World Maritime News

WMNF 2019/10/17


US-China reach ‘substantial’ first phase of trade deal

The United State and China have reached the first phase of a trade deal that could signal the end of a tariff war between the two powers that has lasted for more than a year and a half. Part of the deal involves China’s buying US$ 40-50 billion worth of US agricultural products, according to the New York Times. Trump said the US has dropped plans to raise tariffs to 30% on US$ 250 billion worth of Chinese goods now subject to 25% tariff. No decision has been made on 15% tariffs on an additional US$ 300 billion imports from China. Trump told ‘phase two’ trade deal would begin after phase one is finalized, according to the news reports.

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VLCC spot charter breaks US$ 300,000 level on market disruption

Spot charter contracts for VLCC broke US$ 300,000 per day as the industry digested the fallout from the US focusing its spotlight on sanctions on oil and from the incident that the Iranian-owned suezmax tanker ‘Sabiti’ leaking a large tail of oil after the Islamic republic claimed it was attacked by two missiles as it sailed in the Red Sea. The attack has still not been independently verified and no one has claimed responsibility. Middle East Gulf to Singapore reached US$ 305,998 and Middle East China US$ 300,391, marking an almost 100% day-on-day increase. VLCC rates have been rising sharply since the US imposed sanctions on units of Cosco Shipping.

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NYK conducts ‘world first’ trial of autonomous ships

NYK has conducted ‘the world’s first’ trial of fully autonomous ships. One of its car carriers ‘Iris Leader’ was navigated using the Sherpa System for Real (SSR) ship navigation system from Xinsha (China) to Nagoya and Yokohama (Japan) from 14 to 20 September without any incident. The ship’s crew performed other non-navigational duties during the trial. NYK will analyze the data and continue to develop the SSR into a more advanced navigation-support system by making adjustments to the difference between the optimal course derived by the program and professional judgement.

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Shipping decarbonization requires seismic industry evolution

In its Sep 23 unveiling, the Getting to Zero Coalition committed to the development of commercially viable zero-emission cargo ships by 2030. One of the first key tasks for this coalition will be achieving consensus on a very small number of options to overcome. Forging that consensus will mean a level of expertise and experience-sharing that will require cultivating a trust culture. On the same day, 14 countries representing 30% of global coastlines and one-fifth of the world’s shipping fleet called for decarbonizing ocean industries. The road to decarbonization is far steeper. Ultimately, the mindset of shippers must change beyond just realizing that emission mandates will drive up transportation costs to one that rewards transportation providers that are reducing GHG emissions.

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Traxens develops smart container data standard

Traxens, the container-tracking device manufacturer, has revealed that it has assisted the development of the first set of standards for smart container data exchange. The standards, known as Business Requirements Specifications, or BRS, have been published by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. Despite the widespread use of smart containers, until now there has been an absence of global standards to moderate and evaluate data collected. The data will be shared between multiple stakeholders, platforms and systems. It is likely that individual container lines will use specific vendors to outfit portions of their container fleet with sensors, but not all carriers will use the same vendor.

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Panama Canal expansion drives continuing growth at US east coast ports

Expansion of the Panama Canal remains a key driver of container throughput growth for the US east coast ports, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. Since the opening of the canal, east coast ports have become better equipped to handle the larger boxships with capacities up to 15,000 teu, compared with 5,000 teu previously. This increase has allowed for more product to be shipped to the east coast from north Asia via transpacific routes – decreasing transportation costs to the customers. Since 2008 teu volumes on east coast ports have increased by 46.8% while west coast has seen growth rate of 18.4%, the report says. Ports are investing in rail capacity to relieve some of the congestion and also are trying to remove all non-container operations from terminals for more space to handle and store containers.

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Class NK approval for ‘hard sail’ propulsion technology

Joining the Going to Zero coalition, Class NK has granted an approval in principle to the design of a hard sail system being developed by MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding Co. The hard sail could reduce a vessel’s greenhouse gas emissions by 5% on a Japan-Australia voyage and about 8% on a Japan-North America west coast voyage. Oshima and MOL expect to equip vessels with multiple sails for maximum emissions reduction. The project started in 2009 with an industry-academia joint research project led by the University of Tokyo. In 2013, the team was chosen to receive ‘subsidiary for next-generation marine environment-related technology research’ by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

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