Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cutback of Egyptian fuel subsidies revitalizes Nile traffic

As the new Egyptian government cuts back on decades of expensive but popular fuel subsidies to pare its deficit, the rise in fuel prices  has spurred a new boom in Nile River transport and traffic of all kinds.

“River ports and locks were left to deteriorate after 1952, when military rulers introduced food and energy subsidies as they sought to turn Egypt into a socialist state…. In anticipation [of the subsidy cuts], Cairo-based private equity firm Citadel Capital SAE (CCAP) has invested more than $200 million on barges, ports and storage facilities that are already handling shipments of wheat, cement and phosphate. Within five years, the share of cargo moved by river may jump to at least 15 percent, said Stephen Murphy, a managing director at the company.”

Corps watches Pennsylvania dams

Making sure Sandy-caused flash floods don’t shut down navigation dams on Pennsylvania’s rivers.

“Hawk says the area’s reservoir dams that significantly cut down on flooding are in good shape, but crews are keeping a close watch on gates at four navigation dams that are deteriorating.

‘When we have high water and fast rivers, bigger chance of a barge breaking free and slamming into that dam and taking out those gates. So we’re watching that situation very closely,’ Hawk said.”

A long way from “On The Waterfront”

–at least in some respects.

NYT on today’s modern blue-water container ports.

“In 2011, the six terminals in Brooklyn and New Jersey and on Staten Island handled the equivalent of 5.5 million container loads of cargo, more than at any point since New York was founded by the Dutch.”

Interestingly, blue-water ports now believe they suffer from the same “invisibility” that brown-water folks have always complained about, but that didn’t  used to be the case in coastal deep-sea ports.

“ONE of the things heard around the port is that people there, particularly powerful people, believe that they are working in obscurity. New York is — and has always been — a port town, they say, but few people think of it that way. One former terminal executive recalled seeing an advertisement for a recent public event celebrating the city’s waterfront. Ferryboats and kayakers were mentioned, but not the port.”

An old story for river ports.

On the other hand, “Labor accounts for nearly half the cost of doing business in New York, which remains the most expensive port in the world to shippers, the shipping association says.”