Friday, August 25, 2017

The Friday Freight and Logistics News Round Up

The Stories that did not make the Front Page
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has reported a 16% increase in volumes in the first half of 2017 to 335,000 tonnes, boosted by particularly strong demand across its Asia Pacific network. ABC also achieved a 13% rise in freight tonne-kilometres and a 4pp increase in its load factor to 71% in this period.

The first six months of the year saw the delivery of ABC’s tenth latest generation Boeing 747-8 Freighter, increasing the total size of its 747F fleet to 17 aircraft, and further expansion of its network in Asia Pacific. The launch of twice-weekly services to Taipei marked the doubling of the airline’s online network in the region over the last two years to 12 destinations; Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Zhengzhou and now Taipei. Sergey Lazarev, General Director of AirBridgeCargo, said:

“We have a very clear strategy that is all about listening to the needs of our customers in terms of the routes and products they want us to offer. This is reflected in their support of our growing network in Asia Pacific as well as their increasing use of our special products for pharma and off-size cargoes. In addition, through continued investment in our modern fleet, we are demonstrating to our customers that ABC is a high quality, long-term partner.”

UK – GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that its two charity charter trains, ‘The Charity Chibble’ from Ipswich and ‘The Absent Shunter’ from Newcastle, have raised over £26,500 for GBRf’s three chosen charities; The British Heart Foundation (BHF), Woking Homes and The Ripple Project.

’The Charity Chibble’ took place on Sunday 15th July. Starting at Ipswich, it headed for London to then take a circular tour via Peterborough and Sheffield, back to London and on to Basingstoke. The second trip on Sunday 13th August, ‘The Absent Shunter’, was a one-way trip from Newcastle to Basingstoke via York, Crewe and London. As the ride was long distance – it could only be one way – but still created a lot of interest, especially as it is an opportunity to reach our supporters and staff in the north of England.

The money raised by GBRf for the BHF will fund lifesaving research to help support the 7 million people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK. Woking Homes is a residential care home with a ‘railway heritage’ providing a secure, relaxed, and homely environment primarily for former rail employees. The Ripple Project seeks to improve the quality of life for residents of all ages in the Restalrig, Lochend and Craigentinny and Edinburgh area, designed to help local people help themselves. GBRf has been supporting these charities since December 2016 and will continue to do so until the end of this year. John Smith Managing Director of GBRf, commented:

“I am delighted we have been able to raise such amazing figures from our charity rides. Our charity events are a day for all our staff, supporters, and crew to enjoy whilst supporting worthwhile causes. Thank you to the GBRf staff who are able to put such events on.”

US – Truckload carrier, Schneider recently passed the halfway mark in its fleet-wide implementation of automated transmission trucks, replacing those with manual transmissions. Along the way, the company has also transformed the industry and those it brings into its ranks: The influx of new, easier-to-operate and more energy-efficient tractors opens the door even wider for those considering a career in truck driving. Rob Reich, Schneider’s Vice President of Equipment, Maintenance and Driver Recruiting, said:

“We have been testing various versions of automated transmission tractors since 2007, so we had a lot of experience behind us when we made the decision in 2015 to start transforming the fleet. Ever since then, we have been very impressed with the dependability of these tractors. In fact, we’ve had fewer maintenance issues with them than we’ve seen with the manual transmission tractors, which is not what we expected. We’re extremely pleased with the performance of these vehicles – and more importantly, so are drivers.”

Jim Czachor, a long time Schneider driver, was a part of the pilot that initially tested the new shifting technology. He commented:

“At first, I was wondering what I got myself into, so I asked my dispatcher ‘if I absolutely can’t stand this, can I have my 10-speed manual back?’ Well, long story short, there’s no way I’d ever go back to a manual transmission.”

US – Seegrid, a leader in connected self-driving vehicles for materials handling, has expanded the company’s suite of automated solutions with the announcement of the GP8 Series 6 self-driving pallet truck. Jeff Christensen, Vice President of Product with Seegrid, said:

“The GP8 Series 6 closes the automation loop by providing an end-to-end solution, removing the need for human assistance to complete tasks. In manufacturing and e-commerce environments, every human touch is costly and unpredictable. As we help our customers develop smart factories of the future, safety, efficiency, and operating costs will continue to be the driving forces behind the adoption of automation. Loading and unloading pallets independently creates safer working conditions, allows for more consistent throughput, and produces a rapid return on investment for our customers.”

US – United Rentals and Neff Corporation, operating as Neff Rental, have entered into a definitive agreement under which United Rentals will acquire Neff for $25 per share in cash, representing a total purchase price of approximately $1.3 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to cash EPS and free cash flow.

Neff is one of the 10 largest US equipment rental companies, with a presence in 14 states and a concentration in southern geographies. Based in Miami, Florida, Neff offers earthmoving, material handling, aerial and other equipment rental solutions to its more than 15,500 construction and industrial customers. Approximately 1,200 Neff employees and 69 branches serve end markets in the infrastructure, non-residential, energy, municipal and residential construction sectors.

US – BRAZIL – American Airlines Cargo recently moved two shipments of some very notable cargo: two sand tiger sharks and three bonnethead sharks for transport from the US to South America.

The sand tiger sharks were flown from New York John F. Kennedy (JFK), while the bonnethead sharks flew from Miami International (MIA), all moving to Rio de Janeiro (GIG). All five sharks were headed to their new home at an aquarium in Nova Iguazu, Brazil.

The sharks presented a unique challenge to the American Airlines Cargo team. Marine animals can be particularly difficult to transport great distances. In order to ensure their health and safety, the sharks were housed in two special shipping tanks that weighed 4,850 pounds (2,200 kilos) and about 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilos), respectively.

As sand tiger sharks can range in size from 6.5 to more than 10 feet in length (2 to 3 metres) the American Airlines Cargo team worked with the forwarder to ensure the animals had enough space and oxygenated water throughout the shipping process. Wayne Zimmerman, Director of Cargo Operations – MIA, said:

“Our priority was to make sure that the sharks were safe and, of course, arrived on time in Brazil. Our teams coordinated closely with the customer and worked hard to ensure this unique shipment received all of the special care needed throughout its entire journey.”

QATAR – Milaha, a Qatar-based maritime transport and logistics conglomerate, has announced the launch of the first direct reefer service between Qatar and Turkey. Over the past few weeks, Milaha had arranged two ad hoc voyages of reefer vessels from Turkey to Qatar; however, the company has moved to regularise the service, with departures every 20-25 days between Hamad Port and Port of Izmir, with a short transit time of 11 days.

The new service will be initially operated with one vessel with a capacity of over 5,000 tonnes per voyage, and will cater mainly to temperature-controlled cargo and breakbulk, with the option of adding containers upon request. Commenting on the launch of the new service, Milaha’s President and CEO Mr. Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai said:

“Trade volumes between Qatar and Turkey have significantly increased over the past few months, and we are launching this service as a cost-effective and efficient solution for this growing demand. This service perfectly complements our existing services, and will further enhance connectivity and facilitate trade between Qatari, Arabian Gulf, and Turkish importers and exporters.”

CHINA –Volkswagen FAW Engine - Dalian (VWED), an automotive part manufacturer operating in a joint venture with Volkswagen (China), has signed a two-year agreement with Kuehne + Nagel to manage the inbound logistics operations in their Dalian and Changchun plants from 149 automotive engine part suppliers nationwide. Zhiyu Wang, Logistic Manager, VWED said:

“Kuehne + Nagel took a complex set of demands and transformed it into a seemingly simple logistics solution. Kuehne + Nagel’s solution has delivered cost savings, efficiency and achieved full supply chain visibility for VWED.”

Pierre Li, Senior Vice-President Contract Logistics, Kuehne + Nagel North Asia, added:

“VWED is one of the largest international players in the automotive market in China and we are pleased to extend this partnership. This new contract showcases Kuehne + Nagel’s strength in the automotive parts industry in China bringing together the synergies of a tailored logistics solution supported by IT systems to provide full supply chain visibility.”