Friday, November 16, 2018

Plastic Pollution Leads Weekly Round-Up of freight and Logistics Stories

Some Smaller - but Not Necessarily Less Important Items
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – The week's news round-up on shipping, road haulage and other related freight and logistics matters starts with a pollution fight back item. Whilst discharging plastics into the sea is already prohibited under MARPOL regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, the situation has now become so serious that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee has vowed to increase pressure in the fight against poisoning the oceans.

At the end of October plastics were one of the subjects addressed with the Committee reiterating the commitment to combat marine litter and microplastics, with the intention to see positive action by 2025. The session also dealt with other matters regarding the London Protocol including disposal of fibreglass vessels, offshore platforms and debris from space launches.

NORWAY – US – Skudesneshavn based UniSea AS, a software developer and consultancy specialising in solutions for the shipping industry has been selected by Tidewater Inc, which owns and operates one of the largest fleets of Offshore Support Vessels in the sector, as its partner in the digitalising and standardising of the Houston headquartered group’s business processes related to health, safety, environment and quality (HSEQ) and operations.

The announcement comes on the back on a number of recent deals for UniSea with companies in China, England, France, Norway, Sweden and the USA. Only two weeks ago, Norwegian seismic company PGS Geophysical, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and with offices worldwide, also signed a contract with UniSea.

JAPAN – BAHAMAS – WORLDWIDE – Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas, the Honourable Peter Turnquest has officially opened the Bahamas Maritime Authority’s (BMA) new office at Nishi-Shinbashi in the heart of the Minato district in Tokyo. The Bahamas remains a non-targeted flag from a Port State perspective within the Asia Pacific region and Paris MOU, as well as a US Coast Guard QUALSHIP 21 flag state. The BMA claims Bahamas its status as most favoured nation in relation to ships trading to Chinese ports is beneficial for Japanese ship owners trading regionally and internationally.

Captain Dwain Hutchinson, Acting Managing Director and CEO at the BMA said that, as the second largest ship owning country of dead-weight tonnage the new office will allow the BMA to strengthen ties with the Japanese maritime cluster.

TURKEY – At the time of writing Vessel traffic congestion in the Dardanelles is suffering 5-7 day delays due to the shorter daylight hours and inclement weather conditions.

UK – FRANCE – If ministers remain in any doubt as to the value of UK - EU trade perhaps a look at the latest figures from GetlInk (formerly Eurotunnel) will offer an insight. There was a new record set for Le Shuttle Freight in October with 152,129 trucks transported, 7% better than October 2017. Since the start of the year more than 1.4 million trucks have crossed the Channel via the rail borne shuttles.

NORTHERN IRELAND – Warrenpoint Port has commissioned a new crane and has commenced the refurbishment of two other cranes following a major £3 million capital investment. The new crane, built and supplied by Finnish manufacturer Konecranes, will significantly improve efficiency at the Port by reducing loading and unloading times, with the ability to lift 100 tonnes up to 42 metres above sea level.

Clare Guinness, CEO at Warrenpoint Port said the £3 million investment forms part of a major drive to facilitate the 25-year growth plan announced earlier this year and will improve the Port’s bulk business, which includes grain, timber, steel, wood chip, coal and cement. Warrenpoint Port, Northern Ireland’s second largest port, handled a record 3.56 million tonnes of cargo valued at £6.2 billion.

UK – Responding to our piece last week in which the RMT union outlined plans for protests against Condor Ferries whom it accuses of pay infringements for crew in UK waters amongst other things, the company issued a statement, saying:

“Condor is a proud and responsible employer and the RMT’s comments made in relation to our treatment of staff are totally incorrect. We stand by our previous comments on the matter – Condor fully adheres to, and indeed exceeds domestic and international employment regulations covering the wages, terms and conditions of staff and this includes compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

“A very small number of non-EU seafarers are employed through a specialist recruitment agency and many return to work for Condor time and time again in preference to other opportunities. We continue to work closely with the authorities in Guernsey and Jersey to provide the best sea connectivity across our freight, lifeline and tourism offerings.”