Friday, August 7, 2020

Some Odds and Sods of Global Freight and Logistics News

Pieces You May Have Missed This Week
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Shell has signed up for six more dual fuelled LNG carriers, increasing its commitment in the sector to fourteen new builds. The 174,000 m3 vessels are to be constructed in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and will all feature dual-fuel X-DF engines, boil-off management plants, air lubrication systems and shaft generators for auxiliary power.

The new ships are added to an order for eight similar vessels on order from the two yards and will enter Shell’s time charter trading fleet over the next few years. The aim is to achieve the group’s commitment to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 at the latest.

OMAN – The country has become the latest to ban the use of open loop scrubbers joining a growing list of countries including Belgium, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, Egypt and Qatar. Offending vessels may be subject to ‘unlimited fines’ at the discretion of the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Affairs and the port authority involved.

CHINA – UK – Bookings on its weekly fixed-day, rail consolidated cargo service from China to the UK continue to increase, so Davies Turner is adding UK destinations that will be served directly from China. The company is adding Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester, in addition to the existing direct service to Dartford. The weekly service leaves the Hefei rail hub and heads to Neuss in Germany, from where containers are then trucked under bond to the port of Rotterdam and transported by ferry to Purfleet in East London.

From now on emphasis will be on shipments destined for the South West, Midlands or North West being consolidated in the same container. In future, on-carriage will be undertaken from Purfleet by truck direct to one of Davies Turner’s distribution centres in Birmingham, Bristol, Dartford or Manchester, where the contents will be discharged, customs cleared and delivered.

FRANCE – UK – Getlink tells us that Le Shuttle Freight carried 123,879 trucks in July 2020 and returned to traffic levels close to normal, driven by the strengthening of anti-Covid and truck driver well-being measures, and despite a market which is still impacted by Government pandemic precautions. On July 8, truck traffic reached a new high, since March 19, with 5,189 trucks transported. Since January 1, more than 789,000 trucks have crossed the Channel via le Shuttle.

UK – Despite all the problems of lockdown GreenWhitestar Acquisitions Limited (GWSA) completed its initial 6 months of trading under the new ownership structure and the new management team led by William Stobart (Executive Chairman) and Brian Corrway (Chief Financial Officer) and tells us it has been successful. GWSA had revenues of circa £407 million for the first six months of the financial year.

The underlying EBIT for the six months from the unaudited management accounts is expected to be at least £8 million, before the further positive effect of IFRS 16, and marks a welcome return to positive underlying EBIT for the first half of the year. Net debt at period end 31 May 2020 was c.£236 million (30 November 2019: £214.5 million), reflecting the non-recurring costs of the re-organisation of the group and the continued investments made during the period.

The group owns Eddie Stobart Limited, iForce and The Pallet Network (TPN). With a growing demand for warehousing and a presence in consumer and grocery sectors the former is said to have benefitted whilst iForce has gained from increased online business. TPN is currently delivering record volumes and is growing market share despite the uncertain times.

UK – WORLDWIDE – Who hasn’t driven into a tunnel or between high buildings and lost their GPS signal making the satellite navigation cut out? Imagine that when travelling in a fully autonomous car or truck! One UK company, Oxbotica, did so and came up with Selenium, a system that uses data from cameras, lidars and any other available sources to determine exactly where it is.

The system is apparently currently in use in quarries and mines, notable black spots, but can be tailored to back up GPS to iron out any navigation and positional problems. It can use, but does not need HD maps, and Ben Upcroft, a VP at the Oxford based company says it has been well received by the industry.