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U.S. Container Imports Trend Near Pre-Pandemic Levels, USTR Releases President Biden’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda and 2022 Annual Report, DOJ Sues to Block Merger of JetBlue and Spirit Airlines.

Mar 9, 2023

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Environmental campaign targets retail giants over shipping emissions. Walmart, Home Depot, and Target were the largest ocean import polluters into the US in 2021, according to the latest report done by environmental campaign Ship it Zero. The report, entitled ‘All Brands On Deck: Top Furniture, Fashion, Retail & Technology Companies Must Act to Abandon Dirty Ships,’ examines shipping emissions from retailers and brands importing into the US during 2021. The report also outlines the communities where increased emissions are leading to higher rates of pollution and health risks.


U.S. container imports trend near pre-pandemic levels. U.S. container imports trended downwards in February, nearing 2019 pre-pandemic levels. This week, Descartes Systems Group reported its import tally for February, revealing 1,734,272 TEUs imported in February for a 25% year over year drop and down 16.2% from January 2023, according to gCaptain. Descartes said that despite the reduction, port transit delays increased for the top West, East and Gulf Coast ports.


USTR releases President Biden’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda and 2022 Annual Report. The 2023 Trade Policy Agenda and 2022 Annual Report of the Biden Administration was published by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on March 1. The advancement of a worker-centered trade policy, realigning U.S.-China trade relations, interacting with trading partners and international organizations, fostering policy trust through enforcement, and increasing stakeholder involvement are among the top trade goals for 2023.

Notice regarding UFPLA: ​​We will be required to report the postal code for all China manufacturers and suppliers as part of the entry details starting March 18th as a result of an enhancement to the enforcement of the UFLPA (Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act) program.

Please ensure that any commercial invoice issued by a China-based company includes the postal code. Validate postal codes through online resources such as World Postal Code Search.

Here is a quick reminder of the minimum required details that must appear on your invoices:

(1) Adequate description of the merchandise to support the classification.

(2) Quantities and units of measure for each item in the shipment.

(3) Values and currency.

(4) Name & address of the foreign seller or manufacturer.

(5) Country of origin.


Freight stakeholders asking for repeal of 12% excise tax. American Trucking Associations, along with American Truck Dealers and the Zero Emission Transportation Association, are calling on lawmakers to consider legislation that would undo the long-standing 12% federal excise tax on the purchase of new trucks that was implemented during World War I. Previously proposed legislation which would have repealed the tax did not reach the president’s desk for enactment.


NTSB to investigate Norfolk Southern safety culture. The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday that it will launch a special investigation looking into the “safety culture” at Norfolk Southern. The Federal Railroad Administration also plans to review NS’ safety practices. The investigation follows an incident in which a NS conductor sustained fatal injuries early Tuesday at a Cleveland-Cliffs facility in Cleveland, according to FreightWaves. Tuesday’s accident is the fifth significant incident since December 2021 for NS.


DOJ sues to block merger of JetBlue and Spirit Airlines. The Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court in Massachusetts in an attempt to block the merger of JetBlue and Spirit Airlines. The DOJ argued that the deal will lead to higher fares and fewer choices for air travelers, and said that JetBlue’s “plan to eliminate Spirit and merge its planes, routes and employees into JetBlue’s higher priced operations would especially hurt budget-conscious consumers who rely on Spirit’s ultra low fares to be able to afford air travel,” according to NPR.


GSCPI says global supply chain has returned to pre-pandemic normal. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that conditions in the global supply chain have returned to normal following the pandemic-induced disruptions of the last three years. The latest reading of the NY Fed’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) shows that global supply chain pressures decreased in February, according to gCaptain. “There were significant downward contributions by the majority of the factors, with the largest negative contribution from European Area delivery times,” NY Fed said in its update.


MSC boxship runs aground in Suez Canal. The 16,000 TEU boxship MSC Istanbul ran aground in the Suez Canal on Sunday, but was quickly refloated and little disruption occurred. Not quite like the 2021 Ever Given incident which lasted for 6 days and caused widespread issues.