Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Off Topic - Book on Global Hunger

Although this book is not about shipping, it does talk about lessons learned in
various countries attempting to do good deeds, but sometimes missing the mark.
I think anyone dealing with various countries could learn from this book.  We
Americans (in particular) think we know the right way, but almost always, it
doesn't work in other countries.

From Bloomberg

Howard G. Buffett has photographed an African warlord at close range and witnessed 50 children bound in shackles in Senegal.
In Barranquilla, Colombia, he sat next to the pop star Shakira in an SUV as kids banged on the windows until their idol emerged to sign autographs.

Buffett, son of the second-richest person in the U.S., could have written a vanity book to chronicle his philanthropic work battling world hunger. Instead, he offers insight, self-deprecation, solutions and heart in “Forty Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.”
Warren Buffett and his late first wife, Susan, gave and pledged billions to each of their three children to fund charitable foundations. Howard, an Illinois farmer, picked global hunger as his target.
In the book’s foreword, the elder Buffett describes “Forty Chances” as a “guidebook for intelligent philanthropy.”
It’s more than that. Howard Buffett has figured out a way to tell 40 stories about hunger, farming, poverty and war, while delivering a readable account of a formidable challenge.
Philanthropists will take much from “Forty Chances,” and the layperson will benefit, too, coming away wiser about the powerful forces that keep poverty and hunger alive -- and ways to fight those forces.

Farm Equipment

The “forty chances” of the title are inspired by a talk Buffett heard in 2001 at a farm-equipment store in Assumption, Illinois. Farmers tend to think of their job as a continual process of planting, fertilizing, harvesting and starting all over again, the speaker said. But it’s actually something most farmers get only about forty shots at, he said, so they’d better make the most of every opportunity to get it right.
Forty “didn’t seem like all that many chances,” Buffett writes. The lecture that day changed his thinking about both farming and life, and he began to question whether he was listening to people who had new ideas and learning the right lessons from his mistakes.
In the book, he shares many mistakes philanthropists make, including having the wrongheaded assumption that other cultures desire Western amenities.
Buffett’s foundation built homes for several employees in South Africa; as he was driving by one day, he saw a new stove in the front yard of one of his workers. The family had removed the stove and replaced it with an open fire pit on the kitchen floor. “Nobody ever asked them if they wanted the stove,” he writes.

Reducing Conflict

On a larger scale, Buffett cites preliminary data that suggest that while some kinds of foreign aid reduce conflict in a region -- notably agricultural development and food aid -- other assistance, such as projects for building infrastructure and improving government administration, can increase the risk of conflict.
Buffett says that as more-detailed data become available, the information will help groups like his “advocate for smarter ways to provide aid.”
There are many success stories. Efforts to support private seed companies in Africa feed hundreds of thousands of people a year. In Nicaragua, helping farmers with the legal work necessary to get title to their land provides an incentive for them to invest in long-term projects that enhance the soil.

Family Stories

Buffett doesn’t overplay the marquee value of his family, but he tells us enough to understand how he wound up on a mission against hunger -- and to entertain. He once went to see an Omaha businessman who owned a construction company and said he’d like to learn how to operate bulldozers and other big equipment.
The exchange was not warm: “Kid, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth,” the man said. “You wouldn’t last five minutes with my union guys. Get the hell out of my office.”
Buffett jokes that his last name got him in the door and then got him tossed out.

But he left that day “with an ‘I’ll show you’ chip on my shoulder,” he writes. From the looks of things, that’s exactly what Howard Buffett did.

“Forty Chances,” by Howard G. Buffett, written with his son, Howard W. Buffett, is published by Simon & Schuster (443 pages, $26). To buy this book in North America, click here.
(Susan Antilla writes for Bloomberg Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. She is the author of “Tales From the Boom Boom Room,” a book about sexual harassment on Wall Street. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Fines Shipping Companies

From the FMC web-site (click here for link)

Compromise Agreements Recover $617,500 in Penalties

October 22, 2013

NR 13-13

Contact: Peter J. King, Director, Bureau of Enforcement (202-523-5783)
Media Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)
The Federal Maritime Commission has completed seven compromise agreements recovering a total of $617,500 in civil penalties. The agreements were reached with nine non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) and freight forwarders located in the U.S. and abroad. The agreed penalties resulted from investigations conducted by the Commission’s Area Representatives in the Seattle, South Florida, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. headquarters offices. Bureau of Enforcement staff attorneys negotiated the compromise agreements. The parties settled and agreed to penalties, but did not admit to violations of the Shipping Act.
In making the announcement, Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero stated: "The Commission remains committed to protecting the shipping public from unfair and deceptive practices."
The compromise agreements are:
East-West Logistics Inc.: East-West Logistics Inc. is a licensed NVOCC located in La Mirada California. It was alleged that East-West Logistics violated section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act of 1984 by knowingly and willfully obtaining ocean transportation for property at less than the rates and charges that would otherwise be applicable by misdescribing the commodities shipped under certain service contracts, and by improperly obtaining reduced rates limited to certain named accounts under certain service contracts. In addition, East-West Logistics violated section 10(b)(2)(A) of the Shipping Act by providing service other than at the rates and charges in its NVOCC tariff. East-West Logistics made a payment of $55,000 in compromise of these allegations.
Versatile International Corp. dba King Yang Shipping: Versatile International Corp. is a licensed NVOCC based in El Monte, California, and does business as King Yang Shipping. Commission staff alleged that Versatile knowingly and willfully violated section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act by engaging in cargo misdescription activities involving inbound shipments to the West Coast; and violated section 10(b)(2) of the Shipping Act by providing service that was not in accordance with the rates or charges contained in Respondent’s NVOCC tariff. Versatile made a payment of $55,000 in compromise of these allegations.
Whale Logistics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.: Whale Logistics (Shanghai) Company is a foreign-based, bonded NVOCC with offices in Shanghai, China. It was alleged that Whale Logistics (Shanghai) violated section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation under service contracts to which Whale Logistics (Shanghai) was not a party, and violated section 10(b)(2) of the Shipping Act by providing transportation in the liner trade that was not in accordance with the rates and charges set forth in its published tariffs. Whale Logistics (Shanghai) paid $70,000 in compromise of these charges. Koil, Inc. dba VShip Co.: Koil, Inc., doing business as VShip Co., is a licensed and bonded NVOCC based in Long Island City, New York. Commission staff alleged that Koil knowingly and willfully transported cargo for the account of ocean transportation intermediaries, none of which had a published tariff or bond, in violation of section 10(b)(11) of the Shipping Act, and provided service to its customers that was not in accordance with the rates or charges contained in its published NVOCC tariff, in violation of section 10(b)(2) of the Shipping Act. Under the terms of the compromise, Koil paid $75,000.
China International Freight Co. Ltd.: China International Freight Co. Ltd. is a tariffed and bonded foreign-based NVOCC located in Taipei, Taiwan. Commission staff alleged that China International Freight violated section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation at less than the rates or charges otherwise applicable by falsely declaring the cargo to be shipped on behalf of a named account in the service contract. China International Freight made a payment of $80,000 in compromise of these allegations.
UTi, United States, Inc.: UTi, United States, Inc. is a licensed NVOCC and freight forwarder headquartered in Long Beach, California. UTi United States submitted a voluntary self-disclosure to the Commission disclosing potential violations of 8(a)(1) of the Shipping Act arising from a failure to maintain a general tariff covering all points or ports on its own routes and on any through transportation routes established. Based on the company’s self-disclosure and remedial measures voluntarily undertaken, a compromise agreement was reached under which UTi United States paid $140,000.
Top Shipping Logistics Co. Ltd., City Ocean Logistics Co. Ltd., and City Ocean International Inc.: Top Shipping Logistics Co. Ltd is a bonded NVOCC based in Qingdao, China; City Ocean Logistics Co., Ltd. is a bonded NVOCC located in Shenzhen, China; and City Ocean International is a bonded and licensed NVOCC and freight forwarder based in Diamond Bar, California. Commission staff alleged that Top Shipping, City Ocean Logistics, and City Ocean International knowingly and willfully obtained ocean transportation for property at less than the rates and charges that would otherwise be applicable by providing a false U.S. inland destination point for inbound shipments, and by allowing City Ocean Logistics to access service contracts to which City Ocean Logistics was not a signatory. In addition, Top Shipping, City Ocean Logistics, and City Ocean International provided transportation in the liner trade that was not in accordance with the rates and charges set forth in their published tariffs. The Parties made a payment of $142,500 in compromise of these allegations.
The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

Monday, October 28, 2013

ILA Daggatt - Please Do Not Believe His Protests

From Today's Journal of Commerce

International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold Daggett said ILA members in the Port of New York and New Jersey are “fed up” with hiring delays he blames on the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

And... from the Waterfront Commission of New York web-site

Former Secretary Treasurer of Local 1233 Sentenced to Jail for Embezzlement of Union Funds
September 12, 2013
           Gregory “Ronnie” Taylor, the former Secretary Treasurer of ILA Local 1233, was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Joel A. Pisano in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey. Taylor was sentenced to six months in jail, followed by six months of house arrest and three years of supervised release. Taylor was also ordered by the Court to pay $71,000 in restitution to Local 1233 for his role in the embezzlement of union funds. Taylor had pleaded guilty on February 26, 2013 to issuing a vacation check for $7,852 to himself without authorization. Taylor also admitted that between 2007 and 2010, while secretary-treasurer, he embezzled a total of $71,000 by improperly cashing duplicate paychecks, as well as other checks from the union’s operating account, including for unauthorized credit card expenditures.
           Taylor had been arrested on September 15, 2011 for stealing more than $100,000 in union funds for his personal use. The case was investigated by the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (Detectives Albanese and Petrillo, Assistant Counsel Michelle Demeri and Deputy Director of Audit Jared Filus) the United States Department of Labor. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey (AUSA V. Grady O’Malley) prosecuted the case.

and another...

Longshoreman’s Registration Revoked After Conviction for Unlawful Possession of Firearm
September 24, 2013
           Longshoreman James J. Sweigart was arrested after he was observed in a Newark diner with a loaded .9mm semi-automatic handgun in the waistband of his pants. Sweigart had no license for the Walther PPK pistol. The Commission temporarily suspended Sweigart’s registration as a longshoreman on January 22, 2013 pending an administrative hearing on the charge. Sweigart pleaded guilty to Unlawful Possession of a Firearm on July 15, 2013 before the Honorable Robert H. Gardner of the Superior Court of Essex County. On September 9, 2013, Sweigart was sentenced to 3 years probation, 25 hours of community service and ordered to surrender his Waterfront registration with prejudice. Today, the Commission accepted that surrender with prejudice and revoked Sweigart’s registration as a longshoreman.

Checker Sentenced to Jail For Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
October 16, 2013
           Checker Vincent Fusella was sentenced yesterday in Federal District Court to two months in jail and ordered with his brother Gerardo Fusella to pay more than $ 1 million in restitution. Vincent Fusella had pleaded guilty on February 27, 2013, before the Honorable Kiyo A. Matsumoto in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States under the First Count of his Thirty-One Count indictment. Fusella admitted to concealing wages and failing to pay FICA taxes to the IRS on behalf of workers at two trucking companies he and his brother Gerardo Fusella owned – The Fusella Group, LLC and Alpine Investment Group, Inc. His brother Gerardo was also sentenced yesterday and received a forty-six month prison sentence.
           Vincent Fusella was arrested on December 22, 2011 and his license as a Checker was suspended by the Commission that date pending an administrative hearing on the charges in the indictment. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York prosecuted the criminal matter.

Seriously!!!  Daggatt thinks he has a reason to complain about the Waterfront Commission!
Finally, after all these years, they are starting to do their job.   Those wire taps must have
cleared out the bad guys.

Here's hoping they find something on Daggatt and get rid of him.   I feel bad for the union guys.
Losing so much of their money to the bosses.   The way it's going they might not even have a
retirement fund left!



Friday, October 25, 2013

Anti Piracy Companies

After the numerous Pirate issues, companies who specialize in protecting
vessels have come into being.

This is one.

Is C-Retriever a U.S. Flag Vessel?

All the news reports are saying the C-Retriever is a U.S. Flag Vessel (the Captain and Chief
Engineer were kidnapped off of it and taken to Nigeria).

But....I cannot find this vessel listed on the MARAD web-site as a U.S. Flag Vessel.

Click here for the link to the list

Furthermore, unless something has changed, U.S. Flag Vessels must have an
entirely American Crew,  not just the Captain and Chief Engineer.

So what's the real story behind the C-Retriever?.

I think there is something funny going on.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Américo Vespúcio - New Ship for Aliança

Press Release
Aliança: Naming ceremony for “Américo Vespúcio” in Pecém
Third ship in the “Explorer” series bolsters the cabotage fleet
Hamburg, 23 October 2013. With the “Américo Vespúcio” the Hamburg Süd subsidiary Aliança christened the third of four identical 3,800 TEU container ships for its cabotage fleet on 22 October 2013 in Pecém (Brazil). The Naming Ceremony was held as part of a customer event at the port of Pecém. The Sponsor of the ship is Consuelo Dias Branco, Member of  the Senior Management of Moinho Dias Branco, one of Aliança’s customers.
Before the “Américo Vespúcio” Aliança had already held naming ceremonies for two ships in the “Explorer” series: for the “Sebastião Caboto” (in May 2013) and for the “Fernão de Magalhães” (in September 2013). This newbuild series allows Aliança to progress with the modernisation of its
cabotage fleet. The “Américo Vespúcio” is named after the explorer Americo Vespucci, who explored large parts of the East coast of South America during his travels in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Like the first two newbuilds, the “Américo Vespúcio” was also built at the Shanghai Shipyard Co., Ltd. and was delivered on 23 August 2013. After completion of import formalities the ship was loaded with the first containers for the Aliança cabotage service on 14 October in Manaus. With each ship having a slot capacity of 3,800 TEU, the ships of the “Explorer” series have almost twice the number of container capacity as the previous Aliança ships employed on this service. The Naming Ceremony for the “Pedro Álvares Cabral” will take place at the start of next year in Brazil. 
Technical data of the Américo Vespúcio”:
Capacity                                              52,065 dwt
Container capacity                               3,800 TEU
Reefer plus                                          500
Length overall                                      228.0 m
Length between perpendiculars             217.5 m
Width                                                  37.3 m
Draught max.                                       12.5 m
Speed                                                 19.5 kn
Main engine output                               22.890 kW
For further information please contact:
Hamburg Süd Corporate Communications
Eva Graumann
Willy-Brandt-Straße 59-61
20457 Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 37 05-26 27
Fax: +49 40 37 05-26 49

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beware False Shipping Papers

Great article which appeared in our local paper.  AP writer is based in Wichita, KS (I guess).

This is more for domestic U.S. shipping, but it's something everyone need to be aware of.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — To steal huge shipments of valuable cargo, thieves are turning to a deceptively simple tactic: They pose as truckers, load the freight onto their own tractor-trailers and drive away with it.
It's an increasingly common form of commercial identity theft that has allowed con men to make off each year with millions of dollars in merchandise, often food and beverages. And experts say the practice is growing so rapidly that it will soon become the most common way to steal freight.

click here for link to complete article

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sorry for not posting

To all my readers, sorry for not posting these last few months.   Dealing with a health
crisis (not mine).

Hope to get back to posting soon.