Friday, July 23, 2021

Some of the Logistics News You May Have Missed this Week

Smaller Stuff You Probably Don't Know but Maybe Should
Shipping News Feature

UK – This week DP World Southampton announced completion of the crane rail extension, which will allow the world's largest cranes to service the full length of the quay. In March London Gateway and Southampton became the first deep-water ports in Britain capable of handling Freightliner's new 775 metre intermodal container trains, which are the longest in use on the national rail network.

Part of DP World’s £40 million investment this year in Britain’s second largest container terminal, the 120 metre crane rail extension has foundations reaching 26 metres below the ground and took 16 weeks to build. It will facilitate the movement along the quay of some of the terminal’s 12 Liebherr cranes which stand up to 130 metres high.

UK – The old Littlebrook power station near the south side of the Dartford Crossing in Kent is being converted to a new European fulfilment centre to service a retail group. The four-storey building will have a gross internal floor area of 2.3 million square feet, and will be one of the largest fulfilment centres in Europe. Birmingham based Vanderlande, specialist in process automation, is project managing the scheme, entitled Powerhouse.

Vanderlande contracted UK shared transport service provider Kura to provide a dedicated staff shuttle to help transport a specialist team from their Indian office from Canary Wharf to the Powerhouse site daily from April this year through to an estimated completion date in September 2021. Not the easiest of tasks as fluctuating Covid regulations meant adjusting sizes of vehicles as necessary, from 49 seat coaches down to six person maximum minibuses.

UK – According to Descartes Systems Group by recently adopting its last mile delivery solution automotive products retailer Halfords has seen its mobile service business already improve gross profit by 5% and reduce miles per delivery by 13%. The solution spans delivery appointment booking, route planning and execution, mobile proof-of-delivery (POD) and notifications processes.

After successfully using the Descartes last mile delivery solution to drive efficiencies in its own operations, Halfords has now integrated it into Avayler, its newly launched, end-to-end, customer-centric field service solution that will be rolled out globally. Avayler will provide other businesses with an end-to-end SaaS solution wherever they offer services whether in store, at garages, workshops, clinics, pop-up sites, in the driveway or across the threshold.

UK – Associated British Ports (ABP) is investing £8 million to build a bespoke warehouse for Frontier Agriculture to enable the crop production and grain marketing business to expand its activities at the Port of Hull. As part of a new 12 year deal, ABP has commissioned a new 6,455 m2 warehouse to accommodate Frontier’s growing business.

The warehouse will have a 40,386 tonne capacity, with an eight bay configuration and be used to store agricultural products, primarily grains, used in the manufacture of food and extending the long term relationship with the Port exporting and importing wheat, barley, beans, rice and maize via the dry bulks Terminal. Frontier was formed in 2005 as a joint venture between Associated British Foods plc and Cargill Inc. and now turns over around £1.5 billion per annum.

UK – The people of Middlesbrough are being asked for their views on the future of transport in the borough as part of a long-term approach to ensuring the local transport network meets the needs and aspirations of the coming years and decades. The Council's Local Implementation Plan (LIP) lays out a range of strategies in support of the authority's strategic objectives of People, Place and Business.

The LIP seeks to achieve a balance between the need for growth and economic prosperity and improvements that will minimise the impact of traffic growth on the borough. The document, which supports the Tees Valley Combined Authority's Strategic Transport Plan, focuses on approaches that will influence travel choices, and opportunities to improve accessibility for all. The survey is sited here (but was not open as we publish).

UK – FRANCE – 2024/5 will see two new hybrid LNG-electric ships serving cross Channel routes for Brittany Ferries. As well as significantly cutting emissions, the hybrids will deliver less noise, less vibration and a step towards future-proofing the company. Each ship has been carefully designed to suit the route on which it will operate, taking account of future trends in freight and passenger traffic. Garage space, for example, will be longer and higher which promises greater overall capacity for trucks and trailers.

The new ship on the Portsmouth-Caen route will host two garage decks to accommodate trucks. Its capacity will be 120 units, a 35 unit increase over Normandie, the ship it will replace. On the Portsmouth-St Malo route, freight capacity will nearly double to 63 units. Furthermore, the ship will be configured to carry trucks all year round, including in the height of the summer season.

Whilst at sea, power will come from cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas). But in a first on the English Channel, they will also operate partially or completely on battery power, for example when arriving and departing ports. They will also be ready to plug in to shore-side power when available in ports. This will allow recharging of batteries while at berth, as well as powering systems like air conditioning, heating and lighting on board.

UK – WORLDWIDE – Lifeboat inspections must be carried out annually, with a more extensive inspection and load testing taking place at five-year intervals and now Survitec, has relaunched its lifeboat inspection solution 402, devised in line with regulations mandated in 2020 under SOLAS Chapter III & IMO MSC.402(96), enhanced to deliver greater flexibility and convenience to vessel operators.

As a Flag State authorised multi-brand lifeboat inspection provider Survitec utilises a hub and spoke network offering both traditional spot market lifeboat inspections and cost-effective frame or subscription-based agreements which the company says means benefits from lower costs, port priority and due-date management, all from a single point of contact.

ARABIAN GULF – Earlier this month CTF Sentinel, the multinational maritime cooperative to ensure safe passage in the region, conducted its fourth iteration this year of combined exercise Sentinel Shield between the Royal Bahrain Naval Force, the Royal Saudi Naval Force, and the US Navy. Exercise Sentinel Shield is intended to increase the ability of CTF Sentinel partner nations to seamlessly operate together, growing their competencies in deterring state-sponsored malign activity around the region.

The Royal Bahrain Naval Force missile corvette Al-Manama (P 50), Royal Saudi Naval Force patrol boat Al-Farouq (513), and US Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) tested communications systems and capabilities, communicated across multiple platforms to merchant ships, and conducted coordinated tactical manoeuvres in the latest move to harmonise the partners abilities.

FRANCE – US – In its first-ever venture into the air cargo market 100% business class airline La Compagnie has awarded Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) a three-year contract to handle cargo on board its Airbus A321LR services from Paris Orly to New York’s Newark International Airport, which will increase from the current four flights a week to seven in September.

This is the first time La Compagnie has carried cargo on board its business passenger services. Depending on the number of passengers, each flight is expected to carry up to 3.5 tonnes to and from France and the US.

NETHERLANDS – Half year cargo figures for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol show increased throughput year-on-year, with inbound freight tonnage up an average of 29.5% and outbound up 25.7% compared to the first six months of 2020. Schiphol processed 837,671 tonnes of cargo from January to June 2021, up 27.7% on the same period last year, with 572,111 tonnes on freighter flights, up 23.4% on the first half of last year and 265,560 tonnes in belly hold, up 38.10% on the same period last year.

Pre-pandemic cargo figures for the first six months of 2019 were 385,319 tonnes for inbound and 382,200 tonnes for outbound cargo. Full freighter flights for the first six months of 2021 were up 23.5% year-on-year at 12,691 flights, with belly hold flights unsurprisingly down 30.6% at 73,346 flights. Pre-pandemic figures for the first half of 2019 were 412,372 tonnes carried on 6,938 full freighter flights and 355,147 tonnes carried on 235,169 passenger flights.

Schiphol has been facing capacity shortages for freighters due to slot restrictions, a situation which the airport is working to resolve with the Dutch Government and cargo community.

US – Dachser USA Air & Sea Logistics has opened a new, larger office facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The company says this expansion is in response to the increased customer volume within the region, as well as growing logistics demands along the West Coast and is a logical extension of its existing footprint in the area.

Furthermore, it is also better positioned to manage increased volume associated with cross-border trade with Mexico, including shipments from manufacturing plants that assemble products in Mexico and for the US. The new Phoenix operation offers over 7,500 square feet of space and includes a new office with capacity for growth to better support regional growth opportunities.

CANADA – Stena RoRo has executed a new charter agreement with Marine Atlantic, a Canadian federal Crown corporation. As a result, Stena has ordered its tenth E-Flexer vessel from the CMI Jinling (Weihai) shipyard. The ship, when delivered, will run in eastern Canada between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Delivery from the shipyard is expected during 2024.

To date, Stena RoRo has ordered ten large RoPax vessels of the E-Flexer type, five of which have now been delivered. The company has an option for additional vessels from the same shipyard. The Stena E-Flexer vessels combine cargo and passenger capabilities and are substantially larger than today's standard ferries. The company says the class is at the forefront in terms of environmental sustainability and sets a new standard in terms of emissions, cost and energy efficiency, as well as performance.

Photo: Liebherr cranes lined up along the Southampton quayside.