Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for October 19 through October 23, 2015:

Monday, October 19, 2015

APM Terminals buys remaining stake in 11 terminals from Spanish firm

APM Terminals, the port operations arm of A.P. Moller Maersk, said on Friday it would buy the remaining 39 percent of Grup Maritim TCB and be the sole controlling shareholder of the company that operates 11 container ports.

The enterprise value of the total transaction is approximately $1 billion, it said.

The port operator announced on Sept. 8, it has agreed to buy 61 percent of Grup Maritim TCB from Perez y Cia.

"This 100 percent share agreement reflects a major milestone in paving the way for closing this deal and expanding our competitive offerings for our clients," said APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer. "The complimentary expertise and market geography of the Grup Maritim TCB portfolio will enable us to bring more value to our clients, achieve our growth ambitions and further diversify our global portfolio."

Grup Maritim TCB has 11 container terminals with an annual throughput capacity of 4.3 million TEUs and an estimated annual container volume of 3.5 million TEUs. The portfolio consists of Spanish container terminal concessions in Barcelona, Valencia and Castellon, on the Mediterranean coast, along with the concessions in Gijon, on the Bay of Biscay, and in the Canary Islands: Santa Cruz on Tenerife and Santa Cruz on La Palma. Outside of Spain, Grup Maritim TCB’s terminal operations include Izmir, Turkey; Yucatan, Mexico; Quetzal, Guatemala (under construction, opening 2016); Buenaventura, Colombia, on the Pacific Coast; and Paranagua, Brazil.

Port of Baltimore sets cargo record in August

The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore continued its record-setting year in August. The port announced a record 86,149 TEUs crossed through the harbor, passing the previous single-month record of 79,644 TEUs set in June.

"The Port of Baltimore continues to demonstrate why it’s so important to the overall economic success of our state," said Governor Larry Hogan. "I congratulate all the hard working people at the Port who helped make this record breaking month possible. This is another great example of how we are working to make Maryland open for business."

Container shipping at the Port of Baltimore is up 13 percent year-over-year. Last month, the port announced a record for the most general cargo tons in a fiscal year as well as most TEUs in a 12-month period.

The Port of Baltimore’s public marine terminals had a record year in 2014 for general cargo, autos and containers. Overall, the Port’s public and private marine terminals saw 29.5 million tons of international cargo cross its docks at a value of nearly $53 billion. Baltimore is ranked number one among all U.S. ports for handling autos and light trucks, farm and construction machinery, imported forest products, imported sugar and imported aluminum.

Asia-Europe container freight rates down 10 percent last week

Freight rates for shipping containers from Asia to northern Europe fell 10 percent to $233 per-TEU in the week ended on Friday, one source with access to data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index told Reuters.

It was the fifth consecutive week of falling freight rates on the world’s busiest route. Rates are at their lowest since June 19, and widely seen at loss-making levels, according to Reuters.

Rates dropped 20 percent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, jumped 15 percent to ports on the U.S. west coast and were up 9 percent to ports on the U.S. east coast in the period, according to The American Journal of Transportation.

Container spot freight rates have so far increased in 8 weeks this year but fallen in 31 weeks.

Crowley and Panasia partner on ballast water treatment systems

Crowley Maritime Corporation and Panasia Co., a South Korean-based green technology firm, announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement for ballast water treatment systems to be installed during retrofitting of Crowley vessels.

The agreement includes technical services, engineering, integration, commissioning, training, scheduled delivery and spare parts, according to a Crowley statement.

Crowley says the Panasia GloEn-Patrol™ treatment system uses a filter to remove 50 micron or larger size organisms and medium-pressure UV lamps to disinfect smaller organisms. The GloEn-Patrol™ models treat from 50 to 6,000 cubic meters of ballast water per hour. They have IMO-type approval and certification from many classification societies including American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), DNV GL, and U.S. Coast Guard Alternate Management Systems (USCG AMS) for non-hazardous areas such as engine rooms, and explosion proof models for installation in areas such as the main decks of articulated tug barges (ATBs) and tankers.

"We found Panasia ballast water treatment systems to be a good operational and functional fit for our vessels, backed with a level of commitment and service we require," said Bill Metcalf, Crowley vice president of strategic engineering. "Panasia and their management team is fully committed to our vessels’ safety and environmental performance of our ballast water systems, and we are pleased to have them as our partner."

DNV GL is completing required tasks for Panasia to secure USCG type approval and will provide their report by October 2016. DHI Group has been chosen for shipboard tests and Golden Bear Facilities has begun work on the land-based tests, all under DNV GL’s guidance, including supervision to comply with the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program.

Family of El Faro crewmember files $100M lawsuit claiming negligence

The family of a crew member who was lost at sea while on the ill-fated El Faro cargo ship has filed a $100-million lawsuit, claiming the company and the vessel’s captain were negligent in setting sail despite an approaching hurricane.

The 735-foot ship lost emergency contact Oct. 1 after losing propulsion as Hurricane Joaquin approached. Despite an exhaustive search, the 33 sailors, including 28 Americans, were declared lost at sea. The ship has yet to be found.

The suit, filed in Florida Wednesday by the family of Lonnie Jordan, alleges El Faro was in an "unseaworthy condition," and that company officials were negligent in allowing the ship to head out to sea despite the approaching hurricane.

"We’re here to send a message to those in the corporate world that place more emphasis on making profits than saving lives," Willie E. Gary, an attorney representing the family of Lonnie Jordan, said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

For more of the Buzzfeed story:


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

House transportation bill provides no new funding

U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan six-year transportation bill on Friday that would allow spending for roads and bridges to keep pace with inflation but would not provide new money for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

Congressional aides described the 543-page legislation as a $325 billion authorization bill but admitted it contained no way to pay for the first three years of spending and would require an additional act of Congress to release money for the last three years.

The Senate approved a $350-billion, six-year measure in July, which included funding for only the first three years.

But as lawmakers prepared to wrestle with the differences between the bills, aides said Congress was likely to pass another short-term extension first to keep transportation funds flowing after the current three-month period expires on Oct. 29.

The Obama administration has proposed its own $480 billion six-year transportation plan to Congress, saying infrastructure needs a massive infusion of new money to cope with the growing population and new technology in the sector.

Aides said the committee would mark up the legislation next week for a floor vote that could come by Oct. 29.

But the measure, which keeps annual highway funding at about $50 billion, would not move forward until the House Ways and Means Committee comes up with a plan to meet $37 billion in funding not covered by receipts from the federal gas tax and other transportation user fees.

For more of the Reuters story:

Tanzania begins $10B port project backed by China, Oman

Tanzania started construction on a $10 billion port and special economic zone Friday. The project is backed by China and Oman and designed to transform the East African country into a regional trade hub.

The port will be Tanzania's largest and is being built at Bagamoyo, 47 miles north of Dar es Salaam, which is the commercial capital and the site of the country's main port, which is over capacity with little space for expansion.

China Merchants Holdings (International), China's largest port operator, and Oman's State General Reserve Fund are backing the project financially. The Chinese firm will handle much of the construction work.

President Jakaya Kikwete said construction of phase I of the project would take three years. "The construction of the Bagamoyo port and a special economic zone is aimed at realizing the government's goal of bringing about an industrial revolution in Tanzania," he said.

Government officials said the port would be able to handle container ships up to 8,000 TEUs after the first phase is completed.

The whole project — including roads, railways and the economic zone — is expected to take 10 years to complete, but it was unclear how many phases will be carried out.

Tanzania is East Africa's second-biggest economy after Kenya, and cargo volumes at the existing Dar es Salaam port are expected to rise as much as 25 percent this year to 18 million tons.

For more of the Reuters Africa story:

APM to expand Costa Rica’s reefer capabilities

APM Terminals Moin has announced port project updates enabling Costa Rica’s future economic growth, including the temperature controlled containers through which fresh fruit such as pineapple and bananas are now being transported to Costa Rica’s export markets in North America and Europe.

Costa Rica is currently the world’s largest exporter of pineapples, and the 3rd-largest exporter of bananas. Sugar, coffee and beef are also major export products. Costa Rica’s exports totaled $11.75 billion in 2014, with the USA its largest export market, the destination of nearly 40 percent of all Costa Rican exports. In the first six months of 2015, Costa Rica shipped 933,800 tons of pineapples, 473,000 tons of which were destined for the USA.

Over the next 15 years, reefer container shipments from Costa Rica are projected to double from an estimated 300,000 TEUs to 600,000 TEUs. Pineapples and bananas alone account for a combined 13 percent of all Costa Rican exports.

APM Terminals Moin will allocate 60-70 percent of the terminal to refrigerated storage capacity to accommodate this expected growth, employing high tech technology. Moin recently concluded a contract for the delivery of six electric-powered STS cranes and 29 electric-powered Rubber Tire Gantry Cranes that will make the 1.3 million-TEU, deep water container terminal one of the most advanced in Latin America upon completion of Phase One in 2018.

"The future of temperature-controlled shipments is containers, and the larger containerships dedicated space to reefer cargoes. The advanced technology of APM Terminals Moin next-generation cranes will improve safety as well as efficiency, with improved environmental performance essential to handling these ships and attracting more business for Costa Rica in the port, and across the country," said Kenneth Waugh, managing director of APM Terminals Costa Rica.

Indonesia shipping law blocking Maersk’s $3B logistics expansion

Indonesia's shipping law stands in the way of Maersk Line's plans to invest $3 billion over the next five years to expand its logistics business in Indonesia, according to the nation’s State-Owned Enterprise Minister Rini Soemarno.

Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, has operated in Indonesia since 1958, and now sees huge potential there in domestic shipping.

"[Maersk] expressed interest to transport goods within our territory, in order to reduce logistics costs," Rini said as quoted by Investor Daily over the weekend. "But they stumbled upon our shipping law that requires majority shareholders to be locals. They wanted to be the majority."

The 2008 law states only domestic-controlled shipping firms can transport goods between islands in the archipelago, using locally registered ships and Indonesian captains. Indonesia also introduced the cabotage principle in 2005 which rules only national ships can carry national cargoes.

Ocean-based shipping makes up the majority of Indonesia's shipping industry, responsible for transporting 826 million tons of goods in 2013. The sector grows around 5 to 6 percent each year.

President Joko Widodo has placed an emphasis on sea transportation connecting the commodity-rich eastern part of the country with the manufacturing centers in the western region as part of his infrastructure push.

The government is now revising a list that protects certain business from foreign control in order to attract more investment in an effort to boost the ailing economy. Still, Rini did not elaborate whether the shipping sector would be liberalized.

For more of the Jakarta Globe story:

More than 20 tons of hashish found on cargo ship

Italian police discovered more than 20 tons of hashish with an estimated street value of $230 million hidden in the hull of a cargo ship.

Finance police, who help oversee border security, acted on a tip they received by boarding the ship at sea and diverting it to the port of Cagliari in Sardinia, where they spent more than 18 days searching before finally finding the drugs, the statement said.

During the search, police used cranes to move enormous blocks of granite carried by the Jupiter cargo ship, which is registered in the Cook Islands.

They eventually found 821 packages of hashish weighing a total of 20.5 tons in a ballast tank in the bow of the ship. The ship's captain and nine crewmembers, all Syrian, were arrested, the statement said.

For more of the Reuters story:


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Drewry: U.S. container imports up twice as much a global trend

Drewry’s latest Container Forecaster reported that loaded global volumes were up 1.8 percent in the first half, but thanks to American shoppers, U.S. container imports have grown faster at 4.3 percent for the first eight months of 2015.

The speed at which the U.S. import market is outpacing other ocean trades is exemplified by the contrasting conditions for the eastbound trans-Pacific trade, which jumped 4 percent year-over-year as of August, against the westbound Asia-to-Europe market, which has shrunk by the same margin.

Researchers say that U.S. container imports are growing at twice the speed of the world average mainly due to the restored confidence of the U.S. consumer. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index is a useful barometer for future container trends. It’s rapid fall through the end of 2007 and 2008 mirrored the decline in container volumes, Drewry says, and as it now approaches its pre-crisis levels the upwards trend reflects the relative buoyancy of the U.S. inbound container market.

The latest increase in the CCI has been driven by consumers’ perceptions of current conditions, according to analysts. The Present Situation Index sub-set of the Conference Boards’ CCI reached an eight-year high in September, whereas the Expectations Index edged down marginally in the same month and has been broadly static in the past 12 months.

Consumer confidence is higher because of falling unemployment, rising wages and lower energy costs, which all lead to greater disposable income that is being spent in shops rather than being saved or used to pay off debts.

Total personal consumption expenditure has grown by 20 percent since 2005, driven largely by a 47 percent rise in durable goods, overshadowing expenditure increases of 18 percent and 16 percent on services and non-durable goods respectively.

Drewry concludes that the rise of consumer confidence in the U.S. following a period of financial repair is welcome news for container lines. Despite some lingering caution over the short-term economic outlook, the improving current conditions and spending patterns suggest that U.S. container imports will continue to outshine other major trades.

Driver turnover in Q2 rises at large truckload carriers

Turnover at large truckload fleets rose three percentage points in the second quarter of the year to an annualized rate of 87 percent, according to American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist Bob Costello.

"While below recent averages, driver turnover is still high and a sign of a very competitive market for qualified drivers," Costello said "We repeatedly hear from carriers that they are unable to find enough qualified drivers, leading to fears of a growing driver shortage and these numbers reflect that."

Turnover at smaller truckload fleets, those with less than $30 million revenue fell seven points to 76 percent, its lowest mark since the third quarter of 2013. Turnover at large fleets is at its lowest point since the second quarter of 2011 and below the 2014 average of 95 percent.

ATA recently released a report pegging the driver shortage at 48,000 by the end of this year.

"America’s trucking industry moves nearly 70 percent of the country’s freight and we need drivers to do it," Costello said. "While turnover is not at historic highs, it is still high enough to merit concern. Fleets need to hire 89,000 a drivers a year to keep pace with retirements and projected growth, so ensuring an adequate pool of qualified drivers is critical."

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.

Maersk announces seasonal adjustment to N. Europe-U.S. network

Maersk Line has announced a seasonal adjustment of their network between North Europe and the United States, effective from week 44.

To ensure optimal coverage during the winter season, Maersk says it is downscaling their trans-Atlantic network to three services with the same flexibility and fast transit times:

Antwerp – Rotterdam – Bremerhaven – Norfolk – Charleston – Miami – Houston (US flag)

Bremerhaven – Felixstowe – Antwerp – Le Havre – New York – Baltimore – Norfolk

Antwerp – Felixstowe – Rotterdam – Bremerhaven – Le Havre – Charleston – Savannah – Freeport – Veracruz – Altamira – New Orleans – Mobile

There are no changes to ATL1 and ATL2. Savannah is added on ATL3, and Maersk Line will also serve the below ports separately:

ATL New York (winter):
Rotterdam – Bremerhaven – New York

The ATL4 previously called APM Terminals in Rotterdam while the ATL New York (winter) will call ECT Delta Terminal, according to the statement.

2M to discontinue Asia-Black Sea service in November

Ocean carriers Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Maersk will discontinue a service between Asia and Black Sea ports during the first week of November due to low Asia demand, according to a statement from MSC.

The service is one of the offerings by the 2M Alliance of MSC and Maersk Line. (MSC calls it the Great Sea service, while Maersk designates it the AE3.)

Maersk will merge the AE3 loop with its AE15 service.

MSC said the Black Sea region would continue to be served by transshipping Asia cargo in Asyaport, located in Barbaros, Tekirda?, Turkey.

Sonar search for El Faro wreckage delayed due to foul weather

A Navy search vessel that departed from Virginia on Monday will face weather delays as it heads toward the Bahamas to locate the wreckage of the El Faro, the cargo ship that sank this month with a crew of 33.

The USNS Apache, an oceangoing tug carrying sonar equipment and a remotely operated submersible vehicle, was forced to take an alternate route from Norfolk toward the wreckage site to avoid bad weather, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Chris Johnson said after the Apache’s departure.

Johnson said the Apache is now expected to arrive at the wreckage site off Crooked Island in the Bahamas in about one week rather than on Wednesday or Thursday as the Navy had originally planned.

The 790-foot El Faro is believed to have sunk in the Atlantic Ocean sometime after Oct. 1, when it lost propulsion in the path of Hurricane Joaquin on a routine voyage from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For more of the Portland Press Herald story:


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Will Technology Boost Collaboration?

By William DiBenedetto, CBN Feature Editor

It seems a no-brainer that collaboration is, or should be, a key ingredient when it comes to the effective operation of a supply chain.

In the world of transportation and logistics however, collaboration is more buzzword than reality. Just spend five minutes looking at the constant rate gyrations that ocean carriers and shippers go through and one realizes that true collaboration is virtually non-existent. And last year’s West Coast port-labor showdown was a prime example of collaborative failure both operationally and in dealing with risk — even when it was in the best interests of everyone to do so.

Research and analysis puts collaboration at the top of the logistics to-do list. It’s becoming clear that as technology advances, Big Data and cloud-based applications can help the situation.

The Ethical Corporation’s look at "Sustainable Supply Chain Trends 2015" says industry collaboration is the "single most exciting opportunity" in relation to global supply chain sustainability in 2015 and 2016.

Bob Heaney, Aberdeen Group’s Research Director, Supply Chain & Retail Practices, said that as cloud-based transportation solutions "continue to grow in relevance and popularity," transportation companies are responding by optimizing dock scheduling, domestic transportation and financial settlement activities.

Not only do they have to coordinate across each of those nodes, Heaney says, "They must collaborate tightly with their customers, suppliers and carriers to truly be successful during execution." The Aberdeen report notes that up to 92 percent of chief supply chain executives say they are looking at cloud-based collaborative solutions. And more than 75 percent of companies responding to the Aberdeen survey said that internal/external collaboration is integral to optimizing dock and transport processes for customers and stakeholders.

New logistics IT formats require an understanding of cloud-based requirements when linking visibility, financial and landed cost, and cost-to-serve components, Heaney says.

The increasingly complex nature of supply chains means that disruptions are also increasingly more common. According to a report from Amber Road, "Collaboration addresses supply chain risks by avoiding, controlling and evaluating all risk factors across the global supply chain."

Supply chain disruption can be caused by everything from political unrest to extreme weather, or even a lack of communication between internal teams and external partners. "The key to insulating your supply chain against costly delays, or failures, can be found through software solutions and process changes," according to the report "How Collaboration Reduces Your Global Supplier Risks."

Implementing a robust collaborative software platform and "consolidating data from your external systems results in the ability to buffer your supply chain operations from all major risk factors." Nearly 70 percent of executives "lack the information they need to manage effectively because employees withhold vital input out of fear that doing otherwise will reflect poorly on them," the study continues. Use of collaborative technology and processes improves visibility and shares risk-related information across the entire supply chain, thus distributing the risk control.

Closely linked to a collaborative risk management system is the implementation of agility across the supply chain. Agility and collaboration go hand in hand to mitigate risk when dealing with customers, factories, and other key parties in different languages and time zones.

According to data from Gartner and ARC research, over the past decade companies have collectively spent billions of dollars on PDM (product data management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), TMS (transportation management systems), WM (warehouse management systems) and other "Big Data" programs.

But in order to effectively use the information from these existing applications, new classes of software are needed. Gartner states that a growing percentage of enterprises eventually will rethink their supply chain execution software portfolios, and adopt "cross-functional platforms" that support integrated, end-to-end business processes.

Software that collects and shares information from multiple technology sources and service providers will make it easier for organizations to access the information across supply chain trading partners. This technological collaboration can include suppliers across every tier of the supply chain.

And according to the 2016 Third-Party Logistics Study, which looks at the state of logistics outsourcing, relationships and collaboration are more important than ever because competition is "ramping up due to tightened capacity along with increased consolidation within the supply chain arena." This has resulted in fewer partners for 3PLs and increased prices.

"The spirit of collaboration with 3PLs and shippers has led to increased efficiencies in the supply chain," said Bob Daymon, vice president of transportation management for Penske Logistics. "Enhanced relationships with shippers results in operational costs savings and ensures reliable coverage and better rates."

A collaborative supply chain is an agile supply chain, and vice-versa. It’s simple to say, but hard to implement. Will technology be the tipping point that makes it happen?

Cargo volume falls sharply at Port of L.A. in September

The Port of Los Angeles handled a total of 730,306 TEUs in September 2015, down 5.8 percent year-over-year.

"While we fell short of last September's exceptional volume of 775,000 TEUs, I’m encouraged by the productivity our terminals and supply chain partners have demonstrated over the past six months," said Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka. "We are experiencing a consistent pattern of larger ships and more efficient cargo conveyance at volumes that are market leading."

Imports decreased 9.4 percent to 383,963 TEUs in September 2015. Exports fell 17.5 percent to 124,286 TEUs in September 2015. Factoring in empties, which increased 9.4 percent, overall September 2015 volumes decreased 5.8 percent.

For the first nine months of 2015, overall volumes (6,119,623 TEUs) are down 2.9 percent compared to the same period of 2014.

GPA to spend $152M over 10 years on Brunswick facilities

Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz discussed an ambitious capital improvement plan for Brunswick terminals at a recent port event.

"In order to ensure efficient processing of cargo, our capacity must remain higher than current demand," Foltz said. "To that end, we will be improving Brunswick facilities serving each of our major business sectors here, including automotive, breakbulk and bulk cargo."

Foltz said that over the past decade, the GPA has spent $46.2 million on infrastructure upgrades at the Port of Brunswick. Over the next 10 years, the GPA will more than triple that investment, funding another $152 million in improvements.

In one project, the GPA will add a fourth berth to serve roll-on/roll-off cargo at Colonel’s Island Terminal. A permit request has been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the new berth. Construction could begin in 2016.

Brunswick’s FY2015 automotive tonnage made the port the fastest growing major Ro/Ro terminal in the U.S., with a 10-year cumulative annual growth rate of 12.8 percent, compared to the national growth rate average for Ro/Ro ports from FY2005 to FY2015 of 4.5 percent.

"Served by eight ocean carriers, Colonel’s Island Terminal offers three modern Ro/Ro berths and four on-terminal auto processors, handling cargo for more than 60 auto and heavy machinery manufacturers," said GPA Board Vice Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "With 696 acres in use and 641 acres permitted for expansion on Colonel’s Island, GPA can easily accommodate additional Ro/Ro business."

The GPA is currently preparing 40 acres on the south side of Colonel’s Island to be pad ready for new port customers.

Fiscal Year 2016 projects include additional earthwork on the south side of Colonel's Island, the next phase of the Anguilla Junction Rail Yard expansion, the first phase of a berth upgrade at Mayor's Point, East River Terminal improvements and continued upgrades at the Colonel's Island agribulk facility.

At Anguilla Junction, the GPA is funding the addition of 8,470 feet of track, a 28 percent increase, to provide a total of 39,039 feet of track. The rail yard is being improved to better handle export automobiles built in Alabama, Tennessee and Indiana.

"Brunswick’s deepwater terminals turned in another solid year in all cargo sectors," Foltz said. "Colonel’s Island, Mayor’s Point and East River provide efficient, cost-effective links to overseas markets for U.S. factory and farm production."

Bulk cargo at all GPA terminals in Brunswick reached 1.9 million tons in FY2015, down 0.2 percent compared to FY2014. Biofuels grew by 28 percent. Peanut pellets improved by 87 percent (for a total of 68,015 tons), while wood pellets were up by 23 percent (to 625,414 tons). Cargo at East River Terminal, which moves biofuels as well as minerals and other bulk materials, grew by 12.8 percent in FY2015.

Breakbulk cargo reached 1.5 million tons, an increase of 0.1 percent.

In roll-on/roll-off cargo, the Port of Brunswick moved 680,414 cars, trucks and tractors in FY2015, a 0.9 percent improvement. Measured by tonnage, Brunswick is No. 2 in the nation for Ro/Ro, moving 1.3 million tons in calendar year 2014, the most recent period for trade reports issued by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Port of Long Beach official talks cyber security on Capitol Hill

The head of security at the Port of Long Beach said federal officials should forge a comprehensive strategy to defend U.S. ports from cyber attack, in testimony told to a U.S. House of Representatives committee earlier this month.

Port of Long Beach Director of Security Services Randy Parsons, appearing before the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee, said the maritime sector must adapt to a new threat environment that could include cyber events impacting key components in the nation’s economy.

"Protecting U.S. ports must be a core capability of our nation," he said. "Focusing on the development of strategic policies and guidelines is sorely needed. A roadmap that provides guidance but flexibility for industry decisions makes sense and will strengthen our national cyber security posture."

The Port of Long Beach, the second busiest container port in the U.S., is participating in October’s National Cyber Security Month.

To view the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee’s hearing:

Hull breach reported before El Faro sank

The captain of the U.S. cargo ship El Faro reported "a hull breach" and said a hatch had blown open before the vessel sank off the Bahamas in a hurricane earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday.

In a recorded satellite phone call Captain Michael Davidson told the ship's owner he had "a marine emergency" after taking on water in one of the holds, the NTSB said in an update on its two-week-old investigation of the sinking.

It said the captain also reported that the ship had lost its main propulsion unit and that engineers could not get it restarted.

For more of the Reuters story:


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