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FMC Announces Massive User Fee Increases, West Coast Container Imports See Large Declines, Maersk Announces Air Cargo Service Between Denmark and China.

Mar 23, 2023

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FMC announces massive user fee increases. In a Federal Register notice posted Tuesday, the Federal Maritime Commission acknowledged that it is raising user fees as high as 650% over current rates to account for higher costs. In the notice the FMC said that when it last updated user fees in 2020, the agency used FY2019 cost data, including 2019 staff salaries, and that data needed to be adjusted along with accounting for inflation and an electronic filing upgrade.

MSC receives largest containership in the world. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) took delivery of the world’s largest ship by carry capacity at 24,346 TEU, its second ultra large container ship, according to Maritime Executive. The first of MSC’s mega-ships departed last Friday from its first port in China to begin a trip to Northern Europe.


West Coast container imports see large declines. February container imports in the U.S. dropped massively from the highs of the previous year, with west coast ports in particular suffering a huge 37% decrease, according to The Loadstar. The McCown report said import throughput last month fell a record 28%, to 1,454,438 teu, the lowest level since March 2020. Imports at US east and Gulf coast ports declined 18.7%, to 809,375 teu.

Port Houston sees container volumes rise in contrast to West Coast ports. Many ports in the U.S. are seeing import declines, but Port Houston container volume in February rose 15% yoy to 313,452 twenty-foot equivalent units. “Our cargo activities continue to remain solid for the first two months of the year versus 2022,” Roger Guenther, Port Houston’s executive director, said during the port’s monthly meeting Monday. “Our overall tonnage is up 7% today compared to last year; that’s collectively for all of our terminals.”


Customs officials intercept giant African snails at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. On Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that customs officials at Detroit Metropolitan Airport intercepted a traveler flying in from Ghana who was carrying six living giant African snails in their suitcase. Giant African snails are extremely harmful and invasive to the environment and are carriers of diseases that can affect humans. They are a strictly prohibited breed, and the U.S. has been working for over 50 years to eradicate them from the country.


Manitoba introduces legislation to ban chameleon carriers. Legislators in Manitoba introduced an amendment targeting trucking companies that close and reopen under a different name to escape previous safety violations, also known as “chameleon carriers.” The proposed legislation will help keep chameleon carriers off the road by strengthening authority. “The amendments specifically target unsafe carriers and will have minimal impact on carriers that comply with safety regulations and have satisfactory on-road performance,” said Doyle Piwniuk, Manitoba’s transportation and infrastructure minister, in a news release.


NTSB releases preliminary investigation reports into Norfolk Southern incidents. On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board released two preliminary reports on events surrounding two separate incidents involving Norfolk Southern trains. The agency said that investigations into both incidents are ongoing, and that investigation focus will be on the railroad’s communication, maintenance, and inspection practices, as well as locomotive/rail car positioning and train handling for the first incident involving a derailment of an NS train on March 9 in Alabama. Investigation into the second incident in which an NS conductor was killed when his train collided with a dump truck in Cleveland on March 7 will focus on industry-wide operational rules for conductors riding equipment through highway-rail grade crossings and Cleveland-Cliffs’ methods of protection at private grade crossings.


Maersk announces air cargo service between Denmark and China. On Monday, Maersk announced the opening of a new air service between its cargo hub at Billund Airport in Denmark and Hangzhou, China, in response to increasing demand. The corridor from Billund Airport is expected to “significantly increase access for high value and time sensitive cargo between Scandinavia, Northern Europe and the Asia-Pacific,” Maersk said. A second China route to the U.S. is also planned, according to FreightWaves.


India aims for textile exports to hit $100bn. Last week, the Indian government announced the opening of seven PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM Mitra) Parks across the country, which the Indian textile industry believes will help develop the country as a global hub for textile manufacturing and exports. The textile sector is expected to attract major global investment and is expecting exports to hit $100 billion by 2030.


FTC aims to make canceling subscriptions easier. This week, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a new rule that would make it easier for people to cancel online subscriptions and get their money back. The FTC says it receives thousands of complaints every year from “consumers plagued by recurring charges that they either weren’t able to cancel or didn’t know they were signing up for in the first place,” according to NPR. The “Click to Cancel” provision would require sellers to make it just as easy for customers to leave subscriptions as it is to enroll. Members of the public can submit comments here.