Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for August 10 - August 14, 2009:
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Top Story

Hanjin loses $325 million in Q2; sees recovery beginning in Q3

South Korea's Hanjin Shipping announced it lost $325 million in the second quarter of 2009, which was nearly twice the shipping group’s first quarter loss of $191 million. The news of the liner’s loss came despite a 2.5 percent revenue increase of $1.29 billion; up from $1.26 billion in first quarter sales.

Second-quarter container shipping revenue continued to climb to $1.02 billion from $977 million, up 4.5 percent from the first quarter, Hanjin said. However, deteriorating freight rates and rising costs subtracted from gains made from 22.7 percent more boxes moved quarter to quarter, the shipping line said.

Hanjin said it believes the container liner business will pick up in the third quarter, driven by the recovery in the global economy, which should also bring about freight rate recovery.

Hanjin blamed falling trans-Pacific rates for its operating loss of $200
million for the container liner business along with the lower profitability of chartered vessels.

Finnish ship with Russian crew disappears

Russia’s navy and Federal Security Service, the primary successor to the Soviet-era KGB, are searching for a Finnish ship with a Russian crew that disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean en route to Algeria.

Radio contact with the freighter Arctic Sea was lost on July 28, according to a statement posted on the navy’s Web site today. The ship, which sails under the Maltese flag, had 13 to 15 crewmembers on board, the navy said.

The Arctic Sea, operated by Oy Solchart Management AB, was scheduled to arrive in Bejaia, Algeria on Aug. 4, the Sovfracht maritime news Web site reported yesterday. The ship, built in 1991, has 4,706 deadweight tons capacity, the navy said.

- Bloomberg

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Whale likely struck by ship at Port of Tacoma

The dead whale found Friday in the Port of Tacoma was most likely struck by a ship, according to a necropsy performed Saturday.

A team of eight from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Olympia-based Cascadia Research Collective conducted the 61/2-hour necropsy on McNeil Island. The examination revealed that the animal was a 46-foot-long juvenile fin whale.

Fin whales, the second largest species of whale, grow to nearly 88 feet and feed on small marine creatures by filtering them through sieve-like structures in their mouths.

- Tacoma News Tribune

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China's longest coastal highway to open in September

The longest coastal road in China is scheduled to open in September, according to China state media, Xinhua. The almost 900-mile-long Liaoning coastal highway will wrap around the Bohai and Yellow Sea coastal region.

The $1.9 billion highway, which looks like a "Z" on a map, begins its journey from Dandong in the east, winding its way through Jinzhou, Panjin, Yingkou and Dalian, before finally reaching Suizhong County of Huludao city in the west. The six coastal cities of Liaoning province will now all be connected.

Upon completion, the Liaoning Coastal Highway will connect 25 ports, 228 industrial parks and 133 scenic spots, the report said. The highway will then connect to a dense network of expressways in the interior of Liaoning province, becoming a main artery of the so-called Bohai Rim Economic Circle, the report said.

Vycon Energy’s flywheel system cuts diesel consumption at ports

What kind of power can a 30-ton shipping container generate?

Roughly 100 kilowatts to 200 kilowatts, says Louis Romo, the vice president of sales for Vycon Energy.

In one of the more titanic examples of energy harvesting on the market, Vycon has created a flywheel that captures the energy contained in cargo containers being lowered by cranes and feeds it back to the crane for the next hoist.

Port operators using the system have managed to cut diesel consumption by 30 percent on average with the company's REGEN system and in some cases by 45 percent. Maintenance and downtime is also improved.

In California, the technology is seen as a way to reduce emissions. Groups have formed to lobby federal and state agencies to clean up ports and use them as incubators for new technologies.

- Greentech Media

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Story

Domestic container traffic climbs in Q2

Domestic container traffic was up 0.9 percent in the second quarter of this year. With 53-foot equipment jumping 5 percent, representing 95 percent of all domestic container loads, the Intermodal Association of North America reported.

The Mountain Central region posted the largest jump at 17 percent, and the Midwest region – the largest domestic container region – increased 4 percent, IANA reported.

Year-over-year total intermodal volume dropped 18.7 percent.

International container volume, which accounted for more than half of all intermodal shipments, fell for the ninth-consecutive quarter at a double-digit pace in every region, with Western Canada seeing the smallest decrease in volume, while the Northwest experienced the largest, IANA said.

Trailer declines accelerated during the quarter as domestic freight continued its migration to containers, IANA said; dropping 26.9 percent compared to -20.6 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Trailer volume has fallen 16 of the last 18 quarters, interrupted only by a brief period of growth in mid-2008, IANA reported. All trailer sizes, including the standard 53-foot length, fell during the quarter, with total quarterly trailer volume falling below 400,000 loads for the first time since IANA started reporting in 1996.

The volume of business through Intermodal Marketing Companies shrunk by nearly half, with IMC intermodal volume performance increasing 7.3 percent from the first quarter, IANA said.

Freight Index unchanged from May to June

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was unchanged from May to June, remaining at its lowest level in 12 years, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.

The BTS reported that the Freight TSI has declined in all but two of the last 11 months. The index has declined 14.8 percent in that 11-month period.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments in ton-miles, which are then combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and airfreight.

The June Freight TSI of 94.0 is the same as in May, remaining at its lowest level since June 1997 when it was 92.4. The Freight TSI is down 16.7 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006, the BTS report said.

The 6.3 percent decline in the first six months of 2009 was the largest in the last decade, exceeding the 4.6 percent decline for the first six months of 2000.

The 14.2 percent decline in the Freight TSI from June 2008 to June 2009 was the largest June-to-June decline in the 20 years of the Index calculations.

The freight index was down 14.7 percent in the five years from June 2004, the ninth consecutive month in which the index declined for a five-year period, the BTS said

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present.

Report: Direct rail access plan to Miami port takes shape

A plan for restoring and upgrading direct freight rail access to Miami's seaport is taking shape as port and rail officials work on federal stimulus funding applications — but the proposed project is raising questions among industry players.

Port and rail officials are seeking stimulus dollars to restore and upgrade on-port rail infrastructure and a Florida East Coast Railway branch connecting the seaport to the mainland.

The idea is to transport cargo by rail to the railway's existing Hialeah intermodal yard, which would serve as an inland port with easy access to West Dade warehouses.

-Miami Today

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Russian Navy joins hunt for missing cargo vessel

Russia's navy has been deployed to find a ship reportedly hijacked three weeks ago in the Baltic Sea.

Up to five vessels - reported to include nuclear submarines - will be involved in the search for the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea, the navy confirmed.

It has a 15-strong Russian crew and was reportedly taking timber worth $1.5m (£900,000) from Finland to Algeria when it was boarded by gunmen on 24 July.

The Arctic Sea was last sighted off the north coast of France on 30 July.


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USAF taps Savi RFID system

Savi Technology announced \the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has approved deployment of Savi’s RFID asset tracking and security devices aboard all sizes and classifications of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft – government, commercial, passenger or cargo – that transport supplies for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Certification of Savi’s Radio Frequency Identification devices followed tests that determined the equipment did not interfere with onboard avionics, such as radios, navigation or flight instruments, the company said.

RFID tags from Savi Technology, a Lockheed Martin company, have been used for years aboard U.S. military aircraft under other certification programs, the company said, but USAF’s certification now broadens their usage aboard all kinds and sizes of aircraft throughout all the Services. 

Savi said its standards-based RFID can be used for multiple applications, ranging from simple asset tracking to security monitoring and, when embedded with sensors, to check the health of assets by monitoring environmental changes such as temperature, humidity and shock. Savi said its active, battery-powered RFID tags are compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard and are interoperable with all 18000-7compliant devices and reader infrastructure provided by the Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) industry.

18000-7 compliant RFID devices developed by Savi Technology are safe aboard aircraft because they transmit only microwatts of power intermittently in short data packets. The tags also can be de-activated, or “turned off,” but the USAF evaluations, which were done in real-world taxi and flight scenarios as well as in laboratories, determined that they were safe aboard aircraft even when activated continuously, Savi said.

The U.S. DoD and allied international defense forces in Europe and Pacific Asia track more than 35,000 shipments daily tagged with Savi’s RFID devices by air, rail, ship and truck across more than 4,000 locations and 50 countries, according to Savi.

Savi Technology helped build the DoD’s In-Transit Visibility network, the world’s largest RFID cargo tracking system, the company said. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Top Story

Reports: Missing ship might have “secret cargo”

A secret cargo and not just timber may be on board a missing ship whose last known radio contact was with British Coastguards, it has been suggested.

Russia's navy fleet and two nuclear submarines have been scrambled as
efforts intensified to locate the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea and its 15-strong Russian crew.

Experts and marine authorities continue to be baffled that the 4,000-tonne vessel "disappeared" after its last official recorded positioning off northern France on
July 30.

Mikhail Voitenko, editor of Russia's Sovfracht maritime bulletin, said the ship, carrying about £1 million-worth of sawn timber from Finland to Algeria, might have been targeted because it was also loaded with an unknown cargo.

- Press Association

Hutchison posts 33 percent decline for first-half of year

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., billionaire Li Ka-shing’s biggest company, posted a 33 percent decline in first-half profit as the global recession curbed sales at mobile-phone and retail units and cut port traffic.

Li’s Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd., Hutchison’s largest shareholder and the world’s second-largest real estate developer by market value, said net income gained 4.7 percent to HK$11.5 billion ($1.5 billion), almost double analysts’ estimates.

Continued losses at Hutchison’s 3 Group, its high-speed mobile-phone companies in markets including the U.K. and Italy, come in a year that Li plans for the unit to become profitable. Cheung Kong benefited from a 22 percent increase in Hong Kong home prices and a tripling in the fair-value gain from its investment properties.

- Bloomberg

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Virginia legislators seek to slow down port privatization decision-making

Concerned the state is moving too quickly in its decision on whether to pursue a long-term public-private partnership to operate the state's cargo terminals, members of a legislative panel on Wednesday vowed to intervene with legislation that would make the General Assembly part of the decision-making process.

A handful of local lawmakers on a panel studying the privatization of Virginia's state-owned port facilities lodged a series of complaints at a hearing in Norfolk about the state's process of considering three private proposals to form lengthy partnerships with the Virginia Port Authority.

That panel will be charged with determining if the state should enter into detailed negotiations with any of the three bidders — Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm The Carlyle Group, Chicago-area industrial real estate concern CenterPoint Properties Trust and a partnership between Seattle-based terminal operator Carrix Inc. and investment bank Goldman Sachs' Infrastructure.

- Daily Press

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Venezuela to ship fuel to Guatemala

Venezuela has formalized an agreement to ship fuel to Guatemala under its Petrocaribe aid program.

Under the agreement, Guatemala will receive 20,000 barrels of liquid natural gas and diesel fuel a day.

Venezuela created the Petrocaribe accord in 2005 to sell fuel to its allies in Latin America and the Caribbean at preferential terms, but the drop in world prices has cut its oil revenues.

- Newsday

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Increased ore shipments from Brazil could support rates

Brazil may ship more iron ore at the expense of Australia, supporting rates for capesize ships because they will make longer journeys, Lorentzen & Stemoco AS said.

China’s detention of Australian national Stern Hu and three Rio Tinto Group colleagues last month “strained relations between China and Australia,” Nicolai Hansteen, an Oslo-based analyst with shipping consultant Lorentzen & Stemoco, wrote in a note dated today. “This could eventually benefit Brazilian iron-ore exports, hence more ton-miles for capesize vessels.”

Australia was the source of 43 percent of China’s iron-ore imports in June and Brazil, home to Vale SA, the biggest producer and exporter, 22 percent, according to China’s customs data. China is the biggest consumer of the material used to make steel. Rio is the second-largest iron ore exporter.

- Bloomberg

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Top Story

Trapac becomes first Port L.A. lease under clean air plan

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a 30-year lease and expansion for the TraPac container terminal at the Port of Los Angeles yesterday, the first of its kind to be signed under the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan to reduce air-and-greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

TraPac is owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL).

The five-year, $245 million TraPac expansion will deepen the waterside at Berths 144-147, upgrade approximately 50 additional acres of existing land to modern container handling backland standards, and construct a new on-dock rail facility, the Port of Los Angeles said.

Surface road improvements and a new main gate configuration will also improve traffic flow into and out of the terminal facilities, and an energy-efficient administration building will be constructed to meet LEED “Gold” standards, the port said.

As part of the new lease agreement, TraPac’s environmental responsibilities are to include:

  • Use of Alternative Maritime Power (“AMP,” also known as cold-ironing) for container ships that call at TraPac;
  • Participation in the Port’s Vessel Speed Reduction Program to reduce emissions from ships transiting within 40 miles of the San Pedro Bay;
  • Use of engines ensuring fuel efficiency level equivalent to that by using slide valves, to reduce emissions from their main engines;
  • Use of clean yard tractors and equipment in the movement of cargo containers; and
  • Compliance with the Clean Trucks Program, an initiative currently underway to replace or retrofit port drayage trucks to meet 2007 EPA emission standards by 2012.

The port said that when the terminal is fully completed, the environmental measures to be implemented by TraPac during its terminal expansion will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 62 percent, sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by 62 percent and particulate matter (PM) emissions by 57 percent below 2003 baseline levels.

TraPac’s space will improve from 172 acres to approximately 226 acres, including 4,600 linear feet of wharf area. By 2025, the modernized facilities will have capacity up to 2.4 million TEUs, the port said.

TraPac will also be eligible to receive $1.5 million from the Port’s Technology Advancement Program to implement emissions treatment technologies that will capture ship emissions in lieu of AMP for containerships that call at the terminal, but are not retrofitted to plug into shore-side electric power, the port said.

Missing ship spotted off Cape Verde islands

A missing cargo ship attacked by pirates as it approached the English Channel has been spotted 400 miles off the coast of Senegal.
The Arctic Sea, a Maltese-registered ship, was seen by coastguards off one of the Cape Verde islands.

An official said: "The Arctic Sea is some 400 nautical miles off one of the islands of Cape Verde, therefore outside its territorial waters."

The vessel went missing two weeks ago after it was raided by 12 masked gunmen in Swedish waters as it prepared to transit the Channel en route to the Mediterranean.

A Maltese maritime spokesman said the ship was attacked on July 24 by armed men who boarded the vessel from a black inflatable craft marked 'police'.

They claimed to be anti-drugs police and began to question the 15-strong Russian crew.

-Sky News

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Trucking analyst: YRC bankruptcy “increasingly likely”

A leading trucking industry analyst is predicting the demise of YRC Worldwide, the nation's largest trucking company by revenue. David Ross of Baltimore-based Stifel Nicolaus says that YRC's bankruptcy, while not imminent, "is becoming increasingly likely." Whether YRC opts for Chapter 11 reorganization or Chapter 7 liquidation is unclear. For its part, YRC's management continues to say its restructuring plan is on course despite losses in excess of $2 billion in the last 10 operating quarters.

-Gerson Lehrman Group

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WTO ruling could open China U.S. entertainment industry

Responding to a U.S. complaint, the World Trade Organization ruled Wednesday that China was violating international trade rules by restricting the import of American books, movies and music recordings.

The ruling, handed down by a three-member panel in Geneva, was hailed as a victory for the U.S. entertainment industry, opening wider the door into China's 1.3-billion-strong market for U.S. companies that distribute films, publish books, produce CDs and sell online downloads of popular songs.

-Washington Post

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