Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for June 8 through June 12, 2015:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Capitol Watch: The Longstanding Tradition of Policy Riders

By Anna Denecke, Associate, Blakey & Agnew, LLC

At a briefing with reporters in late April, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke out against several policy changes that had appeared in the House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development FY16 appropriations proposal.

"What’s happening is the appropriations process is now being used to create policy, which…is a real problem because it leaves us without a process with which we can articulate the concerns we have," remarked Foxx. Then, on June 1, the White House threatened a veto over the very same bill, arguing that, if enacted, the policy measures "could significantly comprise safety in our nation’s roads."

Vetoing an appropriations measure is no small threat; the twelve spending bills are some of the only must-pass legislation signed into law each year, and they serve to "keep the lights on" across government agencies. Even in politically contentious eras, appropriations bills pass, sometimes in the form of "omnibus" legislation, where all twelve spending bills are grouped together and voted on at year-end.

Policy changes in appropriations bills, like the ones objected to by Foxx and the White House, are called "policy riders" and come in the form of amendments that specifically prohibit the use of funds for designated activities. Just last year, an amendment defunding the controversial 34-hour truck driver Hours of Service restart rule was voted into law. The policy change first appeared Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations FY15 bill and reappeared in the FY15 omnibus that was passed at year-end.

This year’s THUD bill contains several new policy riders. There are requirements that would further prohibit the 34-hour restart rule from being reinstated until additional study is completed. There is also a provision allowing 33-foot twin trailers on interstate highways – up from the current 28-foot length cap. Finally, the legislation seeks to block DOT from proceeding with a potential rule to increase the current $750,000 minimum amount of motor carrier liability insurance.

The Administration’s reaction to the most recent DOT spending bill would give you the impression that policy changes like these are unusual, drastic, and circumvent the regular governing process. But according to the College of William and Mary Law School, use of policy riders on appropriations bills actually dates back to the 1830s.

For a time, there were two types of policy riders – legislation riders and limitation riders. Legislation riders were attached to appropriations bills and made policy changes that were unrelated to the bill at hand. House and Senate rules eventually prohibited legislative riders, in part due to President Rutherford B. Hayes vetoing several spending bills and proclaiming the unconstitutionality of the parliamentary procedure.

The second type of amendment – limitation riders – is still very much a tool of Congressional governance. In the 1970s, 31 percent of all amendments were limitation riders to appropriations bills, and by the 1980s, this number jumped to 40 percent. One of the most famous examples of a limitation rider is a 1977 "Hyde Amendment" – a rider prohibiting federal funds from going to abortion procedures.

These days, Appropriation bills are some of the only major legislation that gets voted on and sent to the President, which might explain why appropriation riders are getting so much press. The short-term extension of MAP-21 is a reminder of this. H.R. 2353, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, extends contract authority until July 31 but the drafting and subsequent voting process offered lawmakers no opportunity to codify changes to surface transportation policy.

On June 1, the House Rules Committee voted to allow amendments to the House THUD bill when it is called up for floor debate. We may see additional rollbacks to safety programs offered on the House floor, or a reinstatement of the original funding provisions that were stripped in Committee.

Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Committee will have to consider their version of the FY16 bill as well, which may offer safety advocates opportunity to fund the programs axed in the House version. And finally, it remains to be seen whether the President will hold true to his veto promise, or if this bill will eventually get rolled into critical, must-pass omnibus legislation at year-end.

Port of Long Beach approves $829M budget

Last week, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved an $829 million budget for the next fiscal year starting October 1, 2015, according to a statement from the Port of Long Beach.

Before it is adopted, the budget would also need to be approved by the Long Beach City Council.

Approximately $555 million of the budget has been slotted for capital investments to make the port more competitive, the statement said, including a major terminal redevelopment and bridge replacement projects.

"Our goal is to build upon the success of the Port of Long Beach by attracting new trade, and with that, new jobs, to Long Beach and the region," said Harbor Commission President Doug Drummond in the statement. "We are moving forward with important improvements that will help this community, by building a greener, more efficient Port of Long Beach."

The budget includes a 6.1 percent increase in operating revenue over the current fiscal year, generated by more cargo volume moving through Long Beach.

The port marks the biggest capital improvement projects as the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project and the Middle Harbor Redevelopment project, which focuses on building the "greenest container terminal in the world."

A total of $17.74 million in the budget will be transferred to the City of Long Beach’s Tidelands Operating Fund for beach improvements in Long Beach.

Another portion of the budget will focus on supply chain optimization, including enhancement of energy security, sustainability and improvements working toward efficiency at the port, the statement said.

Echo Global Logistics acquires Command Transportation for $420M

Echo Global Logistics has completed the previously announced $420 million acquisition of Command Transportation, which now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Echo.

"This is a great day for Echo and Command," said Doug Waggoner, CEO of Echo. "As a combined company, we can provide our clients with an expanded truckload expertise and carrier network. This significant increase in truckload business -- along with our robust technology, multimodal freight brokerage services and Managed Transportation solution -- solidifies us as an industry leader and better positions us for long-term success."

Echo reports it has acquired all of the outstanding membership units of Command for approximately $420 million, subject to post-closing adjustments for working capital and cash. $15 million of the purchase price was paid in the form of Echo common stock. $10 million of the purchase price was paid in the form of 335,882 shares of restricted common stock issued to 33 employees of Command as employment inducement awards pursuant to NASDAQ Listing Rule 5625(c)(4).

Paul Loeb will be appointed to the Echo Board of Directors in connection with the Command acquisition and the board will be expanded to seven directors, according to the Echo statement.

Chiquita keeping ripening operations in Gulfport for now

Officials at the Port of Gulfport say they aren't sure why Chiquita left its banana-ripening operations behind when it moved its shipping operation to New Orleans, but it gives them hope the port could reclaim some banana business.

The bananas arrive in New Orleans and are trucked to Chiquita's climate-controlled warehouse off Seaway Road in Gulfport, where they are further ripened before being distributed. The overseas shipping part of the operation moved to New Orleans in October, but Gulfport port retains a hand in that too, according to port Executive Director Jonathan Daniels.

"We still see some containers that are moving through the port," he said. "A lot of that has to do with outbound product, where they're bringing product in and we're actually taking it out of truck and rail and stuffing it into Chiquita containers and then trucking it over to New Orleans for shipment southbound."

Daniels said he wasn't aware Chiquita's ripening operation was still in Gulfport until he saw it on a website.

"We purely found out about it via the Fresh Fruit Portal," he said. "Even though (Chiquita) left last year, they still have maintained a presence at the port. It's not a large one."

"Any time we can maintain a business in the state of Mississippi that provides jobs, provides services, certainly we're pleased about doing that," he said. "We do not know what this will lead to long term."

For more of the Sun Herald story:

Germany shipping firm fined $750K for dumping oily bilge water

German shipping firm Herm. Dauelsberg GmbH & Co., which was on probation for dumping oily water off California in 2013, was sentenced Wednesday to pay $750,000 for a repeat offense in Alaska.

A ship owned by Herm. Dauelsberg discharged an estimated 1,780 gallons of oily water in U.S. waters on a trip from China to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands earlier this year, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Feldis.

"There's no excuse for this conduct," he said.

The 617-foot Lindavia took on fuel at a port in China in mid-January and experienced a significant fuel leak. Almost 36,000 gallons of heavy fuel leaked through a corroded bulkhead into a cargo hold, Feldis said.

For more of the New York Times story:


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Trucking Trends: The Roadcheck Effect

By Mark Montague

If truckload capacity felt a little tight during the first week of June, it’s not because factory output spiked or there was a sudden bumper crop of tomatoes. It may have been the Roadcheck Effect.

Roadcheck is the annual 72-hour truck and bus inspection blitz held during the first week of June. In encompasses every state and province in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

On average, nearly 17 trucks or buses are inspected every minute during Roadcheck. Enforcement officials look at drivers, trucks, and cargo for a wide range of infractions — and frequently find them. Last year, one in four vehicles were found to have at least one out-of-service violation.

This year, Roadcheck was held June 2-4. Not coincidentally, some motor carriers took a mini-vacation.

Any time capacity leaves the market — even for a few days — it can impact rates. So what effect does Roadcheck have on spot truckload freight?

It’s hard to say precisely, but the numbers do tell a story.

During Roadcheck 2014, DAT load boards saw a 9 percent decline in truck posts and a 37 percent increase in available loads. That week followed the week of Memorial Day so a 20 percent to 25 percent increase in all load board activity should be expected (load and truck posts typically increase in the first full week following a holiday because there is one more work day — five instead of four).

Why is that important? Well, the additional pressure on capacity during Roadcheck 2014 contributed to a rate increase of more than 3 percent. National average rates jumped 7 cents a mile for dry vans, 8 cents for flatbeds, and 6 cents for reefers.

Turns out, the same pattern played out during Roadcheck 2013: loads up 30 percent, trucks up 9 percent, van rates up 8 cents per mile.

When you look at load-to-truck ratios for the weeks before, during, and after Roadcheck 2013 and 2014, it seems clear that the event can have a disruptive effect on spot market capacity.

The load-to-truck ratio is the number of load posts divided by the number of truck posts on DAT Load Boards. It’s a good metric because the balance between demand (load posts) and capacity (truck posts) is a better indicator of market pressure than either of the two components alone, and because the ratio is relatively unaffected by Memorial Day or other holidays.

A change in the load-to-truck ratio signals impending change in spot market rates about 80 percent of the time. A sustained change in spot market rates is often a precursor to changes in contract rates, so the load-to-truck ratio is a valuable leading indicator for market pressures that affect rates for carriers of any size.

Some negatives might emerge this year, however. On the capacity side, the largest carriers bought record numbers of Class-8 trucks last year, and the railroads are transporting record intermodal volume, so shippers have more options than they did in 2014. On the demand side, spot market volume and rates are soft compared to the past two months, let alone June 2014.

There are many factors that influence spot rates, capacity, and available freight. During the first week of June, it appears you can add one more: Roadcheck.

Mark Montague is industry rate analyst for DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT® network of load boards and RateView rate-analysis tool. He has applied his expertise to logistics, rates, and routing for more than 30 years. Mark is based in Portland, Ore. For information, visit

Maersk CEO: Big shipping companies will dominate trade

The globe’s biggest container carriers will dominate ocean trade over the next few years, which is bad news for small and midsize operators, A.P. Møller-Mærsk Chief Executive Nils Andersen told the Wall Street Journal.

As the world’s largest container operator, Maersk Line controls 15.3 percent of all capacity, according to Alphaliner. On Tuesday, Maersk confirmed a $1.8 billion order for 11 new megaships that will be slotted for the Asia-to-Europe trades.

"I can’t speak for other companies, but small and midsize carriers, controlling a 3 percent to 5 percent market share — with very few exceptions — have been unprofitable for the last seven years," Andersen said. "After such a long period of not being profitable, it defies logic to continue to invest in the business."

Andersen said demand for container shipping would stay weak in the short term, which means the smaller shipping lines will go deeper into debt.

"Some of those companies have not been able to identify an acceptable way to exit the business, so they continue to throw good money after bad money by investing in more vessels," he said. "It’s highly unlikely that there will be an easy way to make a profit going forward for a small or midsize carrier."

Andersen said overcapacity would continue to plague the industry for the next five years. That’s why the big shipping lines are pooling resources into giant alliances to control costs and attempt to stabilize freight rates currently sitting at record-low levels.

"There is overcapacity, but also rewards for those who run their network relatively tight and are realistic in their market forecasting," he added. "Investing in new vessels entails risk. But our risk is lower compared to the competition, because we have a larger market share, high profitability and a strong balance sheet. I don’t think it will backfire. We have to see these things in a 30-year horizon."

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Northwest Seaport Alliance

The commissions of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle voted unanimously to seek approval from the Federal Maritime Commission for the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which will connect the two ports’ shipping terminals to form the third-largest U.S. container port.

"What a lot of folks had said would never happen now is happening," Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant said at a joint Tacoma-Seattle port commission meeting.

The two former rivals linked their operations to compete with ports in Canada, Mexico, the East Coast and Southern California. Both Puget Sound ports have been losing market share in the container shipping business for years. The expansion of the Panama Canal and a tax break enjoyed by Canadian ports has exacerbated worries about competition.

The unanimous approval came only after Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Meyer unsuccessfully proposed an amendment to the deal. Meyer’s amendment would have required a formal review of the alliance, its goals and achievements before the alliance’s sixth year.

Meyer has been the one commissioner who has expressed reservations about the alliance structure. He had lobbied for a simpler structure that avoided the arbitrary contribution of equal assets for alliance management.

The Tacoma commission voted 4-1 against Meyer’s motion. Meyer voted for the alliance even without his amendment.

The Federal Maritime Commission is expected to approve the alliance agreement, and if so, the two ports will begin the phased implementation of the alliance plan later this summer

For more of the News Tribune story:

China Shipping sells bulk and chemical carriers division

State ship owner China Shipping Group, sold 82 shares of China Shipping Haisheng (or 82.72 percent) to joint venture healthcare company Lanhai Shangshou.

China Shipping Haisheng is a subdivision of China Shipping Group that owns operates the bulk and chemical carriers. After the sale the new owners of China Shipping Haisheng said they would keep on employees and modernize the fleet.

The company will charter largest part of its fleet to China Shipping Group and other operators. The company will raise a new IPO for $320 million to repay its debts.

Lanhai Shangshou is a joint endeavor between Lanhai Group and Shanghai China Life Insurance, which is a service provider of medical technology and seller of medical equipment.

For more of the Industrial Distribution story:

Man medevacked from container carrier off Oregon coast

The Coast Guard says a helicopter crew from Astoria has medevacked an ill crewmember from a German-flagged container ship off the Oregon coast on Friday, according to a report from the Associated Press.

A Coast Guard spokesman in Seattle said the helicopter crew transported the man Friday to waiting medics, who took him to an Astoria hospital. The man, who had symptoms of appendicitis, is reported to be in stable condition.

For more of the KGW Portland story:


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Integrated supply chains mean collaboration and tech expertise

By William DiBenedetto

No two supply chains are precisely alike, given the vagaries of length, complexity, technological capabilities and market forces at work — but what makes a great retail supply chain tick?

As one can glean from Gartner’s top supply chain list, which includes Amazon at the top, followed by McDonald’s, Unilever, Intel, Inditex, Cisco Systems, H&M, Samsung Electronics, Colgate-Palmolive and Nike in the top ten, there are many ways to reach the top. (You might ask where are Apple and Procter & Gamble, long-time denizens at the top of Gartner’s list? They are still around, but apparently are so dominant that Gartner now places them in a new "supply chain masters" category.)

So supply chain assessments are complicated, but there are some commonalities, including efficient operations, talent management, technology and data management, and multi-channel inventory management.

It also doesn’t hurt to have great products and reliable, collaborative retail logistics partners.

Gary Allen, Ryder’s vice president for supply chain solutions, addressed this question in a recent interview. "In our view the perfect retail supply chain centers around an integrated supply chain strategy, so one of the biggest complications that we see for our retail customers is to bring all the organizations together." It starts with sales and then works "upstream" with logistics and supply chain all the way through to manufacturing. "A best-in-class retail company can integrate all those pieces together and have alignment around common metrics and common goals."

One of the biggest complications stems "more from an internal organization aspect," Allen says. "We engage with our partners on continuous improvement practices."

In addition, the leading retail networks are very advanced in technology, and are starting to address omni-channel challenges through demand planning and order allocation. "Some retailers are certainly more advanced in IT than others. Those are the key themes that from our viewpoint define a best-in-retail supply chain."

Ryder says that modeling durable goods movements, such as household appliances, are the "next frontier" and an area of opportunity in retail manufacturing supply chains.

Thus the importance of supply chain innovation. "It’s one of our core values," Allen says. "If we don't continually improve to drive value year in and year out we are not going to be around."

That said, it’s not easy to continually drive value through innovation. For one thing, innovation means a lot of different things to different people, but for Ryder it means "bringing new capabilities that create and drive new value." Innovation, Allen asserts, stems from "collaboration internally across all of our associates and then externally across our partner companies as well."

The biggest trend regarding supply chain innovation involves a host of technology-related themes such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, asset tracking and location-based sensor technology. In addition, the modeling and analytical tools are getting much better, easier to use and more robust, Allen says.

Advancements in modeling and analytics also help achieve better levels of risk planning and management. "The tools are getting better to identify potential risky scenarios, including managing driver safety."

From an operational and execution standpoint, companies increasingly can identify service or cost issues that have implications on business growth, says Tom Kretschmer, general manager of Ryder’s retail and vertical consumer brands. "We continue to drive more automation and methods to ensure a predictable and reliable outcome."

Kretschmer notes innovation and effective risk management along the supply are key components of successfully managed collaborative relationships. He said the parties must:

  • Execute well

  • Operationalize innovations, and

  • Have the courage and commitment within the group and the supply chain to ensure that "we are doing that things that drive value and services."

The key is to "measure the things that are important to our clients," he continues.

From Ryder’s perspective, an integrated supply chain is one that is collaborative, flexible, and transparent while keeping up with the pace of change in order to create value.

Port of Los Angeles tests mobile trucking app

Cargomatic, a Los Angeles-based, technology company that matches trucking capacity with shipments, is testing its mobile app to speed up the flow of containerized cargo at the Port of Los Angeles, according to a port statement.

The company has developed a peel-off shipping concept called the "Cargomatic Free Flow" program, a web-based solution that optimizes container moves for cargo owners, terminals, and trucking companies. Testing began in early January and preliminary results are encouraging, the port said.

"Great minds are working on smart solutions for moving cargo faster and more efficiently across the supply chain," said POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka. "We’ve always supported innovation and we’re proud to be the gateway where new strategies are emerging."

Last year, Cargomatic started adapting its technology for port trucking. That led to the current program at West Basin Container Terminal where Cargomatic is working with cargo owners, drayage companies, WBCT and Ports America to demonstrate its online service. Participating businesses include Perry Ellis, Williams-Sonoma, SalSon Logistics and The Triangle Group, the statement said.

"We’re an operating system," said COO Brett Parker, who co-founded the Venice, California-based startup with CEO Jonathan Kessler. "We provide the technology and do all the coordination between shippers and carriers so cargo can get where it needs to go."

Any party — beneficial cargo owner (BCO), motor carrier or independent owner operator — can enter the online market by registering with Cargomatic. Drivers are vetted to ensure they meet all required licensing, insurance and certifications, including compliance with the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement.

"We support trucks picking up a specific container, as well as the free-flow model where trucks stream through for any container in a designated stack," Kessler said. "They don’t have to be a BCO with an enormous number of containers. We’re looking to work with everybody."

A smartphone is the only special equipment a driver needs, POLA reports. Truckers use it to document the pick-up by entering or photographing the container number, and confirming the delivery triggers the tracking and payment functions.

Cargomatic sets the rate for drayage service booked through its platform. "That’s part of our service," Parker said. "We also bill the shipper, pay the carrier and collapse the process so carriers are paid within eight to 15 days."

Port of Charleston attracts new services

Global shipping lines are adding new routes that will call at Charleston and other East Coast ports, capitalizing on the strong U.S. dollar and population and manufacturing gains in the Southeast.

United Arab Shipping Co. recently launched its NEU-1 service with weekly sailings between five ports in Northern Europe and four in the U.S. — New York, Norfolk, Charleston and Savannah. UASC has ordered an additional 3,500 reefers for the new service and recently expanded routes in partnership with France-based CMA CGM.

Called the New Vespucci service, the partnership will use 4500-TEU vessels and the let CMA CGM "capitalize on the strengthening of the U.S. economy and continued growth in trans-Atlantic trade," according to Marc Bourdon, president of CMA CGM America.

Charleston will also get two new Asian services. Evergreen Line will call on Charleston with ships carrying up to 5,000 TEUs, and Maersk Line will sail 4,300-TEU ships from China.

Erin Dhand, spokeswoman for the South Carolina State Ports Authority, said the mega-alliances sparked much of the change. At the same time, many of the shifts reflect the "economic benefit of delivering cargo to the port closer to its final destination. Customer demand for East Coast services has grown, and that is also reflected in the addition of new services."

For more of The Post and Courier story:

New bill would give governors power over port labor conflicts

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) has introduced a bill that would give state governors the power to intervene in port labor disputes like the recent one that took place on the West Coast.

Gardner’s bill, introduced Friday, would give governors powers previously granted only to the president — allowing them to invoke provisions of the Taft Hartley Act that could empower state officials to obtain court orders forcing an end to slowdowns, strikes or lockouts at ports.

"This year’s slowdown at West Coast ports demonstrated the disastrous consequences that labor disputes at our ports can have on businesses, consumers, and the entire economy," Gardner said. "Labor union bosses should not be allowed to hold the economy hostage, nor should they be allowed to use the livelihoods and jobs of millions of Americans as bargaining chips."

According to Gardner’s office, the bill would allow governors to convene boards of inquiry if a labor dispute threatens to cause economic harm. Governors could use the boards’ findings as evidence to ask federal courts to issue orders against strikes, lockouts or work slowdowns.

The Taft Hartley Act, which passed in 1947, gave the White House authority to invoke strike-busting powers in cases where national health or safety is at risk.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees criticized the new proposal as an "unprecedented and bizarre" and "extreme anti-worker legislation."

The Pacific Maritime Association stated it does not have a position on the issue.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s office declined to comment on the proposal, but Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, came out against the bill.

For more of the Press Telegram story:

Ukraine coast guard cutter explodes

Ukraine's border guard service reports one of its coast guard cutters exploded while on patrol off the shore of the strategic port city of Mariupol, according to an Associated Press report.

It wasn't immediately determined what caused the explosion Sunday afternoon. Two of the seven servicemen on board were injured and the status of the others has not been released.

Fighting near Mariupol has been going on for months between pro-Russian separatists and government forces, despite a ceasefire declared in February.

Mariupol is considered a prize in the struggles, since it’s the major coastal city between mainland Russia and the Russia-annexed Crimean peninsula.

For more of the Daily Astorian story:


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Drewry: Q1 carrier profits unlikely to continue on overcapacity

Container shipping lines survived low rates in the first quarter, delivering some of the best profits in recent times. But big newbuild deliveries and rising costs may mean that things may go downhill from here, according to the latest issue of Container Insight from Drewry Maritime Research.

The first-quarter of 2015 was the most profitable for the container industry in four years, the analysts say, with a preliminary estimated operating margin of about 8 percent. Unlike in previous quarters when only a handful of lines – usually Maersk Line and CMA CGM – made significant headway, this time every one of our 10 sample carriers were in the black.

Carriers’ success in the first three months was achieved due to continued lower unit costs, which have offset weakening freight rates. Drewry calculates that average unit revenues were down by 6 percent year-on-year, but this was more than covered by an 11 percent fall in unit costs.

However, the maritime researchers question whether this profitability can weather the coming tide of newbuilds slotted for delivery in the second half of 2015. From June onwards there will be a minimum of 100,000 TEUs added to the world container fleet per month, with July seeing twice that amount.

Drewry says if shipping lines continue to focus on costs, which are largely out of their control, they will be subject to the vagaries of the energy market. In order to have a profitable year, they will need the peak season to be better-than-average to achieve ship load factors that would support rate increases. Otherwise their income statements will turn red once again.

U.S. ag exports expected to drop $12 billion in FY2015

USDA trade analysts are expecting a $12 billion year-over-year decline in U.S. ag exports in FY 2015, mainly due to the strong U.S. dollar.

The agency forecasts a $12 billion decline from FY 2014, from $152.5 billion to $140.5 billion.

"Movements in exchange rates are a leading factor explaining movements in U.S. exports, since they are a key determinant of the relative price of U.S. agricultural products in global markets," reports the USDA’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service.

The export value of grains and feeds are predicted to fall by nearly $6 billion. Oilseed exports are expected to decline nearly $4 billion, and livestock, poultry and dairy are expected to drop by $2.5 billion.

If realized, FY 2015 would be the lowest level of exports since FY 2012.

U.S. imports of ag products are forecast to yield a record $117 billion this fiscal year, an increase of $7.8 billion over FY 2014.

Appreciation of the dollar has accelerated significantly in the largest U.S. agricultural export markets, reflecting the relatively strong and stable U.S. economy. The dollar is expected to appreciate almost 25 percent against the euro, USDA reported in its most recent Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.

While long-term growth in ag exports is largely driven by growth in foreign income, changes in exchange rates are primary factors determining year-to-year variations in exports, according to the ERS.

For more of the Capital Press story:

Terminal operator PSA expands into southwest region of China

Port operator PSA International has expanded into China's south-western region with a joint venture to run a new container terminal in Guangxi province, according to a company press release.

PSA said that the Beibu Gulf-PSA International Container Terminal in Qinzhou would serve Guangxi, Sichuan, Chongqing and Hunan. The terminal will also connect the region to key shipping routes linking China to Southeast Asia, East Africa and the Mediterranean.

PSA said it signed the joint venture with Beibu Gulf Port Group and shipping line Pacific International Lines.

For more of the Business Times story:

Port of San Diego names first female CEO

The San Diego Unified Port District has nominated long-time port executive Randa Coniglio as its new president and CEO after a nationwide search.

The port’s board is predicted to approve the selection of Coniglio, currently executive vice president of operations, this week. She will be the first female CEO in the port’s 52-year history.

"Randa is a focused, diligent and highly creative leader who consistently delivers strong outcomes," said Chairman Dan Malcolm. "This, combined with her track record in gaining the trust of stakeholders, achieving consensus and maintaining long-term, mutually beneficial relationships truly set her apart as the best candidate for this position."

The previous CEO, Wayne Darbeau, was ousted a year ago after asking port tenants for help finding his son a summer job.

Coniglio joined the port in 2000 after a 13-year private sector career in real estate development and portfolio management. During her tenure at the port, she has been promoted six times. She started as a manager in the agency’s real estate department.

For more of the Times of San Diego story:

Pirates hijack timber carrier in S. China Sea

Pirates hijacked Indonesian timber carrier KM Mutiara in the South China Sea last week.

Armed men with fast boats attacked the ship off Palau Bangka island, taking control of the timber carrier and changing the course to north.

All the crewmembers were thrown or jumped overboard. Fishermen later rescued most of the sailors.

For more of the MARSEC Review story:


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