Plans to increase toll charges for the Panama Canal are 'rushed, excessive and likely to cause further problems for shipping companies' given the fragile state of economic recovery, say shipowners. The International Chamber of Shipping has sent a strongly worded letter to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) describing plans to increase tolls by up to 15% as 'simply unacceptable'.
The job of the marine underwriter, put simply and traditionally, is to ensure that more is taken in to the premium account than is paid out after claims. Aside from the complexities of reinsurance and laying off risks, it might seem a relatively undemanding task for the experienced insurer. But talk to any informed marine underwriter and there is a list of nagging concerns which need to be addressed before he will happily take a line on some maritime risk.
When Frank Loesser penned Slow Boat to China he was actually romanticising a common poker player’s wish to be trapped with a cash-rich good loser for a long time. Container shipping lines are currently slowing their vessels to and from China. Their shareholders have already been big losers yet the end of the voyage is not in sight.
The contracting boom (2006-08) led to an expansion of shipbuilding capacity as new yards opened and existing capacity grew. However, the low contracting environment since 2008 has put increasing pressure on yards to fill this capacity. As China is home to 35% of the world’s yards it is interesting to see how recent contracting activity has affected yards here.
The Chinese shipbuilding industry, the world’s biggest, is focusing on quality over productivity and overcoming deficiencies, including worker training, retention and research and design, Lloyd’s Register said. Following are comments from Tom Boardley, marine director of Lloyd’s Register, a London-based classification society that monitors compliance with structural rules for building ships.
For many shipyards 2012 will be a tricky year, with the orderbook shrinking and prices under pressure. Chinas orderbook is 146m dwt (43%), whilst S. Korea has 98m dwt (29%) and Japan 61m dwt (18%). Big numbers, but how much work do the shipyards really have in hand?
The drive for the use of LNG as a marine fuel is gaining ground. The initiative was launched by Norway a decade ago and is now being taken up by its Northern European neighbours. Meanwhile, other parts of the world are monitoring what is happening in Europe and assessing the ability of their gas supply chains to deliver the volumes of LNG required for vessel bunkering to the right place at the right time.
Low earnings and weak market sentiment have contributed to a marked increase in containership scrapping in the last six months. 17 boxships were scrapped in March 2012, of a combined 28,356 TEU. Since the start of October 2011, 59 ships have been scrapped of a total 105,232 TEU, compared with just 22,241 TEU in the previous six months (April-Sept 2011), a rise of 373%.
Chinese state-owned companies are a key part of the countrys economy, and state-owned shipping companies are no exception. In February this report considered how these traditional ship owners have ordered less in recent years, but much of the contracting slack has now been taken up by state-owned enterprises from other fields. But how has this altered Chinese demand for different ship types?