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‘Storm approaching’: firms fear for deliveries in shipping shakeup



U.S. furniture company, RC Willey Home Furnishings, is so concerned that new global clean air rules will cause transport disruption that it brought forward the shipment of arm chairs and sofas from China by two months.

The tougher regulations, set by the United Nations shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), come into force on Jan 1.

Costs will rise for ships towards the end of this year and there will be a knock on effect for trucks and other transporters that move goods around the world.

For shipping companies, it is the biggest shakeup in decades and added to the pressures of an economic slowdown and the threat of an escalating trade war between the United States and China.

While consumers are not expected to pay more for goods, higher transport bills and disruption to company deliveries could further dent economic growth.

Ship owners must cut sulphur emissions to 0.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent. They can do this by using low-sulphur fuel, installing exhaust gas cleaning systems or opting for other more expensive, clean fuels such as liquefied natural gas or traveling more slowly.

Jeff Child, President of Berkshire Hathaway’s RC Willey Home Furnishings, moved the delivery of about 450 containers from September and October to July and August.

He wants to avoid any disruption in the peak fourth quarter as ships prepare for the changes and refitting equipment.

“We just don’t want to get caught in a situation where it affects our inventory,” he told Reuters.

Analysts say the container industry, which transports consumer goods such as sofas, designer clothes and bananas, will be one of the worst hit with extra costs of about 10 billion dollars.

The world’s two biggest container shipping lines – Denmark’s Maersk and Swiss headquartered MSC – say they face annual extra costs of over two billion dollars each.

Twenty-five logistics company executives told Reuters they would pass along any IMO-related costs, such as ship upgrades or more expensive fuel, to customers.

“The sulphur cap will further put pressure on ocean freight rates and we… will have to pass those costs on to remain competitive,” Peder Winther, global head of ocean freight with Swiss transportation company Panalpina Group said.

Economists say manufacturers are expected to absorb their part of the cost and are unlikely to raise the price of consumer goods, but the hit to companies could be a drag on the world economy.

A Nestle S.A. spokesperson said the food group was talking to transport companies about “fuel adjustment methodology” to reflect the impact of the new rules.

“Higher fuel prices would result in higher transport costs,” said Peter Nagle, an economist with the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group.

“This would have the potential to lead to slower economic growth and trade.”

Trucking companies will also suffer. The IMO rules do not apply to them, but they will face new competition from ships for lower sulfur fuel.

This is expected to push up the price of diesel fuel for trucks by as much as 100 per cent.

Small to mid-sized truckers may find it tough as they lack the clout to negotiate fuel deals or to recoup the costs.

“I’m at the whim of the market. All I can do is let the customers know what’s going on,” said Mike Baicher, president and chief executive of New Jersey based West End Express, which runs 90 trucks in New York, New Jersey and along the East Coast.

“There is only so much that the trucking company can absorb.”

In a letter sent to top U.S. government officials including National Security Advisor John Bolton, transport associations including trucking groups said there was consensus that U.S. transport industries would be “negatively affected by IMO 2020 pricing pressure”.

It said there could be market disruptions.

“There’s a storm approaching, but we don’t know how bad the storm is going to be,” said Glen Kedzie, energy and environmental counsel for the American Trucking Associations.

Shipping and freight forwarding companies, which offer a service overseeing the delivery of goods from beginning to end, expect to feel more cost pressure.

Bart de Vries, chief operating officer for air & sea with U.S. headquartered Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, expects to pay more for services as shipping companies pass along the costs.

Some companies may overhaul their business plans.

“It will undoubtedly force many exporters and importers to review their sourcing strategies and vendors,” said Cas Pouderoyen, senior vice president of ocean freight with global logistics company Agility

Richard Fattal, co-founder of digital freight forwarder and logistics provider Zencargo, said there could be as much as a 10 to 20 per cent rise in overall operating costs next year.

Allen Clifford, a U.S.-based executive vice president with MSC, said at a recent forum in California that his company was facing huge expenses.


NiMet predicts cloudiness, thunderstorm Sunday to Tuesday



Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudiness and thunderstorm across the country from Sunday to Tuesday.

NiMet`s weather output released on Saturday in Abuja said thunderstorms are currently observed over Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jos, Minna and Abuja.

According to it, reports of thunderstorms activities are anticipated over the southern parts of the country.

For Sunday, early morning thunderstorms are expected over Yelwa, Sokoto and Gusau leaving other places in the northern region to be in cloudy skies during the morning hours.

“ In the afternoon and evening period, thunderstorms are anticipated over the Southern Sokoto, Gusau, Southern Borno, Kano and Katsina while the other places in the north should have patches of clouds with intervals of sunshine.

“Cloudiness is anticipated over the central cities in the morning hours with prospects of thunderstorms over Jos, Kaduna, Abuja, Ilorin, Mambilla Plateau, Kogi and Makurdi during the afternoon/evening period, “ it said.

It predicted the southern regions to be cloudy with a few thunderstorms over parts of Calabar, Yenegoa and Port Harcourt in the morning hours.

The agency envisaged prospects of thunderstorms over the inland while coastal cities are better during the afternoon/evening period.

For Monday, Cloudiness is anticipated over the northern region throughout the forecast period over the north with possibilities of early morning thunderstorms over parts Yelwa.

“ Cloudy morning is expected over the central cities with possibilities of a few thunderstorms over parts of Abuja, Minna Lafia, Mambilla Plateau and Jalingo.

“ Later in the day, pockets of thunderstorms are anticipated over Bida, Kaduna, Abuja, Jos, Mambilla Plateau and Makurdi, “ it said.

NiMet forecast cloudy skies over the inland and coastal cities of the south in the morning hours with chances of thunderstorms over Benin, Warri and Yenagoa.

It further forecast thunderstorms over most parts of inland and coastal cities during the afternoon/evening period.

For Tuesday, increased cloudiness should prevail over the northern region in the morning hours with chances of thunderstorms over Sokoto, Kano, Potiskum, Bauchi and Gombe during the afternoon/evening period.

“Patches of clouds should prevail over the central region in the morning hours with possibilities of thunderstorms over the high ground areas of Abuja, Jos, Bida, Jalingo and Ilorin during the afternoon/evening period.

“Inland cities of south should be mostly cloudy in the morning with prospects of thunderstorms over the region in afternoon/evening hours.

“Coastal belts should be predominantly under the influence of thunderstorms within forecast period,“ it said.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)



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Tropical storm Amanda kills 11 in El Salvador




Tropical storm Amanda caused significant destruction in El Salvador, killing 11 people before it weakened into a tropical depression, the government said on Sunday.

Mudslides, floods and bursting rivers led to the fatalities, the civil protection agency said.

Three of the deaths occurred in Granadillas, a district in the town of San Juan Opico, where a family was swept away by raging flood waters.

Fatalities were also reported in the district of San Pedro, in the capital San Salvador, and in Soyapango, La Paz and Nuevo Israel.

At least one person remains missing, the agency said, after the storm inundated some 200 homes and uprooted 100 trees, mainly in the western part of the Central American country.

Authorities have set up 10 shelters for those whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared a nationwide red alert and a 15-day state of emergency to facilitate recovery efforts in the wake of the storm.

Interior Minister Mario Duran said at a press conference the country was facing “a critical situation” sparked by “COVID-19 and now this tropical storm.”

Heavy downpours are still expected over the coming hours despite Amanda weakening after making landfall, the Environment Ministry warned.


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LASG to enumerate Badagry Windstorm, flood victims — LASEMA



The Lagos State Government has embarked on enumeration of victims of a strong windstorm which ravaged Iragon Community in Badagry Local Local Government Area on Monday.

The Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.

He said that LASEMA officials would enumerate victims that suffered severe damages to structures, which included school, church, the community town hall and several residential buildings.

“Though, no lives were lost in the incident, however, Commissioner 2, of the Lagos State Civil Service Commission, Hon. Suru Avoseh, stated that the incident affected over 100 buildings, with over 150 people devastated.

“These events reportedly culminated in the decision and my directive to conduct a comprehensive enumeration of the entire affected community on Tuesday 26th May, 2020.

“A number of homes have totally or partially collapsed, while others had their roofs blown off by the heavy winds.

“We can confirm for example that the prototype school in the community, St Patrick’s Primary school, have suffered extensive damage.

“We have dispatched a team to conduct an enumeration of damaged property and displaced persons, particularly elderly, women and children within the locality. .

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

IMG-20200525-WA0101-300×142.jpg 300w,×485.jpg 1024w,×364.jpg 768w, 1080w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-lazy-src=”×142.jpg”>IMG-20200525-WA0101-300×142.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”142″ srcset=”×142.jpg 300w,×485.jpg 1024w,×364.jpg 768w, 1080w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px”>
A picture of devastating environmental after effects of strong windstorm that occurred from about midnight of Sunday 24th during a rainstorm, to early hours of Monday 25th May, 2020 at Iragon community, in Badagry LGA.



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Once-in-a-decade storm hammers Australia’s west coast




Australia’s western coastline endured damaging wind and rain, as a “once-in-a-decade” storm struck on Sunday night and continued into Monday.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology warned of abnormally high tides and damaging surf spanning a distance of roughly 3,000 kilometres, from Albany to the Kimberley Coast.

Trees and powerlines knocked down by the storm created hazards and left more than 47,000 homes without power, according to reports by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, while several boats were blown ashore after breaking free from their moorings.

The State of Western Australia (WA) Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) acting assistant commissioner Jon Broomhall warned residents to take particular care securing their homes and property due to the unusual nature of the weather.

“So it’s a once-in-a-decade-type system and it’s from a different angle,” Broomhall said.

“Normally our storms come from the south-west and this will come from the north-west so it will test people’s buildings, sheds and all those unsecured items, so we’re asking people to secure property and make sure everything loose is tied down.”

The storm was the result of a system from ex-Tropical Cyclone Mangga interacting with a cold front over the Indian Ocean.


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Cyclonic storm Amphan kills 72 in India’s West Bengal: chief minister




Chief Minister of India’s eastern state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, said on Thursday that 72 people were killed in her state due to the severe cyclonic storm Amphan.

“Seventy-two people were killed because of the cyclone here yesterday,” Banerjee told a press briefing. “The damage caused by Amphan is more than the coronavirus pandemic. I would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and visit cyclone Amphan-affected areas.”

The cyclonic storm triggering gusty winds up to 190 kmph and rain battered West Bengal and coastal Odisha on Wednesday evening, flattening makeshift houses and uprooting electric poles and trees.

“There have been casualties. I announce a compensation of 3,310 U.S. dollars (INR 250,000 to each family that lost a member in the cyclone,” she said.

Officials are yet to decide on the losses the state has suffered in the cyclone. However, Banerjee put the damages at around 13.20 billion U.S. dollars in the affected parts of state.

Earlier Modi said he would leave no stone unturned to help those affected by cyclonic storm Amphan in West Bengal and Odisha.

“Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal,” Modi said in a brief statement posted on social media. “Authorities are working on the ground to ensure all possible assistance to those affected.”

Reports said the cyclone has also killed five in the neighboring state of Odisha.

The deaths, according to officials in the two states, have been caused due to falling of trees, electric poles, failing structures and house collapses.

Authorities have rushed additional teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to speed up restoration work, especially in Kolkata.


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Indian PM promises to help victims of severe cyclonic storm Amphan




Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said he would leave no stone unturned to help those affected by the devastating severe cyclonic storm Amphan in West Bengal and Odisha.

“Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy,” Modi said in a brief statement posted on social media.

“My thoughts are with the people of Odisha as the state bravely battles the effects of cyclone Amphan. Authorities are working on the ground to ensure all possible assistance to those affected. I pray that the situation normalises at the earliest.”

The cyclonic storm triggering gusty winds up to 190 kmph and rain battered West Bengal and coastal Odisha on Wednesday evening, flattened makeshift houses, uprooted electric poles and trees.

The cyclone has claimed 17 lives in the two states – 12 in West Bengal and five in Odisha. The deaths according to officials have been caused due to falling of trees, electric poles, failing structures and house collapses.

The prime minister said National Disaster Relief Force teams were working in the areas affected by the cyclone.

“Top officials are closely monitoring the situation and also working in close coordination with the West Bengal government,” Modi said. “No stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”

According to Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee the damages due to the Amphan could be 13.20 billion U.S. dollars in the affected parts of state.

The severe cyclonic storm comes at a time when India is fighting COVID-19, which has infected 112,359 people in the country and killed 3,435.


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Maldives’ southernmost Addu City damaged by storm




A southern most city in the Maldives has suffered heavy damage and deep flooding due to heavy rains and winds caused by a storm, local media reported Monday.

At a parliamentary sitting on Monday MP Mohamed Nihad submitted a motion requesting government intervention to protect lives and property in Addu City from extreme weather including floods during the monsoon season.

Nihad is a representative for the Feydhoo district in Addu City which suffered the worst damage during a monsoon storm caused by a depression in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday.

According to local media, 544 households in the Feydhoo district have been affected by extreme weather, in addition to 28 households in Hithadhoo, 20 households in Maradhoo, and 44 in Maradhoo Feydhoo.

The Maldives Meteorological Department (MET) on Monday morning issued a yellow alert for rain and thunderstorms between Kaafu atoll and Addu City.

The advisory warned of strong northwesterly winds around 15 to 25 miles per hour and gusts between 50 to 60 miles per hour amidst showers.

The MET said that seas across the country would remain rough, with swell wave surges expected during high tide.


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Cyclone Amphan likely to intensify into cyclonic storm in India




The India Meteorological Department (IMD) Monday warned that cyclone Amphan was likely to intensify into an extremely severe cyclonic storm.

“It is very likely to intensify further during the next six hours. It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and move fast across the northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon or evening of May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm,” reads a statement issued by IMD.

Coastal Odisha is likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy falls at isolated places from Monday evening.

Coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal are also likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy falls at isolated places on Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to IMD, both the areas will be experiencing squally winds from Monday evening.

Authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into north Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha coasts until Thursday.

India’s state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said 17 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Odisha and West Bengal in anticipation of the cyclonic storm.


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Customers storm banks as ease of lockdown begins in Lagos



Commercial Banks in Lagos State on Monday  witnessed very  large turnout of customers flooding banking premises to carry out various transactions, a check by News Agency of Nigeria revealed.

A NAN correspondent who visited few banks around Ikotun-Egbe, Ejigbo-Isolo and Okota axis of Lagos reports that the crowds at those facilities were enormous.

That made it difficult for people to maintain the two meters physical distancing as directed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The customers also violated NCDC’s guidelines on mass gathering of not more than 20 people outside of a workplace.

At the Ikotun branches of Zenith Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank and Firstbank of Nigeria, the queues waiting to gain entrance into the banking halls were uncontrollable.

Customers took turns to get into the premises where they were administered hand sanitisers and their temperature checked before they were allowed entry into the banking halls.

Mrs Jane Akume, a trader, who complained about the time she had wasted waiting to get into her bank,  prayed that she would be attended to before the bank closed.

She said: “I have been here since 9am. Before I even got here there were no fewer than 40 people on ground.

“This is about 1pm and I hear that banks will close by 2pm. I hope and I pray that my time here is not wasted and that I will be attended to before the closing time,” she said.

Mrs Patience Benedict, a Civil Servant, complained of the slow pace of bankers in attending to customers.

However, she applauded the safety measures put in place by the deposit organisations.

She said:”Aside from that they are slow in attending to people I like the fact that they have put safety tools in place.

“We are called in and attended to in batches, and as you approach the gate your temperature is checked and you are shown sanitisers on the wall for you to use before getting in.

“Right in there, you are strictly asked to keep two meters distance from another customer. This is very impressive,” she said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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