Monday, September 9, 2013
NRF Report: U.S. September retail imports set to rise 5.1 percent as retailer stock for the holidays
Import volume at the 13 major U.S. retail container ports is forecast to grow 5.1 percent in September year-over-year as retailers prepare for the holiday season, according to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
August is predicted at 1.48 million TEUs, up 4.1 percent from last year. September is forecast up 5.1 percent at 1.48 million TEUs, October up 9 percent at 1.46 million TEUs, November up 2.2 percent at 1.31 million TEUs, and December up 0.7 percent at 1.3 million TEUs. January 2014 is predicted to be up 1.9 percent year-over-year at 1.33 million TEUs.
"The U.S. economy is on the road to sustained growth," Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. "Second-quarter GDP was well above expectations and surprised most forecasters, the unemployment picture is improving, and we believe consumer confidence will translate into increased sales during the fourth quarter."
Maersk to sell $300M stake in shipping company DFDS
Oil and shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk has started the process to sell its 31.3 percent stake in shipping company DFDS, with an expected return of up to $296 million.
Maersk sold shipping line Norfolkline, which mainly operates in the U.K. region, to DFDS in 2010, receiving the 31.3 percent stake in DFDS as part of the payment. Now that the two-year lock-up period of the shares has passed, Maersk can sell the stake.
"As we have said earlier, we have been interested in selling our stake in DFDS when the timing was right," Maersk chief financial officer Trond Westlie said in a statement. "This is in line with our continued portfolio optimization."
Maersk plans to focus on five identified core areas, according to their statement — Maersk Line, APM Terminals, Maersk Oil, Maersk Drilling and Services and other Shipping.
For more of the Reuters: reuters.com
China Shipping, Cosco surge on new Shanghai free trade zone rules
China Shipping Container Lines Co., China's number two shipping group, rose to its highest level in six years Friday on higher freight rates after the press reported that foreigners may be allowed to take bigger stakes in shipping endeavors in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone.
The shipping line surged by the daily limit of 10 percent at the close of trading in Shanghai. Cosco Shipping Co., a unit of China's biggest shipping group, also rose 10 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent.
China may allow wholly foreign-owned global ship management companies in Shanghai's trade zone, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a draft plan. Limits on foreign investment proportions in joint-venture international shipping companies will be eased in the trade zone, while non-Chinese flag ships owned or controlled by Chinese companies will be allowed to carry out domestic container operations, AFP reported.
"Investors are betting shipping firms will benefit from the free-trade zone," said Lawrence Li, an analyst with UOB Kay-Hian Holdings. "Freight rates also improved recently on China's stabilizing economic growth and rising demand for goods from Europe and the U.S. before the traditional Christmas peak season."
The Baltic Dry Index jumped 5.3 percent to 1,279, the highest since January 2012.
For more of the Bloomberg story: bloomberg.com
Great Lakes shipping plagued by chronic low water
Shipping on the Great Lakes continues to be plagued by low water levels, according to industry analysts that report the lakes' depths have remained lower than average for nearly 15 years.
This year, although lake levels increased marginally in July and August after a rainy spring, both lakes Huron and Michigan reached record lows — approximately 18 inches below their average depths — in July.
"In order to restore water levels, you need a series of wet years like we had this past spring, as the amounts of water involved are extraordinarily large," said Paul Roebber, founder of Innovative Weather at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, according to The Guardian newspaper.
A $34 billion industry, Great Lakes vessels convey more than 160 million tons of cargo annually. Cargo transported via the lakes is nearly $20 cheaper per ton compared to railways or trucks. Iron ore, coal and limestone, for example, are dependent on lake travel.
The Interlake Steamship Company's biggest ship, the Paul R. Tregurtha, had to cut its load this spring by 6,000 tons per trip due to shallow water, which sharply reducing revenue. The Tregurtha's normal capacity is up to 68,000 tons.
In July, six senators of Great Lakes states wrote to President Obama urging him "to fully incorporate the risks and impacts to the Great Lakes" as he formulates a plan to deal with climate change.
"This year, Great Lakes water levels reached new historic lows severely hampering commercial shipping, jeopardizing recreational boating and fishing, devastating the tourism industry, threatening electric power generation, compromising water supply infrastructure, and exacerbating problems caused by invasive species," they wrote.
For more of the UPI.com story: upi.com
Over 30 die in ferry collision with cargo ship in Philippines
The ferry MV Thomas Aquinas collided with cargo vessel MV Sulpicio Express Siete on Friday near the Philippine port of Cebu, causing passengers to jump into the ocean and trapping many others. At least 31 were confirmed dead and hundreds were rescued.
The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas ordered the ship abandoned when it started sinking minutes after the collision late Friday, said coast guard deputy, chief Rear Adm. Luis Tuason.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya said the ferry carried 831 people — 715 passengers and 116 crew — fewer than the numbers given earlier by the coast guard and ferry owner, 2Go. He said the death toll has risen to 31 with 629 rescued.
For more of the NY Post story: nypost.com
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Footwear retailers and distributors form strategic alliance
Today, the National Shoe Retailers Association and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America announced a strategic partnership designed to strengthen the influence of independent footwear retailers in Washington, D.C. According to the statement, the FDRA will become the primary advocacy arm for NSRA members and more than 8,000 independent U.S. footwear retailers.
"As a $7.2 billion industry, independent footwear retailers need a strong voice in Washington and FDRA will help us accomplish that," said NSRA President Chuck Schuyler.
"Both organizations recognized a need to educate policy makers in Washington about the importance of the independent footwear retailer to main street economies all over the country," said Greg Tunney, FDRA Chairman and R.G. Barry Brands President and CEO.
Schuyler said the new alliance FDRA-NSRA alliance would keep members informed about all the various regulatory issues impacting the independent channel, including issues such as Internet sales tax and inheritance tax.
PortMiami bets on container expansion with $389 bond deal
PortMiami, the globe's largest cruise-ship hub, is selling a record $389 million of debt to expand its container business as the Panama Canal expands. But many investors are leery of the U.S. municipal bonds deal, according to Bloomberg, since the project would triple the port's bond load within four years.
The port, owned by Miami-Dade County, currently handles 1,600 container vessels a year and is spending nearly $1 billion on capital improvements through 2018.
Miami joins East Coast competitor ports in taking on debt to fund improvements before the canal's widening is complete in 2015. The wider passage will give mega container ships easier access to ports such as New York, Baltimore, and Savannah.
But Moody's Investors Service reduced its ratings on the deal to A3 from A2, saying the borrowing represented a substantial increase in the port's use of leverage and marked a big change of its debt profile.
"It's a borderline credit, it was just recently downgraded and the trends don't look good at this point," said Burt Mulford, a portfolio manager at St. Petersburg, Florida-based Eagle Asset Management Inc., which oversees about $2 billion of municipal debt. "We're taking a pass."
Moody's said that while port was vital to Miami-Dade's economy and that the tunnel and other capital projects would attract more shippers, it also faced strengthening competition for its core cruise business from other ports and weak liquidity.
The port relies on cruise operations for approximately 44 percent of revenue, compared with 40 percent from cargo, port documents show.
A port feasibility study predicts that operating income will increase 10 percent annually through 2018, to $77.8 million. The study, by Moffatt & Nichol, said contracts with major cruise lines and increased cargo shipping after 2015 would add revenue.
Some investors are waiting to see if the projections are realized, said Doug Fowler, who helps manage $3 billion in munis at Naples, Florida-based Wasmer Schroeder & Co.
For more of the Bloomberg story: businessweek.com
CSCL and United Arab Shipping launch joint container service
China Shipping Container Lines and the United Arab Shipping Company are starting will launch a new weekly service across Asia on September 21.
The Intra Asia Container Service will cover Japan, South Korea, China and Thailand.
The new service, with a combined weekly capacity of 2600 TEUs, will deploy three CSCL ships and one UASC vessel.
The IACS will call at Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Busan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shekhou, Laem Chabang, Nansha, Hong Kong, Shekou, and Xiamen.
For more of the Arab Supply Chain story: arabiansupplychain.com
Crowley Maritime buys Alaska's Taku Oil
Crowley Maritime Corporation is purchasing Taku Oil Sales Inc., a family owed company in Alaska. Taku Oil, run by the Jacobsen family in Juneau since 1953, was the only locally operated bulk fuel sales firm.
"The right opportunity kind of presented itself with Crowley and it seemed like the right thing," said Taku Oil President Jeff Hansen. "It's just kind of, unfortunately, the way things go. It's hard for a smaller, independent group to keep going."
Crowley will keep Taku Oil's name and its 13 employees.
Crowley Vice President Bob Cox said the global corporation, which operates 22 fuel terminals across Alaska, acquires smaller companies with an "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality. Crowley aims to change the business as little as possible.
"They're great people, they're really committed to the community and they've done a great job with the company," Cox said. "My charge is don't mess it up."
Crowley has been working to expand its reach within Alaska, especially in the Southeast region, according to Cox. The company bought Ketchikan company Anderes Oil in July.
For more of the Juneau Empire story: juneauempire.com
Man tries to enter U.S. in shipment of red chile
Officials report a 35-year-old immigrant suspected of entering the country illegally tried to hitch a ride in shipment of red chile.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at a New Mexico border checkpoint said they found the man face down in a commercial load of spicy red chile, a bottle of tequila by his side.
The Mexican national told agents he climbed into the commercial hopper while it was being staged in Mexico hoping to catch a ride to Chicago.
For more of the Tampa Tribune story: tbo.com
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
DFDS: 2015 EU sulfur regulations will force some shipping firms to close
Please note corrected story below: Cargo Business Newswire apologizes for the error of attributing the lead story to Maersk and misidentifying the affiliation of the named executive in today's newswire. Here is the corrected version of the 9-11-2013 issue.
When EU environmental rules on shipping fuel are tightened in 2015, some shipping firms will probably go out of business and others will cancel routes, according to DFDS shipping group CEO Niels Smedegaard.
"If the politicians maintain these plans, we'll see routes being shut ... and companies fail," said Smedegaard in a Reuters interview. "Low-sulfur regulation can change the industry fundamentally."
The European Union in September adopted the new International Maritime Organization rules that from 2015 will dictate that shipping fuel sulfur content must be cut from 1.0 percent to 0.1 percent in coastal waters such as the North Sea, the Baltic and the English Channel.
DFDS, which transports trailers and trucks, has most of its 50 vessels deployed in these emission control areas where the new rules will have a significant cost impact, since cleaner fuels are approximately 40 percent more expensive.
DFDS spends about $320 million a year on fuel and has invested $400 million to equip eight of its ships with scrubbers, 70-ton devices that remove sulfur from exhaust gases.
"The ships not equipped with a scrubber could be recycled to other areas, but we would need more routes," said Smedegaard.
A.P. Moller-Maersk last week sold its 31.3 percent stake in DFDS to a group of institutional investors and to DFDS itself.
New maritime route launched between U.S. and Mexican ports
A new container route has been launched between the Port of Houston's Jacinto Port International and the Mexican port of Dos Bocas, Tabasco.
Five other trade routes between Dos Bocas to U.S. ports and neighboring Mexican states will be opened in the near future, according to the director of the Port Authority of Dos Bocas, Roberto de la Garza Licon. He said Lamol Maritime Transport Company opened the new trade route and is scheduling the other five routes.
The shipping service will deploy the vessel M/V Stella Maris II, 83 meters long with a capacity of up to 3,000 tons of containerized, bulk and general cargo, with an estimated transit time of two and a half days, connecting the Port of Dos Bocas with Houston's Jacinto Port every fifteen days.
For more of the Fresh Plaza story: freshplaza.com
Guy Fox honored at Maritime Industry Salute event aboard Queen Mary
Guy Fox, chair of the District Export Council of Southern California and CEO of Guy Fox and Associates, will be honored at the 2013 Maritime Industry Salute dinner and fundraising event on September 18th aboard the Queen Mary.
Fox, a 40-year veteran of the logistics industry, remains actively involved in the international trade community, providing advocacy and leadership on issues that impact the transportation community, world trade and international education.
The 13th Annual Boat Races of San Pedro fundraising event will benefit the International Seafarers Center of Long Beach-Los Angeles, which is the sole center that serves the needs of seamen at the largest port complex in the country. The center offers visiting ship's crew with transportation, recreation, spiritual outreach, access to mail, Internet, and telephone services, and more.
"The ISC, which first opened more than 31 years ago, is the last open refuge serving the needs of our seamen in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles," said James Dillman, ISC Dinner chairman and Metro Ports president. "The center relies on this event as its primary source of funds to sustain the center. We are calling upon the generosity of the maritime industry and the local business community to support the center through this fund-raising effort."
More than 400 people have registered for the event, which includes a 5 p.m. reception on the quarterdeck of the RMS Queen Mary, followed by a boat parade and the 13th Annual Boat Races of San Pedro Bay. The Maritime Industry Salute dinner starts at 7 p.m. in the Britannia Lounge. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Jacksonville port adds reefer service to S. Africa
Reefer transport to Southern Africa will soon be available to shippers at the Port of Jacksonville, Florida.
Cargo carrier Galborg USA, which serves the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to Southern Africa trade route, can handle up to 100 reefers per vessel on its upgraded fleet.
Galborg will add refrigerated container service starting Oct. 3, sailing from Jacksonville to Walvis Bay, Cape Town and Durban.
"We are doing it to improve our cargo volume of Jacksonville," said Galborg USA Director David Groves, adding that one of the main refrigerated commodities shipped between the East Coast and South Africa is frozen poultry.
For more of the Jacksonville Business Journal story: bizjournals.com
N. California manufacturer cited for $200K in violations for worker death
Cal-OSHA health and safety officials have cited a Northern California manufacturing plant owned by Henkel Corporation for more than $200,000 in violations after investigating the death of a worker who was crushed in a machine.
Cal-OSHA on Tuesday cited the Henkel Corporation more than $200,000 for six violations after the death of
David Eleidjian, 26, was operating a mixing machine at Henkel's plant in Bay Point when he was caught and crushed in the mixer's shaft and later died from his injuries.
Henkel, a German multinational company, makes adhesives and other products.
For more of the Manufacturing.net story: manufacturing.net
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Dry bulk shipping rate at highest level since 2011
Although overcapacity is keeping shipping rates below pre-recession highs, the price of shipping industrial commodities hit close to a two-year high in recent days, on Chinese demand for iron ore and growing political risks in the Middle East.
The shipping industry is currently in the fifth year of a slump that happened only after firms had ordered large numbers of new ships between 2007 and 2009, just as the global economy tanked.
Even so, average earnings for capesize ships, among the largest dry bulk ships used to carry coal and iron ore, have surged to their highest levels since December 2011, reaching nearly $30,000-a-day.
While that is far shy of their peak rate of $233,988-a-day in June 2008, it is far above the record low since 2008 of $2,000-a-day, which is less than a fifth of what it costs to operate a capesize ship.
The rise in rates has primarily been driven by recent robust bookings from China for iron ore, used to make steel.
"While the capesize market has benefited greatly from strong demand for imported iron ore cargoes from Chinese buyers, panamax, supramax, and handysize rates have been aided by a moderate amount of coal, grain, and mineral cargoes surfacing in the market recently," said Jeffrey Landsberg of commodities consultancy Commodore Research.
The Baltic dry freight index, which evaluates the cost of shipping commodities including iron ore, coal and grain, hit 1,541 points this week, its highest since January 2012.
Political turmoil in the Middle East is driving up the cost shipping through the Suez Canal, but is also driving up the cost of bunker fuel.
For more of the Reuters story: in.reuters.com
Jones Lang LaSalle closes on Kansas City's Capital Realty
Real estate investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle announced it has closed a deal to purchase of Capital Realty, a commercial real estate firm in the Kansas City region.
Kevin Wilkerson, president of Capital Realty, has been appointed as JLL's managing regional director, and will bring 24 real estate experts and staff to the JLL team.
Capital Realty will merge its expertise with the global firm, offering clients broader real estate services in the Kansas City metropolitan area and expanding its industrial practice there, the statement said.
The newly acquired company specializes in leasing, property management and sales of industrial, office and retail properties. Land sales, project management and development services are also areas of expertise.
Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries and provides management and services to a property portfolio of 2.6 billion square feet. The company completed $63 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2012.
BNSF Logistics relocates global headquarters
BNSF Logistics will move its global headquarters from Grapevine, Texas, to the Lakeside Business District in Flower Mound, Texas, where it has signed a 10-year lease.
The third party logistics provider will use the 38,000-square-foot Flower Mound office as a base to manage the Dallas market and its global business, effective in November of this year.
"Interest in the Lakeside Business District continues to grow as companies rediscover Flower Mound with its close proximity to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, easy access to both Fort Worth and Dallas, highly educated workforce and awarding-winning schools," said Tom Hayden, mayor of Flower Mound.
BNSF Logistics offers services ranging from a single shipment to complete network design and operation, and modal expertise in the parcel, truckload, intermodal and rail sectors.
Lac-Megantic volatile cargo mislabeled
The crude oil that exploded into flames in the fatal Lac-Megantic train derailment in July was as unstable as gasoline, but for some reason was documented as a less-dangerous product along the lines of diesel or bunker crude, according the Transportation Safety Board.
"When we analyzed the product samples from the nine intact tank cars from the Lac-Megantic accident we identified the product as having the characteristics of a packing group 2 flammable liquid," said Lead Investigator Don Ross. He said that packing group 2 is in the same category as gasoline.
Ross said the Lac-Megantic oil was improperly identified as a least hazardous packing group 3 product, and investigators want to know why.
The train crash killed 47 people and destroyed much of the center of the Quebec town after the unmanned, runaway train derailed and exploded in a fireball on July 6.
The TSB analyzed the Lac-Megantic oil, as well as oil from another train farther down the tracks carrying crude from the same supplier. Both were more volatile than their placards indicated.
"The lower flash point of the crude oil explains in part why the crude oil ignited so quickly once the Class 111 tank cars were breached," Ross said.
Ross said it was the responsibility of the buyer, Irving Oil, to ensure that the railroad was properly notified of the cargo characteristics. Irving Oil, a subsidiary of Miami-based World Fuel Services, gave CP Rail and the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway the erroneous packing group 3 information.
The investigation is ongoing.
For more of the Ottawa Citizen story: ottawacitizen.com
Four dead in cargo truck explosion that destroys warehouse
An explosion that decimated a warehouse in Guangzhou, in South China's Guangdong Province, killed at least four people an injured 36 at around midday on Tuesday, according to a city government statement.
Workers were unloading cargo from a truck at a roadside warehouse in the Baiyun district around 11:50 am, and during the process the explosion occurred.
The explosion also sparked a fire of the materials in the warehouse. The identities of the four dead have yet to be confirmed and three people suffered serious injuries.
The cause of the explosion is being investigated.
For more of the Daily Economic story: dailyeconomic.com