Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 06/12/2018
1. Boxes Down a Tube
Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s high-speed-rail startup, has announced a new partnership with Hamburger Hafen und Logistik Aktiengesellschaft (HHLA) to explore ways to move shipping containers to and from inland sites with Hyperloop’s maglev-in-a-tube technology. Initially, the JV plans to build a transfer station for testing purposes at an HHLA terminal in Hamburg and develop a Hyperloop transport capsule for standard shipping containers. “With the Hyperloop transport system, HHLA is pursuing the goal of developing an additional component of efficient logistic mobility solutions in Germany,” said HHLA.
2. Med Emissions Area
Barcelona City Council has joined calls to create an emission control area (ECA) in the Mediterranean to limit air pollution produced by ships. Both the governments of Italy and France are understood to be considering the ECA proposal too. Within Europe there are already ECAs in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the English Channel. The results from an international study on creating an ECA for the Mediterranean are due to be published in the new year.
3. Solstad Debt Concerns
Solstad Offshore has asked its lenders for a suspension of both principal and interest payments. Solstad, which initiated discussions with lenders to restructure its finances in October, says that it hopes to have the suspension agreement in place by December 20. The measure will allow the company time to finalise negotiations on its long-term financial position. In a letter to clients (below), CEO Lars Peder Solstad said the company continues to operate as usual and the discussions with lenders will have no impact on customers, suppliers or employees.
4. All Change at Old Firm
James Fisher and Sons has announced the chief executive officer Nick Henry is retiring and will step down as by the end of December 2019. Henry has been with James Fisher for 16 years, 15 of them as CEO. Malcolm Paul, chairman of James Fisher, commented: “Nick’s track record as Chief Executive speaks for itself. He has overseen strong organic growth, particularly in our Marine Support and Specialist Technical divisions, and successfully completed a number of niche acquisitions. Nick will continue to deliver our consistent strategy during the coming financial year as we manage the transition to a new leadership.”
5. Europe Approves Deal
The European Commission has granted its permission to Dubai-based port and terminal operator DP World related to the company’s acquisition of Denmark-based Unifeeder Group. Namely, the Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns as it would have a limited impact on the structure of the markets for the provision of container terminals services and of short-sea shipping services. DP World signed the deal to acquire 100% of Unifeeder for EUR 660 million from the company’s majority owner, Nordic Capital Fund VIII, and certain minority shareholders in August 2018.
6. Corruption Investigation Hots Up
Brazilian prosecutors are now investigating alleged acts of corruption involving three top commodity trading houses in connection with the sprawling Petrobras “Lava Jato” bribery scandal. According to Brazil’s federal police, leading independent oil traders Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura may have made bribery payments to Petrobras officials totaling more than $15 million. In exchange, the Petrobras employees allegedly arranged for fuel trades and storage tank rentals at non-market rates. The trades affected covered a wide range of petroleum products, including fuel oils, vacuum gas oil, bunkers and asphalt.
7. Boxship Prices Falling
Prices for elderly smaller boxships are plummeting. Brokers Braemar ACM report that the AS Savonia, a 1,679 teu 18-year-old Korean-built gearless ship, has just changed hands for just $3.6m. “This sets a low benchmark for the type; with one or two similar units in the market, this will not be welcome news for said sellers,” Braemar ACM stated in its latest container weekly report. VesselsValue states the AS Savonia was bought by Germany’s Vega Reederi.
8. Nigeria Going Blue
The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its readiness to cooperate with other countries to advance Africa’s blue economy. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, made the commitment in his speech at the inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, last month. Amaechi said its growth was the most viable option for Africa’s development in the wake of declining mineral and commodity prices. Amaechi highlighted steps taken by the Federal Government to mainstream the blue economy concept into its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
9. Online Rate Guarantee
Number-four ocean carrier CMA CGM has launched what it describes as the first online rate service offering “guaranteed prices within seconds” for container shipping on major trade lanes. The quote service, which for now only covers U.S.-China routes, is hosted on the Freightos platform. CMA CGM suggests that the tool gives customers rapid pricing in the same convenient manner they would expect for booking air travel or shopping online. The French carrier is the first line to list its services on Freightos. “This partnership raises the bar for ourselves, and the industry, ” said Mathieu Freidberg, CMA CGM’s SVP.
10. Perfect Political Storm
When the Island Bay cargo ship arrived at the Kerch Strait, gateway to the Azov Sea, it sailed into a perfect storm of geopolitics and bad weather. The following day, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian naval ships, impounded them and detained their sailors, some of them wounded. It then blocked the strait by putting a tanker underneath a new bridge it has built linking the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014. While the world digested the implications of the Nov. 25 incident, the most explosive clash in recent years, Russia said it had reopened the channel to the Azov Sea.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com