Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for June 16 through June 20, 2014:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top Story

Los Angeles harbor commissioners appoint Gene Seroka to lead port

Gene Seroka, head of the commercial division of American President Lines, was officially appointed as executive director of the Port of Los Angeles last week, receiving unanimous approval from the Harbor Board of Commissioners, according to a port statement. 

Seroka, a veteran shipping executive, will oversee a budget of over $900 million, including several improvement projects aimed at keeping the port competitive in the face of the 2015 opening of the Panama Canal expansion, the release said. Port stakeholders are concerned that the canal expansion will result in diverted cargo business to ports on the East and Gulf coasts.

Seroka is "a dynamic, seasoned executive with all the right knowledge and skills to seize the opportunities and navigate the challenges of a fiercely competitive industry," according Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The new head of the busiest port in the nation said in a statement that he is "dedicated to making this powerful engine the most competitive, efficient and sustainable source of prosperity for the benefit of both our region and U.S. international trade."

Seroka will officially assume the role within the next month, according to a port spokesman.

Port of Virginia task force tackles port congestion

Members of the Motor Carrier Task Force met Wednesday about ways it could improve cargo movement and ease congestion at the Port of Virginia, as well as improving the port’s relationship with independent truckers and cargo carriers that have suffered as a result of the delays.

A 13-member panel answered more than 17 email and audience queries, primarily about communication with the port, turn times for cargo loading and scheduling appointments prior to arriving at the facility.

Frank Borum, co-chair of the Motor Carrier Task Force Committee and vice president of Atlantic Intermodal Services, said the growth at the terminal is expected to continue, making timely change important.

John Reinhart, Port of Virginia executive director, told the crowd of nearly 70 attendees at task force meeting that the agency is still collecting data to analyze the ways to best improve conditions for cargo truckers.

In a May report, port officials named ways to improve cargo truck flow at port terminals, including a plan to enforce its appointing system, which schedules truck arrivals and departures. Processes at the terminal could be expedited by having needed equipment ready at the gate, launching express lanes, and improving communication and driver training.

George Berry, owner-operator who helped organize the original contingent of truck drivers, announced the port authority has launched a free texting service for truckers to receive text alerts related to terminal times and traffic at port.

Officials plan to phase in the new system later this summer.

The Port of Virginia includes Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, and Newport News Marine Terminal, as well as an inland intermodal facility called the Virginia Inland Port located in Front Royal, Virginia.

For more of the Daily Press story:

Port Metro Vancouver trucking firms not complying with pay hike risk losing licenses

Canadian and provincial transportation authorities announced today that trucking companies who aren’t paying their drivers a 12-per-cent mandatory increase in container trucking rates are being investigated and could lose their licenses.

The increase was part of a deal that settled a truckers’ strike at Port Metro Vancouver earlier this year

In a news release posted on Canada News Wire, the ministries stated: "The Province of British Columbia is expanding its audits of trucking companies, and is responding to instances of non-compliance with recommendations to the Port of Metro Vancouver for specific, severe penalties for rate violators."

For more of the Vancouver Sun story:

Firefighters hospitalized after cargo ship fire

Two firefighters were hospitalized after fighting a fire aboard a cargo ship in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on Tuesday.

The men were part of the fire crew battled a blaze that started on the lower decks of the Liberian-flagged Antonio.

Capt. Lee Rogers with the Corpus Christi Fire Department was released from the San Antonio Military Medical Center Wednesday after being treated for inhaling hot gas. Giorgio Suarez was treated for heat exhaustion and released Tuesday.

For more of The Caller story:

Firefighters hospitalized after cargo ship fire

Two firefighters were hospitalized after fighting a fire aboard a cargo ship in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on Tuesday.

The men were part of the fire crew battled a blaze that started on the lower decks of the Liberian-flagged Antonio.

Capt. Lee Rogers with the Corpus Christi Fire Department was released from the San Antonio Military Medical Center Wednesday after being treated for inhaling hot gas. Giorgio Suarez was treated for heat exhaustion and released Tuesday.

For more of The Caller story:


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Story

Big container lines exploit low charter rates on Intra-Asia trades

Shipping lines are reaping the rewards of higher cargo volumes and less expensive charter rates for services between Asian countries and regional carriers are allying to defend their territory, according the latest issue of Container Insight by Drewry Maritime Research.

Drewry says big container lines such as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd are finding profits in the intra-Asian trades because of the cheap charter rates and cargo growth, with new services being launched at the rate of at least one per month.

Container Insight cites the Intra Asia Discussion Agreement, which said its 31 member lines alone shipped 7.2 million TEUs in 2013 on the following routes: China-ASEAN, Japan-Thailand, intra-ASEAN, Thailand-China, Indonesia-China. All carriers shipped another 6.2 million TEUs in 2013, it said, between China and South Korea, and between China and Japan.

Regional shipping companies are forming alliances to compete against the giant shipping lines, Drewry said. Last month Sinotrans, Pan Asia Shipping (Coscon subsidiary), and Shanghai Puhai Shipping (CSCL subsidiary) formed an operating alliance on services run between China and Japan. And China's SITC Container Lines and Shanghai Hai Hua Shipping (Hasco) have agreed to work more closely together between China and Japan.

Container Insight concludes that the large container lines will continue to become further entrenched in the intra-Asian market, and then use their own tonnage to squeeze out smaller competitors on routes where ships over 2,000 TEUs can be safely used. Although freight rates are strong at the moment, Drewry stats, the supply-demand balance remains delicate.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer calls for black boxes in trucks

Following a fatal accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that injured Tracy Morgan, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) launched a campaign to keep sleep-deprived truckers off the road.

Schumer urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to expedite up a mandate that truck firms and drivers use electronic devices to log hours driven, he said at a Manhattan news conference. He said most truckers log their hours manually.

"We know that fatigue is a huge issue in terms of the number of crashes, and you can't rely on companies to set the rules themselves, because they're going to be competitive," he said, adding that long working hours can be driven by clients wanting cargo to arrive at a location faster. "So we need rules that set a level playing field."

The senator also wants the DOT to launch a study and increase insurance coverage by trucking companies in the case of a serious accident. The current minimum liability for normal trucks is $750,000, and the minimum for trucks carrying hazardous materials is $5 million.

Morgan and two others were critically injured and comedian James McNair was killed in the June 7 accident involving their limo bus and a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer. The truck driver admitted he had not slept for 24 hours, according to the criminal complaint.

In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advised that electronic devices be installed in trucks to help prevent falsified records, but the proposal has not been approved by the government.

For more of the NBC New York story:

Trade association: India's apparel exports to top $17B in FY 2015

India's clothing exports are set to rise to the $ 17 billion mark in fiscal year 2015, according to the head of a national apparel trade association there, even though the rupee is growing in value and Western markets are slowing,

"India's total textile exports stood at $32 billion, of which apparel exports were $15 billion in FY14," said Premal Udani, chairman of the board for the Clothing Manufacturers' Association of India. "The industry is doing well and we expect apparel exports to touch $17 billion this year, a growth of 15 percent."

India ships nearly 80 percent of its apparel exports to U.S. and European markets, but with those markets weakening, the industry is concentrating on new markets like Japan and Latin America, Udani said.

CMAI President Rahul Mehta said the domestic apparel market is also expected to grow by 12 to 15 percent in the current fiscal year.

For more of the Economic Times story:

Evergreen Marine expects improved profits on cost cutting, higher rates

Taiwan container carrier Evergreen Marine Corp expects profits to improve in 2014 on cost cutting and higher freight rates on the Far East-Europe trades.

Evergreen Group vice chairman Bronson Hsieh said he could almost see "the light at the end of the tunnel," and that he expects the container shipping business to strengthen in the third quarter, driving up sales and profitability for the year.

The company does not plan to distribute dividends this year, after posting a net loss of $49.9 million last year.

Europe's stronger-than-expected recovery has bolstered demand on Far East-Europe routes, Hsieh asserts, which accounts for about 20 percent of Evergreen Marine's sales.

Anchor Chang, Evergreen Marine's chairman, said the company plans to upgrade its fleet by adding 17 new vessels this year, adding between 8,500 and 14,000 TEUs of capacity to the fleet. He said the shipping line plans to retire 12 smaller ships, which will help save on costs, and that becoming a member of the CKYH alliance also improved the bottom line for 2014.

For more of the Taipei Times story:

Body found in main shipping channel of Port of NY/NJ

Police officials say a sport fisherman found a body Monday morning floating in the Ambrose Channel, a deep-water shipping route for vessels that call at the Port of New York and New Jersey. 

The Coast Guard brought the body to the station at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and N.J. state police are investigating.

For more of the Staten Island Live story:


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Top Story

China rejects P3 and Maersk says it’s over

China shocked the shipping industry Tuesday by rejecting the alliance of the three largest global container lines, after U.S. and EU regulators had approved it.

Nils Smedegaard Andersen, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, which saw its shares fall the most in two years after the news broke, said that since the company has no alternative plan it will now "give up on P3," the proposed vessel-sharing plan between Maersk Line, CMA CGM and MSC.

The Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that although the P3 plan would have benefited the three shipping giants, it might be at the expense of other operators, and would "restrict competition" on the busiest Asia-Europe trades. It noted that in "numerous discussions" the shipping giants had failed to prove that the positive elements would outweigh the likely adverse impact. The three companies control a combined 46.7 percent market share, it said.

"The decision does come as a surprise," Andersen said. "I did not foresee problems in China. We only received what I would call positive feedback."

The three shipping lines had said in June 2013 they would create an operational pact to reduce costs on Asia-Europe, trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific trade routes.

"We thought it was a good proposition and would allow us to get cost out and reduce fuel consumption," Smedegaard told Bloomberg by phone. "There was no impact on the market side. We never saw this as consolidation and neither did the U.S. and Europe."

"The surprise here is that China has not approved this plan even after regulators in the U.S. and European Union have given it the go-ahead," said Lawrence Li, China transportation analyst at UOB Kay-Hian Investment Consulting in Shanghai. "And antitrust laws there are tougher."

Drewry Maritime Research analyst Neil Dekker said P3 was so large that plans for fleet deployment and a London control center would have been well advanced, but Smedegaard shrugged it off.

"P3 would have been nice to have but it’s not a must-have," he said. "Maersk is in a very strong position. We are very competitive and making very good profits."

For more of the Bloomberg story:

UPS to start charging by package size in U.S.

Package delivery giant United Parcel Service announced it would start charging by size of packages for all ground services in the U.S. to offset increasing fuel costs.

FedEx made a similar call in May, and analysts were guessing that UPS would follow suit and also start charging by size, rather than weight alone. The change will affect shipping costs offered by huge online retailers such as and eBay.

The new UPS pricing will go into effect Dec. 29, and includes packages to Canada.

The shipping giants have been wrestling with high fuel costs, which hit a nine-month high last week as worries increased about oil supplies being disrupted due to escalating violence in Iraq.

For more of the Industry Week story:

Container volume at ports of LA, Long Beach up in May

Container volume at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rose in May year-over-year, according to information posted by the ports. Port officials say the increase is due to a rebounding economy, as well as retailers who are importing holiday and back-to school goods early in case port labor negotiations fail on the West Coast.

A total of 689,141 containers traversed the Port of Los Angeles in May, up 8.2 percent from May of 2013, according to the port website. Imports climbed 7.5 percent year-over-year to 351,403 TEUs, and exports went up 2 percent.

The L.A. port reported that container volume at for the first five months of 2014 is up 8.2 percent (3,315,788 TEUs) from the same period last year.

Approximately 600,000 containers were handled at the Port of Long Beach in May, up 2.7 percent year-over-year, according to the port. Imports rose 2 percent year-to-year, while exports were static.

Long Beach said its container traffic for the first five months of the year was up only 1.3 percent.

Manhattan to add 9 million square feet of office space by 2015

Manhattan, the largest U.S. office market, will add 9 million square feet of office space by 2015, as projects at Hudson Yards and the World Trade Center site are completed, according to the New York Building Congress.

The borough will develop nine development sites from last year through 2015, said the organization, which promotes construction in the New York City area.

An additional 10 million square feet at six buildings is likely to become available from 2016 through 2018, the group said in a statement.

The forecasts through 2018 include planned towers at 2 and 3 World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, where office leasing has exceeded the five-year average in each of the 12 consecutive quarters, reported real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc. in April.

A total of 24.4 million square feet of new office space will likely be built from 2010 through 2019, more than the 19.4 million square feet added from 2000 through 2009, the Building Congress said.

"It’s a vote of confidence in the market, which we think is long overdue," Richard T. Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, said in a telephone interview.

Port of Los Angeles worker takes bad fall into ship’s cargo hold

A worker who fell 25 feet into the hold of a cargo ship yesterday at the Port of Los Angeles was hospitalized with leg and back injuries.

The man fell into a small area two levels below deck, landing atop 60-foot-long steel pipes that were securely fastened, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The rescue by paramedics took about two hours, Humphrey said.

For more of the Press-Telegram story:


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top Story

China's rejection of P3 Alliance triggers protectionist concerns

This week after China's Ministry of Commerce rejected the vessel-sharing plan of container shipping giants Maersk Line, CMA CGM and MSC, analysts say the nation is signaling the global shipping industry that it is adopting a stricter, more protectionist stance.

Shielding domestic shippers from bigger rivals, the ministry announced Tuesday it would not approve the so-called P3 Alliance on competition concerns.

The three shipping lines had planned to pool 250 vessels on three major trades.
If the deal had gone through, P3 would have handled more than 40 percent of Asia-Europe and trans-Atlantic trade, posing a bigger threat to China's state-backed shipping lines COSCO and China Shipping Container Lines.

Analysts mark the rejection as the first time China has nixed a deal proposed by foreign firms since its anti-monopoly regulator was given greater powers six years ago, and say it shows a strong desire to protect local shipping interests even though consolidation could have been better for the global shipping industry.

"China's rejection of the P3 is likely more an effort to insulate Chinese domestic shipping companies...from competing with a more effective rival than it is an effort to maintain industry fair play, in our view," said Barclays analyst Jon Windham. "The best hope for improved industry earnings in the long-term was from consolidation. China's rejection of the P3 is not a positive step in that direction."

China's shipping industry has been fighting the industry-wide capacity glut that has pushed down freight rates, resulting in deep losses for COSCO and CSCL. Local groups such as the China Shippers' Association lobbied against approving the alliance, because it would give the container lines too much market power and stifle competition.

"This is about an industry which is very important for China, which is the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. It is very important that shipping remains competitive and shipping rates remain low to allow Chinese producers to export their goods," said Marc Waha, an anti-trust lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright. "It is a very strong signal to the shipping industry that they need to be careful because China is adopting a more stringent approach."

For more of the Reuters story:

Matson shipping heir dies at 97

Matson shipping heir and lifelong public servant William Matson Roth died May 29 in a Petaluma, California hospital.

Roth was born in San Francisco in 1916, a year before his grandfather Captain William Matson died at 67. The captain, who immigrated from Sweden as an orphan teen, founded the Matson Navigation Company, started some of the first regular tourist cruises to the Hawaiian islands and pioneered nautical innovations like cold storage and electric lights. Captain Matson also built hotels on the islands, including the Royal Hawaiian.

Roth's father—William P. Roth—succeeded the captain as company president. By the 1950s, the younger Roth was also a top company executive and helped introduce containerization to the industry.

Not one to rest on his family's laurels, Roth dedicated his life to public service. He served as a regent of the University of California for 16 years and ran for governor of California. He was responsible for preserving historic Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, his hometown.

Perhaps most notable was his role as head negotiator for the U.S. in a groundbreaking international trade agreement that reduced global tariffs in 1967. Historians say the deal symbolizes the dawn of an era of increasingly freer global trade. The final agreement, signed on June 30, 1967, included the most comprehensive reduction in tariffs since Western nations began trade-liberalization talks after World War II.

For more of the New York Times story:

Port Metro Vancouver truckers say some firms not honoring wage deal

British Columbia has launched a whistleblower site for truckers who transport cargo loads to and from Port Metro Vancouver terminals, who say they are not being paid the rate they were promised in a March deal made to end a 28-day strike.

"There are some trucking companies that just don't want to live up to the spirit of the joint action plan," said Gavin McGarrigle, area director for Unifor, a union that represents some of the truckers.

Union and independent truckers went on strike throughout March, protesting low per-trip rates and long waiting times at the port's shipping terminals.

The B.C. and Canadian governments came up with a plan to address the drivers' issues that included increased trip rates, a waiting time surcharge to be paid directly to trucking companies who are then to pay that fee to truckers, and extended terminal hours.

Port Metro Vancouver and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation operate the whistleblower service, where truckers can file complaints by phone (1-877-713-5109), mail, fax or online.

McGarrigle said the first waiting time checks were issued on June 13, and totaled approximately $214,000.

"That just gives you an idea of the amount of money these truckers would have been out in the past," he said, adding that while a strike is a possibility, the truckers would "give both levels of government the opportunity to get it resolved. Right now the promises set out in the joint action plan haven't been 100% fulfilled."

Some trucking companies have filed suit challenging the government's power to regulate rates.

For more of the Business Vancouver story:

Britain and China in trade deals worth $24B

Britain and China inked trade agreements on Tuesday worth more than $24 billion during a London visit by Premier Li Keqiang aimed at revisiting economic ties between the two nations.

"Today we have signed deals worth more than 14 billion pounds, securing jobs and long-term economic growth for the British and Chinese people," Cameron told a joint press conference.

The biggest deal was a $20.3 billion deal between British energy giant BP and Chinese state-owned peer CNOOC to provide China with 1.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually over 20 years, starting in 2019.

Private sector investment group China Minsheng Investment Corporation will open its EU headquarters in London, with an investment of around $2.5 billion in an array of sectors.

In 2013, British exports to China averaged more than $1.7 billion per month. Chinese exports to Britain topped $13.5 billion in 2013 to 2014.

Britain and China have been strained since British Prime Minister David Cameron met with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in 2012.

For more of the Channel News Asia story:

8 dead, 28 missing after boat carrying Indonesian workers sinks

An overcrowded wooden boat taking Indonesians home from their Malaysian jobs sank in a storm off Malaysia's west coast Wednesday, leaving 28 people missing and eight dead, Malaysian officials said. At least 61 people survived.

A maritime agency official said the boat capsized just after midnight about 2 nautical miles from Kuala Lumpur, while trying to leave Malaysia illegally for Aceh province in Indonesia.

Tens of thousands of Indonesians work without legal permits on plantations and in other industries in Malaysia, traveling between countries by crossing the narrow Strait of Malacca, often in poorly maintained boats.

The boat's capacity was 50-60, but it was believed to be carrying 97 people.

For more of the US News and World Report story:


Submit Your Press
Releases Here!