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Summary for December 20 - December 24, 2010:
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Top Story

JAXPORT board votes for former FMC commissioner

The Jacksonville Port Authority board voted unanimously Friday to negotiate with A. Paul Anderson of Fort Lauderdale to become the port’s next CEO.

Anderson is a former member of the Federal Maritime Commission and brings experience in state and federal government.

“My fellow selection committee members and I separately came to the conclusion that Paul’s breadth of experience is ideally suited to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead,” said David Kulik, the authority’s board chair. “Today’s collective discussion and the full board’s approval now pave the way for the next steps in the process. I look forward to the successful conclusion of this contract negotiation period in the near future,” he said.

Kulik said he wanted to be able to introduce the new CEO at the port’s Jan. 24 meeting. The process to choose a new leader began in August after former Executive Director Rick Ferrin resigned. The board hired Boyden Global Executive Search to screen candidates.

Before the search began, the board made it known that the port had to increase the speed at which it does business to meet the opportunities that will become available when the expansion of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014.

That speed may pick up with the help of Anderson’s experience in Washington, D.C.

Anderson served on the Federal Maritime Commission from 2004-2008.

He is a former Senior Fellow of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the U.S. House of Representatives.

He worked for the ranking member of the committee, U.S. Rep John Mica, who will chair the committee during the 112th Congress.

-Jacksonville Daily Record

For the full story:

C.H. Robinson CEO makes Top Ten list for “Wealth Creation”

The transportation industry was represented in Chief Executive magazine’s Top Ten list of “Wealth Creation.”

John P. Wiehoff, the chief executive officer of third party logistics provider, C.H. Robinson, came at number ten on a list that included high-tech leaders such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and coming at number one:’s Jeffrey Boyd.

Now in its third year, Chief Executive’s CEO wealth creation index (WCI) attempts to identify “business leaders who have performed best in creating true economic value—as opposed to mere accounting value—as measured by GAAP metrics,” according to the magazine’s website.

The WCI is based on economic margin, which measures the degree to which a company makes money in excess of its risk-adjusted cost of capital, according to the magazine’s special report.

“While there is no single metric that is perfect, EM comes close, in that it isn't dependent on share price in assessing management's impact on value creation,” the report said.

Minneapolis-based C.H. Robinson posted a record $102.6 million in this year’s third quarter, up 7.5 percent over the same period the previous year.

Wiehoff has also been a C.H. Robinson director since 2001, and became the chairman in January 2007.

Previous positions with the company include senior vice president from October 1998, chief financial officer from July 1998 to December 1999, treasurer from August 1997 to June 1998, and corporate controller from 1992 to June 1998.

Previously, Wiehoff was with Arthur Andersen LLP. He serves on the Board of Directors of Polaris Industries Inc. (and Donaldson Company, Inc..

Report: Truck freight spot market up 72 percent in November

November’s truck freight spot market was up 72 percent over the same period a year ago, according to the the TransCore North American Freight Index.

Since August, TransCore reported spot market freight volume has exceeded same-month levels for every year since 2005, the peak year for truckload freight on the spot market.

The expected seasonal decline from October to November was 2.3 percent, which, according to Transcore, was significantly less than the 16 percent average over the past five years, indicating spot market freight strength heading into the holiday season.

The national average line-haul rates for refrigerated and flatbed trucks rose by $0.01 (0.7 percent) on the spot market month-over-month while van rates remained stable, according to the TransCore Truckload Rate Index.

Port of Baltimore’s Nov. cargo volume up 15 percent

General cargo, including containers, autos, forest products, and roll on/roll off at the Port of Baltimore’s public marine terminals were up 15 percent in November compared to November 2009, the port reported in a press release.

The port authority’s public terminals handled 753,000 tons of general cargo in November compared to 653,000 tons in November 2009. Total cargo tonnage was up 4 percent in November 2010 from October 2010. During the first 11 months of calendar year 2010, general cargo at the public terminals is up 12 percent compared to the first 11 months of calendar year 2009, the port said.

In October, the port said its public terminals handled 42,830 cars, more autos in one month than during any other month in the port’s history.

Somali pirates fire grenades before hijacking ship

Somali pirates hijacked a cargo vessel Monday after firing rocket propelled grenades and small arms at the ship, the European Union Naval Force said Monday.

The pirates seized the MV Orna on Monday about 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of the island nation of the Seychelles, said Wing Cmdr. Paddy O'Kennedy.

The ship was not registered with maritime authorities so the number and nationalities of crew are not known. O'Kennedy said at least four pirates boarded the vessel and the crew are cooperating and have not reported any damage.

The MV Orna is a Panama-flagged, bulk cargo vessel owned by a company in the United Arab Emirates. Before the hijacking of the MV Orna, the pirates were holding 23 ships and 555 hostages, according to the EU Naval Force.

-Washington Post/A.P. For the story source:


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Story

China, emerging economies outpace U.S. infrastructure investment

Gravel-laden barges glide past the willow-fringed banks of the Grand Canal, plying a trade route built 2,500 years ago to bring grain from China's fertile south to its rulers in the north.

Now the 1,800-kilometer (1,125-mile) passage is part of an even grander scheme: a $150 billion plan to bring water from the mighty Yangtze river to the parched north in what is the world's most expensive infrastructure project.

Increasingly, a group of rising economies – from Brazil to the United Arab Emirates – is building the showcase projects that once were mainly the pride of the U.S., Western Europe and Japan. America's Hoover Dam made headlines in the 1930s; today, it is China's $25 billion Three Gorges Dam.

Just as railways and highways transformed America into an industrial superpower, the 21st-century building boom is laying the foundations for these rapidly growing economies to join the top leagues.

Overall, just 2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product goes to infrastructure construction. Europe spends 5 percent of its GDP, and China, 9 percent, according to a U.S. government report.

Developing countries, led by China, are devoting $384 billion to the biggest dams, highways, railways, bridges, canals and energy projects. Brazil is building a 518-kilometer (320-mile) $18.4 billion high-speed train link from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo and an $11.3 billion hydroelectric complex on the Madeira River, a major tributary of the Amazon.

In China, a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package launched when the global financial crisis slowed exports is already bearing fruit. The Communist Party's routine suppression of public dissent means projects tend to get done – and quickly.

While U.S. states are talking about high-speed rail, China is set to double its network – already the world's longest – to 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) by 2020.

-Huffington Post

For the full story:

L.A.-Long Beach posted double-digit November growth

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's busiest cargo complex, posted double-digit growth in freight traffic during November, usually a month in which cargo movement is winding down for the year.

It was another unexpectedly good showing, although trade experts don't expect the pace to continue.

At the Port of Los Angeles, imports climbed almost 12% in November to 333,710 containers, up from 298,777 during the same month a year earlier. Exports rose more than 14% to 170,319, up from 149,148 in November 2009.

At Long Beach, the numbers were even stronger. Imports there climbed more than 20% to 274,480 containers in November, up from 228,347 a year earlier. Exports rose nearly 25% to 142,628 containers compared with the previous November.

Through the first 11 months of 2010, both ports have experienced a strong rebound from 2009, which was the worst year for the ports in five years.

Traffic at the Port of Los Angeles, including empties, is up more than 16% to 7.2 million containers, compared with 6.2 million in 2009. At Long Beach, cargo traffic rose to more than 5.7 million containers, up nearly 25% from the January-through-November period.

Together the two ports usually rank fifth or sixth in the world among commercial seaports.

-L.A. Times

For the full story:

Dollar General considers $60 mil distribution center in Birmingham

Dollar General Corp. is considering a plan to build a $60 million distribution center in Bessemer [Alabama] that could create up to 650 jobs.

The new facility would be the 10th distribution center for Dollar General (NYSE: DG), according to Tawn Earnest, senior director of corporate communications for the company.

“We believe the Birmingham region is a great fit for our needs,” she said, in a prepared statement. “We already serve shoppers in this region with more than 100 neighborhood stores, and we have supported Alabama organizations and schools through grants totaling $380,000 in 2010 alone. We look forward to growing our presence and strengthening our support of the Birmingham region.”

The company is seeking incentives from local governments for the project.

The location of the distribution center would be in close proximity to Alabama 150 and Lakeshore Parkway.

For the full story:

All Nippon and Hawaiian to code-share on cargo service

All Nippon Airways and Hawaiian Airlines has unveiled plans to commence a cargo code-sharing service between Tokyo and Honolulu from Dec. 22, 2010.

Under the agreement, ANA will place its “NH” code on Hawaiian’s Haneda-Honolulu service, which operates daily using a Boeing 767-300ER.

ANA began services from Tokyo’s brand new International terminal at Haneda International Airport to Honolulu on Oct. 31, 2010, while Hawaiian Airlines launched its first scheduled operations between Honolulu and Haneda on Nov. 17.

The new code-share not only covers cargo shipped direct from Haneda to Honolulu, but also aims to tap the market for freight between local cities throughout Japan and other Asian cities, and American cities beyond Honolulu.

Under a Letter of Agreement signed in October, the CEOs of both airlines agreed to explore bilateral cooperation in passenger and cargo code-sharing and frequent flyer programs, subject to government approval.

-Hawaii 24/7

For the full story:

Seychelles jails Somali pirates

Seychelles has jailed nine Somali pirates for 22 years each over an attack on a fishing boat in March, the attorney general's office said.

The nine were sentenced by Judge Gustave Dodin in the Indian Ocean archipelago's Supreme Court on Wednesday in the first case to be tried under a new section of the penal code, a statement said.

The group of nine was found guilty on three charges of piracy relating to the capture of the Seychellois fishing boat, the Galate, which they sailed toward Somalia using a GPS before running out of fuel.

The pirates tried to escape by trying to hijack another ship before they succeeded in capturing an Iranian dhow. By then, however, the Seychellois coast guard had intercepted both vessels. The pirates traded fire with the coast guard and used the crew as human shields in a tense standoff, which ended when fire destroyed the dhow and caused the pirates and crews to be rescued.

The Seychelles this year became only the second littoral state after Kenya to sign agreements with the European Union and other naval powers to prosecute suspected pirates detained at sea.

The Indian Ocean state -which consists of 115 islands inhabited by 85,000 people -had already sentenced 11 Somalis over acts of piracy in July.

-Montreal Gazzette

For the full story:


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Story

Maersk plans two general rate hikes for Q1

Danish shipping giant Maersk Line announced plans to raise dry and reefer container freight rates from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean in the first quarter, according to its website.

Maersk said it would add $200 per TEU and a $400 per-FEU from Feb. 1.

The company said it would further raise rates on those routes by $250 per-TEU and by $500 per-FEU from March 1.

Maersk Line also announced rate increases from North Asia to Australia, from Canada to Far East Asia, and from Far East Asia to Cuba.

DP World sells majority interest in Australian terminals for $1.5 bil

DP World has sold the majority of its interests in Australia's five main container port terminals to Citi Infrastructure Investors.

Citi and another party will pay DP World $1.5 billion. Formerly known as Dubai Ports, the group has formed a strategic partnership with its co-investors whereby it will retain a key 25 per cent interest in the terminals it operates at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.

The five ports have the capacity to handle 3.5 million six metre containers, which represent about 50 per cent of the stevedoring market. Its main competitor is Asciano's Patrick Corporation.

DP World sold 75 per cent of the shares in its venture, but it will maintain a key presence as it has struck a services and management agreement that is understood to have no end date.

-The Australian For the full story:

CAT Logistics to open new DC in Dubai

Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc. announced plans to open a new 450,000-square-foot parts distribution center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The new distribution center would be the third such facility added to Caterpillar's global service parts distribution network in the last five years, the company said in a statement.

The new facility is part of CAT Logistics’ multiyear expansion and enhancement of the Europe, Africa and Middle East distribution network, the company said.

The Dubai Distribution Center will employ between 100 and 120 people and will be focused on primary aftermarket parts support in the Africa and Middle East region, the company said.

Asia Pacific air cargo up 10.6 percent in November

Preliminary traffic figures were released for the month of November by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) and international cargo traffic registered 10.6 percent growth in November compared to the same month last year.

A similar increase in offered freight capacity left the average international air cargo load factor for Asia Pacific carriers unchanged at 70.7 percent for the month, the AAPA reported in a statement.

“Air cargo has also rebounded very strongly this year, although the reported monthly growth rates are beginning to moderate as supply chain inventories are rebalanced,” said Andrew Herdman, director general for the AAPA.

“Asia Pacific carriers have managed their way successfully through the downturn, and are on track to report significantly improved financial results for the full year 2010. The outlook for 2011 also remains broadly positive, given expectations of sustained demand growth,” said Herdman.

Coast Guard most cash-strapped branch of U.S. military

The Coast Guard’s new commandant has a familiar message for industry, Congress and the president of the United States.

It is the same message carried by previous commandants and one that comes second nature to Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the leader of the most cash-strapped branch of the military.

“We have kicked the can down the road for too many years,” he told National Defense. “We’re suffering significant degradation in our ability to respond to the needs of this country in the nation’s waters.”

Put simply, the service has a lot of old ships and boats and nowhere near the money required to replace them. It also has a growing number of missions and, some congressmen have said, not nearly enough of the personnel needed to carry them out.

Many insiders, like former Coast Guard official Stephen Flynn, believe that a once flattering more-with-less mantra has grown tired and brought the force to the “the breaking point.” Papp does not go quite that far, but he knows the odds are stacked against him in the effort to bring the Coast Guard fully into the 21st Century.

It will require healthy doses of perseverance, persuasion and finger crossing, he said.

“Why should the American people, through their Congress, invest in the Coast Guard? I think it’s because it’s very important that we provide safety, security and stewardship for our nation’s waters,” said Papp, who was promoted to the helm after Adm. Thad Allen’s retirement in May.

“If not us, who else is going to do it?”

No other organization has the authorities to carry out such a broad range of missions, including maritime safety, search and rescue, environmental protection, drug and migrant interdiction, ice operations and general defense activities in conjunction with the Navy. It responds to natural disasters, cleans up oil spills and seizes nearly 500,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana from drug smugglers each year. Yet its resources for executing these missions are dwindling.

The president’s $10 billion fiscal 2011 proposal for the Coast Guard calls for the reduction of 1,100 military personnel and the decommissioning of four high-endurance cutters and one medium-endurance cutter.

-National Defense

For the full story:


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top Story

Illinois reaches $1.1 bil high-speed deal with Amtrack, UP

The Illinois Department of Transportation has reached agreement with Amtrak and the Union Pacific Railroad to allow $1.1 billion in improvements for high-speed passenger rail between St. Louis and Chicago.

The agreement, signed Wednesday, was the final step required for grants awarded last January to be released, according to Warren Flatau, spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration.

Billions of dollars in federal grants for high-speed rail had been tied up across the nation while states and private railroads, which are supposed to provide rights of way, negotiated agreements aimed at ensuring adequate room for both freight and passenger trains.

Rail companies had balked at proposals that they would have to pay financial penalties if passenger trains don’t run on time. Flatau said he believes Illinois is the first state to negotiate an agreement with the Union Pacific, the nation’s largest railroad.

-The State Register (Illinois)

For the full story:

Greek bulk carrier to spin off container-shipping unit

Greek drybulk carrier Diana Shipping said it will spin off 80 percent of its current interest in its containership unit.

The Athens, Greece-based company, which has a 55 percent interest in Diana Containerships, said it will distribute about 2.7 million shares of the unit.

The company said Diana Containerships common stock is expected to begin regular trading on Nasdaq on January 19, 2011 under the symbol "DCIX."

The company said its shareholders will own about 44 percent of Diana Containerships immediately after the distribution on Jan. 18.


For the full story:

Hawaii’s inter-island cargo operator wants to raise rates 24 percent

Young Bros. Ltd., Hawaii's regulated interisland ocean cargo transportation firm, says it needs to raise average rates 24 percent -- the highest increase in at least 30 years.

Young Bros. filed an application yesterday with the state Public Utilities Commission seeking the rate increase, saying it is necessary to provide the company a reasonable profit as cargo volume declines and competition from Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines is expected to soon end the regulated monopoly Young Bros. has held for decades. A hike is subject to approval by the commission, which often grants increases that are less than what regulated companies seek.

If approved, the increase is expected to take effect in August, and would follow a 13.5 percent rate increase the PUC approved for Young Bros. effective August 2009 based on a 19 percent rate hike request.

Any increase in interisland shipping rates would follow an estimated 10 percent increase Matson Navigation Co. is putting into effect Jan. 2 for shipping cargo between the West Coast and Hawaii, which is an unregulated market.

Mark Teruya, chairman and chief executive officer of Armstrong Produce Ltd., which ships much of its product between islands, said any increase in shipping costs hurts businesses and consumers, given the shape of the economy.

-Honolulu Advertiser

For the full story:

Hong Kong detains ship with connections to Iran

Hong Kong has detained a cargo ship linked to an Iranian shipping firm at the centre of new US sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear and weapons activities, a report said Thursday.

The South China Morning Post said authorities in the southern Chinese city detained the Decretive, a Maltese-flagged container vessel, on November 14 over a debt dispute with several European banks.

The city's marine department could not be immediately reached to confirm the report.

Hong Kong officials acted after moves by four banks, led by the German-based HSH Nordbank, over accusations of loan defaults totalling 268 million US dollars, the report said.

A lawsuit filed in Hong Kong's High Court confirmed the German bank is suing the unnamed owners of the vessel, but it did not give details on the amount being sought. The bank's lawyers could not immediately be reached.

The Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that the target of the dispute is the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), the guarantor of bank loans which funded the Decretive's construction in 2008.

The ship -- currently moored off Hong Kong's southern coast -- is one of five vessels linked to IRISL that the European banks want seized to collect on alleged loan defaults, it added.

-AFP For the full story:

Report: OHL air cargo firm being investigated by TSA

CBS News has learned that the TSA is investigating allegations that an air cargo company in the Midwest failed to screen for possible bombs and explosives in millions of pounds of cargo carried on international passenger flights over the last eight months.

TSA has recently dispatched inspectors to the Indianapolis company, formerly known as Activair, to conduct an inquiry.

The cargo company is a division of OHL, a large global third party logistics firm headquartered in Tennessee.

"We are cooperating fully," said Kara Brown, OHL spokesperson in acknowledging the TSA inquiry. In an email to CBS News yesterday she said the company was "participating in a number of interviews and sharing information as requested by the TSA."

The company voluntarily removed the Indianapolis facility from TSA's Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF) program earlier this month after TSA brought the allegations to their attention according to Brown. "OHL thought suspending CCSF in Indianapolis was an appropriate, prudent and proactive procedure to undertake until further TSA conversations and OHL internal fact finding is complete," Brown said.

The former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security Clark Kent Ervin said if the allegations against OHL prove to be true they are "very troubling."

-CBS News

For the full story:


Friday, December 24, 2010

Top Story

Santa’s on the move

At press time, NORAD had tracked Santa tracked over the Indian subcontinent as he covers the globe in an astonishing feat of Christmas logistics.

In the meantime, we at Cargo Business News want to wish our readers and advertisers the very best Holiday Season, and a healthy, happy, prosperous 2011!

The Cargo Business Newswire, Techwire will see you again in the New Year!

- To keep track of Santa yourself, go here:

Port of Seattle clean truck rules effective Jan. 1

The Port of Seattle announced its new Clean Truck Program Guidelines are effective January 1, 2011, including all trucks sporting engines that are from 1994 or newer before gaining access to container terminals.

The port said it launched an on-line program earlier this year aimed at registering what it terms “newer, cleaner drayage trucks.”

In addition to the 1994 or newer engines, drayage trucks wanting to gain access to the marine terminals must also be registered in the port’s Drayage Truck Registry, and display a “Green Gateway” sticker on the driver’s side of the door, the port said in a statement.

To date, over 4,000 trucks and close to 800 trucking companies and truck owners have registered in the Drayage Truck Registry, the port said.

Drayage trucks with engines older than model-year 1994 could be eligible for a $5,000 "bounty" through the ScRAPS Program (Scrappage and Retrofits for Air in Puget Sound), the port said. Since the program began in 2009, more than 250 trucks have been scrapped, the port said.

Venerable Seattle shipyard to be sold for $130 mil

Portland shipbuilder Vigor Industrial LLC said Thursday that it is acquiring Seattle's Todd Shipyards Corp. in a $130 million cash deal.

Vigor will pay $22.27 a share under the agreement that will take Todd private. The combined company will have 1,800 employees, according to Alan Sprott, vice president of the Swan Island manufacturer.

Vigor will acquire Todd's two shipyards in the Puget Sound area. Although there isn't a lot of shipbuilding going on at the moment, Todd is building ferries for the State of Washington's ferry system, he said.

Vigor's offer -- which has been unanimously approved by Todd's board of directors -- is 6 percent higher than Todd's closing price on Wednesday and represents a 31 percent premium over its average share price the past three months.

Todd shares have climbed steadily during the past year, from a low of $13.98 to its recent, 52-week high of $21.00. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

Stephen G. Welch, president and chief executive officer of Todd, said the deal will be good for the shipyard, as well as the company's shareholders and employees.

Todd's management will remain intact, and all contracts will remain in place.

-The Oregonian

For the full story:

Secretary Vilsack reports $41 mil Ag export surplus

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the nation is projected to post a $41 billion agriculture export surplus and see farm income grow by more than 30 percent as commodity and land prices remain high.

Vilsack says commodity prices are likely to remain high for at least two years, and that makes the farm economy one of the nation's bright spots.

He spoke Friday during a taping of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program airing later in the weekend.

Vilsack, a former two-term Democratic governor of Iowa, says the strong farm economy will give President Obama a good message to offer in his expected bid for a second term.


For the story source:

Upcoming U.S. export trade missions

Below are some of the upcoming U.S. Commercial Service trade missions:

  • U.S. Department of Commerce trade Mission to Jordan and Israel Focuses on Cleantech and Healthcare Sectors

  • February 20 - 24, 2011

  • Registration Deadline: December 27, 2011

  • Water Tech Trade Mission to India

  • February 28 – March 4, 2011

  • Registration Deadline: January 15, 2011

  • Executive-Led Business Development Mission to Egypt and Morocco

  • March 25 – April 1, 2011

  • Registration Deadline: January 21, 2011

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Executive-Led Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia

  • April 2 - 5, 2011
    Registration Deadline: January 31, 2011

For more information: Trade Missions or 1-800-872-8723.




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