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Summary for June 25 - June 29, 2007:

Monday, June 25, 2007

New CEO at Moller-Maersk

Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk A/S Jun 22 announced that CEO Jess Soederberg will be replaced by Carlsberg Chief Exec Nils Smedegaard Andersen later this year.

Smedegaard Andersen will take over the world’s biggest container-shipping company — the Copenhagen-based Maersk-Sealand — on Dec 1, said the group.

Jess Soederberg, previously slated to retire in 2009, will leave his post on the same date, the group added.

Smedegaard Andersen, 48, has been heading Carlsberg since 2001.

“I am leaving a company in very good shape,” Smedegaard Andersen said. “It could have gone on for many years if it wasn’t for this new opportunity at AP Moller-Maersk, which I regard as a very exciting challenge at the right time of my life.”

Smedegaard Andersen also will step down from the shipping group’s executive board when he becomes AP Moller-Maersk’s new CEO.

Besides Maersk-Sealand, the group operates a shipyard in Denmark and holds the rights for oil and gas exploration in Denmark’s North Sea continental shelf. The group also owns retail chains in Denmark, Germany, and Poland.

Alaska, IBU reach agreement

The State of Alaska’s Division of Personnel and Labor Relations Jun 21 announced that a one-year collective bargaining agreement has been reached with the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (IBU).

IBU is the maritime division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union (ILWU). The agreement covers the period Jul 1, 2007, through Jun 30, 2008, said the announcement.

Dianne Kiesel, director, Alaska Division of Personnel and Labor Relations, noted that “We are very pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the IBU.”

Kiesel outlined major points in the agreement. Salaries will increase 3% Jul 1, 2007, and the state’s contribution for health insurance will be $852 monthly, according to the report.

Annette Kreitzer, commissioner, Dept. of Administration, said, “Having a contract that recognizes the hard work of those represented by the maritime units is important for the state as well as the Alaska Marine Highway System.”

Also in the agreement is a provision for the state of Alaska to initiate a program for the initial Transportation Worker Identification Card certification, according to the announcement.

Barnacle-busting paint coming

Scientists have developed a novel way to combat one of the world’s stickiest and most expensive maritime problems: the encrusting of ships’ hulls by algae and barnacles.

The news was announced at the EuroNanoForum, held Jun 19-21, 2007, in Dusseldorf, Germany. The theme of this year’s conference was “Nanotechnology in Industrial Applications.”

A special coating, using nanotechnology, that is engineered to a scale of a millionth of a millimeter will keep organisms from adhering to the hull, said the announcement.

“We badly need a new anti-fouling agent, and nanotechnology will provide it,” said Frederic Luizi, research director of Nanocyl, a member of the European consortium Ambio.

The process incorporates carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders of carbon, each a thousand times thinner than a human hair, into paints, thus creating a material that stops organisms sticking to hulls, according to the announcement.

“Nanotubes disrupt the paint surface at the molecular level so the glue molecules cannot operate effectively. When the ship moves, the organisms are swept away,” said Professor James Callow, the consortium's coordinator.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

POLB completes $65mn traffic project

The Port of Long Beach Jun 25 celebrated faster commutes and reduced air pollution at the dedication of the $65mn Ocean Blvd. improvement project on Terminal Island.

“Thanks to the elimination of two traffic signals on the important port-area thoroughfare, commuting between Long Beach and San Pedro has dramatically improved,” said the port.

The project provides a new, elevated interchange between Ocean Blvd. and the Terminal Island Freeway, a major improvement for a busy juncture that handles about 50,000 vehicles each day, said the port.

The centerpiece of the project is a new, raised Ocean Blvd., which allows for non-stop east-west travel, said the port.

The improved roadway “is saving motorists five to 10 minutes from their drive each way across Terminal Island,” said Harbor Commission President James Hankla. “Cargo trucks move through here much more easily. We’ve cut the unnecessary idling at the stoplights. The economic benefits of the time and fuel savings add up to nearly $30mn a year.”

It is the port’s first major “Green Port” infrastructure improvement project, of many more to come, Hankla said.

GPA elects chairman, approves $57mn for cranes

The Board of Directors of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Jun 25 elected Stephen S. Green of Savannah to serve as chairman of the board.

Green was first appointed to the Board of Directors in July 2004 by Gov. Sonny Perdue and previously served as vice chairman.

He is the president and CEO of Stephen Green Properties, a commercial real estate investment and development corporation.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Georgia,” said Green.

“As the fastest growing port in the US,” said Green, “the GPA is not only creating jobs and economic opportunities faster than any other port, but also has increased infrastructure and planning challenges coming this year.”

“GPA’s number one priority is clearly the deepening of the Savannah River channel,” added Green.

Green has served on numerous professional, civic, and charitable boards and organizations, said the port authority.

In other action, the Board of Directors approved contracts of $57.2mn to purchase additional container-handling equipment.

The purchases include four additional ship-to-shore container cranes and 14 rubber-tired gantry cranes.

DHL offers NY City–Europe overnight express

DHL, the express delivery and logistics company, Jun 25 announced it has introduced “the most competitive service available for urgent next day documents from New York City to major European destinations.”

Customers can now receive next day delivery of documents to nine major business centers across Europe at no additional cost, said DHL.

The service is available for customers with shipments originating from lower Manhattan, said DHL, and begins with the pickup of urgent material by courier for transfer to the DHL helicopter pad in NY City.

Shipments are then flown by helicopter directly to JFK airport and on to flights bound for nine cities in Europe, said DHL.

Available Monday through Thursday, the new service offers next–business day delivery from NY City to Amsterdam, Holland; Brussels, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; London, England; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; and Zurich, Switzerland.

“Customers in New York City with urgent material for their European branches or European customers can now receive the most competitive offering available in the industry,” said Lindsay Birley, executive vice president of International for DHL.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

K-Sea Transport in $205mn deal

K-Sea Transportation Partners LP Jun 26 announced that it has agreed to acquire Smith Maritime Ltd. of Honolulu, HI (“Smith”) and Sirius Maritime LLC of Seattle, WA (“Sirius”).

The total purchase price will be approximately $205mn, according to K-Sea. The transactions are expected to be completed in July or early August, said the company.

Smith is controlled by Gordon Smith, who is also one of the three owners of Sirius and who will join the management of K-Sea.

On a combined basis, the operations will include 11 petroleum tank barges and 10 tugboats, aggregating 777,000 barrels of capacity, of which 670,000 barrels, or 86%, are double-hulled.

The addition of these tank barges will represent a 22% increase in the barrel-carrying capacity of the K-Sea fleet to about 4.3mn barrels, said the company.

K-Sea also took delivery last week of another new, 28,000 barrel double-hulled tank barge. Including the recently announced extension of this program, 10 more double-hulled tank barges, totaling 524,000 barrels of additional capacity, are scheduled to be delivered before the end of calendar 2010.

APM Terminals to lead joint venture

APM Terminals, the terminal arm of the AP Moller–Maersk Group of Denmark, Jun 25 signed an agreement for a joint venture with Dachan Bay Port Investment and Development Co. Ltd. and China Merchants Holdings (International) Co.

APM Terminals will lead the joint venture to develop, own, and operate the Shenzhen Dachan Bay Phase 2 Container Terminal, said the company.

The Port of Shenzhen serves the largest export market in the world, handling 18mn TEUs in 2006 and expected to handle 20mn TEUs in 2007, said the announcement.

By 2011, it is estimated that total Shenzhen volume will be in excess of 32mn TEUs.

Dachan Phase-2 is a four-berth facility with an expected capacity of 3.2mn TEUs. The first two berths will be operational by the end of 2009, capable of handling future generation vessels, with the remaining two berths operational in 2010, said the announcement.

Total investment in the project is estimated at Chinese RMB 7.3bn, according to press reports.

Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zong Heng and Vice Mayor Zhang Si Ping presided over the signing ceremony.

Horizon acquires Hawaii Stevedores

Horizon Lines Inc. Jun 26 announced that it has closed on the purchase of Hawaii Stevedores Inc. (HSI). The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

HSI is one of only two stevedoring companies on Oahu, with a broad range of services including container stevedoring, ro-ro operations, bulk cargo operations, and passenger cruise lines support, said the announcement.

“After 20 years of service to Hawaii, this investment reflects our continued commitment to the islands,” said Mar Labrador, vice president and general manager of the Hawaii and Micronesia division for Horizon Lines.

“We believe in the strength of the Hawaii economy, and we look to partner with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in servicing and accommodating the growth of the Hawaii market for many years to come,” Labrador added.

“This transaction will strengthen Hawaii’s lifeline to the mainland and other international markets,” said Jeff Brennan, general manager of HSI.

Horizon Lines Inc. is the nation’s leading Jones Act container shipping and integrated logistics company with a fleet of 21 US-flag vessels.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ports’ “Clean Trucks” schedule extended

POLB Jun 27 announced that the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will be taking additional time, at least 60 days, to further evaluate the “Clean Trucks” proposal first offered in November 2006.

The ports have received “enormous public response to a request for comments” on the draft plan and need extra time “to evaluate those suggestions and conduct an economic impact study,” said POLB.

“In the interests of fairness to those who offered their input, we need time to evaluate their suggestions,” said Richard Steinke, executive director of the Port of Long Beach. “We remain committed to aggressively improving air quality with a Clean Trucks program, and our aim is to get this right.”

The Clean Air Action Plan calls for a Clean Trucks program in which drayage truck owners scrap and replace the oldest of about 16,000 trucks working at the ports and retrofit the others, with the assistance of a port-sponsored grant subsidy.

The ports hope to present a comprehensive plan to the two ports’ harbor commissions in September.

Meridian IQ becomes YRC Logistics

Meridian IQ, a wholly owned subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc., Jun 26 announced that effective immediately it will change its name to YRC Logistics to “better reflect the company’s expertise in logistics and its relationship to YRC Worldwide.”

“We continue to add to the breadth and depth of our logistics services, and the new name, YRC Logistics, is a clear signal to our clients and the market of our ever-increasing global footprint,” said Jim Ritchie, president and CEO, YRC Logistics.

YRC Logistics, based in Overland Park, KS, will fulfill the global logistics services of the YRC Worldwide companies, according to the statement.

YRC Worldwide, a Fortune 500 company, employs approximately 66,000 people and is one of the largest transportation service providers in the world, according to the company.

YRC Worldwide is the holding company for a portfolio of successful brands, said the company, including Yellow Transportation, Roadway, Reimer Express, YRC Logistics, New Penn, USF Holland, USF Reddaway, and USF Glen Moore.

The global operations of YRC Logistics span 170 offices and 76 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Baltimore port head returns

Gov. Martin O’Malley Jun 26 announced the appointment of James J. White as executive director of the Maryland Port Administration (MPA).

White served in that same capacity from 1999 through 2005.

For the past two years, White has served as senior vice president and CEO of New Jersey–based Ceres Terminals Inc., a stevedoring and terminal operations company with major port operations in North America and Europe.

“When Jim entered the private sector two years ago, he left the Port of Baltimore in the best shape in its 300-year history,” said Gov. O’Malley.

“Jim has a proven track record and will hit the ground running as we work together to build a more competitive and stronger port,” added the governor.

White is a former president of the North Atlantic Ports Association Inc. He is a graduate of Wagner College in Staten Island, NY, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and economics, said the port.

Mr. White began his maritime career in 1975 with Puerto Rico Marine Management Inc. (PRMMI).


Friday, June 29, 2007

Port of Oakland: Truck Tracker goes live

The Port of Oakland, the Bay Area World Trade Center (BAWTC), and private partners Jun 28 announced that a new technology for truck movement efficiency is now operational.

The Advanced Transport Communications System will provide “first and last mile” visibility of cargo containers as they are nearing the Port of Oakland and as they are delivered to retailers and distribution centers around Northern California, according to the port.

The technology utilizes GPS-enabled mobile phones from Sprint, tracking software from mobile workforce software provider Xora, and container-transaction processing from International Asset Systems (IAS). The system has been in test mode since 2006.

Oakland Board of Port Commissioners President Anthony Batarse said, “We are pleased to be the first port in the United States to use GPS technology in this new way.”

This precedent-setting use of technology at the port is one part of the overall Port of Oakland Truck Tracker program (PTT) for improving truck movement efficiency.

The technology is “user-friendly for truckers because it was developed by leaders familiar with the cargo-movement industry,” said the port.

Shippers back US plan for emissions cut

The World Shipping Council (WSC) Jun 28 announced its support of a US proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) seeking more stringent emission limits for ocean-going ships.

The shipping council endorsed the US government’s proposed approach to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which would cut particulate matter and sulfur and nitrous oxide emissions through a combination of new fuel standards in agreed upon coastal areas and new engine system standards.

The WSC said it backs limits on nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to smog and acid rain, and on fine particles that can cause respiratory ailments.

The WSC is a non-profit trade association representing the international liner shipping industry, whose member companies carry more than 90% of the world’s containerized cargo, according to the council.

The IMO, a United Nations agency that oversees maritime shipping, is the primary international body governing the shipping industry on safety, security, and environmental matters.

It is scheduled to discuss the proposal next month at a meeting in London. Negotiations are expected to be completed next year.

Alameda Corridor cargo levels up 200%

Cargo volumes through the Alameda Corridor in Southern California have jumped nearly 200% from the rail lines’ April 2002 opening, increasing to more than 54 freight trains and 13,600 TEUs daily, according to the corridor’s governing board.

The recently adopted 2008 budget for the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) estimates operators will collect more than $95mn in user fees and container charges in the next 12 months as port throughput continues its surge.

The budget, approved 6-0 by ACTA’s governing board last week, also lists $27.1mn in capital expenses and $80.4mn in debt service payments in the coming year.

“We don’t see any major disruptions ahead, but we’ve still budgeted conservatively,” said ACTA President John Doherty. “We anticipate another year of strong growth.”

Currently, the corridor handles nearly 30% of total port throughput, according to the authority.

Capital expenses in the coming year will fund construction of a new link between the corridor and Watson Rail Yard in Carson and a better connection between Watson and the Port of Long Beach, said the authority.