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Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal

Etihad and Alitalia unveil €1.76 billion merger

Eithad and Alitalia have finalised their plans for the Abu Dhabi- based airline to take a €560 million in the Italian carrier, subject to regulatory approval, with core Alitalia shareholders committing an additional €300 million. A further €598 million in financial restructuring of short and medium term debt will be provided by financial institutions and existing bank shareholders, together with €300 million new loan facilities by Italian financial institutions. The reinvigorated airline would

offer new international routes and flights from more Italian cities to Abu Dhabi and beyond, with an optimised network and increased frequencies. Alitalia’s cargo business will be

relaunched and expanded, with a centre of excellence in Northern Italy and investment in handling at


Tide goes out on Boris’ estuary airport plan

The Government’s Airports Commission formally ruled out London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan for an airport in the Thames Estuary, on 2 September. While the Mayor said he

Italian airports. The proposed network plan

focuses on long-haul flights from Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa. From Winter 2014, Alitalia will increase frequency between Rome and Abu Dhabi from five per week to daily, and there will be a new daily service between Milan and Abu Dhabi. From Summer 2015, Alitalia

plans to introduce direct flights from markets such as Venice,

Catania and Bologna to Abu Dhabi. Rome Fiumicino will emerge as

a larger European intercontinental hub, with up to five new routes over the next four years, while long-haul flights from Milan Malpensa will more than double to 25 flights a week by 2018. Alitalia’s widebody fleet is planned to grow by a third, while its narrowbody fleet will be cut to meet the requirements of the new network plan.

Taiwan relaxes ‘no consolidation’ rule

Taiwan has reportedly relaxed a rule that prevented forwarders from offering multi-country export consolidation services. Previously, consolidated containers were only allowed if

all the consignments they

contained were destined for the same country. Forwarders were not allowed, for instance, to ship a container to Singapore and then

split the contents into separate consignments destined for, say, Europe and the US. It is understood that export

consolidation activity will be permitted in a new free trade zone in Kaohsiung harbour, expected to open in 2015. The move has been welcomed

by the freight industry. Simon Wong, CEO of U-Freight

Taiwan, the local partner of the Hong Kong-headquartered international freight service and logistics group, said: “The new law will make Taiwan one of the most competitive logistics hubs in the world. Consolidating goods in Taiwan and re-exporting them to Europe and America should increase efficiency and reduce costs.”

FS Mackenzie sold to Singapore Post

UK-based forwarder and NVOCC FS Mackenzie has been sold to Singapore Post freight subsidiary Famous Holdings (no connection with the Famous Pacific Group). The Singapore company has purchased the entire issued and paid-up share capital. Originally established in 1951,

FS Mackenzie focuses on sea, air and road freight forwarding, together with customs clearance. Headquartered in Basildon, east of London, it has

four other operational centres across the UK. Singapore Post says that

the acquisition will give it an entry point to the West European freight market and help customers with integrated e-commerce logistics solutions to complement its existing postal and parcel networks. Alfred Stienen will remain

group chairman of FS Mackenzie. He says that the sale will allow the UK company to broaden its freight network through the

support of a financially strong parent company, pointing out: “We have worked in partnership with Famous Holdings, which was acquired by Singapore Post in 2013, for over 20 years and this

represents a great

opportunity to build on that relationship. “Singapore Post is keen

to develop its profile in the international logistics arena and sees FS Mackenzie as a solid platform on which to build that development in Europe.”

would fight on, insisting that the Commission’s thumbs-down did not spell the end of his vision for a Hong Kong-style airport in the middle of the Thames to replace Heathrow, Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies said the idea was unviable because of its huge cost and environmental concerns. But the Mayor described the Commission as short-sighted, and predicted that plans to expand runways at Gatwick and/or Heathrow airports would fail in the face of political opposition. Meanwhile, BIFA – no doubt

relieved that the large and widely scattered Heathrow airfreight forwarding community would not have to face the prospect of upping sticks and moving 70 miles east - welcomed the Airports

Commission’s decision not to include the estuary airport in its shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030. Director general, Robert Keen,

commented: “BIFA’s members hope that

today’s decision will

allow the commission to focus on the three most appropriate and sustainable solutions in the lead up to its final report in the summer of 2015. “In the lead up to that final report,

BIFA will continue to submit our thoughts to the Commission relative to the constraints imposed by capacity limitations, UK global connectivity, the importance of air freight and the key facilitative role played by the freight forwarder. “We can only hope that aſter the

general election in May 2015, the welter of evidence as presented will be such that politicians will give the green light and adopt these recommendations in full and finally get things started on an much overdue expansion of UK

aviation hub capacity.” Other business organisations

are also impatient with the way the airport capacity debate has been allowed to drag on. A new report by the CBI published on 1 September reiterated the employers’ organisation’s belief that having a single UK hub with spare capacity to add new routes is critical to the UK’s long-term sustainable growth. The Freight Transport

Association (FTA) also reminded the Commission of the crucial need to increase airport capacity for freight in London, reiterating how vital expansion in hub and dedicated air freight capacity is to the future prosperity of the UK economy. FTA is planning to submit further detailed information to the up- coming Airport Commission consultations on the importance of the

connectivity for importers and exporters.

Palletforce Scandinavian service goes live

Palletforce has launched 48-hour delivery and import services to and from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The pallet delivery network already has similar services with Germany, Italy, Benelux, France, Spain and Portugal. The Scandinavian services will be operated by

Palletforce member Aeroship, part of the Leman Nordic Group. Palletforce CEO Michael Conroy said expansion

into Scandinavia “represents the next stage of our European development strategy. It helps us strengthen our position as the leading palletised network in Europe, and allows our members to offer additional services to their customers.” The new Scandinavian service comes just over

a year after forming the Allnet alliance of four pallet networks in Europe giving access to 18 hubs and 315 strategically-placed delivery centres covering 42 European countries.

Pall-Ex goes global

Pallet delivery network Pall-Ex is offering air and sea global services as part of a move to streamline its international services to allow customers to access them in a single transaction. Pall-Ex Connect covers partner networks, in the UK, Italy, Iberia, France, Poland and Romania and consists

of Connect Europe - which provides transportation of small palletised consignments to and between every single European territory – and Connect World, described as a bespoke service option that provides worldwide shipping by sea or air from the UK, via Pall-Ex’s established logistics partners, but using the same booking system as Connect Europe. It offers weekly departures from Pall-Ex’s UK hub in Leicestershire, Both options are managed by Pall-Ex’s TWINE information

technology system, offering real time track-and-trace visibility and constant contact and there are regular departures from each of the six UK and European Pall-Ex national hubs. Pall-Ex Connect is available for standard and Euro pallet base

sizes, with five height and weight options ranging from quarter to MEGAfull, to provide a wider range of options for Pall-Ex’s customers. “Improvements in cross-border technology have allowed Pall-Ex to take the success of our UK model and apply it on continental and global levels,” explained Pall-Ex UK MD Cris Stephenson. “The systems that we have developed in-house over the years now allow us to make the most of these developments.”

London hub for UK

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