Monday, November 3, 2008
PortCheck sets Nov. 17 as Clean Trucks fee date
The not-for-profit company PortCheck, created by the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators, Oct. 31 announced that it will begin collecting the Clean Trucks fee for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach beginning Monday, Nov. 17.
The fee applies to all port drayage trucks with 2006 or older engines, as well as to certain specific 2007 models.
Under the ports’ program, the beneficial cargo owner (the party named on the bill of lading) is responsible for paying the fee. The fee will be payable by credit card or electronic funds transfer and will have to be paid before a container will be able to enter or leave the terminals.
On Monday, Nov. 3, PortCheck will allow cargo owners to begin navigating its website at www.portcheck.org to claim containers without a fee so they can become familiar with the system.
On Monday, Nov. 10, the bright orange Temporary Access Permit stickers will no longer be valid and the electronic gate reader system for PortCheck will go into effect. Container terminal operators will turn away concession trucks without RFID tags.
Port of Los Angeles
Port of Long Beach
Feds approve railroad sale to Coos Bay port
The U.S. Surface Transportation Board Oct. 31 announced that it has ordered the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad Inc. (CORP) to sell a 111-mile railroad line running from Danebo, Ore., to Cordes, Ore., to the Port of Coos Bay.
In a separate decision, the STB granted CORP authority to abandon a 94-mile segment of the line in the event that a sale of the line is not completed.
The STB found that the line meets the five “public convenience and necessity” criteria for a forced sale under the “feeder line” provision of the agency’s statute enabling shippers and communities to acquire rail lines where inadequate service is alleged.
The STB also found that the port is financially responsible as a governmental entity and thus eligible to purchase the railroad line.
The board ordered CORP to sell the line to the port at a price to be determined by the agency after it reviews further filings from the port and CORP regarding the value of the line’s steel.
Those filings are due by Nov. 7, 2008, and the STB expects to issue a decision promptly thereafter.
Port of Coos Bay
TSA, EU reach air cargo–screening agreement
An agreement on air cargo screening standards for U.S.-bound passenger aircraft was announced Oct. 31 by the European Union Directorate General for Energy and Transport and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration.
The agreement was reached in advance of a February 2009 deadline to screen 50% of air cargo on passenger-carrying aircraft.
“By synchronizing the way that air cargo is secured on both sides of the Atlantic, we’re taking another potential vulnerability off the table for terrorists,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “I commend our European Union partners on their commitment to this landmark agreement.”
The agreement will establish screening consistencies that are aligned with the requirements outlined in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 and will lead to the development of compatible practices and benchmarks that minimize regulatory differences, the TSA said.
It also includes a pledge to continue to share classified technical information in order to develop common technical standards, create equivalent overall levels of security, and explore new methods and procedures to secure the air cargo supply chain.
Transportation Security Administration
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
9th Circuit grants ports’ 21-day extension
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Oct. 31 granted the 21-day extension requested by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in filing their final arguments to the appellate brief filed by the American Trucking Associations regarding the ports’ Clean Trucks Programs.
The ATA is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop implementation of a portion of the Clean Trucks Programs, which the ports began on Oct. 1. The ATA argues that the program violates federal interstate commerce laws.
The SoCal ports now have until Nov. 26 to file their final arguments in the case.
The appeals court also granted the ports’ request to expand the allowable size of their brief by 1,400 words. The ATA had not opposed this request by the ports.
The ports have said that their Clean Trucks Programs will reduce air pollution from harbor trucks by more than 80% by 2012.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Con-way Freight tightens terminal network
Con-way Freight Nov. 3 announced a major re-engineering of its operating network, saying it will reduce its nationwide service center network by 40 locations.
The freight from closing locations will be redistributed and balanced among more than 100 nearby service centers. The company said it will continue to provide service to all markets.
Con-way Freight is the less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier and largest subsidiary of Con-way Inc.
“Consolidating volumes more strategically among fewer locations increases network density and enables improvements in both service performance and operational efficiency,” the company said.
Changes are also being made to the nightly inter-city line-haul operation, where new load planning, routing and scheduling programs will enable the company to eliminate more than 124,000 miles per day from the system and increase the amount of freight that is direct-loaded from origin to destination.
John G. Labrie, president of Con-way Freight, emphasized that unlike restructuring efforts at other companies, Con-way Freight is actually improving service while not exiting any markets.
“We are simply balancing business volumes across a more strategic network footprint. It makes better use of available capacity and improves service with more efficient operations.”
Long Beach responds to FMC lawsuit
Despite a requested injunction by the Federal Maritime Commission against the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach to invalidate portions of the ports’ Clean Trucks Programs, the Port of Long Beach said this week that it is confident in its legal position and will “continue to move ahead with its landmark initiative to ban and replace dirty diesel trucks that pollute the region.”
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Oct. 31, in Washington, D.C., seeks to block Clean Truck employee-only truck driver provisions, prohibitions against independent owner-operator truck drivers and incentives and fees applied to some but not all trucked cargo.
The Port of Long Beach’s Clean Trucks Program, launched Oct. 1, has no such restriction on drivers, port authorities said.
Long Beach allows terminal access to trucking companies that employ drivers, independent operators or companies that use a combination of employees and independent operators.
Long Beach’s Clean Trucks Program has no special incentives for trucking companies and its fee structure is fair and equitable, port authorities said.
Port of Long Beach
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Port of Montreal reports 10.1% growth
Container traffic at the Port of Montreal at the end of September 2008 recorded a cumulative growth of 10.1% in comparison to the same period last year, amounting to slightly more than 10.1 million tonnes, according to the port’s report released Nov. 5.
The port posted nearly 1,117,000 TEUs for the period from January to September 2008, an increase of 9.9% against the same period in 2007.
Preliminary data for the first eight months of the year collected by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) show that the Port of Montreal posted, irrespective of shipping lanes, an 8.4% growth in containers, the highest growth of all of its North American competitors, including Halifax and Vancouver, port authorities said.
“These results are good news for the Montreal region, for the province of Quebec and for Canada as the port represented, in 2007, an added value of $1.5 billion,” said Patrice M. Pelletier, president and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority.
The Montreal Port Authority operates the world’s largest inland port, handling 26 million tonnes of cargo annually.
Port of Montreal
New VPs for Ports America, Tilden to advisory board
Douglas Tilden has been named to the Advisory Board of Ports America Group, announced Stephen Edwards, president and CEO of Ports America Group, Nov. 4.
Tilden most recently served as chairman of Ports America Group, the largest stevedoring and terminal operating company in the Americas, providing services at 97 terminals in 50 U.S. ports.
“With the elimination of the role of company chairman, Doug’s elevation to the Ports America Group Advisory Board provides us with a senior advisor who has an excellent perspective on issues relating to our maritime interests and particularly to the continued successful direction and expansion of Ports America,” commented Edwards.
Three new vice presidents were also announced recently.
Donald Rupert, previously regional marketing director of sales and marketing, has been promoted to VP of sales and marketing.
Steven Trombley has been appointed to VP of West Basin Container Terminal in Los Angeles. WBCT is a joint venture between China Shipping Container Line, Yang Ming Line and Ports America.
Peter Dunton has been promoted from the position of general manager of WBCT to VP of container operations for Seaside Transportation Services Terminal in Los Angeles and Oakland, which is a joint venture between Ports America and Evergreen, and for Pierce County Terminal in Tacoma.
Ports America Group
VPA uses hybrid locomotive
The Virginia Port Authority this month began using a new, fuel-efficient, low-emissions-producing hybrid locomotive at its on-terminal rail operation at Norfolk International Terminal [NIT], port authorities announced Oct. 31.
“It went into service without issue and has been on a regular schedule ever since,” said Heather L.W. Mantz,, VPA director of environmental affairs.
“It is living up to expectations: It has plenty of hauling power, it is very quiet at idle because that is when it is operating on battery power and it uses significantly less fuel than the locomotive it replaced did.”
The unit, called the Green Goat, will save an estimated $143,000 in annual fuel costs and reduce the amount of diesel emissions coming from the terminal’s rail cargo operation.
The unit is the first of three new yard locomotives that will replace the 1970s-vintage lease units being used at NIT. The remaining locomotives are scheduled for delivery in late winter or early spring 2009.
In July, as part of its ongoing commitment to environmental excellence and improving overall efficiency, the VPA announced the purchase of the new locomotives for on-terminal use. The total purchase price was $3.6 million.
Virginia Port Authority
Thursday, November 6, 2008
OMSA hires Jones Act Compliance Manager
The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) has hired experienced investigator, Joe Kavanaugh, to collect evidence on foreign vessels that violate the Jones Act.
The new position — Manager of Jones Act Compliance — will be responsible for actively tracking the activities of foreign vessels working in the offshore oil and gas industry, determine whether those vessels are complying with the Jones Act and work with enforcement agencies to punish violators.
For OMSA, this is the next step in a multi-year effort to ensure both foreign and U.S. entities understand importance of the Jones Act and the role it plays in national security and the economy of coastal areas.
Ken Well, President of OMSA, was quoted in PRNewswire, saying, “. . . this is the first time that we are aware of a maritime group taking this step to ensure enforcement of the
Jones Act, still a critically important maritime law. Creating this position sends a strong signal that our country will not allow new offshore energy exploration jobs to go to foreign entities illegally.
Offshore Marine Service Association
$388.6 Million For Maritime Security Projects
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it is opening the application process for the next round of port security grants.
The Port Security Grant program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will distribute $388.6 million in grant funding in 2009 to eligible maritime entities.
DHS states that these fund are to be used to protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness and risk management capabilities to protect against improvised explosive devices and other non-conventional weapons.
They are also to be used to conduct training and exercises; and support implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).
Manufacturing Sector’s PMI hits 26-year low
The Manufacturing ISM Report on Business® came out with sobering news — October’s PMI had dropped to 38.9 percent. The last time PMI was at this level was in September, 1982.
According to Modern Materials Handling a PMI above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is expanding — under 50 percent indicates it’s contracting.
Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee issued the report. He said, "It appears that manufacturing is experiencing significant demand destruction as a result of recent events, with members indicating challenges associated with the financial crisis, interruptions from the Gulf hurricane, and the lagging impact from higher oil prices."
Two industries did report growth, and they were apparel, leather and allied products, along with computer and electronic products.
Institute for Supply Management
Friday, November 7, 2008
Mobile Container Terminal officially open
The Mobile Container Terminal (MCT) Nov. 6 marked the official opening of its new, state-of-the-art Gulf Coast gateway to global trade options.
The terminal — a joint venture between APM Terminals, Terminal Link, a division of CMA CGM, and the Alabama State Port Authority — will provide terminal customers with access to global networks covering all possible trade routes to and from the Port of Mobile.
At the intersection of five Class 1 railroads, with immediate access to Interstates 10 and 65, and located 30 miles from open ocean, MCT offers an enhanced option in the U.S. Gulf for reaching Midwest markets, as well as Alabama and neighboring states.
The overall project includes a separate intermodal rail transfer facility and modern distribution complex and represents a total investment of approximately $300 million.
Also Nov. 6, the shipping group CMA CGM announced the beginning of CMA CGM operations in Mobile with the arrival of its PEX 3 service linking Asia to the U.S. Gulf and East Coast.
The first CMA CGM vessel to call Mobile will be the CMA CGM Orca, scheduled to arrive at the terminal Dec. 26, 2008.
Mobile Container Terminal (MCT)
U.S. October rail traffic down
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) Nov. 6 reported that rail freight traffic on U.S. railroads was down during October in comparison with the same month last year.
U.S. railroads originated 1,639,542 carloads of freight in October, down 47,279 carloads (2.8%) from October 2007. Railroads also originated 1,175,499 intermodal units in October 2008, a decrease of 34,628 trailers and containers from October 2007.
Four of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw U.S. carload increases in October 2008 compared to October 2007.
Commodities showing substantial carload gains in October 2008 were coal (up 43,738 carloads, or 6.1%), metallic ores (up 2,289 carloads, or 6.1%), and the catch-all “all other carloads” (up 5,780 carloads, or 23.5%).
Commodities showing the biggest carload decreases in October 2008 were motor vehicles and equipment (down 23,239 carloads, or 22.7%), grain (down 18,394 carloads, or 13.4%), and metals and metal products (down 10,004 carloads, or 16.0%). Carloads of chemicals were down 5.1%, or 7,644 carloads.
Association of American Railroads (AAR)
Horizon Lines introduces ReeferPlusGPS
Horizon Lines Nov. 6 announced the immediate availability of the ReeferPlusGPS container tracking and shipment monitoring solution for refrigerated ocean containers moving between the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.
This innovative system is designed to “improve the visibility and security of high-value perishable cargo requiring cold chain logistics, a term used to describe the maintenance of product temperature through the entire transport chain from packing to delivery,” Horizon said.
Key capabilities of ReeferPlusGPS include GPS-enabled real-time container tracking; in-box sensors reporting temperature, atmosphere and security updates via the Web; and remote monitoring and adjusting of reefer conditions with one computer click.
“ReeferPlusGPS is a major advance in cold chain logistics,” said Jacob Wegrzyn, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico division for Horizon Lines.
The ReeferPlusGPS solution uses Impeva Labs’ Global Sentinel Unit, which links multiple two-way communication channels, real-time wireless sensors and a direct two-way interface to the refrigerated container’s controller.