Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for December 14 - December 18, 2009:
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Top Story

Busiest shipping day of year for USPS

The U.S. Postal Service announced that today is its busiest mailing day of the year, with more than 830 million pieces of mail entering the system.

Today’s mailing volume represents an increase of more than 40 percent in the average daily volume of 583 million pieces of mail. USPS said.

“Bring on the rush – we are ready to deliver,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, deputy Postmaster General and chief operating officer.

The Postal Service said it uses 192,000 vehicles to transport holiday mail, including 142,000 half-ton trucks.

Holiday shoppers have until Dec. 21 for First-Class Mail and Priority Mail items, the Post Office said. For last-minute shoppers, the Postal Service recommends Dec. 23 as the last day to mail Express Mail packages.

One-way customers can save time during the holiday shipping rush is by using Automated Postal Centers (APCs), the Post Office said. The APC works like an ATM and is billed as “a virtual, stand-alone Post Office.” The APC dispenses stamps, weighs packages and calculates postage for Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Parcel Post items. There are 2,500 APCs in Post Office lobbies across the country.

The Post Office also encouraged customers to ship online using the Postal Service’s website,

Georgia-South Carolina agency meets today on $500 mil Savannah River port project

The joint Georgia-South Carolina agency building a $500 million port on the Savannah River is meeting to review progress on the massive project.

The board of the Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office meets Monday in Charleston to discuss the work.

The states are cooperating to build a shipping terminal on the South Carolina side of the river just downstream from Savannah, Ga.

Board members are getting an update on managing the silt dredged from the river shipping channel and are electing new officers for the coming year.

-WJBF-TV/AP Exchange

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Pennsylvania DOT awards $24.5 mil to freight rail projects

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently awarded a total of $24.5 million in grants to 39 railroads and rail shippers through the Rail Freight Capital Budget and Transportation Assistance and Rail Freight Assistance programs. Proceeds will be used to rehabilitate or construct freight-rail infrastructure.

The state will provide $15 million from the capital budget program and $9.5 million from the freight-rail assistance program.

-Progressive Railroading

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Seattle and state ready for possible battle over $4.2 bil traffic waterfront tunnel project

If Washington state has its way, construction crews will start drilling a 54-foot wide traffic tunnel beneath this city's prime waterfront in 2011 to replace an earthquake-damaged freeway. But the $4.2 billion project is already rattling local politics and deepening fault lines over competing visions for Seattle's future.

The debate over the tunnel project -- one of the biggest of its kind in the U.S. -- is likely to pick up next month, when new Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn takes office. The environmental activist made his opposition to the tunnel the signature issue of much of his campaign. But in the final weeks before the election, he backed away from a threat to stop the project. That likely helped him win support from voters who wanted the tunnel, a project led by the state and backed by the city council and much of its business community.


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Maersk Oil opens new logistics facility in Qatar

Maersk Oil has expanded its operations in Qatar with a new logistics facility, which was launched this week in partnership with Venture Gulf Group (Oil & Gas Division).

The facility, which measures 34,000sqm, is located in Salwa Industrial Area and will serve as a base for Maersk Oil’s onshore operations related to the development of Al Shaheen, Qatar’s largest offshore oil field.

-Arabian Supply Chain

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top Story

NOL cargo up, earnings down

The world’s fifth-largest container shipping line has produced the strongest evidence yet of rebounding demand in the sector.

Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines said on Monday it carried 23 per cent more cargo in the four weeks to November 13 than in the same period last year.

However, the figures from Nol suggest that the industry remains far from a general return to profitability.

APL, Nol’s shipping arm, earned 28 per cent less per container shipped in the four weeks than in the equivalent period last year, when the company was already making losses.

-Financial Times

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FedEx boosts profit estimate

FedEx Corp. late Monday raised its outlook for second-quarter earnings thanks to increased demand for its international shipping services as well as the company's cost-cutting efforts.

FedEx boosted its profit target to $1.10 a share from its previous estimate of 65 cents to 95 cents a share. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company earned $1.58 a share in the same quarter a year ago.


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Con-Way to continue expansion throughout 2010

Con-way Truckload Regional, the short-haul subsidiary of the American freight giant Con-way Inc., has announced that it is to expand its regional service with increased operations across ten U.S. states from January next year.

The company states it is to add 300 trucks to its fleet by the end of 2010 and plans significant growth in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin,

Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

-Handy Shipping Guide

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IBM lands AP Moller IT hosting, support contract

IBM today announced that AP Moller-Maersk AS has extended its agreement with IBM for the provision of IT hosting and support services with the signing of a new agreement valid until 2014.

The new contract was signed in November 2009 and extends a 5 year agreement signed in 2007. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

-Trading Markets

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Somali pirate booty creates stark division of wealth

The influx of millions of dollars in ransoms has changed life in this coastal Muslim community, driving prices up and creating a schism between the pirate haves and have-nots. As piracy ramps up again with the end of the monsoon season, the lifestyle of the pirates — big houses, fast cars and easy drugs — is decried by both religious leaders and ordinary villagers.

Just last month, pirates were paid a reported $3.3 million to release 36 crew members from a Spanish vessel held hostage for more than six weeks. Pirates stand to make tens of thousands from the payment, money that will pulse through the community in gifts, loans and payments to family, friends and businessmen.

-ABC News/AP

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top Story

Baltimore lands BMW business

The Port of Baltimore, Maryland announced BMW has signed a five-year contract to bring 50,000 new vehicles annually through the port in the first quarter of 2010.

The port authority said BMW would use the Mercedes-Benz vehicle-processing center at the Fairfield/Masonville auto terminal.

“This is very welcome news for the Port of Baltimore’s auto business and for the hard-working men and women who work at the Port everyday,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

U.S.-bound BMW vehicles currently ship through the Port of Charleston in South Carolina. BMW has said the deal will help with shipping logistics and will be more cost-efficient. The Port of Baltimore is the closest East Coast port to the Midwest.

The Port of Baltimore said it handled about 400,000 autos for its 2009 fiscal year, down approximately 32 percent from the previous year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Story

FedEx earnings fell 30 percent in Q2

FedEx Corp. said Thursday its fiscal second-quarter earnings fell to $345 million, or $1.10 a share, from $493 million, or $1.58 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 10% to $8.6 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet Research were looking for earnings of $1.05 a share, on average, in the most recent quarter. For the third quarter, the Memphis shipping company forecast earnings in the range of 50 cents to 70 cents a share, versus the Wall Street consensus of 83 cents a share.


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Ports America 50-year lease approved for Baltimore terminal

The state Board of Public Works approved Wednesday a 50-year lease that will allow a private company to manage operations at the port of Baltimore. Officials say the deal will generate at least $1.3 billion and 5,700 new jobs.

As part of the agreement, Ports of America Group will create a 50-foot-deep berth and purchase four cranes to help prepare Seagirt Marine Terminal for larger cargo ships that are expected after widening of the Panama Canal is completed in about four years.

-Baltimore Sun

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A.P. Moller-Maersk to sell ferry unit for $498 mil

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk will sell its Norfolkline ferry unit to Denmark's DFDS for cash and shares worth about 346 million euros ($498 million), the companies said on Thursday.

Under the deal, Maersk will get a 31 percent stake in ferry operator DFDS and 170 million euros in cash, Maersk and DFDS said separately.


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MOL to raise Asia-U.S. rates

Japan’s shipping group MOL announced a general rate increase (GRI) for ocean freight from Asia to the U.S., effective January 15.

The GRI will be $320 per-TEU, $400 per-FEU, $450 for 40-foot high cube containers, and $505 for 45-foot standard containers from Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand to all destinations in the U.S., the carrier said.

The GRI will also apply from Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand to all destinations in Mexico via the U.S. West Coast, and excludes Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, the carrier said.