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Saturday, 27 March 2021

Suez Canal Blockage of the "Ever Given" Stagnates an Already Chaotic Global Supply Chain

Not exactly the news that any shippers, carriers, and forwarders wanted to hear, but a grounded mega ship has paralysed the Suez Canal, the world’s most critical trade artery, instigating a serious build-up of traffic sending ripples of disruptions across the global supply chain that is already stretched to the limit.

The quickest sea route between Asia and Europe is gridlocked by a 400 meter long, 224,000 ton container ship, "Ever Given", operated by Evergreen, after it was knocked off course by strong winds and a sandstorm early Tuesday March 23. As gusts of wind that reached as high as 46 mph swept up dust and sand around it, causing the crew to lose control of the ship and sending the ship sideways, gridlocking the entirety of the channel.

Hundreds of vessels, mostly bulk carriers, container ships carrying consumer goods, LNG vessels, oil and chemical tankers have been delayed and are still waiting to cross the canal. Carriers, shippers, and forwarders have been forced to re-route cargoes around the much longer route around Africa. The world’s biggest container line, Maersk, said seven of its vessels had been affected so far, with four of them were stuck in the canal system, and the rest were waiting to enter the passage.

The global trade now fears prolonged delays will have a knock on effect for consumer goods, LNG, and oil prices, which were already volatile. Oil companies are starting to prepare for the worst. 

Efforts were underway to re-float the mega ship, raising hope of at least partial congestion to ease, but the operations attempts during the night had been suspended until this morning.

Putting the scale of things into perspective: the huge CAT loader, more than twice the size of humans, is merely a child's toy compared to the giant ship

The world’s supply chain industry sets their hopes on SMIT Salvage, a legendary Dutch salvage firm, to save the day. The best temporary solution, undoubtedly, will be pivoting the giant ship to position her alongside the Canal bank, and consequently allowing restricted traffic. However, given the massive weight of the mega ship, the salvors may have to reduce the weight by removing things like the ballast water, and unloading fuel.

If this situation drags on then vessels will be re-routed via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa which will cause huge increases in transit time, fuels costs and freight rates in an already supercharged freight rate market.

All for now,

Brad Skelton


Friday, 2 October 2020

Shipping Industry Cyber Attacks

The Big Four shipping lines and high profile logistics companies have been hit hard, left, right and centre by the "cyber pirates" and now the IMO has been added to the hit list. 


The Maritime, Supply Chain, and Logistics Industry is proven to be no more or less vulnerable than other industries. Where do we go from here? 

In the space of 3 days the Maritime Industry was shaken up by the news of various cyber attacks. CMA CGM has been hit by a ransomware attack, which forced the French shipping giant to concede data was breached and compromised due to the ongoing IT fallout. And just this morning, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a branch of the United Nations, admitted it had also suffered a cyber-attack when its website went down yesterday. 

Ironically, IMO was in the middle of preparing their new cybersecurity guidelines "IMO Cybersecurity 2021" which requires shipping lines and ship owners to develop comprehensive cyber risk management programs focusing on five major areas or concern: identifying risk, detecting risk, protecting assets, responding to risk and recovering from attacks.

Was it a random attack or a targeted message directed to the maritime industry?

All of the Big Four maritime shipping companies now have suffered cyber attacks one after the other, starting from APM-Maersk was hit by the NotPetya ransomware in 2017, COSCO was taken down in July 2018, MSC was stung by malware at the start of this year, and now CMA CGM. We are also still hearing continuous ongoing analysis and evaluations of the impact of the ransomware-attack that hit Toll Group earlier this year. 


CMA CGM is not the only carrier to have suffered data breaches. These are quite disturbing as these ships carry all manner of goods and some controlled goods requiring high security. The shipping lines must adopt the highest possible security urgently.

Locally in Australia shippers have not been able to take delivery of containers as the clearance process requires freight forwarders and customs brokers to transact via some shipping lines websites. ANL is part of CMA CGM so they have been impacted and storage charges on the waterfront are adding up.

While all these incidents unrelated, the target is clear: the maritime shipping and supply chain industry.

According to the World Shipping Council, liner shipping terminals trade more than $4 trillion worth of goods destined to the U.S. alone and terminals are increasingly dependent of digital systems. Even a small cyber-attack can disastrously damage the world's economy.

It clearly shows that most businesses are concerned about cyberattacks, yet fewer than half have plans in place to prevent or respond to an attack. Crisis management plan to respond to the risk and strategies to recover from attacks are still being overlooked and even dismissed. 

This is not the first attack, nor the last. It is only going to get a lot worse.

In Australia alone, a cyber crime is reported, on average, every ten minutes. While ship-based attacks make the major headlines, it is the Industry's shore-based system that must now be the main focus and priority.

The cyber pirates are now targeting the shore-based systems that sit in the offices, business offices, and data centres. Cyber-based organised pirates that are targeting ship manifests and routes, container ID details and data that can lead to serious implications such as ship-based attacks that involve boarding and taking over the ships to steal high valuable cargo stored in the containers.

Internet-accessible systems need to be vigilantly and routinely maintained by keeping them updated and locked down as much as functionally possible to help reduce the threat surface and risks. 

While hiring IT professionals with maritime expertise and experience protecting ships manifests and IPs is imperative, but the maritime industry should develop their "Plan B's", corporate crisis management protocol to respond and counter the attack and strategies to recover from the attack. Let us face it, preventions may not be an effective strategy, but automated detection and response is the key.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Friday, 26 June 2020

A major myCargo upgrade + DepthRoRo.com + DepthDefenceLogistics.com



After many months of hard work and dedication a major upgrade to myCargo to make it a world leading fifth generation logistics platform. This upgrade goes hand in hand with the launch of two new industry specific websites DepthRoRo.com and DepthDefenceLogistics.com 



Depth Logistics clients are mainly in the defence industry or heavy industry so these sites allow you to go straight to the site that is most relevant to you.

Depth's mission is to deliver outstanding capabilities and informative content while making the new websites faster, easier to navigate and more user-friendly for their clients. A more visually interactive experience is available through some significant updates, great video content and exciting features, including:

Comprehensive LIVE tracking tools via the widget on both sites allows users to get real-time updates and tracking details on vessels, air cargo, containers, major couriers, and other 3rd party carriers simply using reference numbers or vessel names.

myCargo users can now search for shipment tracking updates directly from the homepage without having to login as long as their reference number matches the data held in the myCargo system. Users who login can do so directly from the widget and land in an enhanced myCargo dashboard with all of their shipments and other historical information and shipping documents at their fingertips.

Online customs clearance capabilities have been simplified so it is quicker and easier to use than ever before. You can initiate clearance on all imports and exports online via the widget on the homepage or the dedicated customs pages.

Cyber security is extremely important so data security has been enhanced to keep clients data safer than ever before.

On DepthRoRo.com you will find a comprehensive list of content and information on shipping of all manner of cargo. Detailed RoRo cargo preparation guides for every conceivable piece of equipment that can be physically loaded on a RoRo ship. The website also features informative videos demonstrating Roll On Roll Off shipping capabilities.

On DepthDefenceLogistics.com unique capabilities and credentials that have made Depth Logistics the leading Australian international freight forwarder serving defence supply chains are available.



These new websites and the myCargo upgrade are another quantum leap forward ahead of all others in the freight forwarding industry and even more capabilities are soon to be released.
All for now,
Brad Skelton

Sunday, 31 May 2020

RoRo Vessels Get Green Revhullutionary Treatment

As the search for sustainable solutions to fuel-saving optimisation and emissions reduction continues, Jotun, introduced Hull Skating Solutions technology. It is a 'revhullutionary' innovation for keeping the hulls of large vessels free from fouling.


Aquatic robot crawls hulls to brush off barnacles

The Norwegian based marine coating company, Jotun, has teamed up with one of the worlds largest RoRo carriers to put the hull skater to the test. 

While achieving 'zero-emissions' vessels is still a big challenge, but with this robotic solution for proactive cleaning, emissions from a typical ship can be reduced by 22,000 tonnes of CO2, or 12.5%, over a five year period. This is equivalent to an overall cost saving of USD 4 million. In addition, it reduces the spread of aquatic invasive organisms between different ports. 


Hull Skating Solutions | Jotun

Jotun Hull Skating Solutions is a remotely operated vehicle that inspects the hull underwater and keeps the hull free from fouling. The vehicle is specially developed for the inspection and preventive cleaning of vessels in challenging conditions. It is always on board the vessel, ready to do its job whenever the ship is idle. Once underwater, the unit is remotely controlled. The cleaning and inspection process can take between 2-8 hours, depending the size of the vessel. 

The HSS consists of five solution components; A high performance anti-fouling coating SeaQuantum Skate, proactive condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning with advanced underwater robotic Jotun HullSkater, high-end technical service and performance and service level guarantees that fit the most challenging operations.

This robotic technology provides shipping companies with increased operational efficiency as well as reducing fuel consumption and their environmental footprint.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

CEO Sleepout 2020 - I have signed up again

On June 18th, I will once again participate in Vinnies' CEO Sleepout to raise money for the St Vincent de Paul Society to support homeless Australians. This will be my fifth year doing the CEO Sleepout and during this time I have raised $6574.00 for the homeless.

Due to the current pandemic situation and social distancing restrictions, this year’s event will be held differently as it will be transformed into one national, interactive and live-streamed event. I will be sleeping in my apartment balcony as part of an eye-opening experience to raise awareness and bring home the realities of homelessness. One night is not a lot, but it can make a whole lot of difference. 

There are more than 116,000 people in Australia currently experiencing homelessness and over 51,000 people live in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings. With social distancing measures calling for people to be at least 1.5 metres apart, overcrowded accommodation can be seen as a high risk factor in spreading COVID-19.

Almost $60 million has been raised since the first Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Sydney, 15 years ago. The funds raised through the event will be turned into crisis accommodation, food, healthcare, counselling, education, employment and support to find a permanent home for thousands of homeless people across the country.

Every bit of donations will help break the devastating cycle of homelessness. Just $50 can provide a whole family with a warm, nutritious meal this winter.

Please join me to make a huge difference to people who need it most, donate here. We thank you for your generous support, it is truly appreciated.




All for now,
Brad Skelton

Friday, 8 May 2020

Drone Delivery of Ships Stores and Supplies in Singapore

GAC has teamed up with a Singapore-based startup company, F-Drones, to develop large scale drones for delivery of supplies to vessels in the vicinity.

These ships have been receiving helicopter deliveries so the cost differential to a drone is stark.

Testing is currently ongoing on F-Drones' third prototype that is capable of delivery items and supplies of up to 5kg over 50km. The full scale unmanned aerial vehicles are expected to deliver up 100kg payload at a distance of 100 km offshore.

frdones.PNG

F-drones has received Singapore’s first Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) drone delivery permit and is now scaling up commercial delivery with an off-the-shelf drone.

This is another practical breakthrough technology to meet the demands of the shipping industry and I am certain will eventually be embraced in all major ports around the world.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Australia's Loyal Wingman BATS

Boeing Defence Australia have unveiled the first unmanned military aircraft to be built in Australia in more than 50 years, the Loyal Wingman. This is a collaboration between Boeing the Royal Australian Air Force these aircraft will be built in Australia.


The Loyal Wingman will have a range of more than 3700km.

The Loyal Wingman will be the first of three Boeing Airpower Teaming System (BATS) unmanned aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms. The Australian Government through RAAF has invested up to $40 million in the Boeing Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program, alongside Boeing’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.  

The BATS prototype will have a range of more than 3700km, enabling Defence to better understand how these types of aircraft can be used as a force-multiplier, helping to project power forward while keeping manned capabilities out of harm’s way. The 11.5 metre long world-leading prototype will now move onto ground testing, followed by test flights later this year.



Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJpeWAxk2So&feature=youtu.be

The groundbreaking project is a boost to Australian economy, and has so far helped support around 100 high-tech jobs in Australia. More than 35 members of Australian industry are supporting prototype work across four states, from the ADF's prime partners like BAE Systems through to SMEs like RUAG and Ferra Manufacturing. 

Depth Logistics proudly acts for some companies that are in this supply chain and the Australian Defence Force. The team and I are truly excited about this project and what it means for Australia.

All for now,
Brad Skelton