George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

By George Friedman

stratfor‘Tis the season to make lists, and a list shall be made. We tend to see each year as extraordinary, and in some senses, each year is. But in a broader sense, 2014 was merely another year in a long chain of human triumph and misery. Wars have been waged, marvelous things have been invented, disease has broken out, and people have fallen in love. Nonetheless, lists are called for, and this is my list of the five most important events of 2014. Continue reading “George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014”

The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanLast week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to an exchange of prisoners being held on espionage charges. In addition, Washington and Havana agreed to hold discussions with the goal of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. No agreement was reached on ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba, a step that requires congressional approval. Continue reading “The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations”

OMA to design Shanghai Exhibition Centre

OMAshanghaiOMA of Rotterdam has won the competition to design an Exhibition Centre in Shanghai. The project site, occupying the former ‘Shanghai Shipyard’, has a long history of marine industry. The new Exhibition Centre is positioned on the ramp of a former ship cradle and provides a concentrated event space within the surrounding financial district. Continue reading “OMA to design Shanghai Exhibition Centre”

The Fed War: Yellen Doctrine vs. Volcker Doctrine

by Ralph Benko

fedThe financial markets are on a hair trigger as to when, and how quickly, the Fed will tighten and raise interest rates.  Billions of dollars will be won or lost by investors on this wager. For the rest of us, getting it right — as did Chairman Volcker and (during his first two terms), Greenspan is crucial to the creation of a climate of equitable prosperity in which jobs are created in abundance.  39 million jobs were created during the “Great Moderation.” We haven’t seen anything remotely like that since. Continue reading “The Fed War: Yellen Doctrine vs. Volcker Doctrine”

How the ‘Reserve’ Dollar Harms America

By Lewis E. Lehrman And John D. Mueller

gold-standard-liberty-coinFor more than three decades we have called attention in the Wall Street Journal to what we called the “reserve-currency curse.” Since some politicians and economists have recently insisted that the dollar’s official role as the world’s reserve currency is instead a great blessing, it is time to revisit the issue. Ending the greenback’s reserve-currency role will raise savings and make U.S. companies more competitive. Continue reading “How the ‘Reserve’ Dollar Harms America”

Vopak to co-develop Malaysian terminal

logo_vopakPetroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Dialog Group Berhad (Dialog) and Royal Vopak (Vopak) signed a shareholders agreement to jointly develop an industrial terminal in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia. Vopak will have a 25% share. The industrial terminal will serve the users of the new world-scale Petronas’ RAPID project which is an integral section of Petronas Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC). Continue reading “Vopak to co-develop Malaysian terminal”

Brazil Inflation: Nowhere to go but up?

By Thais Thimoteo

logoFGVIf in 2013 producers and consumers split the cost of price increases evenly, in 2014 the cost of inflation has fallen squarely on the consumer. Through November 2013 12-month inflation went up to 5.6% as measured by the General Price Index 10 (IGP-10) calculated by the Brazilian Institute of Economics, Getulio Vargas Foundation (IBRE/FGV); the Producer Price Index (IPA) was 5.2% and the Consumer Price Index (IPC) 5.4%. This year, prices of farm products rose only 1.7% but the cost of the goods on supermarket shelves went up 6.6%. The difference between producer and consumer inflation lies with inflation of services, which has been stubbornly high, and adjustment of controlled prices. Continue reading “Brazil Inflation: Nowhere to go but up?”

President of ECT steps down

ectcranesJan Westerhoud, President of Europe Container Terminals (ECT), has decided to step down and retire from the company effective 1 January 2015. This decision was made in good consultation with main shareholder Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPH). A successor will be named in due course. Jan Westerhoud has guided ECT through 10 years in which the industry has undergone tremendous changes. ECT has experienced a considerable growth in this period and has successfully developed new activities. ECT and HPH are very grateful for Jan Westerhoud’s dedication for ECT and HPH throughout these years (ECT).

Kotug and Smit to merge European towage

Kotug_logologoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) and Kotug International B.V. (Kotug) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to merge their European harbour towage operations. The companies will establish a 50/50 joint venture for this purpose, combining the European harbour towage activities of Smit, a Boskalis subsidiary, with the European harbour towage activities of Kotug. This merger is the concluding step in Boskalis’ strategy aimed at establishing regional partnerships for its harbour towage activities, as was previously done through Smit Lamnalco, Keppel Smit and most recently Saam Smit. By joining forces opportunities are created to achieve cost and market synergies as well as a more efficient capital structure. Continue reading “Kotug and Smit to merge European towage”

Rotterdam Makes it Happen

rotterdampartnersThe Municipality of Rotterdam, Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoR), Erasmus University of Rotterdam and Rotterdam Partners are joining hands to put Rotterdam more clearly on the map, both at home and abroad. The concerted profile under the motto ‘Make it Happen’ reflects the typical Rotterdam mentality and shows what the city, port and inhabitants stand for: pioneering, groundbreaking and no-nonsense. This unique collaboration aims to attract and retain the highly educated, businesses, trade, visitors and citizens. Continue reading “Rotterdam Makes it Happen”

SBM Offshore restructuring

sbmSBM Offshore announced it will be restructuring the company and move its headoffice to Amsterdam. In light of market conditions and in order to optimise the company’s cost base, capacity requirements have been reviewed with the objective of creating a productive environment for performing teams and maintaining core competencies and technological edge. Regretfully SBM Offshore is in the process of releasing approximately 600 contractor staff and an equal number of permanent staff, totalling approximately 1,200 positions worldwide, over the period 2014 and 2015. Continue reading “SBM Offshore restructuring”

Viewing Russia from the inside

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanLast week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn’t rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the equator, this is unsettling. It is the first sign that you are not only in a foreign country, which I am used to, but also in a foreign environment. Yet as we drove toward downtown Moscow, well over an hour away, the traffic, the road work, were all commonplace. Moscow has three airports, and we flew into the farthest one from downtown, Domodedovo — the primary international airport. There is endless renovation going on in Moscow, and while it holds up traffic, it indicates that prosperity continues, at least in the capital. Continue reading “Viewing Russia from the inside”

Kotug strengthens position in Asia

Kotug_logoA partnership has been established between Kotug Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. and Johor Port Berhad following on from Johor Port Berhad’s RFP exercise to select the right partner for the provision of maritime towage services in Johor Port area and other identified areas. The strategic collaboration with Kotug is in line with JPB’s commitment to provide the most efficient marine services to its customers.  Continue reading “Kotug strengthens position in Asia”

Port of Rotterdam deepened entrance to Botlek

portofrotterdamThe removal of an underwater dam at the entrance to the Botlek (at port number 4030) has been completed successfully. The nautical guaranteed depth (NGD) was -5.60 metres NAP (New Amsterdam Water Level) and will now be -14.50 metres NAP. In total, the building consortium Boskalis/Van Oord dredged over 500,000 m3 from the mouth of the Botlek. These operations will considerably improve the nautical accessibility of this port area. At the end of September, a significant section of the shallows was removed, so that the Oasis of the Seas – the biggest passenger ship in the world – could access Keppel Verolme more easily. The measure is in line with Port Authority policy to continue to develop existing port areas in the port of Rotterdam. In the coming five years, it will be investing half a billion euros in this (Port of Rotterdam).

Van Oord acquires activities of Ballast Nedam Offshore

logo-vanoordVan Oord late November reached agreement on the acquisition of the activities of Ballast Nedam Offshore. The acquisition consists of the assets of Ballast Nedam Offshore, the dedicated EPCI staff (Engineering, Procurement, Contracting and Installation), heavy lift installation vessel Svanen and the Westermeerwind project (144 MW). The activities will be integrated into Van Oord’s Offshore Wind Projects business unit. The acquisition will strengthen Van Oord’s leading position in the offshore wind market for north west Europe. Continue reading “Van Oord acquires activities of Ballast Nedam Offshore”

Boskalis acquires Australian towage company

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. announced that Smit Lamnalco, a 50% owned associate, has substantially strengthened its position in Australia through the acquisition of PB Towage Australia. PB Towage is the second largest player in Australia with activities along the Eastern coast stretching from Melbourne to the Cape York Peninsula. Following this transaction, Smit Lamnalco will be active in 8 ports in Australia with a total of 29 vessels offering a combination of harbour towage, terminal and FPSO-related services. The acquisition follows the Boskalis strategy to develop its position in the towage market through partnerships such as Smit Lamnalco and to grow through regional consolidation opportunities. For Smit Lamnalco, this acquisition will create opportunities to achieve market synergies for its existing activities in the region (Boskalis).

Seminar Doing Business in Angola & Mozambique

abd logoOn December 12th SANEC, Atlantico Business Development and Fenedex will jointly organize a seminar on doing business in Angola and Mozambique. The seminar will be hosted by PWC at their Rotterdam office. The event is aimed at Dutch SME’s that would like to do business in these booming markets. Arnout Nuijt, Managing Director of Atlantico Business Development, a Rotterdam based consultancy focusing on Portuguese speaking Africa, will be one of the speakers, as will representatives of PWC and Dutch companies already active in those countries. The meeting is jointly organized by SANEC (Southern African Netherlands Chamber of Commerce), Atlantico Business Development and Fenedex, the Federation of Dutch Exporters. Dutch SME’s are welcome to register at Fenedex.