Monday, January 25, 2010
New GPA chief: Box growth to come from West Coast
In an interview in Sunday’s Savannah Morning News, the new chief of the Georgia Ports Authority, Curtis Foltz, weighed in on the growth of the southeastern containerized freight gateway, including where it might come from once the Panama Canal is scheduled to widen in mid-2014.
"It's a fact that 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in the eastern half of the country. I have no doubt that, down the road, there is going to be a need to accommodate 6.5 million containers a year in Savannah, 6.5 million in Charleston and at least 6.5 million in Jasper.
"Commerce is going to dictate that, and the citizens of the U.S. deserve it."
For GPA's part, that means continued terminal improvements, completion of the "Last Mile" road projects, deepening the Savannah harbor and implementing environmental initiatives that will give the port an increasingly green footprint.
"Our growth is not about taking business from South Carolina," Foltz said. "Our growth is going to come, in small shifts, from the West Coast.
-Savannah Morning News
For the full story: savannahnow.com/exchange
Report: U.S. companies to invest more in first half of 2010
U.S. companies are expected to hire and invest more in the next six months, according to a survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).
According to the survey, economic conditions are improving at a moderate pace in the industrial sector.
Industrial demand grew for the second consecutive quarter, with the goods-producing; finance, insurance, real estate, and services sectors all reporting lifts in demand. Profit margins also edged up for the second straight quarter, the NABE report said.
Unemployment might be slowing, with the percentage of companies cutting back on payrolls declining to 28 percent from 31 percent since the last survey, the NABE said.
The percentage of firms that said they’re hiring was up to 13 percent, and respondents that said their companies would add employees over the next six months rose to 29 percent from 24 percent, the report said.
Twenty-nine percent more respondents expect price increases in the next three months and 61 percent expect real GDP to expand by more than 2 percent in 2010 - up from 45 percent in October, the report said.
The NABE Industry Survey was conducted between December 18 and January 7 and surveyed 75 NABE members.
DP World reports 2009 profit-drop likely
Port operator DP World, a unit of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, said on Monday a decline in container volumes was likely to hit its full year pretax profit but would be in line with market expectations.
Container volumes for the full-year 2009 period fell 8 percent to 25.6 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) across its 28 consolidated terminals. The Americas and Australia saw the biggest fall, sliding 15 percent.
For the full story: www.nytimes.com/reuters
UPS expands global parts logistics in China
United Parcel Service announced plans to increase its global service parts logistics network by establishing 101 new field stocking locations (FSLs) in China.
"China is a critical part of the growth strategy of many companies worldwide and UPS' extensive regional and global FSL network enables companies to be well-positioned to support their after-market needs in Asia," said Brad Mitchell, president of UPS Logistics and Distribution.
The expansion brings UPS’ coverage to 89 cities across China with more than 110 bonded and non-bonded FSLs, the company said.
The company claims its service parts logistics network is the world's largest with more than 950 FSLs in 120 countries.
China’s Shandong Province poised to become big logistics hub
Shandong Province had a logistics volume of RMB 7 trillion last year, and its stimulus measures for the logistics industry will likely attract investment, sources said.
According to the province's plans, Qingdao and Jinan in Shandong will become national logistics hubs, and six of the country's 10 logistics routes will pass through Shandong.
Reportedly, Tiandi Hoau Corp, a subsidiary of TNT, one of the top four express delivery companies, recently started business in Shandong. Xia Xiaoguang, general manager in Central China of the company said the company will speed up operations in Shandong. UPS and DHL have also set up branches in Qingdao, to accelerate business growth in Shandong.
For the story source:chinaknowledge
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Prince Rupert box traffic up over 45 percent in 2009
While the average North American container port suffered double-digit losses in container traffic in 2009, British Columbia’s Port of Prince Rupert handled 265,259 TEUs, a 45.9 percent increase over the previous year.
In addition, the port’s bulk grain business registered a 35.1 percent increase at 5,080,834 tons, its highest since 1994, and its wheat shipments rose 55.8 percent to 4,638,010 tons, helping bring Rupert’s total to 12,173,672 tons of cargo in 2009, a 15 percent increase over 2008. Logs were up 79.6 percent and wax was up 30.8 percent, the port said.
Cargoes that didn’t fare as well at the port included coal, down 14.2 percent for the year to 4,159,679 tons despite increases in coking coal at 110.5 percent, petroleum coke at 46.4 percent, and wood pellets at 108.7 percent. The port’s cruise business was down 46.8 percent
In a conference call with Cargo Business News, Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said 70 percent of the port’s container business is U.S.-bound to Chicago and Memphis, with the remaining 30 percent destined for eastern Canada.
On the export container side, Krusel said Prince Rupert “dispelled the myth of [empty] backhaul, with 35 percent” of its box business going the other way. The port is looking for more outbound growth from Canada’s dimensioned lumber market to China, given the U.S. housing decline, and also cotton from U.S. Southeast markets, Krusel said.
“The [container] business through Prince Rupert is becoming more shipper-driven…we get queries almost on a daily basis,” he said.
Krusel told CBN there are plans for a Phase 2 expansion at the port’s Fairview Container Terminal to bring 2 million TEUs worth of capacity, with a target opening of the first quarter of 2015.
Krusel said the port authority is looking at almost 1,000 acres of developable land on its Ridley Island for a logistics park to be used for stuffing and de-stuffing, a cold storage facility, and possible distribution centers. A 200-acre first phase is currently being looked at, he said.
Dallas Logistics Hub developers file for Chapter 11
The developers of the 6,000-acre Dallas Logistics Hub announced they have voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 to reorganize their debts.
DLH Master Land Holding, LLC (DLH) and its parent company Allen Capital Partners, LLC (ACP), based in Dallas, Texas, develop and manage the Dallas Logistics Hub, a 6,000-acre master plan for multi-modal logistics facilities.
The Union Pacific Railroad currently has its Dallas Intermodal Terminal located in the development, and there is a proposed Burlington Northern Santa Fe Intermodal Facility.
"We have a balance sheet problem, not an operational one. The actions we announced today will allow us to resolve that issue," said Richard Allen, chief executive officer of DLH and ACP in a statement.
Allen said the real estate group’s other properties in Kansas or California were not included in the Chapter 11 filings.
Con-way Freight to cut transit times, fuel
Con-way Freight announced it has launched what it termed “a major network re-engineering” to cut transit times by one day to 460 U.S. destinations, while decreasing the company’s carbon footprint.
The less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier said the major lanes affected include those between Southern Texas and the Northeast, Chicago and Southern Florida, and Chicago and Southern Texas.
The company said it used advanced simulation modeling techniques and technologies have helped improve “density over the shortest, most direct routes and will allow Con-way Freight to reduce total operating miles per year by 16.6 million.” The company said it would also now be able to conserve a projected 2.6 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, eliminating approximately 58.6 million pounds of carbon emissions from the environment.
No texting for truckers
Truckers’ fingers will need to stay on the steering wheel according to U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s announcement prohibiting texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses.
“This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving,” he said.
The “prohibition” is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the D.O.T.’s efforts to deal with “distracted driving” since Secretary LaHood convened a national summit on the issue in September of 2009.
Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles could be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750, according to the D.O.T.
“We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit," said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA released research that shows drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting.
“At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers,” the Department. said,
The FMCSA announced it is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.
To follow the U.S. Department of Transportation’s distracted driving rulemaking, go to: www.distraction.gov.
Scramble to save wildlife after big Texas spill
A Texas official says crews are working to protect two sensitive wildlife areas after a crude oil spill shut down parts of a major southeast Texas port.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says plastic walls known as booms and oil-sucking skimmer boats are being used to safeguard a lake that is a crucial breeding ground and a wildlife management area that lost its protective gates when Hurricane Ike roared ashore a year and a half ago.
The U.S. Coast Guard says about 462,000 gallons — or 11,000 barrels — of oil spilled into the water Saturday when an 800-foot tanker collided with a towing vessel pushing two barges near Port Arthur, about 90 miles east of Houston. It was the largest spill in Texas since 1994.
For the story source: news.yahoo.com
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
No details, but clearer picture on Texas oil spill
A clearer picture emerged Tuesday of the collision that triggered the biggest Texas oil spill in 15 years, as cleanup efforts continued apace and officials planned to reopen the waterway by Thursday.
While Coast Guard officials have not released details of a possible cause for the wreck, a chain reaction began when the Eagle Otome, an 800-foot tanker loaded with Mexican crude oil, veered inexplicably off course and into the path of an oncoming barge, slamming into a cargo carrier moored at the port of Port Arthur.
In the narrow section of shipping channel, there was nowhere for the barge to go but forward, into the Eagle Otome's hull. Both crashes occurred within a matter of seconds — no more than a minute or two, shortly after 9:30 a.m., officials said.
Coast Guard officials originally reported that an unexpected power loss forced the Eagle Otome off course, but they have since retracted that report without offering an alternate explanation. They are reviewing radio transmissions and the ship's log and are interviewing witnesses to piece together the moments before the crash, which ripped a hole in the tanker's hull and spilled 462,000 gallons of oil.
For the full story: www.chron.com
Seattle up, Tacoma down for December box numbers
Container shipping numbers for the two big Puget Sound seaports reflected a sea saw of activity with the Port of Seattle reporting a 29.4 percent increase, and neighboring Tacoma’s box count down 20.3 percent.
Seattle’s total of 145,086 TEUs in December bettered the same period of 2008 at 112,135 TEUs, when the U.S. recession was settling in.
Conversely, Tacoma’s 116,560 TEUs handled this past December dropped from the 146,175 TEUs passing through in that period of 2008.
The Port of Seattle reported a total of 1,584,596 TEUs handled in 2009, a 7 percent decline over 2008’s final box count. The port posted increased positive growth from August of last year through December after a first half of double-digit declines during the peak of the recession.
Meanwhile, the Port of Tacoma’s container business dropped 16.9 percent for 2009, down to 1,545,855 TEUs from the 1,861,352 TEUs it handled in 2008.
Air freight spiked in December
Air freight traffic jumped by almost a quarter in December in a positive end to the aviation industry's worst year, showing economic recovery is picking up steam.
IATA said air cargo traffic -- a barometer of the strength of world trade -- in December was 24.4 percent higher than a year earlier. Its load factor, an industry measure of capacity utilisation, was 54.1.
But this year-on-year strength was exaggerated by an unusually weak December 2008, the low-point in the cycle.
For the full story: www.reuters.com
World’s largest ship financier sees “calm waters in 2011”
The world's largest ship financier sees budding signs of recovery for the global ship financing business, which is currently burdened by billions of euros in non-performing loans and little new business because of a broader market downturn.
"The shipping industry will remain pressured in 2010 and will return to calm waters in 2011," said Harald Kuznik, Global Head of Shipping at Hamburg-based HSH Nordbank. "We're relatively comfortably positioned."
For the complete story (subscription required): online.wsj.com/article
Thirty containers fall off ship near Key West
Approximately 30 containers fell off the deck of a cargo ship about 30 miles south of Key West.
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the accident occurred Monday afternoon. A Coast Guard aircrew spotted a few containers still floating on an initial pass Monday evening, but no containers were spotted Tuesday during a second flight.
Seaboard shipping, the company that owns the 544-foot container ship, was trying to determine the contents of the lost containers. The ship was heading back to Port of Miami, where Seaboard and Coast Guard officials would develop a plan to safely remove the cargo containers from the sea floor.
For the story source: www.miamiherald.com/news
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Importer Security Filing is launched
The Importer Security Filing, commonly referred to as "10+2" due to the data required under the rule, has officially been launched and is now enforceable through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The ISF is a result of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 that mandated development of a regulation to require additional data prior to a vessel's arrival at a U.S. port of entry.
Ocean carriers and importers must submit additional details on their U.S.-bound cargo 24 hours before it is loaded onto vessels in foreign seaports in order to help CBP identify potential high-risk cargoes.
Ship manifests have already been required in the post-9-11 era 24 hours before a ship departs foreign ports. The manifests are sent to a national center and scrutinized in the event there is suspicion of high-risk cargo
The new ISF regulation requires additional details on the origination of cargo came from, such as more information on shippers and manufacturers.
"Effective homeland security requires strengthening our capabilities to detect and deter potential acts of terrorism at our land, air and sea ports," said Secretary Napolitano. "Collecting detailed information about cargo shipped to the United States before it arrives will enhance the effectiveness of our screening operations at sea ports around the nation."
For some archived, instructive stories from Cargo Business News on ISF compliance:
Obama wants U.S. exports to double over next five years
President Barack Obama on Wednesday launched a drive to double U.S. exports over the next five years in a move that reaches out to business groups and Republicans who have criticized his inaction on trade.
"We need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America," Obama said.
"So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America," Obama said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has locked horns with Obama on healthcare and a number of other issues during his first year in office, has been urging him for months to set a national goal to double exports.
For the full story: www.reuters.com
Report: China-U.S. spot rates up 24 percent
Freight rates are recovering faster than initially projected due to a surge in January’s space demand and a shortage of containers, according to the Paris-based shipping consultancy Alphaliner.
"The high spot market rates have come at a key period as contract rates for 2010 have also strengthened," the report said.
In particular, spot rates through the U.S. West and East coasts increased 24 percent in the past three months, Alphaliner reported.
Spot rates from Shanghai to the U.S. West Coast rose 26 percent in three months and climbed17 percent to the U.S. East Coast, according to the report.
Norfolk Southern echoes cautious optimism of other Class One railroads
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC) executives said Wednesday that business conditions are improving in most of the railroad's core markets, albeit slowly.
The comments echoed similar views from Union Pacific Corp. (UNP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (BNI) and CSX Corp. (CSX), all which posted declines in overall fourth-quarter freight volume but said trends appeared to be improving.
Norfolk Southern, the last of the top four U.S. railroads to report fourth- quarter results, said its quarterly volume slipped 9% overall from the year-ago period. But the figure marked Norfolk Southern's best quarterly performance of 2009, as well as a substantial improvement from a 20% decline in the third quarter.
- CNN Money
For the full story: money.cnn.com
Ghost ship re-floated on James River
Sixty-nine days after it busted loose from its moorings and ran aground on the western bank of the James River, the 700-foot oil tanker Monongahela is afloat.
Using 900 tons of force harnessed to 6,600 feet of heavy steel chains and underground anchors, crews on Wednesday morning finally freed the 37,000-ton ship from the grip of thick mud and sand at the bottom of the James River, said Susan Clark, a spokeswoman for the federal Maritime Administration, the ship's owner.
A team of tugboats will guide the Monongahela a half-mile up the river to its place among the James River Reserve Fleet today, ending a two-month saga marked by at least five failed efforts by the government and salvage teams to pull the ship out of the muck.
- Daily Press
For the full story: www.dailypress.com
Friday, January 29, 2010
Wal-Mart restructures U.S. ops and global sourcing
Wal-Mart posted plans to reorganize business units on its corporate website, saying it would consolidate some of its U.S. operations in order to increase efficiency. The retailer said it would combine its U.S. realty division with store operations and logistics. The also said it plans to reduce its field reporting structure from major regions to three geographic business units in the west, the south and the north.
Wal-Mart announced it is also creating a new division called Global.com to oversee its e-commerce business.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has signed a $2 billion sourcing deal with Hong Kong trading company Li & Fung.
Wal-Mart said the Li & Fung deal is part of an overall strategy to allow giant retailer to reduce costs of its goods, speed them to market, and improve their quality.
"We are redefining how we source products that are imported into Wal-Mart retail markets around the globe," said Wal-Mart vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright.
Wal-Mart said its new global sourcing strategy would also include the launch of new Global Merchandising Centers, and a change in leadership and structure.
The new centers would “create an alignment between sourcing and merchandising and drive efficiencies across various merchandise categories," said Castro-Wright.
Ed Kolodzieski, currently president and CEO of Wal-Mart Japan Holdings G.K. and Seiyu, has been promoted to executive VP and will lead Walmart’s Global Sourcing, the company said.
U.S. GDP rose better-than-expected 5.7 percent in Q4
The U.S. economy surged at the end of 2009, a bigger-than-expected gain driven more by slower inventory liquidation than by consumer spending.
Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 5.7% annual rate October through December, the Commerce Department said Friday in its first estimate of fourth-quarter GDP.
Companies earlier in the year had slashed excess supplies by $139.2 billion in the third quarter and $160.2 billion in the second. The recession snuffed demand and had left storerooms and shelves bulging with unsold merchandise.
The slower fourth-quarter inventory drawdown added 3.39 percentage points to GDP.
Consumer spending, on the other hand, contributed 1.44 percentage points. Spending is the largest component of GDP, the so-called big engine of the economy. The report Friday said it rose by 2.0% in the fourth quarter. Third-quarter spending had climbed higher, rising 2.8% with the support of the government "cash-for-clunkers" subsidy program.
For the full story: online.wsj.com
MOL more than doubles profit forecast
Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. announced it has more than doubled its full-year profit forecast driven by what it said is an economic rebound for dry-bulk and container-shipping rates.
The shipping group said it expects net income of $56 million in the year ending March, compared with a previous forecast of $22 million.
The company cited “strong demand” in China for coal and iron-ore shipments are lifting bulk-shipping rates, with a forecast of oil- tanker fees climbing due to the the scrapping of single-hull vessels coupled with higher demand for petroleum.
Container-shipping rates are also rising with tighter capacity due to idled fleets and a rebound in shipping demand for that sector to the U.S. and Europe.
APL’s box business finishes 2009 up 43 percent
Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines announced its container shipping line APL handled 312,500 FEUs over the six-week period from November 14 to December 25, an increase of 43 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.
Conversely, the shipping group reported a 25 percent drop in revenue per-box at $2,189 per FEU for the same period.
"The improvement in volume was due to higher volumes on all major trade lanes. Lower average revenue per FEU was due to lower core freight rates, lower bunker recovery and changes in trade mix," NOL said in a statement.
The shipping line’s container volumes declined 7 percent for the year to 2,288,700 FEUs.
INTTRA nets $30 million investment
The shipping e-commerce company INTTRA announced it has received a $30 million investment by ABS Capital Partners $30 million.
The company said in a statement that the new funds would be used “to develop new products and services and for new market opportunities.”
“This investment follows $100 million of long term contracts with ocean carriers, now extended, and further strengthens our position as the premier global e-commerce shipping platform and a valued resource in the industry,” said Ken Bloom, CEO of INTTRA.
In 2009, INTTRA said it had a record breaking year with transactions growing to 14.1 million container orders, supported by a 34 percent annual growth in network connections. The company said it also introduced an industry “eInvoice” platform and a product aimed at NVOCCs.
With the new investment infusion, INTTRA said would develop what it termed “a new commercial strategy” that includes a dedicated sales staff for carrier and high-volume shipper accounts, and a professional services program targeted at carriers, freight forwarders and NVOs “in achieving their e-commerce objectives.”