Maersk Supply Service has extended its communications service contract with Inmarsat, adding access to new vessel performance tools via the Fleet Xpress systems installed on the 30-vessel Maersk offshore fleet.

Operating off Europe, the Americas, West Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia, the ships will also integrate Inmarsat’s Fleet Connect service for digital applications and have access to the Fleet Data IoT platform for data acquisition and uploading under the terms of the deal.

“Maersk Supply Service is pursuing digitalisation to support optimised fleet management and to improve vessel energy efficiency. Software-based digital solutions have a significant advantage over hardware-based counterparts as they can be deployed fleet-wide at the push of a button,” said Kasper Thiesen, Head of IT, Maersk Supply Service (MSS).

“By having the underlying Fleet Data, Fleet Connect infrastructure and sensor data collectors installed on our vessels, we have unlocked a portfolio of digital services which we can deploy to our fleet and bring to market in little-to-no time.”

“As the digital ecosystem develops, more solutions will become available, increasing our ability to remain agile and support our journey to decarbonise, and entry into renewable industries.”



Maersk Supply Service expands Fleet Xpress integration on 30-vessel fleet

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Dyneema® SK78: Trusted mooring performance in warm climate and dynamic conditions

In this Wendover Productions video, they tackle “How Ocean Shipping Works (And Why It’s Broken)” by following a recent voyage of the Maersk Essex from ports in Asia to the Port of Los Angeles, where it was faced with congestion at the center of supply chain disruptions.



Watch: Wendover Productions Explains ‘How Ocean Shipping Works (And Why It’s Broken)’

Agricultural exporters in the US have called on authorities to impose greater scrutiny on shipping alliances and the behaviour of shipping lines during the pandemic.

“Today a system of global alliances dominates global shipping, where nine carriers that have been organised into three alliances controlling about 80% of the global shipping market, and 95% on the critical east-west tradelanes,” said the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTrans).

“Alliances only controlled 29% of the market as recently as 2011,” it added.

“This lack of competition leaves American businesses at the mercy of just three alliances. Retailers are charged fees for their container remaining on the docks, even if there is no way to move their containers. If the alliances decide to not accept exports, agricultural exporters will not be able to fulfil their contracts, and farmers’ perishable products may be left to rot.”

However, AgTrans acknowledged recent improvements at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and noted that 60,000 empty containers had now been moved from the two west coast ports, while the number of boxes sitting on docks for more than nine days had been cut by one-third in the first two weeks of November.

It said the congestion fee imposed on lines by the ports had helped shift “long-dwelling containers” – a move so successful that the fee has been postponed.

The reduction in boxes has allowed more space for containers to be unloaded and trucks to manoeuvre. But AgTrans pointed out that “thousands of empty containers remain on the docks, often sitting on chassis”.

It explained: “The ocean carriers have now agreed to clear more of these empties from the docks faster, including bringing in vessels dedicated to empty removal. Based on these new commitments, they have already cleared out 60,000, with commitments to remove another 28,000.”



U.S. Exporters Call for More Scrutiny of Carrier Alliances

The Port of Los Angeles reported October volumes of 902,644 TEUs, a decrease of 8% compared from last year when it handled record monthly volumes.

Still, year-to-date overall cargo volume through the Port of Los Angeles, the top container port in the United States, has increased 22% over 2020.

“Amid the array of challenges facing the supply chain, we continue to deliver more cargo than ever,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, in announcing the monthly statistics. “The National Retail Federation is forecasting a record holiday season as many outlets such as Walmart, Target and Home Depot report strong sales.”

Seroka said clearing docks of imports and empties remains a top priority. “As a result, we’ve seen a marked improvement of fluidity on our marine terminals, which allows  more vessels to be processed,” he said.

The port’s announcement highlighted a reported 31% drop – from 94,981 to 65,080 – in the number of import containers on Port of Los Angeles marine terminals from October 24, the day before the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced fines for import containers dwelling nine days or more. Import containers dwelling 9+ days has declined 35%, from 37,410 to 24,361, the port said.

October loaded imports reached 467,287 TEUs, an 8% decline compared to the previous year. Loaded exports also dropped 32% to 98,251 TEUs compared to 2020. Empty containers shipped overseas increased to 337,106 TEUs, an increase of 2% compared to last year.

Officials have said ocean carriers are bringing in additional “sweeper” ships to load out empty containers, freeing up space on the docks.

Ten months into 2021, the Port has processed 9,079,562 TEUs, 22% more than the 7,444,464 TEUs handled at this time last year.



Port of Los Angeles Sees Cargo Volumes Dip in October

The Biden administration’s auction of oil drilling rights in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico generated more than $190 million in high bids, bringing in more money for taxpayers than any government offshore lease sale since early 2019.

The Department of Interior auction came days after the U.S. joined a global agreement that for the first time asked governments to accelerate emissions cuts by phasing down coal and fossil fuel subsidies.

It was the first auction under President Joe Biden, whose administration paused drilling sales under a promise to end development on federal properties. But Biden lost a court fight to oil-producing states that sued to reinstate the sales.

The sale’s total high bids—$191,688,984—was announced by U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Gulf of Mexico Director Mike Celata on a live webcast. The bureau, an arm of the Interior department, had offered almost all available unleased Gulf of Mexico blocks, or 80 million acres. About 2% of that acreage, or about 1.7 million acres, sold.

The total high bids was far higher than the $121 million the government received at a sale held by the Trump administration a year ago, but the price per acre sold was around $112 compared with $233 at last year’s auction.

Major bidders included Exxon Mobil Corp, which snapped up nearly a third of the tracts for $14.9 million, and Chevron Corp, which was the auction’s biggest spender at with $47.1 million in high bids. Anadarko Petroleum Corp, owned by Occidental Petroleum Corp., BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also among the top five bidders.

Anadarko placed the highest single bid—more than $10 million—for a tract in the deepwater Alaminos Canyon.

The sale was the first opportunity to test the oil and gas industry’s demand for Gulf acreage with energy prices at multi-year highs. U.S. crude futures on Tuesday settled at $80.76 a barrel, up 95% in the last 12 months.

Despite the court-ordered resumption of auctions, Interior spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said the agency was “conducting a more comprehensive analysis of greenhouse gas impacts from potential oil and gas lease sales than ever before.”



There’s little sign of near-term improvement in the global supply-chain crisis, according to Israeli container shipping line Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.

The Haifa-based company, which has a fleet of 113 vessels, said shortages of everything from truck drivers to port infrastructure are likely to remain for some time yet. The disruption this year has pushed freight rates to record levels for the giant steel containers that haul everything from toys to tables.

“The supply chain is not in the right order,” Chief Executive Officer Eli Glickman said in an interview. “We don’t see in the near future that it is going to be changed. Infrastructure is not going to be built in a few weeks.”

Along with its larger rivals like A.P. Moller Maersk A/S, Zim has benefited from a spike in container shipping rates as demand for goods booms and supply chains falter amid an uneven recovery from the pandemic. Earlier this week, the company posted net income of $1.46 billion in the third quarter, up more than tenfold from a year earlier.

Demand across all of the company’s operated trade routes remains robust, but there is particular strength in the U.S., Chief Financial Officer Xavier Destriau said in the same interview.

“There is not a single trade today where we currently operate which is not under some sort of tension,” he said. “Clearly in the U.S. it is firing on all cylinders.”



ZIM CEO: US Trade ‘Firing On All Cylinders’

An American offshore services trade group is accusing Swiss-headquartered Geoquip Marine of violating the Jones Act, a U.S. law requiring seaborne cargo shipped between two U.S. points to be carried by American-built, -crewed and -owned vessels.

A report published by the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) alleges that Geoquip Marine’s Geoquip Saentis—a Chinese-built, foreign-crewed and Bahamian-flagged vessel—transported subsoil samples from points on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to U.S. ports for testing in support of an offshore wind project.

“U.S. wind power should mean U.S. jobs,” said OMSA president Aaron Smith. “Our report provides a case study of how far too often wind projects are instead creating jobs for Estonians and Romanians, while capable American mariners sit on the shore. We’ve detailed how a foreign company—by their own admission—used a Chinese-built vessel with foreign crew members to transport cargo within U.S. waters. That’s illegal.”

“Lobbyists for the offshore wind industry have claimed their clients will only utilize foreign-flagged vessels when there is not a U.S.-flagged vessel available,” Smith added. “Today’s report shows that’s simply not true. Wind developers will continue to exploit lax enforcement of U.S. laws to utilize Chinese-built and foreign-crewed vessels.”

In response to OMSA’s report, Geoquip Marine said its vessels do not transport cargo or merchandise: “The Geoquip Saentis is an [integrated geotechnical survey vessel], it is dedicated to research and has world-leading drilling technology and an onboard laboratory. It collects seabed data, allowing geotechnical parameters to be derived and supporting environmental research.



U.S. oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp were among the top buyers at a federal auction of oil leases in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday that generated more than $190 million – the highest since 2019.

The auction was a boon for federal coffers, but a potential setback for the climate policies of U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration tried to suspend federal lease sales to fight global warming before a court forced them to proceed.

The United States was also among nearly 200 nations that adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact this month in a deal that for the first time asked governments to accelerate cuts in planet-warming emissions by limiting support for fossil fuels.

In the sale, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an arm of Biden’s Department of Interior, offered 80 million acres accounting for almost all available unleased Gulf of Mexico blocks. About 1.7 million acres were sold.

Chevron was the auction’s biggest spender with $47.1 million, followed by Anadarko, owned by Occidental Petroleum Corp., BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

Exxon rounded out the top five, snapping up nearly a third of the tracts that sold for $14.9 million, making it the biggest buyer by acreage.

One analyst said Exxon’s purchase of 94 shallow water blocks could be preparation for the company’s first carbon capture and storage project, a proposal that Exxon floated in April.

Anadarko, meanwhile, placed the highest single bid in Wednesday’s auction — more than $10 million — for a tract in the deepwater Alaminos Canyon.



A surge in container shipping rates poses a threat to the global economic recovery, with small countries dependent on deliveries by sea expected to be hardest hit by a spike in import prices, U.N. agency UNCTAD said on Thursday.

A surge in demand for consumer goods during the pandemic has created major supply bottlenecks around the world, which has impacted the supply of container ships and boxes to transport cargo.

Shipping and port officials expect global supply chain disruptions to extend into 2022.

“The current surge in freight rates will have a profound impact on trade and undermine socioeconomic recovery, especially in developing countries, until maritime shipping operations return to normal,” said UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan.

In its Review of Maritime Transport for 2021, UNCTAD said that the current surge in container freight rates, if sustained, could increase global import price levels by 11% and consumer price levels by 1.5% between now and 2023.

“The impact is expected to be more significant for smaller economies that depend heavily on imported goods for much of their consumption needs,” it said.

UNCTAD said maritime supply chain stakeholders including container lines, ports, inland transport providers, customs and shippers “should work together to share information and make maritime transport more efficient”.

“In the face of these cost pressures and lasting market disruption, it is increasingly important to monitor market behavior and ensure transparency when it comes to setting rates, fees and surcharges,” it said.