Maritime News Update Week 36/2019

Hapag-Lloyd splits European organisation into North and South regions

Hapag-Lloyd is splitting its European organisation in two with Northern and Southern regions.

The world’s fifth-largest liner shipping company will be organised across six regions effective immediately with Northern and Southern Europe, and the existing regions of Asia, Middle East, North America and Latin America.

The new Southern Europe organisation will have its headquarters in the Italian port city of Genoa, aims to bolster Hapag-Lloyd’s competitive position in the Mediterranean region.

It will include Italy, Iberia, Turkey, Egypt and Med Agents, which manages the company’s 15 agents in the region. The new head and senior managing director for Southern Europe will be Juan Pablo Richards, who previously oversaw business operations in Brazil.

At the same time, Region North Europe will focus on customers in Germany & Central Europe, Benelux, UK & Ireland, France and North under the leadership of Michael Pradel as senior managing director.

“An essential part of our Strategy 2023 is to further develop our organisation and ensure our proximity to markets and customers,” said cep Rolf Habben Jansen. “Launching our sixth region will help us do exactly that, and I am very much looking forward to working with Juan Pablo Richards and Michael Pradel to further expand our already strong positions in Northern and Southern Europe,” he added.

Nigeria plans to set up international maritime arbitration centre

Nigeria plans to set up an international maritime arbitration centre and is seeking investors for shipbuilding and ship repair yards.

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, told the West African Shipping Summit in London last week that it plans to establish an International Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos. The aim of the centre would be to facilitate resolutions of disputes in the Gulf of Guinea to reduce the trend of disputes in the region being settled in London, Singapore and Dubai.

The concept would appear to follow the model of Singapore and Dubai with the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA) and the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC), respectively.

Dakuku also highlighted opportunities in the shipyard sector in Nigeria with the country’s cabotage laws set enforce the use of locally built vessels in the cabotage trades in coming years.

“In the next five years, vessels built outside Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in Cabotage trade. So you are all invited to come and invest in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Nigeria,” he said.

“With a population of about 200 million, which represents over half of the entire population of West Africa, potentials in shipbuilding and ship repair are available.”

The top issues facing container shipping – Lars Jensen, SeaIntelligence

 Lars Jensen, ceo & partner of SeaIntelligence Consulting talks to Seatrade Maritime News about what he sees as the top issues facing the container shipping industry in the years ahead.

Jensen, who is chairing the Global Liner Shipping Asia conference in Singapore From 17 - 19 September, identified five major issues both short and long term facing container shipping which are set out below. The topics are not ranked in terms of importance.

IMO 2020

The 0.5% sulphur cap from 1 January 2020 for marine fuel is something that the entire international shipping industry will face and there have been a number of warnings of short term shortages of compliant fuel and dislocations of supply in shipping as a result.

Jensen is not overly concerned on its impact on container shipping saying: “It’s an issue I don’t believe is going to wreck the industry so to speak, but it can cause a bit of trouble for a temporary period until everything settles down. It may cause some short term pain.”

The spectre of a recession

Jensen notes that recessions are a recurring theme in the global economy and it is now more than a decade since the last one – the global economic crisis. When another recession comes though he believes container shipping will be better equipped to deal with it than in 2008.

“The market in terms of freight rate formation has become much more stable than we have been used to for a decade and I see that as a clear consequence of the consolidation of the industry. That does not necessarily mean freight rates are high, they are not, but as a consequence of consolidation they are much less volatile than they used to be.

“It comes from the fact carriers at much better in using capacity withdrawals to avoid excessive over capacity. We’ve seen a strong escalation in the use of blank sailings.”

As a result Jensen would act much quicker to stem the impact of recession this time around.

Trade wars

The potential impact of the US – China trade is not as big as might be feared Jensen says.

This is because US importers are not shifting manufacturing from China back to the US, instead he sees two potential impacts –

  • US consumers buy cheaper goods rather than more expensive brands. “From a container shipping perspective is fine because whether its $100 t-shirt or a $5 t-shirt it takes up the space in a container,” he notes.
  • US importers buy from other countries such as Vietnam and Thailand instead of China. “It changes the port of origin but doesn’t really alter the volumes.”

One key factor is though that the trade war could trigger a recession.


Digitalisation is something Jensen very much sees as being on the agenda in container shipping today shifting the way in which the industry works and deals with its customers.

“This whole aspect of digitalisation and technology has moved from being this forward looking vision to where should the industry move to something that is slowly be ingrained into daily life. It doesn’t mean the whole industry will be digital next year, it will take five to 10 years but it is moving. It’s slowly gaining traction,” he says.

The environmental agenda

The biggest and most over-arching issue facing container shipping over the next 20 – 30 years as the shipping industry as whole looks halve its CO2 emissions by 2050.

Jensen sees IMO 2020 as just the start of this process. “It seems an absolutely certainly there will be much stronger regulation coming in place on other types of emissions – most notably CO2, but also NOx and particulate matters.”

However, he believes the vast majority of the industry is “not thinking about that”. One company he highlights as taking a lead is Maersk saying they want their fleet to be Co2 neutral by 2050. But it will take much more than just Maersk to develop the technologies required for transformation of global shipping.

“The industry has a choice to make. Do they want to put the time and the effort into this as to how they are going to tackle it, or do they want to basically forget the whole topic? If they do [forget about it] rest assured there will be regulations coming from the politicians,” Jensen states.

COSCO Shipping Ports’ Container Volumes Keep Rising

Despite the ongoing trade war between China and the US, Hong Kong-based port operator COSCO Shipping Ports ended the first six months of this year with a total throughput rise of 5.4 percent year on year.

The total container throughput increased to 59.8 million TEUs in H1 2019 from 56.7 million TEUs recorded in H1 2018.

As explained, the growth was backed by the increased calls from the shipping alliances at the group’s container terminals and the contributions from newly acquired terminals.

In particular, the total throughput from terminal companies in which the group has controlling stake increased by 14.6 percent to 12.4 million TEUs, accounting for 20.8 percent of the group’s total, and the total throughput from non-controlling terminals rose by 3.2 percent to 47.3 million TEUs, accounting for 79.2 percent of the group’s total.

Moreover, COSCO Shipping Ports saw a 4.5 percent increase in its revenue. The group reported a revenue of USD 517.9 million in H1 2019, against USD 495.5 million posted in the corresponding period a year earlier.

What is more, total comprehensive income for the period surged to USD 162.5 million in H1 2019 from USD 94.9 million seen in H1 2018.


Looking ahead, despite the fact that challenges do remain in the second half of 2019 with various uncertainties, global economic growth is supported to an extent by the market expectation that the low-interest rate policy will be sustained, according to the group.

COSCO Shipping Ports said it would continue to leverage on the synergies with the Ocean Alliance and its parent company, seize opportunities to cooperate with major shipping companies and ports companies to keep boosting throughput.

Given the macroeconomic uncertainties, the group said it is “cautiously optimistic” for the whole year, expecting the high single-digit growth in equity throughput for 2019.

Additionally, COSCO Shipping Ports said it would remain committed to building its global terminal network and searching for opportunities to acquire overseas terminals.

Finally, the group intends to step up the development of its terminal extended business to other terminals in an effort to further improve profitability.

(Source: World maritime news; Seatrade maritime; American Shipper; VN Customs News)