Friday, November 20, 2020

Our Weekly Look Into Shipping and Logistics News You May Have Missed

Some Logistics Pieces Hidden Behind the Bigger Stories
Shipping News Feature

UK – Artemis Technologies, which is led by double Olympic sailing gold medallist Dr Iain Percy OBE, and is dedicated to decarbonising the maritime sector, has won the prestigious Maritime 2050 accolade at this year's Maritime UK Awards. The award, sponsored by the Department of Transport, recognises the firm's efforts to capitalise on the opportunities presented within the Government's Maritime 2050 Strategy.

Artemis is the lead partner in the Belfast Maritime Consortium which aims to design and build zero-emission high-speed, hydrofoil ferries in the city capable of carrying up to 350 passengers, and which will require 90% less energy than traditional ferries, producing zero emissions thus saving 77 million m3 of CO2 emissions by 2026.

UK – After the sale of assets following the demise of Alfreton based food logistics group NFT Distribution Operations Ltd in January, doubt hung over the future of its Port of Tilbury based operation which has continued to trade with the support of regular customers and Culina Logistics.

Now two hundred jobs have been saved after Culina Logistics, which has been helping run the site with the support of both customers and Forth Ports, has taken over the 230,000 square foot facility and the administration process has been wound up.

UK – Freight services through Cheshire are now benefiting from a more reliable railway after work to replace two railway bridges. The Middlewich branch line reopened this week following a £4.5 million Great North Rail Project investment. The railway was closed for five days so the bridges over the Trent and Mersey canal and Whatcroft Hall lane in Northwich could be rebuilt to modern standards and required an 800 tonne crane to lift the new structures into place.

The work was praised by representatives from three major players in the UK rail freight sector, Freightliner, DB Cargo UK and GB Railfreight who all thanked Network Rail for the work which means heavy freight trains can access this route, particularly important for the shipment of aggregates for projects such as HS2.

UK – EUROPE – In a blog this month VesselsValue makes the point that RoRo tonnage may be worth investing in as the confusion over Brexit and the continuing pandemic, which saw such vessels fall in value early in the year, may make such ships worth a punt.

With an array of new builds arriving shortly this might seem counter intuitive, but older ships are currently less expensive than previously, and with a working life usually around 30 years there may be bargains to be had if the market moves the right way.

UK – HONG KONG – London-based freight forwarding and supply chain finance company Beacon has opened a new office in Hong Kong. Since March, Beacon’s headcount has increased from 35 to 75, while also achieving a ratio of 40% women employees, in line with the company’s key objective of fostering gender diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. The company says with business performance up by 300% in the last quarter alone, opening an office in Asia was the logical next step for the company to support this growing customer base, particularly in its biggest market.

Beacon offers a full range of services, including global ocean, air and truck freight, together with supply chain finance, all of which can be accessed and managed on a single platform and in June announced that it had raised over $15 million in its Series A fundraising round, with investors including Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, and leading US venture capital firm 8VC.

UK – KENYA – PML, which specialises in global perishable cargo is chartering its own air freight flights to maintain the supply of fresh produce during the pandemic and post Brexit. The company is working with Kenya Airways and has chartered a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which will fly from Nairobi to Heathrow twice a week, carrying essential perishable goods on behalf of PML’s clients looking to export out of Kenya.

The two weekly flights started 18 November and up until end December will be able to carry 36 tonnes of cargo per flight. From January the capacity will increase to 42 tonnes. With the flights departing at 04.00 local time on Wednesdays and Sundays, PML will be able to deliver fresh produce into the UK on the same day as they were flown out of Nairobi. The move to charter a bespoke PML air freight flight comes hot on the heels of the company setting up a dedicated in-house charter air freight service to cater for the increasing demand for the transfer of perishable goods by air.

EUROPE – Energy and commodity trading group Vitol, based in the Netherlands, has joined forces with Norwegian rubber recycling operation Wastefront, to utilise some of the estimated 29 million tonnes of tyres scrapped each year which have the potential to produce bunker fuel oil and other products.

Wastefront’s new facility based in Sunderland in the UK is set to be ready in 2023 and the 10 year agreement will see up to 30,000 tonnes of product taken by Vitol from the 60,000 tonne estimated processing capacity of the plant. The gas purification system used is designed to remove pollutants, organic compounds and harmful solid particles without releasing unwanted by-products into the environment.

US – A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHS) confirms the fact that installing the latest anti-crash technology on HGVs dramatically cuts the number of ‘rear enders’. The use of forward collision warning (FCW) using forward facing cameras, radar and the like, sometimes linked to automatic emergency braking systems (AEB) showed that, in the survey of circa 2,000 such crashes, forward warning systems cut accidents by 44% whilst AEB managed 41%.

Overall these systems additionally reduced such accidents by 22% and 12% respectively. Warnings were issued in 31% of rear-end crashes for FCW-equipped trucks. AEB intervened in 43% of rear-end crashes; about two thirds of these interventions involved autobrake activations. On average, speed was reduced by over half between the time of the intervention and impact for both systems.

FRANCE – WORLDWIDE – It seems CMA CGM has decided its future will rely heavily on liquefied natural gas power as the container line has committed to running a fleet of twenty six such vessels of various capacities by 2022. The company has established a new LNG hub for the shipping industry in Rotterdam and is looking to the port to become the world leader in such technology.

CMA CGM also has aspirations for the Port of Marseille Fos to become a gas bunkering hub for the group’s vessels. The 23,000 TEU CMA CGM Jaques Saade, which has an 18,600 cubic metre tank, is currently on her maiden voyage after joining the fleet in September.

FINLAND – SWITZERLAND – FRANCE – Technology group Wärtsilä has been selected to supply the engines and related emissions control after-treatment systems for two new passenger ferries being built for operation between Switzerland and France across Lake Geneva. The ferries are being built at the Shiptec AG yard in Switzerland for General Navigation Company (CGN), a Swiss ferry operator based in Lausanne.

The 60 metre long, 700 passenger capacity vessels will feature advanced hybrid energy and propulsion systems. The Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled for delivery beginning in summer 2021, and the first vessel is expected to commence commercial operations in December 2022. The second ferry will be delivered approximately one year later.

Photo: Artist’s impression of Artemis Technologies hydrofoil ferry design.