outcomes and promises bright prospect for greater synergy between our development strategies.
Since coming into effect, the China-Australia free trade agreement has yielded continuous dividends, as evidenced by the more than 50 per cent year-on-year growth in Australian exports of milk powder, red wine and dietary supplements to China, which are among the most sought-after overseas products for Chinese consumers. Building on that, we may further open up our markets to each other to generate greater FTA-driven prosperity and make our economic co-operation and trade more diverse and sustainable. More co-operation can be explored in new areas such as industrial capacity and third-party markets, energy and mining technologies, infrastructure, agriculture and animal husbandry, which will bring more benefits to our peoples and help boost world economic growth.
Both China and Australia are fascinating lands for each other’s people. Just like Australian friends often speak to me fondly about the majestic Great Wall, cute giant pandas and delicious Chinese cuisine, the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef, magnificent Uluru and adorable koalas are some of the favourites among Chinese tourists. I hope our two sides will take the China-Australia Year of Tourism as an opportunity to further ¬facilitate two-way flows of people. I am confident that with more cultural, educational and youth exchanges, China-Australia friendship will strike deep roots among our peoples and be passed on from generation to generation.
The Asia-Pacific is where China survives and thrives. It is also the common home of China and Australia. It is the shared desire of China, Australia and our neighbours to see the Asia-Pacific enjoy stability and order, development and prosperity and continued regional integration. Under the current circumstances, China and Australia should follow the region’s trend of peace, development and co-operation, join hands to take concrete actions and send positive signals to stabilise market expectations, convey confidence and contribute our share to the region and beyond.
Hopefully, when we look back at this particular moment in China-Australia relations, we can say proudly that we have, with selfless sharing and enormous courage, turned challenges of our time into historic opportunities; and we have, in a disoriented era beset by uncertainties, contributed the impetus needed for China-Australia relations and the world to move forward.

Credit: The Australian -  http://bit.ly/2nEpo27

12:00AM March 22, 2017

Image: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang - Wikipedia

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Air route to Middle East boosts Australian fruit & veg exports

Qatar airways Wikimedialimages

In the first eight months of Qatar Airways direct service from Adelaide to Doha, which began in May, the average monthly value of air freight exports has more than tripled from $115,000 to $355,000.
Despite this the airline is reducing the number of direct flights per week from seven to five in October. 
The increase in exports has been driven by fresh fruit, vegetables, wine and other products. To capitalize on this, the Australian Produce Collective, is about to begin selling premium fresh fruit and vegetables in the United Arab Emirates this month under its Fresh Please brand in supermarkets.
CEO Craig Katz said airfreight from Adelaide with Emirates Airlines enabled fresh fruit and vegetables to be on the supermarket shelves in the Middle East within 48 hours of being picked.
However, he said the additional cost involved meant that educating consumers about the premium nature and health benefits of fresh produce from Australia was vital.

source: indaily.com.au via www.freshplaza.com
Image: Wikimedialimages

Publication date: 3/16/2017

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Vietnam reaches $2.9m in daily fruit & veg imports

Vietnam fruit_Pixabay

According to the General Department of Customs, Vietnam imported fruits and vegetables worth USD31 million in the first two weeks of March, up USD7 million and USD15 million compared to the same period of last year and 2015 respectively. 

The figure put fruit and vegetables top among Vietnam’s imported goods this month. 

Vietnam spent up to USD194 million on fruit and vegetable imports between January and March 15 this year. Last year, up to 45% of Vietnam’s imported vegetables and fruits were from Thailand, while 25% was from China, with the remainder from other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

Free trade agreements between Vietnam and South Korea, Australia and New Zealand have also opened the way for products into the country from these countries.

source: englishlvietnamnet.vn via www.freshplaza.com

Publication date: 3/22/2017

Image: Vietnam fruit market_Pixabay_DEZALB


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APAC Forwarding Index set to launch


Freight agents, shippers, carriers and other stakeholders invited to help build a better picture of freight markets to and from Asia

As Asian freight forwarding and logistics markets continue to grow and evolve, two leading consultants are launching an APAC Forwarding Index to measure demand and sentiment among freight forwarders, shippers, carriers and other stakeholders shipping freight or operating logistics services to and from the region.

The APAC Forwarding Index is being developed by freight journalist and consultant Mike King, a regular contributing writer to Lloyd’s Loading List, and Cathy Roberson, an industry veteran who has been consulting on logistics markets for two decades.

“Using the input gathered from respondents including shippers, forwarders, 3PL executives, agents, shipping lines and, of course, forwarders, we will build the APAC Forwarding Confidence Index,” said Roberson. “This will serve as a vital and much-needed industry guide to Asia’s forwarding markets, and an economic bellwether for global trade analysis.”

The full Index will be published in the coming months with methodology and analysis provided by King and Roberson, the founders of, respectively, Mike King & Associates and Logistics Trends & Insights LLC.

The survey is open to anyone with insight or business linked to key trade lanes to and from Asia used by forwarders and other third parties. To participate in the survey, click here.

“The survey takes less than five minutes and will become the essential building block for our new APAC Forwarding Confidence Index which will help build a clear picture of APAC forwarding and freight markets by trade lane and mode, both now and looking forward,” said King.

According to Roberson, the Asia-Pacific forwarding market continues to be a region of growth. “While volumes are high, competition is viewed not only as highly fragmented but fierce," she said. “As a result, profitability remains elusive for some players. In addition, the market is changing as the region evolves from an export-dependent economy to a balanced one.

“No longer are forwarders focused only on air and ocean freight but also on intra-Asia services, including rail and trucking, as supply chains between countries become more entwined.”

Roberson said that international air and ocean market slumps in recent years due to overcapacity had been reversed towards the latter part of 2016.

“For ocean freight, the dust refused to settle as rates fell to historic lows in 2016, but now are creeping upwards as unprecedented consolidation, new alliances, and the bankruptcy of Hanjin serve as a wake-up call for a market long in need of right-sizing capacity and evening out severe rate fluctuations,” she added.

“How the Asia-Pacific freight market performs affects the entire world. For forwarders, Asia-Pacific is seen as a growth opportunity, while others view the region as an emerging global economic powerhouse.”

Source: http://www.lloydsloadinglist.com Author: Will Waters | Thursday, 16 March 2017

Image: Pixabay_stroller

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Delays expected for Australian citrus crops in 2017


An industry body head says the Australian citrus season is running slower and later than normal this year, largely due to a mild spring in 2016.

Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani said the crop forecast was yet to be finalized, but on the back of record exports in 2016 overall production volume was set to rise.

Total exports grew 7% year-on-year in 2016 to reach 220,000 metric tons (MT), including 166,000MT of oranges and 49,000MT of soft citrus.

Damiani explained it was “no surprise” the crop was a couple of weeks behind schedule this year.

“Everything’s a bit late and slow this year, so we’re just trying to see how things are sizing up at this stage,” she told Fresh Fruit Portal.

“The lateness is no surprise as most crops in Australia at the moment are very late – all the wine and table grapes are between two and four weeks later than usual in southern Australia.

“Last spring was a little bit mild and the flowering period was quite extended. So fruit has been setting from the beginning right through the end. Hopefully it’s only a couple of weeks late – but four weeks would be quite significant.”

She added temperatures in the southern growing regions were currently above average for the autumn, which boded well for citrus as the fruit would keep growing and sizing.

“The general indications for the Australian citrus crop are that it is fairly similar to last year, though we think volumes will be up. Sizing is still a little bit behind where it was last year, and so we’re hoping for a bit more warm weather,” Damiani said.

Despite the warm spring, summer and autumn in southern Australia, Damiani highlighted water storage levels were good.

Water availability has been somewhat low up in the state of Queensland, which has been receiving hot and dry weather recently. However, Damiani said weather factors had led to low disease pressure and fruit looked promising.

Lemon harvests are already underway in Queensland, which are set to be followed by the domestic market-focused Imperial mandarins in the next couple of weeks. The first Murcotts from the region are expected to be harvested around July.

In southern Australia, where the majority of orange production is based, Damiani said it seemed the harvesting of the early Navels would kick off in mid to late-May, with exports starting in June.

Industry ‘upbeat’ about future

Up to 60-70% of Australia’s Navel crop is typically exported, depending on sizing and quality, and Damiani expected the figure to be at the higher end this year due to strong demand across Asia.

“Mainland China became our biggest market for Navel oranges in 2017 [overtaking Hong Kong],” she said.

“Even last year we just could not supply the market. Demand was very strong, and it was common for growers to just not have enough fruit. So we’re hoping the crop will be up this year so there will be more returns to the industry.”

A lower proportion of the country’s soft citrus is exported due to the strong domestic demand, though Damiani noted high volumes were shipped to Thailand and China.

The U.S. has been a declining market for Australian citrus shippers over recent years due to increased competition with Chile, which is closer to the market and has lower production costs. Damiani said the U.S. now lagged behind other countries like China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

However, she said Australia’s free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea had led to increasingly strong performances in those countries, which would only continue to improve as tariffs were incrementally lowered.

“That is driving our products’ competitiveness in those markets. Australia’s such a high-cost country…so anything we can do to reduce our costs to market is really fantastic for our agricultural industries in general,” she said.

“As long as dollar stays where it is, this is going to lead to continued demand for some of those Asian markets.”

She added it was not just Northeast Asian economies in Asia where the citrus industry was seeing growth, but a host of other markets too.

“We’re seeing growth in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines – so there’s plenty of room into the future for increased demand for our product,” she said.

“It’s showing up in our industry, which is very upbeat at the moment. I can see there’s lots of investment back on the farms – new plantings, new equipment purchases and there are a lot of new investors in our industry, so these are very exciting times.”

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com Author: Edward Vernon

Image: Pixabay_Pixel2013

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A tour of Melbourne Wholesale market

The city of Melbourne has always had a wholesale market. The first official fruit and vegetable market was the Western Market – established in December 1841 - and the wholesale market has always been in the centre of the city. That was until 31st August 2016 when the wholesale market moved out to Epping, away from hustle and bustle of the city.

"C the market" organises tours so that the public can come into the market, walk the floors and see what goes on during trading time.

"Epping Wholesale Market turns over approximately AU$2.5 billion per year. As a distribution centre it operates 24/7. Our tours showcase the trading market Monday to Friday, 3.30am to 7.30am," explained Jan Claire, tour operator at C the market.

Melbourne Markets created a history wall filled with the photos and stories of the Wholesale Markets in Melbourne since 1836 to showcase to visitors our living history. We still have traders coming into the markets as owners and traders who have been involved with the last three markets, since before 1969 when they left the Queen Victoria site and moved to Footscray Rd, West Melbourne.

Read the full article and view images...

For more information: Jan Claire www.cthemarket.com.au

Source: http://www.freshplaza.com

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“This project has been funded by the Australian Trade Commission as a part of the Asian Business Engagement (ABE) grant program and is supported by Trade and Investment Queensland and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland.”

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Australian Horticultural Exporters' Association.

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