Law Offices of Countryman & McDaniel


Air & Ocean Logistics - Customs Broker News

31 December 2006


Good Sunday Evening from our Observation Deck......overlooking the officially designated "Cargo City" area and...... Runway 25-Right, at Los Angeles International Airport, voted "Best Cargo Airport in North America." Happy New Year 2007! Here's the industry news from Dec. 2006. Happy New Year!

We are often asked whether Countryman & McDaniel, conducts training seminars. Yes, from multiple Fortune 100 companies, to smaller forwarders, to the U.S. government, to insurance companies -- for years we have conducted inovative programs for domestic & Int'l claims, Customs, security, trade compliance & post 9/11 industry business practice. McD

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The Cargo Letter Archives of Past Issues

Michael S. McDaniel, Editor, Countryman & McDaniel, forwarder/broker/trade consultant attorneys at LAX.

INDEX to The Cargo Letter:

OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News***

1. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs ______________                            

2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page ______________                               

OUR "B" Section:  FF World Ocean News***

3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs ____________                         

OUR "C" Section:  FF World Ocean News***

4. FF World Ocean Briefs _____________________                                            

5. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches _____        

**Back By Popular Demand**

OUR "D" Section:  FF in Cyberspace***

6. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports of Call" _________             

OUR "E" Section:  The Forwarder/Broker World***

7. New Transport Related Legal Cases ___________            


 Back To Main Page



OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News***

  1. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs _____________ 

***The Cargo Law Website ....... as we thank you all for a great year! Our website hits passed 39 million for the period. We hope that you take advantage of all our indusrtry information & legal assistance -- but we also know that readers visit for other interests, such as the 1,160 Live Cameras & photo features! This month our data software actually froze after we hit 5 million hits -- due to our redirected LAX Webcam & our astounding photo features this month involving M/V Mighty Servant 3 & HMS Cordella. Indeed, these are exciting destinations you must visit! We have new plans for 2007 and hope that you will continue to visit & contribute.

***Temporary Disharmony 2007 ...... as the biggest revision of the Harmonized System since its introduction in 1989 will now take place. The latest World Customs Organization's (WCO) Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) at the Int'l level&emdash;6-digit sub-headings&emdash;will go into effect in the new year and start to be enforced around mid-February. The WCO tariff code changes were supposed to go into effect around the world in Jan. 1, but the U.S. will miss the deadline because the Int'l Trade Commission was late in adding U.S. suffixes to the WCO's 6-digit code. The administration notified the Congress late in the last session about the U.S. code changes, starting the clock for Congress to review and approve the U.S. refinements to the code within 60 legislative -- not calendar -- days. Companies that don't update their HTS face the risks of bottlenecks in their supply chains, the possibilities of sanctions and duty increases that may not have been anticipated. The HTS of the United States (HTSUS) is a complete product classification system for describing all goods in trade for duty, quota & statistical purposes and is administered by the U.S. Int'l Trade Commission (ITC). Every 5 years HTS classifications are updated. This time of the 97 HTS chapters, some 83 have been revised. The ITC Information Center has posted an electronic version of the 2007 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSA) which does not yet include amendments recommended by the WCO for implementation on Jan. 1, 2007. The export Schedule B should be published in Jan. 2007. Schedule B is published yearly & for 2007 includes the deletion of nearly 1,200 obsolete numbers & the addition of 1,100 numbers. Modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S.

***Declare To Customs Before You Ship? ....... as importers & their agents could begin submitting additional commercial information about their overseas orders to U.S. authorities for advance security screening as early as Sept. 2007 under a phased implementation plan tentatively scheduled to begin by the end of summer, U.S. Customs Commissioner Ralph Basham said Dec. 14. U.S. Customs & Border Protection is rapidly working to issue by spring a proposed rule for collecting 12 advance shipping data elements -- known as the "10+2" proposal -- that can be run through agency computers to check for anomalies that indicate which of the millions of containers headed to the U.S. should be inspected by automated means by for terrorist or criminal ties. The purpose of "10+2" is to increase security & transparency in the supply chain. It is not going to be used for compliance purposes according to CBP.

***New UK Report Targets Congestion ...... as the Freight Transport Assn. said it hopes the British government will adopt recommendations made by former British Airways CEO Rod Eddington about the future of the country's transport network & policy in the decade ahead. The Eddington Transport Study identified as a priority the need to invest in improving Britain's Int'l air & ocean gateways, simplifying planning procedures for infrastructure projects and road pricing to avoid congestion. The FTA said the report "puts the importance of freight back on the map," but also urged the government to act upon its own Freight Future report identifying certain rail & road corridors that need investment to keep cargo flowing. "Protecting freight flows along our key trade routes should be a priority for government that cannot wait for the introduction of road pricing or the other recommendations in the Eddington Transport Study," said the FTA's deputy chief executive. "Congestion is the curse of modern logistics, whether on the road or rail network. It disrupts schedules, adds costs, and results in poor service. Read the Eddington Report --- FTA's Freight Future report

***U.S. Gaining Traction? ...... as since China entered the World Trade Organization on Dec. 11, 2001, exports of U.S. goods to China have grown 190% and China has gone from being the United States' 15th to 4th-largest export market, according to office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Long way to go, but a start.

***Vietnam Rejoins The World ........ as the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a press release [See - Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA)] announcing that Vietnam officially informed the WTO that it has ratified its membership agreement. As a result, Vietnam will become the WTO's 150th member on Jan. 11, 2007. Textile & apparel shipments originating in Vietnam & imported into the U.S. may no longer be controlled by import quotas according to a bulletin issued Dec. 2006 by the U.S. Assn. of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA). Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions to Vietnam will be suspended & Permanent Normal Trade Relations granted Vietnam. But quota is not over yet -- likely that limits will be increased to spur imports.

***Columbia - U.S. Free Trade ....... as the U.S. Trade Representative John Veroneau & Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry & Tourism Jorge Humberto Botero signed the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) on Nov. 27. CTPA as a comprehensive agreement that will eliminate tariffs & other barriers to trade in goods and services between the U.S. & Colombia. Upon implementation of the agreement, over 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia will become duty-free immediately, with U.S. farm exports to Colombia such as beef, cotton, wheat, soybeans & soybean products, fruits & vegetables receiving immediate duty-free treatment. Many products from Colombia already enter the U.S. market duty-free under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), which expires on Dec 31, 2006 -- but will expand under the new agreement. In 2005, U.S. goods exported to Colombia totaled nearly US$5.5Bn and 2-way trade in goods between the U.S. & Colombia amounted to US$14.3Bn.

***Panama - U.S. Free Trade ..... as the Bush administration has concluded free trade agreement negotiations with Panama, under the condition that some labor concerns are still open for debate. The agreement mainly eliminates tariffs & other barriers to U.S. goods & services. The agreement will eliminate about 90% of Panama's tariffs on U.S. industrial goods immediately, with the remaining tariffs phased out in 10 years. Panama has enjoyed broad duty-free access to the U.S. market through various trade preference programs such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the Generalized System of Preferences. Total goods trade between the U.S. & Panama was US$2.5Bn in 2005. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. agricultural producers sold about US$200M worth of products to Panama in 2005. A number of U.S. agricultural goods will enter Panama duty-free under the free trade agreement. U.S. goods exports to Panama increased 17% from 2004 to 2005, the USTR said. The U.S. & Panama started their free trade agreement negotiations in April 2004. Both governments must now ratify the free trade agreement language for it to take effect.

***Ten Central European Countries Reach Free Trade ....... as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo (under UN auspices), Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Romania -- have signed a free trade agreement. The trade pact consolidates 32 existing bilateral free trade agreements, will help non-World Trade Organization countries prepare for membership and possibly lead to accession to the European Union as economic cooperation expands. The Central European trade agreement covers a market of some 25 million people.

***Go East Young Man ....... as the booming express & logistics markets in Central and Eastern Europe is set to continue, especially with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union in Jan., although it will bring security implications, U.K.-based Transport Intelligence said in a new report. The "Central & Eastern Europe Logistics 2007" report said the combination of growing consumer demand due to increasing standards of living, and the rise of "near-sourcing" by multinational manufacturers has driven logistics market growth rates of 20% a year in the region!

***NCBFAA Back On The Sphere - Again ....... as the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. has been elected to full membership in the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) after years of absence. "This symbiotic alliance will bolster NCBFAA's prestige in Europe while simultaneously significantly enhancing FIATA's position with America's transportation logistics community," said NCBFAA Sr. Counselor Michael Dugan.

***High Priced Export - No Nickel & Dime Deal ......... as with specialty metal prices reaching all-time highs, the U.S. Treasury Dept. is concerned that the country's 5-cent & 1-cent coins are being exported and melted. Treasury issued an interim rule on Dec. 20 prohibiting the export and melting of U.S. nickels & pennies. The rule is effective until April 14, 2007. Treasury noted in the interim rule that the metals in nickels and pennies -- namely copper, nickel and zinc -- are sought after by scrap dealers. Without these interim regulations, Treasury estimates that the lost coinage would result in a replenishment cost for taxpayers in excess of US$1M per day. "At current metal prices, the profit potential from recycling 5-cent and one-cent coins to reclaim copper, nickel & zinc is sufficiently lucrative to affect these dangers in a very short time period," the Treasury said. The Treasury has the authority to invoke special protections for coins under the 1965 Coinage Act. In 1967, during the transition from silver to cupro-nickel clad coins the Treasury prohibited the export & melting of all silver coins, and again in 1974 to "stem the unprecedented increase in demand for one-cent coins attributable to speculation that the metal content of the coin would soon exceed its face value." Both regulations were rescinded in 1969 & 1978, respectively. Before the current interim rule took effect, it was not unlawful to destroy U.S. nickels & pennies.

***Auto Makers Rejoice ...... as the U.S. Int'l Trade Commission has rescinded a set of tariffs & countervailing duties on imported corrosion-resistant steel from Australia, Canada, France, & Japan, bringing an end to a 13-year-old case that recently split domestic steelmakers from their long-time allies in the automotive industry. The ITC retained the same duties on comparable products imported from Germany & South Korea, and those will remain in effect through 2011. General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and DaimlerChrysler last summer joined their transplant rivals Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Honda of America, & Nissan Motor Co. in a trade complaint on the tariffs, in which they argued that U.S. steel industry consolidation means the industry no longer needs trade protection, as it did when the duties were last reviewed in 2001. The steel industry had argued that keeping the tariffs would deter past dumping practices from being revived and damaging the domestic industry, as happened in the 1990s.

***Mexican Cola War Means Market Billions ..... as the Mexican Congress has eliminated a controversial tax on soft drinks sweetened by imported high fructose corn syrup. Mexico's lower House of Deputies voted earlier this month to implement a 5% tax on all soft drink sales in Mexico regardless of their sweetener content. The Mexican Senate responded by reducing the tax to zero, which both chambers adopted on Dec. 21. The 20% tax, enacted by the Mexican Congress in Jan. 2002, shut off U.S. sales of high fructose corn syrup to Mexico for more than 4 years. The World Trade Organization issued a final ruling on the high fructose corn syrup case in favor of the U.S. on Oct. 7, 2005, that was later appealed by the Mexican government. On March 6, the WTO Appellate Body upheld the decisions of the final WTO panel report and sided with the U.S. on all counts. The price per bushel of corn in the U.S. could rise by 10 cents in the major corn growing states, or 6 cents nationally, when the Mexican market is fully restored for corn sweeteners in line with the North American Free Trade Agreement. This is a big deal.

***U.S. Trucking Drives Downhill ..... as the American Trucking Assn' seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index plunged 3.6% in Nov., following its 1.9% drop in October, ATA said. The index, which fell to a reading of 106.8, was down 8.8% from a year earlier, marking the largest year-over-year decrease since Dec. 2000. Year-to-date, the tonnage index was down 2.8% compared with the same period last year. The not seasonally adjusted index fell 9.5% from October, to 106.5. "Nov. marked the single worst month for for-hire truck tonnage since the last recession," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

***Unstable Stable ....... as the driver turnover rate among large & small truckload carriers increased during the 2006 3rd quarter, the American Trucking Assn. (ATA) reported Dec. 20:

* Large truckload carrier line-haul driver turnover increased to 121% from 110% in the 2nd quarter.

* Small truckload carrier turnover jumped to 114% from 100%.

* Less-than-truckload line-haul driver turnover was 14%.

The 2nd quarter increase follows improvements during the 1st & 2nd quarters of the year. Small truckload carrier driver turnover exceeded 10 during the last four consecutive quarters for the first time since ATA began collecting driver turnover statistics in 1995. The trucking industry currently is experiencing a shortage of about 20,000 long-haul truck drivers. This figure could reach 111,000 by 2014 if current demographic & market conditions remain. Note: Annualized turnover rates above 100% do not mean that every driver left & was replaced. Often, the turnover rate among new drivers is much higher than 100%, while the turnover rate among drivers with a company for more than one year is much lower.

***Only Interstate Smoking Is Legal? ...... a enforcement against on-the-job truckers who violate Ohio's new smoking ban that took effect Dec. 7 is expected to be lax, but trucking industry officials said the law should be changed to exempt drivers, the Columbus Dispatch reported. While Ohio-based truckers must comply with the new law and, for the time being, forbid drivers to smoke in cabs, tractors belonging to carriers headquartered in other states are considered "out-of-state workplaces" and are not subject to the smoking ban, according to the Ohio Dept. of Health. This distinction is foolishness.

***TNT Explodes In New Direction ....... as the sale of its logistics division was only a 1st step in its strategy to focus on its global express and mail businesses. Shortly after announcing the approval of the sale of its logistics division to private equity firm Apollo, TNT announced intension to sell its Freight Management unit. Within weeks of that statement, TNT announced it would sell the forwarding operation to GEODIS SA of France in a transaction worth US$590M. U.K.-based Transport Intelligence reported this is the 1st major acquisition by GEODIS following years of effort to turn around its business.

***Spun-Off TNT Logistics Re-Brands as Ceva ........ as the global unveiling ceremony for Ceva Logistics' new logo and identity was staged in Amsterdam on Dec. 18. With turnover of US$4.6Bn, Ceva is the 2nd largest logistics company worldwide and the largest stand-alone logistics company, according to CEO Dave Kulik. It employs 38,000 people & operates over 7.4 million square meters of warehouse space throughout 26 countries.

***Tribute To Triune ........ as Minneapolis-based trucking & multimodal logistics provider, C.H. Robinson, has acquired privately held Indian non-asset-based 3rd-party logistics provider Triune for an undisclosed amount. Chennai-based Triune Freight Private Ltd. and Triune Logistics Private Ltd., have about 160 employees in 19 offices throughout India, with annual gross revenues of about US$11M. Triune lists 600 customers to which it primarily provides air & ocean Int'l forwarding along with customs clearance service and a projects division.

***Pharma-RFID ....... as DHL & partners have developed a radio frequency identification sensor tag designed to help the pharmaceutical industry better monitor temperature-controlled shipments. The sensor tag is a combination of temperature sensor & RFID radio chip which permits continuous monitoring and recording of apre-defined temperature range as well as provides a read-out of the data at any time, without having to open the shipment, DHL said. DHL Innovation Initiative, a partnership between DHL, IBM, Intel, Philips and SAP, developed the tag.

***Plastic Pallet Pool Plan ....... as Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS), an operator of the world's 1st all radio-frequency identification tagged plastic pallet pool, has reached an agreement with a large Arizona-based produce shipper to test its technology during the winter of 2006-2007. "iGPS pallets offer many advantages over traditional wood pallets, including light weight at 47 pounds, greater durability, and a consistent 48-inch by 40-inch top deck, all of which could lead to significant shipping efficiencies," said Martori Farms in Scottsdale. But do not underestimate the wood pallet lobby.

***Broccoli Cargo Theft Craze ...... as someone got way more than the recommended daily serving of vegetables when a refrigerated trailer loaded with US$50,000 worth of broccoli was stolen. The 48-foot trailer disappeared from its rented parking space in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park sometime over the Dec. 23 weekend. Detective Ed Zorich said the thief was probably after the trailer, not the vegetables. "What is someone going to do with that amount of produce?" Zorich said. "On the black market, I can't imagine that's something that's worth money to anybody." Police entered the trailer into a stolen-vehicle database, but had no immediate leads. "We have homicides happening in town," Zorich said. "We're not really looking for a truck of broccoli right now." Sadly, all too frequently, police track stolen vehicle crime, not the greater crime of stolen cargo within the vehicle.


  2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page ______

**FedEx. UP as net income increased 8% to US$511 in 2nd quarter ended Nov. 30.   

**Patriot Transportation Holding. UP with net income of US$2.6M fiscal 4th quarter ended Sept. 30, up from US$2.2M in the same quarter in 2006.



OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News***

3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs ___

***2007 Air Cargo Forecast Bright ...... as although up is better than down, IATA's director general & CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, points out in his forecast that, "an industry profit of US$2.5Bn is peanuts. It is a margin of 0.5% on US$450Bn of revenues. Or a 2.2% EBIT." When compared to an expected loss of US$500M when final figures are in for 2006, the projections for next year are good news. Regional numbers for airlines in 2006 are expected to show Europe with the biggest profits, at US$1.5Bn. The only region expected to lose money is Africa, which is expected to show a deficit of US$500M. As for the rest, Asia will be up US$1.2Bn, the U.S. up US$200M and the Middle East & Africa with profits of US$100M. All of these figures include both passenger and cargo revenues.

***IATA Works The Evils of Paper ...... as it is supporting 5 pilot projects that will test standards, process & technical solutions for its paper-free concept. The so-called e-freight pilots, scheduled for delivery in 2007, will link the air cargo markets of Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore and the UK. IATA said carriers Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Singapore Airlines & British Airways in cooperation with the multinational forwarder members of Freight Forward International, and local customs administrations will use the year-long pilots to develop, test and finalize standards, and processes for the e-freight initiative. Today's Int'l air cargo shipment comprises up to 38 documents. Together, the annual volume of paperwork shipped by airlines is enough to fill 39 Boeing 747 freighters. By eliminating this paper, the industry could save about US$1.2Bn, according to IATA. Association officials have said that for the e-freight program to work at its full potential would ultimately require the involvement of 16,000 stakeholders, which includes 20 industry bodies, 200 customs administrations, 265 airlines and more than 15,000 forwarders. Target date for successful completion is 2010 for countries with the correct legal & regulatory framework, according to IATA.

***U.S. Airlines In A China Frenzy ........ as Continental Airlines, American Airlines, Northwest Airlines & United Airlines are all lobbying hard to U.S. decision makers for a new air route between the U.S. & China. The coveted route was authorized under a 2004 agreement between the two nations and is expected to generate annual revenue of more than US$100M, along with greater access to the world's fastest-growing economy in time for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The decision is expected any day now. Continental Airlines has handed out 5,000 fortune cookies to members of U.S. Congress to improve its luck.

***Delta Air Lines Flees Altar ...... as it rejected an unsolicited US$8.4Bn offer from US Airways on Dec. 19, and filed its plan to emerge from bankruptcy in the spring as a stand-alone company. The Atlanta-based company's board of directors urged creditors to accept the plan, which valued the company at US$9.4Bn to US$12Bn, as superior to the U.S. Airways valuation and a better way to earn their money back. Delta said in a statement that a merger with US Airways was fraught with uncertainty because of the potential difficulties in gaining antitrust approval and meshing different union labor pools, as well as faulty assumptions about efficiencies through streamlining operations, and concerns the company would be saddled with a huge debt load.

***America Loses Its Virginity ...... as the U.S. Dept. of Transportation has tentatively denied start-up airline Virgin America's application for an operating certificate because it determined that foreign ownership & control of the airline exceeded U.S. limits. Virgin America is backed by Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Atlantic airlines based in the United Kingdom, and two U.S. private equity firms, Black Canyon Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners. Under U.S. citizenship requirements, foreigners can only own 25% of an airline's voting stock, and Americans must constitute two-thirds of upper management and the board, and control company operations. The DOT order said the low-cost carrier is closely tied to the Virgin Group and would have to revise its corporate structure and associated agreements to be actually 75% controlled by U.S. citizens. Branson's Virgin conglomerate contributed about a quarter of the equity to the venture. Earlier this month, the DOT pulled its proposal to increase foreign minority owners' level of operational control of U.S. airlines under heavy congressional pressure. The proposal was seen as a way to increase access to capital for the U.S. airline industry. Continental Airlines has been the most vocal opponent within the airline industry of rules that open up domestic carriage to foreign competition. 

***Lufthansa Cargo Sees The Threat ....... as it is expanding its Munich base into a security hub for next summer as well as equipping its Johannesburg station with modern security technology. At the same time, the German airline is developing its Frankfurt security hub into a showcase station for new security technologies. Lufthansa Cargo is equipping its cargo complexes at Munich & Frankfurt airports with a combination of X-ray & explosives detection systems. In Johannesburg, the airlines will implement structural conversion work at the South African station, as well as additional alarm systems & a new security service.

***Return of The Great Wall ....... as Shanghai-based Great Wall Airlines plans to resume operations in Feb. after the U.S. Treasury Dept. removed it from its list of designated companies, allowing the all-cargo startup airline to resume operations after almost 4 months inactivity. In Aug., the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on one of Great Wall's parents, China Great Wall Industry Corp. and all of its subsidiaries, accusing it of supplying Iran with weapons of mass destruction. The decision prohibited American companies from providing technical support to the Great Wall, forcing the airline to shut down. Great Wall started operations in June with a 6-times weekly freighter service between Shanghai & Amsterdam. Later additions to its network included Seoul Incheon Airport in South Korea to the existing service as well as a 3-times weekly service between Shanghai and Mumbai and Chennai in India. Great Wall hopes to start operations once it leases 2 Boeing 747-400 Freighters from another of its parents, Singapore Airlines Cargo.

***FedEx Buys Brit ....... as it has acquired UK express company ANC Holdings Ltd. for $237M. ANC offers a range of distribution and logistics services within its U.K. pickup & delivery network. It has 4,500 employees, a fleet of 2,200 vehicles and serves the country from 80 locations. In Oct. 2005, UPS purchased Lynx Express Ltd, one of the UK's largest independent parcel carriers. Note: FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will raise rates an average of 4.9% beginning Jan. 1

***Lufthansa Buys Boeing ...... as the airline Lufthansa said Dec. 13 it had decided to order 20 Boeing 747-8 planes with an option for 20 more. The airline reported that it would begin taking delivery of the wide body planes, the longest in the world, in 2010 as it expands into North America & Asia. The airline also approved an order for seven Airbus A340-600 long-haul jets, scheduled for delivery by 2008. The order for all the planes had a list value of US$6.9Bn. Noticeably absent is an Airbus A380 order.

***Dynamite Purchase ....... as TNT Express has received its 1st widebody freighter, a Boeing 747-400 purchased from Guggenheim Aviation Partners, the Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer announced last week. TNT's current fleet consists of narrow-body planes, including 6 Boeing 737s and a 757. TNT will add a 2nd converted 747 freighter in the spring.  

***Volumes >>> Cathay Pacific carried 109,413 tons of freight in Nov., up 9.3% from the same month last year. >>> Continental Airlines carried 91.5 million cargo revenue ton-miles in Nov., up 3.8 % compared to 88.2 million cargo revenue ton-miles in the same month last year -- and for11 months, Continental transported 982.1 million revenue ton-miles, a 5.8% increase from 928.6 million revenue ton-miles after same period 2005. >>>  United Airlines reported a 1.7% decline in cargo volume for November at 176.1 million system cargo ton-miles, compared to 179.2 million system cargo ton-miles in the same month 2005.

***Darwin Award At LAX ...... as a woman sent her one-month-old grandson through an X-ray machine at Los Angeles Int'l Airport, security officials on Dec. 16. The woman, who spoke little English & was traveling to Mexico, put the infant in a plastic bin used to hold loose carry-on items for security scanning at the busy airport on Saturday morning. Security screeners saw the baby as it started to pass through, pulled the bin out, and immediately sought medical assistance for the child the Transportation Security Administration said. The baby was examined at a local hospital and judged not to have received a dangerous dose of radiation. Airport officials said it was an innocent mistake by an inexperienced traveler and only the 2nd such incident there since 1988, when a baby in a car seat went through an X-ray scanner. The woman's head was not X-rayed.

***Petco -- Gateway To The World ! ...... as lost Houston luggage was found after the busy Christmas weekend, but not where travelers might expect or hope. These bags were dumped by the dozens in a dumpster at a Petco store near Houston. The luggage came from several different airlines, and the FBI is handling the investigation. All of the baggage had luggage tags, even priority-handling tags. Pet store workers said some were cracked open & rifled through. Others were not. "The dumpster's pretty much from the bottom to the top is completely full of luggage," said another person. One of the bags found Dec. 26 belongs to a Mexico City woman who said she lost a computer & a camcorder. Neither the woman nor her bags were even supposed to go to Houston. She started in Portland, had a layover in Las Vegas & Phoenix. The story was not comforting to holiday travelers. "I have all my Christmas presents in there," said traveler Elaine Mogabgab. Her bag was lost on her flight Dec. 26, and now she's afraid it's in a dumpster somewhere. "I would think it's in Hawaii somewhere. I wouldn't think it's in a dumpster. I don't know how they'd get away with that," Mogabgab said. Also worried was traveler Chris Johnson: "Because I have, like I said, a lot of expensive stuff in there, so if it got shipped somewhere in a dumpster, I'd lose my mind." Continental took possession of the stolen bags. Airline officials said they were checking planes & contacting travelers trying to reunite them with whatever is left in their wayward luggage. Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate how the bags got there. 

***Super Sized & Very Polite French Litigation ...... as an overweight passenger has sued Air France after being told he was too fat & had to pay for a second seat to accommodate his bulk. Jean-Jacques Jauffret, a French scriptwriter, told Reuters Wednesday he had felt humiliated by Air France staff who had measured his waist in public at New Dehli airport in 2005 and decided he was too big for a single seat. A lawyer representing Air France told a court the company had a clear policy of asking obese passengers to pay for 2 seats. "Let's be objective. This man is fat," lawyer Fernand Gamault told the court in Bobigny. "He barely fits on the courtroom chair. How could he sit in an airplane?" Gamault was not available for comment but Jauffret confirmed the lawyer's comments and said he was denounced as "fat" & "enormous" on countless occasions during the hearing. Jauffret said he weighed more than 160 kgs (352.7 lb) and said he had flown numerous times, including on other Air France flights, without ever being asked to pay more. Air France's website urges overweight passengers to reserve a 2nd seat. A verdict is due on Feb. 20.

***Sweet Smell of a Shoe Bomber ........ as it is considered polite to light a match after passing gas, but not while on a plane. An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Dec. 5 morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence. The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for Nashville Int'l Airport Authority. All 99 passengers & 5 crew members were taken off & screened while the plane was searched & luggage was screened. The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said. "It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up." The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident, but given a case of Glade.                   



OUR "C" Section:  FF World Ocean News***

  4. FF World Ocean Briefs ____________  

***Port Security Czar? ....... as New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, and a task force of government & business leaders, have urged the adoption of mandatory security standards for all cargo coming through our nation's 361 ports, as well as the appointment of a port security czar. "It is more than these containers, it is that whole supply chain that exposes our society, and we need to make sure that we are doing everything that is possible,'' Corzine stated while at the Port of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The task force's recommendations are currently being sent to members of Congress and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security for review. The challenge will be to maintain a balance between proper screening & security measures and the the ports' economic vitality. Perhaps not a bad idea.

***A Rising Tide Lifts All Ports - Especially The Small Ones ...... as the continuing global trade boom, which has produced record cargo traffic this year in Los Angeles and Long Beach, has spread to smaller harbors across California. As global trade continues to grow and expand, many small harbors along the West Coast are offering themselves as alternatives to larger ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach. Over the past year, San Diego has seen its freight volumes rise 28%, but it's the number of autos entering the country through San Diego that has increased most dramatically, to 500,000 this year from 30,000 in 1990. Port Hueneme in Ventura County has also seen increased business by specializing in fresh fruit, new automobiles, and other unique but profitable market niches. Port Hueneme Harbor Commissioner Ray Fosse expressed his reasoning for the increased importance of smaller ports by stating, "With the major ports going with containers as much as they can, customers are looking for a place where they won't get chased out and where they become very big fish in a much smaller pond. And with the expanding economy there is just more & more demand out there for ports access.

***New U.S. Bonding Opportunity ..... as U.S. terminal operators will be required to obtain a bond to guarantee payment of penalties issued for the unauthorized release of ocean containers that have been designated for security inspections, according to U.S. Customs & Border Protection. The bond requirement is one of several steps being taken by CBP to crack down on instances, referred to as "gate outs," in which terminal operators mistakenly release containers for delivery that Customs has flagged for inspection. Terminal operator bonds will be required to do business, starting Jan. 20, CBP said. The rule applies to stand alone terminal operators. Ocean carriers that already have a bond & also operate terminal facilities will not be required to take out an additional bond & operators of bulk terminals are also exempt. Terminal operators must post bonds with at least US$100,000 of liability coverage, with the actual level to be determined by the local port director, CBP said. The volume of cargo traffic handled by a terminal may be a factor in setting the bond amount. The port director can set the bond amount up to US$250,000 based on past violations.

***Maersk Line To Cut Volume - Raise Rates ....... as it will in Jan. cut its transatlantic capacity by 5% to 6% as part of a massive reworking of its global service network in order to push rates up in struggling trades. The Danish mega-carrier will replace the TA3/Newark Shuttle and TA6/Oceania Pendulum services with a revised TA3/TP12 pendulum servi Earlier this month Maersk said it is seeking a minimum increase of US$300 per container in the transatlantic by Jan. 1. The announcement was made independently of its partners in the Trans-Atlantic Conference Agreement (TACA) and was quickly copied by the two other market leaders Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Hapag-Lloyd. Maersk's parent company A.P. Moller-Maersk Thursday said it expects its container shipping division to lose US$600M this year as a result of lower freight rates, higher fuel costs and the integration costs relating to its acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd.

***Goodbye Hatsu & Italia ...... as Taiwan's Evergreen Group next May will drop its 2 European-based brands, Italia Maritima SpA (ITS) & Hatsu Marine Ltd., adopting instead the single brand of Evergreen Line. London-based Hatsu was established in Jan. 2002 while Trieste-based ITS -- which changed its name from Lloyd Triestino in March -- has been part of the Evergreen Group since 1998, when the Italian government decided to privatize many state-owned companies. The Evergreen Group operates a fleet of 162 container ships with a combined capacity of 539,314 TEUs, making it the world's 4th-largest ocean carrier. The 2 other major shipping lines based in Taiwan are Wan Hai Lines & Yang Ming Marine which ranked 16th with a fleet of about 235,000 TEUs. Taiwan's Wan Hai Lines has denied that it is in talks about a possible takeover by French carrier CMA CGM, responding to a report by Seatrade Asia Online.  

***How Many Big Ditches? .......as first Nicaragua and now Ecuador is the latest Latin American country to propose an alternative to the Panama Canal to link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The Associated Press reported that Ecuador's President-elect Rafael Correa suggested a land-and-river trade route linking Brazil's Amazon rain forest to Ecuador's Pacific Coast, at the two-day South American Community of Nations summit that ended Dec. 8 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Nicaragua's" Grand Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Canal" project if successful would be useable by ships of up to 250,000 deadweight tons, including ships up to 18,000 TEUs in capacity, beyond the limit that could travel even the expanded Panama Canal.

***Desert Ditch To Raise Rates ....... as the Suez Canal Authority will raise its transit fees by an average 2.8% in 2007, according to various news reports. Adm. Ahmed Ali Fadel, chairman of the SCA said the increase would range from 1.14% for passenger ships to 3.73% for oil tankers, effective April 1. The SCA said its 2006 revenue reached a record US$3.82Bn, up 11% from US$3.4Bn last year with the number of vessels passing through the canal up by 580 to 18,580 ships. Cargo loads were up by 66.8 million tons to 736.8 million tons.

***Cool Group Turns 360 ....... as 6 specialized reefer shipping companies on Dec. 20 established an association designed to improve the handling of reefer cargo. The 360 Quality Assn. was formed by Great White Fleet, Green Reefers, NYKLauritzenCool, Seatrade Group, STAR Reefers & Universal Reefers. "The aim of the association is the implementation and further development of the 360 Quality Code to eradicate handling damages from the entire supply chain of specialized reefer shipping to give the very best service to the customers," the carriers said in a joint statement. The audit & certification of the 360 Quality Code has been developed in collaboration with the major European classification societies.

***Pirate Protection Products ...... as there is a launch of new products in the marine insurance market called ProSecure and CrewSecure. They are offered by the brokerage firm of Seacurus and fill a gap in the Kidnap and Ransom market for crews & marine professionals visiting the sorts of places where such risks are a regrettable fact of life. The list of lawless places in the world where ships & cargoes get into trouble is possibly longer than it has been in recent times. Modern Day Piracy

***Shanghai Port Gets New Annex ....... as on on 11 Dec. 2006 that Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai opened its 2nd phase consisting of 4 berths on a 1.4 km waterfront with handling capacity of 2.1 million TEUs per year. In 2005, Shanghai Port recorded a throughput of 18.1 million TEUs and this year, it has already handled a total of 20 million TEUs. By 2010, it is expected that Yangshan Port will be able to handle 15 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) annually, with its coastline reaching 10 kms. The port, situated on an island at the mouth of Hangzhou Bay, is located 27.5 kms from the city's Luchaogang area in Nanhui District.

***Watering Down The Gas Cleans The Air ....... as Port of Long Beach officials last week praised a new California rule on cleaner-burning ship fuel, which takes effect on Jan. 1. The new regulation, adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2005, requires large ocean-going vessels, including container & cruise ships, to use low-sulfur fuels in their auxiliary engines within 24 nautical miles of the California coastline. The regulation will reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter (PM), smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) & sulfur oxide (SOx). Under the new regulations, ships must use fuels with a sulfur content at or below 0.5%. One test, which begins in Feb., will see M/V Singapore run on emulsified diesel (where as much as 25% water is mixed with marine fuel) from the time it enters California waters outside Los Angeles, through its voyage up to Oakland and until it leaves California waters.

***Coping With West Coast Surge ....... as engineers in the ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles are drawing up a rail master plan that would vastly enhance the 2 ports' on-dock rail capacity over the next 2 decades. The plan would cost more than US$1Bn, including US$200M for construction of a near-dock rail transfer yard, US$400M for on-dock rail improvements & more efficient use of the Alameda Corridor to downtown Los Angeles. Long Beach alone hopes to grow its percentage of cargo moving on-dock from 17% currently, to 35%.

***Seattle To Memphis Direct ........ as BNSF Railway Co. will in Jan. reintroduce an ocean intermodal container service from the Pacific Northwest region to Memphis. "BNSF is pleased to offer its ocean carrier customers and their shippers another North American gateway for goods moving between Asia and the rapidly growing Southeast market as well as the rest of BNSF's expansive intermodal network," said BNSF. The rail carrier also serves Chicago, St. Paul, Denver & Omaha from the Pacific Northwest.

***MRGO Flooded New Orleans? ....... as a group of scientists has criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for not taking immediate action to close the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, better known as MRGO, the Associated Press reported. MRGO is a man-made shipping channel that provides ocean carriers with direct access between New Orleans & the Gulf of Mexico. The channel was constructed in the 1960s. The channel, which has experienced silting in recent years, has been blamed for allowing storm surges to flood downtown New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The AP reported that the scientists want the Corps to acknowledge the storm dangers associated with the MRGO and stop its foot-dragging with calling for the immediate closure of the shipping channel. Many shipping industry insiders realize the MRGO has reached the end of the line.

***Throughput >>> Container volume at the Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach increased 10% in Oct. to a combined 1.45 million TEUs, compared to 1.31 million TEUs in the same month last year -- as Port of Los Angeles handled 800,064 TEUs, up 13% compared to 707,740 TEUs handled in 2005, while Port of Long Beach handled 650,726 TEUs in Oct., up 8.3% from the 600,940 TEUs it handled a year ago -- ombined, for the year so far the 2 ports have increased their throughput by 11% to 13.07 million TEUs. >>> Port of Miami shows the port had a 7.4% drop in container volumes, falling below the 1 million TEU level for the first fiscal-year-end since 2002. >>> French port of Marseilles-Fos handled 864,000 TEUs through Nov., up 4% over the first 11 months of 2005. >>> Oregon's Port of Portland handled 17,901 TEUs in Nov. up 28%, bringing total volumes for the year to 196,663 TEUs. The port surpassed its 2005 total in Oct., as it rebounded from a more than 50 percent drop in containers between 2003 & 2005. >>> In 2005, Shanghai Port recorded a throughput of 18.1 million TEUs and this year, it has already recorded a total of 20 million TEUs.     

***The Month In U.S. Navy History .......

1812 - USS Constitution (Capt. William Bainbridge) captures HMS Java off Brazil after a 3 hour battle.

1814 - Destruction of schooner Carolina, last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's make-shift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans. After loss of craft, the naval guns were mounted on shore to continue the fight.

1822 - Congress authorizes the 14-ship West Indies Squadron to suppress piracy in the Caribbean.

1841 - USS Mississippi, the first U.S. ocean-going side-wheel steam warship, is commissioned in Philadelphia.

1867 - U.S. claims Midway Island, first territory annexed outside Continental limits.

1942 - Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class Thomas A. Moore performs an appendectomy on Fireman 2nd Class George M. Platter aboard USS Silversides (SS 236).

1943 - USS Silversides (SS-236) sinks 3 Japanese ships & damages a 4th off Palau.

1959 - Commissioning of 1st fleet ballistic missile submarine, USS George Washington (SSB(N)-598) at Groton, CT.



   5. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches                        

          **Back By Popular Demand**

We're sorry, but there were so many sinkings, explosions, pirate attacks, fires, cargo mishaps, battles on the water & other disasters at sea that we do not have room to print even the highlights this month. Many people lost their lives at sea this month!! Don't miss the pirate attack on  M/V Seabourn Spirit

But 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. You will be amazed.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Please view the dramatic new pictures at our special "Gallery of Cargo Loss" website feature. 

See our new feature for Dec. 2006: "Hook, Line & Sink Her" -- An Amazing Cargo Law Mystery. You just can't make this stuff up!

See our other new feature for Dec. 2006: "MIghty Sinking" -- the loss of M/V Mighty Servant 3! Dramatic photos.

See our newest photo feature "Singles Only" - Transportation Disasters Told In A Single Photo! Includes our photo coverage of currently stricken M/V Cougar Ace!

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.



OUR "D" Section:  FF in Cyberspace***

  6. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"   

Here are our suggested world wide web sites of the week for your business, your information and your amusement..............

Cargo & Trade>>>>>>

11th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study ........ from 1996 to 2006, this study has helped to identify & track key trends and views of the 3rd-party logistics (3PL) industry from people who use 3PL services.

Exporting Your Way To Success

Farecast ............compares air prices, but then tells you whether you should buy a ticket now, or wait till the fares get cheaper.

Fresh Plaza ....... produce & perishables

Future of General Aviation In America

Import-Export Marketplace Ports

Importing Into The U.S.

NASCO: North America's Super Corridor Coalition ........ multimodal transportation network known as NASCO runs through the heart of trade in the U.S., Canada, & Mexico.

Proposed Modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S.

Ship Positions At Sea

U.S. Customs' "Quota Book Transmittals (QBTs)" .............. directives related to absolute & tariff-rate quotas, notices of quota opening & closing dates, lists quota levels assigned for given products and quota periods & special instructions for the processing of quota entries & other quota-related issues.

U.S. Customs Valuation Encyclopedia

U.S. Customs' Publication "Import Quotas" ........ see Trade Publications page.

U.S. Customs Ruling Letters ........ online database on specific Customs issues, including valuation, marking & tariff classification.

U.S. Int'l Trade Commission Tariff Information Center ......... electronic version of the 2007 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSA)



Camera-phone Bar Code Authentication System ....... to ensure authenticity or alert the end user to a possible fraud.

Spill Response Compliance Manual

The Ladders ........ high-end job search

Product Sourcing -- South China & Hong Kong

Trackstick ........ a tiny GPS recorder intended as a low cost alternative to real time tracking devices for companies & individuals looking for a way to track, record & validate the location of anything that moves.

VAT Refunds



Transport Events

Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Conferences & Business Events Worldwide

World Trade Organization Events

3rd Int'l Transportation Management (ITM) Conference & Exhibition ...... Jan. 29 - 30, 2007 - Ritz Carlton, New Orleans

American Assn. of Exporters & Importers Annual Winter Conference & Expo ...... Jan 28 - 30, 2007 - Loews New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans

India Supply Chain Summit .......... March 1, 2007, New Delhi

Intermodal South America 2007 ........24-26 April 2007, Transamerica Expo Center Sao Paulo, Brazil

Int'l Industrial Control & Automation Technology Exhibition & Conference .......8 to 11 March 2007. Cairo &endash; Egypt

Int'l Logistics & Transportation Conference & Exhibition Israel ....... Feb. 13-14th, 2007, Airport City, Lod

ITEX National Convention & Expo for Document Solutions Providers ....... March 20-23, Las Vegas

Logistics & Supply Chain Forum ........May 6-9,2007- Cruise Ship M/V Norwegian Dawn, NY. -- 9th year.

Managing Offshore Relationships in China & Beyond ......... March 5 -6, 2007, Los Angeles, CA

NCBFAA 33rd Annual Conference...... April 15 - 19, 2007, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa Chandler, Arizona

SecurePort - 3rd Western Hemispheric Port Security Conference & Trade Exposition ...... Jan. 29 - 31, 2007 - Hilton Houston Post Oak Hotel, Houston


Free Webcasts - Now>>>>>>>>>

2006 Global Supply Chain Conference.

Optimizing Your Warehouse, Data Capture Goes "Multi-Modal"


General Interest>>>>>>>>>

Air Crew Crash Pad Service

Buget Travel Online

Caverns of Sonora

Coca-Cola Santa Virtual Gallery

Deccan Odyssey ......luxury train of India

Fearless Yachts ........ from Porsche Design Studio

FedEx Truck Smashes Into House -- The Movie

How To Open Champgne ....... a holiday necessity

Hubble: The most amazing space photographs in the universe

JibJab Year In Review

Just How Smart Are You?

LAX Police Buys T3 Personal Mobility Vehicle ......... cool.

NOAA Tide Stations Upgraded to Better Detect Tsunamis

Phishing For Trouble ........ thieves are targeting wealthier consumers while impersonating banks -- it's still a lucrative business.

Play Cofi Jukebox .......... best of the top 100 from the golden years of popular music. Very cool.

Qingdao Travel & Living Guide

Saskatchewan's Highway 32 Pothole Calendar - a bit unusual

Ships & Harbors Image Library

The Longest List

Unbelievable Lake Sorm Damage To Docks of Lake of The Ozarks.

Window Seat

Wine & Food Matcher



OUR "E" Section:  The Forwarder/Broker World***

  7. New Transport Related Legal Cases ________ 

Baker v. Exxon Mobile Corp.

9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Dec. 22, 2006, No. 04-35182

Over a vigorous dissent, a panel of the federal appeals court at San Francisco reduced a jury punitive damages award against Exxon Mobile from US$4.5Bn to US$2Bn in a case emerging from the 1989 grounding of M/T Exxon Valdez and resulting oil spill. In 1994, an Anchorage jury made the massive award of punitive damages to 34,000 fishermen & other Alaskans who said their property and livelihoods were harmed when the tanker spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil. This decision was the 3rd time the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Anchorage court to reduce the multibillion dollar award, saying it was unconstitutionally excessive. Actual (or compensatory) damages in the case were adjudged to be US$287M & paid years ago. The trial court also awarded punitive damages in the amount of US$5Bn, terming the ship owner's conduct to be reprehensible. The appellate court previously urged the trial court to reduce punitive damages so as to be more consistent with Supreme Court guidance. When the trial court refused to go along, except to the extent of a US$0.5Bn reduction, the appellate court set the new figure of US$2.5Bn. The Case


Huseman v. Icicle Seafoods, Inc.

9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

December 27, 2006, No. 04-35655

The court ruled that a late-filed claim for maintenance and cure is barred by laches only if the employer demonstrates prejudice. In the instant case, a crewmember was injured while working on a seafood processing vessel. He waited over 41 months before filing a complaint against the ship owner alleging damages under the Jones Act, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure. The trial court dismissed the Jones Act & unseaworthiness claims as time-barred and the maintenance and cure claim as barred by laches. The trial court, though, made no findings with regard to laches, except to say that it looked to the statute of limitations applicable to the other claims. On appeal, the court concurred in dismissal of the Jones Act & unseaworthiness claims, but remanded the maintenance and cure claim directing the trial court to either explain on the record the actual prejudice suffered by the employer due to the delayed filing or to reinstate the maintenance and cure claim. The Case


Conviction On Pitcairn Island

Christian v R, [2006] UKPC 47

Case contains mayhem & an interesting history of the island following its settlement by the Bounty mutineers. The Case


Plea of Guilty In Crane Tragedy

U.S. District Court Alabama

Rickmers Reederei (Rickmers Shipping Company) has pleaded guilty to misconduct in the 2 March incident involving M/V Zim Mexico III, in which Alabama electrician Shawn David Jacobswas killed, and agreed to pay a fine of US$375,000. The guilty plea to the single felony count was accepted by Chief U.S. District Judge Callie Granade following submission of plea documents by the defendant's attorney, Michael Chalos. As the Rickmers-owned container ship swung away from the quayside at Mobile, its bow struck a crane, which collapsed and crushed Shawn Jacobs, an electrician who was working on the crane at the time. In accepting the plea, Rickmers acknowledged that Capt Wolfgang Schroeder of M/V Zim Mexico III was the company's agent and did cause the death of the electrician through misconduct & inattention to his duties. Schroeder has already been found guilty of misconduct and faced a probable federal prison sentence up to 4 years &endash; although the maximum sentence in the case is ten years. Sources close to the case have say that the company's plea may help reduce Schroeder's jail term. The case turned on the use of the ship's bow thrusters in departing the dock and the government's claim that Schroeder knew in advance that the thruster system was unreliable. The Case

Photos "Alabama Crane Disaster - See March 2006":       


Written from wire stories, the Associated Press, Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News, Lloyds & other world sources.


The Cargo Letter Correspondents:

Michael S. McDaniel Esq, Editor (Countryman & McDaniel)

David Schuchman -- Interpool Corp. -- Webmaster of The Cargo Letter Archive

Andrew D. Kehagiaras, Esq. (Countryman & McDaniel)


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