Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
In the middle of the festive break, ’twixt Christmas and the New Year, the European Shippers’ Council called for a transitional period allowing governments as well as companies to finalise their preparation for the UK’s departure from the EU at least until December 2020.
The Council forecast that if the present Brexit withdrawal agreement does not pass the vote in the House of Commons (the UK’s lower house) in mid-January, a cliff-edge scenario will be the most likely one. In this case, producers and traders give no guarantee that the goods will reach their clients in time and in a good condition.
Once again shippers were reminded that the moment when the UK will leave the EU is less than 100 days ahead. (29 March 2019). There is no clear picture on how all parties involved will have to deal with the situation after the 29 March 2019. The start of the transition period depends on the vote in the House of Commons in mid-January. If the present withdrawal agreement does not pass the vote, a deeply dark outcome is most likely. Preparation after this date will be nerve-breaking, ESC has warned. Members of the European Shippers’ Council in their General Assembly in week commencing 16 December stated that this is an unacceptable situation.
As producers and traders, ESC Members foresee a major impact on the supply chain between the EU’s 27 Members and the United Kingdom. Shippers cannot guarantee the delivery of goods to clients in time and in a good condition in the case of a cliff-edge scenario. Such a position will impact the welfare of the inhabitants of the UK and EU 27 heavily, it has been envisaged. For instance, medicines and foodstuff are exchanged between these two European regions in large quantities.
Although many companies have already invested a lot in preventing chaos, the preparations made so far can never completely prevent big disturbances in trade. The capacity of warehouses in the UK has already been used completely and it is nearly impossible to rent addition space in warehouses for emergency stocks, it has been reported. At the same time providers of logistics services and automation are also completely booked for the period around Brexit. Next to this, the European Member States as well as the UK should also be fully prepared, which is a huge challenge.
The only solution that shippers see is an orderly move into a transitional period allowing governments as well as companies to finalise their preparation at least until December 2020. Hopefully, the EU 27 and the UK will, in the meantime, be able to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement allowing trade in goods and services as free as possible.
Opened by Agnes Wong Tin-yu, Director of Marine for Hong Kong SAR, today’s Nautical Institute International Conference 2019 gave rise to a lively and stimulating debate on the subject of Shiphandling.
Held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the morning session included presentations on the legal consequences of shiphandling incidents, special considerations for handling large tankers, handling ships in heavy weather and how digital technologies support command decisions in shiphandling.
In the afternoon delegates were invited to consider the role of simulator and computer based training in shiphandling and also heard from senior pilots working at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen. The closing presentation from Capt Stephen Wong of the Hong Kong Pilots Association focused on changes in shiphandling techniques in Hong Kong harbour.
Addressing delegates, Capt Nick Nash FNI president of The Nautical Institute, said:
”Shiphandling is obviously one of the core skills for any shipmaster. This conference has given us all further insights into this skill and the repercussions if we get it wrong!”
“Training is the key, along with proper mentoring while at sea. The collaboration and integration of Bridge teams, Pilots and VTS, while making full use of new technologies will ensure that shiphandling lies at the heart of safety and best practice in the maritime industry.”
Early in June two warships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), Turkish frigate TCG Gokova and from the Royal Navy HMS Westminster successfully completed an important training mission in support of joint warfighting logistics. Our illustration has been kindly provided by
NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM) © www.mc.nato.int/media-centre/news
It was reported from NATO Maritime Command at Northwood, NW London, that the two NATO ships escorted a civilian cargo vessel, mv Gute through high- traffic sea lanes during her transit from Norway to Sczecin, Poland carrying Norwegian military equipment for NATO exercise Noble Jump.
The safety and security of sea-based trade and transportation routes is critical to the prosperity of the Baltic nations and the NATO Alliance.
Escort training, such as that practiced by Gokova and Westminster, enhances interoperability among NATO and commercial shipping and provides reassurance to NATO allies and partners that NATO is capable and ready to maintain freedom of navigation in the Baltic Sea.