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EU Finalizes Green Shipping Fuel Law, UPS and Teamsters Reach Tentative Contract Agreement, FedEx Pilots Reject Proposed Labor Contract.

Jul 27, 2023

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EU finalizes green shipping fuel law. Following two years of negotiations, the European Union (EU) has finalized rules for climate-neutral shipping through the FuelEU Maritime initiative. Shipping will be covered by the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) from 2024 and FuelEU Maritime from 2025. The initiative aims to promote renewable and low-carbon fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and align maritime transport with the EU’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050. The regulation sets gradual reductions in greenhouse gas intensity, starting at 2% in 2025 and reaching up to 80% by 2050.


Georgia ports set ro/ro record. The Georgia Ports Authority saw record Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) volumes in 2023, even though container volumes at the Port of Savannah decreased (but still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels). The Port of Brunswick experienced a significant increase in Ro/Ro imports and exports, with a 24% rise in imports and over 7% in exports year-over-year, according to gCaptain. The addition of Nissan as a new customer to Brunswick’s Colonel’s Island Terminal contributed to this growth, handling imports from Japan and Mexico. To meet future demands, the GPA is investing $1.9 billion in infrastructure projects, including enhancing Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal, increasing berth capacity by 25%.


UPS and Teamsters reach tentative contract agreement. Just one week before the strike deadline, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and UPS reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract on Tuesday. The deal now awaits approval from the 330,000+ full- and part-time Teamsters who are employed by UPS. “Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers,” UPS CEO Carol Tomé said in a statement. Read the announcement here.

Yellow executive tells employees that the carrier will file for bankruptcy. On Wednesday, the senior vice president of sales at Yellow informed her staff that their employment would end this Friday and that the carrier was planning to file for bankruptcy on Monday during a video call, according to employees present. The sales employees were approved to tell customers of the bankruptcy plans and to take paid time off for the rest of the week, according to FreightWaves. The senior vice president then backtracked and asked the employees to retract the information about the bankruptcy and she instructed them to inform customers who were previously notified about the potential bankruptcy to disregard it and share a different statement: “Yellow’s talks with the IBT are ongoing. As previously stated, and in keeping with fiduciary responsibility of the company’s executives, the company continues to prepare for a range of contingencies.”


Federal Railroad Administration seeking comments on train data collection plan. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is asking for public input on its proposal to request monthly train length and weight data from Class I railroads. According to the FRA, this data is crucial for an agency study on train lengths, especially after issuing a safety advisory in April regarding the complexities of longer trains. The FRA aims to analyze the potential impact of train length on rail safety and is accepting comments until September 19. “This data collection is necessary to allow objective findings to be made that can be used to either justify the status quo or to provide justification for further recommendations or agency action,” FRA said in a Federal Register notice. “Of note, FRA is seeking to collect data on train length on an ongoing basis, as opposed to this being a one-time study.”


FedEx pilots reject proposed labor contract. On Monday, the Air Line Pilots Association announced that pilots at FedEx Express have rejected a proposed contract amendment that aimed to raise pay by up to 30% over five years. The labor deal was voted down with 57% against and 43% in favor. With nearly 6,000 pilots employed by FedEx, the company and union negotiators will need to work on creating a new labor agreement. “Our members have spoken and we will now regroup and prepare for the next steps. In the coming weeks, the FedEx ALPA leadership will meet to establish a timeline for assessing pilot group priorities moving forward. FedEx pilots remain unified and that will drive a new path that will help produce an agreement that all FedEx pilots will be proud to support,” said Capt. Chris Norman, the FedEx ALPA chair.


Russia attacks grain storage at Ukrainian port on the Danube. Russia carried out a drone strike Monday morning on grain facilities at Reni, a port on Ukraine’s Danube River. The attack resulted in the destruction of one silo and damage to a tank farm, posing a threat to Ukraine’s crucial food exports. It’s the first time a port on the Danube River estuary in Ukraine has been targeted since the 2022 invasion began, according to Maritime Executive. The ports in the northernmost branch of the Danube River delta have been the sole unrestricted access points to seagoing trade for Ukraine. As a result of the strikes, neutral shipping may have to avoid the Ukrainian bank of the Danube.


TikTok to launch ecommerce platform for Chinese goods to be sold in the U.S. TikTok is planning to launch a program in August that will reportedly assist Chinese merchants in selling their products globally. TikTok intends to offer a comprehensive set of services, including storage and shipping, to Chinese merchants, facilitating their sales in the U.S. This initiative, referred to as “full service” by TikTok, is currently undergoing testing in British markets. While TikTok is actively working towards an official launch in the U.S. in August, an exact date has not been confirmed yet, according to Reuters.

Sugar shortage leads to increased production costs for candy companies. Candy companies are facing rising costs and reduced production due to tight sugar supplies. The issue stems from the U.S. agriculture policy mandating 85% of sugar purchases from domestic processors, leading to scarcity and higher prices during periods of increased demand. The USDA predicts continued high sugar prices due to tight global supplies and weather-related concerns, which in turn could lead to increased costs for consumers.