Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for June 22 through June 26, 2015:
Monday, June 22, 2015
Texas surpasses California for reefer freight volume
By†Mark Montague, Manager, Industry Pricing, DAT Solutions
While the total number of produce loads leaving California is still likely the highest of any U.S. state, there is a marked shift in demand for refrigerated equipment on the spot truckload freight market.
Texas is now the number-one state for refrigerated ("reefer") freight transportation on the trucking spot market, and by a wide margin. There are three reasons: First, agricultural markets in the Longhorn State are growing more fruit and vegetables, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, and the cattle and meat packing industries in the western part of the state add to that demand for refrigerated equipment.
Second, there has been a big increase in imports from Mexico, including agricultural products. New highways and bridges in Mexico make Texas border towns like El Paso and Laredo more accessible and more popular than Nogales, AZ, the previous volume leader.
After crossing the border into the U.S., the imported produce must be inspected, usually in a refrigerated warehouse in Texas. Following inspection, the route to Midwest and East Coast markets is shorter from Texas than from Arizona.
The third, and perhaps most important reason for Texan reefer leadership is the reduction of 6produce volume leaving California. The Golden State has dominated U.S. agricultural production ever since the first refrigerated rail cars rolled out of California in 1886. In recent years, however, persistent drought and changing water allocation has led to steady declines in produce volume. The drought is expected to incur direct costs of $1.8 billion in 2015, according to a report by the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. That's about 4 percent of California's $45 billion in annual revenue from agriculture, and spot market transportation is likely to bear the brunt of that reduction.
U.S., China, EU regulators agree to more closely monitor carrier alliances
Maritime watchdog agencies from the U.S., China and the EU agreed on Thursday to cooperate more closely to monitor increased alliances among shipping lines.
European and Asian container shipping groups have formed or expanded vessel-sharing alliances in the past year, and the four main groupings control more than 90 percent of the market on major global routes.
"With the continued growth in scope of carriers' cooperation, the authorities considered that monitoring of the sector warrants ever closer contact and better communication between competition and regulatory authorities," the European Commission, which hosted the meeting, said in a statement.
Franceís CMA CGM formed an alliance called Ocean Three in September with China Shipping Container Lines and United Arab Shipping Company in order to save costs.
2M is the world's largest vessel-sharing agreement, combining Maersk Line and MSC. It began operations in January.
A proposed partnership between Maersk, MSC and CMA was vetoed by China last year.
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said it had hosted the meeting with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission and the Chinese ministry of transport focused on increased tie-ups in shipping and regulatory issues related to ports.
Port of Long Beach cargo volume up 6 percent in May
Cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach rose by 6 percent in May, the third consecutive month of growth and the busiest month since October 2007, according to a port statement.
A total of 635,250 TEUs were moved through Long Beach in May. Imports came in at 327,317 TEUs, a 4.8 percent year-over-year increase. Exports decreased 7.4 percent to 135,855 TEUs. Empty containers rose 22.6 percent to 172,078 TEUs.
Cargo volume is up partly due to a stronger retail market, the port noted, adding that itís also attracting new services to boost cargo growth.
Through the first five months of 2015, cargo is up 1.1 percent overall.
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities, the Port of Long Beach reports it will continue to invest in long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.
Maersk to offer weekly Asian service at JAXPORT
Maersk Line will add a weekly service through JAXPORTís Blount Island Marine Terminal starting in July 2015 between the U.S. East Coast and Northern China and South Korea.
"What better way to illustrate JAXPORTís increasingly visible role in international trade than to welcome the worldís largest container line," said Roy Schleicher, JAXPORT executive vice president and CCO.
Maersk Lineís new TP10 service offers direct service from Jacksonville to Xingang, Qingdao and Shanghai in China and Busan in South Korea. SSA Marine will provide stevedoring services at Blount Island.
"We believe our role is to respond to the needs of global shippers who face a wide-range of market and economic challenges," said Michael White, president of Maersk Line North America. "Through our partnership with JAXPORT, we mark the beginning of a new TP10 direct service that provides greater convenience and enhanced transit times for shippers doing business between Northern Asia and South Korea and Northern Florida and the U.S. Southeast."
With an ongoing $4 billion program to modernize its facilities, the Port of Long Beach reports it will continue to invest in long-term, environmentally sustainable growth.
CN Railway makes supply chain deal with Port of New Orleans
The Port of New Orleans and CN signed a memorandum of understanding to develop greater supply chain efficiencies aimed at drawing more container traffic through the port, according to a port statement.
"We and our Port of New Orleans gateway partners have a mutual interest in ensuring the competitive and efficient movement of container goods through the (Gulf) gateway and growing its market share," said JJ Ruest, CNís executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "This MOU will help us advance that agenda."
The Port of New Orleans has an intermodal rail terminal next to its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal that provides on-dock access for all rail shipments. The new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal is currently under construction. The port says the $25 million project, to be complete in early 2016, will result in a modern intermodal container transfer terminal located within the container yard, offering on-dock access and improving CNís link to the terminal.
"We are pleased to build upon our long-standing relationship with CN," said Gary LaGrange, port president and CEO. "This MOU reflects a genuine interest in mutually developing better service that will help us capture greater market share and optimize throughput, with the ultimate goal of providing the best service possible to our customers."
The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, a switching railroad with the primary mission of serving the Port of New Orleans and local industries, and New Orleans Terminal LLC, an operator of the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, also signed the CN-Port MOU.
"The expanded Panama Canal is expected to offer greater freight traffic opportunities to the Gulf Coast," said Ruest. "The implementation of this service agreement should help the Port of New Orleans take advantage of rising trade between Asia and North America, as well as North and South America."
Two missing after cargo ship sinks in Yangtze River
A tanker capsized on the Yangtze River in the city of Nanjing this week. The ship, which was carrying 280 tons of liquid caustic soda, was discovered overturned early Thursday morning.
Qian Feng with Nanjing's environmental protection bureau says they're currently running tests to see if any environmental damage has been caused.
"At present, we have set up oil fences and placed oil absorbents in the water. Once we find an oil spill, we will take steps to clean it up."
The two people thought to be onboard the cargo ship are still missing.
S.C. and Georgia port authorities to fund Jasper terminal
At a meeting last week, the S.C. State Ports Authority and the Georgia Ports Authority agreed to contribute $1.25 million apiece to fund the fiscal 2016 spending plan for the long-planned Jasper County shipping terminal.
The board in charge of the project passed a budget that includes funding further studies of the site design, sediment, access corridor and the channel improvements needed to accommodate mega ships carrying 14,000 or more boxes. The board also agreed to recruit a third party to complete an environmental impact study.
"This was a watershed meeting for our board," David Posek, chairman, said in a statement. "A significant amount of work has been completed this fiscal year, and as we look forward to a new year ahead, weíre well on our way to beginning the permitting process for the terminal.Ē
The 2016 work plan includes geological studies and conceptual work on the terminal design by Moffat & Nichol, and the year is expected to culminate with a permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers for the new terminal and channel deepening and widening.
The Jasper port project was conceived in 2008 for a 1,500-acre site that is now a dredge-spoil area down river from the Port of Savannah.
The site will be charged with handling cargo once the Port of Charleston and the Port of Savannah reach capacity limits. The South Carolina and Georgia port authorities have contributed $8.3 million toward the bi-state project since 2011.
The White House proposed new rules last week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy, long-haul trucks, which prompted a wary response from industry groups concerned about the costs.
The new standards call for a 24 percent reduction in the fuel consumption of truck tractors by 2027 from anticipated 2018 levels. The prospective rules also require an 8 percent reduction in carbon emissions from new aerodynamic truck trailer designs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal would apply to 18-wheel tractor-trailers, buses, delivery vans, heavy-duty pickup trucks and other commercial vehicles. They are part of the administration's larger effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions from transportation and power sectors, and precede a new round of global climate change talks in Paris later in 2015.
Public stakeholders will have 60 days to comment on the rules, which regulators are expected to finalize in early 2016.
Transportation-related greenhouse gases are the second-largest source of emissions after power plants, accounting for roughly 27 percent of total emissions.
Administration officials said the rules would reduce carbon pollution by 1.1 billion tons, conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil and cut fuel costs by $170 billion from 2018 to 2027. But the administration could accelerate targeted improvements as new fuel-efficient technology becomes available.
Industry groups expressed concern that the proposal, which would increase the cost of a tractor-trailer rig by $10,000 to $12,000, would be a burden to vehicle manufacturers, fleet operators and dealers.
The American Trucking Associations said the new goals could lead to the development of unreliable technology that could slow the intended environmental benefits.
"To prevent this, truck and engine manufacturers will need adequate time to develop solutions to meet these new standards," said Glen Kedzie, ATA's energy and environmental counsel.
Slow westbound volumes have brought about the worst spot market rate collapse that this trade has experienced, according to the latest issue of Container Insight by Drewry Maritime Research.
Headhaul volumes since Chinese New Year in February have stayed down, and have not been strong enough to drive up vessel utilization factors from the low eighties. Drewry says first quarter volumes showed a 1 percent deficit year-over-year, primarily due to the weakening of the euro against the dollar during the last three months of 2014.
The sharp fall in Russian imports is one of the main causes of havoc on this route, Drewry says, due to a weakened rouble and trade sanctions that have heavily impacted consumer spending. In the first three months of this year, Asian goods bound for Russia collapsed by one third to 105,050 TEUs from 156,500 TEUs a year before.
Since the end of February, the researchers say the collapse in the westbound spot rate market has been disastrous. In the build-up to Chinese New Year, rates had climbed to over $2,000 per-FEU, but then in the ensuing eleven weeks they dropped to as low as $500. Very fleetingly, after the Golden Week holidays in Asia in early May, the rates rose to a respectable $1,600 but by the end of the month, levels of $500 were again back in the market.
The June 1 general rate increase was quickly put to the sword and the carriersí account executives are now being asked to sell a July 1 rate hike of anything between $1,800 and $2,600 per-FEU, the largest GRI ever seen on this trade.
The carriers pricing model is almost completely breaking down, Drewry says. Major importers who signed 2015 annual service contracts at $1,600 or more per-FEU are crying foul, since within only a couple of months of signing the new agreements, carriers have been offering rates to walk-in customers that amount to some $1,000 less that their own BCO rate. Some BCO contracts have been renegotiated and some have been given the open market rate on a temporary basis.
Drewry concludes that stability on this route looks a ways off since the shipping lines are unlikely to experience full ships in the third quarter ó the one ingredient vital to GRI success ó unless some capacity is sacrificed.
Yusen and Mazda form automotive spare parts logistics service
Mazda Logistics and Yusen (MLYA), a joint venture formed by Yusen Logistics and Mazda Logistics, has started providing full-scale automotive spare parts logistic services on behalf of Mazda Motor Corporation in Thailand, according to a Yusen Logistics statement.
MLYA was formed to provide automotive spare parts logistic services on behalf of Mazda in roughly 100 countries. These include Thailand, other ASEAN countries, and Australia. Its main operations include warehouse management of automotive parts (storage, packing, picking, loading/unloading), distribution, customs clearance, import/export, air and ocean freight forwarding, the statement said. It provides logistics services from its warehouse in the Bangna district of Bangkok.
"In the automotive business, enhancement of the system for spare parts provision is an extremely important factor that significantly affects the image and reliability of a brand," said Hidesuke Takesue, president of Mazda Sales (Thailand). "With the full-scale operations of MLYA, we have implemented a structure that can meet and exceed customer expectations in the rapidly expanding Asia and Oceania region."
Yusen said it would combine its expertise in automotive logistics with its warehouse and global network, one of the largest among Japanese logistics companies, offering tailored automotive logistics services that suit the needs of customers.
Japanese shipping company canít find black box data for inquest
A Japanese shipping company that had three employees die in six weeks canít find black box data from the days two men died on board their coal ship, according to a coronerís inquest.
The general manager of the Hachiuma Steamship Company has been forced to explain why it does not have audio and video data from the Sage Sagittarius, dubbed the "death ship," on the days a chief engineer and chief superintendent died just two weeks apart in 2012.
The court heard the company had "VDR recordings" of the day Cesar Llanto, the chief cook, disappeared from the ship as it travelled through the Coral Sea on August 30, but it was missing audio. Just two weeks later, the giant coal shipís chief engineer, Hector Collado, died while the ship was docking at Newcastle.
The manís family was initially told he had fallen over a railing, but a post-mortem revealed he had multiple fractures to his legs, severe bruising and a head wound that officials believe were likely inflicted before the fall.
Pharma Supply Chains: The Logistics of Saving Lives
By William DiBenedetto, CBN Feature Editor
While most supply chains have their unique and complicated aspects, the stakes are much higher when it comes to handling pharmaceuticals.
In many cases lives are at stake and time is ultra-critical ó the medicine or equipment simply canít be late, adulterated or compromised by poor handling, inadequate packaging or improper temperatures. And pharmaceutical companies are constantly expanding into emerging markets, so logistics providers must be agile enough to scale up and/or scale down as products go on or off the market.
For pharma, itís not just logistics ó itís also about having a deep understanding of all the factors and nuances that go into a successful pharmaceutical supply chain.
Characteristics that make for good supply chains in general are not drastically different in the healthcare industry, but "they are a bit stricter and more quality focused since the implications of errors are more severe," according to Dirk Van Peteghem, marketing vice president of healthcare logistics at UPS.
In a recent interview with Cargo Business News, Peteghem noted that focusing on knowledge, visibility, quality and control are vital in healthcare. Itís essential to know "where your product is, and where your temperature ranges are for a lot of pharma products ó so the monitoring ability is a very key aspect of the pharmaceutical supply chain."
UPS studies temperature profiles, using technology to monitor temperatures throughout the network. By tracking this massive amount of data, Peteghem says "you can start optimizing temperature-sensitive packaging for pharma products," adjusting logistics accordingly.
He noted trust and collaboration are crucial in healthcare, and begin by demonstrating that your company features a high-quality supply chain that can handle products in a proscribed and safe manner. "Once you have the trust of the manufacturer, it's a matter of consistently trying to improve on what you've done the day beforeÖit's all about building that reputation, and thatís a slow and difficult process."
That said, innovation in healthcare product transport is difficult to implement. Peteghem reports that many healthcare companies donít want to be the first to try out an promising but untested idea. He said companies like the idea of innovation and a smarter solution, but tend to stick with proven methods.
In terms of IT, he sees no massive changes on the horizon. The industry is trending toward more software-as-a-service, more integration between different platforms and more data mining and utilization of Big Data. "The industry as a whole is starting to collect a lot more data and we'll see better and smarter use of that data to improve the supply chain."
Peteghem says thereís a slogan at UPS: "Itís a patient, not a package." A case in point involves a recent logistics challenge. With Southeast Asiaís flu season approaching, Walgreens decided to donate more than 375,000 doses of flu vaccine to Laos. It was a massive undertaking across five countries ó Louisville to Anchorage to Incheon, South Korea to Shenzhen, China to Bangkok, Thailand to Laos ó 9,000 miles on tight time line. During the many steps of this trip the temperature of the vaccines never varied more than 1.5 degrees.
The trickiest part was the road to Laos, Peteghem noted. In this case it wasnít the last mile, it was the last 50 miles that made the slogan real.
Regulators find no evidence of price fixing among container carriers
Maritime regulators from the U.S., China and the EU have found no evidence of price fixing in freight rates among the biggest container shipping lines, according to the chair of the Federal Maritime Commission. The announcement came as cargo rates on some of the globeís busiest trade routes collapsed for the second straight week.
The Wall Street Journal reports that regulators from the U.S., the European Union and China met in Brussels last week amid concerns by BCOs and maritime fuel providers that new container carrier alliances would eventually control freight rates by forcing out smaller players unable to compete in terms of cost and capacity.
"All three regulators definitely have concerns over the impact of the alliances to competition," Mario Cordero, chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, told WSJ. "But there is no indication that price fixing is occurring."
The meeting came as spot-market prices extended a decline on many global trade lanes that has seen rates fall below shipping companiesí fuel costs.
Data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index show the cost of shipping a container from Shanghai to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, fell another 15.6 percent in the past week to $205, which includes a bunker-fuel surcharge of around $300. That means shipping companies have failed to cover their fuel costs for Asia-to-Europe sailings over a two-week period for the first time in two years.
The alliances currently move over 80 percent of all containerized cargo.
Hanjin Group headquarters raided on corruption scandal
Seoul prosecutors raided the headquarters of South Korean conglomerate Hanjin Group and its affiliates Monday (6-23) amid corruption allegations.
The Hanjin Group holding company includes Hanjin Shipping and Korean Air.
Representatives of the Seoul Central Prosecutorsí Office seized documents and computer discs from Hanjin Shipping, Korean Air Lines and Hanjin Group, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Moon Hee-sang, former head of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, is suspected of influence peddling that is potentially connected to Hanjin Group. He is accused of asking for his brother-in-law to be employed by Bridge Warehouse, an American firm linked with Korean Air in 2010.
Hanjin denied any type of involvement with Bridge Warehouse, noting it was a "separate company in which it has not invested a penny," Yonhap reports.
Truckers at New Orleans port protest damaged goods procedure
Dozens of local truck drivers protested at the Port of New Orleans on Monday, saying they have finally had enough of being forced to transport damaged goods that come into the New Orleans port on ships from overseas.
The drivers say itís been a problem since just after Hurricane Katrina. Instead of there being an area dedicated to handling damaged boxes near the unloading zone, they say they have to carry the boxes to a separate location for inspection, then transport them to a third location for storage.
Darrell Williams says each time, this process takes several hours that they are not paid for. He says thatís forcing them to lose $200 or $300 a day.
Williams says the truckers met with representatives from Ports of America, the New Orleans Terminal, the Port of New Orleans and some of the companies they work for, but that nothing was resolved.
"Basically they said (that) if we don't want to move boxes, then don't come in," said Williams. "We went back and told all these guys what was going on. Everybody's in an uproar."
"The Board is aware of concerns expressed by both the stevedores and the trucking community serving the container terminal and is proactively working with truck drivers, terminal operators and steamship lines to achieve further efficiencies," said Matt Gresham, the director of personal affairs with the Port of New Orleans.
"The Portís Harbor Police Department will provide a safe location for the truck drivers to congregate and voice their opinions and ensure safe transit for all other trucks serving ongoing port operations. All Port terminals and gates will continue to operate as normal."
A mariner working on the Inspiration Lake, a Chinese cargo ship docked at the Port of Longview, was airlifted by Life Flight helicopter to a local hospital Sunday after falling more than 20 feet into the ship's hold.
Chief Phil Jurmu said the ship's crane had to be used to bring emergency personnel over to rescue the crewmember, who landed between stacks of logs in the ship's hold. He described the manís injuries as serious.
ICTSI Oregon seeks tighter port slowdown rules through Congress
ICTSI Oregon, which runs Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland, says it helped to bring a bill to Congress that would address maritime labor slowdowns.
Idaho Senator James Risch introduced the Preventing Labor Union Slowdowns Act of 2015 (PLUS Act) in the U.S. Senate last week. The bill, which ICTSI said is the result of its lobbying efforts, would amend the National Labor Relations Act so that intentional slowdowns by longshore unions would be considered unfair labor practices.
Those violating the rules would face federal court injunctions against slowdowns as well as damage claims to injured parties, the statement said.
The measure would "help ensure that a small number of workers cannot engage in unfair labor practices that threaten our nationís economic prosperity and hold our economy hostage," according to ICTSI Oregon CEO Elvis Ganda.
ICTSI and other port operators along the West Coast grappled with the International Warehouse and Longshore Union earlier this year over various labor issues before a new contract was signed for West Coast dockworkers. During the conflict, the Port of Portland ultimately lost its largest carrier, Hanjin Shipping, due to chronic delays.
The PLUS Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, according to the ICTSI press release.
Singapore port opens latest addition to $2.6B container terminal
The port of Singapore opened the newest addition to its $2.6 billion container terminal development this week, in an effort to accommodate the increasing number of mega-ships plying trade on the seas.
A few of the planned 15 berths in Phases 3 and 4 of the Pasir Panjang Terminal are now operational. The rest of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017, and will raise the portís annual container handling capacity to 50 million TEUs, according to terminal operator PSA.
All the new berths at Pasir Panjang are designed to be able to handle container ships with capacities larger than 10,000 TEUs.
"This project also reflects our philosophy ... always to scan the horizon, discern the trends, plan and invest ahead of time," said Fock Siew Wah, group chief executive officer of PSA International.
The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals recently released its annual "State of Logistics" report, noting that 2014 was "the best year for the supply chain industry since the Great Recession." In his latest post, Wall Street Journal blogger Robbie Whelan outlines five key points from the study to consider as logistics professionals continue their forward momentum.
The trucker shortage stands out as a potential roadblock. The American Trucking Associations estimates the driver shortage to be between 35,000 and 40,000 workers, as older drivers exit the business and arenít replaced by enough younger truckers. The study notes higher wages might help with recruitment, at the price of higher freight costs.
The council said rail traffic increased 4.5 percent in 2014 and is generally back to pre-recession levels, but there is worry that the nationís aging infrastructure wonít be adequate to handle rising demand. In 2015, freight railroads invested $29 billion in infrastructure and equipment, and the industry is expected to hire 15,000 new employees. BCOs will be waiting to see if the investment pays off in performance.
Whelan says the shortage of warehouse vacancies around ports could worsen, according to the council, which could mean higher costs for shippers to store goods.
The council also said that despite a boom in volume last year, airfreight revenue fell 1.2 percent. Airfreight was the only mode of freight transport that failed to produce increased revenue for carriers.
The report noted that although ocean freight recovered well in 2014, last yearís congestion at West Coast ports is still producing a lingering reaction. East Coast ports saw the biggest percentage gains among all U.S. ports, the council found, and itís unclear whether those gains are permanent, or if traffic will return to the West Coast now that the labor conflict has been resolved.
Port of Houston container volume up 23 percent in May
The Port of Houston Authority announced that container handling at its Bayport and Barbours Cut terminals continues to grow at a fast pace, with volume for the month of May increasing 23 percent year-over-year.
Reporting at the monthly meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority, Executive Director Roger Guenther also highlighted $66 million in cash flow generated through May, a 47 percent increase from the same period last year. "We will continue to leverage these funds as we redevelop and recapitalize our infrastructure, to keep up with the growing demand for goods and services in our region," he said.
Guenther also reported that work to deepen and widen the Barbours Cut channel is expected to be complete at the end of July. He highlighted a design contract on the agenda for work at Barbours Cut Container Terminal Wharf No. 2, which addressed issues critical for safe navigation of the larger container ships that will load and unload where the terminal's four new cranes are located.
Officials call for more barge use on Mississippi to ease truck traffic
Local officials, through the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, are pushing for an increase in barge shipping to help ease truck congestion along major interstates.
The Department of Transportation agrees that using barges to carry containers of goods instead of semi-trucks would help ease congestion, especially along major interstates.
"Our cities suffer from considerable surface transportation congestion which is taking its toll on the infrastructure. That's why we must start using our inland waterway system better. DOT's support is a significant step forward for starting a container-on-vessel program on the Mississippi River," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a founding MRCTI member.
Dan Overbey, the executive director of the SEMO Port, said while it could relieve some truck traffic, barges are more expensive and much slowerótaking up to 15 days to travel from St. Louis to New Orleans versus the 11 hours a truck takes.
"It's very hard to compete with highway trucks," Overbey said. "In fact, we looked at traffic that might have gone by container down to the gulf coast and it actually turned out to be cheaper to go by truck than to set up a system to bring in containers, store them, load them on a barge then unload them at the other end."