Monday, 30 April 2018

Maersk CEO Calls For End to Shipping Subsidies

Mr. Skou’s criticism comes as the price of shipping a container from Asia to Europe has dropped to less than half of the threshold for profitability. PHOTO: CHRIS RATCLIFFE/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Soren Skou, head of the world’s biggest container ship operator, says government backing of carriers is creating overcapacity, distorting markets and pricing

AP Moller-Maersk AMKBY 0.06% A/S Chief Executive Soren Skou is calling for governments to withdraw their financial support for container shipping lines, saying subsidies and other backing are causing overcapacity and profit-crushing price reductions across the maritime industry.
“I don’t think any government needs to throw money at container shipping, building ships that are not needed,” Mr. Skou told a maritime conference in Singapore. 
Denmark-based AP Moller-Maersk operates Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping line by capacity, and a pioneer in the use of so-called megaships—massive vessels capable of carrying around 20,000 twenty-foot containers.

I don’t think any government needs to throw money at container shipping, building ships that are not needed.
—Maersk CEO Soren Skou.
He didn’t mention specific carriers. But operators like state-run Chinese behemoth Cosco Shipping, South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine Ltd. and Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. which have been benefiting from cheap state financing, bailouts and other perks for years. 
In many cases, governments like those in Seoul and Taipei have pressed ahead with the support because of broader industrial and trade policies that support vast numbers of jobs, such as those in South Korea’s shipbuilding sector, and provide critical transportation for exporters. 
“In my mind there is no longer anything strategic about governments investing in shipping. The market will sort it out,” Mr. Skou said. 
Without pointing the finger at any one nation, he said companies are building ships that were “not needed, for companies who were not profitable and who do not have a profitable business model,” he added. 
His criticism comes as shipping rates on key global trade lanes have been slipping, threatening to undermine a recovery for ship operators from a recent downturn that led to broad consolidation among shipping lines.

The cost for sending a container from Asia to Europe, the world’s biggest trade route stood at around $600 this week, less than half what industry experts say is a $1,400 break-even rate. Maritime executives estimate capacity outweighs demand by 20% on the route.
Alphaliner, a global shipping research group, forecasts that overall container vessel capacity world-wide will grow 6% this year, ahead of its projecting for 5.1% growth in demand. Capacity across the industry grew at a double-digit annual pace during the mid-2000s across the industry and has nearly doubled since the end of 2008, according to the group’s figures.
“This is a very competitive industry,” Mr. Skou said. “Even after we have consolidated, there are still more than 10 global carriers and we fight like only siblings can fight for market share, amongst other things.” 
Write to Costas Paris at

Real Life Accident: Tug’s Crew Loses Life In Deadly Girding Accident

A 1,100 TEU container ship was leaving berth assisted by a small port tug. The tug, with a 320hp engine and a single fixed-pitch propeller in a nozzle, was normally used to move barges rather than large ships. It was serving as a temporary replacement for the port’s usual ship-assisting 1,200hp Voith configured tug, which was undergoing maintenance.

On the bridge for the departure were the Master and pilot, the chief officer and a helmsman. All communication between the pilot and the tug was conducted in the local dialect, which the crew was not able to understand.

According to the agreed plan, the tug had been secured on the container vessel’s port quarter with two of the ship’s mooring lines payed out about 40 metres. The lines were placed over the tug’s single towing hook.
The Master was initially concerned about the tug’s ability to assist the ship effectively in the planned maneuver, and requested the pilot to direct the tug to pull on the port beam with full power. The tug’s performance satisfied the Master, so the stern mooring lines were let go. With the stern lines away and the tug continuing to pull at full power, ahead propulsion was ordered and starboard helm applied on the container ship. The resulting actions caused the vessel to pivot on the remaining forward back springs, thereby enhancing the stern’s movement away from the quay (diagram 1).
Within a few minutes, the container vessel’s stern was about 25 meters from the quay; the forward backsprings were then let go. The engine was then initially put dead slow astern with the bow thruster full to port, and then hard to starboard helm and dead slow ahead, with the bow thruster remaining full to port. Shortly afterwards the helm was ordered amidships and then hard to port, but the vessel was by now moving astern with its stern coming dangerously close to the mooring dolphin (diagram 2). Half ahead was ordered and the bow thruster half to port, and then full ahead, hard to starboard helm and bow thruster full to port in order to avoid hitting the dolphin. Soon, the ship was moving ahead at more than 5 knots. The tug, which was now astern of the vessel, was unable to gain a safe position because of the unexpected (to the tug crew) and rapid forward motion of the container ship. It quickly girded and capsized.
The Master immediately ordered stop engines and the local pilot boat proceeded to assist the tug crew in the water. After rescue operations, two of the tug’s crew were pronounced dead.
Although the rapid forward movement of the container vessel that had led to the tug’s girding was ultimately the primary unsafe event, several aggravating factors on the tug also contributed to the negative outcome:
– The towing hook was not fitted with an emergency release mechanism
– A gog rope was not rigged
– Doors and hatches were left open during the towing operation
– None of the tug’s five crew was wearing a lifejacket or other buoyancy aid.
The official investigation found, among other things, that:
– The container ship’s ahead movement was not communicated to the tug crew, so the tug was caught in an unsafe position and was subjected to girding.
– The pilot and Master concentrated solely on trying to prevent the ship’s stern from making contact with the mooring dolphin, so communication with the tug was less than optimal.
Lessons learned
– When in doubt, reconsider your plan. In this case, the tug in service was approximately one-quarter as powerful as the tug normally used and the Master had some doubts about its efficacy before undertaking the manoeuvre.
– Always keep assisting tugs appraised of your vessel’s movements, preferably before the movement begins.
– For tug crews, ensure your vessel is seaworthy and the crew properly trained and equipped.
Press Release:

Dublin in the sun

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Orwell Bridge to close from midnight due to high winds and not set to reopen until tomorrow afternoon

The Orwell Bridge is to close from midnight because of the predicted high winds over the next few hours and into the early hours of tomorrow.

Highways England decided to shut the A14 route for safety reasons but were unable to say when it would reopen.
They said they will continue to monitor wind speeds closely and will reopen the bridge as soon as it is safe to do so.
But based on current forecasts they do not expect the bridge to re-open until tomorrow afternoon which is set to cause misery for motorists using the route.
The planned diversion is via the A1156, A1189 and A1214 through Ipswich. 
BBC Suffolk Here's what Highways England have told us:

Based on current forecasts, we expect the bridge – which carries the A14 over the River Orwell near Ipswich - to re-open tomorrow afternoon. (Monday 30 April). 

Drivers planning to travel on Monday are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along the route.

Road users and residents affected by closures can sign up for alerts here:
You can get the latest forecast from BBC Weather:

Drivers planning to travel tomorrow are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions. 
Road users and residents affected by closures can visit the Highways England webpage at and subscribe to alerts.
They said drivers should be aware of sudden gusts of wind and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space. 

Highways England provides live traffic information via its website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms. 
Local weather information is also available on Twitter at @HighwaysEAST. The latest weather forecast can be seen online at

Darktrace Industrial AI defends Harwich Haven Authority

Darktrace, the world’s leading AI company for cyber defence, has today announced that Harwich Haven Authority, the trust port responsible for the safety and upkeep of the Harwich Haven area in Essex, UK, has deployed Darktrace’s Industrial Immune System to defend its systems from unpredictable cyber-threats.

Harwich Haven Authority is a major provider of critical infrastructure in the UK, handling the world’s largest container ships. The Authority delivers essential shipping services across five commercial ports including Port of Felixstowe, Ipswich, Navyard, Mistley and Harwich International, which are considered important gateways for European and global trade.
“The power of Darktrace’s Industrial Immune System is amazing. It is critical that the trust port is fully operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and Darktrace helps us achieve this by detecting threats before they escalate,” said Matt Calver, IT Infrastructure Engineer, Harwich Haven Authority. “The technology provides insights into our network that would be impossible to gather without the help of artificial intelligence. We could never be 100% sure about what was going on on our network before we deployed Darktrace.”

The Industrial Immune System works by leveraging machine learning and AI algorithms to learn the normal ‘pattern of life’ of every device, controller, and user on the network, and correlates these insights in order to spot emerging threats that would otherwise go unnoticed.
“The defence of our critical national infrastructure is of paramount importance in keeping society running efficiently,” said Andrew Tsonchev, Director of Technology, Darktrace Industrial. “The cyber-threat landscape is evolving at pace, with threats becoming more stealthy and fast-moving, and humans alone cannot keep up. Harwich Haven Authority joins a growing number of organizations across the world relying on our artificial intelligence technology to defend their increasingly complex networks.”
To read more information, click here.
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security.

British Ports Association raise border facilities' concerns with PM

By   Image courtesy of British Ports Association

The British Ports Association announced on Friday that it has written to the Prime Minister calling for funding guarantees for any new border facilities and digital infrastructure, which may be needed after the UK leaves the European Union. There are concerns from the industry that those ports with EU traffic will need to provide new facilities and digital infrastructure for government officials to carry out customs and other border checks.

In the letter, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association said: “There are around 30 Government agencies or organisations which can carry out procedures at ports and we expect there to be both physical and digital infrastructure requirements at the border to accommodate any new arrangements following Brexit. It is critical that these agencies are prepared for new Brexit regime and that the infrastructure those arrangements will require is in place in time. Last Autumn’s Budget Statement included significant funding for Brexit preparations and we are seeking your assurances that this will cover the resourcing of these physical facilities and not just additional staff so as not to introduce further potential negative impacts on ports.”
Of particular concern is the traffic traveling via the UK’s Roll-on Roll-off ferry ports, such as DoverHolyheadPortsmouth and a number of terminals with links to the continent and Ireland. Such ports facilitate in excess of 10,000 lorry journeys between the UK and the EU each day, representing 22% of the UK’s entire maritime trade and the majority of the UK’s EU traffic. The Association represents almost all of these ports and terminals, which almost exclusively on EU routes and therefore do not presently have the facilities for customs officials and other borders agencies.
Mr Ballantyne continued: “To truly achieve the Government’s ambition of frictionless trade, it will be important to ports that the only passenger and freight checks that take place at the border itself are those that cannot possibly be done elsewhere. We would also expect that facilities are shared to prevent new requirements causing additional disruption or duplicate infrastructure being built.”
Source: British Ports Association


Container Terminal

Svitzer Deben assists the ultra large MSC Eloane with a powered indirect. 27th April 2018

2015 record breaker MSC Oscar swings to port with 3 Svitzer tugs at Felixstowe 27th April 2018

Saturday, 28 April 2018

The Strolling Stevedores Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Trek. Port Of Felixstowe Stevedores.

Trevor Cable avatar
Trevor Cable

Fundraising for St Elizabeth Hospice (Suffolk)

  • Team members: Ian Gow, Gary Newson, John Mundy, Trevor Cable, Nick Lord, Andrew McDonald, Nick Goodrum, David Bennett, Brian Richardson.
  • Event: Inca Trail to Machu Pichu Trek, 23 May 2018 to 03 Jun 2018

    Thanks for taking the time to visit our JustGiving page.
    In May 2018 The Strolling Stevedores will take on their latest challenge, to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We leave the UK on May 23rd before starting a 3 day acclimatisation in Cusco which stands at 3399mtrs. The trek then starts at km82 before crossing the highest part of the trek which is Dead woman's pass at a height of 4250mtrs. After a 3am start on our final day of the trek we will arrive at the Sun Gate where we get our first views of Machu Picchu. After a short tour of Machu Picchu we will then climb Huayna Picchu mountain which overlooks the Lost city of Machu Picchu. We will then descend from the "lost city" to Aguas Calientes to recover before returning to Cusco.
    Our trip is totally self funded and all of the money raised will go directly to St Elizabeth Hospice. Nothing is taken for any of our costs, everything is paid for by ourselves. Sponsor forms are also available if you would like to sponsor us that way. Our target fundraising amount is the distance from Felixstowe (our starting point) to Machu Picchu.
    As always thanks to everyone for your continued support of The Strolling Stevedores, and most importantly for helping St Elizabeth Hospice to keep doing the incredible work they do.

The shipping industry is finally going to cut its climate change emissions. That’s a big deal.

Shipping containers and cranes April 6 at the Port of Newark, one of the largest ports in the United States, in Elizabeth, N.J. (Justin Lane/EPA-EFE)
Member nations of the United Nations body charged with regulating shipping on the high seas adopted a first-ever strategy Friday to blunt the sector’s large contribution to climate change — bringing another major constituency on board in the international quest to cap the planet’s warming well below an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
The strategy embraced by a committee of the International Maritime Organization would lower emissions from container ships, oil tankers, bulk carriers and other vessels by at least 50 percent by the year 2050 vs. where they stood in 2008. The group also said that emissions from shipping should reach a peak, and begin to decline, as soon as possible.
“IMO remains committed to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, aims to phase them out as soon as possible in this century,” the group said.
But the United States “reserve[d]” its position on the strategy, with Coast Guard official Jeffrey Lantz, who headed the delegation to the London deliberations, saying that the country views “the establishment of an absolute reduction target as premature.”
The United States also objected to how responsibilities would be divided between developed and developing countries, and expressed “serious concern about how this document was developed and finalized.”
Shipping in recent years has been responsible for about 800 million tons annually of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Dan Rutherford, the marine and aviation program director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, who was in attendance for the deliberations in London this week. That means shipping’s emissions are 2.3 percent of the global total.
“If you counted it as a country, it would be the sixth-largest source of CO2 emissions,” said Rutherford, noting that 800 million tons of annual emissions is comparable to emissions from Germany.
And ships, by burning heavy fuel oil, create not only carbon dioxide emissions but also significant emissions of black carbon, or soot. Black carbon is a short-lived but powerful climate-change driver.
Moreover, if nothing is done to halt emissions growth in the industry, emissions are projected to continue to grow, and shipping would burn up a significant share of the remaining global carbon emissions allowable under the Paris climate agreement — releasing as much as 101 billion tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions between now and 2075, according to an analysis by Rutherford’s organization.

(International Council on Clean Transportation)
“The world’s shipping industry has now, for the first time, defined its commitment to tackle climate change, bringing it closer in-line with the Paris Agreement,” Tristan Smith, an expert on shipping and energy at the University College London energy institute, said in a statement.
Shipping and aviation are two major greenhouse-gas-producing sectors that have sat rather uncomfortably in the context of the global push to cut emissions under the Paris climate agreement.
Both sectors are very difficult to decarbonize, since they rely on energy-dense fuels to allow ships or planes to travel great distances without stopping.
Meanwhile, since the sectors have major international components, they are not the responsibility of any single country to regulate as part of a domestic climate-change strategy. Instead, addressing their role in climate change has fallen to United Nations bodies such as the IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Yet despite the ambition of the current strategy for shipping, Rutherford’s group’s analysis shows that it may not be strong enough. The group says that to be consistent with the Paris agreement, shipping should emit no more than 17 billion tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions from 2015 onward but that the current agreement implies emissions between 28 billion and 43 billion tons. (No action at all, meanwhile, could have meant 101 billion tons.)
Groups that were pushing for something stronger included small island nations, which have the most to lose if warming exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, since sea-level rise for these countries could be devastating.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council, the world’s biggest shipping consortium, celebrated the agreement.
“IMO has done something no one has done before: set an absolute target for emission reductions for an entire industry. It is a landmark achievement in the effort to reduce emissions, and something that every other industry should look to for inspiration,” Lars Robert Pedersen, the group’s deputy secretary general, said in a statement.
For shipping to decarbonize, current fuel oils would have to be replaced by biofuels or, perhaps  ultimately, hydrogen or batteries. But such innovations so far are being tested only in smaller ships, rather than the largest vessels, Rutherford said.
“The largest container ships use a tremendous amount of energy. They’re going to be harder to electrify or put hydrogen in,” he said.
A large emphasis will also certainly be placed on more energy-efficient designs to maximize the work performed by current fuels.
The current document is referred to as an “initial strategy.” But from here, IMO is expected to move ahead with regulations for global shipping that will gradually require these carbon-saving changes to the industry. Those could include mandatory energy-efficiency requirements, speed limits or other measures.

The story must be told.