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Daily Briefing April 15 2020

Free to read: Industry alliance seeks political support to defuse seafarer time bomb | PIL denies ‘bankruptcy rumours’ while defending divestment strategy | Singapore bunker sales rebound as China reboots economy

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


Collective crew changes at identified ports are a feasible short-term aim even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic if state assistance is made available, according to an alliance of industry interests representing more than 1,500 vessels and over 70,000 seafarers.

The slew of divestment deals in recent months that have seen Pacific International Lines pocket $1bn were not fuelled by a need to trim down debt, but rather by a desire to rationalise the family-owned portfolio in the light of unfolding unfavourable macroeconomic forces, according to executive chairman SS Teo.

The world’s top bunkering hub, Singapore, booked an increase in its March marine fuel sales as cargo flowing through its port expanded during the same month. The rise in fuel demand was driven by China normalising economic activity, which came to a standstill amid the coronavirus outbreak. In relation to international trade, fewer containerships called at Singapore’s terminals last month as the Asia-Europe trade has yet to normalise, with key economies in Europe still effectively closed for business.

Weakening global oil demand and production cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep downward pressure on tanker charter rates throughout this year, according to analysts.


Analysis


The blanked sailings that the container shipping sector is witnessing could just be the second phase of an ongoing downturn that could leave some box carriers in a precarious position.

Piracy and armed robbery at sea is on the increase, according to the latest quarterly report from the International Maritime Bureau.

From the News Desk: Remote inspections have already seen a strong rise in use, but port congestion shows people are vital on the ground.


Opinion


Shipping companies hoping to get back to business as it was in 2019 are in danger of being overtaken by events. They should be responding to the signals of economic change, writes Richard Clayton.


If the global maritime industry is hoping for a V-shaped recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it may have a very long wait indeed, writes Eric Watkins.



The Lloyd’s List Podcast: How to help shipping’s stranded seafarers. With shipping companies continuing to postpone crew exchange and extend employment contracts as the only way of overcoming the coronavirus travel and quarantine restrictions, the industry has a ticking time bomb on its hands. Make no mistake — fatigue among seafarers will inevitably result in more accidents at sea. This is a safety issue and it’s a mental health issue. Several voices join the podcast this week to discuss the implications for seafarers including: V.Group chief executive Graham Westgarth; Professor Helen Sampson, who led a recent study into mental health issues at sea; Liz Baugh, the lead medical consultant at Red Square Medical, which provides medicial assistance to maritime businesses; Caitlin Vaughan from the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN); and Sandra Welch, chief operating officer of the Sailors’ Society.


Markets


The US port of Oakland recorded a decline of 7.4% in its loaded container volume for March compared with last year, a reduction shared with other ports along the US west coast as the effects of the coronavirus outbreak continue to wreak havoc on global trade.


In other news


Another major name from Greek shipping has pledged millions of dollars to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil industry is considering alternative methods to traditional vetting inspections of tankers in the face of prolonged coronavirus disruptions that could threaten the smooth flow of oil globally.

PSA International will pump more than $1.9bn into Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz Port as it sealed a new terminal deal to build and operate both the First and Second Container Terminals at the port in Dammam.

Breakbulk and heavy lift operator AAL is doing its bit to help during the coronavirus outbreak, offering cargo transport, free of freight charge, to registered charities worldwide who need to transport vital goods and equipment internationally and are suffering the financial effects of the global pandemic.

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