Monday, July 28, 2008
Port of Seattle again embroiled in e-mail scandal
The Port of Seattle July 25 announced that an investigation has identified 15 employees who violated port rules regarding appropriate computer use and anti-harassment policies.
Of the 15 employees, eight have been terminated and seven have received varying forms of discipline, including leave without pay.
Port staff retained an outside firm to conduct the investigation.
The inappropriate computer use included viewing sexually explicit photos, sexually oriented jokes and jokes about race, gender and national origin.
“This is especially disappointing, as we have been clear with staff about our expectations that employees read, understand and abide by the port’s policies,” said Tay Yoshitani, port chief executive.
All 15 employees worked for a survey team in the engineering department at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said port spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt. Four outside consultants have also been released from the project team.
The port’s policy says employees must report inappropriate e-mails to their supervisors.
In 2006, port police officers were embroiled in a scandal for sending e-mails the Seattle Port Commission called “sexually explicit, sexist and racist.”
Port of Seattle
PMA says ILWU slowdown spreading north
“Continuing disruptive labor actions” by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are entering their third week and are now rolling to the Port of Oakland, the Pacific Maritime Association said in a news release July 25.
Productivity levels in Oakland were off last week at an average of more than 15% with falloff in some terminals over the last four days of as much as 40%, the PMA said in their statement.
“There is growing frustration that the ILWU is engaging in these deliberate job actions undermining productivity and the contract negotiations,” according to the PMA statement.
“The cumulative impact of these actions comes at a time when the U.S. economy can ill afford another hit,” the PMA said.
The expansion of the job actions “may also threaten the course of negotiations on a new labor agreement” between the ILWU and the PMA’s 71 member companies including cargo carriers, terminal operators and stevedores on the West Coast, the PMA said.
The previous contract between the PMA and the ILWU expired July 1.
Pacific Maritime Association
San Pedro ports expand clean fuel choices
Officials at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have expanded their innovative air quality program that offers incentives to oceangoing vessels for switching to cleaner, low-sulfur fuels when traveling near port to make it even easier for shipping lines to participate, port officials announced July 24.
The definition of low-sulfur fuel has been expanded to include both low-sulfur marine gas oil (MGO) and marine diesel oil (MDO), giving shipping lines more flexibility and another fuel option, the ports said.
The use of MDO and MGO as equivalent emissions reduction options is consistent with the California Air Resources Board rule, adopted July 24, 2008, that will require vessels to use low-sulfur fuel near ports starting July 1, 2009, the ports said.
Port officials congratulated the 14 shipping lines and their nearly 140 ships that are already taking part in the ports’ groundbreaking program, in which vessels are reimbursed when they run on low-sulfur fuel within 40 nautical miles of the harbor.
MDO was added as a low-sulfur option because it has the same pollution-reduction properties as marine gas oil, which has been part of the program since its inception, the ports said.
Port of Long Beach
Port of Los Angeles
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
ILWU, shippers in tentative agreement
After a marathon weekend bargaining session, leaders from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association July 28 issued a joint statement announcing a preliminary agreement on terms for a new six-year contract.
The contract covers more than 25,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports. The agreement is subject to ratification by the ILWU and PMA membership.
ILWU President Bob McEllrath and PMA President Jim McKenna said that “the proposed agreement meets the needs of both workers and the industry. It allows West Coast ports to be competitive and provides the good jobs that workers and communities need.”
“The ILWU negotiating committee is very pleased and feels like they met their goals of good jobs, safer jobs and an agreement that will help dockworkers and nearby communities,” said Craig Merrilees, ILWU spokesman.
“We are thrilled to have an agreement that is going to return the ports to a productive, safe and efficient state,” said Kevin Elliott, PMA spokesman. “And that is good for the economy, good for workers and it is good for the industry.”
The parties have agreed not to discuss details of the agreement until the ILWU and PMA leadership teams have communicated with their respective memberships.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Pacific Maritime Association
Truckers sue over LA/LB ports plan
The American Trucking Associations July 28 filed suit in federal court in California challenging the port “Concession Plans” as approved by the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their harbor commissions.
The plans will limit access to the ports to only those trucking companies that have entered into concession contracts approved by the port program administrator.
The concession plans impose a broad range of operational requirements that create a regulatory environment very similar to state intrastate economic regulation, according to the ATA.
“The ports have acknowledged that these intrusive regulatory systems will result in far fewer trucking companies being able to service the ports, reducing competition,” the ATA said in a news release.
“Truck pollution is a serious threat to public health — including the health of truck drivers,” said Richard D. Steinke, Port of Long Beach executive director. “Despite this litigation, we are still moving full speed ahead toward our goal of reducing pollution from the truck fleet by 80% by 2012.”
ATA President and CEO Bill Graves emphasized that the litigation is not aimed at and should not interfere with the ports’ clean air efforts.
American Trucking Associations
Georgia ports have record year
The Georgia Ports Authority July 28 announced that the GPA handled more than 2.6 million TEUs in FY 2008, a 14.9% increase, setting a record for containers handled at the Port of Savannah.
The GPA’s total tonnage for all terminal facilities, including Bainbridge, Brunswick, Columbus and Savannah, surpassed 25.8 million tons, a 17.5% increase, which is also a record for the GPA.
For the first time in GPA’s history, the Port of Savannah’s total exports exceeded 1 million TEUs.
“In addition to exporting more cargo than ever before to the Far East and Mediterranean, we added significant new export market share to the India Subcontinent,” said Doug J. Marchand, GPA’s executive director.
Total TEUs exported to China surpassed 175,000, a 23.6% increase compared with the previous year, Marchand said. GPA exported more than 18,000 TEUs to the emerging market of India, two and a half times more than the previous fiscal year, Marchand added.
In Brunswick, the GPA surpassed 2.6 million tons, an 8% increase over the previous year. Colonel’s Island Terminal handled more than 1.6 million tons, a 29.4% increase.
“The recently completed harbor deepening in Brunswick has allowed Georgia to realize new opportunities,” said Marchand.
Georgia Ports Authority
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Dubai Ports signs 40-year Brisbane deal
Dubai Ports World, one of the world’s largest marine terminal operators, July 26 announced that it has signed a 40-year lease with the Port of Brisbane and that it intends to invest $239.5 million in the port in response to market demand.
Jeff Coleman, Port of Brisbane Corp. chief executive, said that DP World will lease a container-only terminal for an initial 20-year term, with an additional 20-year option.
DP World currently leases three container terminals at the port, it said.
“The corporation was delighted by the length of DP World’s commitment and the size of its proposed investment and, in particular, by its willingness to embrace the inclusion of a ‘Good Environmental Practice’ clause in the lease,” said Coleman.
“This is the first time that a lessee has contractually undertaken to pursue environmental enhancements that it may implement on its own initiative or that may be required by the corporation,” Coleman said.
Coleman said that DP World would also be making additional investment by way of purchasing the existing improvements at its terminals.
Dubai Ports World
Port of Brisbane Corp.
Truck tonnage index up in June
The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.3% in June, marking the second consecutive month-to-month gain, according to the ATA.
The index rose 0.5% in May.
The seasonally adjusted index was 5.4% higher compared with June 2007, marking its eighth consecutive year-over-year increase. This improvement was the largest year-over-year gain since January 2005, just surpassing the 5.3% jump in January 2008, the ATA said.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said June’s solid tonnage reading matched several anecdotal reports from motor carriers.
Despite the uptick, however, he noted that it remains a close call whether the general economy will dip into a recession later this year or if it will only slow significantly.
“It seems that truck tonnage is once again leading the U.S. economy,” Costello said. “During the 2000-01 cycle, trucking pulled out of a recession before the aggregate economy fell into one.”
“Unfortunately, truck tonnage could slow later this year as the overall economy is expected to be quite weak in the fourth quarter and the first quarter of next year,” Costello added.
American Trucking Associations
Cummins posts best historical quarterly results
Cummins Inc., a U.S. maker of engines and power generators, July 30 reported “record sales and profits in the second quarter, as strong global growth offset softness in some North American markets.”
All four of the company’s business segments reported record financial performance in the quarter, as non-U.S. sales grew to 61% of Cummins’ business — up from 54% for all of 2007 and 57% in the first quarter of 2008.
Second quarter sales grew 16% to $3.89 billion, from $3.34 billion during the same period in 2007. Net income increased 37% to $293 million, or $1.49 a share, compared to $214 million, or $1.06 a share, in 2007.
Cummins also reported significantly higher income from the company’s joint ventures worldwide, led by Dongfeng Cummins Engine Company in China, which saw large gains “as a result of a pre-buy in the on-highway truck market in advance of new emissions standards.”
“We had an outstanding second quarter in the face of some very real economic challenges, especially in the U.S.,” said Tim Solso, Cummins chairman and CEO. “We are managing all of our businesses very carefully, and the results speak to the effectiveness of our global growth strategy.”
Thursday, July 31, 2008
“K” Line calls again at Portland
The shipping company “K” Line is again calling at the Port of Portland, the port announced recently.
“K” Line left Portland in December 2004, saying it had added a stop in Shanghai and needed to save time by cutting a U.S. call. Company officials said at the time that they might return to the Port of Portland in the future.
The return of “K” Line resulted from a shift within the partnership of the CKYH Alliance, which includes other Asian shipping lines, such as Chinese shipper Cosco, Taiwanese shipper Yang Ming and Korean shipper Hanjin.
In the shift, “K” Line will replace Yang Ming, which leaves Portland without a direct route to Taiwan. But Taiwan is a smaller market than Japan for Oregon exports.
The return of “K” Line to the Port of Portland should be a plus for agricultural producers who say they have lost business in the Japanese market because of the lack of direct shipping routes from Portland.
Day-definite service adds Canada, Guangzhou
OceanGuaranteed, the world’s first day-definite service for containerized trade, has added Canada to its list of destinations.
It has also opened its first inland point of origin in Asia — Guangzhou, China.
From its creation in 2006 by global supply chain provider APL Logistics and U.S. trucking leader Con-way Freight, OceanGuaranteed has now grown to nine departure points in Asia. And for the first time it has expanded delivery outside of the United States.
“This is a gratifying move for us,” said Brian Lutt, APL Logistics president. “The expansion not only highlights continued demand for OceanGuaranteed, but by going to Canada we reach an entirely new market, as well.”
OceanGuaranteed was developed as the only premium ocean service providing day-definite delivery and fast transit times for Asia LCL export cargo. The program speeds shipments from Asia to the United States with a money-back transit time guarantee.
At inception, OceanGuaranteed provided service from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China to all continental U.S. destinations served by Con-way Freight. New services were later added from Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Yokohama, Japan; Singapore and Busan, Korea.
New international exec position at Foss Maritime
Seattle-based Foss Maritime Co. July 30 announced that it has named Vince Godfrey as the company’s senior vice president, global services, a new position that reports to Foss’ president and CEO.
The new position was developed “to meet Foss’ current and prospective customers’ needs and support Foss’ global activities,” the company said.
In his new position, Godfrey is responsible for business development for marine transportation and international projects, including strategic oversight for Foss’ large oil and gas projects around the world.
Formerly vice president for sales and marketing at Marine Resources Group, Foss’ parent company, Godfrey will also oversee Foss’ Marine Transportation Operations group, including Gulf Caribe operations.
Godfrey has 23 years of experience in the tug and barge industry and is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, with an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Gary C. Faber, Foss’ president and CEO, lauded Godfrey’s appointment. “Vince brings an enormous amount of knowledge and energy to his position, which will help Foss expand globally.”
Foss Maritime Co.
Friday, August 1, 2008
House committee passes Mexican truck ban
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee July 31 passed unanimously a bill that requires the federal Dept. of Transportation to halt its current pilot program for Mexican trucks operating beyond the 20-mile commercial restriction zone at the U.S.-Mexican border.
The controversial pilot program would be discontinued effective Sept. 6, 2008, if the measure becomes law.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the bill that would prohibit the DOT from granting “authority to a motor carrier domiciled in Mexico to operate beyond … the U.S.-Mexico border after Sept. 6, 2008,” unless the action is “expressly authorized by Congress.”
The bill is supported by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Teamsters Union.
Mexican trucks and truck drivers “are not held to the same high safety standards as their U.S. counterparts,” according to a Teamsters news release.
“It’s outrageous that this program has been allowed to continue despite the fact that it’s endangering American lives,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.
Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive VP, said, “It’s vital that this bill be passed.”
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
California leads in greenhouse gas suit against EPA
California Attorney General Jerry Brown July 31 announced his intent to sue the U.S. EPA for continuing to “wantonly ignore its duty” to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from ships, aircraft, and construction and agricultural equipment.
Other states, local governments and agencies joined California in the action, including Connecticut, Oregon, New York City, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
National environmental groups filing similar petitions include Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center.
“Ships, aircraft and industrial equipment burn huge quantities of fossil fuel and cause massive greenhouse gas pollution, yet President Bush stalls with one bureaucratic dodge after another,” Brown said.
“Because Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency continues to wantonly ignore its duty to regulate pollution, California is forced to seek judicial action,” Brown added.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is given 180 days to respond with appropriate regulation action.
According to Brown, the world’s fleet of about 90,000 large ocean-going vessels emits approximately 3% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
California Attorney General
AMB Property enters Beijing market
AMB Property Corp., a leading global developer and owner of industrial real estate, Aug. 1 announced that it has entered the Beijing market with the acquisition of three buildings, aggregating approximately 306,000 sq. ft. within the Beijing Airport Logistics Park, adjacent to Beijing Capital International Airport.
“China’s continued increase in both production levels and demand for consumer goods creates sustained requirements for logistics space: Industrial output was up 16% over last year ending June, and retail sales were up 23% over the same period,” said Hamid R. Moghadam, AMB’s chairman & CEO.
“With rapid access to transportation networks and proximity to industrial parks and the City Centre, AMB Beijing Capital Airport Distribution Center 1 is in a preferred location for third-party distributors,” commented Guy F. Jaquier, AMB’s president, Europe & Asia.
“Demand for space in this strategic airport submarket has exceeded our expectations, as evidenced by leases totaling 90,000 sq. ft. to two logistics subsidiaries of Fortune Global 500 companies, signed before we closed on the acquisition,” Jaquier added.
AMB Property Corp.