CEVA merges with EGL

CEVA Group has announced the completion of its merger with Eagle Global Logistics (EGL).

As a result of this merger transaction, EGL is now a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of CEVA.

CEVA, a leading global logistics company, is a UK public limited company owned by affiliates of Apollo Management.

EGL’s former shareholders are entitled to receive $47.50 in cash, without interest, for each share of EGL common stock they owned at the effective time of the merger.

CEO Dave Kulik says he is delighted about the merger between CEVA and EGL.

“Our combined companies can offer customers a portfolio of world class supply chain management services globally, while maintaining our commitment to operational excellence and customer orientation,” he says.

“We anticipate that this merger will create more value for our customers, employees, shareholders and other financial partners.”

According to Global Freight Management president Joe Bento both EGL and CEVA possess unique strengths in logistics and supply chain management.

“We are excited about leveraging these synergies to provide greater flexibility, enhanced service offerings and more powerful solutions for our customers,” he says.

“We have proud traditions as companies that are easy to do business with and we are committed to preserving this critical attribute.”

“We have a great future and look forward to working together with our employees and customers to achieve unprecedented mutual success.”

About EGL

Founded in 1984, Houston-based EGL operates under the name EGL Eagle Global Logistics. EGL is a leading global transportation, supply chain management and information services company dedicated to providing superior flexibility and fewer shipping restrictions on a price competitive basis.

With 2006 revenues of $3.2 billion, EGL’s services include air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage, local pickup and delivery service, materials management, warehousing, trade facilitation and procurement, and integrated logistics and supply chain management services.

About CEVA

CEVA (formerly known as TNT Logistics) is a leading global logistics and supply chain management company. It designs, implements and operates complex supply chain solutions on a national, regional or global scale for multinational and large local companies.

The company provides customers with end-to-end logistics solutions spanning the entire supply chain. CEVA focuses on a diverse range of market sectors including automotive, tyres, high-tech/electronics, industrial, fast moving consumer goods, and publishing & media.

CEVA employs approximately 38,000 people and operates an extensive global network with facilities in 26 countries worldwide, and maintains 567 warehouses globally with a combined space of approximately 7.4 million square meters.

For fiscal year 2006, CEVA generated sales of euro 3.5 billion.

CEVA is owned by affiliates of Apollo Management VI, L.P., one of the leading private equity investors in the world. For more information please visit the CEVA website at http://www.cevalogistics.com.

About Apollo

Founded in 1990, Apollo is a recognized leader in private equity, debt and capital markets investing. Since its inception, Apollo has successfully invested over $16 billion in companies representing a wide variety of industries, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Apollo is currently investing its sixth private equity fund, Apollo Investment Fund VI, L.P., which along with related co-investment entities, has approximately $12 billion of committed capital.

Multilingual Logistics software arrives

icsLogistics, a new software Package from Infocomm is able to run in multiple languages in real time, allowing smoother communication and error-free logistics in the transport, manufacturing and warehousing industries.

Infocomm Software’s Louie Kouvelas says the new software allows different users to access the same files in different languages.

“One user can be looking at Mandarin characters while another reads the same information at the same time in English,” he says.

“This helps us provide an end-to-end software solution no matter how many countries may be involved in the process.”

icsLogistics Software Package has also been upgraded to run with Windows as well as existing Unix and Linux systems.

The package comprises several specialised programs including icsWarehouse, icsTransport and icsManufacture, which are all multi-lingual and multi-platform.

icsTransport is a transport management system for companies operating by air, rail, sea, car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle and caters for multiple methods of customer charging such as weight, distance, size or specific contract rates.

icsWarehouse incorporates all modern warehouse management practices including cross-docking, auto put-aways, real-time stocktakes, dangerous goods and temperature control zones.

For manufacturing management, icsManufacture offers similar flexibility and allows order entry and forecasting for planning purposes, as well as inventory control and stock-take capability.

icsLogistics will make its debut at Freight Expo 2007, 19-21 September at Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne.

Digital supply chain promise

The emergence of digital media as a viable platform for movies, television shows, and video games holds the greatest promise for future sales growth in the entertainment industry according to the results of a pulse survey of nearly 100 participants attending the Entertainment Supply Chain Conference Academy (ESCA) conference in Los Angeles this week.

According to the survey conducted by ESCA and Capgemini, the primary channels for growth and innovation in the industry are next generation physical DVDs (42%), multi-platform bundling (30%), and on-demand manufacturing (16%).

“This survey shows the home entertainment supply chain is evolving to deliver DVDs and Internet based programming in a seamless fashion to consumers,” says Mark Landry, Vice President of Capgemini North American Telecom, Media & Entertainment practice.

“Distributors and retailers are beginning to use technology as an enabler to provide access to content across any channel to any device. This digital convergence will make the entertainment industry think about supply chains in entirely different ways.”

Despite the buzz generated by digital media, the biggest area of concern for studios and distributors continues to centre on supply chain issues affecting their brick-and-mortar retail customers.

Survey participants described returns management (33%) as the number one area for improvement in the home entertainment supply chain followed by retail execution (31%) and warehouse to delivery (18%).

An overwhelming number of respondents conclude that the best option for supply chain improvement between the studios and retailers is generic, category-wide point-of-sale data sharing (39%); while others suggest returns and deduction protocol (24%) and scorecards (20%).

“While digital media is not new, the impact of this delivery system on the supply chain is new and significant,” adds ESCA Conference Chair Devendra Mishra.

“This survey shows the entertainment industry must simultaneously enhance the present customer experience in store while preparing for the future when consumers procure, store, and watch entertainment digitally. This is a true inflection point for the industry between the physical and the virtual.”

Other key findings from the Capgemini pulse survey at ESCA:

· Participants almost equally suggest SKU proliferation/shelf space allocation (29%), competition between physical and digital (29%) and downward pressure on price points (27%) will have the most impact on the home entertainment supply chain.

· Nearly 36% believe RFID at the item level is the technology that will have the greatest impact on home entertainment supply chains during the next two years, while another 25% say manufacturing on demand and 18% project digital delivery.

· 52% still believe in-store promotional corrugate is an effective use of resources.

Possible split for Qantas

The creation of four separate businesses under the Qantas brand has been proposed by a near complete review of Qantas’ structure by chief executive Geoff Dixon and chief financial officer Peter Gregg.

Qantas is planning the restructure after an $11 billion private equity bid by a consortium led by Macquarie Bank and the Texas Pacific group failed earlier this year.

Of the four new businesses, “Freight Co” would be a stand alone operation, which would take equity stakes in the air freight operators Australian Air Express and Startrack express.

The proposal also includes a plan to set up a “Qantas Lite” operation, which would own the main airline and Jetstar brands and would be responsible for its staff and ground operations.

There would be a “Fleet Co” business that would own and lease back the group of 154 planes valued at $4.4 billion.

“Loyalty Co” would be the new subsidiary in charge of the frequent flyer program.

It’s expected Qantas would retain 100 per cent ownership of all four businesses, but new investors could be brought in.

Trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox’s Linfox could be a possible partner while Canada’s Aeroplan has been suggested as a likely investor in “Loyalty Co”, Fairfax said.

Qantas declined to comment to Logistics Magazine.

Source: Fairfax Media

Linfox on a steady ascent

Lindsay Fox has had his eye on the burgeoning Westgate Logistics business for a decade. But his patience was finally rewarded when Westgate CEO Sam Tarascio agreed to sell the company to Linfox, retaining the Victoria Dock and Westgate wharf cartage businesses.

In March 2006, Lindsay Fox enunciated his desire to see Linfox grow substantially through acquisition to reach a goal of $ 4—6 billion revenue by 2010. Since then, the company has been steadily executing this strategy with the acquisition of FCL in October 2006, New Zealand company Provincial in May and now Westgate Logistics.

Linfox CEO Michael Byrne says Westgate is a strong cultural fit with Linfox, being a family owned private business. “Culturally and behaviourally the (Westgate) business is very similar to ours,” he tells Logistics Magazine. “Like our other recent acquisitions, FCL and Provincial, it’s a family business which shares our ethics and sense of obligation to customers.”

“Linfox has spent the last four years focusing more than ever on customer needs,” Byrne says. “So after the culture, the second most attractive thing about the Westgate business was the sheer quality of its customers, such as Coles, Woolworths, Franklins, IGA and Metcash.”

“Linfox is very interested in companies that have quality long term sustainable customer relationships. Looking after the customers is about the best way we can make money and create jobs. We see ourselves as a service company rather than a trucking company. If you’re looking after the customers you’re going to go okay.”

According to Byrne, Linfox is also looking to develop its interest in high SKU, high volume retail warehousing; a particular strength of Westgate Logistics.

“The Tarascio family is renowned for building an outstanding property portfolio,” Byrne adds. “That helped drive this transaction, and I think you’ll find the two families working together to continue improving the standard of specialised warehousing and industrial property in this sector, leading to better industrial property solutions for the market.”

Michael Byrne has given the company a tight deadline of 100 days for the integration of Westgate Logistics.

“We need to compact our integration process so we don’t interfere with our customers’ summer season,” Byrne explains. “Close to two thirds of the Westgate business is retail, to be assimilated in to the Linfox Retail division.”

“Retailers don’t like anything to affect their sales between October and Christmas. Our customers want us to be really focused on their businesses, getting the stock on the shelf to provide fantastic availability for Christmas.”

Over the next three months, the Westgate business will be broken up to fit three of Linfox’s four verticals: FMCG, Retail and Industrial. “Westgate Logistics doesn’t have a Line haul division, so the majority of the business will go in to our Retail division. Another big chunk will go into FMCG and the remainder in to our Industrial division,” says Byrne.

In addition, Westgate Logistics will be re-branded Linfox to capitalise on a name that Michael Byrne believes is synonymous with operational and execution excellence. “The company brand is over 50 years old,” he says. “It’s associated with Lindsay Fox and the Fox family but Linfox is the best operational execution company in the region.”

In relation to Westgate’s people, Michael Byrne asserts that in his nine years at Linfox, he can’t recall the company ever making any blue collar workers redundant.

“I can’t imagine any truck driver, warehouse people or junior management who wouldn’t have a job here,” he says. “Linfox is hungry for new people. In 2003, the company had 5000 people working for it and since then, we’ve employed 8000 people. We’ve recruited 8 people every day of the year for the last 18 months across 11 countries of operation.”

“In terms of senior people, we have to see if they can fit our structure,” Byrne says. “Linfox has a very lean structure; there are only five layers of management between a driver and me.”

“By its nature, our industry doesn’t have a clear ladder overhead, so we have to really think about senior people and where best they can be best be deployed to allow fulfilling jobs without burdening the business with overhead cost.”

Moving forward, Michael Byrne says the Fox and Tarascio families intend to investigate property construction, development and ownership. “There’s an understanding that Linfox will utilise opportunities to subcontract Westgate’s Victoria Dock and wharf cartage businesses,” he says. “We also hope to explore the use of inland ports and stevedoring.”

“The two families have a lot in common,” Byrne enthuses. “We’re really pleased with this result. Linfox intends to treasure the Westgate business and look after its customers and we very much look forward to a continued relationship with the Tarascio family.”

Long distance RFID

Assa Abloy Identification Technologies (ITG), one of the leading providers of products and services in the RFID market, has launched the Sokymat branded InLine 55/86 UHF EPC Gen 2 transponder, designed for the long distance reading required for asset tracking, logistics and supply chain applications.

The transponder, working at frequencies from 869 to 915 MHz, has the size of an ISO card and can be easily attached to pallets, crates or other assets that need to be reliably identified at long distance.

With an attractive price performance ratio, the transponder can be read at a distance of up to four to six meters when mounted on wood or plastic.

The Sokymat Inline 55/86, ITG completes the UHF offering in the company’s broad transponder portfolio. Customers; system integrators and OEM partners now have the possibility to access a complete RFID portfolio at ITG from Low Frequency to Ultra High Frequency.

Samples of the new transponder will be available end of July 2007.

Assa Abloy Identification Technologies (ITG) is a leader within the ID management and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) markets.

Located in Walluf, Germany, the company develops, manufactures and markets RFID components, products, and services typically deployed within national ID and e-passport programs, corporate access control, supply chain management, animal tagging, financial transactions, transport and various industrial or manufacturing solutions.

Assa Abloy ITG is a merger of ACG Identification Technologies, Aontec, OMNIKEY, Sokymat, VisionCard and former Brazilian based and operating Novacard do Brasil (acquired in 2006).

Brewing competitors join forces

When Australia’s two largest brewers needed help in continuing to reduce the high risks associated with handling beer kegs, they joined forces and asked CHEP for assistance.

Foster’s Group and Lion Nathan are significant competitors supplying beer, wine, ready-to-drink spirits and mixers, cider and non-alcoholic beverages to the Australian market, as well as a range of related services including bottling and distribution. Between them they account for approximately 97% of the Australian beer market.

Both companies had identified a risk associated with the storage, transportation, delivery and collection of 50 litre draught beer kegs. The shape and weight of the kegs combined with transport methods used, and the sometimes problematic access to the available storage at the destination, affect the potential risk of injury. Those at risk of injury include company employees, third party logistics service providers, venue staff (those employed at pubs, restaurants and clubs) and the general public.

The brewers joined forces and issued a challenge to CHEP to lead an initiative utilising 6Sigma methodologies to help reduce this risk. This was the first joint safety project the two companies had undertaken and the first time they had been exposed to the 6Sigma approach utilised by CHEP.

6Sigma methodologies draw on proven statistical and quality improvement tools to achieve operational excellence by reducing variation and defects in processes.

CHEP’s Wyn Daniel, Perfect Trip Project Manager, and his team worked together with the brewers over a nine month period to develop a number of short-term recommendations.

“These recommendations were either implemented or tested immediately and several concept designs for lifting devices and containers for storage, transportation and dispensing of kegs were also developed and are now being investigated further,” Wyn says.

“This project started off as something of a test to see how CHEP could utilise the 6Sigma and project management tools at its disposal to bring together two significant market place competitors to work on a project of mutual interest,” says Lion Nathan’s Logistics director George Bearzot.

“We were very pleased to see how successful the project has been and are very appreciative of the leadership and management resources provided by CHEP.”

The project team also produced the National Guide for Safe Handling of Beer Kegs, a comprehensive guide that will form the basis of training for all venue staff.

“Many projects tend to lose focus, run out of steam, or fail to deliver significant benefits,” says Fosters Group general manager supply chain James Houston.

“It’s refreshing to see how a difficult project, the first joint project between our two companies, has delivered real results in a timely manner using the 6Sigma methodology and tools. I’m very appreciative of the resources and leadership provided by CHEP.”

CHEP is continuing to work with the brewers to provide further assistance and technical guidance as they implement these recommendations and standards.

“By working collaboratively, CHEP has gained invaluable insight into the issues that critically impact on these customers and is able to make a real and positive difference to their business.”

NTC reforms fall short

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says new National Transport Commission (NTC) reforms for heavy vehicles fall short.

The design ‘blueprints’ for quad-axle semi-trailers, quad-axle B-doubles and a B-triple are now available on the NTC website. The designs are pre-approved to meet Performance Based Standards (PBS).

The NTC announced truck operators can use the blueprints to apply for access on approved routes. If operators prefer to develop a different vehicle design to suit their specific needs, its road safety must be similarly assessed using the PBS process.

“In our view, these reforms fall short of the changes needed to improve safety through productivity for the majority of trucking operators,” says ATA chief executive Stuart St Clair.

“Performance Based Standards (PBS) should apply to new, innovative vehicles and not a tool to constrain existing, proven and safe combinations.”

“Burdensome administrative hurdles may ultimately thwart the PBS. A case in point is the constraints proposed for a 19 metre B-double in South Australia — it would need to be compliant with PBS, IAP and NHVAS to operate. Yet, this well-proven vehicle has broad access in other jurisdictions,” St Clair says.

“Our member organisation, the South Australian Road Transport Association provided the SA Government with comments that the proposed compliances make the 19 metre B-double economically unviable, even if it is safer.”

“The NTC’s generic PBS B-triple is a specific vehicle,” St Clair points out.

“In answer to questions by the ATA, the NTC advised that all other B-triples would need to be passed through the PBS approval in their own right. But what of the hundreds of existing B-triples currently in operation and capable of being deployed throughout Australia?”

According to the ATA, the national B-triple network is smaller than the existing road train networks and does not even include some existing B-triple routes. B-triples and AB-triples have been proven safe by years of experience on road train routes and some other routes under permits.

“The ATA believes B-triples can be safely operated on a far wider network of Australian Roads than that currently being offered by the state road agencies,” says St Clair.

“The NTC’s charging proposals for B-triples and other high productivity vehicles, if carried forward will impose significant financial barriers to operators.”

The ATA is very clear about what industry expects to make up modular B-triple combinations. B-triples can be safely formed from existing legal 26, 25 and 23 metre B-double component units. Provided these component units have adequate combination mass ratings they should be allowed to form modular B-triple units.

“Modular combinations reduce the number of truck movements, which in turn reduces accident risk and increases task efficiency,” says Stuart St Clair.

“The ATA encourages more modular combinations, as they are the safe means for converting existing legal fleet units into more efficient combinations to be used on suitable parts of the network — thus, delivering real productivity and safety with existing equipment.”

“Quad axle groups on semi-trailers are not new. Hundreds operate nationally on proven networks for low loaders. The ATA is concerned at protracted delays in specifying road networks for quad-axle general freight vehicles.”

Express industry sorter

Australian materials handling specialist ICA in conjunction with FKI Logistex, is supplying two S3000CB Cross Belt Sorters with accompanying sub-systems for the express freight industry.

The S3000CB Cross Belt Sorter is most suited for this application with its capability to sort an extremely wide mix of items including fragile, small, large, non rigid and all types packaging materials.

The S3000CB Cross Belt Sorter comprises separate carts coupled together in a continuous loop, each with one or a number of cross-belt units, and can be configured to suit existing or new facilities due to its flexibility.

The total system occupies a minimum of floor space and can incline and decline as required to suit every situation. Future upgrades can be carried out with a minimum of down time.

The S3000CB Cross Belt Sorter can be optioned with various sizes of cross belt units which increase the range of items to be sorted and the throughput capacity.

Typical applications where the sorter is used are freight processing centres, warehouse and distribution, textile industry, mail order companies, book and newspaper industries, periodical distribution companies, shoe distribution companies, retail distribution companies, CD music industry and many others.

Accurate control of the cross belt acceptance speed, discharge speed, acceleration and deceleration means it is particularly suited for sorting unstable and fragile items. This accuracy of discharging items allows discharge outlets to be located at close pitch thereby decreasing floor area of the system.

Total sorter throughput capacity is dependent upon cross belt size, speed of sorter carts, number and configuration of inductions but can be up to 15,000 items per hour or more if required.

The design has a minimum of contact parts and therefore requires minimum maintenance. A defective part can be automatically disabled by the control system and replaced during a scheduled stop.

Replacement of most items can be carried out without the aid of any special tools or skills. As a result of modular construction only a minimum inventory of spare parts is required.

The extremely low operating noise level of 65dB(A) means the S3000CB sorter can be installed in all processing areas and working environments.

The basic elements of the control system consist of a personal computer and the applicable machine control software.

This control system communicates with locally positioned input/output blocks via a standard industrial network, and controls the sorter tables, compilation of statistics and surveillance reports, and data exchange with the host computer and other connected control systems including modems.

Bulk bag conditioner

A new Bulk Bag Conditioner-Unloader System from Flexicon Corporation (Australia) Pty Ltd. loosens bulk solid material that has solidified during storage and shipment, allowing the material to discharge through a bag spout.

The integral configuration of the conditioner eliminates the time, labour and equipment needed for separate loading of bulk bags into a stand-alone conditioner.

The design also consumes significantly less floor space than two separate pieces of equipment and requires less material and labour to construct, reducing initial cost, according to the company.

Two hydraulic rams with contoured end plates press opposing sides of bulk bags, which can be raised and lowered for conditioning at varying heights using an electric hoist. The hoist assembly also includes a motorised trolley to allow loading and unloading of bulk bags without the need for a forklift.

The conditioner’s controller and hydraulic pump can be mounted on the exterior of the unloader or remotely. Safety interlocks disallow operation of the conditioner when the unloader’s doors are open.

The unloader also features a Spout-Lock clamp ring that forms a high-integrity seal between the clean side of the bag spout and the clean side of the equipment, while a Tele-Tube telescoping tube maintains constant downward pressure on the clamp ring and bag spout, elongating the bag as it empties to promote complete discharge.

Immediately above the clamp ring is a Power-Cincher flow control valve employing a series of curved, articulated rods that cinch the bag spout concentrically, allowing dust-free retying and removal of partially-empty bags.

The surge hopper is equipped with an optional dual-shaft agitator that de-agglomerates material and promotes flow into an optional, integral auger conveyor to feed a downstream process.

The entire unloading frame is mounted on load cells that transmit loss-of-weight data to a controller that starts and stops the auger conveyor, allowing programmable weigh batching directly from bulk bags.

Other equipment manufactured by the company include bulk bag fillers, flexible screw conveyors, pneumatic conveying systems, manual dumping stations, drum tippers, multi-ingredient weigh batching systems, and automated plant-wide systems integrated with new or existing processes.

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