Friday, March 20, 2020

Multimodal Exhibition is Just One of Many Logistics and Transport Events to Fall Victim to Virus

Host of Carriers and Others Announce Plans as We Round Up the Logistics News this Week
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Cancellations, postponements and adjustments due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak continue with news this week that the IRX/eDX show in Birmingham scheduled at the NEC for 1 - 2 April has been put off until further notice. IRX/eDX covers internet retailing and as such is of interest to a variety of logistics interests. Another big NEC show now on the back burner is the ever popular Multimodal Exhibition. Registrations have been automatically reallocated to the new revised dates of 4-6 November 2020.

A third NEC casualty is now the Commercial Vehicle Show, due to take place 28-30 April. The event has been cancelled, not postponed, due to the number of imponderables affecting the timing of mass events for the foreseeable future. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has announced that its Future Logistics Conference, due to take place at ITT Hub in the Farnborough International Conference & Exhibition Centre on the 13 and 14 May 2020 has now been rescheduled for the 12 and 13 May 2021.

BELGIUM – Following the news on 10 March that the World Health Organisation revised its classification of Covid-19 to global pandemic status, and that the Belgian Government consequently recommended all indoor events (over 1,000 people) should be prohibited, the April 2020 edition of the break bulk event, Antwerp XL is cancelled. A new autumn edition of Antwerp XL will now run at Antwerp Expo, 15-17 September.

US – The Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors (CAGTC) has cancelled the forthcoming Annual Members Meeting that was scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on May 12 and 13, 2020. The organisation says the situation remains fluid making it difficult to identify new dates at this time but it will contact members in due course.

SCANDINAVIA – Due to the current situation and concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus, Viking Line will suspend service on Mariella and Gabriella between Helsinki and Stockholm from March 18 to April 13, 2020. (Mariella will make her last voyage from Stockholm to Helsinki on March 17; Gabriella will make her last voyage from Stockholm to Helsinki on March 18.) Viking Line is following the instructions of Finnish authorities, who have closed the country’s borders, during the state of emergency in effect in Finland.

EUROPE – Staying with ferry services DFDS has announced its Newcastle- Amsterdam service will continue to operate for those travelling on a transport booking with their vehicles or as foot passengers and bookings will remain available but mini cruises on the route are suspended. Passenger capacity will be reduced to 50% on DFDS sailings from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk and Newhaven to Dieppe.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium (WCS) which was due to be held between March 10-12 has been rescheduled for 9-11 March 2021, hosted by Turkish Cargo Airlines in Istanbul. Plans are already afoot for Cathay Pacific to host the 2022 event in Hong Kong.

Registrations for this year’s event can be rolled over to 2021 at the same rate and delegates will automatically receive the seamless arrival feature for free, as a token of IATA’s appreciation.

In the UK Redwigwam, which has over 110,000 workers on its database, and supplies many to transport and logistics organisations, is scrapping fees until further notice. It means that companies can use the company’s online platform to find workers to carry out short-term and ad hoc jobs and only have to pay the workers for the jobs they hire them for.

From 16th March, following UK Government advice, the London branch of the Shipowners Club will temporarily close with all London staff working remotely. Despite the London branch closure, it remains very much business as usual with all staff able to service Members and their brokers remotely.

Luxembourg, Singapore, Hong Kong and Greek offices will operate in a similar way, albeit some offices will remain open but at all times colleagues are contactable through email and mobiles. This will extend to the Club’s emergency claims service which remains functional 24 hours a day. Contact details HERE.

US – EUROPE – The announcement that a travel embargo from the UK to the US was to be imposed from March 17 meant a slump in passenger traffic for such as Virgin Atlantic which immediately announced it was taking advantage of the suspension of the ‘use it or lose it’ slot rules until 30 June 2020 by the European Commission, enabling the airline to consolidate schedules and ground aircraft immediately.

As a result by next week around 75% of the company’s planes will be grounded, obviously having a knock on effect for belly hold cargo, the London Heathrow -Newark route for example will be permanently terminated with immediate effect. The company has also made a range of offers and conditions to staff including voluntary severance, sabbaticals up to a year, reduced employer pension contributions, deferred pay increases and an amended sick pay policy.

Another air carrier to change operations is American Airlines which, from today, is utilising its currently grounded passenger aircraft to move cargo between the United States and Europe. The first cargo-only flight departs from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) March 20, landing at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) March 21. The Boeing 777-300 will operate two round trips between DFW and FRA over the course of four days, carrying only cargo and necessary flight personnel. This is the first scheduled cargo-only flight since 1984 when American retired the last of its Boeing 747 freighters.

The Boeing 777-300 has 14 cargo positions for large pallets and can carry more than 100,000 pounds. The four scheduled flights this weekend are expected to be booked to capacity and transport medical supplies, mail for active US military, telecommunications equipment and electronics that will support people working from home, and e-commerce packages. The flights provide much-needed cargo capacity for many of the airline’s regular cargo customers, allowing them to continue operating in this challenging environment.