This week Cosco Shipping confirmed that its Hong Kong subsidiary has placed an order for a further four multipurpose vessels with Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co.

Few owners in the world's multipurpose and heavy lift sector anticipate delivery of new tonnage after 2014. And Drewry's recent presentation on the MPV fleet revealed that despite the price of newbuild and secondhand ships falling to levels not seen since 2002/2003, the orderbook is now under 10 percent of the total fleet.

The fact that the order is part of Cosco's fleet renewal programme and comes on top of an earlier order for eight multipurpose ships, two of which have been delivered and are in service, says a lot about the company's ambitions in this sector.

This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by DHL Industrial Projects which aims is 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
Freight tonnage at the Port of Antwerp in H1 2013 barely increased over H1 2012, rising just two percent to 95.6 million tonnes while conventional breakbulk traffic fell by 0.4 percent to 5.3 million tonnes in the same period.

Formaco has signed a contract with Irizar Forge for the exclusive sale of the latter's forged lifting hooks, crane lifting blocks and associated equipment in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Chapman Freeborn has rebranded its on-board courier (OBC) service, following a successful global expansion of the product during 2012.

Erickson Air-Crane now owns Air Amazonia Serviços Aeronauticos and acquires a fleet of six aircraft (pictured top right) and ground facilities, in a USD23 million deal that closes in Q3 2013.

Per Thörnblom, group project logistics manager for the GAC Group, will share his thoughts on the impact of technology when planning project movements with attendees of the PowerLogistics Asia 2013 exhibition and conference, which will be hosted in Singapore in October.

Saudi Airlines Cargo handled 270,000 tonnes of cargo in H1 2013, up 4 percent year-on-year over the equivalent period of 2012. Revenues were up by six percent year-on-year.

Capacity developments
Cargolux International has recommenced its weekly B747 freighter service to Santiago de Chile, which will operate via Viracopos in Brazil.

ALE has inked a multimillion dollar order with Nooteboom Trailers for 16 extendible 8-axle semi-low loaders and 4-axle Quatro extendable telesteps units for the transportation of wind turbine parts.

The Port of Everett, USA has received a USD1.5 million grant from Washington State to complete the second phase of the port's ro-ro cargo facility.

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) has received its newbuild 26,000 dwt general cargo vessel, Bahri Tabuk, from the Hyundai MIPO Shipyard in South Korea.

Network news
SFS Global Logistics and Jacky Line Group have both become members of XLProjects (XLP).

The Global Project Logistics Network (GPLN) will celebrate its 10th anniversary at its next AGM in Bangkok, Thailand, from March 16-18, 2014, just after the Breakbulk China 2013 exhibition.

People and places
Former Port of Antwerp International ceo Gunther Ginckels is now business unit director breakbulk at Euroports Benelux and France.

A pair of appointments has strengthened Geodis Wilson in Asia: Rene Bach-Larsen has been appointed cluster managing director of Singapore and South East Asia while Leif Voelcker is now managing director of Geodis India.

Russell Mears will become group chief executive of the UK's Freightliner Group from September, replacing Peter Maybury who is retiring.

UTi Worldwide Inc. has named Bruce Hulings, who joins the company from Ceva Logistcs, as its global vp projects, mining and energy.

KOG Transport has opened an office in Vietnam. ??The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has appointed transportation industry veteran Douglas Brittin as its new Secretary General, effective August 15. He replaces Daniel Fernandez, who had held the position since 1999.

All about Evie
Evie notes that Geodis Wilson has successfully completed the loading of the first four lock gates to be shipped to Panama, which comes just after the Nicaraguan Parliament voted in favour of building a USD40 billion canal across the country to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Of course, Nicaragua is the latest to join this transport artery-building bandwagon for the region. El Salvador and Honduras have plans to connect El Salvador's recently constructed La Union port with Honduras' Atlantic coast via a railroad and highway. Guatemala also plans to develop a dry canal comprising ports, roads, rail and an oil pipeline.

Reports suggest that if the Nicaraguan canal project could be started in 2014, it could be finished by 2020, but Evie wonders if that could be two coulds, too many.