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ANALYSISCANADA


notwithstanding a moratorium on offshore wind farms in the province, Groller reported.


McKeil Marine used nine tug and barge units to transport oversize modules and construction materials destined for the Vale Inco nickel processing plant being built at Long Harbour, Newfoundland.


air freight providers. “A lot of oil and gas companies have hired logistics people from forwarders and now do more planning, so they stage shipments earlier and send more by ocean. Cargo is still there in terms of volumes, but air freight is less,” Buschmann remarked.


He added that the improved schedule integrity of the shipping lines has amplified this trend, citing a recent case where a shipper with traffic to Europe opted for ocean transportation on the strength of a seven-day transit time.


Where air freight is still needed, there are no challenges finding lift. Quite often charters are not even necessary, given ample scheduled freighter flights desperate for business. “There is a lot of capacity out there, and rates are incredibly low,” Buschmann said. Toronto, in particular, is flush with lift at rock bottom rates. In the west there is less capacity, but Calgary has seen the addition of another weekly B747 freighter flight to Europe.


In western Canada, Aerodyne acts as general sales agent for Volga-Dnepr, but the carrier’s Antonov 124s are no longer a regular sight at Calgary International airport.


Albacor joins forces with BNSF Logistics


The push into the project sector by large logistics players has continued with the acquisition of Albacor Shipping by BNSF Logistics. The subsidiary of US rail giant BNSF had approached the project specialist with the twin objectives of boosting its footprint in the outsize and project sector and of expanding into the international arena. While the US firm has concentrated on its domestic market so far, Albacor, which was founded in Canada in 1998 and subsequently expanded into the USA, Germany and


www.heavyliftpfi.com


The merger with BNSF Logistics brings considerable financial muscle to Albacor.


Russia, has an international focus. “North America to Russia is our special niche,”


“The activity is more inbound than outbound these days,” advised Buschmann, adding that much is for the oil sands, and for the most part carried by smaller freighter aircraft. “I ran two 777 freighters into Edmonton last year to support oilfields business in Fort McMurray. I was the only broker with widebody freighter charters to Edmonton.”


Oil sands


Faced with question marks over pipeline construction to move their output to US and Asian markets, oil companies have slowed down their activities in the oil sands, forwarders report. “Projects that were decided are moving forward, but new ones are on hold,” said Spillner.


This slowdown is widely expected to be


temporary. According to some projections, the region’s output will double by 2020. Despite the ups and downs in commodity prices, Kuehne + Nagel and other firms have been busy with mining projects. Likewise, Equipment Express has had ongoing strong demand for moving wind energy shipments in Ontario,


According to Schoofs, LNG is a market segment to keep on the radar. Down the road he anticipated large projects on the Canadian West Coast. “LNG definitely seems to be an up-and-coming market. We plan to develop this sector,” he said. Kitimat in Northwestern British Columbia is one area that is projected to see much LNG-related work and Kuehne + Nagel is about to start a trial for a newly developed one-year training programme for local people. The plan is to develop the forwarder’s branch there through training up local recruits.


“Community involvement is a big factor in Canada,” remarked Schoofs. Bringing communities on board for projects and developing a partnership with them would certainly help to diminish the likelihood of strong local opposition to projects and related moves.


Schoofs believes that the experience in 2010/11, when outsize coke drum shipments for ConocoPhillips were stuck in Idaho for over half a year due to strong local opposition to the move, has brought about a new industry approach. “Idaho has been a game changer. Now there is much more emphasis to engage the community and to engage the labour force,” he commented. It certainly helps to know that residents are not going to challenge permits for outsize moves. Regulations for those vary from province to province in Canada, but the disparity is far less pronounced than in the USA, where permitting policies have turned project routes into obstacle courses. Still, deteriorating infrastructure has made it more difficult to obtain permits, Barnett noted.


said former Albacor president Wolfgang Spillner, who is now managing director, overseas operations. While BNSF Logistics gains an international arm, for Albacor the marriage brings considerable financial muscle. “Now we can tackle jobs that we could not have tackled in the past, all because of money,” remarked Spillner, but he is quick to add that the railway does not give preferential treatment to Albacor. The forwarder’s customers have responded favourably to the marriage, knowing that they continue to be served by the same team, commented Gerald Hess, Albacor managing director, Canada. For the time being, operations continue to run under the Albacor banner, but over time the old name will disappear, Spillner observed.


July/August 2013 45


Elia Koolsbergen


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