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U.S. Exporters Raise Concerns to Congress About Ocean Carrier Market Power, Canadian Government Allocates $46m for New Trucker Training, Ohio Train Derailment Causes FRA to Release Safety Advisory.

Mar 2, 2023

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U.S. exporters raise concerns to Congress about ocean carrier market power. On Tuesday, exporters went in front of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee to ask for the introduction of more economic reforms in ocean transportation and to increase the pressure on carriers that abuse their market power. Agriculture Transportation Coalition Executive Director Peter Friedmann represented exporters in front of the committee, and acknowledged that surges in cargo volume and disruptions to the supply chain have diminished, and that there’s currently “plenty of competition” among container ship operators for his members’ shipments to overseas markets. The exporters expect lawmakers to include a provision in a new package of ocean shipping reforms being contemplated on Capitol Hill that would give the Federal Maritime Commission authority to “block alliance and other marketing agreements ocean carriers file with the FMC that the commission finds to be anticompetitive,” according to FreightWaves.

Hapag-Lloyd and Shell sign LNG fuel supply agreement. This week, Shell and Hapag-Lloyd announced the signing of a multi-year agreement for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Hapag-Lloyd’s “ultra large dual-fuel container vessels of 23,500+ twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).” According to Hapag-Lloyd’s press release, using LNG enables Hapag-Lloyd to immediately reduce the CO2 intensity of these vessels by up to 23% compared to conventional fuels.


Channel deepening at Port of Virginia to be completed this year. The Port of Virginia will soon have some of the deepest channels on the East Coast at 55 feet deep that will enable the port to accommodate two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels, according to FreightWaves. Upon completion of the channels in the Fall and next Spring, the Port of Virginia said it will work with the Virginia Pilots Association, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to update the region’s navigation charts, rules and buoys to reflect the improved channel.


Canadian government allocates $46m for new trucker training. The Canadian government recently announced $46 million in funding to help train and find jobs for up to 2,600 new truckers and other industry workers as Canada’s trucking industry faces as many as 55,000 job openings by the end of the year. According to FreightWaves, the funding is tapped for nonprofit Trucking Human Resources Canada’s Career ExpressWay Program, with “participants receiving training and on-the-job work experience to prepare them for a career in the trucking sector.” The finds will also go towards supporting the participation of women and other equity-deserving groups in the trucking sector.


Ohio train derailment causes FRA to release safety advisory. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) put out a safety advisory this week urging railroads to look at their policies and procedures for using and maintaining hot bearing wayside detectors, also known as hot box detectors, which gauge the temperature of the wheel bearings of passing trains. Federal investigators are determining if an overheated bearing may have led to the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 3.

Canadian rail shippers happy with federal decision to collect more freight data. In January, Transport Canada said the Canadian government approved amendments to the transportation information regulations that would require major railways to supply additional freight rail data, including waybill information, according to FreightWaves. Because rail operations in North America often cross borders, how Canada addresses rail service and data collection metrics can be helpful for American and Canadian shippers, and the railways themselves. Read more about the data collection here.


Demand for freighter conversions wanes along with demand for air cargo. Leading providers of 737-800 conversions predict a 20% reduction in the market this year, slowing demand to more sustainable levels. Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) said Amazon renewed only two of ten 767 freighter leases that are set to expire this year, likely as a result of slowdowns in demand for air cargo.


India introduces restrictions on ship age. India has officially banned bulkers and tankers aged 25 or above from entering its waters. The new rules apply for Indian-registered ships and to foreign vessels discharging in India. The government has allowed three more years of sailing time for existing vessels affected by the new cap. The Directorate General Of Shipping said: “There is a need to modernize the Indian fleet, which requires extensive review of the requirements of the registration and operation of the ships. Age norms will assist in ensuring gradual phasing out of fossil fuel ships and ushering in of alternate/low carbon energy efficient ships.”

Finland port strike enters third week. Worker’s strike at Finland ports is entering it’s third week, and the country is facing the prospects of widening labor strikes. Dockworkers and port employees walked off their jobs on February 15, “demanding wage increases that kept pace with inflation as well as work rule changes,” Maritime Executive reports. Most of Finland’s import and export business is at a halt as a result of the strike, as approximately 90 percent of the country’s trade goes by sea according to the government. The 10 main seaports in Finland are all included in the current strike. Reports estimate that the strike could cost more than $1 billion each month.


Nissan recalling 800k vehicles over ignition problems. More than 809,000 small SUVs in the U.S. and Canada have been recalled by Nissan over a key problem that can cause the ignition to shut off while being driven. The recall covers certain Rogues from the 2014 through 2020 model years, as well as Rogue Sports from 2017 through 2022, according to CBS News. Nissan says it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem.