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09 Jul 2018

Rolls-Royce sells commercial marine unit to Kongsberg for $661m

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"Rolls-Royce on Friday announced the sale of its troubled commercial marine division to Norway’s Kongsberg Automotive for GBP 500 million ($661.4 million), as the company plans to simplify its operations. The net proceeds are projected to range between GBP 350 million and GBP 400 million, after taking pension liabilities and other costs in account, the UK aircraft-engine manufacturer said, adding that they will be employed to improve its balance sheet and provide additional capital for boosting returns. Moreover, the commercial marine division, which has about 3,600 employees, mostly based in the Nordic region, is set to have a positive profit impact of nearly GBP 50 million according to the company figures of 2017. Kongsberg, in which the Norwegian government owns 50%, will finance the deal with 5 billion Norwegian krone (NOK) ($619 million) through issuing rights and a new bond loan. The rights issue, which is set to take place in the fourth quarter of the current year, is subject to parliamentary approval. The deal came following a strategic review of the UK aircraft-engine manufacturer’s commercial marine business in January. ""The sale of our commercial marine business will enable us to focus on our three core businesses and on meeting the vital power needs of our customers,"" Rolls-Royce’s CEO Warren East said. The announcement was made at the time the UK company aims to save GBP 400 million per annum through a far-reaching restructuring plan. The transaction was approved by the boards of both companies, while a final deal is expected in the first quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approval."

07 Jul 2018

An International liability and compensation regime covering pollution damage caused by ships needs to be swiftly ratified by all Member States : ECSA

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"European shipowners welcome Denmark’s recent ratification of the 2010 HNS Convention. After Norway, Canada and Turkey, Denmark became the fourth country to ratify the 2010 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS Convention). “The HNS Convention is an important part of the international maritime liability and compensation regime as it establishes a comprehensive scheme covering pollution damage from hazardous and noxious substances carried by ships. The shipping industry strongly supports its ratification”, said ECSA Secretary General Martin Dorsman. “Denmark’s ratification is an important first ratification by an EU Member State. We hope that this encourages other EU Member States to ratify the Convention as soon as possible enabling its early entry into force”, he added. The 2010 HNS Convention establishes a comprehensive, uniform and global set of liability rules covering pollution damage from hazardous and noxious substances carried by ships, as well as the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life, personal injury and loss of or damage to property. In the case of larger pollution incidents, where the damages exceed the limit of the shipowner’s, the HNS Fund, pays “top up” compensation. This two tier liability regime ensures better protection and compensation for potential victims of an incident with hazardous and noxious substances at sea. The Convention is increasingly important as the carriage of HNS by sea is growing by almost all ship types including: container ships, chemical, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tankers. The Convention will enter into force 18 months after the date on which it is ratified by at least twelve States, including four States each with not less than 2 million units of gross tonnage, and having received during the preceding calendar year a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo that would be contributing to the general account."

02 Jul 2018

New Red Funnel catamaran with MTU engines ready for operation

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"All Red Funnel engines for High-speed ferries from MTU New cat powered by four MTU 10V 2000 M72 workhorses Red Jet 7, the newest fast ferry run by UK operator Red Funnel, will enter service in July after it was successfully commissioned in June. The catamaran was built in the UK by the Wight Shipyard Co. and Rolls-Royce supplied the four MTU 10V 2000 M72 engines. Red Jet 7 is the latest addition to the Red Funnel fleet, all of whose fast ferries are equipped with MTU engines. Mark Slawson, Fleet and Technical Director for Red Funnel said, “Red Jet 7 continues a long tradition of using MTU engines which began with the Italian built hydrofoils which were used in the 1970’s and 80’s. For us, the winning features are the low cost of operating the engines and their high power-to-weight ratios. Coupled with low fuel consumption, this makes the vessels very efficient to run, which is important considering the heavy operating profile they endure.” Powered by four 900 kW MTU Series 2000 engines, Red Jet 7 has a top speed of 38 knots while also meeting the International Maritime Organization requirements IMO for Tier II certification. The aluminum catamaran is to join its sister ships Red Jet 6, Red Jet 4 and Red Jet 3 in plying between Southampton and the Isle of Wight. The fast ferry will complete the 9.9 nautical mile route in a mere 23 minutes. With a length of over 40 meters, Red Jet 7 is able to accommodate up to 277 passengers. Together, the four high-speed vessels are able to transport around 1000 passengers an hour. Bruce Philips, Managing Director at MTU UK, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the British Wight Shipyard Co. on this project after Red Jet 6, and we congratulate Red Funnel on their fast ferry fleet which now consists of four ships.” Red Funnel carries over 3.4 million passengers per year between the British mainland and the Isle of Wight, a route it has been operating since 1861."

30 Jun 2018

IMO's initiative to address challenges to maritime transport for better shipping

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"The theme is providing the opportunity to take stock and look back, but also to look forward, addressing current and future challenges for maritime transport to maintain a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth for all. Lifeboat inspection, fire drills, emergency generator training, keeping watch, new friendships, ports, building professional networks, and working far away from home and family. These, and many more are all part of life at sea, and IMO’s own Sascha Pristrom is experiencing these during a voyage on the Monaco Maersk ultra-large container ship. As 2nd Officer, he is gaining a direct insight into the practical implementation, on a ship, of IMO regulations and guidelines. This comes as part of IMO’s 70th-anniversary events and celebrations, under the theme “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future"". The theme is providing the opportunity to take stock and look back, but also to look forward, addressing current and future challenges for maritime transport to maintain a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth for all. Mr. Pristrom is a technical officer in IMO’s Maritime Safety Division. Follow his journey via the online photo gallery, which includes captions describing his life at sea. To date, the voyage has taken him from Shanghai to Tianjin, Busan and Ningbo. The ship is currently on its way to Europe via the Suez Canal."

30 Jun 2018

IMO's initiative to address challenges to maritime transport for better shipping

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"The theme is providing the opportunity to take stock and look back, but also to look forward, addressing current and future challenges for maritime transport to maintain a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth for all. Lifeboat inspection, fire drills, emergency generator training, keeping watch, new friendships, ports, building professional networks, and working far away from home and family. These, and many more are all part of life at sea, and IMO’s own Sascha Pristrom is experiencing these during a voyage on the Monaco Maersk ultra-large container ship. As 2nd Officer, he is gaining a direct insight into the practical implementation, on a ship, of IMO regulations and guidelines. This comes as part of IMO’s 70th-anniversary events and celebrations, under the theme “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future"". The theme is providing the opportunity to take stock and look back, but also to look forward, addressing current and future challenges for maritime transport to maintain a continued and strengthened contribution towards sustainable growth for all. Mr. Pristrom is a technical officer in IMO’s Maritime Safety Division. Follow his journey via the online photo gallery, which includes captions describing his life at sea. To date, the voyage has taken him from Shanghai to Tianjin, Busan and Ningbo. The ship is currently on its way to Europe via the Suez Canal."

28 Jun 2018

E.U. Reaches Deal on Migration at Summit

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"European Union leaders, after marathon talks overnight, announced early Friday that they had reached a compromise deal on migration, an issue that has created a political crisis and threatens to undermine the bloc. As Italy’s new populist government threatened to block progress on other, uncontroversial issues until the migration text was addressed to its satisfaction, European leaders thrashed out the topic for nine hours before finally reaching an agreement around 5 a.m. While details were sketchy, the leaders agreed in principle, at least, on how to shore up their external borders and create screening centers for migrants, to decide more quickly whether or not they are legitimate refugees. “We still have a lot of work to do to bridge the different views,” Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said after the discussions, which a senior European official described as sometimes virulent. The leaders agreed to establish voluntary screening centers on European soil, to ease the burden on countries like Italy, Spain and Greece where migrants first arrive and are registered. They also agreed to study setting up similar centers outside Europe, in North Africa, for example, to screen migrants before they arrive. Ms. Merkel had even more at stake than the Italians, under pressure from within her own government to solve the problem of migrants coming into Germany after having registered in other countries. The Italian concern has been to stop migrants from coming to Europe in the first place. Inside Europe, the proposed centers would house migrants until they are screened, with the idea of deciding their fate more efficiently and sending back those who do not qualify as refugees. But no country has so far volunteered to host such a center. Outside Europe, centers would be designed to reduce the number of migrants who risk the sea voyage to the Continent and to disrupt the black economy of people-smuggling. Those rescued at sea could be returned to those centers for screening, not brought to Europe. But again, it was not clear which African countries might agree to house such platforms, or whether they would be compatible with international law. Addressing the concerns in Germany about registered migrants moving within Europe to try to settle there, the European leaders simply promised to “take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements.” The intent is to prevent the setting up of internal borders within the Schengen free-travel area, which could destroy the principle of borderless movement of people and goods. Whether that would be enough to satisfy Ms. Merkel’s critics at home remained to be seen. France was instrumental in trying to broker the agreement with Italy, which said it would block all agreements reached at this summit meeting until its concerns about migration were addressed. Early Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that “today Italy is no longer alone. We are satisfied.” One potential hurdle for the deal is the fact that the European Union has no uniform rules or procedures for asylum, making it unclear what rules would be applied in a screening center, whether inside or outside Europe. But setting up any such center would be a significant change from the current system, under which migrants must be screened in the European country where they first arrive and are registered. Before arriving in Brussels, Ms. Merkel warned that the issue of migration could make or break the European Union, delivering a passionate address to her Parliament. “Europe faces many challenges,” said Ms. Merkel. “But that of migration could become one that determines the fate of the European Union.” The summit meeting was originally supposed to focus on changes to solidify the euro and on Britain’s exit from the bloc. It swerved instead to migration, which has become politically fraught with the rise of populist, anti-immigrant parties — even as the number of migrants coming to Europe has fallen sharply. The new Italian government played hardball on Thursday, with Mr. Conte refusing to agree to joint conclusions on issues like digital innovation or defense cooperation until migration was dealt with. Italy has insisted on changing the regulations that govern migration into the European Union, saying that as a country of first landing, it has had enough. Italy has started to turn away ships that rescue migrants from the sea. Migrants Are on the Rise Around the World, and Myths About Them Are Shaping Attitudes Immigrants have often delivered economic benefits to the countries taking them in, but they have also upended the politics of the industrialized world — where the native-born often exaggerate their numbers and their needs. June 20, 2018 At the same time, Ms. Merkel faces an internal rebellion by Bavarian conservatives over immigration that threatens to bring down her government. Her Bavarian interior minister has warned that he will disobey her and establish a hard border with Austria unless she strikes a deal with European leaders to stem the flow of migrants into Germany. That standoff reflects the fraught politics of migration, with Bavarian conservatives facing a strong challenge from the far-right, anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany in state elections in October. So Ms. Merkel came to Brussels to reach the kind of accord on limiting migration that has slipped the grasp of European Union leaders for years. If she failed to reach an agreement that would allow her to turn back certain groups of migrants at the German border, the Bavarians could quit her government, a move that would most likely put her out of a job after almost 13 years as German leader and usher in months of uncertainty in the European Union’s most influential country. In front of a rowdy Parliament on Thursday, she essentially conflated her own fate with that of the union. Either Europe masters this challenge of migration, she said, and proves to other countries that “we are guided by values and that we rely on multilateralism, and not unilateralism,” or “no one will believe any more in our value system that made us so strong.” The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said before the summit meeting that the leaders should “focus on the E.U.’s external borders,” including screening centers, since the flow of migrants had slowed. Since 2015, Mr. Tusk said, “we have managed to stem the migration flow by 96 percent only because we decided to cooperate with third countries and to block illegal migration outside the E.U.” The alternative, he said, “would be a chaotically advancing closure of borders — also within the E.U. — as well as growing conflict among E.U. member states.” But given the tough stance on migration being taken by countries like Italy, Austria and Hungary, Mr. Tusk suggested, Europe needed to act. “Some may think I am too tough in my proposals on migration, but trust me,” he said. “If we don’t agree on them then you will see some really tough proposals from some really tough guys.” Ms. Merkel agreed, rejecting the idea of unilaterally turning back migrants at the border. Such a move would have ripple effects far beyond Germany, she warned, endangering the European project of border-free travel. Ms. Merkel’s pro-European stance and her decision to open Germany’s borders to more than 1.4 million migrants since 2015 have earned her a reputation as a defender of liberal values, while also making her the main target of far-right and populist forces across the Continent. Her address in Parliament on Thursday was unusually combative, and it was frequently interrupted by heckling from representatives of Alternative for Germany. The noise level was so high at one point that Ms. Merkel stopped and said: “My God. Really?” In Brussels, the Hungarian prime minister, Victor Orban, was characteristically harsh. “I think the people really request two things: First is, no more migrants in,” he said. The second, he said, would be the deportation of those who are already in Europe but do not qualify as refugees. “So that’s what the people want,” Mr. Orban said. “So I think in order to restore the European democracy, we have to move to that direction.” But there were words of support for Ms. Merkel from other leaders, including those of Spain and Luxembourg, whose prime minister, Xavier Bettel, said: “If we have countries saying this and that is a red line, we will never get an agreement. Legal immigration has to be the rule.” “There are so many people who arrived in different countries and then made their way to Germany,” Mr. Bettel continued. “I understand Germany says, ‘Why do we have to deal with everything?’” Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, said that the discussion was a “very important moment” for Europe. “Do we or do we not want to protect the Schengen zone by finding solutions together in a European context to manage the refugees and migrants?” he asked, referring to the system that allows passport-free travel through much of Europe. "

25 Jun 2018

Blockchain on the High Seas and the Future of Trillion Dollar Shipping

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"On January 18th, 2018 shipping and logistics giant Maersk and IBM announced their intent to establish a joint venture. The aim was to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade, using blockchain technology. “The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit.” – Vincent Clerc, Maersk Chief Commercial Officer & Future Chairman of the board In the traditional shipping world of signed & stamped cargo and freight documents, implementing change through advanced technology is a game-changer for all involved parties. Shipping has always been steeped in tradition, where verbal agreements were firm contracts, and now in the 21st century, the shipping world is finally entering the digital age. It is slowly adapting to the super-fast financial transaction systems of the digital world. Maersk will have a distinct comparative advantage to the late-comers in container shipping, because it is establishing a permissioned DLT (distributed ledger technology) platform which, while being “open”, will be governed by Maersk and other key players, as well as by leading maritime institutions and related authorities. Many other blockchain platforms are on the horizon, but being the first mover gives Maersk and IBM the comparative advantage. Denmark Leads Blockchain in Shipping The EU recently issued a declaration, stating that 24 member states will join the EU Blockchain partnership to support the establishment of blockchain standards and solutions. Denmark, a traditional maritime nation and major shipping hub, has declared that it will be the first country in the world to register ships using blockchain. Brian Mikkelsen, the Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs stated: “Blockchain goes across borders, and a joint European cooperation is crucial to ensure future-proof standards and solutions. So I’m very pleased that we have now signed this declaration. This will give Denmark a distinct comparative advantage over the late-comers of other global maritime hubs, as it will put it in a leading position to set standards for ship registration on the blockchain. Most in the shipping industry would have assumed that other leading maritime nations such as Greece, Norway or Japan would take the lead and have London as the centre of shipping maritime digitalisation and tech advancement, however, all the aforementioned have not used their maritime status and market dominance to their advantage. The cost and size of the world’s trading ecosystems continues to grow in complexity. More than $4trn in goods are shipped each year, and more than 80% of the goods consumers use daily are carried by the ocean shipping industry. According to The World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15%, boosting economies and creating jobs. Trust, Transparency and Drowning in a Sea of Paper Shipments of goods involve many parties that are spread across borders and in many cases, on the other side of the world. Apart from the buyer and seller of the goods, there are intermediaries all along the supply chain, from cargo brokers to shipbrokers, banks, clearing houses, all of them submitting, approving and forwarding the required documents to ensure that the transactions and trades are completed to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Keeping track of cargo and ensuring its timely and correct delivery is a gargantuan task, that since the advent of computer technology has been simplified and made more efficient. What used to take months has been reduced to weeks or even days. Blockchain will further reduce this depending on the size of trade or transaction involved. The prize is a revolution in world trade on a scale not seen since the move to standard containers in the 1960s. But the undertaking is as big as the potential upheaval it will cause. To make it work, dozens of shipping lines and thousands of related businesses around the world will have to work out a protocol that can integrate all the new systems onto one vast platform. According to the World Economic Forum, improving communications and border administration using blockchain could generate an additional $1trn in global trade. Blockchain – The Next Frontier for Global Supply Chains “You can’t revolutionize the shipping industry if everyone’s using a different blockchain system"" -- Matt Levine In early May of 2018, the CEO of FedEx referred to blockchain as the “next frontier” for global supply chains. To ensure its competitive advantage and reputation, as well as live up to its famous slogan “When it Absolutely, Positively has to be there overnight”, FedEx created a sophisticated IT infrastructure and distribution network that ensured timely delivery across the world and minimised lost or damaged packages. These days, other competitors have entered the express courier trade, such as UPS and DHL, which are competing directly with FedEx. To safeguard their competitive advantage, each courier company created their own sophisticated distribution network and IT platform only available to cargo brokers, freight agents and distribution centres strategically located across the world. The same applies to shipping and maritime trade. Each shipping giant, or shipping line alliance, has created their own „silos“ of freight and payments transaction data that is only accessible to anyone with permission to access those silos and private data networks. Regretfully, the same is happening now with the advent of public blockchain and private/permissioned DLT such as the recent collaboration between Maersk and IBM. Both will, in all likelihood, only allow competitors to access their permissioned DLT networks if there is something to be gained. Open public blockchain will be the only way forward for the entire shipping and logistics world just as the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) made mobile phone calling possible in 212 countries (and territories), serving more than 5bn people, comprising more than 80% of the mobile market across the globe. Reducing or even eliminating the paper trail in global trade would result in massive savings and lowered costs as well as shortened transport times between manufacturer and consumer, by avoiding costly time delays at borders, ports and terminals. Blockchain startups like BitNautic are taking this concept even further into other areas of the shipping and maritime industry such as logistics, e-commerce, ships supply, ship broking and cargo consolidation. Cargo Commoditisation The biggest change came in the 1960s, when the industry adopted the standard-size steel boxes in use today, replacing the wooden crates, chests and sacks that stevedores had hauled on the docks for centuries. The advent of global trade using box containers with standard sizes has been a game-changer in the shipping and logistics industry. It shortened transport times, reduced costs and increased efficiency all across the supply chain, as goods could be packed into containers at the factory or warehouse, and unpacked the same way at the receiving end thus avoid manual handling of loading and unloading goods or bulk cargo on board ships. Blockchain will bring about the same revolution as containerisation, this time at the administrative level. All concerned parties to a trade will be able to exchange information and documents on blockchain networks, at a fraction of the time and cost when compared to current systems. “Blockchain in Transport Alliance” has been established with the aim to set standards for the application of blockchain in the maritime and shipping industry. Many key players and major companies in shipping and logistics have joined, with the goal to explore and implement blockchain in supply-chain and cargo transport. Shipping and cargo standardisation is key for global trade efficiency since goods travel through customs, brokers, intermediaries, buyers and sellers. Shipping containers – some even fitted with tracking devices – are already being accounted for on permissioned DLT protocols, because it is relatively simple to account for a small box in a standard size (mostly TEU 40ft), that can be transported by train, truck or ship, and stored in a factory, warehouse or shipping container terminal. Bulk cargoes are not necessarily difficult to track with the prevailing legacy systems, document exchanges and satellite tracking, however, the quantities transported can be tampered with, and this is one of the biggest scourges in bulk cargo transport and maritime transportation in general. It concerns ships departing loading ports with full cargo and arriving at the destination with missing or damaged cargo. Blockchain will not be able to resolve such issues as piracy, but it can ameliorate cargo traceability. It will even improve the dynamics of global trade supply and demand, as “goods on-the-road” will be accounted for in an up-to-date and transparent way by removing the element of unaccounted cargo. Blockchain and the commoditisation of cargo transportation should be a game-changer in global trade, as well as in shipping, maritime and the entire supply-chain world of logistics."

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