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.