Winter Weather Closes Southern US Ports

JOC Staff | Jan 28, 2014 10:22AM EST

Forecasts of freezing rain and icy roads and bridges have led to announcements of halts in service at ports from Virginia to Texas.

  • The Port of Virginia said its truck gates, empty container yards and rail operations would close from 5 p.m. today to 1 p.m. tomorrow, but that the schedule might be modified if conditions change.
  • Virginia’s Newport News Marine Terminal will close from 2 p.m. today until 8 a.m. The port authority said vessels on berth will work until 9 p.m., but most pier-side cargo operations are expected to be completed by 7 p.m. Vessel operations at Norfolk International Terminals and APM Terminals Portsmouth will resume at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
  • The port authority said weather is not forecast to have an impact on cargo operations at Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal, or the Port of Richmond.
  • The North Carolina State Ports Authority said its Wilmington and Morehead City terminals would be closed to port authority employees today but that tenants would have access.
  • The South Carolina Ports Authority said Charleston terminals would close from 3 p.m. today until 1 p.m. tomorrow but that the schedule might be altered if conditions changed.
  • The Port of Houston said its Bayport and Barbours Cut container terminals and its Turning Basin breakbulk terminals would be closed all day today.
  • The Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Container Terminal is closed today, along with schools and most government offices in the area. Terminal operator Ports America said an update was expected this afternoon about tomorrow’s operations.
  • The Alabama Port Authority said its public seaport terminals were closed until further notice because worsening weather expected to bring freezing rain and ice, 20- to 30-knot winds, and 10-foot seas offshore. The port authority said vessel arrivals and departures wouldn’t be affected but that ice accumulations of up to three tenths of an inch would make roads and bridges hazardous.
  • The port authorities advised customers to check port websites for updates.

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Once-in-a-generation winter storm descends on Deep South

A brutal winter freeze began to descend on the Deep South early Tuesday with a huge swath of the region in the crosshairs of a storm that forecasters called "potentially paralyzing."

The storm was still in its infancy at 3:30 a.m. ET but meteorologists at The Weather Channel said they already had reports of sleet and freezing rain in parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Schools from the Lone Star State to Florida earlier announced that they would close Tuesday, and the storm is playing havoc with air travel. As of 6:45 a.m. ET, airlines had cancelled 2,665 flights across the country, with Atlanta's Hartsfield–Jackson and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental airports bearing the brunt, according to FlightAware early Tuesday.

Winter storm alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service all the way from central Texas eastward through the Gulf Coast into Georgia, the Carolinas and far southeast Virginia.

Nearly 60 million people are affected by a cold weather warning or watch Monday night. By Friday, however, temperatures will rise above normal for much of the country. NBC News' Al Roker reports.

Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen described it as a "potentially paralyzing winter storm." And the forecaster’s winter weather expert, Tom Niziol, said the South was in for weather "that many parts have not seen in years" — perhaps the biggest winter weather event in a generation.

The nasty weather will reach so far south that Johnson Space Center, in Houston, said it would be closed.

The the biggest snow threat lay in eastern and central Texas, including Houston, and stretched to southeast Virginia. Eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia would have the greatest chance of getting more than six inches of snow, according to The Weather Channel.


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Polar Vortex, Backlogs Put Stress on Transport Networks

JOC Staff | Jan 17, 2014 10:04AM EST        

The polar vortex didn’t put the U.S. into a deep freeze for long, but the widespread chill is still causing transportation problems for shippers, railroads and drayage truckers. Those problems may be contributing to stronger-than-usual business for over-the-road truckers.

The cold snap hit some transportation networks at stress points, and resultant delays are a warning of what could happen if freight demand were to rise more quickly in 2014.

In addition to problems related to the cold weather, train derailments, port backlogs and what appears to be higher than usual general freight demand in January are testing transportation networks and shipping capacity.

Drayage drivers in the Chicago area hit with record freezing temperatures have grappled with malfunctioning rigs, delaying the pick-up and drop-offs of loads at intermodal rail terminals and shippers’ distribution centers, said Jason Hilsenbeck, president of LoadMatch &

The cold has also hampered diesel-fueled cranes at intermodal terminals. The lack of extended ramp storage, along with a shortage of chassis, has also frustrated drayage drivers, he said.

The railroads and terminal operators want to get the containers out of the terminal, and that results in containers sitting on chassis. “But drivers can’t handle new boxes if they don’t have free chassis,” Hilsenbeck said.

As a result, shipments piled up, and some shippers reportedly are diverting freight away from intermodal rail to avoid delays.


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Gulftainer’s UAE Terminal Ranked No. 1 Port in EMEA

Jan 15, 2014

Sharjah, UAE– January 15, 2014: Gulftainer, the world’s largest privately-owned independent port management and logistics company, based in Sharjah, UAE, increased its market dominance in 2013 by serving and controlling one-fifth of total containerised trade in the GCC region. The significant milestone was achieved as a result of streamlined operations and commercial efforts supported by high productivity, quick turnaround time and efficient customer support.

This achievement is further underscored in a global port productivity report recently published by the Journal of Commerce in the USA, which ranks Gulftainer’s Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT) as the top performing port facility in Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The report ranks leading ports based on a set of strict criteria and measurement principles and looked at 63,500 ship calls at major ports around the world. KCT was also recognised as one of the top three productive port operations globally.

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Per Shipco Transport - USA Advisory - NY/NJ Terminal Congestion / Chassis Shortage

USA Advisory

NY/NJ Terminal Congestion / Chassis Shortage causing Delays

Last week we announced extreme congestion at APM and Maher Terminal affecting NY customers as a result of the Hercules storm 2 weeks ago, followed by the below freezing temperatures the following week. Unfortunately, the situation at the NY / NJ ports has not improved. It has become apparent that these ongoing congestion delays may affect other branches of Shipco Transport.

We are still experiencing extensive delays due to labor shortage and now an extreme chassis shortage. Our drivers stand in line all day to come back empty handed as they are not able to get the containers. We are still dealing with limited trucker moves per day. We are not aware yet of when this situation will improve. We are trying to pick up our import containers that become available daily but are sometimes not successful due to these issues, which is why you might see we dispatch more than once. Please keep in mind that we (Shipco) are doing everything possible to try to make sure all cargo is loaded as scheduled and getting late gates where ever we can, but there might be some that roll beyond our control.

Phone Line delays - Due to these terminal delays, we are experiencing heavier phone volume, while our staff is trying to answer all calls you may experience longer waiting time. For imports, you are able to get status updates and availability thru our website at If you do not have a current login/password, you are also able to track on ICT's website under

We thank you for your patience during this time.

Contact us for bookings and inquiries

Atlanta +1 404 767 0246 | Boston +1 617 267 3009 | Charleston +1 843 744 8336 | Chicago +1 630 616 9100 | Houston +1 713 861 2100 | Los Angeles +1 562 295 2900 | Miami +1 305 591 3900 | New York +1 201 356 3500 | San Francisco +1 650 588 0363 | Seattle +1 206 444 7447

Courtesy of Shipco Transport  

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Little Changes Matter A Lot--And Other Innovation Lessons From LEGOs

You can do far more with what you’ve got than you realize. And innovation is easier than you can imagine.

Consider a LEGO brick. How many combinations do you think you can create from just six simple, eight-prong squared LEGO bricks?

Maybe a thousand? Wrong. Try higher.

A million? Not even close. Six regular LEGO bricks offer more than 900 million combinations.

That’s an essential truth about innovation that I learned recently from my Forbes colleague, David Sturt. There are infinitely more options than you realize in any situation.

Sometimes little tweaks solve big problems

There are several implications of the LEGO principle. For one thing, a few simple and small changes can result in big new things. Sturt has pointed out that that most innovations aren’t spectacular “outta the box” reinventions or revolutions. Rather, they’re minor twists on the current reality.

Innovation most often happens from adding or subtracting one or two pieces that are already in place.

Read more on on innovation in the workplace

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West Coast Ports to See New Threats in the New Year

JOC Staff | Jan 06, 2014 11:46AM EST        

Port of Los AngelesPort of Los Angeles

U.S. West Coast ports have arrived at a “crossroads” in 2014, according to the head of the Pacific Maritime Association.

In the next 12 months, U.S. West Coast ports will have to continue their fight for market share in the Asia-Pacific trade in the face of potential labor instability, productivity challenges and emerging competitive threats such as the expansion of the Panama Canal and growing volumes to the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal.

However, James McKenna, president and CEO of the PMA, said in JOC’s 2014 Annual Review and Outlook that 2014 represents an opportunity for West Coast ports to solidify their position as the “gateway of choice” for goods being sent to and from Asia. West Coast ports will be well-positioned if a new longshore labor contract can be negotiated this spring without disurption on the docks and if bigger ships now calling at West Coast ports can be handled efficiently.

PMA, which represents West Coast shipping companies and terminal operators in their dealings with longshore labor, will be tasked with negotiating a new labor contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast dockworkers. The talks are set to begin in April in preparation for the expiration of the parties’ current six-year labor contract on June 30. If negotiations turn sour, as they did in the 2002 and 2008 negotiations, there may be delays to container movements, and the reputation of West Coast ports as effective gateways for trade could suffer.

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Top Business Executives Name Their 10 Must-Have Mobile Apps

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'A real mess': Up to 100 million face mammoth winter storm - per NBC News

Some of the U.S.'s biggest cities braced for what's expected to be another mammoth snowfall and blizzard-like conditions in the Midwest and the Northeast — with as much as a foot and a half forecast through Friday.

Winter storm warnings stretched from Chicago through the New York tri-state region into New England — affecting an area home to more than 100 million people.

Officials in New York, New Jersey, and other areas of the East Coast are preparing for a major winter storm, warning residents to avoid travel. NBC's Tom Llamas reports.

Snow began to fall in Boston, the first major city on the East Coast to be hit, at around 1:30 a.m. ET on Thursday.

"It's going to be a long-duration event," said Michael Palmer, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "The wind is going to whip around the snow and reduce the visibility, creating near-blizzard conditions in Boston, much of Connecticut and then down maybe as far south as New Jersey and even New York City."

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning on Long Island in New York beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, predicting inch-an-hour snow with 45 mph winds during the worst of it Thursday night. Blizzard conditions also are warned for Cape Cod and coastal Massachusetts.

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