Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for August 24 - August 28, 2009:
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Top Story

Japan Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airline to merge cargo operations

Japan Airlines’ Cargo operations and Nippon Cargo Airlines will merge, aiming at overcoming their losses through cost cuts and economies of scale.

The Transport Ministry had already urged such a merger, along with a round of other drastic reforms. Japan Airlines is surviving on state money, a situation the ministry is exploiting to intrude into the management of the private company as though it were a government entity.

The combined air cargo business is expected to be separate from Japan Airlines and to be held jointly by the airline and by Nippon Yusen, the owner of Nippon Cargo. They aim to complete the merger by April 1.

- Aviation Week

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Shipping index down 26 percent in August

The Baltic Dry Index, already down 26% this month, is likely to fall further during the rest of the quarter as China continues to cut back on commodity purchases.

The BDI, a barometer of shipping costs for commodities such as iron ore, coal and grain, may rise in the fourth quarter as other major world economies are expected to increase imports. However, a record number of ships scheduled to come on line this year and in 2010 will keep freight rates under pressure even as the global economy recovers, analysts say.


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Maersk to raise Intra-Americas rates; introduces new service

The world's largest container shipping company Maersk Line will increase freight rates on its Intra Americas Services from Sept. 1, it said on Monday, helping lift its parent company's shares.

Maersk Line is part of Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, whose shares rose 4.5 percent to 37,100 crowns by 1126 GMT, outperforming the Copenhagen blue chip index, which was up 1.1 percent.

Maersk Line also said it would introduce a new direct service from India and the Middle East to the west Mediterranean and back, through a slot exchange agreement with United Arab Shipping Co.

- Forbes/Reuters

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COSCO to add new surcharges to Far East/Indian subcontinent to Canada

COSCO Container Lines announced peak season surcharges of $320 per- TEU, $400 per-FEU, $450 per 40-foot high cube and $506 per 45-footers for all cargo from Far East and Indian subcontinent to Canada from September 5 through to October 31.

The Far East and Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

China's Ministry of Railways said it would help the Hunan Province build and upgrade more than 1,600 kilometers of railway in the next five years at a total investment of $14.6 billion, reported state media Xinhua.

Six railway projects and extensions of Xiangtan stations began last year. The Shimen-Changsha electrified double-track railway and Loudi-Shaoyang expansion project started last month, and five new double-track lines will be laid starting next year, the report said.

Lufthansa Cargo to start up new freighter service through Sea-Tac

Lufthansa Cargo Airlines will commence a new freighter service from Frankfurt to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), the Port of Seattle announced.

The service will deploy a Lufthansa MD-11 freighter in a twice-a-week service into Sea-Tac Airport, with a connection continuing to Los Angeles, before returning to Frankfurt.

The new service marks the third freighter offering from Sea-Tac to Europe, and the Sea Tac's first freighter link to Frankfurt.
Lufthansa Cargo said its MD-11 freighter is capable of transporting more than 90 tons of cargo at its full range capability.

"Adding Sea-Tac to our freighter network will strengthen the position of Lufthansa Cargo in the (US) West Coast market," said Klaus Holler, vice president, Lufthansa Cargo Americas.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Top Story

Report: Russia says freighter might have carried more than timber

The Interfax news agency is quoting Russia's top investigator as saying it's possible a freighter embroiled in a high-seas mystery was carrying more than just timber.

The reported comment by Investigative Committee Chief Alexander Bastrykin is the first suggestion by a Russian official that the Arctic Sea could have been carrying a sensitive cargo.

The ship left Finland last month carrying timber, then seemed to vanish. Russia's defense minister announced last week that the ship had been found off West Africa and had been hijacked.

The developments raised suspicions the ship could have been carrying a secret cargo.
Interfax quoted Bastrykin on Tuesday as saying "we do not rule out the possibility that they might have been carrying not only timber."



Bangladesh grants rights to firms for gas exploration

Bangladesh has granted Conoco Phillips of the US and Ireland's Tullow Oil three offshore exploration blocks in disputed waters in the Bay of Bengal.

The firms have been given the right to explore for gas, despite ownership claims on some of the territory by neighbouring India and Burma.

The oil firms will spend $160.5m (£98m) on exploring the area.

The offshore bidding round was introduced last year by the then army-backed interim government.


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Fire sales coming on ships

Ship acquisitions are set to gather pace in the coming months as buyers with war chests hunt for bargains while the sea freight sector grapples with weak demand, fleet oversupply and tougher credit conditions. Around 90 percent of the world's traded goods by volume are transported by sea and the international economic downturn has hit the shipping industry hard since October 20.

Container shipping, which transports finished goods from electronics to toys, has been the worst affected sector due to poor demand, especially on key routes from Asia to consumers in the West.

Analysts estimate the value of a second hand five-year old container ship, able to carry the theoretical equivalent of up to 2,000 twenty-foot containers, has plunged 65 percent from 2008 to around $15 million.

- Forbes/Reuters

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San Francisco port expansion could be hindered by electrifying trains

The expansion of the Port of San Francisco, which would bring jobs to The City, could be hindered by plans to electrify Caltrain.

Caltrain’s plans to move to overhead electric power instead of diesel engines are not final, but if they go forward as currently designed they would shut the window in which freight could be transported from about 15 hours to just five hours, according to a letter written by the recently formed Peninsula Freight Rail Users Group, a consortium of freight shippers and two ports.

The overhead wires would also limit the height of rail cars that could travel up and down the line. According to the letter, Caltrain’s design plan would lower clearance to 17 feet, “effectively eliminating 40 percent of all current freight car types from moving on the line.”

- San Francisco Examiner

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Dachser deploys IES software

Software Provider IES, Ltd. announced its software throughout the North American facilities of Dachser, a logistics company that employs more than 18,000 employees at over 300 locations.

“Based on observations from our client base, the IES Web Tracking portal is superior to other products in the market,” said Roger Richard, U.S. director of compliance, operations and IT for Dachser. “This client-facing portal encompasses complete supply chain visibility from purchase order management to end-to-end shipment tracking. This leap forward in technology is one of the many reasons why Dachser has a steadily increasing market-share and is moving to the forefront in the industry.”


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top Story

USPS offers $15K buyouts to 30,000 employees

The U.S. Postal Service, the nation's second-largest employer, offered buyouts on Tuesday to quickly slash up to 30,000 jobs as it grapples with declining mail volume and embraces more automation.

The incentive for voluntary resignations and early retirements among a pool of veteran workers by the end of September is part of a drive to cut costs by $6 billion this fiscal year, the Postal Service said.

The majority of those offered $15,000 to leave as part of an agreement with unions -- up to 30,000 people -- work in mail processing facilities, officials said. The Postal Service hopes to save up to $500 million from the move.

- Reuters

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Port of L.A. warned by U.S. trade, transport groups on air regulation

Several of the nation's biggest trade associations have fired a warning shot across the bow of the Port of Los Angeles, urging it to cease lobbying efforts to change a federal law that could greatly affect the way cargo is hauled into and out of the nation's seaports.

The warning came Tuesday in a letter signed by 24 groups representing U.S. retailers, agricultural interests, apparel and textile firms, trucking groups and logistics officials.

t's a response to the port's recent hiring of Atlanta-based Gephardt Group to try to change part of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act to help reduce air pollution at the port.

Federal law considers the truckers who haul freight at the port to be independent owner-operators who have no collective bargaining rights and can't join forces to raise pay rates. It also forbids governments from regulating the prices, routes or services of a trucking company.

- LA Times

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SRY Rail Link buys BNSF Dock in Vancouver BC

The BNSF Dock on Burrard Inlet in the Port of Vancouver has been purchased by the Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRY Rail Link) through its Southern Railway of Vancouver Island division. SRY Rail Link is part of the Washington Companies group.
The dock consists of 5 acres of freehold land and a waterlot that brings the total area up to 16 acres, one of the largest blocks of privately owned port land in Vancouver.
The main feature is a railcar barge slip and six tracks, all in good condition. The site also includes a now -closed deepsea berth in poor condition that was last used for ships loading logs from the water two years ago.
SRY Rail Link president Frank Butzelaar termed the purchase “strategic” and indicated it was considered a long-term project. He said the purchase closed on May 14.

In addition to the dock, SRY Rail Link obtained running rights on the BNSF/CN joint line between New Westminster and the Vancouver waterfront. This puts the short line railroad next door to Centerm and just down the street from Vanterm.
Butzelaar pointed out that that his railroad already has switches into Fraser Surrey Docks and has unused running rights to Deltaport.

SRY Rail Link owns 62 miles of main line track between New Westminster and Chilliwack and interchanges with BNSF, CN, CP and UP.  The railroad also servie WWL Vehicle Services' Annacis Auto Terminal in the port.

- Fred McCague, CBN Canada Editor

Berkshire Hathaway distribution unit lands food service logistics contract

A unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has been selected to distribute food to more than 200 Panda Express restaurants in the U.S. Southwest region, according to Business Wire.

The contract was awarded to McLane Foodservice, a division of McLane Co. McLane will provide "comprehensive supply chain services, including logistics, procurement, and inventory management solutions."

McLane describes itself as a "$30 billion supply chain services leader, providing grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions for thousands of convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and military locations, as well as thousands of chain restaurants throughout the United States."

With McLane, Buffett has a bet bet on the future of trucking. But if railroads win out as the preferred distribution method, he's also covered with a big bet on Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and Union Pacific Corp.

- Salt Lake City Examiner

Story Source:

U.S. airline pilots want lithium battery cargoes banned

An airline pilot union is calling on the U.S. government to temporarily ban cargo shipments of lithium batteries, saying they represent a serious safety hazard.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents pilots in the U.S. and Canada, asked that the U.S. government prohibit shipments of lithium batteries on all cargo and passenger flights until measures are taken to insure that such shipments are safe. The proposed ban on the batteries, which are widely used in electronic devices like phones and computers, would not prohibit passengers from carrying batteries on planes.

- PC World

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top Story

Russia charges eight suspected hijackers with piracy

Russia charged the eight suspected hijackers of the Maltese-flagged freighter Arctic Sea with piracy and kidnapping, investigators said.

Several of the Finnish-owned freighter’s 15 Russian crew members suffered bodily harm in the July 24 hijacking, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said on its Web site today. The Arctic Sea was carrying lumber from Finland to Algeria when it broke off contact, leading to a 25-day odyssey that sparked a wave of international speculation about the ship’s fate.

A lawyer for one of the suspects has challenged Russia’s jurisdiction in the case, Interfax reported this week. Russia claims it has the right to interrogate the suspects and crew and to inspect the Arctic Sea, which was seized on July 24 in international waters off Sweden and intercepted by a Russian warship on Aug. 17 off the Cape Verde islands, investigators said.

- Bloomberg

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Somali pirates fire on U.S. Navy helicopter

The U.S. Navy says one of its helicopters was fired on by Somali pirates holding a hijacked ship off the coast of Somalia.

The Navy says the chopper was making a surveillance flight yesterday over the Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel when the pirates opened fire with "a large caliber weapon." The helicopter did not return fire. According to the Navy, the helicopter from the USS Chancellorsville was not hit and there were no injuries.

- CBS News

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China COSCO Holdings posts $672 mil net loss

China COSCO Holdings the flagship of the country's premier shipping conglomerate, swung to a net loss in the first half as the global recession battered the shipping industry.

China COSCO said it booked a 4.59 billion yuan ($671.9 million) net loss during the period, compared with a 15.12 billion yuan profit a year earlier.

- Reuters

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China calls on U.S. to halt surveillance near its shores

China called on the United States to reduce and eventually halt air and sea military surveillance close to its shores after a series of territorial disputes this year.

The request was made during a special session on maritime safety between the two countries' militaries on Wednesday and Thursday, Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing China's Defense Ministry.

Five times this year, Chinese vessels have confronted U.S. surveillance ships in Asian waters, the U.S. Defense Department said in May. China said the U.S. vessels had intruded its territory. There has since been a sixth incident.

- Reuters

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Crowley awards its highest inter-company trophies

Jacksonville-based Crowley Holdings Inc announced it has awarded its highest inter-company honors – the 2008 Thomas Crowley trophies - to Suz Michel, director of people development and learning for Crowley in Seattle, and Bob Weist, vice president of sales and marketing for the logistics group. The awards were presented at ceremonies yesterday at the company's Talleyrand terminal in Jacksonville, Florida.

Created in 1985, Crowley said only 50 of the company's 4,300-plus employees have been recognized with the limited edition, bronze sculpture depicting young Thomas Crowley as he ferried goods to and from ships on San Francisco Bay in the early 1890s. The company said “the trophy serves not only as a tribute to the founder of the company, but also to those honorees who have aligned themselves closely with the company's values and displayed outstanding performance along with dedication, leadership, initiative and productivity.”

"The ongoing training and professional development of our employees is critical to our company's success," said Crowley. "Suz has been instrumental in creating the foundation to make this happen. She had the vision for the people development and learning department, which is truly centered on the continued engagement and responsibility of our people for their own development process. Whether it be safety training for our operating personnel or enterprise-wide leadership training, Suz demonstrates an infectious attitude of optimism and has helped us position ourselves to be industry leaders for many years to come."

"Bob has been a determined and dedicated team player during his 22-year tenure with the company," said Crowley. "He has enthusiastically accepted every challenge that we've offered him and has moved to not only five different geographic locations, but has held positions of increasing responsibility within several of our business units. Before moving into his current position, he was charged with establishing and growing a truck brokerage department within the logistics group. He set goals, identified staffing needs and developed customer relationships that have put the department on a track for continued growth into the future under his leadership."


Friday, August 28, 2009

No news today.

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