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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

United States News

(Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Trump Issues National Maritime Day Proclamation

In recognition of National Maritime Day, held on May 22 each year, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation honoring the U.S. maritime industry. The full text is below.Since the founding of our great Nation, we have relied on merchant mariners to deliver goods to market and strengthen our national security. On National Maritime Day, we recognize the United States Merchant Marine for all it does to facilitate our commerce and protect our interests at sea.Our Nation’s merchant…

(Photo: Port of Brownsville)

When the Bell Rings: Honoring US Merchant Mariners

This Memorial Day, as we rightfully honor the military men and women who gave their lives winning and protecting our freedoms, let us not forget an often-overlooked remembrance for the thousands of U.S. merchant mariners who also died serving our country in their own selfless ways.In 1933, by a joint Resolution of Congress and by Proclamation of the President of the United States, May 22 was set aside as National Maritime Day to honor the sacrifices of U.S. merchant mariners during wartime and in peace.

Arthur Mead (Photo: AWO)

AWO Elects Crowley's Mead as Chairman

Arthur F. Mead, Vice President and Chief Counsel at Crowley Maritime Corporation, has been elected Chairman of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), succeeding outgoing Chairman Scott Merritt, former Chief Operating Officer with Foss Maritime Company, LLC.Members of the national tugboat, towboat and barge industry association elected a new slate of leaders this week during the association's Spring Board of Directors / Annual Membership Meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautionary measures that resulted in the meeting not taking place in Washington…

© Björn Wylezich / Adobe Stock

Bahri Puts LNG Tanker Plan on Hold

Saudi Aramco’s shipping division Bahri has put on hold plans to charter up to 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers after Sempra Energy delayed its decision on whether to proceed with an LNG export project in Texas, two sources said.Bahri issued an expression of interest (EOI) last year to charter the vessels from 2025 in Saudi Aramco’s first foray into LNG as part of the state oil giant’s plan to become a major global player in the gas market.In May last year, Aramco signed a 20-year agreement to buy LNG from Sempra Energy’s planned Port Arthur export terminal and also agreed to buy a 25% eq

© Kalyakan / Adobe Stock

WTO's Goods Trade Index at Record Low Amid COVID-19 Disruptions

The World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday its goods trade indicator fell to the lowest level since its launch, indicating global trade was likely to fall “precipitously” in the first half of 2020 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.The indicator, launched in July 2016, fell to 87.6 from 95.5 in February, the Geneva-based body said. Readings of less than 100 indicate trade below medium-term trends.“The current reading captures the initial phases of the COVID-19 outbreak…

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels in April approached U.S. Military ships in international waters of the North Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo)

US Tells Gulf Mariners to Stay Clear of Its Warships

In an alert that appeared aimed squarely at Iran, the U.S. Navy issued a warning on Tuesday to mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters away from U.S. warships or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”The notice to mariners, which was first reported by Reuters, follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass Navy vessels."Armed vessels approaching within 100 meters of a U.S. naval vessel may be interpreted as a threat," according to the text of the notice.A U.S.

“I think we need to be bold in our thinking, but cautious in our applications. It doesn’t cost that much money to play around with ideas; and that small investment could turn up some great benefits. But if you’re afraid to make that initial investigation, things will pass you by.”
John Waterhouse, Elliott Bay Design Group

Interview: John Waterhouse, EBDG - “Be Bold in Thinking but Cautious in Application”

John Waterhouse is a ubiquitous character in the U.S. maritime industry, a deep-thinker, a signature bow tie and more than three decades of naval architecture and marine engineering experience and success as co-owner of the Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG).While growing up, John Waterhouse spent some time in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and it was as a young boy standing on the shores of English Bay, watching ships come in from around the world to load and unload their cargos, when he realized that a maritime career could be his future.

© Marek Slusarczyk / Adobe Stock

CMA CGM Takes $1.1 Bln Loan

Shipping group CMA CGM has obtained a 1.05 billion euro ($1.1 billion) loan to be 70% guaranteed by the French government as it seeks to bolster its cash position during the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered international trade.The loan, secured from a consortium of banks comprising BNP Paribas, HSBC and Société Générale, has an initial one-year maturity and an extension option of up to five years, Marseille-based CMA CGM said in a statement on Wednesday.France is offering guarantees to support billions of euros in loans for French companies to help them survive the economic fallout fro

(File photo: Maersk)

Maersk Profits Up 23%, Demand Slowdown Expected

Shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk warned of a sharp drop in global container volumes due to the coronavirus pandemic, with weaker retail sales and depressed car production dampening demand.The crisis has thrown the container shipping trade off balance as supply chains have been upended and businesses and factory activity in China and later across the world was disrupted.Maersk, which also reported a 23% rise in first-quarter core profits on Wednesday, now expects global container demand to contract this year…

© Alex Ruhl / Adobe Stock

Collapsed Riverbank Disrupts Argentina's Exports

Ships transporting cargo from Argentina's Rosario grain hub through the Parana River are having to reduce their cargoes after a bank collapse obstructed the navigation channel, exporters told Reuters.Dredgers are working in the Parana to the south of the Rosario complex to try to restore the necessary depth of water for export traffic, but at present have no estimate of when normal operations on the grains superhighway can resume."Ships cannot leave because they do not have the adequate safety margin…

Owen Gibson (Photo: USCG)

Coast Guard Academy Cadet Receives Fulbright Award

First Class Cadet Owen Gibson, a Civil Engineering major from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, has received a Fulbright Award to pursue a two-year Master of Science degree in Water Resource Engineering and Management at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.Gibson’s Fulbright research project will focus on climate change and soil erosion models. The goal of his research is to develop a model for assessing coastal soil erosion rates. The model will address the uncertainty of climate change using probability analysis and will be tested throughout coastal regions in Northern Germany.

© Fernando Martinho / Adobe Stock

China's Soybean Imports Slide 12%

China's April soybean imports fell 12% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, with analysts citing the impact of bad weather delaying cargoes from top supplier Brazil.China, the world's top soybean buyer, brought in 6.714 million tonnes of the oilseed in April, down from 7.64 million tonnes a year ago, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.Rains in late February held back the harvest and exports in Brazil, leading to record-low levels of soybeans and soymeal in China…

(Photo: Port of Los Angeles)

Port of Los Angeles 2020 Cargo Volume Down 15.5%

Cargo volume at the Port of Los Angeles is down 15.5% so far this year as the novel coronavirus upends economies around the globe, Gene Seroka, executive director of the busiest U.S. seaport, said on a webcast on Wednesday.April volume was down 6.5% year-over-year as the financial and human toll of the pandemic come into focus in the United States and around the globe.Consumer demand for non-essential items has fallen off the cliff in the United States - where the pandemic is blamed for more than 71…

Rear Adm. Melissa Bert (Photo: USCG)

Rear Adm. Bert Makes History with New USCG Role

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday Rear Adm. Melissa Bert has been invested as judge advocate general and chief counsel of the Coast Guard. Bert is the service’s first woman to hold that office.Bert was most recently the director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the Coast Guard, where she was responsible for external engagement with Congress, the media and other inter-governmental entities.As judge advocate general and chief counsel, Bert will lead a group of legal professionals who are responsible for the delivery of all legal services in support of the Coast Guard's missions…

© Vladimir / Adobe Stock

Pemex Trading Arm Mulls Canceling May-June Cargos

The trading arm of Mexican state oil company Pemex is mulling options to slash the number of fuel cargoes the country imports in May and June as demand plummets because of the coronavirus, three sources close to the talks told Reuters.Pemex last week declared force majeure over fuel supplies from its trading arm PMI Comercio Internacional after a bottleneck of more than 60 vessels built up outside Mexican ports, waiting to discharge.But PMI still has not declared force majeure…

© Tom Wang / Adobe Stock

US Imposes New Restrictions on Exports to China

The United States on Monday posted rule changes that impose new restrictions on exports to China, including aircraft components and many items related to semiconductors.The new rules will require licenses for U.S. companies to sell certain items to military entities, even if they are for civilian use, and do away with a civilian exception that allows certain U.S.

© Oleksii Fadieiev / Adobe Stock

US Should Avoid Phased Approach in Kenya Trade Talks -Chamber of Commerce

The United States should work to achieve a single, comprehensive agreement with Kenya that removes barriers to trade and investment, instead of pursuing a phased approach, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a document viewed by Reuters.In comments submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative, the Chamber's U.S.-Africa Business Center said a high-standard agreement that eliminated all tariffs would boost the long-term economic outlook for both countries, and further position Kenya…

© Kalyakan / Abobe Stock

Oil Traders Chase Storage Space in World Awash with Fuel

Oil traders are struggling to find enough ships, railcars, caverns and pipelines to store fuel as more conventional storage facilities fill up amid abundant supply and plummeting demand due to the coronavirus crisis.Dozens of oil tanker vessels have been booked in recent days to store at least 30 million barrels of jet fuel, gasoline and diesel at sea, acting as floating storage, as on-land tanks are full or already booked, according to traders and shipping data.That adds to about 130 million barrels of crude already in floating storage…

© Oleg Totskyi / Adobe Stock

Bunge to Sell 35 US Grain Elevators to Zen-Noh Grain

Agricultural commodities trader Bunge Ltd said on Tuesday it will sell 35 of its interior U.S. grain elevators to Zen-Noh Grain Corporation, dramatically reducing its grain origination network in the United States.Financial details of the sale with the subsidiary of Japan's Zen-Noh Group were not disclosed, and the deal is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, Bunge said.Although the sale will significantly reduce the number of Bunge grain storage and handling assets in the United States…

© Vladimir / Adobe Stock

Tanker Bottleneck Grows at Mexico's Ports

More than 20 vessels loaded with fuel have waited a week or more to discharge gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas at Mexico's ports, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, as demand craters due to coronavirus-related lockdowns.Mexico imports most of its fuel and has very limited storage capacity. State oil company Pemex and about a dozen independent importers typically discharge at least two gasoline cargoes per day, mostly coming from the United States.In January…

© KnoB / Adobe Stock

Japan Exports Slump as Coronavirus Hits Demand

Japan's exports slumped the most in nearly four years in March as U.S.-bound shipments, including cars, fell at the fastest rate since 2011, highlighting the damage the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on global trade.Monday's bleak data underscored the challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government faces in dealing with a collapse in activity that is expected to send the global economy into its deepest slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s.After a jump in virus cases…

Maran Gas Vergina - Image by Tim Cheetham - MarineTraffic

LNG Tanker to Discharge First US Cargo in China in 13 Months

The tanker Maran Gas Vergina has arrived in China with the first delivery of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 13 months, shipping data showed on Monday.This is the first shipment since March 2019 after a long-standing trade war in which China raised tariffs on LNG imports from the United States to 25% last year.The tanker berthed on Monday in Tianjin, where China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) and Sinopec operate LNG terminals, ship-tracking data from Refinitiv and data…

(Photo: North Caolina Ports)

New Reefer Yard Opens at Port of Wilmington

The new $14 million refrigerated container yard at the Port of Wilmington boosts on-terminal refrigerated container (reefer) plugs from 235 to 775 with the ability to expand to more than 1,000 plugs through Phase 2 of the project.“North Carolina Ports has become a critical gateway for the movement of refrigerated cargoes. The completion of the refrigerated container yard allows NC Ports to better support the growing agriculture and grocery sectors across North Carolina and the entire southeastern United States,” said Paul J.

Photo: NAVFAC EXWC

NAVFAC EXWC Prints Masks to Aid Pandemic

Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of the command’s additive manufacturing capabilities.NAVFAC EXWC will soon deliver the first batch of 250 face mask kits to commands needing additional PPE. Other commands will continue to coordinate with NAVFAC EXWC leadership for shipment of needed PPE, and subsequently update the additive manufacturing teams on further developing supplies.The face masks kits are being printed in three sizes: small, medium, and large.

Image Credit: Port of Rotterdam

COVID-19 to Wipe 20% of Traffic in Europe's Largest Port

Throughput at the Port of Rotterdam is set to drop by up to 20% this year as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts production and trade worldwide, Europe's largest sea port said on Thursday.Throughput of containers, coal, oil products and other bulk goods already declined 9.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the port authority said, as economies around the globe shut down in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak."We are facing unprecedented disruptions", the port's…

Photo: JAXPORT

JAXPORT Deferring Foreign Trade Zone Application Fee

To help Northeast Florida companies better manage cash flow during COVID-19, the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) is now deferring the application fee for all new Foreign Trade Zone No. 64 applications received by July 31, 2020. New FTZ customers can defer the one-time $2,500 application fee for 90 days from their application date, and take advantage of the substantial savings, including import duty deferral, reduction, or elimination, that a foreign trade zone offers.An FTZ is a secured site within the United States, but technically considered outside of U.S.