February 5 - Welcome to the first edition of our Tuesday round-up, in which HLPFI staff writer David Kershaw, delivers a snap shot of general news from across the industry that has caught his eye today.

HLPFI has noted that the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has voiced concerns over the toll increases announced by the Suez Canal Authority, Egypt, that will come into effect on May 1, 2013. We note that for all but the smallest ships, toll fee will rise by three to five percent, dependent on vessel tonnage and type. In March 2012 a three percent toll hike was introduced despite strong opposition from the industry. ICS noted that it was disappointed by the lack of consultation that preceded the latest rate increase - particularly when shipping markets are in crisis, Somali pirates threaten the entrance to the waterway, and while current Egyptian riots threaten the security of the canal itself.

HLPFI congratulates US Congresswoman Janice Hahn and US Congressman Ted Poe, who will be named "Port Persons of the Year" 2013 by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) at its annual spring conference in March. Kurt Nagle, AAPA's president and ceo said the pair "have displayed extraordinary leadership in bringing together representatives from both sides of the aisle to address the needs of our ports nationwide".

HLPFI also notes that Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has opened a brand-new safety service station in Mumbai, India. WSS will supply safety products and services, including fire fighting equipment, lifejackets, survival suits and breathing apparatus as well as cylinder hydro testing, painting and certification to one of India's most important regional ports. Furtthermore, we note that Scan Marine is the latest member to join the Project Partners network representing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the Baltics. Estonia headquartered Scan Marine is a young company formed only last year, but it has grown quickly and has already established a second office in Lithuania, says Project Partners and has already outlined plans to open offices in Russia, Latvia, Belarus and Norway.

Meanwhile, airfreight industry association the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) has made its feelings known in its latest position paper - Air Cargo Supply Chain Security Regimes for Regulators' - that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should serve as the focal point for implementing global air cargo supply chain security standards.  GACAG has welcomed the progress that has been made in developing uniform national air cargo security programmes around the world and Michael Steen, chairman of the association, has urged "states to mutually recognise secure air cargo supply chain programs that comply with the ICAO standards and incorporate the principles supported in our position paper."

Finally, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a provider of global classification services, has relocated its northern European regional marine operations office from London to Hamburg, Germany. Regional vice president of Northern Europe, Wolfgang Buttgereit, will lead the new Hamburg division. "This relocation is part of ABS' ongoing effort to place our frontline decision makers closer to our clients and be more responsive to their needs," says ABS president and ceo Christopher J. Wiernicki.