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Summary for May 17 - May 21, 2010:
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Monday, May 17, 2010

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Logistics group urges against weakened federal preemption in trucking

The International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) said in a letter to a Congressional committee it is urging them “to reject legislative language that would weaken federal preemption of state and local regulation of trucking in the nation's ports because it is a backdoor attempt to drive independent owner-operator truckers out of business at those locations.”

The IWLA’s President Joel D. Anderson, who leads a group that represents 500 third party logistics companies (3PL), sent a letter in early May to Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chairman, and John J. Duncan Jr. (R-TN), the ranking minority member of the House on Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, asking for rejection of proposed amendments to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.

Anderson said in the letter that his group feels the amendments “would undermine federal preemption by allowing local governments to regulate port trucking when it comes to address environmental and port security matters.”

“The proposed amendments are not really about environmental and security concerns at the nation's ports,” Anderson said in his letter. “They are an attempt to gain through legislation what the courts have found to be unlawful: local regulation of truck drayage services at the nation's ports. Specifically, the proposed amendments are designed to allow the ports to ban independent owner-operators in favor of employee drivers,” he said.

“We urge the Committee to oppose these amendments, which would eliminate competition from small independent businesses,” he said.

Anderson went on to say in the letter that the association feels the proposed legislation “would result in local regulation of freight moving in interstate and foreign commerce. Not only is this prohibited by statute and the Constitution, but it threatens to impose yet another burden on the one industry, trade and commerce, which has added jobs during this recession.”

The IWLA claims its members “are responsible for the distribution over 80 percent of the goods stored and moved through private and contract warehouses.” The association said its members operate in all port districts, in all states, as well as in Canada.

Citing the efforts of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to ban independent truckers to ensure their facilities are served by trucking companies with the financial wherewithal to upgrade to clean truck technology, Anderson’s letter pointed to current federal law preempting “state and local regulation of trucking in interstate and foreign commerce except in regard to safety. The proposed amendments would undermine federal preemption by granting local governments the authority to regulate the port trucking industry to address environmental and port security matters.”.

Anderson simultaneously praised the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Seattle in his letter for their “very successful Clean Truck Programs.”

In particular he pointed out the Southern California ports, California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District, that implemented the clean trucks program that led to an estimated 80 percent reduction in diesel emissions two years ahead of its target date.

“This occurred without changing federal law,” Anderson said. “This and similar efforts underway at other major U.S. ports demonstrate that it is not necessary to rewrite longstanding federal trucking laws to accomplish significant environmental improvements in port areas,” he said.

Northwest Intermodal Conference news:
Lack of infrastructure could hamper economic recovery

With consumer confidence stabilizing and U.S. manufacturing beginning to recover, “it’s starting to bounce back for us,” David Sanborn, senior port consultant for New York-based Moffatt & Nichol, told attendees of the Northwest Intermodal Conference held Tuesday and Wednesday. However, Sanborn said, a lack of rail and highway improvements will hamper any return to economic growth. “We’ve deferred a lot of what we’ve needed to do with infrastructure in almost all cases,” Sanborn said.

One slow-moving project in Clark County drew attention from experts: The multibillion-dollar Columbia River Crossing. Current plans for the project include a 10-lane replacement for the twin three-lane drawbridges over the Columbia, four miles of freeway improvements on both sides of the river and the extension of Portland’s light-rail transit system into Vancouver.

Michael Pasha, general manager of port development for The Pasha Group, a California-based logistics firm, said completion of the bridge-replacement project would make the Port of Vancouver — and the region — more attractive to companies, including his own.

“We’d like to see the new bridge project,” Pasha said, “to create fluidity.”

During the conference in Portland, trade experts said new taxes for freight-mobility projects are politically unpopular because many voters don’t realize they create jobs. That’s a public perception that needs to change, they said.

-The Columbian

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Dole renews lease at Wilmington port

Dole Fresh Fruit Co. has renewed its lease until 2025 with the Diamond State Port Corp. at the Port of Wilmington, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced Friday.

The long-term contract "secures more than 800 jobs at the port," he said. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wilmington is the largest banana-receiving port in the world. In 2009, Dole made 57 ship calls in Wilmington.

Dole is the largest banana company in North America and brings in more than 60 million individual bananas and over 1 million individual pineapples a week into Wilmington, said Stuart Jablon, Dole's vice president of operations in Wilmington. Dole also brings three million boxes of grapes, apples, kiwi and other fruit each year into the port.

Dole has been in Wilmington since 1982.

-Philadelphia Inquirer

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CEVA plans to add logistics capacity in Asia

CEVA Group, one of the world’s top five logistics companies, plans to expand its capacity in Asia this year following a pick up in demand from its customers.

Its Asia-Pacific president Vittorio Favati said this would involve expanding its warehouses in Malaysia, China, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“In Malaysia, we have nearly exhausted our capacity and we plan to add 700,000 to 800,000 sq ft or about 50% of our present warehouse space of 1.5 million sq ft,” he told StarBiz.

Favati said the company would also expand by 250,000 sq ft in China, 200,000 sq ft in Australia, 150,000 sq ft in Indonesia and 100,000 in Thailand.

CEVA, which is a major automotive logistics services provider, is also involved in four other core sectors – technology, retail and consumer products, energy and industrial.

Favati said the company would expand in consumer retail products segment, including fast-moving consumer goods, due to the massive size of this market.

-Malaysian Star

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Gulf spill could be largest U.S. maritime litigation ever

While BP struggles to stop the oil gushing from its exploded well in the Gulf of Mexico, lawyers throughout the New Orleans area are gearing up for what could be the biggest environmental and maritime litigation case the nation has ever seen.

Defense firms have been working their oil and gas contacts to position themselves as local counsel for corporations with exposure to the April 20 explosion and subsequent sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. And plaintiffs attorneys formed a litigation group and immediately chartered planes to photograph the fire on the rig, began collecting water and air samples, and started advertising to sign up clients. More clients increase the potency of the suit, allowing attorneys to collect more fees.

So far, at least 74 cases involving the spill have been filed in federal courts along the Gulf Coast between Texas and Florida, including 38 in U.S. District Court in the New Orleans area, according to parish clerks.

While the legal issues from the spill don’t touch every home and business the way they did during Hurricane Katrina, the rig explosion and oil leak has the potential to be a more complex legal situation than both the 2005 hurricane and the oil spill that the BP incident has most often been compared to: The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. Several corporations have legal exposure, there are thousands of potential plaintiffs facing varying levels of economic harm, and the incident occurred in an area that is much more populated and economically active than Alaska.

How big the case gets will depend on how long the oil continues to spew, because more people and places could be affected, and clean-up costs will spiral. So far, the government has estimated that the Macondo well is leaking about 5,000 barrels of oil a day, or about 130,000 barrels to date, but other scientists said late last week that the estimate likely is higher. BP is trying different strategies, but the leak may not be capped until a relief well is completed in July. The Exxon Valdez released about 11 million gallons, or 261,904 barrels, into the ocean.

-Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

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Forecast: U.S. retail ports could be up 10 percent for May

Import cargo volume at major US retail container ports is expected to be up 10% in May, with double-digit increases likely to continue into the autumn as the economy improves.

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, US ports handled 1.07m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in March, the latest month for which actual numbers are available.

That was up 7% from February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, and up 12% from March 2009.

It was also the fourth month in a row to show a year-over-year improvement after December broke a 28-month streak of year-over-year monthly declines.

April was estimated at 1.11m TEU, a 12% increase over last year as spring products headed for store shelves.

May is forecast at 1.14m TEU, up 10% from last year; June at 1.19m TEU, up 17%; July at 1.25m TEU, up 13%; August at 1.32m TEU, up 14%; and September at 1.35m TEU, up 19%.

The first half of 2010 is expected to total 6.6m TEU, up 12%.

-Just-Style (Retail trade)

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BNSF nets $35 mil from Kansas to start freight hub project

Veiled by the Kansas debate over cutting services or raising taxes was a $35 million gem that lawmakers left for BNSF Railway.

As the Legislature passed a sales tax increase to avoid deep spending cuts, it also cut a deal that will allow BNSF to start work this year on a controversial Johnson County freight hub that’s been delayed by the economy.

The railroad gets the money in exchange for agreeing to start the project this year, officials said.

The incentive will come from state sales taxes paid on utilities serving the entire 1,000-acre project, which includes the nearly 500-acre freight yard plus a warehousing complex being developed separately.

-Kansas City Star

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NJ governor urges port authority buy barge-to-rail transfer station

Gov. Chris Christie urged the Port Authority to buy the proposed site of a barge-to-rail transfer station that would keep as many as 1,000 trash-hauling trucks a day off New Jersey roads.

The 27-acre site lies along New York Harbor, in Jersey City’s working-class Greenville neighborhood just south of Liberty State Park. Officials say the site, which is in view of the exclusive Liberty National Golf Club ,would allow sealed shipping containers filled with New York City garbage to be placed directly from barges onto rail cars, then shipped south or west for disposal in Pennsylvania landfills or at other sites.

-New Jersey Star-Ledger

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Alaska Gasline Port Authority wants to truck LNG from North Slope

Alaska Gasline Port Authority directors say they need approval from member communities before moving ahead with a plan to truck liquefied natural gas from the North Slope.

The plan calls for the port authority to buy the privately held gas utility Fairbanks Natural Gas for $64 million and develop the North Slope for the trucking operation after a bond sale of up to $250 million.

-Anchorage Daily News

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Treasury Sec. visits Port of Tacoma, Boeing on behalf of export initiative

Exports, jobs and economic growth are the issues for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (GYT'-nur) in a visit Tuesday to the Seattle area.

His schedule calls for a tour of the Boeing plant in Renton and a visit to the Port of Tacoma with Gov. Chris Gregoire.

He'll also have a private meeting with bankers and attend the Microsoft CEO summit.

-Seattle P-I

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top Story

Report: Truck freight spot market up 291 percent in April

The spot market for North American truck-loads increased 291 percent in April compared to the same period a year ago, according to a freight index published by the transportation trend analysis firm TransCore.

TranCore’s data reported load volume was almost 25 percent higher over March.

The index is based on the millions of truckloads and available trucks in TransCore’s DAT Network that is fed its information from shippers, third partly logistics firms and carriers throughout North America. April’s spot market volume was the highest for any month since November 2005, a record year for spot market freight.

TransCore said it is on pace to list up to 60 million loads and trucks this year in its DAT network.

China’s shipping, real estate stocks fall on European debt crisis concerns

China’s stocks fell, led by developers and shipping companies, on concern Europe’s debt crisis and government measures to contain home prices will damp demand for Chinese exports and hurt earnings.

China Cosco Holdings Co., the country’s biggest shipping line, lost 1.7 percent after Shanghai Securities News reported China’s export growth to Europe may slow as much as seven percentage points. China Vanke Co. and Poly Real Estate Group Co. paced declines after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group Inc. cut profit estimates for property companies.

-Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Boise, Idaho to pursue intermodal rail project

The city of Boise will announce a deal Wednesday that could immediately boost freight transportation between Boise and Nampa and may help businesses throughout Southwest Idaho save time and money on shipping.

The city and Boise Valley Railroad have agreed to explore building a $2 million to $5 million facility to handle large land/sea, or intermodal, shipping containers and allow freight container cargo to be transferred from rail to truck and from truck to rail.

Proposed for city-owned property in Southeast Boise, the facility would be the only one of its kind between Salt Lake City and Portland.

As part of the partnership, BVRR will provide service and maintenance for all 18.2 miles of the city-owned rail, which will allow businesses located in the city's East Gateway Industrial Park or elsewhere along the route access to freight rail service.

BVRR also will upgrade the city's track to allow trains to travel at higher speeds and provide a potential testing range for MotivePower, which manufactures locomotives at its 50-acre, state-of-the-art plant off Federal Way in Southeast Boise.

-Idaho Statesman

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Canada, China forge further trade bond

Investment in the energy sector, tourism and pandas were on the agenda when Stockwell Day and Canada's three western premiers met Chinese officials Wednesday.

In a meeting with Lou Jiwei, chairman of the China Investment Corporation, the Canadians talked oil, gas, uranium and the benefit of China using ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert to cut two days off shipping goods to the North American markets.

Briefing reporters afterwards, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, Alberta's Ed Stelmach and Saskatchewan's Brad Wall were clearly pleased with the reception their "New West Partnership" received in Beijing and Shanghai.

-Vancouver Sun

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Signs of piracy expansion off oil-rich West Africa

An attack by gunmen on two ships anchored off Cameroon's major port of Douala shows pirates are extending their range in the Gulf of Guinea, an increasingly important source of oil to western markets.

Two Russian nationals from the cargo ship North Spirit and a Lithuanian captain from another vessel, Argo, were seized in the back-to-back raids May 16, according to the Russian Seafarer's Union and the owner of Argo.

The raid was the latest in a string of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea -- which stretches from the Guineas in the northwest to Angola in the south -- and marked a shift beyond the Cameroon-Nigeria maritime frontier where most attacks have been clustered.

Cameroon last month blamed piracy for part of a 13 percent slide in oil production in 2009. The country's output averaged 73,000 barrels per day last year, down from 84,000 bpd in 2008.

The U.S. military is training West and Central African navies and coast guards to combat piracy, drug smuggling and illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea -- a region Washington estimates will supply a quarter of U.S. oil by 2015.


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top Story

UPS to lay off pilots for first time ever

UPS will lay off 54 pilots on Sunday, the first pilot layoff in its history.

"We are undertaking this furlough because we have more crew members than we need to operate our airline," said UPS spokesman Norman Black, in a prepared statement. "We are flying 48 fewer aircraft (214 vs. 262) than we were at our peak in 2003." Additionally, UPS said it is flying 15% fewer block hours than it did in 2007.

The Independent Pilots Association, which represents 2,800 UPS pilots, said the 54 layoffs represent the first step in plans to lay off 300 pilots.

"What makes this furlough truly unfortunate is that our pilots took it upon themselves to give-up pay and benefits to produce $117 million in guaranteed savings for UPS, enough to keep these 300 pilots employed well into 2011," said Robert Thrush, IPA president, in a prepared statement.

-The Street

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Adidas opens $150 mil distribution facility in South Carolina

A Germany-based sports apparel giant has expanded its footprint in Spartanburg County.

The Adidas Group on Wednesday joined with state and local officials to unveil its new distribution center on 258 acres off Cedar Crest Road.

The massive $150 million, 1.9-million-square-foot center is the company's largest and most technologically advanced distribution facility in the world and employs more than 1,500 people.

The center includes two large distribution buildings that house more than 15 million units of Adidas and Reebok brand apparel, footwear, equipment and accessories.

-Spartanburg Journal

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Port of Vancouver USA considers sale of industrial property to steel company

The Port of Vancouver USA announced it is considering the sale of 22 acres of surplus industrial property to Farwest Steel Corp., a distributor, processor and fabricator of specialty steel products.

The port said in a statement the sale could be worth $5,082,500, and potentially “bring 225 industrial jobs to Clark County.”

“This project demonstrates how the port can play a role in delivering family wage jobs and an economic comeback in Clark County,” said Larry Paulson, the port’s executive director. “The port’s investment in rail and ready-to-build industrial land was essential to attracting Farwest to Vancouver.”

Farwest plans to construct a $20-$30 million facility where it could receive 200-300 rail cars annually, the port said.

U.S.D.O.T. and women’s transportation group sign cooperative agreement

In a move the U.S. Department of Transportation says could “help counter an anticipated shortage of skilled transportation workers,” Secretary Ray LaHood signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Women’s Transportation Seminar International “to encourage women to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math – while pursuing careers in transportation.”

“There’s tremendous opportunity out there for women interested in transportation-related careers,” said Secretary LaHood. “We need to do more to prepare, train and educate young women about the possibilities that await them.”

Secretary LaHood said the need for environmental engineers and technicians is expected to rise by 30 percent over the next decade. The Department of Labor reported in 2008 that less than 6 percent of employed women worked in transportation, and only 10 percent of all civil engineers in the U.S. are women.

The D.O.T. said in a statement that the joint initiative would support the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through a strategic partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the WTS.

The WTS claims 45 chapters and over 4,000 transportation professionals. According to the Memorandum the WTS will work with the DOT to organize a series of outreach sessions in 2010 and 2011 throughout the U.S.

U.S., Mexico work on oil production moratorium at Gulf maritime border

The U.S. and Mexico are seeking a moratorium on oil production near the Western Gap of the Gulf of Mexico, where the two nations share a maritime border.

The U.S. and Mexico “instructed their teams to seek a moratorium on exploitation activities along the maritime boundary in the Western Gap,” the countries said in a joint statement released after a meeting between President Felipe Calderon and President Barack Obama today in Washington.

In June 2000, both countries agreed on a 10-year production moratorium in the Western Gap zone where transnational oil deposits may be located. Mexico’s constitutional ban on sharing oil profits blocks the developments of joint projects to produce crude in such regions.

-Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Top Story

Port of Miami’s “big dig” could start on Monday

The controversial plan to build a tunnel to the Port of Miami under Biscayne Bay has survived yet another challenge, and the $1 billion project is back on track with preliminary construction starting as early as Monday.

At a public meeting Thursday of Miami-Dade transportation planners, it became clear that Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower and Florida Department of Transportation officials had resolved their differences on where to start excavating the tunnel.

Heavier road construction is to begin toward the end of summer, with construction of new eastbound lanes that eventually will replace the causeway's existing eastbound lanes so the tunnel shaft can be built in the median.

Tunnel excavation is now scheduled to begin next year after the boring machine arrives. Tunneling is expected to last a year, with two separate tubes being built, one port-bound and the other causeway-bound, Pego said after the meeting.

Completion is now scheduled for spring 2014.
-Miami Herald

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Dry bulk-ship oversupply could pressure freight rates for H2

Dry bulk ship oversupply will pressure freight rates in the second half of 2010 and average earnings for larger capesize vessels could fall below $30,000 a day, a senior Credit Suisse official said on Friday.

While demand for commodities is picking up as the world economy recovers, the seaborne sector is struggling to absorb growing vessel deliveries.

"It is my personal opinion that oversupply will be the driver of the market for the rest of the year," Meindert Witteveen, head of European energy and freight at Credit Suisse, told Reuters in an interview.


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Palm Beach’s inland port plan still on hold

Sugar giant Florida Crystals on Thursday salvaged — at least temporarily — its deal to create a job-producing "inland port" industrial center in western Palm Beach County.

The Port of Palm Beach's board delayed a decision until June on whether to scrap plans to build the cargo distribution hub on Florida Crystals' land and move the project to an industrial site near Port St. Lucie.

The Port of Palm Beach has run out of room to expand along the coast. As a result, port officials are trying to collaborate with Broward County's Port Everglades, and the Port of Miami to build an inland industrial distribution center that would link coastal ports to rail and truck routes across the country.

The goal is to get the "inland port" in place by 2014, in time to take advantage of increased cargo shipments expected after improvements to the Panama Canal.


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Direct ChassisLink to expand to U.S. Southeast

Direct ChassisLink (DCLI) announced it would expand its chassis program to Southeast port areas such as Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington and Miami effective July 1, 2010.

DCLI said it would offer chassis for use in these market areas to drayage companies at marine terminals, container yards and railroads, expanding the current program from port areas in the U.S. Gulf, Pacific Northwest, Northeast, Ohio Valley and Chicago/Midwest.

The chassis company claims drayage companies, customers and terminal operators in the Southeast would have “a truly neutral chassis alternative providing them with the potential for greater operational efficiency, improved transport safety and a reduced environmental footprint.”

“Over 1200 truckers are currently participating in the program in the Gulf, Pacific Northwest, Northeast, Ohio Valley and Midwest regions,” said Direct ChassisLink Vice President Andy Chinigo.

The fifth phase of the program increases DCLI’s fleet available to draymen to over 37,000 chassis located in over 80 locations, the company said in a statement.

A drayage company can utilize the same DCLI chassis multiple times in one day for any ocean carrier’s or other container moves for a single charge, the company said.

Upon return to one of the designated locations, the daily usage fee stops on the chassis with an invoice for the calendar days from “gate out to gate in” being sent directly to the draymen, the company said. A valid DCLI interchange agreement is necessary for the chassis regardless of the ocean carrier’s equipment, the company said.

USCG sets up Gulf oil spill response website

The United States Coast Guard’s Unified Command Joint Information Center has set up what it terms the “Deepwater Horizon Reponse” website with alerts, news, videos, response plans, online incident reporting and filing of claims.

The website is available at:

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