Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for February 18 - February 22, 2013:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Top Story

January imports at Port of Long Beach surge 20 percent as Los Angeles cargo drops

In January imports surged at Port of Long Beach, reporting its best volume since 2006 on new business from two shipping lines that formerly called at Port of Los Angeles, which saw its cargo volume drop.

The Port of Long Beach handled 536,263 TEUs last month, a 17.5 percent increase from January 2012. Imports increased by 19.5 percent year over year at 273,918 TEUs and exports, at 126,714 TEUs, increased by 8.2 percent year over year.

"The fact that we're back to pre-recession levels bodes well for the port," said Port of Long Beach spokesman Daniel Yi.

Port of Los Angeles cargo numbers decreased by 4.25 percent year over year to 669,000 TEUs last month, with imports down 5.3 percent to 337,428 TEUs and exports down 5.44 percent to 159,257 TEUs.

Since the Mediterranean Shipping Co. transferred its business from Los Angeles to Long Beach in October, Long Beach numbers have been climbing. MSC recently announced plans to establish a shipping hub there, forming a partnership with Total Terminal International at Pier T that will double the shipping line's stake at the port.

Shipping line CMA CGM, the world's third largest, also shifted to Long Beach from L.A. last year, with plans to operate a 256-acre terminal at Pier J.

For more of the Long Beach Press-Telegram story:

Photo credit: Stephen Carr / Press-Telegram

U.S. manufacturing production numbers adjusted up for 2012 Q4

In January, U.S. manufacturing dropped slightly on the sluggish global economy and low figures from automakers, but newly released Federal Reserve numbers indicate that the fourth quarter of 2012 was much stronger than originally reported.

Analysts are unconcerned about the 0.1 percent drop in January of total industrial production, according to Reuters, particularly now that the 2012 fourth quarter rate of increase in manufacturing was adjusted up to 1.9 percent from the previously reported gain of 0.2 percent.

Additionally, regional manufacturing reports suggest an upturn. The New York Fed on Friday reported that the Empire State manufacturing index increased by 10 points in February, with surprisingly strong new orders and employment numbers.

Another report released this month showed improved Midwest factory conditions.

The manufacturing industry must still contend with weaker export demand from the European Union and Japan, although China's economy has lately been steadily improving.

"The forward-looking surveys have continued to improve," said Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics. "This suggests that manufacturers are feeling some benefits from the slightly stronger global backdrop. Global growth will still be fairly weak this year, which will prevent industry from firing on all cylinders. But there's no denying that industrial conditions have recently improved." 

For more of the L.A. Times story:

New rules keep large outgoing ships away from Bay Bridge during fog

In an effort to mitigate the danger of oil spills, on Thursday the Coast Guard and shipping officials passed new regulations to keep cargo ships, oil tankers and other large vessels away from the Bay Bridge during heavy fog.

More than a month ago, an empty oil tanker, the Overseas Reymar, sideswiped a tower of the Bay Bridge, causing about $3 million in damages. Five years ago, the Cosco Busan hit another Bay Bridge tower, spilling 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the ocean, killing wildlife and fouling 70 miles of shoreline.

The new rules, which will be enforced by the Coast Guard, are effective immediately and prohibit all large vessels from sailing northbound under the Bay Bridge when visibility is less than a half-mile. It applies to ships departing the bay, but not to ships entering the bay because of worries the restrictions could stall commerce.

"We were responding to the casualty of the Overseas Reymar," said Cynthia Stowe, the Coast Guard's captain of the Port of San Francisco. "We're taking a very conservative approach."

For more of the Mercury News story:

Hampton Roads cargo volume up in January

The port of Hampton Roads handled 158,766 TEUs in January, up 2.9 percent year over year.

"This was a great start to our calendar year; rail volume was up 10 percent for the month and continues to help drive our growth," said Rodney W. Oliver, the Virginia Port Authority's interim executive director, in a statement.

July through January, the port moved 1,269,926 TEUs, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier.

For more of the Virginian-Pilot story:

One dead as cargo ship sinks in Philippines, 14 missing

A Myanmar-flagged cargo ship, the MV Arita Bauxite, sank off the northern Philippines Sunday, according to the Coast Guard, killing one person. The search is ongoing for the fourteen crewmembers still missing.

The ship, carrying 24 crewmembers, went down early Sunday due to engine trouble near the town of Bolinao, according to Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo, who said the reason it started taking on water was not evident.

A passing Chinese ship picked up nine crewmen and one deceased man, Balilo said.

For more of the Mizzima News story:


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Top Story

Maersk suspends Asia-to-North-Europe service on weak trade

Due to declining demand, Maersk has suspended its Asia-to-North- Europe AE9 service until April 2013.

Available capacity on the remaining Maersk Line Asia/North Europe services will be redistributed across markets, according to the company announcement. Following the February and March suspension, the AE9 service will merge with the TP7 service, which serves the Asia/North America and Asia/Europe markets via the Suez Canal.

The suspension will brings the reduced capacity on the Asia-to-Europe network up to 21 percent compared to February 2012.

Matson Logistics expands distribution center capacity in Savannah

Matson Logistics has contracted a block of new distribution center space in Savannah to foster the movement of goods through the city's port, according to a company statement.

"Our new operation expands on our ability to move retail goods in through the Port of Savannah," said Mark Ferzacca, assistant vice president of sales for Matson Logistics Warehousing. "More companies are using East Coast distribution centers to have their product closer to a rapidly growing regional market."
Matson recently contracted 65,000 square feet for its Savannah D building in Pooler, Ga., with the ability to increase to the property's full 125,000 square feet. The facility has a clearance of 32 feet and 65 truck bays.

The company had expanded its Bryan County operation in September, adding 237,600 square feet to its former 135,000 square-foot facility.

The new distribution center is within eight miles of the Port of Savannah.

Container volume at Port of Charleston up 8 percent

Container volume at the Port of Charleston increased by almost 8 percent last month year over year.

Charleston handled 121,286 TEUs in January 2013, an increase of 7.7 percent compared to January of 2012, according to the South Carolina Port Authority.

The port's container volume from July 2012 to January 2013, the first seven months of the fiscal year, rose more than 11 percent to 892,487 TEUs, up from 801,495 TEUs year over year, the SCPA reported.

Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said the authority's container business has been growing faster than the national average of 2 percent, and that non-containerized cargo is up about 30 percent at South Carolina's ports.

Great Lakes cargo volume rebound may end in shallow water

Shipping on the Great Lakes has seen a recent increase in cargo, with U.S.-flagged vessels on the lakes carrying 89.5 million tons of materials in 2012. However, shallow lake levels may stall the rebound, if dredging projects are not implemented soon.

"Our cargo totals are certainly on the upturn since the recession," said Glen G. Nekvasil, vice president of the Ohio-based Lake Carriers' Association.

According to last week's report from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, which includes data through 2011, the Great Lakes shipping industry is rebounding from the recession, and characterized as "healthy, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly."

"Studies have demonstrated that, on average, transportation cost savings from $10 to more than $20 per ton of bulk cargo are associated with the use of lake shipping, compared to the next most competitive transportation mode (rail or truck)," the study said.

Overall, ships on the Great Lakes moved 45.2 million tons of iron ore last year, down 4 percent from 2007, the report said. For limestone, 21.8 million tons was shipped in last year, down 19 percent from 2007. For coal, that amount was 17.6 million, down 43 percent.

The Department of Transportation cautions that the recovery could be cut short if low lake levels are not addressed by timely dredging.

"Particularly important to continued recovery is removal of accumulated silt and sand in the harbors and channels of the Great Lakes waterways system in order for the Great Lakes vessels to maximize the cargo carried," said a Department of Transportation spokesman.

For more of The Detroit News story:

Suez Canal stays open for shipping despite Egypt protests

Thousands of protestors in the Egyptian city of Port Said shut down the administrative offices of the Suez Canal Sunday, as part of a general strike protesting the death sentences of 21 local soccer fans that were issued three weeks ago for their part in a fatal riot last year.

This is the closest the protests have come to shutting down the Suez Canal to international shipping. A military guard continued to protect the port, as the administrative buildings were evacuated.

Nothing has seemed to lessen the intensity of the rioting, which was first initiated after the death sentences were handed down, and ramped up after dozens of demonstrators died in clashes with police.

For more of the New York Times story:

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