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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Reuters News

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'Green' Focus for Citigroup's Shipping Finance Chair

Citigroup's veteran shipping finance banker Michael Parker is to become chairman of the bank's shipping & logistics business, a role which will include bolstering the lender's environmental focus in the sector, Citi said on Thursday.In June, Citi was among a group of leading banks who signed up to environmental commitments known as the "Poseidon Principles."These will for the first time integrate efforts to cut CO2 emissions into banks' decision making when providing loans to shipping companies.The initiative highlights how businesses are having to respond to moves by investors around the worl

Australia Joins U.S.-led Gulf Security Mission

Australia will join the United States in a security mission to protect merchant vessels travelling through key Middle East waterways after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.Foremost among the areas to be patrolled is the Strait of Hormuz, between Oman and Iran, through which about one-fifth of the world's seaborne crude flows out of the Gulf.Global commodity trading has been rocked in recent months by the seizure of the British tanker and a series of attacks on international merchant vessels that the U.S.

The Motor Tanker PROTEO (Credit MarineTraffic.Com © Erazo)

Fire Hits PDVSA Tanker at Amuay Bay

A fire swept through the engine room of a tanker owned by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA on Monday while it was anchored at Amuay Bay near the country's largest refinery, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.The extent of the damage to the Panama-flagged Aframax tanker Proteo was not immediately clear. But it highlighted the poor state of much of the fleet belonging to PDV Marina, PDVSA's shipping subsidiary, at a time when U.S. sanctions are complicating its ability to lease vessels from third parties.Even before this fire…

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Ships from Venezuela can still transit Panama Canal

The Panama Canal will allow vessels coming from Venezuela to transit the waterway provided they present the necessary paperwork, the canal authority's chief said on Wednesday, suggesting a new round of U.S. sanctions on the South American country may not make any difference to canal traffic.President Donald Trump's administration last week issued an executive order freezing all Venezuelan government assets in the United States. Shortly thereafter, U.S. officials ratcheted up threats against companies that do business with Venezuela.The measure did not explicitly place sanctions on non-U.S.

AdobeStock / © Igor Strukov

Baltic Index at 2-week High on Capesize, Panamax Strength

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index climbed to a near two week high on Tuesday propelled by strong demand across capesize and panamax vessel segments.The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, gained 90 points, or 5.1%, to 1,864 points, a high since July 31.The capesize index added 188 points, or 5.8%, to 3,454 points, its highest in more than a week. Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal…

File Image: AdobeStock / © Igor Strukov

USDA Sees bigger-than-expected U.S. Corn Crop

The U.S. corn harvest will be bigger than previously forecast, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday, as the government issued a surprise boost to its outlook despite concerns about a wet spring and dry summer.For the 2019/20 crop year, the corn harvest will total 13.901 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 169.5 bushels per acre, the USDA predicted in its monthly supply and demand report. Farmers seeded 90.0 million acres with corn and were expected to harvest…

Death Toll Mounts as Lekima Roils Eastern China

BEIJING, Aug 12 (Reuters) - The death toll from typhoon Lekima in eastern China rose to 44 people on Monday morning, according to official data, as the storm continued up the coast, racking up billions of dollars in economic losses and widely disrupting travel.An additional 12 people were recorded dead from the storm, including seven from Zhejiang province and five from Shandong, with 16 people missing, according to data from provincial emergency bureaus and state media.State…

File Image: A Chinese Naval Frigate underway. CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Vanderwolf

China Mulls Hormuz Naval Escort Role

China might escort Chinese commercial vessels in Gulf waters under a U.S. proposal for a maritime coalition to secure oil shipping lanes following attacks on tankers, its envoy to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday."If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels," Ambassador Ni Jian told Reuters in Abu Dhabi."We are studying the U.S. proposal on Gulf escort arrangements," China's embassy later said in a text…

Adobestock / © rawf8

Trade Fears Drag Stocks, Yuan at 10-Year Low

NEW YORK, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Stock markets around the world fell hard on Monday on fears that China's willingness to let the yuan slide in response to the latest U.S. tariff threat could further aggravate trade-related tensions between the world's two largest economies.China on Monday let the yuan tumble beyond the 7-per-dollar level for the first time in more than a decade, in a sign Beijing might be willing to tolerate further currency weakness after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed last week to impose 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports from Sept.

File Image: a K Line coal Carrier (CREDIT: K Line)

K-Line Guilty of 'cartel conduct'

Japanese shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) was convicted of criminal cartel conduct and ordered to pay a A$34.5 million ($23.50 million) fine by a federal court, Australia's competition regulator said on Friday.K-Line’s fine is the largest ever criminal penalty imposed under the Competition and Consumer Act, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).The company was found to have engaged in a cartel with other shipping companies in order to fix prices on the transportation of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between 2009 and 2012, ACCC said.K-Line

AdobeStock / © Kasto

Oil slumps 7% as More Tariffs Loom

Oil prices plummeted more than 7% on Thursday, with the U.S. benchmark posting its worst day in more than four years, after President Donald Trump said he would impose additional tariffs Chinese imports starting Sept. 1.The drop in Brent crude was the steepest in more than three years, undoing a fragile oil rally built on steady drawdowns in U.S. inventories even as global demand looked shaky due to the U.S.-China trade dispute.Trump's announcement of an additional 10% levy on…

An aerial view of the houston Refining complex (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Irina K)

Fire Erupts at Exxon's Baytown complex; 37 Hurt

Exxon Mobil Corp said it was fighting a fire that erupted on Wednesday at its Baytown, Texas, refining and chemical plant complex injuring 37 people and sending nearby residents indoors.As many as 37 people were being treated for non-life threatening injuries amid efforts to put out the fire, according to Exxon spokeswoman Sarah Nordin. Available air monitoring information showed "no adverse impact at this time," she said.More than three dozen people were treated for minor burns, none requiring hospitalization, said plant manager Jason Duncan in an afternoon media briefing.

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Beijing: U.S.-China Trade Talks 'constructive'

U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a brief round of trade talks on Wednesday that Beijing described as "constructive", including discussion of further purchases of American farm goods and an agreement to reconvene in September.The first face-to-face trade talks since a ceasefire was agreed last month amounted to a working dinner on Tuesday at Shanghai's historic Fairmont Peace Hotel and a half-day meeting on Wednesday, before U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin flew out."Both sides…

File Image: AdobeStock / © Taras

U.S.: Ships Should Keep AIS On

The United States wants all ships to keep their tracking transponders on to cut down on illicit activity and smuggling, and to increase transparency with movements of ships around the world, a senior State Department official told Reuters.Automatic identification systems trackers are the most accessible way of observing where ships are located.The practice of turning off AIS by some vessels from countries such as Iran has become common to evade closer scrutiny as the United States pushes to cut off Iranian oil exports.The official…

Grace 1 remains impounded, not because of its flag but because it was suspected of taking oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, an allegation that Iran denies. Image Credit: © MarineTraffic.com

INSIGHTS: Noose Tightens Around Iranian Shipping

Somewhere on its journey from the waters off Iran, around Africa's southern tip and into the Mediterranean, the Grace 1 oil tanker lost the flag under which it sailed and ceased to be registered to Panama. Iran later claimed it as its own.The ship carrying 2 million barrels of Iranian crude was seized by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar, raising tensions in the Gulf where Iran detained a UK-flagged ship in retaliation.Grace 1 remains impounded, not because of its flag but because it was suspected of taking oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions…

Image Credit: AdobeStock/ © 14KTGold

Singapore's Ocean Tankers tests IMO-2020 Compliant Fuel

Off the coast of Singapore, the world's largest ship refuelling centre, a bunker barge sidled next to the supertanker Pu Tuo San to fill the giant vessel with a new type of fuel that will meet global standards that start up in January.With a little over five months left until stricter marine fuel rules come into effect, shippers such as Singapore's Ocean Tankers that own the very large crude carrier (VLCC) Pu Tuo San have started testing out lower sulphur fuel to prepare their…

USN File photo: flight operations underway on the USS Boxer, the warship credited this week with downing an Iranian drone.

Stakeholders Ignore U.S. Middle East Coalition Proposals

The United States is struggling to win its allies' support for an initiative to heighten surveillance of vital Middle East oil shipping lanes because of fears it will increase tension with Iran, six sources familiar with the matter said.Washington proposed on July 9 stepping up efforts to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen where it blames Iran and its proxies for tanker attacks. Iran denies the charges.But with Washington's allies reluctant to commit new weaponry or fighting forces…

Iran Grain Ships Stranded in Brazil due to U.S. Sanctions

Two Iranian vessels have been stranded for weeks at Brazilian ports, unable to head back to Iran due to lack of fuel, which state-run oil firm Petrobras refuses to sell them due to sanctions imposed by the United States.The vessels Bavand and Termeh came to Brazil a couple months ago carrying urea, a petrochemical product used as fertilizer. They were expected to load corn and return to Iran, but lacked enough fuel for the trip, the port operator in Paranaguá told Reuters.Food is not covered by U.S.

The VLCC Riah, thought by stakeholders to be the seized vessel held by Iran. CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Marinko

US DOS: Iran Must Release Seized Ship, Crew

Iran must immediately release a vessel it seized in the Gulf and its crew, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Thursday."The United States strongly condemns the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with safe passage in and around the Strait of Hormuz," the spokesperson added in an email to Reuters after Iran said it had seized a foreign tanker smuggling fuel in the Gulf."Iran must cease this illicit activity and release the reportedly seized crew and vessel immediately."Reporting by Mohammad Zargham

The Tanker riah (File Image: CREDIT MarineTraffic.com / © Marinko)

U.S. Unsure About Details of Tanker Towed to Iran

U.S. officials say they are unsure whether an oil tanker towed into Iranian waters was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserts, creating a mystery at sea at a time of high tension in the Gulf.The MT Riah disappeared from ship tracking maps when its transponder was switched off in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Its last position was off the coast of the Iranian island of Qeshm in the strait.Iran says it towed a vessel into its waters from the strait after the ship issued a distress call.

file Image: CREDIT AdobeStock / © Lucasz Z

Baltic Index at 5-1/2 Year Peak as Capesize Demand Soars

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index hit a five-and-a-half-year high on Monday on the back of strong demand for capesize vessels shipping iron ore.The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose 3.4%, or 63 points, to 1,928, its highest since January 2014. The index has tripled since February. The index rose 7.2% last week for a fourth straight week, mainly driven by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil.A restart of Vale SA's Brucutu mine in Brazil in June…

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Freight Volumes Impacted by World Economy

Freight volumes in the United States and around the world are falling, signalling tougher times for manufacturers amid escalating trade tensions and heightened uncertainty.Freight volumes in the United States were up by just 0.8% in the three months from March to May compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.Volumes fell year-on-year in May, for the first time in more than two and half years, according to the agency's transportation services index.Freight is growing at the slowest rate since the mid-cycle slowdown of 2015/16…

Civilian Mariner Kevin Sauls, Ship's master aboard the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200), observes the Royal Navy Duke-class frigate HMS Montrose (F 236) during a replenishment-at-sea drill. Guadalupe is conducting operations, providing logistical support to U.S. Navy and allied forces operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tristin Barth)

Iran Attempts UK Tanker Block, Fails

Britain says it fended off Iranian attempt to block its oil tankerThree Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the strait that controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, Britain said on Thursday.A week after Britain seized an Iranian tanker accused of violating sanctions on Syria, London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the Strait of Hormuz…

Go-slow at Port Hits South African Car and Commodity Exports

A go-slow by workers at a major South African port is hitting exports of cars and other commodities, the country's Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.State-owned rail operator Transnet said it had suspended a number of employees at its Ngqura Container Terminal for engaging in what it said was an illegal industrial action."We are getting reports of a go-slow at some of our ports which is beginning to (have an) impact on the export of vehicles from South Africa in particular but perhaps other commodities as well…

file Image / Credit: DP World

DP World to Issue $700 million in Bonds, Sukuk

Port operator DP World plans to raise at least $700 million through conventional and Islamic bond issues on Thursday, documents issued by banks involved in the deal showed.Majority owned by the Dubai government, DP World plans to issue benchmark sukuk with a 10-year maturity. Benchmark bonds are generally meant to be over $500 million.The Islamic paper is being marketed with an initial guidance of around 230 basis points over mid-swaps.Barclays, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank…

File Image: A UK Navy warship on patrol (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Peter Cripps)

Britain Foils Iranian Attempt to Block Tanker

Three Iranian vessels tried to block a BP-operated tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the UK government said on Thursday.Britain urged Iran to "de-escalate the situation in the region" after the British Heritage, a Suezmax oil tanker operated by BP under an Isle of Man flag, was approached."HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels…