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Summary for September 8 - September 12, 2008:
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Port of New Orleans back to normal

The Port of New Orleans resumed normal operations Friday, Sept. 5, port authorities announced.

“Anytime a port is receiving vessels and working cargo just a few days after a major storm is a great accomplishment,” said Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “The entire port community is to be commended, and we appreciate the support and patience of our customers.”

“We received very minor wind damage at the Napoleon Container Terminal, and our crane team did an excellent job of getting all four of our gantry cranes back online by Wednesday,” LaGrange said.

“Ports America and New Orleans Terminals (the two stevedores at Napoleon Avenue) worked tirelessly to expedite the reopening of the terminal, and we certainly appreciate their efforts,” LaGrange continued.

The Port Administration building remained open throughout the storm with essential personnel on duty and officially reopened for normal business operations Friday for all employees.

All port terminals were busy throughout the weekend, port authorities said.


Port of New Orleans

California sues two port trucking firms

California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. Sept. 5 announced a “crackdown” on trucking companies operating at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles that “abuse their workers by denying them protections under state workers’ compensation, disability and minimum wage laws.”

Brown said Long Beach–based Pac Anchor Transportation Inc. and fleet operator Jose Maria Lira violated labor laws and have an unfair advantage over their competitors “by depriving employees of benefits and protections entitled to them under California law.”

They unlawfully classify their workers as “independent contractors,” Brown said.

In February 2008, the Attorney General’s office authorized a task force to investigate trucking companies operating at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The investigation uncovered numerous state labor law violations committed by several trucking companies operating at the ports. Two of the lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Brown said, and several more will be filed in the coming weeks.

The Teamsters Union issued a statement Sept. 5 applauding the filing of the lawsuits.


California Attorney General

POLA foresees ample peak season trucks

Enough trucks will be in service to handle the peak holiday shipping season at the Port of Los Angeles, the port said Sept. 5 in a statement.

There has been a steady increase of Clean Truck Program concession applications, and more than 5,400 trucks will be ready to serve the port on the Oct. 1, 2008, start date of the program, the port said.

As many as 700 of those trucks will be compliant with 2007 federal emissions standards — an emissions reduction factor well ahead of progressive truck ban deadlines, yielding an immediate and significant reduction of port truck emissions, the port said.

Within the next year, more than 2,000 trucks in the program will be 2007 EPA–compliant.

“We achieve a reduction of 814 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions in the first year of the program, compared with 184 tons” achieved without the incentives the port recently approved to attract carriers with 2007-compliant trucks, said Geraldine Knatz, port executive director.

The port’s Clean Truck Program and a concessionaire-based program at neighboring Port of Long Beach will reduce port truck emissions by roughly 80 percent within the next five years, the port said.


Port of Los Angeles

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Judge tentatively OKs clean truck plan

A federal court judge in Los Angeles Sept. 8 tentatively upheld the Clean Trucks Program of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder, in a temporary ruling, rejected the preliminary injunction sought by the American Trucking Associations, which would have blocked the ports from using a concession system to require trucking firms to dispatch only clean trucks to the port.

“The balance of hardships and the public interest tip decidedly in favor of denying the injunction,” Judge Snyder said. She is expected to issue a final ruling Sept. 11.

“We will move forward on Oct. 1 with our Clean Trucks Program, including a ban on dirty diesel trucks and our Clean Trucks Fee, which were not challenged, so we can help clean the air in Long Beach and the region,” said James Hankla, president, Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

The Clean Trucks Program will start phasing out dirty trucks from port service on Oct. 1 by barring all 1988 and older vehicles.

By 2012, all trucks entering port terminals must have engines that meet 2007 federal emission standards.


Clean Trucks Program

Maersk Tankers orders four VLCCs

Maersk Tankers Sept. 8 announced that it has signed an agreement worth $1.3 billion with STX Shipbuilding Co., Korea, for the delivery of four VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) in 2011-12.

“With the order we will reach a fleet of 18 VLCCs by 2013, and this clearly demonstrates our commitment to the VLCC market,” said Kristian V. Mørch, group senior vice president, A.P. Moller–Maersk.

The vessels will have a waste heat recovery system installed to generate electricity from the heat in the exhaust from the main engine, the company said.

In addition to the waste heat recovery system, the vessels also will have the latest generation of electronic diesel engines, enabling more efficient fuel consumption at varying speeds (more than 1% fuel consumption reduction, Maersk Tankers said).

“These technical upgrades are a part of the continued effort of pursuing eco-efficiency with both economic and environmental benefits,” the company said.

Maersk Tankers said its tankers are exclusively double-hulled.


Maersk Tankers

USCG issues Marine Safety Alert

The U.S. Coast Guard Sept. 8 issued a marine safety alert in which they “strongly” reminded the towing industry “of its responsibility to properly man their vessels with adequate numbers of qualified and licensed crew members.”

Recently, a collision on the Mississippi river near downtown New Orleans between a cargoship and a loaded oil barge being pushed by an Uninspected Towing Vessel (UTV) resulted in a major oil spill and significant environmental damage.

The collision and resultant oil spill closed “The River” for six days and caused significant economic loss to the local Louisiana economy.

A formal investigation into the incident was convened by the Eighth Coast Guard District.

While the investigation continues, the preliminary findings of this inquiry have revealed that the tug was operated solely by an individual who held a Coast Guard Apprentice Mate (Steersman) license and who was not authorized to independently direct its movement, the Coast Guard said.

An apprentice is strictly prohibited from operating a towing vessel unless in the presence of a properly licensed Master or Mate (Pilot).


U.S. Coast Guard


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

6% retail box traffic drop in 2008 forecast

Cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is now expected to decline 6% in 2008 compared with 2007, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released Sept. 9 by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.

Volume is projected to total 15.5 million TEUs for the year, compared with 16.5 million TEUs in 2007. That estimate is down from 15.8 million TEUs projected in August, which would have been a 4% decline from 2007.

Cargo volume each month this year has been below the same month last year and is expected to continue to be below last year’s levels in each remaining month, according to the report.

U.S. ports surveyed handled 1.32 million TEUs in July, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available. The number was up 2.6% from June but down 8.3% from July 2007, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Port Tracker’s congestion rating for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has been raised to medium because of new regulations that will require trucking companies seeking to do business there to obtain a special concession license starting Oct. 1.


Port Tracker report


ProLogis, K+N sign leases totaling 386,000 sq. ft.

ProLogis, the world’s largest owner, manager and developer of distribution facilities, announced today that it has signed new lease agreements totaling 386,000 sq. ft. at two distribution parks in the United States with Kuehne + Nagel, a leading global logistics provider and one of ProLogis’ multi-continent customers.

The first lease, totaling 208,000 sq. ft., is for space at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, a master-planned distribution park located along Interstate 80 approximately nine miles east of Sparks, NV.

Kuehne + Nagel plans to operate the space on behalf of several clients.

The second lease, totaling 178,000 sq. ft., is for space at ProLogis Park Tracy I, a 1.3-million-sq.-ft. distribution park located in Tracy, CA. Kuehne + Nagel also plans to operate this space on behalf of multiple clients, according to the announcement.

Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center offers quick access to one of the nation’s most popular east-west trucking routes and is less than 15 minutes from the Tahoe-Reno International Airport.

ProLogis Park Tracy I, in the Tracy submarket of the Central Valley in California, offers strategic distribution space with its close proximity to Interstate 5, Interstate 580, Interstate 205 and a Union Pacific rail line.



Kuehne + Nagel


Panama Canal, Georgia Ports extend partnership

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Sept. 9 announced that it has extended its partnership with the Georgia Ports Authority for three more years.

The ACP first signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GPA in June 2003, establishing “strong ties between the two entities and providing economic benefits to both regions,” according to the announcement.

Areas of cooperation between the ACP and the GPA include, among others, joint marketing efforts, exchange of data, market studies, expansion plans, training and technology.

In 2007, the Port of Savannah imported and exported more than 13,949,667 tons of cargo via the Panama Canal, underscoring the significance of this partnership and the role both entities play in global trade and commerce, port authorities said.

“The Canal’s renewed alliance with the GPA is a strong indicator of our commitment to the maritime industry and our customers,” said Alberto Alemán Zubieta, ACP Administrator/CEO.


Panama Canal Authority


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Delay urged for ports’ “dirty trucks” fee

West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Sept. 3 advised the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to postpone the implementation of a $35/TEU “dirty trucks” fee that is slated for implementation Oct. 1.

The letter, signed by West Coast MTO Agreement secretary Bruce Wargo, was sent to Los Angeles Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz and Long Beach Port Executive Director Dick Steinke. The letter in its entirety is shown on the Cunningham Report website.

“Given the amount [of] work that remains to be done in spite [of] many weeks of discussions with all the parties, it is now clear that the necessary work cannot be completed by Oct. 1, 2008, the date chosen by the ports for implementation of those programs,” writes Wargo.

“We therefore suggest that the ports postpone the effective date from Oct. 1 to Jan. 1, 2009, for fee collection,” Wargo continues.

The West Coast MTO has been tasked to administer the collection of the fee.

“Attempting to implement a program of this type without adequate preparation, testing and outreach could result in long truck lines at terminal gates, decreased productivity, and dissatisfaction among truckers, ocean carriers, and the shipping public,” Wargo cautioned.


Cunningham Report


Nation’s first all low-emission RR declared

Pacific Harbor Line Inc., an affiliate of Anacostia & Pacific Co. Inc., Sept. 11 announced that it has completed the renewal of its locomotive fleet, becoming the first all low-emission railroad in the United States.

PHL provides railroad switching services to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and also dispatches all BNSF Railway and Union Pacific trains within the ports.

“All PHL locomotives now meet or exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent Tier 2 standards to reduce air pollutants,” PHL said.

Particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions have been cut by at least 70% and 46%, respectively, according to Andrew Fox, PHL president.

The $30 million project costs were shared by PHL, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and California’s Carl Moyer Program, which is administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

PHL’s newest locomotive is one of two 3GS21C six-axle, 2,100 hp GenSet units, built by National Railway Equipment.

GenSet units are equipped with three 700-hp Cummins diesels that can go into a “sleep mode,” until one or more diesels is needed for traction.


Pacific Harbor Line


San Francisco says yes to biodiesel facility

An agreement announced last week between the Port of San Francisco and Darling International to build a biodiesel production facility near Pier 92 in the port’s Southern Waterfront was approved Sept. 9 by the San Francisco Port Commission.

“Today, we are taking a major step in closing another recycling loop in San Francisco by turning waste generated locally by restaurants and other businesses into a sustainable fuel source,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said at the announcement of the agreement Sep. 5. 

The 7.5-10 million annual gallon capacity biodiesel production facility would allow for the nation’s first local processing of recycled fats, greases and tallow to biodiesel in an urban setting. The fuel will be used by vehicles.

The City and County of San Francisco’s entire diesel fleet currently operates on biodiesel fuel. 

Darling International has operated a rendering facility on port property since 1966 and is the port’s largest maritime exporter.   

Darling plans to upgrade its port facilities to convert fats already produced at the facility into high quality biodiesel for use in vehicles. In addition, Darling plans to make site beautification and other environmental improvements.


Port of San Francisco

Darling International


Friday, September 12, 2008

Port of Gulfport expansion plan unveiled

Plans for construction of a new Port of Gulfport, Miss., at a cost close to $1 billion were unveiled Sept. 11. The proposal replaces one made last year

Public hearing on the plan are scheduled for Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Hancock Bank building in downtown Gulfport.

The new plan calls for a nearly 1,000 acre facility, contrasted with the current 210 acres. The expansion would take the port south of its present location, requiring dredging and a deepening and widening of the channel.

The proposal includes a new route through an underground corridor, wide enough for at least eight lanes of traffic and a rail line, linking the port to Interstate 10, said Doug Sethness, vice president of the Houston firm CH2M Hill, which developed the plan,.

The port property would also be elevated to 25 feet, to avoid major damage from any future hurricanes.

Port Director Don Allee said much of the initial funding will come from the $575 million in community development block grant money already targeted for the port.


Port of Gulfport


Tampa Port welcomes AGX vessel 

The Tampa Port Authority Sept. 5 welcomed the arrival of M/V Nordwinter, a brand new 3,586-TEU containership in the Asia–Gulf Express (AGX) container service operated by ZIM Integrated Shipping Services.

M/V Nordwinter, is a technologically advanced, state-of-the-art vessel. Stevedoring and terminal operations were handled by Ports America, with vessel agent services provided by A.R. Savage and Son.

The arrival of M/V Nordwinter on its maiden voyage represents the first of several larger container vessels being integrated into the successful AGX service, which has been served by ships in the 2,800-TEU range since August 2006.

The Asia–Gulf Express service began with a direct weekly service to Tampa from China, Korea and Japan and offering complete global connections, port authorities said.

The next ship being introduced to the upgraded service, arriving Sept. 21, will be the 4,038-TEU M/V Kaohsiung, the largest containership to call Tampa to date.


Tampa Port Authority 


Mystic Seaport honors Thomas B. Crowley Jr.

Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum, Sept. 11 announced that it will present its “America and the Sea Award” to Thomas B. Crowley Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corp., at its third annual awards gala dinner to be held in New York City Oct. 29.

The annual award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American spirit and character, according to the announcement.

“This award honors and celebrates America’s relationship to the sea and the spirit of exploration, adventure, creativity, competition and freedom that inspires us all,” said Douglas Teeson, Mystic Seaport president and director.

“Tom Crowley has demonstrated unparalleled professional achievement while guiding Crowley Maritime Corp. into the 21st century. He has expanded upon his father’s and grandfather’s vision, providing both domestic and international patrons with marine transportation services of the highest caliber.”

Crowley became CEO of the family business in 1994 at the age of 27. Under his leadership, the company’s annual revenues have exceeded $1.5 billion, and the corporation has become one of the largest U.S. flag marine transportation companies, the leading container shipping line in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin and the world’s largest tug and barge operator.


Mystic Seaport


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