With mince pies and mulled wine firmly in the rearview mirror, today we bring you Editor's Selection from our London office, where our stories on AP Moller-Maersk upping the ante on methanol as a fuel, bond financing and a smorgasbord of 2022 market prognostications are among an array of delights on offer to lift the January blues.

First up, where Maersk goes, others often follow. So the Danish shipping giant's commitment to acquiring methanol dual-fuel vessels through the likely exercising of options on four additional ships in South Korea attracted attention. The orders boost Maersk's newbuilding book to 12 vessels. But where and at what price will they access bunker fuel?

Meanwhile, container ship owners were among the most active players in raising a whopping $11bn in financing last year. Among the most popular instruments were unsecured bonds, which owners gobbled up throughout the year. But analysts have warned that trouble could be on the horizon with prospective interest rate rises adding to historical high asset values and earnings creating further downside risk and limited upside.

Meanwhile, an Indonesian ban on thermal coal exports was animating industry watchers this week. The government brought in the protectionist measure in a bid to protect domestic supplies, leaving a series of bulk carriers in limbo. Analysts were undecided as to the impact of the ban on bulker rates, but researchers told TradeWinds that any damage would hinge on whether or not the ban lasted until the end of the month.

John Fredriksen's investment in Valaris has appreciated in recent weeks. Photo: DN

And how about this for a rapid return on investment. John Fredriksen has made $32m (on paper) in just a month from oil and gas contractor Valaris. He bought an initial 5% stake in early December (since increasing to 6.2%), meanwhile, the share price has jumped 25%.

At this time of year, we typically look ahead to what might come over the coming months. This year we've decided to focus our attention specifically on decarbonisation, and our international team of reporters have sought out the views of shipping's luminaries to pinpoint what the industry could and should do to cut emissions. We've indexed the individual entries here.

And finally, circling back to Maersk, we reported that the Danish company is no longer the world's biggest liner operator. MSC has now taken that crown after 52 years with the purchase of the 4,992-teu container ship Mexico — which somewhat ironically had been on charter to Maersk. The Swiss liner operator has been rapidly catching up in the tonnage stakes, with several purchases this year. Nevertheless, CEO Soren Toft modestly downplayed the milestone, insisting that "growth, profitability and supporting customers" were the most important factors.

Introducing Streetwise
Ship finance is a riddle industry players need to solve to survive in a capital-intense business. In the latest newsletter by TradeWinds, finance correspondent Joe Brady helps you unravel its mysteries.