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Imports Continue to Sink at Port of Los Angeles, Airlines Ordered to Pay Millions in Customer Refunds, White House Announces New Climate Initiatives at COP27.

Nov 17, 2022

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Imports continue to sink at Port of Los Angeles. This week, the Port of Los Angeles reported another month of falling volumes, with total throughput for October at 678,429 twenty-foot equivalent units. That’s down 25% versus October 2021. Imports totaled 336,307 TEUs, down 28% year on year. More positively, the month-on-month slide seen in Los Angeles in September has slowed, with imports falling 15% in September versus August, but October’s imports declining only 7,155 TEUs (i.e., a single shipload) or 2% versus September.

Canadian government invests in Port of Prince Rupert. This week, the Canadian Minister of Transport announced an investment of nearly $75 million under the National Trade Corridors Fund to increase capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert. The total combined investment in the project is $163.1 million with Trigon Pacific Terminals Limited’s contribution. The funding will go towards supporting the construction of a second berth at the Port of Prince Rupert terminal, which will reduce congestion and increase the port’s capacity to export products for green energy and other clean commodities. The project also aims to increase the capacity of the trade corridor linking the Port of Prince Rupert to Western Canada.


CBP Chief steps down after initially refusing to resign. The white house says that the resignation of the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been accepted by President Joe Biden. An official from the Department of Homeland Security told NBC News that Chris Magnus had initially refused to step down from his job after a request from the Biden administration, however in a letter sent to the CBP workforce last weekend, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed Magnus’ resignation. Deputy commissioner Troy Miller will serve as the acting commissioner effective immediately, according to NBC.


Fedex Freight to furlough drivers ahead of holiday season. Beginning in December, FedEx Freight will furlough an “undetermined number of drivers.” According to Freightwaves, The furloughs are scheduled to last about 90 days and are expected to affect a small number of drivers. Not all facilities will be targeted, said Miranda Yarbro, a FedEx Freight spokesperson. “Because of our previous experience with furlough and with the incentives we are offering, we are expecting employees to volunteer to meet the business need,” Yarbro said in an email.


Regional Rail acquires assets in western Canada. Short-line owner and operator Regional Rail has acquired freight rail assets in western Canada from grain company G3 Canada, according to FreightWaves. The acquisition includes the Great Sandhills Railway, as well as three other freight rail assets in the region that serve agricultural and energy customers. Regional Rail’s assets are mainly based in the eastern U.S., with car storage, freight transportation, and transloading services in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware across three railroads and over 155 miles of track. The company also owns Carolina Coast Railway, which operates in North Carolina, and Pinsly Railroad in Florida, which consists of 208 miles of track and three short-line railroads.

Third union rejects rail labor deal. Stakeholders said this week that members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) have decided not to ratify a labor agreement with the railroads, joining the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way – Employes Division (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) in rejecting the labor deal. Their votes will send all three unions back to the bargaining table, while members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD) are voting this week on whether to ratify their labor contracts. Those results are expected to come out early next week. Seven other rail unions have voted to ratify their labor deals. Radiant Road & Rail continues to update the situation with the railroads here.


Fedex cuts flights to save as shipping demand decreases. In order to offset falling revenue from sinking e-commerce demand, FedEx is scaling back the number of flights it operates and is putting aircraft in temporary storage. In October, FedEx eliminated “eight to nine daily international flight frequencies and about 23 domestic frequencies to help achieve $2.2 billion to $2.7 billion in accelerated savings after announcing a steep drop in quarterly earnings,” CFO Mike Lenz said at the Baird Global Industrial Conference, according to FreightWaves.

Airlines ordered to pay millions in customer refunds. Six airlines must pay a total of more than $600 million in refunds to customers whose travel plans were canceled or delayed this year following an order from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Frontier Airlines must pay $222 million in refunds and an additional fine of $2.2 million. The other airlines being targeted by the DOT are TAP Portugal, Air India, Aeromexico, El Al and Avianca. “When a flight gets canceled, passengers seeking refunds should be paid back promptly,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said in a statement.

Delta edges closer to labor deal with pilots. The pilots union says that Delta Air Lines is getting closer to a labor deal with pilots. CNBC reports that other carriers including United and American have also been unable to reach new labor agreements. The pandemic derailed contract talks as travel demand plunged and carriers booked record losses. “While it is unclear exactly what the catalyst was for management’s movement toward our asks this past week, it was decisively the most productive week of negotiations” since talks opened more than three years ago, the Air Line Pilots Association said in a memo to Delta aviators early this week.

Toronto airport looks to convert offices into cargo facility. Toronto Pearson International Airport is asking for $136 million from the Canadian government to fund the repurposing of an underutilized office complex for cargo operations as part of an effort to increase non-passenger revenue streams. The 11-acre parcel was “not performing to its maximum potential” and its proximity to other cargo and airline operations made it a good candidate for a cargo facility, Deborah Flint, the president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, told FreightWaves.


Amazon plans large scale layoffs. Amazon plans to lay off approximately 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs starting as soon as this week in what could amount to the largest job cuts in the company’s history. The cuts will reportedly be focused on Amazon’s devices organization, including the voice-assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and in human resources, according to the New York Times.

White House announces new climate initiatives at COP27. President Biden announced new initiatives at the 27th U.N. Climate Conference (COP27) to “strengthen U.S. leadership tackling the climate crisis and galvanize global action and commitments.” Read the statement from the White House and see the initiatives here.