The current head of A.P. Moller-Maersk's oil group will take over as chief executive of the Danish conglomerate's world-leading container-shipping business, replacing Eivind Kolding who departs the company to become CEO of Danske Bank.
The 47-year-old Maersk Tankers Chief Soren Skou, who has been with Maersk since 1983, will take over a money-losing container-shipping business that is competing in a tough global market for freight rates and overcapacity, but one that also claims to be gaining in market share.
"It is clear that we are winning market share at the moment and have a high utilization of tonnage," Skou told Reuters.
Skou said he doesn't yet have plans for many changes on the heels of his predecessor who had been CEO since 2007.
"I will first of all build further on what Eivind Kolding and his team have worked with, but we must also take account of the fact that the industry is in a difficult situation," Skou said.
"All in all, it is a super strong operation that really has strength to wield in the container market," Skou said.
Prologis invests $293 mil in Mexico industrial real estate
Denver-based industrial real estate firm Prologis announced it has invested $293 million in its Mexico Fondo Logistico venture, a 5.3 million square-foot portfolio of facilities in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.
Prologis said in a statement that the Mexico Fondo Logistico "is the first industrial venture of its kind for Mexican pension plans. This fund's investment strategy is to develop, own, operate and manage properties mainly within Prologis' global markets in Mexico."
Cai Mep terminal receives first-ever mega-containership in Vietnam
Denmark's APM Terminals announced its Cai Mep International Terminal in Vietnam received what the company claims is the first-ever mega-containership to call a port in Vietnam - the 13,830-TEU CMA CGM Laperouse.
The CMA CGM vessel calling CMIT is part of an upgrade in ship size that will call that terminal as part of the French shipping line's FAL1 string that officially launches in March 2012 in the Asia-North Europe trade, according to APM in a statement.
"With Cai Mep being the last load port in the future FAL1 rotation before sailing direct to Southampton, the need for deep water access and a terminal equipped to handle these leviathans has never been greater" said Jean-Charles Tassoni, general director of CMA CGM Vietnam.
Baltimore port hits auto-handling record
The Port of Baltimore announced its record-breaking year for auto-handling continued in October with 43,057 units passing through its marine terminals, up from 42,830 handled for the same month in 2010.
The port said in a statement that 18,592 autos were exported through its terminals in October, surpassing October 2008's top mark of 16,041.
Video link: Tsunami debris reaches U.S. West Coast
According to news reports, debris from the tragic 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan in March has been making its way across the Pacific Ocean and is beginning to make landfall on North America's West Coast.
The floating debris is expected to continue its trans-Pacific journey throughout this next year, including fragments of houses, boats, ships, furniture, autos and dead body parts because athletic footwear floats.
For a link to a video showing the first debris to hit the Pacific Northwest:
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Mega-alliance forms in Far East-Europe trade
Six major container-shipping lines have announced the formation of a mega-alliance in the Far East-Europe trade that will include more than 90 ships in nine services calling over 40 ports in a continued trend of industry partnerships and consolidation in the face of depressed global freight rates and over-capacity.
The G6 Alliance members will be APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine, and Mitsui O.S.K Lines. Grand Alliance members are Hapag-Lloyd AG, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Orient Overseas Container Line.
"This is a milestone agreement that significantly improves service coverage in the Asia-Europe market," the carriers said in a joint statement.
"We will offer sailing frequencies and direct coverage that compete with anyone in the market," they said.
The new alliance is scheduled to take effect by April 2012 with seven joint services operating between Asia and Europe, two services to the Mediterranean, and is to include a direct Far East-Baltic service with calls at Gdansk, Poland, Gothenburg, Sweden, and trans-shipment in Singapore.
The G6 member lines said they would deploy vessels with capacities up to 14,000 TEUs, including ships that are scheduled for delivery over the next year-and-a-half.
The nine joint services will include multiple weekly calls at Singapore, South China, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Hong Kong Shanghai and Southampton, the lines said.
Ports of call will also include Le Havre, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Thamesport, the Bohai Bay ports of Dalian and Xingang, Ningbo, Qingdao, Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Cai Mep, Japanese ports, Colombo, Jeddah, and Port Said.
Larger scale container-shipping alliances have been a reported industry trend during a period of slowed, and bumpy, global trade growth heading into 2012's first half, including the recent announcement of a significant trade lane partnership between the second and third-largest liners in the world: Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Company and France's CMA CGM.
U.S. holiday e-tailing up 15 percent
The heaviest week ever for U.S. online holiday shopping pushed the season-to-date total of almost $32 billion, up 15 percent over the same period a year ago - approaching the season-ending total of $32.6 billion in 2010.
For the week ending Dec. 18, there were four days that surpassed $1 billion in sales, an all-time record of $6.3 billion for "e-tailing," according to the consumer trend research firm comScore.
"The final big week of online holiday shopping remained strong throughout, with four days surpassing $1 billion in sales and the second heaviest online shopping weekend on record," said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni in a statement.
"With only a few more days until Christmas, the preponderance of Americans' late season holiday shopping will shift to brick-and-mortar retail, although the procrastinators among us will still be able to take advantage of expedited shipping and buy online up to and including the day before Christmas Eve with the guarantee of having their gifts delivered in time for the holiday. In total, we will see another $5 or $6 billion in e-commerce spending over the remainder of December to finish off what has clearly been an outstanding season for online retailers," Fulgoni said.
For the 2011 holiday season-to-date, ten days have surpassed $1 billion in online retail sales with Cyber Monday on November 28 ranking as the heaviest online shopping day in history, according to comScore.
CMA CGM introduces new direct North America-Latin America service
France's CMA CGM Group announced the launch of its new direct, fixed-day Black Pearl service between the East Coast of North America and the West Coast of South America.
The shipping line said in a statement that the new service is part of its operational agreement between Mediterranean Shipping Company.
The Black Pearl service "comes as a response to a growing market demand for refrigerated cargoes from Chile and Peru to Philadelphia and New York and for fast and competitive transit times between these two continents," CMA CGM said.
The new service will utilize seven 4,000-TEU vessels operated by MSC on the following port rotation: Philadelphia - New York - Charleston - Savannah - Jacksonville - Freeport - Port Everglades - Cristobal - Balboa - Callao - Arica - Coronel - Valparaiso - Balboa - Cristobal - Freeport - Philadelphia - New York.
Former Humboldt port chief appointed CEO of California Maritime Infrastructure Authority and bank.
The former director of Northern California's Humboldt harbor district has been appointed the CEO of the California Maritime Infrastructure Authority and the California Maritime Infrastructure Bank.
The Humboldt port district reportedly fired Hull without cause in September.
"The beauty of these appointments is that by accepting these voluntary, public service positions both organizations will benefit greatly from David's experience," said Peter Grenell, chairman of the board for the CMIA and CMIB in a statement.
The infrastructure bank is not a commercial bank and can establish a joint powers authority to provide a pool of funding for financing port or harbor infrastructure, according to the statement.
The CMIA, composed of port authorities, among related entities, can issue debt, establish and administer infrastructure funds, receive or administer public and private grants and expend tax revenues, appropriated funds and other financing on behalf of its member districts, the statement said.
South Korea's port security heightened after death of Kim Jong-Il
South Korea's government announced it has tightened its airport and seaport security a day after it was reported that North Korea's controversial dictator Kim Jong-Il had passed away.
The Korea Customs Service has ordered its enforcement agencies to "thoroughly examine goods coming in from countries with a large terrorist presence including socialist nations and countries whose nationals have been caught for attempting to bring in terrorism-related items."
The KCS initially launched an emergency operation system after North Korea lobbed shells on Yeonpyeong Island in November of 2010.
"The emergency operation system and the bolstered inspection in airports and seaports will be maintained until it is deemed that there is no more danger," a KCS official said in a Korean Herald report.
Customs official staffing will reportedly be doubled for X-ray inspection of express cargo and mail packages, the Herald reported.
Seaports are going to reportedly bolster naval patrol and vessel searches.
Airline passenger travel to South Korea is reportedly expected to drop amid uncertainty over how the change in North Korea's leadership will play out.
SCSPA chairman on pulling Jasper terminal funding: "We're not going to get played"
The South Carolina State Ports Authority's board on Tuesday announced it would suspend funding related to the estimated $5 billion Jasper Ocean Terminal project, and the port's chairman of the board, Bill Stern, said: "I'm trying to tell the people in Jasper County we're sincere and want to move forward with Jasper, but we're not going to be played and we're not going to continue to spend money."
The SCSPA said in a statement: "deepening of the Savannah River up to the future [Jasper site] should be an alternative to the currently proposed deepening project."
Stern said the current Savannah River channel deepening project proposes an insufficient depth compared to the 50-foot-deep minimum drafts at East Coast ports in New York-New Jersey, Baltimore, Norfolk and Miami.
"The proposed Savannah River deepening was probably fine when first conceived in 1999, but today's global shipping environment requires more," he said.
"It's a bad deal for the taxpayer to spend billions of dollars for a new Jasper Ocean Terminal on a last generation river. That means another deepening project, beyond the one currently being reviewed, would be required," Stern said.
"I hope our neighbors in Georgia share our long-term commitment to a Jasper Ocean Terminal and work with South Carolina to ensure its future," Stern said.
Stern's counterpart at the Georgia Ports Authority, Chairman Alec Poitevint, responded after the SCSPA's announcement of the funds withdrawal.
"We are disappointed by the decision made by the South Carolina State Port Authority today to suspend efforts to advance the Jasper port," he said.
"We remain committed to three successful, deepened ports in Savannah, Jasper and Charleston," Poitevint said.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal released a statement, saying: "We will not let gamesmanship disrupt our teamwork to bring high-paying jobs to Georgia and South Carolina. I will continue to work with Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Lindsey Graham to develop the Jasper port, a joint effort that will boost the economies of both states."
South Carolina's Governor Haley, who has been under fire in her state over alleged influence in a controversial decision by the state's environmental agency's approval of a permit that could help Georgia continue with dredging plans, also expressed disappointment in the SCSPA's decision.
"While the governor is disappointed with the message that today's ports authority vote sends, she is as committed as ever to work toward a viable Jasper Ocean Terminal," her office said.
The Jasper County container terminal project on South Carolina's side of the river had been on the boards for several years, germinating initially when Seattle-based terminal operator SSA Marine announced it had signed a 99-year lease in 2000 to develop a private cargo-handling operation there.
By 2007, a bi-state oversight agency representing South Carolina and Georgia was formed with their own tentative plans to develop the site, with over 1,500 acres acquired from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the fledgling project.
Running parallel to the Jasper terminal plan was the Georgia Ports Authority's 12-year journey to get the Savannah River's shipping channel deepened from 42 to 48 feet in order to be ready for post-Panamax ships expected to transit the Panama Canal after 2014 when it is widened.
That process has culminated thus far with the recent approval of a water quality permit by South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control helping to clear the path for the Port of Savannah, the Port of Charleston, S.C.'s fierce rival for cargo from Asia, to deepen its draft for bigger ships.
The most recent agreement reached means either the Army Corps, if federal funds are available, or the state of Georgia, will be on the hook for an additional $1.2 million per year for the next 50 years to pay for oxygen being pumped into the river.
The Jasper County terminal site is 14 miles closer to the Atlantic Ocean than the Port of Savannah.
In Tuesday's announcement, Stern was calling on his counterparts in Georgia "to join with South Carolina in requesting that the Corps consider dredging to the Jasper site as an alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, noting that such a project would cost much less and generate significantly fewer environmental impacts."
The SCSPA said it would also seek to amend the intergovernmental agreement between the states that would detail, "specific actions required to help the Jasper Ocean Terminal."
Those changes to the agreement would include "releasing the 50-year Federal easements on the entire site, sharing equally the costs of infrastructure to the site, determining the navigational capacity of the Savannah River and ensuring equal, dual-rail access from both major railroads," the SCSPA's statement said.
Is liner market share battle over? Rate recovery ahead?
The largest box liner in the world along with two mega-alliances now control approximately 68 percent of the global container-shipping market, which could prompt freight rate recovery in 2012, according to one investment bank with ties to the shipping industry.
Denmark's A.P. Moller Maersk is the single biggest ocean carrier while its closest competitors have recently announced major operational alliances and partnerships, especially in the downtrodden Asia-Europe trade.
"The move will effectively put an end to fight for market share with a greater emphasis on freight rates and vessel utilization and help a recovery in freight rates in 2012," said Rahul Kapoor of RS Platou a Norwegian investment bank and international ship and offshore brokerage in a report.
"We are increasingly hopeful for a better 2012," said Kapoor, who is based in Singapore.
Global trade is expected to grow 5.8 percent in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund, a downgrade from a previous forecast of 6.7 percent growth. Paris-based shipping consultancy Alphaliner's statistics show idle containership volume was at an 18-month high as of December 5 at 525,000 TEUs.
Moreover, shipping rates in the Asia-Europe trade in 2011 are down 64 percent, and have dropped 28 percent in the trans-Pacific, according to shipbroker Clarkson Plc.
Nonetheless, Rikard Vabo, analyst for Oslo-based investment bank Fearnley Fonds FSA told Bloomberg Businessweek the shoring up of services through large-scale alliances "will naturally lead to higher market shares and pricing power and is positive for the container market."
Still, a Clarkson's estimate pegs containerized demand to grow 3 percent between Asia and Europe balanced against 8 percent expansion in box fleet tonnage next year.
Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat S.p.A announced the opening of two distribution centers for Mopar (motor parts) in China and the Middle East, with one located in Shanghai, and the other in Dubai.
"With the opening of these two facilities, we are expanding our parts distribution network in order to fully support the growth taking place in these markets," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand.
Chrysler's 170,000 square-foot facility in Shanghai is located at the Yangshan Port and will distribute more than 35,000 part numbers to over 130 dealer locations in China and more than 20 third-party distributors and joint-venture partners throughout Asia Pacific, Chrysler said in a statement. The warehouse will also be a hub for other Chrysler Mopar facilities in South Korea, Japan, and Australia, the automaker said.
The 190,000 square-foot parts distribution center in Dubai is located the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone, providing Mopar and will warehouse more than 30,000 part numbers for Middle East and African support, Chrysler said.
U.S. truck freight tonnage inched up by 0.3 percent in November
For-hire truck tonnage increased 0.3 percent in November from the previous month, and grew 6 percent over the same period last year, according to an index released by the American Trucking Associations.
The ATA's SA index was at a level of 116.6 in November, up from October's 116.3. The ATA also revised October 2011's 0.5 percent gain down to 0.4 percent.
The ATA's not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 115.3 in November, a 2.6 percent decline from October.
Year-to-date, tonnage is up 5.4 percent over the same period in 2010.
"As I said last month, tonnage levels continue to point to an economy that is growing, not sliding into a recession," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement.
"Over the last three months, tonnage is up 2.3 percent and stands at the highest level since January of this year," said Costello.
"Two primary factors have helped truck tonnage in recent months. First, manufacturing output, which generates a significant amount of truck freight, has generally been increasing. Second, retail inventories are very lean, which is helping freight as well since retailers don't have much excess stock and need to replenish when sales go up," he said.
Finnish police find Patriot missiles in ship bound for Shanghai
Finnish police are reportedly investigating why a British-flagged freighter that has since been held at a port there was carrying 69 Patriot surface-to-air missiles.
The M/S Thor Liberty was reportedly on its way to the Port of Shanghai.
According to Finland's National Bureau of Investigation the vessel's cargo also contained materials for making explosives.
The law enforcement investigation reportedly includes determining if Finnish laws were broken over weapons trading.
Prince Rupert container terminal expansion plans revised
By CBN Canada Correspondent Fred McCague
The Prince Rupert Port Authority has quietly submitted a mitigation plan to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency dramatically revising the Phase II expansion plan for the Fairview Container Terminal, which is operated by Maher Terminals.
Responding to concerns regarding the impact of the original plan on a small creek, swamp and lagoon, the port has significantly revised its plan. The redesign results in a significantly smaller footprint, with the expansion now projected to add 64 acres to the existing 58-acre terminal instead of the originally planned 80 acres. However, Mike Gurney, Prince Rupert Port Authority manager, corporate communications says the projected throughput capacity would still be 2 million TEUs per year.
Reflecting market conditions, work will be completed in two stages. Stage 1 would add a 1,300-foot second berth and a 15-acre addition to the north end of the existing terminal. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 and take between 24 and 36 months to complete.
Gurney explained that because of the efficient transfer between ship and rail, the capacity of the current terminal is actually 750,000 TEUs, well above its designed 500,000-TEU capacity and the Stage 1 addition would boost this to 1.2 million TEUs.
Work will also include additional off-terminal sidings for Canadian National and a 3-mile roadway south from the terminal to an industrial park and inspection area in order to eliminate truck traffic in the city center.
The 49-acre Stage 2 of the expansion will be on the south side of the facility. It includes more on-dock rail trackage and an additional 1300 feet of berth space.
Work is scheduled to commence after Stage 1 is completed and as soon as market conditions permit.
According to the port, traffic through Fairview is running 15 percent ahead of 2010 and will total about 400,000 TEUs for 2011.
Oakland Mayor says city probably can't prevent future port closures
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board this week, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said her city probably can't prevent stop future Occupy or related protests from closing down operations at the port there, citing the cost of at least 500 police officers that would be needed at a cost of $1.5 million.
Quan also told the Chronicle that even with requisite law enforcement, it wouldn't take much for the port's longshore workforce to stop work.
"I don't know what you know about the port, but with the longshoremen it only takes one person with a bike getting through a fence and getting to the gate. Then they (stop working) and call a mediator," the Mayor told the Chronicle
Mayor Quan's interview came on the heels of an action by some on the Oakland City Council to block other members from presenting a directive to the city to ensure the port open by any legal means necessary to prevent future disruptions, such as the Occupy movement's success in shutting down operations at the port in early November and on December 12.
The most recent disruption at the Port of Oakland was part of a West Coast-wide (and beyond) effort by the so-called Occupy the Ports movement that shut down four of the port's seven terminals at an estimated cost of between $4 million to $8 million.
According to a Chronicle report major retailers, including Target, Walgreens, J.C. Penney and Crate & Barrel, have threatened to divert their cargo business away from Oakland port to the Port of Los Angeles due to the serious level of disruption that reportedly did not impact other ports on Dec. 12 to quite the same level.
"Are businesses threatening to leave? Maybe. That's why we have to have a discussion with the Bay Area community about the economic harm," Quan said.
New Hapag-Lloyd service could boost Baltimore port's box traffic by 10 percent
A new direct shipping service between Maryland and Northern European ports could boost the Port of Baltimore's container volume by approximately 10 percent in 2012.
The new Gulf of Mexico Express service that is to commence in February, will be offered by Germany's Hapag-Lloyd shipping line, making Baltimore the first port of call before stops in Mexico and Latin America, and then calling Houston, New Orleans and Charleston on the way back.
"An agreement like this is very difficult to land in a lousy world economy," said James White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration. "This is very good news."
Don't panic: UPS says procrastinators can still ship in time for Christmas
Yes, you know whom some of you are: Christmas package shipping procrastinators, and UPS is saying you can still ship as late as Friday and have your packages arrive in time for the Big Day.
UPS announced that it kicked off its busiest week of the year on Monday, and expects to deliver more than 120 million packages worldwide this week.
Today (Thursday, Dec. 22) will be the busiest day of the year for UPS with almost 26 million packages delivered, which equates to almost 300 every second, the parcel company said.
UPS Airlines will add more than 400 additional flights per day and on its busiest day, processing 3 million express shipments in a 24-hour period through its Louisville Worldport facility.
Procrastinators can ship as late as Friday, Dec. 23, thanks to an extra delivery day on Dec. 24 with Saturday Delivery service options to select areas using:
UPS Express Early A.M., UPS Express, and UPS Express Saver to many destinations within Canada
UPS Express Early A.M. or UPS Express to many destinations in the U.S, the company said in a statement.
Source: Patriot missiles impounded from ship in Finland are legal
The Patriot missiles found on a ship at the Port of Kotka, Finland that was bound for Shanghai and subsequently impounded are legal, according to an un-named Customs official source familiar with the situation in a CNN news report.
The weapons were reportedly being shipped to South Korea.
"The exporters had all necessary permissions, including an export authorization and a special authorization for the export of war weapons," the source told CNN.
"The ship departed from the German port of Emden," the Customs official said.
Finnish authorities revealed on Wednesday that they had impounded 69 Patriot missiles.
Law enforcement there said they also found other explosives material on board the British-flagged freighter Thor Liberty at Kotka's port, which is approximately 75 miles east of Helsinki.