The UK government has selected eight new freeports in England, as a means to boost trade, jobs and investment, across the country. The special taxation and customs rules for the freeports will help businesses develop new facilities and operations, to trade and manufacture goods more cost-effectively, countering the effects of other complications, such as Brexit and COVID-19 pandemic. Early deliverability of opportunities for new businesses is the key, with Solent Gateway Ltd, at Marchwood Port, Southampton, leading the way with 64 hectares of new space, which will be available from as early as Autumn 2022. Freeport A freeport is an economic zone, such as a freight seaport or airport, where typical VAT and customs rules don’t apply A freeport is an economic zone, typically encompassing a freight seaport or airport, where typical VAT and customs rules don’t apply. This makes it cheaper and easier for raw materials or components to be imported to manufacturers, processed into manufactured goods and imported into the UK, or exported. They can also have simpler planning rules, helping businesses to quickly build or adapt premises in the area. The locations across England for the eight new freeports were announced by the Chancellor, for the budget in March 2021. These locations for freeports include: Solent East Midlands Airport Felixstowe and Harwich Humber region Liverpool City Region Plymouth Thames Teesside The eight freeports will create some 170,000 jobs, in the coming five to ten years. Within the Solent Freeport, Marchwood Port, operated by Solent Gateway Ltd, has been designated as both a customs site and a tax site. Tax incentives of freeports Freeports can help businesses to improve processing time, due to reduced transportation Within a freeport customs site, there are two principal benefits. Firstly, customs duty and import VAT are only charged on goods, if and when they are released from the freeport into the United Kingdom. This enables businesses to process, store and transport goods with greater flexibility, giving them a cash flow benefit. Secondly, duty paid can be on the final product, rather than component parts, if lower, also reducing the tax paid, as raw materials normally have a higher duty rate, in comparison to the manufactured or processed goods. Freeports can help businesses to improve processing time, due to reduced transportation. Freeport tax sites get higher capital allowances Freeport tax sites will benefit from greater capital allowances, when purchasing plant and machinery, or building new structures. Companies will be able to claim 100% enhanced capital allowances, on the purchase of new and unused plants, and machinery that is incurred for a trade being carried out at the freeport tax site. The purchase will need to be incurred before September 30, 2026, for the item to qualify for this benefit. Plus, qualifying expenditure on structures and buildings, within a freeport zone will qualify for Enhanced Structures and Buildings Allowance, at 10% per year, for 10 years on expenditure incurred before September 30, 2026. This is a significant increase on the current level of 3% per year, for 33 years for non-freeport areas. There are also very appealing benefits around national insurance relief, for up to 3 years per employee and business rates relief, with new or expanding business being able to claim up to 100% relief, for 5 years. UK freeports plan The UK freeports plan is an excellent initiative to incentivise new businesses, to set up new operations in freeports" Richard Parkinson, the Port Director at Solent Gateway Ltd, said “The UK freeports plan is an excellent initiative to incentivise new businesses, to set up new operations in freeports. It presents a truly golden opportunity for both UK and foreign businesses. Solent Gateway is unique in its offering, as it is both a customs and tax site, with high-quality logistic space, to be available to new businesses from Autumn 2022.” He adds, “In terms of who will benefit most from operating in a customs and tax site, such as ours, it is businesses that want to develop new facilities and operations, thereby benefiting from all the incentives to attract new business, import goods and components to the UK, store goods for as long as they want, without facing customs duties after 90 days, and manufacture or assemble products, as import duties are paid on the final product or component parts when they leave the freeport, whichever is cheaper.” Richard Parkinson continues, “If goods are exported after manufacture, inside a freeport, no customs duties will be paid, so I have no doubt that freeports are very attractive to manufacturers. Any organisation that wants to import, manufacture and export within a customs site, will avoid all duties, so that is a great incentive. Any business that wants to store items for more than 90 days will also benefit.” Solent Freeport Solent Gateway Ltd is part of the Solent Freeport. Establishing the Solent Freeport will create 52,000 new skilled and semi-skilled jobs, including 26,000 direct jobs in the Solent and 26,000 in the wider UK supply chain. COVID-19 has widened the opportunity gap for these communities and a Solent Freeport provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reverse these trends. The Solent Freeport will also support levelling up, across the United Kingdom, in particular, in the UK’s industrial heartlands of the Midlands and North. The potential of significant government investment in freight links between Southampton and the Midlands will be realised, through the connectivity to global markets that the Solent ports provide. Marchwood Port logistics hub Chris Anderson, Head of Business Development at Solent Gateway Ltd, stated “Solent Gateway Ltd, located at Marchwood Port, Southampton is one of a very few locations in the UK that is both, a tax site and customs site. We are, therefore, tailor-made for the development of new facilities for import, manufacturing, assembly, storage, export or delivery into the UK.” Chris Anderson adds, “Marchwood Port is a very high-quality port-centric logistics hub with the outstanding sea, rail and road connectivity, and will have 64.3 hectares of new space available for commercial use starting in Autumn 2022.”
Inmarsat is delighted to return as Official Communications Partner to The Maiden Factor, the round-the-world sailing campaign promoting equal access to education for girls from all backgrounds and countries. Spearheaded by iconic sailing legend Tracy Edwards, Maiden’s campaign began in 2018, which saw a rotating all-female crew sail over 33,000 miles around the globe, visiting over 23 destinations in 12 countries. However, they were forced to put their voyage on hold in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic causing a threat to crew safety and preventing spare parts from reaching the yacht, although campaigning online continued. Broadband data communications But now Maiden is back with a new schedule and new title sponsor, global logistics pioneer, DP World. and a new focus. The 'DP World Tour' with Maiden will begin in January 2022 from Dubai, UAE and will continue its mission to reach 40 destinations in 20 countries, including onshore and online programs to maximise the impact and funds raised for girls’ education programs around the world. But now Maiden is back with a new schedule and new title sponsor, DP World And once again they can rely on the connectivity to stay safe and in touch wherever they sail, through the FleetBroadband 250 service for seamless voice and broadband data communications. Whether it’s sharing a blog or updating social media to keep their followers informed, or accessing the latest weather updates and navigation charts, their award-winning ELERA L-band network provides 99.95% availability in all weather across the world’s oceans. Important safety services The yacht is also equipped with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System-approved Inmarsat C service to provide all-important safety services, along with two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones stowed in the lifeboat’s grab bag in case of an emergency. “We are so delighted to welcome Inmarsat back as our Official Communications Partner,” shared Tracy. “Inmarsat facilitated all of our communications, footage and images from 2018/2020 World Tour helping to spread the message of the importance of education for girls all over the world. When the Pandemic struck, they went above and beyond the call of duty and proved once again what a great company they are and, to us, a much-valued partner,” she continued. Small education charities UK sailing legend Tracy Edwards was the skipper of the Maiden in that awe-inspiring race Maiden’s original journey started back in 1990, when she was sailed by the first all-female team to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race (now The Ocean Race), setting a new world record for women’s sailing and finishing second in class overall. UK sailing legend Tracy Edwards was the skipper of the Maiden in that awe-inspiring race but sadly in 2014, she discovered that the boat that had helped her make history for women’s sailing was rotting in Seychelles. This inspired her to create The Maiden Factor Foundation to raise money to rescue Maiden so that the yacht could be brought back to the UK to be restored. Having worked with small education charities around the world, Tracy decided to make the foundation about more than just the restoration project. Record-breaking achievement She wanted the iconic yacht to travel around the world for a second time, this time campaigning for equal access to schooling for girls. Twenty-eight years after Tracy’s record-breaking achievement – which remains unbroken by any UK male or female team – she watched as Maiden began another incredible voyage around the world. Leaving from Southampton, Maiden began her purposeful journey in 2018, sharing a 'Message of Hope' baton at each dock she stopped at. This passing of the baton ceremony, started by girls in the UK saw the Message of Hope handed to female students from a chosen school at each stop so that they could add their own messages of solidarity to be passed on. Girls also added colourful handprints to Maiden’s sail. Now, the mission begins again, and the baton will be passed at the remaining docks that Maiden is yet to reach.
Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has secured a significant new commitment to its Fleet Hotspot internet portal service, following an extension of its Fleet Xpress service agreement with leading liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) transport group Petredec. Fleet Hotspot has been designed by Inmarsat to give crew onboard access to high-speed connectivity with the freedom to use their own devices. As the owner of one of the most modern fleets of specialized LPG carriers in the market, Petredec is a longstanding Inmarsat customer, which recently renewed its Fleet Xpress service agreement across 27 operational ships and extended it to 10 newbuilds. Part of the renewal saw the Singapore-based owner commit for the first time to Inmarsat’s fully managed Fleet Care maintenance, repair, and support service, and the Fleet Data IoT platform for data collection, transfer, storage, and analysis. Petredec is also committed to the highest standards where crew connectivity is concerned and is a signatory of the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change. The Inmarsat renewal led to trials of Inmarsat’s Fleet Hotspot service. Rather than having crew demand for connectivity compete with operational bandwidth, Fleet Hotspot offers seafarers internet access via a dedicated portal, with billing options for owners including separate Master Service Agreements. IoT-based solutions Based on crew satisfaction feedback from a pilot Fleet Hotspot installation, Petredec is fast-tracking the adoption of the crew portal fleet-wide, replacing a previous crew connectivity service based on subscription. On completion, all 37 owned Petredec ships will be equipped with Fleet Hotspot, supported by the dual Fleet Xpress antennas on board. “The powerful moral case for ensuring crews can stay in touch with friends, family, and the outside world has been laid bare during Covid-19, but there is also a direct link between crew happiness and retention of the best crews,” said Neil Giles, Fleet Technical Manager Petredec. “It’s a link that results in safer operations onboard multi-million dollar assets, greater vessel efficiency, and business competitiveness.” “We are pleased that Petredec will be expanding their commitment to crew welfare, safety, and operational efficiency through Inmarsat’s portfolio of services,” said Gert-Jan Panken, Vice President Merchant at Inmarsat Maritime. “The company is in the vanguard of shipping’s digitalization journey and leverages technology to realize goals on safety, the environment, efficiency and crew welfare. Our experience is that early adopters of IoT-based solutions quickly see the benefit of measurable performance gains whilst the commitment to crew welfare boosts moral.”
Maersk remains committed to ensuring the supply chain needs are met in this period of uncertainty and intensified congestion all around the globe. In this “Asia Pacific Market Update”, Maersk provides the most relevant and up-to-date information so that together Maersk navigates this period of heightened volatility and keeps the supply chain moving. Industry Trends As the world and businesses continue to face challenges, Asia Pacific leads the way in projected GDP growth: China 8.9%, Vietnam 7.7%, the Philippines 8.0% and Malaysia 6.5%. The apparel sector is expected to grow by 8.2% globally in 2021, with more than half of annual spend happening outside of North America and Europe. Asia already leads the way with 38% share of the 2020 global spend and this is expected to increase to 41% by 2025. Consumer habits are changing, and online shopping is growing rapidly in Asia. Sourcing from South East Asia is growing as companies continue to look for solutions in addition to China. So one can see that while the supply chain and logistics industry continues to face challenges, new opportunities abound as well. Ocean Freight Update Maersk expects strong demand for exports from Asia to continue in Q3 and ocean networks are projected to be highly utilised. The focus remains on securing coverage and providing reliable capacity solutions. Equipment shortages remain an industry-wide challenge in Asia Pacific. 20-foot dry containers are sufficient, but 40-foot and 45-foot- dry containers are short. A 40-foot non-operating reefer is also insufficient. Australia and New Zealand ports continue to experience significant congestion. Maersk has introduced the new service, the Sirius Star, and added capacity to the Southern Star service to improve network flexibility and supply chain stability. The Oceania/Americas services continue to be impacted by delays in the US and terminal congestion in New Zealand. To protect overall network stability, and therefore available capacity, the OC1/Trident service (connecting Oceania to the US East Coast) will now be calling at Napier and Port Chalmers bi-weekly. In Australia, Maersk has deployed Soroe Maersk to reposition empty containers and ease depot congestion. Less-than-Container-Load (LCL): Container shortages for China LCL shipments are expected throughout May. LCL space will be impacted by general ocean capacity and schedule reliability. Lead time for LCL shipments is expected to be longer than usual as carriers are omitting ports, putting pressure on LCL capacity. In Oceania, congestion issues in the US are impacting LCL services to Oceania and Intra Oceania space (Trans-Tasman) is very tight. Air Freight Update China: Export by air remains strong especially into the US. In the near future, the market will likely be buoyed by high-tech product launches as well as annual retail sales events (e.g. Amazon’s Prime Day). Capacity remains strained by the shifting of passenger flights to other routes and scheduled annual aircraft maintenance/safety checks. The recent surge of COVID cases in India has resulted in many airlines cancelling scheduled services. Shippers are forced to consider alternative solutions, including dedicated charters. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore: Maersk sees capacity constraints to and from the US. For shipments with deadlines or committed transit times to the US, please secure space using the Express service to prevent delays. Capacity from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to Europe and within Asia is still manageable. Bookings for all lanes need to be placed 5-7 working days ahead. Indonesia and the Philippines: Demand for garments, apparel, retail and electronics is increasing, especially on US & EU lanes. Demand from Jakarta and other parts of Asia results in tighter air space in Indonesia. To secure space, please make bookings at least 10 days before your planned departure date, especially for US & EU lanes. Some Philippine airlines are experiencing backlogs from Manila. Advance block bookings of 1-2 weeks are required and must be finalised 48 hours prior to departure. Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar: Demand for technology, eCommerce and retails products continues to be strong in particular to destinations in North America. Passenger travel continues to be subdued. Strong demand for Myanmar is mostly caused by an accumulated backlog of shipping requests. Australia and New Zealand: The import market remains flat, with limited in- and out-bound passenger flights. Large consignments are often spread across multiple flights. Capacity from Australia and New Zealand is subject to carrier discretion with terms of booking subject to change. Where transshipment hubs are backlogged, airlines continue to opt for smaller tonnage consignments. Schedules for long-haul shipments are mostly tentative and connecting flights are subject to change. Japan export demand has increased with 20% YoY growth mainly from temperature-controlled shipments, automotive, consumer goods and raw materials. Korea export demand has grown 3% YoY mainly from automotive and chemicals. Recently, significantly reduced capacity of wide-bodied passenger aircraft has increased dramatically, with 20% growth for Japan and 80% for Korea, meaning the air freight market has been slightly stable but still remains volatile from long term speaking. Maersk continues to offer tailor-made solutions such as air charters, sea and air services to help manage disruptions. Inland and Intercontinental Rail Update Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore: Equipment shortages will impact trucking capacity in Thailand in May, but demand remains strong. Cross-border trucks are operating normally. Oceania inland: Maersk Connect continues to support cargo movement in New Zealand direct from Port Tauranga to Auckland Metroport to help address congestion challenges. Japan and Korea: Inland demand has decreased due to COVID-19 so capacity is sufficient. Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan: Trucking space is generally available in all locations, but Maersk have seen challenges in South China with congestion in Yantian and Nansha. COVID-19 related restrictions see on-going cross-border bottlenecks between Mainland China and Hong Kong/South East Asia. China Railway continues to operate tight controls on rail space to ease congestion. Intercontinental capacity is forecasted to remain tight in May, in particular between China and Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland and Hungary.) Maersk estimates average delays of 5-7 days in Manzhouli (China), Erenhot (China) and Malaszewicze (Poland), and of 3-5 days in both Alataw Shankou (China) and Khorgos (Kazakhstan). Major Ports Update Ports in North Europe are under high pressure due to import cargo peaks and the ripple effect of Suez incident. Ports in West Central Asia are facing operational delays due to high yard density. Across the globe, most ports are facing operational delays. Maersk is working on port swaps and port omissions to mitigate the impact and improve schedule reliability. Maersk recommends customers plan ahead and manage cargo delivery time.
The cruise industry has received a vital lifeline in its bid to safely set sail once again. Several pioneering Finnish businesses and organisations have developed new, innovative safety approaches for the sector to adopt, in response to new post-pandemic measures. These new initiatives and research projects are set to bring the industry back from the brink and ensure a safer and successful cruise experience for all. Undertaking health and safety measures Expectations surrounding cruises today have changed beyond all recognition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff has always been a top priority for the industry, its recovery depends on taking health and safety measures to a new level, to drive stability and sustainability in the challenging years ahead. Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Finnish research organisations and companies have led the charge in responding to the industry’s call for new solutions to support its resurgence. With viable options showing what is possible, the future of the industry looks bright and secure. Healthy Travel project Researchers collaborated with cruise companies to find ways of improving health and safety on cruise ships The Healthy Travel project[i] is one such initiative: researchers collaborated with cruise companies, shipyards, and subcontractors to find ways of improving health and safety on cruise ships and in terminal buildings. Researchers in cell biology and industrial management created models to analyse passenger flows on vessels of different sizes and developed processes and procedures to minimize infection risks. To further understand the role of breathing, coughing, and sneezing in spreading COVID-19, researchers from Tampere University, VTT Technology Research Centre of Finland, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare created a robot head [ii] prototype as part of the AIRCO research project. Air purification techniques The initial aim of the robot was to support the design and planning of all kinds of indoor spaces, including ships and terminals, and to measure the effectiveness of masks, ventilation, and air filtration and purification solutions in preventing the spread of viruses. Ensuring indoor air quality (IAQ) is also a crucial factor for minimising infections among passengers and crew. To support the need for better air purification techniques, interior accommodation provider ALMACO partnered with Genano [iii] to provide the marine and offshore industry with advanced air decontamination technology that removes airborne impurities of all sizes, including microbes and the novel coronavirus. Developing solutions for material flow on ships KONE researched with several cruise line companies to develop solutions for people and material flows on ships In addition to air quality, the flow of people and material can have a huge impact on the transmission of airborne viruses. KONE [iv], a global pioneer for marine elevators and escalators, conducted intensive research in partnership with several cruise line companies to develop new solutions for people and material flows on ships while improving health and safety on board and in the terminals. This involved collecting data with sensors installed on ships, timing activities, and conducting interviews with passengers and crew members. In the same vein, an IoT platform from Hypercell[v] uses Bluetooth signal sensors to collect data on people volumes, dwell times, and flows in indoor and outdoor locations. Innovation is key Innovative approaches are the way forward for the industry to get back on its feet, but with so much at stake, these next steps are crucial to get right. Accurate data, insight, and new techniques will play a key role in moving forward, as Timo Pakarinen, managing director for KONE’s marine business explains, “Any changes on cruise ships must be fact-based and commercially viable solutions because the investments required are so large.” Supporting cruise industry recovery “Collaborative research projects such as these, which have been initiated and funded by Business Finland, will continue to produce innovations and technologies to support the recovery and future viability of the cruise industry for many years to come.” “Finland now offers leading technologies and solutions focusing on indoor air quality, passenger flows, safety protocols, and touchless solutions. The insights gained from this vital research are also contributing to the design of new cruise ships,” says Ulla Lainio, Head of Marine & Ports Global Industry Team at Business Finland.
In recent months, COVID-19 has put incredible pressure on global supply chains. But it’s not just the pandemic that is causing unforeseen pressure on the UK supply chain. We have an ageing infrastructure, a chronic HGV driver shortage, record-high prices and record low space availability on sea freight options, new rules in trading with the EU, and in addition, a UK-wide shortage of warehousing capacity. While we have had to stay at home, online shopping has peaked and an increasing amount of goods have been transported across the globe. According to UNCTAD, maritime logistics represents 90 percent of the world supply chain. Therefore, ports are an integral part of global trade. Ensuring uninterrupted supply The global freight market is under extreme pressure at the moment, and port congestion results in container vessel delays which might lead to demurrage charges for cargo owners. These are genuinely unprecedented times, requiring decision makers across a wide variety of sectors to think hard and think differently when it comes to ensuring uninterrupted supply throughout peak season and beyond. A multi-modal approach can meet the client’s needs in the best way allowing them to react to change A multi-modal approach can meet the client’s needs in the best way allowing them to react to change and automatically make amends to the plan, in accordance with the issues being faced. However, end-to-end supply chains rely on assets and you’re only as robust as the amount of ships and/or operators involved. The industry has faced many challenges with Brexit, Christmas, COVID-19 and the Suez Canal and although some can be seen as isolated incidents, they have happened and they will again. Improving any breakdowns It’s difficult to prepare for the unknown and when it might happen but I think operators have a great way of gathering the data following these events and use it to improve any breakdowns in the chain in preparation for if there’s a next time. As a result of the pandemic, shipping companies took ships out of the sea due to reduced demand but it’s interesting that demand is now increasing and yet the numbers of ships back out at sea hasn’t increased alongside. The cost of using ships has rocketed - one customer importing from Japan used to pay £900 per container, now it’s £7,000 and even £14,000 from China. Port-centric warehousing We really need everyone working together to benefit all parties - it’s very one-sided at the moment So, we’re seeing prices remaining high with fewer ships operating - what incentive do operators have to get more ships back out onto the water and get back to where they were, when their income is healthy with reduced numbers? We really need everyone working together to benefit all parties - it’s very one-sided at the moment but I understand that companies could be remaining cautious with a fast return to pre-COVID while the pandemic is still impacting life. Looking ahead, I think autonomy is going to be huge and we’ll see the reliance on trained operatives being removed. Autonomous shipping is already being trialled and of course, the capabilities of drones is only going to improve in the future. Whilst there is no silver bullet for the combination of complex challenges we face, one suggested approach is to put port-centric warehousing at the heart of your UK distribution strategy. National rail infrastructure The port-centric model is very simple. Rather than transporting your goods hundreds of miles inland to primary distribution centres, the storage facilities are located close to, or within key ports. By doing so, you take costly, time-consuming links out of the supply chain, replacing them with seamless, simple solutions from ship to doorstep. Another option to consider, which again takes links out of the supply chain, is to utilise the rail network within the port for onward transportation. We’re fortunate at Solent Gateway to offer a dedicated rail link which is connected to the national rail infrastructure and can provide a direct route for freight whilst reducing traffic on the roads. At Solent Gateway, we are committed to solving customers’ supply chain challenges and support businesses that seek facilitation of logistics hubs, business parks, storage, sea to rail, sea to road, automobile, project cargo, general cargo, dry bulk and break bulk.
Backlogged ports, a shortage of shipping containers and not enough workers are among the factors contributing to supply chain disruptions that have led to shortages of various goods and are likely to impact availability of merchandise, during the upcoming holiday season. Demand is growing rapidly as the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic have diminished. However, lingering consequences of the pandemic are continuing to impact the container shipping market. With each element in the system tightly intertwined, any changes tend to ripple with additional repercussions. Slow circulatory movement of containers A direct upshot of the COVID-19 pandemic was to slow the circulatory movement of containers globally. To increase productivity and save time, some vessels began making their return journeys empty, in effect leaving more empty containers at the delivery destination and fewer at the source of shipments. The varied timing of the pandemic in Asia and the West compounded the problem At one point, Asian containers could not be sent back to Asia, because of COVID-19 restrictions in place. The varied timing of the pandemic in Asia and the West compounded the problem. With empty containers stacking up in the West and a shortage in the East, slower circulation of containers and higher demand have led to sharp increases in costs. Millions of TEU dry container units added A lack of new equipment is not the problem. Last year, the industry added about 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units of dry containers, in line with the 10-year average. Congestion at ports has been going on for months and still continues. Recently, in the San Pedro Bay region, near the Port of Long Beach, in California, there were 144 ships, including 85 ships that were waiting to unload. In Savannah, Georgia, more than 20 container ships were waiting to dock. Ports in the US states of New Jersey, New York and Texas have also seen record backlogs. Majority of influential global ports face backlogs According to one report, 77% of the most influential ports in the world reported above-average wait times this year. The turn-around time for a container in ports has nearly doubled in 2021, in comparison to 2019. A worker shortage at the ports is aggravating the problem and container ships now carry about 30% more goods, which require more labour to unload. Ports are also doing the additional work with fewer people. There is also reduced labour productivity at warehouses and marine terminals. Investment in workforce training to counter bottlenecks Some port bosses expect the bottlenecks to last through the summer of 2022. To address the problem, some ports are investing in workforce training and scheduling night-time appointments to pick up goods. Although a lot of attention is focused on the ports, they are just one element in the troubled supply chain. Even if the ports could increase their capacity, downstream processes would also have to increase their labour force, to accommodate the higher volume. Difficult to absorb impact of global supply chain disruptions In the best of times, the global supply chain operates like a well-oiled machine In the best of times, the global supply chain operates like a well-oiled machine, despite its complexity and the inter-relatedness of various stakeholders. However, the sheer size of the system makes it difficult to absorb the impact of any disruptions. Turning the system around takes time, and a burgeoning global demand for goods, in the aftermath of a global pandemic, makes recovery even more difficult. The Biden Administration in the U.S. has established a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, to monitor and address short-term supply issues. This task force is convening meetings of stakeholders in industries with urgent supply-chain problems, such as construction and semiconductors, to identify the immediate bottlenecks, as well as potential solutions. Role of global supply chain more critical now There have been supply chain disruption and staff shortages in several countries, including the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and New Zealand, according to business surveys. As the economy recovered and demand increased, businesses have not yet been able to bring inventories fully back to pre-pandemic levels, causing inventory-to-sales ratios to fall. The role of the global supply chain has never been more critical.
Scientific research showing that the COVID-19 virus spreads mainly through aerosols and particles has focused attention on indoor air quality as a crucial factor for minimising infections among passengers and crew on cruise ships and other vessels. In response, ALMACO and Genano are partnering to provide the marine and offshore industry with advanced air decontamination technology that removes airborne impurities of all sizes, including microbes and the novel coronavirus. About ALAMCO Founded in 1998, ALMACO serves the marine and offshore industries with turnkey solutions for interior accommodation, catering, laundry, public and technical areas. The company has a long track record of new-build and modernization projects for the world’s leading shipyards and cruise lines. ALMACO’s networks enable Genano to bring its unique electric filtration technology to this market" “Finland is a forerunner in air purification and Genano is the most trusted actor in this field, with more than 20 years experience in the most demanding settings, such as hospital operating theatres. ALMACO’s extensive networks across the maritime industry enable Genano to bring its unique electric filtration technology to this market,” says Erik Schobesberger, VP Modernisation & Newbuilding Support, ALMACO. Improving indoor air quality Genano’s patented electrical filtration technology removes even the smallest microbes. It effectively protects against the COVID-19 virus and also decontaminates indoor air from bacteria, mould spores, ozone, pollen, odours, and harmful gases. “We recommend Genano’s proven technology to our customers because it is cost-effective, flexible, and can be conveniently deployed on existing vessels. Compared to disposable HEPA filter systems, Genano’s air purification devices do not clog up and are easier to maintain.” “With health precautions now at the core of the cruise experience, we are confident that Genano’s solutions will set the standard for indoor air quality in the maritime industry of the future.”
Managing large amounts of documentation, data and paperwork can take a toll on the supply chain operations of any business. It can end up being a drain on resources, without providing accurate results. In order to improve their relationship with their customers and offer cargo journey visibility, Drac Logistics (Drac), a supply chain solutions provider based in the United Kingdom, turned to TradeLens for a solution. The Customer Established in 2009, with their head office in Staffordshire and their Scottish regional office in Falkirk, Drac currently generates a turnover of GBP 23 million per annum, providing their logistical services primarily to the East Asian, African, North American, and Middle Eastern markets. Drac had been seeking ways to improve the cargo journey visibility for their customers Over 80% of Drac’s customer base is comprised of food producers with big names such as Kellogg’s. However, they also facilitate a wide range of other industries, including general cargo, vehicles and chemicals. With a focus on customer-centricity, Drac is able to cater to businesses of all sizes across the supply chain spectrum by offering them a personal relationship where others might not. They utilise the industry experience of their staff and invest the appropriate time to fully understand the requirements for each customer. Designing their service around those requirements, and setting up dedicated teams with the right expertise, ensures they provide the precise services their customers need. "Service on top of visibility are key factors for all of our customers," said Andy Hopkin, Business Development Direct at Drac Logistics. The Challenge Drac had been seeking ways to improve the cargo journey visibility for their customers but struggled to find a supply chain software that could add value to their existing systems. Unable to find a digital twin solution that could scale down to their needs, the team at Drac were often required to interpret notification emails that were up to 20 pages long. Each staff member had to spend 2 hours each morning preparing reports on the shipment schedules and delays to ensure their customers were kept up to date on the status of their cargo. The Solution With Maersk already being Drac’s global logistics partner for over 12 years, their account manager understood the pain points their business was facing and recommended they use TradeLens to streamline their processes. Using TradeLens Core, Drac can streamline the process to keep up to date with the location and status of all their containers TradeLens is an open and neutral supply chain ecosystem developed by Maersk, underpinned by IBM blockchain technology, and now supported by 5 of the top 6 global ocean carriers. Eager to find out more about how they could begin working with an all-in-one data interchange that could provide them with information updated in real-time, an online demo of the supply chain software was arranged for Drac. Following the demonstration, the team at Drac felt that the solution ticked all the boxes and would enable them to easily gather information on the status of the cargo at each stage of the journey. The ability to have visibility over the previous blind spots in their journey was the dominant factor that led to their decision to opt for TradeLens as their supply chain software. Within 2 weeks of the demonstration, Drac signed the contract with IBM and was ready to go. "Having worked closely with Drac at all levels, understanding the customers' business priorities and barriers was key in matching that to our solutions. The team at Drac have always been big advocates of continuous improvement and on the lookout for streamlining, optimising, and increasing efficiencies of processes, therefore, it made perfect sense to discuss and propose TradeLens as a solution," said Liston Pinto, Account Manager at Maersk. The Results Using TradeLens Core, Drac will now save significant amounts of staff time when creating KPI reports, as well as streamline the process to keep up to date with the location and status of all their containers. They are now able to enhance their systems, forgoing the pain of change management in deploying new client-facing interfaces, and instead enhance their existing software to now become the best in class in terms of data speed and accuracy. This enables Drac to provide full visibility to their customers whilst delivering a higher level of service, as their customers will now be updated in real-time when any breaks in the supply chain arise in the journey of their goods. As TradeLens allows them to inform their customers of every detail in the journey and how long goods are spent at each stage, Drac now has a direct advantage over competitors who still rely on traditional track-and-trace systems. With TradeLens freeing up our staff from manual processes, it gives us the freedom to be proactive rather than reactive and continue our growth aspirations and service offerings to our customer base. We see this as a game-changer for how we market ourselves and the way we handle the customer, said Alex Hayes, Director at Drac Logistics Innovating with TradeLens The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all industries has increased focus on the need to innovate and create a streamlined supply chain setup. Pioneering innovation in the industry, TradeLens, underpinned by IBM blockchain technology, provides businesses true end-to-end visibility and unprecedented collaboration.
Covid-19 has changed people’s lifestyles, including drinking habits. With outdoor outlets and restaurants shut, people have been consuming more beverages at home. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), online sales for alcoholic drinks jumped by up to 234% in the United States (US) in 2020. This new behaviour intensified the shortage of aluminium cans in the US market. One of the world’s largest brewers was facing this crisis as well. This is the story about how Maersk was able to supply a flexible and timely solution at a time when large capacity and cost-effectiveness were vital to the business. The customer The customer is one of the world’s largest brewing companies and engages in the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. With a diverse portfolio of well over 500 brands, some of their beers are among the most recognised in the world. The company has around 170,000 employees based in nearly 50 countries. The challenge The logistics process needed to be lean, cost-efficient and flexible The customer was under pressure due to the severe shortage of empty beer cans. They were looking to get the cans delivered from vendors in China to waiting for manufacturing lines in the US. The main challenge: these vendors have located in interior China, several thousand kilometers away from any ports. The distance compounded several other challenges, including: Large volume: The customer planned to ship a substantially large volume of cargo, in the range of 2,000 Forty Foot Equipment (FFE) per month, which is very demanding both for space and equipment capacities. Multiple pick-up locations: There were two suppliers at origin. Goods were to be collected and assembled from both sources before shipping. Need for flexibility: The solution would require a mix of inland and ocean coordination, with one step in the supply chain highly dependent on the other. Lead time: The customer was under high pressure to meet surging market and manufacturing demands. That meant a shorter window to reach gateways starting from the first mile. Local market knowledge: The customer was not based in China. They needed a local partner to find the best routes and modes of transportation. Chinese New Year rush: With the festival around the corner, it was a big challenge to maintain a stable and relatively large cargo capacity. The customer needed a partner who could ensure an uninterrupted supply chain. In summary, the logistics process needed to be lean, cost-efficient and flexible to meet the extremely high demand patterns and short lead times. The solution A mix of first-mile trucking and rail that directly connected to ocean gateways seemed to offer the best balance The customer needed a global solution at a local level. That’s where the teams in China stepped in. They partnered with the customer to understand the specific requirements in detail and listed out all the possible solutions. After weighing the pros and cons, a mix of first-mile trucking and rail that directly connected to ocean gateways seemed to offer the best balance between time, cost and space. The solution included a multimodal approach to link the places of origin with the Maersk gateways and the ocean products. These included: Offering more flexibility by setting up an inland rail product and securing capacity on first-mile trucking Adding more efficiency and agility by making 40-foot high cube (HC) shipping containers available both at the inland rail ramps and the gateways Reducing lead time with a direct drayage (trucking) service from inland factories to Ningbo/Shanghai ports The result The Maersk teams were able to offer an agile solution that was flexible in its approach while being highly cost-efficient. Some of the direct benefits to the customer were: Reducing inland lead time within China to three days (compared to the 10 days taken on barges) A 35% reduction in supply chain costs for the customer Cutting space uncertainties by guaranteeing the capacity, load volumes and equipment availability Reducing the customer’s downstream supply chain risks in the US with on-time logistics Helping the customer to capitalise on larger market opportunities by meeting their demands through a reliable logistics process backed by expert global and local teams
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Northeast United States, in May 2020, Goltens received a call from Bayonne Drydock (Bayonne Drydock and Repair Corp.) to attend for inspection and to make a proposal to remove a damaged shaft seal liner on the USNS Red Cloud, one of the US Military Sealift Command’s nineteen large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships. In-Place Machining specialist Goltens deployed its In-Place Machining specialist to New Jersey, observing all of the special precautions required to stay safe. Goltens determined that the shaft seal liner could be removed from the shaft, but due to the short space between the shaft and shaft housing, special tooling and brackets would have to be fabricated at Goltens Miami, in order to carry out the on-site machining. Having all of the required measurements, Goltens’ specialist returned to Miami to fabricate the mounting brackets and re-purposed one of their milling machines, to mill across the outside liner surface to split the liner. Ensuring no damage to propeller shaft surface After preparations were complete, the team arrived on site, observing as many precautions as possible While Goltens is renowned for its ability to conduct high precision journal repairs, this project was not as delicate, but still required a high degree of care and control, so as to ensure the propeller shaft surface was not damaged during the machining of the liner. After preparations were complete, the team arrived on site, observing as many precautions as possible and then, proceeded with mounting the prefabricated brackets and milling machinery to begin the works. Shaft seal liner removal The liner removal was completed using two shifts of machinists, working around the clock. Goltens completed the repair successfully over an 11-day period onsite in Bayonne and the shaft was left in good condition with no damage from the removal process. Goltens’ front line workers continue to perform essential service for the world’s military and merchant fleets during these trying times. This was another successful job completed safely by Goltens during the COVID-19 pandemic.