The Cargo Letter

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Air & Ocean Freight Forwarder - Customs Broker News
19 July 1999

Good Monday Morning 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''. Yes, we have much PIRATE news today!

Contribute your knowledge, stories & company information ........ by E-mail to The Cargo Letter. We strive to bring you useful information which is timely & topical. Be sure to visit our web site ..........

To post comments or discuss articles, go to ....... the Message Board or try our new News Server.

The Freight Detective ........

Michael S. McDaniel, Editor & Publisher, Countryman & McDaniel, logistics/customs 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 Air News
   3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs
OUR "C" Section:  FF World Ocean News
   4. FF World Ocean Briefs
OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace
   5. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"
OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World
   6. Tensions High Across Strait As 
       Taiwan President Lee Utters Controversial Words 
   7. Aged Mir To Be Abandoned
       Aluminum Rain In The Forecast

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

1. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs

2. The Cargo Letter Financial Page

OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News

3. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs

OUR "C" Section: FF World Ocean News

4. Freight Forwarder World Ocean Briefs

OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace

5. 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

Maritime Piracy Center

Virgin Atlantic .......... the new site, with 3-D graphics. 

Canadian National Rail ........ the new site. Tracking & estimated times of arrival . 

Govt. of Hong Kong, Marine Department.  

Webfreight ......... claimed as the U.K.s 1st Internet air forwarder. On line quotes & schedules, but booking is still done by phone. The site gives data on 900 Int'l destinations from the U.K. & more than 2,000 service options. Quotations are obtained on-line in 30 seconds or less after entering minimal details about the shipment 

S.S. United States ........... tour the tragic condition of America's once proud symbol of the sea. 

World Ship ......... the site for vessel owners & operators. 

ClydeSite .......... for the famous UK port, with a help & chat board for visitors to ask and answer questions about the Clyde & its shipbuilding. 

NAVIS ............. container terminal & scheduling software. 

Vantage ........... the company chosen by J.B. Hunt to track its 9,000 trucks, 35,000 trailers & containers with low earth orbit GPS satellites.

Xybernaut Corp. .......... will sell "wearable computers" to the State University of New York Maritime College. The system is seen useful in the loading of cargo and container ships for inventory and safety control right from the dock, making it easier to scan & code hazardous materials which can not be stowed near each other on a ship. 

WWW.LSXS.COM ......... there are 4 modules at the new site: transportation companies can exchange cargo, space, equipment and information at the Exchange Market; or send online bid requests & receive quotations through the Freight Market; or shipments to a chosen freight forwarder can be booked through On-Line Booking; or online meetings can be conducted at Logistics Dialogue. ............ Lets you receive all your faxes at your existing E-mail address. Get a Free Fax Number without needing a Fax Machine! Every time you receive a fax, it is forwarded to your E-mail address and viewed using the eFax Microviewer. 

Doing Business Online Conference ..........will be held October 14 & 15, 1999 at the Meeting place at Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA., featuring an exceptional faculty of lawyers & corporate managers pioneering the new marketing and business opportunities created by the Internet. 

Message Blaster ........... computer connected people & their non-connected associates can communicate -- instantly. This is a new, Internet-based, communications service that makes it possible for online users to easily contact unlimited numbers of people in the way they prefer -- via E-mail, voice, pager, fax, postal mail or overnight delivery -- and to track receipt of messages & receive recipient feedback. There's no need to buy new equipment or software. 

Trend Housecall ............. Free on-line anti-virus scanning service. ........ stores your personal data for filing out net registration forms. Designed to overcome a variety of daily obstacles using its "Gator Vault" as your online companion. 

Celarix ............ as announces 2 revolutionary Internet-based global logistics applications: iSuite, a global logistics management system and Global Logistics Exchange. iSuite is a centralized repository for Int'l & domestic logistics information. It combines purchase order information with in-transit shipping, freight payment and customs clearance information for real-time visibility into an order from the time it is created, through its shipping process, until it reaches its final destination. Global Logistics Exchange is a vendor-neutral forum for trading & purchasing logistics products and services over the Internet, functioning as an on-line marketplace. 

Allen's WinAppsList .............Large variety of high quality shareware, freeware & commercial software products. ......... listen to your favorite radios stations from anywhere in the world. 

NetMind ..............Mind-it Free Service! Sign up for web pages you want to monitor & be notified via E-mail when they are updated. 

Net Pirates Casino .......... now loose your money in Mandarin Chinese. 

OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World

6. Tensions High Across Strait As Taiwan President Lee Utters Controversial Words

-- by Warren S. Levine, for The Cargo Letter

SEATTLE, July 17, 1999 - Tensions between China and Taiwan are intensifying as the result of an interview with Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui by a German radio station earlier this month.

Lee said, "Since our constitutional reforms in 1991, we have redefined cross-strait relations as nation-to-nation, or at least as special state-to-state relations. Under such special state-to-state ties, there is no longer any need to declare Taiwanese independence."

Chinese officials immediately countered by calling Lee a liar and a splittist; a spokesman for the Beijing government said, "…the status of Taiwan as a portion of China's territory has not changed."

China reiterated their claim to sovereignty over Taiwan, stating once again that they would use force, if necessary, to reinforce that claim.

Chi Haotian, China's Defense Minister said, "The Chinese People's Liberation Army is ready at any time to safeguard the territorial integrity of China and smash any attempts to separate the country." Chi is the first general to address what has been mostly a war of words.

Taiwan's position on reunification with China has been to state that they favor reunification, but that it would not happen until China becomes a democracy. Quietly, however, the reasonable assumption is that China will never become a democracy, and so the more economically advanced Taiwanese are comfortable with their current status.

Hong Kong newspapers reported stepped-up Chinese military exercises and, as in 1996, when China staged war games in the Taiwan Strait in the weeks surrounding the Taiwan presidential election, tensions in the region are at a critical point.

US Navy officials noted that the aircraft carrier USS Constellation is already stationed off Korea for regularly scheduled exercises. In 1996, the US sent two carriers to the region in order to ensure stability during Beijing's war games and Taiwan's elections.

The Singapore newspaper The Straits Times carried an op-ed which contained a detailed list of escalating Chinese military responses to Lee's statement.

China also announced last week that they had created their own neutron bomb, but they maintained that the announcement was a coincidence. Response on that was divided, as many considered the remark to be more sabre-rattling by Beijing.

In response to the uproar, many Taiwanese groups have repeated that they are in favor of a one-China policy, and that nothing has materially changed.

The US-ROC (Taiwan) Business Council repeated its recommendation that the U.S. renew NTR/MFN status for China and reminding us that they've supported MFN for China every year since 1996.

Taiwan is heavily invested in factories in China, and could be dealt a major economic blow if China nationalized their joint ventures.

The Cargo Letter recommends updating your Political Risk Insurance if your company has interests in the region.

Taiwan's stock index took a 6.4% loss Friday as rumors continued to circulate about Beijing's possible reaction to Lee's comments. In the days since Lee's remarks, the index has dropped 12.4% -- the equivalent of almost 1400 points on the Dow.

7. Aged Mir To Be Abandoned Aluminum Rain In The Forecast

-- by Warren S. Levine, for The Cargo Letter

SEATTLE, July 15, 1999 -- The Russian Space Agency is planning to recall the last 3 cosmonauts from the aging space station Mir, and disable it on August 23.

A milestone in transportation history is at hand. Mir has traveled more miles than any other manned vehicle in history, having orbited the earth since 1986. Orbiting at 250 miles above the earth, at one orbit every 90 minutes for 13 years, Mir has clocked nearly 4 billion miles in its lifetime. At light speed, it would have taken less than 6 minutes to cover the same distance. Our nearest neighbor star is over 4 light years away.

Still aboard are cosmonauts Viktor Afanasyev, Sergei Avdeyev & French astronaut Jean-Pierre Heignere.

Facing a launch ban in Kazakstan because of an accident and some US$115M in unpaid bills, a short-term food shortage for the crew and chronic mechanical problems aboard Mir, Russia is simply unable to shoulder the estimated US$250M annual cost of its upkeep.

Kazakstan gained control of the launch site in central Asia when the Soviet Union broke up. Launches from the site were banned last week, when a Russian military satellite exploded shortly after takeoff and scattered its remains throughout the area.

In addition, there was that small matter of the unpaid bills.

A cargo ship (The Morflot Chernobyl?) is due to lift off with supplies this week, which should last Mir's final 3 occupants a few more weeks. If the launch doesn't take place on time, they would have to leave Mir virtually immediately.

Russia has tried to raise capital to keep Mir flying, but efforts to obtain private funding have failed.

With over 1,500 breakdowns in its 13-year life, Mir has been on artificial respiration for a number of years, almost colliding with a supply ship in 1997. Home Depot reports that parts sales to the Russian Space Agency had increased by over 30% in each of the past three years.

After Mir is abandoned, it will be kept in orbit for a short while before being brought down slowly to burn most of it up in the atmosphere. Russia plans to guide the parts that don't burn up into the ocean, but people living near the intended re-entry window are warned to watch for aluminum rain. Up-to-date forecasts and a very cool website can be found at : [an error occurred while processing this directive]