Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/12/2018
1. World Trade Soars
World trade experienced a slight upswing in recent months and reached a new high in November, according to Kuehne + Nagel. So far this year, international merchandise trade has risen by 10.6%. Emerging markets and North America are the main growth drivers. The data includes aggregated shipment data across different transport modes with external sources, such as throughput of ports, daily customs data, as well as detailed vessel and aircraft movements in real time. The indicator stood at 143.7 at the end of November, up 0.3% on the previous month and 6.4% from last year.
2. Pushing for Swift BREXIT
Harry Theochari, the well-known partner at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, has succeeded David Dingle as chairman of lobbying group Maritime UK, and has called on British politicians to push ahead with the Brexit deal secured by prime minister Theresa May. On the UK’s departure from the EU, scheduled for March 29 next year, Theochari said yesterday: “The uncertainties to which it has given rise have been damaging to the British economy and to British business. Now that we have a withdrawal deal on the table, MPs should give the deal their support so that we can look beyond the Brexit process.”
3. MSC Explains Cost Hike
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has become the latest line to explain how it intends to get customers to pay for its global sulphur cap compliance. MSC’s new Bunker Recovery Charge (BRC) will be a “transparent way of segregating, and passing on, the significant operating cost MSC faces from the 2020 sulphur cap”, the company stated in a release yesterday. The new bunker charges kick in on January 1 next year, a year ahead of the start of the sulphur cap.
4. Fine Print Saves Cruise Line
With various airlines and cruise operators facing lawsuits over receiving kickbacks from the sales of travel cancellation insurance, one company is off the hook thanks to the fine print in its contracts. A federal judge in Miami dismissed a class-action suit filed by two Royal Caribbean passengers who claimed the cruise line violated state law by failing to disclose that it had received inducements from helping sell travel insurance whenever Royal Caribbean sells cruise tickets online.
5. Autonomous Race Heats Up
Within days of each other, Wartsila and Rolls-Royce have announced successful dock-to-dock navigation tests aboard ropax ferries fitted with their respective autonomous-vessel systems. Wartsila described its autonomous trial as an “unprecedented” round of tests, and Rolls-Royce said that it has now demonstrated the “world’s first fully autonomous ferry.” Wartsila’s test (announced November 28) took place aboard the hybrid-powered ferry Folgefonn, which operates a three-stop route in Hordaland, Norway, the captain’s only intervention was to press a button to instruct the vessel to begin.
6. IMO on Climate Change
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is participating at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland, which kicked off yesterday. In a release IMO stated that this week it will seek to make clear that it remains the appropriate international body to continue work to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships engaged in international trade. Earlier this year IMO member states agreed to slash shipping greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 over 2008 levels. The UN body has faced criticism in the past year that its structure leaves it susceptible to corporate capture.
7. Australia’s Fuel Insecurity
With less than three weeks of liquid fuel reserves, Australia risks grinding to a halt following a global economic shock or conflict along a major trade route, warns the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). The MUA commissioned a new report to demonstrate its concerns: Australia’s Fuel Security: Running on Empty. The report that states that a fleet of 60 tanker ships could maintain supplies, and calculates the cost of using Australian-owned and crewed tankers to maintain fuel supplies to be less than one cent per liter at the bowser.
8. New Liberian MD
Anthony Perea has been appointed managing director of the Liberian Corporate Registry, run by LISCR (Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry) Trust Company to look after the interests of Liberian non-resident corporations. Perea joins from fiduciary services provider Amicorp, with nearly 25 years’ experience in business development and operations in the financial and corporate services sector, including a particular focus on wealth management, as well as trust and corporate and fiduciary services.
9. Qatar Leaving OPEC
Qatar said on Monday it was quitting OPEC from January to focus on its gas ambitions, taking a swipe at the group’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia and marring efforts to show unity before this week’s meeting of exporters to tackle an oil price slide. Doha, one of OPEC’s smallest oil producers but the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is embroiled in a protracted diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states.
10. Fresh Look at Liners
Global carriers are starting to distinguish themselves with new corporate strategies, Drewry, UK-based shipping consultancy, believes. Liners have chosen their separate paths toward success and the competition landscape in the industry is likely to change in accordance with the most successful of the three strategies. A company either wants to break free from its traditional confines of port to port services and expand its reach into other links in the supply chain, or consolidate its core sea product, or finally enhance its liner scale, Drewry explained.
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