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Fuel a more sustainable future

Ashdod Maersk agreement Ashdod Port Company has signed an agreement with Maersk North America - to collaborate on innovation opportunities in supply chain logistics.

The agreement enables Israeli startups that are participating in Ashdod Port’s Blue Ocean for Startups technology incubator to be considered for pilot projects in North America to test the proposed technologies in landside operations.

The agreement was signed at the Manifest conference in Las Vegas, one of the largest logistics conferences in the world. Over 3,000 visitors from 50 countries participate in the conference, along with 1,000 startups and investors and 250 CEOs from leading companies such as Schneider, DHL, and Siemens.

Chairman of the Board Orna Hozman Bechor and Chief Innovation Officer Roy Avrahami represented Ashdod Port at the signing. Maersk was represented by Erez Agmoni, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Growth.

"The Board of Directors and the management of Ashdod Port are continuing their efforts to expand Ashdod Port’s collaboration around the world, as we promote new technologies and innovation in the logistics industry. This type of collaboration is critical, so we can upgrade the entire supply chain, the source of the modern global economy, and make it more efficient. We are excited to collaborate with Maersk in North America." Orna Hozman Bechor, Chairman of the Board of Ashdod Port.

"The pandemic highlighted the importance of supply chains to constantly improve. This new partnership enables us to accelerate and test technology and new ideas in our operational processes using Ashdod Port’s tech incubator." Erez Agmoni, Maersk North America’s Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Growth.

Today’s announcement builds on an earlier innovation agreement Maersk signed in 2021 with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation & Logistics. An agreement that takes advantage of MIT’s world-renowned engineering expertise and data scientist teams to research new ways of improving Maersk North America’s logistics and data processes.

WestBound increase in demand Despite high inflation and falling US retail sales, westbound air cargo volumes between Europe and North America rose 6% year-on-year in January but overall global air cargo demand continued to fall, down -8%, as an earlier Chinese New Year and economic headwinds subdued other major lanes, according to the latest weekly market intelligence from CLIVE Data Services, part of Xeneta.

The Europe to North America corridor stood out in terms of growth in January, although its average spot rate of USD 3.09 per kg edged down 4% from last month. However, compared to the shrinking volume on ex APAC and inbound Europe trades, transatlantic westbound demand remained buoyant. But growth has decelerated dramatically from the three-digit growth in rates of +124% in April 2021 when compared to the pre-pandemic level.

The signs of resilience in westbound transatlantic volumes goes against the continuing economic pressures facing consumers in the US. For instance, US inflation rose above target again in December 2022 (2%) for a 21st consecutive month. It stood at 6.5%, down 2.6% points from its peak in June last year.

Although growth had decelerated since July, the impact on inflation persists. The US Census Bureau reported US retail sales have been slowing since July last year, pushing the November inventories-to-sales ratio to the highest level in nearly 2 years.

As the air cargo market tends to be more sensitive to economic cycles than the general market, air volume decline led the decline of retail sales by 2 months, and the market outlook remains uncertain. The total inbound US air cargo market registered its first negative growth in May 2022 and stayed in negative territory for five out of the seven remaining months of last year. In January 2023, global air cargo volumes into the US continued to fall, down 2% from a year ago.

Looking at its major competitive mode, the transatlantic eastbound ocean freight spot rate increased 230% to USD 6148 per 40DC in January compared to the 2019 level. In comparison, the January air spot rate was only 41% above pre-pandemic levels, which was also 14% points below the ratio for the global average air spot rate.

The economic headwinds blew even harder on the European market. Due to the knock-on effects of the Ukraine war, inflation rates have seen double-digit growth since August 2022. Although European inflation rates might have reached their peak, they remain highly elevated (+10.4%) compared to the immediate pre-pandemic periods. Both retail sales and general air cargo volumes were hit hard by this. Inbound Europe chargeable weight fell for a 13th consecutive month year-on-year in the first month of 2023, with January air cargo volumes down 9% from one year ago.

Overall global air cargo growth continued to slow last month. The -8% fall in demand, down 10% on the same month in pre-Covid 2019, contributed to the -37% decline in the global airfreight spot rate to USD 2.89 per kg, narrowing the gap to the pre-pandemic level to +55%. Global air cargo capacity restored a noticeable 11% year-on-year, 2% below the 2019 level.

The global average dynamic load factor, measuring cargo load factor by considering both volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available, stood at 54% in the first month of 2023. With the capacity increase and the volume decrease, this resulted in a load factor decline of -7% pts compared to a stronger New Year in January 2022. Compared to 2019, it was also down 5% pts as the demand/supply balance started to lean towards oversupply.

Given the earlier Lunar New Year in 2023, January is not the best month to judge APAC market performance. While the average spot rate from APAC to Europe dropped 11% month-over-month to USD 4.18 per kg, it remained 72% above pre-pandemic levels, partly due to the rate impact of rising operating costs caused by the Ukraine war.

The average spot rates on the APAC to North America corridor slid 13% from last month to USD 4.74 per kg in January, 48% above pre-pandemic levels. For ex Southeast Asia trades, average spot rates fell more noticeably, -17% to USD 4.06 per kg, only 24% above pre-pandemic levels.

“The early Chinese New Year might be causing some noise in the January air cargo data with factories there closing ahead of the New Year, contributing further to a weak global market producing load factors at a level we haven’t seen for some time. So, there is still a high level of uncertainty but, if rates haven’t yet reached the 2019 level in value in the current climate, and with an expectation that inventory levels will need restocking at the end of Q2 and Q3, then it’s unlikely we will see spot rates return to the pre-pandemic level unless this happens soon. But this, of course, partly depends on consumers spending in a similar fashion as we have seen recently,” said Niall van de Wouw, Chief Airfreight Officer at Xeneta.

Elsewhere, although Latin America to North America airfreight volume was down 7% year-on-year in January, this was 29% higher than the 2019 level. Its average spot airfreight rate of USD 1.43 per kg in January also dipped 7% on the previous month, leaving the January 2023 air spot rate only 13% above the pre-pandemic level, the lowest among all corridors after having been one of the high-growth trade lanes evolving from the pandemic. Capacity on this lane in January rose 36%.

ZIMZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (NYSE: ZIM) announced today the launch of ZIM Colibri Xpress (ZCX) - a new premium line from South America West Coast to US East Coast, commencing on the coming weeks from Chile.

ZCX will operate on the following rotation: San Antonio (Chile), Callao (Peru), Guayaquil (Ecuador) – Cartagena (Colombia) – Kingston (Jamaica) – Philadelphia - Miami, Kingston (Jamaica)- Buenaventura (Colombia – Guayaquil (Ecuador) – Callao (Peru) - San Antonio (Chile).

ZCX will offer a superior competitive service for refrigerated cargo from Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, with the fastest transit time to Philadelphia - as a first port of call in the US East coast - and competitive transit time to additional US ports.

ZIM Colibri Xpress (ZCX), operated independently by ZIM, will deploy 6 X 1700 TEU's vessels on a weekly service with increased capacity for reefers. It will offer excellent connection between the ports of West Coast of South America and the US East Coast with very short transit time between major ports in the region.

ZCX will also enable fast transshipments from US East Coast ports as well as a direct service from Miami in Southern Florida to all Latin America trades.

ZCX will also enable fast transshipments connecting ports in West Coast South America to and from East Coast South America. It will offer transshipment connection from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean to Philadelphia’s port. In addition, ZCX will enable Outstanding Intra WCSA connectivity offering transit times as short as two days between the main countries in this trade.

Nissim Yochai, EVP, ZIM US President & Head of Latin America Business Unit, stated: "This unique line, named after the famous beautiful South American Colibri bird, is specifically designed for agility, efficiency, and reliability. We intend to bring our agile and creative Z Factor to new destinations, for the benefit of our customers.”

DoKaSch IL AL Israel EL AL Israel Airlines, the most prominent Israeli airline, and DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, a German provider of temperature-controlled packaging solutions, have signed a Master Rental Agreement for the usage of DoKaSch’s Opticooler containers.

This means that the airline now benefits from the reliable active cooling container for its pharmaceutical shipments to and from Israel.

The pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in Israel's internationally networked economy and some of the world’s largest manufacturers are based in the country. As the Israel relies primarily on sea and air freight solutions, Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport is the central hub for international trade. Thanks to the highly reliable and temperature-controlled Opticooler solution, El Al is able to safely transport temperature-sensitive products to and from its headquarters at Ben Gurion Airport in the belly of its passenger fleet as well as a dedicated cargo aircraft. El Al serves 42 destinations; these include New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Johannesburg, and the most important European cities. In addition, El Al has agreements with leading airlines as well as freight forwarding companies on various continents.

Moshe Popovich, Pharma Manager at EL AL Cargo Division, explains the importance of the agreement: “Pharmaceuticals are the fastest growing market segment in the air cargo industry. However, temperature fluctuations during transport can pose a serious threat to the integrity of these sensitive products. As Israel's national airline with an extensive global network, an efficient and reliable cold chain service is therefore crucial for us. The Master Rental Agreement with DoKaSch Temperature Solutions supports our high standards in this area and enables us to offer our customers stable and high-quality transportation for their pharmaceutical shipments."

“Israel is a competitive and rapidly developing market that has become a key area for multinational companies. Air transport plays a vital role here since no freight is transported out of the country by road or rail. The Master Rental Agreement with El Al Airlines now opens up further possibilities for the market to ship their temperature-sensitive goods to and from Israel. Especially in a country with a hot climate like Israel, it is essential that the packaging solution can reliably protect the sensitive goods,” adds Dor Saidof, Global Marketing Manager and Business Development Manager Israel at DoKaSch Temperature Solutions.

Andreas Seitz, Managing Director at DoKaSch Temperature Solutions, says: “The new Master Rental Agreement with El Al Airlines is an important addition to our partner network and significantly increases the availability of our Opticoolers on routes to and from the important Israeli market. By providing our Opticoolers for El Al, we are able to support reliable cool chain capacities and the supply of lifesaving medicines in the region and globally.”

Maersk electric vehicle future Speaking at a Zero Emission Fleet Workshop in Phoenix, Arizona on January 25th, 2023, Maersk executives outlined what’s important in the Electrical Vehicle (EV) journey for customers to know as they plan for sustainable supply chains.

The first requirement is management commitment to the decarbonization goal of net zero and the long-term investment in its multi-year effort. In 2018, Maersk committed to Net Zero Green House Gas emissions by 2050. Last year, that date was accelerated by 10 years to 2040 across all modes and businesses as part of a comprehensive Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) plan. In March 2022, Maersk North America ordered 436 Electrical vehicles (Class 8 trucks) to replace diesel trucks. Decarbonizing inland transportation through heavy duty, electric trucks and the creation of charging station infrastructure benefits supply chains and communities, and is central to Maersk’s inland transportation ESG plans.

"By using Class 8 electric trucks, we will be reducing traffic noise and emissions in the communities we serve to fully comply with upcoming regulations. Our goal in the near future is for Maersk North America to be charging our entire fleet with 100 percent renewable electricity to offer our customers an environmentally-friendly alternative for short-haul trucking." Carlo Bertani, Maersk’s North America Environmental Manager.

The second requirement in EV operations is the ability to scale and look for partners. Maersk partnered with TEC Equipment – a Volvo Trucks’ Certified EV Dealership, who helped identify the ideal truck configurations needed to operate daily freight routes. This partnership allowed Maersk to leverage Volvo Trucks’ Electric Performance Generator (EPG) tool, which simulates real-world routes and determines which ones are best suited based on environmental factors such as route details, traffic patterns, speed, payload, terrain and ambient temperature. The EPG also considers if an opportunity charge (the optimal location for charging infrastructure) would be required. Volvo Trucks turnkey solution is used for the first six years of ownership that provides 24/7 support, scheduled and preventative maintenance, towing and vehicle repair (including the energy storage unit and the complete electromobility system) to ensure peak vehicle uptime, performance and productivity.

"Both Volvo Trucks and TEC Equipment continue to go above and beyond to support our growing battery-electric fleet operations. One example is the ongoing training they are providing to help our drivers optimize the range of the Volvo VNR Electric, including how to leverage regenerative braking benefits to add power back to the battery." Michael Gallagher, Head of Indirect Sourcing, North America, at Maersk North America.

One of the challenges with the operation of Class 8 EVs is the lack of charging infrastructure. To mitigate this, Maersk is working cooperatively with public utilities and local officials to ensure that charging infrastructure is built in strategically-placed locations to maximize the efficiency of trucking operations. The company also worked with their warehouse leasing partner’s mobility unit, Prologis Mobility, to combine electric charging infrastructure into existing warehouse facilities to optimize truck deployment.

To comply with future regulations, Federal, State and Local funding incentives are aimed at accelerating scalability of EVs. EVs and battery performance are still in the early years of adoption and do not come without challenges. The cost of an electric vehicle is 2-3x more than a diesel vehicle and while battery performance will evolve to improve in duration and weight reduction, the reality is that early adopters of the technology are working to determine the best path forward. For example, current battery technology averages 275 miles on a full charge and a battery can add >6000 lbs. of extra weight to a truck. Charging time depends on the battery’s state of charge, the charging rate of the dispenser and the truck’s ability to accept a certain rate of charge. Initial charging times are approximately 75 minutes but are improving over time.

Regulatory compliance with climate change goals in California and New York are bringing new mandates for all new trucks to be zero emissions by 2045. The State of California has a target of 100 percent of passenger and light-duty truck sales to be zero emissions by 2035, medium and heavy-duty trucks by 2045.

Maersk Cozero The integrated logistics company A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) and the Berlin-based start-up Cozero are pleased to announce a partnership to develop analytics tools to improve Green House Gas (GHG) emissions visibility for international parcel deliveries in Europe.

Since entering the European E-Commerce logistics sector in 2021 with the acquisition of B2C Europe, Maersk has delivered millions of international parcels for European online-sellers. Due to a higher supply chain complexity international parcels usually have a larger GHG footprint than domestic parcels.

"Our customers in the international e-commerce industry by design have large gaps in their GHG footprint visibility due to the high number of parties involved in the first, middle and last mile delivery process." Christian Grosse, Maersk E-Delivery Chief Product Officer in Europe.

Christian Grosse added, “This makes optimizing emissions a challenge for them. With Cozero’s technology we can provide our customers with detailed information on their emissions on every step and component of their international parcels' journey. This will help them to make smart choices and significantly reduce their GHG footprint.”

Maersk’s goal is to be a net zero business across all scopes by 2040 with ambitious near term targets for 2030 in all its business segments from ocean and air to landside logistics. Emission visibility across the whole transport chain is a core prerequisite to reach these targets together with our customers.

Selected Maersk E-Delivery customers in Europe will be able to register for the new tool as from February 2023 to trace and analyse the emissions of their international parcels. To do so, detailed information on every parcel, including weight, routing, and vehicle used to transport it in every leg of the cross-border delivery will be processed according to the globally recognized standards of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Accurate emissions data and valuable insights will be visualized in a simple and intuitive way, making it easier to identify the main emissions contributors and take the needed actions to reduce them.

"Our platform was developed to make emissions data in complex structures transparent, to understand them and, on this basis, to reduce the GHG footprint of companies and their value chain. We are delighted that Maersk has chosen to work with Cozero for this very reason." Helen Tacke, CEO of Cozero.

Maersk has already successfully tested Cozero’s platform with first customers. The pilot offering will now be rolled out to more E-commerce clients. The project is key to Maersk’s strategy of providing end-to-end visibility to its customers and will eventually be integrated into Maersk’s existing Emissions Dashboard, providing it with a new parcel delivery emissions module. Since 2021, Maersk has developed the Emissions Dashboard to provide a one-stop-shop to consolidate emissions data across all carriers and transport modes. It is accredited by Smart Freight Centre (SFC) with an industry-leading calculation methodology that is in conformance with the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) framework.

BIFA welcomes investigation The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is cooperating with Pledge, an integrated carbon measurement and offsetting platform, to help its members better understand and address the environmental issues that affect how they manage international supply chains.

Steve Parker, BIFA’s Director general says: “The need to understand and address the environmental impact of freight forwarders’ activities within global supply chains grows by the day.

“Our members are facing increasing pressure from regulators, business partners, and consumers amongst others, in favour of business initiatives and good practice that are considered to be environmentally friendly.

“At a business level, our members are increasingly seeing tenders that demand actual evidence of what they are doing to reduce harmful emissions and undertake their operations in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.

“There is a clear direction of travel on this subject and we want to help BIFA members, small and large, who may need some support on where to start when it comes to taking effective action to understand and reduce their carbon footprint. They are already seeking guidance from their trade association and this is where our partnership with Pledge will help.”

The cooperation with Pledge will see the latter provide BIFA with some of the resources that will help to support members in their journey to having operations that are more environmentally sustainable.

Those resources will be designed to guide members on what to do to address the tasks at hand, rather than how to do it. They will address what needs to be considered as the main environmental issues, and the challenges they pose; whilst providing guidance on the steps that they should take to launch an environmental policy, or enhance an existing one.

David de Picciotto, Pledge Co-founder and CEO said: “the pressure on logistics service providers is not going away, but will only continue to grow. They need to take action now, and it all starts with getting thorough visibility of their carbon footprint. We’re excited to be able to support BIFA members to accelerate the decarbonisation of their customers’ supply chains.” 

Parker concludes: “We have seen a gradual shift over several years and the reality is that carbon reduction and the more widely related environmental sustainability agenda are now no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’ or ‘tree hugging’ initiatives, but increasingly mainstream business activities, taking centre stage on the business agenda.

“While some members are already deploying sustainability technologies and strategies to reduce freight emissions, these practices are not yet widely adopted. For the most part this has been seen in larger organisations as part of most tenders and business activities, but the process is filtering down into smaller businesses and it is BIFA’s responsibility to be able to assist all our members, whatever their size, to meet this challenge to their long term viability.

“Our cooperation with Pledge presents a huge opportunity for the trade association to deliver advice and help empower our members on how they can better understand and calculate their carbon footprint and the actions that they need to take in order to reduce it.

“It’s more important than ever for companies to make climate-conscious supply chain decisions that will enable them to grow sustainability and satisfy stakeholder demands around emissions.

“Cooperating with Pledge means we can support our members as they seek to achieve more and more ambitious climate action goals.”

SEKO senior VP SEKO Logistics (SEKO), the leader in end-to-end global logistics, today announced its latest advancement in its global ecommerce business with the appointment of Richard MacLaren as the new Senior Vice President, Global Ecommerce.

MacLaren will be responsible for enhancing and executing the overall strategy and structure for the SEKO Ecommerce business. He will lead the SEKO team in delivering high-velocity ecommerce logistics solutions for clients to excel global supply chain growth, quickly and sustainably.

Richard brings over 20 years of experience in supply chain, logistics, contract logistics, ecommerce, and cross-border ecommerce to this position. Prior to joining SEKO, Richard was the global senior vice president for consumer goods and ecommerce at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics (Hellman). Richard led teams across the world, including Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas. He was also part of the global leadership team reporting into Hellmann’s supervisory board in Germany. Following an early career in finance, Richard transitioned into sales and commercial roles followed by a leadership role involving the creation of a North American third-party logistics (3PL) and supply chain consultancy business.

“Global ecommerce demand only continues to increase,” said Steen Christensen, Chief Operating Officer at SEKO. “To efficiently and successfully cross borders, retailers are looking to partner with logistics providers who are prepared to meet their needs around on the world and in individual local markets. Richard brings that leadership expertise. He’s the right person to lead the future of our ecommerce business and help our clients move their supply chains forward.”

SEKO is a leader in ecommerce fulfillment, becoming one of the first companies to enter the market in 2011. Since, the company launched its dedicated business unit focused on global ecommerce solutions, called SEKO Ecommerce, in 2022, and monthly, SEKO ships over 10 million parcels around the world. With over 150 locations across more than 60 countries, SEKO prides itself on delivering consistent ecommerce shipping solutions locally, as well as providing access to the resources and expertise of a single, seamless worldwide logistics company.

“The global supply chain and ecommerce market is rapidly evolving, but the SEKO team has built a foundation to respond to these changes effectively. This team moves fast, with sound strategy, and I feel energized to be joining this group of logistics experts,” shared Maclaren. “Already, SEKO’s multi-channel fulfillment centers span the globe and allow clients to open up sales strategies to new markets and scale business with a single integration. Through our network of ecommerce hubs and multi-user logistics sites, we’re currently giving our clients the ability to maximize their global footprint effortlessly. My vision is to continue to hone that strategy and identify new opportunities to help our clients even more.”

From pallets to parcels, and orders to returns, SEKO Ecommerce moves supply chains forward, connecting retailers and suppliers globally to their customers with world-class solutions.

WiseTech Envase WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC), developer of leading logistics execution software CargoWise, today announced its acquisition of Envase Technologies (Envase), a leading provider of transport management system software for intermodal trucking, drayage (container haulage) and landside logistics in North America in a transaction valued at US$230 million.

Envase is being acquired from private investment firm and supply chain investor Firmament, and a small number of other sellers.

Headquartered in the United States, Envase’s solutions for carriers automate and provide visibility for the movement of containers across all aspects of import and export haulage operations from port and rail terminals to destination. Envase’s more than 1,300 customers across North America include trucking companies, ports, depots, and warehouses. Envase is expected to generate approximately US$35 million of revenue for the calendar year 2023 with an EBITDA margin in the low to mid 20% range.

WiseTech will fund the transaction via a combination of 70% cash (US$161 million) and 30% new WiseTech Global shares issued to the vendors (equivalent to US$69 million). The acquisition is expected to complete in February 2023. In addition, expected one-off transaction costs of approximately US$10 million will be funded from existing cash reserves.

Richard White, Founder and CEO of WiseTech Global, said: “This is a strategically significant acquisition in landside logistics, which extends and strengthens our position in one of our six key CargoWise development priority areas, and we’re extremely pleased to have the Envase team join the WiseTech Global group.”

Envase’s CEO Larry Cuddy, Jr, said: “This deal is an exciting development for both the Envase and WiseTech customer bases, and our team. Joining the WiseTech Global group gives Envase the scale and additional resources needed to make a bigger impact. Over the past few years, we have assembled and integrated a powerful suite of landside logistics solutions. Combined with the strength and size of WiseTech and its CargoWise platform and depth in international logistics, we have a powerful platform that we expect to further increase capacity and utilization and drive innovation in what is an intensely complex and highly fragmented ecosystem. The Envase team is grateful for the support of Firmament over the years and for their vision to establish Envase as a leader in landside logistics.”

Antwerp port NextGen Demo With the announcement of PureCycle's plastic recycling plant, the filling-in of the first part of NextGen District, the hotspot for circular economy at the heart of the Antwerp port site, has been completed and the first spade stroke will go into the ground before the end of the year.

Today, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is launching a second tender procedure for the plots available within NextGen Demo. This innovation hub is part of NextGen District and is aimed at pioneers looking for space and support to test their projects before scaling them up to a commercial level. Thanks to the input and responses following the first call, in late 2021, the offer has now been further refined and tailored.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges offers a site with a total area of 88 ha for NextGen District with the ambition to set up a hotspot for circular economy. NextGen Demo is a zone within this cluster in the heart of the Antwerp industry, where demonstrators can test new technologies and circular demo projects that have outgrown the lab on a larger scale and in an industrial environment before proceeding to commercialisation.

Meanwhile, the appeal of NextGen District has attracted global pioneers within the circular process and manufacturing industry, who are giving 'end-of-life products' a second or third life there. US-based Plug, for instance, is investing in a green hydrogen plant, Bolder Industries will recycle car tyres, Ekopak is committed to circular water use and, thanks to Triple Helix, polyurethane foam and PET dishes will be recycled into new raw materials. On top of that, PureCycle last week confirmed a large-scale investment in a plant that will recycle polypropylene (PP). ​ With these gamechangers, the filling in of the first part of NextGen District is now complete and construction of the facilities will start this year.

For the filling-in of NextGen Demo, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is looking for candidates (start-ups and scale-ups, spin-off companies and pilot projects) active in sustainable and innovative chemical and energy technology. With a specific focus on technologies within four domains: Waste-to-X (chemicals/fuels), CCU (Carbon Capture & Utilisation), bio-based technologies and renewable energy storage and H2 technologies.

The industrial port network with top global players and diverse ecosystem will contribute to synergies between the players at NextGen Demo, NextGen District and the other port companies. In addition, the top logistics location, available peripheral infrastructure, tailor-made guidance in growing to a commercial level and possibility of financial support are additional reasons for candidates to come forward. Moreover, the concept and offer were further refined and tailored to the specific needs of the demonstrators based on responses to the first candidate call at the end of 2021.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is therefore launching a second call for circular pioneers to submit their project proposals via the website by 31 March 2023 at the latest. The call applies both to applicants who can start a demonstration immediately, and to applicants who need limited preparation before proceeding to the demonstration phase. After evaluation of the written project proposals and an oral explanation by the candidates, negotiations and decision to award a concession or a preparation phase will follow, followed by the signing of the concession agreement or Letter of Intent. ​

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "NextGen Demo is the place par excellence where new technology is incorporated into the fascinating ecosystem of a port and industry. Demonstrators are given the space here to grow and join a valuable network of fellow pioneers, partners and customers. ​ We have refined our offering so that we are more ready than ever to welcome pioneers who are up to the challenge. We therefore look forward to innovative project proposals that contribute to circularity in the port and by extension the transition to a climate-neutral society."

Annick De Ridder, port alderman of the City of Antwerp and chairman of the board of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "This testing ground for technological and sustainable innovation will contribute to the strengthening, synergy and diversification of the port platform. Moreover, this is a top logistics location to support the transition in the Antwerp chemical cluster.

BLG DEKRA Matthias Magnor, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Member of the Board of Management at BLG LOGISTICS, and DEKRA Germany CEO Guido Kutschera have agreed a strategic partnership between their two companies.

Together, the partners will tackle strategic issues in the future and combine their strengths in the areas of digitalisation, sustainability and qualification. The partnership will create operational advantages and sales synergies for both companies.

BLG LOGISTICS and the DEKRA companies operate in a constantly changing market environment and want to work together to meet the developments in the areas of lifecycle management and remarketing, digitalisation, process optimisation, quality improvements, zero emissions and employee qualification - keyword: shortage of skilled workers.

Vehicle logistics - from production to delivery to the destination at the dealer or customer - requires the highest level of reliability, safety and an adequate network. BLG COO Matthias Magnor sees a lot of potential for the cooperation: "Through the strategic partnership with the specialists from DEKRA, we offer our customers in the AUTOMOBILE division further added value: holistic solutions as well as services with unique selling points from a single source." With over 4 million vehicles transported per year, BLG LOGISTICS is the leading automotive logistics provider in Europe.

Guido Kutschera, Chairman of the Management Board of DEKRA Automobil GmbH and responsible for the Group's business in Germany, is also convinced by the partnership: "By bundling services from DEKRA and BLG and offering them together, we are responding to specific requirements from the market. More and more customers need packages of expert services and logistics services. BLG LOGISTICS is the optimal partner for us to offer precisely such service packages." DEKRA Automobil GmbH is the most important and largest division within the DEKRA Group. However, other DEKRA companies such as DEKRA Akademie GmbH, DEKRA Automotive Solutions Germany GmbH and DEKRA Event & Logistic Services GmbH are also involved in the partnership.

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