News & Media

10 January, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 608

BHP EYES INDIA FOR COAL GROWTH AS CHINA DEMAND FLATLINES
Source: Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald)
Australia's largest miner, BHP, believes the long-term trajectory of the emerging economy of India and the acceleration of its steelmaking output could help offset the flattening demand from China feared in the 2020s. China's immense appetite for the steelmaking commodities iron ore and coal – Australia's two top exports – helped deliver a windfall to the leading miners in 2019 as well as a timely boost to the Morrison government's federal budget. But the latest industry and government modelling projects Chinese demand to ease in the face of lower margins, a weakening in global growth and the continuing US-China trade war. Australian exporters of metallurgical coal are increasingly looking to the rapid growth of India's steel sector to help to fill the looming demand gap and cushion the blow.  FULL STORY

BUSHFIRE CRISIS SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING
Source: Mirage News
Australian shipping is playing an important part in the relief effort following the devastating fires in NSW and Victoria. Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the crew of the Norwegian-flagged Far Saracen supply vessel was tasked by the Victorian Emergency Co-ordinator to deliver much needed relief supplies to 4,000 people stranded by bushfires in the Victorian town of Mallacoota. “Australian and Kiwi seafarers were the first on the scene with much needed supplies of food, water and diesel,” Mr Crumlin said. “While the Federal Government was resisting calls to activate the Australia’s Defence Forces, our seafarers were able to get those supplies to Mallacoota a full 24 hours before the first naval vessel arrived in the area.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA TOPS QATAR AS WORLD'S BIGGEST LNG EXPORTER
Source: Nick Toscano (SMH)
Australia has overtaken Qatar to become the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas, shipping 77.5 million tonnes in 2019 with an export value of $49 billion as the fuel becomes increasingly important in the global energy mix. The figures, released on Monday by energy consultancy EnergyQuest, show Australia's liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments for the 2019 calendar year increased 11.4 per cent on the previous year's exports, primarily due to the growth in the Ichthys project operated by Japan's INPEX in the Timor sea. The surge follows a succession of massive LNG projects to begin production in Australia in the past decade including by ASX-listed Woodside Petroleum and Santos and other global operators such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIAN RESEARCHERS PIONEER ANTI-FOULING COATING PROCESS
Source: Riviera News
Australian researchers will test an anti-fouling coating that can take up copper from seawater and release it using electrical pulses to prevent organic growth on hulls. Fungicide paint, a common anti-fouling coating, releases copper into the water to kill off organic growth like algae and barnacles from ship surfaces. But this has led to environmental concerns about the levels of copper in the water in harbours around the world. Alternatives such as silicon-based coatings are effective at removing organic growth when vessels reach a certain speed but are expensive and ineffective at preventing build-up on vessels docked in port.  FULL STORY

AS BUSHFIRES SWEEP AUSTRALIA LOCAL MARITIME COMMUNITY STEPS UP TO HELP
Source: Handy Shipping Guide
Many people throughout the shipping industry will have been concerned at how the horrific chain of bushfires, the worst in history by a country mile, is affecting the logistics sector. It would appear that by their very nature that the ports traditionally associated with the movement of freight have been least affected by the infernos. Lying obviously on the waterfront itself, generations of expanding infrastructure have seemingly meant the ports lie well away from the conflagrations or indeed are situated in less forested areas. This however does not make them immune.  FULL STORY

ACCC REPORT HIGHLIGHTS GRAIN PORT ACCESS STILL A CONCERN FOR EXPORTERS
Source: Greg Heard (Queensland Country Life)
The Australian grains industry's focus has been very much on the domestic market over the past two years, due to the ongoing drought conditions and the high prices paid by domestic buyers. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found grain growers and exporters continue to raise concerns about the fairness and transparency of access to Australia's bulk grain export supply chains, including ports. This is in spite of Australia experiencing its lowest annual grain production since 2007-08 and lowest bulk grain exports since at least 2011-12.  FULL STORY

DP WORLD 'SNUBS' ANDREW CONSTANCE, HIKES PORT FEES
Source: Jenny Wiggins (AFR)
The NSW government has asked DP World Australia to explain its decision to ignore orders from transport minister Andrew Constance by hiking fees for freight groups to move goods to and from Port Botany 43 per cent from January 1. Mr Constance told stevedores in December that they must stop increasing so-called infrastructure surcharge fees immediately and said he had asked the NSW Productivity Commissioner to investigate the effect of rising costs on the supply chain. Under NSW's Ports and Maritime Act, the government can intervene and regulate fees charged by stevedores related to services supplied at Port Botany if it deems it to be necessary. But DP World proceeded with lifting fees at NSW's Port Botany from $63.80 to $91 for each full container on January 1, claiming it was facing rising costs in "the most dynamic and competitive market conditions in decades".  FULL STORY

PORT OF NEWCASTLE HITS RECORD COAL EXPORTS, UNOFFICIAL FIGURES BY HUNTER VALLEY COAL CHAIN COORDINATOR SHOW
Source: Ian Kirkwood (Newcastle Herald)
NEWCASTLE coal exports hit a record 164.9 million tonnes in 2019, with demand from Asian power stations driving the port's three coal loaders past the previous high set in 2016. The export value is likely to top $20 billion. The eventual total should top the past two years and could beat the record of an estimated $23.6 billion, also set in 2016. Despite the global pressure facing the coal industry, the 2019 results defy the predictions of some industry critics and reflect the continued demand from major customers in South East Asia. About 87 per cent of Newcastle's exports last year were thermal coal for electricity generation, with the other 13 per cent being a higher-quality, and higher-priced, product sold as coking coal for steelmaking.  FULL STORY

TUGS PLAY THEIR PART IN AUSTRALIA FIRESTORM CRISIS
Source: Martyn Wingrove (Riviera Maritime Media)
Svitzer Australia mobilised tugs to assist people trapped by firestorms raging through southeast Australia, the worst witnessed in a generation. Tugs have provided shelter for people evacuated from their homes in communities on the south coast of New South Wales and in eastern Victoria during Australia’s firestorm crisis. Two Svitzer Australia tugs provided shelter for 60 local residents, aged between six months and 90 years old in Eden in New South Wales. Residents stayed on tugs Cooma and Wistari as firefighters tackled blazers surrounding the community of Eden. Svitzer pilot boat Mersey was also in action in the area as it attended two emergency callouts on 5 January.  FULL STORY

BED LEVELING OPERATIONS BEGIN IN PORT OF GEELONG
Source: Dredging Today  
Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) is currently conducting ‘bed-leveling’ operations in selected areas of the channels, berths and approaches of the Port of Geelong, located on the shores of Corio Bay at Geelong, Victoria. The bed leveling exercise is designed to re-distribute sediment to deeper parts of the channel. The project stared earlier this week, aiming to ensure charted depths of the channel will be maintained and a safe underkeel clearance provided to continue to ensure the safe navigation of vessels visiting the port, said VRCA.  FULL STORY

PORT HEDLAND’S LITHIUM EXPORTS FALL IN DECEMBER
Source: Argus Media
Lithium concentrate exports from the West Australian (WA) port of Port Hedland decreased to 27,608t in December from 28,494t in November. Two shipments were made to Chinese offtake partners from lithium concentrate producers in the Pilgangoora area of WA, according to monthly data from the Pilbara Ports Authority. Lithium concentrate exports slowed markedly in 2019 as a result of producers cutting back on production and a bottleneck in Chinese conversion of concentrate into lithium carbonate and hydroxide. Prices have slumped to $500-550/t compared with $900-$1,000/t in early 2018.  FULL STORY

TWO ROAD PROJECTS ADDED TO IA PRIORITY LIST, RAIL PROJECT MISSES OUT
Source: Maria Highland (Infrastructure Magazine)
Infrastructure Australia adds Bindoon Bypass, and Walkerston Bypass to the Infrastructure Priority List. ARTC’s North East Rail Line upgrade misses out. The proposed Bindoon Bypass aims to increase freight efficiency and productivity by enabling access for triple road trains for the entire trip between Muchea and Wubin on the Great Northern Highway as existing road alignments and gradients between Wubin and Muchea are unsuitable. The scope of work includes 61.6km of new highway to the west of Bindoon, comprising a single carriageway in each direction, along with 4.4km of infrastructure improvements to the existing highway, two grade-separated intersections and 13 at-grade intersection upgrades.  FULL STORY

CARNIVAL CORPORATION AND OTHERS PLEDGE OVER US$1.25 MILLION TO BUSHFIRE RECOVERY
Source: PRNewswire.com
The world's largest leisure travel company announced that the corporation's philanthropic arm, Carnival Foundation, and five of its global cruise line brands have collectively pledged over US$1.25 million to support disaster recovery efforts from Australia’s bushfires. The pledge includes US$1 million from the family foundation of Carnival Corporation's Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine, in addition to US$250,000 (AU$350,000) from Carnival Foundation and five of the company's brands – P&O Cruises (Australia), Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.  FULL STORY

AUTHORITY SAYS SPIRIT OF LOVE CAPTAIN MADE RIGHT DECISION
Source: Wati Talebula (Fiji Sun)
“The ship master made the right decision in departing from Oinafa when he parted his ropes for the sake of the safety of his ship, passengers and crew.” Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) manager Qualification and Licencing Captain Tomasi Kete said. The statement was made after inter-island vessel Spirit of Love left behind more than 150 stranded passengers at the Oinafa Wharf in Rotuma Last Saturday. 70 percent of the visitors were from Australia, United States of America and New Zealand.  They had chartered Spirit of Love owned by Patterson Brothers Shipping Company Limited for the Rotuma trip last month.  FULL STORY

OPINION: IS THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY’S R&D CLIMATE FUND A TROJAN HORSE?
Source: Faig Abbasov (Climate Home News)
At the end of 2019 the shipping industry surprised the world by proposing a $500 million per year global fund to finance research into climate solutions for the sector. On the face of it, this is a welcome addition to existing plans to clean up shipping. However, the timing and the public spin of the proposal left many wondering whether the IMRF is a Trojan Horse. I hope that this is not the case because part of the industry seems to be genuine about the need for such a fund to accelerate the deployment of carbon-free fuels.  FULL STORY

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