National News

Forex reserves lowers by USD 1.45 bn, below USD430bn mark.

MUMBAI: According to RBI data, in the week to August 30 India's foreign exchange reserves fell by USD 446 million to USD 428.604 billion, mainly due to a drop in foreign currency assets.The Forex reserves had declined by a steep USD 1.45 billion to USD 429.050 billion in the previous week. In August this year, the reserves had touched a life-time high of USD 430.572 billion. According to RBI data, in the week to August 30, foreign currency assets (a major component of the overall reserves) declined by USD 1.124 billion to USD 396 billion.There was a marginal increase in India’s reserve position with the Fund by USD 5 million to USD 3.617 billion.

April-July 2019 sees impressive throughput by VPT.

Visakhapatnam: By ranking third among the major ports in cargo traffic during April to July 2019, Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), with its rising growth trajectory, displayed growth for the fourth consecutive year. It had ranked fourth in the last financial year.The cargo traffic handled by VPT from April to July 2019 is at 23.7 million tonnes, while in the same period last year it was 21.52 million tonnes. As per a release, VPT has registered a growth rate over 10 per cent, which is the highest among the major ports.  The Chairman of VPT, Mr Rinkesh Roy, congratulated the port team, PPP operators, stevedores, shipping agents and stakeholders for the achievement and their commitment to strive towards excellence.Mr. Roy was confident that the port will continue the buoyancy. He promised that VPT will put its best to retain the position by the end of the year. VPT will aim to reach the mark of 70 million tonnes soon, he added. The key contributors to the overall growth of VPT were cargoes like iron ore, pellets, coking coal, crude oil and petroleum products, and also the steady rise in container traffic handled by Visakha Container Terminal (VCT). As per a release, VCT, the only established container terminal at Visakhapatnam, had also showcased continuous growth rate, registering 16 per cent growth last fiscal, and was steadily approaching the mark of 0.5 million TEUs this year.The major reason for faster cargo evacuation and the resultant scope for more cargo handling was the development of infrastructure in the past 2 years. The major projects commissioned were: 3 berths in the inner harbour with Panamax capability (WQ 7, WQ 8, EQ 2 to 5); work on the development of additional oil handling facility OR – 3, along with OR – 1 and OR – 2 is progressing. The RFID gate management system has been introduced and implemented, and one mobile harbour crane of 100-t capacity is being installed on licence basis. Faster turnaround time has also been enhanced by the regular liaison with the Railways for allotment of adequate rakes.Alongside VPT’s infrastructure development is VCT’s expansion by way of doubling its current capacity in view of the continuous container traffic increase. The release added that more cargo traffic, primarily container movement, is envisaged, given the huge potential in the hinterland of Visakhapatnam.

India’s exports of value-added shrimp facilitated by US-China trade war

NEW DELHI: Earlier China used to import shrimp from India, and re-export it to the US market after value addition. The US-China trade war is helping accelerate value addition in Indian seafood exports to the US. Major US retailers are now actively sourcing value-added shrimps like breaded shrimps from India.The largest producer of shrimp in the world, India accounts for nearly 6% of the global fish production. China imported 49,701 tonne of seafood from India, amounting to $227.39 million in rupee terms, in 2017-18.In FY18, India exported 35,000 tonne of value-added products, worth $350 million, to the US market; in the same period, its total seafood exports to the US market were to the tune of $2.3 billion, frozen shrimp being the major item exported.

MoI by India & Russia for maritime route between Chennai & Vladivostok

NEW DELHI: As informed by a release, India’s Ministry of Shipping and Russia’s Ministry of Transport have signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) to open a maritime route between the ports of Chennai and Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East.Indian Foreign Secretary, Mr Vijay Gokhale, mentioned to reporters, “Opening of this route between Chennai and Vladivostok assumes significance because it ensures there will be connectivity between the two major ports, which will give impetus to the cooperation between India and the Russian Far East.” Mr. Gokhale said that apart from the energy sector in Russia, India was also looking at the resources, forestry, and agriculture sectors.As per the release, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi discussed with President, Mr.Vladimir Putin ways to bolster cooperation in trade and investment, oil and gas, nuclear energy, defence, space and maritime connectivity.

MoI by India & Russia for maritime route between Chennai & Vladivostok

NEW DELHI: On Friday Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Indian aviation sector was witnessing phenomenal growth, and in a short period of time the country could have 2,000 planes. India's aviation sector is the third-largest in the world, and there is an annual growth of 17 percent, Hardeep Singh Puri said at the Lok Sabha. Mr. Puri said that the number of passengers had risen from 117 million in 2008 to around 440 million now. It is expected to touch 1 billion, he added. Mr. Puri said that India currently had over 600 aircraft, and from the orders for aircraft, one could expect the number to be 2,000 in a short time. Mr Puri was responding to a debate on a bill to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) Act. The Union Civil Aviation Minister said that he would ask Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to delink Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) from petrol and diesel. ATF accounts for a significant chunk of the operational costs of an airline. Mr Puri said that the cost of aviation was high due to institutional constraints, He stated that the debt of Air India was completely unsustainable, and privatization of the airline would be pushed through soon. This national carrier has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore.

Cochin Shipyard to build hybrid vessels for Kochi Metro

Kochi: Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) has received a Letter of Acceptance from Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRL) for building 23 boats. Inland transportation will be provided by these boats using electric/ hybrid technology.Kochi Metro which tendered their requirement of a total of around 78 high-quality boats of international standards, 25 of which 25 having a capacity of 100 pax. CSL also participated in the tender. Offered by CSL, these boats are designed with in-house expertise. They will be around 24 m. in length. The electric propulsion system powering these boats will be equipped with high quality lithium A titanium oxide battery. It will be used to run the boat for one hour, after which it can be charged at the charging stations of jetties in 15 minutes, thus providing uninterrupted service to customers.

Cochin Shipyard to build hybrid vessels for Kochi Metro

Kochi: Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) has received a Letter of Acceptance from Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRL) for building 23 boats. Inland transportation will be provided by these boats using electric/ hybrid technology.Kochi Metro which tendered their requirement of a total of around 78 high-quality boats of international standards, 25 of which 25 having a capacity of 100 pax. CSL also participated in the tender. Offered by CSL, these boats are designed with in-house expertise. They will be around 24 m. in length. The electric propulsion system powering these boats will be equipped with high quality lithium A titanium oxide battery. It will be used to run the boat for one hour, after which it can be charged at the charging stations of jetties in 15 minutes, thus providing uninterrupted service to customers.For emergency purposes, and for achieving top speed, the propulsion system of the boats will also be connected through a hybrid system using power from diesel generators. A revolutionary change in the water transportation segment in India will occur through this project, with a significant impact on the country’s effort to reduce emissions and carbon footprint. As the primary source of power for charging the boats is planned from solar PV installations, it will further augment benefits in terms of environment and sustainability. On the successful implementation of this project by KMRL, India will be noted as one of the select nations in the field of electric water mobility. Also, various other cities of India will be inspired to emulate this model of environment-friendly and technologically-advanced inland water vessels. As said by a release, this, in turn, will be a major boost  for  the GoI’s initiatives in opening up inland water transport in the country as a cost-competitive and more environment-friendly mode.

DGFT notification says import policy revised for 215 iron, steel products

New Delhi: A per a report, a notification from the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) says that the Government has made it mandatory for traders to register themselves with Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) to import 215 iron and steel products, including certain flat-rolled products; some stranded wire, ropes, cables; certain items of springs and leaves for springs of iron and steel; tubes, pipes and hollow profiles; diesel-electric locomotives; and some parts of railways. The Directorate said in a notification that SIMS will require importers to submit advance information in an online system for import of these items and obtain an automatic registration number by paying a specified fee. It added that the importer could apply for registration no earlier than the 60th day and no later than the 15th day before the expected date of arrival of import consignment The registration number will be valid for a period of 75 days. Moreover, the importer will have to enter the registration number and expiry date of registration in the Bill of Entry to enable Customs to clear the consignment. The online registration will be available from September 16 this year. The SIMS, under the Department of Commerce, collects and publishes data of steel mill product imports. The report added that, in a separate notification, the DGFT relaxed norms for import of Chlorotrifluoroethene, a chemical used as a refrigerant.

Inauguration of Sahibganj multimodal terminal by PM on Sept 12

To provide Indo-Nepal-Bangladesh & North-East cargo connectivity through waterways
On September 12, 2019, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, will dedicate to the nation India’s second riverine multimodal terminal built at Sahibganj in Jharkhand. He willinaugurate the state-of-art terminal through a two-way digital communication system at an event in Ranchi, Jharkhand, said a release, adding that. Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), will be present at Sahibganj. The terminal was built at a cost of Rs 290 crore in a record time of about two years. In April 2017, the Prime Minister himself had laid the foundation stone of IWAI’s Sahibganj multimodal terminal. The Sahibganj terminal is the second of the three multimodal terminals being constructed on the river Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP). Earlier, in November 2018, the Prime Minister had inaugurated the MMT at Varanasi. The terminal will provide Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity through waterways and open up industries of Jharkhand and Bihar to the global market and provide Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity through waterways route. The transportation of domestic coal from local mines in the Rajmahal area to various thermal power plants located along NW-1 will be facilitated by this terminal. As per the release, stone chips, fertilizers, cement and sugar are some of the other commodities expected to be transported through the terminal. Sahibganj will get connected to the North-East states through Bangladesh by the river-sea route. The convergence of road-rail-river transport at Sahibganj through the new multimodal terminal will connect this part of the hinterland to Kolkata, Haldia, and further to the Bay of Bengal.The Sahibganj multimodal terminal’s capacity is 30 lakh tonnes per annum. Following an investment of Rs 376 crore for capacity enhancement in Phase II under PPP mode, the capacity will grow to 54.8 lakh tonnes per annum. The development in Phase II will be entirely made by the private concessionaire. A freight village has also been proposed on 335 acres of land in contiguity with the terminal. The terminal jetty is 270 m long and 25 m wide, with berthing and mooring facility. It has one mobile harbour crane. The building of MMTs is a part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project. The Jal Marg Vikas Project aims to develop the stretch of the Ganga between Varanasi and Haldia for navigation of large vessels up to 1,500-2,000 tonnes weight, by maintaining a draught of 2-3 metres in this stretch of the river and setting up other systems required for safe navigation. The promotion of inland waterways as a cheaper and more environment-friendly means of transport, especially for cargo movement, is the objective of the project. As said in the release, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project implementing agency.

India raises import duty on Malaysian refined palm oil

India has raised the duty on refined palm oil from Malaysia to 50 per cent from 45 percent for six months in order to curb imports and boost local refining. As per a report, India had been imposing a 40 per cent import duty on crude palm oil and 50 per cent on refined palm oils. However, shipments of refined palm oils from Malaysia have been taxed at 45 per cent since January under an agreement with the country.Data compiled by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board shows that this reduced the effectivedifference in duty between crude palm oil and refined palm oil from Malaysia for Indian refiners to 5.5 per cent from 11 per cent, making overseas buying of refined palm more lucrative. This led to a 727 per cent surge in Malaysia’s refined palm oil exports to India in the first half of 2019 to 1.57 million tonnes compared with the same period a year before. The Directorate-General of Trade Remedies thus recommended raising the import duty on refined products. The 50 per cent duty on refined products would be applicable until March 2, 2020. The report added that this hike is likely to prompt Indian buyers to switch to crude palm oil.

India’s export of value-added shrimp increasing after US tariffs on China

Kochi:As said in a report, earlier, China used to import shrimps from India and re-export them to the US after value addition. The hike in tariffs by the US for imports from China is likely to help Indian seafood exports greatly; major US retailers are now actively sourcing value-added shrimps like breaded shrimps from India. India is the largest producer of shrimps in the world, accounting for nearly 6 per cent of the global production. China imported 49,701 tonnes of seafood worth $227.39 million from India in 2017-18. In FY18, India exported 35,000 tonnes of value-added products, worth $350 million, to the US, while the total seafood exports to the US market during the same period were to the tune of $2.3 billion with frozen shrimp being the major item, as per the report.

CONCOR flags off movement of ex-im containers between Kattupalli Port & ICD Whitefield, Bengaluru via ICD Tondiarpet, Chennai

Chennai:Bi-weekly train services between ICD Tondiarpet, Chennai and ICD Whitefield, Bengaluru for carrying ex-im containers are operated by Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR). Mr. Sanjay Bajpai, IRTS, Executive Director, CONCOR, Southern Region, flagged off import containers of Hyundai Merchant Marine’s (HMM) ACS service for road-bridging, under this service, on September 4, 2019 from Adani Kattupalli Port. As per a release, CONCOR had evacuated 250 TEUs of imports within 24 hours from Kattupalli for railing out at CONCOR’s ICD Tondiarpet. CONCOR has been deploying closed-circuit rakes between Chennai and Bengaluru for movement of ex-im containers on a regular basis, said Mr. Bajpai in a statement. 3 rakes have been deployed for the carriage of the ACS service import containers, and CONCOR is geared up to evacuate and rail-out all the boxes within 24 hours to Whitefield, Bengaluru. The release said that this CONCOR service received a good response from the trade in Bengaluru, which would go a long way in strengthening and stabilizing the rail services. The support extended by the Railways to organize and run these services would greatly improve rail co-efficiency, it added.There is a strategic agreement between CONCOR and Marine Infrastructure Developers Pvt. Ltd (Adani Kattupalli Port) for the movement of ex-im containers between Kattupalli Port and ICD Whitefield, Bengaluru via ICD Tondiarpet, Chennai. On September 5, 2019 a function was held at CONCOR ICD Tondiarpet, at which Mr. R.Srinivasa Naik, IRS, Commissioner of Customs, Chennai, and Mr. G. R. Seshagiri Rao,Group General Manager, TNPM, Chennai, CONCOR, flagged off the inaugural train service between ICD Tondiarpet and ICD Whitefield for the carriage and movement of import containers of Hyundai Merchant Marine. Mr. Naik, in his speech at the event, lauded the efforts of CONCOR in deploying their high-speed rakes between Chennai and Bengaluru for the benefit of trade. He was happy that transactional costs would come down with the introduction of this dedicated train service by CONCOR. Mr. Naik extended full support to the Customs towards trade facilitation and advised the Customs officials present to strive for ease of doing business and remain dedicated to the goal of Customs to facilitate faceless transactions in the least possible time.Thanking the Customs, Railways, Adani Kattupalli Port, and Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mr. Seshagiri Rao stressed that CONCOR is ready to run scheduled and dedicated train services from Chennai to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, ICD Birgunj, Nepal, and ICD Bangabandhu near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mr. Rao urged the trade to utilize the services of CONCOR in a big way to achieve cost reduction and maintain high service levels. He also offered to provide customized transportation and logistics solutions to shippers for rail movement to Nepal and Bangladesh.  The release added that representatives from the trade, CHAs, shippers as well as officials of various departments present on the occasion welcomed the initiatives of CONCOR in providing multimodal logistics services.

Oilmeal exports in August slip sharply

New Delhi:In this August India’s exports of oilmeal has been provisionally reported at 98,871 tonnes compared to 359,752 tonnes in last August marking a slip of 73%. Cumulative exports this year until August was reported at 1,016,682 tonnes, 23 per cent lesser 1,326,626 tonnes shipped in April-August 2018, as per data compiled by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), said a report. Higher prices of domestic oilmeal is the chief reason for this, thanks to the higher MSP of oilmeal making the domestic oilmeal expensive in international markets.

Exports of soybean meal slips sharply to 26,006 tonnes

A sharp drop in soybean meal exports has led to the lowest level of India’s oilmeal exports this July. Oilmeal exports in this July were reported at 166,301 tonnes as compared to 215,716 tonnes in last July, a 23 per cent drop, the Solvent Extractors’Association of India (SEA) revealed.It also brought to light the drop in soybean meal exports to 26,006 tonnes for July, down from 62,524 tonnes in June 2019. For the period April-July, India’s soybean meal exports from April to July 2019 fell to 182,631 tonnes, as compared to 312,126 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Higher domestic rates and trade restrictions on Iran one of the chief buyers of soybean meal are reasons for poor exports. Last Ocotber rates of soybean meal freigt-on-board were USD 357 per tonne and this July they were USD 440 per tonne. For Apr-Jul SEA noted that overall oilmeal exports were provisionally reported at 851,070 tonnes in 2019 as compared to 966,874 tonnes in 2018, a drop of 12 per cent. Oilmeal exports to Vietnam (-47%), Thailand (-17%) and Taiwan (-7%) dropped sharply for the period on year on year basis. However, castor seed meal has seen a sharp jump in exports during April-July period to 229,820 tonnes, up from 75,597 tonnes reported in the same period last year. Its prices jumped too from USD 77 / tonne to USD 118 / tonne, signifying good demand.

Air freight demand impacted by trade war

It has emerged from the data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for global air freight markets that demand, measured in freight tons kilometres (FTKs) has contracted by 3.2% in July 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, for the ninth consecutive month. Poor global trade and the unrelenting trade war between USA and China seem to affect it adversely. Compared to last year, global trade volumes are 1.4% lower and traffic between USA and China has fallen by 14%. “Trade tensions are weighing heavily on the entire air cargo industry. Higher tariffs are disrupting not only transpacific supply chains but also worldwide trade lanes. Trade generates prosperity. It is critical that the US and China work quickly to resolve their differences,” said Mr. Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Liquid cargo handling by Kattupalli Port

Chennai:On 2 nd September 2019 Kattupalli Port (AKPPL), a subsidiary of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), handled its first liquid vessel for Birla Carbon (P) Ltd, a key development for the port in keeping with its strategy to diversify cargo.Birla Carbon has intended to use MV Erikoussa. The vessel discharged 35,000 MT Carbon Black Feedstock, the raw material for Birla Carbon’s plant in SIPCOT region in Gummidipoondi. To mark the achievement a commemorative function was held at the port on 4th September, 2019 and was graced by the representatives of Birla Carbon and port customers. A modern port in north Chennai AKPPL is a good alternative for cargo owners over the congested Chennai port. Seamless movement of cargo is possible 24×7 on the decongested roads as AKPPL is located outside city limits. It is geared to handle various chemicals and has a well laid out pipeline network from the jetty to the tank storage terminal. To be able to handle liquid cargo a number of things are needed like dedicated enclosures with approach roads as per OISD guidelines, heating facility and pigging facilities to ensure fullest cargo displacement and proper cleaning of pipelines. The World-class facilities at Kattupalli include a 710 quay length, 1.2 m TEU annual capacity, 15 RTGs, 5120 ground slots and 360 reefer points. The port is advantageously close to cargo clusters, national highways and Industrial hubs.

Kattupalli Port handles inaugural call by Hyundai Merchant Marine

On this 4 th September, Kattupalli Port (AKPPL), a subsidiary of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone handled its inaugural call of HMM’s Asia Chennai Service (ACS). MV Hyundai Platinum was the first vessel to berth with a total exchange of 4400 TEUs. The service connects Katupalli port directly to sectors in the Far East such as China and Korea, giving a competitive edge to the automobile industry in and around Chennai. A function was held then to commemorate the occasion and was graced by Chief Commissioner of Customs, CONCOR representatives and the port customers. Mr. Karan Adani, CEO, Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone said, “Today is a big day for everyone who has worked hard in shaping our Kattupalli Port. I am delighted to share that India’s youngest economic gateway recorded its maiden exclusive call from HMM’s Asia Chennai Service (ACS). The service connects us directly to the Far East.”

India’s merchandise exports to grow but non-oil exports may fall, says Exim Bank

New Delhi:Forecasts for this quarter in the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) forecast report say that India’s merchandise exports will increase from $ 81.4 billion to $ 82 billion charting a growth rate of 0.6 per cent from a year ago whereas non-oil exports will decline by 0.2 per cent from $ 69.64 billion to $ 69.48 billion. The forecasts are made based on Exim Bank’s Export Leading Index (ELI), which gauges the outlook for country’s exports and models a leading indicator to forecast growth in total merchandise and non-oil exports of the country on a quarterly basis. External and internal factors that could impact exports of the country form the basis of this indicator. EXIM Bank says that it will continue to release quarterly forecasts of growth in India’s total merchandise exports and non-oil exports in the first week of the months of June, September, December and March for the respective quarters, with ontinuous improvisation to the mode.

Bi-weekly train service between Tondiarpet ICD & Whitefield Bengaluru by CONCOR

CHENNAI:A bi-weekly train service between ICD, Tondiarpet, Chennai to ICD, Whitefield, Bengaluru for carrying Export-Import Containers has been introduced by Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR). On this September 4 th the Executive Director of CONCOR (Southern Region) flagged off the import containers of Hyundai Merchant Marine Shipping Line’s ACS service for road-bridging at Adani Kattupalli Port. CONCOR regularly deploys closed-circuit rakes between Chennai and Bengaluru for movement of export-import containers. Now 3 rakes have been deployed for carrying import containers landed on ACS service of Hyundai Merchant Marine. The ED stated that all the stakeholders should work towards achieving rail out of containers from TNPM within 24 hours of unloading at Kattupalli. This service was very well received by traders in Bengaluru and is much required for strengthening and stabilizing the rail service. The Railways have extended a lot of support in all of this and it will greatly improve rail co-efficiency. Besides, CONCOR had entered into an agreement with Marine Infrastructure Developers Pvt. Ltd., (Adani Kattupalli Port) for organizing and moving the containers.At a function held at CONCOR ICD Tondiarpet on this 5 th September, Mr. R. Srinivasa Naik, IRS, Commissioner of Customs, Chennai and Mr. G.R. Seshagiri Rao, Group General Manager, CONCOR, ICD, Tondiarpet, Chennai, flagged off the inaugural train service carrying containers of M/s. Hyundai Merchant Marine meant for importers/traders in Bengaluru. Thanking Customs, Railways, Adani Kattupalli Port and Hyundai Merchant Marine Line Mr. Seshagiri Rao said that CONCOR is prepared to run scheduled and dedicated train services from Chennai to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, ICD Birgunj, Nepal, ICD Bangabandhu near Dhaka, Bangladesh. He asked everyone to make the most of CONCOR’s service, which would reduce costs considerably. He suggested offering customized transportation and logistics solutions to shippers for rail movement to Nepal and Bangladesh. Members of the trade, CHAs, Shippers and Officials of various departments graced the function and they welcomed this multi-modal logistic arrangement.

Bi-weekly train service between Tondiarpet ICD & Whitefield Bengaluru by CONCOR

NEW DELHI:Clarifying that the MEIS has not been discontinued from this August 1 st the Commerce Ministry said that an Interministerial consideration is going on for continuation of 2 per cent increase for labor intensive sectors. The Government by way of the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) bestows duty benefits depending on product and country. Rewards under the scheme are payable as a percentage of realized free-on-board value. The duty credit scrip can be transferred or used for payment of a number of duties including the basic customs duty.There has been confusion about MEIS/RoSCTL (Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies). It is clarified that MEIS has not been discontinued w.e.f. 1.8.2019. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) tweeted, “The issues under Inter-Ministerial consideration are – continuation of 2 per cent increase sanctioned w.e.f.1.11.2017 in labour intensive / MSME sectors. Continuation of MEIS for RMG and made-ups, continuation of RoSL with existing MEI’s rates or RoSCTL only for RMG & made-ups. The Government decision would be notified on these issues at the earliest. MEIS system has been blocked for LEO (Let Export Order) after 1.8.2019 till then.”

GST refund processing to exporters by a single authority mechanism soon

NEW DELHI:In a welcome move the all powerful federal indirect tax body, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is expected to approve the procedure to permit a single authority for sanctioning and processing GST refunds for exporters in a quick and an efficient manner when it meets on September 20th. In the proposed single authority mechanism, once a refund – whether Central or State -claim is filed, the Tax Officer will check, review and sanction both tax refunds thereby eliminating complications faced by the taxpayers.This will come as a breather for the stresses export sector, which shrank by 0.37 per cent to USD 107.41 billion during April-July 2019-20. The stress is on account of sluggish global demand and liquidity crunch. The GST Council led by Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman is to meet in Goa to discuss the single authority mechanism with representatives of all states. Currently there is a twin-refund sanctioning authority comprising central and state tax officers. If the Central Tax Officer is approached for a refund, only half of his claims will be refunded and he has to approach the State Tax Officers for the rest. This two-step claim procedure unnecessarily lengthens the process.Mr. Bipin Sapra, Partner, EY, said, “A single authority for clearing the refunds would ease the burden of exporters to a large extent … It would also streamline and reduce litigation and bring more uniformity in the position taken.”

Measures to boost exports: to be announced by the Government soon

NEW DELHI:Officials said that the Government was very soon expected to announce measures to boost exports for certain slowing sectors, including gems and jewelry. Ministries of Finance and Commerce have had many rounds of discussions about them. The proposal under consideration may see the Government extend the deadline for removal of tax benefits to units in special economic zones (SEZs). The Union Budget of 2016-17 had announced that new SEZs would get income tax benefits only if they commence activity before March 31, 2020. For gems and jewelry, a labor intensive sector, the Government is contemplating reducing import duty on colored gem stones and polished diamonds from the current 7.5 per cent. Another idea is to increase the insurance coverage by the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India for export credit from 60 per cent currently to 90 per cent. This will allow banks to give more export credit at competitive rates. To curb import and encourage domestic manufacturing the plan is for strict implementation of rules of origin criteria. This will check diversion of imports via free-trade agreement countries. Operating procedures can be standardized for quick clearance of export-import consignments. Demands are being made by exporters for other measures such as enhancing benefits of the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for non-basmati rice and textiles sectors, besides interest subvention for large pharmaceutical companies. Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) Director-General Mr. Ajay Sahai said, Because exports are passing through tough times amidst global contraction in demand due to economic uncertainties, support measures for exporters would help in imparting further competitiveness to it. President of the Ludhiana-based Hand Tools Association, Mr. S. C. Ralhan suggested that refund of indirect taxes such as those on oil and power, and state levies such as mandi tax will ease the liquidity crunch very much. In July exports from India recorded a 2.25 per cent growth. For April-July this fiscal, exports slid by 0.37 per cent to USD 107.41 billion.

Foundation Day of DG Shipping to be celebrated in Mumbai as it completes 70 years

Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical and Fertilizers will launch celebrations in Mumbai to observe the 70th foundation day of the Directorate General of Shipping on Tuesday, said Directorate officials on Monday. Their press release said, The special occasion will be dedicated to reflecting on the journey and contributions of the Directorate to the shipping sector in India since its inception in 1949 to the present day, and to chart out its future course towards boosting safe, secure and pollution-free shipping. Emphasizing that in the past the Directorate has taken many measures to simplify the working of the Shipping industry, it said, The steps like revamping of old Acts, easing of norms for coastal shipping, quality training and employment of seafarers and complete revamp of e-governance modules have had significant impact on seafarers employment whose numbers have gone up substantially touching a figure of 2,08,000. The Ship registration in India has gone up by around 200 in the last 4 years and coastal traffic is expected to rise significantly. These initiatives are a part of the much larger Sagarmala Project envisaged by the government.” Four contingents of trainee cadets representing maritime training institutes from East, West, North and South regions of the country will do a march past as part of the celebration, confirmed the Directorate.

China News

China-USA high-level trade talks on the anvil in early October

On Thursday morning Chinese vice Premier Mr. Liu He, US Trade Representative Mr.Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Mr. Steven Mnuchin spoke has a conversation over the phone said state-run China Central Television. They have decided to have another round of trade talks in Washington in early October, attempting all over again to resolve the trade war that has hurt global economies, business investment and confidence. USA too confirmed the telecon and said that the talks would be held in Washington. Until then through mid-September, deputy level officials on either sides would work together to lay the groundwork. This decision was reached consequent to the plans of either sides to raise punitive tariffs. About USD 270 mn worth of consumer goods from China are on the threshold of being levied 15% by the US and nonconsumer items – those needed by businesses to manufacture goods – will be levied 20% to 30%, with effect from 1st October, before the next round of trade talks concludes. In their defence, China has levied tariffs of 30% and 35% on American soybeans and some U.S. auto parts. Beside it has allowed the Chinese yuan to depreciate so as to mitigate the impact of the levies.Whether the two sides will reach any common ground is suspect as tensions between them have risen. Neither side committed for the specific date for starting the next round of talks, the 13 th one in the series of stand-offs that began in January, after the U.S. initially agreed to hold off on further tariffs to try to reach a trade deal. “The path to even a modest deal is strewn with many obstacles, as neither side is likely to pull back any of the existing trade sanctions without substantial concessions from the other side,” said Mr Eswar Prasad, a China expert and economist at Cornell University., Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai Mr. Eric Zheng said businesses welcome plans for more talk. It will make many happy if progress is made on trade related issues, he said, while keeping more complicated issues such as national security for later. But his hopes are bleak as he says, “Both sides are quite far apart from each other.” A Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson during a briefing on Thursday pleaded to the US not to its prowess to crack down on Huawei Technologies Co, Chinas telecommunications giant, which has been blacklisted by Washington since May. It has now become an integral part of trade negotiations and President Trump even suggested using it as a bargaining chip to gain concessions from Beijing. Officials from the White House have welcomed China’s willingness to resume direct discussion but were not sure if thediscussion would bear any result as they were not sure of what the Chinese side will offer. On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa), told reporters that Mr. Lighthizer didn’t want to schedule a meeting with senior Chinese officials unless there were hints of significant progress. He considered currency manipulation and intellectual-property theft as priorities and said, “In conversations I’ve had, it’s pretty certain the United States doesn’t care much to sit down and talk unless there’s going to be real serious movement on the three or four things that we think are most important.” While China wants the US to do away with the tariffs, the US wants China to commit to structural changes in its economy over and above buying more U.S. agricultural goods. China is tired of the US springing surporise tariffs with every round say people who have been following the trade talks. With no hope of striking a deal Beijing is working hard to tackle its slowing domestic economy. China’s State Council on Wednesday called for the timely use of policy changes such as a lowering of the amount of reserves banks have to hold, and for local governments to get ready earlier to issue bonds for next year, a move aimed at boosting infrastructure investment. Chinese state television confirmed that both countries were planning to work together and “create favourable conditions” for the negotiations.

New Shipping index on the anvil jointly by Shanghai Shipping Exchange CargoSmart

Hong Kong:Two leading organisation, the Shanghai Shipping Exchange and CargoSmart Ltd, a global shipment management software solutions provider have agreed to develop a new shipping index for ocean carrier schedule reliability and have signed an MoU to that effect. The two will together create a new methodology to calculate schedule reliability for key trade lanes so as to help shippers optimise their supply chains and for the industry as a whole to improve service quality, said a release. They will establish theindex scope and methodology by forming a joint working group to further develop new insights for the shipping industry.As an open, fair and unbiased platform, Shanghai Shipping Exchange has played an important role in keeping the global shipping market up-to-date with accurate information by publishing the China Containerised Freight Index (CCFI) and Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI). Vice President of the Shanghai Shipping Exchange Mr Yao Weifu said, “The alliance with CargoSmart allows us to expand the insights we provide for the shipping industry. We look forward to collaborating with CargoSmart to deliver a new shipping index that increases transparency to ocean carrier performance.” CargoSmart too has been providing solutions for the past 20 years in shipping management and connection with more than 20 ocean carriers by monitoring and analysing over 16,000 vessels, 1,400 global container terminals, 3,000 ocean carrier services representing 85 per cent of the market, and 10 million sailing schedules. Using all this data and their anaytical techniques CargoSmart will enable effective and accurate measurement of ocean carriers’ schedule reliability performance. Mr Lionel Louie, Chief Commercial Officer of CargoSmart said,“CargoSmart and Shanghai Shipping Exchange share a common desire to improve supply chain efficiency and productivity. Our cooperation will extend our contributions to the shipping industry.”

Taiwanese Businessman detained by China

A Taiwanese businessman Mr. Lee Meng-chu has been detained in southern China on national-security grounds, after he shared images with friends in Taiwan of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong. An electronics trader on a business trip Lee disappeared three weeks ago after he entered the city of Shenzhen in South China from Hong Kong, according to Taiwanese authorities and a friend of Mr. Lee’s. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese government confirmed the news on Wednesday. Their spokesman told reporters that Mr. Lee was being investigated for “criminal activities that endanger national security.” In the past too Chinese authorities have applied this broad allegation against dissidents and foreign nationals who are then prosecuted for espionage. Lee could not be contacted. Long time friend of Lee, Mr. Archer Chen said that Lee’s family had engaged a lawyer, who has refused to speak to the media. He also confirmed that his friend disappeared after he sent photos of the Hong Kong protests and images of Chinese paramilitary forces amassed in Shenzhen to his friends using the Line mobile-messaging app. At crossings between Shenzhen and Hong Kong Chinese border police examine mobile phones and travelers’ bags to keep out of the main land protest-related materials said some who have been subjected to such checks. This is happening as China attempts to punish Taiwanese President Ms. Tsai Ing-wen over her inclination for formal independence for the self-ruled island, which Beijing considers its own. Beijing has accused her of fanning unrest in Hong Kong, where mass protests erupted in June against their plan to introduce legislation allowing extradition to mainland China. The protests now have widened their scope and demand an inquiry into police conduct and more democratic rights. They have continued even after reassurance by Ms. Tai to withdraw the legislation. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council that handles relations with Beijing expressed “strong regret” at the Chinese government’s alleged failure to provide a formal notification or explanation to Taipei or Mr. Lee’s family. “This case involves China’s treatment of Taiwanese people who enter the mainland in relation to their personal freedom and safety,” the council said. In August the Shenzhen police in China had detained a Hong Kong citizen working for the UK Consulate there for 15 days as punishment for an alleged prostitution-related offense, which his friends were skeptical about. He was released and returned to Hong Kong but has not commented publicly on his case since then. It is not clear when Lee – who is in his early 40s – was detained and by whom. A frequent business traveler to China and Hong Kong Lee was to meet Mr. Chen in Indonesia on August 27 for an agricultural-commerce conference. He did not reply to his messages since August 20. He said, “He’s never been a pro-independence activist. He is purely a businessman. Even though he always cares about social issues, he doesn’t belong to any political party.” Ms. Tsai’s ruling Democratic People’s Party deterred Taiwanese citizens from traveling to Hong Kong and mainland China, urging them to be mindful of their personal safety if they do visit. With this detention they said that they were reminded of a similar case in 2017 in which Chinese authorities detained and later jailed a Taiwanese human-rights activist Lee Mind-cge on charges of subverting state power. He vanished in March 2017 after traveling to mainland China and after a week’s wait where officials confirmed his detention for allegedly “endangering national security.” After he confessed to have written essays and social-media posts that criticized the Communist Party and China’s political system a Chinese court sentenced him to five years imprisonment.

To break deadlock, China to narrow down trade talks with USA

China plans to narrow down the scope of its negotiations to purely trade related issues keeping national-security issues separate in a bid to break deadlocked talks with the U.S. In doing this they hope that the trade issues that need immediate action will get resolved and emerge from the deadlock. They want to leave no stone unturned before the October negotiations in easing tensions between the two countries. This comes after President Trump on Wednesday shifted the date of making the levies effective from October 1 st to the 15 th , as a goodwill gesture to honor the 70th anniversary of Communist rule that China marks on that date. Meanwhile China is planning to boost purchases of US agricultural products, give US companies greater access to China’s markets and strngthen intellectual-property protections. It will declare a series of exemptions to its tariffs on US imports this week. This step has been welcomed by businesses but still many of the nations’ sharpest disagreements remain unresolved. Stocks soared with this news. Some business leaders have cautioned reminding them of past instances when both the countries were very near to reaching common ground but in vain. Both did not see eye to eye be it removing tariffs on items that cover the majority of trade between the two nations, China’s practices with intellectual property and investment restrictions on U.S. businesses, as well as Beijing’s extensive reliance on state-owned enterprises.President of the National Foreign Trade Council Mr. Rufus Yerxa said, “It’s a hopeful sign that they’re de-escalating rather than escalating. Given what’s happened before, I’d be cautious about assuming this means we’re on a quick path to a deal.” According to Beijing’s two-track approach Mr. Liu will continue to lead talks on trade issues while a separate team will be assigned to manage the other geopolitical matters. Deputy-level Chinese trade officials will go to Washington next week to lay the groundwork for the high-level meeting. If successful, it will mean a deal far more limited than the sweeping agreement that was pursued in May or one that will halt or even roll back US tariffs that cover just USD 250 bn of Chinese imports. When quizzed about that possibility of a limited deal Mr. Trump said he would consider it, but “I’d rather get the whole deal done.”U.S. business groups support any progress toward a deal, pointing to the increasing toll tariffs will take on U.S. companies and consumers. “We urge both sides to work toward eliminating tariffs, realize the concrete progress that is possible today, and build momentum for longer-term negotiations on the most challenging issues,” said Craig Allen, the President of the US-China Business Council. In Washington, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S.’s top concerns remain intellectual-property rights and forced joint ventures, as well as currency issues. Unrest in Hong Kong isn’t under discussion as part of the trade talks, Mr. Mnuchin said, but he didn’t address whether negotiators would discuss Huawei Technologies Co., which the U.S. regards as a security threat amid a global shift to next-generation wireless networks. He also dismissed speculation that the administration would accept a watered-down deal ahead of the 2020 residentialelection. Mr. Trump, a Republican, “is prepared to keep these tariffs in place,” the secretary said. “He is prepared to raise tariffs if we need to raise tariffs.” He said agricultural purchases by China would be a central piece of any deal. Mr. Trump, in a brief morning tweet, echoed those remarks: “It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” China has taken tentative steps in that direction. Ahead of October’s talks, Beijing has been looking to tilt the scales in their favor by making more purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, which could include pork and soybeans, to show its sincerity in meeting a demand for which Mr. Trump has pressed hard throughout the trade dispute. China’s tactics to fight US trade tariffs have hit farers in USA hard one reason why the Trump administration was under pressured to find a way out. Agravating this pressure is the disagreement between the Trump administration and House Democrats on means of funding the White House’s farm-bailout programs. In August China suspended all farm purchases enquiries have started trickling in from China for U.S. farm goods again, China’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday. Similar inquiries in this summer did not result in large-scale purchases, one of the reasons why negotiators made no progress in recent months. Again in May the U.S. accused Beijing of going back on its promises to enact deeper changes to its economic system and trade talks failed. Denying these allegations, Chinese officials say that any agreement between the two countries would have to be balanced—meaning the U.S. would have to make compromises, too. Any progress is yet to be felt even though formal negotiations have since resumed. But separating trade from other issues may not go well with the Trump administration.which has linked trade negotiations with other issues, including the blacklisted Huawei. Huawei, a leader in 5G network equipment, suspect US official could allow spying on behalf of the Chinese government, allegations Beijing rejects. Chinese President Xi Jinping has made relief for the company a precondition for reaching a trade agreement. China hopes President Trump will honor his word on lifting a U.S. ban on purchases of Huawei products that have nothing to do with national security.What gets categorised as a trade issue and a national security issue will be a bone of contention between Washington and Beijing. In earlier rounds, Chinese officials had wished to consider data transfers and cloud computing as related to national security, while the US was trying to push Beijing into addressing those during negotiations over trade and investment.

China’s economy hurt as Beijing tries to fix trade issues with Washington

Beijing: Beijing is running out of patiencewith the trade talks with USA as the economic activity in China slowed further in August. Every aspect of the economy seems impacted with industrial output and retail sales data indicating sluggish demand and low confidence among businesses and consumers. Just when economists expected to see a recovery from July, it fell to its lowest level in more than a decade. There was a 4.4% increase in value-added industrial output in August compared to a year earlier but it was far below economists’ expectations of 5.2% growth and lesser than the 4.8% increase in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. In January-August fixed asset investment outside rural households climbed 5.5% compared to the same period last year but it was below expectations. Retail sales from last August rose to 7.5% in from a year earlier, lower than the 7.6% gain in July and below the expected 7.9% rise. Mr. Li Wei, exconomist at Standard Chartered Bank said that China was on the brink of a vicious cycle and cautioned against deflationary pressure on companies as soft demand squeezes profits, leading to destocking and reduced investment. “It’s now all about the government’s tolerance for slower growth and what kind of policy tools they want to use to stimulate growth,” he said. So far China’s leaders have used a measured tone. In a statement on the government’s website Premier Li Keqiang said China’s overall economic performance in the first eight months of 2019 was steady, with some signs of progress. “Against the backdrop of a complicated international situation and given the higher base of comparison, it is not very easy for China to still sustain a medium-to-high growth speed of above 6%. Such a speed still ranks high among the world’s major economies,” he was quoted as saying ahead of his visit to Russia. Spokesperson of the Statistical Bureau Mr. Fu Linghui partly attributed disruptions to business operations on powerful storms and other temporary factors. He said the government is confident of meeting its goal of keeping growth  between 6% and 6.5% this year. In the first half of the year China’s economy grew 6.3%. Many economists expect slower growth from the second quarter’s 6.2%, with some fearing it to slip below thelower boundary of the target range. “Given the much weaker economic data in August, it’s quite difficult for the Chinese economy to maintain growth of more than 6% in the third quarter,” said Mr. Zhaopeng Xing, an economist with ANZ. Recently, China has stepped up efforts to avert an economic slowdown, giving extra support for local-government bond issuance and releasing more funds for banks to lend to businesses. Many economists expect the central bank to lower key market rates this month, to lower cost of borrowing and to send a strong message that Beijing will support its economy. Expectations of lower interest rates boosted China’s bond prices, which move conversely with yields. The property market was one of the few happening sectors in August. Growth in home-sales in China was resilient in August, booming even as Beijing continued to tightly control property purchases. For January-August home sales by value rose 9.9% from last year, higher than the 9.2% gain during January-July. Aggressive promotion campaigns by developers clubbed with the fear of home-buyers of further tightening measures led to an increase in real-estate transactions, said Mr. Yan Yuejin, an Analyst at E-House China R& D Institute, a property services firm. However in the coming months real-estate investment may plummet as pessimism sets in about the property market’s outlook and a cooling economy catches up with the developers, Mr. Yan said. One positive was the unemployment rate, which is based on an official survey in China’s large cities. It slipped to 5.2% from July’s 5.3% — a reading that was tied for the highest level since the government began publishing the data last year. If tensions between Chian and Usa ease, the general economic picture could improve. Both sides have made goodwill gestures to show their willingness to help the situation. China confirmed of exempting agricultural products from USA inlcluding soybeans and pork from punitive tariffs. This has been one of the most pressing and longest demands of the Trump administration all through the trade war.

Africa News

New Air Routes to Open in Rwanda

A draft law was approved by Parliament on Tuesday that paves way for Rwanda to cooperate with 32 countries in the aviation sector. Amb. Claver Gatete, the Minister of Infrastructure said the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) opens the way for 92 new air routes for the national carrier RwandAir. The window for the growth of trade and tourism of local air transportation has been opened by the law. “These are just 32 agreements, 92 have been finalized and more will be signed,” said Gatete shortly after the parliament’s approval. Designated airlines of contracting countries are normally permitted by BASA to operate commercial flights that cover the transport of passengers and cargo between those two countries. Frequency and capacity of air services between countries, pricing and other commercial aspects are also normally regulated by them. The minister said the agreements will, “broaden our business wings so our country can cooperate with many other countries.” in a bid to boost trade and tourism It was a proactive step, the Director of Transport Division at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Alphred Byiringiro, told The New Times, despite the national carrier not being able to cover all the new routes right away. More foreign carriers will be able to fly to Rwanda in the meantime, the minister said. Both parties to the agreement are allowed by the laws to initiate their operations which will liberalise commercial civil aviation services of passengers and cargo. Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Djibouti, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, São Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zambia are the African countries involved. Routes involved in transcontinental agreements are with the Bahamas, China, Hellenic, Iceland, India, Italy, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, the Swiss Federal Council, and Sri Lanka. In the past – as part of government efforts to increase air connectivity and deepen trade in Africa and beyond Rwanda has signed BASAs with several countries that include Cape Verde, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Lesotho, Swaziland, the Central African Republic (CAR), Canada, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania.

Uganda Airlines relaunches 1st commercial air services since 2001

Uganda Airlines has launched commercial flight service following its liquidation in 2001, the news reporting service said. The latest African government to boost funding of national flag carriers is Uganda. While Tanzania and Senegal are resurrecting their airlines, Rwanda, Ivory Coast and Togo are expanding theirs. A continental open-skies agreement, which is vital for the success of African carriers, have been impeded due to high business costs as well as protectionism according to industry experts. International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the global aviation industry is on track to make a profit of USD 28 billion in 2019, but African airlines are projected to make combined losses of USD 100 million and forecasts a 5% year-over-year growth in the African market, in terms of passengers. The aim of Uganda Airlines is to attract more domestic travellers to help it buck the gloomy continental trend. Around 2 million passengers per year travel through Entebbe, Uganda´s main airport, of which around 70% are Ugandans, said the carrier.After years of unprofitability during a push to privatize state firms, Uganda Airlines, founded by former dictator Idi Amin in 1976, was liquidated in 2001.

Collaboration benefits for economic growth in the spotlight African Ports & Rail Evolution Forum

On Tuesday, 15 and Wednesday, 16 October 2019 at the Durban International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa of the eighth annual African Ports and Rail Evolution Forum, a two-day trade exhibition and conference taking place will see attendees gain access to more than 80 exhibitors displaying the latest products, services and technologies across seven product zones, namely ports infrastructure and expansion; port operations; security and information technology; rolling stock and locomotives; rail infrastructure maintenance; maritime; and logistics. The 15 free-to-attend workshops will enable visiting ports and rail professionals get to grips with up-to-date industry developments and up their skills themselves. Acting CEO of Transnet National Ports Authority, Nozipho Mdawe, will inaugurate this year’s event. In addition, there will be more than 30 speakers from around the globe including Mr. Aadil Cajee, executive head of infrastructure, corporate and investment banking at Standard Bank; Mr. Benjamin Acolatse the deputy CEO of Ghana Railway Development Authority; and Mr. Ousman Jobarteh, managing director of the Port Authority of Gambia.
Theme features of the event
Delegates will discover Africa’s trade potential and the wealth of new investment and partnership opportunities arising from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, as well as other open border initiatives under the theme for this year is of Accelerating Economic Growth in Africa through Cross-border Collaboration and Investment. They will hear from Africa’s global counterparts on best practice. They will also be privy to forecasts for Africa’s transport infrastructure and find out which infrastructure projects are currently open around the continent, where assistance is needed and how to become a leading partner in the development of Africa’s multibillion-dollar transport industry. Attendees of The African Ports and Rail Evolution Forum are offers access to four co-located events. Drone Con, is among these where they can learn more about the technology that is disrupting business across all industries, including mining, agriculture,security, telecommunications, emergency response, wildlife protection, search and rescue and more. One of Africa’s largest drone conferences, with a keen focus on African solutions for commercial drone industries Drone Con offers delegates a diversity of relevant exhibitions. KZN Export Week, from 14 to 18 October. KZN Export Week is another collocated event, an annual programme of Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) developed to recognise, promote and assist with growing KwaZulu-Natal’s export businesses along with industries throughout Africa and globally. The Women in Transport Awards on the 15 October and the Exporter of the Year Awards on 17 October will award excellence. These awards provide a much-needed platform to recognise, reward and celebrate the successful women who are transforming the transport sector. The KZN Exporter of the Year Awards will be hosted by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry where small, medium and large exporters from a variety of sectors will be acknowledged for their contribution to the industry. During site visits to the Port of Durban, Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone and several tourism hotspots select delegates will have the opportunity to explore and experience the bustling tourism hub, Durban, over and above this.

Encouraging mobility, transport connectivity

In the coming months similar events will be taking place in Qatar, Mozambique and Nigeria, hosted by the eThekwini Municipality and Ministry of Transport, in partnership with Transnet National Ports Authority and Transnet Freight Rail, the African Ports and Rail Evolution Forum forms part of the Transport Evolution Event Series I. This event is key as mobility and transport connectivity systems are the backbone for regional and global trade as well as for economic regeneration and employment creation in South Africa,says Nomalanga Sokhela, eThekwini Municipality Programme Manager:Maritime Industry Development.

NJ Ayuk says African energy sector holds great potential to revitalize economy

The energy sector holds great potential to revitalize African economies and empower the growth and development as African economies are undergoing a transformative periodIn his sophomore book Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals NJ Ayuk dives into in great detail into this subject. The book has a foreword by OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, and focuses on the following questions: · How did Africa get here and what comes next?
· How do African countries and societies get the most value from their resources?
· What exactly can African leaders do to put their countries on a sustainable, profitable path?
· How can all parties win in Africa’s energy deals of the coming decades?
The executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber outlines the fortunes and misfortunes in Africa’s petroleum industry in a straightforward approach and presents to us that Africa can learn from itself to build competitive economies. He proposed, “If African governments, businesses, and organizations manage Africa’s oil and gas revenues wisely, we can make meaningful changes across the continent.” He challenges major players to be more active in developing their resources and local content skills and encourages decision-makers to put Africa’s people at the centre of economic growth plans, using his experience and knowledge of the global energy sector. Mr. Ayuk unpacks major issues including what and how Africa can learn from itself, the role of natural gas in Africa’s energy future, effective and sustainable investment strategies, strategic oil and gas revenue management and the role of women in the African petroleum sector, while making the case for the petroleum industry having the power to support and transform emerging economies. The latter he insists is vital in the success of Africa’s oil and gas sector. Mr. Ayuk said, “Africans are more than capable of making our continent successful.” However, greater benefits can be achieved with global participation in the African energy landscape. Africa needs companies that are willing to share knowledge, technology and best practices, and businesses that are willing to form positive relationships in areas where they work, he stressed, while speaking on the US-Africa relations specifically,.

Digital skills to be brought across Kenya by Huawei

The DigiTruck project, in partnership with Belgium nonprofit organization Close the Gap was unveiled by Huawei, to provide digital skills training to rural and remote communities in KenyaHuawei’s latest effort, the DigiTruck is driving their digital inclusion initiative Tech4ALL. By delivering digital skills to remote homes through mobile digital classrooms converted from truck containers Huawei DigiTruck is designed to increase the awareness and accessibility of digital skills. Equipped with wireless broadband-enabled by fixed wireless access, laptops and smartphones, the DigiTruck is enables Internet skills to be taught aboard and incorporating VR content in digital education. It can reach remote rural villages with no electricity where local teachers, women and youth can be trained as it has solar panels and batteries capable of powering it. The devices inside the truck are refurbished, extending their life. Responsible e-waste management will be one topic taught on the DigiTruck as well as staying safe online. Olivier Vanden Eynde, founder and CEO of Close the Gap, said, “With the different DigiTrucks we have been able to reach even the most isolated communities that have little or no access to ICT, also bring quality training and education to these areas.” Ritchie Peng, chief marketing officer, Huawei Wireless Solution, added, “The empowering use of ICT is closely connected to socio-economic development. Our 20 years of experience connecting rural communities in Africa has shown us that wireless broadband access is significantly changing the way we live and work in the digital world.” The Huawei DigiTruck will show youth how to study and earn income online by moving around rural communities on planned dates with partners to provide digital skills training to teachers, digital literacy training to those who have never been online. Within the first year of implementation a total of 7,000 teachers and community members are expected to be trained on digital literacy, entrepreneurship, and online job opportunities.

Mining to see creating inclusive and diverse talent

A leadership event was held at its Akyem mine in the eastern region of Ghana by Newmont Goldcorp to educate young women aged 15-25 on their future career options within the mining industryAlways been considered male dominated, over the years, efforts have been made to increase female representation in the mining industry.A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Newmont Goldcorp Ghana in line with its inclusion ethos and National Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy in 2018, with its development partner Junior Achievement (JA) Ghana to leverage programmes that promote the pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and careers among young girls, contributing to this effort. Newmont Goldcorp Ghana’s CSR Strategy also focuses on developing outcomes aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seek to create decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) and forge partnerships that contribute to achieving these goals (SDG 17) in the country. In initiative aimed at empowering young girls between the ages of 15 to 25 years to broaden their future career options, as part of the partnership, Newmont and JA Ghana organised the maiden edition of the New Futures for Girls Leadership Camp. An overview of the various professions available to them in mining and develop their interest in the industry, was sought to be given to the girls at the event. The two-day event, hosted 30 girls from various high schools in Ghana, including Kinbu Senior High School, Labone Secondary School and the Wesley Girls High School contestants from the recently ended National Science and Maths Quiz and was held at Newmont Goldcorp’s Akyem mine. Newmont Goldcorp Africa’s regional vice-president for Sustainability and External Relations, Adiki O. Ayitevie, regional vice president for Human Resources Awo A. Quaison-Sackey and seasoned media personality, Nana Ama Agyemang Asante of Citi FM were speakers included at the event. Other Newmont Goldcorp Ghana employees in Human Resources, Operations, Operational Services, Legal and Communications also engaged with the girls, discussing with them the various professions in mining. The girls had a tour of the Akyem mine’s pit area and reforestation project to provide them insight into the process of gold mining and learn about the company’s reforestation and environmental management programmes as part of the activities. Speaking about the initiative, Agbeko Azumah, director for Communications and External Relations, said, “Although progress has been made, women still remain underrepresented in STEM disciplines; a good reason why young girls must be encouraged to pursue such professions.” “Our aim is to develop the leadership skills of these young women and prepare them for the future. And for us at Newmont Goldcorp Ghana, our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy enjoins us to serve as a catalyst for local economic development and ensure the creation of an inclusive environment where all people can thrive,” he added. Supporting the youth and women in STEM disciplines will contribute greatly to creating an inclusive and diverse talent pipeline for the industry in the future through this and other initiatives such as its University Strategy, is Newmont Goldcorp Ghana’s belief.

Sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide to see elimination of energy poverty among millions

Inorder to address one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century: the lack of access to electricity for almost a billion people across the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, The Rockefeller Foundation has launched the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty (GCEEP)Over the next decade The GCEEP has accelerated of The Rockefeller Foundation’s work on energy poverty and will fast-track sustainable power solutions, investments and partnerships that will deploy globally. On 10 September at The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre in Bellagio, Italy the launch announcement followed the first full convening of Commissioners. The commission will operate under the joint chairmanship of The Rockefeller Foundation president Dr Rajiv J. Shah, former US secretary of energy Ernest J Moniz and African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina. Even today around 840 million people live without energy access and according to The World Bank, 650 million people will still lack access to energy in 2030, falling far short of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Around 90 per cent of these 650 million lives in sub-Saharan Africa. At the launch of the commission, Shah said, “Despite recent progress, the world is not on track to solve this problem by 2030. Now is the time to unleash the full potential of distributed energy by integrating the strengths of the grid and off-grid systems in order to enable large-scale public-private partnerships.” Ernest Moniz commented, “Access to electricity has increased dramatically in the past two decades, due to massive public and private investment in grid infrastructure.” Moniz added, “To reach those who remain beyond the reach of the grid will require not only redoubled investment, but also innovative thinking and cooperative action on the part of a host of individuals and institutions. Our Commission brings together an extraordinary group of leaders with unique talents and knowledge and a determination to finish the job.” Viable pathways for accelerating energy access quickly and cost-efficiently are sought to be laid out by the Commission intends to forge a robust, actionable consensus. It is comprised of heads of development banks, utilities, and off-grid firms, along with senior academics, industry leaders, and investors. According to Adesina, “Grid expansion alone will not be enough to electrify these populations, but with a combination of distributed energy solutions and smart-grid expansion, we can achieve universal, economically impactful electrification.” Supporting by the work of the Commission will be a research team led by GCEEP Secretary and MIT Energy Initiative Deputy Director Robert Stoner and MIT visiting professor Ignacio Perez-Arriaga. The focus of the research team is on identifying and addressing the barriers to achieving universal, economically impactful electrification.

Ethiopian launches on-board Wi-Fi service: ‘Internet over the clouds’

A new on-board service for its customers – Wi-Fi connectivity whiles flying have announced by Africa’s biggest and most profitable national carrier, Ethiopia Airlines.A social media post said the Airline had launched the service which will start with its A350 fleets. They added that the service will use the latest broadband satellite technology (Ka-band).“With the state-of-the-art broadband satellite technology, passengers can now enjoy reliable connectivity while flying over the clouds,” the Airline said. Whether the service will be free or at a cost was not specified. According to a Business Insider report, Airbus didn’t enter the market until 2005.The A350 belongs to the Airbus manufacturer, one of the main clients of Ethiopian. “Incredibly, inflight Wi-Fi is a relatively recent development. For instance, Boeing didn’t get into the business until 2001,” the report said. “Gogo, one of the biggest names in the business didn’t come online until 2008,” it added. In what is the largest network by a national carrier, the airline currently flies to over 50 African cities. It is also in talks to help about a dozen African countries to establish and manage their carriers In its seven decades of operation Ethiopian – a member of the Star Alliance group has become one of the continent’s leading carriers in terms of efficiency and operational success. They lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to 95 international destinations across five continents is commanded by the airline. The first African operator to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9 dreamliner, its operations have transformed the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa into a continental hub.

World News

Crude Prices Soar after Attack on Saudi Facilities, Threatening Global Growth

An attack on Saudi oil infrastructure has triggered crude prices to surge, after which President Trump has authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The global benchmark of oil prices, Brent crude was up 8.7% at USD 65.49 a barrel on Monday in early European trading, after an initial rise of 19.5%. At USD 59.26 a barrel US oil futures were 8% higher. With this the benchmarks for both was back on track for their biggest one-day percentage gains since 2016, and for one of their largest advances of the past 30 years. Demanding caution, analysts said that they expect prices to be volatile as trading volumes increase throughout the session and as more details are obtained of the attacks in Saudi Arabia over the weekend that nullified 5.7 million barrels a day of production which amounts to 5% of the world output. A continued hike in fuel prices will be a big blow to a global economy already under duress from the U.S.-China trade war. It can affect stocks in USA in which continued consumer spending has lifted many indices. Increase in energy prices means increased gas and heating bills, cutting into available income. This has proven a severe jolt to weeks of listless trading in oil. Mr. Harry Tchilinguirian, Head of Commodity Strategy at BNP Paribas said, “The market has been relatively complacent toward recent events in the Middle East, in the Strait of Hormuz for example. The market is now re-evaluating these risks, because the attacks hit the heart of the oil industry in Saudi Arabia.” On Sunday the US President tweeted that he was authorizing the release of crude from the SPR to keep markets well supplied if needed. How much would be released was yet to be determined he said. The SPR has more than 600 million barrels. In the past such releases are few and far between and only used if all else fails. Subsequently he tweeted that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” and would proceed once Saudi Arabia has identified the culprits behind the attacks. The massive processing plant at Abqaiq in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s energy system. A supply shortfall is a possibility as the kingdom tried to prevent a drop in exports say analysts. Saudi Arabia, the largest exporter of crude in the world could tap oil inventories and use other facilities to process crude, but higher costs for crude are inevitable with the uncertainty created by the attacks. Even if the US has expanded its shale production, the industry is going to find it difficult to make up for the shortfall because of its limited export capacity. “This is basically equivalent to taking the entire Permian Basin and having it produce nothing for days,” said Rob Thummel, a senior Portfolio Manager who oversees energy assets at Tortoise Capital Advisors, referring to the 75,000 square miles between West Texas and New Mexico. “The response here is key and how long it takes to come back.” Mr. Thummel said that on Monday the first thing to do would not be to stock up on energy stocks. The number of unkonwns were too many to do that. “I’d like to see this play out a little more,” he said.

Safe handling of bulk cargoes, focus of IMO

London: It is expected that during its meeting this week (CCC6, September 9-13, 2019) a new IMO Model Course on Safe Handling and Transport of Solid Bulk Cargoes be validated by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers. Implementation of IMO rules ensures the safety of ships carrying bulk cargoes — and training is important. The course will observe the industry rulebook – International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code and focus on the mandatory measures for handling and transport of solid bulk cargoes. All solid bulk cargoes will be covered by the course, including those which may liquefy when moisture limits are reached and cause instability of the ship. A release said that for such cargoes special attention is paid to testing and recording moisture limits before loading. The pace at which new fuels and their blends are being developed, the work of the Sub-Committee will be considered high-priority so as to ensure compliance with the 0.50 percent sulphur limit (from January 1, 2020) and IMO 2030 and 2050 CO2 emission targets, as outlined in the IMO GHG strategy as it ensures the safety provisions for ships using low-flashpoint fuels. It will look at matters related to newer types of fuel, under the agenda item on the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low- flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code).For ships using fuels like methyl/ethyl alcohol, draft interim guidelines for safety are expected to be finalized. Another set of draft interim guidelines covering the safety of ships using fuel cell power installations are being developed. The Sub-Committee will under its ongoing work on containers dwell on the proposed amendments to the inspection programmes for cargo transport units carrying dangerous goods as also finalize the work to develop draft amendments to the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code) related to weather-dependent lashing, aimed at ensuring the highest level of cargo securing, taking into account weather and other factors, the release added.

Indian Tech firms under wrath of Chinese Taipei which initiates WTO dispute complaint

Geneva: Chinese Taipei has requested consultations with India for dispute resolution about duties imposed by India on imports of certain information and communications technology (ITC) goods per a request circulated to WTO members on September 9, 2019. It claims that on eleven ITC product categories India has imposed duties in excess of India’s bound duty rates for the goods. A request for consultations formally opens a dispute in the WTO. Consultations allow the two sides to discuss the matter and find a satisfactory solution without any litigation. After 60 days, If consultations fail to resolve the dispute even after 60 days the complainant may request adjudication by a panel, explained a release.

IATA calls for living up to the legacy of Chicago Convention

Stakeholders in the aviation sector have been urged by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to continue to be guided by the spirit of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, known as the Chicago Convention, when exposed to any challenges now or in the future. "Seventy-five years ago, as World War II still raged, a group of far-sighted individuals met in Chicago and laid the foundations enabling the development of our globally interconnected and interdependent world through aviation, said IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.Today, aviation has become the business of freedom, liberating us to pursue our dreams and fulfill our hopes, while powering economic growth and development, he said. IATAs report on the Value of Air Transport in the US that was just released says that about 6.5 mn jobs come from aviation in the USA and its contribution to the GDP is USD 779 bn. Principles to ensure that aviation lives up to the legacy of the Chicago Convention were outlines by de Juniac while speaking at IATA’s Wings of Change Americas conference here on Tuesday. Safety is topmost but additionally environmental sustainability, ensuring a policy framework that encourages competition and innovation, and infrastructure that is efficient and affordable are also very important today, he said, Environmental sustainability is the greatest challenge to our industry’s license to spread the benefits of air connectivity. The environmental impact of an individual traveller has been cut in half compared to 1990, and we have decoupled emissions growth from underlying traffic growth, said de Juniac. A policy framework that welcomes competition was necessary and he said,Competition unleashes innovation and helps drive prices lower. This is what occurred following airline deregulation. Subsequently, we have seen how removing barriers to international competition through open skies agreements have also spurred the market and benefitted consumers. He also stressed upon the need for adequate affordable infrastructure.

Massive port development modernisation project announced by Sri Lanka

Colombo: A massive development project to further modernise ports has been announced by the government of Sri Lanka aiming to transform it into a maritime hub in the region. Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping and Western Development Mr. Sirimevan Ranasinghe said “The development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Port of Colombo will be followed by the West Container Terminal (WCT 1 and 2) ahead of demand. The ECT and the South Asia Gateway Terminal will be expanded to create an ultra-large container terminal, expanding the total capacity to 35 million TEUs in the coming years.” A report mentioned that this mega development project will see the Port of Colombo expand its container handling capacities, advanced handling and processing technology.The Port of Colombo, Hambantota Port in the south and Trincomalee Port in the east out of the six major ports in the country have come into focus so far as development for international shipping and logistics is concerned, he said.