Friday, May 11, 2018

Guns, Gas and Tragedy - Some Freight and Logistics News You May Have Missed

A Variety of Bits and Pieces from the Global Supply Chain This Week
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – Lead story in our freight round up this week is news that two of the largest Japanese shipping operators, NYK and K Line, best known for their container and RoRo activities, have, together with fellow countrymen Chubu Electric Power and Toyota Tsusho, established two joint ventures to launch and promote liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine bunkering in the country in the Chubu, or central, region.

The newly created organisations are the Central LNG Marine Fuel Japan Corporation, which will handle the actual bunkering and the Central LNG Shipping Japan Corporation which will be responsible for the ownership of the bunkering vessels.

NETHERLANDS – CHINA – Once again AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), specialist cargo carriers when it comes to project freight jobs by air, has showcased its expertise in the transportation of oversized and super-heavy items with the delivery of 22-metre pipes for a solar energy project onboard one of its Boeing 747 freighters for European customer, Neele-Vat Air B.V. Eight crates weighing around 20,000 kilogrammes were loaded through the 747’s nose-swing door in Amsterdam, with the help of two loading cranes, in preparation for the delivery to Zhengzhou, China. Sergey Lazarev, General Director of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, observed:

“With only a few cargo carriers in the world able to provide a nose-door loading option for very long and out-of-gauge shipments, we are proud to have been chosen for this project, which acknowledges our proven expertise in performing technically challenging and complex deliveries.”

In the first three months of 2018, AirBridgeCargo experienced an 18% year-on-year increase in the number of oversized cargoes being loaded through the nose door of its 747 freighter aircraft using special handling procedures. The unique capabilities of ABC’s freighter fleet and its nose-loading capabilities make it possible for the airline to deliver such particularly complex consignments.

UK – Warehouse and logistics group CML has announced that it is sending employees that drive a company car on a DriveTech course, to help improve driver behaviour and reduce running costs. DriveTech is part of the AA and its training courses have been designed to ensure that a business’s fleet is driven safely, sustainably and efficiently to help reduce accidents, CO2 emissions and fuel usage. Managing Director, Mark Webb, commented:

“Driving for work involves risk, so minimising it means that we are able to drive a better business. The work that we carry out goes beyond that of logistics, and implementing a comprehensive training solution, tailored to the driver and the vehicles used, is not only an example of this but it highlights how important employee safety is to us. In addition to this, by promoting safer driving and improving driver behaviour, we are helping to reduce operating costs including insurance, fuel and service repairs.”

UK – Red Jet 7, Red Funnel’s new Hi-Speed passenger ferry which we highlighted last year and which is under construction by Wight Shipyard in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, is due to enter the water for the first time at the end of May. Work on the £7 million vessel is well on track with the passenger accommodation already mounted on the two hulls and the specialist job of installing the four engines, generators and waterjets is almost complete. The bridge is also taking shape with most of the electronic equipment, control systems and touch screens now in situ and ready for testing.

A specialist Isle of Wight based contractor is also about to start the painstaking job of vinyl wrapping the superstructure in Red Funnel’s striking Red Jet livery which was revealed for the first time on Red Jet 6. Once in the water, Red Jet 7 will remain alongside at the Wight Shipyard during the commissioning of equipment and systems. Sea trials and crew training are scheduled to commence towards the end of June and she will be named the following month.

Red Funnel claims that the new vessel follows sister ship Red Jet 6, by offering ground breaking levels of passenger comfort, reliability and safety. She will also be one of the greenest ships in Red Funnel’s fleet with a host of design features to reduce running costs and protect the environment in line with the company’s ISO 14001:2015 accreditation.

UK – Border control agency staff at Dover seized several weapons hidden in the floor pan of a Peugeot van this week and three men from Essex were arrested under suspicion of firearms offences. Worryingly the weapons were not simply handguns but included two AR-15 assault rifles, infamous for their regular appearance as the weapon of choice for those who perpetrate mass shootings in the US. Any one working in the logistics sector is asked to report any suspicious activity.

UK – Gloucester headquartered road haulage and bespoke logistics provider Howard Tenens has been keen to literally drive home the environmental message, and now its efforts have been recognised. The company has been using some of its 500+ trailers to promote a ‘Cleaner Planet’ image after seeking a way to advertise its latest 100% gas powered vehicles, purchased following the trials we featured in 2012, via a new livery.

The efforts of its marketing agency ‘We Are Alive’ have now been rewarded with Tenens shortlisted in the ‘Livery of the Year’ category at the forthcoming Motor Transport Awards on July 4. Perhaps even more importantly to the company it is also up for Haulier of the Year, probably the most coveted of the tributes on offer on the day. Karl Hodgkinson, Group Commercial Director at Howard Tenens commented:

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for both awards, this is a real achievement for the company which is down to many successes this year for Tenens including, new site acquisitions, contract wins, contract renewals, significant investment and development in both our teams and systems as well as ongoing environmental initiatives. It’s been a fantastic year and we’re looking forward to the year ahead.”

SWITZERLAND – At the annual general meeting of Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd., held on May 8, 2018, 65.47% of the share capital was represented. All proposals of the board of directors were approved by a clear majority and Sandra Emme was confirmed as a new member of the board of directors. The annual general meeting approved the situation report, the annual financial statements, the consolidated 2017 financial statements and the distribution of a gross dividend of CHF 3.75 per nominal share. The dividend will be distributed on May 15, 2018.

SOUTH KOREA – The determination of the authorities to do all possible with regard to the still missing victims of the passenger ferry Sewol, which foundered in April 2014 taking the lives of 304 passengers and crew, 299 whose bodies were subsequently recovered. The rescue also cost the lives of 2 divers and 5 emergency workers.

The government has spent a reported $130 million in having the ship placed on the quayside at Mockpo and now she is to be righted so that the search for the missing can continue. Investigations are still proceeding as to the cause of the disaster. The case led to four charges of homicide and the suicide of a high school principal, many of whose students perished.

US – HONG KONG – Florida-based freighter operator Western Global Airlines has appointed Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) to handle its first scheduled service into Hong Kong. The new twice-weekly 747-400F service between Hong Kong and Los Angeles is being operated in partnership with US forwarder Flexport. The airline plans to add a further weekly flight from September. Hactl is providing ramp handling, terminal handling and all documentation for the flights.

Flexport is a freight forwarder and logistics platform and announcing the launch of the joint service, Neel Jones Shah, SVP and Global Head of Air Freight said:

“This new partnership allows Flexport to offer predicable, affordable and a custom-tailored service to our customers with guaranteed capacity through seamless, dedicated scheduled service in the important Hong Kong to US markets.”

Western Global is an FAA Certified 121 all-cargo airline operating an owned fleet of B747-400 and MD-11 freighter airplanes worldwide for many of the top airlines, express companies, logistics providers, humanitarian and relief organizations, and the US Department of Defense. CEO and Founder, Jim Neff observed:

“Working with Hong Kong’s leading freighter handler, Hactl, will help ensure that we can provide our customer Flexport with optimum service levels based on highly-efficient ground operations.”

NETHERLANDS – Fetim, the home accessory provider, has seen its plans for a new logistics warehouse approved allowing it to relocate from two sites in the Port of Amsterdam to a new 87,000 m² plot in the Atlaspark. The 600 metre long building will have a roof sheathed in solar panels in line with the port, and indeed the city’s, aspirations for a zero carbon future.

By 2021 the Port of Amsterdam is attempting to fit 100,000 m2 of solar panels on the roofs of buildings within its perimeter. In addition to Fetim, the Atlaspark currently houses numerous logistics companies including DHL Parcel, DSV, ITG Logistics and Kintetsu.

IRELAND – Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has acquired a 100% shareholding in its former WFS Ireland joint venture after buying the minority shareholding of its partners, Gerry Jackson and Brendan Byrne. The transaction was completed at the end of March. Gerry Jackson retired from the company at the end of 2017 but Brendan Byrne will continue in his role as President of WFS Ireland. The successful venture in Ireland, covering cargo handling stations in Dublin, Cork and Shannon, has been operating for 13 years with WFS as the majority shareholder.

WFS serves over 50 airline customers in Ireland, including Air China, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates Airline, IAG Cargo, Lufthansa, SAS and SWISS International Airlines. In 2017, volumes handled rose to more than 45,000 tonnes at the three stations, where WFS employs over 100 staff, led by Dublin-based General Manager, Simon Coomber.

Photo: A Howard Tenens vehicle sporting its new livery.