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BALTIC INDEX INCREASES ON HIGHER CAPESIZE RATES

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Tuesday, supported by higher rates for capesize vessels.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was up 3 points, or 0.31 percent, at 980 points. The capesize index jumped 50 points, or 4.27 percent, to 1,221 points. Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $332 to $9,547. The panamax index was down 23 points, or 1.84 percent, at 1,225 points.

ONGC, ABAN OFFSHORE IN DRILLING DEAL

Indian drilling contractor Aban Offshore has secured a contract from ONGC for the charter hire of drillship Aban Ice. According to Aban Offshore, the drilling contract is for a firm period of 3 years.

The total value of this contract is approximately $72.3 million, a proof that the offshore drilling market is still depressed. To remind, ONGC had hired the drillship back in 2013, also for three-years. There is a big difference between the two contracts.

TANKER AND BULKER NEWBUILDING ORDERS INCREASE

Tanker and bulker newbuilding vessel orders had risen amid an overall drop in newbuilding orders in first-half of 2017 across shipping segments compared to the same period last year. Overall orders in H1 2017 was 245, a slight decrease from 254 seen in the same period in 2016, and less than half of the 594 orders seen for H1 2015.

The result is especially obvious when comparing to the 50 offshore vessels ordered in H1 2015 versus the absence of any offshore orders placed during H1 2017. While the bulker order has almost doubled from 43 in H1 2016 to 70 in H1 2017, it is significantly less than the 229 bulker orders seen in H1 2015.

SRI LANKA CLEARS REVISED PORT CONTRACT TO LIMIT CHINA’S ROLE IN HAMBANTOTA

Sri Lanka’s cabinet cleared a revised agreement for its Chinese-built southern port of Hambantota on Tuesday, the government said, after terms of the first pact sparked widespread public anger in the island nation.

The port, close to the world’s busiest shipping lanes, has been mired in controversy ever since state-run China Merchants Port Holdings, which built it for $1.5 billion, signed an agreement taking an 80 percent stake.

Under the new deal, the Sri Lankan government has sought to limit China’s role to running commercial operations at the port while it has oversight of broader security.

COCHIN SHIPYARD’S RS1,470-CRORE IPO SET TO OPEN

State-run Cochin Shipyard (CSL), which is building the first entirely Indian-made aircraft carrier, will sell shares through an IPO to raise as much as Rs1,470 crore to help fund a Rs2,800-crore expansion plan for constructing larger sophisticated ships and strengthen its ship repair business.

The share-sale involves 34.984 million equity shares of Rs. 10 each, comprising a fresh issue of 2.2656 crore shares and the Central Government’s stake of 1.1328 crore shares. The share-sale will open on August 1 and close on August 3, in a price band of Rs424-432 an equity share.

ASIA-MED FREIGHT RATES TO COME UNDER PRESSURE

Container freight rates on Asia-Mediterranean trade lanes are expected to come under renewed pressure in the fourth quarter, as a result of ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) being deployed on the route.

By the beginning of the fourth quarter, six ships of 14,000 TEU cascaded from the Asia-North Europe route will replace six ships of 5,000-9,000 TEU, the consultant was cited as saying in a report by London’s Loadstar.

STRANDED INDIAN SAILORS IN UAE WATERS BACK HOME

More than half of the nearly 100 Indian sailors stranded on ships in the UAE’s waters for several months have returned home, the Indian consulate general quoted as saying last week.

As of 1 July, a total of 97 Indian sailors were languishing aboard 22 ships in the UAE’s waters for several months. Indian consul general in Dubai Vipul on Sunday said that 53 of them had been sent back home so far. More than half of the nearly 100 Indian sailors stranded on ships in the UAE’s waters for several months have returned home.

KOLKATA PORT EARNS THE HIGHEST INCOME IN YEAR

Kolkata Port Trust, India’s sixth biggest state-run port by volumes, earned more income than what Kandla Port Trust, the biggest state-owned cargo handler, generated from handling double the cargo volumes of the eastern coast port in the year ended March 2017 (FY17).

Yet, Kolkata Port Trust reported a net deficit, highlighting the complexities facing legacy ports saddled with large number of pensioners compared with modern, highly mechanised private ports. India’s 12 major ports, or those owned by the Centre, posted a combined net surplus of Rs2,819.74 crore in FY17 on income of Rs11,894.56 crore from handling 647.63 million tonnes of cargo.

Since the Modi government assumed power in May 2014, the Shipping Ministry led by Nitin Gadkari has taken several initiatives resulting in the dozen ports increasing their operating surplus from Rs2,519 crore in FY14 to Rs3,599 crore in FY15, Rs4,309 crore in FY16 and Rs4,919 crore in FY17.

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