IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted (on 26 October) the action plan, to contribute to the global solution for preventing marine plastic litter entering the oceans through ship based activities. Discharging plastics into the sea is already prohibited under regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which also oblige governments to ensure adequate port reception facilities to receive ship waste. Under the London Convention and Protocol on the dumping of wastes at sea, only permitted materials can be dumped and this waste has to be fully assessed to ensure it does not contain harmful materials like plastic litter. IMO Member States meeting in the MEPC agreed actions to be completed by 2025, which relate to all ships, including fishing vessels.
The UN Security Council has renewed for one year, its authorization allowing Member States to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya, as long as there are reasonable grounds for suspicion that they are being used for smuggling migrants or human trafficking. Members States must make good-faith efforts to obtain the consent of the vessel’s flag State before performing that authority. The authorizations apply only with respect to migrant smuggling and human trafficking on the high seas off Libya’s coast, and will not affect the rights, obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It also said that the authorizations do not apply to vessels entitled to sovereign immunity under international law.
In what it says is an industry first Maersk will provide confirmation of a container booking in seconds compared to waiting times of up to two hours in the past. With the solution Maersk customers get visibility of sailing options and vessel space with a certainty that a booking will not then be cancelled. Maersk said that previously 10% of bookings were either rejected or put on an alternative sailing generating 15% of all the company customer service calls and chats, and some 200,000 emails monthly. The instant booking confirmation is currently available to all customers in a beta version. Maersk will also be introducing online booking via the Maersk App allowing instant bookings directly from mobile devices.
The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC) has provided assistance in 150 oil spill incidents since its inception in 1978. IOPC-funds began with the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1967, were it was clearly demonstrated that there was a need for an effective international regime to pay for damages caused by major oils spills. The IOPC-funds are financed by contributions from organizations receiving oil shipments by sea in ports and terminals located in the IOPC member states.
Cargo shipping in Russia’s northern territorial waters has increased by more than four times since 2013 according to the department head at the Northern Sea Route Administration. As of October 1st, the volume of cargo transported reached 13 million tons, a marked increase over the 3 million tons shipped 5 years ago. The Northern Sea Route, operating in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, is the shortest passage connecting the European part of Russia with the country’s Far East Regions. This route halves the transportation time compared to routes through the Panama and Suez Canals.
The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has posted a good summary of the discussions and decisions coming out of this week's IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee's (MEPC) 73rd session online. Much of the discussion focussed on the implementation on the new 0.50% sulphur global cap for marine fuels from January 1, 2020. Further amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to prohibit not just the use, but also carriage of bunkers above 0.50% sulphur on ships (unless they have approved abatement technology onboard) were adopted and set to take effect from 1 March, 2020.
A $20-billion bridge connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai opened this week, marking the completion of the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built, nine years after construction began. The bridge is 55 km long and with 6.7 km of it consisting of an undersea tunnel, equivalent to the height of 60 Eiffel Towers. The mega-structure is supported by three cable-stayed bridges and designed to withstand typhoon-force winds of up to 340 km an hour. The bridge will shorten the driving time from Hong Kong International Airport to Zhuhai from four hours to just 45 minutes, as well as halving the commuting time between the ports.
The Trump administration is pushing to ease the rollout of the IMO’s global sulphur cap that is set to take effect on January 1, 2020. The administration is concerned that the surge in demand for specific fuels will affect all commodity markets and prices for crude, diesel and other petroleum products. The White House is gauging the support of other countries for a more staggered approach and is backing proposals for enforcement of the new measures to gradually increase over time, an approach that will be discussed at at the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee meetings next week. Major flag states like Panama, Liberia and the Marshall Islands along with trade bodies have said the IMO should examine a possible “grace period” of a few months until all oceangoing vessels empty their tanks of high-sulfur fuel.
The Rhine River’s water level has slumped to its lowest in more than a decade, choking off fuel supplies to key European markets. Water levels have been affected by severe drought and are forecast to fall even further to 35 centimetres. Fuel stockpiles in the region are rising as most oil barge movements have been restricted and passenger liners have stopped transits since Monday. Thyssenkrupp declared force majeure as the delivery of raw materials to its Duisburg plant has been disrupted. Meanwhile the dried-out riverbed has exposed all kinds of objects, including a 50-kilo World War II bomb that will have to be defused in the coming days.
Japanese container line joint venture Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Hapag-Lloyd concluded a bi-lateral feeder agreement that will initially cover trades in intra-Asia and intra-Europe. Under the terms of a “bilateral strategic feeder network cooperation agreement,” the lines will share space on their respective feeder vessels. Since the reorganization of the alliance structure, Mr Habben Jansen, Hapag-Lloyd CEO has repeatedly said that lines would likely deepen their cooperation beyond the deep-sea trades into feeder, and even possibly in-land haulage, operations. ONE and Hapag-Lloyd are both members of THE Alliance on the long haul trades.
The Panama Canal closed its 2018 fiscal year with a record tonnage of 442.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), representing a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year. With this number, the Panama Canal surpasses the cargo projections of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons for FY 2018, as well as the 403.8 million PC/UMS tons registered in FY 2017. The increase was driven by the transit of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, containerships, chemical tankers and vehicle carriers. Panama Canal said that the main users during the period were the US, China, Mexico, Chile and Japan, while some 62.8 percent of the total cargo transiting the canal had its origin or destination in the United States.
Tim Wickmann has been appointed as the new Managing Director for the World Shipping Council’s new Asian office to be located in Singapore. Mr. Wickmann served most recently as CEO of MCC Transport, the Intra Asian arm of Maersk Line, and has worked in various leadership positions in international liner shipping for the last three decades.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) annual Review of Maritime Transport indicates that total maritime trade volumes reached 10.7 billion tons in 2017, an increase of 411 million tons or 4 percent, half of which was dry bulk commodities. A similar 4 percent growth is anticipated this year. Global containerized trade increased by 6.4 percent in 2017. While the liner shipping industry saw further consolidation through mergers and acquisitions and global alliance restructuring. The three global liner shipping alliances that dominate capacity deployed on the three major east–west container routes (the 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance) collectively account for 93 percent of deployed capacity.
Pacific International Lines [PIL], a Singapore-based shipping company announced its collaboration with multinational information technology giant, IBM (Singapore). The partnership is aimed at improving the process of documentation in supply chain management through blockchain trials designed to create an electronic bill of lading (e-BL). Additionally, it has garnered support from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The e-BL would mean that shipping companies would no longer have to depend on hard copies of the document and effectively diminishing unnecessary handling costs, potentially making the supply chain more organized and efficient.
Following the fatal Maersk Honam fire that claimed the lives of five seafarers, Maersk has implemented new guidelines on stowage of dangerous goods to improve safety across its containership fleet of over 750 ships. The principles behind their risk-based dangerous goods stowage plan includes a review of over 3,000 UN classed hazardous materials, the different ship containership designs, and six different risk zones. In the coming months, a review aimed at creating best management practices for dangerous goods stowage will be undertaken with participation from ABS, Lloyds Register, the International Group of P and I Clubs, National Cargo Bureau, the TT Club and Exis Technologies. Once the project is completed the best management practices will be published and presented to the IMO.
Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has released details of its plans to build 20 new container ships, including 12 vessels of 23,000 TEU each. All of the orders will go to Korean yards, in keeping with the goals of South Korea's state-backed shipbuilding program. Five of the 23,000 TEU class ships will be built by Samsung Heavy Industries, and the remaining seven will be built at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). The eight smaller ships - 14,000 TEU each - will be contracted to Hyundai Heavy Industries, and will be delivered in 2021.
NYK has completed a new concept for a ship's bridge and employed it on a large containership currently being managed by the NYK Group. The new bridge concept has been given the name “Integrated information and bridge system,” and the space and nautical instruments on this new bridge have been optimally, ergonomically arranged and designed to take advantage of IoT aspects of instruments and to improve the safety and efficiency of vessel operation. The shape of the bridge has been optimized to ensure clear sight from a sitting position. The layout has also been enhanced to improve the work environment and reduce weariness during navigational watches.