Daily Briefing January 14 2020
Free to read: Iran’s flag-shopping subterfuge fleet drags registries into sanctions net | Russian diluent heads for Venezuela via Gibraltar STS | UK ports expect smooth Brexit, as volumes decline after stockpiling spike
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Registries of Panama, Gabon, Honduras and Belize have re-flagged vessels that have either been sanctioned by the US for shipping Iranian energy commodities or engaged in deceptive shipping practices that suggest they are exporting cargoes from the Islamic republic.
Nearly 1m tonnes of diluent — used to reduce the viscosity of heavy crude oil so it can be transported for export — was exported from Russia to either Venezuela or Aruba in the final quarter of 2019, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence data. That compares with less than 270,000 tonnes in the prior quarter.
Brexit is likely to roll out smoothly on the UK waterfront on the last day of this month, although throughput volumes are on a continuing downward trajectory following a stockpiling spike in the last quarter of 2018, according to ports industry sources.
Container lines are benefiting from strong pre-Chinese New Year demand, but a slowdown in February could lead to challenging conditions.
The container shipping sector is able to cope with a further unpredictable period, thanks to improved capacity management capabilities and a manageable newbuild delivery schedule, according to industry analyst Drewry, with scrubber retrofits also limiting the supply-demand imbalance.
Pacific International Lines chairman Teo Siong Seng is confident that vendors continue to support the carrier.
The Lloyd’s List podcast: Joining the Lloyd’s List Podcast this week to discuss the risk assessment for shipping in the Strait of Hormuz are BIMCO’s head of safety and security Jakob Larsen and Senior Maritime Analyst at Control Risks Cormac Mc Garry.
Container import volumes shipped through major US ports are expected to return to their usual seasonal patterns after a year of volatility driven by the uncertainty of Washington’s trade war with China, according to a Global Port Tracker report.
Despite the Baltic Dry Index moving up by two points on January 10 to 774, market participants think the outlook is turning dim as the International Maritime Organization sulphur cap rule takes its toll. Producers of iron ore and coal can expect a 40% increase in freight cost overnight with no ability to recover those costs.
The Humpuss shipping line is preparing to shell out at least $70m for two methanol carriers and a floating, storage and regasification unit.
The port congestion and vessel delay problem in India has been mostly solved but the next priority is to increase digitalisation to boost trade velocity, Maersk South Asia managing director Steve Felder said in a media interview.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has sealed deals with Indonesia’s national oil company Pertamina and Chandra Asri for the supply of liquefied petroleum gas and naptha respectively.
Qingdao Port International has embarked on a management reshuffle amid a broader restructuring in the sector initiated by the provincial government.
The Global Shippers’ Forum has called on the European Commission to change the criteria it uses to assess the effectiveness of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation as the commission prepares to extend the regulation for another four years.
China’s very low sulphur fuel oil production is set to enjoy a tax rebate that will primarily affect supply at domestic ports and have a limited impact on foreign bunker hubs such as Singapore, according to industry experts.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed outrage via Twitter on Sunday after a volley of rockets slammed into an Iraqi airbase north of Baghdad, where US forces have been based. The attack came as world and regional leaders attempted to reduce tensions along shipping lanes in the Middle East Gulf.
BIMCO, the Copenhagen-based shipping association, has appointed David Loosley as its new chief executive and secretary-general.