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Summary for November 24 - November 28, 2008:
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Monday, November 24, 2008

POLA still to contract $383 million in 2008

The Port of Los Angeles Nov. 21 said it still will award an estimated $383.7 million in construction contracts by year’s end, “fueling a surge of construction activity that will create thousands of jobs in the region.”

Port authorities said that the more than $383 million in future spending related to these projects will support more than 6,000 regional jobs. 

“This is positive news for Southern California, especially right now,” said S. David Freeman, Los Angeles Harbor Commission president. “Over the next few years, these projects will be a strong economic stimulus for our region as we clean the air and grow the port.”

“After a seven-year hiatus in our capital development program, this construction activity is a sign that we are back in business in a big way,” said Geraldine Knatz, port executive director.

At present, 18 multi-year construction projects are underway at the port, totaling approximately $148 million and supporting an estimated 2,516 total one-year full-time regional jobs, including 1,260 direct construction jobs, the port said.

Also last week, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved the final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the Pacific L.A. Marine Terminal Pier 400 project.


Port of Los Angeles


Maersk, CMA CGM vessel-sharing from Asia

CMA CGM and Maersk Line Nov. 21 announced their agreement to a new vessel-sharing arrangement linking Asia and the U.S. East and West Coast, starting in May 2009.

The two companies will be launching two joint strings: The Columbus Loop, a pendulum service linking Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. East Coast via Suez, Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and the Pacific Northwest; and the Hudson Loop, linking China, Korea, and the U.S. East Coast via Panama.

“The new service, which utilizes a crossing at the Suez Canal, is the first service on post-Panamax tonnage fully dedicated to the Far East to U.S. East Coast trade,” said Vincent Clerc, vice president for Pacific route management, Maersk Line.

“These strings will be operated with state-of-the art ships of 6,500-TEU capacity via Suez and 5,100 TEU via Panama, providing very competitive transit times and giving access to multiple Asian markets,” CMA CGM said.

Both carriers believe this agreement will positively impact the industry, capacity, and rates and will support reliable service delivery with minimized environmental impact.



Maersk Line


Clean Energy opens California LNG plant

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. Nov. 24 announced that it has started up its California LNG Plant at Boron, Calif., the largest liquefied natural gas production plant in the Southwest and the first large-scale plant in California.

Built to produce up to 160,000 gallons per day of LNG, the plant is designed to expand production to 240,000 gallons per day as demand increases, the company said.. The facility includes a 1.8-million-gallon LNG storage tank as an important regional supply source and to provide reserves for unanticipated demand.

The plant is located in the Mojave Desert approximately 125 miles from Los Angeles and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“We have built the new LNG production facility to respond to the critical need in Southern California and the Southwest for cleaner, more efficient fuel for port trucks and regional trucking,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy.

The Clean Truck Program at the ports anticipates replacing more than 8,000 old diesel trucks with new green trucks, such as LNG trucks, within five years.


Clean Energy Fuels Corp.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Changes to Asia–U.S. East Coast service

The New World Alliance carriers and the Grand Alliance carriers Nov. 25 announced a revised Asia–U.S. East Coast service linking both groups.

The South China Express Service (SCE) of the Grand Alliance will be temporarily adjusted to cover also the additional ports of the New York Express Service (NYX) of the New World Alliance. The GA and NWA have agreed to jointly operate the loop for a period of 18 weeks as a seasonal arrangement.

The New World Alliance carriers are Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), APL, and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). The Grand Alliance carriers are Hapag-Lloyd, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL).

The revised port rotation for the NYX service is Shanghai, Shekou, Yantian, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, (Panama Canal), Manzanillo, New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Miami, Manzanillo, (Panama Canal), Balboa, Los Angeles, Pusan, and Shanghai.

The revised SCE port rotation is Shanghai, Shekou, Yantian, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Panama Canal, Manzanillo, New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Miami, Manzanillo, Balboa, San Pedro, Busan, and Shanghai.


VPA posts $3.7 million quarterly loss

The Virginia Port Authority Nov. 21 announced an operating loss of $3.7 million for the first quarter of its 2009 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

“There’s just less money than there was … and less cargo,” said Joe Harris, a VPA spokesman. “The ripple effect is far-reaching.”

The shortfall was attributed to a decline in container traffic moving through the port’s four cargo terminals.

Ship calls were down 13.8% during July through October compared to July-October 2007. Breakbulk cargo declined 7.1% during the same period.

Operating revenue fell 6.2% below budget while operating expenses fell 1% below budget, according to financial highlights posted on the port authority’s website.

The Virginia Port Authority and its operating arm, Virginia International Terminals Inc., already have trimmed their 2009 budgets by $1.4 million and $10 million, respectively.


Virginia Port Authority


ATA truck tonnage fell 3% in October

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 3.0% in October, marking the fourth consecutive month-to-month drop, according to an ATA news release Nov. 24.

The index fell 0.8% in September and 1.9% in August. The seasonally adjusted index declined 1.8% compared with October 2007.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that truck tonnage is down a total of 6.3% in the last four months.

“October should be the busiest month of the year, but instead this October was a fizzle,” said Costello.

October is typically a busy month for motor carriers as retailers begin to take delivery of products for the holiday season. “The latest truck tonnage drop suggests that retailers are very pessimistic for the holiday sales season,” Costello added.

Costello noted that there has been a leveling off of the traditional fall freight season for trucking companies in recent years, where more freight is delivered in November and December, but that this October was particularly weak due to the economic recession.


American Trucking Associations


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Matson ups Guam/CNMI rate by $120/box

Matson Navigation Co. Nov. 25 announced that it will raise its rates for the company’s Guam/CNMI service by $120 per westbound and eastbound container, effective Feb. 1, 2009.

The rate increase also applies to Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

In addition, Matson will raise its West Coast terminal handling charge by $175 for both westbound and eastbound containers, also effective Feb. 1, 2009.

Matson said also it will “implement a new crane surcharge of $125 per container, which is designed to help recover costs associated with the purchase and operation of three gantry cranes in the port of Guam; the new charge will be implemented in March 2009, when the cranes have commenced operations.”

The rate hike will help offset increases in operating costs and support ongoing investments in Matson’s Guam service, said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services.

In the past six years, Matson has invested more than $500 million in four new containerships, all of which are currently deployed in Matson’s Guam service, and it continues to invest in new container equipment and information technology, the company said.


Matson Navigation Co.


Port of Seattle approves 2009 budget cuts

The Port of Seattle Commissioners Nov. 25 approved the port’s 2009 budget, voting for cuts to the 2009 operating expenses by $9 million, “on top of $8 million in 2008 operating budget savings to date.”

The Port Commission also voted to hold the property tax levy flat at $75.9 million, the amount collected in 2008. The port’s levy rate will be reduced from 22.4 cents to 19.7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Additionally, approximately 109 staff positions, or 6% of authorized staff, will go unfilled through at least the first six months of 2009, according to the port.

“The global economic downturn affects everyone, and the port must do its part by tightening its belt,” said Commission President John Creighton. “This budget cuts costs, says no to higher property taxes, and invests in jobs to help stimulate our region’s economy.”

The 2009 capital budget of $604 million “will focus capital investments in projects that create jobs and keep Seattle competitive as a global trade gateway,” the port said.  

The commission vote also deferred $195 million in capital projects over the next five years.  


Port of Seattle


NAM welcomes revised 10+2 Rule

The National Association of Manufacturers in a statement Nov. 25 said it welcomes release of “a significantly improved customs rule” known as “10+2” by Customs and Border Protection after “substantial modifications were made” in a lengthy interagency process.

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Nov. 24 announced the new information requirements on maritime cargo destined for the United States.

The rule will require maritime cargo carriers and importers to submit additional data to U.S. Customs and Border Protection before vessels are permitted entry into the country.

The 10+2 Rule will take effect Jan. 25, 2009, with enforcement to begin one year later. The interim rule includes an additional public comment period for certain data elements and economic effects of the rule.

“The 10+2 Rule, as originally drafted, would have cost U.S. manufacturers as much as $20 billion annually, created huge delays and missed shipments in the global supply chain, risked shutting down U.S. production lines, and actually worsened security by increasing the amount of time containers sat around available for tampering at foreign ports,” said NAM President John Engler.

“The NAM was proud to lead the industry effort to modify the 10+2 rule,” added Engler.


National Association of Manufacturers


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Evergreen restructures U.S./Asia/Europe services

Evergreen Line Nov. 26 announced it will launch a new Europe–Asia–West Coast North America pendulum service in December as part of a restructuring of its trans-Pacific services.

Evergreen’s Asia–United States (AUS) service will be split in two.

The southern loop will be incorporated into the new pendulum service, while the northern loop will be replaced by a new China–South U.S. West Coast (California)–China (CPS) service.

The new U.S. West Coast–Asia–Europe (UAE) service is being created by merging the southern loop with Evergreen Line’s China Europe Shuttle (CES) service.

The weekly westbound rotation will be Los Angeles - Oakland - Taipei - Kaohsiung - Hong Kong - Yantian - Tanjung Pelepas - Colombo - Suez Canal - Rotterdam - Hamburg - Thamesport – Zeebrugge.

The weekly eastbound rotation will be Taranto - Port Said - Colombo - Tanjung Pelepas - Yantian - Hong Kong - Kaohsiung - Los Angeles.

The new CPS service will provide a westbound rotation, also on a weekly basis, of Los Angeles - Oakland - Pusan - Shanghai - Ningbo – Qingdao. Eastbound the rotation will be Pusan - Shanghai - Ningbo - Qingdao - Los Angeles – Oakland.


Evergreen Line


Short sea shipping trial at Hamilton Port

Hamilton Port Authority, Ontario, announced Nov. 26 that it will launch its short sea shipping initiative with a dedicated container feeder vessel from Hamilton to Montreal for transshipment to vessels bound for India and Pakistan.

The shipment, for Sunrise Metals, is centered around recycled metals, sourced primarily from the region. It consists of 68 containers, which will be barged to Montreal by Hamilton-based McKeil Marine and be routed from there by Maersk and CMA CGM.

This first-of-its-kind shipment marks a significant step in the advancement of Great Lakes short sea shipping through the development of viable container feeder services linking with both Halifax and Montreal.

“Making this specialized type of service an important piece of the port’s traffic connecting to Canada’s East Coast ports is a central part of our overall Hamilton Port Authority strategy,” said Bruce Wood, HPA president and CEO.

Short sea shipping, a significant component to goods movement throughout Europe, has been increasingly identified as providing long-term sustainability for the St. Lawrence Seaway.


Hamilton Port Authority


Bridge Terminal selects Dallas Hub for box yard

The Allen Group, developers of the Dallas Logistics Hub (DLH), a 6,000-acre multimodal logistics park in Southern Dallas County, announced Nov. 25 execution of a lease with Bridge Terminal Transport.

The company will relocate their container yard operations from an existing facility near the Love Field Airport area to a site at DLH that falls within the city of Hutchins. 

Bridge Terminal Transport is one of the largest marine container haulers covering all major port locations and inland rail sites within the United States and a market leader in worldwide container services, agency, logistics, and terminal activities.

The BTT container yard will store inbound and outbound containers that transfer through Union Pacific’s Dallas Intermodal Terminal, as well as chassis and trailers for customers.

“This will be the first storage facility within the Dallas Logistics Hub that will allow accessible integration between the Dallas Intermodal Terminal and distribution customers in and around the logistics park,” said Daniel J. McAuliffe, president of The Allen Group’s Texas operations.

Construction is currently underway and is expected to be fully operational by February 2009. 


Dallas Logistics Hub


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