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

Shipping losses continued on a downward trend during 2013, with 94 losses reported worldwide over the course of the year and falling below 100 for only the second time in 12 years, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE's (AGCS) second annual Safety and Shipping Review 2014.

The report, which analyses reported shipping losses of over 100 gross tons, explained that the most common cause of losses in the past year was foundering - often driven by heavy weather - accounting for almost 75 percent of all losses.

Whilst piracy attacks declined 11 percent to 264 reported incidents worldwide in 2013, 106 of these occurred in Indonesia - which has seen a 700 percent increase in attacks since 2009. An emerging piracy hotspot with more organised crime is the Gulf of Guinea, while piracy attacks in Somalia have declined dramatically with only seven incidents in 2013.

This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by the Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC) - - and the Cargo Equipment Experts (CEE) - The former is a leading dedicated network for project cargo freight forwarders. The latter is a global network for cargo equipment owners and operators, which specialise in moving and handling heavy and outsized shipments.

In the corporate world
Whilst Royal Boskalis Westminster posted record net profit and revenue of USD511 million and USD4.88 billion respectively during FY2013. Meanwhile, Ahlers Group reported turnover of USD275 million during FY2013, while Logwin Group saw revenues slip to EUR1.22 billion (USD1.68 billion) in 2013, down from EUR1.32 billion (USD1.82 billion) in 2012. Royal Arctic Line posted a loss before tax and minority interests of USD3.7 million for 2013 - a result of suppressed freight volumes to and from Greenland.

As talks regarding a potential merger between Air Charter Service Group (ACS) and Hangar 8 ceased after due diligence enquiries flagged long-term concerns, PSA Marine entered into talks with Pacific Basin Shipping Limited to purchase the latter's harbour towage, offshore towage and infrastructure support business, PB Sea-Tow. Meanwhile, ENTREC Corporation closed a new USD240 million senior secured asset-based credit facility, the ABL Facility, with a syndicate of lenders led by Wells Fargo Capital Finance Corporation Canada.

It was revealed that Sea Star Line LLC and Horizon Lines LLC will pay a USD3.4 million settlement to the US Government having knowingly fixed the price of government cargo transportation contracts between the USA and Puerto Rico, whilst the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has also completed compromise agreements with a vessel-operating common carrier (VOCC) and three non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCC) recovering a total of USD350,000 in civil penalties. The VOCC is Rickmers-Linie and an FMC statement indicated that 'as part of the line's corporate modernisation and expansion programme, Rickmers voluntarily contacted the Commission's Bureau of Enforcement to disclose certain service contract and tariff violations of the Shipping Act with respect to its breakbulk and container operations'.

Blue Water Shipping's  Aktau facility has renewed a contract to provide domestic freight services for Halliburton International Inc in Kazakhstan.

Capacity developments
Manitowoc used CONEXPO 2014 to reveal two new crawler cranes - the 300-tonne capacity MLC300 and 650-tonne capacity MLC650; whilst the port of Charleston's newest heavy lift crane - the 500-tonne capacity Ocean Ranger - completed its first assignment when it unloaded a 308-tonne generator onto a barge at Columbus Street Terminal.

Acta Marine has taken delivery the DP1 multipurpose support vessel, Coastal Chariot, built by the Maritiem Cluster Friesland shipyard, as United European Car Carriers (UECC) has signed a deal to build two dual-fuel LNG Pure Car and Truck Carriers (PCTCs) with Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Liebherr Maritime Cranes has experienced continuing strong demand for its mobile harbour crane range in Latin America, with seven orders being placed by regional port and terminal operators.

Shipments of the week
Van der Vlist transported two 73-tonne CAT 777F dump trucks from its Zeebrugge facility to the Bastenaken Terminal in Belgium for shipment to Port Hueneme in California, whilst Kübler Spedition transported a 1,000-tonne generator at the Alstom Power Ltd test centre in Switzerland, using SPMTs.

Arthur Spriggs and Sons used Hiab equipment to move a replica of the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car - a 13 m long, 3.5 m high supersonic rocket and jet-propelled vehicle, as Allseas Global Logistics shipped steam turbines, generators, parts and accessories from the port of Chennai, India to Oldbury in the UK.

WWL ALS UK International has coordinated the transport of two 7 m wide flanges from St Helens to Hartlepool in the UK, and a 32-tonne Terex 883 tracked screen from Ireland to Kazakhstan.

Other notable projects reported by HLPFI this week can be seen on the archive news area of our website.

On the move
Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has appointed Michael Ferguson as vice president of cargo solutions, terminals and port infrastructure; Olivier Lavau-Wira has been named vice president of sales, marine solutions, for its South and Central America region.

As Kita Logistics relocates its Istanbul head office to a new location, Gebrüder Weiss has broken ground on its new USD11.2 million Bulgarian distribution centre in Elin Pelin, which will replace its existing Sofia site.

The port of Antwerp is expanding its representation in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) with two new port representatives: Robert Giraud and Hans Knigs, who with Dr Dieter Lindenblatt complete Antwerp's team of German representatives. Meanwhile, Canada's port of Halifax has appointed Focus Maritime (North West) Limited to promote its facilities across Europe.

Nacho Carretero (pictured bottom right) has been named cargo sales manager at chartersphere.

Intermarine LLC's new Operations Centre at Industrial Terminal, the company's breakbulk terminal on the Houston Ship Channel, is now officially open.
Network news
As CLC Projects held its fifth global conference in Bangkok, Thailand from March 7 - 8 attended by 47 members, the WWPC is gathering in Phuket for its own AGM - HLPFI's Annie Roberts is in attendance.

Myanmar has hosted its first-ever international logistics event, a joint function between Super Cargo Pros and Project Cargo Nexus, which took place at the Chatrium Hotel in Yangon, March 12-14.  

All about Evie
Evie couldn't believe her ears when she found out the Internet celebrated its 25th birthday this week, and she considered how much the 'www.' has changed the business world. However, her interest was pricked by an Oxford University study which predicted that mobile robots wired with artificial intelligence software could replace 50 percent of today's US workforce in a little as 20 years. Loan officers, receptionists, legal assistants and taxi drivers ranked most likely to be replaced by our bionic 'friends', while primary school teachers and surgeons were deemed almost immune to such technological advances. Evie mused that the business environment is volatile, can change at any second, and must always be walked with an eye on the horizon.