Monday, February 1 , 2010
More container fleet tonnage to hit the seas
The world’s ocean-shipping lanes will get a little heavier with container vessel tonnage after a record year of idled vessels, according to the Paris-based consultancy AXS Alphaliner.
Israel’s container-shipping group Zim Integrated Shipping Services is expected to deploy its 8,440-TEU new build, Zim Ningbo, second of four such vessels ordered from Hyundai-Samho in 2006, on the PNX trans-Pacific loop jointly operated with the Grand Alliance carriers.
Meanwhile, the Schulte Group is scheduled to take delivery of the first of two 4,600-TEU box ships from Daewoo’s DSME shipyard. The vessel Bernhard Schulte is on long-term charter to Hamburg Sud, which will operate the ship under the name Cap Ines. The vessel is expected to join the Asia-West Coast South America service Sling 1, jointly operated by Hamburg Sud and CCNI, along with MSC and MOL.
Hamburg Sud is scheduled to take four ships in the series, two chartered and two owned, Alphaliner reported.
The German ship-owner Oltmann Schiffahrt has taken delivery of the JPO Taurus, the second of six 4,178-TEU vessels ordered in 2006 from Taiwan’s CSBC by Peter Doehle, Hammonia Reederei and JP Oltmann, according to Alphaliner.
The JPO Taurus has been chartered by UASC, which has changed the vessel’s name to UASC Ajman and has assigned it to the carrier’s Far East-Middle East (AGX) service, Alphaliner said.
Another German ship-owner, Schiffahrtskontor Warnow, has taken delivery of the Warnow Mate, the sixth vessel in a new series of 1,500-TEU container-ships built in China by the Ouhua Shipyard in Zhejiang Province. MCC Transport, the intra-Asia arm of the APM-Maersk Group, has chartered the vessel, for deployment on MCC's service that links Taiwan, South China and South East Asia (IA-7). The vessel will reportedly replace the 1,732-TEU William Strait.
Long Beach floats $1.1 bil plan to replace major port bridge
The aging Gerald Desmond Bridge could be demolished and replaced with a new $1.1 billion span under a proposal expected to be announced this week by the Port of Long Beach.
Plans call for building a cable-supported bridge with a main span of 2,000 feet and six traffic lanes that connects Terminal Island to downtown Long Beach, according to the port's draft environmental impact report. If approved, it could take up to six years to build the new bridge while trucks and commuter traffic continue to cross the old span.
The 42-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge is considered a critical link for truckers hauling goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the rest of the country.
- The Daily Breeze
For the full story: www.dailybreeze.com/news
Maersk, MSC acquire slots on Asia-Australia service
The Danish container shipping giant Maersk and Geneva-based MSC, announced they are both buying slots on the Asia-Australia AAS service operated by APL, Evergreen, Hamburg Sud, Hapag-Lloyd, and Hyundai Merchant Marine.
The upgraded AAS services will called "Yoyo" by Maersk and "New Panda" by MSC and will connect Taiwan and South China to Australia, completing the Maersk-MSC 'Boomerang/ New Wallaby' service.
Profit plunge in 2009 for China’s biggest port equipment manufacturer
Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co., China's biggest port equipment maker, said its net profit in 2009 slumped 60 percent to 70 percent due to weak demand brought about by the global economic downturn.
A decrease in the financial assets income last year also contributed to the losses, said the company in a brief statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Friday.
The company said the result had not been audited, and it would announce specific figures in the annual business report.
The share price of the Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry opened 0.94 percent lower at 9.5 Yuan (1.4 U.S. dollars) Friday morning.
For the story source: chinabiznow.com
Big Texas spill narrows waterway navigation
It's called Texas Chicken. The delicate pas de deux occurs when oncoming ships meet in the narrow channel along one of the nation's busiest commercial waterways.
A collision on Jan. 23 between an oil tanker and a chemical barge dumped more than 460,000 gallons of crude into the waterway, shutting down operations for almost five days, and imperiling the region's economy as refineries began to run dry.
The narrow channel runs along the 12-mile stretch from Texas Island, where the Intracoastal Waterway enters from the west, to the Neches River intersection at Stewts Island, where the Intracoastal continues east. That means the Intracoastal Waterway and the Sabine-Neches Ship Channel share the same narrow corridor. It is the longest such shared stretch of waterway in the nation.
And the pilots who steer the ships through the channel say it can be a nerve-wracking experience.
“You have to point at the other ship,” said Capt. Charles Tweedel, president of the Sabine Pilots Association. “At the last moment, you break away. Water pressure keeps you apart.”
For the full story: www.chron.com
Tuesday, February 2 , 2010
Port of Long Beach offers millions more dollars in incentives
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners announced preliminary approval of several million dollars in extra incentives in order to boost participation in the port’s Green Flag air quality program for vessel slowdowns, and “to increase the use of trains to move import and export cargo containers,” the port said in a statement.
The Green Flag Program incentives will double to $6 million a year if ship operators slow their vessels within 40 miles of the port. Currently, the incentives apply for voluntary vessel slowdown within a 20-mile zone, in order to decrease diesel emissions.
The port said that in 2009, the Green Flag Program helped reduce approximately 2,000 tons of pollution. The expanded incentive zone could reduce an additional 300 tons, the port said.
The port said it would also will add nearly $6 million in incentives to a program designed to attract more rail-bound containers and boost imported cargo through the Port of Long Beach.
The program, which gives fee discounts to terminal operators, was set to expire on April 30, 2010, but the port said it would extend the program through to the end of the year.
UPS’ Q4 profit more than doubled with lack of charges
United Parcel Service Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled in the absence of charges, with improved international demand also helping the shipping firm.
Shares of UPS rose 1% in early trading to $58.96. In the last 12 months the stock has risen more than 39%.
For the most recent quarter, the Atlanta-based company said it earned $757 million, or 76 cents a share, up from $254 million, or 25 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
UPS was hit by $575 million worth of charges in the fourth quarter of 2008, mostly on a goodwill impairment of its UPS Freight unit.
Sales edged down to $12.5 billion from $12.7 billion.
For the full story: www.marketwatch.com/story
ExxonMobile, TransCanada offer lower rates for shipping natural gas from North Slope
A pipeline development firm is offering a $500 million-per-year deal to draw energy companies toward its plan for a multibillion-dollar North Slope natural gas project.
The firm, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and TransCanada, would thus see less operating profit and leave more revenue on the table for customers than its two-year-old application had indicated.
TransCanada’s chief pitched specifics of the deal, included in plans filed last week with federal energy regulators, Monday at the capital.
They include changes that would lower prices for firms that sign up this spring or early summer to ship natural gas down the pipeline, if it gets built.
-Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
For the full story: newsminer.com/view
Obama’s 2011 budget calls for national infrastructure bank
President Obama's proposed fiscal 2011 budget would create a national infrastructure bank to fund major transportation projects and provide an additional $1 billion for high-speed rail projects.
As expected, the request for overall spending on the two largest federal ground transportation programs, highways and transit, remained relatively constant from the previous year. The federal highway program would receive a $200 million bump to $41.3 billion, and transit investment would climb roughly $70 million to $10.8 billion.
The infrastructure bank -- called a National Infrastructure Innovation and Finance Fund -- would be used to expand existing federal transportation investments by providing direct federal funding and seed money for large-scale capital project grants that "provide a significant economic benefit to the nation or a region."
For the full story: www.nytimes.com
Georgia governor prioritizes freight over commuter funding
Freight takes precedence over relieving commuter traffic jams as the theme of a $300 million transportation initiative being proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
A priority list submitted to the General Assembly with the governor’s fiscal 2011 bond package is top-heavy with projects aimed primarily at speeding up the movement of goods along Georgia highways.
The plan’s key element is improving the flow of trucks into and out of the Port of Savannah in time for a major widening of the Panama Canal, due for completion in 2014. The project will allow much larger ships to navigate the canal on their way to and from the nation’s fastest-growing container port.
-Atlanta Business Chronicle
For the full story: atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta
Wednesday, February 3 , 2010
Hapag-Lloyd to raise Asia-Canada rates
The German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd announced it would raise rates on cargo from Asia to Canada at $320 per TEU (U.S.), $400 per FEU, and $450 per 40-foot high cube to Vancouver, B.C. and to the Canadian East Coast, $400 per TEU, $500 per FEU and $565 per 40-foot high-cube starting March 15.
The carrier said the rate increases apply to dry and reefer cargo from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Vladivostok and Vostochny, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
UP tests long intermodal train
The Union Pacific tested an 18,061-foot long intermodal train with 295 double-stack platforms carrying a total of 618 containers, a mix of loads and empties, with a total weight of 15,498 tons from Dallas to the Port of Long Beach last month. Trains Magazine Newswire reported the train departed Dallas at 10:08AM January 8 and arrived in Long Beach via the Alameda Corridor at 4:45PM two days later.
The train was powered by nine General Electric 4,400 hp AC locomotives, three on the head end and three sets of two engines used as distributed power throughout the train.
According to the Orange Country Register, the California Public Utilities Commission expressed concerns regarding the 3.5-mile-long train and quoted CPUC spokeswoman Terrie Prosper saying, "Our safety concerns with the train in question include that there is adequate braking capacity for a train that size, that the track structure could handle the forces generated by a train of that size, and that the train not block crossings for more than 10 minutes,"
UP spokesman Tom Lange in Omaha, Neb., said the railroad was testing radio-controlled distributed power and wear and tear on wheels and rails.
-Fred McCague, CBN contributor
Russia sends cargo ship to space station
Russia launched a cargo vessel loaded with supplies for the International Space Station and its crew on Wednesday, space officials said.
The Progress M-04M entered orbit after lifting off atop a Soyuz-U rocket from the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, said Valery Lyndin, spokesman for Mission Control outside Moscow.
The supply ship is to dock at the station on Friday.
Its cargo includes water, oxygen and fuel, as well as mail and care packages for the station's crew of two Russians, two Americans and a Japanese astronaut.
The Progress M-04M will also deliver a mini-greenhouse with artificial soil that will be used for experiments in growing food, Lyndin said. One such greenhouse is already on board.
The ISS, a $100 billion project of 16 nations, is to remain in operation until at least 2015. Assembly began in 1998 and is almost complete.
For the story source: www.reuters.com/article
Thursday, February 4 , 2010
CMA-CGM gets $80 mil infusion; cutting back ship orders
French shipping group CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping line, announced it has received an $80 million infusion from lenders as the company attempts to restructure its $5.6 billion debt due in part from ordering too many ships.
The carrier said it is also in talks with South Korean shipyards to cancel 15 of 45 ships on order and is attempting to delay delivery of another 15 vessels.
"This financing is part of the overall restructuring plan whose negotiations are proceeding normally and which calls in particular for the grant of a $500 million cash facility," the company said in a statement.
"This payment is made at a time when the group's operations are continuing to show strong improvement month after month," the company said.
Moody’s downgrades Alameda Corridor
Moody's Investors Service has downgraded $1.7 billion in bonds for the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, which oversees the 20-mile rail route built to speed the flow of cargo from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to retail shelves across the U.S.
Moody's on Wednesday lowered ratings on the senior lien bonds to A3 from A2 and subordinate lien bonds to Baa1 from A3. It also put the ratings on a watch list for possible further downgrades.
Analysts said the downgrade represented the fallout from the deep global recession and what is expected to be a weak recovery late in the year.
For the full story: www.latimes.com/business
Arctic deep water port proposed in Alaska
U.S. Rep. Don Young has introduced a bill aimed at studying the potential for an Arctic deep water port.
The measure is a companion bill to one introduced in December by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Young, a fellow Alaska Republican, says the measure will provide for a two-year study to determine strategic capabilities for an Arctic port and a favorable location.
Young says the United States has the opportunity to address the prospects of future industry and can use changing Arctic conditions its advantage.
This legislation has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee.
For the story source: www.businessweek.com
FedEx Memphis hub widens gap over Hong Kong’s airport
FedEx Corp.’s home airport in Memphis, Tennessee, remained the world’s busiest for cargo for the 18th straight year as the gap with Hong Kong widened because of a drop in shipments from Asia during the global recession.
Memphis International Airport handled 3.698 million metric tons of freight in 2009, a gain of 0.04 percent from 2008, according to airport data, while Hong Kong International Airport said cargo traffic fell 7.7 percent to 3.35 million metric tons.
For the full story: www.bloomberg.com
Marijuana hidden in banana cargo at U.S.-Mexican border
Nearly a ton of marijuana worth an estimated $1.17 million was seized Monday in a shipment of bananas at the Otay Mesa cargo facility, officials said.
A 40-year-old Mexican truck driver applied to cross into the United States from Mexico about 2 p.m. Monday carrying a cargo load of bananas. Customs and Border Protection officers off-loaded the cargo and screened it with a drug dog, which alerted to the boxes, officials said.
Officers opened them and discovered thin, square wrapped packages hidden among the bananas bunches. In all, 235 packages of pot weighing nearly 1,950 pounds were discovered.
-San Diego Union Tribune
For the full story: www.signonsandiego.com/news
Correction to Feb. 3 Cargo Business Newswire story on top U.S. container import ports
On February 3rd, 2009, Zepol Corporation released a report profiling the top 50 containerized import ports for the United States for 2009. This report is based from data collected from U.S. Customs on a daily basis from the Automated Manifest System. Because of this collection method, some data will show imports into a particular port which were actually trans-shipments.
This is particularly prominent for the ports of Tacoma and Seattle as imports to and exports from Prince Rupert and Vancouver are often recorded as imports for the United States as part of the collection method. Therefore, the port of entry for some imports reported will in reality be a Canadian port.
This recording method leads to an overstatement of imports for the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. In addition, some of the consignees and carriers listed will be transporting containers through Canadian ports rather than Seattle and Tacoma.
As stated in the report, this data represents the information as it is recorded by U.S. Customs. It does include TEU quantities from empty containers, may overstate totals from transshipments, and may include other data anomalies. Zepol has posted a revision of the report with this additional information regarding Seattle and Tacoma included on www.zepol.com.
Friday, February 5 , 2010
D.O.T. Secretary lobbies Congress for $79 bil 2011 budget
Investments in safety, infrastructure, communities, high-speed rail and next-generation aviation, were the keynotes to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s statement on behalf of President Obama’s proposed $79 billion D.O.T. budget before a congressional committee on related appropriations this week.
“These resources will support the President’s top transportation priorities: improving transportation safety, investing for the future, and promoting livable communities,” LaHood said in the statement.
“Safety is and will continue to be our top priority,” the D.O.T. Secretary said; with the distracted driving issue at the heart of the presidential plan.
The budget request includes $50 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new incentive grant program to promote state laws to curtail unsafe cell phone use and eliminate texting while driving, including $7 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to staff 118 new truck safety personnel.
The proposed budget includes another $4 billion to establish the new National Infrastructure Innovation and Finance Fund (NIIFF), the first year of a 5-year plan to capitalize the fund with $25 billion to invest in projects “of regional or national significance.”
LaHood said the NIIFF would be “an important departure from the Federal Government’s traditional way of spending on infrastructure through mode-specific grants.”
The NIIFF would provide for direct resources for projects through grants or loans, or both that allow for more private capital. The projects funded under the NIIFF would be based on what LaHood termed “demonstrable merit and analytical measures of performance.”
Only the most worthwhile projects from around the nation will be selected,” he sad.
The types of projects eligible for NIIFF funding would be for multimodal projects that involved highway, transit, rail, aviation, ports and maritime elements.
“This marks a bold new way of thinking about investments in our transportation infrastructure and will become a key component of the Administration’s future surface transportation proposal,” the Secretary said.
The 2011 D.O.T. budget calls for current levels of spending at $42.1 billion proposed for highways and bridges, and another $10.8 billion for transit.
The budget proposal requests over $500 million toward investments support the President’s multi-agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
“We have joined with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency to stimulate comprehensive regional and community planning efforts that integrate transportation, housing, energy and other critical investments,” LaHood said.
The FY 2011 plan also includes a $275 million increase from 2010 levels to over $1 billion in FY2011 for “NextGen,” a program aimed at modernizing the U.S. air traffic control system.
“The funds requested under the fiscal year 2011 budget request will support the transformation from a national ground-based radar surveillance system to a more accurate, satellite-based surveillance system,” said LaHood.
The Secretary also referenced a proposed $1 billion new high-speed rail network.
“This request builds on the historic $8 billion down payment provided through the Recovery Act, and continues the five year, $5 billion pledge made in the fiscal year 2010 budget. The $2.5 billion your Committee provided the Department for high speed rail grants last year along with our recent announcements of the first awards of the High Speed Rail Program that will put us one step closer to making High Speed Rail a reality,” LaHood said.
Included in the budget request is $26 million for capital improvements to facilities at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point.
“They are old and badly in need of basic repair,” the Secretary said.
CN to develop $93 mil Calgary Logistics Park
The Canadian National railroad announced plans to develop its new 680-acre, $93 million (US) Calgary Logistics Park in Conrich, located in Rocky View County north east of Calgary.
The complex would include an intermodal terminal with space for customers to co-locate within.
The logistics park would also include a multi commodity trans-load and warehouse facility, an automotive compound, and a liquid bulk trans-load and distribution facility.
“We are very excited about business prospects in Alberta and this investment in the Calgary area,” said Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer.
“This facility is part of our program to grow a network of logistics parks that provide seamless and efficient transportation and distribution capabilities for customers, linking their facilities across North America,” Mongeau said.
Calgary is the third largest distribution center in Canada, the CN said in a statement, and is becoming a logistics hub for Western Canada.
The CN said the Logistics Park would offer the potential for over two million square feet of warehousing and distribution space for customers “who need to distribute their goods across Western Canada, whether sourced from Asia through the West Coast or coming from eastern Canada and the US.”
The CN said the scheduled opening of the logistics complex is projected for 2013.
Long Beach port releases revised bridge replacement EIR
The Port of Long Beach released a revised draft environmental impact report (EIR) on the proposed $1.1 billion replacement for the 40-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge.
The port said the EIR will be available for public review and comment for 45 days, and two public hearings are scheduled for Feb. 17 and 24, and all information is available at: www.polb.com/bridge.
The revised bridge EIR includes the provision of three traffic lanes plus emergency lanes in both directions, in order to better accommodate cars and trucks.
The proposal specifies the bridge would be higher to allow for larger, more full-laden ships to pass beneath un-impeded.
The port said the bridge project would generate about $2.8 billion in economic activity and provide an average of 4,000 jobs a year over the projected five-year construction period.
Michigan appeals to Supreme Court over Chicago shipping locks decision
The state of Michigan is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to not close Chicago-area shipping locks due to concern over Asian carp in the Great Lakes.
Michigan State Attorney General Mike Cox said justices denied the original request without the knowledge that scientists had detected genetic material from the carp in Lake Michigan for the first time.
Solicitor General Elena Kagan has reportedly acknowledged that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were informed of the DNA findings on Jan. 15 but did not inform the Supreme Court until right after the Jan. 19 ruling.
According to the state’s group of scientists, further establishment of the carp in the Great Lakes would destroy the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.
New York court upholds state regs on ballast water
A New York appeals court on Thursday upheld state regulations requiring ships to replace their ballast water at least 50 nautical miles offshore from its waterways to prevent bringing in dangerous, invasive species
The Appellate Division panel rejected challenges from shipping companies and port officials, saying the federal Clean Water Act permits a state to add conditions to federal vessel discharge permits.
The four justices said the coalition of maritime trade interests "fail to allege anything other than economic harm to themselves or speculative ecological injury to the general public."
For the full story: www.businessweek.com