In its recently published quarterly magazine, Korean Register cites what it considers to be the top ten issues driving the shipping and shipbuilding market throughout 2017.
1.South Korean court declares Hanjin Shipping bankrupt on 14 February 2017:
Hanjin Shipping applied for court receivership in August 2016, after its creditor banks halted further support. With a total fleet of 102 container ships and 44 bulk carriers, Hanjin Shipping, was Korea’s No. 1 shipping company and the world’s seventh largest container shipping line which transported cargoes to 3,600 destinations via 100 route, including the top three global trade routes to Northern America, Europe and Atlantic Ocean. The company’s collapse was a wake-up call for the entire ocean transportation supply chain.
2.Merging three Japanese lines:
In mid 2017, Japanese carriers K Line, NYK, and MOL teamed up to establish ‘Ocean Network Express (ONE)’, a joint venture container shipping line which will begin services on April 11 2018. The total fleet capacity after the merger is estimated to be 1.4 million TEU and ONE is expected to rank as 6th in the global market.
3. Korea Shipping Partnership (KSP) begins services in 2018:
Korea Shipping Partnership, a cooperation of 14 South Korean shipping liners, was launched on 8 August 2017, to expand fleet capacity, rationalize routes, jointly open new routes and to secure slots in international terminals, responding to the severe domestic downturn of the South Korean shipbuilding industry.
4. Smart Ship Technology:
Hyundai Heavy Industries developed an ‘Integrated Smart Ship Solution’ using Information Communication Technology (ICT) to support the economic and stable ship operations and maintenance. Smart Ship is a next-generation vessel equipped with remote diagnostics and controlled using an integrated ship system, supported by real-time operational monitoring of the ship’s engine, control devices and various machinery from a land-based control center, via satellite.
5. LNG powered ships and LNG bunkering:
2017 saw a shift towards LNG. The total number of LNG fueled ships is 112 around the world and currently a further 118 ships are contracted to be built. Currently, Europe holds 73% of the LNG-fueled ship market, while Northern America and Asia hold 11% and 5% respectively.
6. Delaying the mandatory BWMS installation date:
According to BWM Convention, ships constructed after September 8 2017 are forced to install BWMS and existing ships must comply with the first IOPP renewal. However, IMO’s MEPC 71 in April 2017 agreed to compromise on the implementation dates, pushing back the implementation date by two years, until 8 September 2019.
7. The shipping liners’ response to SOx regulations:
IMO has confirmed that the date for compliance with the global sulfur cap of 0.5%, will be 2020. To meet the regulations, ships have three options; using 0.5% low sulfur fuel oil such as Marine Gas Oil (MGO), being retrofitted with scrubbers or using LNG fuel.
8. The 4th Industrial Revolution and blockchain:
The 4th Industrial Revolution is expected to bring about significant structural change to global industry and market economy business models. Particularly with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data and Information Communication Technology, a variety of new products and services will be created linked to them. On the smart front, blockchain technology emerged within the industry during 2017 under significant agreements. Maersk and IBM were the first companies in the sector to sign an agreement regarding ‘blockchain technology’.
9. Shipbuilding Industry and ICT:
The development of automated ships has been kicked into a higher gear as a result of advances in wireless(radio) communication technology. Previously communication at sea was limited by internet connection but new technology with ICT now enables the transmission of operational information between sea and land several thousand kilometers away.
10. M&A consolidation for container liners:
Mergers and Acquisitions have dominated the container shipping market in last years, with key highlight Maersk’s acquisition of Hamburg Sud on 30 November 2017. Consolidation, whether through alliances or mergers and acquisitions is expected to continue in 2018 as well, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service.