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

The beginning of this week saw the Russian rouble suffer its greatest one-day fall since 1998, dropping by 6.5 percent against the dollar. The slide has been put down to a combination of plunging oil prices and the detrimental effect of the sanctions imposed on the country, following Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

Yesterday, Vladimir Putin delivered an impassioned state of the union address to the federal assembly, encouraging his fellow Russians to remain resilient in the face of hard times, and proposing that the sanctions are not necessarily a disadvantage, but only a means in which the country can be motivated to achieve its goals more effectively.

The Moscow Times quoted Putin as saying that "Russia will be open for the world, for cooperation, for attracting foreign investments, for carrying out joint projects. But the main thing we need to understand is that our development depends on ourselves first and foremost." 

Putin is unwavering in his resolution, and he is backed by the majority of the Russian population. But it is unclear what effect the country's crumbling economy and the oil price crash will have on Putin's Russia next year. Moreover, the lower oil prices fall, the weaker the Russian government's budget position is likely to become. Russia has been warned that it will fall into recession next year.

With the oil and gas sector providing a substantial amount of work for project forwarders operating in the Russian market, the tumbling oil price is a strong cause for concern. Oil majors are certain to scale back exploration capital investments as profitability plummets, and the supporting heavy lift and project logistics community will be forced to reassess its exposure to the shrinking market.

HLPFI will focus on the sector in its annual feature on Russia in the March/April 2015 edition of the magazine. If you have any comments or would like to contribute to the article, please contact Annie Roberts at or on +44 1689 857 631.


In business

Further update on BBC surcharges

Amending its previous notifications, and in response to offset regional cost characteristics, BBC Chartering has altered its low sulphur surcharges on trade lanes crossing emission control areas.

UTi and DSV respond to acquisition rumours

DSV and UTi Worldwide responded to a Bloomberg article published on December 3, which reported that the two companies have been evaluating the possibility of entering into an agreement concerning DSV's acquisition of UTi.

Broekman Group divests

After 30 years, the Broekman Group is saying farewell to both its Car Terminal and the Broekman Automotive Division, which have both been acquired by C.RO Ports.

Bremen seeks offshore terminal operator

The Federal Land of Bremen has initiated a Europe-wide tender procedure to find an operator for the Offshore Terminal Bremerhaven (OTB).


Contractual obligations

Another mark in the sand for Seaway

Seaway Heavy Lifting has been awarded the transportation and installation contract for the Sandbank substation by Bladt Industries.

Lufthansa and ANA launch JV

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa Cargo have launched an air cargo joint venture, which will see both airlines execute joint sales of shipments on flights between Japan and Europe.



Capacity developments

MACS in transatlantic service launch

MACS Maritime Carrier will begin a new multipurpose service connecting the UK and northwest Europe with the US Gulf, Mexico and US East Coast in January 2015.

Third time lucky for Max Bögl

Max Bögl took delivery of its third Liebherr LTM 11200-9.1 telescopic mobile crane.

Happy Star makes maiden voyage

BigLift Shipping's newbuild heavy lift vessel Happy Star loaded her first cargo in Nantong.

Everett plans to strengthen wharf

IMCO General Construction is to begin work on a USD2.55 million upgrade at the Port of Everett's South Terminal, strengthening the wharf in order to support heavier ro-ro cargo operations. 


Shipment of the week

Coordinadora ships four modules, two weighing almost 1,000 tonnes, for the OPTARA oil refinery project in Antwerp.


On the move

Lerwick strengthens management team

The board of Lerwick Port Authority is strengthening its senior management team in light of the continuing activity and development at the Scottish harbour.

Leo launches in Myanmar

FPS Logistics Thailand (FPST), a wholly owned subsidiary of Leo Global Logistics, has established a new operation in Myanmar.


Network and association developments

Ruru Company in Tanzania and Infinity Cargo from Hong Kong joined the Pacific Power Logistics (PPL) network.

The XLProjects (XLP) network gained Moroccan Cargo Partner as a new member in Morocco.


All about Evie

Evie was excited to hear this week that two of Finnair's Airbus 321 aircraft will take to the skies in Christmas livery again this year, with the airline being dubbed the 'Official Airline of Santa Claus' again.

She will be waiting at her bedroom window to catch sight of the Finnish airline dropping Santa off on her rooftop.

In another airfreight development, Evie congratulates Aeros on the delivery of its latest 40D Sky Dragon airship to Mexico-based operators, and hopes to soon see some more news about the progress of the Aeroscraft and it heavy lift capabilites, which could help transform the heavy air cargo industry.

News also reached Evie this week of the SC&RA's 2015 Specialized Transportation Symposium, which has been set for March 3-6 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia.

With attendance expected to surpass that of the 2014 symposium, Evie suggests you get booking now!

Evie also commends the Project Cargo Network's (PCN) fundraising arm - the PCN Foundation - which has raised USD14,755 for The Dream Trust in India since 2012.