Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for February 22 through February 26, 2016:

Monday, February 22, 2016

Trucking Trends: Low Diesel Prices: Who’s Complaining?

By Mark Montague, DAT Solutions

Cue the limbo music.

The national average retail diesel price is below $2 a gallon for the first time since 2005, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Based on a weekly survey of 400 truck stops and service centers, the average price hasn't been this low on a non-inflation-adjusted basis since late January 2005, when it was $1.96 a gallon. Compared to just a year ago, the average pump price is down 88.5 cents a gallon.

You’d think truckers would be dancing around and shouting to lower the bar. Why in the world would anyone grouse over such a huge drop in their biggest operating cost after labor?

Here are a few reasons, and they affect the rates that for-hire carriers can charge.

Lower Spot Rates

Roughly 35 to 40 percent of truckload freight is "exception" freight — not under contract — and much of that is priced per transaction using spot market rates. Paid to the carrier by a freight broker or 3PL, these rates are typically 10 to 15 percent lower than the rates that shippers pay to carriers as part of an ongoing contract.

Right now the spread between contract and spot rates is growing, and declining price of fuel is a factor. That’s because spot rates are "all-in" rates: they theoretically combine a line-haul portion and a fuel surcharge. This rolled-up rate has dropped much more sharply than the fuel surcharge has dropped for carriers hauling freight under contract.

Weak Players Survive

Ordinarily, low freight rates and an uncertain economy would starve small and poorly managed carriers. Yet today’s fuel prices allow many to hang on.

Lower fuel costs also allow trucking companies to keep older, less fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. That means more competition — and less bargaining power — for carriers.

A Rebound?

Changes in spot market rates typically lead changes in contract rates by three to six months. The line-haul portion of spot market rates has been relatively flat since October, which indicates stability for transportation budgets in the first half of 2016.

Right now there are opportunities for shippers to negotiate favorable long-term contracts with freight brokers/3PLs, who can offer competitive pricing by using mid-sized and smaller fleets. Capacity is abundant and in order for it to stay that way the industry needs healthy truckers across the board, from big for-hire fleets to one-truck owner-operators.

For carriers, the slow season is a time to take advantage of low fuel prices to adjust their networks and routes to better serve their customers. When freight picks up again, they’ll be ready.

Mark Montague is industry rate analyst for DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT® network of load boards and RateView rate-analysis tool. He has applied his expertise to logistics, rates, and routing for more than 30 years. Mark is based in Portland, Ore. For information, visit

Capitol Watch: A FASTer Environmental Review and Permitting Process?

By Anna Denecke, Associate, Blakey & Agnew, LLC

It’s been less than three months since the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was signed into law, and the focus has justifiably been on the legislation’s big-ticket investment programs. The $281 billion, five-year bill is landmark legislation for many reasons, not least of which is the inclusion of an innovative, freight-specific competitive grant program.

However, the FAST Act is more than just an authorizing bill. The law contains a wealth of reforms to the permitting and environmental review processes, aimed at increasing agency coordination, delineating federal responsibilities to the states, and reforming the litigation process for large infrastructure projects. If executed correctly, these modifications could significantly improve the return on federal investment provided by the FAST Act.

Large infrastructure projects often fall under the jurisdiction of multiple federal agencies. A project on the Canada-U.S. border, for example, could need approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Transportation, to name a few. A lack of inter-governmental coordination often leads to long delays and duplicative efforts.

The FAST Act takes pains to improve this process by inviting the 13 agencies most often involved in permitting to the same table and asking them to work towards modernizing the infrastructure permitting process. The Federal Permitting Improvement Council will identify and develop best practices among Federal agencies for enhancing early stakeholder engagement, ensuring timely decisions, improving Federal and non-Federal government coordination, increasing transparency, reducing information collection requirements, and creating training manuals.

The Council’s executive director, appointed by the President, will be responsible for developing a "master list" of complex multimodal projects, with estimated costs of $200 million or more that are currently pending the environmental review or authorization process. The executive director will categorize these projects, assign a leading facility agency, and identify preferred project schedules, based on an assessment of best practices.

In addition to facilitating inter-agency coordination during the permitting process, the FAST Act asks for better coordination during environmental reviews. The bill gives project lead and cooperating agencies the option to reference or incorporate state or local decisions, analyses, or studies into the federal environmental review process.

The FAST Act also reforms the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) litigation process. NEPA is the process by which the Federal government assesses the environmental impacts of a proposed action or project. Previously, entities looking to make claims against a NEPA authorization had six years from the date of publication of the final record of decision, approval, or denial to do so. The FAST Act decreases this statute of limitations from six years to two years. Furthermore, an entity looking to make a claim must have filed detailed comments to put the lead agency on notice of the issue at hand during the environmental review process.

The FAST Act empowers states to assume Federal responsibilities for the environmental review process. The bill creates a pilot program, allowing up to five states the ability to conduct their own environmental reviews and make approvals for new projects, either under State environmental laws and regulations or under NEPA requirements. The Secretary will be charged with assessing the pilot program in a report to Congress and the experiment sunsets in 2027.

Additionally, the FAST Act makes Categorical Exclusion (CE) reforms, aimed at streamlining the multimodal project delivery process. CE’s are a category of actions during the environmental review process which do not individually or cumulatively significantly impact the human environment, and therefore are not subject to extensive environmental study. The FAST Act allows any US Department of Transportation (DOT) operating authority to use a categorical exclusion of another DOT operating authority, thereby reducing duplicative determinations and expediting the approval process.

Blakey & Agnew, LLC is a public affairs and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC.

Ports of L.A./Long Beach fight back against cargo congestion

Last year around this time, a severe cargo backlog was plaguing the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The Wall Street Journal has taken a look at the work the ports have done to fix its traffic issues since then.

One thing the ports have looked at is cargo forecasting, in an attempt to pinpoint possible issues that could disrupt future cargo flows. For example, Yusen Terminals gathered ship manifests and posted forecasts on its website so truckers know ahead of time what’s coming and can plan their routes in advance. "The further upstream we know when a box is coming available, the better we can plan to make everything efficient," said Alan McCorkle, Yusen’s vice president of West Coast operations.

Equipment like chassis are being kept in facilities off the docks, to improve flow there. Truckers need a chassis before they can pick up a container, and backups frequently form at rental and inspection points for this vital piece of equipment. Long Beach Container Terminal opened an off-site facility for chassis inspection and storage, freeing up room at the docks.

Yusen has installed a live dashboard showing how long each truck has been on site and where they were held up. The live feed has helped identify additional staffing needs that ultimately helped slower parts of the terminal move faster. At Ports America’s terminal in Long Beach, managers can pull up live camera feeds of the truck lines on their smartphones, and they receive hourly reports via email identifying which trucks need to be prioritized.

Scheduled pickups have also improved cargo movement. Some terminals now require truckers make appointments to pick up containers, rather than having them wait in long lines while dockworkers extract containers from stacks one by one. When a driver arrives for their appointment, their container is supposed to be ready to be loaded.

Advance planning is key. Some large retailers have their containers stacked together so they are ready to be loaded onto company trucks. This reduces wait times for both the retailers and other importers, in a system known as free-flow or peel-off.

For more of The Wall Street Journal story:

USCG: Shipping lines, not shippers, on the hook for new container weight rules

U.S. shippers that don’t properly weigh containers will not be issued fines or other penalties under a new rule passed by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, a U.S. Coast Guard official said, noting it will be the carriers that bear the weight of the new requirement.

Starting in July, carriers say they will reject any containers that haven’t been weighed and verified based on standards passed last year by the international maritime regulator, The Wall Street Journal reports. Shippers have said they weren’t adequately consulted on the rule before it was passed, and that it will raise their costs.

At a meeting hosted by the Federal Maritime Commission, the Coast Guard said it was up to shipping lines to enforce the new requirement. Carriers could then call on the Coast Guard to block or remove containers from ships if they aren’t certified, but the shippers wouldn’t be punished by law enforcement, according to Adm. Paul Thomas, who oversees inspections and compliance.

The IMO mandate makes shippers responsible for certifying the weight of their goods as well as packing materials and the containers themselves. The measure was put in place to reduce accidents at sea caused by stacking overweight containers.

Ocean carriers and port terminal operators have said they will refuse to load containers that aren’t certified. But groups representing farmers, manufacturers and retailers have protested, saying they are not equipped with the industrial scales needed to weigh entire containers, and that it is unreasonable to make them bear all the costs to comply.

For for of The Wall Street Journal story:

Second mate says storm warning texted to El Faro captain

The captain of the doomed El Faro was warned by a text message from his vacationing second mate that a storm looming offshore was forecast to become a hurricane.

Second Mate Charles Baird testified Thursday before a U.S. Coast Guard panel investigating the ship’s sinking in October, which resulted in the death of all 33 aboard.

Baird said Capt. Michael Davidson replied that he planned to go near but "under," or south, of Hurricane Joaquin.

Investigators want to know why Davidson chose to sail closer to a hurricane when he chose a more evasive route in previous storms.

For more of the WPRI story:


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Newly formed China Cosco Shipping Corp. challenges Maersk, MOL

China has issued a challenge to global carriers Maersk and MOL through newly formed merger-spawn China Cosco Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS), but analysts say the giant company must cut its workforce and order book to survive one of the industry's worst-ever slumps.

Created from the state-driven merger of former rivals China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company and China Shipping Group, COSCOCS will control one of the world's largest fleets of dry bulk vessels, container ships and oil tankers.

"Few liner companies are set up at the moment to handle current challenges," said veteran shipping analyst Charles De Trenck. "Perhaps the first challenge is to shrink the new combined company. Without that, the bleeding will continue at a faster pace,"

Shipping lines have suffered through years of losses since the global financial crisis brought the shipping boom to an end. New vessels ordered before the downturn created an oversupply and freight rates reached record lows.

At the COSCOCS launch event, company chairman Xu Lirong acknowledged the industry has experiencing its worst downturn since 2008 and said mergers were key to surviving the slump.

However, he said COSCOCS had told staff that there would be no salary cuts or layoffs, a policy of many Chinese state-owned firms that insiders say makes little sense.

"To me they're missing a huge opportunity there to improve their competitiveness," said a China-based shipping executive at a rival firm, who wanted to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

COSCOCS currently employ 180,000 workers, more than double the workforce of Maersk.

It also owns 830 vessels including container ships, dry bulk vessels and tankers, almost twice the combined fleet of Maersk and Mitsui O.S.K Lines, according to data from VesselsValue, which does not include chartered-in vessels.

COSCOCS' massive size will work to its advantage as it can better compete for market share than if the combined entities had remained two separate, loss-making companies, experts said.

"The merger gives them a fighting chance," said Shanghai-based Essence Securities analyst Jiang Ming. "If they didn't merge the status quo would have remained the same."

For more of the Reuters story:

GLP and Canada Pension Plan set up $880M fund to build warehouses in Japan

Singapore's Global Logistic Properties and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have set up a 100 billion yen ($880 million) fund to develop high tech warehouses in Japan, their second joint venture in the nation.

Growth in e-commerce has made warehouses worldwide hot property assets. Helped by debt financing, the fund's assets are expected to reach $2 billion over three years, according to GLP and CPPIB.

CPPIB, one of the world's leading retirement funds, has been active in logistics investments in Asia. In December, it pledged $1 billion in additional funds for a partnership with Goodman Group Pty Ltd. GMG.AX that invests in Chinese warehouses and logistics facilities. In November, it and other partners unveiled an investment of up to $1 billion in a separate venture in South Korea.

GLP and CPPIB set up their first joint fund for Japan in 2011 to invest in logistic facilities. GLP has $8.2 billion worth of assets under management in Japan.

For more of the Reuters story:

First freight train from China to Iran marks new Silk Road trade link

A freight train from China arrived in Tehran on Monday, according to Iranian and Chinese media reports, marking a historic new trade link between countries looking to strengthen ties as Iran emerges from years of economic isolation.

The train, carrying 32 containers, arrived in Tehran after a 14-day, 6,462-mile trip from Yiwu city in East China, Iran's ISNA news agency reported. The agency didn't say what kind of goods were shipped.

China's Xinhua news agency reported the train's journey was 30 days shorter than the time taken by ships to sail from Shanghai to Iran's Bandar Abbas port, according to Mohsen Pour-Aqaei, Iran's transport minister and railway chief.

Iran is being heavily courted by China, now that longtime nuclear-related sanctions have been lifted. Beijing sees the country as a key part of its "One Belt, One Road" policy to increase trade and open new markets for its firms as its domestic economy slows.

A big part of the policy is to expand the use of railways between China and Europe to shorten cargo travel time, creating a modern Silk Road, Beijing has said.

Xinhua also quoted Iran's transport minister as saying one freight train would now travel from China to Iran every month. These trains would eventually be bound for Europe, helping Tehran develop into a transit center between the two regions, according to quotes attributed to the minister.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua quoted China's ambassador to Iran, Pang Sen, as saying that countries along the railway line would look to upgrade their infrastructure to make the route faster and better.

During a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Iran in January, the two countries agreed to increase bilateral trade more than 10-fold to $600 billion in the next decade, with cooperation on nuclear energy and the "One Belt, One Road" project.

For more of the Reuters story:

Crowley subsidiary to clear cold treatment goods at Port of Charleston

Crowley Maritime subsidiary Customized Brokers said it could begin clearing certain produce requiring cold-treatment from Peru, Uruguay and Argentina into the Port of Charleston as early as this spring.

This development is an expansion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) cold treatment pilot program, previously rolled out in South Florida and in Savannah, Ga.

Cold treatment is a process in which perishable fruits have their pulp brought to a certain temperature for a period of time as dictated by authorities in order to fulfill APHIS quarantine requirements for fruits and vegetables entering the U.S. The process eliminates harsh chemical fumigation but ensures that foreign insect and their larvae are eradicated from the cargo in order to protect the U.S. agricultural industry.

For compliance, fruits and vegetables must be shipped in new or completely clean containers equipped with temperature sensors to monitor the near-freezing temperatures required for the cold treatment process, the statement said. The treatment begins with pre-cooling dockside at the point of export or once the produce is aboard the vessel, then refrigerating the cargo at temperatures for around two weeks upon arrival portside in the U.S.

Once formally implemented, Customized Brokers will be authorized to clear citrus, blueberries and grapes from Peru; blueberries and grapes from Uruguay; and blueberries, apples and pears from Argentina. Containers that do not pass cold treatment will be prohibited from entering the port and will not be offloaded from vessels.

"We’ve worked diligently with the Florida Perishable Trade Coalition to make the cold-treatment program a reality," said Nelly Yunta, vice president, Customized Brokers. "Each time the program expands to include another port of entry or an additional commodity, it’s a huge win for consumers looking to have fresh produce on their tables throughout the year."

Photos of the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin at Long Beach

Check out these photos of the inside of the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the biggest container ship to dock in North American. The ship berthed at the Port of Long Beach on February 19 during its inaugural voyage.

To view the 89.3 KPCC slide show:


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

CMA CGM may rethink alliances after NOL acquisition

CMA CGM, close to completing the acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines, may end its operating alliances with other carriers amid growing consolidation in the container shipping business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"We are becoming a larger shipping line and we are in the position to select the partners with whom we want to do business," said Rodolphe Saadé, vice chairman of CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container ship operator.

Saadé said the Ocean Three alliance agreement was set to run for two years, and will end at the end of 2016. "There are many rumors in the market about who we are talking to," he said. "In our industry everybody talks to everybody."

Saadé’s comments in an interview confirmed industry reports that CMA CGM is rethinking its alliance commitments with other carriers, including the Ocean Three alliance with United Arab Shipping Co. and China Shipping Group Co. Because of CMA CGM’s large share of the shipping market, any action it takes would likely trigger a reshuffling of lineups that take in the world’s largest carriers.

CMA CGM is finalizing its $2.4 billion acquisition of Singapore’s NOL, which will bolster its service on Pacific and intra-Asia trade routes and expand the Marseilles-based company’s fleet to 563 vessels from about 480.

The purchase of NOL, which operates in the shipping market as APL and is the twelfth-largest carrier in the business by capacity, is part of a broader consolidation rolling across the industry as weak demand and falling rates hurt carrier finances. Saadé said he hopes the deal receives all regulatory approvals needed from various countries by this summer.

China Shipping recently completed a deal to merge with fellow state-owned shipping giant China Ocean Shipping Co., which is a member of a separate global alliance known as the CKYHE Alliance.

"We are discussing with the new China Shipping group, but we are also discussing with others," he said.

For more of The Wall Street Journal story:

Port of Oakland makes deal with bankrupt terminal operator

The Port of Oakland and bankrupt Outer Harbor Terminals have made a deal in which the terminal company will pay two months rent and undertake other concessions in return for the termination of its 50-year lease with the port.

"We're not pleased to see a terminal close, but this agreement helps ensure a smooth transition for our customers," said John Driscoll, director of the Port of Oakland.

Outer Harbor Terminal accounted for 24 percent of the Oakland port’s maritime operating revenue of $158.7 million for the 2015 fiscal, according to Michael Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland. That would equate to roughly $38 million.

Under the new deal that includes a termination of the lease, Outer Harbor Terminal has agreed to pay about $6 million to cover the February and March rent to the port and continue Oakland vessel and cargo operations through March 31. It will also clean up debris and remove equipment on the 166-acre property where it operates and pay the port $5.1 million for additional cleanup and repairs.

In addition to letting Outer Harbor Terminal exit its lease, the Oakland port also agreed to provide free rent in April to ensure that the terminal operator stays open for cargo operations until the final shutdown.

In its federal filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the terminal operator told the court that heavy losses in recent years, pressure to be a competitive operator at the Oakland port and an inability to restructure its lease agreement with the port combined to force them into a corner. Matters were made worse, the terminal operator claimed, due to a lawsuit by the company against the city of Oakland over taxation issues and having to defend itself in an unfair labor dispute brought by National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the machinists’ union.

"All our attention now is on efficiently migrating their cargo to the other terminals in Oakland," Driscoll said.

For more of the Mercury News story:

Hong Kong drops to fifth in world port rankings by volume

Hong Kong, once ranked as the world’s busiest cargo port, has dropped to fifth place after 18 months of weak volume. Year-over-year cargo numbers dropped a whopping 12.8 percent in October 2015.

Though China’s slowdown has shrunk overall global trade, Hong Kong’s position is unique. The former British outpost was once the gateway to China, but it now faces fierce competition from the mainland rivals. The port at Shenzhen has seen growing volumes over the same period, and both Shenzhen and Shanghai are now ranked higher than Hong Kong.

Over the 20th century, logistics and trade have come to make up nearly a quarter of the city’s economy, and the loss of port traffic would be devastating. Critics say local administrators have been slow in reacting to the massive shift, making it less likely there will be enough big moves for the port to regain its prominence.

Deutsche Bank recently found that Hong Kong’s volume could drop by as much as half over the next decade.

Many forces have triggered the collapse in cargo volume. Fundamentally, trade growth in China makes direct routes more attractive. Mainland Chinese ports have surpassed Hong Kong’s ability to serve the very large ships in the Asia-Europe trade. And although Hong Kong is dredging its channel to accommodate megaships, there is still a relative lack of space for offloading cargo.

Mainland port fees are also now as much as 30 percent cheaper for carriers than Hong Kong. And due to a strange bureaucratic hurdle, truck drivers from the mainland are not allowed to drive into Hong Kong to pick up or deliver cargo.

Deutsche Bank found that many shippers who do still ship via Hong Kong found the greatest benefit from its connectivity. Its status as a prominent network node, with more frequent arrivals and higher volume of ships, makes it easier to arrange multi-stage cargo routes, the bank said.

For more of the Fortune story:

Port Logistics Group opens headquarters in Los Angeles

Port Logistics Group announced this week it has opened its new corporate headquarters in Los Angeles.

Port Logistics Group’s new headquarters has been relocated to join the company’s City of Industry, CA retail distribution campus, where Port Logistics Group operates nearly 2.5 million square feet of dedicated and multi-client facilities shipping to retailers, wholesale distributors and direct to consumers.

"While we’ve experienced great growth in all of our gateways, we have expanded exponentially in Southern California, and this move aligns our executive team and West Coast operations leadership more closely with our customers," said Bob Stull, CEO of Port Logistics Group.

The company says the HQ location will house corporate staff functions including finance, human resources and marketing and also serve as the regional headquarters for West Coast operating leadership. The new corporate headquarters location and contact information: Port Logistics Group, 288 Mayo Avenue, City of Industry, CA 91789.

Hundreds of kilos of cocaine seized at Mexico’s Manzanillo port

Prosecutors confiscated 438 kilos of cocaine that arrived in Manzanillo, a port in the western Mexican state of Colima, from Buenaventura, Colombia, according to the federal Attorney General's Office.

"The federal prosecutor in the area, with the support of law enforcement agents and investigators from the Criminal Investigations Agency (AIC), inspected three containers," the AG's office said in a statement.

Seven suitcases holding 363 bricks of cocaine, with a total weight of 438 kilos and 240 grams, were reportedly found in the containers.

"The items secured were retained by the federal prosecutor, who continues investigating" the drug case, the AG's office said.

The Colima unit of the AG's office worked with the marine corps and the SAT tax agency on the drug bust.

For more of the Fox News story:


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hapag-Lloyd swings into profitability on CSAV merger

Hapag-Lloyd announced it has reached its earnings targets for 2015 and also significantly improved its year-over-year operating result (EBIT) in the fourth quarter, primarily as a result of its merger with container carrier CSAV.

Hapag-Lloyd increased operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation of intangible and fixed assets (EBITDA) to $912 million (2014: $108 million) and the operating result (EBIT) to $402 million (2014: $420 million) in 2015. In the 4th Quarter EBITDA reached $154 million (Q4 2014: $87 million) and EBIT was $19 million (Q4 2014: $334 million).

Revenue increased in 2015 to $9.6 billion (2014: $7.4 billion).

The significant increase was primarily due to to the merger with CSAV's container business in December 2014. Transport volume rose to around 7.4 million TEUs for 2015 (2014: 5.9 million TEUs). The average freight rate in 2015 dropped to $1,225/TEU (2014: $1,427/TEU), the average bunker consumption price fell to $312/ton in 2015 (2014: $575/ton). The average USD/EUR exchange rate was significantly stronger at 1.11 USD/EUR compared to 1.33 USD/EUR in 2014.

The final full year 2015 group accounts and the annual report 2015 will be published in March.

Hill International scores construction management contract at the Port of Long Beach

Construction risk management firm Hill International announced today that it has received two contracts from the Port of Long Beach to provide construction management services on various capital improvement projects.

One contract is in connection with Pier G Metro track improvements and the other contract is to provide on-call services. The two contracts have a combined estimated value to Hill of approximately $2.5 million.

The Pier G Metro track improvements contract entails both new track construction and existing track reconstruction. The on-call services contract is expected to involve management of the demolition of existing facilities (buildings, structures, landscaping and utility systems), intermodal rail yards, roadways, bridges, container terminal development, commercial office buildings, industrial buildings, fire stations, dredging, navigation improvements, utilities, shore-to-ship power, grading and paving, fencing and communication systems.

Hill International, with 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the building, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial sectors.

VP Biden tours the Port of New Orleans

Vice President Joe Biden toured the new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal at the Port of New Orleans before commemorating the 7th anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at the port’s Riverfront Plaza.

"I’m here today to talk about smart investments we made in shaping the future of the economy in Louisiana and around the country," Vice President Biden told a crowd of more than 150 invited guests at the port. "Right here at the Port of New Orleans a $16.7 million TIGER Grant has had an enormous impact."

The port received a $16.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in 2011 to build the 12-acre Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal, which is scheduled to begin operation in March. The terminal has four rail tracks and two 60-long-ton rubber-tire gantry cranes. The terminal has an annual capacity of 160,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units and a marshaling yard with 389 slots for stacking loaded containers five-high.

Vice President Biden toured the new terminal with Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Louisiana Secretary of Transportation Shawn Wilson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation Victor Mendez.

The Port of New Orleans is the only U.S. seaport served by six Class-One railroads and the new intermodal terminal will allow shippers to more efficiently utilize rail to service customers throughout the nation.

"The port’s rail access includes 132,000 miles of connecting rail tracks," LaGrange said. "The new terminal will facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo, stimulate international commerce and enhance safety all while reducing the carbon footprint of regional and national transportation systems within our market – which constitutes 62 percent of the consumers of the U.S."

Biden said many people do not understand the importance of the nation’s ports and stressed the role the Port of New Orleans plays in the U.S. economy.

"You have been the economic heart of America for more than two centuries, connecting the agriculture and industrial power of Middle America to the rest of the country and the world," Biden said.

UPS appeals Brazil’s approval of $5B FedEx-TNT Express deal

United Parcel Service is appealing a decision by Brazilian regulators to approve FedEx Corp.’s takeover of the Netherlands’ TNT Express, which could potentially stall the nearly $5 billion deal.

UPS filed the appeal after Brazil’s antitrust agency, also known as CADE, cleared the proposed deal on Feb. 2.

"The review process in Brazil contains an option to submit an application to the senior level of CADE to consider a more in-depth review of an initial finding," a UPS spokesman said. "This option has been exercised as part of ensuring a fair and thorough investigation."

FedEx and TNT Express, who issued a statement on the appeal, said they remain confident the deal will be closed in the first six months of this year. Efforts to secure regulatory approval in other countries, including China, are making timely progress, the companies said.

In January, European Union antitrust regulators unconditionally approved the proposed transaction, ending a six-month investigation that had been one of the biggest hurdles facing the deal. U.S. regulators approved the deal last year.

UPS in 2013 abandoned its plan to acquire TNT following opposition from EU regulators.

Transportation industry analysts said the appeal shouldn’t pose a problem for the deal.

For more of The Wall Street Journal story:

Port Everglades added to MSC direct service to/from ECSA

Mediterranean Shipping Company (USA) has announced the introduction of Port Everglades in the rotation of its service as the first entry port in U.S.

MSC says the new call will allow it to offer the best service possible from the East Coast of South America to Port Everglades, to meet the growing needs of clients from E South America to the Miami/Florida region.

The service’s first call in Port Everglades will be performed by MSC Luisa V607R / 611A on March 14, and the new rotation will be as follows: Buenos Aires – Montevideo- Rio Grande – Navegantes – Santos – Salvador – Suape – Freeport – Port Everglades – Norfolk – NYC – Baltimore – Savannah.


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