Maritime News Update Week 42/2019

Private areas for fast customs clearance goods via Cat Lai Port

VCN- When enterprises participate in the scheme on trade facilitation in customs procedures for logistics activities and preventing congestion of import and export goods at Cat Lai Port deployed by Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, the costs for loading, unloading and storage of import and export goods will reduce by betweenVND700,000 andVND1 million per container.    

Reduce costs

After the preparation and piloting, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has issued Decision 2381/QĐ-HQHCM approving the scheme on trade facilitation in customs procedures for logistics activities and preventing congestion of import and export goods at Cat Lai Port where the volume of goods accounts for 70% of total import and export goods in Ho Chi Minh City. Currently, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has coordinated with Saigon Newport Corporation to implement the scheme.

According to Director of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, Dinh Ngoc Thang, the volume of import and export goods at Cat Lai Port is about 15,000 containers per day, so the implementation of this scheme will help to quickly clear goods and reduce costs for enterprises.

After deploying the scheme at Cat Lai Port, enterprises are allowed to carry out Customs procedures at private areas with a centralized and unified process from the registration stage until the goods are taken out of the port. The system is available 24/7. Goods are cleared right at the wharf and the physical inspection is implemented by container scanners. Enterprises can supervise the Customs processes online via mobile phones. Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department will coordinate with Cat Lai Port to allow enterprises participating the scheme to store goods at private areas and transport goods out of the port in a private lane in the most convenient and quickest way.

For time benefits, goods will be quickly released and cleared at the wharf without unloading and loading at the yard and shorten the maximum customs clearance time. For cost, it will reduce costs for enterprises by VND 700,000 to 1 million/container, including costs for lifting containers, transshipment, terminal handling and storage. The program has enhanced the transparency, satisfaction level and confidence of the business community in the Customs authority.

The scheme is part of efforts to reform, modernize and facilitate trade for businesses, which has been developed and prepared by Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department since the beginning of 2019 and was highly appreciated and positively supported by leaders of the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Vietnam Customs. It is expected that in October, Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department will officially implement the scheme.

200 enterprises participate

According to Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, it has selected 200 enterprises that regularly implement import and export procedures via Ho Chi Minh City Seaports. These enterprises have complied with customs policies and laws and signed customs broker contracts with Saigon Newport Corporation. The Department gives priority to selecting enterprises carrying out customs procedures through customs brokers.

When participating in the scheme, enterprises and customs brokers must study regulations, customs processes and absolutely comply with the Customs law; to ensure integrity and accuracy in customs declarations and fulfill tax obligations. Enterprises must commit not to implement negative acts, trade fraud, customs offences; actively cooperate with Customs authorities and Saigon Newport Corporation.

According to Ms. Pham Thi Leo, Deputy Director of Saigon Seaport Customs Branch of Zone 1, the branch has coordinated with Saigon Newport Corporation to prepare a private ground and area for customs clearance for import goods of enterprises participating in the scheme. The branch has arranged and assigned officers to be on duty 24/7 for receiving declarations and implementing customs procedures for goods of enterprises and customs brokers.

Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has been supported by Saigon Newport Corporation. Mr. Ngo Minh Thuan, Director General of Saigon Newport Corporation said the deployment of these solutions will make breakthroughs in reform and modernization to create favorable conditions for businesses in 2019.

“Saigon Newport Corporation wishes to save costs and time for consumers using services. We will provide a private plan for this program and private commitment and contract with customers participating in the program," Mr. Ngo Minh Thuan said.

Currently, Saigon Newport Corporation has used one digital signature for all customs declaration activities in the whole system. Saigon Newport Corporation will work and guarantee and pay taxes for some eligible customers.

Global Container Terminals Becomes Member of TradeLens

Canada-based terminal operator Global Container Terminals (GCT) has joined the TradeLens supply chain platform, underpinned by blockchain technology.

TradeLens is a solution jointly developed by Maersk and IBM to apply blockchain to the global supply chain. It provides end-to-end supply chain information, facilitating data sharing, collaboration and improved trade flows.

By joining TradeLens, GCT intends to connect with supply chain partners including ocean carriers, beneficial cargo owners, and railways.

”As competition increases from other ports and customer demands intensify, we need to activate every solution to increase cargo velocity through our terminals and improve performance,” Doron Grosman, President & CEO of GCT, explained.

“We are thrilled to have GCT join TradeLens and connect to a flexible business platform designed to spur innovation. Integrating data with ports, terminals, logistics providers, shippers, and carriers is essential for the vision of TradeLens to realize new ways of working within a collaborative industry ecosystem,” Mike White, CEO of Maersk GTD and Head of TradeLens, commented.

TradeLens is said to be rapidly expanding with five of the world’s top six ocean carriers and ten of GCT’s ocean carrier customers committed to the platform.

“We are pleased to see more leading organizations from across the shipping industry sign on to the platform. As TradeLens evolves, it is critical more supply chain partners participate to facilitate an open and transparent approach to information sharing. This enhanced level of visibility and efficiency will ultimately benefit the entire industry and our customers.” Eyal Ben-Amram, CIO of ZIM, noted.

GCT operates four big ship ready terminals on the west and east coast of North America. Through GCT USA on the East Coast, the company operates two facilities — GCT New York on Staten Island, NY and GCT Bayonne in Bayonne, NJ. On the West Coast, GCT Canada operates two gateway terminals — GCT Vanterm and GCT Deltaport in Vancouver and Delta, BC.

The program will be rolled out in phases at all four of GCT’s terminals adding visibility to the east and west coasts of North America.

Belgium's Antwerp and Zeebrugge ports start talks for possible merger

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe’s second busiest port Antwerp and nearby Zeebrugge have begun talks on a possible merger after nearly two years of exploratory discussions and a study into how the two could work together more.

The two Belgian ports said in a joint statement on Friday that the talks on the possible merger of their operations could take a further two years.

“The report of Deloitte and Laga states that the current cooperation between the two ports has little impact because of the existing competition, limited scope and low engagement,” the ports’ statement said.

The report had concluded that more far-reaching cooperation would enable the ports to respond between to future challenges, such as digitalization and a transition to more green forms of energy.

Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port, handling 235 million tonnes of goods per year. Zeebrugge is a specialist in roll-on/roll-off transport, such as for automobiles, handling an annual 40 million tonnes of goods.

Greek committee approves Piraeus Port’s investment plan

The Greek government and Piraeus Port Authority S.A (PPA S.A) hailed on Thursday the approval by the Committee of Planning and Development of Ports (ESAL) of investments amounting to 611.8 million euros (672.9 million U.S. dollars) at Greece’s largest port.

“An emblematic investment for Greece starts immediately. A new era dawns for the Piraeus Port,” read an e-mailed press release issued by the Greek Shipping Ministry.

Shipping Minister Yannis Plakiotakis welcomed the decision as the “opening of a new chapter in the excellent Sino-Greek relations, during a meeting with the Chairman of PPA S.A. Yu Zenggang, according to the press statement.

Port of Virginia: Ship Channel Deepening to Begin in January 2020

The effort to make the Port of Virginia the deepest port on the US East Coast is set to begin in January 2020, following the finalization of a contract with an international dredging firm that will take on the project’s initial phase.

On October 9, 2019, John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, signed a contract with New Jersey-based Weeks Marine to begin the deepening of the western side of the Thimble Shoal Channel.

In late September, the port’s board of commissioners approved the contract with Weeks. The contract for the first phase amounts to USD 78 million and the total cost of the project will be USD 350 million.

The work includes dredging the shipping channels to 55 feet – with deeper ocean approaches – and widening the channel to more than 1,400 feet in specific areas.

Once dredging is completed in 2024, the commercial channels serving the Norfolk Harbor will be able to simultaneously accommodate two, ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs).

“When the work is complete, Virginia will be the only East Coast port with this capability,” Reinhart said.

“The vessel sizes continue to expand, so safe, two-way ULCV traffic is important to the sustainability and efficiency of this port and to the ocean carriers using the channel.”

“This project, combined with the USD 750 million we are investing to increase container capacity by 1 million units per year, sets up Virginia to be the premier gateway for trade on the East Coast,” he pointed out.

In 2015, the deepening effort got underway when the US Army Corps of Engineers and the port signed a feasibility cost share agreement that committed each side to sharing the cost of evaluating the benefits of dredging the Norfolk Harbor to a depth beyond 50 feet.

The Port of Virginia received the final authorization from the US Army Corps of Engineers to move ahead with the Wider, Deeper, Safer project in July 2018, enabling it to be included in the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill.

Germany promotes shore-generated power to cut emissions in ports

The German government is launching a set of measures in order to promote shore-generated power, in an effort to make the country’s ports cleaner, following the country's plans in a carbon-neutral Germany by 2050. Vessels in Germany’s ports in the future will be using renewable shore-based energy instead of burning fossil fuels to generate shipboard electric power.

Notably, on Thursday, October 10, government representatives of several regions in Germany met in Kiel and signed a memorandum of understanding, listing the conditions for the use of shore-generated power to provide cleaner air in port cities.

The Minister-President for Land Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther stated that “shore-based power supply as an alternative to operating shipboard diesels represents a tangible contribution towards cleaner air and protecting the climate. That applies to the port in Kiel and all other port cities on the North Sea and Baltic.

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmeier commented that

With these measures, we are making a significant contribution towards cleaner air and a reduction of CO2 and noise in port cities along the North Sea and Baltic coasts. We are also giving ports and shipowners planning certainty for expanding facilities and refitting ships.

Daniel Günther further added that “the memorandum is an initial, important step towards improving the commercial viability of shore-based power. The paper includes the reduction of the EU levy to 20 percent favoured by Schleswig-Holstein. By mid-2020 we should have initiated the essential legal steps. I am expecting rapid implementation of what we have agreed.

The use of shore-based power stemming from renewable energy sources can substantially reduce emissions from ships during lay times in German seaports. Nevertheless, due to the fact that costs are too high compared to those for power supply from the conventional sources, there is currently barely any demand for it from shipowners.

This set of measures provides for rulings that make a start on reducing levies, as well as special network charges for cruise liners, ferries and container ships, among other things. In fact, seagoing ships have to come to terms with considerably higher costs, as they consume more electricity during longer lay times at ports, compared to inland shipping, and can currently secure supply only on the basis of extremely unfavorable consumer profiles.

From 2020, a program of subsidies should be in place in order to assist states and ports in expanding essential port infrastructure, totaling EUR 140 million (about USD 155 million). In particular, Hamburg, Kiel and Rostock seaports are already planning far-reaching expansion.

In particular, in May this year, the German Port of Kiel officially inauguarted its first shore-based power supply plant for ships at the Norwegenkai terminal. With immediate effect, the Color Line’s big cruise-ferries could be supplied with emission-free electric power from on shore.

Moreover, earlier this month the State Government of Hamburg has given the green light to the port of Hamburg, through a 76m euros expansion of shore powder supply, aiming to help the port improve its emissions and air quality, by offering shore power to cruise liners and mega-containerships from 2022, with regular operation from 2023. Such an expansion can enables the port to lead the path towards alternative power supply during ships’ lay times.

Lastly, the recently announced measures are expected to enable such units to be operated on a commercial basis. German cruise companies TUI Cruises and AIDA Cruises welcomed the latest governmental incentive scheme for shore-generated power, as the program is line with strategies of both cruise lines aiming to reduce emissions in cruising.

 MSC Joins CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd in Discarding Northern Sea Route

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has become the latest industry major to announce it would not use the Arctic as a new shortcut between northern Europe and Asia.

With this move, MSC joins German and French counterparts Hapag-Lloyd and CMA-CGM in a decision not to take advantage of the Northern Sea Route which is becoming increasingly more navigable.

The Swiss shipping company noted it would instead focus on improving environmental performance on existing global trade routes.

While the Northern Sea Route, which lies entirely in Arctic waters, has been trialed by other shipping lines seeking to take advantage of melting ice from global warming, MSC said it was not willing to take the risk of damaging air quality and endanger the biodiversity of untouched marine habitats in the Arctic.

The company added that it was convinced that the 21 million containers moved each year for its customers can be transported around the world without passing through this Arctic corridor.

“As a responsible company with a longstanding nautical heritage and passion for the sea, MSC finds the disappearance of Arctic ice to be profoundly disturbing,” Diego Aponte, President & CEO, MSC Group, said.

MSC further said that avoiding the Northern Sea Route was complementary to the company’s broader strategic approach to sustainability. It recently completed a program to retrofit more than 250 ships in its existing fleet with the latest green technologies, cutting about 2 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Furthermore, the latest newbuilding additions to the fleet like the largest container ship in the world MSC Gulsun, have introduced a new class of sustainable container shipping, with the lowest carbon footprint by design, at 7.49 grams of CO2 emissions to move 1 ton of cargo 1 nautical mile.

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