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Summary for July 16 - July 20, 2007:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Crowley stations rescue tug again

Crowley Maritime Corp. will again station a rescue tug at Neah Bay from October to March, the Washington State Dept. of Ecology announced Jul 12.

The tug would help ships in trouble at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and help prevent oil spills, said the state.

A rescue tug has been stationed at Neah Bay since spring 1999, said the state.

In that time it has stood by or assisted 34 ships that were disabled or had reduced maneuvering or propulsion capability while transporting oil and other cargo along the coast and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, said the state.

“The Neah Bay area is sacred to the Makah Tribe, and Washington’s coast is a world-class treasure,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire in the announcement.

“Having a rescue tug stationed in the area, especially during the stormy winter months, means we can work to prevent catastrophic oil spills,” Gregoire added.

State lawmakers approved spending $1.45mn to have the tug available for 168 days through the stormy fall and winter months.

$5mn CN project set for border area

Koochiching Economic Development Authority Jul 13 announced the development of a new Canadian National facility in northern Minnesota.

The $5mn project will include the construction of a new railroad track and customs facility, allowing CN to expedite incoming freight at the country’s second busiest port of entry, said the announcement.

The new customs facility and railroad siding will be developed on 10 acres adjacent to the Koochiching County’s Foreign Trade Zone and business park near the port of Ranier.

The port of Ranier manages the second highest volume of rail traffic in the United States, after Port Huron, MI, and followed by Laredo, TX, said the press release.

In addition to providing increased capabilities for CN and a boost for local economic development efforts, the project will have an impact on the state and the region.

“This project improves CN’s ability to move freight quickly and cost effectively; it’s an important investment that will benefit the entire region,” said US Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota.

Con-way opens 67,000 sq ft center

Con-way Freight, a less-than-truckload carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc., Jul 12 announced the opening of its expanded freight assembly center (FAC) in Montgomery, NY.

The 67,000 sq ft facility, with 63 new dock doors, increases Con-way’s freight handling capacity to 3.6mn pounds per day — an addition of 2mn pounds daily, said the company.

Con-way FACs are strategically located, high-volume freight-handling facilities in the company’s network of more than 440 service centers located nationwide, said the company.

With the expansion, the Montgomery FAC now has 149 dock doors to accommodate the more than 163 trailers and 65 tractors that arrive at the center daily. The Montgomery facility operates continuously day and night, according to the company.

“The Montgomery FAC is strategically located for our operations, with efficient and convenient access to Interstate 84, a major east-west thoroughfare in the Hudson River Valley,” said David S. McClimon, president, Con-way Freight.

Another benefit of the Montgomery facility’s location is its proximity to the New York State Thruway, which supports access to and from the facility and more efficient fleet operations management, said Con-way.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

LA/LB ports/union talks on hold

Labor negotiations aimed at averting a strike at the largest port complex in the United States have been postponed for about a day, representatives for both sides announced Jul 17.

The contract negotiations between office clerks, represented by a unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and their employers were postponed because the lead negotiator for the companies had to attend to a family medical issue.

A port spokesman said operations are continuing Tuesday without any disruptions. The talks are scheduled to resume Wednesday morning.

The 15,000-member ILWU has indicated that longshoremen would honor picket lines if the 750 clerks strike.

“We remain optimistic everything will be resolved,” said Steve Berry, an attorney representing 14 shipping companies and terminal operators involved in the talks.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the fifth busiest in the world and handle 40% of all cargo container traffic coming into the United States, according to port officials.

The clerks work at marine terminals and handle bookings for the export of cargo and other transport documents. Their six-year contract expired Jul 1.

Vancouver: New rules for box trucks

The Vancouver Port Authority Jul 16 announced that it will prohibit substandard container trucks from accessing local ports if they fail to meet the authority’s stringent safety and environmental rules.

The new rules, called “the most demanding container truck safety and environmental licensing standards in North America” by the port authority, will take effect Jan 1, 2008, when container trucks older than 1989 will be banned.

By Jan 1, 2009, the VPA will prohibit access to container trucks older than 1994.

The rules are part of the port’s new Truck Licensing System (TLS) announced earlier in the year.

Chris Badger, VPA vice president, customer development and operations, said, “This new version of the TLS exceeds existing provincial environmental standards and raises the bar for container truck safety at the Port of Vancouver.”

The new truck license includes more stringent safety and environmental enforcement, data qualification, and audit provisions, said the authority

The TLS will include an appeals process to consider older trucks that meet acceptable alternatives to reduce emissions.

Power Freight opens 58,000 sq ft facility

Power Freight Systems, a West Coast third party logistics provider (3PL), Jul 17 announced the addition of a new facility in Tualatin, OR.

The latest expansion of the company’s distribution and logistics operations “doubles operational facility space in the Portland metropolitan area while thinking green and expanding 3PL services,” said the announcement.

The company provides warehousing and distribution, air and surface freight forwarding, 3PL, and 4PL services to clientele in the greater Portland area, according to the company.

The recently constructed facility is located in the southwest Portland metropolitan area and provides an additional 58,000 sq ft of distribution and administrative space for Power Freight Systems, said the company.

When selecting the locale, the company considered accessibility, security, and space and energy efficiency.

“Today, third party logistics providers play a key role in the global supply chain, and monitoring and controlling our carbon footprint is both a fiscal and humanitarian responsibility. We’re proud to be able to grow our business and respect these values at the same time,” said Malcolm Winspear, Power Freight Systems CEO.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tianjin Port Co. to add vehicle dock

Tianjin Port Co. Ltd. Jul 18 announced an agreement with Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) and Swedish carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen to construct a new vehicle dock in Tianjin, China.

The mainland port operator, owning 51% of the joint venture, will build and operate two berths in the northern section of the port, with a total capacity of 500,000 cars annually, according to the announcement.

NYK and Wallenius will hold 34% and 15% of the venture, respectively.

Expectations of exponential growth in the number of car factories through the year 2010 fueled the agreement, said the company.

Tianjin is the largest port for vehicle imports in China, according to the announcement. Annual production capacity of 230,000 in its nine car factories in Tianjin are expected to surge to 1.1mn by 2010, it said.

With the major car markets in Beijing, Tianjin, and northern China, investments in the new berths are estimated to break even in nine years, according to the announcement.

The company also projected that capacity would be 1mn by 2010 and 1.2mn in 2015.

US/Canada truck alliance: Revise fuel tax

The American Trucking Associations and the Canadian Trucking Alliance Jul 17 urged state governments in the US and provincial governments in Canada to revise their fuel tax systems to encourage truckers to use environmentally friendly idling reduction technology.

In a joint statement, the two groups asked International Fuel Tax Association Inc. member jurisdictions to stop taxing fuel used to operate idling reduction technology.

“The use of idling reduction technology could reduce the fuel consumption of a long-haul tractor by some 1,900 gallons or 7,200 liters per year. The tax system has a role to play in accelerating the use of this emission-saving technology,” said CTA CEO David Bradley.

The International Fuel Tax Agreement is the organization of states and provinces through which motor carriers’ fuel use tax obligations are administered uniformly throughout North America.

ATA and CTA have invited the states and provinces to meet with national staff of the trucking associations or with local associations to provide more insight into the environmental benefits associated with this proposed tax change.

ProLogis leases 240,00 sq ft

ProLogis Jul 18 announced that it has leased 240,000 sq ft of distribution space to two customers at a distribution park it is developing in Juarez, Mexico.

Jorsa Logistics, a Juarez-based provider of 3PL services, has leased a recently completed, 180,000-sq-ft warehouse at the park, known as ProLogis Park Independencia, according to the announcement.

EP Logistics, also a 3PL services provider, has leased more than 60,000 sq ft in a separate facility completed earlier this year.

Both companies will use the park to provide regional warehousing and distribution services for clients in Juarez, said ProLogis.

ProLogis Park Independencia is located approximately six miles from the Zaragoza Bridge, one of the primary border crossings between Juarez and El Paso, TX.

Phase II of construction at the park, comprising two facilities totaling more than 212,000 sq ft, is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2007.

The world’s largest owner, manager, and developer of distribution facilities, according to its Web site, ProLogis currently operates more than 1.21mn sq ft of industrial space at other locations in Juarez.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

UPS takes delivery of first 747-400

UPS Jul 19 announced the arrival of its first 747-400 jumbo air freighter at the company’s global air hub in Louisville, KY.

With its global mission emblazoned on its fuselage — “Synchronizing the world of commerce”— the 747-400 will fly on long-range international routes, primarily into the Asia-Pacific region, UPS said.

Regular destinations for UPS’s first 747-400 will include Hong Kong; Incheon, South Korea; Sydney, Australia; and Shanghai, where the company is building its China air hub, according to the company.

Ultimately UPS will use the aircraft on its “around the world” flights with stops in Cologne, Germany; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Mumbai, India, said UPS.

The 747-400 has a payload of 273,300 pounds with a range of 4,400 nautical miles. It has 30 load positions on its main deck and can carry 32 smaller containers on its lower deck, said the announcement.

The 747-400 will be the first freighter in the UPS fleet with a hinged nose. “The aircraft’s nose-loading capability is ideal for air freight, allowing for extra large or extra long shipments,” said the company.

Genco Shipping to buy nine Capesize vessels

Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. Jul 18 announced that it has agreed to acquire nine Capesize vessels from companies within the Metrostar Management Corp. group for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $1.1bn.

Robert Gerald Buchanan, president of Genco Shipping, commented, “Consistent with Genco’s goal of becoming the bellwether in the industry, the agreement to acquire nine Capesize vessels will expand the company’s fleet of high-quality vessels by well over 100% on a tonnage basis.”

Two of the nine Capesize vessels were built in the first quarter of 2007 and are expected to be delivered to Genco during the third quarter of 2007, said the company.

The remaining seven Capesize vessels are expected to be built and delivered to Genco between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2009, said the company.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Genco’s fleet will consist of nine Capesize, seven Panamax, seven Handymax, and five Handysize drybulk carriers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2,559,000 dwt and an average age of eight years, said the company.

RRV&W celebrates 20th anniversary

The 514-mile Red River Valley & Western Railroad Jul 19 celebrated its 20th anniversary with the announcement that freight volume and employment on the North Dakota regional railroad has more than doubled in that time.

Since 1987, when freight operations began in southeastern and central North Dakota over mostly branch-line track acquired from Burlington Northern, now BNSF Railway, RRV&W has handled more than one-half million carloads of grain, corn sweetener, sugar, machinery, and other products, the company said.

Many new businesses have located or expanded along the line, said RRV&W, including six high-volume grain elevators capable of handling 110-car “shuttle trains” carrying grain destined to major markets in the US and overseas.

RRV&W said it has spent more than $20mn for capital improvements, much of it to rehabilitate track with heavier rail. In addition, the railroad spends approximately $4.5mn annually on track maintenance.

“Our success has allowed us to reinvest in these rural branch lines, benefiting customers and local economies by preserving rail service to many communities,” said RRV&W President Andy Thompson.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Congress sets goal to scan all cargo

US lawmakers Jul 19 agreed to a goal of scanning all cargo-containing ships before they leave foreign ports, as Congress came close to a deal on a major security bill to carry out the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, according to press reports.

In House-Senate negotiations on the bill, House and Senate Democrats pushed through a provision allowing a five-year window for radiation scanning technology to be put in place and giving the Homeland Security secretary authority to make exceptions.

Supporters said the measure was crucial to prevent the catastrophe of a ship entering a US port with a nuclear device.

Opponents said a risk-based approach taken in a port security bill passed last year was more effective.

The maritime inspection issue was one of the last big sticking points to a compromise on the bill that Democrats put at the top of their agenda when they took over power last January, said the reports.

Formal negotiations were put off for months because of issues such as White House opposition to certain provisions, said the reports.

PoT slated for security exercise

The Port of Tacoma Jul 18 announced that a full-scale homeland security training exercise will take place at the port next Tuesday, Jul 24.

The exercise is expected to begin at 8 a.m. and conclude by early afternoon. There will be no public or media access to the exercise, said the port.

“This activity will not disrupt normal business activity and should not create visual or audible distractions outside the immediate port area,” according to the press release.

Tideflats-area businesses and residents with views of the port area may observe emergency response vehicles, simulated explosions, smoke, and limited on-water activity on Commencement Bay, said the port.

Scenarios will include both terrorist and non-terrorist activities, and the distinction between the two could be ambiguous, further challenging participants, said the announcement.

Funded by the US Congress through the Asymmetric Warfare Initiative, the exercise is the fifth of its kind to be conducted in the Puget Sound region.

A. Duie Pyle: Truck school a success

A. Duie Pyle, an integrated transportation provider, has seen an upturn in driver supply despite the ongoing national driver shortage, thanks to the success of its in-house Truck Driving Academy, now in its fourth year, the company said recently.

The program is open to those interested in a professional, service-oriented driving career, according to the company. It has graduated 85 Pyle drivers to date and expects to graduate 20 more by the end of 2007.

Pyle’s Truck Driving Academy educates its students beyond the handling and maneuvering of a truck, said. Steve O’Kane, president.

“A. Duie Pyle invests in this training to turn committed employees into safe, productive drivers in order to ensure our customers’ products are safe from pickup to delivery.”

Pyle’s program is provided at no cost to its students, pays full employee wages during the training period, and covers the cost of HazMat CDL endorsements.

“One hundred percent of Pyle’s graduates obtain Class A CDL certification and a professional driving position with the company,” O’Kane said.