New Shell CEO updates company’s priorities

shellSpeaking to investors today, new Shell CEO Ben van Beurden updated on the company’s priorities: improving Shell’s financial results and achieving better capital efficiency, as well as continuing to strengthen operational performance and project delivery. Continue reading “New Shell CEO updates company’s priorities”

IMF advises Cape Verde to reign in spending

atlanticoCabo Verde’s economy has continued to face significant headwinds, and the economy is estimated to have stagnated in 2013, the IMF reported. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Cabo Verde from January 15-28, 2014. The mission met with the Minister of Finance and Planning Cristina Duarte, Central Bank Governor Carlos de Burgo, other government officials, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society, development partners, and the private sector. At the conclusion of the mission, the IMF issued the following statement: Continue reading “IMF advises Cape Verde to reign in spending”

Shell to sell interest in offshore Brazil BC-10

shellShell announced an agreement to sell a 23% interest in the Parque das Conchas (BC-10) project offshore Brazil to Qatar Petroleum International for approximately US $1 billion, subject to closing, The transaction is subject to approval by the National Petroleum and Gas Agency (ANP, Brazil’s Oil and Gas regulator) and the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE, anti-trust authority). Continue reading “Shell to sell interest in offshore Brazil BC-10”

Perspectives on the Ukrainian Protests

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanA few months ago, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was expected to sign some agreements that could eventually integrate Ukraine with the European Union economically. Ultimately, Yanukovich refused to sign the agreements, a decision thousands of his countrymen immediately protested. The demonstrations later evolved, as they often do. Protesters started calling for political change, and when Yanukovich resisted their calls, they demanded new elections. Continue reading “Perspectives on the Ukrainian Protests”

IMF sees Peru’s economy as high growth leader

peruflagThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded its consultations with Peru this week. Peru’s economy continues to be a leader in high growth and low inflation in the region, which has been achieved through a prudent macroeconomic policy implementation, a far-reaching structural reform agenda and taking advantage of the benign external environment. Continue reading “IMF sees Peru’s economy as high growth leader”

In China, Huisman installed 3,000mt crane

huismancranesThe installation of the 3,000mt Offshore Mast Crane onboard the ‘Lewek Constellation’ was completed by means of Huisman China’s new 2,400mt quayside crane. The quayside crane, also known as the ‘Skyhook’, installed the 3,000mt Offshore Mast Crane in a mere two lifts within a three day period. The vessel will leave Huisman China in April and is due to arrive at Huisman Schiedam mid 2014 for the installation of the 800mt Multi-lay Pipelay Tower. The ‘Skyhook’ further enables Huisman China to install, commission and test large pieces of equipment on a turn-key basis, mitigating project risks. Continue reading “In China, Huisman installed 3,000mt crane”

How The Republicans Can Win The Upcoming Battle Over Income Inequality

by Ralph Benko 

GOP_Logo1_svgFollowing President Obama’s lead, the Democrats are seeking to make  income inequality the wedge issue of the 2014 Congressional and Senate  elections. This unquestionably addresses an issue that — after forty  years of middle class family wage stagnation — resonates with voters. Yet the Republicans, thanks to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tx), not the Democrats, are better positioned to take this on. The Republicans are far better positioned to get right and use the  underlying issue — which is more one of inequity than inequality — to  political advantage.  Continue reading “How The Republicans Can Win The Upcoming Battle Over Income Inequality”

LatAm’s Pacific Alliance highlighted at Davos

latamA panel entitled The Pacific Alliance Promise was held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was attended by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Peru’s Prime Minister César Villanueva, and Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín. At the gathering the panelists discussed the challenges of this alliance, formed by Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Continue reading “LatAm’s Pacific Alliance highlighted at Davos”

IHC delivers Indian dredger

ihcdredgerOn Thursday 23 January, the 5,500m³ trailing suction hopper dredger, DCI DREDGE XXI, was handed over within the contractual delivery date to Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) at IHC Merwede’s Kinderdijk shipyard in The Netherlands. The Protocol of Delivery and Acceptance was signed on behalf of DCI by Mr YSR Murthy. Continue reading “IHC delivers Indian dredger”

Shell to sell Wheatstone LNG stake in Australia

shellRoyal Dutch Shell announced it has agreed to sell its 8% equity interest in the Wheatstone-Iago Joint Venture and 6.4% interest in the 8.9 million tonnes per annum Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Western Australia for a cash consideration of US$1,135 million to the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC), subject to closing. Continue reading “Shell to sell Wheatstone LNG stake in Australia”

Port of Rotterdam appoints new Germany rep

portofrotterdamThe Port of Rotterdam Authority has appointed Ingrid Rossmeier as its representative for Southern Germany. She is located in Nuremberg. The appointment is part of the Port Authority’s policy to reinforce the position of the port of Rotterdam in southern Germany. The primary task of the Representatives is to collect commer¬cial information, trace potential customers and establish initial contacts with the Rotterdam business community. On the other hand, he brings companies from the region into contact with logistic service providers in Rotterdam. The port of Rotterdam has Representatives in Austria/Central Europe, Germany, Japan, Brazil, China, Russia and the USA. Continue reading “Port of Rotterdam appoints new Germany rep”

Port’s 2013 throughput down slightly

portofrotterdamAccording to the final figures for 2013, goods throughput in the port of Rotterdam was 440.5 million tonnes, the Port of Rotterdam reported today. In December, throughput was expected to remain equal to the previous year. The new figure is one million tonnes lower than the provisional figures of 19 December last. Compared to throughput in 2012 (441.5 million ton), this is a fall of 0.2%. However, for 2013 the port of Dordrecht’s throughput was integrated for the first time in Rotterdam’s figures. If the three million tonnes of throughput made by Dordrecht would not have been counted, Rotterdam’s loss would stand at 0,8%. Continue reading “Port’s 2013 throughput down slightly”

Brazilian Economy: The Price of Violence

logoFGVBrazilians see themselves as cheerful, hospitable, and peaceful, yet this picture is contradicted by data on violence and crime. Brazil is the 18th most violent nation in the world, according to the Avante Brasil Institute. The 2013 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pointed out that insecurity is an obstacle to economic and social development in Latin America, and warned that crime control measures alone are not sufficient; what is needed are public policies for more inclusive economic growth and effective security and justice institutions. In particular, Brazil must care for the youth. Continue reading “Brazilian Economy: The Price of Violence”

Eneco acquires customers and employees from DONG Energy Sales B.V.

Eneco%20logoEneco will acquire 90,000 energy customers and 89 employees from DONG Energy Sales B.V. Agreement to this effect has today been reached with DONG Energy Sales B.V.’s Danish parent company DONG S/A. Continue reading “Eneco acquires customers and employees from DONG Energy Sales B.V.”

Super Post Panamax container cranes delivered at Rotterdam terminals

ectcranesNever before, anywhere in the world, have nine super Post Panamax container cranes been delivered the same time in a port by the builders. Seven were built by ZPMC and two by Kalmar, all in China. ZPMC divided its shipment over its own special transport vessels the Zhen Hua 14, which will start unloading 2 cranes for Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) on Sunday, and the Zhen Hua 26, which will start unloading 5 cranes at the ECT Delta Terminal on the quayside of the Amazonehaven on Tuesday. Continue reading “Super Post Panamax container cranes delivered at Rotterdam terminals”

Tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēəns Among Us?

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolPossibly the most powerful, and dangerous, euphemism in politics today is “progressive.” This writer has many cherished progressive friends. He considers them beautiful… but, often, misguided. Yet perhaps they are more “guided” than he has supposed. Perhaps progressives, many of them, are precision guided. A pattern is emerging. That pattern is to assert government control over, well, everything. Government control … in the name of social and economic justice, of course. There’s another word for this: totalitarian. Continue reading “Tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēəns Among Us?”

Rotterdam The Hague Airport handled 24% more passengers in 2013

rtmairportRotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) in 2013 handled no less than 24% more passengers as compared to 2012. Passenger numbers in 2013 grew well over the 1.5 million mark to 1,590.144, up from 1.273.147 in 2012. September 2013 was a particularly good month for the airport, with a record growth of almost 30% more passengers, as compared with the same month a year before. Continue reading “Rotterdam The Hague Airport handled 24% more passengers in 2013”

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding starts steel cutting for Indonesian Frigate

damenindonIn December 2012, the Ministry of Defence of Indonesia and Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) signed the contract for the first SIGMA 10514 PKR Frigate. In accordance with the agreed planning for the construction of this frigate, the Steel Cutting Ceremony took place simultaneously on 15 January 2014 at PT PAL (Persero) Shipyard in Surabaya (Indonesia) and DSNS in Vlissingen (the Netherlands). Continue reading “Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding starts steel cutting for Indonesian Frigate”

Shell lowers expectations

shellRoyal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) today reported on its expected 2013 results. Fourth quarter 2013 figures, which are expected to be published on January 30, 2014, are expected to be significantly lower than recent levels of profitability, considering current oil and gas prices and the downstream oil products industry environment. Continue reading “Shell lowers expectations”

Elections Don’t Matter, Institutions Do

By Robert D. Kaplan

kaplanMany years ago, I visited Four Corners in the American Southwest. This is a small stone monument on a polished metal platform where four states meet. You can walk around the monument in the space of a few seconds and stand in four states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. People lined up to do this and have their pictures taken by excited relatives. To walk around the monument is indeed a thrill, because each of these four states has a richly developed tradition and identity that gives these borders real meaning. And yet no passports or customs police are required to go from one state to the other. Continue reading “Elections Don’t Matter, Institutions Do”

Unilever sells royal pasta brand in the Philippines

unilever logoUnilever announced that it has agreed to sell its Royal pasta brand in the Philippines to RFM Corporation, one of the biggest diversified food and beverage companies in the Philippines for US$47.8 million. Rohit Jawa, Chairman and CEO of Unilever Philippines, said “Royal pasta is a high quality brand which I am confident will do well under RFM’s experienced management. We continually review our portfolio of brands and Unilever’s decision to divest the Royal brand is in line with our global strategy to focus on our core businesses.” The transaction does not include any of Unilever’s facilities or employees in the Philippines (Unilever).

Vopak Singapore wins underground storage contract

logo_vopakJTC Corporation announced signing a 15-year operatorship contract with Banyan Caverns Storage Services Pte Ltd, a consortium formed by Vopak Terminals Singapore (45%), Geostock SAS (35%) and Jurong Consultants Pte Ltd (20%) for the first phase of Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC) in Jurong Island, Singapore. Vopak is honored to have been awarded, together with its partners, the operatorship of the JRC. The fees associated with the services to be provided will have a limited positive impact on Vopak’s 2014 financial results. The Jurong Rock Caverns are South-East Asia’s first underground oil storage facility (Vopak).

World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

worldbank-logo-enThe world economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis, says the World Bank’s newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. The firming of growth in developing countries is being bolstered by an acceleration in high-income countries and continued strong growth in China. However, growth prospects remain vulnerable to headwinds from rising global interest rates and potential volatility in capital flows, as the United States Federal Reserve Bank begins withdrawing its massive monetary stimulus. Continue reading “World Bank warns of emerging markets risks”

NH opens four star nhow hotel in Rotterdam

nhowrotterdamnhow Rotterdam opened its doors on January 10th 2014. The hotel resides in the mixed-use building ‘De Rotterdam’ designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas. It is the third nhow hotel in the world after nhow Milan and Berlin. Located in the capital of architecture, this unconventional hotel is themed around forward architecture, art & urban lifestyle. The hotel is situated on the Manhattan-like Wilhelminapier at the Maas. It offers conference and meeting facilities, 278 rooms with spectacular riverside views, a skyline bar, food lounge and roof terrace. It serves business and leisure travelers, as well as the local community. Located at the Wilhelminapier, right across the center of Rotterdam, the hotel offers both business and leisure travelers an environment that encourages diving head first into all that the city has to offer. Continue reading “NH opens four star nhow hotel in Rotterdam”

Kotug moves to Rotterdam landmark Las Palmas building

laspalmasOn January 17th, 2014, Kotug’s Rotterdam office will move to the top floor of ‘Las Palmas Building’ on Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam. The ‘Las Palmas Building’ featuring many smart energy savings, completely in line with Kotug’s strategy of sustainability and innovation, was opened by Bill Clinton in 2007 and received a sustainability award. Despite international ambitions, Kotug feels at home in the port of Rotterdam and its headquarters remains located on its hometown. The new location on the characteristic Wilhelminakade offers a beautiful view of Rotterdam’s Maas River and the Erasmus Bridge. The connection to the water is an integral part of Kotug’s identity.

Vale China unloads billionth ton of ore at Rotterdam’s EMO

emoEMO hit a new dry bulk discharge record on January 14th, 2014, with the billionth tonne of dry bulk. A milestone for Europe’s largest dry bulk terminal has been reached. Forty years ago, EMO unloaded its first tonne of iron ore (November 28th 1973). Now the terminal has reached the billion tonne mark. The honour goes to the Vale China. The Vale China, with its 375,000 tonnes of iron ore, is one of the largest dry bulk vessels in the world. The vessel is 362 metres long, 65 metres at the beam, and has a draft of 23 metres.Using three 85-tonne grab unloaders, it takes approximately four days to unload the Vale China. Thanks to EMO’s unloading capacity and draft, the EMO terminal is an ideal destination for this huge bulk vessel (EMO).

Swiss rail operator IMS opens office in Rotterdam, adds new service

Betuwelijn-11Swiss combi operator IMS has opened its own office in Rotterdam, under the name IMS Cargo Netherlands. This is in reaction to the increased demand for rail transport from and to the western North Sea ports. new service between Wolfurt and Rotterdam, with antenna connections to Northern Italy and Belgium. IMS continues to work with its Rotterdam partner Modal Link. IMS has two services for Switzerland from and to Rotterdam (Frenkendorf and Rekingen) and several together with partners. In 2013, IMS transported 180,000 containers (TEU), about a quarter more than in 2012. The company has branches in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. It achieved a turnover of €46 million in 2013 (IMS). 

Can The Left’s “Mad Tea Party” Beat The Tea Party?

By Ralph Benko

aliceOne year ago, between the re-election and re-inauguration of Barack Obama, the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy met and mapped out three major strategic goals.  These are designed to seize plenary control over the US government and, thereby, America. This is not “black helicopter” paranoia.  It was reported candidly in the pretty hard left Mother Jones.  While MJ is not canonical  — that would be The Nation — it is credible on all things left. Here is what the left is up to.  Continue reading “Can The Left’s “Mad Tea Party” Beat The Tea Party?”

Erasmus University looking for more collaboration and internationalisation

logoeurErasmus University Rotterdam must continue to be at the forefront of developments in the years ahead through interdisciplinary collaboration and far-reaching internationalisation. Sound finances are needed to underpin these ambitions. This was the message of executive board president Pauline van der Meer Mohr in her New Year’s speech on Monday 6 January 2014. Continue reading “Erasmus University looking for more collaboration and internationalisation”

CityJet to increase capacity on London City-Rotterdam route

cityjetavroCityJet outlined its new summer network and schedule that starts on the 30th of March, 2014. With the launch of the new Summer network, CityJet is focusing on strengthening its core routes from London City Airport, with increased frequencies on key destinations, while opening a number of new routes from Cardiff Airport. The increased capacity to existing destinations will strengthen the CityJet current network, and will provide additional connections to passengers flying on partner network hubs. CityJet will redeploy capacity on its London City – Rotterdam route on key rotations by introducing the Avro RJ85 aircraft, instead of the venerable Fokker 50 turboprop. Continue reading “CityJet to increase capacity on London City-Rotterdam route”

A Closer Look at India’s Naxalite Threat

By Fred Burton and Ben West

stratforOn July 6, the Indian government issued a warning to railroad operators and users after Maoist rebels — known as Naxalites — declared a “bandh,” a Hindi word meaning stoppage of work, in eastern India. When a bandh is declared by the Naxalites, it carries with it an implied threat of violence to enforce the work stoppage, in this case against the public transportation system over a two-day period. It is widely understood that trains and buses in eastern India during this time would be subject to Naxalite attack if they do not obey the call for a shutdown. Continue reading “A Closer Look at India’s Naxalite Threat”

Three reasons why deflation won’t take hold in the Eurozone

europebynight3Inflation used to be the main focus for European central bankers’ interest rate policy as prices rose forever upward. Now their main fear as we begin 2014 is the reverse scenario – the risk of deflation. It is potentially a huge problem, as falling prices mean that consumers do not buy goods because they expect them to become cheaper in the future, stalling economic growth and triggering a recession. However, there are three reasons why a Japanese-style era of falling prices that cost the country a ‘lost decade’ in the 1990s will not take hold in the Eurozone, says Robeco’s Chief Economist, Léon Cornelissen. Continue reading “Three reasons why deflation won’t take hold in the Eurozone”

Damen delivers second Double Hull Oil Tanker

damentankerThe Damen Double Hull Oil Tanker 8000 ‘Kestrel Fisher’ was delivered end 2013 to Dutch managers De Opfeart Beheer. In a two-tanker deal, the Kestrel Fisher’s sister vessel ‘King Fisher’ was delivered in June 2013. Both have been built by Damen Shipyards Bergum. The oil (product) tankers’ names are a reference to James Fisher Everard Ltd, which have taken up their commercial management. Continue reading “Damen delivers second Double Hull Oil Tanker”

Carlyle and Vitol invest in Varo Energy to Create a Major New Energy Midstream Group across North-West Europe

vitollogoGlobal alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group and the Vitol Group of Companies announced a transaction intended to establish Varo Energy B.V. as a major midstream energy business in north-west Europe. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Vitol and Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP) will each own 50% of an enlarged Varo Energy Group. AtlasInvest will sell its shareholding in Varo Energy to CIEP while Vitol will reduce its current stake to enable each party to own 50%. Continue reading “Carlyle and Vitol invest in Varo Energy to Create a Major New Energy Midstream Group across North-West Europe”

Shell completes Repsol S.A. LNG deal

shellRoyal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) completed the acquisition of Repsol S.A.’s (“Repsol”) liquefied natural gas (LNG) portfolio outside North America for a headline cash consideration of $4.1 billion. As part of the transaction, Shell will also assume $1.6 billion of balance sheet liabilities relating to existing leases for LNG ship charters, substantially increasing the shipping capacity available to Shell’s world-class LNG marketing business.  Continue reading “Shell completes Repsol S.A. LNG deal”

NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States

By Marc Lanthemann

northamericaThe 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation on Jan. 1 has revived some of the perennial arguments that have surrounded the bloc since its inception. The general consensus has been that the trade deal was a mixed bag, a generally positive yet disappointing economic experiment. That consensus may not be wrong. The history of the North American Free Trade Agreement as an institution has been one of piecemeal, often reluctant, integration of three countries with a long tradition of protectionism and fierce defense of economic national sovereignty. While NAFTA was a boon for certain sectors of the economy, particularly the U.S. agriculture industry, the net effect of the world’s second-largest trade bloc remains somewhat unknown. Continue reading “NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States”

Government Gridlock, Saving America From Even Worse Laws

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolMany hands are being wrung among the elite governing class about Congressional gridlock. The Democrats have invoked the “nuclear option” — allowing the Senate majority in effect to prevail by simple, rather than 60%, majority. (This will come back to haunt them if majority control turns Republican in next year’s election.) Fortunately for us mere citizens the House is still Republican controlled. It thereby is situated to block the worst Big Government initiatives. In the great “Hunting of the Snark” on Capitol Hill many legislators of both parties have broken their picks in “supercommittees” and “gangs” and other efforts to foment a “grand bargain” or other grandiose deal. This typically is done in the name of “bipartisanship.” Continue reading “Government Gridlock, Saving America From Even Worse Laws”

Vopak divests in Ecuador and in Chile

logo_vopakRoyal Vopak by year’s end completed of the divestment of its equity interest in three terminals in Latin America. Vopak has divested its 50%-equity interest in Vopak Oxiquim – Mejillones Terminal (10,000 cbm for chemicals) in Chile to its existing joint venture partner Oxiquim S.A. Furthermore, Vopak has divested its 100%-equity interest in Vopak Terminal San Antonio (21,557 cbm for various products) in Chile, and its 50%-equity interest in Vopak Terminal Ecuador (19,376 cbm for various products), both to QC Terminales S.A.C. Continue reading “Vopak divests in Ecuador and in Chile”

Vopak Horizon Fujairah enters 7th phase of expansion

logo_vopakRoyal Vopak announced the 7th phase of expansion at Vopak Horizon Fujairah Limited, adding 478,000 cbm of storage capacity for crude oil. For this extra capacity, Vopak Horizon Fujairah has signed a long-term contract with a customer. The 7th phase of expansion will feature 5 storage tanks for crude oil, one manifold and pipeline connection to the new VLCC jetty in the Port of Fujairah, raising the total storage capacity at Vopak Horizon Fujairah to over 2.6 million cubic meters (cbm). This expansion will mark the first crude oil tanks in the Middle East for independent storage purposes and it will further strengthen Fujairah as a global hub for crude oil and oil products, with room for further expansion. Continue reading “Vopak Horizon Fujairah enters 7th phase of expansion”

Boskalis Dockwise secures 275 million USD Australia contract

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) announced that Dockwise, a wholly owned subsidiary, has been awarded a contract by Bechtel for Module Transport Services, for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project in Western Australia. The contract value is estimated at approximately USD 275 million, making it the largest contract ever for Dockwise and work will commence in early 2014. Continue reading “Boskalis Dockwise secures 275 million USD Australia contract”