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Summary for October 13 - October 17, 2008:
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Monday, October 13, 2008

$400 mil IDB loan for Panama Canal

Panama Canal authorities Oct. 10 announced that the Inter-American Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $400 million loan to help finance the historic Panama Canal Expansion Program. 

Alberto Alemán Zubieta, Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator and CEO, commented, “This signifies that Panama and the Canal are on the right track. This also reinforces the Bank’s trust and confidence in the Panama Canal Authority.”

In the midst of global financial uncertainty, the granting of the loan is seen as a sign of confidence in the economic achievements of the government of Panama and the management of the Panama Canal, canal authorities said

Recently, the ACP received its first-ever investment grade rating. Moody’s Investors Services gave the ACP an A1 as a government-related issuer and a prospective A2 investment grade for the possible $2.3 billion financing for the expansion project.

The Panama Canal Expansion Program will build 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.


Panama Canal Authority (ACP)


APL is best, say NY-NJ truckers

Container shipping line APL has won its third straight award for operating the best terminal serving the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The New Jersey–based Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, representing truckers who serve the Port of New York and New Jersey, again named APL Best Off-Pier Terminal at a ceremony in Port Newark last week. 

In addition to the terminal award, the association also honored APL clerk Jo-Ann Vargas for outstanding service to the trucking community.

The Bi-State association cited APL’s South Kearny, N.J., container terminal for outstanding processing at the gate, availability of containers and overall ease of use in making their award determination.

The South Kearny facility, adjacent to a rail ramp three miles from Port Newark, is APL’s primary supply point for New York and New Jersey port terminals and a dedicated intermodal terminal for cargo moving in and out of the Northeast. 

“Winning three times in a row is gratifying,” said Mike Noone, APL’s vice president and managing director for the East Region, “but what matters most is that we’re being honored by the port trucking community.” 



Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers


Port of San Diego funds green projects

The San Diego Board of Port Commissioners Oct. 7 gave final funding approval for 10 new environmental projects, making this the seventh round of environmental projects approved since the port’s Environmental Policy was approved in June 2006.

The policy calls for funding and decision-making direction to select and execute projects that would improve the condition of San Diego Bay and its surrounding tidelands.

Among the 10 projects that were approved are the installation of solar panels and the use of sustainable building materials on the new cruiseship terminal facility that will be built on Broadway Pier.

The port is partnering with San Diego Gas & Electric on this project that planners hope will improve energy efficiency by up to 29 percent, the port said. The board approved $500,000 for a two-year period.

Another approved environmental project will provide funding for electrical, mechanical, architectural, heating and air conditioning, structural and LEED professionals to integrate specific requirements into the design specifications for the Broadway Pier Cruise Ship Terminal.

A project to enhance the fish habitat in San Diego Bay was also approved.


Port of San Diego


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FedEx Freight enhances Canada service

FedEx Freight Oct. 13 announced that it has “significantly improved its service” by offering next-business-day coverage between key Canadian gateway cities and several regions across the United States.

In addition, the company is further supporting shippers and customers operating fast-cycle logistics by streamlining cross-border processes.

“The FedEx brand is synonymous with speed, reliability and superior customer service,” said Doug Duncan, president and CEO, FedEx Freight. “By making these improvements in the FedEx Freight network, we are delivering those same attributes to LTL customers whose shipping needs include Canada.”

Cross-border enhancements include next-business-day service between Toronto and key markets in the Great Lakes region and next-business-day LTL service between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Upper Midwest.

FedEx Freight also provides next-business-day LTL service between Vancouver, B.C., and key markets in the Pacific Northwest and between Montreal, Quebec, and points in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.

FedEx Freight Canada, which was formed in 2007, is the first-ever direct LTL presence for FedEx in Canada. Headquartered in Toronto, it has added service centers in Ottawa, Cambridge, Edmonton, Halifax and Quebec City and has expanded its facilities in Winnipeg and Calgary.


FedEx Freight


OSG secures $500M loan to purchase vessels

Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., which owns a fleet of crude oil tankers, Oct. 13 announced that it has, together with Belgian crude oil transporter Euronav NV, secured a $500 million credit facility to buy and convert ships into floating storage offloading (FSO) service vessels.

The vessels are scheduled to deliver to Maersk Oil Qatar on the Al Shaheen field offshore Qatar in July 2009 and then start operations in September 2009.

The credit facility is provided by ING, Fokus Bank, Fortis Bank (Belgium), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., BNP Paribas and Nordea, acting as lead arrangers, and ING as global coordinator and facility agent, and Danish Ship Finance, Deutsche Schiffsbank, Dexia Bank, Scotia Bank and Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen acting as co-arrangers.

The facility has an eight-year maturity from the delivery dates of each of the two vessels on site. Borrowings under this facility bear interest at a rate based on LIBOR, OSG said.

“OSG and Euronav’s success at securing this bank facility during such a difficult financial market emphasizes not only the strength of the project and the charterer but also the strong support these banks have in both OSG and Euronav,” OSG said in its announcement.


Overseas Shipholding Group


San Francisco Bar Pilots honored

The Sacramento Yolo Port Commission has recognized the San Francisco Bar Pilots “for their work in providing vital navigation services between San Francisco Bay and the Port of West Sacramento,” the commission announced Oct. 13.

Bar pilots make regular runs on the winding 43-mile channel, directing vessels of 300 gross tons or more through numerous bridge crossings into the Sacramento port. The commission noted the extensive training required to become a San Francisco Bar Pilot and the association’s safety record of “more than 99 percent.”

Since 1850, the San Francisco Bar Pilots have been providing critical navigation and piloting services to vessels transiting in and out of Northern California. The association now performs some 9,000 vessel moves each year.

This year, the San Francisco Bar Pilots have assisted in docking the largest cargo ship ever to call at the Port of Oakland, directing the world’s largest private yacht — the Maltese Falcon — through San Francisco Bay and moving the largest cruiseship to ever visit dry dock in San Francisco.


San Francisco Bar Pilots


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

San Diego port accepts shore power grant

The San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has voted to accept grant funds from the Carl Moyer Grant Program, which will help to finance part of the Clean Air Program at the port, according to an announcement by the port Oct. 14.

The port was awarded $2.4 million from this grant by the San Diego Air Pollution Control District in August 2008. The funds will enable the port to move forward with plans to install shore power at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal.

This is the second shore power project awarded under the Carl Moyer Program in the state of California. The Port of San Francisco had the first.

The estimated cost for this project is $6 million. This includes approximately $1.9 million to power the terminal, $2.4 million for the electrical equipment and $1.7 million for public works infrastructure, the port said.

The public works infrastructure includes adding a concrete support pad, vaults, fencing, cables and a conduit. These services will be provided via public works contracting.

To comply with the Carl Moyer Grant Program regulations, the system must be operating by May 31, 2010, more than three years prior to state regulatory requirements.


Port of San Diego


Panama Canal details final expansion financing

Panamanian President Martín Torrijos Oct. 14 announced the final financing structure for the historic Panama Canal Expansion Program.

Five major multilateral agencies from Europe, Asia and Latin America have offered to finance the canal expansion project, and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), after months of extensive negotiations, has accepted the banks’ offers. 

The negotiated financing structure includes favorable provisions for the ACP including a 20-year amortizing period with a 10-year grace period.

The allocations are $500 million from the European Investment Bank, $800 million from the Inter-American Development Bank, $300 million from the International Finance Corp. and $300 million from the Corporación Andina de Fomento, according to port authorities.

“Today’s announcement is very significant both for the Panama Canal and the Republic of Panama — at a time of global financial uncertainty, five major multilateral agencies from different regions of the world have committed to finance the largest infrastructure project in Latin America,” said ACP Administrator and CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

The remaining amount for the $5.25 billion project will be financed through canal-generated cash flow, port authorities said.

Panama Canal Authority


YRC launches new Web portal BizConnect

YRC Worldwide Oct. 14 announced it has launched a Web portal designed to make it easier for clients to connect with YRC North American Transportation companies and divisions, including Yellow Transportation, Roadway, USF Holland, USF Reddaway and Reimer Express.

YRC Worldwide BizConnect offers clients the ability to “obtain and compare quotes from the different companies; choose the provider and services they want; schedule a pickup; track the shipment; and pay online,” according to the announcement.

“We want to make it as easy and efficient as possible for clients to connect with services from our brands,” says Mike Smid, president and CEO, YRC North American Transportation.

Smid added, “YRC Worldwide BizConnect is an excellent resource, especially for clients who don’t have frequent shipments, and want transportation management to be as simple as click, ship and go.”

YRC Worldwide BizConnect offers quoting and booking capabilities for the domestic 48 states and Canada. Services offered include standard ground, several levels of guaranteed, and expedited by 5 p.m., according to the company.


YRC Worldwide BizConnect


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Forklift-mounted cargo scanning system debuts

FreightScan LLC, a leader in the development and deployment of innovative technology solutions for the freight and logistics industry, said yesterday it will debut the world’s first forklift-mounted dimensioning scanner at the Air Cargo Forum 2008 in Kuala Lumpur Nov. 4-6.

The company will conduct live booth demonstrations of the scanning system, the FL1000, at the conference.

FreightScan’s revolutionary FL1000 mounts directly to the mast assembly of a forklift and scans freight on a standard 48” x 40” skid up to 50” high at any location within a cargo facility loading dock or warehouse while the freight is still on the forklift. 

“The FL1000 is going to resolve the myriad of workflow issues that have restricted cargo facilities that utilize cross-docking, multi-scales or have other warehouse constraints from implementing 100% dimensioning of their cargo,” said André Johnson, FreightScan CEO.

“This will be an important step forward for the entire industry,” Johnson added.

The FL1000 system captures cubed dimensions, a digital and laser image for 100% of scanned freight, and incorporates that data and visual record with every waybill in three seconds, the company said.


FreightScan LLC


ProLogis leases 252,500 sq. ft. in Japan

ProLogis, the world’s largest owner, manager and developer of distribution facilities, Oct. 15 announced that it has signed new lease agreements for approximately 252,500 sq. ft. of recently developed distribution space in Japan during 3Q 2008.

“We are pleased to announce continued solid leasing activity in Japan,” said Mike Yamada, co-president of Japan for ProLogis. “All three new lease agreements are with existing customers, demonstrating the value ProLogis places in its customer relationships.”

The third quarter transactions include Yamato Logistics Co., which leased approximately 162,600 sq. ft. at ProLogis Parc Narashino III in Narashino, Japan, and Kintetsu World Express Inc., which leased approximately 27,300 sq. ft. at ProLogis Parc Centrair, adjacent to Central Japan International Airport in Nagoya, Japan.

Also announced is Konoike Transport Co. Ltd., which leased approximately 63,000 sq. ft. at ProLogis Parc Maishima III in Osaka, Japan.

Headquartered in Denver, Colo., ProLogis’ customers include manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, 3PL providers and other enterprises with large-scale distribution needs.  




“Connie” Awards to honor Tilden, Bloom

The Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII) Oct. 14 said it will present the 2008 Connie Awards this year to Douglas Tilden, chairman, Ports America Group, and Ken Bloom, CEO, INTTRA.

Tilden heads Ports America, the largest stevedoring and terminal operating company in the Americas. Bloom is the first person honored with the Connie Award from the international technology field.

Each recipient will be honored for his significant influence in containerization in worldwide trade and transportation, according to Joe Cervenak, president, CII.

Tilden began his career at United States Lines in 1969, serving for the next 18 years in operations and general management positions in the United States, Oceania, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

Tilden was recently promoted to chairman of Ports America Group from his previous position as president of Ports America and CEO of Marine Terminals Corp.

Bloom has overseen a period of tremendous growth and organizational development for INTTRA. During his tenure, INTTRA has grown from its “start up” phase in 2001 to become the largest business-to-business e-commerce portal in the ocean container industry, now processing more than 10% of all global containerized trade.

Prior to joining INTTRA, Bloom served as COO at Optimum Logistics, a subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen.

The industry-wide luncheon will take place Monday, Dec. 8, at The Newark Club, Newark, N.J.


Containerization & Intermodal Institute (CII)


Friday, October 17, 2008

Holiday shoppers will stick to budgets

Holiday spending this year by U.S. shoppers will increase by the lowest level in at least six years, according to the annual holiday survey released Oct. 16 by the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group.

U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $832.36 on holiday shopping this year, up just 1.9% compared with a year earlier, according to the survey.

For the first time in the survey’s history, the NRF said, people plan to spend less on gifts for family members — $466.13 this year, down from $469.14 last year.

The NRF said spending is expected to be particularly weak among 18- to 24-year-olds, who expect to spend $50 less on gifts than last year.

“Retailers are going into this holiday season with their eyes wide open, knowing that savings and promotions will be the main incentive for shoppers,” Tracy Mullin, NRF president and CEO, said.

The survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, polled 8,117 consumers Sept. 30 through Oct. 7. The NRF said the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0%.


National Retail Federation


$20 mil bridge loan for Dallas Hub

The Allen Group Oct. 16 announced that they have secured a $20 million bridge loan for the recapitalization of 1,031 acres within the Dallas Logistics Hub, a 6,000-acre multimodal logistics park in Dallas, Texas.

With the assistance of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, The Allen Group received a 36-month, adjustable-rate loan with American Bank of Texas.

“Achieving a financial transaction is tough in today’s capital markets; American Bank understands the significance of this project and its long-term value creation,” commented Ken Howell, CFO for The Allen Group.

The land assemblage is located within the Dallas Logistics Hub, an Inland Port logistics park adjacent to Union Pacific’s Southern Dallas Intermodal Terminal, a proposed BNSF intermodal facility, four major highway connectors (I-20, I-45, I-35 and Loop 9) and Lancaster Airport, which is in the planning stage to facilitate air-cargo distribution.

DLH is master-planned for 60 million sq. ft. of distribution, manufacturing, office and retail developments. 

The Allen Group, one the nation’s fastest growing privately held commercial development firms, specializes in the development of high-end industrial, office, retail and mixed-use properties throughout the United States.


Dallas Logistics Hub


New deputy director for Palm Beach port

The Port of Palm Beach District has named Thomas Lundeen as its new deputy director.

Previously the port’s director of engineering and maintenance, Lundeen will continue to oversee that department as he assumes his new role, according to an Oct. 14 news release from the port.

With the exception of a short hiatus between 2004 and 2006 in the private sector, Lundeen has been responsible for all engineering and construction projects at the port since 1997, which include more than $100 million in capital improvement projects.

Lundeen will work closely with Manuel Almira, executive director, on all port initiatives including the intermodal logistics complex, also known as the “inland port.”

“Tom’s extensive knowledge of the port proper and valuable insight into its future development make him an excellent selection to step up and assume the additional responsibilities of deputy director,” Almira said.

The Port of Palm Beach handles some 3.2 million tons of cargo and 257,000 containers annually, ranking it as the fourth busiest among Florida’s container ports and among the top 25 in the nation.


Port of Palm Beach District


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