Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for October 15 - October 19, 2012:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Top Story

ILA-USMX update: "Productive negotiations" to resume this week

The labor contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Union and the group representing shipping industry management at East and Gulf Coast ports - the United Maritime Alliance - wrapped up "five days of productive negotiations" on Saturday, as both parties plan to reconvene this week, according to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

"I wish to commend the parties for their hard work and commitment to this process. The parties are making good progress on a number of difficult issues at the full committee and subcommittee levels," said FMCS Director George H. Cohen in a statement on Sunday.

A collective sigh of relief was heard from the shipping industry in mid-September over the news the ILA and USMX had agreed to extend the deadline of their collective bargaining agreement from September 30 to December 29 in an effort to do so "for the good of the country" in order to avoid any work disruption, after the FMCA announced it would be presiding over the jump-started negotiations.

News of the labor-management contract extension to year's end came during the critical peak shipping season and reportedly allayed industry fears over what had been the potential for disrupted, and costly re-routed, supply chains.

China’s exports rise 10 percent in September, slowed economy may be stabilizing

China’s exports and money supply growth were better than expected in September, indicating that nation’s economy may be stabilizing after a slowdown that began in the early 2011.

Exports increased 9.9 percent year on year, the customs administration stated, significantly more than the 5.5 predicted by a group of economists polled by Bloomberg News. Inflation data and an October 18th third quarter report will fill in the blanks and determine whether or not action is needed to sustain China’s economic growth, just as the new leadership of the Communist Party begins to take over in November.

“Better-than-expected export growth is likely to help support employment and reduce pressure for more policy easing ahead of the leadership transition,” said Chang Jian, an economist at Barclays. “Monetary easing has been constrained by concerns about a rebound in property prices and medium-term inflation risks.”

The fact that there is no big stimulus planned indicates some worry in Beijing about higher government debt, the banks’ non-performing loans, and inefficient investment, according to Jian.

For more of the Businessweek story:

JB Hunt trucking Q3 earnings up 14 percent

Trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services reported positive third quarter results at $1.3 billion in operating revenue, up 11 percent from 2011.

J.B. Hunt announced 2012 net earnings rose 14 percent to $78.2 million in the current quarter from $68.7 million in 2011.That’s diluted earnings per share of 65 cents in third quarter 2012 compared with third quarter 2011 net earnings of 57 cents per diluted share.

Operating income for the current quarter totaled $133 million compared with  $119 million for the third quarter 2011. Positive factors sprang from load growth and improved network balance in the J.B. Hunt’s intermodal division and load growth in its integrated capacity solutions division. They were somewhat offset by cost stresses experienced in both the contract services and trucking segments at the company.

Maersk Line removes 19 ships from Asia-Europe trade route

Maersk Line will take 19 ships from the Asia-to-Europe trade route to lower capacity and boost rates amidst low demand.

The company’s AE5 Service, which uses 8 ships, will be permanently canceled, as will the AE9 service, which employs 11 vessels, according to a statement from A.P. Moller-Maersk on Friday. This will reduce capacity on the route 21 percent in 2012, after February’s 9 percent reduction.

“Asia-Europe capacity is too great after the significant reduction in demand over the summer and companies are having to adjust much faster than they’re accustomed to,” said Peter Sand, chief analyst at BIMCO, a Danish shipping association.

Container rates from Asia fell below the break-even point in September as the demand for goods fell due to Europe’s economic crisis, reports shipbroker ICAP.

Container volumes may drop 3 percent in 2012, and Maersk announced more capacity cutting and slowed speeds could be implemented.

“There is currently no need for the number of ships sailing,” said Vincent Clerc, Maersk’s chief trade and marketing officer. He said that the company would adjust to lessened demand “without reducing our market position.”

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Port of Oakland maritime director uses $4,500 in public funds at strip club

The Port of Oakland Board of Port Commissioners met in an emergency closed session late Friday to discuss a case involving Maritime Director James Kwon and his $4,537 bill for a "drink and dinner reception" at a Houston strip club, where he entertained a group of shipping executives in 2008.

On Monday the commissioners announced actions to strengthen the port’s expense reimbursement policies and procedures designed to prevent improper expenditure of port funds.

Treasures, the “gentlemen's club” where Kwon entertained about a dozen industry executives during a 2008 conference in Houston, was not the name on the receipt submitted by Kwon. The receipt for the dinner party was from D. Houston Inc, the parent company of Treasures.

Reportedly, Treasures has a reputation for being the site of prostitution, drug dealing, weapons crimes and sexual assaults dating at least to 2008.

“The Board of Port Commissioners takes this matter very seriously and will take whatever action is required to improve our financial oversight to ensure expenditures like this don’t occur in the future,” President Gilda Gonzales said in a statement after their Friday meeting.

Kwon's strip-club business outing didn't come to light until recently, after a series of public record requests. The timing is bad for Oakland, which is in the midst of an ongoing labor conflict with maintenance and other port workers over the terms of a new contract.

Kwon, maritime operations director since 2007, was unavailable for comment. He's currently in China attending another port conference.

The Oakland port developed a policy related to port-issued purchasing cards in 2010, and the port’s Audit Division initiated an audit earlier this year. Policies with regards to port travel and entertainment and port purchasing cards are currently being updated with the audit recommendations and will soon be officially presented to the board.

"Over the last several years we have been taking steps to address Port expenditures, including developing policies," Gonzales said in her statement, adding that commissioners are conducting "further investigations to ensure expenditures like this don't occur again."

The Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Friday evening, October 12, 2012, regarding possible litigation related to public expenditure. This meeting will continue at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 15 and the board will further review the matter further at its next regular meeting on October 18, 2012.

For more of the SF Gate story:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Story

APM criticizes VIT to Virginia legislators, Carlyle Group pulls bid

APM, which submitted an unsolicited bid last May to take over the operations of the Virginia ports from Virginia International Terminals, tried to expose VIT's weaknesses at a presentation by an APM executive to the state Senate Finance Committee and industry stakeholders gathered in Portsmouth.

APM, VIT and RREEF America LLC, a unit of Deutsche Bank, are all still in contention for the job of running Virginia's ports. The Virginia Port Authority will take bids until Nov. 1, and state officials are considering extending the deadline to Dec. 3.

Carlyle Group, originally also competing to take over port operations, has withdrawn its bid. Carlyle's bid assumed it would be able to run APM Terminals' private container facility in Portsmouth. Currently VIT, the state's operating arm, runs that terminal under a 20-year lease, and contractually APM must approve any other operator stepping in for VIT.

"They basically have indicated to us that when they run the financials, they don't want to pursue this," Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton confirmed.

VIT, currently running the state ports, is a private, tax-exempt company created in the early 1980s. VIT transfers tens of millions of dollars a year to the authority, after paying its expenses.

"The capital improvements being made at competing ports are serious challenges and cannot be masked over by reports that fail to tell the full story of today's operations at VIT and the Port of Virginia," said John Crowley, senior vice president for law and regulatory affairs at APM. "VIT is not returning any money to the commonwealth. Any claim to the contrary is false."

Crowley said VIT's $94 million annual operating revenue budget is already committed, including $35 million in operating costs, $38 million in rent to APM for Portsmouth terminal, and $50 million for debt service. "That leaves us an operating loss of $29 million for fiscal year 2012," he said.

Crowley also took issue with VIT's cash transfer projections.
VIT forecasts the transfer of $13 billion to the Port Authority over the next 48 years, after paying rent to APM. Crowley said its calculations didn't take into account the end of the authority's lease of APM's terminal 18 years from now, which would end $1.2 billion of VIT's projected revenues. VIT's figures assume the lease would be renewed, according to Robert Nestor, manager of strategic planning at VIT.

Crowley's analysis omitted the state's annual Commonwealth Port Fund payment, which puts VIT's ledger back in the black. The state payment is roughly $35 million a year.

A decision regarding terminal operations could be made in April or May of 2013, according to an update from Gov. Bob McDonnell's office.

For more of the Virginia-Pilot and Daily Press stories: and

ILWU plans to sue over location of new Seattle sports arena

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents about 3,000 longshoremen who load and unload cargo at the Port of Seattle, plan to sue the city and county over a plan to build another sports arena near Seattle's shipping terminals. They say traffic around the arena's proposed site will impede cargo movement to Port of Seattle facilities and threaten their jobs.

The union will challenge the agreement under the state's environmental-protection laws, which require the government to consider alternate sites and to take no decisive action on a project before an environmental analysis is completed.

They intend to file suit in King County Superior Court after the Seattle City Council and Metropolitan King County Council agree upon an amended contract with investor Chris Hansen to build a $490 million basketball arena with $200 million of public bonds. Both councils previously have approved the agreement, and will vote on the amended language.

"Our union supports the return of the NBA to Seattle, and we are not opposed to an arena somewhere in the Puget Sound region. But we cannot stand idly by while Mr. Hansen and his well-connected lobbyists, along with our elected officials, build an arena in a location that threatens the livelihood of our members and many other workers in the maritime industry and SODO," said Cameron Williams, president of Local 19 of the ILWU, in a statement.

Well-known environmental attorney Peter Goldman and land-use lawyer David Mann are representing the union. Goldman said the court could void the agreement with Hansen in three to six months.

Hansen has spent $51 million to buy land south of downtown, near the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums, and he has said he's not interested in another location.

City Attorney Pete Holmes said Friday that the agreement with Hansen doesn't violate rules spelled out under the State Environmental Policy Act.

The Port of Seattle, which has opposed the SODO location, didn't weigh in on the lawsuit.

For more of the Seattle Times story:

Port of Los Angeles hits highest container volume since 2010

Traffic at the Port of Los Angeles increased 5.6 percent last month over the previous year, hitting its highest volume in two years.

However, export traffic at the Port of Long Beach declined slightly, and imports stayed even.

Los Angeles saw overall shipping volume jump from 372,655 TEUs in September 2010 to 385,250 TEUs September 2012. This is a 5.6 percent surge from last year, and a 3.4 percent increase over August 2012, the port said in a statement.

September imports were up 3.4 percent year on year, and exports decreased 2.6 percent. About 20 percent of the outgoing shipping containers were empty, going back to the Asia for new loads.

In Long Beach, there was a 2.9 percent decline in exports and a seven-tenths of a percent increase in imports in September 2012 compared to the same time last year.

For more of the Daily Breeze story:

CMA CGM signs agreement with French private equity firm

CMA CGM entered an agreement with the Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement to support the future development of the container shipping line.

FSI will subscribe to bonds redeemable in shares for an amount of $150 million giving rights to a 6 percent stake in CMA CGM upon conversion, the shipping company said in a statement today. Concurrently, under the terms of the existing agreement, the Yildirim Group will subscribe to bonds for an amount of $100 million, giving rights to a 4 percent stake in CMA CGM.

"This agreement will help to strengthen the group's balance sheet and allow us to accelerate the implementation of CMA CGM's strategy to prepare for an IPO in the coming years, said Rodolphe Saadé, the company's executive officer.

CMA CGM has generated sales of $14.9 billion, and in 2011, carried more than 10 million TEUs. The group operates a fleet of 394 vessels.

Crewmember disappears from container ship off Alabama coast

The Coast Guard continues the search for a Phillipine crewmember who is thought to have gone overboard from a container ship Monday morning as the vessel was approaching Mobile.

Lt. Timothy Williams of the Coast Guard said the crewmember, aboard the Singapore-flagged container ship MSC Tokyo, was reported missing about 2:30 a.m. Monday. The man vanished after he went on deck to recover a ladder used to help a pilot come on board to direct the ship into port.

The ladder and a shoe were found on deck.

For more of the Times-Picayune story:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top Story

COSCO and China Shipping join forces on domestic trade routes

China's two premier shipping lines, China COSCO and China Shipping Container Lines, will collaborate to survive the economic downturn. The two will to jointly run domestic trade routes from north and northeast China to Fujian and Shantou in the southern province of Guangdong starting the middle of October.

Each company will have ships operating on the route.

"This move is just the start of an intensive cooperation in domestic container shipping between CSCL and COSCO," CSCL said Friday in a statement.

Global container rates, despite having dropped due to overcapacity and a flagging world economy, have rebounded in the second quarter on rising U.S. demand and the efforts of shipping companies to cut capacity.

Shares of CSCL and China COSCO have outperformed in the past five weeks, and were up almost 30 percent from their annual low in early September.

For more of the Reuters story:

Jasper container terminal may open later than 2029

The Savannah River container terminal, a $5 million project being jointly built by the states of Georgia and South Carolina, may not be needed as soon as previously thought due to the global economic slowdown.

The Jasper Ocean Terminal, located down from Savannah on the South Carolina side of the river, was slotted to be complete by 2029, when it was assumed that container capacity at rival ports in Georgia and at South Carolina's Port of Charleston would be totally consumed and the need would be great.

The joint Jasper terminal board discussed the fiscal viability of the new terminal at a meeting on Monday, where they were updated on the progress of a 2008 feasibility study that will be completed next year. They were told the Southeast remains a fast-growing area of the nation.

"What has changed a bit is the speed at which China is losing its competitive position as the world's largest manufacturer as well as the fact that U.S. consumers haven't recovered half as well as we would have liked after 2009," said Walter Kemmsies, the chief economist at Moffat and Nichols, a consulting firm helping to plan the new terminal with the board.

The board agreed to proceed with the study, which gauges the capacity of the Savannah River to handle larger ships after completion of the Panama Canal in 2015.

"I can't really say precisely how soon the terminal will be open. We'll open it as soon as there's justification," said board chairman Jim Balloun of Georgia, adding money won't be spent on construction until the project is considered viable. Just when the terminal might be open "will come into focus over the next five to 10 years," he said.

For more of the Businessweek story:

CSX falls on decline in coal and agriculture markets

Shares in CSX dropped after the company announced coal and agriculture shipments, two of its strongest markets, will be down this quarter due to the low cost natural gas and the U.S. drought.

The U.S. railroad forecasts a neutral outlook through December, as a third of its businesses will experience "unfavorable conditions," according to Clarence Gooden, CSX chief commercial officer.

"We anticipate total volume will be flat year-over-year," Gooden said on an investor conference call. "Utility coal volume will continue to be challenged by low gas prices and high utility stockpiles. Although we expect these headwinds to moderate somewhat through the balance of the year, they will continue well into 2013."

CSX's net income in quarter three was $455 million, or 44 cents a share, according to a company statement. That was better than the average estimates of $447.6 million, or 43 cents, from a Bloomberg analyst survey.

CSX fell 4.1 percent to $20.75 at 9:35 a.m. Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

For more of the Businessweek story:

Bunker fuel demand to remain low through 2014, say industry execs

Due to a flagging shipping industry, high oil costs, and a battered global economy, demand for marine fuel is unlikely to recover until 2014 or after, according to industry officials.

The shipping industry is afraid a Chinese fiscal slowdown in will extend a four-year slump and keep demand for bunker fuel low. Marine fuel sales in top bunker port Singapore dropped 6 percent in September from August to 3.33 million metric tons.

A reduction of speeds, idling ships and buying energy efficient vessels, efforts undertaken by the shipping industry to cut costs, are keeping bunker demand low.

"We are looking at 18 to 24 months before larger demand starts coming back," Henrik Zederkof, chief executive of global bunker fuel supplier Dan Bunkering, said at an industry conference. One container shipping executive at the conference predicted a recovery in bunker fuel demand wouldn't happen until 2015 because of the slowdown in China and Europe's debt crisis.

Over six consecutive quarters, economic growth in China has fallen compared with a year earlier. Data to be released on Thursday are forecast to show the slide continuing July to September.

For more of the Reuters story:

Port of Oakland strip club scandal may uncover other misuse of public funds

Maritime Director James Kwon's $4,500 strip club outing for shipping executives may be the most scandalous recent example of misuse of public funds at the Port of Oakland, but unfortunately, the finding may lead to others.

Kwon also expensed $476 in haircuts, $1,000 in wine, and bills from massage parlors, golf outings and a $350 pair of Ecco golf shoes, according to a records search performed by KTVU-TV.

According to an undisclosed source of the San Francisco Chronicle, the port's Executive Director Omar Benjamin and commissioners were told in closed session that the port has "hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable expenditures" by executives that span several years.

The source said: "The good news is that in the last couple of years they have put in stricter controls. The problem is, they have a lot of funky stuff from the past that is going to continue to haunt them."

It is also rumored that Kwan was not the only port official that attended the strip club outing in Houston.

Port commissioners ordered up an independent investigation Monday, but would not say what it would cover. Kwon is in China at a conference and was unavailable for comment.

For more of the San Francisco Chronicle story:


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Top Story

NOL exec likes higher U.S. demand, but says won't offset EU debt crisis

U.S. demand for China's goods is slowly returning, according to Neptune Orient Lines President Ng Yat Chung and others, but it's too slow to balance low European demand anytime soon.

Weak exports have precipitated a slowdown in China's economy, which in the third quarter grew 7.4 percent, its slowest rate since the downturn. But last week Chinese officials said September exports were up 9.9 percent year on year, boosted by U.S. consumer demand.

In an interview on Thursday, President and Chief Executive Ng Yat Chung of NOL said "exports from this part of the world have fallen off a cliff, mainly due to demand problems in Europe, and I don't see that turning around any time soon." Neptune Orient owns APL, a major carrier of goods from China to Europe and U.S. markets.

While attending a shipping-industry conference in Shenzhen, Ng said improving U.S. demand "is certainly helpful."

Still, that could change fast, he said, stating, "consumers can be fickle, so to what extent the U.S. government addresses the so-called fiscal cliff issue is going to have a material impact."

Another shipping company, Orient Overseas Container Line, has experienced some slow North American growth "even though the economy has not fully recovered in the U.S.," said Stephen Ng, director of trades.

A number of manufacturers of products from furniture to power tools in China said they saw hope in the increase in U.S. demand.

The slowdown in trade has the shipping industry struggling. Neptune Orient, which is 66 percent owned by Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings, announced a net loss of $118 million in the second quarter, more than twice as large as the year-earlier loss of $57 million.

"Temasek is very much focused on returns," said NOL chief executive Ng. "It's my job to prove that we are the right management team to back and that we have a way out to create shareholder value." The company is poised to achieve $500 million in savings this year, he said.

Neptune Orient has 34 ships worth $4 billion on order that will be delivered by early 2014, further exacerbating industry-wide overcapacity.

Ng was encouraged by A.P. Moller-Maersk's recent decision to lower capacity, and that others are following suit. "It's a sign of optimism that carriers are behaving well."

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Evergreen-Hanjin lowers capacity on joint China-Europe service

Evergreen Line and Hanjin Shipping have announced adjusted container carrier capacity on their joint China-Europe-Mediterranean and China-UK Express service, effective the fourth quarter of 2012.

From October to December, the joint CEM/CUS service will forego three sailings, according to a statement from Evergreen Line. The first skipped voyage will be in week 41 and the other two are scheduled for week 44 and week 49.

The adjustment reduces the service's quarterly capacity by 23 percent, the company said. Evergreen and Hanjin may consider further capacity reductions to adjust to changing markets.

The CEM (China-Europe-Mediterranean) Service has been one of Evergreen Line's main liner services in the Far East - Europe trade since 1999. Hanjin Shipping joined the service and named it the CUS (China-UK Express) Service in August 2012.

Evergreen Line launches newest ship

Evergreen Line's newest ship, the Ever Leading, embarked on its maiden voyage Wednesday in Felixstowe, U.K., according to a company statement.

The newly built container ship, owned by Evergreen Marine, is reportedly 334 meters in length and 45.8 meters wide, with 942 reefer plugs and a draft of 14.2 meters. The L-type vessel can travel at speeds up to 24.5 knots.

Many stakeholders attended the celebration, said the company, such as UK government officials including Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond, and representatives from the Department for Transport, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Hutchison Port Holding Limited, Lloyd's Register of Shipping and the media.

Evergreen Group started a new shipbuilding project in 2010 to upgrade its fleet with an order of 20 L-type vessels from Samsung Heavy Industries. Evergreen placed an order for another 10 vessels of the same ilk with Taiwan Shipbuilding Corp in 2011. Seven of the 30 new buildings are scheduled for delivery by the end of the year.

The newest L-class containerships meet international regulations for environmental protection and can reduce CO2 emission by 15 percent compared to the carrier's earlier S-class eco-ships, the statement said.

Construction on Port Miami dredge project begins in early 2013

Miami-Dade County announced Monday that its project to deepen PortMiami's channel to 50 feet has begun by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting bids. Construction is slotted to start in early 2013 and will be in early 2015, when the Panama Canal expansion should be completed.

"The Deep Dredge project is critical to the future growth of PortMiami," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "PortMiami will be one of only three U.S. Atlantic ports to be at the required -50 feet level in time to welcome the new generation of larger container cargo vessels arriving via the expanded Panama Canal."

"As the closest port to the Panama Canal, PortMiami is well positioned to capture new trade opportunities," said Bill Johnson, director of the Miami port, "and the deeper channel will enable the Port to double its cargo traffic over the next several years."

The dredge project includes the eco-friendly restoration of more than 16 acres of seagrass in northern Biscayne Bay and the formation of more than nine acres of artificial reef, according to the statement. PortMiami's mitigation measures include the relocation of hard coral colonies greater than 25 cm and those that are between 10 and 25 cm.

"The Deep Dredge is one of the most important infrastructure improvements in the history of the Port," said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. "It will provide a powerful economic boost to Miami-Dade County and create an estimated 30,000 jobs throughout the State of Florida."

REPORT: Mexican trucking, railroads and logistics

Mexico's $68 billion trucking sector yields revenues of $90 to $220 million, according to a recent industry report. 

Ten trucking companies lead Mexico's trucking sector, according to Armstrong & Associates' "Mexico: Trucking, Railroads and Third-Party Logistics Market Report." The largest is general freight company Autotransportes de Carga Tres Guerras, which has 563 tractor-trailers and 93 regular trucks. Other top companies include TUM, Jaguar, TMM, Trans-Mex (Swift) and Ryder.

Mexican logistics involves many international firms, the report says, including DHL/Exel ($300m), Werner ($210m) and Ryder ($200m), which are heavily leveraged in value-added warehousing, transportation management and trucking. APL/VASCOR, Kuehne + Nagel and Menlo have built significant presences in third-party logistics relative to automotive, tires and high-tech. 

Kansas City Southern and Ferromex (UPS) are the major railroads in Mexico. Intermodal and car hauling are growing service lines.

More than two million automobiles and light trucks will be exported from Mexico in 2012, according to the report. Automotive logistics has been a growth industry in the country since 1994.  There are 25 automotive assembly plants in the Mexico City region.

Armstrong & Associates, Inc. is a supply chain management market research firm.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Top Story

Port of Oakland Board reacts to misuse of public funds allegations, puts Executive Director Omar Benjamin on leave

The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners has taken action in response to an allegation reported this week that Maritime Director James Kwon misused public funds in the amount of $4500, entertaining shipping executives at a strip club during a conference in Houston in 2008.

The board put Executive Director Omar Benjamin on administrative leave with pay effective immediately, according to a statement released on Thursday. No reason for the leave of absence was disclosed.

"We continue to take this situation very seriously," said Board President Gilda Gonzales. "Holding those responsible accountable is our highest priority."

The commissioners appointed current Director of Aviation Deborah Ale Flint to serve as executive director.

At the direction of the board, the Port of Oakland hired Arnold and Porter, an international law firm, to help with the ongoing investigation into allegations of improper expenditures of public funds at the port.

Kwon, attending a conference in China, remains unavailable for comment. The reimbursement came to light years after it was submitted, port officials stated, because the receipts listed the charge to "D. Houston Inc.," the parent company of Treasures Strip Club.

The port has set up employee assistance program sessions, to respond to concerns of port employees. The port has encouraged the use of the Whistleblower Hotline to report any related issues.

PNW grain managers and ILWU to resume talks October 29

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and grain terminal handlers in the Pacific Northwest will continue negotiations at the end of the month. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will arbitrate.

ILWU Locals 4, 8, 19 and 23 will be involved in the talks.

PNW grain terminal managers, represented by the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association, and the ILWU had announced on September 28 that talks would continue through mid October after their one-year contract expired on Sunday, September 30.

"Upon the request of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the parties have agreed to resume negotiations under our auspices on October 29, 2012," said George H. Cohen, director of FMCS. "Due to the sensitivity of this high profile dispute and consistent with the Agency's longstanding practice, we will not disclose either the location of the meeting or the content of the substantive negotiations that will take place.

"In addition, the parties have agreed to an FMCS request that they refrain from any public comments regarding the status of negotiations conducted under our auspices."

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government agency that promotes labor-management cooperation.

Jacksonville new stop on SC Line trade route to Latin America

SC Line, which transports automobile cargo to Latin America, will start calling twice a month at the Talleyrand terminal at Port of Jacksonville, Fla., helping to boost the port's fiscal recovery.

"These are brand-new vehicles going straight to the dealers, so the demand is there and the flow is long-term," said Blado Caimares, senior account executive at SC Line.

SC Line also makes stops in Port Everglades and Houston on its routes to Columbia, where cargo is unloaded for shipment throughout Central America and South America. The vessels will carry General Motors vehicles as well as used heavy equipment.

From October 2011 through August 2012, Jacksonville handled 555,633 automobile imports and exports. Volume was up 18 percent from the same 11-month period the year before when the port handled 470,403 shipments.

For more of the Florida Times-Union story:

First China-to-Russia container line route

Chinese shipping firms opened their first China-to-Russia container route, shipping from Ningbo port to Vostochny port more than 100 TEUs weekly filled with retail goods, computer components and ironware products.

Container carriers use the route weekly, departing Ningbo port every Thursday. After arriving at the Vostochny port, cargoes will be unloaded and sent by rail to East Europe.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia has grown in recent months. During the first three quarters of the year, trade volume between the two countries surged by 14.2 percent from a year earlier to $66.2 billion, according to the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

Port Authority of NY and NJ will get $8B back for work done for other agencies at Ground Zero site

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be reimbursed almost $8 billion for work done for other agencies at the World Trade Center site, according to agency officials.

"We expect $7.83 billion back; of that we have a firm commitment for 90 percent of it," said Anthony Hayes on behalf of the port authority. Of that amount, $4.75 billion has been received so far, he stated.

Reimbursement means the Port Authority is responsible for less than $7 billion of the $14.8 billion Trade Center redevelopment project.

Work performed on behalf of third parties at the Trade Center site includes work for the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, the New York Police Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

For more of the Asbury Park Press story:


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