News & Media

05 March, 2021

Australian Newsletter - Issue 668

SHIPPING GROUPS TAP ALGORITHMS TO CUT CARBON EMISSIONS
Source: Jonathan Saul (Reuters)
Leading shipping group Maersk Tankers is investing tens of millions of dollars in digital technology to speed up cuts in carbon emissions across the industry, its chief executive told Reuters. Global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions, putting the sector under pressure to clean up. About 90% of world trade is transported by sea. Maersk Tankers, which commercially manages the world’s largest fleet of more than 220 product tankers, has invested $19 million in the past two years and has earmarked a further $12 million in 2021 to boost ship performance and reduce emissions through the use of digital technology.  FULL STORY

BULK BUYS: CHINA’S RECORD STEEL PRICES SUPPORT IRON ORE, COKING COAL DEMAND COOLS
Source: Mike Cooper (StockHead.com)
Reports of potential steel production cuts in China this year and a rise in Brazil’s exports in February trimmed $US1.50 off iron ore prices this week to $US174.50 per tonne ($225/tonne). Chinese buying interest in iron ore cargoes from Australia has settled down after a strong rush after China’s mid-February’s Lunar New Year holidays. “Chinese traders started the year of the Ox in a bullish mode amid prospects of a busier-than-normal season for manufacturing and construction,” said ANZ analysts in a report. They noted that iron ore prices have stayed above $US170 per tonne as investors expect stimulus measures to maintain firm demand in China’s economy for the short term.  FULL STORY

CHINA’S BAN ON AUSTRALIAN THERMAL COAL HITS HOME IN JAN 
Source: Kevin Morrison (Argus Media)
There were no exports of thermal coal from Australia to China in January for the first time in almost 20 years amid trade tensions between the two countries.  This weighed on overall volumes shipped from Australian ports during the period as exports to non-traditional markets failed to make up the losses. China had been the second-largest buyer of Australian thermal coal last year and bought around 50mn t in 2019. Australian thermal coal exports in January fell to 15.77mn t, which was revised up slightly from the original estimate of 18.01mn t and more than 13pc below January 2020, according to January trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) processed by GTT.  FULL STORY

OMAN PORTS RATED WORLD’S FASTEST IN CONTAINER HANDLING
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has rated Oman’s ports as No. 1 in the world in terms of speed of container handling, as per the UNCTAD annual index 2020. The index, issued recently about the development of maritime transport last year, asserts that container vessels’ stay in the Sultanate’s ports averaged only 12.5 hours, including all entry, exit, loading and unloading operations, reported Oman News Agency (ONA). The accomplishment caps the efforts undertaken by Asyad and partners in the public and private sectors to facilitate procedures in ports and introduce many world-class electronic solutions in handling operations.  FULL STORY

SINGAPORE PORT FACES CONTAINER CONGESTION AMID SURGE IN VESSEL CALLS
Source: Parisha Tyagi and Baoying Ng (SPGlobal.com)
Container vessels planning to berth at Singapore port are now facing longer wait times, market sources said, with one source estimating that this has grown to five to seven days from a maximum of two days to turn around an 18,000 TEU vessel. "There is a lot of port congestion in Singapore, which is one of the biggest factors," a freight-forwarder based in Singapore said. Vessels calling at Singapore have not departed on time since September, the freight-forwarder said. According to PSA International, Singapore has been experiencing an increase in activity.  FULL STORY

GOVERNMENT TRIALLING MACHINE LEARNING TECH TO DETECT PESTS AT SHIPPING PORTS
Source: Shannon Jenkins (TheMandarin.com.au)
The federal government is working with a Canberra-based company to trial machine learning technology that aims to detect pests at Australian shipping ports. The trial is being implemented in partnership with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Australian company Trellis Data, and global logistics company DP World, in Brisbane. The technology will stop pests from breaching biosecurity processes at Australia’s container ports by detecting invasive species that are less than 10 millimetres in size, according to Trellis.  FULL STORY

COMPRESSED GREEN HYDROGEN SHIP FOR AUSSIE EXPORTS DEEMED ‘HIGHLY COMPETITIVE
Source: Bella Peacock (PV-Magazine-Australia.com)
A scoping study has found Global Energy Ventures’ compressed hydrogen ship to be both technically feasible and ‘highly competitive’ to transport the hyped future fuel at distances that conveniently connect Australia to Southeast Asian markets. Describing itself as “delighted” with the study’s results, Global Energy Ventures (GEV) says it now has the confidence to “rapidly progress” the development of its compressed hydrogen C-H2 Ship to the next phase. The “world first” ship design, which has already patented, can transport 2,000 tonnes of compressed hydrogen.  FULL STORY 

PACIFIC HUB PORTS CONCEPT EXPLORED FOR REGIONAL CREW CHANGE AND REPATRIATION
Source: Homeland Security Today
The concept of “hub” ports to receive, quarantine, test for COVID-19 and potentially vaccinate seafarers in the Pacific region was explored at a recent roundtable meeting (25 February) involving representatives from States in the region, UN agencies, the shipping industry, the relevant trade union organization and the Pacific Islands Forum. Seafarers from Pacific island States have faced circuitous and lengthy journeys to return home when this has been arranged, illustrating the complexities of the crew change crisis. Globally, there are currently some 400,000 seafarers needing to be repatriated from ships, having completed their contracted time at sea, with a similar number trying to join ships.  FULL STORY  

FEEDGRAIN FOCUS: PRICES FIRM AS COVERAGE EXTENDS
Source: Liz Wells (Grain Central)
CONSUMERS in eastern states have started to book coverage into June and beyond as expectations build for stronger pricing into the back half of Australia’s marketing year. This is based on prospects building for solid export demand for Australian wheat and barley beyond June, and an inverse into new-crop Black Sea grain which will be smaller than earlier thought now that Russia’s grain export tax is in place. On sorghum, 13,000 tonnes in bulk is due to load in Brisbane by early April, and trade buying has now switched back to the container market. The Australian dollar and bulk freight rates are both firming, and these offshore factors have tempered price rises for Australian grain.  FULL STORY

VIC INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS STAY ON HOLD AND MUA QUESTIONS COVID TESTING STRATEGY
Source: Roger Vaughan (PortPirieRecorder.com.au)
International flights into Victoria remain on hold. - Meanwhile, Australia's maritime union says Victoria is missing the boat on its coronavirus testing at ports. The Maritime Union of Australia has warned that the introduction of mandatory testing for some wharfies - but not sailors arriving from international ports - risks a repeat of the state's hotel quarantine disaster. "Testing waterfront workers seven days after boarding a vessel, rather than the international seafarers arriving from foreign ports, is like breathalysing the barman instead of the drink driver," said MUA Victoria deputy branch secretary David Ball.  FULL STORY

NEW VICTORIAN PORTS PLAN IN THE OFFING
Source: FullyLoaded.com.au
CTAA critiques state government review response on access charges. Victoria is on course for a new state ports policy, the state government’s Independent Review of the Victorian Ports System initial response reveals. While the review’s headline action is to create Ports Victoria as a single entity merging the three state-owned port authorities, the initial response touches on matters, some that affect trucking directly. Ports Victoria is to begin operation in July, with stakeholder engagement on the Victorian Ports Strategy and a final response to the review due around the same time, and implementation of the response at some stage late in the year.  FULL STORY

SHIPPING COMPANY AND CHIEF OFFICER CONVICTED FOR DUMPING GARBAGE IN GREAT BARRIER REEF
Source: Mirage News
Following a prosecution by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), on Friday 26 February 2021, the chief officer and company of a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier were fined and convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for dumping the equivalent of a 120-litre household garbage bin full of food waste into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In 2018, Iron Gate was on a voyage between Brisbane and Gladstone when the chief officer approved the discharge of garbage overboard about 24 kilometres (13 nautical miles) south-east of Lady Elliot Island – well within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Australian waters.  FULL STORY

PORT OF TAURANGA REPORTS IMPROVED PROFITS DESPITE WIDESPREAD DISRUPTION TO CARGO VOLUMES AND OPERATIONS
Source: HellenicShippingNews.com
Port of Tauranga, New Zealand’s largest port and international freight gateway, today reported increased profitability for the first six months of the 2021 financial year, despite volatile cargo volumes and congestion issues being experienced at Ports of Auckland. Group Net Profit After Tax for the six months to December 2020 was $49.4 million, a 2.3% increase on the same period the previous year, despite a 1.3% decrease in total trade volumes, to 13.1 million tonnes. Container numbers decreased 4.6% compared with the previous corresponding period, to 612,988 TEUs.  FULL STORY

PORT WORKERS FIRST TO BE VACCINATED IN TOP OF THE SOUTH
Source: Maia Hart and Morgane Solignac (Stuff.co.nz)
Front-line port workers in Marlborough and Nelson, and the people they live with, will be the first people in the top of the south to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine roll-out will start on Monday in Nelson, and on Wednesday in Marlborough. Nelson Marlborough Health chief medical officer Dr Nick Baker said it was a “significant milestone” in New Zealand’s fight against Covid-19. “This is the first phase of New Zealand’s largest-ever immunisation programme, and the much-anticipated next crucial phase in our fight against COVID-19,” Baker said.  FULL STORY

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE OPENS BOOKING ON 2022-23 CRUISES
Source: Iulia Tore (RusTourism News)
Holland America Line’s exotic itineraries explore far-flung destinations coveted by globe-trotters, and cruises in 2022 and 2023 are now open for booking. From Asia, Australia and New Zealand to South America, Antarctica, Hawaiiand Tahiti, travelers looking for an out-of-the-ordinary adventure can choose cruises ranging from 14 to 50 days on four Holland America Line ships. From September 2022 through April 2023, Noordam,Oosterdam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam sail throughout the southern and northern hemispheres, offering guests carefully crafted itineraries that deeply explore ancient traditions, natural wonders, intriguing cultures and the aloha lifestyle.  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.