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international (157)

Dec 31, 2023 (Bloomberg) –Ukraine has exported 13 million tons of products through a shipping corridor in the Black Sea it established after Russia pulled out of a deal guaranteeing safe movement of vessels.

Ports accepted 430 vessels for loading since the channel was created in August, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday. 

Kyiv established the corridor to allow the shipping of critical commodities, especially grains, from its deep-sea ports after Moscow in July pulled out the United Nations-backed Black Sea grain deal that had guaranteed safe passage for crops.

Around 13 mln tons of products have been exported through #Ukrainian_corridor by 400 vessels to 24 countries since august 2023.

Despite systematic attacks on the port infrastructure, ports accepted 430 vessels for loading through #Ukrainian_corridor.

Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine, called the continued movement of cargo “a significant achievement as Ukraine continues to feed the world.” 

As 2023 comes to a close, 400 ships carrying 13 million tons of cargo have passed through the Black Sea Humanitarian Corridor since August. This is a significant achievement as Ukraine continues to feed the world – despite Russia’s daily and continuing attacks across the country.

Ukraine’s ability to ship via the Black Sea comes as Russia has moved its Naval fleet there from Crimea to Novorossiysk in response to repeated attacks on vessels – the most recent coming on Dec. 26.

Supplies of British Storm Shadow and French Scalp cruise missiles have helped Ukraine tip the balance in its favor, Bloomberg reported last week, enabling it to evade air defenses to conduct accurate strikes on Russian targets. 

Russia’s fleet “is no longer able to operate in the western part of the Black Sea,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Oct. 24, calling it a “historic achievement” for his country.   

COSCO Shipping Development acquired the 700TEU electric container ships N997 and N998, which were built on December 28 by COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. For River-Sea Direct Service, “Zhongyuan Haiyun Lvshui 01” and “Zhongyuan Haiyun Lvshui 02” are the first electric container vessels in the world.

Per reports, COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry independently researched, designed, and manufactured this kind of ship, maintaining its own intellectual property rights. In addition, it’s the initial batch of green, zero-carbon pilot ships and the largest electric ship project now under development in China.

he yacht, measuring 119.8 meters in length and 23.6 meters in beam, is powered by 36 interchangeable marine containerized batteries, which can hold over 800 new energy vehicles. The ship has the greatest battery capacity in the entire world, which is refilled via a movable power exchange system that resembles a box.

In terms of the number of loaded boxes, deadweight tonnage, and battery capacity of 100% electric container vessels, this ship leads the globe. Its preset battery capacity is significantly higher than that of the current international and domestic ship types.

It is anticipated that “Zhongyuan Haiyun Lvshui01” will sail on the “Nanjing-Yangshan” route during its inaugural voyage, which is scheduled to begin in mid-to late-January 2024.


Iran’s foreign minister denied that his country is helping Yemen’s Houthi rebels attack commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea, warning the waterway won’t be safe as long as Israel maintains its offensive in Gaza.

The White House, citing newly released intelligence, said Friday that Iran was “deeply involved” in the planning of the Houthi attacks and has supplied weapons, financial support and training.

“The accusation is baseless,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a news conference in Tehran cited by state television. The attacks are “a completely Yemeni decision in support and defense of Gaza,” he said. 

Read more: Iran Threatens Strait of Gibraltar Closure Without Saying How

His comments on Saturday come as the UK Navy reported several incidents of ships being targeted by drones in both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, raising the question of whether a new risk area is opening to global vessels.  

The UK Maritime Trade Operations received reports of drones flying low above a vessel before exploding, including one incident southwest of Veraval, India, that caused an explosion and fire on a ship it didn’t identify. No casualties were reported.

The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea on ships the group believes are supportive of Israel have caused chaos in an area that accounts for some 12% of global maritime trade. The world’s major container and oil shippers have been rerouting vessels away from the waterway. The strikes have roiled shipping markets and helped push up oil prices.

President Joe Biden said Saturday he had a long conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I did not ask for a cease-fire,” he said in response to a reporter’s question while departing the White House for Camp David, where he’s spending the Christmas holiday.

Amirabdollahian said a US-led coalition to protect naval traffic in the Red Sea “isn’t a solution.”

“There’s no need for a coalition. They stop supporting the murderous Israeli regime and they will see a safer region and a better situation even for the transfer of energy,” Amirabdollahian said.


Several shipping firms intend to avoid the vital canal, including OOCL in Hong Kong and Hapag-Lloyd in Germany. Due to the attacks’ disruption of international trade, a naval task force was formed to address security concerns.

A chokehold has been placed on the Suez Canal, a crucial economic route that handles around 12% of global trade, affecting the flow of commodities between Asia and Europe. Companies rerouted ships in response to the growing conflicts; Hapag-Lloyd plans to reroute 25 vessels by year’s end, which caused a disturbance in shipping inventories and freight rates.

Global supply networks become more complex as longer routes throughout Africa are required to avoid the Red Sea and Suez Canal. The Houthi conflict, which is affiliated with Iran and controls a large portion of Yemen, says that Israel is to blame for these strikes.

To get consumer products to stores, traders are desperately looking for alternatives, such as airfreight, even if going across Africa takes an extra 10 to 14 days for a voyage. Shipping costs have increased due to the crisis; in December alone, container rates from China to the Mediterranean augmented by 44%. Global corporations, such as Kone and IKEA, expect product shortages and transportation delays to impact more than just the containerised products industry.

Analysts caution that if the conflict continues, shipping spot costs may increase by two or three times from their current levels. Exporters of American soybeans are thinking about taking shorter routes instead of making lengthier trips around Africa or South America. By February, shortages might affect some merchants, but businesses have learned from the COVID-19 epidemic to strengthen supply chains’ resilience by varying their suppliers.

As part of an international alliance headed by the United States, Greece has promised to send a navy frigate to address security concerns in the area. Stabilising the vital waterways is essential for the complete recovery of shipping, which will affect not only international trade but also have an immediate negative effect on Israel.

Since the increase of Houthi strikes, activity at Israel’s most southern port of Eilat has decreased by 85% as a result of OCCL’s decision to stop shipping to and from Israel, citing operational concerns.


A.P. Moller-Maersk is about to launch its first large vessel enabled by methanol, which is a big step toward meeting its goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

The ship will launch on February 9, 2024, and will travel the AE7 string, linking significant ports in Europe and Asia, beginning in Ningbo, China.

Built in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the container ship has a nominal capacity of 16,000 containers (TEU). It is outfitted with a dual-fuel engine that can run on conventional bunker fuel, biodiesel, or methanol.

Chief Commercial Officer of Maersk Karsten Kildahl highlighted the importance of launching the first sizeable methanol-enabled ship on the Asia-Europe trade lane, pointing out its significant influence on clients’ supply chain decarbonization initiatives.

In 2024, Maersk intends to increase the number of methanol-capable ships it operates on different trade routes.

Before deployment, the ship will have its formal name at the shipyard in late January 2024. The first half of 2024 will see the deployment of additional sister vessels, with naming ceremonies set for Yokohama, Japan, and Los Angeles, USA.

Maersk also plans to take delivery of four other sister vessels in the second half of 2024.

This ship will be the second container ship in the world to operate on green methanol when it sets out on its first voyage; the other is the feeder ship Laura Maersk, which started operations in September of the previous year.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, flanked by four fighter jets, undertook a rare one-day tour of the Middle East, visiting Saudi Arabia following a brief stop in the United Arab Emirates.

Putin arrived in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital that is holding the UN’s COP28 climate negotiations, on Wednesday. He was brought to the presidential palace, where he was welcomed with a 21-gun salute as well as a flyby by the UAE military jets reportedly trailing smoke in Russian flag colors.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, referred to Putin as a “dear friend.” These thoughts were echoed by Russia’s president.

The relations, largely because of Sheikh Mohammed’s position, have reached an unprecedented high level, Putin said to Sheikh Mohammed. The UAE is Russia’s primary trading partner in the Arab world.

The meeting was Russia’s effort to establish a more powerful presence in the Middle East, with the oil cooperation and Israel-Hamas conflict on its agenda.

According to Russia’s TASS news agency, the two leaders addressed bilateral cooperation in the energy industry as well as innovative technology. Putin then went off to Riyadh, where he visited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud — their first interaction in person since October 2019.

Putin cordially thanked the crown prince for inviting him in introductory remarks broadcast on Russian television, saying he had anticipated MBS to visit Moscow, but there were modifications to his plans. He stated that their next meeting ought to take place in Moscow and that nothing will impede the development of their friendly relations.

Putin’s meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince came as oil prices plummeted, despite a vow by OPEC+, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (abbreviated OPEC), along with allies led by Russia, to decrease output even further.

However, it was unclear what Putin, who has seldom left Russia since the beginning of the Ukraine war, wanted to discuss precisely with the crown prince of the world’s top crude exporter.

Putin will receive Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday in Moscow. The UAE will then welcome Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister on Friday as well as Saturday. Putin’s unusual visit to the region is his first since meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in July 2022 in Iran.

After the International Criminal Court (abbreviated the ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March, accusing him of deporting Ukraine’s children, Vladimir Putin has made few international tours.

Neither the United Arab Emirates nor Saudi Arabia have joined the founding treaty of the ICC. Thus they are not required to arrest him if he reaches their territory.

Putin has condemned Israel’s two-month bombing of the Gaza Strip as a failure of US diplomacy. He has proposed that because of its cordial relations with Israel as well as the Palestinians, Moscow may act as a mediator.

Putin’s journey to the Middle East is also part of his efforts to show that Western efforts to isolate Moscow via sanctions for its war in Ukraine have flopped.

He appears to be quite delighted to be in Abu Dhabi, said Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor, James Bays. He noted that it is uncertain how the visit will be perceived in Washington because the UAE has close connections with the US.

Grain thunders into rail wagons and vehicles whizz around a storage facility based in central Ukraine, where a rising number of enterprises have turned as they battle to ship food to people suffering from famines worldwide.


More grain is being unloaded now from the overcrowded silos and moving to Black Sea ports, where it will transit a budding shipping corridor established when Russia reportedly dropped out of a U.N.-brokered accord this summer that enabled food to move safely from Ukraine amid the war.

Things were tight. Nevertheless, they kept working… After the grain deal expired in July, they looked for ways to accept every ton of product required by their partners, explained Roman Andreikiv, the facility’s general director. Ukraine’s new military-protected route has enabled him to open up storage space and boost activity.

Despite the prospect of attack as well as floating explosive mines, a growing number of vessels are flocking to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and setting sail loaded with grain, metals, and other cargo. It is boosting Ukraine’s agricultural economy and restoring a critical source of grain, barley, wheat, sunflower oil, and other affordable food goods for portions of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, where prices locally have soared, and food insecurity is increasing.

They are witnessing increasing confidence among commercial operators eager to take Ukrainian grain cargo, says Munro Anderson, the chief of operations with Vessel Protect, which evaluates and ensures conflict risks at sea.

Ihor Osmachko, the General Director of Agroprosperis Group, one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural producers and exporters, says he is more confident than he was two months ago.

Since its first vessel left in mid-September, the business claims to have carried over 300,000 metric tons of grain to China, Bangladesh, Egypt, Spain, the Netherlands, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Following the termination of the UN-mediated deal, Russia attacked Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and grain infrastructure, damaging sufficient supplies to feed more than one million individuals for a year, according to the UK government.

The risk to vessels is the most significant barrier to the new shipping channel. This summer, Russia warned that ships coming to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports would be deemed to be loaded with weapons.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that while friends have promised to supply ships to assist his country in protecting commercial vessels in the Black Sea, more air defence systems are required.

Air defence is currently in short supply, he warned reporters at an international food security forum in Kyiv on Saturday. But what matters is that there are agreements with a positive signal, and the corridor is also operational.

While a tragic missile assault on the port of Odesa this month injured a Liberian-flagged commercial ship, insurers, brokers, and banks joined together with the Ukrainian government in announcing cost-effective coverage for Black Sea grain exports, providing shippers with peace of mind.

Despite the attacks, Ukraine has shipped nearly 5.6 million metric tons of grain plus other products via the new route, according to the US ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink. Before the war, it was roughly double that each month, according to Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s Deputy Economy Minister.

Kelly Goughary, a senior research analyst at agriculture data and analytics business Gro Intelligence, says that the current transportation method is much more expensive and time-consuming.

But she said they are getting product out the door, which is better than many people expected with the grain effort ending.


Iran’s navy added a cruise missile-launching destroyer to the Caspian Sea fleet on Monday, according to state media. The 1,400-ton Deilaman, named after a town in the north of the country, is 95 meters in length and 11 meters in breadth and can shoot torpedoes at 30 knots, per the IRNA news agency.

The article states that Deilaman can identify more than 100 targets at the same time, including warships, drones, helicopters, submarines, and aircraft.

Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, described the Caspian as a sea of harmony and friendship and stated Iran’s naval power there would promote the security of commercial fleets by confronting terrorists and likely events in the future.

This is Iran’s sixth warship to be commissioned in the Caspian Sea, the world’s biggest inland body of water shared by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran.

In recent years, Iranian vessels have visited Russian and Azerbaijani naval ports in the sea. Still, Iran has also attacked Azerbaijan for close military connections with Israel, which Iran regards as its archenemy.

While Russia is the most powerful naval force in the Caspian, Iran has attempted to establish a naval presence across the sea since the latter part of the 1960s and has steadily increased its strength since the 1990s. Iran also maintains three naval bases on the sea’s coast.

A small yard in Geoje, South Korea has launched a modern update of a motor-sail cargo vessel for the Marshall Islands' government shipping company, building on an idea trialed with economical sailing vessels like the SV Kwai. 

The future Juren AE is a 300-ton coastal freighter designed for the South Pacific inter-island trade. It was commissioned by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and designed by a team from Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences, Kostec, and Asia Shipbuilding Co., a small yard based in the Korean shipbuilding hub of Geoje. 

Sail-driven cargo vessels have a better business case when fuel prices are high, as they are in the remote islands of the Pacific. Sailing rigs are labor-intensive to operate, but this particular ship will be fitted with a partially-automated sailing system based on the INDOSAIL design, a German-Indonesian invention with roots at Hamburg's ship model basin (HSVA). 

The design should have a service speed of about 12 knots when under sail, and seven knots with an auxiliary diesel engine when required. If there is more wind power than needed, the propeller can turn a generator via a hybrid transmission, charging up a battery rack. For low-speed maneuvering, the battery-electric drive can put that power back to use. The vessel will also have a solar panel system for onboard power.

In all, the designers believe that its emissions will be 80 percent lower than the carbon output of a conventional vessel of the same size, and they hope to get all the way to carbon neutrality in the future. 

"Despite the relatively simple and cost-effective construction concept, there are many innovations in the ship that are exemplary for future zero-emission shipping," said Prof. Captain Michael Vahs from Emden/Leer University.

Juren AE launched on Wednesday, and when it is complete, a team from Emden/Leer will help the Marshall Islands Shipping Company build familiarity with the vessel and its systems. The ship could be a template for other shipping projects, the partners say, and it will likely be open to viewers in an open house in Geoje in February 2024. 


Indian Ministry of External Affairs will decide if ships sanctioned by the U.S Treasury Department will enter India or not. The three vessels, Kazan, NS Century and Ligovsky Prospect, are registered with UAE-based companies and are en route to India.

The U.S. government has accused these ships of exporting Russian crude oil at the rate of over USD 60 per barrel after the price cap on Russian crude was brought about. This development came when Russia invaded Ukraine and aimed to decrease Russia’s oil revenues that it gets from selling its crude oil. 

However, a rise in prices of oil across the world has led to incidents where Russian crude was bought by some. Hence, the US targeted shipping companies and insurers that engage in Russian crude oil transportation.

Shyam Jagannathan, Director General of Shipping, has made it clear that the port rules and regulations do not restrict the entry of these ships into India, which are now moving towards Gujrat’s Vadinar, which is not a major port. Vadinar was taken over by Russian Rosneft in 2016.

India is also preparing for the PM Maritime Amritkaal Vision to make India the global maritime leader by 2047. This includes the modernisation of Indian ports by 2047, building green tugs at Cochin Shipyard, opening new opportunities for export and setting up Green Hydrogen Hubs at Den Dayal Port and VO Chidambarananar ports.

Per an official statement, around 177 projects have been completed at Major Ports in 2022-23, while 162 projects are still at different stages of implementation with an investment of over one lakh crore.