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April 29 2019

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20 The Journal of Commerce | April 29 2019 Roll-On, Roll-Off and Auto Shipping Special Report PLAYERS IN THE high-and-heavy roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) fleet are feeling confident as they embark on newbuilding programs ahead of the tougher environmental regulations being introduced by the Internation- al Maritime Organization (IMO) on Jan. 1, 2020. On that date, the global fleet switches from 3.5 percent sul- fur marine fuel to 0.5 percent sulfur fuel, a dramatic change expected to trigger a cascade of knock-on effects. Carriers see signs of resurgence in the energy and infrastructure markets, although geopolitical and trade issues could undermine their optimism. "Despite many uncer- tainties in the global geopolitical environment, the short- to medi- um-term outlook looks promising," Stian Omli, global head of breakbulk sales at Hoegh Autoliners, told The Journal of Commerce. "We see a steady increase in breakbulk volumes in our main trades. Some of this is market-driven, whereas some is increased awareness of the advantages transportation by ro-ro can have over other modes of transportation," he said. "We do see strong demand in the renewable sector, as well as construction and infrastructure. We see a solid project pipeline building up in the Middle East, in the oil and gas sectors and for petrochemicals and industrial projects. Mining is Confidence high and heavy Ro-ro carriers see potential in breakbulk and high and heavy markets despite geopolitical snags By Keith Wallis still flat, but there will be pent-up demand after many years of slow or negative growth, so once raw materials recover, so will mining," Omli said. The carrier extended its Eu- rope-Middle East service to include ports in Asia in January, adding two sailings a month from Europe to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. That complements the direct US-Oceania service via the Panama Canal it launched in 2018. Another region poised for growth, India, "remains a very strong market for the construction industry … The Indian construction industry is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 6.4 percent between 2018 and 2023. India is increasingly becoming a manufac- turing and export hub for oversize cargo," Omli said. Hoegh Autoliners broke a record earlier this year for transporting the heaviest breakbulk unit shipped by a ro-ro vessel out of India when it carried a 107.4-metric-ton generator from Ennore for a power station project in Spain. Hoegh also saw an increase in high and heavy volumes to the US in 2018. Infrastructure investment led Hoegh Autoliners and European short-sea high and heavy operator UECC to see an increase in rail-relat- ed volumes. UECC is jointly owned by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Wallenius Lines. "We see an increase in tram and train shipments using our new roll trailer mafi fleet with integrated rail, and also increased shipments of electric buses," said Sven Jansen, UECC's head of high and heavy transport. While Siem Car Carriers has seen some improvement in the volume of high and heavy exports from the US, the largest slice of its heavy-lift business is from Asia to Mexico. This reflects a shift in construction and Despite many uncertainties in the global geopolitical environment, the short- to medium- term outlook looks promising."

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