Osaka’s cargo traffic tumbles in March

Cargo traffic at Osaka port, western Japan, plunged 14.2% in March from a year earlier to 6.83 million tonnes as both domestic and foreign trade sank at double-digit rates, according to early figures released by the Osaka municipal government on 30 June.
Of the 6.83 million tonnes, 2.883 million

Indonesian FSRU Lies Idle

By Reuters 2015-07-01 19:02:36

A $400 million FSRU has sat idle off Indonesia’s coast for around six months despite only being commissioned last summer, hit by faltering demand for the cleaner fuel as oil prices drop and the economy slows.

The stoppage could stoke government worries over the strength of appetite for gas in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, another blow to the administration of President Joko Widodo which has been pushing for greater consumption of the fuel to curb pollution and diversify energy sources.

Tepid Indonesian demand also means more liquefied natural gas is likely to spill into regional markets LNG-AS, already struggling near their lowest since before the Fukushima crisis in 2011 boosted usage as Japan shut all its nuclear reactors.

“Electricity demand is down significantly, so gas from LNG has become less competitive,” said Chairani Rachmatullah, gas and fuel division chief at state-owned power firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), which was supposed to be one of the main customers of the idle plant.

Floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) convert LNG shipped from producers back into gas, before transferring it onshore via a pipeline. They are typically cheaper and quicker to build than land-based LNG receiving terminals.

But the Lampung FSRU, an 82,000-ton vessel moored off the coast of Sumatra with a capacity to process two million tons of LNG a year, has not transferred any gas since January, according to officials from PLN and state gas utility Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), which operates the facility.

That amount of LNG could provide about 14 percent of Indonesia’s total power demand in 2014, according to Reuters calculations.

Electricity demand growth in Indonesia slumped to 2.05 percent in the first five months of the year, down from 6.14 percent in the same period in 2014, according to PLN, dragged lower as economic expansion slipped to its weakest in six years.

Appetite for gas has also been curbed by declining prices for rival fuels coal and diesel, which plunged this year on abundant supply and demand worries. Analysts said demand for regasified LNG has been worse hit than demand for piped gas as it is typically more expensive due to processing costs.

According to data from state oil and gas regulator SKKMigas, Indonesia’s gas demand has increased by 10 percent per year on average since 2003 and was forecast to jump 60 percent in the next five years, much of it to feed new power stations.

But from 2010 to 2014 demand grew at only 2.8 percent per year on average, slowing to 0.7 percent last year.

Officials from the president’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the government’s push towards gas.


All Indonesia’s LNG receiving terminals have missed consumption targets, according to SKKMigas. The country currently has two FSRUs and one land-based receiving terminal in the province of Aceh, with plans to develop two more FSRUs and a second land terminal by 2019.

The Lampung unit has not received any of the 14 cargoes it was allocated this year, and there are at least 78 uncommitted cargoes on the market over the next 18 months from domestic producers, SKKMigas data shows. It is leased to PGN by Norwegian firm Hoegh LNG Partners.

“Developing gas infrastructure is risky and (firms) need to be able to overcome pioneering costs,” PGN spokesman Irwan Andri Atmanto told Reuters, referring to the stoppage.


Striking Ferry Workers Ease Blockade

By Reuters 2015-07-01 16:19:52

Striking ferry workers blocking access to Calais port in northern France agreed on Wednesday to let some boats through, partly lifting a blockade in its third day.

Workers at ferry service MyFerryLink are trying to prevent job cuts after their company was sold to a Danish company earlier this month.

They agreed to let some boats go after their representatives were invited to meet with Transport Ministry officials on Thursday morning, following a threat to disrupt traffic through the Channel Tunnel for 48 hours.

“We’ve accepted to lift the blockade of the port from 20:00 (1800 GMT) to let P&0 boats through one by one,” union official Eric Vercoutre told journalists.

The threatened disruption of Tunnel traffic for Thursday and Friday would coincide with a surge in travel at the start of school summer holidays if the workers went ahead.

The protesters had already blocked the tunnel’s entrance for several hours on Tuesday by setting fire to tires thrown onto railway tracks.

MyFerryLink was previously owned by Eurotunnel, the company that operates the undersea cross-Channel rail link.

Migrants from Africa and the Middle East seeking to slip into Britain tried to profit from the strike to stow away on waiting trucks.

Dozens of migrants sat on the roadside around the port in the hope of sneaking aboard one of the vehicles, lined up bumper to bumper to limit their chance of getting in the back doors.

Adam, 36, a Sudanese migrant who fled the war-torn Darfur region, said he had nothing to lose and hoped to take advantage of the chaos.

“I am from the Zaghawa ethnic group and I no longer have a future in Sudan, although I have graduated,” he said. “I have been in France for the last two months and our life these days is very difficult. I hope to arrive to the UK because I will have identification documents quicker than in France.”

Calais is one of the flashpoints of the immigration crisis facing European Union countries, who are struggling to agree among themselves how to deal with the thousands of migrants heading their way to escape conflict or poverty.

Up to 3,000 migrants are estimated to be amassed around the port. Many want to get to Britain because they speak English, have family connections or are convinced they stand a better chance of getting a job there.

“Some try to get on the trucks by all possible means. Sometimes they cause damage to the freight we carry and then the client may refuse to pay for the freight we ship,” said a 58-year-old truck driver who gave his name as Elso.


MOL Confirms Successful Methanol Dual-fuel Engine Tests

By MarEx 2015-07-01 16:03:37

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd (MOL) has confirmed the successful testing of the world’s first low-speed methanol dual-fuel engine, which will be used in a series of newbuildings.

MOL announced today that engine building has already been completed and the manufacturer, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd has test-operated the unit using methanol fuel and confirmed that it met expected performance.

The new engines will be added to a fleet of new builds for Vancouver-based Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd. (WFS), which will be completed in 2016. The 50,000 dwt methanol flex-fuel carriers will be the first to utilize the new MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-LGI engine design, which can operate on methanol, fuel oil, marine oil, or gas oil. Eventually the engines will run on 95 percent methanol, ignited by 5 percent pilot oil.

Ole Grøne Senior Vice President – Low Speed Promotion & Sales – MAN Diesel & Turbo called completion of the tests a significant milestone in the development of diesel technology.

He went on to add, “we welcome our partners’ interest in our technology and acknowledge their taking the lead in proving the ME-LGI concept. We are confident that their faith will be rewarded in the immediate future.”

International and local regulatory requirements for CO2, NOX and SOX emissions have increasingly forced vessel owners to investigate greener and more innovative fuel sources. This new duel fuel technology has the capability to reduce a vessel’s CO2 emissions by 25 percent and NOX emissions by 60 percent when compared with traditional fuel oil. Also, since methanol does not contain sulfur it also successfully enables ships to operate with zero SOX emissions.

In comparison with other alternative fuel sources, methanol lends itself to easy transportation since it can be stored in normal, unpressurized tanks. It is also liquid at room temperature, which facilitates storage aboard vessels.

In March of this year the Stena Germanica underwent a conversion to become the world’s first methanol-powered ferry. It also operates on a dual-fuel design with methanol as its primary source and marine gas oil (MGO) as a backup option.


Ship Transporting Chemicals Runs Aground in Dardanelles

By Kathryn Stone 2015-07-01 13:12:22

A cargo ship transporting chemicals ran aground this morning in the Dardanelles.

According to local media reports the 7,618 dwt Ibrahim Konan was carrying ammonium sulfate, a common fertilizer additive, when it ran aground in a narrow part of the strait near Eceabat, Turkey. The incident occurred around 3:00am local time after the ship suffered a rudder failure. The captain of the ship reported the incident to the Directorate General of Coastal Safety, which responded by sending the Put 7 tug to the scene. Efforts to refloat the vessel are still underway.

Both the ship’s captain and an investigative team failed to find leaks or any signs of pollution in the surrounding area. No one was injured in the incident.

The Ibrahim Konan was traveling from Russia to Egypt when the grounding occurred. The ship is operated by Konan Shipping and is flagged in Panama.