News & Media

11 October, 2019

Australian Newsletter - Issue 595

COSCO TANKERS GO DARK AMID U.S. SANCTIONS
Source: gCaptain.com
According to Reuters About one-third of the oil tankers owned by COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) have shut off their ship-tracking transponders since the United States imposed sanctions on the company for allegedly shipping Iranian crude, shipping data showed. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 7, a total of 14 COSCO Dalian ships, six of which carry some oil, stopped sending location data from their automatic identification system (AIS), ship tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon showed. The U.S. imposed the sanctions on Sept. 25. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires AIS transceivers be fitted to commercial and passenger vessels for safety and transparency purposes. The devices can be turned off manually by a ship’s crew for legitimate reasons such as avoiding detection in piracy or high-risk zones. FULL STORY

BREAK BULK MARKETS SQUEEZED BY PORTS AND ALTERNATIVE COMPETITORS
Source: Jim Wilson (Freightwaves)
Break bulk is a shrinking market. Pure-play break bulk operators are being squeezed as governments and seaport operators around the world boost local infrastructure while ro-ro, box ship and dry bulk operators simultaneously try to grab market share. At one end of the break bulk market are crane-equipped general cargo ships. They tend to run a liner-like service and seek "triangulation" — i.e. to carry cargo on each leg of a long sea-going voyage consisting of several trade lanes. The end goal is to return to the point of origin without ever having suffered an empty ship.  FULL STORY

US-CHINA TRADE WAR HITS AUSTRALIAN WOODCHIP INDUSTRY AS SHIPMENTS CANCELLED
Source: Mercer, Bennett and Robinson (ABC)
Australia's $1.4-billion plantation woodchip industry has been dragged into the US-China trade war, with a number of shipments to the Asian economic powerhouse cancelled in the fallout from the dispute. Amid fading hopes of a speedy breakthrough in the trade war, timber exporters have been hit by falling demand for woodchips from Chinese paper mills, which have become the industry's biggest customers. Since July, at least three ships that were supposed to take Australian woodchips to China have been cancelled or deferred, and there are fears further consignments could be affected. While shipments from Albany on Western Australia's south coast have been hit hardest, it's believed other woodchip export hubs in South Australia and Victoria have also been disrupted.  FULL STORY

COAL AND LNG LIFT TRADE FOR QUEENSLAND
Source: Stephanie Roker (Dry Bulk)
Strong global demand for coal and LNG has lifted Queensland’s export numbers by 13.8% to AUS$87.4 billion over the 12 months to August 2019 according to the latest trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the strong result showed the ongoing importance of the resources sector to the state’s economy. “Coal exports grew by 11.5% or an extra AUS$3.9 billion while Queensland’s second most valuable export, gas is also enjoying strong volumes, with EnergyQuest’s data showing Queensland sent 8.2 petajoules of gas to other states while exporting 27 cargos of LNG worth AUS$1.42 billion in August,” Macfarlane said.  FULL STORY

BUILDING A RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE PORT OF BRISBANE
Source: portbris.com.au
Port of Brisbane – Queensland’s largest multi-cargo port and the third largest in Australia – has today released its Sustainability Report 2018/19, outlining its sustainability progress and achievements for the year. PBPL CEO, Roy Cummins, said as Port Manager, PBPL was taking a lead role to continue building a more resilient and sustainable port for customers, stakeholders and the broader Queensland community. “Port of Brisbane is a thriving and growing community, home to over 73 businesses that support thousands of jobs and is the import/export gateway for Queensland and northern New South Wales,” said Mr Cummins. “The strategy aligns to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and reports against the internationally recognised GRI Framework. FULL STORY

FROZEN BEEF EXPORTED FROM TOWNSVILLE'S PORT
Source: Jessica Johnson (Queensland Country Life)
FROZEN boxed beef has been shipped from Townsville for the first time in over a decade, in a move that could open up new export opportunities for producers. About 18 tonnes of frozen beef was shipped from the Port of Townsville to Asia on Friday. Mackay abattoir, Thomas Borthwick & Sons (Australia) Pty Ltd, which processes around 2400 head of cattle a week, mainly for Chinese and Japanese markets, is undertaking a trial from Townsville as a northern supply chain alternative. Borthwick's general manager Jason Delaney said the company exported about 30 containers a week. "Townsville would give us a lot more flexibility and the distance is closer so overall it's going to give us a better turnaround,'' Mr Delaney said. "Long term the potential is massive for us especially if we can get a rail service through to Townsville.  FULL STORY

ONE IN A MELON CHANCE TO GROW QUEENSLAND EXPORTS FROM TOWNSVILLE
Source: Mirage News
High-value melons grown in North Queensland using innovative new techniques could soon be making their way onto supermarket shelves across Asia. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said his department was working with growers and the Port of Townsville to explore how the high-quality fruit can be successfully grown and exported as part of the Growing Queensland’s Food Exports pilot program. “Queensland is the food bowl of Australia and I want to see more of our wonderful produce making its way onto dinner plates all around the world,” Mr Furner said.  FULL STORY

ONSLOW MARITIME FACILITY STEP CLOSER TO OPENING
Source: DredgingToday.com
The vision for Onslow to become a key marine hub is a step closer with dredging to allow larger commercial vessels to operate from the Beadon Creek facility, almost completed. The Department of Transport, WA, has been working with the Onslow Marine Support Base for seven years to redevelop the Beadon Creek Facility. Transport Minister Rita Saffioti commented: “This will be another milestone in the transformation of the Onslow (Beadon Creek) Maritime Facility to a key hub for the marine sector servicing the offshore oil and gas industry.” FULL STORY

WESTUG GOES LIVE WITH AI-ASSISTED DISPATCH IN PORT HEDLAND
Source: Maritime Executive
Perth-based Harbour towage operator, Westug Pty Ltd this week announced their successful start with the OptiPort AI-assisted Dispatch system in its new Port Hedland operation. The system is in place to ensure long-term, efficient and sustainable towage services in the port on behalf of KOTUG for Fortescue Metals Group. The announcement was made alongside the official start of Westug’s towage operations in the world’s leading and largest dry bulk export port with an annual export volume of over 500 million tons of iron ore, 35 percent of which is supplied by Fortescue and is now the fourth port globally to use AI-assisted dispatch in its operations.  FULL STORY

IRON ORE INDUSTRY TO CONTINUE DRIVING AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE ECONOMIC GROWTH
Source: Fortescue
Australia’s iron ore industry contributes relatively more to the nation’s economy than the entire accommodation and food services and information media and telecommunications sectors, according to new modelling commissioned by Fortescue Metals Group. The EY report found that the iron ore industry contributed A$58.7 billion in Gross Value Add (GVA) to Australia in FY19, representing 32 per cent of the total GVA of the resources industry. Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said the iron ore industry was well recognised as one of the most significant contributors to the Australian economy. FULL STORY

FLINDERS PORT HOLDINGS TO DEVELOP 50-YEAR MASTERPLAN FOR 7 PORTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Source: Worldmaritimenews.com
Port owner and operator Flinders Port Holdings intends to develop a new 50-year masterplan to guide the short, medium and long-term development of the seven South Australian ports under its control, including the container terminal at Port Adelaide. The new masterplan is expected to be one of the “most complex and far-reaching” port development plans undertaken in Australia given that it will include multiple commodities across Port Adelaide, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln, Port Giles, Klein Point, Wallaroo and Thevenard, as well as several business streams within the group. These include Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal, Flinders Logistics, and Flinders Warehousing & Distribution and Flinders Ports.  FULL STORY

GEELONG RAIL IMPROVEMENTS REACH FINAL STAGE BEFORE HARVEST
Source: insideconstruction.com.au
Final improvement works are being made to key Victorian freight rail infrastructure to ensure the year’s grain harvest can make its way to the Port of Geelong quickly and efficiently. Upgrades will be undertaken on signalling systems in the North Geelong and North Shore area, the final stages of works through the Geelong C Box Project. Before the upgrades, rail signals had to be changed by hand, which slowed down grain exports and limits the type of trains that can access the terminal. As a result of the works, more grain trains will be able to travel to Victoria’s grain growing regions to the Port of Geelong before being shipped internationally. FULL STORY

NSW MAXIMIZING USE OF SYDNEY’S CRUISE INFRASTRUCTURE
Source: Samesh Mohanlall (Stuff.co.nz)
“Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal had a significant upgrade with the delivery of two new passenger boarding bridges. These have been custom-built to better support visits from ships including Quantum-class vessels and will improve the terminals operational effiencies, increase capacity and allow for quicker and easier embarkation and debarkation,” said John McKenna, general manager cruise, Port Authority of New South Wales (NSW). McKenna pointed to the 2018-released NSW Cruise Development Plan as the agenda going forward. “We’re committed to growing the cruise industry in Sydney and regional NSW,” he continued. “By 2024 we want to see ports in regional NSW have a firm fixture on cruise itineraries and to have maximized capacity in Sydney. FULL STORY

SHIFTING THE PORTS OF AUCKLAND TO NORTHPORT COULD COST $20 BILLION AND TAKE 10 TO 15 YEARS
Source: Stephen Forbes (Interest.co.nz) / NZ Government
Northland Chamber of Commerce CEO Stephen Smith says moving the Ports of Auckland operations to Northport could cost twice as much as estimates and take 10 to 15 years. The Government established the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group last year to look at the development and delivery of freight and logistics in the Upper North Island. It has also been tasked with investigating the feasibility of relocating the Ports of Auckland to Northport near Whangarei. The working group’s second interim report, was released last week and recommended closing the Ports of Auckland and shifting its operations to Northport. The report is available here.   FULL STORY

KIRIBATI FERRY DISASTER REPORT DESCRIBES HORRIFIC MOMENTS BEFORE DEATHS OF 95 PEOPLE
Source: abc.net.au
A damning report has revealed a litany of failures that contributed to a ferry disaster in Kiribati last year which killed 95 people, including 23 primary and high school students returning to class. An investigation by a commission of inquiry found the 18-metre wooden catamaran MV Butiraoi was unseaworthy, overloaded and should not have been carrying any passengers when it left the island of Nonouti on the 240-kilometre journey to the capital Tarawa in January 2018.    FULL STORY

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