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Ethiopian Cargo returns to Brussels et al.

Ethiopian-CargoBRUSSELS: March 14, 2016. Ethiopian Airlines Cargo is to operate 12 freighter flights a week from Brussels to Dubai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou from March 26 following the signing of a new bilateral agreement between Belgium and Ethiopia.

Between January and July last year the airline operated up to six daytime freighter flights a week to Dubai, Shanghai and Hong Kong via Addis Ababa. For the next three months it operated without the stopover before terminating the operation.

The renewal and expansion of the Ethiopian service prompted Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist to comment: "The carrier's return is a highly positive development, not just for Brussels Airport but also for the Belgian economy as a whole.

"This move will not only see the reinstatement of the jobs that were lost with the air carrier's withdrawal in November, it will also create many new jobs as Ethiopian Airlines Cargo is planning to more than double the number of flights a week out of Brussels Airport compared against last year," he added.

CMA CGM expands Africa, Mediterranean coverage

MARSEILLE: March 15, 2016. CMA CGM has expanded services between West Africa and Europe, Asia, the Middle East and India with upgrades to its MIDAS, EURAF 5 and ASAF programs.

The new MIDAS service calls at seven West African ports from India and Middle East with new calls in Nhava Sheva and Apapa in partnership with PIL. The EURAF 5 service has been increased to a weekly frequency with new calls in Antwerp and Abidjan.

A fleet of 13 9,400 TEU-capacity vessels, including 10 CMA CGM vessels, have been deployed on its ASAF service from March 15 with three new calls in Coega (West Africa), Singapore, and Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia) in partnership with Maersk.

CMA CGM said it now provides 27 direct services to African ports.

In a separate move, the company has launched a service dedicated to intra-Mediterranean trades. The new (West Med – East Med) WEMED service began on March 11, 2016 with four 1,200 - 1,700 TEU-capacity vessels on the following rotation via its hub in Malta: Marseille, Barcelona, Valencia, Valetta, Mersin, Iskenderun, Beirut, Alexandria, Valetta, Algiers and Marseille.

BNSF spends US$1 billion on maintenance

BNSF maintenanceFORT WORTH, TX: March 11, 2016. BNSF is to spend over US$1 billion on maintenance in eight U.S. states this year as part of a US$4.3 billion capex program.

The rail company will spend a total of $540 million in Illinois, Montana and California, US$220 million in Kansas and Nebraska, US$200 million in North Dakota and Colorado and US$140 million in Missouri on replacing and upgrading rail, rail ties and ballast.

Additional investments include US$2.8 billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, approximately US$500 million on expansion and efficiency projects, US$300 million for continued implementation of Positive Train Control and more than US$600 million for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment.

 Big jump in DP World net profit

DUBAI: March 17, 2016. DP World has reported a 28.2 percent increase in net profit of US$970 million on revenue of US$3.96 billion for 2015 – up 16.3 percent year-on-year.

During the period the company saw a 2.7 percent increase in TEUs handled to 29.1 million.

DP World group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem commented: “In 2015, we have invested approximately US$5.4 billion with US$4.0 billion in acquisitions and US$1.4 billion in capex, and this investment leaves us well placed to capitalize on the significant medium to long-term growth potential of this industry. Furthermore, we are pleased to report strong progress with EZW [Economic Zones World, UAE] with continued growth as we benefit from operating an integrated logistics hub.”    

Sultan Ahmed said 2016 would be “another challenging year” adding the company expected to deliver 100 million TEU capacity by 2020 while maintaining a 70 percent exposure to origin and destination cargo, and a 75 percent exposure to emerging markets. DP World expects to add further capacity to its London Gateway, Jebel Ali (UAE) Terminal 3, and EZW facilities this year.

Safmarine MPV now NileDutch

Safmarine MPV ROTTERDAM: March 16, 2016. NileDutch has acquired the Europe to West Africa services and operations of Safmarine MPV (multi-purpose vessel) business owned by Maersk Line. Terms were not disclosed.

Safmarine's services will continue as NileDutch MPV with the first sailing in April. The company said it will focus on carrying containers, breakbulk, neo-bulk, project modules and oil and gas-related cargoes. The chartered multipurpose vessels are equipped with cranes capable of loading, carrying and offloading commodities in bulk, project cargo, heavy lift and containers.

"With so many infrastructure projects underway in especially West Africa, this multipurpose offering gives NileDutch a real edge and will allow us to seize more business opportunities in the fields of energy equipment, infrastructure, mining and agriculture. By bringing together the know-how of both teams, we will be even better positioned to provide premium services to our customers across all markets," said NileDutch COO Jan Willem de Braal.

Jorg Knuttel, Safmarine MPV managing director noted the agreement marks the complete divestment of the company from Maersk following the sale of its own vessels in 2015.

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