Freight News

Jun 24 - Armada of barges cleared for Mississippi River shipments after floods
The upper Mississippi River reopened to barge traffic on Friday as vessels were cleared to ship through St. Louis harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said, and the situation quickly became a logistics nightmare as dozens of towboats and hundreds of delayed barges tried to maneuver upriver. After what many grain shippers have called the worst river flooding ever in terms of timing, breadth and duration, the vessels may finally be able to reach elevators in the heart of the U.S. farm belt to haul away export-bound corn and soybeans.

Jun 21 - Euronext to expand wheat futures delivery to French Atlantic coast 
Euronext will expand from next year its network of physical delivery points for wheat traded on its wheat futures market to include France's Atlantic coast, the exchange said on Wednesday.Euronext's milling wheat futures, a price benchmark for the European grain market, can currently be delivered to silos in the northern French ports of Rouen and Dunkirk.

Jun 21 - Brazil miner Vale says mulls new railway, port for Carajas expansion
Brazilian miner Vale SA is considering building a new railway and port in the Para state for the potential expansion of its Carajas Serra Sul mine, the company said in a presentation to investors published on Tuesday. The new railway would stretch for 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) from the current Carajas railroad to Vila do Conde port, in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhao.

Jun 21 - Ship insurance costs soar after Middle East tanker attacks 
Insurance costs for ships sailing through the Middle East have increased by at least 10% after attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, with the potential for costs to rise further as regional tensions escalate, ship insurers said. The attacks have already stoked concerns about reduced flows of crude oil on one of the world's key shipping routes, pushing up oil prices by as much as 4.5%.  

Jun 20 - COFCO in talks to buy stake in Russian port grain terminal- sources
Top Chinese grain trader COFCO is in talks about buying a shareholding in a grain export terminal in the Russian port of Novorossiysk as part of its expansion in Europe, sources said on Friday. COFCO is understood to be in talks about buying a shareholding of about 25% in the KSK deep water grain terminal in Novorossiysk, three sources said.

Jun 20 - Romanian wheat cargo in Damietta passes second round of tests 
A 60,000 tonne Romanian wheat cargo held in the Egyptian port of Damietta passed a second round of tests for quality, trade sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer, re-tested the cargo after an initial rejection and the vessel resumed unloading on Tuesday, the sources said.

Jun 19 - Banks to include CO2 emission measures in shipping loan decisions 
A group of leading banks will for the first time include efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions in their decision making when providing shipping company loans, executives said on Tuesday. International shipping accounts for 2.2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the U.N.'s International Maritime Organization (IMO), has a long-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.

Jun 19 - Maersk explores Arctic shipping route with Russia 
Shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Friday it is in talks with Russia's state-owned icebreaker operator to send more goods via the Arctic, which is becoming more accessible as climate change reduces the sea ice. Russia has made developing the so-called northern sea route (NSR) - which requires new ports and heavy icebreakers to move goods - a priority, with supporters dubbing the route the northern Suez Canal.

Jun 18 - Indonesia nickel mining disrupted by heavy rain, floods -association
Widespread flooding in Indonesia's nickel hub on the island of Sulawesi has halted some mining operations in the world's biggest nickel ore producer, an official with a nickel mining industry group said. Indonesia is a major supplier of nickel ore and nickel pig iron to China, the world's largest producer of stainless steel, an industry that accounts for 70% of global nickel consumption. A protracted disruption in Indonesia could have a significant impact on raw materials for stainless steel production.

Jun 17 - Brazil to export record volume of corn in 2019 - Agroconsult 
Brazilian farmers will export a record 38 million tonnes of corn this year, as their crop becomes more competitive thanks to a record harvest and historic U.S. planting delays, according to agribusiness consultancy Agroconsult. Agroconsult revised upward its forecast for exports this year to 38 million tons from 31 million tonnes. The group also revised the forecast for the crop to 101.2 million tonnes of corn in the 2018-19 season from 100.4 million tonnes.

Jun 13 - Imports to busiest U.S. seaport complex fall 6% in May
The Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex - the No. 1 hub for U.S. ocean trade with China - processed 6.3% fewer inbound cargo containers in May, signaling that the escalating U.S.-China trade war is roiling business activity. Exports from the California seaport complex, the nation's busiest, fell 7.4% year-on-year, the two ports said.

Jun 13 - Louis Dreyfus charters ship to take Brazil corn to Mexico amid U.S. spat - document
Commodities trader Louis Dreyfus chartered the ship set to transport 35,000 tonnes of corn from Brazil to Mexico amid tensions between Mexico City and Washington, according to a shipping report seen by Reuters on Thursday. However, although Dreyfus is the charterer of the Jian Guo Hai ship, Reuters could not confirm whether the commodities giant was responsible for the sale to Mexico. 

Jun 13 - Cargill cuts CO2 emissions from shipping fleet in green push
Cargill reduced CO2 emissions from its chartered shipping fleet by 350,000 tonnes last year as part of efforts to scale back its carbon footprint at sea, the food and agriculture group said. The international shipping industry accounts for about 2% of global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

Jun 12 - China seeks to roll July U.S. soybean cargoes to August 
Chinese soybean buyers are asking sellers in the United States to delay cargoes due to be shipped in July until August, two sources familiar with the matter said, raising fears of cancellations like ones that roiled the market last year. The contract renegotiations come as the world's top two economies remain locked in a protracted trade war that prompted China to sharply cut purchases of the oilseed from its No. 2 supplier starting from the middle of last year.

Jun 12 - DP World wants to operate ports along Russia's northern sea route
DP World one of the world's largest port operators, wants to run ports that Russia plans to build along the northern sea route in the Arctic to shorten shipping times between the east and west, its chief executive told Reuters. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made developing the northern sea route (NSR) - which requires new ports and heavy icebreakers to move goods - one of his priorities, with supporters dubbing the route the northern Suez Canal.

Jun 12 - Ukraine's June 1-7 sea port grain exports dive on-week - APK-Inform
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports in the week ended June 1-7 dropped to 493,000 tonnes from 1.02 million tonnes a week earlier, the APK-Inform consultancy said on Monday. Corn exports dived to 326,000 tonnes from 725,000 tonnes, while wheat shipments decreased to 167,000 tonnes from 287,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

Jun 11 - New marine fuel rules to boost diesel prices for at least a year - analysts 
Global prices for diesel and marine fuels should rise by October ahead of a January switchover to new, very low-sulfur marine fuels, and remain higher for at least a year as refiners shift production to make more of the new fuels, analysts said. Marine fuels containing no more than 0.5% sulfur by weight, down from the 3.5% currently used, to power ocean-going vessels will be required for ships without exhaust scrubbers on Jan. 1, under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 standard.

Jun 07 - ADM ships Brazil corn to Smithfield Foods in the United States amid heavy rains 
Archer Daniels Midland Co and other grain traders are selling Brazilian corn to Smithfield Foods Inc in the United States, where wet weather has reduced plantings, said two sources with knowledge of the matter. The sources, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive market information, said Smithfield owns port facilities on the U.S. east coast and sometimes buys corn abroad because of the cost of shipping grains from the domestic corn belt. "We are just finding a destination for Brazil corn and supplying those who know there will be a shortage ... Just being faster and nothing else," said a third source close to ADM. ADM declined to comment. Smithfield, a subsidiary of China’s WH Group, did not return a request for comment.

Jun 07 - U.S. soy exporters struggle with huge China export commitments in midst of trade war 
U.S. soybean exporters are facing what may be their busiest and most logistically challenging summer due to an unprecedented backlog of soybeans purchased by China that still needs to be shipped and widespread floods in the U.S. Midwest. While there is little hope for a prompt U.S.-China trade deal, some 7 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans bought before talks broke down last month will need to be delivered to Beijing in coming months, U.S. exporters and industry analysts said.

Jun 07 - Mexico buys Brazil corn cargo amid trade spat with U.S., says broker 
Mexican importers, who usually buy their corn from the United States, have booked a 35,000-tonne corn cargo from Brazil, amid a trade spat between Washington and Mexico City. Brazilian broker and consultancy INTL FCStone said on Wednesday the cargo would be loaded at the northern port of Santarém and scheduled to depart on June 22, according to port line-up data.

Jun 07 - Argentina maritime union ends strike at Rosario grains hub 
An Argentine maritime workers union has agreed to compulsory conciliation, ending a strike that had stopped shipments in three terminals of the main grains port, Rosario, the Union of United Maritime Workers (SOMU) said on Monday. The SOMU will enter a negotiating period of 15 days to reach an agreement with the government over wages after ending the strike, which began Friday and lasted for 72 hours, union officials said in a statement. "In this conflict, the unity, solidarity and struggle of all SOMU workers to readjust our buying power against inflation was fundamental," SOMU officials said.

Jun 07 - Thai shippers slash 2019 export growth forecast to 1% from 3%
Thailand's shipping body said on Tuesday it had cut its 2019 export growth forecast for a second time in a month, to 1% from 3%, as global demand slows amid mounting trade protectionism. Exports, a key driver of Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, declined 1.86% in January-April from a year earlier, customs data showed.

Jun 06 - Russia's VTB says considering buying grain terminal at Taman port 
Russia's second largest lender VTB is considering buying a stake in Russia's Taman port grain terminal, first deputy chief executive Yuri Soloviev said on Wednesday. The state-controlled bank wants to create a vertically-integrated player on the grain market, he said, adding that this would support the expansion of the Russian grain market's export potential. VTB has been expanding its holdings in grain infrastructure in recent months.

May 31 - Vancouver lockout of longshoremen ends; shipping disruption avoided
A lockout of longshore workers at Canada's biggest port, the Port of Vancouver, ended in a deal on Thursday after a few hours, averting a potentially massive shipping disruption, the workers' union and employers association said. The lockout was immediately lifted and the union also withdrew its strike notice, according to separate statements by the BC Maritime Employers Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada.

May 31 - Maersk warns trade tensions are hurting shipping growth 
A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, warned on Friday that trade tensions and an economic slowdown are slowing growth in global freight. Maersk, which is seen as an indicator of global trade patterns, cut its forecast for global growth in container traffic this year due to the trade dispute between the United States and China.

May 31 - Shipowners see increase in IMO-compliant fuels, but doubts persist 
Shipowners, who are facing one of the biggest changes in the oil industry in decades, are seeing more fuels that will be compliant with new rules on sulphur emissions from ships, but some say the way forward is far from clear. The United Nations shipping agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will from January 2020 limit the sulphur content in fuel ships use to 0.5%. 

May 31 - MSC, CMA CGM to board Maersk's shipping blockchain platform 
Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and CMA CGM, two of the world's biggest container shipping groups, are to join market leader Maersk in a blockchain platform aimed at limiting a costly paper trail in the industry. With MSC and French-based CMA CGM, the second- and fourth-largest container shipping companies, joining the platform, nearly half of all cargo being shipped by sea - which accounts for 90% of traded goods worldwide - will be tracked using it.

May 30 - Argentina anti-government strike shuts down key grain ports, grounds flights 
Thousands marched through Argentina's capital on Wednesday to protest austerity measures under President Mauricio Macri, as a nationwide strike brought the airports of the recession-plagued country to a standstill and halted work at key grains ports. The strike, called by the country's main unions, comes as center-right leader Macri tumbles in the polls ahead of presidential elections in October, his popularity with voters hurt by high inflation, job losses and a weak peso.

May 24 - Brazil rides wave of soybean sales to China as U.S. trade war rages 
Soybean trading in Brazil has gained momentum in recent days, driven by a wave of Chinese demand, boosting prices and premiums paid at ports amid a weakening of the Brazilian currency, according to analysts. An estimated 5.5 million tonnes of soybeans have traded over the past few days, and are slated to leave Brazilian ports in June, July and August, according to estimates by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea) issued on Friday.

May 23 - Tanzania's China-backed $10 bln port plan stalls over terms - official 
A planned $10 billion port project in Tanzania backed by China has hit an impasse, with the two sides disagreeing on terms of the infrastructure investment, a senior Tanzanian port official said on Wednesday. In 2013, Tanzania signed a framework agreement with China Merchants Holdings International, China's largest port operator, to build the port and a special economic zone that aims to transform the east African country into a regional trade and transport hub.

May 22 - Ukraine's May 11-17 sea port grain exports fall 29 pct on week - APK-Inform 
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports in the week of May 11-17 fell to 733,000 tonnes from 1.03 million tonnes a week earlier, the APK-Inform consultancy said on Monday. Corn exports fell 50 percent to 398,000 tonnes, while wheat shipments remained unchanged at 227,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

May 22 - London marine insurers widen Middle East threat zone after ship attacks 
London's marine insurance market has extended the list of waters deemed high risk to include Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf after ship attacks off Fujairah, officials said on Friday, in a move that could push up premiums. The London insurance market's Joint War Committee said in a statement that the additions cover areas of perceived enhanced risk for marine insurers and reflected enhanced regional risk.

May 21 - Argentina waives import tax on Vaca Muerta machinery and soy 
Argentina will exempt an import tax on goods that are used in the production of exports, such as soybeans and machinery to develop unconventional hydrocarbons in the Vaca Muerta shale play, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne said in a radio interview on Friday. Those products will be exempt from an import tax that the government has raised a week ago to 2.5% in order to boost its tax revenue as the South American nation deals with a severe economic crisis and annual inflation of 55%, a spokesperson for Dujovne told Reuters.

May 20 - Mississippi River barge shipping resumes after floods, but rains to return 
The upper Mississippi River fully reopened to boat and barge traffic this week for the first time since November as shippers scrambled to move a backlog of overdue fertilizer barges to farmers racing to sow corn before the end of the month. Some fertilizer shipments had been parked on river banks near St. Louis and further downriver for more than two months as the worst Midwest flooding since 1993 shuttered locks and triggered shipping restrictions on the flood-swollen waterway.

May 16 - IMO, Norway launch project to help shipping sector cut emissions 
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has launched a joint project with Norway to help the shipping industry cut emissions by at least 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050, the UN's shipping agency said on Monday. The Norwegian government is providing 10 million NOK ($1.1 million) for the first two years of the GreenVoyage-2050 project, and additional funding subject to government approval for 2020 and subsequent years.

May 16 - Australia's Pilbara Ports throughput drops 1 percent in April
Australia's Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) said on Wednesday that throughput slipped 1 percent in April from year earlier. April's throughput was 58.8 million tonnes, the PPA said in a statement.

May 16 - Tanker unloads Iranian fuel oil at China port after near 5-month trek - data 
A tanker carrying Iranian fuel oil in violation of U.S. sanctions has unloaded the cargo into storage tanks near the Chinese city of Zhoushan, according to ship tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon. The discharging of the nearly 130,000 tonnes of Iranian fuel oil onboard the tanker, the Marshal Z, confirmed by a representative of the oil storage terminal, marks the end of an odyssey for the cargo that began four months ago.

May 15 - Houston Ship Channel bottleneck eases after vessel collision - officials 
A bottleneck of traffic on the Houston Ship Channel eased on Tuesday though one-way travel restrictions remained following a weekend collision between a deep-draft ship and a barge, officials said on Tuesday. About 11,280 barrels of gasoline spilled into the channel near Bayport, Texas, officials said in an update on Tuesday, after a 755-foot (230-meter) tanker collided over the weekend with a Kirby Inland Marine tugboat towing two barges containing the fuel.

May 14 - Houston port restrictions could continue all week - official
The Houston Ship Channel could remain under one-way travel restrictions all week following a collision between a deep-draft ship and a barge that spilled petrochemicals into the waterway, according to an official. About 9,000 barrels of gasoline spilled into the channel near Bayport, Texas, when a 755-foot (230-m) tanker collided with a Kirby Inland Marine tugboat towing two barges containing the fuel. One barge ruptured and the other capsized.

May 10 - China iron ore imports fall to 18-mth low in April as Brazil shipments slide 
China's iron ore imports in April fell to the lowest level in 18 months as poor weather in Brazil, the country's second-biggest supplier, disrupted shipments and some production by miner Vale SA was halted after a mine accident. Arrivals of iron ore, a key steelmaking raw material, were 80.77 million tonnes last month, the lowest since October 2017, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday. 

May 09 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments bounce in April after cyclone 
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal jumped almost 13 percent in April from a month earlier, port data released on Wednesday showed. Iron ore shipments to China from the world's biggest iron ore port totalled 34.6 million tonnes in April, compared with March's 30.7 million tonnes, the Pilbara Ports Authority said.

May 08 - China April coal imports up 13.6 pct on-yr due to stockpiling 
China's April coal imports rose from the same month last year, customs data showed on Wednesday, as power plants stockpiled supplies ahead of peak demand for electricity over the summer. China imported 25.3 million tonnes of coal in April, the data from the General Administration of Customs showed. 

May 07 - China stepped up imports of Australian steelmaking coal in March -Aus data 
China stepped up purchases of Australian steelmaking coal in March after customs delays earlier this year, Australian government data showed on Tuesday, but exports of thermal coal to the world's biggest consumer continued to fall. Chinese traders had cut back on purchases of both thermal and metallurgical coal from Australia in February due to lengthy quality checks on supplies from there that lasted as long as two months at some ports. 

May 06 - Singapore strips ship fuel seller Southernpec's operating licence 
The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore has stripped marine fuel services provider Southernpec (Singapore) Pte Ltd of its licence to operate bunker barges that refuel ships in the port effective on May 8, the regulator said on Wednesday. The MPA has revoked Southernpec's craft operator licence after investigations revealed it had engaged in bunkering malpractice, using a magnet to interfere with the mass flow meter (MFM) during a fuelling operation, it said in a statement.

May 02 - Republican senator says Trump will not waive U.S. shipping rules
A Republican U.S. senator on Wednesday said President Donald Trump will not waive rules requiring that only U.S.-flagged ships move natural gas from American ports to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Northeast. The nearly 100-year-old Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. Republican senators said the administration was seriously considering waiving the requirements for 10 years. Bloomberg News reported last week that Trump was leaning in favor of some kind of waiver.

May 02 - India suspends operations in major east Indian port after cyclone warning 
India has suspended operations at a major port on its east coast until an impending cyclone makes landfall on Friday, a port official in the mineral rich eastern state of Odisha said. India has started evacuating hundreds of thousands of villagers living along its northeastern coastline and also cancelled trains ahead of the severe storm. 

May 02 - Peru's Volcan says COSCO SHIPPING set for $3 bln port construction deal 
China's COSCO SHIPPING Ports Ltd is set to sign a $3 billion deal with Peru's Volcan Compania Minera to invest in the port of Chancay on the South American country's Pacific coast next month, Volcan chairman said on Friday. COSCO SHIPPING Chairman Xu Lirong will attend a signing ceremony for the deal mid-May at the Presidential Palace in Lima, Volcan Chairman Jose Picasso Salinas told Reuters on the sidelines of China's Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

May 02 - Ivory Coast bans Olam rice imports for one year after spoilt shipment 
Ivory Coast banned rice imports from Singapore-based commodity trader Olam International  for one year after destroying an 18,000-tonne shipment of "spoilt" rice, the commerce ministry said. Olam said in a statement on Tuesday that it was disappointed by the ministry's decision, which was first announced last Friday.

Apr 25 - Congo Republic ships first iron ore ahead of expected production boom 
Congo Republic shipped its first iron ore exports on Friday ahead of an expected boom in production from mines owned by Congolese billionaire Paul Obambi's Sapro SA and Swiss commodities giant Glencore. Sapro mined the oil-dependent Central African country's first iron ore in 2017 from its Mayoko project in the southwest and plans to reach output of 12 million tonnes per year by 2022.

Apr 25 - U.S. wins WTO ruling against China grain import quotas
The United States won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on Thursday against China's use of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn, which it successfully argued limited market access for U.S. grain exports. The case, lodged by the Obama administration in late 2016, marked the second U.S. victory in as many months. It came amid U.S.-China trade talks and on the heels of Washington clinching a WTO ruling on China's price support for grains in March. 

Apr 24 - China's Australian coking coal imports double in March from Feb
China's imports of Australian coking coal nearly doubled in March from a month earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as a flurry of shipments were accepted after being delayed at customs clearance for more than a month. Arrivals of Australian coking coal were at 2.23 million tonnes last month, up 92 percent from 1.16 million tonnes in February, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Thursday.

Apr 23 - Aegean Marine under the spotlight (AlphaBulk)
Back in February we wrote an article on fraud, in which we deliberately omitted to mention one name: Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc (AMPNI).
- AMPNI was formerly listed on the New York Stock Exchange with ANW as the ticker. AMPNI filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2018 and recently had its restructuring plan approved by the US bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York on 29 March.
- Although no case alleging fraud went to court, the facts freely available in the media make for very interesting reading, and are undoubtedly quite damning. In this week’s article we will take a look at the claims, and start by reviewing the history of the company.
- The company was founded in 1995 by Dimitris Melissanidis offering bunkering activities in Piraeus. In 1997 the company started offering bunkering services in Gibraltar, and in Fujairah in 2001. In 2003 the company was renamed Aegean Bunkering Services.
- In 2005, the company launched bunkering services in Kingston, Jamaica, and ordered 16 double hull bunkering tankers. The company was listed on the NYSE under its present name in 2006. The same year bunkering services are proposed in Singapore.
- In 2008 the company started Aegean Oil Terminal Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary, to invest in shore-based oil and bunker storage. In 2012 the company completed the works for a fully owned shore-based storage facility of 15 tanks in Fujairah.
- In 2015 the company established a worldwide trading division. At the time, AMPNI was proposing bunkering services in 20 different ports around the world.
- That same year, 2015, the founder Dimitris Melissanidis stepped down, pocketing a hefty $100 million for what was described wrongly as a golden handshake by some media outlets, but in fact was simply the consideration for the sale of his shares in the company.

Apr 19 - Singapore March marine fuel sales, refuelling traffic hit 2-month high 
Sales of marine fuels in Singapore, Asia's biggest ship fuelling port, climbed to a two-month high of 4.091 million tonnes in March, up 4.4 percent from February, but down 2 percent from a year earlier, data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) showed on Monday. The number of ships that called at Singapore for refuelling, also called bunkering, climbed to a two-month high of 3,320 ships in March, up from a six-month low of 3,180 ships in the previous month, the data showed.

Apr 19 - China's March coal imports fall 12.1 pct from a year ago on import curbs 
China's coal imports in March fell 12.1 percent from a year ago, according to customs data released on Friday, as the country has enacted policies to slow imports of the fuel at various ports. Coal imports last month were 23.48 million tonnes, up from February's 17.64 million tonnes, the General Administration of Customs reported on Friday.

Apr 19 - Ukraine's April 6-12 sea port grain exports fall about 20 pct on week - APK-Inform 
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports in the week of April 6-12 fell to 777,000 tonnes from 968,000 tonnes a week earlier, the APK-Inform consultancy said on Monday. Corn exports fell 26 percent to 592,000 tonnes, while wheat shipments declined by 9 percent to 156,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

Apr 19 - China March soy imports jump from Feb as U.S., Brazil beans arrive 
China's soybean imports in March jumped 10 percent from the previous month, as shipments from both the United States and Brazil reached the world's top oilseed buyer, customs data showed on Friday. China imported 4.92 million tonnes in March, up from 4.46 million tonnes in February, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

Apr 18 - First 20-row containership to make Panama Canal debut (AlphaLiner)
- Evergreen is to assign the maxi-neo-panamax TRITON, a vessel with a 20-row beam of  51.20 m and an Loa of 369.00 m, to a Panama Canal-routed Far East - USEC service. The 14,424 teu TRITON will become the first-ever containership of  this  beam  and  length  to  transit  the  canal. 

- The  largest  containerships  de-ployed on trans-Panama routes so far, have been neo-panamax VLCS with 19 row beams of 48.20 to 48.40m and Loa of up to 366.00 m. Currently  deployed  on  the  Far  East  -  USWC  route,  the  TRITON  will  join  Ever-green’s Far East - USEC service 'AUE', part of the OCEAN Alliance network, on 18  April.  The  ship  is  scheduled  to  transit  the  Panama  Canal  on  15  May,  en route from Kaohsiung to Colon, from where it will continue to ports on the US East  Coast. 

- With  the  TRITON’s  passage,  Evergreen  will  be  the  first  carrier  to make use of the Panama Canal Authority’s (ACP) revised neo-panamax gauge.  One year ago, on 14 April 2018, the ACP announced to increase the allowable beam  for  vessels  transiting  the  new  canal  locks  from  49.00  m  (19  rows)  to 51.25  m  (20  rows).  The  revised  rule  came  into  force  on  1  June  2018,  after nearly two years of successful operations of the new canal locks. While allowing a  wider  beam,  the  new  transit  regime  retained  the  366  m  maximum  vessel length  restriction. 

- The  ACP  however  stated  that  it would  consider  to  accept ships of up to 369.00 m, such as the TRITON, on a case by case basis. The ACP already regularly accepts a series of 17-row-wide Maersk Line ships of around  11,000  teu  with  Loa  of  367.25  m  and  366.89  m.  These  vessels  are deployed  on  the  'TP-12'  loop,  operated  within  the 2M/HMM/Zim  agreements.

Apr 08 - Trump's maritime fuel policy will sink energy markets (George Landrith)
- The Trump administration is working to slow down the implementation of a major international environmental regulation that's set to take effect in 2020. The administration hopes the effort will ease the compliance burden on businesses by phasing in the rules gradually rather than all at once.
Counterintuitively, phasing in the regulation could raise costs on American consumers rather than reduce costs as the administration intends. It's smarter to let the rules go into effect as scheduled.
- The regulation was issued years ago by the International Maritime Organization, which regulates global shipping. The rules will require ships to use fuel containing no more than 0.5 percent sulfur - a compound which causes acid rain and exacerbates people's breathing problems. That's a steep drop from the current global limit of 3.5 percent sulfur. The Trump administration fears the regulation will cause demand for diesel, heating oil and other low-sulfur fuels to surge, resulting in "precipitous fuel cost increases on consumers." It also worries shipping companies will abruptly raise prices on imported goods to offset their higher fuel costs. Fortunately, these sudden price hikes aren't likely. The oil industry has known about the regulation, commonly called IMO 2020, for roughly a decade. Petroleum companies have already upgraded their refineries to meet the coming demand for low-sulfur fuels. A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggests if the new rules are implemented as planned there will be minimal effects on domestic fuel prices. Similarly, a report commissioned by the IMO concluded "the refinery industry can produce sufficient amounts of marine fuels of the required quality … while at the same time supplying other sectors with the petroleum products they require."
- Meanwhile, the shipping industry has prepared by installing sulfur "scrubbers" on its vessels. These devices capture sulfur emissions, thereby enabling ships to adhere to the regulation despite using higher-sulfur fuels. Commodities trading company Trafigura has already equipped all 32 of its ships with scrubbers. In other words, the free market is working. Companies had plenty of advanced warning about the new regulations and they proactively adapted to prevent any market distortions.
- Phasing in the rules would create uncertainty for these industries. The administration hasn't even clarified how long it wants to stall the rollout. Six months? A year? Five years? Even if the administration releases a more specific phase-in timeline, refineries would still be forced to estimate how this piecemeal approach affects global demand for low-sulfur fuels. This guesswork could cause refineries to produce too little low-sulfur fuel, thereby leading to shortages. Ironically, such shortages would result in higher prices for the very consumers the administration intends to help.
- IMO 2020 also won't push up the price of imported goods. The United States already imposes a more stringent 0.1 percent sulfur cap on all ships that come within 200 miles of our shores. So an 0.5 percent limit will have little impact on American consumers. IMO 2020 will take effect sooner or later - there's no way to delay it entirely. The only question is whether the administration disrupts a decade's worth of planning by the oil and shipping industries, unintentionally harming American consumers in the process.

George Landrith is president of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank. This piece originally ran in The Houston Chronicle.

Apr 04 - Far East service upgrades fuel demand for classic Panamaxes (AlphaLiner)
- Demand  for  classic  panamax  containerships  has  started  to  pick  up  in  recent weeks  and  the  number of  idle  units  in  the  size  range  from  4,000  to  5,100  teu has  fallen  sharply. 

- Over  the  past  month,  the  count reduced from  50  to just  22 ships, of which only twelve are still believed ‘spot’ for charter. The  sharp  drop  is  mainly  driven by increased demand from  the intra -  Far  East routes,  which  have  become  the  biggest  single  trade for  panamax  ships.  The number  of  ships  of  over  4,000  teu,  deployed  in  the Far  East  regional  trades, has  increased  steadily  since  2010,  from  fewer  than 30  vessels  to  195  units currently. Of these, 153 are classic panamaxes.

- Chinese  domestic  routes  alone  employ  63  panamaxes, primarily  on  high-volumes  trades  that  connect  Northern  and  Southern  China.  However,  demand from  Chinese  domestic  carriers  has  stabilized  after  the  steady  rise  seen  since 2010. Over the past twelve months, there was no increase in the Chinese cabotage fleet, as far as 4,000+ teu vessels are concerned.

- Most  of  the  new  demand is  fuelled  by  the  vessel  size  increase  on  North  Asia - South  East  Asia  services,  as  well  by  as  an  increasing  number  of  high-volume feeder  routes  in  South  East  Asia.  The  relatively  low  charter  rates  for  classic panamaxes have enticed operators to upgrade some services from the 1,500 - 3,500 teu size to the 4,000 - 5,100 teu scale, with panamax vessels chartered at rates similar to those paid for smaller ships.

Apr 03 - Brazil ports linked to Bunge, Cargill seek lower Panama Canal fees
Brazilian port operators including units of global grain traders Cargill Ltd and Bunge Ltd will unveil a proposal this week to lower Panama Canal tariffs and cut their costs in shipping agricultural commodities to their main market China. They will argue that at current tariffs, shipping grains from Brazil's northern ports via the Cape of Good Hope is almost $206,000 cheaper on a per-ship basis than using the Canal, despite the shorter distance.

Mar 29 - China's Feb coking coal imports from Australia fall 21 pct 
China's coking coal imports from Australia in February slumped 21 percent from a year earlier as lengthy customs checks on Australian cargoes at several ports delayed their arrival into the country. Australian imports were at 1.16 million tonnes last month, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Monday, compared to 1.47 million tonnes in February 2018. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 29 - Transneft may sell Novo grain terminal to VTB in April - Interfax 
Russia's oil pipeline monopoly Transneft hopes to finalise the sale of Novorossiysk Grain Terminal to Russia's second-biggest bank VTB in April, the Interfax news agency quoted Transneft as saying on Wednesday. The sale of terminal, one of the biggest at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, is expected to give the state lender more control over the country's main deep-sea grain export hub. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 29 - Australia's Fortescue expects cyclone to delay 1.5-2 mln T of iron ore shipments 
Australia's Fortescue, the world's No. 4 iron ore miner, on Monday said it expected 1.5 million to 2 million tonnes of shipments of the steelmaking material to be delayed after a cyclone hit the country's west coast over the weekend. "The current estimate of this disruption to shipping is within the range of 1.5 to 2 million tonnes, on the assumption that the port reopens in the next 24 hours," a spokesman said in an emailed statement to Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 28 - Scrubber uptake surges ahead of 2020 sulphur cap (Alphaliner)
- With just nine more months to go before the implementation of the IMO 2020 sulphur  fuel  cap,  the  total  number of  scrubber  orders  for  containerships  has risen to over 540 units.

- Additional orders have been unveiled since Alphaliner’s last survey in November, with an increasing number of owners aiming to take advantage of the potential cost savings that the devices could bring. MSC continues to lead the way and the total number of scrubbers ordered for its  owned  and  chartered  fleet  now  approaches  an  estimated  180  units.  The carrier has already secured a $439 M loan to fit 86 exhaust gas cleaning sys-tems to its fleet, with additional scrubbers to be installed on a substantial num-ber of MSC-chartered ships. 

- Evergreen has over 90 scrubbers on order, including for newbuildings, and it will receive in May and June the first-ever scrubber fitted megamax vessels, the 20,388  teu  sisters  EVER  GLORY  and  EVER GOVERN.  Ten of its  2,886  teu  B-class ships have already been fitted with scrubbers, with more units on the way. The Korean carrier HMM announced last week that 41 of the containerships under its control will be equipped with scrubbers by mid-2021, comprising 20 newbuildings and 21 existing vessels.

- The figure includes two 11,000 teu ships that were fitted with scrubbers last year. In addition, HMM will have scrubbers installed on several long term chartered ships, which could bring its total fleet of scrubber-fitted vessels to some 50 units, based on Alphaliner estimates. Maersk  has  already  committed  $263  M  for  the  installation  of  scrubbers  on some 50 of its containerships, reversing its previous position to rely primarily on low sulphur fuel to comply with the new IMO regulations.

Mar 27 - Australia's Pilbara Ports reopens Dampier port after cyclone
Australian port operator Pilbara Ports said on Wednesday it has reopened the Port of Dampier, which mostly ships iron ore from Rio Tinto , after it was closed ahead of a cyclone that made landfall over the weekend. "Pilbara Ports Authority has re-opened the Port of Dampier on 27 March 2019 from 0600 (AWST) and normal operations have resumed," the company said in a statement. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 27 - Activity halted at Venezuela's oil port, upgraders after blackout - sources
Venezuela's main oil export port of Jose and four crude upgraders have been unable to resume operations following a power blackout on Monday, according to industry workers and a union leader close to the facilities. The most recent oil shipment for export, on the carrier Dragon chartered by Russia's Rosneft, left Jose, which is owned by state-run PDVSA, on March 24, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel-tracking data and PDVSA's trade documents. Click here to read full stories

Mar 22 - Brazil's Vale to resume operations at port after court injunction
Brazilian mining company Vale SA on Friday said it was granted a court injunction allowing it to resume iron ore shipping operations at the Ilha Guaíba port terminal in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro state. In a securities filing, Vale said local authorities at Ilha Guaíba terminal were already notified of the injunction and authorized the resumption of operations at the site, from where the company ships around 40 million tonnes of iron ore per year, or around 10 percent of its expected production in 2019 prior the Brumadinho disaster.

Mar 21 - Australia clears iron ore ports, miners brace as cyclones approach 
The operator of Australia's key iron ore exporting ports said it was clearing ships from the sites as a severe tropical cyclone heads towards the northwestern coast, while miners were also bracing for a separate cyclone in the northeast. The northwestern ports of Port Hedland, Dampier and Ashburton were beginning to clear anchorages and berths, Pilbara Ports said in a statement on Thursday. Port Hedland is the world's largest export hub for iron ore. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 20 - Asia-Europe transit times to increase but not for all carriers (AlphaLiner)
Carriers on the Asia - North Europe route will implement major changes to their networks from the end of March, resulting in longer average transit times as vessel sailing speeds are further reduced. The average duration of services on the corridor will reach a record high of 11.3 weeks as a result of these changes.

Asia - North Europe round trip durations have increased steadily from an average of eight weeks in 2007 to the current average of over eleven weeks, mainly due to slower sailing speeds to mitigate rising bunker prices. The use of larger ships on this route has also resulted in longer port stays, as the average size of vessels deployed in this trade has more than doubled from 7,000 teu in 2007 to above 15,000 teu currently.  

The 2M carriers (Maersk and MSC) will extend the duration of two of their six Asia - North Europe services to 13 weeks, making the ‘AE-5/Albatross’ and ’AE-10/Silk’ services the longest strings on this route. The extended 91-day rotations for both services includes planned diversions for bunkering calls at the Russian Baltic port of Kaliningrad, which add more than four days to the loops’ total rotations.

Apart  from  the  extension  of  the  two  2M  services,  THE  Alliance  has  also stretched the rotation of its ‘FE5’ from nine weeks to ten, while HMM has ex-tended its standalone ‘AEX’ service from ten to eleven weeks.  In  contrast,  the  OCEAN  Alliance  will  shorten  the  rotation  of  its  ‘NEU3’  from  eleven to ten weeks, while calls at Shanghai and Ningbo will be removed, leav-ing overall transit times largely unchanged.

Mar 20 - Ship owners worry about clean fuel bill as ports ban "scrubbers" 
More ports around the world are banning ships from using a fuel cleaning system that pumps waste water into the sea, one of the cheapest options for meeting new environmental shipping rules. The growing number of destinations imposing stricter regulations than those set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are expected to be a costly headache for cruise and shipping firms as they face tough market conditions and slowing world trade. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - Egypt closes four ports due to bad weather 
Egyptian authorities have closed Suez and Nuweiba ports on the Red Sea due to bad weather, Red Sea Ports Authority said on Wednesday. The authorities had earlier closed two major ports, Alexandria and Dekheila, on the Mediterranean Sea due to strong winds and high waves, the Alexandria Port Authority said on Wednesday. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - Brazilian town fines Vale, closes port terminal in Rio de Janeiro state 
The town of Mangaratiba, in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state, fined miner Vale SA and closed its iron ore port terminal on Monday, citing pollution problems and the alleged lack of an operating license. The city's environment department fined Vale for 30 million reais ($8 million) and closed the Ilha da Guaiba terminal for the second time this year. In a statement, Mayor Alan Costa said Vale needs to "comply with environment laws." Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - Rotterdam port prepares for Brexit gridlock 
Emergency overflow parking spaces for up to 700 trucks have been created near Rotterdam port, Europe's largest, in anticipation of backups caused by Britain's departure from the European Union. Authorities in the Netherlands said on Monday they expect around 400 trucks per day destined for Britain will arrive at the harbour without proper customs paperwork after the March 29 Brexit day. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China slip 5 pct in Feb 
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal fell almost 5 percent in February from a month earlier, port data released on Friday showed. Iron ore shipments to China from the world's biggest iron ore port totalled 33.5 million tonnes in February, compared with January's 35.1 million tonnes, the Pilbara Ports Authority said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - Brazil reopens traffic on key soy export highway 
Traffic on Brazil's key grain shipping highway BR-163, linking the agriculture belt to northern ports, was totally re-established by late on Thursday after being deemed "unnavigable" earlier in the week, transport authority Dnit said. The poor state of the road, parts of which are unpaved, had led authorities to block traffic as emergency repairs were made. Dnit had previously said roads would be closed until at least Friday.  Click here to read full stories.

Mar 14 - Brazil's Amaggi and Big 4 grain traders mull road, railway venture 
The world's big four agriculture traders and Brazilian rival Amaggi could make a joint bid to operate a road connecting the country's grain belt to northern ports, while also considering an investment in a parallel railway, the firm that conducted a study on the potential venture said on Monday. Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM), Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc, Louis Dreyfus Co (LDC) and Amaggi have commissioned a study on operating a 968-kilometer stretch of the BR-163 highway for 10 years, according to infrastructure and logistics business development firm EDLP. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 14 - BP launches new climate compliant marine fuel for shipping 
Energy group BP is set to sell a new very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) ahead of a ban on more polluting fuels for the shipping industry coming into force next year, it said on Monday. "BP has developed a marine fuel offer that includes this new VLSFO along with marine gas oil and also high sulphur fuel oil for vessels that are equipped with scrubbers (sulphur filters)," it said Click here to read full stories.

Mar 14 - No capacity increase planned on Transpacific route this year (Alphaliner)
- Alphaliner projects container capacity on the Transpacific route to remain flat this year. In the run-up to the 2018 transpacific contract season, which starts on 1 May, shipping lines currently do not plan any capacity increases.
- This year, the carriers’ cautious approach marks the first time since 2009 that no new transpacific services are to be introduced on the route for the summer’s peak shipping season. Transpacific cargo volumes are expected to weaken this year,  and  eastbound  liftings  data  for  the  first  two  months  of  2018  already shows a reduction of -1.0%.     
- On the Far East - USWC route, the total number of weekly services will be cut from 37 to 36 sailings from April, due to the withdrawal of the ‘Zim Med Pa-cific’  (ZMP)  service.  Zim  will  then  join  the  2M  on the  Far  East -  PNW ‘TP-9/Maple’ service and contribute four of the seven 8,400 teu vessels to be de-ployed on the revamped loop.
- The partners of THE Alliance will combine their existing ‘PS1’ and ‘PS2’ loops into a new ‘FP1’ pendulum service, connecting North Europe, Asia and the US West Coast. The merged service will use 15 ships of 9,000 teu, resulting in a small reduction in overall capacity of some 400 teu weekly.  
- However, THE Alliance will add a new ‘PN4’ service, using six classic panamax ships with an average intake of 4,600 teu. This additional capacity will nonethe-less be offset by the downsizing of the carrier group’s existing ‘PN3’ service from the 13,300 teu scale to 8,600 teu, as the larger ships will be re-deployed to the Asia - Europe route.

Mar 12 - Brazilian town fines Vale, closes port terminal in Rio de Janeiro state 
The town of Mangaratiba, in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state, fined miner Vale SA and closed its iron ore port terminal on Monday, citing pollution problems and the alleged lack of an operating license. The city's environment department fined Vale for 30 million reais ($8 million) and closed the Ilha da Guaiba terminal for the second time this year. In a statement, Mayor Alan Costa said Vale needs to "comply with environment laws." Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - China's resilient commodity imports contrast with weak exports: Russell 

If the sharp plunge in China's exports in February shows anything, it's that a gap is opening between what the country is shipping out and its still resilient imports of major commodities. Exports dropped 20.7 percent in February from the same month a year earlier, the largest decline in three years and much bigger than the 4.8 percent fall forecast by analysts.  Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - Busiest U.S. grains port swamped by flooding as exporters await China deal 

Flooding and ice buildup on key rivers in the U.S. Midwest has stalled the movement of barges that supply export terminals at the Gulf of Mexico with grain and soy, barge and grain traders said. One lock on the Ohio River became impassable last week, halting vessels moving to and from the Mississippi River until as late as March 9, they said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - Key Brazil soybean road leading to northern ports closed until Friday

Brazil's transport infrastructure agency DNIT said a stretch of the BR-163 highway, connecting the country's agricultural belt to northern ports, was "unnavigable" and would be closed at least until Friday, according to a statement on Tuesday. The section of the road between the towns of Moraes Almeida and Novo Progresso in Pará state "is degraded," and urgent action was needed to repair the road in five segments and clear it for traffic, the statement said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - CMA CGM debt levels set to soar while earnings dip (AlphaLiner)
- CMA CGM’s total debt has reached $9.18 Bn at the end of 2018 and the figure is set to increase to over $15 Bn in 2019, due to new capital expenditure re-quirements and the consolidation of CEVA Logistics’ debt, as well as changes in accounting rules. Pursuing  an  ambitious  growth  path,  CMA  CGM  has  made  significant  invest-ments in 2018. This included $506 M for new ships and other assets, $502 M for  a  32.9%  share  in  CEVA  Logistics,  and  $210  M  for  the  acquisition  of  the Finland-based regional carrier Containerships OY.  The  group  still  has  significant  capital  expenditure  commitments  in  2019,  in-cluding some $670 M in payments for new ships, $140 M for vessel dry dock-ing including scrubber installations, and a further $140 M for investments in terminals, depots and IT infrastructure. In addition, CMA CGM will also need to pay for the acquisition of the remaining shares in CEVA through a tender offer which is expected to be concluded in April 2019. However, CMA CGM’s EBITDA earnings dropped significantly in 2018 to $1,157 M, compared to $2,117 M in 2017, while net earnings fell to only $34 M from $697 M a year ago. - The deterioration in earnings and operating margins has prompted CMA CGM to announce a new $1.2 Bn cost savings program.  CMA CGM also confirmed that its lease liabilities will increase by some $6.2 Bn to $6.8 Bn in 2019 as a result of the new IFRS 16 accounting rules. Although the company’s EBITDA earnings will increase by $1.6 Bn to $1.8 Bn, this will be offset by increased depreciation expenses of $1.3 Bn and $0.5 Bn in interest expenses. The Group’s net profits are therefore expected to be negatively im-pacted by between $100M and $300 M this year, based on its projections.

Mar 05 - DP World asks court to halt antitrust probe at Mumbai port 

Dubai's DP World has asked an Indian court to halt an investigation into alleged antitrust violations at the country's largest container port in Mumbai, saying the regulator was seeking excessive information, a court document seen by Reuters showed. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last year said it suspected antitrust violations by DP World and Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk at the terminals they operate at state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). Click here to read full stories.

Mar 05 - Index-linked contracts open the door for container freight derivatives (INFORMA)
Hedging through the use of forward-freight agreements is common in other shipping sectors, but the contract-led nature of box shipping has meant it has never taken off for carriers and shippers. But changing from fixed price contracts could lead to an overhaul.

DESPITE SPENDING A LOT OF TIME AND ENERGY ON ANNUAL TENDERS, THEY DO NOT WORK WELL.
- AS CARRIERS and beneficial cargo owners begin their negotiations for this year’s contracts, container freight rate booking platform Freightos is suggesting that annual tenders have become a waste of time.
“Companies are spending a lot of time and energy on annual tenders,” Freightos chief executive Zvi Schreiber told Lloyd’s List on the sidelines at the Journal of Commerce’s TPM conference in Long Beach. “But they don’t work very well.”
- Annual tenders, which lock in prices for guaranteed minimum volumes of cargoes, are designed to bring stability to both shippers and carriers. But the volatile nature of container freight spot rates due to the seasonality of demand and the flexibility of supply, mean that contract and spot rates can vary widely during the year.
“When you lock in a fixed price and then the price moves, someone is going to feel silly,” Mr Schreiber said. “Last year, it was the carriers, because they locked in low prices at the start of the year but then managed to get the spot price higher. In 2016, however, the spot prices crashed after contracts had been signed.”
- In that event, many beneficial cargo owners simply ripped up their contracts and moved to the spot market. In cases where the spot market moves higher than contract rates, carriers will roll contracted cargo in favour of more remunerative spot cargoes.
“Contracts are not fully honoured in either direction,” Mr Schreiber said.
- In an effort to get around this, Freightos, in conjunction with the Baltic Exchange, last year began developing the Freightos Baltic Index, which it hopes will become the de facto standard on which index-linked contracts can be formed. These would guarantee shippers and carriers a rate that was linked to the index and would move in line with the index.
“That way they are always paying the right price,” Mr Schreiber said. “The contract will be close to spot so the carrier has no incentive to roll contract cargoes, and the shipper has no incentive to go off contract as they are always close to spot rates already.”
- The system, if widely adopted, also opens the door for derivative trading for container freight.
“Our plan, in conjunction with the Baltic, is to enable the carriers, forwarders and BCOs to move to index-linked tenders,” Mr Schreiber said. “They can then hedge the risk using derivatives. This year, we will start to see some index-linking and next year we will start to see derivatives. Every other industry has derivatives, except for us.”

Feb 28 - UAE's Fujairah oil hub starts to offer cleaner marine fuels ahead of new rules 

The port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun offering cleaner marine fuel oils that comply with stricter global emissions rules which come into effect at the start of 2020, a port document showed. Marine fuels, also known as bunkers, with a maximum 0.5 percent sulphur content are "available in Fujairah as early as February 2019 onwards," said a notice to mariners posted on the Port of Fujairah's website. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 28 - Thyssenkrupp improves logistics after Rhine low water crisis 

Thyssenkrupp will spend a mid double-digit million euro sum over five years to safeguard against a repeat of last year's low water crisis on the river Rhine, which hurt commodities flows and pushed up costs, a company official said. Emergency plans for personnel have been reworked, alternative modes of transport and barge modernisations explored, and storage and reception facilities expanded, Thyssenkrupp manager Arnd Koefler told Reuters in an interview. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 28 - Australia's Queensland Rail moves up flooded track repairs to end-April 

Australia's Queensland Rail said on Monday that it expects a railway hit by flooding this month, which disrupted zinc shipments from major producers such as Glencore, to be fixed as early as the end of April, sooner than it hadexpected. he 1,000-km (620-mile) rail line is used by miners including Glencore, MMG Ltd and South 32 to carry zinc and lead concentrate from the Mt Isa region to port at Townsville, as well as by fertiliser producer Incitec Pivot Ltd. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 28 - Ukraine's Feb 16-22 sea port grain exports down week on week 

Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports in the week of Feb. 16-12 fell to 894,000 tonnes from 1.07 million tonnes a week earlier, the APK-Inform consultancy said on Monday. It said corn exports decreased to 683,000 tonnes from 866,000 tonnes, while wheat shipments were flat at 201,000 tonnes. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 27 - US container imbalance worsens despite protectionist measures (AlphaLiner)
- Empty  container  moves  handled  at  US  ports  surged  to  a  record  high  in  2018,  as  the  imbalance  of  US  container  imports  over  exports  has  worsened  despite  the implementation of protectionist trade policies by the US administration.  
- According to Alphaliner’s survey of the 10 largest container ports in the US, to-tal laden imports grew by 6.2% last year to reach 20.66 Mteu while total laden exports  grew  by  only  2.1%  to  11.06  Mteu.  The  total  number  of  empty  contain-ers  handled  at  the  10  ports  surveyed  increased  to  a  record  of  10.89  Mteu,  growing by 5.6% in 2018 with the incidence of empty container handling reach-ing an all-time high of 25.6%.
- The  imbalance  was  especially  pronounced  in  the  second  half  of  last  year,  at  a  ratio of more than 2-to-1, despite the imposition of various import tariffs by the US  during  2018.  Instead  of  curbing  imports,  the  tariffs  have  had  the  opposite  effect as importers front loaded cargo in anticipation of higher tariffs that were supposed  to  be  imposed  on  Chinese  imports,  while  demand  for  US  container-ised exports remained largely stagnant.
- The planned increase in imports tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 Bn worth of Chinese  imports,  originally  scheduled  to  be  imposed  from  1  January  2019,  have  now  been  postponed  twice  including  the  latest  delay  just  announced  on  25  February  that  pre-empted  the  revised  implementation  date  of  1  March  2019.  
- Significant  uncertainty  over  the  development  of  transpacific  trade  volumes was part of the reason for Maersk to announce a downbeat guidance on earnings in 2019, pushing down its share price by over 12% last week.

Feb 26 - Looking for a black cat in a dark room ? (AlphaBulk)
- In a recent article we mentioned that market players feeling depressed by the drop in the market this year were perfectly entitled to feel dismayed as the decline has in fact been the worst ever recorded in the history of the BDI if 2008 is excluded. We used the percentage changes in the BDI over 5- and 10-day periods to make our case, but actually volatility tells the same story.
- If we use the 3-month trailing annualised standard deviation of daily returns of the BDI to show volatility, this time excluding first-half 2009, the volatility experienced end of January 2019 is the highest ever, as shown in the graph below. The graph clearly demonstrates that volatility has recently exceeded 60%. Higher volatilities were only experienced in the first half of 2009, when we saw numbers north of 65% during the rebound seen after the 2008 collapse.
- The recent catastrophic drop in percentage terms of the BDI and its individual components has of course prompted the usual questions regarding the reason. The Vale tailing dam disaster and the Chinese New Year break are frequently cited as possible drivers, but are unlikely to explain the full extent of the decline. And of course these explanations are after the event, whereas what all market players would like is warnings of what will happen and why before the event!
- All sorts of tortuous methods have been applied to shipping data to make them yield some sort of predictive power but so far to little avail. Some of these tools are very crude, and pretend that shipping markets behave like “normal” markets, meaning that returns are normally distributed.

Feb 22 - China's Dalian port bans Australian coal imports, sets 2019 quota - source 

Customs at China's northern port of Dalian has banned imports of Australian coal and will cap overall coal imports from all sources to the end of 2019 at 12 million tonnes, an official at Dalian Port Group told Reuters on Thursday. The indefinite ban on imports from top supplier Australia, effective since the start of February, comes as major ports elsewhere in China prolong clearing times for Australian coal to at least 40 days. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - Dry bulk market prospects worsen after Brazil dam disaster - shipper Golden Ocean 

The prospects of dry bulk shippers carrying iron ore from mines to smelters have worsened due to the accident at Vale's Brumadinho dam in Brazil, Golden Ocean said on Tuesday as it presented forecast-beating quarterly earnings. The dam in the town of Brumadinho, which contained tailings, the mud-like byproducts of iron ore mining, burst on Jan. 25, killing at least 166 people and with almost 200 more still missing. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Hedge funds hunt for shipping debt in new market push 

A growing number of hedge funds are moving into shipping debt, an asset class few have invested in before, looking to buy up loans and bonds as banks cut their exposure to the troubled sector.  World economy worries and cost pressures are dampening prospects for a proper recovery in many segments of the shipping. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - British farmers face Brexit date shipment conundrum 

British farmers and food producers must decide whether to proceed with shipments next week because exports could face tariffs if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, a farming leader said on Tuesday. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 but Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), said decisions needed to be taken by farmers as soon as next week. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - Chinese traders freeze Australian coal orders amid 40-day customs delays - sources 

Chinese coal traders have stopped ordering Australian coal as clearing times through China's customs have doubled to at least 40 days, according to major buyers in China and international coal merchants, resulting in a sharp fall in Australian prices. The traders and a broker said only cargoes from Australia, the biggest supplier of the fuel to the world's top consumer, were affected. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - India's thermal coal imports could rise 10 pct this year - Adani exec 

India's thermal coal imports could rise by about 10 percent in 2019 due to rail transport problems and other logistical bottlenecks, an executive at the country's largest coal trader Adani Enterprises said on Tuesday. Thermal coal imports rose in 2018 after two years of decline, despite moves by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to cut the country's imports in a bid to reduce the trade deficit Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - Dry bulk market prospects worsen after Brazil dam disaster - shipper Golden Ocean 

The prospects of dry bulk shippers carrying iron ore from mines to smelters have worsened due to the accident at Vale's Brumadinho dam in Brazil, Golden Ocean said on Tuesday as it presented forecast-beating quarterly earnings. The dam in the town of Brumadinho, which contained tailings, the mud-like byproducts of iron ore mining, burst on Jan. 25, killing at least 166 people and with almost 200 more still missing. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Ocean Freight Dry Bulk Report (CCShipbrokers)

- It appears the dry-bulk market has bottomed out, at least for the moment. Is it a “Dead Cat Bounce” or is the worst now behind us? Please keep in mind that the freight market is at a substantial carry going forward. Vessel owners are hopeful that things will improve once the Lunar New Year holiday week concludes. But, in truth, the market has more serious issues than just a brief holiday lull. Rates have been going down for the past three months. There remain structural issues regarding vessel supply and cargo demand in a global economy that is not expanding to the degree anticipated. We still need to curtail new vessel orders and economically encourage more vessel scrapping – and this will be painful to accomplish.
- If you think about the consequences of this situation, you will come to the realization that this is not a good scenario for the shipbuilding industry and the governments that depend on such for employment and foreign exchange. However, this industry will not go down without a fight. So, we truly have two strong forces with conflicting needs. We must expect further consolidation within the dry-bulk sector, but this will not solve the problem of a global fleet that is bigger than global cargo demand.
- It appears the dry-bulk market has bottomed out, at least for the moment. Is it a “Dead Cat Bounce” or is the worst now behind us? Please keep in mind that the freight market is at a substantial carry going forward. Vessel owners are hopeful that things will improve once the Lunar New Year holiday week concludes. But, in truth, the market has more serious issues than just a brief holiday lull. Rates have been going down for the past three months. There remain structural issues regarding vessel supply and cargo demand in a global economy that is not expanding to the degree anticipated. We still need to curtail new vessel orders and economically encourage more vessel scrapping – and this will be painful to accomplish.

- Handysize
A week of continuous improvement saw the Baltic Exchange Handysize Index (BHSI) climb over 300 points. Most of the routes remained in positive territory this week for both reporting sizes, with the US Gulf showing the strongest uptrend. A 38,000dwt vessel was fixed basis Cape Town delivery for a trip via Necochea to the Persian Gulf at $9,750. Large Handysize vessels were reportedly fixed at $8,000 for trips from East Coast South America to the Mediterranean. From the US Gulf, a 38,000-tonner was fixed to the Mediterranean at $9,500, while $8,000 was reported on a 34,000dwt ship for a similar run. Earlier in the week, a 33,000-tonner was concluded from Canakkale to Morocco with grain at $5,000. In the East, a 28,000-tonner was booked from Thailand to move sugar to Indonesia at $6,000, with another similar-sized vessel fixed from North China to Vietnam at a rate in the low $4,000s.

Feb 15 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China in Jan slip 6 pct on month 

Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal fell 6 percent in January from a month earlier, port data released on Friday showed. Iron ore shipments to China from the world's biggest iron ore port totalled 35.1 million tonnes in January, compared with December's 37.4 million tonnes, the Pilbara Ports Authority said. A cyclone blew near the region in the month. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Libya dreams of mega port in history-laden east

A white foundation stone next to a deserted beach near the soporific Libyan port of Susah is all to show for a seven-year dream to build one of North Africa's biggest ports. Yet officials say Libya is now in final talks to award a U.S. firm a $1.5 billion deal to set up a "mega port" intended to transform the picturesque coast where families go for picnics into a vast container hub. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Port of Rotterdam braces for the consequences of Brexit

A no-deal Brexit could lead to serious problems in Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, which handles around 40 million tonnes of goods to and from Britain every year, port authorities said on Thursday. Britain's departure from the European Union without an agreement on the terms of its separation remains a possibility. That would create major traffic jams at Rotterdam as it scrambles to create parking for trucks lacking the right paperwork and for inspections of goods arriving from the UK. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Egypt's GASC buys 300,000 tonnes of wheat for late March shipment 

Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), bought 300,000 tonnes of wheat on Friday at an international purchase tender for shipment March 21-31, traders said. GASC said it booked 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soft red wheat, 120,000 tonnes of French wheat, and 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - South Korea's Posco Daewoo to take stake in Ukrainian grain terminal 

South Korean firm Posco Daewoo has agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in a new grain terminal in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Mykolayiv, Ukraine's national investment council said on Wednesday. The terminal, which is due to start operations in July, has a grain loading capacity of 2.5 million tonnes per year, the council said on Facebook. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Three consortiums compete to build dry port west of Cairo

Three consortiums are competing to build a dry port west of Cairo worth $100 million, the Egyptian finance ministry said on Sunday. The project will be a public-private partnership between the General Authority For Ports and Dry Land and the winning consortium, to be built on roughly 104 acres in 6th of October City, a suburb west of the capital. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Russia's VTB builds up control of Black Sea grain export hub 

Russia's state-controlled VTB Bank said on Thursday it will buy a grain terminal from Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NSCP), giving it more control over Russia's main deep-sea grain export hub. VTB, Russia's second-biggest bank, already owns a stake in another grain terminal at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, which ships a significant amount of Russia's grain exports. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Short sea operators also losing share on intra-Far East trade (AlphaLiner)
- Independent  short-sea  and  feeder  operators  on  the  intra-Far  East  routes  are also losing market share to Main Line Operators (MLOs), in what is becoming a global  trend  as  consolidation  amongst the  MLOs  and  the  attrition  of  smaller short-sea  carriers  have  seen  the  capacity  balance  tip  in  favour  of  the  larger main line operators. The total capacity operated on intra-Far East liner services, excluding cabotage trades,  has  more  than  doubled  over  the  last  decade  from  890,000  teu  at  the beginning of 2009 to 1,900,000 teu as at January 2019.
- Over the same period, the capacity share of MLOs on this route has increased from 50% to 56%. Although the capacity share of the independent short sea and feeder operators on  the  intra-Far  East  trade  has  shrunk,  these  carriers  have  still  managed  to grow  their  total capacity  operated  by  86% over  the  last  10  years,  with  the  five largest independent short sea operators (Wan Hai, SITC, KMTC, Sinokor and TS Lines) all managing to more than double their size on this trade.
- However, short sea carriers with significant SOC feeder operations such as RCL and  Samudera  have  been  less  successful in  growing  their  operations  as  their operated fleet size have remained largely stagnant. Despite this, the independ-ent intra-Far East carriers have remained remarkably resilient in the face of the challenge from MLOs, with attrition limited to only a handful of smaller carriers including  MISC  Berhad,  STX  Pan  Ocean,  New  Econ  Lines  and  EP  Carriers amongst  the  more  prominent  names  that  have  left  the  scene  in  the  last  decade.

Feb 08 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China in Jan slip 6 pct on month 

Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal fell 6 percent in January from a month earlier, port data released on Friday showed. Iron ore shipments to China from the world's biggest iron ore port totalled 35.1 million tonnes in January, compared with December's 37.4 million tonnes, the Pilbara Ports Authority said. A cyclone blew near the region in the month. 

Feb 07 - Dozens of coal, iron ore freighters stuck off China ports amid customs delays -data, sources 

Dozens of ships carrying coal and iron ore to China are stuck outside ports waiting to unload, according to shipping data, with traders saying harbour authorities are taking longer than usual to clear the imports with customs officials. Refinitiv data showed on Friday that more than 300 dry-bulk freighters in total are currently sitting idle, waiting to deliver into China. While dry-bulk ships carry many different commodities, most affected were those carrying coal and iron ore from Australia, according to the data and two bulk traders. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Australia's Pacific National says coal train derailed, service impacted

Australian coal haulier Pacific National said on Thursday that one of its trains derailed near the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and that some services would be affected while repair work was carried out. The Hunter Valley is Australia's top thermal coal-producing region and home to operations run by Yancoal, Glencore and Peabody Energy. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Croatia's troubled Uljanik shipyard picks partner to stay afloat

Croatia's troubled shipbuilder Uljanik said on Thursday it had chosen local rival Brodosplit as a strategic partner to restructure its operations. Uljanik, 25 percent owned by the state and with 3,500 employees, has been working to stave off bankruptcy due to liquidity problems that began in 2017. Workers staged strikes twice last year over unpaid wages. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 05 - South Africa's Transnet in talks to construct coal line link to Botswana 

South Africa's state owned logistics company Transnet said on Thursday it was in talks to construct a heavy haul railway line to export some of Botswana's 212 billion tonnes of coal reserves. Transnet said the agreement to construct the link will with Botswana Railways will see up to 80 million tonnes of coal transported annually from Botswana for export and domestic use. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Woodmac estimates 10 pct of marine fuel to be scrubbed of sulphur in 2020 

Research firm Woodmac sees a rise in the use on ships of "scrubbers", the equipment to clean up sulphur emissions, before the International Maritime Organization imposes new rules from Jan. 1 2020 to limit sulphur content in fuel. Woodmac forecasts that just over 10 percent of marine fuel will be scrubbed in 2020 when the regulations kick in. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Sri Lanka port strike ends with backlog of 6,000 containers

Sri Lankan customs officers on Tuesday called off a strike that left 6,000 containers stranded at the country's main port and put pressure on food prices, after the government agreed to reinstate their boss for three months. The strike by thousands of officials began a week ago in protest at the sacking of Director General P.S.M. Charles, who authorities blamed for a drop in customs revenue last year. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Three crew die in British Columbia Canadian Pacific grain trainderailment 

Three crew members died on Monday when a Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd grain train derailed in British Columbia, a Transportation Safety Board (TSB) spokesman said. The accident occurred at 2:10 a.m. local time (0910 GMT) when a train carrying 40 to 60 grain hopper cars derailed near Field, British Columbia, the TSB spokesman said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - CME Group reports first trade for low-sulphur marine fuel contract 

The first batch of derivative contracts for a cleaner type of marine fuel oil that complies with stricter emissions rules starting in 2020 traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the CME Group said on Friday. A trade for 10 lots of the Singapore free-on-board (FOB) marine fuel with 0.5 percent sulphur content mini futures contract was cleared on Jan. 31, a Singapore-based spokesman for the CME Group said in an e-mail on Friday. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - Dozens of coal, iron ore freighters stuck off China ports amid customs delays - data, sources 

Dozens of ships carrying coal and iron ore to China are stuck outside ports waiting to unload, according to shipping data, with traders saying harbour authorities are taking longer than usual to clear the imports with customs officials. Refinitiv data showed on Friday that more than 300 dry-bulk freighters in total are currently sitting idle, waiting to deliver into China. While dry-bulk ships carry many different commodities, most affected were those carrying coal and iron ore from Australia, according to the data and two bulk traders. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - Bolsanaro takes aim at freight rates, decries 'conspirator' truckers (AgriCensus)
- One month into his first term, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has taken his first swipe at the country’s minimum freight rates policy that was set up under the previous government to end an 11-day truckers strike in May of 2018. In an official letter from the Economy Ministry to the Supreme Court Justice Luiz Fux, who is overseeing legal challenges to the new freight rates law, the new government called last year’s strike an “abuse of the right to strike” on the part of the trucking companies and labeled the truckers as “conspirators”. The letter went on to say that former President Michel Temer was coerced into creating the policy of minimum freight rates to meet the truckers’ demands for them to end the strike last year.
“Fixing prices, protecting markets and guaranteeing economic benefits… for those in question in the process of price formation institutionalises a cartel,” the letter added.
- Bolsonaro was elected in October 2018 with strong support from Brazil’s agricultural sector, which has opposed the minimum freight rates, saying they raise the sector’s transport costs by 100% or more in many cases. The letter adds that “the legislation’s creation (of the minimum freight rates) was a private sector initiative, lacking public participation, to bring about the will of the conspirators.” The letter to the high court also addressed Brazil’s anti-trust agency CADE and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, calling on them to investigate the alleged illegal conduct of the trucking industry and to impose sanctions and criminal penalties when justified.
- Justice Fux is overseeing three principal appeals of the new freight rate law at the high court, which is due to decide on its constitutionality in the coming weeks to months. As part of former President Temer’s concessions to the truckers to end the strike last year, the government granted subsidized discounts on the price of diesel, since the high price of the fuel was the main complaint of the truckers during the strike. The new chief executive of the state-run oil company Petrobras, Castello Branco, also criticised the previous government’s decision to subsidise fuel prices saying it damaged the traded company’s image in investors’ eyes.
The subsidy ended on January 1.

Jan 31 - S.Korea to combine world's two biggest shipbuilders in $2 bln deal 

Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's biggest shipbuilding group, has announced a share swap deal worth 2.1 trillion won ($1.98 billion) to take over second-ranked Daewoo and create a global heavyweight controlling over 20 percent of the market. The move comes as the worldwide shipbuilding sector recovers from a global economic downturn that led to massive losses, widespread job cuts and, in 2017, the $2.6 billion bailout of South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Global shipping rates slump in latest sign of economic slowdown 

Freight rates for dry-bulk and container ships, carriers of most of the world's raw materials and finished goods, have plunged over the last six months in the latest sign the global economy is slowing significantly. The Baltic Dry Index, measure of ship transport costs for materials like iron ore and coal, has fallen by 47 percent since mid-2018, when a trade dispute between the United States and China resulted in the world's two biggest economies slapping import tariffs on each other's goods. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - New Indonesian insurance rules cause coal export backlogs in Kalimantan

Indonesian insurance rules that come into effect on Feb. 1 are causing huge coal supply backlogs, with dozens of ships held up outside ports unable to load as authorities start checking to see if vessels are in compliance with the new policy. A regulation issued in August last year requires Indonesian exporters of coal and palm oil to use local insurers from Feb. 1, and also requires them to use local shipping companies from May 2020. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Workers at Prodeco's Colombia coal port vote down proposed strike 

A small number of workers at Grupo Prodeco's port in Colombia have voted down a proposed strike, the union which held the vote said on Friday, adding that only eight out of 115 workers voted. Prodeco, a subsidiary of Switzerland's Glencore, is the third-largest producer of thermal coal in the Andean country. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Poor weather restricts grain loading in five Ukrainian ports 

Five large Ukrainian seaports have restricted cargo operations with grain due to poor weather conditions as of Jan. 31, Ukrainian state sea port administration said on Thursday. Black Sea ports of Chernomorsk, Odessa, Reni, Kherson and Yuzhny are among the affected ports. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Ocean Bunkering tops 2018 list of Singapore's largest marine fuel suppliers 

Singapore-based Ocean Bunkering Services (OBS) Pte Ltd topped the 2018 list of largest marine fuel suppliers operating in the world's biggest ship refuelling hub, data released from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore showed on Friday. OBS, bunkering arm of Singapore oil trader and shipper Hin Leong Group, leapt to become Singapore's top marine fuels supplier by volume in 2018, after ranking eighth in the year before and 31st in 2016, the MPA data showed. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Rail moving fluidly through Vancouver after congestion ends - CN Rail 

Congestion at Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's busiest port, has been resolved and rail operations are now "fluid," Canadian National Railway Co said on Friday. Canadian National and rival Canadian Pacific Railway were rationing space on trains travelling in the Vancouver area and prioritized some commodities over others to deal with congestion, causing complaints from shippers. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - CN Rail profit beats on higher crude, grain shipments, raises dividend 

Canadian National Railway Co beat analysts' estimates for quarterly profit on Tuesday, as it transported higher volumes of petroleum crude and Canadian grain. A lack of pipelines to the United States and oversupply have led Canadian energy producers to look for alternatives such as railroads to ship crude. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - Rail moving fluidly through Vancouver after congestion ends - CN Rail 

Congestion at Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's busiest port, has been resolved and rail operations are now "fluid," Canadian National Railway Co said on Friday. Canadian National and rival Canadian Pacific Railway were rationing space on trains travelling in the Vancouver area and prioritized some commodities over others to deal with congestion, causing complaints from shippers.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - Soufflet to expand Metz river terminal to boost EU grain trade

French grain group Soufflet said on Thursday it will build a new storage silo at the river port of Metz in eastern France to boost export trade with northern Europe. Privately owned Soufflet will invest 9 million euros ($10 million) to construct a silo by the summer 2020 harvest that will be able to hold 40,000 tonnes of grain, taking the group's total capacity at Metz to 144,000 tonnes, it said in a statement. Click here to read full stories

Jan 25 - P&O to change flag of UK ships to Cyprus ahead of Brexit

British ferry and shipping freight operator P&O will shift the registration of its UK vessels to Cyprus ahead of Britain's departure from the European Union, in part to keep its tax arrangements in the bloc, the company said on Tuesday. P&O currently has six UK-registered ships operating on the English Channel route to France, although it announced last month it was moving two of those to the Cyprus registry and one has already been transferred. Click here to read full stories

Jan 24 - Egypt's Suez Canal revenue rises to $5.7 bln in 2018

Egypt's Suez Canal revenue rose to $5.7 billion in 2018, from $5.3 billion in 2017, Reuters calculations based on data from a government website showed on Monday. The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of the government's main sources of foreign currency. Click here to read full stories

Jan 24 - Russia plans tougher grain export controls - reports

Russia's state agriculture watchdog is considering plans to strengthen controls on grain exports, Russian news agencies reported on Saturday. There has been speculation that the world's largest wheat exporter could limit grain exports later in the 2018/19 season which started on July 1, to keep a lid on domestic prices. Click here to read full stories

Jan 24 - Asian buyers purchased Moldovan feed wheat in containers - trade

Buyers in Malaysia and the Philippines have in past days purchased an unknown volume of feed wheat from Moldova in east Europe for delivery in ocean shipping containers, European traders said on Monday. Malaysian buyers made purchases at around $260 to $262 a tonne c&f for February/March shipment to the Malaysian port of Klang. Click here to read full stories

Jan 24 - India watchdog orders DP, Maersk units to withdraw some notices to clients at Mumbai port

India's antitrust watchdog has ordered Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk and Dubai's DP World to withdraw certain customer advisories which it said could hamper growth of the country's largest container port in Mumbai, a document seen by Reuters showed. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last year ordered a probe into suspected antitrust violations by DP World and Maersk units at the terminals they operate at state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). Click here to read full stories

Jan 24 - DP World to spend at least $250 mln building stake in Australia unit

Dubai's DP World will spend at least $250 million buying back some shares in its Australian port terminals business which it sold in 2010, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday. DP World will buy the shares from Corsair Infrastructure Partners' Gateway Infrastructure Investments and other investors, it said in a bourse statement. Click here to read full stories

Jan 23 - Fujairah joins other ports, tightens exhaust rules ahead of 2020 regulations 

Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates has become the latest major port to ban a type of fuel exhaust cleaning system to comply with a coming tightening in rules regarding global sulphur emissions, mirroring similar moves in Singapore and China. Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into effect from 2020, ships will have to reduce the sulphur content in their fuel to less than 0.5 percent, compared with 3.5 percent now, forcing huge changes upon global shippers and also oil refiners.  Click here to read full stories. 

 Jan 23 - Canadian railways ration space as commodity congestion problems worsen

Canada's two major railways are rationing space on trains traveling to the country's biggest port and recently prioritized some commodities over others to deal with congestion, the latest indication of their struggle to meet demand from new trade deals. That move prompted Canada's transport regulator last week to start an investigation into rail services around Port Metro Vancouver, after shippers complained of "discriminatory treatment of certain commodities" by Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). Click here to read full stories.

Jan 19 - China lifts swine transport ban in key provinces amid vaccine project (AgriCensus)

China has lifted the transportation ban for pigs in two major pig-farming provinces - Liaoning and Sichuan - as the country has set up a project to potentially develop a vaccine for African Swine Fever (ASF). The transportation restriction that prevented pigs from being shipped out of Liaoning province was removed on Monday, according to a document released by the Liaoning provincial Department of African Swine Fever prevention and Control on Friday.

"Piglets with reports of negative African Swine Fever RNA within the last 30 days and that have been passed local quarantine inspections can be transported out of the province," the document stated.

Liaoning province has been one of the major pig-farming provinces in China that has been heavily impacted by the ongoing ASF incidents. Liaoning province had reported a total of 13 outbreaks of ASF since last August with the most recent one found on 17th of October last year, affecting at least 42,000 pigs.

"This is bullish [for market]. But the execution will not be easy," one Chinese-soymeal trader told AgriCensus.

Meanwhile, Sichuan province has also implemented similiar measure, market sources said. This largest pig-farming province in China had reported five outbreaks between mid-November and mid-December last year. China's ministry of Science and Technology said Friday it has started research to develop a vaccine for ASF, which is currently incurable. China is both a large pork producer and consumer, and has so far culled at least 916,000 pigs due to the ASF disease. The relaxation of rules in some provinces comes as infections continue to be reported. Gansu province in north-western China has reported its second outbreak of ASF in less than a week, which marks the 104th case since August last year. The ASF disease has been impacting the demand of soymeal in China as pig farmers are wary of replenishing their pig stocks. Crushers have seen demand from feed makers and the livestock industry drop significantly this year.

Jan 18 - Busiest U.S. port sets all-time cargo record in 2018 

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday said they set all-time records for moving cargo in 2018, after U.S. retailers and manufacturers pulled forward imports to avoid higher tariffs on Chinese goods. The Port of Los Angeles, North America's busiest container port, handled 9.46 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year, the most in its 111-year history and 1.2 percent more than in 2017.Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - Egypt reopens five ports after weather improves 

Egypt reopened five ports on Thursday that it had shut due to bad weather as conditions improved and winds stabilised, the Red Sea Ports Authority said. Several Egyptian port cities and the capital Cairo were hit by a severe sandstorm on Wednesday, which prompted the closure of several ports. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - Shipping delays in Turkish Straits hit record high on new rules, bad weather

Delays to ships in the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles reached a record of more than 30 days for a return journey this week, Refinitiv data showed on Friday, which traders said was due to bad weather and tougher regulation. A return journey in the waterway known as the Turkish Straits normally takes around 5 to 6 days, although this time last year delays rose to up to 18 days due to bad weather, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 16 - Bridge collapse blocks Brussels-Scheldt canal traffic

All traffic on Belgium's Brussels-Willebroek Canal, a freight link between the capital and the Scheldt estuary around Antwerp, was halted on Thursday until at least early Saturday and probably longer after a bridge accident. Officials were still assessing the damage to the Humbeek Bridge, which lifts on cables to let ships and barges pass beneath, a spokesman for the Port of Brussels authority said. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 15 - Rio Tinto calls force majeure on some iron ore shipments after fire in Australia 

Rio Tinto said on Monday it has declared force majeure on iron ore shipments to some customers following a fire at its Cape Lambert export terminal in Australia last week. The miner closed part of the terminal's operations after the fire on last Thursday. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 15 - Beetles halt U.S. distillers' grains exports to Thailand 

Exports of U.S. distillers' dried grains to Thailand have stopped due to new fumigation requirements installed after beetles were discovered in a shipment last year, American traders said on Friday. Thai government officials said U.S. shipments required certificates showing they had been "properly fumigated." Traders said sales had effectively been halted as the two governments negotiate which gas is best for the fumigation. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - China bans discharge from open-loop scrubbers in coastal waters -official 

China's maritime authority has banned the discharge of "wash water" used in ships to strip hazardous sulphur emissions from engine exhaust gases from Jan. 1, in an effort to curb pollution of its coastal seas. The ban on discharges from so-called open-loop scrubbers affects all rivers and ports along China's coastline and includes the Bohai Sea, according to an official from the China's Maritime Safety Administration (MSA). Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China jump 14 pct in Dec 

Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal rose 14 percent in December from a month earlier, port data released on Thursday showed. Iron ore shipments to China from the world's biggest iron ore port totalled 37.4 million tonnes in December, compared with November's 32.9 million tonnes, the Pilbara Ports Authority said. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - Blaze damages Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert iron-ore export facility 

Rio Tinto Ltd closed part of its Cape Lambert iron-ore export terminal in Western Australia after a fire caused damage, the company said on Thursday. The blaze occurred early on Thursday and was extinguished with no injuries, the company said in an emailed statement. Cape Lambert is located about 1,250 km (780 miles) north of the Western Australian capital of Perth. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - Egypt reopens 5 ports shut by bad weather, 2 remain closed 

Egyptian authorities reopened five ports on the Red Sea on Monday, a day after they were closed due to bad weather conditions, the Red Sea Ports Authority said. The two major ports of Alexandria and Dekheila on the Mediterranean Sea remained closed, said Reda al-Ghandour, spokesman for the Alexandria Port Authority. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - Mexican ports see bottlenecks as fuel distribution slows -traders

Bottlenecks for offloading imported fuel are forming at some Mexican oil ports following government orders to shut pipelines to limit losses from widespread fuel theft, according to traders and Refinitiv Eikon data. With storage limited in Mexico, the move by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to shut pipelines and move fuel mostly by rail and truck has slowed transport, causing long lines for consumers and slowed deliveries at ports, where more than 7 million barrels of fuel - enough for several days of use in Mexico - languish. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 03 - Cyclone threatens Australian mining port 

A cyclone is expected to hit the northern Australian port of Weipa on Tuesday, disrupting shipping and lashing the coast with wind gusts of up to 100 km per hour (62 miles per hour), the weather bureau said. The Port of Weipa, which handles bauxite from Rio Tinto's, Weipa mine as well as general cargo, fuel and live cattle, remained shut for a third day as Cyclone Penny moved towards it across the Gulf of Carpentaria. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 02 - Ukraine sea port grain exports fall 21 pct in Dec. 15-21 week 

Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports fell to 536,000 tonnes in the Dec. 15-21 week from 680,000 tonnes a week earlier, analyst APK-Inform said on Wednesday. The consultancy said in a statement that smaller shipments of wheat and corn were the main reason for the drop. Click here to read full stories.

dec 28 - Morocco maintains suspension of soft wheat duty until April 30, 2019 - govt official 

Morocco will suspend the customs duty on soft wheat for four more months until April 30, 2019, to maintain price stability and ensure regular supply, a government spokesperson said on Thursday. The government has acted to maintain the import price of soft wheat at 260 Moroccan dirhams per quintal and as a social measure, Mustapha El Khalfi said at a weekly press briefing. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 20 - Turkish steel production, exports seen contracting some 30 pct, industry says 

Turkish steel production and exports are seen falling by some 30 percent in 2019, hit by weak domestic demand, protectionist measures in international markets and an increase in China's steel exports, the head of the steelexporters association said. Turkey, the world's eighth-largest steel producer and tenth-biggest exporter, has been battered by a currency crisis this year that saw the lira plunge more than 47 percent against the dollar and sent inflation to 25 percent. The crisis has knocked economic growth and hit domestic demand. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 20 - Maersk announces tender offer 

Danish shipping company AP Moller-Maersk announced a tender offer for three sets of bonds on Monday. The company kicked off any-and-all tender offers for its €130m floating-rate bond due March 2019 and its €620m 3.375% August 2019 (outstanding amounts), along with a maximum €750m of its €1bn 1.75% 2021s. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 16 - Port strike turns violent in Chile, complicates fruit exports 

A month-long worker's strike and protests in Chile's flagship port of Valparaiso turned increasingly violent and spread to other ports along the nation's Pacific coast early on Tuesday, complicating fruit exports at the start of summer. Workers in Valparaiso, a key port for fruit shipments, first walked off the job in mid-November, demanding a bonus, more formal contracts and improved working conditions. Workers' representatives and Terminal Pacifico Sur (TPS), which operates Valparaiso's port, have met several times over the 32-day strike but have yet to reach agreement. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 14 - Ocean Freight Comments (Dry Bulk) - week 50 (CCShipbrokers)

Capesize

A positive end to last week after a somewhat uncertain start as some gains made were eroded. Rates recovered later for West Australia/China, nudging the high $8.00s with rumours of $9.00 for prompt positions. In addition, there was finally action from Brazil, with a few cargoes fixed for China as the week closed out with some early ships covered in the mid-high $16.00s and $17.25 paid for early January. Brokers said there were fewer ships in ballast. Atlantic trading also perked up, with fresh business increasingly evident and rates beginning to move, with the odd weaker rate appearing. On the key Puerto Bolivar/Rotterdam run there were reports that charterers were now bidding in the low-mid $9.00s, but so far unfixed. A Narvik/El Dekheila cargo allegedly went at $7.90 and was said to show a timecharter equivalent of over $20,000. Much of the fronthaul fixed was largely breaching business from St. Lawrence, and on voyage, but rates were assessed around $30,000 daily.

Panamax

A very flat week for the indices with rates mostly hovering at the same levels, however, news of fresh concluded sales into China boosted sentiment greatly, with much more period activity evident as a result. A Panamax open South China early January covered for a year at $12,000. Multiple short period trades were also reported. The Pacific continued to be propped up by impressive Indonesian volume. The news of thirty cargoes sold from the NoPac to China, was coupled with improving rates in the North, with Kamsarmaxes fixing at $11,000 or more for round voyages again. South American trades for December slowed, as most stems have been covered now. However, rates remained steady, to slightly better, at around $15,750 plus $575,000 ballast bonus for Kamsarmaxes. In the North, period interest helped increase demand and spot rates saw a slight improvement at the end of the week.

Supramax

It was a more positive week than of late for the Baltic Supramax Index (BSI). The Index showed some strong gains, with China buying US soybeans helping to support the market. Period activity remained across both basins. A 66,000dwt open Indian Ocean fixing at around $14,000 for four to six months trading. As the week came to a close a more positive sentiment appeared across some areas;  The US Gulf showing improved activity. Brokers suggested this was due to increased enquiry from East Coast South America. A 60,000dwt was rumoured fixed from the Gulf for a trip to the Continent in the upper $17,000s. The Asian market made gains, with better flows for NoPac and Australian cargoes. A 63,000 tonner fixed delivery Surabaya trip, via West Australia, redelivery China at $13,500. There was stronger demand from SouthEast Asia, with more coal being shipped. A 63,000dwt vessel was booked delivery Gresik trip, via Indonesia, redelivery CJK in the low $14,000s.

Handysize

The overall Baltic Handysize Index (BHSI) recorded a similar level as it achieved in December 2017. Rates from East Coast South America improved, but negative sentiment from the US Gulf market became more evident last week with limited cargoes. The Pacific market was again less active as Christmas approached. On the period front, a 37,000dwt vessel open North Coast South America went for four to six months at $12,000, with redelivery within the Atlantic.

A 32,000dwt open Canakkale fixed for a trip to the Spanish Mediterranean at $13,750, while another 34,000dwt open Otranto did a similar run at $12,500. A 37,000dwt was booked for woodpellets from US East Coast to the Continent at $14,000 in mid-week, and later, a 38,000 tonner went for a similar trip in the mid $12,000s. A 32,000dwt open Singapore went for a trip via Indonesia to Thailand early last week in the East. A 38,000dwt in Vietnam fixed via Indonesia to China at the same rate.

Dec 13 - Singapore marine fuel sales drop to 17-month low in November 

Sales of marine fuels in Singapore, Asia's biggest ship fuelling port, fell 9.5 percent in November from a year earlier to a 17-month low of 3.906 million tonnes, data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) showed on Thursday. The November volume was 5.3 percent lower than October when 4.125 million tonnes were sold. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 13 - China's COSCO Shipping considers London listing - sources 

China's largest shipping group, COSCO Shipping, is considering raising capital for the first time on the London Stock Exchange through a new initiative with Shanghai's bourse, two finance sources familiar with the matter said. The Shanghai-London Stock Connect will enable Chinese companies to raise fresh money on the LSE through issuing global depository receipts (GDR), which could boost momentum amid concerns that Brexit could dent the City of London's leading position in financial markets. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 13 - China's Zhoushan to go after Singapore marine hub's top billing 

China's port city of Zhoushan is planning to challenge Singapore's dominance of the multi-billion dollar shipping fuel industry, relying on proximity to some of the world's biggest ports and Beijing's support to give it an edge. It will be steep going. The port facilities in the cluster of islands around Zhoushan have annual marine fuel sales of 3.6 million tonnes, less than a tenth of the record 50.6 million tonnes of shipping or bunker fuel Singapore sold in 2017. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 07 - Ocean Freight Comments (Dry Bulk) - week 49 (CCShipbroker)

Panamax

The Atlantic remained fairly quiet all week. South American rates have held at around the low $15,000s plus low $500,000s on modern Kamsarmaxes. Sources suggested this is mainly due to a large clear out for December dates.. That said, some ballasters were also competing on North Coast South American stems as well as Kamsarmax cargoes. Further north, rates appeared fairly flat in limited trading volume, although the tonnage profile appears to be lengthening now. The Pacific began to look like a two-tier market, with constant Indonesian stems supporting the South, whilst the North was under pressure due to a lack of NoPac and East Australian enquiry. This was despite some weather delays for vessels in parts of China. Owners began turning their attentions to Indian cargoes in order to obtain cover into 2019 rather than remain in the Pacific. More period interest was evident, with several ships covered for a short period this week.

Supramax

The Baltic Exchange Supramax Index (BSI) remained in positive territory this week. This was mainly due to better activity levels from the Asian market. Period cover continued, with a 55,600dwt open Spain fixing at $12,500 for three to five months trading redelivery in the Atlantic at $12,500. It was a mixed bag in the Atlantic basins. The East Mediterranean was slow, with a gradual build-up of tonnage. The market was flat from East Coast South America, whilst rates varied from the US Gulf depending on position. An Ultramax open US East Coast was covered in the mid $23,000s for a US Gulf trip to the Mediterranean, whilst a prompt vessel in the US Gulf fixed at around $22,000. There was better activity than of late from Asia, with a 61,000dwt open North China fixed for a round via Indonesia at $10,000. Limited action was heard for Pacific rounds. Some said the Indian Ocean was trading sideways, however, rates remained stable. A 57,200dwt fixed at $12,500 plus $200,000 ballast bonus delivery South Africa redelivery Arabian Gulf/West Coast India range.

Handysize

It was a relatively inactive week in both basins, with the rates relatively stable. The Pacific market continued to weaken, whilst the US Gulf and East Coast South America markets showed some promise, with rates slightly improving. A 34,000dwt open Brunswick next week was fixed for a trip to UK/Continent with woodpellets at $15,000. A 33,000dwt open El Ferrol mid-December was booked for a trip to Algeria at $12,500 basis Rouen delivery. A 34,000dwt open Casablanca was fixed for a trip to the Black Sea at $9,850. A similiarly-sized vessel was booked from the Black Sea to Spain at $13,750. In the East, a 39,000dwt open Surabaya was fixed via Australia, redelivery in South Korea at $11,500. A metcoke cargo from North China paid around $8,000 on a 36,000dwt delivery mid China. A 38,000dwt open Fujairah was taken for an inter-PG run with steels at a rate in the high $10,000s.

Dec 06 - World's largest container shipper Maersk aims to be CO2 neutral by 2050

Maersk, the world's biggest container shipper, aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, in a challenge to the rest of the world's fossil fuel-dependent fleet. Denmark's Maersk said on Wednesday it aimed to have carbon neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030 by using energy sources such as biofuels and would cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 06 - Winter to keep Russian grain exports safe from Ukraine tensions for now

Grain trade from Russia's ports on the Azov Sea will slow sharply as winter freezes the bulk of port operations, leaving the Black Sea as its main shipment route and easing the potential impact of any export curbs that could hit the region amid Russia-Ukraine tensions. Should tensions between Moscow and Kiev mount in future, leading to new incidents in the Kerch Strait, some shipowners could refuse to do business in the Azov Sea, traders said. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 05 - Ship line MSC sees over $2 bln in annual fuel costs from IMO rules

Swiss-headquartered MSC expects to pay over $2 billion a year in fuel costs due to tougher global marine fuel rules and will introduce a bunker charge next year to recoup expenses, the world's number two container line said. UN agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will prohibit ships from using fuels with sulphur content above 0.5 percent from Jan. 1, 2020, compared with 3.5 percent today, unless they are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems, known as scrubbers, to clean up sulphur emissions. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 04 - Ukraine resumes grain shipments from Azov Sea

Ukraine said on Tuesday it had resumed grain shipments from the Azov Sea, blocked for around 10 days after a military standoff with Russia in the Kerch Strait off Crimea. Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews on Nov. 25 after opening fire on them, accusing them of illegally entering its territorial waters.  Click here to read full stories.

Dec 03 - Singapore to ban 'wash water' discharge at top ship refuelling port from 2020

Singapore's Maritime Port Authority (MPA) will ban the discharge of "wash water" used in ships to scrub engine exhaust from Jan. 1, 2020, the MPA said on Friday. The ban of so-called open-loop scrubbers is part of an effort to prepare one of the world's busiest ports for International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into force in 2020 and oblige ships to use cleaner fuels. Click here to read full stories.

Dec 03 - S.Africa's average port tariffs to fall 6 pct next year - regulator

South Africa's Ports Regulator said its average tariffs for the 2019/20 financial year will decrease by 6.27 percent, although coal export charges will rise, a statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday said. The coal dry bulk export cargo dues will increase by 10 percent from April 1 next year to March 31 in 2020, while the RoRo or "roll on, roll off" cargo dues, which include the automotive sector, will decrease by a similar amount. Click here to read full stories.