This week's round up of news from the world of heavy lift and project forwarding.

This week saw Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi unveil a plan to add an extra lane to the Suez canal, one of the world's most important thoroughfares for trade, in an attempt to increase the number of ships using it each day.

The 145-year old Suez Canal is the fastest shipping link connecting Europe and Asia and Sisi believes that its expansion has the potential to provide long-lasting stability to the Egyptian economy, which has been battered by three years of political instability.

A new 45-mile (72.4 km) section will be run alongside the existing 101-mile (162.5 km) channel, which will allow vessels to easily navigate in both directions.

According to news in the Egyptian media, Mohab Mamish, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, hopes that the new channel will be working within a year.

Such a quick turnaround is hard to believe, however, especially considering the delays that have continued to haunt the development of the Panama Canal expansion project.

This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by EGYTRANS, which specialises in logistical solutions for large projects including transport of sensitive equipment and packages of exceptional weight or dimensions.

In business

A seasonal improvement in sea freight volumes during the second quarter of 2014 saw Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding's (WWH) revenue grow 6 percent year-on-year to USD965 million.

During the first half of 2014, the Port of Zeebrugge handled over 22 million tonnes of freight, up 3.7 percent compared with 2013's first semester.

The Logwin Group posted an increase in its operating result (EBITA) to EUR12.3 million (USD16.4 million) for the first half-year of 2014, compared with EUR10.7 million (USD14.3 million) in the same period last year.

CEVA Holdings saw a 6 percent rise in revenue year-on-year during its second quarter of 2014 at USD1.978 billion.

Martin Bencher signed an agency agreement with Chennai based MB Projects and Logistics.

TNT Crane signed a definitive agreement to acquire Stampede/Eagle West.

Ballast Nedam signed a contract with E.ON for the installation of monopiles at the German Amrumbank West offshore wind farm.

Capacity developments

Cosco Shipping Co. Ltd. (Coscol) signed a contract with CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding for the construction of a 50,000 dwt semi-submersible vessel.

Austin Crane Services took delivery of its first Tadano ATF 90G-4 all terrain crane.

Sennebogen will introduce its new telescopic crawler crane with a safe working load of over 100 tonnes in the autumn of 2014

Canaveral Port Authority plans to spend USD1.6 million to fund a new cyber-security programme.

Following a series of repair and renewal jobs by Shipdock Amsterdam, the two jack-up vessels Seajacks Leviathan and Seajacks Kraken are ready for their upcoming assignments.

Shipments of the week

Canada's Mantoria transported two large reactors, weighing 635.8 tonnes and 490 tonnes respectively, from Japan to South Korea.

Air Partner and Ruslan International worked together to transport an entire portable hospital from Turkey to Tangier in Morocco, on board an AN-124 freighter aircraft.

Coscol's semi-submersible vessel Xiang Yun Kou transported a 10,000-tonne subsea oil storage tank from Dubai to the UK's Lerwick Harbour.

TAG Energy Solutions undertook the load out of four 650-tonne monopile foundations and four transition pieces, destined for the Humber Gateway offshore wind farm (pictured below).

Other notable projects reported by HLPFI this week can be seen on the archive news area of our website.

Got some shipment news of your own? Send it in to

Capital projects and contracts

The European Commission approved Siemens' acquisition of Rolls Royce's aero-derivative gas turbine business.

Balfour Beatty and Carillion ended discussions regarding a possible merger.

Gazprom Neft began drilling an exploration well at the Shakal block in Kurdistan (Iraq) and is soon to commence drilling on a second exploration well.

For a fuller round up of capital projects and contracts announced this week please visit the HLPFI website or contact David Kershaw.

On the move

Air Charter Service (ACS) promoted Nick Harris to the role of cargo director for the Middle East, based in Dubai, while Agility appointed David Richards as regional director of fairs and events in Europe. Nurminen Logistics is opening an office in Moscow, which will be headed up by Kauko Tanninen. In Finland, the company also appointed Pasi Kuusijärvi to the role of sales manager for its special transports and projects business. Juern Schmidt, managing director of Hansa Meyer Global Transport, was appointed to the advisory board of Jacobs University's International Logistics department. Subsea 7 opened a new bespoke spoolbase facility at Edinburgh's Port of Leith.

Network news

The CLC Projects network gained one new member representing Russia and Laos: OOO Hacklin CIS. India's Hub & Links Logistics joined the Pacific Power Logistics (PPL) network. The XLProjects (XLP) network welcomed five new members to its roster, including: Wilhelmsen Ships Service in the UAE; Benfi Freight Kenya; AMAX Supply Chain Co. in Vietnam; Sea Hawk Global Lines in Malaysia and Myanmar; and Lion Shipping and Chartering in Romania. In other network news, Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) affiliate, the SC&R Foundation, expanded its grant programme for individuals wishing to further careers related to the crane, rigging and specialised transportation industry by USD25,000.

All about Evie

Evie wondered this week about the overwhelming power of robots, when she read a report by the New Scientist which stated that Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering has begun outfitting workers with wearable exoskeletons for heavy lifting duties.

The 60 lbs (27.2 kg) units, which are made of carbon, steel and aluminum alloy, support themselves when attached, so that the worker feels no extra weight. Evie looks forward to seeing how this phenomenon will develop in the future.

Another innovation also caught Evie's eye this week, with news of a revolutionary cargo aircraft concept known as the VV-Plane. The prototype helicopter is based on a hybrid system and designed to move cargoes to areas with little or no infrastructure.

Evie has already planned her trip to the device's presentation, which is being held at the Lydd airport in the UK on September 26.