Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/04/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/04/2016

1. Technology Comes With Risks

Without question, technology has been a boon to global trade. But it’s also responsible for raising the risk factor at every stage of the supply chain – and especially at ports and terminals. Sprawling ports are particularly vulnerable to theft, fire, labor disruptions, worker injuries, cargo damage and the effects of natural disasters. Now, however, ports are faced with a whole new series of risks, related to the impact of technology. Ports are getting bigger, as are the ships, leaving ports relying more heavily on information technology for container tracking, communications with connecting modes, equipment management and maintenance.



2. Wan Hai Most Profitable Box Line

Wan Hai takes the plaudits with carriers’ operating profit margins according a survey of the 16 main carriers that published full year financial results for 2015. The report shows that, Wan Hai is the most profitable container line, based on operating profit margins, at 6.3%; followed by Maersk Line at 6%, CMA CGM at 5.8% and OOCL at 5%. While the fall in bunker prices initially boosted the carriers’ financial performance, this effect was rapidly eroded when shipping lines forcibly passed all these cost savings on to shippers through over-supply vessels, recession and lower freight rates, the negative trend has continued into 2016.



3. Green Shipowner of the Year

d’Amico Group, leading company in maritime transport, won the “Green Shipowner of the Year” 2016 edition for the commitment in implementing on its fleet a system able to reduce the environmental impact and constantly monitor the performance of energy consumption. The award ceremony was held in Copenhagen during the Green Ship Technology Conference (15th – 18th of March 2016). The Green Ship Technology (GST) Award rewards the most innovative technology put into use since January 2015, which shows a benefit to the marine environment and recognizes the most efficient and sustainable shipping group worldwide.



4. Supply and Demand Inbalance

The reversal of the current balance between demand and supply will be the key for a shift of fortunes in the dry bulk shipping markets. It will take a significant change in the current equilibrium, in order for dry bulkers to return to profitability. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal noted that “bulk carrier values are at historical low levels, therefore, painfully for many owners, we have replied to the question how deep this crisis is. It can’t go much deeper. The question now is how long this crisis will be and when should owners expect the bulk carriers to become profitable again and their assets to regain their value (or part thereof)”.



5. Explosion Kills Yard Workers

According to media reports, a product tanker explosion killed two yard workers, with one worker still missing in Duisberg port. The tanker was in the shipyard for repairs when the blast occurred. The explosion threw heavy ship components up to half a kilometre away. Fire workers alleged the amount of flammable vapours in the tanker was not measured prior to the blast, leaving workers unaware of the hazard.


6. Insurance Demand to Rocket

Chinese companies’ demands for marine insurance will rise as the number and value of overseas projects increase under the "Belt and Road" initiative, experts of Zurich General Insurance Co said today. Chinese contractors are taking up more advanced projects overseas in the fields of petro-chemical, mining, energy, and engaging deeper in the management and running of the projects, said Scott Yao, China head of the Marine department of Zurich. The national "Belt and Road" strategy will boost the trend and encourage more investment into overseas infrastructure and resources projects, Yao said.



7. Iranian Deals Beckon

The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) is in talks with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to purchase three ships of more than 14,000 TEU, according the press. A HHI source said: "In 2008, IRISL ordered some ships in our sister yard, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, but that order was suspended as sanctions kicked in. Now, IRISL wants larger ships, which is under the purview of HHI." The deal between both companies comes at a time when the shipbuilding industry is in a state of immense loss as a result of the slump in global demand, which is also having a knock-on effect on container shipping.



8. Sad Invisible Industry

85% of UK adults are unaware of what the Merchant Navy is and does according to research released today by the Royal Merchant Navy Education Foundation (RMNEF), whose Patron is HM The Queen. The Merchant Navy, a term coined by King George V in 1922, describes the seagoing commercial interest of UK registered ships and their crew. Just 5% of Britons consider the Merchant Navy to be an important organisation. A third of respondents have heard of the Merchant Navy but don’t know what it is, while 27% incorrectly believe it is part of the Royal Navy. Nearly one in ten admit they’ve never even heard of the organisation.



9. UAE Take on Bunker Saga

In focusing on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to assess the on-going consequences of the O.W Bunker (OWB) legal saga, Middle East-based law firm Al Tamimi & Company (AT&C) notes that unlike Singapore and Canada, there is no legal provision under the UAE’s civil law legal system for interpleader relief actions – meaning  shipowners who wish to pay their bunker invoices still have no way to pre-empt arrests. However, the law firm adds that shipowners who have had their vessels arrested can reduce legal expenses by joining the intermediary or physical supplier in the proceedings.


10. Hyundai Settling Debts

With the successful bid for the sale of Hyundai Securities, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) says it will accelerate other programs including charter renegotiations and debt restructuring, with a view to stabilising its financial position by July. HMM said in a release it expects to complete charter renegotiations with foreign shipowners by the end of April or early May. In addition, HMM will convene additional bondholders’ meetings within June to restructure all of its public bonds due this and next year, and pursue a restructuring of bonds including a debt-equity swap with bondholders.




Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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