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19th April 2018

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Simon Wilson: 10 pieces of nonsense they’re talking about transport

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?

Four-year high in shipping confidence levels

Shipping confidence reached a four-year high in the three months to end-February 2018, according to our latest Shipping Confidence Survey.

The average confidence level expressed by respondents was up from 6.2 out of 10.0 in November 2017 to 6.4 this time. Confidence on the part of owners was also at a four-year high, up from 6.4 to 6.6, while managers’ confidence was up too, from 6.1 to 6.4. The rating for charterers, however, continued its recent erratic performance – down to 5.0 from 7.7 in November 2017, but up on the 4.7 recorded in August 2017. Confidence on the part of brokers, meanwhile, was down from 6.3 to 6.1.

Confidence was up in Europe from 6.3 to 6.6, equalling the highest ever rating for this category of respondent in the life of the survey, which was launched in May 2008 with an average confidence rating across all respondents in all geographical areas of 6.8. Confidence was also up in Asia, from 5.7 to 6.3, and in North America, from 5.8 to 5.9.

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months was down from 5.4 to 5.3 out of 10.0. Charterers’ confidence, however, was up from 4.0 to 6.2. Expectations on the part of owners and brokers were up from 5.8 to 5.9 and from 4.4 to 5.3 respectively, but down from 5.4 to 5.3 for managers. Asian respondents (down from 5.9 to 5.0) were less confident in this regard, but in North America the rating was up from 4.9 to 5.4. In Europe, expectations held steady at 5.2.

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months was up on the previous survey from 5.3 to 5.5 out of a maximum possible score of 10.0, its highest level since May 2014. Of note was the increased confidence of charterers (up from 6.2 to 6.8) and of managers (up from 5.3 to 5.6). Geographically, increased expectations of major investment were highest in Asia (up from 5.0 to 5.8).

The number of respondents who expected finance costs to increase over the coming year was up from 59% last time to 64%, the highest figure since May 2008 (66%). One respondent said, “Starting next year, the industry looks set to benefit from capacity reductions at shipyards, but the cost of funding will rise for most market participants.”

Demand trends, meanwhile, were cited by 24% of respondents as the factor expected to influence performance most significantly over the coming 12 months, followed by competition (19%) and finance costs (15%). According to one respondent, “The supply and demand equation will balance out in line with industry growth rate over the coming years.”

The number of respondents expecting higher rates over the next 12 months in the tanker market was down by five percentage points on the previous survey to 39%, whilst those expecting lower rates were unchanged at 13%. Meanwhile, there was a four percentage-point increase, to 54%, in the numbers anticipating higher rates in the dry bulk sector, accompanied by a four percentage-point fall to 8% in the numbers anticipating lower rates. In the container ship sector, there was a two percentage-point increase to 38% in the numbers expecting higher rates, and a three percentage-point fall, to 12%, in those anticipating lower rates.

One respondent said, “The shipping market is still characterised by high volatility and excess tonnage in most sectors, particularly bulk carriers and tankers, but there is cause for slight optimism.”

When asked to predict where per-barrel crude oil prices would be in 12 months’ time, 36% of respondents opted for the $60-$69 range, as opposed to 29% when the same question was posed in February 2017. The 19% of respondents who opted for the $50-$59 range was just half the 38% who did so last year, while 28% of respondents favoured the $70-$79 price range, as opposed to just 10% 12 months ago.

The volatile nature of the shipping industry dictates that optimism should be tempered with caution. But a four-year high in confidence must be welcomed as extremely good news.

Shipping is more confident of making a major new investment over the next 12 months than at any time in almost four years, even though finance will probably be costlier to access in the year ahead. Net freight rate sentiment is positive in all main tonnage categories and, whilst slightly down in tankers, it increased both in the dry bulk and container ship trades.

Familiar problems persist. Excess tonnage in many trades and insufficient demolition levels continue to perpetuate uncertainty, and freight rates are not yet at the levels required to turn promise into reality. In the wider world, the impact on shipping of continuing political unrest in the Middle East, the US President’s proposal to impose tariffs on US steel imports, and the response of other countries to this, remains to be seen. All of this serves to underline how vulnerable shipping is to geopolitical influences. But the industry must take heart from its proven durability. Confidence breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success.
Source: Moore Stephens

44 countries sign up to decarbonize shipping

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

The Thai transport terminal shipping more than 40,000 new vehicles to New Zealand each year

Aimee Shaw

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.

Namyong Terminal operation manager Weerapong Sripa. Photo / Aimee ShawNamyong Terminal operation manager Weerapong Sripa. Photo / Aimee Shaw

Namyong Terminal operation manager Weerapong Sripa said New Zealand was an important market for the firm, which is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

“New Zealand and Australia are really important, they are our number one exports [countries] from Thailand. We are really serious about these markets,” Sripa said.

He said the company was cautious to ensure all vehicles were fumigated and uncontaminated before leaving the terminal.

New Zealand new vehicle registrations hit an all-time high in the first month of the year, but were slightly down in February, tallying a total of 11,531.

Registrations for passenger and SUV vehicles were down 8 per cent in February on the same period earlier. However, new registrations for commercial vehicles increased 10 per cent on the same period.

The Toyota Corolla is the only passenger car in the top five vehicles sold in New Zealand, the rest are SUVs or utes.

New $4.5m container depot in Napier a ‘win-win’, says owner Mana Ahuriri Trust

 Barry Wilson, Joinella Maihi-Carroll and Piriniha Prentice (Mana Ahuriri Trust), Paul Harris, Ken Harris, Jesse Reynolds, Juliet Harris, Arthur Shaw (ContainerCo). Photo / Supplied
Barry Wilson, Joinella Maihi-Carroll and Piriniha Prentice (Mana Ahuriri Trust), Paul Harris, Ken Harris, Jesse Reynolds, Juliet Harris, Arthur Shaw (ContainerCo). Photo / Supplied

Better work prospects for Maori could be just one of the welcome spin-offs from the arrival of a new $4.5 million container depot in Napier.

A new shipping container depot officially opened this week, with property owner Mana Ahuriri Trust regarding it as a long-term win-win with the prospects of job creation for its people and certainty of sustainable growth for new tenants ContainerCo Limited.

Mana Ahuriri Trust chairman Piriniha Prentice said the Mersey St land formed part of its Waitangi Treaty Settlement with the Crown.

“We see this as a good way of getting our investment portfolio underway. We’re thrilled to provide a new site for ContainerCo as it not only gives us long-term cash flow but provides our people with career opportunities.

“For us, business relationships are ‘about people’ not transactions; creating career opportunities for our people as well as developing long-term relationships with successful businesses such as ContainerCo,” Mr Prentice said.

ContainerCo is one of New Zealand’s leading independent container storage and servicing businesses, operating at six strategic sites, which serve the four largest ports in New Zealand – Ports of Auckland, Port of Tauranga, Lyttelton Port of Christchurch and Napier Port.

ContainerCo Hawke’s Bay manager Garry Fly said the five-hectare site was a consolidation of its two container park sites in Battery Rd (which closed in 2016) and Austin St, which will be transitioned to closure or re-purposed next year.

Mr Fly said the $4.5m investment provided a strong signal of export and import growth in Hawke’s Bay as well as the success of Port Napier in attracting cargo to and from the wider region.

The facility would store up to 4000-5000 empty containers (TEUs) which can be cleaned, repaired, tested and stored on behalf of some of the world’s leading shipping companies.

It will also be the regional home for ContainerCo’s container hire and sales, and specialised refrigeration businesses.

“The new site futureproofs our presence in Hawke’s Bay. We have seen significant growth in the requirement for various container and other shipper related services in recent years and expect this to continue.”

Mr Fly said the business has a fantastic relationship with Mana Ahuriri that extends well beyond being the norm of a tenant and landlord contract.

“This is a unique partnership and we will be working with Mana Ahuriri to create career opportunities starting from apprenticeships through to management.”

The Napier facility employed 15 staff.

Additional development of the facility will provide a new range of services designed to support containerised horticultural exports in the region.

Last year, Napier Port handled a record 48,310 TEU through on-port packing facility Port Pack.

Proposed Levin bypass routes balance safety, travel time and impact – transport agency

The southern options for the Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway have their own pros and cons, according to the road ...

NZTA
The southern options for the Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway have their own pros and cons, according to the road project manager.

All options for an expressway to the east of Levin have their problems, but the project manager says they are better than going to the west of the town.

But if the Ōtaki to north of Levin highway goes ahead – it is currently in limbo, with the Labour-led Government yet to release its policy statement on roading – construction will not start until 2022 at the earliest.

The road’s project manager, Lonnie Dalzell, gave Horizons Regional Council’s regional transport committee an update on the road on Wednesday.

The expressway would start just north of Ōtaki, take traffic around Levin and end somewhere south of the Manawatū River.

A longlist of options for the NZ Transport Agency gave routes both to the east and west of Levin, but has since been whittled down to options solely to the east.

Many have criticised going east, as 75 per cent of people who took part in early engagement about the routes wanted it to go to the west.

Dalzell said going to the east would improve traffic flow better.

Models showed northbound traffic would split evenly into three if the road went to the west, going on the new road, through Levin, and on State Highway 57 to the west.

Although traffic on a western route would get massive time savings, there would be no improvements, and possibly longer travel times, for the other two-thirds, Dalzell said.

Going west would also fail to deal with the area’s horrific road toll. There had been 57 deaths on roads in the area between 2012 and 2017, with three deaths and five serious injuries in the past six months, Dalzell said.

The crashes were spread over a wide area, meaning changing one or two sections of road would not solve the risk. However, taking traffic to the east would give the best time savings and make things safer for almost everyone, Dalzell said.

There are three options for the southern section of the expressway: One just to the east of the current SH1, another further east, and a final option  that starts further east, but then comes in and runs along the same route as the first option.

Dalzell said they all had problems.

The one furthest to the east  affected fewer properties, but would require more bridges, hiking the price.

The one closer to the current SH1 was “technically a better-performing option”, with better travel time and a much lower cost than the far east option, Dalzell said.

“The one thing against it was it impacted twice as many dwellings.”

The third option split the difference between the two, he said.

The options for the northern part of the route were less controversial, as no-one was technically better than the other, Dalzell said.

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon had one thing on his mind when Dalzell asked for questions.

“When will the first machine arrive?”

Dalzell said the New Zealand Transport Agency board would pick a preferred option in mid-2018, after which it would take 18 months to create a detailed business case.

The consents process would then take another 18 months, but could be delayed if there were appeals taken to the Environment Court.

“Everything going to plan… it’s at least four years away from today,” Dalzell said.

Roads debate rages on at full speed

NZTA is working on improving state highway 27 between Matamata and Waharoa.

Lawrence Gullery
NZTA is working on improving state highway 27 between Matamata and Waharoa.

Details of future Waikato roading upgrades and extensions are under wraps until the new Government finishes penning yet another transport policy.

Matamata-Piako was waiting to hear if its pot-holed state highways connecting the district’s three towns would be repaired while National is putting the pressure on for Labour to follow through on a major four-lane project between Piarere to the foot of the Kaimai.

Confirmation depends on what’s inside the new Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, due to be released for consultation later this month.

State Highway 27, Ngarua has a pot hole problem that has been the topic of conversation for people who travel the road daily.

Katrina Tanirau
State Highway 27, Ngarua has a pot hole problem that has been the topic of conversation for people who travel the road daily.

Matamata-Piako District Council had lobbied New Zealand Transport Agency to fix up problem areas along state highways 27 and 29. The poor condition of the roads had been a talking point at council meetings and among those using the busy roads daily.

 

Matamata-Piako district Mayor Jan Barnes said she and the council’s CEO Don McLeod were in regular meetings with NZTA and she was ever hopeful that the Piarere roundabout and Waikato Expressway extension from Piarere to the foot of the Kaimai Ranges would go ahead.

“The continuing economic development of this region depends on having that extension finished,” she said.

While not defending the poor condition of state highways in the district and the time it was taking for upgrades to be done, Barnes said NZTA had given assurances that safety would be paramount and work would be completed promptly after a new contractor was brought in to finish the SH27 safety upgrade.

“We met again just last week and will continue to meet until we get some reassurances that the community voice is being heard.”

New Zealand Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships, Parekawhia McLean said the agency was committed to working closely with communities, key stakeholders and the Government to deliver solutions that met transport needs.

The Government Policy Statement on Land Transport guides the transport investment decisions made by the transport agency.

The Minister of Transport Phil Twyford is developing the statement and has indicated it will provide a different emphasis for the transport system.

It included prioritising safety, improving access to liveable cities and thriving regions through more investment in public transport, walking and cycling, better environmental outcomes and delivering the best value for money.

“We can’t pre-empt what will be in the new statement or give further detail about projects until it is released,” McLean said.

A hint that plans on the Waikato Expressway extension from Cambridge to Tirau and from Cambridge to the Kaimai Range may be canned, had prompted National MPs David Bennett and Louise Upston to start a series of petitions.

“This is one of a series of petitions National is launching aimed at saving regional highway projects that are at risk of being canned by the new Government,” Upston said.

Twyford said the Labour-led Government understands the importance of making sure roads were safe.

“That’s why we will be putting more focus on safety than the previous government,” he said.

“This will be reflected in the draft policy statement.”

Twyford said current roading projects would continue as planned.

The Government has not asked for any current projects to be reviewed except Auckland’s East West Link.

Officials were working to identify lower-cost, higher-value options there, he said.

“New Zealand Transport Agency makes operational and funding decisions at arm’s length on the priority and timing of projects,” Twyford said.

“However, the final Government Policy Statement is likely to include new priorities for transport investment throughout New Zealand, and this will influence the timing and funding required for work programmes to proceed.”

Shipping Fears Trade War Escalation as China Hits Back at Trump’s Tariffs

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The trade war between China and the United States is brewing with China announcing plans to impose duties on U.S. goods worth USD 3 billion.

The move is being taken as a response to the Donald Trump’s new duties on Chinese goods worth USD 60 billion.

Trump said the U.S. was resorting to the Section 301 action, after an investigation launched in August 2017 into China’s laws and policies found that China employs “unreasonable or discriminatory practices that burden or restrict U.S. commerce, and violate intellectual property rights.”

Trump added that talks with China are ongoing together with the EU and NAFTA deal.

Impact on the shipping industry

The latest restrictions come as new tariffs on steel and aluminum are set to enter into force in the United States.

On March 1, the U.S. President announced a plan to boost domestic manufacturing by imposing tariffs of 25 pct on imported steel and 10 pct on imported aluminum.

Even though Europe managed to dodge the tariffs, European shipping community, and the maritime industry, in general, is worried what the latest trade restrictions would mean for shipping.

“There is an urgent need for new diplomatic efforts to prevent an escalation,” says Danish Shipping, commenting on the latest trade tensions between the two countries.

The United States and China are the two largest markets for the Danish shipping sector with annual total exports amounting to DKK 38.5 billion. The two countries constitute approximately 23 pct. of the Danish shipping companies’ total export activity.

The organization, which represents the interests of the shipping industry in the country, said the new duties and countermeasures were concerning for the sector.

“A trade war between the Danish shipping companies’ two largest markets is deeply worrying. The shipping industry is among Denmark’s most globalized industries and therefore entirely dependent on continued open world trade,” Jacob K. Clasen, Executive Director at Danish Shipping, said.

Clasen called on the world’s major trading blocks to strengthen dialogue and diplomacy in order to prevent any further escalation of the conflict.

“Trade between China and the USA accounts for roughly 4 percent of global trade, so a dispute between the two countries will harm trade patterns globally. In addition, increased tariffs will send a very wrong signal to the world that more market restrictions may be a plausible way forward. This is the wrong way to go and will ultimately harm consumers all over the world,” he added.

“All parties – the EU, the US and China – must look for solutions through dialogue and do everything possible to avoid a harmful trade war. It is crucial that all parties make every effort to avoid an escalation of the conflict.”

BIMCO’s Chief Analyst Peter Sand said that should the tensions escalate on a larger scale there would lasting consequences for everyone involved in global industries like shipping.

“All trade-restrictive measures are in principle bad for shipping,” Sand said.

“Overall we are seeing more trade-restrictive measures introduced. Some more high profile than others. This is a worrying trend that limits demand for shipping globally.”

Impact on the U.S.

President of the U.S. retail federation Matthew Shay said the administration’s plans to impose broad tariffs on consumer products from China would punish ordinary Americans for China’s violations.

“Middle and working-class Americans are just starting to see the benefits of tax reform in the form of bigger paychecks and higher wages. Engaging in a trade war will erase those gains and result in higher prices for a wide range of consumer products and basic household goods. And the tariffs will create uncertainty for retailers and other businesses who are prepared to reinvest savings from the tax cut in capital investments, wage increases, workforce training and new jobs in communities across the country. “

The U.S. ports, including Port Houston, Port of New Orleans and the Northwest Seaport Alliance, also expressed concern about the impact of the steel and aluminum tariffs, stressing that they would negatively affect the amount of cargo being handled by the ports.

World Maritime News Staff

Enhancing Maritime Security

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

SMM 2018: Green Shipping Makes Headway

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.”
Source: SMM

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