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07 Dec 2017

Warmer Arctic presents new economic possibilities

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"It is time to pay more attention to the Arctic, as most of the major powers make a big play for its resources and development. The last of the true frontiers is opening up, and it poses even more challenges and opportunities for those who dare, Singapore included. The Trump administration has approved an oil company's request for Arctic Ocean oil exploration. The United States' Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has recently granted a permit for Italian oil giant Eni SpA to drill an exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea to test production conditions there. This is where Singapore has an opportunity to revive its own fortunes, especially when it comes to companies in the oil and gas sector that specialise in offshore or marine services. For instance, oil rig and shipbuilding company Keppel has completed a number of ice-class vessels, including the first icebreakers built in Asia, and is now working with oil majors and drilling contractors to develop the world's first Arctic-grade, environmentally friendly ""green"" rig. As the Arctic becomes increasingly affected by climate change and global warming, Singapore can become more involved in the development of maritime infrastructure to facilitate safe shipping as new sea routes materialise. A warmer Arctic no doubt presents new economic possibilities. After all, Singapore's marine industry has built up strong credentials in shipbuilding and repair, offshore engineering, port operation and support services, which can be applied in the Arctic."

01 Nov 2017

Commerce & Industry Minister visits Cuba to explore bilateral trade and investment opportunities in Latin American and Caribbean regions

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"The Minister for Commerce and Industry Shri Suresh Prabhu visited Cuba from October 28 to 31 to explore opportunities to tap the huge untapped potential, for not only bilateral trade but also investment in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. It has been the strategy to pursue new markets to expand India's trade footprint and targets to double trade with the Latam and Caricom region in the next 4 to 5 years. With the Caribbean region, India’s bilateral trade was US$ 1755 million in 2016-17, constituting only 7.16 percent of India’s trade with the Latin American and Caribbean region. India has always enjoyed a good political relationship with Cuba, with India being one of the first countries to recognise the regime after the Revolution. The visit of the Commerce & Industry Minister was to leverage this age old political relationship to enhance the economic and commercial ties between the two countries. The Minister met almost the entire top leadership in Cuba including the First Vice President Mr. Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez Mario, Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Planning Mr. Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Mr. Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, Minister of Energy and Mines Mr. Alfredo Lopez Valdes, Minister of Industries Mr. Salvador Pardo Cruz and also the President of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce. The First Vice President Mr. Miguel Diaz attached historic importance to this visit saying that ‘India has a prominent role in global dynamics” and aligned with the Minister for Commerce & Industries’ proposition of an integrated approach in multilateral organisations and environmental issues. Considering the overwhelming support and warmth in the meetings, a spontaneous decision was taken to take the next step in this econmic engagement in the form of an MoU between the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce. The MoU priorities six sectors for bilateral trade and investments. These are Pharmaceuticals, Tourism, Renewable Energy, Bio Technology, Sugar and Infrastructure development. Similar MoUs were later signed with Barbados and Guyana. Shri Prabhu also leveraged this opportubity to meet his counterpart from Haiti, Mr. Pierre Marie du Meny and the Barbados Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Mr. Donville Inniss. The Minister for Commerce & Industry also attended the inaugration of the 35th edition of FIHAV-2017 which saw particpation from over 70 countries. The Minister also inaugurated the Indian Pavilion in the presence of the Cuban Minister of Energy & Mines. The Minister said “FIHAV was an exhibition of goods but I exhibit the love and affection which 1.3 billion people from India have for Cuba”. Shri Prabhu also engaged with the Indian diaspora, leading businessmen from Cuba and other prominent Cuban individuals, including the daughter of President Raul Castro and the son of Comrade Fidel Castro. The Minister for Commerce & Industry also visited the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) and appreciated the high research standards and advancement in medical technology that Cuba has achieved. Shri Prabhu reiterated the potential of coopertaion between the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry which is a world leader in generics and CIGB to find affordable health solutions."

18 Oct 2017

ICS ‘Deeply Concerned’ by Canadian Legislation that will Interfere with International Maritime Trade

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"The Canadian Parliament is giving consideration to legislation that would have the effect of establishing a moratorium on the shipment of crude oil in the waters of Northern British Columbia (Bill C-48: An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast). The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing the world’s national shipowners’ associations and 80% of the world merchant fleet, has voiced deep concern about this proposed legislation which it says will interfere with international maritime trade. “Such a draconian step could lead to serious concerns being raised by Canada’s international trading partners,” said ICS Director of Policy and External Relations, Simon Bennett. ICS asserts that the proposals have not been developed through an evidence-based process, and believes that it would establish an unwelcome precedent that might be emulated elsewhere, including by individual U.S. States, with the potential to impact greatly on the efficiency of world trade, as well as that of Canada. ICS says that the environmental record of the shipping industry, especially the tanker sector, is impressive. On average, worldwide, there are currently fewer than two significant oil spills (over 700 tonnes) per year, compared to 25 such incidents per year thirty years ago, despite a doubling of the amount of oil transported by sea. “We would instead encourage Canada to continue its strong history of environmental protection and support for responsible global trade through the implementation of practical measures consistent with international best practice. This includes respecting the UN International Maritime Organization’s role in developing safe and sustainable shipping regulations and recommendations that might address any concerns that Canada may have,” said Mr Bennett. ICS says that the global shipping industry fully recognises the importance of robust environmental protection measures, and is committed to the goal of zero pollution, consistent with the comprehensive global regulatory framework adopted by the International Maritime Organization, in accordance with the United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which Canada is a State Party. This legislation, tabled in the Canadian parliament in May, will be reviewed by a parliamentary committee, beginning on 19 October."

12 Aug 2017

BIMCO eLearning dramatically refreshed

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BIMCO - the world's largest shipping association - has launched the first of a range of updated eLearning courses tailored to meet shipping professionals' needs, using the very latest content authoring technology and platform. The first short documentary course is NYPE 2015, which is based on one of the most popular individual contracts available through BIMCO, and only takes an hour! The other two courses, one covers Time Chartering and the other Voyage Chartering, provide the latest details in depth. They are for anyone wanting to go to the next level in their specialist chartering knowledge by tapping into BIMCO's expert knowledge and advice. The courses will be available on BIMCO's new look and feel eLearning platform Docebo, which is an intuitive and easy to use platform that allows the users to choose tutor-led study and/or flexible untutored sessions whenever it suits them. The training is centred around specially designed interactive digital books which are written by industry experts and are unique in the industry. All the information is delivered in the latest HTML 5 format which is smart, user-friendly, highly responsive and easily accessible on computer, tablet, smart phone or via the app. A further five courses are in the pipeline. They all focus on the subjects that BIMCO 'knows best' using the organisation's unrivalled expertise to deliver specialist training content that goes above and beyond normal expectations. Angus Frew, Secretary General and CEO at BIMCO said: "Our new training packages will be delivered using the very latest digital technology, it's responsive and intuitive there is quite simply nothing else like it out there, added to which our unrivalled industry expertise delivers the very latest expert content in the most flexible way possible for our course participants. "NYPE 2015 is the most widely used dry cargo time charter party in the industry, and so it seemed logical to use this most topical and sought-after subject to demonstrate and showcase what our new eLearning resources can deliver. "This is just the first step for BIMCO in its ambition to be the first choice and unrivalled leader in any training relating to chartering and of course, using our many BIMCO documents".

14 Jul 2017

Shipping Ministry appointed committee suggests ways to upgrade port hospitals under PPP

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"The Ministry of Shipping had constituted a committee to study how the existing healthcare infrastructure at major ports can be upgraded under PPP mode to provide world class health services, along with affordable medical and paramedical education. Presenting its report to Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping and Road Transport and Highways in New Delhi today, the committee has indicated possible alternatives by which port hospitals can be upgraded under PPP mode so that their healthcare facilities are augmented. The report has also indicated the feasibility of starting of medical college and postgraduate specialty courses attached to port hospitals. According to the report, the hospitals at Mumbai Port which has more than 200 beds can be taken up for this, while hospitals at Cochin, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata ports can be considered for upgradation into tertiary care facilities, with a particular super specialty being assigned to a specific port hospital, which then becomes the super specialty center for all referral purposes by the other port hospitals. As such, Port Trust Hospital, Chennai could be availed for development of tertiary care facilities in the domain of cardiovascular thoracic surgery, Port Trust Hospital Cochin for nephrology, Port Trust Hospital Kolkata for neurology and neurosurgery and Port Trust Hospital Vishakhapatnam for gastroenterology and surgical gastroenterology respectively. The report has also indicated certain policy changes that need to be brought in with the objective of widening the ambits of PPP mode and teachers eligibility qualification under the relevant regulations. Speaking on the occasion Shri Gadkari said that if port hospitals can be upgraded under PPP mode and if medical colleges and PG courses can be started at these hospitals, it will not only enhance the quality of health care available to people in and around the port area, but will also create educational and employment opportunities for the local youth. He said that this move will also help fill the huge shortage of doctors and paramedical staff in the country, and will make ports the drivers of economic change, enabling equitable and inclusive growth of the local area. He said this will also usher in the era of Smart Ports, Smart Cities and Smart Hospitals. The committee was constituted on 6th May, 2016 under the chairmanship of Dr. Ved Prakash Mishra, Chancellor of Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed University), Karad and Chairman of the Academic Committee of the Medical Council of India, New Delhi."

09 May 2017

The FMC declines to address Japanese carriers’ Tripartite Agreement on jurisdictional grounds

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"The Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC” or “Commission”) declined to address Nippon Yusen KK (“NYK”), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (“MOL”), and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd.’s (“K-Line”) (collectively the “parties”) Tripartite Agreement (the “Agreement”) on jurisdictional grounds. As the final event of a historic year of consolidation, the three Japanese carriers announced plans in Fall 2016 to merge container operations through the formation of a joint venture, with services beginning by April 1, 2018. While terminal operations worldwide (excluding Japan) will be included in the joint venture, other components of the companies such as bulk and ferry services will remain unintegrated. The Agreement - filed with the Commission on March 24, 2017 - sought FMC approval to share information in advance of the parties’ formation of this merged entity. The Shipping Act, as amended, vests the Commission with the power to approve and oversee cooperative agreements between common carriers, commonly referred to as alliances. However, the Shipping Act does not provide the FMC jurisdiction in any regard over pure horizontal mergers, a power primarily reserved for the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (“DOJ” or the “Department”). It was on this jurisdictional ground that the Commission declined to approve the Agreement: “[t]he Shipping Act does not provide the [FMC] with authority to review and approve mergers. After careful consideration, the Commission determined that parties to the Tripartite Agreement were ultimately establishing a merged, new business entity and that action is among the type of agreements excluded from FMC review.” On May 5, 2017, Chairman Michael Khouri issued a statement doubling down on the FMC’s deferral of substantive antitrust review, and clarified that the Commission had made no judgment as to the efficacy of the parties’ proposed merger: “[t]he Commission made only one finding – that the Tripartite Agreement falls outside the jurisdiction of the Shipping Act of 1984. The Commission made no determination of any kind regarding the agreement parties’ commercial activities regarding their compliance with general antitrust laws that are administered by other federal agencies.” The denial comes at a pivotal time in the shipping industry, and among growing tension between the FMC and the DOJ. April 1st marked the long-awaited commencement of services under THE Alliance and the OCEAN Alliance, with the Maersk/MSC/HMM Strategic Cooperation Agreement coming into place on March 30th, separate and apart from the 2M Alliance; all three agreements received the FMC’s blessing, despite the DOJ’s sustained criticism. The Department has long taken the public position that the general antitrust exemption for carrier agreements is no longer justified, and that the shipping industry exhibits no characteristics that warrant departure from traditional competition policy. As such, the Department has undertaken an independent probe into price-fixing in the shipping industry, in conjunction with mass consolidation and normalizing freight rates. In furtherance of its investigation, the Department served subpoenas on top executives of twenty of the world’s largest carriers less than two weeks preceding the new alliances’ commencement. The FMC, mindful of its narrow Shipping Act mandate, is likely operating with increased vigilance in what has become a complicated and charged regulatory environment over this historic year of consolidation."

26 Apr 2017

DNV GL launches new PSC Planner application

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"Classification society DNV GL has launched a new application on its My DNV GL portal – the Port State Control (PSC) Planner. The PSC Planner has been designed to help ship owners, managers and operators increase their operational efficiency by giving them an overview of a vessel’s or fleet’s PSC performance and to benchmark that performance against the IACS classed world fleet. It also helps the crew on board by showing them particular areas to focus on when they are preparing for their next inspection. “The rise of risk based port inspection regimes means it is more important than ever for ships to keep a clean PSC record,” says Claudia Ohlmeier, Group Leader Port State Control, DNV GL – Maritime. “With the PSC Planner shore side and on board personnel can see both the big picture and ship specific details. Crews can easily access the inspection results of their vessel and trends at their next port of call, which lets them ensure they are focusing on critical areas, while onshore staff can easily see where their fleet ranks and can identify and prioritise items or underperforming vessels for targeted improvements. Ultimately this is all about working toward the goal of having a safe ship, with a good reputation, that is complying with the rules effectively and efficiently.” The PSC Planner provides information on a vessel’s last PSC inspection as well as a summary of the results of all PSC inspections over the last 36 months. It also gives an overview of the PSC performance of both fleets and individual vessels, as well as benchmarking against the IACS classed world fleet. For vessels that are in DNV GL class or use other DNV GL services, the PSC Planner offers extra tailored data. It shows customers the NIR (New Inspection Regime) risk factors for the Paris, Tokyo, and Black Sea MoUs and their PSC inspection priorities. For individual vessels, customers can check the Ship Risk Factor associated with calling at a selected port and the top PSC inspection priorities in any port. Customers can also check a list of the top deficiencies their ship has received in the main PSC code categories and a list of the top deficiencies that have been identified in a selected port, in general and for the same ship type. The PSC Planner can also create a bespoke checklist for customers with the top ten focus items based on the ship and port so they can prepare optimally for individual vessel inspections, saving valuable time and effort."

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