Piper's Pipeline: August 15 - August 19, 2011

Piper's Pipeline: August 15 - August 19, 2011

by Don Piper
19. August 2011 10:53

Shipping and ports


  • New fees by the Ports of NY and NJ are the target of complaints by 9 steamship companies. The fees went into effect in March. They claim that the cargo facility charge of $4.95 per TEU is unlawful, that they do not receive services commensurate with the fee while it benefits other port users.
  • The Port of Charleston reports an increase of 8.3% in the number of containers for the fiscal year, which ended June 30. The port handled its first visit from a 9,2000-TEU ship during July.
  • Pirates have been attacking container in open waters a distance from coastal areas. The use of mother ships has helped expand the areas in which they operate. There are more efforts exerted to avoid piracy, such as making boarding more difficult, armed guards and greater speeds through the piracy activity areas.
    • The US State Department reports that since January 2010 $75 to $85 million has been paid in ransom for the release of vessels and crew members. One Earth Future Foundation, a nonprofit group that attempts to deter piracy, recently said $238 million as the 2010 total.

Rail and road

Trans-Siberian sunset

  • The world's longest railroad, which is in Russia and is privately owned, is being used to transport automobile parts and electronics from East Asia to Europe. This reduces the transit time (30 days shorter than transit with an ocean carrier). Four container trains per day from Voschny Port on the Sea of Japan are moving goods from Japan, China and Korea, taking 10 days to travel the 6,000 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
  • Pennsylvania has thousands of bridges that are in need of major repair, reported to cost an estimated $8.7 billion. The money is dwindling and with no new funding is currently about $600 million. Penn DOT has closed 42 bridges and posted warnings on another 669. According to Transportation for America, the bridges that are structurally deficient are 26.5% of all bridges in the state. This is the highest rate in the country.

Stats and numbers

  • Diesel prices fell 6.2 cents during the week ending August 15, the lowest price in 24 weeks following the lower cost of crude oil.
  • US industrial production increased 0.9% in July. The July factory output increased the most since March. Increased automobile production plus a stronger factory output are the reasons for the increase.
  • Japan's economy shrank for the 3rd straight quarter. The Cabinet Office blamed the decline primarily on slumping exports after the earthquake and tsunami.
  • With 100,000 suppliers, Wal-Mart imported 696,000 TEUs in 2010. A net profit for the fiscal second quarter was reported at $3.8 billion, 5.7% better than the year before, and a 5.5% increase in sales.
  • Mid-August intermodal total results were greater than 2010 levels. Major North American railroads loaded 296,226 containers and trailers, an increase of 1.6% over the same week in 2010.
  • Maersk Lines's operating profits dropped in the first half to $438 million, down 69% year-over-year.

Images by dsearls and Bernt Rostad

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