Building a canal across Thailand’s Kra Isthmus to connect the Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea isn’t a new idea. In fact, it’s been around since the 17th century, when a king in the region requested a report on the feasibility of the project. The notion resurfaced two centuries later, when Ferdinand de Lesseps—the “Father of the Suez Canal”—expressed support for such a project.
At first glance, recent facts and figures about U.S. seaborne coal exports in 2017 seem to suggest a cause for celebration among dry-bulk shippers. After all, America’s coal exports are up 57% in total volume and 61% tonne-miles for the first two quarters of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.
With the increase in America’s production and export of natural gas, some industry experts warn of bigger traffic jams among tankers at the busiest ports in the Gulf. The congestion is not exactly on par with an LA freeway at rush hour, but sizable enough to cause costly delays.
The story might sound, at first, a bit like David vs. Goliath: The little country of Qatar, one of the smallest oil producers in the Middle East, is currently locked in a diplomatic conflict with two of OPEC’s largest oil producers—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)—and their cohorts in the area, Bahrain and Egypt. But instead of wielding a slingshot, this “David,” according to its adversaries, is more likely to carry a bomb-filled backpack.
The multi-billion dollar investments currently being made in and near smaller ports along the Gulf Coast by some of the largest energy companies in the country are part of the long history of ports in the area.
Early Saturday morning, a US destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, was hit by a container ship just off the coast of Shimoda, Japan. The collision claimed the lives of seven US Navy Sailors. In the aftermath of this tragedy, both sides are trying to figure out exactly what happened.
In Vienna on May 25, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies — including Russia — agreed to extend their cutbacks in oil production in hopes of addressing the glut of oil that’s been keeping down the price-per-barrel.
The “shale revolution,” as it’s been called, has led not only to the construction of new pipelines and LNG terminals, but also to a significant increase in this country’s energy exports. Less than a decade ago, U.S. gas production from conventional fields was in a downward spiral. And experts predicted that the country would become, of necessity, one of the largest importers of natural gas.
With the approval of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), several ports that previously competed for market share are now working cooperatively—exploring opportunities, sharing data, promoting cargo-handling efficiencies, expanding infrastructure. This trend among ports to form alliances with other ports in the same geographic region has come in response to the recent alliances formed by shipping companies.