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Rain Enables Panama Canal Authority to Postpone Drought Restrictions, Canadian Port Strike Set for July 1, Railroads Plan to Create More Access to Mexico with Direct Interchange in Alabama.

Jun 29, 2023

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Rain enables Panama Canal Authority to postpone drought restrictions. A prolonged drought caused the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to utilize increasingly severe phased restrictions and a potential reduction in the number of vessels allowed to transit the canal daily. Restrictions were scheduled to go into effect on June 25 and July 9, but the Canal Authority said that Neo-panamax ships can continue to sail at the previous depth limit of 13.41m (44.0 feet) and Panamax ships at 12.04m (39.5 feet). This comes as Panama is finally receiving rain, late into the projected rainy season. The administration said it would continue to monitor water levels and “announce future drought adjustments in a timely manner.”


DOT makes funding available for supply chain improvement projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation is opening $5.6 billion in grant funding for “infrastructure projects designed to ease supply chain bottlenecks by improving key modes of freight movement in the US, including ports, rail and surface transportation,” according to the Journal of Commerce. The funds will come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with three separate grant programs accepting applications under one program called the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant program.

Canadian port strike set for July 1. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada has decided to strike on July 1 for 72-hours at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The strike comes as contract negotiations with employers are unable to come to an agreement. Further negotiations are expected to occur today, July 29, in a last attempt to avoid the strike.


FMCSA to consider rule requiring broker-shipper pricing transparency. Federal trucking regulators are considering a “controversial request” by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association seeking a “rulemaking to require broker-shipper pricing documents be shared with truckers carrying the load,” according to Transport Topics. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a June 16 Federal Register post on broker and bona fide agent definitions that the agency will review the issue of OOIDA’s 2020 transparency petition to provide an electronic copy of each transaction record automatically within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed “at the appropriate time.”


Railroads plan to create more access to Mexico with direct interchange in Alabama. Three major freight railroads have announced plans to create a new trade route for shippers connecting Mexico, Texas and the U.S. Southeast, in an effort to keep up with competitors. Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), CSX and Genesee & Wyoming railroads are looking to establish a direct CPKC-CSX interchange connection near Myrtlewood, Alabama. The deal would also improve CSX’s access to Mexico, according to FreightWaves. As part of the series of the proposed transactions, CPKC and CSX will each acquire or operate portions of the 168-mile Meridian & Bigbee Railroad (MNBR), a Genesee & Wyoming Inc.-owned railway in Mississippi and Alabama.


Asia Pacific air cargo slowed in May. demand Asia Pacific air cargo business suffered from “subdued demand conditions, driven by weak business confidence levels”, during the month of May, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA). Preliminary air cargo traffic figures showed that air cargo demand fell by 7% year on year in May. Subhas Menon, AAPA director general, said: “Air cargo demand remained soft, reflecting the prevailing weak global economic conditions and in particular, the slowdown in the manufacturing sector.”


How might a Ukrainian victory affect shipping? Shipping could see changes following the anticipated end of the Russia-Ukraine war. Freightwaves offers speculation and insight on potential outcomes for the industry here.


Advocacy group says U.S. is top importer of at-risk products, contributing to modern slavery. According to the latest Global Slavery Index from human rights advocacy group Walk Free, the number of people living in modern slavery has grown to 50 million. This is a direct result of global conflict, COVID-19 and climate change exacerbating exploitative conditions, the advocacy group says. According to the group, the U.S. is the biggest importer of at-risk products, which Walk Free estimated at being worth $169.6 billion, which is more than three times that of the next largest single importer, Japan. In a statement, Walk Free Founding Director Grace Forrest described modern slavery as a “manifestation of extreme inequality” and pointed to supply chains’ outsized role in causing the crisis.