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The Mandate of Heaven and Shipping

One is tempted sometimes to think of 21st Century China as a machine for generating wealth and perpetuating the rule of the Chinese Communist Party while propagating “socialism with Chinese characteristics” or if you prefer, social controls. This is not to say that the Chinese don’t appreciate the utility of a market economy. But one could say that reform in China has led only to a reversion to the historical norm. The Mandate of Heaven applies equally to the CCP as it once did to the Emperors: the Emperor may now be called the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China but the means of rule and social control remain broadly the same: an Emperor served by a devout and well-educated po

Long term consequences of crew rotation crisis?

The seafarer crisis continues to develop. Hugo de Stoop, CEO of Euronav, has described stranded seafarers as “hostages of the situation.” There is common purpose among the ship owners, managers, crewing agents, the IMO and governments – but with a few important exceptions, most countries will apparently not yet allow crews to disembark to transfer home via air services. The ITF, the International Chamber of Shipping and the Joint Negotiating Group representing ship owners have issued a statement toning down the ITF’s 18th June “Enough is Enough” cri de coeur. But a seafarer’s right not to extend their contract while aboard but safely in harbour was repeated: “when seafarers have finished th

Mass Rapid Testing Could Unblock the Seafarer Logjam

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued an estimate on June 10, 2020 that 300,000 seafarers need international flights every month either to return home or to join ship. Meanwhile, according to UNCTAD, around 70,000 cruse ship staff have been unable to get home. UNCTAD estimates that two million seafarers are engaged in maritime transport. The problem is well known. Most seafarers have to travel to and from ship to and from places where the Coronavirus is spreading. Many have had to stay on board now for months beyond their original seatime. Others can’t get to their ships because of travel restrictions. So far only

Some thoughts on the newbuilding markets

On Monday, Qatar Petroleum reported a 100-berth, USD 19 Bn deal to build LNG carriers in South Korea. The moribund newbuilding markets took a step change upwards. I got thinking about the shipbuilding market's long-term trends. The big question for ship owners considering a newbuilding order is, what shall we build? This is not as easy to answer as you may think. Discussions over newbuilding specifications are inevitably tied together with wider environmental and regulatory discussions. There is also a political dimension to estimating future demand for ship types. What will shipping demand look like in future? What kind of ship shall we build to meet that demand? How shall we fuel the ves

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