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NEWS BULLETIN
Friday, August 28, 2015

Panama Canal Authority
cancels draft restriction

Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter
medivacs injured fisherman

CBP agents nab counterfeit bags
with a value of over $1 million

Trade between NAFTA partners
down during month of June

Drought hits water levels
at Lakes Washington, Union

Panama Canal Authority
cancels draft restriction

PANAMA CITY — The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced the suspension of the first draft restriction that was scheduled to go into effect September 8, 2015, as announced previously to all shipping agents, owners and operators working with the canal. Although the level of Gatun Lake is still below normal levels for this time of the year, and the “El Niņo” phenomenon is still present in the region, the amount of rainfall received in the canal Watershed during the last few days -- in addition to the water conservation measures implemented and the work done to deepen the navigational channel -- has made it possible for the Panama Canal to suspend the announced restriction. Therefore, and until further notice, vessels will continue to be allowed to transit at their maximum Panama Canal approved draft up to 12.04 meters (39.5 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW). The Panama Canal will continue to monitor and manage the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes. The draft restrictions may again be necessary should weather conditions change and the level of Gatun Lake begins to fall, in which case, the restriction will be announced with at least four weeks advance notice. The canal will continue to provide information on the measures being taken, and closely monitor the situation to ensure the security and efficiency of its services.

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Trade between NAFTA partners
down during month of June

WASHINGTON, DC — The value of U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $99.0 billion in June 2015 as all modes except truck carried less U.S.-NAFTA freight than in June 2014, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by theU.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 3.8 percent. Decreases in the value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel in June were due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments. In June 2015 compared to June 2014, the value of commodities moving by truck increased by 5.1 percent, while rail decreased by 4.5 percent and air by 8.9 percent. Vessel freight values decreased by 24.4 percent and pipeline freight decreased by 40.0 percent. Trucks carried 65.0 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $33.2 billion of the $53.8 billion of imports (61.6 percent) and $31.2 billion of the $45.2 billion of exports (69.0 percent). Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 14.9 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.0 percent; pipeline, 5.0 percent; and air, 3.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.8 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.

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Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter
medivacs injured fisherman

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman south of San Juan Island, Thursday morning. The fisherman was transported to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles in stable condition. A watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a radio call via VHF-FM channel 16 at about 7:40 a.m., from the captain of the fishing vessel MR. WONDERFUL reporting the injury. The fisherman, a 34-year-old male, was injured when a line parted and snapped back and hit him in the upper body. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter WAHOO was underway in the vicinity of the incident and immediately responded to assist and arrived on scene at 8:12 a.m. An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was launched to perform the medevac. A Lummi Island patrol boat also launched and provided the hoisting platform for the helicopter crew. Weather on scene was reported to be calm seas with a water temperature of 55 degrees, air temperature of 55 degrees and 10-mile visibility.

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Drought hits water levels
at Lakes Washington, Union

SEATTLE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports Washington State’s drought is pushing Lakes Washington and Union below the normal annual 20-foot mark for the first time in 28 years, and officials anticipate another foot drop. Lake levels typically hit the 20-foot mark in December, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Senior Water Manager Ken Brettmann. The measurement went below 20 feet, officially measured at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard, around 9 a.m., August 25. The lowest recent recorded level below 20 feet is 19.44 feet, measured in late October 1987. The Corps usually begins raising lake levels in February, reaching 22 feet by late May or June. The higher level helps meet water use between June and October when inflows are generally low, providing water necessary for fish passage, navigation and salinity control. Water is slowly consumed throughout the summer, until it reaches the winter level typically in early December. This year, early concerns prompted Corps officials to speed up the annual refill reaching a 21.95 foot elevation in early May. Because any of the factors can change and could potentially affect the lake level, Brettmann and Corps officials are urging everyone to prepare for a minimum as low as 18.5 feet. Early conservation measures the Corps implemented, limiting smolt flume usage for juvenile salmon and maximizing lockage efficiency, has so far saved an equivalent of nearly a foot of lake level. Without those conservation measures, the minimum projected lake level would be 18 feet, below the current record low 18.35 foot level recorded in 1958.

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CBP agents nab counterfeit bags
with a value of over $1 million

MIAMI — In one of the largest seizures this year at the Miami Seaport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized over 2,300 counterfeit Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $1,076,685. The handbags arrived in a shipment from China on Aug. 19. CBP officers conducted an examination on the cargo that consisted of 825 cartons of clothes, shoes, trousers and handbags and observed that 20 cartons were not declared on any of the import documentation. This prompted CBP officers to submit the handbags to CBP import specialists for an intellectual property rights (IPR) review. The IPR review revealed 1,200 counterfeit Gucci handbags and 1,195 Louis Vuitton handbags. In Fiscal Year 2014, CBP made more than 23,000 seizures of counterfeit goods worth an estimated $1.2 billion MSRP.

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