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MADRID: August 07, 2018. Virgin Hyperloop One is to open its first European development facility in the Andalusian region of Spain at a cost of US$500 million that includes €120 million of government grants and loans.

Isabel Pardo de Vera Posada (pictured), president of the Administration of Railway Infrastructures (ADIF) and Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, signed the agreement.

 Isabel Pardo de Vera PosadaThe 19,000 square meter centre, to be opened by 2020, would develop, test, and certify components and subsystems to improve safety and reliability of hyperloop systems said the company.

“For hyperloop to be commercially viable it needs to be safe and reliable - safety is our number- one priority,” said Josh Giegel, co-founder and CTO. "Ultimately, the centre will help us deliver upon our first projects and scale to meet future demand around the world.”

The new facility will be at Bobadilla, 65 kilometres north of Malaga that already supports a reported 9,000 transport and logistics companies, the second largest aerospace cluster in Spain and 20,000 employees in R&D.

“The location of the centre in our country will lead to important high-value commercial opportunities and will boost economic growth in the region”, said ADIF in a statement. “The agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One will help us to deepen the willingness to face new technological challenges, contributing to reinforce our leadership in the development of transport infrastructures in the international arena.”

The company estimates it would hire 200-300 high-tech skilled professionals and that the centre would spur job creation in a broad ecosystem of partners and suppliers in the region.

“By investing in the development and testing of Virgin Hyperloop One, Spain is extending its long- tradition as an innovative, global transport leader, “ said Lloyd. “We are excited to partner with such a forward-thinking country in developing the next generation of transportation.”

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

BRUSSELS TRAFFIC JULY 2018BRUSSELS: August 07, 2018. Cargo volumes at Brussels Airport rose 13.9 percent in July 2018 compared to the same month last year.

The airport said belly air cargo grew 29 percent year-on-year due to new long-haul flights to Asia and the Gulf by, among others, Hainan, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

The full-cargo segment rose 14.7 percent compared to the same month last year; trucked cargo increased 21.2 percent during the month; and the volume of express services fell 1.0 percent in the period.

Airfreight exports rose by 12 percent year-on-year due in part to LATAM’s services to Brazil and Chile, while imports jumped 33 percent in July with more flights from Asia, North and South America.

The airport set a new record for passenger traffic of 2.6 million during the month that provided more belly space capacity for air cargo on additional long-haul services to and from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Dubai, Bangkok and Doha.

SEATTLE: July 26, 2018. Amazon has reported a Q2 2018 revenue jump from US$37.95 billion to US$52.88 billion year-on-year with 60 percent from product sales and the balance from its Amazon Web Services and advertising revenue.

Net income rose from US$197 million in Q2 2017 to US$2.53 billion in Q2 2018.

Prime AirThe company reported a rise in worldwide shipping costs from US$4.38 billion in Q1 2017 to US$5.99 billion in Q2 2018 for an increase of 31 percent. During Q4 2017, logistics costs rose to US$7.36 billion and declined to US$6.06 billion by the end of Q1 2018.

In an apparent bid to be less reliant on the mainstream logistics industry, Amazon announced in late June it would help entrepreneurs launch their own businesses to deliver its packages with the opportunity to earn as much as US$300,000 per annum.

“We have great partners in our traditional carriers and it’s exciting to continue to see the logistics industry grow,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of Worldwide Operations. "Customer demand is higher than ever and we have a need to build more capacity," he continued.

“As we evaluated how to support our growth, we went back to our roots to share the opportunity with small-and-medium-sized businesses. We are going to empower new, small businesses to form in order to take advantage of the growing opportunity in e-commerce package delivery,” Clark explained..

To keep start-up costs “as low as US$10,000”, the company says it will provide would-be owners access to sophisticated delivery technology, hands-on training and discounts on a suite of assets and services, including vehicle leases and comprehensive insurance.

Amazon is also committing US$1 million towards funding startup costs for US military veterans, offering US$10,000 reimbursements for qualified candidates to build their own businesses.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH, TX: July 11, 2018. The Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Transportation Council (RTC) is to conduct a feasibility study for a hyperloop link between Fort Worth, Waco, Temple-Killeen, Austin, San Antonio and the US/Mexico border city of Laredo, a distance of over 430 miles.

As a first step the RTC will commission an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a high-speed corridor connecting Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth. A preliminary analysis by Virgin Hyperloop One engineers estimates it would take six minutes to travel the 30-plus miles between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Virgin Hyperloop Texas“The RTC is all about bringing innovation to the transportation system in the Dallas-Fort Worth region and hyperloop would be an exciting technology to add,” said Gary Fickes, Tarrant County Commissioner and RTC chair. “I think the future’s very bright for hyperloop and its use in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.”

Last month the chief minister of India’s Maharashtra state, Devendra Fadnavis, and representatives from the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority visited Virgin Hyperloop One’s test site in the Nevada Desert following the signing of a framework agreement in February to build the first hyperloop in India.

The planned route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport and Mumbai - a distance of 94 miles - in 25-minutes. The high-capacity passenger and cargo hyperloop route will also have the potential for the rapid movement of palletized freight and light cargo between the Port of Mumbai and Pune, creating a robust backbone for on-demand deliveries, supply chains and next-generation logistics, said the company.

“This was a very fruitful discussion and we should be able to start moving on this project very fast,” commented Shri. Devendra during his visit.

According to the hyperloop company, the Pune-Mumbai route could result in US$55 billion in socio- economic benefits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually.

“I am incredibly excited to see this Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project go from a vision to reality as it starts detailed planning,” said company chairman Richard Branson “The opportunity is enormous: to connect 26 million people with access to affordable infrastructure that will unlock significant economic and social value,” he added.

TEMA, Ghana: June 15, 2018. Meridian Port Services (MPS) has secured almost US$700 million in financing from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the expansion of Tema Port.

The Tema Port Expansion Project will enable the development of an ultra-modern state-of-the-art port facility at Ghana’s primary commercial hub. The new port facility, in addition to serving Ghana, will also expand trade flows and links across West Africa.

The immediate cash flow need of the $ 1.5 billion port development is $1 billion. MPS has signed a $667 million project financing package arranged by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, while the MPS shareholders provide the rest of the funding as fresh equity amounting to $333 million.

MPS GhanaMohamed Samara, CEO of MPS stated, “The construction works are progressing well and the Commercial go-live on June 28th 2019 remains the target”. Moreover, he explained that this $100 million is the first drawdown from the IFC financing package and follows the fulfilment of the shareholders commitment to the project financing.

The IFC is the largest global development institution specializing in private sector investment in emerging markets. The financing package for the construction of a new Port in Tema represents IFC’s largest port investment and biggest infrastructure mobilization to date in Sub-Saharan Africa. It includes $195 million from the IFC’s own account and $472 million from three commercial banks - the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Standard Bank as well as the Dutch development bank FMO.

Ronke Ogunsulire, IFC Country Manager for Ghana, said, “Improved infrastructure is critical to encouraging trade, economic growth, and job creation. IFC provided significant financing for the Tema Port expansion because it is a good example of how the private sector is playing an important role in development in Ghana.”

MPS is executing the project within the GPHA Master Plan for the development of Tema Port and building upon its success and achievements under the Concession Agreement that was granted in 2004, resulting in this latest massive expansion of Tema Port’s capacity and infrastructure.

The project will allow Tema Port to accommodate some of the world’s largest container ships and improve cargo handling services and capacity. These improvements will enhance the Port’s competitiveness and position it as a leading maritime hub in the West African region.

SHANGHAI: July 10, 2018. Breakbulk Asia, formerly the Breakbulk China exhibition with its focus on renewable energy, rail, port expansion, mining and infrastructure projects, will be held in Shanghai March 20-21, 2019.

Following the success of the seventh annual Breakbulk China event in March, ITE Group said the change reflects the growing participation of companies based in both Asia and Southeast Asia that added to the core Chinese market.

Briese Porthos Nimbus“As China’s global influence expands through its sweeping One Belt One Road initiative, its neighbours on all sides are doing more business with China, particularly with large infrastructure and oil & gas projects,” said Nick Davison, Breakbulk Portfolio Director. “Breakbulk event in Shanghai has become the new business hub for the project cargo industry.”

Total show attendance reached 4,743 with sea transport providers and freight forwarders making up about 80 percent. Ports, terminals, equipment providers, industry-related services and specialty transport providers made up the balance. Together, Breakbulk China hosted the end-to-end project supply chain, presenting numerous opportunities for new project business for all involved.

“Moving freight in and out of China is a bit like surfing—you never know what kind of wave you are going to get, so you’d better prepare in advance with the skills, knowledge and tools needed for any type of weather,” commented Mac Sullivan, Transpacific Trade Lane manager for Toll Global Forwarding. “You have to understand that relationships are everything—there is absolutely nothing that can replace that initial handshake and looking someone in the eye as the foundation of a strong relationship.”

In addition to Breakbulk Asia, Breakbulk Americas, the original Breakbulk event, will be held in Houston October 02-04, 2018; Breakbulk Middle East will be in Dubai from February 11-12 next year followed by Breakbulk Europe in Bremen from May 21-23.

Globecomm, a provider of maritime connectivity services, has supplied its global Ku-band VSAT service to German shipowner Briese Schiffahrts. The company has ordered eight ‘Open Top Eco 5000’ multi-purpose breakbulk vessels (pictured) designed to consume 30 percent less fuel but with increased crane and cargo capacity.in support of its fleet growth plans. The Leer-based owner assumed management of six craned project cargo vessels of 12,780 dwt in 2015 and 2016 and a further four vessels of this type were taken over in March and April 2018 which will also be equipped with Globecomm VSAT.

DUBAI: June 13, 2018. Emirates SkyCargo and the logistics arm of Alibaba, Cainiao, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as the e-commerce giants looks to expand its logistics infrastructure. Under the MoU, Cainiao will add a hub in Dubai to its operations, and together the two companies will work on cross-border parcel deliveries.

Emirates CainiaoThe MoU was signed by Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo and Xiaodong Guan, General Manager of Cainiao Global Business at Cainiao’s global headquarters in Hangzhou. It is a landmark agreement for both Emirates SkyCargo and Cainiao to leverage each other’s strengths in cross-border e-commerce trade and airline cargo operation. It will also support Cainiao’s broader efforts to offer enhanced customer experience. Cainiao recently unveiled plans to develop six global hubs in six cities around the globe. Dubai is one of them.

Under the terms of the MoU, Emirates SkyCargo and Cainiao will work closely to manage e-Commerce shipments in the Middle East and other neighbouring regions through Dubai.

“We are delighted to be entering into this agreement with Cainiao. The MoU that we have signed today is the first step in what will be a deep and fruitful relationship between Emirates SkyCargo and one of the biggest players in the global e-commerce supply chain,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo. “With Emirates SkyCargo’s network spread, frequency of flights including close to 50 weekly flights from China, our state-of-the-art hub facilities and the strategic location of Dubai which allows it to serve as an effective logistics hub for the region, we are confident that we will be a strong partner for Cainiao to bring an enhanced experience to their customers in the Middle East and neighbouring regions,” he added.

“As a key gateway that links Asia and Europe, Dubai is well positioned to help us achieve our goal of 72-hour global delivery. The MoU with Emirates SkyCargo is another milestone to reach this goal,” noted Xiaodong Guan, General Manager of Cainiao Global Business. “We have a strong commitment to Dubai and the neighbouring markets. This fits well with our broader strategy.”

Pictured left to right: Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo with Xiaodong Guan, General Manager of Cainiao Global Business.

CHICAGO: June 26, 2018: Boeing has disclosed an investment in Matternet, a California-based pioneer of on-demand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) delivery operations in urban environments.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures led the US$16 million, Series A investment with participation by Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund and Levitate Capital.

The manufacturer said Matternet's advanced logistics platform – combined with its expertise in complex logistics, integration and manufacturing capabilities – will further enable reliable, efficient cargo air transportation.

matternet zurichMatternet became the world's first company to receive authorization to launch UAV operations over densely populated areas in Switzerland in 2017. Leveraging its Matternet Station, M2 drone and Cloud platform, the company has achieved safe flights over densely populated areas and partnered with Swiss Post for on-demand deliveries of medical samples to hospitals in Switzerland.

"Matternet's technology and proven track record make the development of a safe, global autonomous air mobility system a near-term reality," said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. "Our investment will allow Matternet to scale its operations while strengthening Boeing's position as a leader in next-generation transportation solutions."

In May 2018, Matternet was selected to participate in a joint U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration program aimed at accelerating integration of unmanned aircraft into national airspace. As part of the program, Matternet will work with hospitals, universities and transportation agencies in California and North Carolina to facilitate on-demand delivery of medical supplies and samples.

Today, Matternet joined an initiative to shape the future of mobility as part of the World Economic Forum. The company will participate in the Drone Innovators Network to accelerate a safe, sustainable, global mobility system focused on improving people's lives.

"We are excited to partner with Boeing, the pioneers of safe commercial aviation, to make this new mode of transport mainstream," said Matternet Founder and Chief Executive Officer Andreas Raptopoulos. "As we expand Matternet's U.S. and global operations, we will work with Boeing to make next-generation aerial logistics networks a reality and transform our everyday lives."

ANTWERP: June 13, 2018. Global logistics provider Bertschi has opened a new plastics hub at the Port of Antwerp. The facility, which exceeds 25,000 square metres in size is part of the ‘Antwerp Zomerweg Terminal (AZT)’. Various value added logistics services are provided, such as transshipments, storage and distribution of imported overseas’ bulk plastics.

The opening of the hub took place with a small ceremony in the presence of cus-tomers and port authorities. With the first containers already arrived and handled in February, the staff can look back on a smooth start of operations over the first few months.

Plastics hub Antwerp BertschiAfter the acquisition of this area in June 2017, the project for the hub had to be exe-cuted on short notice in order to be ready for the first containers arriving at the be-ginning of this year. The hub consists of a container storage area with a capacity of more than 20’000 tons of product, as well as two tilting platforms for the decanting of 20’ and 40’ sea bulk containers into 30’ European dry bulk containers. The plastic products are stored in these liner boxes at the site itself. For the onward distribution of the products in the same liner boxes, Bertschi offers their unique European wide intermodal transport network. “From the arrival of the plastics in Antwerp, over the decanting and storage to their final distribution within Europe, this new facility gives us the possibility to offer an all-in-one solution to our customers”, says Hans-Jörg Bertschi, CEO and Chairman of the Bertschi Group.

Product storage in 30’ box containers has various advantages compared to con-cepts of vertical silos. Whilst working with boxes, the container is used both as cargo transport unit as well as means of storage, whereas the use of vertical silos entails additional transshipments and, therefore, reduced product integrity. The resulting lower number of handlings and the fact that cost is only incurred for bulk material effectively stored in a container concept, reduces the total supply chain costs. At the same time, the concept reduces the carbon footprint by increasing intermodal deliv-eries.

Also, when it comes to customer service, box containers proof to be superior. Where vertical silos are fixed to their location, box containers allow to store the product close to the customer and, therefore, add flexibility to react on changing market needs. “Bertschi was able to demonstrate the advantages of the container concept for our product flows and convinced us to implement this solution. We are very pleased to be the launching customer of the new plastics hub and the startup of the project so far”, states Benny Mermans, General Manager EMEA for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.

The whole area of the ‘Antwerp Zomerweg Terminal (AZT)’, which also includes a rail terminal, is ideally located right next to the existing Bertschi Antwerp facility in a central part of the Port of Antwerp. It is the ultimate goal of Bertschi to develop this 80,000 square meter venue into a trimodal chemical logistics hub with sea and rail connection over the next years. “We are happy to see Bertschi’s plans to further de-velop this strategic area in the Port of Antwerp“, states William Demoor, Director Customer Relations Port of Antwerp.

LONDON: June 20, 2018. Britain’s logistics industry has issued a stark call to the government today – give us the information we need to keep the nation’s trade moving efficiently post-Brexit or face delays and shortages of the products and services the UK relies on.

Speaking at the Keep Britain Trading conference in London, organised by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), Leigh Pomlett, the organisation’s president said:

Dover port“The time for political negotiations on Brexit is fast running out, and those of us responsible for keeping Britain trading need urgent assistance and guidance from government. We are now in a crucial period where businesses (like mine) need to make spending decisions and commit to operating plans for the period when Brexit will be a reality, but we are currently operating ‘in the dark’.

“Without knowing who we will be employing, how we will be crossing borders, what certifications and permits goods and vehicles will require in order to travel, business as we know it will be unable to continue.

“The logistics industry will be the first part of the economy to encounter the realities of Brexit when vehicles drive off the first ferry to arrive in Calais on 30 March 2019 and we want things to go smoothly, but we need more information about the trading conditions we are to expect once the UK leaves the EU. The time for talking is over – it’s now time to act.”

FTA, which speaks for the whole of the logistics sector and represents more than 17,000 member organisations, reiterated its call for clarification on the eight points its members need for the continuation of frictionless trade once the UK departs the European Union:

“Simply saying things will be ok is no longer enough,” continued Pomlett. “The logistics sector will be key to making Brexit work for the UK but we can no longer work blind and be left to guess what we may have to do, and when by. Today’s delegates have been clear in their instructions to government: logistics wants Brexit to go well for the country, but needs the tools with which to facilitate a smooth departure from the EU for all British business," he noted.

“Today’s conference has been very clear in its asks for government: logistics businesses need a clear roadmap to enable them to plan efficiently for a post-Brexit world. There is no more time for political posturing – British business deserves clarity and progress to reinforce the nation’s trading position in a post-Brexit world.”

ISTANBUL: June 11, 2018. Turkish Airlines (THY) has announced plans to form an integrated logistics company called Global Express with ZTO Express and Hong Kong-based GSSA Pacific Air.

In 2016, prompted by the growth in China’s e-commerce market, Pacific Air formed PAL Express in partnership with Turkish Post to launch a BtC wholesale postal express service with last mile fulfillment.

Turkish Cargo A330FTHY chairman M Ilker Ayci said the new joint venture would provide first/last mile services with a particular focus on the global e-commerce market and generate annual revenue of US$2 billion within the first five years.

Global Express is expected to operate from Istanbul’s new airport where THY will have the capacity to handle four million tons of cargo annually. "The new joint venture therefore will capitalize on the growth of Turkish Cargo," he declared.

The three partners said the new company would provide door-to-door logistics, packaging, moving, on-location pick ups, distribution, freight transportation, cross docking, last mile delivery, warehousing and supply chain services.

Last month Alibaba and its logistic arm Cainiao Network announced they were the lead investors acquiring a 10 percent stake in ZTO Express for US$1.38 billion.

The investment is expected to further support both Cainiao and ZTO's efforts in building first and last-mile pickup and delivery capabilities, warehouse management, cross-border logistics and technology-driven smart solutions.

"ZTO has been an important partner to Alibaba Group and Cainiao Network in the development of the new digital economy,” commented Alibaba Group CEO and Cainiao Network chairman Daniel Zhang.

ZTO reported a 35.6 percent year-on-year rise in Q1 revenue to US$565.1 million; a 41.3 percent increase in gross profit to US$164.5 million; and net income of US$88.9 million – up 10.9 percent from the same period last year.

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