zoom The Icelandic Steamship Company (Eimskip) has decided to cancel a container ship ordered at Chinese shipbuilder Rongsheng Shenfei.The vessel forms part of a contract signed in 2011 that entails construction of two 875-teu container ships.The first vessel, Lagarfoss, was delivered in June last year and has served the company well, Eimskip said.However, the shipping company decided to scrap the second unit as there have been construction delays which are likely to resume.“The construction of the second vessel has not proceeded according to schedule and it is evident that further delay is ahead. The company has now decided to exercise its right under the abovementioned agreement and cancel the second vessel,” Eimskip explained.The second ship was planned to be delivered in the fourth quarter this year at the latest.Eimskip added it would seek refund of USD 13.1 million (plus interest) which the company has already paid in relation to the construction of the second vessel. The refund sought plus interest is secured by a bank guarantee.As a result, Eimskip said it would now evaluate other opportunities regarding investments in a comparable vessel.Eimskip had a very strong first half of the year, posting an operating revenue of EUR 239.3 million compared to EUR 213.2 million for the same period last year, a growth of 12.2%. The company’s net earnings amounted to EUR 7 million compared to EUR 3.8 million, up by 85.2%.According to Eimskip’s President and CEO, Gylfi Sigfússon, operating revenue and EBITDA in the second quarter are the highest in one single quarter since the company’s restructuring in 2009.“Operating revenue was up by 16.2% from the second quarter last year and EBITDA amounted to EUR 13.3 million, up by 20.4% from 2014. Net earnings of the quarter amounted to EUR 5.5 million compared to EUR 4.6 million in the same period last year, up by 20.1%,” he said.Transported volumes in the company’s liner system in the third quarter have so far been growing beyond expectations, Eimskip said.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 2017 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report, chronic undernourishment appears to have risen from 20.8 to 22.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016 – pointing to the need to build affected communities’ resilience and find peaceful solutions that strengthen food security. “The number of undernourished people rose from 200 to 224 million, accounting for 25 per cent of the 815 million people undernourished in the world in 2016,” said Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General of and Regional Representative for Africa. Under the theme ‘The Food Security and Nutrition – Conflict Nexus: Building Resilience for Food Security, Nutrition and Peace,’ this year’s report was launched at the joint FAO/WHO [World Health Organization] Africa Regional Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition, which is underway in Abidjan from 16 to 17 November 2017. “Major factors have caused this surge in hunger: the proportion of the population that has experienced severe food insecurity because of their inability to access food has risen in the region; as well, adverse climatic conditions and conflict, often occurring concurrently, are key factors driving the recent increase in food insecurity in the region,” Mr. Tijani explained. The report indicates that during the first decade of the millennium, sub-Saharan Africa made progress in fighting hunger with undernourishment falling from 29.1 to 20.6 per cent. However, the following period showed no progress – with conditions worsening in many countries from 2015 to 2016. This was mainly due to the impact of conflict and adverse climatic conditions, such as repeated droughts, often linked to the El Niño phenomenon, which resulted in poor harvests and the loss of livestock. In sub-Saharan Africa, undernourishment is about double that of conflict-affected countries, with generally worse nutrition outcomes as well. In 2016, the majority, or 489 million of the 815 million undernourished people in the world, lived in countries struggling with conflict, violence and fragility. Resisting hungerThe FAO report identifies a range of pathways supporting food security and livelihoods; helping to build resilience against conflict; and contributing to sustainable peace that require a multi-sectoral set of interventions before, during and after conflicts. It also points out how many countries have developed or are developing policy frameworks and investment plans aligned with the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) and the 2014 Malabo Declaration, through which African leaders recommitted their countries to end hunger and halve poverty by 2025, boost intra-African trade and enhance climate change resilience.