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Daily Briefing August 21 2020

Free to read: Singapore crew change criticism | Maersk’s strategic U-turn pays off | US bonds offer liquidity lifeline | LNG outlook cools | Why Greek ferries need state support

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


Singapore has received stinging criticism from shipmanager lobby group InterManager for tougher quarantine and immigration policies that it claims prevent most owners and managers from undertaking seafarer repatriation and changeovers at the crucial maritime hub, worsening the global crewing crisis.

Blanked sailings and idle ships are likely to become a feature of container shipping as carriers, such as Maersk, follow the business model of the courier companies that only operate flights in response to demand rather than keep their networks running at full capacity regardless of market conditions.

There is ample liquidity for shipping bond sales in the US, but investors will increasingly expect owners to keep it green and clean, argue WFW partners. The decline in bank lending has left some US investors more ready to look at shipping deals, especially if the price is right.

Analysts argue that investors and financiers need to act prudently to avoid the immediate collapse of Greek ferry companies, but the only way for operators to meet financial obligations and fulfil their service requirements is with funding from the Greek state directly or from the EU.


Analysis


In contrast to shipbuilders who are stranded in the summer doldrums, breaking yards are enjoying a brisk recovery. That appears to be good news for shipping companies expecting freight rates to strengthen.

Throughput at the main US west coast ports appears to be tracking relatively well for the month of July compared with prior years, despite the ravages of the Covid-19 outbreak and the continued Sino-US trade war.


Opinion


The recently recruited leadership from both within maritime and from other sectors shows the likely adoption of new digital solutions at Manish Singh’s Ocean Technologies Group.




Markets


Liquefied natural gas shipping faces the challenges of sailing through a winter with surplus tonnage, as newbuildings being delivered from a bulging shipbuilding backlog come online amid slowing demand for the commodity.

Current pricing is such that gas is cheaper than coal, according to Höegh LNG, in what is seen as a first for the market.

Navios Maritime Holdings remained in the red during the second financial quarter of this year, as profits from its South American logistics business could not offset a slump in the dry bulk market.


In other news


The US government’s decision to scrap a double tax agreement with Hong Kong could strike a blow to shipping firms with large exposures on both sides, as well as presenting a serious challenge to the city’s future as a maritime hub.

A tanker carrying gasoline and a barge have collided off China with 14 crew still missing. The collision happened on Thursday morning in the Yangtze estuary leading to the sinking of the barge.

Maersk Tankers has requested the Danish, Maltese and Tunisian governments quickly find a resolution and disembark 27 migrants stuck on board a product tanker at anchor off Malta since August 5.

Maritime security sources say Iran’s seizure of a United Arab Emirates-registered vessel on Monday is unlikely to further stoke geopolitical tensions between the opposing Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia has banned the use of open-loop scrubbers at its ports and territorial waters, expanding the list of jurisdictions that have prohibited the exhaust gas cleaning system.

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