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Chemical advert #19: Mitsui’s “Evolved to succeed”

This full page advert for Mitsui was in today’s Financial Times. The section “Feed the World” at the foot of the page is all about Mitsui’s fertilizer marketing and trading, with a handy aide memoire on which fertilizer nourishes which part of the growing plant.

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Rhine water levels: nothing to say

The Rhine is sparkling in the late evening sun as we settle down with a glass of local Weißer Burgunder in the chilly blast of the wind off the river. A few other patrons of Rheinterrassen are already wrapped in furry red blankets on this fine summer’s evening.   That staple of ICIS news, the […]

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Pensioner’s plastic-pipe raft Atlantic crossing greeted with derision

The 84 year-old former science writer of the Daily Telegraph is crossing the Atlantic with a bunch of chums on a raft made of plastic pipes, and coming in for some serious abuse from the columns of Lloyds List.   Anthony Smith shows a reckless cheerfulness at the prospect of hurricanes and freak waves over […]

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Live webcam of capsized Rhine barge

  The capsized barge on the Rhine at St Goarshausen, which has featured in many petchem conversations in the last two weeks, is now shown on live webcam.   The Blog’s first school trip to Germany was to St Goar at just this point on the Rhine, by the famous Lorelei rock where the Lorelei […]

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Why ships are called “she”…

The Blog is indebted to an industry friend for pointing out that Unigas formerly had a ship called the Lady Barbara, and a whole fleet of prettily named vessels like the Pretty Lady and the Happy Bride.   The convention of using feminine pronouns when referring to ships may be fading away in public usage, […]

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Ships at Fos-Lavera port as French refineries out of action

An evocative helicopter view of all the ships waiting around Fos-Lavera port while the French refineries are out of action – it’s a video from AFP, which my colleague Nel has spotted today.   Click here to play the video.   (photo:

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Den Hartogh road movie

“Come sunshine, snow or rain – the wheels keep rolling on forever.”   It’s a road movie celebrating the nobility of the long-distance chemical trucker and the 90th birthday of Den Hartogh Logistics, complete with heart-tugging vocals.   “To experience the ultimate emotion, we recommend listening to the song and music,” says the email today […]

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Somali pirate-hunting cruises on armed luxury yachts

Somali pirate attacks on oil and chemical tankers have been on hold for a few weeks on account of the monsoon season, but they are expected to start up again around the end of August.   Now luxury ocean liners in Russia are offering pirate hunting cruises aboard armed private yachts off the Somali coast, […]

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Hundreds of ships idling in the misty Strait of Malacca

The Blog’s eye is drawn this morning to a very atmospheric photo on the front page of today’s International Herald Tribune showing some of the hundreds of ships – “more than the 130-ship Spanish Armada” - in the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Singapore, where they are waiting for jobs during the slowdown.  

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Rotterdam is full

Rotterdam‘s chemical storage tanks were already full at the beginning of the year, a Vopak executive told me at the ICIS Baseoils conference in February, and now Europe‘s largest port is running out of space to store crude oil.   Plunging demand for fuel is triggering a growing global supply glut, and Rotterdam‘s storage capacity […]

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