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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Jonathan Saul News

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Container Lines Expect US Import Binge to Lose Steam

Surging shipments into the United States are fueling record high freight costs and logjams at seaports, but transportation executives say the rally will lose steam with a second wave of COVID-19 restrictions on the cards.Container shipping companies, which move goods for customers including Amazon.com and Walmart, got stung late last year and early this year when COVID-19 halted trade around the world, and they question whether the U.S. import boom can be sustained."Let's not get carried away," Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of Germany's Hapag Lloyd, told reporters.

(Photo: CMA CGM)

CMA CGM Resumes Online Services After Cyber Attack

CMA CGM, the world’s fourth-largest container shipping group, said it has restored its online business services after a cyber attack last month paralyzed activity.France-based CMA CGM first reported the incident on September 28, saying it had shut down access to its online services after malware targeted its peripheral servers.“The CMA CGM Group’s e-commerce sites are once again live with all their main functionalities up and running,” the company said in a statement on Sunday. “Applications and essential functionalities are now operational and secured.”In a separate incident, U.N.

(Photo: Hapag-Lloyd)

Hapag-Lloyd Sees Shipping Demand Recovering

German container shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd is benefitting from a rebound in transport demand but its chief executive warned about the longer-term impact on economic activity from the coronavirus."We see a recovery, which started probably some time in the course of third quarter, and we would expect that to continue going into 2021," chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen said in an embargoed briefing session with journalists held on Thursday."But there will be a clear long-term effect on the global economy from COVID-19…

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US Imports Surge as Pandemic Worries Have Retailers Stockpiling

The Los Angeles-based maker of Exploding Kittens and Throw Throw Burrito board games ordered 1 million extra units from its factory in China with the hope of preventing coronavirus from ruining its Christmas sales.The move from the company, which sells product through Target, Walmart and Amazon.com, comes as  U.S. suppliers and retailers have been rebuilding depleted inventories and battling uncertainty by stockpiling pandemic sellers such as toys, refrigerators, home furnishings and booze.In the last few months…

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Maersk to Ship Cargo Between UAE and Israel

Danish shipping giant Maersk said it will now transport ocean cargo between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, a further sign of business opening up after the two countries established full ties.Earlier this month Israel and the UAE signed an historic agreement to normalize relations, marking a big development in economic collaboration and ending a ban on trade between the Gulf Arab state and Israel.“We have opened up cargo acceptance between UAE and Israel following the lifting of the boycott,” a Maersk spokesman said.Maersk, the world’s number one container line, said any trade would be fo

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EU Parliament Votes to Make Ships Pay for Their Emissions

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of including greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime sector in the European Union's carbon market from 2022, throwing its weight behind EU plans to make ships pay for their pollution.Shipping is the only sector which does not face EU targets to cut emissions, but it is coming under increased scrutiny as the bloc attempts to steer industries towards its plan to become "climate neutral" by 2050.In a vote on Tuesday, EU lawmakers said the bloc's carbon market should be expanded to include emissions from voyages within Europe…

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Brokers Calculate Marine Insurance Losses from Beirut Blast

Insurance claims for damage to ships, goods and the port itself after a warehouse explosion last week in the port of Beirut were likely to total less than $250 million, reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter said on Monday.Overall insured losses - including property damage - from the August 4 port warehouse detonation of more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate may reach around $3 billion, sources told Reuters last week.The explosion killed at least 163 people, injured more than 6…

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Beirut Blast a Wake-up Call on Dangers of Ammonium Nitrate

The devastating explosion in Beirut should be a wake-up call for countries on the dangers of ammonium nitrate, which caused the blast, experts say.Lebanese authorities said 2,750 tonnes of the industrial chemical had been stored for six years at Beirut port without safety measures. That stockpile exploded on Tuesday, killing more than 150 people, injuring thousands and leaving about a quarter of a million people homeless.Commonly used in fertilizers and as an industrial explosive…

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Trump Administration Issues Maritime Advisory on Sanctions

The Trump administration on Thursday issued guidelines to help ship owners and insurers avoid the risks of sanctions penalties, standards that maritime players and a senior State Department official said were modified following months of discussions with industry.The guidelines, known as a Global Maritime Advisory, concern sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Syria. The State Department said it is committed to disrupting sanctions evasion and smuggling of goods, including oil exports from Iran…

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Oil Traders Chase Storage Space in World Awash with Fuel

Oil traders are struggling to find enough ships, railcars, caverns and pipelines to store fuel as more conventional storage facilities fill up amid abundant supply and plummeting demand due to the coronavirus crisis.Dozens of oil tanker vessels have been booked in recent days to store at least 30 million barrels of jet fuel, gasoline and diesel at sea, acting as floating storage, as on-land tanks are full or already booked, according to traders and shipping data.That adds to about 130 million barrels of crude already in floating storage…

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Crude Oil Held in Sea Storage Hits New Record

Traders are storing an estimated record 160 million barrels of oil on ships - double the level from two weeks ago as they seek to tackle a glut of stocks created by a slide in global demand from the coronavirus, shipping sources say.Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia have agreed a record cut in output from May of 9.7 million barrels per day, or almost 10% of global supply, to help support prices and curb oversupply.At…

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Shipping Industry Urges Free Movement of Crews to Keep Trade Moving

Ships must be allowed to change over overworked and exhausted crews to help to keep trade flowing as coronavirus lockdowns shut many transit points across the globe, shipping industry officials said on Tuesday.About 90% of world trade is transported by sea but a deepening lockdown in many countries and suspended air travel have disrupted supply chains, especially for ship owners who rely on the free movement of crews to keep ships moving.The International Chamber of Shipping association (ICS)…

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Coronavirus Upends Global Food Supply Chains

In the fertile Satara district in western India, farmers are putting their cattle on an unorthodox diet: Some feed iceberg lettuce to buffalo. Others feed strawberries to cows.It’s not a treat. They can either feed their crops to animals or let them spoil. And other farmers are doing just that - dumping truck loads of fresh grapes to rot on compost heaps.The farmers cannot get their produce to consumers because of lockdowns that aim to stop the spread of coronavirus. In India…

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More Bad News for Bulkers, as South African Ports Close for Mineral Exports

South Africa's main export terminals will be closed to mineral exports from midnight on Thursday when a nationwide 21-day lockdown over coronavirus begins, disrupting copper supply chains linking major producer Zambia to Asian consumers.Miners in the Zambian copper belt typically transport copper overland to South Africa's ports, where it is exported mainly to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal."All bulk terminals (mineral mining commodities) will be closed," a note from Transnet Port Terminals read, according to a shipping agent.

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Shipping Industry Urges G20 to Keep Freight Flowing

Ships and their crews must be able to trade freely with minimal port restrictions to ensure supply lines don't freeze up while the coronavirus shuts down much of the globe, shipping and port officials said on Tuesday.After draconian steps to stop the spread of the virus, China's economy is slowly coming back online but logistics chains are backing up in other parts of the world.This has been compounded by ships being quarantined for up to two weeks and seafarers held up as countries impose lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) association…

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Western Supply Chains Buckle as Coronavirus Lockdowns Spread

Freight carriers are struggling to deliver goods by land, sea or air as the coronavirus pandemic forces Western governments to impose lockdowns, threatening supplies of vital products including medicines into the most affected areas, such as Italy.While China's draconian steps to stop the spread of the virus are now allowing its economy slowly to come back online, supply chains are backing up in other parts of the world.Problems ranging from finding enough truck drivers to restrictions on seafarers and a lack of air freight are hitting the smooth flow of goods…

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UAE Bans Ship Over Fuel Breach

The world's number two container line MSC is in talks with the United Arab Emirates after the Gulf country banned one of their vessels from entering its waters over what authorities said was a breach of tough new sulphur emissions rules for ships.This is one of the first punitive actions taken by a jurisdiction since regulations came into effect in January which make it mandatory for ships to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5%, down from 3.5% previously, or install devices that strip out the toxic pollutant - known as scrubbers.Ships were no longer able to even carry high sulphur fuel fro

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Shipping Industry Faces $370 mln Hit From New Panama Canal Charge

A new "freshwater" charge that came in this month to help the Panama Canal cope with climate change will cost the shipping industry up to $370 million a year, marking another blow for maritime companies already hit by fallout from the coronavirus.The Panama Canal, one of world's busiest shipping routes, which handled nearly 14,000 transits last year, said last month it would introduce a charge from Feb. 15 of $10,000 for any vessel more than 125 feet long.The canal, which relies on water from nearby Gatun Lake, has been hit by drought which affects water levels in the chokepoint.

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US Lifts Sanctions on COSCO's Dalian Unit

The United States on Friday lifted sanctions on one of two units of the Chinese tanker company COSCO, the U.S. Treasury said, partially reversing its punishment on the company for transporting Iranian oil after China complained about the measure in trade talks with Washington.President Donald Trump's administration on Sept. 25 blacklisted two units of COSCO, named after the northeastern Chinese port of Dalian. The move sent worldwide freight costs to record highs and disrupted the global shipping market.The U.S.

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Mideast Tensions Create Insurance Headache for Tanker Owners

Even as the United States and Iran appear to signal a keenness to avoid further conflict, oil and gas shipowners are bracing to pay a price for the war of words that culminated in rocket strikes in Iraq over the last week - higher insurance bills.According to industry sources, payments known as war risk premiums for tankers shuttling through the Strait of Hormuz could rise significantly, adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to shipping costs in some cases that will ultimately…

Photo: Maersk

MSC Re-Routes Cargos Due to French Strikes

Swiss headquartered container shipping company MSC said on Friday it was implementing contingency plans to re-route container ships away from French ports when necessary due to strikes in the country."MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is closely monitoring the situation in France where industrial action by labour unions is impacting maritime ports and overland transportation networks around the country," an MSC spokesman said.MSC said it would resume normal services to France as soon as possible. (Reporting by Jonathan Saul and Gus Trompiz; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by David Clarke)

Soren Toft (Photo: A.P. Moller Maersk)

MSC Appoints Toft as CEO of Cargo Business

Swiss headquartered container shipping group MSC has appointed Soren Toft as the new chief executive officer of its cargo business from rival company A.P. Moller Maersk, an MSC spokesman said on Monday.A start date for Toft has yet to be determined, the spokesman said.Maersk, the world's biggest container line, said last week that Toft, who had served as its head of operations, had decided to leave the company to pursue outside opportunities.MSC is the world's second-largest container shipping line and is seen by industry watchers as a challenger to Maersk's position.

Peel Ports sees Brexit Boost

Cargo shippers are diverting goods to more ports across Britain to ensure stable supply lines due to uncertainty over whether the UK will leave the European Union without an agreement, a top port executive said.Brexit has been delayed for a third time, until the end of January, and Britain is headed for a snap general election in December designed to break the impasse.The European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier this week said there was still a risk that Britain could exit the bloc chaotically with no divorce agreement.In the meantime…

A Euronav tanker in Drydock. Credit: Euronav

Euronav Readies Fleet for IMO 2020 Start

Belgian tanker operator Euronav expects to complete preparations on its fleet in coming weeks ahead of tougher rules next year limiting sulphur emissions from ocean-going vessels, a company executive said on Tuesday.Ship owners must cut emissions by reducing the sulphur content in fuel to 0.5% from 3.5% under the rules, which are set by the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO), and come into effect in January.To comply, ship owners can use low-sulphur fuel…

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Unipec Resumes Using COSCO Tankers

China's Unipec has resumed using tankers owned by COSCO weeks after it suspended bookings due to U.S. sanctions on some of the Chinese shipping company's subsidiaries, trade sources said on Tuesday.Refinitiv data showed one COSCO owned tanker - belonging to a subsidiary not affected by the U.S. sanctions - was sailing to Asia with a cargo of oil chartered by Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's top oil refiner, Sinopec.Sinopec officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment after business hours.In one of the biggest sanctions actions taken by the U.S.

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UK Risks Losing Edge in Maritime Services

Britain's position as a top hub for maritime services is being eroded by competition, a loss of shipping finance business and the removal of tycoon-friendly tax breaks, a report said, deepening uncertainty for its financial sector as Brexit nears.The UK has been a pivotal global shipping centre for centuries, especially the City of London, and has dominated marine insurance, ship broking, shipping finance and other maritime services.These contribute $5.6 billion a year to Britain’s economy…