Friday, September 17, 2021

Weekly Round Up of Some Smaller Items You Might Have Missed

Logistics Stories from Around the Globe
Shipping News Feature

UK – Following the cancellation of some 40,000 HGV driver tests being last year due to Covid, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed the latest government announcement adding to its support for earlier statements that the funding for C+E class apprenticeships will increase to £7,000 from 1 July.

Now the Urban Driver Category C Apprenticeship scheme has received the go-ahead from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, providing a new training option for drivers of rigid HGVs. This new standard will give apprentices the skills needed to drive a Category C or C1 vehicle through the urban road network and allow them to gain their C or C1 licence, and will make it easier to get much-needed lorry drivers on the road, a move the RHA described as ‘a fantastic step’.

UK – Fuelcard provider Fleetmaxx Solutions has opened a seventh office, this one in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds. The office now occupies Pure Offices in Morley, next to the M621, the short loop of motorway taking traffic into central Leeds between the M1 and M62 motorways. The company is a subsidiary of Oilfast Ltd, bulk fuel, lubricant and licensed Adblue® distributor with its fuel card brands valid at BP, Esso, Shell, and Texaco sites and supermarkets (Fuelgenie), independent retailers and specialist diesel networks, such as Keyfuels and UKfuels.

UK – Trouble brewing for parcel delivery service Yodel which numbers Marks and Spencer, Aldi, Very and others amongst its customers, as drivers belonging to the GMB union voted for strike action this week. In an 84% turnout the vote was 98% in favour of industrial action by the 250+ employed union members.

The GMB has accused the company of trying to impose unworkable driver schedules, robbing drivers of annual leave by not adhering to long held agreements and offering agency drivers enhancements whilst not offering the same to the directly employed workforce. The union is currently also calling for a pay review and says Yodel management is ‘dragging its heels’.

MOROCCO – Container shipping line Hapag Lloyd opened not one but three offices in the country this week, a headquarters in Casablanca and two satellite offices in both Tangier and Agadir with a total staff of 47. The move is part of Hapag-Lloyd's development strategy in the refrigerated container transport sector, driven by the country’s plethora of fresh product exports.

Last year the company acquired a 10% stake in container terminal 3 (TC3) at the port of Tanger-Med 2 which links in to the Hapag Lloyd global logistics network The country also exports minerals, chemicals, textiles, and food products, especially to European countries. Imports consist mainly of electronics, spare parts, and food products.

US – The Layerlok systems which allow the addition of a second deck to a semi-trailer or shipping container have been in use for some fifteen years after introduction by Netherlands based LoadLok. Now manufacturer and distributor Doleco has made all three systems available in the US.

All options are capable of doubling payload capacity via ‘double decking’ while all ‘captive’ systems never leave the trailer and can be stowed at ceiling height when not in use. Different in design, each of the three systems has been optimised to minimise material use and weight, while maximising strength and durability. The LayerLok XP system is made of proprietary, patent-pending materials that have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than competing products, allowing it to be designed with the thinnest track profiles in the world.

US – AUSTRIA – SWITZERLAND – The Hyperloop project took another step forward this week when the finals of the ‘Not-Boring-Competition’ took place, with logistics group Gebrüder Weiss sponsoring the ‘Swissloop Tunneling’ team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, one of only two teams from the final 12 teams to qualify to complete the task set.

GW took responsibility for the safe and timely land and sea transport of the Swissloop team’s critical drilling technology from Dübendorf, Switzerland, to Las Vegas for the competition. The idea behind the Hyperloop project, based on a concept developed by Elon Musk, is to transport people and goods over longer distances through tunnels under or above the earth’s surface to their destination at high speed. The drilling robots must be as fast, compact, and automated as possible to make tunneling financially viable.

Photo: The GW staff offload the Hyperloop Drill along with the team of students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich researching and developing tunneling solutions for Hyperloop technology.