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NEWS\\\ News Roundup

Swedish shipping line Thor Shipping & Transport has established its first UK base at ABP Hull, at the terminal formerly operated by TransAtlantic, which withdrew from the UK market earlier this year. Thor operates three vessels, the Odin, the Alrek and the Frej , handling 300,000 tonnes of steel and other cargoes each year. It will serve Sweden, Hull, Amsterdam and Antwerp and will also pick up dolomite in the UK.


Chilean based shipping line CSAV – which recently announced a merger with Hapag Lloyd – is replacing its current three-sling Imex service between Dubai, India and Europe with a single- sling service, calling in London Gateway on the eastbound leg. The new service will start at the beginning of October and will be operated with eight 5,500-6,500teu vessels.

SCS Multiport is to add a twice-weekly call in Zeebrugge to its Amsterdam/Tilbury service to cater for Far East transhipment and continental traffic. It follows a strategic agreement between the ports to develop Far East deep sea transhipment opportunities.

UK/Netherlands shortsea operator A2B is to increase its weekly capacity with the replacement of the MS Anja with a larger vessel, the 508teu MS Alma, from 9 September.

Yusen Logistics is double-stacking cargo inside ocean containers,

using specialised roof-suspended decks. The

technology, developed by Yusen’s parent company NYK and its R&D subsidiary MTI, was tested in April and the companies involved are applying for patents. The system will help satisfy increasing demand for transport of electrical products, chemicals, foodstuffs, and motorcycles. The service is available on all its transport lanes. Yusen has also launched a range of less than containerload (LCL) transatlantic services from the UK to North America.

German-based line Hamburg Sud is to buy the container liner activities of Chile’s CCNI, including general agency functions. The deal, which is subject to due diligence, is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. CCNI will continue its non-liner shipping activities including car carriers and ship-owning. Hamburg Süd is meanwhile opening an office in Nanjing, China which will take over from the Ben Line agency. The new Nanjing office will be responsible for all Hamburg Süd operations in the Yangtze area, the ports of Chongqing and Wuhan, and Lianyungang.

Stena Line is to add capacity between Rotterdam Europoort and Killingholme. The Stena Scotia will operate three times weekly from 2 September, departing Killingholme at 22.00 on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and returning from Rotterdam at 17.00 on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Stena-owned ferry has space for 120 unaccompanied trailers and up to 12 passengers.

DFDS is increasing in capacity on its Rotterdam-Immingham freight route. From 9 September there will be two extra round trips departing on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Rotterdam and on Wednesdays and Fridays from Immingham, all at 14:00. They will be operated by the Anglia Seaways which is joining the existing ro-ro freight ships, Fionia Seaways and Hafnia Seaways.

Peel Ports Group is to spend £5.5m on AutoGates technology as part of its investment in the deep-water Liverpool2 expansion due to be open next year. At present, a manual system requires drivers to register at a site office, where they complete a form and wait for clearance before entering. But the AutoGates will provide a streamlined and fully-integrated process from entry to loading or unloading. The equipment is being supplied and installed by Kalmar Global and APS Technology Group.

Robert Keen has taken up the director-generalship of the British International Freight Association – the main freight forwarders’ association in the UK - following Peter Quantrill’s departure in mid-August for personal reasons. But don’t expect radical changes immediately. It will be business as usual, he told FBJ. He takes over an association

that is, generally, in fine shape, financially and in membership terms. Communication and relations with the membership are pretty good, he says, and if there are any problems, they are not slow in letting BIFA know. “I have always made a point of getting out and about to the various community groups in the regions – so I like to think that I’ve got my finger on the pulse,” Keen explains. Some of the groups meet more regularly than others and some are seen more as social gatherings than opportunities to discuss industry issues but generally BIFA has a great rapport with its members. “I would like to look at how we could enhance what we do and reach even more members, perhaps through regional conferences,” he adds. He will also turn his attention to

soon enhancing communication through social media as well as through e mail which works very well.

BIFA’s penetration of its potential

membership base is pretty good, Keen reckons, although in an unregulated industry it is hard to gauge how many freight forwarders

there are in the

country. Yes, there are people who call themselves freight forwarders who are not BIFA members but they are by and large small players. All BIFA members are audited for liability insurance as a condition of membership. The insurance industry and sector specialist solicitors ask new companies to join BIFA which “acts as the best recruiting sergeant we could ask for.”

And unlike some industries

that are populated by a smaller number of larger companies, freight forwarding is still quite dynamic in terms of company formation. While there have been many mergers and some forwarders have ceased trading, the phenomenon of people learning the trade and then

Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal


New BIFA chief to continue the good work

they go to a lawyer themselves.” He also pledges to be more

starting up their own company continues, meaning that there is a ready supply of new BIFA recruits. “We may have lost some

medium sized companies to mergers over the years – it is true that the middle is being squeezed – but our membership profile has shiſted over the last 15 years. We have increased from about 1,200 to around 1,500 members in that time but of that number, around 1,000 employ less than ten staff and 500 employ four or under.” BIFA has a lobbying role, but

its remit has never been “to try and influence where the industry goes” but rather “to assist members to develop.” And its main work is to support its members and help them if and when they hit problems. “We are one of the first ports of call, because we have so much information,” Keen says. “We have a lawyer retained so members can come to us before

vociferous and visible in supporting the industry in its dealings with Government, Customs and other bodies and, where necessary, to defend it from unjust criticism. The modern forwarder is a much more sophisticated entity, fully up to speed with the latest IT and supply chain visibility systems, and deserves to be recognised as such. Forwarding has always been

an ‘under the radar’ business, but BIFA has good relations with HMRC, The DfT and most other government bodies. Training is the other vital part

of BIFA’s work. BIFA is still seen as the ‘go to’ organisation for statutory training such as aviation security or dangerous goods, despite the increased competition in this space. “We’re a not for profit organisation and I think we give good access to training at a reasonable cost.” But there is a gap in the market

in skills training. The old Institute of Freight Forwarders used to offer exam-based courses and certificates but these have not been available since the early 1990s and Keen believes that there is a need for basic and second level courses for people new to the industry. “Things are changing – school leavers are looking for career paths and there are also other changes coming along where it would be useful for forwarders to be able to demonstrate competence.” AEO (Authorised Economic

Operator) certification is gaining ground – a good 300 or so UK forwarders are now certified – and, from 2016, under the Modified Customs Code, all AEO-certified companies will be required to give evidence of staff competence, an area that BIFA training can provide. But any training that BIFA offers

will have to be different from the old night-school-based IFF process, Keen believes. It would probably be distance learning and workbook-based.

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