Friday, April 17, 2020

Snippets of Freight and Logistics News from Around the World This Week

Some of the Bits and Pieces You May Have Missed
Shipping News Feature

US – We start the round-up of logistics news this week with American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear being selected by President Trump to the administration's Great American Economic Revival initiative, which is convening bipartisan groups of industry leaders from across all sectors of the US economy. These groups will work with the White House to chart the path forward for the economy as it rebounds from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The following trucking CEOs were also named to the administration’s transportation group, Fred Smith, FedEx, David Abney, UPS, John Roberts III, J.B. Hunt and Darren Hawkins, YRC Worldwide. Trucking is the central link in the United States’ supply chain, moving more than 70% of the nation’s freight tonnage. More than 80% of US communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities.

US – WORLDWIDE – With cargo space now at a premium as airlines reconfigure to move essential goods around the globe, American Airlines (AA) will be implementing a fair booking policy to address late changes or cancellations, effective May 1, 2020. Cargo president Rick Elieson said the company has a duty to ‘protect capacity’ and mitigate unused space, especially when demand is critical.

The new policy still gives customers the opportunity to adjust their business with AA and avoid extra charges. If a customer cancels up to 48 hours prior to scheduled departure, or ships the amount in the original booking, no fees will apply. Customers with shipments over 100kg will be responsible for paying a fee starting at $50 for late cancellation, late reduction in chargeable weight or failure to show. Full policy details can be found online at

SOUTH AFRICA – Transnet’s Port Elizabeth Container Terminals (PECT) has taken delivery of two new Liebherr LHM 600 mobile harbour cranes after losing one existing crane previously in gale force winds. Made in Rostock, Germany the two units took 20 days to ship via the MV Happy Dragon.

Arriving in time for the 2020 citrus season the two new cranes have multi-function capability, freely moving along the quayside and offering a 104 tonne lift capacity. The pair arrived semi assembled and part of the deal involved the supply of an LiSIM training simulator which employees have been making use of for the past month.

IRELAND – RUSSIA – Staying with Liebherr, Freight Village Vorsino, established outside Moscow in 2012, has placed an order with Killarney based Liebherr Container Cranes for two rail mounted gantry (RMG) cranes. The RMG’s have a span of 32 metres, a lift height over rail of 12.5 metres and cantilevers of 8 and 9.7 metres respectively. The machines have a safe working load of 45 tonnes and feature a rotating machinery trolley.

The cranes, which will be designed and manufactured by Liebherr Container Cranes in Ireland, will ship in large preassembled components to St Petersburg, from where they will travel by road for assembly and commissioning in Freight Village. Liebherr’s Moscow based mixed sales and service company Liebherr-Russland OOO, has worked closely with Freight Village and Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd and were instrumental in delivering the project.

HONG KONG – Cargo handler Hactl has reacted to the virus outbreak by installing thermal cameras in its staff canteen and throughout SuperTerminal 1. The cameras will help to identify any individual with an abnormally high body temperature, a key indicator of potential infection with Coronavirus. Hactl is also now implementing additional temperature checks for all staff during their shifts or, in the case of office staff, after their lunch breaks.

Hactl has now restricted the number of seats in use in its canteen in order to comply with distancing directives to the company’s own 2400-strong resident workforce, as well as workers for its many on-site industry tenants. Only seats facing in the same direction are now available whilst only take away orders are available for any visitors. Staff numbers on site have already been minimised and all other precautions, face masks and hand sanitizer etc. for all staff, remain in force.

CHINA – The State Council issued an announcement on 6 April about the prevention and control measures that combat the spread of Covid-19. It emphasised the importance of curbing the epidemic while resuming business and production gradually. The notice also laid out a clear framework for public activities, advising that large-scale events should be suspended until further notice.

In order to comply, the organisers of the Chengdu International Trade Fair for Automotive Parts and Aftermarket Services (CAPAS) have announced the deferment of the show’s 2020 edition. The fair, originally scheduled from 21 to 23 May 2020, will now be held from 20 to 22 May 2021 at the Chengdu Century City New International Exhibition & Convention Center, China.

UK – A general point for all employers from insurance brokers Peter Lole which points out that the current general view among insurers is that furloughed employees are still on the payroll - which means that companies must have appropriate employers liability insurance in place. With premiums for employers’ liability insurance often calculated using payroll, some policies will be on an adjustable basis, but usually have a minimum and deposit clause.

This may well mean that insurers may be flexible over new policies, renewals and existing policies as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and any reductions, even if not immediate, can always be adjusted mid-term if a broker holds out for a better deal on your behalf.

UK – With the town one of the principal hubs for the offshore energy industry Aberdeen Harbour Board has relaxed the anti-virus conditions a little by introducing a temporary Welfare Call policy to allow vessels to visit the port for a pre-agreed short period of time to collect much needed supplies etc. whilst safeguarding crew safety and reducing any risks associated with transfer of supplies and materials at sea. This protocol will remain in place until the Covid-19 lockdown measures are lifted, unless otherwise agreed.

UK – WORLDWIDE – With the introduction earlier this year of the sulphur cap there have been raised concerns and a variety of problems with fuel quality and compliant fuel availability issues. Bunker claims are often the elephant in the room and knowing how to deal with them can be of paramount importance. Now a book, written by a marine fuels expert and first published in 2018, has come into its own as the potential for expensive litigation arises.

The book reviews the major categories of claims and analyses the bunker contract, terms and conditions and respective counterparty positions. There is guidance for the claim management, from evidence-gathering, to mitigation, through to resolution and a checklist of other routes to dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration.

Photo: Liebherr rail mounted gantry cranes in action at the Port of Felixstowe