World Maritime News

WMNF 2020/01/09


Shippers’ access to instant quoting, online booking expanding

Roughly half of the world’s top 12 container lines now offer shippers and non-vessel-operating carriers (NVOs) the ability to search rates electronically and book instantly, with others expected to join the fray soon. That is up from only two that offered the capability at the end of 2018. Two of the three largest carriers – CMA CGM and Maersk Line – offer shippers the ability to guarantee specific sailings at the time of booking. Maersk introduced its Maersk Spot product in mid-2019, guaranteeing that cargo bookings made electronically on its website would not be rolled, in exchange for shippers guaranteeing those electronic bookings would not result in no-shows. Moving into 2020, the key question for shippers primarily revolves around whether instant quoting is an impactful enough concept to change procurement behavior. Shippers do not seem eager to move away existing procurement patterns. Quarterly or annual negotiations with carriers and NVOs enable Beneficiary Cargo Owners (BCOs), particularly large ones, to exert leverage and to tailor service contracts to their unique needs on an ongoing basis. Instant quoting refers to the ability for a freight buyer to electronically receive a price for a service between two points on a given date. Dynamic pricing, which ideally underpins instant quoting, refers to a seller’s ability accurately to vary the price it quotes at any given time depending on the quote request and other variables, such as available capacity or the time until a sailing departs. Both instant quoting and dynamic pricing remain a work in progress for the container shipping industry, but that progress does seem to finally have begun in earnest.

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Bottlenecks within ports hold back digitization

If ports have been the main bottleneck in international movements, it is not surprising that ports, or at least individual players within ports, would emerge as a bottleneck in efforts to digitize the supply chain. That bottleneck takes shape in at least two ways. First, there is the tendency of port community systems to optimize operations within the boundaries of the port, not extending to the supply chains running through those ports. Second, there is resistance to participate in data-sharing initiatives due to competitive cause. The case of the Port of Los Angeles illustrates both challenges. The resistance to sharing data as part of the effort to implement a single digital portal at the port lays out how far digitization has come in the container supply chain and how far it still must go before economic value can be created across the system. Data on 95 % of the port’s volume is flowing through the single-window Portal Optimizer, developed with GE Transportation, with most major carriers and terminals participating in some form as well as some “dabbing” by the railroads. But the data is incomplete, and resistance remains among some terminals within the port to engage fully, due in part to concerns over the potential competitive impact.

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ARA bunker may hold unstable components, FOBAS warns

The bunkering advisory unit found components linked to Estonian shale oil in certain VLSFO fuel blends tested in the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) region. Ship engines have previously failed because of burning marine fuels with shale oil content. Lloyds Register, FOBAS has warned of a similar situation confronting Singapore – high sediment levels were also detected in fuel oil grades supplied out of the world’s top bunker hub by marine fuel sales.

As to the fuel price, Sea-Intelligence said that the spread between VLSFO and the high sulphur bunker IFO 380 had more than doubled over the past nearly three months between October 7,2019 and January 3,2020 across different regions. We also anticipate possible disputes concerning scrubber breakdowns and preparing vessels for the carriage ban on March 1, 2020.

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IMO warns against for global decarbonization efforts EU emissions push

The IMO has warned against the disruption of global decarbonization progress, in response to the European Commission’s push to regulate shipping emissions. European regulators have confirmed their intention to include maritime in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

The IMO has long opposed maritime inclusion in the ETS, which caps companies’ permitted carbon emissions and lets them purchase allowances to emit more. IMO secretary general Kitack Lim says that we have to make progress. We do not want to put the IMO meetings [on greenhouse gas emissions] in difficulties. His warning echoes a familiar line of criticism held by opponents of the Commission’s aspirations regarding emissions; reginal measures will disrupt the agreed global approach at the IMO, which has taken years to develop and is still being implemented. Shipping industry – ICS, BIMCO, WSC – warns the European Commission to against ETS pursuit. Mr. Lim said that communication with the EU will be key.

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Shipping coalition pitches US$ 5 billion fund for fossil-free fuels

ICS, BIMCO, WSC, Intertanko, Intercargo, CLIA, Interferry and IPTA have come together to ask governments to set up a new independent fund that can contribute to shipping’s effort to decarbonize. The bodies hope it can be up and running by 2023 and are adamant if it should be devoid of political considerations. A coalition of shipping organizations representing 90 % of the global merchant fleet has offered to raise US$ 5 billion over 10 years to fund the search for fossil-free fuel. It will be discussed by governments in London at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in March 2020. The R&D proposal comes just days after the European Commission’s Green Deal that wants greater environmental regulation for shipping, including bringing the shipping into Europe’s emissions trading system (ETS). In its R&D proposal to find the zero-carbon fuel of the future, the shipping industry will establish the International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), a non-governmental organization that will be overseen by IMO member states. Funding for the research will be via a mandatory R&D contribution of US$ 2 per ton of marine fuel purchased for consumption by shipping companies worldwide.

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World’s first liquified hydrogen carries ‘SUISO FRONTIER’ launched in Kobe

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced December 11, 2019 its official naming and launch at Kobe Works of the ‘SUISO FRONTIER’, the world’s first liquified hydrogen carrier. This vessel was developed to provide a means of transporting liquified hydrogen at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume, cooled to – 253 degree C, safely and in large quantities over long distances by sea. The ‘SUISO FRONTIER’ will be used for technology demonstration testing in Japanese FY 2020 aimed at the establishment of an international hydrogen energy supply chain in which liquefied hydrogen produced in Australia will be shipped to Japan. The goal is making hydrogen just as common a fuel source as petroleum and natural gas.


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