November 23 - It's Friday afternoon in a windswept London and so it must be time for this week's edition of HLPFI's Friday Flyer, delivering a neat snapshot of news from the last week for your to enjoy with your afternoon tea and slice of cake - lemon dri

Money, money, money

Has it been agriculture that has sunk infrastructure spending in the EUR1 trillion European Union (EU) budget talks today? As politicians, advisers, journalists and commentators scurried all over Brussels in an attempt to wrangle a 2014-2020 budget for the EU, it seems that support for agriculture will come at the cost of infrastructure spending throughout the union's 27 member states.

Friday Flyer readers with interests in heavy lift and project cargo operations looking to support EU-aided infrastructure projects will be dismayed that the EUR40 billion infrastructure element could be raided to pay for the agriculture and cohesion fund. Industry observers will say that increased funding is needed in infrastructure, such as the development of trans-European transport networks, energy infrastructure, namely 'smart grids', and in building the necessary world class communication infrastructure Europe needs to stay competitive.

Another risk to infrastructure is the possible slashing of EUR20 billion from the draft budget's EUR152.6 billion growth and competitiveness section, which funds research and development and cross-border infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail lines.

Some commentators suggest that this draft budget reflects priorities of the past as two thirds of the current budget is devoted to the Common Agricultural Policy and Cohesion Policy; only nine percent is directly spent in direct support of growth and employment, which might leave many HLPFI readers kicking their heels at lost business opportunities.

Getting out

This week saw Cargolux Airlines International confirm that Qatar Airways intends to exit from its 35 percent shareholding. Coming just weeks after the airline accepted its fifth Boeing 747-8F, shareholders Luxair, BCEE and SNCI have reaffirmed their full confidence and support of the board during this restructuring.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, or in the case of Maersk, in the investment plans. It may not be getting out of shipping but Danish oil and shipping group AP Moller-Maersk is reining back investments in its shipping business over the next five years. Instead, it will focus on its oil, drilling rigs and ports business. Money follows money, as ever.

Superhuman strength

Popeye's eyes would mist over at the thought of a 1,500-tonne lift and no amount of spinach could allow the cartoon hero to match the arrival of the Spacelift MC 35000 DLS, a 1,500-tonne capacity heavy lift offshore crane developed by Zwagerman International. Looking forward to a long life working on foundations for the installation of offshore wind power generators, the Spacelift will easily out lift the Superlift 3800 lattice boom crawler crane with a maximum load of 650 tonnes, itself an eye watering lift just a few years ago.

HANSA HEAVY LIFT has transported two ship loading systems from Bremen to Punta Lackwater in Chile. The two 700-tonne capacity cranes of the heavy lift vessel HHL Tokyo ensured that the two 60 m long, 450-tonne conveyor belt elements and two 235-tonne towers that form the foundation of the ship loader were efficiently and safely loaded and unloaded.

A river runs through it

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn would have had a word to say about the warning from the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the US tugboat and barge trade association, to Congress to review water releases from dams on the upper Missouri that are planned to be significantly scaled back later this month and are expected to negatively impact the Mississippi water level as of December 1, 2012. This will effectively bringcommerce on the middle Mississippi to a halt in early December, says the AWO.

Keeping the lights on

Sparks can now fly in England's beautiful Lake District following global heavylift and transportation specialist ALE's efforts to transport a 26-tonne cable reel for a local utilities company to restore power to a village near Wastwater Lake, Cumbria, ten months after a cable below the lake - the deepest in England - was damaged.

A larger country, a larger blackout: Equipment Express, Inc (EEI) has moved three 195-tonne power transformers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, as part of a project to improve the reliability of that city's power distribution network. Too large to move by rail, the cargo moved by a hydraulic road trailer configuration that could be supported by the multiple bridges along the 130 km transport route.

You're in the army now

Like something out of James Bond, French project forwarder SDV Logistique Internationale took a unique model of a revolutionary concept, the X3 helicopter, which combines a main rotor system along with plane propellers, developed in Europe on a whistle-stop tour of five US military bases. Having arrived ironically in the US on a Soviet-designed Antonov 124, the highlight of the tour was a flight over the Pentagon, in Washington, DC.

Hatches, matches and despatches

After just over a year in the Cargolux boardroom, Albert Wildgen, who joined the board in September, 2011, will step down from his post as chairman at the next meeting of the board of directors at the end of this month.

Dutch cargo securing systems manufacturer Cordstrap has appointed Brad Tribble as the new ceo of the company. It might be seen as a bit of a left-field appointment as his CV includes stints at Electrolux and Sara Lee Corporation in Europe and Asia, not a typical background for someone in the material handling equipment business.

Being shown the door: equipment manufacturer Cargotec has made 33 of its staff redundant in Finland. In addition, 72 people will be made redundant in global support functions and other areas. Cargotec said the measures aim at adjusting operations to its new business-driven operating model and improving profitability.

Combi Lift has opened a new office in Singapore, manned by Mikkel Højsleth, who has relocated from his position in Combi Lift's office in Shanghai; Torben Waalkes; and Doris Oh Wah Hin; and announced that Combi Lift Chartering in Germany is to move all its chartering activities to the company's recently opened office in Steinkirchen. Kestrel Maritime (Asia) is still acting as representatives for Combi Lift in Singapore.

Logwin is continuing to expand its network of locations in China, with the opening of new sales offices in the industrial city of Wuhan in Central China as well as in Zhongshan in the south of the country.

Gebrüder Weiss has marked the start of construction on its EUR28 million (USD34.5 million) group headquarters in Lauterach, Vorarlberg, Austria with a traditional groundbreaking ceremony.

One for the diary

You can't say you haven't been given enough notice but next summer sees London host its own International Shipping Week in 2013, Maritime industry leaders from across the globe will sail into the city for a week of meetings and events, concluding in a day-long government and industry conference and a gala dinner. Organisers are promising the event, from September 9 to 13, 2013, will be an opportunity for the global shipping industry to network, hold their own seminars, executive meetings or receptions. Given London's historic role in the development of the world's maritime activity, can there be a more appropriate location for such a week?

All about Evie

This week, we introduce a gossip columnist to the Friday Flyer. Evie Aufheben is our sassy spitfire of tittle-tattle with an addiction to the quirky and off-beat in the field of heavy lift and project cargo. She's on a mission to get deep down into the off the record information that get passed around at watercoolers the world over as well as digging up any dirt, using heavy lift equipment, naturally!

This week Evie spotted an interesting item in the Financial Times about the declining popularity of Sumo in Japan - one sure heavy lift sport. Media reports are now sounding the siren warning that it's in danger of slimming down as it succumbs to soccer. Two current grand champions are Mongolian while a Czech has scored notable wins over Japanese opponents 100 kg heavier. Not that all soccer players are sylph-like: Manchester United' Wayne Rooney weighs in at 78kg; famously William "Fatty" Foulke tipped the scales as the heaviest-ever English player at 158.7kg in 1907. Now, that sure is heavy lift!

Ms Aufheben also spotted the recent YouTube video posting a brand new American-engineered EMD GT46C-ACe locomotive being dropped while being unloaded from a ship. Thomas the Tank Engine it wasn't, says Evie and the loco made a resounding crack as it hit terra firma. Ouch.She'd love to know more, so have a look at the video and let her know:

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Work is now complete on issue 29 of HLPFI, which includes 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. Issues should be hitting your desks by the end of this month.

Now, we start work on our first issue of 2013, issue 30, 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 for more information on any of the above.