Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for February 15 through February 19, 2016:
Monday, February 15, 2016
A.P. Moeller-Maersk profits drop 84 percent on low energy prices, weak trade
Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk reported an 84 percent drop in 2015 profits after its oil division was hit by lower energy prices and Maersk Line got squeezed between weak trade growth and overcapacity. The company’s shares fell the most in almost a year.
Maersk said net income was $791 million last year compared with $5.02 billion in 2014. That compares with a median estimate of $3.7 billion in a Bloomberg survey of 16 analysts. The result includes a write-down in the value of Maersk’s oil assets by $2.6 billion, the company said.
"Given our expectation that the oil price will remain at a low level for a longer period, we have impaired the value of a number of Maersk Oil’s assets," Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in the statement. "We will continue to strengthen the group’s position through strong operational performance and growth investments."
Maersk Line’s 2015 result was $1.3 billion, which is 44 percent lower than 2014 ($2.3bn) due to weak demand and very low freight rates, the company said. Revenue was $23.7 billion, 13.2 percent lower than in 2014 (USD 27.4bn).
2015 was characterized by deteriorating market conditions, the group said in a statement, with declining rates and close to zero volume growth. Maersk Line’s average rate decreased by 16 percent compared to 2014. In the fourth quarter, the decrease was 25 percent compared to Q4 2014. Rates declined due to weak demand, over-capacity and intense price competition.
Maersk Group shares dropped as much as 9.4 percent, the most since March 31.
In October, Maersk started cost cut programs for both of its two biggest units to address what analysts have described as a perfect storm for the conglomerate, which historically has been able to benefit from positive market conditions from at least one the two divisions.
Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and 12 other lines move to settle EU antitrust probe
Top container line Maersk Line, MSC and 13 other peers have offered to publish actual prices instead of future rate increases in order to settle a two-year EU antitrust investigation, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The European Commission targeted the carriers in November 2013 because of their pricing practices.
The other companies are France’s CMA CGM, Taiwan's Evergreen Marine, Germany's Hapag Lloyd, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), China Shipping, Hamburg Süd, South Korean firm Hanjin, OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line), Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), United Arab Shipping Company, Nippon Yusen Kaisha , Hyundai Merchant Marine and Israeli peer Zim, according to the unnamed sources.
The EU regulatory agency said the lines may have been illegally orchestrating price hikes since 2009 through public announcements of rate increase plans on their websites and in the specialized trade press.
The companies, among the world's top 18 container shipping groups, have offered to publish binding actual rates a month before they go into effect, the people said. In some circumstances, the figures may act as a price cap.
The commission is expected to seek feedback from third parties over the next few weeks before deciding whether to accept the pledge and close the investigation, the people said. A finding of wrongdoing could have exposed the firms to fines of as much as 10 percent of their global turnover.
Port of Oakland devises plan to move cargo after terminal closes
The Port of Oakland has set its plan to move containerized cargo once the Outer Harbor Terminal closes March 31. A port statement said its Continuity Plan will keep trade flowing and prevent vessel diversions to other ports.
Outer Harbor Terminals, formerly known as Ports America Outer Harbor Terminals, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it will leave Oakland.
The port’s Continuity Plan calls for ships that use Outer Harbor Terminal to relocate to berths at adjacent terminals in Oakland. Terminals will add labor where necessary and open gates nights and weekends to accommodate additional cargo. The port will ask its governing board to approve a $1.5 million Transition Assistance Program for participating terminals.
"We have three objectives with this plan," said Chris Lytle, executive director of the port. "We will find a home for all ships that come to Oakland, we will improve cargo-handling processes to move cargo efficiently, and we’ll meet the needs of shippers in Oakland."
Here are highlights of the Continuity Plan:
Most ships and cargo from Outer Harbor Terminal will relocate to Oakland International Container Terminal in the Middle Harbor. The rest go to TraPac terminal in Outer Harbor Shipping lines are finalizing agreements with the terminals now to move their cargo.
The two terminals will lease additional acreage from the port to accommodate increased container volume. TraPac is finalizing negotiations to lease two additional vessel berths at Outer Harbor Terminal.
The port plans to provide up to $1.5 million to help participating terminals open night and weekend gates. Extra gate hours are expected to ease peak hour build-up of trucks picking up or dropping off cargo.
Terminals must agree to get drivers in and out of the facilities within 75 minutes. A Bluetooth monitoring system will measure how long drivers spend at terminals. The port said customers won’t be assessed fees for extended gate hours. Oakland International Container Terminal – the Port’s largest – has confirmed it will add extra gate hours, and other terminals will follow suit if demand warrants.
Oakland International Container Terminal will transport a number of import containers out of its facility every night. They’ll be available at a nearby location for immediate pick-up by truckers.
A Central Valley container depot will open within two weeks for Oakland International Container Terminal cargo. It’ll enable cargo owners – including Valley growers – to pick up or drop off containers without long drives to the Port.
The port said that night and weekend gates will be critical to the success of the program. "The terminals can’t move all of this additional cargo between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.," Lytle said. "We need a smooth, seamless transition from Outer Harbor Terminal. Weekend and night gates will make a huge difference."
XPO Logistics rejects bids for truckload business
XPO Logistics Inc. has rejected bids for the truckload shipping business it took on as part of its $3 billion acquisition of Con-way Inc., and now plans to hold onto the unit, Chief Executive Bradley Jacobs said Monday.
Three trucking companies submitted final bids last week to purchase Con-way’s truckload operations, which had been for sale since mid-2015, Mr. Jacobs said in an interview. Truckload businesses typically carry goods on long-distance hauls for one individual customer per truck. Con-way, which XPO acquired in October, mainly operates as a less-than-truckload, or LTL, carrier, combining orders from multiple customers in each truck.
"We went though the process, we compared the offers we got with what we think we could do with it… and I think we can improve it by integrating it and bringing in lots of new customers from our other service lines," Mr. Jacobs said.
The two business lines use different distribution networks, because LTL carriers often pick up and drop off cargo at more locations than truckload carriers.
XPO has grown rapidly over the last three years through a series of debt-fueled acquisitions that have transformed the company into one of the world’s largest logistics-services providers. The Con-way deal marked XPO’s biggest foray into owning and operating a fleet of trucks in the U.S. Prior to the acquisition, XPO focused on freight-brokerage and other middleman services between shippers and transportation companies.
Since the deal, XPO has laid off about 200 back-office workers at Con-way and closed seven of the terminals it acquired.
Hamburg Süd adjusts surcharges for U.S./Canada to Australia service
Effective April 1, 2016, the Hamburg Süd North America’s bunker surcharge for all cargo moving from the U.S. and Canada to Australia and New Zealand will decrease from the current level of $353/20’ and $706/40’ to $250/20’ and $500/40’.
The emission control area surcharge will increase to $24/20’ and $48/40’, according to the carrier’s statement.
Tariff as well as existing service contracts will be subject to this charge.
The Bunker Surcharge and Emission Control Area Surcharge will continue to be monitored on a quarterly basis and adjustments will be made following the review period, with appropriate notice given to the trade.
A team of 12 tugs free stranded CSCL Indian Ocean
One of the world’s biggest container ships, which has been stuck since last week in the River Elbe after running aground on its approach to Hamburg, has been successfully refloated.
The 19,100-TEU CSCL Indian Ocean was towed to safe depth by a team of 12 tugboats and berthed at Port of Hamburg for inspection and underwater survey.
After several failed attempts to budge the ship, owned by China Shipping Group Co., the tugs were deployed during a spring tide at about 4 a.m. on Tuesday, when the water level rose by 1.2 meters above the average.
It’s the first time a ship of this size has become stranded in the German waterway, which is a major import and export hub for Europe’s largest economy.
The ship was carrying 11,800 TEUs, mostly holding cargo such as shoes and chemicals from China and Malaysia. About 4,800 of the containers were destined for Hamburg, according to the owner.
Along with collaboration, supply chain visibility is a trending buzzword for shippers and their logistics partners, but can the Cloud provide a clear picture?
Ideally, it should. But the visibility situation is, well, somewhat cloudy. A report, "How to Enable End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility," from Gartner, the IT research and technology company, found that shippers and supply chain professionals "typically use business transaction networks in functional silos, such as logistics visibility, but don't leverage collaboration hubs or portal applications as an add-on capability or enterprise resource planning (ERP)/supply chain management (SCM) applications to extend visibility beyond immediate trading partners."
Gartner added that supply chain professionals should not view visibility as an end in itself. Because there are no currently available solutions that provide end-to-end visibility on a single platform, companies will probably wind up using multiple methods to improve profitability and enable customer value. Enterprise platforms thus should enable collaboration and participation for all parties, Gartner said.
That sounds somewhat complicated and expensive, but Gartner recommends that for visibility, the cloud "provides quicker time to productivity, required scalability, and decreased initial and capital cost."
So while the clouds might eventually part to make visibility and collaboration more efficient for shippers and their supply chains, a more pressing problem is facing shippers at the moment: cargo volume.
With the holiday shopping season over, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to slowly decline through the first quarter of the year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released earlier this month by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.48 million TEUs in November, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, NRF said. With most holiday merchandise already in the country by that point, volume was down 5 percent from October but up 6 percent from the year before. December was estimated at 1.44 million TEU, the same as 2014.
Port Tracker covers the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.
"This is the time of year when the retail supply chain catches its breath before the next big rush begins," said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach finished the year in fairly good shape despite the severe congestion problems they endured while the labor contract dispute with the ILWU dragged on. LA closed 2015 with 8.1 million TEUs, a slight decline of 2.1 percent, while Long Beach’s TEU total, increased 5.4 percent to nearly 7.2 million TEUs. Each port got off to great starts this year with total TEU volumes in January up almost 25 percent (year-on-year) at Long Beach and 33 percent at LA, the busiest month in that port’s history.
On the East Coast the Port of New York and New Jersey handled nearly 6.4 million TEUs last year, up 10.4 percent over the previous record set in 2014.
Referring to the Port Tracker numbers, NRF said 2015 ended with a preliminary total of 18.2 million TEUs, up 5.4 percent from 2014. This month is forecast at 1.47 million TEU, up 18.9 percent from the weak volume experienced a year ago, which was just prior to an agreement on a contract with West Coast dockworkers that ended months of congestion. February is forecast at 1.41 million TEU, up 17.5 percent, also skewed by the congestion. March is forecast at 1.34 million TEU, down 22.4 percent from high levels seen when a flood of backlogged cargo followed the contract agreement.
Volume patterns are expected to return to normal in April, which is forecast at 1.48 million TEU, down 1.8 percent from last year. May is forecast at 1.55 million TEU, down 3.5 percent from last year.
But uncertainties abound—forecasts, as always, are subject to sudden change and there are plenty of wildcards that could change outcomes. For example, the one-day wildcat strike by East Coast dockworkers in early February sent an ominous signal to shippers. The expanded Panama Canal, due to open in June, and its impact on East-West cargo flows, is still pretty much a mystery. Another worry for shippers, ports and ship operators is the pending UN Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) container weight documentation rule.
In its 2016 economic forecast released on Feb. 10, the NRF projected retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will grow 3.1 percent, higher than the 10-year average of 2.7 percent. NRF also announced it expects non-store sales in 2016 to grow between 6 and 9 percent.
"Wage stagnation is easing, jobs are being created and consumer confidence remains steady, so despite the headwinds our economy faces from international developments — particularly in China — we think 2016 will be favorable for growth in the retail industry," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "All of the experts agree that the consumer is in the driver’s seat and steering our economic recovery. The best thing the government can do is stay out of the way, stop proposing rules and regulations that create hurdles toward greater capital investment and focus on policies that help retailers provide increased income and job stability for their employees."
Next: US shippers confront UN box weigh-in rules
Port of Oakland imports surge 75 percent in January
The Port of Oakland said today that containerized import volume soared 75.76 percent last month compared to January 2015, when the West Coast labor dispute was still a month away from resolution.
Total cargo volume – imports, exports and empty containers, rose 38.46 percent for the month compared to January 2015.
Export volume increased 16.83 percent in January year-over-year, according to the port statement. It was the first increase in Oakland export volume since July 2015.
The port handled 77,637 TEUs import containers in January. That was the most since last August, the traditional start of peak shipping season. That’s 5,000 more than the import total in January 2014, when the labor contract negotiations weren’t an issue.
The port said the stark contrast to January 2015 was because last year the West Coast ports were still struggling with slowdowns due to the dockworker contract conflict, handling bigger ships and a mismanaged chassis system. Further, U.S. retailers were shoring up merchandise ahead of the Chinese New Year, a time when factories shut down to celebrate the holiday.
"An increase in cargo volume is always welcome," said John Driscoll, executive director. "But what this really shows is that we have recaptured the cargo that moved temporarily away from the West Coast a year ago."
A number of importers temporarily diverted containerized cargo to gateways outside the West Coast a year ago in January to work-around the slowdowns and congestion that hampered West Coast ports.
Port of Long Beach cargo volume up
The Port of Long Beach posted its seventh straight month of cargo increases in January, showing a 24.8 percent year-over-year jump in container shipments, getting somewhat back to normal this year compared to January 2015, when the West Coast labor conflict and chronic cargo congestion kept numbers low.
Port of Long Beach terminals moved 536,188 TEUs last month. Imports were up 30.3 percent to 278,491 TEUs. Exports increased 8.4 percent to 106,739 TEUs. Empty containers rose 28.6 percent year-over-year, to 150,958 TEUs. Empty containers that were filled with items for post-holiday sales were sent back overseas to be reloaded with goods.
"We are encouraged by the strong start to the year, which stands in stark contrast to the congestion we faced a year ago," said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup. "Our January results are another indicator that the hard work by our entire port team – our customers, employees, business partners and key community stakeholders – continues to deliver superior results. We are off to a solid start in 2016 and will continue to make the necessary strategic investments in capital, energy and innovative solutions to ensure that Long Beach remains the port of choice for international trade."
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities this decade, the Port of Long Beach says it is building the port of the future by investing in capital and service improvements that will bring long-term, environmentally sustainable growth, and maintain its competitive advantage as the fastest route from Asia to anywhere in North America.
U.S.-Georgia consortium scores $2.5 billion project to build port on Black Sea
A $2.5 billion contract to build and develop a deep-sea port in the country of Georgia on the Black Sea has been awarded to a U.S.-Georgian consortium.
The tiny ex-Soviet republic is hoping the port, which will be located in the city of Anaklia, will become a cargo hub for goods shipped from Asia to Europe.
The Anaklia Development Consortium is a joint venture of Georgia's TBC Holding LLC and Conti International LLC, a U.S. developer of capital projects, according to Georgia's Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry.
The consortium intends to start the construction of the port by the end of 2016 and finish it in three years. The port will have the capacity to berth 10,000-TEU container ships and to process up to 100 million tons of cargo per year when it’s complete.
Fitch Ratings: U.S. ports face uncertainty with global container weight regs
The implementation of International Maritime Organization requirements to verify weights of shipping containers is generating uncertainty at U.S. ports, according to Fitch Ratings. Fitch-rated ports have neither designated facilities for weighing containers nor the systems for the verification of container weights. This could raise already chronic congestion at the ports that are slowed by chassis management issues, higher cargo loads from larger vessels and inadequate inland or intermodal links.
Beginning on July 1, 2016, an amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) will require the verified gross mass (VGM) of packed containers to be documented before carriers or terminal operators can load them. Carriers and terminals will be required to receive the VGM in time to use it to make the stowage plan for loading the ship.
While the shipper on the bill of lading will bear responsibility for verifying the weight, the apportionment of logistics and costs of verification among shippers, forwarders, terminals and carriers remains to be seen, Fitch says. The exact nature of documentation is also unknown, though forwarders and terminals favor the use of electronic data interchange systems that already communicate bookings and shipping instructions for about half of the 300,000 containers moved in the U.S. daily.
Fitch asserts that U.S. port terminals will almost certainly face containers at their gates that lack the required verification as the SOLAS amendment goes into effect. This may lead to delays and increased congestion for facilities that are already strained by longer turn times and heightened volumes generated by ever larger container ships. A slowdown seems likely in the early days of SOLAS enforcement as the broader supply chain learns how to manage compliance.
Several U.S. terminals, including the Maher terminal at Port of New York/New Jersey, have stated they will require prior receipt of electronic documentation before allowing containers through their terminal gates. Some ports may choose to offer weighing services at their facilities, though higher volume terminals operators have indicated this is not likely to be a practical solution.
Over the longer term, Fitch thinks the risk posed to Fitch-rated U.S. ports by the VGM mandate will decline. For smaller ports choosing to offer weighing services to delinquent containers, capital outlays to provide calibrated weighing equipment should be manageable. Forwarders and larger carriers will likely force the market to move toward an electronic industry standard that may ultimately lead to more efficient data management in terminals. Fitch expects overall port throughput to rise in 2016, driven by industry consolidation favoring larger ships and implementation of operational alliances by shipping lines and ports.
Port of Oakland approves up to $1.5 million go open gates on nights, weekends
The Port of Oakland commissioners have authorized spending up to $1.5 million to open night and weekend marine terminal gates, increasing access hours for harbor truck drivers at the terminals beginning Feb. 13.
Added hours are key to plans for redistributing cargo when one of five Oakland container terminals closes. Outer Harbor Terminals, formerly known as Ports America Outer Harbor, has filed for bankruptcy and said it is leaving the Port of Oakland. The terminal is expected to cease vessel operations March 31.
"Extending terminal gate hours is an important way to improve cargo flow through the Port," said John Driscoll, the Port’s Maritime Director. "It’s also crucial as we make the transition from five to four active terminals."
Port officials said the program will help smooth the transition when Outer Harbor Terminals exits Oakland.
The port will redirect ships and cargo from Outer Harbor Terminal to adjacent terminals. Extended hours should get truckers through terminal gates faster and help the terminals absorb added volume, the port said. Night and weekend gates will also aid harbor truckers by allowing them to avoid peak weekday hours at terminals for certain transactions. Thousands of drivers enter the port weekly to pick up or drop off containers.
The port said its program will provide funding to eligible terminal operators for up to 12 weeks. To be eligible, operators must meet criteria that include:
Signing a formal agreement to extend gate hours
Providing an operating plan for extended-hour gates; and
Getting harbor truckers in-and-out of terminals within 75 minutes to ensure smooth cargo flow.
The port said it will reimburse terminal operators up to 50 percent of the cost of operating extended-hour gates. It added that it will cap the reimbursement at $10,000 for each gate shift. The Port said it will provide reimbursement for up to five extended-hour shifts per week during the 12-week program.
Truckers, or the cargo owners they drive for, won’t be charged for extended-hour gates, the Port said.
Most Oakland terminals open their gates to truck drivers between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Weekends are usually restricted to vessel and container yard operations.
Drewry: East-West trades bad for carriers in 2015
Full-year 2015 demand statistics are now in and show that the trade imbalance widened for East-West trades, but narrowed for North-South lanes. Which trades were hot or cold last year?
Drewry’s latest Container Forecaster report in December predicted that 2015 would be the second-slowest year for loaded container traffic this century, after 2009.
Using the 14 trades regularly covered in Container Insight Weekly as their sample, Drewry said that two-way bi-lateral container traffic grew by a measly 1.4 percent in 2015. That means volumes in those routes only increased by around 1 million TEUs over 2014 to 80 million TEUs, which is about 41 percent of the estimated world total.
The overall growth rate hides some of the far larger ups and downs witnessed across the trades. For example, the so-called main East-West trades between them could only manage headhaul growth of 1.7 percent (equal to an extra 625,000 TEUs) but growth rates ranged from a high of 16.4 percent for Asia-to-East Coast North America to a low of -4.0 percent for Asia-to-Mediterranean. There were similar variations for the East-West backhaul trades and both legs of the North-South trades.
The biggest drag on volumes has been the backhaul on the East-West routes. Return traffic in 2015 was lower than it was in 2012 by some 200,000 TEUs. Over the same period, East-West fronthaul volumes have added 4.5 million TEUs, while the aggregate North-South volumes have added 2.2 million TEUs and 1.0 million TEUs for the headhaul and backhaul respectively.
This has two important implications; first, it suggests that Asian importers are looking to broaden their sourcing to regions such as the Middle East and South Asia away from North America and to a lesser extent Europe, reducing the long-term outlook for those export markets; and secondly, that East-West carriers will have to endure higher equipment repositioning costs as the trade imbalance widens.
In 2015, carriers operating between Asia and North America had to reposition 1.2 million TEUs more than they did in 2014 due to widening imbalances. Between Asia and Europe (including Mediterranean) the amount of repositioning decreased by about 600,000 TEUs, but the total remained very high at around 7.8 million TEU.
Drewry says the trade imbalance has grown for East-West routes collectively since 2012. In 2015, there were 2.2 TEUs moved for every one backhaul TEU in the Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic lanes.
In conclusion, Drewry said the East-West trades were a bad place to be for ocean carriers in 2015. Carrier profitability/losses in 2016 will be heavily influenced by the exposure to hot or cold trades, while carriers should also expect additional associated empty container repositioning costs from the widening East-West services trade gap.
MSC acquires Portuguese rail operator
MSC Rail, a subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, announced it has completed the acquisition of CP Carga and has taken control of the management of the rail-based freight operator.
"We now have 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.
Chinese ship accidentally rams fishing boat
The Philippines alleged that a Chinese vessel accidentally rammed a local fishing boat north of a disputed West Philippine (South China) Sea shoal, killing one and leaving four others missing.
The fishing boat set out from the northern coastal town of Bolinao, in Pangasinan province, last Monday and was reported to have sunk two days later, said Office of Civil Defense Chief Benito Ramos to AFP.
"Of the eight fishermen aboard, four were plucked out of sea only yesterday, but one of them died in a hospital," Ramos said. "Four more are still missing."
Maersk and 14 other carriers to change pricing methods
No. 1 container carrier Maersk Line, MSC and 13 other major container lines have offered to change their practices to settle a two-year EU antitrust investigation, the European Commission confirmed on Tuesday.
The companies include No. 3 player CMA CGM, Taiwan's Evergreen Marine, Germany's Hapag Lloyd, COSCO, China Shipping, Hamburg Süd, Hanjin, OOCL, Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), United Arab Shipping Company, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Zim.
The EC said the container lines offered to stop publishing and communicating generate rate increase announcements, which are changes to prices expressed as the amount or percentage of the change.
Third parties have a month to provide feedback on the proposal before the EU competition authority accepts the offer without any finding of wrongdoing or possible fines.
New cold storage cargo hub to be built at Houston’s Bayport terminal
The first phase of a 300,000-square-foot temperature-controlled cargo facility will be built at the Port of Houston Authority’s Bayport Container Terminal by AGRO Merchants Group, which provides international cold supply chain operations.
Negotiations between the Port Authority and AGRO Merchants Group regarding construction and operation of the refrigerated cargo center were concluded recently.
Plans call for the new cold storage facility at Bayport to be a multi-use building that will include high tech warehouse space to handle storage and the import and export of chilled and frozen meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables.
Inspection and handling facilities for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, blast-freezing cells and deep truck docks with ample doors for shipping and receiving will be included, according to the port statement. The facility will have segregated frozen and chilled warehouse space to support a diverse array of products and include value-added capabilities geared toward protein and produce commodities. The site is expected to be operational by summer 2017.
The first phase of the building will take up more than 12 acres of land, with room for expansion. This expansion will allow the port growth opportunities in the refrigerated cargo sector, which has been restricted until now.
"Developing the refrigerated cargo business has been one of my key initiatives," said Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria. "Our central location on the Gulf Coast, our consumer reach of 144 million consumers within 1,000 miles, and our ready access to South American sources of produce drive this opportunity. I am pleased that (Port Authority Executive Director) Roger Guenther and staff have brought this to fruition."
CP waits for word from U.S. regulators on Norfolk Southern buy
Canadian Pacific Railway announced it would seek an order from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal rail regulator confirming the viability of a complex deal structure that CP intends to use in its proposed takeover of Norfolk Southern.
The rarely used deal structure, known as a voting trust, would allow Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern to remain independent until their merger gets regulatory approval, but allows the U.S. railroad's shareholders to get paid before the deal closes.
The STB would need to approve the voting trust before beginning the deal review process. Norfolk Southern, which has repeatedly rebuffed Canadian Pacific, has said it does not believe the voting trust will be approved.
"We are skeptical that the STB will give a definitive ruling, especially when NS will not even sit down with us, but we are willing to go the extra mile if that is what it takes to get NS to the table," Canadian Pacific Chief Executive Hunter Harrison said in a statement.
The Canadian company's $28 billion offer to buy Norfolk Southern, first disclosed in mid-November, is facing opposition from a number of industry groups, rail customers and a couple of the unions representing workers at Norfolk Southern.
Dubai ports operator DP World is planning to invest $1bn in investment opportunities in India.
The announcement was made during Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE deputy supreme commander of the armed forces Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit to the country last week.
The company said the investment could include new or existing terminals in the country, inland container depots or expansion of rail services.
The group has already invested $1.2 billion in India and has six port concessions with 30 percent market share.
"DP World has established a leading position in the Indian market and is a pioneer in the development of container terminals. It has the biggest portfolio along the Indian coast and is looking to enhance its presence there, transferring the UAE’s experience of infrastructure development in line with our plans to enhance the strategic relations between our countries and to take them to a higher level," said Sheikh Mohammed.
India was Dubai’s second largest trading partner last year. Trade between the two countries grew 144 percent between 2004 and 2014.
In December, DP World announced a $1.9bn investment in two port terminals in China during a state visit to the country.
Tugs tow APL container ship ashore after it runs aground
Eight tug boats towed a giant container ship ashore after it ran aground in the Solent straight.
The APL Vanda lost power and deliberately ran aground on Bramble Bank as it was heading into Southampton on the south coast of England. It is the same spot the stricken Hoegh Osaka, carrying millions of dollars’ worth of luxury cars, ran aground a year ago.
Vanda, a Singapore-registered ship weighing more than 150,000 tons, got into trouble at 9.45pm last night.
The tugs from Port of Southampton Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) were able to tow her back at high tide overnight.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said no damage or pollution has been reported but they are continuing to monitor the situation.