Thursday, 14 May 2020

History of the Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam catches up in innovation | Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam is one of the oldest and largest seaports in Europe. The port, which was the world’s busiest port from 1962 to 1986, has now been overshadowed by Asian ports such as Singapore and Shanghai.

The Rotterdam port is considered to be a strategically important distribution point in Europe as it is surrounded by Europe’s highly-populated and industrialised centres – the German Ruhr district, Paris and London.

Port of Rotterdam History
The Port of Rotterdam came into existence in 1283 when a small fishing village was created at the mouth of the Rotte River by reclaiming a tract of land. 

The port became a major seaport in 1360 after the construction of a canal to the Schie. This development allowed the port to gain access to larger cities in the north, and to facilitate the transport of goods between England and Germany.

The Port of Rotterdam became the country’s second most important port after its expansion along the Meuse. Discovery of the sea route to the Indies in the 17th century led to a boom period in shipping and commerce sectors.

“The port became a major seaport in 1360.”
French occupation of the port from 1795 to 1815 drastically reduced trade. Trade  increased again after the fall of Napoleon.

In 1940, almost one-third of the port facilities were destroyed when it was attacked by Germany.

The port started its rebuilding operation after the end of World War II. The old traditional buildings, destroyed during the war, were replaced by modern-style buildings.

Port Operator
Rotterdam’s port and industrial area are managed and operated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoRA). It is a non-listed public limited company, with shares held by the Municipality of Rotterdam (75%) and the Dutch State (25%).

The port authority is responsible for handling shipping traffic, and developing public infrastructure, existing port areas and new port sites. The main goal of the company is to strengthen the competitive position of the port in terms of size and quality.

In 2009, the port authority invested €34m, while the turnover was around €500m. The company has about 1,200 employees.

Industrial Growth
As is the case with a lot of locations, the Industrial Revolution left an irreversible impression on the city. The growth of industry allowed Rotterdam to grow slowly and steadily as a global port town, and it became an important location for the Dutch East India Company. 

The most significant development in this era came near the end of the 1800’s in response to the ineffectiveness of the natural coastal features for industrial shipping. 

The marshy, shallow delta caused issues for industrial vessels, and a custom created shipping canal was conceived. 

This Nieuwe Waterweg (“New Waterway”) was completed in 1872, also serving to connect industry along the Rhine and Meuse rivers to the North Sea.

Design and construction
The Port of Rotterdam occupies 10,500ha with industrial sites covering an area of 5,300ha, and infrastructure and water surface covering the remaining area. The length of the port is 40km, while its quay length is 89km. The port also includes 1,500km of pipelines.

“Rotterdam’s port and industrial area are managed and operated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority.”
A railroad over the Meuse River was built in 1877, providing the southern Netherlands with access to the Port of Rotterdam. Some bridges were also built to open the river’s south banks for the development of a larger harbour in 1890.

The Rotterdam’s Waal Harbour, which was built between 1906 and 1930, is one of the biggest dredged harbours in the world.

The port’s harbour territory was further enlarged with the construction of the Europort complex along the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg.

Construction of Maasvlakte 2 harbour began in 2008 as the existing port is expected to run out of space by 2014. This harbour is expecting the first ship to anchor in 2013.

The contract for the construction of the first site of Maasvlakte 2 was given to a contracting consortium PUMA (Project Uitbreiding Maasvlakte). The consortium consists of Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord. The consortium will also be responsible for maintaining the seawalls for five years. The Port of Rotterdam Authority will finance Maasvlakte 2.

Port facilities
The Port of Rotterdam has tank storage capacity of over 30m cubic metres, crude oil storage capacity of 12m cubic metres and mineral oil products storage capacity of 6.7m cubic metres. It also facilitates independent storage of mineral oil products, chemical products, and vegetable oils and fats.

The port includes 122 jetties and 23 berths, and has six pilot boats and 29 tug boats. There are over 90 terminals, 35 reserved for liquid bulk cargoes, 15 for dry bulk cargo and 17 for multi-purpose use.

The port has nine container terminals to handle short-sea, deep-sea and inland shipping. Other terminals at the port include seven roll-on/roll-off, three juice, two fruit terminals, and one each for steel and paper, cars, and cruise vessels.

The port also has a unique hospital with special accommodation arrangements for seamen of all ranks and nationalities.

Port of Rotterdam security
The three-level security at the port meets the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code standards. Level one is covered with standard protective security procedures.

“Cargo-handling equipment at the Port of Rotterdam includes ten sheer leg cranes.”
Additional protective measures are taken at level two as the risk of a security incident is higher here. The highest is at level three, where probability of security incidents is greater.

The Port of Rotterdam Command and Control centre is fitted with massive screens to track and analyse vessels.

The port also has an X-ray based cargo container screening system, capable of screening nearly 150 containers per hour.

Cargo-handling equipment at the Port of Rotterdam includes ten sheer leg cranes, 12 container cranes, 22 ship-to-shore bulk cranes, 25 floating cranes, 103 container gantry cranes, and 162 multi-purpose cranes.

The port has three shipyards. There are five graving, one graving and covered, and seven floating docks. A slipway maintains inland vessels.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

OOCL Indonesia arrives from Singapore, 13 May 2020

With a good ENE breeze blowing into the Harwich Harbour, OOCL Indonesia arrives directly from Singapore via the Suez Canal.

History of the Port of Felixstowe

Founded by Colonel George Tomline in 1875, the Port of Felixstowe began life as the Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company. The Port survived two World Wars and a number of changes of ownership, and in 1966 work began on the New South Quay. 

Opening on the 1st July 1967, and later renamed Landguard Container Terminal, it was the UK's first purpose-built container terminal.

This development helped establish Felixstowe as the UK's largest container port. 

Its first dedicated container terminal, originally known as the New South Quay, opened with just 500ft (152m) of quay and a single Paceco Vickers portainer crane.

The operation today bears no real resemblance to those early years. The scale and level of technical innovation have grown beyond recognition. But not everything has changed. 

In 1967 Felixstowe was developed because of its proximity to the main shipping lanes and the major ports of Northern Europe. That remains a key differentiator. But since then its position has been improved by the development of road and rail links.

Change has been a constant at Felixstowe over the last 50 years. The second phase of Landguard Terminal was completed in the 1970s, followed by Dooley, Walton and Trinity Terminal, the UK's first post-panamax facility, which was built in phases through the 1980s and 1990s, with the final phase completed in 2004.

Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “The Port of Felixstowe has come a long way over the last 50 years. From a single-berth operation with one crane we now have nine berths providing over 3,000 metres of deep-water container quay serviced by 33 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

“The operation today bears no real resemblance to those early years. The scale and level of technical innovation have grown beyond recognition. But not everything has changed. Felixstowe was chosen in 1967 because of its proximity to the main shipping lanes and the main ports of Northern Europe. That remains a key differentiator but the position today has been improved by the development of road and rail links that are second to none.”

Since then growth has continued. 

The most recent phase of development, Berths 8 & 9, was opened in 2011 and was extended in 2015. The creation of the newest terminal involved the reclamation of additional land from the River Orwell but also included the site of the New South Quay, bringing the story full-circle and ensuring that the largest container ships in the world are handled where the very first container ships visited 50 years ago. 

The 50th anniversary of that major event was celebrated throughout 2017.

Continual investment over the last 50 years has ensured that the Port of Felixstowe has maintained its position as the clear market leader. Today, the port handles the world's largest container ships and boasts nine berths providing over 3,000 metres of deep-water container quay serviced by 33 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

Timeline of events at the Port of Felixstowe

1875 The Company was founded by Colonel George Tomline, a prominent local landowner. Business commenced under the name of ‘The Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company’. 

1877 The first F. R. & P. Co. passenger train ran from Westerfield to Felixstowe, but in 1879 this line was transferred to the Great Eastern Railway. 

1879 The company title was changed to the ‘Felixstowe Railway and Dock Company’, and powers were given to construct a dock, warehouses and rail sidings. Later in the same year, the company title was again changed, to the ‘Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company’, as it is today. 

1882 Work commenced on the Dock Basin. 

1886 The Dock was opened for trade, and the first commercial vessel entered on 7th April. 

1889 Colonel Tomline died. The Dock was left to Captain Ernest Pretyman. 

1904 A flour mill and grain storage silo were built on the north side of the Basin. 

1914-18 The port was requisitioned as a Royal Navy Destroyer and Mine-sweeper Base. 

1939-45 The port was requisitioned as a Royal Navy MTB and Air Sea Rescue Base. 

1951 The port was acquired by Mr. Gordon Parker, an agricultural merchant. New warehouses were erected for copra, wheat, maize and sugar. RN oil tanks were leased for the storage of linseed, ground-nut and palm oils. 

1953 The port suffered a severe set-back, when the disastrous East coast floods swept over the entire Dock area, causing extensive damage, and destroying the two wooden piers at the basin entrance. 

1959 Work commenced on the new East Quay. Bulk grain and liquid tanks were added. 

1961 Felixstowe Tank Developments Ltd. was formed. More tanks were added. 

1963 Two million cubic feet of warehousing were added. The Felixstowe Cold Store was opened. 

1964 The Oil Jetty was constructed, extending 1,100 feet into the waters of Harwich Harbour. 

1965 No.1 ro-ro berth was completed, and made available at all states of the tide. 

1966 Building work commenced on Landguard Container Terminal. 

1967-68 The first 500 feet of Landguard Container Terminal, together with one Paceco Vickers Portainer Crane, was completed and in use by 1st July. By March 1968, the remainder of the new container quay (a further 800 feet) had been completed, including one extra Paceco crane, and ro-ro berth (No.2 ro-ro). In addition, 13 acres of land had been reclaimed. 

1972 Work began on a further extension of Landguard Container Terminal. Work also commenced on the development of facilities in the north of the port. 

1973 The 700 feet extension of Landguard Container Terminal was completed, and another Paceco crane was added (now a total of three cranes in operation). During May, the Southern bypass was completed, diverting Dock traffic from the town of Felixstowe. During November, the Freightliner Terminal opened, and No.3 ro-ro Bridge on the Northern Development became operational. 

1974 The first passenger service, operated by Townsend Thoresen, commenced out of Felixstowe, with a twice-daily service to Zeebrugge. 

1975 No.4 ro-ro Bridge on the Northern Development was opened on 10th February. During April, the first Tor passenger service commenced to Gothenburg. 

1976 The company was taken over by European Ferries Limited. 

1978 A purpose-built passenger and freight terminal opened for Townsend Thoresen. 

1979 Work began on the expansion in the north of the port, which was to double the port’s container handling capacity to approximately 500,000 containers. 

1980 With 252,802 containers handled in 1980, Felixstowe became the largest container port in the United Kingdom. 

1981 In April, the two new terminals, Dooley and Walton, became operational, Walton Container Terminal being a separately operated company, a subsidiary of the Orient Overseas Container Line in the C.H. Tung Group. 

1982 Work commenced on a second Railfreight Terminal at the port to serve Dooley and Walton Terminals. 

1984 Felixstowe became the first seaport in the UK to introduce computerised Customs’ clearance. 

1985 During 1985, a new Private Bill began its progress through Parliament. This was completed in May 1988. It secured a further 220 acres on the northern bank of Harwich Harbour and the Orwell Estuary for future expansion requirements. Work commenced on Trinity Container Terminal (Phase I). 

1986 Phase I of the development became operational in January. This provided the port with 550 metres of quay, and 24 hectares of back-up storage space. A depth of water alongside of 13.4 metres also provided Felixstowe with the ability to handle the largest container vessels in the world. On 7th April, the port celebrated 100 years as a working port. 

1987 The port was acquired by the P&0 Group. Felixstowe became the first port in the UK to handle over one million TEUs in one year. 

1988 At the end of this year, construction work began on a £50 million project to double the size of Trinity Container Terminal. 

1990 Trinity Terminal Phase II opened. 

1991 In August, 75% of the port was acquired by the Hutchison Whampoa Group, Hong Kong. The separately- operated container-handling facility, Walton Container Terminal (owned by Orient Overseas Holdings Limited), amalgamated with Trinity Terminal (75% of Port of Felixstowe owned by Hutchison Whampoa Limited, 25% by Orient Overseas Holdings Limited). 

1993 Dredging work to deepen the main channel to a minimum depth of 12.5 metres started. A new warehouse for Forest Products was completed (94 Shed), giving the port just over one million square feet of warehousing. 

1994 Hutchison Whampoa purchased the remaining 25% of the port from OOHL, giving Hutchison 100% ownership of the Port. The port was given the goahead to undertake a new 630-metre expansion of Trinity Terminal (Trinity III). The A14 dual carriageway right from the port’s entrance, linking up with the M1/M6 junction, was completed and opened 1996 3rd April – Trinity III was officially opened by their Royal Highnesses, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. The port handled its two millionth TEU for 1996 on 30th December. 

1997 In May, fire destroyed the original Dock Office, which dated back to 1888. In December, for the first time ever, the Port handled 200,000 containers on the Rail Terminal in one year. 

1998 Hutchison acquired Thamesport on the Isle of Grain, and Harwich International Port, formerly known as Parkeston Quay. The North Rail Terminal was extended by 56 metres and upgraded. The main navigational approach channel was dredged from -12.5m below Chart Datum to -14.5m. 

2002 Approval was given, following a Public Inquiry in May, for the Trinity III.2 extension. Plans of intent were announced for the reconfiguration of the southern part of the port. 

2006 In February approval was given, following a Public Inquiry in 2004, for the Felixstowe South Reconfiguration scheme. The scheme provides a quay length of 1350m, refurbishment and extension of the existing Landguard container park and a new north rail terminal. 

2008 Costain was appointed in May as the main contractor for the Felixstowe South project and, following a major demolition programme, the start of construction was marked with a ceremony held on 1st September. 

2011 The port celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first commercial vessel working at the port. September 28th saw the official opening of Berths 8&9, phase 1 of the new deep-water facility comprising 730m of quay with a depth alongside of -16m below chart datum and seven ship-to-shore cranes from ZPMC. HRH Princess Anne loaded the inaugural box on to the vessel MSC Esti. Upgrades to the Dockspur Roundabout and Copdock Interchanges were completed. 

2013 The opening of a further nine rail tracks was carried out in June by HRH the Duke of York doubling the port’s rail capacity. The new North Rail Terminal allows 30 x 60ft wagon sets to work on a single track. (The previous North Rail Terminal was renamed as the Central Rail Terminal). In October the port worked the world’s largest container ship, the Majestic Maersk, on her maiden voyage with a capacity of 18,000teu.

COVID-19 Crisis: Global Freight Forwarding Market to Shrink by 7.5%

What a Shrinking Stock Market Means for You - Barron's

The impact of Covid-19 has amplified pre-existing troubles in freight forwarding. Transport Intelligence’s (Ti) latest research reveals the global freight forwarding market could contract by 7.5% in 2020 as a result of the crisis. With the global market having limped to a contraction of 1.7% in 2019, Ti now projects second consecutive year of negative growth.

Ti’s analysis of the impact COVID-19 has so far had on the global forwarding market indicates an extremely challenging year ahead for forwarders. In particular the projections will make for tough reading for those exposed to the air forwarding market, which was already struggling amid strong headwinds from the US-China trade war, falling production in key verticals such as automotive, and a wider economic slowdown.

The new research shows that, in a best-case scenario, the impact of COVID-19 will drain 2.0% from global market value. Ti’s proprietary forecasting shows the slowdown will be broad based and relies on the easing of social and economic restrictions in the second half of the year to reinvigorate activity on both the supply and demand sides. If the public health crisis endures, however, and the lockdown measures seen across much of the world so far in 2020 remain, the fall in market value will be much steeper at 7.5%. Such a worst-case scenario would impact regional and country markets hard – under these circumstances, the US market is projected to contract by 10.8%, for example.

“2020 looks all but guaranteed to be a painful year for forwarders and the numbers here make for some grim reading. There are reasons for hope, however, with signs that Asian markets are emerging from the crisis and increasing momentum in Europe and North America behind an easing of restrictions, at least in certain sectors of the economy. The obvious hope is that this continues and that we’ll see a bounce in activity and volumes in the second half of the year,” said Michael Clover, Ti’s Head of Commercial Development.

Ti’s Global Freight Forwarding Market Sizing: COVID-19 Impact Analysis also reveals best- and worst-case scenarios for growth in the air and sea markets. Under the best-case scenario, contractions of 2.8% and 1.1% are projected for air and sea freight respectively. The downside could be more than 7.0% in both under worst-case conditions.

“Over the medium- and long-term, a great deal of uncertainty remains and COVID-19 has raised important questions for the future of both the air and sea markets – has the air freight market become too reliant on belly-hold capacity in passenger transportation, and what might it do to reduce that exposure? Will region-based production and consumption undermine demand for globalised container shipping supply chains? We’re already seeing signs of change in the structure of the forwarding market that point to profound upheaval in the years ahead,” commented Nick Bailey, Head of Research at Ti.

Ti’s new whitepaper, Ti’s Global Freight Forwarding Market Sizing: COVID-19 Impact Analysis, provides a snapshot of market growth potential. The paper includes global and regional projections for the impact of COVID-19 on the global air and sea forwarding markets. Ti’s Global Supply Chain intelligence (GSCi) database includes these projections, as well as projection for 23 individual countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the UK and US.

What have we learnt from COVID-19 so far?

The markets, particularly for shipping, oil and stocks, have been highly volatile over the last few months and the news cycle endless. In these times of uncertainty, real time and objective data is critical to understand and take advantage of the ever evolving situation. Below are three thoughts on what we have recently learnt from our data over this time, and one comment on how the world may finally be perceiving cargo shipping in a new positive light.

Shipping demand can be used to predict the stock markets

As we all know, March 2020 was a poor month for the stock markets. This was driven by a global sell off in equities due to the expected reduced economic activity from the effects of COVID-19. April 2020 was a great month, with the global markets pricing in a quick recovery.

Interestingly, daily trends in global cargo mile demand data, as observed through our Trade service, forecasted this sharp decline and the recovery in the stock markets. This can be seen in the charts below relating to daily updated Capsize and Post Panamax cargo mile demand (red line) to the S&P 500 (grey line).

For Capsizes, a bell weather of industrial activity, cargo miles started to decline sharply in mid January, about a month before the stock markets started to crash. Cargo miles started to recover early March, again about a month before the stock markets started reaching their inflection point and started their recent upwards trajectory. For Post Panamax Containerships, a good indicator for trade in consumer goods, the decline in demand came slightly later at the start of February but still preceded the stock market selloff in early March. The shape and speed of recovery was similar, starting in early March and foreshadowing the recovery in the stock markets in from the start of April.

Hindsight is a great thing, and these calls would have been very hard to make while watching the stock markets dive through March. However, there was potentially a lot of money to be made by reading the tea leaves of shipping for those who know where to look and how.

When it comes to the fate of the Tanker market, politics really does trump oil demand

The Tanker market is undeniably affected by politics and the level of oil supply. It is also reasonable to believe that the demand for the finished products of oil, such as for transportation and petrochemicals, is as significant to the fate of the market as supply volumes. However, events throughout the COVID-19 pandemic should really make us question this belief that consumer demand for oil is at all relevant to short term Tanker rates.

The world has never experienced such a massive and widespread drop in oil demand as we are currently seeing. Ask a person on the street what this should mean to the market for transportation of oil, and they would likely answer that it should be awful. Low demand should mean less oil transportation, negative rates and laid up Tankers.

This could not be further from reality. We are in fact seeing the best crude Tanker market in history. Political manoeuvres have conspired to send oil supply skyrocketing, prices crashing, contango arriving and offshore storage thriving. The effects of demand have been pretty much irrelevant.

Sometimes it takes colossal events, such as a global pandemic, to separate the signals from the noise. In this case, it has confirmed that the short term fates of the Tanker market are all about oil supply, and it really doesn’t matter if the demand isn’t there.

From an economist’s point of view, this may be somewhat counter intuitive to classic supply and demand analysis. The way to settle this is to see that oil supply sets the short term Tanker market levels, and oil demand sets the long term trend.

Asia, particularly China, is amazingly nimble for a heavyweight

Asia, and particularly China’s, rapid recovery in demand for Container vessels and their capacities is an incredible testament to the region’s agility.

It is no surprise that Asia, especially China, is the driving force behind the demand for vessels. When COVID-19 hit there it had a massive impact on industry and business. This resulted in immediate and significant falls in demand for vessels, their imported cargoes and exporting capacity. However, as quickly as the numbers fell through late January and February, they recovered rapidly through the later half of March and April.

This can be seen in the charts below looking at daily updated cargo mile demand for Post Panamax Container ships leaving China.

This is an encouraging sign for the Container markets, and really the world economy as a whole. It is impressive how quickly China can get back to work, as evidenced by this objectively observed data.

Shipping finally steps out of the shadows

“It’s all about the supply chain, stupid”

COVID-19 has focused many people’s minds on the importance of an effective and flexible supply chain. Ships are an integral part of this and are finally being appreciated for the critical benefits they give to the world.

There was a recent article in the UK’s top populist tabloid, the Sun, about five large cargo vessels appearing off the coast of Wales. Many of the papers readers were speculating what they were carrying and hoping that they were bringing the critical PPE supplies for the healthcare workers. These speculations were most probably wrong, but highlights that cargo vessels are now being discussed in a positive light rather than the usual negatives of pollution, oil spills, sanctions busting and piracy.

Shipping has been like a shadow economy for many decades now. As ship sizes and land prices grew, major cargo shipping ports moved out of urban centres and into the outskirts. This has led to ships and what they do becoming less and less visible. This is especially true in the west, with London over the centuries, being the prime example and first mover. You can still see ships near city centres in Asia such as Singapore and Shanghai, but not likely for much longer.

It looks like the world’s new, and correct obsession with supply chains, is bringing shipping out of the shadows. This may not last for long but will hopefully bring more appreciation and support for one of the world’s oldest and most important industries.

(Source: VesselsValue)

Maritime transport body warns UK government over quarantine of global freight workers

Docks: Shipping relies on a steady flow of workers into the UK

The UK Chamber of Shipping on Monday called on the government to exempt people who work at sea from quarantine rules amid fears it could disrupt global supply chains.

The UK government is set to bring in new rules forcing people entering the UK to stay indoors for 14 days.

The Chamber of Shipping, which represents firms like BP, Shell, Maersk, Stena Line and P&O Ferries, said the measures would disrupt key workers who keep global supply chains moving.

UK Chamber of Shipping chief Bob Sanguinetti said: “The UK shipping industry employs nearly 200,000 people and it is imperative the UK government avoids applying quarantine restrictions to seafarers and other maritime workers.

“If we want to ensure supply chains remain open, and essential goods including food, fuel, raw materials and vital medical supplies continue to flow into the country, it is vital that seafarers and maritime workers can move between countries without imposition. We urgently call on the government to provide the industry with clarity on this issue.”

The Chamber said it had been privately assured by government officials on telephone calls that seafarers would be exempt.

However it wanted to raise the issue to ensure they would be top of the agenda.

The government rules are currently exempt for so-called short sea journeys, which include fishermen going off the coast for fishing and trips between Calais and Dover, but could hit deep-sea journeys, which involves the transport of commodities across oceans.

The Chamber of Shipping has 200 members.

Ship Recyclers On their Knees, But Glimmer of Hope is Starting to Appear

Lockdown measures, cancellations of contracts and financing issues are threatening to put a significant part of the ship recycling industry in the Southeast Asia under water. However, a glimmer of hope has started to emerge in the past few days.

In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Clarkson Platou Hellas said that “despite the lockdown being extended this week in India and Bangladesh (17th and 15th May respectively), there was finally some positive news to cling on to that the Governments in both countries wish to re-start the ship recycling industry again. As previously reported, India had allowed cutting to resume at yards who adhered to strict social distancing and precautions amongst its workers. 

This is because the country is now divided in Red, Orange and Green zones, with Alang being a Green zone and being declared safe by the Government for workers to return to work, but with a limited workforce and strict distancing procedures in place. Furthermore, it has now been announced that vessels with Indian crew only can proceed into the inner anchorage at Alang and start Custom formalities followed by finally beaching the vessel, with one vessel having already beached this week. However, there are still no plans in place for vessels arriving with foreign crew. 

In Bangladesh, there has been staggered rumours that the ship recycling business is fully functional at the yard level again and that beaching permission has been granted by the local authorities, who will now start to release an NOC to beach the vessels that have been held in quarantine at the anchorage since the lockdown began. The problem is that, those units all seem to be undergoing new negotiations from what reports suggest having missed previously agreed cancelling dates. It remains to be seen however if this process can return as there are still logistical issues to overcome on how foreign Crew will be repatriated post beaching with restrictions still in place on International flights”, Clarkson Platou Hellas noted.

The shipbroker added that “there are also further obstacles surrounding the issuing of Letters of Credit (L/C) by banks for the recycling of ships. Many yards pre Covid-19 were already struggling financially due to a lack of local currency and now with the economy experiencing a negative downturn due to the Pandemic, there seems to be little optimism that this destination will return with any real force for some time, unless the Government steps in and assists the industry further. 

Some interesting reports emanating from Pakistan today is that the Government are ready to end the country’s lockdown this coming weekend. Despite a daily increase in recorded cases, it would be a surprise for this phase out to begin but whether any easing of restrictions in the ship recycling industry will be determined once any official announcement is made”, Clarkson Platou Hellas said.

Source: Clarkson Platou

Meanwhile, in a separate note, GMS, the world’s leading cash buyer said that “there has been a slow and cautious easing of restrictions in ship recycling sectors across the Indian subcontinent markets as certain yards get back to work in Alang and a few vessels waiting for special permissions in Bangladesh have finally been allowed to beach this week. However, lockdown measures for India, Bangladesh and Pakistan as a whole, remain in place until May 16th at least – with all flights grounded and restrictions on foreign crew entering the country still in place. 

In fact, rumours abound in India that the lockdown may likely extend until June. As it stands, due to the ongoing virus scare, nearly 70% of the workforce in Alang has returned to their home towns on specially arranged trains by the Gujarat authorities. So those yards that did begin to cautiously open have been left with a decimated workforce and may as well remain closed at this time. It therefore remains extremely difficult to solicit any serious offers above USD 300/LDT at present, with most ship recyclers waiting on official reopening permissions on incoming vessels from government authorities, which may likely not be forthcoming for at least a few weeks.

 Many deals that have missed cancelling dates due to force majeure conditions, have now been recommitted at much lower levels, with Ship Owners and Cash Buyers having to face the harsh realities of a much reduced market due to the pandemic”, GMS concluded.

Source: GMS

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Development of First Fully Autonomous Ship Put on Hold Due Coronavirus

Sailing Toward Autonomy: Future of Self-Driving Cargo Ships - ASME

Development of the world’s first fully autonomous containership has been put on hold indefinitely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2017, Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara teamed up with maritime technology company Kongsberg to develop the first fully autonomous and zero-emission containership. The 120 TEU ship, named Yara Birkeland, was planned cut emissions and reduce road transport by up to 40,000 truckloads per year while transporting fertilizer products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to Norway’s Brevik and Larvik ports.

The coronavirus pandemic, however, has thrown a wrench in those plans.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the changed global outlook, Yara has decided to pause further development of the vessel and will assess next steps together with its partners,” Yara said in a statement.

The Yara Birkeland was initially planned to start off with manned operations this year before transitioning to autonomous and unmmanned operations by 2022. 

The hull of the Yara Birkeland was launched in Romania in February and was scheduled to arrive at the Vard Brevik shipyard in Norway this month for final outfitting and testing before delivery to Yara. 

Workers Start to Fall ill at Brazil’s Busiest Port

Brazilian port workers are starting to fall ill as the coronavirus pandemic reaches one of Latin America’s busiest shipping hubs.

At least three privately-run terminals that handle soybeans, corn, sugar and coffee at Brazil’s Santos port have registered two cases each of Covid-19 in the past two weeks, according to people with direct knowledge who asked not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public.

While the infections haven’t restricted operations yet, the terminals are fighting to contain the outbreak at a time of all-time high exports and queues of vessels.

One of the terminals has implemented strict social-distancing measures as well as a contingency plan that includes bringing in outsourced workers if absenteeism among its 500-strong staff puts operations at risk, one of the people said. The two infected workers have recovered and may return to work this week, said the person. Two employees who fell ill at a coffee terminal at Santos have also recovered, another person said.

The coronavirus threat is also on the other side of the Santos port. Two container ships that arrived at Santos are in quarantine with confirmed cases of Covid-19 among their crews, health regulator Anvisa said on its website.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 17 crew members of vessels passing through the port needed medical assistance for respiratory conditions, 13 of whom tested positive for Covid-19, the Santos health department said.

The coronavirus has spread quickly in Brazil, triggering local officials to toughen restrictions. Large cities including Fortaleza and Belem have instituted strict lockdowns, while the city of Sao Paulo is clamping down on automobile travel and Rio de Janeiro is extending quarantines.

In the city of Santos, where the port is located, the number of cases and deaths have jumped with intensive care units almost full at about 80%, according to the city health secretariat.

Luke Smout Felixstowe

Friday, 8 May 2020

WATCH: Container ship Monte Cervantes arrives from the Med; 6 May 2020

Just after 6am LT, container ship Monte Cervantes rounds Beach End Turn and enters Harwich Harbour, heading for berth 3 on Felixstowe's Trinity Terminal.

Rotterdam boosts hydrogen economy with new infrastructure

Exploring the option of geothermal for Port of Rotterdam ...

The hydrogen economy is quickly gathering momentum after Shell announced its plans to take a green hydrogen plant into operation as early as 2023. This plant will be constructed at Maasvlakte 2. From here, the produced hydrogen will be transported via a pipeline to Shell’s refinery in Pernis. Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority intend to realise the new pipeline in a joint venture.

The green hydrogen plant and the pipeline are part of a series of projects associated with the production, import, use and transfer of hydrogen in which the Port Authority is working together with a variety of partners. These concrete projects seamlessly tie in with the hydrogen outlook recently published by the Dutch government.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: ‘We are currently expediting our plans to construct a public hydrogen network in the port area. The work on this backbone for Rotterdam’s industrial sector will be rounded off concurrently with Shell’s electrolyser. A main transport network like this can be used to connect producers and users. This in turn helps to create a market and boosts the production and consumption of hydrogen. Besides accommodating production, in the longer term Rotterdam will also play a crucial part in the import of hydrogen thanks to the realisation of multiple hydrogen terminals. Hydrogen promises to become the energy carrier of the 21st century. In Northwest Europe, we will not be able to produce sufficient hydrogen locally, meaning that a large volume will need to be imported. Rotterdam will play a central role in this process – similar to its current role in the oil sector. This allows us to reinforce the port of Rotterdam’s position as an important pillar of the Dutch economy.”

Hydrogen pipeline
The Port Authority and Gasunie plan to jointly construct and operate the hydrogen pipeline, which will run parallel with the A15 motorway between Maasvlakte and Pernis. The parties plan to take the definite decision to greenlight construction in the first half of 2021. In the near future, Rotterdam’s hydrogen pipeline will be hooked up to the national hydrogen network developed by Gasunie.

Shell will be constructing its hydrogen plant at a dedicated industrial site realised by the Port Authority at Maasvlakte for electrolysers operated by various companies. Another project planned at this site is H2-Fifty (the construction of a 250 MW electrolyser operated by BP and Nouryon). This facility is expected to become operational in 2025. Situated on the coast of the North Sea, this special industrial site (named a ‘conversion farm’) uses offshore wind power to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen produced at the plant will be transported to users via a pipeline.

Blue and green
Apart from these two mega electrolysers, various companies in the port area are working on plans for smaller models with capacities ranging from 5 to 100 MW (for the sake of comparison: the largest electrolyser currently operating in the Netherlands has a capacity of 1 MW). In addition, a consortium is working on plans for the production of the hydrogen variant known as blue hydrogen. The objective within this H-vision project is to produce hydrogen from gas sourced from refineries or natural gas, while capturing the carbon released by this process and storing it under the North Sea seabed. The large-scale production of blue hydrogen could be set up well before 2030. By contrast, the production of green hydrogen via electrolysis requires a huge volume of green electric power – which will at any rate be in short supply for another decade.

Another project that has therefore been initiated is the realisation of 2 GW of extra offshore wind capacity (extra when compared to the existing plans for wind farms out on the North Sea) that will be reserved for the production of green hydrogen. This has been recognised as an option in the government’s Climate Agreement, and the Port Authority is currently conferring with the national authorities regarding the landing of this project. The electrolysers that will be sourcing this offshore power can be set up at the Maasvlakte conversion park.

Carbon reduction
The H-Vision project will yield around 2.2 to 4.3 Mt in carbon savings. The 2 GW electrolysis ‘conversion park’ will reduce carbon emissions by 3.3 Mt (based on the electrolysers running 8,000 hours per year, and compared to the production of grey hydrogen).

Transport, heating
The Port Authority is also closely involved in various projects that are intended to promote hydrogen as a transport fuel – both in road haulage and inland shipping. In the road transport sector, parties are setting up a consortium that aims to have 500 trucks running on hydrogen by 2025. Inland shipping can also move from diesel to hydrogen. In the longer term, hydrogen can also be used to heat greenhouses and buildings – particularly locations that are less suited for heating via a heat network or a ground source heat pump.

Large-scale import
Northwest Europe consumes far more power than can be generated locally from renewable sources. That is why the region is required to import hydrogen (or hydrogen bonds like ammonia) on a large scale. The national government has asked the Port Authority to map out the various options to import hydrogen from abroad, so the port of Rotterdam can retain its pivotal role in international power transport. Similar to how the port presently imports large volumes of oil and coal for the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, in the near future, Rotterdam will serve as a major hub for renewable energy flows.

The domestic demand for hydrogen is expected to increase to approximately 14 Mt per year by 2050. If half of this volume is sourced via Rotterdam, the port will be handling some 7 Mt in throughput. According to prognoses, there will also be a sizeable demand from neighbouring countries (and specifically Germany) for hydrogen via Rotterdam: approximately 13 Mt by 2050. This puts the required volume of hydrogen produced or imported in Rotterdam at 20 Mt. This volume would require 200 GW in operational wind farm capacity. The Dutch section of the North Sea currently accommodates 1 GW in wind farm capacity. This can be increased to 60-70 GW by 2050. The lion’s share of the required hydrogen will therefore need to be imported. This calls for import terminals and pipelines similar to the facilities that have been set up for oil and oil products. From 2030 on, forecasts therefor include the large-scale import and transport of hydrogen to the hinterland – to raise the sustainability of industrial activities in Geleen and North Rhine-Westphalia, among other things.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority recently drew up a hydrogen outlook that describes and quantifies the aforementioned trends. This document is based on a series of studies performed by various large corporations and Dutch and international organisations in the energy sector.

Hydrogen resembles natural gas as an energy carrier: it is gaseous and generates exceptionally high temperatures during combustion. This makes it eminently suited as a fuel for industrial processes and transport. But it can also be used as a base material for the production of all sorts of plastics that are currently still made from petroleum.
Hydrogen is a sustainable alternative to natural gas. It can be separated from natural gas – during which the carbon dioxide released by this process is captured and stored in the North Sea seabed. This yields what is known as blue hydrogen. Another way to produce hydrogen is by separating water molecules (H2O) into H2 and O with the aid of electric power – from renewable sources or otherwise. This product is called green hydrogen.

Dutch cargo ship collided with ferry in Kiel Canal

Dutch cargo ship collided with ferry in Kiel Canal

General cargo ship SCHELDEBANK collided with Kiel Canal ferry HOCHDONN (MMSI 211594520) in the morning May 8 in HOCHDONN area, while transiting in northern direction. 

Ferry sustained serious damages, one car on board was also damaged. SCHELDEBANK resumed transit in some 3 hours, understood she suffered slight or no damages. she’s en route from Netherlands to Finland.

Philippine Navy patrol ship damaged by fire, two crew injured

Philippine Navy patrol ship damaged by fire, two crew injured

Fire erupted in engine room of Philippine Navy patrol ship BRP RAMON ALCARAZ at night May 6, shortly the ship left Cochin India, together with patrol ship BRP Davao del Sur (LD602), with cargo of donated personal protective equipment. 

Fire reportedly was extinguished by crew in about 10 minutes. 2 sailors suffered burns, to be airlifted to Cochin hospital. Understood ship’s machinery sustained damages, it is not yet known if the ship is to continue voyage to Philippines, or to return to Coching for repairs.

BRP RAMON ALCARAZ (PS-16), MMSI 367270000, offshore patrol vessel in the Philippine Navy, built 1968, decommissioned from US CG in 2012, acquired by Philippines. Displacement 3250, speed 29 knots, armament guns.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Port of Felixstowe Donates PPE to Ipswich Hospital

The Port of Felixstowe donated 3000 face masks to NHS Ipswich Hospital to assist with the COVID-19 epidemic.

10 Downing Street said (as of 1st May 2020) that 177,454 people are now confirmed to have Corona Virus, 15,000 are in hospital and 27,010 have sadly died. 

Stay At Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives

Thank You to all of our Key and Quay Workers!

Friday, 1 May 2020

Ultra Large OOCL United Kingdom Sails for Zeebrugge

After arriving direct from Singapore, ultra large container ship OOCL United Kingdom has completed her UK container work, and sails for her next port,  Zeebrugge, Belgium.

Class 1 ADR Driver Job Vacancy: Port of Felixstowe

A unique opportunity has arisen in Felixstowe as a class 1 Tanker Driver

We are currently seeking experienced Class 1 Tanker Drivers for our client based in Felixstowe. Driver Support Services is a leading UK driving agency specialising in petrochemical and fuel logistics.

Long term ongoing agency work.


Full UK Driving Licence with Cat C+E and 2 Years experience (Essential)
ADR in Tanks with Class 3 (Essential)
CPC and Digital Tach Card (Essential)
Max 6 points none of which relate to CD, DD, DR. (Essential)...
Previous Class 1 experience as a Tanker Driver (preferably Fuel)

3 Years Forecourt experience (Preferably)

Job Description:

Delivering to retail outlets
Representing the company in a professional and polite manner at all time
Loading and making deliveries in a safe and professional manner
Complying with all company policies at all times
Ensuring all vehicle checks are done and reporting any defects
Completing all paperwork as required
Representing the company in a professional and polite manner at all time
This is an ongoing agency role

Contact: Valentin Strimbei
Reference: Totaljobs/cls1
Job ID: 90081816


Ships Sounded Horns in Solidarity

May Day Ship Horn Call for Seafarers COVID19 Solidarity! -

Ships in ports across the world sounded their horns in solidarity and to protest government travel restrictions which have kept seafarers at sea for extended periods of time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The initiative is an opportunity to recognize the 1.6 million workers who are at sea and maintaining global supply chains. 

The event was coordinated by International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Ships around the world were asked to sound their horns when in port at 12.00 local time on May 1, International Labour Day. 

 According to the ICS, there are currently about 1.2 million seafarers at sea and about 150,000 of them will be up for crew change on May 15 after spending lengthy periods at sea. 

In many cases, however, government-imposed travel restrictions prevent seafarers from traveling to and from their ships, putting seafarers and their ships at risk.

“Globally there are 1.2million seafarers onboard 65,000 ships at sea. For the past two months crew change has all but completely stopped,” says Guy Platten, Secretary General at ICS. “This means that crew have not been able to disembark or embark ships at port and terms have had to be extended, but this is not sustainable.”

The inability of seafarers to continue regular crew changes has been highlighted as one of the biggest issues facing the global shipping industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does the current situation risk the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers, but the continued inability to rotate seafarers on and off ships poses a serious threat to keeping the supply chains open and operating efficiently.

“The new data indicates that 150,000 seafarers are in need of immediate crew change, with the potential for this number to increase significantly until travel restrictions are eased,” adds Platten. “On Friday 1st May, ships around the world will sound their horns in a salute to these unsung heroes of global trade. We are asking governments to support our seafarers, as they support us, and facilitate coordinated action.”

Ships sunk in D-Day rehearsal disaster given protected status

The gun sight on American Landing Ship LST-531 (Photo: Global Underwater Explorer)
The gun sight on American Landing Ship LST-531 (Photo: Global Underwater Explorer)

By Cahal Milmo

Nearly 800 American soldiers and sailors were killed during a botched exercise off the Devon coast 

When explosions first lit up the night sky around two landing ships taking part in a D-Day rehearsal some 76 years ago, some on board assumed it was the live fire they had been warned to expect to make the exercise as realistic as possible.  

Others on board the lumbering American vessels LST-507 and LST-531 knew immediately, however, that things had gone terribly wrong. The ships had been struck by torpedoes fired from high-speed German E-Boats under cover of darkness as they sailed some 12 miles off the Devon coast at Slapton Sands.

Within a few short hours on 28 April 1944 nearly 800 American servicemen would be dead as the German vessels exploited the absence of a Royal Navy escort ship and mistakes by Allied to wreak havoc. Both landing ships sank, trapping hundreds of soldiers and sailors in their hulls as their cargoes of tanks, vehicles and ammunition exploded.


Amid horrific scenes, it was found that lifeboat cranes had seized with rust and many personnel drowned as they jumped into freezing waters alight with burning oil and were unable to right themselves because they had put on their lifejackets back to front. In total at least 749 American servicemen died.

Both wrecks have now been granted special protected status ahead of next week’s VE Day commemorations, ensuring the remains of the vessels cannot be interfered with and their status as reminders of the human cost of preparing for the Normandy landings is recognised.

The disaster during Exercise Tiger, which involved up to 30,000 troops taking part in a mock landing at Slapton Sands, was kept strictly secret at the time for fear of damaging morale and disclosing details of just how and where D-Day was going to happen.

Radio frequencies

A series of errors, including a mix-up over radio frequencies which meant British naval commanders were unable to warn their American counterparts that the E-Boats had been spotted on radar, added to official reticence over the sinkings.

Relatives of those who perished were told only that their loved ones were either missing in action or had been killed in action. Many families did not find out the details of the catastrophe until decades later when a Devon hotelier - Ken Small - located and salvaged one of the Sherman tanks that sank off Slapton Sands and turned it into a memorial.

'Struggle for liberty'

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of heritage watchdog Historic England, said: “The underwater remains of ships involved in the D-Day rehearsals are a tangible reminder of the sacrifices made in planning and delivering this huge military operation on a scale never previously attempted.

“By protecting the wrecks of two United States landing ships we are remembering all of those who lost their lives in the struggle for liberty during the Second World War.”

Protected status means that any attempt to access the vessels or retrieve items from the seabed will be illegal, though divers will still be able to pass over the wreck sites.

'Not in vain'

Mark Dunkley, maritime archaeologist with Historic England, said that the deaths of those on board had to be remembered in the context of subsequent actions by Allied commanders on D-Day itself, a little over two months after the sinking.

He said: “Lessons were learned from what happened during Exercise Tiger. By D-Day, they made sure that instructions had been issued about how to use life jackets and the issue with radio frequencies had been resolved. They also made sure lifeboats could be launched. 

The sacrifice of these men was terrible but it was not in vain - they gave their lives to enable D-Day to be a success.”