Wednesday Suez Canal traffic reaches 2nd highest recorded

in Port News 03/01/2019

Traffic passing through the Suez Canal on Wednesday reached the second highest daily traffic recorded in the history of the canal, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish announced, adding that 72 vessels with a total tonnage of 5.1 million tons crossed the canal in both directions on Wednesday.

Thirty-three ships passed through the canal coming from the north with a total load of 2 million tons, while 39 ships coming from the south crossed with a total load of 3.1 million tons, Mamish added.

Twelve giant vessels with cargo that exceeded 150,000 tons per ship crossed the canal on Wednesday, which was the first precedent of its kind, according to the chairman.

Seven large ships carrying cargo that ranged between 100,000 to 150,000 tons per ship also crossed the canal on Wednesday.

The largest ship that crossed the canal on Wednesday coming from the north was the Panamanian container ship MSC SVEVA, which carried a cargo of 196,000 tons, Mamish said, adding that it came from Morocco and was heading to Oman.

On the other hand, the Danish container ship MILAN MAERSK topped the convoys from the south with a load of 221,000 tons. It came from Malaysia and was heading to the Netherlands.

Suez Canal rates recorded at the beginning of the new year are promising and will positively reflect on the canal’s revenues, Mamish said, stressing the economic feasibility of the New Suez Canal project and its importance to the global trade movement.

The Suez Canal Authority has been able, thanks to the continuous development of the navigational course and the flexible marketing policies, to deal with all the variables of the maritime transport industry, through increasing the capacity of the Suez Canal to receive current and future generations of global fleets and benefiting from the recovery of global trade and growth indicators of the world’s major economies, Mamish said.

Fifty years at sea come to an end for New Plymouth marine pilot

Captain Mike Birch, on the bridge of the Finnanger last Friday, has retired after 16 years as a marine pilot and a further 34 years at sea.
Captain Mike Birch, on the bridge of the Finnanger last Friday, has retired after 16 years as a marine pilot and a further 34 years at sea.

After five decades at sea, it’s fair winds and following seas for Captain Mike Birch.

“I’m coming up 65 and I’ve had a good career,” the newly retired British-born sailor said. “It’s been in the family. My grandfather had a shipping company in Liverpool.”

Piloting the cruise ship Masdaam into Port Taranaki was going to be his last hurrah, but he came back to cover another pilot and his final job was piloting the oil and chemical tanker Finnanger last Friday.

“I had mixed feelings really – the ship is the same but just feeling that I won’t be doing this again and enjoying every moment of it.”

Birch went to merchant navy training school, the ‘HMS Conway’, when he was 14 and first shipped out at age 18 to join British and Commonwealth, an amalgamation of several companies. 

He went on to crew on passenger and cargo ships and the tanker Hector Heron, visiting ports in South Africa, east Africa and India. 

“You learn the base skills of ship handling while bouncing off the top of storm waves. In those days we didn’t have modern-day electronics so good seamanship and safety were reliant on the expertise of the shipmaster knowing how to handle a ship.”

He got his second mate’s ticket and went on to join Maersk, getting his Master’s ticket and his first command after five years. He went on to become a pilot at Portsmouth and then harbour master at Portland before moving to New Zealand.

“There’s been huge changes in shipping, becoming more modernised. Electronics have come in; there’s less maritime experience expected nowadays and more computer-type learning.

“You went to sea, you went to a port and you might be there for two weeks, but now it’s all rush, rush, rush.

“Pilotage is specific to a port – so each time I changed ports I had to retrain.”

He said Port Taranaki has storm conditions with large swells for much of the year.  

It takes about three hours to bring a ship into port, including preparing the paperwork, doing all the manoeuvring and then securing the ship on the dock, and then about an hour and a half to two hours to take it out again.

“It’s a short but intense pilotage ranging from open sea to limited space in a matter of minutes. Climbing up the rope ladder from the pilot launch to board the ship, and then taking control to manoeuvre, is not for the faint-hearted.”

Birch was also the pilot who reported SG Pegasus shipmaster Saurabh Kumar Singh for being drunk earlier this month.

“I’ve never experienced that before but from my point of view it was a case of passing on my concerns to the authorities.

“I left the ship and the Maritime NZ and the police dealt with the issue.”

He said it would be a change, no longer constantly checking the weather conditions, but he is looking forward to taking his motorhome around the country with wife Karen. 

“It’s been a good career.”


How Cargo Ships Can Go Green

Shipping is the lifeblood of global commerce — more than 80 percent of world trade goes by water. But the industry is also an environmental menace, producing as much carbon dioxide annually as Germany.

The International Maritime Organization has helpfully called for ships to produce about 85 percent less sulfur by the end of next year, and to halve their total greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.

The shipping industry is properly responding with various obvious strategies: emissions-scrubber systems, slower operating speeds, and the use of cleaner-burning fuels, including liquefied natural gas. These are essential steps — yet not adequate. To meet the 2050 target, shippers will need to try alternative sources of energy.

To begin they’ll need to invest in developing complimentary sail and solar power. Energy storage is needed, too, to take advantage of these intermittent power sources. Other technologies needing further experimentation include zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels, which can be made of everything from leftover cooking oil to algae.

Not all improvements need to be highly technological or hugely expensive. One practical idea is to remove the barnacles that attach themselves to ships’ hulls. The drag this creates can increase a vessel’s fuel consumption by as much as 20 to 40 percent. Several new technologies can do the job: chemicals that repel the mollusks; polymers and Teflon-like coatings that make it harder for them to attach themselves; and underwater drones that scrub them away without needing to put the ship in drydock.

Another easy improvement known as cold ironing stems from the days of coal-powered fleets: When ships are being unloaded at a port, they use electricity supplied from the shore rather than their own power systems. California already has cold-ironing requirements at its commercial ports. Other states and nations should follow its example.

And then there is, literally, the nuclear option. The idea of fitting commercial craft with nuclear reactors isn’t actually new: in the late 1950s, the U.S. government funded the building of the Savannah, which served as both a cargo carrier and passenger liner for a decade; Russia’s nuclear-powered container ship Sevmorput, launched in the 1980s, is still in service.

It’s still possible that the advantages of nuclear — no emissions and tremendous speed — can eventually overcome the additional costs involved with developing the technology and protecting against catastrophic accidents or terrorist theft.

None of these strategies can work alone, and some may turn out not to work at all. But the shipping companies, shipbuilders and nations whose economies depend on them are going to need to get more inventive — 2050 is coming faster than they think.
Source: Bloomberg

Maersk withdraws Port Nelson direct service

It’s still smooth sailing for Nelson container customers despite a major shipping line discontinuing its direct service to its port, Port Nelson says.

Maersk’s Northern Star service between Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia and Auckland previously called directly to Nelson for freight services, one of four shipping lines calling in to the city.

However, Maersk announced an end to the stopover in late July.

Container traffic shipped through Nelson now went via a feeder service to Tauranga with the Pacifica line to meet onward connections to Asia, the Americas, Pacific Islands and Australia.

The move is understood to be in line with a global trend within the shipping industry to use larger vessels in most trades to reduce costs, following heavy financial losses in recent times.

Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of NZ executive director Rosemarie Dawson said New Zealand was over serviced in terms of the number of ports it has relative to market size.

Due to the high costs involved in port visits, carriers were looking to reduce the number of calls they made.

With the growing trend towards bigger boats carrying more cargo, the relatively shallow depth at Port Nelson poses a problem for shipping lines.
With the growing trend towards bigger boats carrying more cargo, the relatively shallow depth at Port Nelson poses a problem for shipping lines.

Nelson was one of the smallest ports with the least volume and was heavily reliant on export cargoes, unlike other ports which had a more balanced trade in terms of imports, she said.

Nelson also has a relatively shallow draft – the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull which determined the minimum depth of water a ship or boat can safely navigate – which posed operational issues for carriers wanting to bring in bigger vessels.

Several businesses are understood to have been adversely affected by the loss of Maersk calling directly, with one business owner saying the issue was “a huge problem” for the city.

Relying on containers coming from Australia and South America – the owner said the loss of Maersk’s direct line had resulted in infrequent arrivals causing disruption of the supply chain if the product turned up in the wrong order or delayed.

“The big shipping companies seem to be by-passing Nelson and they haven’t got their act together with coastal shipping to replace that in time – that’s creating mayhem with our containers, so instead of them coming in 10 a week – we don’t get any, then we get 50.

“It’s nothing, then a whole stack of containers, then you’ve got the demurrage costs associated with that and our people having nothing to do, followed by going flat out and having to put in a whole lot of overtime.”

Maersk Line Oceania trade and marketing director Hennie Van Schoor said with the trend of continuously declining ocean freight rates, the company was constantly reviewing the efficiency of its network for serving the New Zealand market.

 A key consideration was the long distances to main centres and multiple local port calls in NZ when compared with internationally competing markets such as Australia, South Africa and Brazil.

The removal of the Northern Star service and a vessel upgrade on the Southern Star service had met the necessary capacity required for its customers, he said.

“In the case of the Northern Star and Nelson, the specific draft of this port has previously prevented us from upgrading our vessel size.”

Port Nelson will spend about $29 million to boost its infrastructure, including the redevelopment of a wharf and a new harbour tug.
Port Nelson will spend about $29 million to boost its infrastructure, including the redevelopment of a wharf and a new harbour tug.

Port Nelson chief executive Martin Byrne said prior to the Northern Star pullout, Nelson’s container needs were serviced by Maersk, ANL, MSC and Pacifica, with CMA CGM stopping in during the fruit season between March and September to collect mainly kiwifruit and wine cargo.

He anticipated the port would be back to four weekly container services by March. In the meantime, exporters still had access to a number of trans-shipment and direct options, despite Maersk’s departure.

Byrne said the additional announcement of a $29 million investment in the Main Wharf North and a new tug to accommodate larger container vessels demonstrated the large contribution container freight made to port operations.

“We wouldn’t be spending that money if it wasn’t needed,” Byrne said.

The Port’s 2018 annual report stated total cargo volume of 3.6 million tonnes was well up on the 3.1m reported in 2017, while container volumes grew a further 10 per cent in the last 12 months, from 108,000 to 121,483 total equivalent units.

Total vessel visits had also increased from 805 to 887 in the last 12 months.

“I suppose it’s a balance for the shipping lines and as the vessels get bigger,” Byrne said. “And we’ve said it for a long time there’s that mix between direct services and trans-shipment feeder services through the likes of Tauranga.

“The actual number of shipping options hasn’t reduced, even though the number of direct calls has.”


CargoChain – NZ’s blockchain solution for global logistics

18 December 2018 – Jade Logistics Group, New Zealand’s leading port software company today announced a new business called CargoChain that it believes will revolutionise the way that cargo information is shared across the global supply chain.

The CargoChain platform was borne out of witnessing first-hand an inability to share supply chain information amongst multiple interested parties. David Lindsay, CargoChain CEO said “we observed this first with ports and then looked across the entire supply chain, and the problems were the same. Siloed, important information that supply-chain actors didn’t have, but needed, to make better decisions”.

Lindsay adds that following five years of R&D, CargoChain has created a cargo information sharing and innovation platform that supports the distribution of previously unavailable cargo information, as well as the development of third-party applications. “We believe that the collaborative and independent nature of the CargoChain platform is a first for the global industry.”

“The proposition is made even more powerful as today’s consumers are demanding trust while those involved in the supply chain require full transparency and visibility. We saw the need for a digital platform that provides this by sharing trusted information amongst all supply chain actors.

“CargoChain is one of the few supply chain solutions in the world that has blockchain as an integral working part of its platform to provide this trust.”

“Blockchain is currently right at the top of the technology hype cycle and most companies understand its importance but are really struggling to understand how they might use it in their business. CargoChain takes this pain away, as it already delivers a working blockchain solution for our customers”.

While blockchain is an important part of CargoChain, Lindsay notes that the platform itself provides significantly more to supply chain actors.

CargoChain’s ultimate vision is to empower the supply chain by providing its platform to application developer communities globally.

“We want to allow developers to solve the world’s supply chain problems for all logistics players, large or small.”

Initial CargoChain applications are already in development for a number of Australian and New Zealand customers, along with pilots for other significant supply chain projects. In New Zealand there is also significant interest from major food exporters, driven by the need to prove complete provenance with an emphasis on food trust and safety.

Shipping is changing

The transport sector is changing rapidly, driven by a need to lower emissions. We can already see the change on the roads. Now shipping is set for a huge transformation. The fleet in the 2040s and 2050s will certainly be very different to today’s.

Last week I joined a conference on the future of transport in Brussels. I will share with you a some of the points I made.

In our forecast on the future of energy we see extensive electrification. Electricity will more than double its share of the global energy mix from 19% today to 45% by mid-century. Electrification is happening in all regions and all sectors but is most strongly felt in the road transport sector, and this is especially the case in Europe which will lead the world in the uptake of light electric vehicles.

Our forecast predicts cost parity between light electric vehicles and their combustion engine counterparts in the next five years. After this, we expect electric vehicles within a few years to completely take over car sales.

What is less clear to many is what is due to happen with maritime transport. As the world’s leading classification society, we have of course looked very carefully at what is likely to happen in shipping.

We expect seaborne transport to increase by 37% between now and 2050. In the short term, energy efficient designs and energy efficient operational improvements are going to be critical. These will be driven principally via the IMO guidelines. After 2030 there is a need for large scale uptake of carbon neutral fuels – such as hydrogen, biofuels or ammonia.

Electrification is also having an impact on shipping, but primarily in coastal areas and inland waterways where electric batteries can propel the ships. For deep sea shipping, the biggest impact will come from the change in the fuel mix.

Earlier this year, the IMO reached a landmark agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 – compared to 2008. The reduction target is very ambitious – yet possible I believe.

Now Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping group, has thrown down the gauntlet with their announcement on cutting net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. This is a major call to action and a challenge to their whole supply chain.

So – what could fuel composition look like, if we want to reach the IMO targets? Our assessment shows that nearly 40% of ships will be powered by carbon-neutral fuels, surpassing liquid fossil fuels such as marine gas oil (MGO) and heavy fuel oil (HFO), which together will supply one third of the energy. Liquid natural gas (LNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) will grow and account for nearly a quarter of the energy use. Electricity will provide about 5% of total energy.

Also, it is likely that there will be a great deal of focus on reducing stationary time for ships. Time spent in port / at anchor ranges today between 35–55% depending on ship type. The existing fleet therefore has large potential for reducing stationary time. This could allow the fleet to lower overall fuel consumption by reducing sailing speed. To do this we will need:

– Improved coordination and synchronization between ship and port, and of course

– More automated and effective cargo handling

I believe the focus on automation for short-sea shipping is likely to intensify. A month ago, we issued the world’s first Class guideline on autonomous and remotely operated ships. We are closely involved in projects testing autonomous systems.

The need to lower emissions will drive technology and innovation in shipping, and the fleet of the future will certainly be very different to that of today.
Source: Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO at DNV GL

Maritime New Zealand Chair appointed

Hon Phil Twyford
Minister of Transport


17 December 2018

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of Jo Brosnahan as Chair of the Maritime New Zealand Board.

Jo Brosnahan has been appointed for a three year term to 30 June 2021.

Phil Twyford says Jo Brosnahan is a very experienced board member with strong governance and leadership skills.

“She brings a good understanding of the maritime sector and has broad experience working with ports and harbours as the former CEO of Auckland Regional Council and Northland Regional Councils.

Maritime NZ’s core roles are to regulate the maritime sector, promote safety and maintain safety infrastructure, and respond to environmental incidents and emergencies at sea.

“Our Government is rebalancing the transport system toward better safety, access and value for money. We are creating a more modern, sustainable transport network.

“Maritime NZ has an important role to play in keeping New Zealanders safe on the water and protecting our environment. Jo Brosnahan will be great leader for the maritime community and will help support them to ensure our seas are safe, secure and clean.

“I’d like to acknowledge the work of the previous chair Blair O’Keeffe and thank him for his commitment during his two years on the Board,” Phil Twyford said.


“Mediocre” Performance Stifles Global Ports

Global major terminal operators maintained a throughput of 41.69m teus in Q3 2018, but the “growth rate of the global terminal operators fell further to 5.8%, the lowest in the past two years,” a new report shows.

The Shanghai International Shipping Institute’s ‘Global Port Development Report of Q3 2018’ found global terminal operators had a “mediocre” performance in Q3 and Chinese and US ports in particular have suffered as a result of the US-China trade war.

The report confirms that “the escalating Sino-US trade war and shipping alliances’ trim or shutdown of liners and control on shipping space hindered the growth of the container shipping market.”

Container throughout down

Cargo throughput in the world’s major ports in Q3 2018 is up 7.4% year-on-year, but the growth rate of container throughput has declined, showed the report.

Cargo throughput rose to over 3.01bn tonnes in Q3 2018, but container throughout fared less well with 92.57m teus of containers handled, merely increasing 2.7% year-on-year.

Performance in production suffered as the escalating China-US trade friction ripped over to products suitable for container shipping, such as small-sized equipment and white goods.

Among the US ports, the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of Long Beach were most affected. The import and export volumes of major products hit by the tariff all fell to various extents, and the cargo throughput of these two ports dropped 1.9% and 3.4% year-on-year, respectively.

Of the Chinese ports, Shenzhen Port has the highest proportion of container throughput for the China-US shipping routes, which accounts for 27% of its overall container throughput. The trade war will dampen its business related to the international shipping routes by 4.5%, stated the report.

As trade friction continued to escalate, the throughput of Shenzhen Port fell 2.6% year-on-year to 6.9 million teus; with slow growth in exports and a withering container volume transferring to China and exporting to the US, the port saw its container throughput plunge 10.4% year-on-year to 4.82m teus.

Other issues which impacted growth and performance included increasingly strict environmental protection policies and a downward trend in global dry bulk cargo throughput.
Source: Port Strategy

MAN Cryo Takes Further Step towards Cleaner Shipping in World-First

MAN Cryo, the wholly owned subsidiary of MAN Energy Solutions, has – in close cooperation with Fjord1 and Multi Maritime in Norway – developed a marine fuel-gas system for liquefied hydrogen.

Multi Maritime’s hydrogen vessel design for Fjord1, including the fully integrated ‘MAN Cryo – Hydrogen Fuel Gas System’, has been granted preliminary approval in principle, “AIP”, by the DNV-GL Classification society. The award is significant in that the system is the first marine-system design globally to secure such an approval.

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Winning this approval is a significant development for a number of reasons. As a solution for vessels employed on relatively short maritime routes, such as ferries, this technology is a world-first and showcases our company’s ability to deliver genuinely innovative solutions. Furthermore, Hydrogen is a clean fuel whose profile fits perfectly with the general desire within the industry to move towards cleaner technology. The possibilities for this technology are varied and exciting.”

MAN Cryo developed the Liquid Hydrogen Marine Fuel Gas System design in-house at its headquarters in Gothenburg in close cooperation with the shipowner, Fjord1, and ship designer, Multi Maritime, in Norway.

Louise Andersson, Head of MAN Cryo, said: “To secure this approval in principle shows the determination that MAN Energy Solutions has to advance cleaner shipping solutions.”

She continued: “Our strategy is to actively work with our customers to design and promote cleaner ways of powering vessels, and the competence and energy within MAN Cryo conveys this strategy excellently.”

Fuel-gas system for liquefied hydrogen

The system has a scalable design that allows easy adaptation for different shipping types, sizes and conditions. The design is suited for both above- and below-deck applications, offering ship designers the flexibility to optimise their designs in relation to efficiency, and to cargo or passenger space.

MAN Cryo has long experience with cryogenic gases and solutions for storage and distribution. The company has also made numerous hydrogen installations over the years on land that, in combination with its extensive experience from marine fuel-gas systems for LNG, have been invaluable when designing the new system.

Liquefied hydrogen has a temperature of -253° Celsius and is one of the absolutely coldest cryogenic gases there is, which places system components and materials under extreme stresses. Another design challenge was hydrogen’s explosive nature, with the MAN Cryo engineering team accordingly placing top priority on safety.

Once liquefied, hydrogen is reduced to 1/800th of its volume, compared to that of its gas phase, facilitating a more-efficient distribution. As a fuel, hydrogen does not release any CO2 and can play an important role in the transition to a clean, low-carbon, energy system. Liquefied hydrogen can be used to charge batteries for electrical propulsion via fuel-cell technology. MAN Cryo states that it sees a bright future for hydrogen applications globally as part of its target of achieving zero fossil emissions within the marine sector by 2050. In particular, Norway is currently developing several promising hydrogen applications.

The Maritime Energy Transition

Shipping in particular is facing great challenges with regard to more environmentally-friendly fuel sources, which is why MAN Energy Solutions has argued in favour of what it terms a ‘Maritime Energy Transition’ for some time as the most promising way to achieve a climate-neutral shipping industry.

The term ‘Maritime Energy Transition’ stems from the German expression ‘Energiewende’ and encapsulates MAN Energy Solutions’ call to action to reduce emissions and establish natural gas as the fuel of choice in global shipping. It is also an umbrella covering all MAN Energy Solutions’ activities in regard to supporting a climate-neutral shipping industry. Launched in 2016 after COP 21, the initiative has since found broad support within the shipping industry and German politics.

About MAN Cryo

MAN Cryo offers systems for the storage, distribution and handling of liquefied gases and has a pioneering reputation within the marine sector and LNG business development. It supplied the world’s first LNG fuel-gas system for the ‘Glutra’ ferry in Norway in 1999, a vessel that is still operational to this day. More recently, in 2013, MAN Cryo supplied the world’s first bunker vessel, the ‘SeaGas’, with operations in Stockholm, Sweden. The design for the conversion of the SeaGas was also provided by Multi Maritime with whom MAN Cryo has a long-time cooperation.
Source: MAN Energy Solutions

On Course Towards Administrative Simplification For Shipping

ECSA and the World Shipping Council (WSC) welcome the adoption of a General Approach on the proposal for a European Maritime Single Window environment by Transport Ministers yesterday.

European co-legislators have been working intensively to reduce the administrative burden shipping faces. This burden stems from today’s unharmonised and inefficient reporting obligations and mechanisms within the EU. ECSA and WSC are pleased with the progress being made in both Council and European Parliament towards the establishment of a European Maritime Single Window environment (EMSWe).

Martin Dorsman, ECSA’s Secretary General, commented: “With the adoption of this General Approach the Member States agreed to facilitate, simplify and harmonise the reporting to be done and take a step towards a real internal market for shipping.”

John Butler, CEO and President of the World Shipping Council commented: “The shipping industry is looking to the EU Institutions to deliver a European Maritime Single Window environment that remedies the deficiencies and costs that arose from the original Directive and its lack of a common blueprint for implementation by Member States. Because of those experiences it is even more important to make sure the agreed legal framework provides what’s needed to bring about real and tangible benefits to Europe’s maritime commerce”.

ECSA and WSC are pleased to see in the Council’s text a clear commitment to establish a harmonised data set, which is essential to reach real trade facilitation. The Council has agreed that the data elements must be kept to only the essential reporting information that is required and that additional temporary requirements are only added in exceptional and duly justified circumstances. Martin Dorsman added: “This is a very necessary addition, as we must be sure that once the spring cleaning of the reporting obligations is completed, this will not be undone the next day by allowing authorities to request without restrictions, any additional information in parallel to the EMSWe harmonised data set.”

The European Parliament Transport Committee is also making important improvements to the proposal. Both the draft report of MEP Ms Clune, the rapporteur, as well as several of the amendments tabled by her fellow MEPs are in line with requests from the industry to simplify and harmonise, not only the data, but also the reporting mechanism.

Martin Dorsman added: “On this last element, the ‘how’ to report the data or the so-called ‘reporting interfaces’, we stress the need to make sure these interfaces are truly harmonised and common, both for system-to-system reporting and manual reporting using websites. We very much welcome amendments from MEPs that look at providing a single acess point at EU level and harmonisation of the manual reporting tools (the Graphical User Interface). We stress this would not replace existing well-functioning reporting mechanisms, provided by some port community systems and national single windows. However we should not forget these do not exist in all ports and Member States. We cannot miss this unique opportunity to bring all EU ports to an advanced level by providing a common baseline standard, to the benefit of trade in general and short sea shipping in particular.”
Source: ECSA