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Summary for August 6 - August 10, 2007:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bush signs cargo-screening bill

President George W. Bush Aug 3 signed a bill into law that implements certain key steps recommended by the 9/11 Commission three years ago, including a requirement to screen all containerships in foreign ports.

The legislation sets a five-year goal of scanning all containerships for nuclear devices before they leave foreign ports but also gives the Homeland Security secretary authority to delay implementation.

The new rules have come under fire from business leaders both at home and abroad. The European Union’s customs chief said in a strongly worded statement Aug 2 that they would not improve security and would disrupt trans-Atlantic trade.

EU Taxation Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said the US Congress’ adoption of the new law would place the financial burden of protecting America on her trading partners without making real improvements to US security.

“By introducing the US HR1 legislation, the United States transfers unilaterally and without coordination with its trading partners the resource burden for protecting the United States onto them,” Kovacs said.

Kovacs instead advocated basing checks on containers on the risk involved.

Port of Portland expands Kalmar fleet

The Port of Portland has awarded Kalmar an order for three DRF450-65S5 reachstackers with an option for eight additional units, according to the port.

The units are scheduled for delivery in October 2007.

Kalmar is a global provider of container and heavy duty materials-handling equipment, automation applications, and related services. It is the world’s leading supplier of cargo-handling equipment to ports, terminals, and intermodal facilities, according to the company.

After switching its operation from masted container handlers to reachstackers in 1999, the Port of Portland currently employs 16 Kalmar DRS4531-S5 reachstackers handling loaded containers.

Lee Roundtree Jr., manager of marine operations for the port, commented, “The reachstacker operation is the most flexible, versatile handling solution for our terminal, allowing us to quickly and accurately support the high volume of carriers we serve each week.”

Roundtree continued, “Operators appreciate the ergonomics of the Kalmar machines, and the mechanics like the accessibility when performing maintenance functions. Norlift of Oregon Inc., the local Kalmar dealer, is able to provide very good parts and service support.”

NYKLauritzenCool: New name, 100% NYK

NYK Aug 2 announced that NYK Reefers Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of NYK Line, has acquired joint venture partner J. Lauritzen’s 50% share in NYKLauritzenCool AB, one of the world’s largest operators of specialized reefer vessels.

The 100% NYK-controlled company will be renamed NYKCool.

Torben Janholt, president and CEO of J. Lauritzen A/S, commented that “Lauritzen has enjoyed a strong partnership with NYK Reefers and a very good cooperation with our Swedish colleagues.”

“As a part of Lauritzen’s overall strategy, we decided to sell our reefer fleet in 2006, and it is therefore only natural that NYK takes over our 50% share holding of our joint marketing company,” Janholt continued.

Hiroshi Yamafuji, CEO of NYK Reefers, said, “NYK has also enjoyed an excellent partnership with J. Lauritzen, thus we wish to express our appreciation for their cooperation and wish their continuous success.”

Yamafuji continued, “We are looking forward to further development of the company in order to continuously improve our service quality and efficiency to our valued customers.”


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

CEVA names John Pattullo CEO

CEVA, a leading global supply chain management company, Aug 6 announced that John Pattullo has joined the company as its new CEO, effective immediately.

Pattullo replaces Dave Kulik as CEO of the recently merged companies CEVA and EGL, which will now operate under the CEVA company name.

Kulik will serve as vice chairman of the Board of Directors of CEVA Group Plc., also effective Aug 6, according to the announcement.

As a result of the merge, the company will operate two divisions, CEVA Contract Logistics and CEVA Freight Management. Both divisions will report to Pattullo, who will also lead the contract logistics division.

The contract logistics division has been regrouped into four regional areas: Americas, North Europe, South Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Joe Bento, formerly president and CMO of EGL, will head the freight management division.

Prior to joining CEVA, Pattullo led Deutsche Post/DHL’s €7bn EMEA contract logistics business as COO.

In addition, Pattullo led the Exel European forwarding and contract logistics business and has worked in various leadership positions supporting Procter & Gamble’s global supply chain.

South Korean shipyards cautioned

An excessive expansion of shipbuilding capacity could lead to oversupply and a sudden drop in prices, a South Korean state-run think tank said Aug 6.

The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) said local shipyards could face serious problems if the current boom runs out of steam.

“The surge that began in 2000 is attributed to a healthy global economy that is fueling maritime commerce and measures by many countries to force shipping companies to operate safer double-hulled vessels,” said Hong Sung-in, a researcher at the economic institute.

South Korea is one of the main beneficiaries of the strong demand, with exports expected to top a record $28.2bn by year’s end, according to Hong.

“All these developments are leading to a sharp rise in wages and construction costs that could come to hurt overall competitiveness if the global market cools down, especially with Chinese yards making inroads in capacity and ship quality,” he said.

“Companies need to strive to raise competitiveness through technology innovations and enhanced effectiveness, instead of just focusing on meeting orders,” Hong said.

CWT decreases at Panama Canal

Canal Waters Time (CWT) decreased during the third quarter of FY 2007 compared to Q3 FY 2006, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) operational metrics released Aug 6.

CWT is the average time it takes a vessel to transit the canal, including waiting time for passage.

CWT of all canal transits decreased 37% during Q3, from 38.90 to 24.50 hours. CWT has declined in part due to the ongoing implementation of more efficient operational systems, investments, and enhancements to the waterway, said the authority.

There was also a minor decrease in net tonnage, total transits, and booking slot utilization in Q3, according to the authority.

Transit of full container vessels increased 10.7% during the same period, while Panamax transits, the widest vessels to cross the canal, decreased from 1,544 to 1,494, or -3.2%. Of these, the transit of Panamax vessels with an overall length greater than 900 ft increased 2.9%, from 415 to 427 transits.

The official accidents rate, one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted per 1,000 transits, remained stable at 0.535.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Norfolk Southern, BLET in agreement

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Aug 7 announced that they have reached a tentative new agreement.

The new contract, which extends through 2014, continues to link engineers’ compensation to Norfolk Southern’s performance.

The agreement is subject to ratification by employees. That process is expected to take at least 30 days, said the announcement.

The union and the carrier were involved in negotiations for approximately one year before reaching the tentative agreement.

The agreement, which covers approximately 5,100 locomotive engineers, continues to provide an annual bonus opportunity based on the same performance criteria used to determine management bonuses, according to the announcement.

The agreement also includes work rule changes defining engineers’ job responsibilities and rules that will permit more efficient operations, said the announcement.

Norfolk Southern Railway, a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corp., operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada, serving every major container port in the Eastern US and providing connections to western rail carriers.

Chris Roach new VP at FKI Logistex

FKI Logistex Aug 7 announced the appointment of Chris Roach to the new position of vice president, customer service, North America.

In his new role, Roach assumes responsibility for all North American parts sales, parts order fulfillment operations, and hotline technical support, said the company. Roach will report to Steve Ackerman, president, FKI Logistex North America.

“Chris is well-equipped to lead the FKI Logistex team in providing reliable, qualified, and responsive customer service,” said Ackerman.

Roach has a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from DeVry University and a master’s in business administration from Michigan State University. He brings 17 years of engineering, management, and leadership experience to his new position, said the company.

Prior to his appointment as vice president, Roach was director of the parts group for FKI Logistex Manufacturing Systems North America. He has previously held management and engineering positions at Diamond Electric Manufacturing Corp., Excel Communications Inc., and American Greeting Card Corp.

FKI Logistex provides material handling solutions for airports, postal facilities, parcel distribution, manufacturing operations, library automation, and warehouse and distribution facilities.

ATA asks Congress for national clearinghouse

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves Aug 1 urged Congress to authorize and fund a centralized clearinghouse for positive drug and alcohol testing results of commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Graves said the purpose of the clearinghouse would be to help employers be aware of previous positive test results during the hiring process.

“ATA and its members believe that state-based reporting efforts are a good first step, but the optimal solution is a national clearinghouse,” said Graves, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

“A national solution is the optimal approach to addressing this issue,” added Graves.

ATA has lobbied for a national clearinghouse of positive test results since the 1990s. In 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported to Congress on the merits of reporting positive test results to states. Currently, five states have instituted a drug and alcohol clearinghouse.

ATA has lobbied for a national clearinghouse of positive test results since the 1990s. It is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry, according to the organization.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

NOL sees Q2 rise in profits

Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) Aug 8 reported a 38% increase to $93mn in net profit in the second quarter year-on-year.

“The double-digit rise in our container volumes and improving rate situation in our key trade lanes led to an improved EBIT [earnings before interest and taxes] performance in the second quarter,” Thomas Held, group president and CEO, reported.

June quarter earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to $112mn, up 27% from the same period last year. Container volumes for the same period rose 12% from a year ago.

NOL’s supply chain services unit, APL Logistics, recorded a 2% improvement in revenues quarter-on-quarter, while year-to-date sales were down 2%.

“We have made progress with the realignment of the logistics business. This has been driven by new business wins, the launch of new products, and a general increase in demand for logistics services in our key market segments,” said Held.

NOL “is on target with its cost mitigation plan and will continue its successful focus on productivity improvements,” announced the company.

Port of Montreal traffic up

For the first half 2007, global merchandise traffic handled by the Port of Montreal surpassed the 12mn tonne mark, an increase of 108,000 tonnes or almost 1% compared with the same period in 2006 — the highest increase in the port’s history, the port announced Jul 28.

“Our mid-year results are consistent with the record results we have attained during the last five years, particularly in the container category where we foresee our strong performance continuing until 2012 and beyond,” said Dominic J. Taddeo, president and CEO, Montreal Port Authority.

“These results continue to reinforce the importance of Montreal as a strategic gateway and the premier inter-modal hub in North America,” Taddeo added.

The general cargo sector totaled more than 6.2mn tonnes, an increase of 4.9% since the same period last year. The dry bulk sector surpassed 2.5mn tonnes, a decline of almost 2.7% compared to the same period last year, according to port figures.

Liquid bulk activity totaled 3.3mn tonnes, a decrease of 112,000 tonnes or 3.3% less than the same period last year, said the port.

A. Paul Anderson nominated for FMC lead

President George W. Bush Aug 2 announced his intention to nominate A. Paul Anderson, of Florida, to remain a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission for the remainder of a five-year term expiring Jun 12, 2012,, and to designate him Chairman.

Anderson previously served as vice president of public affairs and government relations at JM Family Enterprises.

Earlier in his career, Anderson served as director for public affairs and assistant to the president and marketing manager of Hvide Marine Inc., a diversified automobile business headquartered in Deerfield Beach, FL.

Anderson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and is a 1997 graduate of the Program for Senior Managers in Government, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He was a founding board member of Broward Navy Days Inc., a naval services support organization that hosts one of the largest fleet week celebrations in the United States, according to the FMC.

The FMC is an independent regulatory agency responsible for the regulation of ocean-borne transportation in the foreign commerce of the US.


Friday, August 10, 2007

July US rail traffic down

Freight traffic on US railroads was off again during July, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported Aug 2.

US railroads originated 1,250,961 carloads of freight in July, down 39,196 carloads (3.0%) from July 2006. They also originated 913,590 intermodal trailers and containers during the month, down 24,570 units (2.6%) from July 2006.

Commodities showing carload gains in July 2007 included chemicals (up 3.0% to 119,704 carloads); motor vehicles and equipment (up 4.0% to 57,366 carloads); and food products (up 4.8% to 34,569 carloads).

Commodities showing carload declines in July 2007 included coal (down 2.9% to 524,755 carloads); crushed stone, sand, and gravel (down 10.1% to 82,933 carloads); and metals and metal products (down 11.9% to 49,138 carloads).

Six of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw US carload increases in July 2007 compared to July 2006.

US intermodal traffic, which consists of trailers and containers on flat cars and is not included in carload figures, was down 1.5% for the first seven months of 2007 to 6,865,965 units.

ACL raises demurrage terms

American Commercial Lines Inc. (ACL) Aug 1 announced new demurrage terms for liquid shipments. ACL will increase per day demurrage charges by 15%.

Commenting on the new terms, Mike Ryan, senior vice president, sales and marketing, stated, “We are adjusting our demurrage charges for our tank barge fleet in response to the continued strong demand for liquid barging capacity.”

“The value of these liquid units in the marketplace continues to increase, and we need to keep pace with that value,” continued Ryan.

“Our focus continues to include improving our fleet’s velocity and creating additional capacity for our existing and prospective customers. By improving the utilization of our fleet, we lower the cost to shippers for barge transportation,” Ryan added.

American Commercial Lines Inc., headquartered in Jeffersonville, IN, is an integrated marine transportation and service company operating in the US Jones Act trades, with approximately $940mn in annual revenues and approximately 2,750 employees.

The company began more than 90 years ago as a coal-moving business on the Kentucky River, according to the company Web site.

Crowley awards USMMA midshipman

Crowley Maritime Corp. announced Aug 7 that it has recently presented Tyler A. Stutin, a US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) midshipman, with the Crowley Maritime Security Enhancement Award.

Crowley presented the award during the 2007 Academic Awards Convocation at Kings Point in June.

Candidates for this award “must demonstrate exceptional interest in and aptitude for a career in port, maritime, or transportation security,” the company said.

Stutin, a logistics and intermodal transportation major from Pasadena, CA, in October 2006 presented an independent study to the Dept. of Defense Threat Reduction Agency on the vulnerability of US ports to terrorist sea mining.

In February 2005, Stutin was presented with the US Maritime Service Professional Achievement Medal by the US Maritime Administrator for saving a life at sea.

Stutin plans to pursue a career in the maritime industry and to one day enter the field of admiralty law.

In addition to cash awards, Crowley has provided scholarship aid totaling more than $100,000 to deserving students at US maritime academies and other select institutions in the name of Thomas B. Crowley Sr.