News & Media

21 February, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 614

CHINA STEEL, IRON ORE FUTURES RISE AFTER RATE CUT, DROP IN VIRUS CASES
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
China’s steel futures climbed on Thursday on expectations that Beijing’s measures to prop up a virus-hit economy will help revive demand for the manufacturing and construction material. The optimism added fuel to a rally in iron ore prices that was initially driven by worries about tightening supplies of the steelmaking raw material from Australia and Brazil. The latest measure is a cut in the benchmark lending rate on Thursday to lower financing costs for businesses hurting from shutdowns and lockdowns intended to contain the coronavirus outbreak.  FULL STORY

BHP WARNS VIRUS WILL HIT EXPORTS IF NOT CONTAINED BY END OF MARCH
Source: Nick Toscano (WA Today)
BHP, the world's biggest miner, has warned demand for Australian commodity exports could be hit by the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China unless the epidemic is contained by the end of March. Delivering a 39 per cent half-year profit rise on Tuesday, BHP chief executive Mike Henry said the coronavirus had not yet affected demand, prices or payments for its shipments but was a key near-term uncertainty due to the ongoing impact in China, the world's most important consumer of raw materials. BHP declared its biggest-ever half-year dividend of US65¢, but the dividend was lower than analysts' forecasts of US71¢. BHP said this was due to a "cautious approach" in light of the near-term volatility posed by the virus.  FULL STORY

OCEAN SHIPPING COMPANIES PROTECTING MARITIME WORKERS FROM NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
Source: Shipping Australia
Australians can be reassured that ocean freight shipping companies are acting to protect the health of waterfront workers, says peak body Shipping Australia. Shipping lines are taking strict precautions and globally, not one crew members serving on a commercial cargo ship been found to have contracted Novel Coronavirus. Crews remain onboard during their Chinese port calls and wear protective masks if required to interact with locals. There is no shore leave and no crew changes in mainland China and most ships usually only stay in port for a few hours.  FULL STORY

SHIPPING POLLUTION REGULATIONS 'COULD HARM FOOD CHAIN'
Source: Wil Crisp (The Guardian)
Use of ‘scrubbers’ to cut air pollution increases pollutants pumped into sea, UN report says. New shipping pollution regulations introduced earlier this year could harm humans by contaminating fish and crustaceans with toxins, according to an internal report compiled by the International Maritime Organization and obtained by the Guardian. In the report the IMO, the United Nations agency responsible for regulating shipping, says that there is insufficient “toxicity data” to be able to assess the risk to humans caused by the increased use of scrubbers. These devices reduce the amount of pollution emitted into the air by ships, but the cheapest and most popular models dramatically increase the amount of pollutants pumped directly into the sea.  FULL STORY

SHIP OWNERS BURNED BY THE CHINA SLOWDOWN
Source: Tim Treadgold (Forbes.com)
Traffic jams are a nuisance for road users but off the west and east coasts of Australia there are marine traffic jams as bulk carriers which normally carry iron ore and coal to China are riding at anchor because even if they take on a load there’s no guarantee they will be able to unload. China’s fight against COVID-19, the coronavirus, has slowed all forms of commerce in the country with knock-on effects being increasingly felt elsewhere, both in countries which sell material to China, and countries which rely on Chinese goods in their supply chains. At Port Hedland, a survey of shipping by the Marine Traffic website shows an inner harbour, where iron ore loading takes place, clogged with at least 15 bulk carriers at berths, what might be called a full-house.  FULL STORY

AGL PUSHES LNG IMPORTS AS SOLUTION TO LOOMING GAS CRISIS
Source: Nick Toscano (SMH.com.au)
Australia's biggest energy supplier, AGL, says the development of terminals for importing liquefied natural gas along the east coast is needed if the nation is to avoid a looming supply shortage in the southern states. In a warning on Monday, the competition regulator found that although there was a slight improvement in the east coast gas supply outlook for 2020, concerns remained about a gas shortage within a few years unless more supply was made available in southern states. Gas supply could be increased by the easing of the Victorian government's moratorium on gas exploration, which is due to be reviewed this year, as well as by the construction of LNG import terminals, such as AGL's proposed $250 million terminal in Western Port bay.  FULL STORY

HOW IS CORONAVIRUS IMPACTING THE CATTLE SHIPPING TRADE?
Source: James Nason (BeefCentral.com)
IMPACTS on Australia’s cattle shipping trade from the Coronavirus outbreak in China and other parts of Asia have been minimal to date, according to exporters, with current shipments on the water and those contracted to be delivered expected to continue as scheduled. However, exporters and producers supplying the market are keeping an understandably close eye on unfolding developments as the virus, and the quarantine response to control its spread, keeps masses indoors and inhibits normal consumer spending. China bought 160,000 cattle from Australia in 2019, ranking it as Australia’s third largest export market for cattle. That volume comprised 145,000 beef breeders and dairy heifers and 18,517 slaughter weight cattle, sourced from the Australia’s Bluetongue Virus transmission-free zone.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA’S CRUISE SEASON EXTENDED – WITH CUNARD AND PRINCESS DEALS FROM $66 A NIGHT
Source: Bernadette Chua (CruisePassenger.com.au)
In an unprecedented move, the Australian cruise season has been extended, with ships like the Sapphire Princess and the Queen Elizabeth sailing in our waters. As exclusively predicted by Cruise Passenger last week, the move is the result of the coronavirus in Asia, and means thousands more cabins, port calls and itineraries for Aussie cruisers. Just this week, Cunard and Princess Cruises announced they would be extending the Australian season for an extra 60 days, meaning that this is the best time to snag deals. There are cruises which are priced from as little as $69 per person, per night.  FULL STORY

GLADSTONE PORTS EXPANDS TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
Source: Kim Ho (Infrastructure Magazine)
Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has begun offering a Certificate III in Operations, furthering opportunities for its trainees.
Nathaniel Sigvart and Chris Lambert became the first trainees at GPC to sign up to the certificate with MREAL. Bulk Handling Manager, Robert Torrisi, said he was proud to see the corporation offering the new career path, and was happy to see Nathaniel and Chris furthering their careers with GPC. “Nathaniel and Chris recently completed their Certificate II in Operations with us, so it is great to see them progressing through another vocational study path,” Mr Torrisi said.  FULL STORY

DANISH SHIPPING GIANT MAERSK PUSHES TO RESUME LEGAL ACTION AGAINST NSW PORTS OVER NEWCASTLE CONTAINER FEE
Source: Michael Parris (Newcastle Herald)
Company part-owned by Danish shipping giant Maersk applied to lift a stay of proceedings in a Federal Court action against private operator NSW Ports. Maersk subsidiary APM Terminals owns a 50 per cent stake in a company called Mayfield Development Corporation (MDC), which was negotiating with the NSW government to build a container terminal on the former BHP steelworks site before the government decided to privatise the state's ports in 2013 via long-term leases.  FULL STORY

RCT CONTROLMASTER SOLUTION BOOSTS SAFETY AT WHYALLA PORT
Source: Daniel Gleeson (International Mining)
RCT says it has finalised an automation project with port, logistics and infrastructure specialist Qube Bulk at the Whyalla Port in South Australia. In 2019 RCT installed and commissioned its ControlMaster® Line of Sight automation solution as well as a single camera teleremote solution onto a Liebherr R920 excavator working at the port. RCT says Qube Bulk approached it to develop a safer and more productive way to remove bulk cargoes – such as coal, dolomite and limestone – from bulk vessels to support the Whyalla steelworks operation. “Now machine operators stand at a safe distance and use the automation technology to carry out the full range of functions that would normally be available to them when sitting in the cab of the machine,” the company said.  FULL STORY

NEW ZEALAND PORTS SEE GROWTH AMID POTENTIAL CARGO SHIFT
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
New Zealand’s ports have generally continued to experience growth in container volumes amid potential that all freight operations at the Ports of Auckland could eventually get dispersed amongst other nearby ports. Ports of Auckland plays a huge role in New Zealand’s trade with other countries, being that it handles the second highest amount of container volumes in New Zealand, with the Port of Tauranga taking first place. However, the Ports of Auckland did experience year-over-year declines in net profit and container volumes for fiscal year 2019, which ended June 30, 2019 for New Zealand’s ports.  FULL STORY

NEW ZEALAND’S FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC WATER TRUCK FOR EASTLAND PORT
Source: Voxy.co.nz
Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods announced Wednesday that $3.8 million in new funding has been awarded to 21 innovative electric vehicle projects, in the seventh round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund administered by EECA. Eastland Port was one of the successful applicants, receiving a grant of $298,000 towards the purchase of New Zealand’s first all-electric water truck. "This has been a long time in the planning, and is a strong statement about our commitment towards a carbon-free future for TairÄ whiti," said Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd. "We will put the co-funding towards buying a 27 tonne electric truck that will be used for watering and dust suppression at Eastland Port. We’ll also install a 60kW fast charging station on the port.”  FULL STORY

FOURTH CRUISE SHIP VISIT TO SAMOA CANCELLED
Source: Rnz.co.nz
A fourth cruise ship's visit to Samoa has been cancelled amid the global coronavirus outbreak. Samoa Ports Authority chief executive So'oalo Kuresa So'oalo said the Sevens Seas Mariner, which was scheduled to arrive next Monday, has been cancelled. The Samoa Observer reports it's the fourth cruise ship to do so in the past two months, and the cancellations are due to travel orders implemented by the government following the country's deadly measles epidemic last year and the recent global coronavirus outbreak.  FULL STORY

INDONESIA CUSTOMS JOINS TRADELENS SHIPPING BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM
Source: Ledger Insights.com
Yesterday, enterprise blockchain TradeLens announced that the Indonesia Customs and Excise Department joined its shipping platform after announcing its intention late last year. The Indonesia Customs and Excise Department is at least the third government agency in Southeast Asia to use the platform. Developed jointly by IBM and Maersk, TradeLens is using blockchain to digitize the container shipping industry and enable transparency in the container supply chain. The solution uses IoT devices to record temperature, container weight, and other physical aspects of shipping. The goal is to eliminate paper-based processes and speed up trade and customs verification.  FULL STORY

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, Inchcape Shipping Services accepts no liability nor makes any representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to its completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability