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Daily Briefing May 18 2020

Free to read: ‘The only way to survive is take out cost’ — Hapag-Lloyd chief | China leasing lenders here to stay despite pandemic downdraft | The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Coronavirus is catalysing innovation in shipping | Sierra Leone flag targeted by sanctions-busting tanker

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


Hapag-Lloyd’s Rolf  Habben Jansen says he expects a ‘small double-digit percentage’ drop in container volumes during the second quarter of the year. The head of the German carrier tells Lloyd’s List that his company is well positioned to weather the headwinds posed by coronavirus.

Chinese lessors are becoming more cautious about lending their money to shipowners amid the current market gloom. But they have no plans to pull out of the sector.

The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Could coronavirus spark a renaissance in shipping, turbo charging digital developments and cultivating collaboration and data standardisation along the way? This week the podcast focuses on maritime innovation and entrepreneurship, featuring insights from Roger Holm, president of Wärtsilä’s marine power business and Matt Heider, chief executive of Nautilus Labs, which specialises in ocean commerce artificial intelligence.

A tanker being used by Chinese companies to ship sanctioned Iranian crude for the past 18 months has now reflagged to Sierra Leone, as the US increases regulatory scrutiny on registries.


Analysis


The capesize market has potentially found a floor, with rates inching up slightly from a four-year low earlier in the week, as new data from China buoyed sentiment.

Global container throughput is projected to fall by as much as 8% in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, according to Drewry.

The Week in Charts: Danish giant Maersk reported a profitable start to the year, but warned of worse to come with the coronavirus health crisis promising a quarter of lost business in the second quarter of the year. Elsewhere, the capesize market has dipped to a four-year low, while there are signs that floating tanker storage has finally reached its peak following recent surges.


Opinion


All the working assumptions on which shipping industry business models have been built in recent decades are suddenly no longer givens, and will need to be rethought comprehensively in the years ahead, writes David Osler.


The greatest threat to the global supply chain is inability to transfer crews to and from their ships. Fatigue and worry are safety concerns. Maritime, aviation and health experts are seeking an answer.



Markets


The first of 19 Saudi-loaded tankers bound for refineries in the US Gulf has discharged its cargo and is sailing in ballast to West Africa.

Liquefied natural gas bunkering developments in Asia Pacific have ramped up as spot prices for the cleaner-burning fossil fuel fell to record lows.

Efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak have caused a continuing steep drop in demand for petroleum products and crude oil prices, according to the US Energy Information Administration, which expects the country’s crude oil production to fall in both 2020 and 2021.


In other news


Hapag-Lloyd saw profits dented significantly in the first quarter of 2020, as the transition to new low-sulphur fuels hit the group’s bottom line.

Fast-growing South Asian economy Bangladesh is expected to double its fossil fuel imports to 32m tonnes of oil equivalent between 2020 and 2030 with most of that demand being fed by coal and liquefied natural gas, said Wood Mackenzie in a recent report.

Intra-Asia specialist regional line RCL reported a Baht12.7m ($395,854) net profit in the first quarter of the year from a net loss of Baht28.4m in the same period a year earlier.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the Norway-headquartered ro-ro shipping specialist, swung to a net loss of $285m in the first quarter of the year as the coronavirus outbreak hit car demand and closed factories.

Sovcomflot, the Russian shipping company, is maintaining a positive outlook for the year on the back of a strong first half of 2020, as tanker market fundamentals and steady industrial revenues are causes for optimism.

The decision by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to pull investments from some coal producers, such as Glencore and Anglo American, on environmental grounds, as well as from Vale, Brazil’s mining giant, on ethical considerations, should have little impact on the dry bulk market.

South Korea carrier HMM has warned of the adverse impact of the coronavirus crisis and geopolitical risks as it posted continued losses in the first quarter of this year.

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