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Summary for January 12 - January 16, 2009:
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Top Story

MOL president announces “New Deal” strategy

Borrowing phrases from a U.S. president past, and one to be, MOL Group President Akimitsu Ashida announced the “MOL New Deal,” along with the rally cry: “Yes, we can do” in his New Year’s message to the company.

The company’s short-term strategy is to include cuts to charters, scrapping aged ships and laying up excess vessel tonnage, he said.

As for MOL’s mid-term and long-term strategies, Akimitsu said the company’s “basic strategy remains unchanged” and will “fulfill our fleet plan to enhance and expand our competitive advantage.”

The MOL president said his shipping company has experienced a strong four and a half years with approximately $10 billion aggregated profit to show for it.

A two-year depressed shipping-market is expected before recovery, Akimitsu said, quoting Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic Group: "Boom is welcome. Recession is more welcome."

“Recession can be positively understood as a process to adjust the current and future over-tonnage situation,” Akimitsu said.  "If we think calmly, the news is not all bad. Looking at demand and supply of tonnage, the over-tonnage anticipated in the near future may be prevented from happening."

Akimitsu also talked about Chinese and Korean shipbuilding facilities and the plans they had for rapid expansion. Those operations are now being squeezed by the financial crisis and credit crunch with many vessels being canceled before delivery. If the market had dropped one or two years later, Akimitsu said, the large volume of new vessels would have been delivered.

“It is not too much to say that this is an act of providence,” he said.

"These movements will reasonably and favorably contribute to adjust demand and supply balance of world tonnage. What's more, we will have more possibility in reducing overall costs especially in maintenance and repairs, bunkers and lubricants, the price of which went up sharply due to the hike of material and crude oil prices for some years. We can also expect other issues such as shortage of seafarers and repair docks to be eased in line with the adjustment of shipping market," he said.



MOL consolidates West Coast Latin America service

Japanese shipping company MOL announced a consolidation of its Asia-Mexico/West Coast South America service that it operates with NYK. The revision will integrate two loops, the WL1 and WL2, into a single service called WL1.
The new service will add a call at Callao, Peru. Buenaventura, Colombia and Guayaquil, Ecuador will be served via Panama, using MOL's existing Ecuador Express (ECX) service.

The revised port rotation in WL1 is Keelung, Hong Kong, Shenzhen (Chiwan), Xiamen, Shanghai, Busan, Manzanillo (Mexico), Callao, Iquique, Valparaiso, Lirquen, Yokohama and back to Keelung.

The new WL1 service rotation takes effect with the sailing of the Helene S Voy. 4905 from Keelung on February 5. The WL2 service ends with the departure of the Ocean Prosper Voy. 4305 from Xiamen on February 2.


Industrial Real Estate

ProLogis to sell China business for $1.3 billion

ProLogis, the Denver-based industrial real estate firm, has announced it has signed an agreement to sell its China business unit for $1.3 billion to GIC Real Estate (GIC RE), the real estate arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
In a statement, ProLogis said net proceeds from the sale would help the company reduce debt.

ProLogis had notably built up its China presence in recent years, including the development of a massive logistics park in Shanghai near the new port on the Yangtze Delta.

"Selling our China operations was not an easy decision, however this represents a major milestone to de-lever our balance sheet, relieve near-term re-financing pressure and enhance liquidity," said Walter Rakowich, CEO, ProLogis.

The sale is to include a 20 percent interest in Japanese property funds. ProLogis said it expects a net loss on the transaction of approximately 4 to 6 percent of the book value of the assets sold. The transaction is set to close this month.


Industrial Real Estate

Survey: Foreign investment in U.S. real estate
to increase 73 percent

Foreign real estate investors will increase property investments in the U.S. by 73 percent in 2009, according to a survey of 200 members of the Association of Foreign Real Estate investors (AFIRE).

In 2009, four out of 10 investors surveyed said the U.S. now offers the best market for capital appreciation, followed by Brazil and China.
Also for 2009, five of the top 10 cities were in the U.S.: Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

The order of real estate investment preference from the report was: Multifamily, office, industrial, retail and hospitality. 


Industrial Real Estate

Lowe’s opens distribution center in Pennsylvania

Home improvement giant, Lowe’s, is set to open a 1.6 million-square-foot regional distribution center in Centerpoint Commerce and Trade Park near Scranton, PA business today. The facility will begin distribution of goods to Lowe’s stores next week, the company said.


Industrial Real Estate

First Industrial names new chief

First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. the industrial real estate investment trust (REIT), has named Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Chairman Bruce W. Duncan to be its president and chief executive.
Duncan has also served as chief executive at other real-estate companies, including Equity Residential, the largest publicly traded apartment REIT.

Duncan will replace interim chief executive W. Ed Tyler, who has been appointed chairman. Tyler stepped into the chief executive role in October when Michael W. Brennan resigned when First Industrial’s board decided to make a change in leadership.

First Industrial’s stock is down 78 percent this year in what has been a difficult economic climate for REITs.

First Industrial says it has 100 million square feet of industrial space in more than 30 industrial markets across North America.



Cleveland port to develop 1.000-acre
trade district          

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has announced it is working with the City of Cleveland to develop a 1,000-acre trade district for light industrial development in the St. Clair-Superior area.


Vessel Deliveries

Product carrier christened in San Diego

The 600-foot product carrier, Golden State, was christened over the weekend at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard.

The ship, delivered to U.S. Shipping Partners, has capacity for about 331,000 barrels and will be used to carry petroleum and chemical products between U.S. ports.

Construction began on the Golden State in August 2007, and is the first of a contracted 9 product carriers.



Subic Bay terminal launches new gate IT system

Subic Bay International Terminal Corp (SBITC), a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), announced it has launched a new software system that will boost operational efficiency at the gates of the new Subic Bay Freeport container terminal.

Manila-based ICTSI developed the GTS Gates software solution. The system is part of the terminal's existing Graphical Tracking System (GTS) for SBITC. The GTS Gates system automatically generates container yard locations for trucks entering the terminal and can process multiple import and export movements of containers and is linked to a yard allocation module, the company said.

The gate module also allows SBITC to utilize multiple lanes at the terminal gate, which can be switched at any time according to the flow of traffic, the company said.

A truck instruction document (TID) that has the container yard location, can be printed and issued to a driver as well as an equipment interchange receipt (EIR): a document containing the transfer of a container from one carrier to another.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top Story

18 ports enforce TWIC today

The Transportation Identification Certificate (TWIC) Program is enforceable today at 18 U.S. ports as the federal government’s new biometric ID card will be required for port employees, longshoremen, truckers and others who have unescorted access to secure port areas.

By April 15, over 1.5 million of those accessing secure port areas will be required to have had their background checks in order to be issued cards, with biometric data and documentation confirming residency. The TWIC cards are good for five years.

The following ports are launching TWIC ahead of schedule today:

  • Baton Rouge, LA;
  • Houma, LA;
  • Lafayette, LA;
  • Morgan City, LA;
  • New Orleans;
  • Port Fourchon, LA;
  • LaPlace, LA;
  • Key West, FL;
  • Miami, FL;
  • Palm Beach, FL;
  • Port Everglades, FL;
  • Port Manatee, FL;
  • Tampa, FL;
  • Peoria, IL;
  • St. Louis, MO;
  • Newport News, VA;
  • Norfolk, VA; and
  • Kansas City, MO.

In order to overcome some of the difficulties with TWIC enrollment, the TSA has allowed several ports to accept alternative identification for a period of time for workers that have applied but have yet to receive their TWIC cards.

Port workers who haven’t yet picked up their activated TWIC card may use alternative ID in the following port regions:

  • Hampton Roads, VA;
  • Morgan City, LA;
  • New Orleans; LA
  • Upper Mississippi River, MS;
  • Miami; Key West, FL;
  • St. Petersburg, FL. 

The standard TWIC enrollment fee is $132.50, although workers with properly vetted threat assessment background checks including Free and Secure Trade (FAST) cards, Merchant Mariner documentation, and HAZMAT endorsements, can get a TWIC card for $105.25.

According to the TSA, as of Friday, Jan. 9, 801,831 workers nationally had enrolled in TWIC. Of those, 734,341 cards have been printed and 578,676 had been activated. Approximately 136,000 truck drivers have enrolled.

To learn more about activating a TWIC card, go to:



Maersk CEO: “2009 will be very tough”

Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk the world's largest container line said on Tuesday the shipping industry was not likely to recover before 2010.
"2009 will be very tough. If an improvement comes before the end of 2010, we will be positively surprised," said Maersk Chief Executive Nils S. Andersen at a media reception in Singapore.

"Right now, we are not looking at acquisitions," he said.

Last month Maersk said it would remove eight containerships from service, while its rivals have also been cutting service routes and staff.

Andersen told reporters major shipping lines would likely continue to reduce capacity in 2009, including laying up ships.


Air Freight

FedEx orders 15 new Boeing freighters

FedEx has ordered 15 new 777 freighter aircraft from Boeing at a purchase price close to $3 billion after discounts over the next 10 years, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

FedEx had originally ordered 15 of the new freighter jets in November 2006 and now the deal is firm with options to buy 15 more, the report said.

The first four freighters are scheduled for delivery in FedEx's fiscal year beginning June 2009, with four more scheduled in the following fiscal year. Subsequently, three are scheduled to be delivered each year through fiscal 2019.

The 777 freighter will be used to carry international air cargo. The 777 freighter program is scheduled to make its first delivery to Air France in the next couple months and the FedEx' order brings the sales total for the new aircraft to 88.



FedEx guarantees new next-morning
freight service

FedEx announced Tuesday that its subsidiary, FedEx Freight Inc., will begin offering a less-than-truckload, guaranteed 10:30 a.m. delivery service called FedEx Freight AM.

The service will guarantee next-day and two-day delivery arrival by 10:30 a.m. or the customer will be refunded shipping costs.



Washington State gov wants $4.25 billion tunnel to replace Seattle’s waterfront viaduct

Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire announced this morning at a news conference that her office wants a two-mile, bored tunnel to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct that runs along the Seattle waterfront, at a price tag of approximately $4.25 billion.
"This is not just about replacing a road. This is about building a 21st Century city," she said.

The state of Washington would cover the cost of the tunnel at $2.8 billion, with the city and county paying for surface-street and transit improvements at just under $1 billion. It was also announced that the Port of Seattle, which stands to be impacted on some level by the construction of the tunnel, is considering adding $300 million in the SODO (South Downtown) district to help offset the high cost of the tunnel farther north, the Seattle Times reported.

Replacing the aging viaduct, an elevated thoroughfare, has been a hot issue in Seattle since it was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake raising safety concerns. City voters rejected a tunnel concept, along with an elevated highway option two years ago.

Construction on the tunnel project would start in 2011 and it would be scheduled to open in 2015. The tunnel would primarily go under Seattle’s First Avenue and connect to Aurora Avenue (Highway 99) North, in the South Lake Union area.



Tianjin port optimistic on 2009

The Port of Tianjin in Northern China, announced its total cargo volume is projected to increase 7.3 percent this year to 380 million tons against last 354 million tons and container volume of 9.5 million TEUs.

The port showed a container volume increase of 20 percent in 2008, to end the year at 8.5 million TEUs handled.



Public invited to review proposed
Long Beach rail project          

The agency governing the rail yard next to West Long Beach is asking the public to make suggestions for an environmental review of a proposed modernization project at the rail yard that would reduce air emissions while improving efficiency of goods movement in the region.
The rail yard, the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF), is governed by the cities and ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles Joint Power Authority (ICTF-JPA). On January 9, 2009, the ICTF-JPA began the environmental review process and welcomes suggestions from the public on what should be reviewed.

A public meeting will be held to discuss the report on February 11, 2009, at 6 p.m. at Stephens Middle School in West Long Beach. More information can be found at the ICTF website here. To download or view the document, click here (pdf format).



Continental tests biofuel flight

Continental Airlines recently became the first U.S. commercial air carrier to conduct a test biofuel flight that used algae as part of the fuel mix.

The test flight was conducted out of the carrier’s largest hub, Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The flight of the twin-engine Boeing 737-800 aircraft lasted one hour and 45 minutes. There were no passengers on board.

The fuel mixture included components derived from algae and jatropha plants. Continental said the elements used were  "sustainable, second-generation fuel sources that do not impact food crops or water resources, and do not contribute to deforestation."

The Continental test is part of a broader initiative among airlines experimenting with alternative fuels in a effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lower fuel costs, which soared to record highs before the global financial crisis hit.

The after-flight report referred to the lack of adequate supplies of biofuels and the facilities required to make them, which could take several years before biofuels become a significant percentage of fuel used by major air carriers.



Greek Police hunt kidnappers of shipping magnate

The ailing, elderly Greek shipping magnate, Perklis Panagopoulos, was kidnapped on Monday from his home in a suburb of Athens, and police were hunting down the kidnappers on Tuesday, according to various Greek media reports.

It was reported that three gunmen grabbed Panagopoulos and his driver Monday morning after they had left his home in Vouliagmeni. The driver was then released unharmed and went to the authorities.

The Greek media has reported an, as yet unconfirmed, ransom demand in excess of $53 million.

Panagopoulos founded Royal Cruise Lines in 1971 and sold it in 1989 to a Norwegian group. He subsequently founded Attica Group, a ferry line, which he also later sold.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Top Story

Freight rates reportedly hit zero in Asia-Europe trade

According to media reports out of the United Kingdom today, shipping rates have dropped to zero for the first time since records began, due to the contraction in world trade.

Lloyd's List  reported brokers in Singapore are waiving fees for containers out of South China, charging only for minimal bunker costs. Container fees from North Asia have dropped $200, taking them below operating cost.

The U.K. ‘s Telegraph reported the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) which measures freight rates for bulk commodities has fallen 96 percent, although the report also pointed out the BDI can be a volatile indicator, and other media reports have suggested a slight rebound from that sector.

Asia exports have fallen among the Asia tigers, including Korea's export drop of  30 percent in January; a 42 percent drop in Taiwan; and 27 percent in Japan, according to data cited in the report. China is beginning to see contraction in trade, especially in steel, electronics and textiles, the report said.

"This is no regular cycle slowdown, but a complete collapse in foreign demand," said Lindsay Coburn, ING's trade consultant.

Charles de Trenck, a broker at Transport Trackers in Hong Kong predicted in the article that Asia-Europe trade will drop somewhere between 9 and 12 percent, with Asia-U.S. trade falling 7 percent. These numbers are running counter to the average trade growth of 8 percent in a normal year

Mr. De Trenck said it was "illogical" for service providers to offer zero rates, but that the situation is like an airline giving away extra seats for nothing in the hope of making something from meals and fees.



MSC takes delivery of 14,000-TEU ship; more to come

Mediterranean Shipping Company, the second largest shipping line in the world, took delivery of the 14,000-TEU MSC Danit from South Korea's Daewoo shipyards. This is the second delivery of a 14,000-TEU vessel to MSC in the past two weeks, with the MSC Daniella recently sliding down the ways at Samsung Heavy Industry shipyard recently.

Until mid-2010, Daewoo is reportedly scheduled to build five 14,000 TEU ships through mid-2010 for MSC.

The MSC Danit will reportedly be deployed in MSC’s Far East-Med Jade service, where the company’s current 8,000-9,000 TEU class will upgrade to an 11,600-14,000 TEU class of vessels.



Coastal Maritime to sell terminal and stevedoring businesses

Jacksonville-based Coastal Maritime Stevedoring, LLC (CML) today announced it has entered into an agreement to sell CML and affiliated companies (Coastal Maritime) to an affiliate of ICS Logistics, LLC, and another Jacksonville-headquartered company.  Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. (BBH) served as the exclusive financial advisor to Coastal Maritime.

Coastal Maritime is a marine terminal operator and stevedore and operates over 110 acres of marine terminal property on the Port of Jacksonville’s Blount Island Marine Terminal.  In 2007, the company reported it handled 307 vessel calls and over 1.1 million metric tonnes of cargo, including container, heavy lift, project, roll-on/roll-off and military cargo. The company currently employs 236 full and part-time employees in Jacksonville.

The company will retain the Coastal Maritime name and the founders, Captain Lindeback and Kathy Wiley, will remain involved with the management of the business for a minimum of two years. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including the receipt of certain government approvals.  The parties currently anticipate the transaction will close in the first quarter of 2009.



Longshore, Employer talks at impasse in B.C.

Talks between the Longshore Workers Union local 514 and the BC Mariners Employers Association (BCMEA) are scheduled to resume on Thursday, after talks stalled on Friday with little progress reported.
The union reportedly rejected BCMEA's latest offer of a three-year deal, increasing wages and benefits by 13 percent. The hourly wage would climb to $46 per hour.

According to a news report in the Daily News, wages aren’t as big of an issue as the introduction of new technologies and related cargo-handling efficiencies.



Port of Los Angeles cargo dropped
6 percent in 2008

The Port of Los Angeles reported its cargo dropped 6 percent in 2008 after more than twenty years of year-on-year growth.

The port handled nearly 7.85 million TEUs last year compared to 8.4 million TEUs in 2007.

Port executive director Geraldine Knatz commented the national economic downturn is expected to decrease cargo business at the port more this year.

The Port of Long Beach has not released 2008 figures, but reported estimates are for a 10 percent dip compared to 2007.



New distribution center begins construction in Columbia, S.C.

The Miller-Valentine Group has begun construction on a 176,000-square-foot distribution center in South Carolina and secured the first major tenant, according to a report in the Dayton Business Journal.
The building of Class-A space will be called Midway Logistics, located in the Lexington Industrial Park in Columbia, S.C.

The first tenant is Davidson, N.C.-based JanPak, Inc., a provider of cleaning and packaging products. JanPak will occupy over 50,000 square feet of space.

In October, the Miller-Valentine opened a 150,000-square-foot speculative industrial building in the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park in Orangeburg, S.C., the Business Journal reported.



Top truck drivers named by
American Trucking Associations       

The Arlington-based American Trucking Associations today announced the “Captains of the 2009 - 2010 America's Road Team.” The group of 18 captains were selected from a group of 34 finalists from a criteria that includes at least one million miles of accident free service.

The competition review included a review of trucking industry expertise and a demonstration of their communication skills, combined with their community service and lifetime safety records. The ATA created America's Road Team in 1986.

While maintaining their jobs as full-time professional drivers, the ATA said the new America's Road Team Captains would travel the country speaking on behalf of the trucking industry to the community, news media and public officials. The captains will address transportation and safety issues, speaking at community events and anywhere they can reach the motoring public to share safe driving tips and offer advice on how to safely share the road with tractor-trailers.

The ATA said the Road Team Captains also advocate safety to those within the industry at terminals and truck stops and will present trucking and safety issues before our public officials, at the national, state and local levels.

To be nominated to serve as a Road Team Captain, the candidates must be employed as a company driver or leased owner-operator by a full-dues-paying member of ATA. Each nominee must have an excellent safety record and demonstrate an ability to communicate a commitment to safety and professionalism. 

2009-2010 America’s Road Team Captains




Gerald Charron

Con-way Freight 

Danville, VT

Tim Dean 

Werner Enterprises 

Griswold, IA

Rich Ewing 

Yellow Transportation

Bellingham, WA

John Foran 

United Parcel Service

Saint Albans, VT

James Gallagher 


Williamsville, NY

Paul Gattin 

ABF Freight System 

Benton, AR

Ronald Hawkins, Jr. 

K-Limited Carrier Ltd.

Perrysburg, OH

Mark Hassemer 

Yellow Transportation

Whitelaw, WI

Barry Holland

UPS Freight 

Hurlock, MD

Edward Hosegood 

Publix Super Markets, Inc. 

Lakeland, FL

Keith Johnson 


Eatonville, WA

Gary Leu 

Wal-Mart Transportation

Shelbina, MO

Greg Nauertz


Peoria, AZ

Kurt Pedersen 

Con-way Freight

Surprise, AZ

Ben Saiz 

ABF Freight System 

Estancia, NM

Frank Silio 

Covenant Transport

Miami, FL

Jeffrey Thompson 

FedEx Freight 

Olathe, KS

Ron Van Bibber 


South Jordan, UT

The American Trucking Associations says it is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.



Savi lands U.S. Army contract

Savi, a Lockheed Martin company, announced it has gone live with an automated asset and inventory tracking system at the Sierra Army Depot in northern California. The depot is a 59-square-mile complex of approximately 1,200 buildings and is an expeditionary logistics center for the storage, maintenance, assembly and containerization of operational stocks and other items.

Savi says its Depot Total Asset Visibility and Inventory Management System enables personnel to reduce hours spent searching for containers, major supplies and asset inventory as they move on, through, and off the facilities.  Savi’s total asset management solution also offers automated alerts. 

The asset tracking solution utilizes the Savi SmartChain® Enterprise Platform and Savi Asset Management Application, which manages real-time information of supplies affixed with active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. 



US Coast Guard rescues drifting Maersk ship
in Santa Barbara

The U.S. Coast Guard reported it responded to a distress call from a drifting Maersk containership that had lost its propulsion power in the Santa Barbara Channel, Calif. The Maersk Kawasaki was heading north through the channel when it lost propulsion "due to an unknown cause." The Coast Guard Cutter Blacktip and harbor tugboats were dispatched and on scene.

"The Maersk Kawasaki is maintaining its current position with the use of thrusters located at the bow and stern of the vessel. There is no immediate threat to oil platforms or the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The Coast Guard is monitoring the vessel's position through the Vessel Traffic Service and Marine Exchange," the coast guard said.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top Story

Nobel economist: Improving U.S. freight rail system one of “long term benefits”

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the government should go much bigger in its economic stimulus package – as much as $5 trillion – and upgrading the freight rail network should be part of that.

"Freight rail is a success which is hindered by small but extreme bottlenecks. So that's an example of a kind of project that would spend money but also provide a lot of long term benefits to the economy,” he told ABC News.

Krugman is a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University and a noted New York Times columnist.

Krugman said he doesn’t think the U.S. is in a depression but that “the normal tools don't work and we're back to a 1930s-type environment."

Krugman said the administration needs "to move fast and massively”

"My great fear is not that we're going to fall into a Great Depression in the next year…My fear is that we're going to have a lingering, major slump for two, three years."

In addition to rail improvements, he advocated supporting lenders to renogiate with home owners who are trying to deal with balooned mortgages, and to “build an economy on more solid stuff: actual exports, producing stuff, not just moving assets back and forth."



Gov. Schwarzenegger responds to infrastructure
funds delay

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger responded on Wednesday to the California Transportation Commission (CTC)’s decision to delay the allocation of $293.5 million in funding for transportation infrastructure projects, and the State Allocation Board’s special meeting to discuss emergency regulatory amendments for $2.4 billion in funding delayed from public school construction projects.

“Today’s actions further illustrate why the legislature needs to come together on a compromise for solving California’s state budget crisis – and why we are working around the clock on the issue,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Infrastructure investment not only improves the quality of life here in California, but it stimulates the economy and creates jobs right when our economy needs it the most.”

In December, as a result of the state’s budget crisis, billions in state infrastructure financing was halted by the state Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB).



DOT's November freight index falls to five-year low

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 1.4 percent to 107.6 in November from October, and at its lowest November level since 2003, 
the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported on Wednesday.

November’s decline was the third monthly decrease in four months, putting the freight TSI at its lowest level since January 2004 when it was 106.5, and down 4.9 percent from the historic peak of 113.1 in November 2005.

For the first 11 months of 2008, the index fell 0.7 percent. The index rose 1.3 percent in the first 11 months of 2007 before dropping in December to finish the year down by 0.1 percent.

The freight TSI measures month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries, including trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000.  It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. Release of the December index is scheduled for Feb. 11.



Former UPS Supply Chain president named
CEO at UTi

UTi Worldwide, a global multi-modal forwarder based in California, announced the appointment of new chief executive Eric W Kirchner, who was previously president of freight forwarding for UPS Supply Chain Solutions. Kircher will replace the retiring CEO, Roger MacFarlane.

MacFarlane will remain as a director at UTi and replace 'Tiger' Wessels as non-Executive Chairman. Wessels will remain as a director.



Port of Seattle and truckers meet
in public emissions forum

In 2010, the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy will require stricter emission standards on port trucks in that region, and the Port of Seattle invited the trucking community to learn more, and respond to this initiative Wednesday evening at a local community college.

There are as many as 2,000 trucks serving the Port of Seattle built before 1994, and the clear air plan calls for truckers to meet the emission standards of trucks built in 1994 and later. By 2015, the port wants to require 80 percent of trucks calling its cargo facilities to have emission standards from no earlier than 2007, and all trucks on this standard by 2017.

In the packed meeting at South Seattle Community College, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported truckers were mostly concerned with new truck or retrofit costs driving them out of business, and port officials admitting the clean air plan was conceived before the economic downturn created a cargo slump.

"Two years ago we handled 2 million TEUs, but this year, we'll be lucky to handle 1.65 million TEUs," said Charlie Sheldon, Seattle’s seaport director. One trucker asked the port to approach the shipping lines and beneficial cargo owners to pay for the plan, and Sheldon said “if we do that, we'll drive the business right out of here.”

The Port of Seattle is looking at an Oregon-based nonprofit, Cascade Sierra Solutions, to retrofit diesel trucks that had been donated by the California Air Resources Board because they did not meet emission requirements for that state’s ports, according to the P-I report.

The trucks would be leased local drivers in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Portland at at fees between $250 and $350 per month.

The Washington State Department of Ecology has also reportedly set aside $500,000 to help pay for diesel truck retrofits, the report said. The Port of Seattle said it has given the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency $200,000 to help fund the program.

The Port of Seattle Commission meets on the Clean Air Program on
Feb. 3.



Transport directors discuss emission
reductions in Tokyo

Transportation directors from 21 countries met in Tokyo Thursday to discuss measures aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation industries.

 During the two-day meeting, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization are scheduled to reveal their respective plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. 

Countries represented include: Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.



Port of Long Beach emissions declined
in 2007         

The Port of Long Beach released a report on air quality that revealed its multi-modes of port transport and equipment emitted less pollution in 2007 in the first year of the Clean Air Action Plan.

The port reported that despite a 9 percent increase in the amount of cargo moved, many major pollutants including diesel particulates were significantly reduced in 2007 compared to 2005, due to the use of cleaner fuels and the replacement of older equipment. However, two pollutants, smog-forming nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, saw slight increases.

The findings are part of a detailed, annual "emissions inventory" produced by the port as part of the Clean Air Action Plan, which was approved by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in November 2006, after the Board enacted its landmark environmental protection Green Port Policy in January 2005. Inventories compiled for 2005 and 2006 had shown increases in emissions compared to earlier years. The latest report for 2007 is the first to reflect a decline in pollutants, the port said.

 "These are good results, showing that pollution levels in many categories had dropped to 2004 and earlier levels," said Nick Sramek, vice president of the Long Beach board of harbor commissioners. "But we can do better, and in coming inventories, with the implementation of additional Clean Air Action Plan measures, we expect to see bigger, across-the-board improvements in air quality.

"We can thank our partners -- the operators of the terminals, vessels, trains and trucks here at the Port -- for the progress in improving air quality," he said.

Among the findings of the 2007 emissions inventory:

  • Pollution from ships, including particulate matter and sulfur oxides, declined because vessel operators complied with a California Air Resources Board regulation on the use of low-sulfur fuels in auxiliary engines. Also, they participated in Port of Long Beach air quality efforts such as the Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction Program, where ships slow down voluntarily to cut pollutants.
  • For harbor craft, locomotives and heavy-duty trucks, the enormous reduction in sulfur oxides -- 32 percent -- is due to the introduction of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel.
  • The PierPASS program to shift truck traffic to off-peak hours at the ports has greatly reduced heavy-duty truck idling time, down from about 3.8 million idling hours in 2005 to 2.5 million in 2007.
Replacement of cargo-handling equipment such as yard tractors with new, cleaner equipment has helped to reduce emissions from that category of vehicles.

The executive summary and the complete 2007 Emissions Inventory is available at



U.S. DOT signs technology agreement with Washington State to improve border efficiency

Freight carriers traveling in and out of Canada will experience less frustration through the use of new technologies, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced today.

The DOT has signed an agreement with Washington State that it says will provide more accurate and reliable travel information on border wait times.

The Cascade Gateway Project is to provide border-crossing wait time and travel condition information to drivers and freight carriers. The project would use a variety of technologies, including sensors, to provide pre-trip and en-route wait times on crossing the border to reduce congestion at four Washington state ports of entry, Peace Arch, Pacific Highway, Lynden and Sumas.

"Providing accurate travel information is an essential tool for fighting congestion. With accurate information, travelers and freight carriers will be able to choose the time and route that is most efficient and best meets their needs,” said outgoing DOT Secretary Mary Peters.

“With our economy faltering, it’s critical that goods and products are moving efficiently through our Northern Border crossings,” said Senator Patty Murray, chairman of the senate transportation appropriations committee. “This agreement takes innovative steps that will allow freight carriers and drivers to make informed decisions that will reduce congestion along the northern border,” she said.

The project is part of the Department’s Transportation Border Congestion Relief Program, which it says is designed to facilitate and accelerate transportation-related capacity and operational improvements at border crossings. Washington State’s Cascade program is one of the three projects included in the federal initiative.

“This project is a great example of how technology can be used to relieve congestion,” said Federal Highway Administrator Tom Madison.

Secretary Peters added that as part of the congestion relief program, the project would receive priority access, consistent with current law, to many of the Department’s assistance programs, including loans and other innovative financing mechanisms.



Senior U.S official bullish on anti-piracy in 2009

Pirates might start to meet more resistance in 2009, according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Mark Kimmitt to a gathering of media after the first U.N. meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

“We believe that 2009 will be a year where we can turn this problem around if we come together as a group of nations working not simply the military aspect but the judicial aspect, the financial aspect, the industry aspect," he said.

The increased piracy problem in 2008, in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, has been costly, with dozens of ships hijacked and many millions of dollars paid in ransom demands.

Assistant Sec. Kimmitt said that even though the probability of being hijacked was quite low for most vessels transiting the region, that “it’s not good enough." 

The group of 24 nations jointly announced agreement on increasing surveillance assets, apprehending and prosecuting suspected pirates, and exploring options that would strengthen the ability of countries willing to detain and prosecute them. The group also called on international bodies that track illegal flows of funds to investigate if pirates are recipients of such funds.

"Piracy is a symptom of a wider lack of security and rule of law in Somalia and continues to constitute a threat to regional stability," the group said in a statement.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Top Story

Global downturn reflected in Long Beach port’s 2008 cargo decline

Container cargo shipments through the Port of Long Beach in 2008 reflected the depth of the global economic recession, dropping 11 percent compared to 2007, the port reported this week.

The decline in shipping business was the biggest single-year decline in more
than 20 years for one of the top two seaports in the Americas.

Year-end totals showed the number of containers shipped in and out of the port fell to 6.5 million TEUs in 2008 - the lowest level in Long Beach since 2004. The year ended in a weak December, as the monthly total tumbled 25.3 percent to 429,946 TEUs - the lowest monthly total since February 2005.

"Despite the weak global economy, Port of Long Beach remains fiscally strong and competitive," said Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. "While 2008 was a difficult year for the maritime industry, the port is firmly committed to investing in improvements that will provide new, local jobs, stimulate the local economy, protect the environment and improve security."

The port said: “…long-planned projects will generate thousands of temporary local jobs through private construction and contracting firms, plus tens of thousands permanent jobs throughout Long Beach and Southern California.”

According to the port, its proposed projects are viable in a down market due to “solid financial and business planning.”

Mid-September is when the port said the global economic crisis was felt, as cargo business slowed down sharply, including exports, which had experienced a steady climb over the previous two years. Exports dropped 23.6 percent in November 2008, compared to the same month in 2007, and fell another 34.2 percent slide in December 2008. Imports declined 26.9 percent in December, the 14th time in the last 15 months container volumes fell at the port.

For more Port of Long Beach statistics:



China displaced Germany as third largest economy

The Washington Post reported this week that China passed Germany to become the world’s third largest economy in 2007. Earlier estimates had shown China’s GDP growth at 11.9 percent, but those figures have been revised to 13 percent by the government statistics bureau at $3.38 trillion, according to the Post report. Germany, by contrast, reported a 2007 GDP of $3.32 trillion.

China is estimated to continue to its growth, albeit at a slower rate, and as low as 5 percent, while the other top economies in the world experience a more serious slowdown due to the global recession.



Regular China-Taiwan cargo and passenger flights
expected by July

China and Taiwan are expected to launch regular passenger and cargo flights in July. The move would end Taiwan’s six-decade ban on cross-strait air links with the mainland, The Commercial Times reported.

Talks between the two governments are planned for May where a pact could be signed, which would include the opportunity for each country’s airlines to fly on to other countries such as the Americas for China, and Central Asia and Europe for Taiwan, the report said.

The cross-straits air pact would reportedly take effect within 40 days after signing.



Delta expected to lay off approximately 2,000

Delta Airlines is expected to lay off approximately 2,000 due to a capacity reduction of around 6-8 percent, Delta CEO Richard Anderson told the media in Tokyo on Thursday.

"We will know more towards the end of this month, because we gave employees a wide window so that they can make the right decision," he said.

Delta and its newly merged partner, Northwest, employ approximately 75,000. Delta cut 4,000 workers last year and Northwest laid off and 2,000.

Delta President Ed Bastian told the media air industry sales could fall 10 percent in 2009. In a recent report, the International Air Transport Association has forecasted global passenger traffic will fall 3 percent this year, and cargo traffic will decline by 5 percent, in the air industry’s worst recession since the early 1980s. The IATA reported cargo is likely to recover in 2010, but not the passenger market.



BNSF announces express shipping out of PNW

The BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) announced Thursday it is offering an express international container service out of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., to BNSF intermodal facilities in Memphis and Chicago.

"This express service can cut down transit time by almost a full day, making it one of the fastest intermodal cargo services from the Pacific Northwest to Chicago and Memphis," said Steve Branscum, BNSF's group vice president, consumer products marketing. "The new express service not only relies on the speed of the train and the route followed, but also the ability of the ports and the intermodal hubs to provide efficient and reliable service."

In Chicago and Memphis, BNSF said it offers two of the most advanced intermodal hub facilities in North America. BNSF is in the process of expanding capacity at its Memphis facility, which will soon load and unload containers using five of the largest wide-span cranes in North America, the rail carrier said. The hubs will also employ automated checkpoints and scalable capacity to create a faster, more reliable and environmentally friendly process for moving trailers and containers between rail and highway.

BNSF said it is initially offering one full train weekly from either port to either destination on a schedule that matches an ocean carrier's discharge and dray.

BNSF reported it will expand the service as shipper interest grows.



Nations demand climate plans from
transportation industries

Transportation ministers and envoys from 20 nations, including the Group of Eight, concluded two days of talks in Tokyo and announced the goal of drafting a new climate change treaty by the end of this year, and called upon the air and maritime transport sectors to act on global warming by reducing carbon emissions.

"Urgent actions are required to address these issues while ensuring sustainable development," the group said in a joint statement.

The nations represented called on the International Maritime (IMO) and International Civil Aviation (ICAO) organizations come up with emission-reduction protocols by the end of 2009.

While transport is reportedly responsible for 23 percent of global carbon emissions, the air and maritime industries are experiencing financial hemorrhage due to the economic crunch. The ICAO director, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, told the media he did not see carbon taxes hitting the airlines anytime soon.

China, considered to be the world’s top polluter, was not represented at the summit.



New shipping service at Port Manatee          

A new shipping line will call at Port Manatee, Florida every 10 days, the port announced.

Fort Lauderdale-based HySea Shipping will operate a container-breakbulk service between Manatee and Puerto Cortes, with autos, heavy equipment and trucks among the cargoes carried.

The service is scheduled to launch Jan. 22.



Cal Maritime announces
2009 continuing ed courses

The California Maritime Academy has announced the 2009 lineup of continuing education via its Extended Learning Department. Courses aimed at professionals involved in the maritime industry include:

  • Company, Facility and Vessel Security Officer Training.
  • STCW – Basic Safety Training including firefighting, first aid/CPR and water survival training.
  • First Responder – For public safety and other personnel who may respond to emergencies or significant events at maritime facilities within their jurisdiction such as vessels, ports and terminals.
  • Radar Renewal and Exam – for personnel needing refresher certification.
  • Bridge Resource Management
  • Dangerous Liquids Management for Tanker Personnel.

Many of the courses are offered on the school’s Vallejo campus. Others may be provided off-site or via the Internet, enabling participants to take part at times and locations convenient to their own schedules, the school reported.

For more information go to:



ShipServ reports record year

ShipServ, a maritime e-marketplace solution, announced today that 2008 was its most active year ever with record numbers of buyers and sellers of ship supplies.

The number of transactions on its trading platform, ShipServ TradeNet, grew by 69 percent with a gross merchandise value of $1 billion, the company said.

The number of ships signed up on the network increased by 50 percent and the number of suppliers also increased by 50 percent, ShipServ said.

In 2008, the company reported 31 new ship owners, managers and yards joined TradeNet, including A.P. Moller-Maersk, Bibby Ship Management, Companhia de Navegacao Norsul, Crowley, Far East Ship Management, Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad and MSC Ship Services.

The company said many product and equipment sellers to the shipping and maritime industries have integrated their systems with the ShipServ trading platform, connecting to what the company reports to be over 130 buying organizations, 4,500 vessels and 23,000 suppliers.


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