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Articles from 2016 In November

Deadline for shippers to claim Hanjin containers from PSA Singapore expires

Deadline for shippers to claim Hanjin containers from PSA Singapore expires

The terminal operator gave cargo owners, consignees, shippers and/or freight forwarders until 28 November to collect containers lying in its terminals after which it said it would dispose of or sell the containers and their contents.

In total 17 vessels from Hanjin called at PSA in Singapore to discharge boxes following the company’s receivership filing and according to a presentation by PSA last Friday over 10,000 containers were connected back to shippers.

Asked by Seatrade Maritime News what PSA now planned to do, and how many containers were left unclaimed, a corporate spokesman said they had “no comment”.

Hundreds of Hanjin containers can be seen stacked at the back of Tanjong Pagar Terminal next to Singapore’s business district (pictured) but it is not clear if these are unclaimed boxes or empty ones that have been returned by shippers. PSA demanded a SGD5,000 security deposit on Hanjin containers removed from its facilities, which would be refunded on return of the boxes.

Hanjin has now fully discharged all its vessels, with only eight remaining under its control, three of which are under arrest.

Read all the background to the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy on our timeline



Jinhui to reach agreement over debt restructuring before end-2016

Jinhui to reach agreement over debt restructuring before end-2016

Jinhui, which operates its dry bulk shipping activities through Jinhui Shipping and Transportation Limited, confirmed that a principal agreement reached with majority of its lenders will be concluded before the end of the year.

In May, Jinhui announced it had initiated restructuring arrangement talks with its creditors and that an agreement on the key and critical terms of rescheduling of indebtedness with majority of its lenders are at the documentation stage.

Meanwhile, Jinhui posted a third quarter loss of $28.51m compared to the deficit of $32.39m in the same period of last year.

Revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 dipped to $19m from $24.17m in the year-ago period, due mainly to Jinhui Shipping’s large exposure to the spot market as freight rates remained low.

Over the first nine months of this year, Jinhui disposed of a total of seven bulk carriers – five supramaxes, one panamax and one handymax – in order to enhance its working capital position and strengthen its liquidity.

As at 29 November 2016, the group had 28 owned vessels comprising 25 supramaxes, two post-panamaxes and one handysize.

Looking ahead, Jinhui believed the current trough market cannot be sustainable in the long term, but the journey to recovery and equilibrium will continue to be tough and challenging.

“Many shipowners are running out of liquidity for their operations and not to mention, for any outstanding capex requirements,” the company commented.

“Financiers seem to have had enough on this front, and have been avoiding additional exposure to the sector. Asset based financing, in particular with respect to maritime assets will be harder and harder to come by going forward under new global banking regulatory requirements,” it said.

MOL announces start of new Smart Shipping Office

MOL announces start of new Smart Shipping Office

The new organisation will promote MOL Smart Ship Project through innovation based on the utilisation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The Smart Shipping Office will contribute to more advanced vessel operation and ship management by combining MOL’s expertise and the underlying seed technologies of ICT, as well as make shipping services more convenient for customers by adding new value to shipping.

“In addition, the (Smart Shipping) Office will work to realize one of new technological development project concepts, ‘advanced support technologies for safer vessel operation’, with the ultimate goal of autonomous sailing,” MOL stated.

The advanced support technologies for safer vessel operation, along with technologies for reducing environmental impact, fall under the Smart Ship Project, through which MOL will share its technological development policies with customers and stakeholders, and therefore collect diversified needs and various seeds of technologies.

Shipping’s family tie in the Trump cabinet

Shipping’s family tie in the Trump cabinet

Chao, thought to be a Washington insider, - she was Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of George W. Bush, and she is the wife of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell - is the daughter of James Chao, the founder of drybulk specialist Foremost Maritime, which has concentrated on the capesize sector.

The Chao family emigrated to the US in the early 1960’s from Taiwan. Shipping has been a thread in Elaine Chao’s career, as has political service. Following her time at Harvard Business School in the late 1970s, she worked as a shipping banker at Citibank in the early 1980s; she then transitioned to Washington, DC with stints at the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the Federal Maritime Commission in the Reagan years, the administration of George H.W. Bush as Assistant Secretary of Transportation.

During Democratic administrations (Clinton and Obama), she had worked as a top executive in the non-profit United Way and at the right-leaning Washington, DC think-tank Heritage Foundation. During the late Clinton years, Chao was a Director of the US flag stalwart Marine Transport Lines (MTL),which was sold to Crowley in 2001.

Shipping pundits have been busy speculating whether a Trump administration will be good for the maritime business. Wilbur Ross - the nominee for Secretary of Commerce - has first hand shipping knowledge and money on the line.

Chao, the soon to be Transportation Secretary, steps the maritime industry connection up a notch with her family tie to deepsea shipping. The attitude of the new administration towards the Jones Act is also a subject of continual speculation in the shipping press. On the sunny side of this conversation, MARAD responsible for promotion of the US fleet, is part of the Department of Transportation. On the stormy side, the Heritage Foundation, whose thinking may be infused in Chao’s views this is not known with certainty, has railed against the Jones Act.

Nevertheless, Chao has won the support of the influential Seafarer's International Union, which stressed her support of the US maritime industry during her time in government. 

Hefty price tag could deter Hamburg Sud potential buyers: Alphaliner

Hefty price tag could deter Hamburg Sud potential buyers: Alphaliner

The Oetker family, which owns 100% of Hamburg Sud, is reportedly close to reaching a decision as to whether to sell the container line, having previously been unable to agree.

Alphaliner said the asking price for Hamburg Sud was believed to be close to $5bn and this “remains the largest stumbling block on the way to any deal”.

The line’s ships and container assets are listed with a book value of $2.19bn athe end of 2015. With very little debt a potential buyer would be looking at a cash offer.

Maersk Line has been flagged up as the most likely buyer and this fits with ceo Soren Skou’s previous comments on being involved in consolidation.

However, Alphaliner also flagged up French line CMA CGM as a potential suitor. “The carrier could face a strong challenge from CMA CGM, which appears keen to maintain growth momentum after com- pleting the acquisition of APL in June this year,” it said in its weekly report.

However, CMA CGM could be limited by its debt burden of $9.6bn it was noted.

If Hamburg Sud is sold it would be the fifth major consolidation announced in container shipping in the space of a year following Cosco and China Shipping, CMA CGM and NOL/APL, Hapag-Lloyd and UASC, and the container businesses of NYK, Mitsui OSK Lines and K Line. With a 2.9% global market share Hamburg Sud is the mid-sized catergory which has been seen as particularly vulnerable following the collapse of Hanjin Shipping at the end of August, which also had a 2.9% market share.

ABS and Keppel O&M unit join SEA/LNG coalition

ABS and Keppel O&M unit join SEA/LNG coalition

Classification society ABS has a wealth experience in risk assessment and hazard analyses related to LNG bunkering, including proving the feasibility of certain simultaneous operations (SIMOPs) – a crucial aspect of the economic viability of LNG as a marine fuel – meeting the intent of industry safety standards.

It also also brings to the table more than 150 years of experience and a deep understanding of “future energy demands and the environmental drivers of today’s dynamic markets,” commented ABS chairman, president and ceo Christopher J. Wiernicki, as well as a “forward-looking approach to help balance those challenges with operational safety and performance needs.”

Set up in 2015, Keppel O&M’s Gas Technology Development provides a range of gas solutions along the value chain. The division has significant LNG R&D capabilities and a strong track record in the conversion of floating storage and regasification units; it is also undertaking the world’s first floating liquefaction vessel conversion.

The Keppel O&M group further strengthened its track record in LNG by last month securing contracts to build its first two dual-fuel diesel LNG harbour tugs, as well as signing an MOU with Shell to jointly explore potential opportunities in the LNG sector.

Peter Keller, chairman of SEA\LNG, welcomed the new partners’ addition of “valuable industry expertise and perspective” at a time when SEA/LNG’s work to promote the environmental and performance benefits of LNG as a marine fuel had “moved up a gear” following the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee’s recent decision to enforce the global 0.5% cap on the Sulphur content of fuels by 2020.

Launched in July 2016, the SEA/LNG coalition now comprises: ABS, Carnival Corp & plc, DNV GL, Eagle LNG, ENGIE, ENN, GE, GTT, Keppel O&M, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsubishi Corp, NYK Line, Port of Rotterdam, Qatargas, Shell, TOTE Inc and Wärtsilä.

Marco Polo Marine posts $11.9m full year loss

Marco Polo Marine posts $11.9m full year loss

The Singapore-listed offshore marine services firm took a SGD16.94m ($11.9m) loss for its 2016 financial year, as against the profit of SGD8.52m in the previous financial year.

Revenue plunged by 50% year-on-year to SGD46.94m mainly due to lower utilisation and charter rate of the group’s fleet of tugboats, barges and OSVs due to weakened demand in the marine and offshore industry.

“Overall, the revenue of the group by its geographical segments in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and other Asian countries was decreased mainly due to oil price crisis which led to lack of oil exploration projects and weak demand on deployment of offshore supply vessels,” Marco Polo Marine commented.

On the back of dwindling cashflow, Marco Polo Marine has sought and gotten majority approval from noteholders of SGD50m 5.75% fixed rate notes issued under a SGD300m multicurrency term notes program in extending the maturity of the notes by three years from 18 October 2016.

In exchange for extending the notes maturity, bondholders will receive additional interest of 1.5% per annum payable on the notes, and grant of a second ranking mortgage over 152,750 sq m of land in Batam, Indonesia.

“The group expects the market conditions for the oil and gas industry and hence the offshore industry to remain tough and challenging for the next 12 months. The group will continue to be prudent in its financial management whilst actively seeking new business opportunities,” the company said.

Mwani Qatar and Milaha establish 'QTerminals' to manage Doha’s mega Hamad Port

Mwani Qatar and Milaha establish 'QTerminals' to manage Doha’s mega Hamad Port

Mwani Qatar will take a controlling 51% stake and Milaha the remaining 49% in QTerminals to manage Hamad Port, a 28sq km greenfield project rapidly expanding south of the Qatari capital Doha.

QTerminals will manage operations as an independent company with its own board of directors, executives and staff.

Hamad Port, connected to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries through a road and rail network, is set to transform Qatari shipping once it is complete in 2020.

Already running at about one third capacity, it will eventually be home to three highly automated container terminals with a combined annual capacity of 7m teu and at least eight super post-panamax gantry cranes. The port, which is already handling livestock imports, will also have a multi-use ro-ro, general cargo and bulk terminals, an offshore supply base and Coast Guard and Qatari Emiri Naval Force bases.

A customs inspection area for rapid cargo clearance, a “uniquely designed”110m tall port control tower, a ship inspection platform and multiple maritime facilities, in addition to other utilities such as storage units, mosques, rest areas, medical clinics and offices are also taking shape.

The QTerminals deal was signed Tuesday by Mwani Qatar ceo, Capt. Abdulla Al Khanji and Milaha president and ceo Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai.

Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, said the partnership would help drive Hamad Port’s ambition to become a regional commercial hub as part of the kingdom’s ambitious Qatar National Vision 2030.

“This strategic partnership reaps the benefits of several years of strong collaboration and ties between Mwani Qatar and Milaha, which have brought about this common plan for managing Hamad Port, one of the country’s vital megaprojects and which will serve as Qatar’s gateway to world trade,” Al Sulaiti said.

The Minister said the Mwani Qatar-Milaha partnership was a role model for the Qatari private sector to contribute to transportation projects, going beyond prevalent partnerships in building and construction.

“We are confident the new company, established collaboratively by two of Qatar’s leading corporations, will contribute to leveraging the country’s competitiveness among world economies,” he added.

Milaha chairman, Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammad Al-Thani, said Hamad Port shaped as a key contributor in Qatar’s economic diversification program.

“Our partnership with Mwani Qatar is a continuation of our longstanding relationship, which will continue to work toward achieving Qatar’s vision of becoming a global trade and logistics hub.”

“Hamad Port is one the world’s largest port development projects. It will herald a new era of uniqueness and pioneering in the area of commercial port development in Qatar and the wider region.” 

Lloyd’s Register and DMCA ink research and development agreement

Lloyd’s Register and DMCA ink research and development agreement

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) includes the establishment of a joint applied technology cluster to drive research and accelerate the development of “mid to high level technology readiness areas that support current and future maritime industry needs”.

They will also collaborate on regular workshops aimed at identifying subject areas with the potential to become “significant” joint research and development prospects, will explore opportunities for the commercialisation of technology and pursue joint academic and scientific activities such as conferences and knowledge exchanges across the industry.

“Dubai Maritime City Authority has extensive expertise in maritime development and is thus an excellent partner for us to seek new avenues for growth and expansion in the region and deliver better and more innovative services to our customers,” said Tom Boardley, Lloyd’s Register’s executive vp and global head of corporate and external affairs.

“For our part, we are committed to exchanging knowledge and best practices to help accelerate Dubai’s transformation into a premier global maritime centre.  The axis of our Singapore and Southampton Global Technology Centres will be used to drive through the collaboration”

DMCA executive director Amer Ali said the partnership was the latest in a series of global agreements designed “to advance the development of a safe and vibrant maritime sector that fully supports the sustained economic growth of the emirate of Dubai”.

“LR is an excellent partner in this regard given its outstanding reputation for integrity, impartiality and technical excellence. The passion our organisations share for ensuring that the interests of our clients are safe, sustainable and dependable will enable us to jointly set new benchmarks for maritime excellence particularly in R&D and commercialization locally and across the region,” Ali said.

MSC's new office provides a boost for Fremantle cafes

MSC's new office provides a boost for Fremantle cafes

The sleek modern steel and glass building (pictured) is in fact the annex to the neighbouring restored 114-year old Wilhelmsen House which forms the other part of MSC’s new office in Fremantle.

The new offices, which opened in September, are designed to house 160 staff, with MSC being the largest user of the nearby Port of Fremantle.

According to the local press the new the MSC office has also provided a boost for nearby cafes with the Piccolo Café reporting a AUD1,000 jump in takings. This perhaps should not be a surprise in the coffee loving port city where the main street is dubbed the "Cappuccino Strip".