Friday, March 27, 2020

Virus Again Dominates Our Weekly Logistics News Round-Up

Covid-19 Infects Almost Every Story
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – With the Covid-19 virus sweeping the planet there really isn't much else within transport and logistics not touched by the subject, despite attempts to maintain a sense of normality as the industry goes about the business of keeping society resupplied via a uninterrupted supply chain.

UK – Having upscaled efforts to boost the flow of freight across the Dover Straits this week, P&O Ferries has furloughed 1100 staff not needed to run its ships now passenger numbers have basically dropped to zero as those services have been suspended.

For those employees in Britain affected, the Government scheme will cover 80% of their salary and the company will cover the rest up to their basic salary. Other European countries have similar schemes.

UK – The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) has reiterated its objections to the ‘no net loss’ requirement on existing industrial land from the London Plan in a letter to the government. Whilst it acknowledges the need for new housing in and around London, it makes the case that this should not be at the expense of land for logistics.

Land for industry and logistics is being lost at three times the anticipated level of release in the previous Mayor’s London Plan, a rate which UKWA believes is harmful and unsustainable, and CEO Peter Ward is saying London must remain economically competitive, with residents able to have access to the range of goods and services that they need on a daily basis.

WORLDWIDE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the potential revenue loss for European carriers is $76 billion and passenger demand is projected to be 46% below 2019 levels. A decline of this magnitude puts at risk about 5.6 million jobs and $378 billion in GDP supported by air transport.

IATA is pressing for urgent action from European governments to provide financial relief to airlines. It says some European governments have already acted, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, and Italy. But more help is needed and IATA is calling for a combination of direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market, and tax relief.

WORLDWIDE – DNV GL say that their introduction of remote vessel surveys in October 2018 has now seen over 15,000 undertaken, using online technology for surveyors to inspect and provide support to vessels anywhere in the world, with documentation, images, video (streaming or recordings) and input provided by the customer and crew on board.

The technology has suddenly assumed a new importance with the necessity for as little direct human contact as possible. The company says remote surveys have provided the flexibility customers need, with global round the clock coverage, and improved efficiency through reduced travel times and increased availability.

PANAMA – Whilst every port in the world is taking precautions against infection, the Canal is one of the key waterways in the world and, in accordance with Panama Canal regulations and recommendations from the Ministry of Health of Panama (MINSA) and the World Health Organization, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) assures us it has taken all steps to maintain services.

Teams have been set up with the necessary staffing levels in order to maintain the safe operation of the waterway and provide continuous service to international trade. These teams will be transferred to and from their work areas in special transport and in small groups, with the aim of reducing the risk of infection and operational shifts will be established to ensure that all workers are adequately rested.

KURDISTAN – IRAQ – The fighting in the region these days is, as with the rest of the world, against the virus, and now Middle East specialist Move One has successfully assisted in the clearance and delivery of a test batch of Thermal Screening Cameras for the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Health and Border Security Forces.

The company’s Erbil International Airport team managed to clear and deliver the first batch of the devices in record time in order to assist the Ministry of Health and the Border Security Forces to roll out their new temperature screening programme at all airports and border crossing points across Iraq for when passenger movements resume.

UAE – Autoterminal Khalifa Port, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Ports and Autoterminal Barcelona, the operator of the advanced RoRo terminal at Khalifa Port, has unveiled an all-new technical centre aimed at diversifying the portfolio of services on offer to customers.

As the first facility of its kind in the region, the centre provides a wide range of value-added services for customers within the Middle East’s automotive market. From pre-delivery inspection to accessory fitting, automotive importers stand to benefit from reduced labour and transportation costs, as vehicles can be prepared for showroom display or the receiving consignee without needing to visit a third-party facility.

Photo: DNV GLs ability to perform essential vessel surveys remotely has become a crucial tool in difficult times.