Port of Charleston Hits Deepening Project Milestone

The Port of Charleston hit a major milestone following the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers unanimous approval of a proposal to deepen Charleston Harbor.

The Thursday approval of the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the Charleston Post-45 Harbor Deepening project, marks a significant step in ensuring the East Coast port can handle Post-Panamex vessels.

“[The] approval by the Civil Works Review Board allows our harbor deepening project to progress without delay,” said Jim Newsome, South Carolina Port Authority president and CEO. “Once deepening to 52 feet is realized, Charleston will offer the deepest harbor on the East Coast with the capability to serve fully-loaded post-Panamax vessels 24 hours a day.”

The final report has been approved for release for a 30-day review period for state and resource agencies. The Chief’s Report is expected to be signed in September and then transmitted to Congress, with construction to begin following the Preconstruction, Engineering and Design Phase.

“A competitive, growing port brings tremendous economic benefits to our state and our region,” said SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern. “Recognizing the importance of the deepening project to our port, elected officials from all levels of government as well as the business community and the public are united in their support of 52 feet. South Carolina, the Southeastern region and our nation will enjoy the positive impacts of the Charleston harbor deepening for years to come.”

Efforts to deepen the Charleston harbor began in 2011 in order to provide the depth necessary to handle post-Panamax vessel calls without tidal restriction. The expansion of the Panama Canal and the raising of the Bayonne Bridge in NJ are expected to significantly increase the size of cargo vessels deployed to East Coast ports, making deepwater a requirement for modern ports. In addition, growth of population and manufacturing in the Southeast has been a significant driver of volume gains and the need for a deeper harbor. Charleston currently receives 11 Post-Panamax vessel calls weekly.


Spending scheme threatens Savannah

A proposal that could drastically increase costs for harbour pilots at the Port of Savannah could also compromise growth at the port, a lawmaker has warned.
During a 25 June congressional floor debate on a 2016 federal spending bill, Buddy Carter, a US congressman from Georgia, explained that the

Cargo Ship Catches Fire off Scottish Coast

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-26 11:10:10

A fire erupted aboard general cargo ship late Thursday evening shortly after departing from Aberdeen Harbor.

The 1,720 dwt Celtica Hav was en route to Hamburg when smoke was reported coming from ship’s cargo hold. A lifeboat escorted the vessel back into Aberdeen Harbor, where local fire response teams were waiting. The fire was contained in the early morning hours and the vessel is currently reported to be in stable condition. No one was injured in the fire.

The vessel is believed to have been transporting a shipment of barley grain when the blaze occurred.

The Celtica Hav is owned and operated by Norwegian-based shipping company Hav Ship Management. It was built in 1984 and is registered in the Bahamas.


June container spot rates dive 18%

Container spot rates have dived by 18% in June on the previous month and operators should not count too much on the forthcoming high season in the sector to turn the picture prettier, a senior shipping analyst said.
“Spot rates have so far in June fallen by 18% from May and thereby they have

Investors Launch $120mln Case Against OW Bunker

By MarEx 2015-06-26 10:15:48

A group of Danish investors have sued OW Bunker for 800 million Danish crowns ($120 million) for misleading them in its initial public offer (IPO), after the ship fuel supplier filed for bankruptcy just months after listing.

The 27 institutions, including two of the largest pension funds in Denmark, ATP and PFA, with assets of more than $165 billion, filed two lawsuits, they said on Friday.

Anders Damgaard, CIO at PFA Pension, called the situation ‘regretable’ adding that “It should not be possible for the company described in the prospectus to be declared bankrupt only six months after the IPO.” He further emphasized the necessity to find out what went wrong and prevent something like this from happening in the future.

Ow Bunker, which had been valued at $1 billion when it floated at the end of March, came to grief in November 2014 after suffering hedging losses of almost $300 million.

Kenneth Joensen, Chief General Counsel at ATP said, “It is our duty towards ATP’s members to seek to recover as much as possible of the loss incurred as a result of OW Bunker’s bankruptcy. This was a highly negative event on the Danish stock market, and there is a strong need for clarifying the events preceding the bankruptcy and determining responsibility.”

The first case is against OW Bunker, its management and Altor Funds, the private equity fund that owned the company before listing it, regarding their responsibility for drawing up the prospectus for the flotation in March 2014.

A second lawsuit charged that OW Bunker failed to disclose information in a timely manner as per stock exchange rules.


July Resolution Anticipated in Pan-Pacific Trade Deal

By Reuters 2015-06-26 08:48:12

Japan and the United States are likely to resolve outstanding bilateral issues so that a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal can be struck at a multilateral ministerial meeting expected in July, a senior Japanese official said on Friday.

A deal between the United States and Japan, the world’s largest and third-largest economies, is vital to clinching the multilateral TPP pact, which would cover 40 percent of the world economy. The deal is a key part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic rebalance to Asia in the face of a rising China.

The politically touchy matters of access to Japan’s market for farm products including rice and the U.S. market for auto parts are among remaining bilateral issues, the official said told Reuters.

“It is not anticipated that these remaining issues will be stumbling blocks for a U.S.-Japan agreement,” the official said.

“We are confident we will be able to resolve them in time for concluding TPP negotiations overall.”

After a six-week Congressional battle, the U.S. Senate voted 60 to 38 on Wednesday to grant Obama “fast-track” power to negotiate trade deals and speed them through Congress.

Japan and some other countries had wanted fast-track to be approved before making final offers on the trade deal. The Japanese official declined to give details of the negotiations.

Intellectual property protection including for newly-developed drugs ranks high among the issues to be resolved to clinch the multilateral TPP deal, which would harmonize rules and standards and lower trade barriers among the 12 developed and emerging nations.

“If not conducted satisfactorily, it could very well be a reason for the U.S. Congress to reject TPP. So it is a prerequisite for a TPP agreement to include high standard protection for new drugs,” the Japanese official said.

But the official nonetheless sounded an optimistic note.

“I don’t think any remaining issues cannot be resolved if there is sufficient political attention and input required to solve these in time for the ministerial meeting that we expect to be held before the end of July,” he said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted TPP as an engine of reforms needed to drive growth. Japanese officials also hope the pan-Pacific deal will help anchor ally Washington in Asia and create a rule-based regime that would eventually draw in China.

If the TPP is agreed in late July or early August, the deal could be up for a final vote in U.S. Congress in the first half of December. Other countries also have to seek lawmakers’ approval.