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Summary for June 20- June 24, 2011:
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Monday, June 20, 2011

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Maersk, Hamburg Süd, Hyundai top new environmental benchmark study

A newly released environmental benchmark report compares the top 20 container-shipping lines based on a number of factors, including technical performance and industry-driving initiatives.

“The most significant obstacle to comparing carriers’ environmental performance is the lack of a common definition of what this performance entails,” said Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntel Maritime Analysis, the producers of the environmental benchmark report for ocean carriers.

According to Jensen, a former Maersk executive, one of the key challenges to environmental benchmark comparisons was a lack of quantifiable information available from the carriers.

“We have chosen a methodology which we believe is helpful to further such comparison. We also acknowledge that other choices could be made, which is why we are very transparent in putting forward both our methodology and the numbers behind it in our report,” Jensen said.

SeanIntel says its benchmark analysis utilizes a combination of the performance of the individual carrier fleets, and their tangible actions to drive not only their own performance, but also that of the entire shipping industry.

All containerized ocean carriers are rated on a 1 to 5 scale in the report, with final scores ranging from 2.14 to 3.87.

The top-3 performing shipping lines based on this methodology are Maersk Line (3.87), Hamburg Süd (3.81) and Hyundai Merchant Marine (3.51).

The full report can be purchased from SeaIntel at its website.

Charleston, Army Corps sign channel deepening study agreement

The Port of Charleston and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed an agreement today for a long awaited feasibility study that will focus on the proposed deepening of the container port’s shipping channel below 45 feet by 2014.

Attended by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Jim DeMint among other policy makers, the port’s CEO, Jim Newsome and the Corps’ Lt. Col. Jason Kirk signed their names to an agreement that reportedly aimed at getting the U.S. Southeast seaport ready for larger containerships calling after the Panama Canal is scheduled to complete its massive expansion project by late 2014.

The feasibility phase will reportedly study the environmental and economic impacts before the Corps can make an official judgment on how deep to dredge.

The South Carolina State Ports Authority has been reportedly interested in deepening its harbor down to 50 feet.

For the full Charleston Business Journal story:

Lynden International beefs up Hawaii business

Lynden International announced it is bolstering its cargo business in the Hawaiian market, which the firm said includes the addition of a new business development manager and strengthening its third party logistics offerings.

Patrick Omura is Lynden International’s new business development manager and is based in Honolulu, where the company said in a statement that he “will work closely with the company's gateway operation in Los Angeles to develop and support traffic between Lynden's offshore partners and U.S. offices.”

Lynden International announced is also adding new features to its ocean freight service to Hawaii including warehousing, distribution, consolidations, multiple pick-up and delivery options plus Full Container-Load (FCL) and Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) options for customers.

Omura was most recently in sales management for YRC Worldwide in Hawaii.

Maersk Line, Ltd. to host cadet trainees this summer

Norfolk, Virginia-based Maersk Line, Limited is an American company, the U.S. flag ship management arm of Denmark’s A.P. Moeller Group, announced it will host over 60 merchant marine cadets this summer to train aboard 28 containerships and 4 pure car/truck carriers.

Maersk Line, Ltd. said in a statement that has hosted more than 900 U.S. cadets from various maritime academies for the past 13 years.

The cadets will reportedly participate in all relevant vessel operations for a period of between 60 and 90 days, fulfilling U.S. Coast Guard training requirement to obtain their licenses.

According to Maersk, cadets who will participate will come from maritime academies that include: Massachusetts Maritime, Maine Maritime, California Maritime, New York Maritime, Texas A&M Galveston, the Webb Institute of Technology and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.

Maersk Line Ltd. says it provided training to over 160 federal and state academy cadets in 2010, with 100 of them from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

Seafarer deaths from Somali piracy acts have escalated

The growing trend of Somali piracy has also meant the number of merchant mariner deaths has increased substantially to 62 over the past four years, according to a group tracking this information.

"62 seafarers have died in the past four years as a direct result of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, through deliberate murder by pirates, suicide during the period of captivity, death from malnutrition and disease, death by drowning, or heart failure just after the hijacking," the group S.O.S. (SaveOurSeafarers) was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

The SOS group said just two merchant mariners were killed in 2007 from pirate attacks, showing how many more such casualties there have been since then.

"It is government inaction that has allowed piracy to spiral out of control in this area," the SOS said.

Over the past four years, the S.O.S. reports that over 3,500 seafarers have been kidnapped and held hostage by pirates.

"Hundreds of these seafarers have been subjected to horrific torture including being hung by the ankles over the side of the ship, being shut in the ship's freezer room, having cable ties tightened round the genitals, being beaten, punched and kicked," said Giles Heimann, chairman of S.O.S.

For the full Reuters story:


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top Story

Sen. Kirk proposes $100 bil “Lincoln Legacy” act for U.S. infrastructure

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) proposed legislation this week - named after President Abraham Lincoln’s role in railway development - for $100 billion in public-private funds for U.S. infrastructure, offering a contrast to fellow Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s (D) earlier proposal that would require a portion of infrastructure proceeds go into repaying federal funds invested.

Sen. Kirk said his Lincoln Legacy Infrastructure Development Act is named for President Lincoln’s Transcontinental Railway Act that did not use any Federal funds.

“Approximately 2,000 miles of track were built in only six years, creating more than 7,000 cities and towns west of the Mississippi. The Lincoln Legacy Infrastructure Development Act embraces the Lincoln Administration's public-private partnership success by lifting federal restrictions, which could mobilize $100 billion for new roads, airports and railroads," Sen. Kirk said in a statement.

"Our roads, rail, transit and airports are facing unprecedented funding shortfalls," Senator Kirk said.

"We should not further burden working families with higher gas taxes. Instead, we should look to our own economic history to find a solution," he said.

The Senator cited the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study commission’s contention that current highway, bridge, public transit, freight and passenger rail funding needs are approximately $225 billion per year through 2055, balanced against current spending that is less than $90 billion per year.

The Lincoln Legacy plan, according to Senator Kirk, would include: removing federal restrictions on public-private partnerships; giving states more leeway in these matters; increasing access to private capital; increases annual Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funding from $122 million to $750 million; removes caps on interstate tolling pilot programs and highway private activity bonds.

Senator Kirk pointed to British Columbia, Canada, where he said, “20 percent of all new infrastructure is designed, built and operated by the private sector.”

“In Australia, partnerships account for 10-15 percent of all infrastructure procurement, or about $38 billion in 2008 alone,” the Senator’s statement said.

Canada’s western premiers back infrastructure development aimed at Asia trade

In Canada, the country’s western premiers issued a joint statement backing Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach who has called for quick development of infrastructure projects that complement the growing trade with Asia.

Representing Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, the provincial premiers said they support speedier approval of major projects that include Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that would equate to 520,000 barrels of Alberta oilsands bitumen from Edmonton to Kitimat B.C. where the product would be shipped on tankers to Asia.

The premiers, who came out of three days of meetings, reportedly discussed the importance of West Coast ports, connections between Yukon and Alaska, and inland.

"One out of four jobs in Western Canada is supported by international exports, and nearly half of Canada's GDP is dependent on exports to (Asian) markets, so it plays a very important role when we talk about Canada's economic future," said Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland.

"All of the premiers at the table are supportive of improving access to the Asia-Pacific Rim, looking not only at pipeline capacity but rail capacity, improving our ports and ensuring they can receive larger container ships," Roland said.

For the full Edmonton Journal story:

Report: DB Schenker Logistics parent might pull out of U.S. market

Germany’s national railway operator Deutsche Bahn is reportedly deliberating over whether it should close down its U.S. logistics business DB Schenker Logistics or restructure it, according to a report in Financial Times Deutschland as reported by Reuters.

Deutsche Ban’s U.S. logistics business is reportedly losing money and the parent company could make a decision on its future by as soon as August.

For the full Reuters story:

Founder of Philadelphia terminal operations firm dies

Thomas J. Holt Sr., the founder of cargo terminals that operate on both sides of the Delaware River in the Philadelphia area died on Monday of prostrate cancer, according to news reports.

Mr. Holt started his marine terminal business in 1967 that to this day is includes the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia run by his son Tom Holt Jr., the Gloucester Terminals where his son Leo is president and is owned by the Holt family, and other related businesses such as refrigerated warehouses that are run by his Michael.

"Tom Holt Sr. was a significant leader on the Delaware River over the last 30 or 40 years. He was a real entrepreneur and contributed significantly to the success of the regional ports," said Dennis Rochford, president of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay in a Philadelphia Inquirer story.

"No one individual has transformed the port in as meaningful a way as Tom Holt Sr.," said Robert Blackburn, senior deputy executive director of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority in the Inquirer story.

"He built an empire. His organization controls perhaps the best marine terminal on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River as well as on the New Jersey side. He was incredibly bright, hardworking, aggressive, and tenacious in pursuit of his company and his family's best interest," Blackburn said.

For the full Philadelphia Inquirer story:

Iran Shipping Lines charged with $60 mil scheme to dupe U.S. banks

Charges against Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines have been filed in a 317-count indictment in New York state court, accusing the state-owned shipping group of trying to move over $60 million through a group of U.S. banks that include: Bank of America, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase.

The banks themselves have reportedly not been accused of anything connected to the matter. Charges against IRISL that include falsifying business records in the first degree and conspiracy, stem from sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in September 2008 for the shipping line’s role in assisting Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics that oversees Iran’s military ballistic missile program.

IRISL had reportedly set up a global network of “front companies” to avoid scrutiny, according to a statement released by U.S. Treasury.

The Treasury Department has also announced sanctions on 10 shipping companies it says are affiliated with IRISL along with three individuals.

“As the private sector around the world increasingly turns its back on Iran’s national shipping line, IRISL’s efforts to evade international sanctions and increased scrutiny have grown more and more desperate,” said Adam Szubin, director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, in the statement.

For the full Bloomberg report:


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Top Story

FedEx profit up 33 percent

Package delivery giant FedEx Corp posted a forecast-beating $558 million in net profit for its fiscal fourth quarter that ended May 31 – a 33 percent jump over the same period a year ago.

The Memphis-based parcel company said controlled expenses and favorable pricing, such as fuel surcharges passed on to customers, were factors in the favorable profit report for the quarter, despite adverse weather conditions, Japan’s tsunami, a softer economy and rising crude oil costs.

FedEx said it expects improvements in consumer spending, manufacturing and gross domestic product in the second half of 2011, and that it plans to spend more in fiscal 2012 than this year – laying out $4.2 billion, up from 2011’s $3.4 billion, for aircraft delivery and investing in equipment, warehousing and technology.

Weyerhaeuser to sell hardwoods unit

Weyerhaeuser has agreed to sell its Tacoma, Wash-based Northwest Hardwoods unit to a private equity firm for a reported range of between $100 million and $150 million.

The buyer, American Industrial Partners says it will keep the hardwood company’s headquarters in Tacoma.

Northwest Hardwoods current workforce is at 1,000, and has seen annual sales drop from real estate’s peak in 2006 at $398 million down to $222 million in 2010, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

Northwest Hardwoods has seven sawmills, four remanufacturing plants and other facilities and in addition to its U.S footprint, also operates overseas in Canada and Asia.

For the full Seattle Times story:

Li & Fung acquires five companies

Hong Kong’s Li & Fung Ltd. the supplier in the world of clothing and toys to retailers that include Wal-Mart, announced it has acquired five companies that cumulatively had sales of $660 million and profit of $80 million last year.

The companies acquired by Li & Fung are: Europe-based TVMania, a supplier of products that include Batman, Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse; Hampshire Designers, the women’s division of Hampshire Group; Loyaltex Apparel; Collection 200, a cosmetics firm; and Exim Designs, a furniture-trading company based in Thailand.

For the full Bloomberg report:

U.S. apparel and textile group to host Customs and Trade policy symposium

The United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel announced it would host a one-day symposium on U.S. trade policy on July 20, 2011, in New York City, that the group says will feature Kim Glas, deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel at the Department of Commerce Office for Textiles and Apparel; Gail Strickler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles at USTR; and, a representative from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of International Trade.

The USA-ITA said in a statement that the symposium’s theme is: “U.S. Trade Policy: What’s New and What’s Next,” and will include discussions on the Obama Administration’s textile and trade policy agenda, in addition to customs, duty-free benefits, pending free trade agreements, transportation, sourcing, and cotton importing preferences.

For more information:

China warns U.S. to stay out of maritime border dispute in South China Sea

Timing may, or may not be everything, as China and the U.S. prepare for talks this weekend, while the former country is engaged in an increasingly heated maritime border dispute with some of its Southeast Asia neighbors.

China’s most recent claim to maritime sovereignty over the vast resources in the South China Sea was what the Asian giant referred to as its “symbolic” deployment of its largest surveillance vessel in the region this week, causing reaction from Vietnam and the Philippines, including a call for the U.S. to get involved.

"I believe some countries now are playing with fire," said Cui Tiankai, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs to a group of reporters this week.

"And I hope the U.S. won't be burned by this fire," Cui said.

On Saturday, Cai and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell are to meet in Hawaii to kick off what will reportedly be the first of several bilateral talks on the Asia-Pacific.

For the full WSJ story:



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