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Fuel a more sustainable future

Port of Bilbao record season Ellerman City Liners will start, in mid-February, a weekly direct service between the Port of Bilbao and the east coast of the United States for the multimodal transport of containers.

The vessels of the British shipping company Ellerman will dock at the CSP Iberian Bilbao terminal and the rotation will be Bilbao, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Tilbury, New York, Wilmington and Jacksonville.

With this direct connection, transit times will be reduced to 15 days for imports and 18 days for exports between the Bilbao and New York markets.

The service is covered by the vessels "SC Mara" and "Mona Lisa", each with a capacity in excess of 3,500 TEUs. The container ships "Cape Hellas", "Windswept" and "Buxfavourite" are expected to bolster the service in the near future. The weekly call and the vessels in service guarantee regular calls without loss of rotation for shippers.

Turkish Cargo cargomart Turkish Airlines’ air cargo brand, Turkish Cargo, is now live on CargoAi’s marketplace solution (CargoMART), for users in 4 countries.

In the pilot phase, CargoMART users in France, Spain, Netherlands and Singapore will have access to booking Turkish Cargo’s new services TK SMART (general cargo service), TK PREMIUM and TK URGENT (express cargo service) instantaneously on all Turkish Cargo routes.

In keeping with its philosophy to provide full visibility to its users for informed and actionable business decisions, CargoAi’s integration with Turkish Cargo is unique in that it displays non-bookable options to its users. Where other platforms filter out such options, forwarders on CargoMART are instantly in the know and can quickly make an offline booking (via call for example) for such shipments.

"We’re thrilled to be announcing the partnership between Turkish Cargo and CargoAi, as this will significantly increase Turkish Airlines’ cargo revenue opportunities from a 360 perspective. By providing full visibility throughout the airfreight procurement process, we continue our mission to bring the best digital booking experience that CargoMART offers to our joint customers.” says Matt Petot, CEO of CargoAi.

Users of CargoMART benefit from searching for real-time schedules, bulk quoting, e-booking, the ability to track and trace each shipment, as well CargoAi’s Cargo2ZERO sustainable features to support the air cargo industry’s decarbonization mission.

Following the successful pilot launch, Turkish Cargo will expand its offering on CargoAi worldwide. The worldwide rollout will allow the full visibility and booking of all its routes to more than 6,000 freight forwarders across 63 countries who regularly use CargoAi’s marketplace, CargoMART.

Air Canada London Heathrow reception Air Canada Cargo today unveiled a renewed customer reception area at its London Heathrow facility, marking one of the latest investments in improving its services to customers around the globe.

The reception area is the first part of a wider project to modernize many parts of its London facility, which is Air Canada Cargo’s largest European hub.

The revitalized reception area in this self-handled facility provides a new customer area to receive trucked shipments. Incorporating many design elements found in Air Canada’s premium offerings at airports, the London Heathrow cargo customer reception area includes a living wall featuring three types of locally-sourced mosses that help purify the air in the reception area, reflecting Air Canada’s sustainability efforts. The new space also includes improved workstations for Air Canada Cargo customer service agents to better serve clients.

“This improvement to our London Heathrow facility is the first of many investments in both customer-facing areas and our operations. The new space better represents the Air Canada Cargo brand and is a clear sign of the airline’s commitment to London as a hub facility as it continues strategically expanding the business,” said John Lloyd, Senior Director – Europe, Middle East and India for Air Canada Cargo.

The London renovations are the latest of several significant Air Canada Cargo investments in 2022 , which includes an expansion of its facilities in Frankfurt and the signing of a long-term lease in Vancouver that will see Air Canada Cargo more than double its space at its key trans-Pacific hub. The new Vancouver facility is expected to come on-line in early 2024, coinciding with the arrival of Air Canada Cargo’s first Boeing 777 freighter.

In 2022, the arrival of two additional freighters allowed Air Canada Cargo to begin serving new destinations, including Dallas, Atlanta, and Bogota. Two factory-build 767 freighters were also acquired in 2022 and are expected to enter service in 2023.

Air Canada Cargo also inaugurated its new cold chain facility at its global hub at Toronto-Pearson as an integral part of a multi-year modernization program at the facility. It introduced temperature controlled Releye containers, part of the AC Absolute solution, for transporting pharmaceuticals, and began offering specialized equine transport services on its freighters.

Air Canada Cargo continues to invest in new technologies and has entered strategic arrangements with several web-based booking platforms that allow customers greater access to available capacity on its aircraft.

Bertschi growing and invest The year 2022 was marked by rising inflation worldwide and – in the second half of the year – a sharp slump in production in Europe’s chemical industry as result of the massive increase in gas and electricity prices.

In this challenging environment, Bertschi was able to successfully confirm the one billion Swiss franc sales mark achieved for the first time last year, increasing sales by 8% to CHF 1.1 billion. “We are satisfied with our business results. This success is the result of, among other things, the positive development of the global transport concepts initiated in 2012 between Asia, America, Europe and the Middle East,” commented Hans-Jörg Bertschi, Executive Chairman of the Bertschi Group.

The Bertschi Group is focusing on the digital transformation of its processes. Last year, an important step was taken with the integration of all systems in European transportation, including the integration of customers and service partners. This transformation took place gradually, all the while carefully considering each and every employee. People, with their know-how and personal commitment to our customers, remain the focus at Bertschi, even in the new digital world. Further steps are planned for 2023 – including in the global logistics business.

The Bertschi Group is developing and implementing its digitalization concepts and the software required for this largely independently, with a team of 80 employees, including 50 software developers.

In 2022, Bertschi once again made targeted investments of CHF 120 million in expanding sustainable logistics infrastructure, expanding the tank and silo container fleet to 42,000 units (+5%) and the digital transformation. “By making these investments, we are focusing on shifting transportation from the road to the environmentally and climate friendly rail. For example, last year, the doubling of capacity in our intermodal terminal at our site in Terneuzen, The Netherlands, not only enabled an expansion of the range of services we offer our customers; it also contributes to the EU’s Green Deal,” remarked Jan Arnet, CEO of the Bertschi Group.

With the construction of the new logistics center for dangerous liquid chemicals in Zhangjiagang (China), which is close to Shanghai, an important investment was completed in mid-2022 after several years of planning and construction. This storage and filling center with a capacity of 25,000 tons of liquid products for storage in tank containers and 25,000 tons of packed goods, as well as automated filling facilities, is now considered one of the safest and most sustainable chemical logistics centers in all of China, according to our international customers. Following a successful trial operation period, the facility received its final operating license in January 2023. “Thanks to the logistic hub’s strategically excellent position on the Yangtze River Delta, close to Shanghai, and its direct accessibility by water, this infrastructure is ideally positioned to offer our customers in the global tank container business not only transport services, but also sustainable door-to-door supply chains,” explained Hans-Joerg Bertschi.

As a result of the high rate of inflation and the associated interest rate increases, the global economy weakened significantly in the second half of 2022. European chemical producers are also suffering from the massive rise in energy prices, which is leading to facilities being closed and production being relocated overseas. The economic downturn is expected to become more pronounced in 2023. This is reflected in significantly lower demand for logistics services. At the same time, Bertschi is exposed to the sharp increase in energy costs of rail operators in European intermodal transport, which makes the company’s services significantly more expensive. “As a company, we are in a very good position that will enable us to survive in this challenging environment, and we are cautiously optimistic that demand will recover in the second half of the year,” stated Jan Arnet.

Despite the challenging outlook, Bertschi is planning to make significant investments in the company’s future in 2023. The focus remains on the sustainability of logistics. In January of this year, work started on the construction of a major rail terminal in Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe. The terminal also incorporates value-added services. Containers arriving in Antwerp from overseas can thus be delivered directly by barge to the new rail terminal, stored there and then intermodally distributed by rail across all of Europe. This will be achieved without burdening the road network right until the arrival at the destination terminal.

When it comes to sustainability, Bertschi Group is a pioneer and market leader in intermodal chemical logistics. The successful transfer of more than 90% of all transportation from the road to environmentally and climate-friendly rail and water routes, enables a 70% saving on CO2 emissions compared to direct road transport. “In our corporate strategy, we have set ourselves binding targets and defined a broad action plan to reduce our CO2 emissions further,” explained Hans-Joerg Bertschi.

As part of this strategic objective, in 2022 terminal vehicles in The Netherlands were converted from conventional diesel to run on HVO biodiesel. Hydrated vegetable oil (HVO) is a renewable fuel and generates 90% less CO2 emissions than normal diesel. At the Birrfeld terminal, the buildings have been fitted with photovoltaic installations to generate electricity. Both these CO2 reduction measures – renewable fuels and solar collectors – will also be used at other Bertschi sites in future.

In 2022, Bertschi introduced the GLEC (Global Logistics Emissions Council) approach, which is a new method for calculating the CO2 emissions of all its transport services in Europe. Using this method, it is now possible to calculate the exact CO2 emissions for each variant of transport and transparently make them available to customers. We want to offer customers different transport options, with the aim of further reducing the carbon footprint together. In this context, we are preparing to offer our customers alternatives such as hydrogen- and electric-drive vehicles for pre- and onward carriage by road to rail and water transshipment terminals in future. An expansion of this GLEC approach to global transports will be initiated in 2023.

Zongten selects WFS Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has been awarded a contract to handle Zongteng Group’s new Boeing 777 freighter flights at Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport.

Zongteng Group is a leading provider of cross-border e-commerce services, including fulfilment and customised supply chain solutions provided by its sub-brands, YunExpress, Elogistic and Worldtech, and reported a turnover in 2021 of €3.85 billion. The new Shenzhen-Paris freighter route is the company’s latest initiative to realise the immense potential of Sino-European cross-border trade.

The new 777F service will provide 15,000 tonnes of annual cargo capacity, providing Zongteng Group customers with highly reliable e-commerce logistics services and optimised lead times. In Q3 2023, the Group expects to add a second Boeing 777F to increase its Shenzhen-Paris CDG operations to 6-8 flights per week and lift its available capacity to a projected 28,000 tonnes per annum.

WFS has been appointed to provide ramp and cargo handling services for the cargo flights at Paris CDG, which are operated by Zongteng Group in collaboration with Central Airlines.

“WFS is proud to be using its ramp and cargo handling expertise at Paris CDG to support the launch and growth ambitions of Zongteng Group’s new 777 freighter services. The strong growth in demand for cross-border e-commerce capacity from China to Europe requires more cargo capacity as well as the support of fast and reliable handling on the ground in order to meet customers’ service expectations. We are confident this partnership between Zongteng and WFS will deliver these high service standards,” said Laurent Bernard, VP Cargo France at WFS.

FedEx small grant contest FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) today announced the upcoming launch of its 11th annual Small Business Grant Contest, which will award more than $330,000 in grants and services to ten (10) U.S.- based small businesses.

The entry period will be open January 31 until February 21, 2023. After an initial judging period, 100 businesses will be selected as the Top 100 finalists and also take home some prizes. The ten grand prize winners will be announced on May 11, 2023. Qualifying businesses can submit their entries and review contest rules at www.fedex.com/grantcontest.

“Since 2012, we’ve helped small business owners achieve their dreams by growing and expanding their ventures through our Grant Contest,” said Jenny Robertson, senior vice president Integrated Marketing & Communications, FedEx. “FedEx will soon celebrate fifty years of connecting people and possibilities with small businesses serving as a crucial part of our success. We can’t wait to see who wins this year and what the future holds for these incredible entrepreneurs.”

Each of the 2023 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest grand prize winners will receive $30,000 plus a $1,000 FedEx Office print credit, a $300 voucher from My FedEx Rewards, and access to FedEx Premier Customer Service. All winners will also receive, a sustainable packaging consult from FedEx Packaging Lab, a digital consult from the FedEx Digital Sales Solutions team, 20% off of a SEO monthly plan from HigherVisibility, a mentorship session with select member-founders in Entrepreneurs’ Organization, an invite to attend a FedEx Grant Winner Forum, a feature on the FedEx Small Business Center, and an international trade dictionary courtesy of FedEx. Additionally, one of the winners who is also a veteran-owned small business will be awarded an additional $20,000 courtesy of United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Small Business Insurance.

The grant winners won’t be the only ones going home with prizes. The Top 100 finalists will receive a financial consultation with Accion Opportunity Fund. The finalists will also be provided with free access to the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (I.C.I.C.) Annual Conference, its Digital Learning Platform, and access to up to three of its webinars.

An exciting new addition to this year’s contest is the People’s Choice Awards, a 10-day voting period in which the public gets to vote for a daily winner among all of the entrants. The People’s Choice Awards provides entrants a chance to win one of ten $1,000 digital cash gift cards. From February 27 to March 8, 2023, one gift card per day will be awarded to the qualified small business with the highest number of likes on their entry that day.

The 2023 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is open to U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have 1-99 employees, have been in operations selling a product or service for six months or more as of January 31, 2023, and have a shipping and printing need. To enter, participants must visit www.fedex.com/grantcontest and enter their business information (including their FedEx shipping account number), write a short profile about their business, and upload up to four photos of their business or product, including their logo. While not required, participants also have the option of submitting a short “elevator pitch” video to supplement their entry. People’s Choice Voting will take place February 27 to March 8, 2023. The Top 100 finalists will be announced April 12, 2023. Following an additional judging period, winners will be announced May 11, 2023.

The 2022 contest attracted close to 18,000 entrants from across the United States. Over the past ten years, more than 68,000 businesses have entered the contest in the United States alone. Over that ten-year span, a total of more than $1.6 million in cash & prizes has been distributed to more than 111 businesses.

Aero Africa appoints Aero Africa air cargo management group is proud to announce the appointment of Chair Prof. Issa Baluch as a non-executive advisory board member effective 1st of January 2023.

Prof. Issa Baluch is credited with pioneering the sea/air multimodal transport via UAE into Africa and other regions and was Founder and CEO of Swift Freight International, which he headed from 1989 to 2008. Issa has also been heavily involved in GSSAs and cargo airlines in the region.

“It is a pleasure and honor to be working with Prof. Issa Baluch. We are confident that his advice and extensive experience in air cargo logistics in Africa and Middle East will guide us to the right path for the future growth of our organization and open doors to new opportunities “ said Christos Spyrou Group CEO.

Prof. Baluch added: “I am delighted to join the energetic leadership of Aero Africa and to play a role in their strategic growth plans in the Middle East & Africa."

Aero Africa is an air cargo management group dedicated to providing neutral African logistic solutions and value-added services to the international logistics and aviation community.

Emirates milestone sustainable flight Emirates has operated its first milestone demonstration flight on a Boeing 777-300ER, powering one of its engines with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The flight took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB), and was commanded by Captain Fali Vajifdar and Captain Khalid Nasser Akram, flying for more than one hour over the Dubai coastline. The flight deck crew were accompanied by Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, and Captain Hassan Hammadi, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Flight Operations.

The demonstration flight powered by SAF holds particular significance as the UAE declares 2023 the ‘Year of Sustainability’. The year will showcase the UAE’s commitment to seek innovative solutions to challenges such as energy, climate change and other issues related to sustainability. The flight supports collective industry efforts to enable a future of 100% SAF flying and help advance the UAE’s sustainability objectives.

Emirates’ demonstration flight, the first in the Middle East and North Africa to be powered by 100% SAF, supports broader efforts to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions as the industry looks to scale up its use of SAF. The flights will also help to refine the playbook for future SAF demonstrations, and support future certification where 100% drop-in SAF fuel is approved for aircraft. Currently, SAF is approved for use in all aircraft, but only in blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

Emirates worked alongside partners GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell, Neste and Virent to procure and develop a blend of SAF that closely replicates the properties of conventional jet fuel. At each blend ratio, a host of chemical and physical fuel property measurements were carried out. After multiple lab tests and rigorous trials, they arrived at a blending ratio that mirrored the qualities of jet fuel. Eighteen tonnes of SAF were blended, comprised of HEFA-SPK provided by Neste (hydro processed esters and fatty acids and synthetic paraffinic kerosene) and HDO-SAK from Virent (hydro deoxygenated synthetic aromatic kerosene). The 100% SAF supplied one GE90 engine, with conventional jet fuel supplying the other engine.

The test flight further demonstrates the compatibility of the specially blended SAF as a safe and reliable fuel source. The promising outcome of this initiative also adds to the body of industry data and research around SAF blends in higher proportions, paving the way for standardization and future approval of 100% drop-in SAF as a replacement for jet fuel, well above the current 50% blend limit.

Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline said: “This flight is a milestone moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to address one of our biggest challenges - reducing our carbon footprint. It has been a long journey to finally see this demonstration 100% SAF flight take off. Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate a Boeing 777 powering a GE engine with 100% SAF. Such initiatives are critical contributors to industry knowledge on SAF, and provide data to demonstrate the use of higher blends of SAF for future regulatory approvals. We hope that landmark demonstrations flights like this one, will help open the door to scale up the SAF supply chain and make it more available and accessible across geographies, and most importantly, affordable for broader industry adoption in the future.”

“GE Aerospace congratulates Emirates on this major achievement. SAF is critical to helping the aviation industry reach its goal to be net zero by 2050 and collaborations like this to test 100% SAF globally will help bring us closer to this target,” said Aziz Koleilat, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Turkey at GE Aerospace. “All GE Aerospace engines can operate on approved SAF blends today and we are helping support the approval and adoption of 100% SAF.”

“Boeing congratulates Emirates on its successful flight tests using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF),” said Omar Arekat, Vice President, Commercial Sales and Marketing, Middle East, The Boeing Company. “SAF will play a critical role in the aviation industry’s commitment to be net zero by 2050, requiring strong industry collaboration. We were proud to partner with Emirates on these tests and look forward to further working with our partners to enable the widespread use of SAF across the globe.”

“We are excited to apply our technology to such a milestone demonstration. The 331-500 auxiliary power unit or APU is an integral part of the Boeing 777 aircraft system. The APU provides main engine starting, environmental control and emergency back-up systems for the aircraft on the ground and in-flight. It uses the same fuel as the main propulsion engines. Currently the APU is certified to run on only 50% SAF, so this demonstration is a big first step in showing full APU functionality and capability when running on 100% SAF,” said Mosab Alkubaisy, Director of Airlines, Honeywell Aerospace Middle East.

Jonathan Wood, Vice President EMEA, Renewable Aviation at Neste said: "Sustainable aviation fuel plays a crucial role in reducing the emissions of air travel but to fully leverage its decarbonization potential we need to enable 100% SAF use. Test flights like this Emirates flight with Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel are an important step towards 100% SAF certification. Neste is working closely together with partners to accelerate the availability and use of SAF as we increase our SAF production capacity to 1.5 million tons per annum by the end of this year. We look forward to growing the supply of SAF also to Dubai.”

“Virent’s technology converts widely available, plant-based sugars into the compounds that make 100% sustainable aviation fuel possible, without the need to blend with traditional jet fuel,” said Dave Kettner, President and General Counsel of Virent, Inc. “Along with our parent company Marathon Petroleum Corporation, we are committed to meeting today’s energy needs while investing in an energy diverse future, and today’s flight is a great example of this commitment. We’re excited about this opportunity to work with our forward-thinking colleagues at Emirates, GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell and Neste as we demonstrate that we can power sustainable aviation without modifying today’s modern airline engines or the infrastructure that serves the airline industry.”

His Excellency Saif Humaid Al Falasi, Group CEO at ENOC praised the achievement as it coincides with 2023 as the 'Year of Sustainability', which was announced by the UAE’s President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It also represents a major step towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions and achieving climate neutrality.

His Excellency added: “At ENOC, we prioritise working closely with our strategic partners to implement a national roadmap for sustainable aviation fuel. This not only aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation sector, but also contributes to achieving the UAE’s goals in climate neutrality, enhances the efficiency and conservation of fuel, as well as positions the UAE as a regional hub for sustainable aviation fuel. Playing an active role in supplying Dubai Airports with aviation fuel, ENOC Group is participating in this achievement by securing and blending sustainable aviation fuel, which will help to secure this type of fuel in the UAE in the future.”

Emirates is committed to supporting initiatives that help minimise its CO2 emissions, and the airline has already made great strides in fuel efficiency and conservation as well as operational advancements. The airline also supports IATA’s collective industry commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and is exploring opportunities to augment operational fuel efficiency, SAF, low carbon aviation fuels (LCAF) and renewable energy.

The airline already runs a comprehensive fuel efficiency programme that actively investigates and implements ways to reduce unnecessary fuel burn and emissions, wherever it is operationally feasible. Some of the programme’s most significant initiatives include the operation of “flex tracks”, or flexible routings - partnering with air navigation service providers to create the most efficient flight plan for each flight. These efforts have been ongoing since 2003, and Emirates has been working with IATA to extend this routing system across the world as a standard operating procedure where possible.

Emirates’ first flight powered by SAF blended with jet fuel was in 2017, operating from Chicago O’Hare airport on a Boeing 777. It received its first SAF-powered A380 delivery in 2020, and also uplifted 32 tonnes of SAF for its flights from Stockholm that same year.

CSX double stackCSX Corp. (NASDAQ: CSX) today announced fourth quarter 2022 operating income of $1.46 billion compared to $1.37 billion in fourth quarter 2021.

Net earnings of $1.02 billion, or $0.49 per share, compared to $934 million, or $0.42 per share, in the same period last year.

For the full year 2022, CSX operating income of $6.0 billion was up 8% from the previous year and included $144 million in gains from property sales recognized from the 2021 agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Full year 2021 operating income included $349 million in gains from this same transaction. Net earnings for the year of $4.17 billion, or $1.95 per share, compared to $3.78 billion, or $1.68 per share, in 2021.

“The ONE CSX team made great progress this quarter, delivering strong earnings as our network performance continued to gain momentum,” said Joe Hinrichs, president and chief executive officer. “With the right resources now coming into place, we can turn our full attention to the opportunities ahead in 2023 and beyond. Going into the new year, our entire company remains focused on providing exceptional customer service that will enable us to win share from trucks and drive profitable growth over the long term.”

Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights: Revenue reached $3.73 billion, increasing 9% year-over-year, driven by higher fuel surcharge, pricing gains, and an increase in storage and other revenues. Severe winter weather in late December modestly reduced volumes and revenue for the quarter; Operating income of $1.46 billion increased 7% compared to the prior year, with an operating ratio of 60.9%; Diluted EPS of $0.49 increased 17% from $0.42 for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Full Year 2022 Financial Highlights: Revenue reached $14.9 billion for the year, increasing 19% compared to the full year 2021.

Operating income of $6.0 billion increased 8% year-over-year, including the effect of lower gains from the Virginia property sale. Operating ratio was 59.5% for the year.
Diluted EPS of $1.95 increased 16% from $1.68 for the full year 2021.

CSX executives will conduct a conference call with the investment community this afternoon, January 25, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Investors, media and the public may listen to the conference call by dialing 1-888-510-2008. For callers outside the U.S., dial 1-646-960-0306. Participants should dial in 10 minutes prior to the call and enter in 3368220 as the passcode.

ECU VC Firm Allcargo Group, which owns global less-than-containerload (LCL) consolidator ECU Worldwide, co-invested with Northstar in logistics startup Stord in 2022.

The parent of the biggest global less-than-containerload (LCL) operator is partnering with a venture capital firm focused on logistics and supply chain to find opportunities to co-invest and help startups test their products.

Mumbai-based Allcargo Group, owner of co-loader ECU Worldwide, has tied up a strategic partnership with VC firm Northstar to jointly explore supply chain investments, the companies announced Tuesday. Allcargo and Northstar already co-invested in the last funding round for warehousing and transportation technology startup Stord and told the Journal of Commerce they are eyeing more joint investments in 2023.

Northstar co-founder and managing partner Amir Karimpour and Allcargo Chief Digital Officer Vaishnav Shetty were introduced prior to the Stord co-investment.

“We’ve worked together in an unstructured way as we got to know each other,” Karimpour said Tuesday. “We’ve had a number of [joint] meetings with founders in our portfolio, and now we have an investment pipeline and the goal is to do it in a structured way.”

For Allcargo, the partnership gives the company a chance to be a part of venture deals across North America, Europe, and Asia, while also introducing early-stage companies to an established logistics provider that is itself seeking to become more digitally oriented. Allcargo launched ECU360, ECU’s digital quoting and visibility platform for shippers and forwarders, in 2018 as it sought to diversify revenue away from being a purely LCL consolidator.

In India, Allcargo owns a diverse set of logistics assets, including a network of container freight stations.

“There’s a similarity in mindset in terms of not resting on our laurels,” Shetty said. “We need to be out there, understanding and learning. Amir and [co-founder Erol Suesler] are dynamic and energetic, and the companies they’ve invested in have been relevant to us.”

Outside of Stord, Northstar has also invested in project44, visibility hardware provider Trackonomy, and Beacon, a UK company that recently pivoted from digital forwarding to visibility.

The partnership is emblematic of a larger trend in logistics where name brand service providers are actively tapping into the plethora of early and growth stage technology vendors in the sector. Container lines Maersk and CMA CGM have launched corporate venture arms and accelerators, as have global third- party logistics providers like DB Schenker. Investment outfits like Plug and Play, where Karimpour started his career, partner with a range of corporates to give startups a leg up through pilot programs and proof of concept initiatives.

In North America, venture firm 8VC formed a strategic partnership with Lineage Logistics, the biggest US cold chain services provider, in 2021.
Similarly, Suesler said Northstar focuses on providing not just capital, but introductions to key corporate partners across regions, which gives companies in its portfolio a foothold in new geographies in which they previously had no access.

“A lot of times a startup doesn’t need a third check from Silicon Valley, but an intro to enterprise customers or a soft landing into Europe,” Suesler said. That global footprint also fit with Allcargo, for which ECU has an established footprint on all continents.

“Having someone like Allcargo on our side gives us a bigger window into India, and (we’re) excited to partner with them in Europe and the US,” Karimpour said.

BIFA welcomes investigation The British International Freight Association welcomes the news of the launch by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) of a public consultation on the latter's proposed recommendation to UK government regarding the retained Liner Shipping Consortia Block Exemption Regulation.

However, BIFA Director General, Steve Parker, says that whilst the trade association will be encouraging its members that are operational in the deep-sea container market to read the proposal document, and share their responses; it hopes that trade has not been presented with a fait accompli.

Parker says: “BIFA was somewhat surprised that as part of the announcement, the CMA issued a provisional position which in effect only gives one position - the extension of a potentially modified CBER into UK legislation.”

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on whether the UK government should keep a similar block exemption regime for the liner shipping industry, as the retained CBER originating from EU law will expire on 24th April 2024.

In the recent past, the UK’s main trade association for freight forwarding and logistics companies has said that its members are extremely concerned that practices undertaken by container shipping lines, as well as easements and exemptions provided to them under competition law, have been distorting the operations of the free market to the detriment of international trade.

Parker adds: “BIFA, and its members, are not anti-shipping line. The association wants to ensure that there is a suitable balance between them as carriers, and our members as customers, points made during meetings with the CMA in 2022.

“The facts speak for themselves. During a period that has seen EU block exemption regulations carried forward into UK law, there has been huge market consolidation.

“The pandemic highlighted and accelerated this development, and contributed to dreadful service levels and hugely inflated rates, with carriers allocating vessels to the most profitable routes with little regard to the needs of their customers.

“The market conditions have changed significantly since last year when we were pressing for this review, however, the potential for issues resulting from the carrier’s vertical integration of their operations remain.”

BIFA is pleased to see the CMA consultation taking place, as it will give all parties the opportunity to make comments, good or bad, about the current state of the container shipping industry.

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