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Summary for December 15 - December 19, 2008:
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Monday, December 15, 2008

California air board sets strict diesel limits

In what will be the nation’s strictest emissions restrictions so far, the California Air Resources Board Dec. 12 adopted two critical regulations directly aimed at cleaning up harmful emissions from the estimated 1 million heavy-duty diesel trucks that operate in California.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, the Statewide Truck and Bus rule will require truck owners to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014. Owners must also replace engines older than the 2010 model year according to a staggered implementation schedule that extends from 2012 to 2022.

Also adopted was the Heavy Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction measure, which requires long-haul truckers to install fuel efficient tires and aerodynamic devices on their trailers that lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy.

Heavy-duty big rigs are the largest remaining source of unregulated diesel emissions, responsible for 32% of the smog-forming emissions and nearly 40% of the cancer-causing emissions from diesel mobile sources, the air board said.

To help truck owners upgrade their vehicles, the state is offering more than a billion dollars in funding opportunities, including Carl Moyer grants, Proposition 1B funds, and AB 118 funds.


California Air Resources Board


Port of Miami tunnel project canceled

The Florida Dept. of Transportation Dec. 12 announced that the $1.7 billion Port of Miami tunnel project, which would have diverted truck traffic from downtown streets by connecting truck traffic from the port directly to I-395, has been canceled.

A public/private partnership between the department, Miami-Dade County, the city of Miami, and Miami Access Tunnel (MAT), a private consortium, was awarded the contract in February 2008.

Shares for MAT’s primary equity partner, the Australian investment consortium Babcock & Brown, have lost nearly all their value on the stock market recently.

“We are obviously disappointed we could not bring this project to close,” said Gus Pego for the Florida DOT.

“I applaud our local partners for coming to the table and providing the funding to go forward. However, I also recognize that our private partners are experiencing the effects of these difficult economic times,” Pego continued.


Port of Miami


Two alliances merge Asia-Med services

The Grand Alliance (GA) carriers — Hapag-Lloyd, MISC Berhad, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and Orient Overseas Container Line — Dec. 12 announced a revised Asia–W. Mediterranean service (EUM), which will include the New World Alliance (NWA) lines — APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine, and MOL.

The NWA will join the GA’s EUM service from Dec. 23 to offer better market coverage including Busan and Valencia.

The EUM will be continued with eight ships of about 6,000-TEU size. The NWA will provide two ships, and the GA will provide six.

Chiwan will be added to the existing EUM service.

The new rotation is Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan, Shekou, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Klang, Jeddah, Damietta, Genoa, Fos, Barcelona, Valencia, Damietta, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Busan.

“The service changes have been made to ensure a stable service network and to provide better coverage for our customers,” commented Hapag-Lloyd.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Corpus Christi signs MOU for terminal

The Port of Corpus Christi Authority and Zachry American Infrastructure Inc. Dec. 9 announced the signing of a Strategic Memorandum of Understanding related to the development of the La Quinta Trade Gateway Container Terminal, one of the port’s most strategic projects for diversification of cargo.

Port authorities said the MOU “provides a framework for exploring the feasibility of various options, assessing the potential economic and financial viability of the project, and entering into a definitive agreement by Dec. 31, 2009.”

Under the terms of the MOU, the Port of Corpus Christi and Zachry American will engage in discussions with shipping lines, port operators, financial institutions, and other private sector companies interested in investing or participating in the design, financing, construction, and operation of the project.

As part of the agreement, the port will dredge the La Quinta Channel extension (approx. 7,200 ft.) to the current U.S. Corps of Engineers permitted depth of 40 ft. and will apply for a permit to deepen the extension to 45 ft.


Port of Corpus Christi Authority


Six ASEAN members sign trade agreements

The Economic Ministers of six Southeast Asian nations — Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei — signed three trade agreements Dec. 16 in Singapore, covering trade in goods, investment, and services, paving the way towards a single market.

The nations decided to proceed with the signing rather than wait for a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was delayed by recent anti-governments protests in Thailand, the current chair of ASEAN.

The Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry called the signing a “landmark occasion for ASEAN.”

The signing of these agreements “signals ASEAN Member States’ dedication towards economic integration, a significant step at a time when ensuring the economic stability and vibrancy of the region is crucial,” the Ministry said.

The three agreements include the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, to reduce tariffs on traded goods and to provide a clear framework of custom procedures.


Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry


ATA releases report on trucking trends

The American Trucking Associations Dec. 16 announced the release of “American Trucking Trends 2008-2009,” an annual state of the industry report that includes information on U.S. truck tonnage, employment numbers, freight revenues, engine sales, modal share, and international trucking.

Topics explored also include safety statistics, top trailer manufacturers, highway-user taxes, U.S. motor carrier size and distribution, trucking employment by state, fuel consumption, and emissions data

“This report highlights the essential role that safe, reliable, and efficient motors carriers play in our nation’s economy,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO.

In 2007, there were 8.9 million people employed in trucking-related jobs; nearly 3.5 million were truck drivers, according to the report. Trucks transported 57.8% of the value of trade between the U.S. and Canada, up 3.4% from the previous year, and transported 66.2% of the value of trade between the U.S. and Mexico, up 4.8%.

In 2006, trucks consumed 53.9 billion gallons of fuel for business purposes and paid $37.4 billion in federal and state highway-user taxes. Commercial trucks make up 12.5% of all registered vehicles, but paid 36.5% of total highway-user taxes in 2006.


American Trucking Associations


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Houston awards Jacobs port contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. Dec. 16 announced that it has received a contract from the Port of Houston Authority to provide program management services for the second phase of their $1.4 billion Bayport Terminal project.

The Port of Houston is a 25-mile-long multimodal complex of diversified public and private facilities.

Jacobs will manage and coordinate the planning, design, and construction for $300 million of improvements at the Bayport terminal, including expansions of the containership wharf and container yards, an intermodal freight yard, a container freight station, and various other roadway and rail facilities.

“We are pleased to serve the Port of Houston in this major capital undertaking,” said Robert M. Clement, Jacobs Group vice president. “Our port and maritime experience spans the globe, and this multi-year assignment gives us a chance to share global best practices locally.”

Officials did not disclose the contract value.


Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.


PortVanUSA issues bonds for Terminal 5

The Port of Vancouver USA Dec. 11 announced that it has successfully issued $32.55 million in General Obligation Bonds [Alternative Minimum Tax] for the purchase of its new Terminal 5 facility. The bonds were issued to institutional and retail markets.

“In terms of the market, this was a successful sale,” said Maggie Smith, director of finance and accounting. “Although the entire $40 million issue was not sold, this sale provides enough cash toward the purchase price of Terminal 5.”

Terminal 5 is the property that formerly held the Alcoa and Evergreen Aluminum operations. Evergreen Aluminum recently completed its demolition and cleanup of the property and has received acceptance of its cleanup from the Dept. of Ecology.

Alcoa’s demolition, and environmental remediation, is also nearly complete.

The port expects to close the purchase of the Evergreen property by the end of January 2009. Alcoa’s closing appears to be set for the end of March 2009.

Funds from the bond could also be used for construction of rail facilities for the port’s West Vancouver Freight Access project, if needed, port authorities said.


Port of Vancouver USA


Seattle, Dalian ports join in EcoPartnership

The Port of Seattle and the Port of Dalian, one of the largest in China, have joined together with other public and private sector partners in an EcoPartnership to advance environmental and economic sustainability.

U.S. and Chinese officials met in Seattle Dec. 15 to celebrate the partnership.

After China and the U.S. normalized trade relations, the first visit of a Chinese merchant vessel to an American port in three decades was to the Port of Seattle.

“Nearly 30 years after Seattle played a key role resuming trade with China, I’m proud that we can build on these strong economic and cultural ties through global sustainability,” said Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle CEO.

“This is a strong step toward the international cooperation our green port strategy requires,” said John Creighton, Port of Seattle Commission president.

Other participants in the EcoPartnership include the city of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Utilities, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Puyallup Indian Tribe, and SSA Marine.

The EcoPartnership will last a minimum of three years and will include examinations of marine terminal planning, construction management, liner development, railway transportation, oil spill response technologies, and more.


Port of Seattle


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two freight trains collide, derail in Minnesota

Two Canadian Pacific Railway freight trains collided yesterday, derailing 26 cars and plunging a locomotive into the Mississippi River, authorities said. No serious injuries were reported.

The trains crashed about 5:30 a.m. near Dresbach in southeastern Minnesota. The cause of the two trains colliding is under investigation, said Mike LoVecchio, spokesman for Canadian Pacific in Calgary, Alberta. Thirteen cars from each train derailed.

One freight train carried three locomotives, three loaded cars, and 90 empty cars. The second, shorter train, called a “yard switcher,” had two locomotives and 15 cars loaded with fertilizer, LoVecchio said.

Three cars were leaking liquid nitrogen, a farm fertilizer, but the material was contained around the cars and was not reaching the river, LoVecchio said.

One rail car hit a 1,000-gal. propane tank attached to a switching station, which caused a small leak that was stopped by early afternoon, authorities said.

The trains were traveling toward each other on the single track, although it’s not clear why, said Joyce Tlougan, deputy director of Winona County Emergency Management.


Canadian Pacific Railway


Charleston cuts box fees 5%

The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) Dec. 17 announced that it will implement a 5% across-the-board rate discount for three months for container carrier customers.

The SCSPA’s “Mid-Winter Rate Roll-Back” will take effect Jan. 1 and extend through March 31 to provide near-term relief to customers impacted by the current global economic situation.

“Our carrier customers are facing some very challenging market conditions,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the SCSPA. “We heard from them and we’re responding. This sends a clear signal that we are serious about their business today and in the future.”

Port authorities said the action is aimed at maintaining the viability of current service levels from its carrier clients, avoiding cuts that would negatively affect the local maritime industry and jobs statewide.

“The entire Charleston maritime community is committed to keeping existing business while bringing in new accounts,” said Groseclose. “One way to show our commitment is to provide some relief and reduce rates.”

Through the first five months of the current fiscal year (July-November), Charleston’s container business was off 4% from the same period last year.


South Carolina State Ports Authority


Adolf Adrion retires after 51 years

Hapag-Lloyd Dec. 17 announced that executive board member Adolf Adrion — in a career that took him from ship’s boy to the executive board — is retiring at the end of the year after more than 51 years with the company.

Approximately 200 invited guests, including customers, partners, and vendors from all over the world, attended the official farewell.

“Adolf Adrion is leaving us as a shipping expert who put his excellent expertise and experience in the service of Hapag-Lloyd for more than 50 years and also assumed many honorary posts in the maritime industry,” said Michael Behrendt, chairman of the executive board of Hapag-Lloyd AG.

“It was only fitting that he was accepted into the Maritime Hall of Fame this year,” added Behrendt.

After attending navigation school, Adrion started his career as a deck boy on a Hapag general cargo ship in August 1957. He acquired his master’s certificate in 1966 and then served as 1st officer.

He became a member of the executive board in July 2006 and has been responsible for the operative shipping area since June 2008.

Adrion is convinced that one thing has remained unchanged despite all the innovations: “The technology has improved, but the business continues to be determined by personal relationships.”




Friday, December 19, 2008

Maersk Line to leave Charleston

Maersk Line, the South Carolina State Ports Authority’s largest shipping customer, Dec. 18 announced that it will leave the Port of Charleston no later than Dec. 31, 2010, when its current contract expires.

Additionally, Maersk Line informed the SCSPA that it will move one service, the South Atlantic Express, representing roughly 25% of Maersk Line’s total number of port calls in Charleston, to other nearby ports in early 2009. 

“Bearing the cost disadvantage between our situation in the Port of Charleston and that of our competitors in the common yard is unsustainable,” said Dana Magliola, spokesman for Maersk Line. “It would be unfair to our shareholders, customers, and our employees to continue to operate in this environment.”

“The South Carolina State Ports Authority offered us a workable solution that involved a move into the common yard, but we needed the consent of local ILA to accomplish the move,” said Magliola. “The local ILA refused to consent, and so we are forced to move.” 

The International Longshoremen’s Association has not commented since the announcement.


Maersk Line


Feds delay Clean Trucks fee again

The Federal Maritime Commission has delayed again — for at least another 45 days — implementation of the $35-per-container Clean Trucks Program fee at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The fee would be used to help finance the replacement of thousands of polluting cargo trucks.

The commission said it needs more information about the “likely competitive impact of the agreement on transportation costs and services.”

“This ruling by just two of three FMC commissioners — made again behind closed doors — is a misuse of the FMC’s administrative process to stop the implementation of our Clean Trucks Program,” said Geraldine Knatz, Port of Los Angeles executive director.

“This truck financing fee is a critical, long-planned part of our Clean Trucks Program to protect the public health and improve air quality and security,” said Richard D. Steinke, Port of Long Beach executive director.

The Clean Trucks Program is a comprehensive environmental, safety, and security initiative that immediately bans trucks built before 1989, the first year of diesel pollution control, and by 2012, bars any truck that doesn’t meet the cleanest 2007 emission standards.

When fully implemented, the Clean Trucks Program will remove more than 16,000 diesel trucks from the roads and reduce harmful emissions by 80%, according to the ports.


Federal Maritime Commission


Port, rail reach prelim agreement

The Port of Vancouver USA and BNSF Railway Co. Dec. 18 announced that they have reached a preliminary agreement for a historic transaction facilitating the construction of the port’s $137 million West Vancouver Freight Access project.

Final agreements and Port Commission approval are pending.

BNSF has tentatively agreed to sell nearly 17 acres of railroad right-of-way and donate approximately $6 million of accompanying rail infrastructure to the port to allow the construction of the port’s preferred rail alignments. As a part of the deal, the port will finish construction of the project by the end of 2017.

Port customers now use more than 57,000 rail cars annually. Recent studies forecast that rail use at the port could grow to as much as 160,000 rail cars per year when the project is complete and operating, port authorities said.

The port will be delivering more than 600 acres of new space for marine and industrial use over the next 10-15 years, effectively doubling its size. Seventy percent of the port’s cargo is currently moved by rail, a number that’s expected to grow to more than 80% upon completion of the project.


Port of Vancouver USA


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