News Bulletin – 4 August 2018

1. Sri Lanka’s shipping community agree on anti-corruption policy

3 Aug 2018 : Sri Lanka’s shipping community have agreed on an anti-corruption and zero tolerance policy aimed at cleaning up the trade, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said in a statement.

Agreement was reached at a meeting initiated by SLPA and Sri Lanka Customs with the members of the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents and of Sri Lanka Association of Vessel Operators.

The statement said it was a ‘landmark’ meeting and the first of its kind in the history of the maritime industry in Sri Lanka.  The meeting was co-chaired by SLPA chairman Parakrama Dissanayake and Director General of Sri Lanka Customs P. S. M. Charles.The statement said the Management Committee of SLPA has approved the zero tolerance policy which has also been endorsed by its Board of Directors. At a recent discussion, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, stakeholders and Sri Lanka Customs have also agreed to follow the zero tolerance policy,” it said.

2. Seafarers need to go through govt agencies for foreign travel

2 August 2018 : No sailor will be allowed to go abroad for jobs unless he applies through government recognised agencies, which will guarantee their welfare, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

Gadkari said in Lok Sabha that the decision has been made after taking into consideration incidents of employment frauds where many Indian seafarers have became victims.

Altogether 478 agencies are recognised by the government and linked with the Bureau of Immigration. If seafarers (sailors) don’t apply through these recognised agencies, they will not be allowed to go abroad for jobs, he said during the Question Hour.

The minister said at present there were 1.6 lakh Indian seafarers out of whom 1.2 lakh were working in foreign flags bearing ships. Among the total seafarers, around 4,000 are women.

We are trying our best to provide all facilities so that Indians get jobs abroad, women get priority and no one is cheated. We will keep trying to do everything for the welfare of seafarers,” he said.

Gadkari also favoured improvement of training facilities for seafarers in the country so that more and more Indians get jobs abroad. He, however, said the health of the Shipping industry has not been good and Rs 1.5 lakh crore funds of banks were stuck in it. I am worried and looking forward on how to improve it,” he said.

3. Maximum ESI discount doubled for ships with ESI certificates and LNG

2 August 2018 : For some years Port of Amsterdam has been giving discounts on port dues to vessels listed in the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) that have attained an ESI score of 20 points or higher. As of 1 August, we will be increasing this incentive by adding another discount: Port of Amsterdam will be doubling the maximum ESI discount for vessels that are in the possession of an ESI certificate and use LNG for their main engine or auxiliary engine.

LNG emits significantly smaller quantities of particulate matter than other fuels, as well as producing less carbon dioxide. Port of Amsterdam regards LNG as a vital transitional fuel which currently serves as the best alternative for the shipping industry. In order to encourage vessel operators to start using this fuel, we will be providing an additional discount starting 1 August. We also aim to have a bunker pontoon for LNG in place in the Port of Amsterdam by the end of 2018.

The introduction of this discount will help to advance our mission of encouraging the 50,000 seagoing vessels, cruise ships and barges that call on the Port annually to operate as rapidly and efficiently as possible, using the least amount of resources.

4. Shipping industry to trial blockchain-based technology for bunker fuels

1 August 2018 : A number of stakeholders in the shipping industry have partnered with Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL) to work on a project that aims to use blockchain technologies to enhance the traceability of the shipping fuel supply chain.

Led by MBL, which is a subsidiary of blockchain technology experts Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC), the consortium will assess how to harness blockchain to help shipping operators trace the source and quality of bunker fuels.

Lloyd’s Register, Precious Shipping, Bostomar, BIMCO, International Bunker Industry Association and GoodFuels are all part of the group, which will explore how the technologies can provide an “efficient, tamper-resistant and auditable chain of custody” for bunker fuels.

Following the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) plan to cut carbon emissions in half by 2020, the shipping industry is now under pressure to tackle air pollution and switch to sustainable fuels. According to the consortium, the trial will aim to help operators meet these new regulations and adapt to the IMO’s standards.

The group claimed it was planning to reduce safety risks and create a “more trustworthy framework for accurately monitoring emissions from shipping such as sulphur and carbon”.

Highlighting the benefits of blockchain for bunker BLOC CEO and co-founder Deanna MacDonald said: “MBL takes an industry-led approach – meaning that the solutions will be identified, designed, and tested by the industry itself, with MBL facilitating governance and developing the technology to ensure these solutions are relevant and used.

Too often with blockchain, and digital initiatives in shipping in general, we see a top-down approach where new technology is pushed on the industry. However, this means that complex human and governance elements are ignored, limiting the eventual adoption and usefulness of the technology.”

5. India: ‘New law to corporatise major ports’

31 July 2018 : Taking strong exception to the major Port Authorities Bill being tabled in Parliament to switch the major Ports Trust Act, Water Transport Federation of india (WTFI) general secretary T. Narendra Rao claimed that the move was aimed at converting the major ports into authorities as part of a hidden agenda to hand them over to private parties.

In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Narendra Rao said the Centre was hell-bent on going ahead with its plan of selling away valuable assets of the major ports, bulldozing the concerns expressed by the workers of all the 12 major ports.

“The new legislation will result in conversion of major port trusts into authorities so that the service motive can be dispensed with, converting them into landlord ports. Administration of port infrastructure – be it creation or management would go to the private managements under PPP or BOT mode. Whether generation of jobs or development of the periphery in the port areas, the ports will not have service motive once they are made companies,” he alleged.

6. 4,000th Neopanamax Transit through Panama Canal

31 July 2018 : The liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker Maria Energy has claimed the title of the 4,000th Neopanamax vessel to transit the expanded locks of the Panama Canal. Today, the waterway often transits two LNG vessels the same direction in the same day, and has demonstrated the ability to transit up to three vessels the same day in the same direction during periods of uncharacteristically high demand.

The Panama Canal announced in June that it will be lifting natural daylight restrictions for LNG transits on October 1, 2018, to offer added capacity to shippers. By lifting encounter restrictions, LNG vessels will also be able to navigate Gatun Lake at the same time, allowing two different LNG vessels to transit the canal the same day in two different directions, offering more flexibility to the segment.

Of the 4,000 vessels that have transited to date, roughly 52 percent have been from the container segment. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels constitute another 27 percent, and LNG carriers, a relatively new segment to the Panama Canal, have been responsible for 10 percent of traffic. Dry and liquid bulk carriers, car carriers and cruise ships make up the remaining transits, data from the canal authority shows.

7. COSCO Shipping Lines Back to Normal after Cyber Attack

30 July 2018 : Following last week’s cyber attack, COSCO Shipping Lines informed that its network applications in the Americas have been totally recovered.

All communication channels including telephone, email, and electronic data exchange have been restored. There has been a further increase in our service response. We are working at full stretch to process all the service requests received previously, and the service response is expected to be back on track within this week.

“Global networks of COSCO Shipping Lines are safe and stable, and our global business operations are steady and orderly,” the company said in an update.

it was reported that the customer service platform at COSCO’s terminal at the Port of Long Beach was targeted by hackers. Nevertheless, the company later said that the network breakdown affected offices across the American continent.

The network failures affected areas included the United States, Canada, Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Uruguay. However, the company’s ships were not affected and continued operating as normal.

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