Sustaining the blue economy

Why an integrated approach is the key for a successful and sustainable blue economy

By Miguel Marques

Photo MiguelThe sea is rich with energy, food sources and provides a gateway for many industries from transport to naval security, tourism to oil and gas to operate. Its potential is vast and, to date, largely undiscovered with only 5% of the seabed mapped and photographed. As populations continue to grow, with increased food and energy demand and consumption coupled with the challenge of climate change and resource scarcity, more and more countries are turning their focus to maximising their blue economy. Continue reading “Sustaining the blue economy”

Major Taiwanese dredging contract for Van Oord

logo-vanoordVan Oord has been awarded the dredging contract for the Kaohsiung Intercontinental Container Center Phase II in Taiwan. The client is the Port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC). The contract value amounts to approximately EUR 130 million. The preparations have already started and the execution period runs until January 2018. The project involves the dredging and reclamation of 37 million m3 of sand for the extension of Kaohsiung Port. Van Oord will deploy one of its largest trailing suction hopper dredgers. Kaohsiung, located on the South China Sea, is the largest Taiwanese port and plays an important role in the Taiwanese export-oriented economy.

Politics Noir: Donald Trump, Chinatown, Breaking Bad, House Of Cards

By Ralph Benko

hero_image_main_2“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Donald Trump continues to dominate and fascinate. Why? Politics, like comic books, thrillers, detective stories, science fiction, professional wrestling, movies and TV is a pulp medium. We Credentialed Members Of The Media Elite wish to sanctify it (and, thereby, ourselves). But come on. Continue reading “Politics Noir: Donald Trump, Chinatown, Breaking Bad, House Of Cards”

Port of Rotterdam throughput grows by 6.8%

portofrotterdamThe port of Rotterdam achieved good results in the first half of the year. Total throughput increased by 6.8% compared to the first half of 2014. This growth was almost entirely accounted for by the throughput of oil products (+29.7%), crude oil (+8.3%), containers (+3.7% in TEU) and roll-on/roll-off-transport (+9.6%). The throughput of dry bulk (agricultural bulk, coal, ores) fell across the board. For the first time since 2010, the number of sea-going vessels increased considerably (+3%). In the first half of the year, the port did not experience any significant nautical incidents. Continue reading “Port of Rotterdam throughput grows by 6.8%”

IMF: Portugal’s recovery remains on track

imf_sealPortugal’s economic recovery remains on track in 2015, boosted by rising exports and consumption, together with a recent upturn in investment. This conclusion comes from the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Real GDP expanded by 1.5 percent (year-on-year) in the first quarter, and is projected to increase 1.6 percent for the full year. Fiscal adjustment has slowed, meanwhile, with a structural loosening likely this year. Employment has declined in recent quarters, after increasing sharply from early-2013 through mid-2014, and the unemployment rate was at 13.7 percent at the end of March. Continue reading “IMF: Portugal’s recovery remains on track”

As Bernie Sanders Dismantles Hillary Clinton Let The GOP Discover Human Capitalism

By Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgWhile the Mass Media has been obsessing on the Donald Trump phenomenon, Bernie Sanders has been packing stadiums.  Sanders’s Madison speech pulled in nearly twice as many as Mrs. Clinton’s official campaign kickoff event (which The Atlantic dubbed “uninspiring”).  Mrs. Clinton’s relaunches and presentations continue to draw tepid reviews. The Sanders phenomenon, so reminiscent of 2008, must make Hillary Clinton nervous. It should. Bernie’s stump speech is a thing of beauty.  That said, it is not a joy forever. Continue reading “As Bernie Sanders Dismantles Hillary Clinton Let The GOP Discover Human Capitalism”

The Turkish Enigma

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanIn my “Net Assessment of the World,” I argued that four major segments of the European and Asian landmass were in crisis: Europe, Russia, the Middle East (from the Levant to Iran) and China. Each crisis was different; each was at a different stage of development. Collectively the crises threatened to destabilize the Eurasian landmass, the Eastern Hemisphere, and potentially generate a global crisis. They do not have to merge into a single crisis to be dangerous. Four simultaneous crises in the center of humanity’s geopolitical gravity would be destabilizing by itself. However, if they began to merge and interact, the risks would multiply. Containing each crisis by itself would be a daunting task. Managing crises that were interlocked would press the limits of manageability and even push beyond. Continue reading “The Turkish Enigma”

High Tech Guru George Gilder Demolishes A Critical Myth About The Gold Standard

By Ralph Benko

gold-standard-liberty-coinWhat if the gold standard is not an antique but, rather, a “timeless classic” (as termed in a speech by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann in September 2012)?  High tech guru George Gilder deploys cutting-edge science to show why this is so, based on Shannon information theory. Gilder’s analysis is neither eccentric nor anomalous. The intellectual pedigree of the classical gold standard runs through two of the greatest scientists in history: Continue reading “High Tech Guru George Gilder Demolishes A Critical Myth About The Gold Standard”

An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanA desperate battle was fought last week. It pitted Germany and Greece against each other. Each country had everything at stake. Based on the deal that was agreed to, Germany forced a Greek capitulation. But it is far from clear that Greece can allow the agreement reached to be implemented, or that it has the national political will to do so. It is also not clear what its options are, especially given that the Greek people had backed Germany into a corner, where its only choice was to risk everything. It was not a good place for Greece to put the Germans. They struck back with vengeance. Continue reading “An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis”

Reagan Economist Larry Kudlow Reveals The Republicans’ Secret Agenda

by Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgThe Revelation: “All we want,” said Kudlow, “is for everybody to get richer.” Therein hangs a tale.  And therein, perhaps, hangs the outcome of a presidential race. The Republican Party (much to the astonishment of practically everyone) is composed exclusively of … people. It thus is subject to human nature. It is undeniable that a significant part of the Republican voter base is made up of rich (or at least affluent) people. Rich people (except in California, a parallel universe) vote Republican. So, naturally, Republicans love rich people. And hate the poor. Nothing personal. Poor people vote Democratic. Continue reading “Reagan Economist Larry Kudlow Reveals The Republicans’ Secret Agenda”

Another iconic Dubai project awarded to Van Oord

logo-vanoordDeveloper Nakheel has appointed Van Oord to deliver the new waterfront of Deira Islands. Deira was constructed by Van Oord between 2005 and 2008. Deira Islands will become a new 15.3 km2 waterfront city in Dubai. Part of the new scope is building a 23.5 km coastline and breakwaters. Continue reading “Another iconic Dubai project awarded to Van Oord”

Beyond the Greek Impasse

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanThe Greek situation — having perhaps outlived the term “crisis,” now that it has taken so long to unfold — appears to have finally reached its terminal point. This is, of course, an illusion: It has been at its terminal point for a long time. The terminal point is the juncture where neither the Greeks nor the Germans can make any more concessions. In Greece itself, the terminal point is long past. Unemployment is at 26 percent, and more than 50 percent of youths under 25 are unemployed. Slashed wages, particularly in the state sector, affecting professions including physicians and engineers, have led to massive underemployment. Meanwhile, most new economic activity is occurring in the untaxable illegal markets. The Greeks owe money to EU institutions and the International Monetary Fund, all of which acquired bad Greek debts from banks that initially lent funds to Greece in order to stabilize its banking sector. No one ever really thought the Greeks could pay back these loans.

Continue reading “Beyond the Greek Impasse”

Jeb Bush And Rand Paul Throw The 2016 Presidential Race Into Overdrive

By Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgLast month the GOP suddenly awoke. As Michael Tomasky wrote in the March 19 issue of the New York Review of Books:

As matters are shaping up so far, the sense of many people I speak to is that the election appears destined to be about the condition of the middle class, the issue of wage stagnation, and the recognition (finally) that the American economy has been working far better for those at the top than for those in the middle or, obviously, on the bottom.

Tomasky is dead right. Those of us committed to equitable prosperity have been impatiently waiting for the GOP to seize on (and own) its destiny. At last, thanks to Bush and Paul, the GOP emerges from its lethargy. Continue reading “Jeb Bush And Rand Paul Throw The 2016 Presidential Race Into Overdrive”

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, And The Congress Ride Into A Box Canyon….

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolThe New York Times considerately gives us an early look at the Box Canyon into which the 114th Congress, the GOP leading, is riding.  In G.O.P. Is Divided as Budget Bills Start Piling Up we discover:

WASHINGTON — In their first major test of governing this year, Republicans stumbled, faltered — and nearly shut down the Department of Homeland Security.

And that vote may have been the easy one.

In April, physicians who treat Medicare patients face a drastic cut in pay. In May, the Highway Trust Fund runs dry. In June, the charter for the federal Export-Import Bank ceases to exist. Then in October, across-the-board spending cuts return, the government runs out of money — and the Treasury bumps up against its borrowing limit.

All will require congressional action, and while many of these measures used to be pushed through in an almost unthinking bipartisan ritual, there is no such thing as simple in Congress anymore.

Militant conservatives are calling for a coup against House Speaker John Boehner.  The hard core right is expressing fury toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The real villain, however, is an economic “ice age,” not feckless Congressional leadership. Continue reading “John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, And The Congress Ride Into A Box Canyon….”

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanLast week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their Sunni partners, which include the majority of military forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. What made the strikes particularly interesting was what was lacking: U.S. aircraft. Although the United States provided intelligence and other support, it was a coalition of Arab states that launched the extended air campaign against the al-Houthis.

Continue reading “The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures”

What Brazil needs to really grow

By Solange Monteiro

MArcaFGV_IBRE_endossopaulo starkResilience and flexibility seem to be core beliefs of moderate optimist Paulo Stark, CEO of Siemens Brazil, when he talks about his business and Brazil’s economy. Stark, an engineer who began his career with Siemens more than two decades ago, sees investment intentions being rethought as a result of the escalation of the crisis of state-owned oil company Petrobras, which could benefit the logistics and electricity sectors. “That will cause a gap until new projects are developed, but it is not a permanent problem,” he says. However, to encourage new investments, he advocates both a concession model more open to private capital and longer-term planning for major infrastructure projects: “Sometimes we have the impression that Brazil needs a crisis to take a leap forward; now’s the time to jump to avoid being run over.” Continue reading “What Brazil needs to really grow”

Gate terminal starts construction of LNG break bulk facility at the port of Rotterdam

portofrotterdamGate terminal (main shareholders Gasunie and Royal Vopak) announced the ceremonial start of the construction activities for the new LNG break bulk infrastructure at its site at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam. The Port of Rotterdam has begun with the excavation of a new harbour basin next to Gate terminal. The new facility is expected to boost the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a cleaner and affordable transportation fuel in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe.

Continue reading “Gate terminal starts construction of LNG break bulk facility at the port of Rotterdam”

Where does Rio go next?

By Solange Monteiro

MArcaFGV_IBRE_endossoRio de Janeiro city celebrates its 450th birthday this month amid questions about what permanent gifts the World Cup, Olympics, and discovery of deep-sea oil will leave for the city. Between announcements of huge investments and ambitious revitalization plans on the one hand and inflation above the national average eroding the purchasing power and optimism of both locals and visitors from other countries on the other, there are many questions about how sustainable the recovery of the economy of Rio de Janeiro is. Continue reading “Where does Rio go next?”

VLM to fly Rotterdam-Hamburg twice daily

rtmairportBelgian operator VLM Airlines will this April be launching daily scheduled flights between Rotterdam (Netherlands)-Hamburg (Germany), and Antwerp (Belgium)- Hamburg. The move continues VLM Airlines’ evolution as a scheduled operator, building on the launch of an Antwerp-Geneva service last month. Continue reading “VLM to fly Rotterdam-Hamburg twice daily”

Job not finished for UK economy, OECD says

logooecd_enThe United Kingdom’s economy is projected to expand this year and next, but challenges remain to boost productivity and make future growth more inclusive, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey. The Survey, presented in London by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and UK Chancellor George Osborne, says that annual growth in the UK rose 2.6% in 2014, the fastest among G7 countries, and is projected to be at the same rate this year. Continue reading “Job not finished for UK economy, OECD says”

Huisman Knuckleboom Crane awarded

osjc_awards_2015_iotyOn Wednesday 18 February 2015, the Huisman Rope Luffing Knuckle Boom Crane has been awarded the Innovation of the Year award during the Annual Offshore Support Journal Awards 2015. The new hybrid crane is recognized to provide a significant innovation on the design, build and operational aspects of offshore support vessels. Continue reading “Huisman Knuckleboom Crane awarded”

Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire As The Left Discovers Its Inner Love Of The Fed

By Ralph Benko

randpaulThe New Republic, in its February 8th issue, carries an article by Danny Vinik entitled Rand Paul Has the Most Dangerous Economic Views of Any 2016 Candidate. It appears that TNR’s fact checkers decamped along with its top journalists. Vinik:

Speaking in front of more than 150 Iowa activists, Paul ripped into the Federal Reserve and promoted his “Audit the Fed” bill, which he introduced earlier this week. “I think there needs to be some sunshine,” he said, according to reports of the event. …

Paul’s bill …would significantly damage the Fed’s independence, which exists so that politicians cannot influence the central bank for their own political purposes. In other words, “Audit the Fed” would lead legislators to interfere with monetary policy matters and put the entire economy at risk.

Continue reading “Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire As The Left Discovers Its Inner Love Of The Fed”

Economic Climate Index for Latin America falls

MArcaFGV_IBRE_endossoThe Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI) – developed in partnership between the German Ifo Institute and the FGV taking as a data source the Ifo World Economic Survey (WES) – decreased by 6.3%, going to 75 points in January 2015 from 80 in October 2014. The decline stems from worsening of both ratings in relation to the current state of business and the expectations for the coming months: the Present Situation Index (PSI) fell 9.4% and the Expectations Index (EI) decreased 4.2%. All indicators are in unfavorable zone of the cycle and the general worsening means advance in the deterioration of the economic climate. Continue reading “Economic Climate Index for Latin America falls”

Braskem Records R$ 46 billion revenue in 2014

braskem-logoThe largest petrochemical company in the Americas and global leader in biopolymer production, Braskem operated its petrochemical centers at an average use rate of 86% in 2014. This rate dropped four percentage points compared to the previous year, justified by the schedule maintenance shutdowns of the Triunfo (RS) and Mauá (SP) crackers and due to restrictions on the gas supply at the Duque de Caxias Center (RJ) during the first half of the year. Continue reading “Braskem Records R$ 46 billion revenue in 2014”

Jeb Bush Makes A Grand Supply Side Entrance

By Ralph Benko

jebbushThe Republican Party has an embarrassment of riches in good prospective presidential contenders for next year’s race. Thus Gov. Jeb Bush’s debut speech — on February 4th, in Detroit, the start of of his “Right To Rise” tour — took on heightened importance. Presidential campaigns are about much more than name recognition, résumé, charisma, and money. All of these matter.  Yet… Continue reading “Jeb Bush Makes A Grand Supply Side Entrance”

New container loading record at ECT

thalassa_hellas_panorama4.200_dpi-460x292This week, the Thalassa Hellas called at the ECT Delta Terminal. During the visit of this vessel of Evergreen Line, ECT handled 11,051 containers (18,500 TEUs); a new record. Never before so many containers were handled in Europe during one call. The containers form a line of more than 110 kilometers:  about the length of the highway between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Continue reading “New container loading record at ECT”

Brazil’s Grupo CBO selects Huisman Equipment

huismancranesIn January 2015, Huisman, the worldwide specialist in lifting, drilling and subsea solutions, and Brazilian shipping company and shipyard group Grupo CBO, signed a contract for the delivery of four anchor handling and towing winch packages for four new Havyard 843 AHTS vessels. The winch packages will be built by Huisman’s new production facility in Navegantes, Brazil, and delivery is planned for 2016 and 2017. The winches will be delivered with 50% Brazilian content. The Havyard designed 843 AHTS vessels will be built by Estaleiro Aliança (2x) and Estaleiro Oceana (2x). Continue reading “Brazil’s Grupo CBO selects Huisman Equipment”

Germany Emerges

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece and Ukraine are not linked in the American mind. They are linked in the German mind, because both are indicators of Germany’s new role in the world and of Germany’s discomfort with it. Continue reading “Germany Emerges”

Technip contracts Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam for major upgrade to Global 1200

Global_1200_at_DSRAfter having successfully performed the life-time extension works on the Stanislav Yudin (owned and operated by Seaway Heavy Lifting), in 2013-2014 at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam (DSR), part of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, a new significant contract is awarded by Technip, for dry-docking, upgrades and operational modifications to the deepwater rigid pipe S-lay and heavy lift vessel, the Global 1200. The vessel arrived at the yard in January 2015. Continue reading “Technip contracts Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam for major upgrade to Global 1200”

Dockwise Vanguard to transport Goliat FPSO

dockwisevanguardRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) announces that Dockwise, a wholly owned subsidiary, has successfully loaded the ENI Goliat FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading vessel) onboard its largest heavy transport vessel in preparation of a transport journey to Europe. Continue reading “Dockwise Vanguard to transport Goliat FPSO”

Rotterdam still largest European port for China

portofrotterdamIn 2014, Rotterdam became the first European since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, port to handle more than 3 million TEU (20-foot container units) going to or coming from China. Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Allard Castelein announced this during the first quarterly meeting of the Rotterdam Port Promotion Council (RPPC). At the meeting he analysed the throughput figures for 2014 and indicated trends for a large group of port entrepreneurs. Continue reading “Rotterdam still largest European port for China”

Vopak sells U.S. terminals to Kinder Morgan

logo_vopakRoyal Vopak has entered into a binding agreement to sell three wholly owned terminals and its plot of land in the United States to Kinder Morgan Inc., a US-based energy infrastructure company. This is in line with Vopak’s business review, which was announced on 2 July 2014, to amongst others divest around 15 primarily smaller terminals. Continue reading “Vopak sells U.S. terminals to Kinder Morgan”

Exclusive Interview With Rand Paul, Human Capitalist

by Ralph Benko

randpaulRand Paul recently sat with me to share some of his views. The insights on his worldview left me persuaded that he deserves to be considered the most important public intellectual serving in the United States Senate. Time Magazine calls him “the most interesting man in American politics.” The Senate’s public intellectual chair has been vacant since the departure of Daniel Patrick Moynihan. As an M.D. rather than a Ph.D. Paul is less academic than was Moynihan. Yet Paul demonstrates a comparable wit, keen intelligence, and coherent worldview. Continue reading “Exclusive Interview With Rand Paul, Human Capitalist”

Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy

By Sim Tack

stratforLast week, the Cuban government declared that for the United States and Cuba to normalize relations, the United States would have to return the territory occupied by a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Washington clearly responded that returning the base is not on the table right now. This response makes sense, since quite a bit of politicking goes into the status of the base. However, the Guantanamo Bay issue highlights a notable aspect to the U.S.-Cuban negotiations — one that is rooted in the history of the U.S. ascension to superpower status as it challenged European powers in the Western Hemisphere. Continue reading “Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy”

SBM Offshore performed well in 2014

sbmSBM Offshore ended 2014 with a good underlying financial performance, ahead of expectations for the second straight year. The company reached an important milestone in announcing an out-of-court settlement agreement with the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (Openbaar Ministerie) over the inquiry into alleged improper payments, whilst the US Department of Justice declined to prosecute and has closed its inquiry into the matter. This marks a big step forward in putting the company’s legacy issues to rest. Continue reading “SBM Offshore performed well in 2014”

Robeco Group net profit at an all-time high

robeco logo Last week Robeco Groep N.V. announced its results for the full year ended 31 December 2014. 2014 has been a year of records for Robeco. During the year Robeco’s assets under management increased by EUR 40.8 billion, resulting in an all-time high of EUR 246 billion of which 48% was institutional business. This increase was driven by a strong positive investment result of EUR 35.1 billion, which provided clients with attractive returns. The increase was also supported by strong positive net cash flows. The investment result includes a EUR 18.4 billion gain as a result of the appreciation of the US dollar. Continue reading “Robeco Group net profit at an all-time high”

How to slim your brand portfolio wisely

EUR logoThe world’s largest consumer products companies such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble have recently announced shedding up to hundreds of brands, keeping only the strongest alive to make more profit. But when it comes to brand portfolio, is less really more? While most companies are convinced these big clean-ups result into increased firm value, new research by Dr Yvonne van Everdingen and Professor Gerrit van Bruggen and PhD candidate Baris Depecik of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) reveals that in almost all cases the opposite is true. Continue reading “How to slim your brand portfolio wisely”

Vopak divested its land position in Turkey

logo_vopakRoyal Vopak has sold its land position in Turkey. On 22 January 2015 all conditions related to this transaction were fulfilled. The divestment is part of the divestment program, as announced on 2 July 2014. This plot of land was already classified as ‘held for sale’ in prior reporting periods. The buyer of the site is a Turkish industrial group. No details about the terms and conditions of the transaction are disclosed. The transaction will not have a material impact on the results (Vopak).

Huisman wins crane order for Maersk vessels

huismancranesIn December 2014, Huisman, the worldwide specialist in lifting, drilling and subsea solutions, secured a contract from COSCO (Dalian) Shipyard for the delivery of four customized 400mt Rope Luffing Knuckle Boom Cranes and two 100mt Knuckle Boom Cranes onboard four new subsea support vessels (SSVs) for Maersk Supply Service. The first vessels, Marin Teknikk design MT 6027, are scheduled for delivery in Q4 2016. In addition to Huisman’s long track record as a reliable and innovative subsea crane supplier, Maersk Supply Service selected Huisman due to the benefits offered by this new crane type, and the partnership that developed between the companies which led to a customized crane design. Continue reading “Huisman wins crane order for Maersk vessels”