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).

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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.

SBM settles Angola, Brazil corruption affair

sbmSBM Offshore has reached an out-of-court settlement ex Article 74 of the Dutch Criminal Code with the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (Openbaar Ministerie) over the inquiry into alleged improper payments.  Furthermore, the United States Department of Justice has informed SBM Offshore that it is not prosecuting the Company and has closed its inquiry into the matter. The settlement with the Openbaar Ministerie and the United States Department of Justice’s decision relate to payments to sales agents in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil in the period from 2007 through 2011. Continue reading “SBM settles Angola, Brazil corruption affair”

The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 2

by Ralph Benko

gold-standard-liberty-coinAs noted in my previous column, AEI’s James Pethokoukis and National Review‘s Ramesh Ponnuru — among many others — appear to have fallen victim to what I have called the “Eichengreen Fallacy.” This refers to the demonstrably incorrect proposition that the gold standard caused the Great Depression. Pethokoukis proves exactly right in observing that “Benko is a gold-standard advocate and apparently doesn’t much like the words ‘Hitler’ or ‘Nazi’ to be in the same area code of any discussion of once again linking the dollar to the shiny yellow metal.” “Doesn’t much like” being falsely linked with Hitler? Perhaps an apology is more in order than an apologia. Continue reading “The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 2”

Vueling to fly Rotterdam-Barcelona route

rtmairportSpanish airline Vueling announced it will fly between Rotterdam (RTM) and Barcelona (BCN) airports from April 2015. Flights will take place four times a week: on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flights are already bookable at http://www.vueling.com. The Vueling flights come on top of those carried out by Dutch airline Transavia (of the Air France-KLM Group), that connect the two cities four times a week already. The frequency of Transavia’s flights will be increased to 6 or 7 per week during summer 2015. The abundance of cheap flights between RTM and BCN will contribute to the growing tourist and business links between the metropolitan area of Barcelona (5,4 million people and the capital of independence-minded Catalonia) and the metropolitan region of Rotterdam-The Hague (2,5 million inhabitants and combining the largest port on the Atlantic with the political capital of the Netherlands).

Van Oord wins Shell Gabon order

logo-vanoordVan Oord has been awarded the EPC contract for the replacement of a dual 10 km long oil export line. The client is Shell Gabon. The execution period runs from November 2014 to the summer of 2015. The export line runs from the Gamba terminal, 200 NM south of Port of Gentil, to a pipeline end manifold (PLEM). The existing 30 inch line will be replaced by a looped dual 22 inch sea line system with pigging facilities allowing for inspection and cleaning. Van Oord will deploy shallow water pipe lay barge Stingray. The project contributes to Gabon’s export of energy and is important for the economic development in the region.

Boskalis acquires 15% of Fugro

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) last week acquired a 14.8% stake in Fugro N.V. Boskalis said it views Fugro as an interesting company with activities that fit very well with its own activities. Boskalis wants to enter into a dialogue with Fugro to explore possible options for cooperation. Boskalis stressed that it has no intention to make an offer for Fugro. Continue reading “Boskalis acquires 15% of Fugro”

The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 1

by Ralph Benko

gold-standard-liberty-coinAEI’s James Pethokoukis and National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru — among many others — appear to have fallen victim to what I have called “the Eichengreen Fallacy,” the demonstrably incorrect proposition that the gold standard caused the Great Depression.  This fallacy is at the root of much confusion in the discourse. Continue reading “The Gold Standard Did Not Cause The Great Depression, Part 1”

Madeira’s Shipping Register is EU’s fourth largest

sdmlogoBy the end of September, the International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) became the fourth largest international shipping register of the European Union, reaching the largest number of vessels since its creation. According to the Sociedade de Desenvolvimento de Madeira’s data, by the end of September of 2014, a total of 316 vessels was registered in MAR, 53 more than the total number registered at the end of 2013, a result which represents an extremely positive development for this sector of the International Business Centre of Madeira (IBCM). Continue reading “Madeira’s Shipping Register is EU’s fourth largest”

OECD urges Brazil to tackle foreign bribery

logooecd_enBrazil must build on the positive momentum started with its new Corporate Liability Law and its first indictments in one foreign bribery case to investigate and prosecute more proactively foreign bribery. Since Brazil joined the Convention in 2000, of the 14 allegations identified in the report, only five have been investigated and three investigations are still ongoing – a very low number in light of the size of Brazil’s economy. Continue reading “OECD urges Brazil to tackle foreign bribery”

Strong growth in Rotterdam’s roll on/roll off

portofrotterdamIn the first nine months of 2014, 15 million tonnes of roll on/ roll off cargo was handled in the port of Rotterdam, 8% more (+1.1 million tonnes) than in the same period of 2013. This increase is due almost entirely to the growth of the British economy. With annual throughput of around 20 million tonnes, Rotterdam is among the top 3 ferry ports in Western Europe. The difference between cargo leaving Rotterdam (8.1 million tonnes) and incoming ro/ro cargo (6.9 million tonnes) is smaller than one would expect from an import-focused economy like the British one. Certainly now that the British pound is also expensive in relation to the euro, therefore putting a brake on exports. Ro/ro transport from Rotterdam to England focuses very much on foodstuffs: a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, but also preserved products, frozen produce (meat, dairy products, a lot of potato products), onions and drinks (wine, beer, soft drinks). Consumer durables such as furniture and white goods, hygienic paper products (nappies, toilet paper, tissues, etc.) and car parts are also important. Continue reading “Strong growth in Rotterdam’s roll on/roll off”

Opportunities in Cabo Verde’s agribusiness

abd logoAtlantico Business Development, a Dutch consultancy focused on Portuguese speaking countries, has produced a practical guide for doing business in the agribusiness sector in emerging Cabo Verde. Cabo Verde today is growing fast as a holiday destination for European tourists, combining political stability, security and guaranteed good weather. At this moment the country receives about 600.000 tourists per year, a number that is expected to rise by 2019 to around 1 million per year. Cabo Verde even has the potential to host between 2 and 3 million tourists per year in a decade or so, which would make the country one of Africa’s most important tourist destinations. These fast growing numbers of European tourists will need to be supplied continuously with good quality fresh food and other products, which at this moment poses an enormous challenge to the Cabo Verde tourist sector. Continue reading “Opportunities in Cabo Verde’s agribusiness”

Gate terminal signs EUR 76 million project financing agreement for LNG break bulk facility

logo_vopakGate terminal (main shareholders Gasunie and Royal Vopak) announced that it has signed a financing agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and four other banks that already participate in the syndicate of ten international banks which currently provide long term financing to Gate terminal. This additional financing agreement supports the funding of the expansion of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) break bulk infrastructure and services at the Gate terminal in the Port of Rotterdam. Continue reading “Gate terminal signs EUR 76 million project financing agreement for LNG break bulk facility”

A glimpse of Brazil after the elections

By João Augusto de Castro Neves of the Eurasia Group

logoFGVBrazil is witnessing one of the most competitive and thrilling presidential elections in nearly a quarter of a century. In the last three months, polls had the three candidates alternating in the lead. Now, with the second-round runoff between President Dilma Rousseff (Workers’ Party, PT) and Senator Aécio Neves (Brazilian Social Democratic Party, PSDB) close to a toss-up, it’s useful to take a step back to get some perspective on the challenges for the next administration. No matter who wins on  October 26 , the post-election landscape will be as difficult for the next president as the election is electrifying for the candidates. Continue reading “A glimpse of Brazil after the elections”

Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Declines 23% in the First Half of 2014

latamForeign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries that have available data decreased by 23% during the first half of 2014 with respect to the same period last year, reaching a total of $84.071 billion dollars, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported. On a global level, however, FDI flows are forecast to grow 10% during 2014, mainly due to investments received by developed countries, the United Nations regional organization said. Continue reading “Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Declines 23% in the First Half of 2014”

Van Oord, Boskalis to expand Suez canal

logoboskalislogo-vanoordA consortium consisting of Van Oord, Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., NMDC (Abu Dhabi) and Jan de Nul (Belgium) has acquired a contract from the Suez Canal Authorities in connection with the expansion of the Suez Canal, which provides a vital shipping link between Europe and Asia. The total contract value amounts to USD 1.5 billion, with each partner entitled to an equal share of USD 375 million. Continue reading “Van Oord, Boskalis to expand Suez canal”

Atlantico Business Development expands services

abd logoAtlantico Business Development, an international consultancy based in Rotterdam and focused on doing business in Brazil and Portuguese speaking Africa, is expanding its services. A full overview of Atlantico’s services as well as the markets where the company operates presently is available at their website, Atlantico Business Development.

New services include among other things “partner and agent search”, which is extremely important for SME’s when doing business in faraway and high cost markets such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.  No doubt Atlantico Busines Development will live up to its slogan “trusted, dedicated and effective” regarding this service as well.

Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

By Adriano Bosoni and Mark Fleming-Williams

stratforThe European Court of Justice announced Sept. 22 that hearings in the case against the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond-buying scheme known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) will begin Oct. 14. Though the process is likely to be lengthy, with a judgment not due until mid-2015, the ruling will have serious implications for Germany’s relationship with the rest of the eurozone. The timing could hardly be worse, coming as an anti-euro party has recently been making strides in the German political scene, steadily undermining the government’s room for maneuver. Continue reading “Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone”

OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance

logooecd_enThe OECD released its first recommendations for a co-ordinated international approach to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project designed to create a single set of international tax rules to end the erosion of tax bases and the artificial shifting of profits to jurisdictions to avoid paying tax. Continue reading “OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance”

Mexican Navy orders two more Damen vessels

damenmexicoIn August 2014 the Mexican Navy (Secretaría de Marina in Spanish) and Damen Shipyards Group (the Netherlands) signed contracts for the delivery of the design, material package, technical assistance and training for two vessels that will be built by the Mexican Navy, using the Damen Technical Cooperation programme, which enables customers to build their vessel on the location of their choice. Continue reading “Mexican Navy orders two more Damen vessels”

Erasmus University rises in worldwide rankings

logoeurErasmus University Rotterdam has risen slightly in the QS World University Rankings. In this year’s  ranking of approximately 800 universities worldwide, the university is ranked at 90, two places higher than last year. The 90th place is the highest position of the Erasmus University in the QS World University Rankings since 2006. The Rotterdam based university is the fifth ranked Dutch university in the list. Continue reading “Erasmus University rises in worldwide rankings”

Global growth continuing at a moderate pace

logooecd_enA moderate expansion is underway in most major advanced and emerging economies, but growth remains weak in the euro area, which runs the risk of prolonged stagnation if further steps are not taken to boost demand, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Assessment. Continue reading “Global growth continuing at a moderate pace”

Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD

logooecd_enSpain is emerging from a protracted recession, marked by a return to moderate growth and rising international competitiveness. Decisive banking and fiscal reforms, coupled with supportive monetary policy from the European Central Bank, have reduced financial tensions and improved public finance. But to ensure that the recovery is sustained and unemployment returns to much lower levels, full implementation of on-going structural reforms and further measures to improve productivity and competitiveness are now needed, according to the latest OECD Economic Survey of Spain. Continue reading “Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD”

IMF: strong reform and robust nonoil growth in Angola

imf_sealAfter a strong growth in 2013 estimated at 6.8 percent, economic growth in 2014 is projected at 3.9 percent despite a decline in oil output. Robust growth in the nonoil economy, mainly driven by a very good performance in the agricultural sector, is expected to offset a temporary but considerable drop in oil production. Ongoing investments in agriculture are expected to pay off with an increase in agriculture production by about 11½ percent in 2014. Other sectors such as manufacturing, electricity and services, are also expected to contribute. Inflation projected to reach 7½ percent by end-2014 is well within the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA)’s objective. The overall fiscal balance, which was in surplus in the last four years, is expected to deteriorate substantially in 2014, reaching a deficit of around 4 percent of GDP. Oil revenue fell by 14 percent during January-May 2014, mainly due to a 10 percent decline in oil production related to unscheduled maintenance and repair work in some oil fields. International reserves at the BNA remain adequate at an equivalent of 7¾ months of imports. Continue reading “IMF: strong reform and robust nonoil growth in Angola”

ECT handles 150,000,000th TEU

ectcranesECT handled the 150 millionth TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit, the unit of measure for containers) in Rotterdam since its inception in 1967. With that, ECT is the first container terminal operator in Europe to achieve this remarkable milestone. 150 million TEU equals a line of containers more than 900,000 kilometres long. Or: from here to the moon and back, and then a few times around the world. Continue reading “ECT handles 150,000,000th TEU”

Dutch remain 8th in Global Competitiveness

RSM+logo+1jpgThe Dutch remain in the eighth place in the Global Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Report assesses the competitiveness of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. Data for the Netherlands was collected by research institute INSCOPE: Research for Innovation at Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), and was led by Professor Henk Volberda. Continue reading “Dutch remain 8th in Global Competitiveness”

Royal IHC starts building dredger for stock

ihcworlddredgerRoyal IHC (IHC) is constructing the first vessel in its range of competitively priced standard trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHD). It has started to build the Easydredge™ 2700 for stock in response to the increasing global demand for TSHDs with an extremely short delivery time. The new vessel will be supplied with a “world-dredging package”, which includes bottom doors, a bow coupling and a dredging depth of 25m. This makes her suitable for a wide range of tasks, from the maintenance of ports and channels, to land reclamation. Continue reading “Royal IHC starts building dredger for stock”

Ecuador buys two Damen Stan Patrol vessels

Damen_Stan_Patrol_VesselDamen has recently signed a contract with Astilleros Navales Ecuatorianos (Astinave) to construct two Damen SPa’s 5009 for the Ecuadorian Coastguard. The Ecuadorian shipyard will build both vessels locally with Damen Technical Cooperation, which is Damen’s method of ‘building on site’. Continue reading “Ecuador buys two Damen Stan Patrol vessels”

Boskalis posts record half year profits

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) realized a net profit of EUR 253 million in the first half of 2014 (H1 2013: EUR 123 million). Revenue rose 21% in the first half of the year to EUR 1.5 billion (H1 2013: EUR 1.3 billion). Organic revenue growth was 13.4%. EBITDA amounted to EUR 466 million in the first six months and the operating result (EBIT) was EUR 338 million (H1 2013 EBITDA: EUR 280 million and EBIT: EUR 162 million, respectively). Continue reading “Boskalis posts record half year profits”

Van Oord gets orders in Brazil and Bahamas

logo-vanoordVan Oord has won two orders in Brazil and the Bahamas. The activities involve dredging work for the construction of a new shipyard in Aracruz, Brazil. The client is Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA), a Brazilian subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard from Singapore. In the Bahamas, three ports will be upgraded on the instructions of the Ministry of National Security as part of the Sandy Bottom Project. Both orders have a joint contract value of more than EUR 100 million The execution of both projects has already started. The project in Brazil will be completed in late 2014. The work in the Bahamas will be completed in early 2016.

Continue reading “Van Oord gets orders in Brazil and Bahamas”

Van Oord to build largest Dutch offshore wind project

logo-vanoordThe Gemini offshore wind project shareholders, headed by Canada’s Northland Power Inc., announced that they have reached agreement with the banks on the project’s financing. The financial close will contribute EUR 2.3 billion to the overall construction costs of EUR 2.8 billion. Van Oord has a 10% equity stake in this project. The other shareholders are Northland Power Inc. (60%), Siemens Project Ventures (20%) and HVC (10%). The shareholders will contribute equity amounting to a total of EUR 400 million. Gemini will be one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world. Continue reading “Van Oord to build largest Dutch offshore wind project”

Boskalis studies ultra large Dockwise vessel

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) announced at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston (USA) that it has started a study into a new ultra large V-class Heavy Marine Transport Vessel (HTV). The Dockwise Vanguard which came into service early 2013 is already the world’s largest V-class HTV with a carrying capacity of 117,000 MT and a deck space of 270 meters by 70 meters. Continue reading “Boskalis studies ultra large Dockwise vessel”