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Summary for October 25 - October 29, 2010:
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Monday, October 25, 2010

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COSCO opens first office, christens ship in Taiwan

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), the shipping giant from China’s mainland, christened a new containership at the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung yesterday, naming it after the port, and also announced it was opening a representative office there, making it the first state-owned Chinese shipping company to do so.

COSCO's president and CEO Wei Jiafu said "the representative office is just the first step. Our next goal is to set up a branch in Taiwan."

Wei also said COSCO plans to invest in the island's Kaohsiung port to improve its handling capacity.

Wei pointed to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that was signed by China and Taiwan earlier this year, saying it brings significant cross-Straits opportunities for the shipping industry.

The ECFA came into effect on September 12.


DP World says cargo volume accelerating

DP World Ltd., the world’s fourth- biggest port operator, said cargo-volume growth is accelerating from first-half gains after a global trade rebound increased third-quarter freight handling.

The number of 20-foot containers passing through the Dubai- based company’s 28 ports worldwide rose 8.9 percent from a year earlier to 7.3 million, DP World said today in a statement. Including another 22 terminals that DP World manages, third- quarter cargo handling rose 14 percent to 13 million containers.

First-half freight volume at the 28 DP World-controlled ports increased 7 percent to 13.2 million containers. The third- quarter growth was driven by a 7 percent increase in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and a 44 percent jump in the Americas and Australia, the company said. Volume in the Asia-Pacific region and India fell 6.7 percent.

DP World is on schedule to open ports at Vallarpadam, India, and Karachi, Pakistan, later this year, the company said.

-Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Canadian railroads expect decent Q3 financials

Canada’s two largest railways are hoping it’s the economic pause that refreshes.

With a choppy recovery in North America this year, Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have watched their freight volumes fluctuate with the fragile economy.

Industry analysts say the railways should register decent third-quarter financial results this week, given that volumes are still healthy, especially for intermodal freight – goods transported inside standardized metal containers that are readily transferred between ships, trains and trucks.

In the first nine months of the year, the country’s two largest freight carriers enjoyed a 16.5-percent increase in shipments of containers, compared with the same period in 2009, according to the Association of American Railroads.

But certain other categories have been sluggish, notably carloads of grain, lumber, and pulp and paper products.

Investors have shrugged off the short-term bumps, focusing instead to how CN and CP are positioned to carry more freight over the long term. Both railways saw their shares post 52-week intraday highs on Friday, with CN reaching $69 and CP hitting $67.28.

-Global and Mail

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Commentary: Will Alaska export water?

In a climate-challenged world, fresh water is quickly becoming the new oil. This is the conventional wisdom of those who track global trends in resource consumption. As noted in Newsweek's Oct. 16th cover story on The New Oil, we are in the midst of a global freshwater crisis.

So where will all the fresh water come from to meet these escalating demands and a growing market for bottled water?

 Sitka is leading the way in saying Southeast Alaska can be part of the answer. Every year, as drought-ridden regions struggle to meet basic water needs, 6.2 billion gallons of Sitka's water reserves go unused.

That is about to change. True Alaska Bottling company has secured a contract from the city of Sitka to annually sell 3 billion gallons of water from Blue Lake, the city's abundant water reserve.

Next, they will be using relined oil tankers to transport the water to a bulk bottling facility near Mumbai, India and from there it will be delivered to drought-plagued cities throughout the Middle East.

Apparently, the global recession has reduced the tanker shipping rates enough to make this long-distance water shipment feasible.

-Juneau Empire

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German merchant ship crew released without ransom

The 16-strong crew aboard German merchant vessel Beluga Fortune has been freed without a ransom payment, Bremen-based owner Beluga Shipping said on Monday, a day after the bulk carrier was hijacked by Somali pirates.

"The cool-headed behavior ... of the Beluga crew on board and the quick action of navy units .. left the pirates no other option than to give up their dream of a million (dollar) ransom and to flee," Beluga Shipping said in a statement.


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There is no story on Tuesday.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Top Story

Truck tonnage inched up in September

The American Trucking Associations released its seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, which increased 1.7 percent in September after it fell 2.8 percent in August.

The latest gain put the Index at 108.7 (2000=100) in September from 106.9 in August.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.4 in September, down 0.9 percent from the previous month, the ATA said.

Compared with September 2009, tonnage climbed 5.1 percent compared to August's 2.9 percent year-over-year gain.

Year-to-date, tonnage is up 6.1 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

"While I am glad to report that tonnage grew in September, the fact remains that truck freight volumes leveled off over the summer and early autumn. This is a reflection of an economy that is barely growing," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.


CN reports 21 percent Q3 net increase

Canadian National Railway Co. reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings after markets closed yesterday.

The country's largest railway said it increased its net income by 21 percent to $556 million during the quarter, or $1.19 per diluted share, compared with $461 million for the same period last year, or 97 cents a share. That beat the Street's expectation of $1.14 a share, according to Bloomberg estimates.

The improvements were made on the back of an 18-percent increase in carloads, with almost every single market improving year-over-year. The CN's sales grew 15 percent during the quarter to $2.1 billion.

-Montreal Gazette

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Kansas City Southern beats Q3 earnings forecast

A hurricane that devastated Mexico in July did little to slow Kansas City Southern's financial momentum during the third quarter.

The stock gained nearly 4 percent Tuesday, or $1.67, and closed at $43.61.

The railroad company managed to beat earnings estimates in the third quarter, reporting net income of $50.2 million, or 48 cents a share.

Analysts on average had forecast 45 cents a share for three months ended Sept. 30.

Kansas City Southern's quarterly revenues were about $7.6 million less than expected at $438.3 million. Nevertheless, that was a 13.5 percent climb from the same period last year.

Hurricane Alex tore through Mexico in July, flooding much of the country, damaging track and closing a key Kansas City Southern cross-border bridge for a period.

The company estimated that it lost $33 million in revenues as a result of the hurricane.

Still, Kansas City Southern's results showed that it continued to rebound strongly from last year, with third-quarter earnings nearly doubling from the same time in 2009.

-Kansas City Star

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Calif. nets high-speed rail funds; NJ governor could kill Hudson River rail tunnel

The most populous state in the U.S. will receive another $902 million in funds from the Federal Railroad Administration towards its goal to build an 800-mile, $40 billion "bullet-train" network. Meanwhile, it is being reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will announce today he is killing plans for a Hudson River rail tunnel due to concerns over the project's costs.

In California, the latest FRA funds are in addition to a $2.3 billion grant to the state back in January that was part of the federal stimulus program.

"As the nation's largest infrastructure project, California's high-speed rail system will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, reduce pollution, boost economic growth and link Californians from one end of this great state to the other," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

State voters had approved a $10 billion bond sale in 2008 to help fund construction of the high-speed network that would operate between San Francisco, Sacramento Los Angeles, and San Diego.

In New Jersey, Governor Christie had already canceled the rail tunnel project on Oct. 7, but suspended that final decision allowing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to push for potential alternative plans. The $3 billion Access to the Region's Core project would have been the biggest transit project in the nation, and the result of 15 years worth of planning.

The Governor had previously cited estimates the rail tunnel cost could exceed the $8.7 billion budget by $5 billion. The project was now expected to cost between $9.7 billion and $12.7 billion.

Revised project costs are now forecast to be between $9.7 billion and $12.7 billion, according to news reports out of the region.

Governor Christie said he does not want to hit up state taxpayers to help with excessive debt from cost over-runs.

The nine-mile commuter rail line would have run between North Jersey and Manhattan, including construction of two new tunnels that would run under the Hudson River in both directions, a new underground passenger rail station next to New York's Penn Station, a storage yard, passenger rail cars, and dual-powered locomotives.


Crew on French LNG ship hides in safe room, forces pirates to abandon ship

The European Union Naval Force reported that pirates abandoned its attack on a French-flagged LNG carrier because the crew of 14 locked themselves in a safe room.

The attack on the Maido occurred Tuesday about 100 miles east of Tanzania.

The pirates reportedly could not take control of the vessel without assistance from the crew.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Top Story

Mobile launching $360 mil investment program

The Alabama State Port Authority announced it is launching a five-year, $360 million port capital investment program.

"Back in 2000, the state docks identified a series of new infrastructure and seaport modernization programs that successfully leveraged an $100 million infusion of capital into $700 million worth of port improvements and attracted new manufacturers to our region," said Jimmy Lyons, director and chief executive for the Alabama State Port Authority in a statement.

The investment program will include: New interchange and intermodal rail yards; a new warehouse; cargo yard improvements for the port's business; and cargo terminal improvements;

The Port of Mobile said it is currently the ninth largest U.S. seaport in total volume.


FedEx opens new $130 mil DC near Portland, Ore.

FedEx Corp. announced the opening of a new $130 million Pacific Northwest distribution hub in Troutdale, Ore. as part of what the company said is "an ongoing national expansion plan."

Sitting on 77 acres, the new 447,00 square-foot facility replaces FedEx's former facility on Swan Island in nearby Portland, and is the inaugural development in the Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park - a former aluminum reduction site.

Earlier this year, FedEx said it was awarded an Oregon Brownfield Award for the work done in transforming the former brownfield site.

"Enhancing our distribution capability in the Pacific Northwest is an important step in our ongoing efforts to increase the size, speed and efficiency of our network," said FedEx Ground's western region vice president John Hiltz.

The parcel giant said it currently employs about 750 employees, independent contractors and their drivers out of the new hub. Eventually, the workforce is expected to exceed 1,000 people, FedEx said.


Former Canaveral Port Authority commissioner arrested

Former Canaveral Port Authority commissioner Ralph Kennedy was arrested Wednesday and charged with two felonies following a yearlong criminal investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into corruption at Port Canaveral.

The 54-year-old Kennedy, who resigned from the authority commission in late October 2009, just as the investigation became public, was linked to efforts to steer a proposed hotel project at the port to a local contractor. An FDLE investigator said Kennedy negotiated a "finder's fee" for himself that was to be paid by the contractor, which was never identified, when the project was complete.

Kennedy, a general contractor who owns RJ Kennedy Construction on Merritt Island, turned himself in around noon at the Brevard County Detention Center.

Wednesday's events shed more light on the mystery surrounding Kennedy's unexpected resignation last year after a 19-year run on the port commission.

The allegations against him involve efforts over the past decade by a long-time port tenant, Lloyd Milliken, to build a multi-million dollar hotel off Dave Nisbet Drive on the port's south side.

-Florida Today

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Cargo ship sinks off Philippines; 12 crew still missing

MANILA, Philippines - Combined rescue teams from Philippine Coast Guard and Taiwan Coast Guard conducted Thursday search and rescue operations along the RP-Taiwan border after a Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel reportedly sank in the area Wednesday afternoon.

Captain George Ursabia, district commander of the Coast Guard-Northern Luzon (CGNLZ), said that both countries are conducting search and rescue (SAR) missions to locate the 12 missing crewmembers of the M/V Jian Fu Star MSSI.

An initial investigation showed that out of the 25 crewmembers, one body has been recovered. A rescue helicopter from Taiwan recovered 12 crewmen while 12 others have yet to be found.

Ursabia added that their group has already dispatched an islander plane (PCG-251) to help in the search and rescue operations.

They have also issued a notice to mariners advising all vessels transiting in the area to be on the lookout for the missing crewmembers.

-Manilla Bulletin

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Top Story

SSA's North Vietnam terminal venture to begin construction

Seattle-based SSA Marine, a subsidiary of Carrix, announced its cargo-handling facility venture in northern Vietnam has secured $100 million in financing in order to move forward with construction of the Cai Lan International Container Terminal (CICT) in the Quang Ninh Province.

The CICT project is a joint venture between Cai Lan Port Investment Joint Stock Company (CPI) and Carrix, Inc.

CPI is a subsidiary of Vinalinen, a Vietnamese shipping, port operation and marine services company. Vinalines has a fleet of dry bunkers, oil tankers, container vessels and a national network of ports.

The financing is through a loan agreement consortium comprised of the IFC, FMO, PROPARCO and the ICF Debt Pool, SSA said in a statement.

"We are very pleased to work with our lending partners to conclude CICT's financing. It has been a very efficient process. North Vietnam's container volume is growing at over 20 percent per year and by 2011 container volume will outgrow terminal capacity. CICT is needed as quickly as we can build it just to keep pace," said Le Trieu Thanh, CICT's chairman.

The CICT container terminal will have a 10m draft during low tide, 598 meters of berth, 18 hectares of container space, four seventeen-wide ship-to-shore container cranes and 12 RTG's, SSA said.

Phase One capacity will be 510,000 TEUs per annum with future build out capacity to 1,200,000 TEUs per annum, SSA said.

The container terminal is scheduled start construction in November and operational by late 2011, SSA said. "Hai Phong Port is currently the primary port serving North Vietnam. However, Hai Phong Port is nearly full and has only -5.7 meters of draft so the largest ship the port can accommodate is a 600-TEU vessel. CICT's 10 meters draft provides shipping lines a significant operational cost advantage as they can deploy 3,000-4,000 TEU ships," said Bob Watters, CICT's vice chairman. Bob Watters.

SSA Marine said it currently handles approximately 22 million TEUs per year at more than 120 locations worldwide, including port operations throughout the U.S. as well as internationally in Panama, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica and New Zealand.


Japanese shipping lines raise forecasts

Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan's largest shipping line by sales, increased its full-year net-income forecast as demand rebounded for container shipments to the U.S. and Europe.

The company expects a profit of 76 billion yen in the year ending March 31, compared with a previous forecast of 68 billion yen, it said in a statement today.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world's largest merchant fleet, and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. also raised their operating-profit forecasts.

The three Tokyo-based shipping lines all posted first-half profits after year-earlier losses because of peak-season surcharges and increased shipments of electronics and building materials to the U.S. and Europe. Consumer spending in the U.S., the world's biggest economy, rose more than forecast in August.

Shipments to the U.S. from Asia rose for an eighth month in July, gaining 14 percent from a year earlier, according to figures from the Japan Maritime Center Nippon Yusen in June said it was planning to add an extra $200 per 20-foot container on Asia-North America routes through September.


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Old Dominion says profit more than doubles

U.S. trucker Old Dominion Freight Line said profit more than doubled in the third quarter, topping analysts' expectations, on rising demand for hauling services and higher pricing.

The company, which specializes in shipments that do not fill an entire truck, said earnings came to $24.4 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with $10.5 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 22.7 percent to $396 million.

The tentative U.S. economic recovery has brought an uptick in demand for shipping services of all kinds as businesses restock inventories slashed during the recession.


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Port of L.A. suffers temporary injunction to clean truck employee mandateOld Dominion says profit more than doubles

The Port of Los Angeles is once again barred from limiting the types of truckers allowed to haul goods into its terminals under a temporary injunction granted this week, officials announced Wednesday.

Citing a chance of "irreparable harm," U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder late Tuesday issued the order blocking the port from enforcing an employee mandate on freight haulers as part of the Clean Truck Program until the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals considers the matter.

The move marks a victory for the American Trucking Associations, which is seeking to overturn Snyder's earlier decision to allow the port to implement all aspects of the Clean Truck Program.

Port officials said they will ask for a speedy decision from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

-Daily Breeze (San Pedro, Calif)

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WWII-era live munitions found under Port of Seattle pier

The KING 5 Investigators have obtained the first images the public has seen of what divers brought up last month from the bottom of Elliott Bay near the new Smith Cove Cruise Terminal in Magnolia.

A few visual examples of the load the Navy is now storing on Whidbey Island: corroded empty shell casings; a World War II-era projectile nose; deteriorating rounds of ammunition; and the biggest piece of unexploded ammunition the Port of Seattle Dive Team has found so far.

An expert in the field says the badly decaying projectile - possibly a 90 millimeter round - looks to be even older, most likely from World War I.

While looking for items of sabotage during routine anti-terrorism sweeps around the cruise ships and piers, they came across both harmless munitions and live projectiles filled with high explosive material.

The chief is confident the water and people around it are safe.

-KING 5 TV (Seattle, Wash)

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