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Technology is paving the way for the future of shipping

Digitalization in shipping shouldn’t be regarded as a thing for the future, or some abstract idea that could (or not) offer valuable contribution to the way the industry works. It’s actually happening right now and has been for quite some time. New software and hardware are taking over, in order to assist ship owners in the way they can operate their fleets. Maritime Optima is a technology company aiming to deliver a premium service to shipowners, traders, cargo owners and brokers. The company recently signed a 5- year contract with Orbcomm, a Nasdaq listed company and one of the world’s biggest global AIS coverage providers. With this agreement, the company is receiving updated AIS positions from more than 600 satellites and terrestrial AIS senders on more than 65 000 vessels in real-time. That is a lot of AIS data.

Demolition market heading backwards

Things have slowed down in the demolition market for yet another week in 2021. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker said that with little tonnage to engage buyers again this week, and the Monsoon season in the sub-continent now in full throttle, sentiment has slowly started to waiver and left any Sellers still seeking to dispose of their tonnage chasing the market down. We are not at any major correction, but there is definitely a feeling of a lesser appetite being felt from Buyers as an air of caution creeps in. Steel prices globally show no sign of slowing down, and we expect further gains to be made as the steel demand from Asia increases further as the World slowly recovers after the Coronavirus Pandemic. Whether the market can reach the dizzy heights of USD 600/per ldt remains to be seen, but no attractive units on a delivered basis have been dangled in front of the end recyclers at present to test their resolve.

Panama ship registry grows 3.2m gt in time of crisis

In spite of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, Panama Ship Registry continues to grow. During the first four months of this year, 104 newly built vessels were registered, representing 3.2M GT, showing that the Panamanian Register remains the flag of preference and most favorable option thanks to the country’s legal security. The fleet’s performance reached 96.6 percent compliance at the end of the first period of 2021, according to the results of the Port State inspections in the different supervision regimes established around the world. The Port State inspections to ships arriving in Panama amounted to 218 inspections, in the first four months of 2021, significantly exceeding those carried out in recent years. This is because of the efficient use of resources, coordination and the commitment of human talent to fulfill their tasks and improve results.

Newbuildings back in demand

Demand has returned to the newbuilding market this past week. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker said that newbuilding interest in the dry bulk sector returned on a strong trajectory as of the past week, with a good flow of fresh projects coming to light. Witnessing activity levels being on the rise once again, across all the main size segments, has come as little surprise, given the current bullish sentiment seen in the overall market. Notwithstanding this, given the steep upward gains seen in newbuilding price levels during the past few months or so, it is yet to be seen if things start to slow down, with many potential buyers turning their interest once again over to the second hand market. In the tanker sector, the week was a bit more quiet, with a new firm order emerging though, namely for 2+1 Suezmax units.

Autonomous ships given regulatory guidance

Finalisation of the International Maritime Organization’s scoping exercise for autonomous ship safety crystallises the direction and scale of the regulatory task ahead, writes Päivi Haikkola*. In mid-May 2021, after understandable delays related to COVID-19, the Maritime Safety Committee finalized its regulatory scoping exercise (RSE) on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships. By no means the only voice to be heard, given that other IMO committees have their own scoping exercises, MSC 103/WP.8 nonetheless offers clear guidance on the way ahead. In step with other IMO meetings in recent years, the MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships) working group reporting to MSC 103 proposed a holistic approach to future rule development and progress towards a goal-based MASS instrument. The approach was accepted by consensus. With the next MSC due in the fall of 2021, member states have been invited to make proposals on the matter. MSC also decided to request the appointment of a point of liaison to improve coordination on MASS-related issues between the IMO committees.

Could synthetic fuels create a new market for tankers?

Anew and promising fuel sector, the so called synthetic fuels, could provide an additional support to the tanker market by the end of the decade. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker said that if you own a Porsche or you like Formula 1, then the developments within the synthetic fuels sector will be of interest to you. Tanker owners should also take note. Porsche director, Frank Walliser, has outlined that his company is working with Siemens on a new synfuel plant in Chile. Here synthetic fuels will be produced, where water is electrolysed with hydrogen atoms that have been split by the process of being blended with captured carbon dioxide to create a liquid fuel called e-methanol. This can be further refined turning it into e-gasoline, e-diesel or e-kerosene for aircraft.

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