Friday, December 8, 2017

More Everyday News from the World of Freight Transport, Road Haulage and Logistics This Week

Some Items You May Have Missed
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – A host of smaller items from around the globe this week involving the logistics industry as much of the world gears up for the usual Christmas rush. The busiest this year look set to be the parcel carriers in road haulage, many of whom have had to draft in extra staff to cover the pre-holiday period. The problem for anyone in the industry, from freight forwarding agents to container shipping lines, is predicting the level of trade in advance so as not to let standards slip, and nowhere is this more evident to the consumer than in the field of home deliveries. With so many premises nowadays equipped with closed circuit television we can look forward to the New Year array of horror videos on YouTube showing computers and the like being thrown over garden gates, but let’s try and start the week's run down with some more positive notes.

UK – Freight forwarder Simarco International announced it was acquiring two other UK outfits, Formula Goss International (FGI) and Sutch and Searle. Formula Goss specialises in both air and European road freight through its Bedford office with daily services to Italy and Gibraltar, something the new owners say meshes well with their own Iberian network.

Sutch and Searle are a very well-known name in the industry, established in 1988 and based in Heathrow with what Simarco describe as ‘a top-quality list of loyal clients’ and says the two purchases are in line with the group strategy to develop its own air cargo side. The new acquisitions follow the purchase of Stoke-on-Trent based IFB, in April 2014.

US – Daseke, the Texas based road haulage operator with already the largest fleet of flatbed equipment in North America, has tied up with three other flatbed and heavy-haul trucking companies just months after other mergers with four similar operations, the Schilli Companies, headquartered in Indiana, and Canada-based Big Freight Systems Inc., headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, both in May, Steelman in July and R & R Trucking, defence specialist hauliers, in September.

Now Tennessee Steel Haulers & Co. (TSH), The Roadmaster Group, and Moore Freight Service have been added to the fold and Daseke said the mergers will boost total revenue to close to $1.2 billion in 2017. The deals made sense to the parties as construction and manufacturing are predicted to upturn and the concentration on 3PL tactics, with the group being ‘asset light’ mean less exposure to the group. CEO Don Daseke said he was looking for an ‘asset light run rate of 50%’ by the end of this year.

To achieve the company’s avowed target of doubling its pre-tax earnings by 2021 Scott Wheeler, executive vice president and CFO of Daseke said although the seven acquisitions this year bring the total purchase count of companies merged into the organisation by Daseke so far to sixteen, more firms need to be added in the next two years to reach that mark. Additionally the Addison headquartered group is extending its portfolio of services to include not only a greater geographical area, but also a variety of sectors such as specialised road transport of glass and security items.

US – Staying in America this week has seen heated debate on the subject of ‘Glider’ trucks, rebuilt semi rigs which have been fitted with reconditioned, older (and more polluting) engines. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been proposing at a public hearing in Washington, somewhat surprisingly considering its perceived role, to create a legal loophole so older vehicles do not have to comply with anti-emission regulations.

It was the EPA itself that took steps last year with the introduction of the 2016 Clean Truck Standards to remove polluting vehicles from America’s roads. Now it seems the world and his wife are calling for the head of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt who is looking to repeal the regulation. The proposed change has allied factions as diverse as Volvo, the Engine Manufacturers Association, the American Trucking Association, and the Heavy Duty Fuel Efficiency Leadership Group with American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society, and Moms Clean Air Force and green campaigners such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Whilst the trucking industry representatives pointed out the inequalities that the change would engender, hitting those companies who have invested heavily to comply with better pollution controls, EDF Senior Attorney Martha Roberts demanded that the health of families be put first, saying:

“America has made tremendous progress in reducing tailpipe pollution, using made in America solutions. We have protected our children’s health and positioned American companies as world leaders in pollution control innovations. Pruitt’s actions put this progress at risk, imperilling our families and communities through unprecedented rollbacks at a time when we should be moving forward to save lives and create jobs.”

So whilst cities like London see unprecedented action from the authorities to impose clean air no matter what the cost, some in the weird world of Donald Trump’s climate change denial America try to sail a different course. The EPA is accepting public comments on the proposed repeal of the safeguards against glider truck pollution until 5 January.

US – TURKEY – Boeing announced it had delivered this week the first of two 777 Freighters purchased by Turkish Airlines Cargo as the company moves to enlarge its freight business. Mr İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines, commented:

"The delivery of our first 777 Freighter is a milestone event in our cargo business. As a prominent sub-brand of Turkish Airlines, Turkish Cargo increased its freighter destinations served from 55 to 73 from the beginning of this year, reaching approximately one million tons of cargo with a 29% increase. It is surely beyond doubt that this is a remarkable success. We're sure that this significant delivery, which will bring great value to our rapidly growing cargo operations, will also enable our leading sub-brand to further compete, expand and reach new short and long-range destinations from our hub in Istanbul."

CHINA – FINLAND – Marine and energy technology group Wärtsilä has signed a joint industry project cooperation (JIP) undertaking with Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC), a part of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. The objective of the JIP is to develop a preliminary production level design for a 127,000 dwt shuttle tanker that may be built by DSIC with DNV-GL classification.

The demand for shuttle tankers, craft which transfer oil direct from an oil field without the use of pipeline to shore technology, is forecast to increase, and this joint project is intended to generate a high level design concept with a dynamic positioning (DP) system that can be offered to potential owners. By having a ready and approved design available, the building period can be significantly reduced. Aaron Bresnahan, Vice President, Sales, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, observed:

"We are excited to enter into this agreement that offers a proactive approach to meeting the future needs of the tanker sector. We congratulate DSIC for their vision and foresight in working to develop a state-of-the-art shuttle tanker.”

Wärtsilä will provide technical design support for the project. This will include developing an optimised propulsion and thruster solution and machinery with a high-level electric configuration for the vessel's DP control system. Mr Liu Wenmin of DSIC, commented:

"This project is based on market demand forecasts for the future and we are fortunate to have Wärtsilä as a partner. Their technological know-how and vast industry experience will make an invaluable contribution to the success of this project.”

Photo: The proposed new shuttle tanker from the DSIC Wärtsilä collaboration.