564 ROyal Caribbean


Royal Caribbean Cruises has lowered its profit outlook following the Trump Administration’s ban on American cruises docking in Cuba. While the affected sailings impact only 3 percent of the company’s 2019 sailings, they have indicated that the regulatory change will lead to a reduction to the adjusted EPS for 2019 in the range of USD 0.25 to USD 0.35 per share.



564 US Port INfrastucture


US Congress has authorized $292.73 million for Port Infrastructure Development Program grants to provide grants for a broad range of improvements within, or around, coastal seaports to improve safety, reliability, or efficiency. The grant funding is broken down into two categories: $200 million is available for infrastructure improvements at all coastal seaports, and $92.73 million is allocated to fund improvements at the 15 coastal seaports that handled the greatest number of loaded foreign and domestic TEUs in 2016.



564 Carnival


Carnival has been slapped with a $20M fine for violating probation after an ocean pollution conviction. In 2016, the company paid a $40M after pleading guilty to the charges and were placed on a five-year probation. Carnival reached the $20M settlement with federal prosecutors after its ships were found to be continuing to pollute the oceans. The company plead guilty to the charges and admitted to dumping grey water in prohibited places, knowingly allowing plastic to be discharged with food waste, and falsifying compliance documents. Future violations could result in prison time and criminal fines for individuals and executives could be held personally liable. Carnival has promised to implement additional audits to check for violations, a restructuring of the company's compliance and training programs, a better system for reporting environmental violations to state and federal agencies, and improved waste management practices.



564 C48


Managers of the Port of Cleveland and other ports around the Great Lakes say they’re being overlooked in the national conversation about America’s crumbling infrastructure. Ports are the place where ships and barges meet trucks and trains, where water meets rail and road and deserve to be made a priority in infrastructure investments. Historically, there hasn’t been any regular infrastructure appropriations from Congress or state legislatures. Currently, to fix or improve their facilities, port officials must either finance the projects themselves vie for discretionary federal grants. However, there may be a shift underway, as for the first time, Congress has set aside $293 million dollars for ports.



Friday, 07 June 2019 13:36

US Bans Cruises to Cuba

564 Cuba


The Trump administration has banned cruises to Cuba under new restrictions on US travel, imposed to pressure the island to stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The ban applies to passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, as well as private and corporate aircraft. The ban came into effect with no advance notice, giving cruise lines no grace period to change destinations and creating confusion among cruise passengers.





The US Coast Guard has issued a safety bulletin warning of renewed phishing and malware attacks targeting commercial shipping. Hackers are attempting to gain sensitive information including the content of an official Notice of Arrival (NOA) using email addresses that pose as an official Port State Control authority. Additionally, the Coast Guard has received reports of malicious software designed to disrupt shipboard computer systems. The Coast Guard has urged vessel owners and operators to be on alert for suspicious messages. See the full bulletin here: https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO%20Documents/5p/MSIB/2019/MSIB_004_19.pdf



563 humpback whale


A young humpback whale was struck by a ferry in Seattle as it was coming up for air. With both whale migrations and ship traffic in the Salish Sea increasing, this may become a more regular issue moving forward. After being virtually eradicated from the Salish Sea by Vancouver Island whalers in the early 1900s, humpbacks have rebounded in the Northwest. Last summer, about 200 humpbacks entered the inland waters, mostly near Sekiu in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while only a half-dozen or so continued to Puget Sound.



Friday, 24 May 2019 13:37

US Rail demurrage under review

550 Rail Delays


Earlier this week the US Surface Transportation Board (STB) grilled railroad executives about demurrage and accessorial policies, a hot-button issue with shippers that believe the fees are used as a revenue generator after revenue surged more than 29 percent in 2018.  Railroads told the STB that demurrage fees are designed to encourage timely pickup of cargo and allow for better service to all customers. However, shippers noted a lack of reciprocity in assessing such charges if the railroad were to cause a delay.



562 Skip Sailings


Container carriers are continuing blank sailings as US imports from China continue to fall. Shipments have declined 6 percent year over year to 3.5 million TEU in the first four months of the 2019 according to PIERS. There were 22 blank sailings to the West Coast through February and early March. Additionally, carriers are starting to take vessels out of services to prepare the ships for the transition to the low-sulphur fuel requirements effective January 1, 2020.



Port of Virginia


The Port of Virginia has unveiled ‘Smart Stack’, its rail strategy designed to make the Port more desirable for shippers. The Port has made significant investments to connect its container terminals to the national networks of Class I railroads. For its rail services, the port authority has invested $25 million in on-dock track and related infrastructure, $18 million in rail cargo-handling equipment and $4 million in supporting information technology. At VIG Terminal, the port has doubled its on-dock rail capacity, with the final piece of that expansion work to be completed at the end of May. The expanded rail yard at VIG includes more than 20,000 linear feet of track, which is served by four new cantilever, rail-mounted gantry cranes.



561 Houston


The Genesis River, a 755-foot LPG tanker, collided with the tug Voyager near Bayport, Texas last Friday, resulting in a spill that has caused part of the Houston Ship Channel to close. The tug was transporting two barges loaded with the gasoline blend stock Reformate. One barge has capsized, and one is reported damaged. Each barge was loaded with an estimated 25,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock, and media report estimate that 9,000 barrels were released from the damaged barge. Oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage attended the scene. As of Wednesday, the Houston Ship Channel reopened to two-way traffic.



Friday, 17 May 2019 13:45

New York rejects natural gas project

561 Pipeline


A bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply has been rejected by authorities. The proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project included about 37 km of submarine pipeline off New York City’s coast. The nearly $1 billion plan was denied by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which cited concerns over water quality and aquatic life. Its rejection follows similar decisions on natural gas projects made recently by Washington State and Los Angeles.



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