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Summary for December 12 - December 19, 2011:
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Breaking Story

On the waterfront: Is Occupy the Ports protest losing steam?

The Occupy Wall Street movement is in the midst of its planned protests against ports on the West Coast, Walmart, and financial firm Goldman-Sachs, however, up to 200 protestors have reportedly already been cleared from the Port of Long Beach, while longshore labor and port truckers have refrained from active solidarity.

"I'm just barely getting on my feet again after two years, and now I gotta go a day without pay while somebody else has something to say that I'm not really sure is relevant to the cause," said Chuck Baca, a port trucker in an interview with CNN affiliate KGO.

At the Port of Oakland, approximately half of the 200 total protestors there reportedly blocked trucks from entering this morning at an intersection.

"It pisses me off," said Mark Hebert, a port trucker, to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I am losing money. I don't get paid when I am just sitting here. I've got a truck payment, and insurance payment just like everyone else," he said.

Longshoremen at ports along the Coast who decided not to cross picket lines today are forgoing a day's worth of pay, while some have showed up to work in order to get paid.

"They have some legitimate points and what not, but we are part of the 99 percent and they are stopping us from coming to work," said Tim, a longshoreman who didn't want to give his last name to the Chronicle. "The 1 percent's cargo doesn't come in here. The caviar comes in from Russia first class, not on a slow boat from China," he said.

The, at least, 200 or so Occupiers that descended upon the Port of Long Beach this morning where at least one arrest was made, have since been cleared by law enforcement according to news reports out of the area.

The protesters there were reportedly targeting Goldman Sachs, the big financial firm that has a minority interest in SSA Marine, one of the terminal operators at the port.

Bob Watters, senior vice president for SSA, told CNN that Goldman Sachs owns less than 3 percent of an investment fund that holds minority interest in the Seattle-based company.

At the Port of Portland, two marine terminals were shut down by the port authority in advance of the protests as longshore labor was told to stay home without pay.

Occupy protests that are reportedly still scheduled to take place are at the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Wash., Vancouver, B.C., and Houston, Texas.

There have also been reports of planned Occupy protests at select Walmart distribution facilities in areas like Denver and Salt Lake City. Retail giant Walmart is the largest U.S. importer.

The Cargo Business Newswire will update on today's events as needed.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Story

Occupy the ports movement causes limited disruption

The Occupy Wall Street movement's plan to blockade or shut down ports on the West Coast and another on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday had limited reported impact on cargo operations, although, some terminals ceased activity, and arrests were made by law enforcement.

The day of protests against what the Occupy movement had cited as Wall Street-related entities being behind operations on the working waterfront began in the early morning hours when up to 200 Occupiers reportedly descended upon the Port of Long Beach with at least one arrest made, as the protesters were subsequently cleared out of the area by local police.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and port truckers did not officially join the day's protests, although ILWU President Robert McEllrath said in a statement: "Most of us are tired of seeing a handful of the richest corporations and executives behave as though they're entitled to live like kings at everyone's expense."

Protesters in Long Beach said they were targeting Goldman Sachs, the big financial firm that has a minority interest in SSA Marine, one of the terminal operators at the port.

Bob Watters, senior vice president for SSA, told CNN that Goldman Sachs owns less than 3 percent of an investment fund that holds minority interest in the Seattle-based company.

Just a bit north of Los Angeles, a lawyer was reportedly arrested at the Port of Hueneme for lying down in the road blocking port trucks there.

Moving up the coast to the Port of Oakland where the Occupy the Ports movement germinated in early November, approximately half of the 200 total early-morning protestors there reportedly blocked trucks from entering at an intersection.

Later in the day, the Occupy movement's numbers swelled to a reported 3,000 and marine terminal operators did not order ILWU labor for the night shift as the port's cargo operations were ceased for the second time in under two months due to the same circumstances.

"They're saying, 'Oh, we want to get the attention of the ruling class.' Well, I think the ruling class is probably laughing," said Oakland Mayor Jean Quan at a news conference Monday evening.

"Still, a small group of people are going to hold hostage this port, this city, this economy," Quan said.

Port trucker Lee Ronaldson, who was stalled with a refrigerated cargoload, told the San Francisco Chronicle: "These are children out here, what do they know?" I don't even know what their movement is. All I know is, I'm losing a day's wage."

There were two reported arrests of protesters made at the Port of Oakland in what was reportedly a mostly peaceful demonstration.

In the Pacific Northwest, Occupy protesters were fairly busy, including the Port of Portland, which preemptively closed two of its four marine terminals causing up to a reported 375 ILWU workers going without pay for the day.

Protesters in Portland also reportedly returned later in the day causing the closure of another terminal operation that was in the midst of unloading a vessel.

The Port of Longview, Wash. closed its operations in the face of a reported 100 protesters. Longview's port has been cited by the Occupy movement as one of its inspirations due to a long-running labor dispute there between a multi-national private grain terminal operator and the ILWU.

At the Port of Seattle, there were reports of up to several hundred Occupy protesters attempting to block truck traffic at SSA Marine's cargo operation with 11 arrests made and the use of pepper spray reportedly deployed by Seattle police as that protest wound down peacefully.

There were other, mostly peaceful, protests according to reports out of port cities San Diego, Calif., Tacoma, Bellingham, Wash, Vancouver, B.C., Houston, Texas, and at some Wal-Mart distribution centers in areas like Salt Lake City and Denver.

There were 11 reported arrests of protesters made at the Port of Houston yesterday.

The ports of Seattle and Oakland had announced as of this morning that their freight operations were back to normal.

U.S. retail inched upward in November

The U.S. Census Bureau announced this week that its advance estimates for U.S. retail and food services sales in November hit close to $400 billion, an increase of 0.2 percent over October and 6.7 percent over the same month last year as total sales for the September through November shopping season up 7.4 percent over the same period last year.

Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent from October 2011, and 6.8 percent above last November, with nonstore retail sales up 13.9 percent over the same period last year, the Census Bureau reported.

CMA CGM and OOCL form partnership for New Zealand-Far East trade

Following closely on the heels of the announcement of a partnership in major global shipping trades between France's CMA CGM and Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Company, is today's statement that the French shipping line is partnering with Hong Kong's OOCL on its ANZEX service in the New Zealand to Far East Trade that is effective end of December.
"ANZEX is the only service in the trade to offer direct calls in 4 New Zealand Ports with 2 South Island ports, optimizing opportunities for New Zealand Exporters whilst minimizing their land based costs," said CMA CGM in its press release.
The ANZEX service will cut out a call at Port Kelang on the northbound trade, which the new carrier partners said would shorten transit time between New Zealand and China by 7 days.

On the Southbound loop, the new partnership said it would make alternative calls in Nouméa (New Caledonia) and Suva (Fiji).
The service will deploy 6 ships of 1,800-TEU capacity (5 for CMA CGM and 1 for OOCL) with the following schedule: Hong Kong - Chiwan - Ningbo - Shanghai - Pusan - Suva (Alternative A) - Noumea (Alternative B) - Auckland - Port Chalmers- Lyttelton - Tauranga - Noumea - Hong Kong.

Evergreen introduces weekly intra-Asia service

Citing trade growth and increased capacity demand in the intra-Asia shipping trade, Taiwan's Evergreen Line announced a new weekly Vietnam-Malaysia-Indonesia (VMI) service that commenced in early December.

The new loop is an extension of Evergreen's recently launched PTP-Indonesia (PIS) feeder service to Port Kelang and Ho Chi Minh City that encompasses its Vietnam-Straits Shuttle (VSS) feeder service, the shipping line said in a statement.
Evregreen said the new VMI service turns in 14 days with the 1,164-TEU Ever Apex and 1,038-TEU Uni-Concord with service to Ho Chi Minh City, Kuantan, Tanjung Pelepas, Jakarta, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Kelang and back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Longshoreman killed by RTG at Port of Houston facility

A longshoreman working at the Port of Houston's Barbours Cut Container Terminal was killed last week when he was struck by a 250,000-ton rubber tired gantry crane.

"He was cut in half," said Joe Trevino, vice president of the local International Longshoremen Association in an interview with the Bay Area Citizen.

The longshoreman had reportedly worked at the Port of Houston for 45 years.

For the story source:


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top Story

Occupy shutdown costs Port of Oakland (Includes link to video)

Monday's Occupy Wall Street protest at the Port of Oakland virtually shut it down, causing the loss of millions of dollars of revenue, according to port officials and truckers. A port official said Monday's loss was in the range of $4 to $8 million, more when all associated wages, taxes and import-export revenue are taken into account.

Occupy demonstrators protested at the entrances, halting operations altogether at three of seven port terminals, and disrupting the routine at another three. Longshoremen and other dock employees were unable to handle cargo, causing truckers significant delays in pick-up and delivery.

The port official said the protest harmed some of the members of the 99 percent the movement was trying to protect. Truckers said they lost $500 to $1,000 each, and could be charged fees of up to $100 a day when cargo is delivered late. Up to 2,000 union longshoremen, who make up to $200K annually, were unable to perform their jobs in full at the Port of Oakland on Monday.

- Mercury News Read the full story:

h3>Charleston port deepening delayed to 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said the deepening of the Port of Charleston is unlikely to happen until 2024. The project must receive federal approval before proceeding, which first requires the completion of a 5- to 8-year feasibility study that is just now beginning.

2024 is too late, according to port, business and political officials. The deepening of the port facilities is crucial to the creation of jobs and to capitalize on the increase in U.S. exports shipped in larger vessels after the expanded Panama Canal opens in summer 2014.

Charleston's need for a 50-foot-deep shipping channel is key to its successful competition with the Port of Savannah, which is nearing the end of its 15-year effort to plan for the deepening of the Savannah River, shared by the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Although the plan has faced environmental challenges, it has cleared needed approvals from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and expects a final environmental impact statement to be issued in the coming months.

- The Post and Courier

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Retail association nudges U.S. toward Trans Pacific Partnership

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) submitted testimony to the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, urging the U.S. to negotiate an ambitious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.

The agreement would facilitate trade and investment by dropping trade barriers, lowering business costs, and syncing rules among TPP partners. It would also include rigorous protections for intellectual property.

The recommendation focuses on a new framework for the regulation of trade in apparel and footwear through ongoing TPP negotiations with the countries of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade reviewed the TPP negotiations and potential benefits for U.S. companies, workers and farmers, including the elimination of barriers to trade.

RILA and other associations created the TPP Apparel Coalition to advocate the update of the U.S. position on apparel trade, to make it more flexible and simple.

"RILA supports open economic engagement and free enterprise, including in apparel trade. Open competition in apparel creates healthier industries in both the United States and in our trading partners," said Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade. "It is time for U.S. trade policy to reflect the commercial reality that globally-competitive American apparel producers and retailers have embraced international trade and have created global value chains that increasingly depend on the free flow of goods across borders."

Caterpillar Inc is still in talks to sell its logistics business, but announced Tuesday that economic uncertainty has caused a delay in sealing the deal.

The company's strategic review of its third-party logistics concern won't be done until the end of the year, and the subsequent decision, after an assessment of current market trends, will likely be made in the first quarter of 2012.

Caterpillar broached a possible sale of its logistics business in March 2011, hiring Bank of America Merrily Lynch and Robert W. Baird and Co as advisors in the process. TPG Capital, Centerbridge Partners and BC Partners were the final competitors in what will likely be a $1 billion sale.

- Reuters

Read the full story:

Paul Allen courts space travel

Paul Allen launched a space travel business on Tuesday that will involve the construction of "the largest aircraft ever constructed." The Microsoft co-founder is forwarding a vision in which private industry steps in where the federal government left off.

The big carrier jet will have its maiden test voyage in 2015, and the test rocket launch from the plane will occur a year later. The plan is to ship commercial payloads by 2020, and ultimately add passenger flights.

The aircraft will be a twin-fuselage, composite-plastic plane that uses systems from two 747s and will be powered by six jumbo-jet engines. It will fly to an altitude of 30,000 feet before a rocket slung underneath its wing soars into orbit.

- The Seattle Times

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top Story

United Maritime Group explores sale

United Maritime Group, the dry bulk transportation and terminal service company, may be looking for buyers. Owners Greenstreet Equity Partners and Jeffries private equity firm is exploring a private sale, according to anonymous industry insiders.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is advising the company, which could attract 7 to 8 times its EBITDA valuation from interested private equity firms. In 2010, United Maritime Group reported $323.5 million in revenue and an operating income of $10.0 million.

Although sources say the company is not in trouble, the possible sale comes at a time when many shipping companies are restructuring or filing bankruptcy, as General Maritime did in November.

United Maritime Group had no comment.


Read the full story:

World Fuel sees 31 percent profit as ship owners struggle

World Fuel Services Corp, which provides 12 percent of the fuel used by struggling merchant vessels, will report a 31 percent gain in net income for 2011. Brokers are recommending a buy on the publicly traded Miami-based company, in anticipation of the stock price rising to $47.40 over the next year, a 12 percent increase.

The cargo capacity of oil tankers, container ships and dry-bulk carriers doubled to 1.3 billion deadweight tons in 15 years, according to the world's biggest shipbroker, Clarkson Plc. The overcapacity caused shipping rates to drop, resulting in losses and bankruptcies for shipping companies. It also caused annual fuel sales up to a record $130 billion, according to Bloomberg.


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Biggest ships ever to join Asia-Europe route

After a year of overcapacity that caused a 50 percent decline in cargo rates on the Asia-Pacific route, 42 of the biggest ships ever built will enter the market in 2012.

The addition of these 42 mega-ships, which hold more than 13,000 containers, will boost the total number on the seas to 100. They can only be used on the Asia-Europe routes, since U.S. ports cannot yet accommodate their size.

Mediterranean Shipping Co. and partner CMA CGM SA will receive 21 ships, boosting their combined fleet to 49. Asian lines will have a total of 26 mega-vessels by the end of 2012, which means they'll be using smaller, less fuel-efficient ships to compete with the partnership and A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S for the Asia-Europe business.

- Bloomberg Businessweek

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Rouen port to dredge the Seine River

The largest grain-export hub in Europe, France's port of Rouen, will deepen the Seine River shipping channel over the next four years to allow handymax and supramax sized vessels to call at the port.

The first phase will dredge the Seine from the English Channel to an Exxon Mobil refinery 16 miles upriver.

The project will increase the channel to 38.4 feet to allow up to 58,000-metric-ton vessels to call at the port, at a cost of around $242 million. Enlarging the shipping channel will facilitate transport of oil products and agricultural commodities.

- Bloomberg Businessweek

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Starbucks "cargotecture"

The newest Seattle Starbucks is constructed of four used cargo containers stacked two high.

The architecture of the drive-through coffee shop is fitting for its industrial locale in the neighborhood near Boeing Field.

- KOMO News

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Top Story

House looks to 2012 for transportation bill

By Elaine Nessle, CBN's Capitol Watch contributor and senior associate, Blakey & Agnew, LLC

Despite best intentions and earlier reports, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will not be considering a long-term transportation bill in 2011. During a speech on November 30, Chairman of the Committee John Mica (R-FL) said that considering a bill in January would allow plenty of time before the March 31 surface transportation authorization extension expiration. "You've got to have a deadline," Mica said. "It's like high school students, they put off the paper until the last minute and then they do an all-nighter."

Despite extending the bill's timeline, members of the House have rallied support for a long-term transportation authorization. In November Congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY) and Reid Ribble (R-WI) gathered the signatures of 120 House Republicans on a letter to House leadership that urged a multiyear transportation authorization. Congressmen John Carney (D-DE), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA) gathered a bipartisan group of 111 Members of the House and wrote a letter to President Obama asking for his support of the same. Both letters cited a multitude of economic benefits the nation stands to gain as justification for a long-term plan.

The House is currently scheduled to be in session six days during the month of January, so it is unlikely a House bill will see floor time until February.

Meanwhile, the Senate has been trudging on to pull together the various pieces necessary for a complete surface transportation authorization in their chamber. The Senate is still planning to move a two-year bill, funded at current levels that are indexed to reflect inflation. While the Environment and Public Works Committee has approved their portion of the bill (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21), the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the Committee on Finance all need to markup their own portions. Before any of these pieces can move to the Senate floor, the Senate Committee on Finance must find an additional $12 billion in offsets to pay for the surface transportation authorization.

A contentious markup of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation portion of the surface transportation authorization resulted in approval of the bill by a party-line vote of 13-11. The cause of contention was a title containing provisions for freight policy development and infrastructure investment grants put forward by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and an amendment offered by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), which would establish an Office of Freight Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Committee Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) filed an amendment to strike Senator Lautenberg's freight provisions, but her amendment was defeated in a separate party-line vote, and thus the freight title, along with Senator Cantwell's amendment, will move to the Senate floor once all portions of the surface transportation authorization are reported out of their respective committees.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released the list of projects that have been awarded Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants in the program's third round, TIGER III. The original notice of funding availability was issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation on August 12, and while TIGER III awards are not expected to be named until the spring of 2012, President Obama issued a directive in November that awards must be named prior to the end of 2011. Of the 848 applications received for a total value of $14.29 billion, 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico received a total of $511 million. In mid-November Congress authorized another $500 million for the next round of TIGER Grants, to be solicited in 2012.

Senators call Pentagon to task for $720 mil in container late fees

A trio of U.S. senators wanted an update from the Pentagon on whether costs have been curbed since a USA Today story in August that reported the military has spent $720 million in container late fees over the past ten years.

Sens. Tom Carpenter of Delaware, Tom Coburn, Oklahoma, and Scott Brown, Massachusetts queried Ashton Carter, undersecretary of the Pentagon, in a letter regarding the millions spent on the container detention fees when the steel boxes packed with military equipment sent to global war zones are not returned to shipping companies before the grace period ends.

The penalty to the U.S. military for not returning twenty-foot equivalent containers on time can reportedly reach up to $7,400 per unit even if the cargoload's value is $3,200.

"For the Department of Defense to waste hundreds of millions of scarce taxpayer dollars as a result of late fees and poor contracting is unacceptable," Sen. Carper said in the letter.

The Senators have called for a report by the Pentagon on the container late fee matter by January 30.

For the full USA Today story:

Hyundai to expand terminal at Port of L.A.

South Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Los Angeles to expand its terminal operations footprint to a new 200-acre facility - dubbed the Pier 500 project.

City of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the MOU with HMM on a recent trade mission to Korea.

"I am proud of the fact that Hyundai Merchant Marine has confidence in our relationship and our port, and is committed to investing in the Pier 500 project and the Port's long-term future," the Mayor said in a statement.

Mayor Villaraigosa has promised an investment of $1.4 billion in Port of L.A. infrastructure over the next five years.

The port said the new HMM operation, which could reportedly be a decade away from opening, would feature an automated terminal for cargo loading and unloading in addition to on-dock rail.

The recently signed free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea could reportedly add $10 to $12 billion to annual U.S. gross domestic product.

Port of Everett handles components for Boeing's 1,000th 777

The Port of Everett unloaded fuselage skin panels manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from a cargo vessel and subsequently loaded the oversized containers onto rail cars bound for Boeing's nearby factory where the 1,000th 777 will be constructed.

For the full Everett Herald story:

Following closely on the heels of Monday's West Coast-wide Occupy the Port protest that produced a partial shut-down of the Port of Oakland that reportedly cost at least $4 million in lost economic activity, the city council there is trying to push through a resolution in order "to use whatever tools we have" to try and prevent another potential occurrence.

"I think it's embarrassing for the city, for the mayor, for the port and for the council to keep saying that we're not going to let this happen, but then it happens anyway," said Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.

For the full Oakland Tribune story:

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