Monday, April 7, 2014
Federal Maritime Commission approves G6 Alliance expansion
Photo Credit: Press-Telegram
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
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.
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: galvestondailynews.com
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
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: hamptonroads.com
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.
"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: digitaljournal.com
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 AL.com story: blog.al.com
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.