July’s top stories: UK test new ship engine fuel, Brexit and container shipping

UK tests new ship engine fuel derived from recycled plastic, Brexit vote feared to affect container market, and APICORP and Bahri to acquire 15 VLCCs for $1.5bn. Ship-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from July 2016.


UK research to test new ship engine fuel made from recycled plastic

New research funded by Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) is to test an alternative fuel made from residual mixed plastic waste, known as Plaxx, to power industrial and marine engines.

Plaxx researchers will be examined to see if it can be used efficiently in diesel engines that currently use heavy fuel oil (HFO) without harming the engine.

Diesel engines are currently used in a number of marine vessels, including tankers and ferries, as well as other nautical machinery.

MSI says Brexit vote will have impact on container shipping market

UK-based business management consultant Maritime Strategies International (MSI) reported that Brexit, the vote for the UK to withdraw from the European Union (EU), will have an impact on the container shipping market.

The company’s analysis of the Brexit vote revealed that the downside risks for this market have been extended beyond this year and into next as the risk of recession grows at a time of short-term political and economic uncertainty.

The UK market only represents around 5m twenty-foot equivalent units (teu) out of a global total of 185m teu, and the impact of the country’s reduced economic growth as a result of Brexit will be slight for container shipping.

APICORP and Bahri to launch $1.5bn fund to acquire 15 VLCCs

Arab Petroleum Investments (APICORP) and the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) reached an agreement to launch a $1.5bn fund to buy very large crude carriers (VLCCs).

The APICORP Bahri Oil Shipping Fund (ABOSF) aims to acquire 15 VLCCs in total, in a three-phased approach.

APICORP will invest 85% in the fund, while Bahri will invest the remaining 15%.

Stolt-Nielsen to purchase Jo Tankers’ chemical tanker operations for nearly $575m

UK-based bulk-liquid transportation provider Stolt-Nielsen will acquire the chemical tanker operations of Norwegian deep-sea transportation services provider Jo Tankers for nearly $575m.

The acquisition will comprise 13 chemical tankers and a 50% share in a joint venture with eight chemical tanker newbuilds.

Stolt-Nielsen chief executive officer Niels Stolt-Nielsen said: “The transaction covers the tonnage replacement needs of our current chemical tanker fleet for the next several years.

Wightlink to use Wärtsilä battery solution for new hybrid ferry

UK-based ferry operator Wightlink is to install Wärtsilä's hybrid battery technology for its new ferry currently being built at the Cemre shipyard in Turkey.

The new range of equipment is intended to improve efficiency, as well as reduce exhaust emissions and lower noise levels. The vessel will also use conventional fuel.

Wärtsilä will deliver battery equipment from next year onwards and the vessel will enter service in 2018.

DP World and TIPC collaborate to develop Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Port

UAE-based DP World signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state-run Taiwan International Ports (TIPC) for development of Kaohsiung Port’s Terminal 7 in Taiwan.

The deal also aims to develop future joint efforts in business, as well as boost Taiwan’s port infrastructure and improve the country’s trade by establishing well-organised cargo movement across its supply chain.

Under the collaboration, DP World will use its experience to help develop Taiwan’s economy.

Carnival opens €75m Arison Maritime Centre in Netherlands

Cruise company Carnival opened a €75m safety training facility, called Arison Maritime Center, in Almere, the Netherlands.

The facility will provide rigorous safety training to its 6,500 deck and engineering officers responsible for the navigation and operation of its fleet of cruise ships across its ten brands, including Holland America, Princess, Carnival, and Costa.

The seven acre campus has an 110,000ft² Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy (CSMART Academy), a medical centre as well as a 176-room hotel for trainees.

India and US agree to boost cooperation in maritime sector

The Governments of India and the US agreed to improve their ties in the field of maritime industry, with plans to implement 150 projects under the new collaboration.

The 150 projects are estimated to have the potential of attracting $50bn-$60bn in infrastructure investment, and an additional $100bn of investment for encouraging industrial growth.

Meanwhile, American ports are showing interest in India’s comprehensive port-led development, especially the Sagarmala programme.

Panama Canal extension may deepen sector’s crisis, says Xeneta

Xeneta, a market intelligence platform for containerised ocean freight, believes that increased efficiencies resulting from the Panama Canal extension may deepen the crisis for the sector by undermining rates.

The company said that the increased waterway's capacity after the extension may not be as beneficial as it seems for container ship carriers.

The new sets of locks and deeper, wider shipping channels will double the waterway's capacity of the Panama Canal, enabling neo-panamax vessels to transit for the first time.

Fratelli Neri orders three news vessels from Damen

Italian harbour towage company Fratelli Neri placed an order with Damen for three new vessels, with one being used by its joint venture, Labromare.

The company intends to deliver these vessels in November this year.

Once delivered, the three vessels, an ASD Tug 2913, a Stan Tug 1606 and a Stan Launch 1305, will be operated in and around the port of Italy’s Livorno, located in the Mediterranean Sea.