Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for July 13 - July 17, 2009:
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Monday, July 13, 2009

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Ports America tests new hybrid yard hustler

Ports America announced it recently tested a new Capacity of Texas hybrid yard hustler, dubbed PHETT for Pluggable Hybrid Electric Terminal Tractor, at Total Terminals International’s Pier T in the Port of Long Beach.

The vehicle stopped in Long Beach for two weeks in June as part of a cross-country demo tour. The tractor is to be used to move cargo containers at port terminals to and from ships and on-dock rails as well as within the marine terminal yard, Ports America said.

“This diesel-electric hybrid terminal tractor is a charge sustaining series hybrid that utilizes a constant and efficient rate generator to supply power, reducing fuel consumption by 60 percent and audible db by 30 percent,” said Sam Wood, sales engineer for Capacity of Texas.

“At this time, TTI is very satisfied with the performance of the hustler and in particular the responsiveness of Capacity to suggestions we have made for further improvements. Being a steward of environmental initiatives, we cannot emphasize enough how impressed we are with how quiet the machine runs and our good fortune to have access to such an environmentally friendly vehicle,” said Frank Capo, vice president of customer service and sales.

The Port of Long Beach had its technical consultant, TIAX; develop a test plan for this machine to gather engine data for fuel economy and emissions, operator acceptance and service and maintenance requirements, Ports America said. TIAX will survey drivers and maintenance advisors, with the results available sometime in August, the terminal operator said.

IMO meet in London this week tackles ship emissions

A meeting this week in London is expected to determine how quickly the global shipping industry will tackle greenhouse gas emissions from tankers, cargo ships and cruise liners that crisscross the oceans.

What is unclear is if the plan will be robust enough to be accepted as part of a broader United Nations climate pact to be presented in December in Copenhagen.

One problem for the International Maritime Organization, which is overseeing the talks in London, is that developing countries within the organization have said they should not be penalized as heavily as rich nations.

-NY Times

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Israel Corporation subsidiary Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. has received the first two of twelve large container ships ordered. The Zim Los Angeles is an 8,400-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) container ship. In two weeks, the company will take delivery of the Zim Djibouti, a 10,000-TEU container ship, which will become the largest container ship in the company's fleet.

-Globes Online (Israel)

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DOT green lights $386 Million loan for Triangle Expressway in North Carolina

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today it has approved a $386 million loan to build two new sections of the Triangle Expressway in the Raleigh-Durham area.

“This project will go a long way toward serving the travel needs of commuters in key educational and employment centers in this important region.” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The DOT said the loan would help finance the construction of the Triangle Expressway, at more than 18 miles of roadway connecting the region’s interstates and state routes. The project will include the new Triangle Parkway extending 3.4 miles north from NC 540; the existing North Wake Freeway extending NC 540 south for 2.8 miles; and the new Western Wake Freeway continuing NC 540 south for an additional 12.6 miles. The three sections will be contiguous and improve access to I-40 and downtown Raleigh, the DOT said.

Interstate-40 is the only interstate in the region to access Research Triangle Park, one of the largest science parks in North America and home to about 160 companies employing more than 40,000 high-tech workers, the DOT said.

Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are also located in the area.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) will receive the loan under the Department's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program, which makes possible the financing of highway projects with what the DOT referred to as “flexible repayment terms.”

The DOT said the NCTA will toll the new highway to pay back the loan and also is expected to sell more than $600 million in bonds to complete the project's total cost of more than $1.1 billion.

Dubai creates logistics corridor

Dubai-based Economic Zones World, through its flagship entity Jafza, and Dubai Aviation City Corporation have joined forces to create one of the largest multimodal logistics platforms in the world.

The tie-up will create “The Dubai Logistics Corridor”, a transport and logistics corridor linking sea, land and air and bringing together for the first time in the Middle East all of the components needed to create a multi-modal logistics platform.

-Trade Arabia Business Newswire

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top Story

EU and U.S. discuss next steps in bilateral trade issues 

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and European Union Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton met on Monday in Washington, D.C. to discuss bilateral trade relations, according to a joint statement.

The two sides said they were “building on the successful conclusion of an agreement on the long-standing beef hormone dispute on May 13,” and that “both sides agreed to intensify their bilateral engagement in order to find solutions that will bring meaningful economic benefits to workers, consumers, and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.”

USTR’s Kirk and EU Commissioner Ashton said their meeting on Monday included discussion that built upon the MOU signed off on by both sides in May.

The trade heads said they discussed potential ways forward on several bilateral issues “on which we are prepared to intensify our engagement in the coming weeks and months,” including:

  • Lifting EU emergency measures, last modified in 2008, requiring that all U.S. shipments of long-grain rice be tested prior to entering the EU for the trace presence of a biotech rice product approved in the United States but not approved in the EU. Discussions on this issue among European Commission and U.S. government agriculture and trade experts will continue in the coming weeks.

  • Exchange of ideas on potential steps to address the WTO dispute on Section 110(5) of the U.S. Copyright Act, which relates to music licensing.

  • To initiate dialogue on the trade implications of chemicals regulation in the United States and the EU.

  • Discussed the European Commission Trade Barrier Regulation Report on online gambling and its implications for the WTO rights and obligations of the parties concerned.

The two sides said they also discussed continuing efforts of the EU and other WTO members to reach agreement on the terms of the EU’s importation regime for bananas.

“We plan to monitor each of these issues closely, and we look forward to reviewing progress in addressing them in September. Our discussion also touched upon how better to cooperate in preventing disputes and on preparations for the fall meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council,” they said.

CSX Q2 profits drop 20 percent 

CSX Corp. late Monday said second-quarter net earnings were $308 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $385 million, or 93 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items related to the Greenbrier resort, CSX's per-share earnings from continuing operations would have declined 24% to 72 cents. Revenue for the period fell to $2.19 billion from $2.91 billion in the same period a year ago primarily because of a decline in volume and lower fuel surcharge recovery.


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Memphis industrial market awaits BNSF’s $200 mil facility opening

When Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. opens its $200 million intermodal expansion later this year; the economic impact could boost the Southeast Memphis industrial market.

Scott Jenkins, manager of hub operations at BNSF’s Memphis facility, says the expanded operations could start by Oct. 1.

Those same expansions, which include additional railroad tracks and electric cranes for stacking containers, could lure more customers to the area.

-Memphis Business Journal

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Crude shipping could resume out of Cook Inlet four months after volcano

With Redoubt volcano signaling that it's slipping back into sleep, oil company officials Monday announced tentative plans to resume crude shipping and production from the west side of Cook Inlet.

Santana Gonzalez, a spokesman for Cook Inlet Pipe Line Co., said officials hope that by mid-August the first tanker load of oil in more than four months will be able to leave the volcano-threatened Drift River Oil Terminal. That would free up storage capacity for 10 idled platforms in Cook Inlet, allowing them to resume oil pumping.

Chevron had to shut in its Cook Inlet oil wells in April when Redoubt forced a halt to terminal operations.

-Anchorage Daily News

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OOIL revenue dropped almost 43 percent in Q2

Orient Overseas (International) Ltd, Hong Kong's main container transporter and logistics service provider, announced that its total revenue plunged 42.6% from a year earlier to US$869.6 million in the second quarter of this year, sources reported.

Total container shipping volume declined 18.7% year on year to 1.02 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the second quarter of this year, the company said.

The company's overall shipping rates dropped 9.5%, while its average revenue per TEU decreased 29.4%.

-China Knowledge

Puerto Rico to receive $72 mil in water infrastructure improvements

A formal press announcement is scheduled to be made today by Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño that the agency has awarded nearly $72 million to Puerto Rico through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the agency said.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Top Story

Piracy attacks doubled in year’s first half

Piracy attacks worldwide more than doubled to 240 in the first half of 2009, driven by a rise in waters off Somalia, the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center said in a report on Wednesday.

There were 114 attacks in the first six months of 2008, the center said.

A lull in attacks in June due to the monsoon season was broken last week when Somali pirates made four attacks in four days in the Gulf of Aden.

-Reuters India

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State DOT directors go on defensive over stimulus projects

The directors of state departments of transportation from more than 14 states went on the defensive at an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ARRA) news conference in Seattle over what the group termed is their “rapid pace of delivering jobs and highway projects to bolster the nation's economic recovery.”

There are 2,000 construction projects are underway, nationwide worth more than $6 billion, the state DOT directors said. A total of 5,600 projects have been identified and approved for bidding, which means that a total of $16.7 billion will be flowing into the economy over the next two years, they said.

"Some critics have used federal ARRA reimbursement figures to reflect what's happening on the frontlines. Let's not confuse cash flow with real projects and jobs that are now underway in every state," said Paula Hammond, Washington State Transportation Secretary.
States award contracts and then pay contractors up-front to begin working, and the federal government will then reimburse the states, which can take up to 45 days, the group said.

The state DOT directors told the media: "the facts speak for themselves,” saying all 50 states obtained federal approval for half of their federal funds within 120 days of the signing of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The group cited a U.S. DOT report that 51 percent of the funds are being spent in economically disadvantaged areas, representing almost 40 percent of the nation's population. Transportation officials said that with bids coming in 5 to 30 percent lower than projected, more projects could be launched than initially planned for.

The ARRA said it is providing $27 billion for highway and bridge projects to be spent over the next two years. State DOT said, “the recovery program is a good first step; but more is needed to sustain America's transportation system. Before the passage of the ARRA, states identified 5,000 ‘ready to go’ projects worth $64 billion.”

"Highway investment creates more than construction jobs, it keeps our whole economy moving forward," said John Horsley, executive director of the ARRA. "With unemployment in the construction industry at 21 percent, we need to keep our economic recovery goal in sight. We also must move to enact a six-year highway and transit authorization bill that sustains this strategic investment in people and in the kind of transportation improvements the economy desperately needs," said Horsley.

Gasoline cargo arrives in New York

Reliance Industries Ltd., the Mumbai-based refiner seeking to compete overseas, has sent its first shipment of gasoline in two years to the U.S. from its new plant, a shipbroker said.

Hess Corp. chartered the tanker King Douglas to transport gasoline to New York starting June 28, Singapore-based Millennium Chartering Pte., a ship brokerage, reported last month. Lorrie Hecker, a spokeswoman for Hess, and Manoj Warrier, a Reliance spokesman, declined to comment.

The cargo, signaling a new source of global supply, will arrive as U.S. gasoline inventories are climbing and prices are falling. Stockpiles of gasoline rose 1.44 million barrels last week, or 0.7 percent, to 214.6 million, the highest since April 17, the U.S. Energy Department said today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected an increase of 875,000 barrels.


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NOAA scientists find tsunami “shadow” visible from space

A group of scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced they have demonstrated that tsunamis in the open ocean can change sea surface texture in a way that can be measured by satellite-borne radars. The scientists said the finding could one day help save lives through improved detection and forecasting of tsunami intensity and direction at the ocean surface.

“We’ve found that roughness of the surface water provides a good measure of the true strength of the tsunami along its entire leading edge. This is the first time that we can see tsunami propagation in this way across the open ocean,” said Oleg Godin of NOAA’s Earth System research laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, in Boulder, Colo.

Large tsunamis cross the open ocean and stir up and darken the surface waters along the leading edge of the wave, according to the study. The rougher water forms a long, shadow-like strip parallel to the wave and proportional to the strength of the tsunami. That shadow can be measured by orbiting radars and may one day help scientists improve early warning systems. The research will be published online this week in the journal, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences.

Crowley takes delivery of sixth heavy-lift deck barge in Portland

Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime announced the delivery of the heavy-lift deck barge 455-6, the sixth in a series of like vessels scheduled to be built and put into service by 2013. 
The deck barge was built by the Gunderson Marine shipyard in Portland, Ore.
In September, the company said it is scheduled to take delivery of the 455-7 and the barge 455-8 by the end of 2009 - bringing the total to five heavy-lift deck barge deliveries this year.

Crowley said the heavy-lift 455 series deck barges with 25-foot side shells provide both the capacity and deck strength needed to accommodate larger drilling and production units used for deepwater offshore energy exploration and development.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Top Story

Capesize Index spiked in June; fuels concerns over volatility

The Baltic Exchange's Capesize Index spiked in June to levels not seen since last September and more than 10 times the index's reading in early December, fueling concerns over the volatility of such indexes and their use in making supply chain decisions.

According to various market sources, increased demand and congestion at Chinese ports lately driven by speculation that iron ore prices will drop soon pushed the Capesize index above 8,000 on June 3 before dipping and then leveling at 7,500 in mid-June. The index has been below 2,000 as recently as early April and was in the 800 range in December.

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USA Truck revenue fell 22 percent in Q2

Freight company USA Truck Inc. swung to a second-quarter loss as conditions in the freight industry continued to deteriorate.

The company reported second-quarter loss of $1.1 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with a profit of $2.1 million, or 21 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue fell 22 percent to $77.9 million.


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New tax credits could make Port of New Orleans more competitive

Several Louisiana manufacturers said they are considering bringing more cargo through the Port of New Orleans in light of new tax credits signed into law last week by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

House Bill 215 offers a tax break of $5 for every ton of general cargo a Louisiana company imports or exports through a state port. The savings can ultimately make it more affordable for businesses to move products through Louisiana instead of competing ports in Houston or Mobile.


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Hawaii might start shipping trash to Mainland

A Seattle-based company expects to move ahead with plans to start shipping Honolulu's trash from private haulers to the mainland despite objections from the city administration, which may sue to halt the process.

Hawaiian Waste Systems Chief Executive Officer Jim Hodge did not have an exact start date, but said yesterday he is ready to begin and he expects the service to withstand a court challenge.

-Honolulu Star Bulletin

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Port of Olympia pursuing wind energy business

Amid the log piles and two-ton bags of industrial abrasives at the Port of Olympia rests another cargo that port officials believe could be a growing sector for the port’s marine terminal.

That cargo, currently stored near the marine terminal warehouse, are 92 sets of wind turbine blades bound for an electricity-generating wind farm in Vantage.

The port has imported 125-foot-long blades for about the past four years and potentially is poised to do more business based on the number of wind farms along Interstate 90 under development, port marketing staff told the port commission this week.

-The Olympian

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Turkish shipowner negotiates with pirates for 23-man crew

The owner of a Turkish ship seized off Somalia was negotiating with pirates on a ransom to secure the release of the vessel and its 23-man Turkish crew, a company lawyer said Thursday.

The Horizon 1 was seized July 8 when it was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Jordan with 33,000 cubic meters of sulphide.

-Dow Jones Newswire

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Top Story

Nissan begins shipping through Kansas City Southern Railway’s new Texas facility

Nissan will begin shipping vehicles through the Kansas City Southern Railway's new distribution facility in Beasley, which abuts a recently reopened stretch of track, the railroad said today.

Cars coming by rail from the Nissan factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico will be moved to trucks for distribution in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, a Nissan vendor, recommended the new distribution route shortly after KCSR re-opened a previously abandoned 90-mile track between Rosenberg and Victoria.

-Houston Chronicle

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Norfolk Southern to break ground in 2010 for $112 mil hub in Alabama

Norfolk Southern's planned $112 million cargo-loading hub in McCalla already is spurring interest from companies that might set up operations near the site, officials said.

Norfolk Southern, which announced the plans last week, intends to break ground on the project early next year, with completion scheduled in 2012. The facility on 316 acres near the McAdory Elementary School will take cargo containers from trucks and load them onto trains.

The hub is expected to create thousands of jobs if distribution companies set up operations nearby, prompting members of the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority to set up a land acquisition committee at a Thursday meeting.

-Birmingham News

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WTC tussle could cost NY-NJ port authority $2.7 billion

A stalemate between developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over financing new skyscrapers at Manhattan’s World Trade Center site may cost the agency as much as $2.7 billion, two people familiar with matter said.

Lost ground rent may total about $1 billion, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about estimates devised by the city. There may be infrastructure expenses of up to $1.1 billion and another $600 million to build retail stores that could serve as the bases for future towers.


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Alaska Railroad has laid off 100; business down 23 percent

The Alaska Railroad says it's being hurt by a drop in shipments from the Flint Hills refinery in North Pole.

The refinery accounts for 35 percent of the railroad's revenue. Flint Hills officials say the decline is related to a drop in demand for jet fuel at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport due to the slow economy.

The railroad says the loss of business has led to layoffs.

"We have seen a substantial decrease in the product that's being moved out of North Pole, which has a direct impact on the Alaska Railroad," said Tim Thompson, director of external affairs. "We have probably eliminated over 100 positions at the Alaska Railroad because we've seen a real decline in the amount of movement and amount of product that's coming out of there."

The railroad says it fears the decline in shipments has not reached bottom. In the last fiscal year ending June 30, the airport reported a 23 percent drop in cargo traffic.

-KTUU TV (Anchorage)

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NYKCool AB taps Jeppesen Marine’s VVOS

Jeppesen Marine announced it has signed a contract agreement with NYKCool AB to install its Vessel and Voyage Optimization Solution (VVOS) aboard a class of refrigeration carriers trading from the Caribbean and Central America to Northern Europe.

Jeppesen Marine said it would install an on-board VVOS workstation connected to the ships’ communication network, plus a solid-state motion sensor to monitor and record ship motions, and an office program for fleet tracking, performance analysis, and monitoring. As additional support, Jeppesen Marine said it would provide unlimited 24/7 route and meteorological guidance from its Alameda, Calif. office where naval architects assist with technical questions and confirm the integrity of the planned route.

NYKCool AB is an operator of specialized reefer vessels, with a fleet that consists of about 50 ships of between 380,000 and 760,000 cubic feet.

Jeppesen Marine is a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, a unit of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Evans Distribution to open sixth Michigan logistics facility

Third-party logistics provider Evans Distribution Systems announced it would open a facility in Romulus, Mich., August 1, marking the company's sixth Michigan location and eighth nationwide.

"Southeast Michigan is a global logistics hub and many aviation-related businesses are clustered near the airport and its nearby transportation corridors," said Evans Distribution Systems President John A. Evans. "With the Aerotropolis vision for Detroit, we feel this is a great time to become part of this logistics support center."

Evans Distribution Systems is headquartered in Southeast Michigan, employs about 300 associates and operates more than 1,800,000 square feet of space in Michigan, Virginia and Massachusetts.

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