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Thursday 30 April 2020

The Boeing Dreamlifter Deployed for COVID19 Cargo Transport

Boeing has deployed aircraft to assist with COVID19 relief flights. This includes their "Dreamlifter" 747 Freighter that is normally in service delivering 787 aircraft fuselages from Europe to Seattle.

The Dreamlifter was used to transport 1.5 million medical-grade face masks and PPE from Hong Kong bound for healthcare professionals at Prisma Health in South California. Boeing donated the cost of the mission.
Boeing Dreamlifter transports 1.5m face masks for COVID-19 response

Boeing Dreamlifter transports 1.5m face masks for COVID-19 response

Boeing Dreamlifter oversized cargo plane flew its first COVID-19 ...
Boeing have also flown their Boeing Business Jet demonstrator to deliver over 500,000 masks from China to New Hampshire, USA.

It is great to see Boeing boosting air cargo capacity with their own aircraft at this time.

If you need help solving air cargo challenges please contact my team HERE.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Tuesday 28 April 2020

ConRo Ships are Still Being Built

US flag carrier, Matson, Inc., added the largest combination ConRo(Container RoRo) vessel ever built in the US to its fleet.

It is great to see ships as versatile as this still being built although there are not many on the high seas. I remember when PAD Lines(Pacific Australia Direct Lines) operated ships like this early in my career before they were sold CGM Lines and after that to the US Military where I think they are still in service today.

Lurline, the first vessel of the 2 "Kanaloa" class vessels, boasts state-of-the-art green technology with dual-fuel capabilities (Diesel and LNG) and built on 3,500 TEU vessel platform. The $278 million vessel was built by General Dynamics NASSCO and debuted its first maiden voyage to Hawaii in January this year.

Lurline Photo Gallery - MATSON

At 870 feet long, 114 feet wide (beam), with a deep draft of 38 feet and weighing in at over 50,000 metric tons, Lurline is now Matson's largest ship and the largest conro vessel ever constructed in the US. It is also one of Matson's fastest vessels, with a top speed of 23 knot.

Being the biggest conro vessel, it has an enclosed garage space for 500 vehicles, plus ample space for rolling stock and breakbulk cargo, green technology features including a fuel efficient hull design, environmentally safe double-hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and dual-fuel engines. 

The garage has four decks for cars, two decks for trailers and a stern quartering ramp. Decks can accommodate up to 800 cars. It is the first Matson ship built specially for RoRo work and the first to have their own vehicle ramps, which allows it to go to ports that do not have ramps.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

Monday 20 April 2020

COVID19 Crisis International Logistics Response Team Delivering 24 Hours

My team at Depth Logistics is well known for working in ultra-demanding defence logistics supply chains so we have been called upon to solve logistics problems in getting urgent Coronavirus relief cargo all over the world in recent weeks.

As our good track record has grown so has the number of enquiries from people urgently trying to move COVID19 relief cargo. To cater for this need we have just deployed members of our Defence Logistics Team into a special COVID19 Crisis Response Team who are operating 24/7 from our Brisbane, Australia HQ.

Depth Logistics COVID19 Team will focus strictly on commercial and government shipments of urgent medical supplies, medical equipment and PPE to and from anywhere in the world. The team's mission is simply to do what it takes to get this medical cargo efficiently to the destination required and overcome any and all impediments there may be.

Our clients are drawing on the tremendous experience and unconventional supply chain channels this team has in solving logistical problems with speed and agility globally. We are treating every consignment like a mission in itself and our aim is "Absolute Reliability". This is the same team that most recently responded to delivering fire retardant for the Australian Bush fires relief efforts earlier this year.

Depth Logistics COVID19 24/7 Logistics Hotline is +61(0)730544670. When you call you are connected directly to the operations people who will respond to your needs in a personal manner. Not a call center where precious time can be wasted.

Currently Chinese suppliers are probably the largest producer of Coronavirus PPE and Ventilators so we have people on the ground there who are coordinating local deliveries and export customs clearance.

Similarly our own network of offices and agents are on hand in most countries to expedite customs clearance and local delivery of the medical cargo.

Airfreight of Urgent Medical Supplies

Currently most international commercial airline fleets are grounded so by leveraging our excellent working relationships with cargo aircraft owners around the world we have an excellent track record finding innovative solutions to get urgent medical cargo uplifted. This includes utilising Antonov aircraft which recently delivered a full payload of sanitiser into Sydney.

Most air courier type operators currently have backlogs of cargo so are not a reliable option for shippers.

Space demands on these aircraft is at a record high so most carriers are quoting daily spot air freight rates with 24 hours validity and demand prepayment at the time of booking. One reason for this is that they want to be sure that all booked cargo is delivered for uplift as any space not utilised on each and every flight could have been allocated to other urgent medical cargo.

We are also at the forefront of Passenger to Cargo(PTC) flights where we are working with carriers to load cargo on passenger aircraft literally in the passenger seats if possible. Our team has also assisted with sea/air and road/air solutions to overcome lack of carriers or coronavirus restrictions.

Sea Freight of Medical Supplies

Currently international ocean freight supply chains are functioning quite well and transit times with some carriers are reasonably fast so in some circumstances this may be an option. There is no need to prepay freight charges and the costs are radically lower than current air freight rates.

If you have any urgent medical relief cargo to move or can introduce people who are in need please feel free to direct them to me personally or the Depth Logistics COVID19 Logistics Response Team. Contact them now on the
 COVID19 24/7 Logistics Hotline which is +61(0)730544670 or a quote can be requested HERE.

Stay safe and well,

Brad Skelton

Thursday 26 March 2020

Innovative Airfreight Solution during COVID-19

The demand for airline passengers may have plummeted during this challenging time, but the demand for global supply chains and logistics are higher than ever before and require the cargo capacity those grounded passenger aircraft represent.

Showing innovative and ingenious solutions to airfreight challenges, a Lufthansa Airbus 330 and 2 of Austrian Airlines' Boeing 777s have been converted into cargo freighters. These passenger aircraft conversions were used for their special humanitarian mission to deliver medical goods from China to Germany and Austria. 

Austrian Airlines B777 Credit Schleinzer, Vienna AirportImage

In addition to the cargo compartments, the cabin - including the passenger seats and overhead stowage, was used to optimise storage space and ensure the aircraft payload was maximised. 

Special seat covers were attached and freight was securely stowed on the seats and in the overhead bins.

On board the Lufthansa A330 were various urgent medical supplies including masks, sensitive pharmaceuticals, and other protective equipment.

Meanwhile, Austrian Airlines has completed two cargo flights transporting 130 tons of medical equipment from China (Xiamen) to Austria (Vienna) both with Boeing 777s.

This shows that despite the difficult time, airfreight is still possible. Our team at Depth Logistics, through our network of freighter operators, can help you find solutions to your aircargo enquiries. If you have any requirements, the key is to contact us as early as possible.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

$252 billion loss of revenue for the Airline Industry due to COVID19.

I thought I would share a statement from Alexandre de Juniac who is the CEO of the International Air Transport Association(IATA) on the impact of COVID19 so far on the industry. It is a very bleak picture indeed.

"Airlines are united with the global effort to stop a virus that is overwhelming our healthcare systems and threatening many lives. This is having a major impact on airlines and the value chain.

On March 5th we thought that the pessimistic scenario was a revenue loss of $113 billion. That was based on a wide spreading of COVID-19, but not as severe as the current blanket of travel restrictions. If this lasts for a three-month period, we see a 38% fall in global demand and a $252 billion loss of passenger revenue—44% down on 2019.

The figures speak for themselves. The air transport industry is in its deepest crisis ever.

Where international passenger traffic is allowed, we are mostly repatriating people to their home countries as governments permit. And we are also delivering vital goods—medicines and equipment to fight the virus or the most time-sensitive products feeding global supply chains. And I will come back with more detail on cargo later in this discussion.

IATA has been asking governments to provide a lifeline of financial support. A liquidity crisis is coming at full speed. Revenues have fallen off a cliff. And no amount of cost cutting can save the day if no cash is coming in the door. Without financial relief airlines will go bust. And that could happen en masse.

Some commentators say, "so what?" I ask them to think of the consequences. Letting this industry fail will have an impact far beyond the livelihoods of the 2.7 million people airlines employ. And it will go beyond the 65 million other jobs in the value chain. If we don't have a viable aviation industry when we come out of this crisis—whenever that may be—re-starting the global economy will be severely constrained in almost all sectors. And everybody will suffer much longer than necessary.

Fortunately, many governments understand the critical role of aviation. Among countries committing to financial relief are Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Qatar, Colombia, Sweden and Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Several other governments are in the consideration stage—including a $58 billion package in the US and significant support measures from the European Central Bank.
My message to governments that have taken up this cause is to say thank you for leading. And keep watching the situation as it develops because we may need you to do more.
My message to governments that are considering doing something is to hurry-up. Every day matters.
For all the others, the potential for a $252 billion fall in revenues is an alarm bell. This is apocalypse now and you must act fast.

There are several levers that only governments have the capacity to pull:

  • Direct financial support;
  • Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market by the Government or Central Banks, and
  • Tax relief.
Speed is of the essence.


The one part of the business that is operating is cargo. And it is doing everything it can to meet demand. And that is a big challenge because of the severe reduction in the cargo capacity that was carried on passenger flights. Airlines are reintroducing freighters and doing their best to even adapt passenger aircraft into their cargo operations.

That's because global supply chains are still running. And air cargo is essential to keeping it that way. Last week we highlighted the need for governments to ensure that air cargo can continue to play a critical role. I wish that I could say that all has been smooth. That is not the case.

A few examples to illustrate real challenges that airlines are facing.
One airline ran a repatriation flight for its nationals to a country in Asia. On the return operation the airline wants to make a stop in a third country to pick-up relief supplies. But valuable time is being wasted waiting for approval of traffic rights.

Cargo crew are being caught up in quarantine measures aimed at commercial passengers. In some cases, they are not being allowed to position on commercial flights. And there are destinations were normal accommodation for crew rest is unavailable and no alternative arrangements have been made.

And our staff intervened in Somalia and Djibouti where cargo flights fell under the same temporary flight ban as passenger aircraft.

Cargo operations are vital and time sensitive. I again call on governments to do all that is in their power so that we can get the cargo where it needs to be, fast. That means:

  • Exempting crew from quarantine restrictions
  • Expediting paperwork to mount special operations
  • And doing everything possible to reduce or eliminate costs and charges.
These measures will go a long way to keeping essential supply chains working.

To summarize, my two messages for today are:
1. This crisis has deepened. Revenue losses could reach $252 billion this year. And governments need to act fast with financial relief to avoid a liquidity crisis.
2. Cargo operations are vital. Governments need to do all they can to facilitate an industry that is scrambling to meet demand.

Airlines are desperately trying to survive in the most difficult times imaginable. We have the people and the experience to see this through. But, to be perfectly frank, we don't have the money. And we need governments to bridge us to the point where we can start to recover."

If you need support with air cargo please contact my team at Depth Logistics who are doing brilliant work with Freighter operators for our clients. I am very proud of them for the solutions they are find to current challenges and how hard they are working literally around the clock to MAKE things happen.

All for now,
Brad Skelton

Wednesday 18 March 2020

185,000 Flights Cancelled Globally due to COVID19 - Supply Chain Update 18 March, 2020

My team at Depth Logistics and I are currently fielding many questions from clients about their supply chains and what is happening in key markets with shipping and transport due to COVID19 impacts.

In response to this I offer this blog post with information we have to hand from various industry sources in Australia, the Philippines and other countries.

Firstly Depth Logistics operations are unaffected. We are here 24/7 for our clients come what may during this period and our myCargo technology gives them a definitive advantage at this challenging time. Here are our contact details.

We have moved as many team members as possible to working from home arrangements and all travel has been suspended. All non-essential in person meetings have been changed to conference phone calls and video conference.

Customs and Quarantine clearance of cargo in Australia is functioning normally and most likely will be unaffected as the system here is electronic and rarely requires manual intervention. This means that even if Government offices were to close then the clearance of cargo should keep functioning.

Airfreight capacity is serious impacted but is essential to fight against COVID19.
“Over 185,000 passenger flights have been cancelled since the end of January in response to government travel restrictions. With this, vital cargo capacity has disappeared when it is most urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19. The world’s fleet of freighter aircraft has been mobilized to make up this capacity shortfall. Governments must take urgent measures to ensure that vital supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Qantas is currently cutting 90% of international services and Virgin Airlines have announced today that by 30 March all international services will cease to and from Australia.

Freighter services are operating but under huge demand. Please see our client email advice on freighter options as at 16 March. HERE

Shipping lines have most staff operating from home. Efficiency is suffering somewhat but the key is be proactive earlier than usual in making all cargo handling arrangements.

Cargo terminals for both sea and airfreight are functioning as normal at this stage.

With airfreight so badly affected the advice below pertains to road, rail and sea freight supply chains.

North America
Barely any sea freight disruptions currently known and indeed usual road freight regulations have been somewhat relaxed to improve efficiency.

The Philippines and Malaysia
Logistics supply chains are function fairly normally despite these countries now being under lockdown. Malaysia for two weeks and the Philippines until 12 April, 2020.

-New local cases have dropped to less than ten per day.
-16/03/2020 China Ports & Harbours Association confirmed, the ports in China are in normal operation now. The storage issue is much better now. The ports are aiming for 80% stacked containers shipped out in next 4-8 weeks. Hapag-Lloyd also confirmed this information.
-15/03/2020 CCTV news stated as at last week, Major ports are back to normal operation level. However, reefer storage capability still full in some of the key ports such as Ningbo, Tianjin and Shanghai. Nanjing port is full for the dangerous goods. These should be reduced significantly around beginning of April.
-Vessel sailing schedules are back to normal - Some of the shipping lines yes, such as CMA CGM confirmed since middle of March. Others such as OOCL and COSCO will expect to be back to normal from 20/03/2020, however, there is no official announcement as yet.
-Truck operation is stable, especially local truck transport in South China and East China (Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu Province etc). However, the interstate trucks are still not back to normal as there are still some travel restrictions, most of the shipping lines and our agents are using trains to avoid this issue. There is no indication when the restriction will be totally removed at this stage.
-China’s manufacturing sector continues to normalise and as an average across the board is back to about 80% of pre-Chinese New Year capacity

As the virus continues to spread across Europe, we are starting start to see first impacts supply chains. Even though many European sites and offices continue to operate delays are being experienced due to increased health safety measures at different borders, in particular at the borders between Italy and its neighboring countries and at the borders to Croatia. Ocean Freight is currently not affected
FRANCE - We are advised some shipping lines now have their staff working from home in line with French Government directives.
ITALY – In regard to the recent DECREE ‘DPCM 9 MARZO 2020 ‘issued by the Italian Government, please note it does NOT imply any transport restrictions on goods or containers in any Italian Region via Sea, Air or Road. Therefore, if your Italian suppliers are still open & regularly manufacturing shipments they should be unaffected.

Please contact me personally for any urgent attention or advice you might need.

All for now...and wash those hands!

Brad Skelton

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Neptune Pacific Line's South Pacific Island Shipping Dominance Grows

Neptune Pacific Line (Neptune) announced it has acquired Pacific Direct Line (PDL) from PDL’s parent holding company, Pacific International Lines (PIL) four days ago. This is further consolidation of the shipping market that I have long been saying in this blog is necessary for rate restoration and therefore financially healthy shipping services.
PDL's "Melanesian Pride"
The combined resources of Neptune and PDL will enable transport, warehousing, depots and customs services to be linked and will be another step closer toward integration of shipper's supply chains across 18 South Pacific markets.

The acquisition of PDL will strengthen Neptune’s Melanesian and Polynesian network, provide a link to Micronesia and the French territories. Global market connectivity will also be enhanced as they intend to hub cargo through ports in Fiji and New Zealand.
For PIL this divestment enables them to focus more on their key liner shipping markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

PDL currently operates throughout the South Pacific region and specialises in providing liner shipping services from New Zealand and Australia to the South Pacific Islands. My company, Depth Logistics , has enjoyed a close working relationship with PDL, particularly with break bulk cargo, which we believe will continue under Neptune's ownership.

Please contact me if you would like any further information or to discuss your South Pacific shipping needs.
All for now,
Brad Skelton