Monday, January 28, 2013
Mexico's demand steadily increases for U.S. exports
U.S. exports have been slowly increasing since the economy bottomed out in 2009, and some of the upswing is due to Mexican demand.
In 2009 the U.S. exported $1.5 trillion worth of goods globally. In 2011, that number increased to $2.1 trillion in exports, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
With the exception of Mexico, almost every major trading partner dropped their U.S. import buying by at least 5 percent.
In 2012, Mexican-based companies imported $199.9 billion worth of U.S. goods and services as of the end of the November, up from $198.3 billion in all of 2011, $163.4 billion in 2010 and $128.8 billion in 2009. In 2002, Mexico imported $97.4 billion from the U.S.
The Mexican economy is improving, and the redistribution of global manufacturing away from China is benefitting Mexico even more. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Mexico, trade there is up 377 percent since 1993. NAFTA began in 1994.
The top U.S. exports to Mexico in 2011 were electrical machinery ($32.3 billion), capital goods/equipment ($31.5 billion), mineral fuel and oil ($23.6 billion), vehicles ($18.1 billion), and plastic ($12.7 billion). Farm products to Mexico totaled $18.3 billion in 2011, making it the third largest U.S. agricultural export market behind China and the E.U.
Computer accessories exports to Mexico in 2011 were $12.2 billion, improved from $8.7 billion in 2010. Telecommunications equipment exports to our southern neighbor were $6.06 billion in 2011, up from $5.6 billion in 2010.
Auto parts exports to Mexico were up to $15.6 billion in 2011 from $12.6 billion in 2010.
U.S. exports also rose last year to France and Russia.
For more of the Forbes story: forbes.com
Chinese exporters face "rising protectionism"
Chinese manufacturers will likely experience growing trade protectionism around the globe that will lower the country's export figures, a leading think tank said Friday.
Although some figures suggest export activity has started to rise in recent months, Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, forecasted the country's exports will be worse than last year.
Wei, a former vice-minister of commerce, said China will launch further measures to stabilize its export levels, including increasing tax rebates and reducing relevant fees and logistics costs.
Wei said China should "push forward with its urbanization process and expand domestic consumption" to increase economic growth, which he said will slow further this year to 7.5 percent, from last year's 7.8 percent.
Statistics from the General Administration of Customs indicate that China's foreign trade in 2012 grew by 6.2 percent year over year to $3.86 trillion, lower than the 10 percent target set for 2012.
Both exports and imports posted their lowest growth rates in ten years, with the exception of 2009.
"This year, China's exports will not be better than previous years. In fact, they will be worse, as the European debt problems remain in limbo, and continuation of quantitative easing in the US remains a potential threat to China's shipments," said Wei, a guest economist for China Daily.
For more of the China Daily story: usa.chinadaily.com.cn
Port of Tacoma volumes up 16 percent for 2012
Container volumes at the Port of Tacoma rose 16 percent and break bulk cargo volumes were 68 percent higher in 2012.
Tacoma handled 1.7 million TEUs in 2012, its best showing in four years.
Agricultural products and bulk commodities drove export container volumes up approximately 22 percent for the year to 457,078 TEUs.
The increase reflects the addition of the Grand Alliance and its associated carriers in July, as well as higher volumes from established customers. The new Grand Alliance business helped increase container carrier calls by 10 percent.
For more of the Tacoma Weekly story: tacomaweekly.com
Alibaba and partners to invest $16 billion in domestic Chinese logistics network
Alibaba Group and its partners will spend $16 billion in the first phase of building a logistics network, according to a local paper.
The group, which runs China's largest e-commerce platforms, will take approximately 8 to 10 years to build the network, which would allow the delivery of products across China within 24 hours, Beijing News said. Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba Group, will chair the new unit.
"This is consistent with what we've said in the past that logistics is a key industry bottleneck for e-commerce growth in China and that everyone involved in this sector needs to work together to drive rapid development," an Alibaba spokeswoman said in an email to Reuters.
For more of the Reuters story: reuters.com
Fishermen discover loaded cargo ship with no one on board
Some fishermen in the waters off Quang Binh province in central Vietnam, spotted an unmanned cargo ship carrying thousands of tons of goods drifting at sea.
After two days, a group of fishing ships towed the cargo ship to the shore of Hoang Truong commune, Hoang Hoa district.
The fishermen found the ship Haidong 27 abandoned and adrift at sea and nearly submerged.
Previously, the Vietnam News Agency had reported that on the night of January 20, Hai Dong 27, carrying more than 3,000 tons of cargo from Cu Lao Cham to Hai Phong, had its engine room breached in the sea of Quang Binh province and water flowed into the vessel. The 13 crewmembers were rescued.
For more of the VietNamNet Bridge story: english.vietnamnet.vn
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
ILA and USMX talks approach Feb. 6 deadline
The International Longshoremen's Association and United States Maritime Alliance resumed federally mediated contract negotiations last week.
The two sides are attempting to come to a resolution before the new deadline, extended just before the New Year to avert a Dec. 30 strike. Failure to meet or extend the new deadline, Feb. 6 at 11:59 p.m., could result in a lock out or strike that could cripple U.S. trade.
The regional contract negotiations held last week between the ILA and the New York Shipping Association reportedly ended Friday after ILA President Harold Daggett restated his opposition to the NYSA's proposed changes in work rules, according to a trade alert from 3PL OHL.
Work rules at the Port of New York and New Jersey have been a key issue in this year's negotiations. The terminal operators want to change legacy provisions that require excess staffing and pay for workers who aren't on the job. The ILA says the proposed changes are too extreme.
Both sides have said a deal on a master contract for the 14,500 longshoremen working at East and Gulf Coast ports depends on the settlement of local contracts led by the one New York-New Jersey contract, said OHL.
U.S. experiencing manufacturing rebound on cheap energy
The U.S. is experiencing a manufacturing revival due to cheap energy, the weak dollar and stagnant wages.
After World War II, the U.S. manufactured 40 percent of the world's goods, but due to decades of outsourcing, that figure has dropped to 18 percent. But rising wages and the high cost of industrial space in Asia, coupled with the new U.S. boom of cheap oil and gas extracted from shale, makes our factories more competitive globally.
Recently, companies such as Apple, Caterpillar, Ford, General Electric and Whirlpool are turning that around, creating more of their products in the U.S. again. Foreign companies, including Samsung and Toyota, are also upping their investment in American manufacturing.
The biggest beneficiaries of the manufacturing upswing are companies with high-energy consumption like chemical producers and steelmakers, according to Barron's. Barron's has identified eight stocks likely to benefit, including Southwestern Energy, Lyondell Basell Industries, Nucor, Dover, Calpine, CF Industries, Williams, and Union Pacific.
By 2020, the U.S. will become the planet's largest oil producer, says the International Energy Agency.
The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas," declares Nancy Lazar, co-head of the New York research firm International Strategy & Investment. "And Middle America is my favorite emerging market."
For more of the Barron's story: online.barrons.com
Georgia Ports volume up 11.7 percent in December
The Georgia Ports Authority increased total tonnage in December 2012 by 11.7 percent increase, and a 21.8 percent hike in auto and machinery units compared with 2011, according to a port statement.
"Our total volume of 2.27 million tons puts December among the top 10 months on record and the highest performing December ever," said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. He said the figure was " boosted in part by outstanding growth in sectors such as bulk and Roll-on/Roll-off cargo."
The port handled 219,128 TEUs in December, an improvement of 2.2 percent, or 4,656 units, over the previous year.
Colonel's Island in Brunswick and Savannah's Ocean Terminal moved a combined 54,884 auto and machinery units, an increase of 18.2 percent, making December the fifth busiest month on record for Roll-on/Roll-off cargo.
Toyota regains top spot as world's largest car manufacturer
Toyota Motor Corporation took back the top spot as the world's largest automobile manufacturer in 2012.
Since Toyota sold a record 9.75 million vehicles last year, a 23 percent improvement from 2011 sales figures. The company took back the "largest manufacturer" title from General Motors, which sold 9.29 million vehicles in 2012, and successfully competed with strong contender Volkswagen, which sold 9.07 million.
Increased demand for Toyota's Prius hybrids, the Camry, and its SUVs such as the Lexus RX 350 helped the company attain the number one spot, a position it held from 2008 to 2010. Prior to that time period, GM had been the world's largest manufacturer for more than 70 years.
The company was also aided by the weaker yen, which will help boost the company's quarterly profits, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For more of the Wall Street Cheat Sheet: wallstcheatsheet.com
Four sailors go to hospital at Port of Wilmington due to chemical spill
Four crewmembers from a ship at the State Port of Wilmington went to the hospital Monday due to a possible chemical leak at the port.
The Wilmington Fire Department was dispatched, and found there was no leak.
Investigators said there had been a leak on the ship about ten days ago at another port but it had been cleaned up.
Wilmington Fire Department says four sailors from the ship took a cab to the hospital due to some residual effects from the previous spill.
For more of the WWAY 3 story: wwaytv3.com
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Container shipping mergers improve market share, access to funding
Mergers may be the next wave in container shipping, as companies try to protect themselves from current low rates and overcapacity and improve access to funding.
Germany's Hapag-Lloyd AG, the globe's sixth-largest container line, is in merger talks with Hamburg Sued, which ranks No. 12, to create the world's fourth-largest carrier. Only Maersk Line, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co. would have greater capacity.
The top four lines control 41 percent of the world's container capacity, according to data provider Alphaliner SA.
"Container shipping is the epicenter of economies of scale, so if you are able to lower your unit cost per box that you handle you may be able to get a small profit when your competitors run a deficit," said Peter Sand, an analyst at BIMCO shipping association. "That will give you the upside."
Much of the potential consolidation has already taken place, according to Sand. Maersk has taken over lines such as Sea-Land Services' container operations and Royal P&O Nedlloyd. Evergreen Marine Corp. has acquired Uniglory and Italia Marittima in the past few decades. And CMA CGM was created through the merger of Cie. Maritime d'Affretement and CGM in 1996, and then acquired Australia's ANL in 1998.
Some carriers without strong government ties "may find themselves in an extremely difficult financial situation where a merger with a more financially sound partner may be one of the only ways going forward," said Sand, declining to comment on what container carriers may be merger candidates.
Mergers also enhance financing possibilities for beleaguered lines. "The key is relatively easier access to funding," said Rahul Kapoor, analyst at Drewry Maritime Equity Research. "Capital markets like size."
For more of the Bloomberg story: bloomberg.com
U.S. economy unexpectedly contracts in Q4 on low exports, military spending
The U.S. economy experienced an unexpected contraction of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to low exports and a drop in military spending, the worst contraction since the financial crisis hit in 2009.
In addition to a decline in military spending and exports and retail inventories, economists attribute the contraction to uncertainly caused by the political impasse in Congress.
After 3.1 percent annual growth recorded for the third quarter, Wall Street expected slower growth for the fourth, but the negative finding caught financiers off guard. Most economists were expecting a 1.1 growth rate.
"I'm a little surprised," said Michael Feroli, chief United States economist at JPMorgan. "It grabs your attention when you have a negative number across everyone's screens."
For the whole year of 2012, the economy grew by 2.2 percent, a small improvement from the 1.8 percent annual rate in 2011.
For more of the New York Times story: nytimes.com
Seat opens on Port of Seattle Commission
A seat is open on the five-member Port of Seattle Commission to replace Gael Tarleton, who quit after being elected to the state House of Representatives.
Although commissioners of the Port of Seattle are usually elected, since the resignation occurred between election cycles the position will be appointed by existing commissioners Bill Bryant, John Creighton, Rob Holland and Tom Albro. The appointee, as the incumbent, should have an advantage in November elections.
The part-time commissioner's job is primarily to foster trade and job creation in the region. The Port of Seattle owns Seattle's marine cargo terminals, Fisherman's Terminal, Shilshole Marina and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Commissioner applications are due by noon, Friday, Feb. 1. Commissioner Albro said the commission would choose 20 semifinalists by Feb. 5, reduce it to six or fewer by Feb. 14, have them appear at public forums on Feb. 26 and 27, and make the appointment March 5.
For more of the Seattle Times story: seattletimes.com
Vancouver B.C. port approves $200 million coal terminal project
Port Metro Vancouver has sanctioned a $200 million expansion project at North Vancouver's Neptune Bulk Terminals designed to double the terminal's coal export capacity.
The decision, concerning the first of two applications from Neptune, will help the port authority that will help secure Metro Vancouver's role as the largest coal export hub in North America.
It comes at a time when public awareness is growing over coal exports, the role coal plays in global warming, and the port's procedure in approving the expansions in-house.
Neptune will double its capacity from 8.5 million tons of coal a year to 18.5 million tons. The terminal ships metallurgical coal used for making steel, but it has become involved in the controversy over thermal coal exports sparked by an application from Fraser Surrey Docks to build a terminal on the Fraser River for exporting North American thermal coal to Asia.
Opponents are concerned about pollution and the health impacts of coal.
"Balancing the port's mandate to facilitate Canada's trade and taking into consideration technical and environmental information, as well as municipal, community and First Nations input, Port Metro Vancouver has made an informed decision to approve both Neptune project permits," said the port in a statement.
For more of the Global BC story: globaltvbc.com
Report: U.S. Customs and Border Protection struggles with employee corruption
A new internal report documents the turf wars and internal conflict at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that reveals corruption within its ranks.
The report, which has been kept secret for more than a year, shows the failure of the 60,000-person agency to order its disciplinary processes to break through the "code of silence" that protects corrupt customs workers, obscuring the depth of the problem.
The 80-page report conducted by the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute underscores issues at Customs that go back to 2004.
The Mexican crime syndicate has increased bribes to U.S. employees, as thousands of new agents were brought on to expand the Southwest border fence and surveillance security. The syndicate has tried to infiltrate the agency with its own operatives at least 15 times, the report says.
Since 2010, all new applicants must take a polygraph test. Prospective hires have confessed to drug trafficking, human smuggling and other crimes, according to examples the agency provided to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Since Oct. 2004, 147 agency officers and agents have been charged with or convicted of corruption-related offenses, from taking bribes to allowing drugs into the U.S. to stealing money. About a 12 of those cases were discovered in 2012.
For more of the Daily Beast story: thedailybeast.com
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Virginia Senate votes to prohibit unsolicited bids at Port of Virginia
The Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday sanctioned an initiative that would prohibit the Port of Virginia from receiving unsolicited proposals, such as the one APM Terminals solicited in May to run Virginia port terminals.
Under the new law, the Virginia Port Authority could still enter public-private partnerships and would be able to seek them out if the Port Authority Board thinks such an arrangement would benefit the running of port facilities.
"What we're trying to do here is allow the Virginia Port Authority to act more like a business – understanding that this is global, competitive environment," said state Senator Frank Wagner, the bill's sponsor.
Senator John Watkins said when the Public-Private Transportation Act passed selling the port wasn't part of the conversation.
The Public-Private Transportation Act is a measure that allows the commonwealth to enter into agreements with private companies on major state transportation project without the feedback of the General Assembly.
In May APM submitted an unsolicited multi-billion dollar bid to take over running the Port of Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell was enthusiastic about the proposal, and opened up the process for other companies to make similar bids.
The VPA will vote in late March whether to accept one of the bids it received to relinquish state control of the ports facilities.
APM's senior vice president for legal and regulatory affairs John Crowley asked members of the committee not to pass the measure. The law wouldn't make a difference to the APM bid, since it doesn't become law until July 1. There are measures working their way through the House of Delegates, however, which may stop a deal from going forward.
For more of the Daily Press story: dailypress.com
New Delaware law may destroy Wilmington port deal
Delaware lawmakers might have thwarted a Port of Wilmington privatization agreement by imposing a new mandate for legislative review, said a Kinder Morgan official to investment analysts Wednesday.
Port directors are supposed to meet with Kinder Morgan about the deal on Friday. Government and port officials would not release details on their negotiations with Kinder Morgan.
Governor Jack Markell has stated that the partnership could lead to big new private investment in the facility, including a possible $500 million expansion onto the Delaware River shoreline.
Lawmakers may have ruined the deal last week with a vote that requires a House-Senate Bond Bill Committee review of any port deal, with automatic rejection if the full General Assembly does not act on the committee's findings within 30 days.
"We were very disappointed in the decision by the Legislature this past week, which we think may end up killing the deal," John Schlosser, president-elect of Kinder Morgan terminals, said during a conference call Wednesday. Schlosser said that Kinder Morgan is investigating six such port facility spinoffs after he was asked about the Wilmington deal.
For more of the Delaware Online story: delawareonline.com
Japan factory output improves despite lower PMI
In December 2012, Japan's factory output rose to its highest level in 18 months, bringing hopes of a rebound after a period of weak exports. Industry analysts believe global economic stability will steadily improve and strengthen manufacturing production in the coming months.
The country's manufacturing output rose at the disappointing rate of 2.5 percent in December. Reuters analysts had forecast Japan's factory output at 4.5 percent.
"The results are not that bad and the forecasts show that production could continue to grow at a good pace," Shuji Tonouchi, senior fixed income strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, said to Reuters. "We can say that production is bottoming out. Overseas economies are not likely to deteriorate any further, so this will support Japanese production and the overall economy."
The headline Purchasing Managers Index climbed to 47.7 in January from 45.0 in December, which was the lowest growth rate in three years. Any reading below 50 indicates an economic contraction.
The figures showed "a lack of market demand, both at home and abroad in January. New order volumes again fell at a sharp rate, with order books deteriorating across all three market groups covered by the survey," Markit said.
For more of the International Business Times story: ibtimes.com
Gypsy moths discovered on cargo ship at Port of Tacoma
Inspectors discovered Asian gypsy moth eggs January 23 on a cargo ship at the Port of Tacoma, according to Customs and Border Protection.
The ship was moved to international waters for cleaning. A cleaning company extracted 275 egg masses from the surface of the ship. The vessel was then inspected again and allowed to dock in Tacoma to unload cargo.
The moths that laid the eggs were evidently attracted to lights on the ship when it was in port in East Asia.
The caterpillars would have threatened Northwest forests and urban trees and other plants if allowed to hatch.
For more of the News Tribune story: thenewstribune.com
Cargo ship captain rescued in New York Harbor
The New York Police rescued a cargo ship captain who had a heart attack while aboard his vessel.
The NYPD received a distress call at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday night from aboard the Grey Shark, which was docked at New York Harbor north of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The 60-year-old captain from Egypt was having a heart attack.
Detective Robert Brager, a medic with the Emergency Services Unit, was able to stabilize Captain Aly Akl before the rescue helicopter arrived.
For more of the Fox NY story: myfoxny.com