September 9 - Expect plenty of ballyhoo in Rotterdam next week if COSCO's multi-purpose heavy lift ship, Yong Sheng, arrives on schedule on Monday.

Since she sailed from Dalian in August, there has been a barrage of PR and global media coverage, revealing that she has become the first Chinese ship to traverse the Northern Sea Route across the top of Russia.

The routing has seen a considerable increase in traffic in recent years, with many rushing to describe the route as an ice-free alternative to the traditional South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca options.

It may be time to set the Engine Order Telegraph to 'stop' on that notion. The route has been described as a "seasonal supplement", suggesting it is not really a viable alternative to the Suez Canal option. Ice coverage in the region may have reached all-time low levels last year but the fact remains that the Arctic is largely icebound for about nine months out of each year - providing a window of just three months.

The hullabaloo in Rotterdam comes at the same time as news this week of an attack, successfully repelled, on a containership in the Suez Canal. The stock of the Egyptian waterway on the route between Asia and Europe, even for heavy lift operations, might seem to have fallen after the Yong Sheng's arrival. However, with USD5.2 billion in tolls from the 2,100 vessels travelling through the Suez Canal every year, the Wall Street Journal has reported that just 450 vessels of all types have used the three-month ice-free window on the Northern Sea Route this year.

However, as the situation develops in Egypt, it seems the shipping industry will not be able to abandon the warmer route just yet.

Of late, decision-making on future investment in Australia's mining and energy sectors has been in a state of limbo pending the results of the forthcoming election and uncertainties over the Chinese economy. Local company, Depth Logistics in its latest blog, ponders whether and how a change of government might impact on the import of heavy capital equipment for the mining industry.

This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by the Port of Vancouver USA, a global hub positioned at a key crossroads of ocean-bound and river shipping lanes, interstate highways and national rail lines. With five marine terminals and thirteen berths, the port is home to two of North America's largest mobile harbour cranes, making it a leader in heavy lift cargo.
In the corporate world

Two years after its acquisition by Greencarrier Shipping & Logistics AS, Scandinavian Shipping and Logistics AS is being brought under the Greencarrier banner with immediate effect.

Erickson Air-Crane Inc has completed its acquisition of Air Amazonia Serviços Aeronauticos Ltda (Air Amazonia) and certain related assets from HRT Participações em Petróleo SA (HRT).
Capacity developments

Next month, Austral Asia Line will add a call at Xiamen after Shanghai on every southbound voyage to its Far East to Australia and New Zealand multipurpose liner service.

Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has launched the 8,000 dwt 151.5 m long RollDock Star (pictured top right) for the Dutch shipping line RollDock BV.

The first B747 cargo plane has been handled at Mogadishu Airport, Somalia after a flight from Corlu Airport, Turkey with an 80-tonne cargo consisting of airport machinery and equipment (pictured second right) under the control of SNS International.

A.R.T. Logistics has trebled the frequency and capacity of its LTL service connecting Vilnius, Lithuania with Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
Notable shipments

Jumbo Shipping's Fairlane overcame draft and outreach issues to transport a 420 tonne shiploader (pictured top right) from China to the port of Palua, Venezuela.

Three days ahead of schedule, SAL Heavy Lift's Grietje discharged a sphere tank (pictured bottom right) that had been shipped from Sattahip, Thailand to Antwerp, Belgium.
Network news

All the world's a stage for the Heavy Lift Group when it holds its 53rd conference next month at Stratford upon Avon in the UK, birthplace of famous poet and writer, William Shakespeare. Meanwhile Sri Lanka's Benchmark Logistics International becomes the newest member of the PPL network.
People and places

Blue Water Shipping is opening a second office in Sweden, to be headed by Fredrik Pellegrini and situated near Stockholm-Arlanda airport.
All about Evie

When she learned that the 53rd Heavy Lift Group AGM will be held in the birthplace of famous poet and writer William Shakespeare next month, Evie was heard to cry: "Once more unto the breach, dear friends."

Shakespeare may have embraced YouTube and Facebook if he was alive today but one thing that Evie knows is that sometimes digital platforms can be a double-edged sword. She hears that a multinational forwarder, which shall remain anonymous, announced that it has embraced the Internet by launching a YouTube channel and setting up a Facebook page. She also hears that staff at the company in question are denied access to the two sites during working hours.