Freight News

Dec 11 - Shipping industry sails into unknown with new pollution rules (Reuters)
- Faced with imminent new global marine pollution rules, shipping companies and insurers are puzzling over the risks. To reduce emissions of toxic sulphur that cause premature deaths, shipowners who have long relied on the dirtiest residues of oil extraction will have to either switch to low-sulphur fuel or install exhaust gas cleaning systems from Jan. 1. Neither option has been fully tested for long, and some problems have already been reported, both with the more expensive new fuels and with devices known as scrubbers which extract the sulphur on board.
- Several large ship owners said handling the new fuels correctly and making sure the scrubbers were properly deployed would minimize danger, but that if care was not taken, problems could arise. “The big guys are going to be serviced by the right people … there is bigger risk for the smaller ships,” Hugo De Stoop, chief executive of leading Belgian tanker operator Euronav, told Reuters. Euronav has bought the equivalent of almost six months’ supply of compliant fuel and is storing it in a megatanker off Malaysia. If a ship is too far away and has to buy fuel, it will try to buy a single type, or, if only a blend is available, ask to see the seller’s lab tests.
- Khalid Hashim, managing director of one of Thailand’s largest dry cargo ship owners, Precious Shipping, said it had not allowed co-mingling of marine fuel, also known as bunker fuel, for over five years and required all of it to be sample tested. “Of course this costs us annually around $100,000, but we prefer that cost than to use untested bunker oil based solely on the Bunker Delivery Receipt and find that we have a massive problem on our ship,” he said. The company had taken measures to reduce its ships’ fuel consumption to offset some of the extra costs and had installed extra compartments for the tanks on board to avoid mixing, he said. “That way we would have future-proofed our ships for the IMO 2020 regime,” Hashim said, referring the U.N. International Maritime Organization’s rules, agreed by more than 90 countries in hopes of saving more than half a million lives by 2025 alone.
- Around 172 ships have avoided the problem because they are powered by sulphur-free liquefied natural gas (LNG), data from Norwegian risk management and certification company DNV GL showed, but this in an expensive option.
- Some ship owners have balked at paying for the new 0.5% sulphur fuel, which is quoted at more than twice the price of the 3.5% high-sulphur grade in northern Europe at the moment.
- More than 3,000 ships - around 5% of the global fleet - will have scrubbers fitted by 2020 so they can clean the exhaust gas and so continue using existing fuel, the DNV GL data showed.
- The IMO said it does not have a remit to regulate the fuel industry but that international standards for the new fuel and information about compatibility between types had been issued as part of comprehensive preparations. “IMO is ready, and we are confident IMO member states and the shipping sector are ready for January 1,” an IMO spokesperson said.
- Harris from Marsh, a broker active in marine insurance including hull and machinery, said assessing cover was still guesswork: for instance, who should pay a fine for a ship using high-sulphur fuel because no alternative was available ? “Is it non-compliance?” he said. “The question marks are bigger than the answers.”

Dec 06 - Tankers running on fumes as shipping fuel switch causes delays 
Disruption to shipping from the long-anticipated switch to more environmentally friendly marine fuels has finally arrived, exacerbated by logistical problems as much as any shortage of the cleaner fuel. New International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules, referred to as IMO 2020, aim to stop ships from using fuels containing more than 0.5% sulphur unless they are equipped with exhaust-cleaning systems known as scrubbers.

Dec 05 - Iraq outlines 2020 wheat import goal, says protests not disrupting cargoes 
Iraq, a major Middle East grain importer, said on Wednesday it planned to purchase 750,000 tonnes of wheat from abroad in 2020 and said nationwide protests that have extended to a key port were not disrupting shipments so far. Iraq needs between 4.5 million and 5 million tonnes of wheat a year to supply its food rationing programme. It mixes local wheat with grain from Australia, Canada and the United States.

Dec 04 - CMA CGM and Total to develop LNG ship refuelling in Marseille 
Container shipping firm CMA CGM will use the French Mediterranean port of Marseille for refuelling some of its planned gas-powered vessels, backed by a supply partnership with energy group Total. Total will supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a refuelling barge to enable CMA CGM to refuel LNG-powered vessels at the Marseille-Fos hub starting in 2021, the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.


Dec 04 - U.S. blacklists six oil tankers in new Venezuela-related sanctions
The Trump administration on Tuesday blacklisted six oil tankers involved in the shipment of Venezuelan oil to Cuba, the latest in a series of sanctions aimed at pressuring Havana to abandon its support for socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Six vessels belonging to state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, were targeted, according to a statement from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Dec 02 - Asian refiners strive to finish IMO preparations in hunt for profits
At SK Energy's largest refinery in South Korea, engineers are rushing to complete a new processing unit ahead of schedule as the firm looks to boost sales of low-emission fuels before new marine fuel standards take effect in just one month. In Japan, the country's second-biggest refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co is taking a more cautious stance, increasing capacity for low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), but also relying on blending to produce IMO2020 compliant bunker fuel.

Dec 02 - Fuel market calm ahead of IMO changeover: Kemp
Fears about a shortage of diesel and other middle distillates stemming from new marine pollution regulations have receded, with distillate premiums falling to some of the lowest levels for two years. From the start of 2020, ocean-going ships will be required to use low-sulphur fuels or employ exhaust gas cleaning systems, known has scrubbers, under pollution control rules approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Nov 28 - CMA CGM to raise $2 bln from port terminal, ship sales to fund CEVA deal 
Shipping group CMA CGM said it planned to raise $2 billion to help finance its takeover of CEVA Logistics, with half the cash coming from selling port assets to its joint venture with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. France-based CMA CGM, the world's fourth-largest container shipping company, bought CEVA this year to expand in land logistics, valuing the firm at about $1.7 billion.

Nov 28 - Chinese importers scoop up Brazilian soybeans amid U.S. trade uncertainty 
Chinese buyers scooped up at least 20 cargoes of Brazilian soybeans last week due to uncertainty over a trade deal with the United States that sent them rushing to lock in supplies, traders said on Monday. Importers also jumped on the new crop Brazilian beans because of attractive margins, said two traders who declined to be identified.

Nov 28 - Ukraine weekly sea port grain exports flat at 1.3 mln T - APK-Inform 
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports totalled 1.35 million tonnes in the week of Nov. 16-22 compared with 1.34 million a week earlier, preliminary data from APK-Inform consultancy showed on Monday. Wheat exports decreased to 416,000 tonnes from 499,000 tonnes, while corn shipments rose to 859,000 tonnes from 788,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

Nov 27 - Canada's biggest rail strike in a decade ends, backlogs could nag shippers
Canada's longest railroad strike in a decade ended on Tuesday as Canadian National Railway Co reached a tentative agreement with workers, but shippers warned it could take weeks before service bounces back to normal. Industry groups celebrated the end of the eight-day strike at the country's biggest railroad, which had cost them sales and raised their expenses. News of the deal, which must still be ratified by union members, sent CN shares up by as much as 2%.

Nov 26 - Canada's biggest rail strike in a decade hits exports, sparks layoffs
A strike at Canadian National Railway Co, the country's largest railroad, entered a seventh day on Monday, sending further shocks through the economy with grain shipments scuttled and layoffs planned at fertilizer producers and an auto shipment terminal. As Canada's biggest rail strike in a decade dragged on, industry has piled pressured on the government to intervene. 

Nov 25 - Union says no real progress in Canada rail strike as analysts forecast hit to economy
A strike at Canada's biggest railroad, Canadian National Railway Co, entered its fourth day on Friday as talks continued with no signs of a deal and analysts warned that a prolonged dispute would weigh on economic growth. Some 3,200 unionized employees with the Teamsters, including conductors and yard workers, hit picket lines to demand better working conditions and changes they say would make the job safer.

Nov 22 - Heating fuel shortage looms as strike at Canada's biggest railroad hits third day
Shippers scrambled to shift freight onto trucks on Thursday as a strike at Canada's biggest railroad, Canadian National Railway Co, hit its third day, leaving the critical fuel propane and other goods stranded. Some 3,200 unionized employees, including conductors and yard workers, hit picket lines on Tuesday in the biggest such action in a decade.

Nov 22 - Vessels will avoid areas lacking cleaner maritime fuel - panel 
Shortages of low-sulfur fuel oil could appear at some ports in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia next year, but most major ports around the world will have adequate supplies, panelists at a shipping industry conference said on Wednesday. International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards take effect Jan. 1 that cap the sulfur content of shipping fuel at 0.5% unless vessels use exhaust-cleaning scrubbers. The mandate aims to improve human health by reducing air pollution from sea-going vessels.

Nov 22 - Malaysia bans open-loop ship scrubbers ahead of IMO 2020 rule 
Malaysia has prohibited the use of open-loop scrubbers by ships plying Malaysian waters, as Southeast Asia's third-largest economy joins the growing number of nations adopting new industry guidelines on reducing sea pollution. New regulations from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will require shippers to adopt more environmentally-friendly measures to manage their fleets, including reducing the sulphur content in fuels used in their vessels from Jan. 1 2020.

Nov 22 - Ukraine weekly sea port grain exports rise to 1.3 mln T - APK-Inform 
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports rose to 1.315 million tonnes in the week of Nov. 9-15 from 930,000 tonnes a week earlier due to higher corn shipments, preliminary data from APK-Inform consultancy showed on Monday. Wheat exports were flat at around 476,000 tonnes, while corn shipments rose to 789,000 tonnes from 407,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

Nov 22 - Philippines makes U-turn on rice import suspension, but will tighten rules 
The Philippines will not suspend rice imports but will tighten food safety measures to control the entry of cheap grain that is hurting incomes of local farmers, the agriculture chief said on Thursday. Agriculture Secretary William Dar made the announcement after a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, who had ordered the suspension of rice imports after purchases surged, making the Philippines the world's top buyer this year.

Nov 21 - Iraq's Khor al-Zubair port reopens, operations resume - port officials
Iraq's Khor al-Zubair commodities port near Basra reopened on Wednesday and operations resumed normally, port officials said. On Tuesday protesters blocked the entrance to the Gulf port and prevented trucks from entering, as part of the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in the country in decades.

Nov 19 - The International Maritime Organization has set aside for now proposals by French President Emmanuele Macron and groups of big shipowners to introduce mandatory slow steaming for ships as a way to cut down pollution levels. The global regulator chose instead to push with making ship engines more efficient through a set of mandatory targets, leading to 50% less carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. Ocean going ships emit up to 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, or about as much as Germany.

Nov 14 - Indonesian nickel miners consider selling ore locally ahead of 2020 ban 
Indonesia's nickel miners are prepared to sell their ore to local smelters if they are offered competitive pricing compared with overseas buyers, the secretary general of the nickel miners association Meidy Katrin Lengkey said on Tuesday. Indonesia, the world's biggest nickel ore exporter, allowed nine nickel companies to resume ore exports this week, after halting shipments for two weeks to investigate reports of export rule violations. Two more companies are expected to resume exports later this week.  

Nov 14 - China's Chalco to ship first bauxite from Boffa mine by early-Dec 
Aluminum Corp of China Ltd, known as Chalco, is set to make its first shipment from Boffa's bauxite mine in Guinea by early-December, an official from parent and state-owned company Chinalco said on Thursday. A Chinalco official said last month at the China Mining conference in Tianjin that the Boffa launch had been delayed until 2020. Operations at the mine are now expected to be underway by early-December and it will eventually produce 12 million tonnes of bauxite a year. 

Nov 14 - China to extend anti-dumping probe into Australian barley by six months 
China's commerce ministry said on Thursday it will extend an anti-dumping investigation into imports of Australian barley by another six months. The probe, launched a year ago, will be completed by May 19, 2020, said the Ministry of Commerce in a statement on its website.

Nov 14 - Egypt aims to import 8-9 mln tonnes of yellow corn in 2019-2020 season 
Egypt plans to import 8 million to 9 million tonnes of yellow corn in the current 2019-2020 season, an agriculture ministry official told Reuters on Thursday. The North African country planted nearly 840,000 feddans of yellow corn this year with production of around 6.5 million tonnes, said Alaa Khalil, head of the ministry's Field Corps Research Institute. One feddan is about 0.4 hectare.

Nov 14 - China, Greece agree to push ahead with COSCO's Piraeus Port investment 
China and Greece agreed on Monday to push ahead with a 600 million euros investment by COSCO Shipping into Greece's largest port, Piraeus, as part of efforts to boost its role as a hub in rapidly growing trade between Asia and Europe. The agreement, part of 16 trade deals signed between Greece and China, came during an official visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Athens on Monday.

Nov 13 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China slip in October 
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal, the world's biggest iron ore port, slipped 0.7% in October from a month earlier, port data showed on Wednesday. Shipments to China totalled 35.78 million tonnes in October, down from 36.05 mln tonnes in September, the Pilbara Ports Authority said.

Nov 08 - China says it has agreed with U.S. to cancel tariffs in phases 
China and the United States have agreed to cancel in phases the tariffs imposed during their months-long trade war, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, without specifying a timetable. An interim U.S.-China trade deal is widely expected to include a U.S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys. 

Nov 08 - Iraqi protesters and security forces clash, keep Umm Qasr port closed 
Thousands of protesters were blocking all roads leading to Iraq's main Gulf port Umm Qasr on Saturday, after security forces used live rounds and tear gas on them overnight, security sources said. Operations at the port have been at a complete standstill since Wednesday, after protesters first blocked its entrance on Tuesday.

Nov 08 - BHP weighing LNG power for iron ore ships 
BHP, the biggest listed miner, aims to decide early next year who has won a tender for LNG-fueled transport to ship up to 27 million tonnes, or about 10%, of its iron ore to cut emissions by around a quarter, a senior executive said. Miners are under pressure to become less polluting as society worries about the environment and investors increasingly regard a compelling sustainability strategy as an indication that a company is well-run.

Nov 08 - Shipping execs advocate carbon levies to fund fuels of the future 
Executives at some of the world's top shipping groups are advocating a levy on carbon emissions on shipping in an effort to shape tightening rules on greenhouse gas emissions while providing a means to fund development of cleaner fuel sources. "To meet international shipping's decarbonization challenge, the maritime industry needs a carbon levy, it is coming, and we should shape it," said Andreas Sohmen-Pao, chairman of BW Group at the Global Maritime Forum in Singapore this week

Nov 08 - Britain's Peel Ports sees Brexit boost as shippers divert cargo 
Cargo shippers are diverting goods to more ports across Britain to ensure stable supply lines due to uncertainty over whether the UK will leave the European Union without an agreement, a top port executive said. Brexit has been delayed for a third time, until the end of January, and Britain is headed for a snap general election in December designed to break the impasse.

Nov 08 - Indonesia allows nickel ore exports to resume for some -minister 
Indonesia has allowed some nickel ore exporters to resume shipments following a temporary halt to investigate reports of violations, the minister who oversees the mining sector said on Thursday. The ban was lifted for companies which had complied with export rules, Maritime and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told reporters, without saying how many companies were allowed to resume exports.

Nov 07 - U.S. sets sights on shipping companies for sanctions evasions
The United States will target shipping companies that are in breach of sanctions and aggressively enforce measures across the globe to clamp down on such practices, a top U.S. official said on Wednesday. In one of the biggest sanctions actions taken by the U.S. government since its crackdown on Iranian oil exports, Washington imposed sanctions on Chinese companies in late September for alleged involvement in moving crude oil from Iran.

Nov 04 - 'No proof' Greek vessel activity led to oil leak off Brazil coast - ship manager
The manager of an oil tanker being probed by Brazilian authorities in connection with an oil spill off the country's coast has found "no proof" of the vessel conducting activities that may have led to leaks on a journey between Venezuela and Malaysia. In a statement sent to Reuters on Saturday, Delta Tankers Ltd, who manages the Greek-flagged Bouboulina ship, said a full search of the material from the cameras and sensors that all their vessels carry revealed no evidence of the tanker "having stopped, conducted any kind of ship-to-ship operation, leaked, slowed down or veered off course, on its passage from Venezuela to Melaka, Malaysia."

Oct 31 - Shipping industry must act to meet emissions targets, path unclear - IRENA 
Immediate action is required if the global shipping industry is to meet a target of halving its carbon emissions by the middle of the century, but how to achieve this remains unclear, a report showed on Thursday.  Maritime shipping, which represents about 90% of international trade, accounts for 2.2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The U.N.'s International Maritime Organization (IMO) has a goal to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.

Oct 31 - Cyber attack on Asia ports could cost $110 bln - Lloyd's 
A cyber attack on Asian ports could cost as much as $110 billion, or half the total global loss from natural catastrophes in 2018, a Lloyd's of London-backed report said on Wednesday. Cyber insurance is seen as a growth market by insurance providers such as Lloyd's, which specialises in covering commercial risks, although take-up in Europe and Asia remains far behind levels in the United States.

Oct 30 - Marine fuel floating storage builds in Asia ahead of new shipping rules 
Stockpiles of low-sulphur marine fuels held in floating storage around the Singapore trading and pricing hub are steadily growing ahead of a 2020 global deadline for rules that have shaken the global oil refining and shipping industries. A total of 32 ships, mostly supertankers capable of carrying 300,000 tonnes or more of oil, are currently anchored in Malaysian waters near Singapore accumulating stores of IMO-compliant fuels on board, according to data released by intelligence firm Kpler on Thursday.

Oct 30 - China Sept nickel ore imports hit highest since at least 2016 as Indonesia ban looms 
China's nickel ore imports in September rose 24.6% from the previous month to their highest since at least 2016, customs data showed on Friday, as stockpiling accelerated ahead of a ban on shipments from top miner Indonesia from January 2020. China imported 7.13 million tonnes of nickel ores and concentrates in total last month, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Oct 28 - Ukraine weekly sea port grain exports jump to 1.9 mln T - APK-Inform 
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports more than doubled to 1.865 million tonnes in the week of Oct. 19-25 from 776,000 tonnes a week earlier, due to higher corn and wheat shipments, preliminary data from APK-Inform consultancy showed on Monday. Wheat exports rose to 814,000 tonnes from 386,000 tonnes, while corn shipments rose to 934,000 tonnes from 220,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

Oct 28 - Tankers sail after U.S. allows sanctions-hit COSCO unit to wind down oil deals
At least three tankers are on their way to Asia with U.S. oil cargoes after Washington gave temporary approval to wind down transactions with a Chinese shipping company that it sanctioned last month, according to data and shipping sources.  In one of the biggest sanctions actions taken by the U.S. government since its crackdown on Iranian oil exports, Washington on Sept. 25 announced sanctions on Chinese tanker companies, including COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian), a subsidiary of China's state-owned shipping group COSCO.

Oct 25 - Marine fuel floating storage builds in Asia ahead of new shipping rules 
Stockpiles of low-sulphur marine fuels held in floating storage around the Singapore trading and pricing hub are steadily growing ahead of a 2020 global deadline for rules that have shaken the global oil refining and shipping industries. A total of 32 ships, mostly supertankers capable of carrying 300,000 tonnes or more of oil, are currently anchored in Malaysian waters near Singapore accumulating stores of IMO-compliant fuels on board, according to data released by intelligence firm Kpler on Thursday.

Oct 25 - Going overboard? Shipping rules seen shifting pollution from air to sea 
New global rules forcing ships to reduce air pollution by using cleaner fuels will see more sulphur and nitrates dumped into the oceans, analysts and civil society leaders say. From January 2020, the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) will ban ships from using fuels with a sulphur content above 0.5%, compared with 3.5% now.

Oct 25 - Mitsubishi sells Australian iron ore, rail project to Sinosteel 
Mitsubishi Corp has handed over the full ownership of an iron ore expansion and rail and port infrastructure project in Western Australia to China's state-owned Sinosteel that has been slated to cost A$10 billion ($6.86 billion) to develop, the Japanese conglomerate said on Monday. The Japanese trading house divested all of subsidiary Crosslands Resources shares to Sinosteel unit Sinosteel Ocean Capital for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement from Mitsubishi. The shares were transferred on Friday, according to the statement.

Oct 25 - Tramp shippers to be most challenged by IMO 2020 rule change -ICS 
Shipping companies running itinerant merchant vessels known as tramps are concerned about sourcing fuel to comply with one of the biggest ever shake-ups of the industry next year, the head of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has banned the use of fuel with a sulphur content exceeding 0.5% from the beginning of January 2020, down from a maximum of 3.5% now, unless it is to power a ship equipped with a "scrubber" to clean the pollutant from exhaust emissions. 

Oct 24 - Kenya's Mombasa port to upgrade four berths at 20 bln shillings 
Kenya's port of Mombasa will spend 20 billion shillings ($193 million) to modernise four berths to handle both container cargo and goods not packed in containers, the head of the state port operator said. The port, built in 1895, is the main trade gateway for the Eastern Africa region, serving Kenya and seven neighbours, including Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan. 

Oct 24 - Belgium's Antwerp and Zeebrugge ports start talks for possible merger 
Europe's second busiest port Antwerp and nearby Zeebrugge have begun talks on a possible merger after nearly two years of exploratory discussions and a study into how the two could work together more. The two Belgian ports said in a joint statement on Friday that the talks on the possible merger of their operations could take a further two years.

Oct 24 - Iran plans to import 3 mln tonnes of wheat - official 
Iran plans to import 3 million tonnes of wheat this Iranian calendar year, according to a presentation delivered by the secretary general of the country's Federation of Food Industry Associations Kaveh Zargaran on Wednesday. Iran was a major importer of wheat and one of the largest markets for Russian wheat until it reduced purchases in 2016 because of Tehran's self-sufficiency drive.

Oct 24 - Shippers shine torch in every corner as pressure to cut CO2 grows 
From higher-quality paint to state-of-the-art propellers: shipping companies are looking in every corner to reduce their carbon footprint as investor and activist pressure increases. The move comes as aviation and shipping firms face demands to slash emissions due to their reliance on oil. The two sectors are expected to account for 40% of global CO2 output by 2050 unless action is taken, the European Environment Agency says.

Oct 23 - Rising crude, freight costs to curb Asian oil refiners' profits 
Equity analysts have cut their earnings forecasts for Asia's oil refiners as a surge in oil tanker freight rates and crude premiums offset an expected boost in refining margins. With an outlook for slumping profits amid squeezed margins, shares of top Asians refiners such as China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec), Japan's JXTG Holdings and South Korea's SK Innovation may come under pressure in the coming months.

Oct 18 - Singapore's APEX to launch low-sulphur fuel oil contract ahead of new shipping rules 
Singapore-based Asia Pacific Exchange (APEX) will launch a low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) futures contract on Friday aimed at helping shipping and energy firms manage price fluctuations as stricter global marine fuel rules kick in from 2020, it said. New International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations cutting the allowed sulphur content in shipping fuel to 0.5% from 3.5% in a bid to combat air pollution will apply from Jan. 1 next year. 

Oct 18 - Exxon, Trafigura tap lower shipping rates as U.S.-Asia arb reopens
U.S. crude exports to Asia, which have slumped due to record freight costs, stirred on Thursday as rates slid and the premium in Asia for Russia's ESPO Blend oil sent buyers back to U.S. grades, according to market sources. Oil shipping costs for United States Gulf Coast to Asia cooled this week from record highs on the prospect of more vessels becoming available. Nearly 300 oil tankers globally were placed off limits due to U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Oct 17 - U.S. shipping sanctions deal European refiners an unexpected boost
U.S. sanctions imposed last month on subsidiaries of vast Chinese shipping fleet Cosco have given an unexpected boost to European refiners as less crude oil from the North Sea and West Africa heads east, traders and analysts said. Freight rates have soared as oil producers scramble for non-blacklisted vessels, discouraging longer-distance voyages.

Oct 16 - U.S.-Asia oil shipping rates slip from record highs as tanker fears ease
Freight rates to ship U.S. crude to Asia eased on Tuesday from record levels as the shock of a global tanker shortage due to U.S. sanctions on a Chinese firm began to fade, according to market sources. Shipping U.S. crude to some of the largest Asian customers became unprofitable after costs rose as high as $11 a barrel in the past two weeks, threatening to crimp November shipments.

Oct 14 - Asian oil buyers grapple with rising costs as global freight rates jump 
Asian oil refiners are grappling with a jump in global freight rates that shows no sign of abating, driving up costs of crude imports from all regions in the fourth quarter, industry officials said. The cost of shipping crude from the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East to Asia has surged over the past two weeks as companies shunned nearly 300 tankers on fears of violating sanctions against OPEC members Iran and Venezuela.

Oct 11 - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, hit a two-week high, as vessel rates across the board continued to strengthen.

Oct 09 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China fall more than 5% in Sept  
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal, the world's biggest iron ore port, fell more than 5% in September from a month earlier, port data showed on Tuesday. Shipments to China totalled 36.05 million tonnes in September, down from 38.14 million tonnes in August, the Pilbara Ports Authority said.

Oct 08 - Disruptions in the global shipping industry
Oil shipping rates are soaring following a series of sanctions on a Chinese transportation giant and limitations placed on movement of Venezuelan crude oil tankers.  The cost of chartering a supertanker to send crude oil from one country to another is rising sharply. A South Korean importer paid more than $12 million in shipping costs for one crude shipment from the U.S. Gulf Coast. This was followed by Friday's tentative charter of another crude vessel by Occidental Petroleum Corp for $13.25 million to ship in November.

Oct 07 - Oil tanker rates surpass $12 mln after U.S. sanctions on Chinese firm 
Freight rates to ship U.S. crude to Asia continued to surge, with costs to charter a supertanker rising to a record $12 million on Thursday, shipping sources familiar with the matter said.  South Korea's top refiner, SK Energy, tentatively chartered the supertanker Maxim to ship U.S. crude to South Korea in November for a record $10 million earlier in the week but that fixture has since failed, the sources said. 

Oct 03 - Co-owner of Russian port terminal in talks with new investors as COFCO withdraws 
Russia's Deloports, which owns 75% of KSK grain terminal in Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, has started talks with new potential buyers of a stake in the terminal after Chinese grain trader COFCO withdrew from talks, Deloports told Reuters. KSK is one of Russia's largest Black Sea grain export terminals, which the world's largest wheat exporter is using to supply the grain to customers in North Africa and the Middle East. U.S. trade giant Cargill owns 25% minus 2 shares in it.

Oct 03 - Ships with 1 mln tonnes of grain stuck outside Iran's ports in payment crisis 
More than 20 ships carrying around one million tonnes of grain are stuck outside Iranian ports as U.S. sanctions create payment problems and hamper the country's efforts to import vital commodities, sources directly involved in the trade said. Trading companies such as Bunge and China’s COFCO International have been hit by payment delays and additional costs of up to $15,000 a day as the renewed U.S. restrictions stifle the processing of transactions, trade sources said.

Oct 03 - U.S.-Asia oil freight rate hits record high amid Chinese tanker sanctions - sources 
Freight rates for U.S. crude tankers bound for Asia hit an all-time high on Wednesday as U.S. sanctions on a Chinese transport giant cut vessel availability, traders and shipbrokers said. South Korea's top refiner SK Energy chartered a supertanker, Maxim, to ship U.S. crude to South Korea in November for $10 million, the highest price for a U.S. Gulf-to-Asia shipment ever, two sources familiar with the matter said. SK could not be reached for comment.

Sep 30 - Brazil ships corn to the U.S. for the first time in 2019 - Reuters
Brazil this week shipped 60,000 tonnes of corn to the United States, according to Refinitiv data, an unusual export destination given the North American country's status as the largest producer and exporter of the cereal. The corn was exported by Cargill, ship scheduling information showed. Cargill confirmed the shipment, declining to elaborate.

Sep 30 - British tanker docks in Dubai after detention by Iran
A British-flagged tanker that was detained by Iran for 10 weeks, docked in Dubai on Saturday, after a standoff that has stoked tensions along a vital global shipping route for oil. The Stena Impero, which sailed out of Iranian waters on Friday, was seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19, shortly after British forces detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. The Iranian ship was released in August.

Sep 27 - Global oil freight rates rocket as U.S. sanctions tanker units of Chinese giant COSCO 

- Key oil freight rates from the Middle East to Asia jumped nearly a fifth on Friday, with the global oil shipping market spooked by fresh United States sanctions on units of Chinese giant COSCO for alleged involvement in ferrying crude out of Iran. In what the State Department called "one of the largest sanctions actions the U.S. has taken" since curbs were re-imposed on Iran in November last year, two units of COSCO were named alongside other companies in claims of involvement in sanctions-busting shipments of Iranian oil.

- Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation Co. halts share trading in Hong Kong after Washington blacklists its tankers and gas carriers for allegedly helping Iran move illicit crude cargoes. At least 50 Cosco ocean tankers will likely be affected by the U.S. ban, which warns global ports and other parties to stop doing business with the state-run, Chinese shipping behemoth. The move will also likely complicate efforts to resolve a year-long trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Sep 27 - UK tanker held in Iran leaves Bandar Abbas port - Refinitiv data 
The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker, detained by Iran in July, has started moving and exited the Bandar Abbas port on Friday, according to Refinitiv ship-tracking data. The Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.

Sep 26 - Shipping sector sets course for zero carbon vessels, fuel by 2030
Leading ports, banks, oil and shipping companies on Monday launched an initiative which aims to have ships and marine fuels with zero carbon emissions on the high seas by 2030, in another step by the maritime sector to reduce CO2. 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.

Sep 26 - Australia allows Newcastle port to raise shipping fees
Australia will allow the major coal export hub of Newcastle to raise its shipping charges on Tuesday after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg let stand a recommendation by a competition regulator that will let the port set higher fees. Newcastle, in the state of New South Wales, is an export hub for thermal coal from the Hunter Valley, where Glencore ships out the vast majority of the nearly 60 million tonnes it produces in the region. Yancoal Australia and Whitehaven Coal also both use the port.

Sep 26 - Trafigura bets on shipping stocks in Scorpio share deal
Scorpio Tankers has agreed to acquire Trafigura subsidiaries that have leasehold interests in 19 ships in an all-share transaction worth $803 million, the companies said on Tuesday. The deal is the latest move by commodities trader Trafigura to convert its investments in ship leases and ships that transport its commodities into shares of shipping companies.

Sep 26 - IMO 2020 to boost gasoil demand by 1.2 mln bpd - WoodMac
A switch to cleaner marine fuels in the shipping industry from next year would create more than a million barrels per day (bpd) of incremental demand for marine gasoil, Wood Mackenzie Research Director said at an industry conference on Thursday. New regulations from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will require shippers to reduce the sulphur content in fuels used in their vessels starting from Jan. 1, 2020, and one way to do that is to switch to low-sulphur gasoil.

Sep 25 - COFCO to invest more in Brazil, but will be selective, says exec
Chinese state-owned commodities trader COFCO INTL plans to continue to invest in Brazil in the near future after having quickly achieved a significant position in the local commodities market, but will be very selective in choosing next targets. COFCO sources and trades grains, oilseeds, sugar, coffee and cotton in Brazil, where it hosts most of its 36 Latin American warehouses, eight food processing plants and 10 port terminals.

Sep 24 - British tanker Stena Impero free to leave - Iran ambassador to UK 
The detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero is "free to leave," Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, said on Twitter on Monday. "The British-flagged tanker 'Stena Impero', pursuant to the completion of the judicial and legal process, is now free to leave," he wrote.

Sep 23 - Iranian maritime official says UK tanker Stena Impero to be released soon - Fars news 
Stena Impero, the British-flagged tanker detained by Iran on July 19, will be released soon, an Iranian maritime official said on Sunday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. The Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.

Sep 19 - Nickel mining indefinitely suspended in southern Philippines - official
A nickel mining hub in the southern Philippines, which produces mostly high-grade material, has suspended extraction operations indefinitely as the regional government conducts an industry audit, a top government official told Reuters on Monday. The government of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has suspended operations of all four mining companies in its jurisdiction, said Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Minister Abdulraof Abdul Macacua.

Sep 19 - Strategie Grains raises EU wheat harvest, export outlook again
Strategie Grains increased its forecasts sharply for EU soft wheat production and exports for the second month in a row, pointing to strong harvest results in France and Britain and brisk shipments from Romania and Bulgaria. The French-based consultancy now sees 2019/20 soft wheat production in the 28-country European Union at 144.5 million tonnes, up from 142.9 million tonnes projected in August and about 14% above last year's drought-hit crop, it said in a monthly grain report.

Sep 18 - Australia's New Hope flags coal market volatility, Queensland slowdown 
Australian coal producer New Hope Corp Ltd on Tuesday said coal markets would likely remain volatile in the near term though demand is strong for high-quality thermal coal across Asia, as it posted a 41% rise in annual net profit. The firm also forecast lower production volume from operations in Queensland state in the year through July due to delayed approvals for its Acland Stage 3 project and the pending closure of its Jeebropilly mine. It said it has begun the redundancy process for 150 employees due to the delay.

Sep 18 - Ukraine sea ports get right to limit wagons receipt - railways
Ukrainian ports have obtained the right to limit the receipt of freight grain wagons if they do not have space for processing them, the head of state railways of Ukraine Evhen Kravtsov said. Ukraine exports around 95% of its grain via sea ports.

Sep 18 - Morocco to cut soft wheat customs duty to 35% from October - source, draft decree 
Morocco will reduce its customs duty on soft wheat to 35% from 135% from Oct. 1 to ensure price stability and regular supply to the domestic market, according to a government source and a draft government decree seen by Reuters. The North African country's soft wheat reserves are expected to drop to 1.5 million tonnes by the end of September, covering 2.7 months of the needs of industrial millers, the draft decree said.

Sep 17 - Australia lowers wheat export forecast by 7.7% on drought
Australia on Tuesday lowered its forecast for wheat exports for the 2019/20 season by 7.7% as a prolonged drought wilts supplies. The reduction comes after Australia's chief commodity forecaster last week cut its production forecast for the 2019/20 harvest by nearly 10% as the drought leaves crops struggling to survive. 

Sep 17 - Algeria buys up to 600,000 tonnes of wheat in mixed signal for French trade
Algeria's state grains agency bought up to 600,000 tonnes of wheat in its latest import tender, traders said on Wednesday, a large purchase that failed to dispel concern in France that its main export client could buy less wheat this season. In a tender held on Tuesday, the OAIC agency purchased about 600,000 tonnes of milling wheat at around $211 a tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), several traders said.

Sep 16 - Ukraine halves sea port wheat shipments - analyst APK-Inform 
Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports fell to around 881,000 tonnes during the week of Sept. 7-13, from 1.6 million tonnes a week earlier due to a smaller wheat shipments, preliminary data from APK-Inform consultancy showed on Monday. Wheat exports fell to 621,000 tonnes from 1.28 million tonnes in the previous week, while barley shipments rose to 253,000 tonnes from 227,000 tonnes, the consultancy said.

Sep 13 - IEA lowers shipping fuel demand outlook as global trade slows 
Slowing global trade will lead to weaker growth than previously expected in oil demand from the shipping sector next year despite a shift to cleaner fuel, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday. The international energy watchdog's monthly report said it expects overall demand for shipping fuel, known as bunker fuel, to grow by only 0.4% in 2019 and 3.7% in 2020.

Sep 12 - Australia's Port Hedland iron ore shipments to China jump 10% in Aug
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal, the world's biggest iron ore port, rose more than 10% in August from a month earlier, port data showed on Friday. Shipments to China jumped to 38.14 million tonnes in August from 34.53 million tonnes in July, the Pilbara Ports Authority said. 

Sep 11 - DP World’s Topaz and P&O to complete merger by year-end 
Port operator DP World's planned merger of its P&O Maritime and recently acquired Topaz Energy and Marine businesses is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Topaz CEO Rene Kofod-Olsen said on Monday. DP World bought Dubai-based oil services company Topaz in July with the intention of combining it with P&O Maritime as part of efforts to diversify beyond its core port operations to other marine-related sectors.

Sep 10 - Polish coast guard boards Greenpeace ship in coal protest
Armed Polish border guards boarded a Greenpeace ship blocking a delivery of coal in the port of Gdansk late on Monday and detained two activists, officials said on Tuesday. The environmental group said it staged the protest to highlight Poland's continued dependence on air-polluting coal and to pressure it to phase out coal as a source of energy by 2030.

Sep 09 - Miners welcome Indonesian export ore ban, plan smelting expansion
Large mining companies on Wednesday welcomed a recent decision by the Indonesian government to move forward a ban on exporting nickel ore, as the firms aim to increase smelting output. Top nickel ore supplier Indonesia last month said the country will stop ore export from Jan. 1, 2020, pushing forward a ban by two years and raising concerns of supply shortage as well as causing financing issues for smaller players.

Sep 05 - Benghazi port bustling again despite Libya's divisions
The commercial port in Libya's second city Benghazi is working round the clock three years after reopening, attempting to raise revenues for its restoration and expansion. The port was caught in the crossfire as rival factions battled for control of Benghazi from 2014 in a conflict that left parts of the eastern Libyan city in ruins. 

Sep 05 - Piraeus Port beefs up investment plan, awaits Greece's approval
Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), operator of Greece's largest port, has increased its investment plans to attract more business at one of Europe's largest harbours, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. PPA, majority owned by China's COSCO Shipping, has submitted to Greece's shipping ministry an 800-million-euro plan, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.

Sep 05 - Drought brings clouds for Australia wheat, silver lining for Black Sea suppliers
A third straight year of drought in Australia, blighted by forecasts of below-average rains during the crucial spring growing season, means the country's wheat crop could shrivel by 10% from previous forecasts, traders and industry officials say. And the gloomy prospects for wheat output in Australia, once the world's leading supplier, offers a silver lining to rival Black Sea grain producers such as Russia and Ukraine seeking business in rapidly growing Asian markets.

Sep 05 - Argentine oil workers at grains port begin strike - union
An Argentine union for oil workers has kicked off a national strike over wages, complicating grains crushing and exports in the main agricultural province of the South American country. The strike, which began late Wednesday, will impact the southern area of the main Rosario grains port. However, it will not affect the northern area of Rosario, made up of San Lorenzo, Puerto General San Martin and Timbues districts, which accounts for 80 percent of Argentina's grains exports.

Sep 04 - Brazil expected to introduce tariff-free wheat import quota from 2020 - group
Brazil is expected to introduce a tariff-free wheat import quota of 750,000 tonnes per year starting from 2020, the president of the country's wheat industry group Abitrigo, Rubens Barbosa, said on Tuesday. Brazil announced the opening of the tariff-free wheat import quota earlier this year in connection with President Jair Bolsonaro's visit to the United States, with U.S. wheat producers seen as potential beneficiaries, although the policy has yet to be instituted.

Sep 04 - Russia expands its largest coal port, sends cargo to India
Russia has launched the third export line at its largest coal terminal in the Far East region, loading the first cargo for Indian company JSW Steel, Vostochny Port said on Thursday. Russia and India are forging closer ties amid chilling relations between Moscow and the West over the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's alleged meddling in the elections in the United States and other issues.

Sep 04 - Saudi Arabia seeks wheat in first tender open to Russia
Saudi Arabia's state grain buyer SAGO said on Thursday it was seeking 595,000 tonnes of wheat in an international purchasing tender, the first to allow wheat offers from the Black Sea region. The purchase will be the first since Saudi Arabia said it would relax bug damage parameters in hard wheat specifications to allow the import of Black Sea wheat, including from Russia. 

Sep 03 - Brazil ships record corn volume in August; ethanol also jumps
Brazil shipped 7.65 million tonnes of corn in August, the highest monthly amount ever, raising this year's exports to 23 million tonnes as traders took advantage of a record local crop and a favorable exchange rate, government data showed on Monday. Brazil corn exports in August surpassed the previous monthly record posted in July and were more than double the 2.9 million tonnes shipped in the same month a year earlier.

Sep 02 - Philippine nickel miners to boost ore output as Indonesia sets ban on shipments
Philippine nickel miners are expected to boost ore production next year when Indonesia bans exports of the raw material used in stainless steel and batteries, the head of the local nickel miners' lobby group told Reuters on Monday. "This supposed export ban from Indonesia will boost production from the local miners, particularly next year once it takes effect simultaneous with the start of the mining season," Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, said.

Sep 02 - Indonesia to stop nickel ore exports in January 2020 - official
Indonesia will effectively stop nickel ore exports from Jan. 1, 2020, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, the mining ministry's director general for coal and minerals, said on Monday, as the country moves ahead with efforts to process more of resources at home. The ban will be two years ahead of the initial schedule and will only apply to nickel ore exports, Ariyono told reporters, adding that exports of bauxite and copper concentrates can continue until 2022 as per the current rule.

Aug 29 - China to impose extra tariffs on U.S. soy, beef and pork 
China said on Friday it will impose more tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, its latest retaliatory measure aimed at Midwestern states whose voters helped elect President Donald Trump in 2016. As China's government had already banned companies from buying U.S. farm goods, the tariffs were seen as mostly symbolic. Still, escalating tensions concerned a farm sector that has lost a key export market and seen incomes plummet.

Aug 28 - China's coal demand to peak around 2025, global usage to follow - report 
China's coal demand will start to fall in 2025 once consumption at utilities and other industrial sectors reaches its peak, a state-owned think tank said in a new report, easing pressure on Beijing to impose tougher curbs on fossil fuels. The world's biggest coal consumer is expected to see total consumption fall 18% from 2018 to 2035, and by 39% from 2018 to 2050, the CNPC Economics and Technology Research Institute, run by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), forecast in a report on Thursday.

Aug 27 - Price agency Platts to start LNG bunker fuel assessments ahead of IMO 2020 
Price reporting agency S&P Global Platts plans to launch its first assessments for prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker fuel ahead of new shipping rules taking effect from next year which limits the sulphur content of marine fuel. Companies are exploring cleaner fuel options such as LNG because of a mandate from the International Maritime Organization that requires ships to either use marine fuel, known as bunker fuel, with a maximum of 0.5% sulphur, down from 3.5% currently, or to install pollution-removing devices known as scrubbers. The new rules will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Aug 26 - After $1.2 bln outlay, Brazil's Hidrovias exploring expansion options - exec 
Brazil's Hidrovias do Brasil SA, one of the country's largest logistics operators, is mulling options to grow its northern and southern river transportation businesses as it braces for a second wave of expansion, a company executive said in an interview. In the past nine years, Hidrovias has invested $1.2 billion to set up waterway logistics infrastructure in the Amazon river basin and in the Paraná-Paraguay river system. In those systems it moves grains, iron ore, bauxite and pulp, among other commodities.

Aug 23 - France loading rare wheat shipment for China - sources 
A vessel was loading wheat for export to China at the northern French port of Dunkirk on Monday, according to shipping sources and data, in what would be the first such shipment since last year. The Sotka bulk carrier was due to load around 57,000 tonnes of grain destined for the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, port data showed.

Aug 22 - BHP says U.S.-China trade spat not yet hurting demand for its commodities 
Top global miner BHP Group said on Tuesday the U.S.-China trade war is not yet affecting demand for its commodities. While the trade dispute was putting a dampener on global economic growth, it had not yet affected demand for BHP's commodities such as iron ore, copper and coal in China, its biggest customer, Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said.

Aug 21 - EU plans to cut steel import quotas after industry protests 
The European Commission has proposed boosting measures to protect against a rise in imports spurred by U.S. tariffs after steel companies said the European industry was under threat. The Commission said in a statement on Wednesday it planned to cut an increase in import quotas to 3% from 5% effective from Oct. 1. 

Aug 21 - Romanian wheat cannot meet Algeria's bug damage threshold 
Romanian wheat from this year's harvest is "effectively barred" from Algeria's import tenders due to a strict, 0.1% limit on bug damage, a trading house in southern Romania said on Monday. "That's a really crazy bug content threshold. No Romanian wheat can meet this requirement as the last period was marred by drought here, helping bug levels to pick up," the head of a large trading house told Reuters.

Aug 19 - Ukraine 2019/20 grain exports reach almost 7 mln T - ministry 
Ukraine's grain exports have risen to around 6.98 million tonnes so far in the 2019/20 July-June export season, up from 4.73 million tonnes at the same time last year, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The volume includes 3.7 million tonnes of wheat, 1.6 million tonnes of barley and 1.68 million tonnes of corn, the statement said.

Aug 19 - Imports of Chinese steel racks injure U.S. industry - U.S. ITC 
Subsidized steel rack imports from China have materially harmed U.S. industry, the U.S. International Trade Commission found on Tuesday, locking in the Trump administration's duties on such products in the worsening U.S.-China trade war. The ITC said it would release a full report on the issue by Sept. 27. The commission published no details on the value of U.S. producers' shipments of steel racks, saying that would amount to disclosure of proprietary data.

Aug 19 - Dirty shipping fuel margins plunge as cleaner fuel rules loom
Margins for European high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO), used to power ships, sank this week as preparations for a global shift to cleaner maritime fuel next year start to weigh on prices. High sulphur fuel oil is one of the dirtiest and cheapest products to come out of a refinery. It is used in power generation but has been the fuel of choice in global shipping for decades.

Aug 16 - Copper exports resume from Peruvian port of Matarani - port operator 
Copper exports from the port of Matarani have resumed after anti-mining protests that had blocked key infrastructure in the country's southern copper belt eased over the weekend, a spokeswoman for the port operator said on Tuesday. Shipments from four mines that produce about half of Peru's copper - Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Cerro Verde deposit, MMG Ltd's Las Bambas, Glencore PLC's Antapaccay and Hudbay Mineral's Constancia - had been suspended for nearly three weeks due to the unrest. 

Aug 16 -  Maersk warns trade war could hurt container business 
A.P. Moller-Maersk warned a trade war between the United States and China could curb container traffic this year after the world's largest container shipping company beat second-quarter profit expectations. Maersk said the escalating trade dispute between Washington and Beijing could limit growth in global container traffic to the lower end of its 1% to 3% guidance range this year, after growth of around 2% between April and June.

Aug 16 -  China issues import quotas for 87,680 T of copper scrap 
China on Wednesday issued a third batch of quotas for imports of recently restricted type of scrap metals, including another 87,680 tonnes of high-grade copper scrap, as the world's top metals consumer continues to tightly control waste shipments. The quotas are being closely watched amid concerns that China is leaving itself short of a key supply source by curbing scrap imports. Copper scrap accounted for around 10% of China's total copper consumption last year.

Aug 15 -  Indonesia's president to decide whether ore export ban to be brought forward 
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo will make the final decision on whether the country brings forward an export ban on mineral ore, the minister in charge of mining said on Tuesday. The ban is currently due to come into force in 2022. "The president's decision is expected some time in the future," Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and responsible for the mining ministry, told reporters on Tuesday. "We are awaiting the president's order."

Aug 15 - Gibraltar to release Iranian oil tanker on Thursday - Sun newspaper 
The British territory of Gibraltar will on Thursday release an Iranian oil tanker seized by Royal Marines in the Mediterranean in July, the Sun newspaper reported, citing sources close to Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo. Picardo would not apply to renew an order to detain Grace 1, the report said, adding that he is now satisfied that the oil tanker is no longer heading to Syria.

Aug 14 - Trafigura in ship fuel venture with Frontline, Golden Ocean 
Commodities trader Trafigura is joining forces with shipping firms Frontline and Golden Ocean to supply marine fuel ahead of a shake up in regulation which could disrupt delivery and cause prices to spike. The three companies said on Tuesday the joint venture is expected to start operating in the third quarter, subject to agreement on final terms.

Aug 08 - Saudi buyer eases rules, opens door to Black Sea grain
Saudi Arabia's state grain buyer SAGO will relax its bug-damage specifications for wheat importsfrom its next tender, it said on Thursday, in a move seen opening the door to Black Sea imports. SAGO is relaxing its limits for bug-damage in hard wheat to 0.5% from 0% from its next tender, governor Ahmad Al Fares told Reuters.

Aug 07 - China halts purchase of U.S. farm products 
China has halted its purchases of U.S. agricultural products and will not rule out levying import tariffs on American farm imports purchased after Aug. 3, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said early on Tuesday. The moves by China represent the latest escalation in its trade row with the United States that has unnerved global markets and investors.

Aug 07 - China might escort ships in Gulf under U.S. proposal - envoy 
China might escort Chinese commercial vessels in Gulf waters under a U.S. proposal for a maritime coalition to secure oil shipping lanes following attacks on tankers, its envoy to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday. "If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels," Ambassador Ni Jian told Reuters in Abu Dhabi.

Aug 06 - Iran says will not tolerate "maritime offences" in Gulf
Iran runs security in the Strait of Hormuz and will no longer tolerate "maritime offences" there, its foreign minister said on Monday, a day after it seized a second oil tanker near the strategic waterway that it accused of smuggling fuel. Tanker traffic through the Strait has become a focus for an increasingly tense standoff between Washington and Tehran, into which Britain has also been dragged, and the United States has beefed up its military presence in the Gulf since May.

Aug 05 - Iran seizes Iraqi oil tanker smuggling fuel in Gulf - TV
Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized an Iraqi oil tanker in the Gulf which they said was smuggling fuel and detained seven crewmen, Iran's state media reported on Sunday, in a show of power amid heightened tension with the West. The vessel was intercepted near Iran's Farsi Island in the Gulf, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said. The elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has a navy base on Farsi Island which is located north of the Strait of Hormuz.

Aug 02 - Canal Sugar to build grains terminal in Egypt's Damietta
Canal Sugar, owned by Dubai-based Al Khaleej Sugar Refinery, plans to build a pier and grains terminal in Egypt's port city of Damietta with $200 million in investments, its CEO said on Tuesday. The new terminal will have discharge capacity of 3,000 tonnes of grains per hour, CEO Islam Salem told a news conference.

Aug 01 - Iranian ship Bavand sets sail from Brazil, second vessel following soon 
An Iranian ship called Bavand, which had been at the heart of a geopolitical spat between Brasilia and Tehran, set sail from Brazil on Monday after receiving fuel from state-run Petroleo Brasileiro, the port of Paranaguá said. Meanwhile, a second Iranian ship, the Termeh, which set sail from Paranaguá port two days ago, was on Monday heading to the southern Brazilian port of Imbituba, where it is due to pick up a shipment of corn before heading back to Iran.

Aug 01 - Indonesia will not enforce IMO low-sulphur fuel rules on domestic fleet 
Indonesia will not enforce new global rules mandating low-sulphur marine fuels on its domestic shipping fleet because of the high cost of cleaner fuel, an official from the country's Ministry of Transportation said this week. Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into effect in 2020, ships will have to use fuel with a maximum 0.5% sulphur content, down from 3.5% now, unless they are equipped with so-called scrubbers to remove the sulphur from the vessel's emissions.