Payday loans online

Importers in a bind

 

FOR a good first two months of this year, it dominated the headlines until three events – one after the other – pushed it not exactly into oblivion but to the back burner.

Politicians from both sides of the divide pulled no punches in their one upmanship over the failure of the government to arrest the escalating price of consumer goods.

Then on March 7, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was convicted for sodomy and the next morning MH370 went off the radar.

If these two factors were to make the headlines, a third factor came into play – the conviction of veteran DAP leader Karpal Singh.

While the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism was going after petty traders and manufacturers, little or no attention was paid to the transport of raw materials from what has been termed the gateway to Malaysian trade – Port Klang.

It is now said it is cheaper to ship a 20-foot container from Port Klang to Tanjung Priuk in Indonesia or Hong Kong than move it from Port Klang to Shah Alam.

Importers and manufacturers have long endured increasing costs in removing the containers with shipping lines imposing what has been described as “dubious and erroneous charges”.

The Port Klang Authority (PKA), despite being the regulatory authority over port terminal operators, has washed its hands, claiming it has no mandate to control charges which could be an anomaly.

This is because all landside activities come under its purview and if it says it has none, can someone charge RM2,000 just for permission to take the box out of the area and call it “gate charges”?

Importers, in a memorandum to the authorities, allege that various charges, including the following have been imposed or increased without consultation with the stakeholders.
Container deposit from RM300 to RM2,000, depending on the shipping line and forwarding agents;
> Demurrage or detention charge has been raised from RM50 to RM300 per unit per day;
Washing charges, notwithstanding the rates are already included in terminal handling charges (THC). All the lines still demand for additional washing charges and refusal to comply means no delivery order (DO) issued and the box will remain in port and incur further demurrage charges.
Delivery order fee has been raised from RM80 per set to RM160 today. This document used to be just a stamping on the bill of lading and was free of charge.
> Agency recovery fee – the irony of it! Consignee has to travel to the office of shipping lines, mostly located away from Port Klang. If you argue or refuse to pay, the DO is withheld.

The concept of containerisation is basically a door-to-door service with faster turnaround for goods to reach the importer from the source without breaking the chain. In the days when the terminals were operated by the port authority, shipping lines charged only THC and handed over the box to the importer. No other charges were allowed. Today the cost to the importer has escalated multi-fold.

Previously, the container arrived in Port Klang and the importer paid the THC to the shipping lines, and got a haulier to move in and transport the box to the warehouse or factory of importer.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and the Freight Forwarders Association of Malaysia brought this to the attention of PKA but they were dumbstruck with the reply of its general manager, Captain David Padman.

The memorandum, which theSun was able to get a copy, chided him for “comparing apples to oranges”.

“You attempted to justify the proposed increase based on a comparison of costs at Port Klang and Singapore by converting their dollar to our ringgit. This is certainly inequitable. Surely what one earns or spends in either country reflects the sum total of that country; it cannot be used for such justification.

“A more equitable comparison should be based on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report which compares the total cost to export/import a container, where we are deemed to be more expensive than Singapore. By using published rates for comparison, this is like hiding behind the bamboo curtain as we all know that terminal operators have different agreements with various lines based on volume,” the memorandum said.

In a bid to compete with Singapore, all kinds of incentives were offered by the terminal operators to the shipping lines and they could do no wrong. This also gave a carte blanche to impose all kinds of charges.

This is at the expense of Malaysian importers and manufacturers who have to inevitably pass on the increase to the consumers. So, while shipping lines continue to rake in millions in extra profits, we poor consumers have to dig deeper into our pockets to put food on the table.

Source: theSundaily (16th Mar 2014) (by R. Nadeswaran)

 

 

Maersk Line, MCC Transport, Safmarine licensed for box trade in Myanmar

THE AP Moller-Maersk Group has received a permanent licence from Myanmar to operate a container business through its units Maersk Line, MCC Transport and Safmarine as well as setting up a Yangon agency to officially open in May, the company announced.

“Since the European Union and United States eased sanctions in 2012, we have experienced a surge in interest in sourcing goods to and from Myanmar,” said country manager My Therese Blank.

Macro-economic also indicators signal a continuous expansion of growth in the country due to infrastructure development and investments in agriculture and garments, the company said.

With a population of 60 million, trade is also expected to grow as demand for consumer products increases.

“Containerised trade has been growing 17 per cent annually from 2007 to 2013, and we expect the trend to continue. By 2020, volumes indicate a potential growth to 600,000 FEU, four times current levels,” said Ms Blank.

 

The Maersk Group’s three container businesses have operated under a third party agency for the past 20 years. By increasing its presence, the company sees more opportunities to develop the country’s transport industry and supply chain, increasing the country’s competitiveness.

 

Source: Asian Shipper

Maersk Line, MCC Transport, Safmarine licensed for box trade in Myanmar

THE AP Moller-Maersk Group has received a permanent licence from Myanmar to operate a container business through its units Maersk Line, MCC Transport and Safmarine as well as setting up a Yangon agency to officially open in May, the company announced.

“Since the European Union and United States eased sanctions in 2012, we have experienced a surge in interest in sourcing goods to and from Myanmar,” said country manager My Therese Blank.

Macro-economic also indicators signal a continuous expansion of growth in the country due to infrastructure development and investments in agriculture and garments, the company said.

With a population of 60 million, trade is also expected to grow as demand for consumer products increases.

“Containerised trade has been growing 17 per cent annually from 2007 to 2013, and we expect the trend to continue. By 2020, volumes indicate a potential growth to 600,000 FEU, four times current levels,” said Ms Blank.

 

The Maersk Group’s three container businesses have operated under a third party agency for the past 20 years. By increasing its presence, the company sees more opportunities to develop the country’s transport industry and supply chain, increasing the country’s competitiveness.

 

Source: Asian Shipper

HKGCC: Set working hours law will do more harm than good to Hong Kong

GOVERNMENT plans to legislate standard working hours will not alleviate excessive working hours, but risk the city’s competitiveness and economic development, says the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC).

“Overseas experience shows that standard working hours forces employers to hire more part-time employees, which fragment jobs and exacerbate underemployment,” said the chamber statement.

“Uphold the free-market economy principles on which Hong Kong has thrived,” urged chamber CEO Shirley Yuen, adding that stipulating working hours will only make it difficult for companies to survive.

“Rather than standardising working hours through legislation, employers and employees should draw up contracts based on the demands of work in individual sectors, stipulating job requirements, duties, working hours and arrangements for overtime,” she said.

“To boost the economy, the chamber urges government to use the budget at the end of this month to reduce the profits tax rate and implement a two-tier tax system to ease SMEs’ tax burden,” said the HKGCC statement.

Ms Yuen and HKGCC representative on the Labour Advisory Board Emil Yu advised increasing the labour force.

According to government statistics, Hong Kong’s unemployment rate stood at 3.2 per cent in the last quarter and underemployment fell to 1.4 per cent.

Ms Yuen said stipulating standard working hours will only make it more difficult for companies to survive.

Mr Yu said that since the introduction of the minimum wage, low-income workers’ wages are calculated based on the number of hours worked, and their right to overtime pay is protected under that law.

The impact of standard working hours will have far-reaching consequences for both low-income employees and the entire workforce.

Some 300,000 SMEs in Hong Kong account for more than 98 per cent of local businesses, and hire 1.2 million employees. With small companies already struggling to cope with talent loss, increasing costs and cash-flow constraints, standard working hours legislation will deliver a double blow to SMEs, he said.

Ms Yuen said this was a time to introduce simple two-tiered profits tax structure.

“We propose immediately reducing the standard profits tax rate to 15 per cent and further reduce the rate imposed on the first HK$2 million (US$257,896) of taxable profits to 10 per cent,” she said.

“Given that SMEs are the backbone of our economy, the chamber hopes the Financial Secretary’s upcoming budget will address the concerns of the business community, enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness and promoting economic growth,” she said.

 

Source: Asian Shipper

CSAV to raise up to US$600 million to support merger with Hapag Lloyd

HAPAG-LLOYD’s prospective merger partner, Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) of Chile, says it plans to raise up to US$600 million by selling additional stock to finance ships, and to support the expected merger.

“The price setting mechanism should result in a significantly higher share price,” said CSAV chief executive Oscar Hasbun.

“This, combined with the commitment of the controlling shareholder of CSAV to subscribe the total capital increase is a strong proof of its confidence in the company and this operation,” Mr Hasbun said.

Subject to shareholder approval, CSAV will raise $200 million at a meeting in March to complete the financing of seven 9,300-TEUers, while a second $400 million tranche would be raised if the merger takes place.

The two companies signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding on January 22 to combine their container businesses. This would merge Hapag, the world’s sixth biggest container line with CSAV, ranked 20th.

Chilean conglomerate Quinenco, the controlling shareholder of CSAV, is committed to pick up any remnant unsubscribed shares to complete the $200 million capital increase, reports American Shipper.

Quinenco holds stakes in companies that engage in a wide array of business activities throughout South America, such as banking, financial services, industrial production and food and beverages.

Source: Asian Shipper

From the shipping community to the shipping community