Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for March 2 through March 6, 2015:
Monday, March 2, 2015
Chiquita keeps calling Gulfport due to congestion at Port of New Orleans
Produce giant Chiquita containers are still moving in and out of the port in Gulfport, Miss., months after the company transferred its shipping operations headquarters from there to New Orleans, the according to the Sun Herald.
After 40 years in Gulfport, Chiquita moved to New Orleans in October 2014. Chiquita’s containerized goods were supposed to be cleared out of Gulfport by Dec. 31, but Gulfport tenant Crowley is still shipping northbound Chiquita containers full of produce into the state port, the newspaper said.
Mississippi port director Jonathan Daniels told the Sun Herald that the Port of Gulfport is working with the Port of New Orleans to "alleviate congestion issues at the port of New Orleans."
Matt Gresham, director of external affairs at the Port of New Orleans, called Chiquita's transition to New Orleans on schedule. He said the New Orleans port expected Chiquita would continue to have some cargo move through Gulfport while terminal improvements are completed in New Orleans.
Chiquita, Gresham said, has also ordered equipment for an off-site ripening facility. Until that is set up, he said, the company's ripening facility near the interstate in Gulfport is still in use.
Port of Long Beach fills two new executive positions
This week the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners appointed port sector veterans Michael Christensen and Glenn Farren to newly created management positions designed to help facilitate cargo flow and service at the Port of Long Beach.
"I am extremely pleased to have Michael Christensen and Glenn Farren joining our Long Beach executive team. Both Mike and Glenn bring extensive port operations and supply chain expertise to their respective assignments, along with a wealth of industry knowledge and key contacts," said Jon Slangerup, the port’s chief executive. "Mike and Glenn will play instrumental roles in building the relationships, systems and processes needed to deliver world-class operating performance as measured in the velocity, efficiency and reliability of import and export goods that move through the Port of Long Beach."
Christensen, who most recently was deputy executive director at the Port of Los Angeles, was appointed Port of Long Beach’s senior executive for supply chain optimization, reporting directly to Chief Executive Jon Slangerup. Farren, formerly general manager for Hapag-Lloyd America, will serve as the port’s director of tenant services and operations, a new position created to emphasize the importance of relations with Port tenants.
Christensen, who starts March 2, is a 40-year transportation professional with a background in public and private sector planning, goods movement, operations, government affairs and project management. He will be responsible for working with industry stakeholders to increase communication along the supply chain. At the Los Angeles port, he had been the No. 2-ranked executive since 2006. Previously, he was vice president for the Parsons Transportation Group in Irvine.
Farren has more than 20 years of experience in managing marine terminals. At Hapag-Lloyd, he was general manager for Southern California operations. Previously, he worked for shipping companies Maersk, Sea-Land and APL. Farren will start in March, reporting to Dr. Noel Hacegaba, managing director of commercial operations/chief commercial officer.
The Tenant Services and Operations Division is part of the Commercial Operations Bureau for the Harbor Department.
Ag exporters deal with daunting backlog as W.C. ports get back to work
As operations at West Coast ports are returning to normal after a 5-year labor contract deal was made, California agriculture exporters say business won't be back to normal for quite some time, as they deal with an enormous backlog of shipments that have to be dealt with at the ports.
The PMA and the ILWU announced a tentative agreement late last Friday after nearly 10 months of negotiations. The new five-year contract covers 20,000 workers at 29 West Coast ports, which suffered major slowdowns during the prolonged labor dispute.
Ag exporters say they expect it will take weeks to months for the ports to sort out the current backlog of cargo before goods can start to move on a more timely basis.
"Certainly all of our issues and problems with this are far from over," said Kevin Severns, general manager of Orange Cove-Sanger Citrus Association, a grower cooperative citrus packinghouse in Fresno County. "Our growers are going to feel the reverberation of this for months to come."
Severns said Sunkist Growers, which sells the association's fruit, are chartering vessels to take some of the shipments to Korea and Japan, but it can’t make up for fiscall losses incurred by slowdowns.
Hay exporter Border Valley Trading, which operates in the Imperial and Central valleys, currently has a backlog of 400 containers that are still waiting to be shipped, according to company President Greg Braun.
"I don't think people realize how big the logjam is — how many containers that are sitting loaded that need to move and/or how many containers that are sitting offshore with ships that need to come in," Braun said. "That all needs to happen first before industry can move on to what we call new business."
State senates delay legislative action on NY-NJ Port Authority reform
Legislation on reforming the New York/New Jersey Port Authority has been set aside for now by both state senates.
In New York, the state senate has set aside a bill to reform the port authority after discussions with Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill had been scheduled for a vote Wednesday, but was set aside by Senator Andrew Lanza, the sponsor.
"We laid it aside because I am working with Governor Cuomo who has been a steadfast partner in terms of reform," Lanza, a Staten Island Republican, told Capital. "The governor is working very closely with us to make sure these reforms are going to come to pass."
The N.J. senate is delaying its March 5 vote on Port Authority reforms because a Republican committed to overriding Governor Christie is scheduled to be on vacation that day, said the legislator leading the charge.
Lawsuit threatened after Seattle port makes deal with Shell Oil
Now that Shell Oil has signed the lease for the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5, Foss Maritime is expecting maintenance work on two oil rigs and other ships from Shell’s Arctic fleet.
"These projects will bring hundreds of good maritime jobs to the Seattle waterfront and millions of dollars of revenue to the port," said Foss Maritime spokesman Paul Query.
But environmentally concerned citizens are angered that the publicly financed Port of Seattle is supporting oil drilling in the environmentally sensitive Arctic, and disregarding the acceleration of climate change caused by carbon emissions.
Opponents threaten to sue the port if the $13 million lease isn't rescinded, but a leading environmental lawyer is unsure about the prospects for success.
"A lawsuit is never going to be a silver bullet in this particular situation," said prominent environmental lawyer Peter Goldman.
Maersk CEO talks megaship order, West Coast congestion
Maersk Line intends to order 11 new Triple E mega-containerships from an Asian shipyard in the second quarter of 2015, said CEO Soren Skou in a recent Wall Street Journal report.
The deal for the 18,000-TEU ships is worth approximately $1.8 billion. These would be the first ships Maersk has purchased since 2011, when it ordered 20 Triple E class boxships.
Skou said the 11 vessels would be needed to make a weekly round trip from Asia to Northern Europe.
"We need to grow with the market and increase our capacity by 425,000 containers from 2017 onward for three years," said Skou. He predicted that demand for maritime cargo would grow three to five percent in 2015.
"Over the past 10, 15 years prices have come down on average one to two percentage points a year. We need to build a business that can sustain that kind of deflationary pricing market," Skou added.
Addressing the recent port turmoil and cargo congestion on the U.S. West coast, Skou said Maersk customers are increasingly looking to divert cargo to other gateways, including ports in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. East Coast.
"Our customers are looking on how they can get alternative gateways," he said. "More cargo is already moving through Canada Pacific Northwest ports, U.S. East Coast ports and Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico. Our customers will not put all their eggs in only one basket," Mr. Skou said.
Ports of L.A. and Long Beach can join forces to clear backlog, FMC says
The Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles have received approval from the Federal Maritime Commission to work together to find new ways to prevent congestion and cargo delays, improve the transportation network and enhance air quality, according to a port statement.
"The ports and cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles both succeed when the other succeeds," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. "My thanks to the Federal Maritime Commission and FMC Chairman Mario Cordero for allowing our ports to join forces to address congestion and cargo delays so these issues do not occur again. This port complex is too important for us not to do everything we can to improve it."
The petition to grant the two ports an anti-trust exemption, allowing them to collaborate, was sent to the FMC in December by the harbor commissions of both ports, the statement said. The FMC’s decision to grant the expanded agreement will allow the two ports to exchange information on "projects" and "programs," according to the POLB, in addition to rates, charges, operating costs, practices and regulations related to marine terminal, trucking rail and vessel operations.
Maersk’s APM Terminals fires 3 executives
APM Terminals, the port operations arms of A.P. Moller-Maersk, has fired three senior executives, according to a company spokesman.
"They were asked to leave because they did not follow internal business policies," said Erik Eisenberg, APMT's vice president for communications, to The Wall Street Journal. He didn’t give any other details.
Christian Moller Laursen, APMT's vice president and chief financial officer, was replaced in January, Eisenberg said. He said Chief Commercial Officer Martin Gaard Christiansen and the head of global project implementation, Michael Lund Hansen, were replaced. None of the three executives could be reached for comment.
Eisenberg said the new CFO of APM Terminals, Henrik Lundgaard Pedersen, previously headed APMT's Asia-Pacific region. He said the new commercial chief is Joe Nicklaus Nielsen, who is also maintaining his previous role as head of container business development.
China to Spain freight train makes first round trip
The first freight train connecting Eastern China and Madrid, Spain has completed its first round trip on the longest rail line in the world.
CF International Logistics operates the train, which traveled more than 16,000 miles on the new Yixin'ou line and arrived back in China with wine, olive oil and cured ham from Europe, according to The Independent.
The train started its maiden journey from Yiwu in Eastern China in November 2014, hauling cargo including toys and stationery to Europe.
Li Qiang, the governor of China’s Zhejiang province where the train departed, spoke in Madrid, asserting that the route was an important step in implementing "the strategy of developing a new Silk Road."
Cargo ship, detained for possible pollution violation, released in Unalaska
A cargo ship M/V Lindavia, under investigation in a possible oil pollution case, was released to leave Unalaska, after its owner posted bond.
The U.S. Coast Guard detained the 600-foot vessel in Unalaska for the past two weeks. Kevin Feldis, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage, said the ship's owner signed a security agreement with the Coast Guard to let them leave port.
"Part of that agreement—they’ve posted a $500,000 bond that will be available for any potential future penalties or criminal fines," Feldis said.
The Lindavia can now take its seafood cargo onto its destination in Japan. But Feldis says some of the crew will stay behind in Alaska.
"A portion of the crew will be brought here to Anchorage, and the company is paying for that in order to make them available for the ongoing investigation," he said.
L.A./Long Beach must clear congestion and regain trust of shippers
Photo credit: Chuck Bennett/Press-Telegram
In the week since a five-year tentative labor accord was reached between employers and union dockworkers at West Coast ports, dockworkers have been called to work by the hundreds. Even so, it will likely take months to clear up the harbor backups completely.
Workers and management must simultaneously relieve the port congestion that had begun even before the labor conflict started and convince shippers that West Coast ports can be trusted to run efficiently. Cargo volumes at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports shrank dramatically before the labor deal was reached, with parties on both sides blaming each other for the slowdown.
"The challenge is going to be re-earning the trust of the shippers," said Mark Hirzel, president of the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association.
Fitch Ratings published a statement noting that although the ports’ credit ratings were not hurt by the recent labor conflict, reliability is important in the shipping business, and the 2002 lockout and 2012 clerical workers’ strike have hurt the reputation of the ports.
"With each labor event, some diverted cargo has not returned," Fitch reported. In Fitch’s assessment, roughly half of the imported cargo coming in to Los Angeles and Long Beach is bound for local markets.
Regarding congestion, the ports received permission last week from the Federal Maritime Commission to work together to find workable solutions.
Long Beach port spokesman Michael Gold said this would allow the ports to work on a cargo tracking system similar to what UPS or FedEx customers get for ground shipments.
The Port of Los Angeles announced that three chassis firms have agreed to create a "gray chassis pool," making it easy for drivers to use the trailers interchangeably, without having to worry about who owns the equipment.
As of Friday morning, there were 32 ships — 23 of these container vessels — waiting to be unloaded off the port complex, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
Chassis "Pool of Pools" launched at Ports of L.A./Long Beach
Direct ChassisLink (DCL), Flexi-Van Leasing (FVL) and TRAC Intermodal (TRAC) announced the launch of a new chassis-provisioning model that began March 1 at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Chassis pools managed by DCL and FVL have started operating under a new agreement that allows improved chassis interoperability for all chassis contributed to such pools, according to the joint statement. This includes the DCL chassis pool, the Grand Alliance Chassis Pool and the Los Angeles Basin Pool — which all supply chassis to transport containers between ports, rail yards and cargo destinations in the LA/Long Beach port complex.
This so-called "Pool of Pools" will provide access to chassis for 12 major marine terminals and a network of rail yards, container yards and other locations at the ports. The new agreement will allow users of the DCLP, GACP or LABP to interchange the chassis of the other pools, totaling over 80,000 total chassis.
The chassis providers will continue to manage their own pools, independently establish their rates for daily chassis usage, and continue to compete with each other for customers.
The participating pool managers will monitor usage of the fleet and cooperate on the positioning of chassis across the port complex, utilizing a third party provider to facilitate operation. This third party service provider will audit cross-pool chassis usage to allow the pools to compensate one another for such usage on a regular basis, and assist in preventing the exchange of competitively sensitive information between the pools and chassis providers.
The new program should reduce the time spent to pick up or return chassis, improving trucker productivity that will in turn benefit the shipping lines and beneficial cargo owners utilizing the ports.
DB Schenker announces new CEO of Americas region
Logistics giant DB Schenker recently announced the appointment of Philippe Gilbert as Regional CEO of the Americas, effective March 1, 2015.
Gilbert joined DB Schenker Americas in March 2013 as regional director of the Europe West region, according to the statement. He is taking over the CEO role from Heiner Murmann, who will retire from that position but continue his 20-year tenure with the company as a member of the Schenker AG global board of management, responsible for the air and ocean freight business unit.
"Philippe has a long professional record in the American market," said Murmann. "Before joining DB Schenker, he held progressively senior executive roles in the logistics industry, and is very well positioned to lead DB Schenker Americas."
In 1994, Gilbert headed up the U.S. activities of Saga S.A. based in Houston TX, the company said. In 1999, he held several roles with EGL Circle International, where he worked in Houston, Sao Paulo and Paris. In 2005, he became director for overseas and groupage at Geodis Group in France. In 2008, he was named executive vice president and chairman of Geodis Wilson Network.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge of my new role as Regional CEO, Americas," Gilbert said. "Heiner has done an outstanding job over the last 20 years, steering DB Schenker Americas through many challenges and great successes during his tenure. He has set the bar very high and I am honored to follow in his footsteps."
Genesee & Wyoming rail company to acquire Freightliner
Genesee & Wyoming Inc. said it would acquire approximately 95 percent of the shares of Freightliner Group Limited from Arcapita and other shareholders for approximately $755 million and has agreed to assume an estimated $13 million in net debt and capitalized leases.
Members of the existing Freightliner management team will maintain an approximate 5 percent ownership interest, and G&W plans to buy them out by mid-2020. The sale is expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.
"The acquisition of Freightliner is an excellent strategic fit for G&W," said Jack Hellmann, president and CEO of G&W. "First, we are adding a world class intermodal and heavy haul franchise in the United Kingdom that will be the foundation of G&W’s European Region. Second, the overlap of our respective rail businesses in Australia and the Netherlands will unlock operating synergies and expand our presence in each of those markets. Third, we are pleased to be joined by a talented management team that has a long track record of success in building Freightliner over the past two decades. Working together, we expect to build the existing business and also unlock a range of attractive rail investment opportunities worldwide."
Headquartered in London, England, Freightliner is an international freight rail operator with operations in the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. Its main business is located in the U.K., where it is the second largest freight rail operator, providing intermodal container service between sea ports in England, Scotland and Wales.
G&W currently owns and operates short line and regional freight railroads in the U.S., Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium.
U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker clears Hudson River shipping channel
The U.S. Coast Guard has had to deploy icebreakers on New York's waterways this week to ensure that shipping and ferry traffic could continue.
The USCG cutter Sturgeon Bay broke ice this week in the shipping channel on the Hudson River near Catskill, N.Y.
Conditions have been particularly frigid in early 2015, creating icy conditions in New York City’s rivers and other waterways.
L.A./Long Beach port heads: Backlog will take 3 months to clear
Photo credit: John Schreiber/mynewsLA
The top officials at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach said that it would take three months to clear the thousands of containers left stranded on nearly two dozen ships — the product of epic congestion exacerbated by contentious labor talks between dockworkers and management.
The ports need three months "to get back to a sense of normalcy," with the first month focused on getting caught up on the backlog, according to Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. Seroka and Long Beach Port Chief Executive Jon Slangerup participated in a panel at the recent Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference in Long Beach.
Tuesday was the first time in awhile that the number of vessels anchored at the breakwater dipped under 30 ships, Seroka said.
The Marine Exchange of Southern California said 29 backed-up vessels were anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, including 20 container ships, on Tuesday.
Target to cut jobs, invest $1B in supply chain and technology
At this week’s investor meeting, Target Corporation chairman and CEO Brian Cornell presented the vision that will transform the retailer's business — cutting thousands of jobs over the next two years and investing as much as $2.2 billion in supply chain, technology and capital expenditures.
"Following a thorough, strategic review of our business, coupled with a careful evaluation of the changing retail landscape, we have identified the key initiatives that will put Target on a clear path to growth," said Cornell. "We're focused on our future and building the capabilities that will take us further, faster. Redefining Target will require a renewed emphasis on prioritization and innovation, and above all else, putting our customers first in everything we do."
Target intends to save $2 billion over the next two years, with savings coming through operations, technology and process improvements, supply chain and sourcing efficiencies, and corporate restructuring.
The company plans to slash thousands of jobs, mostly in headquarters, over the next 24 months and create centralized teams based on specialized expertise. This year, Target said it would invest between $2 and $2.2 billion in capital expenditures, including a $1 billion investment in technology and supply chain.
Hampton Roads faces congestion and perception challenge
Cargo congestion at Hampton Roads container terminals are posing a public relations challenge on top of logistical hurdles for the Virginia Port Authority.
Virginia Port Authority officials say they're aware of the urgency of the situation have promised port stakeholders better communication and greater transparency.
Industry publications have been printing quite a few stories about chronic cargo backups and wait times at the East Coast port. "Virginia port plagued by inefficiency as truck waiting times rise," said one headline from a maritime news website.
Although Virginia port officials did not dispute they had cargo delays, they said it was not as bad as reported.
Hampton Roads, the East Coast's third-largest port, had record volume last year, as did No. 1-ranked New York/New Jersey and No. 2 Savannah. Savannah moved 3.34 million TEUs compared to Hampton Roads' 2.39 million.
Starting this week, the VPA said the weekly publication that lists port metrics will include how long truckers wait to get into a port terminal, not just how long it takes to pick up and/or drop off a container once inside.
Other items on the to-do list include extending gate hours for truckers on weekends. The port continues to text truckers with updates on conditions at the terminals. And an appointment system for truckers at Norfolk International Terminals is still in the works, a year after it was brought up.
In January the authority board approved spending $9.4 million on infrastructure improvements.
Senator Cantwell to introduce stronger standards for trains hauling crude
In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell said she would be introducing legislation to establish new, stronger safety standards for trains hauling crude oil.
She said the issue is of the "utmost importance to the people of the Northwest," as an average of 19 oil trains currently cross Washington State each week.
Cantwell told U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx that the Administration’s proposed rule under consideration isn’t strong enough and that legislation would be necessary to protect communities.
"I want to be clear and on the record: I will be introducing legislation to support a thicker hull and quicker phase-out than what is currently proposed," Cantwell said. "We are not moving fast enough. I look forward to seeing your rule but we are going to come out with tougher standards."
The DOT’s proposed rules would phase out, over the course of several years, the use of older "DOT-111" tank cars for the shipment of Bakken crude. The DOT-111 poses a higher safety risk than newer cars, whose hulls are less likely to puncture in the case of a derailment. About 80,000 of the older, less safe DOT-111’s are now hauling flammable liquids.
AML Ship Management pleads guilty to dumping oil waste
A German shipping company pleaded guilty to two criminal counts of dumping oily waste last year in U.S. waters south of the Aleutian Islands.
The City of Tokyo, a ship that was transporting vehicles from Asia to the West Coast last year, was the focus of the violation.
The guilty pleas were filed in federal court this month by attorney Michael Chalos on behalf of AML Ship Management GMBH at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.
The City of Tokyo, operated by AML, pumped about 4,500 gallons of oily bilge water directly overboard, according to court documents. To send the waste into the ocean, crewmembers used a makeshift hose system that bypassed the oil-water separator that is legally mandated for large ships.
The dumping and subsequent falsifying of ship records merited criminal counts under the Clean Water Act and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
For more of the Alaska Dispatch News story: www.adn.com