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Asia resumes Iran oil imports at lowered rates

Asian imports of Iranian crude oil have just started to return but at sharply lower levels as top customers China, India, Japan and South Korea press for additional US sanctions relief when their waivers expire in May.

Imports by South Korea, Japan and India have been slashed at least by half from levels before November, when the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil trade, according to S&P Global Platts calculations. Japan became the latest importer to resume loading Iranian oil on January 20, after South Korea received its first post-sanctions cargo a day earlier. They are among eight countries with 180-day waivers allowing them to keep importing Iranian oil through May 4. Confusion surrounding shipping, insurance and banking rules under the US sanctions kept some of the countries from resuming imports for months after the US granted waivers. S&P Global Platts Analytics expects Iran’s oil exports to average 1.2 million b/d in January-April and fall to 860,000 b/d by the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with about 2.7 million b/d in early 2018.

Pakistan shipowners demand removal of freight tax

Pakistan Ship’s Agents Association (PSAA) has demanded immediate removal of freight tax, citing that it is not only impacting the country’s external trade negatively but also acting as a hurdle in attracting investment to the ship-owning industry. The freight tax – 8 per cent, imposed under Section 7 of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 – has been a cause of extra cost for shipping industry and external trade.

In a letter addressed to Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Chairman PSAA Tariq Haleem pointed out that there is an urgent need to remove the freight tax, which has been a major cause of high cost of doing business in the shipping industry. The other area facing the negative impact of freight tax is the imports and exports. Traders, in order to evade this 8 percent tax, have adopted various tactics which are directly affecting the foreign exchange reserves, he added. Once the freight tax is removed, it will not only help in ease of doing business, but reduce the cost of doing business as well as attract more foreign exchange and investment to the ship-owning industry.

Port of Los Angeles breaks record in 2018, up 1.2pc to 9.5 million teu

The Port of Los Angeles set another record in 2018, increasing 1.2 percent year on year to 9.5 million TEU, port executive director Gene Seroka told an audience in his State of the Port address last week. The port’s vehicle shipments declined by 34 percent in 2018, but scrap metal shipments rose 26 percent. The port completed several major building projects including: The US$127 million on-dock rail yard at the Yusen Terminal and $15.6 million Harbour Boulevard/Park Plaza improvement project.

LNG shipping set to become liquid market in longer term

LNG shipping is set to grow into a liquid market in the future similar to the oil shipping sector, but the evolution could take time, senior industry officials said Monday. The cost of LNG shipping became a big issue in the final quarter of 2018 as rising prices in the Atlantic Basin made arbitrage opportunities between Europe and Asia uneconomic. Prices rose to as high as $190,000/d in Q4 2018 given limited spot vessel availability from just $40,000/d in Q4 2017. Patrick Dugas, head of LNG trading at French major Total, said Monday that the spike was down to more than 30 vessels being used as floating LNG storage in northeast Asia, and that the price hike was an “event” and not a “structural” issue. There are currently around 520 LNG vessels operational globally.


Singapore bunker supplier equatorial marine fuel gearing up for IMO 2020 rule

Singapore’s Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services is readying itself for changes to the International Maritime Organization’s lower global sulfur limit rule for marine fuels will bring, while aiming to maintain its growth momentum in 2019, executive director Zhen Mao Choong quoted as saying last week.

The company, which accounts for around 9 percent of Singapore’s total marine fuels sales volumes, owns 16 bunker barges, Choong said. It was recently ranked as the fourth largest accredited bunker supplier by marine fuel sales volumes for 2018 by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

China to ban imports of waste foreign vessels for ship recycling

China will ban imports of waste foreign vessels to protect the environment, China Daily reported. The country’s ship-breaking yards, which have been tearing apart the world’s retired vessels from both civil and military sectors, and turning them into piles of steel scrap bound for mills for repurposing, will henceforth focus only on domestic ships.

Many ship-breaking yards and nearby beaches were heavily polluted by heavy metals, oil and other toxic substances, said the report. The new measures of banning imports were announced in April and will take effect on Dec 31. They cover 32 types of solid waste imports, including ships, auto parts, stainless steel scrap, titanium and wood.

New Sri Lanka shipping policy sees lower dependence on Indian cargo

Sri Lanka’s new national policy for its maritime and logistics sectors foresees reduced dependence on Indian container transshipment cargo, Colombo port’s main business for years, given changes in shipping services and emerging competition from other ports.

The final draft of the national policy that aligns the maritime and logistics sectors to reap better economic benefits was presented to Minister of Ports & Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayaka on Thursday, a statement said. The National Policy for Maritime and Logistics Sectors was drafted by a committee comprised with leading experts on maritime affairs chaired by Secretary to the Ministry of Ports & Shipping and Southern Development Parakrama Dissanayake. Around 80 stakeholders took part in drafting the policy.

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