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”

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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.

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”

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”

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”

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….”

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”

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”

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”

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”

SBM Offshore Reintroduces COO Position

sbmSBM Offshore announced today the appointment of Philippe Barril as Chief Operating Officer (COO) effective March 1, 2015. Philippe’s appointment as a member of the Management Board is subject to approval at the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders to be held on April 15, 2015. Continue reading “SBM Offshore Reintroduces COO Position”

Brazil’s 2015 economic outlook: Rebalancing will not be easy

By Solange Monteiro
MArcaFGV_IBRE_endossoDramatic events in the second half of 2014 transformed the scenario at the turn of the year in Brazil into a big question mark. The fierce presidential race, the deterioration of economic indicators, and allegations of corruption at state-owned oil company Petrobras heightened the already anxious expectations about 2015. Can the course of the country be corrected under the same leadership amid political tensions? Continue reading “Brazil’s 2015 economic outlook: Rebalancing will not be easy”

Multi-annual and exclusive contract for Kotug

Kotug_logoFive members of the G6-Alliance (APL, Hyundai, MOL, NYK Line and OOCL) have awarded a multi-annual and exclusive contract to Kotug for towage services in the Port of Rotterdam with effect from January 1st 2015. Kotug’s CEO Ard-Jan Kooren said: “This contract is a milestone for our European harbour towage. Our mission is ‘exceeding our clients expectations’ and building long term relationships. We are glad that our investments resulted in this multi-annual towage contract and being recognized by our clients as a high-quality towage provider“. Continue reading “Multi-annual and exclusive contract for Kotug”

IHC acquires Brastec Technologies, Brazil

ihcRoyal IHC (IHC) has acquired a majority stake in Brastec Technologies, based in Brazil. Brastec Technologies designs and builds value-added, tailor-made production lines for the production of umbilicals and flexible pipes. This agreement fulfils two important elements of IHC business strategy: a foothold in the important Brazilian market; and the acquisition of Dutch-based SAS Offshore, which was fully owned by Brastec Technologies. Continue reading “IHC acquires Brastec Technologies, Brazil”

Boskalis, Van Oord to construct Jakarta island

logoboskalislogo-vanoordRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) and joint venture partner Van Oord have been awarded a contract by PT Muara Wisesa Samudra to design and construct the artificial island for the Dredging and Land Development Works for Pluit City off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia. The contract carries a value of approximately EUR 350 million (Boskalis share 50%). Continue reading “Boskalis, Van Oord to construct Jakarta island”

Throughput Port of Rotterdam up 1%

portofrotterdamIn 2014, the throughput in the port of Rotterdam went up 1% to 445 million tonnes. The different market sectors performed quite dissimilar. The container sector, up by 5.8% (volume) and breakbulk, with 12.1% growth, did exceptionally well. Oil products fell the most, by 8.1%. An extra 4.8% of crude oil passed through the port. Dry bulk fell by 0.7%. Allard Castelein, Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO: “In 2015 we expect the same growth in throughput as last year: 1%. This year too, the main growth is expected in the container sector. In the coming years, we will nurture the large, existing sectors in the port, whilst also focusing strongly on innovation and broadening the range of activities in the port. We need both for a healthy future.” Continue reading “Throughput Port of Rotterdam up 1%”

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”

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?”