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Summary for November 29 - December 3, 2010:
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Top story

Report from Europe: One mega-containership’s emissions = 50 mil cars?

Britain and other European governments have been accused of underestimating the health risks from shipping pollution following research, which shows that one giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50m cars.

Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m cars. Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulfur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles.

Pressure is mounting on the UN's International Maritime Organization and the EU to tighten laws governing ship emissions following the decision by the US government last week to impose a strict 230-mile buffer zone along the entire US coast, a move that is expected to be followed by Canada.

The setting up of a low emission shipping zone follows US academic research which showed that pollution from the world's 90,000 cargo ships leads to 60,000 deaths a year in the US alone and costs up to $330bn per year in health costs from lung and heart diseases.

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates the buffer zone, which could be in place by next year, will save more than 8,000 lives a year with new air quality standards cutting sulfur in fuel by 98%, particulate matter by 85% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%.

The new study by the Danish government's environmental agency adds to this picture. It suggests that shipping emissions cost the Danish health service almost £5bn a year, mainly treating cancers and heart problems.

The calculations of ship and car pollution are based on the world's largest 85,790KW ships' diesel engines which operate about 280 days a year generating roughly 5,200 tons of SOx a year, compared with diesel and petrol cars which drive 15,000km a year and emit approximately 101gm of SO2/SoX a year.

-The Guardian (UK)

For the full story:


Report: Cargo of U.S. corn held in Chinese warehouse to finally be released

A U.S. corn cargo held in a Chinese warehouse since September for failing to meet local regulations on gene-altered grain will be shipped out by the yearend, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The corn was offloaded into a warehouse at Chiwan Port in the south of the country in September, and later rejected by quarantine officials, said the people, who declined to be identified as authorities haven’t made the matter public. The destination has not been decided, they said.

China’s state-owned Cofco Ltd. bought the 54,000 ton cargo from a Japanese trading company, two officials with direct knowledge have said previously.

This was the first time China rejected a U.S. corn shipment, they said.


For the full story:

Antwerp Port Authority looks for wind farm financial partner

The Antwerp Port Authority and the Left Bank Corporation have announced they are looking for a financial partner in a project to build a land-based windfarm on the bank of the Scheldt, located to the south of the Belgian maritime port.

The Authority stated that the Waasland port area has room for up to 55 wind turbines, which would effectively make it Belgium’s largest land based windfarm cluster.

According to a Port of Antwerp press release, the first turbine could be built by 2012.

The Port Authority and the Left Bank Corporation have been in partnership since the beginning of 2008 to promote wind power development on the left bank.

The tender procedure was launched earlier this week, and the partner is expected to be chosen by the summer of 2011.

-Offshore Wind News

For the full story:

Cargo ships collide off coast of China’s Shandong Province

A Malta-flagged freighter was seriously damaged in a collision with a Panamanian ship off the coast of China on Monday morning, Chinese media reported.

The incident was reported at around 0225h (1925h Sunday Malta time) to the maritime bureau in Weihai, a port city in the Chinese province of Shandong, according to China Daily.

Four rescue boats were dispatched on site, and all 49 sailors on board the 2 ships were rescued.

The Malta-flagged ship had a crew of 23 – 13 Iranians and 10 Filipinos – and was on its way from Indonesia to Tianjin. The Panamanian ship, with a crew of 26 Chinese nationals, was en route from Tianjin to Singapore.

The Maltese ship, which was unnamed in the report, was towed to the port of Longyan for repairs.

-DI-VE News

For the story source:

Somali pirates hijack Malaysian cargo vessel

Somali pirates have hijacked a Malaysian-owned cargo vessel and its 23-strong crew 900 miles off Somalia, the European Union's anti-piracy task force said on Monday.

EU Navfor said the MV Albedo was seized in the early hours of November 26 as it headed for the Kenyan port city of Mombasa from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.

The crew are from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran, the task force said in an online statement. Somali pirates are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships, including tankers and dry bulkers, in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, despite the efforts of foreign navies to clamp down on such attacks.


For the story source:

Reports: Bird strike likely cause of cargo aircraft in Karachi

A bird strike is the likely cause of the crash of a Russian-made cargo plane in Karachi, the operator of the aircraft has said.

The plane had crashed seconds after taking off from Karachi International Airport on Sunday, killing all eight crewmembers on board and injuring seven others.

It was heading for Sudan's capital city of Khartoum.

"The likely cause was the damage of the aircraft engine caused by a bird strike," the Nation quoted Dzhemal Tamazashvili, Director of the Georgian airline Sun Way, the operator of the aircraft, as saying.

"Two weeks ago, in accordance with maintenance procedures, the aircraft underwent a technical check. It was in an ideal condition while the crew had an 18-hour rest before the flight," he added.

The explosion caused by the crash was so powerful that local residents thought it was triggered by a bomb, said Karachi police chief Fayyas Leghari.

Flames raged in four to five construction sites, but officials said that the number of casualties could have been far higher if the plane had struck nearby residential buildings.

It was the third plane accident within four months in Pakistan, and the second aircraft to crash after take off from Karachi in just four weeks.

-SIFY News

For the full story:


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top story

Retail’s “Cyber Monday” sales rose 19 percent

Online sales in the U.S. rose 19 percent yesterday, coming in as the biggest Internet shopping day of the year so far as Web retailers gain ground on traditional stores, according to research firm Coremetrics.

The average order climbed 8.3 percent to $194.89, San Mateo, California-based Coremetrics said today in a statement. Sales of luxury goods rose 24 percent. Coremetrics, owned by International Business Machines Corp., is an analytics company that tracks online consumer spending and shopping behavior.

Cyber Monday -- the day consumers return to work after the weekend following Thanksgiving and continue to shop online -- is an indicator of how the rest of the holiday season is shaping up.

-Bloomberg BusinessWeek

For the full story:

Hawaii’s state senate to hold hearing on Pasha’s proposed inter-island service

A state Senate committee plans to hold a hearing this week on the Public Utilities Commission's decision to grant Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines permission to carry cargo through the islands on an interim basis through 2013.

Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection lawmakers are having a hearing at the state Capitol on Wednesday to ask how the decision may affect neighbor island residents and businesses.

The PUC says the move will foster competition and provide customers with choice.

But the state's existing interisland ocean carrier -- Young Brothers Ltd. -- says the decision will lead to a decrease in service and an increase in cargo costs.

Young Brothers says it may have to reduce its twice-weekly service to Hilo and Kawaihae.

-Bloomberg BusinessWeek

For the story source:

Next gen Jeep Compass and Patriot to be imported from Italy

The next generation of the Jeep Compass and Patriot are going to be made by Fiat in Italy as part of a joint distribution deal, Automotive News reports.

Even before those new models, the next Dodge Caliber is expected to be first use the "compact wide" chassis architecture starting next year.

Fiat and Chrysler are investing $1.3 billion to retool the factory in Turin that will make the new Jeep models starting in 2013.

Chrysler hopes to import about 100,000 Compass and Patriot crossovers a year under the deal. Fiat controls Chrysler under the ownership arrangement after Chrysler's bankruptcy filing last year.

-USA Today

For the full story:

Cargo ship-tanker collision in Black Sea, five crew missing

Officials say a cargo ship has collided with a tanker during a storm in the Black Sea and sunk, leaving five sailors missing.

Navy vessels and helicopters were searching for the missing off Bulgaria on Tuesday.

The Transport Ministry says the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Karam 1 sank late Monday after colliding with the Dutch tanker Alessandro DP, 10 miles (16 kilometers) off Cape Emine.
Five sailors of the cargo ship's of crew of nine Syrians and an Egyptian were rescued and five are missing.

The cargo ship was loaded with scrap metal en route to Istanbul, while the tanker was empty and heading to the nearby Bulgarian port of Varna.

-Washington Post/AP

For the story source:

Cargo barge with inert torpedoes washes up on Cape Canaveral Beach (includes link to video)

A cargo barge carrying inert torpedoes that ran aground Monday on the beach in Cape Canaveral was freed later in the day.

The 144-foot-long Mobro 1210 broke loose about 1:40 a.m. from the tugboat Megan Beyel near the entrance of Port Canaveral. It settled on the beach near Jetty Park, just south of Solana Shores Drive.

Residents watched as several workers waded into the water and climbed a ladder to board the vessel that carried several large shipping containers. It was freed, towed and moored at a pier at Port Canaveral.

-Florida Today

For the VIDEO of the barge washing up on beach and full story:


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Top Story

Pfizer to lay off 186 U.S. plant staff; will outsource to Exel, DHL

Pfizer will lay off 186 employees at its Vonore, U.S. plant, as it intends to hand over the unit to the third-party logistics service provider, Exel, and outsource it logistics and distribution operations.

The drug giant’s global manufacturing division plans to make changes to its distribution operations, and the first step will involve leaving the Vonore unit that serves the US and other countries.

Pfizer spokesman, Rick Chambers, said Exel will offer employment to the Pfizer staff facing job losses as it looks to recruit staff to operate the Monroe County plant. The employees affected by the job cuts will receive severance pay as well as other benefits, he confirmed.

The layoffs come as Pfizer is negotiating a deal with Ohio, U.S.-based Exel, and with logistics group, Deutsche Post DHL, to outsource distribution of its drugs and healthcare products.

Pfizer said the move is expected to be complete by next summer as Exel adopts the building and work force needed to distribute Pfizer products, said Chambers.


For the full story:

Rhine River oil product shipping rates fall

The cost of shipping oil-products by barge on the Rhine River fell to the lowest in almost two months as demand waned because of high inventories.

The cost of shipping gasoil from Amsterdam-Rotterdam- Antwerp, Europe’s oil-trading hub, to Duisburg in Germany fell to an average of 3.40 euros ($4.45) a metric ton yesterday, according to PJK International BV, a consultant based in the Netherlands.

That’s the lowest price since Oct. 4.


For the full story:

China manufacturing picked up in November

Manufacturing activity in China picked up further in November, two separate surveys showed today.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) showed manufacturing activity rose to 55.2 last month, up from 54.7 in October and 53.8 in September.

Meanwhile, a separate survey from HSBC bank also confirmed manufacturing activity increased. Activity rose to 55.3 last month (an 8-month high), up from 54.8 in October, HSBC said.

Both indices remain above the crucial 50 level, which indicates expansion, and have remained above this reading for 21 consecutive months.

However, the further growth in PMI may fuel concerns about the Chinese economy overheating and will add to inflation pressures.

Last month, the Chinese Government announced plans to curb double-digit food price inflation.

-Finance Markets

For the full story:

Baltimore’s breaks auto record again

The Port of Baltimore announced that for the second time in 2010, its public marine terminals handled more autos in one month than in any other month in the port authority’s history.

In October, 42,830 rolled through, breaking the record of 38,053 cars that was set in March, the port said in a statement.

The port’s previous record for most cars handled was 37,552 autos in July 2008, before the national economic recession. October’s total was 25 percent higher than October 2009’s total of 34,057 cars, the port said.

The port said its auto business is up 33 percent over the same period last year. Earlier this year, BMW began shipping 50,000 new autos, an annual contract for the next five years.

In addition, Ford began shipping the Fiesta model through the port this year.

In 2009, the Port of Baltimore reported handling about 375,000 cars. Baltimore said it ranks second among all U.S. ports for exporting auotmobiles.

Port L.A. container robbery: Security guard assaulted

It began with a man posing as a lost driver asking for directions from a security guard outside a cargo depot in Wilmington.

Within seconds, the guard on duty Sunday night discovered it was a ruse, detectives said. As he stepped outside the cargo depot to give directions, two other men overpowered him and hit him in the face. They warned him they were armed and prepared to use their weapons.

A small fleet of big rigs pulled into the yard and with military precision began hauling three loaded trailers away from the depot near the Port of L.A.

Investigators say the crime known as a “terminal robbery” is typically done by organized gangs and is one of the ways cargo thieves make off with merchandise valued at more than $10 billion annually nationwide. The Los Angeles area has long been an epicenter of cargo crime with the LAPD, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol all operating special teams of investigators to combat it.

-L.A. Times

For the full story:


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Top Story

Could U.S. shippers not be taxed on foreign earnings?

The U.S. should overhaul its corporate tax system to ignore all international transactions for tax purposes, two independent Washington think-tanks with close ties to the Obama administration will propose this week.

In a report obtained by the Financial Times that could catalyze the debate over corporate tax reform, the Hamilton Project and Center for American Progress (Cap) will argue U.S. companies should no longer be taxed on foreign earnings.

At the same time, however, they would no longer be able to take tax deductions on the costs of doing business overseas and interest payments on money borrowed from banks located outside the U.S.

Capital investments in the U.S. could be immediately written off for tax purposes instead of being subject to long depreciation schedules.

The proposal, which is being examined by White House officials, seeks to marry two seemingly conflicting aims of corporate tax reform: to encourage investment in the U.S. and discourage “offshoring”, while bolstering the competitiveness of U.S. companies with large international operations.

The Hamilton-Cap proposal, which has elements of tax reform ideas considered in 2005 under president George W. Bush, could heavily influence the debate, since it appears to achieve many of the policy objectives Republicans and Democrats are striving for: increased competitiveness, encouraging investment in the U.S., and simplification.

Large importers of goods manufactured overseas – such as retailer Walmart – might view this as a big tax increase for them, while it would benefit U.S. exporters such as Caterpillar, which would no longer have to pay levies on products sold internationally.

There might also be questions surrounding the proposal’s compliance with global trade rules, since it might be judged by opponents and international competitors to be a form of export subsidy.

However, if it leads to a strengthening of the dollar, the adverse impact on U.S. importers and benefits to exporters might be mitigated.

The proposal also seeks to tackle another thorny issue in the U.S. corporate tax structure: the ability of companies to deduct interest on debt, which critics say encourages leverage and borrowing at the expense of equity investments.

Under the plan, debt borrowed internationally would no longer be deductible, while tax breaks on money borrowed from banks located in the U.S. would also be curbed. The proposal has not been analyzed to measure its impact on the budget deficit.

The plan could also be accompanied by a lowering of rates and the elimination of some other corporate tax loopholes, but that is not its focus.
This could be opposed by businesses that rely heavily on borrowing, such as private equity-owned groups or traditional utilities.

-Financial Times

For the full story:

Concerns raised over shortfall of Mississippi River dredge funds

A coalition of maritime industry groups raised renewed concerns about a $22 million cut in federal spending on Mississippi River dredging, which they say could restrict use of the waterway and put a dent in the amount of cargo coming into the Port of New Orleans.

The meeting, which drew more than 70 local business leaders and others in the maritime transportation industry, was called after an October information session in which the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discussed its proposed $63 million dredging budget, which includes $10 million for administrative costs.

Unlike past years, corps officials say additional money to pay for dredging, if it becomes necessary, will not be allocated from other projects. Over the past five years, the corps spent an average of $85 million a year to pay for dredging the river.

An additional $61 million was reprogrammed from other projects last year in order to maintain dredge operations, according to the Associated Branch Pilots, whose members work between Pilottown and the Gulf of Mexico.

For the past two years, much of the money that has been reprogrammed was originally budgeted for maintaining locks and dams, said Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, commander of the corps' Mississippi Valley Division.


For the full story:

Kansas City Southern re-brands

The 123-year-old Kansas City Southern Railway announced it has launched a new branding initiative.

The new branding includes the grouping of original logos for The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR), Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (KCSM) and Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC) and adds the statement, "Business Without Borders."

Criticized by his contemporaries who in the late 1800's were building railroads running east and west, KCS founder Arthur Stilwell built a north south railroad from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico and onto the Pacific Coast. While Stilwell did not reach the Pacific Coast of Mexico in his time, in 2005, the KCS purchased the railroad known today as KCSM.

The railway said in a statement the addition of a new tag line, Business Without Borders means “the KCS is one interchange away from reaching any major market in North America with a direct route from the U.S. Midwest through the heart of Mexico and to the Pacific Coast.”

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., the KCS has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. Its primary U.S. holding is KCSR, serving the central and south central U.S. Its international holdings include KCSM, serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lazaro Cardenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Company.

Indiana environmental groups push for more rail freight investment

A coalition of labor and environmental groups on Monday called for more investment in freight railroads, including projects such as the $71.4 million Indiana Gateway, as the best means of ending U.S. dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs.

"This is very important for us to move forward in reducing the impact on the environment and reducing our reliance on foreign oil," said Bowden Quinn, of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter.

Quinn was joined by Robin Rich, of the United Steelworkers union, and Tom Conway, regional manager of the BlueGreen Alliance in releasing a report titled "Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion."

The report offered analysis showing 7,800 green jobs are created for every $1 billion spent on improving freight rail infrastructure. Total job creation can reach 26,000 jobs when spin-off and support jobs are factored in.

The report basically characterizes all freight rail jobs as green because freight rail has unrivaled fuel efficiency when it comes to moving bulk goods. A train can move one ton of freight 480 miles on just one gallon of fuel, according to the report. A truck uses about four times that amount of fuel to move the same load the same distance.

The BlueGreen Alliance, made up of labor unions and environmental groups, is pushing for a federal tax credit for freight rail projects to spur an increase in about $15 billion per year spent on such projects in the United States.

The report released Monday also showed freight rail workers earn an average hourly wage of $26.33, compared to an average hourly wage of $15.12 for all transportation jobs.

The report also touts public-private partnerships between freight railroads and passenger railroads. Once such project is the Indiana Gateway project that won $71.4 million in federal high-speed rail stimulus funds earlier this year.

-Indiana Economic Digest

For the full story:

Singapore Air to pay $48 mil fine

Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd. agreed to plead guilty and pay a $48 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The department filed a one-count felony charge in federal court today accusing the company of helping fix prices between 2002 and 2006, the Justice Department said in an e-mailed statement.

The plea deal, which requires court approval, is the latest in the department’s ongoing investigation into the air-cargo industry. Including today’s events, 20 airlines and 17 executives have been charged and more than $1.7 billion in fines have been levied.

In a statement, Singapore Airlines Cargo said it has cooperated with the investigation.


For the full story:

Friday , December 03, 2010

Top Story

EU wants airport blacklist for some non-members

The European Union is pushing nonmember countries to improve their security screening of EU-bound air freight, including by blacklisting airports deemed unsafe, German officials said Thursday.

The EU has been panicked in recent weeks by the discovery of a series of parcel bombs, which entered the bloc’s air-freight system from both inside and outside Europe.

“There will be airports from which either no freight at all is transported (to the EU), or else 100 percent screening will be carried out,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said after EU transport and interior ministers met in Brussels.

EU states and the bloc’s executive, the European Commission, should set the criteria for blacklisting at a later stage. De Maiziere said they should include the reliability of local checks, security staff and technical equipment such as X-rays.

He also said other lists would cover airports whose security standards need improvement but which do not merit a full ban.


For the full story:

Legislators wrestle over source of Savannah port’s $300 mil dredging funds

Several local legislators want Georgia to pick up the whole tab for Savannah harbor deepening if Washington, D.C., won't help.

"We've got ... to step up to the plate for the future of Georgia," Rep. Ron Stephens said Thursday at a Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Four other local lawmakers agreed, but top state officials - including Gov.-elect Nathan Deal - are noncommittal.

Stephens, a Savannah Republican, said the port must be deepened in time to float the huge cargo ships due along the East Coast by early 2015.

Meeting that deadline is vital to Georgia ports - which support nearly 300,000 jobs - continuing to prosper, he said.

Hoping Congress will provide the rest of the money needed for the project - about $300 million - the state has put up $150 million.

So far, Congress mostly has funded only studies.

Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, backed Stephens' position, but also said he and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will lobby the White House.

But Stephens is skeptical about federal funding.

His wants Georgia to sell bonds to raise the $300 million and compared its AAA bond rating - which he said only "four or five" states have - to money in the bank.

-Savannah Morning News

For the full story:

Major U.S. cotton firm shifting to logistics business

Memphis, Tenn - After more than four decades in the cotton business, Dunavant Enterprises Inc. has officially shifted gears.

The company sold its global cotton operation earlier this year and now stands to put more focus on other aspects of its operations, like logistics.

The company has an extensive logistics component, as well as real estate and investment divisions.

News of a merger between Dunavant and Allenberg Cotton Co. that was made public in 2009 appears to have by and large been consummated, at least as far as cotton is concerned.

“After over 40 years in the cotton industry, in 2010, DEI sold its global cotton operation in 2010,” reads a corporate history of Dunavant on its website.

In recent years, the company sold between 4.5 million and 6 million bales of U.S. and foreign growth cotton per year, with sales of between $1.2 billion and $1.7 billion.

Allenberg handles more than 7 million bales a year and had 2008 sales of almost $2 billion, according to a Bloomberg news report.

Dunavant, a corporate icon in Memphis, still has a logistics division with, according to Dunavant’s website, “a rich history of managing millions of international and domestic shipments over the last 50 years.”

The company’s logistics operation also has a database of supply chain partners including more than 3,000 domestic and international logistics companies.

-Memphis Daily News

For the full story:

NYK to invest in deep-sea drilling market

Japan’s biggest shipping company is to invest in the fast-growing deep-sea oil drilling market by buying half of the world’s second-biggest operator of the tankers that serve the installations.

NYK Line, which operates in nearly all marine sectors from container shipping to dry bulk and tankers, is expected to pay between $200m and $300m for half of Norway’s Knutsen Offshore Tankers, although it will not confirm the price.

It is relatively rare for Japan’s conservative big shipping lines – which also include K Line and Mitsui OSK Line – to take stakes in other companies. Svein Steimler, NYK’s chief operating officer for Europe, said it was making the purchase in line with its strategy of involving itself in all areas of its customers’ supply chains.

In container shipping, for example, NYK Logistics seeks to move customers’ goods to and from ports, as well as on its ships.

“This transaction is absolutely a parallel to what we’re doing elsewhere in the transportation business,” Mr Steimler said.

The transaction, to be announced on Friday in Tokyo, comes after KOT on June 1 withdrew plans for an initial public offering that would have raised around NKr1.64bn ($268m) for moving pipelines.”

-Financial Times

For the full story:

Bulgaria files charges against captains of two ships that collided in Black Sea

Bulgarian prosecutors said Friday they had filed charges against the captains of two ships that collided in the Black Sea this week, sinking one of the vessels and leaving five crew members missing.

The Syrian captain of the Karam 1 cargo ship and the Philippine chief officer of a Dutch tanker, the Alessandro, were charged with breaching naval transportation rules and causing the death of one or more people, the Burgas regional prosecutor's office announced.

Five Syrian crew members aboard the Karam 1 were declared missing after their ship sank following Monday's collision off Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

Rescue teams called off the search for the sailors on Thursday as Bulgaria's maritime administration chief, Sergey Tsurnakliyski, said there was no longer any possibility the five could be found alive.

The passports of the two captains have been confiscated for the duration of the investigation against them, the prosecution noted.


For the full story:


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