Friday, June 12, 2020

The Weekly Round-Up of Some Smaller Freight and Logistics Stories You May Have Missed

Industry Updates from Around the Globe
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Dart Group, Leeds based owner of JET2 has sold Fowler Welch, its distribution and logistics business to the Culina Group for a reported gross cash consideration of £98 million. The acquisition would seem to be a good fit for both parties. Fowler Welch has a half share in a fruit and vegetable ripening operation in Kent, Integrated Service Solutions.

Culina specialises in food and drink supply chain management throughout the UK and Ireland whilst Fowler Welch offers a similar mix of ambient and temperature controlled services. The cash will obviously be useful to Dart which has doubtless suffered an income hit from the virus and wants to concentrate on its travel business.

UK – Mandatory cycle lanes, introduced widely in the light of the pandemic to get people off other forms of transport has, somewhat bizarrely, seen an extension to the parking regulations with the publishing of an amendment to the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) 2020, meaning the lanes can be enforced using camera technology.

This means that where roads are changed to restrict access to cycle or bus/cycle use only, councils can deploy CCTV cameras to enforce the new regime, and will be a boost for companies such as Videalert which supplies a large proportion of the country’s existing Mobile Vehicle CCTV enforcement solutions.

UK – The RMT union complained this week that London Mayor Sadiq Khan exempt staff working at Tower RNLI station from the congestion and ULEZ charges warning that a failure to recognise the vital contribution of this group of staff at the UK's busiest lifeboat station is robbing them of hundreds of pounds a month. The RNLI staff have been advised not to use public transport ‎and have found themselves caught in a charging trap which is set to deepen when the congestion charge timings are extended from the 22nd June.

The RMT has written to both the Mayor and TFL boss Mike Brown requesting that the RNLI staff be exempt from the charges but says the request ‘has been turned down flat’ and the union is now ratcheting up the pressure as traffic on the River Thames is expected to escalate over the coming weeks as the lockdown is eased.

UK – Supply chain and consultancy SCALA has announced the details of its 17th Annual Supply Chain Debate, held in association with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). Held on the 25th June, supply chain thought leader John Gattorna will be joined by John Munnelly, head of operations at John Lewis Partnership, Gavin Chappell, group supply chain and logistics director at Holland & Barrett and Phil Wood, associate director of strategic programmes at Mondelēz international.

This time the annual debate, is being held virtually, and will be co-hosted by SCALA directors Dave Howorth and David Grahamslaw, and the panel will discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact the future of supply chains and what supply chain leaders will do in response. The event is being held virtually via Zoom on the 25th June at 1pm. To find out more about attending click HERE.

BELGIUM – The Port of Zeebrugge is certainly keeping up with the times these days. Having installed a private 5G network throughout the facility last year it has now signed up to the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), the sea and air port community group which provides advice and guidance on the electronic exchange of information along the gobal supply chain.

Peter Merlevede ICT manager at the Port of Zeebrugge, said the belief in digitalisation and standardisation had encouraged it to become an active member of IPCSA and spoke of the value of exchanging ideas and discussing experiences with counterparts such as Zeebrugge’s own RX/Seaport, a data-sharing platform principally aimed at post-Brexit activities.

WORLDWIDE – A raft of seafaring associated unions, the ITF, FNV Havens, Nautilus NL and ver.di, have filed legal proceedings to enforce the Non-Seafarers’ Work Clause (NSWC) in the IBF Collective Bargaining Agreement which they say protects seafarers from being obliged to perform dangerous cargo handling services. The unions say it does not violate EU competition law and was voluntarily negotiated and agreed upon between the ITF, representing seafarers, and Joint Negotiating Group (JNG), representing ship owners.

Now reports in the press have alerted the unions to a complaint filed with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition by short sea and feeder ship operators, with the petitioners of the complaint having so far apparently refusing to share the nature of their objection with the unions. Although the parties refuse to comment further the complaint seems to be related to European operations, principally in Germany and the Netherlands.

SWEDEN – The unloading of the final container vessel at Frihamnen port in Stockholm this month was the end of almost 50 years of box traffic. Now vessels will be redirected to the new freight port, Stockholm Norvik Port, Ports of Stockholm’s new freight port has opened and 1st June marked the unloading of the final container vessel at Frihamnen port in Stockholm.

Photo: A lifeboat crew on the River Thames going into action. Courtesy RNLI (why not consider a donation).