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Summary for July 2 - July 6, 2007:

Monday, July 2, 2007

Capt. Gordon Houston named Transition CEO

The transition committee responsible for the amalgamation of the Fraser River, North Fraser, and Vancouver Port Authorities Jun 29 named Capt. Gordon Houston as Transition CEO for the proposed Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA).

The Transition CEO is a newly created role to guide the formation of the proposed VFPA, including the selection of the executive team, said the committee. The Transition CEO will report to the transition committee.

“This announcement represents a significant milestone in the transition process,” said Sarah Morgan-Silvester, chair, Amalgamation Transition Committee.

“Our three port authorities continue to work together to prepare for amalgamation and the tremendous opportunity this brings for Canada’s Pacific Gateway,” she continued.

The CEOs of the three lower mainland port authorities will continue to lead operations of their respective organizations until the date of amalgamation, said the committee.

Federal transportation minister Lawrence Cannon gave the green light last week to plans to amalgamate the Vancouver, Fraser River, and North Fraser port authorities.

“Integration of these ports is a key policy measure under Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative,” Cannon said.

Seaway has “green” hydropower plan

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) Jun 26 announced that an agreement has been reached with Rankin Renewable Power Inc. to develop three “green” hydropower projects within the Welland Canal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rankin “will construct and operate the three power stations, to be located at the weirs adjacent to Locks 1, 2, and 3,” said the management authority.

Under the 25-year term agreement, each facility will generate hydroelectric power in a run-of-the-river manner, using the water in the canal that is normally spilled over the existing weirs.

Power generated from the facilities will be transmitted to local distribution lines owned by local electrical utility companies for use in the provincial grid. Each of the power stations will be capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity, said Seaway.

SLSMC President and CEO Richard Corfe said that the project stands as a strong testament to the Seaway’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Rankin Renewable Power Inc. is a division of Rankin Construction Inc.

C.H. Robinson looks globally

Trucking and logistics company C.H. Robinson Worldwide will focus on global expansion over the next few years, said Chairman and Chief Executive John P. Wiehoff at a conference Jun 28.

The company sees tremendous growth opportunities outside North America, Wiehoff said during a presentation at the Wachovia Securities 2007 Nantucket Equity Conference in Nantucket, MA.

Wiehoff said the Minnesota-based company, one of the largest 3PL companies in North America, will attempt to replicate the strength of its North American business in Europe in the future.

About 3% of the company’s operations are represented in its European trucking business, said Wiehoff, and he sees “tremendous upside” to expanding into the “fragmented” European market.

“We don’t have precise targets, but we do know that over the last 10 years Europe has been growing faster, and the global market as a whole has been growing at a faster rate than North America,” he said.

In addition to European expansion, Wiehoff said the company will further expand air, ocean, and customs brokerage businesses in Asia.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

LA/LB ports continue talks

Negotiations continued Jul 2 between the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach and the Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Office Clerical Unit, Local 63.

The two sides were near agreement on language covering health benefits and welfare during talks in Cerritos on Monday and said no picket lines or work stoppages were imminent, according to press reports.

The contract, which expired Jul 1, covers more than 900 clerical workers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The contract does not cover the estimated 7,000 local longshoremen covered by ILWU’s Local 13, whose contract expires Jul 1, 2008.

Longshoremen, however, have said they would honor any picket lines formed by clerical workers.

“They’ve made some pretty substantial movement on [health and welfare], but we’re going to take awhile and go over the language with a fine-toothed comb,” said John Fageaux, president of Local 63.

Workers are seeking pension guarantees as well as pay increases.

The twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles handle cargo estimated at more than $1bn per day.

Stena Bulk selects Neverfail apps

The Neverfail Group (“Neverfail”), a global software company, Jul 2 announced that Stena Bulk LLC has chosen several Neverfail products to protect its essential data and shipping systems.

Stena Bulk, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and one of the largest petroleum shipping companies in the world, operates 71 tankers through several worldwide offices, including Houston, London, Singapore, Beijing, and Moscow, according to the company.

“As a global shipping company, we rely heavily on the continuous exchange of data and e-mail for all our negotiations, deliveries, and payments — downtime is simply not an option for us,” said Par Persson, IT manager of Stena Rederi AB.

Neverfail Americas CEO Dave French said that “Stena Bulk’s petroleum shipping operations required a low-maintenance solution that would ensure uninterrupted access to mission-critical applications at all times.”

The Neverfail applications will “ensure continuous availability and accessibility of business-critical data,” said the company.

The entire failover process is completely transparent to the end-user and does not require them to restart e-mail or databases. Employees continue to work as usual regardless of natural disruptions or maintenance operations, according to Neverfail.

Chart Industries: $100mn for LNG trains

Chart Industries Inc. Jul 2 announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Chart Energy & Chemicals Inc. (“Chart E&C”), has been awarded orders totaling in excess of $100mn from Energy World Corp. Ltd. (“EWC”).

Chart E&C will supply cold boxes, brazed aluminum heat exchangers, air-cooled heat exchangers, and ancillary equipment for four 500,000 tonnes/yr liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) liquefaction trains to be installed by EWC in Southeast Asia, said the company.

The trains are intended to provide LNG to meet the growing demand for LNG in Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Japan as the economies in these regions grow.

The first two trains are scheduled to come on stream in the second quarter 2009, said the company.

Energy World chairman and CEO Stewart Elliott said, “This order marks another milestone in Energy World’s program for the development of LNG to market in Asia.”

Elliott continued, “We believe the combination of Chart E&C’s position as a market leader in the gas-processing and engineering equipment supply and Energy World’s Asian experience will enable the successful implementation of this and other projects.”


Wednesday, July 4, 2007 - Holiday


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Bob Cox joins Crowley as GM

Crowley Maritime Corp. Jul 3 announced that Bob Cox has joined the company’s petroleum distribution group as general manager.

In his new position, Cox is responsible for Crowley’s 14 Alaska marine and aviation petroleum terminals, which have a combined fuel capacity of 39mn gal, according to the company.

Cox is based in the company’s Anchorage office and reports to Craig Tornga, vice president of petroleum distribution, said the company.

A veteran of the Alaska petroleum sales and distribution market, Cox also brings transportation experience to his position. Prior to joining Crowley, he was vice president at both Petro Marine Services Inc. and Alaska Railroad.

Cox also held various positions with Southern Pacific Railroad including engineering, operations, and marketing.

Cox, a registered civil engineer, is a board member at the Alaska Resource Development Council Board, Alaska Chadux Corp., SEAPRO, Intermodal Transportation Institute, and the University of Denver.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corp., founded in San Francisco in 1892, is a privately held family and employee-owned company that provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets.

Alon buys more pipeline

Alon USA Energy Inc. (“Alon”) Jul 2 announced it has finalized the purchase of the crude and unfinished products pipeline system known as the “Black Oil System” from Kinder Morgan Inc. for $4.5mn.

The “Black Oil” system includes approximately six miles of active and 13 miles of inactive pipelines in the Long Beach, CA, area, said Alon.

Jeff Morris, president and CEO of Alon, commented, “These pipelines provide us with enhanced flexibility with our logistics in the Long Beach area, as well as support the expansion of our California refinery system to 90,000 b/d planned for next year.”

Morris added that the purchase will give the company “direct access to marine terminals and refineries in the LA and Long Beach port area.”

Headquartered in Dallas, TX, Alon is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the South Central, Southwestern, and Western regions of the US.

The company owns and operates four sour and heavy crude oil refineries in Texas, California, and Oregon, with an aggregate crude oil throughput capacity of approximately 170,000 b/d.

WA shipyards to build four ferries

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire Jul 3 announced that Washington State Ferries has accepted a joint plan from three Puget Sound shipyards for building four new ferries.

Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle will be the prime contractor on the project. J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding of Tacoma and Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Whidbey Island will be subcontractors, according to the joint plan.

The state has approved spending nearly $348mn for the 144-car, 1,500-passenger ferries.

“I am committed to making sure that Washingtonians have reliable ferries available for commuting and recreation and am pleased that these competing shipyards came together on a proposal that will benefit our citizens,” Gregoire said.

A new law signed by Gregoire in May allowed the three shipyards to work together in getting the first boat completed by 2009.

Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for the ferry system, commented, “The fact the governor was able to make this happen with these three shipyards, who are historically competitors, is a remarkable thing.”

Washington ferries carry more than 24mn people a year.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Box traffic smooth in August

Traffic at the nation’s major retail container ports is moving smoothly and should hit a record high in August, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released Jul 6 by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.

The only hitch is the threat of a short-term clerical workers’ strike in the near future at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that “could disrupt the ports’ operations if contract negotiations are not resolved,” Global Insight Economist Paul Bingham said. “The rest of the major retail container ports across the country are operating without congestion from harbor to gate,” Bingham continued.

All other US ports covered by Port Tracker — Oakland, Tacoma, and Seattle on the West Coast, New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast — are currently rated “low” for congestion, the same as last month.

Rank-and-file members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63, the Marine Clerks Association, recently authorized a strike, but negotiations are continuing. The union’s contract expired Jun 30.

Goldman Sachs invests big in Carrix

Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners Jul 5 announced it has committed to a significant equity investment in Carrix Inc., the parent company of SSA Marine, Tideworks Technology, and RMS (Rail Management Services).

SSA Marine is the Port of Seattle’s biggest tenant and the largest US-owned and privately held marine terminal operator in the world, with more than 120 marine and rail operations worldwide, including 11 container terminals.

The deal, pending regulatory approval, will position Carrix to capitalize on the substantial growth opportunity in the global port operations industry, Carrix said.

“The combination of Carrix and Goldman Sachs’ skills, networks, and combined resources creates a formidable partnership for growing Carrix and provides more opportunities for our employees,” said Jon Hemingway, Carrix CEO.

Throughout its existence, Carrix has been wholly owned and operated by the Smith/Hemingway family.

The Smith/Hemingway family will continue to maintain majority ownership, said the company.

SSA Marine announced a deal earlier this year to develop and operate a $300mn container terminal at the Port of Tacoma with the Puyallup Tribe.

NJ Maher Terminal changes hands

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Jul 5 announced it has reached an agreement with Maher Terminals LLC and affiliates of RREEF Infrastructure for a change of ownership of the New Jersey–based port facility.

Under the agreement, RREEF Infrastructure will acquire Maher Terminals LLC from the Maher family, which has owned and operated the family-owned terminal operating company and has 23 years remaining on its existing lease.

RREEF Infrastructure, part of Deutsche Asset Management’s RREEF Alternative Investments business, has committed to invest at least $114mn in capital expenditures in the facility during the lease period.

Maher Terminals also will pay $22mn in cash to the Port Authority, which will be reinvested in port infrastructure.

Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “Today’s agreement shows the power of the public and private sectors working side-by-side. Together with Maher and RREEF we’ve created a vision for continued growth at our port and agreed on a plan to finance that vision.”

This sale is the third to occur this year in the Port of New York and New Jersey.