Shipping industry forecasting growth in 2014

The shipping industry is expecting to rebound after several years of unprofitability. Reuters reports that while overcapacity has led to a drop in freight rates that weren't enough to cover shippers' costs, but these rates are expected to go up in the next few months, leading to more revenue.

Overall, global dry bulk seaborne trade is expected to increase by 5.8 percent in 2014. Industry observers have said that some of the main reasons for the increase are the Chinese economy and urbanization, as well as falling iron ore prices. The forecasts have led to a rise in prices for new and used shipping vessels.

However, the optimism about these increases is dampened somewhat by the fact that forecasters predict many shipping carriers will continue to have trouble, and that the market is currently oversaturated. Several carriers have already filed for bankruptcy or receivership, including TMT Group and STX Pan Ocean.

It does seem as if the world economy is on the mend, even if growth is relatively tepid. The United States is seeing a slow rise in GDP, while Asian and South American countries continue to develop at a quick pace. Hopefully, these trends continue so that the shipping industry can return to profitability.

For carriers who are looking to save money wherever they can, one budget item they shouldn't ignore is marine equipment. At ePal, we carry a wide inventory of navigation and communication equipment that is essential for operating a shipping line. More importantly, these products can be obtained for discount prices. For more information, check out our online store today.

Boating accident leaves pastor in critical condition

Boating is one of the most rewarding recreational activities, but it can also be one of the most dangerous if people travel without the necessary experience and marine supplies. Even those who have been piloting boats for years are sometimes unable to avoid accidents, which is why it's important to make sure your vessel is equipped with the latest communications and navigational systems available.

The pastor of a Los Alamitos, California, church was critically injured in a boating accident that occurred near Catalina Island, just off the coast of California. Bayless Conley, who is the pastor of Cottonwood Church, underwent surgery to repair soft tissue in his neck and throat, but his vital organs and vocal chords were left uninjured.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that two other passengers, Keith Johnson and Jeff Perry, were hospitalized after the incident. Johnson suffered facial injuries and possibly broken ribs, while Perry is recovering from a fractured sternum, cuts and bruises.

The accident took place on February 3 near Two Harbors, a small community that is located on the isthmus of Catalina Island.

In addition to serving as a pastor at Cottonwood Church, Conley is also a broadcaster who hosts the television show "Answers with Bayless Conley."

Even if you're an experienced sailor, it is important to make sure that your vessel is in good condition and that it has all the tools you need to communicate with the shore and navigate safely wherever you happen to be sailing. You can find the best marine electronics technology by shopping at ePal, the leading internet retailer for marine supplies and parts.

Make sure your insurance actually covers you

Boat insurance can be more complicated than other types because the range of coverages that are available vary significantly. Insurance for cars and homeowners tend to be more regulated and cover very specific risks, while for boats there are policies that are both extremely limited and comprehensive. So it's a good idea when you're shopping for a new policy to read the fine print and find out when you'll actually be covered.

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BOATUS) recently published a rundown of which clauses you want to keep an eye out for in your policy. Here are some of the most important points:

  • Consequential Damage: This type of coverage is crucial because it covers damage that results from a failed part. Many policies will exclude any problems that occur because of a component on your vessel that corroded or failed in some way due to neglect. Consequential damage, however, ensures that you'll be covered for the subsequent repairs needed from the failed part, even if your insurer won't replace the part itself.
  • Fuel-spill liability: If your boat sinks and fuel is released into the water, the federal government could hold you liable for the damage. These liabilities can total hundreds of thousands of dollars, so make sure your policy covers fuel spills.
  • Salvage: If your boat sinks because of a hurricane or some other disaster, you'll most likely have to salvage it, which can be a pretty expensive operation. Be careful when you're purchasing a policy to make sure it covers these costs.

Once you've invested in a policy that provides good coverage, you can add in the chartplotter you've been wanting with the assurance that if anything happens to your boat, you'll be reimbursed for the damage! Make sure to check out ePal's extensive inventory of navigational and communications equipment today!

New members of Maritime Advisory Committee announced

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency that monitors and enforces workplace safety in the United States, announced on February 4 that it had appointed 15 individuals to serve as members of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH). MACOSH is a commission that advises the agency on issues related to maritime safety.

The committee is divided into four groups of people, with each group representing a particular segment of the maritime industry. The divisions include management, labor, the health and safety professions and government. An additional appointee was chosen by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Members of MACOSH will provide guidance to OSHA in determining new safety guidelines and requirements for employers who operate in the maritime industry, such as commercial fishermen, shipbuilders and shipping companies. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor and director of OSHA, will occasionally seek their assistance in approving new rules for how workers in the industry should be trained and protected on the job.

Maritime jobs can be particularly dangerous, given how some operations will require crews to operate in extreme weather and sea conditions. As such, it is important for the agency to place particular focus on ensuring the safety of all professionals in the industry.

One of the best ways to make sure you and other members of your maritime operation remain safe is to supply them with marine instruments and electronics that will help them navigate and communicate with shore. These items can be procured affordably when you shop at ePal.

Globalstar launches Sat-Fir,

If you're an explorer, extreme outdoorsman, boater or any other type of individual who spends a great deal of time in remote areas without cell phone access, few tools are more important and useful than your satellite phone. Not only do these devices provide those outside of populated areas with the ability to make phone calls, they are also now capable of delivering internet service and text messages without needing to access a terrestrial network.

However, if there is a limitation to these products, it's that you need a separate phone in order to take advantage of the extended service. But Globalstar, one of the premiere manufacturers of satellite phone technology, has just announced that it has created a new network dubbed Sat-Fi that will allow users to log on to the internet using their smartphone, tablet or PC.

"Whether on land or at sea, Sat-Fi subscribers will be able to maintain constant, reliable connectivity when traveling in and out of cellular coverage with seamless handoff capabilities, while permitting numerous individuals to communicate through a single Sat-Fi hot spot using their existing devices and phone numbers," Globalstar said in a press release.

The company hasn't released full details about the new service, but those who want to take advantage would need a Sat-Fi device and an app installed on their preferred mobile system. As more information becomes available, we'll post updates here. In the meantime, you can take advantage of Globalstar's extensive network of satellites by picking up one of their phones at ePal, the leading marine equipment supplier on the internet.