News & Media

05 February, 2021

Australian Newsletter - Issue 664

IMO WELCOMES NEPTUNE DECLARATION ON SEAFARERS
Source: Mirage News
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has welcomed the industry-led Neptune Declaration, which calls for seafarers to be designated as key workers and for cooperation to end the crew change crisis, which is not only putting seafarers in a desperate situation but also threatening the safety of shipping and world trade.  Hundreds of thousands of seafarers around the globe are unable to leave ships, while others cannot join, due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  “I am pleased to see the industry come together under the Neptune Declaration to support ways to resolve the crew change crisis.  FULL STORY

SHIPPING INDUSTRY TAKES NEW ACTION TO PROTECT MARINE ENVIRONMENTS
Source: DryCargoMag.com
Cleaning a ship’s submerged parts from barnacles and other growths, while the ship is in the water, can transfer invasive species to local marine environments unless it is properly cleaned and the debris is captured.  To combat this problem, and to provide clarity and quality assurance to shipowners, ports and government authorities, BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have published the first industry standard on in-water cleaning of ships. “This standard will help protect the environment in the port. Not only that, it will also help every organisation that is part of this process by raising the minimum standard of cleaning several notches higher and ensure that the end result is both a clean ship, and safe working practice,” says David Loosley, BIMCO secretary general.  FULL STORY

JAPAN EXPRESSES CONCERN TO UK OVER NEW CHINESE MARITIME LAW
Source: Mari Yamaguchi (Japan Today) 
Japan's foreign minister and defense minister expressed strong concern to their British counterparts on Wednesday over a new Chinese maritime law that took effect two days earlier.  "Japan is staying alert and paying close attention to its effect on us," Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in online talks between the two sides. "I believe the law should not be used in a way that violates international law."  FULL STORY

MARITIME PIRACY HOTSPOTS PERSIST DURING 2020
Source: Gard
Global piracy and armed robbery numbers increased in 2020, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC). Its latest annual report lists a total of 195 actual and attempted attacks in 2020, up from 162 in 2019 and the agency attributes the rise to an increase of piracy and armed robbery reported within the Gulf of Guinea as well as increased armed robbery activity in the Singapore Straits.   The figures are broken down as three vessels hijacked, 161 vessels boarded, 20 attempted attacks, and 11 vessels fired upon. The report also warns of an alarming trend in kidnap for ransom incidents. Globally 135 crews were kidnapped from their vessels in 2020, compared to 134 in 2019…  FULL STORY

THE OUTLOOK FOR LNG AS A MARINE FUEL
Source: Peter Keller (The Maritime Executive)
Today, LNG-fuelled vessels amount to approximately 13% of the current newbuild order book and estimates for 2021 and beyond show continuing growth in many classes of vessels.  Importantly, 2020 also saw the first uses of bio-LNG by deep-sea ocean vessels, thereby reducing the carbon footprints of these vessels.  The reasons for this expansion are clear. Ports and cities around the world are beginning to take the threat of air pollution and shipping’s contribution to it seriously. Air quality and human health awareness during this pandemic gained renewed interest and continues to be a key determinant of sustainable port activity.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIAN EXPORTERS FEEL THE PINCH AS SHIPPING CONTAINER SHORTAGE, COVID-19 PROTOCOLS TAKE A TOLL
Source: Jessica Hayes and Daniel Mercer (ABC News)
Australian food exporters are being caught in a global supply chain crunch as a shortage of food-grade shipping containers drives up costs and slashes the shelf life of fresh produce.  After the grounding of international airlines all but crushed the air freight trade, many producers looked to the sea as an avenue to the market. But that channel is narrowing as global container shortages and booming consumer demand blow out transit times.  FULL STORY

JANUARY BEEF EXPORTS START THE YEAR OFF AT SNAIL’S PACE
Source: Jon Condon (Beef Central)
AUSTRALIAN beef exports are off to their slowest start to a new calendar year in at least ten years.  Monthly export data released by DAF this morning shows January beef and veal exports to all markets at just 49,604 tonnes – down 29,600t or 37 percent on this time last year. January is always the slowest month of the trading year for Australian beef, following Christmas plant closures and slower demand in the post-New year period, but this year’s decline has been particularly acute. Beef exports for January for the past eight years have averaged 63,500 tonnes. While individual monthly shipment data extends only back to 2013, trade sources suggest it may be the lowest January export figure since 2011, when eastern Australia was hit by floods, including lengthy closure of the nation’s largest beef export port at Brisbane.  FULL STORY

BULK BUYS: LOWER STEEL MILL MARGINS PRESSURE IRON ORE PRICES, COKING COAL PRICES PICK UP ON ATLANTIC BUYING
Source: Mike Cooper (Stockhead)
Prices for Australian iron ore continued to weaken this week to $US157.05 per tonne ($205/tonne) but remain at decade-high levels underpinned by strong Chinese demand.  Infrastructure spending in China has bolstered its economy and driven demand for steel products in activities like construction leading to a strong pull for iron ore supply.  “China’s boost to infrastructure spending last year is the primary driver of China’s resilient steel demand and production,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) analysts.  “We expect China’s steel demand impulse will remain strong for a few months yet,” they said.  Analysts expect this trend to continue for some time still, but are starting to notice that steel plants in China are easing back on their demand because of price pressures.  FULL STORY 

WA GOVERNMENT, WOODSIDE IN GAS SUPPLY DEAL
Source: Michael Ramsey (The Transcontinental) 
Western Australia has secured more domestic gas supply under a deal with resources giant Woodside for the construction of a new onshore pipeline.  The five-kilometre, 76-centimetre interconnector will allow Woodside to process gas from its offshore Pluto field at the Karratha Gas Plant in the Pilbara region.  An average of 250 workers will be employed during the construction with the workforce expected to peak at 320, Woodside said on Friday.  Construction has begun and pipeline is expected to begin operating next year.  FULL STORY

BHP'S NICKEL WEST TO CUT AUSTRALIAN NI EMISSIONS
Source: Argus Media
Australian nickel producer Nickel West has signed a renewable power purchasing agreement to reduce its Kwinana refinery's carbon dixoide (CO2) emissions by up to 50pc by 2024.  Nickel West, wholly-owned by UK-Australian resources firm BHP, has agreed to buy up to 50pc of its electricity needs for its Kwinana refinery in Western Australia (WA) from the Merredin Solar Farm. The agreement with China-based solar developer Risen Energy is for a 10-year period effective yesterday, with it expected to displace 364,000t of CO2 equivalent over the life of the contract.  FULL STORY

VITERRA RECEIVALS PASS 5.8MT AMID BUSY SHIPPING PROGRAM
Source: GrainCentral.com
RECEIVALS into Viterra’s South Australian network have passed 5.8 million tonnes (Mt) for the harvest to date following intake of 41,201t of grain between 11 January and 31 January, the company said in its Monthly receivals report.  Viterra operations manager Michael Hill said the 2020-21 harvest had come to an end, with grain from on-farm storages now making up the majority of deliveries. “While site receivals have slowed, we have continued out-turning grain at a steady pace to meet our export demand,” Mr Hill said. “Our ports have been busy with back-to-back vessel bookings and our Port Lincoln terminal recently had two vessels at berth simultaneously.” Mr Hill said growers delivering to Viterra were benefitting from multiple exporters operating within its system and sending grain to various destinations.  FULL STORY

COAL PRICES SET FOR REBOUND AS DEMAND RETURNS FOR AUSSIE EXPORTS
Source: MiningMonthly.com
COKING coal prices plunged at the height of the diplomatic spat between Australia and China while iron ore prices soared but this may be about to change, according to ANZ.  Recent data from Queensland's Port of Gladstone show the coking coal market is rapidly adjusting, ANZ says in Commodity Call. "Reports are circulating that China is considering allowing some stranded Australian coal shipments to be unloaded, raising hopes of a resolution to the trade dispute," it states.  "Coking coal prices have surged 25% year-to-date, as a result. Newcastle thermal coal prices are up nearly 60% since the dispute emerged."  FULL STORY

DEVONPORT RESIDENTS AROUND PORT MAY HEAR DEMOLITION NOISES
Source: Leah McBey (The Advocate)
On Tuesday, TasPorts will start removing some concrete structures around a berth on the eastern side of the Mersey River, a project which is expected to take up to two weeks.  A TasPorts spokesperson said the company would be upgrading the fendering system at berth 2E in the East Devonport port precinct. "Fenders play a critical role when berthing a vessel, by acting as a bumper to prevent damage to ships and wharf infrastructure," the spokesperson said. "The upcoming works are being undertaken as part of TasPorts' standard infrastructure program and will also facilitate the arrival of SeaRoad's new vessel MV Liekut, scheduled to arrive in March 2021."  FULL STORY  

SOLUTION FOR COVID THREAT IN NZ PORTS
Source: Farm Weekly
The union representing seafarers and port workers says the latest case of COVID-19 in a New Zealand port is a concern, but the problem has a solution.  A crew member aboard the Pan Gloris currently in the Port of Tauranga tested positive for COVID-19 this week. As a historical case, they were no longer infectious. Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says overseas ships are a key risk when it comes to border security in a pandemic. He says there is one simple answer that could help: boosting the role of New Zealand domestic coastal shipping.  FULL STORY

PORT HAS CLEARANCE TO BRING IN VITAL PORT WORKERS
Source: Catherine Harris (Stuff.co.nz)
Immigration authorities have granted clearance to Ports of Auckland to bring in five critical workers who could help clear its massive backlog of cargo.   The critical crane operators have leave to apply for special border exemptions, which the Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation said could make a huge dent in cargo congestion at the port.  ‘’With those trained crane drivers, the problem could be fixed in four to six weeks,'' the federation's president Chris Edwards said. He said the port was already training up new drivers, but it took time. ''If they can get these guys from overseas, they can pretty much, as I understand it, start within a couple of weeks.''  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.