Keith Wallis

Hongkong United Dockyards, jointly owned by Swire Pacific and Hutchison Whampoa, has stopped taking ship-repair business but a Swire director denied industry speculation that ship-repair operations were being closed and equipment sold.


In an interview with The South China Morning Post, Christopher Pratt said Swire was looking to expand its property investment footprint across China and Southeast Asia, and the firm had high hopes of Cathay Pacific's ties with shareholder Air China, which he felt would define this decade for the airline.

While the dockers strike is costing Hongkong International Terminals a reported HK$5 million a day, the actual cost of the dispute is costing the maritime and logistics industry much more as ships and cargo are diverted to other ports.

Taiwanese conglomerate Far Eastern Group is eyeing the development of petrochemical plants in the United States, fuelled by cheap energy as the US exploits its shale gas reserves, company's chairman and chief executive Douglas Tong Hsu says.

ICBC Financial Leasing is targeting foreign shipowners with leasing deals as it seeks to double the value of its ship asset portfolio this year, a senior executive has confirmed.

Fuel price is the biggest issue facing the airline and shipping industries, the chairman of John Swire & Sons said yesterday. James Hughes-Hallett said fuel costs meant "survival or failure" for airlines, while in the shipping sector, high fuel prices were generating "excitement" about more fuel-efficient eco-ships.

The confirmation comes after Air Seychelles launched flights between Hong Kong and Mahé via Abu Dhabi on March 24. Air Seychelles is 40 per cent owned by Etihad, which also has a codeshare agreement with Air Seychelles that allows the carriers to sell seats on each other's aircraft.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 240 airlines comprising 84 per cent of global air traffic, said airlines are on course to post total net profits of US$10.6 billion this year, up from December's forecast of US$8.4 billion. Total revenues are projected to climb by US$12 billion to US$671 billion this year.

Zhao Huxiang said Nanjing Tanker would be suspended from the Shanghai stock exchange this year if it reported a net loss for 2012, which would be its third consecutive negative result.

Government-paid street sweepers have been caught emptying recycling bins and dumping their contents with general waste destined for landfills.

The iconic luxury passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 is set to return to Hong Kong this summer on its way to a mainland shipyard, where it will be refitted to become a floating hotel.

Anaemic growth in the US and little improvement in Europe's economic conditions will make 2013 as "challenging" as last year for Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), the financial head of the shipping line's parent company said yesterday.

Chief executive Mats Berglund said prices had bottomed out and were "definitely not going down". Prices were "on the low side, which is why we see more upside in [ship] values".