Freight Shipping News



NEWARK, N.J. - Major traffic jams around the ports of New Jersey

The bitter winter has caused  major traffic jams around the ports of New Jersey - with  truckers stuck in line for hours to pick up cargo, and the  consequences being seen at major retailers. As CBS News' Alexis Christoforous reported.

Trucks have been lined up for  hours outside the port in Newark. Manny Singh waited all day  to pick up cargo - a process that normally would have taken  no more than an hour.  "I was waiting there from the  morning, and I just got one box now," Singh said. Traffic  has been slow for months, building to a crisis point in the  past few days.  "It's really, really bad right now,"
Singh said.

Freezing weather has slowed operations and caused equipment  to malfunction, and labor shortages have made matters worse. The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor has approved  hiring hundreds of new dockworkers, but a dispute with the  International Longshoremen's Association has stalled  that.

To give an idea of the stakes here, the Port of  Newark is the largest on the East Coast. It moves more than 3 million containers each year, adding up to $100 billion in  goods.  And as the cargo builds up, retailers such as  Target, Home Depot and Lowe's have all confirmed that  deliveries are behind schedule, and the truckers that are  trying to make the deliveries are running on fumes.

"We're spending a ton of money on fuel," said Best  Transportation president Tom Heimgartner. "We're paying our  drivers to sit idle at the piers for hours upon  hours."  Heimgartner's company has been in business for 30 years, but with income now down by a third, he is worried  that trouble at the port could even put him out of  business.  The Port Authority said there has been some  discussion of diverting cargo to different ports if the  backups cannot be resolved.

Although this story is about the Port of NY/NJ, the same  scenario is playing out at nearly every major ramp and port  across the US. Ramps such as Chicago, Memphis, Detroit and  Kansas City and the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach,  Norfolk, Charleston and Savannah are also experiencing  similar issues. Some of the issues are weather related, but  a lot of them are attributed to the increased post Chinese  New Year volume combined with a shortage of drivers and  equipment.

Maersk container carrying 14 tonnes of cigarettes washes ashore

A shipping container carrying 14 tonnes of cigarettes was discovered washed up at Seaton on the East Devon coast on Sunday (23 February).

The 40ft-long container was found at Seaton, on the Lyme Bay coast, and is believed to have fallen overboard a Maersk cargo ship during a storm in the Bay of Biscay on 14 February.

Officers cordoned off the beach near Beer, Devon, where the container, which could hold an estimated 11 million cigarettes, was floating in shallow water.

Yesterday (24 February) the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed that the cigarettes have been cleared up and taken to a secure storage area.

The container was one of 517 that fell off the cargo ship said to be sailing from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka.

A police spokeman said: The police and the MCA were expecting it, we just didn't know where on the coast it would arrive.

“It might well be the only one to make it this far.”

Officials said that most of the containers have sunk, many of which were empty and probably sunk in French waters, but at least two have been seen floating towards the UK.

The MCA's aerial surveillance aircraft has searched UK waters, and vessels passing through the Channel have been warned to report any sightings.

The Maersk shipping container found on Seaton beach is being cut up and removed.

An MCA spokesman said: “We are now working closely with Maersk to ensure they recover their containers, which are their property.”

Port of Felixstowe to start charging for vehicle bookings

The Port of Felixstowe has alerted users that it is to introduce a vehicle booking charge from 10 March 2014.

The vehicle booking system (VBS) fee will affect peak afternoon hours, between 1200-1700, and stand at £1.50 per VBS booking.

VBS is a mandatory, web-based appointment system to be used by all hauliers wishing to collect and/or deliver containers at the Port of Felixstowe.

It is designed to reduce the effect of the ‘peaks and troughs' of hauliers arriving at the port during certain hours of the day.

The charge will just affect hauliers, and is said to be “an indirect consequence of shipping lines not paying enough for service in the first place,” according to a haulier at the port.

The amount is a mitigated level than the port was proposing to charge, and will be limited to afternoon access only.

Commercial director, Hutchison Ports UK Ltd, Paul Wallace said: “We now believe it is the right time to raise this issue again and trust that the haulage community value the significant concession made previously, especially since other major UK ports have continued to charge for access, and through both morning and afternoon peak periods.”

Originally the port suggested charging £2 per booking from 1300-1800 peak hours. The morning peak hour charge was suspended as a “voluntary gesture”.

The port explained that there is a significant cost to increase the yard resource (RTG/Gates) to service daily demand during the peak haulage hours for all UK major ports.

The issue was raised several years ago but was not implemented; the poor economic climate was cited as a reason.

Cosan eyes creation of LatAm's biggest rail and logistics company

Brazilian commodities giant Cosan is to merge its supply chain arm, Rumo Logistica, with America Latina Logistica (ALL) to create what would be Latin America's largest railway and logistics company.

The merger deal is valued at US$4.7 billion. 

ALL employs more than 12,000 staff and has a rail network totalling 13,000 kilometres, spanning six Brazilian states which account for almost 80% of the country's exports.

It also has two subsidiary companies - Brado Logística (rail-borne container traffic and port terminals) and Ritmo Logistica (road freight solutions including combined road-rail transport).

As for Rumo, it describes itself as a world leader the world leader in logistics for sugar exports.

Its terminal at the Port of Santos has a total annual capacity of over 12 million tonnes.

In a securities filing, Cosan said that ALL's assets would be absorbed into Rumo unit which would be spun off and listed on the Sao Paulo stock exchange.

"Logistics in Brazil is handicapped by poor roads and congested port terminals and the most reliable form of transportation can be often rail," one supply chain consultant told Lloyd's Loading .

" So as a major shipper and exporter of commodities, such as sugar and soy beans, Cosan is securing more valuable rail capacity through the acquisition of ALL."

But the tie-up could also serve as a catalyst for change in a country where ports and transport infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the spectacular growth in exports and threatened Brazil's emergence as an economic powerhouse," he added.