Monday, June 10, 2013
Al Moro named interim chief of Port of Long Beach
On Friday, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners named Chief Harbor Engineer Al Moro the interim executive director of the Port of Long Beach to replace outgoing director Chris Lytle, who has taken a job as executive director at the Port of Oakland.
Moro, who currently oversees the port's capital projects, will start in his new role next month.
"He really has the respect and confidence of everyone," Board President Susan E. Anderson Wise said, adding that the board's decision to select Moro was unanimous. "He knows the people, the projects and the issues."
Moro started his career at the Port of Long Beach as a civil engineer in 1997. A graduate of UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles, he currently manages the port's engineering divisions and the 135 engineers, surveyors, technicians and support staff.
Moro is expected to hold the position for up to six months, and said he would not seek the permanent chief position. "I'm an engineer at heart," he said.
For more of the Press-Telegram story: presstelegram.com
Maersk: Container shipping demand to grow in concert with GDP
It is unlikely that container shipping demand over the next few years will return to pre-recession levels as the growth of globalization slows, according to Karsten Kildahl, head of North European operations for Maersk Line.
Demand will probably increase up to one-and-a-half times the rate of the global economy, compared with past growth rates of three times as much, the executive said at a shipping conference in Munich last week.
"It is important to recognize that we have been spoiled in the container industry for decades as we have seen growth helped by globalization," Kildahl said. Future increases will be "much more in line" with global trade as there aren't many more companies that can "containerize or outsource what they are doing."
The shipping industry is in its fifth year of crisis, suffering from sluggish global trade, and too many ships and low freight rates. The new ultra large container vessels entering the market will exacerbate the overcapacity dilemma, since the fleet will grow 7.5 percent in 2013 compared to demand growth of 4.5 percent, according to a May report from Drewry Maritime Equity Research.
"We as carriers need to deal with it," said Kildahl. "To sit back and hope the supply and demand will take care of itself is unrealistic."
For more of the Business Week story: businessweek.com
Port of Los Angeles signs port agreement with Hamburg
The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Hamburg have signed a five-year agreement that, according to the two port authorities, will involve the two leading seaports sharing strategies and best practices on issues such as trade strategies, port infrastructure, and environmental and security challenges.
"We have been fortunate to have a close collaborative relationship with the Hamburg Port Authority," said Port of LA executive director Geraldine Knatz. "This agreement formalizes and expands our partnership and I expect it to be beneficial to both ports in the years ahead."
The agreement may benefit U.S. and international maritime and environmental companies from the shipping and logistics industries, since the ports will share best practices with respect to equipment and new technologies.
For more of the Fruit Net story: fruitnet.com
Fredriksen: Tanker market will stay down for next two years
Shipping billionaire John Fredriksen told Reuters he expects the tanker market to remain weak for at least two more years, but is more upbeat regarding the rest of his shipping empire.
"The oil tanker market, it is pretty bleak over the summer," he said in an interview. "I do not see any special things before at least another couple of years. At least, for the crude oil tankers. That is not too optimistic."
Fredriksen, work $11.5 billion according to Forbes, is targeting his investments on oil rigs and said he has not yet determined whether or not he will raise his bid to $1.7 billion for the hostile takeover of Norwegian salmon farmer Cermaq ASA. He controls one of the word's largest offshore rig concerns, Seadrill Ltd, crude tanker firms Frontline and Frontline 2012, and dry-bulk shipping company Golden Ocean Group.
"I am more optimistic about the oil products market. We have taken some substantial positions. We have ordered a lot of eco-friendly ships. We hope that looks much better," he said.
When it comes to the dry bulk market, "we are more optimistic on that side," he said. "We hope that the market will come in the middle of next year."
For more of the Reuters story: reuters.com
More than 60 asylum seekers feared dead in boat tragedy
Thirteen bodies were recovered from an asylum boat tragedy off Christmas Island Saturday and more than 50 people are missing and feared dead from a ship that vanished last week.
Radar and aircraft searches late Wednesday and on Thursday also failed to locate the vessel.
Authorities launched a large search involving RAAF planes, Navy vessels and merchant ships about 65 nautical miles north west of Christmas Island, where the asylum boat was last seen.
The crew of an RAAF plane spotted what they thought was a body in the water Friday night. The first ships to arrive found a debris field.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said authorities are continuing to search for survivors 74 nautical miles west of the island. Clare said 13 bodies have been located, but they are yet to be recovered from the water.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
NRF: Retailers remain cautious about summer imports
Import volume at U.S. major retail container ports is forecast to rise 1.1 percent in June year over year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
"With the economic recovery moving slowly, retailers are being cautious this summer and could hold off on stocking up for the holiday season until fall," said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. "We aren't expecting significant increases for imports until October, when retailers will have a better idea of what to expect for holiday demand."
Cargo import volume does not directly correlate with retail sales or employment, since it indicates only the number of TEUs, not the value of the goods inside them.
Even so, the amount of merchandise imported does provide a rough guide of retailers' expectations. U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.31 million TEUs in April, the latest month for hard data is available. That was up 14.6 percent from an unusually slow March but down 0.1 percent from April 2012.
May is estimated at 1.4 million TEUs, up 2.2 percent year over year. June is forecast to be up 1.1 percent at 1.4 million TEUs, July up 1.9 percent at 1.44 million TEUs, and August up 0.5 percent at 1.43 million TEUs. September is predicted at 1.42 million TEUs, up 0.8 percent compared with 2012 figures, and October at 1.45 million TEUs, up 7.9 percent.
"We are witnessing a period of import trade growth that is running more or less in sync with the U.S. economic expansion. Unfortunately, both are anemic," said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates. "The impact of this extremely cautious consumer spending is that we expect import consumption to remain weak for the coming four to six months."
Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami, and Houston.
USDA extends hours of operations at PortMiami
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced new extended hours of operation at PortMiami. The new hours begin on June 16th and are Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and, starting in January, on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
FedEx to hike rates 4.5 percent in July
FedEx Corp. announced it will increase freight shipping rates by approximately 4.5 percent, effective July 1.
The latest rate change applies to certain FedEx Freight shipments within the U.S, between the contiguous U.S. and Canada, within Canada, between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico, and within Mexico.
The affected shipments are those covered by the FXF 1000, FXF 501 and other related series base rates. The new base rates, rules tariff and accessorial charges for FedEx Freight will be available at fedex.com on July 1.
FedEx increased its shipping rates for ground and home delivery on Jan. 7.
The company has implemented a profit improvement plan focused primarily on its express division. Under the plan, FedEx has been aiming for $1.7 billion in improved profitability in fiscal 2016, compared to fiscal 2013 results. The effort has included an ongoing voluntary buyout plan for U.S. employees in the express division, as well modernizing its air fleet.
For more of the Wall Street Journal story: online.wsj.com
Panama Canal implements just-in-time trial service
The Panama Canal has implemented its just-in-time trial service, designed to provide ships with more efficient transit times.
JIT allows vessels to arrive at the Panama Canal much closer to their scheduled transit time, allowing them to remain at anchor for less time before actually beginning their transit through the locks.
The participation in this trial will focus on vessels equipped with a type A Automatic Identification System (AIS) device.
In order for the service to work, a vessel's arrival time must be as accurate as possible. Selected vessels will be notified approximately 96 hours prior to their scheduled transit of their required ETA and tentative transit time. The Panama Canal will then use Satellite Automatic Identification System technology to track the vessels within a range of 2,000 nautical miles before arrival and ensure that they can comply with the stipulated ETA.
Pirate attack foiled by EU naval teams
A pirate attack was stopped last week by the efforts of the European Union Naval Force.
Soon after Somali pirates took control of a passing cargo ship with 14 sailors from India on board, a swift counterstrike from NATO and anti-piracy EU sent the criminals scrambling to get away.
The EU Naval Force says someone on the ship alerted officials Wednesday that their craft was under attack from 12 armed pirates. Swedish and Dutch warships responded. The pirates then navigated the hijacked vessel toward the coast and abandoned it.
For more of the U.S. News and World Report story: usnews.com
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Trucking companies sue Los Angeles and Harbor Commission over rail yard
Six trucking companies have sued Los Angeles and the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission, claiming that by approving the construction of a $500 million BNSF railyard near the Port of Los Angeles, they abused powers of eminent domain and violated environmental law in order to force the businesses off land.
In the two lawsuits, the trucking firms claim Los Angeles approved the Southern California International Gateway project without considering the environmental effects and the cost to businesses.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is named as a party of interest in both complaints.
For more of the Courthouse News Service story: courthousenews.com
CMA CGM completes $530M Terminal Link sale
CMA CGM recently completed the sale of a 49 percent stake in its container terminal business, Terminal Link, to China Merchants Holdings for $530 million.
"CMA CGM is very pleased to enter a new strategic partnership with CMHI which will allow us to join our complementary forces to operate and further develop in Terminals investments," said Farid Salem, CMA CGM's Executive Officer.
Terminal Link porttechnology.org/terminal runs 15 terminals worldwide, including Houston Terminal Link Texas, South Florida Container Terminal at Miami, Belgium's porttechnology.org/Antwerp Antwerp Gateway, Busan New porttechnology.org/container-terminal 2 Container Terminal in South Korea and Malta Freeport Terminal, and is the world's twelfth largest terminal operator, handling 8.1 million TEUs per year.
"The smooth completion of this transaction reflects the recognition and consent porttechnology.org/Consent to the transaction from the governments from whose regulatory unit's consents and approvals were obtained," said China Merchants Group assistant president and CMHI managing director, Dr. Hu Jianhua.
Nicaragua approves Chinese plan to build $40B Panama Canal rival
A Nicaraguan congressional committee on infrastructure has approved awarding a China-led consortium a $40 billion contract to build and operate a canal between the Pacific and the Caribbean, despite opposition to the huge development project.
The bill was immediately sent to the National Assembly, which is expected to approve it on Thursday. Opposition politicians voted against the proposal, saying the initiative was being rushed.
Chinese company HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment is working with the Nicaraguan government on the canal project, which was announced last week. The massive project may take 11 years to finish, cost $40 billion and require the digging of about 130 miles of waterway, according to experts.
Canal supporters say development of the new canal could create 40,000 construction jobs and double the gross domestic product of Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Nicaragua plans to grant the Chinese company a concession for 50 years, with the possibility of doubling it.
For more of the Guardian story: guardian.co.uk
Water levels fall in Great Lakes continue to take a bite out of shipping
This winter the water in Lakes Michigan and Huron, the lakes that have suffered most from low water levels, dropped to record lows, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Keith Kompoltowicz, the chief of watershed hydrology with the Army Corps's Detroit district, reported that in January "the monthly mean was the lowest ever recorded, going back to 1918."
Although spring rains have helped so far this year, even causing flooding in some areas, levels in all five Great Lakes are still historically low, and getting through the shallow points in harbors and channels is a dicey situation.
The biggest impact is economic because shippers, carriers and industries that depend on materials like limestone, iron ore, coal and salt, are hugely dependent on lake shipping.
Lakers can move products at low rates that beat rail or road by up to $20 per ton of cargo, using much less fuel. Approximately 30 ships are being built this year for shipping cargo on the Great Lakes, said Craig H. Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
Low water is "hammering our industry," said Glen G. Nekvasil, the vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association. A large laker, 1,000 feet long, will lose 250 to 270 tons for every inch the water level drops, he said, which can add up to 324,000 tons a season per boat.
"The aggregate impact over time will be to raise the cost of commodities, which in turn will raise the price of manufacturing goods, which in turn raises the price to the consumer," said Richard D. Stewart, the director of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
The most recent causes of low water were the mild winters in 2011 and 2012, which left too little snow to feed the lakes, traditionally "the largest source of water to the Great Lakes," according to Kompoltowicz of the Army Corps said.
For more of The New York Times story: nytimes.com
Ten rescued from cargo ship
Ten crew members were rescued from an Indian cargo ship that got stuck off the Konkan coast at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, police said Monday.
Suvarna Patki, an official at the Ratnagiri Police Station, said the new ship was on its way to being delivered to clients in Kolkata. It started its maiden voyage in Vasai in Thane, covering about 155 miles before experiencing engine failure.
"It had reported an engine failure when it was around five km into high seas. Later, it drifted and is now stuck around two km from the coast in the Arabian Sea. With help from fishermen, we rescued all the crewmen safely," said Patki to IANS.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of ATA in challenge of Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the American Trucking Associations, in the trucking federation's challenge to the Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program, which imposed a comprehensive licensing program on trucks hauling freight in and out of the Port.
Justice Kagan delivered the opinion, which stated that there was precedent to support the opinion that federal law preempts certain provisions of the agreement that trucking companies were required to sign before they could transport cargo at the Port of Los Angeles.
Justice Kagan cited the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 that expressly preempts two of the Clean Truck Program's provisions, which require drayage companies to develop an off-street parking plan and display designated placards on its vehicles.
In 2007, the Port of Los Angeles implemented the Clean Truck Program in response to community concerns about the impact of a proposed port expansion. As part of the program, the port devised a "concession agreement" to govern the relationship between the port and drayage companies, requiring, among other things, a placard to be affixed to each truck with a phone number for reporting concerns and for the company to submit a plan listing off-street parking locations for each truck.
The port and the City of Los Angeles had argued that it acted as a "market participant" in imposing the Clean Truck program rules, which would exempt it from the FAAAA's prohibitions. But the court found they did not qualify as a market participant.
Bill to stop port container charge being heard by N.J. Senate
The New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee is hearing testimony this week on a bill to stop the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from requiring all shipping companies at the port to help pay for an environmentally friendly ship-to-rail system that not all the shipping lines use.
"It just seems to me that whenever the till is getting a little low, the Port Authority's first reaction is to impose an additional toll or a fee on its customers, rather than looking at its own operations to see how it can be more efficient," said Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), the bill's sponsor and a member of the committee. "I really think the Port Authority should be looking at the efficiency of its own operations."
Some shipping companies that don't used Express Rail have banded together to file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission, while others, such as Maersk Line, are seeking legislative remedies. Gordon said he introduced the bill after being alerted to the issue by shippers including Maersk.
The Port Authority levies the cargo charge on each container that passes through the port to finance its ExpressRail network, which allows shipping companies to transfer containers directly between cargo vessels and rail cars at the docks.
The charge, $9.90 per-FEU, was implemented in March 2011 to replace a direct user fee of $57.50 per container imposed only on boxes that actually used ExpressRail. The Port Authority has invested more than $600 million in the system since launching it in 1991. The rail line, which handles about one eighth of the port's annual container volume, keeps trucks off the road and will help the port complex keep up with rises in volume over the next ten years.
Apart from the fairness issue, the shipping companies say the charge makes the Port of New York and New Jersey -- the most expensive port on the East Coast -- even less competitive, threatening to drive cargo to rival ports.
The New Jersey measure to kill an across-the-board facilities fee on all shipping containers that move through the port, S-2747, would require passage of identical legislation in New York State.
For more of the Star-Ledger story: nj.com
Bill Clinton: U.S. manufacturing a "job multiplier"
When asked by Bloomberg to answer questions from business leaders on key economic issues, former President Bill Clinton wrote about the relationship between U.S. manufacturing and job growth, addressing a question submitted by Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm.
Clinton writes that manufacturing is critical to the country's ability to "build a balanced economy with good jobs." It accounts for over 80 percent of our exports and 90 percent of our patents and R&D spending according to the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce. As such, he said, it's a job multiplier—every new manufacturing job creates an additional 4.6 jobs to support it. He said for high tech manufacturing jobs, the supporting jobs rise to 16.
He noted the challenges, including specialized training to prepare the workforce for the new manufacturing sector, developing and delivering new products to global markets, and maintaining and enhancing our "innovation culture."
Clinton bemoaned the fact that we are not keeping pace with other countries relative to a manufacturing workforce. He noted only 7.1 percent of bachelor's degrees are going to engineering majors in the U.S., compared to 18.4 percent internationally, reporting that countries such as Germany, Japan and China "build workforce pipelines from apprenticeships to university programs."
For more of the Bloomberg story: businessweek.com
Port of Olympia considers $20M bond for capital projects
The Port of Olympia Commission considering financial adjustments to its capital investment plan and a $20 million bond issue to help pay for it, according to port finance director Jeff Smith.
Four projects are driving the need for the new funding, Smith said, including the dredging and cleanup of Budd Inlet near the marine terminal, a new storm water treatment facility, the expansion of the existing marine terminal warehouse by 50,000 square feet, and various projects at Olympia Regional Airport.
A public hearing on the capital plan and the bond issue is set for June 24 at Tenino City Hall, and then a commission decision is expected on July 8 at Bucoda Community Center.
For more of the News Tribune story: thenewstribune.com
Crew rescued from sinking container ship
All 22 crewmembers of a Maldivian container ship, the MV Asian Express, which had started sinking near the Lakshadweep coast of India have been rescued.
The vessel had developed an engine problem, according to the Coast Guard.
For more of the NDTV story: ndtv.com