Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for February 28- March 4, 2011:
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Top Story

Hutchison Ports sets public offering at $5.8 bil

The port unit of Hong Kong’s big trading house, Hutchison Whampoa, has reportedly set its Singapore public offering at $5.8 billion - the highest such listing in Southeast Asia.

Hutchison Port Holdings is out to raise $4.2 billion with the sale of shares, while other investors will be putting in an additional $1.6 billion in cornerstone investment from a group that includes Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings, Cathay Life Insurance and U.S. hedge fund manager Paulson & Co., according to a Reuters report.

The market cap of HPH would reportedly be at $9.4 billion after the listing debuts in a few weeks.

The units being offered would reportedly offer a yield between 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent, according to the prospectus.

- For the full Reuters story:

Maersk pushes terminal partnering initiative

Maersk will unveil what it terms a “terminal partnering” initiative this month with the goal of reducing total port call time by 30 percent.

The world’s largest shipping line said it would deliver specifics of the program in mid-March at an event in Tianjin, China.

“Port and terminal calls represent some of the highest operating expenses incurred by ocean carriers. Reducing vessel time in ports could significantly impact carrier costs and service reliability, both critical factors in today’s demanding business climate. Equally, terminal productivity, capacity utilization and costs are greatly influenced by ocean carrier practices,” said a press release about the pending formal announcement of the plan.

“How can ocean carriers form real partnerships with their terminal service providers to the benefit not just of their respective bottom lines, but to improve service to shippers and within the global supply chain at large,” the press release went on to say.

Maersk said it launched the program at one of its European terminals engaged in Asia-Europe services.

Maersk’s Harald Nijhof and Steen Knudsen are directing the company’s terminal partnering project.

CAT Logistics to develop distribution center in Dubai

Caterpillar Logistics Services has announced it will establish a parts distribution center in Dubai as part of the company’s expansion in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

“We are very pleased to be adding the Dubai Distribution Center to our industry leading global parts network. With the outstanding product support capability in the region and the improved parts availability this operation will deliver, we will continue providing customers an unmatched level of after-sale support,” said Steve Larson, the company’s chairman and president.

Hurricane-force winds shut down Alaska’s Port of Valdez

Powerful hurricane-force winds shut down the major oil export port in Valdez, Alaska, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds reportedly hit as high as 95 miles per hour over the weekend and the port subsequently closed down, while the Alyeska Pipeline Co. terminal remained open with oil transferred into storage tanks, according to an A.P. report.

Ship capsizes in East China Sea; seven missing

A cargo vessel collided with another ship and capsized in the East China Sea on Sunday, according to reports out of the region.

Seven crew members are reportedly missing after the Zheyuji No. 618, owned by Haitong Shipping Business Co. of Zhejiang, which was carrying more than 500 tons of scrap steel, hit another vessel and capsized near Zhoushan.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Story

CMA CGM, Maersk and MSC to beef up trans-Pacific service

Three big container-shipping lines – CMA CGM, Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company – announced that by the end of May they are going to enhance their respective trans-Pacific service coverage.

The service updates include vessel-sharing agreements between the trio of liners that they say will feature larger vessels, added port calls, and higher frequency of service.

Maersk said its TPI Asia-California service VSA will use larger ships and include a midweek call to the Port of Los Angeles. The TP2 Asia-California service will add the Port of Ningbo thanks to MSC’s role in the VSA. The TP8 China/Hong Kong-California VSA service will add Qingdao. Larger vessels will be used in the TP9 Asia-PNW service and TP3 Asia-U.S. East Coast service. The TP5 service between Asia and California and Dutch Harbor, Alaska will expand calls at ports in Japan using five U.S. flagged ships.

Maersk also referenced a beefed up TP7 service between Asia, Panama and the U.S. East Coast, as well as what it termed its “comprehensive” TP5 service between Southeast Asia, China and the U.S. West Coast.

France’s shipping giant, CMA CGM added that it would have direct service between Ningbo, Shanghai and Los Angeles as part of its VSA with Maersk and MSC. The shipping line also said it would be doubling frequency of calls to five major Chinese ports as part of the VSA at Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ningbo, Xiamen and Yantian, utilizing 12 vessels at 8,800-TEU capacity and five at 4,400-TEUs. CMA CGM’s Sunrise Service between Asia and California will utilize five 4,400-TEU vessels, the shipping line said.

Justice Department investigating anti-competitive allegations against FedEx and UPS

The U.S. Justice Department said it is officially investigating Atlanta-based United Parcel Service and Memphis-based FedEx for potential anti-competitive behavior against third party rate negotiators and consultants, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The investigation is reportedly based on allegations made in a pending lawsuit filed last summer by AFMS LLC, a Portland, Ore., consulting firm. The company alleges FedEx and UPS are freezing out the aforementioned third-party entities.

UPS and FedEx have said they’ve done nothing wrong and that they are cooperating with the investigation.

-Read the full WSJ story (subscription required):

China’s manufacturing expansion slowed in January

China’s manufacturing slowed its pace in January as Asia’s largest economy experienced higher interest rates and tighter controls on lending, amid concerns over inflation.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index, released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, slipped from 52.9 to 52.2 in January for the third monthly decline.

The positive news has been that China’s PMI has remained above the crucial 50 mark for two straight years.

QVC to expand its import distribution in North Carolina

Multimedia retailer QVC, Inc has announced it will expand its import distribution facility in North Carolina to 3.5 million square feet.

The facility, located in Edgecombe County, is approximately 160 miles from the state port authority in Wilmington.

The $71 million expansion includes a $1 million grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund.

It is expected that the larger distribution facility will employ 541 full time employees, and just under 1,000 part-time workers.

Madagascar detains 12 Somali pirate suspects

According to various reports, the country of Madagascar has detained twelve Somali pirate suspects.

The vessel that the suspects allegedly hijacked off Tanzania back in November reportedly ran out of fuel and supplies and the captain of the ship made an emergency call on February 21.

The 131-foot ship was subsequently towed to Madagascar, where the un-armed pirates were taken into custody.

Hijacked vessels like the MV Aly Zulfegar, are being used as mother ships by Somali pirates to widen the range of their attacks, and to launch skiffs from.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Top Story

Feeder service to launch on East Coast

A new weekly container feeder service connecting Boston and Portland, Maine with Halifax, Nova Scotia is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of this year, with more services and vessels to come, as was announced by New York-based American Feeder Lines.

The first vessel type to be used in the inaugural New England­Halifax Shuttle service will range from 1,000-1,300-TEU capacity and be chartered, the startup shipping line said.

“We have spent a lot of time with the ports and the industry stakeholders in New England. Our research showed that importers and exporters in the region are disadvantaged as there is a lack of all water services serving the region. Many conversations have pointed us to the obvious need, shippers and receivers made commitments, which have encouraged us to take our decision,” said Percy Pyne IV, chairman and co-founder of AFL.

The new service is influenced by the former “Yankee Clipper” weekly feeder service for Hapag Lloyd, AFL said in a release.

The former CEO and president of Hapag Lloyd Americas, Rudy Mack, is now the COO of AFL. Mack spent 35 years wit Hapag Lloyd before retiring a few years ago.

“I am very happy to see us starting with our New England­ Halifax Shuttle, as I have been running the “Yankee Clipper Service” during my time as President & CEO of Hapag Lloyd. This service gave us the competitive edge for the business in the region, as you could set the clock after the vessel’s calls,” Mack said.

The port facilities in Portland have been idle since direct services were discontinued there in a region that includes shippers of newsprint and paper products.

At Boston’s Massport, AFL says the port authority “will market the new service to its customers, accounting for several hundred thousand TEUs.”

AFL said the new service would primarily focus on international trans-shipment cargoes, and future services would specialize more in domestic shipments, where the company will become a Jones Act short sea operation on the East and Gulf coasts.

AFL says it has signed a letter of intent for ten U.S.-built 1,300-TEU vessels at two different shipyards.

The company said its new-build vessels “will be the greenest possible ships trading in U.S. waters,” operating on low sulfur fuels such as LNG and biodiesel. The vessels will also be modifiable to house an onboard crane.

American Feeder Lines’ intended port stops when all of its planned services are up and running, according to its website, include: Portland, Maine, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, Delaware, Norfolk, Wilmington, North Carolina, Charleston, Savannah, Freeport (Bahamas), Miami, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans and Galveston/Houston.

SSA plans to export coal through new Wash. State bulk terminal by 2015

Terminal operator SSA Marine is planning to open a $500 million bulk terminal at Cherry Point, Wash., located in the Northwest corner of the state by 2015 where the facility would export as much as 24 million metric tons of coal per year, it was announced on Monday.

The coal would be coming from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana courtesy of Peabody Energy, and shipped to Asia, the energy company said in a statement.

Peabody said it shipped 141 metric tons of coal in 2010.

The market for subbituminous coal in the Pacific Rim is expected to grow from about 140 million metric tons per year to approximately 250 million metric tons by 2015, the company said.

Twelve years after losing its only freight rail line, Santa Rosa, located in Northern California’s wine industry belt, should see 62 miles of repaired track with trains running on it by next month.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the North Coast Railroad Authority spent $68 million in state and federal funds, and pending inspection, could see 15 to 20 rail cars making three roundtrips a week between Windsor and Napa, Calif.

The initial cargoes carried are expected to include grain, aggregate, timber and other bulk cargoes, the Press Democrat reported.

For the full Press Democrat story:

Port of Seattle CEO gets 9 percent raise

The Port of Seattle commission gave its CEO a big vote of confidence, authorizing giving Tay Yoshitani a 9 percent raise in pay to a base salary of $366,825.

The commission voted 3-2 on the three-and-a-half-year contract that leaves room for performance raises.

One of the dissenting commissioners, John Creighton, objected to the pay raise citing a 3.5 percent cap on port staff pay raises during the tough economy, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

However, the Port of Seattle hit a record 2.1 million TEUs handled in 2010, while its cruiseship and airport passenger business has gone up as well.

"The next few years will be extremely competitive as the expanded Panama Canal opens in 2014, and we believe both the Port and the communities we serve will benefit from his [Yoshitani's] continued leadership," said port commissioner Tom Albro in a statement.

Yoshitani will now earn double the annual pay of Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire.

For the full Seattle Times story:

Crude supplies could start running low at Libyan ports

The supply of crude oil at Libyan ports could start to run low due to disruptions caused by the populist uprising against leader Muammar Qaddafi, according to shipping industry sources cited by Bloomberg.

Reportedly, at least seven oil companies have experienced production disruptions.

“They might be the last cargoes out of the ports because the flow of oil has stopped,” said Bruce Chan of Teekay Tanker Services in the Bloomberg report.

Libya produced 1.65 million barrels a day in 2009, or approximately 2 percent of global output, according to data cited by Bloomberg.

“It’s slowing down, and we foresee it slowing down more and more to more or less come to a halt,” said Mats Berglund, who heads the crude transportation strategic business unit at Overseas Shipholding Group.

For the full Bloomberg story:


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Top Story

Lawsuit settlement contributes to Horizon’s $52.7 mil Q4 net loss

After pleading last month for violating federal antitrust laws, Charlotte-based Horizon Lines agreed to pay a $45 million settlement that made up a large part of the U.S. shipping line’s $52.7 fourth quarter net loss.

The antitrust case against Horizon stemmed from its being accused of price fixing in the Puerto Rico trade lane from 2002-2008.

Horizon’s total revenue climbed to almost $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion a year ago.

Horizon Lines, Inc. is the biggest domestic ocean shipping company that owns or leases 20 U.S. -flag containerships, operates five port terminals and serves Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Micronesia, Puerto Rico in addition to an international service out of Asia.

China to reduce import tariffs and red tape

The Chinese government will reduce import tariffs several different products and cut down on the red tape on import application procedures, according to a news report in the China Daily.

"We will launch a series of measures to stimulate imports this year, including adjusting tariffs on some categories of goods and further simplifying the administrative process," Zhong Shan, vice-minister of commerce was quoted as saying in the China Daily.

Zhong told the China Daily that an "excessive trade surplus is not what China's policy is oriented toward", and "one of our goals is to maintain balanced trade."

No further details of for the new import regime were offered.

TUI sells part of Hapag Lloyd stake

The German tour operator TUI AG sold 11.33 percent of its 49.8-percent stake in container-shipping line Hapag Lloyd to the ocean carrier’s primary shareholder, Albert Ballin GmbH, for $439 million, according to a corporate statement.

The sales price could increase by up to $48 million if the planned $2 billion IPO for Hapag Lloyd takes place by April 15 of this year, according to sources cited in a Business Week report.

Libyan oil tanker reportedly sits in U.S. Gulf Coast

A Libyan oil tanker is sitting in the Gulf Coast, off Texas and Louisiana due to the recent sanctions imposed by the U.S according to news reports out of the region.

The ship is reportedly in the “refinery row” area between Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Neither further details nor official comments have been made available at this writing.

Somali pirates release German crew, vessel after two months

Somali pirates released a German crew and vessel after holding them hostage for more than two months, the EU Naval Force reported.

The MV EMS River was reportedly hijacked on December 27, 2010 off the port city of Salalah near the province of Dhofar.

The crew of eight is mostly Filipino with one Romanian, and was reportedly un-harmed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Top Story

Container shipping stocks on upswing

The stock value for container-shipping companies is moving upwards as the global economic recovery continues.

Improved U.S. consumer confidence is helping drive global demand for manufactured products, pushing containerized trade higher.

“The container sector has shown a remarkable rebound after a difficult 2009 due to the discipline of carriers on the supply side and the revival of trade growth in 2010,” said Maria Bertzeletou an analyst at container-shipbroker Golden Destiny SA in Greece, in a Bloomberg report.

Container-shipping’s upswing comes at the expense of declines for the bulk and tanker trades due to China’s curb on commodity purchases and too many new ships hitting the seas.

Shipping lines like Denmark’s Maersk and Hong Kong’s OOCL are riding upward waves as the global containerized ship trade is forecast to grow between 8 and 9 percent this year. OOCL’s share price has skyrocketed 281 percent in the past two year, according to Bloomberg.

One of the two owners of German shipping line Hapag Lloyd, travel conglomerate TUI AG, plans to sell shares this year.

The Bloomberg report said some container-shipping companies are preparing for IPOs in the U.S according to Socrates Leptos-Bourgi, global shipping and ports leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers SA in Athens, who could not name the companies due to Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

Global Ship Lease Inc. (GSL), based in London operates a fleet of 17 container vessels, and has said it would sell shares or debt securities to raise as much as $500 million, the news report said. France’s shipping giant, CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest shipping line, has a stake of around 45 percent in the New York Stock Exchange-listed company, Bloomberg reported.

For the full Bloomberg report:

San Francisco port eyes new bulk facility

By Richard Knee for CBN in San Francisco

Port officials here hope to develop a bulk cargo handling facility at Pier 96 but a spokesman said Wednesday that container-handling capability would be kept in place “for the foreseeable future” both at that pier and at nearby Pier 80.

Maloney sent out an announcement late Wednesday that the port was “soliciting interest from qualified respondents for developing and operating” the Pier 96 bulk terminal, and was “seeking to identify one or more qualified maritime cargo terminal operators with a proven capability of designing, financing, developing and operating bulk terminals at other ports who may be interested in expanding into the Port of San Francisco market.”

“We have received interest from a number of mining companies, particularly magnetite and iron ore, as well as terminal operators who are interested in developing a facility to accommodate this. Hence we are testing the market to gauge the interest and see what types of offers we receive,” Maloney told Cargo Business News.

Pier 96 offers 15 acres of paved land abutting 40-foot-deep water, a 1,000-foot-long berth, on-dock rail access and access to the port’s five-track rail yard.

The port authority is requesting that letters of interest go to Maloney’s attention at the Port of San Francisco, Pier 1, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, Calif. 94111. Submission deadline is March 18 at 5 p.m.

Maloney said the Request for Interest document and additional supporting documents are available on the port’s website,

Pier 1 Imports up 10.9 percent in Q4

Home furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. announced better-than-expected sales and profit for its fourth quarter.

The Fort Worth-based retailer operates 1,048 stores and reported total sales for its 2010 fiscal year were up 8 percent at $1.4 billion, while its sales for the fourth quarter were up 16 percent at $427 million.

The company cited higher holiday sales, higher overall customer spending per visit, and more recently, a strong Valentine’s Day business.

NY-NJ exceeded 2010 containerized forecast; up 16 percent

The Port of New York and New Jersey announced its container-shipping business exceeded its 5 to 6 percent growth forecast for 2010, surging 16 instead, barely missing the port’s peak of 2007.

The port handled 5,292,020 TEUs last year, up from 4,561,527 TEUs handled in 2009. The port authority’s record was 5,299,105 TEUs handled in 2007.

Ship carrying $162 mil cash to Gaddafi intercepted off UK

A ship with cargo of $162 million in cash intended for Libya’s embattled dictatorship under Muammar Gaddafi, was intercepted in British waters, according to news reports out of the region.

The ship had reportedly originally sailed from the U.K. to Tripoli over the weekend but turned back due to the civil war crisis there.

A British Border Agency ship subsequently escorted the ship upon its return voyage and seized the cargo of cash on the heels of the U.K. placing an export control order on Sunday that banned Libyan currency leaving the country.

According to the Daily Mail, Libyan currency is printed in a warehouse in England.


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