Georgia’s Savannah port posted another record fiscal year for container traffic for the 12 months ending in June. Container traffic hit a record 4.5 million TEUs, up 7.3 percent from the prior fiscal year. Automotive and machinery units shipped through the state’s Brunswick port were up 4 percent during that time. The Savannah port also saw substantial growth in shipping by rail. In 2018, the ports authority launched its Mason Mega Rail Terminal, a sprawling new rail yard designed to improve the Savannah terminal’s connection to the main CSX and Norfolk Southern rail networks. The Mason project will ultimately reduce the time for products arriving in Savannah to reach Nashville, Memphis and Chicago by rail. That project is about 40 percent complete.
The US Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) providing updated guidance regarding seafarers’ access to maritime facilities. As of February 3, 2020 a system providing seafarers, pilots and representatives of seafarers’ welfare and labour organizations access to and from the vessel alongside at “no cost” to the seafarer or other individuals, must be documented in the Facility Security Plan (FSP) for each facility and approved by the local USCG Captain of the Port.
The project to modernize Port of Los Angeles’ APM Terminals is set to move ahead as they have struck a tentative deal with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on the training and upskilling of workers. The agreement follows several months of negotiations between the two groups. The project had been opposed by the ILWU due to the threat of loss of jobs that could be caused by automation. The two sides have now reached the agreement under which workers at the terminal would be paid while they receive training.
The 2018 International Maritime Prize for 2018 will be awarded to Mr. Joseph J. Angelo in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the work and objectives of IMO and to the international maritime community as a whole. Mr. Angelo is a former United States Coast Guard (USCG) and International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) senior executive who participated in International Maritime Organization (IMO) meetings for many years, providing leadership on a number of key regulatory developments.
US Federal authorities have released the MSC Gayane, the cargo ship involved in last month’s 20-ton cocaine seizure at the Port of Philadelphia, but said they are still considering pursuing civil or criminal forfeiture of the ship. For now, the ship has returned to commercial service and is on route to the Netherlands. Under the terms release, MSC posted a $10 million security deposit and $40 million surety bond. The firm has also agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts while the Justice Department’s investigation continues.
US Coast Guard have posted information for vessels carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and ethane with plans to use their cargoes as fuel during ocean transits. The use of cargoes other than methane as fuel is allowed in international waters under the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk, 2016 Edition (2016 IGC Code), Chapter 16, however US regulations have not established appropriate standards for use while vessel are in US waters. Gas carriers intending to use cargoes other than methane as fuel i are to promptly seek approval of US Commandant.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance has launched the Terminal 5 expansion at the Port of Seattle. When complete, the facility will be able to handle containerships of up to 18,000 TEU. The activity is estimated to result in 6,600 new direct jobs and more than USD 2 billion in business activity. Managing members of the NWSA will contribute USD 340 million in construction funds, with private partner SSA Terminals contributing up to USD 160 million toward the project. The 185-acre terminal is expected to open in two phases, with one major berth ready to handle international container cargo in spring of 2021, and the other berth ready in 2023.
Authorities have indicated that the MSC Gayane may be “subject to possible forfeiture.” While the seizure of a vessel this large is unprecedented, the US has also deemed the circumstances as unprecedented, and they are within their legal rights to seize the ship. The MSC Gayane is owned by JP Morgan Chase and is worth approximately $84.24m. This bust marked the third MSC ship busted for carrying cocaine in US ports this year, the CBP has temporarily suspended MSC’s Customs Trade Partnership (C-TPAT) certification, meaning US authorities for the time being do not assess the carrier as ‘low-risk’ so more scrutiny of its shipments can be expected in the coming weeks.
The report also incorporates twenty-nine different sources of possible vessel growth in the region and explores how these might be combined in four different growth scenarios extrapolated out to 2030.
The Port of New York & New Jersey has rereleased its 30-year plan for growth and development that seeks to meet the demands of growing cargo volumes. The primary objectives of the master plan are to provide opportunities for growth through stakeholder engagement; improve the port’s commercial value by investigating opportunities to maximize lease revenue; to continue to serve as an economic engine for the region; and to promote safe, resilient and environmentally sustainable operations in partnership with its tenants. Release of the master plan comes at a time when the Port of New York and New Jersey is experiencing record cargo growth, which has pushed it into the position of No. 2 in the nation.
The second offshore wind farm off the coast of the US is now under construction near Virginia. Dominion Energy Inc. has begun work to install cables for a wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean. Two 6-megawatt turbines will be installed 27 miles (43 kilometers) east of Virginia Beach. They’re expected to start producing power for up to 3,000 homes next year.
Two executives from freight forwarding company, Dip Shipping Co, have been sentenced to prison for fixing the prices of freight forwarding services. Their conduct is reported to have raised freight-forwarding prices by as much as 20 percent. Roberto Dip, CEO, was sentenced to 18 months while Jason Handal, Sales Manager, was sentenced to 15 months for fixing the prices of freight forwarding from about 2010 to 2015.
With the Trump administration considering an additional 25 percent tariff on goods imported from China to the US, the Port of Los Angeles has spoken out about a number of unintended consequences, including higher consumer prices, lower profitability for American firms, and uncertainty in the maritime supply chain. As the largest single gateway for marine containerized cargo entering and leaving the United States, handling approximately 40 percent of all containerized imports, the amount of Chinese cargo exposed to the tariffs would be more pronounced than at other gateways.
The US Navy has presented mine fragments from the attacks on an oil and chemical tanker last week. They claim that the fragments look to be Iranian in origin. Iran has denied involvement in the explosive strikes. War risk premiums that owners pay for each voyage into Persian Gulf have escalated from 50,000 after the attacks last month to at least $185,000 for VLCCs. Some owners are holding on accepting charters from the Middle East while they evaluate the risks as tensions between the two countries remain high.
US federal authorities have seized over $1 billion worth of cocaine from the MSC Gayane at the Packer Marine Terminal at the Port of Philadelphia. The drugs were found in seven different shipping containers and six crew members have charged. The MSC Gayane had last been in the Bahamas and was destined for the Netherlands before federal authorities raided the boat earlier this week. Court documents outline the cocaine was apparently loaded by the bale-full onto the ship, delivered to the MSC Gayane by six separate boats in the middle of the night after leaving Peru. Court documents allege some of the men on those boats were wearing ski masks. US CBP has suspended it C-TPAT certificate as this is the second MSC ships this year found with large volumes of illegal drugs smuggled on board. This was one of the largest drugs busts in U.S. history and the largest drug seizure ever for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The Port of Oakland has approved an air quality plan that seeks to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the port’s maritime operations. Referred to as the eaport Air Quality 2020 and Beyond Plan’, the document calls for changes in equipment, operations, fuels and infrastructure to be developed over the next 30 years. Projects include converting port fleet vehicles and equipment to zero-emission and installing electric infrastructure at container terminals. The plan also includes tracking yard equipment for fuel consumption, operability and performance as well as identifying cleaner fuels and alternative, renewable power sources.
Truckload rates out of Atlanta have risen double digits in the last few weeks, and more freight appears to be moving inland from the US West Coast, positive signs in a year full of negative economic data and doom-and-gloom warnings of a freight recession. The increase in rates have been attributed to several factors including the annual International Roadcheck program, threats of tariffs, increased demand in one sector pulling capacity from another, and the a number of drivers in the process of converting their vehicles to electronic logging device (ELD).