Today it is Thursday the 8th of December… and the 250th issue of Project Cargo Weekly..
Looking back, I am surprised even myself that I have indeed managed to publish that many issues which include 420 written and 110 video interviews. So I guess I could run for public office soon with all that talking and with all those “golden” opinions in my 250 editorials ? .
Anyway I am very pleased to know that many around the world are looking forward to receiving the newsletter, and I will strive also in 2023 to continue in the same way. One small change for 2023 will be that I will be publishing bi-weekly (that is, every two weeks). It requires a bit more time and with kids at home growing bigger they also require more attention, not to mention of course the local dragon which also require my assistance for many chores on a weekly basis ?.
In other words then, starting January 2023, our PCW newsletter will be arriving to your Inbox every even week [Weeks 2,4,6,8 and so on].
Here in Scandinavia, the winter (or shall we say minus degrees) has arrived. That means coping with the usual condiments of having sore throats, running noses, kids coming home from school with ear infections and darkness from about 3pm to 7am. Of course, it is also cosy to have dark times (so to speak) as it is the custom here to make the homes and even exteriors filled with lights since there is little natural light this time of year. Thus in Stockholm where I normally reside, we should NOT complain–it is not even halfway up north in Sweden….they say that the most children are produced during the winter months…wonder why? ?
Here you can see some pictures that show the current scenery during winter times in at least a part of Stockholm, Sweden
On the container shipping front, things seem to be turning from incredible to very depressing in a matter of just a few months. The latest newbuilding, the worlds largest, left Asia and is now steaming towards Northern Europe with only 1/3 of her capacity filled up. When talking to contacts in the market, the situation is simply that the cargo is not there. Warehouses are full because companies bought too much before as they were worried about having a lack of supplies during the COVID shipping pandemic and the overbooked vessel situation.
This past week, China has announced a gradual reduction of some of their most ridiculous Corona restrictions which is good. Hopefully, we can finally welcome the 2nd largest economy into the world trade again.
China’s reputation as a manufacturing hub has no doubt taken a blow and as much as there are advantages in a top down system there are also major systemic disadvantages with lower level bureaucrats becoming kings in their own right and being afraid of taking a decision on their own for fear of being blamed. This also happens in countries like Japan or Germany where, just beneath the surface no-one is willing to decide unless the manager is around.
A case in point is the instance reported awhile ago by Tradewinds about the death of an Oldendorff bulker Chief Officer in a Chinese port apparently due to unreasonably strict COVID policies.
No matter what political system we live under there should be checks and balances. Let us be grateful if we are lucky enough to live in a system where such measures allow us to actually enjoy our lives with a modicum of freedom. Nowhere is perfect, that much is true.
The final “travel” message I would like to share with you are these 2 fantastic videos that I managed to shoot from the 47K (yes Economy class) window seat on Emirates. Seldom in 20 years have I have been able to see this clearly after take off. The pictures are of Singapore, crossing Batam, and parts of Indonesia before heading out over the Indian Ocean
Right… now to our shipping items in this week’s publication – the penultimate (one before the last)of 2022. We’ve got the following in the “online” store for you:
1. GAC – Gulf Agency Company – U.A.E. – No further introduction needed they have grown into a global player in many parts of shipping and show that Scandinavian management (i.e.: Swedish) can also excel here IF they want and have got right timing in logistics.
2. Aqua Global Logistics in Oman – An Indian-owned company which has done well in GCC countries, and if anyone didn’t know, they can surely believe it when I say that India is behind and controls a lot of the business in the GCC region overall.
3. ES Logistics in Brazil – A strong player in the huge Brazilian market with a long track record of moving major projects. Hopefully, the country will be on its feet and develop as it should under whatever leadership that finally emerges.
We, of course, provide you with the usual shipping news, trade intel, wise words and featured photo and video of the week. Note particularly the video which is impressive by all means: the world’s largest container vessel setting “sail”.
Until next Thursday, I remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
GAC Group – Dubai, U.A.E.
Group Operations Director – Shipping
GAC has become a versatile and global group. I believe many of our readers would like to know about the history of the company and its current ownership. There are a lot of Scandinavians (Swedes) in the top management. Was it started by Swedish nationals originally?
GAC’s origins go back to the 1950s as Nyman & Schultz (N&S), a Stockholm-based firm that had been in the shipping and forwarding business for over 100 years. By the mid-fifties, N&S was Sweden’s leading shipping, forwarding, and travel agency. At the helm was Bengt Lindwall.
In the early 1950s, the Gulf countries were in the first stages of building their infrastructure, and Kuwait was importing bagged cement from Sweden. As there were no infrastructure networks or major commercial ports, two Kuwaiti businessmen went to Sweden to look for a good shipping agent. They approached Bengt who visited Kuwait and sealed a deal with local partners, establishing a ship agency business in 1956 – the first Gulf Agency Company (GAC), as it was known then. Kuwait’s Shipping License “No.1” is proudly displayed at GAC Kuwait’s office in Farwaniya today.
Over the next decade, more offices opened throughout the Middle East as the oil, shipping and logistics businesses there grew. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, more GAC companies were established in the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Indian Subcontinent. Further expansions in Europe, the Americas, Central Asia and Australia followed in the 1990s and 2000s. [Continued…]
Aqua Global Logistics – Oman
Mr. Prathap & Mr. Dharani
General Manager / Country Manager
Oman is a beautiful country by the Arabian Sea and has several ports. Can you enlighten our readers about which ports are available for container and project cargo shipping?
Oman has 3 major sea ports which can handle containers and project cargo movements, with every port adding value to the business environment of the country:
• The Port of Salalah is situated right on the major east-west shipping lanes. It is a world class transshipment hub in the West Central Asian region.
• The Port of Sohar is a multipurpose, industrial and logistics complex in the Sultanate of Oman, and it’s also a free zone.
• The Port of Duqm is by far the largest economic initiative in Oman’s modern history, and it also has the Duqm SEZ (special economic zone).
ES Logistics – Brazil
Mr. Fabiano Ardigó
What is the main business focus of your company?
Our focus is the customized management of sea freight and airfreight to our qualified customers. We have always had a passion for customer service and our clients look out for our tailor-made solutions. We are also focused on sales and today most of our business is still generated by our own sales efforts. We have a solid portfolio of both inbound and outbound business, in particular, sea freight.
UNITED HEAVY LIFT – POSITION LIST – 07.12.2022
United Heavy Lift is well known in the market for their specialised vessels able to lift not only 900 ton but also with large open decks ideally suited for extra long and “clumsy” cargoes such as renewable equipment. You may like to see where their ships are in position if you have cargo suitable for their schedule sometimes the COMBINATION is just the right cargo suitable at the right time….
Shipping Unprepared for Lithium Battery Fires
As the shipments of EV increases globally both by roro, breakbulk and container vessels in future no doubt there is an interesting article here about lithium batteries and danger of shipping them that is interesting to read.
Lithium-ion batteries are commonplace in modern life and are the go-to technology for electric vehicle batteries. One failure mode of such batteries is thermal runaway, where the battery expels toxic gases and can ignite, bringing a rapid increase in temperature.
BOCS & UAL Set-up a New African Agency Alliance in Antwerp
A shipowner – not so often in the news but specialised in Africa trade with a good reputation – has established a new agency in Antwerp, the real centre for Africa trade.
As from 1st of December 2022 BOCS Bremen Overseas Chartering and Shipping (BOCS) and Universal Africa Lines (UAL) will be represented by the new set-up African Agency Alliance BV (AAA) in the port of Antwerp.
TradeLens to be Shutdown Due to Lack of Commercial Viability
The highly acclaimed tradelense which was touted as the future is now being shutdown. It does show that even companies of size with vast budgets are not always able to read the market or make a product the market needs or wants…
TradeLens, an open and neutral industry platform underpinned by blockchain technology started by Maersk and IBM to offer customers digital freight solutions will soon be no more.
Large Swiss Pharmaceutical Holding to Open Production of Anticancer Drugs in Kazakhstan
Kazinform Chairman of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding AG Dr. Christoph Franz arrived on a working visit to Kazakhstan. The Swiss company plans to launch an enterprise for contract manufacturing of anticancer drugs in Kazakhstan, the press service of Kazakh Invest reports.
Dieffenbacher to Supply OSB Plant to BFP in Guangxi, China
Chinese wood-based panel producer A Beautiful Family Plate Making Co. Ltd. (BFP) has contracted with German machine and plant manufacturer Dieffenbacher for a complete Fine OSB plant in Guangxi, China. Installation of BFP’s new plant is scheduled for the Q2 2023. The first board is to be produced in fall 2023.
B&W’s BrightLoop to be Used in Korean Hydrogen Generation Project
Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), a provider of energy and environmental products and services for power and industrial markets, announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with waste processing and alternative fuel specialist NRG Korea to study the applicability of B&W’s BrightLoop technology for a hydrogen generation facility in South Korea. The proposed project would use biomass as a feedstock to produce hydrogen for fuel cells used for electrical generation.
Sojitz Receives Order for Construction of a Rail Maintenance Depot in India
Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”) and major Indian general contractor and comprehensive engineering company, Larsen & Toubro Limited, have received an order for joint construction work on the Sabarmati depot as part of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail being undertaken by India’s National High Speed Rail Cooperation Limited.
The World’s Largest Container Vessel – Ever Atop
The World’s largest container vessel, mv Ever Atop was just launched in Asia at a timing that does seem ominous for the container shipping industry. They certainly need to start using the war chest built up in the last 2 years. But what an impressive video and great music to go along with it. An incredible engineering feat to build such a “monster”.
Flying back from Singapore on the DAY flight made for a wonderful show as you can see from the following collection of photos. Soon after departure we flew over Batam, Indonesia and then over the Indian Ocean crossing Oman and then parts of UAE before descending… wonderful!.