Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for April 6 - April 10, 2009:
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Top Story

FedEx lays off 1,000 salaried employees

FedEx Corp. (FDX) said Friday that it has laid off 1,000 salaried employees as part of a $1 billion cost-reduction plan that it announced last month.

"These decisions were incredibly hard for the company but unavoidable given the global economic reality," FedEx spokesman Maury Lane said.

He declined to specify precisely where the job cuts were concentrated, saying they took place across the company's global workforce and business units. FedEx employs about 290,000 people worldwide.

The latest cuts come on top of about 900 layoffs at the company's FedEx Freight unit in February.

FedEx executives said in March, when they reported a steep drop in fiscal third-quarter profit, that they likely would cut
additional jobs.

For the full story:

Hutchison’s profit hits eight-year low

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.'s port unit, the world's largest container-terminal operator, posted the smallest profit increase in at least eight years and said traffic had fallen in 2009 amid the global recession.

Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd.'s earnings before interest and taxes rose 3 percent to HK$13.2 billion (US$1.7 billion) last year, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa said today in a statement. Volumes in the first two months of this year fell 9 percent, said Hutchison Managing Director Canning Fok.

Container volume at Hutchison Port's operations in Chinese ports including Shanghai and Yantian dropped last year amid slowing exports and increasing competition. Global trade may shrink for the first time in almost three decades this year, according
to the World Bank.

For the full story:

HMM to raise Asia-Europe rates

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., South Korea's second-largest container shipping line, plans to raise transport rates for the three months starting in April to cover operating costs.

The Seoul-based shipping line will lift charges by US$250 per 20-foot standard container for Asia-to-Europe shipments and by US$100 for the return journey, company spokesman Lee Jun Ki said by phone today in Seoul.

Hyundai Merchant joins Hanjin Shipping Co., Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. and A.P. Moeller Maersk A/S in boosting prices after rates plummeted late last year and the global recession damps demand for Asian exports. Hyundai Merchan's fourth-quarter operating income plunged 61 percent.

For the full story:

South Carolina ports soon to announce first-ever CCO

A new top-level executive is set to board the vessel that is the S.C. State Ports Authority.

The Charleston-based maritime agency is expected to announce as early as today the hiring of its first-ever chief commercial officer, a sort of a sales-and-marketing czar who will shoulder broad responsibilities and lofty expectations.

John F. Hassell III, who's been serving as the SPA's interim chief executive officer since Bernie Groseclose abruptly resigned from the post in January, said the new, unidentified hire will be charged with overseeing all aspects of business development at the SPA. That includes the agency's all-important container business as well as pleasure cruises and breakbulk, which is made up of goods that can't be moved in steel boxes.

Hassell said the creation of the CCO slot is part of a broader effort at the authority to halt and reverse what many view as an alarming slide in business volume at the port.

"We're focusing much more resources on building cargo," Hassell told the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors' Commercial Investment Division on Thursday.

For the full story:

Vietnam aims to export $4.5 billion of seafood this year

Vietnam has set a seafood export turnover target of US$4.5 billion this year.

The figure was released at a seafood export meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 3 by the Ministry of Agriculture and
Rural Development.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, VASEP, by mid-March 2009, Vietnam has exported nearly 166,700 tonnes of seafood, earning US$579 million, down 8% in quantity and turnover compared to the same period last year.

For the full story:

Hong Kong shipping hit hard

Ships travel to and from the manufacturing and trading hubs of southern China through the Lamma channel, and it is still busy.

But the ships once sitting heavily in the water, loftily loaded with containers, are now visibly higher in the water.

There is less cargo moving around the world, so less need for ships. Hence, dramatically lower rates for hiring large ships, and so a growing crisis in world shipping.

As the China boom deflates, demand for steel, iron ore and other bulk items from around the world diminishes, leaving bulk carrying ships all dressed up with nowhere to go.

For the full story:

Mega terminal planned for China’s Wuhan

A $731 million mega terminal project has been approved for Wuhan, China by the state government there, with construction scheduled to begin this year, according to Xinhua.

The terminal would be expected to handle more than 10 million TEUs per year at full build out.

Initial construction will include 17 terminals and a bridge connecting the Beijing-Kowloon, Wuhan-Kowloon railway, and also the Daqing-Guangzhou-Beijing and Wuhan-Ezhou highway, the report said.

Koch Logistics lands national contract with Ross Stores

Koch Logistics announced it was selected to provide a national logistics program for Ross Stores, Inc.

Headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., Ross Stores operates 904 Ross Dress for Less stores in 27 states.

Koch Logistics said it would be managing and facilitating all of the transportation, consolidation and logistics support for store planning, set up, remodel and fixture movement for Ross.

Koch Logistics said it would also manage and support various other logistics, transportation and distribution initiatives on behalf of Ross Stores as those needs arise.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top Story

CMA CGM says its well positioned for 2009-2010

The French shipping group CMA CGM announced it is well positioned to deal with the slowdown in global trade through building on 2008’s successful year for the company, $600 million in operating cost cuts, and its continued fleet modernization.

“Thanks to our forward-looking strategy, the flexibility of our systems and processes and our international expertise, we are quite confident in the ability of our company and our management team to successfully weather the current crisis,” said Jacques R. Saadé, chairman and founder of the CMA CGM Group.

“Trade between Asia and especially Europe and the United States will remain unescapable and will unavoidably return to growth. 2009 will be a period of consolidation in the shipping sector and the major players will emerge stronger in the end,” he said.

The shipping line said it was left in good shape by 2008’s end with a 28.2 percent climb in revenue over the previous year at $15.1 billion and net income of $124 million that it said would be “entirely reallocated to strengthening the Group’s equity, as in previous years.”

The company reported freight volumes rose by 15.6 percent to 8.9 million TEUs, with a fleet of 395 vessels, of which 98 are owned by CMA CGM. The liner said claims it is also now the world’s second largest reefer carrier.

Cost-cutting measures for the shipping group in 2009 include continued service rationalization in slowing markets, consolidation, and “strengthened partnerships.”

The liner said it would also return more than 180 chartered vessels this year, and operate ships at lower speeds to lower bunker fuel consumption. The company said it is also lobbying for lower transit rates through the Panama and Suez canals, while re-routing more services around the Cape of Good Hope.

CMA CGM is taking delivery of 52 new ships between this year and 2012 and it says these modernized vessels will generate “significant economies of scale and replace current units.

Port of Tacoma introduces “fee-free” clean air program

The Port of Tacoma recently announced that its shipping line and trucking customers would participate in a voluntary “fee-free, market-based” clean air program to reduce emissions there.

"Our customers and business partners have worked with port staff and our clean air authorities to develop comprehensive and market-led approaches to environmental stewardship," said Port of Tacoma Commission President Clare Petrich. "Their decisions to voluntarily participate in these efforts are voluntary and they come at a cost. But they recognize that today that environmental stewardship makes good sense and is good business."

The port said it would also initiate a fee-free Truck Emissions Improvement Program.

The port said it conducted a truck fleet study where 86 percent of the heavy-duty drayage trucks calling the port met 2010 emission standards. To encourage the remaining 14 percent to modernize their vehicles, the plan said its new plan would:

  • Promote drayage companies from a pre-qualified list that meet fleet modernization goals that meet set fleet modernization goals.
  • Partner with public and private organizations to identify funding opportunities and options for fleet modernization.
  • Work with customers to improve terminal gate operations.
  • Develop a communication and outreach strategy for the regional trucking community.
  • Explore operational and technological innovations.
  • Establish a transparent and accountable system to track the progress of the program toward meeting 2010 and 2015 truck emission goals.
  • Continue partnering with the Port of Seattle to implement common components of each port's truck program and coordinate efforts to expedite transportation infrastructure improvements.

The port said it had support for its new clear air program from the Washington Trucking Association, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Retail Association, Washington Department of Transportation and the Port of Seattle.

Port of Charleston names first ever Chief Commercial Officer

The South Carolina State Ports Authority on Monday named a Mitsui O.S.K. Lines executive as its new senior vice president and chief commercial officer, a newly created position at the ports authority.

Paul McClintock, a 26-year veteran of the shipping and cargo industries, begins his new role May 4. He moves to South Carolina from Atlanta and will be based at the Port of Charleston. He will earn a salary of $225,000.

In the new position, McClintock, 50, will report to the port authority’s president and chief executive officer, and will be responsible for all business development. His functions will include all sales and marketing for the ports of Charleston and Georgetown, as well as real estate and cruise development.

John F. Hassell III, the State Ports Authority’s interim president and chief executive, said McClintock would bring new cargo opportunities to South Carolina.

“Paul has extensive global shipping experience and a demonstrated track record of exceptional performance throughout his career,” Hassell said. “He will significantly enhance our efforts to bring more cargo to the docks in Charleston and Georgetown, increase market share and encourage economic development.”

McClintock previously served as vice president of North America sales for MOL (America) Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., one of the world’s largest multi-modal shipping companies. 

McClintock said he relishes his new challenge.

“South Carolina’s port system is recognized around the world for its productivity and capabilities and it has tremendous potential,”
he said.

-Peter Hull in Charleston for Cargo Business News

IES named top 100 logistics IT company fourth year in a row

Logistics software provider IES, Ltd. Announced it was named a top 100 logistics IT company for the fourth year in a row
by Inbound Logistics.

The evaluating process for the survey was culled from questionnaires, research, and reader feedback, IES said. The final selection criteria included software simplicity, ROI and efficient implementation, IES said.

ZIM expands with GT Nexus

GT Nexus announced that ZIM Integrated Shipping Services has renewed and expanded its web-based, e-commerce contract
with GT Nexus.

"We have been using GT Nexus for many years now," said Daphna Dvir, division manager, global marketing supporting systems at ZIM. "We consider advanced eCommerce capabilities an essential component of our service to customers, and aim at improving and expanding it significantly."

Kuehne & Nagel CFO: lower shipping fees, costs to help weather slump

Kuehne & Nagel International AG Chief Financial Officer Gerard van Kesteren said lower shipping fees and cost cuts will help the world’s largest sea-freight forwarder through a global slump that may extend into next year.

Global trade may plunge 9 percent this year, the most since World War II, as the recession deepens, the World Trade Organization predicted March 23. Kuehne & Nagel, which arranges the transport of goods on container ships including those owned by A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Neptune Orient Lines APL, has eliminated about 4,000 jobs since October, part of a cost- reduction plan as shipment volumes decline, the CFO said.

- Bloomberg

For the full story:

Exxon Mobile to invest $129 billion on new projects

The head of Exxon Mobil Corp. said Monday the company is not planning to shrink its staff or cut back on investment because of the global economic downturn.

Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said the world's largest publicly traded oil company expects to spend $129 billion on new projects over the next five years.

-LA Times

For the full story:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Breaking News

U.S. crew foils Somali pirates

The hijack of a Danish container ship off the coast of Somalia has been foiled by the 20-strong crew from the United States. The US defense ministry says the crew of the Maersk Alabama were able to wrest control of the vessel from the pirates. Everyone on board is reported to be unharmed. -Radio Netherlands Worldwide For the full report:

Congressman Cummings statement on seizure of Maersk Alabama

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, released the following statement in response to the seizure this morning of the U.S.-flagged container ship, Maersk Alabama, which was carrying relief cargo to Kenya for the United Nations; 21 Americans on board the ship are currently being held hostage:

 “My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the crew of the Maersk Alabama, as well as their families, as they endure this difficult time. It is my hope that this situation will be resolved as quickly and as safely as possible, and the DOD has my full support and confidence in its ability to handle this delicate situation.

“Piracy in the high seas is a very serious problem that threatens the lives of innocent mariners and poses a challenge to the shipping industry during a deepening economic recession. With more than 50 pirate attacks this year off the Somali coast—including at least six commercial vessels this past week alone—it is clear that the problem is rapidly getting worse.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy have been crucial in preventing and intervening in pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa, as have the contributions of the international community to patrol this region. Unfortunately, the pirates have responded by adapting to the heightened security, spreading their range to extend further out to sea.

“I convened a hearing in February to examine international piracy on the high seas, which reaffirmed the complexity of this issue. Even with the best system in place to capture and detain pirates, we will never fully be able to eradicate piracy if we ignore the underlying problems leading individuals down this road. We absolutely must unite as an international community to help bring stability to Somalia, where political and economic conditions have fueled the increase in pirate attacks in the Horn of Africa region.

“We cannot allow our focus to shift away from the critical importance of combating piracy after the Maersk Alabama incident is resolved and its crew has safely returned home. Although this is the first U.S.-flagged ship to be seized by pirates, the threat of future attacks will remain as long as the problems in the Horn of Africa continue to fester.”

Two Mass Maritime grads on board Maersk Alabama

Two Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduates are among the 20 crew members on board a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates today, the first attack on a US-flagged vessel in recent memory.

Shane Murphy, a 2001 graduate of the Bourne college who lives in Seekonk, is the chief officer on the Maersk Alabama, his father Joseph Murphy said this morning. Joseph Murphy, a Mass. Maritime professor, said officials at the Danish shipping company told him earlier this morning that the crew has not been harmed. The captain of the vessel was identified as Richard Phillips, 55, of Underhill, Vt., a 1979 graduate.

-The Boston Globe

For the full story:

Ryder shares plunge after revised first-quarter outlook

Ryder System Inc. shares dropped as much as 25% Wednesday, retreating as the truck-rental, transportation and logistics company slashed its first-quarter profit outlook.

The Miami-based company cited lower results in its fleet-management business in the face of a worsening economic climate.


For the full story:

Freight transportation index rose 2 percent in February

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 2 percent in February from its January level, rising from its lowest level in more than five years, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.

The February increase was only the second since August and, at 2 percent, was the largest one-month rise since January 2008 and the fourth largest in the last five years, the BTS said.

The 0.3 percent decline in the first two months of 2009 was the third decline to start the year in the last four years. The index rose 2.9 percent during the first two months of 2008, the BTS said.

Other than the January low of 102.7, the BTS said the Freight TSI has not been this low since September 2003 when it was 104.4. The Freight TSI is down 7.4 percent from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005.

For additional historical data, go to

Evergreen upgrades Far East- Panama service

Taiwanese shipping group Evergreen, announced it would adjust its weekly transit times on its Far East - Panama service (FPS).

The company said it has reduced the transit time from its Taiwanese hub, Kaohsiung to the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas from 23 to 16 days. The transit time from Shanghai to the Caribbean hub, Colon Container Terminal, is now 25 days, the company said.

The FPS service port rotation is now:

Ningbao – Shanghai – Yangtian – Kaohsiung – Lazaro Cardenas – Colon Container Terminal - Ningbao

The first sailing operating with the revised schedule will be served by the 2,824-TEU ‘Irenes Remedy 0046-036’, which is due to start loading in Shanghai on 16 April 2009, the company said.

An Evergreen spokesperson stated: “Evergreen is pleased that even in today’s challenging and competitive market in Latin America and the Caribbean we are able to find ways to develop our services and focus on our customers needs.”

Crowley takes delivery of Alaska-bound tug

The vessel construction boom at Crowley continued yesterday as the company took delivery of the Nachik, a newly designed shallow draft tug, from Diversified Marine in Portland, Ore.

Crowley announced delivery of the tug Nachik from Diversified Marine in Portland, Ore. The tug will deployed in Alaska and is the third new vessel delivery to Crowley in less than two weeks, the company said.

Jointly designed by Crowley and Diversified Marine, the Nachik,which means "hair seal" in the native Inupiaq language, is a triple screw diesel powered tug equipped to propel petroleum and freight barges in river systems throughout Alaska. Its sister vessel, the Sesok, which means "beluga whale," is scheduled to be delivered in late May, the company said.

DHL launches web-based tracking solution in Asia-Pacific

DHL announced it has launched its web-based DHL ProView in its Asia-Pacific market. DHL said ProView allows customers to track shipments in real time at all stages of delivery, anywhere in the world. The ProView service was initially launched in the U.S. in 2006.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Top Story

DHS allocates over $218 mil to major port regions and marine exchanges

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Wednesday it would allocate $388.6 million towards the Port Security Grant Program, of which close to $218 million will go towards a group of major U.S. port regions and marine exhanges.

The port security grant funds are part of $970 million in federal security assistance to state, local and tribal governments, and private industry.

The DHS said the grants would be made on a rolling basis over the summer.
From 2003 through 2009, more than $26.7 billion will have been federally allocated towards terrorist defense and response, major disasters or other emergencies, the DHS said.

“Today’s grant allocations provide more transparency and openness than ever before, as stakeholder feedback drove significant improvements in the grant guidance and peer review process, increasing the value of what states get with their dollars,” said Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano. “As we continue to expand our state, local, tribal and private sector partnerships, our combined efforts will improve and hone our grant programs – which helps us strengthen and protect individual communities and the entire nation.”

The DHS said the $388.6 million is “to protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness and risk management capabilities to protect against improvised explosive devices and other non-conventional weapons; and to conduct training and exercises and support implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).”
The DHS announced the top group of security funds would go towards the following Marine Exchanges:

Los Angeles-Long Beach Marine Exchange of Los Angeles Long Beach Harbor, Inc - $37,916,246 San Francisco Bay Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region - $26,456,926 DE/NJ/PA Delaware Bay Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay - $19,912,982 LA New Orleans Lower Mississippi River Port-wide Strategic Security Council - $30,370,227 NY/NJ New York-New Jersey The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey - $45,032,145 TX Houston-Galveston Harris County, Texas - $32,179,975 WA Puget Sound Northwest Maritime Advisory Services(DBA Marine Exchange of Puget Sound) - $26,888,749

Total - $218,757,250

Stay current on Maersk-Somali pirate situation

The U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama is heading to port in Mombasa, Kenya, a day after it was hijacked off Somalia's coast, the father of one of the crew members said today. An armed security detail is on board, Capt. Joe Murphy told CNN. FBI negotiators are trying to secure the release of the ship's captain, who is being held by pirates in a lifeboat. -CNN

For live, current coverage of the Maersk-Somali pirate situation:

Qingdao container throughput up 2.2 percent in first two months

The northeastern China port of Qingdao has handled 1.64 million TEUs for the first two months of this year, a 2.2 percent rise over the same period in 2008, Xinhua reported.

The port's cargo throughput tonnage during the first two months amounted to 51.97 million tonnes, up 3.9 percent. Both the port's box volume and cargo tonnage have set new records, the report said.

Houston awards $38 million towards Bayport construction;
$2 million for university program

The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority (PHA) announced it has awarded a $35.9 million construction contract to McCarthy Building Companies to build the Phase I-Stage 2 container yard for Bayport Terminal.

The port said It has also reached an agreement with Texas Southern University to devote $2 million towards the development of undergraduate and graduate maritime transportation management and security degree programs there.

Dr John Rudley, President of Texas Southern University, said in a statement: "Degrees in maritime transportation management and security will be a wonderful opportunity for children to participate in the global economy."

Kuehne & Nagel chairman sees some ocean freight recovery 

The chairman of Swiss logistics group Kuehne & Nagel, Klaus-Michael Kuehne, said his logistics company has seen some recovery in ocean freight in recent weeks.

Kuehne & Nagel has the top ocean freight sales in the world, and is ranked fourth in global airfreight sales. The company announced last month that it could cut between 5 and 10 percent of its 54,000-strong workforce in 2009 as it looks to keep costs under control. -Reuters

For the full story:

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