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.:Maritime News :.
.: 29-Jan-2020 :.
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Maritime Firms Team Up with Tech Startups to Drive Innovation
Hamburg-based corporate innovation and venture development firm Rainmaking has matched five maritime giants with eight startups as part of its Trade & Transport Impact Programme.
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), Shell, Wartsila, Cargotec and Inmarsat have been paired up with startup teams from eight different countries.
As informed, they will work on thirteen separate projects with the aim of accelerating innovation that delivers genuine business results.
"There is growing recognition that the maritime industry needs to innovate and fast. As appetite for fresh thinking, insight, and technology swells, bringing together established maritime leaders with technology startups is what s needed to deliver genuine business results quickly," Nicklas Viby Fursund, Partner at Rainmaking, commented.
"With our current partners; Cargotec, HHLA, Inmarsat, Shell, and Wartsila, we’re already seeing tangible benefits emerging from the programme. It s exciting to see the genuine impact quality tech startups with high engagement and energy levels can make, helping to solve the problems the corporates are facing and adding value to operations."
With an industry awakening to the challenges of adjusting to an increasingly digital and decarbonized world, business as usual is not an option. Designed to tackle some of the biggest challenges in maritime trade and transport, the abovementioned program aims to disrupt the industry through its collaborative, outcome-oriented approach.
The specialisms of the startups in the current round of the program range from port- and cyber security to energy-optimization and crew welfare. Current projects relate to safety, security and crew welfare, optimization of port and vessel operations, and autonomous operations and equipment.
"We have had great success working with Scoutbase, whose technology collects data to reduce human error. Our business has been hugely engaged - everyone is really keen and loves the energy that Scoutbase has brought to the table, as well as the product itself. Going forward in 2020 we are really excited to hopefully start rolling this product out," Michael Andronicou, Project Lead - New Marine Ventures at Shell, said.
"We re working with KoiReader to make improvements in the detection of container damage. While it s currently a proof of concept, we hope to continue with the project and without Rainmaking s Trade and Transport Impact Programme, we probably would never have met KoiReader," Till Schlumberger, Strategy Consultant in Digital Transformation at HHLA, added.
"Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in shipping today, and we are trying to find new ways of improving it. Signol has enabled us to reach the decision makers onboard and better support them with fuel consumption, energy efficiency and operations. We need to bring in startups and knowledge from outside the industry to support us in finding ways to do things better," Steffen Knodt, Director New Ventures at Wartsila, explained.
The third cycle of the program begins in Q1 2020 at which point more organizations will be able to join.
Rainmaking is also launching a decarbonization program in Singapore, which specifically focuses on startups with solutions that support the transition to a zero-carbon future for shipping.
Costamare Modernizes Fleet, Enjoys Higher Rates
Costamare, Athens-based owner and provider of containerships for charter, continued its fleet renewal efforts in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The containership owner said that it bought four second-hand ships: two 2009-built boxships, Vela and JPO Virgo, and two 2010-built boxships, Vulpecula and Volans, all featuring 4,258 TEU in capacity.
"We acquired all four vessels using cash in hand and we are currently in advanced discussions with a leading European financial institution for their financing," the company added.
Meanwhile, Costamare sold four oldies: Sierra II, built in 1991, the sale of which was announced earlier.
The company also sold 1991-built Namibia II, 1992-built Reunion, and 2000-built Neapolis, which is slated for delivery to its new owners in January 2020. All the sold vessels had an average capacity standing at around 2,000 TEU.
The company entered into four separate loan agreements with European and U.S. financial institutions for a total amount of up to USD 265 million.
The loan proceeds have been used for the refinancing of the existing indebtedness of four 2017-built, 11,010 TEU containerships and for general corporate purposes. The new facilities will be repayable over 5 years.
"During the fourth quarter and the year, net income and earnings per share increased substantially boosted by higher charter rates and the addition of new ships," Gregory Zikos, Chief Financial Officer of Costamare Inc., commented.
"During the year larger vessels enjoyed a rising charter market and today there is limited supply available in the post-Panamax sizes. We have 18 post-Panamax ships coming off charter over the next twelve months, which positions us favorably, should market momentum continue."
During the fourth quarter of 2019, the company s net income increased by 82% to USD 35.9 million compared to USD 19.7 million recorded in Q4 2018.
Costamare said that its adjusted net income available to common stockholders increased by 189% to USD 38.4 million in Q4 2019 compared to USD 13.3 million in Q4 2018. Voyage revenues increased by 17% year-on-year to USD 124.5 million, mainly due to revenue earned by its newly acquired vessels and higher charter rates and lower off-hire days.
For the year ended December 2019, Costamare s net income reached USD 99 million, up from USD 67.2 million earned in 2018.
The company has a fleet of 76 containerships, with a total capacity of approximately 549,000 TEU, including five newbuild containerships currently under construction.
Tanker Revenues Boost Performance Shipping s Earnings
Athens-based shipowner Performance Shipping reported revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2019, which was mainly driven by earnings of the first two tankers in the company s fleet.
Voyage and time charter revenues rose to USD 10.6 million in Q4 2019 from USD 6.1 million seen in the same period of 2018.
"This increase is mainly attributable to the revenues contributed by the tanker vessels Blue Moon and Briolette, acquired in August and November 2019, respectively, and is partially offset by the decreased revenues of the container vessels Pamina and Pucon, following their sale in October and November 2019, respectively," the company explained.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Performance Shipping suffered a net loss of USD 12.2 million, compared to a net loss of USD 0.4 million for the corresponding period of 2018.
According to the company, the Q4 2019 loss includes USD 13.9 million of impairment charges for one vessel, without which the result for the quarter would have been net income of USD 1.7 million.
"We are very excited about Performance Shipping Inc. s increased tanker presence, which has contributed to turning the company profitable by USD 1.7 million this quarter, excluding the non-cash accounting impairment losses of USD 13.9 million associated with the reduction of our exposure to the container segment," Andreas Michalopoulos, the Company’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, commented.
Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2019, amounted to USD 32.1 million, compared to a net loss of USD 52.9 million for the previous year.
Announcing the financial results, the company said it took delivery on January 27 of M/T P. Fos, formerly Virgo Sun, a 2007-built Aframax tanker. In November 2019, the company signed an agreement to buy the 115,577 dwt ship.
Performance Shipping’s fleet currently consists of one Panamax container vessel and three Aframax tankers.
Seafarer Happiness Down amid Stress over New Regulations, Increase in Racism
Workload stress caused by changes in regulations has been one of the three main factors impacting the seafarers happiness level in the fourth quarter of 2019, just months before the IMO 2020 sulphur cap entered into force.
In particular, seafarers were experiencing mounting pressure surrounding inspections and audits to confirm vessels compliance, in addition to the demands of day to day administration and paperwork, the latest Seafarers Happiness Index report, published by The Mission to Seafarers, revealed.
As one respondent put it, "shipping is tricking itself if it thinks being safe on paper makes it safer on the water".
The report inferred that systems that are meant to raise standards are seemingly compromised if they are making seafarers more stressed.
Overall seafarer happiness dropped to 6.13/10 in the fourth quarter of 2019 down from 6.59 reported in the previous quarter, the report shows. The data comes from over 2000 respondents, with surveys completed in the final quarter of 2019.
The most satisfied of the large-scale respondents were crews on board container ships, on average they sat at 6.23/10, followed closely by tankers at 6.03, while bulk carriers experienced a drop down to 5.65.
Cruise crews were seemingly feeling happier this time around. Their numbers rose to 7/10, up from 5.3 in Q2 and 6.3 in Q3.
Elsewhere dredger crews appear to be fairly happy at 7.57, and rather surprisingly those serving on offshore vessels have seen a rise too, up to 7.36, the report shows.
The Mission to Seafarers said that again the spread of genders in the responses was woeful.
"Over 96% of respondents were male, and it shows that we need to find ways of better engaging with female seafarers. Across past reports we have tended to see the female responses higher then their male counterparts. Alas, this time round that trend faltered," the report said.
"Female seafarers reported their levels to be 5.85/10, while males were at 6.20. The seafarers who preferred not to disclose their gender were at 5.14, which again is far lower than we have seen previously."
Across all vessel types, three key issues emerged from the survey responses over the three-month period: workload stress caused by changes in regulations; a drop in satisfaction with access to welfare facilities ashore; and an increase in racism experienced while at sea.
Responses regarding shore leave show that seafarers are not being able to reap the benefits of welfare facilities ashore, which in turn hugely impacts their wellbeing.
"There needs to be an industry-wide drive to ensure correct visas are acquired so that seafarers are able to enjoy the benefits of shore-based welfare facilities whilst in ports and terminals," the report highlighted.
There has been a slump in happiness concerning interaction with other crew this quarter - coming in at 6.67/10, down from 7.28.
The report says that there were troubling accounts of racism raised, with concerning reports that victims do not feel they have anywhere to formally complain or ask for support.
The report stressed that the industry has a responsibility to recognize these concerns and respond to the calls for an independent complaint line or procedure to support seafarers.
"It is saddening to report that based on the seafarer statements received, it seems that there is a growing problem of racism at sea. Not only was it an issue for a number of seafarers who anonymously shared their experiences with us, but the problem was compounded by the fact that not only had they been subjected to racism, they said they felt powerless in dealing with it," the report reads.
"There is a seeming lack of faith in the system to report those who bullied, abused or attacked them. This is in keeping with the issue of sexism we have heard about in earlier reports. Company procedures, it seems, may be failing those who are most vulnerable while supporting those who cause problems for those they work with."
On the positive side, seafarers’ happiness with their ability to keep in contact with loved ones when at sea rose this quarter. The report data demonstrate that crews who have good quality, low-cost access to the internet and good communication with their families are far happier than those who do not.
According to the Mission to Seafarers, in 2020, a maritime solutions company, Wallem Group, will be partnering with The Mission alongside the Shipowners Club to support this initiative.
"This survey is a great way to get a proper sample of actual seafarers views on life at sea and what can be improved. Hopefully, we can then use this to improve the lives of all seafarers," Frank Coles, Chief Executive Officer, Wallem Group, commented.
Liquefied Natural Gas As Marine Fuel Revealed To Be Worse Than Business As Usual For The Climate
A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has found that the most popular Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) ship engine, particularly for cruise ships, emits between 70% and 82% more life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the short-term compared to clean distillate fuels.
Crew screening in Bangkok Port
Bangkok Public Health and Maritime Authorities launched medical check of all cargo ships arriving to Bangkok from China. Prior to Jan 28, 5 ships were checked, according to officials. No coronavirus symptoms were found, all checked seamen were declared healthy and safe. Masters are to notify Thailand authorities on ship s arrival no later than 24 hours before arrival, understood via agent.
Container traffic through the Port of Cork increased in 2019
The Port of Cork recorded a 5% increase in container traffic in 2019 as it looks to complete and open a new container terminal in Ringaskiddy this year.
Total traffic through both the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port Company fell by 5% from 10.6 million tonnes to just over 10 million tonnes in 2019. The port company attributed this decline to fewer volumes of dry bulk cargo through the port.
Odisha s Paradip Port gears up for Coronavirus fight
As the novel Coronavirus (nCoV) spreads its tentacles beyond China, Paradip Port Trust (PPT) and the district administration have put in place preventive measures to tackle any possible threat to the port town. PPT has advised captains of all foreign vessels visiting ports of countries affected by nCoV to inform the harbour master of Paradip about crew members suspected of carrying the virus through e-mails.
Decathlon and Maersk sign Warehousing Services Agreement in Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia
For many of Maersk s global customers, Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia is considered a key strategic location for fast connections to Asian markets and a globally competitive hub point for exporting goods to the rest of the world. Decathlon is no exception as they recently decided to move their 9-year old operation from Singapore to Tanjung Pelepas to better support their retail expansion within the Asian region.