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Friday, January 19, 2018

Alaska Railroad News

Gunderson Marine Launches Second of Railroad Barge Trio

Gunderson, Inc. launched the second in a series of what are reportedly three of the largest barges ever built for the maritime industry. Named Fairbanks Provider, the 420- x 100- x 24-ft. barge is being built for Alaska Railbelt Marine for service between Seattle, Wash. and Alaska. Equipped with a RoRo feature for easy cargo handling, the barge will carry the railroad freight cars and cargo in service between Seattle and Whittier, Alaska for the Alaska Railroad.

Cox Heads Crowley Sales and Marketing, Anchorage

Crowley announced that Bob Cox has assumed sales and marketing responsibility for the company's petroleum distribution group in Alaska. This is in addition to his role as general manager of the company's supply and distribution functions. Cox will remain domiciled in the company's Anchorage office and will continue reporting to Craig Tornga, vice president of petroleum distribution. Cox is responsible for the sales and marketing function of Crowley's petroleum terminals, which have a combined fuel capacity of 39 million gallons. A veteran of the Alaska petroleum sales and distribution market, Cox also brings transportation experience to his position. Prior to joining Crowley in 2007, he was vice president at both Petro Marine Services and Alaska Railroad.

Cruise Relations Get Chilly In Alaska

After a decade that saw the size of Alaska cruise ship crowds triple and pollution from the massive vessels foul area waterways, state officials are moving to blunt the negative impact of the booming industry. Cruise ships that ply the Inside Passage and other Alaska waters are not subject to state oversight, even though they carry hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel and more people than the populations of some of the port cities they visit. Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles has introduced a bill to change that. It would require those ships, along with large cargo ships, fishing vessels and the state-owned Alaska Railroad, to meet the same kind of spill prevention and response standards as state law requires of oil tankers.

Crowley Orders ATB at Bollinger

(Image: Crowley)

Crowley Fuels LLC has signed a contract with Bollinger Shipyards for the construction of a new 100,000-barrel-capacity articulated tug-barge (ATB) to transport multiple clean petroleum products in the Alaska market. The Alaska-class vessel will be built at Bollinger Marine Fabricators Shipyard, in Amelia, La., with an expected delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019. The build contract includes an option for a second ATB. Once built and deployed, Crowley will operate the ATB under a long-term charter with Alaska-based Petro Star Inc.…

USDOT Award Tiger Vl Maritime Grants

Kurt Nagle: Photo credit AAPA

American Association of Port Authorities
 (AAPA) say that after evaluating 797 applications totaling requests for $9 billion for FY 2014 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced 72 awards totaling $584 million will be distributed in the sixth round of this multimodal, discretionary grant program. Another $54,469,652 comprising five awards, which is equal to about 9 percent of the total funding, is going to what USDOT classifies as “freight rail” projects.

Port, Rail Partners Celebrate Opening of Intermodal Railyard

The was joined by two of its rail partners in dedicating the Napoleon Intermodal Rail Yard, a new facility permitting efficient ship to rail transfer of cargo containers at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. The rail yard provides a new link for NAFTA commerce. Its dedication was announced as U.S. President George Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon meet in for the annual North American Leadership Summit. CN, with a rail network spanning the U.S. Midwest and , is the first Class 1 railroad to serve the new rail yard via its switching agent, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. CN is currently hauling about 350 to 400 containers per week using the facility…

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Himalaya Clause

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Himalaya Clause for in inland carrier. In the instant case, an Australian manufacturer shipped cargo from Australia to Huntsville, Alabama, via Savannah, Georgia. The shipper contracted with a freight forwarder for the shipment and the bill of lading issued by the NVOCC included a Himalaya Clause extending the COGSA liability limitations to downstream parties. The freight forwarder contracted with a vessel operator for actual carriage of the cargo. The bill of lading issued by the vessel operator likewise included a Himalaya Clause. The vessel operator contracted with a railroad company for carriage of the cargo from Savannah to Huntsville. En route, the train derailed and the cargo was damaged.

Dozens of Trains Haul Volatile Bakken Crude Weekly

As many as 44 trains loaded with volatile Bakken crude oil are being sent through the state of New York each week, according to confidential disclosures made by railroads to state emergency responders, and released to Reuters through a Freedom of Information Law request. The disclosures come as New York and other states grapple with health and safety risks posed by a recent surge in oil-by-rail cargoes, following at least six fiery derailments of trains carrying Bakken oil in North America since last July. The New York State Emergency Response Commission released disclosures from railroads CSX Corp and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd on Tuesday.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Launches New Rail Loop

Largest Construction Project in Decade, Improves Service for Shippers. The Port of Cleveland held a ribbon-cutting today to mark the launch of a new rail loop that will provide better and more efficient service at the port, and improve access to markets throughout North America. “We needed to reinvent the way the Port connects shippers to railroads,” said Port CEO Will Friedman. Slightly more than a mile long, the rail loop connects the two sides of the port’s rail system for the first time, allowing cargo to move on either CSX or Norfolk Southern, the two Class 1 railroads that serve the port. The loop doubles the port’s rail capacity and will give more shippers opportunities to use the Port to transport larger volumes to more markets.

Rail-Barge Service from Eastern Shore to Resume

Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the Bay Coast Railroad Car Barge will resume service next week as a result of a partnership between the Commonwealth, area localities, and the Bay Coast Railroad. The barge, which was removed from service last year, provides connecting service between the Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Norfolk/Virginia Beach. Last year, the Bay Coast Railroad suspended service on the barge when it identified $1 million in structural deficiencies critical to the barges safety. In order to restore service, the Commonwealth of Virginia provided a grant through the Shortline Railway Preservation Fund, which included $700,000 in state funds and a $300,000 match provided by Accomack and Northampton counties, as well as Bay Coast Railroad.

Barge Hits Rail Bridge

The Coast Guard, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company responded after a tug and barge struck a railroad bridge in Beverly, MA, on December 21, 2007. The 35-foot tug Edna, owned by Jay Cashman Inc., with barge Weeks #70, was transporting dredge material outbound on the Danvers River to Beverly Harbor when the barge struck the Beverly Railroad Bridge at approximately 4:45 a.m. Both the barge and bridge sustained minimal damage. No injuries were reported. The MBTA and MBCR are working to repair damages to the bridge. Two crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Gloucester worked with the Beverly harbor master to assess damage to the barge, which was minimal.

US Rail Jams Force Rush to Roads and Rivers

Photo: Susannah Skiver

U.S. coal-burning power utilities are being forced to turn to barges and more expensive trucks to move coal, desperate to shore up stockpiles left dangerously low by the widespread bottlenecks on rail networks. The shift in how coal is being delivered to some power plants from mining regions such as Illinois Basin and comes amid persistent railroad delays that began during last year's severe North American winter. The delays have been perpetuated also by a surge in rail deliveries of crude oil and grain…

Oil Train Regulation Passes in California

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California lawmakers on Friday passed legislation requiring railroad companies to tell emergency officials when crude oil trains will chug through the state. The bill would require railroads to notify the state's Office of Emergency Services when trains carrying crude oil from Canada and North Dakota are headed to refineries in the most populous U.S. state. It passed its final vote in the Assembly 61-1, with strong bipartisan support within the state legislature in Sacramento. The bill now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

Automated Container Crane for TraPac Rail Terminal

Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (Pres. Takao Tanaka) has received an order for two automated container cranes for railroad terminal from TraPac, Inc.. which is Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.’s U.S. affiliated company, through MES’s U.S. affiliated company, PACECO Corp. At the container terminal that TraPac Inc. operates in Port of Los Angeles, is now being constructed for extension and alongside that, the automation of container handling equipments is being carried on as well.

Norfolk Intermodal Volume Falls

Photo: Norfolk Southern Railway

Norfolk Southern Railway has announced disappointing financial results, and a cost-cutting plan that could eliminate two thousand jobs over the next four years. Norfolk has assured shareholders that despite weak carload volume and tumbling intermodal traffic producing a double-digit profit loss, the railroad remains better on its own. The company has outlined plans to cut staff, close routes and mothball locomotives amid a series of measures aimed at cutting annual costs by $650m by 2020.

Ports Operating Well Despite Rail Congestion

The nation’s major retail container ports are operating smoothly this month despite railroad congestion that is causing some delays in hauling cargo away from western ports, according to the November Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight. All West Coast ports covered by the report – Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma and Seattle – were given a “medium” congestion rating this month to reflect railroad delays. Medium indicates a warning of potential for congestion rather than existing congestion. The ports themselves were operating smoothly, but railroad congestion was causing delays of up to four days for inbound and outbound rail traffic.

Long Beach Port Celebrates Environmental Successes

Companies, organizations were recognized for ‘green’ efforts

Shipping lines, environmental organizations, trucking companies, terminal operators and a railroad were honored today, July 29, by Long Beach Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia and the Port of Long Beach at the annual Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards are an outgrowth of the groundbreaking Green Port Policy, the Port’s commitment to improving the environment. Approved in 2005 by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, the policy put the Port on the path to become a world leader in environmental stewardship.

Driver Shortage Makes Capitalizing on Low Oil Hard for Truckers

A chronic shortage of drivers means America's long-haul trucking companies are struggling to capitalize on cheap fuel prices that could allow them to take goods shipments away from railroads. A 50 percent fall in oil prices from their peak last year should have erased some of the cost advantage railroads enjoy, especially for longer hauls. But for customers hoping to save money by switching from train to truck, the lack of drivers makes that harder. "It's a nice theory, but the math doesn't add up because of the driver shortage," said Jason Seidl, an Cowen & Co analyst. An increasingly common way of shipping freight is by "intermodal" standardized containers that can be hauled by truck, ship and train.

Barges Hit Bridge on the Mississippi

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a barge allision at mile marker 435.8 on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss., Wednesday.   Watchstanders with Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received a call at 10:19 a.m., stating the towing vessel Wally Roller allided with the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge.   All six barges were reported to have broken free and have now been safely accounted for, and traffic has resumed.   The Vicksburg Railroad Bridge will remain closed until a safety inspection is completed by the Vicksburg Bridge Commission and the State of Mississippi.   The Coast Guard said it is evaluating additional navigation safety measures in order to reduce the potential for future marine accidents.   The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Coal Barges Sink near Vicksburg, Miss.

The towing vessel Ron W. Callegan with 22 barges allided with the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge, near Vicksburg, Miss., after which nine barges containing coal broke free, two of which sank. The U.S. Coast Guard has implemented a safety zone on the Lower Mississippi River from mile marker 438 to mile marker 426 to restrict maritime traffic to those vessels needed in the response. Towing vessels in the area are assisting in securing the barges that broke free. A surveyor and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to locate the two barges that sank to ensure they will not be a hazard to navigation. The railroad bridge will remain closed until a safety inspection is completed by the Vicksburg Bridge Commission and the State of Mississippi. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

AAPA Expresses Concern Over Stalled Contract

The American Association of Port Authorities today sent a strong message to Congressional Senate, House and Committee leaders, urging them to "take swift action" to avert a rail strike on Dec. 6, which would lead to a discontinuation of freight rail service, potentially costing American businesses and consumers $2 billion a day. "Railroads are a vital component of the freight transportation system and are critical to international trade and goods movement to and from our nation’s seaports," wrote AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle.

CG Railway Finishes RoRo Conversion

Measuring 585-ft., the self-propelled RoRo sister vessels Bali Sea and Banda Sea completed shipyard conversion work in January for operation out of Mobile, Ala. by CG Railway. The vessels will be used for CG's new four-day interline rail-ferry service to transport freight in railcars between Mobile and Coatzacoalos, Mexico. Terminal facilities for this operation are in the final stages of completion. Each vessel has the capacity to hold 60 railcars, and each has unique 30-ft. high sidewalls to protect the railcars from sea water. Developed to provide another entry/exit system for the Canadian -Eastern U.S.-Mexico trade that will give railroads predominantly operating east of the Mississippi River direct and fast access to southeast and central Mexico.

Bisso Responds to Damaged Railroad Bridge

Following an emergency call, Bisso Marine mobilized the 600 ton capacity D/B Lili Bisso to Amelia, La., to lift the Bayou Boeuf Railroad Bridge which had been struck by a tug and barge resulting in significant damage to the bridge span. Upon arrival at the site, the D/B Lili Bisso lifted the damaged 200 ton bridge span and placed it on to a deck barge. The bridge span was then transferred to a local repair facility where the D/B Lili Bisso would again lift the bridge span and place it into the repair yard. Upon completion of the repairs, the D/B Lili Bisso again lifted the repaired span and placed it back on to the deck barge. The deck barge and D/B Lili Bisso were then transferred back to the rail line where the span was put back on to its supports allowing the rail traffic to resume.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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