Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for March 24, 2014 through March 28, 2014:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Top Story

CSAV merger with Hapag-Lloyd approved

Latin American shipping concern CSAV received the approval of its shareholders concerning a merger of its shipping line with Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd. Such a combination will result in creating the fourth-largest shipping company in the world.

CSAV will exchange all of its container shipping assets for a 30 percent stake in the Hapag-Lloyd. That percentage could increase to 34 percent via a $500 million capital increase in which CSAV has pledged $350 million, CEO Oscar Hasbun told shareholders at a meeting today in Chile.

Chile's billionaire Luksic family counted on a recovery in the global shipping industry in 2011 when it started building an interest in CSAV. Luksic now owns 37 percent.

The company is seeking the combination in order to compete with larger competitors that are allying on key container shipping trades.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

China Cosco Holdings orders 8 container ships

State-run China Cosco Holdings has ordered eight new cargo vessels, taking advantage of a government subsidy to scrap old ships and upgrade its line-up.

The shipping corporation said it would purchase eight dry bulk ships for $312 million.

Beijing is offering federal subsidy program for China's ship operators to replace older cargo ships and tankers with newer versions. The cash subsidy is $247 per-gross-ton for every new ship that is built to replace one.

Cosco said it would report profit sue to sales of large asset.

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Cargo volume drops at U.S. West Coast container ports

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma combined saw cargo volume drop by 12.4 percent in February and by 10.5 percent total since January.

The cargo drop was more serious at the Port of Seattle where volumes declined by 20.4 percent in February. At the Port of Tacoma, container traffic went down by 5.3 percent during January-February of 2014.

The ports cited the Lunar New Year as the primary reason for the slow down.

The Port of Los Angeles experienced a 9 percent decline in container traffic in February.

The Port of Long Beach container said its cargo fell by 2.6 percent in February, and Port of Oakland traffic was down 5.5 percent.

For more of the News Tribune story:

World's largest container maker to invest in $1.1B factory in China

Container manufacturing giant China International Marine Containers announced it would invest $1.1 billion in a new plant in Dongguan, China.

The new facility would increase its capacity by up to 750,000 TEUs-per-year.

"Leveraging on the gradual recovery of the global economy, as well as the steady increase in global containerization rate, it is expected that the long-term growing trend of demand for containers will continue in the future," CIMC said in a statement.

"CIMC is bolstering its position, betting on a recovery in container shipping," said Jonathan Roach, senior container analyst at Braemar Seascope.

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Cargo ship arrives at recent search zone for Flight 370

The Hoegh St. Petersburg car carrier Norway has reached the area west of Australia where possible debris from the missing Malaysian plane has been seen, according to the vessel owner.

On its way from Madagascar to Melbourne the ship responded to a request from Australian marine officials to help identify the objects.

"We will continue searching during the night at reduced speed and with all spotlights available, and we will increase the speed again when the light comes back," Ingar Skiaker, chief executive of Hoegh Autoliners, told media in Oslo.

A satellite observed the objects on Sunday approximately 1,500 miles southwest of Perth.

For more of the Reuters story:


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Story

Canada considers legislation to force truck drivers back to work at Port Metro Vancouver

The government of British Columbia is considering back-to-work legislation to get striking union truck drivers back to work at Port Metro Vancouver.

If passed, the law would only affect the Unifor union workers – between 200 and 300 union truck drivers. The drivers say that forcing them back to work this way would mean that employers don't have to engage in collective bargaining over long wait times and wages, and that they would not observe any such law.

Port officials said last week that they would pull the port permits of any drivers who do not come back to work, and report that some have already returned.

"Towards the end of the week, we were around 40 per cent of normal operation level," said port president Robin Sylvester. "Over the weekend, one of the largest terminals was open and had 700 truck moves, which is a very large number for a weekend day. So it seems very clear that people are deciding they want to go back to work."

The law would not affect the more than 1,000 non-union, independent truck drivers who first walked off the job in February. The union drivers joined March 10.

The strike and walk out has halted trade at Canada's busiest port, and may affect the country's trade deficit for March.

For more of the CBC story:

Georgia Port Authority cargo volume up 6 percent

Cargo volume at The Georgia Ports Authority has risen 6.2 percent over the current fiscal year, July through February, compared to the same time period for last year.

The ports moved over 2 million TEUs July through February, according to the GPA, besting last year's numbers by 119,318 TEUs.

"The strong growth experienced throughout our business sectors this fiscal year demonstrates the resilience and strength of the Southeast market, and a positive return on the continued investments in Georgia's ports, rail, roads and logistical supply chain," said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the GPA, to the board Monday.

CMA CGM starts new Asia – Middle East service

CMA CGM will implement a new service called the Red Sea Express (REX3) starting 8 May, which will involve a vessel-sharing agreement with United Arab Shipping Company and China Shipping Container Lines, according to a company statement.

CMA CGM said the new Asia - Middle East route will bolster the carrier's current Asia Northern Red Sea Express (REX2), to take care of what the shipping line calls "growing demand" in the region.

CMA CGM said that its new service would feature quicker transit times.

The REX3 service rotation is as follows: Xiamen, Yantian, Shekou, Port Kelang, Djibouti, Jeddah, Port Sudan, Djibouti and Port Kelang, Xiamen.

CN Railway and Teamsters restart negotiations this week

Canadian National Railway plans to meet with the Teamsters union on Wednesday, who narrowly voted to reject a second attempt at an agreement on a contract for 3,000 workers.

The union members, including conductors, yard workers and traffic coordinators, have rejected the last two tentative agreements because they do not trust the company to respect rest provisions under the existing contract, reports Teamster spokesman and negotiating team member Roland Hackl.

The railroad representatives agreed to meet with AFL-CIO officials as long as the union would agree to binding arbitration if contract talks fail once more.

The Teamsters have agreed to talk about the terms of any arbitration, said Hackl.

If the talks don't work, "the parties will submit their differences to final and binding arbitration," said CN spokesman Mark Hallman, adding that government mediators will be appointed to oversee the contract negotiations.

For more of the Reuters Canada story:

Oil spill in Houston ship channel backs up port traffic

A barge and a ship collided, spilling up to 170,000 gallons of oil into the waters south of Houston, and officials say the oil is drifting out the ship channel and into the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill caused the port to close, stranding about 80 barges. But the Coast Guard hoped to reopen it to some traffic later in the day, allowing those vessels to enter or leave the bay.

The Coast Guard said it hoped to have the channel open to barge traffic today but that more tests were needed to verify the water and the ships traversing the channel were oil free.

For more of the CBS News story:


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Top Story

Union truckers striking Port Metro Vancouver could face fines

Striking port truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver might be fined up to $400-a-day if they don't return to work, if British Columbia legislators successfully pass a back-to-work law later this week.

The government introduced a bill Monday that also includes potential fines of up to $2,500 a day for union officers and $10,000 a day for the union itself, as well as their employers.

The legislation would only apply to the 250 striking union port truckers who are members of Unifor. It would not affect the 1,000 independent port truck drivers who walked out in February. Jobs Minister Shirley Bond announced the beginning a 90-day cooling off period starting Thursday, mandating the union workers return to their jobs.

Bond said government mediator Vince Ready would restart discussions as soon as unionized drivers return to work.

"We introduced legislation today, reluctantly," said B.C.'s labor minister Shirley Bond. "Today is about the economy — not just in B.C., but about Canada. I'm starting to receive letters from producers, shippers, importers, exporters. They want their goods moving and so do we."

For more of the Times Colonist story:

For more of the South Delta Leader story:

ILA holds rally at Maher Terminal to speed new hires

Today, dockworker members of the International Longshoremen's Association held an 11am rally at Maher Terminal in Elizabeth to compel employers to speed up the approval of new hires.

The ILA, the New York Shipping Association, and other port groups are concerned about a growing labor shortage that they say could result in cargo ships being rerouted to other ports.

In November, the ILA and NYSA jointly filed a federal lawsuit charging the Waterfront Commission with overstepping its authority by interfering with hiring decisions. The commission rejects the claims in the suit.

Dockworkers have been working overtime, with some getting pressured to postpone retirement. NYSA President John Nardi said some rail cargo had already been diverted to Norfolk, Va., a competing port.

For more of the story:

Cosco Pacific doubles profit, to pursue port investments

China's Cosco Pacific announced that it doubling its earnings in 2013 and that it was considering port investments in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Net rose to $702.7 million from $342.2 million, Cosco Pacific reports, saying the gain is partly due to the $393.4 million May sale of asset China International Marine Containers. It sold the 21.8 percent stake to parent company China Ocean Shipping Co.

Analysts' predictions came in low at $453.3 million net for last year, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Cosco Pacific's revenue rose 8.6 percent to $798.6 million last year as port-handling volume rose 10 percent to 61.28 million TEUs.

Cosco Pacific said it would use the cash to consider port development in emerging markets in Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as in North America, said to Qiu Jinguang, executive director.

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Port Metro Vancouver container traffic unloaded in Tacoma

Due to the strike action of 250 union drivers and the work stoppage of 1,000 nonunion truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver, many container lines and shippers are deciding to unload cargo destined for Vancouver at the Port of Tacoma instead.

The trucker strike at the B.C. port began in February.

No ships have been actually diverted to Tacoma, according to Port of Tacoma spokeswoman Tara Mattina, saying that when ships with Vancouver-bound containers stop in Tacoma, the cargo ends up being unloaded here.

The statistics on that diverted cargo won't be available until the end of the month, Mattina said.

For more of the News Tribune story:

Barge operator in Houston ship crash on probation for federal violation

The operator of the bulk vessel that struck an oil barge in the Houston Ship Channel was on probation for a 2011 federal pollution violation.

Cleopatra Shipping Agency operates the Summer Wind, a 585-foot Liberian flag vessel owned by Sea Galaxy Marine, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Greg Beuerman. Cleopatra reportedly pled guilty in September 2012 of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and was ordered to pay a $300,000 fine and serve a three-year term of probation requiring implementation of an environmental compliance program.

When the ships collided, one of the barge's six big oil tanks starting leaking.

Kirby Inland Marine, which is responsible for the cleanup, owns the barge. The Oil Pollution Act applies even though the collision occurred in state waters, Beuerman said.

For more of the Bloomberg story:


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Top Story

Waterfront Commission and ILA blame each other for Port of NY/NJ hiring delays

Harold Daggett, the International Longshoremen's Association president, went down to the dockside union rally at Maher Terminal yesterday and accused the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor of creating a labor shortage by sustaining hiring delays that threaten the competiveness of the port.

"Put the commission into remission!" shouted Daggett to cheers. "Labor and management agree - the Waterfront Commission is destroying our port."
Daggett called for an end to hiring delays he said were brought on by the commission, which was meeting at its lower Manhattan offices.

In September, the ILA and employers represented by the New York Shipping Association formed a plan to hire 532 longshoremen and 150 checkers.

The Waterfront Commission, which was meeting at the same time of the rally, had said it would "open" multiple rounds of hiring back in September. So at Monday's meeting, six months after the hiring plan was created, the commission issued the first group of working papers to 136 longshoremen. The commission also opened another 150 dockworker slots for the plan's next round of hires.

All agree the process to proceed with the hiring plan has been slow. The commission contends it is the ILA and the shipping association that have delayed hiring by failing to sponsor candidates, and those at the ILA rally blame the commission.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union) told workers at the rally that the Assembly Labor Committee had approved a resolution on Monday calling on New York State to pass a law similar to one approved by New Jersey in 2007, removing the Waterfront Commission from the port hiring process altogether.

For more of the story:

Hapag-Lloyd lowered its losses for 2013 before CSAV acquisition

Hapag-Lloyd AG lessened its losses for 2013 on cost cutting and lower fuel costs prior to its planned takeover of CSAV shipping operations that will make it the world's fourth-largest container line.

2013 losses fell to $134.7 million and transport costs fell by $564 million, Hapag-Lloyd said, and its operating profit grew to $92 million.

"Although Hapag-Lloyd continued to perform well compared to other industry players thanks to the positive operating result, this result nevertheless falls well short of our expectations for 2013 and is ultimately disappointing," said CEO Michael Behrendt said in the statement. "'Irrationality" in the trend in rates over the previous year made it impossible "to push through sustainable rate increases in the market from the second quarter, despite good ship utilization at times."

The acquisition of Chile-based Cia. Sud Americana de Vapores will help Hapag-Lloyd offset the losses of the shipping slump and compete with the modern shipping alliances.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

JP Morgan to invest in Spain's port of Valencia

J.P. Morgan Asset Management plans to invest about $138 million in developing the Spanish port of Valencia, maritime officials said Tuesday.

The expansion project calls for enlarging the piers and work area and improving intermodal infrastructure, according to Noatum, the largest port operator in Spain.

The Valencia Port Authority approved the investment plan submitted by Noatum, in which J.P Morgan has a majority stake that it oversees for institutional investors and to the Port of Valencia, the company said.

Paul Ryan, CEO of infrastructure equity and debt at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said economic growth turned positive in the second half of 2013 and growth of "around 1 percent in 2014 and 2 percent in 2015, and possibly higher," is expected.

For more of the Fox News Latino story:

WTO rules China restrictions on rare earth minerals broke global trade law

The World Trade Organization said today that China broke international trade law when they restricted exports of rare earth elements and other metals crucial to modern manufacturing.

The conclusion of the WTO means that Beijing may face trade sanctions from the U.S., the European Union and Japan.

The WTO panel in Geneva found that the export taxes, quotas and bureaucratic delays Beijing imposes on foreign sales of the minerals artificially raise prices and create shortages for foreign buyers.

China produces more than nine-tenths of the global supply of the strategically important metals, essential to many modern applications including smartphones, wind turbines, industrial compounds and high-tech magnets.

"China cannot use export restrictions to protect its own industries or give them a helping hand on the global market at the expense of foreign competitors," said Karel De Gucht, the European trade commissioner.

WTO rules mandate that China be given a "reasonable" amount of time to comply with the final ruling and recommendations. If Beijing fails to do so, the U.S., Japan and the European Union could begin to impose sanctions about 15 months after the appeals judgment, said James Bacchus, a former chairman of the WTO appellate body.

For more of the NY Times story:

Car carriers charged with setting up cartel to raise fares

The Fair Trade Commission said Tuesday it has ordered NYK Line to pay around $128 million as a fine for setting up an illegal cartel to increase car carrier rates.

The penalty is the highest amount for a single firm in violation of the antimonopoly law.

The commission also ordered Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha to pay about $55 million, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics to pay $34 million, and Nissan Motor Car Carrier, a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., to pay $4 million.

The commission said the companies decided between them the amount of increase in car transportation fares from Japan to North America, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania, which violated the antimonopoly law from at least January 2008 to September 2012.

For more of the Japan Times story:

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