World Matime News (72)

Almost all ultra-large box tonnage sailing around Cape of Good Hope

Ultra-large box tonnage serving the Asia-Europe trade route is now sailing almost exclusively around the Cape of Good Hope in response to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence show Suez Canal transits by ultra-large containerships have also slowed to a mere trickle amid the exodus, which, in turn, has led to almost a complete rerouting of trade in little over a month. Since the turn of the year, the weekly average of ships boasting a capacity of more than 14,500 teu transiting the Egyptian waterway has slumped to just five, compared with more than 30 through November last year. This trend is apparent for all post-panamax-class vessels or above 4,500 teu. However, transits recorded for smaller units remain relatively unchanged during the same period, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence Suez passings data.


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NY-NJ port chief sees delays, but no congestion, from Suez diversions

According to the Port of New York and New Jersey chief, shippers need to add two weeks of lead time to their ocean supply chains to account for container ships being rerouted around southern Africa amid ongoing attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. While off-schedule ships periodically crowd marine terminals, the port is not seeing any major impact from the longer transits as vessels divert from the Suez Canal, Bethann Rooney, port director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said.


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Carrier reliability remains below pre-pandemic levels

Container line schedule reliability improved again in 2023 but remained below the levels achieved before the pandemic despite the easing of congestion. After falling from 78% of vessels arriving on time in 2019 to just 36% in 2021, there was a slight uptick in 2022, followed by a 20 percentage point increase to 62% in 2023, according to the latest Global Liner Performance report from Sea-Intelligence. Nevertheless, despite a good start to the year, a dip in December brought the average down as the first impacts of the Red Sea diversions were felt.


Read more: Lloyd’s List


Gemini alliance a sign of wider changes within container shipping industry

In subtle but telltale ways, the formation of the Gemini Cooperation between Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, announced on 17 January, showed how container shipping — and the world around it — is changing. In a move that accelerates the first reshuffling of global carrier vessel-sharing agreements (VSAs) since the existing alliance structure took shape in 2017, the two Northern Europe-based carriers will create a VSA involving 290 ships and 26 services across seven east-west trade lanes as of February 2025. But this was hardly a normal alliance announcement for two reasons. The first was the carriers’ stated goal of 90% on-time performance once the full network is in place, a significantly higher level than presently exists in the industry. In stating this goal publicly, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd signaled that they see an opening to differentiate themselves from carriers less committed to schedule reliability and that this will yield results. In other words, in the current market, an opportunity awaits those able to achieve ambitious levels of service quality. Secondly, they said the new alliance will operate as a “hub-and-spoke” network, a move that reinforces the message of quality and reliability. It says to shippers, “Don’t think in the traditional terms of port-pair connectivity and point-to-point transit times. Rather, determine where and when you need the goods, with confidence that we can get them there on time.” This is ambition on an audacious scale; indeed, getting shippers to embrace a high-quality container service at scale has not been achieved in the past.


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The Alliance confirms it will meet 2024 commitments

Members of The Alliance, the vessel-sharing agreement between Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express, HMM, and Yang Ming, have sought to reassure the market following the announcement that Hapag-Lloyd will leave the group next January. “In response to recent developments surrounding The Alliance, which includes member lines Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, Yang Ming Marine Transport, and Ocean Network Express, we wish to emphasize our unwavering commitment to maintaining a robust cooperation throughout 2024, ensuring that the highest standards of cooperation and exceptional service are delivered to our stakeholders and the industry at large.” They confirmed The Alliance’s network and services, last updated in December, would remain in place until the end of January 2025. After that point, the future of The Alliance becomes less certain.


Read more: Lloyd’s List


Share of China imports to US dipped below 40% last year amid sourcing shift

The share of ocean-going containerized imports coming into the United States from China last year fell below 40% for the first time in over a decade as retailers and other shippers sourced a greater share of goods from South Korea, India, and Germany. Imports from China totaled approximately 9.6 million TEUs, or 39.6% of total seaborne-laden container volumes landing in the US, down slightly from 40.7% in 2022 and the lowest since at least 2013, according to an analysis of data from PIERS, a sister company of the Journal of Commerce within S&P Global. As recently as 2018, China commanded 47% of the inbound container volumes to the US. But rising geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington, new tariffs, and a post-COVID shift in manufacturing momentum to Southeast Asia have cut into China’s dominance.


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World’s first deepsea methanol-fuel boxship named Ane Maersk

The first deepsea methanol-fueled containership was named at South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai Heavy Industries for the world’s second-largest boxship operator, Maersk. Named Ane Maersk (IMO: 9948748), the 16,592 teu vessel was named after Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla, chair of the AP Moller Foundation and AP Moller Holding, in a ceremony at the shipyard in Ulsan. Ane Maersk is the lead ship in 12 neo post-panamax containerships ordered in 2021 and 2022. It will enter Maersk’s “AE7” Asia/Europe service in early February. It will commence its maiden voyage on green methanol, which will be bunkered near the shipyard, according to Maersk.


Read more: Lloyd’s List


Evergreen ties up deal with X-Press Feeders for methanol-fuel feeder services

Evergreen has tied up a deal to use X-Press Feeders’ upcoming methanol-fuel feeder services, which are expected to commence in the year’s second quarter. The initial service will use X-Press Feeders’ soon to be delivered newbuilding, the 950 teu Eco Maestro (IMO: 9959541), and will operate between Rotterdam, Scandinavia, and the Baltic Sea. The agreement is set to be expanded to cover the Mediterranean region. The company said it had signed a firm contract with Dutch fuel supplier OCI Global for the supply of green methanol but did not reveal the supply volume. The green methanol supplied by OCI Global will be bio-methanol produced from organic matter decomposition and ISCC-EU (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) certified, X-Press Feeders said. The new service will be the first feeder network in Europe to be operated by vessels using green methanol. It will launch as shipping is increasingly drawn into the European Union’s cap-and-trade Emissions Trading System (ETS) that came into force on 1 January 2024.


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CMA CGM inks deal to lock in green fuel supply at Middle East bunker locations

CMA CGM has become the latest ocean carrier to sign a green energy supply deal as it moves to secure access to alternative fuels in huge demand in the coming years due to a rapidly expanding dual-fuel order book. The carrier said on 30 January, it signed a strategic supply partnership with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) that aims to source, supply, and deliver a range of green fuels to CMA CGM’s bunker locations across the Middle East. Christine Cabau Woehrel, executive vice president in charge of assets and operations at CMA CGM Group, said in a statement the carrier was “energy agnostic” and looking into a range of energy sources for its vessels. The goal of Masdar within the partnership is to produce 1 million tons of green hydrogen by 2030 that will be used to supply biofuels and e-fuels for CMA CGM’s fleet of dual-fuel ships. By 2028, CMA CGM will have 119 dual-fuel ships online; 35 are currently in the fleet, and 84 are on order.


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LNG engines emit more methane slip than shipping regulators assume, argues study

A study has found that the most common LNG engines leak far more planet-warming methane than regulators assume. Methane emissions measured in exhaust plumes from 18 ships with low-pressure, dual-fuel four-stroke engines averaged 6.4%, whereas EU regulations assume a 3.1% methane slip and the International Maritime Organization 3.5%. The Washington DC-based International Council on Clean Transportation argued that the two regulators should consider increasing the default methane slip value for the engine to at least 6%.

On the other hand, Wärtsilä has played down methane slip concerns surrounding four-stroke LNG engines, with the Finnish company’s chief executive, Håkan Agnevall, stating their newest LNG-fuelled engine emitted the lowest methane levels in the industry. He responded to a question during the company’s 2023 results presentation after an analyst asked about the recent study that showed methane slip rates in four-stroke LNG engines were higher than previously assumed.


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ONE secures approval for design of ammonia-fueled container ship

Ocean Network Express (ONE) on 29 January signaled its initial intent to build ships powered by ammonia, a toxic zero-carbon fuel but one seen by many as needing to be part of a likely multi-fuel zero-carbon future. ONE received design approval in principle for a dual-fuel 3,500-TEU ship capable of being powered by ammonia that emits no CO2 when burned. The approval from the classification society DSV is not for an actual ship but rather the design; whether and when ONE proceeds with construction was not disclosed. Ammonia is in its early stages as a potential marine fuel, with regulations about complex safety and operational issues still being developed at the IMO. ONE said it was still studying the feasibility of ammonia, saying it is “one of the primary focuses of our research” into zero-carbon fuels, adding it will “continue our study on ammonia.”


Read more: JOC