If you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, you don't need an economist to help you understand the implications of PWC's suggestion this week that half of Germany's maritime shipping companies plan to enter alliances with peers o

Modern business speak describes it as "platform solutions"; in truth it's about survival in a time of reduced rates and revenues. The news that Maersk Line has agreed an operating alliance with its two biggest rivals, MSC and CMA CGM can only raise eyebrows in the sector. Perhaps they were inspired by the call from Briese Schiffahrts and Fehn Ship Management earlier this year for carriers to shorten shipping capacity.

The concern has to be that in their fight to survive lowering rates and falling revenues, anti-competitive behaviour creeps in. Could the move force smaller rivals out of the three trades affected?

This week's Friday Flyer is 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

In the corporate world
Despite securing court receivership, STX Pan Ocean Co saw its shares slump this week to their lowest levels in Seoul since it was originally listed. Thursday saw the shipping company file for bankruptcy protection in the USA, to shield its assets from creditors there.

In the USA, trucking companies are facing new hours-of-service regulations on mandatory early morning breaks, which could have a significant impact on heavy cargo transport, which typically takes place at night.

On a more positive note, BBC Chartering has strengthened its position in the South Korean market after a recent re-organisation by creating a team of ten employees to deliver chartering, operations and technical services in the country. The unit is led by Paul Kim as managing director.

Capacity developments
Cargolux Airlines International has added Muscat, Oman to its network, serving the Omani capital from Luxembourg. It has also added a direct B747-8 service connecting Hong Kong and Columbus, Ohio; and launched its first B747-8 freighter service into Brazil (pictured top right). Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is now a freighter station on the Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo network.

MAX Trailer has added a new model to its fleet, the MAX 300, a step frame trailer with three-axles and ramps, designed for the transport of small to medium-sized plant machinery and vehicles (pictured bottom right); whilst Wagenborg Nedlift has taken delivery of a 750-tonne Liebherr LR1750 crawler crane.

Network news
Over two days, project forwarders gathered in Barcelona for the seventh WCA Projects annual conference where more than 100 delegates met for one-on-one business meetings and social networking events, hearing presentations from several specialist suppliers.

It's a full house now for Project Cargo Network (PCN) in Thailand as it approves Transpo International as its third and final country member.

People and places
Christopher J. Connor is now president and ceo of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), taking over from Arild B. Iversen, who moves sideways in the group.

Gokalp Ertugrul will manage the new C.H. Robinson Europe office in Turkey.

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge (pictured bottom right), Lambert-St. Louis International airport director, has been elected to the US National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC).

Peters & May has appointed Boeckmans as its agent for the Benelux countries.

Liebherr has opened a USD20 million sales and service centre in Miami, USA as a hub for its maritime cranes division.
ISS Tositti has opened two new offices in Sicily, Italy, in Gela and Palermo.

GAC UK has relocated its operations to larger facilities at Greenhead Base in Lerwick, the Shetland Islands.

All about Evie
Evie enjoys in revealing jargon from high up officialdom. Her jargonmeter went into overdrive when she read a message to the European Shippers' Council from José Manuel Barroso - resident of the European Commission - to congratulate the association on its 50th anniversary.

Platitudes about trade, climate change and the "Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" fell over themselves in the letter. Perhaps he should have simply written that the ESC has, for 50 years, undertaken sterling work as the "eyes and ears" for its member organisations - the national shippers' councils in Europe. Simples.

Over 100 delegates met for the 7th WCA Projects conference in Barcelona this week