Maersk’s Newbuilds Won’t Fit New Panama Canal

By Wendy Laursen 2015-08-16 20:39:39

Last week Maersk announced the signing of a $1.1 billion newbuilding contract for nine vessels with a 14,000 TEU capacity.

The vessels are designed for flexibility, not a single trade, but they may not be as flexible as some might expect, says Dirk Visser, Senior Shipping Consultant at consultants Dynamar B.V. of the Netherlands.

Maersk is strengthening its fleet with hull designs that can be deployed on East-West or North-South trades without impacting on fuel consumption. The reasoning is that while China remains the global manufacturing center, competitors like Mexico, Turkey and others are growing. Maersk is therefore preparing for new trade patterns, the company said in a statement.

“When I first saw the order in combination with Maersk’s comments, I assumed that the dimensions of these nine 14,000 TEU ships would allow them to pass through the new Panama Canal locks – meaning that they should have a maximum breadth of 49 meters (48.77 meters, to be precise,” says Visser.

This would mean that, with these nine ships, Maersk Line could operate a Far East-US East Coast all-water via the new Panama service. Other options via the enlarged Panama Canal could be: U.S. East Coast-West Coast South America or Europe-West Coast South America.

“Upon signing the order, only the length of these nine 14,000 TEU container ships was stated: 353 meters, but meanwhile it has been confirmed that their breadth will be 53.3 meters,” says Visser. “Hence, they will actually be too large to sail via Panama and thus, perhaps, be less flexible than Maersk Line would have hoped.”

Nonetheless, there will remain many other options where Panama doesn’t come at play, says Visser, such as the Far East, Europe or U.S. East Coast-East Coast South America, Far East-South Africa or Far East-Middle East.

Although some think that the Panama Canal Authority would be considering an upwards revision of the maximum allowed vessel-breadth (physically, the lock chambers have a width of 54 meters), that would not help these 14,000 TEU ships, says Visser. “Moreover, as there must be room in the locks for the tugboats guiding the mainline vessels in and out, we do not expect any spectacular upwards revision, if any at all.”

Last June CMA CGM ordered six 14,000 TEU ships with a breadth of 48.2 meters, which will therefore effectively be NewPanamax. It is assumed that the extra capacity versus a 13,200 TEU NewPanamax ship will come from an extra deck tier for empty containers. Therefore, the 14,000 TEU CMA CGM ships will be more flexible than those of Maersk, says Visser.

Also, NewPanamax ships (such as the CMA CGM 14,000 TEU units) require 19-wide Ship-to-shore terminal gantry cranes. For Maersk’s new ships that will be gantries capable of handling 21 boxes across deck. However, Visser says that such cranes are not common in southern hemisphere ports-terminals, another limit to the flexibility of the Maersk vessels.


Royal Caribbean in Billion Dollar Singapore Deal

By MarEx 2015-08-16 16:56:43

Royal Caribbean International has signed a first-ever multi-million dollar marketing collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) to promote cruising out of Singapore and, in turn, attract the cruise line’s largest number of overseas fly-cruise guests to the nation.

The tripartite collaboration – which runs between 2015 and 2018 – is estimated to pull in over 170,000 overseas visitors to Singapore to sail on Royal Caribbean’s cruises over that period, resulting in a projected growth of over 50 per cent.

This will be done via a series of marketing campaigns, research studies and channel development activities, such as partnerships with the media and trade, in markets not only within Asia such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, but also beyond the region in Australia, Europe and North America.

Royal Caribbean also plans to increase its number of sailings from Singapore during this period to over 40 a year.

Currently, the cruise line’s 3,807-guest Mariner of the Seas makes around 30 voyages annually. Its next Singapore season which will be the largest ever, starting from this October, will feature more long cruises of seven to 15 nights, aimed at attracting more overseas fly-cruise guests.

Sean Treacy, Managing Director, Singapore and Southeast Asia of Royal Caribbean Cruises said: “Having deployed ships here regularly for the last seven years, Royal Caribbean now looks forward to its next phase of significant growth in Singapore. Our three-year deployment plan is our strongest commitment ever to this market and we see great potential in Singapore as a source market and regional cruise hub.”

Projected to generate over $100 million in tourism receipts, the collaboration with Royal Caribbean contributes substantially to Singapore’s cruise industry, with an estimated compounded annual growth of five to eight percent in throughput over the next three to four years. With the cruise industry already generating more than $500 million in direct spendingi in 2013, this development promises a further injection of significant economic impact into Singapore.

With more than 25,000 islands, Southeast Asia is an ideal cruising destination for travellers seeking to discover multiple cultures and new experiences in a warm, tropical year-round climate. The region appeals particularly strongly to Asian travellers due to its close proximity to home, with eight in 10 who have never cruised before expressing interest to embark on a cruise vacation within Southeast Asia.

Providing a link between Royal Caribbean International, Singapore and its regional neighbors is Changi Airport’s strong connectivity to 320 cities worldwide, along with some 6,700 weekly flights, giving Singapore a strategic advantage to effectively tap fly-cruise traffic from across the globe and serve as a cruise hub for Asia.


Singapore Taps into Students’ Minds

By MarEx 2015-08-16 16:43:01

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) run its annual Smart Port Hackathon on Sunday. The event saw a total of 120 participants from 21 teams, producing 21 maritime-related technology prototypes.

Supported by Singapore Polytechnic and the Urban Prototyping Singapore community, the maritime-themed hackathon brought together professionals from all walks of life such as industry players, data scientists, developers and designers as well as students from varying disciplines, to create solution-oriented technology prototypes that addressed a series of challenges put forth to enhance productivity, efficiency and sustainability in the Port of Singapore.

This year’s hackathon saw a total of 20 different datasets with 70 million data points provided by MPA and its supporting partners such as Amos International, BH Global, Jurong Port, NEA, PSA and Singapore Cruise Centre. These datasets included vessel movement and position data, vessels pre-arrival notification data, ship registries, cargo information, berthing schedules, container trucking data, pilotage orders, garbage collection service orders, customers’ ship supplies orders, sea supplies inventory, lighter service timings and hydrographic maps.

Participants were tasked to use the datasets provided to create innovative technology-enabled, data-driven solutions that addressed various challenges in the maritime services value chain, maritime logistics supply chain as well as cruise and ferry terminal operations. The top prize was S$5,000, runner-up prizes being S$3,000 and S$2,000 accordingly. Special prizes were also given out to the Best Student Team, Best IBM BlueMix App, Best Data Analytics and Best Hack.

Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA said, “We are happy to see such strong interest in this year’s Smart Port Hackathon. We look forward to working with the winning teams as well as the teams with innovative ideas to further develop their ideas and explore their feasibility in enhancing the productivity, efficiency and sustainability in the Port of Singapore. Looking ahead, we also hope to explore with other major ports meaningful collaborations in data analytics and information exchange to reduce port congestions and other supply chain disruptions.”

Smart Port Hackathon 2015 was made possible with industry partners – APL, BH Global, DHL, Container Depot Association of Singapore, Jurong Port, PSA Corporation, Singapore Cruise Centre, Singapore Customs, Singapore Shipping Association, Singapore Association of Shipsuppliers & Services; and supporting partners – M1, IBM, Orbcomm, Sense Infosys, Singapore Polytechnic, Tableau and Whispir.


Fire on Philippines Ferry, 550 Safe

By MarEx 2015-08-15 01:56:47

A ferry carrying around 550 people caught fire while docked at Ormoc Port in the Philippines on Saturday morning.

The vessel, MV Wonderful Stars, was reported to have thick smoke emanating from the engine room shortly after it arrived from Cebu City.

Fire engines arrived on the scene, but fire-fighting efforts have been hampered by the presence of fuel in the vehicles on board, so firefighting is ongoing.

The passengers were disembarked safely. Three injured crew members were sent to Ormoc City hospital for medical treatment of minor injuries incurred while combating the fire. There were no reported casualties amongst the passengers.

The MV Wonderful Stars is operated by Roble Shipping Line.

This was the second ship accident in Ormoc in two months. On July 2, over 60 people were killed when the Nirvana-B capsized shortly after it left Ormoc port en route to Cebu.