Friday, January 8, 2021

What is Happening This Week Throughout the Logistics Sector

Some Bits and Pieces You May Have Missed During Lockdown
Shipping News Feature

UK – Altrad Services UK, which operates a 1,460 strong vehicle fleet servicing the energy industries has apparently seen drastically improved driver behaviour, slashed incident rates and almost halved costs from fines and repairs following the installation of telematics data technology from Trakm8. Matthew Hammond, Head of Fleet, Plant and Equipment at Altrad Services, said:

“By partnering with Trakm8 we have been able to bear down on occurences in a way that is at once incredibly effective in reducing incidents and has a positive impact on our fleet workforce.

UK – This week the latest addition to the Stena Line ‘E-Flexer’ fleet started work on the Belfast – Liverpool route with the vessel, the Stena Embla offering a capacity for 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and 3,100 lane metres of freight, a 20% increase on freight capacity for the route which Stena predicts will see an uptick in traffic post Brexit..

The Swedish group can claim over £400 million invested in its Irish Sea fleet and services over the past few years with three brand new vessels now installed and consequently upgraded facilities for both passengers and freight drivers.

UK – Towage outfit Svitzer Europe has announced that it has signed a contract with Damen Shipyards Group for the delivery of Svitzer Thames, an 80-tonne bollard pull azimuth stern drive (ASD) tug, to support its operations in the Port of London.

Svitzer Thames will arrive in London by the end of the first quarter of 2021, and will start operating immediately upon arrival. At more than 32 metres long and with a beam of almost 13 metres, she will be equipped with both power and manoeuvrability, able to handle the very largest of container vessels calling at the Port of London.

UK – This week the RMT Union confirmed that it was in dispute with Stena Line, accusing the company of failing to address seafarers’ and dockers’ long standing concerns over sick pay which have been ongoing since the start of the pandemic. The Union accuses Stena of cutting the agreed sick benefits scheme at the start of the March 2020 lockdown. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

”In December there was an outbreak of Covid-19 amongst crew on the Stena Edda between Birkenhead and Belfast, yet the company continues to deny our members’ demands over sick pay. RMT remains available for talks but we are clear that our members should no longer be forced to choose between poverty or going to work when they might have Coronavirus.”

UK – NORWAY – The Shipowners’ Club, the P&I insurer in the smaller and specialist vessel sector, has entered into a strategic partnership with Fender Marine AS, the specialist marine underwriting agency based in Norway. Fender Marine AS will focus predominately on providing P&I to small and specialist coastal vessel operators in Norway and other Scandinavian territories. The partnership will complement Fender’s existing marine offering and at the same time bolster the Shipowners’ Club presence in the local Scandinavian P&I market. Simon Swallow, Chief Executive commented:

“This strategic partnership offers a new and exciting opportunity for the Club to expand our presence in Scandinavia. We look forward to working closely with Fender and their experienced team, based in Norway, to offer our P&I insurance expertise in what is already a very mature marketplace. Our focus will be on smaller, specialised vessels in line with our worldwide membership made up of over 33,000 entered vessels.”

ABU DHABI – His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, has inaugurated track-laying works across the region in Package A of Stage Two of the UAE’s national railway development, during his visit to Etihad Rail’s railhead in Al Ruwais. The project has achieved key milestones, with construction progress of Stage Two accelerated, while Etihad Rail’s Stage One continues to overachieve, with 2020 operations out performing 2019’s results.

Stage One is fully operational and was delivered on schedule and within budget. The route spans 264 km, transporting granulated sulphur from sources at Shah and Habshan to the export point at Ruwais. Stage Two links the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from Fujairah Port to Ghuweifat through Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port. His Highness stressed the need to continue developing all four packages of Stage Two, according to the highest international standards to fulfil the UAE’s ambition to become a global hub for advanced logistics operations.

US – The Port of Oakland finally got a sight of the three new Chinese built cranes which were anchored in San Francisco Bay waiting to be installed. The operation was shrouded in secrecy (as much as 400 foot tall units can be) as the port was concerned about crowds ignoring the virus restrictions and crowding to get a better view as the laborious process of unloading took place.

The vessel ZHEN HUA 35 arrived at Berth 58 of the Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) but, at the time of going to press, no film of the actual unloading was available. Normally cranes of this size are discharged over several hours via temporary rail tracks with the buoyancy of the ship adjusted minute by minute as the tide rises and falls.

Photo: The new cranes for Oakland await discharge.