Logistics News Briefing
December 2020
Top Stories
Digital Logistics
Perishables & Pharma
Regulation & Procedures
Express & eCommerce
Maritime & Waterways
Green Logistics

At the end of a challenging 2020, there’s a silver lining with Covid-19 vaccines on the way. The first doses have already been administered, and further vaccines are awaiting approval in Europe, offering optimism for the new year. However, with Brexit trade talks still in limbo, the supply chain sector is preparing for the worst. UK retailers are stockpiling essentials, and industries are hoarding components to keep their operations running. Let’s hope a clearer economic outlook in 2021 will help companies to refocus on the medium term.

At the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg we wish all subscribers and members happy holidays, and invite you to save the dates for our activities in 2021:

Top Stories

New advisory post at Luxembourg embassy in London and webinars on border procedures

Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce are creating the position of economic and commercial attaché at the grand duchy's embassy in London to assist Luxembourg companies seeking to establish or expand activities in the UK. Also in preparation for the expiry of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year, Emma Churchill, director-general of the UK Cross-Government Border Delivery Group, is hosting webinars this week on border readiness to provide the most up to date information on new procedures due to come into effect on January 1.

Best source: Cluster for Logistics
Cool Chain Association unveils airport vaccine planning scheme

The Cool Chain Association has developed a Covid-19 Distribution Change Management Matrix to help airport authorities plan their vaccine logistics. The approach covers elements such as temperature requirements, forecasts and quantities, packaging, and timeframes for a vaccine’s journey through an airport. The organisation says the focus is on potential pinch points, training needs, safety and security, risk management, and quality.

Best source: Global Cold Chain News
Grand Duchy ranks 7th on connectedness

Luxembourg has placed seventh in the latest DHL Global Connectedness Index from DHL and the NYU Stern School of Business. The Netherlands topped the index, which measures international flows of trade, capital, information and people, ahead of Singapore and Belgium.

Best source: The Business Times
See also: DHL
Digital Logistics
Sixth C4L start-ups matchmaking event goes digital

The Cluster for Logistics has organised the sixth International Logistics & Mobility Start-ups Luxembourg Matchmaking conference on November 24, the latest in a series of events bringing together start-ups, companies and investors. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the event was held entirely online with around 40 guests attending to listen to the pitches of four international start-ups.

Best source: Cluster for Logistics
Luxembourg Blockchain Lab picks Medlogistics, Filedgr

The Luxembourg Blockchain Lab has included two Luxembourg-based logistics start-ups in the eight firms selected for its blockchain solutions initiative. Medlogistics is looking to provide end-to-end traceability for medical and pharmaceutical sectors, while Filedgr is developing a blockchain-backed system to support freight insurance. The Lab is backed by Infrachain, the LHoFT, The Luxembourg Institute of Science & Technology, University of Luxembourg’s SnT centre and LëtzBlock.

Best source: Paperjam (in French)
Kuehne+Nagel rolls out freighter-conversion solution

Kuehne+Nagel has launched its InteriorChain solution for passenger-to-freighter-aircraft conversions. The fully digitalised service handles the end-to-end transport and management of structural items such as freighter cargo doors, floor grids and panels, via a single point of control.

Best source: Stat Times
Liège Airport to get a droneport

Drone maker and operator Dronamics has included Liège Airport among the initial five airports for its proposed 11-market European drone network. The company plans to offer same-day services via its cargo drones, which have a range of 2,500 kilometres and can carry up to 350 kilogrammes. Dronamics is hoping for authorisation by the end of 2021, with commercial flights expected at the beginning of 2022.

Best source: Aircargo News
Perishables & Pharma

Passenger aircraft will be needed to transport Covid-19 vaccine: Cargolux CEO

Cargolux CEO Richard Forson says custom-designed containers inside passenger aircraft can keep the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech at the required -80ºC temperature during transportation, since even purpose-built freighters cannot keep consignments cold enough without specialised storage equipment. Distributing and storing sufficient quantities of the vaccine after it is developed and produced is the next major challenge, particularly in the developing world, Forsun says, arguing that the many passenger aircraft around the world currently standing idle can be pressed into service.

Best source: Luxembourg Times (subscription required)
Air France KLM increases use of hybrid containers

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has signed a partnership agreement with SkyCell to deploy more of the latter’s hybrid containers for pharmaceutical shipments. SkyCell says it is able to secure products at various temperature ranges, including  -60°C to -80°C for use with vaccines.

Best source: Stat Times
Port of Antwerp introduces healthcare cargo guidelines

The Port of Antwerp has become the first port in the world to operate under European Good Distribution Practice guidelines for life sciences and healthcare cargo. The system aims to ensure the quality of goods such as medicines, blood plasma, vaccines and medical equipment throughout the distribution process.

Best source: Maritime Business World
Savills, Vestas IM unveil €500m European logistics fund

Savills Investment Management has partnered with South Korea’s Vestas Investment Management to launch a €500m pan-European logistics investment fund. The VESALF I fund will invest in logistics assets valued at between €40m and €140m across the region’s key markets.

Best source: Mingtiandi
Melcombe, IGC target last-mile hubs, urban logistics assets

Melcombe Partners has formed a joint venture with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC to acquire and develop last-mile distribution hubs and urban logistics assets in cities across France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Melcombe says the venture aims to take advantage of the growth being driven by e-commerce in the sector.

Best source: Investment & Pensions Europe Real Assets
Palmira launches €650m European logistics fund

Palmira Capital Partners has launched a new open-ended European logistics fund and is aiming to invest some €650m. The Palmira European Core Logistics Fund is looking to invest in assets along major transport routes as well as in last-mile delivery properties in large cities.

Best source: Investment & Pensions Europe Real Assets
Regulation & Procedures

University of Luxembourg creates digital procurement programme

The University of Luxembourg and the economy ministry have created an academic chair in digital procurement at the university’s Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The €125m, five-year project will train master’s degree students in the use of new technologies and computer science in procurement. The initiative will be supported by Amazon, ArcelorMittal, Delphi, Ferrero, Leaseplan, SES and Vodafone.

Best source: Delano
Netherlands drops plans for air freight tax

The Dutch government has decided against introducing a proposed tax on air cargo services. The authorities said the planned levy – ranging from €1.92 to €3.85 per tonne of freight – would see traffic diverted elsewhere, with serious consequences for Schiphol and Maastricht Aachen airports.

Best source: Euractiv
European Commission seeks to boost rail freight

The European Commission would like to see a 50% increase in rail freight by 2030, in a situation in which rail and waterborne-based intermodal transport compete on an equal footing with road. As part of its recently unveiled Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the Commission wants to support innovation and digitalisation initiatives around connected and automated multimodal mobility, enabling freight to switch easily between modes.

Best source: Railway Gazette
Toll rates in Europe to be extended to 3.5-tonne vehicles

New EU road toll regulations under a revised Eurovignette Directive are set to couple truck toll rates more closely to carbon dioxide emissions. The introduction of emission classes from April 2023 would result in vehicles with a gross weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes facing higher toll surcharges on heavily-used cross-border corridors through sensitive areas, such as the Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria, one of the most important transit routes between northern and southern Europe.

Best source: DVZ (in German, subscription required)
Germany extends network for eco-combi trucks

The German network for Longer Heavier Vehicles, also known as eco-combis due to their impact in lowering carbon emissions, has been expanded by more than 200 new routes. The 10th amendment to the regulation on extended trucks came into force on November 14, and includes the release of the entire route network for extended semi-trailers (long truck type 1) for the first time. According to Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport, using long trucks can reduce the number of journeys and fuel consumption, since two long trucks can replace three regular ones.

Best source: DVZ (subscription required, in German)
Express & eCommerce
Brexit stockpiling causes chaos in cross-Channel trade

Stockpiling by UK companies ahead of the expiry of the Brexit transition period is leading to lengthy delays and tailbacks at Channel ports. Officials in the Hauts-de-France region that includes Calais say there has been a 50% increase in heavy goods vehicles on the approach roads to the port and the Eurotunnel in the past three weeks. UK importers have long warned of serious disruption to supply chains affecting many industries due to Brexit, and car manufacturers Honda and Jaguar have already had to halt production temporarily because of parts shortages.

Best source: Bloomberg (subscription required)
See also: The Guardian
Cargolux examines freighter-conversion options

Cargolux is considering Boeing 777-300ER freighter conversions as part part of its future fleet. The freight carrier says it is looking closely at the Israel Aerospace Industries/GECAS conversion initiative unveiled in late 2019.

Best source: Aircargo News
Luxembourg scraps track access charges for rail freight

Luxembourg, along with Austria, has now waived track access charges for rail freight, while Germany and the Netherlands have cut fees by 50%. The Rail Freight Forward grouping of operators is urging other EU member states to follow suit.

Best source: RailFreight
Lineas opens two new Antwerp-Austria routes  

Lineas has added two new Xpress train services connecting Antwerp to Austria. One links the Belgian city to Wolfurt in Austria's Vorarlberg region, while the second connects it to Wels, near Linz, and to Vienna. The Antwerp-Wolfurt service departs three times a week in each direction, while six mixed trains with conventional and combined shipments operate on the Wels-Vienna route.

Best source: Railfreight
DB Cargo develops freight express services

DB Cargo is planning to attract more clients by developing a freight express network. The German rail operator has been trialling an overnight service from Hamburg to Cologne and plans to add a number of additional routes, including Hamburg–Berlin, Hamburg–Mannheim, Cologne–Berlin, Cologne–Munich and Mannheim–Munich.

Best source: Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (in German)
Air cargo load factor hits record high

The industry-wide cargo load factor for air freight rose from 56.9% in September to a record 57.6% in October as capacity struggled to keep up with demand, according to IATA. The association says the lack of capacity is the air-freight sector’s biggest problem, as much of the passenger fleet remains grounded.

Best source: Aircargo News
E-commerce continued to enjoy strong growth in Europe in October

E-commerce sales in Germany surged in October, with internet and mail order business up 20% from a year earlier, according to statistics office Destatis, and by 29.8% adjusted for inflation and calendar effects. Across the eurozone, internet and mail order sales increased by 6.1% during October and were up 28.5% year on year, Eurostat says.

Best source: DVZ (subscription required, in German)
See also: Reuters
Maritime & Waterways

Rotterdam to back 100 innovation projects

The Port of Rotterdam Authority and maritime accelerator PortXL are planning a new programme for 2021, MATCH, to support 100 innovative pilot projects. The initiative, which includes the cooperation of local firms, aims to develop innovations to help make the port cleaner, more sustainable and more efficient.

Best source: Bunkerspot
Netherlands to get new inland port at Spijk

Rijswaterstaat, the Dutch public works and water management agency, has awarded a €75m construction contract for a new inland port at Spijk on the River Waal by the German border to Netherlands-based maritime infrastructure group Boskalis. Work is due to commence in early 2021 and is expected to take two and a half years.

Best source: Port Technology
Green Logistics
CFL Cargo orders 10 electric locomotives

CFL Cargo has placed an order for 10 Traxx MS multisystem electric locomotives from Bombardier. The locomotives will be deployed on direct cross-border freight operations in Luxembourg, Germany, Poland, Austria, Belgium and France.

Best source: International Railway Journal
Air France KLM launches sustainable fuel initiative

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has rolled out a sustainable fuel programme that enables shippers to choose what proportion of shipments they would like to be transported using alternative fuel. The carrier says the initiative aims to help boost demand for sustainable aviation fuel.

Best source: Aircargo News
Fluxys, Titan LNG to use LNG barge in Antwerp

Belgian gas infrastructure operator Fluxys and Titan LNG are planning to deploy a FlexFueler inland LNG bunkering barge to serve the Port of Antwerp region, beginning in February 2021. Inland waterway vessels and coasters will be able to get bunkered with LNG wherever they load or unload cargo.

Best source: Riviera MM

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