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

The logistics sector is experiencing extreme volatility amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with demand for some types of freight plunging while other segments such as air cargo are facing a capacity crunch. Logistics firms are playing a key role in providing essential services, shipping medical equipment, keeping food stores stocked and delivering other crucial commodities. After almost a month of quarantine measures, European countries are planning to progressively ease restrictions and restart the economy. In this context, the supply chain sector has proven its flexibility since the start of the epidemic in China, but should anticipate further instability ahead. The Cluster for Logistics extends its thanks to governments for their crisis planning and management, and particularly to all workers, procurement agents and logistics providers for their discipline and dedication in these extraordinary circumstances.

Top Stories

Airlines expand cargo services to support fight against Covid-19

Airlines around the world are bolstering the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, laying on extra cargo capacity and rapidly scaling up transport of urgent medical and protective equipment. Carriers have been repurposing passenger aircraft, increasing freight flights and expanding their capabilities to handle medical and pharmaceutical products, including coronavirus test kits, face masks, medical gowns and respirators, in order to to alleviate shortages in many countries.

Best source: Air Cargo News
See also: Air Cargo News
Cargolux carries pop-up hospital to Luxembourg

Cargolux last month operated six flights to transport hospital infrastructure to provide temporary healthcare facilities in Luxembourg City. The facility has space for 200 beds to help deal with the Covid-19 outbreak in the grand duchy.

Best source: RTL Today
China-Europe rail link grows freight services amid pandemic

China-Europe freight trains have remained a reliable transport solution for medical supplies and protective equipment as restrictions imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic have disrupted logistics services worldwide. China-Europe freight trains made 1,941 trips and transported 174,000 TEUs of freight in the first quarter, up 15% and 18% year on year respectively, according to data from China State Railway Group, with operators increasing the frequency and capacity of trains since March.

Best source: Xinhua
Digital Logistics
Champ digitises Japanese Airlines’ cargo operations

Champ Cargosystems is deploying its open platform solution for Japanese Airlines to streamline the carrier’s domestic cargo operations. The service automates end-to-end processes at JAL’s warehouses and enables dynamic pricing and flight selection for bookings and real-time tracking.

Best source: Aircargo News
Rotterdam adds new cargo tracking service

The Port of Rotterdam is adding the Boxsinsider track and trace service to its Portbase digital infrastructure. The move, which will take place before the summer, will enable all parties to keep track of the cargo handled or to be received.

Best source: Port Technology
Zeebrugge gets first-phase 5G network

The Port of Zeebrugge and Nokia have completed the first phase of the port’s 5G-ready wireless network. The platform provides private connectivity to over 100 endpoints, allowing the port to track and manage connected devices across multiple applications in real time.

Best source: Telecoms Tech News
K+N enhances SeaExplorer platform

Kuehne + Nagel has upgraded its SeaExplorer online platform to provide shippers with realistic lead times for routings, service updates and up-to-date sailing schedules. As part of the upgrade, the solution now offers detailed visibility of CO2 emissions for each service loop and port-to-port routing.

Best source: Stat Times
Perishables & Pharma

Bolloré Logistics opens Luxembourg, Liège coronavirus hubs

Bolloré Logistics has opened hubs at Luxembourg and Liège airports to handle charter flights of medical supplies across Europe and to Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company is partnering with healthcare firms and NGOs to ensure the end-to-end transport of pharmaceuticals, masks, medical equipment and life-saving products.

Best source: Stat Times
WHO designates Liège Airport as Covid-19 distribution centre

The World Health Organization has selected Liège Airport as one of eight distribution hubs for global medical supplies to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The airport will handle millions of medical masks and gloves, respirators, protective visors and test kits every month.

Best source: L’Echo (in French)
LATAM Cargo expands European perishables operations

LATAM Cargo has upped its airfreight links between Latin America and Europe with a seventh weekly service. The carrier will use Amsterdam as its main point of entry, providing services for exporters of perishables in Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Peru and other Latin American markets.

Best source: Aircargo News
GLP picks up Goodman’s Central and Eastern Europe logistics portfolio

Global Logistic Properties is acquiring Goodman Group’s Central and Eastern Europe logistics real estate portfolio. The deal covers 2.4m square metres of assets along key routes across the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and will expand GLP’s European presence to 10 countries.

Best source: Budapest Business Journal
Amundi acquires German warehouse

Amundi Real Estate has acquired a German logistics asset from Goodman Group for an undisclosed sum. The 130,435-square-metre warehouse is located in Lahr in the southwest of the country.

Best source: Investment & Pensions Europe Real Assets
Vestas invests €71m in Polish hub

South Korea-based Vestas Investment Management has acquired a 123,000-square-metre distribution hub in central Poland from Invesco Real Estate on behalf of Korean institutional investors. The €71m purchase gives Vestas a total of €1bn of European logistics assets under management, €470m of which are managed together with Savills Investment Management.

Best source: Mingtiandi
Aviva picks up Rotterdam warehouse

Aviva Investors has acquired a new 40,000-square-metre logistics warehouse at the port of Rotterdam on behalf of one of its mandates. The forward purchase from Euro-Rijn Group, letting to Rotterdam Polymer Hub, is Aviva’s third logistics deal in recent months following the acquisition last November of assets in Waalwijk and Wadinxveen.

Best source: Property EU
Regulation & Procedures

European Commission calls for easing of air cargo restrictions

The European Commission has asked EU member states to facilitate air cargo services during the Covid-19 pandemic as most passenger aircraft have ceased operations and all-cargo flights alone cannot make up for the loss of belly cargo capacity. A number of markets have not exempted cargo flights from their national aviation restrictions.

Best source: Cargoforwarder
Express & eCommerce
Cargolux flies out of Cologne Bonn Airport

Cargolux has begun operating from Cologne Bonn Airport to avoid the delays at Luxembourg Airport caused by high freight volumes. The carrier now flies 747Fs daily to numerous US destinations.

Best source: Airliners (in German)
Lufthansa repurposes passenger planes for freight

Lufthansa is removing the seats from some of its aircraft in order to rapidly expand cargo capacity, while increasing freight connections with Chinese manufacturing hubs in cooperation with sister company Austrian Airlines. The German carrier is planning to operate 35 flights a week with repurposed passenger aircraft, carrying an additional 30 tons of cargo each.

Best source: Air Cargo News
Frankfurt and Brussels report sharp cargo volume declines

Frankfurt Airport Cargo volume fell 17.4% year-on-year in March to 167,279 metric tons. Brussels Airport posted a 14.6% decline in the same month to 52,520 tons.

Best source: Air Cargo News
Amazon set to launch Amazon Air in Europe

Amazon looks to be gearing up to launch its Amazon Air transport unit at Germany’s Leipzig Airport with the recruitment of an area manager. The company had previously announced the construction of a new facility that is due to be operational at the airport this year.

Best source: Lloyd’s Loading List
German rail track access fees to rise

German rail track access charges are set to increase by 2.3% to €3.05 per kilometre in December at the start of the 2020/2021 timetable. The Network of European Railways says it is surprised by the price hike and has asked DB Netz and the federal government for talks on avoiding the increase.

Best source: RailFreight
Taiwan donates protective masks to European countries

The Taiwanese government has sent a cargo flight to Luxembourg carrying surgical masks donated to European countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially Spain and Italy. The donation of protective equipment forms part of Taiwan's offer to supply 10 million masks to 15 countries with which it has diplomatic relations, including 11 in Europe.

Best source: Paperjam (in French)
Maritime & Waterways

Decline in cargo volumes at Rotterdam could hit 20% this year

The Port of Rotterdam is expecting a decline in cargo throughput of between 10% and 20% in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The port authority says the forecast is contingent upon the duration of government measures and the pace of recovery of production and world trade.

Best source: RailFreight
Hapag-Lloyd sees low fuel costs easing Covid-19 impact

Hapag-Lloyd reports that while the Covid-19 crisis is expected to significantly affect activities in May and June, declining fuel costs should lessen the financial effects of the pandemic. The company said large export volumes only began leaving European ports in mid-March and possible empty returns would only be felt later, while Asian ports were already staging a recovery.

Best source: Reuters
Port of Antwerp reports volumes up 4% in first quarter

Freight volume at the Port of Antwerp was up 4% year-on-year in the first quarter. The container trade saw rises of 9.5% in TEUs and 9.4% in tonnage, with marked increases in the volumes of pharmaceuticals and e-commerce goods. The port said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter was limited, but added that it would become apparent in the second quarter with cancelled departures.

Best source: Dry Cargo International
Haropa ports container traffic hit by Covid-19 in March

The French Haropa ports of Paris, Le Havre and Rouen felt the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, with container traffic down 23% year-on-year to 530,000 TEUs. Container ship stopovers declined by 16 to 156, while container river traffic on the Seine axis fell 13.5%.

Best source: Dry Cargo International
Port of Hamburg offers rent deferrals for second quarter

The Port of Hamburg is offering to defer the rents and fees payable by tenants, shipping companies and port barge operators for the months of April, May and June until the end of 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The deferrals, which will not incur interest, form part of the city of Hamburg’s economic programme to protect the local economy.

Best source: Hamburg News
Green Logistics
CFL cargo Deutschland switches to renewables

CFL cargo Deutschland has begun using certified renewable electricity generated by wind and hydro on all of its trains. The switch impacts the 3,250 block trains circulating in Germany every year.

Best source: Global Railway Review
Green Maritime Methanol completes methanol testing

The Netherlands-based Green Maritime Methanol consortium has conducted a maritime trial using 100% methanol with a Caterpillar 3508 high-speed gas engine. The grouping says the test enables researchers to study issues relating to ignition timing, lubricating requirements and emissions.

Best source: Manifold Times

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