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U.S.-Iran tensions will impact India’s exports to Gulf, says export body

The prevailing tensions between the United States and Iran will have implications on India’s exports to the Persian Gulf nation



U.S.-Iran tensions will impact India's exports to Gulf, says export body
U.S.-Iran tensions will impact India's exports to Gulf, says export body. Image: Pixabay
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The prevailing tensions between the United States and Iran will have implications on India’s exports to the Persian Gulf nation, Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) President Sharad Kumar Saraf said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Iran is one of the key trading partners of India.

“So far exporters had not flagged any concerns related with exports to Iran, however, if the tensions escalate, it may have an effect on India’s exports to Iran,” said the FIEO chief.

FIEO is India’s apex body of the export promotion councils, commodity boards and export development authorities in India. Set up in 1965, it provides the crucial interface between international trading community of India and the central and state governments, financial institutions, ports, railways, surface transport and all engaged in export trade facilitation.

It serves the interests of over 100,000 exporters from various goods and services sectors in the country. FIEO’s members contribute more than 70 percent of India’s exports.

The export body’s chief also said that due to existing trade sanctions on Iran, Iranian shipping lines were only taking Indian consignments to that country.

Iran’s major exports to India are oil, fertilisers and chemicals, while it imports cereals, tea, coffee, basmati rice, spices and organic chemicals from India, said Saraf.

In 2018-19 India’s exports to Iran stood at 3.51 billion U.S. dollars, while imports were 13.52 billion U.S. dollars. The trade imbalance is mainly because of India’s import of oil from Iran.

Iran holds huge export opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, man-made fiber and filament yarn and essential oils.

Air Freight

Dachser Mexico’s first international charter transports more than 3 million surgical and respiratory masks to Germany



Dachser Mexico's first international charter transports more than 3 million surgical and respiratory masks to Germany. Image: Dachser
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Dachser Mexico, a global logistics provider, announced that it airlifted more than 3 million surgical and respiratory masks to Germany to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The B787 / 9 aircraft, which was fully loaded, represents Dachser Mexico’s first international charter flight.

On March 24, following this unprecedented health emergency, Dachser Mexico transported the masks on a charter flight from Mexico City to Frankfurt, from where it was distributed within Germany via Dachser’s ground transportation network.

“The Dachser Mexico team worked tirelessly to collect this vital input within a six-day period. We are extremely proud of this team of dedicated people who strive to remain part of the solution – for our clients, and in this case for humanity. Another reason to be proud is to have completed our first charter from Mexico, which represents an important milestone in Dachser’s history. ”Edgardo Hamon, Managing Director of Dachser México

Thanks to Dachser Mexico, healthcare workers in Germany will be able to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. These masks play an essential role in preserving people’s health, as they provide protection by reducing people’s exposure to airborne particles.

“Being present during an emergency is not something new for our Dachser Mexico team. Whether it is volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or pandemics, this team is ready to respond with innovative solutions, ”says Enrico Boehme, who is Head of Air Freight Mexico / Latin America. “We believe that our clients in Mexico and the rest of the continent benefit from working with an experienced logistics provider that copes with crises with solutions, rather than hiding from the challenge.”

Charters Dachser Extended Service

Due to the multiple disruptions to global supply chains caused by COVID-19, Dachser Air & Sea Logistics has launched new frequencies to its charter flight rotation. To keep the critical load moving smoothly and efficiently, the following direct connections between Europe and Asia were added over the course of March.

  • Frankfurt to Shanghai (Shanghai Pudong International Airport)
  • Frankfurt to the rest of China
  • China to Frankfurt
  • Frankfurt to Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong to Frankfurt 
  • Frankfurt to South Korea (Seoul Incheon Airport)

Additionally, Dachser Air & Sea Logistics has established an air bridge between the United States, Latin America and our Gateway in Frankfurt to make deliveries in Shanghai . For this, Dachser will assign B747 charter equipment and integrate it into flight rotations from Frankfurt to Shanghai and vice versa. “Thanks to the close work that exists with our extensive ground transportation network, we can offer our clients a comprehensive solution from the Shipper to the Consignee, and all through the same source,” said Alexander Tonn, who is Managing Director. for European Logistics in Germany.

Likewise, Dachser Air & Sea Logistics has added a direct rotation Chicago-Frankfurt-Chicago, in order to cover the transport demand between the United States and Europe.

“We are all committed to contributing from our trenches during these difficult times, and we extend our solidarity with those who have been directly affected. At Dachser Mexico we are committed to supporting them at a time when taking responsibility and giving responses is critical, which is why we continue to work with multiple humanitarian agencies and other international partners, Hamon added.

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China in action to stabilize foreign investment



China in action to stabilize foreign investment. Image: Pixabay
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China is ramping up efforts to bolster the stability of foreign investment by promoting work resumption of foreign-funded firms and projects as well as opening wider to foreign investors.

Some 60 percent of major foreign-invested manufacturing firms and over 40 percent of key foreign-funded service providers out of Hubei Province had recovered over 70 percent of work capacity as of March 12, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

Chinese authorities vowed to further facilitate the work resumption of foreign firms. The National Development and Reform Commission urged efforts to address the difficulties in work resumption to help firms return to full capacity at the earliest possible time and advance major foreign-invested projects, while the MOC stressed measures to enhance firms’ sense of gain.

The country is also beefing up wider opening-up to foreign investment. Revision of the negative list on foreign investment is underway as part of the plan to shorten the negative list and expand the catalog of industries where foreign investment is encouraged.

New editions of the list will probably be released in May, expanding market access of the tertiary sector, such as health care, aged service, finance, transportation, logistics, tourism, education and training and value-added services of telecommunications, said Zhang Fei with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC).

China will accelerate the opening of industrial and supply chains with weak links, encourage investment to better meet the needs of domestic consumption upgrade and support firms to invest in the central, western and northeastern regions, said Pang Chaoran, a researcher with the CAITEC.

Zhang also noted foreign enterprises are focusing on opportunities in the industries of biomedicine, public health, artificial intelligence, 5G network and industrial Internet as demands emerged amid the epidemic.

The country will continue improving the business environment and enhancing the stability of foreign investment, said Ye Wei, an official with the MOC.

Foreign-invested companies in China are regaining confidence supported by a string of opening-up measures, despite the impact of the epidemic. Retail giant Costco, for example, has announced to open a second store on the Chinese mainland in Shanghai, while Starbucks will build a coffee innovation park in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province.

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ESCA and ETF sent a joint letter to the council on urgent regulatory measures for the shipping industry



ESCA and ETF sent a joint letter to the council on urgent regulatory measures for the shipping industry. Image: Pixabay
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The shipping industry urgently needs special regulatory measures and actions to prevent a total collapse of seaborne trade to and from the EU.

The outbreak of the corona virus (COVID-19) has developed into a catastrophic event affecting many countries and its citizens around the globe. The European social partners in the maritime transport sector, ECSA and ETF express their compassion with all people being struck by the recent developments.

ECSA and ETF consider it crucial that the EU shipping industry remains able to perform its crucial function for the European economy and its citizens. 76% of EU’s external trade is moved by sea, and 32% of intra EU transport of goods. It has to be ensured that essential goods, energy, food, medicines and many other products from outside the EU can be delivered to EU’s internal market, citizens and vital industries in all Member States and be transported as smoothly as possible between EU Member States. Without this many supply chains would be severely impacted or come to a complete stagnation, making the economic impact of the crisis even bigger than already is the case.

Therefore ECSA and ETF call upon the EU institutions to support the industry and its workforce with the challenges they are facing. Special measures and actions have to be taken with the greatest urgency to ensure that the shipping industry can play its role in supporting the EU economy to the fullest extent possible.

In view of the High Level Video Conference for European Union Transport Ministers on the implications of the novel coronavirus on transport taking place on Wednesday 18 March, we call for immediate action to reduce as much as possible the social, operational and economic impacts. The relationship between the impacts is very strong, so the impacts have to be addressed across-the-board.

Social impact

Seafarers from all over the world are providing an essential contribution making sure that international supply chains to and from Europe continue to function. The measures being taken by Member States to restrict the movement of people, in order to minimise the infection risks, whilst understandable, are having serious consequences for the movement of seafarers. Also the closure of ports is a relevant factor. As a consequence, workers, both at sea and onshore, are experiencing several issues which require immediate action.

  • Movement of ships’ crews: it is of utmost importance that ships are able to dock where necessary and that crew members are able to join and leave their ships with as few impediments as possible. With restrictions at ports – and reductions in flights  – this is becoming increasingly difficult. For this reason, the industry urges flexibility and assistance so as to help seafarers to continue to operate ships and be allowed to leave and return to their homes so that crew reliefs can continue to be effected. We therefore call for seafarers to be exempted from national travel bans, so that they can join their ships and keep the supply lines operating. They should also be treated pragmatically when returning home from their ships. In these critical moments, much like medical staff and security forces, seafarers are key workers and need governments to recognise them as such and afford them special consideration.
  • Maximum period of service: At their own request, or due to the absence of crew replacing them and/or due to the absence of flights from their expected port of disembarkation to their home country, seafarers may have to spend longer on board ships than specified in their employment agreements or under applicable national laws applying the Maritime Labour Convention. We therefore call upon flag and port states to apply a pragmatic approach to such situations and, on a case-by-case basis, permit crew members to remain on board for a reasonable period beyond their scheduled tours of duty in view of the implications of the pandemic, bearing in mind that ships need to sail fully crewed.
  • Seafarers’ certificates: In view of travel restrictions, seafarers may be forced to spend longer on board than usual as they are not being allowed to leave the vessel. Moreover, some training institutes have closed to contain the spread of the virus. This may therefore result in seafarers not being able to do the necessary training required for an extension of their certificate and therefore, one or more of their certificates may expire. This in turn could lead to problems with the vessels’ safe manning certificates and their ability to sail. We call on Flag and Port States to show pragmatism by extending the validity of the certificates by at least 3 months. In order to be effective this would require action in the regional Port State Control Regimes all around the globe.
  • Job redundancies affecting on board and onshore staff: Due to the substantial impact of the imposed travel restrictions on passenger operations and the reduced cargo traffic, companies have had to adjust operations and costs to limit the impact – Member States should consider to put in place special assistance measures where possible, to safeguard EU jobs. We encourage governments to exchange on best practices already implemented in some countries, such as social protection measures for seafarers or covering a percentage of employee’s salaries.
  • Access to on board inspections by specialised staff: the travel restrictions have also caused difficulties for specialised staff, such as inspectors, to access the vessels and conduct legally required inspections (safety, environmental and training). Governments should afford them special consideration in line with the considerations for seafarers’ movement possibilities.

Operational Impact

Several measures and developments are severely impacting ships’ operations globally. There are difficulties in finding medical supplies and shortage of mechanic and electronic parts for vessels. Traffic by sea between specific locations has now been stopped completely. Moreover, operational restrictions have been put in place on port calls. There is a significant increase in the number of vessels out of service due to strong operational limitations, lack of cargo or unavailability of crew.

Therefore there is need for the Commission and Member States to:

  • Keep supply lines open: It is of critical importance that supply lines are kept open so that products and supplies can reach the ships and this depends on ships being able to dock where necessary.
  • Certification of ships: Since dry dock availability is severely limited due to precautionary measures to contain the virus, it becomes increasingly impossible for ships to dry dock in time if renewal of the certificate requires dry-docking. Flexibility by Flag States and Class Societies is required through an extension of the validity of the current certificates by at least 3 months. In order for this to be effective this would require a global approach.
  • Cruise ships have not been permitted to dock in ports of certain countries.  Many cruise ships are in the process of returning to their “home port” within Europe. There are conflicting approaches across EU member states. Clear and consistent guidelines to enable cruise ships to dock are needed as soon as possible. Cruise ships require assurances that they will be able to enter harbours, berth and disembark passengers and crew, permitting repatriation.

Economic Impact

Direct economic impacts are being seen in all shipping segments. Passenger shipping – cruises and ferries – are immediately hit due to more and more countries closing their borders or restricting travel. Global shipping will decline due to the drop of global economic growth and thus seaborne trade. There will be reduced demand for tonnage especially in deep sea container and bulk. The significant reduction in oil prices is impacting the medium and long term viability of offshore ships, that just started to recover from the previous crisis, that started in September 2014.

Therefore there is need for the Commission and Member States to provide financial assistance to the industry:

  • EU banks should be supported by a well-fit regulatory framework  at EU level to solve the immediate liquidity issues of shipowners.
  • The ECB package, as agreed to last Friday 13 March, should be made available without delay in order to make it possible for banks to continue to finance the shipping industry. EU support should also cover financing of investments that will be important for the industry to regenerate itself in the longer term.
  • be flexible in the application of the Maritime State Aid guidelines, so that state aid, like the labour cost reduction schemes, can be assured for the very special situation the shipping industry and EU seafarers are now facing.

In view of the vital importance of shipping and related services for the EU and its citizens, ECSA and ETF call on the European Commission and Member States to take decisive and assertive action in facilitating the supply chains and seafarer travel, providing much needed support to the industry and workforce.

We thank you in advance for taking into account our concerns in your deliberations and we look forward to continue working with the European Commission and EU Member States.

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