Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Freight And Logistics News In Brief

Snippets from the Air, Sea and Rail Transport Industries This Week
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – Eurotunnel, operators of the England to France undersea link saw a 29% increase in their revenue in the final quarter of 2010. The freight revenue now included in the group total turnover was largely responsible for the increase totalling €31 million. Groupe Eurotunnel, owners of Europorte, the tunnel management company, say truck shuttles were up 35% to over 300,000 freight trucks in the quarter but rail freight train numbers and tonnages were down, 19% and 13% respectively due to French strikes and bad weather.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Maximus Air Cargo, the largest cargo only airline in the region and long time partners of Etihad Crystal Cargo is to invest $95 million in three Airbus A300-600 freighters to be delivered later this year. Since its launch in 2005 the air carrier has seen rapid expansion and the new aircraft will bring their fleet up to eleven. The news comes shortly after Maximus saw the wet lease contracts which it has with Etihad for two of the company’s Airbus A300-600 freighters extended until August 2012.

UK – The International Railfreight Park in Donnington, Telford which opened in 2009 at a cost reported to be around £8 million has come under severe criticism. We are more used to ‘Not in My Backyard’ complaints when it comes to intermodal facilities but this time campaigners are incensed that the multi modal freight terminal has seen only fifty trains use the centre in its first year of operation.

Local lobbyists want to see the terminal be used as a truck park and operators John G Russell (Transport) say they would welcome any ideas for business development but Telford & Wrekin Councillors are arguing between themselves with the more cautious amongst them stating that up to five years may be needed for the facility to fully develop its rail freight potential.

INDIA – Last week a freight train was derailed in Assam's North Cachar hill district when a bomb exploded damaging a bridge and wrecking a length of track. The 16 freight cars were undamaged and there were no casualties but the bridge, number 292, was closed to rail traffic suspending services between Assam's Brahmaputra valley and the north-eastern states of Tripura and Mizoram. Any one of several dissident groups in the area may have been responsible according to officials.

SOUTH AFRICA – The haulage strike by members of four unions responsible for much of the country’s freight transport, details of which we reported previously, looks increasingly likely as negotiations with employers remain deadlocked, as they have been since December. Apparently freight truck driver’s leaders intend to cease work from Sunday the 13th February provided they receive the support of their membership.

ETHIOPIA – Twice in the past two months the Boeing Corporation have assisted Ethiopian Airlines and Seattle Anesthesia Outreach (SAO) to deliver medical equipment to Ethiopia's largest hospital. The first consignment was delivered in December 2010 and on Wednesday 1200 kilogrammes of medical supplies were loaded into one of Ethiopian Airlines new, longer range Boeing 777-200LR aircraft bound for the Black Lion Hospital.

Some of the supplies, such as electrical converters and other power items, supplement the anesthesia equipment transported in December and will prove vital when a group of 28 Seattle (Boeing’s home city) doctors, nurses and technicians travel to Ethiopia next month as part of ongoing humanitarian support to that region.