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COSCO to develop blockchain solutions with Alibaba group | Brazil Modal

China COSCO Shipping Corporation has signed a collaboration agreement with compatriot e-commerce giant Alibaba and the latter’s fintech affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group (formerly Alipay), pledging to work together to develop blockchain shipping logistics solutions.

Ant is known for its e-wallet solution Alipay, which is widely used in retail outlets globally.

Under the agreement, China COSCO and Ant will jointly research and promote blockchain shipping logistics solutions in China, using blockchain techniques as a strategic connection between shipping, ports, logistics and finance.

China COSCO and Ant will also strengthen their cooperation in the areas of smart shipping, smart ports and supply chain financing, in order to promote the digitisation of shipping operations.

Ant chairman Jing Xiandong said that he looks forward to the integration of logistics and technology, noting that digitisation is accelerating in many societies. Blockchain technology can therefore become a key infrastructure in the digitisation of assets.

China COSCO chairman Xu Lirong said that as the world’s largest integrated shipping enterprise group, his corporation is committed to building a large integrated logistics supply chain service platform, while actively grasping digitisation, using data technology, blockchain, super-computing and other new technologies.

He said, “Integrating logistics with digital technology improves the safety and efficiency of services and provides reliable digital services to our customers.

“I hope that with the help of blockchain, Internet of Things, 5G and other technologies, China COSCO will continue to deepen cooperation with all parties and promote the seamless integration of cargo, capital and information in the supply chain.”



Source: Container News


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Where does the Syrian regime get foreign currency from?

Enab Baladi – Zeynep Masri

The Syrian Pound (SYP) has not seen a significant drop in its value, maintaining the limits it was fluctuating at, since the entry of the first package of economic sanctions against the Syrian regime under the Caesar Act into effect on 17 June. 

The value of the SYP plummeted to historic lows, exceeding SYP 3,000 to the US dollar (USD) on 8 June. Then, the SYP recorded an exchange rate of 3,000 against the US dollar on the day the first package of sanctions came into force. Then, the SYP bounced back on 15 June from its recent plummet, to reach 2,500 SYP per 1 USD, according to the website of Syrian Pound Today (a Syrian Pound tracking website.)

Unofficial analysts attributed this local-currency price stability to the fact that the Syrian regime has received foreign exchange without mentioning its source. The supporters of the Syrian government, including Omar Rahmoun, a member of the National Reconciliation Committee, and the journalist Shadi Helwa confirmed these speculations via their social media accounts, publishing photos showing large amounts of USD, next to a photo for the leader of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad. 

With no official announcement of the source of this foreign currency, the question arises about how the Syrian regime was able to obtain millions of USD and how it could circumvent the sanctions aimed at isolating it economically. 

Drain on the Syrian Central Bank’s reserves 

The Syrian regime used to earn foreign currency through export sales, foreign currency remittance transfers from abroad, and net foreign investment flows, according to Muslim Talas, assistant professor of economics at Mardin University, Turkey, in an interview with Enab Baladi.

Talas said that to know the sources of foreign exchange earnings in Syria, we must understand the Balance of Payments (BOP), noting that there are three main categories of BOP: the current account, the capital account, and the official reserve account. He added that the BOP should be zero, meaning that assets (credits) and liabilities (debts) should balance, in the sense that the country does not have a deficit or a surplus.

According to the latest available statistics on the national BOP in Syria, which was issued by the “Syrian Statistical Group” for the year, 2011, Syria has a deficit in its current account of the BOP, which amounted to 9.8 billion SYP ( around196,000,000 USD), meaning that the regime consumed that amount of foreign exchange.

The current remittance account amounted to one billion and 219 million SYP (4,380,000 USD), the capital account of the BOP was one billion and 914 million SYP (821,459.227 USD).

According to the available figures, there is a current account deficit of six billion and 739 million SYP ( nearly 14,780,000), which was covered by the government of the Syrian regime via withdrawing from the reserves of the SCB, Talas said.

According to the figures currently available, issued by the “unified Arab economic report,” the Syrian trade deficit reached in 2017 5.5 billion USD, meaning that the government drained that amount of foreign currency.

According to the currently available figures issued by “the Unified Arab Economic Report,” Syria’s trade deficit reached in 2017 USD 5.5 billion. This suggests that the government spent the entire foreign currency reserves of the SCB, and thus the regime has to obtain foreign exchange through other means.

What are the other sources?

Talas believes that the private sector cannot make direct or indirect investments in Syria in the current circumstances. Thus, the investments and loans by the Iranian government could be the primary source of foreign currency for the Syrian regime alongside what is left of the old foreign currency reserves in the SCB.  

Since sanctions were imposed on Iran, in 2019, it is no longer a source of foreign currency for the Syrian regime.

However, Iran had already brought several investments into Syria, bought real estate, and obtained substantial trade concessions, according to Talas. 

 Muhammed Mousa, an economic researcher, said that in addition to the revenues from exports and money remittances from abroad, the Syrian regime depends on its allies, Russia and Iran in acquiring foreign currencies, as well as incomes of Syrian consular transactions, and the support granted to the international organizations operating in the Syrian regime-controlled areas. International organizations generate considerable amounts of foreign exchange, reaching the SCB, they change their foreign currencies to the Syrian currency to purchase products, logistical tools, or foodstuffs.

 Besides, the Syrian regime also borrows in the financial markets by selling bonds. The bonds are a promise to make the payments on certain dates and with a specific interest rate. 

The Syrian regime also gets foreign currencies from the revenues of the land, sea, and air borders, which are very few, due to the absence of tourists the weak movement of air transport and the lack of an air fleet, with Russia and Iran seizing seaports, and the ineffectiveness of land crossings, except those connecting between Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Mousa told Enab Baladi that the “Caesar” Act will impose a complete blockade against Syria, preventing import, export and bank transfers, which might lead to the regime’s inability to sell treasury bonds again, and the failure of one of the allied countries to lend it or the central bank in Syria.

The Iranian government stopped providing aid to the Syrian regime, including oil derivatives and foreign exchange, due to the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union countries, prompting it to spend what it has left in its reserves to purchase wheat and oil from Russia because Russia is no longer lending it but rather selling the regime grains for cash.  

Mousa added that Lebanon has also become unable to provide the regime with foreign exchange due to Lebanon’s monetary and financial crisis, specifically in the banking sector, “which are involved in laundering the money of the regime,” according to Mousa. 

Mousa pointed out that the areas controlled by the Syrian opposition factions are considered a “primary source” of funding for the Syrian regime. The SYP is being exported to the northern regions in Syria, and the Syrian government buys the USD, which is brought from Turkey through “great traders,” who are carrying out commercial transactions through the crossings between Turkey and the northern regions of Syria. 

Mousa believes that requiring money transfer and remittance companies and merchants to use the Turkish Lira (TL) or USD in cities of northern Syria, and to avoid dealing in the SYP “will deliver a devastating blow to the Syrian regime,” as Mousa put it. 

The SCB is also planning to obtain billions of Syrian pounds via the issuance of the certificate of deposits by eight banks.

According to a statement released by the SCB, a day after the implementation of the first package of “Caesar” sanctions, the total nominal value of certificates subscribed to was estimated at 74.3 billion SYP (around 31,888,412 USD) with a maturity of six months and an annual interest rate of 6.5 percent.

The SCB launched the first version of the certificates of deposit in SYP for the year 2020, on 9 March,  according to the standardized price auction method for traditional banks operating in Syria.

 The nominal value of the single certificate of deposit amounted to one hundred million SYP (42,918.455 USD), with a maturity of six months, starting from the settlement day specified on 25 March.

The government uses the certificates of deposit, treasury bills, and bonds, as one of the essential means of covering the financial deficit in the state’s general budget.

The bank’s move aims to withdraw excess liquidity from the Syrian pound from the markets and direct it towards the bank in order to bridge the budget deficit, in addition to preventing these funds from entering into speculation on the dollar.

The SCB also raised the price of remittances received from abroad from 700 to 1,250 SPY per USD, intending to “bridge the gap between the market price and remittance prices, thus attracting them through secure official methods,” as it put it.

The Head of the Public Debt and Securities Directorate at the SCB, Mohamed Zain El-Din, told the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), last February, that “certificates of deposit help to control liquidity in a way that achieves the stability of the general level of prices.”



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Singapore: Maritime technology startups to benefit from new initiative | Brazil Modal

More than 50 promising Singapore-based startups will get liquidity boost thanks to the new initiative by SEEDS Capital.

SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), has appointed six co-investment partners to provide the maritime ecosystem a strong leg-up by catalysing a combined S$50 million of investments into maritime technology startups.

The six partners are Innoport, KSL Maritime Ventures, PSA unboXed, Rainmaking, ShipsFocus-Quest Ventures and TecPier.

Supported by ESG and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), this latest initiative by SEEDS Capital aims to drive the growth of the maritime sector through technology and innovation. Strengthening the capability of the sector is expected to enhance in turn the resilience of key economic pillars such as the logistics, manufacturing, and wholesale trade sectors which are reliant on smooth and efficient global supply chain routes.

The appointment of the six partners is announced at Deal Friday today, a platform which connects companies with venture capitals (VCs) and corporates. Since the start of 2020, four virtual sessions have been held profiling Singapore based startups to 240 investors and corporates in Southeast Asia, China and Europe, facilitating over 120 unique connections.

As informed, SEEDS Capital and the appointed partners will invest in early-stage maritime technology startups to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that improve operational efficiency and safety across the different segments of the maritime sector. The partners will provide hands-on assistance in helping early-stage startups to fast-track commercialisation, with mentorship and connection to potential clients through their networks.

“As a global hub for trade and connectivity, we have continually leveraged technology and innovation to develop and facilitate efficient, resilient and secured trade flows. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to accelerate the transformation of our industries. We look forward to working closely with our six co-investment partners to harness their expertise and networks to further strengthen Singapore’s innovation and startup ecosystem,” Ted Tan, Chairman of SEEDS Capital and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore said.

Specifically, Innoport will team up with startups to speed up development of solutions that will push the sector to relook processes, increase efficiency and accelerate digitalisation. This includes conducting pilot test within Schulte Group’s business units, facilitating connections with experts across fields and more.

Additionally, KSL Maritime Ventures will pursue sustainable shipping solutions with a focus on renewables, fintech and vessel technologies, taking a long-term view towards creating new global maritime platforms.

PSA unboXed will work with startups in the maritime, ports and logistics supply chain spaces and potentially deploy their solutions in PSA International’s operations if proven successful.

The fourth partner, Rainmaking, will work with its corporate partners in the next two to three years to drive the growth of more than 100 startups with solutions focusing on decarbonisation, supply chain resilience, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep tech. By working with corporate partners and private equity firms through its platform, Rainmaking aims to accelerate the adoption rate of technology at scale.

What is more, ShipsFocus-Quest Ventures will work with startups to scale development of technology that meets the needs and addresses challenges in the maritime sector. It will focus on solutions broadly in digitalisation, sustainability and deeptech for maritime commerce.

Finally, TecPier will partner with startups developing smart, data-driven solutions to transform global shipping. This includes improving efficiency and transparency in areas such as ship operations and maintenance, port management, and supply chains.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many business operations and global supply chains. Maritime technology startups will play an important role in accelerating digitalisation and innovation efforts to prepare the maritime industry for a new normal. The combined resources of the six co-investment partners will help catalyse these efforts,” Tan Beng Tee, MPA’s Assistant Chief Executive (Development) said.



Source: World Maritime News


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Foreign currency hedge accounting example

1 Foreign exchange risk; 2 Hedge; 3 Accounting for Derivatives For example, if a United States company doing business in Japan is 4 Sep 2019 …


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DP World Southampton welcomes its largest vessel to date | Brazil Modal

The 23,820 TEU HMM Oslo, the biggest vessel ever to call at DP World Southampton, arrived at the port in the early hours of 26 June at the end of her maiden voyage to the UK.

Belonging to a new series of Megamax-24 containerships, the eco-friendly HMM Oslo features a length of 399.9 metres and a width of 61.5 metres. She is longer than London’s The Shard, one of the highest buildings in Europe.

Last week her sister ship, the HMM Algeciras, docked at DP World’s sister port London Gateway in Essex.

These vessels are part of a series of twelve HMM Megamax-24 vessels ordered in 2018 from Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine and Engineering (DSME), and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).

The capacities of the two variants are slightly different, with 23,964 TEU for the DSME ships (HMM Algeciras class), and 23,820 TEU for the Samsung ships (HMM Oslo class). The HMM Oslo was built by SHI and the HMM Algeciras by DSME — therefore, the Algeciras is slightly larger.

HMM Oslo arrived at Southampton from South Korea,having called at ports in China, Singapore and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The boxship departed DP World Southampton on 27 June carrying British exports on her return journey home, via France, Germany, The Netherlands and Singapore.

“With two deep water ports, DP World in the UK can accommodate the world’s biggest ships both at DP World Southampton and at DP World London Gateway,” Ernst Schulze, UK Chief Executive Officer, DP World, commented.

“The HMM Oslo joins around 200 other container ships that have called at DP World Southampton during the lockdown since March, keeping essential food, fuel and medicines flowing to sustain the country.”

“Our ongoing investment and innovation mean that we are well-placed to support an economic recovery which is not just strong but also green and sustainable,” Schulze added.

“The deployment of these Megamax-24 vessels is a major milestone for HMM, and we are delighted that the first of these to call at Southampton, the HMM Oslo, has arrived this week (26 June),” Peter Livey, Managing Director (Gt. Britain) for HMM, said.

“These Megamax-24 ships are ground-breaking, not just in their size, but in world leading environmental performance too.  Their optimised hull design and highly energy-efficient engines make a significant leap forward in reducing CO2 and other emissions.  It’s all part of our long-term goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions across our container fleet by 2050.”



Source: World Maritime News


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India’s Retaliation Against China Carries Economic Costs

NEW DELHI—India intends its ban on Chinese apps to show its willingness to dismantle important economic links between the two countries to pressure Beijing to back off in a border dispute, Indian officials and analysts say.

But further steps to roll back economic integration would be at least as painful for India as China.

Economic ties between…


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Navios boxhsip loses three containers off Western Australia | Brazil Modal

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has confirmed that a Liberian-flagged container vessel, Navios Unite, has lost three containers off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia.

The Navios-operated 8,200TEU ship, which was on a journey from the port of Fremantle to Adelaide in South Australia, reported losing the boxes overboard in rough weather about 3.3km south west of Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia at 8pm AWST on 25 June.

Overnight, AMSA tasked its Challenger jet from Perth to search an area of about 1,600km2 for sightings of the missing containers, but no containers have, so far, been found.

AMSA said it is still collecting information about the incident and “will determine its course of action once the circumstances are understood.”


Source: Container News


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chinese apps: China urges India to ‘correct discriminatory practices’ against its firms after ban on Chinese apps

Beijing: Days after India banned 59 Chinese apps for engaging in activities which are “prejudicial” to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, Beijing on Thursday urged New Delhi to immediately “correct its discriminatory practices” against Chinese companies.

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, for engaging in “activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

The ban also comes in the backdrop of the current stand-off along the Line of Actual control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops.

Responding to reports that both countries are strengthening import regulations and suppressing each other’s export goods amid the tense border situation and its impact on China’s foreign trade enterprises exports to India, Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesman Gao Feng said that China has not taken any restrictive measures against Indian products and services.

“First of all, I want to clarify that China has not taken any restrictive and discriminatory measures against Indian products and services,” he said, according to the transcript posted on the ministry’s website.

“India’s relevant practices violate relevant World Trade Organization rules,” Gao said.

The spokesman also expressed hope that “India would immediately correct the discriminatory practices against China and Chinese enterprises.”

Announcing its decision to ban 59 apps in view of information available that they are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”, India’s Information Technology Ministry said the move will “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”

The IT ministry statement also said that it has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.

“The success of China-India economic and trade cooperation is the result of the joint efforts of the governments and enterprises of the two sides and serves the fundamental interests of the two people”, he said.

Gao said, “China attaches great importance to strengthening practical cooperation with India in all fields and hopes that the two sides will meet each other halfway, earnestly implement the economic and trade consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.”

He said the two sides should promote the sound and stable development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation and make efforts for the common prosperity of the two countries and the region at large.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it was “strongly concerned” over India’s move banning 59 Chinese apps.


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Temasek bailout still under discussion as PIL offloads more ships | Brazil Modal

Struggling Singaporean liner operator Pacific International Lines (PIL) has said that by the end of September 2020, it expects to complete bailout discussions with a unit of the Singapore government’s investment company Temasek Holdings.

As such, PIL is delaying the release of its 2019 financial results, saying that the figures will be released after the debt re-profiling discussions are more advanced.

PIL has signed an agreement with the Temasek unit, Heliconia Capital Management, which prevents the company from entering into similar discussions with other investors, for six months from 26 May.

For H1 2019, PIL had a narrower net loss of US$65 million, compared with US$141.18 million in H1 2018.

The company had tangible fixed assets of US$4.66 million and cash in hand of US$227.2 million as at 30 June 2019. There were long-term bank loans of US$1.07 billion and finance leases of US$1.26 billion, which against equity of US$1.69 billion, meant that PIL was highly leveraged. PIL also had a working capital deficit, with more than US$1.5 billion of debts due within a year.

The family owned company is controlled by MD, Teo Siong Seng, the family is also majority shareholder in container manufacturer Singamas.

PIL MD, Teo Siong Seng.

Container News has since learnt that PIL has sold two more ships. This month, two 1,550TEU, 1997-built, sister vessels, Kota Wajar and Kota Waris, sold to a Bangladeshi conglomerate, Karnaphuli Limited and renamed Sahare and Sarera, respectively. The sale price was not disclosed but the market and scrap values of each ship are on par, at US$2.3 million. Since 2019, PIL has sold at least eight vessels, excluding ships that were leased back.

PIL is understood to have fallen behind on charterhire payments to its tonnage providers, which include Japanese ship owners. In recent months, PIL acted to improve its balance sheet, including exiting the Transpacific tradeselling a subsidiary, Pacific Direct Line, and a number of ships.

Container News understands that like many liner operators, Q1 2020 was dismal for PIL as the Covid-19 pandemic spread worldwide, unsettling supply chains and factory production. A PIL source said the company’s ship sales aim to raise cash to consolidate its current liner portfolio.


Source: Container News –

Image: Teo Siong Seng


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Excellent knowledge of export and foreign trade legislation,; Strong modern leadership and management skills, self-motivated with a positive attitude, …


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