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LONDON: January 08, 2019. After 17.4 million hits, 9.1 million pages views and over 1.6 million unique visits last year, these 15 freightweek stories were the most read:

Maersk NepalFedex and Delta respond to NRA Read more
Block train helps Maersk Line expands in Nepal Read more

Austria signs Bangladesh aviation agreement and plans Vienna expansion Read more
XPO Logistics to validate new UK grocery standards Read more
First UAE-built satellite nears launch date Read more
Blockchain technology to save a million lives a year Read more
Amazon expands at Cincinnati hub Read more
XPO takeover a bad idea Read more
Arizona plans bridge not wall with Mexico Read more

New trade portal for the Dominican Republic Read more
First of four B777s delivered to Ukraine International Airlines Read more
Low marks for Russian corporate transparency Read more
US$4.5 trillion circular economy goes mainstream Read more

U.S. imposes mandatory air cargo screening Read more
Air cargo: is it just about the technology? Read more

SAN DIEGO, CA: December 13, 2018. Shareholder rights law firm Johnson Fistel, with the assistance of former California deputy Attorney General and Special Prosecutor Tiffany Johnson, has announced it is investigating potential claims against XPO Logistics.

The move follows the publication today of a report by hedge fund Spruce Point Capital Management (Spruce Point) claiming XPO "is plagued by financial irregularities that conveniently cover its growing financial strain and inability to complete additional acquisitions despite repeated promises”.

Entitled 'Trucking Ridiculous; End of the Road', the Spruce Point analysis characterises XPO 's financials as ''unreliable and dubious'', adding it has uncovered ''concrete evidence to suggest dubious tax accounting, under-reporting of bad debts, phantom income through unaccountable M&A earn-out liabilities, and aggressive amortization assumptions: all designed to portray glowing 'Non-GAAP' results".

Spruce Point XPO LogisticsBy the end of today’s trading, XPO’s stock had dropped over 26 percent to finish at US$44.50.

Spruce Point said: “Given its unreliable and dubious financials, US$4.7 billion debt burden, inability to generate sustaining free cash flow, and dependency on external capital and asset sales, we have a worst-case terminal price target of zero.”

The company notes while XPO has completed 17 acquisitions since chairman Bradley Jacobs took control in 2011, at a capital cost of US$6.1 billion, it has generated only US$73 million of cumulative adjusted free cash flow.

“In our view, this is indicative of a failed business strategy yielding a paltry 1.2 percent return on invested capital. XPO is dependent on external capital, asset sales, and factoring receivables to survive and is covering up a working capital crunch that can been (sic) seen by bank overdrafts. As credit conditions tighten, cost of capital increases, and XPO’s business practices come under greater scrutiny (e.g. U.S. Senate), its share price could swiftly collapse in Enron-style fashion,” it declared.

In a response to Spruce Point, XPO told the financial newspaper Barron’s: “Today’s report from a short-selling firm is intentionally misleading with significant inaccuracies, and fails to reflect that XPO has delivered strong performance for its long-term shareholders.

“The facts demonstrate that the short seller’s claims, most of which have been previously floated and refuted, are baseless and an attempt to string together unrelated pieces of incorrect information to paint an inaccurate impression of the company. We will communicate directly with our investors regarding this short seller’s report,” the spokesman continued.

On December 04, 97 members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter urging the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to investigate several news reports of alleged mistreatment of XPO employees.

The company responded via its web site with a statement saying it was “deeply disturbed by recent media allegations” and was taking immediate action to investigate.

Three days later the Teamsters Union, which has expressed on-going support for XPO workers, called on Jacobs to “formally acknowledge his company’s failure to address ongoing issues at its Memphis, Tenn. distribution center that include pregnancy discrimination, worker intimidation, and harassment”.

The Spruce Point report is available here: XPO Logistics

PARIS/NEW YORK: December 07, 2018. A survey by EcoVadis, the provider of business sustainability ratings, says most organizations are taking a reactive, unstructured approach to fighting corruption risks.

EcoVadis defines corruption as any kind of abuse of entrusted power in the workplace for private gain, taking the form of bribery, conflict of interest, fraud and/or money laundering.

The latest report is based on more than 20,000 company assessments conducted between January 2017 and June 2018 in 100 countries and across 150 industries. Companies were rated on a scale of zero to 100, with scores below 45 representing medium to high risk, and scores below 25 indicating very high risk.

Nambia sign World BankThe finance and insurance (49.9) sectors lead in best practices adoption (49.9), while power transmission and generation had the highest average industry score (50.2) followed by information and communication technology (47.7), real estate (47.7) and legal and consulting (46.4).

Wholesale, transportation and storage, construction and the light and heavy manufacturing sectors all scored below the world’s average (42.2), suggesting they are at high risk for corruption, bribery and fraud according to the study.

EcoVadis suggests North American and European companies lead the world in business ethics with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively having a formal policy on corruption.

“While most companies formalize anti-corruption policies through a code of conduct, few are taking the next step and implementing internal control measures,” noted EcoVadis CEO Pierre-Francois Thaler. “Written frameworks are a great starting point, but they are not sufficient for mitigating all corruption risks, which can wreak havoc on companies’ bottom lines and reputations if not addressed,”

The timing of the study coincides with new US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act policies and expansion of Sapin II in France, which requires companies with more than 500 employees and €100 million in annual turnover to implement anti-corruption programmes.

According to the UN, corruption costs US$2.6 trillion annually, money that is urgently needed for healthcare, education, clean water, infrastructure, and other essential services.

Marking International Anti-Corruption Day on December 09, UN secretary general António Guterres commented: "Through the Convention Against Corruption peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability. We can educate and empower citizens, promote transparency and strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets."

(Pictured: anti-corruption sign in Nambia courtesy of WorldBank/Philip Schuler.)


HELSINKI: November 20, 2018. Konecranes is using its Agilon technology to support the introduction of 200 e-commerce Agora Network parcel kiosks in the Helsinki area by the end of 2019.

Agora NetworksWith the goal of reducing e-commerce fees with the help of Clear Channel's outdoor advertising, the kiosks are a multifunctional robotic machine for parcel deliveries.

Agora is aiming to create new kinds of Smart City services such as 24/7 remote libraries and remote pharmacies. The kiosks also provide an opportunity to measure air quality and for WiFi/5G base stations.

Agora Networks is based on a digital software platform to form a diverse ecosystem that includes includes Agora Networks, Clear Channel, PostNord and Konecranes.

Konecranes reported revenue of €2.24 billion for the first nine months of 2018 and pre-tax earnings of €171.5 million.

TORONTO: October 18, 2018. Messe Munchen, organiser of the biennial ‘transport logistic’ exhibition in Munich, has signed an MoU with The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) to manage its future Air Cargo Forum events that will be held in Miami from 2020.

logitransTIACA will be a strategic partner at Messe events in Munich, Shanghai and the ‘logitrans’ event in Istanbul (right) that runs from November 14-16 this year.

A survey of 550 logistics experts by transport logistic and German supply chain association BVL says protectionism and “punitive tariffs” are now a clear threat to international trade and particularly the logistics industry.

"The responses confirm the public perception that protectionism and general punitive tariffs pose a threat to international trade and that sanctions must be carefully decided on a case-by-case basis," said Christian Grotemeier, managing director of BVL.digital, a subsidiary of BVL. "It is also surprising that of the respondents from [the] trade [sector] only 21 percent believe that they are strongly or very severely affected by the hurdles in foreign trade, whereas it is 31 percent in [the logistics] industry."

Some 58 percent of German respondents and 60 percent of respondents from outside the country said the quality of trade relations between the US and EU was very important or important for their business. No other trade partnership was attributed such value said DVL.

"National protectionism was already a key topic at transport logistic 2017 and it will be one again in 2019," explained Messe managing director Stefan Rummel. “The topic is also extremely relevant for us as a trade fair. After all, we are in the midst of global trade flows with our transport logistic network with eight international spin-offs, among others in China."

TTClub theft report 1LONDON: November 9, 2018. BSI Supply Chain Services and insurer TT Club have launched the first joint 2018 Semi-Annual Global Cargo Theft Intelligence and Advisory Report.

The report brings together threat and intelligence data from BSI’s supply chain security country risk intelligence tool, SCREEN and TT Club’s insurance risk management and loss prevention insights.

Several key findings from the TT Club/BSI report highlight the severe impact which cargo theft has on global supply chains. As highlighted in the report, the Food and Beverage sector suffers from the highest rates of cargo crime across the globe, accounting for 27 percent of all incidents; whilst Consumer Products and Hi-Tech Electronics industries suffer high rates of cargo theft as well.

Transport by road is the most often targeted mode for cargo crime across the globe, attributed to over 75% of all cargo theft incidents, with warehousing being the second most vulnerable target 19 percent.

BSI and TT Club have authored this report to demonstrate their shared goal of educating the transport and manufacturing sectors about the dynamic cargo theft risks present across the globe. With the enhanced awareness of cargo crime trends across the globe, industry will be able to engage in a proactive approach in preventing cargo crime and also minimising the financial loss and brand reputation damage that results from cargo crime.

Cargo theft report

DUNKERQUE: September 25, 2018. ArcelorMittal is switching export traffic from production sites in northern and eastern France from the Port of Antwerp to the Port of Dunkerque.

Every year the company ships some 5,300 TEU to Asia, America and Africa. Since June 50 percent of the volume, destined for India and China, is now being handled by the Scheldt Terminal Company at Dunkerque’s Flanders Container Terminal for uplift by COSCO, OOCL and CMA CGM.

Dunkerque Port Centre Board"Beyond the positive impact for the environment, we wanted to use a French port for the export of our reels in containers," said Dominique Pair, head of Establishment ArcelorMittal Dunkerque. "We have managed to ensure that this choice is economically viable, thanks to the work done with all the actors of the port of Dunkerque. The first phase is launched with 50 percent of the volumes, and will be continued for other destinations in 2019."

Stéphane Raison, Dunkerque Port Authority CEO added: "ArcelorMittal is a key partner of the port of Dunkerque and we are very honored that the group has decided to effectively integrate our port into the downstream logistics of these containerized flows. This operation perfectly illustrates the collaborative partnership between the customer and the various terminal operators of Dunkerque. "

In a related announcement, the port is to establish a Port Centre in order to promote its skills, assets and trade relations.

The initiative is backed by the Dunkerque Port Authority, the Dunkerque Urban Community, and the ACMAPOR-Port Museum Association in order to assert the maritime and port identity of Dunkerque and reinforce the attractiveness of the Flanders-Côte d'Opale coastline, together with all the sea and inland ports of the Hauts-de-France Region within the framework of the Norlink Ports Association.

Board of directors (pictured) include chair of the Board of Trustees at Dunkerque-Port, François Soulet de Brugière as chairman; Jean-Yves Frémont, deputy mayor of Dunkerque and community councillor, as vice-president; Franck Gonsse, secretary general of the dockers' union (CNTPA) as secretary and  Philippe Bertonèche, president of ACMAPOR as treasurer. Franck Dhersin, vice president of the Urban Community and Regional Council of Hauts-de-France and Stéphane Raison are also Board members.

GENEVA: November 01, 2018. IATA has announced from January 01, 2019 the electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) will become the default contract of carriage for all air cargo shipments on enabled trade lanes.

The association says this key industry milestone ushers air cargo into a new era where digital processes will be the norm and paper processes will be the exception.

A321neo VIETJET e-AWB brings numerous benefits such as:
• Elimination of paper based processes
• Improved efficiency and reliability of the overall cargo handling process
• Faster delivery times
• Decrease handling errors
• Positive impact on the environment with reduced paper usage

IATA introduced e-AWB in 2010 with the objective to initiate the digitalization of the air cargo supply chain.

Ever since, the e-AWB initiative has been a key enabler to the digitalization and transformation of our industry, as data availability and quality is critical to deliver innovative solutions and enhance customer experience.

The growing number of stakeholders using e-AWB demonstrates that the industry is ready and committed to embrace the full digitalization of the air cargo industry.

IATA encourages all air cargo industry stakeholders to switch to e-AWB at the earliest unless a paper air waybill may still be required due to applicable international treaties, national law, or as bilaterally agreed between the parties.

(Pictured: Vietjet has placed a firm order with Airbus for an additional 50 A321neo single aisle aircraft, bringing its order to 171 of which 46 have been delivered.)

LONDON: August 20, 2018. Zero-emissions engineering company Dearman has launched a two-year project aimed at reducing harvest waste in South Africa that costs the country US$6.0 billion a year – half of which is perishables.

Dearman says it plans to use its liquid nitrogen engine to develop a mobile pre-cooling system to cut the temperature of perishables at harvest and thus reduce spoilage.

UN FAO statsWorking with cold chain operator Transfig and Harvest Fresh, a family-owned food producer based in South Africa’s Gauteng province, Dearman will deploy a mobile, off-grid, zero-emissions system that enables farmers access affordable pre-cooling.

The company estimates that deploying 250 units throughout the country would save 350,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables wasted during post-harvest handling and storage. The solution would also save 328 million cubic metres of water, 29,000 hectares of land and boost farmer income by 12.0 percent.

“Small farmers in the country want an affordable pre-cooling system, but one that does the job cleanly,” commented Dearman head of New Applications Daniel Fennell. “The zero-emission system we are developing can offer a real alternative to polluting, expensive diesel systems and help to reduce post-harvest food loss.”

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), roughly one third of annual global human food production - some 1.3 billion tonnes - is wasted at a cost of US$680 billion in industrialized countries and US$310 billion in developing nations.

The FAO says fruit and vegetables, plus roots and tubers, have the highest wastage rates of any food at 40-50 percent of the total.

Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).

The food lost in Africa could feed 300 million people and the FAO calculates that saving 25 percent of the current food loss globally would be enough to feed 870 million people.

“In developing countries food waste and losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain and can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques as well as storage and cooling facilities," according to the FAO.

“Strengthening the supply chain through the direct support of farmers and investments in infrastructure, transportation, as well as in an expansion of the food and packaging industry could help to reduce the amount of food loss and waste,” it added.

The African fruit and vegetables pre-cooling market is estimated to be worth US$942 million. Funded by the UK Department for International Development, the Dearman project includes a six-month field trial in order to demonstrate the viability of wider commercial deployment across the continent.

LOS ANGELES: October 22, 2018. Virgin Group head Sir Richard Branson has stepped down as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One saying the role requires more time than he has available because of other commitments.

Patrick McCall, current chairman of Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit and the Virgin Rail Group will replace him on the company’s Board.

Virgin Hyperloop group photoIn the past year, Virgin Hyperloop One has been working with the government of Maharashtra, India on a plan to develop a first Hyperloop route from Mumbai to Pune; launched its cargo division CargoSpeed in partnership with DP World; and secured an agreement with the European Union to develop a R&D test facility in Southern Spain.

“For the first time in more than 20 years, I took on a chairman’s role last year to help Virgin Hyperloop One through a transitional period,” explained Branson. “We have exciting projects in India, Spain and are working with a number of US states to further develop this ground breaking technology.

“At this stage in the company’s evolution, I feel it needs a more hands-on chair who can focus on the business and these opportunities. It will be difficult for me to fulfill that commitment as I already devote significant time to my philanthropic ventures and the many businesses within the Virgin Group,” he continued.

Following the significant development in 2018 and further investment from DP World, Branson says he feels it is now the right time to revert to supporting the company on its brand development and international expansion.

Commenting on the announcement, DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sualyem said: ”DP World is the largest shareholder in Virgin Hyperloop One because we see the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network under the CargoSpeed brand, launched earlier this year, to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally. This technology serves our vision to enable smarter trade globally.”

(Pictured: Virgin Hyperloop One staff with Sir Richard Branson.)

MADISON, WI, August 16, 2018. Transportation software company SwanLeap has topped Inc. Magazine’s latest ‘Inc.5000’ list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

SwanLeap founder Brad HollisterAccording to the index, SwanLeap is leveraging AI across the supply chain to optimize transportation execution while helping companies “turn freight into a profit centre”. The company claims its technology can provide annualized savings of 26.7 percent to businesses.

Flexport founder Ryan PetersenEntering the Inc. 5000 list in 2017 at No.55 with US$99 million in revenue, SwanLeap has grown 75,660.8 percent over the past three years to put the five year-old software company in first place this year.

“If your company is on the Inc.5000, it is unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice,” observed Inc. editor-in-chief James Ledbetter. “The lines of business may come and go, or come and stay. What doesn’t change is the way entrepreneurs create and accelerate the forces that shape our lives.”

SwanLeap founder Brad Hollister (right) commented: “Although I envisioned this level of success from the beginning, it has been a hard road getting here. We’re doing something new, something very different and a lot of the market is just starting to understand that.”

Founded in 2013, the company, formerly ClearView Audit, provides transportation management systems, shipping technology, and freight payment and auditing software.

Another logistics software company has also made the Inc. 5000 list this year. Occupying the No.8 position is Flexport – “the modern freight forwarder” – that reported revenues of US$224.7 million in 2017 and has had a three-year growth trajectory of 15,911 percent.

Founded in 2013 by Ryan Petersen (left), the San Francisco-based startup says it helps companies like Bridgestone move freight globally by combining “powerful software and dedicated experts to give [them] accountability, peace of mind, and control over [their] supply chain”.

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