Monthly Archives: October 2013

Transport of empty containers a thing of the past

Empty-depots-InlandLinksIt is estimated that 25% (2.5 million TEU) of all containers shipped by road, rail or inland shipping are empty. The ‘transport of air’ is not only expensive and inefficient, it also impacts the environment more than necessary. InlandLinks, the port of Rotterdam’s online intermodal platform, has developed an application to substantially reduce the transport of empty containers. This is a real breakthrough in terms of efficiency and sustainability for the entire logistical chain. This new ‘empty depot tool’ was festively launched at Rotterdam’s Kop van Zuid today. Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, and all of the Shipping lines involved were present. Continue reading

Steinweg in India

terminalSteinweg-Sharaf (India) Private Limited has successfully obtained its own ‘Holding Certificate’ for warehousing cargo at the Free Trade warehousing Zone (FTWZ) at Panvel near Nhava Sheva, Mumbai. This means that as from now, Steinweg can have full control over shipments into the FTWZ and from there its customers can decide to sell either to local Indian buyers situated in the Domestic Tariff Area ( DTA) or re-export the goods from FTWZ to other countries.

Much Bigger Than The Shutdown: Niall Ferguson’s Public Flogging Of Paul Krugman

by Ralph Benko

KrugmanWhile America was distracted by the theatrics of the government shutdown and threat of default something of much greater importance occurred.  Niall Ferguson undertook a public flogging of Paul Krugman.

Krugman’s horns now forever will show under his dislodged faux halo. For this the world will prove a safer, and much more decent, place.

Niall Ferguson — Harvard professor (and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution fellow, and Jesus College, Oxford, Senior Research Fellow) — launched a Continue reading

IMF urges Surinam to take measures to avoid boom-bust cycle

International_Monetary_Fund_logo_svgOn September 30, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Suriname. Suriname’s macroeconomic performance has strengthened markedly over the past decade. Since 2000, stronger policies and buoyant commodity prices, supported by political stability, have helped improve macroeconomic performance, enabling Suriname to enjoy several recent upgrades from major ratings agencies. At this juncture, however, with gold prices declining after a long upswing, the main challenges are to strengthen institutions and adjust policies to avoid the onset of a boom-bust cycle. Continue reading

FloraHolland to merge Trade Fair and Spring Fair

logo_florahollandFloraHolland’s springtime trade fairs, the Trade Fair Naaldwijk and the Spring Fair, will be merged to form one single large Spring Fair. The first edition will be held from 9 to 11 April 2014 at FloraHolland in Naaldwijk. Continue reading

Rotterdam best container port

port2013internationalPort of Rotterdam was proclaimed ‘Port of the Year’ during the annual ‘Containerisation International Awards’ in London. The expert jury praised the port for its substantial investment programme in Europe’s leading logistics hub and industrial complex. The jury also compliments the port with its attention to sustainability with their modal shift objectives and groundbreaking initiatives like InlandLinks and NextLogic that contribute to it. Continue reading

Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet

By Scott Stewart and Tristan Reed

stratforDuring the question-and-answer portion of our quarterly Mexico Security Monitor webinar, we were asked a question pertaining to the current status of Los Zetas. The question was something to the effect of: “Some Mexican media outlets and analysts claim that Los Zetas have been dismantled as an organization and are now little more than a ‘ragtag operation.’ Why do you disagree with that assessment?” Continue reading

New Dutch designed and propelled Rio ferries

rioferryBakker-Sliedrecht, Sliedrecht, The Netherlands, has won a contact to provide the drive systems for seven double ended catamaran ferries being built by the State of Rio Janeiro, Brazil.

The 78.4 m long x 14.8 m beam aluminum ferries will each have a capacity of 2,000 m. They will be used to boost capacity on the Rio de Janeiro – Niterói route in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. Designed by CoCo Yachts Holland BV, the vessels are being built at China’s Afai Southern Shipyard, Guangzhou. Continue reading

Port of Rotterdam to have annual meeting with EU Commission

terminalPrime Minister Rutte, entrepreneurs from the port of Rotterdam, representatives of the Port of Rotterdam Authority as well as the chairman of employers’ organisation Deltalinqs met with Vice-President of the European Commission Kallas and European Commissioner Oettinger. Continue reading

Unilever continues to grow in slower markets

unilever logoGrowth continued to slow in emerging markets as macro-economic headwinds and the consequences of currency weakness affected consumer demand across a significant number of the emerging countries. The developed markets have not recovered and remain flat to down, with little sign of any improvement so far. In this context Unilever continue to see high levels of competition in many markets and promotional intensity remains high. Continue reading

Fokker to build tail of the new Dassault Falcon 5X

falconFokker Aerostructures, a Business Unit of Fokker Technologies, designs and produces the tail for the all new Dassault Business Jet, the Falcon 5X, which has been officially launched by Dassault Aviation in the USA.

Fokker is responsible for the innovative design and for the manufacturing of the complete tail. Continue reading

Brazilian long-term challenges remain, says OECD

brazilianflagBrazil has moved up the ranks of the world’s largest economies while making economic growth ever more inclusive. Renewed economic dynamism will allow it to continue converging with more advanced economies and ensuring that disadvantaged groups share in the benefits of future growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey of Brazil. The report points to areas where Brazil can build on past achievements and pave the way for stronger growth in the years to come. Continue reading

U.S. Foreign Policy from the Founders’ Perspective

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanLast week I discussed how the Founding Fathers might view the American debt crisis and the government shutdown. This week I thought it would be useful to consider how the founders might view foreign policy. I argued that on domestic policy they had clear principles, but unlike their ideology, those principles were never mechanistic or inflexible. For them, principles dictated that a gentleman pays his debts and does not casually increase his debts, the constitutional provision that debt is sometimes necessary notwithstanding. They feared excessive debt and abhorred nonpayment, but their principles were never completely rigid.

Whenever there is a discussion of the guidelines laid down by the founders for American foreign policy, Thomas Jefferson’s admonition to avoid foreign entanglements and alliances is seen as the founding principle. That seems reasonable to me inasmuch as George Washington expressed a similar sentiment. So while there were some who favored France over Britain during the French Revolutionary Wars, the main thrust of American foreign policy was neutrality. The question is: How does this principle guide the United States now? Continue reading

Details of the EU-Canada trade deal

caneuCanada and the European Union last Friday reached a political agreement on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after months of intense negotiations between EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and Canadian trade Minister Ed Fast. It will be the first free trade agreement between the European Union and a G8 country. Boosting trade relations with Canada will generate new opportunities for growth and the creation of jobs in the EU. On the basis of this political breakthrough, the negotiators will now be able to continue the process and settle all the remaining technical issues. Subsequently, the agreement will need to be approved by Council and Parliament.

The EU-Canada agreement will remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create sizeable new market Continue reading

Shell in successful bid for giant field in deep water Brazil

petrobras2A consortium of companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, Petrobras, Total, CNPC and CNOOC, won today a 35-year production sharing contract to develop the giant Libra pre-salt oil discovery located in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil. The Brazilian regulator, Agência Nacional do Petróleo (ANP), estimates Libra’s recoverable resources of between 8 to 12 billion barrels of oil. Continue reading

The Government Shutdown as The Cruz ‘Crisis’: Dangerous Opportunity

by Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgThe government “shutdown” properly should be called “the Cruz Crisis.” This indeed is a crisis in the Chinese nuanced sense.

The Chinese character, weiji, usually is translated  “dangerous opportunity.” Actually it means “precarious pivot  point.”  That describes perfectly where Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) stands… and has pushed the Republican Party.  Ted Cruz has made himself the point  man for the whole, melodramatic, government “shutdown.”  It is part of  his high stakes play for the presidency driven by, those who know him  say, an admixture of ambition and idealism. Continue reading

Top 100 EU regulations cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year

europebynight3EU leaders will meet in Brussels this week to discuss ways to improve growth and competitiveness across Europe. Ahead of this meeting, Open Europe has published a list of the 100 most costly EU regulations to the UK economy. Using data from the UK Government’s impact assessments of these rules, Open Europe estimates that the top 100 EU laws cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year. This is more than what the UK Treasury expects to raise in revenue from Council Tax this year (£27 billion). Continue reading

Rotterdam School of Management opens Asia office

RSM+logo+1jpgProfessor Steef van de Velde, Dean of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), officially opened the school’s new Asia office in Taiwan during a special alumni reception on 15 October 2013. The event was attended by 43 guests including RSM alumni in Taiwan and representatives from Taiwanese and European organisations. Continue reading

A tycoon bites the Dutch dust

nrc-carlos-slim-coverLebanese-Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim appears to have lost a major battle in his bid to control Dutch telecoms firm KPN, as he has cancelled his América Movil company’s announced bid for a majority of the telecom firms shares.

It its statement of October 16th, América Movil blamed KPN’s obstructive and non-cooperative stand. As we noted before, a tycoon’s way of doing business is never a good match for continental European companies and Slim’s attempt may have been doomed from the start.

BYD’s Isbrand Ho: Build Your Dreams in Rotterdam

bydWithout realizing it you’re already using products of the Chinese firm BYD: the batteries in your smartphone from any of the well-known brands. Already since the company’s establishment in 1995 the perfect energy storage has been the basis for several other products, in the last decade electric buses and cars as particularly promising applications. “Within the next 3 to 5 years the future with 100 percent electric transport could already begin”, says managing director Isbrand Ho. “But no one knows exactly when it will be. We’ll see. I’m optimistic.”

In his office at the industrial park Rotterdam Noord-West staff numbers are growing steadily and he is already looking forward to a larger location. “This is the headquarters for our European expansion. Continue reading

New Europoort warehouse for P&O Ferrymasters

poferrymastersSupply chain solutions specialist P&O Ferrymasters has taken a 1200m2 warehouse in Rotterdam’s Europoort to support its cross docking operations from the key European gateway.

The initiative provides a platform to develop new trade lanes while growing the current business. In particular, the company aims to enhance service levels on existing LTL services – which are mainly to the UK and Ireland – and increase the number of full load transhipments. Continue reading

As Brazil’s protests become a fading memory, the presidential campaign seems increasingly “old school”

By Arnout Nuijt

brazil-protests-june2013It’s been months now since we saw a completely unpredicted, rare and wild explosion of mass demonstrations and protests against the authorities in Brazil. The protests were not aimed directly at Dilma’s present PT-led government, but at all parties, state governments as well as municipalities, in short Brazil’s corrupt and inefficient political system.

But as middle class families took to the streets in most major cities throughout the country, things turned ugly rather quickly. Radical and criminal elements started rioting and badly trained police in many cases responded with heavy violence. Brazil’s middle classes, that for a brief and happy moment had conquered their fear of the street and had felt safe in numbers, now disappeared again behind their walls and doors. Continue reading

Massive boost for Rotterdam LNG hub

terminalThe Port of Rotterdam Authority is delighted that two European subsidy applications relating to LNG have been granted. This means that the European Union supports the development of a Rotterdam LNG hub. It involves a subsidy of €40 million for LNG infrastructure for the Rhine-Main-Danube area and a €34 million subsidy for the LNG breakbulk terminals in Gothenburg and Rotterdam. Together, the projects will create a logistics chain for LNG; the first in Europe. Continue reading

Japan, C Europe show fastest employment growth

logooecd_enThe OECD area employment rate – defined as the share of people of working-age who are employed – was 65.1% in the second quarter of 2013, 0.1 percentage point higher than in the previous quarter. This was still 1.4 percentage points below the level recorded in the second quarter of 2008, the quarter preceding the start of the global financial crisis.    Continue reading

Unilever donates one million school meals

unilever logoThis World Food Day (16 October 2013) Unilever, through its foods category and Food Solutions business, is committing to donate one million school meals through the Unilever Foundation to the United Nations World Food Programme to help end child hunger by improving the availability and nutritional quality of school meals around the world.

On World Food Day, the Unilever Foundation will be running a social media campaign. For every ’like‘ received on the new Continue reading

Boskalis sells SMIT Gladstone to Smit Lamnalco

boskalissmitRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has successfully completed the sale of its Australian harbor towage business to its strategic partner Smit Lamnalco. The sale had already been announced in August 2013 as part of a strategic realignment of the towage activities. Continue reading

The 1% that Can Fix the State

by Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svg“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”

– Ernest Hemingway, Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter

The transition from total war to world peace will go a lot faster if you, dear Reader, recognize and own your own power. Own it and participate.

Without the reality, or a credible threat, of total war, Big Government loses its existential justification.

We — including you — created the Big Government for very good reasons. Now, for very good reasons, we are going to dismantle it. Continue reading

Wastewater treatment in the UK goes Dutch

neredaImtech Process Limited, a leading engineering and delivery partner for the water industry and international engineering, and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV have signed a cooperation agreement for the delivery of the Nereda® technology for wastewater treatment in the UK. Imtech Process expects to build five to eight Nereda wastewater treatment installations in the coming years. Continue reading

The U.S. Debt Crisis from the Founders’ Perspective

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanThe U.S. government is paralyzed, and we now face the possibility that the United States will default on its debt. Congress is unable to resolve the issue, and President Obama is as obstinate as the legislators who oppose him. To some extent, our political system is functioning as intended — the Founding Fathers meant for it to be cumbersome. But as they set out to form a more perfect union, they probably did not anticipate the extent to which we have been able to cripple ourselves.

Striving for ineffectiveness seems counterintuitive. But there was a method to the founders’ madness, and we first need to consider their rationale before we apply it to the current dilemma afflicting Washington. Continue reading

Helix awards Huisman contract for Well Intervention System

huismancranesHuisman, the worldwide specialist in lifting, drilling and subsea solutions, has secured a new contract from Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. for the delivery of a Well Intervention System onboard Helix’s new build Semi submersible “Q7000”. The system, which is based on Huisman’s proven Multi Purpose Tower (MPT) design, will be built by the Huisman production facility in China. Continue reading

G20 inflation slows to 3.0 % in August 2013

Annual inflation in the G20 was 3.0 % in the year to August 2013, down from 3.2 % in the year to July 2013. The G20 aggregate reflects diverging patterns among the world’s largest economies. India, Argentina, Indonesia and Turkey experienced the highest annual inflation rates (equal to or above 8.0 %) in August 2013, while Japan, France, Canada and Italy had the lowest annual inflation rates (between 0.9% and 1.2%).

In August 2013, annual inflation slowed in Turkey (8.0%, down from 8.6% in July), the United States (1.5%, down from 2.0%) and Germany (1.6%, down from 1.9%), and more moderately in Brazil (6.1%, down from 6.3%), India (10.7 %, down from 10.8%) and China (2.6%, down from 2.7%).

In contrast annual inflation picked up in Indonesia (8.8%, up from 8.6%) and Japan (0.9%, up from 0.7%), while it remained stable in Russia (6.5%), South Africa (6.4%), Mexico (3.5%) and Italy (1.2%).  Annual inflation fell in both the EU28 (1.5%, down from 1.7%) and the EA17 (1.3%, down from 1.6%).

Read the full report by Eurostat here (pdf).

Shenzhen Stock Exchange Headquarters by OMA

omashenshenThe new headquarters for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) has been completed in Shenzhen’s Central Business District. The 180,000 m2 building is OMA’s next completed building in China after the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing.

Defying the conventional building typology of tower-on-podium, SZSE’s three-storey base is cantilevered 36m above the ground, allowing for a generous public space below and a lush roof garden on top. The raised podium contains the listing hall and offices of the Stock Exchange; in its elevated position, it can “broadcast” the activities of the stock market to the entire city.

While the generic square form of the tower blends in with the surrounding homogenous buildings, the façade of SZSE is differentiated through its materiality: a translucent layer of patterned glass wraps the tower grid and raised podium, rendering the façade mysterious and enigmatic, while revealing the construction behind. The façade changes continually with the weather, becoming a reflection of its environment. Continue reading

Emerging Europe and Central Asia on the rebound

europebynight3Economic growth in the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region suffered during the global financial and Eurozone crises but has started to rebound, with projected modest growth rates of 2.2. percent in 2013 and 3.1 percent in 2014, World Bank officials said at a press briefing during the 2013 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. However, compared to other regions in the world, the ECA region has had the slowest recovery of growth and remains vulnerable to risks in a dynamic global economy. Continue reading

Construction of new Eneco offshore wind farm started

windmillConstruction has started Friday October 10th of the Eneco Luchterduinen Wind Farm, five years after the completion of the last Dutch offshore wind farm, the Princess Amalia Wind Farm. The new project is a joint venture between energy company Eneco and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation. The project’s 43 windmills will be located 23 kilometres off the coast of the cities Noordwijk and Zandvoort. After completion at the end of 2015, the wind farm will generate green electricity for nearly 150,000 households. Continue reading

Van Oord, BAM International to build new APM container terminal in Costa Rica

mionterminalA consortium consisting of Van Oord and BAM International, has been awarded the contract for the design and construction of Phase 2A of the new container terminal for APM Terminals in Moín, Costa Rica. The total contract value amounts to USD 460 million which is split between Van Oord and BAM International on an almost equal basis. It will take the consortium approximately three years to complete the project. Continue reading

Foreign Direct Investment Flows to Latin America Rose by 6% in the First Half of 2013

latamForeign direct investment (FDI) to Latin America displayed moderate growth in the first half of this year, compared with the year-earlier period in 2012, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The 13 countries of the region that provided data received 102.951 billion dollars, which was 6% higher than the first six months of the previous year.

The main recipient was Brazil, which received 39.014 billion dollars between January and August 2013, which was 10% lower than the sum received in the year-earlier period. This fall was concentrated in the iron and steel, food and beverage and financial services sectors (which had undergone major business acquisitions in 2012). Continue reading

Vitol secures new credit facilities

vitollogoVitol announced it has increased its Syndicated Revolving Credit Facility to USD 7 billion on October 8th, following strong demand. Continue reading

LyondellBasell and Oiltanking Stolthaven Finalize New Chemical Storage Pact

terminalLyondellBasell and Oiltanking Stolthaven Antwerp announced that Lyondell Chemie Nederland BV and Oiltanking Stolthaven Antwerp NV have signed a 10-year agreement for the storage and handling of Glacial Acetic Acid (GAA) and Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) in Antwerp. As part of the agreement, Oiltanking Stolthaven will invest in new stainless steel storage capacity and rail loading infrastructure at Antwerp. Continue reading

Eneco acquires Mitsubishi electric vehicles

Eneco%20logoOn national Day of Sustainability Eneco received the keys of 40 i-MiEVs, Mitsubishi Motors’ electric vehicles. The delivery of the cars is part of the strategic partnership  between Mitsubishi Corporation and Eneco which commenced at the beginning of 2013 with the aim of jointly developing offshore wind farms, the first of which , Eneco Luchterduinen, will soon begin construction. Eneco will lend some of the i-MiEVs to sustainable partners with which it has close ties including: charities, cooperatives and companies. Continue reading

Boskalis to remove Costa Concordia onboard Dockwise Vanguard

dockwiseDockwise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has been awarded the contract to load and transport the Concordia wreck from Isola del Giglio onboard the Dockwise Vanguard. The contract was awarded by Costa Crociere S.p.A. (the client).

Following the successful parbuckling of the Concordia, and in anticipation of the pending refloat, Dockwise and the client have been in discussion to seek a safe solution to remove the Concordia wreck from Isola del Giglio in Italy. In a unique operation the Concordia can be Continue reading