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2016-03-03 14:24:12

On Feb. 19, the Japanese government decided to impose sanctions on North Korea for its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities. The sanctions include the ban of vessels having been in North Korea from entering Japanese ports.


2016-01-22 14:51:10

Greece's top shipping lobby rejected a European Commission call for the government to reform its shipping tax system on Thursday, saying this could hurt a key driver of the crisis-hit economy.

Shipping is a vital generator of income for Greece, accounting for about seven percent of its gross domestic product and employing about 200,000 people. Greece controls around 23 percent of the world's total merchant fleet including many of the industry's tankers and bulk carriers.

Last month, the Commission urged Athens to better target its tonnage tax system, citing competition and E.U. state aid rules.

But Greek shipowners, who are increasingly worried the Commission's suggestions could hurt a sector already battered by the global slump in demand for dry freight commodities and record low freight earnings, rejected the proposals.

"There is no effective distortion of competition in the maritime field in the E.U.," the Union of Greek Shipowners said.

"Any fundamental changes to the institutional and fiscal framework in which the Greek shipping community is presently operating, would have unforeseeable consequences which would be detrimental not only for Greece but also for the rest of the E.U."

On Dec. 21, the Commission said it was "concerned that favorable tax treatment is also extended to maritime sector intermediaries and operators of ships, which do not provide maritime transport services" such as insurance intermediaries and maritime brokers, as well as the shareholders of shipping companies.

Fishing vessels, port tugboats and yachts should pay a standard income tax, it added giving Greece two months to inform the Commission whether it agreed on the proposed measures.

If Athens consented, the Commission would confirm it in a new state aid decision and the new rules would come into effect from January 2019 at the latest, the Commission said threatening otherwise to open a formal state aid investigation.

But the union warned that the proposed measures may encourage relocation of companies outside Europe.

"The E.U. may lose a substantial part of its fleet and maritime cluster," it said.

2016-01-20 15:21:12

Shipping companies are being strongly encouraged to use new 'Transitional Measures for Shipowners Selling Ships for Recycling' launched by an inter-industry working group led by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

According to ICS, the purpose of the new Transitional Measures is to help shipowners ensure to the greatest extent possible that their end of life ships will be recycled at facilities that are compliant with the standards enshrined in the IMO Hong Kong Convention, in advance of the global regime entering into legal force.

The Transitional Measures set out detailed advice on the preparation and maintenance of inventories of hazardous materials, as required by the IMO Convention and a separate new EU Regulation which has already entered into force and which has implications for non-EU ships calling at EU ports. The guidelines also address measures which shipping companies are strongly recommended to take now when selling end of life ships for recycling.

"The industry accepts its responsibility to promote the safe and environmentally sustainable disposal of ships in the world's ship recycling yards, the majority of which are located in developing countries," said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe.

"Adherence to these Transitional Measures should be seen as a sign of good faith prior to the entry into force of the IMO regime. But they will also help companies avoid falling foul of the separate EU ship recycling regime which started to take effect on Dec. 31 and which is also relevant to ships flying non-EU flags."

The Transitional Measures were originally issued by the industry immediately after the adoption of the Hong Kong Convention in 2009, and have now been expanded to take account of subsequent detailed guidance issued by IMO.

"It is disappointing that after six years the Hong Kong Convention has still only been ratified by a handful of IMO Member States. Governments need to make this a far more urgent priority if they are serious about improving conditions in ship recycling yards on a global basis," said Hinchliffe.

In addition to ICS, these new measures have been developed with expertise from the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), BIMCO, IPTA, Intercargo, Intertanko, OCIMF and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF). They are also supported by the Asian Shipowners' Forum and the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA).

2016-01-20 15:03:35

The Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention has not met its final entry-into-force requirement yet, according to the International Maritime Organization.

Together with partner IHS Maritime & Trade, IMO has been engaged in a process to verify tonnage figures to ascertain whether or not the BWM convention's requirement has been met, and, although the process will continue for up to three more weeks, IMO said that it is in a position to confirm that "the November ratifications did not trigger the convention's entry into force."

IMO said that, following the spate of ratifications in November 2015, forty-seven countries have now ratified the convention, substantially more than the 30 required, but their combined fleets comprise, at most, 34.56 per cent of global tonnage, with 35 per cent required for entry into force.

"The recent ratifications have brought the BWM convention so very close to entry into force," said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

While we cannot predict exactly when that will happen, I would urge countries that have not done so to ratify the BWM convention as soon as possible so that we can establish a certain date for entry into force, and also so that it is widely accepted when it does.

"In particular, those countries with large merchant fleets that have not done so, are requested to accelerate their processes to ratify the convention."

Shipowners have been encouraged to install the necessary equipment and establish operational procedures in accordance with IMO regulations and standards, so that the BWM convention can be implemented rapidly and effectively upon entry into force.

Amendments to the convention, to be implemented after it enters into force, will be considered at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, in April 2016.

2016-01-19 15:32:42

The Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention has not met its final entry-into-force requirement yet, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Together with partner IHS Maritime & Trade, IMO has been engaged in a process to verify tonnage figures to ascertain whether or not the BWM convention's requirement has been met, and, although the process will continue for up to three more weeks, IMO said it is in a position to confirm that "the November ratifications did not trigger the convention's entry into force."

IMO said that, following the spate of ratifications in November 2015, forty-seven countries have now ratified the convention, substantially more than the 30 required, but their combined fleets comprise, at most, 34.56 per cent of global tonnage, with 35 per cent required for entry into force.

"The recent ratifications have brought the BWM convention so very close to entry into force," said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

"While we cannot predict exactly when that will happen, I would urge countries that have not done so to ratify the BWM convention as soon as possible so that we can establish a certain date for entry into force, and also so that it is widely accepted when it does.

"In particular, those countries with large merchant fleets that have not done so, are requested to accelerate their processes to ratify the convention."

Shipowners have been encouraged to install the necessary equipment and establish operational procedures in accordance with IMO regulations and standards, so that the BWM convention can be implemented rapidly and effectively upon entry into force.

Amendments to the convention, to be implemented after it enters into force, will be considered at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, in April 2016.

2016-01-15 16:26:43

New Delhi is adding further support to India's shipyards. The nation's shipyards and ship recyclers have been granted infrastructure status under the government's Made in India scheme, which will make their financial moves easier.

Yards will now be able to access long-term loans of up to 25 years. The move follows on from a large shipbuilding subsidy programme announced by the government last month.


2016-01-05 18:01:07

BIMCO, together with other leading shipping organizations, has launched a set of guidelines to help the global shipping industry prevent major safety, environmental and commercial issues that could result from a cyber incident onboard a ship.

The cyber guidelines launched are a first for the shipping industry, developed by international shipping associations, comprising BIMCO, CLIA, ICS, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO – and with support from a wide range of stakeholders. The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships are free to download from the BIMCO website.

Angus Frew, Secretary General of BIMCO, said, "BIMCO has led the way to identify potential cyber vulnerabilities for ships – and their implications – based on the latest expert research."

"The aim is to provide the shipping industry with clear and comprehensive information on cyber security risks to ships enabling shipowners to take measures to protect against attacks and to deal with the eventuality of cyber incidents."

2015-12-23 17:09:04

The European Commission has sent a set of proposals to Greece asking it to change its maritime tonnage tax to exclude all maritime sector intermediaries and operators of ships, which do not provide maritime transport services.

The commission said that the Greek tonnage tax system is not well targeted and that the current provisions may breach EU state aid rules by allowing shareholders of shipping companies to benefit from favourable tax treatment that should be reserved for maritime transport providers.

Greece now has two months to inform the commission whether it agrees to the measures proposed and to review which vessels are eligible under its system, therefore excluding fishing vessels, port tugboats, and yachts rented out to tourists without a crew from the preferential regime. Preferential tax treatment should also be removed for insurance intermediaries, maritime brokers and other maritime intermediaries as well as the shareholders of shipping companies.

The proposals do not concern the core of the Greek shipping economy, notably the operation of bulk carrier and tanker vessels.

If the country agrees to the proposed amendments, it would need to change its national rules with effect from Jan. 1, 2019 at the latest.

Based on the Greek system currently in place, the shipping companies are enjoying lucrative tax breaks which allow them to pay a voluntary amount, all with the aim of keeping owners in Greece. These include no taxes on profits from shipping operations, and no taxes on ship sales.


2015-12-17 15:40:48

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has unveiled the third batch of its white list for the shipbuilding industry, adding eleven new yards to the 60 already listed

In detail, the 11 shipyards are as follows: Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding, Jiangsu New Hantong Ship Heavy Industry, Nantong Rainbow Offshore & Engineering, Jiangsu Haitong Offshore Engineering, Wuhu Xinlian Shipbuilding, Fujian Baima Shipyard, Fujian Southeast Shipyard, Fujian Huadong Shipyard, Ezhou Guangda Shipbuilding, Jiangmen Nanyang Ship Engineering, and Chongqing Donggang Shipbuilding Industry.

The central government is hoping that the white list can optimize shipbuilding capacity and promote mergers and acquisitions in the industry, with shipyards on the list enjoying favourable policies from the government and banks.

2015-12-17 13:26:58

From 2016 onwards newbuild ships sailing in certain Emission Control Areas will be required to meet 'Tier III' NOx emission standards. These new limits are much stricter than the 'Tier II' levels and require investment in dedicated NOx reduction measures. Equipment manufacturers have invested significantly to develop NOx Tier III solutions and which option owners will favour is a key question.

Regulatory Rush

The IMO's limits on ships' NOx emissions have been introduced in three stages with 'Tier III' levels around 70% below 'Tier II' limits, necessitating dedicated NOx reduction technology or the use of 'clean' fuels such as LNG. Tier III standards will apply to marine diesel engines installed on ships 'constructed' on or after Jan. 1, 2016 when sailing in existing NOx Emission Control Areas (NECAs). The North American and US Caribbean Sea are currently the only NECAs and while there are calls for stricter NOx limits in other areas such as the Baltic, it is unlikely that compliance requirements will be applied retrospectively.

With the NOx deadline looming there have been numerous reports this year of owners looking to place orders to secure a keel laying prior to Jan. 1, 2016. This avoids the hefty premium associated with Tier III compliance - an SCR solution reportedly costs around US$1.5m for an MR tanker and up to $4m for a VLCC.

Emission Possible

The main solutions for Tier III limits are technologies including Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems and relatively newer Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) systems, or LNG fuel. According to the Clarksons Research database, there are currently a reported 306 ships with NOx technology fitted in the fleet (95% of which are SCR systems) and 79 vessels that can run on LNG fuel. Increasingly, LNG capability is the norm for LNG carriers and they have been excluded from this analysis in order to get a clearer view of which solutions have been adopted as NOx reduction measures. The number of vessels in the fleet that can meet NOx Tier III standards has grown from a reported 74 ships at the start of 2005 to 385 vessels at the start of this month but remains a very small proportion of the world fleet (0.4%). Norway's NOx tax and fund introduced in 2007 and 2008 respectively, have driven much of the investment in NOx reduction measures and 63% of the NOx compliant fleet is reported to be Norwegian owned.

Meanwhile, there are a reported 91 NOx Tier III compliant ships on order - 81% of which are LNG capable. This is a slightly higher proportion of the global orderbook, 2%, compared to the fleet. Ordering has also been less consolidated and Norwegian, US and Swedish owners account for 21%, 16% and 13% of the orderbook in numerical terms respectively.

NOx Much Clarity Yet

With the Tier III requirements yet to come into force, owners have so far been able to work around the requirements. Currently, the majority of vessels that could meet Tier III standards are Norwegian owned and SCR equipped though the orderbook is more weighted towards the LNG fuel solution. However, ordering in 2016 should bring greater visibility as to the favoured options for compliance.


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