The proposed $400 million purchase by Wilhelmsen Maritime Services (WMS) of Drew Marine’s technical solutions, fire, safety and rescue business has been rejected by Singapore's competition watchdog over concerns that the acquisition would lessen competition in the supply of products in Singapore, and may lead to price increases, deterioration in quality of products and/or service levels. In September, the UK Competition and Markets Authority gave the go-ahead to the deal after its review Phase 1 of the proposed deal, however the US Federal Trade Commission issued an administrative complaint in February and is seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the parties from consummating the merger, and to maintain the status quo pending an administrative hearing in July.
The International Maritime Organization approved the Bering Strait and Bering Sea ship routing measures proposed by the United States and Russian Federation. Taking effect Dec. 1, 2018, the six two-way routes and six precautionary areas are the first internationally recognized ship routing measures the IMO has approved for polar waters. Use of the proposed routes is intended to be voluntary for all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above. In November 2017, the US and Russia proposed a system of two-way routes for vessels to follow in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea in response to increased shipping traffic there.
The 99th session of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) concluded meeting this week with steps towards the safe, secure and environmentally sound Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) operations. MSC 99 endorsed a framework for a regulatory scoping exercise, as work in progress, including preliminary definitions of MASS and degrees of autonomy, as well as a methodology for conducting the exercise and a plan of work. A correspondence group on MASS was established to test the framework of the regulatory scoping exercise agreed at the session and, in particular, the methodology, and will report back to its next session, MSC 100 (3-7 December 2018).
IMO in 2017 adopted Strategic Directions for the Organization, including one on the integration of new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework - balancing the benefits derived from new and advancing technologies against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment and on international trade facilitation, the potential costs to the industry, and their impact on personnel, both onboard and ashore.
Closer to home, the Master Mariners of Canada has shared presentations from its Maritimes Division's symposium on Autonomous and Remote Control Ships held on April 25th.
In response to a 2016 study by the Seafarers International Research Centre that showed an increase in psychiatric disorders among those serving at sea and a deterioration in other aspects of seafarers’ mental health, shipping organisations have stepped up their approach to the problem. Marine insurer the American Club last year urged employers to take the mental health of their crew more seriously and now the UK Chamber has released its mental welfare policy guidelines to assist shipping companies in drawing up policies on mental wellbeing. The aim is to create awareness among management of the importance of good mental health among the seafaring workforce, and to support companies in fostering a culture that is conducive to improving the mental wellbeing of seafarers. The Chamber and the unions recommend that shipping companies draw up, agree and adopt policies on mental health awareness that are in line with the guidelines.
In an effort to end the reporting burden for ships, the European Commission has adopted a proposal from 13 member states to increase the harmonization of ship reporting requirements when calling at ports within the EU. The initiative led by Denmark plans to reduce the administrative burden on the industry by establishing a common IT interface and limiting the reporting of the same information and sharing data between member states. This has been part of our advocacy. Canada needs to reduce this administrative burden to stay competitive and implementation would be much easier.
Star Bulk Carriers has purchased 34 ships in less than one month and now has the biggest fleet of dry bulk ships among the New York-listed shipping companies. While the latest $328M transaction is yet to be approved by shareholders, the acquisition of 15 operating vessels from Songa Bulk ASA will bring Star Bulk's total fleet to 108 vessels with an aggregate cargo-carrying capacity of 12.26 million DWT. Star Bulk is also acquiring three newcastlemax newbuilds from Oceanbulk Container Carriers (OCC), a company owned by Oaktree Capital Management. “The combined Songa and OCC fleet is on average two years younger than our existing fleet with a similar fleet composition. Star Bulk will continue to be a consolidator in the dry bulk industry and expect that the acquisitions will provide Star Bulk with further synergies and economies of scale,” said Star Bulk CEO Petro Pappas.
During the 51st Committee meeting of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) in Cascais, Portugal, from the 7-11 May 2018, it was agreed that the signatories would start an information campaign starting January 2019 to encourage timely compliance of the new maximum limits for sulphur in ships fuel oil, entering into force on 1 January 2020 through the issuance of issuing warning letters. A new concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) will be also be carried out jointly with the Tokyo MOU from September to November 2018.
Also note, high importance was given to the report of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Safety of Navigation, including ECDIS1. The CIC was carried out from September to November 2017. The general conclusion was that the results show a good overall implementation of the requirements on board the ships inspected, although voyage planning remains an area of concern.
The Maersk Honam is scheduled to berth at the Port of Jebel Ali on May 22nd to finally begin the discharge of the intact containers nearly three months after the giant containership was hit by a major fire in the Indian Ocean. Operations are expected to take 4 to 7 days and the vessel salvor has asked for a salvage security in the amount of 42.5% of the cargo value plus an additional 11.5% required as a general average deposit. This means a shipper with goods worth $100,000 in a container faces a combined general average and salvage security bond bill of $54,000 to have the cargo released. Also MSC, Maersk Line's 2M partner, is requesting an amount of $750 per TEU to cover all additional transhipment, storage and on-carriage costs.
The CSL Group has entered into an agreement with SMT Shipping to acquire 50% of Eureka Shipping Ltd., SMT’s pneumatic cement vessel business. The new joint venture will allow Eureka and CSL to combine expertise, resources and innovative technologies to expand services to customers in the seaborne cement powder and fly ash transportation markets around the world. CSL’s Australian cement shipping business is not included in the joint venture. Eureka shipping operates a fleet of four cement carriers.
This week Teekay celebrated its 45th anniversary – 45 years of bringing energy to the world. Teekay has come a long way since our founder Torben Karlshoej established the company in New York in 1976 and in 1991 moved it to Vancouver. With more than 8000 employees worldwide and large and diverse fleet, the company takes the opportunity to reflect on their history, the man that started it all and the legacy he left behind at: http://teekay.com/blog/2018/05/08/45-years-strong/.
The Government of India's Ministry of Shipping has issued an order mandating the use of e-invoice, e-payment and eDelivery Order by all stakeholders in Maritime Trade in an effort to expedite approvals and delivery of shipments. The order instructs stakeholders across all ports, terminals, container freight stations and inland container depots to use the Port Community System (PCS), a centralized web-based message exchange platform for the Indian maritime community run by the Indian Ports Association (IPA), to exchange documents. PCS is linked to the Indian Customs Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data Interchange Gateway or ICEGATE, a portal that provides e-filing services to trade and cargo carriers and other clients of the Customs Department, enabling faster clearance. e-Invoice, e-Payment and e-Delivery Order features were added in the PCS over the past year.
Researchers have identified the hacking group behind several widescale business email compromise (BEC) attacks gouging the maritime shipping industry millions of dollars since last year. Gold Galleon’s targets include maritime shipping organizations – such as companies providing ship management services, port services and cash to master services. Because the shipping industry is globally dispersed and operates in different time zones, they are completely reliant on email for communication – and thus a “low hanging fruit” for BEC scams, said James Bettke, security researcher at SecureWorks, who led the research into the group. Gold Galleon appears to be a group of at least 20 cybercriminals, who likely are based in Nigeria. To mitigate attacks, SecureWorks suggests that potential victims implement two factor authentication, and inspect corporate email control panels for suspicious redirect rules.
The Tokyo MOU annual report on Port State Control in the Asia-Pacific Region for 2017 has been released. The report shows that the number of detentions during the year has decreased to 941 in 2017. This is the lowest number and the first time less than 1,000 during the past two decades. However, on the other hand, average number of detainable deficiencies per detention has been increasing in the last three years. As a result the Tokyo MOU expects to further enhance and strengthen measures on inspection of under-performing and substandard ships.
The European Union has issued its report on the results of the emissions control areas (ECAs) implemented the same time as the North America ECA on January 1, 2015 which mandates the use of marine fuels with a maximum 0.10% sulphur content in coastal areas. A high level of compliance was seen on inspected ships and this has lead to significant reduction of sulphur dioxides concentrations in ambient air in regions bordering the ECAs of up to 60%. The Commission is now considering additional ECAs and will also the benefits of lowering the sulphur content of marine fuels from 0,50% to 0,10% in European seas outside the ECAs as of 2020. The Commission also tasked EMSA to develop inventories of total ship emissions (SOx, NOx and PM) in all European waters based on ship activity data.
Ships laden with more than 1.2m tonnes of US sorghum bound for China may have no where to go amid the ongoing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. Twenty ships carrying more than $216m worth of sorghum were at sea today, according to Reuters, but least five of them had changed course within hours of China’s announcement this week that it would place stiff tariffs on the grain. China’s ministry of commerce said it would begin requiring deposits of 178.6% of the value of grain shipments. The five diverted sorghum ships, all loaded in Texas, would have had to pay that deposit, rendering their shipments unprofitable.
Last month the Panama Canal set a new milestone with its 3,000 Neopanamax transit with the transit of the MSC Caterina and just yesterday the Canal saw for the first time three LNG tankers crossing in one day. The three ships - Gaslog Hong Kong, Gaslog Gibraltar and Clean Ocean - made the transit within a 24 hour period and underscore how the LNG trade has surged worldwide. As of March 2018 the Canal has locked 134 LNG transits. Currently, the Panama Canal offers one of the seven Neopanamax reservation slots available per day to LNG shippers specifically, which currently average five transits per week. However, during periods of high seasonal demand, the waterway has transited two vessels in one day on 14 separate occasions. The Panama Canal Authority suggests that LNG volumes traversing the Canal could hit 30 million tonnes a year before the end of 2020.
CMA CGM SA has agreed to buy a 25% equity stake in global logistics operator Ceva Logistics in an effort to expand its reach in international supply chains beyond port-to-port transportation. Rodolphe Saade, chairman and CEO, said on Twitter today: “Together, the two companies will also explore possible cooperations, allowing us to propose an ever more differentiated and qualitative offering while integrating services beyond maritime transport.” The agreement is subject to the completion of the Ceva IPO and to approvals from various regulatory authorities.