Monday, March 31, 2014

CMA CGM - did they really increase profit?

The initial headlines hitting the press today are claiming  (as reports the JOC)  " CMA CGM's Net Profit Soars on sale of Port Unit Stake".   But is this true?

The Loadstar takes a much closer look at the reports, and concludes this

However, excluding the asset sale, CMA CGM’s underlying profit tanked by 26.9% against the previous year, to an earnings before interest and tax [EBIT] result of $756m.

click here for link to complete article which is worthwhile

Friday, March 28, 2014

Zim Shipping lost even more money

Things are tough in the container shipping world.   Although everyone said "things will be better by...2012, then 2013, and now I don't know what people are saying.   Other than the losses have widened and the consolidation has finally started.

As I posted earlier today Hapag-Lloyd is buying CSAV.

Yesterday it was announced that Zim will satisfy  it's creditors by offering them shares.  I guess
it's better than nothing, unless they go bankrupt.   Not sure who would be interested in purchasing Zim,
and I question how much longer it's major shareholder, Israel Corp., will accept the continued loses.  Zim has always been supported by the Israeli government, (for reasons probably best left unsaid here), so I doubt the government would want the shipping company to go away.  But who knows.  There is still El Al.

Reuters has a great report..

click here for link    Repeating below for future reference.

Reuters) - Israel Corp, one of Israel's largest holding companies, reported a wider loss in the fourth quarter due to a smaller profit at its chemicals unit and a larger loss at its shipping subsidiary.
Israel Corp said on Thursday it posted a quarterly net loss of $406 million, compared with a $306 million loss a year earlier.
Shipping unit Zim, which has been hurt by tough economic conditions, lost $282 million in the last three months of 2013, wider than $238 million the prior year. Excluding extraordinary expenses, Zim's loss was $113 million.
Zim, the world's 17th largest shipping industry with a 2 percent market share, is in the middle of a financial restructuring process. In January, the firm agreed to a deal with most of its creditors that will see part of its debt swapped for shares and drop Israel Corp's stake to less than one-third.
The deal will slash Zim's overall liabilities to $1-$1.5 billion from about $3 billion.
During the fourth quarter, Zim's revenue fell to $888 million from $981 million, due to a 13 percent decline in average freight rates.

Zim also said it is in advanced negotiations with Israel's government regarding the cancellation of the state's "golden share", while maintaining the government's interests in a way accepted by the defence ministry.
Chemicals unit Israel Chemicals (ICL), the most lucrative holding and the world's sixth-largest potash producer, earned $195 million excluding one-off items, down 21 percent over the previous year.
Israel Corp last week said it was examining the sale of up to 7 percent of ICL. It currently owns 52.3 percent of ICL, which is planning a New York Stock Exchange listing.
Israel Corp is also the parent of chipmaker TowerJazz and Oil Refineries, and holds a stake in Chinese-Israeli carmaker Qoros.
TowerJazz posted a narrower quarterly profit , while the loss at Oil Refineries narrowed.
Qoros, a joint venture between Israel Corp and Chery Automobile Co, posted a quarterly loss of $144 million, compared with $55 million a year earlier

CSAV Will Disappear

I have been busy with "life", so wasn't paying much attention to the Hapag-Lloyd-CSAV deal.
I thought it was going to be a merger, but apparently Hapag-Lloyd will be buying CSAV.

Am sure when the announcement comes out it will say something about "maintaining the CSAV name", but trust me, it will eventually go away.   Does anyone remember that for a few years it was Maersk-Sealand before Maersk decided to go ahead and drop the Sealand name?

Anyway, here is the article from Bloomberg.    In it they mention Hapag-Lloyd "cut its losses" (which of course means they aren't making money).  Everything will be better when they take over
CSAV and get big enough to compete with Maersk.  If you believe this I have a bridge to sell ya.

For some reason executives always want to believe that "bigger is better".   Probably in the shipping world, bigger will just mean bigger losses.

Here's the article in full (because it will disappear from their site)

click here for link
Hapag-Lloyd AG narrowed its full-year loss for 2013 as the company cut costs and benefited from lower fuel prices before a planned takeover that will make it the world’s fourth-largest container carrier.
Losses dropped to 97.4 million euros ($134.7 million) from 128.3 million euros and transport costs fell by 409 million euros, the Hamburg-based company said in a statement. Operating profit grew by 41 million euros to 67.2 million euros, it said.
“Although Hapag-Lloyd continued to perform well compared to other industry players thanks to the positive operating result, this result nevertheless falls well short of our expectations for 2013 and is ultimately disappointing,” said Chief Executive Officer Michael Behrendt said in the statement. “Irrationality” in the trend in rates in the previous year made it impossible “to push through sustainable rate increases in the market from the second quarter, despite good ship utilization at times.”
Hapag-Lloyd, Germany’s industry leader with a fleet of 151 vessels, plans to take over the container shipping operations of Valparaiso, Chile-based Cia. Sud Americana de Vapores SA, or CSAV. The acquisition will help counter the prolonged shipping slump and close the gap on the world’s three largest carriers, including A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S. (MAERSKB) CSAV, which expects a binding deal by the end of April, will get a 30 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd in return.
Hapag-Lloyd recorded a 4.6 percent rise in transport volume to about 5.5 million standard 20-foot containers, or TEU. Sales declined almost 4% to 6.57 billion euros from 6.84 billion euros, mainly on a weak dollar, the company said. EBITDA rose by 54.6 million euros to 389.1 million euros.
Behrendt said the industry’s outlook in the coming years looks much “brighter” with container traffic expected to grow 4.4 percent this year and 5.2 percent in 2015.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Brautlecht in Hamburg at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at James Kraus, Jim Silver

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Your stolen car is in East Africa

One of the reasons I don't drive an expensive car (besides being cheap) is I don't want to worry about it
getting stolen, hijacked, etc.   Like wearing expensive jewelry on the subway, I think it's just not prudent.  Of course I don't have to impress anyone.

Recently 29 persons in New York/New Jersey were charged with shipping stolen cars to East Africa.

This was announced on the Waterfront Commission web-site. 

click here for link to complete article

"Twenty-Nine Charged in Takedown of International Carjacking/Theft Ring That Trafficked High-End Cars From New Jersey & New York to West Africa
February 27, 2014
Approximately 160 stolen cars worth more than $8 million were recovered in “Operation Jacked”
           Twenty-nine men were charged today in the takedown of a major international carjacking and stolen car trafficking ring that stole luxury cars in New Jersey and New York and shipped them to West Africa, where they can sell for prices in excess of new market value in the United States. Twenty-three individuals were arrested today as multi-agency teams executed warrants on charges including first-degree racketeering, carjacking and money laundering. Six fugitives are being sought on warrants.
           Approximately 160 stolen cars worth more than $8 million were recovered in “Operation Jacked,” a 10-month investigation led by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police, assisted by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, and other agencies including the Waterfront Commission Police. Approximately 140 of the cars were recovered at ports in New Jersey and New York where members of the ring delivered them for shipment.
           The ring targeted high-end vehicles – particularly luxury SUVs – made by Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Honda, Porsche, Jaguar and Aston Martin. Twenty-seven of the recovered vehicles had been taken in carjackings, a majority of which involved a gun or other weapon, while the others were stolen from various locations where the thieves were able to steal them with one or more of their electronic keys or key fobs, which are critical to the resale value of the cars."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waterfront Commission continues to fight to clean up the waterfront

I am repeating this entire statement from the Waterfront Commission web-site.  I trust they won't mind as am sure they want to get some wide distribution of this statement.

Maybe I should try to apply for a job on the waterfront.  Ha.

click here for link

New York Shipping Association and International Longshoremen’s Association Continues to Mislead the Public Regarding Hiring Delays
March 25, 2014
           The statement released today by the coalition led by New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Bracken accusing the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor of delaying the Port of New York-New Jersey from filling “nearly 700 empty jobs,” is unequivocally and demonstrably false. The release is undoubtedly the result of the intensive lobbying efforts of the New York Shipping Association, Inc. (NYSA) and International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA), who have filed a federal lawsuit against the Commission because it will not allow them to institutionalize discrimination through collective bargaining agreements, and has instead required them to hire in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
           Regrettably, the coalition made no attempt to contact the Commission to discover the true facts prior to issuing their statement. Instead, they apparently relied solely on the misrepresentations of the NYSA and ILA who, over the past several months, have been forced to retract similar false accusations of delay in hiring that they made to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, members of the legislature, the press and even a federal district court judge.
           This is just one more in a series of misleading press releases. Last month, two New Jersey legislators were induced by the NYSA and ILA to issue a statement that “red tape was holding up job creation at the Port of New Jersey,” and that the Commission was delaying the Port from filling “approximately 600 vitally needed jobs.” At that time, there were over 100 individuals referred by the industry, many of whom were military veterans, who had been approved by the Commission to go to work and were simply waiting for the NYSA and the ILA to sponsor them for employment. After meeting with the Commission and discovering the true facts, those legislators immediately issued a public statement urging NYSA President John Nardi to sponsor those individuals so that they may be put to work. Mr. Nardi’s statement today that the NYSA has had to jump through “bureaucratic hoops just to fill one empty position” is simply an attempt to deflect the public pressure that the Commission has been exerting on the NYSA to fill labor shortages.
            Last week, we advised the NYSA that any harm that its members may be suffering is due to the NYSA’s consistent failure to do what is best for them. Today, the Commission stands firmly behind that statement.
            Indeed, the Commission is dedicated to putting people to work in the Port, in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner, as quickly as possible. The Commission has not been the source of any labor shortages or slowdowns in the Port. To the contrary, we have openly criticized the glacial pace at which the NYSA is moving with regard to getting longshoremen sponsored and working in the Port.
            The Commission has also offered a diverse prequalified pool of labor assembled from government employment centers in New York and New Jersey, to alleviate any immediate labor shortages. Those individuals, once described by ILA President Harold Daggett as “garbage,” were summarily rejected. This statement is illustrative of why there remains an incredible lack of diversity in waterfront employment, which has led the New York State Division of Human Rights to file a complaint against the NYSA, ILA and ILA Locals, and the Metropolitan Marine Contractors Association (“MMMCA”). The Commission is clearly not the only agency that is deeply troubled by the ILA’s referral practices and the NYSA and MMMCA’s employer sponsorship system, which have caused a disproportionate number of minorities and women to be excluded from union membership and employment opportunities in the Port.
            Rather than “destroy” the NYSA and ILA’s collective bargaining agreement, as contended by Harold Daggett in today’s statement, the Commission applauded the industry’s hiring plan, which calls for 51% of those hired to be returning veterans, as long as that plan was truly implemented in accordance with its terms. However, over the past several months, the NYSA and ILA have demonstrated that they are, once again, incapable of hiring in a fair manner. Instead of recruiting and hiring military veterans, as promised, they have dedicated most of their efforts to employing and training their own referrals, to the severe disadvantage of the veterans. As a result, the Commission has had to forcefully advocate on behalf of those veterans who are simply waiting for the NYSA and ILA to put them to work in the Port.
            We invite New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech, New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Bracken, or any other member of the coalition to meet with the Commission to discuss the serious falsehoods that they have publically made. Should they refuse to do so, it is incumbent on them to provide the public with any objective, credible facts that would support today’s statement. The Commission assures the public that none exist.

Commissioner Jan Gilhooly appears to be mad as...

Not sure what will translate.  Mad as a wet hen?  Oh well.  The point is this woman (and it seems we women are the ones bringing accountability in many areas..note GM)  is fed up with a whole bunch of people.

She issued this statement which is available on the Waterfront Commission web-site.
click here for link

Statement of New Jersey Commissioner Jan Gilhooly in Response to Coalition Statement Urging Port-Hiring Reforms
March 25, 2014
           I am greatly troubled that continuous misrepresentations are being made to elected New Jersey officials, members of the media and members of the industry. As a 30-year veteran of the United States Secret Service, I will stake my integrity and that of this Commission against that of the NYSA and ILA. The Waterfront Commission will continue to do everything in its power to fulfill its mandate to ensure the fair hiring of a diverse workforce in the Port.