January 25 - This week's Friday Flyer is again sponsored by Broekman Project Services, located in the Port of Rotterdam, which offers a total solution for handling and assembly of project cargoes - www.broekman-group.com/bps

Tonight, those on the HLPFI staff with Scottish heritage will be piping in the 'Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!' as they sit down to enjoy their Burn's Night supper, as will many Friday Flyer readers in Scotland and across the Scottish diaspora. We wish them a grand appetite and an enjoyable wee dram or two of the finest single malt.

As we write this issue of the Friday Flyer, it is increasingly clear that certain parts of West and North Africa are becoming ever more dangerous; and with significant heavy lift and project cargo business there, increased caution is needed. Many Friday Flyer readers will have experience in working in regions where law and order is, at best, lax if there is any at all. The British, German and Dutch governments have urged their citizens to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to what they called an imminent threat against Westerners.

At the same time as the hot winds from the desert are beginning to put those involved in project cargo operations in danger, the cold freeze of fiscal uncertainty continues to weigh down expectations for future contracts. Global growth for 2013 is now likely to be lower than previous estimates, according to the IMF, as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe continues to pose a large downside risk to the economy.

Economic pundits will have noted that, last year, the German economy grew by 0.7 percent, a sharp slowdown on the previous year, preliminary figures show. The figure was well below the 3 percent growth seen in 2011 and suggests the economy contracted in the fourth quarter. Many have seen Germany as the core of EU financial survival through this current crisis.. If it is now weakening, what does that say for prospects for government and state-backed infrastructure and capital investment?

The long lead times inherent in many project operations mean that many contracts may have been inked before the 2008 banking crisis and are now coming to an end. Looking to the next decade, how many contracts are being inked now?
A life on the ocean waves

This week brought an end to months of speculation about what Safmarine intends to do with its MPV services with the announcement that Safmarine MPV would be a standalone company within the AP Moller-Maersk group, and the appointment of the Royal Burger Group as its agent in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The appointment of independent agents with understanding of the breakbulk business is seen by many as a logical first step and further appointments seem likely. The implementation of bespoke IT and operational systems designed for purpose, rather than legacy systems based on container shipping, also bodes well for the future health of the standalone Safmarine MPV company. The company will have a fleet of 11 ships, one of which is pictured above right.

Meanwhile in a show of confidence, Nordana signed contracts for the construction of four 12,000 dwt multi-purpose heavy lift vessels to be built at the Sanfu Shipyard, Yangzhou in China. With a heavy lift capacity of up to 500 tonnes, the vessels will be built to a new design that is a further development of Nordana's existing Great Dane Mk I, of which 11 units were delivered from Sanfu to Nordana between 2009 and 2012.

Of interesting ocean shipments, New Zealand-based TNL GAC Pindar Ltd transported a 7.6 tonne Stamas 363 motorboat 15,000 km between Georgia, USA and Auckland, New Zealand. The motorboat was shrink-wrapped and cradled on a special mafi trailer before being loaded on to a vessel at Savannah port, Georgia. Meanwhile, Intertransport Hohnholz - a member of the Project Cargo Network (PCN) representing Germany - recently transported a shipment of mill work rolls to Canada.
Decision time
The decision regarding the privatisation of Hampton Roads port in Virginia is expected to be made during the spring, according to the Virginia Port Authority. Two of the offers are from private companies; APM Terminals Inc, and a group led by US bank JPMorgan Chase and Co while a third proposal is a restructuring of the current agreement with Virginia International Terminals Inc - the port's non-profit operations arm.           
Things can only get better
Cargolux has performed above expectations by losing less money in 2012 than it thought it would.  It has been a turbulent time for the Luxembourg-based carrier; which recently required the Luxembourg State to re-acquire the 35 percent shareholding in Cargolux that it sold to Qatar Airways in 2011.
Getting down and dirty

Volga-Dnepr Airlines delivered a shipment weighing almost 100 tonnes, including a self-propelled Bauer BG28 mining drill to Magadan, Russia using an AN-124-100 freighter flight from Moscow for Russian construction and engineering concern Stroymechanoservice LLC. The shipment included auxiliary equipment to support the operation and maintenance of the drill.
On the forwarding front
Project Professionals Group (PPG) has added a trio of members to its network in Asia. World Wide Logistics has been appointed as member for Northern China and Hong Kong, Indonesia Project Logistics has been named member for Indonesia, while Global Container International has joined the network as its Singaporean representative.

It was "arriba arriba" for  Mexico based Tradelossa as it completed the transport of two boilers weighing 547 tonnes and measuring 20.3 m for petro-chemical firm Sadara Chemical Company. Tradelossa was responsible for moving the load from the Ras Tanura assembly shop in Altamira, Monterrey, Mexico, on self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) to Altamira port.

The ultimate Chinese takeaway saw Globalink Logistics Group deliver a crawler crane weighing over 300 tonnes and measuring approximately 1,000 cu m from China to Russia. It took a lucky 13 trucks to move the crane to the Kazakhstan-China border station of Khorgos. At the border, Globalink handled all Customs clearance proceedings and on-carriage to destination in Russia.

Turkey based SDV Horoz Projects has set up a dedicated bulk/chartering desk to strengthen its project cargo handling capabilities while US based international transportation and logistics provider Lilly & Associates International has moved to its new head office in Doral, Florida.
Hatches, matches and dispatches
Scott Logan has taken on the mantle of tender manager for government services for Kansas, US-based MIQ Logistics.

DB Schenker has appointed Petra Kuester as the new cfo of Schenker in the UK while her predecessor, Per Holst-Nielsen, has taken off to Schenker AB in Sweden.
All about Evie
Ms Evie Aufheben, our sassy gossip columnist, is following the Antwerp antics behind the creation of Safmarine MPV as an independent company within the AP Moller-Maersk group. It is intriguing, she thinks, that the move was made with little if any fanfare earlier this month.  Even the news that it is serving up a Royal Burger as its liner sales agent in Belgium and the Netherlands was hardly trumpeted from the ramparts at the company's HQ in Antwerp. Like many, Evie remains intrigued and looks forward to watching the Safmarine MPV operation set sail as a standalone operation, hopefully with some advertising of its services in HLPFI!

Evie likes a winner and says well done to Asco Freight Management which has won the Project Forwarding Award at the British International Freight Association (BIFA) awards for the second year running, impressing the judges by providing an exceptional service for a truly time-critical project in Greenland. Atlantic Pacific Global Logistics, Denholm Global Logistics and Sound Moves UK were runners-up.