Friday, January 12, 2018

Some Smaller Stories in the World of Logistics This Week You May Have Missed

A Round-Up of What is Happening in Shipping Around the Globe
Shipping News Feature
UAE – WORLDWIDE –This week global port and logistics specialist DP World marked its 10-year public listing on Nasdaq Dubai with a ceremonial event at the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), attended by DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of the DIFC and Chairman of DFM and Hamed Ali, CEO of Nasdaq Dubai. Now the group has released a short video (viewable here)showing highlights last year for the port and logistics group.

As the group says – and what a year! The company has certainly been at the forefront of developing handling facilities, both freight and passenger, whilst investing in projects such as Hyperloop One and expanding its influence in its traditional territory of port infrastructure which it is successfully extending across all the major geographical trading regions, beyond its middle eastern homeland from South America to Australia and India, China and the UK.

US – Eagle Bulk Shipping, one of the world’s largest owner-operators in the Supramax/Ultramax segment, announced this week that it has taken delivery of its newly acquired vessel, the MV New London Eagle a 2015-built Crown-63 Ultramax. This acquisition has been funded by cash on-hand and new debt of $8.6 million. This loan, which equates to approximately 40% of the purchase price, and represents an upsize to the existing Eagle Bulk Ultraco LLC Debt Facility which carries an interest rate of LIBOR plus 2.95% and has a maturity of October 31, 2022. With the addition of the new vessel the dry bulk company’s fleet is now comprised of 47 vessels, including 12 Ultramaxes acquired over the last 14 months.

US – MonarchFx, a Tompkins International company, has partnered with supply chain solutions provider, NFI, to select the first Rapid Deployment MonarchFx Center (RDMC), located in Chino, California. The RDMC is imbedded within the NFI distribution center campus, having the capacity to provide 19 million consumers with same day delivery, 22 million with one-day delivery, and 51 million with two-day delivery. Jim Tompkins, CEO, MonarchFx, commented:

“I am excited to announce our partnership with NFI and to announce our first location in Chino. This state-of-the-art fulfillment center will allow us to provide huge benefits to our clients and their customers.”

Executives from MonarchFx and NFI recently signed the agreement to begin implementation of the RDMC. The Chino location is the first of five locations around the United States, slated to open within the next six months. The Chino RDMC will include Tompkins Robotics, the SensorThink IoT platform, the Softeon technology platform, and the Tompkins Warehouse Execution System, all working together. Along with the NFI team, this solution aims to provide a powerful unichannel distributed logistics capability.

UK – Dalepak, the Northampton-based third-party logistics business, has been rebranded as Cygnia Logistics, a change aimed at reflecting the company’s evolution to what it does today, delivering end-to-end fulfilment and packing services to a global audience, as well as its plans for the future. Prompted by a change in ownership and the appointment of a new senior management team in 2016, the new name and identity denote what the business feels is core to what it does, and how a smooth- flowing supply chain delivers real value and competitive edge for its clients. Chief Executive Nick Frogbrook said the new brand translates globally, saying:

“Our vision is to continue to invest in the business, both within the UK and beyond, expanding further our capability into Europe to become the leading mid-market provider in our industry. To recognise this vision for the business, we felt it was right to ensure our name and brand truly reflected this, but also to act as a catalyst for change as we continue to grow and evolve to meet our clients’ changing needs.”

Cygnia, the Latin word for ‘Swan’, was considered appropriate for the new brand for a number of reasons: as a sign of change and transformation to reflect the company’s desire to continually evolve; to reflect the constant movement, agility and responsiveness that is key to the business; the ability to travel over water, on land, and in the air; and because swans partner for life, as an aspiration for the company’s employee and client relationships. Fortuitously, the company’s head office also happens to be based in the Swan Valley.

Cygnia Logistics was recently recognised in a new league table that identifies the UK’s top 200 mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales, won the SHD magazine’s Logistics Award for Growth, as well as having recently been listed in the LSE’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain along with other awards from the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA).

UK – Waterstones, the country's leading high street bookseller, has extended its long-term partnership with Unipart Logistics for an additional five years. Unipart will continue to distribute books and related products to 280 shops, and to customers at home, from their 150,000 square foot hub in Burton-on-Trent. This new contract aims to build on the strength and success of the long term relationship between Waterstones and Unipart, which saw the two companies collaboratively win four awards at the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards in 2015. Beccy Preece, Head of Supply Chain Services at Waterstones said:

"We've extended our contract because Unipart really understands our business and provides an excellent service. Over the past 10 years our needs have changed - along with the change in the way our customers buy books - and with the introduction of a greater, non-book range Unipart have adapted to support our needs and so have helped our business to grow."

The pair say that the key to the successful partnership has been Unipart's innovative supply chain thinking and agile delivery of change. For instance over the past 18 months, Unipart has completely reconfigured the service to the stores to deliver a next day delivery service by harnessing the power of ‘The Unipart Way’, which is the company's proprietary business system for continuous improvement. In addition, Unipart has also helped Waterstones increase availability of new and old titles whilst still reducing the overall inventory holding. Claire Walters, Chief Commercial Officer at Unipart Logistics said:

"We are incredibly proud of our long-term partnership with Waterstones, and our contribution to the turnaround of the business over the last few years through intelligent supply chain decisions. Our team feel part of the Waterstones family, and are passionate about delivering exceptional and rapid service to Waterstones customers. We are looking forward to taking our partnership to a new level, through implementing innovative ideas and digital technology to further enhance the Waterstones supply chain."

UK – IRELAND – Having just announced record freight carriage figures for its Tilbury – Zeebrugge route, P&O Ferries also carried the highest volume of freight traffic on its Larne-Cairnryan service in six years in 2017. The ferry and logistics company, which operates the shortest and most frequent crossings between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, carried 210,533 lorries and trailers on its ships during the last 12 months. The figure represents a 1.3% increase on 2016 and is the best result since 2011.

The RoRo operator offers seven sailings a day between Larne and Cairnryan in Scotland. The service, operated by the 22,000 ton sister ships European Endeavour and European Causeway, provides a bridge for goods being transported between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and Britain, and also on to the continent via P&O Ferries connecting services from Dover, Tilbury, Hull and Teesport. Neal Mernock, P&O Ferries' Sector Director for the Irish Sea, said:

"These outstanding volumes illustrate the vital importance of our service to the thousands of businesses and millions of consumers who rely on the efficient and reliable transportation of goods across the Irish Sea. Larne is fast establishing itself as the gateway of choice for anyone exporting to or from Ireland, thanks to its outstanding connectivity via road and rail, and also the fact that it is nine miles closer to Scotland than the port at Belfast."

"The reliability of our service was exemplified in the spring when we brought one of our English Channel ferries, European Seaway, to cover the route while the other two ships went into dry dock for annual maintenance. The feedback from our customers was that they hadn't noticed any difference, which is the ultimate compliment."

US – Ariens Company, a Wisconsin-based equipment manufacturer best known for its lawn tractors and snow throwers, has renewed its contract with Redwood Logistics as its third-party logistics (3PL) partner. In the two and a half years since the beginning of the partnership between the two companies, Redwood says it has delivered measurable and significant costs savings to Ariens using continual improvement initiatives, integrating all facets of their supply chain to facilitate data speed, accuracy and visibility, and an overall increase in supply chain efficiency leading to a better dealer experience and lower supply chain costs.

Within the partnership, Redwood provides Ariens with operational and efficiency-based services that include multimodal transportation operations management, technology services and network design. Using its RedwoodConnect Solution it says it has provided seamless operations between Ariens and their partners since beginning the cooperation in May of 2015.

HONG KONG – EVA Air has appointed Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) as its handling agent, with effect from January 5. Hactl will provide all cargo handling services for the airline’s operations from Hong Kong, which include over 60 passenger and 8 wide-body freighter flights per week. EVA Air also plans to use the SuperLink China Direct road feeder services provided by Hactl subsidiary Hacis, to extend its catchment to include the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region.

The Hacis network will shortly be extended with the opening of a ninth depot in the western PRD and, in conjunction with the opening of the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Bridge, this will reduce trans-PRD transit times by two thirds. Hactl Chief Executive Mark Whitehead welcomed back an old customer saying his company’s recent investments in its IT systems and future plans would ensure an even better service and EVA Air’s General Manager, Hong Kong, Peter Chang, commented:

“It is a pleasure to return to Hactl, extending our long-term and highly-successful previous collaboration. We particularly look forward to using the Hacis road feeder services system to maximise our capacity utilisation.”

IRELAND – With the issue high on the agenda of all companies today, shipping and travel PR specialists, Hall Public Relations, best known in the industry for its work on behalf of Irish Ferries, has had its talents in the field of crisis management and planning recognised with the presentation recently of the award ICTTF ‘Cyber PR Experts of the Year 2017’.

Recognising what was said to be ‘the considerable work’ done over time by Hall PR in the field of issues handling generally, the award was presented to the firm by cyber security guru and president of the International Cyber Threat Task Force, Paul C. Dwyer at a European Cyber Threat Summit held in Dublin City University.

The award was in recognition of its ‘outstanding contribution to developing cyber PR guidance’, part of the Hall PR portfolio of work includes the preparation of handbooks written for the guidance of clients whose activities could leave them exposed to such threats.