Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for January 21, 2013 - January 25, 2013:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Top Story

Port privatization decision time for Virginia Port Authority

Photo courtesy of Stephen M. Katz, Virginian-Pilot

The decision is fast approaching regarding the privatization of Virginia’s Hampton Roads port.

The Virginia Port Authority will get a very detailed look at the proposals on Tuesday. Two are from private companies — APM Terminals Inc. and a group led by banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co .— and both are offering billions of dollars to run the port for decades. The third proposal is a restructuring of the existing agreement with Virginia International Terminals Inc., which is currently the port’s non-profit operations arm.

“We’re proceeding on these two tracks, with the idea to make a decision in March,” said William H. Fralin, chair of the Port Authority board, referring to the choice between going with a private offer or corporate restructuring. He said the meeting would allow the board to see side-by-side comparisons.

Some industry insiders say the momentum has swung away from privatization to streamlining the existing structure. Several pending bills in the legislature have the same message: no privatization of ports. Additionally, last week Joe Dorto, the president and CEO of Virginia International Terminals Inc., said he’s retiring after 34 years. His salary was a point of contention for some. Finally, on Jan. 11, the state General Assembly’s watchdog group released a report that refuted claims that current port operations are headed for disaster. Hampton Roads ended 2012 with the second-best annual container volume numbers, up 9.8 percent from 2011.

For more of the Virginia Pilot story:

Manufacturing trends toward non-union labor

U.S. manufacturers have added 500,000 jobs since 2010, but most of them have been non-union positions. There were 4 percent fewer union factory workers in 2012 than in 2010, according to federal survey numbers, indicating that the gains have for the most part been non-union labor.

The trend highlights a return of manufacturing, but the new manufacturing jobs are different than the ones that have lifted people into the middle class for the past 50 years.

Factory jobs used to pay very well, but now non-union factory workers earn salaries that are 7 percent less than union workers. In terms of average hourly wages, a typical manufacturing job earns less than a private sector job in any industry, which was not true during the 30 years before the recession hit.

When U.S. companies pay workers lower wages, according to conservative economists, their overhead goes down and they attract more investments.

However, low manufacturing wages means the middle-class have less money to drive the economic growth.

Most non-union factory workers made less in 2011 than 2009, adjusting for inflation. Workers take the jobs anyway, since there are more workers the manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate for factory workers was 7.5 percent in December, reports the Labor Department.

Union officials and liberal economists say the decline in factory jobs is due to efforts by conservatives to weaken the power of labor groups.

"The big problem is that when you look at the wage gap we used to see between manufacturing and non-manufacturing, that's getting smaller," said William Spriggs, chief economist for the AFL-CIO. He said factory workers spend less with lower wages, reducing demand nationwide.

The manufacturing industry has been moving away from unions for decades. The U.S. had 12.5 million non-union manufacturing workers in 2012—the same number as in 1977. Approximately 1.5 million workers were union-represented in 2012, which is 6 million less than in 1977.

By the end of 2012, barely one in 10 U.S. manufacturing jobs were unionized, while 30 years ago it was 1 in 3.

Most union jobs in 2013 are government jobs, although there were 230,000 less in 2012 than there were in 2011. James Sherk, a senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, calculated this number from the government’s Current Population Survey data.

The data don’t clearly illuminate what is driving the decline in union manufacturing jobs, even though the industry is expanding hiring. It's possible that recent manufacturing job creation has been focused in smaller companies, which are less likely to be unionized.

For more of the story:

Singapore exports decline 16.3 percent

Singapore’s exports dropped the most in 14 months in December as manufacturers shipped fewer electronics and drugs.

Non-oil domestic exports decreased 16.3 percent year over year, according to a statement from the trade promotion agency. Exports rose 0.5 percent in 2012, the worst outcome in three years, according to Bloomberg data.

The World Bank last week decreased its world growth forecast for 2013 due to austerity measures, high unemployment and low business confidence in developed economies.

“The ugly export reading raises the specter of recession once again,” Chua said. “There is a high likelihood that industrial production also contracted sharply in December. These are signs that Singapore’s manufacturing is facing hollowing out pressures, especially given the better trade data seen in Northeast Asia and Malaysia.”

Singapore’s growth in 2012 was the slowest in three years. The government predicts exports will rise 2 percent to 4 percent in 2013.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Cargo down on the Great Lakes in 2012

U.S.-flag ships working on the Great Lakes carried 89.5 million tons of the dry-bulk cargo last year, down 4.6 percent from 2011, according to the annual report released Friday by the Lake Carriers' Association.

That’s down 1.5 percent from the five-year average of 90.8 million tons, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Iron ore shipments dropped 4.3 percent from 2011. Coal shipments fell to 17.6 million tons last year, less than the five-year average of 22.5 million tons.

The decline is due in part to the phasing out of Canadian coal-fired electrical plants.

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

One dead as cargo ship careens in Black Sea

The cargo ship “Alican.s” careened while unloading cement composites off the Black Sea province of Rize, Turkey. Crewmember Takik Yilmak died in the incident.

Eleven crewmembers were unharmed, while two others were rescued by the coast guard.

"Teams have found the body of a crew member who was reported missing after the ship ‘Alican.s’ careened at Limankoy port off the town of Cayeli in Rize," Governor Nurullah Cakir told an Anatolia reporter.

For more of the Hurriyet Daily News story:


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Story

China Shipping Container Lines forecast sparks Hong Kong index swing

Hong Kong stocks went up and the city’s benchmark index trading neared a 19-month high as China Shipping Container Lines gained 3.9 percent on the Hong Kong stock exchange after predicting it would turn loses to profit in 2012.

Hong Kong’s benchmark index closed on Jan. 18 at the highest level since June 2011 after a report showed China’s economy grew for the first time in two years.

China Shipping advanced 3.9 percent after the company posted a preliminary full-year net income of $83.6 million.

The company incurred a loss of $44 million a year earlier.

China Shipping plans to release 2012 results March 27.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

For more of the story:

Port of Los Angeles launches $137M railyard project

The Port of Los Angeles broke ground on a $137 million intermodal railyard in mid-January that will connect the Port of Los Angeles and the Alameda Corridor, providing staging and storage for trains using the corridor.

The West Basin Railyard at Berth 200 will generate about 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the port. The new yard is designed reduce truck traffic and improve air quality.

The railyard project also enables track space at the TraPac container terminal to serve as TraPac’s future on-dock rail facility. After the completion of the $365 million in rail, roadway and terminal improvements at TraPac over the next three years, TraPac will join the other seven container terminals at the port that offer on-dock rail.

“The West Basin Railyard is a model project for how government is supposed to work,” said Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski. “We are pooling federal and state grants with Port revenues to improve a critical link in the nation’s supply chain and support the kind of sustainable solutions we need to meet our most pressing needs.”

The railyard will be constructed with $16 million in federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Transportation, $51.2 million from the State Proposition 1B Trade Corridors Improvement Fund Grant, $22.1 million from METRO-awarded federal funds, and $48.37 million from the port’s Harbor Revenue funds.

USPS, UPS and FedEx rates rise in 2013

Both UPS and FedEx raised their rates approximately 5 percent before the New Year.

On Sunday, the U.S. Postal Service will raise its rates 6.5 percent for Express Mail, 9 percent for Priority Mail, and 21 percent for Standard Post (formerly Parcel Post). For the most part, the USPS will still be the cheapest shipping option.

UPS was the first to implement higher shipping rates, with hikes of 5.9 percent for UPS Ground and 6.5 percent for UPS Air, effective Dec. 31, 2012.

On January 7, FedEx followed suit, increasing shipping rates by an average of 5.9 percent.

Both companies lowered their fuel charge.

For more of the MSN Money story:

Port of Charleston container traffic up 9.6 percent in 2012

Container traffic at the Port of Charleston was up by almost 9.6 percent in 2012, in results announced last week at a South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) Board meeting.

Charleston handled 1.5 million TEUs in 2012 at the port’s two container terminals. Volume was up 13 percent in December compared year over year, with 124,120 TEUs handled across the docks.

Charleston also was the fastest-growing East Coast container port January through November, according to the latest month of volume data available from rival ports.

“These results are encouraging and a testament to the professionalism of our staff and the entire maritime community,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Port Authority. ”However, we have very ambitious goals and a $1.3-billion capital plan to implement in this decade, so we must continue to grow above the market.”

Pirates release tanker after stealing cargo

Hijackers have released a fuel-filled tanker taken in the Ivory Coast, according to Chairman Rowaye Jubril of Brila Energy, the ship’s Nigeria-based owner.

The petroleum distributor owner of the Panamanian-flagged ship ITRI announced its release Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press.

Jubril said the pirates stole f 5,000 tons of jet fuel, worth an estimated $5 million, locking 16 crewmembers in the ship's dining room. He did not provide further details.

Ivory Coast officials said the vessel was seized on Jan. 16 as it was about to unload its cargo at the port of Abidjan.

For more of the Fox News story:


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Top Story

China manufacturing index rises to two-year high

China's manufacturing sector improved in January, with an initial reading of the purchasing managers' sentiment indicating a rise to its highest level in two years.

Global bank HSBC said its "flash" index of purchasing managers' sentiment was 51.9 in January compared to December's final reading of 51.5. Any reading above 50 marks a growing manufacturing sector.

January is the fifth consecutive month the index has risen.

"Thanks to the continuous gains in new business, manufacturers accelerated production by additional hiring and more purchases," said Hongbin Qu, HSBC's chief economist for China, in a statement. "Despite the still tepid external demand, the domestic-driven restocking process is likely to add steam to China's ongoing recovery in the coming months."

Manufacturing is regarded as a gauge of the global economy because of China's role as a massive global exporter, and because it is a bellwether of the state of the Asian nation's economy and policy.

For more of the CNN story:

Port of Stockton takes over barge service project linking with Oakland

The Port of Stockton will take over the management of the M-580 Marine Highway corridor that links Stockton and Oakland, since Utah's Savage Companies abandoned the project.

"Due to a number of circumstances, we were doing some review with them and decided it would be in the best interests of everybody if the Port of Stockton took a greater leadership role in the oversight and management of the project, to which they agreed," said Mark Tollini, deputy port director of trade and operations, who said the transition was a mutual decision between the port and the company.

"There were just some elements there that were difficult to deal with," he said. "The Port is probably in a better position to oversee those than perhaps Savage was, being outside the industry."

Port Director Richard Aschieris said it was initially thought that Savage, representing the port, would be able to work with the various players, but it seems directly bringing in the port's authority is required.

The project will be run using the Ports' existing staff with service beginning as early as March. Tollini said the corridor has enough business to fill the barges today.

The M-580 project was initiated in February 2010 when the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $30 million TIGER grant for the Ports of Stockton, Oakland and West Sacramento to develop the infrastructure for a container-on-barge service between the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. The service would reduce truck traffic and hence pollution.

Service was supposed to start in 2012, but was delayed several times due to weather and then an October labor dispute.

The Port of Stockton has made improvements to the dock and owns the two barges and two cranes associated with the service.

For more of the News 10 story:

For more of the Stockton Record story:

Shipping resumes on Mississippi after Wednesday closure

A stretch of the Mississippi River reopened to shipping barges on Wednesday, after being closed to repair a lock damaged by a barge.

The Army Corps of Engineers is now resuming its work to keep the channel running despite low water levels due to the worst drought in 30 years.

The Lock and Dam27 near Granite City, Illinois were closed this week after a barge damaged a gate on an auxiliary lock early Tuesday morning, causing a shipping traffic jam that lasted until the lock reopened 17 hours later.

By midmorning Wednesday, 85 barges and 15 vessels still were waiting to pass through, which was steady progress from the 142 barges and 19 vessels that had been stuck there at the traffic jam's peak, according to Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty.

For more of the U.S. News and World Report story:

Georgia and South Carolina joint port meeting canceled

Georgia and South Carolina port officials have canceled a January meeting that was to discuss the states' embattled plans to build a jointly owned container terminal on the Savannah River.

The joint port board was scheduled to meet next Monday in Savannah, but board members from both states issued a statement Wednesday announcing the board won't meet again until April 16 in Charleston, S.C.

An updated study on the economic viability of building the shipping terminal has been delayed, according to the statements. The prospective $5 billion port terminal would be located in Jasper County, S.C., across the river from Savannah.

Progress on the joint port has stalled for more than a year as Georgia and South Carolina have fought over a planned $652 million expansion of the Port of Savannah.

For more of the WSAV TV story:

Vessel lists after wood cargo freezes

The wood cargo of a Croatian ship froze off the Wearside coast of the United Kingdom, increasing its weight and causing it to list.

The Molat, with 20 crewmembers on board, started to list Tuesday morning, 40 miles out in the North Sea.

The 28,300-ton ship left Norrkopping in Sweden on Monday and was on its way to Alexandria in Egypt.

It has now docked at Sunderland Port and will submit safety checks before proceeding to Egypt.

For more of the BBC story:


Friday, January 25, 2013

Top Story

CMA CGM and China Merchants form container terminal partnership

CMA CGM and China Merchants Holdings Company have entered into a strategic partnership to buy a 49 percent equity interest in Terminal Link for $537 million.

The purchase is an "initial cornerstone" of the partnership between CMA CGM, the world's third largest container shipping company, and CMHI, the largest public port operator in China, according to a joint statement. The business partnership will involve operating and developing global container terminals.

Terminal Link, a subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group, develops and invests in an international network of 15 terminals located on key shipping routes. It provides stevedoring, storage and other container-handling activities.

Terminal Link ranks #12 worldwide based on throughput handled, with a volume of 8.1 million TEUs handled in 2011.

Union Pacific up 7 percent in Q4

Union Pacific's fourth quarter profit was up 7 percent after raising rates, despite low coal and agricultural shipment demand.

In spite of a two percent drop in total volume, the railroad earned $1.04 billion, or $2.19 per share. Revenue grew three percent to $5.25 billion.

The decline in coal is a concern for railroad investors. In the fourth quarter, Union Pacific handled 17 percent less coal year over year.

Chief Financial Officer Rob Knight expects coal volumes to decline slightly in 2013, partly because the railroad lost a contract to haul 10 million tons of coal at the beginning of the year.

Knight said crude oil hauled from areas like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota will help the railroad. The growth in automotive shipping, especially from Mexico, and intermodal shipping should also help Union Pacific improve its bottom line.

"We're winning in terms of leveraging our network to serve these new markets," he said.

For all of 2012, Union Pacific's net income surged 20 percent to $3.94 billion, or $8.27 per share, on revenue of $20.93 billion. That's up from 2011's $3.29 billion, or $6.72 per share, on revenue of $19.56 billion.

For more of the Washington Post story:

U.S. flash PMI hits highest level in 22 months

The preliminary flash manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for the U.S. rose to a 56.1 reading in January from 54.0 in December, according to a report released Thursday by Markit, a financial services company.

The PMI figure indicates the strongest rate of growth since March 2011. Output, new orders and employment have each improved and remained above the 50 level, which indicates growth. The new orders index was at the highest level in 32 months.

"The U.S. manufacturing sector started 2013 on a strong footing. Prospects also look good for the upturn to be sustained in coming months, meaning both growth of GDP and non-farm payroll are likely to accelerate in the first quarter," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Earlier, Markit reported its Euro-zone composite purchasing-managers' index rose to a ten-month high of 48.2 in January from a December reading of 47.2 and the HSBC Markit flash China manufacturing PMI climbed to a two-year high of 51.9 from 51.5 in December.

Shipping magnate Fredriksen says tanker marker to recover by mid 2014

The oil and fuel tanker market will be the first to recuperate from overcapacity in the shipping industry, improving over the next 15 to 20 months as global trade increases, according to shipping billionaire John Fredriksen.

Fredriksen, who controls fleets of oil, bulk and gas carriers through companies Frontline, Golden Ocean Group and Golar LNG, said he preferred oil product tankers over the largest crude ships, for which demand would take more time to rebuild.

"The tank market will recover first," Fredriksen said in an interview. "I believe most in the products side, not the big ships. Those will take much more time."

Daily earnings for Medium-Range product tankers will rise 11 percent to average $14,375 this year, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Rates on the trade route to Europe-to-U.S. trade route are 34 percent higher year over year, according to the Baltic Exchange.

The demand for refined fuel shipments will increase 4.6 percent in 2013, while the fleet grows 2.8 percent, Clarkson Plc the world's largest shipbroker, forecasts.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Remaining cargo from Rena wreck breaks down, releases contaminants

Cargo around the wreck of the Reno cargo ship has broken down and contaminated the water surrounding the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga.

Dive surveys indicate that of the 36 remaining containers in the stern section carrying known contaminants, many have broken up and their contents have escaped since the vessel broke in two and sank, officials said yesterday.

Scientists are working to determine if there will be any impact on marine life around the reef.

"Sediment samples have shown elevated levels of contaminants including copper and PAH's (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) which are known contaminants that were lost to sea from the Rena and its cargo," said Professor Chris Battershill, University of Waikato Chair of Coastal Science. "While we only have limited sampling information at this point, early indications are that the contamination is localized."

The ship split in two in early January 2011 and salvage operations prior to that were unable to get to the containers since they were in the lower holds and inaccessible.

Resolve Salvage & Fire is now using heavy-lifting equipment to remove the large amounts of remaining cargo, wreck and container debris from an area approximately 10,000 square meters around the wreck.

For more of the Otago Times story:

Submit Your Press
Releases Here!