Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for April 26, - April 30, 2010:
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Top Story

NOL reports 32 percent more boxes in March

Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), the world's fourth-biggest container shipping firm, said on Monday it carried 32 percent more containers in the four weeks to April 2 from a year ago.

NOL said in a statement it carried the equivalent of 204,400 40-foot containers (FEUs) on its ships in the period, up from 155,400 a year earlier.
The average revenue from each container rose 12 percent from a year ago to $2,622, faster than the 8 percent increase in the four-week period to March 5, signalling a recovery in the shipping sector.

The improvement was due to higher shipping volumes from the Transpacific and Intra-Asia trade routes as well as an improvement in freight rates, NOL said.


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ACL to require trucker-provided chassis

Atlantic Container Line (ACL) announced it would require truckers the shipping line does business with in the U.S. to provide their own chassis.

After negotiations with its trucking community, ACL said it concluded that the trucking companies and owner operators could manage a chassis fleet more cost-efficiently than an ocean carrier can.

Additionally, ACL said it would begin to phase out its carrier-owned chassis fleet for shipper-arranged haulage shipments during 2010.

On June 1, 2010, ACL’s new chassis policy is scheduled to initially take effect in Miami, Boston and the Ohio Valley, the company said.

The new ACL policy is modeled after a system that the company said “has been successfully working in both Canada and Europe for many years.”

Once this shift in policy is fully operational in Miami, Boston and the Ohio Valley, ACL said it would gradually phase the new chassis program in to rest of the country.

Atlantic Container provides five weekly container services with direct calls at 16 ports and one weekly roll-on/roll-off service. ACL also provides roll-on/roll-off and container service from North America to West Africa and oversized service to the Mediterranean and the world. ACL is part of the Grimaldi Group of Naples, Italy.

Rickmers Q1 net profit plummeted 51 percent

Mainboard-listed shipping trust Rickmers Maritime said its first quarter distribution per unit (DPU) fell 73 per cent on-year to 0.57 US cents.

Its distributable income for the quarter was US$17.9 million, an eight per cent decline from a year ago.

Rickmers Maritime said its net profit fell 51 per cent to US$5.4 million due to higher expenses.

The lower net profit was also due to US$5.3 million of unrealized losses from two of its interest rate swaps.

-Channel NewsAsia

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Maersk to pilot "no show" export fee on trans-Pacific service

Continuing its trend of cargo tariff pilot projects, Maersk Line announced on Friday it would implement a "no show fee" of $10 per container in its TP8 trans-Pacific service to Asia out of the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland for what it termed "exempt commodities" for export, such as such as wastepaper and scrap products.

The world's largest container-shipping line said these types of commodities, which typically ship in large lots, "have been targeted in light of their historical pattern of higher percentages of no show bookings, which can range upwards of 30-40 percent any given week."

During what the shipping line stated was a "limited scope pilot, which at this time covers only a single service," Maersk Line would assess the $10 fee for each container booked within the commodity grouping "which is not tendered to the carrier for loading, or advised of a change, at least 72 hours prior to cutoff."

The carrier said that due to the large quantities of these types of cargoes booked, that it hopes the fees would help "drive necessary behavior change across what is typically the lowest value exports from North America."

Maersk Line noted its other such pilot tests underway in other global gateways, where tariffs have been set at $100 per container for no show cargo.

"It is expected that no show fees for general cargoes will likely need to settle at the higher level than what could be envisaged to impact behavior for exempt commodities in the U.S. export trades," the company said.

Cali, Columbia port plan meets save-the-whales opposition

A proposal to build a container port in a pristine bay on Colombia's coast frequented by humpback whales has raised an outcry among environmentalists who say the project would put the giant mammals at risk.

Malaga Bay is one of the whales' primary northern stops on their long migratory journey from the Antarctic to as far as Costa Rica.

But the bay is also appealing for business interests in nearby Cali, a bustling city known for sugar, coffee and, more recently, ethanol. A newly formed consortium has proposed building a deep-water port in Malaga Bay for bulk cargo and so-called post-Panamax ships capable of carrying 10,000 or more containers. Cali would benefit because cargo would have to pass through the city.

-L.A. Times

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Environmental opposition to Exxon’s Idaho-Canada shipping route

A plan by Exxon Mobil Corp. to transport big and heavy pieces of refinery and mining equipment along U.S. Highway 12 through the Lochsa River canyon is generating concerns from a regional environmental group.

The oil company wants to ship the massive components starting this fall from the Port of Lewiston to Canada. The route would go along the Wild and Scenic Lochsa River canyon, over Lolo Pass and into Montana before reaching its destination, the Kearl Oil Sands fields in northeastern Alberta.

Jim Hepburn, who founded the Lochsa River Conservancy this year, has been collecting signatures in hopes of halting the shipments. He is concerned about the potential impact on a protected river corridor and its population of endangered salmon, steelhead and trout.

Several shipping alternatives along the Pacific Coast were considered by the company before opting to ship the equipment up the Columbia and Snake rivers by barge, then by truck to the oil sand fields.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top Story

Fifteen thousand fake Nikes seized during Operation Spring Cleaning

Federal authorities in New Jersey say they seized 15,000 pairs of fake Nike shoes at Port Elizabeth as part of a nationwide sweep of counterfeit products.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced the seizure today as part of World Intellectual Property Rights Day.

They say more than 700,000 fake items were found in 30 cities during Operation Spring Cleaning. The counterfeit goods included medicines.

The value of the seized items was estimated at $44 million. Included in the haul: 24,000 counterfeit watches in Philadelphia. Some 5,000 of them were destroyed today.

ICE spokesman Harold Ort said the Nike sneakers found in two shipping containers in New Jersey were worth $1 million.

-Star Ledger (New Jersey)

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UPS, KC Southern report stronger Q1 earnings

United Parcel Service, the world's largest package delivery service, reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, as did Kansas City Southern Railway Co., which said an upswing in manufacturing helped spur a 15 percent increase in volume.

Earnings at UPS rose 33 percent to $533 million, or 53 cents per share from a year earlier, in line with the company's April 14 preannouncement.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $11.7 billion amid an 18 percent volume jump in the international package segment.

Revenue at the Kansas City, Missouri-based railroad rose 26 percent to $436.3 million, beating analysts' expectations of $412.4 million.


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South Korean auto parts manufacturer launches logistics hub in Egypt

South Korea's top auto-parts maker, Hyundai Mobis Co., said Tuesday that it has launched a logistics center in Egypt, becoming the first South Korean company to do so in the African nation.

According to Hyundai Mobis, the new logistics center will be built in the city of Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, with investments worth 20 million U.S. dollars, as it will be responsible for manufacturing and distributing more than 70,000 auto-parts in the North African region.


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Major Australian logistics firm might invest close to $1 bill on acquisitions

Toll Holdings Ltd., the largest Asia-Pacific logistics company, is able to spend A$1 billion ($925 million) on acquisitions to boost its global freight- forwarding operations, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.

Toll, founded in 1888 as a coal-hauling horse-and-cart business, will likely make acquisitions in the next 12 months, Macquarie said. The Melbourne-based company has spent more than $6 billion in the past decade expanding its network in countries including China, Singapore and South Africa.


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Hanjin Long Beach delivered; will consume less fuel

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping announced it tok delivery of the 8,600-TEU Hanjin Long Beach from Hyundai SamHo Heavy Industries.

The containership is the first in a series of five such vessels, and is to be deployed into Hanjin NE-4 (Asia North Europe) service, departing April 29 from Qingdao, the company said.

Hanjin’s new class of 8,600-TEU vessel is equipped an engine system that will use less fuel than other ships in its class, the company said.

Hanjin said the rest of the 8,600-TEU ships are scheduled for delivery after 2011.

Russian company markets cruise missile launch from 40-foot container

Defense experts are warning of a new danger of ballistic weapons proliferation after a Russian company started marketing a cruise missile that can be launched from a shipping container.

It is feared that the covert Club-K missile attack system could prove "game-changing" in fighting wars with small countries, which would gain a remote capacity to mount multiple missiles on boats, trucks or railways.

Iran and Venezuela have already shown an interest in the Club-K Container Missile System which could allow them to carry out pre-emptive strikes from behind an enemy's missile defenses.

Experts say the system is designed to be concealed as a standard 40ft shipping container that cannot be identified until it is activated.

-Telegraph U.K.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Top Story

Panama Canal tolls to stay same in 2010

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced it would not adjust tolls until January 2011.

The ACP’s Administrator and CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta said the authority analyzed various alternatives amid its communications with the shipping industry over several months “to ensure that the suggested price structure safeguards the competitiveness.”

The ACP said the toll proposal modifies the pricing structure for shipping operators in the container, dry bulk, liquid bulk, vehicle carrier, reefer, passenger, general cargo, and other segments.

For the container segment, the ACP proposed a change in the way tolls are calculated, with a slight price adjustment to the capacity charge, and an additional new charge that would only apply to the number of loaded containers aboard the vessel at the time of transit.

In June 2009, the ACP instigated temporary measures to help mitigate the impacts of the economic crisis. Those measures were extende through April 30, 2010.

Citing the sluggish economic recovery, the ACP said it has decided not to proceed with a tolls adjustment until January 2011.

The authority said it has helped cut canal transit time from 31.6 hours in 2008 to 23.1 hours in 2009, to the current average of 20 hours.

“These improvements have resulted in faster service and, in some cases have reduced the need for transit reservations providing canal users substantial savings,” the ACP said in a statement.

The Panama Canal expansion project, approved through a national referendum, continues to move forward – on time and within budget – with the construction of a third set of locks at a cost of $5.25 billion.

The Panama Canal is scheduled for expansion that will double the waterway’s capacity by 2014.

The ACP´s toll structure can be found here:

Report: Global shipping trade will grow 8.5 percent in 2010

World shipping trade will rebound "from a deep dive during the global economic crisis" to grow 8.5% in 2010, according to the recent First Quarter Trends in World Economy and Trade report from IHS Global Insight's World Trade Service.

Export trade from Europe to Asia grew in 2009 and is expected to grow in 2010, with transpacific eastbound trade, from Asia to North America, forecast to climb 10% in 2010, said the report, which was released Tuesday. And "solid growth" is forecast for westbound trade after two years of decline.

Major container shipping operators recorded huge losses in 2009 and the number of container ships stood at 9.1% of the container fleet on March 1 of this year, the lowest level since July 2009, the report said.


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Trucking index hit highest level in March since November of ‘08

The trucking industry's main trade group said Tuesday a key index measuring U.S. trucking shipments rose by 0.4 percent in March.

The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index decreased 0.3 percent in February. That is a revised figure.

The latest improvement put the index at its highest level since November 2008.

Compared with March 2009, seasonally adjusted tonnage jumped 7.5 percent, which was the fourth consecutive year-over-year gain and the largest increase since January 2005, the trucking group said.

The group's chief economist said he is getting more optimistic about the motor carrier industry's recovery.


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Study: Industrial property market in L.A. faring better than most of U.S.

Industrial property landlords are suffering in most of the country – but not so much in Los Angeles, a real estate brokerage said Tuesday.

Vacancy in the U.S. increased for a 10th consecutive quarter to 10.9% in the first three months of this year, Grubb & Ellis said. Asking rents were down almost 7% from a year ago. With the economy finally starting to improve a bit, the pace of deterioration in the industrial real estate market is easing, "but not quickly," said the brokerage in a report.

In Los Angeles, vacancy rose a smidgen from a year ago to a mere 3.4% in the first quarter, though that was a six-year high. Asking rents have been coming down for the most part since 2008.

-L.A. Times

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Largest European cargo airline returns to Alaska

Cargolux Airlines, the largest of all the cargo airlines in Europe and ninth-largest worldwide, recently completed its first scheduled stopover in Alaska after a five-year absence.

The B747 freighter touched down at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 12:35 p.m. on April 15, en route to Chicago from Hong Kong and later Luxembourg.

"This flight represents one of two new weekly, scheduled refueling stops in Alaska," airport manager, John Parrott said. "We are pleased that Cargolux has returned to the Alaska market and hope that this is the beginning of an upswing in the economics of the air cargo business."

Parrott said he also was seeing a rise in the demand for fuel from the international cargo airlines and "we hope to see even more traffic increases as the year progresses."

-Juneau Empire

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top Story

Japan’s top three shipping groups post Q1 losses

Japan’s top three shipping lines posted drops in profits and revenue for their respective first quarters.

The Asian nation’s biggest shipping group, NYK, reported a 30 percent drop in revenue to $18.2 billion year on year - a $187.5 million loss over last year's $596.4 million profit.

The number two Japanese liner, "K" Line, showed a drop in revenue of 32 percent, down to $8.9 billion - a net loss of $729.7 million over its $344 million profit from the previous year.

Rounding out the top three was MOL, which was still in the black despite a 90 percent plummet in profit to $8.2 million, with a 27.8 percent drop in revenue to $11.1 billion.

New chief of MOL America takes over in late June

Japan’s third largest shipping group, MOL, announced the appointment of Tsuyoshi Yoshida as chairman, president, and CEO, of MOL (America) Inc. effective June 22, 2010.

Yoshida is currently the executive vice president of MOL (America) Inc., and joined Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. in April 1981.

Yoshida has nearly 30 years of experience in the container-shipping industry with MOL, including assignments in Asia, Europe, and North America.

FedEx renews with Newark airport for at least 20 more years

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says FedEx will stay at Newark Liberty International Airport for at least another 20 years, under an agreement to renew its 68-acre lease.

The Port Authority said the deal is worth a total of $352 million during its 20-year term. The agency's board is expected to approve the deal during its regular monthly meeting in Manhattan this afternoon. Under the deal, FedEx also promised to spend another $30 million on improvements to the site within the next 15 years.

-New Jersey Star-Ledger

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Navios Q1 profit ahead of estimates

Dry cargo vessel operator Navios Maritime Partners L.P. reported quarterly profit that came in ahead of analysts' estimates, helped by better charter rates for its fleet.

For the latest first quarter, net income was $12.6 million, or 39 cents a unit, compared with $9 million, or 41 cents a unit, last year.
Total revenues for the quarter rose 39 percent to $29.4 million, driven by a few vessel acquisitions last year.


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NAFTA surface trade up over 24 percent in February

Surface transportation trade between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico was 24.1 percent higher in February 2010 than in February 2009, reaching $59.5 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The 24.1 percent increase is the largest year-over-year rise on record but freight value still remained 14.3 percent less than the value in February 2008, the BTS reported.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 4.9 percent in February 2010 from January 2010, the report said.

Surface transport trade between the U.S and Canada totaled $36.3 billion in February, up 21.7 percent compared to February 2009, while U.S.–Mexico surface transportation trade totaled $23.2 billion in February, up 28.0 percent compared to February 2009, the BTS report said.

In February, 87.6 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved on land, according to the report.

Ports America names new CPO

Ports America Group announced the appointment of Claus Michael Svendsen as chief process officer.

The largest U.S. terminal operator said Svendsen’s new position will be effective May 1, and that he will report directly to the new president and CEO, Michael Hassing.

Svendsen will be responsible “for activities and actions currently under the program office as well as defining, structuring, and further optimizing Ports America’s processes,” the company said in a statement.

Svendsen has more than 10 years of experience in the maritime industry. He has held various functional, operational, organizational restructuring and commercial leadership roles throughout Europe and Asia with Scandlines and A.P.Møller – Maersk, and most recently as Scandlines CPO and group senior vice president.

New Orleans port monitors potential oil spill impacts on the Mississippi

The Port of New Orleans, handling as many as 2,000 vessels a year, said it’s “closely monitoring” the BP Plc oil spill for potential risks to shipping along the Mississippi River.

The main deepwater channel from the Gulf of Mexico to the river, called the Southwest Pass, remains open, according to an April 28 statement on the port’s Web site. The U.S. Coast Guard said today the river is still open.

A damaged BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is leaking as many as 5,000 barrels of crude a day, five times more than previously estimated. The leak would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in about three days.

The oil may reach land for the first time tomorrow in Louisiana, bringing tar balls and mousse-like hunks of emulsified oil later, Charlie Henry, the U.S. government’s lead forecaster for the spill, said yesterday.

U.S. grain exports are shipped via the Mississippi and tankers take oil to and from refineries next to the river.


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Friday, April 30, 2010

Top Story

Port leaders testify on export challenges

Port leader members of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) testified Thursday at a U.S. Senate Finance subcommittee hearing on international trade, customs and global competitiveness, sharing their views on the constraints faced by seaports in achieving President Obama’s goal of doubling exports over the next five years.

The port leaders expounded on equipment shortages, export promotion, tax policies and national infrastructure issues.

Phil Lutes, the deputy-managing director for the Port of Seattle's seaport Division, said the limiting factors in the larger supply chain currently inhibit U.S. exports from reaching overseas markets. "Even with an economic rebound, U.S. ports in general, and West Coast container ports in particular, have ample capacity for both imports and exports," he said.

"The real issues are enhancing efficient infrastructure throughout our trade corridors, dealing with the current [container] equipment shortage, general promotion of our products abroad and antiquated tax policies that discriminate against certain ports and cargoes," Lutes said.

The Port of Portland, Ore.’s Executive Director Bill Wyatt said in order to achieve the national export goal, there would need to be improvements to U.S. highways, bridges, railroads, vessel navigation and marine terminal infrastructure, and “reforming policies that currently under-prioritize funding and tax incentives for enhancing freight infrastructure.”

Larry Paulson, executive director for the Port of Vancouver USA, said the nation's current exports, and the future of export growth is reliant on rail development and freight transportation funding, which should fall under a national strategic freight policy.

Port of Coos Bay, Ore. Executive Director Jeff Bishop suggested cargo gateway capacity should be added in rural areas.

"If the U.S. is to meet trade demands and address goals like the Obama Administration's initiative to double exports in the next five years, there must be significant federal investments in freight transportation infrastructure, including seaports and the land- and water-side connections to America's ports," said Kurt Nagle, president of the AAPA.

Analysts: Surging freight stocks ahead of bigger recovery

Truckers, railroads and other transportation companies are seeing a pickup in demand for the first time in four years, a strong vote for the economic recovery.

"We're ending a four-year recession in the freight market, thanks to a repaired credit market and a little help from the consumer," said Art Hatfield, senior transportation analyst at Morgan Keegan. "I think it's a leading indicator for the economic recovery."

Freight demand tends to falter six to 12 months ahead of a broader recession and pick up six to 12 months before a bigger recovery, he said. Freight demand turned down in mid-2006, over a year ahead of the recession, which officially began in December 2007.

Hatfield said the pickup in demand reflects the improvement in consumer sentiment and also the recent slowdown in the pace of job losses.

"The stocks have done extremely well," Hatfield said. "Pricing and earnings for the sector should start to pick up later in the year and that's probably when the stocks will make another move up."

-CNN Money

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Sea Star adds weekly service out of Philadelphia

Sea Star Line, LLC has announced it has added a service between the Port of Philadelphia and San Juan, Puerto Rico, with weekly calls at the Tioga Marine Terminal each Friday. The service began April 23.

This shipping line said the new service would replace the current agreement with Horizon Lines, LLC, however cargo will still be accepted at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Port of Mobile only handling ships scrubbed of oil

The Port of Mobile says any ships coming through the gulf oil slick will have to be cleaned up before entering the area.

Judy Adams of the Alabama State Port Authority says any ship that goes through the slick has to be stopped, boarded, inspected and cleaned before entering. But so far, ships are adjusting their routes to avoid the slick, which is well south of Alabama’s coast and bearing down on Louisiana.

The Port of Mobile hasn’t had any problems yet related to the spill.

-AP/Boston Herald

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Largest supertanker operator foresees tighter regs

A BP Plc well leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico may trigger tighter regulation of supertankers shipping crude to the U.S., said Frontline Ltd., the largest operator of the vessels.

Rules may be tightened to ban single-hull tankers, forcing refineries to charter double-hull carriers that reduce the spill risk, said Jens Martin Jensen, chief executive officer of Frontline’s management unit.

Oil is escaping from the well at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day, five times faster than previously estimated, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. That could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in three days and would exceed the 1989 spill caused the Exxon Valdez in Alaska by the third week of June.

Oil tankers with single hulls are being phased out this year under an International Maritime Organization ban that takes full effect in 2015.

Eleven percent of the global fleet of 522 supertankers, designed to haul 2 million-barrel cargoes, are fitted with single hulls, according to Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay.


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