Is this the summer of discontent? Rampant inflation, shrinking salaries and a monumental cost of living crisis that is being felt across many parts of the world. The discontent has led to industrial action breaking out in a variety of sectors, not least shipbuilding. Workers at DSME’s flagship yard in Okpo, South Korea have been on strike over pay since June, occupying a key drydock at causing work on a VLCC to a halt in the process. This is having a knock-on effect on the yard’s newbuilding schedule, already delaying delivery of 12 ships so far and costing DSME almost half a billion US dollars.
Fresh arrests of key figures connected to the Chinese ship leasing sector is making people jittery. Major leasing houses including Bocomm and ICBC have been implicated, which is bound to raise fears among shipowners over the long-term wisdom of tapping cheap Chinese finance.
Amid all the enthusiasm and hope surrounding green ship fuels, MSC exec Bud Darr delivered a dose of reality this week. The cost of such fuels could end up costing up to eight times as much as bunkers, he told a Capital Link shipping audience. He attributed this to the industry having to factor in the costs of new production and delivery infrastructures.
A series of new shipowners have been added to the roster of companies signed up for LNG carrier berths reserved by QatarEnergy as part of its huge shipbuilding project. The new names include Japan’s Meiji Shipping and Iino Kaiun and TMS Cardiff, according to sources. They will join a consortium of NYK Line, K Line and Petronas’ shipping subsidiary MISC.
Saudi Arabian tanker giant Bahri is expanding into the LR2 sector after much anticipation. Its chemicals arm operates 27 MR vessels already, and now intends to break into the clean petroleum product tanker market, a senior executive announced. Bahri also announced it was returning to the VLCC charter market.
And finally, CMA CGM’s chief executive Rodolphe Saade has launched a staunch defence of the French line’s tax record as mounting political pressure amid the cost of living crisis starts to bite. Saade insisted that any change in its tax arrangements would put the company at a disadvantage to its “Swiss and Danish competitors”. CMA CGM paid €370m in tax out of a net profit of €17bn last year.