As 2012 draws to its close, HLPFI staff and Friday Flyer readers around the world are wondering what 2013 will bring in the business of heavy lift and project cargo.
If the news from this week, and indeed the last few weeks is anything to go by, next year will continue to see restructuring among service providers and transport intermediaries. One thing is for certain, we will try to ensure that the Friday Flyer remains a useful round-up of events in the sector over the last week.
The HLPFI team will be enjoying our first mince pie of festive season as we read this week's issue, which is again sponsored by Broekman Project Services, located in the Port of Rotterdam, which offers a total solution for handling and assembly of project cargoes - www.broekman-group.com/bps
MAKING CENTS OF NEXT YEAR
Friday Flyer readers contemplating the prospects for the business in 2013 will be watching the impending US 'fiscal cliff' and its likely reduction in government spending with some concern.
Commentators suggest that the deficit will be reduced by roughly half beginning in the first days of 2013. Much activity in our sector is driven by federal and state expenditure so any turning off of the fiscal tap will be a matter of importance to material and cargo handlers who support such investment, and not just in the USA.
2013 seems certain to be marked with big money moves throughout the industry: the news that the Luxembourg government is prepared to buy the 35 percent shareholding in the Duchy's home-based B747 freighter operator Cargolux after Qatar Airways said it would pull out, shows that strategic government spending will still happen.
There are Chinese whispers in the Luxembourg parliament that the government is in talks with the Chinese HNA Group, which operates the Yangtze River Express freighter fleet, as well as other potential bidders.
This week brought the news that the proposed deal for Netherlands-based shipbuilder VeKa Group to take over financially troubled Sietas shipyard in Hamburg, has failed to be completed.
Sietas managers, looking over the empty order book, must be wondering where the euros and cents will come from next year.
ON THE BUSINESS PAGES
Bloomberg, which knows a thing or two about business, is reporting that South Korea's STX Group is considering the sale of its shareholding in STX Pan Ocean Co, South Korea's largest dry bulk ship operator, as part of a scheme to raise finance via asset sales to reduce debt.
In the same part of the world, COSCO Shipping Company (COSCOL) has snapped up 100 percent of the shares in Guangzhou Ocean Shipping from China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company with a price tag of around USD175 million. As this issue was being formatted, there were also unconfirmed reports in the Chinese media that COSCOL would be establishing two separate joint ventures in the Netherlands and the USA with NMA Maritime & Offshore Contractors, formalising a working relationship stretching back over 20 years and providing shipping services for offshore and heavy lift project cargoes. Watch out next week for more news.
Completing the hat-trick, it has been confirmed that Japan's Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) is preparing to merge two key wholly-owned subsidiaries, NYK-Hinode Line (which transports a variety of cargo such as plant and heavy equipment) and NYK Global Bulk Corporation.
The aim is to improve efficiencies and service quality and to make use of the NYK Group's synergy to grow beyond the bounds of their existing business models for the two companies. We understand that the date of the impending merger will be determined in March 2013 and integration of the businesses is expected from October 2013. Again, more to follow next week.
SIX-PACK FOR DOCKWISE
You'll be able to book into a yacht-hotel next year, thanks to Breda-based shipping company Dockwise. The transportation of the floating guesthouse is just one of six contracts awarded to Dockwise for 2012 and 2013 totalling USD60 million. Next year, a project in the Americas will utilise Dockwise's new floating super pallet concept.
HATS OFF TO THE CANAL'S FUTURE
This week saw the recently retired commissioner of the Panama Canal Authority (PCA), Alberto Alemán Zubieta, considering that the present USD5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal will not be the last as ships just keep getting bigger.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR PRESIDENT
Smith Maritime of Cove Springs, Florida purchased the 104 m, ro-ro barge 'Foss 343' and wisely renamed it the 'Marilyn Monroe'. She will be the sister vessel to 92.3 m ocean barge 'Elvis', who has remained in the building.
ON THE FORWARDING FRONT
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has given its support to a new network representing the interests of the independent freight forwarding sector - the Elite Association of Logistic Networks (ELITE) - which will act as the voice of small and medium-sized independent cargo agents and will engage with
industry associations, regulators and government agencies.
V Alexander International Logistics reported that it successfully delivered two oversized heat exchangers from Berlin to Nizhnekamsk, Tartarstan, 2,000 km east of Moscow; whilst Allcargo Logistics has won a contract from Reliance International to handle and transport 66 units of super over-dimension cargo (SODC) from ports across India to Bina, Madhya Pradesh, India. Both companies are members of the Cargo Equipment Experts (CEE) network.
ART FOR ART'S SAKE
Anyone visiting Melbourne, Australia this month should drop into an exhibition taking place at the city's Mission to Seafarers at 717 Flinders. Bridgit Thomas' exhibition of drawings and watercolours provide a perspective on the superstructures of oil rigs and transporters as they glide through the bay without fanfare or fuss.
DR DOOLITTLE'S DUCKING AND DIVING
It might not have been herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plains, but Nurminen Logistics transported the 'Shy Black', an artwork by Finnish sculptress Miina Äkkijyrkkä, between Finland and the UK. The bull, constructed from scrap metal, was lifted on to a special transport trailer in Helsinki and transported via ship to the UK. The metal sculpture was then delivered to Barnards Farm sculpture park in the UK.
At the same time, London was ducking and diving as a 15 metre high rubber duck sailed up the River Thames. The bright yellow duck was launched from West India Dock in East London, then floated along the river, past London landmarks, the O2 Arena and Canary Wharf, before the Tower Bridge roadway was raised to allow the oversized bath toy to pass through. The giant duck, which took eight people 800 man-hours to make, was part of a publicity stunt by jackpotjoy.com to promote its new FUNdation - a GBP250,000 initiative to get Britain laughing again by handing out cash to stage outrageous and fun
HATCHES, MATCHES AND DISPATCHES
Mazzacano has a new task in the New Year as vice president of sales and marketing for US high-performance rope manufacturer Samson following 14 years looking after the company's purse strings as finance vice president.
Old Africa hand John O Bomer IV has will serve as special consultant to the ceo of Intermarine LLC, the New Orleans-headquartered marine logistics provider. His beat will be the company's expansion in Africa.
ALL ABOUT EVIE
Evie Aufheben, our sassy gossip columnist, is watching the heavy lift world go by for those quirky and off-beat stories she so loves.
After toiling at her PC this week, Ms Aufheben needed little excuse to pop along to the Seahorse Club this week. This long-standing and noble social occasion sees journalists, PRs and industry figures in the shipping, air cargo and maritime fields meet up for a festive drink and social banter.
Evie nearly choked on her Chardonnay when her BFF (Best Friend Forever for freight people over 25 years of age) Ian Martin Jones, the new editor of HLPFI, picked up the John Richman Lifetime Achievement Award. Well done Ian, said Evie, as she raised a further glass of Chardonnay to his success.
Bath time for Evie is all about pampering, bubbles, glasses of Champagne and hot and cold running male masseurs. As a sophisticated lady who lunches, her bath routine is not normally about yellow rubber ducks. However, she just had to rise from her warm bath, done her cosy bath robe and go to the window of her pad in Docklands to watch a 15 m rubber duck sail majestically by her apartment. The life of a lady who bathes!
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JOIN US ON LINKEDIN
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Work is progressing on the first issue of 2013, issue 30, so do consider submitting editorial contributions or booking some advertising. There are still some opportunities to join the likes of Broekman Project Services, CEE, WWPC, GPLN, DHL, and PCN, by sponsoring our Friday Flyer. Contact Ian Matheson on +44 (0) 1689 857631 or for more information on any of the above.