By Mike Wackett
(The Loadstar) – Taiwanese ocean carrier Yang Ming has added a 2016 US$492m loss to the net deficit of $258m the previous year.
Revenue plunged to TWD115.4bn, from TWD127.6bn in 2015.
Lars Jensen, chief executive and partner at SeaIntelligence Consulting, today described Yang Ming’s financial performance as “very negative”.
Although all deepsea carriers had suffered a “bad year” in 2016, Mr Jensen said Yang Ming’s result compared unfavourably with its peers.
“To put the result into perspective, Maersk Line lost $384m and CMA CGM lost $452m. But it should be noted that CMA CGM is almost four times larger than Yang Ming in terms of capacity and Maersk Line is almost six times larger.”
Hapag-Lloyd, approximately twice the size of Yang Ming, had “only” lost $103m in the same period, he added.
“It is clear that major changes must be implemented in Yang Ming if the recapitalisation plan is to be more than temporary salvation in the face of competition from the very large carriers,” said Mr Jensen.
In January, Yang Ming sought to reassure customers and suppliers of its solvency after being identified by Drewry Financial Research Services (DFRS) as a “red flag risk”.
A research paper published by DFRS suggested that Yang Ming, the world’s eighth-largest carrier, had “taken the slot left vacant by Hanjin Shipping” as “the company with the most leveraged balance sheet in the industry”.
However, the carrier published a robust response and said: “Yang Ming has never approached its creditors with any demands to restructure any part of its debt, and has no intention to do so going forward.”
it continued: “Yang Ming has never failed to deliver in difficult times, even in the wake of the largest carrier bankruptcy.”
It advised that it was to raise $54.4m through a privately placed rights issue with six Taiwanese investors, including the state-owned National Development Fund of Taiwan. This increased government-owned stock to 36.6%.
Yang Ming alluded to a bigger stake being held by the Taiwan government as being part of “the company’s financial recovery plan”.
In November the Ministry of Transportation and Communications created a $1.9bn fund, available to the country’s shipping groups in case of financial hardship.
Since then, in an attempt to cut overheads and help make the container line more competitive, Yang Ming has slashed the pay of its senior executives by 50% and the salary of its line managers by up to 30%.
But shippers remain nervous after the sudden crash of Hanjin Shipping last year – not least because that carrier’s biggest creditor was also a state-owned bank. Indeed, several shippers have told The Loadstar they had decided not to book with Yang Ming, due to its perceived dire financial position.
Nonetheless, Yang Ming will now need to regroup again as it prepares its exit from the CKYE alliance to join THE Alliance from Saturday.
THE Alliance has set up an independently managed trust fund to safeguard cargo operations should a member go bankrupt. It said customers had shown “a clear demand for such a safety net”.
The Loadstar is fast becoming known at the highest levels of logistics and supply chain management as one of the best sources of influential analysis and commentary.
Check them out at TheLoadstar.co.uk, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.
By Olesya Astakhova
SABETTA, Russia, March 30 (Reuters) – An ice-breaking tanker docked for the first time at Russia’s Arctic port of Sabetta to test a new route that could open the ice-bound Arctic Ocean to ships carrying oil and liquefied gas.
The route is eagerly anticipated by energy firms that want to develop resources in the Arctic but face obstacles in getting oil and gas from remote and freezing fields to world markets.
Environmental activists fear commercial shipping in the Arctic — now possible because climate change has thinned the ice for part of the year — will allow exploitation of a region that up to now has been a pristine wilderness.
The 80,000 tonne-capacity Christophe de Margerie, an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport liquefied natural gas, docked in the icy port of Sabetta, with Russian President Vladimir Putin watching via live video-link.
Putin congratulated the crew and energy company officials gathered on the ship’s bridge, saying: “This is a big event in the opening up of the Arctic.”
The South Korean-built vessel was not picking up a cargo on its maiden voyage, but will eventually be used to transport gas from Russia’s Yamal LNG plant, which is near the port.
The project, scheduled to start production in October, is led by Russian firm Novatek and co-owned by France’s Total , and China’s CNPC and the Silk Road Fund.
The ship is named after a former Total chief executive who died at a Moscow airport in 2014 when a snow-clearing tractor crossed the runway as his private jet was taking off.
The Yamal LNG consortium sees Asia as the biggest market for its gas in the long term. Shipments to China from Yamal should take about 18 days using the Northern Sea route.
That journey would take vessels east through the Arctic Ocean, down through the Bering strait that separates Russia from Alaska, and into the Pacific.
By contrast the alternative route involves heading west into the North Atlantic, south into the Mediterranean, and then through the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean. That would typically take about 32 days.
The tanker arrived at Sabetta earlier this week, after departing South Korea in November and sailing around Africa into the Atlantic, according to Reuters data.
The aim of the voyage was to prove the port can receive a tanker of that class. Other LNG tankers have already sailed via the Northern Sea route from Scandinavia to the Pacific.
The Arctic’s energy resources offer huge promise for Russia, heavily dependent on oil and gas exports. Many of its Siberian fields are growing old, forcing it to look to more remote areas for new reserves.
Its push into the Arctic — accompanied by a military build-up — has alarmed the West. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has described Moscow’s Arctic moves as “aggressive steps.”
Putin said projects such as the Northern Sea route would allow Russia to become the world’s largest LNG producer.
Qatar is currently the world’s top LNG producer, followed by Australia, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago.
After the Yamal plant reaches its full capacity, combined with the existing Sakhalin-2 LNG plant in the Pacific, Russia will produce almost 27 million tonnes of LNG annually, equal to the amount imported by China per year.
Novatek is studying whether to build another LNG plant, Arctic LNG-2, with capacity comparable to Yamal or higher and first production in around 2023.
Putin said Russia’s energy projects in the Arctic were guided by the principle that they should do no harm.
The Christophe de Margerie, built by South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), belongs to a class of vessel which, ship designers say, can safely operate in icy waters.
Ice-class tankers usually have double hulls, strengthened structures to withstand battering from the ice, and reinforced propellers. The Christophe de Margerie is capable of moving through ice as thick as 2.1 meters.
The ship will only be able to navigate the northern route from July to September each year, because the ice is too thick at other times, according to Sovcomflot, the Russian state shipping firm that owns the vessel.
A total of 15 gas tankers will be built for the Yamal project by Daewoo.
Environmentalists say too little is known about the impact of the new route on the Arctic’s ecology.
Alexei Knizhnikov, Russian oil and gas environmental policy officer for international campaign group WWF, said measures were needed to mitigate the risk of heavy oil from the ship’s engines leaking into the sea.
He said ships could disturb wildlife such as walruses and whales. (Additional reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Denis Pinchuk in ARKHANGELSK, Gleb Stolyarov in MOSCOW; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Christian Lowe)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.
SHANGHAI, March 30 (Reuters) – China’s COSCO Shipping Holdings Co Ltd made a loss last year of 9.9 billion yuan ($1.44 billion), the company reported on Thursday, due to both persistently weak freight rates and restructuring costs.
Freight shipping firms have been hit hard by a prolonged downturn in rates caused by overcapacity and a slowdown in global trade.
COSCO, the world’s fourth-largest container shipping line, became a new company last year, born out of the merger of two major domestic shipping firms, making year-on-year comparisons difficult.
Since then it has been restructuring, selling some units at a loss and focusing on container shipping.
Revenue came in at 71.2 billion yuan.
COSCO said, however, it was seeing some positive signals in demand and expects the overall market this year to be better than that of 2016.
Its comments echo those of rivals including Denmark’s Maersk Line and Germany’s Hapag Lloyd, which have said the sector has entered a period of recovery with freight rates expected to rise this year.
Seeking to save costs on key shipping routes, COSCO has also formed a vessel-sharing alliance with France’s CMA CGM , Taiwan’s Evergreen Line and Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line that starts April 1. Shares in COSCO closed 0.28 percent higher in Hong Kong on Thursday before the results, while the Hang Seng index was down 0.37 percent. ($1 = 6.8880 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Greg Mahlich)
General Dynamics NASSCO has christened and launched the Palmetto State, the final ship in an eight-ship ECO Class tanker program to be constructed at NASSCO.
“What began nearly five years ago as a concept to design and build the Palmetto State and her sister ships involved nearly 4,000 individuals coming together for one common purpose,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, during the christening and launch event held Saturday at the company’s San Diego shipyard. “Saturday night’s celebration highlighted the contributions and milestones achieved by the thousands of men and women who worked to bring this program – and other programs at NASSCO – from concept to delivery.”
In 2013, NASSCO entered into agreements with two companies, American Petroleum Tankers and SEA-Vista LLC, to design and construct a total of eight 50,000 deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tankers to include a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity each. Seven of the eight tankers have been delivered to their respective customers. The eighth and final tanker, the Palmetto State, is scheduled for delivery to American Petroleum Tankers this summer.
The Palmetto State and her sister ships are the most fuel-efficient tankers to service the Jones Act trade. With an “ECO” design, the tankers offer 33 percent increased fuel efficiency and cleaner shipping options.
Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) served as the principal speaker for Saturday’s christening and launch event. As the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Linda Rankine christened the ship with the traditional break of a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull. She is the wife of Bill Rankine, manager of marine chartering and operations for CITGO. Ms. Karen Herrmann, NASSCO’s manager of planning, served as the trigger honoree, and Ms. Shari Flippin, marine chartering manager for CITGO, was the first shore removal honoree.
More than a thousand shipbuilders, their family and friends, and members of the community attended the event.
Here is some video about the Palmetto State and the ECO Class Tanker Program:
NASSCO is the only major shipyard on the west coast of the United States conducting design, construction and repair of commercial and U.S. Navy ships. In the past decade, NASSCO delivered 29 ocean-going ships to government and commercial customers—including the world’s first LNG-powered containerships. In the past two years, NASSCO processed more than 120,000 tons of steel.
For its commercial work, NASSCO partners with South Korean ship designer, Daewoo Ship Engineering Company (DSEC), for access to state-of-the-art ship design and shipbuilding technologies.
By Dina Khrennikova and Elena Mazneva
(Bloomberg) — Vladimir Putin wanted to remake Josef Stalin’s quest for a greater foothold in the Arctic into a global shipping bonanza that could compete with the Suez.
For now, however, Russia will have to be content to go it alone.
While cargoes flowed through the Northern Sea Route in 2016 at a pace not seen since the twilight years of the Soviet Union three decades ago, few foreign vessels were in sight. Instead of waiting for global shippers to make a port of call, Russia is domesticating the transpolar conduit that could slash up to 12 days of travel time between Europe and Asia when it’s open four-and-a-half months each year.
“It is all about the cost of goods delivered,” said Felix Tschudi, chairman of Tschudi Shipping Co AS in Norway. “In the present low oil and freight-market environment, the attraction of the NSR is diminished.”
Coastal shipping at the top of the world, first tested in the 19th century and made increasingly viable by global warming in the summer, is losing its international shine in an era of cheap oil.
The crash in commodities prices means freight rates aren’t sufficiently competitive to wrest traffic from the established routes through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. And even with the Arctic ice melting, shipping conditions are still unpredictable and expensive enough to put off Russia’s own companies like MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, which now prefers the traditional southern passages for exports to Asia.
Transit cargo contributed less than 3 percent to last year’s volumes through the Northern Sea Route, down from more than 30 percent in 2012-2013, according to government data. That didn’t stop the passageway from breaking a record for shipments set in 1987, with Russia expecting the streak to continue once deliveries from the Arctic’s biggest liquefied natural-gas development start this year.
Russia, which boasts half the Arctic coastline and depends on the region for almost 60 percent of its hydrocarbon resources, has adapted the sea link to domestic use, with most of last year’s increase coming from equipment supplies to the construction site of the Novatek PJSC-led Yamal LNG plant, according to Sergey Balmasov, head of the NSR Information Office, a consultancy in Murmansk.
Coal, metals, food and fuel coursed along the coast last year, powering cargo flows to 7.48 million tons, an increase of 38 percent from 2015, according to a state agency that administers the route. The Novatek-led LNG venture is set to remain the locomotive behind the traffic in the years ahead after it starts producing fuel destined primarily for Asian clients by end-2017. Total shipments may reach 40 million tons by 2022, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
Instead of opening a new frontier for shipping, as Putin set out to do in 2015, the Russian president is inadvertently circling back to the more insular goals pursued by his Soviet predecessors. Under Stalin’s stewardship in 1934, the Communist party laid out its strategy for developing the Northern Sea Route that ranged from building Arctic ports to running local deer farms.
Turning the route into a global link capable of competing with the Suez is a “realistic task,” Novatek’s billionaire Chief Executive Officer Leonid Mikhelson said on Wednesday at the International Arctic Forum in the northern port of Arkhangelsk, where Russian and Scandinavian officials convened this week. “It’s just a matter of time,” he said.
Ice-class ships built specifically to transport LNG from the Yamal project will be able to make the Arctic passage during seven to eight months a year, according to Mikhelson. The first such vessel will make a test docking on Thursday at the peninsula above the Arctic Circle, a ceremony that Putin plans to oversee by video link from Arkhangelsk.
For global shippers, which started to use the passage in 2009, the Arctic still presents enough challenges to make the longer detour worth the time. While the distance is up to 50 percent less than the links to the south, the shortcut is only navigable during the summer and autumn months, with sea conditions varying from year to year. It also still makes for harsh sailing, despite the thaw, complicating scheduling for container cargo ships and adding to the cost.
“The NSR could already be an interesting alternative route for some shipment segments during the summer-autumn season, depending on the ports and presence of homeward cargo,” Balmasov said. Yet year-round trips to Asia will remain “akin to a heroic act” in the foreseeable future, he said.
It’s a sentiment echoed by shipping consultant Drewry Maritime Research and broker Fearnleys A/S, who say transit volumes will likely remain low due to limited navigation time, harsh climate and lower freight rates for more traditional routes.
“The Arctic as such is high on the agenda in the Kremlin,” said Sverre Bjorn Svenning, research director at Fearnleys in Oslo. But for now, it’s “in-out voyages rather than transit.”
–With assistance from Yuliya Fedorinova and Hayley Warren.
© 2017 Bloomberg L.P
By Scott DiSavino
March 29 (Reuters) – The last time the United States was a net exporter of natural gas was in 1957, when Dwight Eisenhower was president. That should change in 2018 when the country is expected to become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
By the end of next year, U.S. LNG export capacity in the lower 48 states will top 6 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), or 8 percent of the country’s domestic consumption, up from zero at the beginning of 2016. Six bcfd of gas can fuel about 30 million U.S. homes, or almost every house in California, Texas and Florida combined.
That growth in U.S. LNG exports is set to transform world energy markets. Just a decade ago, before the shale revolution, the United States was expected to become a growing LNG importer, not an exporter, likely dependent on Russian, Middle East and North African gas, much as it has for decades depended on foreign crude.
Instead, the U.S. will become a competitor to the global gas powers by offering cheaper and more flexible cargoes and even a more politically palatable supplier to buyers such as the Europeans. The increased supply of North American LNG could bring more predictability to pricing through the development of more liquid trading markets.
“We are set to see unprecedented growth in U.S. LNG volumes over the next few years,” said Andrew Walker, vice president strategy at Cheniere Marketing, a unit of U.S. LNG company Cheniere Energy Inc.
The U.S. shale revolution produced a massive increase in gas output through the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract fuel trapped in shale rocks. The only other countries soon expected to supply more LNG to the world are Australia and Qatar.
LNG is natural gas that has been liquefied at extremely low temperatures for ease of storage and transport, and is increasingly replacing dirtier fossil fuels such as coal and oil to heat homes and businesses and in power plants and other industrial facilities.
The U.S. started to export LNG from the lower 48 states when the first liquefaction train at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, built by Cheniere, opened in February 2016. Five additional export terminals are expected to open by 2020, built by units of Dominion Resources Inc, Kinder Morgan Inc , Sempra Energy and Freeport LNG.
Prior to this, the only natural gas exports from the lower 48 states were via pipeline to Mexico, and the U.S. was a net importer overall of natural gas from Canada.
Since opening the terminal, Cheniere’s stock price has risen more than 50 percent, and in 2016 it reported record revenue of $1.28 billion, according to Reuters data. The company is expected to control more than half of the U.S. LNG export capacity by 2020, making it one of the nation’s biggest buyers of physical gas.
Further upstream, big U.S. shale producers such as Chesapeake Energy Corp, Cabot Oil and Gas Corp, Range Resources Corp and EQT Corp are set to benefit from increased export demand.
Company spokesman Mike Mackin said Range Resources has signed multiple LNG export contracts, including with Cheniere, saying that the projects will “provide a significant source of incremental demand growth for the U.S.”
World LNG demand is expected to double to about 71 bcfd by 2040, up from around 32 bcfd in 2015, the U.S. Energy Department estimates, driven by the rapidly growing economies in Asia, especially China and India.
Even though top LNG exporters Qatar and Australia are geographically better poised to supply the fuel at cheaper shipping costs, major energy firms such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc , Korea Gas Corp and GAIL (India) Ltd have already contracted to buy U.S. LNG.
In addition, European countries fearing supply disruptions from Russia have the potential of looking west. Moscow in the past has limited gas supply at periods of peak winter demand while seeking debt repayments from Ukraine.
The additional supply also means the potential for less reliance on some politically unstable Middle Eastern countries.
“It provides supplier diversification away from the Middle East, where much of the world’s LNG supply now comes from as well as supply route diversification,” said Jane Nakano, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Analysts said surging LNG exports – the biggest driver of North American gas demand – could boost U.S. gas prices, which have been low in recent years. However, higher prices would also encourage energy firms to boost production to record levels, which could keep price increases small.
Natural gas benchmark prices have averaged $4.42 per million British thermal units over the last 10 years; in 2016, that average was $2.49, lowest since 1999. Even with exports, the price should remain far below that average for several years.
The maturation of the industry means buyers are looking for flexible contracts and the ability to hedge.
Last week, Intercontinental Exchange Inc said it will introduce a spot contract for U.S. Gulf Coast LNG in May, while some large global LNG buyers, including Korea Gas and China’s offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd, said they were banding together to secure flexible contracts.
LNG was historically sold in other parts of the world through long-term contracts tied to the price of oil. But of the 56 vessels that left Sabine Pass in 2016, 23 carried gas sold under spot transactions, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
“Growing use of spot market transactions will make the LNG market more flexible and responsive to supply and demand,” said Craig Pirrong, a finance professor specializing in commodities at the University of Houston.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
Miami-based SunStone Ships has announced that it has signed a Framework Agreement with China Merchants Industry Holdings for the construction of four ice-class expedition vessels to be built in China.
The agreement includes options for up to ten total vessels.
Sunstone Ships is provider of expedition vessels to the cruise and travel industry by tonnage, with a fleet of ten small expedition cruise ships. The newbuild vessels will be part of the SunStone Fleet and chartered to new and existing clients of the company.
CMIH, a unit of China Merchants Group, one of the largest corporations in China, has entered into an agreement with Ulstein Design & Solutions, part of Ulstein Group, to supply the design and equipment package for the vessel as well as provide supervision over the construction of the vessel.
Illustrations of the expedition vessel published by SunStone shows the vessel having Ulstein’s patented X-BOW hull design, which is yet to be used in a cruise ship design.
CMIH has also entered into an agreement with Mäkinen, Finland, one of the leading contractors of cabin and interior public spaces for cruise ships. Mäkinen will set up a cabin assembly plant and interior workshop at the shipyard’s facilities, and will be responsible for all interior spaces on the newbuilds. The ‘hotel’ design of the new vessels will be carried out by Tomas Tillberg Design, a passenger vessel design firm who has worked with SunShine for a number of years.
SunStone did not provide any information regarding final contracts or expected delivery dates.
SHANGHAI, March 29 (Reuters) – China and Hong Kong stocks rose on Wednesday as further signs of a pick-up in global trade boosted shares of port operators and shipping companies, offseting concerns about fresh property market cooling measures.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent to 3,479.14 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent to 3,257.66.
Port operators Rizhao Port and Nanjing Port surged 9 and 10 percent, respectively, after the Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index – a closely watched barometer of global trade – climbed to the highest in over two years.
“The Baltic index, as well as recent U.S. economic data, all point to improving global trade conditions,” said Wu Kan, Shanghai-based head of equity trading at investment firm Shanshan Finance.
Wu said the surge in port operators was an extension of the recent fervour for “One Belt, One Road” concept stocks. The infrastructure initiative envisions building a network of land, sea and air routes that will open new trade links from China to the rest of Asia and Europe.
Gains also reflected expectations that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump next month would help reduce the chance of a Sino-U.S. trade war, Wu added.
But concerns about liquidity and tighter policy measures kept China markets in check.
On Wednesday, China’s central bank skipped open market operations for the fourth straight day, saying liquidity levels remained “appropriate”. Its inaction resulted in a fourth consecutive session of net drains ahead of month- and quarter-end, when conditions typically tighten.
Property developers continued to struggle as local governments stepped up cooling measures to curb high prices.
Moody’s Investors Service warned on Wednesday that China’s economy would face heightened risks from a potential future property downturn, with authorities’ scope for mitigating such an impact limited.
But banking stocks were up slightly after major lenders Bank of Communications (BoCom) , and Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) reported modest annual profit growth.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index edged up 0.2 percent to 24,396.26, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.5 percent to 10,477.40.
Most sectors were up. An index tracking transport shares rose 0.6 percent.
Index heavyweight Tencent rose nearly 1 percent, after touching record intraday highs, after the Chinese Internet giant bought a 5 percent stake in U.S. electric car maker Tesla Inc.
(Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim Coghill)
Offshore supply vessel company Tidewater Inc. has announced that it has allowed its latest waiver of covenant default from its lenders and noteholders to expire in hopes it can work out a deal as the company continues to operate as normal.
For the past several months New Orleans-based Tidewater Inc. (NYSE: TDW) has been negotiating with its principal lenders and noteholders to amend the company’s various debt arrangements in order obtain relief from certain covenants.
During the negotiations, Tidewater has sought and received several limited waivers for non-compliance with the covenants. However, Tidewater has warned on several occasions that the limited waivers have prevented the company from defaulting on its loans, which would force it consider other options including Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Speaking to the expiration of the limited waivers, Jeffrey M. Platt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the company, commented, “Negotiations with our lenders and noteholders are progressing well, with a significant number of commercial points negotiated and, to our knowledge, resolved. However, work remains to resolve a small number of issues and to obtain the approval of our board of directors and final approval from the various financial institutions. In the meantime, while we press forward with our lender and noteholder groups in an effort to bring our negotiations to a successful conclusion, it is business as usual for the company.”
With more than 300 vessels, Tidewater has one of the biggest OSV fleets in the offshore oil and gas industry.
By Stine Jacobsen
COPENHAGEN March 28 (Reuters) – A.P. Moller-Maersk’s new chairman committed to automating its systems as the oil and shipping group steps up its drive to become more efficient and save costs at a time of low oil prices and declining freight rates.
The more than 100-year-old conglomerate’s digital push will mean that in theory, it should be as easy to book a container as booking an airline ticket, Chairman Jim Hagemann Snabe told Reuters shortly after he was elected.
“We transport goods in the physical world and that won’t change as we won’t start beaming things around the world,” the former co-CEO of German software company SAP said.
“It is not about replacing the current product but about making it more efficient for the customer.”
The container shipping industry has lagged some other sectors in bringing more of its processes online, and there is still a huge amount of paperwork slowing down the handling and tracking of containers. Added to that, hardly any two ships have the same IT systems.
U.S. technology company IBM and Maersk are cooperating to create a digital way of managing and tracking shipping transactions using blockchain technology.
But the most crucial task for the incoming chairman, who was recently also proposed as head of the supervisory board of German engineering group Siemens, is to deliver on the restructuring plan set out by new group Chief Executive Soren Skou in September.
This included bulking up the group’s transport and logistics operations while seeking alliances or a separate listing for its capital intensive energy division.
Snabe replaces Michael Pram Rasmussen, who steps down after 14 years in the job.
“Jim is a man of the future, I firmly believe in that … I hope that technology will play a bigger role than it has played so far in our business,” said Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla, Chairman of A.P. Moller Holding.
A.P. Moller Holding, wholly-owned by a fund established in 1953 by the founder of A.P. Moller Maersk, owns 41.5 percent of shares and 51 percent of voting rights in the listed company A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S.
In December, Moody’s downgraded Maersk’s credit rating to Baa2 from Baa1 with a negative outlook, following Standard & Poor’s cut to BB from BB+ with a negative outlook in November – both close to the lowest investment grade levels. Below those levels, Maersk’s borrowing costs would rise.
“We will use different tools, in particular increased capital discipline but also the possibility of divestment,” outgoing chairman Rasmussen said.
(Editing by Louise Heavens)
SEOUL, March 28 (Reuters) – South Korea on Tuesday said forensic examination showed bone fragments found near a salvaged ferry that sank in one of its worst disasters three years ago came from an animal and not an unrecovered victim, as an official had said earlier.
Nine people remain missing from among the 304 dead, most of them children on a school trip, in the April 16, 2014 disaster after the Sewol, structurally unsound, overloaded and traveling too fast on a turn, capsized and sank off the southwest coast.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lee Cheol-jo, the official heading the task force of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on the salvage operation, told a briefing that six pieces of remains found appeared to come from at least one unrecovered victim.
However, analysis by the National Forensic Service showed that seven bone fragments found came from an animal, the Oceans Ministry said in a brief statement.
Lee had said the fragments, ranging from 4 cm (1.6 inch) to 18 cm (7 inches) in length, appeared to have emerged through the vessel’s windows.
The news comes as bereaved families and officials hope to find the last nine bodies still missing from the disaster, after the ferry was raised last week and loaded onto a semi-submersible vessel for a journey to a nearby port.
Weeping relatives attended a memorial service for the missing held near the vessel, where Catholic, Protestant pastors and Buddhist monks offered prayers.
“Eun-hwa, let’s go home. Mommy will find you quickly. You should hang in there a bit to meet mommy,” Lee Kum-hee, whose daughter Cho Eun-hwa is among the missing, said at the service, as she threw yellow roses into the sea in a tribute.
Of those killed, 250 were teenagers from the same high school, many of whom obeyed crew instructions to remain in their cabins even as crew members were escaping the sinking ship.
The botched rescue and toll of children in one of Asia’s most technically advanced economies shocked and angered the country, with much of the ire focusing on former President Park Geun-hye and her administration at the time.
The ferry captain was found guilty of homicide in 2015 and jailed for life. More than a dozen other crew members received shorter sentences. (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jack Kim and Clarence Fernandez)
Japanese container shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has taken delivery of the MOL Triumph, the new ‘world’s biggest containership’ and the first ‘megaship’ to pass the 20,000 TEU threshold.
The MOL Triumph was delivered Monday by Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje, South Korea, where the vessel has been under construction since January 2016 – just 15 months ago. The vessel was named during a ceremony at the shipyard held March 15.
At 400 meters in length and 58.8 meters in beam, the MOL Triumph is now officially the world’s largest containership with capacity to carry a whopping 20,150 twenty-foot containers (TEU). She is the first of six 20,000 TEU-class Ultra-Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) MOL ordered from SHI back in February 2015.
The MOL Triumph will operate on THE Alliance’s Asia to Europe trade via the FE2 service. Beginning in April she will set off on her maiden voyage from Xingang, sailing to Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian and Singapore. The vessel will then transit through the Suez Canal and continue on to Tangier, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Le Havre, before calling at Tangier and Jebel Ali on her way back to Asia.
“The MOL Group is honored to unveil this new vessel, which is the largest containership in the world,” commented Junichiro Ikeda, President and CEO of MOL. “The vessel is equipped with various new sustainable technologies to provide more efficient fuel consumption and improved environmental performance.”
The new 20,000 TEU-class containerships are equipped with various highly advanced energy-saving technologies, such as low friction underwater paint, high efficiency propeller and rudder, “savor stator” as a stream fin on the hull body, and an optimized fine hull form, which together can further reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per container moved by about 25-30% when compared to 14,000 TEU-class containerships, according to MOL. The vessel has also been designed with the retrofit option to convert to LNG fueled ship in the future as the International Maritime Organization’s new regulation to limit SOx emission in marine fuels comes into effect in 2020.
MOL will take the delivery of the second 20,000 TEU-class vessel in May 2017. Eventually there will be six of the 20,000 TEU-class containerships, which will be phased in gradually on the existing trade routes of MOL.
MOL Triumph takes the title as the “world’s largest containership” from the 19,224 TEU MSC Oscar and her three sister ships. The four vessels were delivered to Mediterranean Shipping Company in 2015 by South Korea’s DSME. They measure 395.4 meters in length and have a beam of 59 meters.
May 13, 2009 by Mike Schuler
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