It’s Thursda 22nd February and last week was quiet in many parts of Asia, mainly due to the festivities in connection with the Chinese New Year. China is expanding its reach and influence, especially by way of “soft power” which includes trading, buying up companies at an unprecedented rate and making formerly brands formerly known as western into Chinese controlled companies. One example is the Swedish carmaker Volvo which Chinese the company Geely now holds a majority stake in. There was a lot of anxiety before Geely took over, however, every cloud has its silver lining and most of us now must admit that the Volvo car has shed its previous socialist container box image and is now more “sexy” than ever, and can indeed compete head-on with famous German brands. Volvo is now made by Sweden, not IN Sweden. In many countries including the US, Chinese money is buying influence and taking over businesses.
Shipping is no exception, with COSCO growing at an exceptional pace, having joined forces with China Shipping and are poised to take over OOCL soon. We can only hope that arrogance remains in check as the size grows and that good customer service continues to be one of their key goals. I worked as an agent of COSCO originally in 1984, so witnessing such impressive development in less than 35 years has been amazing. In the good ol’ days, I recall seeing one of the first breakbulk vessels “Wangjiang” with a couple of containers on deck arriving in Europe. Those were happy days for Claus Rickmers KG who was the sole representative of Sinotrans, Cosco, etc.
The car industry, oil & gas, and shipping pretty much epitomize development around the world, it’s scary to think that the US today has no sizeable commercial fleet of its own and that nearly all of its import/export is carried by foreign flag vessels.
SeaLand is a name of the past, APL is no-longer US owned and only a few regional US flag carriers remain, with Intermarine being the one exception. Oil & gas pretty much seems to be in the hands of a few Arab countries. The Chinese are investing heavily in this region, especially in Iran. I can recommend an interesting book about energy written by Mr. Moty Kuperberg of DSS in Israel. Available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/1941905161
Business wise has a great newsletter in store for you today. We start off in the Black Sea talking with a Romanian based feeder operator on the Danube/Donau river, we then speak to a law firm based in Odessa amidst the murky surroundings of some countries around the Black Sea. In the shipping industry having legal contacts is paramount. For our final interview of the week, we head west across the Atlantic to New Jersey to speak to a versatile freight forwarder with solid experience, including with inland transport in the US.
Wishing you a good read and until next time, I remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
Deltanord – Bucharest, Romania
Mr. Valeriy Cholak
Romania is located by the Black Sea and you have a part of the great Danube River going through Romania. What are some examples of project cargoes that you have handled using the Danube?
Yes, correct, Romania is located on the Black Sea but only a part of Romania. The longest part of Romania stretches along “Blau Donau” banks. A combination of one of the biggest ports on the Black Sea (Constanta) and the longest “stretch” of the Danube River is a fantastic combination.
To understand the whole potential of Danube River and shipping on its water, you must do a long trip from Germany where the Danube starts its nearly 2500 km way down to the Danube Delta to see some of the major perspectives.
Interlegal – Odessa, Ukraine
Mr. Arthur Nitsevych
When was Interlegal established in Odessa and what is the main line of legal services that you provide to your clients?
Interlegal was established in 1995. Now, 23 years later we render specialized services in all Black Sea countries. Interlegal is the only law firm in Odessa which opened its offices in Turkey, Georgia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania.
Our specialization for many years has been transport, shipping, and international trade. We are considered a one-stop-shop for business in the countries of the Black/ Azov Seas (Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria) and the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan).
AJ Worldwide Services – New Jersey, USA
Mr. Guven Balci
Key Account Manager
It is a relatively well-known fact that many forwarders in Europe or Asia often complain about finding competent forwarders in the US, particularly ones competent in doing inland transport. How does AJWW differentiate itself?
Excluding Hawaii and Alaska, there are 50 states in the USA and each state has their own regulations. I consider any cargo over 50,000 LBS overweight. Most of the states require permits for overweight cargo and the processing time is different from state to state. We invested almost 2 years to develop a reliable trucker network and if any of these truckers fails even once we immediately remove them from our network.
Japanese Shipping Lines Reveal Scale of Fines by EC for Car Carrier Cartel
Embarrassing to say the least for these major shipowners having been caught with their hands in the glue of a cartel they established to control the market. Free competition means free competition thus pleased to see that the EU does have a couple of teeth when needed!
Oil & Gas
CB&I Bags $95m Contract for Thai Ethylene Plant
CB&I has secured a contract valued over $95m from Samsung Engineering (Thailand) for a brownfield ethylene plant at PTT Global Chemical’s (PTTGC) petrochemicals complex in Map Ta Phut, Rayong, Thailand. Read more…
NDPHC Flags off US $18m Injection Sub-Station Power Plant in Nasarrawa-Nigeria
Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) has flagged off a US $18m injection sub-station power plant in Nasarrawa-Nigeria, in line with the efforts put in place by the Federal government for a sustainable power generation and transmission in Nigeria. Read more…
New JV in New Zealand to Explore Hydrogen Production Using Geothermal
Reported by various outlets in New Zealand yesterday, a MOU has been signed between Taupo/ NZ-based Tuaropaki Trust and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corp. The company are planning a pilot project that would commercially produce hydrogen using geothermal energy. Read more…
French Connection for Sydney Defense Manufacturer
Electronics specialist Thomas Global Systems has partnered with French aerospace engineering company, Safran Group, to manufacture and support high-technology defense equipment made in Western Sydney. Read more…
SMIT Salvage – Wreck Removal of TS Taipei
Lion’s rock of Gibraltar picture taken from onboard CMA CGM Christophe Colomb passing the strait of Gibraltar enroute to Malta by the undersigned. A historic place indeed and I hope it will remain British.