SAN FRANCISCO - A pair of longshore union locals reportedly plan a day-shift-long blockage of Oakland's marine cargo docks this Saturday in support of calls for a stiff sentence for a transit-system policeman convicted of involuntary manslaughter after shooting a young, unarmed African-American man at a commuter-train station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.
How much cargo the blockage might affect and what if any steps employers plan to prevent flow disruptions was not immediately known. Cargo Business News received a report of the planned actions by locals 10 and 34 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union over the weekend.
The stoppage is reportedly to be tied to a massive, downtown-area rally as the scheduled Nov. 5 sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District policeman who shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant, approaches.
Mehserle and his legal team convinced a jury in Los Angeles, where the trial was moved at the urging of his lawyers, that he mistakenly thought he had drawn his taser gun when he fired at Grant.
-Richard Knee for CBN in San Francisco
Kuehne & Nagel beats Q3 forecast
Logistics group Kuehne & Nagel struck an upbeat note for the rest of the year after it posted a forecast-beating rise in third-quarter profit.
The Swiss-listed group's profit rose 30 percent in the third quarter to 169 million Swiss francs, beating the average estimate in a Reuters poll.
Along with rivals Panalpina and Deutsche Bahn's Schenker, Kuehne spent much of 2009 grappling with a fall in freight demand due to the global recession. But Kuehne's business has since turned the corner and has twice raised its business targets this year.
YRC Worldwide this morning said it anticipates a third-quarter operating loss of $18 million to $22 million.
That would be an improvement from the second quarter operating loss of $35 million, the company said.
In a financial update before earnings are released in early November, the Overland Park-based trucker also said tonnage hauled per day during the quarter was up 1.2 percent for its YRC National line and 2.1 percent for its regional business compared with the second quarter this year.
Revenue per shipment was also slightly higher than the third quarter of 2009, the company said.
YRC will release third quarter results on Friday, Nov. 5.
YRC drivers and dock workers are in the process of reviewing another round of concessions to help the trucking company weather the economic slowdown that nearly forced it into bankruptcy last year.
Ballots will be counted at Teamsters headquarters on Oct. 28 or 29.
The new Cates Landing port on the Mississippi River in Northwest Tennessee received a $13 million grant courtesy of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, to complete construction of the infrastructure there.
The port is approximately 30 miles away from rail lines connecting Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and about 25 miles from the Interstate 155 highway, according to a statement released by the state of Tennessee.
The port is also 28 miles from the future route of I-69 highway, which will serve 17 of the nation's top 25 seaports when built, the statement said.
"With this site's prime location, our area's workforce and the potential to recruit new industry, our region is poised to be a real economic force in our country, and Tennessee's working families will benefit," said Congressman John Tanner.
When constructed, the port will reportedly create up to 2,300 jobs, according to research from the Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
Cruiseship collides with cargo vessel off Shanghai
AN ITALIAN cruise ship collided with a Belgian cargo vessel off the Chinese port of Shanghai on Monday, with several passengers requiring medical treatment, the cruise company said.
The accident happened as the cruise ship Costa Classica approached Shanghai after a three-day voyage from South Korea, Costa Crociere said in a statement, but the cause of the accident was not specified.
The ship sustained some damage on its starboard side, and the company cancelled a cruise bound for Hong Kong which had been due to start later the same day
On Columbus Day, just a few weeks after his Labor Day remarks announcing a renewed commitment to the stalled surface transportation authorization, the President held a meeting on the economic impact of infrastructure investment on our states and local communities.
Also discussed was the content of a recent Treasury Department report, which describes the positive economic impact that infrastructure investment achieves by raising our nation's economic output, enhancing America's global economic competitiveness and creating good jobs for the middle class.
In remarks following the meeting, the President and other participants focused on the need to refocus on the long-term investments made possible through the surface transportation authorization legislation. The President called on Congress to work with him through the lame duck session after the elections and into early 2011 to pass legislation that will help rebuild the nation's deteriorating infrastructure while creating jobs and fueling the lagging economy.
Though the President and other Administration officials focused remarks on the need for infrastructure investment, details on their plan to rebuild 150,000 miles of roads; construct and maintain 4,000 miles of rail; and rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of airport runways remain unclear, and many expect that the Administration's full proposal will not be released until early 2011.
Meanwhile, reactions to the President's request for an additional $50 billion in "front-loaded" funds to capitalize on the momentum of the Recovery Act have been mixed. It will be difficult to move such a measure in the lame duck session, given an already full schedule, and it's likely that the 112th Congress will have an even stronger aversion to large-scale federal spending than lawmakers have had in the last few months of the current Congress.
TIGER II grants awarded
The final weeks leading up to the November elections saw quite a bit of action on the transportation front. While official announcements were scheduled for Wednesday, October 20th, rumors and press releases started circulating early on Friday, October 15, as grantees and members of Congress began to receive calls from the U.S.D.O.T., notifying them of their award. Nothing official was issued out of the U.S.D.O.T. that Friday, but news media reported that funds had been awarded to a number of projects across the country.
The announcements come just two months after the August 23 application deadline. Many in Washington speculate that the expedited time frame in awarding the projects was designed to give embattled members of Congress a win to take home to their constituents prior to the mid-term elections.
Much like the original round of TIGER grants, award size for the $600 million TIGER II program varied, as did the type of projects funded. The Port of Miami Rail Access project received $22 million to establish intermodal container rail service to the Port of Miami.
Another $10.5 million went to the Port of Providence to purchase cranes that will help transform the Port into a modern marine cargo center and diversify shipping options in the region. A grant of $1.5 million was awarded to fund a planning study of the Sheridan Expressway in New York, and $16 million will go to rebuilding a state-owned railroad branch line from Mitchell to Chamberlain in South Dakota.
Meanwhile, projects that did not make the cut for the TIGER II grants have another possible shot at federal funding. A third round of TIGER-style grants has been included in both the House and Senate 2011 Transportation Appropriations bills. Congress has been unable to move any Appropriations measures so far this year and is expected to take up the matter in the lame duck session following the November elections. While both chambers have requested funding in FY 2011 for TIGER-style grants, the amounts differ - $800 million in the Senate and $400 million in the House. In the past, the House and Senate have split the amount, meeting in the middle on funding. However, the results of this fall's elections may impact the amount of discretionary funding provided in the 2011 Appropriations.
-Adrienne Gildea is Senior Associate at Blakey & Agnew, LLC and provides Capitol Watch exclusively for CBN
BNSF to build $250 mil rail hub in Kansas City next year
BNSF Railway will start building its $250 million rail hub in Edgerton next year after selecting two Chicago contractors for the job on Monday.
The railroad picked Lambrecht Construction and Walsh Construction to build the 443-acre facility about 30 miles southwest of Kansas City.
The project is expected to produce 660 construction jobs, and at least 85 percent are expected to come from the Kansas City area, railroad officials said. The freight yard should be done by late 2013.
Residents of Mass. town vote down $110 mil Sysco DC
Lakeville residents have put an end to Sysco's plans to develop a 650,000-square-foot distribution center at the former Lakeville Hospital, rejecting Monday the zoning change necessary for the project, enterprisenews.com reported on Oct. 19.
The zoning change was defeated by a margin of 727-704 at a town meeting, enterprisenews.com said noting that traffic was backed up for nearly a mile at 7 p.m. when the meeting was scheduled to start.
Sysco, a food-services provider, is currently located in Norton and town officials there hope that the distributor will change its mind about moving to a new location. Nevertheless, Sysco Boston LLC president Fred Casinelli said that the company has now set its sights on neighboring Middleboro, Mass.
Opponents, headed by the Lakeville Residents for Responsible Growth, say the site should be used for retail development and had promised to bring at least 300 votes against the center to the meeting.
Norton has offered Sysco the town's vacant 440,000-square-foot General Motors facility and hopes the company will consider expanding the building.
Vancouver port hosts largest-ever CMA CGM ship to call in Canada
The largest CMA CGM containership ever to call at a Canadian port did so this week.
The 8,500-TEU CMA CGM Figaro arrived today in Vancouver and a ceremony will be held tomorrow onboard the vessel, the French shipping line said in a statement.
The CMA CGM Figaro is part of the Columbus loop, a pendulum service that links China, Korea with the Pacific Northwest and Canada as well as the United States East Coast via the Suez Canal, the shipping group said.
"The FIGARO and other large vessels in our fleet, due to their size and equipment, are critical strategic assets in the supply chains of our customers. The Columbus Service is the perfect transport vector via the Vancouver gateway with intermodal relays to and from the Prairies and Eastern Canada covering as such the whole range of Canadian imports and exports." said Jean-Philippe Thenoz, senior vice president, North American lines, CMA CGM Group.
The CMA CGM Figaro will leave Vancouver on Thursday and continue rotation to Yokohama, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian, Tanjung Pelapas, Suez Canal, New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Suez Canal, Tanjung Pelapas, Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai, Pusan and Seattle.
Day 23: French strikers block 47 tankers
Workers at France's top oil port of Fos-Lavera near Marseille blocked 47 oil tankers on their 23rd day of strike action, the port said on Tuesday.
The number of blocked oil tankers was stable on Monday but up 10 oil tankers from the start of last week.
The blocked ships included 29 crude oil vessels and 18 oil product tankers.
Port strikers are protesting against a pension reform bill and a port reform.
Neptune Orient Lines, Inc., owner of Asia’s second-largest container [shipping] company by capacity, rose the most in more than three months after reporting a better-than- expected profit on higher freight rates and increased trade.
Neptune Orient rose 3.4 percent, the biggest advance since July 8, to close at S$2.13 in Singapore. The stock was the second-best performer on the Straits Times Index today.
The Singapore-based shipping line’s container volume increased 12 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter as rising consumer confidence in the U.S. and Europe stokes demand for Asian-made goods, Neptune Orient reported yesterday after the market closed.
The company and larger rival Evergreen Group have both ordered vessels this year as lines rebound from industrywide losses.
The company reiterated that it expects to make a full-year profit. It reported the first annual loss in seven years in 2009 as the global recession and overcapacity in the global fleet drove freight rates down.
China halts shipping wind energy minerals to U.S., Europe
China, which last month stopped shipping rare minerals to Japan, is halting shipments of those materials -- many of which are essential to wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicle batteries -- to the U.S. and Europe, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
According to three unnamed rare earth industry officials who spoke to the Times, Chinese officials restricted shipments of certain minerals Monday morning after a top Chinese government official denounced the U.S. for pursuing a formal complaint over China's subsidies of its own clean energy industry. The United Steelworkers of America alleged last month in a complaint that China was violating international trade laws.
The Obama administration decided last week to investigate the charges and will decide by January whether to take the matter before the World Trade Organization.
Among the specific charges, restrictions of rare mineral exports drive down costs for wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers in China while raising them for competitors elsewhere.
President Lee Myung-bak and his Panamanian counterpart, Ricardo Martinelli, agreed Wednesday to boost partnership in the development of resources and infrastructure and explore the possibility of Korea participating in the project to expand the Panama Canal, the 77 kilometer-long waterway that is used as a key conduit for international maritime trade.
They held a summit at Cheong Wa Dae to discuss ways to enhance bilateral ties in the areas of trade, investment, resources and infrastructure development.
President Martinelli showed keen interest in sharing Korea’s growth experience, saying he hopes more Korean firms will initiate more development projects in Panama.
In response, President Lee called for continued support for Korean businesses in Panama so that they can play a more prominent role in promoting bilateral relations between the two nations, according to the presidential office.
New Orleans posts record containership calls in September
The Port of New Orleans is busy these days - even though the world economy has been weak.
Port officials say 43 container vessels arrived in September, which was a record. And they say that record should be short lived because 47 container vessels are expected to arrive this month.
Gary LaGrange, the port president and CEO, said an uptick in the national and global economies is behind the increase in traffic. He says the port is working to increase the number of port calls by container vessels.
3 of the world's five-largest container carriers stop in New Orleans.
A planned work stoppage at northern California docks this Saturday is apparently going unchallenged by employers, but its duration, geographic breadth and effect on cargo flow remain to be seen.
Normally, dockworkers take off one Thursday each month for “stop work” meetings, but their union has moved this month’s “stop work” day to Saturday to coincide with a downtown Oakland rally calling for the maximum sentence for a transit-system policeman convicted of involuntary manslaughter after shooting an unarmed, 22-year-old African-American man at a commuter-train station on Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.
After leaders of two International Longshore and Warehouse Union locals announced their intentions at a news conference on Wednesday, an Associated Press story on the San Jose Mercury News’s website quoted a Port of Oakland spokeswoman as saying the rally would last about two hours and would have little effect on cargo operations. Oakland handles virtually all of northern California’s containerized cargo and is the nation’s fourth-busiest container port.
Officials and an outside spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents most dock employers on the West Coast, did not return phone calls from Cargo Business News.
An official with one of the ILWU locals was harshly critical of those he said were trying to “downplay” the “stop work” action and the significance not only of its immediate impact on dock operations but also of its message.
The work stoppage will span the entire day shift at all San Francisco Bay ports, Sacramento and Stockton, said Jack Heyman, a member of the ILWU Local 10 executive board. What is more, Saturday is “a busy day and an overtime day” at the docks, he said.
The union customarily asks the PMA for permission to move its monthly “stop work” day, but this time the ILWU declared it was doing so, Heyman said. PMA officials objected but when the union stood firm, “they capitulated,” he said.
The rally is meant to renew public attention to the shooting of Oscar Grant by Bay Area Rapid Transit District policeman Johann Mehserle, as Mehserle’s scheduled Nov. 5 sentencing approaches. He could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.
– Richard Knee for CBN in San Francisco
Maersk to suspend 10 percent of Asia-Europe capacity
The world's biggest container shipping company, Maersk Line, said on Tuesday it would suspend about 10 percent of its Asia-Europe service to adjust to weaker demand after the peak season.
Maersk Line, a unit of Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), said the capacity adjustment was limited to the withdrawal of its AE9 service and did not entail any vessel lay-ups.
"A few weeks ago, we said that we were ready to adjust our capacity to post-peak demand levels, and that is what we are announcing today," Lee Sissons, director of Maersk Line's Asia-North Europe trade, said in a statement.
"We plan to reinstate the AE9 service as demand levels dictate, and we will remain flexible to changes in the market," Sissons said.
After Chinese New Year, Maersk Line expects to remove capacity again to adjust to market demand, the company said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $600 million in funds through the National Infrastructure Investment Program, dubbed TIGER II by the Department, which was enacted as part of the 2010 Transportation Appropriations legislation. Like the first round of TIGER Grants, awarded earlier this year, freight projects competed well in the program.
The program was broken into two components, capital grants and planning grants. Overall, from both capital and planning grants, projects with a strong freight component received $316 million, or 53 percent of the $600 million in available funding.
In terms of funding received, 3 of the top 5 projects and 5 of the top 10 are freight projects. Of the 42 projects that received capital grant funds, 14 of them are freight-specific, and an additional 8 have a specific freight component - which means more than half of the projects selected are freight-related.
The projects selected include a mix of rail, roadway and port projects and were geographically diverse. Among the freight projects that received funding are:
$34 mil for the South Park Bridge Replacement in Seattle, Wash;
$22.7 mil for the Port of Miami Rail Access project in Miami, Florida;
$16 mil for the West Basin Railyard project at the Port of Los Angeles, Calif.;
$16 mil to reconstruct the MCR Railroad in South Dakota;
$13.6 mil for the Coos Bay Rail Line in Coos Bay, Ore.;
$13 mil for the Port Cates Landing riverport project in Lake County, Tenn.;
$10 mil for the West Vancouver Freight Access project at the Port of Vancouver, Wash.; and,
$10 mil for the San Bernardino Airport Access project in San Bernardino, Calif.
"[Yesterday's] announcement reaffirms that competitive grants with objective, merit-based criteria are an effective way to invest in the nation's multimodal infrastructure," said Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC). "These commerce-moving projects create jobs and other benefits up and down the supply chain, and are vital to the U.S. economy," she said.
Congressional leaders are expected to consider including additional funding for the TIGER Program in the FY 2011 Transportation Appropriations bill during the lame duck session, according to the CAGTC.
-Adrienne Gildea is Senior Associate at Blakey & Agnew, LLC and provides Capitol Watch exclusively for CBN
Trucking association names first female chairman
The American Trucking Associations this week inducted its first female chairman. Barbara Windsor is president and CEO of Hahn Transportation, New Market, Md., a specialized regional trucking firm that hauls refined petroleum and construction materials throughout the Mid-Atlantic corridor.
In 1997, Barbara Windsor became the second female chairman of MMTA, following her mother. She is also active in the National Tank Truck Carriers.
Both of her parents, Rebecca Hahn Windsor and Robert Windsor, now retired, were very active in the day to day operations of the business. While trucking was in the family's roots, her parents always encouraged her to pursue her own dreams.
Windsor took her parents' message to heart. Prior to joining them at Hahn in 1991, she lived in Kansas City where she was employed by Trans World Airlines for 20 years. But she kept up with the family business.
"I really wish my grandfather could be here to see his granddaughter very proudly and humbly accept the chairmanship of this great organization that he believed in and supported for many years. His legacy lives on."
France was forced to start importing electricity as unions called on strikers to step up protests against pension reforms and Nicolas Sarkozy, the president, told them to stop taking the country "hostage."
Production was cut at four of France’s 58 nuclear reactors due to a 10-day rolling strike, while at least another 12 were shut for maintenance.
Work has also stopped at two of France's three liquefied natural gas terminals.
French airlines complained that the strikes had now cost them more than April's Icelandic volcano eruption, a price tag they put at 188 million euros (£167 million). Air France, the national air carrier, said it was losing five million euros (£4.4 million) a day from blockages while the chemical industry said a billion euros (£888 million) in turnover had evaporated since the start of strikes last month.
The southern port city of Marseille resembled a stinking, open-air rubbish dump due to a ten-day rubbish collectors strike that has piled several thousand tonnes of refuse on the city streets. Officials have warned of a danger "to the safety and health of Marseille".
Thousands of students marched in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux, while in Lyon, hooded youths clashed for a fourth day with police, throwing bottles and overturning a car.
Almost 2,000 arrests have been made since protests escalated on October 12, according to the interior ministry.
The government insisted the situation was improving and that only 14 of 219 fuel depots were now blocked by protestors since the president ordered riot police to break up barricades around them on Wednesday.