Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for September 21 - September 25, 2009:
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Story

Airlines report improved operating margins for Q2

Airlines operating in the U.S. reported improved operating margins for the second quarter of 2009, in part thanks to a profitable period by the low-cost and regional airline groups, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The big network carriers as a group posted their smallest operating margin loss for any quarter since September 2007, while the low-cost group’s profit margin of 7.0 percent was its largest since the second quarter of 2007, and the regional group’s profit margin of 7.2 percent was its largest since the fourth quarter of 2006, the BTS said.

Only five of the 21 airlines covered in the BTS report were in the red, while the remaining 16 reported profit margins.

The network airline group has reported loss margins for seven consecutive quarters, but the -0.5-loss margin in the most recent quarter was the smallest, the BTS said.

American Airlines reported the largest loss margin of the group, followed by Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Low-cost carrier Virgin America and regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines were the only other airlines to report loss margins in the second quarter.

7-Eleven appoints vice president of logistics

7-Eleven Inc. appointed Bill Merrigan to serve as vice president of logistics for its 6.200-unit convenience store chain in the U.S. and Canada, the company reported.

Merrigan, who was most recently vice president of global supply chain for International Paper in Tennessee, will report to Kevin Elliott, 7-Eleven's senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics.

-Convenience Store News

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CSX double-stack rail proposal through D.C. gains steam

A proposal to expand the amount of freight chugging through the District is gaining steam, offering a promise of clearing tractor-trailers off the region's congested highways and improving commuter train service.

It also would mean rebuilding some railroad bridges around the region, including the Virginia Avenue tunnel just south of the Capitol.

CSX is proposing an $842 million plan to raise roofs on bridges and lower some railroad tracks across the mid-Atlantic so that it could carry double-stacked cargo containers on its trains.

Locally, that would mean millions of dollars in construction work. The Washington region has some of the worst railroad bottlenecks.

-Washington Examiner

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Georgia port’s container volume fell 8.5 percent in FY2009

The Georgia Ports Authority reported its container volume at the Port of Savannah fell 8.5 percent to 2,404,965 TEUs for its fiscal year 2009 ending June 30, from 2,616,125 TEUs the previous year.

The port said its refrigerated cargo grew 10.7 percent.

Overall throughput at GPA terminals including Bainbridge, Brunswick, Columbus and Savannah dropped 10.5 percent, while tonnage declined 12.4 percent in FY2009 over the previous year, the port said.

CMA CGM to increase India/Pakistan-Europe rates

CMA CGM announced it would raise freight rates to a "sustainable level" on its services between India, Pakistan and Europe as of Oct 1.

Cargo moving westbound from India and Pakistan to Europe and Mediterranean will be to $250 per-TEU (dry container) and $400 per-FEU (dry and high cube), the French ocean carrier said.

There will be a new surcharge on overweight containers of more than 23 tons (including the weight of the container) of $150 per dry-TEU, the company said.

Eastbound from Europe and the Mediterranean to India and Pakistan the new surcharge increase is: $150 per TEU dry container and $300 per-FEU dry and high-cube, the shipping line said.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top Story

DHL Express introduces new Boeing freighters to trans-Atlantic trade

DHL Express announced the introduction of the Boeing 767 Extended Range Freighter aircraft into its air fleet, with the first commercial flight having departed Leipzig (LEJ) airport to JFK yesterday. Operated by DHL Air (UK), a total of six Boeing 767ERF will be deployed in the company’s trans-Atlantic services. The aircraft will replace the shared capacity of MD-11F aircraft currently provided through a joint venture with Lufthansa Cargo, DHL said.

The 767ERF aircraft has a payload capacity of 59 tons and a max range of 6,025 kilometers, DHL said. The company said it feels the aircraft “is ideally suited for direct flights between East Midlands (EMA), United Kingdom, and Cincinnati (CVG) and New York (JFK), USA, as well as between DHL Express’ major European hub Leipzig (LEJ), Germany, and New York (JFK), USA.”

DHL said its reactivated facilities at Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati International Airport (CVG) would form the main U.S. hub for trans-Atlantic shipments.

FedEx Freight chief to retire

FedEx Corp. (FDX) said Tuesday that Douglas G. Duncan, the head of the company's less-than-truckload freight division, is retiring, effective Feb. 28.

FedEx, which announced the move in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said a successor to Duncan as president and chief executive of FedEx Freight hasn't been appointed.

FedEx Freight posted a 27% drop in revenue in FedEx's fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31, on a 14% decline in freight volume. Operating profit came in at $2 million, compared to $89 million in the year-ago period.

-WSJ/Dow Jones Newswire

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China appeals against WTO ruling on eased Western entertainment import restrictions

Beijing has appealed against the WTO’s ruling that China must ease its restrictions on the distribution of Hollywood movies and other Western media, AFP reported, citing a source close to the trade body. The US first filed a complaint on the issue in 2007 and the WTO’s dispute resolution panel agreed in August that China was in breach of international trade rules by preventing foreign-owned companies becoming importers and wholesalers of films, music and printed matter.

Separately, US President Barack Obama has reassured his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao that America remains committed to free trade, despite recent tensions between the two nations, Reuters reported. A US official confirmed that trade tariffs were discussed as the two leaders spoke on the sidelines of the UN climate summit on Tuesday. Washington has imposed tariffs on imports of Chinese tires, prompting accusations of protectionism from Beijing.

-China Economic Review

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Move those cranes says Galveston port to businessman

The Port of Galveston is taking a Houston businessman to court in hopes of motivating him to remove four massive container cranes at Pier 10 he purchased last year in an auction.

The port filed the lawsuit Sept. 9 in 405th State District Court in Galveston against CRP International LLC and its managers, Charles and Richard Perez, who in April last year paid $40,000 for the cranes.

Terms of the agreement included a provision that Perez remove the cranes, an East End fixture for decades, from the public docks by Aug. 1 that year.

When Perez missed that deadline, the port made repeated demands for the cranes’ removal, according to the lawsuit. Most recently, Perez failed to keep his promise to dismantle and remove the cranes by May 10, according to the lawsuit.

-Galveston County Daily News

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top Story

RILA teams up with shipping industry-supported clean air group

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced today it would form a partnership with the Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) “to expand efforts to reduce diesel emissions in and around our nation’s ports.”

“CRT’s leadership and innovative market-based approach to reducing diesel emissions has yielded impressive results at the ports of Southern California,” said Casey Chroust, RILA executive vice president for retail operations.

“This partnership will allow retailers and the broader shipping community to collaborate to achieve shared goals,” Chroust said.

The CRT was founded in 2007 and according to the joint press release “has been a leading advocate for the implementation of practical and responsible solutions that reduce port truck pollution without disrupting the flow of commerce.”

CRT says its membership includes U.S. shippers, ocean carriers, drayage providers and equipment manufacturers.

“Working closely together, CRT Members have significantly reduced carbon emissions at the ports. This partnership will expand this successful effort and further improve the air quality in these regions,” said Rick Gabrielson, director of import transportation for Target Corporation and president of CRT.

Since the launch of the LA and Long Beach Clean Truck Program, CRT says its member companies have deployed close to 2,000 trucks that were manufactured in 2007 or later into drayage service in Southern California. The group says the new clean trucks emit 80 percent fewer air pollutants than older trucks serving the port, have been privately financed by CRT members, and have been voluntarily deployed three years ahead of the port’s deadlines.

CRT said it has also been involved in other industry-supported clean truck programs including the ports of Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma and New York/New Jersey.

RILA and CRT said they are members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay Program that was designed to increase energy and fuel efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. RILA said it is also a member of SmartWay’s Shipper Stakeholder Committee, which provides input toward the continued development of the program, and is a partner with EPA’s Energy Star and WasteWise programs.

The two groups said their new partnership was formalized on September 22, at a meeting of the RILA Transportation & Infrastructure Committee meeting, held in Arlington, Virginia, and will be effective as of October 1.

USCG participates in small vessel radiation-screening exercise in Puget Sound

The U.S. Coast Guard announced it participated in an “operational maritime exercise” in Puget Sound for two days this week that involved what it termed “non-intrusive small vessel radiological screenings” at three regional security zones: Admiralty Inlet, Bellingham Bay and North Skagit Bay.

The USCG Cutter Osprey served as mother ship to several small vessels from federal, state and local agencies participating the exercise as part of a pilot demonstration funded by the Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) to evaluate radiation detection sensors and operational protocols for small vessels under 300 gross tons.

More than 300 maritime law enforcement and first-responder personnel from federal, state, local and tribal agencies participated in the exercise, the USCG said.

The Coast Guard said participants used radiation detection equipment ranging from portable hand-held sensors to boat-mounted systems.

The Coast Guard said Puget Sound was selected for the pilot demonstration “because it is home to the third largest commercial and naval port in the U.S, hosts the nation’s largest ferry system and sees significant small vessel traffic regularly entering U.S. waters across the 125 miles of open maritime border.”

Increased boat traffic on Puget Sound is also anticipated during the Winter Olympics games to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010, the Coast Guard said.

“Our goal was to coordinate efforts by DHS and regional partners to prevent illicit radiological or nuclear materials from entering Puget Sound waterways by way of small vessels,” said PNNL Maritime Project Manager Bill Peterson.

The DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office invested $3.5 million in equipment and training for state and local personnel in preventive radiological detection for the Puget Sound pilot.

“Our objective is to safely identify and interdict radiological or nuclear weapons or materials as far away as possible from populated areas and critical facilities,” said Coast Guard Captain Dave Crowley. “And, while this improves the region’s security, it’s essential our efforts cause minimal impact to routine commercial and recreational boating activities.”

“This week’s effort shows we can add another layer of defense and security to Puget Sound waters with minimal impact to law abiding small vessel operators,” said PNNL’s Bill Peterson.

More opposition to CN’s EJ&E rail plans

A proposal to scale back part of a freight train congestion-relief project caught criticism from a coalition opposing the Canadian National Railway's purchase of the EJ&E railroad.

CREATE, or the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program, is a collaboration between railroads and federal, state and local governments to ease the bottlenecks that delay trains in the city. It involves constructing numerous grade separations and would cost more than $2 billion.

CREATE recently announced it intended to modify the plan by dropping a new route designed to get CN trains through the region faster. The change comes after CN confirmed it won't need that improvement because it is moving trains onto the EJ&E, which runs in a semicircle from Waukegan to Gary, Ind., avoiding Chicago.

Towns along the EJ&E fought the railroad merger saying it would cause noise, traffic and safety problems.

TRAC, a coalition of merger opponents, said Wednesday that CREATE was premature in its revisions to the project because the U.S. Surface Transportation Board's decision is being appealed in court and it could be reversed.

-Chicago Daily Herald

Story Source:

Massachusetts might get double-stack freight rail service

Massachusetts could be entering a new era of freight trains hauling more goods into and out of the state via rail lines.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s announcement yesterday that the state was buying rail lines from CSX opened up the potential for vastly improved commuter-train service in Eastern Massachusetts. But business groups were particularly excited that the state takeover could also open up rail lines for “double stacking” of cargo containers on trains, allowing the state to import and export goods more efficiently and cheaply.

-Boston Herald

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Vancouver USA to apply $480K in fed funds towards security program

The Port of Vancouver USA announced it has received $480,735 in federal stimulus funding that the port said would be used to implement the second phase of the port’s security program.

The port said it would use the funds to install additional cameras and monitoring of those cameras across marine terminal complex.

A secure wireless network will also be created so that port security officers will have the ability to monitor cameras from security vehicles while on mobile patrol, the port said.

“This will increase our awareness of port operations,” said Mike Schiller, the port’s general manager of operations.

Schiller said a portion of the funding would be used by the port to purchase TWIC card readers in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines for implementation of the TWIC program.

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