The global dash for gas and an oil price that remains resolutely north of USD100 a barrel has powered Australian megaprojects for oil and gas exploration and exploitation, according to a report from industry consultant GL Noble Denton.

These market drivers will translate into a bonanza for off-shore heavy lift shipping and project cargo operations. The report's authors flag-up fears that as these projects grow, operational costs will increase substantially. That could be crucial to future progress and careful forward planning and effective implementation of work is now more important than ever. At the same time, an increase in carbon tax for vessels operating in Australian waters, effective July, 2013, can only increase the cost of voyages and refuelling in Australian waters.  Mixed signals from Australia for the sector, then.

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 -

In the corporate world

On the accounting front, in Asia, STX Pan Ocean's difficulties continue, its stock losing 22 percent in two trading days recently amid speculation that its main creditor, Korea Development Bank, has decided not to acquire the dry bulk operator after concluding its debt levels were higher than expected.

On a more positive note, for the third year running, Blue Water Shipping (BWS) has achieved record-breaking profit levels: seeing FY 2012 revenues of USD715.8 million, up by 17 percent on FY 2011, while operating profit increased 11.8 percent to USD14.7 million. Meanwhile, Damco has seen a 6 percent year-on-year revenue increase in Q1 2013 to USD773 million, creating gross profit of USD195 million. Q1 2013 pre-tax results bombed though, down 30.7 percent to USD9 million over Q1 2012.

Employee relations  would appear to be taking a nosedive at Cargolux as staff make noises, which sound like the first step towards strike action. Across the border in Belgium, there's more encouraging news from Faymonville, which has celebrated a quarter of a century at its East Belgium manufacturing site.

Meanwhile, GAC Norway AS and Polar Logistics Group have formed a strategic partnership to strengthen the GAC network in the Arctic Circle.

Capacity developments
Evergreen Helicopters has put its hand in its pocket to spend USD10.1 million on five aircraft: two Bell 214ST helicopters, one Casa 212-CC and two Beechcraft 1900D airplanes.

Chapman Freeborn Airchartering has inked a long-term lease with Safair to manage a L382 Hercules in Australia, the only rear-loading aircraft of its kind Australia.

Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA (WWASA) and Hyundai Heavy Industries have signed an agreement for two post-Panamax car carriers, for delivery in 2014 and 2015.

Tradelossa has inaugurated a railway spur at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to assist multimodal transport across the US-Mexican border.

Terex Port Solutions has delivered two Gottwald Model 6 G HMK 6408 mobile harbour cranes to the Port of Napier, New Zealand.

Port infrastructure in Brazil is set for significant development following president Dilma Rousseff winning congressional support for a plan to attract USD27 billion of private investment.

Trains, boats, trucks and planes
According to the latest Container Insight report from analyst Drewry, although slow-steaming continues to be a contentious issue with shippers, more is on the way as fuel prices remain stubbornly high and ocean carriers can no longer absorb the bill.
Since reporting record-breaking import volumes in 2012, the Port of Corpus Christi reports that wind energy market trends may be reversing in 2013, following its first export shipments of wind turbine components.

Network news
Cameroon based SCTEM has become the newest member of the Project Cargo Network.

Hatches, matches and dispatches
Mikko Pelkonen will become senior vp, HR for Cargotec later this year. K&N and P&O veteran Les Morris is now senior vp global sales for Inchcape Shipping Services. Paolo Salza has joined the International Confederation of Inspection and Certification Organisations (CEOC) board.

All about Evie
In an industry with plenty of octogenarians still holding the reins of their companies, Evie is all for grey-power. That is why she was taken with the news report of the 99-year old woman from southern England who abseiled down an 11-floor apartment block, becoming the oldest person ever to abseil. She also congratulates 80-year-old Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura who has conquered Everest and become the oldest person to reach the summit.

With her great affection for Coventry City Football Club, Evie was dismayed at reports this week that her beloved Ricoh Stadium was burning down. It proved to be a false alarm and nothing more than pre-event testing of fireworks for a forthcoming Muse concert (pictured second right). Pity the boys in sky blue don't create similar pyrotechnics on the football field every Saturday afternoon!