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European Commission looks to block US sanctions on Iran

PostTime:2018-05-25 10:03:40 View:13

THE European Commission has taken steps to block US sanctions on Iran, according to a statement from the European Commission, reports American Shipper. "We will begin the 'blocking statute' process, which aims to neutralise the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions in the EU," said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. The "blocking statute" is a 1996 regulation intended to limit the effects of foreign sanctions on EU businesses. It "forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgments based on them", the commission said. Because the statute was initially created as a means of circumventing the US embargo on Cuba, it was never actually put into effect in any meaningful way. As such, trade analysts have already begun questioning whether it can have the desired effect in this case, said American Shipper. In addition, the European Commission has begun the formal process of removing obstacles to the European Investment Bank financing activities in Iran. "This will allow the EIB to support EU investment in Iran and could be useful in particular for small and medium-sized companies," it said, noting that the European Parliament will have two months to object to either measure and that both would be terminated in the event that "political circumstances no longer justify [their] adoption".  The commission will also "continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies", starting with Miguel Arias Canete, commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, travelling to Tehran this week.  

April boosts Savannah's volume up 7.1pc to 356,700 TEU

PostTime:2018-05-25 10:00:25 View:12

THE Georgia Ports Authority's (GPA) busiest April posting a 7.1 per cent year-on-year increase to 356,700 TEU, driving up fiscal year-to-date totals to 3.4 million TEU. "We're on track to move more than 300,000 TEU in every month of the fiscal year, which will be a first for the Authority," said GPA executive director Griff Lynch. "We're also anticipating this to be the first fiscal year for the Port of Savannah to handle more than four million TEU." As the fastest growing containerport in the nation, the Port of Savannah has achieved a compound annual growth rate of more than five per cent a year over the past decade. "As reported in the recent economic impact study by UGA's Terry College of Business, trade through Georgia's deepwater ports translates into jobs, higher incomes and greater productivity," said GPA chairman Jimmy Allgood.  "In every region of Georgia, employers rely on the ports of Savannah and Brunswick to help them become more competitive on the global stage," he said. 

MSC optimises its Transpacific-USWC network

PostTime:2018-05-25 08:45:32 View:13

MSC is reviewing its Transpacific USWC network with the update of the Lotus service and the launch of the Yulan service that will reinforce coverage between Asia and the Pacific Southwest region, the company said in its press release. The new Lotus rotation will enable MSC to offer faster transit times from Thailand and Vietnam to the Pacific Southwest region. The Yulan service offers to customers with a second weekly Shanghai call from Wai Gao Qiao to Long Beach. Additionally, the service will enable to offer direct link from Gwangyang to Long Beach. Lotus service will start on 9 July from Laem Chabang, and Yulan from Shanghai on 10 July.   LOTUS Port rotation: Laem Chabang, Vung Tau, Kaohsiung, Busan, Los Angeles, Oakland   YULAN Port rotation: Shanghai, Gwangyang, Busan, Long Beach, Busan, Gwangyang

Maersk Line starts new transatlantic service between Europe’s Mediterranean region and Canada

PostTime:2018-05-25 08:43:09 View:13

Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping company, today announced the expansion of its product portfolio between Europe’s Mediterranean region and Canada to cater for the growing demands of importers and exporters on both sides of the Atlantic, the company said in its press release.  · The new service offers direct calls to Montreal and Halifax, upgrading Maersk Line’s Transatlantic coverage, improving product reliability, and catering for growing demands of customers in both Canada and Europe. · Flexible connections to and from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are available to customers thanks to its convenient transhipment options in Algeciras and Valencia via Maersk’s APM Terminals. · Product enhancements come as the current CETA and future CPTPP accords are expected to enable tariff-free trades between Canada, the EU, and Asia-Pacific countries. The exclusive, fully Maersk Line-operated weekly service will be a five-vessel rotation stopping in Salerno and La Spezia (Italy), Fos-sur-Mer (France), Algeciras (Spain), Montreal and Halifax (Canada), and Valencia (Spain). Other Mediterranean markets will also be conveniently connected to the new service thanks to our integrated transhipment services in Algeciras and Valencia, with consistent products to/from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The exclusive Maersk-operated service, the Med / Montreal Express, will have its first sailing on July 2nd, departing from Salerno, Italy, and arriving in Montreal on July 19th.  “With the new service in place, we are confident that we can create opportunities for European and Canadian businesses which will offer them improved transportation solutions to cater for the demands in this growing trade”, says Karsten Kildahl, Chief Executive for Maersk Line’s European Region. Jack Mahoney, President of Maersk Line Canada adds: “with one agreement in effect to fuel Canadian imports and exports in the Atlantic and another one in the works for the Pacific, this represents only favourable wind behind the expansion of our services in Canada and enable our customers to reach new markets in Europe and Asia.”  Last year, Canadian imports and exports grew 6.9%, a barometer of economic health and prosperity for the country. For 2018, Maersk forecasts a growth of 7% in maritime container volume with CETA and CPTPP accords expected to further support this development in both transatlantic and transpacific trades. In addition, Maersk expects to see another year of healthy growth for Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Far East imports which grew above 9% in 2017 to Canada’s East Coast. The EU is Canada's second-biggest trading partner after the United States, accounting for 9.6% of its overall traded in goods in 2016. At the same time, Canada accounted for almost 2% of the EU's total external trade in goods. The value of trade in goods between the EU and Canada in 2016 was €64.3 billion. Based on feedback from customers, and its geographic location, Montreal was a natural choice for Maersk Line as a strategic gateway for this service. The Port of Montreal is well positioned to serve consumers in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec where two thirds of the Canadian population reside. “The Port of Montreal serves these two regions via rail and trucking service for this large market, where 49% of discharged cargo go to Quebec and further 29% to Ontario. The port, therefore, plays a key role in boosting Canadian trade and is a perfect match for importers and exporters looking for better transportation solutions with Canada” mentioned Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montreal Port Authority. The new service will call Montreal’s Cast terminal, operated by MGT, which is conveniently located closest to the ocean and offers easy access to rail and trucking options. In addition, the service will make an Eastbound call in Halifax, Nova Scotia, catering for an important Canadian perishable market and facilitating refrigerated shipments of foodstuff traditionally exported from Canadian Maritime Provinces. Helping Atlantic Canadian businesses succeed in the European Union market is a priority for the Canadian and provincial governments, reflected in Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy.  

Maersk hikes US-West African rate by US$50/TEU from June 5

PostTime:2018-05-25 08:36:57 View:8

DANISH shipping giant, Maersk Line has increased the rate from the US to West Africa effective June 5, the company announced. From that date the rate from the US for dry containers bound for Tema, Tin Can Island and Apapa will increase US$50 per TEU. 

IMO Approves US-Russian Proposal on Bering Strait Shipping Routes

PostTime:2018-05-24 10:35:12 View:8

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has given the green light to a joint US-Russian proposal on regulating shipping in the Bering Strait, Russian transport ministry said in a statement.  The proposal was approved by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee at its 99th session being held in London. To be applied from December 1, 2018, the scheme is said to be the first internationally recognized measure for navigation in polar waters approved by IMO, as defined in SOLAS 74/78. The proposed system envisages six two-way routes in the Bering Strait with a width of four nautical miles and approaches to it from the US and Russian sides as well as six precautionary areas. As informed, the routes are positioned parallel to each other across the US and Russian parts of the strait. This allows vessels to choose the most convenient way of their passage through the strait, taking into account weather and ice condition as well as the ship’s destination. In addition, the routes are located at the maximum distance from the coast, with depths being sufficient for the safe passage of large vessels. The proposed two-way routes will be voluntary for all domestic and international ships and apply to vessels of 400 gross tonnage and above. The measure is expected to reduce the risks of collision and provide adequate sea room for ships executing collision avoidance measures in order to avoid the risk of pollution and other damage to the sensitive marine environment. According to the ministry, the measure will support further development of infrastructure projects in the Russian Arctic related to the export of hydrocarbons and promote the growth of transit shipping through the Northern Sea Route.

Maersk cuts back as bunker soars and US bans Iran trade

PostTime:2018-05-24 10:28:35 View:9

MAERSK will cut capacity and service coverage in an attempt to improve profitability in the face of a rising bunker bill, says CEO Soren Skou, reported Fort Lauderdale's Maritime Executive. "In the short term, we will be closing down some services," Mr Skou told the Wall Street Journal. "Overcapacity is the biggest defect."  To cut back, Maersk will be returning some of its chartered-in fleet to shipowners, reducing its feeder services and channelling volume to direct ports.  "Ocean" business, ocean freight, plus APM Terminals' transshipment [profit] were about US$500 million, dragged down by rising bunker prices and unfavourable exchange rates," Mr Skou said in an investors' call. Group-wide revenue rose 30 per cent in the first quarter, including the addition of Hamburg Sud, but its underlying loss nearly doubled to $240 million, he said.  Bunker price increases have raised the cost of shipping a single box on an Asia-EU route by $70, he said, yet freight rates on these core lanes remain below breakeven.  Said Maersk Line CCO Vincent Clerc: "It has been difficult to pass on fuel cost increases to customers in contracts, especially also in a short-term market in some areas where we have faced strong capacity injection.  The firm also confirmed that it has no plans to place new shipbuilding orders for at least the next year - unlike MSC, CMA CGM and HMM, which have all been purchasing 22,000-plus TEU mega ships for their fleets.  Mr Skou also warned the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, or the prospect of a trade war between the US and China, could make the situation worse.  "We have to admit that the Americans have taken a number of initiatives recently that have caught us by surprise," he told Reuters. "With the sanctions the Americans are to impose, you can't do business in Iran if you also have business in the US, and we have that on a large scale." Maersk is already pulling back from Iran, as is Maersk Tankers, which is no longer part of Maersk Group. The risk posed by new sanctions on Iran extends beyond its direct impact on trade: it is also pushing up oil futures, Mr Skou said, driving the cost of bunkers higher.     

Wärtsilä’s LNGPac system reaches 100 orders

PostTime:2018-05-24 08:48:12 View:9

Wärtsilä’s Fuel Gas Supply Systems are seeing increasing acceptance, reaching the significant milestone of the 100th order for its LNGPac system since its introduction in 2009 which has played a key role in establishing the viability of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. The orders are for two new shuttle tankers being built for Singapore-based AET Tankers which will feature Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel auxiliary engines running primarily on LNG fuel, and fitted with LNGPac units. The system comprises a bunkering station, the LNG fuel tank and related process equipment, as well as the control and monitoring system. The LNGPac fuel system can be offered as a standalone product, or as part of a complete propulsion system. “A major reason for the global acceptance of LNG fuel for shipping is that Wärtsilä realised at an early stage that more than just a dual-fuel engine and a stand-alone LNG system was needed. LNG fuelled ships require a complete fuel handling system, and the innovative LNGPac system very successfully meets this requirement,” said Mathias Jansson, gm, Fuel Gas Supply Systems, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions. Since the original introduction of the LNGPac on the chemical tanker Bit Viking in 2011, it has been installed on 12 or more different types of vessel and Wärtsilä has continued to develop the system. The technology group has, for example, pioneered the utilisation of the cold energy stored in LNG by using it to cool the onboard HVAC and galley system. Another pioneering achievement has been the development of a compact LNGPac with an integrated gas valve unit (GVU) and airlock. The inline tank connection space for single shell tanks has been developed, as has a dedicated LNG fuel pump based on the well-proven deepwell pump technology. As the maritime industry moves into a new era of connectivity and digitalisation, Wärtsilä is actively developing more smart features for the LNGPac, such as energy content measurement and real-time gas quality measurement. The LNGPac system can be customised to the needs of each project on a case by case basis. Dedicated engineering is conducted from the beginning of the project to match the specific operational requirements, safety and classification society requirements. Its innovative features have made the LNGPac a market leader in fuel gas supply systems. Wärtsilä also offers optimised maintenance agreements, including condition-based monitoring (CBM), for the LNGPac system.

Hong Kong proposes tax cuts to boost maritime industry

PostTime:2018-05-24 08:47:12 View:9

Hong Kong should take steps to develop its maritime industry, especially in terms of maritime financing and leasing, with the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) releasing a research report setting out key recommendations for developing the sector in the city. Top among these was a tax cut, with the report suggesting Hong Kong cut profits tax for maritime and ship leasing management and maritime and shipping-related supporting services by half or setting it not higher than 8.25%. This would encourage the growth of shipping and maritime-related support and management services, the report said. Other recommendations include allowing qualified investors to access credit and liquidity enhancement products supported and/or endorsed by sovereign-rated financial institutions, encouraging the growth of shipping and maritime-related support and management services, talent development in the maritime cluster, signing more double tax agreements with major shipping jurisdictions, especially Australia and Brazil, increasing participation in international industry bodies by Hong Kong-based organisations, and upgrading the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board (HKMPB) or creating a centralised Maritime Office to  oversee maritime and shipping-related policy, regulation, other initiatives and act as a channel for private sector input into the policy process. FSDC chairman Laura Cha, said: "The maritime industry has been traditionally one of the pillar industries of Hong Kong but has shrunk in size over the last decade. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong is in a uniquely advantageous position to drive shipping-related financial services. Hong Kong needs to further develop its maritime cluster in view of the fierce competition from global maritime centres. Hong Kong must maintain and enhance its competitive advantages of the maritime cluster for the sustainable growth of the shipping industry."

MSC asks shippers to pay more for delivery of cargo from fire hit Maersk Honam

PostTime:2018-05-24 08:46:19 View:10

 As the Maersk Honam finally berths nearly two months after a serious fire on board the vessel Meditterranean Shipping Co (MSC) is charging its customers extra if they want their cargo to reach the final destination. The Maersk Honam, which suffered a serious fire on 6 March while headed from Singapore to Suez, was due to berth on Tuesday having been at anchorage in Jebel Ali since 23 April while hotspots on the vessel were extinguished. Maersk Line 2M alliance partner MSC is asking customers with containers on board the vessel, which were not destroyed in the blaze to an additional $750 per teu and $1,250 per feu for additional transhipment and storage costs. “In consideration of the important geographical deviation provoked by the salvage operations and of the consecutive extra handling/storage costs that will accrue at port of refuge, MSC will unfortunately not be in position to carry your cargo to destination without collecting additional charges,” the company said in a circular customers. The shipping line said it was “profoundly sorry” for the additional costs. Shippers who do not accept making the payment will be deemed that the voyage terminated in Jebel Ali and handed back to local representatives and will be subject to payment for storage and demurrage as per MSC's tariff. Customers have until 1800hrs on 24 May to give their decision to MSC, after which time if no decision is received the voyage will be deemed terminated. The 2017-built, 15,262 teu Maersk Honam was hit by a serious fire on 6 March 900 nm southeast of Salalah, Oman, which left four dead and one missing from a crew of 27.    

VLCC newbuild contracting up as speculators arrive

PostTime:2018-05-24 08:45:19 View:11

Despite record levels of tanker recycling in the early months of the year, tanker analysts and brokers are increasingly concerned about continuing tonnage oversupply, particularly in the VLCC sector where a series of new contracts have been placed recently with more to follow. At first sight, these new orders are puzzling. Crude tanker rates so far this year have suffered a disastrous spell and, although slightly firmer in recent days, are still at heavy loss-making levels. OPEC output limits have been extended, US shale production is up again, cutting tonne-mile demand, and a tense geopolitical backdrop adds to owners’ uncertainties. Yet despite these negatives, crude tanker contracting has picked up pace so far this year. New York-based Poten & Partners, London’s E.A. Gibson and Bimco’s chief analyst Peter Sand are amongst those warning that a flurry of contracting now will only extend the misery of loss-making rates for longer. To be fair, the 730-odd VLCC fleet has shed a significant number of vessels this year, with the 8.2m dwt of tankers scrapped in the first quarter notching up the highest volume in any quarter since 1982. VLCC recycling sales have been a key feature of the market, with a mid-May tally thought to be around 24 units sold for recycling. But there are now 108 VLCCs on the orderbook, equivalent to about 15% of the current fleet in capacity terms, and more than 40 of them are due for delivery hits year. VLCC orders in hand at shipyards are now up by 20% on the same time last year. Amongst the other larger sizes, there are also 49 Suezmax tankers (8.5% of the existing fleet) and 125 Aframax units (13.1%) on order, according to figures from Clarkson. Brokers report that a significant volume of contracting recently has been based on replacement demand. But what they are increasingly concerned about is the arrival of speculators lured by cheap shipyard prices and the chance of a quick turn. “This is not what we want just now,” Poten said in a recent note. Apart from attractive prices available from hungry shipbuilders, what else is attracting this speculative interest when earnings are so poor and the outlook so uncertain. Could it possibly be the likely impact of new regulations on the economics of operating older vessels? Most pressing is, of course, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.5% sulphur cap which will hit the industry in little more than 18 months’ time. The three main compliance strategies are well-documented – switch to new low-sulphur blends or distillates, continue burning heavy fuel oil and buy a scrubber (if it’s practical to do so), or switch fuels to LNG or methanol, for example, again if it’s practical. Earlier this week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) warned of likely “chaos and confusion” unless uncertainties surrounding the entry into force of the sulphur cap could be clarified. Fuel availability, it said, could become a major issue. “It is still far from certain that sufficient quantities of compliant fuels will be available in every port worldwide by 1 January 2020,” said ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson. “And in the absence of global standards for many of the new blended fuels that oil refiners have promised, there are some potentially serious safety issues due to the use of incompatible bunkers.” Apart from these safety issues, there are also concerns the cost of bunkers which many believe will spike sharply. Low sulphur heavy fuel oil will command a lumpy premium, bunker suppliers suggest, because extra refining will be needed. Traditional heavy fuel oil is also likely to increase in price – there will be less available because of more refining and blending, and bunker suppliers will have a captive market amongst those ship operators who have invested in scrubbers. Then there’s ballast water to deal with, admittedly not in such a tight timeframe but nevertheless involving a likely investment of $2-3m for a large vessel. Will the required investment and the extra cost of regulatory compliance prove attractive on old tankers approaching fourth surveys? After all, there is no payback on a ballast water treatment system; it is merely a license to trade. There are over 300 crude tankers in the Aframax, Suezmax and VLCC categories which are more than 15 years old. About half of them are VLCCs. If the economics don’t stack up, many of these vessels are likely demolition candidates. Perhaps that is why the speculators have arrived.

Bohai port develops fully automated container terminal

PostTime:2018-05-24 08:36:28 View:6

CAOFEIDIAN, Bohai Bay port east of Tianjin, is becoming a model of port automation as US-Chinese startup TuSimple, a specialist in developing self-driving trucks, replaces operator-driven terminal tractors with 20 self-driving trucks. In some cases, the number of men needed to unload a cargo ship has gone from 60 to 9, reports Singularity Hub of Moffett Field, California, north of San Jose. If you were to visit Caofeidian, the whirring cranes and tractors driving containers to and fro would be the only things in sight,  Caofeidian is set to become the world's first fully autonomous harbour by the end of the year, said the high-tech news portal.  A separate company handles crane automation, and a central control system will coordinate the movements of both. "The potential for automating systems in harbours and ports is staggering when considering the number of deep-water and inland ports around the world," said TuSimple spokesman Robert Brown.  "At the same time, the closed, controlled nature of a port environment makes it a perfect proving ground for autonomous truck technology," he said. Caofeidian lifts 300,000 TEU a year, small beer compared to Shanghai with its annual throughout of 40 million TEU. Self-driving container vehicles have also been tested in Yangshan, close to Shanghai, and Rotterdam. Qingdao New Qianwan Container Terminal in China recently laid claim to being the first fully automated terminal in Asia. Qingdao said its systems allow the terminal to operate in complete darkness and have reduced labour costs by 70 per cent while increasing efficiency by 30 per cent.  TuSimple says it is in negotiations with several other ports and also sees potential in related logistics-heavy fields. For autonomous vehicles, ports seem like a perfect testing ground. They are restricted, confined areas with few to no pedestrians where operating speeds are limited. The predictability makes it unlike, say, city driving. At the same time, it is running open road tests in Arizona and China of its Class 8 Level 4 autonomous trucks.