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Deep Blue Group of Company Madrid Networks: Logistics Outsourcing Amplifies Supply Chain Risk, Self-Defense Tips

Deep Blue Group of Company Madrid Networks: Logistics Outsourcing Amplifies Supply Chain Risk, Self-Defense Tips | Deep Blue Group of Company |

Logistics outsourcing, global supply chains and cost-cutting measures are exposing companies to higher levels of supply chain and business interruption risk, say insurers and risk managers.


To address such risks, experts say shippers should seek as much transparency as possible and pay closer attention to their cargo arrangements than outsourcing has left them in the habit of paying.


“They tend in many cases to give it to third party logistics providers and say, ‘let me know when it shows up,” said Captain Andrew Kinsey, senior marine risk consultant at Allianz. “They don’t understand who’s carrying it, how many times it’s being moved, transshipped, put into feeder vessels or on barges, etc.”


Wm. Morrison Supermarkets MRW.LN +0.27% PLC in the U.K. addresses this through using one main shipping company and embedding a person from that company in its offices. said Martyn Jones, group corporate services director at the company. “We have absolute transparency around where containers are once they leave the factory, all the way through to portside, onto a vessel and then across the water,” he said.


The cost of not understanding the chain of custody on cargo can potentially amount to as much as 10 times the direct value of lost merchandise, once business interruption and other costs are factored in, said Linda Conrad, director of strategic business risk, Zurich Global, Corporate in North America. She noted that marine insurance usually doesn’t cover the cost of shipment delays, and companies are more vulnerable in the context of just-in-time inventory management, especially when the procurement and risk management functions don’t coordinate. “If you are running just in time, what happens just in case?” she asked.


Companies’ own cost-cutting efforts aren’t the only source of exposure. Shipping lines, hard-hit by the recession, have been taking steps to achieve greater efficiencies through economies of scale and fuel conservation, but these measures can also expose cargo to higher risks.


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Deep Blue Group of Company Madrid Networks: How to Save Money When Traveling to Any Destination

Deep Blue Group of Company Madrid Networks: How to Save Money When Traveling to Any Destination | Deep Blue Group of Company |

Here are some of the best ways to save money in any destination because when you spend less, you can travel more.

Benvenuto Sagese's insight:

Spending a lot of money on vacation doesn't mean you will have a better time than someone who spends less. I've been traveling the world for close to a decade on a budget and found that following a few simple tips makes it easy to travel on a budget and still have an amazing trip.


Saving money on the road requires us to break away from a conventional mindset that travel is expensive. This mindset, pushed by a travel industry built on people spending more money, that tells us that we need to stay in hotels, eat at world-class restaurants, or go on packaged tours to have a good time. Of course, that's just not the case, and there are plenty of ways to have a good trip without spending a fortune.


Below are various ways to save in any destination around the world—from cheaper locales like Thailand to more expensive countries like Norway. They will save you big money with minimal effort. I've traveled to over 75 countries in the last eight years. I even wrote a book on budget travel called How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. I know how unbelievable it can sound to say you can travel the world on a budget comfortably, but I know it's possible because I've done it firsthand.


Below are some of the best ways to save money in any destination because when you spend less, you can travel more.




When you don't need a luxury suite, there are a variety of options for finding housing that won't cost you much. Whether you work in exchange for room and board or simply find a cheap hostel, here are a few alternatives to hotels.


Use a Hospitality Exchange


The best way to save on accommodation is not paying for it—and a hospitality exchange allows you to do exactly that. You've probably heard of "couch surfing," but there are more options than that. Hospitality exchange services connect travelers with locals offering a free place to stay. Sometimes it's a bed, sometimes it's a couch, and sometimes it's literally just space on the floor. These sites work by having users sign up, create profiles, and connect with each other. The expectation is that one day, those who were hosted will pay it forward and host someone else. You're not required to host anyone in the future, but most people find the experience of being hosted rewarding and do host others. There are four major hospitality exchange organizations:


- Couchsurfing

- Servas

- Hospitality Club

- Global Freeloaders


Do Farm Work in Exchange for Room and Board


World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOFing, matches people looking for work on farms with farms that need labor. You get free room and board in exchange for work! It's an incredible way to stay in one area for free. You don't need any farm experience either. There is no international WWOOF membership, so you'll have to buy a membership from each individual WWOOFing country's organization. Annual membership usually costs around $30 USD per country. Obviously this solution isn't for everyone and is limited to certain areas, but it can be a good way to gain interesting experience while saving money.


Try House Sitting for Long Term Stays


House sitting is exactly like it sounds—while someone else is on holiday, you watch their house and take care of any pets they have while they are gone. House sitting commitments tend to be long term (i.e. a month or more) and are suited for travelers who want to stay longer in one specific place. The biggest house sitting websites are:


- House Carers

- Mind My House

- The Caretaker Gazette


Stay in Hostels


Perhaps the most common solution for travelers looking to save money, hostels are one of the cheapest forms of paid accommodation in the world. Hostels are places that offer shared (and sometimes private) rooms for travelers looking for a cheap place to stay. These dormitory-style rooms usually have between four and 20 beds. The more beds, the cheaper the room.


Hostel prices are about a third of the cost of a hotel room. A cheap hotel in New York City is $100 USD, while a dorm room is $30. In Thailand, where a hotel is $30 USD or more, you can get a cheap dorm room for $5. In Australia, a dorm room is $25 USD versus $110 for a hotel.


Use Serviced Apartments


One option for group travelers, or even people traveling alone who aren't interested in hostels, is serviced apartments. These are apartments owned, furnished, and taken care of by someone else that you rent like a hotel room. People list an extra room, couch, or property they own and want to make money from. It's like couch-surfing, except you pay for it and get your own space. There are many companies that will help you find these apartments around the world, such as:


- 9flats

- Airbnb

- HomeAway

- Roomorama

- Wimdu

- Housetrip




Food can be one of the most substantial daily expenses on your trip, especially if you only stay in the areas frequented by tourists. Instead, venture out to either do some grocery shopping of your own and cook for yourself, or explore locale establishments that don't necessarily cater to tourists.


Cook Your Own Meals


A week's worth of groceries is cheaper than a week's worth of restaurants. I generally find that I spend about $50-$60 USD per week on groceries, as opposed to $20+ per day at restaurants. That's a reduction of 70% in food expenses. Even if you are going away for just a two-week vacation, consider cooking some of your meals. Food costs add up quickly – a snack here and a dinner there and you'll be wasting a lot of your money on food. The majority of hostels, guesthouses, and shared apartments all have full kitchens where you can cook your meals. (They provide the pots, pans, and utensils too!) Even if you are staying at a hotel without a kitchen, you can still prepare your own food by making sandwiches. I recommend trying to stay in a place with kitchen facilities, however, so you can cook some hot meals and reduce your expenses.


Eat Lunch Specials


In many parts of the world, especially in Europe, you can dine on dinner menus at lunch special prices. This so-called plate of the day is one of the best bargains in the world. For example, while I was in Barcelona, I went to eat at the seafood restaurants near the beach. Dinner was around $50 USD. Coming back the next day for the lunch special, however, allowed me to get the same meal for only $20 USD. Singapore is another great destination for lunch specials. While the city is very expensive by Asian standards—food here can cost as much as it does back home—restaurants here have fixed menus for lunch that cost between $10-$15 USD, as opposed to $25 for dinner. In England, pubs provide set meals for as low as $10 USD.


Carry a Reusable Water Bottle


You need to stay hydrated when traveling and buying water every day gets expensive. Get a metal water bottle or reuse your plastic water bottle a few times to save money. I usually use a plastic water bottle for about four days, or more if I can find a place to clean it. Instead of buying three bottles a day, I usually buy two per week. I may only be saving a small amount of money each time, but over the course of a long trip that can really add up. Moreover, I reduce the amount of plastic I use, which is also good for the environment. It's win-win.


If the tap water in your part of the world is not drinkable, you can use a Steripen to purify your water, save money, and reduce your use of plastic bottles.


Never Eat in a Tourist Area


This tip is simple enough, but one people often forget since it's easier to eat near the attractions. Prices in tourist areas generally tend to be 20-50% higher because tourists usually don't mind spending more money on vacation and tend to be unaware of what local prices actually are.


Walk away, go explore some side streets, and find a place where you don't hear much English. It's more challenging and more work, but the food is a lot better and you'll be paying the local price instead of the tourist price. While in Barcelona, my friends and I wandered away from the touristy La Rambla and found a local tapas restaurant. We filled our stomachs for $12 USD each in what would have cost double that on La Rambla, where a single dish can be $20.


Not comfortable just winging it? To find local favorites, ask hotels or hostels, or look on Yelp, Foursqaure, or Openrice.




No, you don't really need to hire a private car to get around, and you'll likely miss out on a lot of the local culture if you do. When possible, think like a local and explore the city via public transit—or literally join the locals with ride sharing services—while taking advantage of tourist-focused passes that can offer admission to multiple museums and more.


Take Local Transport


Forget the private coaches, taxis, and tourist buses—do what the locals do and take local buses or trains. It may be easier to get in that tourist bus since companies will pick you up from your hotel or hostel and take care of any logistics for you, but it's more fun and much cheaper to figure out the local transportation system. Even in expensive countries like Norway or Sweden, the city train is never more than $4 USD. It may take some time to figure out the map and where you need to go, but learning your way around is half the fun of traveling.


And even if I don't speak the local language, the signs and timetables at the bus stop usually have a price listed. If the price isn't listed, I've never found a bus driver who doesn't understand, "How much?" or at least the confused look on my face while holding a bill out in front of me!


Get Tourism Cards


I will never figure out why travelers don't use tourism cards more often. Local tourism offices (think London Tourism, Paris Tourism, New York Tourism, etc.) issue cards for many of their attractions, tours, and restaurants. These cards (which you will pay a one-time fee for) give you free entry and substantial discounts on many of the attractions and tours in a city, free local public transportation (a huge plus), and discounts at a few restaurants and shopping malls. The cards are typically valid for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days. The first day begins when you first use your card, whether at a museum or on public transportation.


These cards are great for saving money because you get free transportation around the city and free entry into museums, attractions, and tours. For example, in Oslo, Norway, the VisitOslo card offered by the city tourism board costs $60 USD. However, each museum in the city is between $12-15. I saw nine museums in the city on my last visit. I saved $30 USD with the pass and got free public transportation. When I used the Paris Museum Pass while visiting Paris, I saved $85 USD off the normal price of the museums.


One important thing to remember is that while these cards offer great value, the timed nature of them requires you to hustle to get as much value out of them as you can.


Take Advantage of Free Museum Days


Most museums have special discount times or free nights. Even famous museums like the Louvre and the Guggenheim offer occasional free entrance. If I don't have a tourism card that offers free entrance into the museum I want, I scan its website to find out which days and times the museum offers free entrance. Before you go anywhere, make sure you check websites to find out if the museums you want to see offer free visiting hours.


Ask Hostels for Information


You can use hostels for information even if you aren't staying in them. They deal with budget travelers on a day-to-day basis and know the ins and outs of visiting that city on a budget. Go in and ask them for advice on what to see and do on the cheap. They will always be helpful.


Use Cards without Foreign Transaction Fees


Avoid paying a bank fee ever again by getting a no-fee credit and ATM or credit card. Don't give banks your hard-earned money—save it for your trip. Bank fees can add up, and there's no reason to hand over $3-$5 USD with every purchase or withdrawal you make. In order to avoid fees, get a fee free debit card like Charles Schwab. They never charge an ATM fee, and will reimburse you for any fees other banks charge. Capital One's Venture Card is a simple, no annual fee card that doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees.


Utilize Local Ride-Sharing Services


Trains, planes, buses—these can be expensive. An easier and more interesting way to travel is by getting a ride with a local heading in your direction. All you have to do is share the cost of gas. It's cheaper, you get to meet a local, and you can take detours and pit stops if you want. Some recommended websites include:


- Liftshare (based in the UK)

- Mitfahrgelegenheit (Germany)

- Gumtree (UK/Australia/NZ)

- Kangaride (Canada)

- BlaBlaCar (Europe)


Other Sharing Economy Websites


The sharing economy exploded in 2014 and has given travelers direct access to locals who can act as tour guides, hosts, cooks, and drivers. Take advantage of these services to bypass traditional travel companies and save money. Some companies worth using are:


- Colunching

- Vayable

- Eatwith

- Guided by a Local


These tips are good for any destination in the world. No matter where you go in the world, there are always ways to save. The travel media tells us that travel is expensive but years of experience has taught me otherwise. I've written a book called How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and am currently driving across the country on a book tour because I know the tips above and the tips in my book work. Break out of the hotel/resort mindset, use the tips above, and save big.


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Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks: Moving forward with international trade negotiations

Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks: Moving forward with international trade negotiations | Deep Blue Group of Company |
Benvenuto Sagese's insight:


Recently, the strangest thing has happened.  Two American Nobel Prize-winning economists (Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman) have called for the United States to stop negotiating new trade agreements.  Specifically, they have called for a halt to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks and urged Congress not to give the president a mandate for these and other trade negotiations by enacting new Trade Promotion Authority.


Their primary stated reason for taking an anti-trade agreement position is that expanding trade leads to domestic job loss.  Of course, more jobs by far are lost to productivity-enhancing technological breakthroughs.  Yet these economists have not called for the removal of ATMs so that more bank tellers can be hired.  They have decided, as King Canute must have when he found that he could not command the tide, that it would be foolhardy to resist technological change.  Turning the clock back on either technology or trade is neither possible nor desirable.  Any attempt to do so will only slow economic growth and limit human potential.


Both technological progress and trade agreements change the status quo.  And that requires adjustment.  This is where policy attention should be directed, because the United States is not as advanced as it should be in training a workforce that can continuously adapt to the need for new skills.  Failure to meet this need will only assure that fewer new jobs will be created in the United States in the future.  Curtailing attempts to remove foreign barriers to trade is simply focusing on the wrong target.


There is another major fault in the anti-trade position:  It is founded on a basic misunderstanding of what the TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks are about.  Yes, some longstanding areas of U.S. protection would be removed, but the U.S. market is already open with few exceptions and the areas that are still protected are not what any economist or policymaker would hold out to be the future of the American economy.  U.S. trade negotiations are largely about providing new opportunities for business and workers through better international rules.


The following are a few examples of what up-to-date trade agreements could do: 


Freedom for cross-border data flows.  The major trade agreements that are in existence today were negotiated before the Internet became essential to global commerce.  Being able to employ the Internet is the way small and medium enterprises, as well as large multinational companies, can gain access to global markets.  But this technology is threatened with new protectionism – such as requiring servers to be located domestically.


Free trade in environmental goods and services.  Likewise, existing trade agreements were negotiated before climate change became a dominant concern for policymakers in all major trading countries.  Leaving these items subject to import barriers runs counter to this new policy imperative.


Disciplines on state-owned enterprises.  In many countries, government enterprises go beyond the provision of needed public services and engage in business.  They should then act in accordance with commercial considerations rather than becoming a means for their government owners to skirt international rules.


Opening markets for services.  With the advent of the Internet, it is far more practical to supply services across international boundaries.  While there is a code for services trade under the World Trade Organization, it applies to far too little of the spectrum of services that can be internationally traded.  Liberalization in this area can create millions of jobs in the United States alone, and a multiple of that globally.


Curbing the unnecessary trade-restricting effects of product standards.  Tariffs can slow trade, but product standards can prevent it altogether.  Where the objectives are the same – e.g., safety of automobiles – there should be a mutual interest in adopting standards that are compatible rather than conflicting.


Honoring intellectual property rights.  Innovation requires that benefits accrue to those who engage in intensive R&D efforts and bring new products to the marketplace.  Trade secrets, as well as patents and copyrights, should be protected.  Economic growth and global welfare require it.


Each of these initiatives, and the other subjects addressed by TPP and TTIP will create new opportunities for business and for employment. U.S. objectives in these negotiations are far from secret, and they deserve support.  Far from calling a halt to current trade talks, the progress should be accelerated and the results should be given the means to achieve formal congressional input and approval.


Wolff serves as chairman of the National Foreign Trade Council and practices law at the firm of McKenna, Long and Aldridge.  He was a senior trade official in the Carter and Ford administrations.


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Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks: What British Export Businesses Need to Know Post Budget 2014

Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks: What British Export Businesses Need to Know Post Budget 2014 | Deep Blue Group of Company |
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UK Chancellor George Osborne's Budget 2014 committed to doubling support for British exporters, in a move that will see the government aim to increase UK exports to £1tn by 2020.


As well as doubling the annual 100% tax allowance for investment to £500,000 (€634,000, $836,000), loans available for foreign buyers to purchase goods and services from UK exporters will increase from £1.5bn to £3bn.


As financing can be a barrier to export for businesses, the initiatives announced on Wednesday are extremely encouraging for British SMEs. The government's commitment to doubling financial support will be a great advantage to start-ups that are often nervous about the financial risks of exploring new markets.


While this Budget is welcome news for would-be British exporters, with opportunities also come risks, so businesses need to understand the associated challenges with exporting abroad. Below are five best practice tips that every British business should consider before any foray into overseas markets:


Research Your Target Market


It's essential to thoroughly research overseas markets before you start to export and your product needs to be able to differentiate itself in what can often be an overcrowded market.

Planning is everything


You'll need a structured export plan.


Businesses need to define how their goods will enter the desired market and find trade leads. Deciding how to ship your goods is also crucial; using a logistics or delivery partner who has experience of the market at this stage can be very beneficial.


It's also important to note that some carriers may quote a rate that is just one component of the total cost; without taking into consideration the cost of collection in the UK or the preparation of declaration and customs charges (in the origin and destination country). Honest and direct conversations with different carriers will go a long way here.


Communication, Communication, Communication


Understanding cultural etiquette is vital. Make sure you do your research and become as familiar as possible with different protocols. The UKTI can help you overcome many of the barriers you may face. It is worth remembering that simple good manners and politeness will go a long way – conducting business overseas should be no different to dealing with customers in the UK.


The language barrier can also be a common challenge that many UK companies can encounter when exporting to foreign markets. Many assume that English is the international language of business, but this isn't always the case. Companies should therefore use local expertise and translation services where necessary.


Don't forget that every country has different customs regulations - DHL Express can provide insight and information regarding customs rules and regulations to help would-be exporters.


Seek help and advice


The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) offers a range of services for UK exporters, including a flexible business tool called the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also offers export-training services.


At DHL, we use local expertise combined with global reach to help our customers understand diverse customs regulations and export planning. We can provide information around customs rules and regulations that govern overseas markets.

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Deep Blue Group of Company Madrid Networks: Tools and tips for today’s capacity-crunched market

Deep Blue Group of Company Madrid Networks: Tools and tips for today’s capacity-crunched market | Deep Blue Group of Company |

Growing freight volumes may be welcome news for brokers, third-party logistics (3PL) operations and carriers, but with the driver shortage holding back industry expansion, finding freight carrying capacity remains an ever present and larger challenge.


“Freight volumes are growing nicely on a year-over-year basis for most trucking sectors as economic growth remains solid,” said Bob Costello, chief economist at American Trucking Associations during the annual ATA Management Conference & Exhibition. “However, the industry is having a difficult time adding trucks due to the driver shortage, which is as bad as ever and is expected to get worse in the near term.”


Finding capacity ( ;) to meet shipper needs requires a combination of tools to gather and manage information, along with an understanding of the market at any given point in time. Expertise in costs, the freight transportation process, and the ebb and flow of capacity based on economic and seasonal trends are valuable. It’s also essential for freight brokers and 3PLs to know the transportation spending plans of shippers to be able to gauge their respective buying power for transportation services.


Data on carrier management and operational practices ( ) is invaluable. Fundamental information should include fleet sizes, equipment types, and tractor-trailer ratios. As a further gauge of availability, knowledge of the amount of equipment that is dedicated to long haul, contract, and regional operations can be very helpful.  Equally important for freight brokers and 3PLs, is a relationship with carriers that shares advance knowledge of freight needs.  This not only helps address capacity requirements, it can also help carriers eliminate costly empty miles.


Armed with this data, brokers and 3PLs can make the most effective decisions and capture equipment before it is assigned elsewhere during times of capacity shortage. As a starting point, performing a comprehensive review of the systems already in place will help ensure the ability to take advantage of every opportunity to find and secure capacity. This includes access to truckload and LTL, intermodal, and freight handling and consolidation service offerings.


Successful freight brokerages and 3PLs understand that they require information management solutions that provide the ability to rapidly add new customers and enter loads using a pre-configured workflow process, and quickly locate capacity for their clients by using a variety of internal and external sources, including both public and private load boards.


If finding trucks to cover loads is the first challenge for brokers, 3PLs and shippers; making sure they’re finding the best available carrier at the best available rate runs a close second. Effective systems deliver access to all known negotiated rates with carriers. They do so by providing real-time access to current and historical rate data based on what was paid in the past and what others in the industry now pay for similar loads on similar lanes.


While these solutions deliver information that helps ensure rates that provide acceptable margins, there is also the challenge of making sure each carrier meets the shipper’s requirements. Access to information that verifies the credentials of every carrier prior to offering a load is critical. This should include insurance coverage, credentials, and safety ratings.


Solutions should allow users to easily and accurately manage the vast amount of information that is shared in a successful relationship between a broker, 3PL, shipper, and carrier.  This is especially true in operations that handle large volumes of freight. Lost information or miscommunication that results in dissatisfied customers is simply not acceptable.


Robust data warehouse capabilities that gather and maintain transactional and user interaction data and make these available for analytics applications are essential. These systems must also facilitate collaboration using the methods preferred by each carrier and shipper, including EDI, email, or web portals.


Finding available capacity for shippers is just part of the solution that makes top- producing brokers and 3PLs more successful. The real keys are tools that gather and seamlessly integrate and manage data and provide visibility into the information that can be used to make smarter, more effective decisions.  Here are five tips to successfully secure carrier capacity:


1. Understand the freight transportation process and shipper/customer capacity needs based on economic trends and transportation spending plans.


2. Facilitate collaboration using methods preferred by all parties.


3. Have information gathering and management tools that include a workflow process for adding new customers, entering loads, and accessing rates to ensure acceptable margins.


4. Maintain data for analytics applications and information on carrier management and operational practices to gauge capacity availability and verify carrier credentials.


5. Routinely perform a review of the current systems and their effectiveness in helping you take advantage of every opportunity to locate capacity.


Hope Federer is the Vertical Lead for Brokers at MercuryGate International.   With over 14 years of transportation experience, she leads technology implementation, post-implementation customer support, and works with product development to drive product enhancements. She has held a variety of senior management positions in the areas of transportation management, corporate and systems education, strategic carrier procurement, and corporate pricing.


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V-22 Tiltrotor in Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks

V-22 Tiltrotor in Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks | Deep Blue Group of Company |

V-22 Tiltrotor Could Revolutionize Naval Logistics in the Pacific

Benvenuto Sagese's insight:

If you spin a globe to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you will discover that almost no land is visible in any direction.  That’s because the Pacific covers nearly a third of the Earth’s surface.  The good news is that all that water protects America from potential enemies in Asia.  The not-so-good news is that the Western Pacific has become the industrial heartland of the new global economy, so it is also becoming the main focus of U.S. military strategy.  That means America’s joint force will be spending more time in the vast expanses of the Pacific Basin. Read More:


It’s pretty clear that any pivot to the Pacific will have to be led by the sea services — the Navy and the Marine Corps – because land bases are few and far between in the region.  The handful, to which the U.S. has assured access, such as on Guam, could be destroyed by adversaries during the early days of a future conflict.  So America’s military presence in the Pacific will consist mainly of floating sea bases such as carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups. Related Site:



Those warships, their air wings and their expeditionary units will have to be supplied with food, fuel, ammunition and other essentials from somewhere on land, because that’s where such supplies are produced and stored.  Most of the supplies will come on the logistics ships that shadow the movement of the Navy’s fleet wherever it goes.  But what about spare parts for fighter engines, emergency medical supplies, and other items needed right away that might not be carried on the logistics ships?  And how are injured or infirm warfighters supposed to be transported quickly to hospitals ashore when their lives are at risk?


For fifty years, the Navy’s answer to such questions has been a propeller-driven aircraft called the C-2A Greyhound that flies between aircraft carriers and shore bases.  The C-2A brings supplies to an aircraft carrier, and then the supplies are distributed to other warships nearby using the carrier’s helicopters in a hub-and-spoke arrangement similar to that once favored by airlines.  It also carries people back and forth – sometimes thousands in the course of a six-month sea deployment.  The mission is called “carrier onboard delivery,” and it evolved at a time when the main focus on naval operations was the smaller maritime expanses of the North Atlantic.


As chance would have it, the shift of strategic focus to the Pacific comes just as the Navy was starting to think about how it should conduct airborne resupply in the future, because the current fleet of 35 C-2As — all of which were built in the 1980s — will reach the end of their useful lifetime towards the end of the next decade unless they get costly upgrades.  Northrop Grumman NOC -2.04%, the builder of the C-2A, has proposed modifying the planes with new wings, engines and other features that would extend their service life beyond 2040.  However, a recent analysis of alternatives by the Navy gave high marks to a different approach: replacing C-2As with the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor already operated by the Marine Corps.


The V-22 Osprey is a genuinely revolutionary airframe because the large rotors at the tips of its wings can pivot 90 degrees in flight.  What that means in practical terms is that it can take off and land likes a helicopter, but once in the air it can achieve the high speed and long range of a fixed-wing turboprop airplane.  Its unrefueled range of about a thousand statute miles is similar to that of the C-2A, as is its 277 miles-per-hour cruising speed.  But unlike the C-2A, Osprey can be refueled in the air to extend its range and it can land pretty much anywhere.  It doesn’t require the kind of landing strip that fixed-wings planes like the C-2A must have to land and take off.


The Osprey’s unique combination of speed, range and vertical agility creates interesting possibilities for transforming the way that carrier onboard delivery is accomplished in the Pacific — and elsewhere.  Because V-22s can land on or hover over pretty much every warship in the fleet, they have the potential to fly people and supplies directly to their intended destination at sea, eliminating the bottleneck that results when items have to be moved from C-2As to helicopters on carrier decks.  That would greatly increase the volume and velocity of the resupply mission.  It would also speed the movement of people in medical evacuations and other passenger trips.


An Osprey can carry about twice as much cargo internally as a C-2A (ten tons versus five) and also has the option of transporting oversized cargo in an external sling.  Because it is not tethered to runways ashore, the V-22 would greatly expand the range of options for moving people and supplies needed at sea.  Not only would fewer airframes be required to accomplish the resupply mission — freeing up helicopters for other activities — but the warships in a carrier strike group could be better dispersed for operational effectiveness.  Right now, surface combatants receiving essential supplies from the carrier must stay within the relatively small operating radius of helicopters, which means expending extra fuel and potentially making the whole strike group less survivable against well-equipped adversaries like China.


Although modifications to the C-2A could extend its unrefueled range by several hundred miles, it can never match the reach of a V-22 which can be refueled in the air or can land on a combat logistics ship for refueling en route to remote destinations.    The relevance of these capabilities to Pacific operations was demonstrated last August when two Marine V-22s flew all the way from Okinawa to Australia via Clark Air Base in the Philippines, supported in the air by fixed-wing refueling tankers.  Tiltrotor technology is so versatile that some V-22 proponents have proposed using Osprey to refuel carrier-based fighters in flight.


Upgrading the C-2A for three more decades of service might be less expensive up front than purchasing V-22s, but over time the complexity and limitations of the way the carrier onboard delivery mission is accomplished today would cost the Navy more — not just in fuel and personnel costs, but in the reduced volume and velocity of logistics operations in circumstances where timing is crucial.  And given the scarcity of suitable land bases for fixed-wing operations in some parts of the Pacific, the Navy might find its current approach to airborne resupply sometimes isn’t workable at all.  That would be especially likely if runways ashore were destroyed by enemies in a war.


As the Marines have already discovered in their own operations, the flexibility of the Osprey enables missions that previously would not have been possible.  A C-2A is basically good for one thing — flying between an aircraft carrier and land bases — but a V-22 can be used for a wide array of missions such as combat search and rescue or reconnaissance even if it was bought mainly to support logistics functions.  At a time when the Navy is facing more overseas challenges with less money, it makes sense to support the fleet with aircraft that are versatile, rather than limited to a single mission.  The inherent flexibility of tiltrotor technology will become increasingly appealing as America’s pivot to the Pacific progresses.



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UK construction industry warned of 'time bomb' from health and safety cuts of Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks

UK construction industry warned of 'time bomb' from health and safety cuts of Deep Blue Group of Company Tokyo Networks | Deep Blue Group of Company |
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The construction industry is sitting on a "ticking time bomb", with inexperienced workers being recruited to work on London's major building sites at a time when safety standards are being run down, according to a former government adviser on the sector.


Baroness Donaghy, who wrote a landmark report, One Death Too Many, for the last Labour government, said there is a severe risk of a rise in deaths and serious injuries as building activity picks up during the recovery. Since 2001, 760 workers have died in industrial accidents on UK building sites.


The number of site-related deaths in London, where growth in construction is strongest, has doubled recently.


Donaghy said she was appalled by a 35% cut in the budget of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2011, after she had called in her March 2010 report for more funding to allow it to function properly as a regulator. The report was widely accepted by the Labour government, but has since been ignored by the coalition.


Donaghy predicted that companies would cut corners and that accident and deaths would increase. "If there is an upturn, as is obviously happening in London, there is a danger that skills have been lost during the recession, and people who are insufficiently skilled will be taken on. And that's when the deaths and accidents will start taking place."


She added: "I do believe that if the recession is ending, the number of accidents will increase. Is it a ticking time bomb? Possibly right, yes. There is a real danger, without a well-resourced HSE, that corners will be cut."


Only 10% of construction workers are trade union members and the industry has taken on increasing numbers of casual workers over the past two decades.


A freedom of information request from the construction workers' union, Ucatt, showed a 7% fall in unannounced inspections of construction sites between 2011-12 and 2012-13, though the HSE said the number of inspections had risen in 2013-14 to make up for that dip.


The FoI request also revealed a fall in improvement notices – which are HSE-issued orders to employers to address safety risks – from 1,021 in 2011-12 to just 800 the following year. And the number of employers being prosecuted for safety offences also fell, from 456 to 410.


Steve Murphy, the general secretary of Ucatt, said: "I sincerely believe the construction industry is chaotic. And deaths on sites will tragically rise in the next year."


However Heather Bryant, chief inspector for construction at the HSE, said the organisation was adequately resourced, and that construction was one of its priority areas.


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