Two TIGERs apparently weren’t enough, so get ready for the third round of the popular U.S. transportation funding program that will dole out another $527 million on top of the $2.1 billion that has already reportedly been invested in 126 projects.
The next round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program is expected to draw a lot of interest, according to the department’s chief.
“Now, we expect these dollars to be in high demand. During the previous two rounds, D.O.T. received more than 2,500 applications requesting more than $79 billion for transportation projects across the country,” said U.S.D.O.T. Secretary Ray LaHood in a press release.
The Secretary said projects would be chosen based on their ability to: contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the U.S.; upgrade the safety and quality of existing transportation infrastructure and facilities; increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and improve the quality of life in communities through better transportation choices and connections.
Airplanes, autos, and oil drilling equipment led factor-order purchases by U.S. businesses in May, rising 0.8 percent after a revised drop of 0.9 percent in April.
Aircraft orders increased a whopping 36.5 percent, while autos and auto parts orders inched up 2 percent.
Purchases of computers and related office equipment, a measure of business investment, ticked up at 1.6 percent, after a dip of 0.4 percent in April.
U.S. exports supported more jobs in 2010
U.S. exports supported an estimated 9.2 million jobs in 2010, up from 8.7 million in 2009, according to a report released by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.
For every billion dollars of exports, over 5,000 jobs are supported, according to the Commerce report.
“The exports surge in 2010 supported an additional half million jobs for U.S. workers – growth critical to America’s economic recovery,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in a statement.
“It’s easy to understand why it’s so important to reach President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015 and doing more than ever to help U.S. businesses reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders,” Secretary Locke said.
The Commerce report shows 21 states each counted over 100,000 jobs supported by manufactured exports in 2009, with two states registering more than a half-million – California at 616,500 jobs, and Texas at 538,500 jobs.
“As we continue to make progress in reaching the goals of the President’s National Export Initiative, we are confident that the number of jobs supported by exports will continue to rise,” said Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade.
“More businesses are reaching customers in foreign markets and seeing their sales rise which leads to more good-paying jobs in the United States,” Sánchez said.
The value of exports that support one job was $181,000 in 2010, an increase of $17,000, or 10 percent from the 2009 figure, as export prices and productivity have strengthened, Commerce said of the report’s findings.
Retailers lure customers with gas deals
High gas prices have spurred some retailers to offer some stimulus to shoppers.
The U.S. Southeast grocery chain, Publix, is offering $50 gas cards for $40, and customers of drug store chain CVS can get a $10 gas card for a minimum purchase of $30 on certain products, according to a New York Times report.
Wal-Mart announced recently that its customers in 18 states can save 10 cents a gallon at Wal-Mart and Murphy gas stations if any of the Wal-Mart cards are used.
Retailers want to fill their parking lots on weekends, when most people choose where, and how much they drive.
“When you start to see weekend pumping taking a hit, retailers want to do something to combat that, said Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors Spending Pulse, which assembles a weekly gas index.
Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk Group announced it has joined the World Ocean Council – an alliance of companies, associations and others involved in environmental sustainability and stewardship of global oceans.
“The oceans are core to our activities in shipping and energy. We are pleased to join this forum which provides an important collaborative platform for sustainable advancement,” said John Kornerup Bang, lead advisor on climate and environment for the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group in a statement.
The World Ocean Council describes itself as “building an alliance of companies, associations and individuals to create the platform for developing science-based solutions to the collective ocean environmental challenges facing the ocean business community.”
The WOC says it will be “the eyes, ears and voice in the ocean sustainability policy…and processes and catalyze ocean business community action on priority issues.”
“We are excited to welcome A.P. Moller - Maersk to the growing ocean business alliance on corporate ocean responsibility,” said Paul Holthus, executive director of WOC.
WTO says some of China’s export restrictions violate trade rules
In a response to complaints by the European Union, Mexico and the United States, the World Trade Organization has said that China's restrictions on the export of nine industrial raw materials violates international trade rules.
The materials are bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorous and zinc.
The typical buyers of these raw materials are chemical and steel companies.
The E.U., Mexico and U.S. could impose tariffs on Chinese goods in retaliation if China doesn't respond accordingly, and it could be years before China itself agrees to remove the restrictions.
Florida governor anoints new private Jaxport bulk terminal
The ceremony for a $100 million, 110-acre private marine terminal was held this week in Jacksonville, Florida, attended by the state’s Governor Rick Scott.
The three berths at Keystone Terminal off Tallyrand will handle coal, scrap metal, wood pellets and associated bulk cargoes.
"There will be manufacturing plants of biomass or wood pellets that will be out in the areas. Each one of those plants will create so many jobs at the line plant. In turn, those pellets and other materials will be shipped of the Keystone terminal," said Keystone CEO Tom Scholl in a First Coast News story.
The terminal’s initial tenant is Vulcan Materials, a construction materials company.
Cargo plane crashes in Afghanistan, nine crew dead
A Silk Way Airlines cargo plane that had been chartered by Russian troops in Afghanistan crashed north of Kabul early today, killing all nine crewmembers on board, according to news reports out of the region.
"On July 6, at 0010 Kabul time, an Il-76 cargo plane belonging to Silk Way Airlines and heading from Baku to Bagram, crashed 25 kilometers from Kabul," AZAL said in a statement.
"According to preliminary information, the crash may have been the result of a collision with an unknown object," the statement went on to say.
A rescue team reportedly recovered remains of eight crewmembers. The rescue team said it was impossible for the ninth person to have survived.
"There was a big explosion when the aircraft hit the mountains late last night," said Abdul Haleem, district governor of Siagerd in Parwan Province in a Reuters report.
Report: Containerized overcapacity amid freight rate drop
New shipping tonnage is hitting the world’s waves despite a decline in freight rates, according to a Bloomberg report.
The total capacity of idled ships is at approximately 80,000 containers, the lowest such level since just before the recession that started in late 2008, according to Paris-based shipping consultancy Alphaliner.
Presently, about 45 percent of cargoes to Europe from Asia are being shipped at a loss, says the Nordea Bank AB. Containerized capacity in that tradelane would need be cut by up to 10 percent in order to balance out supply and demand, the bank said.
“Rates are really bad,” said Torkel Aaberg of Oslo-based fund manager KLP Asset Management in the Bloomberg report. KLP has about $3.3 million worth of shares in Maersk and said it is under-weighting that stock.
“Every shipping line wants the other ones to cut capacity first” said Rahul Kapoor, a container analyst at RS Platou Markets AS.
Freight rates have declined as much as 60 percent from March 2010, according to Alphaliner. In June, a twenty-foot container from Asia to Northern Europe went for $850, as opposed to over $2,000 15 months earlier.
However, the reported difference between now and 2009’s deep recession is that 2011’s container-shipping volume has been projected to increase from between 6 and 8 percent, showing a market that is in growth mode comparatively.
Although, new container-ships will add 9 percent to global capacity this year, which the shipping lines had reportedly hoped would prepare them for the third quarter’s peak shipping season, according to Finn Bjarke, an analyst with Nordea Bank.
Dismissed ABF lawsuit against Teamsters, YRC affiliates overturned
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision to dismiss trucking company ABF’s $750 million lawsuit that alleged Teamsters and subsidiaries of competitor YRC violated a collective bargaining agreement.
The Court of Appeals panel overruled District Judge Susan Webber Wright’s dismissal last year of Forth Worth-based ABF Freight System's lawsuit on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was based on the grounds that the Teamsters negotiated amendments to the National Master Freight Agreement that ABF alleged gave the YRC subsidiaries unfair competitive advantage, reportedly involving wage and benefit reductions.
Port of Seattle awarded for environmental programs by AAPA
The Port of Seattle announced that the American Association of Port Authorities awarded two of the Pacific Northwest port’s environmental programs.
The AAPA’s 2011 Environmental Improvement Awards competition honored the Port of Seattle for “stakeholder awareness, education, and involvement in the Terminal 117 cleanup process,” in addition to the Comprehensive Environmental Management award for their implementation of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy.
The Northwest Clean Air Strategy is a joint effort between the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Port Metro Vancouver, B.C to reduce emissions from shipping operations. The Port of Seattle said it was singled out by the AAPA for the Comprehensive Environmental Management award for implementing the short-term (2010) goals of the strategy, which includes its clean truck program that was launched in January.
The port’s clean truck program includes scrapping older, dirtier trucks and offering financial assistance to truckers to obtain newer, cleaner models.
The port said it was also recognized for its clean fuel incentive program for shipping lines. The port said it offers financial incentive to lines that use low-sulfur fuels while at berth. ABC Fuels just celebrated its 800th vessel call, and says it has removed approximately 500 metric tons of sulfur emissions from Seattle's harbor.
The Terminal 117 cleanup is a joint project between the port and the City of Seattle that the port said is a major cleanup project in the middle of a residential area.
Massport requests release from last 9/11 wrongful death suit
The Massachusetts Port Authority has requested it be released from the last pending wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The suit was filed by the mother of a Boston man who died in the attacks, and is based on the hijackers being able to board United Airlines Flight 175 in Boston due to alleged negligence by United Airlines and Massport, the latter of which operates Logan International Airport.
It has been reported that Massport’s filing last week contends the airport had no role in screening passengers and no "causal connection" to the attacks.
Report: Shipping line says pirates fired rocket launcher at tanker off Yemen
The Greek shipping company that operates the tanker that caught fire this week with 141,000 metric tons of fuel oil onboard off the coast of Yemen alleges Somali pirates fired at the vessel with a rocket-launcher.
The tanker Brillante Virtuoso’s operator, Central Mare Inc said through its public relations firm that the fire does not threaten the ship’s oil.
The tanker was reportedly attacked on Wednesday about 20 miles from the Port of Aden, and once the fire broke out from the attack, the pirates gave up on the hijacking effort.
All 26 Filipino crew reportedly abandoned ship and were picked up from a life raft.