Today's Cargo News Archives
Summary for August 25- August 29, 2008:
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Monday, August 25, 2008

U.S. confirms Gypsy moth in Oakland ship

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture officials Aug. 20 confirmed that suspicious egg masses discovered on a maritime vessel by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in Oakland, Calif., are viable Asian Gypsy moth eggs.

“This is a remarkable find, especially since these egg masses were missed at its last port in Australia,” said David Talpas, from the CBP San Francisco field office.

CBP agriculture specialists discovered the two suspect Asian Gypsy moth egg masses on an overhead crossbeam in front of the gangway. They quickly sent the egg masses to a special USDA laboratory in Otis, Mass., for DNA molecular analysis.

Officials there tested eight eggs from the egg masses with nuclear and mitochondrial markers — all eggs tested positive for the Asian strain of Gypsy moth, according to CBP.

Although Asian Gypsy moths are not known to occur in the United States, they pose a potential threat to more than 500 different native trees and shrubs, especially oak, which is predominant in the San Francisco Bay Area, said the CBP.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection

UPS Freight cuts transit times

UPS Freight Aug. 25 announced improved transit times on more than 1,200 traffic lanes originating in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. This marks the second time in just four months that the heavy freight division of UPS has enhanced its network, the company said.

“These enhancements are part of a continual process to add value for customers by improving the velocity of our network,” said Jack Holmes, UPS Freight president. “We have reduced transit times on more than 10,000 lanes in the last 18 months.”

New two-day lanes now in effect include Chicago to Dallas, Boston to St. Louis and Philadelphia to Miami. The enhancements also expand the next-day footprint of UPS Freight, the company said.

Shipments moving from Cincinnati to Memphis and Columbus, Ohio, to Charlotte, N.C., now will deliver overnight.

Other originating major markets with reduced transit times include Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York City and Newark, N.J. The faster transit times will bring cities as far as Southern California, Arizona and Utah to within two and three days of these originating cities, UPS said.


UPS Freight

VPA merges box operations

Turkon Line vessel Cafer Dede on Aug. 6 made its maiden voyage to Portsmouth Marine Terminal and in doing so signaled the beginning of change in operation for two of the Virginia Port Authority’s marine terminals, port authorities said recently.

For nine years Turkon vessels had called up-river at Newport News Marine Terminal, but the VPA’s private terminal operating company, Virginia International Terminals Inc., had long planned for NNMT to become a dedicated breakbulk and project cargo facility.

Cafer Dede’s maiden voyage to Portsmouth, combined with the completion and opening of a 200,000-sq. ft. warehouse at NNMT in late July, brought VIT’s plans to fruition.

The majority of space in the new warehouse, said Joe Dorto, VIT’s general manager and chief executive officer, has been committed to a ship line that had been calling at Norfolk International Terminals.

“Our plan was to consolidate container operations at Portsmouth and Norfolk, and it took some time because things had to happen elsewhere first,” Dorto said.

“Finishing the warehouse in Newport News was the most important part of this equation because it gives the project cargo coming in on Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s vessels safe, dry storage, which is what they had been looking for.”


Virginia Port Authority

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Judge rules in Jones Act Aker suit

A federal judge Aug. 25 in a 40-page ruling upheld the U.S. Coast Guard’s interpretation of the Jones Act as it pertains to the building methods employed by Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.

The decision rejected a lawsuit filed by the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

Only vessels built in the United States are eligible to operate in U.S. coastwise trade. The dispute involved the interpretation of federal law aimed at protecting the American shipbuilding trade.

“The ultimate issue presented here is whether the Coast Guard erred in ruling that using equipment modules manufactured abroad, but attached to vessels in shipyards in the United States, does not disqualify those vessels from being considered American-built under the Jones Act,” Judge Gene E.K. Pratter said..

“The Coast Guard’s interpretation of the regulation at issue is reasonable in terms of the text, history and purpose of the Jones Act,” Pratter said.

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard President and CEO Jim Miller remarked, “We wish to reiterate that Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is extremely proud to be building ships in full compliance with the legal requirements for vessels to be operated in the Jones Act trade.”


Aker Philadelphia Shipyard

Dock worker drowns at Port of Oakland

Delmont Blakeney, a 77-year-old Oakland resident, died late Saturday, Aug. 23, when he was knocked off a containership at the Port of Oakland and drowned, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Ijan Petrie said Delmont Blakeney was overseeing the offloading of shipping containers from the NYK Starlight when the accident happened.

Pier workers pulled Blakeney out and performed CPR until paramedics arrived and took him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Coast Guard said.

Craig Merrilees, International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman, said this is the third death on the Oakland docks in the past year and that Blakeney’s colleagues believe that the response time to the accident was slow.

Port spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur said the port is concerned about worker safety and about taking steps to make sure that there aren’t any more worker fatalities. She said Blakeney’s death is being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Union officials met with the Pacific Maritime Association Aug. 25 to discuss worker safety at the port, according to Merrilees.


Port of Oakland

UPS Air opens Anchorage training facility

UPS Airlines Aug. 20 officially opened it newest flight-training facility, a 27,000-sq.-ft. center housing two flight simulators, classrooms and offices, in Anchorage, Alaska.

The facility is the second such pilot training center in the UPS network and will be in operation approximately 20 hours each day.

“Anchorage is ideally positioned to be our gateway to Asia,” said Bob Lekites, UPS Airlines president. “With growing small package and freight volume and expanding services in that region, we are excited about the potential continued growth in this city.”

Thirty-five employees, including training instructors, simulator technicians and administrative staff, are based at the new training facility. Currently, 402 crewmembers are based in Anchorage, and that number is expected to increase to 438 by year’s end, UPS said.

The company said that the new facility will make it unnecessary for Anchorage-based pilots to fly to Louisville, Ky., for training. UPS Airlines and its main global Worldport hub are located in Louisville.

UPS air operations encompass more than 1,900 flight segments each day serving more than 800 airports around the world.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

National Retail joins POLA truck program

National Retail Systems Aug. 27 announced it has submitted a letter of intent to the Port of Los Angeles committing to a pier trucking fleet that meets the standards of the port’s Clean Truck Program.

NRS, a leading provider of global logistics services to America’s retailers, said it is fully prepared to comply with the new trucking regulations, set to take effect Oct. 1, by using company-owned and company-operated equipment that meets the port’s restrictions.

Starting Oct. 1, NRS said, it will deploy a Clean Truck pier fleet with capacity to handle 70,000 TEU imports per year. The company plans to increase the fleet to handle 300,000 TEU imports per year by the end of 2009.

“Our intention to operate clean trucks in Southern California also aligns with our commitment to provide green logistics solutions to our customers,” said Raymond Wisniewski, president & COO of NRS.

As a partner in the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, NRS also recently received the highest possible score of 1.25 during EPA’s SmartWay FLEET performance evaluation, the company said.


National Retail Systems

Moller-Maersk makes offer for Brostrom AB

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk Aug. 27 said it was launching a bid worth $569 million for shipping company Brostrom, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“The tender offer is submitted as part of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group’s growth plans for Maersk Tankers,” A.P. Moller-Maersk Group said.

“If the acquisition is completed, the world’s largest product tanker shipping company is created with an overall administered fleet of more than 270 vessels (including owned, long-term charters under management and newbuildings), whereof more than 130 will be owned or under long-term charter,” the company said.

Brostrom’s board recommended shareholders accept the offer, which it said represented a premium of 23.6 percent to the average share price over the last three months.


A.P. Moller-Maersk

FedEx launches Mexico domestic service

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, Aug. 27 announced the first FedEx domestic service offering in Latin America with the introduction of FedEx Express Nacional, a domestic next-business-day service for express shipping across Mexico.

FedEx Express Nacional begins operations on Oct. 6, 2008. The service features delivery to any address in Mexico, online tracking and tracing, and it’s backed by the FedEx money-back guarantee, with certain conditions, FedEx said.

“Mexico continues to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the express industry and a key part of FedEx international growth and profitability,” said Michael L. Ducker, president, International, FedEx Express.

FedEx Express Nacional will initially create more than 180 jobs in operations, planning, engineering, sales and customer service, adding to the 1,000 currently employed at FedEx Express Mexico, the company said.

The operational hubs for FedEx Express Nacional will be located in Toluca and in San Luis Potosí.

FedEx Express Nacional services will be available at all existing FedEx facilities in Mexico beginning Oct. 6, 2008, as well as through its network of FedEx Authorized ShipCenters across the country, the company said.


FedEx Express

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Seattle Port Commission increases oversight

The Port of Seattle Commission Aug. 26 voted to approve Resolution 3605, which makes sweeping changes to how the commission delegates its authority throughout the organization, the port announced this week. 

The new framework strengthens commission oversight of the port’s capital construction programs and clarifies when and how staff members must gain the body’s approval on port projects.

Commissioners Pat Davis and Gael Tarleton led the subcommittee that guided a seven-month public process, involving an expert citizens panel, significant efforts to recruit public comment, and transparent, regular communication efforts about the proposed changes, the port said.

“Today’s vote represents a turning point: It changes the policy for how the commission governs this agency,” said Commissioner Tarleton. 

Among the changes are a requirement that commissioners must now approve expenditures of more than $200,000.

Also, port projects must be before the commission at least three times for authorization: for approval of design funds; for approval of construction funds; and for final award of the construction contract.


Port of Seattle

97th AAPA convention in Anchorage

Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, will be the site of the American Association of Port Authorities’ 97th Annual Convention and Exhibition the week of Sept. 21-25.

The convention’s theme is “North to Alaska,” according to an announcement by the AAPA, and it will be the first convention to be held in Anchorage’s brand-new downtown Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center.

James Bradley, noted author of The New York Times’ No. 1 bestseller Flags of Our Fathers, from which the Clint Eastwood–directed movie of the same name was released in late 2006, will be the keynote speaker. The title of Bradley’s presentation is “Doing the Impossible.”

Hundreds of seaport and maritime transportation leaders, industry experts and service providers are expected to participate in a business agenda featuring many of the seaport industry’s key issues and top executives.

The convention will conclude with a members-only annual meeting and installation of new officers for the association’s upcoming year, including the appointment of Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz as Chairman of the Board for 2008-09.


American Association of Port Authorities

Todd Pacific awarded five-year Navy contract

Todd Shipyards Corp. Aug. 26 announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy to provide long-term overhaul and maintenance to the Nimitz Class aircraft carriers homeported or assigned for maintenance in Puget Sound.

The work to be performed includes non-nuclear ship repair, alteration and maintenance by the Todd Pacific workforce or Todd Pacific’s subcontractors at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., the Naval Station in Everett, Wash., or Todd Pacific’s shipyard in Seattle.

The work will be performed under a cost-plus-award-fee contract, Todd Pacific said. This represents the third such contract for aircraft carrier maintenance awarded to Todd Pacific.

The first such contract was awarded in 1999 and the second in 2004. Todd Pacific will be supported in this effort by various regional suppliers and subcontractors, the company said.

The contract consists of multiple contract options for planned incremental availabilities and docking planned incremental availabilities for the USS Lincoln, USS Stennis, USS Nimitz and USS Reagan. The availabilities extend through the last PIA and dPIA ending in 2013, Todd said.


Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp.

Friday, August 29, 2008

$5 billion Punta Colonet project launched

Mexico President Felipe Calderón Aug. 28 launched a project to build a $5 billion deep-water mega container port at Punta Colonet on the Baja California peninsula, about 150 miles south of the U.S. border.

The seaport will create 80,000 jobs and eventually be able to handle up to 6 million TEUs per year, Mexican authorities said.

“We’re looking to be sure we don’t fall behind in making Mexico a strategic logistics platform for trade and global investment,” said Calderón.

Punta Colonet plans include a new rail line that would link the seaport to the United States, allowing freight to skip Southern California traffic altogether.

The bidding process should be completed by the end of 2009, and Punta Colonet is expected to start operating in 2012, said Jose Rubio, project director for the state of Baja California, which is working with the Mexican federal government to develop the port.

Punta Colonet would serve “more like a relief valve for us than a direct competitor,” said Theresa Adams Lopez, spokeswoman for the Port of Los Angeles. “There are plenty of boxes to go around.”


Punta Colonet

Maersk Contractors becomes two

Maersk Corp. Aug. 28 announced that it is separating its activities under two separate trade names, Maersk Drilling and Maersk FPSOs, effective immediately.

Maersk Drilling is re-introduced to cover all drilling activities across the globe and a new trade name, Maersk FPSOs, is established to encompass all floating production, storage and offloading activities, Maersk said.

“We are changing the name to strengthen our profile, but our ownership and the people taking care of our business will go on unaffected,” said Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO. “We will continue our growth strategy, and we remain equally committed to both business units.”

The change in brand strategy is the result of a thorough strategic analysis, the company said, which revealed that existing and potential new costumers and colleagues alike found the trade name Maersk Contractors unclear.

By operating the two business areas under separate and self-explanatory trade names, each activity “now has a clear and logical identity and can focus on their individual core competencies,” Maersk said.

As CEO, Hemmingsen will be responsible for both business units, the company said.


Maersk Contractors

Mercedes-Benz breaks ground in Georgia

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue Aug. 28 commended Mercedes-Benz USA at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Vehicle Preparation Center in Brunswick at the Georgia Ports Authority’s Colonel’s Island facility.

Operations at the new 70,000 sq. ft. facility are expected to begin in summer 2009. They will replace an existing facility in Jacksonville, Fla. The project was first announced by Mercedes-Benz and Gov. Perdue in May 2007.

The U.S. Maritime Administration’s Port Impact economic model estimates the additional 50,000 automobiles through Brunswick will create 122 new jobs (78 direct and 44 indirect), generate $1.5 million in state and local taxes and add $5.5 million to Georgia’s gross state product.

The Vehicle Preparation Center will process vehicles headed for Mercedes-Benz dealers throughout the Southern Region, Texas and Oklahoma.

The center will be equipped with advanced computerized control systems and inspection facilities designed to ensure the high quality of each new vehicle, the company said. The center will also be capable of accessory installation, full body shop operations, vehicle detailing and distribution operations.


Georgia Port Authority


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