Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for December 21 through December 25, 2015:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Trucking Trends: The Year Big Data Goes to Work

By Mark Montague, DAT Solutions

It seems like a week didnít go by in 2015 without another startup introducing a mobile app to help shippers find available space on trucks.

Riding the coattails of Uber, which matches car drivers with people who need a ride around town, these "Uber for trucking" apps let shippers post freight to a web site where carriers view it on a mobile device and partake in what amounts to a "reverse auction."

Itís supposed to bring cost-efficiencies to the freight transaction. The trouble is, the promise of lower costs is based on a) the freight going to the last, lowest bid; and b) dis-intermediating the "middle man," the freight broker.

The value of knowledge

Weíd all like to keep transportation costs in check but disintermediation isnít necessarily the way to do it. Getting freight from Point A to Point B ó safely and on time ó takes a lot more coordination than simply swiping a mobile app.

One reason shippers entrust their freight to brokers and 3PLs is to ensure high-quality service. Many have reduced staff in their transportation and logistics departments due to recession-related budget cuts.

With fewer in-house pros available, shippers need brokers and 3PLs with a deep understanding of cargo insurance, scheduling and transit times, routing vagaries associated with moving high-value or hazardous freight (i.e., food products, electronics, medical equipment, and chemicals), and requirements for moving goods across borders.

Shippers have to ask if disintermediation is worth it if it means sacrificing the knowledge and experience required to make freight flow smoothly.

Pricing transparency

If 2015 was the year "Uber for trucking" became a catchphrase, 2016 should be the year of pricing transparency.

Technology is transforming the industry, but itís through the use of dynamic pricing models that spur an almost continuous bidding cycle throughout the year. Shippers and brokers can benchmark freight rates based on actual transactions ó what carriers are actually being paid by load providers ó on single or multiple lanes. Itís not just for big 3PLs. Shippers can get the same tools.

Whether youíre a business with freight to move or you have trucks to fill, learn about the cargo, demand and availability of trucks, and current rates at the origin and destination of the load. You can use trade publications and economic reports for background. For specific rate guidance, the rate tools found in load boards, or advanced freight rate tools like DAT RateView, provide the best information available.

As we enter the new year, we have greater access to more data than we ever have before. When you educate yourself about the market and have the knowledge to put that information into context, you can have a win-win deal thatís geared for the long-term ó not one thatís based on a spontaneous tap of an app.

Mark Montague is industry rate analyst for DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT® network of load boards and RateView rate-analysis tool. He has applied his expertise to logistics, rates, and routing for more than 30 years. Mark is based in Portland, Ore. For information, visit

Port Everglades container terminal renews 20-year lease

Florida International Terminal has renewed its long-term marine terminal lease, which is predicted to handle approximately 128,000 TEUs and $57 million over the next 10 years, according to a port statement. The agreement also includes two five-year renewal options.

"We have watched FIT grow year after year as a multi-use terminal with a robust presence in Latin America," said Steven Cernak, port director.

FIT's business has grown from 76,170 TEUs in fiscal year FY2006 to 156,045 TEUs in FY2015.

FIT's agreement includes relocating its terminal within the port's Southport area during construction for the Southport Turning Notch Extension project. The project will lengthen the existing deepwater turn-around area from 900 feet to 2,400 feet, which will allow for up to five new cargo berths. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 and be completed by the end of 2019.

"We have enjoyed a successful 10 years at Port Everglades and look forward to continue growing as the Port deepens and widens its channels and adds new cargo berths and Super Post-Panamax gantry cranes," said Jose Alberto Diaz, FIT vice president. "FIT was formed at Port Everglades to service some of the world's top ocean carriers. We have expanded greatly over the years to include several new services operated by some of the leading shipping lines in the industry."

SeaLand adds weekly Philadelphia-Mexico service

SeaLand, the a division of Maersk Group, announced a new service dedicated to trade between the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern and Central U.S.

The SeaLand Atlantico service will provide weekly coverage between the ports of Veracruz and Altamira, Mexico and Philadelphia. The service features a 6-day transit time. From Philadelphia, SeaLand says Mexican shippers are able to access up to 40 percent of the U.S. population within only a dayís drive.

"This new service was developed as a result of feedback from our customers who are looking for innovative transportation solutions," said Craig Mygatt, CEO SeaLand. "We worked in close collaboration with U.S. and Mexican authorities to ensure this would be a mutually beneficial product for importers, exporters, refrigerated and dry cargo alike."

The Atlantico service offers an alternative transportation option for trade between the regions, typically characterized by the use of ground transportation on 95 percent of its volumes. This option is especially geared for producers and exporters of perishable goods to the U.S., providing expedited transit.

"Trade between Mexico and Pennsylvania amounted to close to 7 billion dollars per year [in 2013]," said Carlos Giralt-Cabrales, Consul of Mexico in Philadelphia.

"With Philadelphia as its epicenter, this service effectively connects companies to the U.S. Central and Eastern regions offering supply chain efficiencies for importers and exporters alike."

DP World explores expansion of Fairview Terminal at Prince Rupert port

DP World announced it has made a deal with the Prince Rupert Port Authority to study further expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C. The agreement was signed by DP World Canada Group general manager, Maksim Mihic, and Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO, Don Krusel.

DP World is the operator of the Fairview Container Terminal and construction is currently underway for the Phase II North expansion. Canada has also approved plans for the Phase 2 South expansion of the terminal.

"Phase II South, which could potentially be delivered within the next three to five years depending on demand, would increase the total capacity of Fairview Container Terminal to in excess of 2 million TEUs, and would provide capacity to meet Canadaís Pacific container terminal capacity requirements for decades to come in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner," said Mihic.

Under the Feasibility Study agreement, DP World said it intends to study current marine liner services and container volume growth forecasts for trans-Pacific trade on the West Coast, weighing demand for activation of Fairviewís Phase II (South) expansion to align the project schedule with market demand.

The company said this study is critical to the future growth of port operations within British Columbia and will serve as the basis for moving forward with the project in a timely manner. Additionally, the agreement included the intention to establish a cohesive and systematic approach to information sharing as well as environmentally sustainable port initiatives.

Six missing after freighter sinks in Singapore Strait

Six crewmembers are still missing after a general cargo freighter sank in the Singapore Strait following a collision with a chemical tanker on Dec. 16.

The 10,385-dwt cargo freighter Thorco Cloud, operated by Danish shipper Thorco Shipping and registered in Antigua and Barbuda, had a crew of 12.

Singapore's Police Coast Guard, supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, rescued five of the crew members, while the chemical tanker picked up a sixth, according to the MPA. The rescued seamen were sent to Singapore General Hospital for observation.

Search and rescue operations continued for the six missing crew members.

For more of the Reuters story:


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Drewry: West Coast ports not ready for 18,000-TEU ships

In its latest issue of Container Insight, Drewry Maritime Research questions whether U.S. West Coast ports are ready to handle the biggest containerships on a routine basis.

The 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin will be the largest containership to call at any U.S. port when it arrives at the Port of Los Angeles on December 26. The new ship will join the Asia-U.S. West Coast "Pearl River Express" service, part of the Ocean Three network that normally operates with seven ships of around 11,400 TEUs.

CMA CGM will soon become the largest player in the trans-Pacific market after the takeover of APL and its L.A. visit is significant because these ULCVs have until now only been viable on the Asia-Europe trades. Having an additional deployment option would give carriers much more operational flexibility.

The arrival of one 18,000-TEU ship, which may not even be full, wonít meaningfully test the West Coast terminalsí ability to deal with such ships, but at the very least it raises the question of what the USWC ports need to do to get there.

Bigger ships demand faster container handling speed and operational productivity. However, Drewry says while overall berth productivity does increase with ship size, it does not increase directly in line. This is because the length of ULCVs has not increased in proportion with their TEU intake (they have got wider, deeper and stacked higher instead) meaning the number of gantry cranes deployed per vessel cannot be increased in direct proportion to ship sizes.

Terminals have to prepare for much greater peaks in container activity, as the average size of ships grows and more cargo is squeezed onto fewer weekly services, Researchers say this problem is exacerbated on the USWC as ships often only call at a couple of ports, unlike in Europe, meaning those U.S. ports have to handle a higher ratio of boxes per ship call.

The size of containerships deployed on the Asia-USWC route has been steadily increasing. There are now over 50 ships of 10,000 TEUs or more deployed on the route, compared to 14 at the start of 2014. And Drewry analysts say the upsizing will continue on the route.

Itís important for the U.S. West Coast ports to step up since they are losing some of their dominant market share to their rivals on the East Coast, which will soon get a boost from the expanded Panama Canal that will triple the maximum size of containership that can call there.

On the quayside, Drewry says USWC ports will have to gear up in terms of water depth, quay length, and cranes, but there is also a need to improve the efficiency of how cargo is brought to and from the port complex via truckers (who are in short supply) and intermodal railroad.

Terminal automation would certainly help to improve productivity, as would longer working hours to turn ports into 24/7 operations, but this would require more flexibility from union dockworkers, something that seems a long way off.

In conclusion, Drewry says U.S. West Coast ports are not yet ready to handle 18,000-TEU containerships regularly and have much work to do in terms of improving productivity if they are to see them call on anything other than an ad-hoc basis.

Railsí nemeses: curve balls from nature and traffic

By Richard Knee, CBN Contributor

When veteran port industry executive Richard Steinke asked a trio of railroad executives to name their biggest nemeses, they agreed without hesitation: the curve balls that nature and cargo flows throw their way.

The discussion took place at the Cargo Logistics America conference that Cargo Business News co-sponsored in San Diego. Informa, a publisher of several freight sector-focused publications, produced the event.

The unified response to Steinkeís query came from Jim Bishop, international intermodal business director for Union Pacific, Jean-Jacques Ruest, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Canadian National, and Randy Bales, international intermodal director with Norfolk Southern. Steinke is ports practice leader with Moffatt & Nichol, a design and planning firm active in infrastructure, transportation, energy and other fields.

Stephen Edwards, president and chief executive officer of Global Container Terminals, said communication was most important in optimizing a portís cargo flow. "There is a co-dependency. You have to have help from your partner," he said. GTC operates cargo facilities at Vancouver, British Columbia, and New York/New Jersey.

Edwards said larger ships benefited railroads by creating a "critical mass" of cargo volume, "but you need the capacity to handle any surges." Volume from two ships docking simultaneously overwhelms a portís rail capacity, he said.

Charleston port starts preconstruction phase of dredging project

The South Carolina Ports Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District signed an engineering and design agreement, marking the official beginning preconstruction phase of the 52-foot Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.

Work activities during this period will include ship simulation studies, refinement of cost estimates, coastal monitoring and analysis of beneficial use of dredged material. Utilizing initial federal funding appropriated in July, and is expected to be complete by the end of next year.

"The container shipping industryís deployment of big ships is evident, and the Southeast needs a harbor deeper than 50 feet to accommodate fully-loaded post-Panamax container ships," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. "At 52 feet, SCPA will be able to handle vessels of this size without tidal restriction and continue volume growth above the national average. We thank the USACE for their tireless efforts and look forward to the timely completion of PED followed by significant progress on construction by the end of the decade."

Congressís omnibus appropriations bill, passed last week. The bill includes necessary funding for construction of harbor deepening, as well as operations and maintenance dollars, that allow the Project to continue moving forward without delay.

Evergreen opens new berth at Colon terminal in Panama

Evergreen Group celebrated the opening of a new berth at its Colon Container Terminal in Panama.

The president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, the administrator of Panama Maritime Authority, Jorge Barakat Pitty, and a number of government officials joined the Evergreen chairman Captain Yen-I Chang for ribbon cutting.

CCT is located on the Atlantic side of Panama Canal and the location is a major transit hub for North America, South America and the Caribbean. In light of the demand for expanded terminal facilities for large vessels following completion of the Canalís expansion program, Evergreen planned, designed and built the new Berth No. 4 to upgrade its terminal services.

Berth No. 4 is 16.5 meter in depth and is equipped with three super post-Panamax gantry cranes capable of handling 23 rows of containers. Together with Berth No. 3, the facility offers an overall quay length of 640 meters, which can accommodate larger container ships of up to 14,000 TEU.

Berth No. 4 is undergoing various system tests and is scheduled to commence operation in the first quarter of 2016. The overall handling capacity of CCT is expected to increase from its current level of 1.5 million TEU to 2.4 million. Besides, CCT is continuing with the next stage of expansion program to further increase the quay length of Berth No. 3 and Berth No. 4 to 780 meters. After its expected completion around the first quarter of 2017, the facility will be able to handle two large vessels of 12,000 Ė 14,000 TEU simultaneously.

Cargo ship runs aground in B.C.

A team of safety investigators is on its way to Squamish, B.C., after a bulk carrier ran aground there Monday morning.

The Kai Xuan, a cargo ship sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, has been in Squamish since Friday, according to an online marine traffic service.

No injuries have been reported and there appears to be no leakage from the ship so far, according to Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Collard.

For more of the Vancouver Sun story:


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

COSCO appears to be sole bidder for Piraeus port

Chinaís Cosco Pacific is reportedly the only party interested in the acquisition of the 51 percent stake (plus another 15 percent) of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP).

The Hong Kong-listed firm was the only one to submit a timely binding offer in the context of the tender proclaimed in 2014 by the state privatization fund (TAIPED) by Mondayís deadline, four hours before it expired.

All signs point to the absence of a second offer for the stake, which could have created some competition for the asset up for sale. Despite expectations, it appears that the country is still a long way from becoming the holy grail of investors around the world Ė which may explain why TAIPED reafrined from announcing anything on the offers submitted.

In a statement issued on Monday it said the details of the interested buyers will only be released upon the opening of the binding bids on January 12.

For more of the story:

Threatened strikes could disrupt Europeís gateway container port

Dockworkers in Rotterdam voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract offer from port employers Sunday and threatened three-day strikes in January and February unless they get a better deal.

At the heart of the dispute is an aggressive automation program that has made Rotterdam the most technologically advanced port in the world. But the union estimates that the push will lead to the elimination of nearly 20 percent of jobs at the port within two years.

The vote is just the latest chapter in negotiations that have been ongoing for months. Dockworkersí unions have demanded a layoff freeze for nine years. Port operators, including Europe Container Terminals, APM Terminals, and Rotterdam World Gateway, have said thatís "not realistic," offering 4.5 years instead.

The dockworkers union, FNV Havens, says employers have until Jan. 6 to make a better offer to avoid the strike.

Rotterdam is one of the worldís largest ports, and a primary gateway for goods arriving in Europe, particularly from Asia. A shutdown could have a significant economic impact, much as last yearís slowdown along the West Coast impacted the U.S.

The portís preparation for automation stretches back to the 1990s, but construction on the high tech port extension known as Maasvlakte 2 began in earnest in 2008. The first ship arrived at APM Terminalsí fully-automated facility in December of 2014, and the official opening was April 24. APMís construction cost was reported at $548 million.

For more of the Economic Times story:

Partners of Goodman China funnel $1.25B into logistics fund

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Goodman Group boosted their equity allocation to the Goodman China Logistics Partnership, which owns and develops logistics assets in Mainland China, by $1.25 billion.

The pension giant committed 80 per cent, or $1 billion, in keeping with the equity structure of the partnership created in 2009.

In a news release Monday, the firms said the GCLP partnership is seeing continued strong demand in the greater Shanghai and Beijing regions, and key Western China markets, driven primarily by e-commerce and domestic consumption.

"CPPIBís additional equity reflects GCLPís success to date and the longstanding partnership we have with Goodman," said Jimmy Phua, managing director and head of real estate investments in Asia.

GCLP was established with an initial equity commitment of $300 million, and Goodman and CPPIB have increased their commitment every year since 2012 through additional equity to support the growth of the business.

Phua said China continues to be viewed as a strong market for CPPIB, due in part to the pension fundís long-term investment horizon. "In particular, the fundamentals of the Chinese logistics and e-commerce sectors, which underpin the growth in demand for prime logistics facilities, remain compelling," Phua said in a statement.

Separately, GCLP will acquire nine projects, including land, from Goodman Group, with an end build out value of more than $650 million.

For more of the Financial Times story:

Hapag-Lloyd adds ship to service at Port of Montreal

The Port of Montreal has welcomed the addition of another container ship to its weekly schedule.

Hapag-Lloyd has added the 4,045-TEU Quebec Express as the fourth vessel on its weekly St. Lawrence Coordinated Service, which connects Montreal with Southampton, United Kingdom; Antwerp, Belgium; and Hamburg, Germany.

Previously known as the Longavi, the vessel has been renamed for the Province of Quebec as part of Hapag-Lloyd's tradition of naming ships after the markets it serves.

Built in 2006, the Quebec Express is 267 meters long and 32 meters wide.

The Port of Montreal, which handled 1,402,393 TEUs in 2014, has its own rail network directly dockside and is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system.

The first-ever Quebec Maritime Strategy, according to the Port of Montreal, calls for the provincial government to support the marine industry with more than $1.5 billion in investments and sustainably develop the marine economy.

Six missing after cargo ship and chemical tanker collide

Six Filipino crewmen were missing Thursday after their cargo ship collided with a chemical tanker and sank off western Indonesia, officials said. Six other people were rescued.

The Danish cargo ship Thorco Cloud collided with the chemical tanker Stolt Commitment about 8 miles off Indonesia's Batam island late Wednesday, port official Gajah Rooseno said. The collision ripped a large hole below the water line on the cargo ship, causing it to sink, he said.

The tanker, operated by Stolt Tankers, suffered only minor damage.

Rooseno said the cargo ship had 12 crew members from Ukraine and the Philippines and was operated by Copenhagen-based Thorco Shipping.

Thomas Mikkelsen, CEO of Thorco Shipping, said the vessel was coming from Japan and was en route to western Africa before crossing to Brazil.

For more of the ABC News story:


Thursday, December 24, 2015

U.S. imports up in November

Imports through major U.S. ports rose in November as retailers resumed bringing goods into the country after slowing restocking earlier in the fall, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Major ports reported strong container import growth in November. The Southern California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach rebounded after business had eased back following an early peak shipping season, handling a combined 665,077 TEUs in November.

Imports rose 11.2 percent year-over-year at the Georgia ports, 23 percent at the twin ports of Seattle and Tacoma, 8.7 percent in Oakland and 5.7 percent at South Carolinaís Port of Charleston. Import trade remained light at Norfolk, Va., with volume up only 1 percent. The nationís third-largest port, New York-New Jersey, has yet to report November container volumes.

The data suggest that major retailers are starting to replenish distribution centers and store shelves after paring back this fall as unsold inventories piled up.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that U.S. gross domestic product grew slightly slower than estimated in the third quarter, which economists attributed to companies drawing down inventories during July, August and September.

The National Retail Federation had projected a comeback in November, and several ports are seeing business speed up.

Lighter demand in foreign markets, along with the strong U.S. dollar drove continued declines in exports year over year, as the ports continued to report fewer loaded outbound containers and strong growth in empty containers leaving U.S. shores.

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

Panama Canal expansion 96 percent complete (video)

The much-anticipated expansion of the Panama Canal is 96 percent complete, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Jorge L. Quijano, ACP CEO and administrator, provided a next-step update at an industry event Friday in Panama City.

Quijano highlighted timing for the final steps of the project:

1. Locks reinforcements are scheduled to be completed mid-January 2016.

2. Testing of locks reinforcements and additional testing will occur next.

3. In April, transit trial tests with a chartered vessel in the Atlantic locks will occur (following conversations with GUPC, the consortium executing the project).

4. A date for the expansionís inauguration will be then be selected, expected to be in the second quarter of 2016.

5. Subsequently, the commercial opening date will be scheduled soon after the inauguration.

6. The ACP said quality and testing of the expansion are critical.

The ACP will continue to provide updates on the project as more progress and information is made available.

"We are very closeóonly four percent remains to complete the project," Quijano said. "An expansion of the Panama Canal has never been done and we should all feel very good about where we are today. After a successful year, we look forward to being able to provide the benefits of the new Canal to our customers and the people of Panama."

To view a video of recent progress of the canal expansion:

ZIM Shipping expands reefer fleet

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services announced the expansion of its refrigerated container fleet to answer demand for its ZIMonitor service.

Launched in early 2015, ZIMonitor allows customers to track, monitor and remotely control sensitive cargo stowed in reefers. Customers can opt to receive alerts regarding their shipment via text message or email, closely monitor their cargoís status and intervene to prevent damages through ZIMís 24/7 dedicated global response team.

An order of approximately 1,900 40-Feet High-Cube refrigerated containers will be deployed during 2016, ZIM said. The environmentally friendly containers were designed to accommodate the ZIMonitor service and received a special prefix: ZMOU.

ZIM has conducted a ZIMonitor pilot with the help of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Upon the successful completion of the test, the ZIMonitor service gained popularity among customers, the company said.

"We are very pleased with the growing demand for our monitored services. The ZIMonitor system was designed by ZIM for the cold supply chain and employs state-of-the-art technology," said Nissim Yochai, ZIMís VP of global sales. "The service provides a tailored solution for customers who ship pharmaceuticals, perishable food and other high-value and sensitive cargo."

ZIMonitor is designed to comply with the Good Distribution Practice guidelines, which are applicable to the pharmaceutical industry, and to provide ongoing data flow, alerts and automatic reports, along with a 24/7 dedicated and professional response team along the cargo route to promptly respond and prevent damages.

INTTRA poll: Shippers fear effects of SOLAS container weighing

This month, ocean shipping electronic marketplace INTTRA announced the results of a customer survey whose 410 respondents expressed concerns about the readiness of the shipping industry for the implementation of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) verified gross mass (VGM) regulations. The regulations stipulate that containers cannot be loaded onto ships until their weight has been verified and certified.

Only 30 percent of respondents said they expected that their company would be prepared for compliance when the regulations are implemented in July 2016; 48 percent said they "have their doubts," and 10 percent said no. Two-thirds of respondents, or 66 percent, said they expected either a moderate or major disruption in the industry. Respondents foresee the most disruption in Asia-Pacific (42 percent), followed by Africa (22 percent).

INTTRA has launched the eVGM Initiative to facilitate a collaborative transition to industry-wide VGM compliance through digital means. The initiative is bringing together experts from carriers and NVOCC's, freight forwarders and shippers, terminal operators and port authorities, government regulators, and rail and trucking operators. Several companies are actively engaged in the Initiative, including APL, BDP International, CEVA, Damco, Hapag Lloyd, Hamburg Sud, Kuehne + Nagel and UASC.

The eVGM Initiative has two objectives:

- To state a preference for electronic submission through a "digital-first" approach to SOLAS VGM compliance that allows trading partners ample time for preparations.

- To support safety and efficiency by developing an industry community to foster agreement or consensus on a technology standard and standard business process for digital documentation of VGM submissions.

Participants in the initiative will not be required to work with any specific vendor to execute their compliance operations.

"Some have said that SOLAS VGM could be to the ocean shipping industry what Y2K was to the broader business world," said Inna Kuznetsova, President of INTTRA Marketplace. "These survey results are consistent with that, as they reflect concerns over potential disruption and lack of preparedness. We believe that coordinated action can facilitate a smooth transition. That is the basis of the eVGM Initiative."

The world's largest NVOCC, Kuehne + Nagel, expressed concerns that unless global VGM communication standards and practices are adopted quickly, the VGM requirements might create confusion and chaos when implemented in June/July next year, the statement said.

"BDP International recognizes the need for a more contemporary approach to reporting under SOLAS' verified gross mass regulation and supports INTTRA's eVGM initiative," said BDP Vice President John Clark. "An e-commerce solution is necessary to minimize the impact of the reporting requirements which otherwise would result in a slow and costly process. While the human element cannot be dis-intermediated, the efficiencies and effectiveness of electronic integration solutions have been proven time and again, and must be applied to eliminate dependency on an outdated document-based process."

Australia okays dredging near Great Barrier Reef for coal port

Australia okays dredging near Great Barrier Reef for coal port

Australia has approved a controversial expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal; which environmentalists fear will damage the Great Barrier Reef but supporters say is needed to protect the sector from decline.

The expansion work will require dredging 1.1 million cubic meters of seabed near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed of on land to make way for what will become one of the world's biggest export terminals for coal.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt issued the approval only after reengineering reduced dredging by 97 percent from the original proposal, according to Hunt's spokesman.

"All dredge material will be placed onshore on existing industrial land," the spokesman said.

For more of the Reuters story:


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