Demand for Iran’s Crude Oil on the Rise

zoom Iran sold 1.4 million barrels of crude oil a day to importing countries, the highest level over the last three years, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Oil Market Report. The country, faced with ever more tighter economic sanctions from the West over its nuclear program, pumped 2.85 million barrels a day last month, the report […]

Tanker Owners Warned to Act Quickly on ECDIS Compliance

Tanker Owners Warned to Act Quickly on ECDIS Compliance

Over 4,000 tankers of 3,000 gross tonnes or more, representing 46% of the global 3,000+ gt tanker fleet, are not yet using ENCs (Electronic Nautical Charts) on ECDIS, which will be mandatory as of July 1, when SOLAS regulations on the mandatory carriage of ECDIS comes into force, data from the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) shows.
Of the 8,750+ tankers in the global fleet that are required to comply with the new regulations,  54% are now using ENCs.
UKHO says that progress has been made in recent months, with the global ‘ECDIS readiness’ figure having risen from 42% in September 2014 to the current figure of 54%.
The UKHO data also reveals a number of interesting disparities in the adoption of ECDIS between different elements of the global tanker fleet.
83% of LNG tankers are currently using an ENC service, compared to 70% of crude oil tankers and 36% of product tankers. All three categories have shown a substantial improvement in ECDIS readiness since September 2014.
”Tanker owners and operators that have not yet planned for the adoption of ECDIS should address this immediately in order to make the transition in a safe, timely manner and avoid the risks of non-compliance,” Thomas Mellor, Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards, UKHO, said.
”From an operational, commercial and reputational perspective, the consequences of failing to comply with the ECDIS regulations – and therefore the SOLAS Convention – can be severe.”

Flooding of Panama Canal’s New Locks Kicks Off

Locks Filling 2

The Panama Canal has taken another important step toward the completion of the Expansion Program as it begins to fill the lower chamber of its new Atlantic locks.
The filling started on Thursday and marks the start of a deliberate and methodical phase of operational tests and quality control that will, eventually, prepare the Canal to accommodate larger maritime vessels and new segments.
“This event highlights the magnitude of what we have been working on for the past seven years,”said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano“Filling the locks with water is the culmination of arduous years of labor and the realization that we are within arm’s reach of the completion of one of the most impressive infrastructure projects of our time.”
During an initial phase of filling, which will take approximately five days, the Canal Authority will gradually raise the water level within the lower chambers of the new locks, pumping in approximately 50 thousand cubic meters of water per hour from Gatun Lake. This will allow for the testing of the first gates.
Locks Filling 1
The same process will then fill the rest of the Atlantic sections of locks, reaching a water level of 27 meters above sea level. Tests and inspections are expected to take approximately four months.
Among their features, each lock complex includes rolling gates and nine water-saving basins with a filling and emptying side system.
“With the addition of these water-savings basins,” said Quijano, “we will recycle nearly 60 percent of the water used in every lockage, using the world’s most advanced systems and enhancing the Canal’s reliability. With this new phase, expansion nears closer and closer to completion.”
As of the end of May, the overall Expansion Program of the Panama Canal stood at 89.8 percent complete, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

USD 1.5 Billion Tema Port Upgrade Project Gets the All-Clear

Port of Tema photo

Meridian Port Services, a joint venture between APM Terminals, Bolloré Africa Logistics, and the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority, has formally signed an agreement to invest USD 1.5 billion in a new deep-water 3.5 million TEU port and logistics hub in Tema, Ghana.
Meridian Port Services will build four deep-water berths, a new breakwater and an access channel able to accommodate the world’s largest container ships.
The new project consists of both a new greenfield port outside the present facility and a needed upgrade of the adjacent road network.
”We are excited about how this port will contribute to Ghana’s future economy and emphasize APM Terminals’ strong commitment to Africa’s growth and development,” said APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer. 
”Increased access to global markets is a key component of Africa’s ongoing economic growth, and the new, world-class port development which begins here today will help to put Ghana, and all of West Africa at the forefront of African global trade.” 
An initial Memorandum of Understanding for the expansion plans was signed by MPS and the GPHA in November 2014.
During the past five months, MPS and the Ghanaian government representatives completed contractual details, and finalized preparations for the project’s required design and engineering studies. The joint venture share is comprised of APM Terminals 35%; Bolloré 35%; and Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority 30%.
”This massive investment highlights the confidence of investors into the country. It is a sign that Ghana is moving in the right direction and the journey will not end there. Expanding the port using superior infrastructure and modern, advanced technology will allow Ghanaian companies to compete for business in the most cost effective way,” said Fejfer.
Container throughput at MPS was 651,000 TEUs in 2014, and the existing container facility – operated by APM Terminals in partnership with Bollore since 2004 – is close to maximum utilization.

Dredging at Suez Canal Enters Final Stretch

Dredging at Suez Canal Enters Final Stretch
Over 216 million cubic meters of water-saturated sand has been removed so far as part of the Suez Canal Development Project, said Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish.
This represents about 84 percent of a total of 250 million cubic meters that should be dredged as part of the project, Mamish added.
Thirty-eight dredgers are working on the project, said Wagdi Zaki, the executive director supervising the dredging process.
The scope of works includes the widening and deepening of the Suez Canal over a length of 25 km and up to a depth of 24m.
The expansion project will pave the way for a transit of ships of up to 20 meters in draft, thus increasing the revenue of the canal to up to USD 17 billion a year.