Today's Cargo News Archives
Summary for March 30 - April 3, 2009:
Go to Cargo Business News Home

Monday, March 30, 2009

Top Story

TSA cannot verify 50 percent of passenger aircraft cargo is screened

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it is not able to verify that 50 percent of all domestic airfreight carried on passenger aircraft is being screened before take off.

Ed Kelly, TSA air cargo general manager, told the House subcommittee on transportation security and infrastructure protection that his agency lacks the necessary screening data to verify the other 50 percent of all domestic cargo on passenger aircraft.

GAO director of Homeland Security Stephen Lord told committee members that the TSA would not be able to meet the deadline of August 2010 for stricter screening because of existing inbound screening challenges the agency faces in harmonizing its air cargo security standards with those of other countries.

German railway chief quits over e-mail spying probe

Deutsche Bahn AG Chief Executive Officer Hartmut Mehdorn quit over an internal bribery probe that included secret monitoring of employees’ e-mail.

Germany’s state-owned railway has admitted to screening data relating to 173,000 workers in 2002 and 2003 as part of an anti-corruption investigation. Members of Deutsche Bahn’s supervisory board said March 27 that monitoring included e-mail to uncover possible ties between workers critical of the company’s policies and journalists or lawmakers.

Mehdorn, who presented the company’s 2008 earnings today, told reporters in Berlin that he will “take responsibility for all actions” at Deutsche Bahn, though the probes by accounting firm KPMG and outside investigators have shown “no legal violations.” He said he offered his resignation, which the government accepted, and expects a successor to be named by summer.

For the full story:

First Sakhalin II LNG ship departs for Japan

The first scheduled Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo has been successfully loaded from the Sakhalin II LNG plant onto the LNG carrier Energy Frontier.

The vessel departed Prigorodnoye port on March 29 bound for Sodegaura terminal, Tokyo Bay, with a cargo of some 145 thousand cubic meters (5.1 MMcf) of LNG. This consignment, the first ever Russian gas to be delivered to Japan, will be taken by two of the company's foundation customers - Tokyo Gas and Tokyo Electric.

For the full story:

Safmarine takes delivery of second 3,100-TEU ship

Shipping group, Safmarine, announced delivery of a second 3,100-TEU vessel this year, the Safmarine Benguelain South Korea.

 The company said its newest containership would be deployed on its Europe-South America service.

GPA builds electrified reefer cargo racks

The Georgia Port Authority announced at its meeting that it has completed construction of 34 electrified refrigerated racks, which the port says will eliminate the use of 600,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Last year, the GPA electrified its ship-to-shore cranes, reducing diesel fuel consumption 1.5 million gallons per year, the port said in its press release.

The GPA said it now has a total of 950 slots for refrigerated cargo to further support its agricultural, poultry and citrus export business. In the past five years, GPA said its exports of poultry and citrus increased 116 percent.

Crowley to open distribution warehouse at Gulfport

Crowley announced it would begin offering warehousing and distribution services through Gulfport, Miss., on May 1. The shipping company said its 40,000 square-foot warehouse is located next to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, seven miles from the seaport, and features approximately 20,000 square feet of dry storage and 20,000 square feet of refrigerated and frozen storage.

"This strategically located distribution center is well suited to serve shippers in the Southwest, Midwest and Southeast looking to consolidate or deconsolidate loads for ocean transport," said Steve Collar, Crowley senior vice president and general manager of logistics. "The Port of Gulfport has become a gateway for cargo moving between the U.S. and Central America, and our customers will benefit from this facility and the myriad of services we will be able to offer."

Crowley said its Gulf Coast International Cargo facility would offer individual or packaged logistics services, dry and refrigerated space, and all requisite government authorities and related services.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top Story

ICC calls on G20 to fight protectionism and support trade finance

Leaders of the G20 countries must coordinate their national policies to end the global recession and support a monitoring system to honor previous promises to reject protectionism, and restore trade financing to more normal levels, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said today.

”Trade is the lifeblood of the global economy ant the world needs more of it at this critical moment, not less,” said ICC Chairman Victor K. Fung. “The G20 summit in London provides the perfect opportunity for the international community to reassert its confidence in the multilateral trading system, which spurred the phenomenal economic growth of recent years and pulled hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. At this time of world crisis, we call on the G20 leaders to harness the political will to adopt policies ensuring job creation and long-term economic growth,” Mr Fung added.

The ICC said the need for a credible monitoring system to combat protectionism was underlined by a recent World Bank study showing that since the G20 Summit in Washington last November, 17 of the G20 countries have adopted 47 measures restricting trade. Increases in tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as discriminatory public procurement policies, for example, require careful monitoring.

World trade depends heavily on trade credit, which has all but collapsed during the current financial crisis, effectively throttling the flow of goods, the ICC said. A new survey by the ICC banking commission shows overall decreases of more than 40 percent in both trade credit volume and value, the ICC said.

On 11 March, the ICC chairman met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss trade finance, protectionism, and the long-delayed conclusion of the Doha Round of international trade talks.

“This crisis is one of confidence,” said Mr. Fung. “A rapid conclusion to the Doha Round is one of the most direct ways to rebuild confidence. It will send a clear signal to businesses, investors and consumers the world over that countries can and do work together in their common long-term interest.”

”There is a grave danger, already manifested in some ways, that new measures of protectionism will creep in while the Doha Round remains in abeyance,” he said.

The ICC said it has recommended that the G20 adopt a comprehensive package to ensure that businesses have access to trade credit and that it take simple, pragmatic steps to increase the flow of finance for trade from both public and private sources. A number of low-cost measures to boost trade finance have been identified in the recently released ICC Banking Commission Report, “Rethinking Trade Finance 2009: An ICC Global Survey”.
To read a copy of “Rethinking Trade Finance 2009: An ICC Global Survey”:

Bayonne, NJ to close Ports America deal

Sometime this week, the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority expects to pocket the $50 million it's owed by Ports America for the purchase of 153 acres of the Maritime District at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor. Ninety-four of the acres are on the land, the balance under water.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which had contested the sale to Ports America, agreed last week to drop its lawsuit. State Appellate Court Presiding Judge Ariel A. Rodriguez signed an order last Monday dismissing the P.A.'s appeal.

For the full story:

Alaska proposes oil surcharge on Washington state

A bill imposing a nearly $16 a barrel surcharge on North Slope crude destined for Washington state was introduced in the Alaska House on Monday.

It's a saber rattling response to a bill in the Washington Legislature that would tax fuel that's refined in Washington and exported to other states, including Alaska.

Washington currently exempts fuel exports from its 37.5-cent fuel tax. The measure would lift the exemption on the approximately 2.4 billion gallons of fuel exported annually to eight other states. The measure would raise about $500 million a year for statewide transportation projects, according to a Washington analysis.

For the full story:

Crowley launches heavy-lift deck barge at Portland shipyard

In the first of several vessel deliveries over the next few weeks, Crowley announced the christening and launch of its newest heavy-lift series deck barge, the 455-4, Saturday at Gunderson Marine Shipyard in Portland, Ore.

Carey Graham, wife of Parker Drilling Vice President Dennis Graham, christened the 400-foot-long 105-foot-wide barge. The vessel’s first assignment will be hauling a Parker drilling rig, Crowley said.  Following that assignment, it will be turned over to a major energy company for work on the world’s largest land-based rig in Alaska’s North Slope at Satellite Drilling Island (SDI). 

Crowley said it has plans to build up to 13 high-capacity barges by 2013. Continuing the new vessel deliveries in the next few weeks, Crowley said it is also scheduled to take delivery of its newest Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) - the tug Commitment and barge 650-6 - in Pascagoula, Miss. - later this week.  The 185,000-barrel ATB, the 10th in Crowley’s fleet, has been chartered by a major energy company to transport petroleum products on the U.S. West Coast beginning in April, Crowley said.

On the heels of that delivery, Crowley said it will receive, in about one week, the Sesok and Nachik, two newly designed shallow draft tugs, which are designed to propel petroleum/freight barges in river systems throughout Alaska. 

Proctor & Gamble to triple rail freight traffic in Europe

Retail giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) has announced it will increase its use of rail freight distribution from 10 percent to 30 percent by 2015.

It said the move was part of a carbon emissions reduction scheme and would involve increasing the number of intermodal movements across North West Europe.

For the full story:

CN announces operations management appointments

The CN railroad announced four Operations leadership appointments effective immediately.

Gordon Trafton, currently senior vice-president, southern region, is now senior vice-president, strategic acquisitions and integration. His first assignment is the continued integration of the former EJ&E railway into CN’s network. He remains based in Chicago.

Jim Vena, now senior vice-president, western region, succeeds Trafton as senior vice-president, southern region, and will be based in Chicago.

Mike Cory, currently senior vice-president, eastern region, is now senior vice-president, western region. He will be based in Edmonton.

Jeff Liepelt, currently vice-president, operations, southern region, is now vice-president, eastern region, and will be based in Toronto.

All four officers will report to Keith Creel, executive vice-president, operations, CN.

SaviTrack wireless tracking device launched

Savi Networks announced the launch of it tenth wireless cargo tracking device through SaviTrak, the company’s supply chain execution intelligence service built on an open technology platform.

The company said SaviTrak provides real-time intelligence on the global location, security and condition of inventory transported by container shipments through its integration with an innovative tag device that includes GPS, cellular, and active Radio Frequency Identification with sensor technologies. 

Savi said this is the tenth electronic cargo-monitoring device from a variety of third-party manufacturers that has been certified by Savi Networks to integrate into its global SaviTrak intelligence service.

Kalmar to provide heavy equipment for Vestas wind tower production

Cargotec’s Kalmar business unit announced it has been awarded a contract to provide eight lifting and handling machines for Vestas Towers A/S’ new production facility in Pueblo, Colorado. The equipment will be delivered during April 2009, the company said.

The order includes Kalmar reach stackers and Kalmar heavy forklift trucks, the company said. Several of the machines are to be customized with special attachments designed to lift Vestas’ wind turbine tower sections, Kalmar said. Two machines, placed at each end of the tower section, will be needed to lift each section, which can weigh up to 70 tonnes and up to 30 metres long and 4.5 metres in diameter, the company said


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Top Story

Port of Seattle proposes customer relief and clean air packages

The Port of Seattle presented its commission with a plan that it says would support maritime cargo customers during the global economic recession by reducing fees and deferring some payments. The port said it also proposed a new clean trucks program aimed at keeping older, more polluting trucks off roads and port terminals. 

"We're fighting to protect 12,000 seaport jobs in the face of an economic hurricane," said Port Commission President Bill Bryant.  "This proposal protects jobs and our environment. It's a win-win in a difficult time."
The port said its customer relief package is focused on terminal operators whose revenues depend on the number of containers they handle.  Port of Seattle cargo was down 37 percent in February 2009.

The port said its customer support program, subject to commission approval, would go into effect from June 2009 to June 2010, although adjustments may be made as economic conditions change. The package offered to Seattle terminal operators is proportionally similar to what Los Angeles and Long Beach have offered their terminal operators, Port of Seattle said.
The port said its clean air package would contribute $2.3 million to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA). The Port of Seattle said it would donate the funds for programs that reduce diesel emission from maritime sources, including ocean going vessels, trucks, and cargo handling equipment. Additional funds available from other sources would be used to replace older trucks with newer, cleaner retrofits that produce less pollution, the port said. 
In July, the port said it would begin offering 100 overnight truck parking spaces for area truckers. The designated truck parking would reduce congestion in the neighboring communities of South Park and Georgetown, the port said.  
Earlier this year, the Port of Seattle implemented the At Berth Clean (ABC) fuel program for ocean going vessels. The program reduces vessel emissions as outlined in the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. The Port of Seattle said it has the only shore power facility that can power two at-berth cruise vessels at the same terminal.

New Jersey funds freight mobility study

Will even more tractor-trailers power their way across interstate highways though Morris County in future years, or are there road or rail alternatives that could hold those numbers down?

That's the focus of a study being funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, with a goal of improving the efficiency of freight movement that is expected to increase in future years, especially with the planned dredging of New York harbor and the ships and cargo it should lure.

For the full story:

China and EU sign maritime protocol

China and the European Union (EU) signed a maritime transport protocol on Tuesday, applicable to all members of the 27-nation-bloc.

Visiting Chinese transport minister Li Shenglin, Czech interior minister Ivan Langer, and European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani signed the document in Brussels.

Li said China would like to work together with Europe in taking effective measures to improve the maritime trade between the two entities, badly hit by the global financial crisis.

Over the past three years, trade between China and the EU grew at an average 20 percent annually, with the most of that being waterborne.

Port of Vancouver USA sells $25.8 million in bonds

The Port of Vancouver USA announced the sale of $25.8 million in what it termed “limited tax general obligation bonds for the acquisition of industrial property, capital improvement and refinancing outstanding bonds.”

The port said that on March 19, it sold $15 million in new bonds to fund the purchase of the Alcoa property and major construction projects like the West Vancouver Freight Access rail project. The port said some of the bond proceeds were used to complete the acquisition of the 218 acres formerly used for the smelting and extruding operations of Alcoa and Evergreen Aluminum. The port’s purchase of the Alcoa property closed Tuesday.

The port said that property will be turned into the new Terminal 5. Construction of a unit train rail facility and wind energy storage area are expected to begin later this year, the port said. At full build out, the port said it expects the new Terminal 5 could bring as many as 1,000 new jobs to the community.

In December, the port said it sold $32.55 million in bonds, which fell less than $8 million short of what the port was hoping to raise. The total of $47.55 million will pay for property purchase and major capital improvements, the port said.

With the $10.8 million remaining from the March bond sale, the port said it would refinance outstanding bonds in the same amount. This refinance will save the port approximately $275.928, the port said.


Philadelphia port taps Moffatt & Nichol to perform strategic assessment

The board of directors of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) announced it has hired engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol to perform a strategic assessment of all PRPA marine terminals, warehouses, and other waterfront facilities. 

The port authority said the comprehensive assessment would provide the PRPA board and senior managers with the information they need to chart the future path of the port agency for the foreseeable future.

"This assessment would give us the informational tools required to successfully implement the cargo initiatives we want to accomplish, as well as help us to develop new initiatives," said PRPA Executive Director James T. McDermott, Jr.  "Moffatt & Nichol will take a long, hard look at our facilities, and at the marketplace, and make independent, expert recommendations for the Board to consider."

The port said the study would include market assessments, an analysis of current capacity, and a plan to address the disparity between current capacity and forecasted growth.  Financial assessments, the economic benefits of various paths, and the pros/cons of existing facilities vs. proposed development projects would also be addressed, the port said.

The strategic assessment will be conducted by Moffatt & Nichol's New York and Baltimore offices and will begin immediately, the port said. The assessment is expected to be completed by September of this year. 

China Shipping to increase some freight rates 100 percent 

China Shipping Container Lines announced it would increase freight rates 100 percent in certain services between Asia and Europe as well as in trans-Pacific routes.

From April 9, Asia-European trades freight rates will be doubled and total $700 per TEU, China Shipping said. In May, freight rates on trans-Pacific routes will increase from $1,200 to $1,650 per FEU, and from $1,100 to $1,600 to South America, the shipping company said.

As of April, 1, MOL, Hapag Lloyd, APL, MSC, Hanjin Shipping, Maersk Line and CMA CGM were also scheduled to increase freight rates.

NYK cuts profit projections from $744 million to $143 million

Japanese shipping group NYK Line announced it has revised its profit expectations for the fiscal year ending March 31 from $744 million to $143 million.

"As the economic slowdown focused on Europe and the US has intensified, the liner trade has been impacted by falling freight volumes and a marked drop in freight rates, and bulk shipping has suffered a decline in numbers of voyages due to a dry bulk market slump and cooling demand for iron and steel," the company said in a statement.

"NYK's earnings, particularly in the liner trade and bulk shipping segments, have been weighed down as conditions in the dry bulk market have plummeted since summer 2008, and the effects of the financial crisis have markedly impacted the real economy," the company said.

Maersk to increase North America-Med rates May 1

Maersk Line announced rate increases from North America to the Mediterranean effective May 1, and expects to raise rates again as of June 15.

Rates will increase to $80 per TEU and $120 per FEU from the U.S. and Canada to Mediterranean ports, the Danish shipping company said.

The shipping line said its expected June 15 increase is planned at $100 per TEU and $150 per FEU.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Top Story

Long Beach port to release final environmental report on $750 mil expansion

The Port of Long Beach is expected to release the final environmental impact report today on a 10-year, $750-million harbor expansion that would accommodate the world's largest ships, reinforce the nation's Pacific Rim trade and create 14,000 permanent local jobs.

If all goes according to plan, work on the massive Middle Harbor project could begin as early as December.

Environmentalists and health advocates are demanding a number of revisions and at least $5 million worth of mitigation measures to counter the project's side effects: heavy truck traffic, excessive noise and light, air pollution and higher rates of respiratory disease and cancer.

But with the unemployment rate hitting nearly 11 percent in Los Angeles County, supporters of the project believe that in upcoming debates the prospects of large-scale industrial growth will carry more weight than the potential environmental impacts.

For the full story:

Port of Long Beach to consider further cargo fee postponement

The Long Beach harbor commission announced Monday it would consider postponement of a cargo fee for an additional year that would fund transportation projects in the harbor area.

The "Infrastructure Cargo Fee" -- which the Commission previously delayed from January 1, 2009 to July 1, 2009 -- would be deferred to at least July 1, 2010 under the new proposal, the port said.

The fee would vary each year, but is expected to be about $15 per-TEU, and $30 for larger shipping container, the port said.

"In light of the economic realities and the shipping industry's need to establish their rates for their coming fiscal year, it makes sense to consider pushing back the Infrastructure cargo fee," said Richard D. Steinke, executive director of the Port of Long Beach.

If the postponement is approved, the commission will revisit the need for the fee again, before the new deadline, the port said. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles established the fee at a joint meeting in January 2008 to generate funds to help finance several major transportation improvements in the harbor, including bridges, rail projects and freeway connectors.

The port said several factors contributed to its staff's recommendation for an additional one-year delay: the uncertain economy and the challenges faced by the shipping industry; likely further delay in the availability of state Proposition 1B funds; and additional time needed to obtain approvals and complete other preparations before many transportation projects can begin.

Con-way and TNT launch new joint U.S.-Europe service

Con-way Freight and TNT announced today the launch of a commercial alliance that provides a door-to-door road-air-road service for heavier, expedited intercontinental shipments between Europe and the U.S.

The companies said the new service connects TNT's European road network, with intercontinental air cargo uplift to Con-way Freight's day-definite delivery network for less-than-truckload (LTL) freight in the U.S. to expedited door-to-door service. The companies said the new service is being launched initially for heavy freight shipments originating in Europe with a destination to any city in the U.S.

The alliance establishes Con-way Freight as TNT's primary transportation network provider in the U.S., the companies said.

Initially, TNT said it would manage cargo pickup in Europe; consolidation, tendering and management of direct intercontinental air cargo service into the U.S.; and Customs clearance and deconsolidation at TNT's U.S. gateway at New York's Kennedy International Airport. Cargoes would then be expedited into Con-way Freight's network via its Brooklyn, N.Y., service center as LTL shipments for direct-to-door delivery to final destination in the continental U.S., the companies said.

Napolitano to send more equipment, agents to Mexico-San Diego border

San Diego County will get more agents, money and machines to help keep the recent drug violence in Mexico from spilling over into the United States, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday during a visit to San Diego.

The federal government unveiled a plan last week to help curb violence in Mexico by intercepting the flow of money and weapons from the U.S. to drug cartels south of the border.

"Working together at all levels, we take them on and we take them out. That is our goal," Napolitano said in a news conference at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry after an aerial tour of the border near San Diego.

The Obama administration plans to spend more than $400 million to upgrade the ports of entry and surveillance technologies, she said. Of that money, the federal government will spend $20 million on improvements at the Otay Mesa port, Napolitano said.

For the full story:

Several ships still being held by Somali pirates

Security forces have deployed to outer islands of the Seychelles archipelago after a second vessel flying the Indian Ocean nation's flag was seized by Somali pirates, the army chief said on Thursday.

At least 15 pirate attacks on vessels off the coast of Somalia were reported by the International Maritime Bureau for March, after just two in January and February.

Earlier hijackings were focused on the Gulf of Aden.

Below are some of the ships believed to be still held by pirates as well as some details on the increase in piracy:

For the full story:

PierPass revises OffPeak schedule in L.A./Long Beach

OffPeak, the program established by PierPASS in 2005 to reduce congestion and air pollution in and around the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, released a revised schedule for marine terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The revised schedule follows a March 12 announcement that the terminal operators at the Ports of LA and Long Beach would each eliminate one OffPeak shift per week due to declining cargo volume.

Each terminal operator will maintain four OffPeak shifts per week, PierPASS said in a statement. The revised schedule is effective the week of April 6.

PierPASS cited the dramatic drop in cargo volume amid the economic crisis, with terminal operators forced to reduce operational costs. Following an independent analysis of costs for the OffPeak program, the marine terminal operators concluded the best short-term solution was to initiate a revised OffPeak schedule at the terminals, PierPASS said. The decision was announced March 12.

“We encourage all industry members to visit the PierPASS website and familiarize themselves with the new OffPeak schedule,” said Bruce Wargo, president and CEO of PierPASS. “I am confident that the revised schedule is the most flexible solution at this time and ensures the continued viability of the OffPeak program when the economy strengthens.”

With the implementation of the OffPeak program in 2005, all international container terminals in the two ports established five new shifts per week (Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). As an incentive to use the OffPeak shifts and to cover the added cost of the shifts, a Traffic Mitigation Fee (“TMF”) is required for most cargo movement during peak hours (Monday through Friday, 3 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The program is administered by PierPASS, a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the ports to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality.

Four terminals will close during the Thursday night OffPeak shift; eight terminals will close during the Saturday OffPeak shift; and one terminal will close during the Wednesday night OffPeak shift.

The revised schedule is available at

MOL Logistics selects Descartes for "10+2" importer security filing

Descartes Systems Group announced that MOL Logistics has selected Descartes' Global Logistics Network (GLN) to help it comply with the United States Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) new Importer Security Filing (ISF) "10+2" initiative.

Descartes said its ISF service “helps shippers, carriers, intermediaries and customs brokers ensure compliance with CBP ISF programs by leveraging an organization's existing technology and data sources with a single point of contact for data connectivity.”

"Our customers expect us to support new customs filing regulations and simplify the shipment process for them," said Scott Larson, corporate compliance manager of MOL Logistics. "As a leader in global customs filing, Descartes has proven to be a reliable and efficient supplier that provides us with services to easily electronically manage shipment information and comply with CBP electronic submission requirements for customs filings."

HMM to offer cargo updates via SMS

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) announced it would start a service that provides shipping customers with the location of their cargo in real time via text messages. The shipping line claimed this would be a first in the shipping industry.

HMM said it has leveraged its IT subsidiary, Hyundai U&I, and developed a system that sends text messages from when the container is loaded on a vessel through delivery to the importer.

The company said: “We provided the information on the location of cargo via e-mail and fax or over the phone when customers called, so it took a lot of time, but we believe that the owner of goods will find the real-time text message service far more comfortable to use.”


Friday, April 3, 2009

Top Story

View from Japan: NYK to “slim down, ”MOL sees box growth
“sooner or later”

In two separate speeches, the presidents of two of Japan’s three biggest shipping lines expressed slightly different messages on the global container shipping economy and impacts on their respective business models.

In the case of the recently appointed president of NYK, Yasumi Kudo, he referred to “excessive consumption” and the “collapse of the U.S. economic model” pointing to the need for his shipping company to cut back in the global recession.

 "It is indispensable to slim down our fleet as much as possible from the standpoint that the possession of an excessively large fleet will end up pushing up cost," he said.

"We should strive to charter vessels from other firms without hesitation if and when we have to make up for shortage in our space supply, and thereby turn our ship expenses into a variable cost," he said.

Kudo said he feels economic recovery would take some time” and that NYK's logistics business has been negatively impacted "because it is additionally exposed to the pressures of inventory adjustment during this phase of economic contraction."

Kudo said: "once supply-demand balance is disrupted in this division, there is no limit to the fall in freight rates, thus forcing us into a huge deficit."

"Shipping firms expanded their containership fleets out of a sheer desire to cope with a rapid increase in cargo traffic and the resulting tight space supply situation. Regrettably, our company was no exception," he said.

"The result was clear. Shipping firms suffered a serious dual damage - a steep drop in freight rates and a massive volume of idle space."

Meanwhile, MOL president Akimitsu Ashida said he is optimistic that once the world economy recovers ocean shipping would "return to growth sooner or later."

Ashida said his company has "moved swiftly to adjust its fleet size as an emergency response to the current declining cargo traffic," he said in a speech for the 125th anniversary of the founding of Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).

"While our initial fleet plan to reach 1,200 vessels by 2012 will now be slightly delayed, we are continuing preparations to expand ship management capabilities to accommodate our original plan," he said.

Ashida cautioned, "When the industry returns to the growth track, we can expect the line-up of major players to be quite different from that of today. Only shipping companies operating with reinforced cost competitiveness will survive."

Ashida added that MOL would to pay closer attention to cash flow. He said that in order for the Japanese shipping group to continue receiving new vessel orders it had contracted before the current economic collapse, MOL will strive to maximize operating cash-flow and keep the company's finances in good shape given the group has achieved "strong and stable profits" in recent years.

Ashida said he believes there remains a "huge potential for cargo transportation in regions such as China, India, the Middle East, Central and South America and Africa. These markets must be regarded as part of our local market, or 'domestic' demand, and handled accordingly in keeping with the global nature of our business activities. As world sea borne trade increases, so too will MOL's 'domestic' demand. The key to our growth strategy is to seize, without fail or hesitation, opportunities as they arise."

U.S. Senate brings back Affordable Footwear Act bill

The U.S. Senate has brought back the Affordable Footwear Act, and the bill, if passed, would eliminate $800 million in duties on children's and low-priced shoes, passing up to $2 billion in savings on to U.S. consumers, according to The Affordable Footwear Initiative (AFI) Coalition.

In 2008, the U.S. government collected over $1.7 billion in duties on imported shoes, reportedly far more than any other duty collected on any single imported item, the AFI said. The added cost to cover the duties resulted in consumers paying almost $5 billion more than they needed to for their shoes, AFI said.

The bill would eliminate the "regressive and hidden tax paid" on lower-cost and children's shoes, accounting for about 60 percent of the shoes sold in the U.S. each year, the coalition said.

The Affordable Footwear Act would provide tax relief for American families who pay upwards of 40 percent of the cost of a shoe to cover the import duty, also known as the shoe tax, on shoes made outside the U.S., AFI said.

Given 99 percent of the shoes U.S. consumers purchase each year are produced outside the U.S., there is no way to avoid this tax, according to a statement from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

"The reintroduction of the Affordable Footwear Act is a great step forward in growing our economy," said AAFA president Kevin Burke.
Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, said: "This legislation would end what is nothing more than a discriminatory tax on lower and middle-income families and provide economic relief at a time when it's needed most. These duties are obsolete, and it is high time they are abolished."

The National Retail Federation is now urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Affordable Footwear Act as soon as possible, according to NRF president Tracy Mullin.

APM exec addresses port investment in developing regions in speech to World Bank

Speaking on the theme “Transport: Invisible Force – Visible Impacts” at the World Bank on March 31st, APM Terminals’ regional vice president for business development for Africa, Middle East and India Hans-Ole Madsen discussed the progress made in Africa due to the effects of increased trade, while advising that there is still much to be done there and in other economically developing areas of the world.

“Marine transportation is the key to world trade, and adequate port infrastructure investment is the key to marine transportation,” said Madsen, who added “there are still ports in the developing world where limited capacity is still very much a problem."

"In the current economic situation, stakeholders in the port/maritime transport industry need to adjust expectations and ambitions to what can actually be financed. As such, it must be expected that port projects in the short term will remain modest in size and time-frame, considering the need to raise cash from operations earlier in the projects' life", he said.

Current World Bank analysis calls for a decline in world trade volume of -2.1 percent for this year, before rebounding to a projected 6 percent growth in 2010, said APM Terminals in a press release. The World Trade Organization foresees a 9 percent drop on manufactured export this year with a smaller decrease among the developing economies, the company said. While global GDP has been forecast to expand by only 0.9% in 2009, the anticipated economic growth of the Developing World is still 4.5 percent, with sub-Saharan Africa projected for 4.6 percent growth this year, and 5.8 percent in 2010, the company said.

Madsen called for cooperation between transportation companies and local and regional governments and Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs).

Madsen referred to the $200 million invested by APM Terminals at the Apapa Container terminal in Nigeria.

“Let us work together for the benefit of everyone, particularly those populations in the developing world which can directly benefit not only from access to the global logistics chain, but also from employment opportunities at the ports themselves”.

China’s manufacturing grew in March

China's manufacturing sector showed some growth in March for the first time in six months.

The purchasing managers index from the state-sanctioned China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing rose to 52.4 from February's figure of 49.

Any figure above 50 indicates an expansion in the manufacturing sector.

For the full story:

Officials still pitching $1 billion Port of Miami tunnel

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez made it clear he wants quick action on the $1 billion Port of Miami tunnel project, one day after state officials scrapped the deal to build it.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The state transportation agency didn't kill the project, but instead announced it will be rebid -- and the county could take the lead in that effort.

Still, rebidding the project will cause a long delay, and Alvarez wants it fast-tracked.

''I look forward to aggressively pursuing the transportation department's . . . possible scenarios so we can get this project completed,'' Alvarez said in a statement.

Florida Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Kopelousos said Wednesday that the state couldn't support the existing deal because officials were concerned part of the French-led conglomerate picked to handle the project isn't up to the task.

Another Fedex cargo plane has problems at Tokyo’s Narita

Tokyo's Narita airport briefly closed its main runway Friday after a FedEx Corp. (FDX) cargo plane - the same model as a jet that crashed there last month - made an emergency landing, the airport said.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 plane had left for South Korea's Incheon airport but returned to Narita after its pilot felt unusual vibrations near the aircraft's front wheel, an airport official said.

"The airport received communication from the pilot, who asked for a checkup of the aircraft," said the official.

For the full story:

Port of L.A. to test electric gantry cranes

Two electric gantry cranes will be tested out in the Port of Los Angeles under a program designed to further cut port emissions.

According to a board report approved by the harbor commission Thursday, the cranes would "almost completely eliminate localized air emissions and petroleum use."

The $1.2 million grant-funded demonstration project will be employing cranes already in use at some Asian ports.

For the full story:

Submit Your Press Releases Here!