Friday, June 5, 2020

A Selection of Smaller Logistics Stories You May Have Missed This Week

What is Happening Along the Global Supply Chain
Shipping News Feature

FINLAND – Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has signed a contract with Caterpillar (Cat) to deliver electric drive train technology for a series of bulk carriers. The ships will feature Cat Marine's Twin Fin concept. In total, The Switch will be providing deliveries of two permanent magnet (PM) propulsion machines, four PM generators, two DC-Hubs, two Electronic Bus Links (EBL) and 20 Electronic DC Breakers (EDCB) for each vessel.

The compact, light and simple-to-maintain PM machines, which capture mechanical energy and convert it to green, electrical vessel power, are perfectly suited for the limited space available in the slim profile of the Twin Fins. The Switch DC-Hubs, meanwhile, offer a flexible choice of power generation, energy storage, charging, propulsion and clean power, while the EBL links and protects them with the ability to detect, cut and isolate any potential system error within just 10 microseconds.

GERMANY – The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), which represents over 100 German, European and global airlines recently held a virtual Full Board meeting to outline the parameters for passengers flying as things start to return to normal. With a first removal of travel restrictions by the German government taking effect on June 15 procedures and routines, both on the ground and in the air, will be adapted.

BARIG is appealing to passengers to act responsibly towards themselves, their fellow passengers, and everyone else concerned. This includes for instance, the proper and consistent use of mouth-nose-covers at airports and in the air, complying with the distance rules and following changed procedures and routines with the necessary discipline, for example when boarding and disembarking, waiting in the gate, or while on board the aircraft.

GERMANY – WORLDWIDE – We have grown used to seeing a variety of ‘Thank You’ posters and rainbow pictures dotted around during the pandemic to show gratitude for all those who have stepped up and maintained front line services, from health workers to delivery drivers.

As our picture shows DHL Express went one better and took the message to the skies with a specially liveried aircraft thanking those, including its own staff, who keep essential services up and running. Until now the aircraft has stopped in 23 different countries and 32 different gateways including Germany, UK, Finland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Italy, Spain, and Morocco to name just a few. Further stops in Israel, Portugal and Austria are planned.

ABU DHABI – The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports and the Middle East’s largest industrial zone, saw ground broken this week on what will be a new dedicated Truck Plaza, comprising refuelling and rest facilities. The plaza will cover an area of more than 87,000 m2, roughly equal to 12 soccer fields.

It will include a first-of-its-kind dedicated ADNOC Distribution service station for trucks, comprising two main canopies and six diesel bay canopies, and a community centre with 275 shaded truck, bus and car parking spaces, and is a significant step forward in providing truck drivers and workers within KIZAD with refuelling and rest facilities.

US – The Port of Oakland’s total cargo volume is down 5% in 2020 attributable to the coronavirus, the Port said. However exports, up 3.7%, have helped soften the blow and meat shipments, beef, pork and poultry, now account for 10% of total export volume. These jumped 26% in the first quarter of 2020 over Q1 2019.

Asia is by far the main market and Oakland says it now controls 42% of the market for meat exports leaving US West Coast ports whilst its nearest competitor, the Port of Long Beach, has 31% of the market. Oakland is the last port of call for Asia bound traffic and this suits exporters using the cool chain facilities, with the port exporting 15,000 TEU of meat in Q1 2020.

US – A ‘Digital Yard’ management solution from PINC is bound to be attractive to many organisations at this time as it sharply cuts face to face communication. The technology is claimed to enable simplified workflows and improve efficiencies. It offers functionalities like gate automation, appointment scheduling, real-time visibility in the yard, trailer movement automation, automated alerts and notifications, and enterprise visibility.

With PINC YMS an operator can perform a variety of functions including check-in and out of trailers, yard checks and audits, generate and share reports, calculate demurrage and detention fees, notify a carrier about a load status plus many other processes.

NETHERLANDS – WORLDWIDE – Damen Shiprepair Harbour & Voyage (DSHV) which operates as the mobile arm of a company with 16 yards spread round the globe, has introduced a 24/7 Covid-19 Disinfection Service for ships. If the virus is present on board the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends all areas of a ship, including cabins, galley and all living quarters are treated.

With people living in such close proximity the risk of spreading the virus is magnified and the disinfection service is based on WHO approved methods using stabilised hydrogen peroxide. The solution is colourless and odourless and causes no damages to interiors or on surfaces.

UK – FRANCE – It is hardly surprising that, although private vehicle numbers are depressed using its services, truck numbers on the Get Link Channel Tunnel route remains buoyant due to the resilience of demand for food, pharmaceuticals and e-commerce goods, Le Shuttle Freight carrying more than 90,000 trucks in May 2020.

Social distancing is a simpler process on the four trains per hour route with a voluntary reduction in the number of trucks carried on each crossing and, since January 1, more than 557,000 trucks have crossed the Channel using the Shuttles. In the same period 481,000 passenger vehicles used the service, just over 41,000 in May 2020.

UK – Narrow Aisle Ltd has announced the launch of the Flexi Smart Stop System, an ‘in-aisle sensor’ that immediately disables a Flexi articulated truck if its chassis comes in to contact with an object, such as a pallet load, racking or rack guards within the aisle. The truck can only be restarted once the driver has reported details of the collision to the designated line manager, thus ensuring that no incident goes unreported.

The ‘touch sensitive’ technology has been used extensively as a safety system in the elevated work platform market, where the ability to detect impact at ground level is critical for machines that operate up to over 20 metres high and is now offered for use with the latest Flexi ACiON range of articulated forklift trucks, and is designed to eliminate the thousands of pounds worth of damage caused to racking and products which many companies incur annually.

UK – The British International Freight Association (BIFA) ‘Virtual Bake Off’ which re-launched its Young Forwarder Network online as the first of many upcoming online events, was won by Katie-Louise Thompson-Friend, customer service coordinator, at the Woodland Group who baked a cake in the shape and colour of one of her employer's trucks, adding the company's slogan in white icing.

The final winner was decided by a vote from all 21 participants in a poll held on Zoom and proved light relief in a situation BIFA’s training development manager, Carl Hobbis said was a great way to kick start the YFN and was the first of various online events that will be held including web-based quizzes, guest interviews, training masterclasses, Q&A sessions at a time when all businesses face many new challenges due to Covid-19.

Photo: The specially liveried DP DHL Express aircraft thanking those who have worked throughout the crisis, with (inset) Katie-Louise Thompson-Friend and her winning Bake Off entry.