Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for April 7, 2014 through April 11, 2014:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Top Story

Federal Maritime Commission approves G6 Alliance expansion

Photo Credit: Press-Telegram

The Federal Maritime Commission has approved a proposed amendment to the G6 Alliance agreement that will expand its scope to allow the cooperation to extend to trades between the Far East and the U.S. West Coast, and between North Europe and all U.S. coasts, according to an FMC statement.

The members of the G6 include APL, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL, NYK, and OOCL.

The commission said its unanimous decision will allow the agreement to become effective on April 4, 2014, and is based on the decision that the agreement is not likely to result in "an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or an unreasonable reduction in transportation service under section 6(g) of the Shipping Act."

The G6 Alliance amendment adds 17 services to the original agreement. The shipping lines plan to jointly share the operation and space on between 180 to 220 container ships with a maximum capacity of 14,000 TEUs.

"The commission’s action on the G6 Alliance is based on an extensive, competitive analysis conducted by the commission’s staff and comments received by shippers and other industry participants,” said FMC Chairman Mario Cordero in the statement. “The commission will continue to review the competitive impact of global alliances. This alliance will considerably increase available capacity in the expanded geographic scope, and has the potential to generate operational efficiencies and positive environmental benefits."

Canada raises trucker rates at Port Metro Vancouver

Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced Friday that the Canadian government has issued new regulations to increase rates paid to truckers at Port Metro Vancouver to help bring the port back to full operational capacity, according to a government statement. The new rules went into effect April 3, 2014.

Since Port Metro Vancouver, Unifor, the United Truckers Association and the government agreed to the back-to-work Joint Action Plan in March, the government said it has amended the "Port Authorities Operations Regulations" to increase container-trucking rates at the port by 12 percent and double the fuel surcharge paid to truck owner-operators.

The amendments were agreed to after port truckers and other stakeholders, including federal mediator Vince Read, voiced their concerns. Canada's expedited 2014 Regulatory Framework Review will address a longer-term approach to container truck rates and fuel surcharges, the statement said.

Ice stalls Great Lakes shipping season

Although the shipping season on the Great Lakes officially started a week ago, no commercial ship has passed through the Soo Locks because significant ice remains on a big area of the northern lakes.

The Coast Guard says it doesn’t expect to wrap its ice-breaking efforts until well into May.

The Ninth Coast Guard District is down to two icebreakers after one was docked because of a broken rudder, said Levi Read, a second-class petty officer with the Ninth Coast Guard District External Affairs Office.

Aside from ice already floating on the lakes, there are other impediments for commercial ships, including chunks up to 8-feet thick and stiff winds. So once crews finally create a clear path, Read said the wind closes it by pushing the ice together.

"The commercial shipping season is definitely slowed down, almost to a halt," he said. "There is warmer weather coming, so we hope that helps."

For more of the MLive story:

UN panel to investigate oil-by-rail

The United Nations said global rules for handling the kind of oil shipments involved in several recent deadly derailments might need to be revised, in a move that might worry the oil-by-rail industry.

The U.N. panel for shipping hazardous materials this week said that it accepted a request from U.S. and Canadian experts to reexamine the rules that govern shipping fuel produced in areas such as North Dakota's Bakken.

Specifically, the panel will look at whether rules for shipping crude are stringent enough to account for dangerous pressure and volatile gases of unprocessed crude.

"Unprocessed crude oil may present unique hazards based on the specific gas content, posing different hazards in transport," the U.N. panel on transporting dangerous goods said in a statement.

One of the primary incidents that prompted this reexamination of the rules was a case involving a 74-car runaway train carrying Bakken crude that exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last July, killing 47 people.

For more of the Reuters story:

At least 2 dead after cargo ship sinks

The coast guard of South Korea searched for survivors Friday after a cargo ship sank off the South's southern coast. At least two people died in the incident.

A coastguard spokesman said that the bodies of two North Korean sailors were recovered and three other crewmembers were rescued, but 11 are still missing.

The 43,000-ton Mongolian-flagged ship, loaded with steel products, sent out a distress call shortly after 1:00 am from international waters off South Korea's southern coast.

The search and rescue operation is ongoing.

For more of the Channel News Asia story:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Story

Drewry: Major shipping alliances to challenge EU ports

Recently sanctioned mega shipping alliances such as the P3 Alliance will soon pressure the intermodal capacities of European ports, according to the latest issue of Container Insight from Drewry Maritime Research.

Now that the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has sanctioned the P3 Alliance, comprised of shipping giants Maersk, MSC and CMA-CGM, Drewry says it is likely that the alliance will be operational on all three proposed East-West trades by mid-2014.

The publication asserts that European ports will be particularly challenged, as the P3 collaboration will necessitate larger amounts of Asian cargo being unloaded from every ship and dispatched to their destinations before the next load arrives, which could be in mere days.

Container Insight forecasts that this will strain the intermodal capacities of European ports, as EU roads are already notoriously congested. In addition, successfully berthing vessels simultaneously depends on their on-time arrivals, which is not a certainty.

The G6 and CKYHE alliances will add to number of ships with capacities of over 14,000 TEUs, a number that is constantly escalating with the large number of new orders on the horizon for the Asia-Europe trades, Drewry says. Port calls will be fewer with the bigger vessels, and the cargo needing to be handled weekly will grow.

The article states that intermodal transport will struggle, since Europe's rail infrastructure is more congested than its roads. For example, Rotterdam has been developing its intermodal services, but the way its domestic cargo is transported has not changed much in four years. The Netherlands is still the only EU country with a dedicated rail line for freight.

Drewry concludes that while European ports may be able to cope for the first couple years of the alliances due to slow demand, eventually they must improve their intermodal transport in order to keep up with these changes.

NRF: April retail imports to rise 6 percent

April import volume at key U.S. retail container ports is forecast to rise by 6.1 percent, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

"With winter over, retailers are stocking up in anticipation of a busy spring and summer," said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "Consumers can expect plentiful supplies of merchandise."

"A busy time is expected over the next few months, so retailers are keeping a close eye on the labor situation at West Coast ports to ensure that cargo continues to move smoothly," Gold said, noting that the current contract for West Coast dockworkers expires June 30 but negotiations are not expected to begin until mid-May. "Companies are already exploring contingency plans in case of a disruption."   

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.26 million TEUs in February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, which was down 1.4 percent year-over-year.

Global Port Trackers predicts that March will come in at 1.31 million TEUs, up 15 percent from March 2013. April is forecast to be up 6.1 percent at 1.38 million TEUs, May up 3.8 percent at 1.44 million TEUs, June up 5.5 percent at 1.43 million TEUs, July up 3.1 percent at 1.49 million TEUs, and August up 1.2 percent at 1.51 million TEUs.

The first half of the year is expected to total 8.2 million TEUs, up 5.5 percent year-over-year.

Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Houston.

Federal judge rules on Port of Portland labor disputes

On Friday a federal court presiding over several labor disputes at the Port of Portland rejected arguments by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union that the port improperly paid incentives to shipping lines and ICTSI Oregon, and also dismissed an antitrust claim brought against the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association by the port and terminal operator.

U.S. Dist. Court Judge Michael Simon dismissed the case brought by the ILWU against the port, its commissioners and executive director Bill Wyatt, ruling that the port proved it had not used taxpayer money to offer incentives to ICTSI Oregon or to Hanjin Shipping, which offers a weekly service through Terminal 6.

Judge Simon also dismissed an antitrust claim against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association brought by the port and the terminal operator, saying there was nothing to indicate the union and the association had intentionally disrupted the port's contractual relationships.

"ICTSI's attack on the decades old collective bargaining relationship between the ILWU and its own employer association, PMA, demonstrates ICTSI's arrogance and complete disregard for the rules of engagement here in the United States," said ILWU West Coast official Leal Sundet.

"The main claims against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and its locals remain," said port spokesman Josh Thomas said in a written statement. "The port and ICTSI Oregon, Inc. are pursuing statutory damage claims against the ILWU asserting the union's illegal boycott and slowdowns at Terminal 6 that began in June 2012. Judge Simon has put those damage claims on hold until a final ruling by the National Labor Relations Board on pending unfair labor practice charges."

However, the judge did not dismiss ICTSI Oregon's claim against the PMA alleging "breach of fiduciary responsibility."

In a victory for ICTSI, the judge ruled the maritime association "acted in bad faith or unfairly represented" the Terminal 6 operator when neither ICTSI nor the port were invited to a May 24, 2012 nighttime meeting.

For more of the Oregonian stories: and

Saltchuk to buy Tropical Shipping for $220M

A subsidiary of Saltchuk Resources, a Seattle-based oil distribution company, has made a deal to buy Tropical Shipping and its related companies, according to a Saltchuk statement.

The acquisition includes the shipping and logistics company that services the Bahamas and Caribbean region, Tropical Shipping, and all of its related transportation, consolidation and cargo insurance companies, Saltchuk said. Tropical will continue to operate as a standalone operation.

The owner of Tropical Shipping, AGL Resources, said in a press release that its after tax proceeds of the sale would be $220 million.

Saltchuk said the acquisition would help it expands its Caribbean market.

"Tropical shares our values," said Saltchuk Chairman Mark Tabbutt and President Tim Engle in an announcement to employees. "The company has a strong safety culture, has the best on time service in its region, and is committed to giving back to the communities which it serves."

Saltchuk said it expects the sale to close within the next 90 days.

Federal judge orders seizure of ship involved in oil spill

On Friday, a federal judge ordered the seizure of a cargo ship that was involved in a collision with a barge on March 22, causing an oil spill in Galveston Bay.

U.S. marshals were poised to confiscate the Summer Wind, berthed at the Port of Houston.

The Summer Wind was on its way to the Port of Houston when it struck a Kirby Inland Marine barge. The collision resulted in the spill of more than 168,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the bay, which washed up on coasts from Galveston to Matagorda County.

For more of the Galveston Daily News story:


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top Story

Governor plans shake up of Virginia ports

Asserting he will not allow more losses at the Virginia Port Authority, Governor Terry McAuliffe plans substantial changes of the VPA board and wants to renegotiate the authority's 20-year lease of the APM Terminal's Portsmouth facility.

"We are not going to tolerate losses at the port - not going to do it," McAuliffe told executives last week at a Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

"If I don't see a good investment of our taxpayer dollars, we're not doing it. And if it's something been done in the past, we're going to unwind it. It's got to make sense."

McAuliffe reportedly told the group that he was displeased with the performance of the port, especially the fact that the port has lost $120 million over the past five years.

"During my transition process, I felt like I had not been adequately given the financial condition of the port, which is something I don't appreciate," the Governor added.

The VPA reported losing $85.8 million over the past five fiscal years in last year's State of the Port. But further investigation found that the figure was short by $34 million.

"Additional work that was supervised by Secretary Layne showed that there was actually a larger cash deficit over the past five years than was initially presented," said Rachel Thomas, a spokeswoman for the governor, in an email to the Virginia-Pilot.

The port forecasts it will lose up to $23.4 million for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

Due to the Governor's intense concern about the VPA, "the administration is conducting a thorough review of the current board and will make any changes they see fit to ensure that the issues with the Port are being addressed," wrote Thomas.

McAuliffe said the authority's 20-year lease of the APM facility, which will cost the authority more than $70 million a year by the time the deal ends in 2030, was "one of the worst lease deals I've ever seen negotiated."

For more of the Virginia-Pilot story:

Crowley Maritime acquires ship management firm

Crowley Maritime Corporation recently purchased majority ownership of Accord Ship Management and Accord Marine Management, according to a company statement.

Crowley said their own ship management group, which offers comprehensive commercial ship management services in addition to full technical management and government contracting, would manage the new acquisition.

The Accord purchase will boost the size and scope of Crowley's technical ship management group and facilitate its expansion into the global ship management market with a foreign crewing presence, the statement said.

Crowley reports that Accord currently manages a fleet of 23 vessels and with a staff of 55.

"When investigating international ship management companies that would allow Crowley to expand our business and create a greater presence outside of the U.S., we were careful to only pursue companies that share Crowley's corporate values and culture, especially as they relate to safety," said Mike Golonka, vice president, ship management. "After several visits to observe their culture and operations, we are convinced that Accord is the right fit to complement Crowley's existing operations. Accord has built a team that allows access to trained, qualified mariners without the additional expense of third-party crewing companies, something potential customers are demanding."

Port of Baltimore handles record autos, containers in 2013

The Maryland Port Administration announced that the Port of Baltimore broke several of its records for handling cargo in 2013.

The Baltimore port said it handled record numbers of autos, containers, and wood pulp, with a total annual cargo volume of 9.6 million tons at its public terminals, matching last year's record.  Adding cargo processed at private marine terminals, the port said its total for 2013 was 30.3 million tons of cargo, worth approximately $52.6 billion.
"The Port of Baltimore continues to prove that it is one of the most productive seaports in the U.S.," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "The port has successfully withstood a challenging economy and has outperformed many other major U.S. ports thanks to shrewd infrastructure investments, unique job-creating public-private partnerships, and long-term contracts with major international shipping companies. 

"With a newly operational 50-foot deep container berth and four supersized cranes, the future of the Port of Baltimore has never looked brighter for the more than 14,600 men and women who work at the Port to support their families."

The port handled 749,100 cars in 2013, up 16 percent year-over-year.

Containerized cargo came in at 6.4 million tons overall, 1 percent higher than 2012 totals.

Mitsubishi enters container business in Spain

Mitsubishi Corporation and Kamigumi Co. have jointly purchased a 25 percent share in TCV Stevedoring Company from Grup Maritim TCB, a global container terminal operator in Valencia, Spain.

The GMTCB partnership marks MC's first full-scale foray into the container terminal business and aligns with the Japanese government's strategy to promote the export of infrastructure-related industries and systems. It will enable MC to develop its global infrastructure business, particularly the operation of container terminals in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Port of Valencia handled 4.5 million TEUs in 2012, comparable to the scale of operations handled by the Port of Tokyo. Valencia functions as the main port for Spain's heartland and principal economic corridor and serves functions as a transshipment hub for neighboring countries in the Mediterranean and northwestern Europe, making it the largest container port in the Mediterranean.

For more of the Digital Journal story:

Container ship runs aground in Alabama waters

A container vessel sailing in the Mobile Bay shipping channel ran aground Monday Morning due to a mechanical failure of the steering pump, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

"It ran aground between buoys 36 and 38 in the Mobile Ship Channel," said Petty Officer Mark Cole with the U.S. Coast Guard Mobile sector. "It's approximately 7 miles north of Fort Morgan. There are tugs on scene and they're working to get it unstuck."

The incident occurred about 2:40 a.m. No damage was reported.

For more of the story:


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top Story

CFO at Port of Long Beach takes Metrolink job

One more port official has exited the Port of Long Beach now that Harbor Department acting CFO Thomas Franklin has resigned to take a job at Metrolink with his former boss, according to a port statement.

Franklin was appointed acting CFO last month when his former boss, Sam Joumblat, departed for a $225,000-a-year job at Metrolink, a regional commuter rail service that operates in a five-county section of Southern California. Joumblat’s new job pays $65,000 more than his former job with the port.

Franklin is taking a job as comptroller at Metrolink, reporting to Joumblat, beginning April 28. He will supervise the quality of accounting and financial reporting at the organization.

"I have a really good relationship with Sam, and he really is the reason why my job has been so enjoyable. He also is offering a salary comparable to what they’re giving me here in the port, but with no guarantee that I’ll become the CFO," Franklin said.

The port paid Franklin an annual salary of $158,184 in his role as acting CFO, said port spokesman Art Wong.

For more of the OC Register story:

PortMiami wants $225M for underwater traffic tunnel, complicates soccer stadium proposal

Miami-Dade County commissioners are considering borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars for PortMiami and clearing out an environmental facility located on property that David Beckham wants for a new soccer stadium and entertainment complex.

Port executives view the land as a potential booming commercial district in Miami, and want the real estate revenue to offset the ports increasing debt. They have pushed back against the stadium plan because it threatens their revenue forecasts from a hotel and office complex that could that take up as much as 7 million square feet of space.

The port wants to borrow an additional $225 million for a new underwater traffic tunnel and other improvements, and the new loan package for the next commission meeting may mean the port’s long-term obligations will total more than $1 billion.

Beckham’s stadium dealmakers say the port’s development plan as too ambitious, and are trying to position the soccer stadium as key to stimulating development on the southwest corner.

A major cruise line, Royal Caribbean, is against the stadium because it wants to expand onto the land.

For more of the Miami Herald story:

MOL launches new car carrier services from Mexico to U.S.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has introduced new car carrier services that transport vehicles produced in Mexico to ports in NAFTA region, according to a company statement.

Because many car manufacturers have built and expanded plants in Mexico recently, MOL estimates that automobile production will increase by more than 10 percent per year over the next several years. Approximately 3 million vehicles were produced in Mexico in 2013, and 80 percent of those were exported. To exploit this trend, MOL launched the new services from both the East and West Coast of Mexico to the U.S. to meet increased demand.

The shipping line said Nissan Motor Car Carrier and World Logistics Service, both MOL Group companies, are collaborating to provide weekly shuttle services with three car-carrier vessels from Veracruz, Mexico, to ports in Jacksonville-FL, Brunswick-GA, Baltimore-MD, Newark-NJ, and Davisville-RI in the U.S. The shipment sailed via MV Cosmos Ace, which sailed from Veracruz in March 2014, followed by MV Harmony Ace and MV World Spirit.

MOL said it would also launch a new car carrier service from the West Coast of Mexico to the West Coast of North America, transporting cars from Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, to San Diego-CA, Richmond- CA, Portland-OR, and Tacoma-WA in the U.S., and New Westminster-BC in Canada. The line added the service will be weekly for some regions.

U.S. Senator: Nuke threat makes cargo scans worth the money

U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts dismissed critics who say it’s too expensive to scan U.S.-bound container ships for weapons of mass destruction.

"The argument is that the technology doesn’t exist and that it’s too expensive. Of course, that was the same argument that was used to stop the screening of cargo that goes onto passenger planes," said Markey in an interview with Boston Herald Radio. "They fought for years, and finally my amendment passed, which requires all that cargo to be screened. Otherwise, how ridiculous is it to take off our shoes and the bomb could be in the cargo."

Massport started using screening technology to check for nuclear weapons voluntarily in 2004, Markey said, so the capability exists and should be mandatory for all incoming container carriers. The senator is concerned that only that only 5 percent of U.S.-bound cargo containers are scanned.

"An attack at a U.S. port that was nuclear could cause tens of thousands of deaths and a massive global disruption in trade with estimated costs ranging from $45 billion upwards to a trillion dollars," Markey said.

Senator Markey’s 2007 legislation to require the scans was delayed by a two-year waiver enacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that expires this summer. Markey hopes the waiver will not be renewed.

For more of the Boston Herald story:

Manlift manufacturer blamed for barge workers death by drowning

The wife of a man who recently died has filed suit against the manufacturer of a manlift, alleging the lift flipped off a barge and into a river, drowning her husband.

Tracy Gammon filed suit against Terex Corporation, Gene Industries, Gene International, Gene Holdings and Traylor-Massman-Weeks LLC.

Gammon’s husband, Andrew Edward Gammon, was sitting in a Genie S-80 Manlift, which was sitting on a barge, when the manlift was struck by a pipe, the lawsuit claims.

"The Genie S-80 Manlift, to which Mr. Gammon was tethered, flipped off the barge and into the Mississippi River, at which time Mr. Gammon drowned," the suit states.

For more of the Madison Record story:

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