Briefly

Low sulphur fuel

The Shenzhen government plans to spend $US32 million (F$61m) a year on cash rebates to encourage shipping lines to switch to low-sulphur fuel while at berth.

It will subsidise between 75 and 100 per cent of the extra costs incurred in the voluntary at-berth switch to fuel with a maximum 0.5 per cent sulphur content.

Dong Yanze, director of the construction management office of Shenzhen’s transport commission said: “We are learning from the experiences in Hong Kong, where companies have volunteered to switch to low-sulphur fuel and the government provides subsidies for extra costs incurred.”

Bunker bills account for 20 and 30 per cent in the operational costs of shipping lines, which have been hit by heavy losses in a recent slump in the industry.

Piracy

The Month of October has seen similar level of piracy-related incidents around Indian Ocean region as the month before, totalling at least seven cases of those released to the public. In the Western African region the attacks or suspicious events have declined and only one attack with kidnap has been reported by some sources (dismissed by IMB to date).

South China Sea region counted at least 7 serious incidents, including an incident of another oil cargo theft near Malaysia and Pulau Bintan (Indonesia) and also an incident of stealing of a vessel bunker in Malacca Strait near Thailand.

On September 6, 2014 a group of heavily armed militants attacked a naval dock in Karachi’s sea port and targeted what they believed was an American aircraft carrier, but instead found a Pakistan Navy frigate and were overwhelmed before they could cause any damage.

Monitor freight rates

Some of the biggest companies moving their products across busy ocean routes have asked the US maritime watchdog to closely monitor giant shipping alliances for price manipulation in freight rates, and to push the shipping companies to share some of the cost savings achieved through their tie-ups.

The European Shippers Council, representing companies such as chemical producer BASF SE, tyre maker Cie. Générale des Établissements Michelin and industrial conglomerate Siemens AG, wants the US Federal Maritime Commission to impose a monitoring system that will ensure shipping companies don’t boost freight rates on cargo moved on the Asia-Europe loop and across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The council’s push comes as the U.S. regulator reviews a request for clearance on the so-called 2M alliance, made up of Maersk Line, a unit of Danish conglomerate A.P. Møller-Mærsk, and Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s two biggest container-shipping companies in terms of capacity.

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