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11 Sep 2017

London International Shipping Week 2017 Begins With The Opening Of The London Stock Exchange

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"The UK Government together with industry launched what will be the biggest London International Shipping Week yet, by opening trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Flanked by Government Ministers, dignitaries as well as leaders from global shipping, Nikos Gazelidis, Global Head of Shipping Sales for ATPI Griffinstone and The Rt Hon John Hayes CBE, MP, Minister of State for Transport, performed the market opening ceremony. Jeremy Penn, Chairman of the London International Shipping Week 2017 Steering Group, said the opening of the LSE was a fitting way to launch this year’s LISW. “London International Shipping Week 2017 (LISW17) has exceeded all our expectations in terms of size and international reach, so much so that we are looking forward this week to welcoming thousands of leaders from the global shipping industry into what is widely acknowledged as the number one maritime financial services capital of the world,” he said. Taking place from September 11 to 15, LISW17 is the must-attend event of the global maritime calendar with more than 150 industry functions and unique networking opportunities. The events have been organised either by the industry at large through the various LISW17 Supporting Organisations or by Sponsoring Companies of LISW17. Britain’s famous Red Duster will fly proudly in new ports across the globe as part of our new trade drive after our exit from the EU. The flag of the UK’s Merchant Navy, more properly known as the Red Ensign, is one of the most admired and well known emblems on the high seas with every vessel sporting it under the protection of the Royal Navy. And now Shipping Minister John Hayes wants to increase the amount of trade carried under the Duster to showcase Britain’s trading and maritime might around the world. The Government is working to double the size of the UK Ship Register from 16 to 30 million gross tonnage (GT) after we leave and build a new partnership with the EU – propelling the UK from 15th place into the top ten global maritime nations. This will be good for the UK, helping boost trade and exports, create jobs and ultimately boost the economy across the UK."

08 Sep 2017

Invaders in the Arctic: How ships and climate change are bringing strange species to Nunavut

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"As higher temperatures proliferate in Canada's Arctic, scientists have begun to notice signs of encroaching species from warmer climes. As Ivan Semeniuk reports, the race is on for them to establish a baseline while they still can There's no mistaking the Crystal Serenity. Like a luxury hotel on water, the giant cruise ship loomed at the entrance to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, late last month on its second trip through the Northwest Passage in as many summers. Faced with more than 1,500 passengers and crew – enough to nearly double the population of the tiny port town – the community carefully manages the ship's arrival. On this occasion, tourists were cycled through in batches for one-hour visits. The southern interlopers wore tangerine-coloured jackets, which made them easy to spot as they wandered the northern locale's gravel thoroughfares. This scene of an increasingly accessible Arctic was visible from the deck of the Polar Prince, whose stop in Cambridge Bay as part of the C3 Expedition happened to coincide with the cruise ship's arrival. The expedition, a Canada 150 initiative, is traversing the Northwest Passage with a cargo of scientists, artists, Indigenous elders, historians, community leaders, youth, journalists and educators. Among the participants on board for this leg of the trip was Kim Howland, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who joined C3 to continue a DNA sampling study that has been part of the expedition's science mission since its voyage began in June. Unlike the easy-to-spot passengers from the Crystal Serenity, the visitors that Dr. Howland is most concerned about are hidden invaders that could soon be arriving in these waters as climate change opens the doors to increased maritime traffic. Dr. Howland's focus is on the invasive species that can travel across oceans in the ballast water of commercial ships and that have a devastating impact when they arrive in places where they don't belong. ""The Arctic hasn't had to face this problem until now,"" said Dr. Howland, who is part of DFO's Arctic Research Division, based in Winnipeg. ""But with ongoing warming and declines in sea ice making these waters more navigable – and more hospitable – it's a real concern."" Kim Howland, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is exploring how climate change could bring invasive species that would transform Arctic waters. The DNA study Dr. Howland and her colleagues is conducting is aimed at giving scientists and officials a fair warning about precisely what is coming to Canada's northern seas. Rather than look for individual specimens of an invading species which may or may not be present, the study scoops up free-floating DNA from the water, searching for genetic traces of animals that are not native to the region. Because the C3 ship is making one continuous trip through the Arctic from east to west, it can provide a snapshot of where things stand in each region and how those regions compare. For those who live along the Great Lakes, where zebra mussels have been a scourge since they arrived in the 1980s, the problem of invasive species is not new. Similarly, Atlantic Canada has been coping with its share of interlopers. They include the European green crab, a tenacious predator that out-competes native species and can have a destabilizing effect on intertidal ecosystems – all to the detriment to local fisheries. Another threat is the common periwinkle, a type of sea snail that also originated in Europe, and which the strains the marine food chain by eating all the algae in sight, as well as transmitting a parasite that affects fish. Historically, these and other creatures were not deemed a threat to Arctic waters, as it was presumed the harsh conditions there would prohibit their growth. But Dr. Howland has just co-authored a modelling study which suggests that this is no longer the case for some potential invaders, and it will become less so as time goes on. ""The motivation was to try to understand the threat of the arrival of new species in a region where we don't have too much information,"" said Jesica Goldsmit, a postdoctoral researcher with DFO and lead author of the study, which was accepted for publication last week in the journal Biological Invasions. In the study, the researchers looked at how eight invasive species might fare in the Arctic 50 years from now based on climate forecasts. The result: ""We're predicting that all the species we modelled would survive,"" Dr. Howland said. While the degrees to which the species are likely to migrate northward vary, all of them would find a suitable habitat somewhere in the Arctic by the end of the 50-year run, the model shows. And all of them pose a threat to the ecosystem and traditional ways of life. One of the locations at highest risk is the relatively warmer Hudson Bay, which is considered an Arctic ecosystem even though it dips well below the Arctic Circle. Another is the Beaufort Sea, above the coast of Alaska and Western Canada, which is open to shipping coming up through the Bering Strait. Less clear is what will happen among the maze of channels and islands that makes up the central portion of Canada's High Arctic – also known as the Kitikmeot region – where the marine biology is far less explored. This is part of what has motivated Dr. Howland and other researchers who are participating in the C3, as well as others who are conducting studies in the area. And it's clear there is little time left to gather the baseline data before region is further transformed by warming temperatures and increased shipping traffic. Sea and land alike are affected by climate change. Jeff Saarela, a botanist and director of the Canadian Museum of Nature's Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, was also on the C3 last week, armed with a permit to collect plants as part of the expedition. Taking advantage of the ship's frequent stops in places that few scientists have ever been able to access, he spent much of the voyage with his knees in the dirt, trowel in hand, extracting specimens. ""We know the Arctic is the fastest-warming part of the planet, and we know that species are responding,"" Dr. Saarela said. ""To document when something has moved, you have to know what was there before."" Along the voyage there were hints of the transformation to come. After leaving Cambridge Bay, expedition leaders nosed their ship west and south to the now uninhabited hamlet of Bathurst Inlet. In contrast to Cambridge Bay, this location was rich with plant life, including alder, a member of the birch family, that crowded the empty buildings nearly to adult human height. The rising shrubs stood in startling contrast to a surrounding landscape dominated by the lichens and low ground cover of the Arctic tundra. Photos of a nearby location taken by the Canadian Arctic Expedition more than a century ago show much less foliage, says David Gray, a biologist and part-time historian on the C3 team who has been carefully comparing past and present records. Less well known is what has been happening in the area over past 50 years, at a time when climate change was likely just beginning to have a noticeable effect. It's a period that falls within the range of living memory, yet, ironically, after centuries of habitation by the Copper Inuit (so named because of the implements they fashioned out of natural copper deposits in the region), there is no one living permanently around Bathurst Inlet today to attest to the transformation. Nowhere did this absence feel more poignant last week than at Umingmaktok, formerly called Bay Chimo, a sheltered cove nestled within a breathtaking landscape of craggy cliffs and verdant swaths of tundra sloping down toward the sea. Compared to the relatively flat and grey-hued surroundings of Cambridge Bay, it's easy to see why the semi-nomadic Inuit chose to live here, within easy reach of a bountiful ocean and a landscape populated by caribou and muskox. In 1915, when the Canadian Arctic Expedition pulled in at Umingmaktok, biologist Rudolph Anderson recorded that the settlement had ""a good many people."" Umingmaktok had ‘a good many people’ living there in 1915, according to one Arctic expedition. But epidemics, residential schools and the lure of jobs elsewhere have since left it uninhabited. Umingmaktok had ‘a good many people’ living there in 1915, according to one Arctic expedition. But epidemics, residential schools and the lure of jobs elsewhere have since left it uninhabited. Mr. Anderson's assessment would prove short-lived. Epidemics imported from the south took their toll over the next few decades and in 1955, when a Distant Early Warning Line site was built at Cambridge Bay, a former trading post 150 kilometres to the northeast, it drew the Inuit off the land in search of work. Surrounding communities dwindled. For Umingmaktok the final nail in the coffin came in the mid-1990s when a hostel associated with the residential school in Cambridge Bay was shut down. Parents whose children were at the school for most of the year were then faced with having to move in order to look after them. Later this month Ms. Gross, who is executive director of the Kitikmeot Heritage Society is leading a long-anticipated trip to bring a group of Inuit elders from Cambridge Bay back to Bathurst Inlet where they once lived. The idea is to use the landscape to trigger memories of a way of life that is fast disappearing but remains fundamental to both Inuit identity and hopes for an economically and culturally robust North in the future. Meanwhile, in her own way, Kim Howland is using memory – in this case the molecular memory recorded in DNA – to help chart a course forward for the responsible management of the Arctic. ""It's part of what drew me to the region and why I keep going back,"" Dr. Howland said. ""It's a place where we have the opportunity to communicate more directly with the people who use the resources and depend on the environment and where there is a strong desire to preserve these for future generations."""

06 Sep 2017

India, Myanmar sign 11 agreements, including maritime security cooperation

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"The MoUs were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Nay Pyi Taw: India and Myanmar today signed11 agreements in a range of sectors, including one on maritime security cooperation, to further strengthen their multifaceted partnership. The MoUs were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. India and Myanmar signed a MoU to strengthen maritime security cooperation. The two sides also signed an agreement for sharing white shipping information to improve data sharing on non-classified merchant navy ships or cargo ships. The 11 MoUs also include one between the Election Commission and Union Election of Myanmar, the national level electoral commission of Myanmar. An MoU was also signed to organise cultural exchange programme for the period 2017-2020, according to a statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs. The two countries also signed agreements on cooperation between Myanmar Press Council and Press Council of India, extension of agreement on the establishment of India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT skill. They also signed agreements to cooperate in 'Medical Products Regulation' and in the field of health and medicine. They also signed a MoU on enhancing the cooperation on upgradation of the women's police training centre at Yamethin in Myanmar. Modi arrived here on the second leg of his two-nation trip during which he travelled to southeastern Chinese city Xiamen where he attended the annual BRICS summit and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders. This is Modi's first bilateral visit to Myanmar. He had visited the country in 2014 to attend the ASEAN-India Summit. Myanmar is one of India's strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur."

04 Sep 2017

How vulnerable shipping industry is to cyber attacks?

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"The one industry that is increasingly at risk from cyber attack is the shipping industry. A gap in upgrading their infrastructure is leaving them vulnerable. Here we have reports that suggest that ships in Norway will be sailing without a crew, just like how we have a driverless car. On the other side, we have news about the NotPetya ransomware attack that is crippling the shipping industry. As hackers become more capable of breaking into any system across the world, Cybersecurity experts have advised shipping companies about the vulnerabilities they face. Nearly every ship rely on electronic devices for their operation from communications to logistics. Software is required to run the engine from GPS to chart display information. Literally, everything happens on computers. The shipping industry involves high-value assets and that is an added incentive for hackers because they know ships move valuable cargo on a daily basis. Security experts have expressed deep dismay at hackers attacking shipping firms, and they are successful in doing so. While all this happens, we have seen how the shipping industry has remained relatively unprepared. Just a few days back, the security firm Cyberkeel checked the email activity of a shipping firm and was shocked at what it saw. “Someone has hacked into the systems of the company and planted a small virus,” explains co-founder Lars Jensen. “They would then monitor all emails to and from people in the finance department.” When a supplier sends an email asking for payment, the virus would change the content of the email and the account number, thus deceiving the company to transfer the money into the account owned by the cyber criminals. All this happens before the recipient of the email reads it “The shipping industry needs to protect itself better against hackers — the fraud case dealt with by CyberKeel was just another example,” Jensen said. “In June, we saw how NotPetya ransomware created havoc and one of the hardest hit was Maersk.” Now, as things get back to normal, Maersk has revealed that the total cost of dealing with the ransomware was US$300 million. The consequences of a NotPetya cyber attack on the Maersk resulted in a shutdown of their port terminals. Today, shipping companies realize that NotPetya’s attacks on Maersk have pushed these companies against the wall. The shipping industry has finally woken up to the harsh reality that their operation is vulnerable to digital disruption. Ships with more computers are potentially vulnerable, and it’s a great cause for alarm. Malware and ransomware are designed in a way that it spreads from one computer to another on a network. “We know a cargo container, for example, where the switchboard shuts down after ransomware found its way on the vessel,” says Patrick Rossi, who works within the ethical hacking group at independent advisory organization DNV GL. It’s obvious that the shipping industry, like many others, has a lot of work to do when it comes to cyber attack. The International Maritime Organization has introduced certain guidelines to educate ship owners about the vulnerability. The shipping industry carries 90 percent of the world’s trade, and we have seen how Maersk has experienced significant damage to its business operation, thanks to NotPetya. Now before the world asks what’s next, it’s high time the shipping industry made a comprehensive effort to safeguard its systems."

29 Aug 2017

Are mega-ships more dangerous than Trump for recovering container industry, asks Xeneta

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"New alliances, structural change and positive economic trends have transformed the container shipping market over the past year, driving growth and pushing business performance figures from deep red into black. However, despite long-term rates that are, in some cases, up 120% year on year, the future remains uncertain due to a looming shadow on the horizon. And, according to Xeneta, its not being cast by the ‘usual suspect’. Xeneta, the leading global benchmarking and market intelligence platform for containerized ocean freight, says a recovery of the container segment is well underway. From a 2016 that saw the collapse of Hanjin and the top 20 market players posting combined net losses of USD 5 billion (Wall Street Journal), 2017 is shaping up to be a bumper year, as Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund explains: “Maersk’s recent 2017 Q2 financial report provides an interesting snapshot of the industry,” he notes. “Higher freight rates propelled revenues upwards by 8.4% to almost USD 10 billion for the quarter. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Hapag-Lloyd will triple its earnings this year. “Rates have jumped since their historical lows last year. For the Chinese main port to Northern Europe route last May, the three-month rolling average for long-term rates for a 40-foot container stood at USD 655. This May it was USD 1438, an increase of 120%, and the same average is now up at USD 1618. Meanwhile we see US containerized ports are busier than ever, handling a projected 1.75 million TEU this month (Global Port Tracker) alone, the most on record. This comes despite the uncertainty caused by President Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine and his withdrawal from initiatives like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. US container imports actually seem to be growing.” Strong consumer demand, the restructuring of industry alliances – 90% of all container ship traffic is now accounted for by three major alliances (THE Alliance, OCEAN and 2M) – and Hanjin’s demise all help push up utilization and rates, Berglund says, but there remains uncertainty. And, the Xeneta CEO points out, the industry may be unwittingly planning to sabotage its own success. “We remain optimistic with regards to the remainder of 2017, but the longer term becomes more complex,” he argues, pointing to one ‘huge’ issue – the increase in mega-ship capacity. “A staggering 78 new mega-ships are due to come online for the Asia-Europe trades over the next two years, pushing capacity up by over 23%,” Berglund comments. “Mega-ships make obvious sense in terms of economy of scale and optimizing transport costs, but when you have this much of a capacity injection it requires a huge demand increase… and, well, where will that come from? “Mega-ships of 18,000 TEUs need to command utilization rates of at least 91% to achieve cost savings. Even in the high volume Asia-Europe trades that is difficult and may necessitate lower than average rates for some volume, which, inevitably, will hit overall rate development. “Each of the key alliance partners is playing catch up with one another, trying to reap the mega-ship benefits. In doing so they’re going to flood the market with new capacity and risk reversing current positive trends. This is a potential mega-problem in waiting.” Berglund says that all stakeholders in the container shipping supply chain need to pay close attention to the market to stay ahead of developments and get the best rates for their assets, services and cargoes. “Platforms such as Xeneta, which crowd sources real-time global shipping data from major international businesses to give users unparalleled insight, remain the most effective way of doing this,” he says. “By benchmarking accurately against the market, decision makers will be better informed, negotiations more effective and better value can be achieved. “This sector, just like the global political scene, can be highly unpredictable ” Berglund concludes, “and the only way to counter that is by accessing the very best inside intelligence.” Xeneta gathers global shipping data from a community of over 700 leading businesses, covering more than 160,000 port-to-port pairings and over 35 million contracted rates."

29 Aug 2017

Qatar may cut capital spending because of maritime blockade - Fitch

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Qatar’s government may reduce its capital spending on economic projects and infrastructure if damage to its economy from sanctions intensifies, Fitch Ratings said on Monday as it cut the country’s credit rating. Fitch lowered Qatar by one notch to AA-minus with a negative outlook. That brought it into line with the other two major rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, which assess Qatar at the same level and also have negative outlooks for it. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing terrorism, which it denies. They imposed sanctions closing Qatar’s only land border, with Saudi Arabia, and disrupted its maritime shipping routes by ending its use of Dubai as a trans-shipment hub. Fitch noted that even before the sanctions, Qatar had shrunk its capital spending plans for 2014-2024 to $130 billion from $180 billion in response to low oil and gas prices. “The government has prepared scenarios for further cuts to capital spending in case oil prices fall again or in case pressures from the embargo intensify,” it said. Fitch predicted the Qatari government’s net foreign assets would fall to 146 percent of gross domestic product this year from 185 percent last year, as the government moves money into local banks to offset outflows due to the sanctions. Outflows are likely to slow in coming months because a large proportion of deposits from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries sanctioning Qatar have already been withdrawn, Fitch said. But it added: “Much non-GCC external funding is being rolled over at a higher cost, but the escalation of tensions in the region could see it flee.” Fitch predicted Qatar’s economic growth would slow to 2.0 percent in 2017 and 1.3 percent next year, from 2.2 percent in 2016 – forecasts that are considerably more bearish than those of many private economists. The sanctions will hurt Qatar’s tourism and transport sectors in particular, Fitch said, estimating that Qatar Airways had lost about 10 percent of its passenger flow. A prolonged rupture in the GCC could undermine the prospects for many of Qatar’s private sector investments, it added. Before the diplomatic rift, all six GCC countries agreed to introduce a 5 percent value-added tax next year as well as an excise tax on tobacco and sugary drinks. Fitch said it understood Qatar remained committed to those plans.

25 Aug 2017

Maritime Board plans to start sea plane service in a year

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" The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has chalked out a plan to make the Sea Plane Project operational within a year. The plan is to make the city a nodal centre and link it with Shegaon, Tadoba, Koradi and five more locations. Along with tourism, the project aims to facilitate joyrides, emergency services, charter plane services, etc. Chief executive officer of MMB Atul Patne told TOI the project could be launched by March or April next year, if there is a good response from sea plane operators. ""MMB has floated expression of interest inviting applications from private operators on August 19. Inquiries are coming from some reputed private operators. We are hopeful of a good response from private operators as this will be the first of its kind in the entire nation,"" he said. MMB has planned the project and is taking all efforts for its success following directives of union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari. Therefore, MMB has proposed the project first from the city. Patne said the plan is to launch sea plane services from city to three tourism locations — Shegaon, Tadoba and Koradi. ""Nagpur Improvement Trust has been appointed as nodal agency for developing Seaports at Ambazari Lake, Irai dam near Tadoba, and Koradi lake. Similar seaport will be developed in a dam near Shegaon. NIT is planning to execute memorandum of understanding with Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC), Mahagenco (controller of Koradi Lake and Irai dam), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and other departments. Support of several departments is required to make the project feasible and successful,"" he said. As per MMB's expression of interest, it will develop all infrastructure for the project. The operators will have to just operate the sea planes. Also, MMB has offered operators central government schemes like Regional Connectivity Scheme/Udaan to make the project viable. The operators will have to take clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which is a major requirement for the project. Patne added the sea plane may be of 8-14 seating capacity. ""We are also planning to permit operators to utilize sea planes for joyrides, emergency services, travel in the form of charter plane services etc, to make the project viable."" NIT chairman Deepak Mhaisekar along with MTDC managing director Vijay Waghmare held meeting with owners of hotels, tours and travel companies on Tuesday seeking their support for the project's execution. Representatives of these fields were delighted with the project, and said it could boost tourism in Vidarbha and also save time and cost for tourists. Private operator MEHR, in association with MTDC, had conducted trial of sea plane from city to Khindsi on November 15, 2014, but could not begin services. "

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