World Maritime News

WMNF 30/05/2023


Topics on container shipping

Container spot freight rates indicate the market is “fundamentally above pre-pandemic rate levels” despite the large falls from the peaks early in 2022. Earlier this year, rates had fallen back to levels last seen in 2019 in some cases, prompting some analysts to suggest carriers were engaging in a price war to secure cargoes as demand retreated. But an analysis by Sea-Intelligence indicates that despite the falls in the first quarter of 2023, freight rates have stabilized above the 2019 level.

Mediterranean Shipping Co will pass the symbolic 5m teu capacity mark later this month as it stretches its lead over its rivals. Figures from Alphaliner show MSC’s capacity stands just 43,280 teu shy of the 5m teu mark, which will be breached with the imminent delivery of two 24,000 teu units due to enter service on 30 May.

Zim Integrated Shipping Services has significantly upsized ships on its Asia-US East Coast all-water service amid strong demand and high utilization, citing ongoing cargo diversions away from the West Coast as one reason. The carrier has deployed the first two of its 10-ship order of liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered 15,000-TEU vessels on the trade lane, replacing 10,000-TEU ships to capture lower unit costs. A third 15,000-TEU ship will be delivered in early June, another four by the end of the year, and the last three in early 2024.

Read more: Lloyd’s List1Lloyd’s List2JOC


‘Super’ slow steaming makes a comeback as surplus capacity builds

The gaping imbalance between supply and demand forces ocean carriers to deploy a capacity-absorbing measure rarely seen since the dark days following the global financial crisis — super slow steaming. The average sailing speed of container ships last month was 3.4% lower than in April 2019, according to Niels Rasmussen, the chief shipping analyst at the shipping association BIMCO. Over the next two years, capacity will outstrip demand as huge amounts of new tonnage flood into service. Analysts predict global demand this year will grow by 2% while supply will increase by 4%; in 2024, capacity will rise by 7% against a 3% growth in demand.

Read more: JOC


LA’s Seroka says west coast labor deal is ‘on the doorstep’ as soft volumes continue

Micro and macroeconomic factors continued to have a cooling effect on the port of Los Angeles’ cargo volumes in April. The port handled 688,110 teu last month, down 22.5% from the same period a year earlier and 6.57% below April 2019. It was also slightly below the same period in 2020 when the world was thrown into disarray at the onset of the Covid pandemic. In a press briefing, the port’s executive director Gene Seroka said that trade had been impacted by a slowing global economy and US concerns about stubborn inflation and rising interest rates. In addition, warehouses “laden with aging inventory” and the protracted west coast labor negotiations adversely affected. But Seroka expressed optimism that the labor situation, which turbocharged cargo diversion to the east and US Gulf coast ports, could be resolved soon.

Read more: Lloyd’s List


PSA International makes inroads into Central Asia intermodal network

Singapore’s PSA International is making inroads into the multimodal business and the Central Asian region through a joint venture deal with Kazakhstan’s main railway network operator Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ). KPMC, the joint venture company with KTZ, will promote the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), PSA said in a release. The TITR rail corridor connects China and Europe via Kazakhstan, where PSA already has interests at both ends of the line through a joint venture with Germany’s Duisburger Hafen that has stakes in a multimodal logistics center in Chongqing, as well as China Railway United International Container. The tie-up with KTZ gives PSA a significant foothold in what is emerging as a key transport corridor. It builds on its intermodal rail network investments in China, the Middle East, and North America.

Read more: Lloyd’s List


Fragmented regulation now a top risk for shipping, ICS survey finds

The risk of fragmented and regional regulation has increased for shipping, amid regulations from the European Union, according to a new survey by the International Chamber of Shipping. “Risk posed by unilateral or fragmented regulation is growing but can be reduced if regulators pursue a long-term strategy to align with maritime’s global regulatory framework,” reports the ICS. The EU has stepped up its shipping regulations in 2023 after rubber stamping the industry’s inclusion in its Emissions Trading System and agreeing to set a 2% target for renewable hydrogen in bunker fuels from 2034. But the bloc has indicated that its regional regulations may be revisited if the International Maritime Organization adopts similar measures. The ICS’ latest maritime risk survey of more than 130 industry decision-makers found that political and financial instability, as well as cyber-attacks, were the top risks for the industry in 2023, a change from the leading risks identified in its 2021 survey, which were epidemics, supply chain fragility, and trade barriers.

Read more: Lloyd’s List


Why MEPC 80 will prove pivotal to industry and the future of the IMO

The potential to produce and export the zero-carbon fuels the industry requires to decarbonize will not be realized without the involvement of the IMO. From a practical perspective, the energy and transport sectors require a basic-level political certainty to invest. The outcome of this summer’s pivotal MEPC 80 meeting inside the IMO will not agree on policy. But it will set the tone and timing of the regulatory agenda for decades to come and act as a litmus test of the continued relevance of the UN agency as a global regulator.

Read more: Lloyd’s List


Topics on alternative fuels

Shipping is showing more tangible demand signals for zero-emissions alternative fuels in 2023. Rising orders for dual-fuel methanol vessels and regional regulations specifying renewable hydrogen-derived fuels as the most likely future fuels have seen the industry back up talk into action.

Biofuel blending for marine fuels has increased recently due to the Dutch subsidy regime. However, expectations of such incentives to end by 2025 could dissuade companies from investing.

The use of synthetic fuels has the potential to reduce shipping’s carbon emissions significantly, but they should not be seen as a panacea, according to a new report from ING. These propellants’ poor physics and economics mean fossil-based fuels will still play a role.

The European Union has led the way for renewable marine fuels by setting tangible targets and creating guidelines to boost production. Yet some industry experts suggest strict regulation on production and imports could soon stall progress on the crucial supply side.

Read more: Lloyd’s List1Lloyd’s List2Lloyd’s List3 | ING | Lloyd’s List4


Ørsted to break ground on methanol plant to tackle shipping demand

Swedish energy company Ørsted broke ground on 24 May for Europe’s largest methanol production plant to supply the shipping industry with fossil-free fuel. Construction of Ørsted’s FlagshipONE plant began in the Swedish town of Örnsköldsvik. By 2025, the plant would be able to produce 50,000 tons of methanol annually, a spokesperson for the energy company told the Journal of Commerce.

Read more: JOC


MSC makes the first move for ammonia-fuel containerships

Mediterranean Shipping Co has moved first towards a potential order for new dual-fuelled ammonia containerships. MSC will collaborate with the class society Lloyd’s Register, engine designer MAN Energy Solutions, and China’s leading ship designer Shanghai Design & Research Institute, to design a mid-sized containership capable of using ammonia as a fuel.

On the other hand, Wärtsilä’s four-stroke dual-fuel ammonia engine will be commercially available at the end of this year, according to Rene Zuidam, senior sales manager at the Finnish marine and energy technology provider.

Read more: Lloyd’s List1Lloyd’s List2


Hydrogen-driven barge debuts on Europe’s inland network

The first hydrogen-powered zero-emissions inland vessel has been launched in Rotterdam, offering several weekly sailings between the hub port and terminals deep inland. Zero-emissions shipping company Future Proof Shipping (FPS) launched the H2 Barge 1 on 25 May after unveiling the vessel at Nike’s European Logistics campus in Belgium. Nike is partnering with FPS and Benelux inland terminal operator BCTN in a charter agreement to accelerate its drive toward zero-emissions shipping. Hydrogen is currently not feasible for deep-sea shipping because it has half the energy density of traditional marine fuels, requiring larger storage tanks that reduce the available cargo capacity. But it works for smaller vessels on shorter voyages.

Read more: JOC


FLOW gains momentum with ‘give-to-get’ data-sharing model

When the White House announced in March 2022 it was launching a new information-sharing project called Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), there was natural skepticism that a government-run initiative would amount to much. But many stakeholders in the project who spoke to the Journal of Commerce in recent weeks say that FLOW is making progress in getting shippers, container lines, and other cargo interests to share data by using a voluntary “give-to-get” model.

Read more: JOC


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