Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2016 : Shippers' guide to the container weight mandate

Effective July 1, 2016, all containers must be accompanied by a shipping document signed either electronically or in hard copy by the shipper on the bill of lading listing the verified gross mass of a container in order to be loaded onto a ship. 

The mandate from the International Maritime Organization under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention comes after mistakenly declared weights contributed to maritime incidents, such as the breakup and subsequent beaching of the MSC Napoli on the southern U.K. coast in 2007, and the partial capsizing a feeder ship in the Spanish port of Algeciras in June.

The weighing must be done in one of two approved ways, on scales calibrated and certified to the national standards of the country where the weighing was performed. 

Many of finer points of the new regulation have not yet been finalized, such as enforcement, and what happens to a container that arrives at a port without the necessary documentation or if the VGM (verified gross mass) declaration for a container turns out to be false or incorrect. is dedicated to providing readers with coverage of what will be the one of the largest challenges facing the container shipping industry in 2016.

Lettuce is ‘three times worse than bacon' for emissions and vegetarian diets could be bad for environment

Common vegetables ‘require more resources per calorie’ than many people realise, according to a team of scientists at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University

3 hours ago

Processed meats like bacon have had a bad press recently PA

Eating a healthier diet rich in fruit and vegetables could actually be more harmful to the environment than consuming some meat, a US study has claimed.

Lettuce is “over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”, according to researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University who analysed the impact per calorie of different foods in terms of energy cost, water use and emissions.

Published in the Environment Systems and Decisions journal, the study goes against the grain of recent calls for humans to quit eating meat to curb climate change.

Researchers did not argue against the idea people should be eating less meat, or the fact that livestock contributes to an enormous proportion of global emissions – up to 51 percent according to some studies.

But they found that eating only the recommended “healthier” foods prescribed in recent advice from the US Department of Agriculture increased a person’s impact on the environment across all three factors – even when overall calorie intake was reduced.

The experts examined how growing, processing and transporting food; sales and service; and household storage and use all take a toll on the environment for different foods.

Paul Fischbeck, study co-author and CMU’s professor of social
and decisions sciences, said: 

“Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think.

“Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

The initial findings of the study were "surprising", according to senior research fellow Anthony Froggatt at Chatham House, an independent think-tank which is currently running a project looking at the link between meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Froggatt told the Independent it is "true lettuce can be incredibly water intensive and energy intensive to produce", but such comparative exercises vary hugely depending on how the foods are raised or grown.

"We usually look at proteins rather than calories, and as a general rule it is still the case that reducing meat consumption in favour of plant-based proteins can reduce emissions," he said.

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According to the authors, the study analysed the impact on the environment from changing the average US diet to three new “dietary scenarios”.

Simply reducing the number of calories consumed, without changing the proportion of meat and other food types, cut combined emissions, energy and water use by around 9 percent.

Perhaps understandably, maintaining calorie intake but completely shifting to healthy foods increased energy use by 43 percent, water use by 16 percent and emissions by 11 percent.

But surprisingly, even if people cut out meat and reduced their calories to USDA-recommended levels, their environmental impact would increase across energy use (38 percent), water (10 percent) and emissions (6 percent)

Michelle Tom, another co-author, said the relationship between diet and environment was “complex”.

“What is good for us health-wise isn’t always what’s best for the environment,” she said. 

“That’s important for public officials to know and for them to be cognisant of these trade-offs as they develop or continue to develop dietary guidelines in the future.”

Chatham House's Mr Froggatt, who was not involved in the research, said it was important to look at production methods as well as the complex issue of how land use is "likely to be impacted by changing diets".

"The key point I would agree with here is that you need to look at both the environmental and health impacts at the same time," he said.

"We do know there is global overconsumption of meat, particularly in countries such as the US," he said. 

"Looking forward that is set to increase significantly, which will have a significant impact on global warming."

CURSE ??? : The Currency of a Sun-Obsessed People Gets Fitting Name Change

John Quigley
December 14, 2015 — 4:00 PM PST

Updated on December 15, 2015 — 3:27 AM PST

Peruvians carry a man dressed as the Sun God during The Inti Raymi festival in Cuzco, Peru.
Photographer: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Peru's new sun will become the sun after years of stability

Billions in hard cash in the economy will have to be replaced

The Peruvians have a thing for the sun.

Their first currency, created back in the mid-1800s, was the sol (Spanish, of course, for sun), which was followed by the sol de oro (the sun of gold) and then in 1985 by the inti (an indigenous word for, you guessed it, the sun). 

When hyperinflation wiped out the value of the inti a few years later, it was time for another sun. 

The nuevo sol, it was called, as if to say "don’t confuse this new sun with all those old suns."

Peruvian ten nuevo sol note
Photographer: Cris Bouroncle/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty-four years later, though, this sun isn’t really new anymore, either. So in what is this time a symbol of the great success the country has had in taming inflation and maintaining the currency’s purchasing power, authorities are changing the name once again. Congress approved legislation last month to officially drop the word nuevo, making it simply the sol. President Ollanta Humala signed off on the change over the weekend.

“It’s absurd to keep calling it new,” said Victor Andres Garcia Belaunde, a lawmaker who helped spearhead the initiative. “After almost 25 years, there’s little or nothing new about it.’’

Other countries forced to rechristen their currencies over the years with the word "new" were a lot quicker to drop it once the economy stabilized. 

Three years after the nuevo peso was created in 1993, Mexico cut the first word. And France’s nouveau franc became the franc shortly after its 1960 revaluation.

 But Peru has stubbornly hung onto the full name well after inflation sank from 7,650 percent a year to below 5 percent. No major country in Latin America has had a lower inflation rate over the past 15 years.

While the sol is down 12 percent against the dollar this year, that’s better than its regional peers.

Peruvians’ reverence for the sun dates back centuries. Under the Incas, who ran their sprawling South American empire from a base in the Andean highlands, the sun was considered the highest deity.

 After the country won its independence from Spain years later, the first sol coins ever minted bore a picture of a blazing sun, a symbol also chosen initially in neighboring Bolivia and Argentina, according to Manuel Villa-Garcia, a former president of Peru’s Numismatic Society.

No one really calls the currency the nuevo sol nowadays. (Bloomberg News hasn’t referred to it that way in years.) To most Peruvians, it’s just the sol. But formally dropping that one little word may not be as simple as it sounds. 

For starters, the government will need to replace 38 billion soles ($11 billion) in hard cash in the economy to reflect the change. To spread out the cost over several years, a small portion of bills and coins will be replaced at a time, Garcia Belaunde said.

That slow roll-out could create confusion in a nation where counterfeit bills are common, said Dennis Rider Owen, who operates a foreign-exchange outlet in Lima.

“The average Peruvian won’t understand there are two types of sol bills,’’
he said. 

“Why go to all that trouble to do away with a name that most people never use anyway?”

The answer to that, Garcia Belaunde said, is it will reduce accounting and legal headaches. It’s not uncommon for contracts to be written up using the informal name rather than the official title, rendering the documents invalid, he said. 

Alexandra Quincot, a lawyer in Lima’s financial district, has run into this problem many times. 

She’s in favor of the change. "It makes sense to bring it up to date," she said.