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Port Finance International provides online news and conferences worldwide. It is a platform and a community for senior industry experts and players to review and discuss the market. Our online news team provides daily coverage of international port finance, investment and operations news. A weekly e-newsletter - sent to readers free of charge - covers the key news and views of the week.

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    Emergency dredging of the access channel, quays and manoeuvring basins of the port of Beira is due to be completed this week after work over the last six months resulted in the removal of about 3 million cubic metres of sediment, said the chief executive of Mozambican rail and port management company Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique – Centro.

    Augusto Abudo told the Mozambican newspaper Notícias that a multi-sector team will evaluate the work carried out by Dutch company Van Oord, assisted by the Mozambican Dredging Company, which cost 24.9 million euros.

    The chief executive of CFM – Centro said that about 850,000 cubic metres of sand from the Sofala bank were removed from the so-called Macuti bend alone, which was used to build a landfill, where Pier 11 will be built in the future.

    As a result of this dredging operation, the width of the port access channel, which is 27 kilometres long, was increased from 135 to 250 metres and the depth was set at 8 metres on the straight sections and at 9.20 metres on the Macuti bend.

    Abudo also said that the port of Beira from now on will be able to receive ships with a maximum tonnage of 60,000 tons 24 hours a day, when previously tonnage could not be over 33,000.

    April 11, 2018 by MacauHub

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    Despite the high volumes of goods that require transport, the development and integration of ports in Africa's wider logistic chains remains uneven

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 12, 2018/ -- Africa needs to take advantage of the economic potential of its ports and shipping sector if it is to realise its growth ambitions. Globally, ports are gateways for 80% of merchandise trade by volume and 70% by value. Investment in ports and their related transport infrastructure to advance trade and promote overall economic development and growth is therefore vital – particularly in emerging economies that are currently under-served by modern transportation facilities.

    However, port investment must be channelled appropriately to ensure financial sustainability and economic growth. Investment is not always about building new ports or terminals – investment spent on infrastructure without cognisance of the efficiency and effectiveness of the performance of the port may not produce the desired results. Port performance must be seen in the context of not only port infrastructure shortfalls, but also the fact that port performance has a direct impact on the efficiency and reliability of the entire transport network in which the port is just a node for the transfer of goods.

    These are among the key findings of an analysis of port development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) issued by PwC ( today. The report, ‘Strengthening Africa’s gateways to trade’, was developed in response to the challenges facing SAA’s ports in attracting external investment and highlighting the regional economic and growth benefits thereof.

    Download the report ‘Strengthening Africa’s gateways to trade’ here:

    Why ports matter

    As an emerging market region endowed with vast resources and a growing population, SSA must accelerate its market access and trade across the region and with the rest of the world. PwC analysis shows that a 25% improvement in port performance could increase GDP by 2%, demonstrating the close relationship between port effectiveness and trade competitiveness. With growing congestion in many African ports, Africa runs the risk of sacrificing further growth through lack of investment in port terminal infrastructure. Access to effective ports, interconnecting infrastructure and efficient operations to cope with current demand and future growth, will lead to reduced costs and improved overall freight logistics efficiency and reliability – all of which are fundamental to the region’s future success.

    Despite the high volumes of goods that require transport, the development and integration of ports in Africa’s wider logistic chains remains uneven. Some ports are important generators of benefit and serve large hinterland areas, often extending beyond national borders. Others lag in terms of available facilities, reliability and efficiency in the handling of freight, which increase supply-chain costs. The disparities in performance between different ports impacts on Africa transport logistic chains, and makes African countries less competitive than they could be.

    Dr. Andrew Shaw, PwC Africa Transport and Logistics Leader, says: “Ports are a vital part of the supply chain in Africa, with many ports having a far-reaching hinterland often spanning a number of countries, which makes them a natural focus for regional development.”

    “In this report we show that the global transportation and logistics industry can no longer afford to ignore developments in Africa. Logistics service providers and ports in particular will continue to play a key facilitator role in trade competitiveness and thus facilitate trade and sustained economic growth across the region. Trade competitiveness requires governments and key stakeholders to see ports as facilitators of trade and integrators in the logistics supply chain. Efficient ports can make countries and regions more competitive and thus improve their growth prospects. The reliability and efficiency of each port terminal, including minimising delay to shippers, is critical to enhancing future trade facilitation.”

    Kuria Muchiru, Partner, Government & Public Sector PwC Kenya, adds: “Efficient port operations in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam are critical to increased throughput and evacuation of cargo. Investments in rail are seen as a major step towards contributing to improved performance. Developments in multimodal operations and master planning of the ports to keep up to date with increasing throughput, which in turn fuels economic growth are critical to efficiency. In the long run East Africa is expected to a be a major transhipment hub on the East Coast of Africa, which will reduce freight costs in addition to contributing to the Belt and Road. ”

    Ian Arufor, Partner PwC Nigeria, comments: “International trade is a primary vehicle for the international movement of capital to developing nations, which ultimately drives economic development.”

    “As the larger West African economies embark upon, or seek to accelerate, the implementation of their economic development drives, new and / or expanded port access and capabilities are increasingly recognised as key tenets of these programs. This is exemplified by the number of active port development and expansion projects in Nigeria and Ghana.”

    The case for shifting focus

    Historically, many governments have focused on the revenues that can be extracted from ports as opposed to recognising them as facilitators of trade and growth. Africa needs to shift its understanding of the role ports can play and step up investment in them to achieve its economic development goals. In particular, there should be more awareness of the greater economic benefits that effective and efficient ports can play.

    In SSA, the business case for port expansion is often only defined once capacity is already constrained and thus many ports operate under severe pressure while investment decisions are being made. This continual lag, which often lasts years, reduces competiveness and takes no account of the resulting reduced trade impact on African economies. In contrast, China’s approach to port investment is instructive. China considers port investments on the benefits it receives from trade and thus regards ports as highly strategic investments in the national interest.

    High port logistics costs, poor reliability and low economies of scale in trade volumes have a negative impact on trade growth in Africa. According to PwC estimates, US$2.2 billion per annum could be saved in logistics costs if the average throughput at the major ports in SSA doubled. In other parts of the world, such a focus on volume and efficiency has led to a stronger emphasis on hub and feeder ports for containers and enhancing scale for commodity bulk terminals.

    Although individual countries in Africa have tended to push for developing their own hub ports (ports with the greatest volume potential), it is likely that we will see some ports eventually emerge as major hubs. PwC’s analysis shows that, based on the degree of shipping liner connectivity, amount of trade passing through a port, and the size of the hinterland, Durban (South Africa), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Mombasa (Kenya) are most likely to emerge as the major hubs in Southern Africa, West Africa and East Africa, respectively.

    It is notable that SSA merchandise trade has increased by about 300% over the past 30 years, yet the region contributed less than 1% to the value of world trade growth during this period. The value of SSA exports has declined since the end of the resources boom, while imports have continued to grow. As demand for commodities begins to increase once more, we expect to see prices and volumes will rise again.

    The fact that most African countries have an imbalance in trade focused on commodity exports and manufactured imports poses major cost challenges. SSA imports are predominated by containerised cargo, while exports are mostly handled as bulk freight. This trade imbalance between imports and exports means that many containers return empty, thereby absorbing valuable port capacity and resulting in higher logistics costs for inbound traffic to offset the cost of an empty return leg. Improving Africa’s trade potential to export manufactured, semi-processed or agricultural goods would significantly improve the imbalance in containerised trade. This rebalancing of containerised trade offers a unique opportunity for African countries to beneficiate and expand trade in higher-value exports.

    Most SSA ports are public sector owned and managed, which makes the raising of capital in a constrained economic environment difficult. Governments’ role in the port sector also affects investment returns because of the manner in which they regulate and operate ports.

    Greater clarity and transparency about government involvement and regulation of port activity is important. Almost all investors we spoke to during our research highlighted governance as the main risk consideration in their investment decision to support increased port investment. This is in an environment in which 67% of port terminal operators interviewed in southern Africa felt that they needed to expand their port facilities.

    Performance of ports in SSA

    A range of physical, organisational, technological and institutional elements play a role in determining port capacity and efficiency. PwC has developed a Port Performance Analysis (PPA) that tests the performance of SSA ports against international norms and practices. Using the PPA assessment tool, notwithstanding the fact that each region and port has its own specific challenges, it is possible to draw the following conclusions about SSA ports:

    • There is a lag in investment in port infrastructure, which tends to perpetuate bottlenecks at key African ports. The investment lag is largely driven by reluctance to invest ahead of demand and when investment decisions are made, it frequently takes a number of years before new equipment is supplied or infrastructure constructed.
    • African ports tend to operate at higher densities than their global counterparts due to land constraints.
    • Terminal capacity utilisation is often constrained by vessel sizes, vessel utilisation and call frequency.
    • Road network around ports are often not sufficient to sustain port volumes.
    • Many of the handling inefficiencies and long container dwell times are not the result of port infrastructure shortfalls at all. Rather, they are a consequence of poor port management, customs and associated container clearing processes, as well as inadequate landside connections which prevent containers leaving ports without delay.

    Future drivers of investment

    The report assesses current investment in SSA’s ports and reveals a number of trends:

    • Ownership and service models are gravitating towards greater private-sector involvement;
    • Increasing competition between ports is driving investment decisions;
    • Shipping lines and port operators are increasingly driving port investment;
    • Externally-funded commodities and consumer goods are driving investment;
    • Appetite for large greenfield investment is waning;
    • Focus on intermodal facilities and dry ports is increasing; and
    • Greater awareness of infrastructure interdependencies.

    Shaw comments: “SSA ports are under increasing pressure to respond to the needs of shipping lines, logistic providers and multinational traders, as they seek to drive efficiencies throughout the value chain. There remains a strong case for SSA to focus on investment in ports. Developing port infrastructure ahead of demand, focusing on the ports with the greatest potential (the ‘hub’ ports of the future) and improving the overall functioning of these ports so that through productivity gains they are increasingly attractive as destinations for global trade are key imperatives.”

    Press Release Date 12 April 2018 

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    Anxiety Builds Over COSCO Takeover Deal

    The share price of OOIL has dropped due to investor "anxiety" over worsening China-US trade ties which may affect regulatory approvals for a COSCO takeover deal, according to global shipping analyst Alphaliner.

    On April 10, 2018, OOIL's share price hit a new low since COSCO, together with joint-acquirer SIPG, made an offer for the Hong-Kong based parent company of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) on July 7, 2017.

    US President Trump's clamp down on Chinese investments could mean that OOIL's deal with the Chinese state-owned shipping and logistics firm is scrutinized further by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

    If the deal goes through, it will make COSCO the largest Pacific Ocean container shipping service and world's third largest container liner.

    The takeover passed the US' Hart-Scott-Rodino anti-trust review, designed to prevent anticompetitive mergers or acquisitions, on October 23, 2017, and is ready for its June 2018 completion date, according to China Cosco Shipping Vice Chairman, Huang Xiaowen.

    Alphaliner's newsletter cited that, as of March 2018, COSCO has confirmed that its US container terminals are a focus of discussions with CFIUS, but that officials still expect the deal to close before the June 30 deadline.

    Lars Jensen from consultancy SeaIntelligence recently forecasted the industry's developments as far into the future as 2025 in his 'Liner Shipping in 2025' Port Technology technical paper

    The deal has also passed three other pre-conditions, including the anti-trust reviews in the US on October 23, 2017, and the EU on December 5, 2017, as well as the approval of COSCO Shipping Holdings' shareholders on October 16, 2017.

    Alphaliner stated: "OOIL will receive a break fee of $253 million if COSCO fails to complete the deal by the deadline, but the fee would be waived if the transaction 'failed to meet the requirements of CFIUS', even though the CFIUS clearance was not listed as one of the five pre-conditions for the offer from COSCO.

    "The main issue at stake is OOCL's Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT), viewed as one of OOIL's key assets, which will come under COSCO's control upon completion of the OOIL takeover.

    "A key question is whether COSCO's control of the fully-automated terminal on the US West Coast, with a 40-year lease expiring in 2052 that is worth $4.6 billion in total, could harm US national security interests."

    April 12, 2018 by Port Technology

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    China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) will invest $800m to build an underground road network to Sri Lanka's $1.4bn Port City, according to a government minister.

    The plan is intended to ward off traffic congestion expected when the Chinese-funded Port City development, built on land reclaimed from the sea, is finished.

    "Once legal procedure on the new reclaimed land is done, the construction will start," Sri Lanka's Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Champika Ranawaka, told reporters on 11 April, Reuters reports.

    Reclamation work for the 269-hectare site near Colombo's main port is more than 60% complete, Ranawaka said, adding that it is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

    Sri Lanka is will use tax incentives to lure investment into Port City, a project of CCCC through its subsidiary, the state-run China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

    Seen by China as a strategic node in its Belt and Road Initiative, Port City will have housing, marinas, health facilities and schools.

    It has been controversial. In January 2015 the project was suspended by Sri Lanka's newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena, whose election campaign included a promise to reduce Chinese influence on the island nation, which grew during his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa's 10 years in office.

    But after a sustained diplomatic effort from China the project was reinstated at the end of 2015.

    April 13, 2018 by GCR

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    GPA Increases Container Volumes for March

    The Georgia Port Authority (GPA) achieved a 14% growth in container volumes, moving 355,208 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

    Over the fiscal year (July-March) TEU container trade grew by 9%, with an additional 255,786 TEUs moving the total up to 3.08 million – a record total for the Port of Savannah.

    GPA's Executive Director Griff Lynch said: "Savannah's continued strength is a reflection of our customers' commitment, Georgia's leadership, and the many dedicated service providers, GPA employees and ILA members who come together every day to achieve great things.

    "March marked our 17th consecutive month of business expansion thanks, in part, to a strong economy and growing market share."

    The GPA also broke its previous record for intermodal rail volumes, which increased by 20% in March and 15.4% overall in the fiscal year – totally 318,454 TEUs.

    GPA's Chairman Jimmy Allgood said: "As the numbers show, our rail cargo is growing at a faster pace than our overall trade.

    "This is important because rail is playing a key role in our responsible growth strategy.

    "We anticipate our rail infrastructure investments to take 250,000 trucks off the road each year by 2020."

    The GPA recently began development on its Mega Rail Terminal Project, a $126.7 million investment to expand the rail infrastructure at Garden City Terminal, to further develop intermodal rail volumes and throughput.

    Roll-on/roll-off auto and machinery units also saw increases in March at both the Port of Brunswick and the Ocean Terminal in Savannah.

    Colonel's Island Terminal at Brunswick handled 66,144 cars, trucks and tractors, while Ocean Terminal handled an extra 4,050 – bringing the total to 70,194, a 17.2% increase.

    Lynch added: "The global economy is thriving and our volumes are following suit.

    "As existing accounts grow their footprint in the expanding auto facility in Brunswick, Georgia's competitive logistical advantages are drawing additional business across all of our docks."

    April 16, 2018 by Port Technology

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    TNPA, KCT Sign Deal for New Cruise Terminal in Durban

    South Africa's Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has signed a deal with KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) that will see the delivery of a new cruise facility in the Port of Durban by October 2020.

    Under the agreement, signed between the parties on April 16, 2018, the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal would finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer the ZAR 200 million (USD 16.6 million) project.

    "We are delighted to have concluded terms that will bring benefits to all parties, but most importantly to the City of Durban and South Africa as a growing cruise destination. In doing so, we will truly be positioning Durban as a 'Smart Port City' and a world-class cruise capital," Shulami Qalinge, TNPA Chief Executive, said.

    KCT, a joint venture between MSC Cruises SA and Africa Armada Consortium, was chosen as the preferred bidder for the 25-year concession project in mid-2017.

    The detailed design phase will commence in April and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. This will be followed by an 18-month construction phase from January 2019 to July 2020 and the cruise terminal is expected to commence operations in October 2020 kicking off the 2020/2021 cruise season.

    Looking at the cruise industry's potential growth, with the construction of the new terminal KCT expects cruise calls to Durban to increase from 60 to 150+ calls by 2040, and passenger numbers to grow from 200,000 to more than 700,000 by the same year.

    April 17, 2018 by World Maritime News

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    Liebherr launches first purely electrical driven port crane

    Purely Electrical Portal Crane

    • Liebherr launches first purely electrical port crane
    • Electric motor engines with precise and continuous drive characteristics
    • Higher bulk turnover than comparable electrical driven cranes in the market

    Rostock (Germany), April 2018 – The new LPS 420 E is the latest extension of the Liebherr mobile harbour crane product range. The newly designed machine is a purely electric driven portal crane. All crane movements like luffing, hoisting, slewing and travelling are done by electric motors.

    As the LPS 420 E is a member of the LHM series, it is also characterised by high modularity. Therefore, it is a universal all-rounder and a key asset for handling every type of cargo, from containers to bulk, general cargo and heavy lifts up to 124 t. The forwardlooking machine is designed for ports and terminals with an electrical infrastructure. Equipped with two winches, each with a powerful 190 kW electric motor, the LPS 420 E provides a maximum load capacity of up to 124 tonnes. Therefore, the portal crane can be perfectly used for heavy break bulk as well as project and general cargo.

    Bulk Handling

    The LPS 420 E raises the bar in terms of electrical driven bulk handling performance. With a turnover of up to 1,200 tonnes per hour, the new Liebherr electric crane exceeds the average turnover of comparable electric driven cranes in the market. With a
    maximum outreach of up to 48 metres, ships with a size of up to Panamax class can be served. This makes the crane the ideal electrical driven solution for bulk handling – local emission-free.

    The LPS 420 E impresses with some decisive technical advantages that will please every customer. The main components of the E-drive are liquid cooled and the heat is dissipated by heat exchangers. The fully closed liquid cooling system in combination with
    the heat exchanger are installed on top of the slewing platform. According to this, no overpressure unit is necessary to prevent dust coming inside the machinery house, which is a big benefit for cranes working in a dusty environment.

    Container Handling

    Productivity is a decisive factor in modern container handling. The LPS 420 E is an ideal solution for terminals where every container counts. With up to 30 cycles per hour, the LPS 420 E is the perfect solution when it comes to container handling performance. Ship sizes up to post-Panamax class are ideally servable for the LPS 420 E.

    The operator of the new LPS 420 E can rely on very dynamic electric motors. Furthermore, the low moment of inertia ensures a fast response of the motor for precise drive characteristics. Due to the high motor speed spread no gear shifting between normal and heavy load is required. This allows for uninterruptible power transmission from maximum load to maximum speed. Another well welcome side effect is that the noise emission of the planetary gear box is low.

    Latest Technology

    The LPS 420 E is especially optimised for terminals with a power supply ranging from 380 V to 460 V. Thanks to the Liebherr active-front-end frequency converter deviations in the voltage supply can be compensated easily for safe and stable operation. Due to the critical conditions, like limited space and harsh environmental conditions, a liquid-cooled and highly efficient multi-drive frequency converter system was implemented. The frequency converters are Liebherr built components, which have proven themselves in Liebherr ship-to-shore gantry cranes and material handlers. As an additional benefit, Liebherr energy storage units can be used to reduce the peak-load in the crane main power supply and to take advantage of regenerative energy within the system. The compact unit ensures a high power storage capacity, which enables the accumulation and supply of 200 kW of power within 15 seconds.

    Press Release Date 17 April 2018

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    Botswana is interested in reactivating the Techobanine deep-water port project in Matutuíne district, Maputo province, believing that it is a viable facility for its imports and exports, said President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi in Maputo on Monday.

    The President of Botswana raised the issue of the port of Techibanine during official talks between delegations of the two countries, in which the President of Mozambique expressed a desire to see the country's participation in the investment projects underway in the country, particularly in areas such as power production and transmission, transport and communications, tourism and agriculture, which are considered to be catalysts for regional integration.

    Botswana's Minister for Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nolofo Molefhi said at the end of the talks that a port located in that region of Maputo province was "very important" for his country and added that some of the discussions between the two delegations focused on the need to encourage private sector collaboration, "without which this project cannot be completed."

    Mozambican Foreign Minister José Pacheco spoke about the relevance the two sides gave to the Techobanine port project, noting that this is a triangular initiative between Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe. He announced that a working session had been scheduled between the three heads of state to review the mechanisms for implementing the project.

    In April 2016 it was announced that an international consortium, including the China Harbor Engineering Co (CHEC), was planning a US$1 billion investment in a new port in Maputo province to serve Mozambique and neighbouring countries.

    In September of that same year, the Governments of Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe signed a document to establish a partnership for the construction of a railway line extending over 1,700 kilometres through the three countries, ending in Mozambique at Techobanine Point, where a seaport would be built.

    April 17, 2018 by MacauHub

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    MSC’s Newbuildings Break 23,000 TEU Threshold

    The giant containerships ordered by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) at Korean yards last year will feature 23,000 TEU, based on the details released by German engine builder MAN Diesel and Turbo.

    Under the deal announced in September 2017, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) will construct six of the vessels while Daewoo Shipping Marine Engineering (DSME) will construct the remaining five.

    The eleven mega-ships will be powered by G95ME-C9.5 main engines, MAN Diesel & Turbo said earlier today. The 'G' prefix stands for an ultra-long stroke engine design that reduces engine speed, enabling ships to achieve high-efficiency.

    Image Courtesy: MAN"G-type engines' longer stroke results in a lower rpm for the engine driving the propeller. This lower optimum engine speed allows the use of a larger propeller and is, ultimately, significantly more efficient in terms of engine propulsion. Together with an optimized engine design, this means that the MSC newbuildings will enjoy a reduced fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions," MAN explained.

    As informed, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI-EMD) will construct the ME-C engines for SHI, while Doosan Engine will construct those for DSME.

    MAN Diesel & Turbo has also won the order to supply the GenSets for each vessel in the form of 3 × MAN 9L32/40 + 2 × MAN 6L32/40 units, to be constructed by STX Engine in Korea.

    Bjarne Foldager, Vice President of Sales & Promotion, Two-Stroke Business, at MAN Diesel & Turbo, said the order cements the company's strong position within the large containership segment "where the G-type is the market's preferred engine."

    Back in September, DSME said that the five ships were contracted for KRW 926.6 billion (USD 817 million), while SHI, announcing the contract for the sextet said the deal was worth KRW 1.118 trillion (USD 982.6 million). Hence, the total value of the 11 ships would be around USD 1.8 billion.

    However, the duo noted that the final value of the orders would depend on the company's propulsion choice for the newbuildings.

    The handover of the boxships is expected to start in 2019 from SHI, with the final vessel from the series due for delivery by March 15, 2020 from DSME.

    April 17, 2018 by World Maritime News

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    Today, 28 of the 100 world's largest ports in terms of total cargo volume handled offer incentives for environmentally-friendly ships, a new report released by the International Transport Forum (ITF) shows.

    Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping currently represent around 2.6% of total global emissions. Without reduction measures, this share could more than triple by 2050.

    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) last week set a target of reducing shipping CO2 emissions by "at least" 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. To achieve this, stringent measures now need to be put into place, according to the report.

    Many of these measures focus on ship design and operations. However, ports also play an important role in reducing the global carbon footprint of maritime shipping, the report says.

    Some US ports offer reductions for ships reducing speed when approaching the port. In addition, the Panama Canal Authority provides priority slot allocation to greener ships. What is more, Spain includes environmental incentives in the tender and license criteria for the towage services provided in ports, while Shanghai has an emission-trading scheme that includes ports and domestic shipping. Moreover, Norway has a NOx tax in place.

    However, the impact of port-based incentives on global shipping emissions is said to be marginal. The only scheme for which serious impact studies exist is the vessel speed reduction scheme in Los Angeles and Long Beach in the United States.

    As informed, green incentives typically apply to less than 5% of the ships calling at a port with an incentive scheme. Only five ports use CO2 emissions a substantial criterion for incentives.

    Any incentives shipowners may currently have to order more efficient ships with lower emissions can only to a very small extent be a result of savings from port-based incentives, the report finds.

    The report thus recommends to acknowledge the important role of ports in mitigating shipping emissions, expand port-based incentives for low-emission ships, link port-based incentives to actual GHG emissions and move to a more harmonized application of green port fees.

    "Ports clearly play a hugely important role in helping the shipping sector to manage the transition to clean shipping," Olaf Merk, ports and shipping expert at ITF, said.

    "Port-based incentives for greenhouse emission mitigation could provide an important supporting role," he added.

    April 18, 2018 by World Maritime News

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    Fujitsu, Singapore Management University (SMU), and A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), are collaborating to develop new AI and big data technologies for vessel traffic management in the Port of Singapore.

    With the support of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the parties will develop predictive technologies to optimize the management of Singapore's port and the Straits of Singapore and Malacca.

    As the world's busiest sea lanes, the straits are used by around 1,000 vessels at any one time, resulting in a ship arriving or leaving Singapore once every two to three minutes.

    The technologies will also be validated using real-world data to improve the forecasting of congestion and identification of potential collisions and other risk hotspots before they occur at sea.

    Urban Computing and Engineering Centre of Excellence (UCE CoE), a public-private partnership consisting of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) — Singapore's lead public sector agency for research, SMU — a top university in Asia, and Fujitsu, will conduct the research and development for these new maritime technologies.

    Fujitsu, a Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, will use the outcomes of the project's research and development phase, as well as the practical knowledge and experience gained through the trials, in its future maritime solutions.

    Professor Lau Hoong Chuin, SMU's Lab Director and Lead Investigator of the UCE CoE, said: "Multi-agent technology has been used extensively in coordinating the movements of unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles.

    “In this project with MPA, SMU is breaking new grounds in research by proposing a next-generation maritime traffic coordination technology that is akin to air traffic control, yet respecting major differences and constraints between air and sea navigation.

    “With the advent of autonomous ships, this technology can potentially disrupt vessel traffic management to reduce human errors and improve navigational safety.”

    To address this, the collaboration will produce short-term trajectory prediction model that accurately predicts the trajectory of a vessel using machine learning and motion physics.

    A risk and hotspot calculation model will also reliably quantify the near-miss risk of a pair of vessels by integrating various risk models.

    The collaboration's technology will also aim to coordinate the passage timing of vessels to reduce hotspots.

    Capt. M Segar, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations), MPA, said: "As Singapore develops future capabilities that will enhance our port operations, research and innovation will remain key to the maritime industry.

    “As part of the recently launched Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map, MPA is supportive of collaborations among local Institutes of Higher Learning and technology companies to explore new technologies that will raise the standards of navigational safety within the Port of Singapore.

    “We look forward to further testing the research outcomes at the MPA Living Lab.”

    April 18, 2018 by Port Technology

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    K Line, NYK Line and Partners Set Up LNG Bunkering Business

    Japanese shipping companies K Line and NYK Line have teamed up with Chubu Electric Power and Toyota Tsusho on establishing LNG bunkering business in Japan.

    To that end, the quartet has launched two joint ventures on May 10, Central LNG Marine Fuel Japan Corporation and Central LNG Shipping Japan Corporation, which will run the business.

    The talks on potential cooperation were launched in January this year as the four companies wanted to tap into the growing interest in LNG as environmentally friendly fuel.

    This is in particular important taking into account the role of LNG as an alternative to heavy fuel in the anticipation of the entry into force of more stringent environmental regulations on a global scale.

    Compared to heavy fuel oil, the use of LNG can reduce emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) by approximately 100 pct, nitrogen oxides (NOx) by as much as 80 pct, and carbon dioxide (CO2) by approximately 30 pct, a joint release said.

    May 10, 2018 by World Maritime News

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    The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) will meet for its 99th session, which will have autonomous vessels as its main focus.

    The MSC will meet on Tuesday May 16th, 2018 at the IMO's headquarters in London and will begin to explore how "the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) may be introduced in IMO instruments".

    The discussions at the conference are expected to revolve around the framework for the regulatory exercise and forming a plan of work.

    The committee is also expected to discuss a range of existing IMO instruments, including amendments to the SOLAS regulations concerning the computerized stability support in case of flooding on passenger vessels and amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods code.

    Discussions will also focus on how the recently adopted polar Code can be applied to non-SOLAS vessels in the future, including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, and an update on the reported incidents of piracy against ships.

    The IMO received 203 incident reports of piracy and armed robbery worldwide in 2017, and the 2018 figures are currently trending higher than the previous year.

    The session, which will run between May 16-25, follows the IMO's 72nd Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), where a major international agreement to cut emissions caused by the maritime industry by half was enacted.

    Recently two Norweigan firms, Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg, joined forces to create a new autonomous vessel company called Massterly, which will use land-based control centres to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally.

    May 11, 2018 by Port Technology

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    Egypt and Kuwait Plan Belt and Road Initiatives

    The Afro-Asian Economic Council (AAEC), founded in 2017, has launched a project to link Egypt, Kuwait and other North African countries to China's Belt and Road Initiative.

    Head of the AAEC Tareq bin Eid Al Obeid said last week that the project will attract investments to Egypt and other North African countries ranging from $2 trillion to $4 trillion. It will also increase international shipping traffic through the Suez Canal.

    Egypt aims to attract more Arab, African and international investment. Daily News Egypt reports Essam Abu Al Hassan, vice president of the Afro-Asian Economic Council, saying that the North Africa-Asia linking project will make Egypt the most important sea and land corridor in the world. Egypt has been instigating economic reforms including a new Investment Law designed to overcome previous problems for investors in Egypt.

    The AAEC plans include rebuilding Madinat Al-Hareer (Silk City) in Kuwait. Kuwait has allocated $450 billion to the project and also aims to turn the country into a trade and financial hub. In June 2014, the Kuwaiti government signed a cooperation agreement with China for developing Silk City and Boubyan Island as an economic belt. The Jaber Causeway (a bridge that links Kuwait City to Silk City) is currently under construction.

    May 13, 2018 by Maritime-Executive

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    HSBC Achieves Blockchain Shipment Transaction Success

    The banking group HSBC has used blockchain to complete the first live trade finance transaction for a letter of credit with US food and agricultural conglomerate Cargill.

    London-based HSBC sent the documents for a bulk shipment of soya beans from Argentina to Malaysia to Dutch bank ING through the 'Corda' blockchain platform developed by technology consortium R3.

    In an announcement, HSBC stated that the system was "commercially and operationally viable" for the digital facilitation of trade.

    According to HSBC, blockchain was able to reduce Cargill's document exchange time to 24 hours from what would normally be a five to 10-day process.

    Trade experts believe blockchain may be shipping's answer to how it can tackle time-intensive paper-based processes.

    More than US$ 2 trillion of trade currently depends on the physical exchange of letters of credit.

    However, before it can progress further with integrating blockchain into international trade, HSBC said it needs more banks, ports, shipping companies and customs operations to adopt similar collaborative technology platforms.

    A public post made by Vivek Ramachandran, Global Head of Trade Products at HSBC, predicted that blockchain technology could operate on a “closed network” basis – with transactions only visible to registered participants – within three to five years.

    Ramachandran also said that blockchain could digitize bills of lading – the shipping documentation that details where goods and commodities are going and what cargo is aboard a vessel.

    In his post, Ramachandran stated: “From ‘letters of credit’ to ‘bills of lading’, merchandise trade today is heavily reliant on paper documents.

    “In our digital, connected world there is a growing need to modernize trade’s many paper-based processes.

    “Digitisation would reduce bureaucracy, improve security, minimize errors and make it easier to amend documents, ultimately saving time and money.”

    R3 and the group of 12 banks supporting the Corda application are seeking to expand the network on an open basis to drive adoption across the industry. 

    Ivar Wiersma, Managing Director, Innovation Wholesale Banking, ING, said: “It’s exciting to see this transaction has been completed successfully with clear client benefits in speed and ease in execution.

    "On top of that, it shows the power of collaboration. Collaboration with other ecosystems’ stakeholders like regulators, ports, customs and logistics providers such as large shipping carriers. And in particular, collaboration with other banks, even our peers.”

    Commenting on the Cargill transaction, Ramachandran said: “What this means for businesses is that trade finance transactions have been made simpler, faster, more transparent and more secure.

    "The need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked on the platform and updates are instantaneous. The quick turnaround could mean unlocking liquidity for businesses.”

    May 14, 2018 by Port Technology

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    The first of the Silk Road trains destined exclusively for Antwerp arrived at the European port on May 12, 2018.

    The freight train left the Chinese port of Tangshan on April 26, taking the direct rail link between China and Antwerp — part of the transnational Chinese 'Belt and Road Initiative', which is reviving trade routes between Asia and Europe.

    The route travels via the border cross of Alashankou, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland and Germany — taking 16 days to cover a distance of 11,000 kilometres.

    The train was loaded with 34 containers transporting industrial minerals and a range of productions such as paper, ceramics and cosmetics, which will be unloaded at Euroports, where they will be distributed across Europe via their bulk terminal.

    Marc Van Peel, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Antwerp Port Authority, said: “China is the fourth biggest partner country for Antwerp, with an annual traffic volume of nearly 14 million tonnes of goods.

    “Antwerp is ideally located on both the maritime route and the rail route between Europe and China, and our port is perfectly capable of acting as a transhipment port for trade between China and Africa via rail link.”

    Geert Gekiere, Managing Director of Euroports Belgium, stated: “Transport from the Tangshan region via conventional container ships on average takes 35-plus days, but this train manages to do it in a record time of 16 to 20 days and at relatively low costs."

    May 14, 2018 by Port Technology

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    Energy giants Total and Shell will develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering services for marine vessels in Oman by constructing a new liquefaction plant at Sohar port.

    A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Oman, which covers both upstream and downstream businesses, will allow Total to use an equity gas entitlement to develop several natural gas discoveries in Oman's Greater Barik area and progress its LNG plans with its project partner Shell as an operator.

    Total will be able to expand the small-scale modular liquefaction plant in Sohar port as the LNG bunkering market develops.

    The development supports Total's strategy to supply LNG fuel to carriers such as CMA CGM as they focus on building environmentally friendly ships that keep in line with the International Maritime Organization's newly established greenhouse gas emissions targets.

    Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production at Total, said: "We are pleased to sign this MoU with the Sultanate of Oman that will give us access to new gas resources and the opportunity to develop an integrated gas project.

    "We will bring our expertise in LNG and will introduce access to a new gas market for the Sultanate.

    "Developing an LNG bunkering service will generate in-country value and job opportunities, and will support industry diversification through fostering the shipping activity in Oman."

    May 15, 2018 by Port Technology

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    South Korea's shipping major Hyundai Merchant Marine and terminal operator PSA International have entered into an agreement to increase their stake in a Busan terminal.

    Under the deal, signed on May 15, the parties acquired 40 percent and 10 percent stakes, respectively, from private equity investment firm IMM Investment.

    On May 15, the share was officially transferred to the companies, and the Hyundai Pusan New-Port Terminal was renamed to Korea Shipping Partnership Pusan Newport Terminal.

    Following the transaction, HMM and PSA each hold a 50 percent stake in the terminal.

    HMM opted for the move in an effort to lower cargo handling costs, therefore increasing its competitiveness.

    The shipping company, which earlier owned the entire terminal, disposed of a major stake in the facility over the period from 2014 to 2016. At the end of the period, HMM held only 10% of the terminal.

    Separately, the shipping major unveiled its financial report for the first quarter of 2018, in which it said that its operating losses expanded to KRW 170.1 billion in the period, compared to a loss of KRW 131.2 billion reported a year earlier.

    May 16, 2018 by World Maritime News

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    Keppel Singmarine, Keppel Offshore & Marine's (Keppel O&M) wholly-owned subsidiary, has secured contracts from Van Oord to build two high-specification Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers (TSHDs).

    The two dredgers are expected to be completed in 4Q 2020 and 2Q 2021 respectively. As part of the contracts, Van Oord has an option to order a third dredger to be exercised within one year.

    When completed, the two TSHDs will each have a hopper capacity of 10,500 cubic meters. Built to the requirements of the classification society, Bureau Veritas, the two dredgers will be equipped with dual-fuel systems capable of running on LNG.

    "Keppel is currently constructing five other dredgers, and we are able to build on our experience and capabilities to meet Van Oord's needs," Abu Bakar, Managing Director at Gas & Specialised Vessels, Keppel O&M, said.

    "Last month we already launched our first LNG powered crane vessel. The TSHDs will be the first LNG hopper dredgers in our fleet," Jaap de Jong, Staff Director, Ship Management Department at Van Oord, said.

    May 16, 2018 by World Maritime News

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    In an investor report released this week, Morgan Stanley analysts predicted that the IMO fuel sulfur cap will boost oil prices above $90 per barrel, an unusual consequence of shipping's new reliance on middle distillates.

    When the 0.5 percent fuel sulfur content cap takes effect on January 1, 2020, the vast majority of the world's fleet will need to purchase ultra-low-sulfur petroleum fuel. Current installation capacity for scrubbers - which allow continued use of high-sulfur fuel - could equip at most five percent of all merchant ships by the time the cap takes effect, according to analysts. Since scrubbers cost millions of dollars, add complexity to the vessel and take up space that could otherwise be used for cargo, they are only a viable option for bigger ships, according d'Amico CEO Marco Fiori.

    Since at least 95 percent of merchant shipping will have to use low sulfur fuel or face penalties - at least within the Paris MOU flag states - demand for gasoil will rise. According to Kurt Barrow, vice president of downstream research for IHS Markit, the refining capacity to meet the demand for low-sulfur fuel will most likely exist in 2020, but only with higher overall crude processing - meaning a higher demand for crude.

    In its report this week, Morgan Stanley agreed, and it put a number on the increase: The sulfur cap may create an additional 1.5 million bpd of gasoil demand by 2020, which would require refiners to run an additional 5.7 million bpd of crude. "We foresee a scramble for middle distillates that will drive crack spreads higher and drag oil prices with it," the bank's analysts wrote. "The last period of severe middle distillate tightness occurred in late-2007/early-2008 and arguably was the critical factor that drove up Brent prices in that period."

    The production of the additional distillate volumes will not be evenly distributed, Morgan Stanley noted. Some refiners - like Repsol, Reliance Industries, Valero and Tupras Turkiye Petrol - are set up to produce more gasoil efficiently, while some are not. This could mean additional ton-mile demand for product tankers to carry MGO from far-flung refineries to bunkering ports.

    May 16, 2018 by Maritime-Executive

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