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First flight out for Hungarian horses

BUDAPEST: August 15, 2017. Cargolux and Hellmann Worldwide Logistics have flown 14 Hungarian-bred racehorses from Budapest via Luxembourg and Beijing to Wuhan, China. This was the first such flight since Hungary obtained a license last year to export horses by air.

Budapest Cargolux horses 2Handlers and vets accompanied the Friesian and Shagya Arabian bloodstock, trained for the equestrian sport of combined driving, on one of Cargolux's three flights a week linking Budapest with Luxembourg where the horses rested prior to their 12-hour onward flight to Beijing.

"These were unforgettable moments in our company's life and we are really proud of this success story," said Dénes Szigeti, airfreight manager for Hellmann Worldwide Logistics in Hungary. "We were making history, No forwarder has ever transported horses from Budapest Airport to China directly by regular flight.

"Our whole special live animal team was working on this transportation project side by side which was a great success. Special thanks to the Hungarian live animal team for their dedication and hard work and also special thanks to all of the involved parties who helped us. Our dream has come true," he added.

Since the 2008 Olympics equestrian sports and events have become increasingly popular in China with more than half a million Chinese riding on a regular basis every year. As a result, there is a growing market demand for importing sport and breeding horses.

Budapest Airport, which handled more than 72,000 tons of air cargo during the first seven months of 2017 - an increase of nearly 20 percent year-on-year – is planning to build its own live animal facilities to cater for the growth in exports.

European Commission supports HNA purchase of Frankfurt-Hahn airport

FRANKFURT HAHN: August 10, 2017. The HNA Group has completed its acquisition of Frankfurt-Hahn airport from the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The purchase price was €15.1 million for an 82.5 percent stake.

The move follows a decision by the European Commission on July 31 to allow state aid for the loss-making airport to continue until "private investment enables its return to viability".

Frankfurt Hahn airportAccording to the Commission's 2014 Aviation Guidelines, public funding is allowed to cover the operating losses of smaller regional airports in the EU if a credible business plan demonstrates a return to viability by April 2024.

The Commission said public funding would continue to cover the airport's operating losses while the HNA Group enables a return to profitability by 2023. According to the Rhineland-Palatinate government, Frankfurt-Hahn is responsible for 11,000 jobs in the region.

In the first half of 2017 air cargo volume increased 52 percent year-on-year to reach 49.000 tonnes. In June the airport handled 8,670 tonnes of airfreight, a 101 percent increase over the same month in 2016.

In May 2017 HNA Group became the largest shareholder in Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest financial services provider. China became Germany's largest trading partner for the first time last year, with bilateral trade volume exceeding US$151 billion.

The HNA Group was formed in 1993 to encourage tourism on Chna's tropical island of Hainan. A US$25 million investment in the company's start-up airline by George Soros provided timely credibility. Since then the group has expanded its global interests to cover banking, real estate, hotels, retail, aircraft leasing, shipbuilding and 'eco-tech'. In 2016 it reported revenue of US$29.56 billion.

As of December 2016 HNA operated 1,250 airplanes flying to over 260 cities worldwide via Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Capital Airlines, Deer Jet, Lucky Air, West Air, Fuzhou Airlines, Urumqi Air, Beibu Gulf Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines, Guilin Airlines, Chang'an Airlines, Africa World Airlines, and Aigle Azur.

HNA says by "incorporating traditional Chinese culture and integrating Chinese socialist values with a world-class management system", its business fosters a corporate culture befitting both Chinese and western society.

Fortune 50 companies back no-fee recruitment in supply chains

NEW YORK, NY: AUGUST 07, 2017. Ford, General Motors, Hormel Foods, Marriott Hotels and Michael Kors have agreed to promote ethical labor policies in their global supply chains including no-fee recruitment.

The International Labor Organization estimates at least 21 million people are trapped in conditions of modern slavery that generates over US$150 billion in annual profits for direct and third party employers in agriculture, apparel, construction, electronics and manufacturing.

Forced laborAccording to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), whose 300 members have US$200 billion under management, migrant job seekers are charged high fees and forced to surrender their passports by labor brokers who then entrap them in bonded labor, a form of modern-day slavery.

An ICCR 'No Fees' initiative aims to drive the adoption of company policies that ensure employees never pay recruitment fees for jobs, have a clear written contract, and do not lose access to their identity documents.

Mary Beth Gallagher, from the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment who led the discussions with Ford and GM commented: "Multinational corporations can have tremendous influence on the issue by setting expectations through their vast supply chains, which is why these policies are so important. We applaud Ford, General Motors, Hormel, and others for their leadership in adopting the 'no fees' policy and strongly urge all companies to make similar pledges to make the recruitment process more just."

Head of the ICCR initiative Valentina Gurney added: "Brands are waking up to the fact that controlling labor recruitment at all levels of the supply chain is a corporate responsibility. With these new commitments, we see real momentum building and we congratulate these five companies for stepping out on this important issue."

Now in its 46th year, ICCR is a coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions and NGOs.

XPO on the M&A road again

GREENWICH, CT: August 04, 2017. XPO Logistics has reported a net income of US$73.2 million on revenue of US$7.3 billion for the first six months of 2017. Figures for the same period last year were US$24.1 million and US$7.23 billion respectively.

For the second quarter ending June 30, net income was US$51.9 million on revenue of US$3.76 billion.

XPO MAChairman and CEO Bradley Jacobs said the company planned to expand its last mile network with 10 new hubs by the end of the year and have 55 across the U.S. at the beginning of 2018.

"Our plan is to grow that [number] to 85 hubs by the end of 2018. We're doing that so that we'll get close to the customer and reduce transit times. And with this network, we'll be within 100-some-odd miles of 90 percent of the entire U.S. population."

Asked about future M&A activity with the "winding down" of the Norbert Dentressangle and Conway integrations, Jacobs said XPO was going to pursue the M&A market and could pay "up to US$7 billion or US$8 billion for an acquisition without raising more equity and without going over five times EBITDA on the leverage."

Jacobs acknowledged he didn't expect "bigger deals soon because we're just starting conversations and these things take time", but admitted the company is discussing smaller acquisitions with a purchase price "in the hundreds and millions of dollars, not in the billions of dollars" with a primary focus on Western Europe and North America.

"M&A takes a lot of effort, there's a lot of time that goes into it. It puts stress on the organization. There is risk involved in it, that's all fine as long as there is a big return from that," he continued. "So we are not interested in doing a deal or deals that are dilutive to earnings or free cash flow. That's not going to get us a gold star."

Politics not economics key to inequality says research

BOSTON: July 17, 2017. Research by Oxfam suggests the poorest half of the world's population has received one percent of the total increase in global wealth since 2000, while the top one percent has received 50 percent.

According to a new "work in progress" index published by Oxfam and Development Finance International, no country is doing enough to reduce the gap between rich and poor, including social spending, taxation policies, and labor rights.

"While many leaders pay lip-service to the dangers of extreme inequality and the urgency to tackle it, this index shows that not one government is doing enough," said Paul O'Brien, vice president of Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam America. "This is most certainly true here in the United States, where president Trump campaigned against what he called a 'rigged system' that favors the rich, but is now delivering the opposite."

OxfamDFI indexDFI and Oxfam say governments are not powerless to reverse a trend that the World Bank forecasts will see half a billion people still living in extreme poverty by 2030: "Our findings show that a number of governments including Sweden, Chile, Uruguay and Namibia have shown they can buck the trend of growing inequality by taking clear steps to reduce it."

Of the 152 countries surveyed, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark top the index (right) because of high levels of social spending and good protections for workers; while Nigeria, Bahrain and Myanmar come bottom due to "exceptionally low levels of government spending on health, education and social protection; an extremely bad record on labor and women's rights; and, particularly in the case of Bahrain and Nigeria, a tax system that overburdens the poorest in society and fails to tax its wealthiest citizens," according to the Oxfam/DFI report.

"Tackling inequality is about political will. Across the globe ordinary people are suffering the consequences of political failure in the form of underfunded schools, inadequate tax collection, and low paid insecure jobs," added DFI director Matthew Martin.

The U.S. ranks No. 23 behind France (No.8), Australia (No.14), Canada (No.15), the UK (No.17) and South Africa (No.21). One in four of the top 50 countries on the index are low or middle-income - suggesting tackling inequality is as much about politics as it is economics.

Oxfam and DFI estimate Trump's proposed policies on tax reform, social spending and labor rights could see the U.S. fall below Greece and Spain on future editions of the index.

"Our hope with this index is to build a public conversation about how to tackle this crisis. Governments need to build fairer tax systems, uphold the rights of workers, and invest more money in our public services, here at home and around the world," continued O'Brien. "It's time to make our economies work for all of us, not just a few."

Hyperloop One lifts off

NEW YORK: August 02, 2017. Following a successful first test last month, the vacuum transport system built by Hyperloop One has now reached a speed of 192 miles per hour at its DevLoop track in the Nevada desert.

XP-1, the company's first-generation transport pod, accelerated for 300 meters above a track using magnetic levitation in a tube depressurized to equal air at 200,000 feet above sea level.

HYPERLOOP "This is the beginning, and the dawn of a new era of transportation," said company executive chairman and co-founder Shervin Pishevar. "We've reached historic speeds of 310 kilometers an hour, and we're excited to finally show the world the XP-1 going into the Hyperloop One tube."

Using electromagnetic propulsion and magnetic levitation, Hyperloop One plans to transport passengers and cargo inside a 28-feet pod made of structural aluminum and lightweight carbon fiber.

"We've proven that our technology works, and we're now ready to enter into discussions with partners, customers and governments around the world about the full commercialization of our Hyperloop technology," said company CEO Rob Lloyd. "We're excited about the prospects and the reception we've received from governments around the world to help solve their mass transportation and infrastructure challenges."

In October last year DP World became a "significant investor" in the company with a reported US$50 million for continued research and development.

The move followed a Hyperloop feasibility study published in September to link the city of Hunchun in northeast China with the Russian port of Zarubino.

Commissioned by Caspian Venture Capital, a US$300 million fund set up by Summa Group chairman Ziya Magomedov, the report said it would take four years and an estimated US$1.5-2.1 billion to build a 65 kilometer-long hyperloop line between the two cities.

In the same month, DP World and Summa signed an MoU to explore investment opportunities in ports, special economic zones and inland logistics facilities in the Russian Federation – including Vladivostok and Zarubino.

Summa chairman Magomedov and DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem have since joined the Hyperloop One board.

100 companies can save the planet

LONDON: July 10, 2017: New research from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reveals that 71 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) since 1998, when human-induced climate change was officially recognized, can be traced to 100 fossil fuel producers.

From 1988 to 2015, just 25 fossil fuel producers are linked to 51 percent of global industrial GHG emissions with the highest publicly-quoted companies being ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Peabody, Total, and BHP Billiton; and state-owned entities such as Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, National Iranian Oil, Coal India, Pemex, CNPC and Chinese coal - of which the Shenhua Group & China National Coal are key players.

Exxon-MobilThe data also reveals that fossil fuel company operations and products worldwide have released more emissions in the last 28 years than in the previous 237. Between 1988 and 2015 they produced 833 gigatonnes of CO2, compared to 820 gigatonnes from 1751 to 1988.

The CDP says if the trend in fossil fuel extraction continues at the same rate over the next 28 years, global average temperatures would rise by 4ºC by the end of the century – leading to substantial species extinction and large food scarcity risks worldwide.

Technical director of the CDP Pedro Faria noted: "This ground-breaking report pinpoints how a relatively small set of just 100 fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions.

"That puts a significant responsibility on those investors to engage with carbon majors and urge them to disclose climate risk and set ambitious emission reduction targets to ensure they are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement."

Richard Heede of The Climate Accountability Institute that co-produced the report added: "Fossil fuel majors will have to demonstrate leadership by contributing to the low carbon transition at the scale and pace required."

CDP is a global platform for environmental disclosure, insight and action for investors, companies, cities, states and regions.

The organization's latest data says the top 25 emission producers in order of magnitude are: China (Coal), 
Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco), Gazprom OAO, 
National Iranian Oil Co, 
ExxonMobil Corp, 
Coal India, 
Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Russia (Coal), 
Royal Dutch Shell PLC, 
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), 
Chevron Corp, 
Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), 
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, 
Poland Coal, 
Peabody Energy Corp, 
Sonatrach SPA, 
Kuwait Petroleum Corp, 
Total SA, 
BHP Billiton Ltd,
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras),
Lukoil OAO,
Rio Tinto,
Nigerian National Petroleum Corp,
Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas),
Rosneft OAO,
Arch Coal Inc,
Iraq National Oil Co, and
Eni SPA.

In March this year ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods announced his company would invest US$20 billion over the next decade to expand its manufacturing capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Turkey logistics investment continues

ISTANBUL: July 27, 2017. Private equity manager Abraaj Group has acquired an unspecified "significant minority" stake in Netlog Lojistik Hizmetleri, one of Turkey's largest integrated logistics companies.

Sahap and Gokalp Cak, who founded Netlog in 2003, will retain a majority share and continue to manage the company that operates 3,200 trucks in support of a range of industrial sectors including FMCG, food and beverage, retail and fashion.

NETLOGCommenting on the investment Netlog chairman Sahap Çak said: "Having grown Netlog to become one of Turkey's top 100 companies, we are excited to embark on this new journey with Abraaj. They recognize the value the Netlog leadership and senior management team have brought to the business and are fully aligned with our growth plans."

Netlog offers a range of supply chain solutions including warehousing, domestic and international trucking and freight forwarding via a network of over 65 warehouses, with a combined area of more than 1.1 million square meters.

The company's PolarXP subsidiary operates a warehouse and distribution network for temperature-controlled logistics and another subsidiary, Bleckmann, provides e-commerce services for the fashion industry in Belgium, the Netherlands, UK and U.S.

Vice chairman Gökalp Çak noted: "With Abraaj we have found a partner that shares our commitment to accelerate [the company's] growth and widen our value-added services, such as temperature-controlled logistics and e-commerce logistics, across Europe and the Asia region."

Abraaj says logistics in Turkey is a compelling sector in which to invest because of the country's strategic location, favorable consumer and regulatory trends, and government infrastructure plans to upgrade high-speed rail, motorways and container port facilities by 2023.

Selçuk Yorgancıoğlu, Abraaj Group partner and regional head of Turkey and Central Asia added: "Our partnership with Netlog marks Abraaj's tenth investment in Turkey. This is testament to our conviction about the attractive long-term fundamentals of the economy. Turkey's geostrategic location creates a huge number of opportunities for the country's most dynamic businesses to grow beyond their borders."

In February this year Samskip Multimodal and Intercombi Transport (ICL), a subsidiary of Netlog, introduced a fourth regular train service between Duisburg and the port of Trieste to link with the U.N. Ro-Ro service to Turkey.

"The frequency increase vindicates the principles behind GreenBridge, which combines the benefits of Samskip's European multimodal network and Intercombi's in-depth industry expertise in the Turkish market," said Marcel Delmee, Greenbridge manager for Multimodal Services, Turkey Trades.

In May 2014 TNT Express sold its specialist fashion supply chain business in the Netherlands to a consortium of Belspeed and Netlog. The enterprise had annual revenue of €120 million at the time.

Turkey continues airlift to Qatar

ISTANBUL: July 12, 2017. A report from Reuters says Turkey has sent 197 freighter aircraft, 16 trucks and one ship to Qatar since the political crisis with four Gulf Cooperation Council states began last month.

"We will keep meeting its daily or longer-term needs in the coming period," said Turkey's Economy minister Nihat Zeybekci according to Reuters.

EXPO Turkey by QatarZeybekci made his comments in Ankara following a meeting with Qatar's Economy minister Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani who said despite the sanctions, Doha's sea and air trade was continuing without interruption and would likely lead to more commercial opportunities for Turkish companies in the future.

In May Turkish exports to Qatar increased 300 percent to reach US$32.5 million according to Customs & Trade minister Bulent Tufenkci.

Prior to the recent exponential rise in airfreight shipments, bilateral trade between the two countries was forecast to increase 10-15 percent this year on a 2016 total of US$700 million.

Next January, Qatar and Turkey are going to repeat their joint trade show initiated in 2017 by Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a bid to strengthen investment and cooperation between the two countries.

Held at the Qatar National Convention Center, this year's Expo attracted 154 Turkish companies including official airline sponsor Turkish Airlines that began A330 freighter flights to Prague and Riga earlier this month. Currently, some 60 Turkish companies are working on 35 projects in Qatar with a turnover of US$14 billion.

Post-Brexit Britain to rely on emerging markets?

BAAR, Switzerland: July 19, 2017. As Britain's Conservative government acknowledges the one-time cost of leaving the EU could be £66 billion, Agility Logistics expects the country "will try to spark its economy through trade with emerging markets" after March 2019.

In a report produced in conjunction with analyst Transport Intelligence, Agility says the more difficult the divorce, the more likely Britain will seek quick trade deals with Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Brazil.

China and India, it notes, "have the muscle to press the UK for significant concessions and [deals] are unlikely to be hashed out rapidly."

Agility emerging marketsHowever with the EU accounting for 47 percent of UK goods exports in 2016, new trade deals with emerging markets may be constrained by the EU, as the report asks: "Would the UK sweep away barriers to permit cheap North African citrus to the UK if the EU, which heavily protects its Mediterranean producers, retaliates with duties on UK manufactured goods?"

Essa Al-Saleh, CEO of Agility Global Integrated Logistics commented: "Apart from the political hurdles, the UK's desire for 'frictionless' trade with the EU faces complex technical obstacles – what to do about tariff-rate quotas, rules of origin, product standards and import duties. Anything that alters existing UK-EU arrangements probably means delays and added cost to the movement of goods."

The report also notes an already-weakened Sterling will make imports from both the EU and emerging markets more expensive; lead to potential trade disputes over tariffs on agricultural goods and quota arrangements; damage the UK's role as a gateway to the EU for emerging markets; and make exports more costly due to Rules of Origin checks.

Even a Customs union between the UK and the EU would not guarantee the government's hoped-for frictionless trade in goods, according to Agility. "Turkey - which has a Customs union with the EU but is not in the Single Market - faces documentation checks and product sample tests where it does not follow EU rules for the production, labeling, movement and storage of certain goods.

"So the UK needs to establish an appropriate regulatory agreement with the EU or face border checks," the report points out.

In addition to the Brexit impact, Agility notes India's decision to replace more than a dozen state and federal levies with a single Goods and Services Tax from July 01 has led the country's "notoriously inefficient logistics sector" to consolidate warehousing, revamp road freight strategies, and invest in system upgrades to improve the efficiency of their supply chains.

The result could cut logistics costs in India's formal logistics sector by 20 percent, encourage infrastructure investment and further boost the country's surging economy, the report concludes.

Emirates Airline wins on water

AUCKLAND: July 06, 2017. Emirates Team New Zealand returned to a hero's welcome after winning the 35th America's Cup 7:1 against defending champion Oracle Team USA in Bermuda at the end of June.

Emirates Team New Zealand 2In April this year bookmakers had given the challenger 3:1 odds to win the sailing competition that began in 1851 and is thus the oldest international trophy in world sport.

Emirates Airline sponsorship of Team New Zealand dates back to 2004 and was renewed in March 2015. Emirates Sky Cargo was responsible for shipping the team's 45 tonnes of equipment, including the multi-hull racing yacht, to Bermuda from Auckland via Los Angeles and back.

The New Zealand team has held a number of America's Cup titles including clinching the trophy in 1995 and successfully defending the title in 2000.

"It's fantastic to be home, we just so proud of being New Zealanders," declared CEO Grant Dalton as hundreds of fans gathered at Auckland Airport for the team's triumphant return via Dubai on July 05.

Meanwhile plans have begun to defend Emirates Team New Zealand's win with the acceptance of a challenge from Circolo della Vela Sicilia, a yacht club in Mondello near Palermo, Sicily that becomes the Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup, likely to be held in 2021.

The club will be represented by Luna Rossa Challenge ('Red Moon Challenge'), an Italian sailboat racing syndicate first created to compete for the 2000 America's Cup. The Prada/Telecom Italia boat withdrew from the 35th Challenge after disagreeing with the organizers on the type of vessel to be entered in the race series.


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