Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for February 25 - March 1, 2013:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Story

ILWU clerical workers at ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach ratify contract

The 600 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, who originally rejected the terms of a tentative agreement reached Dec. 4 that ended a weeklong strike, voted to ratify those same contract terms on Wednesday night.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, and the Harbor Employers Association released a joint announcement about the new contract, which will be effective through June 30, 2016.

"The approved agreements, to be finalized in coming days, are good for workers, good for employers and - most of all - important in ensuring smooth operations at our Southern California ports," said the joint statement from lead negotiators John Fageaux of ILWU and Stephen Berry of HEA. "Our local, regional and national economies depend on these ports, and the agreements ratified tonight pave the way for continued growth in the years ahead."

The proposed contract covers the period of July 2010 through June 2016, according to the HEA. It features job guarantees, wage increases, the ability to reduce 14 full-time positions through attrition, and a one-time $4,000 payment covering increases clerical workers would have received over the past 30 months of talks.

"A stable work force is a critical component of our Port's success and helps ensure that the hundreds of thousands of trade-related jobs stay here in Southern California," said Port of Long Beach spokesman Daniel Yi. "We commend the employers and the union for reaching a resolution."

Photo courtesy of: Los Angeles Times

A.P. Moller-Maersk Q4 profits near $1B on improved container rates

A.P. Moller-Maersk announced its fourth quarter earnings were $975 million on higher container rates and unit costs for Maersk Line.

Revenue for the three-month period increased by almost 3 percent year over year to $15 billion, the company reported. The company's revenue rose by 6 percent to $59 billion for 2012, while profits rose 29 percent to $4 billion.

CEO Nils S. Andersen referred to the result as "satisfactory" Friday in a statement, cautioning the shipping industry about uncertainty for 2013 due to sluggish growth and overcapacity.

For more of the Fox News story:

Logistics giant Damco 2012 net revenue surges 19 percent

Logistics giant Damco announced a net revenue increase of 19 percent in 2012 compared to last year. Net revenue in 2012 increased to $3.272 billion from $2.752 billion in 2011. Gross profit rose 7 percent to $807 million in 2012.

"We continue to grow and develop our business, in spite of continued difficult market conditions," said Damco CEO Rolf Habben-Jansen. "I am particularly pleased that we have taken full advantage of our acquisition of NTS, and that all of our products continue to grow organically faster than the market."

Damco shipped 6 percent more ocean volumes in 2012. 2012's total volume added up to 797,700 TEUs, compared to 2011's 749,500 TEUs.

Damco's airfreight tonnage almost doubled, recording a growth year over year of 91 percent. The rapid growth in airfreight was due, in part, to the effect of buying NTS (a China-based freight forwarder) in August 2011.

Editorial: Connect Seattle and Tacoma ports

The port authorities of Seattle and Tacoma should unite to court new business prospects instead of competing, according to Sunday's Seattle Times editorial, in either a full merger or by negotiating an agreement to plan, invest, negotiate, price and market as one entity.

The competition in terms of container trade is getting stiffer, the editorial asserts, with Canada investing billions in British Columbia ports and intermodal rail. Also, once the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015, Atlantic ports and Mexican ports will also compete for West Coast business.

The ports should unite around the container trade, the Seattle Times says, even though the Washington state ports have diverging interests as well, including Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport and cruise trade and Tacoma's car and bulk commodity business.

The newspaper builds their case for consolidation, noting the ports are only 30 miles apart and on the same inland sea. They use the same inland railroads, their terminal operators deal with the same shipping companies, and offer the same container service.

The editorial reports that the shareholders of the two ports, the residents of King and Pierce counties, suffer from the ports competing for their individual slices of the container trade, when if they combined they would have a more powerful bargaining position.

For more of the Seattle Times story:

Port of Los Angeles workers protest unfair hiring practices

Dozens of part-time port employees picketed the Port of Los Angeles Friday for alleged unfair hiring practices.

Part-time workers, also knows as "casuals," were angered that the port has given full-time longshoremen positions to mechanics affected by recent layoffs.

The demonstration, which was expected to draw up to 500 protesters, started at 6:00 a.m. on East Anaheim Street and Eubanks Avenue, according to an unnamed CBS source.

For more of the CBS Los Angeles story:


Tuesday, February 27, 2013

Top Story

China's manufacturing growth falters

China's manufacturing sector is growing at its slowest pace in four months, reports a private survey.

An initial reading of a Purchasing Manager's Index was 50.4 in February, according to Monday's statement from HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics. That's down from January's 52.3. Any PMI number above 50 indicates economic growth.

This preliminary call of the HSBC measurement, termed the Flash PMI, is based on 85 percent to 90 percent of responses to a survey from more than 420 companies, conducted from Feb. 12-21.

Last week, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell the most since May 2011 due to worry that Beijing will expand limits on the property market to lessen home-price gains.

"It casts some shadow over China's recovery," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. and a former researcher for the International Monetary Fund. "Chinese economic fundamentals may prove weaker than previously expected."

China's economy grew by 7.9 percent in the last three months of 2012 year over year, its first gain in two years.

For more of the Bloomberg Businessweek story:

NOL forecasts recovery in 2013 on cost cutting, new ships

Neptune Orient Lines, after reporting its third annual loss in four years, announced that it would improve its performance this year via new ships and cost reductions.

"The company will start 2013 with a better cost base as a result of a modern fleet," said the Singapore-based container carrier in a statement last week. "Barring unforeseen circumstances, the company expects a better performance than in 2012."

NOL, which reported a loss in seven of the past eight quarters, reported a total 2012 net loss of $419 million. The net loss of the three months ending on Dec. 28 was $98 million, compared with the average $12.6 million loss forecast by five analysts consulted by Bloomberg.

NOL sheered costs by $504 million in 2012 by selling its headquarters, liquidating assets and getting rid of older vessels.

NOL, Southeast Asia's largest container line, joined A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world's largest, in projecting an upbeat forecast for 2013. Maersk also reduced its fleet and implemented slow sailing last year to compensate for overcapacity and tepid global consumer demand, and reported that profits in 2013 will top 2012 figures.

APL, the NOL's container-shipping subsidiary, moved 802,000 FEUs for the quarter, 3 percent lower than a year earlier, because of weak Asia-Europe trade. APL operated 129 vessels with a combined capacity of 587,000 TEUs as of Dec. 28, the statement said. It received 10 ships last year, will receive 15 in 2013 and another nine in 2014.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

JAXPORT board approves 47-foot federal channel

Yesterday the JAXPORT Board of Directors voted to pursue additional local funding in order to deepen the harbor to 47 feet, a move necessary for the Jacksonville location to remain competitive with other East Coast ports.

As the local harbor sponsor, the port accepted a staff recommendation to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a 47-foot federal channel. The Corps will release its initial harbor deepening study in May 2013.

"We all know that there is incredible opportunity just over the horizon for North Florida and the ability to be the first or last port of call for the larger cargo vessels fully loaded means jobs and positive growth for the private sector in our region" said JAXPORT Interim CEO Roy Schleicher. "We must maximize the use of the public assets under our management and we must do so now."

Container volume at Port Metro Vancouver up 8 percent

Port Metro Vancouver had record container traffic in 2012, up 8 percent year over year, moving a total of 2.7 million TEUs.

Three years ago, lack of cooperation between the railroads and terminal operators led to the Vancouver port writing a letter to Transport Canada, their federal transportation agency, cautioning them about the delays in cargo movement. Relations between the stakeholders soon improved.

Further performance enhancement is largely due to an eight-year labor contract between longshoremen and terminal employers, penned nearly two years ago, which virtually ended the risk of port shutdowns.

"It's a really pleasing story," said Robin Silvester, port president and CEO. "To the credit of both railways and all the terminals, the working relationships we're seeing there have effectively taken two days out of the time it takes to get a container to Toronto, Montreal, Chicago from the ship arriving in Vancouver."

For more of the Vancouver Sun story:

1 dead, 1 missing, after cargo ship strikes 2 fishing boats

A Taiwan container ship struck two Japanese fishing boats in Osaka Bay yesterday, killing one fisherman, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Another crewmember of one of the fishing boat remains missing.

The 21 crewmembers aboard the container carrier, operated by Wan Hai Lines, were safe, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Steve Hsia.

Hsia said both fishing boats sank, and that the cause of the collision was being investigated.

For more of the Taipei Times story:


Wednesday, February 87, 2013

Top Story

Port of Seattle Commission president advises big pay raise to broaden candidate pool

Port of Seattle commissioners should make 7 times the salary they do now, according to Tom Albro, the president of the port commission. He wants commissioner pay to increase from $6,000 to $42,000 a year, comparable to the pay of Washington state legislators.

Albro’s rationale is that many qualified candidates for the port board might be unable to serve for financial reasons, although he said he would waive the raise himself. He said that while he realizes his stance might hurt his future election prospects, he thinks the candidate pool would widen with a living wage and the port would benefit.

“We intend our government to be a representative democracy ... For this to be true, average citizens must be reasonably able to serve in elected office,” he said. “But that is not the case when it comes to serving on the Port commission. The vast majority of us simply can’t afford to give away half our working hours, no matter how much we might be drawn to public service.”

Since four of the five Port commission seats are up for election in November, Albro said this is the time to increase the salary. Three of the commissioners must vote for the wage increase for it to pass.

Commissioner Bill Bryant said he probably wouldn’t support the raise, noting that many public servants don’t get paid.

For more of the Seattle Times story:

Union Pacific receives auto logistics award from Chinese agency

Union Pacific Railroad won the Significant Contribution Company Award from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, honoring the railway’s automotive logistics efforts in China.

“Union Pacific Railroad has created strong brand awareness within the Chinese automotive industry,” said Cai Jin, vice president of the federation. “Its commitment and efforts are well recognized by Chinese stakeholders.”

The award recognized Union Pacific’s work on a benchmarking program with a major China-owned logistics company, as well as the railroad’s help in advancing Chinese logistics practices and its commitment to international collaboration.  

"Union Pacific strives to provide the best service to its customers and constantly looks for innovative ways to create value," said Linda Brandl, Union Pacific vice president and general manager of its automotive division. "We remain committed to supporting the domestic and international supply chains for the automotive marketplace as a complete transportation and logistics provider.”

Port of Los Angeles to begin environmental review of Yusen Terminals revamp

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted last week to begin the environmental impact review of the proposed Yusen Terminals project, the first hurdle in development and deepening of terminal facilities to increase cargo volume and welcome the new generation of VLCCs.

Yusen currently has a 25-year lease at the port, valid through September 2016, and intends to exercise its option for a ten-year lease extension, according to a statement from the port. The EIR process will take about 18 months. 

“Terminal modernization and improvements such as those proposed by Yusen Terminals Inc. are key to the Port of Los Angeles’ long-term global competitiveness and success,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.  “We look forward to working with YTI to make significant improvements that will increase capacity and efficiency.”  

The proposed Yusen project will improve Berths 214-216 wharves and increase berth depth from 45 to 53 feet. Berths 217-220 wharves will be enhanced to accommodate 100-foot gauge gantry cranes, and will be deepened to 47 feet. The project also adds more on-dock rail yard capacity for Yusen.

“These berth and wharf improvements will allow us to take full advantage of the Port’s main channel deepening, accommodate next-generation ships at our site and keep us competitive in the marketplace,” said Patrick Burgoyne, president and CEO of Yusen Terminals Inc.

South Carolina breaks ground on new inland port project

South Carolina is breaking ground this week for a new inland port in the city of Greer, which is expected to be operational later this year.

The new port will serve as a transfer shipping station to load and unload containers between trucks and trains. The new rail line there will provide direct access to the Port of Charleston.

The Greer port facilities could eliminate up to 50,000 truck trips per year between Charleston and the Greenville-Spartanburg region, according to port officials.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood, Gov. Nikki Haley, and port and rail officials will attend Friday’s groundbreaking.

For more of the WBTW News 13 story:

1 dies, 8 rescued when two cargo ships collide

One person died when two cargo ships crashed into each other in China and sank in the Minjiang River Fujian Province early Wednesday, according to local officials.

Eight people were rescued and one confirmed deceased by 10 a.m., according to the local maritime rescue center.

The five crew on board the Fuhang 89 vessel were rescued. Three sailors aboard Yongdesheng 168 were rescued and one died, the agency said.

The accident is under investigation.

For more of the English East Day story:

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