Port of Savannah

Port of Savannah Handled Six Percent More Containers of Forest Products in First Two Months of 2020

May 20, 2020 (Press Release) - While many cargo categories have seen struggles related to COVID-19, strong demand for forest products at the start of 2020 has meant increased trade in these commodities. The Port of Savannah handled 78,486 twenty-foot equivalent container units of forest products, an increase of 6 percent or 4,470 TEU, in the first two months of the year (the latest period for which containerized commodity data is available).

Wood pulp, paper and paperboard drove most of the growth, with wood pulp volumes increasing by 25.3 percent (7,225 TEUs) during January and February compared to 2019, for a total of 35,751 TEUs. Similarly, paper and paperboard grew from 26,107 to 31,777 TEUs during the first two months of the year, an increase of 21.7 percent, or 5,670 TEUs.

“The paperboard and containerboard are used for packaging of products you see on your store shelves and for making much needed boxes that are in high demand due to the growth of e-commerce, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Plastic Express President and CEO Ray Hufnagel. The company, best known for packaging and transporting resins and other plastic goods, moves other commodities through its subsidiary, PX Services, to global destinations via the Port of Savannah. “The wood pulp we receive is a high purity cellulose specialty product that is used in pharmaceuticals, among many other products.”

March numbers for GPA commodities are not yet available. Anecdotally, however, port customers have noted continued strong demand for commodities such as paper and paperboard.

“Domestic paper sales are up due to the COVID 19 rush,” said David Porter, regional sales manager at GPA. “Georgia Pacific is looking to be up 15 percent for the fiscal year and Graphic Packaging up 10.5 percent. Driving this growth is the demand for more food-grade boxes. As more people stay home, the demand for these types of products has increased.”

The outlook for the export of logs is also looking positive as trade deals have reopened the market into China.

“Demand is skyrocketing, and many of the log providers are scrambling to meet demand,” Porter said. “We have multiple companies looking at the Appalachian Regional Port and another working with GLOVIS in West Georgia to match-back empty containers from KIA. Some log exporters are seeing growth of 200 percent to 300 percent.”

Savannah’s forest products volumes may also be positively impacted by the entry of Plastic Express into the local market handling these commodities. The company’s recently opened Building 1 is now receiving railcars of paper and wood pulp. Container stuffing operations for forest products began in February.

“Since those initial carloads, we have seen growth through our facility and in just a few months are up to around 700 twenty-foot equivalent container units with a lot more growth in the pipeline,” Hufnagel said. “The challenges with COVID-19 have impacted businesses and consumers alike, however the need for paper to be used for packaging products and wood pulp for pharmaceuticals, toiletries, and diapers are still very much in demand.”

Plastic Express began its initial operations in Savannah with 1.1 million square feet of space and 265 rail car spots, with nearly half of that available to non-resin commodities.  The company has now started construction on Building 2 in Savannah, adding another 1.2 million square feet of space and 235 rail car spots, again with roughly half of the new capacity available to forest products.

Georgia mills provide the largest share of paper products arriving at the Savannah warehouse, with the remainder coming from Florida and South Carolina. The company is also competing for forest products business out of Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina.

Hufnagel said access to Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern via shortline carrier Georgia Central extends the company’s reach to customers across the U.S. Southeast. Key destinations for the paper and pulp shipments include South America, Asia, India and North Africa.

“Good news for the forestry industry not only benefits the Georgia Ports Authority, but the state economy as a whole,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “The industry spans the state of Georgia, from landowners and pulpwood growers, to major mills and the thousands of people they employ.”

SOURCE: Georgia Ports


British Ports Association

British Ports Welcome Extended Furloughing Scheme as UK Economy Reawakens

May 13, 2020 - The British Ports Association (BPA) has welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor on May 12 that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for an additional four months in the UK, until the end of October. This will help ports recover as the UK economy starts to reawaken.

The UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was launched in March. It allows employers to stand down workers but then claim a cash grant of up to 80% of their wages, capped at £2,500 a month. The money is claimed by the company and distributed to staff, so individuals don’t have to do anything themselves. Some employers decide to make up the 20% difference, some do not.

Sara Walsh, Corporate Services Manager at the British Ports Association, who has been leading on much of the COVID-19 response for the sector, including developing the BPA’s industry-wide ‘Ports Coronavirus Information Hub’ said, “The announcement regarding furloughing is good news for UK ports. This has been by far the most useful Coronavirus support mechanism for ports, and unlike other measures such as those for commercial tenants which has left many ports out of pocket, it has not led to knock-on effects elsewhere.

“The ports industry is cooperating closely with the Department for Transport and other government agencies and the availability of PPE is becoming an issue. PPE supplies such as sanitiser and masks are beginning to run low in some ports.

“To date, the Government has advised that masks and gloves are not required outside the clinical environment although some employers have been allocating equipment to staff as a resilience measure. Masks can also be a normal requirement for some roles, for example to protect from breathing in dust particulate.

“As the general public are now encouraged to wear face coverings when on public transport and in some shops this could cause strain on mask supplies, which are already stretched. We recently surveyed our port members and 44% reported issues sourcing PPE. Some ports have also reported substantial price increases which could indicate profiteering in supply chains which alongside supply issues will cause significant problems for the sector. This is wrong and should be stamped out.”

Alongside the guidance for businesses, the Department for Transport has also issued guidance for transport operators in England. It includes some useful information for ports about queuing, crowd management, cleaning, ventilation, communication and training.

Walsh added, “While some of the government’s new suite of guidance documents for businesses and transport operators are broadly speaking relevant to the ports and wider maritime sector, they are quite general in nature and are designed to be applicable for all types of organisations.”

SOURCE: British Ports Association


Flora Schulte bulk vessel

Port Canaveral Receives Shipment of 2,000 Metric Tons of Pulp from Sweden

May 6, 2020 - Space Coast Daily (Brevard County, Florida) reported that the Flora Schulte arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida on May 1 with 2,000 metric tons of wood pulp (used for paper production) along with 5,700 metric tons of lumber.

The Flora Schulte, a relatively new bulk carrier (May 2019) owned by Schulte Group, was originally scheduled to Port Canaveral about a month ago but was delayed loading the product in Sweden because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video by Space Coast Daily, Trey Finch, Operations Manager with Norton Lilly International said Port Canaveral rarely gets this type of shipment but it is probably due to the need for increased production of paper products.

“There are 1,000 units (pulp bales) onboard and each unit weights two metric tons apiece,” Finch explained.

Finch noted that the Flora Schulte first arrived in Philadelphia to unload a portion of its cargo before heading to Port Canaveral.

The market pulp, produced by Sodra (Sweden), will be delivered to an undisclosed local paper manufacturer, Space Coast Daily said.


Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland Gets New Service to Asia, Includes Saudi Arabia

May 6, 2020 (Press Release) - A sprawling vessel service begins this week with 18 megaships linking the Port of Oakland to Asia, including Saudi Arabia.  A highlight of the new service: the first-ever direct link between Oakland and the Middle East.

The Port said today that Japan’s ONE line would operate the new weekly service called the Far East-Pacific 2.  The first ship in the service, the ONE Aquila, should arrive at Oakland International Container Terminal May 7.

Each of the ships in the service has capacity to carry 14,000 20-foot containers, the Port said.  That places them among the largest container vessels calling at U.S. ports.

“Naturally we’re encouraged by this development,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “The size of the ships means extra cargo capacity coming to Oakland and the Port rotation extends Oakland’s reach in global markets.”

The service reaches nine ports in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.  Stops at Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port would be Oakland’s first direct connection to the Middle East.  Until now, ships from the Arab world transferred Oakland-bound cargo to other vessels at intermediate ports.

Two services already calling Oakland were consolidated by ONE into the Far East-Pacific 2, the Port said.  For that reason, the Port declined to project the impact of the new service on cargo volume.  The Port said that larger ships could result in more Oakland freight over time.  Adding new port calls such as Jeddah could help as well, the Port added.

The Port said it expected cargo mix on the new service to be evenly divided between imports and exports.  California farm goods exported to overseas markets should be a prominent part of the mix, the Port added.

The Far East-Pacific 2 eastbound port rotation: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Laem Chabang, Thailand; Cai Mep, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Yantian, China; Long Beach; Oakland

The Far East-Pacific 2 westbound port rotation: Oakland; Yokohama, Japan; Hong Kong; Laem Chabang, Thailand; Cai Mep, Vietnam; Singapore; before heading to Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp and Southampton on the European portion of its rotation.

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. For further information, visit: www.portofoakland.com

SOURCE: Port of Oakland


Rotterdam World Gateway - cranes

Rotterdam World Gateway Takes Delivery of Two New Deep Sea Quay Cranes

May 5, 2020 - The Port of Rotterdam reported that on 23 April two new deep sea quay cranes arrived at Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG). The cranes will be commissioned in the coming months and are expected to be operational in the second half of 2020.

The new cranes, the largest of their kind, were built by ZPMC in China. They have a lifting height of 56 meters and are capable of handling container vessels up to 26 rows wide.

Together with the two quay cranes, RWG has invested in 25 new Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). Offloading the cranes will take around ten days and they will be commissioned on the quay over the next months.

“The arrival of the cranes and AGVs will allow RWG to further optimize our services and capacity,” said Ronald Lugthart, CEO at RWG. “RWG plays a key role in efficient, sustainable, reliable and safe container handling. Together with our customers, stakeholders and partners, such as DP world, we will continue to develop our services.”

About the Port of Rotterdam

The port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest sea port. The port owes its leading position to its outstanding accessibility for sea-going vessels. For further information, visit: www.portofrotterdam.com

Source: Rotterdam World Gateway

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