ATA files motion to stay L.A. clean truck judgment
The American Trucking Associations late Friday filed a motion to stay the final judgment issued by Judge Christina Snyder Aug. 26 that would allow the ban of owner-operators at the Port of Los Angeles.
The stay would prevent the Port from enforcing its concession agreement pending ATA’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The motion was made on the grounds that the court’s findings of the port in respect to its role as a market participant and landlord rather than a regulator enforcing the clean air act “raise serious legal questions and merit a stay; that if the injunction against the owner-operator ban is lifted “irreparable harm” would come to ATA members; and that denial of a stay would “create disproportionately greater hardship for motor carriers than for the Los Angeles defendants” among other things.
The hearing before Judge Snyder on the stay is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 25 at the U.S. Federal District Court in Los Angeles.
In its motion ATA noted that the preliminary injunction against the owner-operator ban” has been in place since April 2009 with respect to certain provisions of the concession agreement that this Court, on remand from the Ninth Circuit, had found likely to be preempted” under existing commerce law.
Singapore commission proposes five-year extension of liner anti-trust immunity
Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has advised its minister for trade and industry to extend a block exemption for liner shipping antitrust immunity by five years until the end of 2015.
This comes as the current block exemption is due to expire at the end of this year. The recommendation by the Competition Commission would continue to allow ocean liners to collaborate on rate setting and capacity issues on trades to and from Singapore.
The commission said that it is of the view that more time is required to assess the impact of regulatory changes in the EU. It is also important to recognise that there are other routes through Singapore which will not be affected by regulatory developments in the EU."
The CCS is accepting comments on its proposal until October 4. It said it arrived at its decision to recommend extending the block exemption after consulting with more than 30 trade associations, regulators, individual shippers, ocean liners and logistics service providers.
China's exponentially increasing influence in Nepal, much to the chagrin of India, received further fillip on Sunday with Beijing starting work on extending its railway from Lhasa to Xigaze or Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet which borders Nepal, India and Bhutan.
This is the first step taken by Beijing in extending its rail link to the Tibet- Nepal border and which many believe will culminate in its extension right up to Kathmandu.
Xigaze is located 280 km southwest of Lhasa. In fact, China is said to be already carrying out feasibility studies for a 400 km line from Xigaze to Nyalam. A rail link from Nyalam to Kathmandu would be no more than 120 km.
According to Indian officials and strategic affairs analysts, apart from strategic implications, China's move to extend rail link to its border with Nepal can reduce Kathmandu's dependence on India as it will enable it to import petroleum products from Beijing. India's rapidly declining influence in Nepal, not least because of the Maoists, is making things worse for New Delhi.
French carmaker Renault will launch five new models in the Chinese market from December 2010 to June 2011, aiming to further increase its market share in China's imported vehicle market, Xinhua reported Sunday.
Since its entry into the world's largest auto market, Renault car sales have been greatly improved, growing more than 30 times in just a short time. In the first eight months of this year, Renault reported sales of 15,000 vehicles in China, rising 300% compared to the same period last year, said Guozhang, president of Renault's Greater China division.
Renault has made itself one of the fastest-growing imported car brands in China and, likewise, China is becoming Renault's most important market, Chen added.
The five models to be introduced to China are Renault Laguna Clio, Wind, large Scenic, Small Scenic and Fluence. They will also be displayed at the Guangzhou Auto Show to be held at the end of this year, and then be launched in China in December this year or January next year, according to early report
L.A. first port to reduce tariffs for zero-emission vehicles
The Port of Los Angeles became the first port to offer reduced tariffs for all zero-emission vehicles imported into the United States, under a plan approved Monday by the Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Plans call for offering a 15 percent discount on the wharfage rate for battery electric vehicles passing through the port.
The proposal was introduced in May, when Chinese manufacturer BYD Auto Co. announced plans to move the company's North American headquarters to Los Angeles.
The discount is pending final approval by the Los Angeles City Council.
The Montreal Port Authority and Canadian National Railway Co. said Monday they have signed a framework pact aimed at raising the port's efficiency and boosting its share of cargo shipped between Europe and Ontario and the U.S. Midwest. CN will benefit by carrying more cargo onwards.
CN said the deal is one of several supply-chain collaboration pacts reached with Canada's major Eastern and Western ports. Its own objective is to enhance the competitiveness of its customers in global markets.
Sylvie Vachon, the MPA's president, said the agreement will help to preserve the port's competitive advantage by improving its rail services and strengthening its position as the market leader on the North Atlantic and as an internodal gateway serving global markets.
Retired Longshoreman Arian appointed to L.A. harbor commission
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed David Arian to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.
“Having proudly served as a longshoreman in San Pedro, like his father before him, David Arian brings an inherent understanding of how the Port can function more efficiently as well as the needs of the surrounding community," said Mayor Villaraigosa said in a statement.
"His decades of experience at both the local and national level will help our team at the Port build off the success of the Clean Truck Program and Clean Air Action Plan to ensure the economic vitality and environmental sustainability of our Harbor community for generations to come," the Mayor said.
Arian, a native of San Pedro, began his career as a longshoreman in 1965 and has been an active member of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union since then.
In 1991, he was elected International President of the ILWU. Following his term, he returned to the waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles where he worked until his retirement in 2009.
Greenbrier gains $200 mil railcar order, warns of Q4 loss
The Greenbrier Companies Inc. on Monday announced an order for 3,000 railcars valued at roughly $200 million, but the company also warned that it expects to post a surprise fourth-quarter loss.
The order, for 2,250 double-stack intermodal platforms, 500 covered hopper cars and 250 other cars, will be delivered this year and next. It augments an order announced on Aug. 25 to build 1,700 new railcars and refurbish 1,100 existing railcars.
Lake Oswego-based Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX) also announced preliminary financial results for the fourth fiscal quarter, which ends on Aug. 31. The company expects to lose between 15 cents and 20 cents per share, not including one-time charges.
British insurer makes plans for private anti-piracy navy
Insurers have drawn up plans for the world’s first private navy to try to turn the tide against Somali pirates who continue to plague the global shipping industry by hijacking vessels for ransoms of more than £100m a year, The Independent has learnt.
The Independent has seen Nato documents which show both ransom payments and the period that pirates are holding vessels have doubled.
In response, a leading London insurer is pushing ahead with radical proposals to create a private fleet of about 20 patrol boats crewed by armed guards to bolster the international military presence off the Somali coast.
They would act as escorts and fast-response vessels for shipping passing through the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean.
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT), which insures 14 percent of the world’s commercial shipping fleet, said the unprecedented “private navy” would work under the direct control of the military with clear rules of engagement valid under international law.
The revelation comes as a coalition of shipping organizations and seafarers’ unions today call for governments to dedicate greater resources towards tackling piracy off Somalia.
MSC, the world's second largest container shipping company, announced this week that it will decide “within days” whether to arm its vessels.
Longshoremen refuse to cross picket line at NJ terminal
Longshoremen in Jersey City defied a judge's order this morning and have refused to work at the Global Terminal shipping port.
The New York Shipping Association says the action by International Longshoremen's Association members is related to a protest over the move of some work done by ILA workers in Camden to a non-ILA facility in Gloucester.
Florida-based Del Monte Fresh Produce said it decided to move operations because it needed more space.
This morning there were only a couple of people doing some informational picketing, but Global Terminal workers -- about 80 or so who also belong to the ILA -- refused to cross the picket line.
A judge yesterday issued a restraining order barring ILA members from interfering with normal business operations. In a statement the New York Shipping Association said its attorneys will be returning to court this morning seeking enforcement of the court's order.
Officials from Global Terminal refused to comment this morning.
Young Bros. to file motion over Pasha's inter-island green light in Hawaii
Hawaii interisland cargo shipping company Young Bros. Ltd. said yesterday that it will ask the state Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its Sept. 20 decision to open up the regulated market to limited competition from Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC.
Young Bros. said it will file a motion next week asking the regulatory agency to reconsider the impact of its ruling that unlocks a more than 50-year-old monopoly.
Often, such requests don't lead to reversals, though PUC rules allow appellants to introduce new evidence under certain circumstances.
Last week, Young Bros. reserved comment on the PUC's decision until it could carefully review the ruling.
Yesterday in a press release, Young Bros. largely reiterated and elaborated on arguments it had made previously in the PUC case.
The company said its ability to subsidize unprofitable routes and services is threatened by Pasha's entry, and that it might seek approval to raise rates and reduce or eliminate service.
Long Beach City Council approves $1 bil bridge replacement plan
City leaders Tuesday approved a $1.1billion port plan to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, clearing the way for Long Beach's largest public-works project in decades.
Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2011 and take 5 to 6 years, supporting about 4,000 jobs annually through completion.
The plan has drawn strong support from both labor organizations and business coalitions, though some remain wary about increased truck and ship traffic the bridge is designed to accommodate.
The bridge, named after a former Long Beach councilman and opened in 1968, has been taxed to the extreme in recent years, handling more than double the original traffic estimates as cargo volumes through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles surged in recent years.
Virginia port's box volume up 16 percent for August
Container volume at the port of Hampton Roads increased 16 percent in August from the same month in 2009, continuing an upward trend in cargo traffic this year.
"Things year-to-date are looking good," Russell Held, the Virginia Port Authority's deputy executive director of development, told the authority's Board of Commissioners on Tuesday during their bimonthly meeting.
Held said he expected winter holiday shipments during October and November to grow 15 to 20 percent over the same time last year.
Whether the port will see increases early next year depends on Christmas shoppers, he said; they'll leave retailers with either empty shelves that need replenishment or excess inventory.
"Out beyond October and November is the great unknown," Held said.
Great Lakes cargo is too radioactive for environmental groups
A plan to haul 16 decommissioned radioactive steam generators across the Great Lakes and through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Sweden for recycling is "safe" and "the right thing to do," nuclear organizations say, despite criticism from environmental groups fighting to block the shipment.
Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO of Bruce Power, a nuclear generating utility, said his company wanted an opportunity to defend its plan and "debunk deliberate misconceptions" regarding shipping, recycling hazards and security of t-he shipment.
The company is "obligated" to safely remove its environmental footprint, he added.
"It was the right environmental thing to do to pursue this option," he said to about 100 people yesterday at the start of a two-day public hearing by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
About 80 groups from Canada, the United States and Sweden are testifying at a hearing to debate Bruce Power's plans to ship 1,600 tonnes of radioactive waste through Canadian waterways.
Analyst: U.S. import volumes should be strong through Holidays
A Deutsche Bank analyst said he expects U.S. import volumes to remain strong through the critical holiday season despite a slight slowdown in year over year growth.
The American Trucking Associations on Tuesday reported that its seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index rose 2.9 percent in August compared with a year earlier, but slipped 2.7 percent from July. That was the largest month-to-month decrease since March 2009. Trucking demand is a key indicator of U.S. economic health because it shows how many goods are moving and if consumers are buying.
But despite a dip in trucking demand between July and August, analyst Justin Yagerman noted that port volume in California, where a bulk of Asian imports enter, jumped 23.9 percent in August from a year earlier and 6.5 percent from the prior month.
Because shipments to California ports are strong, Yagerman thinks trucking demand will remain stable for the rest of the year. But he warns that investors should be careful on buying trucking stocks because so much in the industry is still uncertain.
FedEx to raise rates for Express and Freight services
FedEx Corp.,the world's largest cargo airline, said it would raise shipping rates on its Express and Freight services as the company hosted investors at its Memphis headquarters on Wednesday.
Rates for shipping through the company's Express division, which includes the airline and the high-margin International Priority service, will go up on average 3.9 percent for U.S. domestic and export services starting Jan. 3.
Starting Nov. 1, rates will rise 6.9 percent on certain trucking services.
FedEx told investors that its express service is back on track for double-digit profit margins.
The company will announce pricing changes for its ground services later this year.
WTO: U.S. “caused injury” to Chinese chicken shippers
U.S. measures that effectively banned imports of Chinese cooked chicken broke international trade rules and caused injury to China's economy, a World Trade Organization dispute panel said on Wednesday.
The ruling, in one of several trade disputes between China and the United States, came as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on a bill declaring China's undervalued currency a subsidy and enabling duties to be imposed on some Chinese imports as a countermeasure.
Salt Lake City-based coal company wants to set up private port on Columbia River
A Utah-based coal company is looking to buy out Chinook Ventures' interest in the former Reynolds Metals aluminum plant, clean it up and turn it into a private port to export coal and import other materials, a company official said Tuesday.
If Millennium Bulk Logistics of Salt Lake City can complete a deal, it would end six years of Chinook Ventures' troubled involvement on the site. The expanded port could be operating next year, employing more than 60 workers, said Michael Klein, a spokesman for Millennium's parent company, Australia-based Ambre Energy.
Chinook Ventures employs about 60 workers at the site, so the new port is not expected to add a large number of new jobs.
The deal would only cover buildings and other structures on the plant site. Alcoa, which bought out Reynolds Metals Co. in 1999, still owns the 416-acre site, where soils and groundwater are contaminated from 50 years of aluminum making.
The public comment period for the shoreline permits ends Oct. 21, and the project has already drawn criticism. Area environmental groups say coal is too dirty to be transported on the Columbia River.
Virginia port’s longshore force votes on two-year contract
HAMPTON ROADS - 800 longshoremen [were] set to vote Thursday on a two-year labor agreement for workers who handle bulk and other non-containerized cargo like lumber, wood chips, scrap metal, automobiles and other heavy equipment.
The existing contact, which has been in place since 2004, [expired] Thursday. It covers wages, benefits and working conditions for dockworkers who load, unload and handle those types of cargo at the region's port facilities.
Longshoremen in June rejected two labor agreements that would have cut wages on two types of work by more than 20 percent to about $16 an hour. For workers with more seniority, the cuts surpassed 30 percent.
Since the vote, union leaders and dockworkers' employers have been working to negotiate a new pact that also includes pay reductions, but not to the scale of those first proposed, negotiators said.
The two sides also shelved a divisive proposal that would have cut wages and benefits for workers who handle cargo for a barge service that shuttles containers between Hampton Roads and Richmond.
Giesinger and Thomas Little, acting international vice president of the International Longshoremen's Association for the port of Hampton Roads, said they were optimistic union members would ratify the new contract, but each declined to offer specifics until after the vote.
NJ governor names Samson as next NY-NJ port chairman
Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday named David Samson, a former attorney general of New Jersey, to head the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
If the State Senate confirms him, Mr. Samson, a Republican, will replace Anthony R. Coscia, who has been chairman since 2003.
Mr. Samson served as the head of Mr. Christie’s transition team.
The authority runs the region’s airports, bridges and tunnels.
Mr. Coscia, a Democrat, said that the decision to turn over the chairmanship was mutual and that he had been talking with Mr. Christie about naming a successor since the summer, when Mr. Coscia was appointed to the Amtrak board. “The authority needs to be accountable, and its actions need to be transparent,” Mr. Samson said.
FedEx: U.S. cargo growth lags behind India, China and Brazil
FedEx Corp., the world’s biggest cargo airline, said the U.S. economic recovery will lag behind countries such as China, India and Brazil that are leading a rebound in the express-shipping industry.
China’s economy is expanding at an annual rate of 10 percent and Brazil is “like a rocket,” Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith said yesterday in a presentation to investors at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. The U.S. will remain “pretty tepid,” Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf said.
The comments reflected the sluggishness of the U.S. economy after the deepest recession since World War II. The Commerce Department may say today that gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Smith’s remarks built on his Sept. 16 comment that FedEx, the second-largest U.S. package-shipping company, was seeing signs of a “solid” holiday-shipping season. Retailers are restocking after their inventory-to-sales ratio fell to 1.33 in March and April, the lowest since comparable records began in 1992.
“The arrow in global shipping points up,” Smith said. “FedEx Express is beating air cargo in general.”
As demand returns, FedEx will raise rates in its Express unit by 3.9 percent starting Jan. 3, the same increase as this year, according to a statement yesterday. The freight and less- than-truckload units will increase rates by 6.9 percent in November, FedEx said.
China’s manufacturing rose almost 52 percent in September
China's manufacturing activity expanded in September and accelerated from the previous month, an official gauge showed Friday, adding to evidence that Chinese growth remains robust and that its slowdown from extraordinary growth rates earlier this year will be mild.
China's Purchasing Managers Index rose to 53.8 in September from 51.7 in August, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, which issues the data with the National Bureau of Statistics, said in a statement.
A PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing activity, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Canadian spot market truck freight volume up 50 percent for August
Portland, Ore.-based TransCore released its Canadian Freight Index, which showed a 50 percent year-over-year increase in spot market truck freight volume - a two point increase from July.
Trucking freight for the month of August registered the highest volume ever recorded for the same month in the last five years, the TransCore report said.
Combined cross-border loads were 55 percent higher year-over-year, while equipment availability dropped 16 percent compared to August 2009.
“Increasing level of freight availability along with a decline in trucks searching for loads has been the steady pattern throughout the last eight months,” the report said.
Six major freight forwarders plead guilty to price fixing
Six international freight forwarding companies have agreed to plead guilty to price fixing and pay a total of $50.3 million in criminal fines, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
In the latest plea agreements in a long-running probe, BAX Global has agreed to pay a fine of $19.7 million; Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd will pay $11.9 million; Kuehne + Nagel will pay $9,865,044; EGL Inc will pay $4.5 million; Schenker, a part of the Deutsche Bahn Group will pay $3.5 million; and Geologistics International Management (Bermuda) will pay $687,960.