Friday, August 10, 2018

From Exploding Trucks to Air Taxi Drones - Some News Snippets from Shipping and Logistics

This Weeks Round Up of Smaller Items
Shipping News Feature
UK – We start this week's look at some of the general news stories and updates from shipping and logistics in Manchester, where supply chain software and services company BluJay Solutions has agreed to acquire Grosvenor International Systems, a provider of customs and compliance solutions to the UK and European markets. Doug Surrett, BluJay's Chief Product Strategist, commented:

“The pace of change in global trade is incredible. Brexit is a serious concern for our Global Trade Network community and adding Grosvenor’s solutions to our portfolio will help ensure compliance and productivity regardless of Brexit's final outcome. They are a fantastic team, and we are excited to welcome them to BluJay.”

UK – A warning this week from safety company Pyroban pointing out that hand pallet trucks operating in potentially explosive atmospheres have the potential to cause ignition. ATEX classified Zone 1, 2, 21 or 22 areas often contain flammable gases, vapours, dusts or powders and diesel or electric powered materials handling equipment, such as lift trucks, frequently have to undergo specialist explosion protection conversion to ensure they comply with legislation such as EN1755:2015 to maximise safety.

However, as Pyroban points out, this particular standard applies only to powered industrial trucks and does cover safety requirements around hand pallet trucks used in explosive atmospheres. To provide suitable explosion protection, Pyroban converts many brands of hand pallet trucks to the requirements of EN80079-36:2016 and other safety standards. Rob Vesty, Sales Manager for Pyroban, explains the dangers, saying:

“Companies do not seem to be aware that although EN1755 does not apply, hand pallet trucks pose an ignition risk and must comply with ATEX 2014/34/EU, as well as two other important and relevant standards. It only takes one source of friction from a hand pallet truck to cause ignition and lead to potentially devasting consequences. To safeguard their people, site and supply chain, companies must consider the potential risks of every type of equipment in their operation.”

UK – On Thursday this week Road Haulage Association (RHA) chief executive Richard Burnett, together with key transport industry stakeholders, met with the Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the industry’s desperate need for Brexit clarity and said that the minister remains optimistic that a deal will be reached, albeit last minute. His optimism was not shared by several at the meeting and the RHA boss commented:

”There are still far too many unknowns, the only certainty is that a no-deal Brexit have a significant impact the haulage operators that cross to mainland Europe daily. It’s clear that the EU doesn’t want to make it easy for us to leave. Our supply chains are set up for just in time deliveries, 50% of our food comes from around the world and 70% of that is from the EU. If we only have restricted access to the Europe and must negotiate permits, how effective will that access be?

“Do we feel that today’s meeting has achieved something? No. Are we confident that the issue will be resolved? No. Have we finally received clarity? No. We tried to present a pragmatic view as to what will happen. It’s up to Government to whether or not they listen.”

US – American Airlines Cargo has achieved record-setting growth in the second quarter, while also posting a record month in June. Driven by nearly 350 million pounds (158 million kilogrammes) of freight, up from 318 million (144 million kilograms) the same time last year, several key trends contributed to both the record month and quarter. E-Commerce related movements continue to support significant growth across the network, particularly out of Asia, Europe and Brazil, while pharmaceuticals, fruit and flowers were the largest growing commodities throughout the timeframe.

Trucking volume increased 13.6% year over year whilst there was an increase of more than 800% for blood for medical purposes. Several high-visibility large project shipments, such as the movement of more than 385 tonnes of engine and auto accessories from Japan, the equivalent of 1,800 massive V8 engines, added to the total, as did the sponsorship and transportation of valuable artwork from Madrid to the San Antonio Museum of Art

INDONESIA – The devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the Lombok region earlier this week has not affected operations at Lembar Port which are continuing as normal according to on the spot reports from logistics group GAC. For the latest updates and information about operations at Indonesian ports contact Andhika GAC Indonesia at

IRELAND – The Irish national company within the Rhenus Group has signed an agreement on 3 August 2018 to acquire Avant Air and Sea, subject to CCPC consent. Dublin based Avant Air and Sea specialises in temperature-controlled and pharmaceutical shipments as well as hazardous consignments. In addition to its headquarters in Ireland, Avant Air and Sea operates branches in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Avant provides weekly consolidation and groupage freight services from China, the USA and other Asian and Oceanic countries of origin. Its portfolio of services includes consolidation, express, hand-carry and AOG services for air freight (particularly spare parts for aircraft that are urgently required). Haulage and cargo transportation, consolidation, customs services, document preparation and insurance are all part of its services for sea freight.

SWITZERLAND – UKRAINE – One might dismiss the next release as a flight of fancy along with many drone stories but this one bears the prestigious name of Antonov which is cooperating with Swiss group AIR-ION to develop a range of electric Air-Taxi Drones for Civil and Military uses. AIR-ION drones have already been presented during the IDEX, Dubai Air Show 2017 and Farnborough 2018.

Having developed several flying helicopters, including fully electric models, the Swiss company has joined with technical partners across the world including Rolls Royce and is working with the best R&D and technical universities in Switzerland, Italy, France, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and now planning the same in Ukraine.

Photo: An AIR-ION designed helicopter.