Trade: Georgia, Montreal, Saint John, Virginia

Honda Fit autos built in Mexico will be imported via Georgia’s Port of Brunswick for distribution to markets across the U.S. Southeast. The Port of Montreal is the recipient of an Étoile d’Or trophy for cultivating a strong trading relationship with Belgium. The Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth Marine Terminal on April 28-29 loaded its first export vehicles, all Chrysler products bound for China aboard the car carrier vessel Hoegh Bangkok.

Georgia: Brunswick Wins Honda Fit Import Business

The Georgia Ports Authority has won new import business from Honda. The 2015 Honda Fit, built at the carmaker’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico, will be shipped on auto carriers operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Bulk Shipping to the Port of Brunswick for distribution to markets across the U.S. Southeast.

International Auto Processing (IAP) will handle the cars upon arrival. Because Honda accessorizes vehicles for each markets at the manufacturing plant, IAP’s main responsibility will be speeding the shipments along.

"Our job at IAP is to expedite those vehicles through our facility and get them to the truckers who will complete the last leg of the journey," said IAP CEO Robert Miller. "We will be using around 10 acres for these vehicles. The impact on employment has yet to be determined, but we're thinking an additional 10 to 15 workers will be needed."

While Honda has been exporting U.S.-made vehicles through Brunswick, these will be its first Honda imports. Honda will also deliver the 2015 Fit to East Coast markets via the ports of Davisville (RI) and Baltimore.

Dennis Manns, American Honda’s assistant vice president for sales and logistics planning, said the company has created a multi-faceted approach of distribution from Mexico to the U.S., including both rail and short sea.

"American Honda has been working for quite some time with the Honda de Mexico team to make sure the planning and operations of each group is prepared to efficiently and effectively manage this new piece of business," Mr. Manns said. "One of the key factors that has been duplicated with this sharing of resources is the implementation of Honda's yard management system. Going forward, this will assist both teams to maximize efforts in managing the shared inventory."

Montreal Port Honored for its Belgian Trade Ties

The Port of Montreal is the recipient of an Étoile d’Or trophy, awarded annually by Cercle Esteler – the Belgian Business Network in Quebec. The awards ceremony took place in Montreal on April 26 during the ninth edition of the Grand Bal des Étoiles d’Or.

This grand ball event was an opportunity to honor the Belgian and Canadian companies that distinguished themselves in 2013. It is also an annual celebration of the economic and trade relations between Belgium and Quebec.

The Étoile d’Or trophy awarded to the Port of Montreal highlighted the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the Port of Antwerp in 2013. Under this agreement, the two partners have established four areas of collaborative activity: marketing and business development; business intelligence; asset management; and sustainable, socially responsible development. Antwerp is Montreal’s largest European trading partner, accounting for more than one in five of the containers handled at the Canadian port.

Cercle Esteler was created in 2005 to promote and enhance trade between Quebec and Belgium. It organizes various events, seminars and networking opportunities. It has more than 100 active members.

On March 30, a Norfolk Southern automotive train arrived at the rail carrier's Carolina Yard in Chesapeake carrying 700 Chrysler SUVs, manufactured near Toledo (OH).

The Port of Virginia collaborated with Pasha Automotive, Norfolk Southern, Chrysler Group LLC and Siem Car Carriers to create a short-term, six-month, memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Pasha and Virginia International Terminals, LLC.

Successful trial shipments could quickly generate additional volumes for Chrysler and other equipment manufacturers experiencing increasing volumes during this MOU period. The terms of the MOU are confidential.

MSC Expands Service to Port Saint John 

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is expanding its presence at Port Saint John during a period of peak demand by providing additional equipment to meet customer needs. Within the past two weeks, MSC has modified the shipping rotation of its vessels to include a ship with service to the Mediterranean as a caller at Port Saint John in addition to its regular and well established North-South service. During the final week of April, three different MSC vessels called the port’s Rodney Container Terminal.

"This expansion continues to be in line with the commitment MSC made to regional shippers in 2012," noted Sokat Shaikh, President, MSC Company (Canada). "We are continuing to strengthen and grow our ongoing presence at Port Saint John."

Since MSC began regular calls to Saint John in May 2012, the port’s container trade has skyrocketed, from just 44,377 TEUs in 2011 to 51,008 in 2012 and 76,269 in 2013. First quarter 2014 numbers were up 29 percent from a year ago.

"When MSC was introduced to Port Saint John 2 years ago we regarded this as a key step in the Port’s renewal strategy," said Port Authority CEO Jim Quinn. "Today, we are pleased with our growing partnership with MSC and are excited by their decision to support our regional market place by ensuring appropriate equipment and ships are available to move products."

MSC Giovanni at Rodney Container Terminal.
Photo/Port Saint John

Virginia: Port, Pasha Mark First Load of Export Vehicles

Officials from the Port of Virginia and Pasha Automotive Service were on hand Monday, April 28, to ceremoniously mark the loading of the first vehicle exported via Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT). Altogether some 2,890 Chrysler vehicles were driven by members of the International Longshoremen’s Association aboard the car carrying vessel Hoegh Bangkok before its departure Tuesday evening.

In March, the port announced that a portion of PMT would serve as a staging area for automobiles that Pasha will export to China. This is the first cargo to transit the marine terminal since it was closed in the winter of 2011.

"The immediate opportunity for PMT and the port is significant," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "This is new business for the port, it puts a portion of PMT back into service, and it creates opportunity for the ILA. We're going to deliver a high-level of service, and our hope is that Pasha will consider a long-term agreement with us at PMT."