Your monthly digest Issue 7, October 2017
This month’s news includes:
- HGV driver shortage
- Rastatt rail freight corridor reopens, but closure backlash still creating ripples
- The maritime industry begins assessment of ammonia as a fuel
- Are ports the Cinderella of the transport industry?
- Belgian ports batten down the hatches for Brexit trade shock
- Bunker industry could see interim ISO 8217 marine fuel standard ahead of 2020
- Platts proposes new 0.5% sulphur fuel assessments from 2019
- Diesel deadlines
- Diversity recognition at LISW 2017
HGV driver shortage
A shortage of licenced, qualified HGV drivers in the UK is having an impact on the haulage industry as well as the UK economy. Currently the UK is 60,000 HGV drivers short and due to no sign of improving, a shortfall of 150,000 drivers by 2020 is predicted. Many drivers are coming up to retirement while not enough young drivers are coming through to replace them. Meanwhile, the economic growth has increased the demand for HGV drivers to move more goods.
Rastatt rail freight corridor reopens, but closure backlash still creating ripples
However, one recent report noted that “due to the intense re-routings of locos, wagons and staff on alternative routes over the last seven weeks, it will take time to bring the situation back to normal”.
The maritime industry begins assessment of ammonia as a fuel
Since the 1960s ammonia has not been seriously considered for transport fuel – until now, as the maritime industry has begun assessing ammonia as a carbon-free fuel. The first ammonia-specific maritime fuel data should be published by researchers in the UK this year. If ammonia fuel is adopted by the maritime industry, a ripple effect on the commercialization of the broader ammonia energy value chain might follow. Ammonia engines and fuel cells would become proven technologies and relevant risk evaluation criteria, safety procedures, and regulations would become established at regional and international levels.
Are ports the Cinderella of the transport industry?
Recent research by Sir John Randall showed: the road and rail connectivity of ports in the UK is poor. Sir John Randall visited a wide range of ports and operators and found that as a result from poor connectivity ports cannot work as efficiently as they should and therefore are causing delays. Port operators feel undervalued, as ports do not get the political, financial and public attention considering the importance of efficient freight movements to and from ports.
Belgian ports batten down the hatches for Brexit trade shock
Across the North Sea, continental ports are worried about the worst-case scenario of Brexit – no deal, and the resumption of WTO tariffs. Zeebrugge is one of the most exposed Belgian ports as it does 45% of its trade with the UK. In the worst-case scenario the port would be hit by the resumption of WTO tariffs and as a consequence not only the port would suffer but also producers and exporters. In addition the Port of Dover warned that an extra two minutes on lorry inspections could lead to queues of 17 miles at Dover and similar ports.
Bunker industry could see interim ISO 8217 marine fuel standard ahead of 2020
There are concerns in the bunker industry about non-distillate, low sulphur fuel blends, which are entering the bunker market. These concerns could now be met with a provisional version of the ISO 8217 fuel standard.
Platts proposes new 0.5% sulphur fuel assessments from 2019
Energy pricing agency S&P Global Platts will start publishing new daily assessments for marine fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% from January 2019 and continue after the implementation of IMO’s global sulphur cap in 2020. The agency will thereby help the market adapt to the new environmental regulations.
France is to increase tax on diesel fuel as country sets its heart on an electric future and taxes on diesel purchased in France are expected to increase in 2018. The level of increase is expected to be €0.076 per litre as Europe decides on deadlines for the phasing out of internal combustion engines. The ban in both the UK and France will begin in 2040, although Norway is looking to phase out these types of engines by 2025.
Diversity recognition at LISW 2017
Inge Mitchell (centre) with Sue Terpiloswki (left)
and David Leighton
At the recent LISW 2017 WISTA UK (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) recognised the contribution of two people to the maritime industry. Inge Mitchell and Ewen Macdonald were both honoured for encouraging diversity in the maritime sector. Inge Mitchell has been involved in the maritime sector for more than 50 years including a decade with DFDS shipping line. It was also an opportunity to award her Woman of the Year 2017 and also celebrate Inge’s 90th birthday and thank her for pushing the boundaries of women in shipping and opening up a whole new field of work for women. Ewen Macdonald of the Seavision charity was awarded Mister WISTA of the Year 2017 in recognition of his promotion of the charity supporting young people and education.