Latest News

15 February

Sumitomo Heavy Industries to exit commercial shipbuilding

SHIME's shipyard in Yokosuka, Japan. Credit: Kimimasa Mayama/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Historic Japanese shipbuilding company Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering (SHIME) is pulling out of the shipbuilding industry after more than 125 years, citing a “deteriorating environment” for the business amid rising material costs and volatile ship prices. 

SHIME, which mainly focussed on producing mid-size Aframax tankers, said that it will stop taking orders for new vessels from FY2024 and will exit the shipbuilding business once it has fulfilled its current backlog at its shipyard in Yokosuka.

A notice from Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) reporting the decision to pull out of the industry highlighted the financial crash of 2008 and the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers as one of the factors contributing to the “deteriorating environment for the shipbuilding business.”

The company’s Yokosuka shipyard is expected to be the site of a new factory for SHI’s Sumitomo Contruction Machinery subsidiary, producing models of hydraulic excavators once shipbuilding has ceased at the location. 

8 February

AP Moller-Maersk reveals “significant declines” in FY report

Danish container shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk has declared its full-year financial results for 2023 “solid” and “in line with guidance”, despite “substantial declines” across key measures.

The shipping line said “a difficult market environment” was to blame, with global challenges accelerating and prices dropping again after the pandemic boon. 

Overall revenue dropped from $81.5bn to $51.1bn (-$30.5bn), the majority of which was attributed to Maersk’s Ocean segment. Net profit fell to $3.9bn from $29.3bn.

The company said the ocean division was impacted by “the inventory corrections seen in Western economies”, which resulted in reduced container volumes and significantly lower freight rates.

Although the decrease in revenue was far shallower for Maersk’s Logistics & Services division, at $507m, it was also impacted by global trends – notably cheaper air freight rates and lower-than-expected growth in Europe and China. 

1 February

IMO’s new chief highlights seafarer safety amid strategic priorities

The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) new Secretary General Arsenio Dominguez has outlined his top priorities for the year ahead, focussing on seafarer safety and continuing the environmental progress made by the 2023 GHG targets.

Speaking at the IMO headquarters in London, UK, Dominguez outlined his strategic priorities for the beginning of his tenure including: Safety, Support for Member States, People, and the IMO’s regulatory work.

The secretary general also stressed the importance of seafarers and their safety to the work of the organisation, especially during the 50th anniversary of the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) convention, admitting it was an “unprecedented” time but describing the maritime industry as “resilient”.

He referenced events such as the tense situation in the Red Sea, describing maritime workers as “innocent victims” in the ongoing conflict in the region and highlighting their essential role in the industry with the phrase “no seafarers, no shipping, no shopping”.

10 January

South Africa to appoint panel to oversee transition at country’s ports

South Africa’s Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is looking to address ongoing issues with its ports by appointing a panel of service providers to oversee the eight ports without a terminal operator and close “operational gaps”.

The majority state-owned business said the selected panel would bid to provide an interim service for three years assisting the authority with mitigating disruption as it appoints new long-term terminal operators at the eight ports with suspended or terminated terminal operator contracts.

The TNPA’s tender covers all eight commercial seaports in South Africa, including the ports of Richard Bay, Durban, East London, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Cape Town, and Saldanha, and will see the panel be responsible for import and export operations as well as the distribution of cargo to inland customers.

Action by the authority comes after operational difficulties at the country’s ports have seen decreasing levels of cargo handled in recent years, with the annual total likely to be lower for 2023.

10 January

Adora Magic City: China’s largest cruise ship sets sail

China’s first domestically manufactured cruise ship, the Adora Magic City, set sail on 1 January 2024 from the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Port on a seven-day voyage.

Short of its capacity of 5,246 passengers, the ship’s maiden voyage began with 3,000 onboard, before stopping at Jeju Island in South Korea as well as Nagasaki and Fukuoka in Japan.

Manufactured by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, the Adora Magic City weighs in at 135,500 DWT, is 323.6m long, and can reach a top speed of 22.6 knots.

The cruise ship’s maiden voyage follows a successful trial voyage in July 2023. As previously reported, the cruise ship underwent rigorous tests and emergency drills following its successful undocking on 6 June 2023.

Finnish maritime technology company Wärtsilä delivered a suite of solutions to the ship, including automation and control systems, low-location lighting, the navigation system, and smart motor control units.