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Summary for July 30 - August 3, 2007:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wal-Mart Canada unveils “green” strategy

As part of its company-wide sustainability program, Wal-Mart Canada Jul 25 announced it will introduce its first ever Supply Chain Sustainability Scorecard this fall.

The purpose of the scorecard is to assess its network of service providers on the basis of environmental impact, efforts, and improvement, said the company.

In October 2007, with the introduction of the scorecard, Wal-Mart Canada plans an environmental assessment of the businesses it hires based on four categories: equipment, operations, facilities, and corporate commitment.

Lesley Smith, VP of supply chain Canada, said, “Our new rules for supply chain sustainability will cover everything from fuel use, to facilities and equipment standards, to the overall environmental commitment demonstrated by the companies we hire to ship and store our products.”

Wal-Mart has committed to three long-term sustainability goals, globally and in Canada, said the company:

  1. To produce zero waste
  2. To be powered 100% by renewable energy, and
  3. To make more environmentally preferable products available to customers.

Nordcapital orders 8 box ships from HHI

Nordcapital Group and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have signed contracts for the construction of eight container vessels with a capacity of 13,100 TEUs, the biggest containerships ever built by Hyundai, according to press reports.

The ships are to be delivered between April 2010 and March 2011 and will still be available to the charter market.

They represent an order volume of $1.4bn (1.02bn euros), the largest single order HHI has ever received for commercial ships, say the press reports.

The innovative design features the latest technological and ecological requirements including an economic main engine fitted for low sulphur fuels, TBT-free paint coatings, and inboard fuel tanks.

“We believe the dynamic growth in the container industry will continue for many years to come,” said Erck Rickmers, chairman of the Executive Board of Nordcapital Group. “With rising volumes and higher energy prices, bigger ships will become necessary for our customers to remain competitive,” he added.

“We are happy to further strengthen our close ties with Nordcapital,” said KS Choi, president of Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Con-way names John G. Labrie president

John G. Labrie has been named president of Con-way Freight, according to an announcement Jul 27 by parent company Conway Inc.

In his new role, Labrie will lead less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Con-way Freight, the largest of Con-way Inc.’s three operating companies, according to the press release.

Labrie was previously senior VP of strategy and enterprise operations for Con-way, a $4.2bn leader in freight transportation and global logistics based in San Mateo, CA.

Labrie will “spearhead strategic initiatives aimed at growth, expansion, and optimizing operations to provide differentiated services and an improved value proposition to Con-way Freight’s customers,” said the news release.

Previously, Labrie held the role of senior VP of strategy and enterprise operations for Con-way Inc., and before that he was executive VP of operations for Con-way Transportation Services (now Con-way Freight), said the company.

From 2002 to 2005, he served as president and CEO of Con-way Western Express.

Labrie studied abroad at Cambridge University prior to earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from Central Michigan University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Savannah sets new annual records

The Port of Savannah set new annual records for containers handled and total tonnage, according to an end-of-fiscal-year report issued Jul 30 by the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).

“In fiscal year 2007, the Port of Savannah handled 2.338mn TEUs,” said Stephen S. Green, chairman of GPA’s Board of Directors.

“This is an impressive 14.5% increase over last year and clearly establishes Savannah as a gateway for American commerce.”

Port of Brunswick also experienced significant gains, Green added, with a record 1.245mn tons, a 10% increase over the previous year.

“The gains were especially dramatic in bulk commodities with 438,671 tons moving through the facility, a 41.1% increase over the previous year,” added Green.

“Georgia continues to attract container volume faster than any other state in the nation,” said GPA Executive Director Doug J. Marchand.

According to GPA figures, during the last 10 years of Marchand’s leadership at the GPA, TEU containers have increased from 697,259 in FY 1997 to 2,338,300 in FY 2007, a 235% increase, and during the last five years, intermodal lifts have experienced a 136% increase.

Woodside Natural Gas makes commitments

Woodside Natural Gas Jul 30 announced a commitment to US staffing and flagging of its regasification ships for the proposed OceanWay natural gas project in California.

The Santa Monica–based company said both regasification ships will employ officers and crews of US-licensed mariners once the ships are US-flagged.

This action was officially conveyed by Steve Larson, president of Woodside Natural Gas, to Sean Connaughton, administrator of the US Maritime Administration, according to the announcement.

In addition, Woodside said it will provide training opportunities on natural gas cargo ships for US mariners, working with the US Merchant Marine Academy, state maritime academies, and other certified training facilities as sources for cadets and unlicensed seafaring personnel.

OceanWay, a proposed project to provide an alternative source of natural gas to California, will be “one of the cleanest, safest, and most secure natural gas delivery systems in the world,” according to Woodside.

“OceanWay will use a ship and buoy system to deliver the gas, unloading at two buoys more than 28 miles offshore and connecting into the existing gas network via undersea pipelines,” the company said.

Crowley launches 455-2 barge

Crowley Maritime Corp. Jul 30 announced it has christened and launched barge 455-2, the second of three Heavy Lift 455 Series flat-deck barges that will be built and delivered to Crowley this year by Gunderson Marine in Portland, OR.

The three 400-ft-by-105-ft-wide deck barges are being built to handle project work for the offshore energy industry, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, said Crowley.

“We are pleased to offer the 455-2 into service in support of our customers doing offshore project work,” said Tom Crowley Jr., chairman, president, and CEO.

Crowley’s new Heavy Lift 455 Series barges with 25-ft side shells provide both the capacity and deck strength needed to accommodate the favored larger units for offshore exploration and development, the company said.

The barges offer increased stability for loads up to 4,200 pounds/sq ft in order to carry the larger offshore structures now being planned and engineered for deepwater projects, according to Crowley.

The barges are also suitable for use in other regions, including Alaska, where Crowley has regularly performed summer sealifts to the North Slope, said the company.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Grand Alliance extends for 10 years

The Grand Alliance has been extended for another 10 years, the consortium announced Aug 1.

Signing the agreement extending their cooperation until 2017 were Adolf Adrion, executive board member, Hapag-Lloyd; Niels Kim Balling, vice-president, liner business, MISC Berhad; Minoru Sato, representative director and executive VP, NYK; and Philip Chow, CEO, OOCL.

“Our customers benefit from our modern tonnage, excellent port coverage, and attractive transit times. There was thus no doubt about our wanting to continue our successful cooperation for a further 10 years,” the member lines confirmed at the signing of the agreement.

The Grand Alliance was founded in 1998 as an integrated consortium in container liner shipping.

Members deploy in their services a total of about 140 vessels with a capacity of between 2,700 and 9,000 TEUs offering 20 services, mainly on major east-west routes, according to the alliance.

Cooperation among members is restricted to provision of joint port-to-port services, on which each member is allocated space to market on its own account, according to the alliance.

POLB board names new directors

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Jul 30 announced the promotion of Gary J. Cardamone, who has more than 25 years experience in port and harbor-related development, to the newly created position of director of construction management, part of the port’s engineering bureau.

The new position is part of an ongoing reorganization of port administration designed to improve operational efficiencies, according to the port.

Cardamone will oversee construction of the port’s capital improvement program, valued at about $200mn annually. He will also oversee the surveys section.

Also announced was the appointment of Lisa Marin, who has more than 20 years experience in the human resources field, as director of human resources for the Port of Long Beach.

Marin succeeds longtime director Toni Whitesell, who retired late last year.

As the port’s human resources director, Marin will oversee hiring, training programs, and employee development for a port staff of about 380.

Trade valued annually at more than $100bn moves through Long Beach, making it the second-busiest seaport in the United States, according to the port.

Kalmar to deliver 11 RTGs

Kalmar, part of Cargotec Corp., a leading provider of cargo-handling solutions, Jul 31 announced it has been awarded an order for 11 E-One rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes.

The RTGs are slated for the Tangier Medgate Terminal at the brand new Tangier Mediterranean Port, Morocco, scheduled to be fully operational in July 2008.

The 7+1 wide and 1-over-5 high RTGs, outfitted with Bromma twinlift spreaders and Kalmar’s autosteering and container position verification system, Smartrail, will be delivered by May 2008, according to the company.

Located on one of the world’s most important shipping arteries, the Tangier Mediterranean Port project began in 2002 and cost more than $2bn to build.

The port features an oil storage facility, a cereals terminal, a passenger port, and a container terminal with a capacity of 3mn containers.

The government plans to spend up to $18bn to improve the area’s infrastructure, putting it in a position to take advantage of Morocco’s status as the only North African country with free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, according to the news release.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

New Seattle port chief sets course

Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani detailed his vision for the future of the port in an article he wrote for the Seattle Times published Aug 2.

Tay Yoshitani, CEO of the Port of Seattle since March 2007, detailed three areas where he sees growth for the port, which includes the seaport and Seattle International Airport, in the coming years.

Yoshitani also commented on the increased competition among northwest coast ports and was critical of a recent move by the Port of Tacoma, which he described as spending “$300mn in public money to lure away one of Seattle’s oldest customers.”

In the article, Yoshitani announced that the port will create a new real estate division, to include properties from the seaport and airport, and will increase the port’s emphasis on social responsibility.

The port currently has a goal of awarding 10% of contracts to small and disadvantaged businesses, which accounted for $6mn in contracts for the first half of this year.

Yoshitani also noted that “the Port of Seattle will strive to be the cleanest and greenest port in America.”

ProLogis leases 500,000 sq ft in Dallas

ProLogis Jul 31 announced it has leased more than 500,000 sq ft of distribution space to two customers in Dallas.

ServiceCraft Logistics, a California-based provider of 3PL services, has leased 420,000 sq ft at ProLogis Park 20/35 in Lancaster, TX, approximately 15 miles south of downtown Dallas.

ServiceCraft, which also leases more than 173,000 sq ft from ProLogis in Southern California, will use the space as a regional warehouse and distribution center.

Audio Visual Services Group, a California-based audiovisual and staging services provider, has leased 82,000 sq ft at ProLogis’ Freeport Corporate Center in Coppell, TX.

Audio Visual will use the space as its new regional office and primary distribution center, serving the entire central region of the United States, according to the announcement.

“These transactions reflect the persistent strength we’re seeing in the Dallas industrial market, where demand for high-quality, well-located facilities remains healthy, driven in part by companies serving cross-border operations in Mexico,” commented Steve Meyer, ProLogis managing director and regional head of capital deployment.

New president for UPS Freight

UPS Freight Aug 1 announced the retirement of Gordon Mackenzie after more than 40 years in the transportation industry, including the last 12 at UPS Freight and Overnite.

Jack Holmes, a 28-year UPS veteran who has headed the operations of UPS Freight for the past year, has been promoted to president of the trucking unit to replace the retiring Mackenzie.

Holmes, 47, headed the UPS transition team after the company acquired the former Overnite Transportation Co. in 2005. For the past year, he has served as the senior vice president of operations at UPS Freight, according to the announcement.

“Gordon Mackenzie played a critical role in the development of Overnite Transportation and then stayed on board with us to ensure a smooth integration and to help set the stage for the growth we’re seeing now,” said Mike Eskew, UPS’s chairman and CEO.

“All of us at UPS appreciate his contributions and wish him the very best in retirement,” added Eskew.

According to the American Trucking Associations, UPS Freight now is the nation’s fourth-largest less-than-truckload (LTL) company.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Mattel recalls more toys

US toy maker Mattel Inc. Aug 3 announced it is recalling toys featuring the popular characters Barney, Dora, and Diego sold in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia because they may contain excessive amounts of lead in their paint.

The action is part of a worldwide recall announced earlier in the week by Mattel division Fisher-Price. Some of the 83 models of toys in the US recall are based on popular Sesame Street characters such as Big Bird and Elmo.

Fisher-Price Aug 1 said the problem with the toys was detected by an internal probe and reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the US.

The commission works with companies to issue recalls when it finds consumer goods that can be harmful. Under current US regulations, children’s products found to have more than .06% lead accessible to users are subject to a recall.

Mattel Aug 2 apologized to customers affected by the recall and said the move will cut pretax operating income at the world’s largest toy maker by $30mn.

VIT makes early switch to USLD

The Virginia Port Authority Aug 2 announced that Virginia International Terminals Inc. (VIT) on Jul 31 completed its first month of operation using ultra low-sulfur diesel (USLD) fuel.

The switchover to USLD fuel comes nearly three years ahead of a federally mandated change for ports to use cleaner burning fuel in their equipment.

“We knew we were going to make this change, and the decision was to go ahead and get moving now, ahead of the deadline, in case there were issues that needed to be ironed out,” said Joseph A. Dorto, general manager of VIT.

VIT is the private terminal operating company of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA).

“It has been a seamless transition, and I expect the benefits to outweigh the costs,” said Dorto.

By order of the US Environmental Protection Agency, all ports were to begin using low-sulfur diesel fuel by Jul 1, 2007; by Jul 1, 2010, all ports must be using USLD.

“We didn’t see any value or reason to burn low-sulfur diesel for three years and then make another switch to USLD,” Dorto added.

Kuehne + Nagel chosen for cold chain services

AstraZeneca, one of the world’s leading international pharmaceutical companies, has selected Kuehne + Nagel to handle part of its exports of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products from Europe to the rest of the world.

Under the new agreement announced Aug 2, Kuehne + Nagel will supply a complete solution for the transportation by air and sea of products indicated for therapeutic categories including oncology and anesthetics, as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The pharmaceutical products, which are in both emulsion and solid form, must be maintained within a stipulated temperature range.

In order to achieve this, Kuehne + Nagel “has developed robust, cutting-edge cold chain packaging solutions that will deliver product integrity and be in compliance with MHRA — Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency,” the company said.

Kuehne + Nagel’s air- and seafreight solutions will meet the regulatory requirements for exports from AstraZeneca production sites in the UK, Sweden, France, Italy, and Germany to further production sites and regional distribution centers in the Middle East, Japan, Africa, and the US, said the company.