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Baltic index extends gains on Capesize, Panamax demand

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose on Wednesday, driven by demand for capesize and panamax vessels.

The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose 2.6 percent, or 53 points, to 2,064, its highest since January 2014. The index has surged about 60 percent this year.

The index extended gains for a seventh straight session, mainly driven by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil.

A restart of Vale SA’s Brucutu mine in Brazil that was shut in early February after a tailings dam burst, has prompted increased demand from the country.

The capesize index rose 127 points, or 3.2 percent, to 4,095 points, its highest since December 2017.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $916 to $31,073.

Iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal rose more than 11percent in June from a month earlier, port data released on Wednesday showed.

Freight volumes shrink as world economy stalls

Freight volumes in the United States and around the world are falling, signalling tougher times for manufacturers amid escalating trade tensions and heightened uncertainty.

Freight volumes in the United States were up by just 0.8 percent in the three months from March to May compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Volumes fell year-on-year in May, for the first time in more than two and half years, according to the agency’s transportation services index.

Freight is growing at the slowest rate since the mid-cycle slowdown of 2015/16, based on the index, which covers movements by truck, railroad, barge, pipeline and air cargo. Truck volumes were still up 3.4percent year-on-year in March-May, but growth was less than half the rate at the same time last year.

Two Chinese Ports halt customs clearances for coal imports

Chinese customs is no longer permitting coal cargoes to enter the country at the ports of Jingtang and Caofeidian, said three coal traders, who were told by customs officials of the halt last Tuesday.

Customs officials at the port of Jingtang, one of China’s biggest coking coal import points, and the neighboring port of Caofeidian said they would halt customs declaration services from July 16 until further notice, the traders said on Wednesday.

No reason was given for the service halt at the ports, which are located on the Bohai Bay coast of China’s Hebei province, the traders said. An official with the general business department of the customs bureau at Jingtang, which operates under the customs office of the city of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, confirmed there was a halt in customs declarations at the port.


Maharashtra rejigs maritime policy; extends concession licence periods

The Maharashtra Cabinet last Tuesday approved the changes in the Maharashtra Maritime Development Policy of 2016, increasing the period of concession agreement for greenfield ports and multi-purpose jetties to 50 years from 35 now. Multi-purpose jetties have also been allowed to handle Exim cargo.

Maharashtra has the second-longest coastline among maritime states with two major and 48 minor ports. Currently, only 12 minor ports handle cargo. Therefore, the policy has highlighted the opportunities for further improvement of maritime infrastructure.

A press statement issued by the Chief Minister’s office said greenfield ports and multi-purpose jetty developers will have to make 100 percent capital investment and handle 50 percent cargo in the first 35 years.

India’s iron ore shipments bounce back

Indian iron ore cargo bounced back at major ports, rising 15.33 per cent year-on-year during April-June of this fiscal.

Iron ore traffic has staged a comeback after a year of deceleration in 2018-19 which saw a decline in shipments by 16 per cent. As a fall-out of de-growth in iron ore cargo in last fiscal, many major ports dependent on the commodity, had to contend with muted growth in cargo throughput.

At the end of June in FY20, all major ports with the exception of Mormugao port saw their iron ore volumes mounting. Mormugao was battered by the mining ban in Goa and curbs clamped on ore from Karnataka.

The Kolkata Dock System, made up by the riverine port of Kolkata and the one at Haldia, saw its iron ore cargo, including pellets, soaring more than three fold between April and June. Paradip port’s iron ore shipments spiked by 70 per cent in the period. Visakhapatnam, another iron ore cargo-driven port, had a 41 per cent growth in the commodity.

The surge in iron ore shipments were propelled largely by a revival in export demand for the key steel making ingredient.

New Mangalore Port aims 50 million traffic handling

New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) is aiming to handle a traffic of 50 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in the next three-four years, NMPT Chairman, Venkata Ramana Akkaraju quoted as saying last week.

He said that the port handled 42.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2018-19. “Our plan is to take it to 44 MTPA in the current fiscal,” he said, adding that it will be increased to 50 MTPA in the next three-four years. To achieve this, he has set sights on container and coastal cargo, as also handling cruise vessels. He felt that NMPT needs to unlock the value proposition of these services.

On the plans for container cargo, he said NMPT would go in for a concession agreement to operate a container terminal at berth No. 14. Post the agreement, container operations are expected to start during 2020-21 from the terminal. He said the improvement of coastal shipping would be one of the focus areas for him.

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