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A New Cold War and a New Hot Freight Market?

Like me you may have read many recent articles about the evolving Cold War between the US and China. Opinions vary (of course) and run along a spectrum from ‘No it isn’t’ denial to a nostalgic ‘It isn’t as existential as US-USSR Cold War 1.0’ to a political-economic ‘This is about mutually exclusive values‘ to an outright forecast of ‘The Coming War on China’ – title of a popular independent TV documentary made five years ago by a veteran UK news reporter John Pilger. The Sino-American political relationship affects their friends and allies in unwelcome and uncomfortable ways. Australia is America’s key ally in the Southern Pacific but it is China’s key supplier of iron ore and a leading sup

The world has already ended: you just haven’t noticed yet

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is generally thought to have had a good crisis. He was quick to offer state aid to furloughed employees and to extend welfare to the newly unemployed, though the significant “gig economy” in the UK, numbering millions of self-employed people, was largely overlooked. His latest economic stimulus removes temporarily the tax people pay when they buy and sell homes. He has also offered government discounts to people eating out in August. The total cost, adding around GBP 30 Bn to national debt, will be recovered later on through higher income taxes and consumption taxes. So this generosity is only a loan, minus the costs of administering and reco

Decarbonising Shipping: Going Flat?

This week, the IMO is holding an informal online meeting for its members (flag states and industry associations) in which they can discuss progress towards the IMO’s decarbonisation goals. In particular they are discussing the measures that the IMO has proposed to cut shipping’s carbon emissions by 40 per cent in 2030 compared to 2008. That 40 per cent figure is in itself contentious because who was reliably and accurately measuring shipping’s carbon emissions in 2008? The first half of that year was the height of the freight market superboom when ships were racing around as fast as possible to optimise earning days. The second half of the year was painful for many, with freight markets coll

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