November 9 - 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 and asides from the editorial team.
Uncle Sam votes as China appoints
The deep ideological divide was reflected in the way Americans voted in the 2012 presidential election earlier this week, in which incumbent Barack Obama defeated his Republican challenger Mitt Romney in one of the most fiercely fought polls in US history. Few outside the country can have been unaware of Tuesday's vote and its significance for the world's largest and arguably most significant economy. At the same time, while there remained a scintilla of uncertainly about the result in Washington, in Beijing there was no uncertainty about who will take the reins of the world's second-most important economy.
New Chinese communist party leader Xi Jinping may be unknown to those outside the charmed inner-circle of the Forbidden City and Sinophiles, but being handed the well-being and future direction of 1.3 billion people means that he will become a person that global business cannot ignore.
While well-reported issues arising from Chinese domestic annual growth softening to just seven percent (a value of which most of China's business partners can only dream) are agitating many economists, project cargo and heavy lift operators are likely to be able to continue to capitalise on China's growing foreign infrastructure and mining investment. Its need for minerals and aggregates, even as its economy stalls, will continue. Chinese investment abroad, especially in African industry and infrastructure, remains bullish and should continue to generate revenue streams for many HLPFI readers.
One of the key problems with which Xi will have to contend is rising Chinese labour costs. A British newspaper has carried a report that Foxconn, the controversial Taiwanese manufacturer whose assembly of Apple products has made it one of the world's largest employers, is considering possible US sites for TV assembly plants as a result of rising Chinese labour costs. Most of its 800,000 employees work on the Chinese mainland where its largest single plant is in Shenzhen, China and employs hundreds of thousands of people.
Marco Polo returns to the Orient
In a neat coincidence, given the developments in Beijing this week, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, claimed to be the world's largest containership, has entered service. Named after a Venetian merchant traveller whose voyages did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China, the South Korean-built, UK-flagged 16,000 teu ship will operate on CMA CGM's French Asia Line (FAL 1) which offers a fixed-day, weekly connection between Central and South China, and Northern Europe.
The green economy
Shipping is often in the firing line on the topic of emission pollution. Time at the quayside as well as steaming across the oceans can be cited in discussions on climate change. UK maritime equipment manufacturer Martek Marine's win of a series of large orders for its MariNOx Evolution on-board emissions monitoring and engine efficiency system from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries shows that this argument can be as much about the bottom-line.
Santa escapes curfew
The news that Australian-wide load restrictions for the Christmas period will apply may chill the hearts of children throughout the country, but they can remain assured their presents will get through for the big morning. However, using reindeers and a sleigh will mean that the old chap should sidestep the Christmas road curfews for over-dimensional cargo in Australia. Each state has slight variations in the rules for wide-load cargo but, in general, items from 2.6 m to 3.5 m in width will not be allowed to move between December 23, 2012 and January 3, 2013 on most main roads and highways and may mean that larger cargo requiring collection or delivery during the holiday season may be affected.
All these stories and more can be seen on the HLPFI website.
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. We then start work on our first issue of 2013, so do consider submitting editorial contributions or booking some advertising. There are still some opportunities to join the likes of Broekman Project Services, CEE, WWPC, GPLN, DHL, and PCN, by sponsoring our Friday Flyer.
Contact Ian Matheson on +44 (0) 1689 857631 or email@example.com for more information on any of the above.