It is Thursday 30th May and the last issue before entering the month of June. I’m sure it’s been a hectic month for many involved in project cargo and shipping. As for me, first I attended the AntwerpXL conference from 7th-9th May and then the following week I attended the opening of the new COSCO Specialized Carriers European office in Rotterdam 15th-16th May. This was followed by my attending the Breakbulk Expo in Bremen from 21st-23rd May and then finally chairing the global network meeting of CLC Projects in Prague, Czech Republic from 24th-26th May.
I just went through the business cards that I accumulated during all these trips and I counted a total of 180. Networking is indeed paramount for all of us in business and, although smart devices, social media, mobile phones and the like seem to encroach more and more in our daily lives, still nothing beats meeting face to face.
I will dwell a bit on the Breakbulk Expo in Bremen, which was certainly worth the while attending. It is still by far the biggest of them all and you’re generally bound to meet people from all corners of the world. However, there’s also no doubt that due to the excessive costs, perhaps I’ll reduce my attendance at these events in future. As several attendees remarked, why attend all the breakbulk expos just to meet the same faces again and again? While we always need to maintain relationships, we must also forge new ones too, otherwise our business will ultimately begin to stagnate. It seems to me that the best ones to attend remain AntwerpXL and Breakbulk Bremen. Additionally it’s worth an occasional visit to one of the regional ones in Houston, UAE or Shanghai, depending on your sphere of interest.
As far as I am concerned, Breakbulk Bremen came out the clear winner regarding number of new connections made, whilst AntwerpXL came in second. However, from other points of view, i.e. size of expo, time available to speak with attendees and quality of food and drink, AntwerpXL unsurprisingly came out way ahead of Bremen. Competition is something we must all face in life. So too must expo organisers and thus I urge anyone planning an expo to hang in there, be a little humble regarding price structure and try to be less greedy about everything from food to electrical items that exhibitors may need. These changes would attract far more than just the usual suspects to attend these events. Furthermore, like in business, whilst I respect every global player in shipping, you sometimes also need to realise that size isn’t always best and doesn’t always guarantee quality.
Above are some photos from the event in Antwerp and below are some from Bremen. Hopefully the pictures encapsulate the good mood and festive atmosphere at both events.
In Prague, where I finally attended the CLC Projects global network meeting (see here), I was the moderator of the event. I must say that Prague is a wonderful city, apart from the tourists that overwhelm it (as I understand) daily. Still, it is income for some, but I do start to understand the feelings of many locals in quite a few places worldwide stating that they are tired of hordes of tourists roaming the streets with loud voices and constant camera clicking. Aside from the trade war between the US and China, there also seems to be a war over how noisy each of the two nations’ tourists can be. They seem to equally compete in tourist hotspots (such as Prague) over who can be the loudest during breakfast and who can be the loudest during check-in. Also, both groups seem to portray an ignorance of the outside world that I have seldom seen or heard about. Didn’t they learn about appropriate travel behaviour at school?
Still on balance, the trips this month were fantastic and now it’s back to basics, which in my case means looking after a couple of boys whilst the wife is in China with our daughter. I just had a crash course on how to use the microwave and how to warm up pancakes for breakfast. Being editor and chairman certainly leaves me with a lot to learn about normal modern life it would seem.
As for business matters, today we start off talking to a company, or, rather, two companies joining forces in the Adriatic region of Europe, i.e. Comark in Slovenia and Liburnia in Croatia. They tell us more why have found that in business, sleeping together is better being than sleeping alone. The former Yugoslavian countries are developing rapidly and there is a lot of strategic interest, also from overseas, in this part of Europe. We then visit Morocco, specifically regarding the port of Tangier. We focus on and talk to a local ex-port worker who became a project freight forwarder about the development there and the expansions they are planning.
I leave you this week with only two interviews, because I am sure you could do with a rest and maybe just fewer (and shorter) emails with this edition.
Until next week and see you in June!
Bo H. Drewsen
Comark, Slovenia / Liburnia Maritime, Croatia
Mr. Marin Skufca / Mr. Branko Butala
C.E.O. / C.E.O.
Although we have spoken to you before, perhaps you could reiterate the quick rundown of the history of Liburnia and Comark respectively?
Both companies have, since the very beginning, been very focused on project cargo and heavy lift. Liburnia started in 2004 as agents and brokers. Project forwarding came a bit later to adapt to clients’ needs and gain better control of the cargo flow. Comark originally started its work in 1992, first specialising in oversized road transport. However, in 2009 the current owners took over and the Comark service became much wider, offering also multimodal transport and seaworthy packaging. In 2014 Comark opened a new company in Rijeka, Croatia.
Sea Cargo Logistics, Tangier, Morocco
Mr. Mohamed Bennani
With Brexit and other upheavals in Europe, it seems that Morocco’s close proximity to Europe and the main shipping lanes makes it more and more appealing a choice for transhipment. Can you tell us about the expansion plans at the port of Tangier?
Brexit and Europe’s upheaval affect everything. For example, regarding Morocco, Tangier Med Port 1 hit full capacity (three million TEU) in 2017 and local authorities began to realise the possibility of further activity developing in the area.
Transhipment activity has started to grow, with many capitalising on the benefit of Morocco’s geographical position and low charges, compared with European countries.
Major Fire on KMTC Container Ship in Thailand
It has been a week of accidents in shipping. For example, here there was an explosion in the port of Laem Chabang, Thailand, involving containers of reportedly undeclared contents. We hope that the severest of penalties are applied to shippers and/or forwarders who ship cargo without actual declarations. It’s stupid and outright dangerous to take chances like this with other peoples’ lives.
Thailand Port Authority TPA director Kamolsak Phromprayoon said on May 27, that the overall damage from KMTC Hong Kong explosions and major fire, would exceed $3.1 mil. Thailand authorities and all affected by accident, seem to go after cargo owners in order to get compensation.
Thailand will probably, set up a special working group with relevant agencies to investigate the full extent of the impact from the chemical contamination on people’s health and the environment, being already pressed to do so by environmentalists.
Freighter Lost €30M Super Yacht in Balearic Sea
If you were buying a thirty million Euro luxury yacht, I’d assume that you’d be using the best possible project freight forwarder to do the shipping. I’d also expect that the lashing and securing would have been done in such a manner that it’d be virtually impossible for the yacht to fall off the ship. Of course having said that, the forces of nature can be horrendous and I suppose it is now up to the insurance companies, shipping companies and freight forwarders to investigate how this happened.
General cargo ship BRATTINGSBORG was caught in storm in Mediterranean, Balearic sea, and at night May 25-26 lost overboard famous in yachting world sailing super yacht MY SONG, worth some 30 mil euros. Yacht was transported from the Caribbean, where she stayed during winter season, to be offloaded, understood, in Genova, probably for repairs or maintenance, to rig her ready for regatta. She was to be on Balearic island by Jun 3, to take part in the regatta.
Grimaldi Ro-Ro Catches Fire off Mallorca
The final piece of bad news of the week. For the second time in a short while, it involves a Grimaldi Ro-Ro freighter catching fire. Let’s hope that this event is also investigated properly and that we discover what caused it. Still, considering the amount of shipping taking place without incident, this week’s incidents do seem insignificant overall. However, what’s important is that all involved in shipping do our duty and follow the best practices always. This means not letting the costs affect the way we do business. Hopefully the shippers of the world can understand this too and they can refrain from constantly playing shipowners and freight forwarders against each other.
On Wednesday, fifteen crew members were evacuated from the Grimaldi Lines Ro/Ro Grande Europa by helicopter after a fire broke out on board. Ten remained behind to assist with the response and towing effort.
At 0400 hours on Wednesday, a fire broke out aboard the Grande Europa while she was about 25 miles off the coast of Palma de Mallorca. The Salvamento Maritimo response vessels Salvamar Acrux, Guardamar Calíope and Marta Mata came to her assistance and helped her crew bring the fire under control.
Confoot Ltd. Finland Presents New 34 Ton Capacity Container Leg Set
Besides surprisingly winning the Ice Hockey World Championship, the Fins, who normally converse in a language that few can understand (that is if they converse at all) are also developing new tools to handle containers. Read more here.
ConFoot Ltd Finland presents the much-requested update to the ConFoot CF set. The maximum load capacity of the CF set has been increased to 34 tons from the previous 30. This development expands the range of use, making the CF set more attractive to specialist user groups such as tank container operators.
Ghana Signs $500M Agreement for a New
Ghana recently signed a $500 million agreement with China Railway Wuju Group Corporation (CRWG) for the construction of a new railway, the Global Construction Review reveals.
The new railway is a 100 km standard-gauge railway linking Manso and Dunkwa. The Railway, planned to be completed within a maximum of 12 months, will complement the 22 km Kojokrom-Manso railway being constructed and facilitate the transport of people and goods.
Finnish Company to Invest €13.6m in NI Paper Straw Factory
Finnish packaging giant Huhtamaki is to invest £12 million (€13.6 million) in Northern Ireland and create 100 jobs in a new factory that will be the first in Ireland to produce sustainable paper straws.
The Antrim factory will initially produce paper straws primarily for the fast food group McDonald’s which is planning to replace plastic with paper straws in more than 1,300 Irish and UK restaurants this year.
Gov. Edwards Announces $150M Investment at Krotz Springs Refinery
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Delek US President and CEO Uzi Yemin announced the energy company will invest $150 million to enhance its refinery in Krotz Springs, Louisiana, via a series of projects over the next five years. Delek US will create 30 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $90,000, plus benefits.
In addition, Louisiana Economic Development estimates the investment will result in 48 new indirect jobs, for a total of 78 new jobs for St. Landry Parish and the Acadiana Region. The company also will retain 200 existing jobs at its Krotz Springs refinery.
French-Led Consortium to Build 800-Megawatt Solar Plant in Morocco
A consortium led by French EDF Renewables won a tender to build an 800-megawatt solar plant near the Moroccan city of Midelt, local media reported on Wednesday.
The plant will be built with an investment of 7.57 billion dirham (781.5 million U.S. dollars) funded by several international institutions, namely the European Investment Bank, the German bank of KfW, the French Development Agency, the European Commission, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Clean Technology Fund, the same source said.
Discharging at the Port of Callao, Peru. I was onboard MV Lutetia of Hamburg Sud coming from Hamburg. The voyage took thirty-two days.
Everyone, even in shipping, talks about CO2 emissions and we seem to be reaching climate hysteria. Someone is bound to make good business out of all this, but this is still an interesting video of the timeline over the last 150+ years for you to watch.
A wonderful day at Rotterdam recently. It’s a gigantic port indeed.