The Cargo Letter
Section A: Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News|
Section B: FF World Air News |
Section C: FF World Ocean News | Section
D: FF in Cyberspace |
Section E: The Forwarder/Broker World
FF World Ocean Briefs
The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches
Back By Popular Demand
- Pacific Coast Says "Yes" ........
as rank & file of the Int'l Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted by nearly 90% to ratify the tentative contract union negotiators secured Nov. 23. The final tally was 7,405 in favor of the contract & 888 against, or 89.3% to 10.7%. Voter turnout was 85%. The agreement passed in every local on the Coast. The 89.3% vote is the largest approval for any long shore contract in the history of the ILWU. The contract takes effect Feb. 1 and should bring labor peace to 29 major ports that will modernize under the pact. The Pacific Maritime Assn, which represents shipping lines & terminal operators, also announced that its member companies had "overwhelmingly" ratified the deal. The deal boasts handsome benefits, including no-cost health insurance & a 60% increase in pensions. By 2008, a union member will receive an annual pension of US$1,800 multiplied by the number of years worked - a 30-year veteran, for example, would get US$54,000 per year in retirement. Salaries would increase 12%, giving the average longshoreman around US$90,000 in annual pay. In exchange, union members would accept a new wave of computer technology that would speed the flow of goods through congested ports. Companies have been seeking for new cargo-handling systems and "many companies are planning to bring in technology, certainly over the next several months," said a PMA spokesman. As technology arrives, so too will new rounds of dispute between the 2 sides. Companies will try to keep as many of the new technology-dependent jobs under their control, while the union will argue that the jobs are theirs according to contract language.
Ports on both coasts are still digging out from the crush of cargo that continues to pile up 4 months after the West Coast shutdown ended.
- Manifest Destiny ........
as U.S. Customs has proposed to expand the privilege to request confidential treatment of importer information on manifests to both NVOCCs & VOCCs. Under the current regulations, only importers or consignees may request confidential treatment of their shipment information by filing biennial certifications to U.S. Customs. When U.S. Customs proposed its new manifest filing regulations in August, many NVOs voiced concern to the agency about protecting the confidentiality of their customer information from vessel operators and other competitors, since this information may become available for purchase from reporting services. In 1984, U.S. Customs lost in court to PIERS, a Journal of Commerce owned reporting service, and had to amend its regulations under the 1930 Tariff Act to give reporting services broader access to manifest information. NVOs traditionally protected their manifest information filed to Customs through the vessel operators by listing themselves as both shipper & consignee for the freight. U.S. Customs said it would no longer allow this practice under its new manifest regulations, requiring NVOs to list their shipper & consignee information accurately on their manifests. Effective Dec. 2, U.S. Customs requires both vessel operators and NVOs to file their manifests to the agency 24 hours prior to loading on ships overseas. The agency said accurate & more complete advance manifest information is important to circumvent terrorists' attempts to deliver weapons of mass destruction to U.S. shores. "This amendment allowing such parties, including NVOCCs and vessel carriers, to make confidentiality requests will enhance the new procedures set forth in the final rule, as these parties will be relieved from any disadvantage that might result from publication of certain manifest information," said U.S. Customs in a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking on Jan. 10. Customs told the industry in its final rulemaking for the so-called 24-hour rule that it would address the issue of manifest data confidentiality in a future proposed rulemaking. The industry has until Feb. 10 to comment on the proposed rulemaking. Contact Larry Burton, U.S. Customs' chief of entry & carriers branch in Washington, at (202) 572-8724.
- Race For Face ........
as Hong Kong is in danger of suffering a huge loss of face as the date for its compliance with the U.S. Customs' 24-hour rule looms. U.S. Customs has joined a chorus of warning & complaint from industry players concerned that Hong Kong exporters are not ready to comply with new ocean cargo screening rules to be implemented on Feb. 2. The rule requires carriers & NVOCCs to submit cargo manifests by electronic means through U.S. Customs' Automated Manifest System (AMS) 24 hours before overseas cargo is laden on board a U.S.-bound vessel after the 60-day grace period, which commenced on Dec. 2, expires in less than 2 weeks. "The shipping lines are going to adhere strictly to the rule starting towards the end of Jan," said the Hong Kong Shippers' Council. "They will not load any container that is not accompanied by the advance submission of the manifest before the document cut-off time. Shippers must know their carriers' cut off dates." Traditionally, there has been a cargo rush prior to the Chinese New Year holidays, starting Jan. 31. This year shippers face the risk of having their containers being delayed or not being shipped before the long holiday shutdown -- geeeez! -- another West Coast port problem?. A local service will be made available to shippers & NVOCCs very shortly, the Shippers' Council said. The carriers & NVOCCs would then submit their data to U.S. Customs via AMS.
- Ports of Klang & Tanjung Pelepas Too ........
as Malaysia joins the long list of countries which have agreed to participate in the U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative (CSI). A CSI agreement was signed by the 2 sides on Jan. 20 at Putrajaya, Malaysia. South Korea signed on Jan. 17, & Spain on Jan. 13.
- A Stumble ........
as the UN in Dec. said that for the 1st time in over a decade the world's seaborne trade has decreased. The study, "The Review of Maritime Transport, 2002," said that after 15 straight years of positive annual growth, world seaborne trade contracted a total of 5.83 billion tons. The study said fleet productivity as calculated in tons carried per dwt and thousands of ton-miles per dwt exhibited decreases of 2.7% & 4.5% respectively as compared to those for the figures for 2000. However, the review's figures showed that world container port traffic is still increasing and expanded by 15.4% over 2001's level & reached 225.3 million TEU. Developing country ports handled 41.8% of the total, or 94.2 million TEU, the UN said.
- But Container Shipping Forecast Improves ........
as strong growth in demand for container transport over the next couple of years should absorb much of the tonnage capacity on order, two London shipbrokers are predicting. More, the Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) suggests that while growth in global container volumes will slow to 6%, annual compound average growth from 2006 to the end of Escap's study period in 2011, containerized trade within Asia will grow by 7.6% per annum over the next decade.
- It's Only The Heads That Are Rolling At NOL ........
as Neptune Orient Lines has just cut the chief operating officer position at its container arm APL & slashed its regional divisions from 6 to 4 to create a 'flatter, leaner organizational structure' for 'sustained profitability." All this after a US$335M loss for 2002 -- and 2 weeks after president & CEO Flemming Jacobs was ousted from the top post.
- Yes, Giant Magnets! ........
as the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is getting ready to test an experimental system later in 2003 that will use a series of strong electromagnets built into the quay to moor giant container ships. Engineers are working on giant trucks for haulage to giant warehouses.
- Goodbye, Ehy ........
as after more than 36 years of valued operation, representing Canadian shippers' interests vis-ā-vis liner shipping conferences, the Canadian Shippers' Council (CSC) is to wind up operations on Jan. 31. The decision was made at the council's recent board of directors meeting. Some of the council's past activities will be carried on by the Canadian Industrial Transportation Assn. (CITA). The CSC is composed of major national shipper organizations, whose primary concern has been the availability of competitive Int'l liner shipping transportation. The council was chartered by the Canadian Minister of Transport, under the provisions of the shipping conferences exemption act 1987 (SCEA).
- The "A" Team ........
as the 1st ship from Zim Israeli Navigation Co., the 4,800-TEU M/V Zim Shanghai, has docked at Pier A, a new 170-acre terminal in the Port of Long Beach. Operated by Stevedoring Services of America under a 25-year lease with the port, Pier A has 6 ship-to-shore gantry cranes, a 3,600-foot-long berth, 50 feet of water alongside the dock, & a 20-lane truck gate.
- Project Buy ........
as RealAmerica Co. has concluded acquisition of the Houston based project cargo business of Zust Bachmeier (USA), Inc. The Houston unit, now known as Zust Bachmeier Int'l, Inc., has realized average annual revenues in recent years of about US$6M. It specializes in Int'l forwarding of project cargo & also as a general shipping agent. All Houston based employees of Zust Bachmeier are expected to remain with the new entity.
- Rate Explorer ........
as Management Dynamics, Inc, the provider of full-function tariff & service contract management solutions for the ocean transportation industry, and CargoSmart Limited, a portal for the container transportation industry, have formed an alliance to market "Rate Explorer" to CargoSmart's member shippers & transportation intermediaries. The alliance allows CargoSmart to extend its product offerings to include contract management to meet customers' transportation management needs, regardless of the portal affiliation of their contracted carriers.
- Savy Security ........
as 11 of the world's busiest seaports have started using an electronic container security system that was developed to help the U.S. military keep track of food, ammunition & other gear shipped overseas. The technology, created by Savi Technology of Sunnyvale, Calif., relies on electronic seals placed on container closures. Using radio signals, the seals can transmit information about where the container is, what is inside it & whether it has been opened -- all crucial in thwarting smugglers or terrorists. About 100 containers equipped with the seals have been shipped from Hong Kong & Singapore to Seattle, Los Angeles & Long Beach, Calif., over the past 2 months. A similar number have been shipped from Europe to East Coast ports. The tags allow government, port or shipping company officials to monitor a container's whereabouts through a secure Internet site. The tags cost US$10 to US$20 per container, with additional costs for sensors and other hardware & software. The cost has come down significantly since the technology was developed in the 1990s. The Pentagon spent US$200M to install the technology in its bases in 40 countries over the past 7 years. The ports that have started using the technology are: Hong Kong; Singapore; Seattle; Tacoma; Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif.; New York; New Jersey; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Antwerp, Belgium; & Felixstowe, Britain.
- FMC Taketh Away ........
as it has revoked 17 OTI licenses for failure to maintain valid bonds. These firms include Adcom Express, Edina, Minn.; AMT Freight, Battle Creek, Mich.; B&H Overseas Shipping & Moving, Hartford, Conn.; Data Cargo Co., Miami; J-Lec Corp., Sunrise, Fla.; JTK Int'l Trading, Los Angeles; Knopf Int'l, Alexandria, Va.; Moran Shipping Agencies, Cranston, R.I.; Multimodal Services (NY), Rosedale, N.Y.; Natasha Int'l Freight, Miami; O.K. Shipping, City of Industry, Calif.; Omni Express Int'l, Los Angeles; Prem Int'l, Miami; UC Bridge, Compton, Calif.; Wil Can (USA) Group, Jamaica, N.Y.; World Exchange, Los Angeles; & World Express Cargo, Stafford, Texas.
- FMC Looks Behind The Curtain ........
as it is to fine China Shipping Container Lines Co. (CSCL) & Hong Kong-based Rich Shipping Company US$800,000 each. The FMC had received information that suggested Rich Shipping Co. was a freight forwarder affiliated to CSCL. It began an investigation at the start of July 2002 and discovered that a top official in CSCL holds a 4% stake in Rich Shipping. According to U.S. maritime rules, carriers should not use the forwarding services provided by NVOCCs in which they are co-stockholders. This is to prevent them offering rates below market level & putting other NVOCCs at a disadvantage.
- Cool Rule ........
as BIMCO, the private association of shipping companies that represent 65% of the world's merchant fleet, has revised its "General Ice Clause" for voyage charter parties. "The existing ice clause was found to be deficient in a number of ways, in particular that the vessel should not be required to follow ice breakers or to force [its way through] ice," BIMCO said in a statement. The new clause says that a vessel may follow icebreakers when reasonably required. If a ship's master is concerned that the vessel may be frozen in, a new sub-clause requires "the master or owners to notify the charterers that the vessel is leaving for the nearest safe place, and will there await the charterers' nomination of an alternative safe port," BIMCO said.
- Curious Rule ........
as the U.S. Coast Guard has ordered that ships above 300 gross tons passing by the U.S. Navy Station Norfolk, Va., reduce their speed to 8 knots -- normal deep draft transit speed is 10 knots. The agency said the speed reduction along this 4-mile stretch is "necessary to ensure the safety & security of naval vessels that are moored at Naval Station Norfolk." The Coast Guard said the temporary final rule would remain in effect from Dec. 20 to June 15, 2003. Curious.
- Freak Waves ........
as the world's oceans claim on average one ship each week, often in mysterious circumstances. With little evidence to go on, investigators usually point at human error or poor maintenance but an alarming series of disappearances & near-sinkings, including world-class vessels with unblemished track records, has prompted the search for a more sinister cause and renewed belief in a maritime myth: the wall of water. Waves the height of an office block. Waves twice as large as any that ships are designed to ride over. Read the summary of a groundbreaking study & show, recently on the BBC.
- Piņata-- Breaking The Box" ........
as our new photo feature from Antwerp goes Online -- a 2003 Cargo Nightmare!
- This Month in U.S. Navy History: ........
1960 - The Bathyscaph Trieste descends to the deepest part of the ocean -- the Marianas Trench.
1968 - USS Pueblo (AGER 2) is seized by North Korean forces in the Sea of Japan.
- Throughput. ........
Massachusetts Port Authority said containers volume through Boston's port increased 9.7% in 2002, including a 30% gain in export containers. Port Klang's throughput volume this year is forecast to increase by about 12% in 2003 to five million TEU, Le Havre volume increased by 10% in the 1st 9 months of 2002, to 1.26 million TEUs. The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex handled more than 10 million TEUs for the 1st time in 2002, with combined container traffic volume of the two major South Californian ports reached 10.63 million TEUs last year, up 10% on the 9.65 million TEUs for 2001. This translates into an average of 1,213 TEUs an hour, or 20 a minute. Port of Long Beach (POLB) moved cargo amounting to a total of 359,636 TEU in Dec. 2002, which was virtually the same as it did during the same month in 2001. Port of Ningbo, in east China's Zhejiang Province, handled 1.8 million standard containers in 2002, up 52% over the previous year. At Shanghai container throughput grew by 36% to 8.62 million TEU, and, by doing so, it overtook Kaohsiung's previous position of 4th. Port of Vancouver increased from 1.146 million TEU in 2001 to a record 1.458 million TEU in 2002, as total containerized imports grew 34% over the previous year to 738,147 TEU with full imports increasing 39% to 685,845 TEU.
We're sorry, but there were so many sinkings, explosions, pirate attacks, fires, cargo mishaps, & other disasters at sea that we do not have room to print even the highlights this month. Many lost their lives at sea this month!!
Wilhelmsen Lines, the Norwegian shipowner that owns the car carrier M/V Tricolor that capsized with US$50M in high end automobiles aboard in Dec. in the English Channel, has requested bids from 12 salvage firms to remove the sunken vessel. The Tricolor, which lies on its side with waves breaking over the 'Wilhelmsen' name on its hull, has now been rammed 3 times by passing vessels in a heavy-trafficked shipping channel. Owner's options include refloating the vessel intact before towing it away, or sectioning & removing it piecemeal. Meanwhile, heavy gales have delayed pumping bunker oil from Tricolor. About half of the oil has been removed, leaving 1,000 metric tons in tanks within the hull. A new pumper-and-tank barge, the Romez, was on station last week. Follow the story from our Vessel Casualties page.
U.S. flagged 4,300 TEU Panamax G-class M/V Maersk Carolina, with 19 crew, for Halifax, suffered gale-force winds, 90km per hour, 6 meter seas in North Atlantic crossing -- made Halifax Jan. 26 -- 100 containers lost or damaged, some hanging off the side of ship, ripped open like cardboard boxes. Follow the story from our Vessel Casualties page.
You can read all this month's disaster news at our special Internet web feature which provides full details of each event -- our Vessel Casualties & Pirate Activity Database. Bookmark the site and visit every day! Updated twice daily.
SPECIAL NOTE: Please view the dramatic new pictures at our special "Gallery of Cargo Loss" website feature.
NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. It's dangerous out there.
Please click below for other sections:
Section A: Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News|
Section B: FF World Air News |
Section C: FF World Ocean News | Section
D: FF in Cyberspace |
Section E: The Forwarder/Broker World
Written from wire stories, the Associated Press,
Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources.
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