Friday, January 18, 2019

The Weekly Look at News from the Freight and Logistics Sector - Road, Rail Ocean and Air

Some Industry Items You May Have Missed
Shipping News Feature

UK – We start this week's round up of global road, rail, ocean and airfreight news with the announcement that winners of the British FLTA Awards for Excellence 2019 will be revealed at a black-tie dinner gala, held at the International Centre in Telford on Saturday 30 March. Entertainment at the annual Fork Lift Truck Association event will this year by courtesy of truck maker and distributor Linde.

The occasion will be extra special in 2019 as these will be the 25th Anniversary Awards for Excellence and the ceremony will be hosted by popular television presenter Mark Durden-Smith, known best currently for sharing a microphone with ex England rugby international David Flatman on Channel 5’s rugby union coverage.

UK – UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf) and the Class 50 Alliance (C50A) have announced that the historic mainline registered Class 50 locomotives 50007 Hercules and 50049 Defiance are to be repainted into the latest GBRf livery. GBRf worked closely with the C50A in enabling a return to the mainline for their locomotives in 2017 and subsequently through a programme of rail tours during 2018 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Class 50s.

Over the past two years, GBRf has invested in a programme of driver training to enable Class 50 operation over much of the UK rail network. Following the repaints, the locomotives will be available to operate selected GBRf trains on a ‘spot-hire’ basis. This work will include movement of locomotives between heritage railway gala events, and future rail tours. The locomotives will continue to be based at the Severn Valley Railway, but will have easy access to the national network, thanks to the 24-hour connection at Kidderminster.

The first outing for the GBRf-liveried Class 50s will be on Saturday 23 March when they will work Pathfinder Tours’ Terminator (Pheonixed!) tour from London Paddington to Penzance and return to Waterloo. This train will mark 25 years since the final BR operated Class 50 rail tour over the same route.

NETHERLANDS – In a decision which may have relevance to the home delivery and parcels market an Amsterdam Court has ruled in favour of union FNV which had brought two lawsuits against meal delivery outfit Deliveroo. The union filed suits against Deliveroo because the meal delivery business implemented a forced freelance model. The Deliveroo meal deliverers were all, beginning in 2018, forced to work as effectively self-employed if they wanted to continue working for Deliveroo. The ruling stated:

“The business of Deliveroo falls under the working environment of the union contract for transport of goods. The nature of the work and the power relationship between the parties is not substantially changed since the beginning of 2018 in such a way that talk of an employment agreement would not be merited. When riders work, the evidence of authority in the relationship is unreduced. As a result of technological possibilities, there is truly a lot of freedom possible as it relates to the availability of work, but this work continues to have the character of employment, even though the work is done during times chosen by the employee. The judge weighs the dependence of Deliveroo more heavily than the independence of the deliverer.”

AUSTRALIA – Nominations for the 2019 National Trucking Industry Awards have now opened and entries must be in be 8 March. Winners will be announced at Trucking Australia 2019 which runs 3-5 April, during the Foundation Sponsors Gala Awards Dinner in Perth. Nominations are now open in the following four categories: Outstanding Contribution to the Trucking Industry; National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year; National Professional Driver of the Year and National Training Excellence Award. Nomination details can be found here.

AUSTRALIA – Tigers Australia says it is ready for new nationwide piece-level security requirements for all air cargo export goods after investing in new screening technology to maintain speedy handling in Perth. The equipment includes state-of-the-art X-ray equipment, two explosive trace detection units, and an electro-magnetic detection (EMD) machine, resulting in the Western Australia capital becoming the only Tigers location in Australia with the capacity to conduct export screenings internally.

The new X-ray machine at Tigers Australia will allow shipments up to 1,810 mm by 1,872 mm to pass through the tunnel with minimal handling to speed up the processing time. The EMD machine will enable a full skid of product to be scanned, which will reduce the physical handling of cargo and ensure shipments arrive at destinations in premium condition. The Perth facility will also become an accredited Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA), an additional legal requirement to conduct physical examinations of export cargo, ahead of the nationwide changes being introduced on 1 March.

CHINA – EUROPE – The orders for eight Stena E-Flexer class RoPax vessels placed by Stena RoRo between 2016 and 2018 with the Chinese AVIC Weihai Shipyard, saw the launch of the first vessel, the Stena Estrid and a keel laying ceremony for the third in the series this week. Stena Line will operate a total of five E-Flexer vessels, two of which are an extended design. Stena Estrid will serve the route between Holyhead and Dublin, while the other two will be running the line between Belfast and Liverpool.

A 10 year charter contract has been signed with Brittany Ferries for two vessels, one of which is the recently keel laid ship. Both will complement the company's current fleet of freight and passenger vessels, travelling between Portsmouth in the UK and Bilbao and Santander in Spain. DFDS has also signed a 10 year charter contract for one E-Flexer, to be used to travel across the English Channel.

US – This week the United States Supreme Court in the case New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira ruled that workers in the transportation industry cannot be forced to waive their rights through private arbitration agreements. The Teamsters union has had a long running battle with hauliers operating to and from ports regarding employment status. Fred Potter, Vice President-at Large, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division, commented:

“This is a great victory for all workers in the transportation industry, including employees, legitimate independent contractors, and drivers misclassified as independent contractors who are suffering egregious wage theft. Although we have consistently challenged employers’ attempts to compel private arbitration to avoid a public legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that employers cannot and should not require drivers to waive their right to their day in court through binding arbitration agreements.”

FRANCE – CMA CGM, the container shipping line, has decided to support the financial and industrial development of Agricool, a Paris based company founded in 2015 to specialize in urban agriculture, cultivating fruit and vegetables without pesticides, picked and sold on the same day. Agricool grows strawberries by saving 90% of water and nutrients compared to classical agricultural methods and uses renewable energy only. These strawberries contain an average of 20% sugar and 30% vitamin C more than retail store strawberries.

After initially supporting the company with technical and logistical support for the delivery and installation of a ‘cooltainer’ in Dubai, the shipping group will now assist in the launch of the full industrialization phase of development. CMA CGM owns partial equity in Agricool and will become the main supplier of containers and the primary logistics and supply partner of the company.

Photo: Thousands of strawberry plants bathed in ultra violet light at an Agricool facility.