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How Soybeans Can Save Billions in Container Repositioning

Soybeans Containerization

How Soybeans Can Save Billions in Container Repositioning

Containers are essential to the shipping and trade industry, making shipping more efficient and often faster. However, many containers are left to sit idle due to the trade imbalance in the U.S. Costing the industry billions of dollars a year, vacant containers sit empty and cause congestion at ports.

However, container repositioning offers a solution to the wasted money and time many face. By repositioning containers to back-haul with U.S. soybeans, it works to help alleviate a huge problem in global trade.

This introduces profitability when product flows back and forth and offering opportunity to US farmers. In fact, many Asian markets have shown a growing preference for containerized shipping of specific goods, such as soybeans due to the preservation it offers to fresh goods. By working to reposition containers, it offers savings as well as opportunity for U.S. farmers. Read more at https://www.ilsoy.org/.


PORT OF VANCOUVER USA’S BOARD GREENLIGHTS 2018 STRATEGIC PLAN

The Port of Vancouver USA Board of Commissioners on Sept. 11 unanimously approved the port’s 2018 Strategic Plan, which includes a new vision statement and outlines 20 goals and 66 strategies to guide the port’s activities and budget for the next decade.

The plan was developed over 11 months with broad public and stakeholder input, including advisory panels, public open houses, commission meetings, public workshops and hundreds of public comments.

“We appreciate all the time and energy our community has put in as we’ve created our new strategic plan,” says CEO Julianna Marler. “We heard from hundreds of people, both within the port and across our community. Their perspectives helped us develop a balanced plan so we can continue to advance as an organization while achieving our state-directed purpose and our mission of creating economic benefit through leadership, stewardship and partnership in marine, industrial and waterfront development.”

The port first developed a strategic plan in the early 2000s and updated it each year as necessary. By 2017, the port needed a new plan to address organizational change, including completion of many key initiatives; marine and industrial business growth; identification of new projects; and changes in staff and elected leadership.

The 2018 Strategic Plan is available at www.portvanusa.com/key-projects/strategic-plan.

 

 

 

 

CSX Opens New Canadian Intermodal Terminal

Jacksonville, FL – Rail carrier CSX has opened a new intermodal terminal in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield near Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The facility expands CSX’s intermodal network capacity and offers Canadian customers domestic and international service that connects with the railroad’s 21,000 mile network in the U.S.

The $100 million terminal, which spans 89 acres, includes cutting-edge equipment to capitalize on the efficiency and environmental benefits of intermodal rail transportation, such as three state-of-the-art rubber-tire gantry cranes – the first of their kind at an Eastern Canadian intermodal facility.

Construction also incorporated environmentally sustainable innovations in the areas of noise abatement and protection of downstream waterways.

With capacity for 100,000 loads, the Valleyfield terminal is an important addition to the railroad’s unique intermodal network, which offers both point-to-point corridor service and a hub-and-spoke model that allows it to reach into small- and medium-sized markets, to capitalize on the growing demand for intermodal transport.

Trains serving the new terminal will also connect through the Northwest Ohio intermodal hub, “offering efficient access to markets across the United States and Canada,” the carrier said.

12/19/2014

 

Long Beach Tackles Chronic Port Congestion

Long Beach, CA – Responding to the chronic congestion snarling the movement of cargo containers through one of the country’s busiest ports, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved the use of port property as a temporary site for the storage of empty containers.

The “Temporary Empty Container Depot” will be operated on 30 acres of a vacant, undeveloped area on Pier S on Terminal Island in a move to “help to free up needed equipment to move cargo out of shipping terminals faster” and “put back into circulation more chassis,” the wheeled trailer-frames that trucks use to haul containers.

Truckers using the new will be able to deliver empty containers and remove them from a chassis, and then use the chassis to pick up and haul loaded containers to nearby intermodal rail facilities or their regional destinations.

The depot will be operated by a private company, Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals, under a permit that will expire at the end of March 2015.

Designation of the new depot is reportedly one of several measures the port is pursuing to relieve the congestion issues that have come with a surge of cargo in the last two months caused by the busy peak shipping season, the advent of larger ships and a change in the ownership system for chassis fleets.

In addition to the depot, the port has reportedly crafting a plan to operate its own chassis fleet for peak cargo shipping seasons and facilitate the introduction by private chassis fleets of an additional 3,000 chassis into the local equipment pool.

“We hear our customers loud and clear,” said Doug Drummond, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “This congestion is not acceptable, and the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is ensuring that the Port of Long Beach is doing everything it can to see that we clear up these issues now and forever.”

11/17/2014

 

Port of Long Beach Clogged with Box Cargo

Long Beach, CA – Cargo movement through the Port of Long Beach is being delayed from three to five days because of a surge in cargo volume and a “stressed and in some cases, flawed ”supply chain infrastructure, according to port Chief Executive Jon Slangerup.

Speaking at a recent town hall meeting at the Center for International Trade & Transportation at California State University – Long Beach, Slangerup said the flaws result from a failure of the supply chain “to work as an integrated system.”

Slangerup’s comments follow his recent formation of a Congestion Relief Team (CRT) “to meet daily, seek solutions, and solicit feedback from our staff in the field.”

The port, he said, “will do everything we can bring our partners who operate and work at the terminals together to identify bottlenecks and implement solutions.”

The first target of the CRT is the shortage of chassis at the port, a situation that Slangerup has called a “mismanaged mess.” Chassis are the frame trailers used to haul cargo containers.

“There is a chassis imbalance,” said Dr. Noel Hacegaba, the Port’s chief operating officer. “This is a big part of the congestion issue and I have been facilitating discussions with the key players to find relief as soon as possible.”

Cargo numbers rose sharply for the Port of Long Beach in September as the port recorded its heaviest traffic for that month since 2007, the port’s peak cargo volume year.

Nearly 630,000 containers moved through the port last month, a 7 percent increase over the same month last year.

Imports to Long Beach rose 10 percent as retailers brought in products for the holiday shopping season. More than 339,000 containers came into the port, making it the third-highest month for imports in the port’s history. Exports, however, fell 12 percent.

Over the first nine months of the year, container traffic at the Port of Long Beach is up 1.7 percent.

Cargo numbers climbed in September largely due to the importation of products for the upcoming holiday shopping season and the increased container capacity of the newer generation of containerships calling at the port.

10/23/2014

No USWC Port Labor Contract Worries Retailers

Washington, DC – Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to see a final surge and set a new monthly record in October as the holiday season approaches, according to the National Retail Foundation’s monthly Global Port Tracker report.

“Increasing congestion at the nation’s ports, as well as the ongoing West Coast labor negotiations, are ongoing concerns and retailers are making one last push to make sure they’re stocked up for the holidays,” said Jonathan Gold, the NRF’s vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy.

“Retailers are working hard to make sure customers can find what they’re looking for regardless of what happens at the ports.”

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) affecting cargo movement at US West Coast (USWC) ports expired on July 1, prompting concerns among the nations’s retailers and others about potential disruptions that could affect back-to-school or holiday merchandise.

The Washington, DC-based NRF recently sent a letter to the heads of the PMA and the ILWU urging a speedy, successful conclusion to their on-going negotiations.

Dockworkers remain on the job as negotiations continue but the lack of a contract and operational issues “have led to record congestion” at ports from Seattle to San Diego, the industry group said.

“Finalizing a new labor contract is an absolutely critical component to working through the backlog of shipping containers now piling up at West Coast ports,” the letter read. “We are deeply troubled by the fact that no apparent progress has been made in the negotiations since August, when the PMA and ILWU announced a ‘tentative deal’ on health benefits.”

The NRF, the largest retail industry group in the world, chided both groups for their lack of transparency, saying that, “Whether intentional or not, the fact that neither the PMA nor ILWU has made any public progress report in more than a month is sending a very troublesome and disconcerting signal.”

Shippers, the NRF said, “look for certainty when making strategic long-term supply chain investments, or for placing transportation orders for discretionary cargo.”

The ongoing negotiations “and the degradation of operating efficiency, specifically at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, is making the region unattractive for future investment and will lead to a permanent shift of cargo,” the letter concluded.

Import volume at US ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report is expected to total 1.53 million containers this month, topping the 1.52 million monthly record set in August. Cargo volume has been well above average each month since spring as retailers have imported merchandise early in case of any disruption on the docks.

The 1.52 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit cargo containers) handled in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, was up 1.5 percent from July and 2.1 percent from August 2013.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting 4.1 percent holiday season sales growth and 3.6 percent growth for all of 2014.

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the US West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the US East Coast, and Houston on the US Gulf Coast.

10/10/2014

New Orleans Plans Improvements at Intermodal Terminal

New Orleans, LA – The Port of New Orleans awarded a $13.3 million contract to Metairie-based Hardrock Construction for improvements to the Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal.

The 12-acre project is intended to upgrade the terminal, improving the movement of marine and rail cargo at the port while also reducing its carbon footprint.

The current project includes constructing a rail yard with 10,000 linear feet of track and five-acres of heavy-duty paving to be used for the efficient transfer of containers. The scope of the contract includes electrical, drainage and utility work, along with the installation of new water feeds to additional hydrants.

Existing rail lines currently moving cargo will be removed upon completion of the new tracks so intermodal service at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal will not be interrupted.

The port received a $16.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for the project in 2012, after state and city politicians expressed their support for it to the US Department of Transportation.

The total cost of the project, with the addition of new terminal equipment and engineering services, is expected to reach $21 million.

Port officials expect the project to be completed by February 2016.

08/25/2014

Maersk to Raise Tariffs on Inland US Imports, Exports

Madison, NJ – Container shipping giant Maersk has said it will raise the tariff on US inland imports and exports due to intermodal “operational stress.”

In its notification letter to customers, the shipping giant cites chronic trucker shortages and surging cargo volumes that are causing delays at the rail and terminal levels.

Denmark-headquartered Maersk said it would raise its US inland import and export tariffs effective September 1, 2014, for all store door and container yard (CY) export shipments by truck, the tariff amount will increase by $25 across all equipment types.

For all store door and container yard import shipments, the company said, the tariff on 20’ and 40’STD equipment tariff rate will increase by $25; on 40’ HDRY by 20’ REEF and 40’ HREF  by $30; and on 45’  HDRY  by $35.

Maersk said it forecasts that intermodal costs in the industry “will continue to rise as the year progresses.”

08/14/2014

Boxed Imports Expected to Reach All-Time High

Washington, DC – Import volume at major US container ports is expected to hit an all-time record in August as retailers concerned about the lack of a West Coast longshoremen’s contract rush to bring holiday season merchandise into the country, according to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker report.

“The negotiations appear to be going well but each week that goes by makes the situation more critical as the holiday season approaches,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said.

Retailers, he said, “are making sure they are stocked up so shoppers won’t be affected regardless of what happens at the ports.”

Import volume at the ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report, just released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and business consultancy Hackett Associates, is expected to total 1.54 million containers this month.

That’s the highest monthly volume since NRF began tracking import volume in 2000, topping a previous record of 1.53 million set in July and unusually high numbers seen this spring as retailers began importing merchandise early in anticipation of this summer’s contract talks.

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) expired on July 1 with dockworkers pledging to remain on the job as both sides continue to negotiate a new agreement.

Both sides report that the on-going contract negotiations have been “productive” with the NRF urging both sides to avoid any disruptions that could affect the flow of seasonal back-to-school or holiday merchandise.

US ports followed by the report handled 1.48 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) in June, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 0.38 percent from May but up 9.1 percent from June 2013. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.

July was estimated at 1.53 million TEU, up 5.8 percent from the same month last year, and August is forecast at 1.54 million TEU, up 3.6 percent from last year. September is forecast at 1.48 million TEU, up 2.8 percent from last year; October also at 1.48 million TEU, up 3.3 percent; November at 1.37 million TEU, up 2 percent; and December at 1.34 million TEU, up 2.1 percent.

Those numbers would bring 2014 to a total of 17.1 million TEU, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2013’s 16.2 million. Imports in 2012 totaled 15.8 million. The first half of the 2014 totaled 8.3 million TEU, up 6.9 percent over last year.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting 3.6 percent sales growth in 2014. Cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales but is a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

Hackett Associates CEO Ben Hackett said the increases in volume reflect both improvements in the economy and retailers importing merchandise early because of the contract negotiations.

“US GDP has increased in 11 out of the last 12 quarters, confirming that we are in a sustained period of expansion,” Hackett said. “A significant portion of the strong upswing in imports has been due to the labor negotiations, with importers moving up shipments just in case.”

The Global Port Tracker covers container activity at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the US West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the US East Coast, and Houston on the US Gulf Coast.

08/13/2014

Update: West Coast Longshore Talks Continue

Los Angeles – The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have resumed contract negotiations.

Both groups took a four-day break in the talks as ILWU representatives attended unrelated contract negotiations with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest.

According to a joint statement, the talks, so far have been “productive” with both the PMA and the ILWU pledging to “keep cargo moving through US West Coast ports during the negotiations.”

The six-year contract between dockworkers and the employers who operate port terminal and shipping lines expired on July 1. It covers workers at 29 ports from San Diego, California to Bellingham, Washington.

In the weeks preceding the expiration of the original contract, businesses across the country, and overseas, were concerned about the possibility of a work stoppage that could have paralyzed the movement of cargo through US West Coast ports including the major container load centers in Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, and Seattle/Tacoma.

In 2002, a breakdown in labor negotiations resulted in a 10-day lockout at the 29 ports that was estimated to have cost the US economy $1 billion a day with the supply chains of some companies seriously ‘kinked’ for up to six months afterwards.

At the time, a week before the July 1 expiration date, Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation (NRF), said, “Folks are nervous about what’s going to happen once the contract expires.”

The concern was underscored by the fact that, during the months of July through September, retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp receive ocean shipments of goods sold during their critical back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons, he said.

Past experience shows that labor negotiations at West Coast ports typically extend beyond the contract expiration date with the current round of talks possibly extending into September, according to some sources.

08/04/2014