Monday, July 21, 2008
U.S. Chamber on grassroots transportation tour
Everett, Wash. - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is on a nationwide grassroots advocacy campaign addressing the role of trade and transportation to America’s workers, consumers, and businesses, it said today at a tour stop in Everett, Wash., just north of Seattle.
“We have to wake up to our growing infrastructure challenges and the importance of opening up our markets if Washington State is going to remain competitive globally,” said Leslie Schweitzer, Chamber senior trade advisor. “We cannot effectively move people and goods with over-congested airports and ports, as well as crumbling roads and bridges.”
The multi-city campaign combines the Chamber’s multimillion-dollar Let’s Rebuild America initiative with the organization’s TradeRoots program, which the Chamber says helps educate small and medium-size businesses on the benefits of trade.
“You can’t move goods in and out of Washington and the Seattle area without a strong infrastructure,” said Janet Kavinoky, Chamber director of transportation and infrastructure. “Our job is to get everyone talking, identify legislation to spur investment in transportation, and open more doors for Washington businesses so that they can take advantage of opportunities to sell their products and services abroad.”
For more information: http://www.uschamber.com/infrastructure.htm
APM to develop second Vietnam box terminal
Singapore - Executives from APM Terminals and Pharung Shipyard Company, a division of the Vietnam-based Vinashin Group, have entered into a Joint Venture agreement to develop and operate a new container terminal in the Dinh Vu Industrial Zone, serving the Vietnamese Capital of Hanoi, and the Red River Delta region of Northern Vietnam.
Construction of the planned 630 meter berth, 24 hectare (60 acre) terminal is scheduled to begin later this year. The new terminal, the second in APM Terminals’ Global Terminal Network in Vietnam, is expected to be operational late 2010.
Construction of the first APM Terminals facility, the 1.1 Million TEU capacity Cai Mep Internatonal Terminal facility, a joint venture with Saigon Port and Vinalines, began in May 2008, with opening planned for the 4th Quarter of 2010.
Guangdong/Hong Kong Group meets on intellectual property rights
Hong Kong - A pledge to step up cooperation between Southern China’s Guangdong Province and Hong Kong on intellectual property (IP) rights issues, was announced after the seventh annual meeting of the Guangdong/Hong Kong Expert Group on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, held in Hong Kong.
At the meeting, the two sides reportedly reviewed the latest IP developments in Guangdong and Hong Kong, and concluded there has been some success implementing several IP cooperation items, including: an IP seminar in Shantou; joint production of public service announcements on a “No Fakes Pledge” campaign; “Intellectual Capital Management” seminars in Guangdong and Hong Kong; roundtable discussions for IP Agents in Guangdong and Hong Kong ,as well as setting up of the Guangdong/Hong Kong IP cooperation sections of their respective government websites.
The two sides said they have also organized an exchange program for tertiary, science and technological institutes.
The group also discussed projects for the second half of the year, including an exchange program on the flow of business for IP professionals and holding joint what they term “Guangdong/Hong Kong Seminars on Intellectual Property and the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises,” to be organized in Guangdong Province.
The IP authorities in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao jointly established the “Intellectual Property Database for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao” in late 2003. The database reportedly enables the public to obtain the latest information on IP in the three regions. The one-stop database is reportedly meant to be a tool for the international business community. Representatives from the three regions have announced plans to produce an IP booklet to enable public and private enterprises to obtain IP information in all three three regions.
For a full summary recap: www.ipd.gov.hk.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
NOL submits bid for Hapag-Lloyd
Singapore - Neptune Orient Lines confirmed today in a statement that it has submitted an `indicative non-binding bid' for Hapag-Lloyd, the shipping unit of Germany’s TUI. According to a report in Reuters, the bid is estimated at over $7 billion, and would create the world’s third-largest shipping business, by combining Hapag with NOL’s APL shipping line. A.P Moeller-Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company hold the first and second top global shipping spots, respectively.
A Hamburg-based investment group - Albert Ballin GmbH - has also reportedly made a significant offer for Hapag-Lloyd, and it’s also reported the city of Hamburg has a vested interest in keeping the ownership of the shipping line local.
Today was the deadline for the initial bids, with no indication at this point how this all might play out, which includes internal struggles between the top ranks of TUI on whether there should be efforts to find a way to retain Hapag-Lloyd.
TUI also owns a major tourism business.
Today’s statement from NOL did not reveal much more than the following: “It is at this stage premature to state whether the indicative non-binding bid will lead to a definitive transaction.”
Evergreen and Baltimore sign 10-year agreement
Baltimore, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley is to join Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari, Maryland Port Administration Executive Director James J. White and officials from Evergreen Marine Corporation today to announce and sign a new 10-year agreement for container business between the Port of Baltimore and Evergreen.
The port said in a statement today that Evergreen is its “second-highest revenue producing customer,” and that over the past seven years, Evergreen’s business through Baltimore has increased 126 percent.
The statement said the contract guarantees 40,000 loaded containers in and out of Baltimore annually.
Horizon Lines names new director of investor relations, corporate communications
Charlotte, NC – The largest domestic shipping line and logistics company, Horizon Lines, Inc., has named James R. Storey its new director of investor relations and corporate communications. Mr. Storey will report to Michael T. Avara, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Horizon.
Storey served as vice president, investor relations for Blue Linx Holdings Inc., in Atlanta, GA. His experience also includes several years as a
reporter and editor covering the stock market for Dow Jones & Co. in New York.
"James will be a great fit for our team with his background and experience in the investor and public relations arena. We are confident that our investors, associates and other constituents will be pleased with what he brings to the table," said Charles G. (Chuck) Raymond, chairman, president and CEO of Horizon Lines, Inc.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Maersk Exec: Container shipping to grow globally this year
Global container shipping could grow 7-8-percent globally this year, according to Maersk’s Asia Pacific chief executive Jesper Praestensgaard, in a recent Reuters report.
Praestensgaard sees the inter-Asia trade being the biggest performer in those numbers, despite rising fuel costs which he said accounts for over half of Maersk Line’s operating costs. The company is about to start up a new China-Singapore service.
However, he aknowledged fuel is an issue. “There is no doubt that the current oil prices is hindering global trade, both in terms of reducing consumption and increasing transportation costs in general.”
Maersk's biggest, fully-loaded containerships can consume an estimated 12,200 gallons of fuel for every 62 miles, according to the report.
Despite the global fuel issues, Maersk has ordered 34 new vessels to be delivered by 2012.
“Shipping is cyclical, everyone knows that. So when we make investments in shipping, we invest in ships with lifespan of 25 to 30 years, and you have to measure success over that lifespan,” Praestensgaard said.
$20mil in new contracts at Houston’s Bayport
The Bayport container complex project at the Port of Houston was green-lighted with more than $20 million in new contracts on Tuesday by its commission, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
As part of its 15-year, multi-phase development on Pelican Island, the Houston port and neighboring Galveston, are working on a jointly funded study to develop six container berths.
The Houston Port Authority paid $6.1 million more than seven years ago for 1,120 acres on Pelican Island for cargo-and-cruise handling.
The latest round of contracts authorized Tuesday will be allocated for an administration building and maintenance facility.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
TWIC enrollment update
More than 140 ports have begun enrollment in the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, according to its current statistics.
At this writing, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports 448,328 individuals are pre-enrolled in TWIC, with 395,828 enrolled and 210,675 TWIC cards having been issued.
The majority of ports currently engaged in the enrollment process do not have compliance dates set, and the handful that do, are scheduled to be TWIC compliant within the last few months of this year.
The stated goal of the TWIC program, according to the TSA “is to ensure that any individual who has unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels has received a thorough background check and is not a security threat.”
The TSA says its controversial program will be rolled out to 147 enrollment centers and is supposed to vet more than 1.2 million maritime transportation system workers by its new, extended deadline of April 15, 2009.
Five port operators have been participating in a TWIC card-reader demonstration program: the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Brownsville, New York-New Jersey, and a cruise terminal operator in Annapolis, MD. All five operators are to pay 25 percent of the program cost even after Congress had waived those fees and allotted over $6 million to cover the ports’ costs. The TSA now wants to re-allocate those funds, causing some debate between members of Congress.
There have also been a variety of transportation industry concerns expressed over the TWIC program, ranging from facing a reduction in the commercial waterfront labor force, such as independent port truck drivers, to the ability to fully implement some of the TWIC technologies.
Nonetheless, the TWIC enrollment process rolls on. Pre-enrollment for TWIC can be conducted online at http://www.tsa.gov/twic or the Coast Guard's Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil. The TSA says pre-enrolling speeds up the process by allowing workers to provide biographic information and schedule a time to complete the application process in person, thus eliminating waiting at enrollment centers and reducing the time it takes to enroll.
PierPASS Update: Nine million truck trips diverted
Long Beach, CA. – Over nine million trucks trips have been diverted from peak daytime traffic since the launch of the PierPASS OffPeak program three years ago today, according to statistics released today by the program administrator.
PierPASS posted the results on its website of an independent evaluation prepared by a research and strategic planning firm, BST Associates.
The BST report states that, as part of its evaluation, it reviewed Caltrans traffic data collected on freeways near the ports. “At the traffic counter closest to the ports (I-710 at Route 1), the share of truck traffic moving off-peak grew from 10% in 2004 (prior to the OffPeak program) to 32% in 2007,” the report said.
The PierPASS program came about from acceleration of containerized cargo pouring through the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex in the last decade. When freight and commuter traffic issues came to a head in 2004, the shipping industry, in particular, the marine terminal operators in L.A.-Long Beach, formed the not-for-profit PierPASS to encourage more cargo movement during nights and weekends.
PierPASS says its OffPeak shifts handle an average of 68,000 truck trips in a typical week, or about 40 percent of all container moves at the two ports on days with both peak and OffPeak shifts.
Those who control the movement of containerized cargo pay a $50 fee per-TEU, and a $100 per-FEU when shipping through the daytime hours. The fees are avoided if containers are moved during off-peak hours. Five new shifts per week have been added to the PierPASS program: Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The report also references concerns by shippers over the fees collection system and how the fees are allocated.
"The traffic mitigation fee makes the whole program possible," said Bruce Wargo, CEO of PierPASS to the Daily Breeze, a local San Pedro, Calif, newspaper. Wargo also said he though the report was "fair and balanced” and that PierPASS will “follow up on the report’s recommendations.”
“Without the financial incentive of the OffPeak program it is likely that traffic would shift back to daytime peak hours. The OffPeak Program has met its objectives and should be continued,” was the conclusion of the BST report.
For the PierPASS independent report:
Friday, July 25, 2008
No news today.