Unitrans Newsletter | Edition 20 | April 10, 2015
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In Edition 20:
West Coast Update
FMC to Review Demurrage Charges
Green Programs Reduce Emissions in Southern California
Hapag-Lloyd Withdraws from Portland
Container Volumes Up in NY/NJ
> U.S. Container Import Volumes Increase

Links of the Week

February 2015 Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

Jobs Supported by State Exports 2014

U.S. and India Sign Multi-Modal Transportation Memorandum of Cooperation

West Coast Update

On Friday, April 3, the ILWU Coast Longshore Caucus delegates voted to recommend approval of the tentative labor contract agreement. The 20,000 ILWU members representing 29 West Coast ports will vote by secret ballot next month, with the results to be announced on May 22.

On Tuesday, April 7, the Marine Exchange of Southern California stated eight container ships were at anchor in the San Pedro Bay, down from ten vessels on Monday. On Thursday, April 9, the Marine Exchange reported a further decrease to only six vessels at anchor in the bay. In order to reduce the lingering congestion at the nation's largest port complex, terminal operators in Los Angeles and Long Beach have been dispatching excess labor on day, night and weekend shifts. For example, the PMA reported that on Saturday, April 4, 1,092 longshore jobs were ordered, up from the average 970 jobs for a Saturday. On Monday, April 6, 1,547 longshore jobs were ordered for the first shift, whereas the average dispatch for a Monday morning gate is 1,260.

The Port of Oakland reported on Tuesday, April 7, that vessels which had been bypassing the Northern California port to keep on schedule have mostly returned. John Driscoll, the port's maritime director, stated, "Some vessels that were omitting Oakland have already started to return, and a look at schedules indicates that the rest will be back soon." More than two dozen vessels bypassed the Port of Oakland in January and February, contributing to a 31.6 percent decline in container volumes during the first two months of the year.

FMC to Review Demurrage Charges

On Monday, April 13, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is scheduled to hold a private meeting regarding 'unreasonable' demurrage charges tied to recent port congestion. The FMC has been assessing accusations where shippers were charged demurrage for late pickup of import containers or detention for late deliveries of exports even though some terminals were too congested to allow on-time pickups or deliveries. The FMC stated it will announce any findings or further actions as they become finalized.

Green Programs Reduce Emissions in Southern California

According to a University of Southern California study published last month, the environmentally-friendly green programs implemented by the port, trucking and rail industries in California have contributed to a reduction in harmful emissions across the state during the past 20 years. Nitrogen dioxide, which is a by-product of engine combustion, decreased by 28 to 53 percent between 1994 and 2011. Inhalable particulate matter, which are microscopic pieces of dirt floating in the air, decreased by 13 to 54 percent in the region. The Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) was implemented by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2006. The CAAP resulted in an overall 80 percent reduction in several pollutants at the nation's largest port complex. The study also notes that port-related emissions were slashed even though cargo activity increased 160 percent from 1994 to 2011. The clean-trucks portion of CAAP decreased diesel emissions from harbor trucks by more than 90 percent by eliminating the use of pre-2007 trucks and through the use of alternative fuels.

Hapag-Lloyd Withdraws from Portland

On Tuesday, April 7, Hapag-Lloyd notified its customers that it has ended its service to Portland because of "schedule integrity" problems. Hapag-Lloyd notified customers that the sailing of the Seaspan Dalian on March 28 was its last vessel call in Portland. Combined with the departure by Hanjin Shipping Co. last month, the Port of Portland has lost 99 percent of its container business at Terminal 6.

Container Volumes Up in NY/NJ

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stated its terminals processed 445,285 TEUs in February, a 13.8 percent increase year-over-year. Container shipping by ExpressRail, the port's on-dock intermodal rail terminal, also set a record in February with 35,818 containers of all sizes moving by rail. Due to the record import volume, congestion has mounted at the two ports. On Thursday, April 9, congestion was so severe that the New Jersey Turnpike used its electronic signs to warn of "marine terminal delays," and a port authority email asked truckers to temporarily avoid the terminal because of "extreme traffic conditions."

U.S. Container Import Volumes Increase

In March, U.S. containerized volumes reached levels not reported since 2009. Inbound volumes increased 22 percent year-over-year to 1,800,000 TEUs last month. West Coast ports saw the largest gains with volumes increasing 11 percent from the month of February. However, this was down 6 percent compared to the same period last year. The Port of Savannah reported the largest year-over-year import volume gains, with volumes surging 26 percent to 367,798 TEUs.


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