NATIONAL NEWS

At USD 397.35 bn forex reserves up by USD1.26 bn

MUMBAI: Fuelled by an increase in core currency assets, forex reserves continued the upward trend to rise by USD1.267 bn to USD397.351 bn for the week ending January 11, informed the Reserve Bank of India. In the earlier week, an overall increase of USD 2.68 bn had risen reserves to USD396.084 bn.A major component of overall reserves are foreign currency assets, which rose in the reporting week by USD1.087 bn to USD371.379 bn, as informed by the RBI. This resulted in an improvement in the reserve position of the country with the International Monetary Fund of USD 16.3 mn to USD 2.656 bn. Special drawing rights with the IMF increase by USD9 mn to USD1.471 bn.

Maiden voyage of MV Wieland flags off 2019 operations at Visakha Container Terminal

VISAKHAPATNAM: The maiden voyage of KMTC in FME Service MV Wieland kick started 2019 for Visakha Container Terminal. Arriving at VCT on January 08, 2019 at 09.45 hrs. IST, completing the export of 1,026 TEUs and import of 867 TEUs and an exchange of 1,582 containers, it sailed out on January 09, 2019 at 8.15 hrs. IST. The KMTC vessel completed 1582 hours of ship moves totally and the average ship moves per hour was 83.5. KMTC agents Capt. Ram J Ganesan (Head-South India), Capt. S. B. Mazumder (Executive Director) and Mr. P. S. Arjun (Branch Manager, Visakhapatnam) were also present for the event in which the Vessel Master, Capt. Steffen Mydlak, was presented with a memento. Traditional sweets were distributed among the vessel crew. The experienced and skilled team of VCT handled the event without any hiccups providing quality service.

Investments by JSW Group in Andhra Pradesh port

Hyderabad: An PEDB statement said that the Jindal Steel Works Group (JSW) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) for a proposed investment of Rs 4,500 crore for building a jetty at Ramayapatnam port and also setting up an integrated steel complex in the surrounding coastal areas of Prakasam district in the state, in an expansion and diversification bid. Signed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the MoU will see investments of Rs. 1000 crore by the JSW Group to establish the jetty with plans to build a slurry pipeline for the group’s plant in Bellary district. This pipeline will build synergies and linkages to Prakasam district. Also in the news is the Andhra Pradesh government’s formation of a special purpose vehicle, the AP Maritime Infrastructure Development Corporation, to develop the Ramayapatnam port on a 3092 acre plot and with eight berths and a capacity of 40 mn tonnes at a cost of Rs 4,240 crore (phase-1).

Projections for Indian economy say it will grow faster than China’s

New Delhi: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) India’s economy wil grow at an annual rate of 7.8 % in 2019. In its report, it informed that India’s growth rate projections for 2018-19 are well above China’s 6.6 % and 6.4 % for the same period. China’s mounting non-financial debt can make things worse for their economic growth over the long-term. Getting a breather from strong private consumption and implementation of the GST, India’s economy has been lifted, the report said, adding “growth is expected to gradually rise with continued implementation of structural reforms that raise productivity and incentivise private investment. India is surpassing China in competitiveness too. Over the last four years India has moved up 20 points in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness rankings, while China’s ranking remained stagnant, the report pointed out.

India getting ready for Sea Cargo Manifest & Transshipment Regulations

NEW DELHI: After a pushback from ocean carrier/port user groups over inadequate timelines and various compliance problems Indian authorities and trade stakeholders are progressing with a 2018 regulatory reform that was held in abeyance for a tighter customs program involving cargo manifest rules. Completion of the manifest submissions electronically and well before the vessel’s arrival or departure from an Indian Port by ocean carriers and other interested groups are the requirements of the new rules — quite like the procedures required under the 24-hour advance manifest rule for US cargo and recent regulatory changes in China. After two missed deadlines of 1st August and 1st November, the new policy titled the ‘Sea Cargo Manifest and Transshipment [SCMT] Regulations 2018,’ will come into force on 1st March. “This regulation supersedes the earlier regulations of Import Manifest [Vessels] Regulations, 1971, Export Manifest [Vessels] Regulation, 1976 and Transportation of Goods [Through Foreign Territory] Regulations of 1965,” a Government notice stated. “The new regulation stipulates changes in time lines & requirements for advance notice by shipping lines [vessels] arriving in India and exports through shipping lines [vessels] out of India.” Under the SCMT framework, import general manifests (IGMs) need to be filed prior to the vessel sailing out from the last foreign port of call — meaning before entering Indian shores, whereas export general manifests (EGMs) are to be submitted prior to the vessel sailing from the Indian port of loading. “The submission of arrival and departure manifest[s] shall have to be complied with by the ASC [authorized sea carrier]/ASA [authorized sea agent] before departure from the last port/customs station of call to every Indian customs station and departure then on respectively,” the notice said.

Similar rules for Transshipment cargo

The program has similar rules for transshipment cargo when transported between a port and an inland container depot (ICD) or a container freight station (CFS) — requiring cargo interests to file manifests prior to the departure/arrival of a train or a truck hauling that freight.As of now, IGMs are generally filed 48 hours before vessel arrival for long-haul voyages and roughly 10 hours prior to vessel arrival for short-haul voyages — such as feeder and coastal operations. For EGMs, carriers had three days for online filings and seven days for manual submissions from the vessel sailing time until now, according to industry sources. To make adherence easy by providing more insights nito the new digital programme, public information sessions are being held by Customs Authorities at various port locations where any of their concerns will be addressed. On January 18th in a meeting at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) officials expalined that no major changes will be made to those rules. They seemed amenable to some of the suggestions made by carrier-trade representatives, which included an extended cut-off time for manifest data amendments. “One thing Customs is particularly firm about is that they will be implementing the notification as planned and no more extension[s] will be allowed,” an industry source said.India’s transport industry is in the throes of a drastic technological transformation and Ease-of-Doing-Business reforms. This new customs program – designed to keep pace with a rapidly changing global freight environment – complements a revamped, nationwide port community system that went live on December 11, 2018.

Facilitating Indian exports to Iran by INR payment mechanism

NEW DELHI: Full-fledged exports from India will begin soon with the UCO Bank having activated the rupee payment mechanism to circumvent US-imposed sanctions against Iran. But exporters say that both the countries are struggling to sort out discrepancies in shipping, insurance and exchange of documents. The Centre and banks together have now finalized the list of goods that can be classified as non-sanctioned and exported to Iran, which includes a host of products from food and leather goods to pharmaceuticals and textiles. Prohibition is only on non-essential items such as automotive and gems and Jewellery and dual-use goods. Indian exporters will discover a lot of potential especially because the entire oil trade will be in rupees, reports said.

Under new FTP, exporters to get incentives for R&D, specific clusters

NEW DELHI: Under the five year foreign trade policy (FTP) to be released later in the year, exporters may get incentives for research and development, product-specific clusters and production, an official said. The Commerce Ministry is trying to align export incentive schemes to global trade norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO). “We are recasting our export incentive schemes. In the new FTP, they would be in compliance with the global trade rules. The new incentives could focus on R&D activities, production parameters, and product-specific clusters. Rebate can also be given on State Levies,” the official added.In the last five year FTP released in 2015 there were guidelines for enhancing exports with an overall objective of pushing economic growth and job creation. Incentives for exporters are announced in the FTP. Currently, duty benefits are provided under merchandise export from India scheme (MEIS) and services export from India scheme (SEIS).With the US having challenged these schemes under the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO as harmful to American companies, recasting existing support measures has gained importance. The official said that providing direct incentives to several product-specific clusters in sectors such as automobile, textiles and leather would help boost manufacturing and exports. As of now, most of the incentives under MIES are used up by automobile and pharmaceutical giants. According to this scheme, the Government gives duty benefits based on product and country. “Ideally, the scheme should target MSMEs,” the official added. The Commerce Ministry has liased with all commodity boards and ministries concerned for identifying support measures compliant with global trade rules. According to Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), the new policy must include refund of indirect taxes like those on oil and power; and state levies such as mandi tax. “The new scheme should help boost the Country’s exports,” FIEO President Ganesh Gupta said. Since 2011-12, exports from India have been at USD 300 bn but jumped by 10% to 303 bn in 2017-18. From April 2018 to December 2019, India’s total merchandise exports grew 10.18 % to USD 245.44 bn.

Resolution of banking issues of exporters: FIEO seeks Govt, RBI intervention

NEW DELHI: The Federation of Indian Exporters Organization (FIEO) has sought immediate intervention of the Government and the RBI to resolve issues related to payment mechanism for Iran and flow of credit to push shipments. Mr. Ganesh Kumar Gupta, President of FIEO said that there was a need for clarity on products covered under rupee payment mechanism to Iran. “Exporters have pointed out that UCO bank branches are not clear about products, which can be exported under such mechanism. The main problem is related to Engineering and Chemical products,” Gupta said. He elaborated saying that the understanding is that if the final use of a product is not under the sanctioned list, or export is not to the Iranian Government, then it should be allowed for exports under the Rupee Trade Mechanism. “A clarification will help exporters to take such orders and push for quantum jump in our exports to Iran,” he said.Banks were feeling challenged in handling documents of exporters for shipments to Central Asian countries especially if there was any reference to Bandar Abbas in Iran as the transit port. “This has affected the movement of cargo through INSTC which Government of India is promoting as an alternative route being time and cost effective,” he said. He felt it necessary to issue directives to banks for proper handling of documents of goods transiting through Iran, but destined for Afghanistan/Russia/ Central Asia or any other non-restricted countries where the combined transport bill of landing shows any of those as the destination. The Finance Ministry is expected to call for a meeting of bankers and exporters to address some of the concerns. RBI data for August 2018 shows a 50% drop in extension of export credit to exporters over August 2017, he said. “MSME exporters are the worst sufferer and the lack of credit equally affects our export performance,” he said. He urged for an increase in the flow of credit to the export sector by encouraging banks and also ensuring online filing, processing and monitoring of export credit.

File GST returns within six months, else no e-way bill

NEW DELHI: Generation of e-way bill for movement of goods will be barred for those who do not file GST returns within 6 months. The system being developed by the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is such that businesses who have not filed returns for two consecutive return filing cycles that is for 6 months, will be barred from generating e-way bills, an official said. They believe that this would help check Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion. For April-December 2018, Central Tax Officers have detected 3,626 cases of GST evasion/violations cases, involving Rs 15,278.18. For goods worth over Rs 50,000 their transporters will be required to present an e-way bill during transit to a GST inspector, if asked. Officials feel that the problem needs to be arrested with stringent anti-evasion measures if revenue and compliance have to be improved. The Revenue Department is working towards integrating that e-way bill system with NHAI’s FASTag mechanism to help track movement of goods, from April.

National Bench of GSTAT creation approved by Cabinet

New Delhi : The Prime Minister led Union Cabinet has approved the creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT). To be located in New Delhi, the National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal will be presided over by the President and shall consist of one Technical Member each for the Centre State. GSTAT will be the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between the Centre and States. The Appellate authorities under the Central and State Acts lie before the GSTAT which is common to the States and the Centre and these will issue appeals against the orders issued by the Appellate Authorities under the Central and State GST Acts. Common to both, the GSTAT will ensure uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in implementation of GST across the country. Section 109 in Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act which empowers the Central government to constitute, on the recommendations of the Council, by notification, with effect from such date as may be specified therein, an Appellate Tribunal known as the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority or the Revisional Authority, said a release.

As exports fall, India decides to brand its cashew

KOCHI : Experiencing the worst decline in exports of cashews, the industry is planning to opt for a branding exercise to promote the product. In an attempt to restore its earlier glory in the US markets the cashew industry is planning to promote the Indian brand of cashew as a premium one. India will host the Global Cashew Suumit is to be held in February during which the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) will put forth this idea along with other demands such as financial support for the industry. Rising cost of production has forced closure of many processing units in Kerala. CEPCI data shows at least a 30% reduction in shipments in the first half of this fiscal. Revenue has also dropped down by 32 % inspite of a marginal increase in unit value. Vietnam, cashews from where are being sold at prices lower than Indian ones is gainnig the US market shares that Indian cashew once dominated and is now losing, reports said.

Speedy Clearance in CONCORs Tondiarpet ICD, Customs begins work in 2 shifts

CHENNAI: Chennai Customs, in an exemplary move, totally in the interest of the Export-Import fraternity in the region and to increase maritime trade has announced commencement of operations in two shifts everyday at the CONCOR’s Tondiarpet ICD from 16th January 2019. They issued a notice to the trade a few days ago that is to all exporters/importers, shipping nes/shippers, freight forwarders & CHAs saying that Chennai Customs now decided to function on two shifts everyday to clear more cargo via the facility. Customs documents can now under the new arrangement be filed for clearance of “Factory stuffed/Self-sealed” containers under INMAA1 and INTVT6. The two shifts will be from 0600 hrs. to 1400 hrs. and from 1400 hours to 2200 hours on all days except second Saturdays, Sundays and Government holidays. One Appraising Officer/Superintendent, a Preventive Officer and an Examining Officer will be posted per shift.

Chennai Port sets record in crude oil discharge

CHENNAI: On 2nd January this year Chennai Port by handling 72,000 tonnes of crude oil in 19 hours has set one more landmark achievement. The oil was drawn by the newly laid 42” pipeline that links Bharathi Dock (BD-III) to CPCL Refinery in Manali from the ship MV SCF URAL that was carrying 144,000 tonnes. Since operation this new pipeline has increased the average pumping rate of crude oil from 2300 tonnes/hr. to 3800 tonnes/hr. This achievement has shown the capability of the port and has built confidence among the trade. Handling crude with this 42”pipeline will cut-down the handling cost and time said Shri. P Raveendran, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust appreciated Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL).

55% drop in rice export traffic through Kolkata, Haldia ports over 2 years

KOLKATA: Kolkata and Haldia ports together shipped 30,000 containers containing 8.4 lakh tonnes (lt) of rice in 2016-17. But in 2017-18 the figure is a dismal 13,000 containers (3.64 lt). This year from April to December the number is close to 12,000 containers (3.36 lt). Inadequate infrastructure, low draft at Kolkata Port and no bulk-cargo facility are being cited by the Exporter’s Association as prime reasons for this slowdown. But Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) officials say that the entire blame is not on the ports but also due to the demand-supply situation. Being difficult to bring containers into the city, exporters have been demanding warehouses outside city limits for quite some time now. The port trust is looking into it and has also asked exporters to come up with proposals. Meanwhile, in an effort to give exporters more time to get the containers ready and ship the, KoPT has extended the cut-off time to seven days unlike the 5 days demanded by the exporters, an official said.

USIBC Chief suggests easing of restrictions to scale up below potential Indo-US trade

GANDHINAGAR: Disappointed at the Indo-US trade levels, Ms. Nisha Biswal US-India Business Council (USIBC) President claimed that it is much below potential especially with bilateral trade tensions and that both countries must ease restrictions and put in an “overarching” framework. Former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Ms. Biswal led a delegation of the USIBC at the recent Vibrant Gujarat Summit (VGS) here. She said that both USA and India should set up a more conducive environment for trade, a much more ambitious framework of trade saying “we should be the best trading partners”. “While US-India trade continues to grow…it is nowhere near the potential of what it should be. And that really requires both sides to take significant steps to ease restrictions or access to flow of investments and flow of trade in both directions,” she said. She assured that the US Government and Industry “continue to prioritize India as very important trade and economic partner”. In the 1980s bilateral trade between the two was USD 20 bn, in 2014-15 it grow to USD 100 bn, and now the aim is to make it worth USD 500 bn, she said.

Ninth Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar inaugurated by PM

GANDHINAGAR: On 18th January the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Summit was inaugurated here by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi at the Mahatma Mandir Exhibition cum Convention Centre. Notable attendees included the heads of states from five countries of Uzbekistan, Rwanda, Denmark, Czech Republic and Malta, leading industrialists and businessmen from various sectors & over 30,000 delegates from India and abroad. Global business leaders and companies were invited by Mr. Modi to invest in India where the business environment is more investor friendly than ever before with requisite infrastructure and facilities in place. The PM said, “India is now ready for business. In the last four years, we have jumped 65 places of global ranking of Ease of Doing Business. I have asked my team to work harder to ensure India is on the top 50 next years.” Stressing that international institutions like the World Bank, IMF and Moody’s have shown confidence on India’s economy and the reforms taken in recent times he said,“We have also made Doing Business cheaper. The implementation of GST and other measures of simplification of taxes have reduced transaction costs and made processes efficient. We have also made Doing Business Faster through digital processes and single point interfaces.” Highlighting India’s growth, its strong economic fundamentals and their importance to business, he said, “At 7.3 %, the average GDP growth has been the highest of any Indian Government since 1991. At the same time, the average rate of inflation at 4.6 % is the lowest for any Indian Government since 1991 when India began its process for liberalization.” “Those who visit India regularly will feel a change in air, in terms of direction and intensity. Over the last four years, the aim of my Government is to reduce Government and increase governance. We wish to take deeper structural reforms to strengthen our economy. We continue to remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” he continued. World class research facilities and one of the largest pool of start-ups the Prime Minister said that India has the right kind of atmosphere for investment. He added that, “We have worked hard to promote manufacturing to create jobs for our youth. Investments through our ‘Make in India’ initiative, have been well supported by programmes like ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’. “We were among the highest growing tourist destinations in the world in 2017. India had a growth of 14% over 2016, while the world grew at an average of 7 % in the same year. We have also been the fastest growing aviation market in the world, with double-digit growth in passenger ticketing terms, for over four years”. He summed it up saying “India is thus, a land of immense opportunities. It is the only place which offers you Democracy, Demography and Demand”. About the he said, “It has now emerged as a global platform & presence of so many leaders shows that international cooperation is no longer limited to National capitals but is also extended to State capitals,” Mr. Vijay Rupani the Chief Minister of Gujarat applauded PM Modi for his policy driven governance & visionary leadership and assured everyone of all the possible support to facilitate easy business operations. The President of Uzbekistan Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev along with the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Mr. Lars Løkke Rasmussen; the Czech Republic Mr. Andrej Babis & Malta Dr Joseph Muscat, were the five heads of state present. Mr. Banjamin Netanhayu sent a special message via video conferencing saying, “Gujarat symbolises the powerful connection between our two people. Together we’re building limitless possibilities for the future.” Chief events during the three meet included a round-table interaction with the heads of global funds, ‘Africa Day’, MSME convention, roundtable for opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education & Research. In addition an Exhibition on Futuristic Technologies and Space Exploration, a Seminar on port led development & Strategies to establish India as the Trans-shipment Hub of Asia were other highlights. Make in India gallery to showcase the Success Stories of Make in India & key interventions by the Government has been organized. Held for the first time in 2003 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, it was started to channelize investments in Gujarat. It has served as the model that is being replicated in other states across the country.

Chittagong-Dhaka rail expansion critical

Shippers in Bangladesh have consumed all the containerized rail capacity on the Chittagong-Dhaka route and are Facing longer and costlier truck deliveries, drawing attention to the need for a larger hub in Dhaka to complement the country’s congested port and add more rail services. Shockingly, shippers have minimised their use of a sole inland waterway route to reach the country’s top container maritime gateway.
In 2018, at 85,960 TEU containerized volume grew 12 % year over year, testing the limits of the Dhaka Inland Container Depot that has an annual capacity of 90,000 TEU. Shippers from Chittagong use rail services on the route but they take 10 – 12 hours from Dhaka. However a truck haul on that route can take anywhere between 10 -16 hours, according to Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) traffic director Enamul Karim.
Confirming that the rail department has increased the number of wagons, he said, “the rail-mounted gantry crane bought by Chittagong port last year may have contributed to the growth”.  With funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a feasibility study for a large-sized inland container depot (ICD) is underway by Bangladesh railway. Only last week an agreement was signed by the rail authority with a US-based company for purchase of 40 new broad guage locomotives worth USD 135 mn to circumvent the need for engines. Again funded by the ADB, the engines will be delivered over the next 24 to 36 months. Funds from ADB are being used to procure 125 luggage vans and 1,000 wagons for freight trains. The railways signed a USD 240 mn purchase agreement with Korean firm Hyundai Rotem for 70 meter-gauge engines, with deliveries over the next 18 months. Last year Mr. Mohammad Hatem President of Exporter’s Association of Bangladesh (EAB) told JOC.com that more use of containerized rail between Chittagong and Dhaka helps mitigate congestion at the port of Chittagong. Three to four days is the waiting time for trucks to pick up and drop off cpntainers. About 91% of the export containers are handled by off-docks facilities and a quarter of the imports, putting added pressure on truck gates at marine terminals.
The rail route is rarely congested but this December, when approximately 800 to 900 TEU were held up from regular loading through the month. The backlog began to build up again last week. Everyday, three trains that haul between 120 TEU to 160 TEU leave daily from Chittagong to Dhaka and three from Dhaka to Cittagong. Shippers from Chittagong clearly prefer rail transport and are not moving goods on the river via the Pangaon Inland Container Terminal. This emerged from a 12 % year-over-year drop in 2018, to 22,507 TEU. Mr. Ahamedul Karim Chowdhury, Termnial Manager at Pangaon ICT said that the solitary water route will be maketed aggressively this year to retrieve growth.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Singapore’s December exports post worst fall in two years

SINGAPORE: The worst decline in more than two years was seen by Singapore’s exports in December as shipments of electronics and pharmaceuticals plunged, official data revealed on Thursday. This unexpected fall occurred despite ongoing trade talks between the United States and China to defuse trade tensions. The dispute is expected to affect trade-dependent Singapore in the coming months, many economists say.  Data from trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed that non-oil domestic exports in December fell 8.5 % from a year earlier, declining further from a revised 2.8 % decline the month before. The worst performance since October 2016, when exports had declined 14 % year-on-year, the outcome was well below a 1.5 % increase predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.

Dubai Customs Notice regarding sea export manifest submission

Dubai/Singapore: All customers have been requested to furnish shipping instructions within SI cut-off and 24 hours prior to vessel arrival in accordance with the provision of Article (41) of the Common Customs Law of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States specifying the requirement of submission of the sea export manifest by all shipping lines/agents. The cargo description provided on the B/L must precisely match the Customs export declaration processed. Customers would be subjected to Customs penalties in case of any discrepancies, amendments, delays or failures to submit the sea export manifest. Customers are also responsible for the applicable amendment charges in case amendments to the sea exports manifest are required. This is effective from February 1, 2019, said a communiqué.

Carriers to mitigate ULCV impact by delaying deliveries: Drewry

LONDON: Shipping Consultancy Drewry said that carriers would be able to mitigate the capacity inflation of the ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) scheduled to arrive over the next few years by delaying deliveries and slowing services. 26 containerships of at least 18,000 TEU were delivered to carriers in 2018, the most since ULCVs first sailed in 2013. Having an aggregated capacity of 525,500 TEU, all these ships were utilised in the Asia-North Europe trade. This year’s order book schedule deploys a slightly smaller aggregate of 460,000 TEU, followed by 620,000 TEU in 2020, which would be another record haul. Drewry says, “While it is true that accommodating such large tranches of new capacity will be challenging, especially as the Asia-North Europe trade is in a slow-growth phase, there are reasons to believe that the task will not be as onerous as it initially appears.” Commonly, annual delivery schedules are created beforehand; thus it is highly improbable that all the ULCVs scheduled for the next two years would arrive as originally planned; many would be pushed into following years.
Also, the net capacity of the route might not increase just because a new ship enters a trade. Through the practice of slow steaming lines have the option of gradually introducing a new vessel to a weekly service and maintaining the existing capacity, assuming the ship introduced is of a similar size to those it is joining. Slow steaming was probably motivated by a desire to reduce ship fuel consumption due to the anticipated higher bunker costs associated with IMO 2020, said Drewry, “but nonetheless it will enable more ships to be entered into the trade without adversely hiking up capacity.” Drewry added, “As difficult as the task of allocating ships is, it is something that carriers are well accustomed to by now. Their long-standing experience gives us some measure of confidence that they will find the appropriate solution to absorb the new tonnage due over the next few years.”

Poland’s Szczecin rated best performing among dry bulk terminals

London: According to BIMCO’s Dry Bulk Terminals Vetting Report 2018, Szczecin in Poland is the best-performing port. Inputs from 144 ships covering 381 terminals were included in the report. Mr. Aron Sorensen, Head of Maritime Technology and Regulation at BIMCO, said, “I think, in many ways, the report shows an encouraging trend, that bulk terminals generally perform well—only four reports were rated as poor.” According to a release, the reports indicate that a crucial part of port performance is good communication between ship and terminal; it is a factor acknowledged in written responses by captains.

International cooperation to tackle piracy stressed

London: Attacks in West Africa pushed piracy numbers up in 2018, said a fresh annual report from the International Maritime Bureau. In a release, BIMCO has stressed that an international operation is not complicated in terms of military and law enforcement; what is needed above all is the will to act. 201 incidents were reported to the bureau last year (including six hijackings), according to the bureau’s report; all these happened in the Gulf of Guinea. This is an increase after 180 incidents in 2017 and 191 in 2016. As per the report the region saw a considerable increase in violence in the last quarter of the year, with 41 kidnappings in the waters off Nigeria alone. West Africa seems to have the problem of under-reporting, estimated at about 40 %, according to the report. According to Mr. Jakob. P. Larsen, BIMCO head of Maritime Security, reversing piracy and attacks is not a difficult operation in terms of military and law enforcement. On the other hand, the will to act and get both local and international involvement and cooperation may be difficult. Mr. Larsen said, “To be honest, unless we see international naval support and close cooperation between international navies and local law enforcement, I doubt that we will see the numbers go down in any significant way.”He added, “Significant capacity building is going on in the region and naval forces are being trained, but these initiatives are all aimed at the longer term and do not solve the problem right now. Therefore, we need to step up the effort. Only then can we really turn the tide on piracy in the region.” Mr. Larsen is confident that combining capacity-building with more assets at sea and in the air are needed in order to achieve stronger local law enforcement. He has observed a belief system that an anti-piracy operation would be very complicated and difficult, and would involve a huge risk of firing at the wrong people, because of the presence of other marine activity such as supply vessels, fishing vessels and other small boats in the area. “I don’t agree. I don’t think it is very difficult, nor too risky, and I believe that the challenges are sometimes exaggerated,” Mr. Larsen said, adding, “From a strictly military and law enforcement point of view, this is not a complicated operation, and it has been done before in other parts of the world with success. It may, however, be complicated from a political point of view. It all comes down to will. If local politicians and the international community are willing to support this, then it can be done relatively easily.” As of now, the local navies are doing a tremendous job with the available resources, battling insurgencies, terror organizations and other criminal activities; however, there are not enough law enforcement resources to fully tackle the piracy threat. Thus, said the release, pirates continue to strike in the Gulf of Guinea, and they continue to constitute a big threat to commercial shipping.Mr. Larsen said, “In the light of the new report, showing that piracy rose in 2018, we are once again calling for international navies to deploy to the region of West Africa primarily, and to cooperate closely with law enforcement from the region.” He added, “This is in the interest of everybody. It is obviously in the interest of the seafarers, but each and every one of the naval powers in the world have a strategic interest in this region, since there is a lot of strategic commodities that comes out of the Gulf of Guinea region. It really is in the interest of the international society to make this trade smoother, and to protect the seafarers on whom we so deeply depend to keep the trade flowing.”

Seaborne trade of coal grew 3.7 pc last year

LONDON: According to reports, seaborne trade of coal grew 3.7 % last year; Imports and exports rose to 1.202 bn tonnes last year, from 1.159 bn tonnes in 2017. Estimates say that the total, trade in steam coal used in power stations rose by 3.6 % to 920 mn tonnes, and trade in coking coal used for steelmaking rose by 4.4 % to 281 mn tonnes. Reports also say that the world demand was driven by India, among others, where, due to new power plants, imports rose to over 200 mn tonnes delivered largely from Australia and Indonesia.

Fresh focus on training emphasized, given increasing levels of technology & automation

London: IMO Secretary-General Mr Kitack Lim has stressed the need to consider seafarer training and standards as shipping evolves, given the increasing levels of technology and automation. Recently, at the IMO headquarters, during the launch of a new report “Transport 2040: Automation, Technology and Employment – the Future of Work”, in his speech he set out key questions requiring focus from all stakeholders. These were: “How will the seafarer of the future manage the challenges related to an increasing level of technology and automation in maritime transport? How will the new technologies impact on the nature of jobs in the industry? What standards will seafarers be required to meet with respect to education, training and certification to qualify them for the jobs of the future?” The integration of new and advancing technologies into the regulatory framework is an important strategic direction for IMO: balancing the benefits derived from new and advancing technologies against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment, the impact on international trade facilitation, the potential costs to the industry and their impact on personnel, both on board and ashore. “Member States and the industry need to anticipate the impact these changes may have and how they will be addressed,” Mr Lim said. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU) Transport 2040 report is the first-ever, independent and comprehensive assessment of how automation will affect the future of work in the transport industry, focusing on technological changes and automation in road, air, rail and maritime transport. At its conclusion the report says that the introduction of automation in global transport will be “evolutionary, rather than revolutionary”, and that “despite high levels of automation, qualified human resources with the right skill sets will still be needed in the foreseeable future”. “Technological advances are inevitable, but will be gradual and vary by region. Workers will be affected in different ways based on their skill levels and the varying degrees of preparedness of different countries.” Welcoming the report Mr Lim stressed that it would contribute to the efforts of the global shipping community to help implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the goals on quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, and industry, innovation and infrastructure, according to a release.

Goldman Sachs predicts no recession in 2019 but expects a sharp slowdown

FRANKFURT: In 2019, Goldman Sachs does not foresee any recessions in major economies.  At the Goldman Sachs Global Strategy Conference in Frankfurt, Goldman’s Peter Oppenheimer said, “It’s still our view that we’re not headed for recession in any of the major economies.” He said, “At the end of last year, there was a particularly sharp downgrade in expectations for the U.S. and while there has been a big tightening of policy and financial conditions in the U.S. … We don’t see a recession, but we do see a pretty sharp slowdown.” He added that markets had “got too far into pricing a deeper downturn than we expect.” These comments by Oppenheimer follow the general pessimism among market participants in the U.S. over where the market is heading amid rising interest rates from the U.S. Federal Reserve, and geopolitical tensions, especially between the U.S. and China.

Mexico’s Tuxpan port grows as gateway to US

The port of Tuxpan, after more than tripling its cargo, albeit from a low base, hopes to draw even more Mexican exporters of fruit, vegetables, chemicals, and other products to services connecting the United States, offering faster and cheaper transit than via traditional over-the-road routes. In May Transgulf launched a once-a-week service linking Tuxpan to the Port of Tampa; in July World Direct Shipping added Tuxpan to a route linking the port of Coatzacoalcos with the ports of Manatee and Pensacola in Florida, stopping at Tuxpan twice a week. Iker Allison, Marketing Vice-President, SSA Mexico, said that the two services cater heavily to exporters of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits grown in the Tuxpan area. World Direct Shipping’s website depicts its Tuxpan service as not only serving Florida but also the Midwest and Northeast. In 2018 the cross-Gulf services provided the fastest growing trade for Tuxpan, still a small Mexican port, having opened 30 months ago. It being the closest port by road to the vast Mexico City market, was positioned in part to attract imports. According to data from the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), which oversees the country’s port system, the two Gulf services helped boost Tuxpan’s exports to 5,638 loaded TEU in 2018, from 1,927 TEU in 2017. SCT figures show that the exports led to a 114 % increase in the port’s cargo overall, to 6,540 TEU, over 2017, as imports dipped 14 %. Importers from Mexico are increasingly looking at ocean services connecting to Florida ports to serve central Florida and the Southeast. According to the Port of Tampa, cargo to and from Mexico doubled in 2018, to 25,509 TEU from 13,016 TEU in 2017, largely due to cargo on the TransGulf route from Tuxpan and routes from the Mexican ports of Progreso and Altamira operated by Linea Peninsular. Port Miami also has been considering expansion of its business with Mexico. This effort was helped in 2017 when Grupo México Transportes purchased Florida East Coast Railway from Fortress Investment Group. In 2018, Port Miami handled between 10,000 and 14,000 TEU, to or from Mexico, four services (among them, routes operated by Sealand, OOCL, and CMA CGM) linking Miami with the Mexican Gulf Coast ports. These include Veracruz, Altamira, Morelos, Tampico, and Yucatan. The port mentioned that about 15 % of the trade is refrigerated goods, including export shipments of flowers that recently started, and other exports such as beer and electrical goods.
Cross-Gulf moves are potentially quicker and cheaper, and can be simpler than moves by land, with fewer stops, less paperwork, and reduced use of trucks and service providers to set up the chain.

Tuxpan volume

SCT figures show that exports outnumber imports in Tuxpan by six-to-one, with exports accounting for 86 % of the port’s 2018 cargo. A third service added by Tuxpan in 2018, a Hapag-Lloyd service started in October, will remedy that, hope port officials. The carrier, in its Atlantic Loop service linking Mexico and the US East Coast with Europe, put Tuxpan as its first port of call. The port, as Allison says, expects that service to be driven by imports, especially auto-parts and pharmaceutical products, destined for the center of Mexico — between the Puebla region to the south of Mexico City and the Bajio region to its north — which includes many manufacturers, among them several car plants. The port also expects to see chemical imports soon, Allison said. He said, “The benefits of Tuxpan that they have experienced are in terms of a terminal efficiency and the proximity of Tuxpan with their final destination — which translates into faster transit times and a better cost.” The Commercial Director for World Direct Shipping, Carlos Diaz, said that the carrier added Tuxpan and the port of Altamira to make it easier for shippers to get goods in and out of the center and north of Mexico. Diaz said that exports to the US on the Mexico-Florida service outnumber cargo going in the other direction by three to one, with cargo going by truck and train to the Midwest and Chicago, the Southeast, and the Northeast. He mentioned that exports, with a sizable volume of refrigerated cargo, include fruits and vegetables, juice, wood products, non-hazardous chemicals, and wood products; he said that imports were raw materials such as wood pulp. Diaz added, “There is a huge convenience factor” from sending cargo to and from the US by sea, rather than by truck.”“We feel that the equipment is a lot better. We can carry more weight at one time, and I think we are a little bit more reliable. There are a lot less steps of coordination doing it with maritime. However, trucks can be faster because ships stop at Tuxpan only twice a week.” In 2019, Diaz expects to see “substantial growth” on the routes out of the three Mexican ports, with imports into Mexico increasing the fastest because of more untapped opportunity there.

US West Coast ports on a roll in 2018

Los Angeles : In its 111-year history, the Port of Los Angeles moved more cargo in 2018 than any other time, racking up 9,458,749 TEUs; this was 1.2 % more than 2017’s record-breaking year. As a release highlighted, it is the third consecutive year of record volumes for the nation’s #1 gateway for containerised trade and the most cargo moved annually by a Western Hemisphere port. Port of Los Angeles’ Executive Director Mr. Gene Seroka said, “2018 was marked by a robust economy coupled with tariff-induced surges of cargo headed to US retail and manufacturing sectors.” “These extraordinary volumes highlight the need for continued stakeholder collaboration on methods to maximise supply chain efficiency. Through a number of initiatives, we are focused on both physical and digital infrastructure enhancements that continue to ensure the reliable, safe and efficient conveyance of cargo through our gateway.” This December was the busiest December in the port’s 111-year history, when the port processed 903,258 TEUs; it showed a 15.9 % jump compared to the previous year, and it was the sixth consecutive month of volumes exceeding 800,000 TEUs. Imports in December increased 21.6 % to 468,906 TEUs. Exports decreased 3.2 % to 147,965 TEUs. There was an 18.9 % rise in empty containers; the overall December TEUs totalled 903,258, an increase of 15.9 % compared to the previous year.

Long Beach

Executive Director Mr. Mario Cordero recently announced that for the first time in its 108-year history, the Port of Long Beach in 2018 surpassed 8 mn TEUs, as cargo grew more than 7 % to set a record for a second consecutive year. The port showed a 7.2 % increase by the end of 2018, with 8,091,023 TEUs. There was a 6.1 % growth in imports to 4,097,377 TEUs. Exports were up 3.6 %, totalling 1,523,008 TEUs; empties increased 11.8 % to 2,470,638 TEUs. At 741,647 TEUs (a 6.4 % increase compared to December 2017), December 2018 was the second-busiest month ever for the Port of Long Beach, after June 2018. In December 2018, imports rose 7.9 % to 373,098 TEUs. Outbound TEUs dropped 17.5 % to 113,329, while empties jumped 19.4 % to 255,220 TEUs. Ms. Tracy Egoscue, Long Beach Harbor Commission President, predicted a “monumental” 2019 for the port, with the beginning of the realisation of many long-planned infrastructure projects. As per a release, she said, “The new Long Beach Container Terminal is entering its final phase of construction. And we’re leaping ahead with the greening of the port.”

Algeciras port joins blockchain platform

Algeciras: According to reports, the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras has signed an agreement under which it will collaborate with IBM on its shipping platform Tradelens. Tradelens a digital platform based on blockchain technology, has been developed by IBM and Maersk. One of the top 10 busiest ports in Europe, Algeciras handles over 70 mn tonnes of cargo traffic annually, including a sieable volume of containers. As said in a release, Tradelens will allow the port authority to more securely and efficiently exchange information and documentation between partners within a supply chain, thus generating value for shippers, freight forwarders, logistics operators and shipping companies. As per reports, about 20 port operators have adopted this platform, registering 230 mn shipments and processing over 20 mn containers, reports added.

Port of Rotterdam launches incentive scheme for green shipping

Rotterdam: Interested parties can now apply for funding via the Incentive Scheme Climate-Friendly Shipping that has been launched at Rotterdam Port. An amount of € five mn has been made available for this purpose by the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Mr Allard Castelein, CEO, Port of Rotterdam Authority, says, “We wish to play an active part in the reduction of CO2 emissions generated by the shipping sector. Through this scheme, we are able to give various parties just that extra financial push they need to realise a concrete project in this area.” Shippers, shipping companies, fuel manufacturers and suppliers, engine manufacturers, and service providers have been invited by the Port Authority to take advantage of the new scheme. The intention of the initiative is to promote projects and demonstrations that make use of low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels delivered in Rotterdam’s port area. To help decarbonise the logistics chains that run via Rotterdam is one of the ambitions of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. This ambition inspired Mr Castelein’s announcement of the € 5 mn incentive scheme during the Energy in Transition Summit in April last year. The scheme is now officially open to applicants. The Port Authority will contribute to the realisation of climate policy targets in the Netherlands and worldwide through this scheme. The scheme runs until the end of 2022. This incentive scheme aligns with the goals set out in the World Ports Climate Action Program launched in September 2018. According to a release, in this partnership—a Rotterdam initiative—the port authorities of Hamburg, Barcelona, Antwerp, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Vancouver and Rotterdam are working together on projects intended to reduce the shipping sector’s contribution to global warming.

CHINA NEWS

28-year low GDP growth hits China in Q4

BEIJING: Compared to a year earlier China’s economic growth cooled slightly in the fourth quarter as expected. As Washington piled on trade pressure being weighed down by weak investment and faltering consumer confidence, left 2018 growth the weakest in 28 years. China, which has generated nearly a third of global growth in recent years has shown signs of further cooling — thereby stoking worries about risks to the world economy and are weighing on profits for firms ranging from Apple to big carmakers. Easing to 6.4 % from 6.5 % in the third quarter, fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) grew at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis, says data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Polls by Reuters analysts had expected 6.4 %. Full-year growth was left at 6.6 %, the slowest rate of expansion China has seen since 1990. The polls had expected it to cool to 6.6 % from a revised 6.8 % in 2017.

Bulk shipping activities of Hamburg to be acquired by Sud China Navigation

An agreement was reached between Hamburg Sud and The China Navigation Company (CNCo)for CNCo to acquire RAO, Furness Withy Chartering & the bulk activities in Alianca Navegacao.
HAMBURG: CNCo (The China Navigation Company) , a subsidiary of the Swire Group, and Hamburg Süd has announced an agreement for to acquire the bulk shipping business in Hamburg Süd which includes Rudolf A. Oetker (RAO), Furness Withy Chartering and the bulk activities in Alianca Navegacão (Aliabulk). With a chartered fleet of approximately 45 vessels in the segments: Handysize, Supra/Ultramax and Kamsarmax/ Panamax the bulk shipping business in Hamburg Süd operates from Hamburg, London, Melbourne and Rio de Janeiro. Whereas liner shipping activities in Hamburg Süd involves transporting cargo in containers, bulk shipping involves flexibly transporting dry goods – such as agricultural raw materials, ore and steel – in bulk carriers from port to port worldwide, depending on the customer’s requirements. “With this step, Hamburg Süd is focusing as planned on its liner business with its two container shipping brands, Hamburg Süd and Aliança,” says Dr. Arnt Vespermann, CEO of Hamburg Süd. “As part of Maersk, the world’s largest liner shipping company, this clear focus is a logical step. At the same time, CNCo, is an established and well-respected company in bulk shipping that is on a growth course in this segment and therefore constitutes a good new home for RAO, Furness Withy and Aliança Bulk.” Headquartered in Singapore, CNCo is the wholly owned deep-sea ship owning and operating division of the multinational Swire Group. Globally today the company employs around 2,500 employees and owns and operates about 135 vessels consisting mainly of dry bulk carriers and multipurpose liner vessels. The dry bulk trading business of Swire Bulk, was established in 2012. It trades a modern fuel-efficient fleet of over 100 Handysize and Supra/Ultramax vessels comprised of owned, long term and short term-chartered tonnage. Being a leading provider of sustainable and innovative shipping services and being partner of choice to its’ long-term charterers and industrial customers is the focus of the business. “CNCo is excited to have successfully signed this acquisition” commented James Woodrow, Managing Director of The China Navigation Company. “There are some very natural synergies between the businesses and we are delighted to acquire such an experienced and high-quality team and business that complements our own modern eco fleet and helps to develop our strategic expansion in to the Supra/Ultramax segment. We share a strong corporate culture with a rich history spanning close to 150 years between Hamburg Sud (1871), The China Navigation Company (1872) and Furness Withy (1891) that demonstrates a shared vision and long-term commitment to the Maritime Industry.“ Subject to regulatory approval, closing of the agreement is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2019. The parties have agreed not to disclose the sales price. The sale does not include the RAO Tankers business unit and will remain part of the Hamburg Süd Group.

Increased investment in Djibouti joint venture by China Merchants Port

HONG KONG: For its development of commercial and infrastructure projects at the port of Djibouti, China Merchants Port Holdings announced that the company will increase capital to its joint venture Djibouti Asset Company. In accordance with their respective shareholdings in Lac Assal Investment Holding Company Limited (Asset Joint Venture) the deal will be funded by the capital increase from the company, China Merchants Investments Limited (CMI) and Cheer Signal (a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Company). The Asset Joint Venture company, will get USD12m, USD12m and USD6m funds, respectively from CMI and Cheer Signal. For the purpose of investment into the Djibouti Asset Company Lac Assal Investment Holding, is a company incorporated in Hong Kong formed by the company, CMI and Cheer Signal.

AFRICA NEWS

Financing agreements for water projects signed by AfDB and Rwanda

The government of Rwanda has signed financing agreements as additional funding with African Development Bank (AfDB) worth USD131mn to support the Rwanda Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Programme The bank said in a statement that the fund includes USD130mn from the AfDB window and USD0.9mn from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund. The additional funding will support water supply infrastructure, to over 700,000 of those beneficiaries who live in peri-urban/rural areas, it added. Also it will provide 1.5mn more people with access to reliable and sustainable water supply services, The fund will address water challenges in areas with a low access rate of 45 % and cover strategic cities and, is well below the national average of 85 %. Supporting Rwanda to achieve universal access to reliable water and sanitation services, by 2024 in line with the objectives of the National Strategy for Transformation, is the main objective. The number of beneficiaries to improved water services are brought to over 2.6mn and of improved sanitation to 475,000 thanks to increased resources during the programme’s duration. Wambui Gichuri, the bank’s director for Water Development and Sanitation, said, “The Bank’s support for this programme deepens and consolidates the impact of its investments in enhancing resilience to climate change and inclusive growth.” Sub-projects in the city of Kigali and the strategic satellite cities of Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyagatare, Muhanga, Huye, Musanze and Karongi are also supported by the bank. Through the Kigali Bulk Water Project, Kigali will benefit from the development of the first centralised sewerage system in Rwanda. Additionally, the bank is helping the government to mobilise private capital for groundwater extraction, treatment and supply to the Kigali network through a public-private partnership to promote sustainable financing of water and sanitation investments. The bank’s country manager for Rwanda, Martha Phiri, stated “This additional financing increases the on-going Bank support for the water and sanitation sector in Rwanda to USD321mn, demonstrating the bank’s desire and readiness to match the government of Rwanda’s ambitions to achieve speedy socio-economic transformation.”, following the signing of the financing agreements.

Western Sahara development to be helped due to preferential tariffs

A proposal has been backed by the Parliament to lower tariffs in the territory of Western Sahara to the same level as Moroccan tariffs, to benefit local populations. The move will allow Western Sahara to enjoy preferential trade tariffs on its exports to the EU By 444 votes to 167 and 68 abstentions, the Parliament gave the green light to extend the preferential tariff rates to the territory of Western Sahara. This comes after the European Commission and Morocco agreed on a traceability mechanism, which helps define the origin of products exported from the territory. This Committee on International Trade requested the mechanism prior to its recommendation for consent. Tracking the products coming from Western Sahara clearly, to make sure the benefits of the lower tariffs go to the local population is the aim is to ensure that and that they are measurable, a key condition to MEPs’ backing.

Positive effect expected of tariff preferences

In the accompanying resolution, which was adopted by 442 votes to 172 with 65 abstentions, the MEPs emphasised, “The [local] Sahra people have the right to develop while awaiting a political solution” on the status of the area of Western Sahara. Following a 2016 decision of the EU Court of Justice, preferential trade tariffs granted to Morocco were withdrawn from the territory. MEPs also point out that between 2013 and 2016 the tariff preferences enjoyed by the territory had a positive impact on the agricultural and fisheries sector, investment in infrastructure, health and education. They say on the other hand, that non-application of the preferences, would have “adverse effects”. The Council is expected to conclude the agreement after the Parliament’s consent, which will then enter into force.

Reports of operational excellence Mako Gold Mine

Significant predevelopment studies focussed on the hard and abrasive nature of the ore and its implications for the comminution circuit. Yet over the period performance was favourable to budget with better than planned wear liner life and a reduction in total power used. With higher metallurgical recoveries in excess of 95 % achieved against the budgeted recoveries of 91.8 %, process recoveries also performed well. During the year core drilling programme to the extent of about 15,000m were completed which targeted mineralisation beneath the current pit to investigate the potential to extend the open pit life through the exploration of the main mineralised lode beneath the current final pit design. Compared to 2018, the year 2019 is expected to see the commencement of stage 6 final cut back with a commensurate increase in stripping.

Women representation in African boardrooms to increase in a new initiative

CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, has announced to support The Boardroom Africa (TBR Africa) with funding of USD2.07mn in a partnership to bring increased diversity to companies and organisations across Africa TBR Africa’s aim to double female representation in Africa’s boardrooms by 2028. will be boosted thanks to CDC’s funding Women constitute only about 14 % of board members in Africa despite recent research highlighting how women positively impact business outcomes .More than 50 % higher profitability found in companies, where women make up at least 15 % of senior managers, than those with under 10 % female representation as per a Credit Suisse report. McKinsey also reported that companies where at least a quarter of their board members are women, showed higher margins. TBR Africa which was founded in 2016, through its unique pool of peer-endorsed female leaders from over 45 countries across the region, aims to improve women’s representation in African boardrooms. The company works in by partnerships with development finance institutions, private equity, venture capital funds among other institutions and corporations and connects these female leaders with CEOs and board directors in search of diverse talent. A Gender Strategy which is designed to improve women’s economic empowerment throughout its investment cycle was newly launched by CDC. Supporting women’s leadership is one of the key priorities of CDC’s strategy. CDC has committed to support the involvement of women in senior management among its portfolio companies, encourage board and investment committee diversity, and promote the visibility and voice of female business leaders in Africa and South Asia. In 2018, several board and investment committee placements for CDC investments including a major multinational bank as well MedAccess and the Africa Food Security Fund. has successfully been supported byTBR Africa. Marcia Ashong, founder and executive director of TheBoardroom Africa, commented, “TheBoardroom Africa’s pipeline of talent is driving a fundamental shift in the gender balance among leadership teams in businesses across Africa and beyond. We are proud to partner with CDC Group, one of the leading investors in Africa, as we work to expand our network and help more companies recognise that gender diversity has a real social and economic benefit to both business and society.” Jen Braswell, director for value creation strategies at CDC Group, noted, “As CDC encourages the world’s investors to focus on Africa, we need excellent men and women to serve on the boards of local and international firms across the continent. Our partnership with TBR Africa has already begun helping us reach our commitment to promoting gender equality in corporate leadership. The funding we’re announcing today will help TBR Africa continue to provide us with outstanding candidates for our portfolio that we would not have otherwise found. We are very pleased with the placements that TBR Africa has helped us make so far – and we’re looking forward to more.”

5% expansion in global container market predicted in 2019

LAGOS: In 2019 and the next couple of years stronger global economic growth will demand growth of the global Container market at five % predict experts at Brickstone Investment Managers Limited. The experts said In a report presented recently in Lagos, that container oversupply could begin to decline from 2019 onwards, provided that contracting stays relatively muted. As interest rates begin to rise globally, the experts added that consumer demand could be affected negatively by a reduction in disposable income which will have a roll-on effect on the container demand. According to them, “Protectionism has increased all over the world and the globalisation process is gradually decreasing. With time, this could shorten supply chain and container demand.” The experts added that China is the largest dry bulk market and any changes to its demand will ultimately affect the industry.

Identifying most inspiration and dynamic private, high-growth companies of Africa

A subsidiary of the Alduco Group of Companies Equatorial, Guinea-based Alduco Engineering Services, has been identified as a company to watch in the London Stock Exchange Group ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019’ report. Launched in January, the 2019 report, which was lists 360 companies from 32 different countries across the continent as new cohorts of fast-growing and dynamic private businesses across Africa. “It is an honour to put Equatorial Guinea on the map as a country that has hard working entrepreneurs contributing to the development of not only the country but also the continent,” said Alfredo Jones, group managing director at Alduco Engineering Services. He dedicated the recognition to the many entrepreneurs in Equatorial Guinea creating employment, developing local human resources and contributing to the development of the country’s economy. The year 2019 is ramping up to be a bumper year for Equatorial Guinea, as the country will play host to the 2019 Year of Energy initiative, positioning itself as the energy capital of the African continent throughout the year. Showcasing the opportunities in Equatorial Guinea’s and the continent’s energy industry, promote local companies and the achievements of Equatorial Guinea, as well as support the agenda of oil and gas producing countries on the African continent is the goal of the initiative. The 2019 programme will include the publication of the report Africa Energy Series Equatorial Guinea 2019 Year of Energy, the APPO CAPE VII Congress and Exhibition in April 2019, the North Sea-Gulf of Guinea Summit in October 2019, a year-long campaign to promote Afro-Latin American relations, and the 5th Gas Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in November 2019.

USD25mn grant approved for renewable energy projects by AfDB

An equity investment of up to USD25mn in ARCH Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF), a USD250mn private equity fund for renewable energy projects across Sub-Saharan Africa has been approved by the African Development Bank (AfDB). equity for the development and construction of 10 to 15 greenfield renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa will provided by ARPF, adding approximately 533MW of installed energy generation capacity from renewable sources in the region. This will provide both base load and peak load power in underserved markets. Mature technologies including wind, solar PV, small to medium hydro, geothermal and biomass including grid-connected independent power producers (IPPs) and decentralised energy projects will be the focus of ARPF. The presence of the bank is expected to act as a catalyst for other investors to commit a further USD60-75mn equity from non-DFI sources. The bank would also ensure that the highest standards, environmental and social, together with climate change and gender considerations, are applied to the ARPF’s projects. “Energy investments in Africa are constrained by limited well-structured, bankable projects, as well as by unavailability of risk capital. Renewable technologies require additional support to be fully competitive over fossil fuel-based energy generation,” said Amadou Hott, vice-president for power, energy, climate change and green growth. at AfDB. The bank has a Ten-Year Strategy and High-Five priorities, and the project is in line with specifically the New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to achieve universal access by 2025. In meeting their renewable energy objectives through on-and off-grid renewable energy technologies ARPF will also assist governments. The project construction and operation will result in the direct creation of at least 272 full-time jobs and 5,320 part-time jobs, in addition to the contribution to renewable energy,

OECD says global standards needed for impact investment

According to a new OECD report, social impact investment, if it was more clearly defined internationally with more measurable outcomes, could be more effective in its aim to improve well-being as well as earn a financial return. “Social Impact Investment: The Impact Imperative for Sustainable Development” on collecting data and measuring impact calls for international standards to be applied. Defining social impact investing as targeting core development, social and environmental areas that help people and countries most in need in underserved or developing regions, is proposed by the OECD, stipulating that the primary focus should be on delivering measurable impact. “The challenge lies in defining and measuring impact,” said Jorge Moreira da Silva, development co-operation director at OECD. “Different countries, public and private organisations are using different yardsticks to measure different elements. To counter the risk of ‘impact washing,’ public authorities have a responsibility to set standards and ensure they are adhered to,” Moreira da Silva added. According to the Global Impact Investing Network, the number of social impact investment funds has quadrupled in two decades to over 200 funds with USD228bn invested, more than half of that in emerging markets. As wealthy investors and philanthropists increasingly want their money to also have a positive social or environmental impact, the phenomenon is spreading to mainstream investment funds.
Impact investing is proving to be crucial for channelling new resources towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, primarily funding but also innovation, accountability and sustainability. For example, a GBP 10mn bond that funded a UK non-profit, Golden Lanes Housing, which has provided adapted housing and related services for around 1,500 people with learning disabilities, was also able to return four % interest to investors. While about 45 countries according to the OECD report, have adopted public instruments related to impact investing, with the European Union (EU), the UK, Malaysia and France leading the way, 20 have adopted a legal definition for social enterprises. The report further said that more needs to be done to improve fiscal and regulatory incentives for impact investing by governments and put in place the necessary legal structures for the market to function well. Updating financial and fiscal regulation, establishing reporting standards, and increasing flexibility into corporate legislation could be included in this, so that companies can be hybrids rather than having to identify as being for-profit or a non-profit.

Dupont’s New European Headquarters for industrial biosciences breaks ground

Ground breaking at the new site for DuPont’s Industrial Biosciences happened at the Leiden Bio Science Park in Oegstgeest, Netherlands.
Tools of modern biotechnology will be used to render industrial processes more efficient and products more sustainable by this multidisciplinary facility. The focus will be food waste reduction, environmental impacts of livestock farming minimisation, animal health improvement, renewable fuel production and environmental impact lowering in textile and laundering industries. With this additional facility employee strength is said to double its growth rate and an additional 100 jobs will be created in fields of research and development, application development, marketing, sales and customer service. Vice President and Global Business Director for DuPont Mr. Simon Herriott said, “Our Leiden scientists have been developing innovations that enable our customers to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their processes and products for many years.” “This new facility will enable our teams to do even more – to improve the pace of biotechnology and the speed with which we can deliver it to the market. The ecosystem of talent, academia and community we find in the Leiden Bio Science Park is ideal for our work and for keeping us globally competitive,” he added. “Oegstgeest is pleased with DuPont establishing a site in our municipality. With DuPont building this facility in the Oegstgeest part of the Leiden Bio Science Park, organisations such as Corpus, Hilton and Avery Denison will be joined by an esteemed neighbour,” commented Jan Nieuwenhuis, Alderman Economic Development and Bioscience Park of the executive mayor and Aldermen of the city of Oegstgeest. Dutch developer and construction company Dura Vermeer has been contracted for building the facility spread over 7250 sq. m. With this, the capacity will get doubled. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the project is to receive an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating – very impressive from the building’s sustainability and environmental footprint. Marking an important milestone for the company, the new site in Oegstgeest will be an important hub for business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Technological advancements drive development

Africa’s digital future and technological advancement in the region are being spelt out by CSquared, a pan-African broadband infrastructure provider that enables ISPS and MNOs to provide high quality broadband through shared infrastructure.
Africans are set to escalate from illiteracy to digital literacy and their ingenuity is set to get enhanced, totally changing their dynamics with the initiative of CSquared’s ‘Fiberising’ that aims to synergise all the technologies. Newly appointed group CEO Mr. Lanre Kolade in his debut interview with the media recently in Monrovia, Liberia, expressed optimism that Africa would experience a digital revolution if both the private sector and policymakers work together to empower and tap into African youth‘s huge potential. “Now more than ever, there is a dire need to have broadband that would bring internet to everyone, thus making available such revolutionary technologies as the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to spur efficiency in our digital infrastructure, thus digitizing education, health care, agriculture and other sectors,” said Kolade. According to him, fiberising Africa is about creating value by changing the way Africa perceives internet. “The continent should transition from being just consumers of the internet and move to the extra mile of generating its own local content,” he added. Detailing the methodology to this ambitious feat he said that CSquared is set to harness the power of Public-Private Partnership (PPT) wherever possible in a bid to bring stakeholders together in the data delocalization value chain. African Technological renaissance can happen by education them on the transformative role of delocalized data. He does admit to the inherent challenge in changing the people’s mindset on the quest to transform access to internet in Africa. Optimistic about the future Kolade said that there was a scarcity of role models in Africa today, but with the proliferation of broadband very soon Afrcias success stories will be commonplace. The successes will be spearheaded by empowered youth who will grab the many opportunities provided by the resultant digital technologies. Drawing the attention to Africa’s archaic laws on intellectual property rights laws that have derailed the continent’s technological progress through redundant regulations, he said that such laws will have to be reviewed quickly if Africa has to progress digitally. African governments were made to realise the significant role played by ICT in the development of the continent in his speech. With the aim of fiberirsing the entire continent CSquared currently operates fiber infrastructure in Uganda, Ghana, and Liberia. Internet World Stats (Usage and Penetration Statistics) declares internet penetration in Africa by December 2017 at 35.2 %, way below the world average of 54.4 %. The comparatively dismal internet penetration in Africa understandably buttresses the urgency in which drastic and pragmatic measures should be undertaken to bridge the gap, a reason as to why digital technology firms such as CSquared are at the forefront in trailblazing efforts that seek to grow access to the internet by rolling out and operating affordable high-speed and reliable infrastructure to expand data availability across Africa.