Friday, December 22, 2017

Update on Cyber Attack on Freight and Logistics Firms Starts this Week's News Round Up

Some of the items you may well have overlooked in the past 7 days
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – We begin this week's round-up of some international news in the freight and logistics world which you may have missed with an update on the cyber attack which crippled businesses around the globe earlier this year. The WannaCry ransomware computer virus that impacted several industry leaders including FedEx and Deutsche Bahn has now been formally attributed, by both UK and US governments, to North Korea.

The Lazarus Group, a state organ of that country, is accused of using the virus to circumvent official sanctions and, in the process, disrupting 300,000 computers in over 150 countries. In the UK the virus attacked and impaired 48 National Health Service Trusts producing the potential to cause deaths, something which many would consider an act of war. UK Foreign Office Minister for Cyber, Lord Ahmad said:

”The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre assesses it is highly likely that North Korean actors known as the Lazarus Group were behind the WannaCry ransomware campaign, one of the most significant to hit the UK in terms of scale and disruption. We condemn these actions and commit ourselves to working with all responsible states to combat destructive criminal use of cyber space. The indiscriminate use of the WannaCry ransomware demonstrates North Korean actors using their cyber programme to circumvent sanctions.

”International law applies online as it does offline. The United Kingdom is determined to identify, pursue and respond to malicious cyber activity regardless of where it originates, imposing costs on those who wish to attack us in cyberspace. We are committed to strengthening coordinated international efforts to uphold a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace.”

WORLDWIDE – DP World, the ports and logistics group, has just seen many of its employees around the world take part in a week of volunteering activities, delivering over 60 projects in partnership with 47 organisations to benefit 5,000 people. The company’s Global Volunteer Week programme gives employees the opportunity to take time out of work to support their local communities.

This year they supported a variety of initiatives in 19 countries, which included delivering career workshops in the Dominican Republic, sorting food packages for food banks in Australia, arranging blood donations across India in Mundra, Cochin, Chennai and Nhava Sheva, visiting the elderly in Yantai, China and organising free medical examinations in Senegal.

Now in its fourth year, the initiative was run from 3-9 December and was developed around the UN’s International Volunteer Day. Since 2014, DP World has committed to growing its volunteering efforts in local communities and this year reached a new record of almost 4,700 volunteer hours during work time.

US – CHINA – Inttra, which provides software solutions to the shipping industry, is expanding a long standing cooperation with Ningbo International Logistics to include Inttra's eVGM solution in China. Inttra says the eVGM solution is a cost-effective and efficient method for electronic Verified Gross Mass (VGM) information submission to ocean carriers.

AUSTRALIA – The 3 week long picket line which blocked access to the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne, the result of a an employee refused work because of an alleged criminal record and inability to get a security clearance, has ongoing ramifications. Protestors from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), members of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), both headed by Paddy Crumlin, trapped millions of dollars in freight on the quay.

The ITF has a long running dispute with Philippine owned International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) operator of VICT, with arguments and even murders raging around the globe and involving other union organisations. Now a negotiated solution in Melbourne avoids the need for the MUA to violate a Court order against it but VICT says it will still be claiming, possibly as much as A$75 million, for damages through the Court. You can read details of many of the ongoing disputes by typing ICTSI into the News Search box at the head of any page.

SWEDEN – FINLAND – Less than a month after announcing it was to provide a host of systems for an articulated tug barge in Florida, Wärtsilä, the Helsinki based engineering group tells us it will supply two of its HY 2 hybrid power modules for a new escort tug being built for the Swedish port of Luleå located on the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern end of the Baltic Sea. The vessel is being built at Gondan Shipbuilders, in Asturias, Spain and, when launched in early 2019, it will become the first vessel operating with a Wärtsilä HY solution.

The system will bring notable environmental benefits, as well as operational flexibility meaning significant fuel, emissions, and maintenance cost savings. It will be capable of operating on electrical battery power when in transit. Although it is configured as a mechanical set-up, the 'hybrid diesel-electric' mode will allow the number of prime movers utilised to be reduced to just one for various operational tasks. These include ship assist with a bollard pull of up to 55 tons, or 90 tonnes on two main engines in diesel-mechanical mode. A bollard pull of 100 tonnes will be available when in boost mode.

The vessel will be capable of being completely independent from additional charging facilities, since re-charging of the energy storage system will be automatically managed by the Energy Management System, the ‘brain’ of the Wärtsilä HY. In addition, the installed onshore electrical connection will give the tug the flexibility to re-charge the energy storage system, even when the tug is berthed at the quay.

UK – EUROPE – DFDS has introduced a new app to assist drivers entering Immingham dock to collect a trailer, an advance which the company claims as a first in the industry. Alan Finch, Director of DFDS’ Nordic Terminal in Immingham, explains:

“We have decided to develop an app that will make life easier for the drivers. With the app, the driver will be able to see whether a trailer is ready to be picked up, when the ship is arriving or departing, or if it is delayed. The driver can also check whether there is a booking for the trailer and get help to find the terminal.

“This means that the driver can plan his day and his work better. It also enables him to make better use of his time, among other things by reducing waiting time. This is a step in the digitisation of our services, which will continue at full speed. It aims to continuously improve our services to make things easier for the drivers and work more efficiently for our customers.

The whole range of DFDS apps can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play using this link.

UK – Logistics outfit C M Downton, which operates 600 tractor units and 1,800 trailers out of 16 major distribution hubs across the country, used the services of Jungheinrich when a major client required additional capacity and a new warehouse facility to provide a spares outlet, now up and running in Sharpness. On acquiring the new warehouse space, Downton set out to implement a bespoke racking and warehouse management solution, which would maximise storage capacity and streamline preparation of outbound loads.

Having already worked with Jungheinrich UK, deploying its forklift trucks and very narrow aisle (VNA) racking within the Quedgeley distribution centre, Downton valued the consultative approach of its Logistics Systems operation and enlisted its help to design and implement the pallet racking of the new Sharpness site.

On surveying the site and working with the floor design engineers it became apparent there were a lot of joints in the floor, and so, as part of the design and implementation process, Jungheinrich mapped this out and worked with Downton to establish a lay out in line with the necessary distances from each joint that still delivered the most effective use of space.

The resulting solution comprised very narrow aisle pallet racking, with capacity for 16,000 pallets and VNA specialist trucks, alongside wider aisle racking with enough space for two trucks passing, capable of storing up to 10,000 pallets for faster moving product. Director Richard Downton, explained:

“We have been working with Jungheinrich for more than ten years. We first started using some of the forklift truck models before it soon became obvious that Jungheinrich was a partner for all aspects of our materials handling equipment requirements. On introducing Jungheinrich to the Sharpness project, the team was quick to assess the site in line with our individual business model and its challenges, changes and customer base in order to suggest a solution that would best utilise the available space, while also achieving more efficient transportation of faster moving products.”

THAILAND – Finally we have a good news story which, although not strictly freight related, still has implications in the supply chain. Following criticism in the US and elsewhere Nestlé found evidence of unfair labour practices in Thailand exposed by a Verité investigation in 2015 commissioned by the Swiss based food group. Now, together with the Thai Union Group, a principal Nestlé supplier of seafood and one which has previously been accused of employing slave labour, it seems the pair are working to turn things around.

The two companies, in collaboration with global non-profit Verité, have renovated a standard Thai fishing boat, transforming it into a modern vessel demonstrating improved working conditions and labour standards. The renovated boat demonstrates the standards set for boats greater than 24 metres by the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) C188 convention for human rights at sea, as well as Thailand’s updated fisheries regulations.

To meet these standards and regulations, boat owners are required to provide proper safety equipment as well as adequate and clean food and drinking water for the crew. Appropriate rest, dining and leisure areas, demonstrated with this vessel, are mandatory, along with a first-aid kit and toilet facility with proper sanitation standards.

Regularly scheduled viewings and training workshops will demonstrate to boat owners and crew how to improve the working standards for fishers at sea with the idea being to lift the whole Thai seafood industry to a higher standard. The initiative was originally started in March 2016, supported by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Thai Department of Fisheries (DOF). Thai Union and Nestlé helped fund development of the refurbished boat.

Seafood accounts for annual revenues of well over $6 billion and makes the country the world’s fourth largest seafood exporter, but the industry has been dogged by tales of atrocious working practices to keep prices down and profits high. With virtually every major supermarket retailer stocking Thai produce on its shelves this latest move is in line with Nestle’s Thailand Action Plan for Responsible Sourcing of Seafood and Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange, a programme in four sections including responsible practices throughout the industry.

Finally let us take time to wish all our readers, and the many thousands of users of the Freight Directory, a very merry Christmas and the most prosperous of New Year’s!

Photo: The Thai fishing boat from the last story.