Logistics News Briefing
January 2023
Top Stories
Digital Logistics & Innovation
Green Logistics
Perishables & Pharma
Regulation & Procedures
Express & eCommerce
Maritime & Waterways

After the rollercoaster ride that was 2022, the new year is off to a slower start. The war in Ukraine and Covid-19, now seen as an endemic and manageable illness, are having less impact on markets. Despite higher interest rates, major stock markets are showing signs of recovery, boosted by falling energy prices. However, the supply chain sector remains wary of recession and reduced consumer spending, while many industries, including logistics, are still suffering from labour shortages. The transportation sector is expecting increased consolidation in 2023 as smaller companies struggle to meet quality expectations and pass on higher costs to shippers.

The Cluster for Logistics wishes all subscribers and members a Happy New Year 2023.

Top Stories

CFL strengthens co-operation with Luxport through stake acquisition

CFL has acquired a 64.5% stake in Manuport, which is a 50% shareholder of Luxport. Through this structural co-operation, CFL aims to boost synergies between the two groups’ freight services by strengthening the trimodal offer to and from major European seaports and jointly developing an intermodal service for shippers. This will benefit the road transport activities of Luxport subsidiary Lorang and the intermodal rail activities of CFL intermodal.

Best source: Cluster for Logistics
See also: Paperjam (in French)
Transport capacity to meet demand among predicted trends for logistics sector in 2023

A cooling economy and falling demand will see recent capacity bottlenecks ease in the first quarter of 2023, according to German transport and logistics publication DVZ in an analysis of 12 trends it expects to emerge this year. Among other predictions, it foresees continued high road freight prices, although these will level off; greater demand for low-emission vehicles; a plateau in labour costs; and demand for longer shipping contract periods.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (subscription required, in German)
Cargolux and DB Schenker hook up for instant bookings

Cargolux and DB Schenker have launched an API to provide an interface between their systems for the generation of tailored and instant bookable quotes from Cargolux. The interface provides dynamic pricing options based on specific requirements such as weight, routing and product type.

Best source: Air Cargo World (subscription required)
Digital Logistics & Innovation
French airship company to develop cargo aircraft with Ariane

French start-up Flying Whales has signed a letter of intent with aerospace company ArianeGroup to examine the possible use cases for its LCA60T helium airship. The aircraft combines helium cells with seven propulsion points for vertical take-off and landing, and is able to transport heavy loads to areas with little existing infrastructure.

Best source: Logistics Manager (subscription required)
German robotics firm rolls out new warehouse offerings

Germany-based robotics company Bionic has launched its latest exoskeleton along with a smart vest and a new data insight platform for warehouse deployment. The Apogee exoskeleton delivers up to 30kg of lifting compensation, while the vest uses sensors to collect data on workplace ergonomics and productivity as well as providing risk assessment. The latest software platform uses machine learning and AI to support health and safety.

Best source: Logistics Manager (subscription required)
Green Logistics
EU funds wind-assisted ship consortium

The European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation platform has granted €9.2m in funding to the WHISPER maritime energy transition project, which is developing wingsail wind-assisted propulsion systems. The 14-strong WHISPER consortium, which is led by Icelandic manufacturer Verkis and also includes Lloyd’s Register and US zero-emissions-systems maker AYRO, is looking to deliver 30% fuel savings on retrofit bulk carriers and over 15% on retrofit containerships.

Best source: Offshore Energy
Geodis launches low-emissions hub in central Paris

Geodis has launched a 7,600-square-metre low-carbon distribution hub in northern Paris to serve all of the city’s arrondissements. By the end of the first quarter, the centre aims to deliver 4,000 parcels a day through its express service’s electric- or biogas-powered fleet.

Best source: Parcel and Postal Technology International (free registration)
EU backs Antwerp-Bruges CO2 carbon capture initiative

The Antwerp@C CO2 Export Hub initiative, a joint venture of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Air Liquide and Fluxys Belgium, has been awarded €144.6m in European Union funding. The project will capture CO2 from industrial companies based in the port for liquefaction and transportation to permanent offshore storage locations. The hub will have an initial annual export capacity of 2.5m tonnes with a target of reaching 10.0m tonnes by 2030.

Best source: American Journal of Transportation (free registration)
bpost boosts eco-fleet with electric and gas vehicle acquisitions

Belgium’s bpost has reported that more than 40% of its branded vehicles are now eco-friendly. The company last year added 46 LPG trucks, over 500 electric vans and 275 e-trailers for electric bikes to its fleet. This year bpost plans to acquire 400 additional e-vans in the first quarter, with 10 double-deck trailers scheduled for delivery by the summer, while an additional 1,250 e-vans have been ordered or are slated for purchase.

Best source: Parcel and Postal Technology International
Perishables & Pharma

Frigo builds new Dutch hub to boost capacity

Frigo Warehousing is constructing a new distribution centre in the Dutch port of Moerdijk. On completion the facility will have capacity for 72,000 pallets and Frigo is aiming to attract more inland shipping to the location – currently around 60% of freight travels by short sea and rail out of the company’s six distribution centres.

Best source: Global Cold Chain News
Older reefer vessels under threat from new IMO pollution rules

Conventional reefer ships may have to be decommissioned following the introduction this month of two new International Maritime Organisation pollution regulations, according to Dutch logistics consultancy Dynamar. The carbon intensity indicator and energy efficiency rules are expected to force older vessels to slow to speeds which will fail to meet market requirements for perishable goods. The new regulations have modest emission constraints in the first 12 months but will tighten over the following years.

Best source: The Loadstar (free registration)
Patrizia French warehouse acquisitions take fund to $1bn

Patrizia’s open-ended pan-European property fund has acquired two warehouses in Lyon and one in Strasbourg from Kuehne + Nagel for an undisclosed amount. The 34,000-square-metre deal takes the PanEuropean Property Limited Partnership vehicle to €1bn in gross assets value. The PanEuropean fund, which launched in 2004, is continental Europe’s longest-running open-ended fund.

Best source: Investment & Pensions Europe Real Assets (subscription required)
Demire sells Leipzig park to investor for €121m

Demire Deutsche Mittelstand Real Estate has sold its LogPark logistics facility in Leipzig to a German institutional investor for around €121m. LogPark boasts a lettable area of close to 159,000 square metres and includes Amazon and German re-commerce firm Momox as tenants on long-term leases.

Best source: CRE Herald (subscription required)
Hines acquires half-dozen Dutch assets in floriculture business parks

Hines European Core Fund has acquired six Dutch logistics assets at the Royal FloraHolland business parks in the Randstad region for an undisclosed amount.  The facilities, with an aggregate capacity of 92,000 square metres, are fully leased to a half-dozen floricultural companies, each on a long-term arrangement.

Best source: CRE Herald (subscription required)
Peakside picks up German plot with further purchases in pipeline

Peakside Capital Advisors has acquired a 110,000-square-metre German plot close to Koblenz from a private seller for an undisclosed amount. The company plans to develop two logistics facilities on the site with a combined 70,000 square metres of space before the end of 2024. Peakside says it is planning to invest €1.2bn in Germany over the next two years for its PREF IV fund.

Best source: Europe Real Estate
Regulation & Procedures

Technical barriers at EU borders hindering freight’s shift to rail: agency report  

Borders between European Union member states are presenting obstacles to rail freight transport operators, according to a report from the EU Agency for Railways. Trains often face barriers which force them to halt at borders and adapt to different rules or infrastructure requirements and cause delays, hindering the shift to transporting freight by rail. The ERA stresses the need to remove such technical barriers to improve the attractiveness of trains compared to other modes of transport.

Best source: Euractiv
Reefer rates fall with further declines likely

Reefer spot rates have fallen from $5,000 to an average $4,300 per unit on key North Europe to China trade, according to freight data firm Xeneta. However, rates in this corridor remain above the pre-pandemic average of $2,185 and Xeneta suggests there is potential for them to decline further.

Best source: The Loadstar (free registration)
Express & eCommerce
Contargo acquires Honkoop Barging to boost Benelux operations

German intermodal transport operator Contargo has acquired Dutch firm Honkoop Barging. The latter’s activities will be integrated into Contargo’s barge activities in the Benelux countries under the brand name Contargo Transbox. The German firm says the acquisition will enable it to expand its services, particularly in Rotterdam, Antwerp and Ghent as well as in the province of Zeeland.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (subscription required, in German)
K+N builds new hub to double capacity at CDG airport

Kuehne + Nagel has begun construction of a new hub at Paris Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport to double its capacity at the site. The 12,600-square-metre warehouse, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2023, will comprise a pharma facility as well as areas for general cargo. The company will look to hire as many as 70 extra staff at the airport over the next few years.

Best source: Les Echos (subscription required, in French)
Swiss Post acquires two German logistics firms

Swiss Post has made two German acquisitions with the purchase of transport company Gaiser and freight forwarder Spedition Nolden. The Swiss group will integrate both companies into its Germany-based Bächle Logistic subsidiary. Swiss Post has acquired around 10 logistics firms, primarily in Switzerland and Germany, in the past two years.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (subscription required, in German)
Delta Rail to open new France-Germany link

French multimodal operator Delta Rail is planning an end-February launch for its new rail freight service between Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France and the Sampskip terminal in Duisburg. The four weekly France-Germany roundtrips will comprise multiple intermodal units including containers, swap bodies and P400 trailers.

Best source: RailFreight
Geodis opens new logistics hub close to Nuremberg

Geodis has opened a new 33,000-square-metre, 26,800-pallet-space warehouse in Aurach, close to the city of Nuremberg. The site, which has 28 loading ramps and four ground-level gates, is connected to the A6 motorway, which forms part of the Paris-Prague link.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (subscription required, in German)
Netherlands to invest €100m in long freight train facilities

The Dutch government is investing around €100m to enable facilities to run freight trains of 740 metres in length, with infrastructure manager ProRail planning to deploy €90m of those funds to extend waiting and buffer tracks at the Roosendaal, Rotterdam Noord Goederen, Hengelo and Oldenzaal rail yards. Greater use of longer freight trains will reduce transport costs and lower CO2 emissions.

Best source: RailFreight
Maritime & Waterways

PSA Antwerp initiates terminal expansion programme

Container operator PSA Antwerp has signed two contracts for the expansion of its Europa Terminal. Crane builder Kuenz will deliver 14 new automated stacking cranes to boost handling capacity at the location, while construction group Stadsbader Group has been tasked with upgrading the civil and electrical infrastructure to prepare the yard for the new cranes and truck flows. Work commences this month and is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2025.

Best source: Port Technology
Antwerp-Bruges and Rotterdam set to introduce bunker measuring

The ports of Antwerp-Bruges and Rotterdam are planning to mandate the use of measuring systems such as mass flow meters on board bunker vessels to determine the exact amount of fuel delivered to maritime vessels. The ports say they aim to make the bunker market more transparent, efficient and reliable following the completion of an independent study that demonstrated quantity issues. The two authorities will identify suitable bunker measuring systems during the first half of this year.

Best source: Bunkerspot
Port of Amsterdam bans generators with shift to smart power points

The Port of Amsterdam has imposed a generator ban at the Houthaven, Nieuwe Houthaven and Minervahaven waiting berths. The move follows the replacement of all shore power points with smart alternatives that can be controlled remotely.

Best source: Bunkerspot

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