global

IMO talks work towards climate goals

Tightened energy efficiency targets and a commitment to further discuss proposed speed reduction rules were the key outcomes of the International Martime Organisation’s (IMO) latest round of talks, held in London last week.

But environmental campaigners were quick to argue the results showed a “total lack of ambition” on the part of the shipping industry, which currently emits three per cent of global CO2 emissions but risks seeing its share expand to 10 per cent by 2050 unless efforts to decarbonise accelerate.

With some members and leading shipping operators calling for bolder climate policies and others continuing to push back against proposals that they fear would impose new costs on their national shipping industries, the IMO agreed to tighten energy efficiency targets for new vessels across seven ship types.

The accelerated targets for containers, general cargo ships, hybrid diesel-electric cruise ships, and LPG and LNG carriers cover about 30 per cent of ships and about 40 per cent of CO2 emitted from ships subject to energy efficiency regulations.

The measures could reduce CO2 emissions by 750 million tonnes of CO2 cumulatively from 2022 to 2050, equivalent to about two per cent of all emissions from the industry over that time period, according to an analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

The IMO also committed to considering additional requirements for new ships after 2025 and looking at new efficiency requirements for in-use vehicles at the next meeting, fueling hopes standards could be strengthened as investment in cleaner shipping technologies steps up.

“IMO’s move shows that further efficiency improvements are still possible for fossil fueled ships,” said Bryan Comer, senior researcher in the ICCT’s marine program. “Future standards should promote new technologies like wind assist and eventually zero emission fuels like hydrogen and electricity.”

However, a decision on whether to implement speed reduction targets was kicked down the road, and will now be taken up at the IMO’s next GHG working group in November. The deferral of any decision on speed limits came despite a joint letter signed by over 100 shipping CEOS ahead of the MEPC74 talks calling for global speed limits at sea, which is widely seen as the most effective short-term measure for curbing the industry’s emissions.

“We’ve seen over 100 individual shipping companies united with NGOs in calling for speed reduction, overruling the policy stance of the industry associations,” said Faig Abbasov, shipping policy manager at Transport and the Environment. “The shipping industry associations no longer represent the best interests of shipping companies.”

Countries who blocked further action reportedly included Saudi Arabia, the US, Brazil, and Cook Islands, with opposition to the speed reduction proposals also understood to have come from Chile and Peru.

The outcome from the meeting should provide a boost to investment in fuel efficiency measures across the sector, but it will also provide further ammunition for those shipping operators and environmental campaigners who accuse the international body of failing to deliver sufficiently ambitious climate policies.

Aviation and shipping are the only two industries to operate outside the framework of national climate action plans established by the Paris Agreement, with the IMO and its sister body the International  Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) instead tasked with delivering new policies to curb emissions from the carbon intensive sectors.

But while the ICAO has come forward with detailed plans for an international carbon offsetting scheme, albeit one that has continued to face criticism from green groups, IMO has made much slower progress in delivering new policy proposals.

In April 2018, the IMO responded to post Paris Agreement calls for it to deliver a new strategy by announcing targets to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. As a mid-term goal, it pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of the sector by at least 40 per cent by 2030. In order to achieve these targets, it promised to produce a detailed plan for emissions reduction by 2023 as well as immediate measures to achieve greenhouse gas reductions before this.

Without extensive action to tackle emissions, the shipping industry – which was exempted from the Paris Agreement – could see them grow 250 per cent by 2050 as trade increases, according to a 2014 study by the IMO.

A 2018 report from the OECD warned that failure to act would leave the sector emitting the equivalent of well over 200 coal power stations by 2035. The think tank called for more research into zero carbon technologies, greater transparency on carbon footprints within the industry, a carbon price for global shipping, and other mechanisms to incentivise efficiency such as ports differentiating fees based on environmental criteria.

Also last week, environmental campaigners demanded a moratorium on the shipping industry’s use of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), known as scrubber technology.

EGCS were seen as a possible route to ensure compliance with IMO rules which will enforce the use of bunker fuels with a sulphur content of 0.5 per cent from 2020, down from the existing limit of 3.5 per cent. But concerns over their efficacy have been thrown into sharp relief by their role in an ongoing case against cruise operator Carnival Corporation, in which multiple EGCS failures contributed to significant air and water pollution violations.

With the clock ticking, international pressure is intensifying on the IMO to take meaningful steps towards meeting its own emission reduction targets. Focus will now move on to the organisation’s next session in November with hopes growing that recent calls for bolder action are finally taken on board.

Source: Businessgreen.com

future of shipping

Maritime black carbon emissions must decrease

The Clean Arctic Alliance has issued a call for international shipping operators and national governments to cut maritime black carbon emissions.

Black carbon particles are predominantly produced by ships burning heavy fuel oil; when black carbon is released by vessels operating in the Arctic region, the particles reduce the reflectivity of ice and snow – the resulting heat absorption accelerates the rate of warming across the Arctic. Black carbon emissions represent both the second largest contributor to global warming and a significant health hazard to humans. The Clean Arctic Alliance, a collective of non-profit bodies advocating an end to the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO), is calling on International Maritime Organisation (IMO) member states to agree on measures to ensure the reduction of maritime black carbon emissions at this year’s meeting of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee, which begins today.

Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said. “By cutting ship-sourced emissions of black carbon, IMO member states could take a quick and effective path to countering the current climate crisis; and minimise further impacts on the Arctic. We’re calling on IMO member states to champion a move away from using heavy fuel oils – shipping’s number one source of black carbon – in Arctic waters. With cleaner shipping fuels already available and innovation and ambition driving the global shipping industry towards lower emissions, IMO member states must move rapidly towards zero emission solutions.

“All eight Arctic countries made a commitment to demonstrate leadership on black carbon in 2015 – and it now seems that all except Canada are backing a move away from heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. As recent comments from Russia’s President Putin and Finland’s President Niinistö demonstrate, the political will for a HFO Free Arctic exists – now it is the time for IMO member states to turn this will into action, by moving urgently to reduce black carbon emissions and by backing the ban on the use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic, currently under development.”

Source: Governmenteuropa.eu

air pollution

Vessel emissions won’t be cut by sailing slower

Policy director of the UK Chamber of Shipping Anna Ziou has slammed French proposals to impose speed limits as a way to cut shipping emissions.

She claims it would give a “false impression” of the industry taking action. 

Ms Ziou’s objection follows an outcry from container lines following the French IMO delegation’s proposals becoming public last month. 

“To achieve a 50% cut in emissions, the shipping industry needs continued investment in green technologies that will allow ships to conduct their business through a range of low-carbon fuels, such as battery power, hydrogen fuel cells or even wind power,” said Ms Ziou. 

“Shipowners have already limited speeds considerably in the past decade and while these proposals are well-intentioned, slow-steaming as a low-carbon [plan] is just not good enough. 

“It will give a false impression that the industry is taking action, when in reality it will deliver no meaningful reduction in emissions, and the scale of ambition required for the industry to meet the 50% target should not be underestimated.” 

Ms Ziou noted that if selected, the plan could penalise companies developing and installing low-carbon technologies and could discourage “meaningful” attempts at cutting emissions. 

At best, she claimed, speed limits would delay any form of transition to low-carbon fuels and in so doing would store up greater costs for the industry. 

She added: “Speed reduction could result in supply chains using alternative modes of transport, such as road haulage, which would increase overall emissions. 

“In addition, ships may call at certain ports that are tidally constrained where a delay of just one hour could result in a knock-on delay of 12 hours to the vessel as it awaits the next tide, unnecessarily creating further emissions during the additional waiting time.” 

Despite the objections, it seems there is mounting support for the introduction of speed limits after chief executives from more than 100 shipping companies described climate change as “possibly the greatest challenge of our time” in a recent open letter to IMO member states. 

Source: The Loadstar

One Manato

$586m loss hits ONE’s parent carriers

Japanese merged carrier Ocean Network Express (ONE) recorded a net loss of $586m in its first year of operation, however it said it expected to move into the black in its second year. ONE, formed from the container businesses of K Line, MOL and NYK, was supposed to produce synergistic returns for its parents. Instead it has dragged down the P&L accounts of the trio, which announced annual results today. 

NYK, which holds a 38% equity stake in ONE, posted a massive group loss of ¥44.5bn ($400m) for the year, prompting the replacement of Tadaaki Naito as president.

The company said  it resolved a change of its chairman, president and representative directors. The new president will be Hitoshi Nagasawa, currently executive vice president corporate officer.

And, like its compatriots, NYK also underestimated the cost of ending its legacy liner business. It said it suffered “higher than expected one-time costs required to terminate the container shipping business”, which included severance payments to agents and penalties incurred on returning surplus containerships to owners earlier than the charter party expiry dates. 

K Line recorded a loss of ¥11bn ($99m) for the year, citing red ink incurred from its 31% stake in ONE as the primary reason. 

Only MOL, which also has a 31% holding in ONE, managed to stay in the black for the year, achieving a positive result of ¥27bn ($240m), mainly attributable to good performances from its dry bulk and energy transport businesses. 

But the carrier noted the business performance from ONE had resulted “in a significant deficit” from the sector. 

The botched launch of ONE on 1 April last year resulted in a significant loss of business and an estimated $400m impact on the bottom line. 

Chief executive Jeremy Nixon explained to investors in November that management had “underestimated the initial launch resource requirement”, causing chaos on operations desks throughout the new organisation and obliging loyal Japanese trading house customers to book their containers with other carriers. 

On the key Asia-Europe and transpacific tradelanes, it took ONE several months to regain customer confidence and thus restore load factors to acceptable levels. 

For the full-year utilisation levels recovered to 87% and 88%, respectively for the Asia-US and Asia-Europe headhaul routes, having plunged below 70% in the first quarter. 

Turnover in the first 12 months was $10.9bn, but ONE is seeking to improve its revenue in year two by 17% to $12.7bn and is targeting a profit of $85m. 

ONE is more optimistic about growth than some of its peers and is projecting a 4% increase in demand. 

“Profit is expected to gradually recover throughout H1, with improved lifting,” said ONE, adding it expected that liftings would be restored to the pre-integration levels of the three carriers during the period. 

It said however that in the first three months of the calendar year, and the carrier’s Q4, trade had been “relatively weak” eastbound between Asia and the US “due in part to a backlash downturn from the earlier rush demand ahead of additional US tariffs on China”. 

In regard to the Asia to Europe tradelane it said that although long-term contracts had improved, soft demand following the Chinese new year had resulted in a decline in spot rates. 

ONE said that its action plan for profit improvement was to “establish an organisation that can tolerate market volatility” advancing the carrier from a period of “stabilisation” to a secondary stage of “reformation”. 

The four parts of its 2019 action plan are: cargo portfolio optimisation; product rationalisation; an organisation restructure and an increase in the targeted $1bn cost saving synergies from the merger to 96% this year, from the 82% achieved in the first year.

Source: The Loadstar

global

UK shipping sector wants assurance on four areas of concern over IMO 2020

The International Maritime Organisation has been urged to clarify four areas of IMO 2020, as carriers scramble for compliance with the forthcoming low-sulphur fuel limit.

The “once-in-a-generation disruptor to shipping’s commercial environment” takes effect on 1 January 2020: a fuel sulphur content limit of 0.5%, down from 3.5% in some parts of the world, at some considerable cost to the industry.

Amid concern and the countdown, the UK Chamber of Shipping has called for the IMO to address four key areas: mitigation of safety issues linked to the switch; education on handling the fuel; reporting of compliance issues; and how the organisation will provide consistent global regulation.

The chamber said: “The new regulation will change the face of the shipping industry. It will have a positive impact on the environment and air quality, but could have a disruptive effect on operations if shipowners do not prepare effectively.”

While the IMO has yet to address issues surrounding fuel safety, it is working on guidelines to support the consistent implementation and to help state control enforce the regulation.

Furthermore, the UN body is reportedly also working on a fuel oil non-availability template (FONAR).

The UK Chamber says FONAR provides documentation to prove every effort to obtain compliant fuel had been pursued prior to a decision to bunker with non-compliant fuel.

But, it said, certain questions remained unanswered: “For instance, what happens to non-compliant fuel remaining onboard after a ship, having already provided a FONAR, arrives at a port where compliant fuel is available?”

Part of the problem facing the industry is uncertainty over how to comply with IMO 2020, with some suggesting scrubbers as the best option to mitigate the impact of the cap, some have pointed to LNG as an alternative, while others claim the clearest route to compliance is low-sulphur fuel.

A report by Panalpina suggests there has been an uptake among container lines looking to take the LNG route, with some hubs “racing” to develop LNG bunkering technology. It cites an order from CMA CGM for ten 15,000+ teu vessels, five to be fuelled by LNG and five fitted with scrubbers.

For forwarders like Panalpina, the focus will be on making sure it can maintain the best rates and provide customers with options they are happy to pay for, it said.

Global head of ocean freight Joerg Twachtmann added: “We have been developing a transparent and competitive pricing mechanism to cut the best deal for our customers.

“We now have a globally competitive bunker mechanism that will increase visibility for customers and ease the transition towards new fuel types to comply with the sulphur limit.”

For more information please go here: http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/GHG/Documents/2020%20sulphur%20limit%20FAQ%202019.pdf

Source: The Loadstar

LNG tanker

LNG is the most environmentally friendly fuel for shipping

LNG is the most environmentally friendly, readily available fuel for shipping today – and in the foreseeable future, according to a new study.

With the IMO’s 0.5% sulphur cap regulations coming into force next January, along with its target of halving C02 emissions from shipping by 2050, decisions need to be taken on alternative fuels.

At today’s launch in London of an independent study, commissioned by the not-for-profit collaborative industry foundation SEA/LNG, its chairman, Peter Keller, said the study aimed to prove the efficiency of LNG at this “challenging time for shipowners, operators and regulators”.

Mr Keller, also executive vice president of US flag line Tote, the first to operate LNG-fuelled containerships, said there had been “a significant amount of investment in LNG bunkering capabilities around the world”, a lack of which had in the past deterred most carriers from ordering LNG-fuelled vessels.

CMA CGM is the first, and so far only, global carrier to opt for LNG-fuelled ULCVS, with its order last year for nine 22,000 teu ships to be delivered next year.

Mr Keller conceded it was not viable to retrofit ships to run on LNG.

“Conversions are difficult,” he said, given the size of the tanks required and the complexity of the work.

Indeed, Hapag-Lloyd’s chairman, Rolf Habben Jansen, told The Loadstar recently that a ballpark figure for retrofitting one of its 17 so-called LNG-ready ULCVs, inherited from its merger with UASC, was $25m – at least four times the cost of installing a scrubber system.

He said only one of the 15,000 teu ships was being retrofitted to run on LNG, as a trial, and he did not expect this to be rolled out to the sister vessels.

The Well-to-Wake study (a well-established approach for assessing the life-cycle analysis of fuels used in ships) was undertaken by consultant thinkstep. Using testing and data in cooperation with engine manufacturers,it found that the use of LNG as a marine fuel showed GHG reductions of up to 21%, compared with current oil-based fuels for two-stroke slow-speed engines. These account for about 70% of the power units used in shipping.

Mr Keller admitted that LNG was not a final answer to cutting emissions from shipping, but “it is the only alternative fuel that is available now”.

Maersk said recently it had invested some $1bn in research and development on alternative fuels, which it said was being driven by its customers, the carrier having seen a 30% increase in tenders stipulating the use of sustainable fuel. Other options being researched include bio-diesel and ammonia (hydrogen), solar and wind power.

Source: The Loadstar

Port of Shanghai

Shanghai is still the world’s busiest container port

The port of Shanghai has maintained its position as the world largest container port.

However, new data from Alphaliner today shows its lead over second-placed Singapore narrowed last year.

Shanghai posted 2018 throughput of 42.01m teu, 4.4% growth on 2017, while Singapore handled 36.6m teu, representing growth of 8.7%.

And the 5.41m teu differential between them was narrower than the 6.56m teu difference this time last year.

The 2.93m teu Singapore gained made it the largest-growing port globally, in terms of volumes, although Shanghai’s 1.78m teu gain puts it in second place in that sub-list.

According to Alphaliner, together the world’s largest 120 box ports handled 654m teu last year, an increase of 4.9% on 2017, which was broadly in line with analysts’ consensus.

Of those, 104 ports saw volumes grow, while 16 saw declines – and there were some high-losers among them.

Hong Kong saw the largest decline in volumes, down 1.1m teu over the year, dropping from fifth to seventh place in the top 120 as it posted a 56.7% fall to finish the year with 19.6m teu throughput, prompting its major terminal operators to form an alliance to try and arrest further declines.

DP World’s flagship Dubai facility also saw volumes decline, by 2.7%, and with an annual throughput of 14.95m teu, it fell out of the top 10 to eleventh place – overtaken by the northern Chinese port of Tianjin.

Other ports which saw large losses included other high-profile transhipment hubs: Panama’s Pacific hub of Balboa continued to see fall-out from the Panama Canal expansion as larger vessels now able to transit the canal bypassed it as volumes declined 29.3%, losing around 850,000 teu, to end the year at 2.05m teu; Oman’s Salalah lost 560,000 teu, representing 14.2% of its previous year’s volumes; Dubai rival Khor Fakkan dropped 13.8% to end the year at an estimated 2m teu; while Gioia Tauro, whose problems were recently reported by The Loadstar, lost 4.9% of its volume, equating to 120,000 teu.

The two largest gateway ports to see volume declines were the Iranian hub of Bandar Abbas, where new sanctions had the catastrophic effect of cutting to 600,000 teu, or 22.4%; and the UK’s Felixstowe, whose well-publicised IT transformation project resulted in an estimated loss of some 360,000 teu, representing 8.7% of the previous year’s total.

And Felixstowe’s loss was London’s gain, where scores of ad hoc calls were handled and which recorded a 23.2% increase in volumes to an estimated 1.7m teu.

Three ports, Beirut, Puerto Limon and Dandong, fell out of the top 120 last year, and were replaced by Buenaventura, Lome and Jinzhou.

Source: The Loadstar

solent 250

We are proud to announce that we came 65th in the Solent 250!

Supreme Freight staff members were at the Ageas Bowl last night for the Solent 250 awards dinner, and are pleased to announce that we came 65th! Very proud, and we couldn’t have done it without our wonderful staff or our loyal customers!

The Solent 250 lists the top 250 companies headquartered in the Solent region, ranked by turnover. Each year there is a dinner, awards and roundtable discussions.

One of the guest speakers was RSM’s Simon Hart, the firm’s lead Brexit partner, and its chief economist Joe Brusuelas. They suggested possible scenarios on how trade deals might be structured and what the UK’s future relationship with the US might look like.

It was a great night and we look forward to next year!

 

Delay to HMRC implementation of the Transitional Simplified Procedures

Freight operators have welcomed HMRC’s decision to delay implementation of the Transitional Simplified Procedures for customs (TSP) in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Announced in February, the TSP matches trader numbers against trailers and postpones payment of import duties – but only for ro-ro traffic.

TSP met with a fierce backlash from haulage operators who claimed the arrangements prioritised new applicants for authorisation, and forwarder association Bifa was particularly vocal in its disdain.

It seems this opposition has paid off, with the announcement confirming that supplementary customs declarations and associated payments will now not be required until 4 October.

Bifa director general Robert Keen said: “Having criticised HMRC when it originally published the TSP, we welcome today’s news.

“We also welcome the news that TSP will be available for any port or airport where goods are being brought into the UK from the EU, not just ro-ro ports.

“But most importantly, we are pleased that HMRC has agreed to allow freight forwarders to operate TSP on behalf of their clients.”

Prior to amendments to the TSP, it appeared that the easements it had originally sought to implement would make it easier for new applicants than existing operators to obtain authorisation.

However, both Bifa and the FTA said it seemed the “equivalent liberalisation” was not in place for existing operators and forwarders.

Head of multimodal policy at the FTA Alex Veitch told The Loadstarfollowing the initial launch of TSP that it was a “dramatic simplification”, but needed to be expanded.

“The problem here is the TSPs only apply to shippers – we have confirmed this through HMRC – and shippers often have no control over how goods are transported,” he said.

“Forwarders may transport by air, container or unaccompanied trailer, meaning the shipper will have signed up for a TSP and then be required to go through full customs checks.

“There is the potential for shippers to be pushing for goods to go by ro-ro when other options are more suitable, which could create more delays.”

Mr Keen said that with the extended deadline, operators will have more time to make “necessary” preparations and fully test the systems that would be required.

Furthermore, he noted the extensions would make it possible to establish communication links along the supply chain and ensure “everyone” was aware of their responsibilities.

“This is a very significant easement of policy and one for which Bifa, amongst others, lobbied hard to ensure all modes were treated equally,” he continued.

“It should be noted that much confusion and effort could have been saved if government had consulted with the trade in the first place.

“By allowing freight forwarders to operate TSP, the extension recognises the critical role that the freight forwarder plays as an intermediary in the UK’s supply chain,” he said.

For more information on the implementation of Transitional Simplified Procedures please see our earlier news post here.

Source: The Loadstar

China flag

Faster speed and lower costs – why has the China-Europe rail line been such a success?

Increased speeds and falling costs could see the China-EU land bridge handle more freight, some 2m teu a year, while IMO 2020 has the opposite effect on sea freight.

Head of Russian Railways Oleg Belozyorov told delegates at the International Railway Congress in Vienna that new projects would boost transit times and create a better service for shippers.

“A few years ago, we could only speculate that around 600,000 containers would travel through Russia. Now, this has been achieved. We have seen an increase of an additional 30% on the previous year. We could reach 2m teu a year or more,” he said.

With trade between China and the EU worth some $5trn, Mr Belozyorov pointed out that the two economies were now connected via the land bridge – but the service could be improved, he believed.

Russian Railways plans to reduce transit time from China to the western border of Russia to seven days, while increasing the speed of the trains so they can cover 1,500km a day, up from 1,150, following the completion of infrastructure projects.

He added that construction of the 1,520mm gauge Košice-Bratislava-Vienna railway line would also add efficiencies.

“This project will bring the work of the railways to a new level,” said Mr Belozyorov. “We will try new technologies to speed up border crossings and unify legal issues. We need to focus our attention to ensure that it takes place as soon as possible.”

But he also called for “a unified regulatory framework”.

“Much has been done as part of the International Union of Railways, but more work is necessary. We need to quickly cross borders. We can cover long distances quickly, but the cargo sits at the border under customs clearance two whole days,” he said.

One way would be to increase training and add new technologies, he argued.

“We are accustomed to traditional railway professions, and we need to create new professions based on the use of new digital technologies. These will be the real railway workers of the future,” he said.

Another key aspect would be digital technologies,

“Tools such as blockchain and smart contracts can allow us to make decisions in a matter of seconds and save billions of dollars.”

Rail is gaining more traction in the market, with its combination of speed and price attracting some shippers. Last year, costs fell, while speed increased, according to a Drewry report.

2018 saw 370,000 teu transported by rail between China and the EU, up 35% on a year earlier. Some 75% of that was routed via Kazakhstan, with gross transit volumes up 59% as the number of trains grew as well as the number of containers per train. The imbalance also improved – there was a 90% increase in eastbound trains compared with a 37% increase in westbound trains.

Drewry also noted that the rates were less volatile than in ocean freight, and that costs had fallen.

Sea freight, meanwhile, is expected to see a significant rise in costs following the implementation of IMO 2020 fuel regulations, while ships are also expected to opt for more slow-steaming. Rail costs, however, will fall while speed increases.