China's manufacturing contracted for the first time in 16 months in July following a clampdown by the government on property speculation and tighter credit controls.
A purchasing managers' index (PMI) from HSBC and analysts Markit revealed a fall to 49.4 from 50.4 in June. Some economists said this was likely to continue into the autumn as the Chinese authorities work to prevent the economy overheating and property prices running out of control.
Commodity prices, which had recovered in recent weeks from a 25% fall in May, were expected to decline as demand from Chinese manufacturers fell. A slowdown in other major economies including the US and Japan is also expected to dampen demand for oil, copper and other commodities.
A manufacturing index backed by the Chinese government showed the slowest expansion in manufacturing in 17 months in July. The index, released by the statistics bureau and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, slid to 51.2, the lowest level in 17 months.
Logistics services provider Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. Monday said its profit in the second quarter jumped 67% from last year, as revenues increased 69% year-over-year owing to higher airfreight and ocean freight volumes. Earnings and revenues easily topped Wall Street consensus estimate.
The Seattle, Washington-based company's net earnings attributable to shareholders increased to $90.32 million from $54.07 million in the prior year. On a per share basis, earnings rose to $0.42 from $0.25 in the prior year.
In the first quarter, net earnings totaled $61.25 million or $0.28 per share.
Airfreight tonnage increased 54% from the previous year, and ocean freight container count was up 26% from the year-ago quarter.
Gulfport, Miss. To sign MOU with Panama Canal Authority
Gov. Haley Barbour will sign a memorandum of understanding with Panama Canal Authority and state Port at Gulfport officials to increase trade at the state's facility as the Panama Canal expands, the governor said in a press release today.
Barbour joined Panama Canal Authority Administrator and CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta and Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport Executive Director and CEO Donald R. Allee to launch a partnership in Panama by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to increase economic growth, spur international trade and promote the “All-Water Route” (the route from Asia to the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts via the Panama Canal).
Greek shipowner pleads guilty in Oakland to oil-waste dumping
A cargo ship operator accused of illegally dumping oil and other harmful waste overboard has pleaded guilty to failing to maintain a record book and making a false statement to the U.S. Coast Guard in an Oakland courtroom.
A federal judge fined Greece-based Transmar Shipping Co., S.A. $750,000 after the company entered the plea on Friday.
The ship's chief engineer, Dimitrios Dimitrakis, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate record book. The second engineer, Volodymyr Dombrovskyy, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting that failure.
Dombrovskyy was sentenced to probation. Dimitrakis is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 3.
During an inspection in Oakland in February, Coast Guard officials say they found the ship had been bypassing pollution control equipment and dumping oil waste overboard.
Wis. woman ships military hardware, not clothing, to Russia
A Wisconsin woman who thought she had landed a job shipping clothing to Russian orphans inadvertently found herself at the center of an international weapons smuggling ring, unwittingly sending stolen sniper scopes, night-vision goggles and military gear to Russia, according to police.
Police say the woman, who received the work-from-home job offer through a Website, was likely a patsy in a scheme to ship sensitive equipment purchased with stolen credit cards.
Police, now working with the FBI, would not identify the 44-year-old woman from Ripon, Wisc., and said they had not yet determined who was behind the smuggling ring or fraudulent job offer. A phone number associated with the woman's addressed listed in the search warrant was disconnected.
Police investigating the matter learned the women had received several packages a day for weeks, each of them addressed to the woman's home, but in the name of the individuals whose cards had been stolen.
When police served the woman with a search warrant, they found 20 packages in her home waiting to be mailed. They found and ultimately confiscated $15,500 worth of rifle and sniper scopes, night vision equipment, GPS units, camouflage clothing.
A strong second half helped the Georgia Ports Authority return to near-record-setting container volumes in fiscal 2010, further cementing its position as the country's No. 4 port for container volumes.
"It's been a remarkable turnaround," GPA executive director Curtis Foltz told his board Monday.
Foltz said a 9.7 percent in TEUs - each TEU is a 20-foot container - for year allowed the ports to fully recover from decreases in the previous year and return to the record levels reached in fiscal 2008.
In fact, at 2.63 million TEUs, 2010's totals were just shy of 2008's record-smashing 2.68 million TEUs.
The month of June 2010 was the third highest overall for TEUs - 240,734 compared to 179,451 in June 2009, a 34-percent increase.
Import containers led the June surge, posting a 37.9 percent increase on strong consumer demand and inventory replacements, Foltz said, while export activity reported a 14.6 percent increase.
As it struggles to remain viable, YRC Worldwide Inc. posted near break-even results in the second quarter.
YRC reported a net loss of $9.5 million, or 1 cent a share on 1.08 billion shares. During the same quarter last year, the Overland Park trucker's net loss was $309 million, or $5.20 a share on 59 million shares.
The bottom line also improved over the first quarter, when YRC's net loss was $274.1 million.
Revenues also climbed from the first quarter. YRC's national trucking subsidiary posted revenues of $730.3 million, up 9.9 percent from the previous quarter. However, the national revenues were down 15.4 percent from the 2009 second quarter.
YRC's regional operations posted $351.9 million in sales, a 13.5 percent climb from the first quarter and a 4.2 percent rise from the same period last year.
Report: Truck fleet purchasing confidence coming back
After expressing cautious optimism for the second quarter, fleets are starting to be more confident about buying new equipment in the next three months, according to CK Commercial Vehicle Research's third quarter Fleet Sentiment Report. The FSR Buying Index jumped to 90.2 for the third quarter, the best reading in two years. This was a 39 percent improvement over the second quarter.
The third quarter report, which asked 51 fleets about their buying plans, said 45.1 percent expect to place orders for medium and heavy power units this quarter, while 43.1 percent will order new trailers over the same period. Fleets responding to the questionnaire operate more than 40,000 medium- and heavy-duty power units and 110,000 trailers.
Against the odds, TSA meets cargo-screening deadline
Although a Government Accountability Office report released in June found that the Transportation Security Administration would have difficulty meeting the 9/11 Act requirement of 100 percent screening of cargo on domestic passenger aircraft, the TSA on Aug. 2 announced the airline industry has met the Congressional mandate.
The June GAO report found that one of the primary reasons the TSA was not expected to meet the mandate was because shipper participation in the Certified Cargo Screening Program had been lower than originally estimated. The CCSP, which allows cargo to be screened along the supply chain, was struggling due to the TSA’s lack of inspection resources, including funds and personnel.
However, the Aug. 2 TSA announcement reported that more than 900 facilities have become CCSP certified. This program has resulted in more than half of the nine million pounds of cargo loaded onboard passenger-carrying planes each day being prescreened.
The TSA maintains that its multi-layered approach to screening air cargo security is sufficient, and the agency deploys explosive detection canine teams as well as conducts covert tests and no-notice inspections of cargo operations to ensure proper screening.
Somali pirates seize ship carrying bagged cement off Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya – Somali pirates hijacked a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship with 23 crew onboard during an early morning raid Monday, the European Union Naval Force said.
The crew onboard the 17,300-ton MV Suez are from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India, the force said in statement.
The ship, which is carrying bags of cement, was traveling in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor, a stretch of water patrolled by a naval coalition. Navies say the ocean is too big for them to stop all pirate attacks.
Pirate attacks have gone down recently because of monsoon weather off the Somali coast. At least 17 ships and hundreds of crew members are still being held, including a British couple who were seized from their yacht last October.
Worldwide Integrated Logistics, a logistics consolidating company based in Miami known as WIL Lines, announced that it will open a new cargo facility at a Jacksonville port later this month.
The new location will accommodate all cargo sizes and heavy equipment of any kind, and the company claims to offer fees lower than that of its neighboring freight companies at the ports.
WIL Lines has facilities at major American ports in Los Angeles, Houston, New York, New Jersey and Miami as well as international locations in countries such as Brazil, South Africa, China and the Ivory.
Federal judge tosses Spain’s $1 bil suit against ABS
A $1 billion suit by Spain against the American Bureau of Shipping over a 2002 oil spill was thrown out by a federal judge in Manhattan.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain today ruled that ABS can’t be held legally responsible for the sinking of the oil tanker M.T. Prestige on November 19, 2002, near Spain. The ship discharged millions of gallons of oil into Spanish territorial waters then sank 140 miles off the country’s coast.
Spain claimed that Houston-based ABS, which certifies ships as meeting its standards for design, structure and condition, was reckless in certifying the single-hulled tanker Prestige as fit to carry fuel, Swain said.
Authorities on late Monday identified the three people who died in Sunday's plane crash in Alaska. The plane also turned out to be the same aircraft that was used in the 1997-film "Con Air".
"The Jailbird", as it was known as in the movie, crashed around 3 p.m. local time in the south-facing slope of Mount Healy, within a mile (1.6 kilometer) of Denali National Park's headquarters and approximately 200 yards (182 meters) north of Denali Park Road.
The crash initially sparked a wildland fire that hampered rescue and recovery operations, but was contained at approximately one acre.
Kris Fister, a spokeswoman for the park, said the Fairchild C-123 aircraft - which was being used as a cargo plane - was registered to All West Freight, Inc. based in Delta Junction, Alaska.
It also turned out on Monday that the aircraft that crashed in the park was the same as the one that was used in the 1997 action/thriller film Con Air, which stars Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and John Malkovich.
Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest container line, returned to profit in the first half after a $1 billion gain from selling property and a rebound in shipping demand.
Net income of $1.28 billion compared with a restated loss of $231.8 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement today.
Hanjin Shipping Co., South Korea’s largest liner, posted a 174.1 billion won ($149 million) profit in the second quarter as it charged more to move cargo.
Orient Overseas’s container-shipping sales rose 39 percent as it carried more clothes, toys and furniture to the U.S. and almost doubled rates on Asia-Europe routes. Shipping volumes are rising after a trade slump during the global recession caused industrywide losses of more than $15 billion last year.
Orient Overseas posted an operating profit of $309.9 million rebounding from a year-earlier loss of $191.7 million. Sales jumped 32 percent to $2.7 billion.
Hanjin’s operating profit was 169.7 billion won and sales at 2.37 trillion won.
Report: Delta to upgrade JFK terminal as part of $1.2 bil overhaul
Delta Air Lines Inc., upgrading its New York hub for overseas flights, plans to renovate one terminal at Kennedy airport and demolish another as part of a $1.2 billion overhaul, a person familiar with the matter said.
The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees John F. Kennedy International Airport, is set to vote on the project today, said two people who declined to be identified because the deal isn’t final. The work is due to begin next month and be completed by mid-2013, the person said.
Delta uses Terminal 2 and the 1960s-era Terminal 3, which an executive once derided as “third world.” Terminal 4, whose tenants include foreign carriers, will be redone and linked to Terminal 2, one person said. The saucer-shaped Terminal 3 will be replaced with parking, the people said.
Vietnam reports 11.8 percent increase in freight transport
Vietnam saw a year-on-year rise of 11.8 percent in freight transportation in the first seven months of this year to 402.5 million tons, said a report on the website of the General Statistics Office of Vietnam on Tuesday.
In this period, the country’s freight transportation by road was 299.6 million tons, a year-on-year climb of 12.4 percent, said the report. Vietnam’s cargo transportation by river went up five percent over the same period last year to reach 67.9 million tons from January to July.
The country recorded a sharp increase of 24 percent year-on-year to 30.5 million tons in cargo transportation by sea and a fall of 6.1 percent year-on-year to 4.4 million tons in transportation of freight by railway during this period. In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam’s passenger transportation reached 1.36 billion person-times, up 13.8 percent year-on-year, according to the office.
Dell to transfer ownership of Nashville DC to CEVA Logistics
Dell Inc. will transfer ownership and operation of its Nashville distribution center on Saturday to CEVA Logistics, which intends to continue running the facility with the same 480 employees who have been working for Dell.
CEVA is buying two buildings from Dell in the computer maker's Nashville complex on Murfreesboro Road, where it will take over final assembly of laptop computers and the shipment of desktop computers, servers, televisions, printers, ink and other computer accessories, Dell spokesman Venancio Figueroa said from the company's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.
The change will bring an estimated $1 million in additional taxes annually to the city because passing ownership of the property to CEVA means the loss of special tax incentives that Nashville provided when it recruited Dell to move those operations to Nashville, said Alexia Poe, director of the mayor's office of economic and community development.
Dell said it has a "multiyear agreement" with CEVA to operate the distribution center, but financial terms were not disclosed.
Indonesian cargo ship sinks after collision; baby among those rescued
Rescuers saved 11 people, including a 1-year-old girl, from choppy waters off central Indonesia but searched Thursday for nine others still missing from a ship that sank after colliding with another cargo vessel.
The Trisal Pratama sank shortly after the collision Wednesday near Selayar island off South Sumatra province, Makassar port chief Afrianus Tapangan said.
Survivors included a crew member who swam without a lifejacket while holding the baby, whose parents were navigators aboard the ship, he said. The man said the baby's mother had given the child to him for safekeeping.
The baby's parents and 3-year-old brother were missing, along with six crew members from the ship, which was carrying 2,000 tons of cement from Makassar to Flores island.
All 14 crew members on the other vessel, which was carrying scrap metal from Papua to Makassar, survived the accident, Tapangan said.
Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., owner of Asia’s largest container line by fleet size, posted its first profit in seven quarters after moving more boxes at higher rates amid a recovery in the global economy.
Second-quarter net income was $99.7 million, compared with a $146.2 million loss a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. Neptune Orient said it expects “significant improvement” in profit for the third quarter.
Neptune Orient carried 32 percent more containers in the quarter as demand for moving clothes, toys and furniture to the U.S. and shipping rates increased. Chief Executive Officer Ron Widdows last month ordered new ships for the first time in three years as the global economy rebounds from a recession that caused industrywide losses of more than $15 billion last year and pushed companies into mothballing vessels.
HMM’s terminal operation to move from Long Beach to L.A.
A cargo shipping line will leave the Port of Long Beach and set up operations later this year at the neighboring Port of Los Angeles under an agreement approved Thursday by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.
California United Terminals, a subsidiary of Hyundai Merchant Marine, will sublease 98 acres of land operated by APM Terminals Pacific on Terminal Island, according to Port of Los Angeles officials.
Under the lease agreement, California United Terminals will have the right to eventually expand operations to an area that will eventually become Pier 500, port officials said.
Sugar refineries in Asia may have supply shortfalls if Brazilian shipping problems continue, Australia’s largest exporter of the sweetener said.
“From November and probably for the January-to-March period next year, which is normally when Brazil would send a reasonable amount of product over here, that’s when it looks like it’s potentially going to be tight,” Queensland Sugar Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Neil Taylor said by phone from Brisbane.
Raw sugar futures in New York rallied to a more than four- month high this week as a record number of ships waited to load supplies at ports in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter. Delayed rainfall has cut forecasts for Thai production and exports, Rangsit Hiangrat, director of the Cane and Sugar Industry Policy Bureau said July 15.
For the second month in a row, the U.S. economy shed jobs as the government continued to unload census workers, offsetting disappointing gains in private business hiring.
The Labor Department on Friday reported a net loss of 131,000 jobs in July, an improvement from the revised loss of 221,000 jobs in June.
The loss was due mostly to the end of 143,000 temporary census jobs in the month, but hiring by businesses was also weak, as those employers added only 71,000 jobs in July.
Businesses have now added jobs in every month so far this year, a total of 630,000 positions. But that works out to an anemic 90,000 a month. There needs to be an overall gain of about 150,000 jobs per month just to keep pace with population growth.
Ten years after the deadly attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in the Gulf of Aden, al Qaeda once again struck at sea with a suicide attack on a Japanese oil tanker.
A UAE Coast Guard source confirmed Friday that the tanker, M. Star, was the target of a terrorist attack while passing through international waters near the Strait of Hormouz on July 28.
On Wednesday, an al Qaeda-linked group called "Abdullah Azzam Brigades" issued an online statement claiming that M. Star was the target of a kamikaze attack orchestrated by the group. It identified the suicide bomber as Ayyub al-Taishan.
The group said that he blew himself up into the tanker in the Straight of Hormouz, between the U.A.E and Oman, causing major damage to the giant ship, which was carrying two million barrels of crude oil.
The attack only caused minor damage to the tanker's starboard side, but it raises serious concerns over al Qaeda's capacity to reach targets at sea, and its renewed interest in maritime Jihad.