October 26 - And so, it's time for another edition of HLPFI's Friday Flyer, giving you a round-up of news from the last week, together with a few comments from the editorial team.

In the USA, with just over a week left to polling day, after months of a hard-fought campaign for the White House, the opinion polls indicate that the two candidates are neck and neck. The Romney campaign insists, however, that the wind is in its favour with the challenger accusing the president of focusing on "smaller and smaller" things while he is seeking "big change" for a country facing "big challenges".

Clearly, Romney's focus on the need for sweeping change from the past four years is developing as the closing argument against the incumbent president. The author of this week's Friday Flyer recalls Obama calling for the same thing four years ago! As the old French proverb states: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

And staying in the States, the International Longshoremen's Union and the group representing shipping industry management at East and Gulf Coast ports - the United Maritime Alliance - met again this week in an effort to resolve additional outstanding issues.

The parties met under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and discussed a number of major issues, according to the FMCS, adding that following the discussions, the parties will have their respective committees review their positions and analyse associated costs.

HLPFI readers breathed a collective sigh of relief in mid-September over the news that the ILA and USMX had agreed to extend the deadline of their collective bargaining agreement from September 30 to December 29 and must be hoping that common sense now prevails.

This week has seen Boeing project a whopping USD820 billion market for new airplanes in North America as fuel prices continue to drive the need for new, more fuel-efficient equipment; whilst a record number of offshore industry professionals from around the world gathered in Amsterdam this week for the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference 2012. A sector which is still showing lots of promise for those involved in heavy lifts and project forwarding.

The week has also seen China announce plans to prohibit domestic companies from operating foreign-made ships on domestic waterways and will block foreign shipping companies from selling services in China, in a move designed to protect the domestic shipping industry, hard-hit by overcapacity and slowing global trade. HLPFI is not a great fan of protectionist policies wherever they are implemented.

Notable appointments this week have seen ex-Bow Terminal boss, Robert van der Loos setting up a strategic partnership with steel and machinery construction company VDS Staal en Machinebouw in Vlissingen, The Netherlands.

We've also seen a bit of a shake up at the top of SNCF Geodis, where Marie-Christine Lombard's appointment as the new chief executive officer of Geodis, sees Jean-Louis Demeulenaere, the current ceo, leaving the company to pursue new projects. Oh la la!

And at USA-based Nautilus International Holding, Michael F Giove will become chief operating officer from October 29 responsible for all operational and customer relations of Metro Ports, Metro Cruise Services, and Shore Services, among other things. Ask a busy man, and all that.

Business developments this week have seen a new engineering company - HeavyLift @ Sea - open its doors in Hamburg to offer design and planning services for heavy lift shipping and offshore projects. Also in Germany, workers at the bankrupt P+S Werften learned that a transfer company is being set up for all 1,750 of them, securing their livelihoods for a further 12 months.

On the equipment front, Shuttlelift announced that it has supplied a DB70 double-beam mobile gantry crane and a SB30 single-beam mobile gantry crane to PCL Industrial Services, a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, and in Australia; whilst Swiss lifting and heavy transport contractor Momect has taken delivery of a Terex AC 100/4L all terrain crane to perform maintenance tasks on hydro-electric dams in the Swiss Alps as well as other lifting projects.

Brazil-based heavy lift and oversized transportation specialist Megatranz has acquired a Scheuerle modular beam STB-1,000 transporter and says the equipment has the highest beam load capacity in the world for transporting cargo by road, with the ability to carry a maximum weight of up to 1,000 tonnes, according to the configuration.

Work is almost complete on issue 29 of HLPFI, which will include features on cargo warranty surveying, inland waterways, equipment hire companies, power generation - non-renewable energies, France, the Nordic countries, South Africa as well as Austria and Switzerland; plus a supplement on the Caspian States and Central Asia. There is still time (just) to submit editorial contributions or place advertising bookings. And, there are still some opportunities to join the likes of Broekman Project Services, CEE, GPLN, DHL, and PCN, by sponsoring our Friday Flyer.

Contact Ian Matheson on +44 (0) 1689 857631 or ian@heavyliftpfi.com for more information on any of the above.