No Merger For Waterways Groups: Directors of the National Waterways Council voted against a proposed merger with Waterways Work, another trade group that promotes inland waterways. The NWC board tied 22-22 on the merger that Waterways Work proposed last year. Outgoing NWC Chairman J. Ron Brinson, former director of the Port of New Orleans, broke the tie, even though he personally favored the merger. Brinson said it made sense to have a single strong voice in Washington to promote modernization of the network of aging locks and dams along U.S. rivers. Brinson said some NWC members feared that in a merged organization, support for projects on small inland waterways would be lost. Waterways Work was organized in 2001 and recently merged with a third advocacy group, the Association for Development of Inland Navigation in America's Ohio Valley, known by the acronym Dinamo. Brinson said some NWC members were concerned that the Waterways Work-Dinamo merger would result in even greater emphasis on corps projects along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. While the groups will remain separate, leaders of both emphasized that they will continue to work together.

R.J. Pfeiffer, Former Matson President, Dies: Robert J. "Bobby" Pfeiffer, who led Matson Navigation for 19 years and was a key force in the introduction of containerized shipping on the West Coast, died Sept. 26 after a long illness. He was 83. Pfeiffer also was chief executive of Matson's parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, for 12 1/2 years. His career with Matson and A&B spanned 38 years. In 1960, as vice president and general manager of Matson Terminals Inc., Pfeiffer helped negotiate the historic labor agreement that made possible the introduction of containerized cargo on the West Coast. The Pacific Maritime Association made Pfeiffer chairman of its steering committee, charged with negotiating the ground rules for containerized cargo with the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. In 1973, he was named Matson president, and, at the same time, senior vice president of A&B. During his nearly two decades as Matson president, Pfeiffer spearheaded the carrier's $400 million capital investment program that modernized the company's fleet and its Hawaii and West Coast terminals. In 1980, he was appointed chief executive of A&B, and later that year, he was elected chairman. Pfeiffer retired as president of A&B in 1991, chief executive in 1992, and as chairman and director in 1995. He returned to all three posts - and also to the chairmanship of Matson's board - in 1998 after his successor, John Couch, had to take a medical leave of absence. He retired again as president and chief executive after three months, and as chairman and chief executive of A&B and Matson a year later. In 1992, Matson named a ship in his honor, the $129 million, 713-foot R.J. Pfeiffer, the first commercial ship built in a U.S. shipyard since 1984.

No Deal Yet In Vancouver: Contract talks between employers and union longshore foremen at the Port of Vancouver, British Columbia, adjourned without an agreement, but the remaining issues weren't enough to force a strike or lockout, employers said. Labor and management representatives exchanged contract proposals on Sept. 25, but there were no immediate plans to resume talks, the Waterfront Foremen Employers Association said. The two sides reaffirmed comments made earlier in the month that a work disruption was unlikely. Federal mediator Bill Lewis ended the bargaining session after the union indicated that the employers' package was not close enough to its own proposal.

P&O Nedlloyd Quits Europe-Africa Trade: P&O Nedlloyd said it will withdraw from the Europe-West Africa trade by the end of the year and refocus on Asia-West Africa services. The carrier also said it will end its joint service with West-Afrika Linien-Dienste by the end of November. The four 1,100-TEU vessels currently deployed on the service, two of which are chartered by P&O Nedlloyd, will be shifted to other routes. P&O Nedlloyd's bi-weekly service from Asia to West Africa covers all West African markets and includes calls at South Africa.

House Approves Water Resources Bill: The House of Representatives has approved the Water Resources Development Act of 2003, paving the way for the Army Corps of Engineers to authorize projects and studies for inland waterway and harbor navigation improvements. Among its provisions, the WRDA bill cuts non-federal cost-sharing from 60 percent to 35 percent for deep-draft navigation projects between 45 and 53 feet, and provides for ongoing development of 61 navigation projects.

Asian Airlines To Launch Cargo Web Portal: Four Asian-based airlines announced plans to launch an online service for booking and tracking air cargo. Forwarders will be able to use the new portal, Ezycargo, to book and track shipments with Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines. The system, developed and operated by Cargo Community Network Singapore Pte. Ltd. and Global Logistics System (HK) Co., will go online in Singapore in October, Australia in November and Japan in December. It will be introduced to other markets, including North America and Europe, over the next nine to 12 months, officials said. Besides booking and tracking shipments, the system will allow customers to review flight schedules and cargo space availability.

Express Couriers Conference Taps Simpson: John Simpson, the former president of the American Association of Exporters and Importers, has taken a new position as managing director of the International Express Couriers Conference in Brussels. Simpson will begin his duties Oct. 1. IECC has four members: FedEx Corp., United Parcel Service, TNT of the Netherlands and DHL Worldwide, a unit of Deutsche Post World Net.