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Displaying items by tag: COVID19

As container lines have done relatively well financially during the Covid-19 pandemic, cargo owners have faced inflated transport costs and lower service quality, with many shippers reporting cargo roll-overs and carriers prioritising higher-paying spot cargo, according to container shipping consultancy and analyst Drewry.

The firm according to LloydsLoadingList, reports that container shipping lines are one of the few sectors that can be said to be having a good pandemic, but their positive financial performance risks them appearing to be profiteering from the crisis and may lead to carrier-shipper animosity. Drewry indicated that it did not believe lines have been profiteering but that they needed to do more to develop a better shipper-carrier dialogue in order to prevent possible animosity from building.

It noted that, “perversely, despite a sudden fall off in demand for their services, lines look set this year to make more money than they have in a long time as their crisis-management tactics – essentially blanking voyages – has paid off handsomely. In our latest Container Forecaster report, published at the end of June, Drewry estimates that the industry secured an operating profit (EBIT) of around $1.4 billion and margin of 3.2% in 1Q20, pretty much on par with the same quarter of last year.”

It said that while the first quarter was not a full test of the industry’s COVID-19 coping mechanism as most countries did not enter lockdown until quite late in the period, “all signs point to operating carriers having not only survived the market shock, but even benefitting from it, with spot market rates soaring and a number of previously guarded companies now upgrading quarterly and full-year guidance”.

But the same cannot be said of other stakeholders, Drewry said, highlighting that “cargo owners have had to contend with greatly inflated transportation costs, but lower service quality. Many shippers have been experiencing cargo roll-overs, including some contract BCOs that have told Drewry carriers are prioritising much higher-paying spot cargoes”.

For much more on the container shipping sector click here. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

This year’s Southampton International Boat Show has been postponed to 2021 as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to reverberate throughout the boating industry.

As International Boat Industry reports, the 52nd edition of the industry fixture — which had been scheduled for this September — has been pushed back a year, as current UK government guidelines suggest such large-scale events will not be permitted.

However, with Whitehall set to reveal a timetable for the holding of mass gatherings, British Marine hopes to hold an alternative, smaller-scale, outdoor event in lieu of this year’s Southampton boat show.

International Boat Industry has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Trade

RYA Northern Ireland has updated its guidance for boaters following recent announcements by the NI Executive.

Sport Northern Ireland officials confirmed that the sport sector remains in Step 2 of the Roadmap to Recovery until further announcements.

The situation in Northern Ireland is summarised as follows:

  • Groups of up to 10 who do not share a household are permitted to take part in socially distanced outdoor activity. Recent announcements regarding increased group gathering sizes does not apply to outdoor activity, which remains at 10.
  • Indoor facilities are to remain closed with the exception of restricted access to small shared facilities, eg storage area/toilet/through-ways. These are disinfected regularly with sanitation products available.
  • Elite athletes are permitted to train indoors.
  • Bars/restaurants in registered clubs will now be able to open alongside the hospitality sector. The NI Executive, at its meeting on 2 July, agreed to the restricted opening of restaurants and bars in private members’ clubs on 3 July. Guidance is available on the Tourism NI website. The Chief Scientific Adviser in Northern Ireland has also advised that a register of those present is kept on the premises. This will assist in contact tracing if necessary.
  • Overnight stays onboard can take place with the easing of restrictions on second homes from 26 June.
  • Social distancing remains at two metres unless you use mitigating measures, which could allow a reduction to a minimum of one metre. The NI Executive has reiterated that two metres remains the optimum. RYANI has updated Step 2 Guidance with this change and considerations for smaller craft.

RYANI chief operating officer Richard Honeyford said it “welcomes an outline timetable going forward that includes competitive sport potentially resuming from 17 July”.

He added: “This will have potential restrictions on numbers able to undertake activity at that time and facility access remains a key consideration on what may be delivered.”

The governing body for sailing in Northern Ireland has issued ongoing updates to clubs, training centres and engagement through its webinar forums.

Questions remain over more specific elements, however, and RYANI says it will continue to raise these with the Sports’ Expert Panel and working alongside the joint watersports group. This includes matters such as changing room access and guidance.

Full updated guidance and FAQs can be found on the RYANI’s Return to Boating webpage.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Permission for overnight stays in England from this Saturday 4 July means a “cautious” return to cruising for those who see their boats in the country, according to the UK’s Cruising Association (CA).

The move follows similar changes already introduced in Northern Ireland in line with the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in the Republic of Ireland.

Wales and Scotland are expected to follow suit by mid July, while Schengen countries throughout the European Union are now working to “get back in sync” with open borders and random testing.

England-resident owners with boats in other countries will be looking to announcements on ‘air bridges’ to allow travel to their vessels — which for now excludes popular cruising destinations like Portugal and Sweden.

The CA reminds that rules for those who travel abroad from England on their own boat are “not yet clear” as permissions and restrictions are on a frequency changing, country-by-country basis.

However, based on requirements in Spain, it’s expected that all on board cruising vessels must social distance at a minimum of 1.5 metres from anyone not a family member; use face coverings in close quarters, such as in shops or on busy streets; and continue hygiene measures such as regular hand washing. Fines of €100 are being levied in Spain for breaking these rules.

CA president Julian Dussek said: “Of course, I’m delighted that many of our members will be able to do some sailing this summer.

“But there are still many challenges in getting to and equipping your boat, sailing safely, and identifying destinations where facilities are open and you can enjoy your stay.

“That’s where the CA comes in. If our members keep posting their experiences on our forums, it could make all the difference for another member following in your tracks.”

The CA website has a section regularly updated with the latest information for cruising in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Warrenpoint Port held for the first time an annual general meeting (AGM) virtually due to the unprecedented circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and current Government guidance on social distancing.

A digital copy of the Co. Down's port Annual Report, outlining the performance of the Harbour in 2019 can be viewed and downloaded here

The report according to Warrenpoint Port confirms their position as the second largest harbour in Northern Ireland with tonnage of 3.5 million tonnes as we recorded turnover of £6 million.

While the coronavirus continues to impact locally and across the globe, Warrenpoint Port has remained open throughout the lockdown, as we have worked with our customers to fulfil our important role helping to ensure the local economy and food supply chains have continued to flow.

There was significant progress made throughout 2019 in efforts to optimise the harbour estate as we continued to invest in the reconfiguration of the port while work on the restoration and refurbishment of our landmark Town Dock House was completed in October re-establishing a direct interface between the harbour office and the town itself.

As it was impossible to hold our AGM in public, members of our community were invited to submit questions in advance of the meeting (held last Tuesday) for consideration.

There was a huge response from our community, and we are pleased to provide answers to these questions below.

Due to the volume of questions received, particularly in regards to the development by Nippon Gases of a liquid CO2 hub to service the Irish food and drinks market, some questions have been summarised in order to provide as full and concise answers as possible.

Individual responses will follow by email by the end of the week.

AGM Questions and Answers here

Published in Ports & Shipping

It’s been confirmed that tourist travel to offshore islands will be permitted from next Monday under the next phase of lifting coronavirus restrictions, which was announced last night (Thursday 25 June).

RTÉ News reports that the move was recommended by the Attorney General and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) after consultation with Comhairle na nOileán, the authority for Ireland’s island communities.

However, Comhairle na nOileán said it was not responsible for public health decisions.

Earlier this week, the islands federation Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann echoed comments from Gaeltacht Minister Sean Kyne in their opposition to the early lifting of travel restrictions to offshore islands, instead recommending a phased approach.

As Lorna Siggins reported for Afloat.ie, a survey conducted Inis Óirr last week indicated 92% of residents and businesses oppose reopening for the remainder of the summer due to fears over the spread of Covid-19, of which there has been one confirmed case across all three Aran Islands.

Restrictions on foreign travel are set to be lifted on Thursday 9 July, with the Government to provide a ‘green list’ of countries where people can travel without being subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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Restrictions on foreign travel will be eased from (Thursday) July 9th with travellers permitted to move between countries with similar levels of coronavirus infection.

As The Irish Times writes, a green list will be compiled before that date detailing which countries people can travel between without having to undergo a 14-day quarantine - but it will not include Britain if current Covid-19 trends continue.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also said checks and controls would be stepped up in airports and ports and there will be an expanded list of exceptional personnel who don’t have to abide by quarantine measures.

Mr Varadkar said the list of accepted countries could change every two weeks.

“If a country ends up having a second wave, they may be taken off the list.”

For more comments from the Taoiseach on what was potentially his last press conference click here.

Published in Ferry

Operator Brittany Ferries have confirmed that passengers will be able to travel to France from Cork via the high seas from (next) Monday, 29 June.

The ferry service, writes CorkBeo.ie, will be running a limited service of five ships over the next few weeks before three more ships are launched in July.

For the safety of passengers, freight drivers and crew, passenger capacity will be limited onboard by more than 60%.

From next week Irish passengers will be able to travel from Cork and Rosslare to Roscoff, France, and Rosslare to Bilbao, Spain.

Ferry travel is thought to be one of the safest modes of international transit as passengers can opt to stay in their cars for the duration of the journey, in their personal cabin, social distance in the wide public spaces or stay on the open deck areas.

In a statement, Brittany Ferries said: “Capacity limits will be ship dependent, and will be reviewed as the summer progresses.

For further reading includng the operator's 12-point guide to safe travel this summer click here.

Published in Ferry

Yacht Club Commodores from across Ireland have a conference call planned for tomorrow (Thursday) to see do they all interpret the lockdown-easing regulations the same way as sailing prepares to resume this weekend.

The acceleration of the easing of restrictions means clubs and sailing centres will now be under pressure to turn around changes quickly for the proposed 29 June start date.

Already, the country's largest racing club, Dublin Bay Sailing Club has advised members it intends to resume two weeks earlier than planned on July 7th.

Following the Taoiseach’s announcement last Friday, Irish Sailing is in the process of revising Phase three and four of its Return to Sailing Scheme. Irish Sailing has published its latest update here.

Multi-household groups will be able to crew on boats, committee boats, safety boats using a ‘pod’ system under Phase three much like Afloat described here in early May.

Irish Sailing CEO Harry Hermon says 'It appears that there will be little change in activities on the water between Phases three and four, so effectively the plan for Phase three is likely to be in place for the foreseeable future (ie the ‘New Normal’).

The main changes anticipated under phase 3 are:

  • The focus for activities will be to maintain physical distancing where possible and to put in place effective measures (eg following Government guidelines on contact tracing and face masks)
  • Local, Regional and National competition may resume
  • Multi-household groups will be able to crew on boats, committee boats, safety boats using a ‘pod’ system (maintaining regular crew as much as possible)
  • Training will also be encouraged to use a ‘pod’ system as much as possible (ie the same groups working with the same instructor for the duration of the course)
  • Travel restrictions expanded to all Ireland
  • Up to 200 people can gather outdoors
  • Club catering facilities serving a ‘substantial meal’ may open
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A funding package of up €70 million has been approved by Government to support the sport sector emerging from the coronavirus shutdown.

This funding package will support the sport sector through:

  • funding of up to €40 million for the three main field sports organisations – the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU;
  • a Resilience Fund of up to €10 million to support the national governing bodies of sport, such as Irish Sailing;
  • a Sports Club Resilience Fund of up to €15 million to support clubs; and
  • a Sports Restart and Renewal Fund of up to €5m.

Launching the fund last night (Friday 19 June), Sport Minister Shane Ross said: “The sport sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and many sporting bodies and clubs are experiencing significant financial challenges.

“We have had extensive contact with the sector and it is clear that the challenge is enormous and is being felt at every level.

“While the scale of this package may seem extraordinarily large, it merely reflects the enormity of the challenges being faced by our sporting bodies.”

Minister Ross said the new funding package “will assist our national governing bodies of sport and sports clubs as they prepare to restart their sports under the Government roadmap.

“Sporting organisations and clubs are hugely important for the social fabric of every community in the country and we want to ensure that the sector recovers as strongly as possible from the current crisis.

“The roadmap accelerations and funding being announced today will ensure the survival of our vibrant sport sector, particularly the network of clubs throughout the country. My officials will now engage with Sport Ireland to design new grant schemes, which will be administered by Sport Ireland.”

Minister of State with responsibility for tourism and sport, Brendan Griffin, added: “Today is the most important day for sport in this country during my time in this office. I am delighted that the Government saw fit to respond to the many loud calls for help from our sporting bodies.

“The scale of lost revenues, from the smallest of club fundraisers to a sold-out stadium, is breath taking. Today’s package will go a long way to aiding the badly needed recovery.”

Funding allocations to national governing bodies and clubs under the new scheme will be determined following a robust grant application and assessment process conducted by Sport Ireland.

Sport Ireland will announce an open invitation to applications from funded bodies for assistance under the grant scheme.

Published in News Update
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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