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%”

The Biggest Money Player In Politics Is The Fed

By Ralph Benko

fedWashington finally shows signs of coming to grips with the importance of money to politics. This is not about mere campaign finance. Recently there was a breakthrough in bringing the money policy issue out of the shadows and to center stage … where it belongs. The real issue of money in politics is about the Fed, not the Kochs. The Fed’s political impact is orders of magnitude greater than all the billionaires’ money, bright and dark, left and right, combined. There was a real breakthrough in the discourse last week. This breakthrough deserves far more attention than it yet has received. Continue reading “The Biggest Money Player In Politics Is The Fed”

The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanFor the past two weeks, I have focused on the growing fragmentation of Europe. Two weeks ago, the murders in Paris prompted me to write about the fault line between Europe and the Islamic world. Last week, I wrote about the nationalism that is rising in individual European countries after the European Central Bank was forced to allow national banks to participate in quantitative easing so European nations wouldn’t be forced to bear the debt of other nations. I am focusing on fragmentation partly because it is happening before our eyes, partly because Stratfor has been forecasting this for a long time and partly because my new book on the fragmentation of Europe — Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe — is being released today. Continue reading “The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics”

The Unsung X-Factor That Could Upend The Next Presidential Election

By Ralph Benko

uscapitolOne, and only one, candidate, Barack Obama, caught the X-factor and improbably got himself nominated and elected, and re-elected, president.  Another improbable candidate could catch it again. What is that X-factor?  How does it upend things? Peace and personal security continued to flourish in 2014 and are likely to continue into 2015 and beyond. This is important news. It also is news the news media can ill afford to report. But voters sense it. Continue reading “The Unsung X-Factor That Could Upend The Next Presidential Election”

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.

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”

Erasmus, Stellenbosch Universities join forces

logoeurErasmus University Rotterdam and Stellenbosch University (South Africa) are going to collaborate even more intensively. On Tuesday, 11 November 2014, Rector Magnificus Prof. Huibert Pols, on behalf of Erasmus University, and Prof. Johan Hattingh, on behalf of SU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a partnership agreement in respect of a joint PhD programme. There is already faculty and institutional level cooperation with Stellenbosch University. Continue reading “Erasmus, Stellenbosch Universities join forces”

What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanTwenty-five years ago, a crowd filled with an uneasy mixture of joy and rage tore down the Berlin Wall. There was joy for the end of Germany’s partition and the end of tyranny. There was rage against generations of fear. One fear was of communist oppression. The other fear was of the threat of a war, which had loomed over Europe and Germany since 1945. One fear was moral and ideological, while the other was prudential and geopolitical. As in all defining political moments, fear and rage, ideology and geopolitics, blended together in an intoxicating mix. Continue reading “What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change”

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”

Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanU.S. President Barack Obama has come under intense criticism for his foreign policy, along with many other things. This is not unprecedented. Former President George W. Bush was similarly attacked. Stratfor has always maintained that the behavior of nations has much to do with the impersonal forces driving it, and little to do with the leaders who are currently passing through office. To what extent should American presidents be held accountable for events in the world, and what should they be held accountable for? Continue reading “Principle, Rigor and Execution Matter in U.S. Foreign Policy”