Monthly Archives: December 2013

Alabama Ports Get an Overhaul to Make Them More Container-Friendly

As the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project draws nearer, American ports in the Gulf of Mexico are planning their own expansion, in order to be ready to handle the greater flow of goods that is expected. One major port that is due for an overhaul is Mobile in Alabama, which has plans for $412 million in new projects and expansions on the table. While the expected increase in cargo that is expected from the expansion of the Panama Canal is a part of the motivation, increases in local manufacturing and an improvement in the S&P rating for the port have also done a lot to restore confidence in Mobile as a potential freight hub. In May, S&P upgraded the rating of the Alabama State Port Authority to ‘A,’ in response to the development of port facilities and increased revenues in the past year. While S&P have conceded that the port authority’s margins do remain low for their A rating, the expectation of robust performance in the future indicates that they will continue to build on their revenues, and increase their margins in the coming years. Currently, the Port of Mobile is estimated to contribute $22.3 billion to Alabama’s… read more »

New Ship Engines Are Bigger and Better

Boat engines are now being made to deliver ever increasing quantities of power while the cargo capacity of boats continues to increase. There are now ships that carry ten-thousand containers, and even bigger vessels are in the works. Increasing costs for fuel have prompted businesses to research new techniques for engine design including gas turbines as well as various hybrids. For now, diesel power remains the workhouse of contemporary marine engine technology. Currently the strongest diesel is created by the Swiss company Wartsila Sutzer, which might look strange given that country’s landlocked geography. Their RTA 96-C motor is a two-stroke, turbocharged engine which comes in a myriad of configurations ranging from 6 to 14 cylinders. The 14 cylinder model is 88 feet long and 44 feet tall. The behemoth weighs in at 2300 tons and may create about 109,000 horsepower running at 102 rpm’s. Each cylinder can produce 7780 hp. The thermal efficiency of this creature motor is rated at over 50%, the first such engine to reach such a high level. This means over half the power within the diesel fuel used is being changed into motive power. Single-engine boats are the preferred method for propulsion of even the… read more »

Dedication to Local Economies through International Trade Critical to Company

All economists concur that commerce is a crucial element in almost any economy, but the value of global trade to local economies is generally overlooked because the benefits are frequently hidden. The dollar value of exports and imports are hard to record if the supply system runs through a lot of stages. It truly can be hard to tell exactly what constitutes an import or an export when a product includes pieces of both. Cars are an outstanding case of this. The disruption resulting from the tsunami and Japanese quake stopped production for a lot of Japanese parts manufacturers, but its results were also felt by many local economies in the United States that were related to these materials. The supply chains of many industries have become worldwide, so even distant events can cause dislocation of local economies. The market of Yokohama suffered as a result of the weather event a huge number of miles away. That is certainly how essential global trade is now to company in virtually any special area. Countries willing to make a commitment to expand global trade are really making a commitment to their local economies too. Singapore provides proof of the. Virtually without natural… read more »

How Regulating Truckers’ Driving Time is Influencing Logistics

At the conclusion of 2011 the Government passed legislation that required the regulation of the amount of hours each truck driver can spend on the road. Rigid rules determining rest breaks, nighttime driving and time-off from driving have reduced the amount of hours that truck drivers might be to the street along with the changes have set new pressures on the business to figure out approaches to stay cost effective while staying with the new laws. Truck owners, especially owner operators, know that their automobile isn’t earning money for them if it’s off the road. The increasing cost of both labor and fuel makes it critical for trucks to be functioning for the maximum possible amount of hours per week. As a result, many in the trucking industry think that the new legislation will impact on their income. The decreased number of hours that existing drivers could work before having to take a legislated break means that companies must find new drivers to keep their trucks rolling. All of it’s the road transportation industry worrying about the future viability of their business. On the other side of the problem, the government’s latest studies of the social and financial effect of… read more »

Port Building Projects Enhance Global Trading

Increases in global trade have prompted both new port development projects together with expansion of present harbors. While these trends are occurring worldwide, several special areas have recently announced important new developments. These include new construction efforts in the Middle East, North America, Eastern Europe, and East Asia. Within the Middle-east, Iraq is constructing new facilities for its recently reconstituted navy in the Umm Qasr Naval Base. The facilities are made to supply berths for warships that may give protection for your country’s essential oil exports. Securing the myriad parts of the oil industry is recognized as essential for the country’s recovery from recent wars. In The United States, growth of the Port of Anchorage, AK faces special challenges as a result of region’s high tides and seismic activity. Extensive quantities of berms are really required to channel the currents that can otherwise surge along any pier that might be created. Altogether 135 acres of property are being developed to handle the expansion intended to serve cargo and tanker vessels. In Los Angeles, port growth must take into account the region’s demanding controls on air pollution. Poland is preparing a substantial upgrade for the port of Stettin. German and Dutch… read more »

Ocean Shipping in the Twenty-First Century, a Growing Problem

Ocean shipping in the twenty-first century has the ability to transfer record-breaking quantities of cargo with increasing performance and speed. Whilst the size of tankers for oil and other petroleum products seems to have peaked, that peak is at an extremely substantial degree. The restraints on ability for bulk carriers are not primarily a matter of problems in design and building for a larger fleet, but more a matter of where such boats can operate. Smaller ships has to be utilized on other inland waterways, which is why most of the truly big ships are used mainly for ocean transit. The Panama Canal also exerts a size limitation on ships. That state is currently working on the multi-billion dollar, multi-year expansion of the locks and channels in the system to be able to enable such large boats to pass through. Presently, the canal can just handle ships that may take somewhat over 5,000 containers. After completion, the job will have the ability to manage ships carrying up-to 10,000 containers. The Suez Canal also features an influence on ship size, although to a lesser degree than the Panama Canal. Since they are best able to make use of the greater efficiency… read more »

Will Increased Intermodal Efficiency Encourage Greater Volumes?

It is well known that the intermodal network is the most efficient and cost-effective way to handle long distance freight. The maximization of energy efficiency that comes from the massive volumes of containers that can be moved by a single train or container ship takes advantage of the economy of scale, but this efficiency has always been seen as applying mostly to freight that is being transported over long distances. It is still widely perceived that for cargo that is traveling 1,500 miles or less, it is still more cost effective to use more direct methods to move goods. Part of the reason for this is the perception that once a container goes into the intermodal network, it will spend time being loaded and unloaded, waiting in terminals and may take a less direct route than more direct transport methods. This means that the vast majority of cargo that is shipped within the US is still riding on the back of a truck. This transport method is seen as more effective because of its directness, which sees cargo being picked up from its source and delivered straight to its destination, and the simplicity with which it can be tracked on… read more »

Overhaul of Import Tax Could Help US Seaports

In September, two Washington senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, will pitch their ambitious plan to overhaul the Harbor Maintenance Tax, to create incentives for shippers to return to the use of American ports. It is hoped that the overhaul will stop shippers from dodging the tax by using ports in Canada or Mexico, and it is seen as an important step in the development of the intermodal network in the US. The tax is designed to provide funds for the maintenance of harbor facilities, specifically for the dredging of federal navigational channels. It currently generates $1.6 billion per year, with around $900 million in expenditures, and has so far failed to deliver the desired results, with shipping channels only being at optimum width and depth around 35% of the time. The senators hope to replace the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) with a Maritime Goods Movement User Fee, which it is hoped will stop HMT funds from being diverted to other projects. The new arrangement will be imposed on goods entering the US by road or rail, from both Canada and Mexico to circumvent the current practice of landing cargo in those countries, and then shipping them overland to avoid… read more »

Maersk Moller Makes her Maiden Voyage from the Far East

The first weeks of August, 2013 marked an important step in the development of intermodal transport between the Far East and Europe. On August 9, the Danish super ship, the Maersk McKinney Moller, became the first of the new Triple E Class container ships to make the transit between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, the largest ship ever to make the trip through the Suez Canal in its 140 year history. The 15,000 TEU capacity of the ship contributed significantly to the record 4.8 million tons that passed through the Suez on that day, and marked the beginning of a new era in intermodal freight transport from the booming ports of China and South-East Asia to the West. The historic crossing of the world’s oldest man-made waterway by the first of Maersk’s new fleet of Triple E Class ships was the focus of a great deal of media attention, and was witnessed from the bridge by the captain and his official guests from the Suez Canal Authority. Almost poignantly, the Maersk McKinney Moller passed the Chastine Maersk, an 8,000 TEU container ship that it is designed to replace on the Eastern route, as it waited at the Great Bitter… read more »