January 4 - While many are still recovering from New Year celebrations, our Asian readers have the Lunar New Year to look forward to next month.

Hello 2013 …

The United States may have just avoided falling off the fiscal cliff this week, but many in the project cargo and heavy lift industries must still be wondering whether the fiscal can has just been kicked down the road as the US political parties squabble over who pays what taxes and whose benefits are cut. The worry for our industry is that cutbacks in infrastructure investment in highways, ports and manufacturing facilities will translate into empty order books in what is still the world's most important economy.

Another concern going into 2013 for project cargo shippers who use containerised movements is the underlying strength or weakness of the ocean shipping industry. Shipping lines survived 2012 by limiting capacity growth through ending charters, scrapping older vessels, steaming more slowly and delaying new ship orders. Some industry observers suggest this strategy may have allowed lines to turn the corner but in restricting capacity, however, the lines are signalling that rates are unlikely to soften this year and the industry's strategy in dropping routes may not be reversed in 2013. This can only produce further headaches for transport planners.

Has the can been kicked twice?

There was news over the festive season that an extension of contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) had been agreed to February 6. There may have been agreement over container royalties but peace has yet to break out. Let's hope the two sides have not just kicked another can down the road in the USA.

All change at Lufthansa Cargo

Within months, it will be all change at Lufthansa as the charter business within the Lufthansa Cargo Group will be reorganised, with the standalone Lufthansa Cargo Charter operation being incorporated into Lufthansa Cargo. Once the realignment is complete, it will remain active as a service provider in the charter market and offer a broad portfolio of charter solutions says the carrier.

On the forwarding front

It is guten tag to Austria-headquartered logistics services provider Gebrüder Weiss from the Project Cargo Network (PCN) as the forwarder joins to represent Austria and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, in India, two huge shipments saw Freight Wings load out a 3,200 tonne, 67.1 m jacket at Larsen & Toubro's (L&T) Kattupalli facility, South India onto the 400-class barge Posh Giant 1, while Mumbai-based Lift & Shift India PVT transported and loaded out five over-dimensional cargoes between Hazira and Kakinada for the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation's (GSPC) gas project.

Delta Maritime, a member of the Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC) network for Greece, is celebrating its first contracts from Hyundai Heavy Industries in Bulgaria. The relationship kicked off with the transportation of five transformers and their accessories from Bulgaria to Rhodes Island, Greece while the second saw the transport and skidding of two transformers, each weighing over 83 tonnes measuring 7.45 m (pictured above right) from Sofia, Bulgaria to Lygourio, Greece.

HEAVY Logistics, a member of the Cargo Equipment Experts (CEE) network in Belgium, organised a multimodal transport using 10 Goldhofer SPMT axle lines and a hired barge, to move a grinding mill from Tournai to Antwerp, Belgium.

It took plenty of hard work and a little bit of Irish luck for Shannon-based Jenkinson Logistics to successfully deliver two 3.5 tonne silos - each measuring 5.8 m x 3.6 m x 3.8 m - to Saudi Arabia. The two silos were secured to flatracks for ocean transport to Jeddah.

Hatches, matches and dispatches

A thirteen-year Lachmann veteran has replaced Maria Isabel von Lachmann who is to depart her position as ceo of Brazil-headquartered Lachmann Companies to become chairman of the board of directors. Antonio Carvalho, who joined the organisation at the turn of the millennium, has been appointed as Lachmann's new ceo.

Geodis Wilson, the heavy lift specialist arm of Geodis, has appointed Eric Martin-Neuville as its new coo and freight board member after almost three decades with the forwarder. Eric has taken over responsibility from Fernando Gea who has stepped down from the role.

Panalpina has appointed Stefan Karlen as its regional ceo Asia Pacific, promoted from managing director Southeast Asia. He's taking over from Marco Gadola, who is bailing out of the logistics industry.

Working on the railroad

BNSF Logistics has taken its cheque book - or should that be check book - out of the corporate safe to make a pair of strategic purchases to cement its position in the North American project forwarding sector. In acquiring Toronto-based Albacor Shipping and Texas-based EP-Team Inc, the railroad has snapped up two experts in the sector and gained access to networks that encompass North America, Europe and Russia.

New Year, new look

It used to be Suderman Contracting Stevedores and Suderman Terminal in the US Gulf. Now they have been given a new look after rebranding as Metro Ports, Metro Cruise Services and Metro Shore Services from New Year's day.

All about Evie

Evie Aufheben, our sassy gossip columnist, continues to watch the heavy lift world go by for those quirky and off-beat stories she so loves. Nursing a post-Hogmanay hangover, she is starting to follow the industry into 2013.

Normally, our Evie is a placid lady, not given to shouting, but one thing that riles her is the invisibility of the global shipping industry, especially heavy lift, in the mainstream media.

For an industry that oils the wheel of global trade development, what can you read in the mainstream papers about the industry, she asks?

There might be articles about the size of the biggest container ships, tales of people-smuggling and worries about 'dirty bombs' but what is missing is the coverage of the day-to-day business that underpins global supply chains, Ms Aufheben says.

It's not that Evie just wants 'positive' news; she wants any news in the mainstream media.

Evie's fancy was tickled this week by an anonymous email advising that DHL Industrial Projects has been successful in winning the logistics bid for the Bibiyana Project in Bangladesh, with Chevron as the client and Foster Wheeler in Thailand as the EPCM contractor for the project. Her research suggests that this is a politically important project for Bangladesh as gas from the Bibiyana field is used to supply the electricity for much of the nation.

Career opportunites

For others among you who have job vacancies to fill, HLPFI has a New Year's gift. Until 31st January 2013 you can place your vacancy online for only GBP750 and get the following:

Premium posting in the jobs area of www.heavyliftpfi.com (over 10,000 unique visitors per month), which includes -

- Company Logo next to job posting

- Hyperlink in jobs area linking through to recruiter profile or to company homepage

- A job listing in the next three editions of the Friday Flyer (sent to over 9,500 individual email addresses every week)

- Added exposure on our Linkedin group

Plus if you book before 10th January 2013, your vacancy will also appear as a FREE line entry on the appointments page in HLPFI's January/February 2013 issue. Don't miss out - if you have a job vacancy to fill contact us today via ian@heavliftpfi.com or on +44 (0) 1689 860660.

Join us on LinkedIn

The Heavy Lift & Project Forwarding International LinkedIn group complements the print and online editions of HLPFI and offers you the opportunity to discuss key issues and network with your peers and a wide cross-section of industry experts. Join the discussion now at: http://tinyurl.com/ces7odb
The editorial team was very busy over the festive period working on our first issue of 2013, issue 30. It is not too late to submit editorial contributions, nor book 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 ian@heavyliftpfi.com for more information on any of the above.