Friday, March 4, 2022

As Ukraine Dominates the Headlines Here Are a Few Smaller Bits of Transport News

Some Other Happenings in Logistics This Week
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the row over container rates intensifies the British International Freight Association (BIFA) is surveying its entire membership to ascertain their views on the current practices undertaken by container shipping lines, as well as their opinions on the easements and exemptions provided to those lines under competition law.

BIFA Director General, Robert Keen, says that over the last several months, the Secretariat has received many complaints from its members about significant changes within the maritime market, including high freight rates, surcharges, and new business practices by the lines, which limit market access for forwarders. He said:

“BIFA believes that after communication with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), it is clear that substantive evidence will be required for them to consider a review of the maritime supply chain, including shipping line practices that may be distorting the operations of the free market to the detriment of international trade.

”We will analyse and use the information and data obtained from the survey, which is only for BIFA corporate members, to support a submission to the CMA on members’ behalf, with all responses being aggregated, and no data released that identifies an individual respondent. Hopefully the results of the survey will deliver some objective evidence regarding the current state of the deep-sea container market.”

UK – UAE – Amazon has ordered a fleet of six Flexi Truck articulated forklift trucks for its DXB3 fulfilment centre in Dubai Logistics City, UAE. The e-commerce site launched in the UAE in May 2019 and, spread over 32,700 square metres and stocked with more than 4 million products, the DXB3 site is Amazon’s largest fulfilment centre facility in the country with in excess of 650 staff employed there.

The new Flexi Trucks feature digital electric motor technology that allows independent twin front-wheel drive, hydraulic functions and the truck’s unique power-steering motor to be controlled digitally, ensuring the most productive, energy-efficient and safe driving performance throughout the working day. The control systems at the heart of the Flexis deliver higher productivity combined with significantly reduced operating and maintenance costs, while the trucks’ VNA functionality and ability to work both inside and outside the building, make it the ideal choice for Amazon’s UAE operation.

UK – The convenience store/newsagents chain McColl’s is reported to be on the brink of collapse. The company is the largest Post Office provider in the UK, and host to hundreds of Amazon lockers and CollectPlus collection points. McColl’s shares dived after it issued a profit warning last month and conceded a takeover approach by an unnamed suitor had already collapsed. The company carries debts of almost £170 million, with a lending syndicate that includes Barclays, HSBC, NatWest Group and Santander UK.

In the view of home delivery group ParcelHero it is a vital part of the UK’s parcels’ infrastructure that must not be allowed to fail, with Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T. saying that with around 1,300 stores containing around 600 Post Offices, some in remote areas, the CollectPlus collection points and Amazon lockers form a vital link for those out working in the day or needing to return goods.

UK – The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has reiterated the points it made in late February regarding the cost of fuel in the light of the Ukraine crisis. With a budget statement due later this month the RHA points out that, at the start of March Brent crude oil prices rose to $113 a barrel, adding 5 pence per litre, shortly followed by another 5 pence rise. As with bulk purchases, these cost increases are virtually instant while the forecourts are seeing gains, but the RHA says it sees a further surge coming.

UK – WORLDWIDE – A new research project will be carried out by the Seafarers’ International Research Centre at Cardiff University to focus on women working on cargo ships. It aims to explore their welfare needs and the extent to which these are currently met. The research aims to interview 30 women seafarers about their experience and use of port-based welfare facilities, the perceived barriers to their use of such facilities, their experiences and views of innovative methods implemented during the pandemic and their preferences for the delivery and scope of welfare services in the future.

Chaplains and volunteers providing port-based welfare services will also be interviewed to explore their views on how the services provided at port can be developed to ensure they are supportive of the needs of women seafarers. The maritime sector has ambitions to increase the number of women working at sea. Figures show that currently only 1% of crew on cargo ships are women. Thus, finding participants will be a challenge, but this work is vital to ensure retention and recruitment of women in the maritime industry. If interested, particularly if you are a woman at sea, details of how to help are HERE.

UK – WORLDWIDE – Staying with charity at sea the Sailors’ Society has launched a Ukrainian Crisis Appeal to support desperate seafarers caught up in the conflict. While most international charities are facing the land, concentrating their efforts on the growing refugee crisis as Ukrainians flee the fighting, Sailors’ Society is there for the 75,000 Ukrainian seafarers, who may be many thousands of miles from loved ones, anxious and powerless to help. Details HERE.

DENMARK – US – CHINA – Martin Bencher has opened a new office in Dallas, Texas, solely focusing on airfreight and serving the entire US. To comply with US regulations for Air Export, all such shipments will route via this centrally located office. Jacob Poulsen has accepted the role as Branch Manager of the Dallas office, while remaining in the position of Branch Manager for the office in Long Beach, CA, and will be relocating. The company has also opened a new airfreight office in Shanghai with Mrs. Lydia Li appointed Branch Manager.

CANADA – CHINA – International Registries, Inc has opened offices in Vancouver, British Columbia and Qingdao this week. This is the first Canadian office of IRI and the 11th office in Asia. The Vancouver office expands on the historical and powerful link between Vancouver and China, while Qingdao opens to facilitate inspections and client services in Northern China. Both offices will serve Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) corporate and maritime clients.

GERMANY – EUROPE – Having partnered last week with Transporeon, UTA Edenred, which supplies fuel cards and much more, has now announced a partnership with ServiCon Service & Consult eG beginning 1 March 2022. A sister organisation to the political association Der Mittelstandsverbund, ServiCon will provide 310 purchasing group and association affiliates and their approximately 230,000 small and medium-sized company (SMEs) members with access to UTA Edenred’s complete mobility portfolio and special conditions.

US – There's still time to participate in American Trucking Associations' 2022 Driver Compensation Study, but don't delay! Submissions are due by Friday, March 11. Last conducted in 2020, the report is a one-of-a-kind benchmarking tool that gives carriers the tools they need to make well-informed compensation decisions. Survey participants will receive the study for just $100 ($1,500 for non-participants), a free executive summary prior to the release of the report, and an invitation to a free participant-only webinar hosted by ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello to discuss the results of the study. This is data you can't get anywhere else!

Photo: Amazon has ordered six Flexi trucks for its UAE operation.