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Container shippers likely to face a bumpy year ahead

IF there was ever a year when the outlook for reliability in the international logistics system was more clouded, 2019 and into 2020 would take the prize. It could be quite a ride. In the ocean container space, certain things have changed to cloud the outlook.

One is that following consolidation of the industry over the past three years, carriers have begun behaving differently. Simply put, they are, as a group, less predictable. And that implies greater risk for shippers. Caution in ship ordering and deployment of tonnage was more evident in 2018 than in prior years – as seen in the trans-Pacific when carriers withdrew tonnage mid-year and didn’t restore it despite the front-loading of imports to avoid tariffs on China that were to have taken effect on January 1, before a truce was called in early December, reports IHS Media.

Shanghai still world’s busiest box port, followed by Singapore

China’s Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) retained its top position as the world’s busiest container port for the ninth consecutive year. The port recorded 42.01 million TEU throughput in 2018, an increase of 4 per cent compared to 40.23 million TEU posted in the previous year, reaching a record high. The port achieved CNY10.28 billion (US$1.52 billion) net profit last year, Seatrade Maritime News, Colchester, UK quoted as saying.

The port’s improved performance was attributed to the recovery in the global economy, the nation’s increasing import and export business coupled with improving service capability and efficiency, SIPG stated in its 2018 performance brief report. The world’s second largest container port Singapore reported an 8.7 per cent growth in container volumes to reach 36.6 million TEU last year.

Dalian iron ore futures rise

China’s iron ore futures edged higher on Wednesday, extending gains for a third straight day as traders assessed the disruption to supply following a fire at a Rio Tinto export terminal in Australia. Rio Tinto said on Monday it had declared force majeure on iron ore shipments to some customers following the fire at its Cape Lambert export terminal last week.

The most traded iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 1.4 percent to 516 yuan ($76.22) a tonne in early trade. Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong, said the uptrend in iron ore prices has been driven by both the supply disruption and expectations of a boost in demand for the steel-making raw material from Beijing’s moves to stimulate the slowing Chinese economy.

LNG vessel spot rates in pacific plunged

The spot charter rate for LNG spot vessels has fallen below $80,000/day in the Pacific for the first time since late August, with S&P Global Platts assessing Pacific rates at $75,000/day. The ballast rate was assessed at 100 percent in the Pacific, meaning shipowners were being fully compensated for the return leg of the journey.


US container imports break records but uncertainty lies ahead

Record high levels of inbound laden containers were experienced on both coasts in October with the USWC at 1.09 million TEU and the USEC at 0.91 million TEU according to BIMCO’s own data.

The first two months of 2018 saw the USWC coast’s laden imports increase 11.7percent from the start of 2017, with the accumulated growth rate then stabilizing to around 4 percent for the rest of the year. This volatility in Q1 is always the case due to the Chinese New Year. Imports on the USEC was much more stable throughout the year peaking at 10.4percent in the first three months before falling to around 8percent for the rest of the year.

Singapore 2018 bunker volumes dip

Sales of marine fuels in Singapore, the world’s biggest ship fuelling port by volume, totalled 49.8 million tonnes in 2018, down 2 percent from a record the year before, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Monday.

December sales volumes of marine fuels, also known as bunkers, reached an 11-month high of 4.308 million tonnes, up 10 percent from November and the second-highest for the year, the data showed. The strong month helped lift Singapore’s 2018 marine fuel sales figures to the second highest on record, the data showed. In 2017, Singapore posted record sales of marine fuels for a third straight year at 50.6 million tonnes.

Bangladesh’s second lng terminal to start in March

Bangladesh’s second liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is expected to start operations in mid-March though domestic pipeline constraints means it will be unable to fully supply gas demand to the country’s capital Dhaka. Summit Corp, a subsidiary of Bangladesh’s Summit Holdings, and partner Mitsubishi Corp are expected to start operations at their floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) off the country’s coast by the middle of March and ahead of schedule, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Indian sailors stranded on ship at uae port appeal for help

Eight Indian sailors have been stranded for the past several months on a ship detained at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as their passports have been confiscated by local authorities, said a media report.

The ship was detained by the UAE Coast Guard on April 15, 2016, and the passports and seaman books of the sailors confiscated.

One of the stranded sailors was quoted as saying that they were living a pathetic life and were not able to return home as they have not been given a sign off by the management of the ship. Even their salaries were pending for past several months.

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