Container manufacturer: Box prices surge, shortage for up to two years
Singamas Container Holdings Ltd., the world’s second-biggest maker of shipping boxes, said prices will rise as much as 9 percent by year-end as shippers struggle for containers amid rebounding global trade.
The price of a standard 20-foot box has already risen 50 percent this year and it may climb to about $3,000 as early as December, Chief Executive Officer Teo Siong Seng said in an interview in Singapore July 16. He declined to elaborate on the company’s own pricing plans.
The global dearth of containers may persist for as long as two years as box-makers have to reactivate plants idled during the global recession, Teo said. Shipping lines have refused cargos and raised rates this year because of a lack of boxes.
Globally, there may be a container shortfall of as many as 4 million, Teo said. The worldwide box fleet shrank 4 percent last year, according to Textainer Group Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest container-lessor.
President Obama on Monday is set to create a national stewardship policy for America's oceans and Great Lakes, including a type of zoning that could dramatically rebalance the way government regulates offshore drilling, fishing and other marine activities.
Calling the BP oil spill ravaging the Gulf of Mexico a "stark reminder of how vulnerable our marine environments are," the recommendations center on creating a National Ocean Council to coordinate regulation of oceans and the Great Lakes, and on a principle of "ecosystem-based management" for marine areas.
The council would include top federal scientists and officials from a variety of agencies, including national security experts, environmental regulators and managers of ocean commerce.
The recommendations embrace a controversial practice called marine spatial planning, a zoning process of sorts that seeks to manage waters in the way some cities manage factories and strip malls. The process could result in confining activities such as drilling, shipping and conservation to areas the planners deem best-suited to each use.
Nine regional groups — consisting of state, federal and tribal officials — would draft plans for conservation and use of ocean resources that would have to be approved by the National Ocean Council. Federal agencies have agreed to abide by the plans.
Canadian Government pitches in $5 mil for BC rail terminal
The Canadian government’s Asia Pacific Gateway initiative announced $5 million in funding for the Ashcroft, BC rail terminal.
“Our government is proud to support this project that will have important benefits for the local economy,” said Chuck Strahl, minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, at a press conference at Ashcroft.
“By expanding rail access and rail service at the terminal, more industries will be able to use the facility, and this will lead to greater trade to the Asia-Pacific,” he said.
The project is meant to provide more train capacity and improve the movement of goods moving between the Canada’s West Coast and the Ontario-Quebec region, the government said in a statement.
The project is also aimed at reducing the number of trucks in the Lower Mainland diversifying the regional economy currently affected by the mountain pine beetle, the government said.
The federal funding for the Ashcroft rail project comes from funds previously set aside to deal with the Mountain Pine Beetle that has impacted the region, which ended in March this year and was re-routed through the Asia-Pacific
Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the Canadian government said.
Explosion at Dalian port causes oil spill
An oil spill caused by an explosion in the northeastern Chinese port city of Dalian has “seriously” polluted 11 square kilometers of sea and “slightly” affected 50 square kilometers of water, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Wu Guogong, deputy chief of the municipal environmental protection bureau.
An oil pipeline exploded late on July 16 near Dalian’s Xingang Harbor, causing a smaller pipeline nearby to also explode, Xinhua reported. The fire was mostly extinguished by July 17, 15 hours after the initial explosion, Xinhua reported.
An investigation team has been established to examine the explosion, Xinhua reported, citing Sun Benqiang, deputy chief of the municipal work safety bureau.
Workers unearth 18th century ship at World Trade Center site
New Yorkers raced against time Friday to reveal the secrets of a mostly intact, 18th century sailing ship found in the muddy foundations of the World Trade Center reconstruction site.
The ghostly vessel emerged from the mud earlier this week, its hull and deck virtually complete and still equipped with an anchor. But with sudden exposure to air wreaking havoc on the wood, archaeologists are hurrying to examine their find.
Construction workers at Ground Zero are used to looking out for grimmer relics from the September 11, 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center towers, killing nearly 3,000 people.
The unexpected echo from Manhattan's early years as a seafaring island -- long before skyscrapers and the business district conquered the neighborhood around Ground Zero -- was a welcome surprise.
Many mysteries remain. No one knows yet the name of the ship, where it might have sailed or with what crew or cargo.
What's already established is that the vessel didn't sink, but ended up deliberately at the modern Ground Zero as part of landfill debris that early builders used to extend Manhattan's coastline into the Hudson River.
Retailers are pumping still more energy this year into trying to get shoppers to loosen their purse strings early for Christmas with sparkly ornaments, holiday music and special prices. In July.
Target Corp. is entering the game for the first time, with a one-day online sale starting Friday on 500 items from clothing to Blu-ray disc players that's modeled after sales typically held Thanksgiving weekend. And Sears and Toys R Us are dramatically promoting "Christmas in July" online and in the stores based on the success they saw in last year's efforts.
Merchants are taking a variety of tactics:
• Target customers can find a link at Target.com for what the chain is calling "Back in Black," which includes Philips Blu-ray disc players for $99.99 and Liberty of London dresses for $14.99. The 24-hour sale, which starts at 3 a.m. Friday Eastern time, will not be advertised in Target stores.
• Sears Holdings Corp.'s Sears.com and Kmart.com shoppers are invited to "Christmas Lane" to shop for lights, ornaments and outdoor decor, and the websites are temporarily offering free shipping on all orders worth $39 or more.
• Toys R Us is promoting its summertime discounts more heavily than last year with deals of the day and free shipping through Saturday.
Canadian mediators step into Montreal longshore lockout
Canadian mediators will supervise discussions between locked-out longshoremen at the Port of Montreal and their employer July 22 and 23, said Gilles Corriveau, a spokesman for the Maritime Employers Association.
The lockout is costing member companies of the employers association about C$800,000 ($757,000) weekly, Corriveau said today in a telephone interview from Montreal.
Russia’s largest private intermodal shipping company celebrates 130 years
The Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO), Russia’s largest private intermodal transportation provider, announced its 130th anniversary this month.
The company said in a statement it has grown from a regional shipping line back in 1880 to a global service reach that includes North America, Europe, South-East Asia, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992, FESCO became fully privatized.
“We are spearheading the integration of Russian transportation into the global landscape,” said Mike Evans, president of FESCO.
The shipping group said it currently offers forwarding services for most cargo types, and is Russia’s largest container, dry bulk and Ro-Ro operator; with a fleet of 51 vessels.
The company said it is also Russia’s second largest private railcar operator, rail logistics provider; and is hauling a total annual capacity of 1.8 million TEUs of containerized cargo in addition to over 6 million tons of breakbulk cargo through Russian ports.
FedEx awarded “Best Global Cargo Hub”
Memphis-based air shipping giant FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has won the Institute of Transport Management’s “Best Global Cargo Hub” award for its Memphis World Hub.
The Memphis hub, the busiest in the FedEx global distribution system, was given the award for “standing as a shining example of delivery and distribution professionalism,” according to a company release.
The judging panel cited in particular its achievement of successfully uniting the disparate capabilities of the city of Memphis (road, rail, river and air) to create the linchpin of trade within the U.S.
Guam port turns back ship with spider-infested cargo
Authorities in the U.S. territory of Guam have turned away a ship after thousands of spiders overflowed from its cargo.
The Guam Department of Agriculture said hundreds of large spiders and thousands of smaller ones were seen when stevedores began offloading insulation and beams for housing units from the ship, the M.V. Altavia.
The cargo was returned to the ship, and the Agriculture Department on Friday ordered that the ship not be allowed to dock. It was last ported in South Korea.
The ship was carrying housing units and accessories that were to be used at a work force village expected to house up to 18,000 temporary workers.
Marianas Steamship Agencies Inc. arranged for the ship's arrival and departure. Its vice president, Richard P. Sablan, said he will follow orders of customs, agriculture and U.S. Coast Guard officials.
New commercial truck orders leapt 93 percent in June
Net orders for heavy-duty Class 8 commercial vehicles reached the highest level of the year in June, jumping 93% over June 2009, according to data tracked by ACT Research Co. (ACT). ACT said Class 8 net orders reached 15,999 in June this year, an increase of 21% over May. On a year-to-date basis, net orders for Class 8 vehicles are up by 50%, the firm noted.
Meanwhile, net orders of medium-duty Class 5-7 equipment increased 74% this June vs. the same month in 2009, with Class 5-7 net orders up by 26% on a year-to-date basis when comparing 2010 and 2009 figures.
Truck freight index increased 112 percent for June spot market
TransCore's North American Freight Index for June 2010 showed a whopping112 percent increase in spot market freight availability compared to the same time period last year.
The spike between quarters this year was also significant. Spot market freight availability for the second quarter was 60 percent higher than first quarter volume and 331 percent higher than the recession-plagued activity of Q2 2009.
Overall, load volume dipped 11 percent from May to June 2010 as flatbeds receded from five months of extraordinarily high volume, TransCore reports.
The spot market is the sharpest rising freight sector in North America, with some lanes reporting huge volume increases and rate hikes as much as 30 percent.
American Airlines Inc. and four of its Oneworld partners Tuesday won final approval that lets them knit a tight alliance across the North Atlantic, at long last.
The U.S. Department of Transportation decision, which will let the airlines work together to set fares and schedules, comes nearly two years after the carriers filed their request for antitrust immunity. For American and British Airways PLC, approval came on their third try 14 years after they first proposed a partnership.
Although Finnair Oyj and Royal Jordanian Airlines were also part of the application, the initial push will unite American, British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia in a joint business agreement.
NY-NJ port authority selling $400 mil in revenue bonds
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which slashed its 10-year capital spending plan by 17 percent, is selling $400 million in revenue bonds amid a shortage of tax-exempt debt from the two states.
The pace of borrowing in New Jersey has dropped by almost 50 percent in the past year, as revenue declined and opened a projected $11.5 billion budget deficit for fiscal 2011 which began this month. The state sold $1.2 billion in tax-exempts last year after averaging $2 billion annually from 2007 to 2009, Bloomberg data and state debt reports show.
The dearth of highly rated tax-free bonds from New Jersey will help attract investors to the authority’s debt, according to Mike Pietronico, chief executive officer of New York-based Miller Tabak Asset Management.
KC Southern could reopen disrupted Mexican rail lines next week
Kansas City Southern says it’s making headway against hurricane-related disruptions of its Mexican rail network and could begin moving freight again on those lines by early next week.
The regional rail operator (NYSE: KSU) said late Tuesday that its Mexican subsidiary, Kansas City Southern de Mexico SA de CV, estimated it could reopen its Nuevo Laredo gateway this weekend and that repairs were under way at the Anahuac Bridge, which serves a key crossing at the U.S. border.
Kansas City Southern has placed embargoes on some freight moving into and out of Mexico since Hurricane Alex made landfall June 30 in northern Mexico.
A federal-level bill to address a U.S. national freight transportation policy was officially introduced today by senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
The Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation Act of 2010 (FREIGHT Act), according to its sponsors is aimed at transportation policy and investment that focuses on the freight network, enabling “goods and commodities to move about and reach their markets.”
The bill calls for the creation of a new National Freight Infrastructure Grants initiative – a competitive, merit-based program with broad eligibility for multimodal freight investment designed to focus funds where they will provide the most public benefit, the sponsors said.
“Poor planning and underinvestment in our transportation infrastructure has led to increased congestion at our ports, highways, airports, and railways, and increases the cost of doing business. If we want to help U.S. businesses succeed and create new jobs, we need a freight transportation system that works better and can grow with the changing needs of the global economy,” said Sen. Lautenberg in a statement.
The FREIGHT Act of 2010 directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a National Freight Transportation Strategic Plan to guide and inform goods movement infrastructure investments.
The Act also calls for the creation of an Office of Freight Planning and Development, to be led by an Assistant Secretary for Freight Planning and Development. The bill instructs the DOT to develop baselines, tools and methods within two years to measure progress.
Other objectives and goals within the Act include: reducing delays at international points of entry; increasing travel time reliability on major freight corridors; reducing by 10 percent the number of freight transportation-related fatalities by 2015; reducing national freight transportation-related carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent by 2030, reducing freight transportation-related air, water and noise pollution and impacts on ecosystems and communities on an annual basis.
Advocates for a proposed North Carolina cargo terminal able to handle a coming generation of super-sized ocean vessels bowed to opposition on Wednesday and shelved the project.
The North Carolina State Ports Authority said it will stop working on the port near Southport, which it projected as a "state-of-the-market gateway to the world's economy" able to compete with the top harbors along the East Coast.
The authority "has heard and respects the concerns voiced by local communities and our elected officials and is placing the proposed N.C. International Terminal project on hold," it said in a statement Wednesday.
The announcement comes three weeks after the authority said it hoped to press ahead despite lack of funding from state lawmakers for a $10 million feasibility study and opposition from U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., who represents the area. The state and federal governments would have shared the cost of the study.
The proposed cargo terminal was projected to cost $2 billion to $3 billion when it was built on 600 acres along the Cape Fear River north of Southport, about 30 miles east of the South Carolina border and about four miles from the ocean. It was seen as filling a void of East Coast ports capable of managing the larger container ships that will cruise through the expanded Panama Canal and the Suez Canal.
United Parcel Service Inc., the world's largest package delivery company, raised its outlook on Thursday on higher ground and export volume, sending shares up 3.5 percent in premarket trading.
UPS surpassed Wall Street's expectations for its second- quarter results, as profits soared 90 percent to $845 million, or 84 cents per share, compared with a profit of $445 million, or 44 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts were expecting a profit of 77 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"They are capturing volume growth, particularly on the international side," said BB&T Capital Markets analyst Kevin Sterling. "And they are pushing price increases across to their customers. They knocked the cover off the ball."
Union Pacific Corp., the No. 1 U.S. railroad, reported record quarterly earnings on Thursday, topping Wall Street expectations, as business volumes and freight revenue surged amid an improving economy.
Union Pacific Chairman Jim Young said the pace of the economic recovery was still uncertain but the railroad was planning to handle continued volume growth throughout the remainder of 2010 and into 2011.
Omaha-based Union Pacific said second-quarter net income totaled $711 million, or $1.40 per share, up from $465 million, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier.
Quarterly operating revenue increased 27 percent to $4.2 billion.
Analysts, on average, expected $1.21 per share excluding one-time items, on revenue of $4.08 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said its automotive group freight revenue soared 105 percent in the second quarter; while intermodal was up 35 percent; industrial products rose 30 percent; chemicals climbed 19 percent; and energy and agricultural freight revenue was up 17 percent and 13 percent respectively.
France’s CMA CGM Group announced the inaugural call on Thursday the 6,500-TEU CMA CGM Rabelais at the Port of Seattle.
The vessel call is part of the Columbus loop, a pendulum service that links Japan, China and Southeast Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal, and Southeast Asia, China and Korea to the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver, BC.
The carrier said is responding to rowing market demand trans-Pacific, bringing its fleet of 6250-TEU vessels to 15.
The shipping line said the CMA CGM Rabelais’ call the Port of Seattle for its 48-hour stopover broke a new record at a container terminal there with more than 4,300 movements of containers.
The Columbus loop rotation is: Seattle, Vancouver, Yokohama, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian, Tanjung Pelapas, Suez Canal, New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Suez Canal, Tanjung Pelapas, Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai, Pusan and Seattle.