Monday, June 9, 2008
Port Tracker sees growth returning in fall
CARGO TRAFFIC at major retail container ports continues below last year’s levels but month-to-month numbers are climbing. Ports should see a return to year-over-year growth by Halloween, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released June 6 by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.
“The numbers are still below last year, but they are steadily climbing,” NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “That’s in line with forecasts that the economy could begin its slow recovery this fall and reflects retailers’ sales expectations for the holiday season.”
U.S. ports surveyed handled 1.26 million TEUs of container traffic in April, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available, up 8.9% from March which registered the lowest volume in two years but down 4.7% from April 2007.
May was estimated at 1.3 million TEUs, down 5.7% from a year ago. June is forecast at 1.34 million TEUs, down 8.1%; July at 1.4 million TEUs, down 2.8%; August at 1.46 million TEUs, down 0.3%; and September at 1.43 million TEUs, down 3.1%.
October is forecast at 1.48 million TEUs, a 2.7% increase year-to-year.
Long Beach Middle Harbor June hearings slated
THE PORT OF LONG BEACH will host two public hearings on a draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) for the Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, the port announced June 6.
The hearings will be Wed., June 11, 6:30 p.m., at Long Beach City Hall Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., and Wed., June 18, 6:30 p.m., at Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., West Long Beach.
The Middle Harbor redevelopment plan is a proposed $750-million, 10-year project that would create 14,000 new, permanent jobs and cut air pollution at two port terminals by 50% or more from existing levels, the port said.
The plan proposes to reconfigure two older, irregularly shaped container shipping terminals to create one rectangular-shaped facility that would operate in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
By expanding the Middle Harbor’s on-dock rail infrastructure and moving more cargo by rail directly from the waterfront, the project would take as many as 1,000 trucks a day off the road, according to the port.
“As proposed in this detailed draft environmental report, the Middle Harbor project would create the most environmentally responsible shipping terminal anywhere in the world,” said Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke.
Port of Long Beach
Horizon Lines: New Puerto Rico senior VP/GM
Horizon Lines Inc. June 6 announced that Jacob M. Wegrzyn will join the company as senior vice president and general manager of its Puerto Rico services division, effective June 23, 2008.
Horizon Lines recently placed six employees involved in the Puerto Rico trade lane on administrative leave as a result of issues raised by a Department of Justice investigation into pricing practices of certain domestic ocean carriers.
Wegrzyn will report to John V. Keenan, president and COO, and have primary responsibility for operational, sales and strategic activities related to the Puerto Rico market. He has more than 18 years experience in the transportation and distribution industry in Puerto Rico.
Most recently Wegrzyn served as vice president, Puerto Rico and Caribbean service, for New Penn Motor Express. He has lived on the island of Puerto Rico for more than 30 years and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
“Jacob brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Puerto Rico market and will be a tremendous asset to our team,” said Charles G. (Chuck) Raymond, chairman, president and CEO of Horizon Lines Inc., the liner operating company’s parent group.
Horizon Lines Inc.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A.P. Moller-Maersk acquires 50% Swift Tankers
A.P. MOLLER-MAERSK June 10 announced an agreement with Teekay Corp. to acquire Teekay’s 50% share in Swift Tankers Management A/S, effective July 1, 2008.
The agreement includes taking over Teekay Corp.’s portfolio of 13 intermediate vessels all of which are time-chartered from a number of owners thereby taking over Teekay Corp.’s activities in the Intermediates market.
A.P. Moller-Maersk consequently becomes sole owner of Swift Tankers.
Swift Tankers operates 24 intermediate (10,000-20,000 DWT) product and chemical tankers from its primary location in Copenhagen as well as from a subsidiary office in Stavanger, Norway.
“In the day-to-day operations there will be no changes to our customers, and we look forward to continuing to service the markets with attention on a safe and reliable performance,” said Kristian V. Morch, group senior vice president, A. P. Moller-Maersk.
Bruce Chan, president of Teekay Tanker Services, said, “We are pleased to see that Swift Tankers has got off to a good start. We have, however, decided to move our focus away from the intermediate segment to fully concentrate on Teekay’s core activities within the larger products and crude tanker markets.”
Swift Tankers Management A/S
CMA CGM expands SAX Service
CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping group, June 10 announced that it has redesigned its SAX Service (AsiaPanamaU.S. East Coast) to include calls at Balboa, Panama, eastbound and westbound, as well as at Jacksonville, Fla., eastbound.
The SAX Service is now deploying eight 3,800-TEU vessels (three operated by CMA CGM and five by TNWA) on the following rotation: Ningbo, Shanghai, Chiwan, Hong Kong, Balboa, Manzanillo, Jacksonville, Savannah, New York, Norfolk, Balboa, Ningbo.
In Balboa, the SAX Service connects with the dedicated ANDEX Service, operated solely by CMA CGM, offering new destinations out of Asia and out of the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast of South America (Buenaventura, ColombiaGuayaquil, EcuadorIquique, ChiliCallao, PeruPuerto Caldera, Costa Rica).
The CMA CGM ANDEX Service will also provide weekly sailings out of the West Coast of South America to the U.S. East Coast and Asia.
The first call in Balboa eastbound will take place on June 26 and westbound on July 10.
The AsiaU.S. East Coast SAX All Water Service is also introducing an additional call at Jacksonville, beginning July 7, as the new gateway into North Florida, right before Savannah.
Aker American Shipping names new CFO
AKER AMERICAN Shipping, a leading U.S. Jones Act ship owning and leasing company, June 9 announced that Gregory J. Matecki has joined the organization as chief financial officer.
Matecki replaces Fredrik Nygaard, who has served as interim Finance Director since December 2007.
Matecki will be a “key member of Aker American Shipping’s executive team” and has a broad base of experience in financial management, strategic planning, treasury management, SEC reporting, auditing, reporting and analysis, as well as in acquisitions and divestitures, the company said.
Prior to joining Aker American Shipping, Matecki served as vice president and CFO at Binswanger of Philadelphia. Matecki has an MBA from Villanova University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“I am pleased to welcome Greg to the executive team. His broad experience and successful track record will be valuable assets to Aker American Shipping as we continue to grow and expand our capabilities,” said Rob Kurz, president and CEO.
Aker American Shipping “owns and leases world-class quality merchant vessels for operation between ports in the United States.”
Aker American Shipping
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
UTU ratifies accord with freight railroads
UNITED TRANSPORTATION Union (UTU) members have approved a new national agreement with the nation’s major freight railroads, joining 11 other unions that had previously reached final agreements on new contracts, according to a statement June 10 from the National Carriers’ Conference Committee.
UTU represents almost one third of the railroads’ workforce and had been in negotiations with the National Carriers’ Conference since November 2004.
The new pact covers more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.
With the ratification of this agreement, nearly 95% of all unionized freight rail workers have successfully concluded voluntary agreements in the current bargaining round. Only one union, the International Association of Machinists, does not have an agreement.
The National Carriers’ Conference Committee represents the railroads in national (multi-employer) collective bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.
“This demonstrates yet again that voluntary bargaining continues to work well in the railroad industry,” said Robert F. Allen, chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee.
United Transportation Union
Long Beach port proposes $1.02 billion budget
THE LONG BEACH Harbor Commission’s Finance and Support Services Committee June 9 approved and sent to the full board a record $1.02 billion port budget, representing a 56% increase over the current fiscal year, according to a port press release
The proposed budget includes more than $440 million to pay for innovative air quality measures and other environmental programs as the port’s Clean Air Action Plan picks up momentum.
“This budget represents a major milestone signifying the port’s commitment to improving environmental stewardship and security,” said Richard D. Steinke, port executive director. “It serves the port’s long-term strategic plan and will responsibly reduce port debt.”
Highlights of the proposed budget include $230 million in fiscal year 2008-09 for the Clean Trucks Program, which will scrap and replace, or retrofit, the older, dirtier drayage trucks working at the port.
Also included is $10 million for an incentive program to encourage shipping lines to switch their vessels to cleaner fuels near the port and more than $45 million to continue the proposed 10-year Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project.
The port budget will go to the full commission for approval at its June 16 meeting.
Long Beach Harbor Commission
AMB develops 658,000 sq. ft. California property
AMB PROPERTY Corp., a leading global developer and owner of industrial real estate, June 10 announced that it has entered California’s Central Valley with a build-to-suit development totaling approximately 658,000 sq. ft.
The facility, named AMB Pescadero Distribution Center, is located in the city of Tracy, Calif., and will serve as the regional distribution center for a major retailer.
“Retailers are taking space, even in this current economic climate, in order to reconfigure their supply chain and gain increasingly important operational efficiencies,” said Mark Saturno, managing director, AMB’s West Central Region.
“California’s Central Valley is rapidly gaining momentum as a preferred distribution location from which customers can, in one day, reach the major population centers of the Western U.S.,” Saturno added.
The distribution center provides rapid access to nearby Interstate 5, the main north-south highway on the West Coast, and Interstate 580, which connects the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The development is designed to meet LEED standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council, the company said.
AMB Property Corp.
Thursday, June 13, 2008
MOL six months early on Asia-Jacksonville call
MITSUI O.S.K. LINES Ltd. will deliver “world class service to Jacksonville’s burgeoning South Atlantic port six months ahead of schedule,” according to a June 11 MOL news release.
In preparation for the opening of TraPac Inc.’s new 158-acre terminal at the Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport), the MOL Vision will begin calling on Jacksonville’s Blount Island Terminal on July 7, 2008, as part of its East CoastSouth China Express service (ESX).
In addition to Jacksonville, Mitsui said the ESX will add eastbound and westbound calls at Balboa, Panama.
Linking Central / South China and the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal, the ESX service is jointly operated by The New World Alliance and CMA-CGM.
As the future base of MOL’s U.S. South Atlantic port activities, TraPac will offer state-of-the-art post-Panamax container-handling systems with a yearly capacity of 800,000 TEUs.
With nearly fifty major distribution centers within miles of Jaxport and 17,000 acres of available building and expansion capacity, Jaxport is fast becoming the premier South Atlantic port for shippers looking to take advantage of its strategic location.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.
PortVanUSA aids record-breaking-sized ski lift
THE PORT OF VANCOUVER USA used its mobile harbor crane, the largest in North America, to complete another heavy-lift project June 11.
Crews of workers at the port worked through the night to discharge four reels of cable, each weighing 90 metric tons, and another weighing 84 metric tons. The reels were loaded to rail for delivery to Whistler, British Columbia.
The cable will be used in the construction of a record-breaking sized ski lift the Peak 2 Peak Gondola that will connect the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2010 Winter Games, hosted by Vancouver, B.C.
Each of the 90-ton reels of cable was the largest cargo lifted to date with the port’s mobile harbor crane, which was put into service in 2006. The crane is one of the key reasons why the cargo was delivered to Southwest Washington, port authorities said.
The crane is capable of handling up to 140 metric tons, which is the equivalent of two space shuttles.
Port of Vancouver USA
Lynden Air Cargo earns FAA Diamond Award
LYNDEN AIR CARGO, for the 10th consecutive year, has received the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Technician “Diamond Award of Excellence,” according to a news release June 11.
Lynden is one of very few Alaska airlines with this continuing safety record, the company said. The Diamond Award is presented for training excellence in the maintenance department.
“Lynden has demonstrated an outstanding accomplishment by earning the highest level of achievement, the Diamond Award, for each of the past 10 years,” said Angela Elgee, FAA division manager, flight standards service, Alaska region.
“In every industry there are those that set the standards others seek to follow. Lynden has set that high standard,” added Elgee.
Award levels are based on hours of training achieved during the year, and the company award level (Diamond) is based on the percentage of staff completing training. Of Lynden Air Cargo’s 44 mechanics, 40 technicians (90%) received awards.
“This 10-year milestone is a great honor. I am extremely proud of our dedicated employees’ commitment to training,” said Judy McKenzie, Lynden Air Cargo president.
Lynden Air Cargo
Friday, June 13, 2008
South Korean ports paralyzed as truckers strike
SOUTH KOREAN TRUCKERS continued their strike June 13 after talks on higher pay and demands for cheaper diesel broke down. More than 14,000 truckers throughout the country are expected to join the walkout, which began unofficially earlier in the week.
Strikes on June 12 in Busan, South Korea’s largest port city, saw 83% of all containers in the city’s seven ports locked down.
Members of the Korea Cargo Transport Workers Union agreed earlier this week to take to the streets Friday in dozens of port cities, complaining that the government’s latest policy to deal with record-breaking crude oil prices failed to address their economic difficulties.
The Transport Ministry said it would immediately revoke striking truckers’ annual fuel subsidy payments of about 15 million won ($14,500) and begin providing police escorts to non-striking vehicles.
“Unless certain countermeasures are taken, within three days the city of Busan won’t be able to put up with the situation,” an official at a Busan shipping company said on condition of anonymity, adding that imports will not be able to be unloaded, nor exports loaded.
San Diego port adopts transition zone policy
THE SAN DIEGO Board of Port Commissioners at the commission meeting June 10 unanimously approved a resolution to adopt a transition zone policy that will help protect land required for maritime industry and provide a transition to adjoining residential areas.
A key feature of the transition zone policy includes providing mandated separations between industrial and residential land uses to help safeguard the environmental health of the regional neighborhoods and residents.
Areas in the transition zone include the northern boundary of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego, south to the Sweetwater Channel, and east from the port tidelands to the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
The transition zone’s widths will vary to accommodate city community and development plans, the port said.
Supporters of the policy include members of the Working Waterfront Group, an alliance of waterfront businesses, union members, the Environmental Health Coalition, the San Diego Port Tenants Association and the Port of San Diego.
The Working Waterfront Group has already begun working with port member cities on establishing zoning regulations.
Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners
Wal-Mart awards “Ocean Carrier of the Year”
EVERGREEN LINE June 12 announced that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s leading retailer, has selected Evergreen Line as International Ocean Carrier of the Year for 2007-08.
The award is presented every year by Wal-Mart for service excellence in ocean shipping.
“As the leading retailer in the United States, Wal-Mart’s expectations for service must be at the highest level,” said Jack Yen, president of Evergreen Marine Corp.
“To be recognized for service excellence by such a major global customer is great encouragement for our organization and for our people who continue the Evergreen commitment to quality service for every shipper,” Yen continued.
In accepting the award, Buckley acknowledged the dedicated teamwork of his associates in delivering shipments from point of loading in Asia to release in North America, even during peak season, “with consistent coordination and reliable performance.”
Evergreen said it relied on its integrated global information technology system to support Wal-Mart’s logistics operations, using electronic data interchange (EDI) to provide shipment status updates throughout the shipping process.