Friday, November 24, 2017

Our Weekly Review of Some Freight and Logistics News from Around the Globe

A Cornucopia of Current Shipping Stories
Shipping News Feature
REPUBLIC OF PALAU – The Palau International Ship Registry has become the fastest growing flag in the shipping world with an impressive 43.2% growth in the number of vessels joining the registry since 2013 according to Fairplay magazine. Recording strong growth that puts it ahead of other expanding registries such as Portugal, Saudi Arabia and the Cook Islands, Palau has attracted significant numbers of tankers into its fleet along with Ro-Ro vessels, bulk carriers and offshore ships. Tankers currently comprise just under half of Palau's fleet.

The Registry introduced a new Deficiency Prevention System (DPS) at the end of 2016 as part of its drive to become a leading technological registry. This consists of a dedicated department monitoring all ships under the Palau flag to reduce deficiency and casualty rates. PISR Flag State Inspectors (FSI) network works with the DPS to ensure vessels remain at sea and are not detained in ports for often the most trivial of reasons. Speaking of the expansion in business Panos Kirnidis, CEO of Palau International Ship Registry said:

”Our goal is to become one of the world’s leading registries and ship owners and operators are recognising Palau has the infrastructure to support them. The industry is currently undergoing changes to both regulation and economic conditions. To remain a key player in this sector we, along with other registries, will have to be flexible, adaptable and attuned to the concise needs of our clients. Technology will be a key driver here but without losing the human touch. I would like to think we have displayed enough conviction to the industry to be worthy of this recent dramatic increase in business.”

UK – Pallet pooling specialist LPR UK tells us it has now been certified to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard. LPR’s success in achieving this new accreditation follows six consecutive years of the business achieving certification for the previous standard. Businesses which achieve the ISO 9001:2015 certification must consistently demonstrate the ability to provide products and services that meet customer, statutory and regulatory requirements. Simon Wood, operations director of LPR UK and Ireland, commented:

“Achieving accreditation in the UK for the seventh year is a fantastic testament to our high standard of service. The acknowledgement recognises the continued effort we put into innovation and best practice. We believe that continued recognition from an organisation such as the ISO, alongside the high level of quality both our pallets and services are renowned for, is what sets us apart as industry leaders.”

FRANCE – Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has been awarded five new cargo handling contracts by passenger and freighter airlines in France. Four of the contracts cover Paris CDG as well as handling at WFS’ other 11 cargo stations across France. Vietnam Airlines has renewed its cargo handling agreement with WFS, while CAL Cargo Airlines has appointed WFS to provide receiving points for cargo which is then trucked to Belgium to connect with its Boeing 747 freighter services ex Liege.

WFS has also won contracts for the whole of France from the Moldovan airline FlyONE for freight carried onboard its weekly Airbus A319/320 flights to Chișinău International Airport as well as from the Italian carrier, Meridiana. Air France has also chosen WFS as its cargo handling partner at three airports in France; Lyon, Toulouse and Nantes. Stephane Scholving, WFS Director of Cargo Sales Europe, said:

“These contracts reflect the size and diversity of our cargo operation across France. We are proud to be increasing WFS’ relationship with Air France and to be the preferred handling partner of all-cargo and passenger airlines from Vietnam, Israel, Moldova and Italy. Our highly experienced cargo teams across all of our French stations will ensure we provide the quality of service as well as the high standards of safety and security each of our new customers’ needs to support the growth of their businesses.”

CAMEROON – NIGERIA – Louis Berger has been awarded a €1.5 million project management and construction supervision services contract by the governments of the two countries for construction of a two lane bridge over the Cross River at Ekok/Mfum, the joint border. The two-lane box girder balanced cantilever bridge will be approximately 403 metres long with a 150 metre span over the Cross River and approximately 1.4 kilometres of approach roads. The new structure will replace the single lane suspension bridge currently connecting the two countries because its lack of traffic capacity generates long queues of freight and private vehicles on both sides of the border.

The team will support the Project Implementation Unit, the Road Sector Development Team within the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Nigeria. It will also work with the African Development Bank Group project unit within the Ministry of Public Works in Cameroon. The project has a duration of 18 months with a 12-month defects liability period. Services include project management, construction supervision and training on bridge construction management.

The current project is part of the Program for Transport Facilitation for the Bamenda-Enugu road corridor, a program funded through an African Development Fund joint loan to Cameroon and Nigeria and a grant to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

DUBAI – Just after the news came in with regard to Zim Line using blockchain technology for a trial shipment proving a new generation of shipping documents may be viable so comes details of UAE headquartered dnata, the air freight specialists, joining with flydubai Cargo, the Emirates Innovation Lab and IBM in a project to streamline air cargo transport documentation.

Blockchain technology is used to digitalise documents in a way which offers a secure peer-to-peer network that can be managed autonomously to exchange information between different parties but with any changes made en route having to be agreed by all parties in the transaction.

As part of a cargo movement this means the status of the consignment, established initially with the production of a purchase order, is followed and agreed as it passes through the supply chain until delivery is signed off. Obviously security is paramount and the systems devised need thorough testing in real world conditions to ensure there are no unexpected flaws.

Vice President of Commercial and Business Development for dnata’s UAE Cargo Operations, Kevin Ennis said he felt the latest project meant the company was on the cusp of a revolution in how air freight operates, whilst Mohamed Hassan, vice president of flydubai Cargo said:

“Blockchain technology is able to transform sectors far beyond financial services. It improves the way we work together in providing reliable and convenient airfreight as it provides end-to-end services.”

UK – The Port of Blyth recently held a multi-agency exercise involving police, fire and rescue, the Border Force, along with Port of Blyth staff and Reay Security. The exercise facilitated by State 21 Ltd., tested both the port’s preparedness for emergencies and in particular their response to security incidents. Richard Rowland, Managing Director of State 21, said:

“We were delighted to help such a forward-thinking port to test their plans and to facilitate a multi-agency exercise, which enhances both port security and emergency response. The Port of Blyth should be rightly proud of their continuing focus on making the port more secure and as a result more attractive to business.”

The Port of Blyth, in Northumberland, is the operating division of Blyth Harbour Commission, and is an independent statutory trust port established in 1882. Martin Willis, Port of Blyth Harbour Master/Port Facility Security Officer, said:

“As a growing Trust Port it is of vital importance that the systems, plans and procedures we have in place to deal with emergency situations and security incidents are fit for purpose. State 21’s recent assistance with testing our readiness, contingency and business continuity planning for responding to such events was invaluable as their expertise of emergency planning and response ensured that all potential eventualities were tested fully and that the port’s protocols for such scenarios remain both robust and effective.”

CHINA – VIETNAM – This week saw the first train using the rail freight service between Nanchang in East China's Jiangxi province and the Vietnamese capital Hanoi. The route covers around 1,700 kilometres via the Pingxiang Pass in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region taking some 5 days which is a quarter of that using road haulage services.

The first transit carried automotive parts and office equipment and the intention is to make the service timetabled with regular trains as from next year. The service is intended to link more isolated and landlocked Chinese provinces with the south east Asian markets and give them access to the much hyped Belt and Road initiative.