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Chao, merchant mariners are American Maritime Heroes

Honors also go to Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, Amsterdam Airport, Brim Explorer, CHAMP, Dropslab, NYK, Schneider, Sovcomflot, UltraShip and Werner drivers.

   U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and World War II merchant mariners have been named American Maritime Partnership’s first American Maritime Heroes.
   American Maritime Partnership (AMP) has started a yearlong celebration during which individuals and groups of people will be recognized for adding to the rich history of the United States as a maritime nation through their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.
   “The American Maritime Heroes campaign celebrates our maritime heroes and will serve as a reminder to all of the undeniable importance of America’s history as a maritime nation and the role of the maritime industry to U.S. prosperity and security,” said Matt Woodruff, AMP chairman. 
   “We are proud to begin the campaign by honoring Secretary Elaine Chao, who is widely recognized as the best transportation secretary ever for the U.S. maritime industry, and the nearly 250,000 World War II merchant mariners who provided the manpower to operate and maintain the wartime vessels that ultimately helped our country and our allies win World War II,” Woodruff said.
   Chao previously served as deputy maritime administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration, chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.
   “We have never had a transportation secretary with such knowledge about, experience in and passion for our industry,” Woodruff said. “When the chips are down, there is no stronger advocate than Secretary Chao.    She is a proven American maritime hero.”
   The World War II merchant mariners are renowned for their bravery and contribution to the Allied victory nearly 75 years ago. Almost 250,000 merchant mariners transported tens of millions of tons of war supplies and more than 7 million servicemen under the most challenging circumstances imaginable. 
   As a result, they suffered the highest casualty rate of any service during World War II, with one mariner out of every 26 lost. A total of 8,241 merchant mariners died in World War II and many others were captured and became prisoners of war. Today only about 2,000 remain.
   “Especially as Americans reflect this week on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, it is a privilege to salute the courageous mariners who helped make the invasion possible and ensured that our military could triumph at Normandy and throughout the entire war,” said Woodruff. “We all owe these heroes a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.”
   As the campaign continues, the individuals to be recognized will come from many different backgrounds and be credited for a variety of achievements. What unites these heroes is that they all have made — or are making — a positive difference in the still-unfolding history of American maritime, AMP said.
   The yearlong celebration will culminate on June 5, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the U.S. Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act.
   Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was named Airport of the Year 2019 at the Air Cargo Week World Air Cargo Awards in Munich on Wednesday.
   Schiphol was recognized for its commitment to cargo development, innovative approach to digitizing processes through the Smart Cargo Mainport Program and ongoing collaborative projects within the Cargo Community.
   “In 2018, we maintained our position as Europe’s third-largest air cargo hub and we will continue to collaborate with the Cargo Community as we work to shape Europe’s smartest cargo hub through digital innovation and sustainable practices,” said Bart Pouwels, head of cargo for the airport.

   Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, CHAMP Cargosystems and Dropslab won the ECS Group’s #NexGenLeaders 2019.
   The consortium won the award for their project on augmented reality for air cargo warehouses. The award was announced Wednesday at Air Cargo Europe 2019 in Munich.
   ECS Group organized the challenge “to help regenerate the industry by giving startups, students and its own employees all over the world the chance to showcase their talent and put it to use to benefit an unbelievably dynamic industry,” the award announcement said.
   Brim Explorer CEO Agnes Árnadóttir and CFO Espen Larsen-Hakkebo received the Young Entrepreneur Award at the Nor-Shipping 2019 opening ceremony Monday in Oslo, Norway.
   The award was presented by Norwegian Minister of Trade Torbjørn Røed Isaksen in front of an audience of industry representatives and invited dignitaries, including King Harald of Norway.
   The Young Entrepreneur Award recognizes an individual or a team under the age of 40 bringing to fruition an idea, building a business, strengthening the industry or in some other way taking a leading role and marking themselves as the next generation of shipping professionals. 
  “Influencing the jury decision was their admiration for the professional manner by which the two 33-year-olds managed to gather investors and clients in order to build two vessels and ready them for operation. The hybrid ship they have helped design is one of the world’s most flexible electric vessels, as it can be charged at any port and operate on batteries for 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots,” the award announcement said.
   “Another important factor was that Brim Explorer creates jobs. The firm will employ a crew of 10 persons on board the first vessel and will need the same amount for the second ship. In addition, construction of the ships will provide a significant number of employment possibilities,” the announcement said.

  NYK-operated Takamatsu Maru, a very large crude oil carrier (VLCC), has been awarded the Meteorological Agency’s Director-General Award for the contribution the ship has made to meteorological business development by observing marine weather conditions and transmitting weather results over an extended period of time.
   Kazumasa Okazaki, corporate officer of NYK, received a letter of appreciation from the director-general at a ceremony in Tokyo Monday.
   NYK vessels previously were recognized in 2005 and 2018.
   Takamatsu Maru has been in operation since 2012 and annually transports about 2 million tons of crude oil, primarily from the Middle East to Japan.

   In 2006, Schneider created a sleep disorder screening program for all company drivers and provided treatment to those who tested positive for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
   The provider of transportation, logistics and intermodal services has been honored for its work with the National Safety Council’s Green Cross for Safety Innovation Award. Schneider is the only company to consecutively win the Green Cross for Safety, following its 2018 Green Cross for Safety Excellence Award.
   “Being honored with the Green Cross for Safety Award in back-to-back years is an amazing accomplishment, underscoring our commitment to our number one core value of safety first and always,” said Tom DiSalvi, vice president of safety, driver training and compliance at Schneider. “However, the biggest win is that our driver associates are more vigilant on the roadway and significantly healthier. We weren’t trying to be innovative — we were trying to save lives.”
   Schneider said it was the first large-scale employer to effectively and efficiently identify drivers at risk for OSA and get them the treatment needed to improve their health and safety. 
   The National Safety Council Green Cross for Safety Innovation Award is given to a researcher, corporation, coalition or organization in recognition of a transformative approach to a long-held challenge in safety. Schneider is the first truckload carrier to receive the award.
   Schneider also has been named a Challenger in Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant for Third-Party Logistics Providers in North America.
   “Logistics outsourcing can be an effective strategy to apply innovative technologies that optimize a supply chain’s visibility, flexibility and profitability,” said Mike Kukiela, vice president and general manager of supply chain management at Schneider. “Advancing within this exclusive list shows we continuously offer valuable expertise and resources to customers looking for logistics solutions.”
   The final scores plotted 3PLs on the Magic Quadrant graph, where they are identified as either Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries or Niche Players. Schneider advanced its position in the Challengers quadrant, where 3PLs are defined as performing traditional logistics functions exceptionally well for customers.

   Gagarin Prospect, an LNG-fueled Aframax crude oil tanker owned and operated by Sovcomflot, was presented the Next Generation Ship Award 2019 at the opening ceremony of Nor-Shipping 2019 in Oslo on Monday.
   Sovcomflot President and CEO Sergey Frank accepted the award from the Norwegian minister of trade and industry. 
   With a focus on innovation, the Next Generation Ship Award honors the most promising design for ships that will be at sea in the coming decade, according to Nor-Shipping. Gagarin Prospect is the lead ship in the Green Funnel series of 114,000-dwt Aframax crude oil tankers designed to use LNG as a primary fuel. 
   “The switch to using LNG as a fuel could significantly contribute to reducing human impact on the environment. We firmly believe that adopting LNG as a primary fuel for large-capacity tankers is the right move,” Frank said. 
   “We’ve been working on the Green Funnel for several years in close collaboration with our partners, Shell, Hyundai Heavy Industries and DNV GL,” Frank said, thanking those companies for their “support of the Green Funnel initiative and their contribution to making these tankers a reality.”
   Sovcomflot currently has six Green Funnel Aframax tankers in operation and an additional five LNG-fueled tankers under construction.

   UltraShip TMS on Wednesday was named a winner of a People’s Choice Stevie Award for favorite new products at the 17th annual American Business Awards.
   The People’s Choice recognition follows a Bronze Stevie Award presented earlier this year for UltraShip’s spot quote automation solution.
   The general public can vote for their favorite new products and services for the People’s Choice awards. More than 43,000 votes were cast in 51 categories this year.
   “The spot quote automation tool is just one example of UltraShip’s focus on supply chain digitization, leveraging the data collected to help shippers access tight truckload capacity at or near true market rates and in real time,” said Anthony Vitiello, vice president of sales and marketing for UltraShip TMS.

   Werner Enterprises announced that four of its professional drivers earned first-place honors at the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships and earned spots at the National Truck Driving Championships taking place in Pittsburgh Aug. 14 to 17. 
   Werner driver Eric Stein was named grand champion at the statewide competition and also earned the Rookie of the Year Award and the Professional Excellence Award and took first place in the three-axle class.
   Werner’s Terry Durham received the Bucky Buchholz Top Driver Award and the Jerry Wessel Highest in Professionalism and Industry Knowledge Award as well as first place in the twins class.
   Tim Dean earned first place in the five-axle sleeper class and Larry Derr won first place in the tanker class.
   The competition required participants to complete four phases in order to be considered for an award: a written test covering safety regulations and trucking industry facts, a vehicle inspection identifying defects, an interview with a law enforcement office and a test of their driving skills in one of six different classes. 
   Eight Werner drivers competed, collectively earning second place as a team.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.