Central Asia News

14 Feb 2019

ICTSI Expands Batumi Container Terminal

During the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the formal inauguration of BICT’s multifaceted expansion program. Photo: ICTSI

Philippines-based port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has inaugurated the newly-expanded Batumi International Container Terminal (BICT) in Georgia.The expansion encompasses both the waterside and landside areas of the multipurpose terminal, intended to optimize the processing of existing cargo flows and install additional capacity to accommodate new business.Marking the importance of the occasion, the inauguration was attended by Giorgi Kobulia…

12 Nov 2018

China Becomes Top Natural Gas Importer

© vladsv / Adobe Stock

China has overtaken Japan to become the world's top importer of natural gas, as Beijing's crackdown on pollution boosts its demand for the more environmentally friendly fuel, while the restart of nuclear reactors in Japan reduces its LNG imports.China's total natural gas imports over January to October this year via pipeline and as liquefied natural gas (LNG) were at 72.06 million tonnes, up a third from the same period last year, according to Reuters calculations based on General Administration of Customs data.Japan…

16 Apr 2018

Japan, China Agree Trade War Will Harm Global Economy

© xy / Adobe Stock

Japan and China agree that a trade war will have serious consequences for the world economy, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Monday after a high-level economic dialogue between the world's third- and second-largest economies. Concern is growing about a trade row between China and the United States in which the two nations have threatened each other with tariffs. Japan has been criticised by U.S. President Donald Trump on trade and been hit with tariffs on steel and aluminum, but it has not yet threatened counter-tariffs.

16 Jan 2018

India's Oil Imports Surged in 2017

© Igor Yu. Groshev / Adobe Stock photo

India's oil imports rose by about 1.8 percent in 2017 to a record 4.37 million barrels per day (bpd) as the country boosted purchases to feed its expanded refining capacity, ship-tracking data obtained from sources and data compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research & Forecasts showed. To meet its growing fuel demand India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, raised its refining capacity in the second half of 2017. India's capacity expansion to about 5 million bpd was aided by Reliance Industries…

12 Jan 2018

APM Terminals Poti to Build Cargo Terminal

Photo: APM Terminals

APM Terminals Poti and Poti New Terminals Consortium signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a USD 100 million dollar investment in a new bulk cargo terminal that can process 1.5 million tons of dry bulk cargo annually and generate new trade opportunities for customers in the Georgian transit corridor. The new terminal is expected to be built on APM Terminals Poti land and infrastructure and will entail the construction, development and operation of a new breakwater, dry bulk cargo terminal and related infrastructure to serve bulk cargo customers.

03 Jan 2018

China to top Japan as World's Biggest LNG Importer

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: QGTC)

Pollution fight drives surge in pipeline, LNG imports but Japan remains world's biggest importer of LNG. Beijing's crackdown on pollution has put China on track to overtake Japan this year as the world's biggest importer of natural gas, used to replace dirtier coal. China - already the biggest importer of oil and coal - is the world's third biggest user of natural gas behind the United States and Russia, but has to import around 40 percent of its total needs as domestic production can't keep up with demand.

26 Dec 2017

China Rises to World's No.2 LNG Importer

File Image: A typical LNG Carrier at Sea (CREDIT: QGTC)

China's 2017 LNG imports to top South Korea's for first time; becomes key driver of spot LNG prices. China will become the world's second-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) this year as it overtakes South Korea, shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. This is a huge boost to Asia's emerging spot market as Chinese buyers rely much more on short-term purchases to meet their needs than their counterparts in Japan and South Korea. Shipping data in Thomson Reuters…

15 Nov 2017

APM Terminals Poti Upgrades Tugboat Services

Photo: APM Terminals

APM Terminals Poti has added two Azimuth Stern-Drive (ASD) tugboats from the Maersk Transport & Logistics sister brand Svitzer, to significantly improve harsh weather operating capabilities and night time navigation through the entrance channel. New Svitzer tugboats can operate in harsh weather conditions, offer safer, stronger services for night time entrance channel navigation. APM Terminals Poti Managing Director, Klaus Holm Laursen said, “We are excited to strengthen our vessel handling capabilities with these advanced tugboats.

06 Nov 2017

Upbeat Outlook for Dry Bulk Charter Rates

Graph:  Drewry Shipping Consultants Limited

Drewry expects dry bulk shipping charter rates to recover from the second quarter of 2018 on the back of strengthening Asian iron ore demand, according to the latest edition of the Dry Bulk Forecaster, published by global shipping consultancy Drewry. For the medium and long term, Drewry holds the same views as in previous forecasts. Chinese steel production is expected to pick up pace at the end of winter, in the second quarter of next year, by which time production curbs will have relaxed. Strong infrastructure and construction activities will further strengthen steel consumption.

29 Sep 2017

Chinese Demand Ensures Asian LNG Rally Has Legs

© Altin Osmanaj / Adobe Stock

Unexpectedly strong demand from China, along with rising oil and coal prices, should keep Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot levels buoyant this winter. Despite rising supplies from new plants, spot prices have risen by 55 percent from their 2017 lows to $8.40 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) as Asian buyers also refilled summer stocks. With the peak demand October-March winter gas season almost underway, further price gains are expected. Nuclear outages in Taiwan and rising demand from Thailand…

24 Sep 2017

Iran, Kazakhstan to Establish Joint Shipping Company

Image: Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL)

Iran and Kazakhstan established a joint shipping company to boost trade, said the managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). Mohammad Saeedi told Tasnim News Agency that Iran and Kazakhstan's state-owned railroad companies had established the joint shipping company to connect Central Asia to southern Iran. The IRISL chief said the head office of the firm is in the Iranian port city of Bandar Anzali and a representative office will be also established in the Kazakh port city of Aktau.

27 Jul 2017

Iran's Chabahar Port Signs Pact with India Ports Global

Chabahar Port. Photo: Ports & Maritime Organization Iran

India Ports Global has signed a contract with Aria Banader of Iran to equip and operate two terminals at Chabahar - Shahid -Beheshti Port in Iran for transportation of goods and other purposes. "As per Article 6 of the contract, effort are to be made to commence commercial operations at Chabahar –Shahid- Beheshti Port in Iran within 18 months from the contract activation date or 4 months from the date on which the Lessor hands over the Terminals and the infrastructure facilities to the Lessee in accordance with the terms of the Contract," said a press release from the government.

27 Jun 2017

Maersk Bullish on India

Photo: A.P. Moller – Maersk

Domestic reforms have slowed down India’s trade momentarily, thereby weakening domestic demand. However, A.P. Moller – Maersk expects Indian EXIM trade to pick up pace in the next quarter. “This dip in import growth was due to piling up of inventory in the market post demonetisation and lack of clarity around Good and Service Tax. It is noteworthy that despite the looming threat of the current geopolitical environment worldwide on global trade, India has been able to maintain its growth trajectory,” Franck Dedenis, Head of West Central Asia Trades said.

09 Jun 2017

India's Plan to Develop Iranian Port Faces US Headwinds

Western manufacturers are shying away from supplying equipment for an Iranian port that India is developing for fear the United States may reimpose sanctions on Tehran, Indian officials say, dealing a blow to New Delhi's strategic ambitions in the region. Lying on the Gulf of Oman along the approaches to the Straits of Hormuz, the port of Chabahar is central to India's hopes to crack open a transport corridor to Central Asia and Afghanistan that bypasses arch-rival Pakistan. India committed $500 million to speed development of the port after sanctions on Iran were lifted following a deal struck between major powers and Tehran to curb its nuclear programme in 2015.

01 Mar 2017

Offshore Innovation: A Real ‘Riverboat’

Image: Vard

Central Asia is a booming oil region not far from the Persian Gulf. Energy companies ply the big lake to rack up staggering barrel counts at elephantine oilfields with names like Tengiz (Kazakhstan) or Kashagan (Azerbaijan). Painstaking, oil-fueled nation-building is underway across an oil province, where very shallow water hinders plant and equipment moves by platform supply vessels. Until now — new module-carrying vessels, or MCVs will float high-capital cargoes through Russia’s river system and across the Caspian shallows to Chevron’s Tengiz Extension project.

16 Jan 2017

DP World to Develop SEZ om Aktau, Kazakhstan

DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem following the signing of the MoU with the Government of Kazakhstan for the development of a special economic zone in Aktau. Photo DP World

Global trade enabler DP World has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Kazakhstan for the development of a special economic zone in Aktau further boosting trade and logistics in the country. The MoU was signed by DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem and Governor of Mangistau, Akim Alik Aidarbayev in the presence of First Deputy Prime Minister, Askar Mamin. It builds on DP World’s present management advisory services contract with the Port of Aktau, Kazakhstan’s main cargo and bulk terminal on the Caspian Sea.

15 Jan 2017

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 1,159; Deaths at Sea:27

Image IOM

Switzerland - International organization for migration (IOM) reports that 1,159 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 12 January, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy, compared with 22,590 through the first 12 days of January, 2016. A year ago, IOM reported 22,322 migrants and refugees had landed on Greece’s islands after short runs from Turkey – a number consistent with the surge of Turkey-to-Europe passages that began the previous summer. This year through 12 January, IOM Athens reports that only 430 migrants from Turkey have landed in Greece.

24 Dec 2016

Iran, Kazakhstan Deal for Shipping JV

Photo: IRISL GROUP

The chief executive officers of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) and Kazakhstan’s KTZ Express – a subsidiary of the country’s national railways company- signed an agreement for establishing a joint company. The deal could lead to the creation of a new transport corridor connecting Iran’s southern ports to the upper parts of Central Asia - and even possibly Russia and China. On the sideline of Iran's president visit to Kazakhstan, an agreement for establishing a joint…

09 Dec 2016

Tanker Operators Brace for OPEC Cuts

© Jose Gil / Adobe Stock

Tanker owners are bracing for a volatile year ahead after enjoying some of the highest charter rates since 2008, with OPEC plans to curb crude output potentially cutting rates by more than 40 percent. Fewer Middle East cargoes will mean lower freight rates for operators of very large crude carriers (VLCC), the biggest tankers in operation, which can carry 2 million barrels of oil and are used mostly by Middle East producers sending supplies to Asia. With average VLCC rates around $45…

27 Nov 2016

The Arctic Is In Meltdown

Photo Courtesy: Greenpeace

The Arctic has lost almost 95% of its older ice cover since 1984, says NASA. The area covered by Arctic sea ice at least four years old has decreased from 1,860,000 square kilometres in September 1984 to 110,000 square kilometres in September 2016. ABC News quoted a report produced by the Arctic Council -- an intergovernmental forum of eight member countries that include the U.S., Canada and Russia -- stressed that changes to the Arctic have "global implications," including feedback loops…

13 Aug 2016

Maersk Paints a Gloomy Picure

Photo: Maersk Line

Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S has reported a plunge in profits in the second quarter in the face of tough market conditions. Maersk's quarterly net profit dropped 89 per cent to $118m compared with a year earlier. However, it stuck to a profit forecast of an underlying profit for 2016 significantly below last year’s $3.1 billion. The company maintained its outlook for an underlying profit for the full year significantly below last year's $3.1 billion. Soren Skou, head of Maersk Line called the results “unsatisfactory”. “Cost reductions and operational optimisations . . .

10 Aug 2016

Iran, Russia Rail Link as Rival to Suez Canal

Map: Iran Govt, Tansim

Russia and Iran plan railway link through Azerbaijan that would aim to grab a share of the cargo now being shipped through the Suez Canal, reports Tasnim. Russia’s transport minister, Maxim Sokolovm, said Tehran and Moscow are considering establishing a rail link that would foster trade connectivity through a less trodden path than the Suez Canal. The International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC), a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, is being nurtured for significantly reducing costs and travel time and boosting trade.

26 Jul 2016

China Joins UN Trucking Treaty

China has taken a major step towards establishing a speedy new "Silk Road" to Europe by signing up to a U.N. trucking treaty. Fifteen years after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), China is hoping a revival of its ancient trading corridor to the west will help boost its slowing economy. Becoming a member of TIR, an international guarantee scheme that will enable Chinese freight containers to travel all the way to Ireland without being opened up for time-consuming customs checks, is a first step towards putting the legal framework of the plan into action. "It's a key element ...for the Chinese government... If you had to stop a container at every border from China to Europe it would add substantial costs," said Christian Friis Bach, executive secretary of the U.N.

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