Airbus announces additional production pauses

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus (AIR.PA) said on Monday it had decided additional production pauses, in Germany and in the United States, in response to an industry-wide slowdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Europe’s leading planemaker said in a statement it would pause production and assembly at its German sites in Bremen and Stade and at its A220/A320 manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama.

These measures come on top of production pauses in France, Spain and in the UK.

The Lower-Saxony based Stade factory makes vertical tails for most Airbus aircraft and other parts for the A350 while the Bremen site adds parts to UK-built wings and makes flaps for most Airbus aircraft.

Airbus faces shortages in its own supply chains it struggles to bring production back up to previous levels after pausing activity in several factories.

Airbus last month suspended its near-term 2020 delivery guidance due to the coronavirus crisis.

Oil rises 3% on hopes for output cut as coronavirus ravages demand

Brent crude LCOc1 was up by 93 cents, or 2.8%, at $33.98 a barrel by 0431 GMT after falling more than 3% on Monday. U.S. crude CLc1 was up by 79 cents, or 3.03%, at $26.87 a barrel, having dropped nearly 8% in the previous session.

The world’s main oil producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia are likely to agree to cut output at a meeting on Thursday, although that would depend on the United States doing its share, sources told Reuters.

But the threat of a major recession hangs over the market due to the halt of much economic activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with half the global population under some form of lockdown or social distancing measures.

“Oil producers have to cut deeply and quickly if they want to avert total saturation of oil markets,” Eurasia Group said.

Worldwide oil demand has dropped by as much as 30%, or about 30 million barrels per day, coinciding with moves by Saudi Arabia and Russia to flood markets with extra supply after an agreement on withholding output fell apart.

Oil prices slumped on Monday after Saudi Arabia and Russia delayed a meeting to agree on output cuts till Thursday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, had been curtailing production in recent years amid a rapid expansion of U.S. output that made the country the world’s biggest crude producer.

There are also questions over whether the U.S. would join any coordinated action.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that OPEC had not asked him to push domestic oil producers to cut their production to buttress prices. He also said that U.S. output was declining in response to falling prices.

“I think it’s happening automatically but nobody’s asked me that question yet so we’ll see what happens,” the president told a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

Coordinated action by U.S. oil producers to reduce output would typically be a violation of antitrust laws.

A global recession that economists in a Reuters poll say is under way will likely be more serious than expected a few weeks ago due to the viral outbreak, the latest survey showed.

“We expect energy prices to hover around current levels until economic activity recovers,” Capital Economics said in a note.

Mainland China reported on Tuesday a drop in new coronavirus cases after closing its borders to virtually all foreigners to curb imported infections, while the central city of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, saw no new deaths for the first time.

China had 32 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, down from 39 cases a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

All of the 32 cases involved travelers arriving from overseas, compared with 38 imported cases a day earlier. The overall number of imported infections so far stands at 983, the health authority said, Reuters reported.

Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province, reported only two new confirmed cases in the past 14 days. It is due to allow people to leave the city on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down on Jan. 23 to curb the spread of the virus.

With mainland China well past the peak of infections in February, authorities have turned their attention to imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who show no symptoms but can still pass on the virus.

China has shut its borders to foreigners as the virus spread globally, though most imported cases have involved Chinese nationals returning from overseas. International flights have been slashed to around 3,000 a day in April from the tens of thousands previously.

It also started testing all international arrivals for the virus this month.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 81,740 as of Monday, while 3,331 people have died, according to the authority.

Wuhan, where daily fatalities had fallen to the single-digits since late March, had no new deaths on Monday.

China reported 30 new asymptomatic cases on Monday, nine of which involved incoming travelers. Of the new asymptomatic cases, 18 were in Hubei province.

As of Monday, 1,033 asymptomatic patients were under medical observation.

Americans were put on notice Monday not to let up in the fight against the coronavirus, as a grim milestone of 10,000 deaths cast a pall over the first signs of optimism about the outbreak’s trajectory.

the United States has emerged as one of the world’s worst-hit nations, with a steadily mounting number of fatalities and millions facing the possibility of economic ruin.

Authorities began the week by telling frightened communities to brace for one of the worst periods yet in an outbreak that has not yet reached its peak.

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping a running tally of coronavirus numbers, said more than 36,000 US cases had been confirmed, with 10,923 deaths by late Monday.

Only Italy (16,523) and Spain (13,341) have seen more of their citizens killed by the pandemic.

There was a glimmer of hope, however, in New York, the main focus of the US outbreak, where there have been more than 4,750 deaths statewide and 130,000 cases.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday the death rate had been “effectively flat” for two days. The state reported 599 new deaths, similar to Sunday’s tally of 594 and down from a record 630 on Saturday.

But the governor ordered schools and non-essential businesses to remain shut for a further three weeks, telling reporters: “Now is not the time to be lax.”

“It is hopeful but it is also inconclusive,” Cuomo said, adding that it would be a “mistake” to relax restrictions too early.

“If the curve is turning, it’s because the rate of infection is going down. If the rate of infection is going down, it’s because social distancing is working.”

The pandemic has killed nearly 75,000 worldwide since the new coronavirus emerged in December in China, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

Authorities have warned that between 100,000 and 240,000 people could die in the United States, even in a best-case scenario with social distancing guidelines being observed.

Nine states — all controlled by Republican governors — have still not yet ordered total lockdowns, much to the frustration of public health experts.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked a last-minute attempt by the governor of the Midwestern state to postpone the next day’s Democratic presidential primary and other elections because of the coronavirus epidemic and ruled that the vote should go ahead.

In a 4-2 decision, the top state court overturned an executive order from the Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who had sought to delay the election until June citing the threat to poll workers and voters from the virus.

Wisconsin, which is among those under stay-at-home orders, would have joined around 15 US states that have already delayed their primaries.

Evers moved to postpone the election unilaterally after the Republican-majority state Senate and state Assembly ignored his repeated appeals for a delay.

Although hotspots like New York face a dire lack of protective gear, ventilators and medics, there was further cause for optimism, with early-hit states like Washington and California demonstrating a possible pathway out of the crisis.

Washington State appears to be on the downward slope of its case curve and has even sent 400 ventilators to New York, but its governor Jay Inslee said he feared a second wave because of the ongoing patchwork response.

“Even if Washington gets on top of this fully, if another state doesn’t, it can come back and come across our borders two months from now, so this is important to have a national success,” he told NBC.

California is also showing how it is possible to get on top of the crisis, said epidemiologist Brandon Brown of the University of California, Riverside.

“We are now ramping up testing, starting to measure community spread, preparing spaces for when hospitals may be overrun,” he said.

On the sports front, the golf world has reconfigured its schedule — the Masters will now be in November, and the US Open and Ryder Cup will go ahead on back-to-back weeks in September.

“Sports, and particularly the game of golf, are important vehicles for healing and hope,” said PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh.

Dubai Customs deploys high-tech amphibious inspection vehicle

Dubai Customs deploys high-tech amphibious inspection vehicle

Fitted with high-tech detectors, the solar-powered vehicle can scan illegal materials on both land and wate

Ships carrying hazardous and illegal substances can now be stopped from a distance of 300 metres with the launch of the first-of-its-kind amphibious vehicle designed by Dubai Customs.

Dubai Customs has launched an amphibious car for detecting illicit and hazardous substances in Dubai Creek and surrounding areas. The vehicle, which functions as a mobile lab, is equipped with high-end solar-powered technologies and can detect prohibited substances from up to a distance of 300 metres. The objective of the project is to aid Customs inspectors in the execution of their duties and responsibilities as well as putting an end to illegal goods entering the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The amphibious car will monitor ships and vehicles and remotely detect substances considered to be a threat to the region. The equipment on board the mobile lab is capable of scanning the perimeter, body and internal parts of a sea vessel. More than 10 high-tech inspection devices are part of this unique and innovative project, which is the first of its kind in the world. The lab equipment can analyse and give speedy results for over 60,000 chemical substances.

“It is the first amphibious laboratory in the world that can detect illegal and hazardous substances, such as drugs and radioactive materials, smuggled in steamboats and wooden dhows. It is equipped with advanced cameras that can send live videos and images to the main control room,” said Sami Eisa, the person behind the idea and Manager of the Intelligence Department in Dubai Customs.

Its solar-powered operation makes it eco-friendly, the remote inspections add to the efficiency of the inspection process, and the mobility reduces the need for fixed inspection centres, which are currently operating at a cost of  1 million Dirham each. It also adds to the safety of the inspection team by eliminating the need for boarding vehicles and reducing the risk of exposure to toxic substances.

Unveiled at the Gitex Technology Week 2015 (held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 18 to 22 October), the Amphibious Lab Vehicle was highly appreciated by visitors as a visionary idea and ground-breaking initiative in the prohibition of illegitimate trade. It has been the recipient of IdeasUK and IdeasAmerica awards this year. The project reflects Dubai Customs’ eagerness to adapt modern technologies and improve the Department’s efficiency.

The amphibious vehicle received praise from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during his visit to the Dubai Customs stand at the Gitex exhibition

Iran Customs Administration issued the report of the country’s foreign trade performance

Based on the report of the Public Relations office of Iran Customs , the IT department reported that the value of imports reached 30 billion and 167 million dollars which demonstrates a drop of 22.34 percent compared to the figures of previous year.
Moreover, during the mentioned period of current Iranian year, the value of non-oil exports of our country reached 32 billion and 31 million dollars showing a decrease of 11.16 percent compared to the same period of pervious year.
The main items of non oil exports included petroleum gases and hydrocarbons in form of gas, liquefied propane and pitch, and the main importers of Iranian goods were China, Iraq, UAE, India and Afghanistan respectively.
The main import items of our country consisted of corn for animal feeding with share of 3.50 percent, wheat with share 2.09 percent, soy bean with 1.94 percent, and soy bean meal with share of 1.73 percent .These items were imported from China, UAE, South Korea, Turkey and Switzerland respectively.

E- TIR pilot success between Iran and Turkey

E- TIR pilot success between Iran and Turkey

Two pilot transports performed with digital procedures have brought the next generation of TIR one step closer to reality.

Geneva – Two eTIR pilot transports, using fully digital TIR processes, were successfully completed for the first time ever earlier this month. Now proven, eTIR is ready for full implementation, set to reduce international transit costs and increase security.

Crossing the Bazargan-Gurbulak border between Iran and Turkey in both directions, the two shipments passed all border and customs formalities, replacing the usual paper-based procedures with digital data exchange between transport operators, customs authorities, the TIR System guaranteeing organisations and the UN. The pilot was conducted between 27 November and 4 December.

The project was led by the Turkish and Iranian customs authorities, two pioneer volunteer transport operators and the two countries’ respective TIR Guaranteeing Associations, ICCIMA and TOBB, working together with IRU and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

“These successful pilots mean that the promise of a paperless TIR System, and the benefits it will bring to international trade facilitation and security, are closer than ever before,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General.

Designed for low-cost implementation, eTIR needs only minor adjustments to existing national customs systems, transport operators and national Guaranteeing Associations.
The new eTIR system allows customs to receive declaration information from the transport operator in advance to allow them to run risk assessments and ultimately speed up border transits, reducing costs. Guarantees can also be ordered on-line, avoiding paper-based processing and saving additional time and money.

As all relevant TIR stakeholders can monitor TIR transports on-line, and the guarantee status is received directly from the guarantor, security of the TIR System is also significantly enhanced.

One of the UN’s oldest and most successful private-public partnerships, TIR dates to 1949 and, with ongoing innovation through the decades, now facilitates millions of transits every year, helping boost trade, development and prosperity.