Monday, March 31, 2008
Box fraud in Kaohsiung
TWO TOP officials from the southern Taiwan Port of Kaohsiung Mar 30 were arrested on charges related to the faking of the port’s container handling volumes in order to reach a lucrative government target.
The Kaohsiung prosecutor’s office detained Shen Nai-shou, chief of the harbor’s Marine Terminal Office, and Chang Nai-wen, head of the Planning Section, on charges of embezzlement, the Central News Agency reported.
The detained harbor employees and shipping firm staff are alleged to have received a total of nearly NT$2bn ($62mn) in bonuses, incentives, and tax exemptions for reaching the harbor’s 2007 10mn-TEU target.
The detention follows a search by prosecutors of the harbor and five shipping firms and the questioning of more than 50 people.
Two employees from Yangming Marine and one employee from the US shipping line APL were released on bail.
The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau issued a statement saying it would cooperate with prosecutors in the investigation so that the truth could come out.
Prosecutors first became suspicious about the harbor’s container volume in October 2007 and were tipped off that the numbers were faked in January.
Port of Kaohsiung
Seattle, Tacoma to hold joint study session
IN A FIRST for the two ports, the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma commissioners have scheduled a joint study session for Tuesday, Apr 1.
The special session will focus on “issues critical to both ports as they work to create economic growth for the state,” according to the news release.
Topics to be discussed during the two-hour meeting will include air quality cooperation; transportation infrastructure needs, focusing on intermodal and legislative cooperation; and regional promotion to cooperatively market the strengths of the two ports as they address emerging competitive threats.
Also discussed will be security, including grants and joint emergency preparedness planning.
Members of the public are invited to attend. The meeting will take place from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. in the Crystal Mountain Room of Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave N in Kent.
The Port of Seattle operates several major facilities in King County, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which served over 31mn passengers in 2007, and a seaport with three container terminals that handled 1.97 TEUs in 2007.
The Port of Tacoma is among the largest container ports in North America, handling more than $36bn in annual trade and about 1.93mn TEUs.
Port of Seattle
Port of Tacoma
Aker Shipyard holds keel laying
AKER Philadelphia Shipyard Mar 31 held a keel-laying ceremony for the sixth Veteran Class MT46 product tanker in the yard’s current build program.
When completed in 2009, the vessel will be 600 ft in length and be capable of transporting the equivalent of 14mn gal of liquid product. The ship is the tenth constructed by the yard since 2000.
Upon completion, the vessel will be sold to Aker American Shipping, which in turn will lease the ship to Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. for operation in service to oil companies.
As part of the ceremony, coins were placed under the keel block recreating a long-standing shipbuilding tradition whereby special coins are hidden in the keel section of a ship as a permanent symbol of good fortune and safe travels.
The first three vessels in the tanker build program were delivered in 2007 and are currently in service, while the fourth vessel in the series has completed sea trials and is scheduled for delivery in April. The fifth, sixth, and seventh vessels in the series are also under construction at the yard.
Aker Philadelphia Shipyard
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Maersk to call Rotterdam and Aarhus
MAERSK LINE Apr 1 announced that they are adding Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Aarhus (Denmark) to their Scan Med service. They will also deploy a fifth vessel in the service.
“These changes will allow us to provide our customers a more reliable and competitive product between North Europe and the Mediterranean,” the company said.
“In order to maintain the integrity of the service, we will discontinue the Felixstowe export call due to the ongoing congestion in this location,” the company added.
The new rotation will be Gioia Tauro (Italy), Rotterdam, Felixstowe (UK), Bremerhaven (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden), Aarhus (Denmark), Bremerhaven, Antwerp (Belgium), Piraeus (Greece), Ambarli (Turkey), Haydarpasa (Turkey), Izmir (Turkey), and Gioia Tauro (Italy).
The first vessel to enter the new rotation will be the Maersk Ankara, arriving in Gioia Tauro on Apr 6.
POLB officials on European trade mission
LONG BEACH Mayor Bob Foster, Harbor Commissioners, and port officials Mar 31 embarked on a two-week trade mission to Europe’s largest seaports.
The officials seek to “further establish a worldwide, collaborative network of environmentally friendly seaports and promote the Port of Long Beach’s ‘green’ initiatives on a global stage,” said port officials.
The trade mission will include summits at the major European ports of Hamburg and Rotterdam, where port officials will sign an agreement to share best environmental practices, work together on ways to reduce greenhouse gases, and promote environmentally sustainable seaport technologies.
The delegation will also meet with the International Maritime Organization in London to push for higher global standards for clean ship fuels.
“Because Long Beach is a world leader among seaports for its environmental policies, it is critical that we build relationships with other global leaders such as the ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg,” Foster said.
“It is also crucial that we urge the IMO to adopt tougher environmental standards that will benefit Long Beach and other port communities throughout the world.”
Port of Long Beach
NYK sets “New Horizon 2010” plan
NYK GROUP Mar 27 announced a new three-year management plan beginning in FY 2008 to consolidate strategies from the previous plan to enhance growth, increase stability, and further protect the environment.
“New Horizon 2010” calls on the group to accelerate its business evolution in India and other emerging markets and actively expand its integrated logistics services through a combination of land, air, and sea transport modes.
It envisages Y220bn in group ordinary profit and Y145bn in net profit on sales of Y3.2 trillion for the final year fiscal 2010.
Under its new business plan, NYK will aim to become one of the world’s top five logistics service providers, the company said.
Also incorporated in the business plan were steps aimed to reinforce the group’s corporate foundation, such as intensified approaches toward navigation safety, human resource development, and corporate social responsibility.
NYK president Koji Miyahara also announced the NYK Cool Earth Project, which will involve the entire NYK Group in the development of environmentally friendly technology and other schemes that promote environmental sustainability.
Wednesday, April 3, 2008
Maersk Oil issues 2007 enviro status report
MAERSK OIL Apr 1 issued its Environmental Status Report 2007, which covers the oil and gas activities operated by Maersk Oil for DUC (Dansk Undergrunds Consortium) in the Danish North Sea.
The report concludes that the company’s environmental performance targets for 2007 (as published in Maersk’s Environmental Status Report 2006) have been met and that specific performance targets for 2008 have been set out to ensure continuous improvement.
Key points in the report include the finding of lower oil and gas production in 2007 compared to 2006, “mainly due to the natural decline in production from the Danish fields.”
Offshore energy consumption in 2007 was at the same level as in 2006, despite increased water-handling requirements, whereas flaring of gas was reduced by approximately 10% as a result of production optimization.
Chemicals discharged to sea were reduced significantly in 2007. The phase-out of chemicals with undesirable environmental effects continues with an objective of phasing out all so-called red chemicals in 2008, the company said.
The total amount of CO2 emissions from offshore activities in 2007 was “at the same level as in 2006,” whereas other atmosphere emissions were reduced.
DOC recognizes VIP
THE VIRGINIA Port Authority Mar 27 announced that the Virginia Inland Port has been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade for its continued collaboration with the US Commercial Service in promoting Free Trade Agreement outreach.
James Davis, Virginia Port Authority mid-Atlantic regional manager, accepted the award from Christopher Padilla, Undersecretary of International Trade for the US Dept. of Commerce, at the VIP office in Front Royal, VA.
Padilla commented, “In addition to coordinating FTA outreach events with CS Northern Virginia and the Top of Virginia Chamber Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Inland Port ably serves the Virginia exporting community through its valuable port services.
“For these services and its partnership on FTA outreach, the US Commercial Service in Northern Virginia would like to recognize the Virginia Inland Port.”
The Virginia Inland Port, owned and operated by the VPA, is a growing intermodal facility where import and export cargo is moved from truck to train or vice versa on its way to market.
The facility provides direct rail access to the three marine cargo terminals in Hampton Roads owned and operated by the VPA. The VPA is the state’s leading agency for international transportation and maritime commerce.
Virginia Port Authority
TFG Transfracht sees 2008 growth
TFG TRANSFRACHT, the German railroad network that delivers containers to and from Hamburg and Bremerhaven and inland locations, will grow its geographical coverage this year, anticipating a 10% increase in traffic in 2008.
Gerhard Oswald, managing director of TFG, Apr 1 announced these expansions in Newark, NJ, on a stop that is part of a round the world fact-finding trip.
“We will transport more than 1mn TEUs in intermodal hinterland traffic this year and expand our coverage to and from points in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland within the single rail network of the AlbatrosExpress,” Oswald said. “More European countries will be added to our network this year.”
The company, founded in 1969, has more than 15,000 connections annually and serves some 20 terminals. The AlbatrosExpress rail system transports 4,500 TEUs daily, with all moves carried out within 12-36 hour, the company said.
The transport service for seaport-related container transport is supplemented by depot services and empty container repositioning at inland terminals.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
LA TraPac to get go-ahead
AN AGREEMENT between the Port of Los Angeles and a coalition of environmentalists, health advocates, and community groups that would allow construction to begin later this year at the terminal operated by TraPac Inc. is expected to be announced Apr 3 by city officials.
The project will expand the 176-acre TraPac terminal to 243 acres and add on-dock rail facilities, tripling its annual cargo capacity and creating up to 6,000 new jobs.
A $50mn “community benefits package,” which would set up a non-profit organization that will develop projects to reduce the environmental and congestion impacts of port construction projects, is expected to be included.
“It’s a precedent-setting agreement in that the port has never really come to grips with its off-port impacts,” said David Pettit, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re pleased with it. It’s a big step in the right direction.”
The proposed mitigation fund would also apply to future expansion projects at the Port of Los Angeles, said port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz.
“This agreement paves the way to move other projects similar to TraPac through the planning and environmental assessment process, as both sides will be motivated to grow the community mitigation fund,” Knatz said.
Port of Los Angeles
Foss sells some assets to Tidewater
FOSS Maritime Co. Apr 2 announced hat it has agreed to sell selected assets, including two tugs and 20 barges currently operating on the Columbia/Snake River system, to Vancouver, WA-based Tidewater Barge Lines.
Seattle-based Foss made the decision to sell selected assets in order to focus its efforts and investment in its strategic lines of business, including ship assist, ocean towing, and special projects, the company said.
Foss will maintain its Portland-based division and will no longer provide river barging of grain, wood products, and containers.
The sale will help the company maintain its strategic focus and standards of quality, said Scott Merritt, Foss’ senior VP of operations, citing the need for additional vessels and upgrades on its existing upriver tugs as contributing to the sale’s timing.
Foss will complete any jobs that are in-process at the time of the sale’s close through a charter arrangement, the company said.
Founded in 1889, Foss Maritime offers a complete range of maritime services and project management to customers across the Pacific Rim, Europe, South America, and around the globe.
Foss Maritime Co.
Tidewater Barge Lines
Port Tracker sees short build-up
TRAFFIC at the nation’s major retail container ports is starting to build back up again after its traditional winter lull, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released Apr 2 by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.
But traffic levels will still show weak increases or fall below last year’s levels over the next several months, according to the report.
“Monthly port volumes are building slowly following the slow season, but import container traffic is forecast to be quite weak through August due to the underlying weakness in demand in the US economy,” Global Insight Economist Paul Bingham said.
“The covered ports are operating without congestion from the harbor to the gate, with late-winter weather problems resolved,” Bingham added.
US ports surveyed handled 1.24mn TEUs of container traffic in February, the latest month for which actual numbers are available and traditionally the slowest month of the year, according to the report.
The number was unchanged from January but down 5.4% from February 2007 to make it the seventh month in a row to show a year-to-year decline.
Port Tracker report
Friday, April 4, 2008
Progress in ILWU/PMA talks
THE INTERNATIONAL Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association Apr 3 issued a joint statement regarding their negotiations on a new waterfront labor contract.
“Over the past three weeks, the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore Warehouse Union have exchanged documents, asked clarifying questions about them, and continued formal discussions aimed at reaching a fair and reasonable agreement before the current six-year contract expires on July 1, 2008,” the statement said.
The current waterfront contract covers 25,000 ILWU-represented longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports in California, Oregon, and Washington. The contract sets benefits, pay, and working conditions for members.
The PMA, formed in 1936, represents cargo carriers, terminal operators, and stevedores operating on the West Coast.
In 2002, negotiations for a new contract between the two parties resulted in a work slowdown and eventually a 10-day lockout. The Bush administration then invoked the Taft-Hartley Act.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Pacific Maritime Association
TV series on Port of LA begins
ON SUNDAY, Apr 6, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel premieres “America’s Port,” a new, eight-part weekly series from the producers of “Ice Road Truckers” and “Deadliest Catch.”
The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest container port and one of the most important trade gateways in the world, is “a city within a city, brimming with a workforce of 16,000 and potential crises round the clock,” the TV promo says.
The series “delivers an insider’s view of this massive complex and the intrepid individuals charged with keeping it running smoothly and securely 365 days a year.”
The series takes the viewer to the high-tech control rooms that coordinate thousands of calculated ship movements each year; to a containership with chief port pilot Michael Rubino, who stays calm while chaos erupts around him; and to comb through cargo with US Customs Port Director Todd Hoffman.
At the epicenter of the port’s whirlwind of activity is a “dynamo executive director, Dr. Geraldine Knatz,” and the first female in the port’s storied 100-year history. “I think people will be amazed at the sheer magnitude of our operations,” said Dr. Knatz.
National Geographic Channel
Senior exec changes at Horizon Lines
HORIZON Lines Inc., the nation’s leading domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics company, Apr 3 announced the promotion of Michael T. Avara to the position of senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Avara, 49, has a “strong record of leading financial organizations,” having spent more than 20 years in various accounting and finance roles at CSX Corp., Sea-Land Service Inc., and Horizon Lines, the company said.
Since 1999, Avara has served as controller for Sea-Land Service and CSX Lines, as assistant VP of corporate finance for CSX Corp., and most recently as vice president, investor relations, and treasurer of Horizon Lines.
In his new role Avara will report to Charles G. Raymond, chairman, president, and CEO of the corporation and will be a member of the company’s executive committee.
Avara replaces M. Mark Urbania, who is leaving Horizon Lines after four years of service as the company’s chief financial officer. Urbania had previously been employed in senior finance positions with several operating units of private equity investor groups and is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities in this area, the company said.
Horizon Lines Inc.