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April 20, 2023

Russia’s Temryuk terminal may resume exports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as three gas carriers loaded with butane and propane finally crossed the Russia-built Crimea bridge over April 12-14, according to industry sources and Refinitiv ship-tracking data. The 12-mile bridge was bombed in October, and traders said that several tankers loaded with butane and propane could not cross the bridge due to security restrictions. The terminal, port of Temryuk, and Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Transport did not respond to a request for comments.

The Port of Long Beach saw a significant decline in cargo volumes in March 2023, falling by nearly a third from the same period last year. The decline in trade at the port reflects a wider trend in the economy as consumer spending remains slow. Despite the numbers, March volumes showed an 11% gain over February and a 5% increase compared to January. Port officials remain optimistic that the economy will eventually recover and trade volumes will rise again. A recent report by Descartes Systems Group revealed that West Coast ports are losing about 1 million TEUs annually to East and Gulf Coast ports, and there is uncertainty regarding West Coast labor talks.

According to data from Oslo-based freight rates platform, Xeneta, Vietnam is growing as a source for manufacturing goods bound for the US as many companies look for alternative places to source their goods due to Covid, tensions along the Taiwan Strait, a more strident China, and the war in Ukraine. In terms of containerised imports from Asia to the US, China and Singapore recorded the lowest growth, with a 7% increase, while Vietnam saw a growth rate of 156% between 2017 and 2022. Foreign investments in China also fell to their lowest level in close to two decades in the second half of 2022, while Vietnam has seen FDIs grow by 61.2% year-on-year across the first three months of 2023. A recent study found that 96% of American CEOs are evaluating reshoring as a strategy, and most have already committed to or already reshored.

Japanese liner, Ocean Network Express, has decided to install two containerised wind assist units on one of its feeder ships before the end of 2023. The VentoFoil suction systems, supplied by Netherlands-based company Econowind, are able to generate thrust and save up to 400 kW of engine power. The wind-assisted ship propulsion is reducing emissions per nautical mile, improving vessels’ EEXI/EEDI, and the costs of systems can be covered by the savings generated.

China’s post-COVID economic recovery has boosted demand for commodities, providing hope for tanker and dry bulk owners. Analysts at chartering platform Shipfix expect China’s economic recovery to gain momentum during Q2, while banks such as JPMorgan and Citi raised their 2023 China growth outlook to 6.4% and 6.1%, respectively. Refinery throughput in China reached a record high in March, and Chinese steel demand is forecasted to return to growth this year after two years of contraction. Dry bulk commodities such as coal and grains have also seen an increase in imports to China.

Transocean has seen its charter deal with Brazil’s Petrobras for the ultra-deepwater drillship Deepwater Mykonos extended until January 2025. The extension, on a $366,000 per day contract, kicks off in November 2024 and is in direct continuation of its existing fixture. The rig has been on contract with Petrobras since 2019 and is currently earning $224,000 per day.

A joint venture between Infinity Maritime and 5 Ocean Shipping Management has taken delivery of Oak, a 2011-built supramax bought from Chandris for $14.9m, as shipping prepares for a digital future with fractional ownership of vessels via online tokens. The Oak is the first deal on the Infinity Maritime platform and will now have equity in the ship digitised with a view to trading the company’s MetaUnits on Infinity’s secondary trading market. Infinity Maritime has been creating asset-backed MetaUnits for the ships it purchases and operates, resulting in a secondary market for investors. The Oak is currently being assessed for sustainability upgrades, and more than 12 ships of all types valued at more than $250m are likely to join the platform in the coming year.

You can read yesterday’s issue of ‘Currents’ here.

Disclaimer: ‘Currents’ is an online shipping news service by Earl’s Rock Trading (Pvt) Ltd that reports on the latest developments and trends in the maritime industry. We do not take any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in our news stories or for any opinions expressed by the people quoted in them. Our aim is to provide our readers with up-to-date news and insights from reliable sources. However, we do not endorse or take any responsibility for any actions taken by our readers based on the information provided in our news articles. We also want to make it clear that we do not own any of the images used in our news stories, unless stated otherwise. All images belong to their respective owners, and we use them solely for illustrative purposes. If you are the owner of any image used in our news stories and want it to be removed or credited, please contact us, and we will take the necessary action.