Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 10 Jan 2022 to 16 Jan 2022 in descending order:
- Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine gives 12 months of wages as year-end bonus
- Singapore ranked world’s leading maritime city
- Launch of open Shipping platform to engage discussion
- U.N. mission speaks to crew members of UAE-flagged vessel seized by Houthis with seven Indians on board
- New Guidance Aims to Curb Maritime Pilot Transfer Fatalities
- Maersk sets new target to deliver net zero by 2040
- Crew Change Crisis is Waning, but Omicron Could Bring it Back
- Collaboration is key to reaching decarbonization goals – MSC CEO
- Design Approval for a Future Ammonia Bunker Vessel in Singapore
- Philippines: Stricter requirements for maritime schools
- Ship traffic threatening Antarctica’s pristine marine ecosystem
- Scientists Say The Ocean Is Getting Loud
- How AI and Blockchain Could Fix Broken Supply Chains
- Shipping route through Bangladesh to connect India’s North-East with West Bengal
Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine gives 12 months of wages as year-end bonus
16 Jan 2021
Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp., one of the leading container cargo shippers in Taiwan, has decided to raise year-end bonuses for its employees to the amount equivalent to 12 months of wages on average, and has also decided to raise salaries by an average of 4 percent, after a bumper year that saw a significant rise in shipping rates and profit.
The company had originally planned to give a bonus equivalent to eight months of wages, after the government-invested shipper’s employees complained it lagged far behind the 40 months of salaries issued by rival Evergreen Marine Corp., and was too low given that the shipping industry had a very profitable year in 2021 due to growing freight rates.
On Friday, Yang Ming’s board of directors decided to give a higher year-end bonus and a wage hike by 4 percent on average based on performance at a board meeting.
In 2021, due to strong global demand and serious port congestion amid COVID-19, shipping companies enjoyed rising freight rates, which helped them rake in more profit.
Yang Ming Marine reported NT$109.8 billion in net profit in the first three quarters of last year, up 5,839 percent from a year earlier with EPS at NT$32.73.
Before the decision to raise year-end bonuses, Cheng Cheng-mount (???), chairman of Yang Ming Marine., in which the Ministry of Transportation and Communications owns a stake, last week urged his colleagues not to compare year-end bonuses, to avoid confrontation between the management and employees.
Cheng said as Yang Ming Marine is a government-invested company, it was not able to dole out as fat bonuses as its rival, a wholly privately owned firm, but he emphasized the company had tried hard to seek as many benefits as possible for its employees.
However, amid an outcry from its employees, the board on Friday finally decided to raise the performance-based year-end bonuses and hike wages by 4 percent on average.
In addition to performance-based year-end bonuses, Yang Ming Marine also issues fixed year-end bonuses which are equivalent to one month of salary every year.
That means its employees can get an average of 13 months of wages as year-end bonuses ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday which is scheduled to start on Jan. 29 this year. Reference
Singapore ranked world’s leading maritime city
15 Jan 2022
Singapore has retained the number one spot in the Leading Maritime Cities (LMC) report conducted by Norwegian classification society DNV and Norwegian consultancy Menon Economics AS.
The 2022 edition of the LMC report was launched on 13 January at an event hosted by the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), providing fresh insights into which global hubs offer the best infrastructure, technology, finance, and world-class talent, to help the maritime community connect and prosper.
There have been many ‘dramatic’ developments since the last edition of the LMC report was published in 2019. For one, we are still living with the pandemic. Two years of fluctuating restrictions have caused severe trade and travel upsets. Extreme weather events have made us all more acutely aware of the climate crisis, another major driver of change, according to the report.
Shipowners, charterers, cargo owners and lenders are gearing up for a decarbonized future, with rapid adoption of zero-carbon fuels expected over the next decade. Ongoing digitalization, including ports and the supply chain, will drive efficiency in support of this transition.
Specifically, the report benchmarks each maritime city based on five key pillars – Shipping, Maritime Finance & Law, Maritime Technology, Ports & Logistics and Attractiveness & Competitiveness.
Two European cities feature in the top three as well. Fourth and 5th place overall go to Asian counterparts Shanghai followed by all-rounder Tokyo. Reference
Launch of open Shipping platform to engage discussion
15 Jan 2022
The Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Shipping has launched an online discussion platform called COMEshipping (Cyprus Open Maritime Exchange) to engage stakeholders in the maritime community for ideas and views.
The platform, www.comeshipping.com.cy, introduced as part of the “SEAChange2030” national strategy for shipping, has five main subject areas – Green Transformation, Digital Transformation, Safety & Security, Coastal Navigation and Seafarers Issues
According to the feedback, the junior ministry plans to host online discussions based on the various themes.
Introducing COMEshipping, Deputy Minister Vasilis Demetriades said: “We seek to get even closer to the shipping industry, to the professionals who serve the coastal and marine ecosystem of Cyprus, to the non-governmental organisations, to the whole community. Reference
U.N. mission speaks to crew members of UAE-flagged vessel seized by Houthis with seven Indians on board
14 Jan 2022
Deeply concerned about safety of 7 Indians on Houthi-seized ship; call for immediate release of crew, vessel: India at UNSC
A United Nations mission said it has spoken to the crew members of a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel that was seized by Houthi rebels off the port of Hodeidah in Yemen and has seven Indians on board.
This image grab taken from a video broadcast by pro-Huthi Al-Masirah TV on January 3, 2022, shows a view of the Emirati-flagged vessel “Rwabee” in the Red Sea seized by Yemen’s Huthi rebels and reportedly carrying Saudi military equipment, at an undisclosed location. | Photo Credit: AFP. Image Source: The Hindu
“As part of its routine weekly patrol, UNMHA visited As-Salif port and neighbouring areas this afternoon. The patrol team saw the Rwabee vessel from a distance and spoke to its crew members,” the U.N. Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) said in a tweet on January 12.
“The UNMHA patrol team also visited a fish market and a local school in As Salif to interact with the local population. No indication of militarisation was observed in the areas patrolled,” it said.
India has called for the immediate release of the seven Indian crew members on board the United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel Rwabee that was seized by Houthis off the port of Hodeidah in Yemen earlier this month.
India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, speaking at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Yemen on January 13, expressed grave concern over the seizure and detention of the UAE vessel Rwabee.
Mr. Tirumurti “called for the immediate release of 7 Indian crew members, expressed deep concern about their safety and well-being & that Houthis should ensure their safety till release”. India also called upon all parties to the conflict to immediately cease fighting, de-escalate the situation and engage unconditionally with the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen.
The External Affairs Ministry said on January 11 that all seven Indian sailors onboard a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel that was seized by Houthis off the port of Hodeidah in Yemen are safe and the Government is making all efforts to secure their early release. Reference
New Guidance Aims to Curb Maritime Pilot Transfer Fatalities
14 Jan 2022
A guide to maritime pilot transfer safety has been updated amid industry concerns about poorly rigged ladders causing severe injuries or fatalities.
The ‘Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements’, produced by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in partnership with the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA), features a new section with the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s guidance on combination embarkation platform arrangements.
Provisions for a ‘trapdoor arrangement’ in combination ladders, the minimum size of the opening and rigging procedures are covered in the new section.
“The consensus among the maritime stakeholders we spoke to for this updated pilot transfer arrangements guide was that the ladders themselves are fine – the issue is how they are rigged and whether crew have undergone the right training to ensure the safest operating procedures are applied,” said Gregor Stevens, Senior Marine Advisor at ICS.
The updated guide comes after Captain Simon Pelletier, Chairman of IMPA, urged the IMO to prohibit a dangerous pilot transfer ladder arrangement linked to a fatality in New York on 30 December 2019.
In his letter to the IMO on 17 January 2020, Captain Pelletier highlighted the case of Captain Dennis Sherwood, aged 64, who fell to his death while boarding the Maersk Kensington containership as it arrived at the Port of New York and New Jersey. He was using a combination arrangement of a pilot ladder and an accommodation ladder, the typical set-up when the ship’s point of access is more than nine meters from the water.
For this arrangement, Captain Sherwood had to climb through a trapdoor in the platform of the accommodation ladder. This requires a pilot to pull themself up through the trapdoor while twisting to get a secure footing on the platform.
Captain Pelletier added that this “controversial” trapdoor arrangement had long been considered unsafe by pilots. He also urged all flag states, port states and ship operators to do whatever it took to “get rid of this arrangement immediately”.
The ICS/IMPA pilot transfer arrangements guidance complies with the IMO convention on minimum safety standards in shipping (SOLAS), making it an essential reference tool for all vessel crews around the globe. Reference
Maersk sets new target to deliver net zero by 2040
13 Jan 2022
Danish container logistics giant A.P. Moller – Maersk has set ambitious targets for the entire group to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2040 – one decade ahead of its initial 2050 ambition.
On 12 January, the company unveiled the new aspiring emission targets expected to align the company with the Net Zero criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
They include a societal commitment to act now and drive material impact in this decade, and a commitment to deliver net-zero supply chains to customers by 2040.
The targets go beyond previous efforts to reduce emissions related to the ocean fleet as they cover all direct and indirect emissions across the entire Maersk business.
“As a global provider of end-to-end logistics services across all transport modes, it is a strategic imperative for Maersk to extend our net zero ambition to the total footprint of the business. The science is clear, we must act now to deliver significant progress in this decade,” Soren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk, commented.
“These very ambitious targets mark our commitment to society and to the many customers who call for net zero supply chains.”
2030 targets for significant absolute emissions reductions
Tangible near-term targets for 2030 are set to ensure significant progress on curbing direct Maersk emissions already in this decade.
These include a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk Ocean fleet and a 70% reduction in absolute emissions from fully controlled terminals.
2030 targets to lead the industry on green offerings
To maximise progress towards net zero supply chains in 2040, ambitious 2030 targets for a range of green product offerings are introduced, adding to solutions including Maersk’s Emissions Dashboard and Maersk ECO Delivery. Reference
Crew Change Crisis is Waning, but Omicron Could Bring it Back
13 Jan 2022
The latest numbers from the Neptune Declaration on Crew Change appear to show good news for seafarers: The number of mariners working on an extended contract has fallen to its lowest level since at least May 2021, a major improvement in a key metric for morale.
Out of a sample of 90,000 crewmembers from 10 leading shipmanagement firms, only about 3.7 percent were working on board past the expiry of their contract. An even smaller fraction – just 0.4 percent – were on board past the MLC maximum of 11 months.
While this is positive news, it does not necessarily mean that the shipping community has put the crew change crisis behind for good. The latest report is based on data from December 15, and it does not reflect the latest impact of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19. The shipmanagers who contributed to the report noted that Omicron has caused many countries to review their COVID-19 protocols and reimpose movement restrictions, resulting in the return of crew change challenges. In addition, COVID restrictions have been reimposed in many seafaring nations in Asia and Europe as infection rates are on the rise.
“While the January numbers seem encouraging, we must remain cautious as they do not reveal the full impact of omicron as the new infection wave is not yet over. To avoid reigniting the crew-change crisis and reversing these recent positive trends, it is vital that the industry and governments make all efforts to ensure the effect on crew-changes of omicron remain minimal,” said Kasper Søgaard, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum.
Seafarer vaccination rates are also showing a remarkably positive trend. Between December and January, the share of seafarers who were vaccinated jumped by 10 percentage points, bringing the total to about 60 percent. This is a significant improvement from last August, when just 15 percent of seafarers had received a full course.
For seafarers, getting vaccinated might not be enough to ensure freedom of movement. Two years into the pandemic, there is still no globally-accepted standard for vaccination, and different countries have different rules for which vaccines they will accept. Some nations also put time limits on the validity of a course of vaccination, restricting access for seafarers who had their shots more than six months ago, according to the report. Reference
Collaboration is key to reaching decarbonization goals – MSC CEO
13 Jan 2022
Collaboration is key in order to achieve the aspirational decarbonization goals set out by the shipping industry, according to Soren Toft, CEO of Swiss container shipping major Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
On 11 January, Toft delivered a keynote digital speech at DNV’s ‘Fuel of the Future Conference’, as part of the annual Nor-Shipping convention.
In his speech, Soren explained MSC’s views on the status of decarbonisation in the container shipping sector, summarised how the company is approaching this massive challenge and commented on how everyone must move forward together in collaboration to tackle climate change.
Container shipping enables the global economy to function. As shipping volumes have grown over the years, so have the environmental emissions produced as a by-product of delivering goods around the world. Nowadays, the rate at which emissions are rising has started to decline, but there is much still to do to make tackling climate change a global imperative.
Container lines such as MSC must continue to do their part to help mitigate the impact of climate change while continuing to operate responsibly in meeting the ever-increasing demand for global trade, Soren noted.
“It is critical that our priority this year is not only to respond to the huge demand we are experiencing in the very complex, congested markets that emerged amid COVID, but also to ensure that we do not decouple this from our efforts to decarbonise,” he said.
Collaboration is key in order to achieve the aspirational decarbonisation goals set out by the shipping industry. MSC itself already fosters industry-wide, as well as cross-sector collaboration in order to enable the massive investment needed to decarbonise shipping. While the company continues to invest in low-carbon technologies and explore different fuel options, carriers in general continue to struggle from a lack of solutions available at scale.
With the total cost of decarbonising shipping estimated into the trillions of dollars, carriers must make expensive capital decisions that will live on for decades. Urgent investment and a better understanding of how business and society will share the cost burden are also required.
In his speech, Soren emphasised that “the transition to a low-carbon economy requires broad collective action and productive partnerships with our stakeholders across and beyond shipping.”
“By cooperating and collaborating with others, we will capitalise and build on the interdependencies between ocean-going and inland logistics as well as other sectors providing fuels, distribution systems and infrastructure,” he concluded. Reference
Design Approval for a Future Ammonia Bunker Vessel in Singapore
12 Jan 2022
Design approval was granted for what could become the first ammonia bunkering vessel designed to support the industry’s transition to the new alternative fuel. The vessel, which was developed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, ITOCHU Corporation, and Sembcorp Marine Integrated Yard are part of the industry’s efforts to create the infrastructure required for the transition to future fuels.
The vessel’s design took into consideration ammonia’s toxicity, as well as design input on the cargo containment system and bunkering system from Wartsila Gas Solutions and Trelleborg Westbury/KLAW LNG. The goal is to build on the experience developed in the handling of LNG to create the systems to handle the new fuel. After conducting a thorough risk assessment that included exploring the scale and potential risks to ensure sufficient system-wide safety, the partners applied for and received the Approval in Principle (AIP) from the American Bureau of Shipping for the ammonia bunkering vessel.
The partnership highlights that marine engine manufacturers around the world are working to develop an ammonia-fueled engine. While delivery of the first ammonia-fueled vessel is not expected till the late 2020s at the earliest, the group notes the importance of developing the infrastructure at the same time. The ammonia bunkering vessel will supply these next-generation-fueled vessels. Reference
Philippines: Stricter requirements for maritime schools
12 Jan 2022
To address the shortcomings earlier identified by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in maritime education and training in the country, education and maritime authorities proposed stricter requirements for maritime schools.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) are jointly revising their series of Joint Memorandum Circulars (JCMMC) 1-3 series of 2019 in their bid to address the shortcomings. The move, however, will make it difficult for new schools to secure authority to offer BS Marine Transportation (BSMT) or BS Marine Engineering (BSMarE) programs as well as gradually trim down the number of substandard maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs), eventually.
This is likely the consequence of the proposed revisions of these JCMMCs as can be observed during the recent public consultation on the proposed amendments.
These JCMMCs set the Policies, Standards, and Guidelines (PSG) for BSMT and BSMarE as well as the Guidelines for Joint CHEd-Marina Evaluation, Inspection, and Monitoring of MHEIs.
At the outset, CHEd and Marina officials clarified that these proposed revisions that were drafted by the joint team are being undertaken “to align the proposed Philippine corrective actions to EMSA [identified] shortcomings.” Reference
Ship traffic threatening Antarctica’s pristine marine ecosystem
12 Jan 2022
A new study has claimed that ship traffic is threatening Antarctica’s pristine marine ecosystem.
The research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
Ship movements related to fishing, tourism, research, and supply expose the Antarctic continent to human impacts.
Until now, only rough estimates or industry-specific information have been available to inform evidence-based policy to mitigate the introduction of non-native marine species.
Antarctica’s Southern Ocean supports a unique biota and represents the only global marine region without any known biological invasions.
However, climate change is removing physiological barriers to potential invasive non-native species, and increasing ship activities are raising pressure.
“They can create entirely new habitats that would make it harder for those amazing Antarctic animals to find their own place to live,” said lead researcher Arlie McCarthy from the University of Cambridge.
Ship visits are more than seven times higher to the Antarctic Peninsula (especially east of Anvers Island) and the South Shetland Islands than elsewhere around Antarctica, together accounting for 88 per cent of visits to the Southern Ocean ecoregions.
The successful conservation of iconic Antarctic species and environments relies on addressing both climate change and direct, localised human impact. Reference
Scientists Say The Ocean Is Getting Loud
11 Jan 2022
On summer evenings in the 1980s, the residents of a houseboat community in Sausalito, California would often have trouble sleeping. A bizarre and persistent humming noise would keep them awake, and although they investigated, neither the residents nor the local authorities could pinpoint the problem.
They ruled out noise from generators and even considered the possibility of secret military tests. It was researchers at the nearby Steinhart Aquarium who finally identified the culprit. The strange noise was the courtship song of male toadfish who were doing their best to attract females to their underwater love nests.
Back then, the field of bioacoustics – the scientific study of the production, transmission, and perception of animal sounds – was a highly specialized and relatively remote research area. Underwater bioacoustics was even more niche, with only a handful of labs having access to the expensive equipment and technical know-how needed to record and decipher aquatic soundscapes.
Cheaper kits capable of more accurate recordings and powerful open-source software have since brought the study of aquatic sounds to the scientific masses. This has led to a renaissance in our understanding of sound in the sea. And it turns out that the ocean is a very noisy place indeed.
Scientists are now discovering the extent to which aquatic animals produce sound, and the role that their grunts, pops, growls and whines play in communication.
The problem for many marine animals now, though, is that the underwater soundscapes they have evolved in are being pummelled by broad-frequency noise from shipping, drilling, and many other human sources. This makes it harder for them to be heard, and it’s not only their romantic encounters that are affected.
But it’s not just noisy human activity that stops animals reliant on underwater sound from surviving and prospering. Climate change is having a complex effect on underwater soundscapes, and nowhere is this more clear than on coral reefs. When coral reefs bleach in response to rising temperatures and ocean acidity, there’s usually a dramatic reduction in the noises emanating from these habitats.
So far, so depressing. But here’s the good news. Our improved understanding of underwater sounds on coral reefs might help scientists keep track of how these ecosystems are faring. In a recent paper led by the Universities of Exeter and Bristol, researchers studied coral reefs that had been extensively damaged by blast fishing – a dangerous and destructive technique in which explosives are used to stun and catch fish. They monitored the reef’s recovery after being artificially restored with new healthy corals. As these devastated reefs recovered, the quantity and diversity of sounds they recorded began to match those of pristine reefs.
Even better, we can use this knowledge to help damaged coral reefs recover quicker. Using underwater speakers, scientists have been able to playback sounds recorded on healthy reefs to entice fish and other animals back to recovering coral habitats, speeding up the natural process of regeneration.
By listening to the ocean, we have begun to truly understand – and tentatively address – the many challenges it faces. Reference
How AI and Blockchain Could Fix Broken Supply Chains
10 Jan 2022
When the coronavirus crisis erupted in 2020, it became apparent that the medical emergency was accompanied by severe shortages, especially in some medical devices.
The pattern was first observed for ventilators: demand spiked everywhere and the supply chain was disrupted. This was because production of the devices spanned multiple countries, with each part dependent on other parts manufactured in different locations. The longer the chain and the more complex the dependence, the greater the exposure of any point to the disruption of another one, and to mandated shutdowns.
Today, downstream suppliers – such as those who provide vehicle control systems to your car manufacturer – depend on upstream suppliers – such as chip manufacturers – to deliver on time so they can in turn deliver on time to you.
With long chains, risks are now shared between multiple entities all around the world.
Supply chain problems have a knock-on financial effect known as trade credit contagion. This is where firms delay payments to suppliers because their customers delay payments to them. The pay-on-delivery model can lead to cancelled or delayed shipments which can in turn lead to bankruptcies.
While a high proportion of trade credit risk remains uninsured today, a post-pandemic world may see insurance and reinsurance firms fill in this protection gap.
Researchers are currently working to develop methodologies to identify vulnerabilities in global supply chains and to understand their trade credit contagion risks. The goal is to make these systems more robust overall.
Artificial intelligence and complex network theory are helpful in identifying the structures that could pose systemic risk. They help us ask: which patterns of connections are likely to lead to delay and trade credit contagion and which are more robust?
Using these tools, we can create large-scale simulators of global supply chains responding to a wide variety of shocks and then use machine learning techniques to detect the problematic parts of the chain. This knowledge can then be used in market designs that strengthen the system before another pandemic or disaster occurs.
Other novel technologies such as blockchain bring the promise of using high quality data to analyse supply chain dependencies. blockchain technology uses real-time data and transparent verification carried out by multiple parties. In combination with other features, such as smart contracts, this could lead to timely resolution in cases of disputes along the supply chain.
Trade credit insurance is likely to grow after the pandemic. It may rely on private-public partnerships – the pandemic has shown that governments become important players when they impose shutdowns in certain areas.
These funds can be used to make up for payment delays, reduce losses and jump-start critical production where necessary. But not all links in a chain can be insured, and an important challenge is to identify the most important stages under different shock scenarios.
Supply chains can also be rewired – large-scale algorithms can identify which suppliers need to be replaced and which new ones need to emerge.
In a few years, supply chains may look different, as the overall goal shifts from minimizing costs, as was the case before the pandemic, to minimizing delays and trade credit risks. The end consumer will drive the need to rewire the network, as demand shifts. Ultimately, the flexibility of the customer determines the resilience of the supply chain. Reference
Shipping route through Bangladesh to connect India’s North-East with West Bengal
10 Jan 2022
“Cargo and passenger ships from Assam and the northeast will be connected to Haldia via Bangladesh,” India’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said
India has begun to build a new shipping route through Bangladesh to connect its North-Eastern with West Bengal regions, India’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said on Saturday (8 January).
Work has begun for waterways along the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers and cargo and passenger ships from Assam and India’s northeast will be connected to Haldia in West Bengal via Bangladesh, Sonowal said while speaking at the “Brahmaputra River Conclave” at the ongoing Northeast Festival, reports the Economic Times.
He said transformation through transportation is the idea behind the revamping of waterways as means of communication.
“Work has already begun to pave way for national waterways (Brahmaputra and Barak) to facilitate movement of cargo ships. Cargo and passenger ships from Assam and the northeast will be connected to Haldia via Bangladesh. The work of dredging has already begun,” Sarbananda Sonowal said.
He added that coastal and maritime shipping will get a boost with opening up of the northeastern markets, adding: “We must not limit ourselves to the Brahmaputra. We must go beyond and develop waterways through other rivers like Aie, Dhansiri, Manas etc.”
“All the eight states must come together and work towards the region’s development,” Sonowal added.
Director of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) A Selvakumar made a presentation on measures taken for revamping river networks in the country’s northeast. Reference
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