Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for August 1- August 5, 2011:
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Top Story

Serious U.S. truck driver shortage looms

Tighter regulations, higher costs, shifting demographics, and equipment shortages from the recession are some of the factors clouding the future of a declining U.S. truck driver workforce.

One trucking industry estimate pegs the current shortfall of U.S. truck drivers at 130,000, according to a story in the Arizona Republic. "The problem is, you can't find people you want to hire or who can pass the drug tests and all that," said Karen Rasmussen, president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association.

An aging truck driver workforce is reportedly not being replaced fast enough by a younger generation that is opting for jobs in the tech industry or want to work closer to home, and not wanting to be away from family for long stretches of time if engaged in long-haul driving,

Ever-stricter safety regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including possible further reduction of driver hours on the road translates to trucking firms needing to be careful over driving violations, thus reducing the pool of qualified driver candidates.

"What most people estimate is that about 10 percent (of the drivers) who had been considered safe because they didn't have big, bad violations are now exposed because they have a whole bunch of little violations," said Noel Perry, a partner in the trucking and freight research firm FTR Associates.

As a result, several trucking companies have been raising pay scales to attract better drivers, adding to a host of higher operational costs that include newer, more expensive truck equipment that meet safety and environmental regulations, along with the ever-present concerns over fuel costs.

However, timing might not be good with freight growth forecasts that will demand more driver capacity in the coming years.

Freight that was moved on trucks in the U.S. grew 5.5 percent in the first half of 2011, compared with the same period in 2010, according to the American Trucking Associations.

"If we have a recovery, we're likely to have significant shortages,” said Perry.

For the full Arizona Republic story:

Global manufacturing pace slows to 2009 level

Manufacturing around the world has reportedly slowed to the weakest level since July of 2009.

According to JPMorgan’s Global Manufacturing PMI, global manufacturing dropped to a two-year low at the 50.6 mark, with levels below 50.0 representing economic contraction.

"Growth of the global manufacturing sector drifted closer to stagnation in July. Hopes of a near-term acceleration may have also been knocked by a slight retreat into contraction territory by the new orders index," said Joseph Lupton, global economist at JPMorgan.

The index for new orders slid to 49.9 in July from 51.0 in June.

The Global Manufacturing PMI index combines survey data from countries that include: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

For the full Reuters story:

Stock analysts bullish on intermodal container lessor

The intermodal container and chassis-leasing firm, TAL International Group, Inc., is getting a bullish outlook by stock analysts after its earnings per share more than doubled for its second quarter.

The Purchase, New York-based firm checked in 21 percent higher than stock analyst predictions for its EPS for the quarter, and posted a 37.6 percent surge in revenue over the same period last year at just over $120 million thanks to a 44.4 percent increase in operating lease revenue.

TAL International’s utilization rate for its container fleet was at 98.6 percent.

“We expect our market to remain favorable for the rest of the year. The supply-demand balance for containers remains generally tight, new container prices remain historically high, and we expect most of our customers to remain cautious about placing large orders for new containers. As a result, we expect our key operating metrics to remain strong throughout 2011,” said TAL’s CEO Brian Sondey in a statement.

Stock analysts raised the estimated outlook for TAL International higher for the rest of 2011 and 2012, with a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy), provided a second recession is avoided.

For the full Forbes/Zacks Consensus Update story:

AMO employees of American Steamship Co go on strike

The members of the American Maritime Officers Union who are employed by American Steamship Company, a subsidiary of GATX Corporation, have gone on strike after negations broke down as the shipping company’s contract with the AMO expired today.

"This strike is the result of American Steamship's Company refusal to negotiate in good faith, or even present a proposal that recognizes the professionalism of the AMO officers and stewards and their value to a company that operates very profitably with AMO onboard its ships," said AMO National President Tom Bethel in a statement.

"When asked for a final offer, ASC presented AMO members with a proposal that would cut 14 jobs arbitrarily, give the company the ability to eliminate a total of 56 jobs, and would fail to fund the medical, retirement and training benefits of AMO officers," Bethel said.

The AMO agreement covered the 140 or so licensed crewmembers employed aboard ASC's 17 vessels that operate in the Great Lakes.

David W. Foster, president of ASC, said in a statement: "ASC made every effort to engage in constructive negotiations with the AMO, but the AMO refused to participate in this process. As a result, the existing AMO contract expired and ASC has temporarily ceased operations.”

"Our goal has been to reach a fair and equitable agreement with our licensed crew members that allows ASC to become more competitive on the Great Lakes. While this remains our goal, we will enact our contingent operating plan and make every effort to serve our customers as effectively as possible," Foster said.

“If the labor situation continues unresolved, we will work towards being able to operate our full contingent of vessels in 2012 with other qualified crew members," he concluded.

Twenty-three crew rescued after ship sinks off Malaysia

A Malta-registered freighter, the MV Oceania, reportedly sank off the coast of Malaysia on Friday night after a collision with the Panamanian-flagged MV Xin Tai Hai.

The crew of 23 was reportedly rescued by another vessel what in the vicinity after the ship sank and taken to Singapore.

Malaysian authorities are reportedly determining the cause of the collision.

For the full Malaysian Star story:


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Top Story

Baltimore’s shipping plans Deepen

The Port of Baltimore received another post-Panamax containership on Monday after doing the same a few weeks ago, and the U.S. Mid-Atlantic-based port authority is getting the word out that it is the other port on the eastern seaboard with a 50-foot shipping channel capable of handling the next-generation vessels once the Panama Canal is scheduled to widen in late 2014.

The 9,200-TEU MSC Sindy called the Seagirt Marine Terminal on the heels of the like-sized MSC Bruxelles’ call in late July, where the terminal operator, Ports America, has a new lease that includes developing a berth with a 50-foot draft.

Once that project is scheduled for completion in time for the Canal’s widening, Baltimore will join the Virginia Port Authority as having the 50-foot at-berth depth that 12,000-TEU-and-up ships will reportedly require.

In the meantime, Baltimore already enjoys a 50-foot shipping channel, and at least one advocate for the port was reportedly upset at the claim by Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton that Virginia’s port has the only 50-foot depth on the East Coast, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.

Helen Delich, a former congresswoman representing Maryland and a strong advocate for the state’s port authority, was one of the lawmakers involved in getting the port’s ship channel draft down to 50 feet back in 1989, the Sun reported.

Delich said when she challenged Connaughton’s contention, his response was we don't consider Baltimore to be on the East Coast, that's up the Chesapeake Bay."

A spokesman for the Virginia Port Authority reportedly downplayed the Secretary’s comments as possibly being a joke.

However, Bentley is concerned about perception.

"Sometimes perception creates problems you don't want," she told the Sun.

For the full Baltimore Sun story:

NAFTA surface transport trade up 15.7 percent in May

Trade utilizing surface transportation between the United States and Canada and Mexico in May, was up 15.7 percent over the same period a year ago, totaling $77.3 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The value of trade the U.S. recorded with its North American Free Trade Agreement partners in May 2011 rose 61.5 percent in two years from May 2009, but has still only risen 4.3 percent above the early recession level of May 2008, the BTS report said.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in May increased by 17.2 percent when compared to May 2006, and also increased by 55.9 percent when compared to May 2001, a period of 10 years. Imports in May were up 46.4 percent since May 2001, while exports were up 68.5 percent, the BTS report said.

In May, 84.8 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 11.1 percent moved by vessel, and 4.1 percent moved by air, according to the BTS.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico gained 4.8 percent in May 2011 over April 2011.

U.S. -Canada and U.S. -Mexico surface transportation trade both increased compared to May 2010 with U.S. -Canada reaching $46.3 billion, a 15.1 percent increase, and U.S. -Mexico reaching $31.0 billion, a 16.6 percent increase.

In May, Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada as it has in previous years, at $6.3 billion, a 15.6 percent increase from May 2010.

Texas also continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $11.2 billion, an 18.8 percent increase from May 2010.

Old Dominion unveils 3PL unit

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. announced the launch Vault Logistics, a neutral third party logistics provider.

The Thomasville, North Carolina-based trucking firm said in a statement that Vault Logistics “unites several existing business units within Old Dominion into an independent operating division that includes warehousing, business solutions, dedicated services (fleet and warehouse) and truckload brokerage units.”

The company said Michael Venegoni, a 33-year veteran of the transportation and logistics industry, is Vault Logistics' president.

"Customers are asking for a broader range of solutions and innovations across increasingly complex and dynamic supply chains. The right solutions will drive efficiencies and contribute significantly to their bottom lines to grow their business," said David Congdon, president and CEO of Old Dominion.

"We surveyed transportation and logistics executives nationwide and found that fewer than one in five transportation managers are completely satisfied with their current 3PLs," Venegoni said.

Apparel giant to build new DC in tornado-ravaged Alabama town

Apparel brands giant VF Corporation announced that it would build a new distribution facility in Hackleburg, Ala., on the site of its former facility that was destroyed in the devastating storms that slammed the Southeastern U.S. in April 2011.

Greensboro, North Carolina-based VF Corporation produces more than 30 brands, including Wrangler, The North Face, Lee, Vans, and Nautica.

The apparel company said its new facility “will be larger, more modern and have the potential to handle additional shipping capacity.”

The added capacity could 50 additional local jobs for a total of approximately 200 employees at the facility, VF said in a statement.

VF said it would break ground on the distribution center in the second quarter of 2012 with a target date for completion by the middle of 2013.

"We thank the Hackleburg community for your patience during this process. Throughout the evaluation, Hackleburg remained our leading option based on multiple factors, notably a workforce who has demonstrated a passion for their work and a commitment to our company. We are also grateful to the state of Alabama for the support and assistance it has provided. We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Hackleburg and look forward to a bright future," said Eric Wiseman, chairman and chief executive officer of VF Corp.

U.S. authorities make $180 mil cocaine bust on “submarine” in Caribbean

A semi-submersible vessel carrying an estimated $180 million worth of cocaine was seized by U.S. authorities in international waters with the cooperation of the Honduran government on July 13.

The submarine-like craft reportedly had a crew of five that tried to scuttle the vessel once intercepted by U.S. law enforcement that included the U.S. Coast Guard and an FBI dive team.

The submersible was reportedly recovered in approximately 50 feet of water off the coast of Honduras and signals yet another method for transporting illegal drugs.

The vessels, which can travel as much as 5,000 miles, are reportedly designed to sink quickly when intercepted by law enforcement.

For the full New York Daily News story:


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Top Story

European shipper group opposed to “green” tax on vessel emissions

A group representing European shippers says it is opposed to fuel levies, or “green” taxes aimed at lowering ship emissions, along with mandatory “slow steaming” or speed limit restrictions for cargo ships.

The European Shippers Council, in a statement, said it welcomes the recent agreement adopted by the International Maritime Organization to limit CO2 emissions via the adoption of an Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships.

However, the ESC also said it feels greenhouse gas reduction measures should be incentive-based, instead of punitive; “rewarding the reduction of GHG emissions of each vessel, rather than punishing those that do not.”

The ESC said it is opposed to a uniform levy or tax on fuel purchases that the shipper group feels will end up being passed on to customers through surcharges “without offering a clear incentive to increase the efficiency of a ship or regardless of the vessel’s efficiency.”

The group is said it is also against mandatory vessel speed limit limitations that NGO groups are pushing the European Union to consider, claiming that strategy “would reduce the service performance, require additional ships to maintain the schedule and frequency of delivery, add to the costs of supply chains, and potentially increase the emissions of GHGs.”

"There needs to be clear recognition of the fact that whatever scheme is introduced it should not raise the costs of efficient services, or curb economic growth. It must also provide an incentive to ship owners and operators to invest in ships and technology that reduce emissions. If you simply introduce a levy that punishes all carriers for emissions, they will just pass it on to customers. Where is the incentive in that?" said Nicolette van der Jagt, secretary general of the ESC.

Analysts: July’s U.S. retail sales should be strong; margins still tight

Analysts are predicting July’s U.S. retail sales will show strong numbers amid a heavily discounted back-to-school shopping season, that won’t contribute as much to raising retailers’ margins.

Forecasts for the month could reportedly show same-store sales up 4.1 percent rise for July over the same period a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"The hot weather has certainly helped drive people into malls and helped clear out summer seasonal merchandise," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics Inc.

Patricia Edwards, chief investment officer of Trutina Financial, told Reuters: "While the sales may be there, the margins may not."

Analysts are forecasting strong sales gains in July for discount warehouse retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp. and off-price retailers like Ross Stores Inc.

Same-store sales reports do not include figures from retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy Co. and because they do not report monthly sales.

For the full Chicago Tribune/Reuters story:

Hutchison Whampoa poised for record H1 profit

The major Hong Kong-based trading house and global marine terminal operator, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, will reportedly post record-setting first half profit of $6.58 billion compared to just over $800,000 for the same period a year ago.

A major factor for the group’s gains was the spin-off of terminal operations in Southern China via a $5.5 billion listing of the Hutchison Port Holdings trust this year, according to a Reuters report.

In addition to the sizable one time financial benefits from the terminal assets listing, other Hutchison business lines, such as a real estate trust listing that brought in $1.6 billion, and strong performance from energy, retail and infrastructure business lines.

Hutchison is also heavy into the 3G telecom market, with some positive gains from that sector after several years of losses.

For the full Reuters story:

Mitsui and Höegh set up joint venture for short-sea auto shipping in Europe

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (Tokyo) and Höegh Autoliners AS (Oslo) announced they have set up a 50-50 joint venture in Europe, integrating the existing European short sea and logistics activities of both shareholders and of Euro Marine Carrier BV.

The new company, named Euro Marine Logistics NV (EML), was registered in March 2011 and is based in Brussels, Belgium, the companies said in a statement.

“By consolidating the activities and knowledge of the companies into a new entity, EML aims to establish a first class European short sea company, delivering the best possible services to all the customers of the new company and its parent companies,” the shipping lines said.

As of the third quarter 2011, EML will operate 13 vessels in European waters, and, according to Mitsui and Höegh will be among the top three vehicle short sea operators in Europe.

The EML fleet includes small (750 cars), medium (1500 cars) and large ( up to 3000 cars) vessels, the companies said.

EML has already been operating a service network in the Mediterranean, Continental Europe, UK and the Baltic.

Arctic ice-melt opening up shipping lanes

Rapid ice melt in the Arctic sea is opening up shipping lanes for cargo-shipping between Asia and Europe, according to a posting on Russia’s Federal Hydrometeorological and Environmental Monitoring Service website.

The melting ice should open “almost the entire northern sea route to icebreaker-free shipping” as of early August, the Moscow-based environmental service said, as reported by Bloomberg.

The “ice extent” is up to 56 percent below the average in certain areas in the Arctic sea, which would allow for “very easy” sailing through September, the service said.

Serving Asia by using the northern sea route is reportedly about one-third shorter than the Rotterdam-Yokohama route through the Suez Canal.

For the full Bloomberg story:

India investigates grounded “ghost” ship

Authorities in India are reportedly investigating how an unmanned Panamanian-registered oil tanker that was abandoned a month ago in the Persian Gulf, drifted undetected into its own waters before running aground on a beach Mumbai on Sunday.

On June 29, a distress call reportedly went out from the Pavit regarding a flooded engine room and loss of power off of Oman. The crew of 13 reportedly abandoned the vessel the following day and it was presumed the vessel had sunk before eventually showing up in Mumbai. According to reports, the crew was picked up and saved shortly thereafter.

Security along India’s vast coastline has been a sore spot for the country’s authorities, especially after 10 Islamist terrorists hijacked a fishing vessel in November 2008, forcing it to Mumbai where the extremists ended up getting ashore and killing 166 people and injuring another 300.

Salvage work has reportedly commenced on the grounded vessel with no oil or fuel leaks detected so far.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top Story

Trans-Pacific carriers to levy surcharge for late-breaking Peak Season

The primary group of container-shipping lines engaged in the trans-Pacific trades between Asia and the U.S. say they are forecasting a later-than-usual Peak Season this year based on forward bookings and so on August 15, a customer surcharge that had been delayed for two months will be levied.

“Carriers have recently experienced a steady increase in traffic that suggests steady, stronger demand in the three months to come,” said Brian M. Conrad, executive administrator of the Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement – a collective of 14 global ocean carriers.

“Based on more robust forward-bookings and other favorable market signals, the consensus is now that the eastbound trade lane has begun the customary seasonal ramp-up to a pronounced peak,” Conrad said in a statement.

The TSA had initially announced late last year that a $400 per-FEU surcharge would be instituted, however retail inventories in the U.S. have been slow stocking up for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

Although the sluggish U.S. economy and its high level of unemployment continues to impact consumers, and in turn, retailers, the TSA members say their costs are rising for container equipment, inland rail, trucking, and other related service costs that the carrier group says will “dramatically escalate during peak periods.”

TSA members include: APL Ltd., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line), China Shipping Container Lines, Maersk Line, CMA-CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Co., COSCO Container Lines, Ltd., Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line), Evergreen Line, Orient Overseas Container Line, Inc., Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd., Yangming Marine Transport Corp., Hapag-Lloyd AG, Zim Integrated Shipping Services and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd.

Forecast: Global container terminal utilization to grow over 17 percent by 2016

Global container terminal utilization is forecast to grow by 17.7 percent over the years 2010-2016, according to Drewry Maritime Research’s annual port sector report.

After rebounding with profits and growth last year from the disastrous recession of 2009, Drewry’s report says: “current indications are that in the next five years, demand growth will significantly outstrip capacity expansion, leading to rapidly rising utilization levels in many ports and regions of the world.”

Container terminal expansion, and the attendant pressure of rising utilization levels, will be most significant in the Far East, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, the report said.

“Mature” container-shipping markets like North America and Northern Europe will not see as much pressure on capacity as growth is forecast to be softer, according to Drewry.

There will also be emerging competitive pressure on the established group of container terminal operator players like PSA, Hutchison Ports, DP World, APM Terminals and COSCO Group from what Drewry calls the “new kids on the block” led by Chinese-based firms such as China Merchants Group, China Shipping and Shanghai International Ports Group – the latter of which took a minority stake in APM Terminals’ operation in Zeebrugge.

Neil Davidson, Drewry’s senior advisor for ports said in a statement: “The appetite for investing in the container terminals business has returned strongly. There is evidence of increased M&A and privatization activity and also signs of renewed interest in bidding for greenfield developments. Several strong companies are mounting serious challenges to enter the big league based on very strong cash positions and the incumbent international operators will need to be ready to face this new competition.”

Average regional container terminal utilization 2010 and 2016
2010 actual 2016 forecast
Far East
South East Asia
South America
Middle East
Central America
North America
North Europe
South Asia
Source: Drewry Maritime Research

Report: U.S. industrial real estate market improves in Q2 despite slowing economy

The U.S. economic recovery might have lost some momentum so far this year, but the country’s industrial real estate market’s vacancy rate fell to a two-year low in the second quarter at 9.8 percent compared to 10.4 percent a year ago, according to CoStar Group Inc.’s Mid-Year 2011 Industrial Outlook and Review.

The CoStar report says declining vacancies and diminished supply should set the stage for acceleration in net absorption and rising rents in upcoming quarters.

The warehouse market has now experienced five consecutive quarters of positive demand totaling 103 million square feet compared to the 59 million square feet of net absorption in early 2002 to late 2003 that followed the economic previous downturn, the report said.

However, the report also points out that absorption of warehouse space is still about half what analysts projected after the economic rebound that began in early 2010.

"Overall, this is a good, but not great, recovery," said Jay Spivey, CoStar director of analytics.

Negative impacts continue dog a U.S. economy that lost some steam in this year’s second quarter as economic output rose just 1.3 and government- revised first-quarter GDP growth down to 0.4 percent.

The Institute of Supply Management announced its manufacturing index fell to 50.9 in July, the lowest level in two years, down from 55.3 in June.

However, the overall picture seems to be improving, according to CoStar.

"The natural state of the U.S. economy is growth and as of now, we’ve re-attained the peak GDP output of 2008, although it doesn’t feel that good," said Hans Nordby, director of advisory services for CoStar’s forecasting subsidiary Property & Portfolio Research.

Nordby said growth would likely average around 3 percent over the next few years.

CoStar analysts expect growth combined with tightening warehouse supply could result in more rapid warehouse absorption over the next few years, topping 40 million square feet per quarter through the end of 2014 as vacancy falls to below 7 percent.

“Even under a slow growth scenario, the national vacancy rate would fall to a healthy level of just over 8 percent within three years due to historically low levels of construction, the CoStar report said.

Most U.S. industrial real estate markets are experiencing modest quarterly absorption, however, CoStar says demand growth has spiked to strong levels in California’s Inland Empire area, where the 10.2 million square feet of absorption in the first two quarters is closer to record levels reached at the height of the warehouse boom in 2000.

As of mid-year 2011, seven of the top 40 lease deals in the nation were in Inland Empire east of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Other markets showing solid growth demand at mid-year in the report includes Dallas/Ft. Worth, with 6.2 million square feet of absorption; Philadelphia, 5.7 million square feet; and Indianapolis, 4.7 million square feet, and Detroit at 4.4 million square feet.

Los Angeles, Long Island, Milwaukee, northern New Jersey and Minneapolis saw slight negative absorption in the quarter, according to the CoStar report.

Greenbrier reels in $285 mil worth of rail car orders

The Greenbrier Companies announced it has orders on the books for 3,700 new railcars worth approximately $285 million.

The Lake Oswego, Ore-based rail car manufacturer said its new orders are primarily for double-stack intermodal platforms, boxcars, covered hopper cars and tank cars for the North American and European markets with delivery of the equipment scheduled for next year.

Five ships in Great Lakes laid up due to strike

Five ships operated by Great Lakes carrier American Steamship Co., a subsidiary of GATX Corp., are stuck in Sturgeon Bay due to a strike by licensed deck and engineering officers and stewards that began at midnight on Sunday.

The American Maritime Officers went on strike after their contract with ASC expired with the two sides unable to reach an agreement.

The laid up vessels carry coal, cement and related cargoes to ports throughout the Great Lakes.

American Steamship said this week in a statement that if the impasse isn’t resolved, it will bring in replacement crew to operate its fleet of 17 vessels in 2012.

For the full Green Bay Press Gazette story:


Friday, August 5, 2011

Top Story

Maersk claims its “wake up call” stirring industry-wide response

Citing a “need for change” for the 35-year-old container-shipping industry in areas like on-time performance, ease of business and environmental excellence, Denmark’s shipping giant Maersk Line claims the industry response to CEO Eivind Kolding’s “The New Normal” manifesto has “roused the industry on the necessary changes to redefine shipping and to add value to customers worldwide in the future.”

Maersk Line has set up a website to complement Kolding’s “New Normal” that includes interactive functionality for the shipping industry to weigh in, and debate, over the potential for major shipping industry change.

Maersk said in a statement that in the first week following Kolding’s presentation earlier this summer of his manifesto, “86 percent of the thousands of votes placed in the online polls on agree that the time has come to change the way we do business in container shipping.”

Industry responses included Florida Shipowners Group Inc. President Peter Spiller, who wrote that Kolding is “bravely searching for the right questions and answers to assure Maersk Line’s future.” However, according to Maersk, Spiller disputes the statement that containerized shipping “has not changed much.”

Spiller suggested a fourth “future strength” to be added to reliability, east of business and sustainability, citing retired auto industry executive Bob Lutz’s latest book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters.

“What Lutz shared about the collapse of GM suggests that in addition to improving reliability, ease of doing business, and sustainability, Kolding should rebalance his management’s skill profile. Effectiveness of today’s ascendant professional manager must be strengthened by assuring all are ship guys with a passion for providing a great product for customers they love,” Spiller said in his online commentary.

Maersk Line’s global director of communication, Klavs Valskov, said: “It is fair to conclude that we have obtained our goal of establishing a debate and a burning platform for ourselves to return to when we later launch initiatives that respond to this call-for-change. We want to position Maersk Line as a thought leader of our industry with a clear vision of building a prosperous future for our customers and ourselves.”

Maersk claims that close to 200 different media outlets in 35 different countries wrote more than 1,000 articles about The New Normal.

Asian carriers publish mixed bag of on-time performance

Two Asian container-shipping lines – Singapore’s APL and Japan’s MOL – published their respective on-time performance statistics for its vessels, with mixed results.

APL’s statistics are for its trans-Pacific business in the year’s first half, and the ocean carrier reported meeting a 94 percent on time average for five Asia - U.S. West Coast routes in that trade.

Typhoons, heavy fog and the calamitous earthquake in Japan earlier this year were factors that accounted for the shipping line missing just seven out of 114 port call arrival windows from January through June, APL said in a statement.

“Schedule reliability is the cornerstone of customer service in container shipping,” said APL President Ken Glenn. “We will continue to deliver a reliable product in the trans-Pacific and pursue an even better on-time performance.”

APL said it considers vessels on-time if they arrive within four hours of their scheduled arrival, claiming most ocean carriers measure reliability on arrival windows that range from 12 to 24 hours.

One of Japan’s big three container-shipping groups, MOL, reported on its on time arrival performance for April - June 2011 for what it said were its major East-West trade lanes, including Asia-U.S. West Coast, U.S. -East Coast, trans-Atlantic, and Asia-Europe.

MOL said in a statement that its on time vessel criteria allows for a window within 24 hours of scheduled arrival.

For MOL’s Asia-U.S. West Coast eastbound shipping routes that include all vessels carrying their customers’ freight, the carrier reported 88 percent on-time arrival, with Asia-East Coast at 86 percent, trans-Atlantic at 92 percent, and Asia-Europe at 90 percent. MOL’s on time performance in the trans-Pacific had dropped 10 percent since the July-September 2010 time frame; while it’s trans-Atlantic performance was up 9 percent over the same previous time frame.

For vessels under MOL’s operation, Asia - U.S. West Coast on time performance dropped over 20 percent since October-December of 2010 to 79 percent in April-June, while Asia-East Coast performance was up 17 percent over July-September of 2010.

MOL cited reasons for vessel arrival delays included port congestion and bad-weather closures at China ports.

USPS expects $9 bil loss this year; could plea to Congress to raise its debt limit

The U.S. government isn’t the only entity looking to raise its debt ceiling, as Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said he might ask Congress to raise the United States Postal Service’s debt limit to $15 billion with predictions of a $9 billion loss for the year.

“One of the things we’d have to look at is talking to people about looking at getting some breathing room with our debt limit since we’ve hit our limit of $15 billion,” Donahoe told reporters after a board meeting in Washington D.C as reported by Bloomberg.

Report: U.S. cargo theft dropped 6.8 percent for first half of year

Cargo theft in the U.S. declined 6.8 percent for the first half of 2011 to 433 incidents compared to the same period in 2010, according to a report released by Austin, Texas-based FreightWatch.

The average value per recorded incident for the January-June time period was $447,346 compared to first-half 2010’s $584,875, although a $76 million warehouse burglary is included in that calculation, the FreightWatch report said.

Multitrailer losses remain “a significant problem” for shippers and transportation providers, with 25 such incidents and 67 stolen trailers, compared to 16 incidents and 35 stolen trailers for the same period last year, the report said.

The food and drink sector recorded the most theft incidents, or 24 percent of the total, with electronics coming in second at 17 percent, and a higher loss value per incident of $1.61 million including a $37 million warehouse armed robbery in Freemont, Calif. according to the report.

Cargo thefts were most often the result of loads left unattended in unsecured parking areas such as truck stops, public parking and rest areas, accounting for 66 percent of all incidents in the year’s first half, FreightWatch said.

California led all states with the highest cargo theft incident rate, dropping down to just over 100 compared to almost 120 incidents for the same period a year ago.


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