Arctic Shipping: The new Gold Rush

in Trends by
Northwest Passage, Port of Los Angeles – Port of Rotterdam

Arctic shipping routes are maritime paths used to traverse the Arctic ocean. They have long been sought, even since historical times as a way to substantially reduce the travel distance between ports. But these routes cannot be traversed readily due to the presence of ice at the Arctic. With the advent of global warming and associated climate change phenomena, the Arctic ice is melting at a record pace. While this is a grim foreshadowing of things to come, a few countries stand to make a tidy profit from this, namely from the ice being replaced by navigable water. But even for these countries, do the benefits really outweigh the costs?

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Malacca Strait: China’s strategic chokepoint

in Maritime Knowledge by
Vessel traffic in the Malacca Strait via FleetMon Explorer

There’s a popular saying in the Maritime sector: Whatever happens in China, affects global shipping. Remember the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when ports all across China were closed off? According to Alphaliner, more tonnage of container ships remained idled around the world than during the global financial crisis during this period. Daily charter rates for tankers and bulk freighters plummeted more than 70% from normal levels as China bought less oil, iron ore, and coal.

Or take a look at the country’s oil statistics:

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Shipbreaking: The last chapter of a cruise liner

in Maritime Knowledge by
MS Monarch and MS Sovereign after reaching the shipbreaking yard in Aliaga, Turkey end of July 2020

With the global pandemic and another global recession looming on the horizon, luxury is the first thing to go. The luxury cruise industry is struggling. The situation is the worst that tourism has faced since the 9/11 attacks. The idea of being confined to a tiny room in a ship infested with coronavirus is an especially unappealing image. The demands for cruise liners have sharply plummeted, many workers have been laid off and divisions shut down. Quite obviously the ships are sold as is evident from the case of Pullmantur Cruises which operated from Spain and had a substantial fleet of cruise ships. After around 150 crew members of one of the ships, the MS Horizon, tested positive for the coronavirus, the company was forced to halt operations. Its ships, the MS Sovereign and MS Monarch were stripped of valuables and sold for scrap. But what happened to the glamorous ship after it outlived its usefulness? 

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Green hydrogen in ocean-going shipping?

in Trends by
Visit the Hydrogen Europe online representing the European industry, national associations, and research centers active in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector.

As the world struggles to conquer the coronavirus and overcome the catastrophic economic impact of the pandemic, there have been frequent calls for an environmentally sustainable economic recovery and no return to the status quo a priori. Could green hydrogen and fuel cell technology propel ocean-going shipping into a sustainable, economically viable future?

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Cargo under Sail: The zero-emission experiment

in Decarbonization, Trends by

In early 23 July, Germany’s last commercial sailing cargo vessel in service AVONTUUR moored in the port of Hamburg, returning from her 5th journey across the Atlantic maritime traffic route. The captain and 15 crew members had been sailing for over seven months.

“After over 200 days on the high seas without being able to go on shore leaves and with the constant uncertainty in mind caused by the coronavirus, the crew is now looking forward to finally arriving”,

reports owner, shipping operator, and captain Cornelius Bockermann.
Vessel photo by ship spotter Lotse1967
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Disaster at Sea – Cruise industry sunk by coronavirus?

in Trends by
Global live view of passenger vessel traffic using FleetMon Explorer.

Hardly any other industry has been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the coronavirus spread in the winter months – traditionally a most popular time for sun-seeking senior citizens from the Northern Hemisphere – cruise ship passengers were infected in their thousands. Ships were refused entry in port after port and cruises abruptly cancelled to offload passengers fast. All upcoming cruises were cancelled and since March, the cruise industry has been in 100% lockdown. This blog looks at the situation in July 2020 and what the future might hold.

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