Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for August 31 - September 4, 2009:
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Top Story

Capesize bulk carrier rates could be cut in half

Just as global trade starts to recover, the shipping market is crashing for the second time in a year as China reduces raw-material imports and record numbers of new vessels set sail.

The rate for leasing capesize ships three times the size of the Statue of Liberty, will drop about 50 percent from the current price of $37,865 a day to as low as $18,000 before the end of the year, according to the median in a Bloomberg survey of six analysts and fund managers. Forward freight agreements traded by brokers show the fourth-quarter average price will be 7 percent lower.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Nippon Yusen K.K., both based in Tokyo, and China Cosco Holdings Co. operate the world’s biggest bulk-shipping fleets, Mitsui says.

Nippon Yusen forecast its first full-year loss in 23 years last month, citing lower demand for container shipping, and expects capesize rates to average $55,000 in the six months through March 31. Mitsui cut its full-year profit estimate by 25 percent last month. China Cosco said on Aug. 27 its commodity ships lost money in the first half.

- Bloomberg

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DOT announces $20 mil for small businesses

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $20 million in recovery funds to create the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Bonding Assistance Program, an initiative that the DOT said is aimed at helping small and disadvantaged businesses compete more effectively for work on transportation projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The new program will be administered by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), small and disadvantaged businesses can apply to be reimbursed for bonding premiums and fees incurred when competing for, or performing on, transportation infrastructure projects funded by ARRA. The DOT said the program would be especially helpful for businesses with traditionally less working capital than larger contractors.

For more info on the new DBE Bonding Assistance Program:

Alaska Air tests fuel-saving system

Long after dark one night last week when few planes were in the air, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 descended toward Seattle-Tacoma International Airport its engines at idle power. Aboard were Alaska pilots and technicians and officials from the Federal Aviation Administration's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

The occasion was the latest test of an experimental landing procedure at the airport that promises to save millions of gallons of fuel, lessen residents' exposure to jet noise, cut pollution and save airlines' precious dollars.

The new procedure, dubbed Optimized Profile Descent by the airline industry and its regulators, is a measure that uses high technology satellite-guided navigation, the power of computerized aircraft flight management computers with the oversight of the FAA to change the decades-old procedures for bringing aircraft from cruising altitude to a landing on the runway.

- Seattle P-I

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UP wants car dealers to shipping more cars by train

Union Pacific wants used car dealers to start shipping more of their cars by train.

So, the Omaha-based railroad has launched a new Web site and service called

The Web site offers tools for car dealers to use to ship cars either by rail, truck or some combination of the two.

Union Pacific already helps deliver new cars to dealers nationwide.

The railroad's automotive vice president, Julie Krehbiel, says the Web site should make it easy for used car dealers to use rail shipping. And having better access to rail shipping might make it easier to buy and sell cars over the Internet.



Japan to launch first cargo spacecraft

NASA will hold a news briefing at 12:30 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, Sept. 2, to preview the maiden launch and flight of Japan's unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The HTV will augment the European Space Agency's Automated Transportation Vehicles and the Russian Progress ships that deliver supplies to the space station. NASA conducted an HTV readiness review on Aug. 27. The HTV was formally approved for flight and rendezvous. The launch window will be open from Sept. 10-30. In the event of a launch postponement after the H-IIB rocket is fueled, a 72-hour turnaround will be required before the next launch attempt.

As the 16.5-ton cargo craft makes its week-long journey to the space station, flight controllers in Tsukuba, Japan, and at Mission Control in Houston will conduct a number of tests of HTV's rendezvous and navigation systems.

- Space

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top Story

Air industry lost $6 bil in H1

The IATA (International Air Transport Association) today announced the first results concerning the January-June 2009 period. The air transport industry lost more than US$6 billion: in the second quarter the overall negative result has been of US$ 2 billion, following the US$4 billion lost in the first three months of the year. However, there are slight signs of improvement both in passengers and freight traffic.

The main reasons of these huge losses are, first of all, the impossibility to match the slump in air traffic with a suitable capacity reduction (passengers' load factor has been of 80.3%), and furthermore an increase in fuel cost only partially contrasted by fuel-hedging contracts.

- Avionews

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The UAE has pumped 23 billion dollars (Dh84.5bn) to develop its seaports in an effort to take advantage of the growth in business it expects from high oil exports and swelling imports.

The capital accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the total investments of around $38.2bn injected in port projects by the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), the Kuwaiti Financial Centre, Markaz, said in a study on Gulf ports.

- Port Engineering News

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U.S. cities hurt by declining revenues

Almost all U.S. cities are cutting spending to compensate for declining revenues, but the worst may be yet to come, according to a report released Tuesday by the National League of Cities.

Finance officers from cities across the country are expecting their revenues to fall a combined 0.4 percent by the end of 2009, while costs are expected to rise by 2.5 percent.

- Reuters

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French Telecom unit renews $38 mil contract with NOL

Orange Business Services, a brand of French Telecom, announced it has renewed a five-year, $38 million communications infrastructure agreement with Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).

Orange Business Services said it would be responsible for NOL`s global MPLS-based IP VPN communications.

The services NOL will utilize is to include managed IP Telephony and advanced messaging across its more than 400 locations in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, Orange said.

"To manage a global business of the size and complexity of the NOL Group, we need an extensive, secure and reliable communications infrastructure, which also helps us deliver greater operational efficiency and cost savings," said Choy Peng Wu, group chief information officer of NOL.

Orange Business Services started its relationship with NOL`s container shipping subsidiary APL in 2001 by providing managed network services for their international WAN.

Maritime lawyer launches petition drive for U.S. offshore maritime jobs

Maritime lawyer Steve Gordon announced he has launched an online petition drive to, in his words “help save jobs of U.S. mariners by putting pressure on federal officials to enforce the Jones Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).”

The Jones Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) were enacted by Congress and pertain to regulations affecting the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico, Gordon said.

Provisions of the Jones Act were made to protect jobs for U.S. maritime workers and to require the transportation of goods between American ports and offshore facilities to be carried out by U.S. vessels (made in the U.S. and flagged by the U.S.), Gordon said.

Although the OSCLA does not prohibit the use of foreign flagged vessels on the outer continental shelf, both of these laws require the employment of U.S. citizens or resident aliens on those vessels, he said.

"U.S. companies are taking advantage of loopholes to hire foreign workers, who get paid a pittance compared to U.S. workers. We're in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression and qualified U.S. mariners are being displaced. Something has to be done. It's just not right," said Gordon.

“Interested parties can write their own message or sign on to a predrafted letter” said Gordon, who plans to send the message to federal officials including members of Congress, President Obama and Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard. 'More than 2,000 people have participated so far,” he said.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Top Story

DHL launches guaranteed weekly direct service from Vietnam

DHL announced the launch of its guaranteed weekly direct Less than Container Load (LCL) services connecting Ho Chi Minh City to Hamburg, Germany; Genoa, Italy and Los Angeles, Calif. through Danmar Lines, DHL’s in-house carrier. DHL said the new weekly direct LCL services enables shipments to arrive up to a week earlier.

DHL Global Forwarding said it recently strengthened its commitment in the fast-growing fashion logistics industry in Vietnam with the launch of its textainers and garments-on-hangers products designed to support Vietnamese garment exporters. The company said it plans to establish the “DHL Fashion and Apparel Center for Excellence” in Vietnam.

DHL said the new service means it now serves 54 destinations in the U.S. with its inland network via Los Angeles and 26 European destinations through Genoa and Hamburg.

Port of Long Beach holds public hearings on reduced port traffic

The Port of Long Beach is holding public hearings on a proposal that would help increase the use of "on-dock" trains and reduce the need for as many local truck trips near the port.

The port will host the first of two public hearings at 6 p.m. today, Sept. 2, at Long Beach City Hall to gather comments and suggestions prior to an environmental review of the proposed On-Dock Rail Support Facility. The second hearing will be Sept. 16 at the port.

The facility, proposed for the northern area of the port, is intended to reduce train bottlenecks and provide for greater use of on-dock rail. Loading and unloading cargo within the port would significantly reduce trips by short-haul (drayage) trucks throughout the region, port officials say.

- e-Trucker

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Maersk out to raise $1.8 billion

Maersk is forecasting a sea of opportunity with distressed assets. The Danish shipping and oil company said on Wednesday that it was tapping investors for close to $1.8 billion through a share placement, to take advantage of possible acquisitions and to boost its financial flexibility.

Treasury shares typically pay no dividends, have no voting rights, and should not be included in shares outstanding calculations.

The Copenhagen-based company, which ranks at No. 31 on Forbes' 2009 list of The World's Most Reputable Companies, said it intended to sell 250,340 treasury B shares, which represent around 5.7% of the total share capital of the firm, to both new and existing investors. Andersen said Maersk had been forced to raise capital through B shares following limited access to bank loans, its main source of cash.

- Forbes

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Canadian company to buy Sunoco retail distribution for $82 mil

Canada's Superior Plus Corp. said it agreed to buy Pennsylvania-based Sunoco Inc's retail heating oil and propane distribution business for about $82.5 million in cash, to expand its fuel distribution business in the United States.

Superior also said it would raise about C$45 million in an equity sale.

The Sunoco business being bought -- Sunoco Retail Heat -- has a distribution network with operation of two pipeline-supplied fuel terminals and 22 retail bulk plants providing up to 20 million gallons of storage capacity in its core markets of Pennsylvania and New York, Superior said.


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American Airline Cargo launches new temperature-controlled service

American Airlines Cargo Division (AA Cargo) announced the launch of its ExpediteTC(SM) express temperature-controlled service. The airline said it is offering ExpediteTC to its customers worldwide following an early summer trial between 10 U.S. and international cities.

Customers can determine the internal temperature of their shipment within a range of -20°C to +20°C (-4°F to 68°F). Shipments will be monitored by AA Cargo personnel at various points during transit - including the maintenance of dry ice and batteries, if needed, the carrier said.

The airline said it offers a 100 percent flown-as-booked guarantee, in addition to the specialized handling, monitoring, and tracking.

AA Cargo said it worked with the specialty container manufacturer Envirotainer to offer three container types for American’s customers, including LD3, LD7 and “E” type containers, which can also be shipped on narrow-body aircraft.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Top Story

Maritime expert flees Russia over Artic Sea reporting

An outspoken Russian journalist who alerted the world to the mysterious disappearance and likely hijacking of the Arctic Sea cargo ship this summer said on Thursday he'd fled Russia in fear of his life.

Mikhail Voitenko, a maritime expert, has suggested the ship may have been carrying a secret Kremlin arms shipment for the Middle East. He believes it was not hijacked as the Kremlin contends but was intercepted by Israeli forces in an international incident neither country wants made public.

In a phone interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said he'd flown to Turkey on Wednesday after receiving a menacing call from a "a cold official voice" the previous day.

The Kremlin has yet to supply a detailed version of events, the crew has refused to say what happened, and the alleged hijackers are in a Moscow jail.

- Telegraph (U.K.)

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Hapag Lloyd reclaims stake in Hamburg terminal

Container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd AG will get back its 25.1% stake in the Hamburg Container-Terminal Altenwerder, or CTA, in order to meet requirements for state aid, a person familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.

A company formed by Hapag-Lloyd shareholders bought the 25.1% CTA stake in July for EUR315 million to help ease the shipping company's tight liquidity situation.

The company will now transfer the stake back to Hapag-Lloyd, the person said, but declined to comment on any financial details of the transaction.

- WSJ/Dow Jones

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UTi Worldwide Q2 revenue fell 33 percent

Logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc. posted lower-than-expected quarterly results, hurt by continued declines in forwarding
and logistics volumes.

However, the company said the environment appeared to be more stable than it had seen in some time.

Shares of the company touched a high of $13.25 before paring some gains to trade up 25 cents at $12.93 Thursday morning
on Nasdaq.

Revenue fell 33 percent to $840.5 million.

- Reuters

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Maersk raises rates on Med-North Africa-North American trades

Maersk Line announced a general rate increase of $300 per container effective October 1, 2009 in the Mediterranean and North African to U.S. and Canada trades.

The carrier said “trading conditions for the carriers operating in these markets are still subject to unacceptable rate levels and the situation is unsustainable in the longer term. The rate increase is necessary to continue to operate our services with the high level of reliability our customers have come to expect from Maersk Line.”

Maersk said the increase applies to all origins in the Mediterranean and North Africa to all destination points in U.S. and Canada, and applies to both dry and reefer cargo.

BP makes biggest U.S. oil discovery in three years

BP Plc’s latest Gulf of Mexico discovery, the biggest U.S. oil find in three years, may spur an exploration revival in a region thought by some industry executives to be played out after output slumped.

London-based BP said yesterday it identified a “giant” prospect called Tiber more than six miles (9.7 kilometers) beneath the surface of the Gulf. The find confirms there are more large crude reservoirs yet to be found off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, said Matt Snyder, lead Gulf of Mexico analyst at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston.

BP, whose partners at Tiber are Petroleo Brasileiro SA and ConocoPhillips, said its discovery may hold 3 billion barrels of crude and natural gas.

- Bloomberg

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