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April 24, 2023

China’s military plans to conduct at least five drills in various areas, including the South China Sea and waters off its coast, amid simmering tensions with Taiwan and the US. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will hold one of the announced military exercises for three days in waters off the port city of Qingdao, home to a major naval base, according to a statement by China’s Maritime Safety Administration. China has escalated military and aerospace activities off its coast in recent days. Beijing restricted flights and shipping around Taiwan in August as it held military exercises to protest a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The PLA will also hold drills in the South China Sea starting from Friday until Sunday, according to a separate statement from the Maritime Safety Administration. This comes ahead of the biggest US-Philippine military exercises, which run through next week, part of the wider push to advance the longstanding alliance.

SFL Corporation has sold and delivered its 2010-built suezmax tanker, Everbright, to Turkey’s Besiktas Likid Tasimacilik, earning net proceeds of around $41.1m. The ship was debt-free at the end of the first quarter, and the sale should result in a second-quarter book gain of $6.4m. Following the sale, the company, which also owns bulkers, boxships, car carriers, and offshore drilling rigs, will have seven suezmax tankers, with the oldest unit built in 2015. Divesting of older vessels is part of the company’s strategy to continuously renew and diversify its fleet, and the net cash proceeds are expected to be reinvested in new assets.

The Port of Oakland’s total container volume increased by 10.7% in March over February, reaching 170,268 TEUs. Overall exports, loaded and empty containers, rose 13.1% compared to February 2023, while overall imports also rose by 7.9%. This marks the first month since November 2020 that Port of Oakland loaded exports have outpaced full imports. Full TEUs in March 2023 declined by 23.3% compared to March 2022, and loaded imports dropped 36%. Bryan Brandes, Port of Oakland maritime director, stated that exports are very important to Oakland and it’s great to see an upswing in the total export cargo volume compared to February.

Twenty-three shipping companies participated in the Protecting Blue Whales & Blue Skies vessel speed reduction program in 2022, contributing to cleaner air, safer whales, and a quieter ocean. The voluntary incentive program ran from May to December 2022, and participation was greater than any previous year, with 18 shipping companies participating in 2021. Shipping companies received recognition and financial awards based on the percent of distance traveled by their vessels through the Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) zones at 10 knots or less and with an average speed of 12 knots or less. Eight participating companies reached the Sapphire level, the most in the top category since the program began. The 2023 program runs from May to December 2023 and will be the biggest season yet for whale protection and clean air, with tanker operators invited to join. The program is a collaborative effort by various air pollution control districts, national marine sanctuaries, and foundations.

COSCO SHIPPING Tianjin, Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group, and the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) signed an investment agreement with Beigang New Energy Investment in Singapore on April 3. This is in line with the agreements made during the meeting between the heads of state of Singapore and China, aiming to promote green, low-carbon, and intelligent development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor between China and ASEAN. The registered capital of Beigang New Energy Investment is $14.5 million, and the joint venture will focus on the development of new energy projects in the Qinzhou Port Area and logistics park, as well as the construction of distributed photovoltaic and wind power projects. COSCO SHIPPING plans to collaborate with Beigang New Energy Investment on supply chain management, digitalization, green ports, clean energy, and other industries to achieve green, low-carbon, and intelligent growth.

IThe Port of Rotterdam saw an 11.5% decline in container volume in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, due to a reduction in volumes to and from Russia. Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, expects a limited decline in throughput volumes for the rest of the year due to high inflation and a weakening economy. The decline in container imports from Asia (-14.2% in TEUs) was due to lower demand for physical goods caused by inflation and accumulated stocks. The Port of Rotterdam handled 1.5% less freight in the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period in 2022. The total throughput of 111.7 million tonnes saw growth in segments including liquid bulk, iron ore & scrap, coal, and LNG, but a decline in the container segment and freight in the breakbulk segment.

The Unified Command that responded to the fire aboard the fishing vessel Kodiak Enterprise in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Washington has been stood down. The responders removed fuel and pockets of water from the vessel over the last two weeks and successfully removed all remaining diesel from the ship with no spills or sheening observed during defueling operations. The incident commanders expressed their gratitude to the responders who conducted salvage work over the last two weeks. The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the incident, and the final plan for the vessel has not been determined.

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.