What’s worse than a geopolitical crisis? Two geopolitical crises. The world is still reeling from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but this week a fresh crisis erupted as China reacted with fury at Senate Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The immediate reaction was to launch a highly aggressive set of live-fire military exercises around the island, effectively blockading it until Monday.

While Taiwanese shipping tried to shrug off the gravity of the situation, all this action is happening amid some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and within a mere 12 nautical miles from Taiwan’s busiest container port.

Meanwhile, in more positive news, the first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the war-torn country this week under the aegis of a tripartite agreement signed between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey. Surprisingly few details were known about the 29,300-dwt bulker Razoni (built 1996), other than apparent links with Syria. The ship is currently on its way to Lebanon. Another three bulkers were gearing up to depart Ukraine Friday, and another was in the wings.

Away from the geopolitics, it’s been a big earnings reporting week for shipping. The “exceptional” container shipping market turbo-charged AP Moller-Maersk’s earnings beyond those forecasted. Meanwhile, Euronav predicted a stronger winter season amid dislocation of trades following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the Belgian tanker firm cut its losses in the first half of the year.

The tanker sale and purchase market is red hot amid improving earnings, with vessels selling like hotcakes, according to analysts. Particularly popular are tankers fitted with scrubbers and ballast water treatment systems, as well as ice-classed vessels.