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Shipping Companies Comply with Speed Initiative to Protect CA Whale Populations, Feds Seize Goods Tied to Forced Labor, Air Cargo Industry Aims to Go Digital

Apr 20, 2023

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Shipping companies comply with speed initiative to protect CA whale populations. According to NOAA’s Blue Whales and Blue Skies program, shipping companies increased compliance with an initiative to protect whales off the coast of California last year. Participating vessel operators are asked to reduce transit speed to 10 knots or less near the state’s busiest seaports from mid-May to mid-December, during seasonal peak whale activity and air pollution times. Slower traveling speed “reduces the risk of a fatal whale strike by an estimated 44 percent, and it cuts stack emissions in areas with longstanding air quality challenges,” according to Maritime Executive. Approximately 75% of participating ships complied.


Port Houston on track to hit 1 million TEUs earlier than expected. Port Houston’s loaded export volumes have reached 349,964 TEU year-to-date, the highest monthly volume for loaded exports in its history. Volumes are at a 26% increase in the first quarter of this year compared to last and a 10% increase YOY. According to the port, container volumes through Port Houston are on track to hit 1 million TEU earlier in the year than ever before.

West Coast ports lose 1 million TEUs per year to East Coast shift. A new report from Descartes Systems Group says that over one million twenty-foot equivalent import containers per year have shifted away from U.S. West Coast ports. Volumes are being driven east, with Gulf Coast ports receiving the biggest volume gains. An increase in Asian-based imports coupled with a simultaneous decrease in Northern European imports have contributed to this shift, according to gCaptain.


Feds seize goods tied to forced labor. Federal authorities have seized $961 million worth of goods over suspected ties to forced labor since late June, according to CNBC. Goods are remaining in custody at ports while companies are receiving detention notices and stand to lose millions of dollars. Electronics, apparel, footwear, textiles and agricultural products top the list of detained items in terms of dollar value.


Navistar recalls 45,000 trucks due to under hood fires. Navistar is recalling 45,000 trucks from the 2016-2020 model years because of three under hood fires related to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The company determined that low voltage and amperage to the power distribution module (PDM) was the likely cause of the fires. Navistar reported no injuries related to the recall.


Dashboard for easy tracking of average railroad speed, dwell, and cars. Supply Chain Dive created a dashboard to track the average speed, dwell time, and cars online of Class I railroads currently operating in the U.S., that is meant to “simplify the process for a few of the key measures in that dataset.” The numbers are reported weekly to the STB, but are compiled here in an easy-to-read dataset.


Air cargo industry aims to go digital. Air cargo carriers are modernizing and going paperless. Many carriers are asking customers to use electronic air waybills, which experts say are “key to improving processes, increasing shipment visibility and eliminating errors,” according to Supply Chain Dive. IAG Cargo implemented a charging fee earlier this year for using paper AWBs in an effort to digitize operations and procedures. Even though electronic AWBs (eAWB) have been available for more than 10 years, the air cargo industry has lagged in shipping document digitization, Chief Transformation Officer David Rose told Supply Chain Dive.


EU Parliament finalizes emissions trading system rules. A package of climate measures has received a final stamp of approval from the European Parliament for the “Fit for 55” emissions scheme, which aims to cut the bloc’s overall greenhouse gas footprint by 55% by 2030. The measures come after extended negotiations between the EU Parliament, Commission and Council, but will still require a final signoff by the national representatives on the Council. The package will allocate 20 million ETS allowances (worth about $2 billion at current value) to support the decarbonization of shipping, according to Maritime Executive.


SpaceX Starship sees historic launch, explodes mid-air. In a historic test Thursday morning, SpaceX launched its Starship rocket for the first time. The rocket did not reach space after exploding mid-flight. Starship is designed and intended to carry passengers and cargo out of earth’s orbit, but no crew were on board for the test. Leadership at SpaceX stresses that the launch was “experimental” and that getting it off the ground was a success nonetheless. See the video here: