Shareholders approved the merger of Frontline and Frontline 2012 on 30 November, officially heralding the return of shipping magnate John Fredriksen to the upper echelon of the publicly traded tanker arena.

A typical tramp ship. Credit: Martin Wright
Germany’s once-proud tramp shipowner sector is looking down into the abyss as the slump in the container ship charter market worsens. To make matters worse, the sector’s banks are losing patience with defaulting shipping customers. Anecdotal evidence suggested that insolvencies of KG one-ship companies and fire sales of vessels are on the rise again, and so are rumours of imminent closures of numerours small and medium-sized managers and managing owners.

One of Jinhui's owned bulker fleet. Credit: Fotoflite
Hong Kong-based dry bulk shipping company Jinhui Shipping & Transportation has reported major losses for both 3Q15 and for the first nine months of the year which it has attributed to a weak freight market and losses from investments. The group's net loss amounted to USD32.4 million in 3Q15 compared to a loss of USD 15.7 million a year earlier.

LR2 tanker Torm Kristina. Credit: Hasenpusch
DS Torm, the listed Danish product tanker company, says it has placed an order for four LR newbuildings with Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) with expected delivery in the period between 4Q17 and 2Q18.

One of Thorco's existing fleet. Photo: Thorco Shipping
Global project and breakbulk carrier Thorco Shipping has announced the acquisition of five large tweendecker multipurpose (mpp) vessels in a drive to renew its fleet. The ships are 18,000 dwt units, each equipped with three cranes to give a maximum lifting capacity of 80 tonnes (they are combinable to provide 160 tonne safe working loads), and were built between 2010 and 2012.

Coal being transported by rail
Indonesia’s second-biggest coal producer, PT Adaro Energy, is arranging a contract of affreightment to ship coal to the Philippines. Sources told IHS Fairplay that at least 10 panamax bulkers a year would be required to fulfill the contract.

Officials at the launch of the JV in April. Credit: PA
The recently formed thermal fuel venture between Japanese utility companies Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power has set up a subsidiary in Singapore to trade coal and charter bulkers.

Laem Chabang port. Credit: DP World
Thailand’s Laem Chabang port is undertaking three key infrastructure projects worth THB6 billion (USD167 million) to improve efficiency and expand its position as a trade hub for ASEAN, according to port director Montree Rerkjamnian.

An Indonesia-registered ferry was forced to transfer its passengers to another vessels on 29 November after hitting a floating object during its journey from Batam, Indonesia to Singapore.

Szafir. Credit: Fotoflite
Pirates kidnapped the captain and four crew members of Cyprus-flagged general cargo ship Szafir in waters off Nigeria late last week, the Polish foreign ministry has confirmed.

Chittagong port. Credit: Chittagong Port Authority
India and Bangladesh are moving closer to allowing introduction of coastal shipping services between the two countries with the goal of boosting bilateral trade. The two governments last week signed a standard operating procedure to “operationalise” a coastal shipping deal reached in June, according to a press statement issued by India’s Ministry of Shipping.

CMA CGM, Maersk Line withholding cartel investigation information, says Russia.
Russian regulators have initiated administrative proceedings against CMA CGM and Maersk Line after accusing the two container lines of failing to provide documents requested as part of an investigation into alleged collusion.

China’s Avic Dingheng has won orders to build four 16,300 dwt chemical/product tankers with LNG propulsion. Gothia Tanker