World Maritime News

WMNF 2019/06/13


  • CMA CGM and MSC to join TradeLens

Maersk’s blockchain-backed digital platform Tradelens has received a major boost after being joined by both Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM.

The move, which comes just a day after Maersk joined MSC and CMA CGM in investing manufacturer Traxens, marks a significant development in the ongoing digitalization of container shipping. The addition of CMA CGM and MSC will provide a significant boost to the TradeLens vision of greater trust, transparency, and collaboration across supply chains to help promote global trade, Maersk said in a statement. The development of the Digital Container Shipping Association, MSC and CMA CGM seats on the advisory board appear to have allayed some of fears that Maersk dominates de-facto standard.

TradeLens aim to transform the supply chain industry and provide value to all players, from freight forwarders, to ports and terminal operators and inland transportation providers, to customs and other governmental agencies, and ultimately to the customers themselves.

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  • Traxens gets Maersk as backer

Container tracking device manufacturer Traxens has received a further boost in its efforts to become the standard bearer for internet of things devices following Maersk’s decision to invest in the company, joining CMA CGM and MSC as a shareholder. The agreement will see Maersk invest in Traxens, in which it will have similar shareholder rights as CMA CGM and MSC. Maersk has also committed to order up to 50,000 Traxens devices, a similar order to those placed earlier by CMA CGM and MSC.

Traxens will now further focus on strengthening solution and drive interoperability based on

non-proprietary technologies and open standards, Traxens said in a release.

The rewards are far greater being in the game of creating value for customers’ supply chains.

The biggest risk is not being in the game. Although carriers have been behind the curve on technology, with cost control undermining the ability to invest, they are lucky that even today the most technologically enabled forwarders are not that far ahead.


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  • Hapag-Lloyd’s reefers to bear tacking devices

Hapag-Lloyd has become the latest container line to invest in equipping some of its fleet with tacking devices designed to monitor the location and condition of goods in transit.

The Hamburg-based carrier said it will equip its entire fleet of approximately 100,000 reefer containers with tracking devices from Danish hardware maker Globe Tracker. Using these devices, Hapag-Lloyd Live will initially offer GPS location tracking, temperature information and power-off alerts.

Additionally, terminal operating software maker Navis tied up a partnership with Israel-based Loginno, another sensor maker aiming to equip shipping lines with devices to track key data from container movement.

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  • The high cost of sourcing outside China

The recent escalation in the trade ‘war’ between the US and China has put American

multinational companies into the difficult predicament of determining whether to pull up stakes in China in search of more cost-effective sourcing and/or production markets or maintain status quo. A survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce for Shanghai and China shows many businesses are former approach. More than 40% of US businesses with operation in China say they are either considering relocating manufacturing facilities out of China or have already done so. Among those that have chosen to go elsewhere, the top destinations are neighboring countries in Southeast Asia (25%) and Mexico (10.5%).

Only 6% are looking at moving to the US.

Neighboring markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar offer low-cost labor have minimal impact on time-in-transit, and they offer more favorable trade terms.

But labor costs are not the only considerations. Since its acceptance into the World Trade Organization, China’s government has invested heavily in broadening China’s trade relations with the world. These investments have led to improved infrastructure (roads, bridges, and ports), as well as education in the fields of science, technology, math, and engineering, so that it could attract not only companies interested in manual laborers, but also those with the engineering skills to support the manufacturing of high-tech products and/or the management of high-tech facilities that make heavy use of automation and robotics.

Similarly, Vietnam has made significant investments in its talent pool and is becoming a bona fide alternative to China, attracting tech giants such as LG and Samsung. But the pool of skilled workers is not nearly as large in Vietnam. In addition, the infrastructure in Vietnam and Thailand is not nearly as robust as it is in Chinese manufacturing centers such as Guangdong province, although exports from Vietnam to the US grew 40.2% year on year in the first three months of 2019.

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  • Maersk invests in German trade finance platform

Maersk Growth, the venture capital wing of AP Moller-Maersk, has helped lead €5.5 (US$ 6.2) million funding round of German financial technology start-up Modifi that will allow the company expand its digital trade finance service into India.

Using Modifi’s Seller Financing service, trader can pre-finance individual orders worth between €5,000 and €75,000. The invoice discounting service is aimed at small and medium-sized companies that buy goods abroad. Modifi said the new investment would see the platform target India for business. The company says 40% of India’s $ 140 billion worth of goods exported annually come from smaller exporters that often lack access to finance for their trades. By selling their invoices up front, exporters can access funds sooner rather than waiting for payment terms.

Modifi will allow small companies to apply online for import and export financing in less than 10 minutes. Responses generally come within 48 hours, allowing customers to grow their business with increased liquidity.

Maersk already offers a trade finance option for customers in India, but Modifi chief executive Nelson Holzner told that the two products would be complementary.

Small and medium sized enterprises are thought to contribute to around a third of global trade, but access to formal financial services is an issue, with 45% of SMEs listing this as an obstacle to trade. According to Modifi, nearly two thirds of trades fail due to lack of financing.

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  • Norway successfully tests remotely controlled vessel and Japan looks to unmanned ships

Initial tests of remotely controlled vessels have confirmed that the technology could be “feasible”, according to the DNV GL. The trials also involved the Norwegian Maritime Authority, ferry owner Fjord1 and Norwegian automation systems vendor Høglund.

The three trial voyages involved the DNV GL-classed 350 dwt ‘Frannefjord’ and used an upgraded automation system that communicated with a shore-based control center within a 4G network. On board the ship, a “multi-skilled seafarer” offered support and carried out manual tasks. The vessels also had back-up communication systems in case there was a network failure, as well as a captain on the bridge to make final decisions. The experiences, rules and regulations developing in Norway, Sweden and Finland are expected to play a significant role and even offer a template for an international framework.

In Japan, following calls it has made in favor of the speedy growth of crewless vessels, the Nippon Foundation has doubled down with a recent report that forecasts the impact of unmanned shipping on Japan’s economy and different business sectors.

It forecast that in 2040 all newbuilding domestic vessels hitting the water would be unmanned and half of Japan’s domestic ships would be unmanned. By 2025 operational specifications of newbuilds would begin having unmanned features and by 2030 installations on existing ships would star to have unmanned operational capabilities.

Japan’s government has signaled its intention to help develop autonomous ships by 2025.

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  • Greater data sharing

Commercial shipowners are often reluctant to share information on their operations, but the benefits of greater data-sharing would be felt outside the sector and some of other industries have the means to encourage or facilitate greater transparency.

Steven Adler, chief executive of the Ocean Data Alliance, believes shipowners are beginning to view sharing-data, particularly with environmental researchers, as a way to differentiate themselves in a price-competitive industry and find those customers looking for a shipowner matching their brand’s values.

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  • Automation, appointments lowering truck turn time at USWC ports

Ports in California are seeing reduced truck turn time in recent months thanks to automation, extended gate programs, and trucker appointment systems.

The two automated terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach outperformed the other 10 terminals there in May by registering lower truck turn times, even as the overall average for the harbor increased slightly from April.

The benefits of terminal automation for harbor truckers are becoming increasingly evident in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where the Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT)

And TraPac are the two fully automated terminals in North America.

Truck turn times at LBCT and Trapac in May were significantly better than the port-wide average of 84 minutes. LBCT was the best in the harbor, with an average turn time of 32 minutes; Trapac was the third at 51 minutes. The Matson SSA Marine terminal ranked the second at 38 minutes, although Matson has a somewhat unique situation. It has only one international service each week, with vessels of less than 4,000 TEU capacity, and most of the imported containers are drayed from the terminal when they are unloaded form the vessel.

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  • India, Japan help revive Colombo terminal project

Sri Lanka has signed a cooperation pact with the government of India and Japan to revive its long-stalled East Container Terminal (ECT), a second facility under the island nation’s Colombo South-Harbor development program.

The ECT project features three berths with a total quay length of 1,200 m, a draft of 18 m, and a capacity of 2.4 million TEU annually.

While retaining full ownership of the overall ECT property, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will establish a joint venture with Indian and Japanese authorities for operation and maintenance services. The government agency will have a 51% controlling interest in the proposed terminal operating company, with remaining stake split between the other two JV partners in a yet-to-be determined manner.

The ECT cooperation deal also marks India’s entry into a market that has seen large scale Chinese investments in maritime infrastructure in recent years.

India’s other interest in Sri Lanka include its involvement in the construction of a multi-purpose harbor and industrial zone at Trincomalee, about 300 nautical miles from Colombo,

And funding through the Export-Import Bank of India for the reconstruction of the Kankesanthrai port, which was devasted by the December 2004 tsunami and Cyclone Nisha in 2008.

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  • Croatia terminal eyes mega container ship capacity by mid-2020

International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI)’s Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT) at Croatia’s port of Rijeka is set to become the first terminal in the northern Adriatic to be able to handle 20,000 TEU ultra large container vessels when a comprehensive expansion plan is completed in mid-2020.

ICTSI’s plan to upgrade AGCT’s Berths 1 and 2 include dredging work to bring the quayside depth to 16.5 m as well as bringing in new super post-panamax cranes as part of the berth upgrade. It will also bring in new rubber-tired gantries and prime movers to upgrade the landside infrastructure. Total capacity will be increased to 600,000 TEU per year once all the terminal improvements have been made.

Despite modest volume growth so far, AGCT expansion plans were meant to future-proof   the terminal in terms of taking in larger vessels and boosting intermodal rail capacity.

Regular services operated by rail directly from AGCT include cross-border services to Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and within Croatia to the capital city Zagreb.

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