Wisdom Marine improves profits

Taipei-listed bulk carrier Wisdom Marine posted profits of TWD1.22 billion (USD39 million) for the January-July period, an increase of 30.34% on a year ago.
The company’s recorded revenue for the same period was TWD6.2 billion, up 18.11% on a year ago.
Its July revenue stood at TWD931.5 million,

OOIL’s profits up 32% y/y in 1H15

Orient Overseas (International) (OOIL), the parent company of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), said its profits had risen 32% year on year (y/y) to USD238.6 million in the first six months of 2015, due to lower bunker fuel costs.
Revenues fell 6% y/y to USD3.0 billion during the same period,

Japanese War Widow’s Dying Wish Fulfilled

By MarEx 2015-08-09 22:21:52

A Japanese wartime widow has found final peace in the waters off Darwin, Australia, near where her aircrew husband perished during World War II.

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender the dying wish of Miyoko Kawahara was finally fulfilled on Saturday.

In 1943 her young husband Shinji Kawahara was among the Japanese Navy flight crew flying a reconnaissance mission near Charles Point northwest of Darwin when he was shot down by Spitfire fighters. Both Shinji and his fellow flight crew member flight chief petty officer Tomihiko Tanaka died but their bodies were never recovered.

Before she died on October 11, 2014, Miyoko expressed a wish for her ashes to join her husband’s body at the site of the downed aircraft off the Northern Territory coast.

Supported by the federal and Northern Territory governments and the City of Darwin, the Kawahara family were able to carry out this request.

In a simple ceremony on the waters outside Darwin, Miyoko’s ashes were given to the sea by five family members, led by Noriyo Ito, the daughter of Shinji Kawahara.

“My mother had a difficult life after the war and their marriage was very short,” said 72-year-old Ito, reports ABC New. “I don’t remember anything about my father because I was eight months old when he died.”

Three generations of the family travelled from Tokyo to Darwin to witness the private ceremony.

The Northern Territory’s Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Peter Styles, said the Northern Territory Government was more than happy to join with others to help the Kawahara family’s emotional pilgrimage to Darwin, and the Royal Australian Navy provided the platform for the journey.

“For many Australians now the war is more a subject of interest rather than anger,” Styles said.

“We are firm friends with Japan, and we’re happy to support this request to bring the family peace in their quest.

“The Territory saw more than two years of being on the war’s front line, with air raids carried out until the end of 1943. There was great heartbreak and tragedy and we remember the fallen from both sides.”


Missing Singapore-Registered Tanker Found

By MarEx 2015-08-09 16:18:14

A tanker hijacked on Sunday has been found approximately 13 nautical miles off Tanjung Keling, Malaysia.

The crew of the 1,796gt Singapore-registered MT Joaquim are accounted for, says the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

According to the vessel’s ship management company, RTBS Consultants, there were nine crew members onboard at the time of the incident, one Singaporean and eight Indonesians. Two injured crew members, one of them the master, were airlifted to Alor Gajah Hospital in Malacca, Malaysia, for treatment. The men had been hit with blunt objects by the pirates.

MPA is working with the Malaysian authorities to ensure the safety of the other crew members and the vessel. Meanwhile, the vessel’s ship management company is making arrangements to bring the tanker back to Singapore.

The vessel was hijacked at approximately 29 nautical miles north of Pulau Rupat in the Strait of Malacca. At the time of the incident, the vessel was on its way to Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia, from Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia.

The cargo of 3,500 ton of marine gas oil on board the tanker is reported missing.


OOIL’s profit up 32% y/y in 1H15

Orient Overseas (International) (OOIL), the parent company of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), said its profit had risen 32% year on year (y/y) to USD238.6 million in the first six months of 2015, due to lower bunker fuel costs.
However, revenues fell 6% y/y to USD3 billion during the same period,

Seattle and Tacoma Ports Unite

By MarEx 2015-08-09 04:07:41

Commissioners from the ports of Tacoma and Seattle have formally launched The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the first of its kind in North America.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance unifies the two ports’ marine cargo terminal investments, operations, planning and marketing to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more marine cargo to the region.

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the federal agency that oversees the shipping industry, voted unanimously to approve the agreement last month.

FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said, “This alliance would become the third-largest trade gateway in North America, behind the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Port of New York/New Jersey. The Pacific Northwest is a key region for inbound and outbound United States cargo, moving cargo not only for the regional trade, but also cargo headed to destinations throughout the entire U.S. Midwest, and this Alliance will help the region remain competitive into the future.”

While the ports remain separate organizations that retain ownership of their respective assets, they formed a port development authority (PDA) to manage the container, breakbulk, auto and some bulk terminals in Seattle and Tacoma. The airport; cruise business; marinas, such as Fisherman’s Terminal; grain terminals and industrial real estate, such as the Northwest Innovation Works and Puget Sound Energy facilities and Terminal 91 uplands, will remain outside the alliance.

The PDA will be governed jointly by the two ports through their elected commissions.

“Creating the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the third largest cargo gateway in North America, is truly historic and signals a new era of cooperation between our ports,” said Port of Seattle Commission co-President Courtney Gregoire. “Combining our strong cargo terminal operations will make our region more competitive in the global economy and create new jobs in Washington.”

“We have moved from fierce competitors to bold collaborators to form a new business model for the greater good of our region,” said Don Johnson, Port of Tacoma commission president. “We recognize how critical the maritime industry is to our state’s economy, and we are proud and excited to strengthen it even more.”


Panama Canal Restricts Ships Due to Drought

By MarEx 2015-08-08 17:13:09

The Panama Canal said beginning September 8th it will temporality restrict ships to a maximum of 39 feet (11.89 m) due to the drought caused by El Nino. This could affect about 20 percent of the water’s traffic transiting between Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The Authority also advised that further restrictions will be imposed if the canal depths remain low. The months of June and July were the driest period in about 102 years. The water levels in Lake Gutan and Alhajuela, which feed the canal, are extremely low.

The current draft for ships is 39.5 feet and on September 8th it will be reduced to 39 feet and if the drought persists the Authority said will be cut the restriction to 38.5 feet. Dry weather conditions in March 1998 saw authorities take similar actions.

The Canal Authority gets more than $1 billion per year in transit fees.


Biggest Customer Welcomes New Suez Canal

By MarEx 2015-08-07 18:48:15

All through the 20th and 21st century Egypt has acted as the bridge between Europe and Asia. From 2004 to 2014 container volumes transported via the Suez Canal has grown around 70 percent and the expansion confirms the Suez Canal Authority’s continuous commitment to accommodating growth in trade.

As the largest customer of the Suez Canal with more than 1,400 transits in 2014, the Maersk Group has welcomed the expansion of the Suez Canal and the advantages it entails.

Maersk Group representative and CEO of Maersk Drilling, Claus V. Hemmingsen participated in the official opening of the Suez Canal along with COO of Maersk Line, Søren Toft.

“The Suez Canal is a key corridor on the East/West trade. Maersk has used the corridor for more than 90 years, and we welcome the easier transit and reduced transit times that the new expansion will bring,” says Hemmingsen.

Container Ship Transits

The Suez Canal accounts for roughly 7.5 percent of world sea trade and container vessels account for over 50 percent of the canal’s tonnage passage. Maersk Line contributes with 20 percent of the container transits, and virtually all Maersk Line’s Asia-Europe cargo goes through the canal. This includes everything from Chinese textiles and Indian Basmati Rice to German machinery or French wine passing through the Suez Canal.

Prior to the extension, the southbound transit took 18 hours and the northbound took 11 hours. After the opening of the extension, both ways will only take 11 hours. With the current expansion the next generation of vessels should also be able to transit safely and without delay.

“The development in the number of transits through the canal underscores the need of having a canal that guarantees quick passage both ways and helps relieve bottlenecks, accommodating growth in trade and vessel sizes – an effort we welcome from all our partners and suppliers,” says Hemmingsen.

Future Trade

The company says that while trade is not growing as fast as previously and the Asia-Europe trade growth has stagnated, trade growth and volumes will increase overall.

In the short-term Westbound volumes (i.e. from Asia into Europe) are currently declining. This is a direct effect of the weak Russian economy as well as European retail inventories depleting following last year’s strong build-up. Maersk expects both of these negative effects to gradually fade in second half of 2015.

Otherwise, the European economy is doing relatively well, especially Spain, U.K. and North Europe (not the least Germany). Eastbound volumes (i.e. from Europe into Asia) have been declining during the last 6-12 months.

Chinese imports of raw materials remain frail not just from Europe, but also globally. The reason is first and foremost depletion of inventories, says Maersk, but the Chinese housing market is also weak (e.g. marble out of Turkey has fallen 10 to 20 percent). In 2015, weak Chinese demand will continue to dampen Eastbound volumes. In 2016, Chinese inventories of raw materials are assumed to reach critical low levels which should lead to a needed lift in Chinese imports, says Maersk.


Illegal Fishing Vessel Crew Fined

By MarEx 2015-08-07 18:14:24

The crew of the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessel Perlon – detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in May this year – has been convicted of offences under the Malaysian Fisheries Act.

A Malaysian court has fined the master and the crew of the Perlon approximately $445,000 and ordered forfeiture of the catch valued at approximately $1.3 million.

Earlier this year in April, following a boarding of the vessel by Australian customs officers, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority was able to alert South East Asian countries of the possible arrival of Perlon into their ports, which resulted in the initial detention of the Perlon by Malaysian authorities.

Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the conviction sent a strong message that the international community was united in the fight against IUU fishing vessels.

“The Australian Border Force and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority will not only continue to target IUU fishing vessels in the Australian maritime domain, but continue to work with international counterparts to share information and support investigations and prosecutions to ensure justice is done,” Dutton said.

In November last year the Australian government released the second national plan of action (RPOA) to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Australia and Malaysia are two out of the eleven RPOA partner nations.

IUU fishing threatens food security, undermines the sustainability of natural marine stocks and disrupts the economic stability of communities which rely on sustainable fisheries.

The Australian government is committed to targeting vessels involved in this trade, investigating the actions of people suspected of involvement, interrupting the supply chain of illicit catch and dismantling the business model of IUU operators.