Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/10/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/10/2016

1. Panama Sees Returns
The Panama Canal has recorded the third-highest annual tonnage in its 102-year history in 2016 helped by the opening of the new neopanamax locks. During fiscal year 2016, which went from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2016, the Panama Canal Authority recorded 330.7 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS). During the year a total of 13,114 vessels transited the canal, including 238 neopanamax vessels taking advantage of the newly opened Expansion project, which was inaugurated June 26, 2016. neopanamax vessels accounted for approximately 18.2 million PC/UMS.
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2. Boxes Have Bottomed Out
According to the latest annual Container Forecaster and Review 2016/17 report, worse than expected second quarter financial results will be followed by a better second half-year. Drewry still expects container carriers to record a collective operating loss of $5 billion this year. “We forecast industry profitability to recover next year, thanks to improving freight rates and slightly higher cargo volumes, and so record a modest operating profit of $2.5 billion in 2017,” Drewry said. This recovery needs perspective, while average freight rates are expected to improve, this will follow several years of negative returns.
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3. Korea Urges Collaboration
Korean authorities are looking at getting the nation’s smaller box carriers to form an alliance in the wake of the collapse of Hanjin Shipping. While Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is being positioned by government to become South Korea’s flagship shipping line, a host of others are being cajoled to form Team Korea, a new alliance, focused primarily on intra-Asia routes. The government is speaking with Korea Marine Transport Co, Sinokor Merchant Marine and Heung-A Shipping about this new alliance, a move that has been commended by both the Korea Shipowners’ Association (KSA) and the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI).
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4. Operating Costs on Slide
New findings set out in OpCost 2016 (www.opcostonline.com), Moore Stephens’ operating costs benchmarking tool, reveals that that total operating costs for the tanker, bulker and container ship sectors were all down in 2015, the financial year covered by the study. On a year-on-year basis, the tanker index was down by 4 points, or 2.2%, while the bulker index fell by 6 points, or 3.6%. The container ship index, meanwhile, was also down by 6 points, or 3.7%. The corresponding figures in last year’s OpCost study showed falls of 2 points in both the tanker and container ship index, and of 1 point in the bulker index.
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5. Baltic Takeover Approved
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has approved Singapore Exchange’s 87 million pound ($107 million) takeover of London’s Baltic Exchange after shareholders gave the green light for the deal last month, the Baltic said on Wednesday. The acquisition is one of the latest developments in a string of mergers, bidding wars and failed deals among global exchanges. SGX’s offer comes as the global shipping industry is struggling with its deepest downturn. The privately owned Baltic Exchange – one of London’s oldest commercial institutions – said the FCA gave its regulatory approval on Oct. 13, clearing the deal.
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6. Shore Workforce Slashed
Cash-strapped Hanjin Shipping Co. is seeking to trim its workforce ahead of a planned sale of its key assets, industry sources said Wednesday. According to the sources, Hanjin Shipping, which is currently under receivership, has decided to dismiss more than half of its land-based employees by early December and gave the relevant notice to their labor union. After the massive dismissals, only 300 employees involved in the shipper’s U.S. and Asian route business will stay, they noted. Hanjin Shipping, the country’s No. 1 shipping line, recently got the nod from a local court to sell off its U.S. and Asian route business.
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7. Bunker Fuel Set to Remain
LR and Shipping in Changing Climates, a $4m multi-university and cross industry research project funded by EPRSC, have today released Low Carbon Pathways 2050 – a new study that details a number of potential pathways for the shipping industry’s transition to a low carbon future. The report underlines the need for shipping to start its decarbonisation imminently – as stringency increases over time, increasingly high-cost mitigation steps are required. The later we leave decarbonisation, the more rapid and potentially disruptive it will be for shipping.
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8. Death Master Action Called
The ITF has urged the Australian coroner investigating the series of deaths onboard the Japanese bulker Sage Sagittarius to charge the master of the ship. In 2012, the ship’s chief cook and chief engineer died in questionable circumstances off the Australian coast. A superintendent sent by the shipowners to investigate, also died later on in Japanese waters. Since then the Sage Sagittarius has been dubbed the death ship by local media. The ship’s master, Venancio Salas, should be charged with perverting the course of justice, Dean Summers, the ITF’s national coordinator said at the long running inquiry.
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9. Polar Code Warm Fuzzy Feeling
The International Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code) will enter into force on January 2017 and applies to ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. It covers the various environmental requirements and recommendations relating to oil, sewage, garbage, chemicals and invasive species providing for safe ship operation and protecting the environment. A documentary to be shown in the European Parliament today called “Sea Blind – The Price of Shipping our Stuff” discusses the impact of the estimated increase of traffic on the Northern Sea Route or the Arctic Ocean to promote debate and discussion. 
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10. Data Needs to be Managed
Transas has called for the IMO to set standards of compliance for the communication connections between ship and shore or else create a significant cyber security risk. Transas chief Frank Coles opened by stating that compared to the highly regulated ship equipment environment, the connectivity environment is relatively uncontrolled in terms of maritime certification and compliance. “The connected ship is like a long chain, with each piece linking to the next and at every point there is the opportunity for a failure. It can be hardware or software or both.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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