Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for January 18 - January 22, 2010:
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Top Story

Haiti’s challenge: Where to unload ocean cargo?

As international relief efforts try to deliver supplies to Haiti's earthquake victims, the nation's largest seaport remains in shambles, sealing off one of the main supply routes into the country.

Commercial and military shipping experts don't expect the Port International de Port-au-Prince, which once handled about 2.75 million metric tons of cargo a year, to reopen anytime soon, and they're looking for other places, some as far away as the Dominican Republic, where they might be able to unload cargo.

But reopening shipping routes remains a tougher challenge. The earthquake destroyed the main docks at the port and toppled the cranes that move containers on and off ships. The earthquake may have also dumped debris into the water and shifted depths, meaning that ships might run aground if they attempted to approach the port.

The commercial and U.S. military teams are expected to start surveying the coast as early as Monday in order to establish whether there are points along the shoreline deep enough to establish a makeshift port.


For the full story:

Columbia River shipping interests at odds with pilots over pay raises

Two groups representing Columbia River pilots, who steer vessels from the Pacific Ocean to inland ports, have asked for hefty pay raises in their next multi-year contracts.

But in a global recession that has hammered shipping companies, the request has stoked opposition from the Columbia River Steamship Operators Association, which represents shippers, and officials at the ports of Portland and Vancouver, fearful that such a rate hike could kill business.

Both pilots groups say their compensation has fallen far behind their peers in Puget Sound and San Francisco, who earn between $387,000 and $450,000 annually. The average annual salary for Oregon river pilots is upwards of $214,000, not including pensions and other benefits.


For the full story:

Matecki succeeds Kurz at American Shipping Company

The Board of Directors of American Shipping Company, ASA announced the appointment of Gregory J. Matecki as its new president and chief executive officer, succeeding Rob Kurz who resigned late last year. Matecki had served as the company's chief financial officer and will continue to hold that position.

American Shipping Company ASA (AMSC) currently owns and leases tankers for operation between ports in the United States. The company claimed that when its current series of ten tankers is completed in 2011 at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, AMSC would own “the most modern product tanker fleet in the United States.”

In June 2008, Aker American Shipping was renamed American Shipping Company following the Norwegian company’s reduction in ownership interest from 53.2 percent to 19.9 percent.

Southern California’s Inland Empire industrial real estate space picks up

In the fourth quarter of last year, industrial companies occupied 567,000 square feet more than what was occupied in the third quarter of 2009.

While this additional space represents a very small percentage of the total Inland Empire industrial market, it is an important milestone as it marks the first time in over two years that industrial demand has been positive.

Since the recession that began in late 2007, the Inland Empire has shed 14.9 million square feet of industrial space and 92,100 industrial-related jobs.

Approximately 40 percent of total employment in the Inland Empire is directly related to three industrial sectors of the economy - construction, manufacturing, and trade, transportation and utilities. A turnaround in industrial demand will coincide with increased hiring in these sectors.

-The San Bernardino Sun

For the full story:

Vessel with 11 Chinese missing in South Pacific

Eleven Chinese are missing in the southern Pacific Ocean after the engine of their ship broke down, Chinese maritime authorities said Monday.

The 11 people, including 10 men and a woman from east China's Fujian Province, were aboard a 31-meter-long and 5.5-meter-wide wooden vessel that set off from Fujian's port city of Putian to Guam on January 1.

The ship's engine was broken on January 9 when it was about 500 nautical miles off Guam, and began drifting on the high seas. The passengers had called for rescue by maritime satellite telephone, a spokesman with the Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said.

-China Daily News

For the full story:

Tanker released by pirates; largest-ever ransom reportedly paid

One of the largest ships ever seized by pirates was released on Monday amid reports that it had fetched the highest ransom in the history of pirate attacks.

The Maran Centaurus, which was seized on November 29, 762 nautical miles off Somalia’s east coast, was released at 8.30am local time, according to a statement issued by London-based Maran Tankers Management, the vessel’s operator. Maran Tankers is part of the Athens-based, privately-held Angelicoussis Group, one of the world’s largest operators of oil tankers.

There were reports of disputes between two rival pirate groups over the ship and division of the ransom in the run-up to the release.
One put the sum at $5.5m, while the other said two separate sums of $7m and $2m had been paid. Both sums are far larger than the $3m generally believed to have been paid in January last year for the release of the Saudi-owned Sirius Star, the largest ship seized by pirates.

-Financial Times

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Top Story

Deltaport opens third container berth

The sun came out just in time at the opening ceremony for Global Container Terminals and the Vancouver Metro Port Authority for their third, $400 million container berth at Deltaport, British Columbia, following a night of howling winds that reportedly hit up to 80 mph on the Roberts Bank.

In a tent situated under huge white ZPMC container cranes, Canada’s Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day, said Canadians don’t normally like to tout their country’s advantages, but he pronounced the time had come to tell the world about the public-private Asia Pacific Gateway initiative. So Minister Day went on to tout the additional 600,000-TEU capacity of Deltaport’s newest container terminal, the operation’s less than 30-hour dwell time, Canada’s stable banking system, and favorable tax structure, among other things.

Deltaport’s total container-handling capacity is now at 1.8 million TEUs, up 50 percent with the addition of the new facility.

Peter Ladouceur, assistant vice president of intermodal marketing for the Canadian National Railway told Cargo Business News that new berth “comes at a great time with the economy starting to recover…we’re optimistic the market is going to like this product.”

Further evidence of the Canada’s collaborative Asia-Pacific Gateway effort was put forth with the ceremony’s opening song-prayer courtesy of the Tsawwassen First Nation, and Chief Kim Baird’s reminder to all that they were surrounded by Tsawwassen tribal land.

Chief Baird said the Tsawwassens have supported Deltaport’s development, balanced with environmental stewardship.

The tribe is working on a joint venture with the port to develop a $10 million port industrial area, she said, adding: “We are forward thinking like our ancestors.”

Mayors want Bayonne Bridge raised for larger containerships

Bayonne Mayor Mark A. Smith and Staten Island's borough president agree that the Bayonne Bridge should be jacked up to allow sufficient clearance for new large container ships.

Smith recently crossed the Kill Van Kull and met with Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, and both agreed that raising the bridge would best serve the interests of both communities, officials said.

Other options include building a new bridge and building a tunnel under the Kill Van Kull.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released last September concluded that raising the bridge would be the cheapest and fastest way to solve the problem.

-New Jersey Journal

For the full story:

Seattle tug-and-barge firms ready to deploy vessels for Haiti relief efforts

Tugs and barges from two Seattle-based firms are in the U.S. Gulf ready to participate in the international relief operation in Haiti, according to America Cargo Transport Corp (ACTC) and its parent company, Foss Maritime.

The two companies said they are preparing to carry approximately 6,000 tons of food aid cargo to the Haitian capital of Port Au Prince for USAID once the severely damaged port and transportation infrastructure in Port Au Prince improves.

American Cargo Transport had routinely carried food aid cargo for USAID and USDA to Port Au Prince before the earthquake, specializing in the moving of high, wide and heavy cargo for private companies, governments and the military, the company said.

After the 2004 Indonesia Tsunami, ACTC said it was the first U.S. flag carrier to deliver food aid shipments for the U.S. government to victims there.

The companies said the deck barge American Trader and the 4,000-hp tug Justine Foss will be involved in the effort to move supplies from the Gulf of Mexico to Haiti in the coming days.

GT Nexus surpasses $10 billion mark

Oakland, Calif.-based GT Nexus announced that the amount of ocean and air transportation spending managed on its trade and logistics portal surpassed the $10 billion mark in 2009.

The company said the volume was calculated from the collective buying power of all GT Nexus customers sharing a single web platform to manage transportation rates.

“Despite the global economic crisis, we experienced a major increase in new business for our transportation management services,” said John Urban, president of GT Nexus.

The company said shippers using the GT Nexus portal include Nestlé’, Hewlett Packard, The Home Depot, Caterpillar, Liz Claiborne, DHL, Weyerhaeuser, and Procter & Gamble. The company said many top international carriers use the portal as well.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top Story

Clean Truck News: L.A. to evaluate zero-emission trucks | Annual truck fee deadline nears | DOE awards $40 mil to Daimler Trucks

The Port of Los Angeles is going to test zero-emission hybrid trucks, neighboring Port of Long Beach reminded its port trucking community to register their vehicles by Jan. 31 with a $100 annual fee, and the Department of Energy awarded $40 million in funding to Daimler Trucks and sister company Detroit Diesel for fuel efficient freight truck research.

Zero emission trucks in L.A.?
The Port of L.A. announced it had entered negotiations with locally based Vision Industries for the purchase and evaluation of the company’s hydrogen fuel cell hybrid-electric trucks. The port said the heavy-duty big-rigs would be tested to evaluate their suitability for drayage operations and related activities.

The Vision trucks are powered by a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium batteries and have a potential range of up to 400 miles.

The port said the hybrid trucks will be put through a series of on-road and laboratory tests with local drayage trucking companies expected to assist with the demonstration over the next 12 to 18 months. The University of California at Riverside’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) laboratories will help guide the data collection and analysis, the port said.

The Port of L.A. said it would continue working with Balqon Corporation, another Class 8 electric vehicle manufacturer, through an existing contract to demonstrate the use of its fully electric vehicle. The CE-CERT laboratories will also guide these evaluations, the port said.

Long Beach reminds industry of Jan. 31 truck fee deadline
Meanwhile, the Port of Long Beach sent out a reminder that each truck operating through the port will need to be registered by January 31 on the Port Drayage Truck Registry (PDTR) along with an annual $100 fee, the port said.

Trucks not registered in the PDTR with the $100 fee that is paid per truck, per port, will not be allowed to enter port marine terminals, the port said. Trucks operating in the ports of L.A. and Long Beach will need to pay $200.

A valid RFID tag is also required to access all container terminals in both ports as well, and can be purchased for $95 plus local sales tax from the port said.

The PDTR information can be accessed at

Daimler Trucks receives $40 mil from DOE
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Secretary Steven Chu announced that Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has received close to $40 million through the U.S. Department of Energy’s 21st Century Truck Technology Partnership for Class 8 trucks.

The DOE award will be shared by DTNA’s sister company, Detroit Diesel Corporation, among other partners. The DTNA award is the largest of the nine project awards announced by the DOE out of more than $115 million worth of total funding available through the program.

The DOE program is for qualified OEM’s for research projects aimed at improving freight efficiency for Class 8 trucks. The DOE says the vehicle prototypes are to be built to move large volumes of freight at efficiency levels that well exceed present standards, reducing greenhouse gases and dependency on foreign oil.

One of the main project goals is to be able to demonstrate a 50 percent total increase in vehicle freight efficiency through a five-year research and development process that focuses on advanced vehicle systems and engine technologies.

Sec. Gates: Clearance at Haiti port one to weeks out

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that he had ordered port clearance ships to deploy to Haiti in a bid to re-open the country's main port as soon as possible.

On a visit to India, Gates said he had ordered "port clearance" ships with cranes to deploy to Port-au-Prince, which "within a week or two could get the port back in operation."

The US military also was looking at alternative routes for moving large amounts of food and supplies into Haiti, he said.


For the full story:

Interpol follows piracy’s money trail

Interpol has seen no proof so far that terror groups like al-Qaida are profiting from big-money ransoms paid out to pirates operating off eastern Africa, the international police group's No. 2 said Tuesday.

Jean-Michel Louboutin spoke to The Associated Press as Interpol opened a closed-door, two-day conference at its Lyon headquarters on tackling the money trail in piracy.

Interpol will create a task force to crack down on maritime piracy "in all its facets," said Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble in a statement Tuesday. It did not elaborate.

The International Maritime Bureau reported Thursday that sea attacks worldwide surged 39 percent to 406 cases last year. Somali pirates' raids on vessels accounted for more than half.

Owners of merchant marine ships often feel compelled to pay ransoms to save crews and cargo. Ransom demands linked to piracy off the Horn of Africa now average US$2.2 million, Interpol said.

-Business Week

For the full story:

Crowley suspends service to Haiti

Due to the 7.0 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corporation announced it has temporarily suspended regularly scheduled cargo services to and from the country, while damages to the infrastructure there are being assessed. This temporary suspension comes as port infrastructure damages are being assessed.

The company said it is cooperating with, and assisting, U.S. government agencies including USAID, SDDC and other relief agencies with emergency shipments to the country.

Crowley said in a statement it “stands ready to ship emergency supplies and needed cargo as soon as port conditions allow.”

"We are deeply concerned for our colleagues as well as all Haitian citizens affected by this disaster," said Tucker Gilliam, general manager, Dominican Republic/Haiti services.

"We are closely monitoring the situation through our agent in Port-au-Prince and our Incident Management Team and are maintaining communications with both relief agencies and our customers ensuring that cargo moves are resumed as quickly as possible."

The company urged those wishing to contribute humanitarian supplies to Haiti's relief effort should contact non-profit organizations such as Food for the Poor or Catholic Relief Services.

NC port delays opening in wake of hazmat scare

Authorities at the North Carolina State Ports Authority announced the delayed reopening of the NC State Ports Authority Port of Morehead City in the wake of a hazmat scare on Tuesday after a forklift operator punctured at least one container filled with a powerful explosive.

The material was pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), which was part of a device a Nigerian terrorist suspect reportedly used to try to and bring down the Detroit-bound Northwest flight on Christmas Day. PETN is often used in military explosives and found inside blasting caps. It is also the primary ingredient in detonating cords used for industrial explosions.

Reports indicated there was no damage from the accident, nor that it was an act of terrorism. A dockworker reportedly punctured a container while unloading barrels of the chemical.

The port said: “safety procedures are exercised in the remediation of a hazardous materials incident.”

The port terminal was closed yesterday as Carteret County first responders and emergency management officials responded to the hazardous materials incident with no reported injuries or environmental damage, the port said.

The remediation work is being performed under the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The Ports Authority’s goal is to reopen the Port of Morehead City as safely and as quickly as possible,” said CEO Thomas J. Eagar.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top Story

Union Pacific profit drops; beats expectations

No. 1 U.S. railroad Union Pacific Corp reported a 17 percent drop in profit as shipment volumes remained depressed in a sluggish economy, but its shares climbed as the results beat expectations.

Officials said while the fourth-quarter results continued to reflect a sluggish economy, momentum was picking up, including good movement of agricultural and automotive products.

One key driver was strong export demand noted for soybeans and soymeal, company officials said.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company reported fourth-quarter net profit of $551 million, or $1.08 per share, compared with $661 million, or $1.31 per share a year earlier.


For the full story:

Port of Tacoma to review search firms for executive director hunt

The Port of Tacoma announced its commissioners are scheduled to preliminarily review a draft plan for selecting a search firm on January 26 as part of its hiring process for a new executive director.

The port’s previous executive director, Tim Farrell, vacated his position end of last year in the wake of the Japanese shipping group NYK’s announcement they would forgo development of an $800 million, 168-acre marine terminal project that was to include a 25-year lease. Cost estimates for the project reportedly swelled to $1.2 billion.

The port said the draft scope calls for a search firm “with experience recruiting maritime industry executives, planning and conducting outreach and communications related to the search, and helping negotiate an agreement with a final candidate.”

Port of Shanghai ends tough 2009 on up note

The Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), operator of the Port of Shanghai, announced it finished 2009 at 25 million TEUs handled, down 11 percent from 2008, but finished the year with its first monthly increase in December of 7.1 percent and 2.4 million TEUs.

Rival Singapore, the top volume container port in the world, handled 25.9 million TEUs in 2009, a 13.5 percent decline, which showed the gap between it and Shanghai had closed to less than one million TEUs.

Wan Hai to join Hanjin on trans-Pacific service

The Taiwan-based shipping line Wan Hai announced it would join Hanjin in March on the South East Asia-Japan Express service (SJX) on a second Far East-Pacific Southwest loop.

Wan Hai said it would add one ship on the SJX service, which currently has six 4,000-TEU ships deployed by Hanjin.

The SJX adds the Japanese ports of Tokyo and Osaka and Southeast Asia ports of call, including the Vietnam’s Port of Cai Mep.

The SJX will be the second trans-Pacific service for Wan Hai, which also offers a service from Kobe and South China with Xiamen, Yantian, Hong Kong to Los Angeles and Oakland on the PSW-1 joint service jointly operated with "K" Line and Singapore's PIL.

Could ship containers serve as housing in Haiti?

Richard Martin, a retired professor of construction and industrial design, says he has the answer for Haiti's sudden housing shortage: steel cargo containers.

"Right now, the way I see it, there is no way you can use conventional construction to rebuild Haiti," says Martin. "The concrete block they use is very weak. It just crumbled, and they can't afford the cement to make proper concrete. Everything has to be imported, so why not import some containers, just position them and put in windows and doors and interiors?"

Corrugated steel shipping boxes, which come in standardized 20- and 40-foot lengths, are universally used on container ships, which haul them daily across the world's oceans, through hell and high water.

- Sphere

For the full story:

Damco selects Savi

Damco, a freight forwarding and supply chain management services firm, announced it has selected Savi Networks’ SaviTrak wireless tracking intelligence service for its global container shipments.

Damco will utilize Savi’s wireless data technologies including GPS, satellite and GPRS. The company said it would use SaviTrak’s web-based supply chain and cargo tracking services for truck, rail, ocean vessel and air.