Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for December 17, 2012 - December 21, 2012:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top Story

JP Morgan Chase submits bid to run Hampton Roads with Maher Terminals

Wall Street giant JP Morgan Chase has added its port privatization bid to compete with groups vying to run the terminals at the Virginia Port Authority.

Two proposals to take over terminal operations at Hampton Roads were submitted in early December. One was from APM Terminals, which was expected. The second was from Virginia Port Partners, which is comprised of JPMorgan IIF Acquisitions LLC and Maher Terminals of New Jersey. The JP Morgan-Maher offer includes developing Craney Island to help increase the port's long-term container business. The proposal has refocused officials on a once promising project that lost purpose in recent years.

"[The offer] is "surprisingly good," state Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton said. "It took us all aback."

Virginia Port Partners says its proposal is worth $3.1 billion with an upfront "concession fee" of $400 million. That seemingly ranks it behind APM's proposal, which is valued at $3.8 billion and includes $395 million up front.

But port officials said both offers will be considered seriously as they determine whether to switch from the VPA's nonprofit affiliate, Virginia International Terminals, which has been running the facilities for 30 years, to a private operator.

For more of the Virginia-Pilot story:

Report: Global freight trade slowing

Recent freight data indicates that global trade is slowing down, states a recent report. The statistics demonstrate that both U.S. and EU external trade, measured in tons of goods moved, remain stalled and have dropped to lower levels since last quarter.

The "December 2012 Statistics Brief" from the International Transport Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also shows and that EU air imports have fallen below levels in the first quarter of 2010, which means domestic demand is weakening.

U.S. and EU trade by sea has remained stagnant, the report says, according to estimates of goods carried up to August 2012. Total exports remain above pre-recession levels, with U.S exports 8 percent higher and the EU 23 percent higher, although exports to Asia are slowing. Total imports have stalled below pre-recession levels.

China's external trade also remains flat, the report says, although the Asian nation's data shows that external trade by sea and air are 38 percent and 34 percent above pre-recession statistics, respectively. The report also notes trade growth in China has leveled off the past year after a "spectacular" recovery, but that import growth is by far outpacing export rates, indicating that the sluggish global economy has reduced foreign demand for Chinese goods.

Crowd of 2,500 converge on Seattle coal port hearing

A vast number of opponents protesting a prospective coal port in the Seattle region showed up at a final public hearing on Thursday. More than 2,500 people converged at what was called a "scoping" hearing, held at the Seattle Convention Center.

The $600 million Gateway Pacific Project is a proposal by SSA Marine of Seattle at Cherry Point, and is the largest of five proposed terminals in Washington and Oregon that would transport coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia. The terminal could handle up to 54 million bulk tons annually and could also deal with other bulk cargo, such as grain.

The hearing was led by three government agencies, which heard appeals from opponents requesting that a proposed Environmental Impact Statement study not just examine the port site at Cherry Point near Bellingham, but also study the economic, health and climate ramifications of using Washington ports to fuel coal plants in China, a country notorious for emitting massive amounts of greenhouse gasses.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State Department of Ecology and the Whatcom County Council scheduled the hearings to identify study issues. The public comment period remains open through January 21, and then an environmental impact statement will be drafted.

Many business and labor groups are proponents the plan, touting the jobs and commerce it would generate.

For more of the Seattle Post Intelligencer story:

Port of Long Beach container volume up 20 percent in November, Los Angeles down 16 percent

Container volume at the Port of Long Beach rose more than 20 percent in November because of two major shipping lines that recently added services, according to port officials. Volume numbers at the Port of Los Angeles dropped 16 percent.

Long Beach container imports in November jumped 20.2 percent to 278,534 TEUs, the highest November volume in five years. Exports rose 24.6 percent year over year, at 138,312 TEUs, the second highest November export volume in five years, according to port officials.

Approximately 555,513 TEUs overall were handled by Long Beach, a 20.8 percent hike from 2011, the port said. The number of empty containers shipped overseas was 138,667 TEUs, an increase of 18.4 percent from 2011.

Long Beach port officials say the increase is due to container shipping firms CMA CGM and MSC, which have added services there.

The Port of Los Angeles November container volume was 582,982 TEUs, a decrease of 16 percent from November 2011. November import volume was 288,274 TEUs, dropping 19 percent from last year. Export volume was 145,344 TEUs, tumbling 26 percent from 2011.

From January to November, the Los Angeles port handled 7.5 million TEUs, up 3 percent from 7.3 million TEUs during the same period last year.

For more of the Long Beach Press-Telegram story:

Hundreds of black widow spiders discovered in shipping container

Hundreds of black widow spiders gave workers a scare when they arrived in a shipping container in Norfolk, UK.

The spiders are thought to have hatched in a crate full of tires from Arizona before taking their free 5,000-mile trip to Great Britain. Exterminators were called in.

"It is not something you expect to see, especially in the outback of Norfolk," said Fendercare Marine spokesman Mark Cook. "Our guys are used to checking for wildlife, so when they spotted the spiders they shut the doors to keep them trapped in."

Black widows are the most poisonous spiders in North America, and bites can be fatal.

For more of the Daily Mirror story:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Story

Retailers ask President Obama to assist in East/Gulf coast labor negotiations

The National Retail Federation sent a letter Monday to President Obama to show the retail industry's worry about a possible strike if a contract agreement isn't reached between the International Longshoremen's Association and the United States Maritime Alliance before the end of the year. The two sides have recently returned to contract negotiations with federal arbitrators, after months of talks with little progress.

If the ILA and USMX don't enter into an agreement before the December 29 deadline, for the first time since 1977 a port strike involving 15 container ports on the East and Gulf Coast is likely. The ports of Boston, New York/New Jersey, Delaware River, Baltimore, Hampton Roads, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Port Everglades, Miami, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans, and Houston would immediately stop operations.

"A strike of any kind at ports along the East and Gulf Coast could prove devastating for the U.S. economy," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter. "We call upon you to use all means necessary, including Taft-Hartley, to keep the two sides at the negotiating table and head off a coast-wide strike."

"We cannot afford further supply chain disruptions as we enter 2013," Shay said. "The two sides must remain at the negotiating table until a deal is reached."

The president has the power to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act to end a strike or lockout and force the two sides back to negotiations.

APM Terminals accused by union of spying on workers, complaint alleges

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has accused APM Terminals of conducting "secret surveillance" of workers to gain an advantage in contract talks.

ILWU Local 63 of California filed a formal complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that APM "conducted secret surveillance, eavesdropping and snooping and listening in on confidential communications between and among union representatives, shop stewards and members concerning ongoing contract negotiations, bargaining strategies and labor-management issues."

The November 14 complaint says the surveillance dates back six months. The eavesdropping allegation was first reported this month by a Denmark trade union magazine. A.P. Moller-Maersk, parent company of APM, is headquartered in Denmark.

APM has put one employee on administrative leave while they conduct an internal investigation.

The allegations when they were received were certainly of great concern to APM Terminals," said John Crowley, APM's senior vice president for law and regulatory affairs. "It is not APM's policy to monitor a union member's calls, and APM Terminals is conducting an investigation into the allegations, as is typical in any case like this," Crowley said.

The National Labor Relations Board confirmed that the union's claim is being investigated.

For more of the Los Angeles Times story:

Port of Long Beach waives cargo fees incurred during strike

Due to the recent clerical workers strike that delayed cargo movement for a week, the Board of Harbor Commissioners at the Port of Long Beach voted Monday to waive cargo-related holding and storage fees incurred during the strike period.

This means that shippers whose goods were stranded November 28 to December 4 will not have to pay fees that importers and exporters are routinely charged when cargo sits "longer than required."

"I think it's the right thing to do," Commissioner Rich Dines said before voting for the waiver. "We need to protect the interest of cargo owners who choose the Port of Long Beach as their port of choice. Competition is more fierce today than ever and we want to keep the cargo coming to Long Beach."

"With few exceptions, the recovery has been proceeding amazingly fast and smooth when you talk to most parties," said Don Snyder, director of trade development for the Port of Long Beach. Snyder said the port recovered quickly after the strike because there were enough berths and cranes to meet the press of returning ships, and that additional night and weekend hours were implemented to handle the cargo backup.

For more of the Long Beach Press-Telegram story:

Rock blasting starts on the Mississippi to help vessels negotiate shallow depth

The Army Corps of Engineers has hired two companies to blast rocks that impede shipping on the Mississippi during low water levels.

Working to keep the river open for trade, the Corps said almost 900 cubic yards of limestone would be removed along a six-mile section of the river, clearing the way for barges to move safely.

The blasting began on Saturday near the Thebes railroad bridge.

For more of the Fox2Now story:

Barge leaks oil into NYC waters

A Boston Marine Transport barge spilled fuel into New York City's Kill Van Kull waterway Saturday due to a leak from its cargo tank, according to officials.

The Coast Guard said the barge was carrying 112,000 gallons of fuel oil, but it was unknown how much got into the water.

Boston Marine Transport said fuel was being transferred from one barge to another when oil started seeping into the water between them, the Coast Guard said. Company workers put a containment boom around the two barges.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection responded to help contain the spill.

For more of the Reuters story:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top Story

TSA recommends $600 per-FEU GRI for dry cargo

Container lines on the Asia-U.S. trade route announced they would be raising dry-cargo rates $600 per-forty-foot container.

The members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement said in a statement the general rate hike would be effective January 15, 2013, including another $800 per-FEU to destinations other than the West Coast and inland. The increase will go into effect concurrently with a TSA increase for refrigerated shipments.

"This is a make or break period for transpacific carriers," said TSA executive administrator Brian M. Conrad. "They cannot afford another year in which expiring contracts and seasonally weak demand erode rate levels, which are then extended for 12 months in the next year's contracts. Lines see breaking this cycle as key to their viability going forward."

Greenbrier board declines American Railcar proposal, says offer too low

The Greenbrier Companies has been in talks with Carl Icahn, majority shareholder of American Railcar, regarding a merger of Greenbrier and American Railcar Industries. The merger would combine two of the nation's biggest manufacturers of railcars.

"This is an opportunistic move by [American Railcar], one of the companies who is a primary beneficiary of the tank-car boom," said Bascome Majors, analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, to the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. rail car market has come back from the 2008 recession due to a hike in demand that led to new orders in 2011.

A regulatory filing Tuesday by American Railcar, in which Icahn has a majority stake, said the two companies had held discussions about a $20-a-share cash offer for Greenbrier that values the company at $542 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Greenbrier board of directors said Icahn's offer grossly undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of Greenbrier stockholders.

Greenbrier's board has expressed to Icahn its interest in acquiring American Railcar, the company said, willing to consider any combination of Greenbrier and American Railcar that would benefit stockholders as long as the transaction does not undervalue Greenbriar or overvalue American Railcar.

Greenbrier is a leading supplier of transportation equipment and services to the railroad industry located in Oregon.

Put this attribution or not?

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Strip club excuses by Port of Oakland executives fall flat

The two Port of Oakland executives that triggered a scandal regarding the misuse of public funds at the port have provided excuses to auditors that many find hard to believe, if not outrageous, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In external port audit, Omar Benjamin and James Kwon admitted faking expense reports for trips to two strip clubs, one in Houston in 2008 and one in Minneapolis in 2009. In Houston, they spent $4,537, and in Minneapolis they spent $925, which they listed as port business on expense documentation and also named clients who were supposedly with them. Maritime Director Kwon submitted the expense expenditures, which Benjamin approved as executive director of the port.

The audit confirmed that no clients attended either event.

But Benjamin claims that the only thing they spent money on in Houston was cocktails, although Kwon showed auditors a receipt allegedly signed by Benjamin for the club's "adult entertainment dances." If Benjamin was telling the truth, this would mean that the two port executives drank $4,500 worth of beverages, or, at strip club prices, approximately 100 drinks.

When auditors produced the receipts from the Houston club, Benjamin said he thought they had been scammed. Kwon said he knew nothing about the activities at the club, and that he only sat at the bar and smoked cigarettes outside, waiting for Benjamin, who had wandered off for an hour and a half after they arrived. Benjamin said he was at the bar with Kwon the whole time.

Regarding the $925 Minneapolis strip club bill, once again, Kwon says Benjamin disappeared again for 90 minutes while Benjamin says he was with Kwon the whole time. The only thing they agree on is that neither received any "special adult entertainment services" there.

Kwon agreed to "retire" as maritime director effective December 28, 2012. Former Executive Director Benjamin resigned in November.

For more of the San Francisco Chronicle story:

Ten charged with stealing cargo and trucks in Kansas City

Ten men from the Kansas City region have been charged with conspiracy to steal almost $1 million worth of commercial trucks, trailers and cargo, according to federal prosecutors.

The conspiracy involved the thefts of five Freightliner trucks and 17 trailers between 2005 and 2011. The thieves stole more than $200,000 worth of Nike shoes, meat worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and $17,000 worth of beer.

Eight of the accused are from Kansas City. The others are from Raytown and Holden, Mo.

For more of the Kansas City Star story:


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top Story

Dockworker strike imminent at East and Gulf Coast ports as talks break down

Talks broke down Tuesday between the International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, making it more likely that dockworkers will strike at 15 East Coast and Gulf Coast ports when the contract extension ends on December 30.

A strike would stop the flow of goods and could cost billions, affecting the livelihood of not only the dockworkers, but also tens of thousands of others involved in the container freight business, including trucking, rail and warehouse workers.

"We foresee this as a national economic emergency, to be honest," said Jonathan Gold, the vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Foundation. For retailers, the strike could seriously impact seasonal shipments and after-holiday restocking.

If the contract expires on December 29 without an agreement, ILA president Harold Daggett has been authorized by members to call a strike a day later, said James McNamara, spokesman for the ILA. He said if the strike were called, it would be the first ILA strike on the East Coast in 35 years.

Container royalties is the main sticking issue in the stalemate, which comes during a three-month extension of the current contract. On Tuesday, a federal arbitrator offered another month-long extension. So far, neither side has said it will return to negotiations, but neither has ruled out renewing talks either.

Container royalties are payments made to union workers based on the weight of cargo received at each port. Royalties started in the 1960s to increase wages and finance worker benefits after automation decreased wages and jobs, making it impossible for the shrinking labor force to finance its benefits, McNamara said.

The terminal operators want to cap royalties at 2011 levels, saying they're too expensive and unrelated to their original purpose, and that they damage the industry's competitiveness as it seeks to implement new technology. Management says the royalty payments now amount to a bonus averaging $15,500 a year for East Coast workers who already earn more than $50 per hour.

The union says the payments are an important supplemental wage. It said in its previous contract, management agreed to remove the royalties cap in exchange for being able to use $42 million of royalty payments to cover a previously negotiated wage increase. McNamara said the union couldn't allow the alliance to revive the cap now and accept the cuts in worker income and union revenue.

The ILA represents 14,500 workers at 15 ports, including the New York-New Jersey ports, which handle the most cargo on the East Coast, approximately $208 billion worth in 2011. The other ports that are Boston, Delaware River, Baltimore, Hampton Roads, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Port Everglades, Miami, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans, and Houston.

For more of the USA Today story:

JaxPort CEO Anderson accepts CEO position at Port of Tampa

Paul Anderson, CEO of the Jacksonville Port Authority, accepted a three-year contract to be the new executive director and CEO of the Port of Tampa for a salary of $350,000, which means he remains the highest paid port director in Florida.

The new CEO of the Tampa port is also making $81,500 more than the former CEO, Richard Wainio. Anderson's salary will be paid from operating revenue.

"I'm excited," said William "Hoe" Brown, chairman of the board at the Port of Tampa. "He's exactly what the port needs. It's like Gov. Rick Scott says: We need to create jobs in Florida. Paul will create jobs here at the port, just like he did in Jacksonville."

Anderson was already the highest paid port executive in the state while at JaxPort, where he was paid $320,000 annually. After spending 22 successful months leading the Jacksonville port, he was set to receive a five percent raise and $50,000 bonus in September. However, when the Jacksonville City Council split over his raise, Anderson asked them to table it.

Anderson resigned as CEO of JaxPort on Tuesday a few hours after the Tampa board meeting that approved his hiring. When he starts his new job on January 7, 2013, his main mission will be to grow Tampa's fledgling container business.

The Jacksonville Port Authority board named maritime executive Roy Schleicher as interim CEO Tuesday. A 40-year veteran of the maritime industry, Schleicher has served as JaxPort's executive vice president since 2011, after 10 years of leading the port's global cargo marketing efforts.

Anderson's pending move is a loss to the city, according to port officials, workers and port customers. Serving as JaxPort's CEO for almost two years, he proved an effective leader, luring state and federal dollars to the port and creating jobs for the region. For example, Anderson secured $30 million for construction of a railroad yard at Dames Point to ease the cargo transfer between trains and ships, according to First Coast News.

Anderson also helped repair a relationship in Jacksonville with the local dockworker's union, according to First Coast News.

"I was really disappointed," said union leader Lewis Johnson in November after hearing Anderson was a candidate at Tampa. Johnson, president of the International Longshoremen Association Local 1408, has been a longshoreman at the JaxPort for 30 years. "When Paul came in, he was interested in what could help us and how we could help the port, and we developed a pretty good relationship."

The JaxPort board has started the process to search for a permanent replacement for Anderson.

For more of the Tampa Bay Times story:

Former Port of Oakland Maritime Director James Kwon to work off debt as port consultant

Earlier this month, along with former port executive director Omar Benjamin, newly retired Maritime Director James Kwon agreed to pay back more than $5,000 the two spent at strip clubs and charged to the Port of Oakland. He will be working at the port as a consultant to pay off the debt.

Kwon's $4,500 strip club receipt from 2008, a bill he and Benjamin expensed to the port, resurfaced early this year, triggering a broader investigation and audit of the misuse of public funds at the port of Oakland. The investigation led to the resignation of Omar Benjamin and the retirement of Kwon.

Starting in 2013, Kwon will work with the Port of Oakland for seven months as a consultant. A port spokesman said Kwon would officially be a "retiree annuitant working to ensure the transition of important maritime business relationship."

The port announced Kwon's retirement in early December on the same day it released its internal audit and investigation. The audit revealed that some port credit card holders violated single transaction spending limits, $67,000 in questionable gifts that may violate state and federal laws, and at least $50,000 in unauthorized expenses that may expose the port to future tax problems.

Kwon will earn $109 an hour, based on his $214,000 annual salary as maritime director, according to KTVU.

For more of the KTVU story:

FedEx drops 12 percent on poor express shipping demand

Shipping giant FedEx's profits dropped 12 percent in its fiscal second quarter, indicating the company is still struggling with the economic downturn, especially in its Express service sector.

FedEx has been impacted by the sluggish European economy and Asia's weakening demand. Also, customers seeking more affordable options are choosing to forego its premium-priced overnight delivery services.

FedEx forecast earnings-per-share of $1.25 to $1.45 for the current quarter, less than the $1.45 predictions of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

In October, FedEx announced a restructuring plan to create $1.7 billion in "profitability improvements" by the end of fiscal year 2016 through voluntary buyouts, revamping its air fleet, and reorganizing its express, ground and freight arms.

For more of the Fox Business story:

Fishing boat sinks after collision with cargo ship, 6 missing

A fishing boat collided with a cargo ship in the Bohai Sea early this morning, sinking with 11 fishermen on board. Five were rescued and six are still missing, according to Rescue operations are ongoing, officials said.

The fishing boat Liaodaganyu 15279 hit the cargo ship Huashunda 1 at 1:04 a.m. this morning, approximately 35 nautical miles northeast of Chengshantou on the Shandong Peninsula. The fishing boat capsized immediately, officials from the Shandong Maritime Safety Bureau said.

For more of the Shanghai Daily story:


Friday, December 21, 2012

Top Story

Final offer from Northwest Grain terminal owners give ILWU members Christmas Eve deadline, lockout and strike likely

Three of the four grain terminal operators in the Pacific Northwest involved in contract talks with dockworkers have set a deadline of noon Christmas Eve for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to accept the owners' final contract offer. The longshoremen have been working without a contract since September 30 of this year.

A port lockout or strike would impede or stop the export of billions of dollars worth of U.S. agricultural products. More than a quarter of all U.S. grain exports move through nine Northwest ports.

On Friday the union will start two days of voting on the "final offer" of the grain companies, and plan to announce the vote Monday. The union's negotiating committee has unanimously recommended their membership reject the offer.

In a statement this week, Leal Sundet, an ILWU officer who co-chaired the negotiating committee, alleged the grain terminal owners intended to "risk the U.S. export market to try to break the union."

"Given the parties' respective positions, we do not believe additional meetings would be fruitful," said Glen McClendon, attorney for the operators, in a December 17 letter to Sundet, according to The Columbian.

McClendon's letter lists three of the four grain terminal operators, represented by Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association, that have rejected the union's latest contract offer. Columbia Grain, Louis Dreyfus Commodities and United Grain Corp. all said the union's offer "did not meet their needs because it would continue to leave them at a competitive disadvantage" to terminal operators in Longview and Kalama, which negotiated separate, more employer-friendly contracts with the ILWU.

Pat McCormick, spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association, said Tuesday he hadn't seen McClendon's letter, but when told of its contents he agreed with its basic message — that the owners' last, best and final contract offer stands.

TEMCO, which runs grain-export terminals in Portland and Tacoma, was not mentioned in the letter, indicating that it may have broken with the other three grain terminal owners regarding the terms of the current final offer.

McCormick, the spokesman for the Grain Handlers Association, declined Tuesday to comment on that matter. "I don't have anymore information beyond what's in the statement," he said.

For more of The Columbian story:

Higher GRI rates will come down to 2012 levels on overcapacity, predicts Drewry

Spot rate container carriers have successfully lifted freight rates with December 2012 GRIs on trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe/Mediterranean routes, according to Drewry.

Drewry's Hong Kong-to-Los Angeles benchmark rate rose to $2,213 per-FEU in the third week of December, up 2.1 percent in response to the GRI increases. Prices to the U.S. East Coast surged by up to 12 percent because the worry about an East Coast strike caused shipments to be sent early to avoid disruptions.

Container lines lifted freight rates by 40 percent on the Asia-Europe trade route and by 60 percent on Mediterranean routes, managing to offset the industry's overcapacity for now, Drewry said. They have kept prices up by skipping sailings and frequent GRI hikes.

Since the current level rate level will affect the upcoming new contract rates, the recent hikes will be too late to make a difference, says Drewry, on new 2013 rates for the Asia-Mediterranean route, but they may affect agreements that occur later in the year if they hold.

For many shippers, the contract season for trans-Pacific routes is May to April, and in those negotiations, the new January GRI will have weight, Drewry reported.

However, Drewry forecasts that due to industry overcapacity, after a lift in January due to strike fears, freight pricing will fall to 2012 rates.

Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd explore merger

Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd are considering a merger to help the shipping firms weather the low rates, overcapacity and weak global economy that has plagued the shipping industry for four years.

If the two merge, they would create the world's fourth-largest shipping company after Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA CGM, with annual revenues of over $13 billion, a fleet of 250 vessels, and 11,500 staff.

"This is a business where size matters. Hamburg-Sued would, in the long-term, run into difficulties in keeping up with the big industry players," said Westend Brokers Research analyst Klaus Kraenzle."It's a good step, potentially giving Germany one global shipping player."

The companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday they were investigating under what conditions a merger would be most advantageous.

For more of the Reuters story:

West Coast ports may benefit marginally from East Coast strike

The possible strike that might result from the recent breakdown in talks between the USMX, representing East and West Coast ports, and the ILU, representing dockworkers, might modestly increase business for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the short-term.

A strike at East Coast ports would results in cargo being rerouted to the West Coast ports, but any uptick in cargo volumes would be minimal, according to Sean Strawbridge, managing director of port operations for the Port of Long Beach.

"It takes about 30 days for the supply chain to shift, so any change that has to happen has already been made," Strawbridge said.

Any rise in container traffic would likely be seen in late December to early January, usually a slow period for the port, he said.

If an agreement is not reached, 15 East and Gulf Coast ports could go on strike December 30, when the current contract expires.

With a possible strike imminent, many companies are pushing up shipment dates or finding alternative transportation, said Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the Washington-based American Apparel and Footwear Association.

Businesses need to restock after the holidays, and some are still hampered by the effects of the West Coast shutdown and Superstorm Sandy, Lamar said.

"You've already got companies and ports and trade that have been battered by a couple of situations over the last couple of months, and we still have this uncertainty," he said.

For more of the Long Beach Press-Telegram story:

Cargo ship rescues 3 from capsized fishing boat, 1 missing

Three foreign nationals were rescued off the coast of Mindoro in the Philippines Thursday by a passing cargo ship. The captain of the fishing boat they were in, who foundered, is still missing.

The rescued — 54-year-old Ralf Auer, his 20-year-old son Thomas, and his son's friend Joshua Marsh — we were brought to St. Paul's Hospital in Iloilo Friday morning to treat leg injuries, according to a Coast Guard official.

The three were on a tour of the islands and fishing near Marinduque on Tuesday when their rented boat capsized due to rough seas. The three clung to the outriggers of the capsized boat for two days until crew members of a passing cargo ship, MV Foremost Trader, picked them up 12 miles west of Mansalay around midday Thursday.

For more of the story:

Submit Your Press
Releases Here!