Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for April 13 - April 17, 2009:
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Story

Tackling piracy: “Immense body of water” off Somalia’s coast

Efforts to protect ships from pirates in the waters off Somalia's east coast face a tremendous challenge: The vastness of the area makes it difficult to get to ships that are in danger.

To put it in perspective, draw a box from Houston to Chicago to New York City down to Jacksonville, Florida. It's an immense body of water," U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters Sunday.

When the Maersk Alabama, a U.S.-flagged cargo ship, reported an attempted attack by pirates the day before the pirates successful attempt on Wednesday, "our closest vessel from all the navies that were out there -- we have 16 navies that are patrolling those waters -- and the closest one was the USS Bainbridge, and it was over 300 nautical miles," Gortney said.

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Schneider Logistics doesn’t expect rapid recovery

Flat truckload rates, 1-3% rate increases for LTL carriers, increased trucking bankruptcies and declining truck sales are a few things Schneider Logistics experts see when looking ahead to the remainder of 2009.

The company issued its annual State of the Transportation Industry Review 2008 last week, which also explored what lies ahead for transportation companies in 2009.

Looking at the US economy in general, Schneider is not expecting a rapid recovery.


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ProLogis leases 420,000 square feet in Pennsylvania

The distribution facility provider, ProLogis, announced it has leased 420,000 square feet of recently developed distribution space in Eastern Pennsylvania to B&G Foods, Inc.

The food company is consolidating logistics operations from two other U.S. states into this facility, ProLogis said.

The distribution park consists of two facilities totaling 1.8 million square feet with BMW occupying 870,000 square feet, ProLogis said.
This is the first lease agreement between ProLogis and B&G Foods.

China stocks hit almost 8-month high

Cyclical stocks rose on hopes that data showing a surge in new loans will send stock prices higher, helping China shares end at a near eight-month high Monday.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks both A and B shares, ended up 2.8% at 2513.70, its highest closing level since Aug. 20, when it settled at 2523.28.

The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.8% to 835.91.

-Dow Jones

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New Orleans officials looking at $2 billion megaport expansion

Louisiana trade and economic development officials have a lot of decisions to make — and the clock is ticking.

State Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, discussed his initiative last week with the New Orleans City Council. Vice President Arnie Fielkow held a committee meeting specifically to discuss the Panama Canal expansion opportunities.

Crowe wants to build a $2 billion megaport on state-owned land near Southwest Pass. Private investors are lined up and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development has a letter of intent from those investors, Crowe said.

-New Orleans City Business

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DHS Secretary tours L.A./Long Beach ports today

U.S. Department of Homeland Security ( DHS ) Secretary Janet Napolitano will be at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach today to meet with U.S. Representatives Jane Harman, Laura Richardson and Maxine Waters, and talk with state and local officials, and tour air and sea ports of entry, the DHS said.

The visit is meant allow Secretary Napolitano “greater ground-level visibility on DHS security measures and new technologies being implemented in the Los Angeles area”, the DHS said.

Shanghai group postpones Belgium terminal purchase from APM

Shanghai International Port (Group) has postponed its stake purchase in a Belgium terminal from A.P. Moeller-Maersk and expects slower container throughput growth this year as a slowdown hits global trade, a company executive said on Monday.

Shanghai port, China's biggest port operator, signed a framework agreement in September 2006 to buy 40 percent of a container terminal in Zeebrugge, which was built by APM Terminals, part of A.P. Moeller-Maersk.


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IMO group to address alien species in ballast water

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced the formation of a new global shipping industry alliance to take on the threat of marine bio-invasions in ships' ballast water.

The alliance has been formed through a partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and four major shipping companies - APL, BP Shipping, Daewoo and Vela Marine International.

According to IMO findings, an estimated 10 billion tons of ballast water is carried around the world each year with more than 3,000 species of plants and animals being transferred daily.

"As a result, a serious environmental threat has developed, caused by the introduction of alien aquatic plants and animals to new ecosystems, which may not be able to deal with the imported species. The damage done by these alien species is costing the world billions of dollar," the IMO group said.

For example, the introduction of the zebra mussel in the Great Lakes required multibillion-dollar control and cleaning of underwater structures and pipelines.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top Story

POLB approves $750 mil middle harbor redevelopment

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners unanimously approved on Monday a 1,500-page environmental study of the Middle Harbor Redevelopment project, which paves the way for a $750 million renovation on two aging Port of Long Beach shipping terminals into what the port termed “one of the greenest, most environmentally friendly terminals in the world.”

With a significant addition of railroad tracks and built-in environmental technology, The new terminal would double the cargo-moving capacity of the two existing facilities with the addition of railroad tracks, the port said. The new cargo-handling facility would also have “built-in environmental technology” that would cut air pollution in half, the port said.

Construction on the project could begin by the end of this year and will take 10 years to complete and generate as many as 1,000 construction jobs a year, as well as 14,000 jobs in the goods-movement industry region wide, the port said.

"This is a chance to move these two terminals into the modern era, into the container shipping industry's greener and more business-friendly future. We can let them age in place and continue to pollute at today's levels and create no additional jobs, or we can approve this EIR and put firms to work immediately," said James C. Hankla, president of the Long Beach board of harbor commissioners. "These two shipping terminals are among the oldest in the port; they must be modernized and improved," he said.

The port said construction would be phased in, allowing cargo operations to continue at the two terminals, Long Beach Container Terminal and California United Terminals.

A major feature of the project is the addition of 65,000 feet of railroad track, which would allow nearly one-third of all the cargo at middle harbor to be moved by train, taking trucks off the road, the port said. The project would create a single 345-acre facility by merging the existing terminals and adding 51 acres of land by filling in slips, the port said.

According to the Port of Long Beach, environmental technology and practices at the new terminal would include:

-- All container cargo vessels calling at the terminal will plug into shore-side electricity and turn off their main and auxiliary engines.
-- All vessels will adhere to our Vessel Speed Reduction Program, which would cut their fuel consumption and reduce their exhaust emissions from 40 miles offshore.
-- All vessels would use clean-burning, low-sulfur fuels in their main and auxiliary engines.
-- All cargo-handling equipment at the terminal would be the cleanest available.
-- All trucks calling at the terminal would meet the toughest EPA emission standards.
-- And, finally, rail yard operations would use alternative fuels and the cleanest equipment available.
The port said $15 million in grants will be provided for proposals that protect the health of children and seniors at schools and health-care facilities near the port. The grant program will also provide funding for health screening and education in the affected area.

FedEx permanently removes 14 cargo jets

FedEx will permanently remove 14 cargo jets from service and take a non-cash charge of about $180 million because of the continuing slump in the shipping business.

FedEx Corp. filed notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission today that 10 Airbus A310-200s, four Boeing MD10-10s and certain aircraft engines would be removed from service during the quarter ending May 31.

- The Commercial Appeal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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Rivals gain some ground on Port of L.A.

Next month, shipping giant AP Moeller-Maersk will make a move that would have been unlikely a decade ago. A line of 6,000-container ships that now goes to Southern California will dock in Seattle instead.

While that represents a small fraction of the eight million containers handled annually at the Port of Los Angeles, it is an example of how the nation's largest port is coming under pressure as volumes drop. New regulations, such as tougher environmental restrictions, have made the port more fuel efficient, but the additional costs have made it more vulnerable to losing market share of U.S.-bound goods.


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Ports brace for TWIC launch

Officials, labor leaders and industry executives are bracing for glitches, logjams and the possibility of having to turn away some waterfront workers today as the federal government launches a program requiring biometric identification from anyone needing unescorted access to secure port areas.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun the first phase of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program to assess the security threat of workers moving in and out of the nation’s ports.

-Galveston County Daily News

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Inland port proposed in Tampa

A California developer has proposed turning a pepper farm in south Hillsborough County into a distribution center to handle cargo from ports in Tampa and Manatee County.

"It has become apparent that, as ports have grown, there is a need to focus on how you get goods distributed," said Richard Ellison, president of Inland Port Systems in Orange County, Calif.

Ellison said distribution centers are springing up across the country, including in South Florida and Georgia, to handle ports' overflow and offer companies a hub from which to get goods to market.

-Tampa Tribune

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Top Story

Seattle offers almost $5.4 million clean truck rent incentive for terminal operators

The Port of Seattle announced its commission unanimously approved a plan yesterday to offer $5.384 million worth of incentive breaks on rent for three terminal operators if they comply with keeping old trucks out of their operations as part of the port’s clean air initiative.

The port said its relief package is focused on terminal operators with revenues that depend on the number of containers they handle given the Port of Seattle’s cargo was down 37 percent in February 2009.

The port’s clean air package will offer $1.5 million to purchase pre-1994 trucks from drivers in order to get them off the road. The port said it would also continue to contribute $2.3 million to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. 

 “This package helps protect over 12,000 seaport jobs during the worst economy in two generations,” said Port Commission President Bill Bryant.  “Today’s action makes the Port of Seattle cleaner and more competitive.”

“We’ve worked closely with the neighborhoods most impacted by truck emissions and parking.  We’re striking a balance between improving our air now and helping truckers who make their living moving containers in this difficult economy,” said Commission Vice President Gael Tarleton, who took a lead role in working with stakeholders to craft the plan.

The customer support program is scheduled to go into effect from June 2009 to June 2010. The Port of Seattle said its incentive package similar to what the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach recently offered their terminal operators.

CSAV announces $750 mil refinancing program

Chilean shipping group CSAV announced it was working on $710 million worth of refinancing in a capitalization plan where the company said it had approached shareholders for an equity increase of $220 million, and shipowners and related financiers to take a $400 million equity base. The shipping group said it was also meeting with shipyards to renegotiate terms on its new-build program.

The company said it “is confident that as part of the overall restructuring process, agreements will be made with the shipyards as well in due time. With such measures in place, CSAV will be in a very strong position to not only overcome the current external pressures but to recover its financial strength. In addition and most importantly, CSAV will consolidate itself as a world-class commercial partner to its clients and vendors.”

Walgreens opens $175 mil distribution facility in Connecticut

Drugstore chain Walgreens today officially opened its $175 million distribution center in Windsor with 250 workers, a third of whom have disabilities.

The 700,000-square-foot facility -- large enough for 12 football fields -- serves Walgreens stores throughout the Northeast and will eventually employ as many as 800, officials said.

-Hartford Business Journal

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Deutsche Post CEO says company well positioned in tough times

With its focus on cost-cutting, Deutsche Post AG (DPW.XE) remains well equipped to face falling demand for mail and logistics services due to the global economic downturn, Chief Executive Frank Appel said.

Appel said he was very satisfied with the progress of cost saving measures and confident of saving at least EUR1 billion by 2010.

Deutsche Post, one of the world's largest express and logistics companies, has solved its "business problems" such as the sale of a stake in Deutsche Postbank AG (DPB.XE), the restructuring of its US Express business and collective agreement negotiations with unions, Appel said late Tuesday.


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French fishermen block Channel ports

French fishermen maintained a blockade of Channel ports on Wednesday, disrupting ferry traffic to Britain, to demand an increase to EU quotas on cod catches.

Fishing boats blocked the entry to the ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne as fishing union representatives traveled to Paris for talks with Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier, expected at around 7 p.m.


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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Top Story

Clean truck program in L.A./LB scores victory in U.S. District Courts

The clean trucks program at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles scored a victory yesterday when U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon issued a decision that denied the Federal Maritime Commission request for a preliminary injunction to block certain elements of the ports’ program, including the collection of a fee to finance a fleet of less-polluting replacement trucks.

“Given the protracted and public deliberative process that led to the development of the CTPs and the responsibility the [Ports] have for improving the area's public health and managing the Ports' efficient operations, the Court finds that the public interest, at this point, favors denying the FMC's motion" said Judge Leon in his opinion.

The FMC’s challenges have primarily been targeted at the Port of Los Angeles requirement for employee-only drivers, and the $35-per-TEU fee levied by both ports to help fund clean truck replacements.

The clean trucks program was launched on October 1, 2008, not allowing all 1988 and older vehicles. By 2012, all trucks entering the two ports’ terminals must have engines that meet 2007 federal emission standards, which the ports say are 80 percent cleaner than existing engines. The Port of Long Beach said more than 800 trucking companies and 15,000 drivers have registered in the program.

Port of Oakland approves up to $5 million for clean truck retrofits

The Port of Oakland commission announced it authorized $2 million of port funds towards helping truckers pay for an emissions filter (DPF – diesel particulate filter) that the port said would reduce diesel pollution and help truckers prepare for new state regulations that take effect next year. The port also approved up to an additional $3 million to reduce pollution from port trucking.

The port commission also approved funding to install 10 diesel particulate filters on port-owned vehicles with the goal of reducing diesel emissions by 85 percent.

The port cited the March 2008 Health Risk Assessment by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that the contribution of all Oakland seaport sources to West Oakland health risk from diesel pollution is approximately 16 percent of which 4 percent of the total West Oakland health risk from diesel pollution is attributed to the port’s drayage trucks. The port said the CARB report also pointed to 84 percent of the West Oakland health risk from diesel pollution is due to approximately 4 percent from Union Pacific Railyard (UP) and about 80 percent from sources unrelated to Port of Oakland or UP sources.

Study: U.S. industrial vacancy to reach over 11 percent by end of 2010

The U.S. industrial vacancy rate hopped from 8.9% at the end of 2008 to 9.35% in the first three months of 2009. Tenants, meanwhile, gave back a whopping 48 million square feet of industrial space in the first three months -- the largest negative absorption posted in one quarter since 2000, according to CoStar Group’s First Quarter 2009 Industrial Review.

And this is expected to be just the beginning. Industrial production, consumer spending and imports/exports are all down sharply. Employers have shed 5.1 million jobs since the end of 2007, including 2.1 million in first-quarter 2009 alone -- far higher job losses than the previous recession. CoStar Group's analysis projects that as a result, 100 million square feet of industrial space will be returned to the market, pushing the national vacancy rate to 11.2% by the end of next year.

-CoStar Group

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Maersk returning to Port of Seattle after 24 years

Twenty-four years after leaving Seattle for Tacoma, ocean carrier Maersk Line is returning to the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 18 this spring.

The move is a victory for the Port of Seattle in another way as well, because the carrier simultaneously will be moving the service from the Port of Los Angeles, and focusing it in Seattle.

-Puget Sound Business Journal

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Mass Maritime announces scholarship fund for Maersk captain

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy today announced a scholarship fund honoring Richard Phillips, a 1979 graduate and Vermont sea captain held hostage for days before being rescued by US Navy commandos.

Richard E. Lyall, a classmate of Phillips and a trustee of the Bourne college, started the fund with a $25,000 donation and set a goal of $100,000 to create a perpetual scholarship in Phillips's name.

-Boston Globe

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China’s economy grew 6.1 percent in Q1

China's economy grew at a slightly better-than-expected rate of 6.1% in the first quarter, buoyed by strong fixed-asset investment and firming industrial production, adding to an emerging picture of an economy that's on the mend.


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French workers lock up managers at logistics company

Workers from a logistics company detained five managers in northeastern France on Thursday, refusing to free them until sufficient progress had been made on redundancy talks, a union official said.

Around 125 employees hustled their way into a management meeting at a logistics centre owned by FM Logistic in the city of Woippy on Thursday morning in the latest example of angry French workers locking up bosses to make their demands heard.


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Friday, April 17, 2009

Top Story

New CMA CGM-Maersk service at Port of Seattle

The French shipping line CMA CGM and Denmark’s Maersk Line confirmed a joint service would arrive at the Port of Seattle in June, calling at the SSA Marine-operated Terminal 18.

The two lines’ vessel sharing agreement will deploy a total of 14 vessels at 6,500-TEU capacity each on weekly calls in Seattle, it was announced.

The new service marks the return of Maersk to the Port of Seattle after leaving 24 years ago for the Port of Tacoma.

"With the start of the Maersk Line and CMA CGM vessel sharing agreement, we are pleased to continue service to our customers and the entire Pacific Northwest through the Port of Seattle," said Al Gebhardt, senior
director of liner operations for Maersk Line in North America. "With this service, the world marketplace remains accessible to Washington and the region aboard Maersk Line vessels."

The Port of Seattle said Maersk and CMA CGM would use the dockside intermodal yard at Terminal 18 to move containers between ships and trains.

"Terminal 18 has a mile of deep water berths, the largest West Coast container terminal north of LA, as well as on-dock rail and ample capacity and daily service at neighboring intermodal yards less than a mile away," said Jon Hemingway, CEO of SSA Marine.

"The Pacific Northwest gateway is of strategic importance to CMA CGM," said Frank J. Baragona, president of CMA CGM (America) LLC.  "With weekly direct service to Seattle, we offer our customers the fastest inbound transit times from Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai, and Pusan. A Seattle call also offers greater flexibility in moving import cargo to our inland rail network, and westbound transit times for exports to Japan and the rest of Asia are also highly competitive."

Port of Miami tunnel project revived once again

Plans for a tunnel that will provide cargo trucks easier access from the Port of Miami to Interstate 95 and other highways have been revived.

On Thursday the Florida Department of Transportation agreed with demands made by Miami-Dade County officials and vowed to move ahead with the original construction deal.

-Miami Herald

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Somali teenager to be tried in New York

The Somali pirate captured during the rescue of a U.S. cargo ship captain held hostage in the Indian Ocean is expected to stand trial in federal court in New York, according to senior administration officials familiar with the investigation. That pirate went aboard a U.S. Navy vessel before Navy SEAL snipers shot and killed his three alleged cohorts who had been holding Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama hostage for approximately five days in a covered lifeboat. 

-ABC News

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DHS chief wants security and technology beefed up on southern border

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured the Columbus port of entry on Wednesday as part of a daylong trip along the U.S. border with Mexico.

In a brief stop at the small port, the former Arizona governor said beefing up security and technology at ports along the southern border is key to stopping the flow of drugs north and weapons and drug profits south.

-Tucson Citizen

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UP aims to cut fuel costs by 20 percent over 5 years

Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) said Thursday it believes it can reduce its rate of fuel consumption by as much as 20% over the next five years. The plan is designed to cut costs while appealing to an increasingly environmental-conscious public.

The nation's second-largest freight railroad company by sales aims to boost the distance it moves a gross ton on a single gallon of fuel to 1,000 miles from 830 miles by 2013. That could save the company hundreds of millions of dollars annually in fuel costs.


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UP inks deal with Oregon railroad

The Wallowa-Union Railroad Authority said Tuesday it has signed a deal with Union Pacific to store UP cars on sidings and tracks between Wallowa and Joseph.

The national railroad is shipping less freight due to the economy and needs places off the major rail corridors to store cars that are not in use.

Union Pacific will pay $59,400 a month, or $2.1 million over the three years of the lease.

-The Lagrande Observer

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