Union leaders representing some 200 XPO Logistics employees in north-west London have called for a meeting with management after it was announced that a warehouse the logistics provider operates for retail giant Marks & Spencer in Neasden is to close.The move follows a decision by M&S to consolidate its southern UK supply chain operations at a former Tesco site at Welham Green, outside London, and is part of wider plan to adopt a single-tier distribution network for its apparel and home goods.Gordon Mowat, director of clothing & home supply chain & logistics, said: “M&S is changing and we are transforming our stores and supply chain to better serve our customers.“The new site in Welham will deliver better service and availability for our customers and enable us to become a faster, more agile, lower-cost retailer. The location has fantastic transport links and we’re looking forward to building a great operation in Hertfordshire.” By Gavin van Marle 18/01/2018 © Dpimborough The 495,000 sq ft site will become a mechanised clothing distribution centre, serving 150 stores in the south-east, M&S said, adding that its operation would be contracted out to a third-party logistics supplier and is ultimately expected to employ over 500 people.It is scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2019 with continuing development expected over the following two years. It will ultimately be able to handle 70 million items.The facility in Neasden employs 380 and is operated by XPO, with transport operations run by DHL, and will continue until M&S’s lease expires in March 2019.Mr Mowat said: “Unfortunately, a number of factors, including cost, location and size, meant renewing the lease was not viable – this is not a reflection on the quality and output of the work done in Neasden, but the result of a wider strategic review.“Over the next 15 months the site at Neasden remains a critical part of the M&S logistics network and we will continue to work closely together with them to deliver a great service to both our stores and our customers as we have always done.”Tony Warr, regional GMB senior organiser, said the news would be “devastating” for the employees, who are expected to be either offered redundancy or a transfer to the new site.He said: “The site has been successfully providing a warehouse and distribution service for Marks and Spencer for many decades and it looks as though the workers are going to pay the ultimate price due to the failures in the retail market of Marks and Spencer.“One of the questions we will be asking is whether XPO can lease the site and hopefully attract other business in order to mitigate the loss of the Marks and Spencer work.“We feel there is sufficient time to do this, given the date for the closure is over a year away. If successful, this will send a positive message to the Neasden workforce and also to workers at other XPO sites that their employer does not simply intend to walk away from such a dreadful situation,” he added.
By Mike Wackett 02/12/2019 ID 90954168 © Michal Bednarek | Dreamstime.com Global container demand growth slowed to just 1% over the first nine months of the year, as the US-China trade war put the brakes on liner expansion.According to the latest review of the container sector by Bimco’s chief shipping analyst, Peter Sand, this sluggish growth compares with a much healthier 3.8% for the same period last year.“The slowdown in demand is showing no signs of easing, and should the latest round of tariffs be implemented on 15 December, virtually all US imports from China will be subject, which will only cause further harm to the shipping industry,” said Mr Sand.“A continued reshuffling in manufacturing in Asia may offer some upside once processes are up and running, but, as Bimco has said, there are no winners in a trade war,” he said. Moreover, intra-Asia volumes, which Bimco says “provide an insight into how volumes out of Asia will develop”, were flat in the first nine months, compared with the same period of 2018.Notwithstanding the manufacturing shift away from China to neighbouring countries, the trade war has also resulted in products produced in China simply being transhipped through other countries with a change of origin certification, sidestepping the duty on Chinese imports into the US.Surprisingly however, the expected boost to the intra-Asia trade from this shift in manufacturing and transhipment has not benefited the shipping sector so far.Bimco suggests this is because volumes are being transported by land from China into neighbouring countries before being loaded onto export vessels.Meanwhile, Bimco said, supply growth in the container shipping sector now stands at 3.6%, and that it is expecting full-year growth of 3.7%.Taking into account newbuild deliveries so far of 964,064 teu, and with scrapping standing at 163,000 teu to date, this brings the total containership fleet to 22.9m teu, noted Bimco.“ULCVs currently make up 60% of the orderbook in volume terms, a figure which has grown over the past few years, from 41.4% in January 2016, and one that is likely to continue to do so,” said Mr Sand. The analyst said that of the 12 containerships ordered in October, 11 will had a capacity of over 23,500 teu.He said: “There are only a few trades able to handle ULCVs and, as they arrive on the market, cascading will lead to large ships finding their way to many of the world’s other trades, the majority of which have no need for them or extra capacity, putting further pressure on freight rates.”In terms of the outlook for carriers on liner trades, Mr Sand remained pessimistic, saying that “despite the continued blanking of sailings, freight rates have not risen substantially as the fundamental balance has continued to deteriorate”.And he warned: “This will only hurt carriers, especially as they face the final preparations before the implementation of the 2020 sulphur cap and the battle to pass on higher fuel costs to customers.”
In a recent US Army Sense-Off demonstration trials at White Sands Missile Range – New Mexico, Lockheed Martin, successfully demonstrated its radar solution for the Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) program.During the two-week demonstration period, the Lockheed team completed a series of exercises showcasing radar solution and how they will meet the Army’s requirements for the LTAMDS system, while providing additional deployment strategies for the air and missile defense mission. The company’s radar offering will incorporate a balance of mature production radar technology in a scalable, next-generation architecture designed to evolve as mission needs change. Both Lockheed Martin and its strategic partner, ELTA Systems, are working to conduct the required testing to successfully meet the Army’s timeline.According to Dr. Rob Smith, VP and GM of Radar and Sensor Systems at Lockheed Martin, the LTAMDS program requires mature technology specifically designed to address the threat, which Lockheed Martin and ELTA both bring to the program. The companies are demonstrating and proposing an innovative approach leveraging technology that is production-ready and proven in the field, meeting Army’s requirements quickly, and providing qualified systems within 24 months after the initial contract award.As global leaders in ground-based radar systems, Lockheed Martin and ELTA have several recent development and production radar programs that offer Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology that does not require modifications. Lockheed Martin has already fielded tactical operational radars with gallium nitride (GaN) technology, beginning with its delivery of a TPS-77 Multi Role Radar system to Latvia and Romania, both in 2018. The company is also on contract to deliver GaN in the Army’s Q-53 system.ELTA is in active production and fielding of the GaN-based ELM-2084 Multi Mission Radar that detects and tracks both aircraft and ballistic targets, while providing fire control guidance for missile interception or artillery air defense. The Army is actively procuring Iron Dome systems that include battle-proven ELM-2084 radars.The Lockheed Martin team is built around the strength of its global organization and supply base, including strategic partnerships with ELTA and the radar systems engineering expertise of deciBel Research in Huntsville, Alabama.With broad and deep experience developing and delivering ground-based radar solutions to our customers, our high-performing, high-reliability, Solid State Radar (SSR) systems specialize in counter-target acquisition, early warning, situational awareness and integrated air and missile defense. Lockheed’s radars are designed with the highest degree of commonality and fully integrated SSR systems. They can operate in all environments, are available in highly mobile configurations and are deployed worldwide.