The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanThe United States announced new sanctions on seven Russian government officials April 28. A long-used tactic, sanctions can yield unpredictable effects or have no effect at all, depending upon how they are crafted. It is commonly assumed that sanctions are applied when a target country’s actions are deemed unacceptable. The sanctioning nation presumably chooses sanctions to avoid war when war would be too costly or could result in defeat. Sanctions’ stated purpose is to induce behavioral changes in a target state by causing economic pain. To work, sanctions must therefore cause pain. But they must not be so severe that they convince the target state that war is more desirable than capitulating to the demands of the sanctioning nation.

Continue reading “The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia”

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Kloosterboer cools and freezes with solar power

Zonnepanelen-KloosterboerAt the start of April, the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Kloosterboer Delta Terminal at Maasvlakte was put in to operation.  A total of 1800 solar panels have been fitted to this cold storage facility. The installation has a capacity of  450 kWp and enables Kloosterboer to be largely self-sufficient for their energy needs. Continue reading “Kloosterboer cools and freezes with solar power”

In the “War on Youth” the youth strike back for liberty

By Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgPolitics is no country for old men. The left likes to lampoon the GOP as a party of grumpy old men. Wrong. A new generation is rising. The most striking display at the recent CPAC was a barrage balloon emblazoned with the words War On YouthIt was lofted over one of the most popular booths there, Young Americans for Liberty. A new generation is rising fast.  It is not grumpy. It is, however, militant for liberty and justice for all. Continue reading “In the “War on Youth” the youth strike back for liberty”

OECD urges Netherlands to innovate and reform

logooecd_enThe Netherlands is gradually emerging from a double-dip recession with strengthened public finances and reforms on track to improve the labour and housing markets and the health care and pension systems. These reforms are paying off, says the OECD. Growth is expected to reach 1% this year and 1.3% in 2015. Continue reading “OECD urges Netherlands to innovate and reform”

Port of Rotterdam in European LNG joint venture

portofrotterdamThe port authorities of Antwerp, Mannheim, Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Switzerland signed a joint venture for the introduction of LNG. This involves cooperation in research, promotion, knowledge transfer, legislation and bunker infrastructure. The agreements follow on from the LNG Master plan of the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor in which all participants are involved. The aim of this master plan is to put liquefied natural gas to full scale use as a fuel for inland shipping on the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor. Continue reading “Port of Rotterdam in European LNG joint venture”

IHC Merwede to build South African dredger

ihcIHC Merwede has been awarded a contract for the design, construction and delivery of a 5,500m3 trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), South Africa. The company was selected after a successful submission into an open tender process for what will be the largest dredging vessel of its kind operating in the country. Continue reading “IHC Merwede to build South African dredger”

Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities – 2014 Edition

By Arnout Nuijt

sorocaba city hall 2014 EDITION – Ever heard of Uberlândia, Joinville, Ribeirão Preto, Sorocaba or Londrina? Well, you may soon, as they are among Brazil’s next generation of big business cities. No doubt the biggest and most important business centres of Brazil are still the megacities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Further afield, most other state capitals full fill their role as the country’s other main economic centres: Belo Horizonte, Salvador da Bahia, Recife, Fortaleza, Curitiba and Porto Alegre. These are the cities that are dominating Brazil’s economic development. On top of that most of these capitals will be in the world’s spotlight as host cities of the 2014 World Cup and Rio will even host the Olympic Games of 2016.

But Brazil is big and there are plenty of other fast developing cities that have become important business hubs over the years and will be ever more important in the future. They did not get there with soccer tournaments or because held their state’s government, but by generating strong growth in private sectors such as agribusiness, oil & gas, industries, IT and ports & logistics. This is the third or 2014 edition of Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities and it comes with a change: the city of Sorocaba has entered this exclusive list for the first time. The Sorocaba region received a lot of foreign investment lately. This of course means another city was dropped from the list: Campos, due to the problems of Eike Batista’s business empire, the main investor in the region. So for a minute forget São Paulo, Rio and those other 2014 World Cup host cities, as here come Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities: Continue reading “Brazil’s Next 10 Hottest Business Cities – 2014 Edition”

Damen lays keel for Indonesian frigate

SIGMA_10514_Perusak_Kawal_Rudal_FrigateIn accordance with the agreed planning in the contract for the construction of a Damen SIGMA Frigate for the Indonesian Navy, the keellaying ceremony has taken place on 16 April 2014 at the PT PAL (Persero) Shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia. The construction of the 4 modules that are going to be built at PT PAL (Persero) Shipyard Surabaya and the two modules that are being built in Vlissingen, are proceeding according to schedule. Continue reading “Damen lays keel for Indonesian frigate”

The Netherlands must do more to make working at an older age more attractive, says OECD

logooecd_enEncouraging more people to work later in life would help the Netherlands meet its growing challenges of a rapidly ageing population and rising social spending, according to a new OECD report. Working Better with Age in the Netherlands says that reforms over the past decade, such as raising the pension age, have already had an impact: the share of 55-64 year olds in work has increased significantly to just over 60% in 2013, above the OECD average of 55%. But the Netherlands remains well behind the best OECD achievers, ranking only 16th for the employment rate of 55-64 year olds among the 34 OECD countries.  Continue reading “The Netherlands must do more to make working at an older age more attractive, says OECD”

Not a New Cold War, but Great Game II

By Mark Galeotti

logo_isn_0Are Russia and the West about to revisit the ritualized competition of the Cold War? Not according to Mark Galeotti. A more useful analogy is the Great Game, that freewheeling 19th century struggle between Great Britain and Russia over Central Asia. Continue reading “Not a New Cold War, but Great Game II”

Why Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Transform Immigration Policy

By Ralph Benko

facebook logoProblems caused by America’s broken immigration system are causing misery to America’s immigrant community (both legal residents and undocumented), and, for good measure, to the president, the GOP and American society. There may be only one person with both the intentionality and the resources to resolve America’s immigration predicament: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Continue reading “Why Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Transform Immigration Policy”

Van Oord acquires 100% of Spanish subsidiary

logo-vanoordVan Oord has acquired all shares of its Spanish subsidiary Dravo S.A. Dravo S.A. has been owned, since 1987, by Van Oord (50%) and the Spanish company Dragados S.A. (50%), a subsidiary of ACS, the largest Spanish infrastructure contractor. The company will continue its activities under the name Dravo S.A. The company, with its office in Madrid, is engaged in dredging works in the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian markets. The company is presently executing maintenance dredging projects in the ports of Lisbon and Aveiro in Portugal and in the ports of Huelva and Barcelona in Spain. The company owns one trailing suction hopper dredger, Dravo Costa Dorada (Van Oord).

Shell discovers Malaysia deep-water gas

shellShell announced an exploration discovery offshore Malaysia. The successful ‘Rosmari-1’ well is located 135 kilometres offshore in Block SK318, and was drilled to a total depth of 2,123 metres. The well encountered more than 450 metres of gas column. With further exploration planned, the finding is a positive indicator of the gas potential in an area of strategic interest for Shell.

Continue reading “Shell discovers Malaysia deep-water gas”

Throughput Port of Rotterdam practically stable

portofrotterdamThe Port of Rotterdam’s throughput in the first quarter of 2014, at 109 million tonnes, was 0.2% below the level for the corresponding period last year.Split up by goods type, less crude oil (‑2%), mineral oil products (‑14%) and other liquid bulk cargo (‑14%) were transferred. On the positive side, iron ore and scrap (+5%), coal (+15%), agribulk (+69%), other dry bulk cargo (+13%), containers (+1%), roll on/roll off (+9%) and other mixed cargo (+9%) did better. Continue reading “Throughput Port of Rotterdam practically stable”

London Mayor Boris Johnson For President? Welcome to the UKSA!

By Ralph Benko

borisjThis columnist’s admiration for Senator Rand Paul is driven, in part, by Sen. Paul’s consistent and honorable stand against the “warfare/welfare state.” Rising-star national talk radio host, and columnist, Steve Deace astutely observes in a recent Washington Times op-ed, “he’s the only candidate running that is attempting to introduce an entirely new paradigm into the process.”  Sen. Paul presents as well attuned to the national mood. Continue reading “London Mayor Boris Johnson For President? Welcome to the UKSA!”

Six reasons why US capital expenditure is on the rise

robeco logoIn the United States, capital expenditure is lagging the economy as a whole. Some think this is the ‘new normal’. But Robeco’s strategist Peter van der Welle believes there is a strong case for a rebound in investments later this year.  Continue reading “Six reasons why US capital expenditure is on the rise”

IHC Merwede reveals healthy order book

ihcIHC Merwede says it successfully increased its order book in 2013 across the main sectors of its business: offshore and dredging. The company received almost € 1.8 billion worth of new orders in the past year. At the end of 2013, the order book was valued at over € 1.7 billion, which is the equivalent of a backlog of approximately two years. Continue reading “IHC Merwede reveals healthy order book”

Rotterdam voted Smart City 2014

imagesRotterdam has been voted one of the Smart Cities 2014. The quarterly magazine The New Economy has given Smart Cities Awards to twenty cities all over the world who qualify as ‘cities of the future’ in the area of sustainable development. The New Economy praised Rotterdam for its efforts to protect itself against climate change and bolster its image as the most sustainable port city in the world. Continue reading “Rotterdam voted Smart City 2014”

U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanEver since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive regimes. After 9/11, many began speaking of asymmetric warfare and “the long war.” Under this model, the United States would be engaged in counterterrorism activities in a broad area of the Islamic world for a very long time. Peer-to-peer conflict seemed obsolete. There was a profoundly radical idea embedded in this line of thought. Continue reading “U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair”

A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolShould Puerto Rico explore following Crimea into the Russian Federation? Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. We citizens much too often find ourselves in the position of supplicants to Washington rather than, at minimum, as dignified peers. Might there be a way to change this? Continue reading “A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?”

Damen pontoon deliveries ensure global stock

Damen_pontoon_deliveriesOn April 4th, a shipment that left China seven weeks ago carrying 13 new Damen Stan Pontoons and 10 other Damen vessels arrived in Rotterdam. The built-for-stock pontoons and vessels will uphold Damen’s ultra-short delivery times as demand rises – 170 deliveries in 2013. This has also led to Damen introducing newly designed barges and completing a number of custom pontoon and barge projects. Continue reading “Damen pontoon deliveries ensure global stock”

New dredging contract for Van Oord in Indonesia

logo-vanoordVan Oord has been awarded a contract for dredging and maintenance work for the western access channel to the port of Surabaya in Indonesia. The client is Indonesian port company PT Pelabuhan Indonesia III (Persero). The contract is worth over EUR 50 million. Project execution will start in May 2014 and will last 10 months, followed by a two-year maintenance period. The project involves widening the existing channel to 150 metres and deepening it to -13 metres. A total of more than 10 million m3 silt will be removed and dumped at sea. Furthermore, one or two shipwrecks must be removed. Annual maintenance for a two-year period is part of the contract. Van Oord will be deploying a large and a medium-large trailing suction hopper dredger.

Continue reading “New dredging contract for Van Oord in Indonesia”

Mammoet moves Methanol Plant from Southern Chile to Louisiana

mammoetMammoet, the world’s leader in engineered heavy lifting and transport, has completed a project involving the heavy lifting, transportation and reassembly preparation of an entire methanol plant. The plant was moved from the most southern part of Chile to Louisiana, USA over a distance of 8,720 kilometers (5,450 miles). Continue reading “Mammoet moves Methanol Plant from Southern Chile to Louisiana”

IHC Merwede appoints Bram Roelse as CEO

ihcIHC Merwede has announced that it has appointed Bram Roelse as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with immediate effect as of 1 April 2014. He has taken over this leading role within the company from predecessor Dirk Philips who stepped back in November 2013. Continue reading “IHC Merwede appoints Bram Roelse as CEO”

Why is Brazilian productivity so low?

latamFor decades low productivity has been responsible for the poor performance of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP). Today, FGV-IBRE’s The Brazilian Economy reports, increasing productivity -which rebounded slightly last year but is still far from stellar – is more urgent if the country wants to achieve more robust economic growth without pressure on wages and inflation, because the labor force is expected to decline as the population ages. Continue reading “Why is Brazilian productivity so low?”

Mexican Navy orders sixth Damen Stan Patrol 4207

damenmexicoThe Mexican Navy and Damen Shipyards Group signed another contract for a license, material package and technical assistance of a Damen Stan Patrol 4207. The agreement also includes crew training in the Netherlands. This contract, the sixth patrol vessel of the Tenochtitlan class, underlines the excellent ongoing relationship between the Mexican Navy (Secretaria de Marina or SEMAR), and Damen. As all five previous vessels, this vessel will be built in the Mexican Navy Yard ASTIMAR 1 in Tampico, a city and port on the Gulf of Mexico (Damen).

SBM Offshore presents results of internal investigation on bribery allegations in Angola, Brazil

sbmSBM Offshore presented today the findings of its internal investigation, which it started in the first quarter of 2012, in reaction to allegations of bribery in Brazil, Angola and other countries. The investigation, which was carried out by independent external counsel and forensic accountants, focused on the use of agents over the period 2007 through 2011. In summary, the main findings are that “the Company paid approximately US$200 million in commissions to agents during that period of which the majority relate to three countries: US$18.8 million to Equatorial Guinea, US$22.7 million to Angola and US$139.1 million to Brazil.” Continue reading “SBM Offshore presents results of internal investigation on bribery allegations in Angola, Brazil”

Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanDuring the Cold War, U.S. secretaries of state and Soviet foreign ministers routinely negotiated the outcome of crises and the fate of countries. It has been a long time since such talks have occurred, but last week a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Americans and Russians negotiated over everyone’s head to find a way to defuse the crisis in Ukraine and, in the course of that, shape its fate. Continue reading “Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine”

Huisman to build world’s largest cranes

huismancranesHuisman, the worldwide specialist in lifting, drilling and subsea solutions, has received a Letter of Intent for the delivery of world’s largest cranes onboard Heerema’s planned new semi-submersible crane vessel. The cranes will have a lifting capacity of 10.000mt at a radius of 48m. Huisman is known for its signature mast crane design. These cranes will however be tub mounted. The two cranes will be built by the Huisman production facility in China. The final decision to build this new semi-submersible crane vessel will be made by Heerema before the end of this year. Continue reading “Huisman to build world’s largest cranes”

Big Government Really Is Over

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolCrimea. Venice. Scotland. Quebec. Catalonia. Colorado. Crimea’s vote, a popular vote of no confidence in Kiev, to leave Ukraine (and rejoin Russia) is in some ways unique. In o ther ways it appears part of an emerging, worldwide, trend.Venice voted last week, in a nonbinding referendum, to secede from Italy.  89% in favor: a popular vote of no confidence in Rome. Scotland will vote next September on whether to disunite from the United Kingdom.  Much to London’s dismay. Continue reading “Big Government Really Is Over”