Friday, June 22, 2018

A Weekly Look at Some Stories from the Freight Forwarding, Logistics and Road Haulage Sectors

What is Happening Along the Links of the Global Supply Chain
Shipping News Feature
UK – We start the week's journey through some of the stories from freight and logistics which didn't quite make the headlines with a reaction from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to the announcement from Leeds City Council that, after a recent public consultation, as from January 2020, any pre-Euro VI lorries entering the city's Clean Air Zone will be liable to a toll of £50.

This represents a reduction from the original proposal of £100 per truck with the Council seeking help from the government’s Clean Air Fund. Whilst accepting the need for clean air the RHA says it is ‘outraged’ by the plan with chief executive, Richard Burnett, calling for an intelligent, phased approach to support local business, saying:

“These plans will be disastrous for the many operators who are unable to absorb or recover the costs of entering the zone. This is an industry that has to make every penny count. £50 per day equates to an additional annual cost of £13,000 which will inevitably place many operators in an untenable situation.

“Road hauliers play a key role in delivering and maintaining the Leeds economy. The City Council should support them with measures which give them time to upgrade their trucks so they can keep delivering the goods the city relies on. These charges will make vehicle replacement almost impossible.”

Since drafting this item the RHA has taken a similar line regarding the proposed Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for Glasgow which will see pre-Euro VI lorries banned from the city centre by the end of 2022. The RHA says such cut-off date will be ‘disastrous’ and has called for more clarity of what is proposed saying the timescale is ‘completely unrealistic’.

UK – The problems experienced at the Port of Felixstowe last week after the new port management system software was introduced, have largely subsided. Certainly the long queues and extreme waiting times have disappeared but our contacts within the port report that some drivers are still experiencing lengthy delays and extra time should be allowed, with customers informed of potential problems.

Reaction to the delays however included container line Hamburg Süd switching ports on some services to Southampton, reportedly for a five week stint whilst the situation is resolved. Some vessels were forced to discharge then leave without reloading in order to stay on schedule, doubtless adding to the problems for shippers. Similar actions to depart without reloading were announced by Seago a feeder line, and like Hamburg Süd a Maersk subsidiary.

UK – Most companies selling, importing or manufacturing goods find at some stage the need to promote them at trade shows and the like. So how does one go about it when one has little or no experience? This was the question which prompted Berkshire-based Walker Logistics to investigate extending its services into the events field, supporting its clients that take part in trade shows and other temporary promotional events with a new bespoke point-of-sale fulfilment service. Sales Director William Walker, explains:

“Throughout the year a number of our clients take stands at events such as the Hampton Court Flower show and other high profile sports and music festivals and sell their products directly to the public. We can help them by not only picking, packing and delivering the stock that they need for a temporary sales outlet, but also by providing, for example, assistance with building the stand, general set-up and on-demand replenishment if they want us to.

“Of course, at the end of an event we’ll take any unsold goods back in to stock, break down the stand and dispose of any rubbish in any environmentally-friendly way. There are many ways in which logistics service providers can create extra value for a client and we see this as one of them. There is no such thing as a ‘normal contract’ any more. You simply have to offer more than simple warehousing and distribution if you want to have an edge in this business.”

UK – Nestlé, the world’s largest food and drink company, and XPO Logistics, are co-creating a 638,000 square foot distribution centre at the new SEGRO East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park in Leicestershire, UK. The facility, a digital warehouse of the future, will be occupied predominantly by Nestlé for its consumer packaged goods and will function as a test bed environment for XPO technology prototypes prior to global release.

The custom-designed distribution centre, scheduled to complete in 2020, will feature advanced sorting systems and robotics alongside state-of-the-art automation co-developed with Swisslog Logistics Automation. The site’s digital ecosystem will integrate predictive data and intelligent machines with the intention of giving consumers faster, more efficient access to Nestlé products.

UK – PIE, which produces mapping aids for the disabled, motorcyclists and truckers, has released an app to guide lorry drivers around London, ensuring they do not transgress the new wave of parking and navigational restrictions. PIE says the LLRA app is the only HGV route planning & navigation service compliant with the strict requirements of the London Lorry Control Scheme.

The app can be used as evidence to London Councils' Lorry Control proving a route was authorised prior to the journey. The routing calculations consider a number of factors including vehicle dimensions, London Lorry Control Scheme etc. with integrated turn by turn instructions. Details can be found here.

UK – Contact Attachments, which designs and manufactures an extensive range of forklift attachments from its base in Mid Wales, is helping customers to handle long and/or awkward loads through providing additional reach to their existing equipment with a range of jibs to fit fork lifts, telehandlers and loaders. The jibs also support users in effectively lifting loads which are unable to be palletised. Dave Manuel, Technical Sales Director at Contact Attachments, explained:

“Our range of jibs includes fixed length, raised-height and articulating jibs, as well as telescopic jibs for even greater height. Each of our jibs can be supplied as either fork-mounted or carriage-mounted, depending on the precise handling requirements. In addition to our standard range, we can also custom-design jibs to a customer’s precise specification if required, and recently produced a 12 metre long jib designed to handle 10,000kgs for use within a marine environment.

“Ensuring optimum handling safety is always paramount, and using our special jib rating chart, we’re able to rate each of our jibs in line with the capacity of the forklift being used – ensuring a precise match each and every time, and offering peace of mind to the operator that they’ll never overload their equipment. All the jibs in our range have been fully tested and adhere to the strictest health and safety guidelines, as well as ISO 9001 quality procedures.”

US – Crowley Maritime Corporation recently received a Humanitarian Award from Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) for its relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The award, which was accepted on the behalf of the company’s Puerto Rico employees by Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO, and Jose Nazario, director of finance in San Juan, was presented during the 41st annual Silver Bell Awards Dinner, which is attended by over 700 members from the shipping industry and associated companies.

In the aftermath of the September storm, Crowley’s liner services and logistics teams, working with government and commercial customers, played an integral role in the recovery. The company’s more than 300 union and administrative employees resumed services and reopened company facilities, including a warehouse and the Isla Grande terminal, just two days after the storm passed, and began discharging government and commercial cargo from vessels to support relief efforts on the island within hours of the US Coast Guard reopening the harbour in San Juan.

ITALY – Freight forwarder Bolloré Logistics, which has six facilities across the country, has been awarded TAPA FSR A certification for its Milan-Pantigliate logistics platform. The Transport Asset Protection Association (TAPA) FSR Level A is awarded to sites with the highest degree of security requirements in storage services. The site, which specialises in fashion and luxury sectors, has therefore satisfied the requirements and now meets all the conditions of protection of goods against acts of theft and crime related to freight.

To achieve the standard required a security cage was constructed within the warehouse and a guard post now provides access control. Identification passes with nominated individual access rights are also supported by enhanced video protection and anti-intrusion technology.

WORLDWIDE – The dangers posed by the seemingly inevitable spread of plastics around the globe and putting life itself at risk are finally becoming more widely acknowledged and have been highlighted throughout the press of late. Whilst inevitably a marketing tool for its ‘sustainable swimwear’, SLO Active has recently published a comprehensive review of the horrendous impact of the insidious spread of plastics throughout our oceans, outlined what we might consider doing about it and provided a variety of sources and links which will help those committed to changing the way we shape the future.

SPAIN – Following on from last week's demonstrations across Europe and at the XPO Logistics European AGM in France, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) has issued a report supporting its previous allegations of gender bias at the company's Alovera II warehouse, Guadalajara, Spain which handles goods for distribution on behalf of ecommerce giant Amazon.

The report can be seen in full here and is based on a variety of sources, principally evidence from the trade union representing the majority of XPO Logistics workers at the facility, the Federación de Servicios para la Movilidad y el Consumo (FeSMC) of the Union General de Trabajadores (UGT). The company conducts the majority of its European operations through its subsidiary, XPO Logistics Europe SA, in which it holds an 86.25% controlling interest.

YEMEN – Latest reports we have from the country indicate that, despite local forces backed by the Saudi led coalition taking Hodeidah airport en route to the city’s port, this vital maritime artery for food and supplies entering the country still remains open for business and under the control of opposing forces. Despite the Houthi backed opposition coming under attack at the port, reportedly by land, sea and air in the ‘Battle of Al Hudaydah’ , they have stated they are confident they will maintain control of facilities which handle 70+% of the country’s vital imports.

Lisa Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen said this week there is no other option to maintain the flow of essential aid entering Yemen saying ‘everything depends on that port’. Three years of war have put upward of 3 million people at risk of starvation if the food supplies dry up for only a few days.

Photo: Hodeidah receives the bulk of the country’s food stocks.