News & Media

09 February, 2020

Australasia Newsletter

CAN A SHIPOWNER REFUSE TO CALL A PORT DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS?
Source: Marcus Hand (Seatrade Maritime News)
As countries place restrictions on the crews and vessels that have called ports in China lawyers have been grappling with the question of whether a ship can refuse to call at port due to fears of coronavirus.
Looking at the question of whether an owner can refuse to call an affected port law firm Ince said that generally an owner was obliged to comply with the charterers orders under a time charter unless doing so exposes the vessel to a safety risk. “It is currently unclear whether the virus is at a stage where it may render a port ‘unsafe’ according to the legal definition. The position will have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis,” Ince said.  FULL STORY

CORONAVIRUS: 16 CHINESE PORTS OFFER REDUCED CHARGES
Source: Katherine Si (Seatrade Maritime News)
Sixteen Chinese ports and port groups have started to offer exemptions and reductions in port charges as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus could see reduction in port calls as industries in China are shut down in an extended Chinese New Year holiday. China’s central government have announced the extension on the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays till 9 February with a recommendation on work suspension and social activities restriction to contain the outbreak.  FULL STORY

CORONAVIRUS TO COMPLICATE AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING
Source: Argus Media
The Australian government's decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on vessels that leave mainland China after 1 February bound for Australian ports will cause scheduling issues for Australian energy and mineral shipments. Pilots, who are used to guide bulk carriers, LNG carriers and other vessels into most Australian ports, and other Australia-based workers will not board vessels that left mainland China after 1 February until they have passed a 14-day quarantine period. This could cause delays for vessels arriving from China to Australian iron ore, LNG, bauxite and other mineral loading terminals in Western Australian (WA), the Northern Territory and far north Queensland, which are usually less than a 14-day journey from key Chinese ports.  FULL STORY

FLAG OF CONVENIENCE SHIPPING STILL CONTRIBUTING TO WELFARE BREACHES ON FOREIGN SHIPS ENTERING AUSTRALIAN PORTS
Source: Jemima Burt (ABC News)
Since the start of 2018, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has detained 31 ships docking in Australia for breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) — the international standard for the working and living conditions of seafarers.
The Mission to Seafarers is a registered charity and arm of the Anglican Church which has branches all over the world offering hospitality, internet and transport to workers when they come ashore. Its Gladstone arm works with about 15,000 of the 60,000 seafarers — shipping industry workers — who arrive to the port city every year.  FULL STORY

IRON ORE OUTLOOK BEARISH AS STEEL DEMAND SEEN WEAK ON CORONAVIRUS
Source: Commodity News (Hellenic Shipping News)
The outlook for iron ore is negative with steel demand seen weak due to the coronavirus, overshadowing recent supply tightness out of Brazil, according to market sources contacted over the past few days.
The only new factor pointing to possible further tightness is a storm off the north of West Australia’s coast that is seen as likely to develop into tropical cyclone Damien, which is likely to head toward the Pilbara coast and the Walcott and Dampier ports, key loading centres for iron ore.  Although the current situation still remains highly volatile with estimates of the exact storm path and strength still largely unclear, any impact on loading schedules could place further strain on supplies that have already been tightened due to the monsoon season in Brazil.  FULL STORY

POWERFUL CYCLONE TO SLAM WESTERN AUSTRALIA PORTS
Source: Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist (Freight Waves)
Tropical Cyclone Damien is on a collision course with the Pilbara coast in northwestern Australia, with two container ports in its path.
Damien formed on Thursday in warm waters off the state of Western Australia. It’s set to be the first severe tropical cyclone to make landfall in Australia this season.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is forecasting a coastal landfall between the ports of Dampier and Hedland on Saturday.  FULL STORY

PORT OF MELBOURNE TO RECEIVE ON-DOCK RAIL
Source: Kim Ho (Infra Structure) 
The Victorian Government has approved a $125 million in on-dock rail infrastructure to be built at Port of Melbourne.
The Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP) aims to get more freight onto trains, take trucks off local roads and improve Port of Melbourne’s productivity.
The port’s rail solution will be developed over 2020-2022 and will see more containers moved by rail more efficiently, by-passing roads in inner Melbourne.
Port rail shuttle trains will have a capacity of 84 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) containers, in comparison to a B-Double truck having a capacity of three TEU.  FULL STORY

MEASURES IN PLACE AT TASMANIAN PORTS TO PREVENT SPREAD OF WUHAN CORONAVIRUS
Source: Emily Jarvie (The Advocate)
Precautionary measures have been put in place at all Tasmanian ports to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
TasPorts executive general manager corporate affairs Kate Dean said the organisation was working alongside authorities including Biosecurity Tasmania and Customs and in consultation with relevant government agencies to ensure appropriate measures were in place at the state's ports. "TasPorts has implemented additional precautionary measures, including [that] all ships departing China must have passed a 14 day period before they may berth at a Tasmanian port," Ms Dean said.  FULL STORY

LAUNCH OF “SEAFARER CONNECT”
Source: Mirage News
Tas Bull Seafarers Foundation - Launch of Australian-First Service To Address Seafarer Isolation 
An Australian-first initiative to provide a WIFI signal and internet access for visiting Seafarers on ships visiting Australian ports called “Seafarer Connect” has been launched in Sydney at a meeting of the International Transport Workers’ Federation Offshore Task Force and Cabotage Committees. 
An initiative of the not-for-profit Tas Bull Seafarers Foundation (TBSF), a trial of the programme at Port Botany for the past three months has proved to be an outstanding success.   FULL STORY

PORT AUTHORITY OF NSW TO RE-EXAMINE SHIP-TO-SHORE POWER FEASIBILITY
Source: Christian Fleetwood (Travel Weekly.com.au)
The Port Authority of NSW will re-examine its position on the economic feasibility of implementing shore power for cruise vessel across the state.
In the wake of a growing number of ports around the world considering shore power as an emissions control strategy, the state-owned corporation says it will commission a supplementary report on whether shore power is now a cost-effective strategy for White Bay Cruise Terminal. A feasibility study found three years ago that ship-to-shore power was too expensive, which led the state government in 2017 to rule it out due to the $36 million cost of installing the technology.  FULL STORY

MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA SAYS 'NO EXCUSE' FOR GOVERNMENT DELAY ON CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES
Source: Emily Laurence (ABC News)
Australia's maritime union has accused the Federal Government of being too slow to provide guidelines to the industry on how to deal with potential coronavirus cases entering the country's ports.
The Department of Health last night released protocols to the shipping industry on dealing with the highly infectious disease, more than two weeks after additional biosecurity measures were put in place at Sydney airport to meet passengers flying from China's Wuhan.
The release comes as a coal carrier is anchored off Queensland with a sick seafarer onboard.  FULL STORY

CARGO THROUGHPUT GROWTH FOR MACKAY 
Source: Heavy Lift and Project Forwarding International
Australia’s port of Mackay has seen 29,976 freight tonnes of breakbulk cargo traverse its wharves during January. North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) told HLPFI that January had been one of its busiest months for breakbulk cargoes. “Additionally, there has been a shift in the diversity of the cargo, which is encouraging,” added NQBP. “Cargo manufactured in Europe and Central America is being handled at the port of Mackay, which represents further changes to the OEM supply chains.”  FULL STORY

CORONAVIRUS SHUTS DOWN GISBORNE LOG EXPORTS 'UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE'
Source: GisbourneHerald.co.nz
Gisborne’s log exports to China are expected to come to a shuddering halt, due to exporters' fears over the spread of the mysterious and deadly Coronavirus in China.
The vast majority of log exports from here go to China but Eastland Port operator Eastland Group say some exporters had halted exports to China. This morning, Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum confirmed to The Gisborne Herald the South Korea-bound log-ship Naruto Strait, in port today, would be the last log ship to be loaded “until further notice.” “This is a challenging time, globally and locally, and the impacts are now being felt across New Zealand and here in Tairawhiti.  FULL STORY

NORTHLAND'S MAYORS ASK FOR DONATIONS TO LOBBY FOR FIVE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
Source: Denise Piper (Stuff.co.nz)
Northland's three mayors are pushing for five major infrastructure projects to come to Northland, including moving Ports of Auckland'simports to Northport.
The campaign, called Kia Kaha Northland, is aimed at pressuring Jacinda Ardern and other decision-makers who will "determine Northland's economic prosperity for the next 100 years", the mayors said in a combined press release. The Government is considering all five projects or has committed to fund part of the work – including a dry dock and naval base in Whangārei, Northport expansion, four-laning from Auckland to Whangārei, and a rail line and spur to Marsden Point. But the campaign has already hit its first snag – a need for funding.  FULL STORY

KIWIRAIL DETAILS $1B INFRASTRUCTURE SPEND
Source: Nona Pelletier (RNZ.co.nz)
KiwiRail is already locking in suppliers and specialist services as it prepares to spend the government's cash injection to upgrade and expand the national rail network.
The government has allocated more than $1 billion on major big rail projects over the next four years, in addition to $200m to develop rail freight services in Northland. "It's a good problem to have," said KiwiRail chief operating officer capital projects David Gordon, who is responsible for coordinating the rollout of the state-owned enterprise's many infrastructure projects over the next few years.  FULL STORY

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