Monday, January 19, 2009
Port of Oakland solicits bid for proposed
168-acre cargo facility
The Port of Oakland announced Friday it is soliciting bids for a private partner to enter to a 30-year master lease agreement to re-develop a portion of the former Oakland army base for a proposed 168-acre cargo facility.
The former military land is owned by the Port of Oakland, and the bid is for “the master operation and maintenance, and long-term design, construction and finance of facilities of approximately 168 acres to support and enhance maritime activity,” the port said in a statement.
“Public Private Partnerships like this reduce investment risk for the public sector, ensure long-term revenues, and provide economic stimulus that benefits the private partner, the port and the surrounding community both directly and indirectly,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin.
James Kwon, the port’s maritime director, added: “A significant component of the long-term business plan will be to redevelop the land to maximize economic use of the area. This would be accomplished by supporting and enhancing maritime activity through cargo/marine terminal throughput, intermodal rail, trade and logistics businesses, and ancillary maritime support facilities.”
The Port of Oakland said bid submittals must be received no later than 4:00 P.M. PST on February 27, 2009, and the proposed Master Lease Agreement would begin on or about January 1, 2010.
RFQ details: www.portofoakland.com/business
Port of San Diego first California port to implement TWIC
The Port of San Diego announced it became the first California port, and the first West Coast port, to implement the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.
"The TWIC program is progressing smoothly at the Port of San Diego," said Charles Wurster, [resident and CEO of the port.
The TWIC card that must be shown to security personnel before being admitted to the port's two cargo terminals, and its cruise facility. The port reported about 300 employees were issued TWIC cards.
Shanghai port stock rises after central government announces support
The Shanghai International Port (Group) Co. (SIPG) had the sharpest rise in its stock in four months upon the mayor of Shanghai’s announcement that China’s central government would throw its support into making the port there a top international shipping hub.
Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng held a press conference on Saturday to make the announcement of the central government’s support, and media reports out of China have indicated this will mean greater investment in the port facilities in Shanghai.
Shares in SIPG jumped almost 10 percent to 3.78 Yuan at the end of trading in Shanghai, making it the biggest gain since September 19 of last year, according to Bloomberg News.
USPS raised shipping prices Sunday
Shipping fees for U.S. Postal Service Express Mail, Priority Mail and parcels both rose an average of 5 percent Sunday, for both domestic and international service.
For more info: usps.com/prices
Price increases ranged from a 55-cent jump for a regular flat-rate Priority Mail box, to an extra $1 for a flat rate Express Mail envelope. A new small Priority Mail box debuted at $4.95.
A new first-class stamp price will debut in May, the USPS announced. The latest shipping hikes mark the first time the Post Office has implemented separate rate hikes for shipping, and for mailing letters and periodicals.
CSAV changes Usatlan service
CSAV announced changes to rotation and port coverage to its Usatlan Sling (USEC-ECSA) service.
Effective February 6, the Usatlan service will consist of:
Pt. Elizabeth, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Pt. Everglades, Port of Spain, Santos Sao Francisco do Sul, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Port of Spain, Pt. Elizabeth.
The company said: The addition of Port of Spain to the Usatlan Sling 1 rotation “will enable CSAV to offer new Caribbean destinations such as Cartagena, Puerto Cabello, La Guaira, and Willemstad via a dedicated weekly
feeder service. The upgraded port rotation, in combination with our newly expanded transshipment options to Vitoria and Durban (via Santos), allow our Usatlan Sling 1 service to offer wider and improved port coverage.”
Hyundai to deploy new 8,900-TEU vessels
in NWA AEX service
Hyundai will deploy four super-post-Panamax, 8.900-TEU containerships into the NWA AEX (Asia Europe Express), according to a report in AXS-Alphaliner News.
The remaining vessels - the Hyundai Force and Hyundai Courage - are deployed on two trans-Pacific loops as CMA CGM Force and CMA-CGM Courage, the report said.
The AEX is currently serviced by eight ships of 6,800-TEU capacity, and a single 5,896-TEU vessel was added to the rotation to save on fuel.
The super post-Panamax vessels are on charter from Zodia Maritime and are scheduled for delivery between February and March, according to the report.
Two of the vessels, the Hyundai Brave and Hyundai Faith, are in service on the Asia-Europe FAL service along with six of CMA CGM's ships, and one with Maersk.
European shippers urge EU rejection of green transport alliance’s trucking proposal
The European Shippers' Council urged the European Union to reject a call from the European Federation on Transport and Environment (T&E), an alliance of green organizations, that truckers be penalized with taxes for using the roads.
"Those supporting the proposals to allow governments to integrate the costs of congestion, accidents, noise and air pollution into toll prices for heavy goods vehicles have launched an 11th hour report to persuade wavering MEPs that road freight is polluting, dangerous and not paying its way. But ESC rejects the claim,” he said.
T&E spokesman Jos Dings said: "Truckers are getting a free ride while causing misery for millions. Governments need to keep every option, so the EU must reverse its absurd ban on including these costs in road tolls for lorries."
A 1999 EU law forbids member governments taxing vehicles weighing more than 12 tonnes for costs linked to pollution, congestion, noise and accidents.
In July of 2008, the European Commission proposed to partly lift the ban with the proposal being discussed by the EU transport committee of the European Parliament later this month.
Nicolette van der Jagt, the shipper group's secretary general, said: "The latest proposals before the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee will raise costs of road freight transport, will not create a modal switch or significantly benefit the environment. Neither will they save lives on the roads or improve the health of people living close to roads. The real solutions can be found within the freight industry itself. We urge MEPs not to be led by such reports as that produced for T&E, into the mind-set that road freight users should be punished for using roads."
Teledata to market software to
Asian transportation market
Teledata Marine Solutions announced it plans to introduce its Transport Manager software through distributors in Singapore and India.
The Transport Manager software is designed to reduce costs in freight forwarding and land transport, the company said in a statement
Transport Manager is designed for fleet managers, transport managers, freight forwarders, courier companies and shipping agents for managing deliveries through automating pricing, exception reporting and delivery tracking with a wireless capacity to ensure paperless proof of delivery with instant confirmation and bar-code support, the company said.
Himanshu Joshi, director of Teledata Marine Solutions, India, said: "We have expanded upon a product that has been successful in Europe and our portfolio is now well-suited to address the need of Asian operators."
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Text of President Barack Obama's inaugural speech
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers ... our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."
America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Groseclose steps down at South Carolina
State Port Authority
The chief executive officer of the South Carolina State Ports Authority for the past 12-plus years stepped down on Tuesday. Bernard S. Groseclose Jr. resigned during his semi-annual review before the port’s board.
South Carolina Maritime Association President John Hassell will replace Groseclose on an interim basis while an executive search is implemented, the port said in a statement.
The recent announcement by Maersk that it was pulling out of Charleston, taking away 20 percent of the port authority’s container business, did not factor into the resignation, Groseclose told the Charleston Post-Courier.
"Reflecting on 12 years in the job, it has been much less rewarding of late…you reach a certain point in your life and you consider how you should be spending your time," Groseclose said.
Groseclose started with the port authority in 1985 as a manager of business analysis and went on to become president and chief executive after a unanimous board vote in 1996.
The port’s board and state government representatives, including Governor Mark Sanford, have indicated they would like to pursue more public-private investment models for its operations.
In the Post-Courier story, a spokesman for Gov. Sanford said that office felt the port authority was not receptive to privatization while Groseclose was CEO.
Kenneth Riley, president of the International Longshoremen's Association's Local 1422, said in the article that the idea of a public-private partnership is "a carrot that would help attract some major developers, some major steamship lines."
The Port of Charleston’s container volume dropped almost 10 percent in 2008 as its neighboring rival, the Port of Savannah, Georgia grew almost 10 percent.
Maersk has said it will pull out of Charleston completely by the end of 2010 unless better cost efficiencies can be found there, including with the local International Longshore Association labor force.
Nonetheless, SCSPA Board Chairman David Posek had kind words for the outgoing CEO of the port.
"The people of South Carolina owe Bernie Groseclose a debt of gratitude for his service to one of our state's most important economic development engine. During his tenure, the port system became one of the most effective and efficient ports authorities in the world. He has led the Authority through some very turbulent times over the years and the board wishes him the best. I am sure he will succeed in his future endeavors."
Alexander & Baldwin to cut 60 jobs at Matson
Alexander & Baldwin Inc. announced in a statement it will cut approximately 60 non-union jobs, or 10 percent of the work force, at Matson Navigation in an effort to lower costs during the economic downturn.
Chairman and Chief Executive W. Allen Doane said in a statement that the company will make more job reductions in the coming months and reduce costs through a freeze on raises, ongoing general and administrative expense cuts and reductions in incentive award targets and profit sharing targets.
In November Matson Navigation announced it would raise its Hawaii shipping rates an average of 3.9 percent to help it cover higher operating costs and investments. It also planned to increase its Guam shipping rates.
China Shipping warns on earnings drop
China Shipping Container Line, the world's eight-largest container shipping line, said 2008 earnings likely fell more than 50 percent as export cargoes from China dropped, global shipping capacity growth exceeded demand, and from the financial impact of high fuel costs in the first half of the year.
EU announces 10-year shipping plan
The European Union Commission announced a comprehensive ten-year shipping strategy on Wednesday to promote what it terms safe, secure, clean and efficient shipping. The complete text of the shipping plan to published shortly, includes plans to streamline customs procedures in the 1,220 EU ports and reduce dependency on land-based modes of commercial transport.
"The financial crisis and its impact on the maritime transport sector demands decisive action" said Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, who is responsible for EU transport issues. "We need to look ahead and provide answers to the many challenges we face today, from keeping EU seamanship capacities, combating piracy and reducing the environmental impact of shipping," he said.
The EU announcement said the proposed strategic options “are built on a all-inclusive approach, which are at the basis of the new European Integrated Maritime Policy, and reflect the core principles of sustainable development, economic growth and open markets in fair competition and high environmental and social standards.”
The increase in global trade, and its continued rise once the economic crisis settles, has raised the issues of the energy markets, climate change, trade development, and security, the EU commission said.
The EU is one of the world’s major exporters and the second biggest importer, so shipping and related services are essential in helping European companies to compete globally, the commission said.
Short-sea shipping is also addressed in the shipping plan, responsible for 40 percent of intra-European freight in ton-kilometers, according to the commission. There are also more than 400 million passengers passing through European ports each year, so maritime transport has a direct impact on the quality of life of European citizens, both as tourists and neighboring communities.
The EU announcement said the shipping report is “a strategic vision looking at the development of shipping, ports and related sectors for the short, medium and long terms is essential for streamlining the EU maritime transport policy so that it can best benefit from future opportunities and face the future challenges.”
The EU said the full text of the Policy Strategy will be made available soon at the following links:
Source: Fiat could end up with 55 percent
stake in Chrysler
The news that the Italian industrial group Fiat will take a 35 percent, no cash stake in U.S.-based Chrysler, was followed by a source close to the newsgroup Reuters saying Fiat could end up acquiring another 20 percent of the troubled U.S. car maker for $25 million.
In the preliminary agreement announced on Tuesday, Fiat is to take 35 percent of Chrysler in exchange for its expertise in building small cars and gaining access to the huge U.S. auto market. Over the course of the next year, the source said of Fiat: "If Chrysler looks like it will get through the crisis they will draw the necessary conclusions and decide what to do."
The big three U.S. automakers, including Chrysler, have until March to convince the U.S. government they are viable operations and are able to build eco-friendly cars. Reports have indicated that Fiat would bring its fuel-efficiency technology to Chrysler and possible access to the European auto markets.
Volkswagen renews distribution contract
with Ceva Logistics
Volkswagen renewed its warehousing and commercial contracts with Ceva Logistics in the UK. Volkswagen Group and Ceva have been partners in the UK for 22 years.
Ceva said it delivers 850 Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Skoda, Seat and VW Commercial Vehicles to UK dealerships and trade parts specialists every day.
Every vehicle will be fitted with a GPRS-linked in-cab system, which will enable all delivery and returns processes to be tracked in real-time.
Rawdon Glover, group services director at the Volkswagen Group UK, said: "We chose Ceva as our parts distribution partner because they once again demonstrated their ability to offer a high quality service at a competitive price."
Toyota passes GM for top sales
For the first time in 77 years, U.S. automaker General Motors was not the top seller of autos in the world, as the top title went to Japanese rival, Toyota.
GM did report some positive news in that its Asia sales grew 3 percent in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
GM reported 8,350,000 vehicles sold in 2008, and Toyota said its sales topped 8,972,000 vehicles, even though both companies had sales declines primarily due to North America’s slump in demand.
Toyota reported its sales fell 4 percent, and GM said its sales dropped 11 percent.
Wireless tracking at L.A.-Long Beach ports
AT&T Business Solutions and WebTech Wireless Inc. will provide a wireless vehicle tracking and monitoring solution that supports the ports' Clean Trucks Program, the companies announced in a joint statement. The initial phase of the tracking system includes the installation of 600 “WebTech Locators” in new trucks and is available immediately to program applicants, the companies said.
"This initiative reinforces our commitment to provide innovative solutions that enable our customers to increase efficiency and productivity while also reducing carbon emissions," said Denita Willoughby, vice president, AT&T External Affairs of the Greater Los Angeles area. "AT&T is proud to work with the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach on this effort to help reduce emissions and improve air quality in the region."
The WebTech Locators utilize GPS and General Packet Radio Service technology, to track newly replaced port drayage trucks equipped with low-emission engines. Supported by state funds and cargo fees, the ports are providing financial assistance for clean replacement trucks, with the requirement that truck owners use the vehicles only in California and work a minimum number of times in the ports. The devices send vehicle location and diagnostics data over AT&T Mobility's wireless network to WebTech's Web-based Quadrant fleet-management system. Quadrant monitors miles driven within specified geographic boundaries (geo-fences) and data such as idling time and fuel consumption, which enables the ports to quantify the pollution avoided and determines the cost-effectiveness of the program.
The solution is supposed to facilitate the ability to have lower-emitting drayage trucks serve the ports and ensure that truck owners and operators comply with the requirements of the Clean Trucks Program. Additionally, the monitoring system facilitates compliance by participating trucks and employees with port security and public safety standards.
Batumi International Container Terminal implements Tideworks system
Seattle-based Tideworks Technology, Inc. announced that Batumi International Container Terminal (BICT), located in the Port of Batumi in Adjara, Georgia on the Black Sea, has implemented Tideworks’ Spinnaker planning management system.
BICT is the second International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) facility to select container terminal management solutions from Tideworks, the company said.
In 2006, ICTSI launched Tideworks’ integrated software suite to manage cargo activities at its Baltic Container Terminal (BCT) facility in Gdynia, Poland.
“As the main transportation trade hub in the Black Sea, it is crucial that our operations are seamless and efficient. Spinnaker allows us to automate vessel planning and inventory control activities, thus increasing business productivity and enhancing customer service levels.” said Francis Carter, chief executive officer and general manager for Batumi International Container Terminal.
Tideworks said BICT aims to improve planning capabilities, enhance container visibility in the yard and on vessels, lower operating costs and increase inventory control. BICT will also leverage Spinnaker’s purpose-built “Star Gate” module for gate processing to transport containers in and out of the terminal through the gate.
Tideworks will offer support services out of Seattle and through its European headquarters in Spijkenisse, Netherlands. Tideworks reports it has more than 23,000 users at nearly 70 facilities.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
U.S. Railroads: Q4 Profits strong,
prices up, business down
The U.S. economy has slowed but at least two of its top railroads reported strong fourth quarters from 2008 due to a mix of aggressive pricing against fuel costs that dipped precipitously in the year’s second half.
Union Pacific Corp. reported a fourth-quarter net income of $661 million compared with $491 million from a year earlier – a 35 percent increase, despite a 12 percent decline in business. The UP’s total operating revenue, which includes freight and other revenue, grew to $4.29 billion from $4.20 billion from the same period last year. The UP said it had expected $4.28 billion for the quarter.
“In the fourth quarter, our operating ratio improved significantly as we benefited from lower fuel costs, better pricing, and productivity gains, all of which helped offset the impact of declining volumes in this difficult economic environment," said Jim Young, chairman and CEO of the UP.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. reported a 19 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit of $615 million $517 million profit for the same period in 2007, and total operating revenue of $4.37 billion from $4.24 billion in the same period last year. The company’s freight shipments declined 7 percent for the quarter.
The company said it would invest $2.7 billion in 2009 on railroad system
maintenance, repairs and upgrades, which would be approximately $150 million less than what was spent in 2008. The company also reported it plans to cut about 500 positions in the first quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, Warren Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, disclosed it has purchased more than 4.3 million additional shares of BNSF, placing its stake at 21.7 percent of the company’s stock, and 74 million shares.
CSX Corp. reported this week that its fourth-quarter profit declined from last year, largely impacted by a write-down of its investment in The Greenbrier resort. The company’s net earnings for the fourth quarter were $247 million compared with $365 million for fourth quarter of 2007. CSX’s operating profit from continuing operations rose 6 percent and revenues were up 4 percent in the quarter to $2.674 billion. Freight volume dropped 9 percent for the quarter.
CSX and BNSF have both said they will raise freight-hauling prices between 5 and 6 percent in 2009.
Strong first full year of container business reported by Prince Rupert
The Port of Prince Rupert, BC announced a strong year in container traffic at its Fairview Terminal in 2008, with 181,890 TEUs handled from 78 vessels in what was its first full year of operations.
The Prince Rupert container operation, which opened in October of 2007, has been, up until now, a joint effort between the port authority, Canadian National, Maher Terminals and the COSCO intermodal service out of Asia.
The terminal’s throughput for the first six months of the year was 42,555 TEUs and it experienced a 300 percent spike in the second half of 2008 with another 139,335 TEUs handled with the addition of a second COSCO/CHYH service. In the year’s fourth quarter, the port said its container terminal was operating at more than 60 percent of its 500,000-TEU capacity at 79,106 TEUs.
"The new express gateway is providing shippers with unparalleled speed and reliability, a competitive advantage in their supply chain management, while the Fairview Terminal has created a solid foundation for economic activity in Western Canada and a stimulus for new investment across the region," said Dale MacLean, chairman of the Prince Rupert Port Authority board of directors.
Port of Long Beach to begin collecting
Clean Trucks fee Feb. 18
The Port of Long Beach announced yesterday it would start collecting a Clean Trucks fee on February 18 amid steep opposition from federal regulators and threats of various legal actions.
A statement from the Port of Los Angeles on the Clean Trucks Program fee was expected today.
The Clean Trucks fee, which is part of the ports of the Clean Trucks Program at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, will charge $35 per TEU as part of an initiative to reduce diesel truck emissions by 80 percent within five years.
The Clean Truck fee program was originally scheduled to begin in November but experienced delays due to the Federal Maritime Commission ordering two sets of 45-day reviews, with the latter review ending Feb. 13.
The FMC has also filed a lawsuit to block what it terms “anti-competitive” components of the Clean Trucks Program. Both sides await a U.S. District Court judge’s ruling on the FMC request for a preliminary injunction, which could come at any time in 2009.
The Clean Trucks fee is estimated to raise approximately $1 million a day in order to assist in financing replacement of a large percentage of the 17,000 trucks that call the port.
Price fixing: LAN Cargo agrees to pay
$88 million fine
LAN Cargo announced today it has agreed to pay a fine of $88 million under a plea agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice as part of wide-reaching investigation on the price fixing of fuel surcharges with air cargo carriers.
LAN Cargo will pay its fine over a five-year period. The company said it already had established a $75 million reserve in anticipation of a financial penalty. The reserve amounts were offset against the company's results for 2007 and third quarter 2008.
Another eight airlines have agreed to similar agreements with the DOJ in the price-fixing investigation. Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Martinair/Tampa, Qantas and SAS are paying fines totaling $1.275 billion.
Sinotrans to develop air logistics center
Sinotrans Air Transportation Development Co., Ltd., a majority-owned subsidiary of the Sinotrans group, announced today its board has agreed to invest almost $18.5 million in building out a logistics center in the aviation logistics park of Chengdu, China, the company announced.
Sinotrans Development will form a special company in Shuangliu County, the location of the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.
New Volkswagen parts distribution center completed in Jacksonville
Construction has been completed on a new, 260,000-square-foot distribution center in Jacksonville, Florida that is to serve as the new parts distribution center for Volkswagen Group of America in the U.S. Southeast, the company announced.
The new facility is 30 percent larger than the automaker’s previous parts distribution center in the Jacksonville area. The distribution center will serve 118 Volkswagen and Audi dealers throughout the U.S. southeast, including in Alabama, Florida. Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The facility was build-to-suit and developed by the Trammell Crow Company and ING Clarion.
DHL Global Forwarding selects Kewill ISF
DHL Global Forwarding has selected Kewill ISF (Importer Security Filing) to support their customers in meeting new U.S. Customs requirements, Kewill announced.
Kewill says its solutions are currently utilized by more than 40,000 users worldwide including the supply chain networks of 3M, Bayer, Caterpillar, DHL Global Forwarding, FedEx, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, H.J. Heinz, Kimberley-Clark, Kraft, Levi Strauss, Mazda, Nestlé, Nike, Palm, Procter & Gamble, Smith & Nephew, Sony, TNT, Unilever, UPS, Vodafone, Yamaha, Xerox.
Kewill ISF said it will provide import related business processes to DHL that will include a collaborative portal that enables suppliers, forwarders, brokers and importers to automate ‘10+2’ filing, including advanced visibility and alerts to ensure compliance as well as integration to Kewill’s customs brokerage solutions.
"Our customers expect us to provide the leading services and technology to accelerate their imports and meet US customs regulations," said Carol J. Sheldon, sr. vice president, customs brokerage and regulatory compliance for DHL Global Forwarding North America.
Chinese manufacturer announces low-power RFID
Daily RFID, a Chinese manufacturer of RFID readers and RFID tags, has launched its 125KHz RFID Reader Module-06 that it says is specially designed with low power consumption at a cost of $28 per unit.
The size of a business card, the unit can be easily embedded into an integrated RFID system, the company said. The RFID unit can be inserted into a PC or a suitable PDA via a USB interface for power supply and data transferring.
This RFID Reader Module is compatible with the RFID tags bands, such as EM 4100 and NXP Hitag ½ and can be used for access control, document tracking, electronic payments, logistics and supply chain management.
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.
Monday, January 23, 2009
CN’s Q4 earnings down;
on track with EJ&E purchase
Canadian National Railway reported a 31 percent drop in net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2008 due to weakened freight volumes, the company announced on Thursday.
The CN would reportedly gain a faster intermodal route out of the congested Chicago rail hub via the EJ&E’s short line network for its Asia cargo business transiting from British Columbia ports.
The CN also declared it was increasing its quarterly cash dividend by 10 percent to 20.8 (US) cents a share.
The company reported a net profit of US$459.4 million compared with a profit of US$667.7 million in the same quarter of 2007.
The railway's revenue in the quarter was US$1.76 billion, up 13 percent from a year ago largely due to a weaker Canadian dollar, which also contributed to an increase in operating expenses, the company said.
Revenue ton-miles, the measurement of the relative weight and distance of the freight transported by the carrier, was down 10 percent from 2007, the company reported.
In the meantime, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) has denied environmental petitions that would postpone the ruling that approved the CN's purchase of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad from U.S. Steel, scheduled to become official today.
There had been protests from Chicago-area neighborhood community groups, with the most recent plea filed by some of these groups to the Court of Appeals to review the sale, and environmental concerns. The STB ruled the overall benefits of efficiency and environmental that would reduce congestion in the region over-ruled the potential impacts on some communities.
Major wine retailer leaving Michigan market due to distribution ruling
Wine.com, which claims it is the top wine retailer in the U.S., said it is pulling out of the state of Michigan marketplace due to a bill signed earlier this month there that would prohibit retailers from shipping wine product directly to consumers, the company announced today.
“All Wine.com packages are clearly labeled that they contain wine and that an adult signature is required for delivery. The Wine.com website also confirms the age of its customers and notifies them that an adult signature is required for delivery. Wine.com has recently implemented evening, Saturday and by-appointment delivery options to ensure that its customers can find a convenient time to be home to sign for their package,” the company said.
"Michigan is missing an opportunity," said Rich Bergsund, CEO of Wine.com. "This legislation hurts Michigan residents because they will no longer have access to the world's best wines at the lowest prices. It hurts their businesses because Michigan wine retailers and shippers who employ people in Michigan, like UPS and FedEx, will see a reduction in their volumes. And it hurts Michigan's revenue base, because they are walking away from sales taxes that Wine.com and other retailers would be happy to pay."
The new law reverses the October 2008 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan that declared it unconstitutional to prohibit out-of-state retailers from selling wine to Michigan consumers.
Currently, 30 states currently allow out-of-state wineries to ship direct to consumers, while 15 states allow the same from out-of-state retailers. Wine.com said it ships to 80 percent of the U.S. population via a network of what it terms “licensed, in-state stores” in order to comply with state laws. The company contends that in Michigan an in-state store wouldn’t help, because the company uses UPS and FedEx to deliver its wine.
Wine.com’s announcement pointed to the arguments for free trade of wine between states include “providing a benefit to consumers, providing a tax base for the state, and by implementing a direct shipper's license, providing the state the jurisdiction and oversight to manage the process. Today, many wine retailers ship between states illegally, and states have no recourse.”
The issue at stake with free interstate trade of wine is preventing underage access to alcohol, the company said. Wine.com said it pays UPS and FedEx an additional fee to perform an ID check to confirm the package recipient is over 21 years of age. The package is not delivered without a signature and ID check and the signature is captured electronically and subject to later audit by Wine.com, the company said. If an adult is not available to provide a signature, the package is held by UPS or FedEx and two additional attempts are made and if the third attempt still fails, the package is returned to Wine.com, according to the company.
Horizon Logistics launches international NVOCC service
Horizon Logistics, LLC has announced the launch of an international non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) service that has been licensed by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.
The company said it will serve all international trades, but will focus initially on the trans-Pacific trade lanes between Asia and North America.
The company said it is able to issue its own bills of lading and public tariffs, utilizing the service of vessel operating partners. The first shipments moving under this new service were loaded this week, Horizon said.
"Our entrance into the international ocean shipping arena is actually a re-entrance," said Brian Taylor, president of Horizon Logistics. "Many of our staff members started their careers at Sea-Land Service, Inc., the company that started our business and pioneered container shipping 52 years ago, and was a leading international ocean carrier for decades. We are using that knowledge and experience, strong carrier relationships and reliable partners in Asia to offer a cost efficient alternative for U.S. shippers at a time when they need it most."
Petrich named president of Port of Tacoma’s
The Port of Tacoma announced its 2009 commission officers yesterday. Clare Petrich, an over 13-year veteran of the port’s board, was named president of the commission, replacing Dick Marzano, who will now serve as assistant secretary.
The other new port 2009 commission officers include: R. Ted Bottiger, vice president; Don Johnson, secretary; and Connie Bacon, assistant secretary.
Port of Tacoma Commissioners are publicly elected and serve four-year terms as the governing body of the port, setting policy and authorizing major expenditures. Port commission meetings and study sessions are open to the public and are held at The Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road.
IBM develops SNOW supply chain software in China
International Business Machines (IBM) announced its supply chain experts at IBM research labs in China have developed a computer model for businesses to better manage logistics, cut costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions in their supply chains.
“When you improve overall efficiency you can almost automatically lower cost, waste, and environmental impact,” Eric Riddleberger, director of IBM’s business strategy consulting practice, said in a statement.
The company said it would offer consulting services with the new tool that is called the Supply-chain Network Optimization Workbench (SNOW).
IBM says the software solution will allow for detailed supply chain analysis through the running of simulations that can help organizations optimize supply chain networks.
Mathematical modeling is used to help identify cost-effective scenarios and the optimization results are converted to simulation models automatically for more detailed analysis, taking into account operational policies and other uncertainties, the company said.
IBM said the Chinese shipping company COSCO has used the system to reduce the number of distribution centers it uses to 40 from 100, lowering costs by 23 percent and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent.
Harris-Teeter to invest $101 million
in Virginia distribution center
Harris-Teeter, the supermarket chain serving the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S., announced it would invest $101 million to open a distribution center in King George County, Virginia.
The distribution center is slated to serve Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. The state of Virginia reportedly beat out Maryland and North Carolina in bidding for the distribution center. Governor Timothy Kaine had approved $200,000 in state funds to support King George County’s efforts in attracting the Harris-Teeter business to assist King George County with the project.
USCG announces EIS preparation
for Great Lakes dry cargo ruling
The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday it will prepare a new environmental impact statement and hold a public scoping meeting in support of the next phase of rulemaking for dry cargo residue discharges in the Great Lakes.
To view the notice of intent online go to www.regulations.gov. Once on the site, go to “search documents” and enter USCG-2004-19621.
The USCG said the new EIS stems from the first EIS, which was prepared in support of the interim rule published in September 2008. Under the interim rule, the discharge of bulk dry cargo residue is allowed to continue in limited areas of the Great Lakes and under certain conditions. The Coast Guard plans to issue a final rule that may modify the interim rule and add new conditions for discharges.
The public scoping meeting, designed to solicit public comment and to help determine the scope of issues to be addressed in the new EIS, is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Hotel Blake, 500 South Dearborn, Chicago, Ill.