Business Logistics News Transport

DB Schenker to open new €10m logistics facility in Shannon

Image courtesy of DB Schenker

Global logistics service provider DB Schenker is to invest €10 million in a new distribution centre at Shannon. This investment is a powerful commitment from to the company’s continued expansion in the Western region of Ireland.

“This investment demonstrates DB Schenker’s commitment to Ireland and it also reflects the strong growth that DB Schenker has achieved with large multinational companies over the last few years,” said Ray Hennessy, CEO of DB Schenker in UK & Ireland.

“Shannon has been a high-performing location for us for many years. We have strong confidence in the Mid-West Region, and the additional capacity that this building creates will allow us to expand our customer base and offer additional employment opportunities in the area. We look forward to seeing the building completed and operational within 12 months.” Says Hennessy.

The new site is located close to Shannon Airport (SNN) and has direct access to the local motorway network, thereby providing swift access to the western corridor of Ireland. The site will offer customers all services, including air and ocean freight, land transport, and value-added logistics solutions.

The new building will have an area of 4,831 square meters in total. This will include a warehouse with an area of 3,716 square meters. The clearance height will be 12.5 meters. The site will be TAPA A-certified in terms of security, including secure fencing, full CCTV coverage, access control throughout, an intruder alarm system, remote monitoring, etc.

The facility, once completed, will also comply with DB Schenker’s certifications for quality (ISO 9001), environmental protection (ISO 14001), and health and safety (ISO 45001). The warehouse will be heated and will allow temperature control in a range from 15oC to 25oC. The heating system will utilize a combination of a thermal solar facility and energy efficient heat pumps. All lighting systems will be equipped with LEDs and the site will also provide electric-car charging stations. In addition, it will be set up to accommodate the installation of truck-charging stations in the future.

DB Schenker is also expanding in England
In Tamworth, in England’s West-Midland region, DB Schenker is expanding an existing site at Centurion Park. Here, the company is investing €3.5 million in the expansion of an existing terminal facility, which will then have a total area of 14,214 square meters. The facility will employ 100 people.

This article first appeared on 
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Online shopping post-Brexit: A CCPC consumer guide to shopping online

Image courtesy of @eventsojudith

As a result of the UK leaving the EU in recent weeks, online shopping from the UK has changed a lot for consumers in Ireland and it is more important than ever for online shoppers to know where they are buying from. But how do you know where a business is based, what consumer rights apply and whether you have to pay additional taxes and charges?

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has a list of top tips that you need to know before you buy online:

1. A ‘.ie’ domain is not a guarantee of an Irish-based business

The most important step to now take is to check where a business is based before you buy. Check the business’s registered address in the terms and conditions (T&Cs) section of the website to find out where they are registered. This is an essential step, even if  you have bought from a business previously, or if the site has a ‘.ie’ or ’.eu’ domain, as this is not always a sign of where a business is registered or based. If you cannot find these details, consider buying from an alternative website.

If the registered address is within the EU, they are not only required to provide their trading name and address but the business must provide you with other important consumer protections. If the registered address is outside of the EU, which now includes the UK, then your consumer rights may be different.  If a business has more than one website with a number of different domains – e.g. ‘.de’ or ‘’ be sure to check the registered address on each website before you buy from it.  

2. You may have to pay additional taxes and charges

From 1 January, all online shopping orders received from the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) are subject to Irish VAT and customs charges, depending on the value and the type of items (see below). Before ordering from outside the EU, check the T&Cs to find out what VAT and import charges you may have to pay. Full information about the additional charges can be found at

Goods €22 or less Including shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges No additional charges
Goods over €22



Including shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges VAT is payable
Goods €150 or more



Including shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges Customs duty and VAT is payable
All alcohol, tobacco, perfumes and eau de toilettes Including shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges VAT, customs duty and excise duty are payable

3. If you are not happy to pay additional charges – exercise your right to a refund

If you are buying from an EU website, then you should be told about any additional costs before you buy. If you make a purchase and, on delivery, you are advised of additional charges and you are not happy to pay them, you can choose to refuse to pay the charges and the goods will then be returned to the sender. Separate to this, under EU consumer protection law you have a 14 day cancellation period, so we would suggest that, as soon as you decline to pay the additional charges, you should immediately contact the business (by email) that you bought from and advise them that you are cancelling your order  and are seeking a full refund. More details about your right to cancel is available here at or by calling our dedicated consumer helpline on 01 402 5555.

4. Always check the T&Cs for a returns policy before you buy from a non-EU website

If you are buying from a non-EU website, including a UK website, you may not automatically have the right to return an item, or the timeframes for returns may have changed. So, before you buy, always check T&Cs to find out what it says about returns such as:

  • Can you return an item if you change your mind and within what timeframe?
  • Can you cancel an order before it is sent to you?
  • Who pays for the cost of returning it – you, or the business?

Also check what the T&Cs say about faulty products and if there are any limits to the business’s returns or faulty goods policy. If so, you may consider buying from an EU-based website to ensure you have strong rights.

5. EU businesses are responsible for delivery delay follow-ups

In recent weeks there have been reported delays in deliveries, however, if you buy from an EU website (unless you have agreed an alternative delivery date with the business) your items should be delivered within 30 days. If a business does not deliver it to you within the timeframe agreed you should either:

  1. Agree a different delivery date, or
  2. Cancel the contract and get a refund

A business is responsible for the item until it is delivered to you, unless you organised your own delivery. This means that if a business organises a courier to deliver the item to you, they must ensure its delivery and if the item is not delivered they should either organise a replacement or a refund.

6. If you buy from an EU website you have strong protections if something goes wrong

If you buy from an EU-based business you have strong consumer protections, which ensure that you have enough clear information and are not misled before you buy. Importantly, it ensures that you have rights if something does go wrong – particularly the right to a refund. Buying from a non-EU website means that these rights do not automatically apply and therefore, if something does go wrong it may be more difficult to get the issue resolved. This is particularly important to consider if you are buying high-value items, in case any issue arises down the line.

This article originally appeared on

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Image courtesy of @Vulcan Insights 

At a meeting via video conference on Thursday (28.01.2020), European Interior Ministers discussed, among other things, whether or not they could stop the latest wave of coronavirus, and its new variants, from spreading across the EU’s internal borders, without closing them. According to Politico, a paper prepared for the meeting by the Portuguese Council presidency noted that “decisions taken by one Member State at the external Union border has an impact on all Member States” and asks how EU level coordination can be reinforced in relation to external border management.

The EU wants to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen last March when several Member States closed national borders unilaterally. European Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen, argued that “we will only contain the virus if we have targeted measures, and not unnecessary measures like a blanket closure of borders, which would severely hurt our economy, but not very much restrict the virus.”

At last week’s meeting of the European Council, heads of Government decided that borders across the EU would remain open for now, but called for more travel restrictions, testing and genome sequencing to contain the quick spread of new coronavirus variants. Member States are now waiting for guidance from the European Commission on the exact form such arrangements should take.

Von der Leyen, stressed subsequently that “all non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged both within the country and of course across borders.” President of the European Council, Charles Michel, noted “it will probably be necessary to take additional restrictive measures in order to limit the non-essential travels and that is the orientation that we are taking.” Both added that further coordination on the issue would be decided in coming days, but every day counts.

In the meantime, a number of Member States have progressed down their own paths to introduce new restrictions. France for example now requires a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure for most European arrivals other than those travelling for essential reasons. In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, French Health Minister Olivier Véran said new lockdown restrictions would be necessary in France but details were not announced. Roughly one in ten new Covid-19 cases are now attributed to the UK variant in France in what Véran termed an ‘epidemic within the epidemic’.

Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer said on Thursday that Germany was going to unilaterally ban travel from the UK, Portugal, South Africa and Brazil to curb the spread of coronavirus variants. “According to all the information we have so far, we cannot expect a European solution to be found in the foreseeable future that also meets our expectations, and that is why we are now preparing this nationally.” He stressed it was increasingly difficult to justify to Germans why schools had to close but the Government was not taking “sufficient precautions against the entry of a highly infectious virus from abroad.”

Ultimately, the European Commission can only make recommendations and it is up to the European Council to decide whether or not to enact them. Given border control is a national competence, and that Member States are facing increasing domestic pressure to act, it remains to be seen whether the Commission’s proposals will be sufficiently convincing or timely to prevent a repeat of last March’s Schengen breakdown.

This article originally appeared on 



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Business Features Financial News

The Future of the Algorithm Economy and Its Benefits for Technology Companies

Today, many companies make business decisions after analyzing huge amounts of data. E-commerce services need to process data about lots of orders to offer products customers are likely to buy. Marketing companies and marketing departments need to analyze the behavior of website visitors to send personalized emails. Video hosting platforms like YouTube have to learn their users’ preferences to deliver relevant content.

To create value for users (the output), digital businesses need to analyze a huge amount of user data (the input). In other words, they need to apply algorithm technologies.

The market for algorithms is quickly growing. We might soon say “there’s an algorithm for that” just as we currently say “there’s an app for that.” And today, you don’t even need to be an expert in semantics or facial recognition to use algorithms in your business – you only need to find the right algorithm that does all the work for you.

Let’s consider why algorithms are being integrated into businesses across the board and, in fact, creating new markets.

What are algorithms and what is the algorithm economy?

Algorithms are nothing new. But as information technology has developed, algorithms have become more affordable and thus almost ubiquitous. Google, Yahoo, and Bing use algorithms to provide relevant search results. Apple uses algorithms to make Siri recognize speech. Apple has even filed a patent for an algorithm that would enable Siri to provide smart replies when a person can’t answer the phone. Facebook’s algorithms is constantly evolving to ensure a better experience for users. Supply chain companies like Dell, Colgate-Palmolive, and Li & Fung continue to optimize their operations with algorithms. 

And there are tons of other spheres where algorithms are already used. Algorithmic tools are quietly but persistently being implemented around the world. They’re everywhere from healthcare to law enforcement, making decisions that influence our lives.

The Siri virtual assistant

[The Siri virtual assistant]

Even the recipe for your favorite cake, in fact, is an algorithm. An algorithm, in a nutshell, is a step-by-step set of operations. So how is a computer algorithm different from a list of ingredients and instructions for putting them together?

For a more academic definition of algorithms, we can look to Gartner: “Algorithms are a mechanism to capture knowledge and insight in a packaged form that can be simply reused in a consistent fashion.”

Broadly speaking, a business becomes an “algorithmic business” when it derives value from data and the algorithms that process that data. 

Gartner offers the following definition of an algorithmic business: “Algorithmic business is the industrialized use of complex mathematical algorithms pivotal to driving improved business decisions.”

The algorithm economy isn’t about selling smarter apps. It’s about selling tools that enable developers to make their apps smarter. It’s about a new stage of innovation where developers can monetize their best practices and know-how.

Why the rise of the algorithm economy is inevitable

Algorithms have already found their way into a variety of business spheres. Any business can benefit from algorithms, from healthcare to education. The main reason why algorithms have become so widely used is the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence. These technologies make algorithms more accessible to the majority of businesses.

An equally important factor in the rise of algorithms is the emergence of algorithm marketplaces. One of the brightest examples of an algorithm marketplace is Algorithmia. The Algorithmia marketplace provides access to many different algorithms through an API, letting algorithm developers monetize their inventions while offering app developers an easy way to improve their apps. 

Algorithmia’s customers include over 60,000 developers, who use over 4,500 algorithms. In 2017, Algorithmia launched a service that allows data scientists to create their own machine learning models, functions, and algorithms and share them with others inside their organizations. There are two ways for developers to access this service: using a Serverless AI Layer for setting up models in the cloud or using an Enterprise AI Layer for hosting the service in any public or private cloud.


[Algorithmia’s AI Layer]

With the emergence of services like Algorithmia, you no longer need to be a brilliant mathematician or a superstar developer to apply an algorithmic approach to your business. You can develop an app using an algorithm in just a few simple steps. Your code can be written in any programming language and then integrated with the algorithm you need through a single API, reducing the time for development, testing, and scaling.

How does the algorithm economy benefit technology companies?

Algorithms enable innovation in various spheres. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Internet of Things

Perhaps the Internet of Things (IoT) is the sphere where the influence of algorithms is most obvious. IoT is becoming more and more important. Gartner forecasts that the number of connected things will reach 25 billion by 2021. This means that growing numbers of previously human-run processes will be automated by means of devices and algorithms.

Think about home repair, for example. With algorithms, we might get to the point where our house tells us what needs to be fixed, when it needs to be fixed, and who we can hire to do the work.


The use of algorithms in medicine helps us diagnose diseases faster and increase the efficiency of medications.

Remember House? In each episode of the hit TV show, Dr. Gregory House and his team had to identify which disease their patient was suffering from. Before finding the right treatment, they made mistaken diagnoses in nearly every episode. These mistakes make the show interesting; but in real life, they could cost lives. What if medical professionals could apply algorithms to reduce the time spent on diagnosis and instead spend this time on treatment?

Prognos is an artificial intelligence platform that uses clinical algorithms to diagnose over 30 conditions. The company boasts more than 1,000 algorithms to ensure early prediction of diseases, reveal gaps in care, and improve medical outcomes.

Another notable company specializing in clinical algorithms is Paige. They’re currently building disease-specific modules to improve the clinical diagnosis and treatment of cancer. All the data Paige collects can be used by doctors to more accurately assess patients and plan treatments.

Furthermore, machine learning algorithms can even predict premature death. Researchers from the University of Nottingham collected data on more than half a million people. Then a machine learning model helped the researchers analyze a wide range of factors to predict the mortality of the subjects.

Human resources

Human resource tools already use algorithms to sort employees and applicants by roles and identify the most suitable candidates for positions. But algorithms can also be used to allocate workloads inside organizations. In the future, when replacing employees with smart agents becomes a norm, algorithms may even choose the most suitable agent.

PredictiveHire is a service that suggests what specialists you should hire based on the data you provide. Backed by a team of data scientists, mathematicians, and recruitment experts, PredictiveHire claims they can change your hiring experience through their algorithmic approach. The company has recently partnered with the management platform PageUp. This partnership aims to help Australian businesses reduce bias in the recruitment process. 

PredictiveHire predicts how well a candidate fits a company

[PredictiveHire predicts how well a candidate fits a company]


Retailers have long been using algorithms – for example, to show customers relevant products through filters and “recently viewed” features. But with the rise of algorithmic business, retailers will also be able to automate pricing, product management, and merchandising.

Celect helps retailers improve their product offerings and predict customers’ choices based on machine learning algorithms that analyze customer behavior.


[How retail analytics is shaping the future of retail]

How algorithms are predicted to change digital businesses in the near future

1. By 2022, robots will take over 75 million jobs globally but will create 133 million new ones as advances in computing free up workers for new tasks.

2. By 2023, there will be an 80 percent reduction in missing individuals in mature markets (compared to 2018) thanks to Artificial Intelligence face recognition.

3. IoT will be the greatest catalyst of business transformation in the next three years. For many companies, IoT will drive a significant shift from selling goods to providing services.

These predictions suggest that artificial intelligence, IoT, and robotics are likely to make our lives easier and more comfortable.

The challenges arising from algorithmic business

On the one hand, the rise of algorithmic business promises a bright future. But there are still some challenges we need to overcome.

Lack of contextual understanding

Currently, not all algorithms are able to understand context. Therefore, developers should take care to teach their algorithms such understanding. This is the biggest challenge in the development of algorithmic businesses.


[A messenger chatbot]

Ethical problems with using smart machines and algorithms

The algorithm economy will likely mean the replacement of human workers with robots. Of course, this is good news for businesses because they can focus their resources in other directions. But this creates a moral dilemma as we elevate machines over humans.

Not enough algorithm maturity

Caught in the hype of using algorithms, companies tend not to answer one important question: will implementing algorithms reduce or increase inequality? In Indiana, for example, an algorithm categorized incomplete welfare paperwork as “failure to cooperate.” As a result, one million individuals were denied access to food stamps, healthcare, and cash benefits over a period of three years. Omega Young, who suffered from cancer, was one of them. She died as she couldn’t afford her treatment.

Using algorithms with malicious intent

Algorithms are available not only to benevolent businesses and organizations. They can also be used by criminals and terrorists. Making algorithms do good, not evil, is a massive task for both developers and authorities. We need to work together to solve this problem.

At Yalantis, we’re looking forward to using more advanced algorithms in our projects. And we’ll definitely share all the latest improvements in the algorithm economy.

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BioPharmaChem Ireland appoint new Chair

BioPharmaChem Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the BioPharma and Chemical sectors in Ireland, has announced that Paul McCabe, Site Leader at Alexion Pharmaceuticals in College Park, Blanchardstown, has been appointed as their new Chair. 

Paul is a senior business executive with 30 years’ experience in the Biopharmaceutical industry with expertise that spans Operations Leadership, Culture Transformation, Strategy Development and Execution, Change Management, Innovation, New Product Introduction / Technology Transfer and establishment of both “greenfield” and “brownfield” site operations.  He has diversified experience across multiple life science fields including Biotechnology, Aseptic Drug Product, Packaging & Inspection, Virtual / External 3rd Party Manufacturing, API, Vaccines and in the Semi-Conductors field.  

The Biopharmaceutical and Chemical Manufacturing sectors make a major contribution to the Irish Economy. As outlined in the strategy report “Ireland- the Global BioPharmaChem Location of Choice”, the sector generated exports of €73 Billion in 2018 and invested €10 billion in capital in the ten years preceding that. The sector employs over 30,000 directly and generates a further 30,000 indirect jobs. There is no doubt that Ireland is one of the leading global locations for the manufacture of such products. Ireland supports a further 5000 jobs at specialist “Global Business Services” centres that provide global support to international companies across a range of areas including finance, clinical trials, regulatory affairs and medical information. 

Commenting on his appointment, Paul stated: “I am delighted to be the new Chair of BioPharmaChem Ireland and I look forward to working with the other members as we look to position Ireland as the global biotech leader. As home to the top ten Biopharma companies, Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the Biopharma revolution.”  

In addition to being Chair of BPCI, Paul is also a member of the National 30% Club Ireland SteerCo, Co-Lead of the Pharma Sector Working group on Diversity & Inclusion (BPCI DIB Working group) and sits on the board of IMR (Irish Manufacturing Research). 

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Business Logistics Transport

Supply Chain Management and Brexit Procedures Podcast with CILT’s CEO Mick Curran

Mick Curran has for the last three years been the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Prior to joining CILT, Mick spent 24 years as a member of the Defence Forces serving in a variety of roles both at home and overseas.

In last weeks discussion we touched on issues such as Brexit and more specifically its potential impact on transport and trade.  

More information can be found on the Clear Customs app which is free to download on the App store or alternative distribution platforms.

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Business Environmental News

Introducing a new road to sustainability for your business

What is Lean & Green?

Lean & Green is a not-for-profit, 5-star award programme developed by the Connekt Foundation in the Netherlands. The goal of the programme is to recognise and reward participating organisations for demonstrating verified reductions in CO2 emissions. More than 600 companies from across Europe are now taking part. The Lean & Green programme is available to organisations here in Ireland through GS1.

Green Business Logo

How does the programme work?

Plan of Action

The program aims to encourage businesses to become leaders in sustainability by taking measures that not only cut their costs but also reduce their impact on the environment. The Lean & Green journey begins by creating a plan of action to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 20% over a five-year period. Participants analyse their logistics processes and implement sustainable practices that bring cost savings along with the desired emissions reduction.  Modern systems, such as “Big Mile” and “EcoTraxx” can be used to help with analysis. 



Companies that can demonstrate that they are actively working towards improving their sustainability are rewarded with the programme’s ‘Lean & Green’ Award. If they reach their goal of a 20% reduction over a maximum of a five year period, the organisation is awarded its first Lean & Green star. The second Lean & Green Star is presented to organisations for achieving a further 10% reduction over a maximum of three years.

Paper Lorry Against Grass

The Lean and Green Community

Upon receiving a Lean & Green Award, your organisation will become part of the Lean & Green Community. The focus of the programme is on continuous improvement and organisations work together to achieve this.

Lean and Green Stars Bar Chart


Who is Lean & Green aimed at?

Lean & Green is for every company or governmental body that is moving towards a more sustainable way of doing business. There are currently 600 companies, with many well-known names from across the transport, distribution and retail sectors taking part in the Lean & Green Programme.

Why should my business join?

Legal Obligations

The Lean & Green programme recognises CO2 emissions reductions in line with the Irish Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2020. With organisations responsible for their own actions to reduce CO2 emissions, the journey begins with joining a community of like-minded organisations who share ideas, best practices and anonymised data within a framework.   

Competitive Advantage

By improving transport and warehousing processes on an ongoing basis, organisations not only make a positive and visible contribution to the environment but also strengthen their competitive position. Through Lean & Green, organisations are demonstrating that they are taking active steps towards making their logistics processes more sustainable.

Original article appeared on the, website. GS1 Ireland now offers the Lean & Green Programme in Ireland to support local businesses in the identification, measurement and achievement of their sustainability goals in the areas of transport and logistics. 

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SEAI’s Energy Academy Helps Businesses Cut Energy Costs

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has launched a free online training resource to help businesses reduce their energy costs. The SEAI Energy Academy can help to lower energy bills by as much as 10%, potentially even more, by educating businesses and employees on changing energy use behaviours and effective energy management. With the increasing societal focus on climate change, and the launch of the Government’s Climate Action Plan last year, many businesses are seeking to play their part in reducing their climate impact. The SEAI Energy Academy is an ideal starting point and allows employees to upskill on energy efficiency and avail of tailored online training that can lead to important business cost savings.

Commenting on the launch of the SEAI Energy Academy, William Walsh, CEO of SEAI said:

“We realise that businesses are facing very significant challenges right now with many looking for opportunities to reduce their cost base. Reducing energy use can be a great place to start. SEAI is here to help businesses on their energy efficiency journey, helping them identify energy saving opportunities and to implement  those changes. We planned the SEAI Energy Academy as an online resource so it is available to all businesses when and where suits them best. This might be additionally beneficial for those businesses currently working from home or who are planning for the resumption of normal activities, hopefully in the not too distant future.”

The SEAI Energy Academy offers practical step-by-step energy training tailored to specific business needs. The online modules and courses are quick and easy to complete and cover topics such asEnergy and Climate Change; Business Energy Efficiency; Lighting; Heating; Refrigeration; Electric Vehicles; Electricity Bill Analysis; Behavioural Change; and Home Energy Efficiency. Further modules are planned for the SEAI Energy Academy which will make it a vital business energy resource into the future, and will be added throughout the year

On completing a course, learners will receive a Certificate of Completion from SEAI which demonstrates a company’s commitment to educating staff about energy. These courses are also a great way of engaging, upskilling and retaining staff.  

The SEAI Energy Academy is now available on


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Communities asked to Light up for Road Safety on World Remembrance Day

Council buildings across Ireland will ‘light up for road safety’ as part of this year’s ‘World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims’ on Sunday 15th November.

Local Authority Road Safety Officers are asking the public to get involved and ‘light up’ or ‘shine a light’ to remember road traffic collision victims, survivors, their families and those on the frontline who respond to collisions.

Members of the public, businesses and other organisations are being asked to join in and shine a light in their window on the evening of Sunday 15th November between 7pm and 8pm to remember those in their community who have died on the roads. 

Every year road traffic collision victims are remembered on the third Sunday in November and this year, with everything else going on in the world, road safety stakeholders are not forgetting those who have died on the roads. With an increase in people out walking, cycling and going from place to place, road safety is more important now more than ever before and road safety officers are asking the public to join them to ‘light up’ and shine a light for road safety and remember those who have died or were injured on the roads.

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Rena Donaghey said  “Too many people have lost their lives in road traffic collisions in Donegal and families have had to live with the consequences of collisions. We also wish to acknowledge on this day the emergency services for their role in saving lives and to reflect on the impact of road deaths on families and communities.  I would ask families in Donegal to join us and ‘light up for road safety’ by shining a light or burning a candle in your windows from 7.00pm – 8.00pm on Sunday 15thNovember”,

Brian O’Donnell, Donegal County Council’s Road Safety Officer said: “Families who have lost loved ones involved in collisions will never forget them. This day is an opportunity annually, for everyone to remember victims and to think of the consequences associated with a collision. Organisers are hoping the public and business sector will get involved and support this year’s event by lighting up for road safety.”

Gardaí, firefighters and paramedics respond to collisions every day and witness first-hand, the consequences of a collision. Garda, fire and ambulance stations will also shine a light as emergency vehicles will turn on their blue lights outside respective stations for a period between 7pm and 8pm. 

Inspector Michael Harrison said “Everyone living in Donegal is well aware of the misery associated with a fatality as a result of a road traffic collision. Every person who dies leaves a survivor who will mourn their death. Support for the ‘Light up for Road Safety’ campaign on World Remembrance day for Road Traffic Victims is important to show the survivors that we have not forgotten their loved ones”.

On this important day, bereaved families and the seriously injured come together to acknowledge the terrible toll of road deaths and injuries and to show our thanks for the work of the emergency services.

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Business News

Startups, It’s Time to Think Like Camels — Not Unicorns

The world has changed. In the wake of Covid-19, and the global recession it has caused, business leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors are all girding for a long period of extremely challenging conditions in the global market. How can startups and innovators of all stripes survive in such conditions? Many are not prepared.

The current situation is particularly difficult for Silicon Valley, where the predominant model is to raise unicorns – the colloquial reference to startups worth over a billion dollars. Traditionally, this is done through rapid growth. The problem now, however, is that this growth-at-all-costs methodology, which the Valley’s top players are exceptionally good at, only works in the strongest bull markets, in the most optimal conditions.

But consider what I call the “Frontier”: those business ecosystems outside the Bay Area bubble, where startups have less access to capital or trained startup human capital, and where, especially in many emerging markets, they are more susceptible to severe and unpredictable macroeconomic shocks. Instead of the unicorn, the camel is the more fitting mascot. Camels are able to survive for long periods without sustenance, withstand the scorching desert heat, and adapt to extreme variations in climate. They survive and thrive in some of Earth’s harshest regions.

These startup camels offer businesses in all industries and sectors valuable lessons on how to survive through crisis, and to sustain and grow in adverse conditions, even if the metaphor isn’t as flashy. They do this with three strategies: they execute balanced growth, they take a long-term outlook, and they weave diversification into the business model.

Balance instead of burn.

Camels have no interest in “blitzscaling” — rapidly building-up the enterprise and prioritizing speed over efficiency in pursuit of massive scale. They are as ambitious to grow as any Silicon Valley enterprise, yet they take a more balanced growth path. This balanced approach has three key elements.

Right-pricing from the start.  For one, entrepreneurs in developing markets don’t offer free or subsidized products to perpetuate customer growth, resulting in a high “burn rate.” Instead, they charge their customers for the value of their product offerings from the get-go. Camels understand that price shouldn’t be considered a barrier to growth. Instead it is a feature of the product that reflects its market position and its quality.

Cost management through the life cycle.  At the same time, camels manage costs through the life cycle of their companies to align with a longer-term growth curve. Matt Glotzbach, CEO of Quizlet, an online education and study aid company, understands this strategy in terms of his cost of acquisition and his key expense: people. “You want to have a business that can survive the ups and the downs,” he explains. “Resiliency for me has two factors: one is the unit economics of the business for user acquisition, and the second is how far do you invest in headcount ahead of the revenue curve to drive that growth? This is where we make calculated decisions and have expectations for the investments where, if we’re right, we grow significantly, and if we’re wrong we won’t suffer significantly.”

Changing the trajectory.  Managing burn throughout the life cycle of a company prepares startups to weather tough conditions over a sustained period. The typical Silicon Valley startup has a cash trajectory with a deep “valley of death” — the graph line reflecting steep losses before profitability is achieved. The line for Frontier startups looks different. Of course camels don’t avoid growth or venture capital funding, but their scaling trajectory and associated burn rates will be less extreme. In some cases, as with Grubhub, they’ll grow in controlled spurts, choosing only to put their foot on the gas and invest (often by raising venture capital) when required by the opportunity at hand. After such a spurt, sustainability (and often profitability) is within reach again if necessary. The difference here is that camels maintain the option to adapt their growth trajectory and return to a sustainable business.

Camels are built for the long haul.

Founders at the Frontier understand that building a company is not a short-term endeavor. For many, breakthroughs don’t come immediately, but rather occur later in the company timeline. Survival is often the primary strategy. This allows time to build the business model, find a product that resonates with the market, and develop an operation that can scale. Competition will exist. But the race is about who will survive the longest, not about who goes to market first.

Quizlet just raised a $30 million Series C round, which valued the company at $1 billion in May of this year. The company did not take any funding until 2015, when it raised a Series A for just $12 million after 10 years in business. It took its time getting there, operating on a slow-but-steady philosophy toward growth. Glotzbach told me that Quizlet’s pace saved it from destruction. “I actually believe that had Quizlet raised a large amount of money earlier in its life cycle it may not have made it,” he said. “The risk of getting overextended with high expectations and the infusion of capital earlier on might not have been able to accelerate the business fast enough to meet those expectations. Like so many startups we would have over-promised and under-delivered.” Taking the long-term outlook is critical to manage the risk-return trade-off.

Breadth and depth for resilience.

Entrepreneurs operating at the Frontier face unique constraints which can often become strengths during times of adversity. Because entrepreneurs often are building startups in smaller markets by necessity — which markets are not sufficient on their own to grow and sustain the enterprise — they are forced to be born global, targeting many markets from the get-go. Frontier Car Group, a popular used-car platform, for example, launched originally in five markets, each serving as a regional hub. In some countries, the product caught on, but in others it did not, and the company learned valuable lessons along the way, shuttering those markets where it didn’t see a fit. But had the company put all of its resources into the wrong country to begin with, it might not be around today.

Similarly, because a rich tapestry of enabling infrastructure or ecosystem of adjacent products and services doesn’t exist in Frontier markets, entrepreneurs often need to go deep and build the full stack of supporting structures. This means that they have multiple business lines and products, and provide an ecosystem of services from day one. When one slows, the others pick up the slack. Take the case of Guiabolso, a “Personal Finance Manager” software platform that helps customers in Brazil understand their financial situation so they can manage it better (similar to in the U.S.). Unlike their peers in more developed ecosystems, Guiabolso had to build their own bank interconnection layer where none existed, give insight into credit worthiness without a robust national credit scoring infrastructure, and kick-start its product marketplace to allow its customers to make the most of their newfound financial insights.

Of course, entrepreneurs cannot and should not take this broad and deep portfolio strategy too far. Building a startup is exceedingly difficult, and overstretching across multiple fronts is a recipe for mediocrity on all. Instead, successful camels only expend resources on activities that are self-reinforcing (where lessons from successes or failures support the business as a whole) and self-balancing (when one piece of the business naturally hedges another).

By prioritizing balanced growth, building for the long-term, as well as deepening and diversifying for resilience, camels can not only survive market shocks, but can also grow and thrive in good times and bad. In short, they turn adversity into an advantage. As we prepare for the tough challenges ahead, the answers won’t be found within Silicon Valley’s insular bubble, but by learning from camels at the Frontier, who have had the solution all along.

Original article appeared on the, website. Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard University, reporting into Harvard Business School. Their mission is to improve the practice of management in a changing world. 

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UK Reveals Plans for up to 10 Inland Border Sites to Cope with Brexit Chaos

Sites being acquired as part of efforts to avoid long lorry queues at ports such as Dover

The government has announced plans for up to 10 inland sites to cope with Brexit congestion and border checks including in Birmingham, Warrington and at a former airfield near Epping Forest in Essex.

The inland border sites are being acquired to relieve ports including at Dover and Liverpool and could be in place for up to two years, according to one of councils where the planning process for infrastructure has already begun.

Among the proposed sites is a second facility for Ashford in Kent, adjacent to the recently acquired “Mojo” lorry park that will enable “about 2,000 HGVs” to queue on the coast-bound carriageway while other traffic continues to flow in both directions.

The details were disclosed in a long-awaited update on the government’s border operating model and are part of the plan to avert congestion and queues of up to 7,000 trucks in Kent.

On Wednesday Michael Gove, in charge of implementing Brexit, said of the potential for chaos in Kent: “If things do go wrong, then to paraphrase Rag’n’Bone Man – put the blame on me.”

The document sets out new rules for border controls for travelling with EU member state national ID cards, no longer acceptable from 2021 when passports will be mandatory for entry to the UK.

It also confirms that hauliers will need a “Kent access permit” to get into the county if they are heading for a ferry in Dover or a Eurotunnel train in Folkestone as part of congestion management.

The government says it will be putting new infrastructure in place at Ebbsfleet international station in Kent, North Weald airfield in Essex and Warrington in the north-west.

Along with the second Ashford site – which would be used for processes around transit including “passport for goods” checks – two further sites are being considered primarily for the same processes in Thames Gateway and Birmingham. Additional potential sites could be put in place by July next year in Holyhead, Fishguard/Pembroke and Dover.

Industry leaders including the Road Haulage Association, which Gove has accused of not being “constructive”, welcomed the report.

The government had identified 29 areas last month for potential use for border infrastructure but has already stood some of these boroughs down. Medway council in Kent said it had been notified by the government that land in its area would not be needed.

Anglesey council has already rejected an approach for a potential customs facility at an agricultural showground near Holyhead, the second busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port in the country. One executive at the council, Carwyn Jones, said: “They can’t sit in London and just look at Google Maps, and we can’t be strong-armed into accepting a site that isn’t appropriate.”

Essex county council said: “HMRC is proposing to use and operate North Weald airfield as a common transit convention (CTC) site. This is not a lorry park, but a customs facility which enables exporters to defer paying duties when importing goods into Europe. We expect HMRC to engage stakeholders, including local residents, shortly as part of its planning application under special development order legislation. The site will operate alongside other inland border sites in Kent for up to two years.”

The 138-page document will be a must-read for all hauliers and businesses and particularly the estimated 145,000 companies that have never traded outside the EU. They will have to become familiar with complicated processes including customs declarations on both imports and exports and sanitary and phytosanitary checks on both sides of the border.

Also to be put in place will be checks for endangered fauna and flora, which may take place away from ports such as Dover and Liverpool, where there is no capacity near the docks.

The government confirms that “it is the UK’s intention that EU, European Economic Area and Swiss citizens will not be required to obtain a visa” and they will continue to be be able to use electronic passport gates at airports.

The document reminds members of the public who want to travel to and from the EU with pets that the documentary requirements will change. If the EU accepts the UK as a “part 1 listed third country” the checks will be similar to now but the UK is urging pet owners to get necessary veterinary checks in place four months before travel as a contingency.

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At the Borderline: The Realities of International Trade

A history of open borders.

As a small open economy, Ireland has always been dependent on international trade. Since before the time of Gráinne Mhaol we have traded our goods internationally and, through our Irishness, we have developed connections all over the globe and converted these connections into trading
relationships. These relationships have been the catalyst that has seen our society and economy grow to unimagined levels.

With our entry into the EEC, we further developed new trading relationships, whilst retaining our old partnerships. In recent years, our strongest trading relationship is with our nearest neighbour, the UK. In 2019 the value of this relationship was £62.7 billion.

As I write this, we are exactly 100 days away from the biggest upset to trade with the UK that we have ever seen. Yes, I speak of Brexit. We all hope and wish that it would go away, instead it inches closer and closer.


Time for the talking to end

We have been listening to talks, about talks, for three years now. We have heard about borders down the Irish Sea, no borders, border infrastructure away from the border, border infrastructure on the border. We have heard that “it is not beyond the wit of man” and we have also heard about technological solutions. We have heard a lot, however, action has been thin on the ground.

On the first of January 2021, to trade with the UK, customs declarations will have to accompany goods moving in or out of the UK. It is that simple.

On 31st Dec 2020, the transition period ends, and the UK will be treated as a third country. Trading with the UK, from a customs perspective, will be the same as trading with a country with no trade deal, where international trade in the absence of a trade agreement takes place under World Trade
Organisation (WTO) rules.


The scale of the problem

We currently have approximately 94,000 Irish firms trading with the UK. To continue to trade with
the UK post Brexit, an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number will be

Over 50,000 Irish firms trading with the UK currently do not have EORI numbers. Without this number, these companies will cease trading with the UK. An application for an EORI number is completed online, it takes approximately 5 minutes and is critical for all 50,000 of these companies
should they wish to continue to trade with the UK. To register for an EORI Number, simply click here .

In addition to requiring an EORI number, all goods will have to be accompanied by a customs declaration. As we go from 1.6 million customs declarations per annum to 20 million customs declarations per annum, there may be capacity issues with the existing brokers and freight forwarders to complete the declarations required.


Who is going to help us?

So, is it better to sit and wait for a last-minute reprieve or engage in some self-help? At the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) , we will always advocate in favour of action and to help address the problem, we have partnered with Skillnet Ireland under the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready initiative to develop a unique upskilling initiative.

Clear Customs , a free, online training programme, is designed to support Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements that will be needed as a result of Brexit. This programme was initially developed in July 2019 and delivered to 668 learners. It has since recommenced in September 2020 in a virtual format with the intention of delivering the programme to 3,000 learners.

Delivered as 10 hours training time spread over five weeks, Clear Customs will train an individual in how to make a customs declaration, both for export and import. The training is delivered by experienced customs professionals and, as well as the live virtual classrooms, learners will have access to an innovative self-paced, app-based programme to develop critical skills in their own time.

The course is free to eligible applicants and is accredited by Carlow Institute of Technology. Upon successful completion participants will be awarded a Certificate of Customs Clearance Procedures
(10 credits at Level 6).


Stop waiting, start preparing

Brexit is coming. There are no rabbits to be pulled out of a hat at the last moment. Goods will only be able to move to and from the UK accompanied by a customs declaration. Without a declaration, there will be no movement.

I would encourage all companies trading with the UK to stop waiting and start preparing, apply for an EORI number, contact a freight forwarder or customs broker to see if they will make declarations on your behalf, and finally, join us on the Clear Customs training programme.

Visit to learn more and apply.

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Companies Encouraged to Seek Supports in Order to Prepare for Brexit

– Companies urged to sign up for Clear Customs programme to ensure they can manage customs
changes coming on January 1
– Clear Customs is available immediately to eligible businesses free of charge and is delivered
through a new mobile app and virtual classroom training sessions.
– Clear Customs programme named Best Not for Profit Collaboration or Partnership at the Irish
Institute of Training & Development (IITD) National Training Awards 2020

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins today encouraged Irish businesses to upskill their workforce to prepare for the increased customs regulations that will be needed from January 1, 2021.

The Minister was highlighting the support available through Skillnet Ireland’s Clear Customs programme, recently launched in conjunction with the Government’s ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign. Clear Customs is an online training programme to support Irish businesses deal with increased customs requirements as a result of Brexit.

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins TD said: “The government are sending out a strong message to businesses that no matter what, change will happen on Jan 1st and businesses must prepare now. Over 90,000 Irish businesses trade with or through the Great
Britain every year. The Clear Customs programme is designed to address the needs of each of those businesses. It supports skills development that will help prepare your business for Brexit, and support future growth.”

Clear Customs is an initiative to support affected Irish companies develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements that will be needed from January 1, 2021. Businesses, trading either with or through Great Britain, will be subject to a range of new customs and regulatory requirements from that date. It is estimated that the number of customs declarations required will increase, from 1.6 million annually, to 20 million after the UK’s departure from the Customs Unions and Single Market. 

Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy said: “Since its launch on 10 September there have been over 750 applications from companies for the Clear Customs programme. We want to increase the reach of the programme to those businesses that are not yet prepared for the
changes underway. The Clear Customs course is comprehensive in the information provided and learning outcomes achieved. To ensure they have enough time to complete the course, which is 5 weeks in duration, we would urge companies to sign up sooner rather than later. The clock is
ticking, the support is there so don’t wait.”

The Clear Customs training programme is targeted at Irish businesses, or others acting on behalf of businesses such as customs intermediaries. The initiative, which is being made available immediately to eligible businesses free of charge, together with customs agents and intermediaries, is delivered through a new mobile app and virtual classroom training sessions.

Mick Curran, CEO of CILT said: “We are seeing applications to the Clear Customs programme from a range of sectors but the majority of applicants come from those industries that will be most hit by Brexit and therefore will most benefit from this programme. Fourteen percent of the applicants are from businesses in the logistics/transport/haulage sector, 16% are in
manufacturing while 12% come from the retail sector. We are calling on businesses across these sectors and others to sign up today.”

The Clear Customs initiative is led by Skillnet Ireland, supported by the Government’s ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign, responding to the growing skills needs of Irish businesses because of Brexit. For information on other Government support available for businesses visit

The Skillnet Ireland Clear Customs programme, delivered by CILT Skillnet, was recently awarded the Best Not for Profit Collaboration or Partnership at the Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD) National Training Awards 2020. Clear Customs was designed in collaboration with key industry bodies in the trade and logistics sector, and this award reflects their focus on quality assurance and delivering concrete value to businesses.

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Your Ultimate Guide to Employee Experience (EX)

Employee experience, why it matters and what it means for the business, this article provides insight to managing employee experience and the impacts this could have on your business. In this article we will be looking at:

  • What is employee experience?
  • The rise of employee experience
  • The 5 stages of employee experience
  • Employee experience environments
  • How to improve employee experience
  • How to design your employee experience strategy
  • Employee experience jobs

What is employee experience?

From the moment someone looks at your job ad, to the moment they leave your company, everything that worker learns, does, sees and feels contributes to their employee experience. For an organisation to master employee experience, it must listen to its people at each stage of the employee lifecycle, identify what matters most to them, and create personalised, bespoke experiences.

In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organisations can create.

 Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage

The rise of employee experience

The shift from old-school employee engagement to a more holistic approach to employee experience has been driven by a number of factors – including social media, changing demographics, and more volatile economic conditions.

  • The millennial generation wants more opportunities to have their say and companies need to get a deeper understanding of a group who feel, think and behave differently to the generations before.
  • The war for talent is fiercer than ever before – there are now more candidates for fewer jobs and experiences are one of the last ways to differentiate yourself as an employer.
  • Organisations are changing faster than ever – digitisation, disruption and other economic forces are causing companies to shrink and expand at a more rapid pace. There’s a need to really understand the impact this is having on people more regularly than once a year.
  • There’s an expectation for personalised employee experiences – employees now expect they’ll be treated as a unique person, just like they are when they interact with leading B2C brands as a consumer.
  • The explosion of social media and the potential for damaging reviews to go viral has meant workplaces have become more transparent to protect company and brand reputation.

By focusing on improving the employee experience, the world’s leading brands have discovered that there are positive knock-on effects: not just to traditional HR metrics like turnover and absentee rates, but also on customer experience and overall profitability.

Employee experience definition

Group of employees

Employee experience equals everything a worker learns, does, sees and feels at each stage of the employee lifecycle.

The 5 stages of employee experience

Recruitment This includes all the steps that lead to hiring a new employee. Considerations are: how long it takes to hire, how much it costs to hire, the rate of offer acceptance and the hire’s quality. Were your job ads attractive and clear enough to catch the attention and applications of the best candidates? Did your interview process engage and reassure great candidates so they quickly accepted your job offer?
Onboarding Where a new hire gets up to speed with the systems, tools and processes and to grips with the role’s expectations. Most new employees need ‘ramp time’ to get up to speed and become productive in their job. Obviously, the quicker they can do this, the more profitable it is for your organisation. An effective onboarding process translates someone’s initial enthusiasm for their new job into a more meaningful, long-term connection to the brand and a commitment to doing great things while they’re there.
Development This is the ongoing stage in an employee’s journey, with individuals developing at different rates and across a variety of skills. As the employee develops within their role, you need to quantify their productivity, ability to be a team player and promotion aspirations. You also want to offer them the chance to expand their skill sets, an increasingly important differentiator for many employees looking to have a ‘portfolio career’ consisting of many different experiences.
Retention Employees are now fully ramped and integrated into the organisation. Your challenge now is to keep them performing, developing and contributing to the company’s success. Plus, ensure they’re inspired by and connected to the company’s core vision. It makes economic sense for a company to do all it can to keep hold of existing employees. It can cost in excess of $35k to replace an employee.
Exit Employees can leave for a whole host of reasons: they may retire, move to another employer or make a life change. Every employee will leave your company at some stage, and finding out why is an opportunity to improve and develop the employee experience for current and future employees. Leavers may be more candid about why they’re going as they may feel they have nothing to lose by being brutally honest.

The 5 stages of employee experience timeline

Employee experience environments

Employees working together

As a new hire travels on their employee journey to their eventual exit from your organisation, there are a few things that will shape their employee experience. Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage, highlights three basic environments, no matter how large or small your organisation, that make up employee experience.


Difficult to define as each one is different, a company’s culture may be what the C-suite tells you it is, what you understand of its mission, values, practices and attitudes, or even the shop-floor camaraderie when senior management isn’t in. It’s a mixture of leadership style and organisational structure, sense of purpose and the mixture of personalities who work with you. Corporate culture is the vibe that you feel when you come in to work – it can motivate or stifle, energise or drain, empower or discourage employees.

Technology environment

Imagine firing up a desktop computer on your first day and discovering you’ll be working on Windows XP. Forward-thinking organisations invest in suitable tools for employees to get their work done efficiently, with future developments in mind. The technology landscape is so vast that it’s easier than ever to give employees the tools they need to maximise their efficiency and make them feel more confident in their roles.

Physical workspace

Employees who work 9 to 5 in a windowless, air-conditioned basement will have a very different experience from those who work flexi-time in an airy new glass building with an on-site gym, subsidised canteen and chill-out lounges. Employees who are happy in their work environment will concentrate better, have improved well-being and will be more productive. And the physical workspace is not necessarily always in the office: autonomy to work from home or in multiple workspaces can also contribute to a positive employee experience.

The business impact of employee experience

Woman with glasses focusing intently

Good employees are your greatest investment, and they’re hard to find. When you’ve battled to attract and hire quality people you don’t want to lose them. Employee churn doesn’t just eat into your HR department’s time but also your business’s bottom line. Investing in positive employee experience is crucial to create an engaged workforce who want to stay with you, and an effective way of reducing staff turnover.

Companies that invest in employee experience are 4x more profitable than those that do not.

-Jacob Morgan

The organisations that invest most heavily in EX are found:

  • 5x as often in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work
  • 4x as often in LinkedIn’s list of North America’s Most In-Demand Employers
  • 1x as often on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies
  • 2x as often in the American Customer Satisfaction Index

How to improve employee experience

Male and female colleagues working together

If you only focus on employee engagement and corporate culture, you’re missing the trick of integrating all your workplace, HR and management practices to focus on the employee experience.

Combine your O- and X-data

You’ll gather an enormous amount of O-data (operational data) from an employee throughout their time with you – from basic personal details, to training they’ve received and their salary history. Combine that with X-data – what that employee tells you about their experience – and you unlock greater insight into why things are happening in your company and what you can do better. For example: O-data tells you that you spend $1m on employee perks; X-data tells you whether your employees like those perks, and if not, what they’d prefer instead.

Enlist C-suite and leadership support

The executives of your organisation will be interested in business performance: increased productivity, lower staff turnover, company reputation, excellent scores and a healthy return on investment. Excellent employee experience will deliver all these. Delivering these results in easy to understand dashboards and reports gets your most important stakeholders onside.

Designate ownership to a senior leader or team

Senior HR staff such as learning and development directors and recruitment directors will be the natural choice to own your programme and report its data and actions into the executive team. Work with them so that they understand the programme’s workings and the actions you intend to take when the data is in.

Listen to all your employees

Learn about what your employees are doing every day and trial new ways of simplifying work and improving productivity and performance, making every event along their lifecycle engaging, meaningful and personal. Where your company is international, understand that different cultures will have different views and opinions.

Be prepared to invest in workplace environments

Redecorated, light premises; autonomy to work from home; fresh new furniture and tech; real coffee on tap, space and permission to take time out to be creative or make their own customer service decisions; even an office dog. Invest in things that make your employees want to come into work – when you make a habit of asking them what they want through surveys, they’ll tell you.

Measure it

Replace annual or biannual employee engagement surveys with regular pulse surveys and open feedback platforms. Include candidate interviews, engagement surveys, ongoing performance conversations, and exit interviews to gather real-time understanding of the issues your employees face.

Our insights into the employee experience have moved on leaps and bounds – we can now give leaders the actions they need to focus on to have an impact on their teams.

– Carl Tabisz, Senior Engagement Manager, Asda

How to design your employee experience strategy

Male office worker with glasses on his laptop

When you consider that employee experience is ultimately about creating personalised experiences, developing an employee experience framework is a challenge – especially in the face of constant change. Yet if you embrace a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset and break down your EX strategy into three basic elements, you’ll be able to design and shape a compelling employee experience for your workforce:

  1. Discover the moments that matter to your employees by collecting regular feedback from across the employee lifecycle
  2. Make company culture, technology and the physical workplaces the best they can be
  3. Broaden your traditional HR functions to recognise the importance of customer experience and how employee experience impacts it

No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energised employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.

– Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

Types of employee experience surveys

It’s important to understand how people feel at different stages of their employee lifecycle: when they join you, as they develop, and as they leave. What experiences have been positive, and where could you, as a company, make improvements?

To deliver personalised experiences, it’s crucial to understand how people feel at different stages of their employee lifecycle.

Engagement surveys

Employee engagement is a measure of someone’s connection to their work and how they think, feel and act with regard to helping their organisation meet its goals. Engagement survey reviews are particularly useful at the retention stage of the employee lifecycle: they indicate how involved and engaged established employees feel in their work.

When employees are engaged, it has an impact across the business:

  • Increased performance – Research shows that business unit-level engagement is predictive of future customer experience metrics, productivity, and financial performance
  • Lower attrition – Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisation, which means reduced costs in having to recruit new staff, train them and wait for them to ramp up to full productivity
  • Increased revenue – According to Bain & Company, companies with highly engaged workers grew revenues 2.5x as much as those with low levels of engagement
  • A better customer experience – 70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same.

Additional employee engagement resources:

Candidate reaction surveys

These evaluate your company’s ad-to-hire journey for new employees. A good survey will capture the experiences of both successful and unsuccessful candidates, making everyone feel that they matter and their voices are heard, whatever the outcome. It’ll reveal the effectiveness of your reach with advertising, marketing, brand and recruitment processes. And treating unsuccessful candidates well enhances company reputation by creating advocates who had a positive experience with you.

Onboarding surveys

Onboarding introduces a new hire to their colleagues, their role, expectations and available resources, and embeds them into your company culture. It’s important to find out what your new hires think of their ‘ramp time’ by using onboarding surveys. Gather first impressions from day one, then regular surveys once new hires have had a chance to settle in and form their opinions. The onboarding experience sets the tone for the whole employee journey and it’s strongly linked with important employee experience and engagement KPIs.

Training feedback surveys

Training sessions are crucial to a successful onboarding process, but they’re also important milestones during the development and retention stages. Gathering data after every training event during the lifecycle will map an individual’s growth, and highlight where the organisation could enhance learning and development more efficiently.

Performance reviews

Regular reviews – pulse surveys every three to six months – and ‘performance conversations’ with managers are becoming the new normal. Specific metrics could be included in performance review feedback, or the focus could be on developing ‘soft skills’ like how an employee interacts with colleagues.

Additional performance review resources:

360 reviews

Manager and employee performance reviews can reveal only part of the picture of how an employee functions in your organisation. 360 reviews include appraisals by a senior, a junior and a peer, as well as a self-assessment. Because they’re anonymous, 360 reviewers are more likely to say what they really think. That said, they are best used only for team development, not to rate and reward individual performance.

Additional 360 review resources:

Exit surveys

You’ll probably get your most honest feedback at the exit interview. It’s an ideal opportunity to ask those questions that your organisation most needs answers to, particularly where staff turnover is high. You’ll be able to understand your attrition rate better when you can link exit surveys with your other lifecycle surveys such as 360 reviews and employee engagement.

Pay and benefits optimisation surveys

In a Glassdoor survey, 60% of employees said that benefits were a major factor when weighing up a new job offer. And 80% of employees would choose better perks over a pay raise. Using pay and benefits surveys, you can find out what your employees really want – and analyse their responses to create a benefits package which helps you attract and retain talent, while also optimising your overall spend.

Always on surveys

There’s a growing trend for daily surveys that include a handful of very simple questions about how employees are feeling. This real-time snapshot of company morale and employee satisfaction can affect a number of things. For example, if morale seems low one day, this could mean a change of tone in leadership communications.

Employee experience jobs

With companies realising that improved employee experience leads to increased customer loyalty, profitability and revenues, there’s a new kid on many C-suite blocks along with the CEO, CFO, CMO, CIO and COO – the CXO (Chief Experience Officer).

CXOs take ownership of all aspects of employee experience, and bring them to the executive table alongside finance, IT, operations, HR and marketing. Reports to the CXO include EX managers that deliver on the strategy across the organisation. This role ensures that employee feedback is acted upon, and that any changes are communicated to employees effectively. This is fundamental to the whole employee experience programme, as demonstrating action creates a cycle whereby employees are more likely to be engaged and deliver feedback.

For us, the focus around employee experience is on creating a seamless experience around the things somebody needs to do as an employee while allowing them to focus on the business we hired them for—development, sales, leading new products [and so on]. We’ve actually created a VP level role to strictly focus on the employee experience.

– Adam Khraling, VP of Global HRIS, American Express

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How the Pandemic Taught a Lesson to Food Supply Chains

Among the many “gifts” of the coronavirus pandemic is a hard lesson about the fragility of food supply chains.

Companies that consistently placed cost savings above resilience are discovering how risky that strategy can be. The notion of cheapest price becomes irrelevant when there’s no product to be had.

Lean supply chains are, of course, a noble goal to pursue. Who can argue about the need to minimise waste at every possible stage required to get product to market? But when efficiency becomes the chief driver, the definition of “waste” can cut too deep.

When the coronavirus hit, buyers and suppliers discovered that they lacked the flexibility to adjust sourcing and fulfillment patterns, notes Lauren Adler, director of product management with Transparent Path, a provider of supply-chain visibility tools. Making matters worse were wild variances in demand, based on panic buying and consumers stocking up on odd items such as frozen cookie dough and hair dye. All of which served to demonstrate “how complex the modern supply chain is,” adds Paulé Wood, Transparent Path’s director of experience and storytelling.

Wood says too many companies remain stuck in the “industrial supply chain” mindset, one that envisions a linear path of raw materials passing through production and delivery to the end consumer. The modern-day digital supply chain, by contrast, is “omnidirectional” and involves multiple channels and sources of product.

Single-source food supply chains are at particular risk when traditional channels break down, as they so often have during the pandemic. Of course, when a disruption occurs on a global scale, having an alternative supplier in another geography won’t necessarily solve the problem of interrupted supply. But it nevertheless gives manufacturers, retailers and distributors additional options and ways to get around discrete bottlenecks or the sudden shutdown of a factory.

One misapplication of the term “lean” is the assumption that it minimises the role of human beings, especially when it comes to negotiating the last mile of an e-commerce order. Wood says companies have placed too much emphasis on “doing things in a mechanised way, when actually people are at the center of all these systems.” So much for the idea of artificial intelligence completely taking over the task of making key decisions about sourcing, stocking, routing and delivery.

The pandemic has taught companies the need for at least some amount of safety stock, which was slashed to the barest minimum by those who consider inventory at rest to be nothing more than a drag on the balance sheet. But Wood suggests that while some additional product should be in the pipeline, the more effective long-term strategy lies in achieving visibility over the entire supply chain.

Obtaining a comprehensive view of information flowing between supply-chain partners is just as important as seeing physical product. For supply chains that lack such capacity, “it feels like 1999 in the automotive business, when pricing was hidden from the consumer,” says Eric Weaver, chief executive officer and founder of Transparent Path. He recalls speaking at the time to a group of Lincoln Mercury dealers, trying to convince them of the importance of being on the internet. Today, gaining visibility over the flow of product and information from end to end requires much more than simply having a website.

Businesses have spoken for decades of the need for having such capability, only to be stymied by “black holes” of information. Reasons for their failure to make good on the promise of total visibility include a general sense of complacency, and tight margins that made it tough to argue for the necessary investments in people and systems.

That’s an increasingly difficult position to maintain today, especially with the availability of new technology. Wood cites the growing use of sensors attached to food products and transportation equipment, which are making possible a degree of visibility that wasn’t possible before, especially in outlying rural areas. Better network coverage, through the use of labels that are cheap and disposable, is at last fulfilling the dream of sharing data across the supply chain in real time.

The result will be systems that are far more flexible, and better able to react to severe disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers can also improve visibility under “normal” conditions. Weaver speaks of the ability to continuously monitor perishable goods moving through the cold chain, with alerts sounding whenever prescribed parameters of temperature and humidity are violated. Consumers, for their part, are better served by instant access to information on where products are sourced and manufactured.

Will the lesson be learned over the long run? The COVID-19 virus has caused such disruption to global food supply chains, laying bare their structural deficiencies, that “it’s going to shock people out of their complacency,” says Weaver. “They’ll have to reconsider how business gets done.”

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Company Profiles

New Shared Responsibility at Romaco Innojet

Michael Van den Bossche has just been appointed new Managing Director of Romaco Innojet. He will share the running of the company with Bastian Käding, who has been at the helm of Romaco Innojet since 2018. Romaco Holding GmbH has just announced the appointment of Michael Van den Bossche as new Managing Director of Romaco Innojet with effect from 1 August 2020. In his new role he will be responsible for Sales, Laboratory, Customer Service and Product Management. Van den Bossche will share the management of Romaco Innojet with Bastian Käding, who has been at the helm of the company since 2018 with responsibility for Project Management, Engineering, Operations and Administration. Prior to joining Romaco Innojet, Belgian-born Van den Bossche, who holds a master’s degree in biochemical engineering, worked for various leading international players in the business of processing technologies, process design and development. In the course of his professional career spanning nearly two decades, he has gained extensive experience in the sale of processing solutions for the pharmaceutical and food industries. During the last few years, he has increasingly focused on continuous technologies for manufacturing pharmaceutical solids. Van den Bossche has lived in Germany since 2017. “We’re delighted to welcome Michael Van den Bossche on board as new joint Managing Director of Romaco Innojet”, explained Jörg Pieper, CEO Romaco Group. “His expertise when it comes to strengthening global sales structures and his strategic approach to the development of new business segments are impressive. We’re in no doubt that Mr. Van den Bossche will make a lasting contribution to the success of the Romaco Innojet brand.”

“I’ve always been very sales-minded and service comes top of my list of priorities”, Michael Van den Bossche emphasised. “I’m also extremely familiar with the industry and I know exactly what our customers are looking for – in us and in our technologies. The expectations people place in suppliers are particularly high in the pharmaceutical industry with its strict regulations. There’s a high demand for enduring technologies and cost-effective solutions that give customers a competitive advantage.” Romaco Group Romaco is a leading international supplier of processing and packaging equipment specialising in engineering technologies for pharmaceutical solids. The group provides individual machines and turnkey solutions for manufacturing and packing powders, granulates, pellets, tablets, capsules, syringes and medical devices. Romaco also serves the food and chemical industries. The Romaco Group has its headquarters in Karlsruhe (Germany) and is part of the Truking Group, a globally operating high-tech enterprise based in Changsha (China). Truking’s core competency is handling and filling pharmaceutical liquids. Romaco operates from four European business sites, with a broad portfolio comprised of six established product brands. Noack and Siebler (Karlsruhe, Germany) supply blister, heat-sealing and rigid tube filling machines. Macofar (Bologna, Italy) markets technologies for filling sterile and non-sterile powders and liquids. Promatic (also Bologna, Italy) specializes in cartoners, track & trace systems and case packers. Kilian (Cologne, Germany) offers compression solutions for tableting while Innojet (Steinen, Germany) is an innovation leader for granulation and coating. More than 650 highly skilled and committed Romaco employees are dedicated to the development of future product technologies and to the continuous implementation of internal improvement processes. Romaco’s multi-brand system solutions are sold worldwide through six Sales & Service Centres and a dense network of local agent organisations. Over 12,000 installations delivered by Romaco are currently in use in more than 180 different countries.

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Environmental Logistics News Technology

Volta Trucks

Volta Trucks is on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable commercial vehicle manufacturer.

“Sustainability is at the very core of our business. Saving the planet cannot wait, it must happen now, and Volta Trucks wants to spearhead the rapid change in large commercial vehicles, from outdated diesel to clean and safe technological solutions”. Carl-Magnus Norden, Founder of Volta Trucks.

With the launch of the Volta Zero, the first purpose-built full electric large commercial vehicle designed for inner city deliveries, Volta Trucks has adopted a holistic and comprehensive approach to sustainability, going far beyond just tailpipe emissions.

Full electric drivetrain.

Volta Trucks aims to mitigate the environmental impact of logistics and freight deliveries that forms the commercial lifeblood of large metropolitan cities. Thanks to its full-electric drivetrain and 160-200KWh of battery power, the Volta Zero will operate for 150-200kms delivering freight and parcels across the world’s cities in a clean and efficient way.

By 2025 operators of Volta Trucks will eliminate around 180,000 tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent annual CO2 usage of 24,000 houses. And thanks to its the silent electric operation, the Volta Zero will also improve a city’s noise pollution and enable 24-hour usage for its operator.

Natural and biodegradable body panels.

The Volta Zero will be the first road vehicle to use a sustainably sourced natural Flax material and biodegradable resins in the construction of exterior body panels, with the cab’s dark body panels and many interior trims constructed from the natural material. The high-tech Flax weave was developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency and is currently used in 16 of the world’s most competitive motor racing series.

Flax is a sustainably farmed crop where the entire plant is used; flax seeds for linseed oil, the fibres for fabrics, and any leftovers as animal feed or field fertilizer. Volta’s world-leading supplier, Bcomp of Switzerland, uses the harvested Flax fibre to create their ampliTex™ technical fabric – a natural and fully sustainable technical fabric.

The Flax fibre’s quality, yarn thickness and twist are all highly engineered, and the weave is reinforced by Bcomp’s patented powerRibs™ grid technology, inspired by the principles of leaf veins. The result is a fully natural, extremely lightweight, high-performance fibre reinforcement that is almost CO2 neutral over its lifecycle. The panels made with powerRibs™ can match the stiffness and weight of carbon fibre but uses 75% less CO2 to produce.

The Flax matting is then combined with a biodegradable resin by world-class composites manufacturer, Bamd in the UK, to produce the body panels for the Volta Zero. The fully bio-based resin, derived from Rape Seed oil, creates a naturally brown coloured matting. A black natural pigment dye is added to complete its darker, technical appearance. Bamd’s revolutionary manufacturing processes aims for total recyclability of all tooling materials, including solvent-free, water-based sealers and release agents.

Advanced material properties suited to an Electric Vehicle.

The natural Flax composite offers a number of benefits when compared to carbon fibre or other similar lightweight man-made materials. Unlike the conductive nature of carbon fibre, the Flax composite is non-conductive, lessening any issues of a short circuit in the event of a vehicle accident. It also offers up to three times better vibration damping.

Should an accident occur, the Flax composite bends, reshapes and ultimately snaps, unlike carbon fibre that shatters, offering a flexible fracture behaviour without sharp edges. This makes the powerRibs™ and ampliTex™ composite body panels particularly suited for urban mobility, reducing the risk of sharp debris that can injure people or cause further accidents through punctures.

At the end of their useful life, Flax composite parts can be burnt within the standard waste management system and used for thermal energy recovery, unlike alternative composite materials that are usually sent to landfill.

Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, Rob Fowler, concluded; “Every Volta Zero will remove tonnes of CO2 from our city’s atmospheres but we believe that sustainability is more than just tailpipe emissions, so we have taken an environmental-first approach to all material sourcing. This includes the world’s first use of a natural Flax and biodegradable resin composite in body panel construction that is CO2 neutral and fully recyclable. We will continue to strain every sinew to ensure we deliver on our mission of becoming the world’s most sustainable commercial vehicle manufacturer.”

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FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding Launched

CILT Skillnet, partnering with the Irish International Freight Association, has opened registration for the 2020 – 2021 FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding.


The FIATA Diploma is an internationally recognised qualification, with course standards set by FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Over a 10 month period, this course covers the cornerstones of international Freight Forwarding through a combination of academic learning and a mixture of practical and theoretical assignments for completion on a monthly basis. Modules covered included transport by Air, Sea and Road, Customs Clearance, Dangerous Goods and more.


This is primarily a distance learning programme with printed manuals posted to students at the start of each month. Additional study aids are provided in the form of on-demand webinars for each module and learning will be assessed by monthly assignments and online tests.


The FIATA Diploma:

–          includes over 330 minutes of webinars, available to view 24/7 throughout the training and divided into appropriately focused topics

–          has content updated annually to ensure that material is timely and relevant

–          includes a full module on Customs Clearance Awareness and procedures

–          is delivered and administered by 2x Individuals, both with QQI Awarded, Level 6 Training Delivery and Evaluation Qualifications

–          has been achieved by 252 Individuals within the Irish Freight Community


“As the National Representative of FIATA, it is our 13th year offering their internationally recognised Diploma Course. Each year the course is reviewed, updated and localised to ensure it meets the needs and reality of International Freight Forwarding,” commented Seamus Kavanagh, Executive Officer for IIFA. “Being an Island Nation it is vital that we have a vibrant educated and skilled Freight Forwarding and Logistics community. We achieve this through training, education and shared experience.”


Mick Curran, CEO of CILT Ireland and Network Promoter for CILT Skillnet said “CILT Skillnet, through our partnership with IIFA, are delighted to be able to support the Irish logistics sector with subsidised places on the FIATA Diploma Course. We hope that this will support more businesses to upskill their staff with this internationally recognised programme.”


Subsidised places cost €1,450 with the unsubsidised cost of a place at €1,950 – saving businesses up to €500 per place.


For more information on the course, including modules descriptors, a course timetable and to register, please follow the link below:

FIATA Diploma in Freight Forwarding

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Logistics News

Xeneta Container Rates Alert

Xeneta container rates alert: grim economic outlook spurs slight fall in long-term ocean freight rates

Long-term contracted ocean freights fell for the second consecutive month, and are now 1.3% down year-on-year, as the ramifications of Coronavirus continue to shake the foundations of the global economy. According to the latest XSI® Public Indices report from Oslo-based Xeneta, rates fell by 1.8% in June, following on from a 1.2% decline in May. Although levels remain historically high, the carrier segment has now seen a 0.2% decline since the beginning of 2020, after four consecutive months of increases through to February. Furthermore, notes Xeneta, future economic indicators are far from promising.

Growing concern

Xeneta’s XSI® provides unique intelligence on the very latest ocean freight market moves. Based on crowd-sourced data from leading shippers, the report utilises over 200 million data points, covering more than 160,000 port-to-port pairings, to provide real-time insight of industry developments.

Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund says June’s report probably won’t assuage concerns in an increasingly uneasy carrier fraternity.

“Container ship owners and operators have been working overtime for months to balance supply and demand, removing tonnage, adjusting routes and constantly reviewing strategy to protect their all-important rates,” he notes, adding: “And, to their credit, it’s worked very well in these tumultuous times. What will be key now is can carriers resist the temptation of releasing capacity back into the market in an attempt to win market share? The capacity is there ready to be deployed, but do that too soon, and too rapidly, and the rates could collapse.”

Global hit

Berglund continues: “Everyone is looking at the big picture now and this month saw the IMF lower its global growth forecast dramatically. It was adjusted down from the 3% annual fall predicted in April to a staggering 4.9% contraction for 2020 – the greatest drop since the end of the Second World War. And many of the major consumer economies will bleed even more profusely, with the Eurozone block facing a hit of over 10%.

“Rates have held fairly firm so far, but it remains to be seen how effectively the carriers can fight against such overwhelming odds, and for how long. The next few months will be crucial, and market intelligence such as XSI® will be key to following developments and unlocking value from upcoming contract negotiations.”

Regional insight

Across the XSI® Public Indices’ regional analysis of major trading routes, almost all indicators pointed down this month.

For Europe the import benchmark fell 1.9%, the fourth consecutive month of decline, while the export figure fared slightly better, slipping just 0.3% in value. The US indices suffered sharper falls, with imports dropping by 4.6% while exports declined 3.5% across June. Both long-term contracted rate benchmarks have now moved downwards over the course of 2020, with imports falling by 2.9% (although remaining high against historic levels) while exports are down 3.3% since the end of 2019.

Rates on the Far East corridors provided the one relative bright spot, with the import figure climbing by 1%. That performance couldn’t be matched by exports, however, which fell 0.4%. Nevertheless, both benchmarks have climbed on a year-to-date basis, with imports surging by 7% and exports rallying 1.3%.

Complex picture

“Although it’s difficult to shake the pervading sense of economic gloom, the complexity of this dynamic sector means nothing should be taken for granted,” Berglund concludes. “Spot rates on the Far East-US West Coast route have been climbing since April, national governments are still working to support their home carriers, and new investment – such as the launch of a 12-day China-Los Angeles service from Zim Line – show the segment is certainly capable of positive development, despite the wider macro-economic picture.

“Each month seems to reveal a new twist in the plot of short- and long-term freight rate development. Long-term values may be a concern right now, but the short-term market is providing a real silver lining for carriers. If they can get the volumes back while protecting the rates then all of a sudden smiles may well return to industry faces. We shall see!”

Companies participating in Xeneta’s crowd-sourced ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and market analytics platform include names such as ABB, Electrolux, Continental, Unilever, Lenovo, Nestle, L’Oréal, and Thyssenkrupp, amongst others.


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COVID-fighting robot

MIT-designed robot can disinfect a warehouse floor in 30 minutes, and could one day be employed in grocery stores and schools.


MIT has designed a robot that is capable of disinfecting the floor of a 4,000-square foot warehouse in only half an hour, and it could one day be used to clean your local grocery store or school.

The university’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) worked with Ava Robotics — a company that focuses on creating telepresence robots — and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) to develop a robot that uses a custom UV-C light to disinfect surfaces and neutralize aerosolized forms of the coronavirus.

Development on this project began in early April, and one of the researchers said that it came in direct response to the pandemic. The results have been encouraging enough that the researchers say that autonomous UV disinfection could be done in other environments such as supermarkets, factories and restaurants.Covid-19 mainly spreads via airborne transmission, and it is capable of remaining on surfaces for several days. With states across the US reporting a surge in cases and no concrete timetable for a possible vaccine, there is currently no near-term end to the pandemic. That leaves schools and supermarkets looking for solutions to effectively disinfect areas.

The goal is for the robot to become capable of adapting to our world to dynamically change its plan based on estimated UV-C dosages.The UV-C array affixed to the top of the mobile robot emits a short-wavelength ultraviolet light that kills microorganisms and disrupts their DNA in a process called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, the researchers said. This process is typically used in hospital or medical settings to sterilize rooms and stop the spread of microorganisms.While the team is currently focused on a single robot that is deployed at the food bank, the team said that they are exploring what “multi-robot solutions may look like in the future.”

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€30 million investment at Rosslare Europort

€30 million investment at Rosslare Europort, as planning permission submitted for Port Masterplan.

The Masterplan, together with initiatives under the strategic plan for the port, will see over €30 million invested by Iarnród Éireann in Rosslare Europort over the next five years.  It will ensure that Rosslare will be equipped with the capacity, facilities and technology to facilitate major growth for the benefit of the region and the wider national economy.

Major changes in the Europort, and the subject of planning permission will be

  • New configuration of the port aligned to maximise future growth of the port and support regional and national development 
  • Significant new facilities and infrastructure to develop Rosslare Europort to its full potential as Irelands gateway port to the UK and Europe
  • Design and develop a Sustainable, Seamless and Smart Port that will be best in class internationally

The development under the Masterplan will be completed over a number of phases over a five year timeframe to enable the port continue to operate all services and activity during construction.

Rosslare Europort is the closest port to the UK and mainland Europe and offers numerous daily/weekly direct Services to the UK, France and Spain.

As well as the port masterplan further substantial investment will also take place both at the port and the surrounding area with the following further developments being completed during the same timeframe.

  1. Construction of the New N25 Rosslare Europort Access Road by TII and Wexford Co Council
  2. Development of the Rosslare Europort Business Park by the Dutch company XELLZ targeting the future Offshore Wind Market
  3. Construction of the future permanent extensive facilities to meet all customs and Brexit requirements for state agencies at the Port making Rosslare the only port outside of Dublin with the required Border Inspection Post

The combined developments will see the largest ever investment in the port and surrounding area and will position Rosslare Europort to become the leading gateway for the country to the UK and Europe.

Glenn Carr General Manager Rosslare Europort said “These are probably the most exciting times that the port has ever seen with transformational developments planned over the next few years. We will be making significant investment demonstrating our commitment and drive to grow Rosslare Europort and ensuring that we maximise its full potential both for the region and the overall country.

While we will have challenges in dealing with the current Covid and Brexit situation, I am extremely optimistic with the plans we now have in place for the development of the port and growing of the business well into the future, building on new business from Brittany Ferries earlier this year.

We also very much welcome the additional substantial investments that are being made with the new port access road by TII and Wexford Co Council, the new Brexit facilities for state agencies by the OPW, Revenue, Department of Transport, Depts of Agriculture, Justice and Health and the exciting proposed Rosslare Business Park Zone by XELLZ; All of these development along with our masterplan will greatly benefit not just the port but also the economic development of the region.

Finally I also strongly believe that Rosslare Europort is now the best positioned port to be the Offshore Wind Energy hub for Ireland in the future. No other port in the Republic has the potential land, capacity and connectivity available that is required, and I look forward to working with all of the key stakeholders in securing the support and investment needed to secure the delivery of this vital development for the country.”

Masterplan Rosslare

Rosslare Europort engaged Nicholas O’Dwyer (NOD), with specialist input from NIRAS, to prepare an infrastructure masterplan that will deliver a sustainable, seamless and smart port for the future growth at Rosslare Europort. The infrastructure Masterplan has been developed in line with the Strategic Plan for the port and addresses current limitations at the port and provides for the key future functional requirements to enable Rosslare Europort to grow and maximise its full potential as the gateway port from Ireland to Europe.

Key Objectives of the Masterplan

  • Create an innovative design for a sustainable, seamless and smart port of the future;
  • Review the existing facilities and identify their respective capacities and establish what additional facilities are required;
  • Maximise all available land to meet the future traffic for the port, with particular reference to trends in vessel sizes / types and new business opportunities such as off shore wind energy / containers ,bulk and additional direct services to Europe;
  • Substantial increase in Trailer/Container , Trade cars, bulk and general cargo storage at the port;
  • Configure the port to be aligned with future external road and land development connecting with the port;
  • Implement a full digitisation programme to create Ireland’s smartest IT port.
  • Provide adequate land for the construction of the permanent Border Inspection facility to meet full customs, security and immigration control requirements;
  • Improved traffic and operations efficiency and safety;
  • Extension of a longer Berth with a second double linkspan to accommodate large vessels of the future

Phases of Masterplan 

A full detailed phasing plan has been developed to mitigate potential conflicts during construction from 2020-2024 to ensure there will be a fully functioning Port at all times. 

Phase 1

With the overall Rosslare Europort area increasing in usable space from its existing area the first phase of construction was to carry out the installation of the new perimeter access road, new entrance roundabout, security fencing along the perimeter, new freight check in area and the central spine access road.

A large proportion of this phase of the construction can be developed without any impact on the existing Port operations as the construction is on the area adjoining the port facility.

The only anticipated impact on the Port will be the connection to the existing entrance roundabout and the removal of some buildings along the perimeter as well as some minor impact to the existing trailer storage area. The phase 1 will also include the construction of the main service runs which will be installed under the main access routes. Phase 1 would enable freight to access the Port along the new road and roundabout and check in at the new location

Phase 2

On completion of Phase 1 access for all freight will commence along the new access road, around to the western roundabout and entre the port through the new freight check in area. The Phase 2 works will include all the paving areas from the new central spine road to the northern quay including the areas for the bulk storage, export trailer area and trade car areas.
The completion of these paved areas will enable existing storage areas to be transferred to free up zones for future
Phases. Phase 2 will be completed in sections to enable operations continue within the port.

Phase 3

This phase is the alteration around the main loading and unloading areas at the berths. It stretches from the terminal building to the berths in one direction and from the new roundabout to Berth 1 in the other direction.
It would likely involve a number of small sections to be completed in sequence so as to minimise the effect on operations. It would be beneficial to complete the infill of the old rail line and construction of the new maintenance building initially to free up space for the diversion of traffic for the subsequent sections. The critical areas to complete would likely be adjoining berths and sequencing of the movement of traffic. This could be further developed during detailed design stages.

Phase 4

This final phase would include the areas for the import trailer storage, upgrade to the passenger vehicle check in and completion of the secure fencing.
With the previous phases completed this will free up a large proportion of the trailer storage area for construction and only during the passenger vehicle area modifications would there be some minor impact on Port operations.

Issued by Corporate Communications, Iarnród Éireann

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Skillnet Ireland launches initiative to help enterprises bounce back safely

ReBound Initiative to support business owners implement Return to Work Safely protocol

Skillnet Ireland has today launched a new initiative aimed at helping Irish SME owners and managers across all sectors prepare and implement a return to work safely plan for the reopening of their business. The initiative known as ‘ReBound – Back to Business. Safely’ is being offered in conjunction with industry and Government partners including Ibec, Chambers Ireland, the National Standards Authority of Ireland and the Small Firms Association.

Every workplace will need to adjust as they re-open and are faced with introducing practical changes necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The ReBound initiative will upskill business owners and managers to ensure they are well equipped to take on this challenge.

Participating companies will receive a combination of webinar training on implementing the Government’s Return to Work Safely Protocol and mentoring to help them create and implement a bespoke Return to Work Safely Plan. The scheme is available to 3,000 Irish SMEs and Irish enterprises are encouraged to register for the initiative through the Skillnet Ireland ReBound website available at


Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “The Return to Work Safely Protocol is a critical component of the Government’s Roadmap which very clearly sets out the steps that businesses and workers need to take to ensure that they can return to work safely. The Skillnet Ireland ReBound initiative adds to the range of measures put in place by Government, to support companies in implementing the Protocol within their business and adapting to this new and challenging environment. ReBound exemplifies the collaboration between Government and industry that is central to the success of the reopening of the economy and safe return to work.” 

Launching ReBound, Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland said: “Skillnet Ireland is focused on supporting Irish SMEs as they reopen their business and begin the road to recovery. The ReBound initiative will provide owners and managers with the practical tools and knowledge needed to help navigate the new protocol whilst also mitigating business disruption. With the training and supports delivered through digital platforms, businesses nationwide can benefit from ReBound. We are delighted to be working with industry and Government on this important issue, and we urge SMEs to avail of these fully subsidised supports we are putting in place.”

Commenting on the launch Geraldine Larkin, Chief Executive of NSAI said: “The Government’s Return to Work Safety Protocol is key to driving the ability of businesses to protect against, prepare for, respond to and recover from COVID-19 related disruptions. Undertaking the training being provided by Skillnet Ireland and supported by the NSAI will provide SMEs with additional guidance in getting back to work safely at this time. It is our hope that schemes like this will help lead the way to a safer reopening for businesses.”


Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: “The health of the public and the workforce remains the primary concern for us all, but it is now essential that we apply a risk-based approach to balance these health concerns with wider wellbeing issues and the need to have a functioning economy. 

“The Return to Work Safely Protocol provides confidence to employers and employees that the safety and well-being of people at work can be securely managed, while the new Rebound initiative will support SMEs in understanding and adhering to the protocol and support businesses as we reopen our economy.”


Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland said: “It is a great relief to see the economy beginning to reopen, after many weeks of economic shutdown. As we move along the road to recovery, we must ensure we do so safely. For our business community, there are as many challenges in reopening as there were during the closure and I welcome the supports being provided by Skillnet Ireland to SMEs to overcome these challenges. We are encouraging all of our members to engage with Skillnet Ireland by visiting the ReBound website and making use of the assistance available to them.”

Commenting on the new initiative, Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director, SFA said: “These are extremely challenging times for small businesses as they adjust to the ‘new normal’. The ReBound initiative will help SME owners and managers get up to speed with the Return to Work Safely Protocol and implement the measures in a safe and practical manner. We are pleased to be working with Skillnet Ireland on this initiative and we are encouraging our members to visit the ReBound website to ensure they are adequately prepared for the challenges ahead.”


The ReBound webinar training and information sessions will be structured across 3 levels, with 9 unique webinars sessions repeated weekly. Participants can sign up to as many webinar sessions as required, to gain the help and support they require.

A number of Skillnet Ireland Networks will also offer targeted online ReBound programmes to assist businesses in sectors with particular challenges including the retail, manufacturing, private healthcare, hair and beauty, childcare and creative sectors. For example, Image Skillnet is introducing an innovative programme for the hairdressing sector as it reopens in the coming weeks.

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Crane Worldwide Logistics Podcast

Crane Worldwide Logistics has been at the coalface of the supply chain throughout the Covid-19 crisis aiding both the national emergency services and frontline workers in sourcing and delivering both PPE and ventilators.

Chris Deans, Managing Director of Crane Worldwide speaks to Máirtín Breathnach on the challenges before and during the crisis, the lessons learned, advice and knowledge he has gleaned from the experience and his expectations for the future.


Crane Worldwide Logistics

Crane Worldwide Logistics is dedicated to becoming the industry’s premier global provider of customised transportation and logistics services by delivering innovative, efficient and cost effective solutions. 

A leader in supply chain solutions with 120 locations across 30 countries, Crane Worldwide Logistics has expertise in trade compliance, Foreign Trade Zones and strategic consultative services. Crane Worldwide Logistics continues to develop creative, innovative solutions to improve clients’ supply chain outcomes. Sharing industry expertise as a client advocate, the organisation develops robust collaboration in the long-term providing cost effective and efficient operations.

Located in Cork, Shannon and a brand new facility in Dublin, Crane Worldwide Logistics in Ireland can offer International Airfreight and ocean freight capabilities as well as European and Domestic Road Transport and Warehousing.

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When Should You Solve, Train And Delegate as a Leader

A new leader faces this dilemma often. “Should I do the task myself, train my team, or delegate it?” I am sure you have encountered the same puzzle before. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The problem is more common than you think.

When I started my first venture, I wanted to do everything myself.

If a task was too hard, I feared to assign it to a team member. “What if they mess up?” I asked myself biting my fingernails. If a task required grooming people, I would think, “Well, doing the job myself will take lesser time than training.”

For a large project, I wanted to involve myself down to the very last detail.

Do these examples sound like the situation you’re into right now? Let me tell you what happened to my story. Such behavior of mine severely crippled the team. I failed to utilise the talent people had. Over time, the business failed.

Common mental blocks for leaders

Leaders have different mental barriers in their heads. I will list out three of the most common ones. These are more prominent in people who take up a leadership role after being an expert technician in a specific field. An individual contributor has difficulty shifting his mindset from executing tasks to leading people.

1. I can do the job myself

When a task needs action, you start evaluating the ease of completing the job against the effort required to train people. Since you have spent years developing expertise, you will need lesser time to do it yourself than training a new person. The joy which comes out of doing the job yourself also plays a role.

The first time I played the role of a leader was for a team of programmers. I had loved writing code since my teenage years. All of a sudden, I felt uncomfortable training the team members to do the job. My hands were itching to do some programming myself.

2. I need to be the expert

Leaders have trouble accepting the fact that team members can know more about a topic than they do. You believe the leader has to be the most talented person in the team.

During our business venture, I wanted to learn every technology in extreme detail. I intended to be capable enough to answer any query the team had. I spent most of my time developing expertise in programming even after I took up a leadership role.

3. The team member won’t deliver the same quality

Leaders often hesitate to delegate tasks because they fear that the team member will perform an average job.

You feel that even if you train a team member, he won’t deliver the quality you can. You forget that when you started as a beginner, you weren’t as capable as you are right now. To ensure things don’t go wrong, you take up the task yourself.

I had the habit of taking up all the tougher portions of programming myself. I wasn’t trying to brag about my abilities. I thought the team members wouldn’t accomplish the task. Due to that mental barrier, I never even tried assigning the harder tasks to the team members.

When should a leader solve, train, and delegate:

You cannot keep doing all the tasks yourself forever. Over time, you will become a bottleneck and prevent yourself from achieving great things.

Try taking a page of the successful leaders of large organisations. They relinquished control and tapped into the talent of people to achieve greatness. A great leader sets the vision and achieves it with teamwork. Even the famous movie stars, sports icons, and singers have a massive team working for them.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)

Here are a few guidelines to help you identify when you must do a task yourself, train people, or delegate. You cannot generalise them for every scenario because certain circumstances call for a different action. But, you can use this as a reference if you are confused about making a decision.

1. When should you do the task yourself

Here are the cases where performing the task yourself as the leader is justified:

One time job

If a task is a one time job that does not need to be done in the future, you can do it yourself. Since the job is unlikely to come up again, whether you or a team member works on it, makes no difference. In such cases, the best use of time is to choose the person most capable of executing it quickly.

Time-sensitive with major consequences

If a task is time sensitive and you know how to complete it the fastest, you can jump on to it. For example, imagine you leading a software company, and an unexpected bug shows up stalling your product.

If you know the code inch to inch, you will reduce the consequences by solving the problem yourself. Since the situation is time-sensitive and can damage business, resolving the bug should be your priority.

No challenge or future potential for the team

Some of the tasks add no value to the team members’ growth or challenge their skills. For example, if you are running a restaurant, asking a chef to handle your taxes will only give him Monday blues in the long run. You’re better off doing it yourself or outsourcing the job to the right person.

2. When should you train others

Here are the cases where training other team members is the right decision:

The long term benefits outweigh the current situation

In some cases, you are capable of doing the task faster. But over time, if people can develop the same expertise, you must train others even if teaching takes more time than doing the job yourself.

For example, you might have excellent interior designing skills. If you have a team, the new members will not be able to complete the job as efficiently as you do. If you spend time training your people, over time, they will improve and deliver.

Do not forget that you did not have the same level of skills a few years ago. You learned over time. Give people the same opportunity.

One person expertise isn’t scalable

Another common situation is where performing the task yourself isn’t sustainable. For example, if you opened a restaurant, you can handle the cooking during the first few months. When your business grows, you cannot cook for every single customer. Your chefs must improve their culinary skills.

3. When should you delegate

Here are the cases where delegating the task is most appropriate:

To challenge your people to grow

When you have a team, you must provide a platform for people to improve. When you have a task to complete which isn’t urgent, you must ask your team members to execute it even if you can do it in an instant. Since you’re not in a hurry, challenging people will help your team grow over time.

When you don’t know how to perform the task yourself

In cases where you do not know the solution yourself, allow others to take the lead. For example, let’s assume you are leading a customer support team and you want to find a method to increase feedback from customers. If you do not know a way yourself, allow a team member to solve the problem. If you provide them an opportunity and the right motivation, people will surprise you with their talent.

When the job isn’t where your focus should be

Some of the tasks you work on are better off delegated. For example, if you run a software company, you are wasting your time scanning excel sheets. Your time is better spent setting a vision and providing the right guidance to your team. Delegate the tasks which eat up your time and focus on your team members. After all, that is the reason why hierarchies exist.


When you move from an individual contributor to a leader, you’re expected to play a different role. If you spend most of your time doing the same tasks as before, you’re not doing justice to your position or your people.

To carry out leadership effectively, you will have to give up some of the tasks you enjoy doing. Being a leader comes with a lot of sacrifices.

Today, there is a great dearth of people who can handle high-level leadership positions. That isn’t because there is a shortage of capable people. It is just that there are not enough people who are willing to pay the price.

Maxim Dsouza has over who extensive experience with leadership in both start-ups and large corporations.  On his blog Productive Club, he shares useful tips on productivity, time management, entrepreneurship, and cognitive biases.

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Business Features Members News

Consumer Behavior in the Global Marketplace in the Time of Coronavirus

In this webinar, Professor Carlos Torelli  will discuss how a global crisis impacts the psychological responses of consumers in global markets and consider how organisations can overcome and address consumer concerns and needs. He will review the psychology of consumers’ responses to threats associated with infectious diseases, as well as the cultural differences in reactions to safety concerns.


Psychology of consumers’ responses to threats associated with infectious diseases

Carlos Torelli is Professor of Marketing in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on cross-cultural consumer psychology. Specifically, he tries to identify the key cultural factors that drive consumers’ reactions in a globalised economy. His research specialties include global branding, the social psychology of power, cross-cultural consumer behavior, and persuasion.

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Business Features Logistics News Transport

Webinar: Building a resilient supply chain

EY Ireland’s webinar this week focussed on the impact of the Covid 19 crisis on supply chains but also make the point that there were changes prior to this due to trade wars and global economic uncertainty.

Graham Reid, Head of Markets, Alan Dickson, Head of Supply Chain EY Ireland & Neil Byrne, Global Trade Leader, Andrew Caveney, Head of Global Supply Chain.

To succeed in the near to mid term, companies are looking at some fundamental restructuring :

“This is going to include the whole end-to-end supply chain digitisation and automation, as well as fundamental network restructuring on the basis to drive more supply chain flexibility, productivity and reslience,”

Andrew Caveney, Head of Global Supply Chain with EY. 

You can watch the webinar here

EY Ireland is a leading global professional services organisation providing assurance, tax, audit, transaction and advisory services.

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Five on the Fly: Lean Supply

Lean Supply Chain Expert Aidan Magner answers Linkline’s ‘Five on the Fly’ on lean principles in the supply chain.

What is the lean supply chain and what have the challenges been in this area?
Lean supply chains to me are those that holistically focus on the customer to deliver extreme value. I believe in the definition of a supply chain as that living breathing entity that starts and finishes at the customer’s customer and loops via the suppliers supplier maintaining clear line of sight on delivering value, eliminating waste and doing it right first time every time.

The challenges that face supply chains has been in the willingness and transparency in sharing such information. We traditionally build firewalls and segment our supply chain. Vendor lists have been seen as proprietary information. We have shadowed suppliers from customers and saw ourselves as the sole proprietor of what constitutes value. The net results is that our supply chains are disjointed and aren’t facing the true estimator of value… the end user.

How do businesses adapt to this and where can they find some inspiration?

Essentially supply chains need to evolve or devolve. Supply chains need to evolve into living breathing entities where information is the lifeblood. The concept works on the premise that partnerships are a win win scenario. When we have a supply chain that is functioning from the supplier’s supplier through to the customer, it requires us to look beyond the idea of “beating down price” or forcing one link of the chain to bear all the risk.

Instead we look at how can we share the challenge of offering supreme value for the customer. We need to recognise that the true voice of the customer can vary
depending on time and location, therefore the levers we need to pull to deliver that value needs to change also. Developing a true voice of the customer (VoC) and overlaying that with the true voice of the supply chain (VoSC). Only when these are aligned can we ensure that the supply chain is truly working in sync to deliver true value.

What lessons can we learn from this going forward?
I think we need to start truly sharing the “demand” that is flowing through the supply chain. Whether that demand is in terms of widgets shipping per month, number of discrete customers that need to be serviced, seasonality, or the need to end of life products and services. We have to acknowledge
that if information is the lifeblood of the supply chain, then accuracy of that information is the critical aspect of that. We have a tendency to pool information and re-interpret it, because we may not like it or trust what the raw data has told us. We artificially alter it and consequently send false signals around our supply chain.

Everytime we “touch” the data we parse it and dilute its accuracy so the net result is that the visibility that we have from the customer often bears little resemblance to that propagated through the supply chain. We need to utilise technology to allow our supply PARTNERS unfettered access to the same raw data and work collaboratively to interpret how best to exceed the needs and expectations of the customer.

What advice can you give to businesses thinking of implementing this?
Trust the supply partnerships that we have. Identify the critical links in the supply chain and forge partnerships and relationships with them. Liaise with the true customer to understand what they define as value and invite them to propagate that to the supply partners. Blast through the silo walls and untangle the supply chain.

What does the future hold?

Locally, within Western Europe Brexit is both an opportunity and a threat. There is an opportunity to really dig into the supply chain and understand what the needs of the customer are, we can use this to really build lean and agile supply chains. We are essentially being forced to rebuild our supply chains and we can now build partnerships that really focus on delivering to the customer values right first time every time.

For more information on how Lean Management can help improve your businesses visit

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Business Members News

CILT President Amongst Speakers Announced for FTAI Management Seminar 2019

Among the speaker panel at the Freight Transport Association Ireland’s (FTAI) annual Transport Manager Seminar at the Johnstown Estate Hotel, Enfield, County Meath on 5 March will be Tim Daly, President of CILT Ireland and Training Manager with Bus Éireann. He will present a case study on the work Bus Éireann has done to ensure operational compliance on roadworthiness and drivers hours.

Other confirmed speakers for the event include:

Dr. Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the Health & Safety Authority, who will discuss work related vehicle safety at the conference. She will highlight the importance of proactive risk management strategies for the road freight distribution and logistics sector, with particular emphasis on the importance of work-related vehicle safety issues such as route planning, managing driver welfare and safe and secure loading. She will also deal with the importance of risk management and welfare at work for commercial fleet operators.

This year’s Seminar gives delegates the opportunity to engage with a number of senior industry experts and policymakers, highlighting key issues for those working in the logistics industry to help them remain compliant and up to speed on the latest developments in legislation and professional advice. The speakers will reveal the fundamental responsibilities that apply to operators and explain the importance of best practice and compliance to ensure a safe and legal transport operation, helping ensure that all those involved in moving goods have the very latest information that’s available.

The Seminar will also include a keynote session from the Minister of State for EU Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, and topics to be covered at the event include skills shortages, apprenticeships, alternative fuels, decarbonising the freight sector and the impact of Brexit on Ireland-UK trade. The line-up also includes speakers from FTA, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, the Climate Change Unit of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Logistics Associate Apprenticeship and the Health & Safety Authority.

To attend, the cost for FTAI members is €250 plus VAT; for non-FTAI members the fee is €300 plus VAT. For further information or to book a place, call 01 8447516 or email

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News Transport

New University To Conduct Transport Based Brexit Research Project

Technical University Dublin (TU Dublin), Ireland’s first technological university, has compiled a multi-disciplinary applied research team to begin working on a project to assess potential post-Brexit implications for the logistics and transportation sector.

The work of the project research team, recently announced in marine journal Afloat , will also access the impact on movements of goods between Ireland, the other EU Member States, or the United Kingdom.

The project has received funding from the European Union and the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and is implemented in co-operation with the European Commission’s Structural Reforms Support Service (SRSS). Using scenario-mapping, the project aims to assist in the development of contingency plans to address the changing environment.

Representatives of the Department and the Commission visited TU Dublin and met with Professor David Fitzpatrick, President and with the project team. Thanking them for their support in securing the funding, Declan Allen, Assistant Head, School of Management, said “This is a very exciting and timely project. My colleagues and I look forward to collaborating with key industry stakeholders. Using a range of data analytics and simulations to explore various scenarios, we aim to build an understanding of both the threats and the opportunities that may face the sector.”

The project team is drawn from the 3S Group (Smart Sustainable Solution for Complex Systems), based in the College of Business, TU Dublin. This unit has considerable experience in applying simulation models and technologies in wide-ranging contexts. Dr Amr Mahfouz, the Project Manager and the leader of Supply Chain Management Team in 3S Group, will lead the scientific team.

Photo caption: Aidan Flynn General Manager FTA Ireland; Declan Assist Head, School of Management; Dr Katrina Lawlor Dean, College of Business; Professor David Fitzpatrick, President TU Dublin; Edward Tersmette, policy officer, European Commission, Secretariat General, Structural Reforms Support Service (SRSS); Martin Diskin, Road Transport and Freight Policy Division, DTTAS; Dr Deirdre McQuillan, Head of Research, College of Business; Dr Amr Mahfouz , Lecturer and Project Manager, School of Management; Paul O’Reilly Head, School of Management Photo: TU Dublin

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News Transport

Free Public Transport-Could It Work in Dublin?

With 114 free public transport systems in operation globally, most in European cities, how viable would it be to examine for Dublin? The first fare-free public transport system was set up in a suburb of Los Angeles in 1962. In Italy, Bologna experimented with free transport in the 1970s, when it was ruled by the Communist party.

By 2000, there were 27 free public systems in the world. That increased to 60 in 2010, 99 in 2017 and 114 today, the majority in Europe, says Wojciech Keblowski, an expert on free public transport at the Free University Brussels.

So does this mean free public transport is the wave of the future? The answer depends on the size and sociology of the city, and the existing network. Free transport has been a resounding success in, among others, Tallinn, Estonia, and Dunkirk, northern France. James Wickham, a retired professor in sociology at Trinity College Dublin and author of Gridlock: Dublin’s Transport Crisis and the Future of the City, says the question is largely irrelevant to the Irish capital. “The big issue in Dublin is not to get people on to existing public transport, but to create a lot more public transport,” he said.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo raised the possibility of a full free-fare public system last March, when she was under fire for bungling changes to the city’s Vélib bicycle system. Hidalgo’s deputies spent nine months drawing up a report that concluded free transport would not work for the French capital.

Paris could not accommodate a projected increase in public transport use, from 36 per cent to 48 per cent of all journeys, if the already saturated system was offered free of charge, the report said. Car traffic would have decreased only marginally, simulations showed.

Public transport in Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France region costs €10.1 billion annually. An exceptionally high percentage, 27.1 per cent, is financed by fares. In Dunkirk, which went fare free last September, only 10 per cent of costs were paid by users.
Hidalgo has adopted 23 public transport measures that will cost the city €5 million annually.

The most publicised will provide free transport for children under the age of 11. Contrary to what one might think, the main benefits of free public transport are sociological, not environmental.

Helping the underprivileged is the most powerful argument in its favour. “Use among vulnerable groups – the unemployed, the elderly and youths who do not have a middle-class income – increases dramatically when fares are abolished,” Keblowski says. “The city becomes much more available to them. They can look for jobs and take advantage of cultural activities and institutions. That argument is especially present in the French context.”

In Aubagne, a suburb of Marseille where Keblowski conducted his research, “there is a clear danger of ghettoisation, of locking people in neighbourhoods from which it is difficult to escape. In such cities, free public transport is a social policy that redistributes access to the city . . . The challenge is to be socially sensitive to the effect of policies, so we don’t end up with cities that are green and environmentally friendly, but essentially middle-class enclaves surrounded by the working class living in car-oriented suburbs.”

With the Irish capital continuing to sprawl in size and scale, there would be plenty of evidence suggesting similar sociological benefits that free public transport could bring, but with the rising prevalence of private transport operators, those operating public routes would resist any such moves fiercely as profit margins continue to dwindle on many routes. However, the success of the Luas, and indeed the Dublin bikes scheme, though both took a
long time to deliver, suggest that the capital is not immune to ambitious transport initiatives.

However as the city continues to grow at an almost abnormal rate, its transport and infrastructure needs must be given to connecting the outlying and disconnected parts of the city, ‘tying bits of the city together’ in the words of Professor Wickham. In terms of Cork, the Irish Examiner reported on January 4 th that the State must invest in game-changing public transport projects in Cork to ensure the city can act as a counterbalance to development in the capital over the next 20 years.

This is an edited version of a report which first appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday, January 26th. Additional reporting from the Irish Examiner

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News Transport

LCV Sales Rise as HGV Registrations Decrease in 2018

Recently released official statistics by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) have shown that the total new Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV), up to 3.5 tonnes GVW,were finalised at 25,561 units, recording an increase of 5.55% in 2018. New Heavy Commercial Vehicle registrations (HGV) 2,590 saw a slight decrease of 0.5% over the year in comparison to 2017 (2,603). Used Commercial Vehicle Imports decreased during 2018; LCV reducing by -2.9% and HGV down -0.5%.

Speaking about the statistics, SIMI Director General Designate, Brian Cooke commented “Despite the strong economic performance of Ireland last year, 2018 proved very challenging for the new vehicle sales. The Motor Industry is however as always forward looking, and with the new 191 sales period now commencing, January and the first quarter will be the key focus for dealers. In this context, SIMI’s advice is to shop around and consider the real benefits of shopping in your local retailer, who not only provides value to the customer but also encourages economic activity locally.”

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Business Financial

Expansions on Hold for Irish Companies as Brexit Fallout Remains Unclear

A recently published report by KBC Bank and Chartered Accountants Ireland has revealed that investment and job growth in the country look under threat due to Irish business sentiment weakening “notably” in the third quarter.

The report also cited a slowing down in output growth as another contributing factor. The report suggested it’s findings were consistent with a healthy economy, but that Irish companies concerns now have turned from recovery to potential risk.

Speaking about the findings Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC Bank Ireland, stated: “Brexit is overwhelmingly seen as an unclear and present danger to Irish economic prospects, with 67pc of companies citing it as the major risk to the economy in the coming year.”

Mr Hughes added that a weakening in sentiment will certainly negatively effect investment and jobs, as companies put expansion projects on hold. “You’re seeing [companies] start to slow their orders, their output and their employment. Now it’s not a case that they’re actually stopping production, or letting people go. We’re not at that stage at all. They’re basically saying: ‘Let’s pause our expansion plans, let’s be careful about our hiring because the future… looks more uncertain’.”

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Logistics Transport

New Logistics Connection From Belfast To Mainland Europe

A major UK logistics provider recently announced a major expansion into Northern Ireland through a Belfast-base daily freight service which will local business with mainland Europe.

Europa Road will provide daily round-trip line haul services from Belfast to Europe via the company’s £30 million hub facility in Dartford, England. The major investment will also be partly delivered by Fermanagh transport and logistics firm, Liam Connolly, with the family-run business acting as distribution partner for the new service.

The Europa expansion is the company’s first venture in Northern Ireland and will help drive the success of the local import and export market for goods. Dionne Redpath, sales director at Europa, described the latest investment as an “exciting development” for the company. “I’m thrilled that we’re growing into Northern Ireland to support local manufacturers,” she said.

“There is currently a lack of quality daily outbound connectivity from Northern Ireland into mainland Europe. It’s a massive opportunity for customers to access a service that enables shipments to collect today, ship that evening and arrive into Dartford 1hub the next working day for onward connection to Europe on one of our 30 daily departures.”

Darren Connolly, managing director at the Lisnaskea-based family transport company, Liam Connolly added: “We’re delighted to be working closely with Europa on their new daily service into continental Europe, they are an innovative operator and this is a great fit for us. We’re looking forward to a successful partnership and the growth of this new service to support businesses across Northern Ireland.”

Over the past five years the Europa Worldwide Group has doubled in size, with the business now sitting at its strongest financial position since its inception in 1966. The international business now operates 14 sites across the UK, Hong Kong and Belgium and is operational in over 100 countries.

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New Logistics Apprenticeships Launched By DIT

Dublin Institute of Technology recently launched Ireland’s first ever Logistics Apprenticeship aimed at addressing the skills gap in the industry while providing ‘earn as you learn’ opportunities to schools leavers and mature students.

Apprentices on the programme work four days a week and then spend a day in DIT College of Business on Aungier Street. Over the two-year programme, students will develop the skills necessary for Logistics Associates, who are responsible for coordinating the movement of goods in a company, including the planning and coordinating of all warehousing and transportation activities in the supply chain.

The Logistics Associate Apprenticeship was announced by the Ministers Richard Burton TD and John Halligan TD last year as part of the government’s Action Plan for Education. 18 employers and 26 apprentices from across the Freight, Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector are participating in the programme on a day-release basis.

To begin an apprenticeship, you must be employed in your chosen occupation by an approved employer. To be accepted, you must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of grade D in any five subjects in the Junior Certificate.

Interested candidates can find out more about the Logistics Associate Apprenticeship (link to:

Main Image: Declan Allen, Assistant Head School of Management DIT, Aidan Flynn General Manager of FTAI & Chair of the LAA Consortium, John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training & Skills, Professor Brian Norton -President Dublin Institute of Technology

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Nokia’s “Conscious Factory In A Box” Concept Ready To Meet Manufacturing Needs Of The Future

Late last month a Nokia-led group of 12 electronics industry players revealed the company’s “factory in a box” concept, showing how manufacturers can stay ahead of the demands of Industry 4.0 through agile production that can be packed, transported and brought back into service in a matter of hours.

The group, which started working on the concept in the summer of 2017, aimed to build a single electronics manufacturing line using cargo containers that can be moved to locations as demand dictates.

Collaboration was driven by the expected changes in manufacturing sparked by Industry 4.0, including cloud-based solutions, robotics and new electronic manufacturing IoT solutions, all of which will demand greater agility and flexibility from manufacturers. Potential use cases include:

  • Building for ‘country of origin’ requirements – The container can be driven to a location, build the required volume, and then be moved again as needed.
  • New product introduction – With new products, time to market is a competitive advantage. By moving the “factory in a box” to partners, prototyping can be quickly done and fixes quickly performed and tested.
  • Disaster recovery – When a site is hit by a natural disaster, business continuity plans kick in but can take time. With a spare portable factory, critical customer orders can still be achieved in a timely manner.

In late 2017, the project took a step forward at Nokia’s Digital Creativity Lab opening in Munich, where a cargo container with a collaborative robot assembly station was packed, moved to a new location by truck, then restarted within hours at the new location where small Lego cars were assembled, proving the precision of the machines.

The final step in the proof of concept was achieved on February 9, 2018, when full electronic manufacturing of a printed circuit board and robotic assembly and testing took place. The group – Nokia, Beta Layout, DHL, Fuji, HARTING, Isel, isoloc, MTEK Consulting, Mycronic, Rehm Thermal Systems, Viscom, and 42Q – now plans to demonstrate this full capability at the Hanover Messe in April 2018.

The companies contributed the following:

  • Nokia: wireless communication for the solution, as well as experience in deploying Industry 4.0 solutions in its own operations
  • Beta Layout: support with the PCB
  • DHL: leading transportation know-how
  • Fuji: SMT manufacturing technology
  • HARTING: RFID solution for tracking, tracing and production control
  • Isel: workstation support with specialized pallets
  • Isoloc: motion softening solution
  • MTEK Consulting: operational expertise and robotics
  • Mycronic: high-speed jet printing and jet dispensing
  • Rehm Thermal Systems: PCB soldering
  • Viscom: optical inspections
  • 42Q: cloud-based manufacturing execution system

“These factories are perfectly suited to meet regional and innovation startup requirements, and can be as large as needed to meet build requirements by simply adding additional containers to the location,” said Grant Marshall, head of Supply Network and Engineering in Nokia Operations. “This is a new business model Nokia would like to offer to its customers, and we are ready to experiment with this PoC with our first customers in 2018.”

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€11bn Turnover Generated In Ireland By Guaranteed Irish Members

Turnover generated in Ireland by over 300 Irish companies which are members of Guaranteed Irish, the not-for-profit business membership organisation championing homegrown and international businesses in Ireland, has now reached €11bn, according to new figures released recently. Globally, these companies generate a turnover of €25.84bn. In Ireland, these companies directly employ 49,873 people, with 46% currently exporting, primarily to the UK, US and mainland Europe.

The figures were released by Guaranteed Irish at an event on Wednesday at the Irish Stock Exchange. Only member companies, which are required to meet a range of criteria before attaining membership, are given permission to display the Guaranteed Irish symbol as a badge of provenance and trust.

Guaranteed Irish has also announced that March 2018 has been designated the inaugural Guaranteed Irish Month to celebrate all members of Guaranteed Irish and showcase Ireland’s exceptional international reputation as a great place to work and do business.

A range of activities are planned for the month-long initiative including a ‘Meet Guaranteed Irish’ event in Dublin which will offer members the opportunity to exhibit their businesses and network with other members. Guests, including political representatives, will be invited to learn first-hand the contribution Guaranteed Irish members make to the Irish economy. Companies interested in joining the organisation were also encouraged to attend.

As part of Guaranteed Irish Month, the organisation also unveiled a new Guaranteed Irish Global Register which calls on business leaders at home and the Irish diaspora abroad, to register with Guaranteed Irish to assist member companies who are considering exporting to new markets.

A new Guaranteed Irish website will be launched during Guaranteed Irish Month, along with a Guaranteed Irish Partner Programme for members, and in the coming months, a seminar will be held on how to leverage Guaranteed Irish in the context of Brexit.

Deirdre Somers, CEO of the Irish Stock Exchange, said:

“The Irish Stock Exchange is delighted to support the launch of Guaranteed Irish Month. The Guaranteed Irish symbol is a real badge of honour worn by home-grown enterprises, as well as international businesses which have chosen Ireland as their base, and contributes to showcasing Ireland as a great place to conduct business.”

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The Many Benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD represents a holistic and integral commitment from professionals to commit to enhancing their personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers.

CPD’s are developed by professional programme developers to assist you in maintaining and improving your knowledge, skills and competence throughout your working life. Keeping your knowledge and skills up to date in today’s fast-changing systems of work is vitally important.

You may find it challenging to plan and systematically improve your skills to set up systems for continuous improvement in your workplace. CILT can offer members guidance and support to help individuals gain knowledge to advance skills and improve competency in the industry through providing CPD Programmes.

Benefits of CPD’s
CPD is an investment that an individual makes in themselves. It is a way of planning development that links learning directly to practice. CPD helps keep skills and knowledge up to date and prepares those for greater responsibilities.

Many employers now value ‘learning agility’ as a core competency such as build confidence and credibility; seeing your progression by tracking your learning, in annual work appraisals, helping focus your career goals, and be more productive and efficient in the working environment.

CILT, the recognised professional body of the transport, logistics and supply chain management, facilitates CPD’s by co-ordinating Subject Matter Experts (SME) to develop Professional Programmes that are relevant to our industry and will be endorsed by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport for all our members to avail of.

Programmes are developed to ensure:
Cost efficiency: CILT have buying power and develop programmes in conjunction with the SME.
Relevance: Businesses can avail of industry relevant training for their staff.
Convenience: Delivered at a time and a location that suits the company.
Skill gaps: Our SME’s set out programmes in a way that improves your knowledge, competency and skill gaps.

Continuous Reflective Learning:
A key element of CILT’s approach to CPD is to ensure individuals take time to reflect and act on the lessons learnt from any single CPD activity. The value of reflective learning is that it makes you, as a professional, consider:

• The CPD activity addressed the need set out in your CPD requirement.
• Whether the CPD has filled the knowledge competency or skill gap.
• The value of the CPD activity now being used within the working environment.
• Possibly becoming a super user and passing the knowledge onto others in work.

Fee Structure
CILT run a variety of CPD Programmes that will be of interest to members and non-members. Our main core value in providing CPD programmes is to promote professionalism in Logistics, Transport and Supply Chain.

CPD Programmes available 2018

Collision Investigation Reporting: Two Days
Investigation: Providing the necessary skills to attend an incident, identify and record the relevant information including the interviewing of both drivers and witnesses. Understanding the information tachographs, on-board camera’s (dashcams) and Sat Nav’s provide in these circumstances. Collating this information into a suitable format for use in a subsequent investigation.

Prevention: By having an awareness of the techniques used during a forensic collision investigation the Road Transport Manager/ Safety officer can prevent exposure to liability issues and improve overall compliance.

Vehicle Safety Management: Three days
Maintenance Planning, Maintenance Goals and Objectives, Preventive Maintenance Inspections and Services, Documentation, PM Inspections, Identified Defects, Work Orders, PM Services, PM Management by Exception, Pre-Trip Inspections, Maintenance Training, Maintenance Management Information System, Preventive Maintenance Planning, Pre-trip Inspections, Management of Maintenance Records, Parts and Equipment Controls, Safe Facilities and Safe Employees are areas
that are covered in this comprehensive three-day programme.

Driver Health and Wellbeing Safety Management: Three Days:
The management of a Health and Safety Plan – Determining safety policy and planning for implementation. Organise for health and safety, profile risks and implement your plans. Check, measuring performance, monitor before events and investigate, post events. Reviewing performance, and act on lessons learnt. Incident reporting Provisions, of an occupational health service (OHS). Slips and trips, Musculoskeletal disorders/manual handling.

Violence and aggression/challenging behaviour, Lone working. Work related stress, Bullying and harassment, Hazardous substances. Work equipment, the provision and use of work and lifting equipment. Display screen equipment. Every area of health and safety planning and implementation is covered in this programme.

Transport Workplace Safety Design Layout Management: Three Days
The management and assessment of risks, and control measures for Supervising and monitoring workplace transport issues. Supervising & monitoring workplace
transport issues. Safe deliveries and unloading at sites.

Pedestrian/vehicle separation and Access by members of the public, Eliminating / minimising reversing, Speed limits. Safe driver Training, Drivers as a vulnerable group, Work-related road safety, Safe vehicle. Vehicle selection and maintenance. Overturning vehicles, Falls from vehicles, Objects (including the load) falling off vehicles. Parking vehicles and trailers. This course is vitally important to all Transport workplaces. It is a programme with samples of policies and procedures will assist any transport manager is ensuring safety in the workplace.

Load Securing / Safe Loading and Unloading: Two Days (IRU Certified Safe Loading and Cargo Securing Programme)
The programme includes key elements of the European best practice guidelines on cargo securing for road transport and incorporates the new revised standard. This programme will answer: What are the limitations on axle loads? Which loading and securing techniques should be applied to a specific cargo? How many lashings and other safety equipment should be used for a specific cargo?

Accident Prevention Programme: One Day
The concept of a preventable accident is a fleet safety management tool. It establishes a safe driving standard and criteria for evaluating individual drivers. It offers an objective for accident investigations and evaluations while evaluating and monitoring the safety performance of individual drivers and the fleets. It also assists in the implementation of safe driving recognition programmes. Management: Does the company have a programme for investigating accidents?

Is there a company, accident review committee? Has the company defined a standard for the safe driving performance of its drivers? Is the carrier’s standard for safe driving sufficiently challenging such that it would serve to highlight areas for fleet safety improvement? Are the drivers instructed as to what the company standard for safe driving is? Are the drivers instructed about company procedure for evaluating the preventability of accidents?

Fleet Managers Compliance Awareness: One Day
The course is aimed at managers and supervisors involved with transport operations in the private and public sector. The course will provide an overview of the Transport Operators Licensing system and highlight employers’ and drivers’ responsibilities. It also details areas of legislation that directly affect the operator licence obligations, such as drivers’ hours rules, the safety of passengers and secure loads on vehicles. The course is classroom-based and is suitable for a maximum of 16 delegates.

Leadership and Management Development: Four Days
This course identifies personal leadership, strengths and weaknesses. It recognises the personality traits that influence communication and behaviour for analysis in the business operation. Knowledge of motivation factors that affect commitment to work and personal assessment of leadership.

Understanding personalities, working styles, communication and relationships that promote value. The drivers of motivation and consequences of shortfalls. Use of evaluations as motivators. Identifying and developing strengths in personnel.

Tachograph Management Training: Three Days
The course covers the regulations that govern:
• Drive times
• Mandatory breaks/ resting periods
• Breaks that apply under the rules of the Working Time Directive
• National and international journeys
• Penalties for not maintaining compliance
• Managing digital, analogue and mixed vehicle tachographs
• Identify the commission regulations and statutory instruments appertaining
to driver’s hours and the digital tachograph vehicle unit
• Be familiar with the (EC) No.561/2006 Drivers’ Hours Regulations which outline driver hour
• Be aware of driver and operator liabilities
• Have a practical understanding of the features of the digital tachograph
• Have the ability to read printouts from a driver’s card and from the vehicle unit
• Be familiar with the downloading of data from the driver’s card and from the digital tachograph
• Be able to analyse and archive data
• Describe in specific terms the knowledge and skills that participants will achieve on successful
completion of the programme.

How to apply for a CPD Programme
Contact Jerry Meredith, Education Services Officer, CILT Direct Dial 01-9068456 or see our website:

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Brokexit – Brokering Brexit and Finding Working Solutions

CILT examine the remedies companies can use post Brexit and how they can adapt and implement these. Here we explore some of the possible solutions open to Irish industries from the perspective of a number of stakeholders CILT have worked with collaboratively in recent times.

TIR – Transports Internationaux Routiers
Since 1949, the TIR System has been one of the road transport industry’s most successful innovations – making customs procedures and international border crossings quick and simple.

The purpose of the TIR system is to facilitate, to the greatest possible extent, the movement of goods in international trade while effectively protecting the revenue of each state through which such goods are carried. The TIR system contains four basic requirements:

• Goods should travel in secure vehicles or containers;
• Duties and taxes at risk throughout the journey must be
covered by an internationally valid guarantee;
• Goods should be accompanied by a TIR Carnet initiated
in the country of departure, which serves as a control
document in the countries of departure, transit and
• Customs control measures taken in the country of
departure should be accepted by Customs in the
countries of transit and destination; and controlled
access to the TIR procedure for national associations to
issue TIR Carnets and for natural and legal persons to
utilise TIR Carnets.

The system provides for the movement of goods, under Customs seal, in approved road vehicles or containers, across one or more frontiers. It is a condition of the system that some portion of the journey between the beginning and end of the TIR operation is made by road. Where a road vehicle is used, TIR plates must be displayed on the vehicle during the TIR operation. Where a container is used it must have a TIR approval plate permanently affixed. The goods are listed in a TIR Carnet consisting of a series of vouchers and counterfoils (volets and souches), which will be used at the different stages of a TIR operation. The potential duties and taxes on the goods are guaranteed by the guaranteeing associations of the countries involved in the TIR operation. Each national guaranteeing association is affiliated to an international organisation i.e. the International Road Transport Union (IRU) Geneva, Switzerland.


The eTIR initiative is taking this innovation a step further and with the advent of blockchain technology will make the system one of the strongest contenders for the post-Brexit customs relationship with the UK. The move to a paperless system gives real-time data availability, online monitoring, improved reliability and flexible guarantees. The global industry association for road transport, the IRU is working on an eTIR pilot project in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The Turkish and the Iranian governments have tested the eTIR System along one transport corridor, crossing the border from Turkey to Iran and involving four customs offices. Today, having successfully demonstrated 100% reliability, these procedures are being extended to further customs offices and transport operators. The pilot shows how the system offers tools to rely exclusively on electronic messages from all communications.

“At the moment TIR may or may not prove to be useful in the concept of customs post Brexit,” says Phonsey Croke of Croke Consulting, a Customs expert.

“It depends on the outcome of the trade related talks between the EU and the UK which are likely to commence late 2017 and early 2018.

“The one clear way of minimising this is to make use of customs simplifications which are currently in the Union Customs Code. This assumes that the UK will mirror such simplifications in their upcoming customs legislation. The way to avail of these simplifications is to become a certified Authorised Economic Operator.

“However, he points out, this has its own challenges for Irish companies since today most are not involved in customs business at all. In addition, he says, it will not be enough for the transport service providers to become AEO certified. “The principals (manufacturers/exporters etc.) must also be certified. The principals will need the AEO certification more so than the transport providers.”

Phonsey Croke, Croke Consultants

Authorised Economic Operator
In essence the AEO is an internationally recognised quality mark, which indicates that the role of qualifying businesses involved in the international supply chain is secure and that their customs controls and procedures are compliant. After 11th September 2001, in order to reduce the risk of such threats, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) devised a system for increasing security of the supply chain. These new security measures such as advance cargo information and
more robust risk analysis systems had the potential to slow down the movement of goods through borders. In order to lessen this slowdown, the concept of AEO was introduced by the WCO. The EU adopted a similar programme shortly afterwards.

Becoming AEO certified requires implementation of a comprehensive customs compliance programme within a business. This will provide assurance to the business that its customs procedures and practices are up to standard. Companies will be cleared through customs with the minimum of formality removing any potential for delays as a result of the physical searching of containers and so on. Getting AEO certification should position a business well in light of the fact that customs simplifications are now exclusively available for AEO certified entities. These simplifications will, among other things, only require the submission of one customs report per month in respect of all transactions for that month – reducing overhead compliance costs and helping to create a seamless border.

Mutual recognition between AEO programmes involves a country’s government formally recognising the AEO programme of another country’s government, and thereby granting benefits to the AEOs of that country. These AEO programmes will really show benefits for all of those involved in imports and exports once mutual recognition is achieved between AEO programmes globally.

The first mutual recognition agreement was completed between the United States and New Zealand in June 2007. A similar agreement has been concluded between the EU and Japan. Canada and Russia are currently in discussions with the EU about mutual recognition as well.

Following Brexit, the UK and EU will likely agree to an AEO recognition agreement between each other providing trade facilitation measures for AEO certified businesses both in the UK and in the EU. Non-AEO businesses will not benefit.

There are two stages in the application process to become AEO Certified as follows:

1. The application
2. The evaluation

The time frame for the completion of the package of documents associated with the applications to the point of submission would normally be in the region of three months.

The evaluations can take up to four months to complete. That is the time limit customs have by law to complete the assessment phases and to make the decisions. Usually there are three or four site visits made by customs officials to evaluate applications.

AEO and the Union Customs Code (UCC)
Changes brought about by the Union Customs Code (UCC), introduced across the EU in May 2016, aim to achieve greater legal certainty for businesses and also increased clarity for customs officials.

“It seeks to improve and simplify customs rules and procedures,” says Conor Anderson of Analytiqa, a business intelligence consultancy specialising in supply

“It also looks to further harmonise decision-making procedures and lead to more efficient customs transactions. Some of the key amendments include changes to the areas of centralised clearance, self-assessment, penalties, and decisions relating to binding information and valuation.

“Amongst the fundamental changes is the introduction of mandatory guarantees for customs procedures, which could increase operating costs for trading businesses and significantly affect cash flows. Businesses with AEO status will be able to obtain guarantee waivers or guarantee reductions of up to 100% on any bond guarantees or bank guarantees they currently have with customs.”


Why should I apply for AEO accreditation?
The broad objective of AEO accreditation is that organisations that achieve AEO status will be given benefits that will lessen the impact of increasingly tighter and more restrictive security measures in the supply chain, compared to non-AEO accredited businesses. Used effectively as part of a marketing and communications strategy, AEO accreditation is a highly valuable differentiator that sets an organisation apart from its competitors. Additionally, benefits of achieving AEO accreditation include:

• Provides a logistics service provider the ability to
respond to increasing numbers of tenders from International
companies that require AEO specification;
• Facilitates greater efficiency of processes within local
operations, improving lead times;
• Subject to less physical inspection and document checks
by customs and organisations gain priority in times of
heightened security, strikes or other supply chain
• Encourages the effective management of, and reduction
in, the risk of theft, counterfeiting, contamination or
grey market shipments;
• Improved delivery times, customer satisfaction and
client retention;

AEO status brings with it the ability to apply for a single community authorisation to use simplified declaration procedures across the EU and the ability to apply for a special procedures authorisation involving more than one Member State.

Education is Key
“As a consequence of Brexit,” says Aidan Flynn of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), “the supply chain is being forced to review and rethink how goods can get to the market, principally due to the hard line position the UK have taken at the time of writing. Managing change is a daunting prospect as it requires, time, clear guidelines, ‘buy in’ from employees, collaboration and commitment from all. We all want to know, what can be done now in preparing for Brexit Day? The common answer at the moment is nothing! Or will we wait and see how the negotiations go? Is this sensible?” he asks.

“Should you in the first instance, review your business and determine how exposed and reliant you are on business to and from the UK/ Northern Ireland market? Would it not be sensible to start this conversation with your clients, suppliers, haulage contractors, freight forwarders, shippers?”

A rules-based trading environment
Over the past 20 years or so the ‘just-in-time’ principle of distribution of goods has established itself as meeting the demands of the market. This has been facilitated by membership of the Customs Union and the single market. If one or the other is removed there will be ‘friction’ at borders, customs checks and delays, administrative burdens and red tape.

It is increasingly likely that the UK will not be part of the Customs Union or the single market post-Brexit. The white papers published by the UK on Ireland, Customs Trade detail their proposed thinking on future trading and customs arrangements with Ireland and the EU.

They want to pursue a ‘rules based trading environment’ as they believe this will ‘enable economic and security cooperation, encourage predictable behaviour by states and the peaceful settlement of disputes’. To do this they hint that possible solutions would be the adaption of schemes such as the Approved Economic Operator (AEO) programme which will be vital to ensure a ‘trusted trader’ scheme that will result in minimum levels of friction and delays at borders.

For this to work in the context of Ireland-UK trade, all in the supply chain must participate in it at some level to achieve the ‘trusted trader’ outcome to satisfy the principal.

“This will be a very optimistic task,” argues Aidan Flynn. “If a transition period is not agreed – AEO accreditation takes time to achieve, up to six months and often longer, and to date there are just over 130 companies in Ireland registered to the scheme. For a pure workable ‘trusted trader regime’ to be viable all in the supply chain must be active and willing participants, and there will need to be mutual recognition of the scheme between the UK and the EU. Reality is beginning to bite, collaboration within the supply chain to develop industry wide solutions and prepare for change are vitally important.”

“There is an opportunity for the Irish Transport and Logistics sector to grab the initiative and pre-empt the inevitable, that is, start preparing for a future that will require more transparency around the driver, vehicle, load, pickup and delivery locations etc. Doing this will at the very least ensure you are operating to the highest standards of professionalism and compliance and that this is demonstrated through attainment of independent standards that are periodically audited.

“This is part of what ‘trusted trader’ is all about, another part is that the supply chain is linked together in terms of the rules and requirements for doing business.”

The unfortunate reality of Brexit is that there are a plethora of new processes and terminology that most in the industry were vaguely aware of but now must fundamentally understand, study and implement.

“For solutions and responses to be effective,” says Aidan, “both industry and Government must work together to make sure the issues are understood and that solutions such as resourcing of new skills and new systems are planned for. They must be all inclusive and give everyone a fair chance to trade within the new rules. AEO could very well be part of a solution and must be considered. What can be done now is distributors can review and audit their current levels of operational compliance to roadworthiness issues, tachograph and driver hours. Manufacturers can review the impact WTO rates will have on their product, they can also review where they are exporting or importing from and shippers can work with both to make sure everyone is on the same page and planning to have the least disruption to accessing vital markets on time.”

Every link in the supply chain must work collaboratively to develop strategies to prepare for Brexit Day. Most importantly companies should be preparing case studies of the impact Brexit will have on their businesses and sharing this information with trade associations, representative bodies, Government officials, local politicians and EU representatives.

“Time is moving on,” says Aidan Flynn, “and one wonders if the significance of the deadline date is really sinking in with industry. It is vitally important that there is a clear understanding of the nature of the exposure on businesses and jobs for our industry now.”

Aidan Flynn (5)
Aidan Flynn, FTA

Invest in Education
The transport and logistics sector currently faces a serious skills shortage across all levels which hinders progress and makes dealing with change extremely difficult. A real way to deal with change is to invest in training and education.

Even without Brexit investment in training and education is urgently required. There are some key issues the industry needs to confront so that it is better prepared. Why is there is a skills shortage in the first place?

The industry is on the verge of the biggest shock to the supply chain in decades and on the cusp of an automated revolution. Getting people interested in a career in transport and logistics is of vital importance and should be actioned straight away.

Training and education, up-skilling and continuous professional development must become the norm, not the exception. Industry must really commit to adding value to careers in their companies and making them more attractive to young people.

There are a number of existing initiatives available now that can make a real difference in future proofing your business. Support Apprenticeship programmes (which must be industry led) by matching employees into positions that fit in with available apprenticeships.

If they are not there yet share your requirements with the likes of the CILT or FTAI or other associations and review options.

Apprenticeships are ideal for our sector and a viable solution to help add value and direction for the participant. Apprenticeships help form a culture of progression within industry that will ultimately result in a better skilled workforce.

Training and education obviously costs money but industry should concentrate on the return on investment such as improved productivity, employee loyalty, happier employees and improved efficiencies to name a few.

Government are already providing training subsidies through the likes of the Skillnets programmes run by the CILT for the transport and logistics sector. Support it, make the most of the funding that is available. The harsh reality at the moment is that the transport and logistics sector are not exploiting what is available.

Skillnets is a great opportunity to avail of 20% saving on the cost of training that your business needs to be doing anyway. Some examples of roles that will benefit from a renewed focus on training and education are:

• Blockchain technology applications for the supply
chain sector
• Customs and excise
• Automated picking of orders
• Platooning leading to driverless solutions
• More integrated warehousing and distribution solutions

Brexit will require all sorts of new skills as will digital data management and automation solutions, all of which will obviously require up-skilling. Start now, develop your training and development plan for 2018, remember Skillnets and the soon to be announced new apprenticeship programmes.

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GDPR Will Change Data Protection in May 2018 – Are You Ready?

In less than a year, Europe’s data protection rules will undergo their biggest changes
in two decades. Since their creation, the volume of digital information we create,
capture, and store has vastly increased. Simply put, the old regime was no longer fit
for purpose.

The solution is the mutually agreed European General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force on
May 25th, 2018. It will change how businesses and public sector
organisations can handle the information of customers. To find
out more about what GDPR will mean, Linkline Journal spoke
with founder of IT security firm ISAS (Information Security
Assurance Services), Conor Flynn, who has over 25 years
experience providing information security advice to a wide
range of public and private sector organisations.
Coming into force next May, Conor explains that “GDPR is seen
as a move across Europe to improve the old data protection
acts which have been with us since the 1980s, albeit with a
number of revisions. There was quite an inconsistent
implementation across the EU with the old acts; the EU issued
a directive and then it was up to each local jurisdiction to
transpose that into a piece of legislation and make it an act
locally. For instance, it took Ireland seven years to transpose
the original directive which came out in 1981 into an
act here.”

When the EU issues a regulation it is immediately binding in all
countries, it does not need to be transposed into local
legislation, which makes GDPR significantly different to
its predecessors.

What makes GDPR interesting, according to Conor, is that it
came into force in May 2016 but will not begin to be enforced
until May 2018: “A lot of people are looking at May 2018 as
when this will become applicable and that is not the case. It
became applicable in May 2016, we are now in the adoption
phase, so next May is when the fines and audits will start based
on the regulation. Many people are working on the basis that
they only have to start working towards compliance next May,
you have to finish compliance by next May.”

There are some significant implications for the public sector in
particular: “GDPR defines that every public sector body,
regardless of size, that handles any personal identifiable
information must have a data protection officer. Now, a lot of
organisations in the public sector already have data protection
officers but often times it’s a combined role. It might be
someone who is head of IT or in HR but what is going to
particularly impactful in the Irish public sector is that those
roles are now seen as conflict roles for data protection. They
cannot exist with them”, he explains.

The regulation has called out some very specific competences
that the data protection officer must have: “They must have
quite a lot training, a good technical knowledge of systems
within the organisation and they must be of a senior level
because they have to be able to go to the management board
to report any non-compliance. They also have protection,
somewhat similar to a whistle-blower, they can’t be disciplined
or have any impact on their career for doing their job as
an officer.”

While the regulation doesn’t require legislation to come into
effect in May of next year, it does need legislation to support
some specific pieces of enactment at a local level. As Conor
explains, “For instance, the age of a child is defined differently
in varying European countries and the specific controls with
regards to how you handle the information of a child, so that
has be dealt with locally. Also, there is discretion to each
country as to whether or public sector bodies will be fined for
breaches and there is a little bit of tension here. The draft bill is
proposing that public sector bodies can’t be fined in Ireland
but the data protection office is lobbying that they should be

In the private sector however, the fines are going to be far
more onerous and we’ve seen some very public headlines
about fines of up to €20 million and up to four percent of
global turnover. While these don’t apply so much to the public
sector, what does apply is the ability for the data subject, the
citizen, to sue the controller or processor of their data in the
event of the breach.

Explaining, Conor says; “The regulation foresees that any
settlements in a case like this should be dissuasive and should
be more than compensating the injured party for their injury.
There have to be non-compensatory payments made as well,
which means the stress or discomfort of somebody who has
suffered a breach would result in a payment which is worrying.”
Elaborating further, he adds; “There is a lot of responsibility
and accountability coming towards the various data
controllers in both public and private sectors. What is going to
make it more difficult in the public sector is there are very
specific requirements to the role, functions, competency and
independence of data protection officers while at the same
time, they are still exposed to the settlement
of lawsuits.”

So, with the possibility of serious sanctions for non-compliance
how should organisations be preparing? First and foremost,
Conor believes organisations should contact their corporate
risk register because this is a risk to the business if you don’t.
“One of the most effective ways to get senior management to
commit human or financial resources to anything is to get on a
risk register and put an appropriate risk to the business on it.
We’ve talked about what the sanctions are; you can be fined,
you could have people taking you to court, you could be
named and shamed in the data protection commissioner’s
annual report but one of the other sanctions they have is they
can actually stop you processing, if they feel you have had a
breach or you have acted in a negligent or inappropriate way.
They can come in and make you switch off your systems, so
you can imagine the impact on a business if they had to stop
processing, people need to get this up on their risk register.”

This is not about bureaucrats or consultancy companies
selling time or IT security firms selling product; it is about the
European Union taking a stance with how Governments, organisations, law
enforcement and various bodies use people’s information

What is a Corporate Risk Register?
The Corporate Risk Register is designed
to record the evaluation of corporate risks to the Board or
management, and to inform those responsible for managing
those risks about actions taken and planned to mitigate
them. This in turn helps to ensure that all significant risks
have been suitably identified, assessed and managed.

Conor also believes organisations should be undertaking a
readiness assessment or audit to identify the size of the
problem and to understand the impact of applying the
principles and rights of GDPR to the data, adding “There is
quite a bit of work to be done but the worst decision
management can make is to do in nothing.

Aside from inaction, Conor is worried that many organisations
may be viewing GDPR as a project and it is not; it is process.
“This is a permanent part of your world for the future and it
can’t be something that you throw lots of capital resources at
to buy equipment and software, and your GDPR is done. GDPR
is about privacy. It is about the entitlement of the data subject.
It’s not about security, encryption or buying the latest piece of

He is also keen to stress that it might be that you make no
software adjustments and become compliant.” What a lot of
people are missing in this whole debate is GDPR also covers
paper records, not just electronic. You can’t apply encryption
to paper so you must have your processes in place; how you
engage with the citizen, how you gather your data, how you
get rid of it, how you control access to it and so on. These are
privacy issues, the technology controls will come out of how
you will manage that. It is not a technology project first and I
think that is getting lost in some of the discussion.”

GDPR will no doubt instigate huge changes across Europe and
Conor firmly believes GDPR is a good thing, simply put, he says
“it is giving the citizen back control of their data and I think this
is vitally important. This is not about bureaucrats or
consultancy companies selling time or IT security firms selling
product; it is about the European Union taking a stance with
how Governments, organisations, law enforcement and
various bodies use people’s information. It’s about putting a
little bit of manners on organisations who will have access to,
or require a large amounts of data, to make sure what they are
doing is done in an appropriate way and not excessive.”

GDPR is changing how businesses and public sector
organisations can handle the information of customers and
citizens. It is a permanent part of our world for the future and it
cannot be ignored; the potential consequences of GDPR
non-compliance are simply too high not to.

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Blockchain in Supply Chain Logistics

Blockchain is changing the way we do businesses. What change will it bring to supply chain logistics? Gráinne Lynch and Ignacio Lopéz del Moral discuss its applicability to supply chain.

Supply chain operations are rife with challenges. From pharmaceutical to food, customers want to know that what they order is what they get, and giving certainty regarding origin from producer to consumer and from farm to fork, essential. Eliminating counterfeit, fraudulent, and deceptive products from the supply chain helps protect both brand and revenue. Knowing where products have originated, are located and are destined at any one time helps to streamline reverse logistics and enables responsive recall processes.

The chain of custody, Track & Trace, throughout a supply chain is a cumbersome process to initiate and continuously manage especially where specialist handling is required. Perishable, temperature sensitive goods are often subject to additional handling criteria, which are typically only communicated on receipt. Temperature sensing in close–toreal- time of perishable goods would result in a reduction in the level of discard and destruction, leading to potential savings. This is especially pertinent in pharmaceutical cold chain operations as well as poultry, fish and flammable products.

Complete ease and swiftness of choosing partners in the supply chain and integrating them into the supply chain network has not yet been achieved. Onboarding can still be costly and time-consuming. Foreign exchange fluctuations and the costs of banking, directly affects business operations. It would be more efficient to disintermediate (remove non-value added steps and ‘middlemen’) financial transactions and divest banks from transaction management to deliver payments in real-time.

At the beginning of a supply chain relationship, contracts are agreed and are then rarely used to influence, manage and implicate supply chain execution. They are really only consulted when something goes wrong (Cecere, 2017). Even when there are procedures in place for managing B2B data, track and trace information and chains of custody, all information is subject to error; either intentional fraudulent manipulations or unintentional errors. Blockchain technology is gaining widespread support and it may help alleviate and solve the challenges listed above, thus bringing greater visibility and transparency to supply chain operations.

But what is blockchain technology?

Blockchain is an expanding list of records akin to entries in a spreadsheet or ledger (called blocks) that are linked together (in a chain) to the previous block and secured using advanced public key cryptographic protocols. The blocks in the chain are communicated to all members in a network (known as nodes), this means that the blockchain is distributed, making it decentralised and thus mitigating risks from storing information in a centralised database. The members in the blockchain individually verify the contents of the records in the blocks, thus providing a distributed verification mechanism.

Collectively, the independent verification mechanism provides a robust degree of authenticity to a block, meaning that any alteration to a record (block) would be detected by the other members (nodes). This makes the blocks immutable, which is a great little word that simply means unchangeable. Blockchain is also known as “Distributed Ledger Technology.” There are public and private blockchains. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Etherum are some of the best known uses of public blockchains.


There are a growing number of private blockchains that are poised to deliver greater visibility, transparency, integrity, control, over supply chain and logistics operations. The immutability and transparency provided by blockchain, the data integrity and the robustness of the system has lead Roberto Fernández Hergueta, Head of Emerging Digital Business in Everis to state that “blockchain will improve the supply chain sector due to the availability of pre-transaction information for all the involved players, the immutability of historic data, the reduction in errors in payment processing and auditing and the real time visibility across the whole supply chain, resulting in a real time Feedback from customers” (Hergueta, 2017).

Those convinced of the merits of blockchain, otherwise known as blockchainers, are paying keen attention to the importance of smart contracts, which are agreements between parties executed automatically once a pre-defined trigger point has been reached, or once the conditions that have been predetermined by the contractual parties are met. This concept is revolutionary in the legal world because it makes the breach of the clauses of the contract practically impossible, thus avoiding trials, injunctions, seizures, etc. Therefore, we will see an increase in efficiency and a consequent fall in costs, in certain operations that are eligible to be automated.

For example, the first blockchain-based insurance policy for marine cargo insurance certificates has been successfully tested by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and the NTT DATA Corporation. According to Tokio Marine, the certificate of insurance, the bill of lading, letter of credit and commercial invoice were all stored and transmitted on the blockchain, “It was actually proven that the blockchain based system will cut 85% of the shipper’s time of data inputting work in order to receive an insurance certificate….When one block was attacked and rewritten, the tampered block was not distributed to other nodes and it became obvious that there was inconsistency compared to the other nodes. It also showed that the whole blockchain system still worked with the legitimate data even though one node was attacked,” Tokio Marine explained (Allison, 2017).


With respect to blockchain implementations in the pharmaceutical sector (Blockverify and BlockRx, for instance) that aim to prevent from illegitimate pharmaceuticals from reaching patients and causing harm. Dioni Nespral says (translated by Spanish to English by Ignacio Lopéz del Moral): “Each time a drug is manufactured, a hash is generated, which allows to authenticate the origin of this item. This hash provides all the information related to its manufacture and components. In addition, each time an agent interacts with that drug, another hash is linked to the previous one with more information, with total traceability” (Preukschat, 2017).

Are there any working blockchain
implementations in supply chain logistics?

Yes. There are a number of very interesting blockchain implementations in the transport, logistics and supply chain sector, presented below:

Blockfreight is a new end-to-end blockchain system for global cargo shipping. It is the product of an Australian based research company, tasked to develop a solution to the primary pain points in cargo shipping that requires the manual matching up of bill of lading with letters of credit and other settlement mechanisms. Blockfreight’s solution consists of three (it’s the magic number) key elements:

• Smart contracts to securely, permanently define the bill
of lading, terms of payment and other key elements to a
completed cargo shipment, built on the Ethereum
• A tradeable token built as a counterparty asset, which is
secured by the bitcoin blockchain. This token pays for
the transaction fees and effectively eliminates spam on
the decentralised system.
• Storage of the bill of lading and other documents too
large to fit into a bitcoin block using the IPFS (Inter
Planetary File System) protocol (Blockfreight, 2017).


Hijro is the financial operating network for global trade powered by distributed ledger technology. Built on distributed ledger technology, the Hijro Network acts as a global “fabric” for trade; it provides partners and network participants with a secure and efficient way to move value and assets around the world by tokenisng, transferring, and trading different types of digital assets between financial institutions (Hijro, 2017).

Skuchain applies the cryptographic principles developed in the Bitcoin network to security and visibility for the global supply chain. As goods travel from manufacturers to distributors to consumers, the crucial electronic information of what the item is and where it came from becomes disconnected from the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) itself. A blockchain offers a universal, secure ledger by which SKUs can attest to digitally to their origins and attributes (Skuchain, 2017).

Walmart is working with IBM and Tsinghua University in Beijing on a blockchain pilot for tracking and tracing pork in China since 2016 (IBM, 2016) by using IBM blockchain based on the open source Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project fabric. Product information (e.g. farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates and shipping detail) is digitally connected to food items and entered into the blockchain at every step of the process. Each piece of information serves to provide critical data points that could help reveal food safety issues (Castillo, 2017).


The Ambrosus project aims to radically improve the global supply chains by creating a trusted ecosystem to reliably record the entire history of products and execute commercial transactions accordingly. Using a combination of sensors, biosensors and food tracers, coupled with a unique ID, smart tagging and anti-tampering mechanisms, Ambrosus monitors the product in real-time down to the individual unit (Ambrosus, 2017).


For me, it is difficult to conceive a future supply chain without some aspect of blockchain. Getting this right means the right technology build in a robust manner to enable all of the benefits blockchain can offer, such as immutability, transparency and security. Scaling blockchain applications so that all partners can access the benefits and helping partners to understand the changes are key considerations for the sustainability of any blockchain implementation.

In the next issue of the Linkline we will discuss the regulations and legal framework that will assist and enable Blockchain advancement.

The author acknowledges and thanks Ignacio López del Moral, Everis.

Grainne Lynch, Vice President of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Ireland, Pharmaceutical Track & Trace Advisor with ESP, Supply Chain Logistics Innovation Specialist.

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“There’s Fresh Enthusiasm to Move the Institute Forward”

The new President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) is
Helen Noble, who took over stewardship of the Institute on the first of October
for a two-year term. She talks to Linkline about her work in the maritime sector
and her ambitions for her presidency.

With almost a quarter a century of experience in the
complex, and ever-evolving, sphere of maritime and
transport law, Helen Noble is used to dealing with unique
challenges and the requirement to evolve to stay relevant.
For her, the challenge of taking the Institute forward,
developing the membership of CILT and ensuring it is fully
representative of the sector is a natural one.

Helen has been involved on the Council of CILT on and off for
several years. “I firmly believe in the importance of our
industry having an active membership body organisation
where we can collectively harness the vast body of
knowledge we have all as members developed over the years
to embrace development and change, a forum where we can
all enhance our knowledge further, a medium through which
we can mentor new entrants to our industry and an assembly
where we can ensure our industry maintains consistently
high professional standards and education.” The logistics,
transport and supply chain have so many different
components, but we are all interdependent on one another
to differing extents. “It is therefore critical in my view for the
industry that we have a collective and fully representative

Helen set up her Shipping & Transport Law practice in Ireland
in 2004, building upon the career she had previously
established in shipping law firms in London and Singapore.
Helen’s firm, Noble Shipping Law, is now located in Arklow,
where she practices with her assistant, Hazel Dalton. She is
currently looking for a third person to grow the team further.
The dual Irish and English practise specialises in all areas of
maritime and transport law, such as cargo claims, bill of
lading issues and disputes, ship arrests, insurance issues,
marine casualties, personal injury claims, road transport
disputes and freight forwarding claims. “I feel so privileged to
work in this industry. To me it is as thrilling today as it was 25
years ago. No one day is the same. I can be dealing with a
highly contentious dispute one moment and be handing the
drafting of a complex commercial agreement in the next.
Unlike other areas of law, there is a huge commercial focus to
what we do. We solve problems in a way that enables our
clients to get on with their business with the least
disturbance possible. As a truly international practice we are
afforded a rich and unique opportunity to work with many
different countries, companies and cultures.”

Challenges and Brexit

“One of the biggest challenges for my practice has been
recruiting professionals who either have a legal background
in the industry or who possess a good commercial acumen
combined with a willingness to specialise in a niche area of
law,” explained Helen. Trusting in her instinct and putting
time into mentoring individuals however has paid off in
Helen’s experience and there are many individuals who have
trained under Helen that continue to work in this area of law
at an international level. “Some of them now instruct me here
in Ireland which confirms you get out what you put in and it
always brings a slightly droll smile to my face.”

When Helen first arrived in Ireland in 2004, the Irish economy
was booming and, working in conjunction with bodies such
as the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO), there was a
real impetus, drive and enthusiasm for building on Ireland’s
strong record of attracting foreign direct investment and
encouraging international shipping business to Ireland.
There was a core group of people working hard to establish a
“Maritime Cluster” in Ireland. Ireland had a great story to sell.
First and foremost, maritime transport is the absolute
lifeblood of the Irish economy in terms of both imports and
exports, the overwhelming majority of goods coming to or
leaving the island do so by sea,” she explained, “it wasn’t
difficult therefore to describe our maritime roots and
establish our authenticity as a maritime nation.” Putting that
aside, Ireland is an easy place and tax efficient area to do
business. It’s English speaking with a legal system based on
the Common Law making it an attractive hub for major
shipping corporations looking to establish an EU foothold for
example corporations from countries such as India and
Singapore. Ireland already had a proven track record with its
success in the aviation industry and it was felt we could
emulate that in the maritime sector.

Unfortunately jump forward just a few years and the boom
had gone bust and attracting new international business
became difficult and was to a large extent on the back burner
as we fought fires for our clients and all dug deep to deal
with the economic crash.

As economic times improve, “Ireland once again has the real
potential to develop as a ‘go-to’ place for international
shipping business,” explains Helen. Of course, one very large
cloud on the horizon for the industry is Brexit. The decision
taken by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union
has major consequences for the transport, logistics and
supply chain sector. The issue of what to do with the Irish
border has finally started to gather momentum and, as no
surprise to all within the sector, it now appears as one of the
major sticking points in the Brexit negotiations. Quotes and
terms such as “Brexit means Brexit”, “a hard Brexit” and “a soft
Brexit” were bandied around in the early days after the UK
vote seemingly without any real focus. They were term used
to talk about a multiplicity of issues but with immigration
issues seemingly at the core. A “hard Brexit” will however
have significant repercussions for the island of Ireland. When
the United Kingdom leaves the EU, Ireland will become an
island within an island and the impact on our transport,
logistics and supply chain sector will be huge. An already
complex border issue with a difficult history has become
even more complicated with the Conservative power sharing
alliance with the DUP which has served to introduce a further
political dimension to this trade issue.

Helen is pleased to report that on 24th January 2018 CILT
Chapters in the UK and Ireland are holding a joint event on
Brexit to focus on this issue entitled, “The All Island Supply
Chain – BREXIT.” In what is becoming an increasingly
entrenched political position on the UK and Irish sides, the
event will explore the practical issues to an all island supply
chain post Brexit. As the sector’s professional membership
body this type of event is crucial to ensure the voice of the
sector is debated and is heard.

While Helen does acknowledge the threat that British
departure from the European Union will present to the
viability and sustainability of many companies and operators
within Ireland’s the transport, logistics and supply chain
sector, she also points to potential opportunities. “Brexit is a
huge concern for anyone in the transport or logistics
industry, we will face particular challenges due to the border
and the massive volume of traffic between the UK and
Ireland,” says Helen. “However, it’s very important that we are
not passive but also that we look to take advantage of any
opportunities Brexit may present for our industry.” British
insurers have already this year indicated a number of moves
to Ireland to serve customers post Brexit such as LGEN.L.
Within two days of each other in the third week of November
two of the world’s largest ship protection and indemnity
insurers announced they were setting up European union
subsidies in Dublin, the Standard P&I Club and North of
England P&I Club. “This is a hugely exciting development for
the maritime sector in Ireland and certainly is a stride on the
aspiration road for a “Maritime Cluster.”

Vision for CILT

In terms of her vision for her two-year term as President,
Helen is keen to ensure that CILT is clearly identifiable as the
professional membership body for all within the transport,
logistics and supply chain sector. This includes those involved
in the areas of travel and planning, aviation, bus and coach
transport, freight forwarding, logistics and supply chain,
operations management, ports, maritime and waterways, rail
and transport planning. This level of harmonisation is
essential to ensure consistency in high professional and
educational standards and an industry that works in a
cohesive and seamless manner. She says, “I think it is fair to
say that we have reached a point where the outward
perception of CILT is that we are too focused on one or two
areas of the sector to the exclusion of others.” Helen’s aim is
that CILT will actively embrace membership from all areas of
the transport, logistics and supply chain sector to ensure CILT
is the collective and relevant voice of the sector. Helen adds,
“we should be recognised as thought leaders throughout
these sectors.”

To this end, Helen is keen to harness the considerable
resources at the Institute’s disposal. We have a diverse
membership. Some of our members are the key leaders
within Ireland’s transport, logistics and supply chain sector.
Those that are key leaders in the sector and that are not
currently members will be encouraged to join. Over the next
two years Helen aims to foster the relationship with those
key leaders and to put those key leaders at the very heart of
the organisation. This will empower CILT to be the relevant,
collective and professional voice of the transport, logistics
and supply chain sector, enable access to all members to the
different industry areas and provide them with relevant
networking opportunities to develop and enhance their
careers, and it will ensure that education remains accessible,
up to date with industry needs and requirements and at the
highest standard possible.

Helen concluded “as an institute we produce some great
research and do so much great work, and I would love to use
that to promote what our members do and focus on and
develop our identity as an organisation. There’s a busy two
years ahead, but we have a strong and very skilled Council,
we have an innovative Vice President, we have a new forward
thinking CEO and we have excellent staff. There is a genuine
enthusiasm and renewed vigour within the institute and I
look forward to achieving our goals together.”

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Five Trends Keeping Supply Chain Specialists Up At Night

It’s easy to sleep with a clear mind. But with increasing supply chain pressures gnawing at your brain, it can be hard to get any shuteye.

Between meeting customers’ needs for individualized products and ensuring your partners, people, processes, and products remain connected, supply chain specialists have plenty of issues to worry about.

How can you solve your enterprise’s greatest industry challenges and finally rest easy? Technology is the answer.

Let’s examine five key trends impacting supply chain and look at how your organization can excel with innovative solutions.

Trend #1: Individualization

One-third of today’s consumers are interested in personalized products. From shampoos with specific fragrances to automobiles with uniquely tailored dashboard displays, buyers have their sights set on items that are specially designed for them.

The problem with this, of course, is twofold: The cost of manufacturing customized products can be high, and creating too many unique goods may not be commercially viable.

So, how can your enterprise meet customers’ demands for personalized products without breaking the bank or producing a surplus of goods?

By using an integrated business planning solution – one that combines demand sensing, machine learning capabilities, and multi-tier inventory optimization – you can more accurately predict demand and lower your overall inventory levels.

With enhanced demand sensing and planning, your business can analyze demand signals – such as ordering patterns, point-of-sale data, seasonal events, and promotions – to create accurate monthly, weekly, and even daily forecasts. More accurate forecasts ensure you don’t wind up manufacturing, ordering, or carrying too much or too little of a particular product.

The ability to predict the precise number of goods required helps guarantee you have enough of a certain product available for customers, allowing you to maintain high service levels while also ensuring your distribution centers aren’t overstocked with surplus target and safety stock inventory.

Better demand sensing and planning capabilities have helped businesses improve forecast accuracy by as much as 60%.

Trend #2: Globalization

Globalization has ushered in the sharing economy. In your personal life, you’ve likely benefited from this new reality by catching a ride home with Uber after a night out or renting a vacation home through Airbnb.

But how has the sharing economy impacted your business? It’s possible it hasn’t. After all, only nine percent of companies consider themselves “fast movers” when it comes to capitalizing on the monetization opportunities presented by the sharing economy.

Still, many companies are embracing this networking idea, sharing warehouse and transportation capacity, as well as supply chain planning, execution, point-of-sale, device, and sensor data. This helps enterprises reduce costs, improve visibility, and provide customers with superior service.

By extending your company’s integrated business planning and supply chain execution to your partners, you can synchronize planning and streamline operations across your entire supply chain network. Adding these capabilities is crucial to sharing essential data and documents and orchestrating processes in real time, regardless of company, system, and geographical borders.

Deploying a business network platform is the key to achieving this. In addition to profiting from a connected community, shared content, and hosted applications, your business benefits from stronger infrastructure and operations that result in better and more secure visibility, collaboration, and business-to-business integration. For instance, a global, multi-modal logistics business network can provide your enterprise with greater end-to-end shipment visibility and help support efficient international trade collaboration.

With a business network platform easing communication and reducing costs, there’s no better way for your supply chain network to capitalize on the opportunities presented by today’s sharing economy.

Trend #3: Connectivity

Connectivity makes business partner collaboration stronger. By integrating machines, devices, and sensors – and sharing real-time data generated from your assets – you can ensure more accurate planning and digitalize your logistics processes.

In the warehouse, connectivity can help you optimize your operations through automation. You can use intelligent storage and retrieval systems, conveyor belts, sorters, and autonomous guided vehicles to radically transform your warehouse processes.

By connecting your products and transportation resources with innovative Internet of Things (IoT) technology, you can achieve real-time visibility with end-to-end, in-transit tracking and performance insight. When a truck is close to a pickup area or delivery destination, your business can automatically provide customers and business partners with just-in-time delivery notifications, gate check-in details, time-slot booking options, and outbound processing alerts.

Moreover, continuously monitoring the condition of your products and their location can help you mitigate risk. By analyzing your data with an advanced supply chain solution, you can predict delivery arrival times and delays and explore how that will impact future production and shipments.

Real-time connectivity between business partners and vehicles also equips your enterprise with the ability to resolve issues quickly and commence transportation re-planning, if necessary.

Trend #4: Mobility

By the end of 2017, more than 2 billion people will have made purchases on their mobile phones or tablets. And just as consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to buy goods, employees are using mobile devices to process, fulfill, and deliver e-commerce orders.

Connecting your mobile devices with an integrated e-commerce, warehousing, and transportation system allows you to streamline your order fulfillment processes for quick, efficient, and flexible customer delivery.

An integrated supply chain execution platform that works with your company’s mobile devices can help you achieve this, enabling you to deliver goods during customers’ preferred drop-off times and better manage order consolidation, truckload planning, routing, and outbound processing.

With handheld and hands-free devices, including pick-by-voice and augmented reality tools, you can simplify your employees’ jobs. Warehouse pickers can more efficiently process orders, while truck drivers know exactly which route to take or package to deliver. Additionally, event management software with real-time location tracking provides transportation planners, drivers, and customers with information around expected delays or delivery changes.

This is a prime example of how IoT can help you support a fully integrated, end-to-end order fulfillment process and save your company time and money with lower shipping costs and faster customer deliveries.

Trend #5: Sustainability

Sustainability has long been a key supply chain trend – and it’s an industry topic that will continue to grow in importance.

The best method for creating a sustainable supply chain organization is running your supply chain as efficiently as possible. One way your company can achieve this is by using integrated business planning and transportation management software.

These tools can help you optimize logistics, enabling you to consolidate shipments, maximize truck and container load utilization, streamline transportation routing, and support just-in-time cross-docking and delivery appointments. This results in fewer delivery vehicles on the road, a decrease in fuel consumption, and a reduced carbon footprint – not to mention considerable cost savings.

Avoid becoming a supply chain insomniac

The five trends impacting today’s supply chain industry – individualization, globalization, connectivity, mobility, and sustainability – present myriad challenges. And while they can be cause for concern, they don’t have to keep you up at night.

After all, now that you understand how the latest technologies can help you navigate these waters, you can gain the agility and responsiveness you need to elevate your enterprise to new heights.

This should help you rest easy – and avoid becoming a supply chain insomniac.

The supply chain is evolving at an unprecedented pace. SAP solutions help you to connect people and processes to optimize efficiency and delight customers. To find out more, download our white paper “Transform the Supply Chain and Logistics into Demand Networks: How SAP Solutions Enable Next-Generation, Real-Time Demand Networks.”

Written by Franz Hero via Digitalist Magazine.

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‘Data Dawn’: Making Up for Lost Time in Transport Planning

Getting Big Data and commuter usage to plan and help us build the transport
networks of the future will go some way to making good on the shortcomings of the
past. Linkline Journal reports.

Quality infrastructure underpins national prosperity. Let’s say
that again – quality infrastructure underpins national

The Cross City Luas project officially opened earlier in
December, another small piece in Ireland’s growing
commuter network and another step on the way to a more
prosperous future for us all. The long slow grind of getting
Ireland’s transport infrastructure up to speed has not been
without its challenges. One point often made here is our lack
of foresight and planning on infrastructure, and it hasn’t
been easy recently on an economic front either.

The launch of the new Luas route also heralds in a new era in
transportation behavior. Commuting and transportation
behaviour, both private and commercial, is changing rapidly.
The factors that ultimately influence all of this are shifting
dramatically and creating new challenges for planners.
Household composition characteristics are changing,
younger generations are more likely to live in high density
housing, buying less cars and homes than their parents, and
are delaying having children. Combine this with the current
difficulties of getting appropriate accommodation in Ireland
and it can all lead to a very complicated picture on which
transport operators need to project the future.

But Travel Demand Modelling, as it’s known, is getting easier
by the day as more and more commuters begin to digitally
interact with whatever transport service they use. Planners
have historically relied on old or remodeled data to design
their project. They never had real-time data to evaluate
performance after a project was completed. The use of
sensors or surveys were labour intensive and expensive. If
planners wanted to make performance-based improvements
as they implemented policy or infrastructure changes, they
often had to start from scratch with data collection. This
could create flaws if the targeted commuters or transport
network had seasonal variations, changing populations/
workforce or new technologies such as ride-sharing (e.g.
Uber) impacting on the infrastructure’s usage.

Our cars, our trains and trams, our bikes, buses and taxi apps
are not only beginning to sync to a diverse number of
networks. These are giving us vast quantities of data that can
help plan, interpret and visualise solutions. This is where Big
Data comes into its own. There is a massive volume of
geospatial information created by mobile phones, GPS
devices, connected cars and commercial vehicles, fitness
trackers, tolling usage, city bikes and more. All of these
devices ping mobile phone masts and satellites while on
their journeys, creating location and movement records as
well as time of travel and length of journeys. With the right
software, these records are then mapped into useful
information that can aid planners on building the smart
transport network of the future that responds to the
demands of the commuters’ usage.

Transport providers across the globe are witnessing growing
demand that is exceeding capacity but are often unable to
build additional infrastructure as a result of lack of space
and/or funding. Passenger information has significantly
improved in recent years, with announcements, websites,
emails and app notifications alerting people to hold-ups and
suggesting alternative routes. Congestion and delays annoy
customers, increases the wear on assets and slows down the
network. At peak times, traffic flows unevenly, and buses and
trains become increasingly delayed at each stop as the crush
of passengers trying to get on board stops swift arrivals and
departures. In other words, congestion creates more


But with everyone diverted, these messages can create new
bottlenecks elsewhere. Similarly, while motorists’ satnavs try
to divert them around traffic jams, the different providers
– lacking coordination or predictive capabilities – simply
divert everyone in the same direction thereby creating new
queues on minor roads that are even less able to cope with

Technology and data requirements
Technologies have made significant advances in recent years
but infrastructure capacity remains stretched. Focussed
investment in tools has significant potential to improve
journey times, travellers’ experiences, and investment returns
across all of our major cities and our national transport

One such technology has been developed by a company
called StreetLight Data. An unimaginable amount of data
exists on people’s online and e-commerce activity but there
is virtually no information about how people commute, shop
and travel in the real world. Given how important
transportation is for quality of life, pollution, the economy
and climate change. StreetLight Data was started to unlock
barriers to data-driven transportation, urban design, and
commercial planning. We already know much of the data
and the underlying capacity of the transport infrastructure
but the dots need to be joined to find the solution to
planning which will allow for the variables of future transport
planning. But important questions have to be asked of the
data. How much of this data for instance relates to people on
shopping trips/work commutes etc? What percentage of
trips are for ‘spur of the moment’ business, family or other
reasons? What impact will the use of electric and driverless
cars have in the future?

In Dublin alone we already have established databases
serving Leap card, tolling, tolling tags, data from car parks,
electronic street parking, city bikes cards, bus cards and rail
cards, taxi hailing apps etc. These are all powerful data assets:
contact details for many commuters, plus an insight of their
typical travel patterns. Now is the time to invest heavily in
tools and resources to analyse data and tailor customer
communications. The growth of data collection in respect of
individual customers together with multiple engagement
channels and the use of individual customer accounts allows
transport operators to segment travellers experiencing
congestion or delays and suggest to each group a different
way to reach their goal. Using emails, SMS and apps,
operators can offer passengers incentives if they take a
particular route, travel at a particular time, or use a particular
mode. And with real-time data coming in on recipients’
behaviour, operators can quickly adjust their messages to
focus on the most effective incentives and the most
responsive travellers.

Transport for London (TfL) is currently investigating the use
of mobile phone network data to track increases in road
traffic in real time. Along with the growth in ‘connected cars’
– which transmit data on their movements and satnav
destination – this will soon provide transport managers with
enhanced tools to predict and respond to the formation of
traffic jams in real-time.


Knowing the purpose of the customer journey is a more
challenging issue but one that is of importance to address in
order to manage demand both optimally and equitably. A
family of four travelling on holiday with a car full of luggage
are unlikely to change mode of travel; however an individual
travelling for a business meeting is potentially more likely if
he/she has relative certainty of not missing that meeting. The
problem lies in collecting this data and, currently, most
passive collection solutions (e.g. Mobile Network Data and
GPS analysis) are able to determine “normal” routes –
identifying what is likely to be a home to work route and
what is a-typical, but not an individual’s propensity to change
or the purpose of an a-typical route. Short of asking all
travellers to register normal journeys and modal shift
preferences there is a clear requirement for more granular
but non-invasive mechanisms for determining journey
purpose and responding to this with tailored options to
deliver Mobility-as-a-Service (‘MaaS’).

The optimal solution would result in strategic management
of demand across public and private transport. Then, for
example, a Dublin-bound driver heading in the M7 into a
major traffic hold up on the Longmile Road could be told
how much time could be saved by stopping at the Red Cow
Park & Ride and taking the Luas; but only if this is appropriate
based on the purpose of the journey.

As these systems are developed, their implementation will
encounter many impediments around the technology, the
data-gathering, the analytics techniques and the
communications systems. The biggest challenges are likely to
lie in persuading and organising people. Travellers will only
listen to messages if they trust the source: if they trust their
personal data is being used in an ethical and transparent way
and that altering their route will produce the promised
benefits. Passenger instructions and communications need
to provide consistent messaging which, if acted on, delivers
beneficial outcomes – both on an individual basis and for the
transport system as a whole – without penalising users of the
transport network with seemingly little overall benefit (e.g.
camera-enforced average/temporary road speed
restrictions). Only in this way can sufficient trust be built in
the user base to provide confidence that instructions will be
adhered to in order to deliver the aforementioned outcomes.
This in turn requires good coordination between all of
Ireland’s transport operators and infrastructure managers to
manage the flows of data around the system, with the tools
and relationships to gather data from – and transmit
messages via – all the key actors guiding and carrying
travellers around our growing transport infrastructure.
As we move from connected to autonomous cars –
strengthening technology’s role in deciding vehicles’ routes
– we’ll increase our ability to manage traffic flows across the
whole network.

Integration and interaction should be broader than operators
in a single mode (e.g. road) and should bridge both public
and private transport such that, for example, passengers
delayed en route to an airport for a flight can be fast-tracked
through security scanning and an informed decision made
on delaying flight departures.

If we use this data and develop an understanding of its use
with the correct methodology, then it will go some way to
catching up on the decades of transport planning and
infrastructure that we have missed out on. Congestion and
delays and sub-standard service needs to be consigned to
history and the new ‘Data Dawn’ – helping citizens, transport
managers and infrastructure investors to get the best out of
our hard-pressed transport networks. At the same time we
will help operators and authorities to maximise capacity of
their transport networks and to realise cost efficiencies in
enhanced management.

Sources: KPMG UK,, SAP, StreetLightData, The
Register, MIT Technology Review.
(Written by Universal Media Agency)


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PwC Report Ranks Ireland As Most Effective EU Country For Paying Business Taxes

The PwC/World Bank Group Paying Taxes 2018 report ranked Ireland as the most effective country in the EU for paying business taxes.

In order, the top 10 rankings for the EU countries on ease of paying taxes are: Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg and the UK.

Ireland was also found to be the fourth most effective country for paying taxes worldwide, a figure up from 5th place globally last year.

The top 10 worldwide economies for ease of paying taxes are, in order: Qatar and United Arab Emirates (Joint First), Hong Kong, Ireland, Bahrain, Kuwait, Singapore, Denmark, New Zealand and Mauritius.

The report confirms that Ireland is an attractive location in which to establish business and that Ireland performs strongly on tax contribution rate and compliance metrics, having a very competitive tax system in terms of cost and time.

Joe Tynan, Head of Tax at PwC said:

“While many countries such as the US and the UK are taking steps to reduce their corporate tax rate, Ireland will still compare very well. International companies will continue to look for sustainable tax models and Ireland has just that. We need to continue to work with the OECD to ensure that we continue to be recognised as having a corporate tax system that is fit for purpose and at the forefront of global standards.”

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eTIR Is Taking TIR Digital

Since 1949, the operating system called TIR has ensured a faster, securer and more cost efficient way of transporting goods across international borders.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the IRU are currently working on transforming TIR into a fully computerised version to coexist with the digital age.

Both organisations are conducting a joint pilot project with the IRU between Turkey and Iran to assess how the TIR System can shift from paper-based to a fully electronic ‘eTIR’ System.

The Turkey-Iran eTIR pilot project shows:

“how the system offers tools to rely exclusively on electronic messages from all communications between IRU, transport operators and customs officers. As soon as details of the cargo are uploaded, customs can exchange data on declarations. This enables accurate risk management and the parties involved can monitor the transit with updates, notifications, tracking, controls and instant messaging. The risk of fraud is decreased and the administrative burden minimised. TIR procedures are accelerated and advance cargo information is available.”

Could this be the future of post Brexit customs with the UK for the transport and logistics sector?

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News Technology

Volvo Promises To Supply Uber With 24,000 Self-Driving Cars By 2019

A deal has been struck by Volvo Cars and Uber Technologies Inc. to supply the latter with 24,000 self-driving cars by 2019.

Uber, based in San Francisco, will buy 24,000 XC90 SUVs that are to be delivered from 2019 to 2021.

The agreement marks the first major vehicle fleet purchase by a ride-hailing company.

In total, Uber is contributing $1 billion to this investment with prices for the XC90 starting at $47,000.

Jeff Miller of Uber told Bloomberg News:

“This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale.

“The more people working on the problem, we’ll get there faster and with better, safer, more reliable systems.”

Earlier this month Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced that Los Angeles will be included in their flying taxi service project.

“Elevate” hopes to bring aerial taxis to Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020.

Uber entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA in attempts to make Elevate not just a vision but a reality.

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News Transport

Extended Trams For Luas Green Line To Ease Congestion Across Dublin

The Luas Green Line will see an extension of its trams from 43 m to 55 m in order to ease congestion across Dublin and facilitate the growth in passenger numbers.

A total of 26 new 55m trams will replace existing 43m ones, with an additional eight longer trams to be included.

Extensions are part of a €100m investment project for Luas operations between 2018 and 2022.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross received approval from Cabinet last week for the enhancements.

The lenghtening of the trams will mean that platforms on the Luas Green Line will also have to be extended, on top of the Sandyford Depot where trams are kept while not in use.

The Minister said:

‘This is a follow on project from Luas Cross City which I look forward to launching on December 9th. A complementary project to lengthen the platforms at Green Line stations is also near completion. All these initiatives combined will add greatly to the choice and experience of the travelling public and ease congestion in the city.’

The Luas Cross City project is to link the Green and Red lines on December 9th from 2pm.

Last year the two lines carried over 34 million passengers. This figure is expected to increase once the two lines are joined.

Minister Ross concluded:

‘More trams, longer trams, connecting trams, longer platforms and a bigger depot to house them in – all great news for our public transport system.’

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Three Irish Firms Ranked In KPMG/H2 Ventures Global Fintech 100

Three Irish firms have been ranked in the latest KPMG/H2 Ventures Fintech 100.

Future Finance, a company who provides loans for students, was placed 39th in the leading 50 fintech firms around the globe.

Leveris and Plynk both feature in the `Emerging 50′, which is comprised of exciting new fintechs from around the globe that are at the forefront of innovative technologies and practices.

Anna Scally, Partner and Fintech Lead of KPMG Ireland said:

“It’s great to see a number of Irish fintechs achieving global recognition in this way.

“Disruptive fintech companies continue to dominate the Fintech 100, representing strong interest from investors in business models and management teams that are seeking to radically change the financial services industry.

“Capital continues to flow into the fintech sector reflecting investor confidence in the future potential of these technologies.”

The report sees China and the US dominating the Top 10, taking 8 out of the top 10 slots.

Key highlights from the 2017 Fintech 100 include:

  • China fintechs take the top three places on the list, and Chinese firms account for five of the top 10.
  • Global fintech innovation continues to accelerate, with 29 different countries represented in the Fintech 100, up from 22 countries in 2016.
  • ASPAC is on the rise, with 30 fintechs on this year’s list, while the UK and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) dominate the Emerging 50 with 26 companies. The US placed 19 companies on the full list, the most of any country, and three in the top 10.
  • `Disruptors’ dominate — fintechs focused on disrupting traditional models represent 73 of the Fintech 100.
  • Lending and payments focused companies continue to lead in terms of sectors, with 32 and 21 respectively on the full list. Fifteen companies are involved in transactions/capital markets and 12 are in insurtech. Four companies are involved in blockchain and digital currencies.

The Fintech 100 were selected following extensive global research and analysis based on data relating to 10 dimensions, including five core factors; Total capital raised, Rate of capital raising, Geographic diversity, Sectoral diversity and X-factor (degree of product, service and business model innovation).

X-factor is a subjective measure that is applied only with respect to companies appearing on the Emerging 50 list.

Two criteria are related to capital raising reflecting the emphasis that venture capital investors place on the ability of firms to innovate in order to generate a long term sustainable competitive advantage.

Other key insights from the 2017 Fintech 100 report:

  • Aggregate capital raised remains significant — The top 50 companies have raised US$4.8B in the last year alone and over US$27B in aggregate capital over their lifetimes. The `Emerging 50′ have raised over US$600M in the last year and just over US$1B in total, since founding.
  • Major funding rounds dominate investment — Twelve companies on the Fintech 100 had raisings over US$100M, notably ZhongAn’s US$1.5B raise in conjunction with its recent IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • ‘Disruptors’ continue to stand out — Fintechs focused on disrupting technologies continue to dominate, accounting for 73 of the Fintech 100. These are companies that are radically changing their industry paradigm for all players.
  • Lending and payments lead — The number of lending and payments related businesses continue to stand out in this year’s Fintech 100, with 32 and 21 respectively.
  • Open banking around the world — Open banking regulation in the UK, Europe, the US and Australia has been a major catalyst for innovation, with 15 companies working in the related areas included on the Fintech 100.

A full list of the Fintech 100 can be found here, along with a downloadable version of the report.

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Elon Musk Reveals Tesla’s New Roadster “The Fastest Production Car Ever Made, Period.”

Last week, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk made a surprise announcement that revealed the company has a very captivating addition to its works.

Tesla’s new Roadster was described by Musk as “the fastest production car ever made, period.”

In the initial announcement, it was unveiled this latest creation would accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour (100 km per hour) in 1.9 seconds with a maximum speed of over 250 mph.

This indeed makes the Roadster the fastest-accelerating car in existence.

The sports car also has the ability to travel 620 miles (1,000 km) on a single charge, features a removable glass roof and can seat four people.

However, there’s more to come, as suggested in a tweet from Elon Musk early Sunday morning:

Tesla’s Roadster will be available in 2020 at a price starting at $200,000.

Musk presented the news of the Roadster towards the end of an event that was supposed to be all about Tesla’s Electric Semi Trucks.

Adding shock value and stagemanship, one of the sports cars rolled out of the truck’s trailer.

The Semi truck will be available to travel 500 miles (Approx 805 km) on a single battery charge when fully loaded and drives 65 mph/105 km/h.

Production of the Semi trucks will begin in 2019.

It was revealed that reservations for both vehicles can be made with an initial deposit of $5,000.

In the case of the Roadster, a total of at least $50,000 is due within 10 days.

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An Extra 27 Members Have Joined SAP’s Blockchain Initiative

Enterprise application software company SAP have announced that 27 new customers and partners, with a total market value of $819 billion, will be joining SAP’s blockchain co-innovation initiative.

The initiative seeks to integrate the digital ledger system into Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturing and digital supply-chain solutions using the SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service.

Participating companies span the globe and represent the consumer products, telecom, retail, pharmaceuticals, logistics, agriculture, high-tech, aerospace and defense, industrial machinery, energy and utilities, and public services industries.

This breadth signals the potential broad adoption of blockchain technology.

“At Deutsche Telekom, we see a big potential for blockchain technology in the telecommunication business,” said Hartmut Mueller, SVP Business Solutions, Deutsche Telekom IT. “Our cooperation with SAP will speed up digitalization to the benefit of our customers.”

SAP also said that it will join Spain’s Alastria Consortium and the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) to expand the adoption of blockchain to customers in a wide range of industries and geographies.

Participation in Alastria, which brings together banks, telecom providers, energy companies, universities, smart-city organizations and developers, will allow SAP to strengthen its blockchain ecosystem and network in Europe.

As a member of BiTA, an organization promoting the development of blockchain standards and education, SAP will expand its reach in freight and transportation management.

Dr. Tanja Rueckert, president of IoT & Digital Supply Chain, SAP, said:

“Our customers and partners are eager to join SAP in embracing blockchain as a distributed ledger that can increase transparency and collaboration. We are equally eager to co-innovate with the world’s leading companies to reimagine a future where blockchain is woven into the fabric of the digital value chain.”

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Global Freight Awards To Kick Off In Royal Lancaster London Hotel

Back in September of this year the finalists for the Global Freight Awards 2017 were released.

The Global Freight Awards will take place at the the Royal Lancaster London Hotel, today, November 16th.

The celebrations will honour individuals and companies who have achieved high standards in the freight and logistics industry during the past year.

Now in its 21st year, the event attracts a high turn out of industry experts, and also provides great networking opportunities with key players in the industry, boosts brand awareness, and offers a glamorous black-tie evening with drinks, dining, and entertainment in a top London venue.

This prestigious event is an excellent way to meet prospective customers all in one room, as well as rewarding your teams and entertaining your clients, and increasing exposure for your brand!

You can stay up to date with the Global Freight Awards on Twitter @lloydsloading.

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Watch: Amazon’s “Give A Little Bit” By Lucky Generals

Amazon’s global Christmas campaign by Lucky Generals features the retailer’s iconic boxes with their famous smiling logos as they travel around the world to meet their recipients.

The packages have been animated to sing a re-recording of the classic track “Give a Little Bit”. Nick Gordon directed the ad through Somesuch.

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Amazon Inches Closer On Making Decison To Join Pharmaceutical Sector

There is the potential for, Inc. to join the pharmaceutical industry.

Throughout 2017 corporate giant Amazon has gained approval to become a wholesale distributor from a number of state pharmaceutical boards.

It was reported by St. Louis-Dispatch that the Seatle based company had acquired wholesale phamaceutical licenses in multiple U.S states.

At least 12 states, including Nevada, Arizona, North Dakota, Louisiana, Alabama, New Jersey, Michigan, Connecticut, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee have granted approval.

Pfizer CEO, Ian Read welcomed the potential for Amazon to join the pharmaceutical industry.

In a recent third-quarter conference call Mr Read said:

“Any system of distribution, you can cut costs and have a wide availability of products to patients is something that the whole industry will be interested in.”

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders considered how this move could benefit the overall healthcare system.

“My sense is that the whole ecosystem is ripe for disruption to figure out a way to do it more efficiently, to do it more conveniently for patients to better manage compliance and persistence.”

“I do think that just like science is disrupted with gene therapy or novel treatments, I think the drug distribution channel also should be disrupted with improvements based on technology or effiency.”

It is still unclear whether or not Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos will make the expansion. A decision is predicted to be made nearing the end of November.

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EU Supply Chains To Back Out Of UK Operations As A Result Of Brexit

EU businesses are planning to back out of UK operations due to fears of trade barriers occuring from Brexit.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of EU businesses who work with UK suppliers expect to move some of their supply chain out of the UK as a result of Brexit according to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Procurement Supply (CIPS).

This is a dramatic shift from May, when just 44% of EU businesses were expecting to move out of the UK.

The survey of 1,118 supply chain managers in the UK and Europe also finds that two fifths (40%) of UK businesses with EU suppliers have begun the search for domestic suppliers to replace their EU partners, up from 31% in May.

Just over a quarter (26%), however, are taking the opposite approach and investing more time to strengthen their relationship with valuable suppliers on the Continent.

The shift comes as the Brexit negotiations appear to be deadlocked with half of UK businesses saying they are becoming less confident that the UK and EU will secure a deal which continues to offer ‘free and frictionless trade’, while 35% of UK businesses feel unable to prepare due to the lack of progress on a future trade relationship.

This uncertainty has meant that one in five (20%) UK businesses with EU suppliers have found it difficult to secure contracts that run after March 2019.

Indeed, despite a formal separation still being some time away, nearly one in ten (8%) of UK businesses said their organisation has already lost contracts as a result of Brexit with 14% believing part or all of their organisation’s operations will no longer be viable.

Supply chain managers are clear where the Government should focus as the next phase of the negotiations begin with 73% saying keeping tariffs and quotas between the UK and Europe to a minimum should be the main priority for the negotiations.

The supply chain cost of Brexit:

  • UK businesses suffering extra costs as a result of currency fluctuation – 64%
  • EU businesses who plan to move their supply chains out of the UK – 63%
  • UK businesses struggling to secure contracts that run until after March 2019 – 20%
  • UK businesses that have postponed or cancelled contracts due to the uncertainty created – 15%
  • Large* UK businesses who have spent more than £100,000 preparing for Brexit – 25%

A quarter (25%) of UK businesses with more than 250 employees* have already spent at least £100,000 preparing their supply chain for the split.

These costs come in addition to the daily impact of currency fluctuation with 64% of UK businesses saying this has made their supply chains more expensive to manage.

Businesses are still not doing enough to adequately prepare however. Only 14% of UK businesses with EU suppliers feel like they are sufficiently prepared for Brexit.

Gerry Walsh, Group CEO, CIPS, commented:

“The Brexit negotiating teams promise that progress will be made soon, but it is already too late for scores of businesses who look like they will be deserted by their European partners. British businesses simply cannot put their suppliers and customers on hold while the negotiators get their act together.

“While the TV cameras are fixed on Brussels, the deals which will determine the future prosperity of Britain and Europe are being struck behind closed doors in businesses large and small. The lack of clarity coming from both sides is already shaping the British economy of the future – and it does not fill businesses with confidence.

“The success of the negotiations should not be measured on the final deal only but on how quickly both sides can provide certainty. The clock is ticking.”

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Fujitsu Study Highlights How Supply Chains Are Struggling With Digital Transformation

A recent study from Fujitsu highlights how supply chains are struggling to keep up with the digital era.

“The Digital Information PACT” analyses how businesses understand the transformative power of technology but are struggling to keep the four strategic elements required to transform people, actions, collaboration and technology (PACT).

Over 1,600 organisations worldwide were assessed on how they manage the four strategic elements required for successful digital transformation mentioned above.

The key findings were:

  • Almost half (46%) of all organisations have
    already delivered digital transformation projects
    and seen outcomes delivered from these.
  • Customers (58%) are the biggest drivers for digital
  • The ‘Actions’ taken by a business, i.e. having the
    right processes, attitudes and behaviors within
    the organisation, is the most important criteria for
    achieving digital success (32%).
  •  Digital transformation is expected to deliver both
    operational and financial results within 18 months
    on average.
  • A third (33%) of organisations have cancelled a
    digital transformation project in the past
    two years.
  • The average cost of a failed project is more
    than €500,000.

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New Survey Shows Signs Of Recovery For Irish Oil & Gas Sector

According to a recent survey by PwC, there are signs of recovery within the Irish oil and gas sector.

There has been a steadying in the price of oil and gas over the last 12 months.

The report notes that the stabilisation of global prices has relieved some of the pressure on the industry.

74% of those surveyed rated the outlook of the Irish oil and gas industry as favourable, compared to 28% in 2016.

Commenting on the survey results, Ronan MacNioclais, PwC oil and gas practice partner, said:

“The significant and sustained fall in the price of oil and gas in recent years has had a dramatic impact on the Irish oil and gas industry. As noted in prior years, Ireland is viewed internationally as a high risk location for investment in oil and gas exploration due to the lack of historic commercial discoveries.

“At times of low oil and gas prices, investors will invest in high return low risk locations, which unfortunately we are not. However the recent stabilisation in oil prices has clearly lead to an increase in confidence among industry players. The Irish oil and gas industry may become more attractive for investment as the price of oil and gas is expected to increase.”

Based on the survey, the aggregate estimated spend on exploration activities over the next two years is expected to be in the region of €502m.

This represents an increase from the equivalent figure of €300 million in 2016, and is an encouraging indicator about the long-term prospects of the industry in Ireland given the cost of exploring here.

Key findings in the survey include:

  • The main hurdles to the development of the industry in Ireland, as noted by exploration and production companies, were a lack of commercial discoveries (59%), the negative impact of the developments at Corrib (41%), more attractive investment opportunities elsewhere (44%) and the regulatory regime (37%). There are significant linkages between commercial discoveries and costs and opportunities elsewhere, as investors will choose locations with proven track records and lower cost bases.
  • While the continued successful operation of the Corrib field is a good news story during the year, it is clear that the difficulties experienced during its development continue to cast a shadow over Ireland’s reputation internationally. While it would be hoped that the emphasis placed on the Corrib factor will decrease as the benefits are seen, it is clear that the damage done to Ireland’s reputation remains. On a positive note, the recent agreement by CPPIB to purchase Shell’s interest in the Corrib field could indicate that international sentiment towards Corrib has improved, though this is not yet reflected in the survey results.
  • A large majority (89%) of respondents are optimistic about the level of petroleum yet to be discovered in Ireland this year and is similar to last year (83%).
  • The vast majority (91%) of respondents felt that the oil prices would remain at current levels or increase in the next two years.  A large majority felt that prices in excess of $50 per barrel is necessary to support a progressive and sustainable industry. Prices are currently in the range of $50-$55 per barrel, so even a small decline on current prices could hamper the development of the industry. The key drivers of oil and gas prices in the coming years were noted as agreements at OPEC and other international bodies, and levels of international shale petroleum production.
  • Other projects competing for investment and access to funding were identified as the largest challenges faced in carrying on oil and gas activities in Ireland. These factors are linked, as investors will be more willing to fund activities in locations with better prospects of success.
  • For future licensing rounds, the South and North Porcupine Basin were the most popular choice of location with 52% of respondents expressing an interest in each.  The basin attracting the second highest vote was the North Celtic Sea at 36%.  The Hatton and Donegal Basins remain the least popular with no respondents considering them for future licensing rounds.
  • Participants were asked what the Government could do to help the industry. It was clear that maintaining, if not enhancing, the fiscal terms was seen as the most important measure. The planning and regulatory regime also came in for particular criticism and it was noted that this was an area requiring significant overhaul to make it more efficient and streamlined.  The need to promote the benefits of a successful industry was also highlighted.
    MacNioclais said: “In times of economic uncertainty, it is crucial that the Government takes positive steps to encourage investment into the Irish oil and gas industry. It is clear that steps need to be taken to improve the regulatory and planning processes to fast-track developments, as these are causing companies difficulties and impacting on Ireland’s reputation internationally.”
  • 53% of participating economists felt that current petroleum prices represent an opportunity for the industry in Ireland to some degree. These opportunities may arise from the potential cost savings available on exploration, although Ireland remains a relatively expensive location in which to carry on exploration activities. This result is a decrease on the prior year figure of 66%.
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Deloitte Publishes Six Control Principles For Blockchain Adoption In Financial Services

The publication, prepared during the summer months of 2017 by the Deloitte EMEA Blockchain Lab in Dublin in association with Deloitte Hong Kong and US, explores six control principles essential for blockchain adoption on a global scale.

Lory Kehoe, EMEA Blockchain Lab Lead at Deloitte said:

“Blockchain has attracted significant attention from the financial services industry in EMEA and around the globe with many organisations exploring different structures and governance models as they move from exploration to implementation.

“It is becoming more critical to look at blockchain implementation from a holistic, not just IT standpoint, and to ensure that consideration is given to each key control principle and the impact they may have on the entire organisation.

“Failure to consider these principles, or to consider them in isolation, may become riskier as alignment between business and IT is critical for successful implementation of this new and powerful technology.”

The six control principles are:

1. Best practice standard for blockchain development:

This principle looks at critical standards including governance, law, regulation and standards, and in particular in relation to developing appropriate structures for blockchain adoption and governance models which must be considered for consortia, joint ventures, and statutory organisations.

2. Interoperability and system integration controls:

This considers the introduction of blockchain into an enterprise and the need to ensure that it is capable of integrating and interoperating with other systems including other blockchain solutions or technologies. There is particular focus on four key areas including security considerations, integration with legacy systems, data integration and security mechanisms.

3. Audit rules:

This principle considers how the audit function will transform as a result of blockchain implementation. Deloitte believes that the use of blockchain platforms will not remove audits, nor the need for an independent auditor, rather it will transform the way in which audits extract, test and analyse data. Layering blockchain technology with audit analytics could yield standardised, sophisticated audit routines and analysis that enable near real-time evaluation of transactions across the blockchain. In particular it reviews the immutable record, auditing smart contracts, technical controls and audit transformation.

4. Cybersecurity controls:

Blockchain is intrinsically linked with cybersecurity considerations. This principle explores cybersecurity considerations related to cryptographic and immutable nature of blockchain technology; they include key management, risk of attacker overpowering a private blockchain, centralisation of authority within the network and privacy and the right to be forgotten.

5. Enhancement of traditional ICT protocols:

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) encompasses automated means of originating, processing, storing and communicating information, and it covers recording devices, communications networks, computer systems and other electronic devices. Management of this infrastructure calls for a specific set of procedures to guarantee that risks related to technology can be identified, measured, monitored and controlled. This principle dives deeper into several shifts that must be considered, including security management, systems development and change management, information processing.

6. Business continuity planning and blockchain:

Ensuring high quality business continuity planning for blockchain solutions will involve collation and aggregation of these existing processes into a unified package. Some considerations include the business continuity plan itself, BCP with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), BCP of network nodes and security specialists.

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Regeneron Announce An Additional 300 Jobs For Limerick

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, one of the fastest-growing companies in the global biotechnology industry, have announced further expansion of its Limerick Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IOPS) bioprocessing campus.

An additional 300 jobs will bring employment at the company to 800 people.

Regeneron are investing €84.9 million ($100 million) at the site, bringing the total investment to €636 million ($750 million).

The project is supported by the government through IDA Ireland.

The additional €84.9 million investment will support the construction of a number of manufacturing suites to increase drug substance production capacity and enable the company to meet demand for its life-transforming medicines for patients with serious diseases.

Dan Van Plew, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IOPS) at Regeneron, said:

“Gut feel is a large portion of any site selection. When we picked Limerick years ago, we simply felt good about the community, universities and people. A few years and a lot of experience later, I can now confidently say I know Limerick is a place where you can build and thrive as a biotech.

“We are proud of what has happened here and the vast majority of this work has been completed by people who come from Munster. These folks built, validated and began production in a way I’d put up against any other team on the planet.

“We feel at home here and the way we have been welcomed has made our ongoing growth and investment in Limerick rewarding on the most personal levels.”

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Edible Seaweed Manufacturer Algaran Teoranta Hopes To Establish “strong partnerships” In America

Donegal based Algaran Teoranta, a manufacturer of edible seaweed, hope to develop “strong partnerships” in the US.

Algaran Teoranta is one of 15 companies to showcase the North West’s ‘entrepreneurship and innovation’ when they travel to Boston Massachusetts next month as part of a joint collaboration between Councils in Donegal and Derry/Strabane.

The trip is centred around promoting inward investment, as well as providing local businesses a chance to create potential export opportunities.

Established in 2004 by Rosaria Piseri, the company manufactures a range of edible seaweed, seaweed foods and seaweed cosmetics, all certified organic by Organic Trust Ltd.

Speaking ahead of participating in the Boston trade mission, Algaran Teoranta CEO Rosaria Piseri, said:

“We are a small manufacturer of seaweed products for the health and beauty sectors, harvesting our seaweed locally and transforming it in a few hours into both food and cosmetics.

“Our products are always fresh and we use no flavours, colouring or other chemicals.

“We decided to participate in the trade delegation to Boston as we are hoping to tap into a much bigger marketplace for our niche products and firmly believe that the US market could provide us with that opportunity.

Algaran Teoranta CEO Rosaria Piseri
Algaran Teoranta CEO Rosaria Piseri

In recent years, Algaran Teoranta has attracted attention from the Japanese market as an attractive source of seaweed food products.

They also sold seaweed in bulk as ingredients to a company who were producing vegan food in New York and are the first company in Europe to get Irish seaweed certified as organic.

Ms Piseri added:

“A successful trip to Boston for us would be to meet the right partners with whom we could establish strong long-term relationships.

“We are also on the lookout for investors as we are planning to set up another three production units in Ireland that will cater for our anticipated expansion into both the American and Asian markets.”

An additional six companies from the Donegal County Council area will be traveling alongside Algaran Teoranta to Boston in mid November. These are:

  • Aniar Cumhacht Teoranta
  • O’Donnell’s Bakery
  • Silver Birch Gallery
  • Meastoiri Domhanda Teo 
  • Eilis Galbraith
  • DS Environmental Services Ltd

The eight companies from the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to take part are:

  • AE Global
  • The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC)
  • ActionSense Ltd
  • Makematic
  • NeuroConcise
  • O’Neill’s Irish International Sports Co Ltd
  • Troll Inc
  • Type 40 Creative
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Ryanair To Delay New Cabin Bag Policy Until Mid January Of Next Year

Ryanair have today announced amendments to the company’s new cabin bag policy will be implemented after January 15th, 2018.

The delay is set in place to allow customers more time to adjust to the changes, particularly during the busy Christmas period.

From mid January of next year only priority boarding customers (including Plus, Flexi Plus & Family Plus) will be allowed to bring two carry-on bags on the

All other (non-priority) customers will only be allowed to bring one smaller carry-on bag on board, while their second (bigger) wheelie bag will be placed in the hold, free of charge, at the boarding gate.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said:

“We will delay the introduction of our new cabin bag rules until 15th January 2018, to allow our customers more time to familiarise themselves with the policy changes. From Jan, we will be restricting non-priority customers to one small carry-on bag (their wheelie bag will be placed in the hold, free of charge at the boarding gate) which will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays.

“We have already introduced the first phase of the new bag policy which offers our customers lower bag fees for a 33% increase in their check-in bag allowance. This will lead to fewer customers with 2 carry-on bags at the boarding gates, which is causing flight delays.

“The new cabin bag policy will be implemented for all travel after 15th January 2018, and we hope our customers will enjoy the savings of our new simplified bag policy.”

Priority Boarding can be purchased for just €/£5 at the time of booking or added to a booking for €/£6 and is available up to one hour prior to scheduled departure.

Since September 6th, 2017 Ryanair cut their check-in bag fee’s from €35 to €25 for all bags as part of their new cabin bag policy.

Furthermore, check-in bag allowance increased from 15kg to 20kg for all bags.

Amendments were made to encourage more customers to check in bags and reduce the volume of carry-on bags.

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Flight Centre Travel Group To Create More Than 30 New Jobs In Ireland

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has today announced plans to create more than 30 new jobs to facilitate its expansion in Ireland.

The company, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, plans to expand its Dublin-centred leisure and corporate travel footprint over the next five years as part of a dedicated growth strategy in Ireland.

The expansion will take FCTG’s workforce in the country beyond 100-people and will set the company up for further longer term growth.

FCTG are looking for Trained Travel Agents, IT staff, Finance staff, Sales & Marketing and Administration staff.

The announcement comes after An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald accompanied President Michael D. Higgins on a State Visit to Australia last week. As part of the State Visit, Ireland’s largest programme of activity in support of the work of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in Australia was hosted. The aim of the event was to strengthen the economic, tourism, cultural and political links between both nations.

Valerie Metcalfe, Managing Director of FCM Ireland said:

“FCTG prides itself on its unique positive, egalitarian and highly ethical culture which promotes the development, wellbeing and retention of staff, sustainable and environment friendly business practices, and focused service excellence for our clients. FCTG’s globally renowned retail leisure travel brand, Flight Centre, which opened its Dublin operation in August 2016, will also see sustained growth of staff numbers and turnover more than trebling in the next five years.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland speaking from Brisbane said:

“Ireland is one of the best places in the world to do business. We know that because international surveys consistently place us in the top half dozen locations and, more importantly because the companies that have invested here have told us so. I wish Flight Centre well with their continued growth.”

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) is one of the world’s largest travel agency groups with operations in 23 countries and a corporate travel management network in 90 countries. Headquartered in Brisbane, the company is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with an annual total turnover of $AUD 20 billion (2017) and has 22,000 staff globally.

An Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said:

“International travel is growing fast but also changing dramatically too, especially with the advent of the Internet. Flight Centre Travel Group are one of the world leaders in this evolving industry and I am delighted that they will create an additional 30 jobs over the next 5 years in their Irish operation. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship as they grow their business here.”

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Pharma and medtech industries are making plans for “hard Brexit”

Drugmakers and medical devices companies are drawing up plans to protect supply chains in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a trade deal, and some small service businesses are already relocating to stay inside the bloc.

MeddiQuest, an eight-person consultancy specialising in medical technology regulations, is in the process of moving from outside Cambridge to Ireland.

“A significant part of our business is being an authorised EU representative,” Chief Executive Neil Armstrong told Reuters. “Clearly, if the UK is no longer in the EU, we will be no more in the EU than an American company, so we can’t be an EU authorised rep.”

Armstrong said some rivals were also arranging to set up in Ireland or other EU destinations, including Malta.

Fears of a “hard Brexit” have been heightened after EU negotiator Michel Barnier said last week that talks were deadlocked.

That has fuelled anxieties in a healthcare sector governed by complex regulations and long product development cycles.

Drugmakers are already braced for disruption when the European Medicines Agency is uprooted from London, with politicians due to make a decision on the drug watchdog’s new location on November 20th.

But Brexit also creates other big uncertainties, including the potential need for retesting of UK-manufactured batches of medicines shipped to Europe, as well as the transfer of UK product licences to European-based entities.

“We’re starting to plan for the worst-case scenario,” Alan Morrison, Vice President of international regulatory affairs at Merck & Co (MRK.N), told an industry conference last week.

“It’s a long-cycle business. If we have to plan for product testing in Europe for drugs that are currently manufactured in the UK, that is going to take some time.”

Britain has a large pharmaceuticals sector and produces many medicines used in Europe and other countries, including big fast-growing markets like China, where shipments are currently also governed by EU trade arrangements.

A disorderly exit from the EU in March 2019 with no system in place to ensure drug supplies is not what anyone in the British government wants. Indeed, British ministers declared in July they were aiming for continued co-operation in drug regulation after Brexit.

But that requires an agreement on transition terms with the remaining 27 EU countries – something executives across various industries see as far from certain.

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) CEO Pascal Soriot said in an interview last month he was worried about “the potential for the one thing I didn’t think would happen which is a hard Brexit”.

In the absence of a deal, Britain’s trade with the EU would revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, under which industrialised countries generally apply zero tariffs for medicines. However, the WTO’s drugs list has not been updated since 2010, so newer medicines could still be hit.

Virginia Acha, head of research, medical and innovation at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said companies needed to know imminently whether or not there would be a transition period.

Without that information, businesses would start having to put strategies in place to deal with the repercussions of Britain becoming a non-EU “third country”.

“We’re running out of time,” she said. “There may be some companies that decide to push the button now just to fix it.”

Back at MeddiQuest, Armstrong says his staff are working flat out to help multiple international companies draw up contingency plans.

“Everybody is planning and regretting the fact they didn’t start planning earlier.”

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Luas Red And Green Lines Back Up And Running From Tomorrow

There is some good news for Luas users.

Following on from yesterdays cancellation of Luas services due to Storm Ophelia, operations will resume from 5:30am tomorrow (Wednesday).

There are currently no Luas lines in operation today, however, Luas tickets are valid on Dublin Bus Services throughout this disruption.

A spokesperson for the Luas said:

“Hurricane Ophelia damaged the roof on the Red Cow depot yesterday at approximately 14:30.

“The roof is being repaired today. The firm contracted to repair the roof have estimated it will take the whole day.

“The section of roof damaged is over what is known as technical rooms.

“Within those rooms are Luas systems. Those systems, for example, assist with overhead power and the AVLS, which is the automatic vehicle location system.

“These are necessary to run the Luas operation.”

Continuous assessments for damages and possible repair are in effect.

Therefore, it is not possible for the Luas to be open to the public at this time.

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Up to 135 flights to and from Dublin Airport called off as Ophelia hits Ireland

Up to 135 flights have been cancelled to and from Dublin Airport today due to the expected impact of storm Ophelia.

A spokesperson from Dublin Airport said:

“Aer Lingus, Ryanair, British Airways, Air France, CityJet, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Luxair and KLM have all cancelled some services today. The airlines in question have contacted passengers directly in relation to any services that have been affected.

“All intending passengers are advised to contact their airline or check their airline’s website before coming to Dublin Airport today.”

Ryanair have confirmed the cancellation of dozens of flights:

“We regret to advise customers that due to adverse weather expected in Ireland on 16th October, we have been forced to cancel the below flights.

“Unfortunately, further flight delays and cancellations are likely and customers are asked to please monitor this notice which will be updated throughout the day.

“We sincerely apologise for any delays or inconvenience caused by these disruptions which are outside of our control.”

A list of all cancelled flights by Ryanair can be found using this link.

Flights in and out of Cork, Shannon and Knock airports have also been affected.

Meanwhile, customers who have booked flights with Aer Lingus can check the status of their flights by using the airlines live flight information link.

Aer Lingus have said:

“Guests who were booked to travel on the cancelled flights may change to another date of travel free-of-charge or may request a full refund.”

Dublin Bus and Airlink have cancelled services from 10am to 7pm. Bus Éireann services are also currently suspended.

Aircoach is operating its services to Dublin but have cancelled some services to and from Cork and Belfast.

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Watch: New Model for The Origins of Life on Earth

A paper published by a group of scientists in Canada and Germany analyses a new model for the origins of life on Earth.

Their research suggests that the Earth’s biochemistry could have originated in warm ponds on newly formed continents between 4.5 and 3.7 billion years ago:

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New Google branded Earbuds Can Translate 40 Different Languages

Google’s Pixel earbuds which allow the user to translate 40 different languages in just a click of a button will be available next month!

The wireless headsets are quick and simple to operate. By touching and holding the right earbud you can activate the built-in Google Assistant feature. This can be used to play music, make a phone call to friends and family and even get directions if you are lost.

Image Credit: Google
Image Credit: Google

What’s more, Google Pixel Earbud’s have a built in function to alert you to a calendar event ahead of time or to an incoming message, and even read it to you if you can’t look at your phone at that moment.

This mesmerising new innovation from Google even translates between languages in real time using Google Translate on Pixel.

Is there anything they can’t do?

Their battery lasts five hours, and the charging case holds four charges.

Google Pixel Earbuds will be available to purchase in November for $159 in the U.S. They will also be available in Canada, U.K., Germany, Australia and Singapore.

You can pre-order via the Google store website.

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Public Transportation in Asia

We’ve grown used to the sight of buses on the street, overcrowded tram cars and constantly late trains. Public transportation is an essential part of many people’s daily lives, but it doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Ticket prices are rising, while the quality is declining. At least that’s the way it is here.

But in recent years many news outlets have reported the wonders of public transport in Asia. Especially in parts of the continent where they suffer from massive overpopulation, like for example Japan, reports show a high efficiency in public transport.  How do countries like Japan manage to offer clean, fast and reliable transportation for an incredible number of people every day, while our local authorities fail to do the same thing for a much smaller number of passengers?

While in Ireland concerns are arising about the privatisation of Dublin’s bus service, being described as a disastrous decision for workers and commuters alike, cities in Asia are moving fast ahead in the development of their public transport services.


Japan’s larger cities are serviced by subways or trams, buses and taxis; many locals rely entirely on public transport. It is the home of the world’s fastest bullet train, which are so hygienic you could eat in the bathrooms, if you wanted to.  You should almost just go to Japan to see how public transportation should be.

There is a vast public train system connecting all cities around the country. Each city has its own great local subway system and bus network.

Also popular in Japan are baggage courier services and many domestic tourists use them to forward their bags, golf clubs, surfboards etc. ahead to their destination, to avoid having to bring them on public transport. The tourism bureau has been working to open this service up to foreign travellers.


Singapore’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is probably the fastest way to travel around the city. The extensive rail network means that most of Singapore’s key attractions are within walking distance from an MRT station. It’s the most efficient way to get around the island, with the system moving more than 2 million passengers daily.

Another way to get around is Singapore’s bus system, which has an extensive network of routes covering most places in Singapore and is the most economical way to get around, as well as being one of the most scenic.

Most buses in Singapore have air-conditioning – a welcome comfort in a tropical city.

South Korea

Seoul has a modern and efficient system of public transportation that includes both subway trains and buses. There are nine major subway lines that run all throughout the city and even go into the suburbs and surrounding areas.   It is a great system; the trains leave every 5 minutes and for added convenience, the signs are in both Korean and English.

The city has four different bus categories which are also colour coded. The colours are Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow. Bus numbers indicate districts in Seoul, enabling passengers to identify the bus departure point and destination. For instance: Yellow Buses circulate in the Central Business District (Downtown area), connecting major tourist, shopping and business area.

Hong Kong

The MTR in Hong Kong has a number of lines which extend all over the city, but you need to take buses in between each neighbourhood.

Hong Kong’s transport strategy has a strong focus on integrating transport and land use planning, with railways playing a back-bone role. Its Government grants ‘Land Development Right’ of sites planned for new railways and in return the operator MTR pays a land premium. MTR also partners with property developers to develop areas around stations; MTR benefits from the rising property value and the community benefits from an affordable world-class rail service and high quality sustainable development along the railway.  


The subway is the best way to travel in Taipei and get to the city’s attractions. Their MRT is fast and cheap, but it is a young piece of infrastructure and is not as comprehensive as it could be. To supplement it, the peripheries contain Taipei’s widespread bus network, which can take you within striking distance of nearly any location in Taipei City and the surrounding boroughs.


There’s a need for fast and reliable public transport with low fuel consumption in order to protect the environment more effectively and improve quality of life in the smog covered city of Bangkok. The goal is to increase the use of public transport from its current level of 40 percent to 60 percent by 2021. With this in mind, the city’s traffic planners developed the “Bangkok Mass Transit Development Plan” back in 1994.

The plan’s first major achievement was the Skytrain, which is split into two lines. Both Skytrain rail lines connect at several stations, which makes transfers fast and simple. In total there are currently 7 train lines available in Bangkok.

The city’s transport network is still growing. The current master plan calls for 18 new lines to be built by 2029. Some of these routes will lead directly from the city centre to its outskirts, while others will run in a ring around the centre.


In 1998 Kuala Lumpur built two automated urban rail lines for the Commonwealth Games. The Kelana Jaya Line runs from east to south, and the Ampang Line runs from north to east. However, no other lines have been built since 1998 except for the KL Monorail and the Express Rail Link (ERL) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

As in Bangkok, permanent traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur has produced an urgent need for the public transport network to be significantly expanded.  A draft proposal of the Malaysian government calls for more than 100 kilometres of new subway lines to be built by 2020 to link the city centre with the suburbs.

In 2012 Kuala Lumpur’s Mass Rapid Transit Corporation ordered 58 Inspiro trains from Siemens and commissioned the company to construct two depots. In 2016 new driverless trains began operating on a new 51-kilometer route connecting the north-western and south-eastern parts of the city.

Complementary Services

In June, Dublin City Council issued a safety warning to the public over the use of rickshaws in the city centre. It said rickshaws operating in the city were not regulated and it warned that “some rickshaw operators appear not to have public liability insurance”.

Currently, rickshaws are treated as bicycles under Irish law, and rickshaw drivers are not required to have public liability insurance.

The Department of Transport is considering regulating the vehicles under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, which would bring in certain standards and requirements for drivers. The regulation of rickshaws has been a matter of public interest for some time now and the information we gather in this process will bring some clarity to bear on how the relationship with regulatory authorities will be defined into the future.

In many Asian countries, private drivers offer their services in addition to taxis and public transport. The regulations there are not as strict as here, and offer a relief on the overcrowded streets.

The Tuktuk is Thailand’s local version of a taxi. It’s essentially a three-wheeled vehicle that looks like a modified motorcycle built with a metal frame carriage that can accommodate 2 passengers. The carriages are usually bright and colourful. These three-wheeled vehicles can be found in nearly every town and city in Thailand, including the mega-packed city of Bangkok.

Tuktuks are great for buzzing around the busy and crowded streets, as they can easily maneuver and squeeze through the smallest gaps in the traffic. The drivers can drive really fast and turn and cut corners that most foreigners find themselves clinging on to their seats! It is one of Thailand’s unique mode of transport, and a symbol of Thai ingenuity.

The Jeepney is the Philippines’ take of a bus. Its name originated from the American Jeep, which was how the Jeepney started. After the Second World War, when Manila was almost completely destroyed by the Japanese bombings, the American Jeep became the only vehicle available as a means of transport. The American Jeep was then modified for public transport purposes.

Usually, the Jeepney can take in between 16 to 18 people, but as regulations are pretty loose in the Philippines, this vehicle can take up more than that number. The Jeepney acts similarly to a bus and travels on distinct routes, however, it doesn’t have proper stops. You can hail it practically anywhere and get off anywhere.

In Cambodia, since the single track between Battambang and Poipet was used so little, locals figured out their own type of train to transport harvests of rice, cattle and themselves. The unique bamboo train consists of 2 sets of wheels and a bamboo platform with an engine on top of it. Cruising at a maximum speed of about 40km/h makes you feel like sitting on a flying carpet.

In cities situated next to a body of water, people use so called water buses:  Commuter passenger boats operating on a schedule cruising down a river or lake. Sometimes they even provide a faster connection than transportation by road due to the lack of traffic jams on the water. They are a common sight in countries like Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Of course there are many other forms of travel in Asian cities, but these are the most prevalent ones.

Written by Catherina Arndt.

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Lifestyle News Technology

Digital Manufacturing Ireland Opened

Digital Manufacturing

Minister Simon Coveney has announced officially opened Digital Manufacturing Ireland (DMI). Located in the IDA Ireland National Technology Park in Limerick, DMI is the national centre of excellence designed to support Irish based manufacturers, both multi-national businesses and SMEs, to access, partner and accelerate their adoption of transformative digital technologies and to drive their future competitiveness.

Digital Manufacturing Ireland (DMI) is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland.

Joining Minister Coveney at the event was IDA’s Interim CEO Mary Buckley and the Board and Management of Digital Manufacturing Ireland, along with members of the manufacturing and business community. DMI boasts a unique technology offering in the form of a fully representative end to end Physical and Digital Production Line with digital twin capabilities designed to provide DMI clients with access to the latest digital technologies, expertise and deployment support in a real-world manufacturing environment. Industry led, and resourced to solve manufacturing industry challenges, DMI will be instrumental in ensuring the future resilience and competitiveness of Irish-based manufacturing.

Speaking at the event, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, said, “I am delighted to join the Digital Manufacturing Ireland Board, IDA Ireland, and industry representatives at the launch today. DMI is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland and will play a pivotal role in advancing the future competitiveness of the manufacturing sector as well as supporting the delivery of Ireland’s Industry 4.0 Strategy 2020-2025.”

“Over 270,000 are employed across MNCs and SMEs in manufacturing in Ireland and are developing and producing world leading products for global supply. As the world’s supply chains continue to be disrupted, competitiveness challenges prevail and international competition for investment intensifies, it has never been more important for Ireland to invest in the future of its core manufacturing capability. Digital Manufacturing Ireland will support Ireland’s manufacturing base in remaining at the forefront of digital transformation and ensure that Ireland is recognised internationally as having a vibrant, collaborative, competitive and digitally enabled industry base. This is directly in line with Government’s goal to ensure Ireland remains resilient, competitive and absolutely ready to win the next wave of manufacturing investment.”

Mary Buckley, Interim CEO of IDA Ireland said, “enhancing Ireland’s manufacturing capability is a strategic national priority and a core component of the transformation agenda within IDA Ireland’s Strategy – Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024. Engaging with industry, we recognise the challenges facing companies as they balance the need to drive competitiveness with the disruption and opportunities around new technologies. DMI will ensure that Irish based manufacturers have access to the infrastructure, technology and skills to help them solve real issues and to kickstart and continue to drive their digital transformation journeys.”

Lionel Alexander, Chairperson of Digital Manufacturing Ireland Board said, “we are delighted to have officially opened our world-class facility today alongside IDA Ireland and the Irish Government. The manufacturing sector in Ireland, from medtech and biopharma to food and drink and engineering, is a key contributor to Ireland’s economic resilience and ongoing economic success. After the unprecedented global disruption of the last 24-months, now more than ever, it is critical for our manufacturing sector to deploy the new technologies and tools to serve the drive for innovation and ultimately business differentiation.”

“We are committed to supporting all manufacturers regardless of their size or level of technological maturity in their transformation journey, right across their manufacturing value chain, through collaborations and partnerships. We will provide a platform to test and create new technologies and use-cases in an industry environment, but also provide the necessary training and capabilities among the Irish workforce to effectively compete by being digital-first.”

DMI has also announced a new strategic partnership with global Medical Technologies company Edwards Life Sciences to focus on digital transformation across its sites in Limerick and Clare.

Andrew Walls, Plant General Manager of Edwards LifeSciences in Limerick said, “Edwards Lifesciences is proud to be partnering with Digital Manufacturing Ireland, to support the development and delivery of Edwards digital transformation programme. We will collectively be working across the three pillars of Technology, Human Centric Manufacturing and Supply chain operations in order to advance the digital capabilities of our operations and workforce.”

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News Transport

Ireland to Host Transport Research Arena (TRA) in 2024

Transport research arena in 2024

Minister Eamon Ryan announced that Ireland will host the Transport Research Arena in 2024, bringing 3,000 experts from around the world to the major event in Dublin.

The TRA2024 conference is the largest research and innovation conference on transport in Europe and will be held in the RDS Dublin from 14-18 April 2024. The first such conference was held in 2006 and it has taken place in a different European city every two years since then.

As part of the lead-up to the event, a TRA Management Committee meeting was held in the RDS yesterday which included a tour of the conference facilities. Those in attendance included Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, the CEO of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Peter Walsh, as well as representatives from the European Commission.

The TRA is a major event in relation to transport policymaking as it offers attendees a great opportunity to learn about each other’s work and the future of transport.

The conference helps researchers, policymakers and stakeholders explore the latest technological and industrial developments in the sector while also looking at innovative transport policies in Europe and worldwide.

The main themes of Transport Research Arena in 2024 are Safe and Inclusive Transport, Sustainable Mobility of People and Goods, Collaborative Digitisation and Efficient & Resilient Systems.

TRA will be of most interest to the research and academic community, the transport industry and private sector, as well as public sector policymakers.

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Last Mile Logistics Logistics News Transport

Rethinking Supply Chain Strategy at the CILT Mobility & Supply Chain Summit

Digital Manufacturing

Join us at the inaugural CILT Mobility & Supply Chain Summit taking place March 28th and 29th at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire. This event promises to showcase a dynamic approach to rethinking supply chain strategy sustainably and explore how customs changes will mould the future of the supply chain. 

This is the anchor event in Ireland’s first ever Logistics and Supply Chain Skills Week, promoted by the Department of Transport.

Tickets are now on sale at

Who Will Be Attending?

Best selling author of ‘Logistics and Supply Chain Management,’ Emeritus Professor Martin Christopher is the keynote speaker for the event. Professor Christopher is a world-class logistics and supply chain master for over thirty years. He became one of the first to recognise that the real competition is between apply chains not companies and has sought to identify ways in which supply chain excellence can be achieved and sustained. 

Mark McKeever is currently a director in PwC Ireland, which is the largest professional services firm in Ireland, providing integrated audit, tax and advisory services in Ireland and internationally. McKeever holds over 20 years of experience working in both consulting and industry advising a wide range of clients in the Retail, Consumer Goods and Pharma industry sectors. 

Tom Ferris is a self-employed consultant economist with vast experience of both the public sector and the private realm. Ferris specialises in Transport, Regulation & Public Sector Governance. He was Senior Economist in the Department of Transport of the Irish Government until February 2006. Since then, he has been undertaking various consultancy projects for the World Bank, the OECD, the Business Regulation Forum, & the High Level Group on Business Regulation.

Mike Higgins is the creator of Circularewise, which is a company made up of strategic advisers on the development of ‘circularity’ based business models for product producers, reuse processing partners and inventive waste stream transformation ventures. The company champions the ‘Circular Economy’ adoption in terms of it enabling organisations to greatly reduce supply chain costs, gain competitive advantage and achieve sustainability excellence in recovering optimal operational and financial values.

John Mee is an accomplished and experienced Supply Chain professional with a first class record of international achievements across multiple industry sectors. Mee is also a Global Director of Supply Chain of Trinity Biotech with highly developed skills in supply chain management, business analytics, creative problem solving, and business strategy.

Jack Chambers is the Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin West. He is Minister of State, attending Cabinet, in the Department of Transport and the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications. He previously served as the Government Chief Whip and was also Minister of State for Sport, the Gaeltacht & Defence.

A full list of included speakers at the conference to look out for:

The list of these experienced speakers will unveil everything to do with the supply chain, helping you dive into the four sections from optimising fees, increasing operational efficiency, strengthening regulatory compliance and improving trading opportunities through exploring duty optimisation, operational efficiency, control and risk mitigation and trade performance.

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Business Logistics News

cargo-partner Increases Its Warehousing Capabilities In UK and Ireland

cargo-partner offers a variety of comprehensive logistics service packages to support customers with warehousing, transport and distribution, and is pleased to have enhanced these capabilities across the UK and Ireland. 



With expertise in logistics and worldwide transport, cargo-partner already operates a dense network of warehouses throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Australia and the USA. In addition to this, the company has now enhanced its facilities throughout the UK and Ireland. 

Working alongside key logistics partners, cargo-partner can now offer vast warehouse space in Dundalk, Co. Louth and Ashbourne, Co. Meath in Ireland, and further warehousing space in Lichfield and Doncaster in England. 

These four new warehouse solutions are positioned in and close by to key transport hubs, with strategic connections to airports, ports, rail and road networks. 

cargo-partner’s Managing Director for Ireland Fergal Keenan said, “we continue to expand cargo-partner’s capabilities, profile and facilities across Western Europe and this includes working with partners and suppliers to invest in more warehousing solutions across the UK and Ireland.”

“Today, the ideal warehouse is more than a space to store and ship goods – it performs additional functions that provide added value for our customers and accelerates the supply chain. This includes sorting, quality control and evaluation of goods, according to the different markets and customer needs.”

“Thanks to our strategic warehouse partners, we’re pleased to offer these enhanced warehousing solutions to our customers in the UK and Ireland and to the wider market, supporting both local and international businesses with all transport and storage needs.”

Each facility provides dedicated areas for pallet racking, general order picking/packing and short- to long-term storage. Furthermore, in combination with cargo-partner’s extensive worldwide network and air, sea and road services, the logistics provider can offer customers a fully integrated solution. 

  • The Dundalk warehouse facilities are across three units, offering racked pallet positions, a dedicated pick and pack area and Haz storage/delivery, monitored by CCTV.
  • The Ashbourne facility (expected for operation in July 2023) offers brand new storage space and 13 HGV docking bays in a secure compound monitored by CCTV.
  • The Lichfield warehouse facility offers racked and bulk storage, container handling and freight consolidation. The site is monitored by CCTV and manned by a security team.
  • The Doncaster warehouse hub enables bulk and racked storage in a prime location within a 15-minute radius of five major motorway networks and in close vicinity to the IPORT rail terminal. The site is manned 24 hours and monitored by CCTV.
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News Technology Transport

NTA commences market consultation process for zero-emission ramp-accessible coaches

Zero-emission ramp-accessible coaches

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has commenced a market consultation process ahead of one or more procurement competitions for zero-emission ramp-accessible coaches

Information obtained from interested parties that participate in this market consultation exercise will be used by the NTA for the purpose of informing the planned procurement(s).

It will also allow the NTA to progress actions within the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023 and National Sustainable Mobility Policy, relating to the development of a strategy for the transition of long-distance PSO and commercial bus services to low-emission technologies.

As part of its national statutory function to provide bus infrastructure and fleet, the NTA has, since 2017 procured new buses and coaches for use by its contracted bus operators in the provision of Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus services.

Since July 2019, the NTA has also, in line with Irish Government policy, purchased only low and zero-emission urban buses, and from 2023 onwards all urban buses purchased by the NTA will be zero-emission.

In addition, there have been significant advances in the design of new coaches purchased by the NTA in recent years, most notably ramp-accessible single-deck coaches incorporating a low-floor area within which a permanent wheelchair space is located.

However, it has proven challenging to procure coaches with lower exhaust and CO2 emissions than the EURO VI coaches that represent the NTA’s most recent purchases.

The NTA is therefore seeking to commence one or more procurement process(es) for zero-emission and/or ramp-accessible coaches.

”Zero-emission” means a coach that qualifies as a zero-emission heavy duty vehicle in accordance with the definition contained within DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/1161.

Ramp-accessible” means a coach with a permanent wheelchair space within a low-floor area into which access from the exterior of the coach is effected solely via an integral folding ramp at a passenger doorway, such ramp being able to be traversed by the wheelchair without any mechanical lifting or raising of the wheelchair being necessary.

These zero-emission and/or ramp-accessible coaches are envisaged as the successors to the ramp-accessible single-deck and double-deck coaches procured by the NTA in recent years.

They are also potential future replacements for the traditional high-floor single-deck coaches operating longer-distance journeys.  However, for this potential application it will be essential to improve accessibility for persons with reduced mobility while also maintaining the established luggage capacity and passenger comfort requirements of long-distance coach travel.


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Logistics News Transport

Port of Cork Company Welcomes First Direct MSC Freight Service to Cork

Port of Cork company welcomes firstdirect MSC freight service to Cork

Following a highly anticipated announcement in early February, the Port of Cork Company welcomed the first call of the new direct MSC freight service to Europe at Cork Container Terminal (CCT).

MSC Shipping Group, the world’s largest deep-sea line operator, is now running a new route linking Cork directly with Northern Europe for the first time, offering enhanced trade connectivity and an economic boost for businesses in Ireland.

The MSC container vessel, NIKOLETA, currently docked at CCT, spans over 180ft in length and has the capacity to carry 1720 TEU of cargo per week between Cork and the ports of Le Harve and Antwerp. Today’s shipment carried goods from the global industry to businesses in Cork.

Commenting on the new service, Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork Company stated, “this new service is a welcome addition to the Port of Cork and is great news for the business economy in Munster. We are delighted that direct MSC freight service to Cork, offering enhanced connectivity to mainland Europe. This new service, plus the recent FDI report ranking Cork as the number one small city in Europe for economic potential, further enhances the Port of Cork’s positioning as a catalyst for global trade and for attracting foreign direct investment. We welcome this as the first of many deep-sea lines to use Cork Container Terminal as a global gateway to connect.” 

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association, added, “Ireland, as an island nation on the edge of Europe, has always been dependent on the prosperity of our ports and shipping services. Combined they both make a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy. We welcome the continuous investments being made in the ports sector, particularly in the Port of Cork, where the addition of Cork to the schedule of the world’s largest deep-sea line, MSC, will bring greater economic benefits to the region.”

Source: Fleet Transport

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