News & Media

11 December, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 656

SHIPPING’S FUNDAMENTALS COULD OFFER REASON FOR OPTIMISM DURING 2021
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
2021 could offer some impetus for a recovery in the shipping markets, which would in turn bring a rebound in asset prices as well. In its latest report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “heading towards the end of a difficult year and with the entire planet under the shadow of the covid-19 virus, it is interesting to proceed with a review of how much the shipping industry has been affected. As it was expected, the Covid-19 has a huge impact not only on the freight market of different sectors but also on the way that the shipping participants operate. It is essential for shipping participants to travel around the world; the prohibition of traveling added an additional burden to the shipping community.  FULL STORY

IS VESSEL SIZE A FACTOR IN COLLAPSED CONTAINER STACKS?
Source: Marcus Hand (Seatrade Maritime News)
Last week saw one of the largest loss of containers from a vessel in recent years with the ONE Apus suffering loss or damage to an estimated 1,816 boxes in severe weather while crossing the Pacific on 30 November. But it is not the only example of collapsed container stacks and boxes lost overboard this year including sister vessel ONE Aquila a month earlier, also on the transpacific trade, and the APL England off Australia in May. These and other incidents beg the question of whether incidents are becoming more frequent and if the size of vessels, which has increased dramatically in recent years, is a factor.  FULL STORY

‘HEAVY PRICE’: CHINA’S AUSSIE BAN BACKFIRES
Source: Charis Chang (news.com.au)
China’s decision to stop taking Australian coal has seen prices plummet but China also appears to be paying a heavy price for its decision. If China’s decision to block Australia’s coal exports is a deliberate strategy to hurt Australia, China also appears to have paid a high price for the move.
This year Beijing has introduced a number of trade tariffs and other measures blocking Australian products such as barley, beef, wine, rock lobsters from entering China or making them prohibitively expensive. Australia’s coal has also been unofficially banned since October, with steel mills and power companies told not to buy it, Bloomberg News reported.  FULL STORY

CHINA BANS ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN BEEF SUPPLIER AS FOREIGN INTERFERENCE BILL PASSES PARLIAMENT
Source: Alex Chapman (7 News)
China has suspended beef imports from yet another Australian supplier only hours before new laws against foreign interference passed parliament. Meramist Pty Ltd is now the sixth casualty of China’s march against Australian beef suppliers. Chinese officials did not say why the action had been taken.
Previously, China had cited reasons that included labelling and health certification. On Tuesday, however, a new bill aimed to prevent foreign interference passed parliament. Under the bill, the federal government will have the ability to review and scrap state...  FULL STORY

IRON ORE PRICE GOES PARABOLIC AFTER CYCLONE WARNING
Source: mining.com
Iron ore prices shot higher again on Thursday – the twelfth straight day of gains – after authorities at the world’s largest iron ore export terminal issued a cyclone warning, exacerbating an already tight market. According to Fastmarkets MB, benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China were changing hands for $156.58 a tonne on Thursday, up 4.3% from Wednesday’s peg while 65% grades from Brazil surged to over $170 a tonne. That was the highest level for the steelmaking raw material since February 2013 and brings gains for 2020 to 70%.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA’S IRON ORE EXPORT HUB CLEARS PORT AS TROPICAL LOW APPROACHES
Source: Dry Bulk, Port News (Hellenic Shipping News)
Pilbara Ports Authority said on Thursday it has started to clear large vessels out of Port Hedland, the world’s biggest iron ore export hub, as it issued a cyclone warning. A tropical low located some 740 km (460 miles) southeast of Christmas Island, off Australia’s northwest coast, is forecast to bring gale-force winds and significant swell as the cyclone approaches the Pilbara region, the port authority said in a statement. The weather system is forecast to cross the east Pilbara coast on Friday…  FULL STORY

PILBARA PORTS AUTHORITY ENHANCEMENTS IMPROVE IRON ORE EXPORTS
Source: Nickolas Zakharia (Australian Mining)
Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) has credited upgrades in infrastructure and technology for growing iron ore shipments from its ports. Iron ore export volumes earned a 103 per cent increase from 328.8 million tonnes per annum in 2010/11 to 667.6 million tonnes per annum in 2019/20 across PPA’s operations. PPA general manger of development and trade Lyle Banks said that $324.5 million in capital has been spent at the PPA’s Port of Port Hedland in the five years to 30 June 2020. Technology including metocean monitoring equipment and simulation training have been credited to the port’s higher capacity.  FULL STORY

FEEDGRAIN FOCUS: VALUES BUCKLE UNDER SUPPLY-SIDE PRESSURE
Source: Liz Wells (Grain Central)
A WHACK of grower selling, a logistics-driven easing of nearby demand and a firming Australian dollar have combined to depress prices for wheat and barley in most markets by up to $10 per tonne in the past week. Providing support is some near-term demand from domestic consumers who are looking for cover up to mid-January, and past the Christmas-New Year break. Trade sources report the lower bids have reduced grower interest in selling over the past day or two, and that basis is now in negative territory.  FULL STORY

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR PLAN TO EXPAND VIVA ENERGY'S GEELONG OIL REFINERY TO LNG TERMINAL
Source: Nicole Mills (ABC News)
It has been part of the Geelong skyline for 66 years but the future of the Corio refinery looks uncertain. Viva Energy, which operates the site, is reviewing the viability of its refining business after revealing it recorded "unsustainable" losses of almost $50 million in the first half of 2020. But today a glimmer of hope emerged for the plant, and its 700 employees, with Viva announcing it had signed a memorandum of understanding with three major energy companies — ENGIE Australia and New Zealand, Vitol and VTTI — as well as global trading and investment company Mitsui.  FULL STORY

NATIONAL APPROACH TO STEVEDORE INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES
Source: Mirage News
The Victorian and New South Wales Governments have welcomed an agreement between the states and territories to develop voluntary national guidelines for stevedore infrastructure and access charges. Infrastructure and access charges have been implemented and charged by stevedores to transport carriers for the pickup and drop off of import and export containers. Australia’s Infrastructure and Transport Ministers endorsed a plan for the National Transport Commission to develop voluntary national guidelines for applying stevedore infrastructure and access charges at Australia’s container ports.  FULL STORY

WOLLONGONG READY TO REMIND CRUISE SHIP INDUSTRY IT IS A PROVEN DESTINATION
Source: Greg Ellis (Illawarra Mercury)
A federal government decision to extend the restriction of cruise ships in Australian waters until March 21 is being seen by Cruise Wollongong chair Leigh Colacino as a time for the Illawarra to put up its hand and remind the industry it is proven destination. Cr Colacino said the timing was pretty much what he expected. He knows no-one wanted to make a mistake and restart too early. But when the time was right he said it was important Wollongong was front of mind after proving itself in 2016 and earning a reputation as a welcoming city with plenty to see and do for cruise ship visitors.  FULL STORY

CHINA'S UNOFFICIAL BAN ON AUSTRALIAN COAL SEES EXPORTS HALT AS TRADE WAR RAGES
Source: Ben Millington (ABC News)
Thermal coal exports to China from Australia's busiest coal terminal have completely stopped amid escalating trade tensions and an unofficial Chinese ban on Australian coal. Newcastle is the largest coal port in the world and trade with China made up 20 per cent of its exports last year. But no ships have left for China in December and there are none listed in the schedule leading up to Christmas.
More than 100 other bulk carriers are scheduled to depart Newcastle carrying coal, mainly to Japan, Korea and Taiwan.  FULL STORY

LOWER AUSTRALIA SHIP QUEUES ADD TO CHINA COAL BAN FEARS
Source: Jo Clarke (Argus Media)
Coal ship queues off Australia's Queensland have shrunk as concern grows that the Chinese import ban will impact the 2021 import quota, putting significant pressure on coal mining firms and port operators. The vessel queue outside the adjacent ports of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) and Hay Point has shrunk to 12, after it rebounded to 21 in early November from a low of 12 in late September. It declined to 23 at Gladstone from 32 a month earlier and there are no ships waiting to enter Abbot Point compared to three vessels a month earlier.  FULL STORY

COVID-19: BUNGLE ALLOWS CARGO SHIP CREW TO SKIP ISOLATION PROTOCOLS
Source: Robin Martin (rnz.co.nz/news)
A bungle by Taranaki health officials has resulted in the crew of an overseas cargo vessel being allowed shore leave before they completed Covid-19 isolation protocols. The district health board's mistake meant that more than 20 sailors from the Yangtze Flourish were able to wander the streets of New Plymouth despite not meeting the required 14-day isolation period. The vessel left Malaysia with a cargo of palm kernel on 6 November and arrived in New Plymouth on 25 November.  FULL STORY

FALSE-POSITIVE COVID DIAGNOSIS SHOWS CHALLENGES OF CRUISE SHIPPING’S RETURN
Source: Kyunghee Park (Bloomberg)
A Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ship on a four-day pleasure trip was forced to return to port in Singapore and confine passengers in their cabins after a possibly false Covid-19 diagnosis, showing the challenges of reviving travel while the pandemic continues. About 2,000 passengers on the Quantum of the Seas were stuck in their staterooms for more than half a day after being informed of a case by the captain at around 2:45 a.m. local time Wednesday. An elderly male passenger who tested positive was isolated and taken ashore to a hospital while officials traced his contacts on the boat.  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