DP World increases stake in DP World Australia

DP World has announced that it has acquired an additional stake in DP World Australia from Gateway Infrastructure Investments and other financial investors. DP World Australia  is now at an enterprise value of approximately A$ 1.4 billion.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in 1Q2019.
Following the closure of the transaction, DP World Australia will become a consolidated entity within the DP World Group and is expected to be earnings neutral in the first full year of ownership.
Corsair Infrastructure Partners, the manager of the Gateway Fund, will continue to manage a significant investment in DP World Australia.
“We are pleased to announce this transaction that brings DP World Australia back into our consolidated portfolio, which presents a more optimal structure to drive this business forward, while continuing our relationship with CIP as a valued partner. We remain optimistic on the growth prospects in Australia and believe there is an exciting opportunity to enhance shareholder value by further developing the container terminals operations and expanding beyond the ports into logistics services,” Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World said.
DP World Australia is a container port operator that manages 4 terminals at each of Australia’s major ports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle) with a capacity of approximately 4mn TEU’s.

Seaco Global strengthens presence in Australia

In January 2015, Bohai Leasing Co. of China acquired Cronos Containers Pty Ltd and subsequently integrated the container leasing activities into Seaco Global.
Bohai is controlled by HNA, a large Chinese conglomerate engaging in transportation, logistics, tourism, hotel, property, airport management, financial services and retail.
Since the amalgamation of Seaco and Cronos, Seaco has been strengthening its presence worldwide and in Australia, establishing representation in Perth, new sales offices in Brisbane and Sydney and building the Seaco/HNA brand, whilst meeting the needs of existing clients and developing new business relationships.
Peter Folkard, Regional Vice President – Oceania & Americas, said he is proud to have formed a collaboration with Sydney based Container Rotation Systems (CRS).
“We are delighted to be working in association with CRS due to the compatibility and capability of their automatic lid lifting and container rotation system compatible with our half-height containers,” Folkard said. “These are very exciting times for Seaco Global Australia and we are looking forward to developing projects in other locations worldwide.”
The Australian team’s success has been backed by access to a global leasing fleet and portfolio of equipment including: general purpose containers; ISO bulk liquid, powder and gas tanks; refrigerated and temperature-controlled units and specialised container types (suitable for bulk items). The company is particularly keen to support Australia’s agriculture and farming; construction, defence, food, government, logistics, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas and waste sectors.
Seaco Global Australia has also announced the launch of a new website to help reinforce the company’s brand positioning in the local marketplace: www.seacoglobal.com.au

Swings and roundabouts in the logistics industry

Volatile yet potentially very profitable, the logistics industry is full of opportunities to seize, and threats to overcome. Here are some of the current trends to consider and the challenges that port operators face in their quest to become more efficient.
The lay of the land
Consolidation via mergers and acquisitions appears to be the new normal, at least within the shipping line sector as the industry reacts and adjusts to overcapacity and a drop in trade. However, it will not be too long before we witness similar trends in the port sector who are struggling to remain efficient. New modalities such as rail and road and trade routes are emerging and currently being explored for long-haul cross-continental trading.
Rapidly developing economies in the Asian region, together with the prospect of free trade agreements in key markets, are driving strong growth in the global container shipping industry. As a result, port operators of all sizes are on the hunt for ways to improve efficiencies and lower costs.
The much-publicised increase of larger vessels has changed the economies of scale for shipping operators and offers new alternatives for manufacturers keen to boost their distribution capacity.
Such increases in capacity also bring challenges for port operators. For the largest ports, loading and unloading must be completed as quickly and effectively as possible. Even relatively minor delays in turning such large ships around can have significant knock-on effects further along the supply chain.
There are flow-on effects for smaller ports too. Vessels that have been displaced from the largest facilities by the new mega ships are then redirected onto routes that they traditionally have not served. This means smaller ports now have to deal with much larger ships than was previously the case. In turn, this puts pressure on everything from loading equipment to control systems.
The challenge for operators
To meet these challenges, smaller port operators must also find ways to make their facilities more efficient. Traditional methods must be examined and new approaches introduced. Any failure to take these steps will inevitably result in rising operational costs and an inability to compete with more nimble competitors.
There are a range of areas in which port operators can find efficiencies, including:
Ship movement planning: Effective scheduling of vessels can ensure the port maintains a constant level of operation, rather than oscillating from quiet periods to times of frenetic activity.
Such planning will also aid the shipping companies themselves as they will be able to forward plan arrivals and departures much more accurately. The last thing a firm wants is for its freight vessels to have to anchor nearby and wait for a berth to become available.
Labour management: Some industry estimates put the cost of labour at between 40 and 60 per cent of total port operational expenses. This means careful attention must be given at all times to how it is deployed.
Operators cannot afford to have staff rostered on when there are no ships in dock, but at the same time must ensure they are available as soon as loads need to be handled.
They also need the ability to change rosters quickly if ship movements are altered. Adverse weather conditions and delays at other ports can mean ships arrive much earlier or later than planned. Port operators need to have the mechanisms in place to alert staff and ensure they are available when required.
Warehouse management: Many port operators have traditionally relied on paper-based systems or spreadsheets to track the movement of goods into and out of their facilities. While this may have worked in the past, as volumes increase they cannot be scaled to match demands.
Instead operators need to deploy electronic cargo management tools designed specifically for the shipping and logistics sector. These tools can readily handle everything from whole container movements to break-bulk shipments.
Accessed either via traditional PCs or the growing range of wireless mobile devices, the tools can significantly streamline the flow of goods through the facility. Ship turnaround times can be reduced and bottom-line profits increased.
Reporting: Having a real-time view of what is happening within every port is critical. Vessel arrivals and departures, staffing rosters and freight movements all need to be constantly monitored to ensure that any issues can be solved before they have a significant impact on operations.
Real-time reporting tools need to be linked to systems throughout the facility, ensuring they can access data and provide port operators with a clear view of exactly what is going on at all times.
Invoicing: At the end of the day, port operators of all sizes need to generate profits. Having an efficient invoicing and client management system in place is therefore critical to ensure revenue is received as swiftly as possible.
Invoicing needs to be tightly integrated with the cargo management tools to ensure all billable activities and resources are captured and prevent revenue leakage.
An effective invoicing and financial system will also remove many of the manual processes that may exist, freeing up staff to focus on more value-adding business activities.
By focusing on these key areas, large port operators will be able to meet the demands created by new massive ships while their smaller counterparts will also be well placed to deal with the changes this means for them.
Overall, shifting from manual, paper-based workflows to digital tools will drive efficiency and boost customer service levels.
Information and communications technology (ICT) solution providers face unprecedented challenges and opportunities in the maritime logistics space and these are not just simply about ‘automation’ or even ‘digitisation’ – the latest buzz.
The growing democratisation in ICT calls for a rapid paradigm shift in the way ICT is produced, delivered and consumed in our industry.
In the near future, innovations will be largely driven on the basis of a shared economy. It will be a more distributed, trusted, shared and hence more innovative environment”.
Written by Kaustubh Dalvi, President Global Sales at Jade Software.

Amazon operating as global freight forwarder

The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Amazon has ventured into shipping, having discovered that the commerce giant has been handling the logistics of shipment of its goods from China-based merchants selling on its site to its US warehouses.
At least 150 containers have been shipped by ‘Amazon Logistics’ since the arrangement began in October 2016, the WSJ reports. The company does not own its own ships, rather it is acting as a freight forwarder and third-party logistics provider, booking space of ocean-bound vessels itself instead of through a middleman.
Ryan Peterson, CEO of logistics company Flexport, revealed back in January 2016 that Amazon China had been granted a licence from the US Federal Maritime Commission to ship ocean freight cargo.
“The role of the freight forwarder, which is what Flexport is, and which is the license that Amazon got, is to coordinate that complexity; to string it together,” Peterson told GeekWire in March. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to own ships or planes, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Jeff Bezos has those ambitions.”
Amazon, under the name of its Chinese offshoot – Beijing Century Joyo Courier Service Co. – reportedly began posting rates for sorting, labelling and trucking shipments this month, services it has not previously provided and which are usually performed by freight companies.

SANY SCP160C brings a new facelift to container forklifts

Container forklifts sure have come a long way.

Gone are the days of operators exposed to the elements and suffering their shifts no matter how hot or cold the operating conditions.

Operators no longer have to prove their toughness by surviving the elements.

Modern trucks have a fully enclosed cab that provide real comfort during a shift and that sure isn’t a bad thing.

Not only do the cabs provide all weather protection but the ergonomics nowadays are just incredible.

Suspension seats, excellent vision all around the truck and fingertip controls to reduce fatigue.

Sany’s smallest forklift, the German-made 160C, is no exception.

But its cab goes way further than most with a windscreen wiper/washer system atop the cab so that operators can clearly see a raised load.

Combine this with front and back wipers and washers and a 180-degree glass front and there’s no excuse for operators not seeing exactly what the load is doing.

Apart from air-conditioning and heating the cab has the joystick control favoured by European operators.

The joysticks must have been designed by ex-Airbus first officers who for whatever reason didn’t make the grade to captain.

The joystick has all the normal functions such as fork tine raise/lower, mast rake, fork tine side shift and individual in/out for accurate positioning relative to load, achieved through a combination by sideways and forward and back movement and thumb switches atop the joystick.

Steps and handholds make the climb up straightforward and sensibly MLA, the Sany importer, fitted extra railings around the engine hatch (which accesses the dipsticks and radiator), because falling from this is a fair distance to terra firma.

The cab tilts up to one side to access the engine and transmission after the railing on the hinge side has been lowered.

Features such as automatic revs increase without touching the accelerator pedal make such a difference to rapid materials handling and, overall, the build quality of the machine was excellent.

The massive torque at low revs saves having to rev the engine hard with a load aboard and there’s no reason providing the Volvo is regularly maintained it shouldn’t provide thousands of hours of reliable performance.


A tight squeeze for import, export

INTERNATIONAL trade costs in Australia is expected to rise following the decision by major container shipping lines to reduce the free time available for import containers to be de-hired, and for export containers to be returned full for export.

Effective as of 1 August 2012, major shipping lines Maersk Line, ANL, CGM-CMA, and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have changed their Container Free Time and Container Detention Tariffs charged to importers and exporters. 

In most cases, the import container free time period has been reduced from 10 calendar days to 7 calendar days. 
According to the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), this means that from the first day of availability and from the day of discharge for some lines, importers will have only 7 days for the container to be collected from the wharf, delivered to the unpack point, unpacked, and then returned for de-hire to a designated empty container park.  

VTA chief executive, Neil Chambers described these tighter container detention rules as "a blatant exercise in revenue-raising by these market dominant shipping lines." 

"The shipping lines know that many shippers will not achieve these container turnaround times through their inland logistics chains," Chambers said.

"As a result, the shipping lines are banking on collecting many more thousands of dollars in container detention charges per annum to boost their flagging freight rate revenues.

"Add in weekends, perhaps a public holiday, quarantine inspections and treatments, Customs X-Ray, inland transport, time to pack or unpack the container, then the time needed to return the empty container to a de-hire facility – in many instances it will be impossible to achieve this task in seven calendar days." 

The introduction of these fees is expected to add to the commercial and operational tension between supply chain participants. 

In response, the VTA has recommended to road transport operators that they should require at least two business days notice from their clients of the availability of empty containers for de-hire.

Transport operators should also charge the true costs of additional handling and administration, when they need to stage containers through their transport depots, including times when empties must be staged before they can be transported for de-hire at the required empty container park.

"Importers, exporters and freight forwarders need to factor in these new container detention rules. They should have in place systems to track container "free time", and should make early contact with shipping lines if it becomes clear that containers will not be able to be returned before container detention fees apply," Chambers said.

However, the main thing to keep in mind is the potential additional costs of container detention when making a decision to ship with the shipping lines, who have introduced these unrealistic container detention rules, Chambers stated.

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