Weekly Newsletter from TCI President, Dennis Tam, for week of October 18, 2009

19 October 2009

Sent: Sun, Oct 18, 2009 4:51 pm
Subject: TCI Weekly E-mail

Good morning everyone.  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  It was fabulous weather in Houston and the PGA Seniors Tour held in the Woodlands, Texas went off without a hitch.   No new venues to report this week.  Let me just mention a few repeats like I did last week. Traffic Club of Philadelphia's Industry Night will be held this Tuesday.  In part, there is a Memorium for our dear friend Larry Mungiole.  Contact Bill Shoaf at www.shoafgroup@comcast,net.  National Defense Transportation Association (of Houston) will host a Dinner Cruise on Thursday.  For more information contact Janette Sinnock at janette.sinnock@interconex.com.  Lastly the Houston Transportation Professionals Association will be hosting their annual Fall Scholarship Golf Outing on Wednesday, October 28th.  Go to www.htpa.net for more information.   Some interesting news to share with you is that grain giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) acquired five oceangoing dry-bulk ships of varying sizes to haul all types of grain, grain products and bulk commodities to and from ports in Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of the world.  The five carriers comprise one Handy-sized vessel and one Handymax, both with self-unloading gear, a Supermax and two Panamex vessels.  Their carrying capacity ranges between 36,000 tons and 67,000 tons.   Freight transportation was on the upswing through the summer, as indicated by the U.S. Department of Transportation's closely watched Transportation Services Index.  The TSI increased 0.7 per cent in August, the fourth consecutive month without a decline after dropping in 9 of the previous 12 months.  The August increase was mild compared to July's 1.6 per cent jump but help complete the first four month period without a decline in the index since 2002.   The economy is stabilizing but will take time to adjust to a "less spendthrift" consumer and a rebound in U.S. exports may be led by agricultural commodities that require little labor to produce.  This was part of one economist's message at this year's Breakbulk Transportation Conference.  He also said the U.S. needs to narrow its trade imbalance but has lost competitiveness in manufacturing leaving agricultural commodities as the likely leader in U.S. exports.   Last week I wrote about the West Coast Ports gearing up for competition and said I would share some facts with you this week.  I mentioned that the port directors had collectively wrote to the railroads and the railroads have responded favorably to assist in their part to make the ports more competitive.  Seattle, Tacoma, Long Beach and Los Angeles have deep harbors capable of accommodating the 8,000 to 10,000 TEU vessels and Oakland is deepening its harbor by 50 feet.  Portland, a river port, is deepening its access channel to 43 feet from 40 feet at present, allowing it to accommodate more than 90 per cent of the existing global fleet. Los Angeles and Long Beach will consider a motion to refrain from levying new fees for yet to be determined number of years after losing cargo share since implementing clean truck and extended gate hour fees.  At present only Norfolk and Halifax can handle fully-laden 8,000 to 10,000 TEU ships.  draft limitations and bridge restrictions affect many other East Coast Ports.  This will be exciting to follow for the next few years to see how it all plays out.   Regards, Dennis Tam President, HTPA