Friday, April 20, 2018

Sale of Historic Mail Vessel Launches This Week's Freight and Logistics Round Up

Smaller News Stories From Around the Globe
Shipping News Feature
ST HELENA – GULF OF OMAN – Having ended her service in February as one of Britain's last surviving Royal Mail ships, the RMS St Helena, a much cherished vessel, has found a new owner and a new job. Built in the UK in 1990, the passenger and cargo ferrying Royal Mail ship had for almost three decades, been the only regular means of access to the remote island of St Helena, a British Overseas Territory 1,200 miles off the West Coast of Africa.

Renamed the MNG Tahiti, the 340-foot ship will undergo some renovations before starting her new life as a floating armoury in the Gulf of Oman by mid-2018. Loaded with automatic weapons, bullet-proof jackets and night vision goggles, all stored for maritime security operatives, the vessel is to be used to ferry guns and guards to passing vessels navigating bodies of water where pirates are known to operate.

Tahiti Shipping, a subsidiary of MNG Maritime, bought the ship for an undisclosed fee. The St Helena island ferry service has been deemed obsolete following the inception of a somewhat controversial air route. Anyone interested in the final days of the historic vessel can simply type her name into the News Search bar at the head of the page.

UK – In another tale involving a somewhat less crucial ferry link, in this case the Isle of Wight service, comes the news that RoRo freight and passenger ferry group Red Funnel has seen its environmental management system accredited to the latest ISO 14001:2015 standard by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). In an age where competency needs to be demonstrated at every turn, environmental performance is a key target for everybody in the cargo industry.

The company first achieved accreditation to ISO 14001:2004 back in 2011, and at the time Red Funnel was one of the first ferry companies in Europe to achieve the standard. The updated 2015 standard includes new requirements relating to the context of the organisation, its leadership, strategic environmental management, risk and opportunities, life-cycle perspective, value chain control and influence, performance evaluation and auditing.

The company says the successful transition to the updated standard demonstrates that managing its environmental footprint is a key priority for the business and that the environmental management system is focused not only on legal compliance but also improving environmental sustainability. Commenting on the achievement, Kevin George, Red Funnel’s Chairman and CEO said:

“We work hard to minimise our environmental impact and it is rewarding to have achieved the transition to the latest version of the ISO 14001 standard. Our environmental management system provides an excellent framework for making policy and process changes that help improve our environmental performance as well as delivering other tangible benefits for customers.”

UK – Staying in Britain, a Maritime 2050 Call for Evidence was launched last month by the UK government’s Department for Transport (DfT) to seek the views of both those within and outside the sector. Simultaneously an expert panel was appointed consisting of chairman Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, and will also made up of academic and industry leaders, including Lucy Armstrong, Chairman of the Port of Tyne, Sarah Kenny, Chief Executive of the BMT Group.

The call for evidence, which closes on 16 May, highlights several themes fundamental to the growth of UK maritime, technology, trade, infrastructure, environment, people and security/resilience. As part of the strategy, a series of objectives will be set so that progress against each of these themes can be scrutinised. The consultation is aimed at industry, academia and anyone with an interest in the ongoing success of maritime in the UK. Peter Green, Chief Executive of National Maritime, commented:

“National Maritime welcomes the call for evidence, Maritime 2050 is another opportunity to build a compelling intellectual case that can resonate with businesses experiences and aspirations. If we are to truly become a world maritime leader we need far reaching change in the sector. This can only happen if a broad enough section of people are inspired enough by its promises and confident enough about its realisation.”

WORLDWIDE – The Shipowners’ Club has released an update of its financial results for the 2017 financial year, and says it is pleased to report a combined ratio of 99.1%, stability in Member and vessel numbers, a small uplift in gross tonnage to 25.48 million and an overall surplus of US$ 47.7 million, including a return on the investment portfolio of US$ 47.5million. The full report can be downloaded here.

US – NORWAY –GHANA – Hansa Heavy Lift, a company which specialises in the super heavy lift 900+ tonne cargo bracket, has completed the move of subsea equipment to assist with the development of the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Integrated Oil & Gas Development Project off the coast of Ghana. The voyages took place on-board the heavy lift vessels HHL Rhine and HHL Richards Bay which transported the cargo between the ports of Panama City, Florida; Nymo, Norway; and Takoradi, Ghana. Steven Neuendorff, Director, Head of Americas, commented:

“This was a challenging operation that required meticulous planning as well as operational flexibility by our marine crews. We had to accommodate changes in the loading and discharge sequence, and to the offshore installation sequence in order to meet the customer’s specific requirements. To achieve this level of flexibility, efficient communication between key project personnel and marine crews was required throughout the project; from pre-planning to execution.”

The contract meant four voyages in all, carrying a vast array of vertical reels, valves, a giant sized horizontal carousel and a variety of other subsea equipment. Tom Kroeger, Project Engineer for Hansa said everything had been prepared well in advance and good cooperation at all points meant things went smoothly, saying:

“Due to the high amount of cargo units, crews had to overcome very tight stowage with precise positioning. This was particularly the case for the 500-metric tonne carousel on deck, which needed to be stored in a specific position to cover all supporting girders of the hatch cover to ensure sufficient load spreading."

CHINA – UK – Leicestershire based freight agency CML which has been running full container (FCL) rail slots for the past seven months has this month run its inaugural LCL shipment from China to the UK. The new service offers the possibilities for shippers of smaller quantities to use a service capable of beating ocean freight delivery times without too high a hike on costs. CML’s Freight Operations Manager, Pat Treanor, confirms:

“After completing our first rail freight delivery from China last year the uptake on our rail services from existing and new clients was phenomenal, so it was an inevitable conclusion that the rail product would evolve far quicker than the operators anticipated. It is no surprise that we are now able to offer LCL rail services for our clients providing a door to door transit time of around 28 days. CML is looking forward to offering shipping by LCL rail to more and more clients in the future.”

Photo: The RMS St Helena has made her last voyage under her old identity.