Piper's Pipeline: August 29 - September 2, 2011

Piper's Pipeline: August 29 - September 2, 2011

by Don Piper
2. September 2011 15:45

Ocean shipping

A draught of the harbour of Hallifax and the adjacent coast in Nova Scotia

  • The new cargo service between Boston and Halifax has been more successful than originally expected. The service is weekly, and shippers are anxious to know more about the New England-Halifax Shuttle.
    • The Port of Boston is regarded as a "niche" ocean cargo gateway. An increased number of container ships is expected when the Panama Canal project is complete.
    • More than $70 million was spent upgrading and expanding facilities.
  • High fuels costs and overcapacity in the transpacific trade has been the cause of Matson to withdraw one of its two US-China schedules.
  • Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, has announced that container service to Libya will be resumed on September 8. The Port of Benghazi will be followed closely, and a decision will be made on restoring service to all of the ports in Libya.
  • The Indian Shipping Ministry has stated that ships with Indian flags will use armed guards to protect from piracy.
    • An estimated 35% of merchant ships transiting through areas prone to piracy deploy armed guards. As a rule, pirates do not attack the vessels with armed guards on board.
    • As a result of intensified effort by the Indian Navy patrols, approximately 120 Somali pirates have been captured, and several attempted hijacks avoided.
  • A total of 52 container ships of the 10,000 TEU-capacity have been ordered since June 2011. There were only 10 of the same vessels ordered in 2010.
  • Westports Malaysia has experienced expanded volumes by 17%. A Malaysian newspaper reports optimism that the company expects to handle 6.3 million TEUs this year, up 800,000 from 2010.
  • A Japanese firm, IHI, has announced the development of an LNG-powered container ship. It reports that the ship produces almost no sulphur oxide and emits about 80% less nitrogen oxide than a conventional container ship.

Trucking, rail and air transport

  • The shortage of truck drivers has become a critical issue for fleets, 40% of which are affected. This places a limit on the amount of growth a company can attain. 63% of carriers surveyed said that the shortage is limiting their ability to add capacity.
  • Comdata offers a more secure, less expensive, card-free way for drivers to buy fuel. RFID tags are used. The tags activate fuel pumps, and the transaction has been approved by the time the driver exists the tractor. This is not only a safe procedure; it reduces the chance of a fraudulent transaction. The information allows the company to more closely monitor fuel consumption for each tractor.
  • The UP Railroad has been fined a total of $615,000 for retaliating against whistleblowers. OSHA determined that two workers were terminated and one suspended for reporting safety concerns and a work-related injury. This amounted to $400,000 in punitive damages, $90,315 in compensatory damages, $34,900 in attorney fees and more than $90,000 in back pay to the 3 employees.
  • The Huntsville, Alabama airport has been certified by the FAA to accommodate the Boeing 747-8. Atlas and Cargolux both operate at Huntsville and are among the first to take inventory of the 747-8 freighter.

Statistics and research

  • Chicago manufacturing activity, an indicator of activity used to measure production nationally, fell to 56.5 in August from 58.8 in July. It is forecasted to drop to 53.3.
  • Orlando, Florida, noted for the presence of theme parks, is often cited as the happiest place in the world, until the credit charges are due. Also not included in the fun part, Orlando is said to be the most dangerous city in the US for pedestrians. The rankings show New York City as 1st and Metro Los Angeles as 2nd. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale are also on the list.
  • A computer model that could help prevent gas and oil leaks has been developed. By applying the modeling to the Deepwater Horizon spill, this could have predicted the catastrophe. The model is fashioned after a car crash. The team of researchers who developed this model is at MIT.

Image by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

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