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U.S. House Passes Defense Bill with Ban on Chinese Shipping Platform, Canadian Labor Union Calls Off Second Strike, UPS Prepares Contingency Plans Ahead of Potential Teamsters Strike.

Jul 20, 2023

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U.S. House passes defense bill with ban on Chinese shipping platform. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a defense spending bill that contains a provision aimed at restricting China’s monitoring of ocean container traffic to and from the U.S. The provision prevents U.S. ports that receive federal grant money from using China’s state-supported National Public Information Platform for Transportation and Logistics, known as LOGINK. This provision was added as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was passed by the chamber along a party-line vote, according to FreightWaves.


Canadian Labor Union calls off second strike. The strike that closed the Canadian West Coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert ended last week after 13 days. Following the Canadian government’s deal to end the West Coast ports strike, a key caucus of ILWU Canada union members rejected the tentative agreement, leading to a return to picket lines. Canada’s Industrial Relations Board declared the strike illegal, but the union initially planned to re-announce a strike. However, they later reversed their decision without providing a reason. This adds to the supply chain congestion, impacting $6.5 billion in trade stranded offshore of Canada, according to CNBC.

Port of Tacoma targets net zero emissions by 2040. The Port of Tacoma has committed to achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions under its direct control by 2040, moving up the target from the previous 2050 goal. This initiative aligns with the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, a regional plan aimed at eliminating seaport-related emissions.


UPS prepares contingency plans ahead of potential Teamsters strike. UPS will begin to train managers to help deliver packages in the event of a strike by International Brotherhood of Teamsters-represented employees on Aug. 1, the company said Friday. The union plans to strike if an agreement isn’t reached, which would cause significant disruptions for shippers. “While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike,” UPS said in a statement.

Yellow Corp. faces bankruptcy amid strike threats. Yellow Corp. failed to make required pension contributions for June and plans to do the same for July, resulting in the suspension of pension funds and health care coverage for workers starting Sunday, as stated by the Teamsters. The union threatens to strike by Monday (July 24) if the pension contributions are unresolved. The company owes $50 million, while holding over $100 million in cash reserves as of July 7. Industry expert and Radiant Logistics Vice President of Domestic Services Noel Howard weighed in: “Should a strike or service disruptions occur, impacts to capacity will immediately be felt across the supply chain: the influx of tonnage into competitors networks likely will strain many providers’ infrastructure and ultimately impact their OTP.”


Tracks reopened after freight train derailment in Pennsylvania. Norfolk Southern confirmed the reopening of the tracks in Montgomery County, PA, where a freight train derailed on Monday. The derailment involved 15 cars of a 40-car westbound CSX freight train on Norfolk Southern’s owned line. Twelve nearby homes were temporarily evacuated, and there were no reported injuries. The tracks were reopened on Wednesday with a 10-mph speed restriction to protect the crews still working there.


Air cargo rates kept low by ongoing price war. Air cargo circles are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the chances of a market recovery during the traditional pre-holiday shipping rush amid price wars. Hopes for an upturn in the second half of the year have been dashed, as freight forwarders and cargo airlines prioritize volumes over cost, leading to a decline in rates. Aggressive price discounting and reports of shelving older aircraft reflect growing apprehension about weak demand and excess capacity, resulting in freight rates lower than the supply and demand fundamentals would justify, according to analysts. Read more from FreightWaves here.

UPS pilots won’t cross Teamsters picket line. The Independent Pilots Association (IPA), the union representing UPS pilots, has announced that they will refuse to cross picket lines if Teamsters drivers and package sorters go on strike after the current contract expires on August 1. This would lead to an immediate shutdown of UPS’s global air operations. IPA is a separate union from the Teamsters and represents the company’s 3,300 pilots. “If the Teamsters are on strike, we will honor that strike and we will not fly,” IPA spokesman Brian Gaudet told FreightWaves.


Russia officially pulls out of Black Sea grain deal. Russia has formally backed out of a United Nations-backed agreement that permitted Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. The deal has been extended multiple times since being brokered by the UN and Turkey last July, but Russia has expressed dissatisfaction with remaining obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports and listed unmet demands. Russian news sources report that Moscow has already informed Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN of its opposition to extending the grain deal. “As soon as the Russian part of the agreements is fulfilled, the Russian side will return to the implementation of this deal, immediately,” Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said.


Worldwide heatwave to continue into next week. Millions of people in the Southern U.S. are enduring an unrelenting heat wave, with record-breaking temperatures anticipated this week. The National Weather Service issued warnings of extreme heat in other parts of the U.S. as well, including the Four Corners states, Texas, the lower Mississippi Valley, and South Florida. Other countries worldwide are also experiencing high temperatures, including Europe and Asia. In China’s western region of Xinjiang, the highest temperature ever recorded in the country was registered. Extreme temperatures in the U.S. are expected to last into next week.