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Monthly Maritime News Roundup: January, 2017

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The year 2017 is off to a rollercoaster start, and Kemplon Engineering takes a look at some of January’s headlining news and issues in this edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup:

 

Image “Digital News Background” courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

E-commerce behemoth Amazon has been coordinating freight shipments from Chinese merchants to its American warehouses – at least 150 containers’ worth since October, according to some reports. Could the new year make it a bigger player in the trillion-dollar business of the movement of goods worldwide, right up there with FedEx and UPS?

Last year, the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba was big news. The year 2017 is expected to see the practical effects of that diplomatic coup, and January did not disappoint. Governor Rick Scott of Florida has called for state funding cutbacks on ports inking deals with the communist country, and the pressure has put agreements, such as those planned by Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach with the National Port Administration of Cuba, temporarily on ice. Still, a high-level Cuban delegation was welcomed at Port Everglades for a tour and business meetings. We shall have to wait and see how they will be moving forward given the unfavorable political reception.

The Philippines is one of the most popular sending countries for men and women working at sea (Royal Caribbean alone, for example, reportedly employs 11,000 Filipino crew members, with a five-year plan of hiring 30,000). It might seem surprising then, that the Asian country has homeported no major cruise ship – until now. The capital of Manila will finally play home to a cruise ship, Star Cruises’ flagship Superstar Virgo – 23 years after the cruise line first started recruiting Filipino talent.

The year is off with a rocky start for plans to curb shipping’s carbon emissions. The Environment Committee of the European Parliament has decided to include shipping within the EU’s Emissions Trading System by the year 2021 if the International Maritime Organization does not come to a carbon agreement by that time– a move criticized by the IMO as potentially detrimental to their own efforts, which will see developments later than the deadline, at 2023. IMO’s position has in turn been criticized by environmental groups under The Clean Shipping Coalition.

The concrete steps forward may be hazy, but the global need to curb emissions wherever it may be reduced is crystal clear. The effects are wide-ranging, from human and animal health hazards to navigational dangers. Consider, for example, the case of a Chinese cruise ship, unable to dock for two days due to limited visibility from heavy smog in Tianjin, earlier this month. Over two thousand people were on board at the time.

Hopefully, changes can be made so that such incidents can be avoided. Cruising, after all, seems to be a big hit with today’s current and emerging travelers. Many agents claim bookings are at least on par with that of the previous year. Furthermore, Cruise Lines International Association’s recently released Cruise Travel Report show a high preference for cruising by Millennial and Generation Y travelers. Optimism is also high for Carnival Corporation, which has come to an agreement with Italy’s famed Fincantieri for two new cruise ships – bringing Carnival’s planned ships scheduled for delivery within the next five years to a grand total of 19!

The end of the month, however, was dampened by a widely-criticized executive order from President Donald Trump, temporarily barring refugees and travelers from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the United States in the name of national security. The effects of the ban are extensive. Chaos interrupted in airports in the immediate aftermath, amid confusion on the coverage of the sudden order and specific points of how authorities are to execute it, and as lawyers and protesters took to the premises by the hundreds. Reports indicate the ban may have also affected international cruisers returning to the United States from jaunts abroad, and many prospective travelers both from the named countries and from other nations, have been urged to reconsider their plans of leaving the country for fear of not being allowed to return to the United States. Airlines and cruise lines are seeking clarification on the order, and will be reviewing their options.

Immigration isn’t the only thing that occupied President Trump this month. He had also formally withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal engaging 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim.

Shortly prior to the release these and other controversial orders, President Trump played host to fellow world leader, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May, in Washington.   Among the goals of the visit are reportedly to reinforce the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, and to come up with a trade deal that could somehow offset the possible negative economic impacts of Brexit.

Aside from the potential loss of business from the divisive move, Brexit is also foreseen as a problem logistically, due to customs delays. Disruption is expected at borders in the absence of a customs union deal with the EU, as staff would have to check products coming in from the EU as thoroughly as they have to check those from outside markets. By one estimate, for example, this translates to 300 million additional checks in the Port of Dover. Disruption could be enormous, according to observers, unless there are significant investments in hiring and training thousands of additional staff.

Is it really just the start of the year? To think, these are just a few of the major happenings in the ever-dynamic maritime industry! Check in with us again next month, for another issue of the Maritime News Roundup. Until then – we at Kemplon Engineering wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year, and we sincerely hope the months ahead bring good tidings to all.

If you found this article interesting, check out our blog for similar content on the many facets of the maritime industry. We strive to keep it up-to-date with the news of the day, and relevant to our marine and industrial customers. For more information on Kemplon Engineering and the services we are able to provide, explore our website and learn about welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more. We have a wide range of experience, and a highly motivated team of experts eager to find solutions for your projects and ideas. You may also reach us at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We would love the opportunity to work with you!

 

 

For Further Reading:

Baker-Jordan., Skylar. “None of the US papers put Theresa May’s visit to the White House on their front page. It’s time to face our insignificance.” The Independent, 28 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-trump-visit-newspapers-american-press-insignificance-a7550686.html

“Carnival Orders Two New Cruise Ships.” The Maritime Executive, 19 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/carnival-orders-two-new-cruise-ships

Faust, Chris Gray. “Executive Order on Travel Extends to Ports, May Affect Cruise Passengers.” Cruise Critic, 30 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=7498

Hawkes, Steve. “PORTS FACE CHECK HELL.” The Sun, 26 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2707697/government-must-hire-thousands-of-staff-to-avoid-post-brexit-customs-collapse-haulage-bosses-warn/

Leposa, Adam. “Friday Briefing: Five Travel Trends to Watch in 2017.” Travel Agent Central, 27 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/five-travel-trends-to-watch-2017

“Manila to Homeport its First Cruise Ship.” The Maritime Executive, 15 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/manila-to-homeport-its-first-cruise-ship

“NGOs Criticize IMO for Opposing EU Carbon Plan.” The Maritime Executive, 11 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/ngos-criticize-imo-for-opposing-eu-carbon-plan

Shead, Sam. “Amazon has entered the trillion dollar ocean freight business.” Business Insider, 26 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-entered-shipping-industry-freight-china-2017-1

Smith, David. “Trump withdraws from Trans-Pacific Partnership amid flurry of orders.” The Guardian, 23 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/23/donald-trump-first-orders-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp

Walker, Jim. “RCCL to Hire 30,000 Filipino Crew Members Over Next Five Years.” Jim Walkers’s Cruise Law News, 27 Jan 2016. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2016/01/articles/crew-news/rccl-to-hire-30000-filipino-crew-members-over-next-five-years/

Whitefield, Mimi, Amy Sherman and Patricia Mazzezi. “Cuban delegation arrives amid threats by Gov. Scott to cut funding to ports that sign pacts.” Miami Herald, 26 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article128866679.html

Ye, Josh. “Chinese cruise ship ‘stuck at sea for two days in smog’.” South China Morning Post, 04 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2059214/chinese-cruise-ship-stuck-sea-two-days-smog

Zorthian, Julia. “Amazon Has Quietly Ventured Into the Ocean Freight Business.” Fortune.com, 27 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://fortune.com/2017/01/26/amazon-ocean-freight-business/

 

Maritime Industry News 2015: The Year in Review

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^As 2015 comes to a close, Kemplon Engineering looks back at some of the news and issues that captured maritime industry headlines this year.

The Migration Crisis is one of the most pressing issues of 2015… and a defining one for global humanitarian aid. The year saw a particularly large number of migrant fatalities at sea. Thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East lost their lives while crossing treacherous waters to European entry points like Italy and Greece, all in a desperate attempt to flee war or hardship.
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More Cruise Brands Headed to the Chinese Market

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 ^Image “China” courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The world’s second largest consumer market – China – continues to be an exciting source of potential opportunities for the cruise industry, in spite of the country’s recent economic woes. Kemplon Engineering has been following news of how the big names are making big plays here (see related articles, “Cruise Shipping Miami 2015: Highlights”; and “MSC Cruises’ Debut in China”), and in this latest development, Carnival Corp. & PLC steps up its presence in the country via the introduction of two more lines, and a joint venture to launch a Chinese cruise brand:

The Chinese market is appealing to the cruise industry for its prosperous and growing middle-class, a government willing to invest in related infrastructure, , and a growing demand for leisure travel. Particularly for cruising, industry watchers have noted that from the years 2012 to 2014, mainland Chinese passengers reportedly grew by 79% a year.

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Norwegian Cruise Line on Weekly TV Travel Series

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As the saying goes, it’s not just about the destination, it’s also about the journey – and this is truer than ever when it comes to modern-day cruising. Ship amenities and attractions often go above and beyond when it comes to wowing their passengers with onboard entertainment. The available options can be so expansive as to include Broadway-caliber shows, waterparks, casinos, spas, theme parties, and lectures – on top of shore excursions to breathtaking destinations. For an even more exciting twist on entertainment, however, some cruise lines are introducing innovative programs that blend shipboard fun to the modern-day phenomenon of reality TV – turning some of their guests into “celebrities” in the process.

Princess Cruises, for example, recently announced a singing contest in the pattern of NBC hit show “The Voice,” to be held on a number of sailings. “The Voice of the Ocean” will be making onboard stars out of talented passengers in a competition open to guests 16 years of age or older, for auditions, mentoring and live performances (see related article, “Princess Cruises Seeks “The Voice of the Ocean””). Read More

International Voices vs. Rising Seas and Climate Change

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In the prelude to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change this winter in Paris, advocates and stakeholder nations – many of them in real danger from rising seas stemming from climate change – are ramping up their campaigns to be heard, and for unified and binding international action to be taken to protect the environment. Kemplon Engineering takes a look at some of the recent news and developments in the international battle to combat climate change.

During his much-publicized visit to the United States this September, Pope Francis spoke before the United Nations on various issues, including care for the environment – a topic he has consistently expressed concern for, as in June of this year upon the release of his encyclical Laudato Si, which tackled pollution and climate change. At the UN, he called for concrete and immediate steps to preserve the environment, given the magnitude of the current situation and its toll on human lives. “Any harm done to the environment … is harm done to humanity,” he reportedly said. Read More

Polar Cruising and Tourism

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Followers of news on business, international relations and the maritime industry would have heard of the so-called “Cold Rush” – optimism for potential opportunities in the Arctic in the fields of oil and gas drilling, faster shipping routes, and tourism. In the wake of hefty costs, risky operations, falling oil prices, an uncertain regulatory environment, negative public perception and environmental advocacies, however, some companies have since had to ‘cool down’ their activities and expectations in the region.

We have seen exits and project suspensions from the likes of Chevron, Rosneft, Statoil, Total and most recently, Royal Dutch Shell, for example. But if there is one segment of the maritime industry that is still making a heavy play for the region, that would be travel and tourism via cruising. Read More

‘Miracle Baby’ Born on Cruise Ship

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‘Miracle Baby’ Born on Cruise Ship

A family of three boards Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas ship for what was supposed to be a relaxing a vacation – and leaves with a newborn member, when the expectant mother gives birth to a premature baby in the middle of a 7-day cruise.

28-year-old Emily Morgan of Utah was 23 weeks into an uneventful pregnancy and cleared for cruise travel by her physician. She, along with her husband Chase and three-year-old daughter Chloe, had boarded a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Independence of the Seas in celebration of Chloe’s birthday. To their surprise, they would be celebrating another birth – that of their new baby Haiden. Read More

Engine Room Fire on Cruise Ship Carnival Liberty

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A dream cruise vacation was cut dramatically short for thousands of passengers, when Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Liberty had an engine room fire last September 7th.

The Carnival Liberty is a 10-year old, 952-foot, Conquest-class ship based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The cruise ship left its homeport on the 6th of September for a 7-day, Caribbean cruise. On board were 3,346 guests and 1,150 crew. The next day, while docked at St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands on a scheduled port call, the cruise ship’s engine room sparked a small fire, which would eventually be extinguished by automatic fire suppression systems. The accident caused no injuries to any passengers or crew. The ship also retained power and had ability to sail, with hotel services and activities still available to the passengers. Read More

Cruise Ship Emissions Ranking

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A long-running environmental organization ranks upcoming cruise ship new builds based on planned emission abatement technologies… and takes some heat from the cruise industry for the results.

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (“NABU”), having been founded in 1899, is one of Germany’s oldest environmental associations. With 560,000 members and sponsors, it is also one of the largest. Their objectives include conservation of habitats and biodiversity, and to promote sustainable practices and climate protection. Read More

Luxe Expedition Ship For Arctic Tourism

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While rising sea waters and the diminishing habitats of local wildlife are undoubtedly negative impacts of the world’s warming climate, inextricably, there are also opportunities presented by greater access to the once-forbidding Polar Regions. The maritime industry is particularly abuzz with excitement for the promises the Arctic could hold – including shorter shipping routes, and opportunities for leisure travel and education through tourism and expeditions. Read More