Lloyd's Ship Manager, a magazine providing monthly information service on management, technical and operational aspects relating to the safe, efficient and profitable operation of ocean-going tonnage, published interesting articles reviewing current trends in salvage industry, Polish shipbuilding, container shipping and application of black boxes.
It is no longer commercially viable for salvage companies to maintain tugs on station for months at a time in case their services are needed, except when such services are paid for by governments who want a tug on stand-by to protect vulnerable coastlines from possible environmental pollution. There are fewer specialist salvage tugs available and it is now unlikely that anymore tugs will be built purely for ocean salvage.
Gdynia Shipyard astonished the shipbuilding world last year by showing serious interest in acquiring the Finnish Kvaerner Masa Yards after succeeding in 1998 to acquire bankrupt Gdansk Shipyard and make it profitable again. At Gdynia significant orders for newly designed ships and an enlarged production capacity will result in record sales this year. While sales in 1999 were close to $400m with 11 ships delivered, in 2000 Gdynia group will deliver a record of 25 ships worth $570m. Of these, 11 ships will be built in Gdynia and 14 at Gdansk.
The surge in investment in tonnage exceeding the current limits for Panama Canal transit is a mark of business confidence in liner shipping, giving new expression to the unerring growth witnessed in the container vessel sector over the past few decades. A new breed of alliances and the phasing into service of larger post-Panamax tonnage is changing the face of the global liner shipping industry The past three years have witnessed unprecedented change in the liner shipping industry as ocean carriers have sought to develop all-embracing global networks for their customers at the same time as reducing their cost base. And all of this has taken place in a trading environment characterised by low freight rates.
Pressure is mounting for all ships to be fitted with black boxes. On July 13 The Alliance of Maritime Regional Interests in Europe (Amrie) called for the European Commission to go further than present IMO plans and make voyage data recorders mandatory for all cargo vessels. The IMO has agreed that all new cargo vessels over 3,000gt and all passenger vessels built after July 1 2002 must be fitted with a VDR. The UK government has pledged to support Amrie's call for all cargo ships to be retrofitted with VDRs.