It is Thursday again and the 6th of February, 2020. Nobody has been “immune”, for lack of a better word, to the news about what has been happening in China over the last couple of weeks. I am referring to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which, after SARS a few years ago, seems to have overwhelmed the system in China, in both the rate of spread and number of infected. What angers the editor about this is that there seems to have been no lessons learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak, which was also caused by the transmission of a virus from animal to human at a market where wild animals were sold for food. To top it all off, this new epidemic got going around the time of the world’s largest human migration, Chinese New Year.
We trust that the Chinese government is doing all it can to contain the outbreak, but equally important is to learn lessons from this outbreak and implement measures and education to try to prevent another cross-species contagion, especially in the central and southern parts of the country where exotic animal “delicacies” are consumed with pleasure.
Just today I heard that because several passengers have tested positive for the 2019-nCoV, a giant cruise ship is anchored outside Yokohama, Japan with 3,000 passengers on board, unable to berth for the next 14 days. See here. We mourn for the people who have been infected and we pray that the virus will be eradicated swiftly and without mercy.
Turning to another matter that has preoccupied me over the past week, I come to the issue of fraud. Fraud in an online world can be swift, ruthless and virtually untraceable. With a virtual click of a mouse the funds can be absconded, never to be seen again. I am referring specifically to CEO Fraud, whereby emails appear to be sent from top management (using similar-looking domain names or hacking the sender’s account) to staff with instructions to pay a certain amount or change bank details. For example, if you received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org you may not notice the extra w in my email address. Trust me, several reputable companies have fallen into this trap. Thinking that “it would never happen to me” is both arrogant and stupid because this threat is becoming more common and sophisticated. See more here. Scary, to say the least, and although its only “money” it certainly can feel like more than that!
On the political front, it is said that everyone has a vote and that democracy is great, to which I agree, but it does also mean that we must be able to count, so my dear democratic party in the US, please sharpen-up if you are expecting to have any kind of chance against Mr. Twitter.
Across the Atlantic, the good old United Kingdom has finally left the EU and simultaneously left a gaping hole in the budget of the EU. But fear not, the bureaucrats will never even consider that its time for belt-tightening or starting to save for once. And rest assured that the traveling circus once a month between Brussels and Strasbourg will continue as long as the French are hell-bent on going down (but in 1st class). Certain parts of Eastern Europe have also gotten used to being spoiled and it befalls to the usual “hard-working economies” to take up the slack, and are now asked to cough up even more for the EU coffers. There is zero chance that any bureaucrat will look inward and think: “perhaps my own benefits package and salary are too high”, no sir, and that is a promise PCW can keep, it will never happen in the EU.
Speaking of another kind of greed, mainly in the financial industry, I urge all of you to buy or rent the movie called Inside Job, it’s a scary documentary about what led to the crash in 2008. Soon we are there again, guided along by AAA ratings (obtained easily for anyone with the right connections) that allow access to funds for tricky investments.
Don’t expect our politicians to know about finance, they would rather just deregulate and let the market eat us all up, hence the inequality has reached astronomical proportions here in Sweden alone. The CEO now earns at least 60x more than the average worker and I am afraid to even think of the difference in the US, for example. As Gordon Gekko said, in the 1984 movie Wall Street, “Greed works”.
On the shipping front we start today in Russia where we interview VTG Project Logistics, they tell us about logistics and transportation, in what certainly is a huge and complex country. After that, we visit Austria, a smaller country, nicely sandwiched in the center of Europe, known for beauty and overpaid bureaucrats from international organizations. Besides Mozart, pastries and the river, there are also project freight forwarders available there and we get an introduction from a capable one called TransOcean Shipping. We then move to the state of Texas for a republished interview with a local specialist involved in oil and gas projects worldwide before signing off today’s newsletter with shipping news, trade intelligence, wise words, etc.
Until next Thursday, I remain,
Bo H. Drewsen
VTG Project Logistics – Moscow, Russia
Mr. Sergey Nikitin
Tell us a bit about the distances of your country. What is the furthest Russian locale to which you have delivered cargo? Can you describe the obstacles you may face due to the winter?
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. Its total area is about 17 million square kilometers. The distance between our offices is more than 9,000 km, comprising 7 time zones!
Our Oil and Gas and mining customer factories are located in the most remote corners of Russia, such as Chukotka, Yakutia, and the north of Sakhalin. In these areas, winter weather brings heavy snow, freezing rain, flooding, and bitterly cold temperatures that can all wreak havoc on road conditions and cause a lot of delivery problems. For example, we managed a big project which began in Svobodniy where temperatures drop to minus 45 degrees Celsius. This means that navigation along the Northern Sea Route is possible only in the summer.
TransOcean Shipping – Vienna, Austria
Vienna is an inland point although serviced by the river Danube. When you move project cargoes in and out of Austria, what are the main entry and exit seaports used?
It all depends on the weight and dimensions of the cargo. The trucking option to Hamburg, Bremerhaven or Bremen can accommodate up to roughly 100 metric tons and 4 meters width and height. Although we have been informed that the German authorities will make changes to the transport permits starting in March, 2020, we are waiting for more details.
All other cargo is shipped by barge to Antwerp or Rotterdam (as barges to German ports are too expensive) or Constanta with our inhouse barge specialists.
Marine Charter Services – Houston Texas, USA
Mr. Carl Sorensen
Houston is known as a shipping hub, in North America in particular, for oil/gas etc. Does that still apply for project and break bulk cargoes to/from North America, or would you say that other ports are developing in this sector too nowadays?
Houston is still very much a hub for break bulk, both in the oil and gas industries. However, as many know already, it is also a hub in the wind power and mining sectors. The West Coast is still basically useless for anything too O.D. or heavy (my apologies for being crass but the WC does no one any favors). The East Coast is better but also limited, so I would say the Gulf of Mexico and Baltimore, Savannah are other great options. The thing is, it all depends on where the equipment is originating. You may be able to get that piece(s) out of the West Coast if you are close to a terminal that has a liner service or your client pays for the part charter to position a ship there and you can get the inland to that loading terminal, but mostly Houston’s roads and infrastructure can handle the high and wide and heavy loads a lot more easily than other ports in the USA and Canada.
Cakeboxx Announces Two-piece Refrigerated Shipping Containers Called ThermoBoxx™
Cakeboxx has a new range of containers. It would seem that its an interesting product if you need to move temperature-sensitive cargos that would normally be difficult to load and unload through conventional reefer container doors due to their size, shape or weight.
CakeBoxx Technologies has announced the launch of a new range of two-piece refrigerated shipping containers called ‘ThermoBoxx™’, designed for the shipment of high-value cargos across various industries with a requirement for temperature control.
First Afghan Cargo is a Game-Changer for Gwadar Port
Gwadar port, Pakistan, built with Chinese funding, is an interesting gateway now open to Afghanistan, which otherwise is very landlocked.
On 14 January, Gwadar port officially started taking cargo under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). By this agreement, landlocked Afghanistan can import and export goods via Pakistani land routes. The first consignment unloaded at Gwadar port contained chemical fertilizers, which were transported to Afghanistan in trucks at the Chaman border crossing in Balochistan province. This marks the first operational use of Gwadar port for major trade activity, a success for both Pakistan and China.
Mauritius 6th Global Logistics Symposium
It is not always in the news, but Mauritius brings to mind nice beaches, great food and the Indian Ocean. They will have a logistics symposium on the island March 14-18, 2020.
The Golden Twenties – Hansa Meyer’s Latest News
Hansa Meyer is a German project freight forwarder with proud traditions. Their latest press release sheds some light on their recent developments.
The start of the new decade is a considerable milestone for Hansa Meyer Global Transport in its 35 years of successful development into a well-reputed international transport architect. The target is to stand ground with designed transport solutions of high quality within a logistics environment developing rapidly. Their motto remains: “Know-How and experience lead to qualifications. – Qualification and Performance result in customer satisfaction.” It will be extended by: “Communication and acceleration lead to advantage. – Advantage and creativity result in tailor-made solutions for customers”.
ABB Wins Drives Order for Two Different Sun Paper Projects in China and Laos
Sun Paper has selected technology leader ABB to fulfil two orders for its facilities in Laos and Shandong, China. The first order comprises new drives for the company’s paper machine 1 (PM1) and paper machine 2 (PM2) at its Laos mill, while the second includes a synchronous motor, motor starting equipment, excitation protection control and process drives for chemical pulp production at its plant in Shandong, eastern China.
Capstone Expands Fast Growing Caribbean Market to 6.65 MWs with New Microturbine for Renowned Rum Distillery in Jamaica
Capstone Turbine Corporation, the world’s leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, announced today that it continues to expand the microturbine market in the Caribbean as it secured an order from a renowned rum distillery in Jamaica.
A.Celli supplies three new E-WIND T-200S tissue rewinders to Gold HongYe Paper factory in Xiaogan, China
At the end of December, the APP Group management signed the purchase order for three A.Celli E-WIND® T200S (shaftless) tissue rewinders for Gold Hongye Paper factory in Xiaogan, in Hubei province, China. Two of the three rewinders are equipped with four unwinders, while the third has three; they will all handle mother rolls with diameter of 3000 mm and paper width of 5630 mm, having basis weights varying from 10.5 to 45 gsm, and with a maximum operating speed of 1100 mpm.
US company NBC Security plans to open production facility in Lithuania
NBC Security, Inc., a global defense applications firm, has announced its decision to commence operations in Lithuania under the name UAB “Baltic Defense Industries”. The company has established a new office in Kaunas and plans to open a facility for the manufacturing of products for the global defense and law enforcement agencies.
Port of Callao, Peru
A short film sequence from the Port of Callao, Peru shot by the undersigned while onboard MV Lutetia.
One of my favourite pictures, chairing the CLC Projects network meeting in Vietnam back in 2017. By lucky coincidence while visiting the Port of Vungtau one of APL’s mega-ships was alongside. It’s not easy to capture this kind of picture in any port nowadays, given security constraints and what not.