Friday, October 5, 2018

Some Snippets of Freight, Logistics and Road Haulage News You Might Have Missed

News from Around the Globe This Week
Shipping News Feature
UK – The announcement this week that Simply Asset Finance has been granted the second tranche of its asset finance facility from the British Business Bank, some £60 million, will come as good news to UK SMEs. The company has facilitated more than 1,000 finance agreements to the tune of around £100 million in the past year after being established just 17 months ago. Transport is a key investment area for the company and loans support the freight and logistics sector through lending to road haulage outfits and the like for new equipment.

UK – The relationship between XPO Logistics and unions seems not to be improving. Today (October 5) will see a ramping up of protests at a Barnsley warehouse managed by the freight group. The in-house Community Union was recently fined almost £25,000 by the TUC after breaching union codes, namely principle 3 which mandates against ‘the undermining of established unions or those engaged in organising activity’ at the ASOS on line fashion shopping site.

Community, which had signed a deal with XPO logistics in 2017, shutting out GMB, the union the workforce had turned to years earlier, was also found to be in breach of principle 2 of the TUC's code. The TUC Committee has ordered Community to pay a fine of £24,532 direct to GMB after the ruling and ordered it to formally seek recognition for GMB at the Barnsley XPO Logistics site.

UK – There is no further news with regard to an arrest after a lorry driver was shot in the head whilst driving on the A14 near Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire at 3.45pm on Sunday 30 September. The weapon appears to be a powerful BB gun as the ball bearing smashed the truck windscreen before hitting the driver who managed to pull over and stop.

The Road Haulage Association described the attack as absolutely shocking and expressed concerns that the incident could have had tragic consequences. Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact Cambridgeshire police quoting incident 271 for the date in question.

EUROPE – The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has expressed concerns on behalf of both itself, and its sister Associations across the continent, at the outcome of the European Parliament’s plenary vote on future CO2 reduction targets for cars and vans this week, saying the targets are very aggressive and include the potential for EV sales quotas. The European Parliament supported a 45% CO2 reduction by 2030, as opposed to the 30% proposed by the European Commission and the motor manufacturers 20%.

Whilst it says the industry is fully committed to reducing carbon emissions and making the shift to zero-emission vehicles the SMMT comments that future CO2 reductions are dependent on greater sales of alternatively powered vehicles, with registrations of plug-in vehicles just 1.9% of EU sales last year. The SMMT says it hopes national governments will bring some realism when they adopt their common position on future targets next week.

SINGAPORE – SEA\LNG, the multi-sector industry coalition aiming to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel, announced during SIBCON 2018 this week that it has welcomed the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to its membership coalition.

The MPA becomes the third port member to join the coalition, alongside Port of Rotterdam and Yokohama-Kawasaki International Port Corporation (YKIP). Together, the ports remain committed to supporting SEA\LNG in its mission to develop LNG infrastructure in ports around the globe, to enable quick, safe, and cost-effective bunkering.

US – WORLWIDE – Pole Star has supported The Ocean Cleanup, whose mission to clean the oceans we have detailed previously, by providing its Platform / API, satellite tracking technology, and associated geo-location data services to support operational management of the 600 metre long ‘floater system’ which sits on the ocean surface collecting plastic as it moves with the currents. Julian Longson, Managing Director of the London headquartered technology outfit commented:

“The scourge of plastic in our oceans is well publicised and The Ocean Cleanup project equally high-profile in being a laudable attempt to take action and make a difference. Our marine ecosystem is fragile, and damaging it beyond repair will have huge consequences for both marine life and humankind. It is therefore pleasing for Pole Star, in meeting its vision to be the digital eyes and ears of the seas, and its staff, that we have been able to contribute in-part to this hugely impressive project.”

Photo: XPO Logistics relationship with unions may deteriorate further after the group ordered 5,000 robot rack system order pickers for sites in the US and Europe this month.