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WASHINGTON, DC: May 23, 2018. The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has issued an order to Russian airlines AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), Aeroflot and JSC Yakutia to file their US schedules within seven days to determine whether their operations are unlawful or against the public interest.

The DoT says the request is a response to the Russian government’s refusal to grant US carriers overflight rights as provided under a 1994 agreement between the two countries.

While both sides have adhered to the “comity and reciprocity” of the agreement since 2001, for the summer 2018 traffic season Russia unilaterally announced US freighter operators would have to use a longer flight corridor to and from Asia.

ABC MaseratiAs a result, says the DoT, US airlines are now experiencing “significant” disruption to all-cargo services between Europe and Asia, with the added time and associated costs threatening their future viability and jeopardizing slot access at Asia’s and Europe’s busiest airports.

According to the DoT order, the US has been trying to update the US/Russia bilateral agreement with the latest discussions scheduled for April 18-19 in Washington, DC. Twelve days prior to the meeting, Russia cancelled and responded on April 26 saying it had the right to alter the route.

The three Russian airlines are now required to file all their existing service schedules including codeshare, common branding and extra sections, between any US or non-US point including type of equipment used, frequency and days of operation, airports served and time of arrival and departure.

With its hub in Moscow, ABC operates to 11 destinations in Europe, five in Russia and the CIS and 11 in Asia plus six in the US: Anchorage, Los Angeles, Dallas Fort Worth, Chicago, Columbus, and Atlanta. The airline reported a 13 percent increase in uplift last year to over 700,000 tonnes with an average 71 percent load factor.

On April 05, ABC began a weekly B747 freighter service from Moscow to its latest US destination Columbus, OH with a return via Liege, Belgium.

Pictured: Last October Maserati chartered an ABC freighter for the launch of its MY18 Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio cars in Japan. The car company used a hangar at Narita to unload 28 cars from Europe for both the launch and delivery to invited customers.

DENVER, CO: May 23, 2018. Virgin Hyperloop One (VH1) is proposing to build its first station, or ‘portal’, at Denver International Airport as it continues a study into the feasibility of introducing a hyperloop network in Colorado.

Last September the company announced a public/private partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDoT) and infrastructure company AECOM, to determine the viability of a hyperloop link from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Pueblo, Colorado via Denver, a distance of 360 miles.

hyperloop one denver“Through our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One and the Colorado Department of Transportation, we are defining the next generation of infrastructure and transportation systems to addresses the shifting way people and freight need to move,” declared AECOM executive vice president Travis Boone.

In a hyperloop, passengers or cargo pods accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

"We have received some very positive feedback from interested Colorado stakeholders during and following our outreach event,” said CDoT chief of Advanced Mobility Amy Ford. “To me it's apparent that Colorado citizens are interested in the safety and mobility benefits a hyperloop system could bring to [the state]."

Last year VH1 set a historic test speed record of nearly 240 miles per hour (or 107 metres per second) during its third phase of testing at its hyperloop test site in North Las Vegas, NV.

Last month DP World and VH1 announced the launch of a new company called DP World Cargospeed to provide hyperloop-enabled systems for the delivery of palletised cargo.

VH1 investors include DP World, Caspian VC Partners, Virgin Group, Sherpa Capital, Abu Dhabi Capital Group, SNCF, GE Ventures, Formation 8, 137 Ventures and WTI.

(Pictured: An initial design concept for a first hyperloop portal located near the Denver International Airport at 72nd and Himalaya. VH1 said its ongoing study will analyze "multiple potential alignments to link this central point of connectivity across the Front Range as well as the mountain resorts".)

COPENHAGEN: May 16, 2018. H&M, Gap, Burberry and other fashion retailers are joining forces to ‘Make Fashion Circular’ – a bid to recreate the fashion industry based on the principles of a circular economy.

According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the industry can capture US$460 billion currently lost due to the underutilisation of clothes, and a further US$100 billion from clothing currently lost to landfill and incineration.

Supported by Walmart and the C&A Foundation, Burberry, Gap, H&M, HSBC, NIKE and Stella McCartney plan to transform and redesign the fashion industry from “one of the most polluting and wasteful operations today,” according to the Foundation.

The participants want to create a system that delivers benefits for citizens, the environment and companies by developing business models that keep clothes in use; produce materials that are renewable and safe; and solutions that turn used clothes into new clothes.

MFC core partners“For the fashion industry to thrive in the future we must replace the take-make-dispose model, which is worn out,” declared Ellen MacArthur. “We need a circular economy for fashion in which clothes are kept at their highest value and designed from the outset to never end up as waste. By joining forces to Make Fashion Circular we can harness the creativity and innovation that is at the heart of this US$1.3 trillion industry to create a system that delivers benefits for everyone.”

Make Fashion Circular builds on the vision outlined in the Foundation’s 2017 report A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion's future.

“Having seen the issues and challenges of the current fashion and apparel supply chain, we know there is an urgent need for a new model for sustainable production and consumption,” said Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel. “Suboptimal production practices, the lack of logistics coordination, and our current linear incomplete business models have resulted in the unnecessary creation of huge volumes of waste, and the shortening of the useful life of materials.”

Earlier this year BMW joined 29 major corporations with collective annual revenues of US$1.3 trillion in supporting a circular economy initiative launched by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

This is the latest attempt by companies to reinvent the way they produce, use and dispose of the materials that make up global trade by moving away from what the Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes as the traditional "take-make-dispose" economic model to one that is regenerative by design.

To this end Panalpina and its research partner Cardiff University have been awarded a research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to determine the supply chain implications that arise from the circular economy.

"The take-make-dispose supply chains of the past are morphing into the distributed, circular and sustainable supply chains of the future," explained Mike Wilson, Panalpina's global head of Logistics and Manufacturing. "But the transition to the circular economy brings challenges to traditional manufacturing and retail supply chains and the grant has allowed us to intensify our research and help our customers address these challenges."

In addition to BMW, members of the new WBCSD initiative include Accenture, Arcadis, ArcelorMittal, BASF, BCG, CRH, Dow, DSM, Enel, ExxonMobil, EY, Honda, IFF, KPMG, Michelin, Navigant, Novartis, Philips, PWC, Rabobank, Renault, SABIC, Saint-Gobain, Solvay, Stora Enso, Veolia, Yara and Yokogawa.

AMSTERDAM/WASHINGTON, DC: May 15, 2018. As Donald Trump threatens European companies with sanctions following his withdrawal from the UN framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme, the World Trade Organisation Appellate Body has concluded that Boeing’s complaint of illegal subsidies to Airbus by some European governments is largely unproven under its rules.

According to the European Commission (EC), the WTO has determined “the majority of EU support to Airbus challenged by the US had expired in 2011” and the EU is not required to take any further action regarding state support for the A300, A310, A320 and A330/A340 aircraft models.

Boeing interprets the WTO ruling to say “the European Union has failed to honour multiple previous rulings and has provided more than US$22 billion of illegal subsidies to European aircraft maker Airbus”.

In a direct challenge to France, Germany, the UK and Spain, Boeing said the United States Trade Representative (USTR) can now seek remedies in the form of tariffs against European imports to the US.

A330 TAP“The authorized tariffs are likely to total billions in duties per year, unless and until Airbus addresses the illegal subsidies it received from European governments for its most recently launched airplanes,” the manufacturer continued.

"Today's final ruling sends a clear message: disregard for the rules and illegal subsidies is not tolerated. The commercial success of products and services should be driven by their merits and not by market-distorting actions," declared Boeing chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

On the other hand the EC and Airbus say the WTO Appellate Body rejected 94 percent of the 218 claims made by Boeing of “adverse effects” on its business, with just 14 instances of specific harm in relation to the A350 XWB and A380.

"Today the WTO Appellate Body, the highest WTO court, has definitively rejected the US challenge on the bulk of EU support to Airbus, and agreed that the EU has largely complied with its original findings,” declared EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström: “Significantly, it dismissed the vast majority of the US claims that this support had damaged Boeing's aircraft sales.

“The EU will now take swift action to ensure it is fully in line with the WTO's final decision in this case. Also, we look forward to the upcoming ruling by the Appellate Body on US compliance with the WTO findings of the massive and persistent government support to Boeing," she added.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders commented: “Of course, today’s report is really only half the story – the other half coming out later this year will rule strongly on Boeing’s subsidies and we’ll see then where the balance lies.

“The result is simple: Airbus pays back its loans, Boeing pays back nothing and continues to exploit the generosity of the US taxpayer. Despite Boeing’s rhetoric, it is clear that their position today is straightforward healthy: they have half the market and a full order book, they have clearly not been damaged by Airbus repayable loans.”

A conciliatory Muilenburg concluded: "Now that the WTO has issued its final ruling, it is incumbent upon all parties to fully comply as such actions will ultimately produce the best outcomes for our customers and the mutual health of our industry.”

Pictured: The first A330neo for launch operator TAP Air Portugal has completed a four and a half-hour maiden flight prior to delivery this summer.

MIAMI: May 03, 2018. The 29th International Air Cargo Forum (ACF) to be held in Toronto, Canada from October 16-18 is expected to feature the latest ideas and applications of Blockchain and Big Data according to organizer The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA).

TIACA showLogistics leaders and top business experts, including Dragon’s Den Canada host and Offset Market Exchange founder Nicole Verkindt, will take to the stage for a series of lively discussions and debates during the three-day event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

With registration available at http://www.aircargoforum.org/?url=register , some of the exhibitors include Boeing, JFK International Airport, Incheon International Airport Corporation, Halifax Partnership, Group ADP, Canadian National Railway, DSV and Chapman Freeborn.

“The air cargo industry is undergoing a transformation with a wave of new technology and disruptive innovation, and now more than ever it is crucial that we collaborate as well as stay informed with the latest developments,” said TIACA secretary general Vladimir Zubkov.

For the first time the show will be co-located with the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) and the new Multimodal Americas show, bringing together leading logistics companies from across the entire logistics supply chain.

TIACA expects recent agreements with the Federation of National Associations of Cargo Agents and International Logistical Operators of Latin America and the Caribbean (ALACAT), Americas Alliance, AGUNSA, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), the Airforwarders Association (AfA), and Neutral Air Partner will help boost interest in the event.

More than 4,000 delegates are expected to attend the exhibition and conference that will cover digital transformation, security, training, global trends, shipper issues and how to improve transparency and quality in the supply chain.

WASHINGTON, DC: May 08, 2018. NASA has signed a second agreement with Uber Technologies to explore concepts and technologies to ensure a safe and efficient system for future urban air mobility (UAM) in populated areas.

Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network, and NASA will use airspace management computer modeling and simulation to assess the impact of VTOL cargo or passenger taxi drones in crowded environments.

NASA artist impression droneNASA’s definition of UAM is a safe and efficient system for vehicles, piloted or not, to move passengers and cargo within a city.

Following a white paper published in 2016, Uber and aerospace partner Embraer have revealed their respective hybrid drone/air taxi concepts at Uber’s Elevate Summit in Los Angeles this week.

Uber wants to have an electric-powered flying taxi-drone by 2020.

“NASA is excited to be partnering with Uber and others in the community to identify the key challenges facing the UAM market,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. “Urban air mobility could revolutionize the way people and cargo move in our cities and fundamentally change our lifestyle much like smart phones have.”

At its research facility at DFW International Airport, NASA will use Uber data to simulate a small passenger or cargo aircraft flying through DFW airspace during peak air traffic times to determine requisite safety and noise levels.

(Pictured: A NASA artist’s concept of future aircraft – vertical takeoff, traditional takeoff, crewed, uncrewed – performing a variety of daily missions in rural or urban environments.)

DUBAI: April 29, 2018. DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One are to launch a new company called DP World Cargospeed to provide hyperloop-enabled cargo systems for the delivery of palletised cargo.

They say it will transport high-priority, time-sensitive goods including fresh food, medical supplies and electronics “at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking”.

Hyperloop CargoSpeaking at the launch, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “The UAE is keen to be a leading player in shaping the future of the world. Being a pioneer means taking bold decisions that open the way for adopting innovative solutions. We have big aspirations because we have unlimited mindsets and the confidence that we can achieve whatever we set our minds to.”

DP World Group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem noted his company had made a significant investment in Virgin Hyperloop One because it sees the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally.

In August 2016 DP World signed an MoU with the then Hyperloop One to analyse the value of using hyperloop systems to move containers from Jebel Ali Port to a new inland container depot in Dubai.

Two months later it reportedly invested US$50 million and took a seat on the company’s Board.

“We believe in Virgin Hyperloop One’s long-term vision. They are the right partner to shape the future of global logistics, and we look forward to developing the first DP World Cargospeed systems with them,” said Bin Sulayem at today's announcement.

NAIROBI: May 07, 2018. Astral Aviation CEO Sanjeev Ghadia says his company is working with the Kenya Post Office on a three-month trial of drone-delivered mail, express and online shipments.

The service uses five-kilo drones and a personal post office box – the AirBox – located outside a residence or business.

Flyfox According to a report from the organisers of the Farnborough International Air Show, Ghadia said a first-time benefit of the trial includes the establishment of an address “which is something we so badly require, because 99 percent of the population of Africa does not have an address”.

Astral is also poised to begin a six-month test of a Flyox 1 UAV cargo drone (pictured), built by Barcelona-based tech. company Singular Aviation, after nine months of negotiations with Kenyan aviation regulators.

Ghadia reportedly commented: “We plan to start it off with the aid relief sector, by providing a reliable transportation system for the transportation of relief and aid cargo in regions which are affected by conflict or by famine, and then we're also looking at other applications, such as oil and gas and mining.”

Singluar initially conceived the amphibious UAV to provide a solution for pilots who risked their lives in aerial fire fighting operations and then realised it could be used to deliver a variety of solid or liquid cargo, provide aerial surveillance or crop-spraying. After two years of development, in 2015 the twin-engined aircraft made a successful first flight from Hofn Airport, Iceland.

According to the manufacturer, Flyox has a range of 265 nautical miles (NM) at 24,000 ft. with a 1.5-tonne payload, 870 NM with 1.1 tonnes and just under 2,000 NM with 470 kilos.

LONDON: April 24, 2018. Unilever has just finished a six-month trial of the Dearman Hubbard zero emission transport refrigeration unit (TRU), using a truck that travelled more than 18,000 kilometres to collect and deliver Ben & Jerry’s and Ola ice cream.

Dearman has patented the world’s first ‘clean-cold’ engine TRU driven by the expansion of liquid nitrogen to produce clean power and cold air with zero emissions.

Unilever ice creamAccording to Unilever, a single Dearman refrigeration unit maintained a perfect temperature during the trial to keep its ice creams at their best, while the technology led to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 600 kilos a month compared to a conventional diesel system.

“By opening up our logistics network to Dearman’s innovation, and collaborating in this way, we have provided our partner with a great opportunity to test a revolutionary product under real life conditions,” said Raghuraman Ramakrishnan, Unilever’s vice president for Logistics Europe.

“Reducing the environmental impact of our logistics network is an integral part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and our goal is to make sure that our transport and distribution systems are as green as possible. We are committed to advancing sustainable solutions in logistics and leveraging new technologies once they become commercially available, in order to achieve this,” he added.

Dearman, which has financial backing from the British government, says its zero-emissions TRU will launch commercially later this year. The company calculates that if all 28 European Union countries converted their reefer fleets to zero-emission units over the next decade, they would collectively save 36 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 224,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxide, 30,000 tonnes of particulate matter and almost 36 billion litres of diesel fuel.

Dearman CEO Scott MacMeekin added: “This trial has taken us a big step forward on that journey as we have been able to demonstrate that Dearman technology is able to provide environmental and societal benefits alongside operational improvements while remaining cost competitive.”

PORT OF ROTTERDAM: May 03, 2018. Germany heavylift associates Combi Lift and SAL Heavy Lift have delivered eight new tugs built by the Dutch Damen Shipyard Group to the port of De-Kastri in Russia’s Far East.

Damen Zeya River shallow water push boatThe four Amur River tugs and four Zeya River shallow draft tugs (pictured) are part of a 19-vessel order placed by Combi Lift last year with Damen to transport oversized and heavy lift cargo for the Gazprom Amur Gas Processing Plant Project in Svobodny.

Gazprom, The Linde Group, Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk and NIPIGAS will use the shipments as part of the project's construction process  that when complete is expected supply gas from Russia’s eastern Siberian gas fields to China by 2024.

Between 2018 and 2022 Combi Lift will be responsible for transporting a total of 176,000 tonnes of project cargo from ports in Europe and Korea for transfer to barges on the sheltered inner anchorage at the port of De-Kastri.

The Damen shallow draft pusher tugs will then be used to tow the barges during ice-free periods up the Amur and Zeya Rivers to Svobodny for discharge and final mile delivery.

“We appreciate Damen's professionalism, good teamwork and smooth handling of all production processes. A punctual and reliable delivery of the tugs was essential for the progress and success of this important project,” said Combi Lift CEO Heiko Felderhoff.

The Gazprom Project is one of the largest natural gas processing plants in the world with a capacity of 42 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.

MARSEILLE: April 20, 2018. CMA CGM is planning to buy CEVA Logistics securities at a cost of CHF380 million-CHF450 million for conversion into 24.99 percent of the company, subject to regulatory approval.

The investment is conditional on CEVA’s IPO set for May 04 on the SIX Swiss Exchange at CHF27.50 - CHF52.50 per share. If successful, the company will have a market capitalization between CHF1.5 billion and CHF1.8 billion.

CEVA LogisticsAccording to CEVA, the IPO and the concurrent private placement with CMA CGM are mutually conditional and if realized will produce an accrual of CHF1.2 billion that will be used to repay debt.

The three largest current shareholders of CEVA — Capital Research and Management Company, Franklin Advisors and Apollo Global Management — are expected to remain as investors after the IPO.

For the first quarter of 2018 CEVA is forecasting revenue growth of 5.3 percent over its Q1 2017 revenue of US$1.9 billion as a result of higher freight rates and moderate volume growth in its Freight Management and Contract Logistics divisions. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be US$65 million, a rise of US$10 million over last year.

CMA CGM chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saadé commented: “With this proposed investment in CEVA, CMA CGM makes a significant move, in line with its development strategy. CEVA is a major player in the logistics business, which is closely related to the shipping industry. Together, the two companies will also explore possible cooperation allowing us to propose an ever more differentiated and qualitative offering while integrating services beyond maritime transport.“

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