Two appointments under very different conditions this week have made global headlines, though arguably only one is likely to have any impact on the heavy lift and project forwarding industry. In the Vatican, white smoke heralded a new era for the Catholic

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.

Chinese whispers

In China this week, Xi Jinping takes charge of an economy that has faltered and a 1.4 billion population impatient at inequity and corruption. Under his watch, which will last to 2023, China will shape much heavy lift and project cargo opportunities both at home and abroad. As a global and regional economic powerhouse, there is a good chance that under Xi, China will overtake the United States to become the world's leading economy.

In time, China will need the infrastructure and industrial support for this move. The concern for heavy lift shipping lines and foreign manufacturers of heavy equipment is that in this time domestic production of items such as transformers and infrastructure items will replace imports. However, Chinese foreign investment is likely to grow during this decade as the country continues to seek out aggregates and minerals, not to say oil and gas, around the world.

Furthermore, the decades of infrastructure investment in ports and manufacturing may be peaking as foreign companies, long tempted to offshore manufacturing in the People's Republic are beginning to repatriate manufacturing back to their own countries as some of the economic benefits of producing in China have melted away.

On the business pages

They will be breaking out the maple syrup to celebrate results at the Port of Hamilton in Canada which saw cargo tonnages grow by three percent year-on-year during 2012 to 10.3 million tonnes, thanks to a surge in project cargo, which has surged three-fold over 2011 levels.

La Quinta Trade Gateway, Port Corpus Christi, Texas has secured an anchor tenant. Linz, Austria headquartered steel manufacturer voestalpine Group has put down roots at the port with the development of a USD700 million direct reduction facility where it wil manufacture "sponge iron".

Royal Boskalis Westminster reports record revenues of EUR3.1 billion (USD4.02 billion) for FY 2012 - up 10 percent year-on-year over 2011. However, overall earnings failed to show similar gains at the Dutch dredging and marine contractor. Net profit marginally fell by 1.6 percent year-on-year to EUR254 million (USD329 million). Boskalis blames lower demand for its dredging services.

A deal has been agreed for a new six-year contract between the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen's Association. The agreement comes after months of negotiations between the two parties. The contract covers 14,500 longshoremen at US East and Gulf Coast ports.

Forwarders news

Danish shipping and forwarding services provider Martin Bencher Group is set to open a new office in Sydney, Australia in April. Seven-year Martin Bencher veteran Josefin Ahlgren will manage the branch in the role of managing director.

GAC International Moving has added an office in Kolkata to its Indian network, joining locations in Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. Dibakar Roy will take the reins at the Kolkata office (pictured top right).

Project Cargo Network (PCN) members Cargofast Logistics do Brasil and 3P Logistics of Poland are in the process of shifting heavy breakbulk pieces to Rio de Janeiro while Spanish forwarder Altius is handling a 585-tonne fractioner at the port of Ulsan, South Korea prior to its movement to Turkey.

ART Logistics has launched a twice-monthly LTL service connecting Europe and Mongolia as the country's mining boom has driven demand for project and containerised trucking services to the landlocked country while PacArctic Logistics will establish a monthly general cargo service between Port of Olympia, Washington, USA and Point MacKenzie from next month.

Taking off

Erickson Air-Crane has enjoyed results in 2012 as strong as the downdraft from one of its S-64 Aircrane heavy lift helicopters. Happy bean counters registered revenue growth of 18.4 percent year-on-year over 2011 to USD180.8 million, with operating income doubling to USD33.4million. President and ceo Udo Rieder was happy to describe it as an outstanding year for the Oregon-based manufacturer.

Offshore rigs in the North Sea will be served by a new Sikorsky S-92 helicopter flown by Ruslan International from Stewart International airport, New York, USA to Stavenger in Norway. The chopper is the first of 16 S-92s that will be delivered to the client.

Cargolux has received its 25th B747 freighter - a B747-8F registered LX-VCA and named City of Vianden.

In the other direction

A decade after launching an eastbound round-the-world service, Hamburg-based Rickmers-Linie has launched a new westbound service to connect the growing markets of Asia and South America before heading to North America.

Hatches, matches and dispatches

A 20-year background in freight forwarding will serve Ivy Boyer well in her new role as chief marketing officer for Geodis Wilson. She succeeds Kim Pedersen, who was recently promoted to executive vice president of the global freight forwarder.

Maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has appointed Clive Lane as vp operations for Europe and North Africa.

CEA Projects (Cranes and Equipment Co Ltd) has joined the Project Cargo Network (PCN) representing Thailand.

All about Evie

Friday Flyer gossip columnist, Evie Aufheben, noted the election of a new pope and the inauguration of a new Chinese premier this week, but remains cautious about putting her faith in either. Like many who have phoned the HLPFI office this week, Evie is also keen to find out who is advertising for a senior UK country head of industrial projects. The advertisement which is running on our website and in the Friday Flyer, is certainly getting tongues wagging. Sorry, but our lips are sealed.

Closer to home, Ms Aufheben cannot believe that Ian Matheson, HLPFI's director, hit the Big Five-O this week. Never one for overlooking any opportunity to order a cocktail, Evie raised a mojito or two to toast the occasion.

Career opportunities

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Work is commencing on issue 32, our May/June 2013 issue, which will include country reports on Italy, Spain and Mexico; plus a review of civil engineering; an industry focus on project cargoes carried by rail; an operational review of strapping and lashing; an equipment focus on trailers; plus our regular articles on law, insurance and safety; and letters from our regional correspondents. The issue is going to press slightly earlier this time around - so that copies are available for distribution at Breakbulk Europe in Antwerp, May 14-16, 2013. To discuss possible editorial contributions, or book advertising, contact Ian
Matheson on +44 (0) 1689 857631 or for more information