Dubai’s biggest theme park to launch ‘Hunger Games’ attractions

Dubai Parks and Resorts is rolling out a series of attractions inspired by “The Hunger Games” films, as it aims to boost visitor numbers and stem losses. (Reuters)
Updated 20 August 2017

Dubai’s biggest theme park to launch ‘Hunger Games’ attractions

LONDON: Dubai’s biggest theme park is about to roll out a series of attractions inspired by “The Hunger Games” films, as it aims to boost visitor numbers and stem losses.
Dubai Parks and Resorts said its new Lionsgate zone would feature the world’s first rides and attractions inspired by the blockbuster movies.
Visitors will be able to take a hair-raising journey from District 12 to the Capitol on a half-pipe rollercoaster, the Capitol Bullet Train, and enjoy a 3D flight that soars over Panem.
“This is Dubai Parks and Resorts’ first full winter season, and our focus is on delivering new experiences and competitive prices to bring visitors back time and again,” said David Loiseau, vice president of sales and distribution.
“This season, ‘The Hunger Games’ fans from across the globe will be able to experience rides inspired by the blockbuster movie franchise that have never been seen anywhere in the world before.”
Mounting losses at DXB Entertainments (DXBE), which operates the theme park, have led the Dubai-listed company to reorganize its business less than a year after opening its doors.
It said this month that it had lost 286.2 million dirhams ($77.9 million) in the second quarter of the year, compared with 41.3 million dirhams a year earlier.
Riverland Dubai, the themed dining, retail and entertainment district at the center of the development, on Sunday announced a series of free events as it seeks to boost visitor numbers.
Dubai’s leisure and entertainment sector has felt the impact of slowing economic growth and a strong US dollar, to which the UAE currency is pegged, making it more expensive for tourists traveling from the euro zone, the UK and many other countries.
– Reuters


Tankers defer retrofits to cash in on freight rates

Updated 53 min 26 sec ago

Tankers defer retrofits to cash in on freight rates

  • The rates for chartering a supertanker from the US Gulf Coast to Singapore hit record highs of more than $17 million and a record $22 million to China earlier this week

SINGAPORE: Tankers that had been scheduled to install emissions-cutting equipment ahead of stricter pollution standards starting in 2020 have deferred their visits to the dry docks to capitalize on an unexpected surge in freight rates, three trade sources said.

US sanctions on subsidiaries of vast Chinese shipping fleet Cosco in September sparked a surge in global oil shipping rates as traders scrambled to find non-blacklisted vessels to get their oil to market.

The rates for chartering a supertanker from the US Gulf Coast to Singapore hit record highs of more than $17 million and a record $22 million to China earlier this week.

By comparison, prior to the sanctions, shipping crude from the US Gulf to China cost around $6 million-$8 million.

The extraordinary spike in freight rates proved too good to miss for some shipowners who were due to send vessels to the dry docks for lengthy retrofitting and maintenance work.

“We can confirm several owners have postponed dry docking earlier scheduled for the months of October and November to take advantage of the skyrocketing freight rates,” said Rahul Kapoor, head of maritime and trade research at IHS Markit in Singapore.

The shortage of ships to move crude oil was so acute that some shipowners also switched from carrying so-called “clean” or refined fuels like gasoline to “dirty” cargoes that include crude oil, despite the costs of having to clean them later.

“Current rate levels are a no-brainer for pushing back scrubber retrofitting,” said Kapoor.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires the use of marine fuel with a sulfur limit of 0.5 percent, down from 3.5 percent currently, significantly inflating shippers’ fuel bills.

Only ships fitted with expensive exhaust cleaning systems, known as scrubbers, which can remove sulfur from emissions, will be allowed to continue burning cheaper high-sulfur fuels.

Ships must be sidelined for up to 60 days for fitting these, according to IHS Markit and DNV GL.

While freight rates have abruptly come off their recent highs, shipowners can still profit from the higher charges.

“One cargo loading at current elevated rate levels can not only finance the scrubber capex, but also account for extra costs incurred to install the scrubber at a later date,” said Kapoor, referring to the capital expenditure of fitting the scrubber.

Freight rates are expected to hold firm for the rest of the year.

“With seasonal demand support and tanker supply deficit still pronounced, we expect (fourth-quarter) tanker freight rates to stay elevated and end the year on a high note,” Kapoor said.