Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for February 1 through February 5, 2016:
Monday, February 1, 2016
Port of Oakland tackles truck turn times
According to the Port of Oakland Efficiency Task Force, users want trucks to get in and out of its marine terminals in less time. They said a group of cargo owners, terminal operators, labor representatives and others called for a 90-minute maximum wait time for harbor drivers.
Timely cargo flow has emerged as a concern for shippers as Oakland container volume grows. Some say drivers wait more than two hours at marine terminals to pick up loads.
"If we're going to be the best port on the West Coast of the U.S., let's shoot for this target," said Scott Taylor, head of the Task Force's metrics subcommittee and CEO of GSC Logistics, one of the largest trucking firms at the Port of Oakland. "There's a lot of work to do, but we can get there."
Trucker turn times were one of several measurement benchmarks proposed by the Task Force, according to the port statement. Another included a call for at least 80 percent of the port's chassis fleet to be available at all times.
The Task Force has proposed the following targets:
Truckers should wait no more than 45 minutes to complete a single transaction such as picking up imports or delivering exports
Drivers should wait no more than 90 minutes for dual transactions
Task Force members, all port stakeholders, said measurement standards are needed to improve cargo-handling speed and efficiency.
The Efficiency Task Force said it's also exploring a mandatory appointment system for the port's marine terminals. The system would require truck drivers to schedule a time to pick up or drop off containers. Its goal: shorten queues that often form outside terminal gates.
Georgia port opens new truck gate
The Georgia Ports Authority kicked off a new, eight-lane truck gate this week, while also opening up an additional 30 acres of storage for empty containers at its Garden City Terminal.
"Adding 700,000 additional TEUs over the past 24 months without congestion is the result of hard work and effective planning," said COO Griff Lynch. "This latest addition to our infrastructure will help ensure Savannah remains best in class."
The GPA board recently approved $55 million in additional infrastructure, which includes $8.2 million to complete the third and final phase of the new Mason Empty Depot next to the Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, the on-port rail yard serving Norfolk Southern Railroad.
A growing number of empty containers continues to place a strain on terminal yard operations, GPA executive director Curtis Foltz told his board.
"The delivery this week of the first two phases of the Mason Empty Depot alleviates this strain and frees up working dock space and adjacent container yards, allowing for more efficient movement of containers to and from vessels," Foltz said.
The new depot will add more than 1,500 container slots and increase capacity 8 percent.
Lynch said the authority will be ramping up use of the new $27 million gate as the Georgia Department of Transportation widens and adds a center turn lane to Grange Road, which will bring trucks from Jimmy DeLoach Parkway into the terminal. Construction on Grange Road improvements should be complete by 2018, he said.
CMA CGM makes vessel-sharing deal with Iran shipping line
France's CMA CGM, the globe’s third-largest container carrier, signed a vessel sharing deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
The preliminary agreement between CMA CGM and IRISL, signed during a visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, covers vessel capacity sharing, joint operating of routes, and cooperation in using port terminals, the French government said in a statement.
Cooperation would focus on sharing capacity between CMA CGM and IRISL’s vessels, the French group said in a separate statement, adding that the agreement was subject to other sanctions that are still in place.
"The progressive lifting of sanctions should bring strong growth in trade between Iran and the rest of the world. This agreement opens new opportunities for CMA CGM to expand in this region," it said.
CMA CGM and Evergreen of Taiwan, the world’s No. 4 player, were the first to resume direct services to Iran last August.
The French group now operates three direct services to and from Iran, linking the country to Africa, Asian and India. It separately offers indirect services from northern Europe and the Mediterranean to Iran, done through transhipments via the United Arab Emirates, it said.
MSC of Switzerland, the world’s second biggest line, restarted port calls in Iran in late December, while United Arab Shipping Company said last week it had resumed business with Iran. Market leader Maersk is looking at resuming services.
CMA CGM, controlled by the Saade family, is set to reinforce its global reach after agreeing in December to acquire Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, a deal it says will help it overcome a shipping downturn.
MSC Rail, a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Company, announced it has completed the acquisition CP Carga and has taken control of the management of the rail-based freight operator.
"We have now the chance to put our strategic plan in action, to drive the company towards a bright future and develop it into a major player in the Iberian Peninsula in the coming years," said Giuseppe Prudente, chief logistics officer at MSC. "The acquisition and the related investments demonstrate MSC’s unwavering commitment to Portugal and the development of its logistics sector."
CP Carga - Logística e Transportes Ferroviários de Mercadorias is the second largest rail-based freight operator on the Iberian Peninsula. MSC said the deal represents an investment of $57 million, of which $55 million will be used to recapitalize the newly acquired company.
Listing cargo ship drifts in rough seas off French coast
A cargo ship listing nearly 90 degrees is drifting empty off the coast of France, as maritime workers wait for calmer seas to tow the ship to shore.
The captain of the capsized Modern Express, sailing with a load of wood in the Bay of Biscay, 180 miles off the coast of France, sent out a distress call Tuesday and its crew of 22 was evacuated by Spanish helicopters.
The ship was travelling from Gabon, in Africa, to the northern French port of Le Havre.
One-day wildcat strike shuts down New York/New Jersey port terminals
Photo credit: Robert Sciarrino / NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
More than 4,000 longshoremen unexpectedly walked off the job Friday morning (1-29), shutting down the port terminals both in New Jersey and New York, causing truck traffic to immediately start backing up throughout Port Newark and Port Elizabeth.
Container terminals reopened Friday night after the one-day wildcat strike. There was no explanation for the walkout, since it was not sanctioned by the union, and an arbitrator ruled that it was in violation of the contract between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the the New York Shipping Association.
The New York Shipping Association, which represents the terminal operators, ocean carriers, and stevedores, said Monday would be a normal day.
Port officials were taken by surprise by Friday’s labor action, and were unsure what precipitated it.
"We do know it's an illegal walk-off," said Phoebe Sorial, general counsel for the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. "We did not hear about it beforehand and we don't know why it's happening."
Even the ILA was uncertain at first about that triggered the wildcat strike. Union spokesman Jim McNamara said there is some anger by the rank-and-file over what they see as interference by the Waterfront Commission in their collective bargaining agreement.
"They see the commission as a threat to their livelihood, making life miserable for longshore-men," McNamara said. "They have gone way beyond their role of licensing to break down the gains of the ILA."
McNamara said dockworkers were protesting the commission’s interference in hiring and harassment of ILA members. He said dockworkers were also worried about chassis jurisdiction and automation.
At the APM Terminal in New Jersey, a large group of dockworkers gathered outside the gates of the shipping company, but none would talk about why they had walked off the job at Port Elizabeth.
Late in the evening, the ILA put out a statement urging its members to return to work.
"We have heard your voices, we have heard your concerns, and we have taken action on your behalf," the union said in a statement. "We urge all ILA members to return to work and will continue to report to you on the progress we make resolving all concerns of our hard working and dedicated ILA workforce."
The port was effectively shut down after Port Authority of New York and New Jersey moved to stop incoming truck traffic, although police reported that local access roads throughout the morning were a standstill, with thousands of trucks idled. Officials said no ships were being unloaded.
The Waterfront Commission, which can lift a dockworker's license to work for any number of rules violations, said it has opened a probe into what sparked the sudden labor action, and who may have been responsible.
XPO Logistics cuts 170 jobs at former Con-way trucking firm
XPO Logistics has eliminated 190 jobs from the former Con-way Inc. trucking firm it acquired last fall, the company announced, reducing about 1 percent of its North American workforce, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The reductions were mainly in administration, management and back-office positions, and were part of a planned effort to blend the Con-way operations with other businesses XPO has acquired in recent years.
"We’re continuing on executing the plan we announced, to take out a couple hundred million dollars or so out of costs and improve profits," said Bradley Jacobs, XPO’s chairman and chief executive. "It’s all about becoming a leaner, more results-oriented operation. The plan is very much on track. Integration is off to a great start."
XPO acquired Con-way, one of the largest trucking companies in the U.S., for $3 billion last October, capping a series of large purchases that have built XPO into a $14 billion business.
CMA CGM recently deployed new services linking to Reunion Island, its new maritime hub in the Indian Ocean.
The French shipping giant says it is offering 5 weekly calls (compared to 3 previously), linking Reunion Island with Europe, Australia, Asia, India, East Africa, West Africa and South Africa.
The weekly NEMO service now allows direct links between Europe, Reunion Island and Australia. CMA CGM says it offers one of the best transit times on the market combined to a fixed day schedule arriving on arrival on Wednesdays: Reunion Island is only 16 days from the Port of Fos and 21 days from the Port of le Havre.
With 2 weekly calls, MIDAS is the only service linking the Reunion Island to East Africa, South Africa, West Africa, Arabian Peninsula and India.
The MASCAREIGNES line offers a weekly service between the Reunion Island, Mauritius, and Madagascar. Thanks to connections with other Group’s services, all locations within the Indian Ocean are served.
The MOZEX service offers a direct connection between the Indian Ocean and Asia via CMA CGM’s Port Kelang hub in Malaysia.
Teamsters laud agreement ending misclassification at Port of Oakland
Construction truck drivers at the Port of Oakland will be protected from employee misclassification and receive the prevailing wage, thanks to an enhanced project labor agreement (PLA) passed unanimously by the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners on Thursday, according to a statement from the Teamsters.
Under the agreement, they say, trucking brokers must commit to pay construction truck drivers the prevailing wage, as well as adhere to workplace safety, health and environmental standards. Trucking brokers and contractors will no longer be able to misclassify their drivers as "independent contractors," a common scheme utilized in construction trucking to avoid labor and employment rights.
An employee's status as an independent contractor can now be challenged through a grievance panel and ultimately arbitration if needed. This will ensure that drivers are classified and paid according to the law.
The arbitration process allows for faster resolution of misclassification claims and, under the PLA, arbitrators will apply California law, including its provisions for awards for attorneys' fees. If an arbitrator finds in favor of employee status, the worker will be made whole, properly classified as an employee and become entitled to all of the benefits negotiated under the PLA.
"We are going to work aggressively to have this language adopted in other project labor agreements. The Port of Oakland was a national leader when it passed the original Maritime and Aviation Project Labor Agreement in 2000. Again, today, these enhancements to that agreement position the Port of Oakland as a strong leader and model for labor relations," said Rome Aloise, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7.
The agreement also includes increased apprenticeship and local hiring goals to help workers transition into union construction careers.
Cargo ship set to hit French coast if last rescue attempt fails
A team of experts were expected to make a final attempt on Monday to salvage a cargo ship that’s been adrift off the coast of France for five days and now seems fated to run aground.
High winds and 20-foot waves over the weekend made rescue attempts of the Modern Express impossible.
Vice Admiral Emmanuel De Oliveira of the Atlantic Maritime Prefecture said a final effort to attach a towing cable to the 540-foot vessel, which is listing at a steep angle, is set for dawn on Monday. If that failed, he said, the vessel would run aground in south-west France by Tuesday night.
Spanish helicopters evacuated the 22 crew members on Tuesday of last week after the ship, carrying 3,600 tons of wood and equipment, sent out a distress call.
Oakland port operator files for bankruptcy after departure of Ports America
Outer Harbor Terminal LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday (2-1-2016), two weeks after terminating its lease held in a joint venture with Ports America.
Last month, Ports America, one of the largest marine cargo operators in the country, said it was shifting its business from the Oakland port to other cities along the West Coast, including Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In a Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Outer Harbor Terminal, which operates part of the Oakland port, listed both assets and liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million.
Virginia Port Authority signs 40-year lease for Richmond Marine Terminal
The City of Richmond and the Virginia Port Authority signed a 40-year lease this week to continue operations at the Richmond Marine Terminal through 2056, strengthening the region's ability to transport freight along the James River to nearby interstates.
A new $4.2 million 350-ton harbor crane is one of the first steps in the port’s effort to reinvest and modernize the 121-acre barge terminal. The crane will expedite the loading and unloading of the container barge that calls RMT three times a week; the barge links RMT with the Port of Virginia’s container terminals in Norfolk Harbor. The crane was purchased with a grant from the federal government.
"What truly cleared the way for the purchase of this crane was the work of the TPO (Richmond Transportation Planning Organization) and the City of Richmond’s ability to take a long-term view, so that we can redevelop the facility, create efficiency in the cargo operation and continue to market this facility to the world’s ocean carriers, beneficial cargo owners," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the VPA. "That lease term allows us to begin implementing a long-term strategic plan for RMT that includes reinvesting in the terminal, collaborating with the city on marketing the facility and positioning RMT so that it becomes a catalyst for job creation, investment and economic development in the Greater Richmond area."
The terminal (formerly known as "The Port of Richmond") sits on 121 acres along the west bank of the James River and has more than 300,000 square feet of warehouse space.
Major cargoes calling Richmond have included pharmaceuticals, paper, machinery, consumer goods, frozen food, steel, stone and more.
Australian port operator Qube makes $6.3 billion bid for port operator Asciano
The Australian port operator Qube said it has formalized an offer to buy Asciano, another Australian port and railroad operator, for about $6.3 billion.
Qube, as part of a consortium that includes New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and CIC Capital of China, offered 6.97 Australian dollars, or about $4.90, in cash, plus one Qube share for each Asciano share. That amounts to about 9 billion Australian dollars.
The consortium made a nonbinding proposal in November, after Asciano agreed in August to be acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, a Toronto-based investment firm, for $6.6 billion. Asciano said then that its board unanimously recommended Brookfield’s bid, although it was not clear whether regulators would approve that deal.
The board said that it was considering the latest bid from Qube, but it added that it continued to unanimously favor Brookfield’s offer.
Pelindo III to revamp 7 ports in eastern Indonesia
State-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia III (Pelindo III) has set aside at least $72.4 million to revamp seven seaports in the nation’s eastern region.
Pelindo III president director Djarwo Surjanto said three ports are located in East Nusa Tenggara (Kalabahi Port, Lorens Say Maumere Port and Waingapu Port), while one is in West Nusa Tenggara (Sape Port in Bima), two are in Central Kalimantan (Sampit Port and Kumai Pangkalan Bun Port) and another is in South Kalimantan (Kota Baru Port).
"Currently, those seven ports are in poor condition and unsafe. Maumere Port, for example, is located too close to cargo loading and unloading terminals and therefore it is unsafe (for passengers). We have to relocate some passenger ports," Djarwo said.
Pelindo III’s operational and business development director Rahmat Satria said the renovation work would depend on the availability of funds.
"If we are able to use a state capital injection [PMN] as initially planned, the renovation work at the ports could be completed in 2017. If we use internal cash, the renovations may take longer, until 2018 or 2019," Rahmat said.
The company originally planned to use a state capital injection to finance the revamp. However, as the House of Representatives has shelved some capital injections to state enterprises, the company may need to resort to other alternatives for financing.
Construction firm aims to resolve contract dispute with APM Terminals
Mexican construction company ICA said it was seeking to resolve a conflict over a canceled port terminal contract with APM Terminals, the terminal operating arm of A.P. Moller-Maersk.
The contract covered the first phase of construction at a container terminal at the port of Lazaro Cardenas, and ICA said in a statement it was seeking damages over what it describes as the unilateral cancellation of the contract by APM Terminals.
The Mexican firm did not provide further details on how it aims to resolve the contractual conflict.
NRF: Wildcat strike triggers fear of labor disruptions at East Coast ports
The National Retail Federation called on the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance to seek long-term stability at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports following last week’s strike at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
"The threat of potential or ongoing labor disruptions will force retailers and other stakeholders to reevaluate supply chain options for their cargo," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Events like last week’s strike can do a great deal of damage to the image of East Coast ports as reliable business partners for the shippers represented by NRF."
Shay’s comments came in a letter to union and port management executives following an unexpected January 29 strike that resulted in serious backups of cargo.
"Long-term stability at the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports is essential," Shay said. "We believe early negotiations on the existing contract should be the path forward and hope that solutions to the tough issues – including those not currently in the contract – will be worked out at the bargaining table and not with short-term illegal strikes."
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.
L.A. port’s Trapac terminal falls short of pollution-reduction mandates
City officials said the Port of Los Angeles has failed to meet pollution-reduction requirements at another shipping terminal, in the second such admission in recent months.
The TraPac terminal near Wilmington did not comply with air quality improvement measures the city adopted years ago, including mandates that massive cargo ships shut down their engines and plug into shore-based electricity while docked to reduce diesel emissions, a recent audit by the city-owned port found.
According to documents released last week under the California Public Records Act, ships plugged in to shore power at the TraPac terminal just 53 percent of the time in 2015, far below the requirement of 80 percent.
In autumn of 2015, port officials admitted that they had failed for years to enforce similar mandates at the China Shipping North America terminal near San Pedro. Between them, TraPac and China Shipping handle about one-third of the containers moving through the port.
Despite emissions reductions in recent years, the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex remains the largest single air polluter in Southern California, with diesel-fueled cargo ships and trucks among the top culprits.
The port also failed to ensure that all yard equipment at the terminal ran on the cleanest possible Tier 4 diesel engines by 2014 as required by the city, the review found. By that year, only 105 of 135 pieces of equipment met those emissions standards, according to the port.
Gene Seroka, the port's executive director since 2014, blamed the shortcomings on construction work that prevented ships from using shore power and on last year's labor-related congestion problems, which left more than two dozen ships waiting in the waters outside the port.
The backlog forced ocean carriers to charter additional vessels to deliver goods from Asia. Those ships were not capable of plugging into shore power.
Logistics services provider C.H. Robinson Worldwide said falling transportation costs, including the lower fuel spending, drove higher net revenues as the company’s fourth-quarter profit rose 12 percent year over year.
The largest freight brokerage firm in the U.S., the company reported a $126.6 million profit, or 88 cents a share, up from $112.9 million, or 77 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The company’s overall revenue slipped 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter, to $3.2 billion but net revenues in its core trucking services expanded sharply.
Less-than-truckload shipments pushed the net revenue gains, with shipment volume growing 36 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. C.H. Robinson acquired Freightquote.com, an online marketplace for freight loads, in early 2015, which helped the company build its share of the LTL market.
Softer market conditions drove down costs and rates in the company’s truckload division, its primary business. The prices C.H. Robinson paid to carriers fell 5% in the fourth quarter, and the average rates per mile charged to its customers declined 3%, excluding the impact of reduced fuel costs.
For 2015 overall, C.H. Robinson reported a $509.7 million net profit, 13.3 percent ahead of the year before.
Listing cargo ship towed to Spanish port of Bilbao
Wednesday (Feb 3) an operation began to tow South Korean cargo ship Modern Express into northern Spain’s port of Bilbao, days after it was prevented from crashing into France's Atlantic coast.
The Modern Express was carrying diggers and 3,600 tons of timber from Gabon in West Africa to the port of Le Havre in Normandy, France when it ran into difficulties in late January.
The ship, registered in Panama, has been under tow by the Spanish tugboat Centaurus since Monday. By late Tuesday it was some 10 nautical miles from Bilbao, according to Spanish authorities, who decided to delay the operation to bring it into port until daylight Wednesday.
The ship's crew sent a distress signal on Jan 27 after the vessel listed strongly to one side, probably due to its cargo coming loose in the hull. After seven days drifting in rough seas, it was only 27 miles from the French coast when authorities launched a final bid to attach a tow line and stop it from hitting the shore.
Experts from Dutch company SMIT Salvage, which specializes in helping ships in distress, were lowered by helicopter onto the vessel as it tilted at 40 to 50 degrees while buffeted by large waves.
The 22 crew were evacuated by helicopter as they clung to the ship.