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Aurelio Martínez: “Large-scale infrastructure is the key to maintaining an international presence”



Aurelio Martínez: “Large-scale infrastructure is the key to maintaining an international presence”. Image: Port Authority of Valencia
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The President of the Port Authority of Valencia, Aurelio Martínez, has indicated that “the large infrastructures are the key to maintaining a presence abroad and to face the forecasts that indicate that the growth of the commercial flows of goods is lower than those experienced in previous periods as reflected in the fall of the elasticity of trade to income and in a reduction of the coefficient of external opening. We need to prepare for medium- and long-term trends in the development of international trade and its fluctuations.

“To do this, regardless of the scenario, and to face these trends, in addition to strategic infrastructures, we must bet on multimodality and large operational hubs, promote means such as railways, motorways of the sea, respect for the environment or digitalization and automation of processes. These are lines on which we have been working resolutely for some time in Valenciaport to ensure competitiveness and economic development,” said Martínez.

The president of the PAV participated in the webinar “Reflections of a Maritime Autumn: Future of Maritime Cargo in LATAM and Europe” organized by the Federation of National Associations of Cargo Agents and International Logistics Operators of Latin America and the Caribbean (ALACAT) and the Spanish Federation of Freight Forwarders (FETEIA). During his speech, Aurelio Martinez has made a review of the major crises in international trade and maritime traffic from which he notes that “all are different, have predicted the end of the world but we have left them and have accelerated some of the trends that were already present”.

Economic and structural changes

Concerning to the current situation, the president of the PAV stressed that “the fall in trade flows is due to temporary causes, such as the fall in the prices of raw materials, the exhaustion of monetary policy or the lack of action by public spending on investment. But also, structural due to technological and value chain changes that may end up modifying traditional trade flows, and political and institutional changes that are driving a new protectionism and economic nationalism”.

Along these lines, he cited some of the structural elements that are affecting international trade, such as ageing, high indebtedness, low investment or the risk of deflation in certain developed countries, in addition to stagnating wages, worsening income distribution, the need for fiscal reform, increased consumption of services as opposed to intensive goods, dispersion of supply or business concentration. “The result of all these changes will be reflected in the fact that trade flows will grow at lower rates.

In addition, we must add the new protectionism, which has been aggravated by the impact of the health crisis on activity, and which is here to stay”.

Faced with these changes, the president of the PAV has highlighted the positive elements that play in favour of international trade such as “the growth of the world population, the pressure to improve living standards, the growing urbanisation and migratory movements that demand products or the incorporation of other areas of the world into development”.

In this sense, Martinez added that “growth forecasts on a global scale indicate that the areas with the greatest development in the coming decades will be Asia, Africa and to a lesser extent Latin America, so it is foreseeable that trade flows will change routes.

Maritime transport, the most efficient

During the presentation, Aurelio Martinez recalled the strengths of maritime transport which is the “most efficient means whatever the variables used as energy expenditure per MT and km, volume, environmental sustainability or safety, among others. An efficiency that is based on technological progress and a constant reduction of unit costs, which makes it the most competitive transport sector”.

The meeting included the presentation of the webinar by the president of ALACAT, Moisés Solís, and the president of FETEIA (Enric Ticó), and the participation in the panel by the president of the PAV, Aurelio Martínez, together with Héctor Tamburini of DP World, Neil Taylor, vice-president of FIATA, Joseph Santo, general manager of Hapag Lloyd and Francisco Jiménez of Deloitte, and moderated by Fabio Contino.


Yilport Leixões has a record quarter in Q1 2020



Yilport Leixões has a record quarter in Q1 2020. Image: Yilport Holding Inc
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Yilport Leixões handled 181.651 Teus increasing its volume by 7.9% in Q1 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year with 168.387 Teus. Taken Q1 2018 into consideration, volume improvement to 28.9% clearly shows the noticeable growth in terminal achieved throughout the years.

Yilport Leixões, the terminal handled 71.334 Teus in March alone setting a new record in container segment, also closed the first quarter as one of the top terminals in container volume among Yilport Holding’s all 22 terminals operating in 10 countries around the world. In terms of overall cargo, Yilport Leixões handled 5.3 million tons in the first three months of 2020. Along with increase in container volume, ro-ro cargo also improved by 3.6% and supported Yilport Leixões’ continued success.

Chairman and CEO Robert Yuksel Yildirim evaluated Yilport Leixões’ Q1 performance and upcoming projects: “As a part of Yilport Holding’s strategy to make 2020 ‘the year of expansion and modernization in all ports of our portfolio’, we continue to execute our investments and development plans in Yilport Leixões. To support increasing volume and elevate annual handling capacity, we realize reconversion & expansion works and heavily investing on new equipment in Yilport Leixões. As the first step, 6 state-of-the-art E-RTGs were already ordered and expected to be delivered in the first half of 2021. We’re very satisfied with the first quarter results of Yilport Leixões and believe with our projects both in North Container Terminal and South Container Terminal we will sustain the leading role in the region with growing throughput and help Portuguese economy to grow more.”

Yilport Leixões, the largest seaport in the north of Portugal, continues its equipment and infrastructure investments to increase its capacity as well. Within the scope of North Terminal Reconversion & Expansion works, quay wall extension, dredging for deeper draft of 16 m, yard capacity increase and STS & RTG investments are planned and already started to be worked on.

Currently South Container Expansion Project also progresses with estimated completion end of December 2020. Civil works i.e., depot area, completion of RTG yard blocks, installation of intermodal rail yard, installation of lighting poles foundations, and other works are currently being carried out. The terminal conducts all these works with minimum impact in the daily operation of Yilport Leixões. Additionally, towards the end of 2020, the terminal operating system that Yilport Holding uses in all its portfolio, Navis N4, will be implemented.

Yilport Leixões Logistics Platform is another exciting project to continue nowadays. The platform will be developed in Logistics Center #1 of Yilport Leixões Logistics Platform, in an area of approximately 2.3 hectares and privileged distance of 1.5 kilometers of the terminal allowing improved depot and storage capabilities for empty and full containers and additional services such as equipment maintenance and repair. In the second phase, CFS and Contract Logistics will be the focus.

Yilport Holding, a subsidiary of Yildirim Group of Companies is the fastest growing international container terminal operator in the world and is currently ranked 12th among international container terminal operators by Drewry Report.

Yilport Leixões located at Porto continues its utmost endeavors to keep its commitment to the Portuguese government to make the Port of Leixões much more competitive than it already is. With consistent volume growth and breaking operational records, Yilport Leixões is not only strengthening the position as leader in gateway throughputs in the country but also strengthening its future by investing in modernization and infrastructure along with complementary services like, Logistics Platform project to be launched in the very short term.

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Port of Oakland loaded box volume declines in May as expected



Port of Oakland loaded box volume declines in May as expected. Image: Wikimedia/ JGkatz
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Port of Oakland loaded container volume decreased 12.7 percent last month from May 2019 totals, according to data released today. The Port had been expecting cargo decline due to continued COVID-19 impacts on global shipping.

The Port pointed to lower consumer demand in domestic and foreign markets, both driven by coronavirus pandemic uncertainty, as the main reason for declining trade volume.

“Since March, the Port has seen indications of more significant cargo declines, so the May results are not unexpected,” said Port of Oakland Acting Maritime Director Delphine Prevost. “Ocean carriers have been reducing the number of vessels in service in anticipation of expected declines in import demand. It’s created challenges for exporters who are seeing less predictable vessel schedules and facing issues with finding capacity for their exports.”

According to the Port, May 2020 loaded import volume dropped 14.6 percent from May 2019.  Loaded exports declined 10.7 percent. The return of empty containers to Asia decreased 28 percent.  As a result, total cargo volume declined 16.8 percent.

Overall, the January-to-May 2020 cargo statistics show a 7.8 percent decrease compared to the same time period in 2019.

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SSAB Raahe’s steel plant is testing biogas from Gasum as a maritime transport fuel



SSAB Raahe’s steel plant is testing biogas from Gasum as a maritime transport fuel. Image: Gasum Oy
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The test will be carried out in collaboration with ESL Shipping and Gasum. This is the first time that biogas will be used as fuel for ships in Finland.

SSAB, ESL Shipping and Gasum are working together to reduce the emissions arising in shipping SSAB’s raw materials. Last year, SSAB and ESL Shipping introduced a new transport chain that, in comparison with its predecessor, nearly halved the carbon dioxide emissions originating in shipping SSAB’s raw materials between Luleå, Oxelösund and Raahe.

The improved transport chain brought into use ESL Shipping’s new ships Viikki and Haaga which are fueled by liquefied natural gas rather than conventional fuels. Now these companies are piloting the use of liquefied biogas as a supplementary fuel to further replace fossil fuels.

In the test that kicked off yesterday, M/S Viikki was fueled with LNG and one tanker load of liquefied biogas which was brought to SSAB Raahe from the Gasum Terminal in Pori.

“With this test, we aim to find out whether biogas could be used in small amounts for maritime transport to reduce emissions. The methane in biogas originates from biogenic material and so does not contain any fossil coal.  This means the amount of biogas used in the test could further reduce the fossil  carbon dioxide emissions originating in this transport chain by between 25% and 28%,” says Harri Leppänen, Head of Environment, Health & Safety at SSAB.

Efforts toward removing fossil CO2 emissions from the transport chain would require replacing all LNG with LBG and replacing  the diesel fuel used to power  the ship’s engine with fossil-free biodiesel.

“Our company’s key environmental goal for 2020 is testing biogas in our ships. We have been engaged in long-term environmental work together with SSAB for years, and now we are taking a new significant step towards fossil-free sea transport, “says Mikki Koskinen, ESL Shipping’s Managing Director.

“The test with ESL and SSAB is in line with our strategy to bring cleaner fuels to our customers. We are all the time increasing our biogas production and sourcing to meet growing demand of our customers. We are already in discussions with ESL about running vessels Viikki and Haaga on 100% LBG,” says Jacob Granqvist, Sales Director maritime, Gasum.

SSAB wants to launch fossil-free steel on the market as the world’s first steel company as early as 2026. The entire company is aiming to be fossil free by 2045. To achieve these targets, SSAB together with LKAB and Vattenfall has launched the HYBRIT initiative to eliminate fossil carbon dioxide emissions across the entire steel manufacturing value chain from mines to finished steel products. “However, for operations to be entirely fossil free, it is also necessary to strive to eliminate fossil fuels from shipping,” Harri Leppänen continues.

More than 90% of carbon dioxide emissions at SSAB Raahe originate in ironmaking, where coal is used as a raw material in the reduction process. The HYBRIT initiative aims to replace coal with hydrogen, which means emissions will be water vapor instead of carbon dioxide.

Iron is made at SSAB Raahe using two blast furnaces, one of which will be decommissioned in about 2029, when half of the production will switch to electric arc furnace technology where hydrogen-reduced iron and recycled steel will be used as raw materials. This transition will cut the plant’s emissions by about 40%. The other blast furnace will also be replaced by an electric arc furnace by 2040, which will reduce the plant’s fossil carbon dioxide emissions to zero if shipping can be operated without fossil fuels.

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