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Summary for February 6 - February 10, 2012:
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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Keller named president of realigned Sea Star

Shipping industry veteran, Peter Keller, was appointed president of Sea Star Line, which is now under a re-branded parent company - TOTE Inc.

Keller formerly served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of NYK Group Americas.

Keller was more recently a consultant and advisor for Sea Star Line during its restructuring as it is now under the umbrella of TOTE Maritime along with sister company Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

The TOTE Maritime grouping is under the new parent company brand of Princeton, New Jersey-based TOTE Inc; formerly American Shipping Group, according to a statement.

TOTE, Inc. said it has re-organized its five business units into three groups: TOTE Maritime: Totem Ocean Trailer Express and Sea Star Line; TOTE Ship Management: Interocean American Shipping; and TOTE Logistics: Alta Logistics and Spectrum Logistics.

TOTE Inc. is owned by Seattle-based holding company Saltchuk Resources.

Sea Star's sister company, Totem Ocean Trailer Express, was founded in 1975 and operates a twice-weekly service between Tacoma and Alaska.

Sea Star Line serves the U.S. -Puerto Rico and Caribbean shipping trades via combination freight vessels.

"Peter knows this market and has a long history in this trade. He brings insight, experience and vision for the future. We are fortunate to have him join the TOTE, Inc. and Sea Star team," said Anthony Chiarello, president of TOTE, Inc.

"I am pleased to help write a new and positive chapter in Sea Star's history. This continues to be a challenging trade. Structural changes will be essential if carriers are to reinvest during the important years ahead," Keller said.

Report: S.C. governor to veto state lawmakers' Savannah River anti-dredging measure

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will reportedly veto a measure that was unanimously passed by her state's House and Senate to not approve a dredging permit for digging the Savannah River deeper that is shared with next-door port rival Georgia.

The Charleston Post and Courier reports South Carolina's House voted 105-0 this week to pass the Senate's overwhelmingly approved measure to strike down a decision made last year by the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control to approve a permit that would allow Georgia to dredge the shared river.

The House and Senate's measure against the dredging permit is reportedly viewed as a rebuke to the Governor's alleged influence in the DHEC decision.

For the full Post and Courier story:

OOCL to raise Asia-Australia rates

Hong Kong's Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. announced it plans to raise rates by $300 per-TEU as of March 15 for its container-shipping services between Asia and Australia.

The ocean carrier cited rising costs and concerns over profitability for the rate hike as the company's fourth quarter revenue declined over 11 percent.

Port of San Antonio partners with Watco Companies for rail operation

The Port of San Antonio and Watco Companies jointly announced the launch of a new rail operation at the 350-acre East Kelly Railport.

Pittsburg, Kansas-based Watco Companies will inhabit approximately 20 acres at Railport and plans to add over 15,000 feet of new track to the existing 20,000 feet, and will offer warehousing, distribution, transloading, manufacturing, and trucking operations, according to a statement.

The port said Watco will also maintain all other rail infrastructure within East Kelly Railport and provide interchange of customers' railcars into the Railport from Union Pacific and BNSF Railway connections adjacent to the property.

The Port of San Antonio said its volume grew from 2,600 railcars served in 2010 to 4,600 railcars last year.

Russian freighter sinks in Sea of Japan

The Russian freighter Tanya Karpinskaya reportedly sank this week in the Sea of Japan after colliding with a Singapore-flagged containership.

Seventeen crewmembers were reportedly rescued with another found safe ashore on the coast of Japan's Niigata Prefecture.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

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Trans-Pacific carriers propose second GRI

The traditional freight contract negotiation season between container-shipping lines and their customers is reportedly underway and Trans-Pacific carriers announced today they are seeking what would be a second general rate increase since January 1 of $300 per-forty-foot container to help offset what they said has thus far been a "marginal increase" in rates, and would be effective March 15.

"The erosion in trans-Pacific rates during 2011 has been well-documented and dramatic," said the executive administrator of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, Brian M. Conrad, in a statement.

Citing billions of dollars worth of shipping industry financial losses in 2011 including throughout the ranks of its 15 ocean carrier members, the TSA said its 2012-2013 "recommended guideline revenue program" is scheduled to take effect no later than May 1, 2012, raising freight rates "by a minimum of an additional $500 per-FEU for cargo to the U.S. West Coast, and a minimum of $700 per-FEU for all other destinations."

"If carriers adopt a marginal increase that only partially offsets huge losses as costs continue to rise, the result is another 18 months of losses. This year in particular, rate recovery must be meaningful in order to maintain service levels and, ultimately, carrier viability," Conrad said.

The TSA said the GRI planned for March "is intended to bring Asia-U.S. freight rates back up to near 2011 contract levels, establishing a baseline for upcoming contract negotiations."

The TSA also said "further additional revenue and cost recovery initiatives would be considered for later in the year, after a review of market conditions and outlook for the second half of 2012."

First grain ship handled by union labor at Longview terminal

After several months of tense standoffs and arrests of protesting longshore workers against a new private grain terminal operator at the Port of Longview, Wash., the first such 738-foot-long vessel docked there this week and was peacefully worked by a union labor force.

"It's ... a relief for the community. We don't have to worry about more chaos and mayhem. It's going to bring money into the community. It brings more jobs into our hall," said Byron Jacobs, the secretary and treasurer for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 to the Longview Daily News.

The management of the $200 EGT terminal, owned by a consortium that is composed of St. Louis-based Bunge North America, Japan's Itochu Corp and Pan Ocean STX, had originally intended to use non ILWU labor at the Longview operation, sparking some high drama protests that literally stopped trains in their tracks and produced several arrests over the past year.

Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire reportedly stepped in to help broker a deal between the two sides with an agreement eventually reached earlier this week.

The Daily News reported four ILWU workers tied the ship down this week, with another seven working inside the terminal.

EGT is reportedly hiring from a pre-approved pool of workers dispatched by the ILWU, with 25 total expected to be employed by EGT in 12-hour shifts, based on demand.

For the full Longview Daily News story:

Report: Car carriers emerge better than most from recession

The ocean-going car-carrying industry has emerged from the global recession better than its counterparts in other shipping sectors, although a changing landscape for global auto production will have an impact, according to a research report by Drewry Maritime.

The Drewry report says global auto carrier operators have a smaller order book and are "better positioned than most others in the shipping industry, who suffer from large new building order books, to weather a double-dip recession."

"Operators are now less likely to charter tonnage for long periods, instead placing an emphasis on full employment of owned tonnage," Drewry said in a statement about the report's release.

"With limited numbers of new build vessels coming into service, increased demand is easier to meet and an excess of new capacity is not going to blight operators, if the economy retrenches," the research consultancy said.

Drewry's auto carrier report says that over the next 15 years global trade in motor vehicles will increase by 3 to 4 percent per year, however a shift in where autos are manufactured from West to East along with more regionalized production "will stifle the deep-sea trade to some extent," but should favor containerized vehicle parts.

Japan, the leader in the global ocean-going vehicle trade, will post strong growth from 2012-15, along with the European trade returning to 2007 levels by 2015, and South Korea, the second largest auto shipping player, showing average increases of at least 4.5 percent for the next 10 years.

Other positive factors for the auto-carrying sector referenced in the Drewry report include China's growing demand for European luxury vehicles, and India's goal to become the third-largest car-manufacturing hub via major investments in related infrastructure.

Drewry's report also points to growth in the "High and Heavy" sector due to expansion in the agriculture and mining industries.

Baltimore's container, auto volumes up in 2011

The Port of Baltimore announced it had a record year for container-and-auto-handling volumes in 2011, increasing 4 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

The port said it handled a record 631,806 TEUs, and 446,806 autos, including a record for auto exports, up 32 percent over the previous year at 166,077 units handled.

Horizon Lines ship rescues three from sailboat in the Pacific

A Horizon Lines containership reportedly rescued three passengers, including a nine-year-old boy, from a drifting sailboat that had been en route between Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Hilo, Hawaii.

The Horizon ship was reportedly on its way to Hawaii from the U.S. West Coast when it was redirected by the U.S. Coast Guard to proceed at full speed to the disabled vessel amid 46 miles-per-hour winds and 20-foot swells.

The rescue occurred around 2 a.m. on Wednesday and the three passengers were reportedly in good health.

For the full KITV story:


Friday, February 10, 2012

Top Story

Feds to give GA, SC additional $2.5 million for dredging

Georgia will receive $2.5 million in federal funding for pre-construction planning to deepen the Port of Savannah river channel, federal officials announced Thursday. Georgia port representatives said the money would help keep the project, slated for completion in 2016, on schedule.

To maintain a level playing field, the feds will also award shipping rival South Carolina $2.5 million to study the port expansion of Charleston.

The ports are in a race to deepen their channels to accommodate the supersize cargo ships that will call at U.S. ports after the Panama Canal opens its major expansion in 2014. South Carolina lawmakers are trying to stop Georgia from dredging the Savannah River, shared by the two states, due to environmental damage. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she will veto the legislation.

- CBS News

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Hanjin leads as shipping line stocks climb on general rate increase announcement

After carriers announced their intention to increase Asia-U.S. freight rates, South Korea's Hanjin Shipping stock rose 7.7 percent. Hanjin traded at 18,150 won, the highest price since early August.

Other lines also rose on the news. In Hong Kong, Orient Overseas increased by 5.5 percent to HK$53.50 and China Shipping Container Lines Co., climbed 4.1 percent. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., Japan's largest shipping company by market value, increased by 3.6 percent in Tokyo.

The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement announced Wednesday a $300 per 40-foot box general rate increase, effective next month, citing overcapacity and high fuel costs that caused $5.2 billion in industry losses last year.

- BusinessWeek

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Port of Tampa to get $45 million facelift

The Port of Tampa will get a $45 million upgrade, according to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

The facelift will include the construction of two new berths to handle petroleum and new terminal infrastructure improvements.

The project, slated to be completed by 2014, will allow the port to add 5 million more tons to the 7 million tons of petroleum products it currently handles.

-Miami Herald

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Port of Tampa to get $45 million facelift

The Port of Tampa will get a $45 million upgrade, according to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

The facelift will include the construction of two new berths to handle petroleum and new terminal infrastructure improvements.

The project, slated to be completed by 2014, will allow the port to add 5 million more tons to the 7 million tons of petroleum products it currently handles.

-Miami Herald

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Tom Hanks to play Maersk captain rescued from pirates

In a maritime drama gone Hollywood, Tom Hanks will play Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips in a movie based on Phillips' memoir, which will begin shooting next week.

In April 2009, Somali pirates attacked the cargo ship Alabama, and Phillips was taken captive on a lifeboat and later attempted a daring but unsuccessful escape. Five days after he was captured, Navy SEALS shot three of five captors and rescued the captain.

The movie is based on Phillips' memoir, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea," and will be released by March 2013.

- South Coast Today

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