Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Freight, Shipping And Logistics News Over Christmas

What's Been Going On Whilst You Were Away
Shipping News Feature

WORLD WIDE – Clarksons, the integrated shipping services group with interests in everything from shipbroking to stevedoring, will announce full year results for 2010 on the 10th March 2011 but have dropped a hint that strong trading and suitable exchange rates are likely to mean better results than their previous predictions. The company’s shares have risen steadily to return to the highs of 2008 (currently trading at 1122) after collapsing into the 300’s at the beginning of 2009.

Sustainability has been one of the year’s keywords and Deutsche Post DHL will finish 2010 having sent around a billion GoGreen shipments of letters, parcels and express deliveries. That is about a third more than last year. The Group has in the process offset over 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) for its customers, compared with 38,500 tonnes CO2 last year. The environmentally-friendly GoGreen service launched in 2005 has continued to grow in recent years and is now available in 36 countries.

In India the 4% freight rate increase for rail cargo announced by the rail ministry came in for strong criticism from many quarters, not least Minister of State for Energy Saurabh Patel. The rise, in place on all ore, cement, petroleum and other vital products from yesterday, will increase the cost of the nation’s power supplies as it will directly affect the cost of coal said the Minister. With food inflation rates reaching record levels there is a worry that increased transport costs will produce more civil unrest.

The news came just as the proposed increase in service tax levy on transport of goods by rail was deferred until the 1st April. Somewhat bizarrely given their own price hike, it is reported that it was the rail ministry that pushed for the deferment, the levy was due to come into effect on the 1st January.

Staying with India, local media announced on Christmas Day the services on the Indo Pak rail route have had to be suspended as no visas for the fourteen Indian train drivers who travel the route had been issued by the Pakistan authorities after they expired on the 22nd December. At the time of writing it is reported that all freight train services are still suspended, meaning cement supplies from Pakistan have ceased causing a price rise. Many other types of cargo are also stranded including pharmaceutical products. The suspension has a severe knock on effect in that India still unloads the goods imported by hand and hundreds of workers are affected by the stoppage.

In Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has pressed for all parties to pay urgent attention to the expansion of trade with neighbours Turkey. The sometimes controversial president believes that not enough has been done to encourage bilateral trade via improved freight links between the two, presumably believing this will also encourage increased cooperation on security matters.

In the US,New Jersey based project management group Hill International announced they are to participate in a joint venture with Missouri transport consultancy TranSystems Corporation on behalf of rail giant CSX Transportation to upgrade rail freight routes as part of the National Gateway initiative. The two year $11.4 million contract is for construction work on 43 projects along a key corridor of the National Gateway that runs through the States of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Planned improvements include raising bridges, increasing tunnel clearances and building new terminals along existing rail corridors to support the movement of double-stacked containers on rail cars. The National Gateway should create more than 50,000 jobs, almost 10,000 of those jobs during the initial construction phase.

Nigerian truck drivers will face penalties in future for overloading, endemic in some areas, after an announcement from the Federal Ministry of Works confirmed there will be a system of weigh bridges installed alongside the nations highways. Grossly overloaded freight trucks are blamed for damage to the road surfaces and held to be the cause of many accidents. Drivers caught by the scheme will also be held liable for handling charges and see their excess cargo offloaded at the roadside.

Photo: The penalties of overloading