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Daily Briefing

September 20, 2017

 

Daily Briefing September 20 2017

CMA CGM mulls scrubbers versus LNG for 22,000 teu newbuilds

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CMA CGM mulls scrubbers versus LNG for 22,000 teu newbuilds

 

CMA CGM is still finalising the specifications of up to nine 22,000 teu vessels it is poised to order in China, and may decide to pay considerably more than the basic price for LNG-fuelled ships.

Mediterranean Shipping Co, meanwhile, is not thought to be planning a return to the shipyards at present for another round of newbuildings, despite talk in South Korea that negotiations are in progress.

Lloyd's List understands that Maersk has tried to discourage both lines from ordering. But while its 2M partner MSC appears to have put new orders on hold, CMA CGM is pressing ahead.

The French line confirmed the imminent order last Friday when releasing its second-quarter results, but gave few other details.

That is because key matters are still being considered that will make a considerable difference to the final cost.

If CMA CGM opts for a conventional engine system with scrubbers, the price could be as low as $135m per ship. But should the French group instead decide to install LNG tanks, the amount could soar to more than $150m apiece. Some brokers have put the figure at about $153m, while others have said it could be as much as $160m. That would push the total cost of the order, if all nine ships are built, to more than $1.4bn.

However, the price would still be relatively low compared with the first generation of ultra large boxships. Those had a nominal capacity of 18,000 teu, whereas the CMA CGM newbuildings will be 22,000 teu, thanks to their greater width, which is expected to be 61 m, rather than the standard 59 m.

The ships are to be built in China at two yards, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding. The contract consists of six firm orders and three options, with deliveries to start in late 2018.

Maersk Line, which kicked off the push for ships of 18,000 teu or more when it ordered its Triple-Es in 2011 from South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, will have 31 in total by the time all of its second generation of these types have been delivered.

Likewise, Mediterranean Shipping Co will have 22 vessels of 20,000 teu nominal capacity once the remaining few still under construction are completed.

CMA CGM, though, has far fewer ultra large containerships in its fleet, having been in financial difficulties when its competitors were embarking on a new round of ordering some five or six years ago.

The largest ships CMA CGM has in service have a nominal capacity of just under 18,000 teu, having been upgraded from their original specification, while it has three 20,600 teu containerships ordered in 2015 that are due for delivery from Hanjin Heavy Industries' Subic Bay, Philippines, shipyard next year. These were originally slated for delivery during 2017, but were postponed in response to industry overcapacity.

Now, though, conditions are improving, but Maersk is doing what it can to prevent a rush back to the shipyards that could bring a halt to the fledgling recovery.

So far, though, brokers say there is no sign of that, with CMA CGM the only line that is currently embarking on a fresh round of ordering.

Full story

 


 

Latest News:

Chinese appetite for international port assets remains strong

The dramatic rise of overseas investment by Chinese port operators and investors shows little sign of slowing, as government backing continues to provide scope for more aggressive acquisitions.

On the one hand there is the straightforward financial incentive and geopolitical motivation, but more importantly there is ready available capital, explained Drewry senior analyst Neil Davidson, speaking in a webinar.
"The ingredients remain and the next steps only point to further expansion," said Mr Davidson.

China's ongoing One Belt, One Road programme has played a central role in this trend, thanks largely to the unrivalled support of China's banks offering domestic investors loans to drive the initiative with interest rates of just 2%-3.5%.

This puts the more traditional operators at a distinct disadvantage, as Chinese companies in essence are willing to pay a price for assets that others simply cannot match.

Full story

ABP calls for contingency plans in face of Brexit chaos

The UK should prepare to divert traffic away from the port of Dover in case of border disruptions resulting from Brexit, Associated British Ports has argued in a paper targeted at boosting UK trade and exports.

The Port of Dover, which handles 17% of the UK's annual physical trade, has been very vocal about the negative effect the reintroduction of customs would have on its operations after Brexit. Dover MP Charlie Elphicke recently reiterated that authorities should prepare for a no-deal scenario with the European Union.

Following months of similar warnings, competitor ABP, which operates 21 ports in the UK, is calling for contingency measures to avoid major disruption to UK-EU trade and enhance UK exports. ABP's ports are among those that would benefit from a redistribution of trade at Dover's expense.

The discussion paper sets out a series of recommendations including exploring the benefits of reducing dependency on the port of Dover and establishing a UK Ports and Logistics Brexit Task Force.
 
Citing evidence that disruptions in the port of Dover could have a significant effect on the UK logistics sector, ABP cautioned the government to prepare for disruptions in the border and that cutting down dependency on Dover could help safeguard the UK's trade with the EU.

Full story


Latest from the International Union of Marine Insurance conference in Tokyo

 

International code of conduct needed for casualty investigation, IUMI told

An internationally agreed code of conduct is needed to govern casualty investigations, the International Union of Marine Insurance has been told. John Walker, a casualty investigator with London Offshore Consultants, made his case in a presentation to the trade association's conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, highlighting the need to protect seafarers from unjust incarceration.

The veteran expert - who worked on both the Hebei Spirit and Rena incidents - highlighted the many ways in which national and local governments can intervene in casualties, frequently in ways that are unhelpful from shipping's point of view. Corruption and extortion are still widespread in many Asian countries, despite stringent anti-bribery laws, while investigative processes can be dragged out, sometimes as a means of twisting an owner's arm, and sometimes because countries simply do not know how to handle complex casualties, he said.

Full story

Countries should adopt Italian pilot liability model, argues top lawyer

An internationally agreed code of conduct is needed to govern casualty investigations, the International Union of Marine Insurance has been told. John Walker, a casualty investigator with London Offshore Consultants, made his case in a presentation to the trade association's conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, highlighting the need to protect seafarers from unjust incarceration.

The veteran expert - who worked on both the Hebei Spirit and Rena incidents - highlighted the many ways in which national and local governments can intervene in casualties, frequently in ways that are unhelpful from shipping's point of view. Corruption and extortion are still widespread in many Asian countries, despite stringent anti-bribery laws, while investigative processes can be dragged out, sometimes as a means of twisting an owner's arm, and sometimes because countries simply do not know how to handle complex casualties, he said.

Full story

LOFs still fit for purpose, says Lloyd's agency controller

THE controller of agencies at Lloyd's has defended the much-criticised Lloyd's Open Form salvage contract, insisting that the century-old arrangement is still up to the job in the new millennium.

Speaking at IUMI in Tokyo, David Lawrence admitted that some regard LOFs as too expensive, too biased towards salvors, and not providing sufficient protections to cargo interests. Overcapacity in the salvage sector is also a factor, with too many salvors sometimes chasing too few casualties. That has seen the rise of side agreements to cap rewards, which may now be present in more than 50% of cases. As a result, usage seems to be declining, from more than 100 a year in the 1990s to a low of just 37 in 2014 and 48 in 2016. However, some 45 have been signed in the year to date. Mr Lawrence said: "While not necessary at the peak of fitness, LOF still does have a pulse."

Full story

Insurers avoid worst of Hanjin fallout

The bankruptcy of Korean boxship outfit Hanjin last year has had little effect on the hull, machinery, protection and indemnity markets. What is more, it had only minor consequences for cargo insurance, a top lawyer has told an industry audience. Addressing the IUMI conference, Clyde & Co partner Mike Roderick said risk was spread widely across international markets, meaning H&M and P&I providers were able to take the collapse in their stride.

Full story

 

Opinion

Robust cyber rules needed for digitalisation to reach full potential

Max Ting Yao LinThere are many known benefits of digitalisation for shipping - optimisation of operations, cost reductions, more efficient transactions, to name but a few. For ship operators to reap the full benefits of a digital world, though, they may need to embrace some people they traditionally dislike: the regulators.

By default, digitalisation is all about data. Shipping firms have in fact been putting internal documents in digital form to various degrees for decades, so there is nothing new there. But what shipping has learned in recent years is the potential power of data sharing that can streamline many procedures in the supply chain, among other benefits.

It is true that maritime transport has lagged behind many other industries on this front, such as airlines and travel agencies. But there can be benefits for latecomers because they can take advantage of new technology. A recent example is the Japanese shipping giants' initiative to form a consortium with 11 compatriot firms to develop a trade data platform using blockchain.

However, with connectivity comes greater risk. AP Moller-Maersk has been at the forefront of digitalisation, having declared a group strategy that "everything that can be digitalised will be digitalised". But the Danish giant also lost up to $300m in this summer's Petya ransomware cyberattack, which shut its container shipping, terminal and logistic operations for days.

At a DNV GL forum earlier this month, an operator was speaking of the dilemma he faced. While recognising more data sharing would create better platforms, he said: "The ownership of data is ours. How we share, that is where cyber risks come into play."

Enter the regulators. In the past, shipping firms have tended to focus on the extra costs and paperwork involved in meeting cyber security rules. Having seen a company with as strong an operational reputation as Maersk brought down by hackers, they may find robust regulations could keep them from greater financial harm.

And there is lots of low-hanging fruit - simply because regulations in this area are underdeveloped. Yes, many countries have data protection laws, but shipping's cross-border nature could raise questions over their extraterritorial effect. Not many specific mandatory national rules exist around shipping: while the US has required incident reporting since January, France and the UK have issued recommended practices on maritime cyber securities.

Among industry groups, BIMCO has recently updated its guidelines for cyber security on board. The International Maritime Organization has also required cyber risks to be addressed in safety management systems, namely the International Ship and Port Security and International Safety Management codes, in the first annual verification of Documents of Compliance after January 2021. However, those are not mandatory.

There is strong need for shipping and regulators to work together on enhancing cyber rules. Larger players may feel they can begin digital trails by themselves, such as in the cases of Maersk and the Japanese consortium. Those initiatives are necessary in the early development of shipping digitalisation and should be encouraged.

But the industry is highly fragmented - only when all sizes of firms can meet basic security requirements will everyone feel comfortable sharing data. That is when platforms of true Big Data can be created, and the benefits of digitalisation be really felt.

Full story

 

 


 

Markets

Weak VLCC freight rates to persist through winter

Spot rates for very large crude carriers continued to drop like a rock as Middle East chartering activity slowed and shipbrokers said winter demand might not be strong enough for a rebound.

"For the remainder of the year, we are likely to see weakness, relative to previous years, persist through the seasonally stronger winter period," McQuilling Services said in a report. The only good news is that Atlantic trades could offer support to vessel demand, with market focus on pent-up exports from the US next month in the wake of the hurricanes.

Read the full report

Handysize bulkers see earnings at five-month high

Handysize bulker earnings rose to their highest level in almost five months, buoyed by interest from the east coast of South America and the Pacific. The average weighted time charter on the Baltic Exchange gained 8% to $8,131 per day at the close on Monday, while the index increased to 551 points from 509 points a week ago.

The US Department of Agriculture has further increased its forecast for grains trade, which should be supportive for the smaller dry bulk segments. Total grains trade in the 2017-2018 season was revised up by 600,000 tonnes to 620m tonnes, while the export figure is expected to reach an all-time high.

Read the full report

 


 

In Brief

Offshore plant deal with Iran is off the table, says DSME

South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering said its memorandum of understanding with Iran regarding a construction of offshore plants became no longer effective as of September 17.

Under the MOU, which was signed on September 18 last year, DSME had agreed to help Iran's offshore plant development, but the deal was dropped when Iran failed to sign the fin al agreement.

Full story

US protectionism fears are overblown, economist says

A comprehensive and disruptive form of protectionism is unlikely, despite measures by the US such as its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Any such move will be detrimental to and affect the value of sizeable US investments abroad and this will act as a brake on strong protectionist measures, said HSH Nordbank chief economist Dr Cyrus de la Rubia at the Marine Money Asia conference in Singapore.

Full story

Maersk Line strengthens sea-rail transport at Ningbo port

Maersk Line has launched its first freight train from the Chinese manufacturing city of Yiwu to the port of Ningbo, a weekly service set to ramp up ocean-rail intermodal transportation in the region. A total of 41 containers were hauled to Ningbo via rail on Tuesday morning and will be later shipped to West Africa, East Africa and the Mediterranean Sea by Maersk's vessels, according to the Danish carrier.

Full story

APL returns first profit since 2010

Singapore-based APL, now part of CMA CGM, recorded a net profit of $78m for the first half of 2017, lifted by a container shipping market making a gradual recovery. The performance marks APL's first profitable half since the second half of 2010.

Full story

DSME secures clean opinion in latest mock audit

South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has announced it has received a clean opinion from a mock financial audit conducted by an external auditor. The mock audit, which covered a total of 152 days between April 17 and September 15, aimed to make sure that the shipbuilder had achieved sufficient accounting transparency, DSME said  in a statement.

Since the shipbuilder failed to achieve a fully qualified opinion on last year's financial result, the company must obtain a clean opinion from the exchange regulator in its first-half statement this year to stay listed on the Korea Exchange. Shares in DSME have been suspended since July.

Full story

Diana Shipping secures 40% rate rise for new panamax charter deal

New York-listed Diana Shipping has signed an agreement with South Korea-based Unico Logistics for the chartering out of a panamax vessel at a significantly higher rate as the dry bulk market continues to rally. Under the deal, Unico will employ the 2013-built, 75,403 dwt Maera for a period of 9-11 months at a gross charter rate of $11,900 per day. The rate is roughly 40% higher than the $8,500 per day gross charter rate paid by the previous charterer Transgrain Shipping of Rotterdam to employ the vessel for 68 days.

Full story

 

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