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

With 2014 around the corner, our last Friday Flyer of 2013 brings you a cross-section of notable developments that we have covered this year.

In 2013 there was ongoing debate about ballast water and ship emissions that will not be silenced; the issues of container shipping alliances and weight would not go away; the latest instalment in the Panalpina antitrust saga played out with the preliminary agreement to settle a US antitrust class action; while the nightmare of a potential closure of the Suez Canal was avoided.

Piracy on the high seas continued to threaten the world's trade lanes at a time when an ever-increasing size and weight of shipments was noted in many quarters. While the offshore development of wind-farms continued to provide income and consignments for heavy lift shipping, onshore developments in fracking, especially in the UK and North America, promise to create new opportunities for project forwarders though the jury remains out on whether UK and EU fracking could ever reach the volumes currently experienced in the USA.

The shipping business remained uneasy throughout 2013 as international finance continued to repair itself after the 2007/8 crash. Ship finance remained tight, which helped fuel continued merger and acquisition activity. In April, two of Germany's leading ship owning and ship management companies made headlines when they came up with a suggestion to have a concerted lay-up of ships in order to reduce capacity in the market.


Friday Flyers through the year

In a year when we carried more than 1,000 articles in the Friday Flyer, here's a selection of some that caught our eyes during 2013.

January saw BNSF Logistics acquire EP-Team; Subsea 7 - 50 percent owner of Seaway Heavy Lifting - decide to consolidate its renewable energy division into its partner company; and Nordana order a quartet of newbuilds. In February, we reported that CaytransBBC had strengthened its Caribbean service while Dockwise accepted the Boskalis takeover bid; China Navigation took delivery of the first of eight 31,000 dwt, multipurpose and highly fuel efficient S-Class vessels.

In March, we saw Rickmers-Linie launch a new westbound round-the-world service while, in the air, we reported that Chapman Freeborn teamed up with Lufthansa Cargo. In April, we noted that NYK Line had confirmed that NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers Ltd would be created in October. In the same month, Nordana placed an order with Italian yard, Visentini for the first of its next generation of multipurpose ro-ro vessels.

May's news beat was busy for Friday Flyer reporters as we noted that that CONDOCK and K/S Combi Lift combined while BigLift and RollDock launched BigRoll. Hull Blyth acquired Mainport Africa Shipping and Kestrel Maritime in South Africa. Pacific International Lines (PIL), Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA (WWASA) and Subsea 7 all ordered newbuild vessels for delivery in 2014 and 2015. There was mystery over reports of an order at China's Jiangsu Hongqiang Marine Heavy Industry with an unspecified German company for four 12,500 dwt multipurpose heavy lift vessels.

June saw STX Pan Ocean bow out as Maximus Air grounded its fleet of A300 freighters. In a challenge to the Suez and Panama duopoly, Nicaragua's National Assembly said a Chinese company would be contracted to build a canal across Nicaragua linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Clipper Projects and Thorco Shipping merged in July as Hansa Heavy Lift purchased two F-class vessels. Cosco Shipping confirmed that its Hong Kong subsidiary had inked an order for four multipurpose vessels with Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (NACKS) as BigLift Shipping's latest fleet addition, Happy Sky, entered service.

As British summer ended, in August Scheuerle and Nicolas launched the Superflex trailer as Nooteboom launched a new semi low-loader. In September, BigRoll Shipping contracted COSCO Dalian Shipyard to build two MC Class module carriers for the transportation of ultra-large and heavy modular cargoes. The Chinese-Polish joint venture company Chipolbrok contracted with Shanghai Shipyard for a series of heavy lift ships.

October saw the sale of Dockwise Yacht Transport to Sevenstar Yacht Transport and the maiden voyage of MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping's Golden Karoo. On the corporate front, Scandinavian Shipping and Neptumar merged. In November, Allseas revealed it would build a second single-lift platform installation and decommissioning vessel while newcomer Ocean7 Projects begun operating a fleet of multipurpose and heavy lift vessels. HLPFI noted that another new shipping line is set to enter the multipurpose market with Symphony Ventures reported to have placed a contract with Ferus Smit to construct half a dozen ships with its brand-new ECOBOX design.

The last month of the year saw no slowing down in news: COSCO Shipping Co (COSCOL) confirmed earlier reports that it will build four 36,000 dwt multipurpose vessels at CSSC Guangzhou Huangpu Shipbuilding at costs of CNY246million (USD40 million) each, while RollDock took delivery of the RollDock Star.


In the corporate world

Dockwise inked its largest-ever contract when it agreed to supply module transport services for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project in Western Australia for Bechtel. The USD275 million deal will see Dockwise handle the logistical management and transportation of over 100 modules from the Wheatstone Project manufacturing yards in China and Malaysia to the project site and require six Dockwise heavy marine transport vessels (HTVs).


Capacity developments

Ferus Smit shipyard has launched the multipurpose cargo vessel Reggeborg (pictured), the largest ship ever built by the shipyard, which will be delivered to Wagenborg Shipping in February 2014. The 23,300 dwt vessel has an overall length of 169.75 m and is the second in a series of three multipurpose ships to be delivered to the Netherlands based shipping line by the shipyard.

Crane Rental Corporation is expanding its heavy haul logistics division after significant investment in crane capacity. The company had added its third 850-tonne capacity Manitowoc 18000 to its fleet, along with a new 600-tonne capacity Terex AC500 hydraulic truck crane and a 68.3 m long Trail King dual lane transport trailer.

NYK will launch a new South Pacific Link (SPL) service between the Far East and the South Pacific islands from January, 2014.

NordiKmaritime's fortnightly European coastal service between Bilbao, Spain and Esbjerg, Denmark is being enhanced to accommodate inducement calls at ports en route.


Notable shipments

Guangzhou Sunshine Int'l Logistics has shipped four sets of gantry cranes (pictured top right) from the port of Dafeng, China to the port of Cigading in Indonesia; StederDelta Group moved four 17-tonne beer tanks from Bratislava, Slovakia to Poti, Georgia; and EMS Chartering and EMS Log completed the door-to-door delivery of a 360-tonne wind turbine from Poland and Germany to central Sweden.

Wagenborg Nedlift transported eight crystallisers (pictured second right) and other equipment for a new building project from Genk, Belgium to the DSM site at Chemelot in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands, whilst what is claimed to be the world's largest offshore wind turbine, has been transported and erected at the Energy Park Fife in Scotland by Mammoet.

Seven Seas Shipping has transported five transformers from Masan Port in South Korea to the new Shat-al-Basra gas power plant using five low-loaders and 75 trailers to move the consignment, which weighed almost 1,900 tonnes, from the port of arrival in Iraq.

Jacky Line has shipped 35 Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines (pictured bottom right) from Israel to Kansas City in Missouri, whilst Egyptian Transport and Logistics (Egytrans) has transported two pressure vessels from Petrojet's El Katameya site in Cairo to the Ethydco ethylene plant in Alexandria, Egypt.


Network news

B & B International has joined the Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC) as an exclusive member for France; L.Branco - Navegação e Trânsitos has joined the Global Project Logistics Network (GPLN), representing Portugal and Agora Logistics & Distribution has become the latest company to join the Project Partners network, representing Cameroon.

People and places

Julian Velez (pictured) has joined Hawaiian Ocean Transport (HOT) as new business development manager from Old Dominion Freight Line.


All about Evie

What a year for HLPFI says Evie. Not content with launching a new website in 2013, and adding over 2,000 companies to the magazine's circulation, HLPFI packed its own bags and moved office. If that wasn't enough drama for a girl, the new office just escaped destruction last week when a 70-foot Scots Pine tree toppled into the car park during the unseasonal storms that thrashed the southeast of England.

Evie recalls fondly that four HLPFI journalists collected silverware at the Seahorse Club shipping industry journalism awards this month. Well done you talented scribes!

From all the team at HLPFI, best wished for a very happy, successful and prosperous 2014.