News & Media

30 June, 2019

Australian Newsletter - Issue 580

US SEEKS ALLIES’ SUPPORT TO PROTECT PERSIAN GULF SHIPPING LANES
Source: Nick Wadhams (Bloomberg)
The US is seeking support from allies for a program to monitor commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf after attacks on tankers that the Trump administration has blamed on Iran. The effort is intended to deter Iran by equipping ships with cameras to monitor tanker traffic and document any threats, a senior State Department official told reporters on Monday. The official said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo sought participation from Saudi Arabia for the effort it’s calling “Sentinel” during a visit to the kingdom on Monday. The U.S. wants better safeguards for commercial ships that pass through the Strait of Hormuz, near where the U.S. accused Iran of attacking four oil tankers — a charge the Islamic Republic denies.  FULL STORY

US, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCE PLAN FOR PAPUA NEW GUINEA LNG PROJECT TO COUNTER CHINESE INFLUENCE
Source: Frank Fang (The Epoch Times)
Australia, Japan, and the United States have teamed up to finance a liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, as part of a trilateral initiative in the Indo-Pacific region announced in 2018. The initiative is widely viewed as the United States’ effort to challenge China’s influence in the region through the latter’s foreign policy of “One Belt, One Road.” Adopted in 2013, the strategy seeks to build Beijing’s geopolitical influence through financing infrastructure projects in more than 60 countries. The three Indo-Pacific allies will lend more than $1 billion for a LNG project in the Pacific island nation located just north of Australia, according to a June 25 report by Japanese media Nikkei.  FULL STORY

INDIA REDUCES AUSTRALIAN COAL IMPORTS
Source: Sudarshan Varadhan (news.com.au)
Supply interruptions have led India to decrease its dependence on Australian coking coal, by lifting imports from the US and Canada.
By increasing shipments of coking coal from the United States and Canada those countries' share has risen to a sixth of all Indian imports of the fuel. Australia's share in India's coking coal market fell to 71 per cent, or 36.91 million tonnes, during the year ended March 2019 - from about 88 per cent three years ago. Regular interruptions in India's main supplier over the last few years, including a flood in a major coal producing region in February and a cyclone which tore into Queensland in 2017, have caused worries about major supply disruptions in India.  FULL STORY

NEW DARWIN PORT WOULD 'COUNTERBALANCE' 99-YEAR CHINESE COMPANY LEASE, LIBERAL MP ARGUES
Source: Jano Gibson (ABC News)
Building a new port near Darwin would "counterbalance" a Chinese-company's 99-year lease of Darwin's existing port, according to the chair of Intelligence and Security Committee. The ABC has revealed the Commonwealth conducted preliminary planning to develop Glyde Point into a commercial maritime facility that could be used in the future by the Australian Navy and US Marines. If developed, the deep-sea port would be just 40 kilometres north-east of the Port of Darwin, which the NT Government controversially leased to Landbridge in 2015. Landbridge is a private company owned by Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng, who has close ties to the Communist Party of China.  FULL STORY

TOUGH TIMES FOR AUSTRALASIAN CONTAINER SHIPPING AS TRADE WAR RIPPLES SPREAD
Source: Sam Whelan (The Loadstar)
Australasia’s container supply chains have had a difficult first half, with trade war contagion signalling a fresh downturn on the horizon.
“The container shipping market within Australia and New Zealand has had a mixed year thus far, as we come into the peak import period,” noted Greg Paradine, Oceania product manager at Maersk. He said the carrier had seen a number of macroeconomic and environmental forces impact the market, resulting in both opportunities and challenges ahead. “For example, while dairy exports and project-related imports have delivered encouraging volumes, a downturn in consumer spending has hit the retail market in Australia.  FULL STORY

CALL FOR RETHINK ON LIVESTOCK SHIPPING HEAT STRESS MODEL
Source: Zach Relph (The West Australian)
A WA livestock carrier says a controversial proposed heat-stress model for voyages must be reassessed, after delivering more than 56,000 sheep to the Middle East with a 99.9 per cent voyage success rate. Wellard executive chairman John Klepec confirmed yesterday the company’s MV Ocean Drover arrived in Kuwait and United Arab Emirates in early June with 62 mortalities among the 56,915 sheep shipped. It marked a mortality total of 0.11 per cent aboard the Wellard-owned carrier, chartered by Perth-based exporter Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading for the journey, after it departed Fremantle Port on May 26. Despite the low mortality, the vessel — the last live-sheep shipment from WA before the three-month northern summer moratorium — would have remained docked if touted livestock exporting rules were enforced.  FULL STORY

THEVENARD PORT RESTORATION WORK TO BEGIN
Source: West Coast Sentinel
Flinders Ports has announced restoration work and improvements to the Port of Thevenard jetty will commence this week. The company will undertake the works to ensure the jetty remains viable for commercial and recreational use well into the future. The project, which is expected to cost $15 million, will see significant maintenance and renewal works performed to the existing 235-metre structure following the successful approval of the project's development application. Improvements will also include a slight widening of the jetty deck and the installation of craneage points to facilitate future maintenance activity.  FULL STORY

ALTURA DELIVERS RECORD LITHIUM CARGO AT PILGANGOORA
Source: Vanessa Zhou (Australian Mining)
Altura Mining has reported a strong increase in its quarterly sales from the Pilgangoora lithium operation in Western Australia, culminating in a record shipment for the company. The company loaded its single cargo record (on the vessel Pacific Pioneer) of 13,700 dry metric tonnes, building on Pilgangoora’s current quarterly sales of 38,600 dry metric tonnes. Its plant performance at the operation also continued to improve with steady increases in both production capacity and recoveries. The daily production in June has climbed on a target of 640 tonnes a day to up to 815 tonnes of spodumene concentrate in a 24-hour period.  FULL STORY

MELON TRIAL SEEDS THE FUTURE OF REFRIGERATED EXPORTS OUT OF TOWNSVILLE
Media Release (Port of Townsville)
A refrigerated sea container trial is underway at Port of Townsville, building capacity for horticultural exports direct from north Queensland.
The trial, with specialty melons, will run for three weeks to provide primary information on optimal harvest time and shelf life validation for sea transportation of Burdekin-grown fruit to Asia. Port of Townsville’s Trade Development Manager Maria James said, "At present growers in north Queensland send their produce south for export, which adds to their supply chain costs and delivery time… The success of this trial could assist the region's growers by reducing transportation costs and ensuring their customers are getting faster fresher produce, boosting the capacity and sustainability of north Queensland's horticultural sector."

PORT NAPIER SHARE FLOAT AND NZX LISTING GIVEN GO AHEAD
Source: Chris Hutching (Stuff)
Napier Port's contentious partial privatisation is going ahead following approval of the sale of 45 per cent of the shares by Hawke's Bay Regional Council. The share float, estimated to provide the council with about $180 million, will include a priority offer for Hawke's Bay residents and non-resident ratepayers, iwi and port staff. Napier Port chairman Alasdair MacLeod said the port company had been working hard to prepare for the share offer. The share offer will be launched in mid-July, with listing on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in August.  FULL STORY

WHANGANUI COULD BENEFIT FROM FUTURE GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT IN 'BLUE HIGHWAY'
Source: Sue Dudman (Whanganui Chronicle)
Government investment in New Zealand's "blue highway" would fit nicely with Whanganui's port redevelopment plan, mayor Hamish McDouall says. The Government has signalled it intends to pump more money into developing coastal shipping facilities, with Transport Minister Phil Twyford saying on Tuesday a funding announcement would be made before next year's election. Twyford signalled the Government's intentions to develop coastal shipping alongside rail. "There is a lot of freight that can actually be shifted on the blue highway and so we want to get roads, rail and coastal shipping working together in an integrated way." The Government announced in the Budget it would spend $1 billion on New Zealand's rail network. Although none of the $1b was going into coastal shipping, the Government has an announcement planned in this area.  FULL STORY


NZ CHINA COUNCIL'S SOUTHERN LINK PROPOSAL RIPE FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT
Source: Stephen Forbes (Interest.co.nz)
Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker says the New Zealand China Council’s (NZCC) Southern Link proposal has the potential to provide a major boost. Parker was speaking at the council’s Southern Link Conference. NZCC wants to see New Zealand become a freight, logistics and e-commerce hub between Asia and South America as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. “There is an opportunity to make New Zealand a major and natural connection point between China and South America – it’s called the Southern Link. China’s BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] provides a framework to make it a reality,” NZCC press statement from last month says.  FULL STORY

DUBBO ROUNDTABLE FOCUSES ON MAKING REGIONAL NSW MORE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE
Media Release (Port of Newcastle)
Businesses across regional New South Wales - including Great Western Plains and the state's Central West and North-West - would boost their international competitiveness by cutting the cost of transporting a standard shipping container by up to $455. About 40 local government and industry representatives - including the logistics, agriculture, meat, food production, fuels and mining sectors - gathered in Dubbo on Monday to further explore supply chain challenges and opportunities across the region.  Port of Newcastle also provided an update on a $1.8 billion entirely privately-funded investment to build a container terminal. FULL STORY

AUSTRALIAN PORTS BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS CONFERENCE OPENS IN TOWNSVILLE
Media Release (Port of Townsville)
More than 130 maritime and logistics experts gathered at the Port of Townsville on Wednesday for the opening of the Australian Ports Business and Operations Conference. The conference started with a tour of the port followed with a demonstration of a pilot transfer by helicopter conducted by Aviator Group. Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said with the volume of freight moving across Queensland expected to grow more than 20 per cent over the next decade, ports were critical to the state’s economy. “Our publicly-owned ports are a tremendous asset and our government has recognised the need to invest in them”, Mr Bailey said.

FIRST RORO VESSEL IN PORT HEDLAND – A BONUS FOR INDUSTRY
Source: Sue Terpilowski (seanews.co.uk)
The Port of Port Hedland has welcomed its first conventional roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessel, giving industry a more cost-effective way of delivering cargo to the region. The 180m ‘Blue Ridge Highway’ arrived on Saturday evening and left Sunday morning. The visit was the culmination of 18 months of planning by Pilbara Ports Authority, vessel owners K-Line and cargo receivers Sumitomo. The vessel started its journey in Japan and stopped at Fremantle Port on its way to Port Hedland. The vessel’s cargo of offshore piping had been pre-assembled onto 22 separate trailers. The RORO vessel’s deck design allowed the cargo to be unloaded in approximately 1.5 hours.  FULL STORY

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