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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Egypt Rejects Russian Wheat Cargo

Egypt has finalised its rejection of 18,000 metric tons of Russian wheat that prosecutors seized at an Alexandria port in November, traders with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. Egyptian prosecutors had seized the wheat from a storage site belonging to a private company in Dekheila port after finding it unsuitable for human consumption. Cairo-based traders told Reuters in November the shipment was seized after large numbers of insects were found in the storage site. The shipment will now be re-exported, the traders said on Thursday. Russia's agriculture safety watchdog had said in January the shipment could be released after fumigation to get rid of pests. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Eric Knecht)

Indonesia Port Disruptions Cause Coal Delays

File Image (Credit: BSM)

Loading disruptions at ports in East and South Kalimantan on the Indonesian side of Borneo island are causing a coal supply shortage in one of the world's most important export regions, causing delays as ships wait to take on new cargoes. Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon and port loading schedules seen by Reuters show 136 ships were offshore Indonesia as of Feb. 6, waiting to take on coal. The affected coal ports and anchorage zones include Samarinda in the province of East Kalimantan and Taboneo, near the capital of South Kalimantan, Banjarmasin, on the island's southern coast.

Boxship Firms Sign up with Alibaba

File Image: A CMA CGM boxship condusting cargo operations alongside (CREDIT: Marad)

Two container shipping lines, France's CMA CGM and Israel's Zim, have signed up with Alibaba to allow customers to book space on their vessels through the Chinese e-commerce giant, in a bid to boost sales as the sector battles a severe downturn. Container lines, facing their worst ever downturn due to a glut of ships and weaker demand, are pursuing several measures such as vessel-sharing arrangements or mergers and acquisitions to ride out the current slump. A growing number of logistics firms are going online to buoy their business.

Venezuela Delays Crude Shipments amid Operational Mishaps, Low Output

Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has delayed and canceled crude deliveries to commercial partners in recent months, according to documents seen by Reuters, a further sign of the steady production decline of the country's top export. From October through January, PDVSA canceled or delayed delivery of almost 7 million barrels of crude due to cargoes being rescheduled or skipped, often because it did not have enough oil available, according to internal company documents seen by Reuters. Most pending cargoes were supposed to be delivered to regular buyers including U.S. Phillips 66 and Thai TIPCO Asphalt. Other shipments were canceled even before being assigned to specific customers.

Tangshan Port Shares Soar on Coal Clampdown Rumors

File Image: a so-called ValeMax bulk carrier (CREDIT: Vale)

Shares of Tangshan Port Group Co Ltd soared 7 percent on Tuesday, to post their biggest daily percentage gain in nine months, as investors bet the small port would benefit from a major clampdown on coal transportation at its larger rival. Shares in the Hebei-based company trading on Shanghai stock exchange jumped to 4.6 yuan ($0.67), their highest since Nov. 15, on Tuesday before ending the session at 4.52 yuan. Trading volume was also higher than usual with 121 million shares, the highest in a year. The stock posted its biggest daily percentage gain since May 13 last year.

France: STX France talks with Fincantieri to Continue

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

French industry minister Christophe Sirugue said he would meet Italy's Fincantieri in a week's time to discuss its bid for STX France, but added France was still against Fincantieri gaining dominance in the governance of STX France. "Our position is that we do not want Fincantieri to be the sole majority shareholder in the governance of Saint-Nazaire shipyards," Sirugue told Reuters on Friday, speaking on the sidelines of a news conference in Paris. "We continue to work with Fincantieri and we will probably have to meet again in a week's time".

Spanish Dockers Call Strike over Non-union Labor

Spanish dock workers have called nine days of strikes to protest government plans to allow ports to hire non-unionized labor, El Pais newspaper reported on Tuesday, threatening to disrupt trade for up to three weeks from March 6. Dockers last week called off a planned three-day strike after the government said it would put its reforms on hold and open talks, but the decision to push ahead with a bigger strike came after the government signaled it would not change parts of the plan, El Pais said, citing the CETM union. Reuters could not reach CETM for comment. The proposals would allow companies operating in ports to hire staff that do not belong to unions, a move unpopular with union members but which would help bring Spain in line with European Union regulations.

Frontline Says Offer for DHT Remains 'Compelling'

Photo: DHT Holdings

Oil tanker firm Frontline reiterated its all-share offer for smaller rival DHT Holdings on Thursday despite the latter's rejection. Last month Frontline made a non-binding offer to acquire all DHT's outstanding shares in the hope of creating the largest private tanker firm in the world. DHT rejected the offer as "wholly inadequate" on Monday. "We believe that our offer to DHT shareholders is highly compelling since it provides a meaningful upfront premium," Frontline CEO Robert Hvide Macleod said in a statement, adding that DHT had declined to enter into talks with Frontline.

SBM Offshore Raises Dividend

Photo: SBM Offshore

Dutch oil-ship lessor SBM Offshore's full-year core profit (EBITDA) jumped 67 percent, driven by growth in its Lease and Operate business, the company said on Wednesday. SBM, which has been seeking a settlement after being accused of paying bribes to executives of state-controlled oil company Petrobras, reported an EBITDA of $772 million for 2016. Revenue fell 16 percent to $2.27 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected revenue of $2.06 billion and EBITDA of $729 million. The company also raised its dividend by 10 percent to $0.23 per share, beating analysts' expectations.

Pakistan's First Dry Bulk Terminal to Open in March

Pakistan's first dry bulk terminal will open next month and is expected to handle 3 million tonnes a year of coal imports, rising to 20 million tonnes over the next five years, the port's chief executive said on Thursday. The $285 million Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, which was built with support from the World Bank, will also be used to export cement and clinker, Sharique Siddiqui, chief executive for the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Ltd, told Reuters at a coal conference in Cape Town. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf)

No Cash: PDVSA Tankers Stuck Off Venezuela

More than 4 million barrels of Venezuelan crude oil and fuels are stuck in tankers in the Caribbean because Venezuela’s state-run oil firm cannot afford to pay for cleaning dirty tankers and port inspections, Reuters reports, quoting internal company reports and Reuters tanker tracking data. According to PDVSA’s trade documents and Reuters shipping data, some dozen tankers full of  barrels are being held back because the hulls have been soiled by crude, stemming from several oil leaks in the last year at key ports of Bajo Grande and Jose, which has resulted in delayed operations for loading and discharging. Since debt-laden PDVSA cannot afford to have the ships cleaned, they have to wait for weeks to navigate international waters, delaying shipments.

US Navy Destroyer to Patrol off Yemen amid Iran Tensions

The United States has sent a Navy destroyer to patrol off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Houthi militia aligned with Iran, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran. The USS Cole arrived in the vicinity of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen where it will carry out patrols, including escorting vessels, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. In 2000, the USS Cole was attacked when al Qaeda bombers steered a boat full of explosives into the side of the American warship while it refueled in the Yemini port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding about three dozen others. While U.S.

STX Wins $183 Tanker Order

Reuters reported that South Korea's STX Shipbuilding Co. has won a $183.3m order from Malaysia to build four product carriers. Source: Reuters

Offshore Wind Turbines Planned in UK

According to a report from Reuters, Clipper Windpower Plc plans to build the world's biggest offshore wind turbines in Britain, which hopes to catch up in green energy after lagging behind others in Europe despite its rich wind resources. Jim Dehlsen, chairman of the London-listed, U.S.-based company, told Reuters it will set up a factory in northern England, which would have an annual capacity to manufacture about 200 turbines by 2014-2015. (Source: Reuters)

POSCO, Hanwha Seen Bidding for Daewoo Int'l

According to a Sept. 23 Reuters report, POSCO (005490.KS) and South Korea's chemicals-to-brokerage group Hanwha are studying a potential bid for Daewoo International (047050.KS), sources close to the companies told Reuters on Wednesday. (Source: Reuters)

Seoul Shares Up 0.5 pct, Shipyards Gain

According to a Sept 15 report from Reuters, Seoul shares edged up on Wednesday helped by firm gains in shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd (009540.KS), but falls in retailers and banks such as Shinhan Financial Group Co Ltd (055550.KS) weighed. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index .KS11 (KOSPI) ended up 0.48 percent at 1,823.88 points. Kim Seong-bong, a market analyst at Samsung Securities told Reuters that the company is seeing a lot of equity redemption by fundholders at the index's current level, and this will pressure the market for some time. (Source: Reuters)

Pirates: Second Tanker Attacked Off Oman

According to a Reuters report, a chemical oil tanker thwarted a hijack attempt by pirates near the Omani port of Salalah Sunday, a day after a tanker and crew were taken from inside the port in front of the coast guard. According to reports cited in the Reuters story, a pirate skiff fired on the chemical tanker, but its efforts were defeated by evasive manuevers. On Saturday, pirates took the empty MV Fairchem Bogey chemical oil tanker from its anchorage at the port in the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, taking 21 Indian crew members hostage and heading to Somalia. (Source: Reuters)

Bulk Carrier Remains at Anchorage

The Hong Kong-flag bulk carrier Maritime Talent remains at anchorage in Narvik, Norway following a labor union boycott, Reuters reported. The 47,574-dwt vessel arrived in Narvik last Thursday. However, following a boycott by the LKAB labor union, the vessel lost its loading turn and had to remain at anchorage, Reuters added. Reuters said that the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) had demanded an agreement be signed with the Norwegian Seamen's Union.

Port of Baltimore Hit by Longshoreman's Strike

Port of Baltimore Wharf: Photo courtesy of Maryland Dept of Transportation

Cargo operations at the Port of Baltimore, one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States, were halted on Wednesday by a longshoremen's strike after contract negotiations stalled, report Reuters. Citing Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration, Reuters inform that there is no cargo being handled or ships being worked at the public marine terminals at the port of Baltimore, which is the only port from Maine to Texas that was not working that day.

Libyan Port's Record Container Throughput

This year (2013) Misrata’s non-oil port, situated 124 miles east of the capital Tripoli, has unloaded 208,339 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers, up from 159,634 last year, reports Reuters. Libya’s third-biggest city, Misrata, has benefited from better security conditions than other parts of the OPEC producer, which has been hit by turmoil since the 2011 toppling of Muammar Gaddafi. Analysts say, according to Reuters, that apart from better security, Misrata port benefits from a free trade zone offering special benefits for investors such as exemptions from taxes and duties. Source: Reuters  

BHP Iron Ore Mines Resume Operation

Reuters reported that BHP Billiton’s Australian iron ore mines have recommenced work at full operation following a cyclone that battered coastal regions and closed major shipping terminals this week. “Port Hedland, the world's biggest iron ore terminal and used by BHP to export nearly 200 million metric tons of the steel-making material annually, sustained only minor damage from Cyclone Christine and reopened late on Tuesday,” Reuters said. The storm hit Australia's northwestern coast late on Monday with winds recorded up to 100 mph, before weakening as it crossed the Pilbara iron ore mining belt. Reuters also reported that Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto also said their operations were returning to normal. Source: Reuters  

Tanker Blocked by Libyan Navy

Libya's navy has blocked Baku, an oil tanker allegedly chartered by Royal Asset Management, from loading crude at an eastern port that has been held for months by armed protesters demanding more autonomy from Tripoli, Reuters reported. Due to a government blockade, the transport of oil from Libya is illegal. An attempt by protesters to get oil to world markets independently would be a major escalation of the obstruction that has slashed Libya's oil exports, the Reuters report said. According to Reuters’ AIS Live ship tracking, the tanker is traveling north towards Malta after sailing around Libya since the end of December. The vessel was outside Brega port and then Zawiya before heading to Es Sider.   Sources: Reuters, staff

NLNG May Get Cash for Six LNG Carriers Soon

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) $1.6 billion bank loan on the cards. The company, which is majority owned jointly by the state oil company NNPC and Royal Dutch Shell, told Reuters a year ago it had contacted global banks to appoint advisers to explore the best option to raise funds. More recently a banking source told Reuters that the loan was being structured as a medium to long term financing with the close expected by the end of March 2013. NLNG was set up over two decades ago to harness Nigeria's natural gas resources and produce liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export. It has long-term supply contracts with buyers in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal and France and also sells on the spot market, reports Reuters. Source: Reuters    

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Feb 2017 - The Cruise Industry Edition

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