Heavylift / Breakbulk
Freight haulage and the US energy boom
The booming US energy sector is having knock-on effects on the transport business. The oil and gas business has established new refineries in North Dakota and Minnesota, pipelines, such as the Sandpiper oil and Keystone XL project as well as LNG export terminals. Over and above this, alternative energy power plants are also being built.
One of the effects of these activities has been an increase in the importance of the energy business as a shipper. At US railway companies, for instance, the transport of fracking sands alone has risen to such a level that it has edged out goods traditionally shipped by rail – because the former command such high prices. Ben Brancel, the trade and agriculture secretary of the US state of Wisconsin, complained in mid-October that there was no longer adequate rolling stock and railway personnel available to handle bulk freight, such as grain, crushed rock and paper. Brancel said that the energy sector’s utilisation of railway capacities had called into question the supply security of other industries.
Great opportunities for project logisticians
Another effect of the bull market in the energy sector is a sharp increase in building projects in other areas. Infrastructure expansion, large-scale petrochemical projects, the laying of pipelines, as well as the construction of LNG export terminals are all making strides. Experts estimate that currently approved projects with investments in liquefaction plants, storage facilities, pipeline systems and new port facilities are worth tens of billions of dollars. This nascent export industry promises to be a source of numerous more project and heavylift logistics contracts in future.