Tag: maritime

Will blockchain lead to a new maritime revolution?

blockchain

Introduction

The name may seem odd, but it is currently the subject of several discussions in the logistics sector. The blockchain could revolutionize operation management in several areas, including transport and logistics. Given its growing popularity, many are talking about a new internet revolution.

Napster, and later LimeWire, pioneers of music file sharing services already use the technology. Bitcoin is another example. Because digital money is also based on peer-to-peer distribution, exchanges are made directly between individuals as it is the case for paper money.

There are many advantages for using blockchain technology and this is why several large transport projects are now in the experimental phase. The results of these tests will give us more precise information on this subject.

1-Main blockchain’s characteristics

While most computer systems are built as client-server systems, peer to peer directly distributes data to all users of a network without intermediate servers. The different components of the network interact, but without hierarchical structure, making the management of this network autonomous. It is the duplication of data to all members of the network that eliminates the need for centralized system.

The blocks

Blockchain is in fact an application of a peer-to-peer exchange system which integrates added value services. These transactional services are called “intelligent contracts”. They are directives for conditional execution of certain tasks and are incorporated in blocks of instructions.

The process

The process is as follows. After registering recent transactions, a new block is generated, new transactions are validated by consensus of network partners and then added to a long string of previously created blocks.

The ledger

All blocks are registered in ledger that is distributed in the network. Content is encrypted and accessible by members, but can not be edited or deleted. This guarantees the authenticity and security of the network and Lire la suite

JANUARY 2017, MARITIME REVIEW, TRENDS FOR 2017

conjoncture 2017

INTRODUCTION

As 2016, three trends will describe maritime industry in 2017: 1-an increased volatility of demand 2- a sustained but uneven global recovery 3- a restructuring of the maritime supply.  This text presents an analysis of these trends.

1- An increased volatility of demand

1.1 New external factors

Variability of the risk makes demand for transport less predictable. In 2016, several factors triggered this instability, including fluctuations of exchange rates, slowdown of Chinese economy, lower oil prices and difficulties of the European economy.

In 2017, recovering of American and European economies is well engaged. Despite a slight slowdown of the GDP of the United States in the last quarter of 2016, one can anticipate a still dominant position of the U.S. dollar will continue in 2017.  The impact of a strong U.S. dollar boost U.S. imports.

In return, other external event to the industry are related to international political situation. The intention of Donald Trump to review several agreements of free-trade (NAFTA and the transpacific Partnership), the vote on the Brexit inducing the exit of Great Britain of the European Union are some examples.  The rise of protectionism could have the effect of undermining the global economic recovery.

In the sector of maritime transport, two important events occurred in 2016, the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping and the opening of the new Panama Canal.

Some believe that Hanjin Shipping’s bankrupcy it is precursor to a major crisis (Gerry Wang, CEO de Seaspan) in the industry. Hanjin’s situation is not unique and other maritime companies are also in difficulty. Because, recessions are the result of a chain process, if other bankruptcies were to happen, the effects could be devastating on the financial institutions, the clients or suppliers and shippers. It could even slowdown entire world economic activity.

In the case of the … Lire la suite

November 2016 Transportation by barge as an alternative to intermodal transport

Use of transportation by barge

The systems of transportation by barge have long been used as an alternative to land transport. This mean of transportation is competitive to trains and trucks. In addition, it significantly allows the reduction of the environmental footprint of the transport of goods.

There are two major segments in the market, long and the short distance.

Long-distance is used in large rivers, such as Mississippi, Rhine, Danube and St Lawrence in transporting the goods from one end to the other of the continents.

This system is competitive to trains and trucks, but its performance depends greatly on the quality of the underlying infrastructure and the interconnection of the navigational channels. In return, barges offer the advantage to adapt to different types of products transported and allow more flexibility for the navigation on the various courses of water. They offer capacities ranging from 350 to 11 000 tonnes of deadweight and use proven technologies.

On short distances, this type of transport is growing and presents new opportunities.  Pilot projects have demonstrated this effectiveness, in particular, to reduce congestion in the areas of access to port sites of international trade.

Despite the high volume of activities and the economic benefits that flow from port activities, access to facilities remains constrained due to the movement of trucks and trains. The comings and the goings of land vehicles pose a problem by the noise, air and ground pollution, and by the loss of time related to the traffic congestion. In addition, the congestion of port activities reduces the effectiveness of the supply chain by increasing the time of distribution of the goods to the markets of destination.

To solve these problems and, as a counterweight to the costly alternatives that the investments represent in the construction, enlargement and the optimization … Lire la suite

JULY 2016 – THE CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS OF THE NEW PANAMA CANAL

The Panama canal

Introduction

On June 26, the Government of Panama announced, with great fanfare, the completion of the expansion of the Panama canal. It was a historic event for this small Central America country. The crowd was awaiting the traverse of the first container ship, a Cosco ship from Asia, measuring 300 meters long, 48.25 metres wide and capable of carrying 9 500 containers (TEUS): two times the maximum capacity of the old locks.

62 international delegations were invited to listen to the speech by President Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez. The event reflected the project: the Panama canal plays a strategic role in international maritime transport. For the population of Panama, expectations are high, since this project will hopefully revive the country’s economy and restore the market share lost over time to the Suez canal.

Although the promotional campaign of the Panamanian Government is fully justified, studies on the impact of the project leave many elements imprecise and uncertain. The complexity of the world situation and the state of international trade which has evolved in recent years may explain it.

According to research conducted jointly by The Boston Consulting Group and C.H. Robinson, as much as 10 percent of container traffic between East Asia and the U.S. could shift from West Coast ports to East Coast ports by the year 2020. Other research also suggests that the expansion of the canal will impact the trade of bulk, especially between Asia and America.

However, several market conditions are necessary for the achievement of these forecasts. The following text presents an analysis of these conditions.

The role of Panama

A strategic location

The Panama canal plays a strategic and undeniable role in global transportation. It significantly reduces the distance required for the transport of goods. Transportation costs are substantially reduced, as are the price … Lire la suite

JUNE 2016, OVERVIEW OF THE CANADIAN MARITIME ENVIRONMENT

By 2015, a lower demand for natural resources has had a considerable impact on the volume of cargo handled at Canadian port authorities.  There is a slowdown in activities in almost all port sites. However, this decrease has been more pronounced for 2016.

To understand the differences and determine cause of the declines, we will present an analysis of the activities of three Canadian port authorities; those of Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City. In this regard, a composite indices measuring the Canadian port activity have been developed. These indices are based on trends in the international trade of  over 50 products shipped to  Canada (see annex to this article) and reflect the handling of volumes of industry trends. They can be used for comparisons, forecasts and calculations of optimization under constraints. Graphics that accompany the text illustrate both indices obtained from the actual data in the annual reports of the port authorities, and forecasts of the indices that have been developed.

ANALYSIS OF PORT SITUATIONS

The port of Vancouver

Vancouver-indexThe port of metro Vancouver is the largest port in Canada and one a major exporter of coal, minerals and wood products. In 2011, handled products, (including containerized products) grew from 122 million metric tons (mt) to 138 mt. It is the third most important port in North America, after South Louisiana (242 mt) and Houston (216 mt). The port of Vancouver metro ranks higher than the port of New York (120 mt). 80% of handled volumes are exported compared to 20% for imports.

Other major shipments from the port of Vancouver are (10.8 mt) wheat, cereals including canola (6 mt), large quantities of sulphur (2.6 mt), potash (8.7 mt), coal (35 mt), crude oil (1.96 mt) and forest (23 mt) products.

The decline that is indicated by the index, between … Lire la suite

MAY 2016, FUNDING FOR THE QUÉBEC MARITIME STRATEGY: ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES

By Gilles Couture

The St. Lawrence River is the shortest waterway between Europe and the centre of North America. The transport system St. Lawrence-Great Lakes therefore constitutes a lever important for economic activity and industrial of the American continent. It is with this in mind that the main objective of the Québec maritime strategy is to give a new impetus to shipping on the St. Lawrence River by investing in port infrastructure; energizing Quebec shipyards; developing intermodal transport and maritime tourism; as well as investing in the research and development of marine technology in order to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture industry.

This strategy will generate private investment over 4 billion dollars of which more than 2 billion dollars only in the logistic pole of the Montérégie-Ouest. Total public investment from the various levels of Governments in infrastructure would reach $ 4 billion. The first round of funding from the Quebec Government has a budget of $ 300 million to support private by 2020 investment projects while $ 200 million will support the Quebec port and intermodal infrastructure projects. In total, the Government of Quebec’s contribution is estimated 1 billion $ for the infrastructure funding other than those related to the logistic pole of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Industrial-port areas

Through its maritime strategy, the current Government intends to create sixteen areas industrial-port ZIP to improve linkages between modes of transport and integration into international trade. To implement the ZIP the Government intends to enter, by the month of June, 2016, 16 agreements to create local committees where municipalities, port authorities and relevant ministries will be represented. Their mandate will be to ensure regional consultation, develop a plan of development of the port authority, annually update this plan, collaborate with stakeholders responsible for the attraction of investments, and ensure the … Lire la suite