News Archive
London maritime

7 July 2014

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CF Sharp (advert)

Overtonnaging fears hit confidence

Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry fell slightly during the three-month period to May 2014, due to concerns that overtonnaging could hit freight rates, but nevertheless remain at their second-highest level for the past six years with shipmanagers in particular remaining upbeat, according to international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens.

In May 2014, the average confidence level expressed by respondents in the markets in which they operate was 6.3, compared to February's 6.5, which was the highest figure since the 6.8 recorded when the survey was launched in May 2008.

The firm's shipping partner, Richard Greiner, says, 'The small dip in confidence revealed by the latest survey is a disappointment. But it has to be viewed in context. Confidence is still at its second-highest level for four years, and the number of respondents planning to make a major investment over the next twelve months is as high as it has been at any time since August 2010. It is difficult to think of another industry, similarly exposed to political, commercial, economic and environmental pressures, which has retained the confidence of its customers and investors to the same degree.'

Ship managers were the only category of main respondent to the firm's latest
Shipping Confidence Survey to report an increase in confidence. Owners, charterers and brokers were less confident than they were three months previously, at least in Europe and North America. Confidence levels remained stable in Asia.

Moore Stephens notes that expectations of new investment were maintained over
the three-month period but the prospects for higher freight rates receded in the tanker and dry bulk sectors. It adds that uncertainty over the likely effect of an increase in private equity funding, and the consequent potential impact on tonnage supply, meanwhile dominated the thoughts of respondents to the survey.

Despite the small overall decline in confidence levels, a number of respondents to the survey remained upbeat. 'Levels of confidence are good, and are expected to improve,' said one, while another noted, 'World trade seems to be improving, and shipping will benefit.'

Others were slightly more guarded in their responses, however. One respondent
said, 'The market is improving, but there are still some smaller, financially weak companies likely to go bust.' Another observed, 'We have noted slight improvements in the market and are confident that more significant growth will take place in the coming months,' while others still remarked, 'Demand is still high, even though operational costs have tended to increase,' and, 'The shipping markets are not stable at the moment, but will pick up shortly.

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Rightship (advert)

Passenger ship safety and LNG high on IACS's agenda

The recently appointed chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Philippe Donche-Gay, told journalists at a press conference held in London last week that cruise ship safety, ro-ro ferry safety and the introduction of LNG as a marine fuel would top the organisation's agenda for the coming year.

Mr Donche-Gay, executive vice-president and head of the marine & offshore division, Bureau Veritas, was elected as chairman of IACS with effect from 1 July at the organisation's 69th Council meeting held in Santa Margherita, Italy, June.

Stressing London-headquartered IACS's close collaboration with IMO and the shipping industry, Mr Donche-Gay explained that three days of Council high-level meetings were held with the IMO secretary-general and industry representatives, who participated at relevant sessions of the Council meeting.

He said a continuous focus on cruise ships safety included new guidelines and
recommendations. These included increased internal subdivision, a double hull way in way of main engine rooms, the fitting of an onboard stability computer or shore support for existing ships and enhancement of bilge pumping arrangements.

The recent Sewol disaster had, he said, highlighted casualties involving ro-ro ferries, primarily involved in domestic trades. There have been 1,500 deaths as result of domestic ferry incidents in the past 10 years. IACS will provide advice and guidance on issues related to stability, safety and evacuation and would cooperate with national industry associations. He acknowledged that this was a sensitive area as it was outside IMO's remit and involved working with sovereign states.

On LNG Mr Donche-Gay said the next step for IACS would be to develop common
procedures for LNG bunkering. This would involve producing high level guidelines based on existing documentation.

Mr Donche-Gay also said that work was continuing to meet the schedule for the entry into force of the IACS Common Structural Rules for oil tankers and bulk carriers on 1 July next year and on IMO verification of compliance with the IMO Goal Based Standards for new ships' design and construction.

Work was also continuing to develop functional requirements for structural safety of post-panamax container ships. He said that IACS would consider what lessons should be learnt from the loss of the MOL Comfort, once the investigations into the casualty had been completed.

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EU Liner Consortia Block Exemption extended to 2020

The European Commission has extended the exemption of liner shipping consortia that have a market share of up to 30% from EU antitrust rules to April 2020.

Commenting on the move, Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA secretary-general said: 'We
warmly welcome the European Commission's decision as it is fully in line with our reasoning. The extension of the liner BER will greatly benefit liner shipping by allowing for the continuation of a legal framework that has so far proved its usefulness.'

The move comes shortly after the planned P3 Alliance of Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM collapsed following its rejection by China's competition regulator Mofcom.

However the EU decision will be widely seen as positive move for container shipping. Mr Verhoeven noted: 'The rules provide clarity, transparency and legal certainty, which the liner shipping industry needs in these testing times.'

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Busy times for LR

The UK's new 283-metre long aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, approved
and classed by Lloyd's Register, was launched on Friday 4 July by the Queen at Rosyth shipyard, Scotland.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is the first of two new carriers to be built in the UK, is due to go for sea trials in November, 2016, with delivery at the beginning of 2017. A second UK carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, which is currently under construction, is also being classed and approved by LR.

LR's Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) project manager, Ian White, said: "This is the fulfilment of six years dedicated work by the LR team and a pivotal project for the UK. It is also the best way of recognising what the 14 to 15 Lloyd's Register surveyors employed on building the aircraft carriers at six shipyards in the UK have achieved."

Also it was announced that LR is to class a unique ferry that will 'combine the innovative use of several different energy sources to provide reliable, efficient power and vastly reduce environmental impact in comparison with existing ferry technology'.

The 1,750-passenger, 350-vehicle, double ended Texelstroom will operate between the Dutch islands of Texel and Den Helder.

Ordered by Royal N.V. Texels Eigen Stoomboot Onderneming (TESO), the ferry will be constructed at the LaNaval Shipyard in Spain for delivery at the end of 2015. There will then be four months of final commissioning and training, she will then enter service in the spring of 2016.

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TT Club's cyber-crime warning

Cyber-criminals are targeting carriers, ports, terminals and other transport operators and pose an increasing danger, according to TT Club's Mike Yarwood.

Speaking at TOC Europe's Container Supply Chain Conference in London, the
freight insurance specialist said that examples of computer hacking affecting organisations, companies and individuals were numerous. He warned that data and information was being used to focus on high value cargo and susceptible loads.

The TT Club has warned that, as invasive cyber-technology becomes more widely
available, a greater risk to legitimate trade is emerging, exposing operators in the supply chain to economic and commercial damage.

It said:

'Whilst advances in IT systems undoubtedly provide greater opportunities for carriers, transport operators and cargo handling facilities to mitigate their exposure to theft and fraud, unfortunately such increased sophistication also benefits those with criminal intent.'

Mr Yarwood has made a particular study of the fast-growing trend. 'We see
incidents which at first appear to be a petty break-in at office facilities. The damage appears minimal ' nothing is physically removed. More thorough post incident investigations however reveal that the 'thieves' were actually installing spyware within the operator's IT network.'.

More commonly targets are individuals' personal devices where cyber security is less adequate. Hackers often make use of social networks to target operational personnel who travel extensively and truck drivers to ascertain routing and overnight parking patterns.

Mr Yarwood. 'Education of employees across all disciplines of the organisation is crucial. Making them aware of robust risk management policies designed to defend the organisation from cyber-crime. Often the level of threat is dependent on an organisations' own culture.' concluded Yarwood.

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BMT software will avoid groundings

BMT Group subsidiary BMT ARGOSS (BMT) has entered a partnership to develop
a robust, multi-functional software package for the Dutch Directorate-General. METRIS is short for 'Modelsysteem voor Evaluatie Tijpoortregeling en RIsico'S bodemberoering' which translates as 'model system to evaluate tidal admission policy and risk of seabed touchdown'.

BMT says that the partnership aims to meet the client's needs by combining its expertise in heading analysis, vessel response behaviour, weather forecasting and shallow water metocean conditions, with Charta's ability to deliver high quality software. METRIS will provide a comprehensive hindcast assessment tool to test the performance of admission and dredging policy based on the probability of seabed touch down of vessels in anchorage areas and access channels to ports.

Ernst Bolt, Dutch Directorate-General senior advisor comments:

'The main factor restricting admission of deep-draught ships to ports is the risk of
bottom contact. We want to ensure that we are making best use of our approach channels. For ships restricted to our access channels, the Dutch Directorate maintains a guaranteed nautical depth for a total distance of over 100 km to accommodate deep draught vessels sailing to the three large ports in the Netherlands.'

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US company buys Videotel

US KVH Industries has bought London-based maritime industry training films
and e-learning services producer Videotel for GBP28.7m.

"The acquisition of Videotel is an important addition to our portfolio of services targeting the needs of commercial seafarers and supports our strategic vision of extending our maritime broadband service to include delivering premium content to vessels," said Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH's chief executive officer.

"We already offer maritime companies crew connectivity through our mini-VSAT
Broadbandsm network, including Internet café, Voice over IP phone calls, and crew entertainment services via our IP-MobileCast' service. With this acquisition, we will now also offer an extensive library of seafarer training courses and related training services."

"Videotel operates in a growing sector of the e-Learning market where increasing levels of regulation and a shortage of trained and experienced seafarers drive the need for comprehensive training solutions," Mr. Kits van Heyningen added. "We anticipate that Videotel's training services and the ability to test and certify seafarer training will support the new employment services we're rolling out on our Crewtoo® social media site."

Speaking of the acquisition and the opportunities ahead, Nigel Cleave, CEO of
Videotel, said:

"Advances in maritime broadband services are creating truly exciting opportunities to bring a whole new generation of computer-based e-Learning and distance learning courses to seafarers, which will help our customers meet the large number of new regulations and associated challenges that will come into effect over the next few years. In our discussions with KVH, we quickly saw how the innovative mini-VSAT Broadband network and especially the new KVH IP-MobileCast content delivery service could really be leveraged to deliver our new training materials more efficiently and provide the affordable connectivity needed for our new distance learning services. We're excited to be part of the KVH family to propel the company forward on both the technological and delivery front, as well as to work with our new
colleagues in developing the next generation of seafarer training."

The audited financial statements of the acquired Videotel group companies showed annual combined revenues in 2013 of £14m, of which approximately 93% was derived from multi-year subscription-based services. During 2013, Videotel's combined gross profit margin was approximately 73%.

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2014 Maritime Media Awards nominations invited

Time is running out for nominations for this year's Maritime Media Awards which are intended to inspire and honour writers, film-makers and communicators whose work enhances public understanding of Britain's dependence upon the sea. The closing date is 31 July and the prizes presented at a prestigious dinner held at the Institute of Directors, London, on 5 November.

The Media Awards comprise: Desmond Wettern Award for best maritime journalistic contribution; Mountbatten Award for best maritime literary contribution; Donald Gosling Award for best maritime television or film contribution; First Sea Lord's Award for best maritime digital media contribution and, new for 2014, First Sea Lord's Digital Media Award.

The contributions could include a comprehensive website, journalism, film,
app, podcast, social media feeds or other digital media output.

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The Navigator: a magazine for every ship

The Nautical Institute, the professional body for seafarers, has appealed to the maritime industry to help it get a copy of its free publication The Navigator onboard every SOLAS vessel to encourage the professionalism of watchkeepers. Each issue focuses upon one particular aspect of navigation. Subjects up to now have included passage planning, position-fixing, and collision avoidance.

The international professional membership organisation is reacting to concerns from the industry that casualties and near misses from navigational errors are increasing, and that navigational competence needs to be continually updated.

'Finding ways to increase the competence and professionalism of officers of the watch is one of the main concerns of our members,' Nautical Institute chief executive Philip Wake told a gathering of senior industry figures. 'One of the ways we are working towards this goal is through our free publication The Navigator, which appears three times a year, highlighting some of the most important issues for them.'

To sign up as distributor please visit

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Training courses in London

The China Maritime Centre at Greenwich University will be running a one day
course (11 September) looking at China's seaborne trade and defence
issues. China's Seaborne Trade and Maritime Defence in the Current Era
will be led by Dr Minghua Zhao, international shipping analyst Richard Scott
and naval defence specialist David Wilkinson. The course will investigate
China's rapid growth in seaborne trade of all types and the impact upon
global maritime business; it will also examine the recent history of the
Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in the light of American and Chinese

See for further details

The Baltic Exchange has launched a new Shipping Economics and Investment
which will take place 23-24 September in London. Topics covered will
include an introduction to the shipping industry, economic analysis of shipping markets, costs and revenue management and specialised sectors. Current trends in the shipping and freight markets will also be covered.

Shipping investment will be the second day's theme, beginning with cash flow analysis of shipping projects and project appraisal. Capital structure and the cost of capital in shipping projects will then be looked at followed by investment decision and uncertainty, finishing with investment management.
See for further details.

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SSY Futures moves into coking coal derivatives

Shipbroker SSY Futures has opened a new coking coal desk. The team will initially focus on a contract settling against the Platts Australian Low Volatility Coking Coal index, which clears on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and then SGX Asiaclear's TSI contracts launching in August. These new contracts will complement SSY's existing iron ore and steels offering. The desk will operate from London and Singapore where SSY's existing derivatives businesses are based.

Head of SSY Futures, Mark Richardson said, "This is a very exciting development and will greatly enhance not only our iron ore and steel derivatives trading but also allow steel producers in the pacific region to work with us to manage risk in both their raw materials and the finished product."

SSY says that it occupies a strong position in freight and iron ore and accounts for around 30% of derivative turnover in these markets annually.

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Greater London West Africa connectivity

Container line operators Hapag-Lloyd and MOL have launched a new service
connecting London Gateway with various ports in West Africa.

The service, to rotate between Antwerp, Hamburg, DP World London Gateway,
Algeciras, Dakar, Lagos/Apapa, Tema, Abidjan and Algeciras before returning
to Antwerp, will enable the UK to export chemicals, white goods, malt, fish
and meat to Africa. Meanwhile import goods such as canned fish, timber,
bananas and vegetables will be carried inland by rail carriers DB Schenker
and Freightliner.

'The decision to bring the service to DP World London Gateway by existing customers Hapag Lloyd and MOL demonstrates confidence in DP World London Gateway's ability to deliver a reliable efficient service and their desire to grow their business at the port,' said London Gateway commercial manager, Tabare Dominguez.

The new service will add to London Gateway's existing connections which include a South America West Coast service, Europe Pakistan India Consortium and a weekly service X-Press Feeders service to Dublin and Rotterdam. The port says that it is on track to open its third of a planned six berths, after the opening of berth two in May.

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People round-up

LR moves

Lloyd's Register has appointed Nick Brown as its marine chief operating officer and has also split its EMEA area into two operating regions. He was previously director business development & innovation.

LR says that Mr Brown's appointment reflects the growth in Lloyd's Register's marine business both in scale and breadth of services. Reporting to marine director Tom Boardley, Mr Brown will be responsible for LR's four global operating regions ' Asia, Americas, Northern Europe and Southern Europe.

David Barrow becomes Lloyd's Register's regional marine manager for a new Northern Europe region while Apostolos Poulovassilis has been appointed regional manager for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Iain Wilson and Tim Protheroe remain in their Asia and Americas roles.

New roles for Alastair Fischbacher

The recently retired manager of Rio Tinto's dry bulk fleet Alastair Fischbacher has taken on two high profile industry appointments, stepping up as chairman of maritime welfare charity Sailors' Society and director of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative is a coalition of companies from across the global shipping industry that is focused on driving commercial growth through sustainable practices.

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