Cargo Business Newswire ArchivesSummary for July 20 through July 24, 2015:
Monday, July 20, 2015
Singapore’s Temasek seeks buyer for Neptune Orient Lines
Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state investment company, has put Neptune Orient Lines for sale, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the matter.
Heavily in debt, the $1.7 billion shipping line has been struggling. NOL, 65-percent-owned by Temasek, announced the sale of its logistics arm in February to Japanese freight carrier Kintetsu World Express for $1.2 billion. When NOL sold its logistics business, it renewed market speculation that the whole company may soon be for sale.
An NOL spokeswoman declined to comment, and Temasek Holdings was not immediately available after office hours to comment.
China’s stock market meltdown could impact exporters
China's recent stock market meltdown might lead to - or be the result of - underlying economic weakness that would have serious consequences for exporting countries, according to one of Morgan Stanley Investment Management's senior portfolio managers.
Andrew Harmstone, who oversees about $5.4 billion through funds under the firm’s global balanced risk strategy, says if the impact to wealth from the recent trillion dollar equity sell-off ended up changing Beijing's plans to turn China from an export-driven to a consumption-focused economy, there could be "significant implications for the rest of the world."
The same was true if the intense market correction was triggered by investor concerns about the health of the Chinese economy, which was also possible.
"If indeed the Chinese economy is slowing, and if consumption drops because of the wealth effect, this could have implications for developed markets," Harmstone said. "It clearly has implications for developing markets that are exporting to China and also to developed markets like Canada and Australia."
Despite a coordinated effort by the central bank and government to ease monetary policy, control equity sales and limit new stock issues, the Shanghai market lost nearly 25 percent of its value in one month.
It has settled in recent days, but the event left professional investors around the world shaken.
"Usually when the government signals and then takes action like that it actually has a reaction," Harmstone said. "However, this time it didn't. This was the first time that I'd felt that the government was not going to be able to control things."
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach cargo volume drops in June
Total cargo volumes dropped in June at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to new numbers released this week by the ports.
Overall June container volumes entering and leaving the Port of Los Angeles fell 2 percent year-over-year, at 722,000 TEUs. Port of Long Beach volume decreased 4.4 percent to 583,621 TEUs compared to the same month last year.
Imports and exports at L.A. both declined. Imports fell 4 percent to nearly 369,000 TEUs in June while export volumes shrank 11 percent to about 144,000 boxes. The volumes of empty containers shipped through the port increased 9 percent to nearly 210,000 units.
A total of 583,621 TEUs were moved through the Port of Long Beach in June. Imports were posted at 297,189 TEUs, a 6 percent decrease. Exports dropped 8.4 percent to 128,223 TEUs. Empty containers rose 2.4 percent with 158,209 TEUs.
St. Lawrence Seaway sees drop in freight in Q2
The amount of general cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway is 8 percent lower in the second quarter, year-over-year.
According to the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership, 10.4 million tons of cargo went through the Seaway between April and June, an 8.4-percent fall from last year’s shipping numbers during the same time period.
Poor weather conditions at the beginning of the year affected shipping, according to Nancy Alcalde, spokeswoman for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Additionally, 2015 shipping numbers have been less than 2014’s, which was a strong year.
In particular, Alcalde said a decrease in certain commodities has reduced cargo shipments: iron ore shipping decreased by 12 percent, coal by 33 percent and Canadian grain by 17 percent.
Alcalde said global iron prices have dropped because of low demand and an economic downturn in China, which uses two-thirds of the world’s iron tonnage. Global coal demand has also decreased.
Seafarer Andrew Kelly, a member of the Maritime Union of Australia, was working aboard the anchor-handling supply vessel Skandi Pacific about 166 kilometers northwest of Karatha on the North West Shelf when bad weather hit.
A preliminary report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said crew on the Skandi Pacific were forced to stop delivering cargo to the offshore drilling platform Atwood Osprey about 5:25 a.m. due to the conditions and take shelter.
But when a wave came over the back of the deck and started shifting cargo, Kelly attempted to secure the load and was crushed between a moving mini-container and a cargo skip, the ATSB said.
He was moved to the nearby drill platform to receive medial assistance but died a short time later.
Port of Charleston invests in refrigeration services
Photo credit: The Post and Courier
The South Carolina State Ports Authority plans to install 292 additional electric receptacles at its cargo terminals to support increased refrigerated cargo passing through the Port of Charleston.
The extra capacity will be added during the current fiscal year, and will bring the total number of receptacles to 1,240 at the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant and 512 at the North Charleston Terminal. The rack-mounted receptacles allow shippers to plug in their climate-controlled cargo boxes while they await transport to area warehouses.
"We’re going to have to expand our refrigerated cargo capacity on the port, we’re running out of plugs now," said SPA Chief Executive Jim Newsome.
The port posted a 35 percent increase in reefers over the past four years, with 45,534 moving through Charleston in 2014. The state’s top agricultural export last year was fresh and frozen poultry, with $206 million worth of goods shipped from Charleston to worldwide markets.
Panama Canal's expansion, expected to be finished in 2016, will increase trade between China and the Americas, experts said in recent interviews with Xinhua.
The 50-mile, over 100-year-old Panama Canal, serves as a "world bridge," connecting the Pacific and Atlantic cutting down the overall distance by as much as 6200 miles between the two oceans. The canal currently accounts for 5 percent of global trade volume, which mostly involves trade between Asia and the Americas, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).
Upon its completion in 2016, the canal will be able to accommodate Post-Panamax ships that are larger than Panamax ships. These ships will increase the canal's annual capacity from the current 300 million tons of cargo to 600 million tons. Around 17, 000 vessels will pass through the canal every year, up by 21 percent from the current 14,000 vessels, according to ACP.
The expansion of the canal means more and bigger ships will be able to pass through the canal, which is good news for Chinese shipping companies, said Wei Chunfeng, manager of COSCO Panama.
China is the canal's second largest client, after the U.S. and the volume is still rising, according to U.S. Department of Transportation's figures.
Panamax vessels have a cargo capacity of up to 5,000 TEUs only, but after the expansion, the canal will be able to handle vessels with a cargo capacity of up to 13,000 TEUs, ACP said.
"The shipping cost of each TEU will be lower," said Wei, whose company is the canal's most important Chinese client.
DP World London Gateway recently celebrated the opening of the first distribution center at what is expected to become the largest logistics hub in the UK.
"I am delighted to have been able to open the London Gateway Logistics Centre, which is the next step in this ground-breaking development on the north-bank of the River Thames which is breath-taking in its size, scale and attention to detail," said Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary under secretary of State for Transport.
The first phase of this high tech center, which encompasses 180,000 square feet of distribution and logistics space and 25,000 square feet of office space, has been finished to the BREEAM "very good" standard, the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, according to DP World.
Based on market demand, DP World said it would ultimately increase the size of the center to 387,500 square feet.
In partnership with DP World, Import Services Limited operates the center, offering a variety of pay-as-you-go services.
"Services, such as cross-docking, high volume order processing, pre-retailing, distribution to the Majors, Multiples, Indies and direct to consumer, are all in demand at this unique location, which combines the supply chain benefits gained from both port-centric and market-centric logistics," said John Eynon, managing director, Import Services Limited.
The DP World London Gateway Logistics Park is located adjacent to the UK's newest deep-sea terminal.
Vietnam approves $2.5B port project
Vietnam's government has agreed on a $2.5 billion port project in the southern province of Ca Mau, according to media reports. The port would be able to accommodate some of the world's largest ships.
The Hon Khoai port would be built under a public-private partnership, the government said, while local media, citing a provincial proposal, said 85 percent of the funding would be received from loans from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
The remaining 15 percent of the cost will come from the private sector.
The five-year project, to be completed in 2020, will need approval from the Ca Mau provincial authority, the government said on its website.
Clean-up continues after CN freight train derails in Ontario
The cleanup of derailed rail cars and repair of damaged rails continued Sunday afternoon after the CN freight train derailment Saturday in south Bowmanville, Ontario.
Works crews continued working in high heat and humidity on July 19 to clear the mess left after several cars of a westbound CN container train derailed just before 2 p.m. July 18 near Port Darlington Road.
Freight and passenger train service was halted, while repairs were carried out.
Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir said crews have cleared most of the derailed freight cars and containers from the north and south tracks and that the south tracks were open.
L.A/Long Beach port truckers strike Pacific 9 Transportation
Photo credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times
Short haul truck drivers that haul cargo to and from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports walked away from their jobs Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The drivers are fighting to gain employee status at Pacific 9 Transportation, according to a union representative.
The truckers are also demanding the wages they say Pacific 9 owes them, after working as independent contractors rather than company employees.
The picket lines were set up around port terminals and the company’s truck yard at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, and mark the sixth strike against the company in nearly two years, Teamsters Union spokeswoman Barbara Maynard said.
She didn't know how many drivers would abandon their posts, but said the strike could go on indefinitely.
The struggle of some port drivers to become employees at local trucking firms that serve the nation’s busiest port complex has been somewhat successful over the last year. Eco Flow Transportation and Shippers Transport Express, for example, now take on drivers as employees and have allowed unionization.
The striking drivers hope that Pacific 9 will follow suit, Maynard said.
Global Logistics Properties creates $7B fund for China logistics facilities
Global Logistic Properties, the largest provider of modern logistics warehouses in China, said it aims to invest up to $7 billion in the logistics sector over the next four years, as it plans to set up its second China-focused logistics infrastructure fund with seven investors.
GLP said its partners would include national pension funds and sovereign wealth funds from Asia, North America and the Middle East. The firm said $3.7 billion of equity has been committed to the fund, in which GLP holds a 56 percent interest.
The new fund, CLF II, is expected to develop 13 million square meters of facilities, and GLP will start acquiring land later this year and commence construction in April 2016.
GLP's first $3 billion China development fund, launched in November 2013, has reached its investment capacity. Its customers include JD.com and Alibaba Group.
China's thriving e-commerce industry faces a shortage of high tech warehouse facilities. GLP estimates only 20 to 30 percent of the nation’s warehouses feature fully computerized tracking systems and the latest technology.
Ming Mei, chief executive officer at GLP, told Reuters that existing customers would account for two-thirds of the company's new storage facilities in China.
GLP operates in 36 Chinese cities and has 11.8 million square meters of completed logistics warehouse space as of the end of March. It is also a provider of logistics facilities in Japan, Brazil and the United States.
June cargo traffic up 14 percent at Seattle-Tacoma ports
Cargo volume at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle jumped 14 percent in June year-over-year, according to a joint statement.
The ports of Seattle and Tacoma formed the Northwest Seaport Alliance this year to share the operations and marketing of most of their major terminals. They now report cargo statistics together instead of individually.
Through the first half of the year, volumes remained stable with the Puget Sound gateway handling nearly 1.8 million TEUs, a 3 percent gain year-to-date.
Containerized exports rose 5 percent on the year through June to 628,718 TEUs, while imports grew nearly 3 percent to 715,307 TEUs. Domestic volumes remained flat, up 1 percent year to date to 433,715 TEUs. Empty container exports were up 86 percent year-to-date, as excess equipment that accumulated during the West Coast dockworker contract negotiations was sent back to Asia, the two ports said.
Other cargo categories were variable. Auto import volumes increased by 5 percent to 93,890 vehicles, while breakbulk cargo fell by 2 percent in the first half and grain exports dropped by 8 percent.
The two port commissions are expected to vote to finalize the details of the Northwest Seaport Alliance at a joint meeting Aug. 4.
CP Railway lowers 2015 fiscal outlook
Canadian Pacific Railway cut its forecast for full-year revenue and earnings-per-share growth while it struggles to control costs amid a decline in demand for commodities shipments.
The rail sector has suffered from a drop in coal, oil and grain, reversing last year’s surge. At Canadian Pacific, crude revenue dropped 29 percent in the second quarter, while automotive revenue fell 13 percent.
CP differed from other railroads, including Canadian National Railway Co. and CSX Corp., which have cut jobs to boost earnings that beat estimates in recent days.
Revenue will probably rise 2 percent to 3 percent in 2015, less than a January forecast of 7 percent to 8 percent growth, Canadian Pacific said in a statement. Annual adjusted earnings per share will be $7.72 to $8.02, less than the $8.20 expected by an earlier forecast for 25 percent profit growth this year.
"While the downward guidance revision may be disappointing to some, a 20 percent earnings growth rate this year would still be a very solid achievement in the context of a challenging volume environment," Cameron Doerksen, an analyst at National Bank Financial in Montreal, said in a note.
Drewry: Shipping lines to rely on leasing firms for new containers
Shipping lines continue to invest heavily in new container ships but invest less than their leasing company counterparts in new containers, according to Drewry’s recent Container Census 2015 annual report.
In 2014, despite some revival of the shipping lines’ investment in new box equipment, the majority was acquired by leasing companies. The rental container fleet grew by almost 9 percent during 2014, compared to 4 percent for those owned (or financed) by the lines and other transport operators so that leasing companies now (just) have the majority of the total container count.
In recent years shipping lines have been consolidating their box fleet rather than expanding, with many still opting to transfer older containers into leasing company ownership by way of sale and lease-back.
Drewry says that in 2014, approximately $10 billion was spent (by shipping lines and non-operating companies) on new containership orders totaling 1.06 million TEUs of capacity. That figure will be higher in 2015, researchers say, since in the first half of the year, total investment on 1.14 million TEUs had reached $9.5 billion.
In contrast, shipping lines invested about $4.2 billion in new containers in 2014; a 17 percent rise from 2013 but still some 35 percent short of the 2011 outlay. In addition, shipping lines have received about $1 billion back for used equipment through sale and lease-back, thereby reducing the total net spend, Drewry reports.
The lease industry remains better positioned to raise competitive finance for fleet expansion, analysts say. This applies particularly to the top ranking companies, which already control the lion’s share of all leased box equipment, and are predicted to continue as the dominant buyers for the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, Drewry says that while shipping lines are in better financial shape now, it predicts that carriers will limit their container CAPEX and instead rely on leasing firms for much of their container requirements.
Highway closure between California and Arizona to cost shippers
The partial shutdown of an Interstate 10 between California and Arizona due to a bridge collapse could raise shipping costs and delay deliveries for retailers and other shippers in coming weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The 100-mile stretch of Interstate 10 was closed indefinitely after a deluge of water, mud and rocks flushed out supporting soil under one end of the bridge at Tex Wash in Desert Center, Calif., 40 miles west of the California-Arizona state line.
It’s a major route inland from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Trucked goods travel on I-10 through California’s Riverside County, part of the region known as the Inland Empire, which houses millions of square feet of warehouse space.
The California DOT has advised drivers to use alternative east-west routes, including I-40 to the north—around Joshua Tree National Park—and I-8, which runs to the south along the Mexico-U.S. border. Caltrans also warned of continuing thunderstorms in the area this week.
Tony Bradley, president of the Arizona Trucking Association, said his members have alerted customers to delays and extra costs associated with the closure. The current detours add as much as 100 extra miles to drivers’ routes, Bradley said, which will raise costs for those shippers that pay a set rate per-mile plus surcharges for fuel. And the extra time means some drivers may meet their daily time limits before reaching their destination.
Caltrans officials said Tuesday that the agency would reopen the freeway Friday and reroute eastbound traffic—the side that collapsed—to the westbound side of the freeway, reducing both directions to one lane. Work to repair the collapsed bridge will begin this week.
Prologis up on warehouse capacity and high occupancy
San Francisco-based Prologis, the largest U.S. warehouse owner with 670 million square feet in 21 countries, reported strong second-quarter results Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Results include a net profit of 27 cents a share, more than double earnings from the year-earlier quarter. The company said 95.4 percent of its property is occupied, up nearly one percentage point from a year earlier.
Prologis Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hamid Moghadam said in an interview with WSJ that smaller warehouse spaces across the U.S. are filling up as small businesses gain more confidence and the housing market continues its recovery.
Prologis’ buildings of 500,000 square feet or more—mainly distribution facilities for retail companies—have been 98 percent occupied for the last four years, a remarkably high occupancy rate in the real-estate industry. This is a result, Moghadam said, of large e-commerce firms trying to save costs by reducing the number of distribution centers they operate.
Prologis says that for several years, its small warehouse occupancy rate was stuck at about 89 percent, but in the past year that number has gone up to 95 percent.
The warehouse sector is seeing big growth in rents and profits as demand remains high but supply remains relatively constrained. National warehouse and distribution center demand is running at between 225 million and 230 million square feet leased a year, while new supply remains at roughly 165 million square feet.
China Shipping and COSCO poised to sign deals with Cambodian port
Two Chinese shipping giants are likely to sign agreements with Cambodia's Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP), allowing exporters to move cargo directly from Cambodia to China, a local newspaper reported Wednesday, citing a senior port official.
Lou Kimchhun, director general of SAP, said that a rise in the Cambodia’s exports drew the attention of Chinese shipping giants, according to the Phnom Penh Post.
China Shipping Container Lines and COSCO are among the largest shipping firms that ship from Cambodia, collectively shipping more than 1.2 million TEUs per year.
Once the agreements are reached, the two shipping lines will be the first to link Cambodia directly with the world's second- largest economy, avoiding the stopover at Vietnam's Cai Mep port in shipping, according to Kimchhun.
At least one crewmember died and 20 others were rescued last week after a Malaysian cargo vessel experienced severe listing at sea while sailing from Loreto Dinagat, the Philippines to Lianyungang, China.
The MV Alam Manis was carrying 53,795 metric tons of bulk nickel ore when it embarked from the Philippines on July 12. The vessel began listing by 14 degrees starboard on Wednesday, July 15.
Because of the rough weather conditions and adverse swell due to the weight, the cargo in holds No. 1 and 2 shifted, which caused the ship to list. An emergency vessel was dispatched to rescue crewmembers and escort the vessel to the nearest port of San Fernando in north Luzon.
Port of Virginia breaks ground on major transportation projects
Photo credit: Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot
Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (pictured) attended a groundbreaking ceremony at Norfolk International Terminals this week to celebrate the start of construction on two big local transportation projects.
Foxx said the port is a "critical, critical hub on our East Coast."
- A $31 million expansion of the North Gate complex at NIT, one of the port's big container facilities.
- A $175.6 million stretch of four-lane highway - the Interstate 564 Intermodal Connector - extending nearly 3 miles from the existing I-564 and linking to NIT and Norfolk Naval Station.
"We're in a great place today," McAuliffe said. "This is a big deal for the port."
The I-564 Intermodal Connector will take about two years to complete, and is expected to get an estimated 740 trucks a day off crowded streets, and will ease access for the 80,000 vehicles going to and from the Navy base daily.
McAuliffe also announced the port is forecast to turn a $16.1 million profit for the 2015 fiscal year — a $31.5 million improvement compared with the previous fiscal year.
CP Railway to cut jobs and rail cars on cargo decline
Canadian Pacific Railway intends to cut jobs and idle some locomotives and railcars in order to lower costs and help offset a decline in cargo shipments.
Hours after lowering the company forecast for full-year sales and profit growth, Canadian Pacific said it would cull the workforce by up to 300 positions, or about 2 percent of the total. The railroad is also using about 20 percent fewer cars and locomotives, according to Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel.
"We are going to continue to pace demand," Creel said. "If business goes down and demand reduces, then obviously headcount is going to go down in lockstep with it, and labor expense is going to reduce."
CP shares dropped to their lowest level in more than a year following the announcement of second-quarter results, contrasting with other major North American railroads. While profits at the Calgary-based railroad aligned with analyst estimates, three peers in the U.S. and Canada posted earnings in the past week that bested projections even as commodity carloads decline.
Container ship calls Portland port for first time in 3 months
Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland is about to welcome its first ship since early April. The container terminal has a sole shipping line still calling, and a visiting vessel is so infrequent it triggered a statement from terminal operator ICTSI Oregon.
ICTSI Oregon chief executive Elvis Ganda announced that a ship from Westwood Shipping would stop Tuesday in Portland. Westwood has a contract with ICTSI through the end of the year. It made up less than 1 percent of the container terminal's business before major shipping lines Hanjin and Hapag Lloyd stopped service to Portland earlier this year.
Westwood is Portland's remaining connection to Asia. Hanjin Shipping made stops throughout Asia, but pulled out of Portland after months of slow work during contract negotiations between West Coast port operators and the ILWU, as well as years of labor conflict at Terminal 6.
Hapag-Lloyd, which shipped goods between Oregon and Europe, stopped service to Portland shortly thereafter.
Ganda said that he and Port of Portland officials are trying to win back business. ICTSI Oregon still has 20 years on its contract running Terminal 6 for the Port of Portland.
Port Logistics Group has opened operations in Savannah with two new distribution customers, according to a company statement.
With the addition of Savannah, Port Logistics Group operates more than 5.5 million square feet of warehouse space in and around key U.S. ports, including New York/New Jersey, LA/Long Beach, and Seattle/Tacoma.
The new operation is located just 6 miles from the port of Savannah in a 685,000- square-foot facility. The company said it would perform detailed pick/pack and value added services for its new customers, including kitting, price ticketing and labeling for a high-end retail bedding and home goods customer, and light manufacturing and kitting for a furniture company serving mass market retailers across the U.S.
"This expansion completes one of our key strategic goals – creating a national logistics provider that can serve customers in any of the major North American import gateways," said Greg Morello, chief marketing and strategy Officer for Port Logistics Group. "Our customers can now quickly adjust their supply chains to reduce costs, increase speed to market, and be confident that they’ll receive consistent service, regardless of the port of entry."
At least 21 dead after cargo ship hits party boat on the Nile
At least 21 people were killed on the Nile north of Cairo when a cargo ship hit their chartered boat, sources said.
Five members of the party were rescued from the river. Six or more were still missing early on Thursday. At least two children were killed. Officials said the search for survivors after the collision on Wednesday had been hampered by darkness.
Family and friends of a young couple had hired the boat to celebrate their engagement.
Police said they had arrested the captain of the cargo boat and his deputy after the accident, one of many that happen on the Nile and off Egypt’s coast each year.