Friday, April 27, 2018

A Selection of Stories from the Shipping, Freight Transport and General Logistics Sectors

Some of the Industry News You May have Missed This Week
Shipping News Feature
UK – CHINA – Independent freight forwarding company Davies Turner has joined the growing list of logistics providers to open an export LCL cargo service by rail from the UK to China, in this case just one year after launching an import LCL and FCL rail service in the other direction. Consignments destined for China are consolidated through the company's nationwide 'hub and spoke' trunking operations and then loaded at its regional distribution centre in Dartford onto one of Davies Turner's daily trailer services to Hamburg.

From there consignments are transferred onto the rail service, which then heads east, passing through Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan, before arriving in Wuhan, China. Shipments are transported under an Export Accompanied Document (EAD). Ex-UK transit times to Wuhan range from 26 to 30 days, whilst Customs clearance and delivery throughout mainland China averages 5-7 days, dependent on the final point of delivery.

Shipments travel under the custody of the British forwarder’s long-standing partners in both China and Germany, and Davies Turner claims that in comparison to ocean freight, a shipment collected from the factory and delivered to the door makes possible a 14-day reduction in transit time. Furthermore, the company says rail has on average proved to be 50-60% cheaper than air; with larger shipments attracting the biggest savings. Philip Stephenson, chairman of Davies Turner observed:

“Our import rail service from China to Europe has proven to be very popular and has become a great success. So we are now pleased to offer an export service through to China from our strategically located hubs at Birmingham, Bristol , Cumbernauld/Glasgow, Dartford, Manchester and Dublin. Both our import and export rail services offer fixed weekly departures with proven schedule reliability and we only utilise established rail services which have been running for a minimum of 12 months.”

UK – RoRo ferry operation Red Funnel has introduced a discount service for all members of HM Armed Forces travelling on its services to and from the Isle of Wight. The offers, which are valid year-round, include savings on vehicle and foot passenger travel and are available for anyone with an MoD 90 card or a valid Defence Discount Service card. Serving members of the Armed Forces, Veterans, Reserve Forces members and MoD civil servants are all eligible to sign up to the Defence Discount Service, as are spouses/partners of serving personnel.

The full range of military discount offers with reductions ranging between 10 and 20% for food, drink and travel and details can be seen HERE. Vehicles can be booked online whilst discounted foot passenger tickets are available to purchase in person from Red Funnel ticket offices on the day of travel for either the vehicle ferry service (Southampton <> East Cowes) or the Hi-Speed Red Jet foot passenger service, which runs between Southampton and West Cowes with a journey time of just 23-25 minutes.

The 10% food and drink discount is available at the terminals or on-board from any Steam or ReFuel outlet, offering customers a choice of hot food, teas and coffees, soft drinks, sandwiches, pastries, cakes and more.

UK – There is to be a Networking Event for Women in the Marine Industry at the SeaWork 2018 Commercial Marine & Workboat Exhibition and Conference in Southampton. The event will take place on the 2nd day of the three day show, namely July 4, between 15:30 and 17:00, with registration open on May 1. This networking event offers women working in the commercial marine industry the opportunity to get together, network and hear about key industry developments.

Speakers at the event include Katy Ware, Director of Maritime Safety and Standards & Permanent Representative of the UK to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Suzanne Blaustone, CEO of sponsors Barton Marine Equipment Ltd. The IMO runs a global programme on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector and is making a concerted effort to support the industry to help women achieve a representation within it that is more in keeping with twenty-first century expectations.

SOUTH AFRICA – GAC has opened its fifth branch in the country to provide a portfolio of shipping services for oil & gas projects and LPG shipments at Port Elizabeth as well as its neighbouring port Ngqura (Coega). The company has served customers with vessels calling at Port Elizabeth through a subcontract agent for more than 10 years, and is now expanding its operations in the region in response to growing demand for a range of shipping, logistics and complementary services.

GAC Shipping covers all major South African ports from its head office in Cape Town and branches in Saldanha Bay, Durban, Richards Bay as well as now Port Elizabeth. Services provided include ship agency, husbandry, bunker fuel supplies, offshore support, dry-docking and project logistics, as well as lay-ups and repairs for rigs and vessels calling at Ngura (Coega). Eric Barnard, Managing Director for GAC Shipping said:

“Increasing our presence to include Port Elizabeth allows us to offer a complete package of integrated services for all types of business at the port. The combined global experience of the GAC Group and our local skills ensures we continue to provide world-class support.”

NORTH AMERICA – BRAZIL – There are many celebrations round the world that require specific components to ensure the success of the holiday. The tomato festivals held annually in Spain and Italy requiring literally tonnes of the mature fruit, the Lohri celebrations in the Punjab with sugarcane and fresh corn as a crucial component, and so on. However, what if local produce is simply not enough to satisfy the insatiable demand to ensure the festivities are a hit?

This month Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, the holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, will again be celebrated across North America, and one item crucial to the celebrations has provided a bonus for American Airlines Cargo which has this past month has shipped 103 tonnes of fresh limes from Brazil to Canada just in time for the holiday. The limes are an essential component in margaritas, tacos, lime salt, guacamole etc.

In a normal year, the Canadian market sources its lemons and limes from Mexico, but this year a low harvest has resulted in a much reduced crop. Many US punters will remember the ‘Great Lime Shortage’ of 2014 when tequila retailed at $23 a bottle whilst lime juice hit $40! Consumers in the food service industry, notably hotels and restaurants, are now turning to Brazilian limes because production is more reliable and not as susceptible to the weather.

AA Cargo transported the numerous consignments of fruit from both Sao Paulo (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) to New York (JFK) on its Boeing 777-200 and 777-300s, thence they were carried in refrigerated trucks for the onward journey to two Canadian cities, Toronto and Vancouver. Lorena Sandoval, American's managing director of Sales for Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America, said:

"The global market for citrus fruits is changing and while limes move across our international network on a year-round basis, these large scale movements to Canada were something special. Our ideally suited aircraft have enabled us to assist Brazilian growers in reaching a new and expanding market."

EURASIA – Figures released by the United Transport and Logistics company, the Eurasian Railway Alliance JSC (UTLC ERA JSC), show a year on year increase of 30% with regard to twenty foot equivalent units (TEU) carried. UTLC ERA, is the legal successor of ULTC JSC, the history of which we wrote about earlier this month.

The volume of TEU’s between Europe and China rose 43% to 16,000 carried whilst traffic in the opposite direction saw a jump of 27% to 24,100 units. Alexey Grom, UTLC ERA JSC President, observed:

“We continue to scale up the transportation volumes leverage the new opportunities in the company’s transportation geographical expansion. The new routes via the border passages in the Kaliningrad Region show very good technological parameters and greatly expand the throughput of Eurasian railway corridors.”

Photo: Some of the lime crop so essential to the Cinco de Mayo celebrations being prepared for shipment.