Tuesday, November 24, 2009

World Steel Production Increases in October
Breakbulk News 11/23/09

Production of crude steel, a key breakbulk cargo, in the 66 countries that report to the World Steel Associaiton increased 3% from September to October, or to 112,177 Million metric tons from 108,816 metric tons. However, total global steel production for the ten months through October lagged 13.5%, reaching only 982,143 metrick tons compared to 1,135,544 during the same period of 2008.

Chinese steel production during the first ten months of 2009 was 472,474 metric ton, an increase of 10.5% over the same perios in 2008. China's ten-month 2009 total accounted for 48% of global total for the period. Japan accounted for about 7% of the global total; Russia, about 5%; India, about 5%, US, about 5%, South Korea, about 4% and the EU, about 11%

Friday, October 30, 2009

Implementation of Debarking Requirements

The American Lumber Standard Committee has notified agencies accredited for Wood Packaging Material that the European Union has implement a debarking requirement as of July this year. At this time the SPIB is not obligated to enforce this requirements so compliance is a business decision for the producer.

The anticipated restriction is that areas of bark up to 3 centimeters wide are unlimited in length or if over 3 centimeters wide can not exceed the size of a credit card. This restriction is based on a proposed change to the ISPM 15

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breakinig News:

U. S. Truck Driver Hours of Service rules to be Re-written

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in response to a legal challenge to the current hours of service (HOS) regulations, will completely rewrite the 2008 HOS reuglations. The agency will issue a proposed rulemaking within 9 months and a new Final Rule in less than two years.

This settlement is in response to a legal challenge brought against FMCSA by Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In March 2009 the groups asked a DC Appeals court to throw out the HOS rule. The March 2009 challenge was the third challenge to the Bush Administration's HOS rules.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

11th Fastest Growning Woman Owned Business

Dixie Cullen Intersts was honored by the Houston Business Journal as "Houston's 11th Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business".

Our management and customer services TEAMS have been instrumental in this growth, by providing our customers with quality service.

We also wish to Thank You, our customers for entrusting us with your industrial storage and export packing needs.

It will be our pleasure to continue serving you and your needs in the future.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

All Companies Need Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI)
From Export News Newsletter - US Export Assistance Center
As of July 1, 2009, nearly all companies doing business in the EU or companies exporting to the EU will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI as EORI numbers are required for Customers Declarations and to apply for Authorized Economic Operator status. Member states may have different procedures for applying for EORI numbers and exporters will be required to register for EORI in the first member state they do business in after July 1. Any companies that do not have EORI number or do not know if they have one should be sure to check the EU Customs page that explains whi is impacted.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What's New in the European Union
From the September issue of Export News - U S Export Assistance Center
New Requirements for US Exporters of Machines:
As of December 29, 2009 when the new MACHINE SAFETY DIRECTIVE (2006/42/EC) becomes mandatory, US exporters of machines will need to identify a person established in the European Union who is authorized to keep the manufactuer's technical file or have quick access to it. This person's name must appear on the declaration of conformity along with the name and address of the manufacturer. The person could be no more than a letterbox, a point of contact for the authorities in case there are questions about confomrity of the machine or about accidents. The person based in Europe could be the importer/distributor, a lawyer, an authorized representative, or any other person. The manufacturer remains responsible for compiling the technical file. This requirement is an example of the beefed up surveillance and enforcement the EU is putting into effect to back up the CE marking program.
Nyamusi Igambi - Senior Trade Specialist Nyamusi.igambi@mail.doc.gov
Pam Plagens - Senior Trade Specialist Pam.plagens@mail.doc.gov

Monday, August 17, 2009

Low dollar boosts used equipment exports
posted by bwyker Breakbulk News
If there is any silver lining for the shipping industry in the clouds enveloping the US economy, it's the increase in exports fueled by the weakness of the dollar. For the breakbulk and project cargo sector of the industry, the export boom has generated a big increase in shipments of used construction and agricultural equipment, dismantled plants, old locomotives and high and heavy vehicles.
The trend is so pronounced that some breakbulk ports are beginning to look like giant garage sales -- with every inch of storage yard stacked high wuth used cranes, dismantled refining equipment, graders, bulldozers, harvesters and tractors.
Read more on this artical -- click here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Carloads Grow at Large Railroads
posted by jnodar On July 16, 2009 Breakbulk Industry News
Carlaodings of machinery and bulk materials rose in the latest week to the strongest level in three months at major U. S. railroads, as freight picked up after the slow July 4 holiday period
The latest weekly rail traffic report is in line with other signs that the economy continues to bump along the bottom, with some idnicatiors that strength is returning bu others showing freight sectors are flattened or moving in an up and down pattern over the weeks.
Read more of this article click here

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wind Power's Long and Winding Road
Break Bulk News August 10, 2009 Peter Leach

Stephen Donchez feels the pain of drivers who get stuck behind one of his big rigs.

"Motorists hate to see us on the road because we're slow moving and slow down traffic." said Donchez, president of American Transport Systems, a Vineland NJ motor carrier that specializes in carrying massive, oversize wind power components.

American drivers had better get used to the frustration, because they're likely to see a lot more big righs hauling windmill blades, towers and turbines on U. S. roadways: energy economists expect wind farms will produce 20 percent of the U. S. electricity supply by 2020. That means a multitude of new wind farms nationwide.

Read more of this article

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Most American's Support Heavier Trucks
from eTrucker.com news
The Coalition for Transportation Productivity, a coalition of more than 100 shippers and allied associations seeking increased federal weight limits on interstate highways, today, July 15, announced the results of a national poll it says demonstrates a majority of Americans support raising interstate trucks weight limits without making trucks larger.
To read more about the survey and key findings click here

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ocean Carriers Planning a $500.00 Rate Hike
for Asia - US Containers
The 14 shipping lines of the Transpacific Stabalization agreement are planning to increase rates for Asia - US Containers starting August 1st.
To read more : click here

Thursday, July 16, 2009

US Trade Gap Lowest in 9 years!
The BBC reported:
The US saw it's deficit narrow to $26 bn in May, it's lowest level i more then nie years, according to figures from the commerce department.
Imports continued to fall while exports increased, pushing the deficit to it's lowest level since November 1999.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

U.S. Box Imports Plummet 22 Percent
Bill Mongelluzzo Jun 9, 2009 6:28PM GMTThe Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

Slight April gain over March gives weak signal for peak season

Container volumes at U.S. ports edged up in April compared to March, but remained well below the volumes recorded in April 2008, according to the monthly Port Tracker published by the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight.

The second half of 2009 appears to be trending the same way the first half progressed, with containerized imports creeping up compared to the month before, but down noticeably from the same month last year.

It therefore looks like the back-to-school shopping season this summer, traditionally the second busiest period on retailers' calendars, will be disappointing. Prospects for the holiday shopping season that follows look equally bleak.

These developments are reflected directly in the cargo volumes moving through the eight major U.S. container gateways covered by Port Tracker.

"Retailers are still being cautious with their inventory levels in anticipation of slow sales this summer into the fall," said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation.

Containerized imports in April increased 2 percent over March, but were down 22 percent compared to April 2008, according to Port Tracker. April was the third lowest month since 2004 and marked the 22nd month in a row of year-over-year declines in volume.

Projections call for May to be down 21 percent and June 19 percent from the same months last year. Port Tracker projects that containerized imports in the first half of 2009 will be down 21 percent compared to the first six months of 2008.

Port Tracker projects volumes in the peak summer-fall months through October will be down about 16 to 18 percent compared to peak season 2008.

Logistically, the U.S. port and intermodal transportation networks are operating efficiently and without any disruptions. Ports are congestion-free from vessel to gate. Rail service levels are good and the harbor trucking industry is operating with excess capacity.

On the other hand, all of these transportation industries are struggling with weak revenues and over-capacity.

Introduction of the federal security program known as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential has successfully taken place at all major gateways.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Shippers Throw Support to Heavier Trucks
John Gallagher Jun 8, 2009 7:12PM GMTThe Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

Coalition supports bill to raise size, weight limits on interstates

Big shippers are throwing their weight behind legislation allowing heavier trucks on federal roads as a way to boost carrier productivity, save fuel, and cut transportation costs.

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity, representing more than 100 associations and companies such as the National Industrial Transportation League, Kraft Foods, Archer Daniels Midland and International Paper, is urging Congress to raise federal vehicle weight limits on U.S. interstates to 97,000 lbs. through its support of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009. The measure was introduced in Congress March 30.

The legislation stipulates raising the weight limits would only be allowed for vehicles equipped with a sixth axle, which would maintain braking capacity and weight distribution per tire. The bill imposes a user fee for six-axle units to fund bridge repair.

More freight on fewer trucks would also make roads safer, says CTP Co-chairman John Runyan.
“Accident rates among heavy vehicles are strongly tied to the vehicle miles a truck must travel to deliver a ton of freight,” he said. Allowing heavier trucks “would reduce the number of vehicle miles and overall number of trucks needed to deliver a specific amount of freight, making roads safer while cutting fuel and emissions by as much as 19 percent for each ton carried.”

Railroads have long opposed such legislation, claiming raising truck weight limits would give them a competitive edge in the fight over shipper dollars. The AAR cites a 1999 DOT study suggesting increasing truck size and weights would result in a decline in rail revenue of between $2.9 billion and $6.7 billion. Rail earnings would decline 32 percent to 46 percent, and rail car-miles would decline 4 percent to 20 percent, the study said.

Contact John Gallagher at jgallagher@joc.com.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Texas makes Port of Brownsville overweight corridor program permanent
May 21, 2009 Breakbulk News

Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed legislation that will permanently allow overweight freight to be transported by truck between the Port of Brownsville and Mexico. The corridor allows trucks carrying primarily break bulk steel but also other cargoes to be loaded to Mexican truck weights. Without the corridor, said the port’s Deputy Director Donna Eymard, shippers would have to use two trucks instead of one and the steel Brownsville handles would move to Mexican ports.

Brownsville is one of the U.S.’s largest steel ports, handling more than 2 million tons during 2008. Virtually all of the port’s import steel goes to mills in northern Mexico to be processed. After processing, some of it is then re-exported.

Port Director and chief executive officer Eduardo A. Campirano said in the port’s statement that “this is great news for the state, the port, the county, the city, and the consumer. The overweight corridor program helps to insure the sustainable growth of the Port – the economic engine for the Rio Grande Valley and Northern Mexico.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 5, 2009 May 5, 2009 – 1:48 pm-->By Alan Field Breakbulk from the Journal of Commerce

Shipping near record low, says industry group

The United States imported a total of 1.5 million net tons of steel in March, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported, based on preliminary Census Bureau data. Imports of this breakbulk cargo included 1.437 million net tons of finished steel, down 3 percent from February.
Precision Metalforming Association President William E. Gaskin said, “The continuing fall in steel imports in March is not a surprise given the lingering sluggishness in the U.S. manufacturing sector, which has had a real impact on our members. According to PMA’s most recent survey of business conditions, the number of metal forming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoffs increased to 85 percent in April, up from 76 percent in March. And while optimism about expectations for new orders has risen over the past few months, current shipping levels remain near record lows.”

China dominates imports

In March, the largest volume of finished imports from offshore was from China (196,000 net tons, down 28 percent from February). The March tonnage from China was 14 percent of all finished imports. Other major offshore suppliers in March were Korea, Japan, and India.
March imports of hot-rolled steel dropped seven percent from February’s levels, from 152,983 to 141,792 metric tons. Cold-rolled steel imports also declined, from 111,625 metric tons in February to 96,236 metric tons in March, a drop of 14 percent.

Key products that increased in March compared to February included reinforcing bars (up 155 percent), mechanical tubing (up 46 percent), hot dipped galvanized sheet & strip (up 28 percent), line pipe (up 24 percent) and standard pipe (up 24 percent).

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Piracy could bring maritime trade to its knees:
By Michael Edwards
Posted Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:24am AEST Updated Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:14am AEST ABC News

Maritime experts say shipping will only get slower and more expensive unless something is done to stop the threat of Somali pirates.

As details continue to emerge about the dramatic rescue of the American ship Captain Richard Phillips, more questions are being asked about the impact of piracy on shipping routes.
This comes as Somali pirates raised the stakes this morning, seizing two more ships and throwing down the gauntlet to tough-talking US President Barack Obama.

To get an idea of the piracy situation off the horn of Africa, look at ABC News Online's interactive map.
The problem has already sent insurance rates up and more ships are opting to take the slower route around South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal.

Australia's shipping industry says it will have an adverse effect on the world economy as trade slows down.

Friends and colleagues of Captain Richard Phillips are still dealing with his dramatic rescue at the hands of US Navy Seal marksmen.

Shane Murphy is Captain Phillips's chief mate onboard the Maersk Alabama. I just got off the phone with our captain, Richard Phillips for the first time, and it was an extremely emotional experience for all of us to actually hear his voice and hear the condition he was in," he said.
"He is absolutely elated and he couldn't be prouder of us for doing what he trained us to do. And that's really, when the story unfolds you'll see that's really all we did.

"We did everything that we were trained to do. And we have the captain; ultimately everybody you see here before you today has the Captain, Captain Phillips, to thank for their lives and their freedom."

But despite the US Navy's victory this time, experts say the threat posed by Somali pirates is as strong as ever.

John Burnett is an expert on international piracy, and he told Radio National's breakfast program that poverty drives many young Somali men to become pirates.

"These kids, the young men, if they're lucky will earn probably even less than $30 a month. So when they become a pirate they will earn something in the hundreds of thousands and that's a hell of a lot more profitable and less risky than pulling up a half empty fishing net," he said.
And the toll extracted by the pirates is increasing.

There's the cost of ships out of commission as well as ransoms to free crews and extra security measures. Add to that rising insurance premiums and higher labour costs for crews travelling in the area.

And there are extra costs for shipping companies which are choosing to avoid the area.
Llew Russell is the chief executive of Shipping Australia, the peak body for Australia's shipping industry.

"We're most concerned about the increase in piracy that's been occurring particularly over the last few weeks," he said. "With the winter monsoons declining over there we're finding a big upsurge in piracy and we feel it will encourage more people to go around the Cape, which is much longer, consumes more fuel and is more costly."

Mr Russell says going to or from Europe around South Africa adds at least 10 to 14 days to an ocean voyage.

He says many shipping companies are being forced to pay for specialised equipment to thwart attacks.

"A ship thwarted an attack a week or so ago by putting barbed wire right around it. I mean, they're trailing nets out behind the ship to foul the propellers of their little speed boats and so on that they use. All these techniques are being used to try to thwart the attacks," he said.
Mr Russell says if nothing is done it's the world's economy which will suffer.

"I think it'll impact on world trade because you not only have Somalia, you have other countries looking at what Somalia's doing," he said.

"So I can only see the situation getting worse. The only way you can tackle this sort of piracy is on land.

"In fact one has to look at building up the economies of northern Somalia and helping those people in ways other than encouraging piracy. That I think is the longer term answer

Friday, May 08, 2009

WTO's Lamy says Doha round relaunch awaits U.S.

Links to this article
By Doug PalmerReuters Friday, April 24, 2009; 11:08 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A renewed push to finish long-running world trade talks cannot begin until the United States is ready to engage, the head of the World Trade Organization said on Friday.

Completing the Doha round of talks would help pull the global economy out of recession by unleashing new trade flows and "help restore confidence at this moment of crisis," Pascal Lamy, the WTO's director general, said at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

"I cannot restart a political process without the U.S. being ready," Lamy said. That opportunity could come at a number of international meetings over the next several months.

The Obama administration's position on the Doha round of trade talks "is emerging little by little" and is positive but the process has been slow, Lamy said. if (There is much goodwill among negotiators in Geneva for the new U.S. administration but patience is not infinite, he said.

The talks, officially known as the Doha Development Agenda, were launched more than seven years ago in the capital of Qatar with the goal of helping poor countries prosper through trade.
Many developing countries, who make up of the majority of the WTO's 153 members, are anxious for the talks to conclude.

They stand to benefit if rich countries make long-awaited farm subsidy cuts and open their manufacturing and agricultural markets to more imports from developing nations, Lamy said.
U.S. farm, manufacturing and services groups strongly object to a set of proposed texts for concluding the round put forward in December. They have urged the Obama administration to refuse to restart talks on the basis of those texts.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said on Thursday the United States remains committed to a successful end of the round but needs a better idea of what it will "get" in exchange for what it gives up. Kirk said the United States would soon set out new ideas for moving the talks forward.

Lamy, in Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is expected to meet Kirk.

Lamy argued that U.S. business already would benefit more from the round than it publicly admits.
If the United States wants developing countries to clarify what new market openings they will make, it would help for Washington to identify which goods it will exclude from a pledge rich countries made in 2005 not to impose duties or quota on imports from the poorest countries, Lamy said.

Developing countries fear the United States will use its insistence on excluding 3 percent of products from the duty-free, quota-free pledge to maintain barriers in areas of greatest interest to them, such as textiles and sugar.

Sounding a warning against protectionism, Lamy said he has hung a picture in his office of the two U.S. lawmakers who authored the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff act often blamed for deepening and prolonging the Great Depression by triggering tit-for-tat retaliation around the globe.
But that trauma led to the rules-based world trading system that has provided "more than 60 years of economic stability," Lamy said.

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BIS Issues New Audit Module: Export Auditing
GRVR Attorneys

You may or may not have heard of the Export Management System (EMS) Guidelines from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The EMS Guidelines give exporters templates to follow when designing and setting up export compliance programs. The problem is that the EMS Guidelines have not been updated in many years. That is probably why the BIS never promoted the guidelines as much as other programs and why the BIS recently pulled the EMS Guidelines from its website as it works to update them.

The BIS has updated one small, but important tool, of the EMS Guidelines: the export audit module. It is wise for exporters to use the audit module as a starting point. However, the audit module, like everything else in the EMS Guidelines, has a pro-government slant, a bias that exporters must take into account. The new audit module, plus a great deal more, will be covered in an upcoming webinar on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. Avoiding and Handling Export Violations webinar is $99 per access line. To register, go to: www.exportimportlaw.com/courseregistration.php

Thanks to: GRVR Attorneys Gonzalez, Rolon, Valdespino, & Rodriguez, LLCDallas · Washington, DC · San Antonio · Mexico City · Sao Paulo, Brazil · Paris, FranceGRVR has for two decades delivered excellent legal representation to our clients. With offices in six cities, four countries, and three continents, we can fill your legal needs regardless of your location, (214) 720-7720 info@exportimportlaw.com www.exportimportlaw.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trucking Headlines: NAFTA trade rose 4.1% in 2008
By eTrucker Staff

Surface transportation trade between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, was 4.1 percent higher in 2008 than in 2007, reaching $830 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The 4.1 percent rate of growth was the smallest year-to-year growth rate since 2003.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico grew 8.6 percent during the first six months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. It declined 0.3 percent in the final six months and 9.4 percent in the October-to-December period compared to 2007. Total North American surface transportation imports rose 2.7 percent in 2008 from 2007, and exports rose by 5.9 percent during the same period.

In 2008, 86 percent of U.S. merchandise trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved on land. Total North American surface transportation trade value in 2008 was up 47.5 percent compared to 2003, and up 83.7 percent compared to 1998.

U.S.-Canada surface transportation trade totaled $537 billion in 2008, up 5.1 percent compared to 2007. The value of imports carried by truck was 6.0 percent lower in 2008 than 2007, while the value of exports carried by truck was 2.4 percent higher. Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada in 2008 with $67.0 billion.

U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade totaled $293 billion in 2008, up 2.3 percent compared to 2007. The value of imports carried by truck was 2.1 percent lower in 2008 than 2007, while the value of exports carried by truck was 7.8 percent higher. Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico in 2008 with $94.1 billion.The TransBorder Freight Dataset is a special extract of the official U.S. foreign trade statistics. The data are obtained by BTS from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 3, 2009 March 3, 2009 – 4:52 pm--> Breakbulk News

Great Lakes freighters may be looking at a late start to the 2009-10 shipping season, The Detroit News is reporting.

Shipping on Lake Superior officially begins when the the Soo Locks open March 25, but news reports indicate today that the national recession is hitting the shipping industry hard. Production drops have led to less material being moved.

Dale Hemmila, Cliffs Natural Resources district manager for public affairs, said the ore dock in Marquette’s Upper Harbor, owned by Cliffs, is ready to load ore once the season starts, but no vessels are on the shipping schedule yet.

Hemmila said less iron ore production from Cliffs does mean a lighter shipping season in the coming year. He said the company is projecting about 50 percent production in comparison to 2008, which is due to lower market demand. “It’s all market-driven, what we’ve seen over the last several months for iron and steel and all the commodities,” Hemmila said.

Shippers also told the Detroit News that they have been hurt by an undersized and aging fleet of U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaking vessels.

Matthew Anderson, vessel traffic watchstander in Sault Ste. Marie at the locks for the Coast Guard, said that some shippers are starting late, but they’ve said it’s more due to a poor economy than ice.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Idle boxship capacity tops 1.1m teu

Janet Porter - Wednesday 18 February 2009 -- World Trade News
CONTAINER shipping faces at least another four years of misery, and probably more, as supply continues to massively out-strip demand. New figures from AXS-Alphaliner show that the number of unemployed boxships has soared over the past couple of weeks as lines continue to cancel services.
By the beginning of this week, an estimated 392 ships with combined total capacity of 1.1m teu were idle, according to AXS-Alphaliner. This represents a huge jump from 303 ships of 800,000 teu out of work at the start of the month, and figures from Lloyd’s MIU last week putting the amount of idle boxship capacity at almost 830,000 teu.
At 1.1m teu, the number of slots withdrawn from service equates to 8.8% of the total cellular fleet, way above the previous peak of 5% touched two decades ago when US Lines went bankrupt and its ships seized, and the 3.2% recorded at the height of the 2002 market slump.
The latest data includes 19 units with nominal capacity in excess of 7,500 teu.
With so much tonnage now either at anchor or in lay-up, AXS-Alphaliner estimates that demand would have to grow at an average of 15% over the next three years to restore equilibrium by early 2013.
That scenario seems totally unrealistic, with a slightly more probable growth figure of 10% pushing supply and demand balance back to 2014.
But the main container trades are actually seeing a drop in overall volumes at the moment, with little on the horizon to suggest any turnround in the foreseeable future.
Asian export ports are reporting a huge decline in outbound traffic as retail spending in the US and Europe remains in the doldrums, while recent statistics from the European Liner Affairs Association showed a steep decline in container line liftings towards the end of last year when the full impact of the credit squeeze hit economies around the world.
AXS-Alphaliner notes that its projections are based on the current fleet and orderbook, and an assumption that 160,000 teu per year will be scrapped, and do not allow for any possible newbuilding cancellations.
Maersk Broker is provisionally forecasting that at least 120,000 teu will be broken up this year, followed by 70,000 teu in 2010, but notes that the final figures for demolition activity are likely to be higher. The first month of 2009 saw just over 40,000 teu sold to breakers.
On the supply side, around 1.8m teu is scheduled for delivery between now and the end of the year, adding 14.6% to the fleet in 2009, followed by another 12.1% in 2010.
Contracting activity remains at a complete standstill, while the shipyards are keeping tightlipped about whether they have agreed to delay deliveries.
Negotiations continue, but most industry sources do not think any firm agreements have yet been reached, with the South Korean yards determined to make clients stick to the terms of their contracts despite enormous pressure from owners and their bankers to reschedule production programmes.
As banks try to find any loophole they can to extract themselves from credit agreements, some owners are now resorting to legal action to force the finance houses to keep to their contractual commitments.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


World Trade News : Napolitano updates Congress on DHS' IT programs By Ben Bain Gov't Computer News Mar 02, 2009

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told House lawmakers last week that the Homeland Security Department would not meet a deadline of 2012 that requires DHS to scan all cargo bound for U.S. seaports with non-intrusive imaging and radiation detection equipment before the cargo leaves for the United States. Napolitano also told a House panel that DHS would focus on improving intelligence sharing with state and local authorities.

The 100 percent scanning requirement has raised logistical, technological and diplomatic concerns from shippers, carriers, port and terminal operators, and foreign governments. The requirement was part of a 2007 law that allows the homeland security secretary to extend that deadline.

Napolitano also said she planned to make intelligence-sharing with state and local authorities a priority and wanted to focus on the more than 50 state and local intelligence fusion centers around the country.

The Bush administration designated the fusion centers as a central node for the federal government’s efforts for sharing terrorism-related information with state and local officials and Congress has designated DHS as the lead federal agency for that effort. The department is in the process of upgrading its platform for sharing sensitive but unclassified information with state and local officials.

“The fusion of information between the federal, state and local levels is what makes the intelligence gathering process critically valuable to preventing threats from materializing,” she testified. “Information sharing is also what makes response efforts effective.”

Napolitano also discussed a series of directives she has ordered to review DHS’ efforts in areas such as border security, risk management, information sharing with state and local authorities and cybersecurity, saying it was critical to involve the private sector in cybersecurity and she had instructed DHS officials to be sure the department was reaching out to private-sector groups.

Other information technology-related programs she touched on included the SBInet border security program, the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program and Real ID.

Monday, February 23, 2009

February 19, 2009 – 3:34 pm-->By Janet Nodar Breakbulk News

While speakers at the 20th annual Tampa Steel Conference differ on their estimates of just how much the federal stimulus package will affect the steel industry, they agree that it is intended to “light a spark” rather than effect a rescue.

Mario Longhi, president and CEO of Gerdau Ameristeel, estimated that $70 billion of the $800 billion stimulus package will be relevant to the steel industry, including about $29 billion for transportation infrastructure, about $13.5 billion for building and repairing federal buildings and public infrastructure, about $18 billion for water-related projects and about $10 billion for rail and mass transit.

But he said this falls far short of the annual $225 billion that the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission says would be necessary for each of the next 50 years to ensure that U.S. infrastructure in these categories keeps up with estimated capacity and maintenance needs.

The steel industry must grapple with the same challenges or opportunities facing the nation as a whole, Longhi said, including supporting global trade rules and restoring financial stability, which no stimulus package can do alone and which cannot happen until credit markets ease and bad assets are identified and made transparent.

Murat Askin, general manager of SteelOrbis Americas, said that these are “the worst possible times” in the steel markets. Few if any analysts predicted either the price explosion or the price crash of 2008, he said. Gloomy signs include the contracting U.S. economy, Europe’s highly leveraged banking system and what appear to be growing problems in the Middle East, including high steel inventories and cancellation of planned projects.

By Askin’s count, the stimulus package will mean about $85.7 billion in infrastructure spending that will result in $2 billion to $3.85 billion in steel purchases over perhaps two years, enough to increase U.S. production only 1.68 to 3.17 percent. However, the stimulus bill also encourages business investment in plants and equipment and includes tax cuts that may encourage spending, provisions for energy-efficient school modifications and other projects that may spur steel production.

Lewis Leibowitz, a partner with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson, said the stimulus bill’s goal is to find a way to use public spending to “light a spark” and trigger private investment. The U.S. is on the cusp of major changes, he said, as the government struggles to right the banking, housing and automotive sectors. “What we do should create jobs throughout the economy, not just in one sector,” he said.

Leibowitz pointed out that steel exports grew 20.8 percent last year to 13.5 million tons. CAFTA and NAFTA countries accounted for almost 10 million of those tons. “CAFTA is one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. export steel.”

Panama, Colombia and Korea are also potential growth markets for U.S. steel exports, although protectionist policies designed to shelter the U.S. steel industry from imports will hurt this potential.

Despite the global downturn, Dusseldorf-based ThyssenKrupp is proceeding with multibillion-dollar investments in a greenfield Brazilian slab mill and a greenfield carbon and stainless mill in Calvert, Ala.

At full capacity, ThyssenKrupp expects to import some 4 million tons of slab through Alabama from the Brazil mill annually, said Bob Holt, vice president of sales and marketing for ThyssenKrupp Steel USA.

The Alabama mill will produce 4 million tons of carbon steel annually and 1 million tons of stainless steel at full capacity, Holt said. Carbon will be in production in 2010, while the stainless side has been deferred for 1 ½ years because of the recession. The Alabama mill will produce finished coils aimed for the southeastern U.S. and Mexico markets, he said. Approximately 39 percent of that output will be geared for the automotive industry, including German automakers located in those key regions.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama unlikely to repeal 100% box scanning law
Justin Stares, Brussels - Friday 9 January 2009

THERE is little chance of a repeal of US 100% box scanning legislation under president Barack Obama, the World Customs Organisation heard today.

The newly elected Democrat president is not expected to work as hard to oppose the unpopular law as the administration of Republican president George Bush, diplomats heard in Brussels.

The anti-terrorism measure, due to come into effect in 2012, would require all US-bound containers to be scanned prior to ship departure. It has triggered protests from trading partners, in particular the European Union, who say the US is exporting its security concerns at the expense of shippers across the globe.

Mr Obama’s precise position on the law is still unknown since he is not reported to have made reference to it during his election campaign. But WCO executives, who have been lobbying US lawmakers, say the incoming president is unlikely to fight an initiative backed by a Democrat-controlled Congress.

“As for a repeal, we will not see that,” WCO director Michael Schmit told customs ambassadors from around the world at Friday’s New Year’s gathering. The best that could be hoped for was a delay in implementation “beyond 2012”, he said.

“[President] Bush fought against the law,” Mr Schmitz said. But while the US administration had been effectively lobbied, Congress had on the other hand “heard very little”, he said.

This message was reinforced by the newly elected WCO secretary general Kunio Mikurija. “Congress is key,” he said. “Security should not be used as a new barrier [to trade]. We have to convince the US Congress to review the legislation on 100% scanning.”

The WCO, which is pushing for the blanket scanning plan to be replaced by a risk-based system, said it would wait for US appointments to be confirmed, such as that of Secretary for Homeland Security, before resuming its lobbying campaign. Congressional committees, particularly the trade committee, are being targeted as potential allies. The ways and means committee, which has already asked for a postponement to the scanning law, is also expected to lend support.

Within the US there is opposition to trade security legislation on cost grounds. A separate anti-terror measure aimed at the supply chain, known as the “10+2” law, comes into effect later this month and is expected to cost $20bn to implement, the Brussels gathering heard. Shippers will from January 26 have to inform US Customs and Border Protection of new consignment details, such as the container stuffing location and the identity of the stuffer. Financial penalties will apply for non-compliance.

Experts say 100% scanning would be even more costly. Pilot projects at a variety of ports have shown it is technically feasible but would cost up to $100 per box.

Moreover, many in the supply chain industry believe that if implemented it would do little to improve US security.

At the same time, there are hopes some ports would be exempt. “I think this law is more likely to happen under Obama than before,” said the Israeli ambassador to the WCO. “But ports in Europe will probably be alright.”

The European Sea Ports Organisation said it believed “high volume” scanning, not 100% scanning, would be the most likely outcome.
FMCSA issues rule to improve intermodal equipment safety

The new regulations make intermodal equipment providers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the first time, and establish shared safety responsibility among intermodal equipment providers, motor carriers, and drivers.

The Trucker News Services12/17/2008

WASHINGTON — New rules issued today will significantly strengthen safety requirements for intermodal container chassis, the special trailers that hold cargo containers when they are transferred from ship or rail to truck for final delivery, announced John H. Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and published on the Federal Register.

“We want to ensure that every piece of equipment traveling on our highways is operating safely,” said Hill. “These new rules will bring new safety and enforcement focus on the chassis and equipment used to haul goods on our nation’s roads every day.”

The new regulations make intermodal equipment providers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the first time, and establish shared safety responsibility among intermodal equipment providers, motor carriers, and drivers.

Beginning in December 2009, intermodal equipment providers must have in effect regular and systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance programs for intermodal chassis; they will also need to track defects reported and repairs made. By December 2010, each intermodal provider is required to identify its equipment with a USDOT number. FMCSA’s final rule also outlines inspection requirements for motor carriers and drivers operating intermodal equipment.

Intermodal equipment providers will be subject to on-site reviews to ensure compliance with the new rules. Penalties for violating these rules range from civil fines to a prohibition on providing or operating intermodal equipment found to pose an imminent hazard.

The final rule on this Intermodal Chassis is available for review here.

Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at barkkampbell@thetrucker.com.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

December 23, 2008 from Shippers Digest

Mexico will cut tariffs on capital goods and other industrial imports to lower costs for Mexican manufacturers who have been hurt by the recession in the United States, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens announced. The cuts are aimed in particular at the maquiladora factories that assemble goods near the border, using components imported from the U.S., and then re-export higher-value-added products back to the United States. The government plans to cut tariffs on up to 5,000 different classes of goods between 2009 and 2012. "These measures are timely, taking into account the difficult economic context we currently face," Carstens said. The United States buys 80 percent of the country's exports, so slumping demand for Mexican exports have taken a heavy toll on Mexico’s economy. Mexico's industrial sector has not recorded any growth since May and productivity growth has not grown in 2008. By lowering the cost of key imported components, the measure could raise the productivity and competitiveness of Mexican manufacturers. The Mexican government projects that GDP growth in the country will fall to 2 percent in 2008 and drop even further to 1.8 percent in 2009. Some private-sector economists are predicting that the country could face a sustained recession