Coastal Bulk Shipping operator Doug Smith is optimistic the company can develop its bulk cargo operations.
While the rest of Whanganui waits for the port redevelopment to proceed, one business is tracking upwards as it ships around New Zealand from its base at the port.
Doug Smith runs Coastal Bulk Shipping, a company he and a “family” of relatives and friends have owned since 2010.
The company owns and operates the MV Anatoki, a small Whanganui-based vessel that moves bulk cargo between ports around New Zealand.
Mr Smith says the business is growing and there is significant potential for further growth.
“For the calendar year to the end of December we moved slightly over 20,000 tons of cargo.
“We picked up some business as a result of the Kaikoura earthquake [which took out road and rail links] but we have continued to build on that cargo. For the first three months of this year we have done over 7000 tons of cargo and that’s with the South Island’s road and rail back in full swing.
“We’re working on some significant potential growth and working to develop the cargo.”
The Anatoki primarily brings grain up from the South Island, transports dolomite from Golden Bay and takes urea from Kapuni to various South Island ports. It also transports about 100,000 posts per year to Marlborough vineyards.
“The main change has been the northbound grain and dolomite is starting to build again,” Mr Smith said.
“Dolomite will be coming through as chip and be processed for aerial spreading. These are niche markets that we are trying to continue to develop.
“River ports were the mainstay of ports in New Zealand 100 years ago but now Whanganui is the only river port currently operating. Its history is significant as far as maritime people in New Zealand are concerned.
“I’m sure west coast ports will start moving forward in the not-too-distant future and hope we will be part of that.”
The planned redevelopment of the port should have little impact on Coastal Bulk Shipping.
“The [Whanganui District] Council needs some credit – most councils in New Zealand wouldn’t have spent the money they did on the port,” Mr Smith said.
“Some of the smaller towns with ports have walked away from them. The council has enabled us to have some faith in the ongoing viability of the port and develop our cargo around that.”
Reactivating the rail line at the port would make sense and would significantly reduce the impact of road transport to move cargo but was not currently likely to happen, Mr Smith said.
MV Anatoki is a “handy little ship” which has its own following on Facebook and always attracts onlookers when it comes in and out over the Whanganui bar.
It is 51m long and can carry 800 tons of heavy bulk cargo – the equivalent of about 26 truck and trailer units. The 7000 tons of cargo moved so far this year equates to 233 truck and trailer loads.
The Anatoki is the only small coastal ship left in New Zealand and is able to negotiate shallow harbours such as Whanganui.
The ship is currently transporting dolomite from Bluff to Napier. It will then take fertiliser to Timaru and return with a load of barley.
Lyttelton Port has today received a further notice of strike action for 26 April to 29 April by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) for approximately 11 Marine staff. Strike action by this small group will close the Port.
LPC will therefore pay none of RMTU’s 191 members for the days – or any other day(s) the Company receives a strike notice for.
LPC Chief Executive Peter Davie says the Company has no option but to take this course of action.
“What is particularly disruptive about the strike notice served today is that it is for only a very small number of RMTU members – just approximately 11 of its 191 members at the Port. The approximate 11 striking RMTU members operate the launch which delivers our pilots to vessels when they arrive at the head of the harbour and must have pilot guidance to reach our Port.
When the RMTU members who operate the launch go on strike, the Pilots can’t reach the vessels so ships cannot get in or out of the Port. That means there is no shipping. The approximate 180 RMTU members not striking know that. They intend to come to work, do nothing and get paid.
“This tactic will not work.
“I want to make this very clear. The RMTU strike notice may be for only approximately 11 of its members but none of its 191 members will be paid for any day for which we receive a strike notice.
“We are taking this step as a direct response to the Union’s tactic of causing maximum disruption to customers and businesses in the region while trying to ensure its members don’t lose money.
“The Union has refused our very generous offer which is well above inflation.
This offer is well above recent RMTU settlements with other New Zealand Ports.
“The dispute is about only one thing – the RMTU wants a better settlement than the other major Union at our Port – the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ).
“The RMTU claims it wants the same offer we made MUNZ – but it has rejected it. The RMTU members want the same salary increases as MUNZ but they will not make the roster changes MUNZ agreed to as part of their offer.
“RMTU members have already lost more pay than their negotiators can possibly recover for them – and the longer the Union refuses our offer the more its members will lose.
“Meanwhile the Union’s tactics are causing significant disruption to shipping lines, importers, exporters and our region.
“We remain committed to resolving the dispute but do not see any justification for amending our very generous offer.”
New Zealand’s biggest cement manufacturer and supplier says it will move its shipping services to the South Island from Auckland to Northland.
David Thomas, Fletcher Building chief executive of building products, said Golden Bay Cement had late last year begun shipping cement directly out of Northport at Whangarei.
Around 11 per cent of all cement made in Portland will eventually be shipped to the South Island directly from Northport.
Previously, the cement had been shipped directly from Portland to Auckland where pods were filled at the Eastport facility – the large white dominant dome-shaped structure on Auckland’s waterfront.
Golden Bay was using Northport’s facilities and a newly-introduced fortnightly coastal shipping service to improve the way it moves cement powder from its plant in Portland near Whangarei, to distribution hubs around the country, Thomas said.
Paul Thorn, GBC Winstone head of cement, said that before the change to Northport last September, cement had been shipped directly from the Portland dock to Auckland.
“So we were effectively double handling the cement for the South Island.”
New Zealand urges the IMO not to miss this opportunity to adopt a workable and effective strategy to bring rising greenhouse gas emissions from shipping under control.
Government Press Release 9 Apr 2018
“The IMO strategy also needs to recognise and protect the interests of Pacific Island countries and territories,” said Minister for Climate Change James Shaw. (Image Credit: Pixabay)
New Zealand today released a statement at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Greenhouse Gas reduction strategy negotiations in London, urging IMO member states to work towards a meaningful and effective outcome in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“With the end of the negotiations imminent, New Zealand urges the IMO not to miss this opportunity to adopt a workable and effective strategy to bring rising greenhouse gas emissions from shipping under control,” Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter said today.”
“The IMO strategy needs to be ambitious with appropriate measures implemented as soon as possible and it needs to apply to all IMO member states and all ships equally, regardless of which state a ship is registered in.”
“Halting climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement requires countries to work together for fair and ambitious outcomes.”
“New Zealand was proud to sign the Tony de Brum declaration at the One Planet Summit held in Paris last December, confirming that international shipping must play a part in global climate action.”
“Shipping is vital for Pacific countries, including New Zealand, and we all have a part to play ensuring that maritime trade happens in an environmentally friendly way,” said Ms Genter.
“The IMO strategy also needs to recognise and protect the interests of Pacific Island countries and territories,” said Minister for Climate Change James Shaw.
“In particular, this means helping to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.”
“A recent report by the OECD’s International Transport Forum shows that there are practical steps that can be taken now to reduce shipping emissions and shipping could be almost carbon-free by 2035.”
“We commend the leadership of Pacific Island states in encouraging ambitious outcomes from the IMO negotiations.”
“With very little time remaining before negotiations conclude, New Zealand joins with Pacific Island states in urging all countries to redouble their efforts to ensure the IMO achieves a credible and ambitious result,” said Mr Shaw.
The Government has released its draft 10-year policy statement on land transport
A fuel tax increase of between 9 and 12 cents a litre has been proposed
Aucklanders face fuel tax hikes of about 20 cents a litre if the Government’s increases and a regional fuel tax are brought in
Funding on public transport will increase by 46 per cent
Funding allocated for state highways will be cut by 11 per cent
$4 billion will be allocated over 10 years to establish Rapid Transit, such as light rail, initially focusing on Auckland
Aucklanders face a double whammy of fuel tax hikes of about 20 cents a litre if central government fuel levy increases and a regional fuel tax are brought in, but Transport Minister Phil Twyford says he believes Aucklanders understand the need for it.
Auckland Council is expected to introduce about 10 cents a litre in regional fuel taxes to pay for its share of major transport projects and the Government’s new 10-year policy plan for transport proposes a further nationwide increase of 9-12 cents litre over three to four years.
That is to fund projects such as light rail in Auckland and other measures.
Twyford said he believed Aucklanders realised the gridlock that was happening now could not continue and it was not fair to ask those who lived in places like Levin and Whanganui to pay for all of Auckland’s transport woes.
Twyford said other cities would also benefit from rail and rapid transit options, as well as Auckland.
The Government’s new transport plan will cut the funding allocated for state highways by 11 per cent while an initial investment of $4 billion over 10 years will be ploughed into Labour’s plans for light rail in Auckland.
The overall plan
The Government has released its draft 10-year policy statement on land transport – the guide which sets how the Land Transport fund should allocate about $4 billion in funding each year.
It will see funding on public transport increase by 46 per cent to expand the routes available and subsidies for public transport.
On top of that, it sets a new class of Rapid Transit under which $4 billion will be allocated over 10 years to establish rapid transit investment, such as light rail, initially focusing on Auckland. That would ramp up over time.
About four times as much will be spent on expanding cycling and pedestrian pathways than under National.
The money for regional roads will double from about $90 million a year to $180 million a year in 2019/20 and up to $210 million for four years after that.
That comes at a cost for future large-scale motorway upgrades such as National’s policy of $10 billion for 10 further Roads of National Significance.
Instead, Twyford said there will be “targeted” improvements to state highways.
Twyford said it was an important step to making roads safer to reduce the road toll.
“We’re going to invest in what makes the most difference – regional and local roads and targeted improvements to the State Highway network.”
“The previous Government did not spend enough on road safety and instead wasted funds on a few low-value motorway projects. This has created an imbalance in what is funded with a few roads benefiting at the expense of other areas.”
One of Labour’s key election policies was to build light rail from the CBD to the airport and extend that to include routes to the central suburbs and West Auckland over the next decade and then to the North Shore.
It also wanted a bus rapid transit line from the eastern suburb of Howick.
The new statement sets safety as the top priority, followed by access, the environment and value for money.
That contrasts with National’s policy statement which had economic growth and productivity as the top priority, followed by safety and value for money.
Those with an interest in the plan such as local government, transport bodies and community groups have until May 2 to submit on it.
Petrol levy increases
Twyford said there would be petrol levy increases, but those would be at the lowest end of what National would have needed had its motorway proposals gone ahead.
He said the previous government had not disclosed that transport officials had advised it that petrol levies needed to increase to fund its plans for expressways.
“We’ve chosen to limit increases in petrol levies to the lowest end of [former Transport Minister] Simon Bridges’ range.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Labour was seeking feedback on proposed fuel tax increases of between 9 and 12 cents a litre to fund its transport proposals.
She said National leader Bridges had been told that to meet National’s ambitions, they would need a fuel levy increase of 10-20 cents a litre.
Ardern said the Government was prioritising safety and investing in roads neglected by the former government.
“What you won’t see is investment in a small number of dual carriage highways while local roads and other transport options suffer.”
Twyford said over Easter eight people had died, the worst road toll in several years.
He said early work by officials suggested $800 million worth of safety improvements that could make a significant difference.
“This shifts policy priorities away from costly white elephants.”
He said transport spending in many regions had decreased under the previous government.
“Half of vehicle journeys are on local roads, yet less than 5 per cent of the funding has been spent on improving them.”
He said the rapid transit network would help free up roads.
“This is the first time spending on rapid transport will take place under the Land Transport Fund.”
It also proposed spending money on rail under the fund for the first time, saying Labour believed all forms of transport should be funded under it.
Walking and cycling a priority
Associate Transport Minister Green MP Julie Anne Genter said making it safer for people to walk and cycle was also a priority and it would provide safe cycleways that were separate from vehicle traffic.
The areas around schools would be a focus.
She said every day in Auckland a pedestrian or cyclist was hit by a car and injured or killed.
Regional Development Minister and NZ First MP Shane Jones said he was expecting some backlash from the regions because many had been “fed a line” that motorway upgrades would resolve their problems.
He said KiwiRail was a key part of NZ First’s plans on better freight and tourism offerings so he welcomed its inclusion under the plan.
The Government is also considering allowing coastal shipping to be funded under the fund.
Roads of national significance
Twyford said about seven of National’s Roads of National Significance which were already underway would continue – but the nine further RONS projects it had put up as an election policy were not funded and would not go ahead.
While some work would take place on those roads it would not be to the same extent.
Asked about the proposal to get four lanes through to Whangarei, Jones said he would prefer to see unsafe local roads fixed “rather than this pipe dream that by 2032 we were going to get four lanes through to Whangarei”.
He said the short-term focus was tidying dangerous areas and increasing rail.
Transport groups reply to Government’s new policy
Matt Lowrie from transport advocacy group Greater Auckland said the new plans so far look “very impressive”.
“It is a big step forward from what we have had in the past and giving focus on areas that have been lacking for quite some time – particularly around safety and public transport,” he said.
“The safety one is a big one. We have just had the worst Easter road fatalities for a number of years, and the death toll on our roads is increasing.
“That is a really concerning trend as it had been trending down for a long time before that, so we do need to improve our safety.”
Lowrie said the announcements looked to improve on former government policy.
“A lot of that funding for the last decade was pulled away and put into some really large motorway projects. While they are safe, they are very expensive and sucked a lot of funding away from the necessary projects that can actually help improve safety for a lot of people.
“What I think we are going to see now is a focus on a lot more areas which have actually shown to be working well, particularly safety, where we can safe peoples’ lives and reduce the number of people dying on our roads.”
Lowrie said it was also good to see a strong acknowledgement of public transport funding.
“Some of that is coming through in the form of rapid transit funding – which is light rail and busways – it is the high quality options that are key to driving up public transport use, which is going to make it easier to get around as well.”
Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website Dog and Lemon, also described the policy as a welcome change of direction.
“The fact is we don’t need new motorways, we need to fix up the roads we already have. It is rural roads where people are dying and it is rural roads where the money needs to be spent so this is plain common sense,” he said.
“Also, the roads with the lowest road toll tend to be the ones with the best public transport systems so it is not just freeing up gridlock, it is actually likely to save lives.”
Although Matthew-Wilson did not agree with fuel taxes, calling them “misguided”.
This view was mirrored by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union who said the government’s proposal to increase fuel levies breaks Jacinda Ardern’s promise of “no new taxes”.
“Fuel tax is particularly harmful because of its regressive nature – the people it hurts most are poorer families living in fringe suburbs. This will ultimately mean less food on the table,” executive director Jordan Williams said.
“And as if fuel tax hikes didn’t sting enough, the Government is going to be using the revenue to fund cycleways and trams, at the same time they’re slashing funding for highways. In other words, drivers are paying more to receive less.”
Labour’s transport plan met with a roar of disaproval. But it was was clearly signposted and should have surprised no one.
1. There’s a difference between a tax and an excise.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has argued this in Parliament and in various media, but it’s nonsense. Excise is another word for tax.
2. Raising the fuel excise does not count as a new tax.
In the 2017 election campaign Ardern promised no new taxes, and critics say this breaks that promise. Ardern says no. She argues that because the existing fuel tax has gone up by a few percentage points a litre most years, raising it in 2018 and beyond isn’t new.
The critics are right: a tax hike is a tax hike, whether or not it’s expected. Besides, although it’s likely a National government would have continued to raise the fuel tax, as it did in most years of its last term, we don’t know if that’s true.
3. The government is giving up on the regions.
National’s leader Simon Bridges and his transport spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross have both argued this in Parliament and to various media. Ross also says the government is “taking money from the regions to give to Auckland’s trams”. Commentator Matthew Hooton says the regions are having their roads neglected.
In fact, over 10 years Labour plans to spend $530 million on regional improvements, to National’s $425 million. It will spend $2.1 billion on state highway maintenance, to National’s $1.98 billion.
It’s true National would have spent more on state highway improvements: $4.6 billion to Labour’s $3.85 billion. But that’s because of its proposed new “Roads of National Significance” (RONS), most of which did not have a sound business case.
The government also has new funding still to announce for rail, which will target the regions, and it has that $1 billion a year regional economic development fund. It’s absurd to say Labour is giving up on the regions.
4. The government hates cars and it hates people in cars too.
NewstalkZB’s Mike Hosking said this. Perhaps he wasn’t being entirely serious, but he did say it.
What are the circumstances in which that might be true? Having a law to stop you driving? Taking away all the cars? Ensuring the roads are so congested that it’s pointless even to attempt to drive? Maybe just deciding to spend no more money on roads?
For the record, the new policy statement allocates 78 per cent of transport funding over the next 10 years to roads. To suggest that’s the policy of a car-hating government is an overreaction.
Public transport gets 21 per cent, and active transport (walking and cycling) gets a massive 1 per cent.
5. Aucklanders love their cars.
Hosking again, and yes, some do, but some not so much. Aucklanders use their cars a lot, and one reason is that very often they do not have a choice. The new policy is designed to create choice, to make non-car forms of transport more viable for more people.
The best example of why this will work is the Northern Busway, which now carries more than half of all peak-time commuters over the harbour bridge. Before it was built, critics claimed no one would use it. Because, that’s right, Aucklanders love their cars.
6. Using the Road Transport Fund to pay for rail or other public transport is theft.
National MP Judith Collins has argued this on Twitter and in Parliament. Hosking says the tax is “for roads and bridges”. In fact, it’s a tax to be spent on land transport.
Collins and Hosking might be on stronger ground if motorists did not benefit from spending on rail and other public transport. But they will. Better public transport is the key to addressing congestion on the roads. Once our PT network is citywide and efficient, many more people will leave their cars at home and those who don’t will benefit from that.
7. The government is prioritising the needs of tourists getting to and from the airport.
National’s Jami-Lee Ross told Parliament this. But a great many air travellers are not tourists, they’re locals. Moreover, the proposed light rail line to the airport will be a commuter line connecting Aucklanders with one of the biggest employment precincts in the city. Tourists will benefit, but they’re not the main reason for creating that line.
8. Light rail to the airport is the number one priority.
Transport minister Phil Twyford has announced this. But should it be? Light rail to the airport was an election talking point and it makes for a good headline. But the part of Auckland in most desperate need of good public transport is the east.
Rapid transit is proposed to link the airport to Puhinui and Manukau, and then Flat Bush, Botany and Howick. It will be a busway like the Northern Busway, to start. Twyford lists that project as number two, but he needs to ensure it gets an early start.
9. A congestion tax would be better than a fuel tax in Auckland.
Most economist-minded commentators say this. Fuel taxes are not especially fair, because the people they hurt the most are those least able to afford them. This makes them “regressive”.
In fact, fuel taxes are regressive in several ways. Poor people spend a higher proportion of their incomes on petrol, so the damage to their disposable income is more severe. They tend to drive vehicles that a less fuel-efficient, to live in outer suburbs and to have less access to efficient public transport, all of which mean they need to buy more petrol. And if they do shift work, public transport may never be available.
So, congestion charging on the motorways and in the city centre would be fairer: if you’re taking part in the worst congestion, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.
But congestion charging (like other forms of demand pricing) takes several years to set up. The last government seemed to favour it, but was in no hurry to get the work done.
That tardiness has fed the crisis we’re in today. Fuel taxes are proposed because they can be implemented quickly and easily, while we wait for a better approach to be developed. But those fuel taxes have to be used to fund the services that are needed most urgently: a much stronger public transport network in the poorer parts of the city.
10. We can’t do much about road safety.
Reducing the carnage on our roads is the top policy goal of the new transport framework, but many commentators mutter than maybe it just can’t be done.
The death rate on New Zealand roads has risen sharply in just the last few years: 253 in 2013 became 379 in 2017. Why? You can blame the cars, the roads, the advertising, whatever, but what it all comes down to is that, for many reasons, not enough of us drive safely.
There are many ways we can reduce the lethal consequences of that fact, and they are not all expensive. Putting a median barrier down the middle of all state highways, for example, would cost only half what the last government was going to spend on the proposed new East West Link between Penrose and Onehunga.
11. It’s all nonsense.
Pretty much everyone who’s complained has said this.
The government’s transport policy statement was clearly signposted during the election and should have surprised no one. It prioritises safety, goes some way to redressing a long-standing imbalance between roads for private use and public transport, slots into a larger framework for regional development and makes a serious attempt to address the crisis of roads congestion – especially in Auckland.
It’s transport, there are no overnight solutions and whatever we do will be complex and often expensive. But it’s not nonsense. And yet, although the need to develop and debate long-term strategy is obvious, the debate has been sound-bited into “punitive taxes”, “robbing the regions” and “penalising motorists”. None of those things are true.
How are we going to face up to the big difficult issues if politicians and commentators prefer the lazy option of easy trash talk?
Total number of signatory countries revealed at this week’s press conference in Paris was 44 – three more signed up last week – from every part of the world.
This makes it the largest grouping heading into crucial IMO discussions on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the shipping sector, which start April 3 next week.
Chile, Peru and Mexico signed up from Latin America, further isolating Brazil’s opposition to any outright cap on shipping’s CO2 emissions.
New Zealand Embassy’s Roger Dungan: “The fact that we’re far away surrounded by ocean doesn’t excuse us from taking action. Innovation is our friend… Our new government is thinking hard about how our economy is switching to a low-carbon future.”
Dirk-Jan Nieuwenhuis at Netherlands Embassy: “Netherlands is not opposed to speed limits for shipping, as long as they don’t distort trade.”
“The future of the shipping industry hangs on the MEPC72 meeting,” said John Maggs, Seas at Risk. “I have been to IMO meetings for many years, and going down the middle might work with some pollution issues, but on greenhouse gases if you go down that middle option, that has Japan’s name on it, you will fail to tackle climate change.”
“In about 12 years time, the majority of newbuild vessels will need to have zero greenhouse gas emissions” Tristan Smith, UCL
Henric Råsbrant, Ministre Conseiller at Swedish Embassy: “Our industry has been very active on decarbonizing shipping. Our Swedish industry organization is targeting zero carbon by 2050… We are open to collaboration with all”
Source: GSCC Network
Thailand is the second largest source of new vehicles – mainly trucks – to New Zealand and demand for them is set to increase.
Close to 46,000 new vehicles were exported to New Zealand from Thailand last year, and just over 47,000 came from Japan.
A shipping terminal 130km east from Bangkok, Thailand, exports 40,000 new vehicles to New Zealand every year.
Namyong Terminal, located at Laem Chabang Port, ships predominantly pickup trucks, including Toyota, Mitsubishi and Mazda vehicles mainly to the Ports of Auckland and CentrePort Wellington.
Last year about 160,000 new vehicles came into the country, according to the Motor Industry Association, of which 41,168 were from Laem Chabang.
Namyong Terminal, a roll-on roll-off terminal which services cargo liners and automobile manufacturers, has three wharfs each 697m long and a 17m dredged seaway able to accommodate large vessels.
The majority of vehicles imported from Namyong Terminal, and Thailand, are Ford Rangers – New Zealand’s most popular car three years in a row – and Toyota Hiluxes.
Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said most light commercial vehicles and SUVs shipped from Thailand were manufactured there.
“Out of Thailand it’s almost all fully light vehicles, those less than three-and-a-half tonnes – the pickup trucks, SUVs and the odd car,” Crawford said.
“The demand for pickup trucks has picked up significantly and the amount of vehicles coming from Thailand is going to remain high. Given New Zealand’s new vehicle purchasing trends [SUVs and light commercial vehicles], Japan and Thailand will remain the country of origin for new vehicles for some time.”
New Zealand’s new vehicle market was dominated by imports from Japan and Thailand, Crawford said, followed by those from Korea and China.
“Demand for SUVs overtook passenger vehicles about 18 months ago in terms of volumes per year sold, and at the moment light commercial vehicles are at this point in time overtaking passenger vehicles so we’re seeing less and less passenger vehicles sold and more and more SUVs and light commercial vehicles.”
Thailand was the country’s biggest source market for new vehicles in 2016.
Vehicle exports to New Zealand and Australia through Namyong Terminal account for more than 35 per cent of its business.
With 90 percent of the world’s trade carried by sea, maritime security is a key lever of the global economy. “No shipping, no shopping,” is how Africa Center Adjunct Professor Ian Ralby sums it up. “If we don’t secure the maritime domain, our entire way of life will change.”
The Seychelles, a 115-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, has been at the vanguard of protecting the maritime domain and prosecuting maritime crimes, not only in its territorial waters, but along much of Africa’s east coast. Since 2010 when the first trial of 11 pirates was staged in Victoria, Seychelles has mounted 17 trials and processed a total of 142 pirates, the largest number of pirates tried by any nation in the region.
Seychelles locationFrom March 19–23, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies held the latest in its long series of maritime security programs, Enhancing Maritime Security, in the Seychelles to see firsthand the country’s approach to combatting criminality on the seas and discussing common challenges and lessons learned. More than 50 maritime security officials from 34 countries and regional organizations attended.
Participants highlighted the value of a whole-of-Africa maritime dialogue; the importance of keeping pace with the dynamic nature of maritime crime beyond piracy; the challenge of legal finish (successful prosecution, conviction, and detention) to deter these crimes; and the importance of the blue economy as an economic growth engine not just for littoral states, but landlocked ones as well who must rely on their coastal neighbors for shipping and trade.
Relatedly, participants recognized that African states have a challenge with maritime wealth blindness in addition to overall marine domain awareness but were greatly inspired by Seychellois’ efforts to adopt innovative approaches on both fronts.
After his keynote address on adjudicating and penalizing maritime crimes, Judge Anthony Fernando, who serves on the Seychelles Court of Appeals and has presided over 66 maritime cases, led participants on a tour of the main courthouse and piracy court. He was joined by Supreme Court Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey and President of the Court of Appeals Francis MacGregor, who explained how cases are processed through the court system.
Program participants also had the opportunity to visit an Iranian dhow captured by the Seychelles Coast Guard in the largest ever drug seizure in the country’s territorial waters. Officials at the Regional Center for Operations Coordination—an information-sharing union including the Seychelles, Comoros, Réunion (France), Madagascar, and Mauritius—explained how cooperative operations and technology have improved the region’s ability to track criminal vessels in the Indian Ocean.
In addition, Philippe Michaud, senior fisheries advisor to the Seychelles’ vice president, gave a presentation on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Other program sessions discussed maritime security initiatives around Africa, legal harmonization, and current best practices in prosecuting maritime crimes.
Source: African Center for Strategic Studies
The countdown is on: The new 0.5 per cent sulphur limit for ship fuels will take effect on 1 January 2020. “There is no turning back. The lower sulphur limit will have a significant positive impact on the environment and on human health, especially for people living in port cities and coastal regions,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on occasion of the meeting of the IMO’s Sub-committee on Pollution Prevention and Response in early February. LNG is one possible way to comply with this regulation: According to the SMM Maritime Industry Report (MIR), as many as 44 per cent of shipowners are considering liquefied natural gas propulsion for their newbuilds. At SMM 2018, the leading international maritime trade fair in Hamburg, industry stakeholders will be able to discuss other compliance options, as well.
LNG a clean alternative
Around the world shipowners are facing the challenge of having to make far-reaching decisions: Will low-sulphur fuel be available in sufficient quantities at reasonable prices? Are exhaust gas scrubbers a smart investment? Or would it be better to opt for LNG right away? Questions like these will be discussed at the Global Maritime Environmental Congress (gmec) which is held on 5 September as part of the SMM conference programme. Speakers such as Katharine Palmer, Global Sustainability Manager at the classification society Lloyd’s Register, will advise the industry on how to best comply with current regulations and prepare for future ones. In exhibition hall A5, which will be dedicated to the Green Propulsion theme with a special focus on LNG, decision-makers will be able to meet up with experts to get advice and study technical solutions hands-on.
As for ballast water management (BWM), the IMO is granting shipowners a transitional period before they must comply fully. Meanwhile the industry is working full speed on implementing the BWM Convention which took effect in 2017. This necessitates investments in the order of billions. In a study of the global ballast water management market between now and the year 2026, the US market research firm Stratistics MRC forecasts a growth rate of nearly 40 per cent – per year.
Understanding which types of BWM system are suitable for a specific ship type, and which of these systems meet both the IMO rules and the stricter requirements of the US Coast Guard is challenging. A gmec expert panel including Debra DiCianna of the US consulting firm Choice Ballast Systems, Tim Wilkins, Environment Director at Intertanko, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, Stamatis Fradelos, Principal Engineer, Operational Environmental Performance (OEP) Team, ABS and others will provide valuable insights. SMM visitors will be able to familiarise themselves first-hand with the technologies offered by relevant manufacturers from around the world. “Numerous manufacturers are reporting record numbers of incoming orders,” says Claus Ulrich Selbach, Business Unit Director – Maritime and Technology Fairs & Exhibitions at Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH.
This year’s fair will again feature various theme-based routes to help visitors find the exhibition highlights they are looking for. “We have added a Cruise & Ferry Route to our programme,” says Selbach. “From the engine room to the bridge through to passenger cabins, this route spreads out the entire value chain before our visitors.”
Cruise industry: Pioneering sustainability
When it comes to eco-friendly ship operation, the cruise industry is one step ahead of most other shipping segments, not only in response to increased environmental awareness among passengers but also because the many highly sensitive waters visited by these ships must be protected. It is the segment’s explicit goal to minimise the effects of every trip on the marine environment and on coastal regions. Here again, LNG ship fuel plays a key role. For example, AIDA Cruises ordered their third LNG-ready cruise vessel from Meyer Werft just a few weeks ago. The Japanese NGO Peace Boat’s Ecoship concept likewise favours LNG power. Apart from its dual-fuel engine, the vessel will feature ten retractable, rigid sails doubling as photovoltaic panels as well as wind turbines, and an additional 6,000 square metres of on-deck solar panels. Further information on what may will be the ‘greenest’ cruise ship yet will be available in Hall A5.
Under the chairmanship of Andreas Chrysostomou, acting Secretary General of the European chapter of CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, a gmec expert panel will focus on the cruise industry’s pioneering role in environment protection. The panel will include Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy and Government Affairs at MSC Cruises; Lex Nijsen, Vice President and Head of Four-Stroke Marine, MAN Diesel & Turbo; Rolf Sandvik, CEO, The Fjords and Jan-Erik Rasanen, Head of New Technologies at the Finnish engineering firm Foreship, among other experts.
This year’s gmec conference will take place on 5 September. The conference team will again be supported by its cooperation partner Seatrade. “Once again we have been able to recruit some top-level experts from all around the world for SMM,” says Mary Bond, Managing Director Publishing and Content at Seatrade. “Attendees can expect a series of fascinating discussions and an array of innovative solutions that will make shipping cleaner step by step.”