Your midweek round-up of news from the world of heavy lift and project forwarding.

Torquing point by Evie Aufheben

When I filled up the car with petrol earlier today, I got chatting to the forecourt attendant about the falling price of a full tank.

I asked him what he thought is causing this falling oil price. A fundamental change in the world's use of energy with cleaner fuels displacing oil? "Nah," he said, "It's all about Saudi Arabia, isn't it? They're not easing up on production 'cos they don't want to see a rehabilitated Iran back in the world oil market and are allowing world oil prices to fall to a level that will help contribute to a collapse of negotiations that might rehabilitate Iran."

As conspiracy theories go, it ranks up there with the best, but coming from a chap who fled Iran after the Shah was deposed, it was not surprising.

Whatever the cause, oil and gas majors and the companies that rely on their business, are waiting with bated breath to see what impact the downwards spiral in the price of a barrel will have on the global economy. Might it help to catalyse or thwart growth? Will it stall the expansion of shale oil projects in the USA, which Wood Mackenzie says needs a price about USD70 per barrel to be sustainable, thereby derailing recovery in the world's economic engine? Will low prices plunge many of the markets of OPEC members into crisis? Reports suggest that many of those economies need a price above USD90 per barrel to balance their budgets. Russia needs a price above USD105 per barrel to balance its budget. And Iran needs a price above USD130 per barrel.

Little did I realise that when I posed the question to my friend from Tehran that I would be leaving the filling station with my head swimming with so many uncertainties. Uncertainties that will almost certainly be on the minds of any reader of the Wednesday Wire whose business relies on proposed on and offshore energy projects, which tend be placed on hold when the price of oil falls below USD70 per barrel. 

How timely that our annual focus on oil and gas logistics will be in the Jan/Feb issue of the magazine.


In business

Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV merger complete

Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV have completed the merger of their container businesses to form the fourth-largest liner shipping company in the world.

US port delays force shippers to look skywards

US west coast port congestion issues have temporarily reversed the long-term modal shift from air to ocean, said Drewry in its latest Container Insight Weekly.

BIMCO wants less IMO red tape for shipping

BIMCO supports a report identifying ways to reduce red tape for shipping, which will be presented to the IMO in London.

Shipowners criticise EU pre-emptive strike on CO2

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has expressed its disappointment and concern that an EU move on CO2 emissions will pre-empt negotiations taking place at the IMO.


Capacity developments

Arkansas tandem-axle weight limit increased

SC&RA welcomes the news that in Arkansas, the maximum allowed weight on a permitted tandem-axle group combination is now 20.8 tonnes, up from 18 tonnes. 

Krandienst Schulz makes crawler debut

Krandienst Schulz invested in its first crawler crane: a Liebherr LR 1600/2 equipped with the new SL13 boom system. 

Cargolux ups Vietnamese offering

Cargolux is expanding its cargo services to Vietnam with the introduction of a second weekly flight to Ho Chi Minh City, and a fourth frequency to Hanoi.


Contractual obligations

John Good welcomes ro-ro partnership

John Good Shipping has formed a partnership with Swedish Orient Line (SOL) following its appointment as UK liner agent for SOL's new ro-ro service between Finland and Tilbury.


On the move

Rolner leaves SAL

Lars Rolner stepped down as managing director and chief operating officer of SAL Heavy Lift, passing on the role to colleague Toshio Yamazaki.

Scholten steps down from Saudia Cargo

Peter Scholten, vice president commercial at Saudia Cargo, will step down from the company on January 15, 2014.

Crowley promotes two

Crowley Maritime Corporation is promoting Ken Orben to general manager of terminal operations in Jacksonville and Karen Dempsey to director of port operations in Pennsauken.


The lighter side

Modulift premiers video guide

Modulift has debuted a video displaying a step-by-step guide of how to construct a lifting beam correctly. Watch it on HLPFI's website.

Training for Africa's abnormal loads

An ISO-accredited Certificate in Project Cargo Management professional development course is being held in conjunction with the Breakbulk Africa Congress in Johannesburg in February, 2015.


Notable shipment

Tradelossa completed a project to transport components for 47 wind turbines destined for the La Rumorosa wind farm in the state of Baja California, Mexico.