Who is to blame for the US government's partial shutdown and a potentially more damaging clash over the nation's borrowing authority, is best left to the political and economic classes.
For the heavy lift and project cargo sectors, the shutdown stalemate is less about the causes and more about the effects. With 10 percent of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) staff laid off, the remainder are likely to prioritise security over speedy freight clearance. Federal agencies that sign off on clearances like USDA, Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Agriculture (DoA) have all laid off staff as well. For both of these, read longer delays and greater congestion.
Equally worrying is the side-effect of the ban on government travel, which may have nixed the President's journey around Asia but is equally likely to produce hold-ups on Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) validation. Again, expect delays.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and CBP have all pledged shutdown-related lay-offs will not affect front-line staff. As the situation drags on, time will tell whether they can hold to this pledge.
The law of unintended consequences has come into play this week with industry observers noting the potential of the widening and dredging of the Panama Canal to slow up and cause great congestion at US East Coast ports that may substantially slow down the global supply chain.
The USD5 billion improvements to the Panama Canal's infrastructure will allow container ships almost twice as large as at present to arrive from Asia and discharge all along the US Gulf and East Coast at ports which have not doubled in size or capacity. Project cargo shippers who have containerised cargo may find their cargoes loaded onto greener, larger and more impressive ships to sail through a larger, deeper and more impressive canal only to dawdle as a Victorian-era dock is overwhelmed. Unintended consequence, indeed.
This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by DHL Industrial Projects, which aims to be the logistics partner of choice to the oil and gas, mining, power generation and construction industries. Its expertise in cargo scheduling and materials management means it can offer tailored solutions for unique outsize cargoes and heavy lifts.
In the corporate world
Vasco Gallega Group (VGG) is no more as it has rebranded itself Kaleido, Ideas and Logistics.
PowerLogistics Asia 2013 and Downstream Asia will be co-locating at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, later this month.
Omega Morgan plans to target the ageing bridges in the US Pacific Northwest, having already successfully moved bridge spans (pictured top right) for two high-profile projects.
International law firm Hill Dickinson has opened a new office in Hong Kong, in partnership with Laracy & Co.
Cargolux Airlines International has taken delivery of its ninth B747-8 freighter (pictured right), bringing its combined fleet of B747 freighters to 19.
Some USD150 million in bond proceeds that will be used to finance port development projects in Florida, as part of the Seaport Investment Program, have been approved by the governor Rick Scott.
Canadian line Oceanex has accepted the 19,300 dwt con-ro ferry Oceanex Connaigra (pictured second right) from builder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) shipyard.
John Good Shipping has been appointed UK agent for Grieg Star, owner and operator of one of the world's largest open hatch fleets.
Boeing Capital Corporation has supplied two MD-11 Boeing converted freighters (pictured right) on multi-year lease agreements to AV Cargo for routes into West Africa.
HANSA HEAVY LIFT has appointed Denmark based Energy Project Shipping ApS (EPS) its exclusive agent in Scandinavia.
Van der Vlist has completed the assembly of a huge Komatsu truck (pictured top right) at its headquarters in Groot-Ammer, prior to the safe delivery of the 80-tonne machine to Germany.
Bolloré Group subsidiary SDV has co-ordinated the transportation and logistics services (pictured second right) for the construction of mine sites in North Eastern Vietnam.
ABL Forwarding has delivered a 109-tonne desolventiser-toaster (pictured bottom right) from Çorlu, Turkey to Alexeyevka in the Belgorod region of Russia.
Three satellites, each weighing some 60 tonnes, were carried on board three Volga-Dnepr Airlines' IL-76TD-90VD freighter flights between Germany and Russia for Astrium GmbH.
Volga-Dnepr Airlines has transported more than 90 tonnes of oilfield equipment from Canada to the Russia using one of its AN-124-100 freighters.
In Israel, Dynamic Shipping Services (DSS) has joined the Project Cargo Network (PCN) to represent the country while Bluestar Worldwide Logistics (BWL) has been approved as a PCN representative in Kuwait.
PCN has also opened its online meeting manager system to enable delegates to schedule individual 20-minute business meetings with companies before they arrive at the network's 3rd Annual Summit due to take place in Bangkok in November.
GateLog Logistics has joined the Pacific Power Logistics Network (PPL) to represent Brazil.
Phorkys Shipping Pvt Ltd is now a member of the XLProjects (XLP) network representing India.
People and places
Paul Hankins (pictured right), vice president for salvage operations at Donjon Marine, is now president of the American Salvage Association (ASA), succeeding Tim Beaver, Global Diving and Salvage, who served a two-year term in the role.
Claire Miller has been appointed ceo of the Energy Industries Council (EIC).
Michael Sims is the new ocean freight director of Schenker Logistics, replacing Glen Boyce, who has taken up a full time role within the group as head of ocean freight, region Europe north, DB Schenker Logistics.
Panalpina's Peter Triebel will manage a newly formed business region made up of the Middle East, Africa and the CIS (MEAC), which will be headquartered in Dubai.
Panalpina's Karl Weyeneth will transition into the role of chief commercial officer; his former position as chief operating officer will be dissolved.
All about Evie
The gal loves social media so she was pleased to learn about Antwerp's new international branding campaign: Everything is possible in the port of Antwerp. What a promise, she thinks! Knowing the port as she does, Evie has got behind the campaign to highlight the gateway's 'can do' mentality across the social media.