Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bits and Pieces of Shipping Related News You May Have Missed While Sitting at Home

A Quick Look at What is Happening in Logistics Around the Globe
Shipping News Feature

UK – Associated British Ports (ABP) has increased its capacity to store refrigerated containers at the Port of Hull. The installation of two new Reefer Gantries at the Humber Container Terminal on the port has now been completed. The works mean the new reefer gantries have increased the terminal's capacity by an additional 64 refrigerated containers.

The new gantries, which cost circa £500,000, allow the boxes to be stacked four high, saving the freight terminal ground space, important at a time when the virus is putting heavy demands on the flow of perishable goods into the UK such as food and medicine, and will doubtless be appreciated by customers such as Samskip, I-Motion shipping and BG Freight Line.

UK – This year’s Transport Planning Day Campaign is being run completely online from now until the autumn, given the ongoing Coronavirus situation. The ‘virtual campaign’ is run by the Transport Planning Society to focus on the role of transport planners in tackling climate change and helping to create a sustainable, healthy future. The society hopes to host its usual Parliamentary reception in October and the Transport Planning Day itself on 16 November, but if this is not possible the events may also be held virtually.

Content for the campaign will be informed by stakeholder feedback gained from research that the Transport Planning Society is to launch shortly. It is likely to include blogs, podcasts and webinars showcasing successful transport planning projects and policy initiatives within the campaign theme.

UK – The Freight Transport Association (FTA) this week launched an online member-to-member platform to support businesses across the industry through the Covid-19 outbreak. This resource will provide members of the organisation with the chance to link businesses in need of logistics staff or fleet resources with available workers or vehicle capacity. The forums are for FTA members, but FTA will be waiving its joining fee until 30 April 2020

Forum 1: Covid-19 Impact - Related Resource Available - A forum for FTA members to share and discuss availability of their fleet, operators can share the location and vehicle specifications that are currently available for others in need of transportation. Forum 2: Covid-19 Impact - Related Resource Required - Members can discuss the resource they require to support them through the Covid-19 period, extra vehicles, personnel etc.

WORLDWIDE – London based finance group Stenn has closed a seven-figure trade receivables finance programme for a trading company based in the north eastern United States that sources seafood from India. This new financing program is being used to free up working capital to support sales expansion to supermarket chains during the coronavirus outbreak.

The importer’s Indian supplier engaged with Stenn to receive payment at the time of invoicing and shipping of goods, quite timely since India’s government has recently decided to impose a three-week lockdown across the country. The importer benefited from open account payment terms that allowed for payment at a later date. In this way, Stenn’s program provides liquidity to both parties in the trading relationship. Peter Clement, Business Development Director, Strategic Accounts Peter Clement, Business Development Director, Strategic Accounts,said:

“We would like to extend a very special thanks to One Source Risk Management & Funding, Inc., our introducer on this transaction. This program was closed in less than 30 days thanks to Ryan Babeu who helped facilitate this quick turnaround.”

SWEDEN – A ‘smart’ buoy has been installed in the shipping fairway just outside Stockholm Norvik Port. This is an energy efficient navigation beacon with the technology to position-monitor and remotely adjust the buoy’s light intensity. The buoy is part of the EU Intelligent Sea project, which is using digitalisation to improve safety and efficiency in shipping fairways. The green buoy is a pilot test within the framework of the project, which Ports of Stockholm is taking part in together with Port of Naantali and the Finnish company Meritaito.

At the same time, the buoy is also part of a project to improve the remote control, safety and handling of information from buoys. The 10 metre high device projects 3.5 metres from the water surface, has a five year battery life and is secured by a 25 metre-long cable chain and 14 tonne concrete attachment, and means that Ports of Stockholm has continuous access to information.

CYPRUS – The country’s Shipping Deputy Ministry has announced that, based on the outcome of the US Government’s 2019 Annual Report on Port State Control, Cyprus is no longer part of the Targeted Flag List of the United States Coastguard (USCG) in relation to the safety performance of flag administrations.

The three-year average detention ratio of Cyprus for the period 2017-2019 was 0.96% compared to an average USCG ratio of 1.08%. In 2019, the annual detention ratio of Cyprus ships was reduced to 0.55%, down from 1.79% in 2018, while the USCG’s 2019 ratio was 1.12%. The authorities say this enhanced track record is the result of a comprehensive National Shipping Strategy. The country’s flag is consistently part of the ‘white lists’ of the Paris and Tokyo MoU’s.

GERMANY –Deutsche Post AG, which owns DHL, has postponed its Annual General Meeting (scheduled for May 13th 2020) to a later date this year. The postponement also means delaying the Annual General Meeting’s resolution on the appropriation of accumulated income for 2019 and the payment of the proposed dividend of €1.25 per share.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is currently not possible to conduct an AGM with physical presence. The Annual General Meeting will be held as a virtual meeting without the presence of shareholders if the pandemic situation does not permit the holding of an AGM with attendance at a later date. As soon as a reliable planning and safe performance of the Annual General Meeting can again be ensured, the company will announce a revised date.

GERMANY – The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), the joint representation of interests of more than 100 German, European and global airlines, welcomes the decision made yesterday by the so-called ‘Corona-Cabinet’ of the German Federal Government for a temporary suspension of the reimbursement obligation for flights cancelled due to a pandemic.

The regulation advocated by the Federal Government for this highly exceptional situation provides that direct repayments be made only in cases of hardship. In all other cases, customers shall receive vouchers valid until 31 December 2021. Customers not redeeming the voucher by that date shall then receive a refund. Good news for the carriers – we suspect customers will not feel so benevolent about the measure.

PAKISTAN – Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue has notified a reduction in duties and taxes on the import and local supply of essential food items, including withdrawal of additional customs duty on the import of edible oil and oil seeds, until 30 June 2020.

SWITZERLAND – This year's Annual General Meeting of Kuehne + Nagel International AG will take place as scheduled on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in Schindellegi. In accordance with Ordinance 2 of the Swiss Federal Council to combat the Coronavirus, personal participation of shareholders is unfortunately not possible. However, shareholders have the option of authorising and instructing the independent proxy in advance. Details can be found in the forthcoming invitation to the Annual General Meeting.

SWITZERLAND – WORLDWIDE – Scandit has used its mobile computer vision and barcode scanning technology to create a Contactless Proof of Delivery web app that is quick for retailers and delivery companies to implement,and has made it available free for six months until September 30th. Customers can use their own smartphone to scan a QR code which opens the web app, then simply scan the barcode on the package and sign on their device to confirm a delivery or pickup. The process is apparently easy, with no need to download anything or log into an account.

WORLDWIDE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the postponement of the 76th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit. The event had been scheduled to take place on 22-23 June in Amsterdam. The 76th IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit will be held when it is both safe and practicable to do so. IATA anticipates that will be in the late third or early fourth quarter of 2020. An announcement will be made when a date is confirmed.