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Inland Port Network in Works Along Mississippi River, California Truckers Protest AB5 Law, German Dock Workers to Strike.

Jul 14, 2022

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Shipping industry facing roadblocks in plans to go green. The shipping industry is responsible for nearly 3% of the world’s emissions, and Maersk is ambitiously planning to have carbon-neutral ships on the water starting next year to combat that. Securing the correct fuel for the vessels comes with challenges–shipping companies need adequate amounts of green methanol or other “green” fuels to power the ships and make an impactful difference to their carbon footprint. If Maersk and other firms have to use fossil fuels in the interim to operate their new ships, it will mark a sidestep from their decarbonization goals, according to CNBC. “It is a chicken and egg type situation,” said Morten Bo Christiansen, Maersk’s head of decarbonization. “The vessels will arrive prior to the fuels, which is of course not ideal quite frankly. When we ordered the vessels, there was no supplier whatsoever,” he said.

Post-Covid container demand slowing. According to Drewry’s port throughput indices, the demand surge for container shipping post-Covid appears to have run its course. Seatrade Maritime News reports that the Drewry Global Port Throughput Index stood at 141.1 points in April 2022, some 1.5% lower than April 2021, although up 1.7% on March 2022. “This is further evidence that the post-Covid demand boom appears to have run its course,” Drewry said.


Inland port network in works along Mississippi River. As many as five states are experiencing a major multiyear effort to develop a container facility network along the Mississippi River. Initial cargo is anticipated to move through the network in 2024. Organizers say that it has taken nearly a decade to develop the network. Freightwaves reports that the pieces in development include a terminal and rail expansion in Plaquemines Parish in southern Louisiana; the development of container terminal facilities in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Louis, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and potentially Joliet, Illinois; and a container-on-vessel service that would call at those locations. “We’re creating a new transportation alternative for the supply chain. We’re calling it the new north-south trade lane for containerized cargo,” said Sal Litrico, chief executive officer of American Patriot Container Transport LLC. The network and the container-on-vessel service will allow Midwest agricultural, energy and chemicals shippers to take advantage of the expanded Panama Canal, according to developers.


NCBFAA Highlights Concerns with FMC’s Carrier Automated Tariffs NPRM. From the NCBFAA Monday Morning eBriefing: NCBFAA on July 6 responded with written comments to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Carrier Automated Tariffs by highlighting a number of significant concerns for the agency to consider. The NPRM, published in the May 10 Federal Register, specifically proposes the ability for NVOCCs to cross-reference VOCC tariffs, a prohibition on administrative fees connected with pass-through charges, a new co-loading definition, and a proposed requirement for annotated invoices. NCBFAA expressed concern that the NPRM’s proposed ability for NVOCCs to cross-reference VOCC tariffs would pose an undue burden on both NVOCCs and shippers. NCBFAA’s detailed comments related to the NPRM are available here.


California truckers protest AB5 Law. Independent truckers working for the nation’s busiest seaport complex in Southern California stopped work on Wednesday to protest a state law that makes it harder for businesses to treat workers as independent contractors rather than employees. This comes as the U.S. Supreme Court last month declined to take up a challenge to California’s law known as AB5. Backers say AB5 helps clamp down on labor abuses by companies that use freelance or other so-called “gig” workers. The trucking industry warns that it would devastate the nation’s fragile supply chain. The contractors’ actions come at a critical time for California ports involved in high-stakes West Coast labor talks, Reuters reports. Trucking disruptions threaten to add to the growing anxiety surrounding The U.S. supply chain and soaring inflation.

Maersk advisory on ​​Toronto/Montreal congestion impact on trucking service. Maersk sent out an advisory to customers detailing that truck wait times at both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways in Toronto have improved in the last couple of weeks. “Volume continues to arrive in Toronto at high levels causing final mile deliveries across the board to be delayed. We are working with our truck vendors to obtain additional capacity to support the volume. Containers are being targeted based on longest dwell,” Maersk said.


Maersk advisory on ​​Toronto/Montreal congestion impact on rail service. In the same advisory sent to trucking customers, Maersk notified rail customers of the continued congestion at the terminals and inland ramps. “Due to congestion in Toronto, Canadian National is metering the number of Toronto-bound releases from Prince Rupert to ensure they do not gridlock its facilities.” For Canadian Pacific, “Toronto-bound traffic is no longer being metered. However, dwells may remain high due to yard capacity. We are working with terminal leadership to load the longest dwelling,” Maersk said. Read more here.


USDOT cracks down on airline fees. Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) told airlines to eliminate fees to seat children with an accompanying adult and warned that it “will crack down on other consumer-unfriendly fees,” according to a report from ABC7. The USDOT also published its first ‘Bill of Rights’ to help passengers with disabilities. The actions come after U.S. PIRG and other consumer advocacy groups sent a letter to Congress asking the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to tell airlines to change their policies to prioritize passengers.

Flight cancellations and delays continue to rise. Airports around the world were tallying more than 10,000 flight delays and 1,700 cancellations all before 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday, July 11, according to FlightAware tracking data. Flight cancellations and changes have shot up this year, and over 75% of travelers who have taken an overnight trip outside their local area this year have experienced at least one travel-related issue, according to a new survey. Issues include high prices, long waits, poor customer service, limited availability, or lost money due to canceled or disrupted plans, according to Forbes.

SAS pilots to resume negotiations with airline this week. Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing pilots resumed negotiations this week to form a new labor deal to end a week-long strike. Since July 4, SAS has canceled more than 1,200 flights. Talks with many of its pilots over a new collective bargaining agreement collapsed, and the pilots then launched the strike, crippling the airline. Swedish mediator Jan Sjolin said, “what has now happened is that we have asked the parties to gather in Stockholm from Wednesday.” Henrik Thyregod, head of the Danish pilots union, told Reuters he was certain an outcome would be reached but was unsure of how long the negotiations would take. “I expect to discuss … a collective bargaining agreement, so we can get the pilots back in the cockpit and the passengers back in the air,” he said.


German dock workers to strike. As of Thursday, German dockers are set to commence a 48-hour strike in response to wage negotiations with employers reaching an impasse. Dockers will stop work at German ports from 06:00 hrs on Thursday until 06:00hrs Saturday, the nation’s longest dock strike for more than 40 years. The action by 12,000 port workers will halt operations at the key container hubs of Hamburg, Bremerhaven, and Wilhelmshaven, and will be the third and longest period of industrial action in the increasingly bitter wage dispute, according to the Loadstar. The strike will have a serious impact on liner networks and reportedly worsen supply chain congestion at North European container hubs.

Ukraine to revive Danube River ports for exports. With the removal of Russian forces from Snake Island, it’s now possible for Ukraine to revive inland ports along the northern edge of the Danube River Delta. The northern branch of the Danube delta follows Ukraine’s southern border, and it is lined with multiple small river ports. With Russia blocking all of Ukraine’s coastline, the nearly abandoned ports have taken on a new importance for transporting grain out of the country.


India set to overtake China as most populous country. According to a new report from the United Nations looking at population trends, India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2023. This is important because India is the world’s largest democracy and viewed by the West as a key counterweight to China’s influence in the region. The world’s population is set to reach 8 billion by Nov. 15, and 9.7 billion in 2050.

NASA releases first images from James Webb telescope. Images of a star nursery, a cosmic dance, and others were released this week by NASA to showcase the advancements of the James Webb telescope. See the spectacular images here.

Twitter sues Elon Musk for backing out of deal. Twitter filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in an attempt to hold the billionaire to his $44 billion deal to buy the company. According to CNBC, Musk claimed that Twitter “violated the deal agreement by failing to provide the information he requested to verify the number of spam accounts on its platform and failed to proceed with the ordinary course of business by conducting layoffs,” but Twitter alleges that Musk willingly agreed to terms that were “as he touted, ‘seller friendly.'”