Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/12/2018
1. Great Year Beckons
Major opportunities are on the horizon for ocean shipping as the rapid pace of technology change will continue unabated through 2019 and beyond, according to industry research conducted by Navis, a part of Cargotec Corporation. The company predicts that the biggest trends driving the industry over the next year will include increased IT spending, greater collaboration and data standardization, trade wars, smart containers, automation productivity gains, and improved carrier capacity management and environmental efficiencies.
2. Senior Staff Suspended
Unipec, the trading arm of Chinaâs state-run oil refinery Sinopec, has suspended two senior staff after risky bets on oil prices earlier this year led to heavy trading losses. Company president Chen Bo and Communist Party secretary Zhan Qi have both been suspended at Unipec, the worldâs largest dirty spot charterer. Oil prices have tumbled in recent days, crashing from earlier highs this year of $85 per barrel.
3. Chinese Shipbuilders Arrested
Two senior officials at state-run shipbuilding conglomerate China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) have been arrested by authorities for illegal activities. Jin Tao, director of CSIC No.712 Institute and Bu Jianjie, director of CSIC No. 718 Institute, have both been arrested for a series of corruption charges including taking bribes and embezzlement. CSIC No.712 Institute is involved in the research and development of electric propulsion systems and CSIC No. 718 Institute mainly produces chemical and alternative energy equipment.
4. Maersk Eyes Ashore
Maersk is looking at land-based acquisitions next year as it moves to take greater control of global supply chains. Speaking with the Financial Times earlier this week, Maerskâs chief executive Soren Skou outlined plans to bolster investments in sectors such as trucking and warehousing. âThe future will be very much about scaling the land side of the equation . . . We for sure have to do some acquisitions in the logistics space, primarily to gain capability and scale,â Skou said. The Maersk executive explained: âOur vision is that customers can buy everything they need for their global supply chain from Maersk.â
5. Changing Shippingâs Thinking
IMO 2020 appears to be changing the way we are all thinking. Refiners have been working hard to find what they can do to produce compliant fuels. The fuels which they are producing are very different from the fuels which we have become used to over the last 50 years or so. Historically fuels have been produced to the ISO 8217 specification with viscosity and density being the main parameters. The new fuels are being produced with sulfur as the primary concern.
6. Germany Embracing Gas
Uniper SE and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. have reached an agreement on a project to install a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) at Uniper site in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The FSRU, expected to be the nation’s first, has a planned send-out capacity of 10 bcm/a and an LNG storage capacity of 263,000 cubic meters. It could be in operation as early as the second half of 2022. The FSRU will be designed to allow for the loading of small-scale barges to enable the use of LNG as marine fuel. Further, onward transportation of LNG on trucks will be possible.
7. Taking Green Lead
Scandinavian carrier Samskip is behind a new emissions free, autonomous box shipping project called Seashuttle, backed by funding from Norway. The ships will feature hydrogen fuel cells for their propulsion power and among the partners involved is Kongsberg, which is also involved in the development of the Yara Birkeland, the worldâs first autonomous boxship, due to hit the water next year. âSamskip is delighted to take the lead in the project to develop next generation sustainable shortsea shipping,â commented Are Grathen, managing director of Samskip Norway.
8. Class NK New Rules
Leading classification society ClassNK has announced that it released amendments to its Rules and Guidance for the Survey and Construction of Steel Ships on 25 December 2018. ClassNK is constantly revising its Rules and Guidance in order to reflect the latest results from relevant research and development projects, feedback from damage investigations, requests from industry as well as changes made to relevant international conventions, IACS unified requirements (UR), national regulations, etc.
9. Niet to New OPEC
It is highly unlikely that OPEC and other oil producers would set up a joint structure due to the additional red tape it would create as well as the risk of U.S. monopoly-related sanctions, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other top oil producers led by Russia have since the end of 2016 made an unprecedented joint effort to curb output and support prices. OPEC and Russia jointly produce more than 40 percent of the worldâs oil. There is general agreement that the OPEC+ format should be âinstitutionalisedâ and extended until 2019.
10. Campaign to Change AIS
Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are causing problems for mariners transiting waters where there are high concentrations of fishing vessels, particularly in the East China Sea. The issue is not the fault of the AIS but the inappropriate use of the technology. Local fisherman discovered that by putting AIS transponders on their fishing nets, large ships would change course for the nets, thinking they were vessels. Fishermen have even been so bold as to contact the ships on the VHF radio and tell the bridge watch team what course they should steer in order to avoid the fishing nets.
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