Logistics News Briefing
September 2021
Top Stories
Digital Logistics & Innovation
Green Logistics
Perishables & Pharma
Regulation & Procedures
Express & eCommerce
Maritime & Waterways

Ahead of the peak season for many logistics subsectors, the vaccine supply chain has worked extraordinarily well across Europe and much of the western world over the past six months: more than 70% of the EU adult population is now fully vaccinated. Nonetheless, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on industry and on shipping capacity in maritime and airfreight is severely affecting many sectors, triggering supply chain disruptions that delay economic growth and activity worldwide.

A shortage of truck drivers, which has hit the post-Brexit UK especially hard, is also causing problems across Europe, threatening ongoing negative consequences unless countries and companies accelerate digitalisation, e-freight and simplify cross-border bureaucracy to offload cumbersome and inefficient tasks from drivers and supply chain back-office.

This scarcity of road transportation and the launch of the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ strategy this summer is generating opportunities for rail and inland navigation, though these will require huge investments in infrastructure and alignment across all transport networks. While these trends hold promise for the future, many in the logistics sector have more immediate serious concerns about managing scarcity in the coming months.

Top Stories

C4L rewards outstanding DT Logistique students

The Cluster for Logistics is once again supporting the best students of the Diplôme de Technicien en Logistique, an advanced technical course in transport and warehouse organisation. An award ceremony on September 13th recognised Brian Da Silva Santos and Nelson Leal Moreira as the best students of the 2020/2021 DT Logistique course, reflecting praise by their teachers and coaches during a difficult academic year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Best source: Cluster for Logistics
Register for the Lean & Green Awards 2021

This year's Lean & Green Awards on October 11th will once again honour companies that have achieved their goals to reduce CO2 emissions under the Lean & Green programme, coordinated by the Cluster for Logistics. The hybrid event will feature exciting contributions on the topic of sustainability in logistics.

Best source: Cluster for Logistics
European logistics investment rises sharply in first half of year

European logistics investment totalled €22.5bn in the first half of 2021, the equivalent of 64% of the deals registered for the whole of 2020, according to Savills. Take-up reached 18.7 million square metres in the first six months, with Germany, the Netherlands and Poland among the fastest-growing markets.

Best source: Property Funds World
Digital Logistics & Innovation
German ports to get new container release solution

Software providers Dakosy and dbh Logistics are developing a solution for the digitalisation of the release process for import containers at seaports in Germany. The first shippers and forwarders will be connected to the German Ports platform by the end of 2021 for the ports of Bremen, Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven.

Best source: FreightComms
Port of Zeebrugge digitalises drone traffic

The Port of Zeebrugge has partnered with software specialist IDRONECT to digitalise drone traffic in the port area. The new solution optimises the flow of information and enables port concessionaires, the military, and local and maritime police to request and plan drone flights in line with zone regulations.

Best source: PortNews
DP World rolls out single-window digital platform

DP World has launched Cargoes Logistics, a digital platform that offers clients a single-window solution for cargo movements. The company says customers are able to ship freight by sea, road and/or rail, get instant quotes, swift booking confirmation and multiple secure payment options in just three steps.

Best source: Port Technology
Green Logistics
Port of Rotterdam, Uniper to develop green hydrogen plant

The Port of Rotterdam is partnering with energy company Uniper to develop a sustainable hydrogen production facility. The partners recently completed a joint study that demonstrated the feasibility of Uniper’s site in the port for the large-scale production of green hydrogen using power generated by North Sea wind farms.

Best source: Energy Global
DHL purchases electric aircraft for fleet

DHL is acquiring 12 electric aircraft to operate on all routes currently serviced by its current fleet. The Eviation Alice eCargo planes, which are scheduled for delivery in 2024, will have a 1,200kg payload and a range of 815 kilometres, with the aircraft requiring up to 30 minutes to recharge between flights.

Best source: Aviation Today
Electric barge service opens in Netherlands

Dutch company Zero Emission Service has launched an electric inland waterway vessel to transport beer for brewer Heineken to the Port of Rotterdam. The barge is powered by exchangeable containers loaded with batteries. ZES is partnering with the port and is looking to build a network of eight charging stations to serve 30 inland routes where ships can change battery packs.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (in German, subscription required)
Maersk orders eight methanol-powered vessels

Maersk has ordered eight new $175m vessels that can run on methanol for delivery in 2024. The company is acquiring the 16,000-container-capacity ships to meet its net-zero emissions objectives, as well as customer demand for more environment-friendly transportation.

Best source: Reuters
Perishables & Pharma

Biogros claims first for electrified refrigerated vehicle

Organic food distributor Biogros is operating what it claims to be Luxembourg’s first fully electric refrigerated truck. The prototype MAN eTGM vehicle, equipped with Frigoblock refrigeration, saved more than 2,900 litres of diesel and around 9.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide over its first eight months of operation compared to a similar diesel-fuelled truck, according to Biogros.

Best source: Global Cold Chain News
Swiss Life acquires cold storage assets across Europe

Swiss Life Asset Managers has acquired a 188,000-square-metre portfolio of 10 European logistics assets from Barings for an undisclosed sum on behalf of its ESG European Thematic Income & Growth and ESG European Industrial & Logistics funds. Six of the assets, located across France, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are dedicated cold storage units.

Best source: Investment & Pensions Europe Real Assets
Europa Capital, Cromwell launch €150m logistics platform

Europa Capital and Cromwell Property have launched a €150m German logistics joint venture, targeting assets with lot sizes starting at €8m. The platform’s first investment is a 12,000-square-metre warehouse property near Cologne, with due diligence currently underway for additional assets.

Best source: Investment & Pensions Europe Real Assets
Palmira picks up Dutch logistics hub

Palmira Capital Partners has acquired a Dutch logistics centre for its European Core Logistics Fund from a private investor for an undisclosed amount. The location, north-east of Amsterdam in Dronten, comprises 19,300 square metres of warehouse space and 1,800 square metres of office and social space.

Best source: Property Funds World
Regulation & Procedures

European aviation regulator extends temporary freighter period

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is allowing airlines to continue using passenger aircraft as temporary freighters until July 31, 2022. Carriers have been removing seats from planes to accommodate cargo since the beginning of the pandemic, although the agency says the number of converted aircraft has been significantly lower than initially expected.

Best source: Aircargo News
European Maritime Safety Agency gives mixed picture of sector’s environmental impact

While maritime transport accounts for more than three-quarters of EU external trade and 35% of intra-EU trade, it is responsible for just 13.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions from transport activity, behind road transport and aviation, according to the European Maritime Safety Agency and the European Environment Agency. However, maritime air emissions such as sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide have the potential to affect some 40% of Europeans living within 50 kilometres of the coast, according to the agencies' European Maritime Transport Environmental Report. The sector also contributes to water acidification and changes in nutrient and oxygen levels in the marine environment.

Best source: ShipInsight
Express & eCommerce
Amazon opens largest French distribution hub in Metz

Amazon has opened a new 185,000-square-metre distribution centre located at the former Metz-Frescaty airbase, its largest French hub to date. The company says the centre will create 1,000 jobs over a three-year rollout period.

Best source: L’Antenne (in French)
European Commission approves DFDS acquisition of HSF

The European Commission has approved Denmark-based DFDS’s acquisition of the Dutch HSF Logistics Group after concluding that the deal does not pose any competition concerns. HSF is a temperature-controlled goods specialist with more than 20 locations across Europe, as well as offices in China and Morocco.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (in German, subscription required)
Geodis starts air freight operations

French forwarding company Geodis is operating its first freighter to provide extra capacity as air freight space continues to tighten. The aircraft is flying from Amsterdam or London to Chicago three times a week, with weekly rotations between Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Best source: Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (subscription required, in German)
Maersk acquires B2C Europe

Maersk has acquired Dutch cross-border parcel delivery company B2C Europe. Maersk says the acquisition will enable it to offer last-mile rates across Europe from a single simplified interface, with full visibility for all deliveries.

Best source: Post & Parcel
Kombiverkehr rolls out new multimodal service

Freight forwarder Kombiverkehr is launching a new multimodal offering at the Port of Rotterdam to connect customers in the Benelux countries, Germany and Italy via Switzerland. The company is also adding its Venlo terminal to the Benelux-Italy product range with five departures a week in each direction.

Best source: Port Technology
Active Ants opens first Belgian distribution centre

Bpost-owned Dutch e-fulfillment company Active Ants has opened its first Belgian distribution centre, located in Willebroek between Antwerp and Brussels. Active Ants says the new 10,000-square-metre hub will support its European expansion plans.

Best source: Ecommerce News
Hapag-Lloyd orders containers in bid to tackle global congestion issues

Hapag-Lloyd has placed an order for 75,00 TEU of containers to address the global shortage of boxes. The company, which placed a $550m order for 150,000 TEU containers at the start of 2021, points to serious congestion at ports, terminals and inland operations around the world that has led to turnaround times rising from 50 days to 60 days.

Best source: Offshore Energy
SNCF upgrades signalling on Benelux-France-Switzerland route

SNCF Network is installing the ETCS signalling and train control component of the European Rail Traffic Management System on the route from Uckange in France to Basle. The deployment will enable more freight services travelling from Belgium via Luxembourg and France to Switzerland to use the Zoufftgen/Mont-St-Martin–Metz–Réding–Mulhouse–Basle route. The Luxembourg–Uckange and Mont-St-Martin–Longuyon sections have already been equipped with ETCS.

Best source: International Rail Journal
DB Cargo Eurasia extends Europe-China rail links

DB Cargo Eurasia has introduced five new connections between Europe and China during the second quarter of 2020. The operator has linked eight locations with the launch of its Houma-Hamburg, Hefei-Wilhelmshaven, Xi’an-Paris, Nanjing-Tilburg and Xi’an-Tilburg services.

Best source: RailFreight
Maritime & Waterways

ONE opens container depot in Hamburg

Ocean Network Express and Universal Container Services have opened a dedicated container depot in the Port of Hamburg. The 60,000-square-metre facility has a 4,000 TEU storage capacity and 25 reefer plugs.

Best source: Container Management

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