Friday, January 26, 2018

Round-Up! The Week's News from Logistics and Shipping to Ocean Freight and Road Haulage

Some Smaller Itemss from Around the World You May Have Missed
Shipping News Feature
GERMANY – IRELAND – This week's review of some of the smaller stories in the freight and logistics industry starts with a RoRo shipping update as the completed hull of the new Irish Ferries cruise ferry, W B Yeats, named at a ceremony at the shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft by Ms. Rikki Rothwell, was launched stern first into the water. Painted in familiar Irish Ferries livery a previous article told how the new vessel earned its name in an online competition that attracted nearly 100,000 entries.

GERMANY –US – va-Q-tec, a provider of thermal packaging solutions for temperature controlled transportation based in Würzburg, has extended its international portfolio with a new North American Headquarters and operations facility in Langhorne, PA. The company says it has invested several million dollars in the 20,000 square foot facility and the expansion programme.

In addition to showcasing the company’s products the new site will also manufacture its small box containers in Langhorne and the location will operate as a key hub for the rental and repair business. The facility has the capacity to produce 2,000 boxes and 50-100 containers per week.

UK – WORLDWIDE – Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on fleet operators to crackdown on driver distraction, as more than a third (128 fleets) of the organisations surveyed in its annual Fleet Safety Survey do not monitor driver distraction levels. This year’s Fleet Safety Survey, conducted with the support of Licence Bureau, covered the issue of driver distraction, including six separate areas, Mobile phone use, In-vehicle technology, Eating & drinking, Music, Smoking and personal Grooming.

More than 350 fleet operators completed the survey; the majority of respondents are from the UK, with responses also coming from fleets based in Asia, North America, mainland Europe, and Australasia. Respondents manage a total of more than 267,000 vehicles including cars, vans, trucks, buses and mopeds, and more than 35,000 employees driving for work. The size of the fleets varied: the smallest were single-vehicle operators; the largest had over 135,000 vehicles. Key survey findings included:

  • Only 71% of respondents have implemented policies aimed at preventing driver distraction at the wheel.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of the fleets surveyed don’t run any driver education/ awareness sessions, either face-to-face or online, aimed at the topic of driver distraction.
  • Of the fleets surveyed that have driver distraction policies in place, less than a third (32%) include restrictions on the use of hands-free phones, despite the risk of distraction.

JAPAN – K Line has received delivery of the Corona Wisdom an 88,000 DWT-type special coal carrier. One of the Corona series of specialised ships in the fleet for the transport of thermal coal, the vessels are equipped with wide beam and shallow draft, which are the most suitable type to enter ports of domestic Thermal Power Stations to discharge cargo. The new ship is equipped with latest energy saving and ecological technology such as WAD (Weather Adapted Duct) which promotes her propeller efficiency and a ballast water management system which helps preserve marine ecosystems. The vessel brings the K Line fleet of Corona ships to nineteen.

UK – Thomas Miller, the international provider of insurance services, has acquired Brookes Bell, a marine technical and surveying consultancy with offices in Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. The company has served the marine and energy industries since 1903, providing specialist services in areas including emergency response, casualty investigation, salvage and wreck removal operations, scientific cargo expertise, forensic engineering and expert witness services.

The firm is also involved in research and development of ship design support to enhance maritime safety and technology and employs a group of Marine Engineers, Civil Engineers, Master Mariners, Naval Architects, Cargo and Fuel Scientists, Fire Investigators and Metallurgists. Thomas Miller says Brookes Bell will continue to operate independently, with no changes to brand or operational structure.

UK – Wincanton, the road haulage and logistics group, has joined with Virtualstock, a UK-based Software as a Service (SaaS) digital supply chain technology provider, in a partnership designed to strengthen its eFulfilment offering. Virtualstock’s platform delivers integrated ‘Supplier to Consumer’ (S2C) fulfilment functionality, allowing one retailer to sell another retailer or supplier’s goods without ever having to stock or deliver them, thus reducing costs.

This move is apparently just one part of Wincanton’s ambition to deliver a market-leading end-to-end eFulfilment, which is already being used by some of the UK’s biggest retailers, such as Screwfix, Argos and M&S, to its customers. This policy is not having any obvious deleterious effect on what is now claiming to be the UK’s largest logistics company with the news that Wincanton is currently upgrading its fleet with another 100 Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units.

Wincanton’s new trucks, the last of which will be in service by the end of January, are hauling shipping containers on skeletal trailers. Supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van, most are based at Felixstowe, while others work from Liverpool and Birmingham.

UK – Parcel delivery service P2P Mailing Ltd has undergone a rebrand and is now to be known as – P2P! OK, not the most major of changes, and maybe now harder to find in a Google search, but the company is celebrating a new era which has begun with the recently announced completion on a ten year lease for a new facility in the Basildon area.

A new logo and website are also now in place and P2P says it continues to go from strength to strength, recently securing a deal with Marks and Spencer to provide international parcel services for the prestigious British brand, adding to its impressive roster of existing clients which includes Feel Unique and The Hut Group.

EUROPE – Aberdeen-based Sentinel Marine has been awarded a contract to provide a patrol vessel to be chartered by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in international and EU waters. Lundy Sentinel is one of the firm’s growing fleet of new built multi-role emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRVs). The contract to charter the Lundy Sentinel is for an initial period of two years, with an option to extend for a further two years.

The framework contract provides for a maximum amount of €20 million in four years and was awarded following a tender process. The majority of Sentinel Marine’s fleet is used to provide support for the offshore industry, and this is the first time one of its vessels has been utilised for the fisheries sector. EU fisheries inspectors will use Lundy Sentinel as a platform for the monitoring, boarding and inspection of fishing boats as well as associated transport and support vessels. It will be deployed in EU and international waters as well as in third country waters where possible, from the Mediterranean and Black Sea to the North Sea and Baltic Sea, as part of joint deployment plans and other operations.

It is possible that the Lundy Sentinel will also be used for other operations besides fisheries control, in the framework of the European coastguard cooperation, including search and rescue, border control, disruption of trafficking routes, detection of criminal activities and enforcement of EU and national legislations.