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Daily Briefing March 31 2020

Free to read: Saudis join floating storage surge as oil surplus strains land-based capacity | More cargoship seafarers test positive for coronavirus | Lockdown brings Indian subcontinent ship scrapping to a halt | Capital dispute with AISSOT traced to sanctions fear

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


Saudi Arabian oil trader Aramco Trading Co has reportedly chartered three very large crude carriers for floating storage, joining companies including Shell, Vitol and Trafigura that have hired tankers to profit from an oversupply of crude and products amid plunging prices.

Cases of coronavirus infections on board cargo vessels are increasing, following the cases reported on a Maersk boxship last week.

The demolition market on the Indian subcontinent has come to a standstill as countries takes aggressive measures to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.

A clash between the Greece-based Capital Maritime group and Middle Eastern charterer Al-Iraqia Shipping Services & Oil Trading, which has scuppered a chartering relationship spanning six very large crude carriers, can be traced to concerns over running foul of sanctions against Iran.

Singapore has made certain concessions to its policy of banning crew changes at the key Southeast Asian hub port, allowing manpower rotations under special circumstances.


Analysis


The number of void sailings on deepsea container trades from mid-March through to the end of May has increased from two to nearly 50 over the past week, as carriers respond to an expectation of lower volume demand. Asia-Europe and transpacific services hardest hit, with more cancellations expected to follow in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Low liquefied natural gas cargo prices and vessel delays at ports due to coronavirus are boosting demand for LNG carriers, Höegh LNG chief executive Sveinung Støhle has said.


Opinion


Leading US ports and other stakeholders in the supply chain have vowed to fast-track medical supplies coming into the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the nation at alarming rates. But they may have nothing to move if Washington doesn't act quickly, writes Eric Watkins.

Lloyd’s List Podcast: However horrific the disruption looks right now at a consumer level, we have to believe that coronavirus is not going to structurally change the shipping markets. Can we hope for a V-shaped recovery, or should we brace for a mis-shapen U?  Joining Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade this week to discuss the shape of things to come is Shipping Strategy managing director and returning podcast pundit Mark Williams.


Markets


China Merchants Energy Shipping has agreed to place nearly $120m worth of orders at an affiliated shipyard for four multipurpose vessels.

China Merchants Port has warned of multiple challenges threatening economic prospects this year as it posted decade-low throughput growth for 2019.

A severe shortage of truck drivers in India is forcing ocean carriers and freight forwarders to delay the pick-up of import and export cargoes from key ports, including Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.


In other news


The UK government has been warned to recognise seafarers as key workers or face “catastrophic global consequences”.

Asahi Tanker, a Japanese chemical and product tanker company, has decided to build two battery-powered vessels.

The anti-coronavirus lockdown in Manila — home to the Philippines’ main international container port — has started to make its effects felt, with the port’s main terminal operator International Container Terminal Services Inc warning that a growing backlog of containers could soon affect port operations.

Moscow has taken a bold countermove against Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft oil company by selling its Venezuelan oil assets to an unnamed entity owned by the government of the Russian Federation.

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