News & Media

06 March, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 616

CHINESE PORT VOLUMES STABILISING
Source: Sam Chambers (Splash 24/7)
A swathe of data published in recent days suggests the worst is over for now in terms of plunging port volumes at Chinese ports in the wake of the coronavirus, an illness that saw the nation’s manufacturing index plummet to record lows in February. Data from US-based CargoMetrics, which tracks shipments across the globe, shows that both Chinese imports and exports are getting back to where they ought to be at the start of March. Sunday, Scott Borgeson, the CEO of the big data firm, posted a coronavirus update on LinkedIn, stating: “CargoMetrics data show Chinese seaborne supply chains are trending back to ‘normal’. Keep calm and carry on.” Writing in the latest issue of Clarkson’s Shipping Intelligence Weekly, Stephen Gordon, the company’s research head, stated: “Coastal ports have remained open and while the trend suggests activity is stabilising, a second dip is possible once initial backlogs are cleared.”  FULL STORY

VIRUS SPARKS SCARBOROUGH LNG DELAY FEARS
Source: Peter Ker, Elouise Fowler and Angela Macdonald-Smith (AFR)
Woodside and BHP's $US11.4 billion ($17.4 billion) Scarborough liquefied natural gas (LNG) project could be delayed, analysts say, as the coronavirus roils oil markets and exacerbates an existing glut of LNG. BHP believes oil and gas will be worse affected by the virus than commodities like copper and iron ore given a certain amount of consumption was permanently lost, rather than merely delayed, by the travel restrictions imposed during early efforts to contain the virus and subsequent disruptions to discretionary travel around the world. The virus' hit to demand has exacerbated the glut of LNG in Asian markets which has weakened prices and created a difficult environment for Woodside, which is trying to sell a stake in the Scarborough project and also strike long term LNG offtake contracts to help fund construction.  FULL STORY

CONTAINER SHIPPING LINES PROTECTION 'OUT OF DATE'
Source: Australasian Transport News
Trade bodies call to ACCC for end to Part X competition law exemption
With coronavirus roiling the nation’s supply chains and therefore way of life, another international issue with similar intrusions is being examined – container shipping regulation. Specifically, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) probe of Part X of the Consumer and Competition Act 2010 has seen it release in December the Proposed Class Exemption for Ocean Liner Shipping discussion paper and seek submissions. And local trade and shipper bodies are calling for the exemption to end.  FULL STORY

$10 MILLION IN NEW CONTRACTS FOR PORT OF TOWNSVILLE
Source: Luisa Romeo (Infrastructure Magazine)
The Port of Townsville has awarded two major contracts worth more than $10 million as a part of the $193 million Channel Upgrade Project. The contracts are for rock wall construction and rock delivery. The Channel Upgrade Project is the largest infrastructure project in the Port’s history. A Queensland company, Hall Contracting, will build a 2.2km rock wall, forming a protective bund around a 62-hectare Port Reclamation Area at the eastern end of the Port. HY-TEC’s quarry at Calcium has been contracted to supply 43 thousand tonnes of rock.  FULL STORY

QUEENSLAND TO BE HOME TO $4.2 MILLION HYDROGEN PLANT
Source: Maria Highland (Utility Magazine Aus)
The Queensland Government and Australian Gas Networks (AGN), which is part of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), will establish a $4.2 million hydrogen plant in Gladstone on Queensland’s central coast. Hydrogen Park Gladstone (HyP Gladstone) will be Australia’s first renewable hydrogen production facility able to deliver up to ten per cent blended hydrogen across the city’s total 770 residential, small commercial and industrial customer base. HyP Gladstone, planned for a location on Derby Street, will produce about 20kg of hydrogen per day using certified green power from the local power grid, to be then blended into the gas network.  FULL STORY

CRUISE TERMINAL DELIVERS JOBS AND DRIVES ECONOMY
Source: Mirage News
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has hailed Brisbane’s International Cruise Terminal for delivering jobs and a new economic engine room for the Queensland. The Premier toured the site this week as it reaches peak employment numbers. She said it’s the perfect example of how building key infrastructure powers the economy. “This project stands for jobs now and into the future,” the Premier said. “What we’re building here is not only good news for cruising and the Port of Brisbane but for the entire economy.” The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal already supports close to 250 jobs on average during each year of construction.  FULL STORY

PORT OF NEWCASTLE ‘CLEARLY SEES THE RISK’ AHEAD FOR THERMAL COAL, SAYS A LEADING ENERGY ANALYST GROUP
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
Port of Newcastle’s push to diversify from an over-reliance on thermal coal shows it “clearly sees the risk” and warning signs from Australia’s biggest coal export destinations including Japan, said a leading energy finance analysis group. “The world’s largest coal export port has identified the need to diversify away from thermal coal. Australian governments that have any long term interest in the economy should have perceived the same need by now,” said Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis finance analyst Simon Nicholas. The Hunter is particularly at risk because of Australia’s reliance on coal export earnings from Japan, which is by far the largest thermal coal market at 45 per cent in 2018-19.  FULL STORY

FEARS IN PORT KEMBLA OVER A QUARANTINED CREW MEMBER
Source: Glen Humphries (Illawarra Mercury)
A crew member quarantined on a ship at Port Kembla was taken to hospital on Tuesday, while others on board were seen wearing face masks. The incident, which happened on Japanese company K Line's ship Drive Green Highway, has concerned Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) officials who feel their members were put at risk by boarding the ship. The ship left Japan on February 3 and has been at sea for longer that the 14-day quarantine period suggested for Coronavirus. The MUA's National Training and Safety Officer Jake Field said a member of the Filipino crew was taken off the ship and transported to Wollongong Hospital by ambulance.  FULL STORY

CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS BEHIND CONSIDERATION OF PORT MOVE FOR SPIRIT OF TASMANIA VESSELS
Source: Matt Maloney (The Advocate)
Premier Peter Gutwein has told Parliament that the government is looking to dock its Spirit of Tasmania vessels in Geelong due to capacity issues at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, in addition to an attempted price hike for the lease. It was revealed in Government Business Enterprise hearings last year that the government was at war with Victorian Ports Corporation over a price hike for the lease at Station Pier. Mr Gutwein said if Victorian Ports got its way, prices for vehicles crossing on the ferry would need to rise by 30 per cent and shipment of a standard container would go up by $100.  FULL STORY

HAVILAH STRIKES AGREEMENT WITH PORT AUGUSTA OPERATIONS
Source: Salomae Haselgrove (Australian Mining)
Havilah Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Port Augusta Operations to use the port and shipment services for iron ore exports. Port Augusta Operations will hold a 99-year lease over the former Port Playford land and port terminal facilities near Port Augusta, which is known as South Australia’s gateway to the outback. Existing facilities at Port Playford include an existing rail loop, unloading facility, sea wall, roads and storage sheds. Port Augusta Operations is in the process of developing the land and terminal into a modern iron ore export terminal, including refurbishment, upgrading and other transhipment arrangements.  FULL STORY

PORT USED FOR VESSEL DECONSTRUCTION
Source: Louis Mayfield (Whyalla News)
The Whyalla Port could become a hub for the deconstruction, scrapping and recycling (DSR) of decommissioned ships, with the first vessel to undergo the process within the next month. SIMEC Mining have conducted a number of successful trials with a variety of cargo, and will be partnering with McMahon Services to undertake DSR of the ex-HMAS Success. The Whyalla Port was established as a shipbuilding facility in the early 1940s through to the late 1970's. The slipway - from which numerous vessels were launched, including the now famous HMAS Whyalla - could now become the final destination for decommissioned vessels, allowing them to be recycled into new steel products. SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director Matt Reed said DSR work was a perfect opportunity to increase third-party usage of the port.  FULL STORY

MORE CRUISE SHIPS FOR PORT LINCOLN IN 2019/20
Source: Jarrad Delaney (Port Lincoln Times)
Port Lincoln will see an extra three cruise ships visit for the 2019-20 season as a "side-effect" of the coronavirus outbreak.
The COVID-19 contagion which originated in China late last year has forced cruise ship companies to change course with an additional 12 ships scheduling visits to South Australia. These will include an extra three ships visiting Port Lincoln, on top of five visiting Adelaide and four to Kangaroo Island. One of the newest additions, Seven Seas Mariner will visit Port Lincoln next Thursday, bringing 700 passengers and 445 crew. Also coming is Seabourn Sojourn on March 29 and MS Insignia on May 19.  FULL STORY

COAL SUPPLIERS FEAR UNCERTAINTY OVER INDONESIA'S NEW SHIPPING RULES COULD HURT EXPORT DEMAND
Source: Jenny Ma, Carina Li and Shriram Sivaramakrishnan (S&P Global.com)
Indonesian thermal coal suppliers and shipping companies are growing increasingly concerned as the May 1 implementation of a requirement to use local ships for exports draws closer. Just 8.8% or 63 of the 717 coal ships plying the region are Indonesian flagged, according to Platts trade-flow software cFlow. The country's Ministry of Trade announced the requirement to use Indonesian insurance and ships for exports in 2017 and subsequently delayed the implementation to May 1, 2020, to enable details of the plan to be ironed out. "The obligation was initially supposed to be enforced in 2017; it was postponed due to the very limited capacity of national vessels to transport coal,".  FULL STORY

DEADLOCKED IN PNG: MULTIBILLION LNG PROJECTS SET FOR DELAYS AS NEGOTIATIONS HIT WALL
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
The decision by the government of PNG to halt talks with ExxonMobil about the state’s share of revenues from the planned P’nyang gas field development is set to delay two key LNG projects that would double the country’s gas output, Rystad Energy estimates show. The two projects, Total’s $13-14 billion Papua LNG investment and ExxonMobil’s subsequent PNG LNG Expansion plan, are located close to each other and could save the firms up to $3 billion in shared infrastructure synergies through a combined development.  FULL STORY

VANUATU DENIES ENTRY TO CRUISE SHIP FOLLOWING INFLUENZA DIAGNOSES
Source: Sally Rawsthorne (Sydney Morning Herald)
The Voyager of the Seas has been forced to abandon its planned trip through the Pacific Islands after three staff members were diagnosed with influenza and the cruise ship was denied entry to Vanuatu. The ship, which can carry up to 4000 passengers, left Sydney on Tuesday for an 11-day cruise through the South Pacific. But when three members of staff tested positive for influenza, authorities in Vanuatu decided to refuse entry to the ship which will now modify its course. "Voyager of the Seas will modify its itinerary following a decision by Vanuatu health authorities to deny port entry over concerns that three crew members have tested positive for influenza A," a spokeswoman for the company said on Saturday morning.  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