Friday, January 28, 2011

Panel Proposes Policies to Speed High-Tech Truck Development

A panel of transportation manufacturing, operating and service industry experts are recommending an incentive program, spending on research and development, and manufacturing grants as the best options to rapidly convert the trucking industry to cleaner high-tech vehicles.

Released Monday, the 25-page report titled “Speeding High-Efficiency Truck Adoption: Recommended Policies, Incentives and Investments,” was authored by non-profit clean technology consulting and services group CALSTART. The report was based on transportation industry surveys and input from a task force of 40 leaders from various transportation and transportation-related firms.

The report makes clear that the trucking industry is facing growing performance- and emission-related regulations in the coming years and the transportation industry should pusue a proactive plan to see those regulations complimented with "carrot and stick" policies.

In developing the report, CALSTART surveyed truck fleet users, manufacturers, and suppliers in order to better understand the primary implementation barriers, needs, and policy recommendations that could address an accelerated transition to more efficient, cleaner trucks.

The initial survey found that over 90 percent of respondents rated truck efficiency as "very important" or "critical/must have."

The report also found that incremental cost is the key barrier to widespread adoption of efficient truck technologies. Close behind this barrier, respondents said that the availability of new technology is an issue, as well as a lack of available performance data on new technology. These barriers create a lack of investment incentive through perceived risk and lack of information.

CALSTART presented these findings to the 40-member task force to further refine the policy recommendations from the survey.

The report details three policy recommendations: implementation of a streamlined voucher-incentive program for high-efficiency vehicle and technology purchase; long-term, substantial research and development funding for improvement of truck efficiency; and, manufacturing grants for efficient transportation technologies.

"Vouchers are preferable to tax credits, grants, loans, accelerated depreciation, and other purchase incentives because they are simple, direct, and immediate," the report said.

Because vouchers follow simple simple rules and provide funds at the time of purchase, the report said that these incentives can improve the business case for new technologies--helping fleets purchase more efficient trucks and helping manufacturers and suppliers increase sales and comply with standards.

R&D funding ranked as a close second in the report's list of policy tools to support high efficiency truck technologies.

"The Task Force believes that a bold and coordinated federal approach is needed to bring the next generation of high efficiency, low emission trucks to market," the report said, calling for a $200 million a year investment by the federal government with an equal amount contributed each year by industry.

Support of manufacturing came in a close third on the report's list, ranking even higher among those from the manufacturing and supply sectors. The report task force concluded that grant programs are needed to support the domestic manufacturing of advanced truck technologies.

"This assistance is especially important during times of industry transition, as manufacturers are retooling factories, changing their focus, and ramping up production of new advanced technologies such as batteries, hybrid components, and advanced engines," the report said, recommending an expansion of the federal government's Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing Incentive Program as a good approach for manufacturing assistance.

The full report can be downloaded from the CALSTART website at

Oakland Port Names Three New Executives

The Port of Oakland has named three new members to upper management in a move port officials believe will help achieve the goals of the port's five-year strategic plan.

The port named Isaac Kos-Read as the director of external affair, Denyce Holsey as director of administration, and Marsha Peterson as port labor advisor.

Kos-Read joins the Port of Oakland after serving for two years as the Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Port of Los Angeles, where he helped that port secure significant federal stimulus funding and assisted in the launch of a marine research center project. Prior to joining the Los Angeles port, Kos-Read was an advocate and senior director for Northern California with Townsend Public Affairs, Inc., working in the acquisition of local, state and federal funding for roads, parks, museums, schools and water infrastructure for clients around the state.

Holsey, a twenty-year veteran of the human resources industry, previously served with the City of Pleasanton where she most recently served as human resources manager. Prior to joining the City of Pleasanton, Holsey held positions as the interim human resources director for the City of Tracy, employee relations manager for the County of Alameda, and principal labor relations representative for Santa Clara County.

Peterson has served as deputy port attorney at the Port of Oakland for 11 years, focusing on labor and employment. Before join the Oakland port, she served as general counsel for Fleet Industrial Supply Center, Naval Supply, Oakland. Previously, she served as labor counselor and deputy staff judge advocate at the Oakland Army Base. Peterson began her career as a litigation attorney in the honors program at the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, where she garnered 40 successful federal reported decisions in employment and government contract law.

Los Angeles Chamber Urges City Hall to End Shipyard Plan

The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce has asked the Los Angeles City Council to formally turn down a Long Beach firm's proposal to renovate and reopen a shuttered shipyard at the Port of Los Angeles.

Contained within a letter to Councilmember Janice Hahn sent Monday, the Chamber request comes as a council committee prepared to debate whether or not to revisit the shipyard proposal by Long Beach-based Gambol Industries on Thursday.

Gambol has been trying for over a year to move forward with a $50 million plan to re-develop the shuttered South West Marine shipyard along the port's main channel into a modern ship repair facility. The firm, which claims it has a solid business plan that would create hundreds of union trade jobs at the proposed facility, has garnered support from some trade unions, local officials and residents desirous of the promised jobs. However, the plan has also faced stiff criticism from the port, shipping industry, and longshore unions who fear the plan will delay ongoing port development.

Under pressure from Los Angeles City Hall, the port's governing board signed a memorandum of understanding with Gambol in 2009 to consider the development of the ship repair facility. After nearly a year of consideration, the port's five-member governing board voted to end negotiations with Gambol over the project in December 2010.

Port officials have maintained that the Gambol plan is unrealistic and could seriously delay an Army Corps of Engineers dredging project in the port's main channel and ongoing terminal development at the port. Port staff has spent more than five years planning and permitting the dredging project, including the use of the former shipyard's two slips as a location to deposit the main channel dredge material.

Finding another location for the dredge material, according to port officials, could take years and delay the Army Corps work, which in turn would delay terminal development that is dependent on the deeper main channel.

"For more than a year and a half now, we have been hopeful that a win-win solution could be developed that would allow for the deepening of the Main Channel and the location of the new ship building facility proposed by Gambol Industries," the Chamber's Toebben said in the letter to Hahn, who heads the committee revisiting the Gambol plan.

"While we thank Gambol for their dedication to bringing jobs to the harbor, it does not appear to be possible to achieve this win-win scenario and still meet the competitive timeline that the port will face from the widening of the Panama Canal and modernized East Coast ports," Toebben said.

"Thus, we have determined that it is in the best interest of the regional economy to move forward immediately on the channel deepening project. Too many jobs and too much of our economy is at stake to make any other recommendation."

Nearly a decade ago, the neighboring Port of Long Beach faced a similar situation when the federal government turned over the shuttered Long Beach Naval Shipyard, including several large drydocks, to the port.

Port officials, spurred by calls from city officials and residents, spent several years trying to identify a firm that could present a viable plan to redevelop the abandoned navy yard into a commercial shipyard.
While several firms stepped forward, each proposal eventually fell through, most related to financing.

The drydocks, including one of the largest on the West Coast, were eventually filled with dredge material from the port and paved over to add additional acreage to a massive container terminal under development at the time.

Los Angeles Signs Trade Pact With China

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday inked a non-binding deal with Chinese officials that is hoped to increase economic activity between China and Los Angeles.

Villaraigosa signed the deal with the Investment Promotion Agency of China's Commerce Ministry during a meeting with Chinese business leaders at City Hall.

While few specific details on how the deal would work were presented, Villaraigosa said the agreement called for both sides to examine how to encourage cooperation and mutual investment that might increase imports and exports between Los Angeles and China.

"Today both Los Angeles and China are taking a giant leap forward together to help these businesses reach great heights," the mayor said during the event.

China is already the major trading partner with the neighboring ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, with about 50 percent of the roughly $300 billion worth of cargo handled by the two ports in 2009 coming from or going to the Asian nation. Imports from China handled by the two ports outnumber exports roughly four to one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fuel Regulations for Maritime Vessels

By Keith Higginbotham
California Contributing Editor

Water borne transportation is one of the most efficient known methods of transporting cargo and passengers, easily undercutting air and land transportation methods.

However, since the early 1990s, the world fleet of cargo, passenger, and maritime industry vessels has come under increased government scrutiny as serious contributors to global air pollution – especially in coastal and port-area communities.

A primary focus of this scrutiny has been the link between the fuel used to power these vessels and the harmful emissions these fuels generate when burned.

Ironically, while some of the most technologically advanced transportation vehicles in the world are ocean-going vessels, these vessels also burn some of the dirtiest fuel of any transportation sector.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, cargo, passenger and maritime industry vessels generate 6 percent of the nation’s annual volume of oxides of nitrogen, or NOx, 10 percent of the diesel particulate matter, or PM, and 40 percent of the oxides of sulfur, or SOx.

This has led to the creation and implementation over the past decade of numerous international, national and regional regulations that impact the choice and usage of fuel by the maritime industry.

International Efforts

In two treaties adopted in the 1970s, the United Nations developed the first comprehensive international standards on marine pollution. Known as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or MARPOL (for marine pollution), the 1973 treaty covered the discharge and handling of oil, chemical, sewage, garbage and packaged harmful substances aboard marine vessels.

In 1978, additional standards related to oil tanker design and operation were added and incorporated into the five 1973 MARPOL protocols. These are known MARPOL Annex I through V.

In 1997, the UN developed MARPOL Annex VI--the first international standards aimed at curbing harmful air pollution from the world fleet of more than 80,000 marine vessels over 400 dead weight tons. These MARPOL standards, which entered into force worldwide in May 2005, were further amended in 2005, 2008 and in 2010.

MARPOL Annex VI regulations are now accepted as the base minimum for permissible vessel fuel quality and air emissions by 136 signatory countries representing 98 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage.

The ANNEX VI regulations apply to all vessels traveling into MARPOL signatory-member waters and to all vessels flying under signatory nation flags. Even a non-signatory nation’s vessel entering the national waters of a MARPOL signatory state are required to adhere to the Annex VI regulations. In addition, Annex VI provides that vessels must also follow any national, regional or local regulations of the state whose waters they are entering, if the state’s regulations are more stringent than the international standards.

MARPOL Annex VI Regulations
MARPOL’s Annex VI, except in specific situations, does not specify the use of one marine fuel over another. Instead, the Annex VI regulations set various limits on fuel oil sulfur content, quality of fuel oil, and limits on the permissible amounts of two primary pollutants that can be emitted by vessels. This last set of regulations effectively eliminates certain fuel oils from being used because these fuel oils cannot be burned without surpassing the Annex VI emission limits.

The Annex VI regulations on fuel oil sulfur content state:
• The worldwide cap on fuel oil sulfur content is set at 4.5 percent. This will fall to 3.5 percent in 2012 and progressively to 0.5 percent in 2020.
• Within Annex VI-specified Sulfur Emission Control areas, or SECAs (Baltic, North Sea, English Channel, coasts of Canada/United States), fuel oil can contain no more than 1 percent sulfur. This falls to 0.1 percent in 2015.
• Pollution after-treatment technology, such as smokestack scrubbers, can be used on vessels in lieu of low sulfur fuel as long as the technology achieves the Annex VI goals.

The Annex VI fuel oil quality standards state:
• Fuel oil must be blends of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum refining.
• Fuel oil cannot contain inorganic acids or other added substances.
• Fuel oil must be regularly sampled by fuel oil suppliers for quality.

The Annex VI marine emission regulations cover two primary pollutants:
• Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) – group of pollutants that are smog and acid rain precursors.
• Oxides of Sulfur (SOx) – group of pollutants that are acid rain components and linked to various respiratory illnesses.

The concentration of these exhaust gases varies depending on a vessel’s engine type, engine settings, and fuel type. However, due to the high cost of engine replacement or modification, and the economic disinclination by shipping lines to vary established running speeds and schedules, fuel type is the primary variable most often altered to meet the Annex VI regulations.

Specifically, Annex VI specifies the following levels:
  • SOx levels are addressed by the fuel oil sulfur content regulations listed above.
  • NOx levels are determined by engine type: Existing engines as of 2010 are required to cut NOx emissions by 15 percent to 20 percent from 2008 levels.
  • New engines installed after Dec. 31, 2010 will be required to cut NOx emissions by 20 percent.
  • New engines on vessels operating in SECAs must cut NOx emissions by 80 percent starting in 2016.
Types of Marine Fuel
According to a 2008 study conducted by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, There are five main types of marine fuel oil available worldwide, each consisting of various different fractions of distilled crude oil. These five types come in many different blends and grades. In various parts of the world, these five types can go by differing names, but the following names are generally recognized throughout the world:
  • Residual Oil (RO): The cheapest and thickest of the marine fuels. Due to its thickness, it must be heated to flow properly. It contains high levels of pollutants and produces dark smoke when burned. Also known as heavy fuel oil.
  • Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO) 180: A mix of 98 percent of residual oil and 2 percent of thinner and more heavily refined distillate oil.
  • IFO 380: A mix of 88 percent of residual oil and 12 percent of distillate oil. Due to a higher distillate content, it is more expensive than RO and IFO180.
  • Marine Diesel Oil (MDO): A distillate oil with a trace of residual oil. MDO has a lower sulfur content than residual oil, IFO 180, and IFO 380. Various grades are also known as DMB and DMC.
  • Marine Gas Oil (MGO): A pure distillate oil that contains the lowest sulfur content. Also known as DMA.
A sixth type of fuel, known as DMX, has even less sulfur content than the other five types listed above, but is rarely used in vessel main or auxiliary engines. It is reserved for use in applications such as emergency generators and lifeboats.

In the European Union, fuel oils are grouped into three main types, each based on the sulfur content.

EU Quality 1 fuel is a low-sulfur variant of MGO. EU Quality 2 is equivalent to MDO and EU Quality 3 is equivalent to the IFO grades.

Annex VI Impacts on Marine Fuel Selection
The Annex VI regulations, through the sulfur content limits, have effectively eliminated the worldwide use of residual oil fuels since 2007. Currently, the IFO varieties are the highest sulfur content fuels permissible.

Within the various Sulfur Emission Control areas, vessels cannot use IFO, DMA, DMB, or DMC fuels due to sulfur levels outside the Annex VI SECA limits.

In 2015, when new SECA sulfur limits go into effect, DMX and at least one type of low-sulfur MGO will also be barred.

In Europe, many of these fuels are already banned. Since 2008, the EU has limited sulfur content of purchased fuel to 0.1 percent – effectively barring the use of EU Quality 2 and EU Quality 3 fuels.

National and Local Marine Fuel Regulations
Above and beyond the international MARPOL standards, various nations have also adopted additional regulations that apply to marine vessel emissions or fuel.

In the United States, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is charged with the development of air emission standards.

The EPA was the primary advocate behind setting up the coasts of Canada and the United States as an Annex VI Sulfur Emission Control area. In addition, the EPA has adopted regulations that require all marine fuel produced or sold in the United States to have a sulfur content no greater than 0.1 percent, with flexibility for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway areas.

So, while the current Annex VI sulfur levels within the Canada/U.S. are set at 1 percent, the EPA has reduced this even further by only making fuel with a content of 0.1 percent currently available within the U.S.

The California EPA also established rules limiting the use marine fuel with sulfur content above 1 percent, however this rule is currently enjoined awaiting a determination by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

As mentioned above, the European Union already enforces tighter rules than the Annex VI regulations, requiring the use of fuels with sulfur content no greater than 0.1 percent.

Worldwide, the enforcement of Annex VI regulations fall to various MARPOL-approved authorities. These are typically local agencies that have been given authority to act as agents of the U.N. in regards to Annex VI regulations.

In the United States, the United States Coast Guard ensures compliance with Annex VI and domestic emission control rules.

Long Beach Port Chief Set to Deliver "State of the Port" Speech

With predictions of solid cargo traffic growth in 2011 and a record-setting 2010 tucked safely under his belt, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard Steinke is set to deliver his annual "State of the Port" address on Friday, Jan. 28.

Steinke, entering his 14th year at the helm of the nation's second busiest container port, is expected to focus sharply on the nearly 24 percent growth experienced at the port in 2010 and the lessons learned as the port climbed back dramatically from the global downturn that impacted the world shipping industry in 2009. The port handled 6.3 million TEUs last year, an increase of 1.2 million TEUs over 2009. It was the largest calendar year TEU increase ever posted by a U.S. port. Analysts predict that the solid growth will continue at least for the first four months of 2011.

Steinke is also likely to focus on current and impending port development, including projects like the massive $750 million Middle Harbor terminal redevelopment project and the $1 billion replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge.

Another point of focus is expected to be the port's role as a jobs creation engine. The port directly accounts for 30,000 jobs in Long Beach, more than 360,000 in the Southern California region, and 1.4 million jobs nationwide. The growth in cargo traffic during 2010, according to the port, added "hundreds of jobs locally and [supported] thousands more down the supply chain." The port hopes to create thousands more jobs in the coming decade through nearly $4 billion in infrastructure and capital development investments.

The "State of the Port" will take place Friday, Jan. 28, at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets to the event can be reserved through the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce website at The event will also be webcast on the Port of Long Beach’s website at

Long Beach City and Port Officials Call for Zero Emission Railyard Expansion Option

A Long Beach City Councilmember and two members of the Port of Long Beach governing board are calling for the proposed multi-million dollar expansion of an intermodal railyard servicing the Southern California ports to embrace the idea of generating no net increase in air pollution when completed.

Freshman Councilmember James Johnson and Harbor Commissioners Mario Cordero and Thomas Fields are calling for a zero-emissions option to be included in the environmental impact report for the proposed expansion of the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. The EIR, which is required before the project moves forward, is expected to be completed and released later this year.

The expansion project, if completed, would more than double the throughput of the 148-acre ICTF from 725,000 to 1.5 million containers per year. The facility, located about five miles north of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is operated by Class I railroad Union Pacific and is used primarily to consolidate containers onto rail for transport throughout the nation.

In a Jan. 18 letter to the ICTF Joint Powers Authority, a quasi-governmental group established in 1983 by the two ports to oversee the development of the ICTF, Johnson, Cordero and Fields point to the health impacts that goods movement transportation related to port activity have had on the surrounding communities.
"For many years, the reality has been that the growth of goods movement has brought regional benefits," said the letter, "while the communities proximate to the industry have borne the brunt of the costs."

The letter points out that one of the most serious contributors to these health impacts is the movement of cargo containers by short-haul trucks from the ports to the ICTF and asks the ICTF Joint Powers Authority to consider if there is a "better w ay to move these goods?"

The three officials state, "the technology currently exists to move containers to near-dock facilities without polluting our communities."

While there are no details in the letter as to which technology the three are referencing, the ports have in the past looked at various ideas such as a magnetic levitation or all-electric train shuttle system to handle the ports-to-ICTF traffic. One proposed idea for a maglev train system looked at several years ago was estimated to cost $100 million per mile, or about $500 million to construct at the time, not including the development of infrastructure to deliver the massive amounts of electrical power such a system would require.

Johnson, Cordero and Fields state "such zero-emissions goods-movement technology represents a true paradigm shift, as we would be able to move goods quickly and efficiently to market without sacrificing the health of our neighborhoods."

The letter goes on to state that the inclusion of such zero-emission technology in the ICTF project could increase the two ports competitiveness in the market by increasing goods movement efficiency.

Johnson, Cordero and Fields conclude their message by promising a forthcoming letter that will list "proposed mitigation measures to reduce and address potential neighborhood impacts."

The proposed expansion project, as currently envisioned, already includes numerous pollution mitigation options including the use of electric overhead cranes, cleaner-burning yard tractors, and ultra-low emissions locomotives.

California Air Regulators Claim Success in Reducing Freight Emissions

The California Air Resources Board is claiming success in a wide range of pollution reduction programs that have targeted goods movement statewide and, according to the agency, dramatically cut diesel emissions along major trade corridors and near ports.

CARB Executive Director James Goldstene cited success in CARB programs addressing trucks, rail and ships, all under the umbrella of the state's Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program. The overall program is supported by $1 billion in voter-approved Proposition 1B bonds, of which $450 million has already been allocated.

More than 5300 diesel trucks traveling the state’s busiest trade routes are being cleaned up, said Goldstene. In addition, 19 locomotives operating in the Central Valley and Southern California are being upgraded, and clean electrical power will be available this spring for ships docking at the Port of Oakland thanks to $250 million as part of implementation of CARB’s goods movement program.

"We estimate that these projects will eliminate more than 3 million pounds of diesel soot plus 60 million pounds of smog-forming pollutants from our environment over the next few years," said Goldstene.

Goldstene also touted the success of the GMER program to leverage substantial matching funds from private, local and federal sources - more than one match dollar for every program dollar invested.

"This leveraging has resulted in an additional $300 million above and beyond the Prop 1B bond funds to aid in overseeing pollution reduction projects through to their completion within the next few years," said Goldstene.

To update the 5300 trucks -- including those that service the state's three major ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland--older trucks have been replaced with new diesel models or those powered by natural gas meeting cleaner 2007 or later emission standards.

In the four trade corridors targeted by the GMER program (Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles/Inland Empire, San Diego/Border), most equipment owners opted to replace their trucks. However, in the Bay Area, a majority of the port drayage truck owners chose to retrofit their vehicles with diesel soot filters that trap at least 85 percent of particulate emissions.

In a shift from many previous programs, one-third of the trucks that received program funding are owned by independent owner-operators, and half of the funded vehicles are in fleets of 20 or fewer trucks, considered in California to be a small or medium-sized fleet.

Additional cleanup activities focusing on installing clean electric power for ships at dock will get underway as air districts start soliciting for over $80 million in projects in early 2011. CARB allocated an additional $112 million for more truck cleanup efforts, with smaller grants to be available to clean up locomotives and harbor craft such as tug boats.

Todd Shipyards Finds No 3rd Party Buyer, Class Action Suit Filed By Shareholders

The Todd Shipyards Corporation, being pursued as a purchase target by Vigor Industrial, announced Tuesday that it has not found an alternate buyer and will not extend an option to continue seeking a third-party purchaser.

In December, the Portland, Oregon-based Vigor entered into an agreement to purchase the 94-year-old Todd, which operates ship building, maintenance and repair facilities in Bremerton, Everett and Seattle.

Part of the agreement allowed Todd to solicit acquisition proposals from alternative purchasers. This so-called "go shop" period expires on Jan. 28. However, Todd had the option under the agreement to ask for a 14-day extension past the expiration of the "go shop" period at 11:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 28.

Under the terms of the agreement, the current all-cash tender offer by Vigor of $22.27 per share for the nearly 5.8 million shares of outstanding Todd stock, or approximately $130 million, expires at one minute after the "go shop" period on Jan. 28.

A stockholder vote will still have to be taken to accept the Vigor's tender offer, however, the Todd board of directors unanimously approved the Vigor agreement in December 2010. Todd’s directors and officers and certain other stockholders who own an aggregate of approximately 15.3 percent of Todd’s outstanding stock also entered into agreements at the time pursuant to which they agreed to transfer their Todd shares to Vigor and to vote their shares in favor of a merger if a vote is required by law. Two weeks ago Vigor obtained antitrust approval from the federal government to move forward with the Todd purchase.

Under the terms of the tender offer, Todd will merge with Nautical Miles, Inc., a Vigor subsidiary. Nautical will merge with and into Todd following completion of the deal, with Todd surviving as a wholly owned-subsidiary of Vigor.

“Todd is Puget Sound’s leading shipyard and the combination of Vigor and Todd will create the largest and most capable marine services company in the Pacific Northwest,” said Frank Foti, the President of Vigor in December following the signing of the agreement with Todd. “The combination of resources and capabilities will allow the combined companies to expand both the scope and capacity of their ship repair and new construction business.”

Vigor officials have stated that the firm has obtained enough financing to purchase all 5.78 million outstanding Todd shares as well as refinance all existing Todd debt.
The terms of the agreement set 67 percent of outstanding Todd stock as the minimum Vigor must purchase for the deal to close. In the event that the minimum condition is not met, and in certain other circumstances, the parties have agreed to complete the transaction through a one-step merger after receipt of shareholder approval.
As of the end of 2010, at least a half-dozen shareholder-representing law firms have said they were investigating the agreement and how the Todd board may have abrogated its fiduciary responsibility and short-changed certain shareholders.

On January 20, the Maryland law firm of Brower Piven announced it had begun a class action lawsuit in the Washington Superior Court, King County, on behalf of all shareholders of Todd.

The suit alleges that Todd's directors and officers have breached their fiduciary duties to the company's stockholders, "including the duties of good faith, loyalty, and due care." The suit also alleges that Vigor and Woodbourne Partners, L.P., a private investment company that holds Todd shares, aided and abetted the alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by the Todd officers and directors cited in the suit.