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Blue Marlin Breaks Record

Blue Marlin Breaks Record

The Blue Marlin breaks record moving the BP rig and continues to break it’s own records. There’s now a new ship for decommissioning oil rigs that is hailed as the largest ship in the world, The Pieter Schelte, which is part robot. 1 Short of moving mountains, there´s hardly anything the Blue Marlin can´t do. Equipped with a 17,160 HP engine and a lifting capacity of over 76,000 metric tons, the the world´s largest semi-submersible ship has transported some of the most massive structures known to man. For instance, the 738-feet long vessel was the U.S. Navy´s obvious choice when they needed a way to deliver the destroyer USS Cole back to the United States after the warship was severely damaged by an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber attack in Yemen. And a year later, the carrier pulled off its most impressive feat by hauling the 60,000-ton Thunder Horse PQD (AKA the world´s largest semi-submersible oil rig) nearly 16,000 miles from a dock in South Korea to Corpus Christi, Texas. But even such notable accomplishments may soon be dwarfed when the Vanguard, a new addition to dockwise´s transport fleet, arrives later this year. While the heavy lift vessel boasts an unheard of loading capacity of 117,000 metric tons, it´ll also sport an innovative bowless design that will allow the ship to support wider, longer and overall larger structures.
The Vangaurd is the industry´s solution for a world in which oil rigs are not only rapidly increasing in size, but are also being moved into deeper and remote waters. “We investigated whether our ships were able to transport such cargoes. Our conclusion was that they had insufficient capacity and inadequate deck-area. The bow and the accommodations are usually in the way, explained project engineer Michel Seij. “The bowless design of the Dockwise Vanguard is the logical consequence of this.”
Also, “the design allows for large amounts of water to flow along the entire deck of the vessel without there being any chance of water entering the confines of the Dockwise Vanguard,” he added. From an engineering perspective, this meant the crew’s accommodation would have to be built on the extreme starboard side of the vessel together with the lifeboats structure. The $240 million Vanguard will be 275 meters long and 70 meters wide with the ability to support cargo that stretches as much as 170 meters beyond those dimensions.The ship is being built at a Yard in Korea and is expected to enter service by the end of the year. blank blank blank

Corporate America…Raising prices to cover transportation cost

Business News February 26, 2018 / 12:32 AM / 3 months ago Corporate America’s new dilemma: raising prices to cover higher transport costs Eric M. Johnson, Chris Prentice 10 Min Read SEATTLE/BOCA RATON, Fla. (Reuters) – The drive for cost cuts and higher margins at U.S. trucking and railroad operators is pinching their biggest customers, forcing the likes of General Mills Inc (GIS.N) and Hormel Foods Corp (HRL.N) to spend more on deliveries and consider raising their own prices as a way to pass along the costs. blank FILE PHOTO: Freight trucks are driven on the Fisher freeway in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 27, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo Interviews with executives at 10 companies across the food, consumer goods and commodities sectors reveal that many are grappling with how to defend their profit margins as transportation costs climb at nearly double the inflation rate. Two executives told Reuters their companies do plan to raise prices, though they would not divulge by how much. A third said it was discussing prospective price increases with retailers. The prospect of higher prices on chicken, cereal and snacks costs comes as inflation emerged as a more distinct threat in recent weeks. The U.S. Labor Department reported earlier this month that underlying consumer prices in January posted their biggest gain in more than a year. As U.S. economic growth has revved up, railroads and truck fleets have not expanded capacity to keep pace – a decision applauded by Wall Street. Shares of CSX Corp (CSX.O), Norfolk Southern (NSC.N), and Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) have risen an average 22 percent over the past year as they cut headcount, locomotives and rail cars, and lengthened trains to lower expenses and raise margins. Quickening economic growth, a shortage of drivers and reduced capacity, and higher fuel prices have driven up transportation costs, prompting some companies to threaten to raise prices on goods ranging from chicken to cereal. Cream of Wheat maker B&G Foods Inc (BGS.N), Cheerios maker General Mills and Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N), owner of Hillshire Farms brand and Jimmy Dean sausage, said they will pass along higher freight costs to their customers. Tyson Chief Executive Officer Tom Hayes told Reuters in an interview that its price increases “should be in place for the second half” of its fiscal year, and that it has begun negotiating price increases with retailers and food service operators. The company declined to specify how much its freight costs increased in recent months, but a spokesman said they are up between 10 to 15 percent for the total industry. General Mills informed convenience store and food service customers of the price increases directly, a spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement, declining to provide specifics. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Harmening cited logistic costs and wage inflation as factors. “It feels to me like an environment that should be beneficial for some pricing,” he said in a presentation at last week’s Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference. Hormel Foods, the maker of Skippy peanut butter and SPAM, has been talking with retailers about raising prices, according to Chief Executive Jim Snee. “We don’t believe we’re going to recoup all of our freight cost increases for the balance of the year,” Snee told Reuters in an interview, noting operating margin sank to 13.2 percent, from 15.6 percent due to higher costs – including freight – in the most recent quarter. Confectionary and snack company Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) halted operations over a weekend late last month at its Toledo, Ohio wheat flour mill – the second-largest flour mill in the United States – because the plant could not get enough rail cars to carry flour to bakeries, a spokeswoman said. She declined to comment on whether Mondelez would raise prices to cover any higher costs. A new government regulation for drivers and truck availability are pushing up freight costs at JM Smucker Co (SJM.N). “We anticipate inflationary pressures likely to cause upward price movements in a variety of categories,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Belgya said last week at an analyst conference. To be sure, transportation costs are just a sliver of the price consumers pay at the grocery store. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates transportation represents just 3.3 cents of every dollar consumers spend. But an increase in truck rates over the next 12 months implies a 15-to-18 basis point gross margin headwind for U.S. food companies on average, according to Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard. “A lot of the consumer goods companies work on margin,” said Joe Glauber, a former USDA Chief Economist and a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. “They are going to be pushing those costs along” to retailers. Ultimately “consumers end up shouldering more of the burden,” he said. That would be a change for consumers who have seen years of low-to-negative food inflation, he noted. RISING COSTS HIT EARNINGS Prices of key commodity ingredients including corn, sugar and cocoa remain relatively low due to bumper harvests around the globe. But even as companies’ freight costs increase, their packaging costs are also rising, industry analysts said. Slideshow (2 Images) Global energy prices have risen sharply from 2016’s lows, driving up prices for not only diesel but also packing material like plastics, which are byproducts of crude and natural gas. Others companies have blamed freight hikes for lower earnings forecasts for 2018, including U.S. oilfield services company Halliburton Co (HAL.N). It shaved ten cents per share from its earnings forecast last week due to delays in deliveries of sand used in fracking. “They try to squeeze every dollar for profit rather than provide service,” said Robert Murray, the chief executive of Murray Energy Corporation, the largest privately-owned U.S. coal company which relies on CSX and Norfolk Southern to help transport its goods. Murray said both CSX and Norfolk Southern have lacked rail cars and crew to haul 4 million tons of coal from mines in West Virginia and Ohio to the Port of Baltimore this year. CSX spokesman Christopher Smith said its service has improved steadily over recent months and it was working with customers to solve problems. Norfolk Southern declined to comment. At an analyst conference Thursday, Norfolk Southern Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Earhart said that the railroad was looking to raise prices on consumer goods and other truck-competitive freight it hauls in 2018. But she said it had no plans to increase headcount or move equipment out of storage, despite worsening train speeds and rail car idle times in the first quarter. Earhart said the railroad was moving some employees to problem spots, like its terminal in Birmingham, Alabama, from other areas of its network. Union Pacific has started pulling stored locomotives back into service and plans to bring back 600 employees in the first quarter 2018 to prevent rail cars from spending too much time in yards, said Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza. General Mills Inc 42.28 GIS.NNew York Stock Exchange -0.21(-0.49%) GIS.NHRL.NCSX.ONSC.NUNP.N The time UP rail cars were sitting idle in terminals rose to 32.5 hours in the fourth quarter from 29 hours in the year-ago period, and its overall workforce dropped during the last two quarters, according to company data. Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF (BRKa.N) said winter weather has impacted velocity and fluidity on portions of its primary route between the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, but said it has not been cutting crews and rolling stock. “NO SLACK IN THE SYSTEM” U.S. truck fleets have not kept pace with growing demand for different reasons, industry executives said. The April 1 enforcement deadline for a federal regulation requiring drivers to electronically log their hours has effectively curtailed capacity, adding to a chronic shortage of people willing to drive trucks for the wages offered. Tight capacity means trucking firms have leverage as they negotiate freight rates. Dry van shipping rates are expected to rise as much as 10 percent in 2018, while “spot” rates for last-minute cargo hit record levels in January before falling slightly, according to online freight marketplace DAT Solutions. Chemical maker Chemours Company (CC.N) estimates 30 percent of its rail shipments have highly unpredictable delivery times, while automaker Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) has struggled periodically to get rail cars for finished vehicles at plants served by the major railroads. “If I was to ask for anything, it’s consistency,” said Lee Hobgood, general manager of Toyota’s transportation operations. “I am not feeling cuts. I am feeling imbalance at times.” Agribusiness giant Cargill declined to quantify how much its freight costs are going up and whether it would pass costs on to its customers. But at a soybean processing plant near Lafayette, Ind., Cargill has had such long delays getting loaded railcars moved out, the company plans to buy its own Trackmobile railcar mover to relieve the congestion. One Trackmobile unit can cost at least $250,000. Brad Hildebrand, Cargill’s Global Rail and Barge Lead, told Reuters the Lafayette plant otherwise could shut down. “When we load a train at one of our eastern elevators it sits for an extended period of time before locomotive power and crews can come in,” Hildebrand said. “There is no slack in the system to handle weather problems or even a small uptick in demand.” Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Edward Tobin Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. AppsNewslettersAdvertise with UsAdvertising GuidelinesCookiesTerms of UsePrivacy All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays. © 2018 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

Shipping rates increasing by 2020!

shipping rates are on the rise

Truck shipping rates continue to climb amid recent developments in the trucking industry. It was a whirlwind year for trucking in 2017 and 2018 seems to be more of the same.

The volume of truck freight shipping is ever-increasing. In 2017, truck tonnage (the gross weight of freight moved by trucks) rose 3.7% compared to 2016, the largest annual gain since 2013.

Diesel price spikes, increases in manufacturing output, new regulations and tighter truck capacity have contributed to a steady rise in shipping rates. Indications don’t point towards a change in 2018 either.

Shipping Rates Rise as Diesel Prices Go Up

Diesel price increases have dramatically affected shipping rates recently. It’s no secret that fuel is a costly expense for any transportation service, especially those hauling oversize loads. Heavy-duty trucks are lucky to get around 5 mpg on the road, even with recent improvements in fuel-efficient technology.

Fuel alone makes up over 20 percent of operating costs for carriers according to the American Transportation Research Institute. A spike in diesel prices can be catastrophic to a carrier and dramatically limits their ability to operate.

Over the last six months, we’ve experienced a steep increase in diesel prices. Since July 2017, diesel fuel prices have increased 22 percent or $0.53 to an average of $3.02 per gallon according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Increased Outputs in Manufacturing and Construction

Due to the added need to move products, truck carriers are able to hold out or require higher rates as the bridge between supply and demand widens in 2018.

You might be noticing more and more products with the “Made in America” distinction. This is no accident. American manufacturing output increased 7% in the fourth quarter of 2017, and companies are planning on increasing production in American factories.

“I remain optimistic for 2018 for a host of reasons, including a pick-up in factory activity, better housing construction, solid retail sales, and an expected shot in the arm from the new tax law,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

Ford announced it would invest $700 million to expand its existing factory in Michigan, while General Motors has stated it will spend an additional $1 billion on manufacturing in 2018.

The increase in production is not limited to manufacturing. Production of new homes built is expected to rise 10% this year according to the National Association of Realtors.

These production increases create more demand for truck capacity, especially for flatbed and specialized carriers. Keep in mind, that freight considered oversize, heavy haul, flatbed and open deck loads are not classified the same as standard dry van trailers (the standard box-like trailer you see on the road). This means that the ratio of loads-to-trucks isn’t going to be the same for all trailers thus, rates will be different as well.

Driver Hours Are Now Tracked Digitally – The ELD Effect

Truck drivers are on the road for extended periods of time and to limit the dangers that can arise from fatigue, the government has placed regulations limiting drivers to 10 hours of service daily.

The ELD mandate that went into effect December 18th has forced carriers to adhere to stricter schedules for their daily hours of service. Now that driver hours are tracked electronically, there is no way around operating beyond the 10-hour daily operating rule.

Carriers are mandated to record all hours electronically instead of finding a way to make the hours add up on paper. Now they begin searching for truck parking around the nine-hour mark in their day, a much earlier time than in the past.

The new ELD regulation has not only limited the number of loads a carrier can move but also what lanes can be traveled in a day as well. There is still a steep adjustment time for the industry since the mandate has only been active for a little over a month. Not to mention the fact that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has allowed a grace period until April 1, 2018, before enforcing the use of ELDs. Things will get worse before they improve and rates will continue to trend up during this adjustment period.

Tighter Truck Capacity

There’s an inherent driver shortage that is greatly impacting the trucking industry. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates the truck driver shortage is around 50,000 drivers and that number could more than triple by 2026.

“In addition to the sheer lack of drivers, fleets are also suffering from a lack of qualified drivers, which amplifies the effects of the shortage,” Costello said. “This means that even as the shortage numbers fluctuate, it remains a serious concern for our industry, for the supply chain and for the economy at large.”

Driver retention has been an ongoing issue, especially for larger fleets. It has become increasingly difficult for fleets to find and retain quality, experienced drivers. This lack of available truck capacity has compounded the rise in shipping rates and the trend could continue.

Self-Driving Big Rigs in Nevada, your thoughts?

Self-Driving Big Rigs in Nevada, your thoughts?

The future of transportation? Who approves or disapproves of the self-driving rigs now legal in Nevada? Here’s a statement from the manufacturer, Daimler.

A Daimler-built autonomous truck can now legally operate on the highways of Nevada. Gov. Brian Sandoval has officially granted the “Freightliner Inspiration Truck” a license for road use in the state, making it the first of its kind to navigate public roads in the US. The Inspiration’s Highway Pilot system” is loaded with cameras, radars, other sensors and computer hardware like most autonomous vehicles. However, it’s not completely self-driving — it still needs a human driver behind the wheel.

The Future of Shipping? Your Thoughts?

With such large vessels? Are you serious? Wind powered Shipping? Unmanned Cargo Ships? Do you think that’s a good idea? We want to hear your opinions here at Texas Gobal Services. Thank you for sharing. The WWEA, World Wind Energy Association, and IWSA, International Wind Ship Association have teamed up to  promote wind technology propulsion by the global shipping fleet. The WWEA will contribute with its experience in driving industry transition and taking advantage of the power of wind energy technology. The IWSA, in parallel, will continue to bring together all parties in the development of a wind-ship sector to shape industry and government attitudes and policies. “Collaborating with the WWEA team on joint projects enables IWSA to accelerate uptake of this abundantly available, free-to-use energy source into the maritime sector,” Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary General, said. “Shipping is certainly an area that will greatly benefit from the uptake of wind power and we look forward to working closely with IWSA to make that happen faster and at scale,” Stefan Gsänger, WWEA Secretary General, said. World Maritime Picture: New Wind Powered Shipping Vessel

Unmanned Cargo Ships? Is this a good idea? 

Industry bodies in China, led by HNA Technology Logistics Group and China Classification Society (CSS), have established what is now known as the unmanned cargo ship development alliance. Supported by experts from the ABS, DNV GL, Chinese ship and Marine Engineering Design Institute, Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute, among others, the alliance is expected to have a profound impact on the industry. Picture: Unmanned Cargo Ship

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