Cosco targets March 1 for merger of CSCL fleet

Cosco Container Lines’ acquisition of China Shipping’s container ship fleet is expected to happen about March 1, Cosco said in a filing with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.

The date is in line with an earlier CSCL memo that said the companies’ assets would be combined early in 2016.

Cosco petitioned the FMC for permission to provide a universal notice to the commission and to customers that would avoid the need to file an amendment for each of the 700 China Shipping service contracts that Cosco will renumber and republish.

In addition to the universal notice, Cosco proposes to provide each shipper with an electronic notice of the change. Cosco also seeks a waiver to avoid amending each contract with the new tariff number, by publishing a notice of the change in the existing China Shipping and Cosco tariffs.

Following the merger of the container lines’ parent groups, Cosco and China Shipping signed an agreement in December under which China Shipping will charter all of its container ships to Cosco for a five-year-fixed term, with bilateral options later for vessels with capacities of at least 8,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units.

Once the complicated merger of the two state-owned carriers is completed, the CSCL division will cease to be a container carrier and will take on a ship leasing and financing role, leaving all the container transport to Cosco.

Earlier this month, China Shipping warned investors that it will have a 2015 net loss of $430 million amid record low freight rates and vessel impairment losses.

Contact Joseph Bonney at joseph.bonney@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @JosephBonney.

103rd Street Subway Closure Is Clobbering Sales, Businesses Say

EAST HARLEM — Commuters aren’t the only ones slowed down by the closure of the 103rd Street subway station on Lexington Avenue.

Several businesses have reported a drop in sales — some as much as 40 percent — since the city closed the station to start working on restorations in May.

“We used to open at 5 a.m.,” said Munir Sharhan, the owner of Lex & 103 Deli. “Now we open at 7 a.m. It’s dead until 9 a.m.”

Sharhan’s early morning customers on the southeast corner of 103rd Street and Lexington Avenue used to stop by on their way downtown. But now they either walk up to 110th Street or down to 96th Street. Some of his regulars have stopped by on the weekend to say they can’t get over there because of the subway, he said.

Comets 4-3 Overtime Loss To Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

The Utica Comets’ rally came up just short.

On an odd play, too.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Carter Rowney stole an errant pass and scored on an odd bounce off Utica goaltender Richard Bachman 33 seconds into overtime and the Penguins grabbed a 4-3 victory over the Comets on Tuesday before a capacity crowd at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Penguins swept the two-game series between the teams this season.

Chris Higgins scored his first goal with the Comets, rookie defenseman Jordan Subban added his eighth goal of the season and Brendan Gaunce also scored in the third period for Utica, which is 22-17-4-3 for 51 points. The loss snaps the Comets’ four-game winning streak.

Carter Bancks, who played on a line with Higgins and Wacey Hamilton, had two assists. Hamilton and three other players added a point for the Comets, who have earned a point in eight of the last 10 games. Bachman finished with 21 saves.