News & Media

31 July, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 637

PLANNING CREW CHANGE AND TRAVEL DURING COVID-19
Source: Seatrade Maritime News
Crew change and travel during the Covid-19 pandemic has become the top issue facing the maritime industries. Crew change is possible, but it is a complex process. Crew change and travel during the Covid-19 pandemic has become the top issue facing the maritime industries. Crew change is possible, but it is a complex process. Seatrade Maritime News recently sat down virtually with members of travel management specialist CWT’s energy, marine and resources (ERM)team to understand the processes and hurdles involved in the current environment.  FULL STORY

CYBER-RESILIENCE IN SHIPPING AND MARITIME INDUSTRY
Source: Baibhav Mishra (Sea News)
Cyber resilience is the ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from cyber-attacks. It helps an organisation protect against cyber risks, defend against and limit the severity of attacks, and ensure its continued survival despite an attack.
Shipping is a USD 4 trillion global industry responsible for transporting 80% of the world’s energy, commodities and goods. Being a lucrative and dominant sector, the industry has been vulnerable to cyber-attacks and a hot favourite of cyber criminals. With the advent of newer technology ships are increasingly using systems that rely on digitisation, digitalisation, integration, and automation, which call for cyber risk management on board.  FULL STORY

TANKERS ARE LOOKING AT MORE UNCERTAINTY MOVING FORWARD
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
The end of the oil storage play, together with uncertainty over crude oil demand in the months to come, are expected to exert pressure on the tanker market in the weeks to come. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that “during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic there was but one freight market to be hindered by what was going on. Market participants witnessed skyrocketing volumes being traded during the March-April period, driven by the monumental drop in oil prices which reached levels not seen since 2003. With many traders looking to get their hands on as much oil as possible and utilising all storage options, freight rates reached record highs”.  FULL STORY

AMSA BANS BULKER DUE TO UNDERPAID CREW
Source: The Maritime Executive
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) banned the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Agia Sofia from entering Australian ports for six months due to the underpayment of its seafarers. AMSA also undertook steps to ensure that the seafarers were paid their back wages before the ship departed. AMSA, also noted that this was not the first instance when the vessel’s owners, Marmaras Navigation Ltd. of Greece, were found to be underpaying its crew. According to AMSA, its inspectors board the ship at Hay Point in Mackay, Australia on July 25, 2020, after having received a complaint from the International Transport Workers’ Federation.  FULL STORY

URGENT CALLS FOR SEAFARERS STUCK ON SHIPS DUE TO COVID-19 TO BE BROUGHT HOME
Source: Karen Michelmore ((ABC Pilbara)
At any one time, there are up to 19 massive bulk carriers being loaded in Port Hedland, the world's biggest iron ore port, in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
Their crew is a largely invisible workforce, but one that is vital for Australia's economy. But unions have warned a global crew changing crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic is putting lives, and future trade, at risk. "Without these seafarers, and they are small by number, but without them Australia's economy will collapse imminently," said Dean Summers.  FULL STORY

FURY AT AUSTRALIAN PORTS AS TERMINAL OPERATORS IMPOSE SUDDEN ACCESS FEE HIKES
Source: Sam Whelan (The Load Star)
Stevedores in Australia have implemented “staggering” increases to terminal access charges and road and rail operators are lobbying for their cancellation.
On Monday, Hutchison Ports increased the charge on all containers delivered to and from its Brisbane facility by 90% to A$94.78 (US$68). And, from Saturday, ICTSI’s Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne will impose a 7% increase to A$131.03 per container, still the most expensive national charge. The move by Hutchison brings its charge in line with those of larger rivals Patrick and DP World, which levy fees around the A$100 mark in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIAN VINCENT CRUDE QUALITY IMPROVEMENT BEARS FRUIT AS PRICE DIFFERENTIALS SURGE
Source: Oil and Companies News (Hellenic Shipping News)
The quality improvement for Australia’s Vincent crude since April has borne fruit as the heavy sweet grade’s price differential jumped more than $5/b since the start of the second quarter, while relatively stable demand for clean bunker fuel continued to support the low sulfur fuel oil blendstock. The quality of the heavy sweet crude grade had been improved earlier in Q2 making it more viable crude for blending into low sulfur fuel oil for clean mariner fuel suppliers across Asia. Industry sources indicated that the flash point of the crude had been improved to make it blender friendly.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA SEES END-2020 IRON ORE PRICES AT $55/T
Source: Argus Media
The Australian government forecasts iron ore spot prices to almost halve to an average of $55/t by the end of this year because of an uncertain supply-demand outlook. The iron ore price is project to drop to $55/t fob by the end of this year's final quarter, the Australian treasury said. The Argus iron ore fines 62pc Fe ICX cfr Qingdao was last assessed at $108.50/dry metric tonnes (dmt), which was up from $91.15/dmt on 1 January. Iron ore prices have remained resilient as the impact of falling steel production outside China has been largely offset by firm demand from Chinese steel producers and supply disruptions in Brazil.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA HOPES FOR ‘MAGNIFICENT’ WHEAT CROP IN PANDEMIC ECONOMY
Source: Commodity News
Just months after rains broke Australia’s crippling three-year drought, fields of grain have sprung to life, lifting forecasts for a bumper wheat harvest and reviving the beaten up agricultural sector through roaring tractor sales and increased lending. The mid-season crops in some of the country’s major eastern grain-growing areas are as lush as some industry veterans can remember, representing one of the few bright spots in the country’s pandemic-affected economy.  FULL STORY

PILBARA MINERALS PREPARES TO STRIKE AS LITHIUM RESURGENCE NEARS
Source: Australian Mining
Pilbara Minerals is set to receive $US110 million ($153.3 million) in financing, positioning it to capitalise on the growing demand for raw lithium materials.
The company inked such agreement with international bank BNP Paribas and Australia’s clean energy investor, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
This will support the stage one of the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia, which is positioned to become a major player in the global lithium supply chain once in full production.  FULL STORY

RIO TINTO PROFIT FALLS BUT DIVIDEND INCREASES AMID 'EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE'
Source: Michael Janda (ABC News)
Rio Tinto's boss has described his company's COVID-19 performance as "resilient", but one analyst is labelling it "exceptional", despite a 20 per cent profit fall. The company unveiled a half-year net profit of $US3.32 billion ($4.6 billion) shortly after the ASX closed, down 20 per cent on the same period last year, although its underlying earnings — excluding a range of one-off costs — were down just 4 per cent to $US4.75 billion ($6.59 billion). Despite the drop in profit, the Anglo-Australian mining giant announced a 3 per cent increase in its interim dividend to $US1.55 ($2.15) per share.  FULL STORY

PORT KEMBLA BECOMES MAJOR IMPORT HUB FOR RENEWABLE PROJECTS
Source: Imogen Hartmann (Infrastructure Mag Aus)
Port Kembla has received the first components for the Bango Wind Farm, with 46 of the turbines due to be imported through the port over the next six months.
The achievement highlights the port’s role as a critical trade gateway and a major import hub for large renewable energy projects. General Electric’s (GE) Cypress 5.3MW wind turbine components will be stored on berth at the Australian Amalgamated Terminals (AAT) facility before being transported by truck by heavy haulage operator, Rex J Andrews, to the project site, which is located approximately 30km north of Yass in New South Wales.  FULL STORY

INLAND RAIL KEY TO REGIONAL GROWTH: MCCORMACK
Source: Trailer Magazine
National freight network project, Inland Rail, has found a new home in Toowoomba. Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has established an Inland Rail project office on Margaret Street. Inland Rail aims to make it easier to move freight from farms, mines, cities, ports to domestic and international markets.
The line will travel via Parkes and will build on existing regional and urban rail connections to provide access to the ports of Melbourne, Port Kembla, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. 
FULL STORY

LOW METHANOL PRICE AND REDUCED GAS SUPPLY DRIVE PRODUCTION CUTS AT TARANAKI METHANEX PLANTS
Source: Mike Watson (Stuff)
A long term “softening” in methanol demand could have a considerable impact on Taranaki if it contributed to methanol producer Methanex quitting the region, New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young has warned. Methanex has recently cut production at its Taranaki plants because of a weakening in methanol prices and a tightening supply of natural gas, industry news service Business Desk has eported. Production at the plants is understood to be at 85 per cent, or 1.9m tonnes annually for 2020.  FULL STORY

THE UNKNOWN FLEET: THESE CRUISE SHIPS HAVE A QUESTIONABLE FUTURE
Source: Cruise Industry News
With the COVID-19 pandemic reeling through the cruise ship industry, a number of cruise lines have gone bust, leaving ships in limbo or with questionable futures. In addition, some lines have committed to long-term lay-ups. The Pacific Aria was to transfer to now-shut-down Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2021 and join the TransOcean brand. The ship is currently operating under the P&O Australia brand for Carnival Corporation and  was set to be replaced by more modern tonnage from Princess Cruises. The 1994-built Pacific Aria has capacity for 1,258 guests.  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