|.: 23-Feb-2019 :.
|StealthGas Eyes Fleet Growth with Small Scale JV Deal|
LPG shipping company StealthGas has entered into a small scale joint venture agreement with a third party investor in an effort to further growth its fleet.
Under the agreement, the investor acquired a 49.9% interest in two of StealthGas vessel owning companies and therefore gaining co-ownership and joint control of the Gas Defiance and the Gas Shuriken.
Furthermore, the company expects additional co-investments in acquisitions of small LPG vessels from the second-hand market or its own fleet.
"This agreement provides us with access to liquidity and additional capital for growth at a time when capital markets funding is not an attractive alternative, especially when our shares trade at a significant discount to NAV," the company informed.
The company unveiled the development in its 2018 financial report.
StealthGas delivered a net loss of USD 5.3 milion in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a net income of USD 0.7 million in the same period of last year. Revenues were at USD 38.5 million, rising by 0.3% from a year ago despite decreased voyage days and weaker than anticipated spot rates.
For the full year of 2018, StealthGas net loss reached USD 12.3 million, compared to a net loss of USD 1.2 million reported in 2017, while revenues increased to USD 164.3 million from USD 154.3 million year-on-year, primarily due to improved market conditions.
"Demand for LPG is strong, the orderbook is very low and time charter rates for those contracts being fixed have remained at high levels notwithstanding the Asian market slow down. This leads us to conclude that the solid market fundamentals will eventually lead to a market correction," Michael Jolliffe, StealthGas Board Chairman, said.
Additionally, the small scale joint venture agreement with a third party investor "not only enhances our liquidity further but most importantly provides an opportunity for further company growth at a time when our segmentís basic fundamentals look promising," Jolliffe concluded.
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|CLdN Expands Irish Service Ahead of Brexit|
Short-sea roll-on/roll-off company CLdN Ro-Ro is expanding its Irish service following the arrival of new build vessels to the fleet.
The service is being improved with two Conro-class vessel, according to CLdN.
The company said it would deploy the vessels to operate on the direct Rotterdam-Dublin trade as of February 26, 2019, offering an increase from three to four sailings in each direction. The company noted it was increasing capacity at a time when Brexit uncertainty is a major feature in clients planning.
Three of the sailings will be ro-ro vessels, departing from Rotterdam on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and from Dublin Thursday, Saturday and Monday. In addition one lo-lo vessel will sail ex Rotterdam on Saturday and ex Dublin on Tuesday.
"These further developments are in line with CLdN s longterm strategy, supported by substantial investments in both terminals and fleet," a spokesperson for CLdN Ro-Ro SA stated.
The European short-sea ro-ro services provider operates 27 vessels, with 125 sailings per week. The company is also scheduled to welcome the South Korea-built M/V Laureline, the first of a series of four new ro-ro vessels to be built for the company. Laureline was delivered to CLdN Ro-Ro in Ulsan, South Korea, in January this year.
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|Scorpio Bulkers Agrees Refinancing for Kamsarmax|
Monaco-based dry bulk shipping company Scorpio Bulkers has reached a financing agreement with an unaffiliated third party related to one of its Kamsarmax vessels.
Under the deal, the company would dispose of a 2015-built Kamsarmax bulker SBI Samba for a consideration of USD 21.4 million.
The vessel would subsequently be leased back from the buyer through a five-year bareboat charter agreement at a rate of USD 6,850 per day.
Scorpio Bulkers said that the transaction also provides the company with the option to repurchase the vessel beginning on the third anniversary of the sale until the end of the bareboat charter contract.
"This transaction increases the company s liquidity by approximately USD 6.9 million after repayment of the vesselís existing loan," Scorpio Bulkers concluded.
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|The Netherlands Accedes to Hong Kong Convention|
The International Maritime Organization s (IMO) Hong Kong Convention has received another boost with the accession of the Netherlands.
On February 20, 2019, Dick Brus, Directorate for Maritime Affairs of the Netherlands, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, to deposit the instrument of acceptance.
The Netherlands has thus become the eighth country to ratify the convention for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. Apart from this country, Belgium, Denmark, Congo, France, Norway, Panama and Turkey also acceded to the treaty.
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.
Under the treaty, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a ship recycling Plan, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.
The Hong Kong Convention is to enter into force 24 months after ratification by 15 states, representing 40 percent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 percent of their combined tonnage.
Also on February 20, other IMO treaties supporting safe, secure and clean international shipping were ratified by Guyana. The South American country ratified two key IMO measures designed to preserve bio-diversity - the Ballast Water Management Convention and another on use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships hulls - as well as others covering unlawful acts against the safety of navigation and removing wrecks from the seabed. It also signed four instruments covering liability and compensation.
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|New Partnership To Develop Yangshan Port|
Zhejiang Seaport Group has signed a strategic agreement with Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) to jointly develop the Yangshan Port area.
The agreement will see Zhejiang Seaport Group invest US$740m to acquire 20% equity shares in SIPG s subsidiary Shanghai Shengdong International Container Terminal Company, the operator of Yangshan Port, reported Splash.
The two groups will work together for the development of a new feeder container terminal in the north of Yangshan.
SIPG handled 40.01m teu in 2018, making it once again the largest container port in the world.
The port has been facing congestion issues over the past few years and is making effort to solve the issue by increasing its handling capacity.
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|Container traffic rises at Qatar s ports in January|
Ports in Qatar have started the year on a positive note as container traffic has increased in January. According to the data by Mwani Qatar, the ports handled 110,394 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) containers in the first month of this year, compared to 103,996 TEU containers in January 2018. Mwani Qatar manages Hamad Port, Doha Port and Ruwais Port in the country.
These ports received 334 vessels in January this year. They handled 30,693 tonnes of building materials last month compared to 22,641 tonnes of aggregates in January 2018. The ports received 46,764 tonnes of general cargo, 5,749 vehicles and 71,896 heads of livestock, last month.
Hamad Port, the largest port in the Middle East, led from the front as it occupied a lion s share in monthly traffic. It handled 109,349 TEU containers and 5,534 vehicles in January.
The ports have delivered an impressive performance last year with all-round growth in all the segments. The ports achieved highest annual performance in containers, vessels and livestock segments in 2018. The ports received 4,781 vessels and handled 1.34 million TEU containers during the year.
The ports also handled 1.4 million tonnes of general cargo; 71,173 vehicles; 324,248 tonnes of building materials and 957,487 heads of livestock in 2018.
Hamad Port witnessed huge rise in vessel and cargo movement in 2018 and achieved several milestones. According to Qterminals, Hamad Port handled around 1.33 million TEU containers, over 1 million tonnes of break bulk cargo, over 255,000 of bulk cargo, over 68,000 vehicles and over 400,000 heads of livestock during January to December in 2018.
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|The Port Of Wilmington Celebrates Maiden Call Of First Vessel On New Msc Service|
GT USA Wilmington marked another historic day for the Port of Wilmington this week with the start of a new MSC service and the maiden call of the first vessel on that service, the m/v San Antonio.
GT USA Wilmington Chief Executive Officer Eric Casey welcomed Captain Wojciech Piotr Pilip, the Master of the container vessel, M/V "SAN ANTONIO," along with Michelle Tan from MSC s New York office and Elliot Timlin representing the ship s agency, Norton Lilly International.
"We are delighted to welcome the MSC M/V "SAN ANTONIOto our port and are confident that this marks the start of a partnership that will strengthen as GT USA Wilmington continues its redevelopment program at the Port of Wilmington, Delaware," Casey said. ďReceiving this vessel highlights our ability to deliver the highest standards of operational efficiency."
The ceremony was in commemoration of the start of MSC s new weekly Chilean fruit service to the Port of Wilmington, Delaware via MSC s Freeport, Bahamas transshipment hub. The occasion also marked the maiden call of the San Antonio to Wilmington, where palletized fruit cargo was stripped from refrigerated containers and the containers were loaded back onboard the vessel before its return sailing to the Bahamas.
Founded in 1923, the Port of Wilmington is a full service Mid-Atlantic seaport on the Delaware River strategically located to provide overnight access to 200 million North American consumers. Wilmington ranks as North America s top banana port and the nation s leading gateway for imports of fresh fruit and juice concentrates. The Port was one of the originally certified 360 Quality marine terminals in the United States, underscoring its high-quality handling standards for perishable cargo. An economic engine for the State of Delaware and the region, business activity at the Port creates over 5,900 family sustaining jobs and annually generates $436 million in business revenue, $409 million in personal income and $41 million in local taxes. The Port is operated by GT USA Wilmington, LLC.
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|ADB-supported Master Plan to steer port development until 2050|
Ports Shipping and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said a master plan supported by the Asian Development Plan (ADB) would lay a robust foundation for the ports and maritime sector s development until 2050.
"We had a lengthy meeting yesterday on the master plan and its proposals for every port in the country. It is a comprehensive programme that will serve as a roadmap for the sector s growth," Ratnayaka said addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Ports and Shipping yesterday.
The press conference followed the launching ceremony of a maritime news website started by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (news.slpa.lk) to disseminate up-to-date information on the ports and shipping sector, a move that would strengthen Sri Lank ís image in the global maritime sector.
Ratnayaka also said the Oluvil harbour in the Eastern province would be handed over to the Fisheries Ministry to be developed as a fisheries harbour.
He added the ministry came to the realization that it was the ideal plan for the Oluvil harbour which had meager prospects as a commercial port.
"We are also in the process of deciding our course of action on the much-talked-about East Container Terminal (ECT) project. I have requested the Ministry Secretary and the SLPA to present their observations on the matter.
They will have to evaluate if it is financially viable for the SLPA to invest in the ECT project or it should partner up with an external party. Based on their recommendation, I will discuss the matter with the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet," the Minister explained. Commenting on Indiaís involvement on the Kankesanthurai port development project, Ratnayaka said the matter was still under discussion. "India will definitely support us on the ports and maritime sector. But, the level of their involvement is still being discussed. I think the Prime Ministers of India and Sri Lanka have discussed the matter at a very high level. I am still not aware of any final agreement."
He also added that Trincomalee and Galle harbours will have night navigation before the end of 2019.
"New infrastructure and radar systems will soon be set up to make night navigation possible at Trincomalee harbour. Japan has given JPY one billion for the transformation of Trinco harbour. SLPA will invest its own money to install night navigation at the Galle harbor.
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|Ports of Auckland to have a fully operational automated container terminal|
The automation of the Ports of Auckland will entail having new 70-tonne straddle carriers. These carriers will hurtle around with up to 22km/h in speed and without anyone at the controls.
As reported, project completion will have the port s 27 new blue carriers involved in an elaborate dance to get containers on and off ships.
The process will be controlled by software at the head office.
There will be no human contact with the container from the time the truck driver unscrews the twist locks until before it is hoisted by crane and deposited on a ship.
Same process will apply for imports, except it will be done in reverse.
The system is now being tested. Empty containers are stacked high to act as a barrier in case something goes wrong.
The idea of using straddle carrier technology, together with the portís three new cranes, was seen as a game changer for the issue of expansion through further reclamation.
No to expansion via further reclamation
The Auckland Council-owned port is under pressure from New Zealand First to relocate to Whangarei.
The Government is conducting a comprehensive review of the upper North Island logistics and freight to guarantee that New Zealand s supply chain is fit for purpose in the longer term.
The review will guide the development and delivery of a freight and logistics strategy for the upper North Island.
This includes a feasibility study to explore moving the location of Ports of Auckland, with consideration to be given to Northport.
Given its constrained area, something had to be done to grow the port.
Using technology to improve productivity
Automation will increase the Ports of Aucklandís terminal capacity from just over 900,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent units) a year to around 1.6-1.7 million.
Auckland will be the first New Zealand port to partially automate its container terminal.
Moreover, the straddle carriers will save as much as 10% on fuel use.
The new carriers will deliver more capacity because they can stack four containers compared to just three for the existing carriers.
This will increase capacity by 80% when combined with changes to the terminal layout and past reclamation work.
The carriers come with a positioning system called Locator. It is a type of ground-based GPS that boasts an accuracy of plus or minus 3cm.
The high-tech carriers will initially work with the port s new NZ$ 60 million, 82.3m high cranes which weigh in at 2100 tonnes apiece.
With these new cranes as well as the new deep water berth sitting alongside them, the port will be able to handle the biggest ships coming to these shores.
They can lift four containers at once, weighing up to 130 tonnes combined, which is a New Zealand first. The current cranes can lift two containers, weighing up to 65 tonnes.
Ports of Auckland is only the second port in the world to automate as a "brownfields" development. Most automated ports are built from scratch.
The northern third of the terminal, where the new cranes are, will be automated initially while the southern part will continue with manned straddle carriers.
Once it is satisfied that the technology is working to plan, the port company will complete the rollout for the rest of the terminal.
The first stage goes live in February next year, followed by the second stage in April.
By the middle of 2020, the port should have a fully operational automated container terminal.
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|Russian oil exports from Baltic ports and Novorossiisk to rise 10 pct in Mar -preliminary plan|
Russia s oil exports and transit from Baltic ports and Novorossiisk in March will rise by 10 percent on a daily basis from the February plan to 8.86 million tonnes, a provisional lifting schedule seen by Reuters showed on Friday.
Urals loadings from Russia s Baltic Sea ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga were set at 6.3 million tonnes in March, up from 5.4 million tonnes set for February.
Urals and Siberian light loadings from Novorossiisk in March were set at 2.56 million tonnes compared with 1.9 million tonnes in the February plan.
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