Maersk urges Iran to release crew held over cargo spat
The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk from Denmark, has urged Iran to release the crew of a chartered cargo vessel seized by Iran over a 10-year cargo dispute with an Iranian company.
"We must insist that the crew and vessel are released as soon as possible. The crew is not employed by Maersk Line, nor is the vessel owned by Maersk Line," the company said in a statement.
"Maersk Tigris and its crew are thus not in any way party to the case, which presumably is the reason behind the seizure of Maersk Tigris." it added.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards intercepted the ship on Tuesday in the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened regional tension over the Yemen conflict and high-stakes diplomacy over Iran's nuclear programme.
The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel was operated by Rickmers Ship Management, with head offices in Singapore and Hamburg, and was carrying cargo for Maersk Line.
The Danish company said it had been told by the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organisation at a meeting Wednesday that the seizure was linked to the loss of 10 containers it had shipped to Dubai for an Iranian company in January 2005.
"The containers were never collected by the consignee or any other party. After 90 days and in accordance with United Arab Emirates law, the cargo was disposed of by (the) authorities," it said.
Several Iranian district courts had dismissed a $4.0 million (3.59 million euro) lawsuit by the Iranian company against Maersk over the lost cargo but in February the group had accepted an appeal court's ruling to pay the firm $163,000.
The group said it had been told at the Wednesday meeting that following another appeal it had been ordered to pay $3.6 million in compensation.
"As we do not have the details of the ruling we are not able to comment," it said.
The Pentagon said on Wednesday that Iran's Revolutionary Guards had "harassed" a US-flagged commercial ship last week in the Gulf, raising security concerns over shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of global marine oil traffic passes.
For the press release, please visit: http://www.afp.com/en/news/maersk-urges-iran-release-crew-held-over-cargo-spat
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.