Maritime representatives at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt have emerged upbeat that shipping’s decarbonisation targets can be brought into line with wider global efforts. But the consensus view seemed to be that efforts could be costly if more stringent aims and means to achieve them in the period up to 2030 are not agreed upon at next month’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meetings.

Container lines are set to cancel a record number of sailings in the run-up to Christmas, to try to shore up sliding freight rates. Carriers are expected to blank two-thirds of sailings on the transatlantic and more than half on the transpacific in the pre-Christmas period.

Meanwhile, shipbuilders are continuing to field a raft of enquiries for more than 60 container ship newbuildings despite the recent falls in boxship charter rates, but owners’ and operators’ fuelling choices for vessels are diversifying.

Sales talks are in progress on a two-year-old LNG carrier under the control of Russian shipowner Sovcomflot, with rumours emerging of what would be a new record price in the ongoing red-hot market for the sector. There has been talk in the LNG market that a buyer is prepared to pay between $280m and $282m to secure the 174,100-cbm SCF La Perouse (built 2020). However, details on the buyer and the status of the sale remain blurred.

Two of Italy’s best-known shipping families are forming a dry bulk operation in the panamax and post-panamax sector. Tanker owner Navigazione Montanari and small bulker operator Nova Marine Carriers have teamed up to form Novamont Dry. The new operation marks a diversification for tanker owner Montanari, which owns and operates crude and product tankers.

Tanker owners are “dirtying up” LR product carriers to cash in on booming aframax rates. According to Jens Christophersen, executive vice president of commercial at Singapore-headquartered owner Hafnia, at least 11 — and up to as many as 18 — clean vessels have now started trading in crude. The motivation is quite clear when you look at the aframax market in the US Gulf, Christophersen said.

In this week’s Streetwise shipping finance column, Joe Brady takes a look at Castor Maritime’s tankers spin-off Toro Corp, and how the offspring resembles the parent — for better or worse.

And finally, Florida start-up Zergratran is chasing investment to kick-start a $15bn container transhipment project in northern Colombia to rival the Panama Canal. The company has launched a funding round to raise $75m as the first step towards its Puerto Internacional Las Americas plan, which will feature an underground tunnel using magnetic levitation technology to move containers between fully automated terminals in the Atlantic and Pacific in less than 30 minutes.

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