This week's round up of news from the world of heavy lift and project forwarding.
Promising signs are coming out of Africa this week, with the Global Investment Trends Monitor report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimating that foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Africa rose by 6.8 percent to USD56.3 billion in 2013.
Such news will appeal to logistics companies wanting to expand their footprint out of Europe and North America, with freight volumes looking set to continue mounting into the African continent, most likely providing project forwarders with an influx of work.
Meanwhile, according to Drewry's newly published Carrier Performance Insight report, liner shipping is becoming less and less reliable as operators ignore service standards in the rush to cut costs.
And the bad news for shippers is that the situation is only going to get worse, says Drewry, having noted that the weaker performance coincided with a raft of skipped voyages, with more planned for the first few of months of 2014.
This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by DHL Industrial Projects, which aims to be the logistics partner of choice to the oil and gas, mining, power generation and construction industries. Its expertise in cargo scheduling and materials management means it can offer tailored solutions for unique outsize cargoes and heavy lifts.
In the corporate world
After reports back in October 2013 of plans for a new bank dedicated to the shipping and offshore industries, Maritime & Merchant AS (M&M) has received regulatory approval to operate the private bank in Norway.
Just over one month since it filed for creditor protection, shipping line OXL says that it is confident that it will meet the May deadline set by the Belgian court to restructure its business and satisfy creditors that it is a credible ongoing concern.
Aeros and Bertling Logistics have signed a memorandum of understanding with a view to evaluate the costs, benefits, and structure for various business relationships including a possible joint venture.
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new SLT heavy haulage vehicle (pictured right), designed for a gross truck and trailer weight of 250 tonnes.
The Port of Corpus Christi has completed its La Quinta Extension Channel, which sees the channel extended to approximately 2.25 km to a depth of 12.5 m below mean tide, while the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a proposal for a multipurpose cargo berth project at the Mumbai Port Trust.
FKAB China has secured a design order from ZPMC's shipping arm for the conversion of an aframax tanker into a semi-submersible heavy lift vessel (pictured right), while KBR has also been awarded a contract for the design development for Heerema Offshore Services' new submersible crane vessel (NSCV).
Shipments of the week
Allseas Global Logistics' project team has transported a yacht (pictured top right) by barge from its shipyard in Rayong, Thailand to the port of Laem Chabang, where it was loaded onto a multipurpose, ocean-going vessel and shipped to Southampton.
Liburnia Maritime Agency delivered two coke chambers (pictured second right) from Ortona to an oil refinery in Sisak, via the Sava River, and constructed a purpose-built pier for the task.
Mammoet assisted the removal of a 100-tonne and 55 m high ventilation stack (pictured third right) from a Silos Direct Encapsulation Plant (SDP) at the Sellafield nuclear power station in the UK.
DAHER-HCS transported a 243-tonne transformer through Schwaikheim to a loading station in Leutenbach on two 10-axle lines of Scheuerle InterCombi trailers.
Van der Vlist transported a 10-tonne Fokker F27 display plane (pictured bottom right), with a height of 3.6 m and length of 23.1 m, from Hoofdorp to the National Military Museum in Soesterberg.
Other notable projects reported by HLPFI this week can be seen on the archive news area of our website.
Got some project news of your own? Send it in to email@example.com
On the move
The USA's GPS Global Project Services merged into Page & Jones Inc, with the former's Heino Winkler joining the latter's team as director of global project services. In Africa, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) appointed David Mackay (pictured right) as senior vice president of its Africa region, based in Mombasa. And in Europe, the founders of the new specialist shipping and offshore bank, M&M, have added Dagfinn Lunde to its board.
The Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC) has appointed RRL Rail & Road Logistics as an exclusive member for Uzbekistan, while the Project Cargo Network (PCN) has appointed its third and final Malaysian representative: Next-Trans Corporation Sdn Bhd. Elsewhere, Project Professionals Group (PPG) has appointed Stier Shipagency, as its project support member for both the Canary Islands and Spain. The XLProjects (XLP) network has also welcomed Express Srl's project division in Milan.
All about Evie
Evie was intrigued by an Economist magazine report, which quotes research undertaken by Dr Erik Postma, of the University of Zurich, indicating that beautiful people are more successful than ugly ones.
Using long-distance cycling for his research, Dr Postma's results suggest that good looks reflect underlying fitness, in both the athletic and the biological senses, adding that data also indicates that this rule applies in both business and politics - and postulating that the underlying reason is that beauty is an indicator of good genes and good health.
This has left Evie pondering whether the two individuals that set up HLPFI, and have been partly responsible for its success, are the exception that proves Dr Postma's rule.