World Maritime News
It is still too early to fully assess the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus on China, the rest of the world and more specifically shipping markets. It seems clear that the first quarter of the year is already looking challenging for the maritime markets. Jon More, a consultant to Beneficiary Cargo Owners (BCOs) and NVOs said manufacturing by large industries such as automobiles, machinery, and pharmaceuticals in Wuhan and Hubei province could be disrupted into April if conditions worsen. Restarting the Chinese steel mills and construction sites after the lunar new year holiday will be delayed, hitting the demand for dry bulk commodities, especially iron ore and coal. On the container side, the impact of the coronavirus on Yangtze river shipping movements show a dramatic reduction in port calls. As equipment begins to build up in Chinese ports, layup figures indicate more increased blank sailings following Chinese New Year closures. China has given its companies a reprieve with authorities offering legitimate force majeure certificates, including proof of delays or cancellation of transportation, exports contracts and customs declaration, to companies struggling to cope with the impact of the outbreak on their business with overseas partners. On the declaration of force majeure, Law firm Ince Gordon Dadds warned that the successful invocation of such a clause would depend on the governing law of the contract and the terms of the relevant clause.
DCSA establishes Track and Trace Standards for the Global Container Shipping Industry
The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), a neutral, non-profit group published on January 28, 2020 a common set of process, as well as data and interface standards for Track and Trace (T&T) in conjunction with its nine member carriers. The standards can be implemented by carriers, shippers and third parties to enable cross-carrier shipment tracking. This is the first of many initiatives to be put forth by DCSA to transform inefficient practices and accelerate digitalization through a unified industry effort. The T&T standards are aligned with the UN/CEFACT (United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business) standards and comprises an information model and interface standards that can be freely downloaded from the DCSA website.
Hamburg widens Elbe ‘passing box’ to boost mega-ship access
The Port of Hamburg has expanded its Elbe River access, widening the waterway at crucial points to enable greater number of ultra-large container ships to call at the port every year. Work on a part of the river known as the ‘passing box’ was completed on January 29, 2020. The Port of Hamburg Marketing said in a statement, widening the section to 385 m and a 23.5 km stretch of fairway between Wedel and the mouth of the Stör River to 320 m to accommodate two passing of mega-ships. Vessels of 23,000 teu have a width of about 61 m, while18,000-20,000 teu ships are approximately 59 m wide. Port officials are hoping the improved access will continue a turnround this year in a negative trend that has seen Hamburg lagging behind rivals Rotterdam and Antwerp in container throughput in the past few years.
Logistics buyers balancing automation with human autonomy
The logistics industry is not seeking progress on the automation front. Rather, the industry is moving toward a more nuanced approach, balancing the current needs of shippers and forwarders with efforts to provide automated single-click software options. Forwarders, shippers, online platforms, and brokers all agreed that “automatizing the whole logistics process is not possible at this stage because this business has too many exceptions.” In terms of the transition from fully manned ships to remotely controlled, then autonomous ships by using AI, there needs also a balance to be maintained between recognizing the positive narrative of cleaner, greener maritime industry and embracing the challenge of rebuilding the human element. If we get the human resourcing wrong, or overlook the discomfort it could bring, the transition will be much more challenging than it ought to be.
Dutch maritime leaders to hold post-Brexit talks with UK
Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said that there was a lack of significant details on how the post Brexit trading relationship with the EU might change, and BIFA members remain a little nervous as a result. Trade agreements are complex and take time to negotiate, and Keen said in a statement the “zero-tariff, zero-quota” trade deal the UK was seeking would be difficult to achieve by the end of 2020. The Dutch government is to hold talks on maritime relations with the UK after Britain leaves the European Union. A Maritime National Forum will be held in Rotterdam February 25-27, to discuss trade ties and areas to prioritize within a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement and any broader partnership. The Netherlands is the UK’s third-largest trading partner and fourth-largest export market, with trading relations stretching back 400 years.
Shanghai port to buy stake in Ningbo-Zhoushan
Shanghai International Port Group has agreed to acquire a stake in the nearby Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Co. as port consolidation in China speeds up. SIPG revealed on January 21, 2020 the plan to buy up to a 5% stake in NZPC via a private offering of new shares for no more than Yuan 3.7 billion (US$ 536 million). The pair is the main operator of their respective port. The two harbors, both located in the Yangtze Delta Region, the key economic powerhouse in East China, have also been competing heavily with each other especially on the container cargo side. SIPG said the deal was good for the company to carry out the “YDR integration national strategy”, and would accelerate the progress in building Shanghai into an international shipping center.
Read more: Lloyd’s List
DP World expands European inland operations
DP World is further expanding its reach into the logistics supply chain with a stake in European inland container terminal operator Swissterminal. It is headquartered in Frenkendorf and operates four other inland terminals that are connected to Europe’s leading container ports in Rotterdam and Antwerp, as well as the ports of La Spezia, Genoa, Ravenna and Trieste. DP World Inland, the Dubai-based company’s inland terminal division, has already four terminals in Germany and Belgium and the strategic partnership with Swissterminal will strengthen its position in the inland supply chain liking the European hinterland with northern range ports. DP World has been expanding and diversifying its business over the past two years. As well as acquiring energy sector logistics business Topaz Energy and Marine last July. It acquired P&O Ferries in last February, adding ro-ro tonnage and supply chain services to the port operator’s portfolio.
Hapag-Lloyd trials biofuel blend
Hapag-Lloyd has joined fellow carriers Maersk and CMA CGM in trialing biofuel on one of its containerships as it seeks to reduce CO2 emissions. The 4,402 teu “Montreal Express” was bunkered in Rotterdam with “B20” fuel, a mix of 80% low-sulphur fuel oil and 20% biodiesel sourced from recycled cooking oils from the catering industry. Hapag-Lloyd said the biodiesel element of the mix generated up to90% less CO2 emissions than conventional fuels. If the trial is successful and there are no adverse effects on fuel processing on board the vessel, more ships from Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet could be operated using the “B20” fuel in future.