Logistics news round-up: road, rail, sea & air freight

As the next phase in its e-fulfilment journey, Körber’s Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) programme will provide access to a global network of robotics service partners for businesses of all sizes and from all industries.
Körber unveils robotics-as-a-service initiative; New port signals Vietnam’s economic growth; sea freight volumes down; Germany invests in rail

Körber unveils robotics-as-a-service initiative

Global end-to-end supply chain solution provider Körber has unveiled plans to extend its robotic service partnerships. 

As the next phase in its e-fulfilment journey, Körber’s Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) programme will provide access to a global network of robotics service partners for businesses of all sizes and from all industries.

Körber Executive VP Robotics & 3PL Joe Couto said: “The autonomous mobile robots sector has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and customers worldwide are looking for solutions to meet spikes in demand, and to address complexities around labour, safety and warehouse workers’ wellbeing.”

He added: “It’s our mission to help companies worldwide respond to these challenges faster, while keeping fulfilment times and costs as low as possible.” 

Sea freight volumes down, as inflation hits spending 

Sea container volumes fell by 2.5% in the final quarter of 2022, even though that period is traditionally the busiest period of the year.

The figure was part of the latest Container Shipping Market Quarterly review from global 3PL provider, GSF, whose reports help shippers understand changes and trends in the global container shipping market. 

The report shows that sea trade volumes fell steadily in the early weeks of 2023, as world economies struggle with persistent inflation and high energy prices, which has suppressed consumer demand for goods across nearly all economic sectors.

Commenting on the Review, James Hookham, Secretary General of Global Shippers Forum, said: “This has stopped being just a supply chain or a shipping issue. Shippers and carriers are firmly in the hands of global economic forces.

“Predicting volumes and inventory requirements for the remainder of 2023 is a leap into the unknown for many shippers, as few but the most experienced will have encountered so varied a mix of influencing factors”.

Hookham added that, although shippers have “undoubtedly benefited from the dramatic fall in spot rates over the past nine months”, weak demand for core products “will be of more concern to shippers than the cost of their shipment”. 

Germany to fund rail investment with truck tolls

The German government is turning to rail freight, and away from road haulage. As part of its strategy on climate protection it is to invest up to 45bn euros into rail up to 2027. 

It has also decided to double the prices of truck tolls by 2024, and use part of the generated revenues to fund rail projects. The Government is to double truck tolls through a CO2 surcharge of 200 euros per tonne, with 80% of this funding rail investment.

Rail news service, railfreight.com, reports that the Federal Committee’s decision comes as a swift response to recent reports claiming insufficient rail investments in Europe.

The question remains how the 45bn euros will be allocated and whether the rail projects they will fund will be weighted more towards freight, or passenger services.

New port signals Vietnam’s economic growth

Vietnam’s emergence as a major economic player in the Southeast Asia region took another upwards turn with the announcement that its port infrastructure is to receive a major boost.

APM Terminals has formed a strategic partnership with the Vietnamese HATECO group, for a project to develop two new deep-water berths at Lach Huyen Port in Haiphong City.

APM Terminals will provide financial, operational, and technical support to HATECO as part of the partnership.

The project will see the development of two berths, able to accommodate container vessels with a capacity of up to 18,000 TEU.

A TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) is the measurement used to determine cargo capacity for container ships and terminals. 

The partnership is aimed to boost direct import and export of goods between north Vietnam and European and American markets, reports Port Technology.

HATECO is set to complete construction by the end of 2024 and the new terminal will open in early 2025.


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