As this Friday Flyer is being written, we are digesting the latest report from shipping industry consultant Drewry. It starkly shows that for the next few years the multipurpose sector will be in choppy waters. In the long-term, prospects are good, accord

"??Twelve months ago, most owners of multipurpose vessels (MPVs) were fairly upbeat and continued to be so well into the first half of that year. Then the clouds gathered as the market softened further and by the year-end most sectors had lost between three and six percent off their value for one-year period hire.

The report's author points to growing attempts by box lines to snatch project cargo and neo-bulks stuffed in containers as their own fortunes falter. This may peak soon as a business threat; yet out of left field comes the handy bulk carrier - particularly Handysizes of 10-30,000 dwt - snaffling project cargo. Ro-ro competition has never gone away and may yet kick in for wheeled heavy lift cargo.

If shippers are honest, Drewry says they must recognise that the current market conditions are not a tenable position for anyone. So if owners can weather the next two years, when competition for cargoes will remain fierce, and promote this fleet as the value-added alternative to containers, then there is a real chance that more positive results are in sight. What will we be saying this time next year?

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 -

On the business pages

Yacht Path, and three associated companies, has sunk under the waves after filing for US bankruptcy Chapter 11. It seems that the merger of Germany's Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd to create the world's fourth-largest container shipping company by capacity has been just as successful, as negotiators have packed their bags and gone home. Logistics concern GROUP7 has been named a Lufthansa Cargo Business Partner - just seven years after its founding.

Consultants Moore Stephens' Shipping Confidence Survey shows that overall shipping industry confidence recovered to its highest level for two years in the three months ended February 2013, especially in the dry bulk sector, creating likelihood of new investment in the industry. The lack of available finance severely restricts many good deals from getting off the ground and there are ominous signs that German banks may start calling in their loans.

Sharpen your pencils for The Certificate of Achievement in Project Cargo Management - a training course designed to fast-track project forwarding management skills - to be held in May in conjunction with Breakbulk Europe 2013.

It's off to work we go (with a smile on our face) as C.H. Robinson has been named one of the USA's 2013 Top National Workplaces by WorkPlaceDynamics. It was ranked 65th happiest place to work out of 872 organisations.

Forwarder network CLC Projects has just finished a very successful conference in Malta, with 50 delegates representing 49 countries from as far away as Ecuador, Madagascar and Japan present at the event.

Shipping news
Shipping project cargo between Asia and Darwin has just become easier, thanks to the launch of Swire Shipping's shuttle service from Singapore to Darwin. It's a first for Maersk Line as it adds the South Korean city of Busan to one of its routes from the Port of Gothenburg.

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) said farewell to one ship and hello to a net book gain of USD5.2 million as it scraps the Saudi Diriyah. It won't be down on capacity for long as a new multipurpose vessel was floated out in January, the first of six newbuilds. The line has also added Jacksonville Port, USA to its regular liner services.

German shipping line SAL Heavy Lift has relocated its head office to HafenCity, Hamburg after 30 years at Steinkirchen, 40 km from Hamburg.

In the hold
Rolldock delivered damaged Venezuelan patrol boat Warao to the Arsenal of the Brazilian Navy, Rio de Janeiro, where it will be repaired.

Jumbo has shifted a 635-tonne Sandivk shiploader and spare parts from Qidong, China to Richards Bay, South Africa. Volga-Dnepr Airlines has completed a series of flights delivering sports equipment for the 2012/13 Biathlon World Cup from Holmenkollen, Norway to Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

A 50-tonne CNC machine measuring 8.4 m was moved from Europe to Shanghai, China in a joint effort by Belgian forwarder Heavy Logistics and Shanghai forwarder Inter-Max. Wagenborg Nedlift has delivered two ship unloader cranes (SUL) from Stettin, Poland to Eemshaven in the Netherlands.

On the waterfront
Subsea installation work at the Laggan-Tormore oil fields, west of Shetland, is gathering pace, meaning that Lerwick Harbour, Shetland Islands is coining it in as oil and gas has driven growth at the start of the year. Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) saw strong growth in February 2013 with 2.08 million tonnes of freight, up 6.9 percent over February 2012. The newly-formed association of Lower Saxony Seaports has described its 10-point programme to improve its members' efficiency and competitiveness, hoping to improve on its 2012 performance of 45.4 million tonnes of freight, itself up nine percent year-on-year over 2011. Terex Port Solutions has supplied its 1,500th Terex Gottwald mobile harbour crane - a G HMK 607B.

Born free
Big-hearted Imperial Logistics Group has stepped in to help with efforts to conserve the Southern Ground Hornbill - an endangered species of bird resident in South Africa. At the same time, a herd of 30 bison calves was shipped from Edmonton, Canada to Yakutia, Russia onboard a Volga-Dnepr Airlines IL-76TD-90VD.

Hatches, matches and dispatches
The Korean Register of Shipping (KR) has elected Dr Chon Young-kee as its new chairman and ceo, succeeding Dr Oh Kong-gyun, who has served two three-year terms.

All about Evie
Friday Flyer gossip columnist Evie Aufheben loves to shake her booty when the music kicks in. She also loves to be a part of a fun-loving crowd. So when she read on HLPFI that fun-loving, booty-shaking staff at Woodland Group had got down and dirty to record their version of the Internet hit 'Harlem Shake' for the UK's recent Comic Relief charity event to raise a grand for good causes, she had a wicked thought.

What better place for Evie to kick off her shoes to stage a Harlem Shake than at the Breakbulk Europe 2013? The great and the good of global project cargo shipping executives, conference visitors and the local Antwerp residents had better watch out - Evie will be in town and raring to do the Shake. You can see Woodland's version as a video on the HLPFI website; as well as full details on all the stories above.

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Work is well underway 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.