Cargo Business Newswire Archives
Summary for December 23 through December 27, 2013:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top Story

Hyundai Merchant Marine to sell assets to raise cash

Hyundai Merchant Marine, South Korea's second-largest container line, led gains in shares of Hyundai Group companies after the corporation announced plans to sell assets to raise $3.1 billion in order to pay debt.

Hyundai Group, which includes businesses from shipping to stock broking, will sell Hyundai Securities Co., two other financial companies, and a hotel to raise as much as $1.2 billion, it said in an email Sunday.

Hyundai Merchant plans to raise about $1.4 billion selling stakes in container terminals and restructuring its bulk-cargo operations, the statement said.

Shares of Hyundai Merchant rose to the highest level in more than six months in Seoul trading as Hyundai Group followed Hanjin Group, which owns Korean Air Lines, in announcing plans to sell assets to boost cash.

South Korea's three biggest container carriers face a cash crisis, as $2.8 billion of bonds are due for repayment in the next two years amid growing losses from the worldwide shipping industry slump.

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Kinder Morgan to buy two tanker companies

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has made a deal to purchase American Petroleum Tankers and State Class Tankers from The Blackstone Group and Cerberus Capital Management for $962 million in cash, according to a company statement.

APT and SCT both are in the business of transporting crude oil, condensate and refined products in the U.S. domestic, or Jones Act, trade.

APT's fleet consists of five medium range Jones Act qualified product tankers, each with 330,000 barrels of cargo capacity, Kinder Morgan said. APT's vessels, operated by Crowley Maritime Corporation, have long-term time charters with major oil companies, big refiners and the U.S. Navy.

SCT has commissioned the construction of four medium range Jones Act qualified product tankers, each with 330,000 barrels of cargo capacity. The tankers are scheduled to be delivered in 2015 and 2016 and are being built by General Dynamics' NASSCO shipyard. Once delivered, the SCT ships will be operate on long-term time charters with a major oil company, the statement said.

"This is a strategic and complementary extension of our existing crude oil and refined products transportation business," said John Schlosser, president of KMP's Terminals arm. "Product demand is growing and sources of supply continue to change, in part due to the increased shale activity. As a result, there is more demand for waterborne transportation to move these products. We are purchasing tankers that provide stable fee-based cash flow through multi-year contracts with major credit worthy oil producers."

NYK adds new South Pacific link service

NYK is deploying a new South Pacific link service between the Far East and the South Pacific islands, effective January 2014.

NYK Bulk and Projects Carriers Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of NYK, will operate the vessels in the new SPL service, using multipurpose semi-container ships that will make 72-day round voyages at intervals of every 18 days.

The ships will carry a variety of cargo, including cars and conventional container cargo.

The first vessel in the SPL service will be South Islander V.101, calling Busan on January 12.

The ports of call on the SPL are Kaohsiung, Busan, Kobe, Nagoya, Yokohama, Tarawa (Kiribati), Honiara (Solomon Islands), Santo (Vanuatu), Port Vila (Vanuatu), Noumea (New Caledonia), Lautoka (Fiji), Suva (Fiji), Apia (Samoa), Pago Pago (American Samoa), Papeete (French Polynesia), Nukualofa (Tonga).

For more of the Manila Bulletin story:

Port Authority of New York/New Jersey form port task force

Patrick Foye, executive director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, announced the creation of a Port Performance Task Force this month, according to a port authority statement.

Foye said the new initiative is meant to provide an industry roundtable, bringing together terminal operators, ocean carriers, members of the International Longshoremen's Association, the New York Shipping Association, the Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association, truckers, and other constituents.

The task force will be a forum where all port constituents can discuss issues of common interest with regards to the efficient performance of the ports of New York and New Jersey, the statement said, and try to preemptively identify challenges to the port's efficiency before they occur and recommend potential fixes.

MOL responds to report on the sinking of the MOL Comfort

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines responded to the interim report of the Committee on Large Container Ship Safety on the June 17, 2013 incident in which the hull of the MOL Comfort broke in half.

The committee, made up of maritime industry representatives and experts, was established by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

The cause of the break remains uncertain, but the committee recommended that the following actions be taken as temporary safety measures for existing containerships with loading capacities of 8,000 TEUs or more.

The first measure involves vessels to undergo a safety inspection on the bottom shell plates, conducted in order to verify the presence of buckling deformations. If such deformations are found during this inspection, companies should consult a classification society regarding the proper measures to be taken.

Secondly, in accordance with the deliberations at the IMO related to the enforcement of container weight verification prior to loading, verification of the actual weight of container cargoes provided by the shipper is recommended in order to reduce uncertainty related to the still water bending movements of large containerships.

Since the incident occurred, MOL said it has conducted emergency safety inspections targeting all six of the MOL Comfort's sister vessels, and arranged docking for work to reinforce their hull structures as additional safety measures. The company is also attempting to reduce the stress on hulls by adjusting ballast water volume, and has conducted safety inspections on the outer bottom shell plates of these ships.

For more of the 4Traders story:


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Story

New Chinese free trade zone to include Hong Kong

A plan for a new Chinese free trade zone, to include Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao, has been submitted to the State Council and will probably be approved, according to Shanghai Securities News.

The proposal is based partly on the overall plan for the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone and was presented in mid-December to the State Council, the article said, citing unnamed sources.

Compared with the Shanghai FTZ, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao FTZ will be more "innovative and more open to liberalization," it said.

The report said the new FTZ will focus on manufacturing, logistics, international trade, maintenance, research and development, and international trade settlement, citing documents obtained by SSN.

"The big highlight of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao FTZ is that the zone will link Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao and facilitate the economic integration of the three regions," Yang Zaigao, vice head of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday.

"Guangdong is the forerunner of the country's reform and opening-up drive. Its plan will undoubtedly be innovative, especially in terms of upgrading customs clearance techniques and developing new industrial chains," Yang said.

For more of the Global Times:

U.S. orders for durable goods up more than expected

Orders for durable good rose more than predicted in November, signaling a rebound in U.S. investment after a Q3 lull.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years increased 3.5 percent after a 0.7 percent drop in October, according to a Commerce Department report. An estimate of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a 2 percent increase.

Growing demand for cars and houses benefits manufacturers like 3M, fostering gains in production that will help the expansion. Investment in new equipment may increase as consumer spending rises and the expectation of smaller federal budget cuts in 2014 boost corporate confidence.

"These are very promising signs for business spending," said Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities USA in New York. "It's fairly positive for growth prospects in the fourth quarter."

For more of the Bloomberg story:

Hampton Roads November cargo volume down 2.9 percent

In November the Port of Hampton Roads handled 192,918 TEUs, down 2.9 percent year-over-year, the Virginia Port Authority said this week.

Approximately 7 percent of November 2012's higher cargo volumes came from the rerouting of cargo from the Port of New York/New Jersey to Hampton Roads due to Hurricane Sandy, the statement said.

From January through November, the port reported volume that was up 6.4 percent year-over-year.

Rail volume, was up 12.8 percent year-to-date, the port said.

Cuba's Mariel Port to open in January 2014

Phase One of the new container terminal at the Port of Mariel will open in January, President Raúl Castro told the National Assembly on Saturday.

The port will be operated by Singapore-based PSA International.

The container hub is at the core of a 180-square mile "Special Development Zone" that tries to lure manufacturers and service providers to use Mariel as a base for exports to the region

Using Brazilian funding of $640 million, Brazil's Grupo Odebrecht is building the container port at the small town 30 miles West of Havana.

The first phase of the deep-water port project includes 700 meters of pier.

Once fully operational, the Mariel container terminal will replace the Port of Havana as Cuba's main port, placing the island at the forefront of shipping hubs trying to benefit from the Panama Canal widening, which is slated for completion in 2015.

For more of the Cuba Standard story:

Customs finds $4M worth of cocaine in container at Baltimore port

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered almost 128 pounds of cocaine in a shipping container at the Port of Baltimore.

The container, from Colon, Panama, was full of car parts, but CBP officers discovered an anomaly with imaging technology. Inside, they found two gym bags, each containing 50 bricks of powder cocaine, with an estimated value of $4 million.



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