Monday, November 25, 2013
Shipping firms and carmakers to benefit from Iran deal
Shipping firms — especially those that transport oil — and French automakers PSA Peugeot Citroën and Renault SA are set to benefit from the newly brokered six-month deal to control Iran's nuclear program while easing trade sanctions.
The agreement was struck yesterday in Geneva with Iran and six world powers, including the U.S. and its European Union partners, and will loosen restrictions on cars, petrochemicals, aviation parts, gold, and insurance for oil cargoes.
"Any indication that we could resume doing business with our partners in Iran goes in the right direction," said Peugeot spokesman Jean-Baptiste Thomas. "We'll of course welcome the re-opening of the Iranian market."
The deal will also let Iran continue exporting oil at current levels instead of forcing further reductions.
Sanctions have cost Iran $120 billion in lost revenue since the U.S. and EU started imposing tough penalties on energy, ports, insurance, shipping, banking and other transactions in 2010, according to U.S. Treasury estimates.
The primary sanctions on oil and banking remain in place. In exchange for a selective easing of sanctions, the agreement mandates that Iran limit sensitive nuclear activities, reduce its store of enriched uranium and agree to increased international inspections of its nuclear facilities.
For more of the Business Week story: businessweek.com
Port of Oakland truckers plan to strike Wednesday
The 350 Port of Oakland Truckers Association members voted unanimously Friday to stop work at the port on Wednesday, November 27, according to a statement from POTA.
Port of Oakland issued an operations update at 7:45 AM Monday, saying all marine terminals are operational, truck lines were formed and moving through the gates, and no were protesters present.
The port went on to say that if protesters show up on Wednesday, "they will not be allowed to negatively impact the business at the Port of Oakland. We recently obtained a court order that would prevent them from interfering with the flow of workers and cargo through the marine terminal gates."
The truckers are not allowed to form a union, since the port considers them independent contractors rather than employees.
On November 13, truckers met with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Deputy Mayor Sandré Swanson, Port Executive Director Chris Lytle, and California Air Resources Board members, hoping to get an extension from CARB or funding from the city and port, but have not made any gains on their demands.
"The Mayor said she was going to help us, but during the meeting she seemed more interested in her phone than in what we were saying," said POTA board member Jorge Esparza.
Port officials have said the deadline to upgrade equipment is part of regulations that have been in the works since 2007.
On January 1, up to 800 port truckers will lose their jobs when new state regulations go into effect, the statement said.
The majority of truckers have purchased new trucks, which cost between $50,000 and $80,000, and POTA says many are applying for microloans to pay loan payments on upgraded trucks to continue working.
One of POTA's demands is a green emissions fee – a tariff on each container, imposed on terminals by the Port of Oakland, paid to truckers to offset the costs of meeting state regulations. Another POTA demand includes a congestion fee of $50 per hour after the first two hours truckers spend waiting in line to pick up a load, to compensate them for work that is currently unpaid and to encourage terminal efficiency. They are also demanding a rate increase.
"If they won't give us an extension or money for upgrades by January, it only makes it more important that we get the green emissions fee, congestion fee and rate increase we're demanding," said Roberto Ruiz, a trucker at the port. "We have so much debt and we can't afford the monthly payments that we have to make just to keep working."
It's unclear how long truckers plan to stop work at the port.
For more of the East Bay Independent Media Center story: indybay.org
EU to probe shipping companies on price fixing
The European Commission, the EU's antitrust regulator, is looking at possible price fixing by a number of container shipping companies, saying they may have illegally colluded to boost prices on certain trades.
The EC said on Friday that it is investigating the way shipping lines announce price increases and whether such actions amount to a veiled effort to coordinate price hikes. The commission wouldn't name the firms under investigation, but two shipping firms — Maersk Line and CMA CMG — said they had either been informed they were part of the probe or intended to cooperate. Both say their pricing practices are legal.
An anonymous inside source said the investigation focuses on 14 firms, among them the globe's major container carriers from Europe and Asia, though this person declined to name any.
Since 2009, the EC said, companies have been making regular public announcements of price-increase intentions through news releases on their websites and in the press. The announcements are usually made successively, a few weeks before the price hikes are set to go into place, the commission said.
"This practice may allow the companies to signal future price intentions to each other and may harm competition and customers," the commission said in its statement.
The process could result in steep fines if investigators find evidence of collusion. But it also puts a separate effort by Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM — the proposed P3 Alliance — into question. The three earlier this year announced a broad alliance in which they would share capacity on certain, heavily trafficked trade routes. The EU, the U.S. and China are currently deciding whether to approve the partnership.
For more of the Wall Street Journal story: online.wsj.com
Shenzhen port uses "loophole" to lure business from Hong Kong
Port officials in Shenzhen are reportedly working aggressively to lure foreign container carriers to circumvent Hong Kong as a transit hub and do business directly with them, according to the South China Morning Post.
Shenzhen is in a good position to overtake Hong Kong as the world's third busiest container port this year. The city could replace Hong Kong as the region's primary transshipment hub for goods, said port operators.
Sixty percent of Hong Kong's container throughput came from transshipments in 2012. Half of that was due to regulation on the mainland that bans foreign shipping companies from directly sending cargo from one mainland port to another, meant to protect domestic shipping lines on the near-sea trade.
However, a document seen by the Post showed that a Shenzhen customs office has been advising an international shipping line on how to use a paperwork loophole to skip Hong Kong and go directly to Shenzhen. It said the foreign shipping company could name Hong Kong as the port of origin in the manifest they submit to Shenzhen customs without actually loading any goods there.
The Post found that at least two Shenzhen ports and two major international carriers have diverted hundreds of thousands of containers a month away from Kwai Chung Container Terminals.
One port operator in Shenzhen, requesting anonymity, said other ports and shipping lines feared they would not be competitive unless they adopt the same practice.
"Transshipment is the last fort of Hong Kong's port business and if we lost that it will mark the end of our port," said Alan Lee Yiu-kwong, chairman of the Hong Kong Container Terminal Operators Association, adding that they urged the Transport and Housing Bureau to investigate.
Hong Kong handled 18.3 million TEUs in the first 10 months this year, a 5.4 percent decrease year-over-year. Shenzhen handled 19.31 million TEUs, a slight rise of 0.53 per cent compared with 2012 data.
For more of the South China Morning Post: scmp.com
Two cargo ships sink off East China, 26 missing
Two cargo ships sank in separate incidents off the coast of China's Shandong Province on Sunday night and Monday morning, according to Xinhua news agency.
Twelve people were confirmed missing after the Xinglongzhou65, registered in Zhejiang Province, sank off Yantai City at around 9 p.m. on Sunday, officials from the Yantai Maritime Bureau said.
Another cargo ship sank off Weihai City with 14 people missing, reported the Shandong Provincial Maritime Rescue Centre.
Rescue teams have been sent to the two sites.
For more of the Bernama story: bernama.com.my
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
UPS to raise shipping rates 4.9 percent in 2014
UPS will increase its rates by an average of 4.9 percent next year, the company said in a statement.
The Atlanta-based shipping company said the number is the average of its rate increases for UPS Ground, Air and International, and Air Freight in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Customers will be able to view and download the new rates online Dec. 30.
FedEx already announced plans to increase shipping rates by an average of 3.9 percent in January at its domestic express-shipping business, its largest segment. Earlier this month, the U.S. Postal Service announced its intention to raise overall prices by 2.4 percent, provided a regulatory commission sanctions the increase.
DHL Express announced a 3.9 percent average price increase for U.S. account holders, effective Jan. 2, 2014, according to Transport Topics.
The shipping companies are reacting to a global customer shift towards cheaper shipping services, said the WSJ.
For more of the Wall Street Journal story: online.wsj.com
Evergreen Line receives 24 new ships, 21 more coming in 2014
Evergreen Line ordered thirty new 8,000-TEU "L-type" container ships in 2010, and chartered five 8,800-TEU ships and ten 13,800-TEU vessels to meet the demands of joint venture agreements with partners, according to an Evergreen statement.
Evergreen says its fleet renewal program will have no significant negative impact on global overcapacity. Due to market conditions, the container line suspended its newbuilding program for seven years until costs fell in July 2010.
In total, 24 of the 45 new ships were delivered during 2012 and 2013. The fleet will receive another 18 new vessels in 2014 and the remaining three ships in 2015. As part of the fleet renewal program, the delivery of the new vessels will be balanced by a gradual return of 54 chartered vessels to their owners as the term of the charters expire.
According to statistics compiled by industry analyst Alphaliner, the compound annual growth rate of the global containership fleet over the past five years is 7.07 percent, and Evergreen Line's capacity growth over the same period is 5.56 percent.
Evergreen said its fleet capacity at the end of 2013 would account for just 4.8 percent of the global total and 5 percent by the end of 2015. The levels are below Evergreen's share of capacity in December 2008, when it stood at 5.2 percent.
Jacksonville chosen for project to promote global trade
Jacksonville was one of eight metro areas chosen to become a new exchange network committed to promote greater global trade and economic competitiveness, as part of a joint project created by Brookings and JPMorgan Chase.
Jacksonville was the only regional port city selected.
Mayor Alvin Brown said the project would maximize economic benefits by growing global competitiveness as a region.
"It will create jobs in the manufacturing sector, jobs in the transportation sector and jobs right here at the Jacksonville Port Authority," Jaxport CEO Brian Taylor.
Taylor added that the new network aligned well with port goals, and would "increase exports, increase manufacturing, and move more cargo through Jacksonville and Jaxport."
The project team for Jacksonville includes Jaxport, the regional economic office, the Jax USA partnership, JP Morgan Chase, and Jacksonville University, plus a project steering committee to include a member from the University of Northern Florida.
For more of the WOKV Radio story: wokv.com
Georgia ports set cargo record in October
October container volume at the Garden City Terminal grew 19 percent year-over-year, Georgia Ports Authority executive director Curtis Foltz told his board Monday.
"We had an extremely strong month, with significant growth reported in all business sectors." Foltz said. Total tonnage for October was at an all-time high of 2.5 million tons, a near 22 percent hike compared to 2012.
Georgia ports brought in 274,359 TEUS, 19 percent more than 2012's 230,640 TEUs.
Cars and machinery also set a new record, with Ocean Terminal in Savannah and Colonel's Island in Brunswick combining to move a record 62,343 units in October, a 19.2 increase.
"The strong October supported year-to-date growth of 9 percent for the first four months of fiscal 2014, which should bode well for the balance of the year," Foltz said.
Last week Gov. Deal announced his plan to seek another $35 million from the General Assembly to help fund the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, fulfilling the state's $266 million portion of the total project cost of $652 million.
For more of the Savannah Morning News story: savannahnow.com
Three cargo ships wreck in S. Korea, search for survivors continues (pictures)
Three cargo ships flying Chinese, Korean and Panamanian flags, respectively, were found wrecked on the shores of South Korea's Ulsan City due to rough winds on Monday.
The South Korean coast guard rescued 11 crewmembers from one ship, while rescue efforts were underway for the crew of the other two ships, which are still missing.
For more of the CRI English story: english.cri.cn
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
WTO head: global trade deal in peril
The director-general of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, said that the global trade negotiations face failure after WTO members failed to agree on text to be presented to trade ministers next month to reach a deal.
Representatives from the 159 WTO countries have been meeting in Geneva, trying to agree on new rules that would streamline customs procedures and increase the pace of global trade. The group also discussed agriculture and the sustainability of food security programs, including one being run by India.
There were reportedly rumors that India had taken a hard stand on the issue in an attempt to win greater concessions.
The trade ministers of the member countries are scheduled to meet in Bali, Indonesia in early December. Azevedo said that it would not be feasible for them to hold any negotiations on the text of a global agreement and that meant a deal was unlikely.
"We will fail not only the WTO and multilateralism," said Azevedo. "We will also fail our constituencies at large, the business community and, above all, the most vulnerable among us.
For more of the BBC story: bbc.co.uk
Matson to raise 2014 rates
Matson Navigation will raise its rates for its Hawaii service by $175 per westbound container and $85 per eastbound container, effective January 5, 2014, according to a company statement.
Matson will also raise its terminal handling charge by $50 per westbound container and $25 per eastbound container, also effective January 5.
The company estimates that the combined increase of both the rate adjustment and terminal handling charge will result in shipping costs rising by an average of 5.5 percent.
"This rate increase will help offset rises in operating costs and support ongoing investments in our Hawaii service," said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services."
For more of the Hawaii News Now story: hawaiinewsnow.com
Port of Cleveland makes deal for Cleveland-Europe service
The Port of Cleveland has made a deal with Dutch shipping company the Spliethoff Group to handle regular scheduled container cargo runs between Lake Erie and Europe.
The Cleveland-Europe Express freight shipping service between Cleveland Harbor and Europe via the Saint Lawrence Seaway will begin when the Saint Lawrence Seaway re-opens in the spring of 2014. It will be the only regular, scheduled global container service on the Great Lakes.
Bart Peters of Spliethoff told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer the agreement would allow his company to access Midwest markets more directly than any other global shipping company.
Ships will make one monthly call each to Cleveland and Europe. The port will lease ships from Spliethoff and pay fuel costs, pushing its outlay close to $850,000 monthly. The agency projects breaking even by the end of the first season. Spliethoff will staff the vessels.
William Friedman, president and CEO of the Port of Cleveland, said that the service would be the fastest and greenest route between Europe and North America's heartland, allowing regional companies to ship their goods up to four days faster than using water, rail, and truck routes via the U.S. East Coast ports.
For more of the Miami Herald story: miamiherald.com
Groups align to deepen the Mississippi
Officials with the World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance and the Big River Coalition will work together on issues of mutual interest, including increasing the depth of the lower Mississippi River.
The groups want to match the depth of Panama Canal locks in order to compete for the business of the ultra large container vessels that will come to call after the Panama revision is complete in 2015.
"We need a combined voice on this issue, which has major implications on the future of commerce, not just for Louisiana but for the entire nation," said Dominik Knoll, chief executive officer of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. "We see the Big River Coalition as a strong ally that the alliance intends to work very closely with going forward."
Cargo transported along the Mississippi River has an estimated $115 billion annual impact on the nation's economy, the organizations said in a joint statement.
A deeper river could drive about $11.5 billion through increased international cargo movements, stemming from lower transportation costs and lower costs of importing oil.
The Mississippi River Basin connects 31 states and two Canadian provinces through the third-largest river basin in the world.
The World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance is a coalition of World Trade Centers along the Mississippi River, and is led by Knoll, the World Trade Center New Orleans' CEO.
The Big River Coalition was created in fiscal year 2011 in response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi Valley Division confirming the discontinuation of funds to maintain the lower Mississippi River navigation channel. The Big River Coalition's original focus was to obtain additional funding to supplement the Corp's shortfall but has evolved a broader agenda since then.
For more of the Advocate story: theadvocate.com
Cargo ship detained in Singapore
A cargo ship transporting iron ore from Brazil to China has been detained in Singapore over a disagreement with a bunker fuel supplier.
The 106,438-ton Kishore was detained in Singapore November 17, according to shipping sources.
Press reports said the vessel was owned by Essar Shipping of India and detained due to a dispute with a bunker fuel supplier.
For more of the Times of India story: articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com