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Summary for May 21 - May 25, 2007:

Lauer joins Matson as director

Matson Navigation Co. May 15 announced that John P. Lauer joined the company as director, trans-Pacific services, for the firm’s China–Long Beach Express, launched in February 2006.

Lauer will lead Matson’s US sales efforts for its China–Long Beach Express service and will focus on trade lane yield management and revenue enhancement strategies in conjunction with other Matson operations.

He will report to Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services, who said that John Lauer brings considerable maritime and logistics experience to our China–Long Beach Express service.

“He has a strong track record ... and has a comprehensive understanding of key customers and accounts throughout the US and China,” said Hoppe. “As we continue to grow our service and expand our expedited and guaranteed services with Matson Integrated Logistics and J.B. Hunt, John’s logistics experience will prove invaluable.”

Lauer was most recently managing director, eastern region, for APL and APL Logistics at the NOL Group level.

Penske, ABX in joint venture

Penske Logistics and ABX Logistics May 18 announced the formation of a new joint venture: ABXPenske Air & Sea.

Penske Logistics and ABX Logistics will each hold a 50% stake in the company, which will be based at Penske’s South American headquarters in Barueri, São Paulo.

The joint venture is the first between the two organizations since they announced a strategic global alliance in September 2006 to provide integrated, global supply chain solutions for multinational corporations.

The companies said the new joint venture will enable Penske Logistics and ABX Logistics to provide international freight management services to customers in Brazil.

“Our joint venture formalizes our existing relationship with ABX Logistics in Brazil,” said Penske Logistics President Vince Hartnett.

Laurent Levaux, CEO of ABX Logistics Worldwide, added that the joint venture combines “our strong freight-forwarding capabilities and excellent global network with Penske’s expertise in logistics execution.”

Penske Logistics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing, while ABX Logistics is an international freight forwarder operating in 100 countries worldwide.

BDP joins with Mustafa Sultan Enterprises

BDP International (BDP), a US-based global logistics and transportation management company, May 17 announced that, through its Middle Eastern regional partner, Arshhiya Technologies International Ltd., it has entered into a joint venture with Mustafa Sultan Enterprises LLC (MSE), Muscat, Oman.

Conducting business as BDP Oman, the new joint venture company will operate under the aegis of Arshhiya Logistics LLC and will offer international freight forwarding, customs brokerage, air, sea, and land transportation, project logistics, and global logistics management.

“Oman is one of the core growth markets in the Gulf Region,” said BDP President and CEO Richard J. Bolte Jr. “By sharing our resources, notably logistics information technology tools and access to a global network of subsidiaries, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships in 113 countries, we will bring a fresh, more customer-focused presence to companies conducting trade into and out of Oman.”

“We are glad to be associated with BDP as a strategic partner in Oman,” said MSE Group Chief Executive Minoo Saher. “We share common business values, so we are certain that this alliance will benefit our customers in Oman with our collective experience in business and trade.”

Johansen named president of Portland Port Commission

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski May 18 announced the appointment of Judi Johansen to serve as president of the Port of Portland Commission, effective July 1.

Johansen, who has served on the commission since 2003, is the first woman to serve as president in the port’s 116-year history.

“Judi has shown commitment to economic development through her work as a Port of Portland Commissioner,” said Kulongoski.

“It is a pleasure to break new ground on the commission by appointing such a talented individual as its first woman president,” the governor said.

Johansen is the former president and CEO of PacifiCorp, where she began her career in 2000 as executive vice president of regulation and external affairs.

Johansen takes over from Port Commissioner Jay Waldron, who has served on the commission since 1999 and as its president since 2001, making him one of the longest-tenured commission presidents.

Waldron concludes his tenure with the port with “one of the strongest port financial performance years in its recent history,” said the office of the governor.

COSCO seeks Jiangsu port stake

Shipping conglomerate China COSCO Group is in talks to buy a controlling stake in an expansion of a fast-growing port in Jiangsu Province, the South China Morning Post reported May 22.

The state-owned firm is in exclusive talks regarding taking a 55% stake in the 6.6bn yuan ($861.2mn) expansion project, the paper quoted Huang Cheng, deputy party secretary of the terminal’s manager, Lianyungang Port Group, as saying.

COSCO signed a memorandum of understanding with Lianyungang, and the final agreement will be signed by the end of this year, the official said. The 11 berths are scheduled to be completed by 2012.

Lianyungang serves 20 routes, with destinations including the United States, Canada, the Mediterranean Sea, Europe, and Southeast Asia, the paper reported.

COSCO is the parent company of listed China COSCO Holdings Ltd., which has been developing port facilities in China.

POLA board meetings go on-line

The Port of Los Angeles May 18 announced a new “at your convenience” video feature that lets viewers watch streaming video of archived and indexed board meetings.

Complete with corresponding reports and presentations, within days after a meeting takes place, videos will be available on the Port of Los Angeles Web site for one year. Current archived meetings go back to Aug 2, 2006.

The board meetings, which sometimes last several hours, will be indexed by agenda item. Viewers can simply click the item they are interested in and be taken to that portion of the board meeting.

Viewers also have the convenience of being able to access the board letters and other documents that correspond with that particular agenda item. And the entire meeting is always available for viewing from start to finish.

The technology behind the video service is provided by Granicus Inc., a provider of streaming media solutions to local government agencies.

POLA Executive Director Geraldine Knatz hopes that the video will help the public become more knowledgeable about the port’s numerous projects and activities.

Ebba Maersk joins AP Moller-Maersk fleet

Odense Steel Shipyard May 21 presented its latest newbuild, an 11,000-TEU container vessel, to the AP Moller-Maersk Group.

The new ship was christened Ebba Maersk in its naming ceremony in Denmark. Like its four predecessors, Ebba Maersk will be part of the series of the world’s largest container vessels, said Maersk, and will set new standards for safety and environment.

The hull of the vessel below the waterline is covered with environmentally friendly silicone paint, for example, thus reducing water resistance and cutting the vessel’s fuel consumption by an estimated 1,200 tonnes per year, said the company.

Ebba Maersk has a 14-cylinder Wärtsilä RT-flex diesel engine that develops 110,000 BHP.

After delivery, the vessel will “enter Maersk Line’s worldwide service and thereby together with the other vessels contribute to a global, competitive, and flexible transport for the company’s customers,” said Maersk.

Ebba Maersk will be registered in Copenhagen and commanded by Captain Sverri Asmund Kjærbæk with Peter Planch Jørgensen as Chief Engineer.

Grand Alliance members run with new service concept

Grand Alliance members Hapag-Lloyd, NYK, and OOCL May 21 said they are adjusting their service concept on the trans-Pacific starting mid-June to “meet customer requirements even more effectively.”

They said the East Coast South (ECS) and East Coast North (ECN) will be reconfigured to offer “more diverse loading options and optimal transit time from South, North, and Central China.”

The South China East Coast Express (SCE) will serve Taiwan and South China by calling at Kaohsiung, Shekou, Hong Kong, New York, Norfolk, and Savannah.

The North & Central China East Coast Express (NCE) will serve Korea as well as North and Central China by calling at Pusan, Dalian, Xingang, Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, New York, Norfolk, and Savannah.

Transit time from Hong Kong to New York will be 23 days, while Shanghai to New York will be 21 days, said the Alliance.

Members of the Grand Alliance are Hapag-Lloyd (Germany), MISC Berhad (Malaysia), NYK (Japan), and OOCL (Hong Kong). MISC Berhad does not provide any trans-Pacific services.

UPS goes greener

UPS May 22 announced expansion of its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles — already the industry’s largest — with the deployment of 50 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks.

The 50 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) will operate in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix. These new trucks join roughly 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles already in use.

“We’re excited to be among the first to deploy the latest in HEV technology because it promises a 45% increase in fuel economy in addition to a dramatic decrease in vehicle emissions,” said Robert Hall, director of UPS ground fleet engineering.

The 50 new HEV package cars are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 44,000 gallons over the course of a year, compared to an equivalent number of traditional diesel trucks. The hybrids also should reduce by 457 metric tons the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere.

UPS has agreed to work with the US Energy Department in 2007 to share the vehicles’ fuel economy, emissions, and other performance data.

The UPS alternative fuel fleet currently includes trucks powered by compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, and electricity.

POLB honors BP’s Malone

The Port of Long Beach May 22 presented its highest honor, the Honorary Port Pilot Award, to Robert Malone, chairman and president of BP America Inc.

“During the last half-century, the Port of Long Beach has presented its Honorary Port Pilot Award to 73 extraordinary leaders who made giant contributions to international trade and commerce,” said Harbor Commission President James C. Hankla.

“Bob Malone has done even more,” said Hankla. “He has made major contributions to trade, commerce, the maritime industry, and the environment.”

Malone, formerly chief executive of BP Shipping Ltd. with responsibilities for the firm’s global operations, was appointed chairman and president of BP America Inc. in mid-2006.

BP is POLB’s largest liquid bulk customer and the first to volunteer to use environmentally friendly shoreside electricity at its terminal. That project, now under construction, is due for completion this fall.

Hanjin joins INTTRA

INTTRA May 21 said Hanjin Shipping, Seoul, has joined its carrier network, raising the total number of member carriers to 24.

“We chose to join INTTRA because of the value their proven e-commerce solutions can provide to our customers and their excellent global customer service,” said SK Choi, Hanjin vice president for customer service.

“INTTRA is supported by a cross section of the industry and has a long-term vision to support industry standards through a common platform,” Choi said.

“We are delighted that Hanjin has chosen INTTRA,” said INTTRA CEO Ken Bloom. He said Hanjin has an outstanding reputation for its commitment to efficient service and customer satisfaction.

INTTRA, based in Parsippany NJ, claims to be the largest e-commerce platform for the ocean industry, representing almost 70% of the ocean freight capacity among the world’s top ocean carriers.

It also claims to initiate more than 200,000 container orders a week and originates over $12bn worth of ocean freight.

Covenant undergoes makeover

Covenant Transport Inc. May 23 said its stockholders have approved an amendment to the company’s articles of incorporation, changing the name of the parent corporation to “Covenant Transportation Group Inc.”

Covenant Chairman, President, and CEO David R. Parker said the name change is symbolic of the firm’s corporate leadership’s focus on managing all of its operating units as independent businesses.

Covenant also announced the promotion of Joey B. Hogan to senior executive vice-president and COO of Covenant Transportation Group Inc. and to president of Tennessee-based Covenant Transport Inc., the company’s largest operating subsidiary.

According to Parker, Hogan will be responsible for “managing the performance of all of the service offerings in all subsidiaries. All of the service offering general managers and all of the corporate department heads will report to the two of us.”

In addition, Parker said that as president of Covenant Transport, Hogan will have “full P&L responsibility for our largest subsidiary.”

POLA’s Knatz wins LABJ top award

Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, has been named “Woman Executive of the Year” for 2007 by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

“Geraldine Knatz is one extraordinary woman,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “We’re fortunate to have someone with her skill and character at the head of one of this city’s most significant economic drivers — the Port of Los Angeles.”

“I am honored by this award,” said Knatz. “This was a field of remarkable women, and I am humbled to be singled out by the Los Angeles Business Journal.”

Knatz was recognized for her role in creating the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Action Plan, a joint plan with the Port of Long Beach to reduce air emissions from port operations by nearly 50% over the next five years.

She was also cited for “her take-charge attitude and her leadership at the Port of LA in her year-plus as the head of the nation’s number one container port,” said the award.

Knatz is the first female to head the port in its 100-year history.

UP reports 28% emissions reduction

Union Pacific May 23 reported a significant milestone in its efforts to reduce air emissions from its operations in the Los Angeles area.

UP has reduced overall emissions in its Commerce, LATC (northeast Los Angeles), and Mira Loma yards by 28% over the last seven years, while accommodating unprecedented growth in the volume of goods and materials moved through the yards, said the company.

The railroad “achieved these reductions using a combination of new technology, operational changes, and new equipment and working closely with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in a cooperative effort to improve California’s air quality,” the company said.

“UP expects to achieve an overall emissions reduction of approximately 55% for the period from 2005 to 2020 at these three yards,” UP said.

“Union Pacific is committed to improving the environment by reducing diesel emissions,” said Bob Grimaila, vice president, environmental and safety for Union Pacific.

“Rail transportation is by far the most environmentally friendly method of transporting freight,” Grimaila continued. “Over the past several years, we’ve made significant progress in modifying our operations to reduce emissions.”

CEVA to acquire EGL

EGL Inc. and UK-based CEVA Group PLC, owned by affiliates of Apollo Management VI, LP, May 24 announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement.

The merger will create the world’s fourth largest integrated supply chain management company, with leading global capabilities in freight forwarding and contract logistics.

CEVA will acquire EGL for around $2bn, giving EGL’s shareholders $47.50 in cash for each share of EGL common stock they hold at the time of the merger.

EGL’s Board of Directors, on the unanimous recommendation of a special committee comprised entirely of independent directors, approved the agreement and will recommend that EGL’s shareholders likewise approve it.

“EGL has terminated its previous merger agreement with affiliates of James R. Crane, EGL’s largest shareholder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, together with investment funds affiliated with Centerbridge Partners LP and The Woodbridge Company Ltd.,” said EGL.

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