Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for December 7 through December 11, 2015:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cargo Logistics America conference coverage

East or west – or up?

By Richard Knee, CBN contributor

While cargo flow disruptions at West Coast ports early this year caused exporters and importers to shift goods from intermodal to all-water routing, some of them began building stronger ties with airlines, a UPS executive told a freight sector gathering in San Diego.

In the past, the high cost of air-shipping meant that whatever business the airlines gained during such episodes they lost when surface cargo flows returned to normal, but this time, "not as much of that has gone away," said Stephen Flowers, president of global freight forwarding for UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

Flowers’s comment came during the Cargo Logistics America Expo+Conference that Cargo Business News co-sponsored. Informa, which publishes several freight-focused publications, produced the event.

Earlier, port officials from Seattle-Tacoma, Long Beach, Miami and Charleston weighed in on East vs. West coast. "Some shippers are looking at the four-corner strategy, not being tied to one gateway," said Sue Coffey, commercial group director with the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Seattle-Tacoma port authority.

Volumes at Charleston, Port Everglades, Norfolk and Savannah are increasing, said Byron Miller, vice president of marketing and sales for the South Carolina Ports Authority. Between 2000 and 2014, the West Coast’s share of Asian trade fell to 68 percent from 82 percent while the East Coast’s rose to 32 percent from 18 percent, he said.

Miami remains the primary gateway for trade with Latin America and the Caribbean and is handling growing volumes of furniture and apparel from Asia, said Eric Olafson, that port’s trade development and Foreign Trade Zone manager.

Don Snyder, business development director at the Port of Long Beach, said there were "advantages in all the different gateways," and shippers and consignees must weigh ports’ locations and capabilities.

Cargo Logistics America conference coverage

Bigger ships bring challenges

By Richard Knee, CBN contributor

While offering efficiencies, higher-capacity ships present challenges, engineering and business experts said at a logistics conference that Cargo Business News co-sponsored in San Diego. Producer of the three-day gathering was Informa, a publisher of freight-focused trade publications.

Larger vessels generate higher in-port inventory, a higher ratio of peak-to-mean inventory, and higher landside demand and cost, said Thomas Ward, senior maritime planner with WSP-Parsons Brinckerhoff, an engineering consulting firm. Ward said container storage stacks are fuller, re-handlings and box diggings increase and this drives down productivity. Truck gate movement is slower, container dwell times lengthen and there are higher operating and investment costs for the same volume. Needed are more intelligent, less random use of port facilities, integrated truck processing and "focus on the core purpose of ports: moving cargo between land and sea," he said.

Byron Miller, vice president of marketing and sales for the South Carolina Ports Authority, said ports must gear for ships of greater length, width, depth and air draft (i.e. higher on-ship container stacks). Ships too large to sail through the Panama Canal cannot call at New York/New Jersey until the rising of the Bayonne Bridge is completed; that is expected in 2017, he noted.

As much as 10 percent of East Asia-to-U.S. container traffic could shift to the East Coast from the West Coast when Panama Canal expansion is completed, said Argelis Moreno de Ducreux, liner services segment leader and executive vice president of planning and business development with the canal administration. The administration has embraced a diversification strategy that includes bunkering, power generation and ship repair in addition to services more directly related to vessel and cargo traffic, she said.

Norfolk Southern rejects CP’s $28B offer

U.S. railroad operator Norfolk Southern said its board unanimously rejected Canadian Pacific Railway’s $28.4 billion acquisition proposal, saying the offer undervalued the company and could face regulatory hurdles.

Canadian Pacific has argued that the combined railroad would offer unparalleled customer service and competitive rates for shippers, and that it would satisfy the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and Canadian regulators.

Norfolk Southern's shares were down 5 percent at $88.50 in premarket trading on Friday. The railroad also said it was targeting about $2.1 billion in capital expenditures next year.

"There is a high probability that, after years of disruption and expense, the proposed combination would be rejected by the Surface Transportation Board," Norfolk Chief Executive James Squires said in a statement on Friday.

The STB has a public interest test when considering whether to approve mergers. A deal would not only have to address antitrust concerns but also result in improved service, economic efficiencies and public safety for those using the railways.

Norfolk said a combination of the companies would likely increase congestion issues in Chicago, a junction where East- and West-based North American railways meet and hand off cargo, as Canadian Pacific does not have efficient Chicago bypass routes.

Canadian Pacific has said that a merger would reduce railroad traffic congestion in Chicago and help the combined company to save at least $1.8 billion annually.

For more of the Reuters story:

PortMiami container volume tops 1 million TEUs in FY2015

PortMiami said, working with partner Florida East Coast Railway, it posted an increase of 15 percent in container cargo movements for its 2015 fiscal year with a total of 1,007,800 TEUs during the 12 month period ending September 30, 2015.

Asian trade at PortMiami is on the rise with multiple weekly services from Miami to Asia through three of the world’s four major carrier alliances including the 2M, O3 and G6.

PortMiami is already capturing new trade thanks to more than $1 billion of capital infrastructure projects now completed. PortMiami now offers Super Post-Panamax gantry cranes that can service cargo vessels up to 22-containers-wide and up to nine containers above deck and eleven containers below. Additionally, a new fast access tunnel connects the port directly to the U.S. highway system, providing rapid truck turnaround time.

Investing in on-dock intermodal rail at PortMiami, including 9,000 ft. of linear track (3 x 3000 ft. separate tracks), FECR runs multiple daily trains to and from the port, providing truck-like service. "FECR currently moves around 45,000 containers annually at PortMiami and has the available capacity to handle up to 225,000 boxes yearly," said Jim Hertwig, FECR president and CEO.

U.S. Customs discovers flea beetle at Baltimore port

U.S. Customs agents discovered a beetle inside a shipping container in the port of Baltimore that could have posed a significant agricultural threat, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

The beet flea beetle was found Nov. 12 in a shipment of ceramic tile from Italy by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations. It's identity was confirmed Nov. 25 by a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist.

The jumping beetle chews holes in the leaves of agriculture crops, typically damaging young plants so badly they die.

It was the first time this particular beetle, normally found in a swath across Eurasia from southern Europe to Korea, has been identified and stopped from entering the United States.

For more of the Baltimore Sun story:


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Congress passes 5-year highway bill that resurrects EXIM bank

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a five-year, $305-billion highway bill Dec. 3 that will fund America's roads, bridges and mass-transit systems and revive the charter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank over the protest of conservative Republicans.

In an action President Barack Obama signed last week, the senators voted 83 to 16 to approve the $305 billion legislation after the bill cleared the House of Representatives by 359 to 65.

The new law, paid for with gas tax revenue and a package of $70 billion in offsets from other areas of the federal budget, calls for spending approximately $205 billion on highways and $48 billion on transit projects over the next five years. It also reauthorizes the controversial Export-Import Bank’s expired charter until 2019.

As the first long-term U.S. highway bill in a decade, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, represents a rare victory for bipartisanship in Congress.

"It proves to the American people that we can get things done," said House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican.

The legislation returns the EXIM Bank to operation over conservative opposition that allowed its charter to expire on June 30. The agency, which helps U.S. companies with foreign competitors, would have its charter renewed through Sept. 30, 2019, but with a lower lending limit and other reforms.

"This bill is not perfect, but it is a commonsense compromise, and an important first step in the right direction," Obama said in a statement ahead of the bill signing on Friday. "I look forward to signing this bill right away, so that we can put Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank that helps our companies compete around the world, and give local and state governments and employers the certainty they need to invest and hire for the long term."

For more of the Reuters story:

Insiders say CMA CGM close to making $2.4B offer for NOL

French shipping giant CMA CGM is getting close to making an offer to buy Neptune Orient Lines for about $2.4 billion, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg, consolidating its position in a struggling industry.

CMA CGM plans to offer about $.92 a share in cash for the Singapore-based container line, the people said, asking not to be named ahead of a formal announcement expected soon. Shares of Neptune Orient, Southeast Asia’s biggest container shipping company, were halted from trading pending an announcement, according to a company filing.

A deal would combine Neptune Orient and the world’s third-largest container company, to strengthen their positions against market leaders A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Mediterranean Shipping Co.

Liners have idled about 5 percent of the global fleet, reduced expenses, sold assets and cut employees in an attempt to stem years of losses as sluggish global growth and an oversupply of vessels eat into shipping rates.

Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings Pte. owns about 67 percent of NOL, according to Bloomberg. Buying Temasek’s stake would trigger a mandatory offer for all other shares in the shipping company under local takeover rules.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Port of Baltimore scores 30-year contract with WWL

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a new 30-year contract between the Maryland Port Administration and top RO/RO customer Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.

Roll on/roll off cargo includes everything from cars to heavy farm and construction machinery such as harvesters, combines, excavators, and dump trucks.

"Our entire administration is committed to making Maryland more business friendly, and today we add WWL to our state’s growing list of business success stories," said Governor Hogan. "This new contract, tying WWL’s success to that of the Port of Baltimore for the next three decades, will support nearly 1,000 jobs here in Maryland and is a ringing endorsement of the strength and importance of this partnership."

The new contract replaces an existing 20-year deal between WWL and the port that was due to expire in 2021. The deal supports nearly 1,000 direct jobs at the Port of Baltimore and 1,500 indirect jobs that are generated by WWL business in the state.

WWL has played a large role in developing the Port of Baltimore into the number one auto and RO/RO port in the nation, according to the port. In 2014, Baltimore handled a record 792,000 cars, more than any other U.S. port. It also saw more than 861,000 tons of RO/RO equipment cross its piers.

"Baltimore is WWL’s largest port of business in the Americas, and a gateway to key markets in the U.S. and around the globe," said Raymond Fitzgerald, President – Atlantic at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. "WWL-operated ships call Baltimore nearly 150 times each year to accommodate the needs of our customers — some of the largest top vehicle, heavy machinery and RO/RO shippers in the world."

Port of Virginia announces new BCO chassis billing model

The chassis pool at the Port of Virginia will reportedly be the first in the nation to implement a direct-to-BCO (beneficial cargo owner) billing system, aimed at streamlining the billing process for paying chassis usage fees.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Hampton Roads Chassis Pool II (HRCPII) will put the direct-billing system into service. The ChassisManager system was developed by International Asset Systems. HRCPII is the Virginia Port Authority’s chassis management subsidiary.

"Pooling chassis for common use at The Port of Virginia has generated significant efficiency gains of the last decade," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "Offering BCOs the option to take control of their chassis usage and manage the associated cost is an important step in this progression."

IAS data management and billing rule functionality will be extended to shippers and consignees, whose goods are picked up and delivered on HRCPII chassis, regardless of geographic location. According to the American Journal of Transportation, BCOs will provide ChassisManager with shipment data indicating the moves for which they are responsible for chassis costs, based on their carrier- or merchant-haulage contracts. BCOs will also be able to view their daily chassis rental activity and dispute erroneous events before chassis usage invoices are produced, ensuring accurate billing.

"As the chassis provisioning model has evolved over the last few years, the freight owners’ needs have not always been accommodated," said Art Ellermann, general manager of HRCPII. "By being able to track and bill chassis to the accounts of the beneficial cargo owners, The Port of Virginia serves them better and makes the entire chassis billing cycle more efficient for all."

UP freight train derails in San Antonio

Union Pacific officials say six freight cars have derailed in San Antonio in an accident that dumped loads of coal along the tracks.

Nobody was hurt in the derailment before dawn Friday on the south side of San Antonio. Crews worked to clear the accident site.

UP spokeswoman Calli Hite said the derailment involved a 140-car train bound from Wyoming to Elmendorf, southeast of San Antonio. Four of the derailed cars overturned. The train had a two-person crew.

Hite says the cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

For more of the Austin American Statesman story:


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Capitol Watch: Freight on the FAST Track

By Anna Denecke, Associate, Blakey & Agnew, LLC

On December 4, President Obama signed H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law. The five-year surface transportation bill provides $281 billion in contract authority, paid for with gas tax revenue and a $70 billion transfer from the General Fund of the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund. Pursuant to House rules, the General Fund transfer is paid for through a series of budgetary offsets unrelated to surface transportation.

Setting the FAST Act apart from previous authorizations are two new freight investment programs, funded at a total of $10.8 billion over five years. The FAST Act also establishes the first-of-its-kind national multimodal freight policy, which is reflective of the many modes used by agriculture, retail, and manufacturing to get goods to market.

The FAST Act’s Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program is a megaprojects competitive grant program, funded at $4.5 billion over five years. It bears similarity to MAP-21’s Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS), with a key difference: the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program is funded through Highway Trust Fund contract authority, meaning dollars are guaranteed. PNRS was authorized in MAP-21 for appropriations and was ultimately left unfunded by the lawmakers with jurisdiction over government purse strings.

Large metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, port authorities, and special purpose public authorities with a transportation function are among the entities eligible to apply for funds under the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program. Grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) must be at least $25 million and total project costs should reach at least $100 million. Congress has final say over USDOT project selections and can reject awards, en bloc, by enacting a Joint Resolution.

The majority of funding is available for highway and bridge projects, as well as rail-highway at-grade crossing and grade separation projects. However, $500 million of the total $4.5 billion in the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program can be used on intermodal or freight rail projects on the National Multimodal Freight Network. There is also a 10 percent set-aside for smaller freight projects that do not meet the minimum project size requirement. Lawmakers further specified that 25 percent of funds must go to projects in rural areas.

In addition to establishing the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, the FAST Act creates a freight formula program funded at $6.3 billion over five years. The formula, named the National Highway Freight Program, provides funds to states based on existing apportionment calculations. The number of miles a state has on the Primary Highway Freight System – a new and improved Primary Freight Network – compared to the total national miles on the Primary Highway Freight System dictates how a state can spend formula funds.

The National Highway Freight Program includes a 10 percent set-aside for non-highway specific freight projects. Lawmakers specifically identify freight intermodal or freight rail projects as those that qualify for this 10 percent set-aside.

In addition to providing much-needed freight infrastructure funding, the FAST Act improves upon the existing federal freight policy. Whereas MAP-21 created a highway-focused freight policy, the FAST Act creates a national multimodal freight policy.

Included within this policy is a directive to USDOT to develop a multimodal National Freight Strategic plan within two years of bill passage. The Administration should also designate a National Multimodal Freight Network reflective of all the modes and nodes used to move goods through the supply chain. The National Multimodal Freight Network is not linked to a major funding source, but a map showing network assets is a useful tool for investment decisions by private companies, states, localities, and through other Federal programs available.

Blakey & Agnew, LLC is a public affairs and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC.

CP revises offer to buy Norfolk Southern

Canadian Pacific Railway is expected to revise its offer to purchase Norfolk Southern in order to quell fears of a long regulatory review and put cash earlier in shareholders' hands, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

In its revised bid, CP Rail is expected to offer $32.86 in cash and .451 of a share in a new holding company that would run the two railways independently, compared to its previously rebuffed offer of $46.72 and .348 shares for each Norfolk share, the WSJ reported.

Shareholders could be paid as soon as May, provided the regulators approve a temporary trust structure that would keep the two companies independent as the regulatory process, up to two years long, commences, the WSJ reported.

The article said JPMorgan Chase, CP Rail's banker, has committed $10 billion to finance the merger.

CP Rail, Norfolk Southern and JPMorgan could not be immediately reached for comment outside regular business hours.

Based on the findings of two former Surface Transportation Board commissioners it retained, Norfolk Southern released a report on Monday night saying the merger was "highly unlikely to be approved by the ST."

Norfolk added that the STB would not approve of the merger or a voting trust structure as "neither would be in the public interest" and that its strategic plan to take the company forward is superior to CP Rail's "grossly inadequate and high-risk proposal."

For more of The Wall Street Journal story:

MSC deploys new tariff at U.S. ports

Mediterranean Shipping Company announced a new tariff for calculating container demurrage, detention, and per diem effective December 5, 2015 for all U.S. ports.

Demurrage is the free time that the carrier and terminal provide for a container once it discharges the vessel or arrives at the inland rail dept. Detention is also applied at the terminal or rail depot, and at a higher rate, once the demurrage period has completed. Per diem covers the free time allotted to a container outside of the time it is in the terminal or rail depot. Click here for tariff details.

MSC says the new tariff changes will apply to both import and export containers equally. Previous to the change, MSC’s demurrage and detention arrangements varied by port and terminal throughout the country, while the new tariff will replace inconsistent policies with a standard-level applied throughout the country.

One major change is the termination of the so-called "multi-container rule" that was in effect at certain ports, like Baltimore. In the past, an importer was allotted additional free time at the terminal, per vessel, based on meeting container volume thresholds. This policy will no longer be practiced.

Fitch Ratings: U.S. infrastructure sector to weather changes in 2016

The broader economic climate is poised for some rather significant changes next year that U.S. transportation infrastructure sectors are prepared to weather, according to Fitch Ratings in its 2016 outlook report.

Fitch reports a stable outlook for the sector overall next year. However, the long talked about interest rate hike could happen before the end of 2015, which would lead to higher borrowing costs as transportation bodies green-light new projects. However, "The high ratings and large amount of fixed rate debt would render any ripple effect of higher interest rates modest at worst for transportation infrastructure," said Director Emma Griffith. "Heightened geopolitical challenges in China and elsewhere could also dampen growth prospects for the sector."

U.S. ports will hold stable in 2016, even as shippers and ports pursue increasing consolidation. Managing congestion and increasing freight volumes remains a focus as vessel size and cargo loads continue to grow. The same stable outlook holds true for U.S. airports, with Fitch projecting over 3 percent passenger growth mostly from major market airports. Low fuel prices will also continue to be an ancillary benefit.

Fitch's 2016 outlook for U.S. toll roads is stable thanks largely to the growing U.S. economic recovery and sustained low fuel costs. Facilities nearing the end of extensive capital plans may see positive rating actions if strong performance continues.

The five-year funding bill recently passed by Congress provides longer-term planning certainty for state governments, though a self-sustaining funding source for the Highway Trust Fund remains elusive.

Canada and Mexico to target U.S. for $1B in sanctions over meat labels

Canada and Mexico prepared to target $1 billion worth of U.S. exports after the World Trade Organization authorized the countries on Monday to retaliate against U.S. meat-labeling rules.

A WTO panel set the annual retaliation level at $780 million for Canada and $228 million for Mexico, considerably less than the two nations originally sought.

The conflict stems from a 2009 U.S. requirement that retail outlets label food with information about its origin. Canada and Mexico have argued that country of origin labeling, known as COOL, has led to fewer of their cattle and pigs being slaughtered in the U.S.

Canada will retaliate if the U.S. Senate does not take "immediate action" to repeal COOL for beef and pork, said Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay in a statement.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in June to repeal COOL, but the Senate has not yet voted on it.

For more of the Reuters story:


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Trucking Trends: Highway Bill: Good News, Bad News

By Mark Montague, DAT Solutions

After using a series of short-term extensions to fund the nation’s road and transit spending, President Obama signed a five-year, $305 billion highway bill on Dec. 4. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, paid for with fuel tax revenue and a package of $70 billion in offsets from other areas of the federal budget, contains a number of new regulations that directly affect commercial trucking.

However, the FAST Act is perhaps more notable for what it excludes.

No national carrier hiring standard

One provision that did not survive the legislative process was the National Carrier Hiring Standard, which would have required shippers and third parties that hire trucking companies to check a carrier’s federal safety rating, registration, and insurance coverage before tendering a freight contract.

The standard was supported by groups like the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), which argues that shippers and freight brokers are under increasing pressure to make decisions about whether a trucking company is "safe" based on CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability) scores.

CSA scores aren’t linked to a carrier’s safety fitness rating, which is assigned after a FMCSA audit. Yet the data is sometimes used in court as evidence against a shipper or broker that hires a carrier that may be deemed unsafe.

"Currently, industry stakeholders are often asked to second-guess the FMCSA on determining which carriers are safe to operate and those that are not," the TIA said. A national hiring standard would have defined the type of data that can be used against a negligent hiring case.

CSA scores out of public view

The FAST Act does give shippers and brokers some modicum of protection. The law will remove certain CSA data from public view, including CSA scores and alerts. Out-of-service rates and all inspection and violation information submitted to FMCSA by law enforcement and inspectors will continue to be available.

Other omissions

Other measures were lost to bipartisan compromises necessary to finalize the bill, including increases in liability insurance for carriers. This was a concern because a significant increase in the cost of insurance could hurt small carriers and could even push many of them out of business.

The final law also does not include rules forcing states to allow double 33-foot trailers. Currently, federal laws permit 28-foot double trailers but only 11 states allow double 33-foot trailers. Proposals to allow CDL drivers between the age of 18 and 21 to cross state lines did not survive.

And, as expected, Congress and the president did not increase the 18.4-cent-per-gallon gas tax, which provides most of the money for the highway bill and hasn’t changed since the mid-'90s.

While there’s praise for the passage of long-term funding for the nation’s transportation system, some of that applause is directed at what lawmakers decided to kick to the curb until next time.

Mark Montague is industry rate analyst for DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT® network of load boards and RateView rate-analysis tool. He has applied his expertise to logistics, rates, and routing for more than 30 years. Mark is based in Portland, Ore. For information, visit

Cargo Logistics America conference coverage

OK, so you have technology. How will you use it?

By Richard Knee, CBN contributor

Small and midsize truckers are employing Uber-style platforms to vie with industry titans for business, underscoring that how automation is used is a key to a venture’s success.

That message came through at a pair of technology-focused panel discussions at a logistics conference that Cargo Business News co-sponsored in San Diego.

"After you automate, the next step is, optimize," said Rafael Velasquez, a senior consultant with INFORM GmbH, an Aachen, Germany-based developer of terminal design and operation software.

Uber enables private car drivers and ride-seekers to find each other via the Internet. In a similar vein, companies such as Cargomatic, Shipster, Transfix and Flexport have developed platforms affording Internet matching of shippers and trucks.

Los Angeles-based Cargomatic operates on an asset-sharing basis "proven to work not only in the general economy but in the freight sector," he said. Its platform offers shippers a new way to access capacity "in real time" and at relatively low cost, creates business opportunities for "mom and pop" truckers and provides transit transparency to consignees, company president and co-founder Brett Parker said.

Shipster, based in San Francisco, offers pickups within 50 minutes of locally- to internationally-destined cargoes, chief executive officer Christian Vizcaino said. Through the Web or an iPhone application, a shipper can connect with "hundreds of carriers that can beat the prices of FedEx and UPS. They can also use the Post Office," he said.

The platforms are "leveling the playing field. Independents can compete because of the democratization of technology," said Xochi Adame, marketing and public relations director of Transfix, a New York-based mobile technology brokerage and transportation solutions provider.

Technology enables Flexport, a San Francisco-based customs broker and freight forwarder, to use the same carriers that industry giants like Kuehne + Nagel employ, chief operating officer Sanne Manders said. "It’s not about putting technology on top of the process. It’s about integrating technology so it becomes part of the process," he said.

Technology enabled Global Container Terminals to boost throughput on the ground by 20 percent at its New York facility by uniquely integrating rubber-tired and rail-mounted gantry operations, making both serve the same truck gates, said Richard Ceci, vice president of information technology.

GTC’s is the only terminal at the port that can accommodate megaships because they don’t have to go under the Bayonne Bridge to reach it, he said. "How you put it together is important. Big ships are … driving all of this. Not many ports are ready," he said.

Velasquez suggested using automation "several moves ahead" to anticipate what a terminal will look like. INFORM employs "a core of software based on operations research. There are restrictions to consider at every terminal. At Rotterdam, we’re looking at the entire ship-to-rail chain," he said. At Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ TraPac Terminal in Los Angeles, his company is using a rail-scheduling program called SyncroTRESS to develop a rail crane control system, he said.

Of the 1,000 to 1,500 marine terminals around the world, only 40 are automated, reported Robert Histon, a regional vice president of sales and service with Terex Port Solutions, which provides both hardware and the software that runs it.

Use of automation will accelerate between now and 2030, especially for gate operations and container stacking, he said. Development criteria must include yard safety, costs and productivity, operational factors such as container placement control and tracking, and environmental impact, he said.

"Over the next one to two decades, there will be more competition on price and handling capacity," he said. Fully automated terminals operating 24x7 will be the norm, with batteries and electricity powering autonomous equipment, he said.

Tools such as simulation and emulation can ensure design quality, Histon said.

CMA CGM buying NOL for $2.4 billion

French shipping giant CMA CGM has made a deal to buy Neptune Orient Lines of Singapore for $2.4 billion, excluding debt, the companies said.

CMA CGM will pay $0.93 per share for NOL, which is Southeast Asia’s largest container shipping company.

"At a time when the shipping industry is facing strong headwinds, scale is more critical than ever to capitalize on synergies and capture growth opportunities wherever they arise," Rodolphe Saadé, the vice chairman of CMA CGM, said in a news release.

The combined companies would have revenue of $22 billion and operate 563 vessels, he said.

Ng Yat Chung, the chief executive of Neptune Orient Lines, added that the deal would help his company grow "with the resources of the world’s third-largest shipping line."

The board of Neptune Orient Lines has unanimously approved and recommended the sale. One of the company’s major shareholders, Temasek, the government-backed Singapore investment firm, supports the offer and will tender all of its shares.

"Their complementary strengths will yield mutually beneficial results," Tan Chong Lee, Temasek’s head of portfolio management, said in a news release. "We also note and welcome the commitment of CMA CGM to enhance Singapore’s position as a key maritime hub."

For more of The New York Times story:

Chinese firm may build $1B port in Nova Scotia

China Communications Construction may build a highly automated container terminal in Sydney Harbour, Nova Scotia, depending on the results of a feasibility study to be conducted in 2016, according to Albert Barbusci, CEO of Harbor-Port Development Partners.

Barbusci said the project would cost more than $1 billion and take several years to complete, with operation possibly to start sometime in 2019.

If approved, China Communications Construction has agreed to design and build a container terminal and all related infrastructure around the municipality’s greenfield site in Sydney Harbour, Barbusci said in a telephone interview from Montreal.

Infrastructure could include the rail line, roads and possible business operations that support a container terminal, he said.

Work on a feasibility and design study has already begun and will continue with a site visit by Chinese officials early in the new year, said Barbusci.

For more of the Chronicle Herald story:

Barge loses 25 containers off Palm Beach

The U.S. Coast Guard will search for 25 containers that fell off a barge between Port Canaveral and West Palm Beach on Sunday.

The 340-foot container ship Columbia Elizabeth was en route to Puerto Rico when the 25 containers, carrying batteries, fell overboard. One washed ashore in Port Canaveral.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident and plans to launch an aircraft to begin searching for the containers at sunrise.

For more of the Florida Today story:


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