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Seafarers sacrifice practical skills for a digital future

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:44:08 View:1

Maritime businesses are spending more on R&D alongside new technologies to combat negative market conditions. The need for cost cutting and improved efficiencies are now turning the spotlight on appropriately skilled seafarers who can champion efficiency driven technologies, but it comes at a cost of practical skills. The seafaring skills shortage will be addressed on day one of the biennial Seatrade Offshore Marine & Workboats Middle East (SOMWME) 2017 exhibition and conference at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 25-27 September. A panel of thought leaders at the “Manning Update” session will look at the viability of automation tackling the skills shortage. New technologies, ships and requirements are advancing quicker than the rate of seafarers with relevant competencies. The severe shortage of skills is prompting crew to master new technologies, but what does this mean when recruiting and retaining seafarers with practical, hands on experience?  “The last 20 years have seen an unprecedented increase of ships and whilst it takes nine months to build a ship, it takes ten years to build a captain,” commented Captain Michael Elwert, group ceo, Elektrans Group. The advance in engine technology has led to a need for engineers with specialised knowledge and experience. The trend for engineers to become operators rather than maintainers has provoked a gradual decline in crews being able to carry out major machinery overhaul or repairs. Elwert added, “The overwhelming opinion of the industry is that maritime competencies can be best taught hands-on (onboard vessels). It is said that 60% of competencies are taught on-board by doing.”  The industry faces a case of compromise. It must act with thought and commitment as demand for seafarers with more technological skills look to outweigh those with more practical skills in the short term. Join the conversation during SOMWME and voice your opinions.

Here we go again – dry bulk newbuild ordering takes off

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:43:22 View:1

The writing is on the charts and it doesn't look good for the dry bulk market. Newbuild ordering in just the two and a half months or so of the second half of the year is already almost double the figure for the entire first half of 2017. According to VesselsValue, 110 vessels have been ordered so far in the period compared with 63 in the first six months of the year. And this does not include the latest order of eight kamarmaxes from Aegean Shipping Management, which heralded their entry into the dry bulk space. VesselsValue associate director Claudia Norrgren pointed out that after dry bulk resale values plunged to their lowest in 25 years in early 2016, with a five-year-old capesize going for just under $21m, they then rebounded around March. "As typically happens when values and rates drop, newbuild ordering also slowed down. This happened over 2016 and the first half of 2017," said Norrgren. "However since we entered into the second half of this year, owners have ramped up drybulk ordering (and) interestingly, the main protagonists are Japanese," she noted. With some optimism returning and hopes that the market is turning, owners seem to be making the same old bad decisions again and jumping into cheap newbuilds in the hope of timing the market correctly. For example, Pacific Basin Shipping astutely got into the game early and in the first half, took delivery of its last batch of newbuilding orders from Japanese yards that it made very early on. However the minor bulks specialist reiterated in its first half financial report that more scrapping and limited ordering are still required for market balance to be sustained. "If too many people order and the market is flooded with vessels, rates will never recover, and we will be left with too many vessels and too few cargoes: the classic supply and demand imbalance in shipping," Norrgren concluded.

Singapore in marine biofuels pilot project

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:40:20 View:1

BHP Biliton and GoodFuels Marine have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI), with the support of the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to collaborate on a marine biofuels pilot project in the city state's port. The LoI was signed in conjunction with a closed-door roundtable on Thursday with 13 participating companies and organisations, which apart from the three parties to the LoI, also included shipowners Berge Bulk, Boskalis, Oldendorff, Mitsui OSK Lines and NYK Bulkship. The pilot project is expected to be carried out early next year, and GoodFuels said that from now on biofuels would be available in the port of Singapore. “We are pleased to facilitate discussions on the biofuels front along with our partners, BHP and GoodFuels. The roundtable comes at an opportune time in light of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.5% global sulphur cap on marine fuels which will come into effect from 2020, as well as IMO’s longer term plan to lower carbon emissions for shipping,” said Andrew Tan chief executive of the MPA. Among the topics discussed at the roundtable included barriers to the use to biofuels and how these could be addressed. Abdes Karimi, manager ocean freight operations & sustainability of BHP, said: “In a world fighting to combat climate change, it is important that marine biofuels get in the ‘evoked set’ of options for shippers to choose from. Today, BHP is proud to have taken the leading role in this initiative.” Nanyang Technological University will also soon be establishing a centre of excellence focusing on maritime environment & energy, with support from MPA and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI).

No crisis coming in container shipping: CMA CGM's boss Rodolphe Saade

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:30:16 View:4

FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM says the global container-shipping sector is in its strongest position in years thanks to sweeping consolidation and stronger economic growth, leaving it well placed to to withstand competition from trains on major Asia-Europe routes. Container lines are emerging from a severe downturn that culminated in last year's collapse of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping and CMA CGM recently reported better second-quarter profits and said it expected operating profits in the second half of the year to exceed its first-half performance. "Last year was a bad year, 2017 is a good year and 2018 should be a pretty steady one," CMA CGM chief executive Rodolphe Saade, told Reuters in an interview. "With the consolidation in the sector, the development of alliances and the favourable market conditions, I can't see a crisis coming." A series of major acquisitions, including CMA CGM's US$2.4 billion takeover of Singapore-based APL and market leader Maersk Line's US$4 billion deal to acquire Hamburg Sud, have curbed overcapacity. Vessel-sharing alliances between container lines have also helped cut slack. That said, consolidation in the sector has probably run its course for now, Mr Saade said. Demand is expected to grow by 4-4.5 per cent this year, outstripping an expected 3 per cent rise in supply. Reflecting the strength of the turnaround, CMA CGM confirmed in its quarterly results that it was ordering nine new vessels, all among the largest ever built in the sector. Mr Saade rejected criticism that the orders risked recreating a supply glut, saying the vessels were tailored for busy Asia-north Europe routes where scale was crucial and its partners in the vessel-sharing Ocean Alliance already used extra-large ships. Existing vessels used on Asia-Europe routes would be transferred to other markets such as the trans-Pacific, he said. CMA CGM declined to disclose the value of the order, which press reports have put at $1.2 billion, but said it would finance the deal through bank loans and its own funds. Improved company results along with asset sales meant CMA CGM was financially secure and saw no need to list on the stock market, at least for now. Although shipping is highly volatile, it remains the predominant means of moving goods around the world. Competition is emerging from rail, particularly with China's efforts to advance its "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure project. But while railways may be able to move freight from Asia to Europe in two weeks, half the time of container ships, shipping remains far more economical and has greater scale. CMA CGM itself aims to expand into land routes, seeing services along the supply chain as key to finding growth after the overhaul of the container shipping market. But Mr Saade said it was too early to say how it would develop the market.  

MSC to take up 2nd 11,000 TEU Seaspan newbuild on 17-year charter

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:28:06 View:6

HONG Kong-based ship owner, SEASPAN Corporation, has taken delivery of the MSC Shreya B, an 11,000-TEU containership built at Hanjin Subic shipyard in the Philippines. Mediterranean Shipping Company will add the newbuild to its fleet under a bareboat charter for a period of 17-years. Upon completion of the bareboat charter period, MSC is obligated to purchase the vessel for a pre-determined amount from Seaspan, reported World Maritime News. The MSC Shreya B is Seaspan's second 11,000 TEU SAVER design box ship in a series of five vessels under bareboat charter to MSC. Seaspan took delivery of the first ship from the SAVER 11,000 TEU batch, the MSC Shuba B, in late August 2017. The vessel then started a 17-year fixed-rate bareboat charter with MSC. So far this year, Seaspan has taken delivery of three vessels, bringing the number of ships in its operating fleet to 87.

MSC, Hapag-Lloyd revamp MED-ECSA service

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:27:18 View:3

MEDITERRANEAN Shipping Company and Hapag-Lloyd will begin offering a new Mediterranean-east coast South America service in October as part of the enforced restructuring of services resulting from Maersk's take over of Hamburg Sud. The new joint weekly service, branded MED/SAEC by MSC, will replace the carriers' current offerings via a joint operation between MSC and Hamburg Sud, in which Hapag-Lloyd purchases slots, reported UK's The Loadstar. The port rotation of the MED/SAEC service is: Valencia, Barcelona, Genoa, Fos, Gioia Tauro, Valencia, Suape, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Paranagua, Itapoa, Montevideo, Navegantes, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Las Palmas, Valencia and then back to Barcelona. It will turn in eight weeks and deploy eight vessels of 8,000-10,000 TEU, notes Alphaliner. MSC said the first southbound sailing will depart from Barcelona on October 19 with its northbound voyage scheduled to commence from Paranagua on November 9. In approving the acquisition of Hamburg Sud by Maersk Line in April, the European Commission called for an end to Hamburg Sud's participation in five joint services, namely: Eurosal 1/SAWC, Eurosal 2/SAWC, EPIC 2, CCW/MEDANDES and MESA. The EC accepted that Hamburg Sud would continue to operate within the consortia during the notice period, but said "a monitoring trustee will ensure that no anti-competitive information is shared between these five consortia and the merged entity" during this time. The Maersk Group is expected to close the US$4.3 billion purchase of Hamburg Sud in the fourth quarter.

Asia-Europe rate falls 4.6pc to US$734/TEU, off 6.4pc to USWC

PostTime:2017-09-25 08:25:48 View:4

SPOT rates for shipping containers from Asia to northern Europe in the week ending Friday fell 4.6 per cent to US$734 per TEU, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI). Asia-Mediterranean trade dropped 2.9 per cent to $709 per TEU, American Shipper reported. Asia to the US west coast slipped 6.4 per cent week over week to $1,484 per FEU while those to the east coast down 7.2 per cent to $2,105 per FEU.

EU worries over Greek asset sales to non-European investors

PostTime:2017-09-22 08:33:38 View:11

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s 13 September call for “investment screening” has raised new concerns in Athens as the country battles to meet the demands of its European creditors through the privatisation of state-owned commercial organisations. In a wide ranging speech, Juncker said: “If a foreign state-owned company wants to purchase a European harbour, part of our energy infrastructure or a defense technology firm, this should only happen in transparency, with scrutiny and debate. It is a political responsibility to know what is going on in our own backyard so we can protect our collective security if needed.” Given Greece has sold both its major ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, as well as part of its electricity network, to foreign firms and is looking for an investor in the Hellenic Vehicle Industry, Juncker’s remarks resonate strongly in Greece. A few days prior, visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, had argued in Athens the Eurozone had been wrong not to pay more attention to which investors Greece had sold its assets in recent years. “We should not push Greece to choose non-European investments,” he said. Most obvious concern for the European Union is the growing presence of China in Greece and other parts of Southeastern Europe. Recently an independent report by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) authored by economic analyst Jens Bastian, examined the evolving “Balkan Silk Road,” which has seen Chinese interest and investment in Greece, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina increase. As part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to expand China’s trade links around the world, Beijing has purchased infrastructure, set up bank branches and provided loans in all of these countries. In Greece, China’s most obvious presence, is through shipping giant Cosco, in the port of Piraeus. But there are others. Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras dismisses concerns about Chinese investment in Greece admiring Beijing’s approach and clear strategy regarding what it wants to achieve. Germany is also uncomfortable about China’s inroads in that country, after China’s Midea’s EUR4.5bn ($5bn) takeover of German industrial robotics firm Kuka. Germany wanted to stop it but gave way to “a free market” posture. Rising apprehension on the part of the EU about Chinese investments centers on fears China’s dominance in key industries could lead to protectionist practices in the future, the dominant role of the Chinese state in investments, a lack of transparency, different values and concern that sensitive infrastructure or technology could end up in non-EU hands. There is also a growing feeling EU investors encounter obstacles in countries like China, that do not exist for those seeking to invest in Europe. As a result, the EU is now trying to find a way to avoid acting as Juncker termed “naive free traders.” His proposal about investment screening was a step in this direction. Juncker’s proposal foresees a European framework being created but for the screening process to be carried out by the member-states. Under this framework, EU members would screen investments on several grounds, including security and reciprocity. For now, while there are worries about China or other state-led investors gaining a foothold in the EU, for many like Greece, Beijing has proved a vital source of investment when financing from others has dried up. Bastian points out China has the financial capacity, the risk appetite and a long-term investment strategy in Greece and has established a credible track record vis-a-vis Greek political authorities and the Athens business community. As Macron said during his visit to Athens at the beginning of September, if Europeans are unable to take the place of non-EU investors this would imply a “lack of faith in Europe.”

JICT union to hit Hutchinson-owned Jakarta retail chain

PostTime:2017-09-22 08:32:40 View:15

Hong Kong's Hutchison is about to be hit elsewhere in the group, as disgruntled workers at its Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) unit threaten to hit its Watsons chain of health and beauty shops. The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) said that as a result of its refusal to negotiate in good faith, ITF affiliate, Serikat Pekerja Jakarta International Container Terminal (SPJICT), has been forced to ramp up its campaign.  Union members and their supporters took their campaign for better conditions from the docks to Hutchison-owned Watsons. ITF president Paddy Crumlin, and chair of ITF’s Dockers Section said: “In response to Hutchison’s ruthless attack on workers’ rights at the Port of Jakarta, Indonesian dock workers are hitting the streets to remind the public, and their management, that they deserve respect and dignity. He noted that despite dock workers hard work, “yet, JICT management continue to crack down on union members. Workers’ wages have been cut by between 15-42% in the last three months, and union members have been specifically targeted – and their jobs threatened – for raising concerns.” Workers are visiting Watsons stores in Jakarta  to deliver a message that Watsons’ commitment to create a “healthy and supportive environment for all employees” and provide “a working environment that is free from all forms of discrimination” should extend to all workers in the Hutchison network."

Dry bulk FFA market: BDI rules the waves

PostTime:2017-09-22 08:31:55 View:12

It is another shining chapter for the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) as the rates roared higher into record-breaking zone. On Wednesday, the BDI powered to 1,449 points, the highest level in the year and up 34 points at day-on-day basis. At the moment, there seem no stopping for uptrend as the indicator may soar higher in the near term. According to Wall Street Journal, the BDI is predicted to go bullish on the short-term, testing 1,700 points as expected initial resistance level. Other has attributed the rising BDI rates to the upturn to the strong global economy with increased shipment of commodities such as grains, aluminum, coals and iron ores. On the hype of market optimism, one shipping trade source even speculated that capesize rates might reach $25,000-$30,000 per day over the next two to three weeks. “News filtered into the market of stronger fixtures ex Brazil and consequently the Sept traded up to $20,250, October to $20,300 and the Q4 up to $18,750 on Monday,” said a FIS FFA broker. Later on Wednesday, the capesize 5 Time Charter Average finished at $20,694, gaining $897 day-on-day and up 5.7% from the rates of $19,578 recorded on Monday. As the week goes by, Capesize rates may climb even higher in reaching new height. “The talk of C3 fixing 18.85 and Saldanha reaching low 14s for 11-15 Oct dates should keep buyers keen as the week progresses,” opined one FIS Capesize broker. However, some risks are identified as the Chinese mills seem to slow its import of seaborne iron ore after a series of sintering output cut imposed by Chinese authority on mills in Tangshan and Hebei, the steelmaking hub of China. Furthermore, most of the Chinese mills were heard to have sufficient inventory at the moment and are unwilling to procure seaborne cargoes. Thus, the demand of iron ore fines has lowered among the Chinese end-users, while the demand of lump remained high as mills use the materials to comply with state imposed environmental restrictions. Meanwhile, the Panamax market was off to a slow start this week with static rates seen so far. The Panamax time charter average recorded $12,310 on Wednesday, up $24 from Monday’s rate of $12,286. “We saw another static day for panamax paper on Wednesday, with the physical market starting to develop into a bit of a standoff and as a result further uncertainty creeping into the market,” opined a FIS Panamax broker. This mixed movement was shared by supramax which did not enjoy the big gains seen in capesize but have a modest run throughout the week. By Wednesday, supramax time charter average reached $10,556 up 1.9% from Monday’s $10,358. “Although the larger sizes were seen pushing early on supramax paper at Wednesday, the paper market remained reluctant to follow suit as we still lacked bid support.” said an Asian-based FIS FFA broker. Thus on Wednesday, the October contracts were down to trading at $11,350 and the Q4 at $11,400-$11,300 range. In the meantime, handysize time charter average closed at $8,496 on Wednesday, up 4.4% from Monday’s $8,131. Overall, the shipping rates are off to great start in the seasonal peak period but risks remained as buying appetite of iron ore runs dry among Chinese mills due to stricter environmental regulations. Despite the risks, the market optimism is high as BDI goes down the road of record-breaking gains.

Samsung Heavy Industries develops in-house LNG-FSRU regasification system

PostTime:2017-09-22 08:31:01 View:13

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has developed an in-house LNG regasification system for LNG-FSRU, claiming that the system is able to minimise corrosion from sea water and reap higher energy effciency. The South Korean shipbuilder named the system S-Regas(GI), which utilises glycol to regasify LNG into gas. SHI said the S-Regas(GI) reduces chance of corrosion from traditional method of heating LNG directly with seawater and achieves 5% energy saving. SHI added that in-house regasification system enables not only cost savings but also improvement in safety, schedule and quality management. “SHI will continue to lead market by developing the next generation technologies in the whole LNG value chain. With proven track record and experience we will meet customer's needs such as saving operating costs of LNG-FSRU and solid performance,” a SHI representative said.

MSC keeping up with the Joneses on container megaships

PostTime:2017-09-22 08:30:16 View:10

Following today’s reports that MSC has ordered 11 units of 22,000 teu from Korean yard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), latest statistics from Alphaliner on what it calls ‘megamax’ containerships of 18,000 to 22,000 teu reveal some curious coincidences between ordering patterns of individual lines and alliances. Before this week’s order by Ocean Alliance member CMA CGM for 9 units of 22,000 teu size, the 2M Alliance (Maersk/MSC) was out in front with 36 such megaships delivered before 2017, plus another  15 on order (for delivery by 2018), giving a grand total of 51 megamaxes. Ocean Alliance (CMA CGM/Cosco Shipping/Evergreen/OOCL) meanwhile had 5 megamaxes delivered before 2017 plus another 37 on order (for delivery before 2019), giving a grand total of 42 megamaxes. CMA CGM’s order for nine units therefore brought Ocean Alliance to parity with 2M at 51 megaships apiece.But MSC’s ensuing order - just a couple of days later - for another 11 megaships of 22,000 teu-class (by 2020) has put 2M comfortably out in front again with 62 units. However, numerologists will note that 2M’s previous total of 51 megaships in operation or on order was broken down Maersk 31 units and MSC 20 units. MSC’s latest reported order for 11 units therefore brings the two megalines within 2M to parity with each other on megaships at 31 apiece, according to Alphaliner.