Friday, November 6, 2020

A Variety of Smaller Logistics Related Stories from the Week

A Few You Might Have Missed
Shipping News Feature

UK – The National Minimum Wage (Offshore Employment) (Amendment) Order 2020, which came into force last month, is presumably what is behind the latest news regarding a new collective agreement for thousands of engineering and maintenance workers in the North Sea energy fields.

This week a total of 15 major contractors from the energy sector supply chain confirmed their support for a deal with the three unions involved, RMT, Unite and GMB. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“If successful this new ‘Energy Services Agreement’ will be ground breaking, a first of its kind for the UK energy sector. This would be an historic event for a sector which has seen boom and bust cycles causing extreme difficulties for workers and employers alike over the last decade. Stability, sustainability and security of employment for the sector are critical and this deal could deliver.”

UK – Camerons Brewery may have been around since 1865 but nobody can accuse it of lagging behind the times. Despite the virus the business was starting to see greatly increased operational rates and output meaning 20-30 gas cylinders being used weekly on the company fork lift trucks. The decision was made to aim for a faster, and more energy efficient solution with less emissions.

The brewery collaborated with Jungheinrich as part of an established and integral five year relationship to trial lithium-ion forklift trucks in July 2020. Following a successful pilot, Cameron’s has now iintroduced four lithium-ion powered trucks into its warehouse, which it claims means in excess of £15,000 cost savings per annum, plus virtually continuous operation of fleets on a 24x7 basis with no gases or acids emitted.

UK – FRANCE – Whilst passenger vehicle numbers through the Channel Tunnel unsurprisingly plummeted in October as against 2019 they certainly did better than ferry traffic. The freight figures are much better and were at pre-Covid levels with 142,542 trucks carried. This strong performance is down 7% compared to the record traffic of October 2019 which benefitted from a stockpiling effect due to Brexit then being expected on 31 October 2019. Since 1st January 2020, almost 1.2 million trucks have crossed the Channel on the Getlink route.

UK – According to the GMB union parcel carrier Yodel may face industrial action over the Christmas period as angry staff are being balloted for strike action over a pay offer it described as a ‘lump of coal’. The union opened ballots at the company’s depots across the UK which close on Friday November 13 at noon. It is not apparent how the national lockdown will affect this process now.

Yodel handles numerous contracts for online goods and numbers ASOS, Sports Direct, Collect Plus, NIKE, Hello Fresh, Shop Direct, and Beer 52 among its customers. The union says work has continued during the pandemic including drivers working Sundays and Bank Holidays to collect and transport Covid test samples this year, despite the risks, as part of the government’s contract with the firm.

UK – DENMARK – AUSTRALIA – Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT) is working with researchers at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), Denmark, and dnata Australia to explore new machine learning models aimed at delivering predictive business analytics. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms will run data from dnata Australia’s new Hermes Digital Ecosystem, which has a full Datalake infrastructure that captures and stores all of dnata’s Hermes New Generation (NG) Business Intelligence events.

The machine learning models will enable dnata to make predictive business process decisions providing key insights on efficiencies, costs, and new services. The ITU team, headed by Professor Philippe Bonnet and working with HLT, will create, test, and develop the predictive models over the coming months to explore the design of cloud-native enterprise machine learning solutions. The dnata machine learning prototype is part of HLT’s digital agenda to deliver value added services using Big Data analytics. dnata recently went live with HLT’s H5 Cargo Management System (CMS) at six airports across Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth, and Brisbane.

US – C-Store Master has broken ground on the company’s new 120,000-square-foot automated warehouse in Huntsville, Alabama. Scheduled to open in Q1 of 2021, the company has invested $12 million in the warehouse which will create 40 jobs. The company has partnered with Geek+ to incorporate three robot technologies in the new warehouse, improving accuracy to 99.99% and incorporating a multi-level shuttle system is the first of its kind in the Southeast.

Specialising in the tobacco and beverage categories, C-Store Master services 2,000+ independent c-stores and 4,000+ chain stores throughout the Southeast, including more than 3,000 Circle K locations, and with in-stock availability for more than 97% of products with all orders delivered on a next-day basis. Geek+ is a global technology company which has deployed more than 10,000 robots worldwide using advanced robotics and AI technologies to improve supply chains.

ISRAEL – WORLDWIDE – ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is expanding its refrigerated shipping capabilities with 1,000 new containers equipped with Carrier Transicold’s PrimeLINE® refrigeration unit. The new, 40-foot high-cube containers will help the Haifa based shipping line accommodate growth and solidify its commitment to having ample refrigerated resources to support its customers during these challenging times. Many of the new containers will ship highly temperature-sensitive perishable cargoes and high-value pharmaceutical products.

EUROPE – December 31 is a date meaning more in Europe than Brexit. Under the EU Regulation, from then all EU flagged and non-EU flagged vessels that call at a port or anchorage in an EU member state must have an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) on board. Acknowledging the setback caused by the Covid-19 virus, the European Commission has taken a harmonised approach for failure to comply with the IHM requirement of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation (EUSRR).

Ship owners however have had a long time to prepare, so the Commission has stopped short of offering the sorts of formal deferrals and derogations seen in other sectors. It is clear that the Commission does not want this extension to apply automatically, particularly where it is obvious that little, if any, preparation had been done. We are grateful to Watson, Farley and Williams for providing a full insight via recent and earlier articles.

POLAND – Hutchison Ports has reached a significant milestone in handling 4 million TEU at its Port of Gdynia facility since the commencement of operations in March 2006. The 4th million container was discharged from MV Durande, serving Hapag-Lloyd’s NPX (North Sea Poland Express) service.

Since 2005, Hutchison Ports says it has carried out a number of investment programmes at the Port of Gdynia spending over €100 million, transforming the former yard owned by Gdynia Shipyard into a modern container handling facility. Current works on the Bulgarskie Quay modernisation will as from Q4 2021 enable the container terminal to accept vessels at Gdynia Port with a maximum length of 367 metres and drafts to 13.0 metres.