Updates and announcements from land, sea and air – warehousing & logistics, aviation, maritime, storage, transportation and more

Unsatisfied customers
Less than a fifth of UK companies are happy with their Third-Party Logistics suppliers (3PLs), according to the latest research from leading supply chain and logistics consultancy SCALA. SCALA surveyed a selection of the UK’s best-known businesses and 3PLs with regards to customer satisfaction rates. The aim of the research was to identify how satisfied companies are with the performance of their 3PLs, and how satisfied 3PLs think their clients are with their performance.

On the whole, 3PLs could be doing better, with just 18 per cent of companies surveyed claiming to be ‘very satisfied’ with the performance of their 3PL. Common satisfaction pain points for businesses included a lack of proactivity from 3PLs, a lack of continuous improvement and a constant focus on cost instead of quality.

3PLs seem to have an exaggerated sense of satisfaction and optimism when it comes to their own perceived customer satisfaction rates. Thirty-eight per cent of 3PLs surveyed believe their customers are ‘very satisfied’ with their performance, which is more than twice their customers’ actual levels. However, 15 per cent of 3PLs also conceded that their clients were very dissatisfied.

Cool flexibility
Solent Transport Services is first in the UK to take delivery of Krone’s sliding bogie Box Liner container carriers with underslung genset, to provide power for refrigerated shipping containers.

The Krone Box Liners are designed to carry 20’, 30’, 40’ and 45’ containers, two boxes at once or any standard sized tank. Quick-release twist locks also ensure fast and easy handling. For Solent Transport Services Managing Director, Mike Lewry, this is a key operational benefit: “It’s important to use only the most flexible equipment which will enable us to achieve maximum utilisation and a fast return on investment. These Box Liners are perfect in all respects and easier to operate than other skeletal trailers. No question, that adds up to faster turn-round times and greater efficiency all-round.”

Meanwhile, the UM5 genset, described by makers Genmark, as ‘the most sustainable genset on the market’, is designed to keep the weight as low as possible while maintaining the highest performance. Accordingly, it weighs in at just 470 kgs and using a fuel-efficient 2.286 litre low-noise engine, consumes 2.2 litres of diesel per hour at an average output of 380v/50Hz.

Singapore still on top
The Leading Maritime Capitals report for 2019 is out, with fresh insight on which maritime metropolises provide the best support for companies in shipping and related services. Criteria include soft and hard infrastructure and access to world-class talent and services – all key components that maritime businesses need to thrive in their chosen locations.

Singapore maintained its top position at the head of the 15 leading maritime capitals. Despite a somewhat weak trade cycle in traditional shipping and offshore oil and gas markets yet to recover, Singapore was able to retain its lead in three of the five pillars of the ranking: Shipping, Ports and Logistics as well as Attractiveness and Competitiveness. In the two remaining pillars, London is number one in Maritime Finance & Law, while Oslo is number one in Maritime Technology. On the overall ranking, Hamburg remains in the number two spot, while Oslo drops from third to seventh. Rotterdam and Hong Kong show the biggest improvement, climbing to third and fourth respectively, with London rounding out the top five, and Shanghai at number six.

Asked to look five years into the future, the experts foresee Singapore retaining its top position, but with stronger competition from Shanghai, and Dubai poised to climb into the top five overall by 2024. Hamburg, Rotterdam, London and Oslo are expected to stay strong in Europe.

Tackling the challenges
Aviation conference specialist, RedCabin has announced its Aircraft Cabin Innovation summit, which will take place 4 – 6 June at the iconic Museum of Flight in Seattle. Following the success of previous summits in Abu Dhabi and Hamburg, the event has become a key event in the aviation calendar – bringing together the industry’s elite to create a forum for open collaboration and progress.

The summit will feature RedCabin’s renowned interactive working groups, speed networking and panel discussions with senior executives from the world’s leading airlines, aircraft manufacturers, designers and suppliers.

Monica Wick, founder and CEO at RedCabin commented: “As the aviation industry evolves, the importance of collaboration and open, honest discussion between airlines, manufacturers and designers grows – our Aircraft Cabin Innovation summit is founded on that principle. This year’s programme has been designed to reflect the diverse nature of the industry and have the biggest figures in aviation tackle the biggest challenges.”

World’s first
Torqeedo has provided the integrated propulsion system for the world’s first electric-powered freefall lifeboat, which is being built by the Dutch builder Verhoef. The vessel recently passed its final drop tests, making it the first fully functional electric lifeboat in the world.

The first of the new Verhoef aluminium 32-passenger lifeboats will be deployed on an offshore platform in the new Valhall Flank West oilfield project in Norway. The contract includes an option for similar lifeboats in the future.

One of the primary motivations behind the switch to electric power is to reduce the high maintenance costs of diesel engines currently in use, according to Verhoef. Experience has shown that diesel lifeboat engines require a great deal of ongoing maintenance and repairs. Soot accumulation in the seldom-run engines can cause internal damage and negatively affect the performance and reliability of the evacuation system. Electric propulsion also eliminates the need to transport, store and handle diesel fuel on the platform.

Taking delivery
Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe has taken delivery of its first remote-controlled Rubber Tyred Gantry cranes (RTGs). The four electric-powered cranes were built by ZPMC in Shanghai and are the first of eight similar machines to be delivered in the near future. The port also has two remote controlled ship-to-shore gantry cranes currently undergoing manual testing before being deployed in full remote mode.

Commenting on the latest equipment, Robert Ashton, Operations Director at the Port of Felixstowe, said: “The new cranes represent an important step towards a greater degree of remote working at the Port of Felixstowe. Remote working will deliver benefits for both our employees and our customers.

“For the drivers, the ergonomics are much better than a traditional operation. The physical stress to a driver’s back, neck and shoulders will be significantly reduced and the vibrations experienced as cranes operate will be eliminated altogether. Operationally, we will be able to deploy equipment more dynamically to meet peaks in demand and locating operators, vessel controllers and supervisors closer to one another will lead to improvements in alignment and communication.”

Take off for Manchester
Manchester Airport has celebrated the completion of the first major phase of its £1bn transformation programme. In April, passengers flying out of the UK’s third largest airport were welcomed onto a new pier for the first time, which connects to Terminal 2.

The Pier which provides 11 jetty-served ‘contact’ stands has more than 1400 seats in a fully glazed upper departures level offering panoramic views of the airfield. A separate, segregated arrivals level provides passengers with a travellator-assisted walking route to the main terminal arrivals facilities.

It will be used by all airlines currently operating out of T2 and was constructed from 14,000 steel pieces, 47,184 bolts and painted with 2600 litres of paint.

In preparation for the pier, the apron was extended by 49,000sqm to accommodate new aircraft parking stands, along with the construction of a new taxiway and associated infrastructure and services.

The opening marks the next phase of the airport’s multi-phased transformation programme that will see Terminal 2 become the focal point of its operations.