“Connecting Ships, Ports and People”- World Maritime Day 2017

“Connecting Ships, Ports and People”- World Maritime Day 2017

Today we celebrate world maritime day, and the theme for this year is “Connecting Ships, Ports and People

 

At the heart of Tuscor Lloyds is the knowledge that our industry is the backbone of world trade, and that without people that trade would not be possible.

The theme for 2017 was chosen to provide an opportunity to focus on the many diverse actors involved in the shipping and logistics areas. The theme enables us to shine a spotlight on the existing cooperation between ports and ships to maintain and enhance a safe, secure and efficient maritime transportation system.

The World Maritime Day themes for 2016 and 2017 are complementary and may be seen as a response to United Nations post-2015 sustainable development agenda and, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals. For 2016, the theme was “Shipping: indispensable to the world” – chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and the everyday lives of people all over the planet and to raise awareness of the role of IMO as the global regulatory body for international shipping.

At Tuscor Lloyds we have always placed the utmost importance in interacting with our community that extends far into the realms of navigation, with customers in oil and gas, construction, mining, energy and renewables, all of whom depend on us to transport their materials throughout the world.

 

 

The World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be held in Panama (1-3 October 2017).

 

 

Read Between the Shipping Lines – Part 2

Read Between the Shipping Lines – Part 2

When Cosco acquired OOCL, we discussed the diplomatic conflict playing out through international shipping lines. Here the international trade saga continues

(Read Part 1 Here!)

Shipping line rankings are the battlefield and TEU capacity is the game. The Chinese state owned Cosco moved to third in the global carrier rankings after the acquisition of the Hong Kong liner OOCL was announced. Cosco overtook the French, CMA CGM who comfortably sat in third for some time. But rumours of Cosco purchasing a 24% stake in CMA CGM presented the French carrier with further worries.
The near quarter stake up for sale comes from the Yildirim family, who originally pumped US$500 million into CMA CGM during the financial crisis. The liner carried billions in debts and the investment was made in conjunction with the Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement (FSI), a publicly owned French company, in order to stabilise the business at times of financial unsettlement. The Yildirim’s asked China’s Citic Bank to oversee the shares transaction, leaving CMA CGM in a vulnerable position for a Cosco take over.
If (or is ‘when’ more appropriate?) Cosco acquire Yildirim’s shares, the Chinese carrier would secure the title of top liner, whilst becoming the de-facto controller of Terminal Link, a terminal subsidiary of CMA CGM in which Cosco already has a 49% stake. Terminal Link operates in France’s biggest ports with addition operations through Europe, Africa and Asia.
This thought must have China licking its lips. Essentially falling upon more port infrastructure would help its long term goal to dominate international trade. China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is a Eurasian connectivity scheme to enhance Chinese export profitability. Financing port terminals, railways and public services in economies along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea has opened shipping lanes to Europe’s massive consumer market. The plan will give Cosco ships carrying Chinese exports easy access to expensive markets and adding more European ports, with the new extra capacity, is an attractive prospect for the Chinese.
However, the French government may have a word or two about this. The FSI, who currently have a 6% stake in CMA CGM, is owned 49% by the French government and 51% by the Caisse des Depots et Consignations, a public sector financial group. CMA CGM has a revenue over US$16 billion and employs hundreds across France so it is both the board’s and the government’s best interest to keep the liner alive and in France.
And the French have responded. Splash 247 reported of a rumoured CMA CGM order of nine 22000 TEU capacity vessels. This added TEU capacity should fetch a bronze place for CMA CGM and give them a chance to survive as Cosco are hot on their heels.
But the order book is mostly a vanity project; a big French two fingers up to overcapacity and this could cloud recent optimism from industry analysts, who have predicted a period of profitability for shipping lines.
Nevertheless, if the rumours are true, the new vessels will do one of two things: 1.) genuinely end Cosco’s efforts, or 2.) completely cease European competition if Cosco does acquire CMA CGM.
Splash 247 also added the construction contract will be awarded to the Chinese company, Shanghai Waigoquia Shipbuilding (SWS) or the South Korean, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), giving equal chances to the Far East firms but this French/Chinese conflict is on multiple fronts.
SWS’s owners, Chinese State Shipping Corporation (CSSC) has links to the Italian state owned shipbuilders, Fincantieri whom French President, Emmanuel Macron has recently clashed with. Government representatives on CMA CGM’s board could move the carrier away from Chinese yards to support the conflict in another sector.
Macron and his economy minister, Bruno La Maire temporary nationalised the Saint Nazaire shipyard, Chantiers de l’Atlantique to block Fincantieri getting their hands on it. Chantiers de l’Atlantique is the only yard in the world with the knowledge and capabilities of constructing the world’s biggest cruise ships.
2 thirds of the yard were owned by the South Korean firm, STX with the other third by the French state. With STX collapsing, the state bought out 100% of the yard rather than allowing the open 66% go to the Italian shipbuilders, who were the only willing buyers. So it seems the French administration has seen another Chinese threat to French maritime power.
Fincantieri is partners with CSSC, who, together, plan on growing Chinese cruise shipbuilding. 2 cruises are expected to be built on Chinese soil, possibly another 4 after that, and the French Ministers of State believe Fincantieri could take local shipbuilding expertise out of France.
Macron offered Fincantieri a 50:50 share with the government, to which the Italians refused.
Yet, the French President has been criticised. Many have called this ‘protectionist’ and ‘aggressive’ but this is pre-emption rights and the yard is an extremely valuable asset.
Cruises are the most profitable ships to construct. Royal Caribbean International paid US$1.35 billion to construct MS Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest passenger ship, and Chantiers de l’Atlantique is the only yard capable of handling such projects. Compare that to the US$950 million paid to Samsung Heavy Industries for six, yes six, of the world’s largest container ships, then it becomes obvious why Macron took these measures.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique is key infrastructure wholly unique to France and it is idiotic, not laissez-faire, to let Fincantieri take the yard.
If Fincantieri gets their hands on Chantiers de l’Atlantique they can strip its assets, axe 2000 some French jobs and rip the heart out of Saint Nazaire’s historic shipbuilding tradition. Fincantieri can transfer French shipbuilding expertise to new business ventures in China, where wages are cheap and the steel is close-by. Blocking the sale to Fincantieri is a block against global Chinese maritime monopoly and the same can happen in container shipping. If CMA CGM is swallowed by Cosco this would give China near absolute power in international maritime trade.
The conflict has deepened. The entirety of French maritime power is under threat. Yet, it must be said, outdoing TEU is not a sustainable or effective response. But, for a Cosco competitor it’s a ‘two can play that game’ scenario.
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Consolidation of Container Shipping

Consolidation of Container Shipping

2016 saw a massive amount of change in the container shipping sector. The ongoing consolidation of the sector in one form or another flooded the headlines. To put this into context, it’s interesting to see how the level of consolidation relates to other parts of shipping, how it has developed over time and how it might progress

It’s quite clear that the shipping industry is a fragmented business. Based on the start of 2017 Clarksons Research data, 88,892 ships in the world fleet were spread across 24,267 owners. That works out at less than 4 vessels per owner. Even though 145 owners with more than 50 ships accounted for almost 12,000 of the vessels, it’s still not that consolidated. The liner shipping business however is one of the more consolidated parts of shipping. As well as being home to some of the industry’s larger companies. At the start of the year, the 5,154 container ships in the fleet were owned by 622 owner groups, about 8 ships per owner, but, perhaps more relevantly, were operated by 326 carriers, about 16 ships per operator. Each of the top 8 operators deployed more than 100 ships. But despite the less fragmented nature of the sector, recent market conditions have led to another round of consolidation in the box business.

The three largest operators (by deployed capacity) at the start of 2017 were European: Maersk Line (647 vessels deployed) followed by MSC (453) and CMA-CGM (454). Of the remaining carriers in the top 20 all but three were based in Asia or the Middle East. However, what’s interesting is that out of the 20 largest carriers back in late 2014, 4 are now gone. CSAV was acquired by Hapag-Lloyd, NOL/APL by CMA-CGM and the two major Chinese lines merged. And of course, in late summer 2016, the financial collapse of Hanjin Shipping marked the sector’s biggest casualty in 30 years.

Box sector consolidation seems to actually be part of a long-term trend. Back in 1996 the top 10 carriers deployed 45% of capacity and at the start of 2017 that figure stood at 70%. The coming year is set to see Hapag-Lloyd complete its merger with UASC, and Maersk Line’s planned acquisition of Hamburg-Sud is also in the pipelines. The second half of last year also saw the three major Japanese operators declare their intention to merge containership operations in a joint venture due to be established this year and start operations in 2018. The ‘scenario’ based on these changes would see the top 10’s share at 79%, nearly twice as much as 20 years ago.

The geopolitical alliances that are in the pipe lines are turning the box sector into a Monopoly game, with Europe owning Mayfair and China owning Park Lane. Within the current business model, continued consolidation might be needed for the container shipping industry to be profitable. They need size to finance and fill bigger ships. Many hope this will help the recalibration of market fundamentals and eventually support improved market conditions.

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Port Focus: Mexican Ports

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Last year we could observe a major increase if it comes to the cargo volumes handled by the Mexican ports.

Blockchain – Revolutionizing Shipping

Blockchain – Revolutionizing Shipping

The Maritime industry is entering a new generation of technological advances. Whether that be environmental, transportation or digital. Things are about to change

A term that has come up a lot in recent months has been ‘Blockchain’. But when I talk to people about this ground-breaking technology, that promises to revolutionize container logistics, not many people understand it.

So, what is it?

Blockchain’s store information across a network of personal computers making them not just decentralised but distributed. This means no central company or person owns the system but everyone can use it and help run it. This makes it very difficult for it to be . The people who run the system use their computer to hold bundles of ‘blocks’ (records) that can be submitted to others in a chronological chain. The blockchain uses a form of math called cryptography to ensure records can’t be counterfeited. Old transactions are preserved forever and new transactions are irreversible once added.

The blockchain is best known as the underlying foundation for the crypto-currency, Bitcoin. Digital cash you can send to anyone, this is different to normal money as there isn’t a financial middleman involved. Instead, people from all over the world help move the digital money by validating others bitcoin transactions with their personal computers.

Bitcoin uses blockchain by tracking records of ownership over the digital money, so only one person can be the owner at a time. The money can’t be spent twice like counterfeit money in the physical world can. Bitcoin is just the beginning, in the future, blockchains that manage and verify online data could enable us to launch companies that are entirely run by algorithms. This would help us protect our online identities and even track the billions of devices on the internet of things. These innovations will change our lives forever and it’s all just the beginning.

How will this relate to shipping?

Container logistics is a £3 trillion a year industry, using various IT systems and massive amounts of data-entry-type paperwork. Maersk and IBM have teamed up to start using blockchain to track its cargo. For Maersk, it gives buyers, sellers and customers an official way to keep track of the goods it hauls. Everyone involved can see where the shipment is at any point. Shipping crosstrade can have up to 30 people involved, having 200 separate interactions that all require different sets of documents.

 

1 Shipment:

People Involved

 

Separate Interactions

This is usually done by countless emails, phone calls and sometimes even fax. Blockchain will allow customs officials to upload a copy of a signed document (approving the transaction/shipment) where everyone can see it. This could save up to £230 per container in terms of the labour that process documents. So, an Ultra Large Container ship that can carry 18,000 containers, could mean the savings for one ship’s full cargo would amount to £4.4 million.

The great thing about Blockchain is that no one needs permission to implement it into their business. But everyone involved would have to be ‘on board’ with the technology for it to work effectively. With a wide lack of understanding still present, this could take years to implement.

 

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Containerisation – the Unsung Hero

Containerisation – the Unsung Hero

Sat at a port in 1937, at the age of 24, a young man had an idea

 

19 years later, that same young man, made that idea a reality and that reality revolutionised the way we live. 

In 1956 on the 26th of April, the converted World War 2 tanker – SS IdealX – left New Jersey on its maiden voyage. This marked the first journey in history where cargo was packed into standardised containers.

Before this day, cargo was loaded onto trucks and shipped piece by piece, this is how Breakbulk cargo started out. The whole loading process could take more than a week and the dock worker’s wages were only around $20 a day.

The young man, Malcom McLean owned a trucking company. He decided to invest in his idea, so he sold everything he owned, bought a ship, then developed the method of Containerisation. He designed corrugated boxes that would fit onto any truck or ship that could then transport them to and from anywhere. This started to connect the manufacturer straight to the consumer. Instead of the cargo being handled by endless different people, this meant no one would then handle the products until the vendor, distributor or consumer received it. Not only had Mclean made the shipping process easier and quicker, it became universal. This one aspect is incredible, as a species, we can’t decide on a universal currency, type of plug or even which side of the road to drive on, but we do agree on the standardised shipping container.

This process could now be done in a matter of hours. Shipping costs plummeted quickly and cities started to be ‘put on the map’ as their ports were perfect for the new, larger ports needed after the shipping boom. This has helped to shape our global economy and trade network. It can now be cheaper to manufacture something on the other side of the world because shipping is so inexpensive.

Shipping from Europe to Australia went from

days

Down to

days

From 1993 – 2002 the average shipment of a cargo ship grew by

%

Some people think this could be the last great innovation in shipping. But, with the digitalization of the industry on the rise and new technologies like Blockchain starting to be used by industry giants, there’s definitely room for another.

 

Port Salford Expansion

Port Salford Expansion

2017 may be the start of an exciting time for North West as the completion of the Salford Port expansion looks to restore the Manchester Ship Canal to its former glory


In January 1894 the notorious Manchester ship canal opened; a river system expanding 36 miles, following the route of 7 different rivers. The canal originates at the Mersey estuary and travels to Salford Quays. In its time it was the largest river navigation canal in the world helping the Port of Manchester to become Britain’s third busiest port, despite the city being 40 miles inland.

 

7 Different Rivers

  • River Bollin
  • Glaze Brook
  • River Mersey
  • River Irwell
  • Bridgewater Canal
  • Shropshire Union Canal
  • Weaver Navigation
Over time however traffic passing through the canal declined as ships grew too large and the docks at Salford closed. But now it looks as though the historic river system has been given a new lease of life thanks to Peel Ports, who are in the midst of £138 million regeneration project.
The plans include huge redevelopment to the canal and surrounding area, with long term aims to boost capacity at the Port of Salford from 8,000 containers a year to 100,000 by 2030.

 

Salford Port Expansion Plans
Salford Port Expansion Plans
Peel Ports plan to expand the Port Salford creating an inland port facility on the Barton Strategic Site next to to the Manchester ship canal. Blue prints show a distribution facility with around 50,569 sq. ft. of warehouse space, 10,118 sq. ft. office space, including 81 car parking spaces and 16 trailer parking spaces.

The development sits within peel ports £50 billion ‘Atlantic gateway’ vision combing operations at the Port of Liverpool with the Manchester Ship canal to combat road congestion. The new Salford port expansion will be the UK’s first inland tin modal port facility and distribution park with terminal operations set to commence at the end of 2017.

 

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