Friday, August 28, 2020

Weekly Look at Some Less Noticeable Shipping and Logistics Stories from Around the Globe

Things You Might Miss but Want to Know
Shipping News Feature

IRAN – US – VENEZUELA – In a follow up to our recent story regarding the seizure by the US of four tankers carrying over $50 million of Iranian oil bound for the sanction hit South American republic, the mystery remains of why Iranian special forces subsequently boarded another Liberian flagged tanker and then apparently left the ship a few hours later.

The story was picked up and given more detail by Overt Defense (OVD) but subsequently two more theories of what really happened are being bandied about in the anti-terrorist community. The ship in question, the MV Wila is reportedly operated by the same Greek group as the four seized ships. One version is that the ship was searched for evidence to show where the other confiscated vessels are located, but this seems unlikely.

The other postulation is that the idea was to leave some Iranian forces on board in case another US seizure occurred. The case for this is that, despite being boarded from a helicopter with two other Iranian naval vessels in attendance, no distress signal or other communications emanated from the Wila at the time despite armed men abseiling onto her deck. What is certain is that the situation in the Gulf for traffic passing through is as risky as ever.

US – Yard management system specialist PINC has partnered with in supply chain visibility outfit project44 to provide automation and real-time visibility to manage in-transit and on-site shipments. The pair say distribution centres, warehouses, and manufacturing plants are always looking to improve gate velocity, optimise driver turnaround times, and reduce costs while becoming Shippers-of-Choice.

Working together the two offer project44's shipment and ETA data, in concert with PINC's Yard Management System's real-time asset and load data, to accelerate the check-in process and provide customers with actionable dynamic load scheduling visibility. This will enable them to improve shipment velocity, enhance sustainability, reduce accessorial charges, and manage carrier contracts and transportation budgets more effectively.

SPAIN – Palletways Iberia, part of the logistics specialist Imperial Group, is celebrating the third successful year of trading at its South Hub, the network has transported a record 983,000 pallets across the Iberian Peninsula and Islands so far this year. The group has seen the network double in size since 2015 and already this year has secured a number of new customers and recruited six members.

In 2017 two hubs in Madrid and Zaragoza served the existing membership and the introduction of the third regional hub in Jaén was designed to increase coverage in the autonomous region of Andalusia in the south-east of Spain, as well as in the regions of Badajoz and Murcia. The developments meant providing customers in these regions a more comprehensive range of services.

UK – A new £23 million extension which will join to the existing Southampton quayside warehouse operation of Import Services took a big step forward this month as the first, above ground infrastructure of a steel frame section, was erected by Construction Partner, Midas. The full skeletal frame will take circa 6 weeks to complete.

The warehouse, designed to BREEAM ‘excellent’ sustainability standard, in close collaboration with port owner ABP will also feature a further £2.5million roof mounted, solar array investment from ABP. This on its own will more than double the existing solar power generated on the port whilst the extension will add 200,000 square feet, also doubling bonded storage capacity to 60,000 pallets at Southampton container port.

UK – Supply chain and logistics consultancy, SCALA, has announced a new ongoing partnership with mergers and acquisitions specialist Global PMI Partners. The partnership, which started in July 2020, is intended to provide SCALA and its clients with the opportunity to access a wider range of expertise in assessing acquisitions.

Global PMI Partners’ client base will in turn benefit from additional access to industry experts across the supply chain ecosystem when evaluating their future state operating models and releasing value, ensuring that the two separate supply chains can merge into one seamless entity.

UK – CHANNEL ISLES – The pronouncement this week from Paul Luxon, Chief Executive of Condor Ferries that the ‘perfect storm’ of Covid-19 meant he would have to make staff cuts brought an instant retort from RMT Union Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch who said:

”The rhetoric around seafarers being key workers needs to mean something. These are jobs on lifeline freight and passenger ferries registered on Flags of Convenience that were subject to exploitative pay before the pandemic and cannot be allowed to be permanently lost to UK seafarers. Condor has consistently refused to access UK Government support for their staff in the UK during the pandemic and have made large scale redundancies, they are now threatening to cut into muscle and bone.

“The new owners, Brittany Ferries and Columbia Threadneedle must step in and provide certainty for the future here. We call on the UK Shipping Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP to reach out to her counterpart in the French Government and work with the Channel Island administrations to draw up a rescue package for Condor Ferries staff and passengers.”

UK – Truck drivers are advised that DP World, Southampton has reinstated additional VBS Premium bookings this week. The requirement for cleaning periods remain, therefore all operations will cease for 30 minutes at the end of each shift. To minimise any disruption there will be a small reduction of VBS premium bookings from 06:00/18:00 – 07:00/19:00.

Apparently the problem we have mentioned before of drivers spraying hand sanitiser directly onto the entrance and exit pedestal keyboards making them inoperative, persists. DP World requests that users sanitise hands, not the keyboards, before and after touching the equipment.

UK – WORLDWIDE – Anyone considering entering the tank container sector, or indeed those already with some experience, should take a look at the latest guidance from the TT Club which has published its StopLoss advisory for anyone to consult. A good practice guide this is aimed at all stakeholders through the tank container transport chain whether operating, filling, discharging, cleaning or handling tanks.

As ever the Club draws on its vast experience of when things have gone awry in the past to warn of potential hazards in a trade which has seen strong growth for Chinese domestic bulk liquid movement, as well as within the intra-Asia trade as shippers recognise the benefits of tank containers as against drums or parcel tankers.

Photo: The boarding of the Wila image courtesy of the US Navy.