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The following is the March, 2000 edition of "The Bulletin". Any questions or comments regarding content should be addressed to Alistair Macnab at 713-678-4300.
 
 Bureau’s Africa Initiative Examines Gabon and Cameroon.
      Around the middle of the last century, the people of Africa set out on the long journey to cast off the perceived shackles of colonial rule and to become fully integrated, equal partners with the rest of the world. The Africa envisioned by the great independence leaders of that era, was a continent of immense natural resources that would be a critical link in the world’s economy. Today, however, the benefits from this endowed wealth remain largely unfulfilled and Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, remains the poorest continent. Over 700 million people live in this region yet it accounts for only 1% of U.S. trade.
      Recently, Houstonians had an opportunity to take a fresh look at the two Coastal West African nations of Gabon and Cameroon, in connection with high-level visitors to the Greater Houston Partnership. Questions on such topics as political stability, investment opportunities, financial institutions, and transportation infrastructures, are areas of obvious interest to Houston’s business community, but so are education, aid, corruption, and environmental issues, to name some of the additional topics raised when the opportunity was offered to discuss these matters.
      Mr. Emile Doumba, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Gabon, delivered a fine paper on the topic of accessing Gabon’s and Africa’s markets. Gabon was, in fact, the fourth largest U.S. trading partner in Africa, accounting for over $1.25 billion in total trade. Even America’s largest trading partner, South Africa, has just $6.6 billion in trade.
      Privatization of formerly state-run businesses was well under way and the courts and legal institutions are being strengthened to guarantee stability and encourage free market growth. Much encouragement has been expressed in Gabon when the U.S. Senate joined the House in passing the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. This opportunity to replace aid with the removal of barriers to trade will be encouraging to Africa’s emergence into the global economy. Trade and aid are both critical, but trade is the more important.
      As African governments begin to make the reforms that have long been called for by the West, traditional reliance on the export of raw materials and the globally-dictated pricing that supports them, must give way to the development of indigenous value-added goods and services and the opening up of foreign markets to receive them.
      Trade is a mutually beneficial partnership between two countries and Mr. Ernest Anoma, Operations and Strategy Coordinator for the Alliance for African Development was in Houston on February 25th.2000 as part of a delegation from Cameroon. Brought about by the uniting of former French and British colonies, today’s Cameroon is currently enjoying a 4% per annum economic growth based largely on the traditional “exploitive” industries of agriculture and petroleum.
      But the broadening out of the economy was receiving priority consideration from the government and private sector business partnerships were being actively sought in the power, water, agriculture, airline, railway, construction (roads and housing), and tourism industries.
      A current $3 billion Exxon-Mobil project to bring oil from landlocked Chad to the coast in Cameroon was under way and it has become a matter of some pride to the Cameroon people that this highly visible and world class enterprise was advanced through many economic, technical, and legal levels utilizing local expertise rather than relying on foreign assistance as has been the case in times past. World Bank factors, however, such as emphasis on the environment and human rights issues have also played their part but Exxon’s legal counsel, represented by Mr. Richard Quay, expressed the view that keeping an eye on the political concerns was beneficial in the overall execution of the project.
      Corrupt public officials was a diminishing problem, noted Mr. Quay, but this remark brought Mr. Chris Wilmott, Chairman of the Board for the “Alliance for African Development” to state that there had to be two parties to any corrupt practice - the corruptor and the corruptee. The rule of law and legal procedures and protections were for the benefit of all parties and must be followed.
      The West had called for reforms with the installation of adequate economic and political systems and structures, and progressive administrations such as those of Gabon and Cameroon were fulfilling their end of the bargain. Africa now expected Western companies to come to Africa to invest and to create jobs just as they have done in Asia and Latin America. Free Trade Zones, liberal customs/tax policies, ongoing privatization, social and political stability, a reasonable labor force, and above all, an encouraging economic growth, are all in place.
      Africa’s doors are open for business and the Greater Houston Partnership can facilitate access for the cost of a local telephone call to 713.844.3600.
 
 American Waterways Operators (AWO): The Inland and Coastal Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry.
Kirby Inland Marine Progress Integration.

      For over fifty years, AWO has defined and advocated industry views with congressional policymakers and federal regulatory officials. Throughout its history, AWO has also sought to advance a greater public understanding of the domestic waterborne transportation industry’s safe and environmentally sound contribution to the U.S. economy. AWO also seeks to play a leadership role in promoting marine safety and environmental protection. This leadership is demonstrated by industry-driven safety initiatives like the AWO Responsible Carrier Program, a code of safe practices for tugboat, towboat and barge companies, and the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership, which brings industry together with government to solve marine safety and environmental protection problems in a cooperative, non-regulatory environment.
      This strong stand on safety has been a substantial accomplishment for an industry association like the AWO to enforce compliance on its own members. But following the introduction of the safety and environmental program audit, the group has actually terminated the membership of eleven companies that had not complied. The AWO’s strict enforcement of its own rules has taken the Responsible Carrier Program to a level of commitment which is being continuously reviewed and strengthened with the incorporation of new technology and adoption of best practices.
      From its executive offices in Arlington VA, and through its regional offices in New York, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Seattle, the AWO communicates directly with its members. Semiannual national conventions ensure that the group’s activities and public policy issues are articulated and made known to the membership and the media.
      With over 100,000 tug and barge movements in the Port of Houston in 1999 and the soon-to-be-inaugurated towboat wheelhouse simulator training program to be located next to the Port of Houston Authority’s executive building at the Turning Basin Docks, the barge and towing industry is taking on a welcome higher profile in our maritime community.
      The recent integration of Kirby Inland Marine and Hollywood Marine - two well-known locally-based barge and towing companies - has been an opportunity for Kirby to demonstrate the collective safety and service standards previously associated with both companies and now the driving philosophy of the combined organization. From its consolidated corporate head office in the 55 Waugh Drive building in Houston, Kirby Inland Marine is headed by its President, Mr. Steve Valerius.
      The corporate office telephone number is 713.435.1000. An updated Web Page incorporating Customer Tools and other Customer Access functions is being made available on www.kmtc.com.
 
Reminder!
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 14TH. EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO ELECT THE GOVERNMENT OF YOUR CHOICE!
 
Editorial.
     I’m on my favorite hobbyhorse of education this month but this time it’s a serious matter and I need your assistance.
      The great news is that the Houston Independent School District-West (HISD-W) has agreed to mount an exciting pilot program at Sharpstown and Lee High Schools in September of this year, to develop an International Commerce course of study which will prepare students, who do not aspire to a four year baccalaureate college, for entry into the many commercial, technical, and transportation fields that comprise Houston’s world class international business community.
      With specific preparation in mathematics, geography, computer technology, office procedures, and a unique module entitled “International Commerce” designed and presented by the Port Bureau, students will be prepared for entry-level positions in banks, steamship agencies, freight forwarders, customhouse brokers, transportation systems providers, logistics services, and port and terminal operations.
      As a prospective employer of these talented and motivated high school graduates, you will be offered the cream of the crop. What’s more, with the International Commerce course behind them, these students will already be familiar with your business and can be expected to become useful and productive employees with only the shortest of in-house training to polish specific additional skills.
      But this is where I need your help.
      I am looking not just for potential employers for our graduates from 2001 onwards (we’re certainly going to need those!) but I’m also looking for sponsors to help us get the program off the ground. HISD are expecting us to match their expenditures and I do not think that an industry that provides one out of every three jobs in Houston should have difficulty with this approach.
      Our first major expenditure is a professionally produced recruitment video and we are contracting with Houston-based Media by Design to do this. This has already been partially funded to the tune of $7,000 but we need $5,000 more to produce the sort of video that will be upbeat and appealing to your average maturing teenager. For businesses and individuals who are prepared to commit to this project, I can offer exposure of a corporate logo or name, perhaps a spot in the video to highlight a recent successful recruit, or even a glimpse of a unique business activity which you feel is worth showing off to potential employees.
      Whatever we can do for you in return for your financial donation, we’ll be glad to do.
      But time is of the essence. The video will be going into production towards the end of March and if you want to take me up on getting your “spot”, you’ll need to act quickly! This is surely an ideal project for your recruitment and/or advertising dollar. I’m told that copies of the video will also be available and perfectly appropriate for you to use in other projects for which a favorable demonstration of your business’s civic and training commitments will be beneficial.
      We have all decried, rightly or wrongly, the quality of students sent to us from high school as entry-level employees, but now here’s a chance to do something about the perceived problem. The Bureau is proud of its association with HISD-W and we applaud their commitment to our initiative.
      I’m now turning to you as prospective employers. Won’t you consider a small investment now in some young person’s future? This is a program designed to solidly prepare the next generation of employee to become a part of Houston’s port and city and the international and transportation businesses which call Houston home. Let’s give these students the opportunity to aspire to the positions of success we have been preparing for them.
      I look forward to your telephone call!
      --Alistair Macnab.
 
INCOTERMS 2000:   Successful Seminar Draws Over Forty Students.
     What have Bankers, Forwarders, Customhouse Brokers, Exporters, Importers, Traders, and Transportation Service Providers in common? They all need to know the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) official rules for the interpretation of trade terms, noted Frank Reynolds at the commencement of his seminar in Houston on February 22nd.2000.
      Even for professional practitioners of international trade, there are four good reasons why they should revisit the INCOTERMS. These are:
  1. The INCOTERMS have been changed on 01.01.2000
  2. There is a uniquely U.S. interpretation now available
  3. The U.S. took an active part in the revisions for the first time
  4. One never stops learning!

      Frank Reynolds was “our man” in Paris during the deliberations that lead to this most recent revision of the terms and he was now in Houston to give us all a quick study of the topic and to point out the changes and how they affect the way we do international business.
      In a foreword to the 2000 edition, Ms. Maria Livanos Cattaui, Secretary General of the ICC, states that today’s global economy has given businesses broader access than ever before to markets all over the world. Goods are sold in more countries, in larger quantities, and in greater variety. But as the volume and complexity of international sales increase, so do possibilities for misunderstandings and costly disputes when sales contracts are not adequately drafted.
      INCOTERMS, the official ICC rules for the interpretation of trade terms, facilitate the conduct of international trade. Reference to INCOTERMS 2000 in a sales contract defines clearly the parties’ respective obligations and reduces the risk of legal complications.
      During the all-day seminar, Mr. Reynolds frequently reminded his audience that INCOTERMS apply only to the contract of sale and not to the contract of carriage as is sometimes erroneously thought. Furthermore, while the terms identify the duties and responsibilities of seller and buyer in some very distinct respects, these can and should be added to and augmented as required by the specific terms of the contract of sale, to ensure a full understanding between the parties. INCOTERMS are not the law of any land but become part of a contract of sale once specified.
      Houstonians looking for clarification of INCOTERMS should consider attending the various classes arranged by ERI-Educational Resources International, Inc. whose insert is part of this March edition of the Bulletin, or the Bureau’s own professional classes delivered under the auspices of the Houston Center for Maritime Education. In addition, The Texas Gulf International Shippers’ Council is always pleased to assist members in the preparation of contracts of sale matched to transportation and insurance contracts. For a consultation, call Alistair Macnab at the Bureau on 713.678.4300.
      FCA, FOB, CPT, DEQ and the other nine INCOTERMS need not be a mystery to the savvy trader, in fact, a clear understanding and use of these essential terms of trading must be familiar territory for everyone engaged in international commerce. Your job will depend on it.
 
JOB HUNTERS 2000
     As a regular reader of the “Bulletin” you will know that the Job Hunters File is the place to look, not only for candidates seeking full-time employment, but also for temporary, professional help to complete a specific project or to prepare that all important presentation. We have access to good, experienced individuals who already know their way around the international trading and transportation businesses. Give Cynthia or Alistair a call at the Bureau on 713.678.4300 with your enquiries.
      There is, of course, a small fee, payable by the employer, for each successful placement but then, if anything is worth having, it’s worth paying for!

This month’s highlights:
RDK:   This candidate has a recent BS degree in Maritime Systems Engineering and is looking for a professional position with an environmental engineering firm. His experience to date includes quality control, research, and a current internship with a firm concerned with dredge disposal and hydrographic surveys.
NC:   International and domestic export packing professional with 15 years operations management experience with a specialty in documentation, Customs audits, and claims procedures. Substantial background with BV, SGS and commercial forwarding and crating concerns.
 
Joint Tankers and Terminals Groups Meet with Coast Guard and Houston Pilots.
      Ship vapor recovery, chemical tanker representation, and water depth at working docks were among items on the agenda for the joint meeting of the Houston Chemical Tankers Group and the Houston Bulk Liquids Terminals Group which was held at the Port of Houston Authority’s premises on Friday, February 25th. 2000.
      Representatives from parcel tanker operators, Jo Tankers, Odfjell Tankers, Seachem Inc., and Stolt-Nielsen joined with Houston Ship Channel and Bayport terminals interests from Equiva, GATX, ITC, LBC-PetroUnited, Stolthaven, and Tessenderio Kerley, to welcome members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Houston Pilots to the meeting which was convened by the Greater Houston Port Bureau in its capacity as secretary to the two organizations.
      During this working lunch, Captain Macnab, as moderator, introduced Captain Wayne Gusman, U.S. Coast Guard, and Captain Lance Miller of the Houston Pilots. In his opening remarks, Captain Gusman, who is also Captain of the Port (COPT), drew the groups’ attention to the Coast Guard’s policy on under the keel clearances and the need for all vessels to be properly secured when berthed at ship channel docks. Captain Miller, also, stressed the need for accurate up-to-the-minute water depth information. Pilots were duty bound to report less-than-expected water depths to the COPT and future berth activity would be restricted to reported depths until any detected shoaling was eliminated.
      The problem was not confined to Houston, stated Captain Gusman. He had now involved the good offices of HOGANSAC, the Houston Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee, to seek detailed responses from terminal operators and a questionnaire was being circulated to the appropriate parties. In his view, a working group should be formed to address this very important issue.
      In response, the terminal operators who were present asked for a few days to consider this development and to consult with other terminal operators before formulating their reply. It was in everybody’s interest to maintain the appropriate depth of water and to provide suitable mooring arrangements in all berths as a means of offering a safe berth for cargo operations.
      The parcel tanker operators were pleased to welcome Captain Miller and drew his attention to a recent letter from the Chemical Carriers’ Association by which some general dissatisfaction was expressed concerning recent pilotage rate increases. As a sizable portion of the Houston Pilots customer base, chemical tanker members felt that their unique status may not have been adequately considered during recent negotiations and this current letter was designed to ask Pilots to reconsider some service requirements that might be the better for further review. The tanker owners were now looking to strengthening their lines of communication with the Houston Pilots and also with the Galveston-Texas City Pilots since this latter group were now also in the process of reviewing their tariff charges and associated services.
      A universal “Ship Vapor Recovery Sheet” designed by Captain Stale Eide of Stolt-Nielsen, was approved and will be progressively introduced by carriers and terminals as a means by which ship captain’s can communicate their vessel’s status before arrival at a berth.
      Other business included Captain Gusman drawing everyone’s attention to the upcoming Seaport Security Public Meeting, which will be taking place on February 14th.2000. Captain Dybvik of Odfjell Tankers also took the opportunity to draw attention to the Chemical Carrier Association’s Chemical Tanker Information Workshop, which will be held on March 22nd.2000. Details of both seminars are shown elsewhere in the “Bulletin”.
      The next joint meeting of the Tankers and Terminals Groups will be held in late April but for more information, contact Alistair Macnab, Recording Secretary, at the Port Bureau on 713.678.4300.
 
Letters to the Editor.

From:  Mr. Lars Brun
Vopak, Shanghai

“I have received a copy of your “Bulletin”. Thank you for your recent help during the January visit of distinguished Shanghai officials to Houston. I wish you a healthy and happy Year of the Dragon!”

From the Editor:

“We’re now being read in Shanghai! Well! Well!

From:  Ms. Cathy Kemper,
Tomball College.

“Thank you so much for your fine presentation at our honors retreat. The audience loved the role reversal and have provided me with very favorable feedback.”

From the Editor:

“Thanks also to Ms. Linda Shead of the Galveston Bay Foundation otherwise it would have been like Hardy without Laurel or Costello without Abbott. Those readers under fifty will have to look up these references!”
 
Regional Community Colleges Hold Honors Program Retreat in Galveston.
      A two-day retreat for regional honors students organized by Professor Cathy Kemper of Tomball College was not just fun and games but also an opportunity to learn something about Galveston Bay as a living eco-system as well as a conduit for international commerce.
      The group’s Friday evening after-dinner speakers at Galveston’s historic Hotel Galvez on February 18th. were Ms. Linda Shead of the Galveston Bay Foundation and Captain Alistair Macnab of the Greater Houston Port Bureau. Each is a well-recognized proponent of their respective organization’s viewpoints, but on this occasion, Ms. Shead took the position of being in favor of full and unfettered commercial development whilst Captain Macnab found himself in the unaccustomed position of having to defend the preservation of the environment against the encroachment of new port facilities.
      This temporary switching of roles as a technique to inform and entertain, proved to be highly amusing and effective for the audience with both speakers forced to develop supporting arguments and to make telling points not usually associated with them or their organizations. Ms. Shead’s “ringing endorsement” of the Port of Houston Authority’s Bayport Project was matched by Captain Macnab’s rhapsodizing about the view of the night sky unencumbered by collateral glare from industrial development and the rustle of “night critters” in the marsh grass.
      The purpose, of course, was much more serious than the presentation in that the speakers were able in one hour to deliver a concise but comprehensive overview of the many issues that remain to be resolved if Galveston Bay is to fulfill its competing and parallel industrial and environmental roles.
      Immediately following the main address, the students were assembled into discussion groups by their professors to which Ms. Shead and Captain Macnab, having reverted to their more recognizable positions, were invited to respond to more questions. The scope and depth of the questioning would seem to indicate that very little had escaped the students’ notice. These groups at least, reflecting as they do, tomorrow’s leaders and policy-shapers, were not allowing emotional overlays to confuse the many issues on both sides, which are still outstanding.
      By the end of the evening, Ms. Shead and Captain Macnab were in full agreement that the students had demonstrated a lively interest in the topic and that the temporary “role switching” had been a very successful technique in the presentation of the subject matter.
      The Galveston Bay Foundation’s Executive Director, Ms. Linda Shead, may be contacted on 281.332.3381 or at www.galvbay.org.
      Tomball College is a North Harris-Montgomery Community College where Ms. Kemper can be reached on 281.357.3743
 
Maritime Disaster on Galveston Bay!
     “At Morgans Point, a tanker has hit a container ship that has been loading and the tanker has been damaged. A toxic fire has ignited on the container ship. A bunker barge that was alongside the container ship has been damaged as well, causing oil to spill from the bunker barge.
      “A cruise ship in an adjacent berth is about to depart but the terminal has been closed because of the accident so the cruise ship cannot sail. The cruise ship has begun evacuating its passengers because of the toxic smoke from the fire on the container ship. The passengers, however, are affected by the smoke and several are injured in their rush to get off the cruise ship. Other nearby container ships are also prevented from sailing because of the accident.”
      Now here’s a description of an exciting day in the Port of Houston! The Coast Guard, CIMA, PHA Fireboats, local Emergency Response Teams, Insurance Action Groups, Clean Channel, and a whole host of involved parties will be springing into action to bring the situation under control as quickly as possible and to preserve life and property.
      But can the lawyers be far behind?
      To ensure that lawyers will be in a position to provide helpful assistance and to understand what’s going on in the event of a calamity such as this hypothetical case, the South Texas College of Law will be presenting a 1-1/2 days conference on July 20-21, 2000, entitled “Preventing and Responding to the Maritime Emergency”.
      Working from the initial scenario described above and with the help of an accident reconstruction expert, registrants will attend several panels on such subjects as: Available Resources; Beginning a Casualty Investigation; Environmental Claims; Personal Injury Claims; and debate the question: Can You go to Jail for This?
      Other matters to be considered will be insurance cover, the International Ship Management Code (ISM), and ethical advice attorneys can give their clients and their employees and non-ethical advice they cannot give.
      You will be reading more about this exciting and important conference in the months ahead but you will probably want to mark your calendar now to attend what will be Houston’s first locally sponsored event of this kind and sure to become an annual fixture.
      And its not just for lawyers and attorneys. Speakers and experts are being drawn from the Houston Port Authority, the Texas General Land Office, Clean Channel, CIMA, Coast Guard, TNRCC, Container Carriers, Cruise Ship Operators, Barge and Bunker Concerns, P&I Clubs, Insurance Carriers, Local City Administrations, and Recreational Facilities.
      The organizers of the event are anxious to attract as broad a representation of Houston’s ocean transportation community as possible and the Port Bureau applauds the South Texas College of Law as it seeks to engage the participation of all of our local maritime interests.
      Don’t forget the dates: July 20-21, 2000. For more information, please call Ms. Kim Cauthorn at the College by telephone on 713.646.1873 or by fax at 713.646.1780.
 
MSU-Galveston; MSO Houston-Galveston; Houston-Galveston VTS; U.S. Coast Guard Host Seaport Security Public Meeting.
      A Federal interagency commission on crime and security at U.S. seaports called at Houston on March 1st. 2000 at the end of a nationwide and European tour of seaports in response to an original initiative from the White House in 1999 to examine port vulnerability to smuggling, security, crime, fraud, and terrorism issues.
      A public meeting, attended by over seventy interested representatives of Houston’s maritime community, was held at 0900 Hours in the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, 9100 Gulf Freeway, to listen to and communicate with the visiting panel which included the Honorable John Graykowski of Marad, Vice Admiral James Card USCG, Jill Cram of OMB, and John McGowan representing the U.S. Customs.
      After a period of greatly reduced incidences at seaports largely attributable to the advent of containerization, both crimes of opportunity, such as pilferage and vandalism, and crimes of intent like drug and stolen vehicle trafficking, are on the increase. Seaports have been identified as vulnerable locations. Because there is no specific seaport crime reporting system in place, any measure of the problem must be tentative. Nevertheless, it is estimated that some $6 Billion of cargo theft alone, takes place every year at America’s seaports.
      The visiting panel was interested in learning what specific problems there might be in a major port like Houston, which was a mix of public and private facilities stretched out over many miles of Ship Channel property. Whilst one speaker addressed the concerns of commercial interests faced with theft of high-value goods it was pointed out that in most instances, the location of the actual heist was not precisely known and that opportunities for unlawfully obtaining goods existed along the entire length of the supply chain and not necessarily connected with their comparatively brief stay within a seaport’s control prior to export or as part of the import process.
      Nevertheless, seaports had a responsibility to maintain secure areas, stated Wade Battles, Managing Director of the Port of Houston Authority. Seaports would like to see general guidelines from government rather than mandates. It was in a port’s best interests to work directly with the port’s own stakeholders to determine and execute a minimum level of security. When it came right down to it, partnership, communication, and accountability, were the best means of solving issues. “I recall the success of the ‘supercarriers’ model that brought ports, customs, and ocean carriers together in voluntary cooperation to solve a previous wave of drug smuggling. A new initiative along these lines would be worth examining", said Battles in his informal address to the panel.
      Generally speaking, private docks were much more secure since safety was a driving force in many locations, but security at the public docks probably needed to be rethought. For instance, private vehicle access to dockside had to be severely restricted and proper and verifiable identification through the issuing of identity cards had to be an option for the controlled access of individuals. Perhaps also, a register of approved vendors; their vehicles and their personnel might be another step in any drive to tighten up dockside security.
      The panel concluded its work at 1100 Hours by indicating that their recommendations will be submitted to the White House by July of this year. Mr. Graykowski thanked all present for their attention and Captain Gusman, Captain-of-the-Port (COPT) for having set up the meeting which had been most useful and enlightening.
      For more information on this topic, call MSO Houston-Galveston by phone on 713.671.5100 or by fax to 713.671.5177.
 
Steel Import and Export Statistics: 1999.
      The Texas General Land Office (TGLO) Commissioner, David Dewhurst, has announced a steep increase in fines of up to $25,000 per day when shipowners fail to report oil spills in Texas waters. Texas law obliges all oil spills in its coastal waters to be reported to the TGLO as the operator of the state’s oil spill prevention response program.
      Cumulative steel imports for the entire USA totaled 35,731,000 short tons in 1999, down 13.9% from the previous year. Of this total, however, 8,570,000 short tons were semi finished steel products imported by U.S. steel mills for their own use and conversion to finished products, with this sector showing a 26.7% increase over 1998.
      The importation of finished steel products has been seriously curtailed by the imposition of stiff punitive tariffs, most recently on steel wire rod and line pipe. Together with numerous “antidumping” measures already in place which have adversely affected the imports of cut-to-length plate, heavy structurals, hot rolled steel, and cold rolled steel, domestic steel suppliers have been successfully seeking and obtaining protection against competing imports from a Commerce Department said to be driven more by the politics of union power rather than by free trade.
      Emboldened by these measures, U.S. steelmakers are now embarked on a series of price increases, which are being passed on to steel users in the autos, construction, and appliances industries where the current booming economy has been fueling demand.
      Here in Houston, steel imports for 1999 totaled only 2,207,003 short tons; a serious drop of 45% from 1998 which was in itself, a best-ever banner year. Imports from such countries as Russia, Japan, Turkey, Korea, Ukraine, South Africa, and the European Union were substantially down at the port.
      On the other hand, nationwide exports of U.S. steel products held steady during 1999 at 5,426,000 short tons, reflecting only a minor downturn from the previous year. Houston’s participation in this sector, however, was also disappointing with only 124,606 short tons exported through the port in 1999 - a 41% reduction from 1998.
      The Port of Houston Authority tracks statistics for steel (and other commodities) through their Trade Development Division, which can be reached by telephone on 713.670.2583.
 
The Chemical Carriers Association, Inc.
FIRST ANNUAL CHEMICAL TANKER INFORMATION WORKSHOP.
March 22nd. 2000  League City, TX

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CHEMICAL TANKERS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK!

This one day Seminar is designed for chemical tanker company personnel, terminal operators, regulators, brokers, chemical company employees, and anyone else who works in or around the chemical tanker industry.
Topics to be discussed include ports, terminals, vessels, safety, effective communication, and coalition building.

Where will the meeting be held?
South Shore Harbor Resort and Conference Center
2500 South Shore Boulevard, League City TX
(TEL) 281.334.1000  (FAX) 281.334.1157
Questions? Comments?
Contact Margaret Kaigh Doyle, Executive Director
Chemical Carriers Association, Inc.
600 New Hampshire Avenue NW Suite 1000, Washington DC 20037
(TEL) 202.337.3366  (FAX) 202.337.7090 (EMAIL) ccatanker@sprynet.com
 
The Houston International Seafarer’s Center. MARITIME FESTIVAL 2000
      Mark your calendars for Friday April 14th and Saturday April 15th. to support this year’s Maritime Festival at the Seafarer’s Center at the Turning Basin.
      Dancing, barbecues, and volleyball competitions are the traditional highlights but for a donation of $1.00, the grand prize drawing offers a first prize cruise for two on Premier Cruise Line, a second prize Zenith 25” TV with oak cabinet and surround-sound, and a third prize of a Toshiba DVD player.
      All proceeds go to support the seafarer’s centers at the Turning Basin and Barbours Cut. Call 713.672.0511 with your enquiries.
 
 
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