Ports subsequently blocked Hanjin vessels from docking out of fear that they would not be paid docking fees. This stranded the crews on ships with dwindling supplies of food and fuel. This was partially mitigated last week, when a court ruling enabled certain U.S. ports to allow Hanjin ships already en route to tie up and offload. However, There are still issues...
Creditors have sought an arrest warrant against the Seaspan Efficiency, a ship hauling cargo for Hanjin that was due to arrive in Savannah. Wang said the cargo concerned amounted to just around $800,000 and that he was confident the parties involved could come to an agreement.
Additionally, things are not being resolved so smoothly elsewhere in the world where numerous vessels are still stranded at sea with dwindling supplies. Lloyd's List has an interactive map.
Entering January 2016, Chinese imports fell for 13 consecutive months and declined by more than 20% between 2014 and 2015. Bulk shipping will be one of the many globally affected industries. Most experts look for continued weakness in the foreseeable future. The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which charts the rates for dry bulk commodity shipments, hit an all-time low in December 2015.
According to the article, 2016 is expected to be worse.
The same article looks separately at the three main aspects of the shipping industry. Generally, dry bulk refers to commodities like coal, steel and other raw materials. the container sector, is as one would expect focused on shipping containers (though things like RO-ROs shipping cars would be included as a subset. The thing about container shipping is that it deals in manufactured goods. There is not a 1 to 1 correlation with dry bulk shipping since a lot of dry bulk cargoes go to major heavy industries and infrastructure projects, so the downturn in China's construction boom does not necesarily portend a...oh wait...
Containers were unprofitable every year between 2009 and 2014, per McKinsey & Company, a market research company, and 2015 was even worse. Bulk carriers receive a lot of headline attention because they carry major commodities such as steel and iron, but container purchases and delivery rates are arguably more indicative of broader economic conditions.
Those economic conditions would seem to suck.
Tankers obviously ship chemicals, of which petroleum products are the most common. The fact that the drop in oil prices has helped to moderate the decline in oil consumption and the fact that tankers can make some money being used as anchored oil storage tanks has meant that tankers are the least disastrous sector of the shipping industry.
The portents are not good, but that means that these problems at least are not in any way unexpected. So prepare yourselves.
I make my own jerky. All it takes is a meat slicer and a dehydrator, and your choice of marinade (Mine is Soy and Worcestershire sauce, with Tapatio hot sauce for spice). It's not cheaper than commercial, but it's better.
Posted by: Mauser at Sun Oct 25 06:23:21 2015 (TJ7ih)
A recent filler post generated more comments than any other in the history of this blog. While I do not, in general, subscribe to the creative fallacy that is "chasing the hit"; filler posts are generally compensation for a lack of regular content. Thus, it seems prudent and polite to take stock of what is generating reader interest.
After careful analysis of both the content of the much discussed post and its comments to determine the precise focus of my reader's interest, I have tentatively ruled out the Moon Pies.
With that in mind, here, gentle reader, is another short girl with an atypical body type who is sporting a ribbon...
This does not seem to meet the requirements of "News".
If a Galapagos Tortoise had won the Triple Crown now THAT would be news, if only because said victory would be indicative of serious issues with the horses and quite possibly fraud on behalf of the tortoise.
Of course such newsworthy information would likely be ignored in that case and the lede would be speculation as to whether the tortoise identified as a horse*...which would dominate the news cycle for a week.
I bring this up because, while the story might warrant a mention and could even be a top tier story on a slow news day, today is not one of hose days.
I have contracted a case of the Martian Death Flu which has kneecapped my creativity. In the interests of content here are a few random links.
First some good news: A Boko Haram force, while attempting to move into southern Chad encountered a Chadian Army unit which curb-stomped them. Boko Haram's losses were 207 killed against Chad's one dead and nine wounded. Chad also seized large quantities of small arms and ammunition left behind by the murderous, feral nutbars.
The U.S. Korea Institute has issued a projection of how many nuclear weapons North Korea will have in 2020. The estimate is between 20 and more than 100. That's a rather....large spread. There is an interview with the researchers over at The Diplomat. It can be heard here.
We've mentioned before that America's B-61 nuclear bombs are being reduced in yield from 340KT to 50KT (while at the same same time massively increasing the accuracy). There is much more on this here. Note the buried lede 29 paragraphs down:
As part of this plan, the U.S. would eliminate the megaton-class B83 gravity bomb.
With a yield variable from a few kilotons to 1.2 megatonsB-83 is by far the most powerful weapon remaining in the arsenal. The B-83 is also a much more modern nuclear bomb than the B-61. Yet this weapon is being removed from the arsenal, to be replaced with two downgraded versions of the old B-61 with 50 and 100 kiloton maximum yields. While lower yields and greater accuracy do reduce collateral damage, nuclear deterrence involves having the potential to maximize damage to the infrastructure of the country being deterred. Also, ones accuracy is only as good as one's targeting, and while missile silos and military bases might well be eliminated with 50 kiloton blasts, the great SCUD hunt reminds us that hunting for the mobile land based missiles is not at all easy and could well involve a lot of imprecise targeting in a general area, where the greater 'earthquake effect' of the earth penetrating B-83 might be valuable. Finally, there is the possibility that a nation with a different values set than ours might conclude that even 1000 or more 50-100kt weapons hitting their strategic targets would be survivable as a nation, whereas a similar number of megaton class weapons would allow no recovery for us, thus in their twisted logic, victory. This is more likely if one has 4 times our population and a Maoist outlook that might consider one's large population to represent...spares. Increasing the accuracy of the arsenal is surely a good idea, as it makes the deterrent more credible, but getting rid of our most powerful bomb (which is variable yield in any event) seems rather ill considered.
As we have again mentioned "nukes", here is a picture of 21 kilotons of 'splody.
The first scenario outlined is completely redacted, illustrating the acute sensitivity about the issue. The second scenario is heavily blacked out but, according to the memo, "would be both logistically and technically challenging for a non-state group to undertake".
Well...that's reassuring. And I mean that with the same level of sarcasm that I say this is reassuring as well.
Finally, some Taiwanese news outfit has thoughts on Net Neutrality.
We Have Morons on Our Team
It seems that Craig Spencer, a doctor with Medicines Sans Frontiers, recently returned from the ebola hot zone in Africa. 10 days or so into his 21 day quarantine period he began feeling ill. This sad news, is, of course, not unexpected. It is why we have the quarantine for those who are exposed to this vile bug. Unfortunately, it gets worse. You see, he began feeling ill, when, as part of his..umm...quarantine...he had taken the subway to that bastion of solitude that is...a bowling alley.
Yup. That's what you like to see. Potentially infected people should really try to mix with as many random strangers as possible. They should try to wear as many rented shoes as possible, and stick their fingers into bowling balls that other people will be handling.
Also stand in line for food.
I understand, that he took an Uber home.
This was a fricking DOCTOR! He had just spent a tour witnessing up close what this dreadful pestilence can do, and he broke quarantine?! To go BOWLING!?
People gave grief to the late Thomas Duncan who was, at one point, told that he was clear and sent home, but this guy was a doctor with direct experience with this disease...he knew better. Presumably, he just decided that it wasn't going to happen to him.
Hubris kills, and it does not confine its wrath to the arrogant.
At this point, all medical personnel should immediately move, if exposed, to _enforced_ _mandatory_ quarantine, because the odds are, based on current experience, they'll decide "what the heck, let's go out in public!"
That's, what, 2 out of 3 exposed nurses and doctors deciding to spread the love?
Posted by: RickC at Fri Oct 24 17:39:11 2014 (0a7VZ)
The gist of the article is that Russian policy is such that in the event of a major military confrontation in their immediate sphere of influence (Chechnya is specifically mentioned) , a very limited nuclear strike will cause the other side to pause and reflect., thereby defusing the situation. There is another, albeit rather dated, article on this policy here.
Russia is not the only country that does not have a no first use policy. The same is true of the US and France for instance and US policy has been that if attacked with non-nuclear WMDs (especially a severe biological attack) nukes might be used. However, the Russian policy is odd in assuming that this will lead to a racheting DOWN of tensions. Once nukes start popping off, the potential for things to go completely pear shaped becomes very great indeed.
The USSR had no-first-use promises made, but frankly, nobody believed them. Nor should have!
That said, frankly we are probably better off staying the hell out of the Russian near-abroad. Certainly we don't have the ability to project power into the Ukraine or Georgia, there's nothing we have at stake there except abstract principle, and Russia would probably feel better with a little bit of a buffer; it's easy to say "why worry about invasion?" when your neighbors are Canada and Mexico. (Not that Germany is going to get up to anything...)
I've got to say, the Israelis probably owe Putin a letter of thanks. Can't really hammer them for going into Gaza when Russia's also being fast and loose with fighters over the border...
Kosovo is interesting in that it was exacly the same thing that's happening in Donetsk right now: the government wanting to expel an ethnic minority that served as a base for its opponents. That's why, for example, you can see an Ukrainian tank driving down the street and shooting at every house. It's not like there was a rebel with RPG sitting in each of them. The point is to make everyone in town to run for their lives, or die. Same goes for insciriminate bombardment.
When Serbs expelled Kosovars, we went and bombed Belgrad. When Ukrainians are eliminating Russians, we do not bomb Kiev. Instead, we're discussing helping them.
The difference is that Russians supported the guys who were doing the depopulation back then, and they are supporting those who are being depopulated right now. It shows very starkly that U.S. gives no consideration to "humanitarian" concerns whatsoever.
This is possible in part because of absolutely astonishing levels of lies, propaganda, and denial. I saw a number of Internet comments by Americans, which flatly deny that Kiev government was committing all the atrocities that are well documented. It's like the Moon Landing Hoax for them, and anyone who brings it up is Putin's stoodge.
Yes, of course, how can we not have perceived that Kiev's taken the opportunity to engage in a bit of ethnic cleansing? Obviously the conflict was a matter of choice for them and not, you know, Russia snatching territory from a neighbor. Russia doesn't have any designs in the area and is completely content with the Crimea, any further Anschluss is mere rumor-mongering by a hostile foreign press!
I just re-read Shirer a month ago, and it's worrisome when someone uses that as an instruction manual.
It's completely fair to say that the US didn't really have any business mucking about in Kosovo; Pournelle has mentioned a few times that "there certainly hadn't been any legal immigration of Albanian Muslims into that region." It drove a wedge between the US and Russia that has colored everything since, and it took a hell of a lot of cheek for Hilary to claim a need to "reset" relations since the US participation in the conflict was largely prompted by her husband needing to displace his sex scandals in the news.
All that said, most Americans don't even realize that Ukranian is a separate ethnicity from Russian, so it's little wonder that they don't see it as an ethnic conflict.
"The USSR had no-first-use promises made, but frankly, nobody believed them. Nor should have!"
Well, yes. It was along the lines of their commitment to world peace, with world peace defined as an absence of opposition to global communism. I put the same confidence in the USSR's commitment to that as I do China's, which is bragging about the fact that by the end of this year they'll be able to wipe out a third of our population in an hour. The point I made about Kosovo was that when we went into Kosovo the way we did and when we did, it caused a major reassessment on their part and they decided to openly proclaim that they were willing to use nukes to compensate for their conventional shortcomings, just like we did in the '70s.
Posted by: Brickmuppet at Sun Jul 27 12:05:22 2014 (DnAJl)
I'd say that a lot of the actual reassessment came in the aftermath of the First Gulf War.
The Soviets had a quantity-over-quality strategy that called for a small number of top-of-the-line units backed by formidable numbers of outdated but pretty cheap units. This stuff was also the bulk of Soviet military aid to various ally nations/puppets/satellites. They weren't counting on it to hold off the best the US had to offer, but they WERE counting on it to be a serious threat in the kind of numbers that they could field.
Iraq had what had been regarded, at the time, as a decently-trained army. They got hammered, plowed under (literally, in some cases), humiliated. US forces attacked at a significant manpower disadvantage, not normally a recipe for great success, and... well, suffice it to say that it did not go well for the Iraqis.
This was extremely bad for the greater Soviet strategy. If second-line forces couldn't even inflict casualties or slow down attacking US forces, then the numerical superiority on paper was an illusion. Unable to afford first-line equipment in the kind of numbers it would take to match the Western democracies, unable to rely on the masses of second-line equipment for anything but mobile coffins, the Soviet armies just weren't a match for the West anymore, and effectively had no way out of that jam.
I've always felt that this was at least one factor in why the Soviet Union collapsed when it did. The army could have upheld the state for quite a lot longer, but with its self-confidence having taken that kind of beating...
(And, naturally, a Russia after the breakup has a completely different strategic situation from the USSR pre-breakup - very little international advantage to be gained from a no-first-use claim, false or otherwise, and at least some self-protection to be gained...)
"Jet liners returning to their spawning ground to breed"
So that's why Boeing originally built its factory in the Pacific Northwest...
Posted by: Siergen at Mon Jul 7 19:45:13 2014 (8/vFI)
I realized immediately what had occurred, but only because a recent issue of Trains magazine
had an article on odd rail cargo... submarine reactor vessels, blades
for windmills, other trains, buildings, 737 fuselages, that sort of
It's hardly a "fiasco," it's an unfortunate derailment at a bad spot for it. Insurance, either Boeing's or the railcarrier's, will cover replacement costs.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Mon Jul 7 19:58:02 2014 (wd10W)
And only losing three fusilages like this is going to affect their shipment schedules, but not by damned much.
Gizmodo has a surprisingly good piece by a transplanted Northerner that explains the situation to his sneering former neighbors.
Birmingham is one of
those cities that shuts down at the faintest hint of snow. Again, this
isn’t because we are rubes who wonder why God’s tears have turned white
and fall slower. It’s because the city does not have the infrastructure
in place to handle snow, and is self-aware enough to realize it. If you
don’t know how to swim, just stay out of the pool. Easy.
This time, though, the city did not shut down. Schools were open.
Places of business kept businessing. That’s because as of Tuesday
morning, we were being told that all that was coming was a light dusting
I'm not sure there wasn't a major screw up in Atlanta, but the southeast got, in addition to the snow, a good deal of ice in some places, and that, combined with the storm shifting at the last moment really caused problems.
One exchange in the comments stands out though, in response to those who helpfully stressing the importance of driving slow came THIS profound insight.....
Ummm...that's your scenario too.
Listen. If you know how to drive in snow well enough that you don't need to slow down....YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOW. "Mr. Snow Is Scary" is the one doing it right.
Now I realize that for some of our readers, if you don't have to break out the aerosani, then it ain't really snow, but no matter how great the snowfall, one of the most important safety tips is to know your limitations. Driving slow is a rational, sensible response.
Here locally, we have 8 inches on the ground in Portsmouth, which is more than we've gotten in over a decade. (The other side of the Roads often gets more, but here on the Southside any accumulation is rare) The area is still shut down and schools are expected to remain closed tomorrow.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Fri Jan 31 00:20:37 2014 (OcKnz)
Oh, look, you've gotten all of our snow. I'm in central Pennsylvania, and there's less than an inch on the ground. This is the first day in weeks that it's been anything other than frigid, but the snow has all gone elsewhere. We're in that dry zone, too far southeast for lake-effect, too far west for heavy nor'easters or Atlantic-derived snow in general.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Fri Jan 31 11:02:26 2014 (jwKxK)