January 11 - Two weeks into the New Year and it is business as usual for most Friday Flyer readers.

Is confidence returning?

The old cliché is that nothing is over 'until the fat lady sings.' If that is the case, the over-dimensional lass is clearly getting her chequebook out to snap up the issued and outstanding ordinary shares in shipping line Dockwise, as Royal Boskalis Westminster moves in to finish its acquisition of the Dutch heavy lift shipping line. This week Boskalis announced plans to finance the deal through a mix of existing cash resources, new senior debt facilities and an equity issuance.

It is too early in the year to know whether this move heralds any further M&A in the sector but is a vote of confidence by Boskalis and its backers in the market and flags up its long-term interest in the business.

Meanwhile, two project cargo networks, Project Partners and the Project Cargo Network (PCN) have both started the year with new North American members. The continued growth of these and other networks highlight that business prospers when confidence flourishes.

Taking off

AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has taken delivery of its third B747-8 freighter, with the new aircraft making its first commercial flight from Seattle to Moscow via Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Gebrüder Weiss transported a EUR1.5 million helicopter and associated equipment from Austria to Georgia for client Wucher Helicopter, while Air Charter Service (ACS) rescued a Sea King helicopter which had been stranded on top of a mountain in the Arctic Circle.

On the forwarding front

SDV acquired a majority stake in Swiss concern Safcomar Overseas SA, which now trades under the name SDV Suisse; while Stedergroup completed the loading of a 207-tonne electrical transformer in Rotterdam for delivery by coaster to the UK; and DB Schenker transported one of the world's largest luxury yachts using heavy-duty towing equipment from the river Rhine to the Dusseldorf Exhibition Center, where it will be on display at the 'boot 2013' boat show.

GAC Group is launching a new corporate tagline in 2013, 'Delivering your strategy', which, according to group president Bengt Ekstrand, shows the firm's desire to be the customers' strategic partner and not simply their service provider. GAC continues to be the sponsor of Crystal Palace FC, currently flying high in the second tier of English football - as you might expect from an eagle (Ed).

Allfort Co has relocated its head office in Tokyo, as KGL Logistics, in co-operation with AXL Logistics Karachi (AXL), transported almost 5,000 tonnes of steel structures and building materials for a cold drinks manufacturing facility in Kabul, Afghanistan for client Alokozay International.

Rest in Peace

We mark with regret the sad accident in Peru during the week that saw the crash of an aircraft belonging to Oregon-based heavy lift helicopter provider Columbia Helicopters and the death of several members of staff. At the same time, we were extremely saddened to learn of the passing of John McLaughlin, a regular contributor to HLPFI. Aged 54, he passed away on Christmas Day in Paris after contracting meningitis. His last feature for HLPFI, a review of the heavy lift and project forwarding market in the Nordic countries, appeared in the November/December 2012 issue. Our sincere condolences go out John's family and to the families of the helicopter crash victims.

Hatches, matches and dispatches

Steven K Nixon has taken the reins as vice president in charge of business development for Long Beach, California-based APS Stevedoring LLC; while Martin Spaans has bid adieu to Cyprus-based offshore installation contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL) after 20 years of service, latterly as ceo. His replacement is Jan Willem van der Graaf, promoted from senior vice president renewable energy. Bob Dunsmore, formerly Subsea 7's vice president renewables, completes the reshuffle as he joins the SHL management team.

There's been a dynamic duo of promotions at C.H. Robinson Worldwide with Angie Freeman appointed as vice president of human resources, and Tim Gagnon replacing her as vice president of investor relations and public affairs.

Clipper Group A/S welcomed Peter Appel, managing partner and head of shipping, offshore and transportation at Copenhagen law firm Gorrissen Federspiel, to its board.

Meanwhile, McKeil Marine appointed Brent Kinnaird to the role of marketing manager, effective February 1.

After 16 years with the company, John Clark decided to leave Kestrel Liner Agencies Ltd to take on a commercial management position directly with the shipping agent's principal Universal Africa Lines.

All about Evie

Evie Aufheben, our sassy gossip columnist, was somewhat amused by all the media coverage given to piracy protection outfit, Typhon and remarked that it's not like it's the first time we have heard this 'news' of Typhon's forthcoming 'naval' adventure to project shipping off the coast of Somalia. Didn't we have exactly the same PR push, with the same wording, this time last year as piracy off Somalia has dropped to an all-time low and one of the biggest war lords in the crime has hung up his Kalashnikov. Evie's PR background antenna also bristled with the quote that the idea came about as one of the founders was quoted thus: 'I had an idea while playing polo' That may be the truth, but is best left unsaid to be taken seriously, quips Evie.

While other girls might enjoy Sex and the City DVDs, Evie loves nothing more than a great aviation DVD to curl up with on the sofa. That is why a video of the last remaining Super Guppy on You Tube caught her eye. The aircraft was one of the first planes ever built to transport over-sized cargo, and is currently in use with NASA to transport oversized components between its bases throughout the USA. Watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDtzhhaXVZo

She also congratulates the Project Partners forwarder network for their choice of telephone hold music - Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong - which appeals to her sense of justice and peace: "I see friends shaking hands sayin' how do you do? They're really sayin' I love you. " Now, wouldn't that make it a wonderful world in which to do business?

Career opportunities

Recruiting the right person can be a costly business. Agency fees can be prohibitively high and going through countless irrelevant applications can be very time consuming. Why not advertise your employment vacancy on our website? In this issue, STX Panocean and Malin Marine are taking the opportunity to advertise current vacancies, as can be seen above.

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

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.