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Summary for September 15 - September 19, 2008:
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Bingham’s Perspective on world box trade gloomy

Paul Bingham, managing director of Global Insight’s Trade and Transportation Group, Sept. 15 issued a Perspective on what he calls the “deteriorating outlook for world ocean container trade, where slowing activity levels mirror the weakening economies across the globe.”

In his Perspective, Bingham said, “We do not expect 2008 to be a good year for container shipping companies, and one should expect to read about red ink on shipping companies’ financial accounts in the third and fourth quarters.”

The downward revision is from already weak trade volumes forecasted for 2008 and 2009, according to the Perspective.

“Our new forecast reflects downward revisions in the drivers of the traffic on the three east-west trade lanes, namely the transpacific, the transatlantic, and the Far East-Europe trades. This article is a view of our interim thinking in advance of the full world trade commodity flow forecast update now under way and to be released at the end of September 2008,” Bingham said.

Bingham’s Perspective now forecasts that U.S. containerized imports will decline 8.2% in 2008, which is slightly more pessimistic than the previous projection of a 7.1% decline.


Global Insight


FMC seeks more info on ports’ truck plan

The Federal Maritime Commission voted 2-1 to seek additional information as part of its review of an agreement that allows the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to discuss and cooperate on environmental initiatives such as the Clean Trucks Program, set to start Oct. 1.

The ports Sept. 12 announced that they will review the FMC request for additional information and respond promptly.

“The Clean Trucks Program to ban old, polluting trucks and the overall concession program to require clean trucks and tighter security will go forward as scheduled,” the ports said.

The commission’s nine-page letter contained more than 100 requests for information and documents.

The FMC emphasized that this action was being taken “because it has serious concerns about potentially unreasonable increases in transportation costs or decreases in transportation services that may result from the CTP.”

The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators, a coalition of port terminal operators, last week also urged a delay in the clean-trucks plan for up to three months to allow them more time to get ready.


Federal Maritime Commission


Michelin adds tire size for all terminal axles

Michelin Sept. 12 launched the X TERMINAL-T tire in a new size, 310/80R22.5, that enables ports to use the X TERMINAL-T tire on all articulated vehicle axle positions (steer, drive and tag axles).

The Michelin X TERMINAL-T tire is repairable and retreadable and will be available from specialized dealers in September 2008 in Europe and in November 2008 in the United States, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The new Michelin tire is designed for all axles of terminal tractors and trailers. Until now, specific tires for each axle were used. This versatile assembly provided by the Michelin X TERMINAL-T means less stock and simplified stock management, according to Michelin.

For instance, it can easily be fitted instead of the 11R22.5 and 295/80R22.5 sizes in particular, as their rolling circumferences are very close and the rim size is identical: 8.25 or 9.00 inches, Michelin said..

Michelin’s new 310/80R22.5 X TERMINAL-T “is a means to overcome the strict restrictions imposed by container transport in port terminals. Heavy loads must be moved rapidly, while withstanding shock and stress. [The] … new X TERMINAL-T provides driving comfort, ease and precision to ensure operator safety,” Michelin said.




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ABF expands regional network

ABF Freight System Sept. 15 announced faster transit times in more than 24,000 station-to-station lanes, including approximately 1,300 new next-day lanes and 21,000 new second-day lanes.

“ABF has reduced transit by at least one day in over 445 million zip-to-zip combinations,” the company said.

This latest enhancement to the company’s Regional Performance Model reduces the transit times in more than 25 percent of the lanes in the carrier’s North American network, ABF said.

By the end of 2008, ABF plans to expand the RPM to the western United States to provide next-day and second-day service throughout the country.

Wes Kemp, ABF President and CEO, said the company has been using the new operating model for almost a month.

“Customers are embracing ABF, traditionally a long-haul carrier, as a most reliable regional service provider,” Kemp said in a statement. “They appreciate a carrier that can master next-day and second-day transit and still provide the loss- and damage-free service for which ABF is renowned.”

ABF is the largest subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corp.


ABF Freight System


New retrofit exhaust system for older trucks

Johnson Matthey, a specialty chemicals company, unveiled its latest diesel emissions technology, the SCRT system, at the “Future Is Green” conference, hosted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, in Southern California today.

“Older big-rig trucks now can have cleaner emissions than even the most modern clean diesel trucks,” the company said in its news release.

Johnson Matthey announced that a demonstration of its advanced diesel retrofit technology has been launched with a fleet of 16 older trucks owned by the Ralphs supermarket chain in Southern California.

Johnson Matthey and its partner, Cummins Emissions Solutions, retrofitted 16 older Class 8 grocery trucks used in the Ralphs’ delivery fleet with the new SCRT four-way control system. The trucks range in age from 1998 to 2004.

The four-way SCRT exhaust emission control system combines Johnson Matthey’s patented two-stage CRT particulate filter system (to reduce particulate matter by more than 85 percent) with a selective catalytic reduction catalyst that reduces NOx by some 60% to 80% percent, the company said.

It also reduces carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) by more than 90 percent. The result is a four-year-old truck with NOx emissions lower than those of a brand-new 2008 truck, the company said.


Johnson Matthey


ZIM will call Mobile, Ala.

ZIM-American Israeli Shipping Co., the general agent for ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, last week announced plans for a new carrier service to Mobile, Ala.

Three vessels — the ZIM Caribe, the ZIM Mexico and the ZIM Houston — will provide a fixed-day weekly service into Mobile beginning Oct. 5.

“ZIM Lines will provide shippers with world-class container service from Mobile to North and South Asian ports, the Mediterranean, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean,” said James K. Lyons, Alabama State Port Authority director and CEO.

“ZIM will contribute greatly to our container growth at both Pier 2 and the Authority’s future Choctaw Point Terminal,” said Todd Jones, the Port Authority’s manager for carrier marketing.

The inaugural voyage of the ZIM Caribe will be from Kingston, Jamaica, following the route Kingston – Tampa – Mobile – New Orleans – Houston – Kingston. 

ZIM-American Israeli Shipping Co.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tampa contracts for huge fuel facility

The Board of Commissioners of the Tampa Port Authority Sept. 16 announced the approval of a contract with International Oil Terminals–Tampa LLC to develop facilities for the receiving, loading, blending, storage and distribution of import petroleum products, such as oil and gas, and biofuels.

The contract calls for IOTT to lease 43 acres of land from the Tampa Port Authority on Hooker’s Point and invest at least $70 million in the building of terminal infrastructure, such as petroleum storage tanks, pumps, loading track, warehouse, office and laboratory, as well as all land improvements.

Florida-based International Oil Terminals–Tampa LLC is an affiliate of the International Oil Trading Co. group of companies.

According to the contract, the terminal will include 15 to 25 tanks with a combined capacity of 1.1 million barrels of product. The completed facility is expected to create around 50 full-time jobs. The leasehold arrangement is for 40 years, with two 20-year lease extension options.

The Tampa Port Authority plans to invest $25 million in additional dock capacity in order to handle the additional cargo planned as part of the IOTT expansion.


Tampa Port Authority


North Star Container opens Chicago office

North Star Container International, a subsidiary of North Star Rail Intermodal LLC, Sept. 16 announced that it has opened an office in the Greater Chicago area to serve suppliers of grain and grain products shipping commodities to markets in Asia and Europe.

North Star Container International is a full service non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) that also has operations in Minneapolis.

“By combining short-line railroads and containers, we bring the containers closer to the product origination point, again saving transportation costs for our customers,” said Robert (Bob) Reinecke, NSCI president.

North Star Container’s scheduled intermodal train service enables customers to commit specific quantities in advance to global customers on a year-round basis, giving both sellers and buyers abroad the ability to secure product more efficiently with greater profit margins, the company said.

In the Greater Chicago area, commodities are transloaded from trucks to containers at a number of terminals contracted by NSGI. In addition to the intermodal terminals, NSGI has negotiated contracts with several major shipping lines serving the Asian and European markets.


North Star Container International


Norfolk Southern, BLET reach agreement

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have reached a new agreement that will continue to link engineer compensation to company performance through 2014, according to a news release from Norfolk Southern.

The BLET has participated in such a bonus program since 1996.

The new agreement covers approximately 5,000 engineers and provides each engineer the opportunity for an annual bonus payment based on company financial and service performance metrics and, for the first time, his or her work availability in the previous year.

“The BLET has enjoyed a strong partnership with Norfolk Southern over the years. This agreement ensures that Norfolk Southern’s success will continue to be financially beneficial to our members,” said Ray Wallace, BLET general chairman.

Other highlights of the agreement include annual wage increases totaling 19% from 2009 through 2014, enhancements to the BLET’s 401k plan, increased incentive pay for weekend/holiday work, reduced employee costs for the BLET disability plan and increased pay for engineers who assist in training new engineers.


Norfolk Southern

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Thursday, September 18, 2008

$400 million loan to Panama Canal possible

The Inter-American Development Bank Sept. 17 announced that it is considering a $400 million loan to help finance the historic Panama Canal Expansion Program. 

The announcement came from Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the IDB, at a breakfast forum hosting President Martín Torrijos of Panama.

“Our interest in this project demonstrates our confidence in the economic transformation that you [President Torrijos] have been leading during your administration,” said Moreno.

The canal expansion will add a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

Moreno highlighted the sound financial management and the technical quality of the Panama Canal Expansion Program, which has helped the IDB in considering financing of the project.

“The IDB’s announcement signifies that Panama is on the right track. As a country, we have laid the foundation that helps to make the expansion project possible,” said Alberto Alemán Zubieta, Panama Canal Authority CEO.


Panama Canal Authority


San Diego Port CEO, Exec VP to retire

The Port of San Diego Sept. 17 revealed that Bruce Hollingsworth, president and CEO, intends to retire once the Board of Port Commissioners has found a replacement, which is expected to take until the end of the year.

Hollingsworth was promoted to the top spot by the board almost six years ago.

“This has been a planned transition. I’ve been in this office for close to six years, and by the time I leave I will have been at the port for almost 24 years,” Hollingsworth said.

Board Chairman Michael A. Bixler said a Board Selection Sub-Committee has been formed and a national search firm has been hired to develop job specifications and to establish a list of potential candidates.

Bixler said Hollingsworth’s leadership has resulted in “extraordinary maritime growth, five solid years of financial success, strengthened relationships with key stakeholders, a smooth transition following the separation of the airport, high employee morale and low turnover.”

Also announcing his intention to retire is Executive Vice President Dan Wilkens, who has worked for the port for 25 years.


Port of San Diego


All 149 TWIC centers now open

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program is now completely deployed to all 149 U.S. port locations, according to a news release Sept. 17 from Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor on the Transportation Security Administration program, providing enrollment and deployment services.

“We have enrolled more than 500,000 people to date, and with enrollment centers now available at all port facilities, our message to maritime workers who need a TWIC is, ‘Come in now and enroll,’” said Judy Marks, president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions.

The TWIC program was created to ensure that any individual who has unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels has received a thorough government background check and is not a security threat. Altogether, 1.2 million people are expected to enroll.

Workers are encouraged to pre-enroll for TWIC online at Coast Guard’s Homeport site,, to reduce wait and processing times for applicants at enrollment centers.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential


Friday, September 19, 2008

Feds approve Bradwood LNG terminal

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Sept. 18 approved a certificate order for the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas receiving terminal to be built at the former Bradwood mill site, 20 miles east of Astoria, Ore.

Developed by NorthernStar Natural Gas, Bradwood Landing is the first U.S. West Coast LNG terminal to receive approval from FERC.

The certificate order, which authorizes construction and operations, is conditioned on Bradwood completing the permit process with state agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The approval by FERC also requires Bradwood Landing to satisfy 109 mitigation measures to enhance the safety and security of the facility and to ensure Bradwood has limited effects on the environment.

The Bradwood Landing LNG terminal and its associated 38 mile pipeline would provide a new source of natural gas directly into the Oregon and Washington natural gas market, create more than 450 jobs over three years of construction and 65 permanent jobs while contributing more than $7.8 million annually in taxes to Clatsop County, according to NorthernStar.


NorthernStar Natural Gas


NITL joins ATA ‘clean trucks’ court plea

The National Industrial Transportation League has told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that it supports the American Trucking Associations’ motion seeking to stop the Oct. 1 implementation date of the Clean Trucks Program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

In a letter dated Sept. 16 to the court, the NIT League said it supports the Emergency Motion by the ATA, which requests an injunction pending an appeal of a lower court decision that denied the trucking group’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

The Clean Trucks Program would in part retire the use of older, dirtier trucks and replace them with newer and cleaner vehicles by way of regulations on trucking practices in the ports through concession licensing agreements.

The NIT League is also seeking permission from the court to participate as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) on the merits of arguments in opposition to the program’s truck concession licensing provisions.

The NIT League argued that the truck concession agreements would result in substantial adverse consequences for cargo owners.


National Industrial Transportation League


NASSCO launches USNS Carl Brashear

Shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO, the only major ship yard on the U.S. West Coast and a Port of San Diego tenant, Sept. 18 christened the U.S. Navy’s newest supply ship, the USNS Carl Brashear, during a ceremony attended by hundreds of dignitaries from the Navy, NASSCO and the San Diego community.

The ship is named in honor of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African-American to serve as a Navy master diver and a man described in the ceremony as “a good chief, a proud American and a man of honor.”

Brashear’s military service was the subject of the 2000 movie “Men of Honor.”

After enlisting in the Navy in 1948, Brashear became one of the first African-Americans to graduate from the Navy’s diving school. Years later, Brashear’s leg was nearly severed in an accident and later it was amputated.

Brashear fought to remain in the service and, after a year undergoing rigorous fitness tests and retraining, he returned to active duty, the first amputee to return to full diving status.

The ship’s primary mission will be to deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other goods to combat ships at sea.


General Dynamics NASSCO


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