Friday, January 4, 2019

Round Up Of Shipping and Logistics News Starts with a Correction to That RoRo/Container Ship Hijack

Some Snippets of the Week's Smaller Items as We Are Taken to Task on Our Piracy Definition
Shipping News Feature
UK – WORLDWIDE – We are grateful to Melbourne based reader Scott McEwan who took us to task over our dismissal of the recent hijack attempt on the RoRo/Container ship Grande Tema pointing out that the stowaways from Nigeria, all four of whom were arrested after an SBS Helicopter operation in the Thames estuary and have now been further remanded in custody until they appear at Southend Magistrates Court on January 18, probably do comply with the term 'pirate' as defined by article 101 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Whilst the accepted dictionary definition of a pirate is one who robs, or attempts to rob, from a vessel at sea, the UNCLOS definition includes any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft whether it occurs on the high seas or outside the jurisdiction of any State.

If however the offence occurred ‘within a State's internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea’ it would then be considered an armed robbery, the definition for which is: ‘any unlawful act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of piracy, committed for private ends and directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such a ship’.

The above definitions now cover actual or attempted attacks whether the ship is berthed, at anchor or at sea, so yes, we can legitimately call this quartet ‘pirates’.

UK – WORLDWIDE – Associated British Ports (ABP) recently announced a 'significant new service' from the recently developed Hull container terminal which is now capable of handling up to 240,000 TEU per year. The Maersk Line service, operated by BG Line utilising an 800 TEU vessel, has in fact be switched from Immingham, also operated by ABP.

Investment in the Hull facility includes two gantry cranes costing £10.5 million in an overall investment of £50 million and the latest development follows last month’s signing of a £65 million agreement to handle goods for British Steel at the Immingham Bulk Terminal.

UK – Although it began life as a Swiss cargo airline, Transvalair mutated into a global freight forwarder in 1976 and has now become the latest recruit in the Palletways road haulage network, carrying full pallet loads throughout the country via its new bespoke head office in Crawley and four other UK depots using its fleet of 60 vehicles.

ISRAEL – Following the examples of France, Switzerland and Germany the country has decided to try and revive its much maligned postal service by turning to new technology by installing an Innovation Centre in Tel Aviv. Israel Post says it will invest several million shekels in the programme which will involve cooperating with several chosen start up companies which may then attract more investment if successful. Hezi Zaig, Israel Post Chairman, said:

“We will help enterprises grow and transform their products into commercially proven products and beta integration with our professionals, allowing them access to local and international business organizations, including government and public organizations.”

QATAR – OMAN – Since falling out with its Arab neighbours Qatar has had to find a variety of ways to maintain contact with the outside world and the latest move sees a new Ro/Pax vessel from Iranian group Karaneh Line to ferry cars and cargo between Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. The service will take around a day to make the transit from Qatar to Oman.

The Grand Ferry, formerly with the defunct SNCM fleet has been put into service after a refit and is operated by a Piraeus registered company, Go Shipping. The arrangement presumably transgresses the US Treasury sanctions on those who have any dealings with the Iranian regime, particularly in the ports and energy sectors.

SWITZERLAND – BELGIUM – Schweizerzug AG is to increase the frequency of its rail services between its headquarters in Frenkendorf (near Basel) and the Port of Antwerp from two to three weekly roundtrip as from 10 January which will increase capacity for both importers and exporters in Switzerland and neighbouring countries. Schweizerzug also offers daily services between the Frenkendorf train terminal and Niederglatt (near Zurich)to the benefit of shippers in eastern Switzerland.

US – Dallas, Texas-based The Crosby Group LLC, which claims to be the largest lifting, rigging, and material handling hardware company in the world, has completed the acquisition of Straightpoint UK, manufacturer load monitoring and force measurement equipment. The value of the transaction is not disclosed.

The acquisition, effective 2 January 2019, includes the manufacturing facility and headquarters, co-located in Hampshire, UK that will become Crosby’s centre of excellence for load monitoring and measurement, in addition to key personnel based in the US becoming involved in a cooperation which had already been well established as supplier and client.

GERMANY – ITALY – Holzwickede headquartered Rhenus Logistics has announced an agreement to acquire Italian Logistics company Cesped. The acquisition, which will be formalised shortly following approval from the competent antitrust authorities, strengthens the Rhenus position in the Italian road transport market. Cesped will retain its own branding in the areas in which it operates.

Rhenus says this acquisition supports its continued development of its European Roadfreight network with Guido Restelli, Managing Director of Rhenus Logistics Italy saying that the meeting of two family businesses in this way offers great potential for further developments and for new opportunities for customers.

Photo: A family of seals hitch a ride on the bulbous bow of a cargo ship.