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Today's Cargo News Archives
Summary for April 16 - April 20, 2007:

LA, Long Beach ports propose Clean Trucks Program

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles Apr 12 held the inaugural meeting of a stakeholder group to gather input on a proposed Clean Trucks Program that will reduce air pollution from harbor trucks by more than 80% within five years.

The Clean Trucks Program is outlined in the two ports’ Clean Air Action Plan.

The program under development by the port staffs would allow only port-licensed concessionaires, operating “clean trucks,” to enter port terminals without having to pay a new truck impact gate fee.

“Diesel-powered harbor trucks are a major source of air pollution that absolutely must be cleaned up,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission president James C. Hankla.

Los Angeles Harbor Commission President S. David Freeman added, “I’m very pleased that both ports are moving forward to meet with our stakeholder representatives and advance a critical initiative that tackles the largest and most challenging component of our Clean Air Action Plan.

A plan is expected to be presented to the harbor commissions of both ports before July.

DHS/DOE supply chain security testing underway

The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Dept. of Energy (DOE) Apr 13 said operational testing is underway in Honduras and Pakistan to strengthen global supply chain security by scanning shipping containers for nuclear or radiological materials before they are allowed to depart for the United States.

“Data gathered from overseas scanning of US-bound containers will be transmitted in near real-time to US Customs and Border Protection Officers working in overseas ports and to the National Targeting Center,” said DHS.

The tests represent the initial phase of the Secure Freight Initiative, announced Dec 7, 2006, which involves the deployment of nuclear detection devices to six foreign ports.

Secure Freight Initiative testing in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, started on Apr 2, while tests in Port Qasim, Pakistan, the first port to participate in the Secure Freight Initiative, began in March.

Four other Secure Freight Initiative ports are expected to initiate tests this year: Southampton (UK), Salalah (Oman), the Port of Singapore (Singapore), and Busan’s Gamman Terminal (South Korea).

MOL to add 60 vessels

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) Apr 13 announced plans to increase its bulkship fleet by 60 vessels. The company said it expected to complete the expansion by 1H 2012.

Ocean cargo trade in dry bulk cargo is expected to grow about 3% annually, the company said, adding that cargo will have to be transported longer distances as trade diversifies.

MOL also expects a rapid expansion of domestic coastal transport in China and India, forecasting “a 15% growth every year, particularly in coal and grain.”

Growth strategies in the company’s midterm management plan call for a concentration of management resources on these growing fields in the ocean shipping industry, MOL said.

It expects a firm supply and demand situation for bulk carriers, making this fleet expansion favorable.

MOL said it wants to rapidly accelerate the expansion while at the same time eliminating aging vessels.

MOL’s expansion will include 20 ships of Small Handy Type (24,000–37,000DWT); 35 ships of Handy Max Type (50,000–58,000DWT); and five ships of Panamax Type (76,000–82,000DTW).

OOCL launches China-India express

Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd. Apr 16 announced the launch of a new China-India Express Service (CIX), to be jointly operated with APL, with the first sailing expected on May 13 from Xingang.

OOCL said the new service will enhance the existing NSS feeder service, and that it will contribute two of the five 2,000-2,500-TEU vessels on the service.

The new CIX service, which incorporates a Singapore-Nhava Sheva feeder service for express transport, has been provided as a response to the robust growth and customer demand in container traffic between China and India, said OOCL.

The service covers three major North China Ports — Xingang, Dalian, and Qingdao — and offers dedicated service with competitive transit time from North and South China to Southeast Asia and India.

The CIX offers an extensive port rotation, with a service schedule calling at Xingang (Sun/Mon), Dalian (Tue/Tue), Qingdao (Thu/Thu), Hong Kong (Sun/Sun), Shekou (Mon/Mon), Singapore (Fri/Sat), Colombo (Tue/Wed), Nhava Sheva (Sat/Sun), Singapore (Sat/Sun), Hong Kong (Wed/Thu), and back to Xingang (Sun/Mon) for a 35-day round trip.

Matson forms new subsidiary

Matson Integrated Logistics (MIL) Apr 13 said it is forming a subsidiary, Matson Global Distribution Services (Matson Global), to expand its operations to include warehousing and distribution, freight forwarding, and NVOCC services.

“Matson Global complements our existing product offering — from ocean transit to inland distribution — and enhances our ability to serve our growing domestic base while opening new markets in Asia,” said MIL president Bob Papworth.

“With its formation, we become a true third-party logistics player,” he said, adding that “We will now manage the entire supply chain process for our customers, from warehousing to distribution.”

Brian Howver will head the new subsidiary as vice president and managing director, with his initial focus on building Matson Global’s US West Coast warehousing presence.

Matson, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (NASDAQ: ALEX), provides ocean transportation, intermodal, and logistics services.

NYK wins green award

NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Line Apr 13 was the first recipient of a newly established award for environmental preservation at the 16th annual Earth Environment Awards ceremony held in Tokyo.

NYK won the the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Award for its efforts toward establishing maritime pollution prevention measures and environmental protection strategies on a global scale.

The Earth Environment Awards are given to corporations, local governments, universities, colleges, and citizens’ groups that make signification contributions to environmental preservation activities.

NYK will be honored this year for global activities that have focused on environmental protection and maritime pollution-prevention measures, particularly NYK’s invention of an original system to fundamentally and dramatically reduce maritime pollutants generated in engine rooms during shipping operations.

NYK has adopted the system as a standard for company ships and has succeeded in effectively reducing the disposal of treated bilge and subsequently preventing maritime pollution.

US facing intermodal crisis, says Horizon CEO

Short sea shipping is a necessary solution to the impending intermodal congestion crisis facing the United States, said Chuck Raymond, chairman, president, and CEO of Horizon Lines Inc. (NYSE:HRZ).

Container imports are expected to double to more than 30mn TEUs next decade, Raymond said. “It is no longer a question of if our nation’s transport infrastructure will start to fail, but when. Short sea is not the only answer but an answer we must explore now,” he added.

Horizon Lines is adding new ships to its fleet this year, according to Horizon, freeing up vessels that could be used as early as 2008 to launch short sea shipping services on the East and Gulf Coasts.

Lawmakers and agencies must address regulatory issues this year to allow that to happen, however, including immediate adjustments to the Harbor Maintenance Tax and, in the long term, changes to Title XI and Capital Construction Fund (CCF) rules, according to Horizon.

Tax incentive to expand rail infrastructure

Bipartisan legislation harnessing the private sector to combat congestion across the nation’s increasingly clogged transportation network was introduced Apr 17 in the US Senate by Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).

The Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act (S.1125) aims to expand the freight rail infrastructure to meet the 67% spike in freight traffic predicted by the Dept. of Transportation by the year 2020.

The proposal calls for a 25% tax incentive for capital expenditures by any business investing in new track, intermodal facilities, rail yards, locomotives, or other rail infrastructure expansion projects.

Railroads, ports, shippers, trucking companies, and other transportation businesses would be eligible to receive the tax credit.

“We thank Senators Lott and Conrad for their foresight and leadership. This legislation is good news for the nation’s economy and for the future of transportation,” said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Horizon said the legislation has the backing of key businesses, business organizations, and trade associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, the American Association of Port Authorities, and the Waterfront Coalition.

Old Dominion buys Priority Freight Lines

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. (NASDAQ:ODFL) Apr 17 announced a definitive agreement to purchase selected assets of Priority Freight Lines, headquartered in Sumner, WA.

Priority Freight Lines produced revenues of approximately $17mn for the year ended Dec 31, 2006, through its network of eight owned and leased service centers located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah, said Old Dominion.

Old Dominion plans to operate three of these service centers — located in Yakima and Pasco, WA, and Medford, OR — and consolidate the remainder of Priority’s operations with its existing network of 184 service centers. Old Dominion expects to complete the transaction by the end of April 2007.

Earl E. Congdon, chairman and CEO of Old Dominion, remarked that Priority Freight Lines is a “well-run company” with a strong franchise in its four-state market.

“With this acquisition,” Congdon said, “we will launch full-state coverage in Washington, our 38th state, and enhance our direct coverage in Oregon. This transaction is in keeping with our focus of expanding and improving our multi-regional and inter-regional network.”

Brownie points for green logistics

The Japanese government plans to introduce an "eco-point" system by the end of 2007 to encourage companies to make their logistics services more environmentally friendly.

Designed as part of ongoing efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the program will be overseen by the Green Logistics Partnership Conference, an organization established by trade groups and government ministries.

Transport companies will receive eco-points when, for example, they use trains or ships instead of trucks, or make deliveries at non-peak hours to avoid heavy traffic.

The government is considering introducing a system in which transport firms that have accumulated a certain amount of points receive preference in bids for state projects or in being chosen for state subsidies.

Consumers will also be eligible for points. For example, points will be awarded to those who visit a transport company's office to collect a parcel after missing the original delivery.

In Japan, the logistics sector is responsible for about 10% of all CO2 emissions produced in the country. Passenger cars and other vehicles generated 262 million tons of the heat-trapping gas in fiscal 2004.

E-manifest required for CA, NM, TX

Truck carriers entering the US through all land border ports of entry in California, New Mexico, and Texas will be required to transmit advance electronic truck cargo information (e-manifest) through US Customs and Border Protection’s truck manifest system.

“The implementation of a mandatory e-manifest policy is just one of many steps CBP is taking to fulfill its twin goals of ensuring border security and facilitating legitimate trade,” said Lou Samenfink, executive director for CBP’s Cargo Systems Program Office.

“With advance access to truck cargo information, CBP officers are able to pre-screen trucks and shipments, and dedicate more time to inspecting suspicious cargo without delaying the border crossings of legitimate carriers,” Samenfink said.

Beginning April 19, CBP will exercise enforcement discretion in the form of informed compliance notices to carriers who arrive without submitting or attempting to submit an e-manifest.

This enforcement discretion will last for at least 60 days and will be followed by enforcement action against carriers who fail to participate.

AIIS holds steel conference in Philly

The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) will hold its Annual Spring Logistics and Customs Conference on May 16-17 at the Philadelphia Hyatt at Penn's Landing.

The May 17 session of the conference will see discussion of local port, logistics and customs issues of importance to importers and exporters of steel, as well as others connected with the steel importing business.

Speakers include William Edwards, ADS Logistics; Peter Svensson, Clipper Steel Services; Arnold Nesbitt, Union Pacific; Mark Stoppel, Memco Barge; Jack Mallough, Barthco Consulting, Divison of Ozburn-Hessey Logistics; and Uwe Schulz, Ports of the Delaware River Marine Trade Association.

Also speaking are Martin Mascuilli, International Longshoreman’s Association; Dennis Rochford, Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay; Steven W. Baker, AIIS Customs Committee; Mariam Borja, Western Fumigation; Susan Mark, US Customs Service; and Scott Wolney, Avalon Risk Management.

Additional speakers include Mary Jo Muoio, Barthco Consulting, Division of Ozburn-Hessey; Larry Hanson, US Customs Service; Lisa Himber, Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, Miriam Bishop, Willkie Farr & Gallaher LLP; and John Jurgutis, Customs and Border Patrol.

The conference agenda includes a reception at the Franklin Institute on the evening of May 16 with a private viewing of the King Tut Sarcophagus and other ancient relics.

Allen Group negotiates BNSF purchase

The Allen Group, a San Diego–based developer of logistics parks and commercial properties, Apr 18 announced an agreement with BNSF Railway (BNSF) for rights to purchase land within the Dallas Logistics Hub, a 6,000-acre master-planned logistics park.

“We are pleased to finalize this agreement providing BNSF Railway the opportunity to possibly extend its intermodal network with a facility at the Dallas Logistics Hub,” said Edward Romanov, president and CEO of The Allen Group.

“If BNSF uses its option and constructs an intermodal facility here, it would be the first logistics park in North America to house two intermodal facilities operated by the two largest US freight rail carriers,” he added.

Under the terms of the agreement, BNSF has the option to purchase 387-530 acres of land within the park.

The site under consideration fronts 8,000 ft of BNSF track in the city of Dallas and represents a portion of the 2.5 miles of BNSF track frontage located within the Dallas Logistics Hub.

Indamex adds Savannah to all-water route

CMA CGM, APL and Hapag-Lloyd will extend their Indian subcontinent service, the Indamex (India-America Express Service), further along the US East Coast to Savannah, GA.

The weekly express service originating in Colombo, Sri Lanka will make its first call May 11 at Savannah, making it the fourth US port of call for the Indamex service after New York, Norfolk and Charleston.

“This service enhancement is a reflection of the growing trade via the Suez route of high-value products destined to the US East Coast. Our customers are asking for greater breadth of coverage through the Suez, and we’re responding,” the lines said.

In addition to Savannah, the joint operators of the service announced that the Indamex will make regularly scheduled stops at Damietta, Egypt on its voyage to the US through the Suez Canal.

CMA CGM, APL and Hapag-Lloyd operate seven vessels in the Indamex service, with nominal capacity ranging from 3,800-4,500 TEUs. The ships will call at the following ports: Colombo, Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Damietta, New York, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Port Said and Colombo.

Panalpina selects new chairman

The Board of Directors of global freight transport and logistics group Panalpina Apr 19 announced the appointment of its member Rudolf W. Hug as its new Chairman Designate, effective after the May 15 annual general meeting.

Hug will succeed Chairman Gerhard Fischer, who will retire after 42 years with Panalpina, which specializes in intercontinental air freight and ocean freight shipments along with associated supply chain management solutions.

“Rudolf W. Hug possesses extensive management skills and experience and is ideally positioned to act as the new chairman,” said Chairman Gerhard Fischer.

Hug joined the Board of Directors in 2005 when the company went public and has been a member of its Audit Committee since then.

Since 1998, Hug has been active as an independent management consultant.

From 1987 until 1997, he ran the international division and served on the executive board of Credit Suisse and Credit Suisse First Boston.

From 1977 to 1997, Hug worked in several positions for Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (today Credit Suisse).