Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for February 22 - February 26, 2010:
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Monday, February 22 , 2010

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EPA announces Great Lakes restoration action plan

Following up to last February’s announcement of President Obama’s pledge of $475 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced a five-year action plan that she said would help “guide the Obama Administration’s historic efforts to restore the Great Lakes.”

“We have an historic opportunity to restore and protect these waters. This action plan outlines our strategy to protect the environmental, human health, and economic interests of the millions of people who rely on the Great Lakes,” said Jackson.

The EPA, in a statement, said 30 million Americans get their drinking water from the Great Lakes, while the lakes also support a multi-billion dollar economy from various maritime activities.

The EPA’s action plan commences this year focuses on five priority areas: protection and cleanup of the most polluted areas in the lakes; combating invasive species; protection of high priority watersheds and reduced runoff from urban, suburban and, agricultural sources renowned for their beaches; restoration of wetlands and other habitats; and implementation of accountability measures, learning initiatives, outreach and strategic partnerships

In November, the EPA released a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit applications of participants and partnerships for the Great Lakes Restoration from a diverse group Initiative and it says it has received more than 1,000 proposals for funding to support the activities.

For the full plan:

Maersk containership biggest-ever to call Saigon port

The 8,272-TEU Albert Maersk made a trial stop at Saigon’s SP-PSA International Port in Vietnam, making it the largest-ever ship to call there, according to news reports out of the region.

The mega-ship docked at the new deep-water marine terminal that opened only last May, in advance of Maersk’s new services linking Vietnam to Europe and North America.

The terminal operation is near the mouth of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai River, and will be developed over two phases, and when completed it to have annual capacity of two million TEUs.

Cadillac distribution to resume in Europe

General Motors Co’s luxury brand, Cadillac, will take another shot at Europe.

The automaker will resume distribution of some vehicles in Europe soon, undoing a move made last year when its western European distributor, Kroymans Corp., collapsed.

Instead, GM targeted emerging markets such as Russia and China. GM has established a new company, Cadillac Europe, which will manage importing, distribution and marketing of an unspecified range of vehicles.

They will be sold through a network of dealerships in key European markets.

-Detroit News

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Star Bulk to add Capsize vessel

Star Bulk Carriers Corp. announced it would acquire a Capesize bulk carrier of approximately 171,000 dwt, built in 2000 in Japan, for approximately $42.5 million from a third party. The vessel will be financed through a combination of company cash and bank debt, according to a statement released by the company.

The vessel will be renamed M/V Star Aurora, and is expected to be delivered charter-free to Star Bulk between October and November 2010, the company sad. Star Bulk said it intends to charter time for the vessel prior to its delivery.

The new bulker will replace Capesize Star Alpha, which was sold and delivered to its buyers in the fourth quarter of 2009, the company said. The latest acquisition will bring Star Bulk's fleet to twelve vessels of approximately 1.1 million dwt and an average age of approximately 10.2 years, the company said.

Alaska shipwreck from 1952 could be cause of oil sheens

The U.S. Coast Guard investigated an historic shipwreck off Lena Point this week after an increase of oil sheens on the water were reported recently.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Coast Guard coordinated with Southeast Alaska Lighterage and Global Offshore Divers to evaluate the vessel that went aground and sank off Lena Point in 1952.
Officials are trying to determine how much fuel remains on the 369-foot vessel. The Princess Kathleen sits on a slope in about 80 to 140 feet of water and has been periodically releasing small, unrecoverable oil sheens in the area for years. The vessel's fuel tanks could hold 155,000 gallons.

The Princess Kathleen was built in 1925 for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The wreck site has remained a popular SCUBA diving area in Juneau due to its depth and location.

_Juneau Empire

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Tuesday, February 23 , 2010

Top Story

West Coast ports lobby D.C. for $1 bil for emissions reduction

The chief executives of the six major West Coast container ports sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking for continued funding, to the tune of $1 billion, for continued support of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) as part of the upcoming JOBS legislation.

The ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma said they took advantage of DERA funding through last year’s federal stimulus package, which included $300 million in funds for the emissions reduction.

The ports said they partnered with local public, and private, agencies to implement cleaner technologies to help reduce emissions through engine retrofits, anti-idling technologies, and vessel shore-power infrastructure.

“This program has continually proven to benefit communities near ports, port workers and the sustainability of our operations that ultimately help grow our economy and keep U.S. exports competitive in the global marketplace,” the West Coast port executives said in the letter.


Oregon warns Texas LNG developers permit likely to be denied

Oregon environmental regulators have told the Texas developers of the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River that a crucial water quality permit will likely be denied.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Dick Petersen told Northern Star Natural Gas in a Feb. 17 letter that the company still has not provided three-dimensional computer modeling and sampling that are "essential" to evaluate erosion, water quality and fish habitat issues.

The deadline for a decision on the Clean Water Act certificate is May 8.

Northern Star spokesman Joe Desmond said they are evaluating the letter and have yet to decide whether to take the department's advice to withdraw and then resubmit their application to avoid a denial.

-Houston Chronicle

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Report: Cathay and Air China to form cargo venture

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong’s largest carrier, and affiliate Air China Ltd. intend to sign an agreement on forming an air-cargo venture before the end of the week, said three people familiar with the negotiations.

The deal will likely be confirmed during talks in Beijing over the coming few days, said the people who declined to be identified as the discussions are private. Air China will inject seven freighters into the venture, one person said. Cathay will put in five or six planes, two people said.

-Business Week/Bloomberg

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U.S. explores logistics for Afghanistan through Georgia

The United States is carefully exploring an offer by ally Georgia to use its territory to supply arms to international forces in Afghanistan, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said on Monday.

Georgia, keen to strengthen ties with Washington strained by war with Russia in 2008, says its strategic position in the South Caucasus offers a valuable alternative to existing routes into Afghanistan sometimes targeted by militants.


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Wednesday, February 24 , 2010

Top Story

Illinois-Michigan shipping locks battle heats up

Illinois' attorney general asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to uphold its earlier decision not to force the state to close Chicago-area shipping locks to prevent the spread of Asian carp, arguing that Michigan's renewed pleas were unfounded.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox initially sued Illinois to force the closing of the locks in December, asking the Supreme Court to grant a temporary injunction that would close the locks until a long-term solution was devised to deal with the Asian carp threat.

The court rejected the motion, but Cox renewed his request weeks later after DNA from Asian carp was detected in Lake Michigan. Cox accused the Army Corps of Engineers, named a defendant in the suit against Illinois, of intentionally withholding the DNA results until after the court had denied the injunction.

-Chicago Tribune

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Jake’s Finer Foods opens reefer DC in Houston

Jake’s Finer Foods (Jake) has officially opened its new 180,000sft distribution facility and corporate headquarters in northwest Houston. The facility, under construction for most of 2009, is phase one development of a 360,000sqft refrigerated distribution unit.

The company claims that the new design helps to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and significantly cut energy use and environmental waste.

Jake’s new distribution center provides slots for over 20,000 items and around 4.3 million cubic feet of storage, including seven different temperature zones, which the company claims, are designed to maintain ideal product storage conditions, increasing product freshness, taste and shelf-life for Jake’s customers.

-Food Business Review

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Sec. LaHood signs cooperative agreement with Iraq’s transport minister

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood signed a memorandum of cooperation with Iraq’s Minister of Transport Amer Abdul-Jabbar Ismael on Tuesday “to promote cooperation in all areas of transportation,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement.

“Reliable and safe transportation is essential to sustain any country’s economy,” Secretary LaHood said. “I look forward to working with Minister Amer Ismael as Iraq further develops and improves its transportation system.”

The U.S.D.O.T. said the meeting marked the first visit by an Iraqi Minister of Transportation to the United States in over 20 years. Iraq's Transport Minister was in the U.S. leading a delegation visiting civil aviation, maritime port facilities, and meetings with government and aviation officials.

The D.O.T. said the MOC would include exchange of scientific and technical information on subjects of mutual interest; the exchange of specialists, delegations, scientific and technical personnel; joint organization of symposia, seminars, and related meetings; and joint research in transportation science and technology.

Georgetown, SC port turns away ships due to silt build-up

The director at the port of Georgetown said the dredging situation there is now bad enough that the port turns away cargo and diverts it to Charleston.

Such actions could continue to prove costly for the local area unless federal lawmakers allocate about $8 million to remove the silt at the bottom of the port's waterway and restore its depth to 27 feet, according to a recent study.

The S.C. State Ports Authority has been working with the legislative delegation to get federal funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for dredging the port's channel, but the corps' budget is developed two years in advance and it's based on a cost benefit formula.

-The Sun News

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UPS cargo plane lands in Salt Lake City with one engine

A United Parcel Service cargo plane made a tense landing early Tuesday morning after one of its two engines appeared to malfunction, authorities say.

Jeremy McCulley, operations supervisor at Salt Lake International Airport, confirmed the UPS Airbus A-300 jet came in on an "alert" status about 4:50 a.m. Airport fire trucks were standing by as the aircraft, carrying a crew of two and a load of parcels, landed safely and without further incident.

The plane, UPS Flight 844, had taken off earlier Tuesday morning from Louisville, Ky. Salt Lake City was its scheduled destination.

-The Salt Lake Tribune

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Thursday, February 25 , 2010

Top Story

Westbound trans-Pacific box rates to increase again

The container-shipping lines that make up the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA), announced another general rate increase (GRI) on cargo moving from the U.S. to Asia, effective April 1, 2010.

The WTSA members said in a statement the “move is part of an ongoing effort to restore rate levels after a sharp drop in the second half of 2009.”

U.S.-Asia freight rates are currently at the same levels as in early 2008, the WTSA said.

Dry cargo rates will go up $300 per-FEU and $240 per-TEU. Refrigerated cargo rates will increase $300 per-FEU and $240 per-TEU for U.S. West Coast cargo, and by $500 per-FEU and $400 per-TEU for all other cargo, including mini-land bridge, inland intermodal, and all-water shipments from the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, the WTSA said.

“Despite modest improvements in cargo demand and rates in recent months, all carriers continue to lose money in both directions between the U.S. and Asia,” said WTSA executive administrator Brian M. Conrad. “This has put sustained pressure on the westbound backhaul segment of the market to make its full contribution to roundtrip costs, particularly given cargo imbalance, equipment repositioning and other constraints unique to the trade,” he said.

The WTSA membership includes: APL, Ltd., Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd. COSCO Container Lines, Ltd., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line), Evergreen Line, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line), Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd., Orient Overseas Container Line, Inc., Hapag Lloyd AG, and Yangming Marine Transport Corp.

Port of L.A. survives another day in court over truck concessions

The Port of Los Angeles' effort to reduce pollution and change the way cargo is hauled to and from its terminal gates survived another court battle Wednesday when a federal appeals panel refused to block one of the plan's most controversial provisions.

Three judges from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request for an injunction against the port's plan to require all independent haulers to become employees of approved concessions or trucking companies.

The American Trucking Assn. has argued that it violates federal interstate transport laws and heavily favors union organizing by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

-L.A. Times

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Shanghai Shipping Exchange plans container futures market

Shanghai Shipping Exchange, based in China’s busiest port, intends to set up a container-shipping derivates market by year-end as the city tries to challenge London as a global center for shipping finance.

The forward freight agreements, or FFAs, which help guard against fluctuations in shipping rates, will be targeted at small and mid-size exporters, who don’t have the volumes needed for long-term shipping contracts, Yao Weifu, a director at the shipping exchange, said in an interview in the city yesterday. The plan is awaiting government approval.

-Business Week

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RailAmerica reports Q4 loss

Yesterday, RailAmerica Inc. reported fourth-quarter and full-year financial results, which included $69 million in gross proceeds received in December after the company terminated its lease of the Ottawa Valley Railway.

RailAmerica reported a quarterly loss from continuing operations of $12.5 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, compared with income from continuing operations of $6 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, in fourth-quarter 2008. Revenue declined 9 percent to $105.4 million, freight revenue dropped 10 percent to $86.1 million — primarily because of lower fuel surcharges and car loadings — and non-freight revenue decreased 5 percent to $19.3 million, driven down by less car hire and demurrage revenue. Total operating expenses declined 6 percent year over year to $91.2 million.

-Progressive Railroading

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MOL ship rescues 64 students, crew

Two Mitsui-OSK Line woodchip carriers rescued 64 students and crew who had been adrift for 40 hours after the sail training ship Concordia was knocked down and sank 344 miles southeast of Rio de Janeiro February 17.

A Hercules aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force spotted the life rafts at 5:00 PM Feb 18 and through AMVER, the two MOL ships diverted to the scene with the Crystal Pioneer, en route to San Lorenzo, Argentina, arrived on scene at 4:00AM Feb 19. Due to darkness and high seas the ship waited until 7:00AM and rescued 20 from a single life raft. By then the Hokuetsu Delight, bound for Paranagua, Brazil was also on scene and picked up 44 from three other life rafts, with the last survivor safely aboard before 9:00AM.

The crews of both high-sided chip carriers safely completed the rescue in bad weather without any incident or injury to either the survivors or the ship’s crew.

11 students were transferred by helicopter from the Hokuetsu Delight to the Brazilian Navy frigate Constituição, when the transfer operation was halted by bad weather. The frigate and the two MOL ships then took all survivors to Rio de Janeiro arriving Feb 20. Without further adieu, MOL’s two ships immediately sailed, resuming their voyages.

-Fred McCague, CBN Casualties Editor