Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for March 7 through March 11, 2016:
Monday, March 7, 2016
PMA and ILWU consider the extending West Coast port labor contract
Officials of organizations that represent West Coast dockworkers and their employers may have signaled an interest in extending the last year’s labor deal, because of last year’s difficult and protracted contract negotiations.
The heads of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association had an exchange suggesting the possibility of a contract extension while in Long Beach at the Journal’s annual TPM Conference, according to the Journal of Commerce.
The ILWU and PMA agreed to a contract in February 2015, ending a tense negotiating period that resulted in major shipping slowdowns at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach while the union and management blamed each other disrupting the pace of business. The deal, ratified last May, is set to expire at the end of June 2019.
ILWU President Robert McEllrath said publicly that he would be willing to ask union members to consider a contract extension if shipping companies represented by the PMA formally asked for one, according to the JOC. PMA Chief Executive James McKenna said in reply that a letter making such a request would be forthcoming.
An ILWU spokesman declined to comment Wednesday on the Journal’s report. The PMA did not provide comment.
News of the leaders’ comments does not provide enough evidence to conclude that a significant change in the labor dynamics at West Coast ports is in progress, said Norman Harris III, president of the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association.
Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association had a similar take, saying it remains to be seen what will come of the interaction between McEllrath and McKenna.
Harris and LaBar also discussed the leaders’ statements in the context of worries, also referred to in the Journal’s coverage, that shippers may move cargo away from West Coast ports to more distant harbors, based on the possible reasoning that it may make business sense to avoid possible labor strife on this side of the ocean even if shipping goods elsewhere requires a longer voyage.
"It is the shortest route, and a lot of the market share has come back to L.A.," said Harris, referring to shippers having diverted cargo away from the West Coast during last year’s slowdown. "A small percentage of it will never come back."
Despite the slowdown in the early part of the year, Port of Long Beach officials recorded a 5 percent year-over-year increase in container volumes during 2015, as nearly 7.2 million TEUs moved through the port. It was the port’s third largest container volume in its history and the first year since the Great Recession that container volumes exceeded 7 million units.
At Port of Los Angeles, total cargo volumes shrunk 2 percent in 2015 to nearly 8.2 million boxes. Last year signified the fifth time the Los Angeles port’s container volumes exceeded 8 million TEUs.
Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield had no comment Wednesday on issues related to labor relations, but he said some 30 cargo ships altered course in order to unload cargo at other ports during last year’s slowdown.
The merger of Cosco and China Shipping, China Cosco Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS), has announced the establishment of container carrier China Lines. China Lines will be the world’s fourth largest container line in terms of capacity.
"China Lines will start official operations in the second half of this year and will restructure its domestic shipping network in the major coastal ports including Shanghai, Ningbo, Tianjin, Qingdao, Dalian, Xiamen," said the President of COSCOCS, Xu Lirong. "The group will not make any changes on its international shipping network before 2017. The restructuring of the group’s container business will be finalized this month and the restructuring of its oil shipping business and bulk shipping business will be completed in April and May respectively."
Meanwhile, the merger between Cosco and China Shipping, the largest shipping groups in China, was approved by the state council and anti-trust regulators. The deal was ordered by Chinese government during the last year in attempt to save the country’s struggling shipping business.
Port of Seattle CEO alludes to shutting down Terminal 46
Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick made some surprising comments about the future of the Terminal 46 on the Seattle Waterfront when he was interviewed by Seattle Business Magazine for an article in the March 2016.
The magazine reported that the port intends to invest up to $300 million to convert Terminal 5 on Harbor Island for ultra large container ships, transforming it into a mega terminal capable of handling some of the biggest cargo ships in the world.
Fick said that project could mean a change for Terminal 46, which takes up 82 acres of the Seattle waterfront, according to the article:
"New, highly automated terminals planned for Harbor Island, Fick observes, will likely be able to handle virtually all of Seattle’s container traffic volume and could lead the alliance to shut down Terminal 46, near the SoDo-Stadium district, when Hanjin Shipping Co.’s lease ends in 2025. But Fick and the port may have other plans for the area. Asked about Terminal 46, Fick says cautiously that he would more likely be a buyer than a seller."
The article also noted that "studies are underway" on how best to use about 60 open acres at Interbay, and the land "that could become available at Pier 46."
It's change in tone compared to previous statements by port commissioners, who have said that T-46 is an important part of it's maritime business. Last year, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma strategically teamed up their maritime operations forming the Northwest Seaport Alliance, to better compete against rival ports in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Southern California.
Hanjin Shipping, which has the operational lease with the Port at T-46, could not immediately be reached for comment.
There have been suggestions by city stakeholders over the past several years that T-46 could eventually serve as a cruise ship terminal. The port's cruise business has been extremely successful in recent years, accounting for nearly 3,700 jobs and $441 million in annual business revenue.
Late Wednesday, the Northwest Seaport Alliance issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to T-46.
"Terminal 46 in Seattle handles the highest volume of containers per acre in Puget Sound. The Port of Seattle Commission has been crystal clear that the unique, deep-water berth capabilities on Terminal 46 will continue to support maritime industrial uses and the related middle-class jobs."
"There are no plans to change the maritime use of this 82-acre facility which became part of the properties managed by The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) on August 4, 2015. The NWSA is jointly governed by the port commissions of Seattle and Tacoma. The terminal is under lease for container operations at least through 2025."
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., South Korea’s second-biggest shipping company, plans to write down its capital by 86 percent after losses mounted from excess capacity and weak global demand, and led to a plunge in shipping rates.
Hyundai Merchant will reduce its capital to $143 million from $996 million as of April 21 to help improve its balance sheet, the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday. It will seek approval from shareholders at a March 18 meeting.
After posting losses in five of the past seven years, Hyundai Merchant has been selling assets in an effort to reduce debt that amounted to almost 800 percent of its equity. Shipping lines worldwide have been selling assets, cutting workers and considering consolidation to stem losses as years of slowing global trade and overcapacity eat into shipping rates.
Trading of Hyundai Merchant shares will be halted from April 20 to May 4, and resume May 6, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange in Seoul.
The company is in talks to lower charter rates on vessels it leased from ship owners and is seeking to restructure its debt so it can secure financial support from creditor banks.
Ship cargo rates from Hong Kong to Los Angeles were $718 per FEU at the end of last year, 64 percent lower than a year earlier, according to data provided by Drewry Shipping Consultants.
Norfolk Southern derailment in New York prompts evacuations
A Norfolk Southern train derailed in New York near the Pennsylvania state line late Tuesday night.
Officials say two of the 15 derailed train cars were carrying ethanol, a liquid used in alcoholic beverages and in some fuels. They evacuated about 55 homes within a 1,000-foot radius of the accident in the town of Ripley.
Several families spent the night in a church for shelter. Our affiliate station, WGRZ reports many more homes got a shelter-in-place emergency order.
"First it was the house shaking real bad, and then the train derailed right in front of our house," said resident Stella Zeigler. Zeigler is one of many residents spending the night at a nearby Methodist Church until crews can clear the scene.
"I just heard a loud, almost like a tornado was coming through. It was just a loud wooshing, screeching noise," said resident Jill Otto.
Many first responders are on the scene of the derailment, trying to figure out how it happened. There are no reports of immediate injuries. Crews are also working to clear the wreckage from the tracks.
The Ripley town fire chief said his men were working to contain any spillage, and keep chemicals from getting into the local water supply.
Drewry: A merger between HMM and Hanjin Shipping could save them both
In a recent research paper Drewry Maritime Equity Research said that a merger between South Korean carriers Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine was a distinct possibility. What would that merged company look like?
HMM is fighting for its life as it tries to restructure debt obligations and raise money through asset sales.
HMM is on course to report five consecutive years of operating losses when it releases its full-year 2015 financial results. The accumulated losses in its container division alone since 2008 to 9 months of 2015 amount to $352 million. Container sales now account for approximately three-quarters of HMM revenue, up from two-thirds in 2008. Hanjin is no model of financial well-being itself but it has at least managed to turn profits in the container market in the last two years.
HMM in a tough spot as the near-term outlook for the container industry is negative – we expect the industry to lose in the region of $5 billion in 2016 – meaning that the company will have to consider all options, including a merger with Hanjin.
HMM has thus far raised around $3 billion in new capital and is looking to reduce its financial costs by renegotiating its debt and asking vessel charter parties to reduce their daily fees, many of which were agreed on when shipping was booming.
Despite of its efforts, HMM is in a liquidity crisis that threatens its ability to meet operational and debt commitments. The company has loans of $334 million maturing in 2016 and $530 million due in 2017.
Previous merger talks between HMM and Hanjin were put to rest by the Korean government last year, but the debt situation in both companies is causing serious concern in local circles and could well bring them back to the table, analysts say.
A merger would propel both carriers to become the fifth largest operator in the world (after the merger of Cosco and CSCL into China Lines) with combined worldwide volumes of 8 million TEUs from a fleet capacity of just over 1 million TEUs, giving a market share of 5 percent based on the current fleet.
The pairing would have a much stronger position in the key East-West trades as well as the Intra-Asia market. Based on the ships deployed in February 2016 HMM/Hanjin would have an 11 percent share of the Transpacific and 8 percent of Asia-Europe.
In conclusion, Drewry notes that despite all of its efforts, HMM remains in trouble. The researchers think a merger with Hanjin would create a stronger entity and increase their chances of surviving in a very tough market.
CMA CGM deploys mega fleet between the U.S. West coast and Asia
The CMA CGM Group has announced that, starting the end of May, it will deploy its flagship fleet of six 18,000 TEU vessels between Asia and the West coast of the U.S.
In total, 6 ships of 18,000 TEUS will join the Pearl River Express service. The series of 6 ships bear the names of great explorers: CMA CGM Bougainville, CMA CGM Kerguelen, CMA CGM Georg Forster, CMA CGM Vasco de Gama, CMA CGM Zheng He and CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin.
The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin became the largest ship ever to call in the U.S. last December and was inaugurated on February 19 in Long Beach, in the presence of Jacques Saadé, chairman and CEO of CMA CGM and a large group of industry officials and customers.
The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin will remain on the trans-Pacific market. The other five 18,000- TEU vessels, among the largest in the world, will join her on the Pearl River Express line.
FedEx opposes proposed CP-Norfolk takeover of Norfolk Southern
FedEx Corp. told U.S. rail regulators it’s against Canadian Pacific Railway’s proposed merger with Norfolk Southern Corp., adding to a long list of shipping concerns that oppose the deal.
In a letter to the Surface Transportation Board, the freight unit of FedEx said railroad consolidation would lead to worse service and higher transportation prices. Norfolk Southern has rejected three offers from Canadian Pacific, which continues to call for talks.
"FedEx Freight believes a merger would lead to diminished service as well as higher shipping costs," the company said in the letter dated Feb. 25.
Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison has said a merger would create a transcontinental railroad that would be more efficient and benefit shippers. Norfolk Southern said the deal can’t win regulatory approval and would hurt service.
Both railroads have used letters from customers in an effort to line up support for their positions. United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package-delivery company, said in a Feb. 9 communication to regulators that the tie-up would hurt freight rail shippers. FedEx echoed its rival’s concerns.
"FedEx Freight is concerned with what the landscape of the railroad industry would be following any potential merger and encourages the Surface Transportation Board to take a cautionary approach in reviewing any consolidation of Class I railroads," the company said in the letter.
Hutchison Port Holdings acquires stake in Egypt terminal operator
Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) has bought a 30.3 percent stake in Egypt's Alexandria International Container Terminals (AICT) from a fund co-founded by HSBC, the seller said on Monday.
HPH is the ports services division of CK Hutchison Holdings, owned by Asia's richest billionaire, Li Ka-shing.
The $300 million Middle East North Africa Infrastructure Fund is managed by MENA Infrastructure, a fund manager owned by HSBC, Abu Dhabi's Waha Capital and Dubai's Fajr Capital.
The fund sold the stake in AICT, which owns and operates two container terminals in Egypt, for an undisclosed amount, MENA Infrastructure said in an emailed statement. The Egyptian deal was the fund's first exit.
The fund also said it had sold a 38.1 per cent stake in Oman's United Power Company, which operates a 270 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant near Nizwa, to Saudi Arabia's Khaled Juffali Energy and Utilities.
The plant sells power to Oman Power & Water Procurement company, it said.
Police at Spanish ports seize military uniforms meant for ISIS
Police seized shipments coming through Spanish ports that contained 20,000 military uniforms that were being sent to ISIS and another jihadi group.
The National Police discovered three containers of goods in a port in Valencia and one in Algeciras. They were labelled "second-hand clothes" to avoid discovery and were bound for Syria and Iraq.
The uniforms were linked to an international network that offered logistical and financial support to Islamic State and the al Qaeda-linked al Nusra Front, Spanish media reported.
The network was smashed in a February 7 operation, where cops found records of the military shipment.
Seven people have been arrested. Five were Spanish nationals and one of the suspects was a used clothes importer.
"With the roughly 20,000 military uniforms and accessories, it would have been possible to equip an entire army, which would be ready to enter into combat in any of the battlegrounds which jihadist terrorist organizations have round the world," the interior ministry added.
It’s rare that we see spot truckload rates hit the skids during the last week of a month. Shippers are working double-time to push freight out the door, and in fact shippers and brokers posted 8.5 percent more loads on the spot market during the last week of February.
Despite the jump in demand for truckload services, national average rates for van and reefer freight are down. The van rate fell 4 cents to $1.54 per-mile to end the month while the reefer rate slipped 5 cents to $1.79 per mile. This is supposed to be a time when rates firm up. What’s going on?
For refrigerated food haulers, there’s a shift happening — and it’s being felt at the ports. Two main factors are involved.
More contract freight
Spending at restaurants has risen 6.1 percent over the past 12 months. When consumers spend proportionally less of their food budget in grocery stores, it has a big impact on the supply chain. Restaurants typically order from large food service suppliers with private fleets or contract carriers, which eats away at the refrigerated freight volume available to carriers and brokers on the spot market.
Truckload volume of imported produce (red bars) surpassed domestic (black) in two of three weeks in February, according to the USDA. The agency reported truckload volume of imported produce (red bars) surpassed domestic (black) in two of three weeks in February.
Truckload volume of imported produce (red bars) surpassed domestic (black) in two of three weeks in February, according to the USDA. Click to view larger.
Check out the latest trade data from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, above. We’re importing more produce and consuming less of the home-grown stuff (poor growing conditions in California and Florida are partly responsible).
As domestic production declines, refrigerated freight activity is increasing at ports in the Southeast, and at border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico. Imported foodstuffs include bananas, avocados, citrus fruit, peppers, tomatoes, and mixed vegetables.
If you specialize in refrigerated freight on the spot market, you can expect to find more of your loads originating at the borders and ports.
Increased food imports mean there’s greater demand for reefers at ports like Miami and Savannah, with an ever-larger portion of the reefer freight in those markets originating from Chile and neighboring countries.
Other ports that are bearing foreign fruit include East Coast docks at Philadelphia/Wilmington and NY/Newark, as well as Los Angeles/Long Beach.
The shift toward the ports also will have an effect on seasonal rate spikes. The spring rush in Florida projects not to be as great, and the typical June boom in reefer rates may be muted, as well.
If you have van freight or trucks, you may be affected, too.
Every tractor and driver that pulls a reefer is one more unit that’s not competing with you. When fewer trucks compete for your loads during peak reefer seasons, everyone’s rates get a nice bump.
This year, the bump might be flatter, and trucks will be tight in Savannah and McAllen instead of Lakeland or Stockton.
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 www.dat.com.
CMA CGM expects its 2016 volume growth to outperform market
CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container carrier, said it expects its volume growth to best the market again in 2016 after expansion last year helped it buffer a slide in freight rates.
The French shipping giant, which is in the process of acquiring Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines for $2.4 billion, has been pursuing economies of scale to ride vessel over capacity and weak economic growth.
The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index has set a series of all-time lows in recent months, before rebounding sharply since February.
CMA CGM's full-year sales were $15.7 billion, down 6.4 percent from 2014, as a 6.3 percent increase in transported volumes was outweighed by the steep fall in freight rates, it said in a statement.
Market estimates have put global growth in container volumes last year at around 1-2 percent.
The group reported lower operating and net profits but said lower fuel prices and efficiency measures, which reduced its unit costs, helped keep results close to 2014 levels.
Core operating profit was down 6.4 percent at 911 million euros, leaving its operating margin unchanged at 5.8 percent, while group net profit was down 2.9 percent at 567 million euros.
CMA CGM said its volume growth last year was supported by the launch of a vessel-sharing alliance with China Shipping Group and United Arab Shipping Co, as well as expansion on U.S. routes that allowed it to benefit from an accelerating economy in the United States.
Trade between Asia and the U.S. has become a focus for CMA CGM. Its takeover of NOL, which will bring it closer in scale to larger rivals Maersk Line and MSC, will make it the market leader on trans-Pacific routes.
Hamburg Süd to switch terminals at Port of Oakland
Hamburg Süd announced they have concluded terminal negotiations for the placement of their remaining services calling at Ports of America Outer Harbor (PAOH), which will no longer serve the port as of April 2016. Effective April 1, all Hamburg Süd services will call Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT).
Maersk Seago service connects UK and Nigeria
Maersk is introducing a new dedicated feeder service between the Mersey and the Mediterranean.
The direct connection between Algeciras and Liverpool, starting in April, will be operated by Seago Line, an Intra-European shipping business that’s part of the Maersk Group.
Offering a six-day transit time, the new short-sea service creates an opportunity for West African products with a new transshipment option that connects the UK to Nigeria.
"We are thrilled to offer a new connection to Liverpool and expand our product portfolio for markets in the UK and Ireland," said Robert Clegg, Seago Line’s general manager for the UK and Ireland.
"With competitive transit times and convenient berthing windows, we are well-placed to serve customers who seek new opportunities through this Mediterranean connection. Furthermore, our customers located in the Liverpool hinterland can now access South European and North African markets with Seago Line as a complimentary addition to our existing offer."
In other cargo news, freight-only ferry company Seatruck is adding a larger third vessel on its Liverpool to Dublin freight route. Seatruck, which sails three times a day between Liverpool and Dublin, will replace one of its vessels with a larger and faster P-series vessel, almost doubling the freight capacity with space for 110 trailers per sailing from Monday, March 7.
Chinese bulk carrier Bao Jiang 88 capsized two nautical miles off the Yangshan Port of Shanghai on March 2.
The ship was on its way from Ningbo to Nanjing, hauling 4,600 tons of iron ore with 12 crew members on board. The bulk carrier capsized after cargo shifted, due to a product in the hold that was "not well trimmed."
The vessel started to list rapidly. All the 12 Chinese mariners fled the Chinese bulk carrier via a life raft, only to watch the vessel capsize minutes later.
The crew members were rescued later by Chinese Coast Guard without injuries. Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration warned seafarers of navigation danger at Jinshan fairway, caused by the wreck of the sunken vessel.
The local authorities started investigation for the root cause of the accident.
NRF: Year-over-year retail cargo volume down slightly in first half
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports will experience its typical buildup toward the summer, despite unusually complex comparisons with 2015’s patterns, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
"Comparisons are still complicated because of last year’s situation at the West Coast ports but should clear up in the second half of the year," said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "Year-over-year numbers are skewed but on a monthly basis imports are building normally as the back-to-school season approaches."
Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.5 million TEUs in January, the latest month with hard data. That was up 4.4 percent from December and 21.4 percent from the unusually low figures of January 2015, the month before a new contract with dockworkers was signed after a near-shutdown at West Coast ports.
February was forecasted to be at 1.4 million TEUs, up 17.1 percent from the same month in 2015 and also skewed by last year’s congestion. March is forecast at 1.35 million TEUs, down 22.2 percent from the flood of traffic seen as the backlog of cargo started to move through ports again, this time last year. April is forecast to be down 1.8 percent year-over-year at 1.49 million TEUs, May down 3.4 percent at 1.56 million TEUs, June down 1.6 percent at 1.54 million TEUs, and July down 0.4 percent at 1.61 million TEUs.
The first half of 2016 is expected to total 8.8 million TEUs, down 0.2 percent from the same period in 2015. Total volume for 2015 was 18.2 million TEUs, up 5.4 percent from 2014.
With cargo volume down so far this year, Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said recent decisions by major shipping lines to add new super-large capacity vessels to routes between Asia and the U.S. West Coast are likely to bring lower shipping rates at the risk of "chaos" in the balance between supply and demand.
"Does this make sense? Absolutely not," Hackett said. "It flies in the face of financial and economic wisdom and totally ignores the state of the freight market."
Georgia governor eyes more federal funding for Savannah port dredging project
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal hinted on Monday that although the dollar amount allocated by the federal government's budget is way below what was needed, there may still be hope of keeping the Savannah port’s deepening project on schedule.
He said there may be another way to get funds from the federal government, despite the fact that their 2017 budget only allocates $43 million to the project. President Obama's new budget proposal for 2017 allocates less than half the funding project supporters requested.
"We were shooting for at least $90 million in this budget cycle, and I am told that there is a chance that we will get close to that. That is because there is also a lump sum of money that is appropriated to the Corp. of Engineers that they can use for harbor projects. If we get a significant portion of that money on top of the specific allocation for the Savannah Harbor expansion, then we will get close to $90 million," said Governor Deal.
The Savannah port dredging project is supposed to be finished by 2020. The five-year timeline is assuming the federal government pitches in a little less than $100 million per-year for the project. Georgia taxpayers have already invested in the state's full share of the project; about $266 million.
There was concern at the beginning of the year that with the federal government only providing $43 million, we could be seeing major delays. Monday, the government explained why they may be closer to that goal of $90 million.
CMA CGM SA bonds dropped to near-record lows after the carrier’s quarterly profit collapsed on lower freight rates.
The company’s $800 million bonds due January 2021 fell 4 cents on the euro to 74 cents, according to Bloomberg. Fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization tumbled 72 percent to $115.7 million, said Arndt Muthreich, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus in London. He derived the numbers from full-year results reported by CMA CGM this week.
The world’s third-largest container line is adding debt to support the pending $2.4 billion acquisition of Singapore-based NOL, even as the prolonged slump in shipping rates weighs on earnings.
"The outlook remains bleak, at least until this summer, while the group is wrapping up the biggest acquisition in its history," said Delphine Chauvin, an analyst at Oddo & Cie. in Paris. "Given continued pressure on freight rates, we anticipated a sharp fall in results."
The shipping line didn’t reply to an e-mail request for comment on the earnings.
The company plans to pay for the purchase of Neptune Orient through cash and financing from a group of banks, according to a Dec. 7 statement. It intends to raise more than a $1 billion through steps including cost-cuts and asset sales within two years of closing the deal.
Australia’s $6 billion Port of Melbourne will be sold
The $6 billion Port of Melbourne is set to be sold. The opposition confirmed the long-awaited legislation approving the lease will be passed this week.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy confirmed this week the Andrews Government’s proposed amendments had been accepted.
"The Liberal Nationals have spent months ensuring the best deal possible for business, agricultural producers and consumers — both today and future generations."
The opposition were given the changes to put to the party room yesterday afternoon, after months of stalemate over the bill.
The Andrews Government was forced to cave in to the opposition last month over a compensation clause accepting the opposition’s demand that compensation be payable if a second port was built in the first 15 years.
The climb down came after Treasurer Tim Pallas had earlier warned there was a "rock-hard deadline" and that the proposed laws had to pass parliament last sitting week.
The government is relying on the port sale legislation to pass to fund the removal of 50 level crossings.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines reported that on January 20, the MOL-operated car carrier TRIUMPH ACE safely rescued a survivor about 50 miles off the shore of Mexico.
On January 20, 2016, the Triumph Ace, sailing from the Port of Mazatlán, Mexico to Port of Balboa, Panama, found a drifting person and immediately changed course to approach the castaway, and started rescue operations.
The survivor was safely rescued, and later that day turned over to a ship of the Mexican Navy.