World Maritime News

WMNF 2019/05/30


  • New tariffs and threats cast shadow on trans-Pacific

The sharp and sudden escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China casts a shadow on trans-Pacific containerized supply chains.

US importers and their logistics providers are preparing for further US-China tariffs and a possible fresh rush to front-load deliveries to bet the next tariff deadline.

Representatives of US importers warned that it was impossible for companies to switch their sourcing of products from China to other countries in the short term, with sourcing decisions taking time, with sourcing decisions taking time to make and with other countries lacking the necessary manufacturing and logistics capacity that China has.

A study commissioned by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and prepared by the Trade Partnership estimated that imposing tariffs of 25% on all remaining imports from China, combined with the impact of retaliation, would jeopardize more than 2 million American jobs, cost the average US family US$ 2,300 each year, and reduce the value of US gross domestic production by 1%.

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  • Maersk’s inland move builds on integrator strategy

Maersk took a further step in becoming a self-described global integrator in container logistics by incorporating the mostly developing country-based inland activities of APM Terminals into the campus of Maersk Line and its associated logistics activities.

Inland service is a group of 36 business units in over 100 locations around the world that provide depots, container equipment repair, warehouses and inland transport.

By structurally adding inland services to Maersk, customers will have a seamless access to a wider range of logistics and services offerings, said chief operating office Søren Toft.

APM Terminals can fully focus on becoming a world-class port operator with services on and around the port premises, such as traditional storage and terminal handling and new services like fast gates, while Maersk, with the integration of inland services, will continue to focus on ocean transportation as well as logistics and services product development and delivery.

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  • Singapore sets up cybersecurity center

Singapore has launched a maritime cybersecurity operations center as it steps up efforts to digitalize port operations and promote autonomous shipping within its territorial waters.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has commissioned Temasek-invested ST Engineering to operate the new facility, which will monitor and correlate data.

MPA chairman Niam Chiang Meng said the port authority would look at building ‘key data linkages between the new center and the existing port operations control center at PSA Vista.

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  • PSA leads DCT Gdansk aquisition

A PSA international-led group of investors have finalized the take-over of Poland’s largest container terminal, DCT Gdansk. In March, PSA, Poland’s sovereign wealth fund PER, and the IFM Global Infrastructure Fund announced that it had reached an agreement with the infrastructure fund of Australia’s Macquarie in a deal worth more than US$ 1.3 billion.

The trio have announced that it has now received formal approval by the relevant competition authorities to completed the transaction.

DCT Gdansk’s newly appointed owners said that it has the intention to further strengthen the terminal’s position and to look into additional expansion needs as and when relevant.

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  • More Antwerp port terminals expand hours on Right bank of Scheldt

With container volume rising on a mid-single digit basis, two more terminals at the Port of Antwerp plan to extend their hours of operation, a move that will result in four of the port’s five container facilities able to process cargo during off-hours.

PSA Europa Terminal and PSA Nordzee Terminals will open around the clock on weekdays from June 3 as part of a six-month test. The extension represents a 50% increase in the operating hours at the two terminals, which are now open from 0500 hrs. to 2130 hrs. If the test period proves successful, the port will embark on a two-year “conversion phase”, in which it will try to expand the operating hours of other parts of the supply chain.

The shift is part of a wide-ranging effort to improve traffic flow through Europe’s second-largest port by encouraging stakeholders to use the port in off-peak hours, a similar measure to those adopted by North American ports faced with rising cargo volumes and ever bigger ships, such as Los Angeles and Long Beach, Montreal, Vancouver, and New York/New Jersey.

The ports have been further affected by low water levels in the Rhine River that have led to containers stacked up at inland terminals, creating bottlenecks that back up the pipeline.

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  • Shipping sector faces ‘huge challenge’ to tackle emissions

The increase in shipping emissions caused by a projected threefold increase in trade by 2050 requires the quick introduction of decarbonization measures, according to a shipping- experts at the OECD. A report by the OECD’s International Transport Forum last week explored what a jump in freight trade will mean for emissions from the different transport sectors, finding that even if the global economy largely divests from fossil fuels, shipping emissions could jump by 60% if regulators do not introduce mitigation policies.

Aside from regulations, there is wide recognition from across the industry that innovative technologies and fuels will be needed to decarbonize shipping.

The difficulty is translating the momentum of those apparent efforts into a global regulation,

ITF ports and shipping administrator Olaf Merk said.


  • Port automation fears spur ILWU Canada union strike

Opposition to automation, an issue of growing concern to longshore unions in North America, appears to be behind a decision by roughly 2,000 port workers to strike the two largest terminals in Vancouver on May 20. International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) have been negotiating for more than a year to replace the contract that expired in March 2018, and on May23 the union notified BCMEA they will strike Global Container Terminals’ Deltaport and Vanterm

Terminals. ILWU Canada Locals 500 and 502 will conduct the strike.

Opposition to further automation of container terminal operations has been a rallying cry recently for the ILWU on the US West Coast, and the International Longshoremen’s Association on the East Coast. Two fully automated terminals in Long Beach Terminal’s Middle Harbor facility and the TraPac terminal in Los Angeles have been operating for several years. ILWU Canada is autonomous from the ILWU on the US West Coast, and their contracts are separate. The GCT terminal in New Jersey and two terminals in Virginia have semi-automated operations.

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  • US agricultural exporters accelerate focus on Southeast Asia

Containerized agricultural exports will remain the backhaul commodity of choice for ports and carriers for the foreseeable future, although market growth is shifting from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Although US growers export agricultural products to much of the world, containerized agricultural commodities are largely a trans-Pacific cargo, with Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and Indian subcontinent accounting for about 76% of total US agricultural exports to the world. Especially Southeast Asia has been fertile ground for US agricultural exports the past five years. Containerized agricultural exports in 2018 increased 9.9% to Indonesia, 38.1% to Vietnam, 21% to Thailand and 44.2% to Philippines compared to 2014. Soybeans exports to Southeast Asia increased about 40% the past five years.

Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent will continue to grow in the coming years as manufacturing jobs expand and the middle-class populations in those regions increase.

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  • Japanese efforts toward decarbonization and environments issues

Japan Engine Corp – a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – unveiled a research and development partnership with NYK Line to carry out a ship engine test with biofuel provided by Good Fuels, a supplier based in the Netherlands. The tests will be performed at MHI Research & Innovation Center. NYK Line has already participated in a biofuel trial in late January at the Port of Rotterdam.

MOL Chemical Tankers had decided way before some ports started banning open-loop scrubbers, to install hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems on some vessels on its fleet. The rest of its vessels will run on marine gas oil or very low sulphur fuel oil without disclosing further details. Aside from planning for scrubbers’ installations, MOLCT has started fitting tankers – particularly those calling on ports in the US – with ballast water management systems.

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