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Thursday, July 9, 2020

United States News

Governments Pledge Crew Change Action

A dozen countries have have committed to facilitate crew changes and achieve key worker designation for seafarers, following a virtual ministerial summit hosted by the U.K. government on Thursday, marking progress to help resolve a growing crisis facing the maritime industry, and enable hundreds of thousands of stranded seafarers to go home or join ships.“The inability of ship operators worldwide to conduct ship’s crew changes is the single most pressing maritime operational challenge to the safe and efficient movement of global trade…

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US Approves LNG Exports from Oregon

The U.S. Energy Department on Monday approved the export of up to 1 billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas from a proposed terminal in Oregon, a move it said would ease U.S. sales of the fuel to Asian markets.The approval advances efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to increase U.S. fossil fuel shipments around the globe at a time big projects are increasingly under strain from environmental protests and lawsuits.“Today’s export authorization for Jordan Cove, the first U.S West Coast LNG project, will ease access to further position the U.S.

Photo Courtesy Robby Norman

Opinion: Shame on Port States for the Treatment of Seafarers

Port states benefit greatly from the vessels that call at their ports, loading and unloading cargoes with great efficiency and speed. The items manufactured in those states and sold overseas keep many of their citizens gainfully employed. The items imported supply stock for the stores of their nation and provide goods for their citizens. The physical ports utilized by the vessels are employment magnets, attracting a diverse array of industries.Yet, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, those port states took swift actions against the very vessels that keep their economies in operation.

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Coronavirus Rekindles Global Trade Disputes

At the start of the year, U.S.-China tensions were easing after their Phase I trade deal, while Washington, Brussels and Tokyo agreed on new global trading rules to curb subsidies. A relative calm had set in.Then the new coronavirus struck.Countries across the world imposed 222 exports curbs on medical supplies and medicines and in some cases food, according to Global Trade Alert, a Swiss monitoring group. For medical products, it was more than 20 times the usual level.Those curbs are now being lifted…

THE GOLDEN RAY response project, although still unfinished, provides a stark example of how easily the US spill response program can get off track. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Brian McCrum

Marine Salvage and SMFF Regulations

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA, often called the Clean Water Act), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), provides:If a discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility is of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States (including but not limited to fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources…

© Eddy Ulin / MarineTraffic.com

Tankers Carrying Venezuelan Oil Stuck at Sea

Tankers carrying nearly two months worth of Venezuelan oil output are stuck at sea as global refiners shun the nation’s crude to avoid falling foul of U.S. sanctions, according to industry sources, PDVSA documents and shipping data.Washington is tightening sanctions to cut Venezuela’s oil exports and deprive the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro of its main source of revenue.The OPEC member’s exports are hovering near their lowest levels in more than 70 years and the economy has collapsed, but Maduro has held on - to the frustration of the administration of U.S.

© G.C. Dijkdrenth / MarineTraffic.com

Iranian Ship Reaches Venezuela with Cargo of Food

An Iranian ship was approaching the Venezuelan port of La Guaira on Sunday with a cargo of food that will supply the South American nation’s first Iranian supermarket, according to Refinitiv Eikon and Iran’s embassy in Venezuela.Iran supplied 1.5 million barrels of fuel to Venezuela last month amid a collapse of refinery operations and tightening sanctions by the United States that has made it more difficult for Venezuela to obtain fuel on international markets.The Iranian-flagged general cargo ship Golsan, owned by Mosakhar Darya Shipping Co, departed on May 15 from Bandar Abbas.

Col. Sebastien Joly and John Driscoll sign project agreement to take the Port of Mobile to 50 ft. draft (Photo: Alabama Port Authority)

Port of Mobile to be Deepened to 50 Feet

The State of Alabama and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered into the Project Partnership Agreement twio deepen and widen the Port of Mobile to 50 feet in late 2024 or early 2025.Colonel Sebastien P. Joly, Commander of the Mobile District, and John C. Driscoll, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama State Port Authority, signed the agreement, which allows the Corps of Engineers will move into contracting and construction phases of the approximately $365.7 million project…

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Cruises from US Ports Suspended Through Mid-September

A number of ocean-going cruise lines said they will voluntarily suspend cruise operations from U.S. ports until September 15 due to COVID-19, industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced Friday.The extended operational pause goes well beyond the current no sail order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set to expire on July 24.“Although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States…

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US Trade Chief Vows to Push for 'Broad Reset' at WTO

The Trump administration will push for a broad reset of “outdated tariff determinations” at the World Trade Organization to fix what it sees as years of unfair treatment of the United States, a top trade official told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Geneva-based body was “a mess” and changes in the tariffs set by the Geneva-based WTO were urgently needed to better reflect current economic realities.“Many countries with large and developed economies maintain very high bound tariff rates…

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Baltic Index Logs Record Jump as Capesize Demand Spikes

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index recorded its biggest ever daily percentage jump on Wednesday, propelled by surging capesize rates due to a spike in iron-ore shipments.The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities and reflects rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, rose 192 points, or about 18.2%, to 1,246, its highest since Dec. 17.The Baltic capesize index jumped 601 points, or about 32.4% to 2,455, its highest since Dec.

American Steamship Company’s M/V American Courage upbound on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio with a load of taconite from the iron ranges on Lake Superior for ArcelorMittal Cleveland, one of the most productive integrated steel mills in the world. (Photo Credit: Thomas Rayburn)

Great Lakes Shipping Companies Navigate Market Challenges Ahead

For U.S.-flag shipping on the Great Lakes, 2019 was a good year. Total cargos were 90 million net tons, up 7.5% over 2018 and 4.6% over the five-year average. 49.7 million net tons of iron ore were shipped, up 8.5% over 2018 and 11.7% over the five year. Limestone was up 9.7% over 2018 and 10.2% over the five-year average. In 2010 and 2011, coal and limestone were each about 20 million net tons. Since then, coal has shown a steady decline as coal-fired power generating plants…

MarAd Insights: “In peace and war” -- Even Against a Virus

The U.S. maritime industry takes great pride in our motto: “In Peace and War.” It sums what we’re all about. From colonial times, through the Revolution, the Civil War, two World Wars, several regional conflicts, and many natural and humanitarian disasters, we got the cargo delivered because our economic security and our national security depend on it.Today, we confront a new kind of enemy: an invisible, debilitating, and too often deadly disease. Yet, just as the courageous merchant…

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Cuba Cancels Economic Fair as Imports Plummet

Cash-strapped Cuba has canceled its annual international trade and investment fair slated for November due to the pandemic, state-run media reported on Friday, even as fallout from the novel coronavirus hammers revenues and imports.Container traffic at the port of Mariel, responsible for 90% of containers entering the country, was down between 20% and 25% through May, compared with the same period last year, according to a shipping source with access to the data.Cuba does not reveal key economic information in a timely manner…

Join a webinar on June 17, 2020 for the global release of a major new market study on the depth, breadth and growth prospects of the Offshore Wind Market -- https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UR5uY1boTOKdAAcAXDbR4g
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The Emerging U.S. Offshore Wind Industry in a Post-COVID-19 World

Join a webinar on June 17, 2020 for the global release of a major new market study on the depth, breadth and growth prospects of the Offshore Wind Market --  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UR5uY1boTOKdAAcAXDbR4gJust when it was looking like the offshore wind industry was finally about to take off in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced one more significant layer of uncertainty upon an already very complicated playing field. There are currently 15 active offshore wind projects in the planning stages which…

COVID-19 & the US Workboat Market: Business Continuity, Not Business as Usual

In today’s environment, the overarching challenge for the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry is to continue transporting the vital commodities that help keep our nation’s economy moving during a highly uncertain time, while taking all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of our workforce as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve – in other words, to ensure business continuity, while recognizing we are not, nor can we be, going about business as usual.

File photo: The Federal Schelde dropping off a load of salt at the Port of Johnstown in 2019. (Photo: Port of Johnstown)

COVID-19 Weighs on Great Lakes-Seaway Shipping

While St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes decreased during the past two months due to economic shifts related to COVID-19, industry leaders said the binational trade and transportation corridor is ready to play its part in the economic recovery efforts in the coming months. Meanwhile, with an increased focus on commodity diversification through project cargo, international shipments of wind energy components in the Great Lakes region are taking off.Overall St. Lawrence Seaway tonnage from March 15 through May 31 totaled 7.7 million metric tons, down 10% compared to the same time period in 2019.

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Port of LA Cargo Volume Down 30% in May

The coronavirus pandemic and ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions threaten the peak holiday shipping season for the Port of Los Angeles, which just suffered its slowest May in more than a decade, Executive Director Gene Seroka said on Wednesday.The busiest U.S. port and the No. 1 U.S. gateway for ocean trade with China logged its slowest May since the "Great Recession" of 2009.May volume fell 30% from last year after business shutdowns aimed at controlling COVID-19 infections and U.S.

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Port of Long Beach Reports Cargo Increase

Cargo shipments rose at the Port of Long Beach in May as the economic effects of COVID-19 started to subside.Some 628,205 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container cargo move through the port last month, a 9.5% increase from May 2019. Imports grew 7.6% to 312,590 TEUs, while exports climbed 11.6% to 134,556 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas jumped 11.4% to 181,060 TEUs.The volume increases come as manufacturing in China continues to rebound from the effects of COVID-19…

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Parched Parana River Likely to Hit Argentine Grain Exports through September

Shallow water in Argentina's Parana River will slow exports and hurt the country's soy crushing margins at least through September, officials said, as more cargo ships are needed to carry the same amount of commodities.Drought has pushed the Parana to its lowest level in decades, complicating transportation and soymeal production.An increasing number of ships are running aground and higher costs are pressuring margins at the giant soy crushing plants that make Argentina the world's top exporter of livestock feed…

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China Bought 10+ Cargoes of Brazilian Soy This Week

China has bought over 10 cargoes of Brazilian soy this week, as its trade tensions with the United States continue to rise causing Beijing to look towards securing supplies, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.Brazil is the top supplier of soybeans to China, the world's biggest buyer of the beans.The development comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the more recent Chinese proposal of imposing national security laws in Hong Kong, to add to the long-standing trade war between

(Photo: Roll Group)

Turbine Foundations Shipped for Virginia Offshore Wind Farm

The first foundations for Dominion Energy's Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project have been shipped from Germany to Canada for eventual installation 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va.On March 31, the foundation components for two 6MW Siemens Gamesa windmills were loaded onto the Netherlands-flagged BigRoll Beaufort at the EEW facility in Rostock, Germany. In order to be able to transport all wind equipment in the most safe way, the in-house engineers of Roll Group have designed dedicated grillage for Jan De Nul, the contractor who will install the turbines.

(Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Trump Issues National Maritime Day Proclamation

In recognition of National Maritime Day, held on May 22 each year, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation honoring the U.S. maritime industry. The full text is below.Since the founding of our great Nation, we have relied on merchant mariners to deliver goods to market and strengthen our national security. On National Maritime Day, we recognize the United States Merchant Marine for all it does to facilitate our commerce and protect our interests at sea.Our Nation’s merchant…

(Photo: Port of Brownsville)

When the Bell Rings: Honoring US Merchant Mariners

This Memorial Day, as we rightfully honor the military men and women who gave their lives winning and protecting our freedoms, let us not forget an often-overlooked remembrance for the thousands of U.S. merchant mariners who also died serving our country in their own selfless ways.In 1933, by a joint Resolution of Congress and by Proclamation of the President of the United States, May 22 was set aside as National Maritime Day to honor the sacrifices of U.S. merchant mariners during wartime and in peace.

Arthur Mead (Photo: AWO)

AWO Elects Crowley's Mead as Chairman

Arthur F. Mead, Vice President and Chief Counsel at Crowley Maritime Corporation, has been elected Chairman of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), succeeding outgoing Chairman Scott Merritt, former Chief Operating Officer with Foss Maritime Company, LLC.Members of the national tugboat, towboat and barge industry association elected a new slate of leaders this week during the association's Spring Board of Directors / Annual Membership Meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautionary measures that resulted in the meeting not taking place in Washington…

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Bahri Puts LNG Tanker Plan on Hold

Saudi Aramco’s shipping division Bahri has put on hold plans to charter up to 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers after Sempra Energy delayed its decision on whether to proceed with an LNG export project in Texas, two sources said.Bahri issued an expression of interest (EOI) last year to charter the vessels from 2025 in Saudi Aramco’s first foray into LNG as part of the state oil giant’s plan to become a major global player in the gas market.In May last year, Aramco signed a 20-year agreement to buy LNG from Sempra Energy’s planned Port Arthur export terminal and also agreed to buy a 25% eq