Friday, August 6, 2021

Some Logistics and General Freight Items You May have Missed This Week

Smaller Snippets from the World of Commercial Transport
Shipping News Feature

UK – Members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) are reminded they can now enter the BIFA Freight Service Awards 2021. Whether specialists in shipping goods by air, road or sea, or handling perishable and special cargoes, project forwarding or offering other ancillary services, there are categories for all logistics related businesses.

The entry process is both free and simple and BIFA members are invited to take a look at the category descriptions HERE and start planning their entries now while the closing date for receipt of these is Thursday 7th October 2021.

UK – The National Crime Agency has issued an alert to furloughed port and airport workers warning that they may be vulnerable to organised crime groups seeking to exploit the Covid crisis. As global restrictions on the movement of people and goods are further relaxed, the alert warns that staff who have a detailed knowledge of controls and processes around the border could be targeted.

The warning has been issued to companies at the border, including port and airport operators, contractors, couriers and freight operators as their furloughed staff return to work following the easing of Covid enforced restrictions.

UK – Logistics group W H Malcolm was fined £6.5 million this week for the tragic death of a schoolboy at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) in 2017. 11 year old Harrison Ballantyne was electrocuted when he entered the terminal and climbed on top of a rail car to retrieve a football.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said the company had failed to make proper assessment of the risks involved if someone entered the premises without authorisation. W H Malcolm denied two health and safety offences but the Court disagreed and returned a verdict of guilty.

UK – The Department for Transport (DfT) came in for some serious criticism this week when it mandated the changes to the Highway Code giving more priorities to cyclists and other vulnerable road users. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) was particularly vocal with chief executive Richard Burnett commenting he saw little justification for the changes and continuing:

“The new priority rules for cycling are wrong. We have been campaigning for years to make cyclists aware of the dangers of undertaking turning HGVs, but it now appears that they have right of way. This will encourage a known unsafe manoeuvre by cyclists who are then absolved of responsibility for their actions towards motorists.

“Making a driver (motorist or commercial vehicle Driver) who has no control over how a cyclist is trained to use the roads responsible for the safety of others is inherently unjust. The rules around pedestrian priority make sense, the change for cyclists’ increases road danger and collision risk. The hierarchy of risk created by the operation of cars, vans, coaches, buses and lorries is already reflected in the additional ongoing training undertaken by lorry and coach drivers.”

UK – As the old rugby union saying goes ‘get your retaliation in first’ and that seems to be the RMT Union’s line on the return to normality for Scottish ferries. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch has warned the return to pre-pandemic passenger traffic from 9 August has to be handled cautiously and safely to avoid putting his members at risk from a new outbreak of Covid. He said:

“The removal of physical distancing restrictions and the maintenance of mask wearing requirements on passengers and staff need to be handled with particular care. We would also draw attention to the fact that over the last 18 months, the majority of CalMac staff have been operating ageing ferries with dramatically reduced carrying capacity. On top of the ferry procurement fiasco, the series of breakdowns, delays and disruptions in recent months has severely depleted service resilience on the lifeline Clyde and Hebrides network.”

UK – FRANCE – Professional maritime workers union Nautilus International has begun its ballot of P&O Ferries staff to decide whether or not to take action short of a strike on the Dover-to-Calais route, where the previously mothballed Pride of Burgundy has been brought back into service but with fewer officers and largely agency crew.

The ballot closes on 11 August with action to potentially commence 26 August, running across the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond in protest that the actions of the owners, DP World, is an attack on the agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The union maintains the introduction of agency staff on non-CBA terms and fatigue-inducing work rosters breaks the CBA and introduces tours of duty above the established, long-standing week on/week off rostering.

ABU DHABI – Etihad Rail, which is mandated to manage the development of the UAE’s national freight and passenger railway network has completed the longest tunnel in the Gulf Region at 1.8 kilometres as part of the 45 kilometre stretch from Dubai and Sharjah, through the Al Hajar Mountains, toward the emirate of Fujairah, which involves cutting half a million tonnes of stone from one of the most complex topographical areas

This portion will include constructing a total of nine tunnels through the mountains at a cumulative length of 6.9 kilometres, and additionally includes 54 bridges and 20 animal crossings. Track laying recently commenced at Saih Shuaib, the rail head for track running toward Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of Stage Two. The overall track on Stage Two will run from Ghuweifat on the border of Saudi Arabia to the emirate of Fujairah on the UAE’s eastern seaboard. Track laying has also begun in the Al Dhafra region toward the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia.

US – Trelleborg’s marine and infrastructure operation in North America has recently moved into its new sales office in Houston, Texas. The company says this transition enables the operation to meet the growing demands across all North American markets and provide more localised and coordinated customer support for its marine fender systems, docking & mooring equipment, transfer link systems, and navigation & piloting solutions.

The new 8,600 square foot office located on the west side of Houston places Trelleborg right in the heart of the Houston metro area. The office complements and is supported by Trelleborg’s US-based foam & polyurethane product manufacturing facility in Berryville, Virginia.

US – CHINA – On 27 July US shipping line Matson launched its CCX service, the first China-to-Oakland service for the carrier and becoming the third first-call service introduced at Oakland this year. The new Matson service will call Chinese ports in Ningbo and Shanghai. It will make stops in Long Beach and Honolulu after visiting Oakland. According to the Port, the service will depart from China three out of every five weeks.

Matson’s move is seen as reaffirmation of increasing demand for a Northern California trade gateway. It’s expected to grow containerised cargo business in Oakland which is already running at a record pace in 2021. Oakland is on track to handle 2.6 million containers in 2021, which would be an all-time annual record. Matson projects 12-to-14-day ocean transits for its China-Oakland service and ships will call at an Oakland marine terminal operated exclusively for the carrier’s vessels.

ASIA PACIFIC – FedEx Express has announced the expansion of its air network with the launch of four new intercontinental flights originating from Asia Pacific (APAC), providing improved connectivity and greater access to APAC customers on the trans-Pacific, intra-Asia, and Europe lanes. These new flights build on FedEx’s operational strength and reinforce its commitment to reliable capacity and enhanced service, particularly for e-commerce and heavyweight shipments in the region. The enhanced APAC air network now includes:

Two trans-Pacific flights departing from the FedEx APAC Hub in Guangzhou, China, via Anchorage, US to Oakland, US, and via Anchorage to Indianapolis and Memphis, US and returning via Anchorage and Incheon, South Korea to Guangzhou five times a week, providing customers with enhanced connectivity and capacity between Southern China, North Asia and North America.

There is a trans-Pacific flight that connects Beijing to the FedEx World Hub in Memphis, US. This flight operates from Beijing via FedEx North Pacific Regional Hub in Osaka, Japan, and Anchorage, before arriving in Memphis, providing six extra connections to the US from China every week. There is also additional connectivity and capacity to Europe, with the Boeing 777 flights operating from the FedEx APAC Hub in Guangzhou, China, twice, and from the FedEx North Pacific Regional Hub in Osaka, Japan, thrice a week, to the FedEx Charles de Gaulle Hub in Paris.

RUSSIA – It seems that during the International Aviation and Space Salon held in Zhukovsky (MAKS 2021) in July a delegation from the Volga-Dnepr Group took a good look at the new generation MC-21-300, a plane designed for up to 211 passengers, with a view to launching a freighter version.

Although talks are at an early stage the capacity constraints, emerging demand for freighters and increase of cargo volumes worldwide brought on by the pandemic seem to be pushing the plane’s makers, the Irkut Corporation, toward commencement of a dedicated freighter programme.

Photo: In the UK cyclists are the big winners in the changes to the Highway Code (provided they don’t fall foul of an unsighted HGV driver)