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Today's Cargo News Archives
Summary for May 14 - May 18, 2007:

APL launches ground-breaking Suez service

Global container transportation company APL May 11 announced an industry-first: an all-water service connecting South East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent with the US East Coast via the Suez Canal.

Beginning in July, the weekly Suez Express (SZX) will deploy eight vessels of between 4,000 and 4,500 TEUs. APL will provide five ships, and its New World Alliance partners Hyundai Merchant Marine and Mitsui OSK Lines will provide the other three vessels.

Transit times will include Singapore to New York, 21 days; Singapore to Charleston, 24 days; and Singapore to Savannah, 25 days. The SZX port rotation will be Singapore, Colombo, New York, Charleston, Savannah, Norfolk, Jebel Ali, Port Kelang, Singapore.

APL CEO Ron Widdows said commented, “Port and rail congestion in North America are very real issues for our customers. Our solution is the SZX, which offers an entirely new transportation solution that complements our other Suez and Transpacific services.”

APL also recently announced the launch of the new all-water ESX service between Asia and the US East Coast via the Panama Canal.

LA Port announces Westway termination

The Port of Los Angeles announced May 10 it has reached a tentative agreement to terminate, under threat of condemnation, liquid bulk operator Westway Terminal Co. Inc.’s lease at Berths 69-71.

The lease was set to expire on its own in 2025. The two entities are working together to ensure that Westway’s departure occurs in an efficient and expeditious manner, according to the Port of Los Angeles.

A liquid bulk terminal has existed in this location along the port’s Main Channel for decades, said the port. Westway currently has 136 storage tanks on 12.11 acres of land, storing such commodities as solvents, vegetable oils, lubricant base, aviation gasoline, and acids.

Upon completion, the Port/Westway agreement must be approved by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council.

Waterson Terminal Services announced

\North Smithfield (RI)-based Waterson Stevedoring Inc., a longtime provider of bulk-cargo stevedore services at the Port of Providence, RI, has merged with

terminal manager Public Asset Management Inc. to form Waterson Terminal Services LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This is huge added value for our customers,” said WTC spokesman Jay Baird, formerly of Public Asset Management. “We’ll be able to offer a lot more flexibility

and efficiencies, and that’s the name of the game.”

The new company, based at 35 Terminal Road in Providence, will be responsible for all terminal operations, lease administration, and stevedoring at the port.

“We will now have the capabilities to offer one, all-inclusive service to our customers, resulting in more efficient cargo throughput,” said Waterson, who has more

than 30 years experience in cargo handling. He is to serve as the company’s chief operating officer, WTS said, and former Public Asset Management executive Ray

Meador as its chief financial officer.

The two companies had been working closely together since 2000, Baird said, “and the relationship between Meador and Waterson goes back before that.”

COSCO to inaugurate Port of Prince Rupert

CN (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI) May 14 announced it has signed a contract with COSCO Container Lines Americas Inc., under which COSCO will become the first steamship company to route Asian freight through the new Port of Prince Rupert container terminal and over CN’s North American rail network.

James M. Foote, CN’s executive vice-president, sales and marketing, said, “CN is delighted to have COSCO as its first customer to call on the Prince Rupert container terminal, a new North American gateway for Asian trade.”

COSCO will begin service via the Port of Prince Rupert and CN for container shipments between Asia and the North American markets starting in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Phase 1 of the Prince Rupert terminal project will have initial throughput capacity of 500,000 TEUs annually and is part of a broader plan to build a facility capable of handling 2mn TEUs per year.

“Our partnership with COSCO and Prince Rupert container terminal operator Maher Terminals of Canada Corp. is clear recognition of the competitive advantages of the new port facility and CN’s rail network reach and superior service offering,” added Foote.

DHS awards $202mn for security

The US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) May 10 announced final awards totaling $445mn in grant programs to strengthen the ability of ports, transit, and intercity bus systems to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

DHS said the awards are part of the FY2007 Infrastructure Protection Program (IPP), which has provided nearly $2 billion in grants to strengthen critical infrastructure facilities and transportation systems.

“These grants will help to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from threats and hazards that could cause major loss of life, economic impact, and disruption of services,” said Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson. “These risk-based investments will increase security for vital assets such as ports, mass transit systems, long-distance bus carriers, chemical facilities, and nuclear power plants.”

Funding was directly allocated in January as part of the IPP to Tier I Transit grants, the Buffer Zone Protection Program, and the Trucking Security Program. Today’s announcement outlines the final competitively bid portions of these grants, which includes Port Security grants, Tier II Transit Security grants, and Intercity Bus Security grants.

DHS chooses Port of Tacoma for tests

The US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) May 11 announced it has selected the Port of Tacoma (WA) as the test site for a new radiation-detection program.

DHS will establish a Rail Test Center (RTC) at the port and will identify and evaluate radiological and nuclear detection solutions for intermodal rail port facilities that can be used across the country.

“The deployment of radiation portal monitors can be much more challenging at seaports where cargo containers depart the port by rail,” said Vayl Oxford, director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO).

“DNDO is particularly interested in testing the operational needs as well as evaluating innovative technical solutions to fit the unique radiological and nuclear detection requirements of intermodal terminals,” said Oxford.

Projects being considered for further evaluation at the RTC include scanning cargo on the dock, during transport to the rail yard, when entering the rail yard, in the container storage stack, during train assembly, and as the train leaves the port.

Charleston wins NWA contract

The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) May 15 announced it has signed a new four-year agreement with the New World Alliance (NWA).

The deal will secure current business and add a weekly all-water service through the Suez Canal connecting Charleston to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

The NWA includes major global carriers American President Lines (APL), Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., and Mitsui OSK Lines.

The Suez Express (SZX) service will deploy eight vessels capable of carrying 4,000-4,500 TEUs.

The SZX service, beginning in July, will include calls in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Kelang, Malaysia; and Singapore.

“This service touches two critical cargo hubs for customers of the Port of Charleston,” said Fred Stribling, vice president of marketing and sales for the SCSPA.

“Singapore is a tremendous transshipment hub for Indonesia and all of Southeast Asia, and Colombo draws cargo from the Indian subcontinent.”

“Charleston is a highly productive port,” said George Hearn, vice president, APL Southern region. “The channels are deep, so we don’t have any tidal restrictions.

Overall, APL ships can get in and out very quickly.”

Houston, Galveston eye Pelican Island

The Port of Houston Authority and the Port of Galveston May 11 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore development and use of property on Pelican Island as a future container-handling facility.

The MOU calls for both ports to identify a joint action-planning team to create a Master Development Plan for a container-handling facility on the island.

The plan may address, among other things, financial and operational matters, acquisition of property, facility access, land use requirements, and environmental impact, said the ports.

“With the expansion of the Panama Canal, the West Gulf region is in prime position to take advantage of the future growth in the maritime industry,” stated Benny Holland, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Port of Galveston.

“The port authority looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Port of Galveston … [N]ow that we have our Bayport Container facility open and running, it’s prudent for us to start the planning for Pelican Island,” said Jim Edmonds, chairman of the Port of Houston Authority Commission.

Seattle honors Tacoma Port Commissioner

Port of Tacoma Commissioner Ted Bottiger is this year’s Seattle Propeller Club’s Elected Official of the Year Award recipient.

Bottinger was honored May 9 at the annual Seattle Maritime Festival’s Maritime Luncheon, co-sponsored by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Seattle Propeller Club.

Each year, the Seattle Propeller Club recognizes “a local elected official whose outstanding work or service has made a significant contribution to maritime commerce in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Seattle Propeller Club is a non-profit organization that promotes maritime commerce in the Puget Sound region and supports the American Merchant Marine.

Bottiger has served as Tacoma’s Port Commissioner for 12 years and has distinguished himself as a leader in the maritime community as a former Washington state legislator and Senate Majority Leader.

“Commissioner Bottiger is instrumental in working with Alaskan and Washington policy-makers to assure they come to appreciate the essential economic partnership between our two states,” said Dan Kovacich, president of the Seattle Propeller Club.

“Alaska’s economic significance to the Puget Sound includes over $4 billion in earnings impact and over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, he added.”

PNW, Canadian ports to reduce pollution

The ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, BC, Canada, hope to reduce particulate matter by 70% from ships at berth and 30% from cargo-handling equipment by the year 2010, according to the Pacific Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy announced May 16.

The strategy proposes performance goals aimed at reducing diesel emissions and greenhouse gases from port-related sources and includes long-term goals for additional emissions reductions.

“Because ports are in or near major cities, protecting air quality is a top public health priority,” said Elin Miller, EPA Northwest Regional Administrator. “Thanks to the commitment and hard work of our partners, Pacific Northwest ports are poised to become a ‘safe harbor’ of cleaner air.”

The plan released is considered a framework, but the ports will continue to work together over the summer with their customers, tenants, and other stakeholders to iron out the details, said the ports.

The plan will be submitted in the fall to the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma Commissions and to the Vancouver Port Authority Board of Directors for final approval in December.

New logistics center in Perris

First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. May 16 announced it has acquired 205 acres of land in the Inland Empire in Perris, CA, for a new logistic center.

The nation’s largest provider of diversified industrial real estate, First Industrial said it plans to build up to 3.3mn sq ft of logistics distribution space at the new “South Perris Distribution Center,” situated along the south I-215 corridor.

This investment is being completed through First Industrial’s development and repositioning joint venture, FirstCal 1, with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). CB Richard Ellis Investors is the advisor to CalSTRS on the venture.

“We are pleased to acquire this attractive land parcel in the Inland Empire, a strategic industrial distribution market, to meet demand from rising international trade,” said Johannson Yap, First Industrial’s chief investment officer.

“The South Perris Distribution Center will be located along the south I-215 corridor off the ‘Ethanac’ highway exit, providing ready highway access and proximity to sea, air, and rail transportation,” said Phil Bowman, senior development officer for First Industrial.

First Industrial currently owns, manages, or has under development approximately 4.6mn sq ft of industrial properties in California, according to the company.

Warde joins Blank Rome LLP

Blank Rome LLP May 16 announced an expansion of its international maritime law practice with a new Associate, Conor T. Warde, who has joined the firm in the maritime group.

Warde brings considerable experience in international maritime law and will be based in Blank Rome’s Washington, D.C., office, according to the firm.

Prior to joining Blank Rome, Warde served as Associate General Counsel of International Registries Inc., which administers the Marshall Islands Maritime Registry.

Warde guided the Registry on the interpretation and enforcement of national and international laws and regulations affecting the maritime industry, including International Maritime Organization and International Labor Organization conventions.

Warde also represented the Marshall Islands Registry, including negotiations with foreign governments regarding various vessel-related matters, said the firm.

Prior to joining the Marshall Islands Maritime Registry, Warde was with the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Warde is admitted to practice in Washington, DC, and Maryland. Warde received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and English Literature from Georgetown University.

ILWU, PMA agree to early talks

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) May 17 announced they have agreed to start labor contract negotiations early next year, with the goal of reaching an agreement before their current six-year labor pact expires in July 2008.

The contract covers wages, benefits, and conditions of employment for ILWU members working at 29 West Coast ports in California, Oregon, and Washington.

“The PMA and its member companies are committed to good faith negotiations with the ILWU that will result in a win-win contract for management, for workers, and for the U.S. economy,” said McKenna, whose organization represents cargo carriers, terminal operators, and stevedores operating on the West Coast.

“The ILWU is likewise committed to good faith negotiations and is hopeful that the parties can reach a conclusion to negotiations without transportation disruptions from either side. The ILWU workforce is committed to ensuring that West Coast Ports maintain high levels of productivity and fair benefits, wages, and working conditions,” said McEllrath.

West Coast ports are the primary gateway for cargo imports into the United States.

Port of Long Beach voted best seaport

The Port of Long Beach May 16 announced it has been voted the “best seaport in North America” by the trade newspaper Cargonews Asia.

The port came in first in the category in the newspaper’s 2007 Asian Freight and Supply Chain Awards.

“The Port of Long Beach is once again pleased to accept this honor, as it recognizes our successful partnerships with our customers,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard Steinke.

It’s the third consecutive year and the 11th time in the past 12 years that the Port of Long Beach has been named the best on the continent, the port said.

Other best seaports around the world named in the 2007 awards include the Port of Singapore in Asia, the Port of Rotterdam in Europe, and the Port of Jebel Ali, Dubai, in the Middle East.

The awards also recognize the best shipping lines, container terminals, air cargo terminals, airports, and rail haulers.

Cargonews Asia is a news source for logistics and supply chain professionals in the Asia-Pacific region.

Shanghai now world’s No 2 port

The Port of Shanghai handled more than 5.88mn TEUs in Q1 2007, overtaking Hong Kong to become the world’s second-largest container port during the period.

According to statistics from the Shanghai Port Administration Bureau announced May 18, Shanghai Port handled 28.1% more containers during the first quarter than it did during the same period last year.

The Yangshan Deepwater Port, which currently has nine berths operating and is still under construction, contributed 1.22mn TEUs from January to March.

Statistics from the Hong Kong Port Development Council show that Hong Kong handled about 5.5mn TEUs in the first quarter, up 2.3% compared with the same period last year.

That amount is still 380,000 TEUs less than the amount handled in Shanghai, which has pushed Hong Kong into third place in port standings.

According to, an official source for information on the country’s shipping industry, the quarter marks the first time that the Port of Shanghai has exceeded Hong Kong in terms of container throughput.

Singapore remained the No 1 port worldwide, handling 6.58mn TEUs in the first quarter, a 14% increase over last year.

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