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Daily Briefing March 23 2020

Free to read: Floating storage at record as coronavirus cripples crude demand | Maersk suspends guidance on coronavirus fears | Chinese ports deny ban on vessels from infected countries | The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Seafarers are part of the solution

Good morning. Here’s our quick view of everything you need to know today.

The Lloyd’s List Daily Briefing is brought to you by the Lloyd’s List News Desk.

What to watch   |   Analysis   |   Opinion   |   Markets   |   In other news




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What to watch


Crude oil stored on tankers is now the highest in records going back to 2008 as oil prices plunge to a 17-year low and the coronavirus outbreak cripples the global economy.

Maersk, the world’s largest container line, expects earnings to decrease to about $1.4bn in the first quarter due to weaker volumes caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese ports have been quick to quash rumours suggesting they were about to impose draconian restrictions on the entry of cargo ships from countries associated with high-level outbreaks of the coronavirus.

The Lloyd’s List Podcast: The coronavirus pandemic has left seafarers around the world in a precarious position. This week’s edition discusses concerns facing crew amid the virus restrictions and features maritime trade union Nautilus’ general secretary Mark Dickinson.


Analysis


Crude tanker rates are tumbling as fast as they rose, as the chartering spree that triggered record-breaking earnings earlier this week abates.

The week in charts: After hitting record highs earlier in the week, reality kicks in for spot rates. Clarksons lowers growth forecasts for seaborne trade in 2020.


Opinion


Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade offers an update on the situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak and how the team is taking measures to ensure you continue to receive the best possible service.


China’s containerised exports are showing signs of returning to normal, but with many destination countries going into lockdown there is growing concern about whether road and rail networks and distribution chains will be able to cope with inbound cargo, writes Janet Porter.


If Singapore is able to centralise planning around marine, maritime, financial, insurance, and legal industries then Hong Kong must follow suit if it wants to maintain a competitive edge in the shipping world, writes Edward Liu, legal director at Hill Dickinson Hong Kong.



Markets


The port of Houston’s Barbours Cut and Bayport Container terminals were due to reopen on March 20 after being closed for a day when a dock worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Brazil’s mining giant Vale says it has been allowed to continue operations at its transhipment facility in Malaysia.


In other news


The 2009-built cruiseship Costa Luminosa has anchored in the port of Marseilles and is awaiting testing and investigations by the French authorities after it reported three people infected with coronavirus on board and dozens more recorded as sick.

February’s marine fuel sales at Singapore, the world’s top bunkering hub, slowed over January on fewer overall vessel arrivals following the coronavirus outbreak.

Hapag-Lloyd has joined the ranks of shipping companies admitting that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have an impact on its business, but it is confident that its prudent financial management will see it through the worst of the disruption.

The American Association of Port Authorities — which covers ports in North and South America — has elected executive director of the port of Long Beach Mario Cordero to serve as the group's new chairman.

China National Offshore Oil Corp is about to lift its first crude cargo from the giant Liza field offshore Guyana.

Mexico’s plans to develop a land bridge to rival the Panama Canal advanced this week with announcements that Northern Hemisphere Logistics Inc has hired Mirage Energy Corp to participate in the Isthmus Corridor oil and natural gas project.

Germany must keep shipping going to ensure the country continues to be supplied with vital food and medicine, the Verband Deutscher Reeder says.

Bulk carrier American Commercial Lines has completed its restructuring after a US bankruptcy court approved its debt plan.

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