Friday, April 13, 2018

Snippets of Smaller Freight and Logistics News This Week

Some if the Stuff You May Have Blinked and Missed
Shipping News Feature
GERMANY – It seems that Deutsche Post DHL, not satisfied with currently being the largest logistics company in the world, is also now trying to be a large scale producer and vendor of motor vehicles. As we have previously reported the German behemoth extended its StreetScooter project, acquired in 2014, with a deal last year to partner up with the Ford Motor Company in a bid to popularise it's all electric freight delivery concept.

Now participating Ford Transit Centres in Germany will take over the sales and service for the currently available e-transporters of the Aachen-based manufacturer and DHL subsidiary as agreed last year. The deal means the WORK and WORK L StreetScooter models will now be available at over 80 locations nationwide.

Since 2013, the two models have been deployed in the delivery fleet of the Deutsche Post DHL Group. Currently, more than 5,500 E-vehicles of the StreetScooter types are in operation in the Group, which have covered more than 20 million kilometres to date and DHL claims a saving of around 18,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. With around 11,500 e-bikes and e-trikes, Deutsche Post DHL Group operates the largest e-fleet in Germany.

GERMANY – WORLDWIDE – The Liebherr Group achieved the highest turnover in the Group's history last year, with total sales of € 9,845 million. Compared to the previous year, the family-run company increased its revenue by 9.3% and predicts further sales growth for 2018. Things in the maritime crane sector however are not as rosy as in other parts of the business with strong competition from China and elsewhere.

In the construction machinery and mining segments, as well as in other product areas, Liebherr recorded an increase in turnover. Sales of construction machinery and mining equipment rose by 14.5% to € 6,182 million. In the Maritime Cranes, Aerospace and Transportation Systems, Machine Tools and Automation Systems, Domestic Appliances, Components as well as Hotels divisions overall turnover was up by just 1.5% to € 3,663 million compared with the previous year.

Hopes are high however for the newly introduced HLC 295000 offshore crane, designed to service the two expanding markets installing wind farms and decommissioning offshore installations. With a load capacity of up to 5,000 tonnes, an outreach of 35 metres and maximum lifting height of more than 170 metres it will be the largest crane ever built by Liebherr.

GERMANY – SWITZERLAND – Nexiot AG, which describes itself as ‘an enabler of supply chain digitisation’, has developed an end-to-end logistics platform and has now opened a new office at the Port of Hamburg, Germany, as part of the organisation’s ongoing growth plans. Staff are currently being recruited to boost Nexiot’s sales, marketing, and tech teams at the new branch, located on the banks of the River Elbe.

Nexiot sprang from ETH Zurich, one of the world’s top technical universities, and last year closed a CHF15million (USD15.5million) investment round to scale its end-to-end enterprise Digital Logistics Management Platform. Marcel Scheurer, Chief Financial Officer, commented:

“Hamburg’s excellent intermodal infrastructure and well-developed logistics community makes it the ideal location for our first office in the European Community, serving our growing customer base. More than 2,000 block trains go from the Port throughout Europe every week, and it boasts an excellent road infrastructure, river vessel transport, as well as being home to over 150 air cargo companies.”

UK – EUROPE – Engineering manufacturer Kubota UK has announced the appointment of logistics group Carousel, as its sole distribution partner, fulfilling all spare part requirements for its extensive dealer network. Effective immediately, Carousel will oversee all Kubota UK and European dealer deliveries, collections and returns. Kubota’s network currently consists of more than 200 dealers across Europe, including key service areas in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany.

As part of the solution deployment, Carousel will work in collaboration with Kubota’s UK warehouse partner Unipart Logistics, operating from its central hub in Birmingham. Carousel says Kubota’s dealer network will benefit from an enhanced delivery service for replacement parts, a self-service booking portal, as well as greater visibility over shipments, all of which will significantly improve customer experience.

MOROCCO – UKRAINE – Sixteen crew members of the container ship Avonmoor have been repatriated home to the Ukraine, thanks to the efforts of International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Inspectors, and ITF affiliate, Moroccan Workers' Union (UMT). In January 2018 the Ukrainian crew members of the Bahrain flagged vessel were abandoned in the Port of Casablanca, Morocco, leaving them without wages, provisions, fuel and first aid supplies. The vessel was in blackout, whilst anchored in the mouth of the port, which caused significant security concerns for the crew.

The vessel is owned by Tylos Shipping and Marine services, a Bahrain based operation with whom the ITF have identified previous issues on this same vessel as well as others, with unpaid wages and failure to repatriate crew. The ITF is currently dealing with three cases of abandonment with these owners, including the Sanad, the Aman and the Jerna S. This is also the second instance of crew abandonment on this vessel, with the first only being resolved last September, having been abandoned in Malta.

Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF Arab World Contact Network Coordinator and Paul Falzon ITF Inspector for Malta have been assisting the crew members, initially working with local union UMT to deliver humanitarian aid and medical assistance. Once is was established that Tylos were failing to deliver on their promises to the crew, the ITF called on the P&I Club to establish a plan of action. Thanks to the coordinated efforts from P&I, port authorities, the Ukrainian Embassy, ITF and UMT the situation was resolved. Wages totalling $107,000 was paid by P&I ($20,000 was paid by the owner as part of December salaries during the negotiations) and the crew repatriated home.

UK – NORWAY – International Airlines Group (IAG) notes the recent press speculation that it is considering making an offer for low cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. IAG says it considers Norwegian to be an attractive investment and has acquired a 4.61% ownership position in the airline. This minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for the airline.

IAG has confirmed that, to date, no such discussions have taken place, that it has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made and a further announcement will be made if appropriate.

Photo: Design layout of the new Liebherr HLC 295000 offshore crane mounted on Deme’s next generation offshore installation vessel Orion.